Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Berry and Spinach Salad

I love this salad. It's so delicious! The only bad news is now I have used up my entire stock of blueberries from our picking outing last April. Guess I need to get more this year. If you can't find honey roasted almonds, the coconut or cinnamon almonds are tasty, too!

  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Goat cheese or honey goat cheese
  • Honey roasted almonds
  • Grilled chicken (optional)

Gently mix berries and cheese in a bowl. The strawberries, blueberries and goat cheese will break down to make the best dressing. Pour over spinach and top with nuts and chicken. 

Put this together in no time. It's easy to make for 1 or 10. Super simple, super quick, and super yummy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Paleo- Eggplant Bruchetta

I love Eggplant Parmesan, but it's not exactly on the Paleo diet. This is the next best thing and it's super simple to make. It's got great texture and flavor. I have to admit, the hubby doesn't care for it, but K1 and I love it. I guess I can only push vegetables so far.  More for us!

Eggplant Bruschetta:

1. Heat Oven to 350 
2. Slice the eggplant into even slices (don't slice too thin or they will burn - about 1/4 inch) and lay slices out on a sheet pan sprayed with olive oil
3. Lightly shake salt and pepper over eggplant slices and place in the oven for 15 minutes
4. Flip eggplant over and add salt and pepper to the slices and place back in oven for 10 minutes

Bruschetta topping:

• 3 or 4 ripe plum tomatoes
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place eggplant on a plate and top with bruschetta and fresh mozzarella. Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Crochet Baby Hat and Mary Jane Shoes

Charlie is the best little model. She's always awake, quiet, and never complains. I think we will keep her. 

The soft colors are perfect for wearing with anything and would be great for photo shoot, too. There are plenty of color combinations  that you can switch it up with as well. Makes a great gift for a new baby!

3-6 months

Worsted Weight Yarn - I used Caron So Soft. Perfect for babies
Size H Crochet Hook
Size G Crochet Hook
Size F Crochet Hook
Tapestry Needle

Using H Hook, Ch 3. Join into a ring.
Round 1: Ch 4 (counts as dc and ch 1). *Dc, ch 1; repeat 9 times. Join to 3rd ch of beg ch 4.

Round 2: Sl st in first ch 1 sp. Ch 4 (counts as dc and ch 1), dc in same sp, ch 1, *(dc, ch 1) twice in next ch 1 sp; repeat from * around. Join to 3rd ch of beg ch 4.

Round 3: Sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 4 (counts as dc and ch 1), dc in same sp, ch 1, dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, *(dc, ch 1) twice in next ch 1 sp, dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1; repeat from * around. Join round to 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Round 4-6: Sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), *dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1; repeat from * around. Join with a sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch 4.

Change to size G hook.

Round 7- 8: Sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), *dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1; repeat from * around. Join with a sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch 4.

Round 9: Sl st in first ch 1 sp, sc in same sp, *sc in next st, sc in next ch 1 sp; repeat from * around. Join.

Edging: *5 Dc into first ch space, sl st into next ch space* repeat around ending with sl st. Fasten off.
Mary Jane Shoes
Use F hook
Round 1: Ch 11.Work 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 4 ch, hdc in next ch, dcin next 3 ch, 7 dc in last ch. Working across opposite side ,dc in next 3 ch, hdc in next ch, sc in next 4 ch . 

Round 2: Beginning in the top of the first sc of previous round, 2 sc in next 3 st sc in next 9 sts, 2 sc in next 5 sts, sc in next 9 sts. 

Round 3: {Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st} 3 times, sc in next 9 sts, {sc in nextst, 2 sc in next st} 5 times, sc in next 9 sts. 

Round 4: Sc all except last st. hdc in last st. 

Round 5: Dc 8. Hdc 1. Sc 33 

Round 6: Sc 2tog 1. Sc 6. Sc 2tog. Sc 9. Sc2tog 7 times. Sc 9.

Round 7: Sc 17. Dc2tog 4 times. Sc 9. 

Round 8: 
Right shoe: 
Sl st 12. Ch 12. Sc into 5th ch from hook. Sc 6.. sl st into next st on the shoe. Sl 13. Tie off. 

Left shoe: 
Sl st 24 Ch 12. Sc into 5th ch from hook. Sc 6. sl st into next st on the shoe. Sl st 3.

Embellish with any flower of your choice. There are tons of free patterns out there. This is what I used:
Using H hook, chain 4 and join into a ring. 

Round 1: Chain 2 (counts as 1 dc), dc 11 times into ring, join with a sl st to 2nd chain of initial chain 3 (12 dc). 

Round 2: Chain 3, sk stitch, then make 1 dc into next stitch.

*Chain 3, miss a stitch, then dc in next stitch*

Repeat between **, four more times until you get back to the beginning. Sl st into first chain.

You should have 6 chain-3 loops.

Round 3: Work into each ch 3 loop *sc, hdc, 2 dc, hdc, sc* You should have 6 petals.

Round 4: Sl st into unworked st from round 2. sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc into same stitch. Work *dc, htr, tr, htr, dc* into remaining 5 unworked stitches. Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing onto hat.

For the little flower on the shoes I just ch 4 and joined to form a ring. Work 6 sc into ring and join with slst. Ch 2, dc twice, slst into same sp as join. *slst, 3 dc, slst* into each remaining sc around for a total of 6 petals. Join with slst to first sc. Leave a long tail for sewing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Chick Pea Salad

A few weeks ago I decided to get serious about my eating habits. I was feeling sluggish and just blah.  It has been suggested over and over that I try a Paleo diet. I really didn't know what that was, but I finally decided to check it out. I found a website that interested me that had a meal plan with simple recipes. Robin's Sweet Confessions Paleo Challenge seemed simple enough, so I figured I could try anything for 5 days. I posted photos of the meals as I made them on my personal Facebook page and generated a lot of conversation. Well, 5 days turned into weeks and I'm still sticking to it. 

Do I cheat? Heck yea! However, I have noticed a huge difference in the way I feel when I do and don't eat paleo. Better yet, I feel like I'm enjoying my kitchen again. The preparation is simple and the results are fantastic. 

Have I lost weight? Sure, some. I've been slacking in the exercise area since I hurt my wrist in kickboxing, but I'm getting back into running so I'm sure that will pick up again. I think what I have noticed most is that I no longer hit that wall at 2 pm.  I have more energy and my digestive system is much happier - no more puffy belly.

Even though you can find most of the recipes I will be sharing here on Robin's site, I have added some modifications from my own experience of making them. First up, Chick Pea Salad. I know this is "What's for Dinner Wednesday", but I typically have this for lunch. It was the first Paleo recipe I tried and it's still a favorite. K1 and I make it at the beginning of the week and we split it between the two of us for 2-3 days each week (it makes a big batch). 
Chick Pea Salad
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • 1 and 1/2 cucumbers (chopped)
  • 1 and 1/2 tomatoes (chopped and rinsed) - I use 2-3 Roma tomotoes because I like less seeds
  • 1/2 cup oregano (fresh, chopped) - or dried if that's what you have
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Rinse Garbazno Beans well and drain, set aside.
2. Mix EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar together and toss with garbanzo beans. (add oregano here if you use dried)
3. Mix in cucumbers and tomatoes.
4. Toss Salad.

5. Top with goat cheese and oregano.

This travels well and the flavors get better over the couple days to get through the batch. We are so in love with goat cheese now. Never thought I would say that. Hope you like it, too!