Sunday, January 31, 2010

They say it's your Birthday.

Today is my birthday. I'm 32. I've always been fascinated with people in their thirties, though I'm not sure why. I didn't freak when I turned 30 two years ago. My twin sister, however, had a small meltdown.

I have hope that this year is going to be incredible, full of new opportunities, and self confidence to venture into the unknown.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 29, 2010

Try try again.

I posted about this apron the other day. I was so excited to finish it and tie it on Evan Grace. She was excited to, asking me over and over if it was done yet, what we were going to do when she got to put it on. I was more excited because she was so excited about her first real apron.


Then I slipped it over her little arms, crossed the ties behind her shoulders and tied it. Spun her around with a big smile plastered on my face and nearly screamed out loud in frustration because the dang thing was tooooo big on her. I guess a 4/5 on this pattern isn't really a 4/5 but more like a 5/6. She was disappointed to and kept telling me that it was okay, she could still clean up in it. :)

I'm going to make her another one though. My god brother (yes it does sound like I'm in the mafia, but not, honestly I'm not, but if I were would I really blog about it? Jeesh...come on) anyway, my god brother's girlfriends little girl (yes, it's complicated) was having a birthday party and she's bigger than Evan Grace. So we gifted her with this homemade princess apron that I really think once it fits right can be used as a play dress as well.

I am looking forward to making another one of these. I adore this pattern and I'm going to let Evan Grace pick out her own fabric again, who knows what she'll end up with. :)

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Just ugly.

You know, some things just don't take a good photo. I mean, no matter what it is, how you light it, what setting you use on the camera it's just! not! going! to! work! That bugs me. I don't know how many times I took a picture of this recipe below. It became a challenge to me after awhile. "I refuse to take a picture of something that looks like slugs slaughtered over egg noodles."

 But alas, I could not for the life of me figure this one out. Hence the great crop job on the plate of food. If I posted the entire plate in one picture I think I might honestly loose the few followers of this blog.

 Though it's ugly and didn't take a picture worth a darn, this is one of the tastier meals I have in my recipe book. My sister found this little ditty. See, she's in love with her slow cooker to, sometimes I think her love for her slow cooker is deeper than my love for mine, but then I just shrug it off, tape another pink heart to my slow cooker and carry on.

 If you're interested in making this ugly dish (and really, it's better looking in person) here's the recipe. So yummy.

Slow Cooker Beef Strogonoff
1-2 lb stew meat
1 large onion, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 sm jars of mushrooms (I use shitaki because I like their earthy flavor better)
1 8oz pkg of Neufchatel cream cheese
1 8oz container of sour cream (light, fat free or whole is fine)

  1. Add 1st 5 ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Or on high 5-6 hours.
  2. 15 minutes before serving cook egg noodles according to directions on the package.
  3. Cube cream cheese and add to slow cooker
  4. Before serving stir in sour cream
  5. Serve over egg noodles.  

 I had mine with homemade Sour Dough Bread....lightly toasted with real butter. What a comforting winter meal. Wish we had leftovers.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday.

(Yes, that is my dog under a heating pad and a blanket....lucky little goober!)

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Power Outage.

I sleep with my window open. Don't worry though, I'm on the 2nd floor of a two story house so it's not like someone's going to sneak in for anything. Plus, I live in a really rural area so that makes it even less likely that someone's going to take advantage of an open window in a dark house. I guess the only bad thing about it, is that it gets very cold at night, in the thirties and I still keep my window open, with the heat turned off and door shut tight.

Last Friday when I finally pulled myself from bed it was really cold in my room, SUPER cold. I wondered if maybe it had started to snow during the night which would account for the drop in temperature in my room. Turns out, we had been hit with a small but damaging ice storm. The electricity had flicked off about nine that morning and in no time the house was a fridged 57 degrees.
Not only is this a picture of icicles, but if you look for another second at the picture below you'll see that the entire top board of the porch is encased in ice and the front part of the slats too. Pretty neat huh?

I don't mind the electricity being off, at times I even enjoyed it growing up. We have a generator. Do I know how to work it? Oh please, of course I don't. Could my dad get away from work to come haul it out and get it going for us to at least have some heat? Oh please, of course not, this job is kicking his tiny butt and he's loving every minute of it. And guess what, I didn't even call to ask him for any help whatsoever. I can rough it for awhile.

I bundled the kids up in as many layers as they could stand, wrapped them in a blanket and said this was a perfect day for playing their Leapster's for as long as they liked. Isaac takes his Leapster playing very seriously so he was all on it.

Evan Grace loves playing her Leapster as well but she was more involved in flitting from set to set to see if I would wrap her up in her blanket like a baby again and again. THAT got old, for me, very fast.

Mackenzie, like the wonderful student she is, kept plowing away at her school work. Bundled up in her Virginia Tech sweatshirt of course. Looking at her you wouldn't know there was a power outage though would you?

I took the time to bundle up as well and sit with the two little kids and catch up on some reading. Use to I would never read more than one book at a time, now a's the only way I get more than one book finished.

I even decided to get out my cheese making book that I've been wanting to jump into for a long time now and finally come up with a list of things I needed to get before I begin my cheese making adventures. :) You'll be happy to know I've already ordered everything I need and I'm anxiously awaiting the mail truck for delivery sometime late this week. Eeekk!!!

The electricity was out about 7 hours and honestly, when the heat and lights flickered back to life, I was more than a little disappointed that it didn't last longer. It was a calm, peaceful day of just the kids and I being quiet together.
With tha,t I'll leave you with one more gorgeous picture of the ice storm that hit us and blessed us with such a great day. (No, that's not rain on the screen of the window, that's a layer of ice!)

Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tie One On.

I've had the same mail man, Chris, that I've had since I was in high school. He's a good guy, always goes above and beyond what I think a mailman should. Definitely goes above and beyond the mailmen I had in Alabama. I mean he drives up the driveway and hand delivers packages that don't fit in the mailbox. He even knocks on the door and waits for me to answer it instead of just leaving it on the porch for who knows what to happen. But I digress....I was washing dishes the other day when I saw my mailman's trusty car pull into my driveway. So I dried my hands, slipped on some shoes and walked out to meet him so he didn't have to get out in the rain only to have him laugh at me.

"Do girls seriously wear aprons now a days?"
I glanced down, and sure enough I was wearing my favorite apron in all of the world. Isn't it cute?

I love aprons. I wear them to cook, sew, do dishes, clean up anything sometimes I find myselfon an apron so I can fix up dinner and not taking it off until after I've cooked, ate and cleaned the kitchen. I love aprons so much I started sewing them. Starting with something as simple as a cute apron kit like this Fun Apron.

To something a little more complicated and time consuming like the one I just finished Sunday night. Do you recognize the fabric? Looks a little bit like my loved hobo bag right?

I really enjoy this pattern, so much so that I started one for Evan Grace soon after I finished mine. All that's left is sewing down the rick rack. I was going to give her two pockets to match mine completely but I didn't pay enough attention the fabric when I laid it out to cut it. The pockets are so long that it was going to end up covering the majority of the princesses so I gave her one and made the other one a semi-circle. Isaac wants one now, so I'm going to have to find some really manly fabric and make him one that's more like an art smock instead of the ruffle one pictured.

This apron I didn't make, but it's one of my favorites as well. Honestly, I haven't found an apron yet that I haven't liked on some level. I've started a collection, I'm thinking of sewing up a bunch of aprons and putting them on Etsy...matching mom and daughter ones. Who knows, I'm full of grand ideas but rarely put action to them. Plus, how am I going to be able to part with an apron I've poured my heart and soul into...oh yeah...the money.

I know I'm not the only girl that wears aprons. My friend Leisha loves aprons just as much as I do (maybe more?) and has even blogged about her apron. My friend Erin wore one to her cake decorating class. My kids wear them when they paint and cook with me...but honestly....are girls that wear aprons dieing out?
Oh and in case you're wondering, I set Mr. Chris the mailman straight on girl's wearing aprons. Though I loved the fact that he called this thirty something a girl I was quick to let him know that smart, beautiful women know the value of a great apron. :)

Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 22, 2010

Part of my love life.

I love my slow cooker, aka crock pot. I mean, I event cut out a pretty big pink heart and taped it to the side of my slow cooker just for this picture. It's love, pure and simple.

I make lots and lots of yummy things with my slow cooker. Like my favorite food ever, Onion Roasted Chicken and my mom's favorite Cheddar Bacon Chicken.

But I wanted to change things up. I wanted to make sweet things with my slow cooker and not just dinner items. I mean, I've already cooked Caramel Sweetened Condensed was so delicious. But I found myself needing more from my slow cooker, and after bombing my mom's birthday cake I was looking for something new, easy and fool proof.

Enter: Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake.

After non-stick spraying the bottom and sides of my slow cooker I whisked 1 large box of instant sugar free chocolate pudding with 3 cups of skim milk. (See it's even on the somewhat healthier side). I poured it into the slow cooker, and didn't' even bother to smooth it out for fear I would disturb the non-stick coating.

Then a box of devil's food cake, mixed up by following the directions on the back of the box. Then carefully, ohhh so carefully over the pudding. DO NOT STIR!

I cooked this wonderfully sweet cake for 2 1/2 hours on high. Let it stand, still covered for 20 minutes. You're going to be so tempted to open the lid before it's cooled down enough and dive right in. I know, I know, does it really make a difference? The chocolate pudding that you added in the beginning has to thicken up some or when you go to serve this you'll end up with gloppy pudding on top of a super moist cake.

Top with cool whip and try not to eat the entire cake in one sitting.

I'm already craving another piece!

Look for more slow cooker recipes coming next week. I got my greedy hands on a few new recipes that I'm itching to try.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From scratch.

My mom's birthday was on the 14th. She loves yellow cake with white icing. I wanted to go above and beyond for her birthday cake. I wanted to make one from scratch.

Did I use the recipes I already have for a homemade cake? Heaven's no. That would have been too easy.
I found a new recipe that was suppose to knock my socks off and promised I would never make another box cake again. Ever!

I let the new mixer, mix this scratch cake for me.

The batter taste yummy, with the faint scent of my homemade vanilla filling the air I slipped the cake into the oven to cook for 35 minutes. Though my directions said 45 minutes.

Then I went another step above and beyond. I was going to whip up homemade frosting. Not the powdered sugar kind. The kind where you cook the sugar and water into a syrup and then add it to egg whites and beat the tar out of it for 10 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Doesn't it look soooo yummy?? I've made you hungry haven't I? I know, me too, I was salivating for this cake from start to finish.

But....where's the picture of the finished cake all freshly baked and covered in stiff peaked icing? It flopped. It was a complete and total disaster. The cake ended up almost like a dry bread, extremely lacking in flavor and all that is suppose to be good and holy in a cake and I'm still not sure why. I follow directinos like nobody's business.

Oh, and the icing, the icing was more of a tease of what a real icing is suppose to be. It was so disappointing that I flat out refused to take a picture of it the finished product.

Flat. Out. Refused.

The moral of this story: Stick to the recipes you already have for your mom's birthday.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bacon Cheese Pull Apart Bread

One egg, 2 Tbs of milk (maybe just a dash more if you're feeling frisky). WHISK!

1 can of flaky biscuits, each one cut into 4 pieces. 1/4 cup chopped onions. 6 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into medium size pieces.

Biscuits placed in egg mixture and coated evenly.

Add in onion, bacon, and 1/4 cup cheese of your choice. Mix until coated evenly.

Pour into a greased 8x13 pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until brown.

This is an amazing one dish breakfast recipe.  I'm not sure where I got this recipe, either from Taste of Home, or maybe Pillsbury. So yummy and you can change all the ingredients to either low fat or no fat and it's just as yummy.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Sewing Story.

I had this shirt. My mom got it for me on sale, for like $3. I love this shirt. I like the purple straps and the ruffles (I'm a sucker for ruffles) BUT, sadly this shirt wasn't roomy enough for my chest. So what to do with a shirt that I really liked but couldn't wear?

I cut an inch or two off of the sides of the shirt and the bottom hem of the shirt came off as well.

Then I found some pretty brown colored fabric I had to match the shirt and
 I used my cut as a pattern to cut 2 matching pieces of what would be my inside fabric.

Then I started pinning and sewing things into place I used the bottom hem of the shirt to reinforce the purple lace straps.

When I cut the sides of the shirt I had enough of the ruffle part to add in an inside pocket. So I pinned and sewing in a matching pocket for the inside.

I pinned somemore and sewed again, getting the outside and inside fabrics lined up just right.

Then voila!! I had a wonderful new purse that was not only upcycled from my shirt but I think is super cute. It's big enough to hold all my purse toys or even be a tote for the kids stuff when needed. This could be my favorite bag that I've made yet. I mean, I think I like it even more than the Hobo bag!!! .

Cute right?

Posted by Picasa