Thursday, May 27, 2010

Milk and Honey Lip Balm

My sister just recently made some lotion at home.  So, I got to thinking that I have a pound of beeswax of my own.  So I thought, why don't I try to make something out of it?  Today I actually did!  :)  Here's what I came up with.  It's a little stiff for lip balm, so I think I will make it a little differently next time.  But for now, I have some homemade Milk and Honey Lip Balm.  :)

2 oz. Beeswax, chunks are easiest to melt
4 oz. Oil
1 oz. Milk
1 T. Honey

1.  Combine the 4 ingredients in a small glass bowl.  (It will be chunky and odd looking...don't worry, they will melt together nicely!)

2.  Heat about 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan.  (Be sure it's small enough that the bowl, when set on top, will not fall in.

3.  Once the water is boiling, place the bowl on top of the pan.

4.  Stir almost constantly until all the chunks of beeswax are melted, and the mixture is well combined.

5.  Take off the heat and continue to stir for about 2 minutes.  (I used a whisk, but you could use a spoon.)

6.  Carefully pour into your desired containers.  (I recommend glass or ceramic because it's still hot at this point.)
7.  Let cool and then seal the containers.

8.  Enjoy your new lip balm!  :)

Let me know what you think.  I just tried some of mine and it's quite yummy.  I will put some sunscreen in it next time too.


Love this song and can't seem to get it out of my head.  I posted it on my facebook yesterday, and my oldest niece thinks that Jewel looks like me.  So isn't that just about the best compliment ever?  I sure think so!  :)  What a sweetie!

Day 2

Alright, day 1 went well.  I ate more well-balanced with more veggies and still felt satisfied.  I also lowered my overall calorie intake and lost a pound.  (Well, according to the scale...but who knows...maybe I will gain it back within the next sip of coffee. )  So, I think we're off to a good start.

I really want to recommend the online food diary that I'm using though.  You can find it at:  It's more than just a food diary too, but check it out for yourself.  I think you'll find it interesting.  Oh, and the best part is that it's free.  Of course, there is an upgrade or better version you can get for a price, but the  basic one is great and free.  (Which always makes it better right?!?)  Even if you aren't looking to lose weight, they say it's helpful to keep a food diary to keep track of what you are just a thought.  :)

Today, I have some grocery shopping to attend to as well as a little laundry.  So, I'm back at it...trying to not eat everything in sight like I used to do.  :)

Oh and does anyone else have a cat out there, that thinks it is a dog?  I sure do...and as entertaining as that might be...I would just like my cute little cuddly cat back.  :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuna Pasta Salad

Just in time for Memorial Day picnics and BBQs!  Here's a salad that everyone can enjoy and you can tailor to make sure everyone will.  :)  You can serve this as a main dish or side dish.  Enjoy. . .

Tuna Pasta Salad

1 c. Whole Grain Shells

1 c. Shells

1 can or small pouch of tuna (I use chunk or solid white, but you could use any!)

1.5 c. Veggies (I used 3/4 c. Peas and 3/4 c. Corn)

Garlic to taste (I did 4 cloves, minced)

Dash of Olive Oil

1/4 c.  Sour Cream (I used Fat Free)

1.  Cook pasta according to pkg. instructions.  (I used medium shells and they only took 11 minutes.)

2.  Drain and rinse pasta, then place in a bowl.

3.  Mix in tuna, veggies, garlic, olive oil and sour cream.

4.  Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

5.  Enjoy!

Eating Healthier and Being Healthier

Alright, I've got to be completely honest here. The reason I wanted to eat healthier was to get healthier. I suppose that's kind of a given... But it hasn't completely happened yet. I know it's not something that just happens overnight. But, from now on I am coming from a bit of a different angle with the whole approach. :)

So, I've set a goal to not only eat healthier but be healthier. So, I would like to lose 15 pounds by the end of summer. Or otherwise until my sister-in-law's wedding. :) So, not only do I want to lose the weight, but I want to do it in a healthy way. So it will stay off and I will be healthier overall.

Realistically what does that mean for my life? Not too sure yet...but I am going to keep a daily log of what I eat. (Something I've done off and on for digestive reasons...but this time I am going to be loyal to it!) I still want to be able to eat things though. Like, if I am at a birthday party, I don't want to be the one on a "diet" who can't eat the cake. (And proceeds to make a huge deal out of it!) So, again, not too sure what this will actually look like. But I will still make yummies at home, and just eat them in much more moderation. :)

This I know for sure though: I will eat more veggies. I will eat more fruit. I will eat more fiber. (From nature and some Benefiber supplement.) I will do more exercises regularly, including but not limited to: Bike riding, Walking, Hiking and some little free weight-lifting. So again, the goal is not only losing some weight, but getting and being healthier. For real this time. :)

So, yeah....I also put a ticker so you all can keep me accountable for the weight loss too. It's on the left sidebar. :) I will try to update it every day or two. So it stays up-to-date!

Ok, just found a pretty sweet site that has a daily food/exercise log online and it's all free.  So here's the link.

PS I am going to probably need some support though. So, feel free to give invisible high-fives and send prayers my way too! :) Thanks!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pizza Rolls

So, I love pizza, my hubby loves pizza and I'm pretty sure everyone--at least in America--loves pizza!  :)  So here's another twist on it right.  Well, we've all probably tried making pizza rolls at home at one time or another.  I know I have before last night.  But they never turned out like I wanted them to.  Last night they did turn out well, but still not quite what I was going for.

Ok, have you ever heard of Pizza Street?  Well, they used to make the BEST, seriously the best pizza rolls ever.  The only sad thing is that the last one in Northern Colorado just went out of business.  :(  Huge sad face.  My family and I had eaten those pizza rolls for years and always enjoyed them.  But now, we can no longer have their fantastic cuisine.  :(  I wish I would have known when exaclty they were calling it quits though, because I would have tried to see if they'd give me the recipe.  Their dough was out of this world, thin and slightly greasey....but perfect.  Then the filling was mostly pepperoni, but just perfectly baked with a great dipping sauce.

Anyway, I think in the coming weeks I will go on a little quest in my kitchen to see if I can come up with something simliar.  Those were just too great to never be able to eat again.  :)

Without an further adue here's my recipe so far for pizza rolls:

Dough (My pizza dough but only a 1/2 batch)

1/2 package active dry yeast

3/8 c. warm water

1/2 c. All Purpose Flour

1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour

1.5 t. Olive Oil

1/4 t. Salt

1/2 t. Sugar (or Honey)

1.  Combine water and yeast in medium-sized bowl.

2.  Add salt, sugar/honey and oil to the yeast water.

3.  Gradually add in the flour, making sure that you are thoroughly mixing it.

4.  Let rise for 30 minutes.

5.  Divide into 3 sections (or more for smaller pizza rolls).

6.  Roll out sections of dough into ovals/rectangles.

7.  Sprinkle desired fillings inside.  (I used 1/4 mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.)

8.  Fold and roll them up.  (Like a burrito or egg roll.)

9.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

10.  Enjoy!  :)

Flour-less Chocolate Cake for Two

Ok, whether you are a celiac or not, this recipe will indulge your craving for chocolate and not add on the pounds!  This flour-less version of chocolate cake will satisfy and keep you wanting more.  :)

I have now made this recipe for two, instead of just for one.  So you can share it with your special someone this time.  ;)

2 egg, separated
2 oz. chocolate, semi-sweet works best
2 T. sugar

1.  In a medium-sized bowl use a hand mixer to fluff up the egg whites.  Set it to high and run it until it is white and peaks form.

2.  Melt the chocolate.  (Either in the microwave watching carefully and checking often, or on the stove in a double boiler.)

3.  Let chocolate cool some and gradually add the egg yolks into it.

4.  Mix the sugar into the chocolate mixture.

5.  Now, carefully fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites.  Combine gently, but thoroughly.

6.  Transfer the batter into a small dish suitable for baking.  (I used an 8″ round casserole dish.)

7.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  Mine took about 20 to cook.

8.  Enjoy!  Careful it’s pretty hot, but completely worth it!  And just enough for two!  :)
(Just passed the hubby's taste test too...)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake for One

Ok, whether you are a celiac or not, this recipe will indulge your craving for chocolate and not add on the pounds!  :)

1 egg, separated
1 oz. chocolate, semisweet works best
1 T. sugar

1.  In a medium sized bowl use a hand mixer to fluff up the egg white.  Set it to high and run it until it is white and peaks form.
2.  Melt the chocolate.  (Either in the microwave watching carefully and checking often, or on the stove in a double boiler.)
3.  Let chocolate cool some and gradually add the egg yolk into it.
4.  Mix the sugar into the chocolate mixture.
5.  Now, carefully fold the chocolate mixture ino the egg white.  Combine gently, but thoroughly.
6.  Transfer the batter into a small dish suitable for baking.  (I used a 5" round pyrex glass dish.)
7.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  Mine took about 17 to cook.
8.  Enjoy!  Careful it's pretty hot, but completely worth it!  And just enough for one!  :)

I will try to add a pic the next time I make this...I was too excited to eat it today and scarfed it down before I could capture a pic.  ;)

Honey Oat Wheat Bread

If you like making homemade bread like I do, here's a new recipe for you!  I am constantly experimenting to figure out yummy, healthy combos.  And this one is a such show stopper!  :)  Perfect balance of healthy things and everything.  So give it a try and let me know what you think! :)  I'm going to be sending this loaf to work with my hubs for lunches this week.  So I will let you know what he thinks too!  :)

Honey Oat Wheat Bread:

1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. warm milk
1 pkg. yeast
3 T. honey
1/2 t. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. quick oats

1. In large bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water and warm milk.
2. Add honey, salt and dash of oil. Stir.
3. Stir in wholw wheat flour.
4. Mix in all purpose flour.
5. Start kneading dough and instead of on floured surface, use oats on the surface. (Quick Oats.) Knead until the 1 c. of oats are combined.
6. Let rise in warm place for about 30 minutes.
7. Punch down and place into the desired pan for baking.
8. Let rise again for about 30 minutes.
9. Then bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You may also egg wash the top so it turns nice and golden brown.  I just decided to put some more oats on top to show off the oaty flava!   :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Giant Baked Pancake

How does a giant baked pancake sound?  Delicious!  So, I made one tonight and it was a hit.  (At least I enjoyed it, and it seemed my hubby did too!)  :)  Here's the recipe:

German Pancake:

2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
2 T. butter
Topping of your choice.  (Fruit topping recipe below.)

1.  Pre-heat oven to about 450 degrees.
2.  Whisk eggs, flour, sugar, milk, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
3.  Melt butter in a 10 inch skillet on the stove top.  Cover pan in the melted butter.
4.  Pour batter into the butter coated pan and place in preheated oven for about 12-18 minutes.  (Check on it to make sure it doesn't burn.)
5.  Enjoy your huge pancake and share with your family.  :)
I cut it into slices before serving.

Fruit topping:

1.5 c. berries (Fresh or frozen work, I used frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.)

1/4 c. water

3 T. sugar

1.  In small saucepan combine berries, water and sugar.

2.  Heat to boil, stirring occasionally.

3.  Boil for about 5 minutes, stirring more frequently.

4.  Cool in the refrigerator until the german pancake is done.

5.  Serve over the pancake and enjoy!  :)

Friday, May 21, 2010


If you love bruschetta, then you should try making it at home.  Super easy, delicious and healthy!  :)  Gotta love when those three are in the same sentence right?

So what you'll need:

Roma Tomatoes

Basil (Fresh is best!)

Red Onion

Italian Dressing (Vinagrettes will work too)

Now the bruschetta is actually all up to you, and your preferences.  So if you really like basil put a ton in.  If you really like onion add lots of that.  Or if you like a nice balance dice up the tomatoes and add small amounts of the other things until it tastes "right" to you!

Enjoy!  :)  I love this stuff, and make it year round.  But I especially love it in the summer when I can go out to my little garden and pick fresh basil to put in it.  :)

Brick Oven Style Pizza

I used my pizza recipe, but made a few changes.

1 package active dry yeast
3/4 c. warm water
1 c. All Purpose Flour
1 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Sugar (or Honey)
Toppings of your choice.  (Sauce, Cheese and veggies/meat.)

1.  Start by adding the yeast to the warm water and stir.

2.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients into the yeast mixture.

3.  Once well combined, let rise for 30 minutes.

4.  Punch down and divide into how ever many pizzas you'd like.

5.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

6.  Take one section of the dough and flatten into the shape you'd like.  I did rectangles for a more authentic brick oven look.  Think about whether you would like a thin crust or a thicker crust when flattening them out.  I made mine a thin crust and my hubby's thick crusted.

7.  Repeat step 6 with the rest of the dough.  You may need more sheets than one.

8.  Add sauce, cheese and other toppings to your creations.

9.  Bake in a hot oven, around 425 degrees, for 10-20minutes.  My thin crust took just about 9 -10 minutes, but the thick crusted one took about 20.  So be sure to set a timer and check them periodically. :)

10.  Enjoy!  Oh and be careful it's really hot!

The pic at the top is of my husband's pizza tonight with pepperoni and a thick crust.  Mine is below with Basil and a thin crust.  :)

Hip to my Heart

If you listen to country music you have probably heard this song on the radio by now.  It's awesome, catchy and the singers are good!  :)  So that's altogether things I just love in a song!  It turns out there are three members in the band " The Band Perry" and they are siblings.  Cute huh?  Makes me reminisce of the times I dreamed of starting up a band with my sisters.

Anyway, check out the video on this link.  I think you'll enjoy it!  :)

Make a Frappe at Home

Alright, if you are like me, you probably enjoy a nice frozen coffee drink from time to time.  They sure add up though at $4 a pop.  So, I am experimenting with making them at home.  Today I made one, and it turned out quite delicioso!  So here's the recipe:

Vanilla Frappe:

1 part cool coffee
1 part vanilla ice cream
1 part milk (I used 1%, but any would work just great.)
2 T. sugar

1.  Choose desired cup you'd like to drink your frappe out of.
2.   Then measure how many ounces it holds.  (Easiest way is to fill with water and then pour into measuring cup.)
3.  Measure out the ingredients.  So if it's a 12 ounce cup, do 4 oz coffee, about 4 oz ice cream and 4 oz milk.
4.  Pour those ingredients into the blender.
5.  Then fill the cup up with ice and pour that into the blender as well.
6.  Blend to perfection.  :)

The texture probably won't be as wonderful as Starbucks, McDonalds or where ever else you usually buy them because our home blenders are nothing compared to the professional ones.  But it still will satisfy.   I pretty much promise! :)  Oh, and you will have some extra but it's a bonus, or some to share with someone else!  :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Quiche

Ok, I've never made a quiche before now. I was looking through recipes and most of them seemed to add in a lot of unnecessary fat. So I made my own recipe. (as usual...) :)

Spinach and Cheese Quiche
1 9" pie crust (I made one from scratch using whole wheat flour, but you can either make a normal one or use a prepared one.)
3 Eggs
1/2 c. Milk (I used 1%)
1/2 c. Cottage Cheese (I used low-fat)
3/4 c. Spinach, fresh or frozen
~4oz. Gruyere Cheese, shredded (You can easily substiute Swiss Cheese for this.)
1/2 t. Salt
3 cloves garlic, minced and sauted

1.  Put Pie crust into pie plate/casserole dish.

2.  Whisk eggs together in large mixing bowl.

3.  Add Milk, Cottage Cheese and Gruyere and blend together.

4.  Add Salt and Spinach to egg mixture.

5.  Put sauted garlic directly into the pie shell.  Spreading evenly on the bottom.

6.  Pour Egg mixture into the pie shell and smooth out the top.

7.  Bake in a 350degree oven for about 45 minutes.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Poppy Seed Roll

Perhaps you have never heard of this delicatable sweet bread.  It's found in Ukraine, Hungary and Poland, in addition to many other countries.  It basically consists of a sweet poppy seed paste rolled up in a sweet bread.  There are a lot of variations of what is exactly in the poppy seed paste, but this is what I came up with and it's delicious!  :)  I've got to thank my in-laws for introducing me to "Poppy Seed Bread" as they call it.  My husband's grandma used to make this treat for them.  I think you'll like it go on and try it!  :)

Additional:  You can also do smaller loaves.  See below.  :)

Here's my recipe:

1 c.  Warm Water
2 t.  Sugar
2  Pkg. Yeast
7-8 c.  Flour ( I use half All purpose and half Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. )
1 c.  Sugar
3/4 c.  Butter/Margarine
2  Eggs
1 t.  Lemon Extract
1.5 c.  Warm Milk

Poppy Seed Filling:
1 lb.  Poppy Seeds, ground.  ( You can grind them easily in a coffee grinder! )
1 c.  Hot Milk
1/4 c.  Butter/Margarine
2/3 c.  Sugar
2 T.  Honey
1 t.  Vanilla Flavoring
1/2 lb.  Seedless Raisins


1.  In large bowl dissolve  yeast and 2 T. sugar in 1 c. of warm water.

2.  Stir in sugar, butter, eggs, lemon extract and milk to yeast mixture.

3.  Add flour until a soft and sticky dough ball forms.

4.  Knead for about 5 minute incorporating more flour, so it is workable and not sticky.

5.  Grease bowl and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

6.  While dough is rising mix together ingredients for the poppy seed paste in a separate bowl.  Set aside.

7.  After the dough has risen for 45 minutes, punch it down and lay it out on a floured surface.

8.  Divide the dough in half and put half back in the bowl.

9.  Roll out half of the dough into a somewhat rectangular shape.  Try not to roll it too thin though.

10.  Spread half the room temperature poppy seed paste over the rolled out dough.

11.  Carefully start rolling the dough up like a cinnamon roll.  Be gentle because the dough is very soft, which will make it so delicious!  It's easy to tear though.

12.  Finish rolling up the roll and pinch the seam closed.

13.  Transfer to baking sheet and eggs wash.

14.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

15.  It should look something like this when it comes out!

Serve and enjoy!  Oh, and do the same with the other half of the dough!  :) Wait until it is completely cooled to wrap it up.  This is great any time of year, but especially great for the holidays!

Smaller loaves....

You can make a half batch of the above recipe and then split into 3 pieces.  Then roll out each piece, spread the filling and continue as directed above.  :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Graduation Cookie

So, my husband walks in the Graduation Ceremony tomorrow.  He will then defend his Dissertation in Mid-July.  So, he won't really be done till then, but since tomorrow is the day he actually walks and wears all his regalia, it's still a big day.  At least I think so! :)  So I wanted to make him something, but not have to spend too much time on it like a fancy cake.  So I decided to make a cookie pizza and decorate that!

I googled for a recipe and found a great one, so I thought.  I made up the dough and put it in the oven and it exploded over the sides of the pizza pan and burned within about 10 minutes...  :(  I know I probably filled that pizza pan too much, but also it's this crazy oven!  Why don't they put better ones in apartments?!?  Oh well....

So, I felt rather defeated, but I kept my head up high and was still determined to make a cookie pizza.  So, I just decided to use the tried and true Toll House Cookie recipe.  :)  That's what I should have done from the start...but, well, I didn't.  Anyways, I made up a batch of dough.  (I put about 1/2 the amount of Choc. Chips in though, and didn't add nuts because my mother-in-law is allergic.  I also used 1/2 and 1/2 flour as always.)  I started putting it in the pan, and only used just over half of it.  Then I pressed it down evenly until it was in a circle in the middle of the pan.  And it was about 2-3 inches away from the edge.  Then there was plenty of room for it to expand without overflowing.  I only baked it about 15 minutes at 350degrees.  But when you are doing it, be sure to check on it a lot!  (Or else your crazy oven might burn it ...)  :)

So, now I am playing the waiting game with my I can frost it.  :)  Still thinking of how exactly to decorate it too....

Ok, I forgot to keep track of just how long it took for it to cool off completely...  It wasn't as long as I thought actually. :)

Here's how I decorated it.  :)  It made a scroll, then wrote his class year in it.  Then I did the shells around the cookie.  Then I decided it needed a little bit more, so I made flowers.  Since I don't know how to do roses yet, I made some that look like one of my hubby's favorite flowers.  Azaleas.
(Random fact, azalea was also the color of our wedding...basically fuchsia.)  :)  I think these turned out pretty well like azaleas.  Although I'm pretty sure they are never yellow! lol  Anyway, I wanted to do CSU's colors, so that's why it is green and gold.  And yes, I tried to make my green as dark as possible and it wouldn't go any darker than this.  I tried paste food coloring and liquid...bizarre!  I still think it turned out pretty well though.  For my first time making a cookie pizza cake thing!  :)
Oh and after I posted this, I decided to go back and write "Congrats" and my hubby's name at the top.  So, you can do whatever you want if you make one too!  :)

Strawberry Ice Cream

Do you love homemade ice cream as much as I do?  Can you just not wait till summer to make lots of it?  That's how I for the last week or two I have been making some ice cream every few nights.  I can't really share the whole recipe because it's a family secret.  But, I can tell you that I use skim milk in it, and it still comes out super creamy and delicious!

So yesterday, I was at Sprouts and they had some fabulous sales on produce.  I got 5 lbs. of potatoes for $.99,  1lb. of organic strawberries for $1 and the deals went on!  I actually got a couple of lbs. of strawberries since it was such a great deal...and I may have to go back for more too.  :)

Anyway, I usually am a purest with most things I like.  As in, I like the original form and usually don't deviate.  For instance I never eat fruity ice cream, or really much more than just chocolate or vanilla.  Sounds boring right?  But that's just the way I am.  Not boring...just stuck in my ways.  If I like something, why mess with perfection?

Last night I did though.  I made homemade strawberry ice cream.  And wow!  I will be making that again soon.  It was great!  :)  I just did my vanilla ice cream recipe as usual and put it in my ice cream maker.  Then I rinsed off the strawberries and cut them up into little pieces.  Then I added them and kind of helped stir them in.  Wow!  Delicious is the only word I have for it!  My hubs and I could hardly get enough!  :)  A nice fresh spring treat!  Try it yourself!  I bet you will love it too! :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

When I say I'm a Christian

When I say "I'm a Christian", I'm not saying "I am perfect".
I'm confessing that I can stumble and I rely on God to guide me.

When I say "I'm a Christian", I'm not saying I have it all together.
I once was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.

When I say "I'm a Christian", I speak of it with Pride,
because who am I without Christ in my life?

When I say "I'm a Christian", I'm not saying I am strong,
but showing how weak I am. But with Christ anything is possible.

When I say "I'm a Christian", I'm not claiming I'm successful,
I'm admitting I failed, and cannot pay the debt for myself.

When I say "I'm a Christian", I still feel pain,
bad things happen, but I run to Christ instead of cursing His name.

When I say that "I'm a Christian", I'm not saying I'm better than you.
I'm a sinner too, but I've received the grace of God and you can too!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."   Eph. 2:8-9 NIV

I have heard a poem quite similar to this before.  Here's a link to it.  I put it in my own words and changed somethings though, so it's coming from my heart not theirs.  Hope this sheds some light on what I mean when I say "I'm a Christian".  I say it a lot because it's a large part of who I am.  It's my identity in Christ.  I hope this helps you understand, just what that means.  :)

What I did today . . .

So it's Monday again. Even though it gets a bad rap, I think it's usually my most productive day all week. :) So I like Monday's. Today I took my car in for an oil change/warranty work, picked up my sewing machine from the shop, made Chicken Pot Pies for a couple dinners this week, sewed a valance for my kitchen window, ran errands, mailed annoucments for my hubby's graduation (yes, they are kinda late...but better late than never right?), blogged and unpacked more boxes. (Yes, there are still more to unpack too...I told you we have a lot of stuff!) :)

So, all in all, it's been great today!  I always feel so accomplished when I can cross that many things off my to-do lists.  Don't you?  Maybe you don't make to-do lists.  I have to!  I have occupational add, or that's what I call it...since I have so many jobs (Substitute Teacher, writer, photographer, blogger, etc....) it's hard for me to keep track of things as it is, even with a list, so what on earth would I do without one?
The retro fabric I used!

 I made it with some reproduction retro turquoise (my favorite color) fabric.  It has a cute retro design on it too.   Didn't turn out too bad for my first Valance, eh?  :)  Oh, and funny story about the rod.  I'm a capable woman, right?  So I thought I would put up the rod myself.  So I got the drill out and drilled little pilot holes.  Then I put the screwdriver attachment on the drill and started screwing the brackets on...anyway, it turns out it's harder than it looks and I guess I may not have made those pilot holes big or deep enough, because I couldn't get the screws all the way in.  So that's why the sides look a little odd...  No worries though.  My hubs can fix it when he gets home.  :)  At least I can see how it looks up there for now.  :)

Ok, update on the curtain rod deal.  It turns out I was doing just fine.  I did it all right, except I hit some metal in the wall, that it wouldn't go through.  So my hubby moved the placement a bit and got them in just fine.  :)  My kitchen is now also homey!  Love it!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Local Honey

I just got to thinking that I should probably make a post about which honey I use.  I add it to a lot of recipes and it's local, so I will give them some credit too.  You know how eating local honey (I think they recommend 1 t. a day) can help with allergies.  Well, I've been trying that for a while now.  It does for the most part seem to be helping too.  Plus, I get to help support a local bee keeper and their yummy honey!

Ok, so it is called "Copoco's Honey" and it's in North Fort Collins.  They actually have a cute "hive" outside that they do some teaching in.  Adorable I know.  :)  They've only had this store for about a year, but they've been keeping bees for some years I guess.  They were super friendly and helpful too.  (Alway a plus in my book of course!)

Did you know that there are actually a lot of different varieties of honey?  To me it's a lot like beer.  Not in taste of course, but with the variety.  The lighter ones are less pungent and the darker ones are richer in flavor--more robust you could say.  Then some of theirs are pollenated differently and from different types of sources.  Check out their site for more info.

Personally I think I like this one the best.  It's better than just your garden variety you'll find at the store, but still not too strong.  :)  Happy tasting...

Homemade White Bread

So, as per my hubby’s request I made some nice white bread today to go with the fresh butter.  I also wanted to use the “buttermilk” that came off the butter.  It’s not the same as the commercial “Buttermilk” you can buy at the store, because  it’s not cultured or anything.  So, since the butter is just to fat from the whipping cream, the milk that is left is basically non-fat.  Here’s my recipe from today.  It really turned out well.  I made us sandwiches for lunch on it and they were great.  Turkey, Alphalfa Sprouts and a touch of mustard on warm, homemade bread.  Yum.  :)

White Bread:
1 pkg.  Dry Active Yeast
½ c.  Milk (I used the “buttermilk” from my butter today)
½ c.  Water
1 T.  Honey
1 t.  Salt
Dash of Oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2.5-3 c.  All Purpose Flour

1.  Heat the water/milk to lukewarm.  (I did this in the Microwave for about 45 seconds.)
2.  Combine the Yeast and water/milk in a large bowl.
3.  Add honey, oil and salt, then stir together.
4.  Mix flour in ½ cup at a time.  (I needed 2.5 cups today in Colorado, but this may be different for you if you live somewhere humid.)
5.  Knead dough for about 5 minutes.  (I kneaded it in the bowl I used and found it to be very successful and MUCH less messy.)
6.  Let dough rest and rise in warm place for about 20 minutes.
7.  Punch down and shape into loaf.  Put on baking sheet or in loaf pan.
8.  Let rise for another 10 or so minutes in warm place.
9.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  (Optional egg wash, if you’d like the bread to come out golden brown and shiny.  That’s what I like to do, but it is a personal preference of course.)
10.  Enjoy!
Yield:  1 loaf

Homemade Butter and Honey Butter

So, have you ever thought of making butter at home? I hadn’t until recently. I follow this blog called She is green and blogs about her life and experiences. She also shares awesome photos and some recipes. So I was reading it the other day and her post about making butter. Turns out it’s easy to do, so I was inspired to make some of my own. I was super impressed with my results too, so you’ll have to try it too. ;)

What you’ll need:
Heavy Whipping Cream that I ripened by sitting it on the counter overnight or so. (About 10 hours, or anything under 24 hours will work great.)
Something that seals to shake it in.
Mesh strainer
Salt/honey if desired
I used a pint of heavy whipping cream, but did it in two batches so I could have regular butter and some honey butter. So think about what you want and do what moves you. ;)

Basic Instructions:
1. Put desired amount of ripened heavy whipping cream into sealable container.
2. Shake. (It’s a pretty good workout and doesn’t take too long.)
3. Add salt or honey if desired.
4. Mold into desired shape and refrigerate.

More Detailed instructions with pictures:
1. Measure out 8 ounces of the ripened heavy whipping cream.
 2. Put in the sealable container.
 3. Seal it and start shaking.
4. After just a couple minutes it will feel like "whipped cream" so it’s on it’s way to being butter.
5. After 1-2 more minutes it will start getting chunky. Keep going.
6. After 6 minutes it will start to look like whipped butter. Keep going.
7. After a few more minutes it will definitely become butter. Keep shaking until you know it is butter. It will clump up nicely and feel much different when you shake it.
8. Drain off the "buttermilk" using a spatula, like shown. I poured it into a measuring cup so I could see how much there was. You don’t have to.
9. To get more of the liquid out, put the butter into the mesh strainer gently. If you are too rough it will come out the bottom.
10. Stir around slightly in the strainer and some more liquid will come out.
11. If you want unsalted butter, then just shape and refrigerate. If you want salted or honey butter continue on.
11. Wipe out bowl and place the butter in it.
12. Add either salt (I used ½ teaspoon for my batch this size.) or honey (I used 1.5 Tablespoons for my batch this size.)
13. Mix together with a little whisk for best results.
14. Shape into desired shape and refrigerate.
15. After it is chilled and firm, use as desired. (Doesn’t take too long to get firm in fridge…maybe 30 minutes or so.)
16. Enjoy!

16 ounces of Whipping Cream yields 2 sticks of butter and about 1 c. of that "buttermilk" or basically skim milk.
Note: Save the "buttermilk" if you’d like. It’s not like the buttermilk you would buy at the store, but it is basically fat free milk that can be used as such in recipes. See my white bread recipe that I used it in after I made this butter.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Crazy, long, fun day

Ok, I got to sub for Music again today.  I really do think it's the most fun when I get to sub in my subject area.  Which I realize must sound silly.  But you know what I mean...

Anyway, I just bought some cute new dress pants from Kohl's last week and got to wear them for the first time today.  Ok, let me back up a minute.  I am 5'3.5" tall.  Ok, to be honest.  I round to 5'4" tall.  So I am a petite size.  But I still have the hardest time finding pants that are short enough.  Strange I know, because I every other person besides me in my family has the opposite problem.  You know, they can't find ones that are long enough.  Well, take the extra length off mine!  Just kidding...if only that could work...  Ok, back to the new pants.  So I tried them on at Kohl's and they fit great, even the length seemed to be fine.  They even came with a super cute little belt.  I bought them and they were on sale.  Although, I am pretty convinced there is never a time where you have to buy things at regular price at Kohl's.

Ok, sorry, I know I get distracted with details.  .   . I put my pants on this morning and put on my shoes and they are WAY too long.  Like if I had left with those shoes on my pants would have holes in them after today.  So, I just grabbed a pair of heels to wear with them instead.  Although these heels are some I always, only wear with dresses and hose.  So when I tried to wear them with socks it didn't work.  So, since I didn't have time to dig and try to find knee highs I just wore them without socks.  Mistake #1. No socks.

Ok, so I was working today at an Elementary school.  I had to stand and walk around all day, which isn't out of the ordinary as a sub (or teacher for that matter).  But when you have heels on, you notice every minute you are on my feet and so do your feet.  So, when I finally thought I may have a chance to sit for a while I realized I had outside after school duty.  No prob right?  Well....except for the fact that I had these heels on with no socks and had to walk 2 blocks to the crosswalk I needed to help kiddos across with my little stop sign.  Yep.  So I had to walk down there and when I came to a limping stop I decided to look at the damage.  You guessed it.  A HUGE bloody mess all over my foot.  Next to the achilles tendon and near the top of where the shoe hits.  Ouchy Wawa.  I about died when I saw the blood...but there wasn't anything I could do about it then. So I helped the kids across the street and prayed it would quit hurting.  I managed to make my way back to the building safely...but my feet were just killing me.  Mistake #2. Walking WAY too far in heels with no socks.

Mistake #3.  Not having back up shoes in my car.

Mistake #4.  Not having bandaids/ointment in my car either.

Luckily, I was working in the town where my parents happen to live.  So after work, I limped my way to my car and drove delicately to their house.  There my mom fed me cheese and crackers, bandaged my wound and sent me on my merry way home.  :)

As you may be able to tell...I am in a silly mood tonight.  I think it was the combo of a crazy day, painful foot, caring Mom and sweet hubby.  :)  I am so thankful for my family. <3

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chicken Pot Pies

Do you like Chicken Pot Pies?  I sure do too!  So here's my recipe for a pretty quick and easy way to do a homemade chicken pot pie that won't disappoint.  :)

Chicken Pot Pie:

4 Large Potatoes, peeled, cooked and diced

3 c. Veggies (I like to use peas, carrots and green beans. Fresh or frozen are okay.)

1 can Chicken Breast/or 1 lb. or so of cooked chicken, diced up

1.5 c. Milk

2 T. Margarine

2 T. Flour

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Thyme

1 tsp. Pepper

1 T. Onion flakes

1 top pie crust (I always use Better Homes and Gardens recipe for a single pie crust.)

1.  In a large pot combine the potatoes, veggies, chicken, milk, salt, thyme, pepper and onion flakes.  Heat to boil, then turn to medium and cook for 10 minutes.  (Longer if your veggies were frozen.)

2.  Add margine and stir till melted and combined.

3.  Add flour.  Slowly and stirring constantly.

4.  Fill Casserole dish with the thickened soup type mixture.

5.  Cut the top pie crust to fit and place on top.

6.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

7.  Enjoy!  (And be careful it is hot!!)

Fresh Eggs and Grass fed Beef

Ok, so another thing I love about now living in a small town is that there are cool thigns here you can't get just anywhere.  Like, just down the road there is a farmer who sells free range eggs/poultry and grass fed beef.  Great huh?  They also offer little tours of their farm.  I think I will have to take them up on that sometime soon...

So I picked up my first dozen eggs from them today.  I knew they would be fresh...but not this fresh.  I actually got to go out to the hen house with the guy to get them.  Cool...and terrifying at the same time.  The chickens were all around and I had flip flops on.  Yep, I am the crazy city girl who wears flip flops to a working farm...I know.  But come on.  I am new to this all.  :)  Anyway, they have upwards of 100 chickens (and of course some are roosters) on their farm.  They are basically grass fed chickens then too.  Because they have sweet little chicken houses out in the pasture for them and they move them around everyday.  (So then the chickens can equally "mow the lawn".  My joke not his..if you were wondering!) :)

Anyway, they are $3 a dozen for the eggs, and really who can beat THAT for fresh eggs?  Well...I guess if you own chickens and they are free...anyway, great deal for hormone free, cage free, antibiotic free eggs. :)

Oh, he was going to wash off the eggs for me, but then said they were quite clean anyway.  I said that was ok.  Then he told me that they stay fresh longer if the film is still on them. Interesting fact I never knew.  Nor did I probably need to either though.  :)

Who needs dyed easter eggs when you can have these?  ;)

The beef they sell ranges from $5 to $20 a lb or so depending on the cut, etc.  So, I am going to hold off buying any of that just yet.  I want to.  I just have to see how that will work with our monthly grocery budget.  Although, health is worth it. Still crunching numbers though. :)

Any thoughts?
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