Saturday, May 4, 2013

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I have said this one hundred times, but the slow cooker is my best friend during the school year.  The hubs (he's the best, I know!) tosses in the ingredients in the morning, it cooks all day, and it is ready to eat when we come home.  You just can't beat that.

This recipe is a little labor intensive for our work morning routine.  However, this is a great one to keep on hand for a busy weekend day or even just a day you feel too lazy to really cook.  As far as lasagna goes, my mom's is the best.  I'm sure everyone says that, but I mean it!  This one tasted almost as good as hers.  The recipe I replicated is from The Girl Who Ate Everything.  


You will need:
1 lb. ground beef
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 (24 oz.) jar of spaghetti sauce
1/2 C. water
1 (15 oz.) container of ricotta cheese
2 C. mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp. Italian seasonings
6 uncooked lasagna noodles

Directions:
Using a large skillet cook ground beef and onion.  Add the garlic, cook for about a minuted, then drain. Return beef, onion, and garlic back to skillet and add the spaghetti sauce and water.  Simmer together for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and seasonings.

In the slow cooker, put about 1 cup of the meat mixture on the bottom.  Add 3 lasagna noodles.  They will not fit exactly, I had to break them up to fit.  Next add about half of the cheese mixture.  Add almost all of the rest of the meat mixture, followed by the rest of the noodles.  Top it off with the last of the meat mixture.  Cook on low for about 4 hours or until the noodles are cooked.  Top with some Parmesan cheese.


Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sweater Refashion

I am unstoppable and at it again with the sewing machine!  This one may have just changed my life.  I was poking around in my craft room and found Heat-n-bond adhesive.  I immediately thought of the tutorials here and here as well as an old sweater.  10 minutes later (seriously), I have a "new" cardigan to rock at work!  This gives thrift stores a whole new meaning for me!


On a sad note, I tried to make a second one.  The sweater was a lovely lavender Loft sweater with roses made from sweater material on the shoulder.  There was an unfortunate scissor accident.  I am blaming it on the adrenaline rush I had from making this first one.  I should have used the tailor's chalk like they had in the tutorial.  Fortunately, I think the adorable sweater flowers are salvageable.  Maybe for a wreath?  Any other ideas?


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Monday, April 22, 2013

On My Bookshelf

I just finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  It was so, so good!  You know you just read a good book when you continue to think about the characters and the story well after you have finished it.  The story is set in (mostly) 1959, when a southern missionary family heads out into the Belgian Congo.  The story is told through the mother and four daughters as the narrators.  It follows the mothers fight for independence from her husband alongside the Congo's fight for independence from the Belgians.  I really enjoyed the coming-of-age narrations from the daughters.  I think seeing Africa through the eyes of the oldest daughter, Rachel, was my favorite.  She was a bit of a diva and I loved how Kingsolver wrote Rachel's sections.  Rachel wasn't the "brains" of the family and would often use a word incorrectly to describe something else.  

There is a family tragedy and a nation's tragedy in this story.  This tragedy becomes the hurdle that each sister and the mother must face throughout the rest of their lives.  I enjoyed that the story didn't end until the 1980s.  After reading their adventures on their mission trip, I liked seeing how they grew up and aged taking with them the lessons they had learned.  This one should be on your to read list if you already haven't!!


Next up, I am headed to Lake Wobegon!



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Button Earrings

I have been making button earrings for a few years now.  They are so easy to make and also really fun.   When I first started making them, I would hand sew them and stuff them with poly-fil.  It is much easier (trust me) to just use button covers.  Here are some new ones I made recently.  (I dug into the vintage fabric stash again!)


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Friday, April 19, 2013

Zesty Honey Chicken

Need a new idea to jazz up plain old chicken breasts?  Here is a good one!  It was raining today, so I couldn't grill it outside.  I used the grill pan inside.  Can't wait to try it outdoors, it always tests better that way to me!  It tasted great, so I imagine it will be AMAZING from the grill!


All you need to make the sauce is one bottle of Heinz sauce and 1/4 cup honey.  Mix them together and then brush on chicken as it cooks.  Easy as pie!


Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Felt Sunnies Case

I love sunglasses and I wear them all year round.  I always have them with me.  If I don't, I feel lost.  (I feel the same way about lip balm, but that is another story.)  When I take my sunglasses off, I usually toss them in my purse.  Inevitably, they get scratched and beat up over time.  Then, I am sad, because I get attached to each pair and it is always so hard to find a replacement that was remotely as awesome as the last.  So, I decided to make a case for them.  Maybe this will elongate their life!


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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Vintage Fabric Tea Towels

I have been braving the sewing machine lately and am sharing my projects with you!  I am by no means an expert...actually very far from it!  But, I am braving my fear of working with the sewing machine.  I must say, that I have had a ton of fun!  Here is my latest project.


One of my favorite thrift store finds was a Cath Kidston home decorating/project book.  I love her use of fabrics that are vintage inspired.  She has so many amazing ideas.  She is really my inspiration for this project.  I mean look at some of her gorgeous stuff!

Bird & Roses Wallpaper




Strawberry Tea Towels


Antique Rose Bath Sheet

I love it all!  The book I found at the thrift store was all about things she makes with vintage linens.  She talked about where she finds them and the different things she can make with them.  Amazing!

I don't have Cath Kidston fabric, but I have a ton of vintage fabrics (via my mom...THANK YOU!)  I am been eager to use them in a project, but my sewing machine fear kept getting in my way.  I saw this idea on pinterest via a new favorite blog, Craftaholics Anonymous.


The ruffles seemed too advanced for me, but I thought, why not just a strip?  So, I did.  I just cut out a strip of the awesome vintage fabric I have stored up.  I must say, I am happy with the result!


I can't decide which one I like best!  I love the pink with the vegetables.  (Very Cath Kidston...she would probably like to get her paws on that fabric!)  But I really am just liking them all!  Which fabric do you like best?  What are some other easy sewing project ideas that I could use my vintage fabric stash for?


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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

This recipe is literally finger licking good!  Grilling season is upon us and this is a great one to add to your recipe repertoire.  I found this recipe from Blog Chef.  What is great about this sauce is that it could be adapted (and delicious!) pork, chicken, or beef.


You will need:
1 C. ketchup
1/3 C. honey
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 lb. boneless pork chops
salt and pepper

Directions:
In a bowl mix together, ketchup, honey, soy sauce, and garlic.  Set aside.

As the grill is heating up, prepare the pork chops by sprinkling on some salt and pepper on both sides.  When the grill is ready, place pork chops on the grill and brush on the sauce.  Continue to brush on the sauce as you see needed while cooking.  

***I tossed the asparagus on the grill as well during this time.  I made a tray for them out of foil.  I drizzled some olive oil over them and gave them a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Cook them, until they are tender.

ENJOY!

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Over Sized Tree Ring Coasters

I love all things nature inspired.  I also love coasters.  I have made a lot of them!  I made some out of tile and scrapbook paper, fruit slices with felt and embroidery floss, and these painted ones.  I know it's overkill, but I am one of those people who likes to redecorate often and change things out for the different seasons and holidays.  So, I am adding yet another set of coasters to the mix.  But these are so cute, that I don't know if I will ever put them away! 


I found this idea ages ago via Pinterest from one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess.  They actually have a tutorial on how to make the coasters here.  I decided to to make mine over sized.  I love how they turned out.  They were very easy to make, especially with a couple netflix shows you need to catch up on.  You could make them for just yourself or even some as a gift!

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Liebster Award

It was very awesome of Aimee at Miss Owl B to nominate me for a Liebster award! The Liebster award is a way to promote small bloggers and get to know them better.  


Here are the rules:

1.  Post 11 things about yourself.
2.  Answer the 11 questions created by the person who nominated you.
3.  Create 11 questions of your own to ask the bloggers you decide to nominate.
4.  Choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your blog post.
5.  Bloggers must be notified of their award.
6.  No tag backs.

11 Things about me:

1.  I am a Pinterest addict.
2.  I have a chap-stick addiction:  there is one on my nightstand, one in my car, one in my desk, one in my make-up, one in my purse.
3.  I enjoy both tea and coffee...just not at the same time.
4.  I was sad the Netflix did not get the rights to Downton Abbey.
5.  My favorite sport is football.  I love the Buckeyes!
6.  I love dogs...cats kind of freak me out.  They are so unpredictable!
7.  I have a twitter account, but don't really get how it should fit in my life.
8.  I met my husband slip and sliding in college.
9.  I go to bed early and get up early in the morning.
10.  I like to play board and card games.
11.  I am always reading a book.  I read every night before I go to sleep.

My questions from Aimee:

1.  If you could be at any moment in history, what moment would it be and why?
As a history teacher, this is a really tough one for me!  I would like to skip the whole beheading part - but it would be cool to hang out with Marie Antoinette for the day at Versailles!

2.  What is the one item (not a person) that you could not live without?
I am surprised to say, that it is my iPhone.  Before, I had just a standard phone that called and and sent texts.  When I had that, I thought I could live without a phone all together.  But now, I don't know what I would do without my phone.

3.  Do you have anything you keep just for memories sake?
Yes!  Probably too much.  I would say I am an organized hoarder.  LOL!

4.  Where would you go if you could go to just one place for the rest of your life?
Somewhere off the beaten path.  Somewhere quiet.  Somewhere by water...it could be the ocean, lake, or even a pond.

5.  What was the last concert you went to?
It has been a while!  But it was Trans Siberian Orchestra.  It was really an amazing show and put us in the Christmas spirit.

6.  What is your favorite fast food?
I love Brueggar's Bagels!

7.  If money wasn't an option, what would you want to learn?
I am going to have to go with cooking lessons around the world!

8.  What TV show is your favorite?  What shows are you watching currently?
My favorite show is The New Girl.  My guilty pleasure shows are all of the Real Housewife shows on BRAVO.

9.  Do you have a favorite letter of the alphabet? Why?
I love monograms, so my favorite letters would be my initials.

10.  Do you know any other language?  Can you keep a conversation?
I know a little Spanish.  My Spanish-speaking students at school like to teach me new things to say.  I can't keep a conversation, but if I hear a conversation, I can usually pick up the gist of it.

11.  What is your ideal first date?
Well, first dates are a thing of the past for me.  But an ideal date night would be visiting one of the coastal towns around here.  Learning the history, walking around, and grabbing a fresh seafood dinner out.

My 11 questions for my nominees:
1.  What is your go-to meal for a busy weeknight?
2.  If you could be given any gift, what would you choose?
3.  What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?
4.  What is the best vacation you have ever been on?
5.  What was your favorite childhood toy?
6.  What are you afraid of?
7.  What is the last book you read?
8.  What color reflects your personality and why?
9.  Would you rather live in the country or the city?  Why?
10.  The world would be a better place if...
11.  If you were stranded on an island, what 5 things would you take with you and why?

My Nominees:
Summer at The Married Life
Heather at Tatter and Fray
Alison at Sass and Crafts
Katie at Clarks Condensed
Rina at I Thee Cook


Seafood Skillet

This meal is one of the first one's I cooked after we got married.  It quickly became a favorite one for us.  I love the sweet, spicy, smokey taste of it!



You will need:
4 strips bacon, chopped
1 lb. small bay scallops
1/2 lb. medium shrimp shelled, deveined, tails off
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (11.8 oz.) coconut water
1/4 C. water
2 small chicken bouillon cubes
red pepper flakes  (Add to you liking - we like it spicy)
1 bag frozen mixed peppers
2 C. instant rice

Directions:
In a large skilled, cook bacon over medium heat.  Add bay scallops, shrimp, and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add coconut water, water, bouillon cubes, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil

Add mixed peppers; simmer for 3 minutes.  Stir in rice; cover and remove from heat.  Let stand, stirring occasionally, until liquid is mostly absorbed.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Polka Dot Table Runner

Over my spring break, I made it a goal to "conquer" my sewing machine.  I've often found myself opting to hand sew things instead of diving in head first to the sewing machine.  It seemed overwhelming for me to even get started.  I decided to get over my fears and just go for it.  I am FAR from being good at it yet, but I had so much fun!  It felt great to problem solve as I went along and accomplished when I finished a project.  It's going to be a learn-as-I-go experience!  

I found this piece of black and white polka dot fabric in my fabric bin.  It was an awkward size, but to me it looked like the perfect size for a table runner.  


So, I just went for it.  I didn't follow any tutorials, but it is a basic little project.  I washed and ironed the fabric, folded over the fabric and ran it through the sewing machine.  I am pretty darn happy with the outcome!



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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dark Chocolate Bark With Pretzels and Cranberries


Here is a quick and yummy treat that will satisfy your salty and sweet cravings.  

You will need:

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Mini pretzel twists
Dried cranberries

Directions:

Line the bottom of an 8 in. square baking pan with foil.  
Fill a sauce pan with about 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer.  Place a heatproof bowl over the saucepan and put the chocolate pieces in the bowl.  Cook and stir often until the chocolate is almost melted.  Remove bowl from heat and stir until all chocolate is melted and smooth.  
Using a knife, spread the chocolate in an even layer across the lined baking pan.  
Arrange pretzels on top and sprinkle cranberries, pressing gently into chocolate.  Let the bark stand at room temperature until solid.  About 45 minutes.  Break bark into pieces before serving.


Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tulip Bookmarks

To celebrate (and force the warmer weather to cooperate) I made some felt tulip bookmarks.  Easy to make and great for scraps of felt you have laying around, these make an adorable accessory for the latest book you are reading. 




 I don't have a cricut or anything fancy like that, so I cut the pieces all free hand.  I think it adds some charm to them.  I used embroidery floss to attach the flower and leaves to the stem.  You could use any varying colors of your choice!



Happy reading!


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Monday, April 1, 2013

Saturday Hike

We took a lovely hike in the woods this past Saturday.  It was so nice to have a sunny sky, warm weather, be in the woods, hear the birds, and breath in the fresh spring air!






















Sunday, March 31, 2013

French Toast Casserole

Happy Easter, ya'll!  I made a yummy Easter brunch with two casseroles and some yummy fresh fruit.   One of the casserole's was a turkey sausage and egg one from an earlier post here.  The other one I made was a recipe from my mom and it was so good!  


You will need:
1/4 C. butter, melted
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1 loaf bread, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick.  (You can use raisin, Italian, or French.  I used a whole wheat French loaf.)
8 eggs lightly beaten
1 C milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 ginger
1/2 C pecans chopped (optional)
1/8 tsp salt

Directions:
In a small bowl combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish, overlapping if necessary.

Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.

In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes whole the oven preheats to 350.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes.  If the top starts to brown too quickly, place foil loosely over top for last 10 minutes or so.  You want to cook it long enough to make sure the bottom part is cooked, but isn't dried out.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.  Serve with powdered sugar and/or syrup.


ENJOY!


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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Doodle Stitching

I was very excited when I got an email from Mollie from Wild Olive telling me that I had won an embroidery book from Lark Crafts!  It came in the mail the other day and I am loving the projects inside this wonderful book!


The mushroom pincushion is adorable!! *squeal*




This nature walk banner is begging to be made and hung up on my wall.


Love this monogram idea!


I am envisioning a sashiko table runner in my future.


These crewel flowers are too pretty!


And, of course I can't leave out this embroidered owl card!


Also in this happy little mail package was a completed child's apron with cupcakes and flowers on it.  I don't know any real little girls it would fit, so I tried it on my own little furry kitchen helper.


It's a hit!  Now she wants to bake some dog treats.




Thanks so much Mollie and Lark Crafts!  This book is inspiring!!







Friday, March 29, 2013

What I've Been Up To Lately

Lately, it has been cold.  It is still winter.  Spring has not fully sprung, but I will hope (just like everyone else) that maybe it will be here soon!  Other than wishful weather thinking this is what I have been up to.



Last Saturday was earth hour.  It is supposed to be an evening of turning off your electricity and getting outside to enjoy our planet!  We decided to partake by going to a nearby park.  They had night hikes, a professor from the local university showing us the constellations, and a bonfire (with marshmallows!).  My favorite part of the night was on the hike.  We were walking by one of the ponds and I kept hearing what sounded like pig sounds.  We soon discovered they were not pigs, but wood ducks who had perched in the tippy tops of the trees!  Hundreds of them!  It was so awesome.


I've also been using my pretty Pyrex to make some mean weekend breakfasts.


Speaking of cooking, I made a yummy Chicago-style pizza the other day.  It was delish!  Recipe from an earlier post, here.


I redecorated some shelves to display these lovely wooden clogs.  They used to be my Grandparents.  When I was a little girl, the first thing I would do when I got to their house was take off my own shoes and put these wooden decorative clogs on.  Grandma kept them in the dining room beside her plants.


I've also been busy preparing for some house guests this weekend.  I picked up these pretty flowers for an Easter centerpiece.


I've been rocking my mocs. :0)


Also, lots of play time with this sleepy giant puppy and her trail of toys.