Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

Is it really Friday already? Damn. Here I thought I was going to get all of this cleaning and organizing done this week, and so far, I’ve cleaned and organized the closet in Cecilia’s room. Needing a little inspiration, I’m dedicating this Friday to my favorite Spring Cleaning challenges.

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10 Days of Organization, from A Lot on Your Plate

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One-A-Day Spring Cleaning Challenge, from Finely Ground

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Get Organized for Spring, from Middle Class Modern

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30 Days to Clean House, from Mommy Savers

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And to help with your spring cleaning, homemade house cleaners from Twinkle VanWinkle

Do you have any spring cleaning traditions? Do you set up a challenge for yourself or do you just do it as it comes to you? What projects do you complete? Share in the comments!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

I decided to start a garden because I didn’t want to have to depend on the grocery store for my produce. I eat a lot of fruit and veggies and without a car, I can’t just get up and go to the store if I don’t have something. Also, produce is expensive. No joke. So I started a garden, but didn’t have much space to start.

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Come Monday, my ghetto little garden will be moved to this area in the backyard:

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Now that I have all this space, I will be able to plant even more stuff. My only concern is that I won’t be able to use the vegetables in time and they might go bad. So, this got me inspired to start canning. Here are some cool canning sites and tutorials that I found:

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Preparing for canning season, from Old Fashioned Families

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Home Canning 101, by Paula Deen

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Ultimate Guide to Canning and Preserving, from Type-A Parent

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Canning label templates, from TodaysMama

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Apple butter recipe from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

Oh man. I am so excited to share all of my canning adventures with you! Do you have any tips, tutorials or recipes? Share them in the comments!

this week at the weekly treat

SONY DSCWell it’s officially Springtime and Easter is just around the corner, so this week at the weekly treat is dedicated to all of the colorful Easter and spring treats that are popping up every where we turn!

reeseseggsfinalOne of my favorite things about this time of year is the Reese’s eggs. Sure, they taste just like the regular Reese’s but something about them being in the shape of eggs make them that much better. So, what if you want to make your own eggs? Well, check out the recipe for homemade Reese’s eggs from the Recipe Critic.

 

Butterfinger-cupcakesWhile we’re on the topic of inspiration from name-brand sweets, there is a recipe for Easy Butterfinger Cupcakes from tatertots & jello. Now, I haven’t always been a big Butterfinger fan, but I am a cupcake fan.

 

img_0215-2These coconut macaroon nests from FoodBabbles can definitely attest to what I said before about getting inspiration to make food after seeing the pretty pictures. Then again, this might also be one of those times that I try to make the food look just like the picture and it turns into just a big pile of nothing.Either way, anything with coconut is ok by me.

Now, I have never been into Cadbury eggs. My mom and my aunt actually despise them so much that they had a tradition where they would buy one egg and give it back and forth to each other and the person who was left with it on Easter lost. That’s how much we don’t like Cadbury eggs in our family. This Cadbury Cream Egg Brownie recipe from Katrina’s kitchen almost makes me want to give cadbury eggs another shot, though. I mean, it can’t be that bad if a brownie is involved, right?

Strawberry-MM-Granola-Bars-titleI have seen a lot of things in my life, but I can honestly say that I have never seen pink granola bars. Until now. These strawberry M&M granola bars from Inside BruCrew Life look delicious, and are sort of healthy (they do have granola!).

 

Easter-Dessert-+-Brunch-RecipesOf course, I could never do a treat post without including Sally. So, here are 25 Easter Brunch and Dessert Recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I can honestly say that every recipe I have tried from her website has turned out amazing. So I’m pretty excited to give these a whirl.

 

Have any Spring/Easter recipes to share? Join the Weekly Treat on Facebook!

If it wasn’t for Pinterest, I wouldn’t cook

SONY DSCI’ve given it some thought, and I’ve concluded that Pinterest is the reason why I enjoy cooking so much. All of the pretty little pictures and cute labels make the food look so appetizing, I just want to make all of it.

What I love the most about Pinterest, is that if I don’t like something in a recipe or I want to do something a little different, there are hundreds of other recipes I can check out. Sure, I could just google all of this, but there wouldn’t be any pretty pictures!

I need the pictures.

So when I decided to make spaghetti and breadsticks tonight, I used three different recipes – one for the marinara sauce, one for the pizza crust and one for the breadsticks. I also had to improvise with penne since I didn’t have any spaghetti noodles. Luckily, I’m a pretty big penne fan.

The sauce came from High Heels and Grills and was a pretty big hit, I must say. I think this will be my new go-to for marinara sauce. I might even start canning it to keep for those days I don’t really feel like making sauce. I’ve been having a lot of those days lately.

The recipe called for basil, which I was able to pull from the garden. Since I didn’t have the oregano it called for, I opted to pull some thyme. Did I mention that I love having a garden?

Since I didn’t have any pizza dough to use for the breadsticks, I decided to make my own dough. And for that, I went to Plum Siena. I followed the recipe, but forgot to dust it with cornmeal. Nonetheless, it was pretty amazing. Next time, I’ll have to make a pizza with this dough! I’m thinking of doing a jalapeno garlic dough next time.

SONY DSCAll of this was inspired from the potao-laced breadstick recipe I got from Spoon Fork Bacon. One look at that picture, and you will know why I wanted to make that recipe! At first, the dough looked a little raw after I baked it but then we realized it was just moist because of the potatoes. Not raw at all, but totally addicting.

This might be one of my favorite dinners, and the whole dinner was only 10 Weight Watcher points. Win/win!

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favoritesWhen I was a little (ok, sometimes even now), every song that came on the radio was my FAVORITE song. I put that in all capital letters because that was how intense my love for each song was. Then I would tell everyone to be quiet because it was my favorite song, and I would continue to talk through the entire song.

This is how I feel when I look at fonts. Every font I look at, I like more than the last font. It’s a good thing I have a baby who requires the majority of my attention because I could spend an entire day looking at fonts.

So, why fonts?

When I first attended college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do – I was going to be a journalist. I would start small at a local paper, then some day, I would be writing for a big ol magazine. First, it was National Geographic. Then I realized I would have to be out in the jungle for extended periods of time, and that dream suddenly died.

When I returned to college after I lost my job, the newspaper business was on its death bed and all of my friends who were in my newspaper class back in 2005 had already lost their jobs and were all in the same boat…freelance.

So I decided to start my own blog. And I wanted to design it. And hopefully some day, I would start designing other people’s websites and blogs. And then hey, while I was at it, maybe I could design my own clothes. And then other people’s clothes.

There was one little issue. I didn’t know the first thing about design.

Image from tutoriallounge.com. Click on picture for website

Image from tutoriallounge.com.

So, I signed up for a typography class through Skillshare. And then I met the wide, wide world of typography. Hoping to get some inspiration for the class, I did what any other normal person would do and got on Pinterest. There, I opened Pandora’s box of typography.

I had NO idea how many typography tutorial sites there were. Here are my five of my favorites:

Create-a-Tasty-3D-Typographic-Illustration1. Wonderful typography tutorials for finest designers, by tutorial lounge. I counted twenty-five different tutorials for designers, in both Photoshop and Illustrator. The tutorials range from designing posters, to making portraits out of words. Definitely a good place to start.

chalkboard-howto2. How to fake a chalkboard effect in Photoshop, by foolish fire. Like the chalkboard effect as much as I do? Yeah, I thought you did. Even if you don’t, someone else does. And you could share it with them.

Cool-Wet-Ink-Typography-Effect-in-Photoshop3. 33 best typography tutorials, from graphicalerts. I like it when sites give you a variety of tutorials. If you’re in the market for a specific font or graphic, then sure, it’s good to find one that is specific to that. If you’re like me and just getting into this, it’s good to have a variety to choose from.spiff-guide-vert2

4. Beginners guide to spiffing up your hand lettering in photoshop, by foolish fire. Did foolish fire just become my new best friend? Step-by-step tutorial on making your letters look even more beautiful. Psh, if that was possible.

5. How to Create Custom Typography, by VectorLabTV. For those of you who are like me and need a visual demonstration, VectorLabTV has a bunch of tutorials that you can view on YouTube.

If this is the beginning of your typography adventure, then let the fun begin! Have any good typography tutorials to share? Please do so in the comments!

As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for more ideas and inspiration.

Thrifty Thursday

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If someone told me a couple years ago that I would have been a stay at home mom, I would have laughed. That was never in my cards. I was supposed to just write about local music and art shows for the rest of my life. That would totally pay the bills, right?

Fortunately for me, fate had other plans and I wound up as something I told myself would never happen, a stay at home mom. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I honestly spend every day taking care of my baby, going to school and blogging.

Sure, I clean, cook and bake. But that’s because I all of a sudden like a clean house (go figure) and I’m loving this whole making food thing. Nobody told me this is what I do, I just do it. It’s my contribution to our family.

Since I’m not bring in the money, I try to spend the least amount of it that I can. So, I’ve been looking up different ways to make stuff or to reuse stuff that we already have in order to save some money here and there.

I know I’m not the only one in this boat, so I came up with Thrifty Thursday. A day dedicated to sharing different methods to keeping the money in your family. I’ll scour the internet (ok, mostly pinterest) and list about 5-10 different websites (depending on what I find) that feature cool projects for saving some of your hard-earned dollars.

Since I’m drinking coffee while I type, I’ll focus on handmade coffee creamers. Not what you’re into? What about gifting them to a friend?

Homemade-Coffee-Creamers1. Homemade coffee creamers, by Around my Family Table. This recipe is from Tiffany, a contributing writer to Around my Family Table, who blogs at offbeat + inspired. She offers three different flavors, maple almond, mocha and cinnamon vanilla. Check out the posting on Around my Family Table for the recipes.

IMG_87062. Homemade pumpkin creamer, by Next to Heaven. Y’all know how much I love pumpkin. So this solves my dilemma of never being able to find pumpkin creamer except for in October! Or, going to Starbucks just to get a pumpkin spice latte and finding out it’s “out of season.” I’m sorry, what? Pumpkin is never out of season.

3. Over two dozen flavors from one base recipe, from Mrs. Happy Homemaker. Is your family like mine and everyone likes a different flavor? Do you live spontaneously and want your creamers to match your lifestyle? Then check out this site.coffeecreamer5

coffee creamer 14. Homemade coffee creamers – 3 ways, from Acute Designs. Hold up, pumpkin spice AND dark chocolate? I think I found my soul mate. There’s also salted caramel, too. I’ve never gotten into the salted caramel craze, so maybe this will be my gateway drug, er, creamer.

almond-joy-creamer5. Homemade vegan almond joy coffee creamer from the hungry tortoise. When I followed a strict vegan diet on the days I felt like following it, I would always get peeved when I couldn’t find a vegan version of whatever food or beverage I wanted. So, here it is.

 

Have a homemade coffee creamer you would like to share? Want to see homemade recipes for something else? Leave your response in the comments! And as always, you can follow my homemade adventures on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Momma’s ghetto garden: week 2

So, it has been a little over two weeks since I started my ghetto little garden, and I gotta say…it’s looking a lot better!

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I was watering them every day but when we were gone for a day, I forgot to water them. When I came out to check on them the next day, they looked the best they had since I got them! So, I’ve been watering them every other day, and they’re looking pretty sexy. Today I clipped some parsley to have with our dinner. It’s so good when it’s fresh from your garden!

We’re working on the new garden spot in the backyard. Here’s the progress so far. Hopefully by the end of the month, there will be some raised beds in there and my grarden will be movin’ on up! What should I plant next?

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Pumpkin wheat biscuits

SONY DSCThis morning I woke up needing a biscuit. I looked up some biscuit recipes and finally settled on this recipe from joyofbaking.com. Since the recipe looked a little hefty, I thought I would make some changes to make them healthier. This is what I did:

 

2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar (optional)
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces pumpkin puree
3/4 cup (180 ml) milk soy milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Topping:
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

The recipe yielded 10 biscuits, but I ended up with 20, and they were only one Weight Watchers point, as opposed to the six points with the original recipe!

They turned out good, but a little dry. I was thinking about adding some dark chocolate chips to the batter to give them some sweetness. I really love dark chocolate. But after I had them with my leftover dinner, I decided that putting chocolate in them might not be the best idea.

So, I think I will add some more pumpkin puree, since I could hardly taste it anyway and maybe add some honey.

Please feel free to add any suggestions to make the biscuits less dry in the comments section!

Everything but the…smoothie

After a walk with the babe, a smoothie was definitely in order. Now that I have had plenty of experience with making smoothies, I was well equipped to make my own. I looked in the fridge and came up with the one of the most random smoothies I have ever made.

And by george, it was delicious!

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Here are the ingredients I used:

2 cups of ice
2 strawberries
1/4 mango
handful of grapes
handful of blueberries
2 handfuls of spinach
handful of carrots
1 cup of nonfat yogurt
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
five dark chocolate chips

For those of you who are counting the Weight Watchers points like I am, it’s only 3 points (the nonfat yogurt) and it’s marvelous.

I think this random little smoothie might become my new favorite snack!

Momma’s Ghetto Garden: Day 5

SONY DSCAfter the rain let up a little, we determined that the spot in front of the house was maybe not the best place to keep the veggies. They needed some more sun and weren’t getting it there.

So, we moved them to another spot on the side of the house that gets a whole lot more sun. Cecilia was outside with me the whole time, following every move I made. Hopefully by the time she is able to enjoy the garden, all of the veggies and herbs will all be moved to a designated spot in the back.SONY DSC

I had to use a wagon to help move the plants and decided that I liked putting the small pots in the wagon to make it look a little more organized.

They say it takes a couple months before you start seeing anything, so I have a while, but I CANNOT wait to go pull my veggies and herbs for some homemade meals.

Next up….canning!