Tuesday, December 24, 2013

If you know me at all....

If you know me at all, you should know that funfetti is my favorite flavor of cake, cupcakes or anything at all really. Oh, funfetti is just vanilla with colored pieces you say? WRONG. Those colored bits are magical, so there. I found this recipe from The Dwelling Tree, you can read all about it here

I found all the ingredients (no box mixes for me!) and Mom even let me use her KitchenAid mixer! I want my own KitchenAid mixer sooooo badly (in pink, obviously) but I'll just have to wait and save up my money. 

I didn't have the exact kind of sprinkles that the original recipe used, but I wanted christmas colors, so I used these! I was worried they may not melt quite like they should but they worked fine! 

After I mixed the wet and dry ingredients, I slowly poured in the sprinkles.  Be careful when you do this , you don't want them to get too crushed! The mixer was breaking them up, so I took a spatula and folded them in by hand. 

After that, I rolled the dough into balls.  The recipe says to roll the dough balls in sprinkles again, but I don't think it's really necessary if you poured a lot of sprinkles in the batter. After that, refrigerate for a few hours (not sure why, but I'm sure there's a perfectly logical reason) and pop them in the oven. 

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes and voila! Fun cookies.  I'm very happy with the way they turned out - and they have the perfect about of funfetti christmas fun! 

I'm always a little nervous about how baked goods will turn out when I'm making them from scratch but these seemed to do fine. One of my New Year's Resolutions is going to be to make all my baked goods from scratch and quit using boxed mixes.  They're fine in a pinch, but what's the fun in that? I like being able to say I made it all by myself. Feeling inspired yet? Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas time is here.... happiness and cheer!

Saturday night I got together with some of my small group girls for dinner and baking! We made Christmas cookies and had tons of fun. And thanks to the Montana family for hosting!

Aren't they cute? 

We made so many cookies. And a huge mess. But it's more fun that way! 

And colored icing was necessary, obviously. 

BEAUTIFUL. And we only almost burnt down the house once. But that one doesn't count. 

Love them! 

Do you love it or do you love it? 

It was a great way to spend a Saturday night - great food, wonderful friends, and a sugar coma.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Meatless Monday

A few weeks ago, my friend Liz was in town and we decided to cook dinner! Meat is never a necessity in a meal for me, so we decided to make spinach quesadillas! The recipe is from my Dinner on a Dime cookbook.

Olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
10 oz spinach
6 oz feta, crumbled
1/4 black olives
flour tortillas

First, heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the onion, cook until softened.

Next, add in the spinach. 10 ounces is a lot! But don't worry, it will shrink down.  My original recipe said to use frozen spinach, which is fine....but I always use fresh spinach.  It takes a while to chop but I do think fresh is always better!

 After it's cooked, transfer it to a bowl and stir in the olives and feta.  Put a few spoonfuls in a tortilla, fold, and heat in a skillet (don't forget to flip it!) until golden brown. Serve immediately, yum!

These are only 339 calories and $1.82 each! We also served it with some cherry tomatoes, sautéed with a little italian seasonings. They were heart enough to be a full meal without any meat and I'd definitely make it again!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

DIY Knotted Fabric Headband

I've seen a few knotted fabric headbands on Pinterest and I've really been wanting to make one but I've never gotten around to doing it. My sister requested one, so I thought today would be a good day to finally try it! I found a tutorial and went to work.  It was easy enough (once I got the hang of it) that I made two.  

The tutorial I found said to use jersey material (like an old t-shirt) so I tried that first.  The tutorial was also for babies and no t-shirt fabric was big enough to go around my head after tying the knots in it.  So, I moved on to regular fabric. 

For the first headband, I cut two strips, ironed them flat, and folded them in half so that you couldn't see the wrong side of the fabric.  

For the second headband, I took two pieces just like in the first, but cut both into four pieces.  My goal was to do a fishtail braid, but for some reason that didn't work so it just turned into a normal braid. Eh, you get the idea. 

 Back on the first headband, I sewed the fabric into a tube buy sewing a straight line down the raw edges. 

Next, I took the two pieces and laid them out like this: 

Overlapped until it looked like this - placing the 2nd piece of fabric under the loop of the first.  

And the bringing the other end of the second piece of fabric through the loop.  I know I'm horrible at explaining it, so check out this tutorial for clearer instructions. 

I tied the second in the same knot as the first. Maybe you can see how it was done clearer in this picture? 

Next, I pulled the knot until it tightened, and put the ends together.

 I grabbed another small piece of fabric and closed it around the end and used hot glue to seal it.  

Ta da! I wasn't sure how I felt about the frayed edges on the first headband, but now I think I like it! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weeknight Orecchiette

Now that it's cold and dark outside by 5, the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook.  My body just thinks that because it's dark it should be time for bed.  Unfortunately, I still have to eat.  I made this recipe last week, and it made enough for me to eat quite a few meals.  I found it in some "Dinner on a Dime" cookbook I picked up in the checkout line at the grocery store.

You need:

Sweet or hot italian sausage
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
Parmesean cheese

First, boil the orecchiette (italian for "little ears").  While it's cooking, chop 2 cloves of garlic and add to a skillet with oil, heat for 1 minute.  Remove the sausage from their casings and cook with the garlic until brown, drain. Add the can of diced tomatoes (with juices) and let simmer until the sauce reduces.  Add the cooked pasta and salt to taste.

Chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces and add to the pan. I used the Steamfresh broccoli so it was very easy to cook.  The original recipe said to sprinkle freshly grated parmesan over the top, but I mixed quite a bit in with the pasta.  Cheese makes everything better. The whole dish took less than 30 minutes to make, and it was good!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Grumpy Cat

Today I learned...My boss didn't know who Grumpy Cat was. I felt weird trying to explain him

How does one explain an Internet-famous cat with a permanent frown? 

Just look at him. So grumpy. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

A day at the US National Arboretum

Yesterday Caitlin and I went on an adventure to the National Arboretum in DC! It was the perfect time to go because all the leaves on the trees were changing and everything was beautiful!

 Also, rather than taking the metro I decided to be brave and drive - we heard it was the easiest way to actually get in the arboretum so that's what we did.  It was my first time driving in DC and it. was. terrifying! I usually just metro because I'm scared of all the crazies on the road, and boy that's for a good reason. It was Sunday so it wasn't even that bad, until my GPS took me through Georgetown on the way home.  Kill me. I don't even know how I'd handle it on a weekday rush hour.... 

Anyway, the arboretum had all sorts of pretty trees, a very Stonehenge-looking area with columns called "The Capitol Columns" and a bonsai garden with tiny trees! The place was expansive though and we didn't even get to see all of it. Here are some pictures from the day:

I've always wanted a tree like that in my backyard

Caitlin enjoying the herb garden

Beautiful walkway in the herb garden

Capitol Columns

This tree was my favorite! It was nearly glowing

Pretty nature

The columns look so greek and fancy, I love it! 

A pretty rose in the bonsai garden

Tiny bonsai trees
 These tiny trees were purposely dwarfed... I didn't read enough of the descriptions to know why, but they had a garden full of them! Too cute, right? This one kind of reminded me of the Tree of Life at Disney World. Yeah?

Beautiful leaves! 

Fun fact: I did zero editing on the picture below. The leaves really were that bright! I love the fall colors.
Red leaves are my favorite.

If flowers had personalities, these would be the hipster flowers. 

Proof that I was actually there. Photo creed: Caitlin

Picturesque little bench 

I love fall! 
So yeah, it was a great time! Everything was beautiful and I love nature and I want to go back and have a picnic. I bet it's so pretty in the spring time! If you're in the DC area  looking for something to do that's not a museum, I highly recommend the arboretum!