Sunday, September 14, 2014

Berry Salsa

I found a great recipe for berry-apricot salsa in my Vegetarian Times magazine. It's great for chips if you want a fruity alternative to real salsa, or you can use it as a healthy topping on plain yogurt.  If you ever read the ingredients label on a flavored yogurt, you'll want to start buying plain. It's packed with things no one can pronounce. But if you buy plain and add your own fruit, you know exactly what's going in it! Here's the recipe, with my modifications: 

1 cup raspberries, divided
3 tablespoon apricot preserves
1 cup diced fresh apricots, nectarines, or peaches (I used peaches)
1 cup fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger

1. Mash 4 raspberries in a small bowl and mix with the apricot preserves.
2. Add peaches, blackberries, remaining raspberries, and ginger to a bowl.
3. Toss to coat with preserve mixture, add salt and pepper if desired (I didn't).
4. Allow mixture to stand so flavors can combine.

I really like the way it turned out! My only complaint is that the ginger is too strong, especially when you get a big piece in a bite.  Next time, I'd leave it out all together - it doesn't add much to the salsa and the fruit can stand on it's own.  

I'd like to try this with different fruit/preserve combinations.  It's definitely one I'd make again!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lasagna Cupcakes

Hello world! It's been months since I've blogged. Guess I've been busy having a life, whaaaaaaat. 

Hillary and I made these adorable little cupcakes today and they are too cute to not share. Check it out! 

First, cook some lasagna noodles and cut them in half.  Cook ground beef, season it however you like, and add marinara and diced tomatoes.  Add cheese on top, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the noodles starts to get crispy around the edges.

You'll see other recipes out there (Pinterest) but they tell you to do silly things, like add extra seasonings. Who has time for that? No one. Don't bother. Keep it simple. 

My cute roommate

 Let them cool, and voila! Cute little hors d'oeuvres for a party...or if you're like us, just hungry. Noms!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekend in Review

This weekend was so productive! I got in plenty of social time, baking and sewing!

Hillary and I made some cake pops shaped like eggs for Easter.  They're unfinished  and a little misshapen, but if we can decorate them cute enough you'll see more later! Don't count on it though, because does anyone realize how hard cake pops actually are?? Aint nobody got time for that! 

Better than the egg-shaped cakes, I got a soft serve ice cream maker, just in time for summer! I would be making ice cream instead of blogging right but the bowl has to freeze first. Stay tuned! Homemade ice cream, sherbet, and sorbet oh my! 

I made Easter brunch with the girls this morning.  Berry scones and mimosas anyone? Who doesn't love brunch and girl time? 

My favorite accomplishment this weekend: this pillow! My couch is a little bare and sad, so I'm making pillows for it.  This is the first one! There's a monogram there, but the white is a little hard to see in the picture.  I made another pillow a while ago - if you want to see the tutorial, you can find it here. I can't wait to make more! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring in DC

Spring has finally sprung! It sure took long enough- I have never seen snow in April until I moved here.

This weekend was perfection.  The weather was amazing! To kick it off, on Thursday Hillary and I went to a shopping party at Anthropologie (swoon).  There was a candy bar, and the staff followed us around with champagne.  I could get used to that! 

Saturday I spent most of the day in DC - enjoying the weather, walking around Capitol Hill and getting a tour of the Capitol. Saturday evening Hillary and I decided to go see the Cherry Blossoms that DC is so famous for. I'm not sure what possessed us to go other than the weather, because I've never seen so many sweaty tourists in my life. The 4th of July in DC may be the only exception.  BUT! It was worth it. 

The blossoms were gorgeous. It was so nice to sit under the trees (and do some quality people-watching).  I'm so happy spring is finally here!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Homemade Granola

I just got a "clean eating" cookbook that has a recipe for homemade granola. Yummmm!

The cookbook says it's much healthier to make at home and I believe it! Something tells me the store-bought granola comes packed with sugar and preservatives.  Bleck! 

 I'm not sure sure about the healthiness of the maple syrup, but it has to stick together some how... at least it's natural! I think that's the #1 priority in the cookbook- that every food item is actually real food and not over-processed. 

Here's the recipe:
1/2 cup all natural organic maple syrup
1/2 cup natural organic honey
1/2 canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 cups natural rolled oats
1 cup toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup natural pecans, measured then chopped
1 cup natural walnuts, measured then chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups honey wheat germ

What I actually used was a little different.  I used the syrup and honey to make the mix, but I didn't have canola oil so I used vegetable oil.  I don't think there's a huge difference, so that's what I went with.  Also, the recipe calls for eight cups of oats.  Can we just stop for a second and think about HOW MUCH eight cups is? I used two cups and that was plenty. I didn't use any wheat germ either.  Not important.  

The nuts are crazy expensive, but they're so good for you! This is a good time to suck it up and pay the $12 for the walnuts, I promise.  I used more than one cup of each too. I didn't measure, but  it was probably closer to 2 cups?  Instead of chopping the nuts by hand, I put them in a bag and smashed then with a hammer! It was a great way to let out frustration.  

First, I mixed the goo- syrup, honey and oil. Next, I added in the dry ingredients and mixed until it was all coated.  I spread it out on a baking sheet and baked it for 15 minutes at 325.  When it started smelling good, I knew it was time to take it out and stir.  I did that a few times so all parts could bake evenly. 

Granola - pre-baking

Granola - post-baking

Once it was baked, it firmed up quite a bit. And oddly enough, it tasted even better after it cooled! I'm a big fan.  And it's even semi-healthy! The cookbook says a serving is 1/2 cup and 369 calories.  


I even added some of the granola to a parfait- it was delicious! I think I'm also going to try to make some granola bars. Mmmmm.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

DIY Gold Dipped Vase

I love keeping fresh flowers in my living room, but this boring glass vase was a total snooze.  I decided to pretty it up a bit with some gold metallic paint, all it took was a trip to the craft store!  First, get your pink duct tape. Yes, it has to be pink (Okay not really).  Tape off where you want the glass to show. I wrapped mine 3/4 of the way down.  

Next, I took the vase outside to the balcony and gave it a couple LIGHT layers of paint, letting it dry between coats.  If you put it on too thick, it will drip and run, leaving a streaky look.  Don't do that.  Once you're sure it's totally dry, take off the tape! I was worried that the tape would leave a sticky residue, but it came off perfectly clean. Bam, ugly vase is now pretty. 

Also, please ignore the fact that the water is pink in this picture. I don't know how that happened.  I think the flowers dyed it? Or the Washington metro area has some freak water.  

After I painted my vase I was still feeling crafty, so I took some paint to my lime green watering can! Green plastic? Ehhh alright... but the gold. Yes, gold really classes it up. Same technique - a few lightly sprayed coats and let it dry before touching it.  How do you guys like the astro-turf balcony? Yeah, me either. 

Anyway,  no vase is complete without some pretty flowers! These flowers were obviously dyed because even the stems were blue, but hey, pretty enough for me! Thursday was technically the first day of spring and these are just perfect! 

I really like how this turned out.  I love having pretty details like this around my apartment.  What else can I paint now? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Easy Strawberry Cobbler

If you're looking for a healthy dessert recipe, stop reading now. 

Okay, for the rest of us... If you want something delicious and life changing, keep on scrolling! This is my mom's strawberry cobbler recipe.  It's also the first thing I made with my new mixer! Here's the recipe: 

1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick of butter
1 cup of fruit

First, chop your fruit into bite sized pieces.  You can use frozen or fresh.  And I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to cut a few extra for a snack! 

Next, melt a stick of butter in a 9x13 baking dish.  While that is melting, mix the flour, sugar, and milk in a bowl. Add in the vanilla.  Pour the mixture over the melted butter. Drop in your fruit and spread evenly across the mixture.  

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour. My oven is CRAZY so it only took 30 minutes to bake for me, but just keep an eye on it until it turns golden brown.  Let it cool and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bake ALL the things!


I don't know about you guys, but I have a mental list of things I want to buy.  Adult life is great because I can do all these things, but I do have to keep the list because I can't actually buy all this stuff at once. 

First I got art for my walls, I got the embroidery machine, and a few weeks later a new couch... and yesterday, I finally got a KitchenAid mixer! I was going to get pink...but cobalt blue is a little more of a real people color. I can handle that. 

I've wanted one for FOREVER,  and was always just like "eh, well I'll just put it on my wedding registry or something." YEAH that's not happening.  So I got it from Williams-Sonoma. Okay okay, Williams- Sonoma outlet. But it was a steal! I walked in and it was just staring me in the face and calling my name. 

And of course, I'm taking advantage of yet another snow day and baking a strawberry cobbler :) I can't wait to bake ALL THE THINGS! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Healthy Smoothie Recipe - Round Two

My last post about smoothies from April 2012  has gained quite the popularity on Pinterest. So, here's round two, with a few more healthy modifications! I think this one is even better. 

First, get your blender. If you've got one of those Vitamix ones I envy you. ANYWAY not important.  

I added: 
Frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
Frozen bananas
Pineapple and pineapple juice
Spinach (really!)
Plain yogurt
Chia seeds

You can play around with the amounts of each: more fruit = a chunkier smoothie, more yogurt/juice = a smoother blend.  

I've started adding frozen fruit instead of fresh. I've done fresh before, but for some reason frozen always seems to blend better. Whatever your preference though! I've heard a lot of "green" recipes talking about adding spinach and kale to smoothies, so I thought I'd add a few handfuls...but not too much. Who wants a smoothie to taste like spinach? I also added some chia seeds. I read in a health magazine (somewhere...?) that Chia seeds have a ton of nutrients, and sure enough they do. They are tiny enough that you can't taste them - actually, they have no taste at all. The blackberry seeds were more noticeable. 

Blend it all up, and voila! A super smoothie. The spinach blended very well, and I couldn't see it at all.  No green tint either. This smoothie has most of your daily fruit requirements, plus protein, omega 3s and fiber from the chia seeds and all the good vitamins spinach! Drink up! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

DIY Garbage Disposal Cleaners

First: This is my 150th blog post! Monumental, I think! Thanks to all of you who actually read this- I've had a lot of fun writing about things I do and try, even if they don't always work out I have a ton of fun!

Anyway, on the the important things: I don't know about you guys but sometimes my kitchen sink just stinks.  My apartment is pretty old, and I think the garbage disposal is too, so sometimes the food doesn't get ground up that well... As a solution, I decided to make some homemade garbage disposal cleaners.  I found this recipe on Pinterest.

You'll need:
Baking soda
Coarse salt
A lemon
Dish soap

First, mix 3/4 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup coarse salt.  The coarser the better, but I ran out at 1/4 cup, so the other 1/4 was just normal salt.  

Zest the entire lemon and mix the peel with the baking soda and salt. Add a teaspoon of dish soap.  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice in the dry ingredients. 

Mix until you get a doughy, crumbly mixture. I think my lemon was extra juicy or something, because after I added it, the mixture got a little soupy.  I added more baking soda and salt to dry it out again.  

I don't have a melon-baller and a spoon was too flat to scoop, so I just used my hand and rolled it into tiny balls.  I left them out over night to let them harden.  

I painted the lid of an old mason jar and used that as storage.  It was easy to do, and when you you're ready to use, just pop one in the garbage disposal.  Hopefully these will keep my kitchen smelling fresh!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Zippered T-Shirt Upgrade

I've got a lot of plain t-shirts. I love them because they're simple. I thought it would be cool to add a visible zipper down the back of one to add some interest! 

So, first, I cut the back of the shirt open, straight up the middle.  I used a ruler and fabric chalk to get a straight line, and cut with my pinking shears to reduce fraying.  I pinned where the zipper was going to go. 

After pinning, I sewed down the shirt with a basting stitch - easy to take out after the zipper is in place.  Next, I pinned the zipper over the seam I just sewed.  

After that, I switched to the zipper foot on my sewing machine, loaded it with black thread, and sewed down one side of the zipper and up the other.  You can see how the zipper foot is good for holding the zipper straight.  

After I had the zipper in place, I opened up the seam over the zipper. I cut away the small edge of fabric that was left around the zipper too - I like the raw edge. 

And here's the finished product! I'm really happy with it! I think if I were to try it again the process would be a lot quicker. Zippers just take a lot of practice! But I'm satisfied with the result, I think it's a great way to spice up a plain shirt. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

My First Embroidery Project!

I know it's been a while since I last blogged, but I've just been so lacking in inspiration! January is such a let down after Christmas, and the weather lately has been dreadful. BUT! Last week, I bought my first embroidery machine! I've had my sewing machine for a year now, so I thought this would be a great next step.  I got the Brother PE500 machine, one of the most basic in terms of embroidery machines, but it's great for what I want to do.  I also like that it's the same brand as my sewing machine so I can share accessories.  

I spent a few hours on my President's Day holiday figuring out how to work it. My machine came with over 70 pre-loaded designs and 5 fonts, and I also purchased some software from Embrilliance that will allow me to create and edit my own designs. Worth every penny! I'd say to definitely do your research before buying any software- the first one I found was $500! Is that really necessary? I doubt it, if you're just starting out. Luckily Embrilliance had exactly what I need for much cheaper.  

Check out my first project! 

I put this together, uploaded it from my computer in a .pes file to my machine, and set it to stitch. Luckily the machine does everything automatically once it's programmed. It's a dream. 

After the monogram was stitched, I went back and added a frame.  I decided to make it a pocket type decal and sew it on a t-shirt.  This was a tester project, so I just used a old cheap Forever 21 shirt with a crooked seam, that way if I messed up, it didn't matter! 

I probably could have appliqu├ęd it to the shirt also using the embroidery machine, but that might be a little complicated for me right now.  Instead I just sewed it on with my normal sewing machine.  What do you think? I love it! Now I'm going to monogram ALL THE THINGS! I'll start an Etsy shop and get rich and quit my job. Or maybe not. 

I have big things in mind for my next project. I went shopping at the magical land of JoAnn's yesterday and found so many fun things!  Stay tuned!