Sunday, December 28, 2008

believe's coming

I haven't created much b/c of travel and holidays, but oh boy I am PUMPING to get stuff made. I have some AWESOME fabric and AWESOME patterns. Once we finish up some house stuff and get it on the market I'm getting to work. So stay tuned :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

While the sewing machine is out...

I made their Christmas jammies (fabric is Michael Miller, I think. I got it from a lady who had excess-, but I'm not sure if she has anymore). The shirts are just from target. I LOVE the pants. I've been wanting to make some of these, just haven't gotten around to it. I'll be making some of these pants to go with a few dresses...after the holidays :) Now that they are finished, I'll finally get to take down the "project" table from the dining room, which has been up since, oh, AUGUST! But I have to say, I think I know how I want our family room layout to be now that I've had my sewing table set up near the family room. I want a room with french sliding doors (do they make those?) just off of the family room for ALL my projects-and it'll look CUTE and ORGANIZED and I can LOCK IT. That way I can work on stuff and the girls don't feel like they have to be in my hair-they'll be able to see me and carry on with their various activities. Please tell me I'm not the only one who can't work on a project somewhere else in the house without their children following them around! I've already got a really cool set-up in the basement, but the girls go crazy when I'm down there. I feel bad b/c it took a lot of effort (on Dave's part as well as on my part) to get that put together. But oh well, we've learned our lessons!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Here's Bree's dress for our family pics, to go with Emma's jacket (post below). And the Blueberry Muffin costume, which Bree will not wear. Oh Joy. I have to say, I LOVE how the dress turned out. I was trying to copy a style I saw on Etsy and had to piece together things from different patterns and draw out a sleeve pattern. But I think it turned out super cute, and I just might need to make some more that are a little shorter that can be used as shirts.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

stuff I've been busy with

so, this is the jacket I made for Emma for our family pictures. I just need to add the buttons. bree's dress for the pictures will be made out of the same fabric, then there will be a polka dot sleeve and trim along the bottom...SOOOOO cute!

Here's Emma's Strawberry Shortcake costume I made. Still working on the hat. Then I need to get Bree's Blueberry Muffin outfit done. Wish me luck :)

And this was one of the projects from super saturday-in case you can't tell b/c of the glare it says Thankful. Needless to say, I spent my super saturday time gabbing instead of getting projects done. So a few of us finished them up at our Monday night project night over here.

Stay tuned in a couple weeks for Bree's costume and dress! Then after that I've got some GREAT little outfits to sew up for the girls. I've become obsessed with GOOD fabric, so I have some awesome things to sew up with said fabric. And I'll be making some decor things for the girls room. WAHOO! One day at a time, though. Gotta get through Halloween and family pictures...and a trip to cali in between.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I AM creating...I just haven't had time to take pics of everything. Right now I'm in "sewing" mode. So stay tuned...I'll get something up soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

on my wall

I revamped the one I made earlier, and now THIS is above our fireplace mantel. I love it. I'll take a pic of it actually framed...eventually.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I know, I'm a slacker. but I put these together to frame above bree's bed. the pics in those frames are from when she was a couple weeks old :) there are a few other things I'm going to work on, but that's it for now...

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I've finally gotten around to create something again. It's been a while! I found this fabric at Joanns and fell completely in love with it-I was so sad that there was only 2 1/2 yards left! I bought it all to make a couple dresses. There's just enough left over to do something really good with-I just need to think of what's "worth" making to use such awesome fabric. Maybe I can find coordinating stuff and make a bag, apron, small quilt...any ideas? What's your vote?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


In my attempts to be more organized, I purchased these plain cardboard magazine holders for, surprisingly, magazines...and my piano music...and anything else I want to use them for. Well, I'm not all about putting cardboard on display, so I thought I'd pull a "bibbity-bobbity-boo" and see what happens.

I LOVE how they turned out!! I think I'm going to make more. These 4 are for my piano music. I'm going to make some for my Family Fun magazines-those are the only ones I keep-the others I just pull out stuff and toss.

Anyway. Just wanted to share!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

stuff I've done

I completed my photo cubes. I actually had 2 to do. I did the set that I mentioned earlier-with the 2x2 wood cubes. MAN, that thing is a PUZZLE if you ever get the blocks out of order! I just threw all 8 blocks into the bag to bring them home when we finished, and it took a good 5 minutes to piece it back together to display! But Emma had a good time putting different pictures together. Then I had a 5.5 inch chipboard cube that I picked up on clearance sometime forever ago. I never posted pics of the awesome "L" my sister Adrienne made for me for Christmas-this is the 2 footer one that you get at Joanns. Isn't it GREAT? I took 2 pictures so you could see that it wasn't just a "frontal" effort-it's got dimension! She gave me some leftover papers from it, so I used them for my other cube. I didn't have much in the way of black and cream embellishments, so I used some rub-ons on the pictures (which you can't really see in these photos). I'm not sure if they show up so well, so maybe I'll have to pick up a few more embellies to spice it up. So, here are the pics!

I also made this to print out as a poster to hang in our stairway. I remember a couple years ago when I went back to Utah that there was a store in the mall making things similar to this and thought that it was the greatest idea ever. My friend actually ended up getting one for her house! So now that I'm into the digiscrapping world, I thought I'd give it a whirl. And since Costco prints 20x30 enlargements for only $10 I thought it was worth a shot. If anyone wants me to do one for them I've been thinking of trying this as a business. Of course, if I DID sell them, I'd have to get permission from the digital kit owners, so who knows. But if anyone wants to send me some pics, let me know and I'll try a few things.

*quote at the bottom says "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." Since it'll be a 20x30, I don't think there will be a problem reading it! :) But just in case you wanted to know what it says, there you go!

We got a few things accomplished this weekend and we are THAT much closer to finally finishing the minor things in the kitchen. Ya, it's almost a year later. Let's not talk about that. And we got some plants and a tree for our front yard, so my creative skills will be extending out to the great outdoors...let's see how that goes. I'm hoping to finish one of the girls dresses tomorrow night-I love the fabric, so I'll post a pic when it's done!

Friday, April 4, 2008


I heard about this cute idea to make a "newborn" box for each child. You decorate a small box and include different things like the birth story, the baby "stats", feelings from Mom and Dad, copy of the birth certificate, maybe some congratulatory cards you were given, and pictures, etc. Whatever you want to put in it. The article also suggested getting tiny paper mache boxes and put the hospital bracelet and any other small trinkets in them-maybe lace or fabric from the blessing outfit. So I made a few tiny boxes the other night. Super easy, nothing too crazy. But it'll get me on track to actually create my baby boxes. Since my friend is moving and wants to use up her craft supplies, she's having a craft night every week-talk about helping me get my projects done! So I did these boxes one night, and I made a jewelry holder another night (HERE is a picture of what I made, except for my frame is brown-sorry if the link doesn't work-I'm not sure if her blog is private or not). I'm probably going to make the crayon roll that she shows on her blog also. Next week we'll be making those photo blocks-the ones where there are a bunch of 2 inch blocks put together to make a big block and you cut up photos and glue them on, then you can rearrange the blocks to show different pictures. Maybe that made sense? I also picked up some super cute fabric to make some dresses and outfits for the girls. Maybe I'll finally get some projects finished!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

blah blah blah

The dinner plan worked out pretty well for me. I didn't really like the melon relish-my flank steak turned out AWESOME and I thought the melon stuff kind of ruined the flavor. Give me a hunk of meat without any sauce any day and I'm a happy woman. I don't like gravy on roast, I don't like steak sauce on steaks, I don't like cheese on my burgers...they all take away from the flavor of the MEAT. Enough of the ranting. The homemade mac & cheese was missing something and I couldn't quite put my finger on it, so that won't be a repeat.

This last week was BBQ chicken pizza, using some smoked gouda that I purchased a while ago-that and red onions are great for that type of pizza. We also did beef stew on a cold wintry day, grilled chicken sandwiches, and a yummy grilled chicken mexican caesar salad (the el torito one-mmmmm). And I'm proud to say that since I posted that dinner plan, the only time we've gone out to eat was last night for our date! Fast food doesn't even sound good to me. My friend Anna brought a happy meal over for emma yesterday and the nuggets that she didn't eat tasted pretty decent-but that's my only slip-up!

On to craftiness. I've started digital scrapping, but had all my paper stuff to finish also. I've shared my method with a few people, but here it is for others. I own Becky Higgins' "Sketches" book/magazine. She's got 3 out now, the 3rd was just released. I have the 2nd issue. If you aren't familiar with Sketches, the layout of the book goes like this: She starts with a section of layouts for 3-5 photos. The top of the page shows a "sketch" of the layout, with the measurements of each picture. Then on the pages are examples of people's layouts using that sketch. And she goes on throughout the book with sketches for 6-7 photos, 8-9, 10-14, and 15+. There are a few sketches for each grouping. So, what I did before I started digital scrapping is this (and I usually have a notebook in front of me to write down stuff):

1) Since I haven't already printed my pics, I open my pictures folder on the computer and I go through an "event" that I want to scrap and pick out the pictures that are going in the book. In my notebook I write the event and the number of pictures I've chosen.

2) I count the pictures, and look for that section in the Sketches book, and pick a sketch that I'm going to follow. In my notebook I write the page number of the sketch next to the event name.

3) I open photoshop and crop or resize all the pictures for that "event" to accomodate the sizes in the sketch--make sure to keep everything at 300 dpi so the quality of the picture is still high. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT SAVE OVER YOUR ORIGINAL PICTURE!!! I print my pictures at Costco, and if you're resizing pictures to be small ones, like 2 inch squares, it's cheaper to fit a bunch on a 4x6 than to fit a bunch on an 8x10. So, I resize them and fit as many as I can on each blank document (either 4x6, 5x7, or 8x10). If I don't fill an entire blank document, I just keep it open and add to it as I go through each event and layout until it's filled, then I save them. If you are unfamiliar with how to do all this, make a comment letting me know--I'll post step by step instructions if needed.

4) After I've finished resizing all the pictures and I've saved all the new files, I upload them to's photo center and get them printed.

5) When I have the pictures I cut them up and separate them into piles with each event. Then I place them in a baggie with a post-it of the page number for the sketch.

6) Then I go through my papers and pick out 2 solid cardstocks and the coordinating patterned paper that I'll be using for the layout (and any other embellishments that you want, if you already have something in mind for the layout), and put all those in one 12x12 page protector with the baggie of pictures.

7) Now, whenever I go to a friend's house for a hobby night I can just grab a few page protectors full of layouts, my paper cutter, and adhesives and the sketches book, and I can actually get something done!

It sounds like a lot of work, but it's actually REALLY easy. The other night I was babysitting for a friend and I put together probably 20 layouts in a few hours. Of course, this doesn't include journaling and embellishments. This is all paper piecing and placing the pictures on the layouts. For all the pictures that I had already printed before I started this system, I kind of do the same thing--I pick out how many I want to scrap, pick a sketch, then just alter it a little bit to fit the pictures I already have. It means I usually can't use a sketch that has a large print on it b/c most of the pics I've already printed are just 4x6. But it's easy to adjust, and the paper piecing and embellishment ideas in the book are good inspiration.

So, that's what "crafting" I've been consumed with lately. After I got those million layouts done the other night I've been spending Bree's naptime doing rub-ons and alphabets, etc, and adding page titles and embellishments. Now they're just waiting for the journaling...but not all of them need it-the pictures tell the story enough. I really just want to use up all my paper supplies so I can move on with the digital stuff. I'll still do paper scrapping for certain projects, b/c I really like the hands on work required for it. I've still got to finish (well, I guess I have to actually START something in order to finish it) our wedding album and Dave's mission. My goal, after getting these layouts finished, is to do one digital layout a day during Bree's nap. It's totally doable :)

And, for your viewing pleasure, here are some layouts-I just laid my book out and took pictures since I don't have a 12x12 scanner and I'm too lazy to take them out of the page protectors to prevent glares. journaling or embellishment has been done yet. In other words, don't judge too harshly :) The first are layouts using my system. The last few layouts are ones I adapted to a sketch b/c I had already printed them out before starting my "system."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dinner Plan

I thought I'd try posting my dinner plan, recipes included, as an incentive for me to actually get it planned so I'm not wondering at the last second what we're having for dinner. And this is is for Adrienne too :) I thought I'd try a few new recipes each week too, so this will be an adventure.
This will be a pretty long post, but only b/c I'm including recipes. Don't be intimidated!! Here are some cooking tips that help me to not be intimidated by cooking:

*Always read through the whole recipe first. It's horrible when you just start something only to realize that you needed to have something else cooked first, then all the timing is thrown off, blah blah blah.

*Prep everything that needs to be prepped. Small little bowls are a great investment. I'll measure out all my spices and combine them if the recipe calls for it. If I need flour to thicken a sauce, I'll have some already out in a bowl. Make sure cans of beans or tomatoes are drained (if needed), or chicken and veggies are already cut up.

*Invest in a GREAT digital meat thermometer. I got one where I work, and without my discount I think it was only $18. SO WORTH IT. It is so nice to be able to cook my meat without worrying if it's safe. Meat and chicken tastes SO much better when it's not overcooked and dry for fear of it not being "done" all the way.

If there's any other "cooking" thing that makes it hard for you to get things done in the kitchen, let me know and I'll try to help!

Sunday (today): Tostadas
fat free refried beans, warmed
lean ground beef, cooked, extra fat drained off
tomatoes, lettuce, avocadoes, olives, chopped
cheese, shredded
taco seasoning, optional

Monday: Chicken Tortilla Soup (cut recipe in half for small families or make the whole thing-leftovers taste great)
3 chicken breasts
1 c. chopped onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
2 cloved garlic, minced
2 TBSP oil
2-14 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
2-15 oz. cans beans (pinto, kidney, black)
2/3 - 3/4 c. Pace Picante sauce (or other salsa, if preferred)
1-14 oz. can chicken broth (low sodium is healthier)
1 tsp. chili pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
tortilla chips and cheese, for serving
Cut chicken into 1" cubes. In large pot cook chicken in oil along with onion, pepper and garlic till done. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and cheese (optional).

Tuesday: Flank Steak with melon relish (new recipe-serves 8)
1 large cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 c. parsley, chopped
1/2 c. fresh mint, chopped
2 TBSP white balsamic (or cider) vinegar --I'll probably use regular balsamic
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
3 lb flank steaks AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
2 tsp. sea salt (or kosher salt)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Toss cantaloupe, onion, parsley, mint, vinegar, and oil in a bowl. Set aside. Season flank steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Heat a grill, grill pan, or large skillet over high heat. Cook 5-8 minutes on each side for medium rare, 8-10 minutes per side for medium, 10-12 for welldone. Remove from heat and allow to rest on a clean cutting board for 5-7 minutes. Cut diagonally into 1/8 inch thick slices and transfer to a platter. Spoon half the relish on top, serve remaining relish on the side.
*I thought this would taste good on a salad or with a salad as a side. Maybe even some grilled or roasted veggies.

Wednesday: Chicken Tacos
this is what I posted about previously-grilled chicken on corn tortillas with a fresh salsa and avocado.

Thursday: Homemade Mac & Cheese (new recipe-serves 8)
I usually have one night a week with a "comfort" type food, and this is it!

6 TBSP unsalted butter
salt and pepper
1 lb. medium pasta shells (I'll be using whole wheat)
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
4 c. whole milk (I'll be trying lower fat...hopefully it works!)
4 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated (1 cup)
4 ounces Harvati cheese, grated (1 cup)--I'll use Fontina cheese
4 ounces Muenster cheese, grated (1 cup)
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
6 slices white sandwich bread (I'll use whole wheat) or 3 cups coarse bread crumbs
*not in the recipe, but I'm going to add a little bit of cooked chicken, and also a little bit of grated Parmesan with the bread crumbs for the topping. I wanted to try this b/c I tried some white cheddar the other day and LOVED it, so here's a way to use it!
Preheat to 400. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Butter a 9x13 baking dish.
Salt boiling water and add pasta, cook until 2 minutes short of al dente, drain and return to pot.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Transfer 2 TBSP melted butter to a small bowl (for topping). Add flour and mustard powder to remaining butter and cook, whisking, 1 minute-do not let flour darken. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is thickened, 2-3 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat and gradually whisk in cheeses; add worcestershire sauce and season generously with salt and pepper. Add sauce to pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to the baking dish.
Place bread in food processor and pulse to create coarse crumbs. Add reserved melted butter and pulse to moisten. Scatter crumbs over pasta in baking dish. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day)
Place dish on rimmed baking sheet and bake until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling, 15-20 minutes (30-35 if it was refrigerated). Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Friday: Frozen meal-I'm babysitting for a friend at 5, so Dave's on his own for that one. Maybe it'll end up being pancakes or cereal :) But I usually try to have a small frozen lasagna or some other frozen meal on hand for days like this.

Saturday: Grilled chicken w/strawberry peach salsa (new recipe-serves 4)
1 large lemon
3 tsp. honey
2 tsp. minced garlic
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4-4oz. chicken breasts
2 c. diced strawberries
2 ripe medium peaches, peeled and diced
1/4 c. minced red onion
1/2 c. diced red bell pepper
2 tsp. minced jalapeno
Preheat grill or broiler. Zest lemon to make about 1 tsp; set aside. Juice lemon to make 4 TBSP. In a shallow bowl combine 2 TBSP lemon juice, 1 tsp. honey, garlic, 1 1/2 tsp oil, salt, and pepper. Add chicken, coat both sides, and let sit.
In a medium bowl combine strawberreis, peaches, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, lemon zest, and remaining lemon juice, honey, and let sit.
Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade). If using grill, place chicken on lightly oiled grill rack. If using broiler, set chicken on nonstick broiler pan and place rack 4 inches from heat. Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 170. Divide chicken and salsa among 4 plates and serve.
*I thought this is another one that would be good with salad.

Sunday: Roast and potatoes! I usually only do this one about once every 2-3 months. Roast was on sale the other day, so I picked one up.
Everyone does their roasts differently. Here's what I do:
3 lb. Chuck roast (NOT rump roast)
Place the roast in a metal 9x13 pan, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, place 2-3 bay leaves on top of the roast, add 1 cup water. Cover with foil and bake in 325 degrees for about 3 hours.
Serve with mashed potatoes, veggies, salad, and gravy, if you like it :) I don't like gravy. I know, I'm weird. This size roast should feed about 6-8 people, depending on serving sizes.

Monday: Steak fajitas
This is another recipe I just make up as I go along.
1 lb. steak cut into small strips-for convenience sake, I usually buy the kind that's already cut up in little strips-but I'll only buy it if I have something planned for it.
soy sauce
lime juice
lemon juice
green, red, yellow bell peppers, cut into thin strips
onion, cut into rings
In a ziploc bag, combine about 1/4 cup of soy sauce, a couple tablespoons each of lemon and lime juice, and mince a couple garlic cloves-and when I say mince here, I mean use a garlic press so the juices are crushed out into the marinade. Add the steak and let marinade for about 30 minutes on the counter.
Cut up all the veggies. When cooking garlic, cut it up with a knife instead of mincing it with a garlic won't burn as quickly.
Heat a skillet to high heat. Add about a teaspoon of olive oil. When the pan is hot add the steak (you can pull it out of the marinade or throw everything in the pan) and cook quickly. Put the cooked steak in a bowl and pour all the extra juice/marinade into the sink and clean the pan out with a paper towel. Add a little water to the pan and put it back on the heat. Add the onions first, let them cook for a bit, then add the peppers, then the garlic last. I like my veggies somewhat crispy, so I don't let them cook for long. If you like yours mushier, turn the heat down so the garlic doesn't burn and let them cook a little while longer.
When your veggies are about done, add the steak back into the pan and heat through.
Warm up your tortillas, add the steak/veggie combo, and top with avocado and cheese. Some also like sour cream and all that other stuff, so add it if you like!

So, then, to make my shopping list I just write down all the ingredients, cross off what I already have, then sort them according to my store layout. My grocery store trips are pretty fast when I do this!

If you try any of the new recipes, let me know what you think of them!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I saw this idea from this site and got to work last night! I made one for Emma's teachers at school and one for Emma's dance teacher (if you notice, her's has a little metal word "dance" on it), then one for our girls, and then one for Christmas! I think that'll be another elf's way of talking to the girls. We'll still use the elf shoe, but we'll use the mailbox too. I KNEW there had to be something great to do with those mailboxes from the dollar spot at Target! I LOVE TARGET!

I started my training this week at the gym. For those who I haven't bragged about it to yet, I got 14 half hour training sessions for $150!!! WAHOO! I looked into it before and they were sooooo pricey. I love our gym. Apparently when we joined we should have gotten 4 half hour sessions, but we never did them, then we should have been offered an introductory rate for training, which we weren't...or at least, we weren't aware of anything. So, almost a year later, they gave me everything. I was all ready to purchase 5 half hour sessions for $120...then SURPRISE! I'm okay with cardio stuff, but when it comes to strength training I'm clueless. So she's been writing down all the things we do, and if we use a machine she's writing down my seat levels and the amount of weight, just so I can remember everything when I do it on my own! That's one of the biggest problems for me-someone shows me something, then the next time I try it, I can't remember the correct form or anything. She's showing me which muscle groups to work out together, and it's also nice to have a little voice reminding me while working out that I need to tighten my abs :) She's been commenting on how nice my form is for someone who hasn't ever done this stuff before, so that makes me feel better about myself! So I'm a little sore, but at least my knees, back, and wrists aren't hurting, which was always another problem I had before when I was trying things on my own. WAHOO!

I haven't been doing too well on recipes stuff. I was talking to a friend and realized that I'm trying so hard to try new recipes that I've just forgotten all the old ones that I liked and could rely on in a pinch. So my next goal is to go through ALL my stash and type up all the tried and true healthy recipes. IF YOU HAVE ANY TO INCLUDE, SEND THEM MY WAY! Once I pull everything together in a document, I can email it to you, if you want. But how about have to include a recipe in order to get the document! :) It might take a little while to get this done (there's quite a bit on my plate at the moment), but I WILL get it done. Adrienne also suggested that I put together my weekly menu and post it. When I get organized this weekend I just might do that. Incentive to actually get it planned :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

try again

so OBVIOUSLY the daily thing isn't happening. Oh well. I had good intentions. I'm making a black bean chili for dinner tonight. I like this stuff, but my mom didn't. So if you try it and don't like it I'm sorry. I'm going to try it with avocados on it tonight and see how it goes :) Just realized it's another chili recipe. Can you tell it's cold here???

Fantastic Black Bean Chili
· 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
· 1 onion, diced
· 3 cloves garlic, minced
· 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
· 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, undrained
· 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
· 1 tablespoon chili powder
· 2 teaspoons dried oregano
· 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
· 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add turkey and cook, stirring, until meat is brown. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, basil and vinegar. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 60 minutes or more, until flavors are well blended.

Also, I tried Ashlee's Dijon Basil Chicken and cooked it on the grill pan instead of the broiler, and it was AWESOME-and I'm not usually a huge basil or dijon fan, so that's saying a lot. I halved it and I made it with 5 chicken tenders (see previous post for reasons why). Here it is (hope you don't mind me sharing!):

Dijon Basil Chicken
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
3 TBS. chopped FRESH basil(if you use dry basil use 1-2 tsp.)i recommend fresh.
1 TBS. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Mix all ingredients together (set aside some sauce before adding chicken, to spoon over chicken when serving!) Add chicken breasts, marinade for at least 1/2 hour or for several hours. In case you didn't know, you can throw the sauce and chicken in a freezer bag to marinade it. Broil 5 minutes on each side. It is very tasty! Enjoy

We're ALMOST finished with our kitchen. Baseboards are up, window moulding is up, curtain is up (and the adjoining bathroom is finished!). We just need to add the crown mouldings and sand and paint the bottoms of the door mouldings that we had to saw out for the floor. Oh ya, and we have to find some sort of wood valance for over the sink...they don't sell 'em at home depot, which makes me somewhat angry. So the moulding can't go up until we find one. But there is an end in sight! I'll post pics when it's done.

I haven't had much time for crafts lately. I made a ton of bows for my sister and a couple for Emma (Bree doesn't get any...that's what happens when you're bald) and with kitchen stuff I just haven't had time. So for your "craft" viewing pleasure, here's a link to one of my new favorite sites for ideas (since all I do is copy other people). There are 2 crafts--the mailboxes and the nugget tins--that are on my agenda. Oh ya, and I'm gonna try those beaded pens she makes. I already do the notebooks that are in the kits that the pens go with. So I've gotta do those pens too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


So, ya, I know I haven't been very good at "reporting" on my food and exercise. I've been working like a mad woman trying to get the kitchen and bathroom finished. It doesn't work very well with crying, teething babies. But I got a lot accomplished today! I made the curtains for the kitchen and bathroom, and tried a few accessory ideas also. When everything is complete, I'll post pictures.

As for dinner tonight. Dave was at work and I had, like I previously mentioned, a crying, teething child. I made the girls easy mac and pulled together this:

Let me tell you, it was delicious. Just what I needed to keep me from searching out any junk food in the house and devouring it. I just took a couple chicken tenders and grilled them in my grill pan (FABULOUS-moist and yummy-might do that every night from now on). Chicken tenders might cost a little more, but they cut down on defrost and cooking time, and I'm never able to eat a whole chicken breast anyway(which are way too big for a portion size anyway). So they are worth the cost to me. While they were grilling I cut up some cilantro, tomatoes, garlic and onions, added a little olive oil and lime juice, and had myself some yummy quick salsa ready. Cut up some avocadoes, and shredded a little bit of cotija cheese, and YUMMY! Wrap the corn tortillas in a wet paper towel and heat in the microwave for soft tortillas. Probably even more healthy without the tortilla, but oh well.

So, cotija heard of it? It's like a mexican parmesan. SO GREAT. If you live in the west, you can usually find it at your grocery store. It comes in a white, hard, circle. When you grate it, it crumbles. And it makes your hands stinky. :) But you don't need much and it tastes so dang good on everything, especially mexican food. AND it lasts forever in your fridge. I really mean forever.

Now, monounsaturated fats. In one of my Prevention magazines there was an article on these. They include 1) olives 2) nuts & seeds 3) avocadoes 4) oils 5) dark chocolate. They did some studies: 2 groups of women eating food...not "dieting" or anything. Both groups doing the same stuff as far as exercise and everything. But one group ate a monounsaturated fat with each meal, and lost more weight than the other group! If you notice, those foods are very similar to the Mediterranean diet. Anyway, I thought, hey I'll give this a try.

For those who know me, you know I'm a sugar junkie. I LOVE anything with sugar. I crave it all day and would love to eat it every second I can. I also love salty stuff. Goldfish crackers? Not JUST for kids. :) So, usually I'm craving bad foods all day. Well, I tried eating a monounsaturated fat with each meal (and snacked on a mix of almonds and semi-sweet chocolate chips, which also count with the dark chocolate category), and I HAD NO CRAVINGS!!! I was completely satisfied the whole day! No wonder those women lost weight! So I'm a firm believer in this information. Give it a try. It really isn't that hard. I keep those Dove dark chocolate squares on hand, and they taste great when you take a bite of one and eat it with a couple almonds. Green olives are better than black. I don't much care for green olives, but I'll try it. I always have almonds around, whether raw or roasted. Avocadoes are awesome on sandwiches, salads, tacos, soups, etc. And if I need to use oil, I usually use olive oil.

So my challenge to you...give it a try! Let me know if it worked for you!

Monday, January 21, 2008

More chicken stuff

k-cooked chicken technically lasts 3-4 days in the fridge. I keep mine a couple days longer if it still smells okay and that's usually when I use it in a way that I'm reheating it (in a soup or other cooked dish).
Brining is where you soak raw meat in a salt water mixture for a long time before cooking it. A lot of people do that with whole chickens and turkeys. It's supposed to help the meat retain its moisture and flavor better. You can find instructions on brining right here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Having cooked chicken on hand...

One of the things that makes meal planning so easy is having cooked chicken already available. My sister inspired me with the rotisserie chicken route. The $5 ones at costco are the cheapest and the best flavored and most moist. I LOVE THEM. I bought 2 of them the other day, came home, and just took all the meat off of them and put it in a gallon size ziploc to keep in the fridge. It is so tasty that throughout the day I reach into the bag and pull out chunks to just eat. But it's great to make chicken sandwiches, salads, quesadillas, soups, enchiladas, casseroles, tacos, fajitas-you name it, it can be made! You could also just bake some chicken at the beginning of the week and do the same thing. I just haven't found a cooking method that I can do in my own home that tastes as good as the ones from costco! However, I DID just get myself a grill pan, so we'll see...
If you're looking for a healthy recipe, here's a chicken chili that you can make in a crockpot (will require some stovetop cooking at first), and the leftovers taste GREAT!
White Chili
Cooked Chicken-about 2 large chicken breasts worth (eyeball it-you can put as much or as little as you want. you could also use turkey breasts or ground chicken or ground turkey)
1 TBSP veg oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of minced garlic
1-3 tsp. cumin
1 TBSP dried oregano leaves
1-2 jalapenos (optional)
1 tsp each salt and pepper (to taste, fresh pepper tastes better!)
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes, including liquid
2 cups chicken broth
3 cans beans-pinto, kidney, black, white, whatever you want, drained and rinsed
1-2 green bell peppers, chopped or sliced lengthwise (however you prefer to eat them)
1 4.5 oz. can diced mild green chilies, drained
cheese-your choice (we've discovered Cotija cheese-tastes AWESOME, or monterey jack is good)

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, jalapenos, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. *Note: if you don't have everything pre-measured while you're adding, then add garlic last. Garlic cooks REALLY fast and will burn quickly.
Add tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until liquid is reduced by one third, about 5 minutes.
Put chicken and beans into the crockpot and pour tomato mixture over them. Stir it up, cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Stir in green pepper and green chilies and cook until pepper is tender. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, avocado, or whatever else your heart desires!