Thursday, August 30, 2012

Relaxing Afternoon

One of my favorite things to do is relax at a local coffee house and enjoy the atmosphere. It even helps when you enjoy it with a friend!

I am preparing for a "staycation" with my husband this weekend. We had plans for an actual vacation this weekend, but the plans fell through when we could not find a dog-sitter. Owning a dog can be hassle! I'm still excited to shut the world away and hang with the hubby!

What are you doing this labor day weekend?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Findings Around Target

While out shopping at Target, I often dream about what I would buy if I had unlimited money. Today on my blog, you are going shopping with me. Here are some finds I found at my local Target that I would snatch up if I had the money. 

First, I should warn my readers that my husband and I have a clock obsession. We have at least one clock in every one of our rooms, except the kitchen. We are actively seeking out a clock to fit in with out kitchen decor... but that's another story.

While this clock is not a good fit for our kitchen, we have been looking at it ever since Target put it on the shelf for $9.99. It's a perfect little clock for a small, unoccupied area. I think we'll buy it soon. It comes in many different colors, but I think I like the red the best. Cute, amiright?

Next, I found a bunch of lamps that I love. All kinds of colors and shapes! I really love the simple silver lamps, but a little punch of color in a room never hurts!

I love the coral color and simple shape of this lamp! It ran around $20.

Same lamp but in another color, more neutral. Still love it!

Fun and funky yellow lamp with a cool shape!

More expensive, but pretty awesome lamp!

Next, I moved on to amazing pillows! I have no idea why pillows are so expensive, but I would take any of these off of Target's shelves if they were about 1/4 of the price.

I think that last pillow is my favorite. The shape and simple sewn-in design is really eye catching. I might be dreaming about that pillow for a while! I also really like the blue coral pillow, and I think it would be great in a sea-themed room. What do you think?

I hope you enjoyed my small shopping trip to Target. What have you found there or at any other of your favorite stores lately?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

I have decided to dive into the world of gluten free baking. I have some friends who cannot eat gluten products, and I would love to be able to cook for them, or just learn more about gluten free products. Really, it's very interesting! I am finding out that people have been able to make flours out of so many things! Tapioca? Almond? Coconut? Sure, no problem! It's fascinating. 

I am already craving some fall foods, since I really really want it to be fall already. Hence, I recently made some pumpkin cranberry gluten free muffins with some gal friends of mine (25th and Skillern and Lisse Livs Life). I was really skeptical of these muffins, first because I had never made any gluten free product, and I was slightly changing a recipe that I found online, and I know the dangers of changing recipes (especially gluten free ones!). However, these turned out FANTASTIC. I cannot stop eating them! My husband loved them as well, and my friends each took a bundle home with them, too.

You can easily substitute or add in your favorite muffin ingredients! I did not add in any nuts into this recipe, but walnuts or almonds would be fantastic! Any type of berries or dried fruit would also be an amazing addition.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Give Us This Day Free Printable

Today I am offering you a free printable of one of my favorite parts of the Bible - The Lord's Prayer. This is just a snippet, as it is made to be in the kitchen (but you do not necessarily have to put it there).

You can get the full version for download here

Enjoy and God Bless!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Art Piece for A Friend

I have finished a painting for my friend Melissa of Lisse Lives Life.  I used mostly house paints again, so it was a cheap gift! One of my secrets to painting cheap is to buy really crappy looking paintings at the thrift store, prime them, and paint over them. It is much cheaper then buying full prices new canvases at the craft or art store. 

I don't really have much to say about this painting other than that I like it a lot! It's abstract and fun, and that was my goal. I hope you like it, and sorry about the poor pictures. My camera apparently hates taking pictures of my art. Oh well!

I hope you enjoy my art! God bless!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Motivation of the Day

I have struggled to seek out ares in my life boldly. It's more like I approach things I am doing with a timid disposition, afraid I may fail or disappoint someone else. 

I feel like time for boldness, especially since I have realized how short life really is. I need to seek God's will for my life boldly. I need to seek success with my career boldly. And I need to seek marital bliss with a bold and aspiring attitude. I want to carry on this saying with all the areas in my life, and I hope you do too.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Apricot Whole Wheat Pancakes

One thing my husband and I love doing is eating breakfast for dinner. We probably indulge in this fine tradition every two weeks or so. Since I have been trying to eat healthier and more low-calorie foods, I thought some homemade whole wheat pancakes would be wonderful, especially if you sprinkle in some dried apricots for sweetness and nutrients. 

I used unbleached whole wheat flour that I got at Whole Foods. It was so cheap! I used organic dried apricots. I will warn you to get the darkened color dried apricots, as they are not treated with sulfur dioxide preservative, which the beautiful orange ones are to preserve the color. While the orange ones are much prettier, the dark colored dried apricots are better for you and I think they taste better. As I always believe, natural is better.

As for the recipe, it is very, very simple. I mixed up a second batch in about a minute. They are not very fluffy, but they are really delicious in flavor. I am not exactly sure how to get beautiful fluffy pancakes, but I do know how to get great tasting ones (or at least I like to think I do).  

You can use almond, soy, or regular milk. I used almond milk because I think it is delicious (and very low calorie!). I also used an egg, but you can always substitute with an egg white or an egg substitute. I normally leave sugar out of recipes like this, but I love brown sugar in pancake batters. I don't use much, so do not feel too guilty when adding it. Lastly, feel free to use any of your favorite spices. I used some cinnamon and maybe a dash of nutmeg, but that is completely up to you.

Enjoy and God Bless!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cherry Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti

I should warn all my readers (oh, because there are so many of you) that my husband and I have decided to start eating healthy. This means that most of my recipes will be low-calorie or healthier than I would normally make. I will gladly tell you of suggestions to fatten my recipes up, so don't worry my readers who love full-fat recipes.

I recently bulked up on whole-grain spaghetti when my local grocery store was having a great sale on it. I've been trying to figure out a sauce to use for my spaghetti that won't make it too caloric, since the spaghetti is caloric enough. I also realized that I had a package of cherry tomatoes that were about to go south, so I thought I would attempt to make my own low-cal spaghetti sauce. It turned out great!

This is also a great recipe for those gardeners out there who are left with hundreds of tiny tomatoes and do not know what to do with them. You can freeze the sauce and use it later, or make it in bulk and eat it up for a couple of days. Spaghetti is one of those amazing meals that gets better the longer it sits (within reason of course).

This recipe is also amazing because it takes little time and effort. I am not even going to provide you with any how-to pictures, since it's pretty obvious and easy. I hope you make it and enjoy it!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

D.I.Y. - Recipe Binder

For about two-three years, I have kept my recipes as a stack of unorganized papers in a kitchen cupboard. Let's just say I have been lucky not to lose them all. This includes original recipes and ones that I have found, printed, loved, and wanted to save. I thought it was about time to get a recipe binder together.

Here is how I made my binder:

First, I got an old binder that had those plastic insert areas for the front, side, and back. You could also buy one, but I was lucky to have one handy. I designed a front/back side, and a spine label.  You can download my vintage design for the front here, and for the spine here.

Then, I went and bought section dividers at a local dollar store, but you can also buy those anywhere. I bought the kind you can put the label. I also had to go buy paper protectors. I found 50 of them for about $3.50 at Target. I highly recommend these, as they will keep your recipes protected while you have the binder out while you are cooking. It's a must!

The problem with the dividers and paper protectors is that once you put the dividers and paper protectors in the binder, the paper protectors hide the dividers. My solution was to put the dividers in their own paper protectors and cut out a slit for their tabs. It works beautifully, and also allowed me to add a pictures for the dividers. For instance, the salads section has a beautiful salad on it with a recipe. Makes sense, right?

My tabs that I included are:
  • Appetizers
  • Sides
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Entrees
  • Breakfast
  • Desserts
  • Misc. 
You can choose whatever you want, but those I felt would work for my needs now. I may add some more specific tabs later on - like Italian, Mexican, doughs, breads, etc.  I also like to keep my recipes that I am not so sure about, or are testing out, on the inside pockets, but that's just a suggestion.

I keep lots of different kinds of recipes in my binder, including handwritten ones made by me or another person, magazine clippings, online printouts, from old books, etc. The paper protectors are really great because you can collage them to fit.

I hope you enjoy this, and I hope you will use my design. Who doesn't love a 50s recipe binder? Organization feels so good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Motivation of the Day

Love more and do it more often. Love your neighbor, love yourself, love your God, love your husband, love your family, love your pets, love strangers. Love more, and love often.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Loving Lately - Luna and Parks

One thing I have been loving lately is getting outside, hanging with my dog Luna (pictured above), and taking bicycle rides on the trails around Tulsa.

My dog is the sweetest and calmest dog in the car. If you know her at all, you would know that she is CRAZY in the house. She jumps, barks, licks, falls over, and does everything she can to hurt herself, us, and guests. She is half Jack Russell and the energy she has is incredible and insane. However, the moment she gets into the car, she is another dog. She calms down, hangs out, and is so sweet. We take a lot of car drives, and it is wonderful to have her hanging next to me in the car. Isn't she adorable?

Another thing my husband and I have been doing this summer is getting outside and checking out our new neighborhood. I'm loving it!

We have found this wonderful park near our new home, Terrace Park, that is wonderful! Look at this amazing spot!

Although Oklahoma has been excessively hot, it is still nice to be able to get out, exercise, and enjoy our wonderful city. I never thought I would stay in Oklahoma, but I'm glad I have. It's been wonderful and I have been loving it lately!

What are you loving lately?  Check out Winged Writer and share your link!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chocolate Raisin Biscotti

So, remember how I was telling you that my husband and I are going to eat a healthy lifestyle now? Well, today I am sharing with you my chocolate raisin biscotti recipe. Makes sense, right? Actually, we have a friend/book study get-together every Wednesday with about 10-15 of my church members, and I thought I would make biscotti as a treat for everyone.  So, although these are not the healthiest of all treats, I was only tempted to eat one. I swear! And I attempted to hold my husband off, but I'm not sure how successful I was.

These can be low-calorie by using light butter, less sugar, or also a sugar substitute. I do not like sugar substitutes, so I just eat in moderation rather than going for lower calories. If you make this recipe as-is, each biscotti runs around 100 calories. I would normally use light butter, but I had some left over full-fat butter from cookies I made for an event at work. Oh well!

Also, I add a tablespoon of strong or condensed coffee for an extra flavor element. I used a Starbucks vanilla flavor, which added a slight vanilla layer of flavor as well. You can use whatever coffee you want, or leave it out completely. A chai tea concentrate might also be delicious.

Just make this recipe, which makes about 20-24 biscotti pieces, brew a cup of joe, and enjoy the day away.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Eat Drink & Be Merry" Kitchen Printable

My house, as I have mentioned several times before, was built in the 1950s. My husband and I have consciously tried to style our home, like choosing paint colors and details, in the style of its era. We also love modern minimalism, so I thought I would create a free kitchen printable with both those elements. 1950s colors with minimalism and a vintage feel. I hope you like it!

Get your full sized 8" x 11" version here

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Veggie Pizza from Scratch

If you think making homemade pizza from scratch is too hard, stop thinking that way. Homemade pizza takes about an hour, but most of that time is waiting for the dough to rise. The dough really consists of four ingredients (yeast, water, flour and oil) and the toppings are all up to you. I never thought about making my own dough until my friend and attorney partner at my law firm, Emily, taught me how to make pizza from scratch. I was amazed at how easy and delicious the result was!

Today, I am sharing my pizza dough recipe with you. The toppings are really up to you, but I used veggies and Italian cheeses.  I also used pesto as my pizza sauce, mostly because my husband is obsessed with pesto. You can go sauce-less or use a tomato-based sauce if you prefer.  All the other ingredients in the dough, like the herbs and spices, are up to you and completely optional. I like to put a lot of stuff in my dough, because why not? Make your pizza with toppings you love and sauces and herbs you enjoy.

I also was lucky enough to feature this recipe as a guest post on a blog that I enjoy, A Girl I Know. Please check out her blog!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Motivation of the Day

You are beautiful. Remember, the God of Wonder made you in His image and you are always beautiful to Him. Live today like one of His beautiful creations - which you are.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dallas / Ft. Worth Vacation

This last weekend, my in-laws invited my husband and I to join them on a relaxing vacation out in the Dallas area. They rented a home for a week out in Arlington, and we thought it would be great to be able to get out of town without having to pay for a hotel.

My husband and I have a very strange hobby - going to grocery stores. We go to specialty grocery stores in Tulsa, like Whole Foods or The Fresh Market, all the time. Dallas has an amazing specialty store called Central Market. We always visit that store, and this vacation was no exception. We actually got to see the new Ft. Worth store. Central Market is like.. Whole Foods but on a massive amount of crack. It's just incredible the selection of products and the variety and quality of produce they have at their stores. I swear, I'm not getting paid to talk about them, I just think their stores are awesome.

Isn't vacation really about where you are going to eat and the new foods you are going to experience? That's what I usually look forward to.

My husband and I stumbled upon a great looking hamburger place in Arlington called the  Twisted Root Burger Company. Their hamburgers and black bean burgers were great! I would say they were somewhat pricey, but still worth it. My husband got an avocado and crispy onion burger, and I got a mushroom swiss. Yum!

Before we left, I found out that Dallas has a really successful and well known all-vegan restaurant called the Spiral Diner.  I had to try it! Let's just say it was amazing. We had an amazing cheese dip made out of cashews that tasted just like cheese! I ordered a mock-chicken salad sandwich, and my husband ordered a crispy spring wrap. So delicious! Lastly, we had to try their I-Scream with a vegan cookie. The I-Scream tasted just like regular ice cream, if not better! It was creamy and delicious.

I thought I would share some of my exciting meal times from this weekend's trip. What are some of your favorite places to go when you go to Dallas or any of your favorite cities?

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