Sunday, December 25, 2011

White Christmas

Merry Christmas! I'm in Colorado, having a white Christmas. Burrr.


I haven't updated in awhile, and I just had to brag about the many things I've made in the past week or so!

Although I haven't done any new crafts, I have knocked out quite a few recipes. Who knows, I might just hit my 50 mark by the new year. I do still have a week left, and we'll be stuck in the mountains with nothing to do. I'm sure my mom would love for me to offer to cook.

Recipe #37 - Cream Cheese Sausage Balls: I helped Tiffany make these and couldn't believe how easy they were. They were delicious too, even without the cream cheese. If I made them myself, I would add the cream cheese to see if they're that much better (how could cream cheese make them worse???)

Recipe # 38 - 3 Minute 3 Ingredient Mint Fudge: This was absolutely amazing. I didn't believe that it was as easy as it said, but it was. I couldn't find andes mint chips at the store, so I just used two packages of whole andes mints. Stick them in the microwave with a bag of chocolate chips and a can of condensed milk and 3 minutes later you have fudge. It was so crazy. It made me wonder why I had spent so long making fudge all those years.

Recipe #39 - Chocolate Mint Brownies - Just add a York Peppermint Patty in between brownie mix. SO easy. Only I could screw it up. I needed a quick dessert to make Logan for his gift and I thought I had brownie mix at home. I did, but it was peanut butter chocolate mix. Instead I decided to add them to the middle of chocolate cake batter to make chocolate mint cupcakes. Again, only I could screw this up. Somehow I managed to be in such a hurry that I forgot to add the eggs. I was trying to figure out why the batter was so fluffy and why the cupcakes weren't sticking together when I realized... Did I add eggs? nope. No eggs. Oh well, Logan said he loved them still (yeah... he won't lie about that to me. He usually finds the one thing wrong with everything I make) and said he didn't even notice.

Cost for this present - $3 for peppermint patties

Recipe #40 - Oreo Truffles - I had some of these at Susie's craft club last month and absolutely loved them. I was so impressed until I saw the recipe - Blend oreos, add cream cheese, cover in melted chocolate. That's it! But it tastes so wrong, like some sort of cookie dough. Yummm. The problem I had with these was that I couldn't find white baking chocolate at the grocery store (that's what you get at the neighborhood wal mart) so I decided to just melt hershey's cookie and cream bars on top instead. It sounded like a great idea (oreo white chocolate covered oreo truffles?) but apparently these bars aren't real chocolate or have something weird in them because they wouldn't melt, just caught on fire like a marshmallow, and clumped together right away. I went back to the store the next day and bought white chocolate, so they turned out alright. I made them for my friend Jamie, and bought a little Christmas pail to put them in, so I had lots left over. Not for long though.

Cost for this present - Oreos $3 + Cream Cheese $2 + Chocolate $5 = $10


Recipe #41 - Fluffernutter Bites: These were a present for my childhood friend Rachel. In high school we would have sleepovers that would always wind down at 2am with a fluffernutterbutter sandwich on the floor of my room. I found this recipe and thought it was perfect for a little surprise christmas gift. They were very good and very easy to make!

Cost for this present - Peanuts $2 + Peanut butter $2 + Dry milk $3 = $7


Recipe #42 - Chocolate Peanut Butter Croissants - Not much to say here. I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. I love croissants.

Recipe #43 - Oh my goodness, this is going to have to be two recipes in one. Get ready to have a heart attack just from reading. My mom put me in charge of the dessert for our friend Christmas dinner on the 22nd. Baaaad move. We decided on making the Chocolate Wasted Cake using the Black Magic Chocolate cake recipe (Recipe #44) and call it "The Next Best thing to Ryan Reynolds" (because we thought it was better than The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford). So what we did was make two 8" circle cakes using the black magic cake recipe. We let them cool for a bit and I took a nibble of a piece that was left in the pan. It tasted HORRIBLE! It was completely bitter and salty, we couldn't understand what we did wrong. Just as we were planning a trip to publix to buy a chocolate cake, we tried the outside of the cake and it tasted fine. In the end, we decided that the center of the one cake was the only part that was messed up so we just cut the center out, plopped it on top of the other cake to make a volcano, and continued with our adventure. Crisis averted. This whole time, Jane's 85 year old little british grandma was sitting quietly at the kitchen table watching us and giggling to herself at our frantic problem solving. Anyways, the next step was to make the frosting from the black magic recipe and pour it all over the outside of the cake. Pour. We covered the cake, and the platter it was on, then moved the cake to a different plate and covered it again. Then we melted bags of rolos and twixes in the microwave and put them in the volcano hole that we had cut out of the salty cake. Imagine a chocolate volcano filled with melted candy bars. While Jane was doing this, I was covering the sides of the cake with chocolate chips. When we were both done we added more chocolate frosting to the volcano part where the melted candy bars were. Then we drizzled melted chocolate over the whole cake. Then we added a santa hat in spray frosting (it was Christmas, after all). The final product looked like this:




It was very chocolaty and rich, as you can imagine, but it was nice having the caramel of the rolos and the cookie of the twix and the hardness of the unmelted chocolate chips mixed in with all that melted chocolate. It gave it some texture. I do admit, by the end of the baking experience it had turned into a disaster of a kitchen and a game of 'what else can we melt?'



Recipe # 45 - Santa Hat Brownie Bites: My final recipe I have tried in the past week is this adorable and quick one. We came to colorado and my mom was sick all day in bed [with a cold] and asked me to make something to bring to our family Christmas today. She showed me her version of these from her pinterest, which I immediately ignored and reverted straight to my own. Check! Recipe #45 done, and funded by my parents. Everyone loved them. I decided not to mess with piping melted white chocolate [*flashbacks of oreo truffle fiasco*] and went with the cans of frosting you can buy that come with the four tips (which we used for the chocolate wasted cake). When I finished making them and gave an extra one to my brother to try, I was amused at how he was attempting to eat it. The brownies themselves are those two-bite brownies you buy in the store, and the strawberry on top made it just more than a mouthful. I called him stupid and told him to just bite it in half. Then I tried. Fail. I knew it was impossible to just 'bite it in half' and I didn't want to eat the strawberry separate from the brownie because I wouldn't get the full effect. Finally I just stuffed the whole thing in my mouth and tried not to choke as everyone in the room was laughing at me, including myself.



So those are all the recipes for now. Some recipes I might be able to try up in the mountains are:


I just got approval from my mom to do the cooking while we're up there [like that was a battle], this will be fun!!!!


One more thing before I go...

I just saw this great tutorial on how to make an accordian mini scrapbook . It's adorable and cute!
The problem is my browser won't pin a video to pinterest and I just NEED it there.
So here's what it looks like the and the tutorial is the link above!!

Accordion Mini Scrapbook - Mini Album Scrapbook Gifts

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Calendars

Goodness... I still have a week left of this nothingness.

To top it all off, I was sick yesterday and had to call out of one of the only shifts that was going to get me out of the house this week. Luckily I had a wonderful boyfriend to take care of me last night and I'm perfect today! It must have been one of those 24 hour bugs or something.

Anyways, I haven't left the house yet today, but I sure did get a lot done!!!

We'll start with the advent calendar... When I was little, my mom would drag out the advent calendar each year and my brother and I would get to open the little box and have a piece of candy or a present every day. It was so wonderful and it made December so much fun. My brother's senior year of high school I had to BEG my mom to do it just ONE MORE TIME because it was the last time my brother would be home with us. Guilt trip works every time.

Of course, that wasn't the last time my brother would be home for Christmas, we have had a Christmas at home together every year since (except this year, when we're all meeting in Colorado), but it was the last time I saw that ratty advent calendar, and something has been missing from December ever since.

So once a month, they have this food truck convention in my town. All the food trucks from the area park in one parking lot and you can go around and try all their foods. Last month, Logan and I went for the first time and tried a Blue Crab Roll. It was so heavenly. It was $10, so we split it, but we were savoring every bite and wishing we had more. The food truck event rolled around again on Sunday, but Logan had gone home to go to an epic football game with his family. EEEEVEN THOUGH he left me at home all alone, I really wanted to surprise him with a crab roll when he got home Sunday night. I fought with myself all day about getting a crab roll for him, but I didn't know if I could bring myself to pay $20 for two sandwiches (I would have to have one too!) when I was extremely low on money and had just bought him an $80 iPhone case for Christmas anyways.

So what did I do????

"I can make that myself!"

I looked up a recipe online. After sifting through all sorts of recipes that just weren't right (why did they all have bacon in them?) I found this recipe from Cooks.com for Hot Crab Rolls (Recipe #34). So I ran to the grocery store, and much to my surprise a can of crab (yes, I was surprised that crab comes in cans too) cost $5 and the recipe calls for 2-3 cans! So I would end up spending $20 anyways! Well, I made do and only bought 2 cans, plus the other ingredients was about $15, and I got the experience of making my own crab rolls.



They were delicious. It was then that I decided that I would give Logan an advent calendar of gifts for every day until Christmas since I had so many little presents for him anyways. The crab roll was gift #1. He couldn't even tell the difference between mine and the truck guy's (I made sure he tried it first before I told him).

His second gift (yesterday) was a bottle of soap for his bathroom, since he had been out of soap for about a week and 'kept forgetting' to get some. Ahhhhh drives me crazy!!! So gross!

His third gift (today) was cupcakes with peppermint patties in the middle. I got the idea from this Peppermint Pattie Brownie Recipe (Recipe #35) but I didn't have any brownie mix so I made cupcakes instead. They would have turned out a lot better if I hadn't forgotten the eggs. Damn.

I also tried to make Old-fashioned Pull-apart Buns (Recipe #36) (you caught that I TRIED to make them, right?)... I followed the directions specifically, but my dough wouldn't rise!!! Argh. I don't know what I did wrong, but I was never meant to be a breadmaker anyways. I'll defrost bread any day.

I also managed to complete Logan's Grill Master Apron (which will be his gift on the 20th) which I was inspired by through this apron. I'm pretty proud of it, hopefully he'll like it!!! Notice the built in beer coozy, beer opener, all the pockets, and the accessories to go with them!



So remember the Dammit Dolls I made for my brother's birthday and Logan's Christmas? Well my mom was sending my brother's package to him up in Boston and saw the Dammit Doll and loved it. She took a picture and showed it to some of her fellow teachers at work, and one lady wanted one made for her too! So I went ahead and bought more fabric $5 and googly eyes $1 and made a better, cuter Dammit Doll. The problem was, I was torn between giving Logan the better Dammit Doll or the one I had made for him originally. Eventually, even though I felt bad, I wrapped up the new one for Logan and passed on the old one to my mom's coworker. Got $10 out of it though! Here's both dolls together. New one is on the left, old one on the right.


Today I completed bow shirt inspired by one found on pinterest from reddressboutique.com. (Image no longer available). Here's how it turned out:



Finally, I made another gator wreath for Logan's parents for Christmas. This one's a little bigger with a bigger F in the middle and double layers of piping to form the wreath.



Sorry it's a quick post, I'm off to see a movie with Logan!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stats

Just in case anyone is counting... and even if anyone isn't because I am...

I have officially spent about $82 making 22 Christmas gifts for this year.

That averages at 3.72 a gift.

My ratio of recipes to try to recipes tried is now 148:32 when it used to be 134:21.

That is all.

Pink Panty Droppers and Stockings

Exams are over...
Classes are over...
My internship is over...
For the next two weeks I have nothing to do except show up for the odd shift at work.

Let the games begin.

The other night I had an opportunity to make recipe #32... the Pink Panty Dropper. It's pretty much just beer mixed with frozen pink lemonade and vodka. It was good, much better than just beer alone.

At the moment I am making recipe #33, Apple Chips. It's great because my house smells like cinnamon apple. I always buy cinnamon apple candles so that my house smells like that, but this is the real thing!!!

Yesterday I completed an adorable office stocking for my dad, adapted from the missionary stockings found here.



Total cost for this present: $1.00 for the shirt at goodwill.

I also broke down and bought Christmas presents for the children I babysit for. I've handmade them gifts before, like the cloud pillow below, but they just don't ... get it ... and it ends up being a lot of work for no point.



With all my free time, I'm going to work on:
Fluffernutter Bites for my friend Rachel
Another Dammit Doll for a woman at my mom's work
Another Gator Wreath for Logan's parents?
A Teacher Wine Glass for my mom
Some Knight Shoes for me
and

I think I'll head over to the BETACenter and play with some babies too. That sounds like a plan :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December is upon us...

It's been awhile since I've posted. I was going to talk about how busy I was with school and how little I got done crafting and cooking, but then I went through my pictures which proved otherwise. Apparently I've been so busy because I've been crafting and cooking ON TOP of finals... oops!

So I left you off after Thanksgiving...

The week later was my friend Tye's birthday. A celebration... for a guy... that I could make manly cake for...
Perfect chance to make the adorable Hamburger Cupcakes!!! (Recipe #25)


Everyone loved them, and they were SO delicious... cupcake, brownie, and frosting? How could they not be? The problem I had with them was that I spent sooo long putting each color frosting on to them through a hole in a sandwich bag, but when I put them in my nifty cupcake container the indents for each cupcake smeared the frosting and made it all jumbled. Oh well, everyone liked them anyways.




My next project was for the Scuba dive club I am a part of. We went to some fancy country club brunch and everyone had to bring a $10 gift for one of those evil gift exchanges where people can steal each other's gifts (I had a bad experience in girl scouts once...). I scoured the internet for Ocean or Diving related gifts I could make. I finally found these Super Cute Sea Creatures from Futuregirl and went to work making them right away [or... the day before the party]!

Here's all my little guys on my sad, sad, skinny Christmas tree: (I was in a rush and forgot to grab the starfish when I wrapped them, so he got left behind. Now I have my third real ornament!)


And here's a snapshot of each one:






I think they turned out cute, but when we got there people were saying "Well it SAID $10 but it was unofficially a $20 gift." Grr.... Anyways, everyone ooohed and aaahhhed when they were opened, I didn't have to admit to being the lame-o who made the gifts, and I left with these cute wooden alligators for my brother's birthday! (AFTER the handtowels I wanted were stolen).

Total cost for this Christmas gift: About $3 for the felt and embroidery thread.




Next we have the Dammit dolls. I had been meaning to make one of these for Logan for Christmas ever since I saw them at the craft fair, Great Day in the Country. They were like $15 or something at the craft fair, and they really weren't that cute! Good ol' Meredith and I... "We could just make them ourselves!" So I did. The only expensive part of this was the Gator cloth... it was like $10 a yard. I bought half a yard I think... for $5, and used it for 2 Dammit dolls (they were so easy to make I made one for my brother's birthday too) and the Gator Wreath, and still have cloth left over.
When your favorite team is losing/ And you're bouncing off the wall/ Here's a little dammit doll/ To help youease the fall./ Just grab it firmly by the legs/ And find a place to slam it/ As you whack the stuffing out/ Yell, "Dammit, Dammit, Dammit!"


Total cost for two of these dolls: $5 for cloth, already had stuffing, used scrap felt for backs instead of expensive fabric.



Alrighty... NEXT I have something I am extremely proud of. You know that list I might one day make with my top 10 things I've made? Yeah, this will definitely be on it.

I wanted to make my friend Tiffany an apron for her birthday. She loves to bake, and doesn't own an apron. At first, I was making this apron that wasn't so cute from my own pattern. Then I saw this apron on pinterest and fell in love. Unfortunately, it's from etsy and was like $30. I decided to attempt to make my own version.

Again, I left it to the last minute but I had drawn patterns on cardstock to trace so I wasn't just winging it, so it turned out really well!!! The only thing I would change is that I would write the name in print with dots at the corners of the letters, like in 3rd grade. I always think my handwriting is pretty until I attempt to write on fabric. Then it just looks uneven and blah.

Total cost for this project: $10 for fabric



Finally, I also had to make Tiffany a baked good for her birthday! She and I get sushi together all the time, so little candy or cake sushi would be perfect. I found this recipe for strawberry shortcake sushi on pinterest and decided it was perfect! (Recipe #26)

It turned out alright... one thing (there always has to be something) is that it said to lay the cake on a clean dish towel to let it cool. Well, I guess my dish towel was TOO clean because I felt like the cake kind of tasted like laundry detergent. Oh well, the strawberry will cover it!!


Finally, I've been working on some recipes. There's no way I'll get to 100 by the end of the year, especially since I am leaving for Colorado in less than 20 days, but I'll shoot for 50, just because.

#26. Chocolate Mug Cake - I had a sweet tooth one night and thought I would try this out, but I wasn't that big of a fan. It wasn't chocolately enough for me, it just tasted kind of, bleh, like flour with cocoa.

#27. Healthy Ice Cream - Reminded me a little of baby food, but still delicious!!

#28. Deviled Eggs - yes, simple, but one of those recipes I had always wanted to try and never got around to. I made these today... Logan and I both love deviled eggs, so he'll be excited when he sees them in the fridge tonight!

#29. Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken - This is in the crock pot right now for dinner tonight. Okay, that might be cheating, but I tried the recipe, it's just still cookin! I'm throwing them on some warmed up Mountain bread when we get home from our meeting tonight, hopefully they'll be delicious! (They smell wonderful) And they are SO easy!

#30. Okay, I scrounged up some recipes I had tried before. I guess the point of this was to just get my 'Recipes tried' board to 100, not to necessarily try 100 NEW recipes. Paula Deen's Not Yo' Mama's Banana Puddin' - This is my favorite dessert of all time. I guess it's a good thing that Logan doesn't like bananas, otherwise I would have an excuse to make it all the time. YUM!!!

#31. Buffalo Chicken Dip - my ex boyfriend's mom used to make this, and I would go crazy every time she did. It's delicious! So I remembered it last year and made it for tail gating at my place. It didn't look great, but once everyone tried it they were hovering around it until every last piece was scraped up. Once we ran out of chips, people started resorting to some biscuits I had made to get every drop of the dip in their mouths. I made it again this year and brought it to a friend's house. Once again, it was a HUGE hit. Tiffany and I put a little bowl out for the guests then hovered in her kitchen around the pan eating the rest of it. Yes, fatties. It's what we tend to do when we're around eachother's cooking.




There's all my projects I've done for now... over the next few days I will be [hopefully] finishing a grill apron for Logan for Christmas, as well as a work guy stocking for my dad. I also bought the ingredients to make pull-apart buns... get pumped!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Holiday Season Is Here...

My Christmas tree is officially up!!! And decorated, with lights and ornaments and everything. Yaay! Okay, so presents aren't under it yet, but wrapping all those delightful gifts I've made is a whole 'nother task to take on, for a different day.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, which meant that I got to take care of recipes # 23 and 24 of 100 on my recipe countdown.


The sweet potatoes turned out delicious, as usual.


I always seem to have a hard time cooking the potatoes and getting them soft though... it takes the longest time! Anyways, I love sweet potatoes and this is the dessert of sweet potatoes. We spent Thanksgiving over at some friends' house and my mom advised me to make two batches of this goodness. Well, due to the lack of people there and the massive amounts of food, only 1/2 of one batch got eaten. The other half went home to my parents, and the other whole went home with me. To eat by myself. Because Logan doesn't like sweet potatoes. I'm just acting upset about this one by the way.

The Corn on the Cob Cupcakes were a different story.

They (of course) didn't turn out as gorgeous as the ones in the picture, but they kind of got there. The problem I had was that the recipe called for jelly beans. First of all, they don't have white jelly beans, so I don't know where they got those from. Second of all, one three dollar bag of jelly beans had enough yellow jelly beans to cover three cupcakes. And I had 24 cupcakes. So there I was with one 'cob' finished, massive amounts of not-yellow jelly beans that I didn't want to eat, and 21 more cupcakes to bean. Off I went, on Thanksgiving day, to Walgreens to find more jelly beans. I was toying with various ideas, including actually buying $21 in jelly beans, using skittles instead if they were cheaper, or just keeping one cob. When I got to Walgreens, I found bags of Lemon Head candies which were all yellow, so I bought those. They are so sour! So I was able to finish my cupcakes, but they ended up being yellow cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and sour candies on top. Hmmm... must think these things through.


As for Christmas presents I have completed in the last week, I am extremely proud to show off my Gator Rag Wreath for my brother.



I absolutely LOVE how this turned out. It is definitely I saw this picture on pinterest and just knew I had to make it, but of course the one on pinterest is some $40 wreath that they want me to buy, so of course they aren't going to give me instructions on how to make it. So I was left to being creative. I looked around the internet and found a few tutorials for ribbon wreaths that just involved buying a bunch of ribbon, tying it in bows, and gluing it on the wreath. So I bought lots of ribbon. And spent $25. I just told myself to suck it up. Looking at the picture again, I realized that it wasn't ribbon, it was pieces of material. I then found tutorials online for rag wreaths. Score! I'll use fabric instead! It was a genius plan... I headed to goodwill and spent about $10 on a variety of blue and orange shirts with different patterns. I then merged the two ideas (see... creativity!) and cut strips of material, tied bows, and glued them on around the styrofoam piping I am growing so fond of.
To make the 'F' in the middle, I bought a $1 wooden F at Joann's and painted it blue. I then had to use my creativity (again!) to figure out how I was going to add perfect dots in orange. I decided to put the glue in a mini plastic baggie, cut a hole, and dollop as if I were icing a cupcake. It worked perfectly, and I have a designer-looking wreath that my brother will LOVE when he gets it for his birthday (he better love it!). I'm tempted to make more of these since I still have fabric left over!

Total cost for this project: $10 in clothes from goodwill, $1 wooden letter, $2 orange paint = $13.




Next, I made a bookmark for my mom inspired by this picture found on pinterest. The one there was made from clay, but I'm not quite that adventurous, so I thought and thought about what I could use to make the legs. Finally, I ran off to Goodwill and bought a naked, chewed up Pocahontas Barbie doll for $0.80 and I cut off her legs (which was much harder that it seems due to the plastic boning inside the legs). I thought it would be as easy as painting the legs with paint, but my acrylic paint wouldn't stick to that shiny Barbie plastic. Attempting to complete this project without getting up from my desk, I grabbed the white-out, covered the legs completely in white-out, then colored lines on in Sharpie. I added yellow cardstock to a nitch dug out of the legs and wrote a quote from the movie on it. I then had to brainstorm for a few more days about how I was going to make the sparkly shoes, and finally ended up spreading glue around the shoe part with my finger, then pouring red sparkles over the top. Simple! I had to keep it all on, though, so I dug around my craft box for something I could coat it all with. I found spray adhesive and tried it out. Fail. I couldn't figure out why the legs got all sticky and the sharpie was running until I realized, spray adhesive. Like, glue. Duuuh. Finally, I went to the garage and gave the bookmark a coat of clear spray paint. Worked like magic.



Total cost for this gift: $1 for Barbie, $1 for sparkles = $2



The final project I completed this week (only THREE projects this week... but like 5 recipes so I'm still on track) was one of my picture frame earring holders for my brother's girlfriend. I made this one a little nicer than the other ones I've made by sewing ribbon around the outside and adding adorable little fabric flowers. I then added a picture in the picture frame of her and my brother in London. Thank you, Facebook for making other people's pictures easily accessible to print and do with what I would like. I then popped by Claire's and bought some earrings to add to it so that she would know what it was (I hate that embarrassing... "Aww, cute! What is it?).

Total cost for this gift: $3 for frame, $2 for picture, $3 for earrings = $8



Oh! I almost forgot... I went to craft club with my mom at her friends' place last weekend and made three adorable crafts (so that's 6 crafts this week... ha!). We made little baskets, and two thanksgiving cards. Susie is a wonderful crafter with her own craft room. I would send you over to her blog, but she messed it all up and I can't get to it, so I'll have to send you there another time.



The best part was that Susie and I got to talk about pinterest and weddings the whole time, and she leant me her crock pot as I was leaving!! Woot!

I guess that's about it for now, look forward to seeing some Aprons, sea creature ornaments, delicious recipes, and more christmas gifts on here soon!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Challenge

So I'm not that fond of cooking. Baking, I love, but not cooking.

I'm also fond of a challenge.

After being ashamed at the number of pins piling up on my 'Recipes to Try' board on pinterest, and the tiny number on my 'Recipes Tried' board, I decided to add a little cookin' in my mix of creativity.

Then, an amazing thing happened.

My mom's friend loaned me her crock pot.

Here goes nothin...




Some great recipes that I have tried that deserve a shout-out:

Paula Deen's Not Yo Momma's Banana Puddin' - I had to seek out this recipe after visiting Lady and Sons (Paula Deen's restaurant) in Savannah a little over a year ago. Ooh boy. It's heaven in my mouth. Definitely my favorite dessert ever. You have to share though because if it stays in your fridge the bananas turn brown after a few days.

Skinny Spinach Lasagna Rolls - These were very good, easy to make, stuck to a weight watcher's plan, and didn't make me feel incredibly guilty for eating them.

Crock Pot Honey Chicken - I was amazed at how good this turned out. And it was the season opener for my new/borrowed crock pot! I went a little overboard on the soy sauce though. Less is more for something so strong.

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats - I seem to forget how easy and cheap it is to make rice krispie treats. Well, I know I'm never making regular rice krispie treats again after learning this trick. The recipe did take me two attempts since I learned that if I keep the butter and marshmallows on the stove too long it turns the treats rock hard. I didn't use sprinkles on the second attempt because it calls for a whole container, and they're like $4 a pop. But, these are amazing.

7-Up Biscuits - You gotta love an easy recipe. This has only 3 ingredients, 4 including butter, and they are heavenly.

Red Lobster Copycat Biscuits - I'm a sucker for a good biscuit, and this is just that. Yu-um!



So what's the challenge, you may ask? After seeing that the ratio of recipes to try to recipes tried was 134:21, I decided I needed to level out the playing field. Although the pinboard for Recipes to Try may never get to a reasonable number because I am constantly finding great recipes, my recipes to try is not going to become a prized collection.

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyways" - I must face my fear of cooking.

So I have a goal. A goal that I plan to reach, or possibly exceed. My friends and I may all gain massive amounts of weight in the process, and I may not look so great coming out, but we must all make sacrifices.

I plan to reach 100 recipes tried by the end of 2011. For those of you counting, that's 79 recipes in approximately 38 days, 10 of which I will be on vacation. Rev up your ovens girls...

Some recipes to look forward to in the near future:


and for Logan for Christmas...


Here we gooooo!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Craft of the Day: Hanging Folder Organizer Take 2

So, remember just a few days ago when I said that I might make another Hanging Folder Organizer for my mom for Christmas?

Well...

wah lah. (That's the first time I've ever spelled that... is it right?)



I made a new, better, improved version of the hanging folder organizer from Remarkable Home's Blog that is actually fit for an acceptable Christmas present.

Not only that, but I also remembered to take pictures so I could make a tutorial for you!

Here it is...




Folder organizer

Please realize that this is not my original idea. It is all from ReMarkable Home.

Total cost of this project: $5 for scrapbook paper and $1.50 for laminating (I used the laminator at school for $0.50 a foot).

Alright, you can stop reading now unless you are bored and satisfied with listening to my rambling.

Notice the title of this post? Craft of the Day:
It was not too long ago when I had a craft of the week. Then I started having more than one craft a week and joked about calling them the 'crafts of the day'. Back then, I never thought I would actually be that sad.

Now, I not only have a craft of the day each day, I have multiple things that I create or start or complete. Example: yesterday I made Bill the Chill Pill and started knitting an ear warmer.
Today, I glittered the feet for my mom's wicked witch bookmark, made a second Hanging Folder Organizer, and bought the supplies to make my brother a Gator Wreath, his girlfriend an earring holder, sweet potatoes for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and fabric to make a new apron for my friend.

Here's to incompleted projects!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bill the Chill Pill







I found this pattern to knit a chill pill on pinterest and thought it would be the perfect Christmas gift for my mother... let's hope she can take a joke. I knitted the pattern (took about 1 1/2 hours), but I couldn't stop there. I had to make it cuter. So I wrote a poem to go with it. But I still had to make it cuter. So I made a medicine bottle to wrap it in out of card stock and construction paper, complete with a little prescription wrapper.


This is the poem I wrote to go with him:

This little guy, his name is Bill,
Bill is a special kind of Chill Pill.

When everything is going downhill,
You want to scream so loud and shrill,
You have visions you can't fulfill,
And you feel a little mentally ill.

When everything's wrong on Caplitol Hill,
And every night it's bill after bill,
Your kids won't remember the capital of Brazil,
And your dogs are far from a wonderful thrill.

Just remember your new Chill Pill,
You can take everything out on Bill.
Slam him on the counter and squeeze until
Everything's better and you're full of good will.

(Don't worry about Bill, he'll be fine...
now go and have a glass of wine.)


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DIY Rice Neck Warmer

you've never used one of these, you need to. These microwavable neck warmers are perfect for aches, pains, and sickness. And they're so easy to make!!

Last week, my little town had a big ol' craft fair that my friend and I walked around at. We passed hundreds of booths, scoffing at the high-priced items for sale and repeatedly saying, "We could make that". Thank you, Pinterest.

So while at the fair, I got a call from my mom asking me to buy one of the rice neck warmers if I saw one at one of the booths. I did see one. For $20. Good old Meredith said the magic words, "Why don't you just make one for her?". I can't believe I hadn't thought of that right away. So we lingered by the booth, getting a quick glance at how they made theirs and I rushed home to start my own. It was so simple, one of the most simple projects I've done!














And the best part? I created my very first complete tutorial, organized it in a powerpoint, uploaded it to the internet, and am sharing it with you. Ta-da!!!








How to keep myself fit



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Creaning

So I’m collecting hobbies… I’m up to two. Crafting (of course), and… cleaning. Ok, cleaning/organizing. I know, it’s sad. But when I can combine the two hobbies I feel so productive!! So here are my recent adventures in creaning (crafting+cleaning).

I made this File Folder Organizer today, and I absolutely love it!!


Some comments, things I did, and things I would do differently:

1. The tutorial given didn’t say anything about the cool colors of the file folders. I bought scrapbook paper and covered my folders in it using mod podge. Ok, I used homemade mod podge which was just watered down glue and made the papers dry crooked. In the future, I would use real mod podge or rubber cement to put the paper on.

2. You only need to put the paper on the front of the file folder because the rest is hidden. To trace the paper perfectly, I just put the paper inside the file folder and traced the front of the file folder onto it, then cut it out.

3. If I were to do it over, I would put the extra effort in to laminate the folders after putting on the scrapbook paper. I think it would make them much more professional-looking and durable.

I only did five file folders, and split two of them in half by adding a line of hot glue down the middle to make two different sections. I did this for Bills/Bank and Incoming Mail/Outgoing Mail. I should have given each mail its own file folder because half of a file folder won’t fit Netflix movies/magazines/etc.

5. I used hot glue to glue the file folders inside each other (but you only get one chance so be careful!)

6. I used 5 folders because I thought I wouldn’t need more than that, but if I were to do it over I would use at least 8. 5 folders made it much shorter than I thought it would be.

7. I just used sticky labels to label them, though the tutorial’s pieces of paper were much cuter (I didn’t have ink in my printer).

8. I just hot glued ribbon to the back and tied to hang (I used two ribbons and tied instead of using just one long one so I can adjust the hanging length if needed).

9. I don’t know why she tells you to fold the tabs down, next time I am just going to cut them off.

I think I am going to make my mom another one (and put more time into it) for Christmas.



For my second project, which I’m not sure if this counts as a craft, I used a large hanging toiletries hanger that I found new at Goodwill. I found this organizer for $2.99 and battled with myself on whether or not to buy it. I really didn’t need it for my toiletries… I already have a hanging travel organizer and I don’t travel with enough toiletries to fill this large one. I ended up buying it knowing it was too great of a find to pass up and that I would find something to put in it. When I was cleaning my room that night, I figured out that I could put the craft supplies that I use frequently in it so that I could just grab the organizer and have everything by my side instead of having to dig through my craft bin to find everything. It was perfect! I have a space for my hot glue gun, extra hot glue, paint brushes, my x-acto knife, scissors, a marker, pen, and pencil, my knitting needles, thread and a needle, a measuring tape, calligraphy pens , and clothes pins. I haven’t even filled all the spaces!!!


I was so excited about this… I was jumping around trying to find everything to put in it while my boyfriend looked on with a face that could only say, “Oh my god, she’s crazy”. I need to add an additional piece of elastic going vertical instead of horizontal to put my large knitting needles, but besides that it was perfect. The best part is, it folds up to get small so I can carry it around and store it easily!




I’ve been wanting to share the other organization projects I have done around my house, but these have been around for awhile and I don’t have tutorials or sources for all of them. Here’s the pictures for inspiration!

How I store my shoes in my closet: I keep each of the shoes (my heels only) in shoe boxes and tape a picture of the shoe on the outside. I then stack the shoes according to color/style. I think I saw this in a magazine once and just had to try.


How I store my earrings: I made earring holders out of picture frames and porch screen. The frame I found had a magnetic white board behind it, so it makes for a cute background. I made more of these and sold them on etsy with pictures on in the background. The screen is attached by Velcro, but when I remade them I did it with magnets and it was much sleeker and stayed together better.

This is a picture of one of the ones I sold on etsy: (If you want one or want the tutorial to make one please let me know!!! I have a ton of screen left over from my hedgehog cage project)


How I store some clothes: So, apparently I have too many clothes. Either that, or I just don’t have enough space. I’ll go for the latter. To fix this problem, I put clothes that don’t need to be hung up and aren’t worn enough to take up space in a dresser in blue tubs in one of those wire square racks from Target. The different tubs I have include T-Shirts (the ones you get for free, not the cute fitted ones), Exercise shorts (including sports bras), Sweat pants, Swimsuits (including cover-ups and swim accessories [goggles etc]), Plain t-shirts (the ones that you layer with that don’t have writing), and socks (which includes tights, knee-high socks, fuzzy socks for winter, etc). I also hung one color of each of my tights and leggings on a hanger like this. It freed up a lot of room for my funky knee-high socks I never wear! I also have a two bins for purses – a larger bin that has its own square for regular-sized purses (my large bags such as duffel bags and backpacks are in a large bin at the top of my closet), and a regular-sized blue bin for wristlets/small purses/coin purses etc. This is great because it guarantees that my dresser or my closet won't get cramped up!


So, I love putting things in bins and labeling them. I did the same thing to organizer my bathroom (under my sink). I have two stacks of small bins holding my extra makeup, Headbands, Hair Accessories, Body lotions/crème/extra razors/anything to do with body, Nail polish/anything to do with nails, first aid stuff, and oral stuff (extra toothbrushes, retainer case, floss, those pink tablets that show how much plaque is on your teeth). The bin in the middle of the two stacks holds my hair products that are too large to have a lid.


I also have a shoebox without a lid in the top of my bathroom closet for medicine and another one for sunscreen (ahem… tanning lotion).


Moving to the kitchen...


I am an avid tea drinker stemming from the years I spent living in England. Seriously. My whole family drinks tea now. So my electric kettle has a permanent position plugged in on my kitchen counter, but it was extremely irritating moving back and forth from the pantry to the kettle to make my tea. Okay, it might not have been THAT irritating and I MIGHT have just wanted to do a craft, but this was my solution:

It holds my regular tea, my decaf tea, my splenda, my spoon, and my mug! All it needs is a mini fridge to hold the milk :).

To make this, I bought a wooden mini dresser from Joanns for $7, painted it colors that matched my kitchen (yes, we went with a blue and green theme), added a circle of cork to the top to keep the mug, and a ring of elastic on the side to hold a spoon. I remember where everything is by: T for Tea, E for dEcaf, and A for splendA. Not the most foolproof system, but it works! I made one of these for my mom for mother's day using brown and gold. It was so classy!!


Finally, I have a Chores List. This lasted about two months (longer than I thought it would) but now my roommate and I work much better together in cleaning the house and doing chores. It’s just a laminated list that hangs on the refridgerator with clothespins that say our names. We would switch chores every Sunday and make sure our chores were done at least once that week.


Some ideas that I am looking forward to pursuing in the future:

1. Using a cereal storage container as a garbage can in the car. Yes, I’m a culprit of car trash and it drives me crazy.


2. Using soda boxes as can organizers for the pantry.


3. Making crap baskets for the bottom of the stairs.


4. Hanging my measuring cups on my cupboard doors.


5. Using a curtain rod to hang my pots and pans.

and

6. Using PVC piping on the inside of my bathroom cupboards to hold my curling iron.


Well, that's it for now! I'm off to see what I can scratch off my to-do list for the night.






How to keep myself fit