Sunday, July 5, 2015

4th of July Style

We have now officially been New Yorkers for a year, and this is the second Fourth of July we've spent while living in the City.  This year, we were lucky enough to watch the Macy's Fireworks on the East River from an office building at South Street Seaport... great views and even better friends!

I decided to make my own America Tank this year, and I was inspired by this tank at LavishBoutique.

I found the white tank at Burlington for $10, and added the stripes with red paint, using freezer paper to create the separation.  The pocket is added on (created from scrap blue fabric painted with polka dogs) using HeatBond (since I have no room for a sewing machine in my little apartment). Finally, the bow on the back is a cheer bow bought from Michael's, added with Polka dots, and clipped on with a few stitches to hold it in.

I went with an adorable braided hairstyle inspired by this picture on loftissays. I started with a thin braid on each side of the face (center parted), and a loosened side fishtail with curled ends. I then connected the two thin braids to make a crown, and tucked the ends into the braid, securing it with a bobby pin.

Finally, I attempted to make these Red White and Blue Jello Shots from atthepicketfence, but (surprise, surprise), couldn't find blue jello OR small enough cups at the shop in the city (Publix, I miss you!). So, instead, I made red jello shots, topped them with whipped cream, and drew blue stars on the cups... voila! (We will still call this Recipe 286... attempts count.)

So, nothing crazy, but happy fourth to everyone!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Recipe 285 - Chicken Ranch Pasta

The most unhealthy meal I've made in awhile
But it really made the hubby smile
Maybe it was all the greasy meat
Chicken cooked in bacon oils pretty hard to beat
Maybe it was the cheesy creamy sauce
Or the way everything was put together, tossed
With a great taste and little mess
This meal was certainly a success!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Rockin' Kitchen Floor

Grout. Freakin' grout. A five-letter-word that deserves a whole bunch of four-letter-words.

It just sits there, mocking you, hiding between pieces of tile, catching every piece of dirt that comes it's way.

Sure, I've tried all the 'magic' grout cleaners, but there's really no avoiding getting out that scrub brush and retreating to all-fours for a fun-filled hour of absolute agony.

Oh, I'm sorry, do I seem bitter?

Well, I shouldn't be, since my tiny apartment only has two little areas of tile. But hey, I'm a New Yorker now, and New Yorkers complain about everything!

So, I tried out this new 'magic grout cleaner'. A little bit of vinegar, a little bit of baking soda, water, and ammonia. Then... Scrub.
Guess what? It worked! 
Not saying it wouldn't have worked with just water, or bleach, or toothpaste, or anything else, but hey... My kitchen grout is clean.

Now, the bathroom? You let me know when you find a REAL magic cleaner for he grout in there.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

End of Year Gifts

The teacher side of me is screaming right now, "Hey, REMEMBER ME?! I EXIST TOO YOU KNOW!"

When I started this blog, it was all about crafting... What I could make, how well, how quickly, and who it was for.

Somewhere along the line I threw some recipes in there.
Then I went a little crazy with a recipe challenge.
Then I started teaching PreK and my blog became a landing place for all the fun projects we were doing at school.
Then I started wedding crafts, and my blog became a jumble of school/recipe/wedding/crafts.
Then I moved to New York, and had no room for extra crafts and curriculum-based worksheets at school that NOBODY would want to read about.
So my creativity began flowing through recipes. 
Recipe after recipe after recipe. 
Then some poetry. 

So now, It's like you know me.
You know the teacher-crafter-wedding planner-baker-cook-poet.
How dynamic this blog is (we're going with 'dynamic' instead of 'a hot mess').

But my school year is now over, and that means I got to sneak in a few fun end-of-year crafts...

Monogrammed Candles:

For my two paras, I bought these candles and cut their initial out from vinyl and stuck it on (after removing the label). Quick, easy, cheap, and cute!
Know what wasn't at all cheap? My punny tag line- "Thanks for helping our students burn brighter this year!"

Student Buckets-

Last year, I gave every student a bucket filled with bubbles and summer fun. This year, I got the student buckets, and turned it into a COMMON CORE ALIGNED WRITING ASSIGNMENT, inclusive of a lesson plan, learning goal, and aim, all which corresponded to their individual learning styles and IEP goals.

They chose a message to write to their friends and signed their name.

This year, I used the buckets to have them out all their work from around the classroom and around the school in. On the last day of school, we went around the classroom and I took down all the work, calling out their names and having them out the work in their bucket. It was a great way to get them to help with wrapping up the year, and they loved looking at everything they had done!
And boy-oh-boy was it a lot of work.

They probably would have preferred the bubbles I have to my PreKers last year.

Finally, I gave each student that I had throughout the year the Kool-Aid/Krazy straw combo (used my first year) that said 'Have a Kool Summer'. 
I'm so glad I have kids who laugh when I tell them to!

Recipe 282 - 284: Quesadillas, Brownies, and Pasta Salad

Feta is my favorite cheese, 
Quesadillas always please
Add some spinach too,
(Healthy thing to do)
You have dinner that's a breeze.

Recipe 283 - [Gooey] Salted [White] Caramel [Glazed] [Chunky] Brownies from

Salted Caramel Brownies...
Add some chocolate chips to the mix?
Salted Caramel Chunky Brownies!
Caramel turn out white and thin?
Salted White Caramel Glazed Chunky Brownies!
So sticky they're hard to eat?
Gooey Salted White Caramel Glazed Chunky Brownies!
Everyone at work loves them even though the recipe didn't go perfect?

If I substitute tortellini for shells
And add in chopped pepperoni
If I leave out the chopped fresh basil
On request of my brother tony,
If I use coconut instead of olive oil
And Italian dressing so it's not lonely,
If I change the recipe in all these ways,
Does that make me a phoney?

Recipe 281- Salmon Bake

When I moved to New York City,
Almost a year ago now, 
People told me it wouldn't be pretty...
"You'll struggle" they did vow.

I haven't just struggled, I've fought
For 358 days...
Even the little things that I've sought 
Became dragons that I had to slay.

One battle I haven't quite won
Is finding the right food to buy
I find recipes online that look fun
But the store doesn't have what goes inside

For this one I thought I was smart
How hard could fresh fish be to find?
But I felt a pain in my heart
When I had to get the frozen kind.

The filets were flat and blah
And dried out in the oven
They took way to long to thaw
And didn't give me much lovin'

So next time I make this meal
I won't settle for frozen salmon
In a package I have to peel
I'd rather have a night of famine.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

24 Delicious Limricks

I'm a cooking machine as of late, and it seems that writing poetry about each recipe takes longer than the recipe itself, so this post is a series of short limericks about all of the 24 (!) recipes I've tried out over the past month.

Just wait 'til you get to the last one!

Recipe 256 - Spinach Ricotta Calzone from RecipeByPhoto

Pizza, pasta, cannoli sweets
All of these Italian treats
But the best one known
Is the great calzone
Others become obsoletes.

Recipe 257 - Spinach Artichoke Melts from HalfBakedHarvest

A lush dip that hits the spot
Cheese and veggies in a pot
Don't stop at a spread
Slap it on some bread
A meal that won't be forgot

Recipe 258 - Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake from WhatAGirlEats

Ignored the call for parchment
And my cake did stick like lint
I had to get smart
And bake from the heart -
A new cookie I did invent!

Recipe 259 - Cauliflower Buffalo Bites from GoodDinnerMom

To replace those greasy wings
You can make these spicy things
By pouring hot sauce
On Cauliflower, toss,
Then feast on them like thin kings.

Recipe 260 - Smores Croissants from NorthernCottage

Campground smores are hard to beat,
These are made without fire's heat
Take a gooey bite
And then you just might
Smile the whole time you eat.

Recipe 261 - Roasted Garlic Pasta Salad from EatTags

Garlic, garlic, everywhere
In this pasta, none to spare
A meal to please
You'll be on your knees
Begging for one bite to share

Recipe 262 - Greek Spaghetti Squash from SpendWithPennies

If you underestimate
Cooked spaghetti squash's taste
Try it at its peak
And add all things Greek,
You'll probably lick your plate.

Recipe 263 - Corn and Cotija Guacamole from Closet Cooking

I love all guacamole
And feta cheese is holy
Add it together
I don't know whether
To eat it fast or slowly

Recipe 264 - Easy Salted Peanut Butter Fudge from SophisticatedGourmet

Decadent, rich, and easy
A treat that's truly pleasing
Peanut butter, salt,
and chocolate will halt
Any naysayers teasing

Recipe 265 - Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken Breast from BSugarMama

A new favorite recipe
Chicken breast with spicy cheese
You can't go too wrong
So don't waste too long
To find your new destiny

Recipe 266 - Creamy Garlic Mushrooms from LoveFoodies

I know when I buy mushrooms
My husband waits in pure gloom
Even garlic's scent
To him won't make a dent
They're all for me to consume!

Recipe 267 - Cheesy Stuffed Garlic Butter Croissants from LaurensLatest

Pop the can with a tough pinch
I won't judge you if you flinch
Stuff them with some cheese,
Lots of garlic please,
These yummy rolls are a cinch!

Recipe 268 - Kansas City Dirt Cake from Lilluna

When you make this pudding cake
The true fixings you must take
If it's not made right
You'll have quite the fright
When you find you've made a shake!

Recipe 269 - Lemon Crinkle Cookies from FrugalianticsRecipes

As the summer starts to break
I found an excuse to bake
A refreshing sweet
Helps your body beat
The high heat you just can't shake.

Recipe 270 - Greek Marinated Chicken from FocusEat

Chicken soaked in Greek Yogurt,
baked until juices squirt,
It melts on your tongue
Til taste buds have sung
'Better save room for dessert!'

Recipe 271 - Mini Shepards Pies from Pillsbury

I know - meant to be mini
You'll just have to forgive me
Everywhere I go
I can't find the dough
Trials of New York City.

Recipe 272 - Bacon Roasted Corn from HugsandCookiesXOXO

The thing that makes corn better?
Wrap in a bacon sweater,
Smother it in salt
Butter to a fault
Then top it with some pepper.

Recipe 273 - Graham Cracker Peanut Butter Balls from My Newest Addiction

Like a bite of cookie dough
That improves the status quo
With peanut butter
My heart's a-flutter
(Oreos are better though!)

Recipe 274 - Baked Potato Cheddar Soup from Taste of Home

So warm, so creamy, and rich,
To be made without a hitch
But if the soup goes
by mashed potatoes
You won't tell which bowl is which!

Recipe 275 - One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese from DamnDelicious
Made in just a single pot
Complicated it is not
A fine hearty meal
Makes hearty men squeal
He'll say, "Ah- that hit the spot!"

Recipe 276 - Beer Cheese Fondue from MelanieMakes

An indulgence that we love
Cheese hugs the fruit like a glove
It drips and it strings
And the taste it brings
Will make you cry like a dove.

Recipe 277 - Easy Pull Apart Pizza Bread from Sweet and Simple Living

The swiss army knife of food
Canned biscuits are misconstrued
But this time you need
Lots of sauce indeed
The dry taste is just too crude.

Recipe 278 - Cucumber Pineapple Salad from FoodiePix

I just re-read the title
Reading closely is vital
I made a mistake
And instead did make
A chip dip as a trial.

Recipe 279 - Salted Chocolate Caramelized Bananas from LifeMadeFull

Carmelized fruit is sweeter
And dipped in chocolate, neater
Then sprinkled with salt
It makes your heart halt -
Good for a picky eater

Recipe 280 -Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake from TastesBetterFromScratch

This cheesecake was such a curse
It deserves more than one verse.
I'm glad it was shared,
Otherwise I'm scared
Right now I'd be in a hearse.

Not one, two, or three layers
But four decadent flavors -
An oreo crust,
The middle's a must,
Then double chocolate slayers.

The cake crept into my dreams,
Through the day I held back screams,
I just couldn't wait
'Til sat on my plate
was cheesecake - to the extreme.