A Spring Day

Friday, March 23, 2012

We snuck outside yesterday from the first break from rain we've had all week. 






All this rain and warm temps have made the grass (and weeds) grow like crazy. I kind of love dandelions and violets, though. Anything is better than dead winter grass.



Break out that sidewalk chalk and our single sad and lonely ball. The dog always pops holes in our bouncy balls.



And what is a better activity for a 3 1/2 year old girl than looking at ants?



Look at those beautiful  pink buds on the tree. (and you can see Jane joining in on the ant watching fun in the background)



And everyone knows you can't fully play outside until you've made mudpies



We also stopped by the thrift store and picked up these three lovelies.  I've made an executive decision to start collecting charming vintage plates for the girls to eat off of. I am sick of plastic and I figure no one will mind if a $1 plate gets broken every once in awhile.


Happy Spring!

Real Food Recipe: Cranberry Quinoa Muffins

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I can't take credit for the original idea behind this recipe. It all started with this healthy "cookie" recipe I found involving quinoa and cranberries.  When I made them, I thought they were good, but the texture was definitely more like a muffin or scone than a cookie.  I experimented with it and developed into a muffin and also added in some extra things.



It's not the prettiest thing you've ever seen.  And if you are expecting to bite into a muffin that you'd buy at Panera, you'll be disappointed.  But they are super healthy and packed with tons of good things.  And my family thinks they are really yummy and hopefully yours will too.  We store them in the freezer and just heat them up in the morning for a quick breakfast or a healthy snack in the afternoon!




You'll need to gather your ingredients.  I use whole wheat flour and sucanat instead of white sugar. You could definitely make it with white flour and white sugar...but then they wouldn't really be as healthy.



Mix your dry ingredients. Whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. (recipe below)



Next, assemble the wet ingredients and sugars



Cream the butter, honey, brown sugar and sucanat (or white sugar)




This is what sucanat (it's basically dehydrated cane juice. It's the least processed form of sugar you can buy) looks like in case you are curious. Pretty grainy.


After that's creamed, add in the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract and milk. Then slowly incorporate the flour mixture. It will be pretty lumpy.



Next, add in your quinoa,  and oats


I threw in some flax seeds



And cranberries  (you could also add in some almonds at this point which is really yummy, but I left them out this time around)




Mix it all up and fill your muffin tins about 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 for about 13 minutes and enjoy! (sorry for the bad picture, I was using my pop up flash)



Here's the recipe:


Cranberry Quinoa Muffins (adapted from here)
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sucanat (or white sugar)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered unsalted almonds ( optional)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds (optional) 
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease muffin tin. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, both sugars, and honey in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, extracts and milk; beat until pale and fluffy.  Beat in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, oats, cranberries, almonds and/or flax seeds. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 way full.


Bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes.  Makes about 18 muffins.  Store in an airtight container or freeze muffins.

Enjoy!

Omelet In A Bag

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We hosted a dinner with about 15 people over the weekend and decided to mix things up a bit.  My family did this on Christmas day, and I thought it would be a fun and different way to cook for a crowd, so I tried it again and it was a success!

omelet in a bag, camping, eggs



Basically it's a DIY omelet party.  It's fairly cheap, mess free and fun! Everyone can customize their own omelets, so you can't be to blame if they don't end up liking their dinner...score! First, you need to find some Ziplock zip 'n steam bags.  (no, Ziplock didn't pay me to say any of this).   You want to use these specific bags because they are made for heating up. I wouldn't want to mess with conventional bags because it might not be safe to use at high temps.








Set out some ingredients! We did chopped onions, green peppers, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and diced ham.   You could do spinach, bacon, sausage, salsa or any other yummy things that you prefer in your omelet! And don't forget to set out the salt and pepper!



Have everyone write their name on the bag with a sharpie.  Then, crack 2 eggs in their bag and load up on ingredients.  If you add too many toppings they take longer to cook. So, maybe just about 2 spoonfuls of each thing.  Then, squish everything together.




Pop the bags into boiling water...




Put on the lid and set the timer for 13 minutes.  You might want to add more minutes if you are doing 3 eggs or lots of toppings. But, for a normal size omelet, 13 minutes is perfect.




When the time is up, pull out the bags. They should now look like this



And slide them onto a plate...and eat!



Yum! I served it with fresh fruit and homemade cinnamon rolls.




Has anyone ever tried this?



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**UPDATE: Some people have commented about concerns of heating up plastic bags.  I wanted to point out that I DON'T recommend using conventional freezer bags for this.  I know that they may work the same, but they aren't safe to use with food when being heated up.  That being said, the zip 'n steam bags are a better option.  However, it's probably not something you want to do daily.  I personally don't heat anything up in the microwave in plastic containers because they may or may not be emitting chemicals in my food.   But, I thought these omelets in a bag were a fun idea to do once or twice a year when cooking for a large crowd and using safer plastic bags.







Brush Yo Teeth

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I'm not the only one who likes to be creative in this household...

My ridiculous hubby Reid





...made up a rap one night when he was helping Lula brush her teeth.




He proceeded to recorded it on our computer and then sent it to our friend, Austin who has a popular YouTube channel.   Austin thought the song was pretty funny, so last week he came over to make a music video of Reid and Lula singing and dancing to the rap. It turned out pretty cute.



And, my wreath even made it into some action shots.




It doesn't really need any further explanation...just watch it.






A Lovely Home Day 14: Spring Mantle

Wednesday, March 14, 2012



I wanted to do a quick change on my mantle to make it more springy.  I just grabbed stuff I had on hand and threw it up there.  Remember my spring wreath from last year? Well now that my front door is adorned with something different, I decided to put last year's wreath up on the mirror.



Along with the random green and teal things I threw up there, I put some leftover potted plant party favors from the weekend to add some freshness



It's been in the 70's and 80's here this week and I'm in heaven...I love spring!

My Weekend: A Surprise Birthday Shindig

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Here's what I've been up to lately...



My mom turned 60 yesterday and we threw a little surprise party for her on Sunday afternoon! We pulled it off without a hitch...yay!  My brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to  host the party at their newly renovated house which they've barely moved into. But it looked great and was a great space for a big crowd!

As you can see from the photo, I decided to go with a yellow, gray and black theme.  We wanted to use lots of old pictures, so I wanted to do something that would coordinate with all the black and white photos.



I wanted to preserve all of the old photos, so I just hung them with clothespins on ribbons




My sister-in-law had this beautiful cake made...and it tasted delicious.  It was a white cake with light whipped frosting and fresh fruit in between the layers...yummy. Why would I ever make a cake myself again when I know I can buy one like this??





I came up with these little potted plants for party favors.  I made little "60" flags to stick in there



I also collected "60 memories for 60 years".  This was not an easy task...it involved hacking into my mom's facebook account and sending messages to her "friends"...then frantically deleting messages so she wouldn't see them.  But, I received well over 60 memories. I decided to type them all up in fun fonts on gray, yellow and white paper and put them in this clear jar that I found at Target


I had so much fun reading through all of them and this way, others can randomly pull out a card and read it!


And, best of all...she was truly surprised!



It was a super fun party to pull off...but now I need a nap. :) Happy Birthday, Mom!


A Lovely Home Day 12: Thrifted Word Art

Monday, March 12, 2012



I saw this tutorial on A Beautiful  Mess and had to try it for myself!



I found this painting at a thrift store for $3. I liked that it was on a board instead of a canvas, plus it seemed like a good size.  Then, I picked up some vinyl letters at Joann's.




Reid helped me decide what phrase to use. We decided on "it is well with my soul"...one of our favorite hymns.




I got out some flat white spray paint and started painting it in very thin coats. I probably did 10 thin coats all together.





Once it looked totally white like this...




My little helper and I started peeling off the letters...the fun part!




And we ended up with this!




Super fun and easy! I'm still deciding on where to hang it. I've been wanting to create a gallery wall, so most likely this will be a part of that.


I think I spent about $10 total on the project. Not too bad! It would be even cheaper if you already had an old painting and a leftover can of spray paint...I had to buy both of those. But, I only used about 1/4 of the can of paint, so now I have some for my next project!




A Lovely Home Day 7: Footstool Makeover

Wednesday, March 7, 2012



I have had this footstool for about 6 years. I actually forgot I had it until recently.  My mom gave it to me because she wasn't using it and I intended to recover it a long time ago.  We've been deciding what to do in our living room about a coffee table/ottoman.  We've been going back and forth about DIY-ing something, buying something or just leaving it an open space. I think I finally found a piece at Marshalls that I want to snag for an ottoman/coffee table/bench/extra seating. Multi-purpose pieces are the best!! But, I think this piece would be fun to go with it as well and add some extra seating/place to set your plate/put up your feet piece.


See the webbing hanging down? That needs to go! I spent an hour pulling out tiny nails and staples to uncover the top.
Isn't it lovely? I'm not quite sure what to do from here.




But, I did find some great 1/2 price fabric to use once I do figure out what I'm doing!




I know that I want to sand down the legs and stain them a darker color to set off the lighter fabric.



Can't wait to show you the finished product!!

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