Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIAW: Fajitas & Snow Cones

Peas and Crayons

Wha??  It's Wednesday already?  Time sure flies when you're havin' it.
Prepare yourself for some poorly taken, blurry photos.  I must have been off my game.
Oh, well.  It's still super entertaining to see things I ate, no?

Breakfast 1: Kind Bar
I noshed on a Kind bar before 5 a.m. boot camp.  Boscoe joined me.

 Breakfast 2: English Muffin With Salmon & Eggs
This has gotta be my new favorite breakfast.  I took a whole wheat Thomas English muffin and smeared it with Laughing Cow Swiss and topped it with smoked salmon and 2 fried egg whites.  So satisfying and healthy for the bod.  I also made a ginormous iced coffee.  It was necessary.

 A.M. Snack: Yogurt
I enjoyed a Chobani blood orange yogurt this morning.  I would have topped it with granola, but I could not seem to locate it.  Maybe I'm out??  Oh well.  Still a good snack.

Lunch: Bento Time! 
Made a cutie bento box today full of turkey wrap (with cheese and avocado), pretzel crisps and some baby carrots.
Hummus on the side for dipping ;)

 P.M. Snack: Kashi Treat
You know how sometimes round about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, you just need something sweet?  I'm sure it is not just me.  Well, this Kashi thingy was my "sweet" this afternoon.  It was pretty good, but definitely NOT a brownie (so, don't be fooled).

Dinner: Shrimp & Chicken Fajita, Rice
Had a great fajita packed with shrimp, chicken, zucchini, squash, peppers & avocado alongside some super delicious cilantro rice.  It was all quite lovely.  And I ate it on the fine china ;)
Then for dessert, some friends and I hit up our old neighborhood haunt, Jerry's Sno Cones to get the best flavor ever-Wedding Cake!
Clearly I was very excited.  And somewhat creepy.

Also, I took a bunch of pictures of Boscoe hamming it up:
It's rare that he'll pose for me, so I celebrated by making a collage.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Duct Tape Flower Pen Tutorial

Remember how this is a cooking and crafting blog?  The answer to that is probably "no," because it has been so long since I got my craft on!
I'm slowly getting my crafty mojo back with some simple crafts (like this safety pin bracelet).  
This easy, duct tape flower pen is really fun and perfect for back-to-school time!
I received this awesome zebra and green duct tape pen from my super sweet and talented 11 year old niece, Kaelyn.
Here she is now!
Well, K totally inspired and led this entire tutorial.  I just took the pics.
So, take it away, girl!

Supplies needed:
2 coordinating colored/patterned rolls of duct tape (you can find these at Walmart, Target or crafty stores)
X-acto knife (make sure you supervise children or clumsy adults when using sharp objects!)
A regular ink pen
A cutting mat (or something you can safely cut on without damaging your table)

Step 1: Measure your pen & cut tape
 Lay your pen on a strip of duct tape and cut a piece to wrap around it, leaving a little excess at the top of the pen.

Step 2: Wrap it up!
Wrap the pen in the duct tape and trim excess with scissors.
 Pinch it closed, like this:

Step 3: Make your petals
Take your coordinating duct tape and measure out some 4" strips.  You can either do one at a time, or get a couple petals ready for assembly at one time.  

Take the strip and fold the top corner over to make a triangle, leaving a little strip of tape on the side.
Fold it again in another triangle, using the extra bit of sticky tape to seal it.
Then lay your pen down and wrap the petal around it.
 Like this!
Then you basically just repeat this process, switching up duct tape patterns/colors so you have a nice layered effect.
I actually like how it looks better with the pattern as the base, as seen in this one.
So, I wrapped a little strip of star patterned tape around this one to finish it.
Ain't it cute??!!

A big thanks to my niece for this exciting craft & fun times ;)

See y'all Wednesday with What I Ate Wednesday!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ginger Peach & Basil Mojito and Randomness

Hey, guys!  I made you a drink this week.

You deserve to kick up your feet and enjoy one last Summer mojito.

Hmm, maybe I was talking to myself just then.  It happens.

This recipe is so super simple and it makes one perfect drink.

Do it.

Ginger Peach & Basil Mojito
Serves 1
¼ peach, peeled and diced
¼ lime
3 fresh basil leaves
A shot or two of rum
Ginger ale (I used diet, because that’s how I roll)
Muddle the peach, lime and basil leaves in the bottom of the glass (I use the handle of a wooden spoon for this), then add your rum.  Fill the glass with ice and top with ginger ale.  Garnish with pretties if you want.

Ok, time for another random Renee post.  I seriously cannot resist a survey (I was on myspace years ago just for the silly surveys-it’s true), so when Lily at Needles, Eggshells and Hairspray (go check her out-she's awesome) tagged me with a Liebster Blog award...I had to at least answer the questions.

Sorry, I'm not going to tag anyone in this, because I break chain letters and live on the edge.

I answered her questions and the questions she don't read it if you don't want to (‘cuz it’s lengthy), but I'm answering them (and you can’t stop me)!

1. What was the title of your very first post and what was it about?
Well, my first post was not really about anything (I don't think it even had a title) except that I threw a wine and cheese party for my Mom's birthday.  I was so proud of my flourless chocolate cake that I started a blog.  I feel like I have come a long way since then as far as content and picture quality.

2. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
I talked a bit about that here, but basically I get cranky when I'm hungry and the hungry monster comes out if I am not fed like immediately.

3. Do you have an underground blog or does everyone in your world know you write it?
I don't tend to bring it up in person unless someone else does.  Sometimes people brag on it and it embarrasses me.  But, yeah, my boss doesn't know about it and I guess just family and friends know that I write a blog.

4. Have you ever had to deal with negative comments?
Not really on this blog, but on Endless Simmer there have been some not so nice comments.  Nothing terrible, but sometimes I get unsolicited advice about my recipes.  Whatever, I'll take it like a man and it will only make me stronger.

5. What is your worst pet peeve?
Whistling.  There, I said it.  Quit whistling, people.  Also, people who have no manners.  That always gets me.

6. Do you think it's important to respond to every comment?
Erm, I hope not, because I'm not great about that.  I read comments and cherish them, but for some reason I feel like nobody will see the response if I reply.  I don't know how the internet works, apparently.

7. Do you blog for money? If yes, has it been worth it?
I don't on this blog, but my contributing recipes earn a little cash.  I think it is worth it, because I get to really be creative in my original recipes and I get my name out there.

8. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. One day. What would you eat?
My breakfast today was pretty boss.  So I'd do that.  Breakfast--Bagel Thin with Swiss cheese wedge, smoked salmon and a fried egg.  Lunch--a giant salad with protein and Dinner--veggie pizza of some sort.
Haters are probably gonna hate that I answered mostly healthy stuff on this one, but it makes me feel good, so whatever.

9. Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?
Ms. Ramsey, my 5th grade science teacher.  She actually made me like science for the first time ever.  We made ice cream in a bag.  'Nuff said.

10. At this moment in your life, are you content?
Kinda yeah and no (that's my Dad's famous ambiguous answer to all things).  I am content in myself, but always striving to be more.  I have alot of goals and dreams that I have yet to tackle, but no regrets.  All the crap that has happened in life led me to this moment.  So I'm alright with it.

11. Do you see yourself blogging for the long haul?
Hmm, I think I'll continue to blog for a while, but am not really committed to a time frame.  We'll just see what happens.

Ok, here’s the questions the Lil-ster gave me:

1) What inspired you to start a blog?
 I needed something to fill my time, because my job is super boring and not intellectually stimulating at all.  Plus, I have hobbies and stuff that I want to share.

2) You're stranded on a deserted island... cliche i know but always fun to imagine. so what craft supply , ingredient, and/or style product can you not live without? Why?
 This is a hard question.  Craft supply—colored floss/string.  I could see myself making some friendship bracelets for the people that rescue me.  Ingredient—maybe like some canned meats or something.  I’m thinking survival here, not taste.  Style product—really?  Um, chapstick, I guess.

3) How long did it take you to come up with a name for your blog? Why did you choose what you finally decided on?
 Oooh, I answered this one above.  Check it out ;)

4) What has been your proudest moment that you have blogged about?
 I have a lot of fails in my attempts at cooking/crafting and those never make it to the blog.  So whatever I post on here, I’m proud enough to show it off, so yeah.

5) Where did you learn your skill (cooking/crafting/style)? Were you professionally taught? Skills handed down in family? Or just a natural all on your own (if so, lucky dog you)?
 I don’t really think of myself as having skills; I am just willing to try new things.  I taught myself all the stuff I do, with some help from the internet and magazines maybe.

6) What was the very first completed project/dish you blogged about?
 I could totally go look this up, but I’m just going to guess that it was a Greek meatball sandwich.

7) Which celebrity or public figure (past or present) do you admire most and why?
 I really love the comedian Louis C.K.  I would like to be his unlikely best friend, because he’s real, he’s hilarious and I just adore him.

8) Who do you aim to reach with your blog?
 See answer to last question ;)  Just kidding.  I’d like to reach people who have never tried to cook/craft and maybe teach them that it’s not all that hard.  It’s all about trial and error and just making it work (yes, I kind of invoked Tim Gunn).

9) How often do you read other people's blogs? Which types of blogs get your attention?
 I spend most of my weekdays reading blogs.  I follow a lot of foodie blogs, craft blogs and healthy living blogs.

10) What subjects do you avoid on your blog?
 I try not to be negative on the internet, in general.  I’m never going to talk about religion or politics or whine about being in a bad mood.  I don’t like drama, so that is the reason for that.

11) What is your favorite quote and why? (doesn't have to be official... can be something your kid said or you heard on TV... just something awesome)
I like Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote-“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  This one always reminds me to be true to myself and not to worry about what other people think about me.

Ok, that’s done.  If you read all these Q&As about me, we are probably qualified to be best friends now.  So go follow me on Twitter, already ;)

Have a great week, y’all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIAW: Baked Spaghetti Squash

What time is it???  It's time for...
Peas and Crayons

I kind of gave up on the summer staples theme, just because I'm lame and can't think of anything to say about it.

Buuuut, I'm super sad that summer is almost over.  I have been digging my laid back summer vibe and am not ready for colder weather and stuff.  I even blogged as such over there at Endless Simmer last week.  You should go to there, because I made a coconut shrimp meatball that may just rock your world.
So summery and delish!

Ok, onto my eats from yesterday:

Breakfast Part I: Toast w/ PB
Hey there, green socks.  Had a lil' piece of toast with some peanut butter before heading out to 5 a.m. fitness boot camp.  I almost died there.  Ok, that's not true at all, but working out that hard makes me feel like I'm least until it is over.  Then I feel awesome.

Breakfast Part II: Bagel and Lox (sort of)
How fancy is this?  Well, not that fancy, but it makes me raise my pinkie a bit.  I had a Bagel Thin with a Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedge, smoked salmon and capers.  A little dill and sea salt on the top put it over the edge.
And, of course, a giant mug of coffee happened.
 Oh, it's my Baby the Cat.  My constant coffee companion ;)

Morning Snack: Shake 
yes, I have on hillbilly capris, today

I made a shake before I left this morning for my morning snack.  Looks gross, huh?  It's not, though.  Trust me.  I'm a professional shake maker.  This one contains 1 frozen banana, about 1/2 cup of frozen sweet cherries, 1 cup almond milk, a scoop of protein powder and 1 tbsp cocoa powder.  I'm gonna call it a chocolate cherry shake.

Lunch: Healthy Lunchable
I was going to make another lettuce wrap like the one from 2 WIAWs ago, but my lettuce was running low.  So I threw a little lettuce, roast beef and cheddar together to pile on some whole wheat club crackers.  On the side I had orange slices.  This pic makes it look like a giant lemon, but it is actually an orange.

As much as I did NOT intend to get frozen yogurt today...fro yo happened:
caramel pretzel flavor froyo topped with oreo, granola, pecans & one circus animal cookie

 Afternoon Snack: Nuts
I love almonds, but clearly must be eating more than 100 calories when I grab a handful from the large bag.  Because this 100 cal pack only has like 12 nuts in it.  Portion control, Renee, portion control.

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash Bake
I knew I was gonna make some spaghetti squash for tonight's dinner, but I figured I'd just heat it up and toss it with sauce.  I'm glad I decided to dig through the fridge and get creative, because this was a winner.
And you are in luck, because I'm going to share it with you now.  Totally free of charge.  You're welcome.

Baked Spaghetti Squash
serves 4

1 spaghetti squash
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian flavored), and 2 tbsp reserved
1 Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedge
2-3 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1/4-1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
garlic powder
optional-grilled chicken

Poke a hole in the whole spaghetti squash and cook in the microwave for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of your squash.  Let it cool for about 30 minutes or wear oven mitts for this next part.  Split the squash in half with a knife, scrape out the pulpy looking middle and seeds and discard.  Take a spoon or fork and run it all on the inside of the squash to get the "noodles" out.
Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick spray oil and add the spaghetti squash innards.  
Add the egg, bread crumbs, cheese wedge, goat cheese, spinach and seasonings and mix well.  Then top with reserved bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan.  (I also stirred in some chopped, leftover grilled chicken-but it would be just as good without it).
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes & enjoy!

I enjoyed mine with some leftover bread from Sunday's spaghetti dinner.

 Dessert: Cookie Taste Test
I made some cookies for my cousin's birthday (which is tomorrow) & he loves Reese's cups, so I chopped up a bunch of mini Reese's and put them in there.  I modified the base of Bakerella's recipe, and they were perfection.

In other news, I drank a Monster energy drink and ate some sour gummy worms this week (because apparently I'm a teenage boy??) and joined Twitter (mostly just to follow Louis CK)!  So, follow me if you wanna ;)  @athungrymonster  I promise, I'll only tweet really interesting and hilarious things.

Alrighty, happy Wednesday all!

Monday, August 20, 2012

How to Roast a Chicken in the Crockpot

So, I pinned this awesome picture of rotisserie chicken made in a crockpot pretty recently.  Turns out that I had all the ingredients and I decided to give it a go.
rotisserie chicken in the crockpot
above photo, recipe & idea from Busy Mommy
Um, best idea ever.
Roasting a chicken could not possibly be easier or tastier than this.
Aw, I wish I had styled mine as pretty as hers, but you can see the awesomeness in these crappy photos, I'm sure.  
I was nervous leaving the chicken in the crockpot for like 8 hours while I was at work.  I thought it would get all dry and be like the turkey on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

The opposite happened.  I barely touched it with the knife and it just fell apart with juicy goodness.

Crockpot Roast Chicken

1 roasting chicken (3-4 lbs)
1 Tbsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder 
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 onion (or a whole shallot)

Place spices in a small bowl and stir in water by the teaspoon until a paste forms. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and place the chicken in, breast side up. Cut an onion in half and put it inside the chicken.

Coat the chicken inside and out with the paste. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours. Make sure the thickest part of the thigh registers at 180 degrees.