Friday, March 30, 2012

Gettin' My Pin On

Yeah, I love me some Pinterest.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the site, here's a little description of Pinterest I got from Wikipedia:

"Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, 're-pin' images to their own collections and or 'like' photos."

I have been known to pin daily, but I try to only pin stuff I think is awesome.

And for lack of a better post, I thought I'd show you what I have been pinning lately:

homemade bird feeder...check out the wooden spoons
Oh, I just love birds!  And this do-it-yourself bird feeder looks easy enough to make.  I will put this on my ever growing list of DIY projects.

carrot cake protein pancakes
I've never been much of a carrot cake fan, but these carrot cake protein pancakes have got me droolin'.

DIY Yarn wrapped eggs
I'm actually planning on doing this Easter-y craft this weekend, using embroidery floss, liquid starch and balloons!  Hope they turn out as cute as this.

Love Yourself
I love Lucy, and I especially love this quote.

Eggplant and Goat-Cheese Sandwiches
Breaded eggplant with goat cheese and sauce~holy yum!  I'll be honest.  I pin alot of food on Pinterest.  The Internet makes me hungry.

coffee ring drawings
How cool is this coffee ring art?!  It totally blows my mind that this artist makes portraits with coffee rings.

40 Minute Walking Mixed Interval Treadmill Workout
This treadmill workout looks like it would be intense, but doable.  Definitely a great workout to have in your back pocket when you can't walk or jog outside.

Alrighty, hope you enjoyed my pins.  For more stuff like this, you could follow me on Pinterest.  I'll most likely follow you back ;) 

Did anyone notice that I totally dropped the ball on the March Photo Challenge?  I guess a month long challenge was too ambitious for me ;)  The April Photo-A-Day Challenge is posted though, for anyone interested.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oats Rock

Oats are awesome.  I used to think they were boring or mushy, but I'm a grown up now and I realize that I never gave oats much of a chance.
Instant oats have come along way and they have some pretty delectable flavors.
But I really like to make my oats with whatever flavor comes to mind, so I keep giant containers of quick oats and old fashioned oats on hand to do just that.

Oh, and I must mention that oats are really good for you and have lots of health benefits.  Here's more on that if you are into it.

Here are 2 of my favorite oat-y recipes lately:

Cocoa, Peanut Butter Oats
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1 spoonful of cocoa
1 sweetener packet

Combine and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Add more almond milk if needed.
Top with 1/2 of a sliced banana and a spoonful of peanut butter (I used crunchy) & stir it up.
Ewww-not a pretty picture.  But you get the idea.

Overnight Oats in a Jar 
I was like abnormally excited when my almond butter got low enough to make oats in the jar.  It's the little things, I guess.
This is so awesome to make, because when you get up in the morning, your breakfast is already made!
Here's how you make it.
When you have a jar of peanut butter, almond butter or Nutella that is down to less than a tablespoon, it is the optimal time to make this (you could also make it in a bowl, but it's less awesome that way).

Into the jar goes:
2/3 cup quick or old fashioned oats
2/3 cup almond milk
1 sweetener packet or a squirt of honey

Mix it in the jar with a spoon or put on the top and shake it shake it shake it.
Then, in the morning, stir it up and if you need a little more milk, add a little more milk.
I like to finish it off with fruit and/or nuts.  In this particular jar, I added slivered almonds and half of a banana (are you sensing a trend here?).

And, come on~no dishes to wash!  Sounds like a winner to me!

Here's some oat recipes I've bookmarked to try:

Yes, it is clear that I like peanut butter and bananas in my oats!
Have an oat filled day, ya'll.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Speckled Spring Fingernails

Spring is definitely my favorite season!  I love all the pretty flowers, despite my insane sinus/allergy situation. I was inspired to do some robins' egg fingernails when I saw these awesome nail sheets on The Dainty Squid's blog.  They are so pretty!
robin's egg fingernails 
Well, mine aren't that precise, but they are still fun for spring time! 
Here's what I used:
Brown nail polish from Avon
Light blue nail polish that I mixed myself

It's as simple as it looks: Paint your nails with the light blue & dry.  Then dip the toothpick in the brown polish and speckle away!
Have a nice day :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chai Latte Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

I think I may have said a time or two how much I love single serving desserts.

Especially the ones that cook in a minute or less.

I don't really buy snack cakes or other such tempting yumminess, because then I would eat them.  So I always say that I don't keep "good stuff" in the house.

But, I have the ingredients to make good stuff, and with a little effort comes cake (a sort of healthy cake, at that).

So this mug cake is actually pretty scrumptious, despite it's gross appearance.

I used a latte mix for the chai flavor and it made some foam around the cake, much like a latte ;)
Here's where I got my chai flavor:
Found these at Walmart in a pack of 8 (I think) for about 3 1/2 dollars, which is cheaper than what I would pay at Starbucks for one soy chia latte.
See what I mean about the foamy, gross appearance.  Ewww in looks, but Yummmm in flavor and texture!

Make it!

Chai Latte, Chocolate Chip Mug Cake for 1
1 tbsp powdered chai tea latte mix
3 tbsp flour
3 packets of turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)*
3 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp applesauce
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and pour into a greased (microwave safe) mug or ramekin.  Bake for 55-60 seconds in the microwave & let it cool for 5 minutes.

Invert on a plate or eat it out of the mug & enjoy!

*If you don't have sugar in the raw, use 3 tsp of regular sugar or 2-3 Splenda packets, to taste.

Here's some other single serving desserts to check out:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Photo Challenge Round Up #3

Day 17: Green

Eeek!  I am totally afraid of bugs (irrationally so), but this one was really cool looking.  Love how it looks like leaves, and the color is so vibrant.  This was taken on the back door of our office building.  My dad said it is called a luna moth.  It was huge, by the way-about the size of my hand!

Day 18: A Corner of Your Home

You may recognize my skinny paloma cocktail in this picture.  I enjoyed sipping it while watching Project Runway Allstars.  My computer monitor sits in the corner of our home office.

Day 19: Funny

I love seeing animals dressed up, like Doctor Octopus (cat from The Dainty Squid).  Um, yeah.  My cats were not gong for this at all.  They both (Baby, right/Boscoe, left) acted crazy when I tried to put sunglasses on them.  These are the best shots of that disaster!

Day 20: Before & After
Does anything taste better than fresh pineapple?  I'm thinking not.  This is my fruit prep for the week, but it probably won't last that long!

Day 21: Delicious
This week I made my first attempt at making pan seared scallops and they turned out great.  Melted some Smart Balance butter in the pan with some fresh garlic and seared those babies up.  Served with salad, broccoli and risotto~YUM!

Day 22: Kitchen Sink
Dip dying a shirt in the sink here.  It turned out awesome & you will definitely see the results on the blog this coming week ;)

Day 23: Moon
Ummm, okay.  I did not remember to go outside at night and take a picture of the moon, nor did I go to the store to buy a Moon Pie this week.  So, I'm giving myself a pass on this picture!  It's been a long week ;)

Well, hope everyone has a great weekend.  Got a delicious cake recipe coming at ya' tomorrow!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Skinny Paloma Cocktail

My husband and I had a date night at Bahama Breeze the other night, mostly because I wanted to eat on a patio and they happen to have one.

Come to find out, they have new skinny/healthy options on the menu.  I was very excited and proceeded to order the skinny paloma, red pepper hummus with veggies and a giant salad loaded with 5 kinds of fruit.  I was stuffed with fruits and veggies.  Of course, I could have made that all at home, but it's nice to go out and have someone else make stuff for you, occasionally :)

With the cocktail though, it tasted exactly what I've been drinking at home lately & a double take at the menu proved it was exactly the same.  So I'm keeping my recipe, but stealing their name.

Skinny Paloma Cocktail
serves 1
  • 2 oz tequila (or more if you want it stronger)
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) grapefruit juice (I used a reduced calorie, low sugar juice)
  • crushed ice
  • diet lemon lime soda
  • optional-raw sugar for the rim

Dip the rim in water and dip in sugar.  This raw sugar has big ole crystals, so it looks a little patchy.  You could also use salt on the rim if you are into that.
Pour the tequila in the glass first, followed by the grapefruit juice.  
Scoop in a handful or two of crushed ice and top with lemon lime soda.
It is the perfect relaxation drink for watching the Project Runway Allstars Finale!  Go Mondo :)
*note~I wrote this post after watching Project Runway Allstars Finale Part 1 & have no idea who won the finale as of yet.  I watch my shows on the computer a few days after they actually air.
For a good time, check out my other mixed drinks:


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Easy Peacock Feather Pillow Tutorial

I read somewhere that the best way to makeover a room inexpensively was to add little details like pillows or accessories.  So, let's make a cute pillow :)

I've been seeing peacock feathers everywhere, lately, so I started sketching some last week and jotting down ideas.  I simplified the feather to a few basic shapes to make a super fun & easy accent pillow.

Supplies you will need for this project are:
  • 2 16 x 16 squares of fabric (I used a basic cotton fabric in a natural finish)
  • 1 14 x 14 pillow or pillow form (found at Hobby Lobby)
  • Paint (fabric paint would be best, but I used acrylic paint)
  • Paint brushes
  • Scissors
  • Thread & sewing machine
  • Peacock feather template (below)
  • Optional-fine tipped Sharpie for details

Start by measuring and cutting your fabric into 16 x 16 squares.  If you use a different sized pillow form for a bigger or differently shaped pillow, you'll need to modify this measurement.

Then print off these simple feather shapes or make your own.

I made copies of them and cut them out to form my composition on one of the 16 x 16 fabric squares.

This is where I made things super simple.
You could paint the feathers free handed if you want, but I find that I'm afraid to mess things up when I do that.

So, cut out the outer shape of the feather, lay it down, paint a line around it.
Then cut out the second shape and paint a line around it.  Fill in that space (in the case of these pics, I would be filling mine in with green).
I roughly painted these, so they would have a more rustic, artsy look to them to go with the natural fabric.  Do whatever you feel necessary.

Next, cut out the last little shape (looks like a Star Trek symbol, no?) and paint around it with your middle color (purple in my case) and fill in the middle space.  Then fill in the little shape with another color.

Easy peasy!
Repeat with all feathers and let it dry.  Notice I had cardboard under my fabric.  Very important, as it will bleed through a bit.
I went in after everything dried and did some detail lines with a dark green, fine tipped Sharpie.  This is optional, but I felt like it completed the feathers.  

Then you will take both fabric squares (the painted and plain), face the painted side in and sew up three sides.  Then turn it right side out & slip the pillow form in there.  Sew it up!  You are done :)

I think it turned out cute.  Boscoe seems unimpressed with it, but he's a tough critic.
It's a perfect little accent pillow to add a little fun to your room.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Protein Enriched Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I have been jonesing.

For cookies, duh.

I take a core class on Saturdays for abs and such, and the instructor is always saying, "make your body into a 'C': 'C' for 'crunch'."  

In my mind, "C" will only stand for one thing.  And that is cookie.

Anyone else jonesing for a bowl full of cookies?
This is the best "healthy" cookie recipe I have tried, to date.  So dense and chewy with the nutty flavor of browned butter and just a touch of sea salt to counter balance the chunks of chocolate.

Let's do this thing.

Protein Enriched, Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
makes 21 regular sized cookies

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (see my protein powder of choice here)
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 stick butter (I used Smart Balance)
1 cup + 2 tbsp loosely packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup egg substitute (or use 1 egg)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chunks
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Heat butter in a small pan on the stove (on medium heat) until bubbly, whisking occasionally. Once it starts to take on a brown color, remove from the stove.  
Measure the brown sugar in a small bowl and pour the melty, browned butter on top of it and whisk it up.  Add the egg and vanilla.
Pour the sugar, butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Add in the chocolate chunks and chips.
Line your pans with parchment (or spray them, whatever) and scoop dough with cookie scoop (or heaping tablespoon), pressing them down slightly with your hands.
Bake for 11-12 minutes and cool on parchment or cookie racks.

Recipe adapted from Eat the Love blog.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March Photo-A-Day Round Up #2

Time for this week's picture round-up!
Day 10: Loud

Every Saturday at 12 pm, they test the sirens in our area.  Our dogs (I say "our" because they live with my parents, but I call them "my" dogs), Finny (right) and Madmartigan (left) love to howl when the sirens are going off.  Then they have bark wars, barking back and forth for a few minutes.  It's pretty entertaining.

Day 11: Someone You Talked To Today

My 6 year old nephew is just about the most hilarious person I've ever met.  I caught him playing chicken with his shadow this weekend and just had to snap a pic.

Day 12: Fork

I might have cheated on this photo and recycled a pic from my Blood Orange Pancakes post.  I actually had oatmeal that morning, eaten with a spoon, so there was no forking around (what?).

Day 13: Sign
I struggled with this photo prompt.  I pass about a million signs on the way to work, but they are mostly road signs (boring).  This daredevil in front of my car inspired me to whip out my camera.  I mean, really?  Mobile sharpening?  That seems really dangerous.  Check out the right corner sign.  Hopefully nobody will flag a vehicle full of knives down in search of an ambulance (lol)!

Day 14: Clouds

I could take pictures of clouds all day.  They are so pretty and ever changing.  It amazes me when there are the beams from the sun shining through~so majestic.  Next to my cats, this is my favorite photo subject ;)

Day 15: Car
Um, yeah.  My car is a total old lady car.  I am actually the 3rd generation to drive this car.  It was my Nana's, then my Mom's and now mine.  I know the prompt just says "car" so I could have taken a pic of any car, but I seriously didn't see any cool cars that day.  Let's pretend I took a picture of like a Camero from the 60s or 70s.  I love those.  Anyways, this is just a detail shot of my awesome ride.  Don't be jealous! ;)

Day 16: Sunglasses
I got these sunglasses last year at Target for a buck.  I love how fun they are!  Speaking of fun, check my St. Patty's day accent nail!  

That's it for the round up this week.  
Here's the list I'm going from: