Monday, May 30, 2011

And the winner is...

A big thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway.
And, now for the winner...
Drum roll please.

Lauren Posey, who is most looking forward to going to Germany this summer, is lucky #3! Lauren, please e-mail me your address & I'll be happy to drop your lil' jewelry organizer in the mail. :)

Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quick & Easy Grilled Wraps

The hub & I have been trying out some new things lately.
We made a "Goal List" recently, which ended up getting a little on the long side. But, that's okay because we're incorporating small changes that are having a really positive impact on our daily lives.The list is kind of all-encompassing, but we have a few food-related goals that have been working really well for us so far. They include, but are not limited to:

Cooking dinner together often
Eating cleaner, more balanced meals
Eating more vegan meals
Eating dinner at the table (not on the couch)
Cleaning up the kitchen immediately after meals
Making an effort to waste less food
Among other things, we're also cutting out TV/computer time after work & before 8 p.m. We've really been surprised at how much time we seem to have on our hands since we've started the technology-free time.
L-o-v-e it.

As part of the wasting less food goal, we're making a conscious effort to use things that are set to expire (the tortillas in the following recipe, for example) and cooking even if we're tired after a long day and would rather just head to Taco Bell. We whipped this up the other night at the Hub's suggestion. Easy peasy!

Grilled Black Bean Wraps
1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can corn (drained & rinsed)
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
Shredded cheese (or omit, if you want to keep it vegan)
Guacamole (optional)
Whatever else your little heart desires
Directions: Combine cooked rice, black beans, corn, and cheese in a bowl. Spoon into tortillas (We only made 3 of these & probably have enough filling to make at least 4-5 more. Roll up & toss on a Foreman grill for a few minutes. Top with some homemade guacamole (ripe avocados, smashed + a few good squeezes of fresh lime juice + chopped onion + salt to taste) and enjoy! Next time, I'll add some seasoning or something to the mix, but as-is, it was quick, easy, & filling. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Giveaway Time!

Hi, friends!

I've been going through my craft stash in preparation for a garage sale/moving and I stumbled upon this lil' jewelry organizer that I made a while back. I thought about tossing it in the garage sale pile, but then I thought that maybe one of you might like it.

I'm tossing it in a giveaway instead!

If you'd like a shot at winning this lil' jewelry organizer, just leave a comment on this post telling me what you're most looking forward to this summer. For me, it's living by a beach come July!

The giveaway will run through Sunday (May 29th) with the winner being chosen at random & announced on Monday. Happy commenting! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Almond Cookies

Yesterday was a rough day at work.
Have you ever had 10+ files up & walk off your hard drive?
That happened to me.
Have you ever had that happen and then the IT Dept. couldn't restore your mysteriously missing files?
Yeah, that happened to me, too.

Like I said, yesterday was rough and it made for a looong day.
Buuut, the hub made it all better by surprising me with cookies when I got home. He's the best.

He can correct me if I'm wrong, but this may very well have been his first solo attempt at baking cookies. He is a total natural.

This was the convo we had when I got home.
Hub: I made these cookies to cheer you up.
Me: Ooooo! What kind are they?
Hub: Just try them.
Me: Oh man, those are goood!
Hub: Aren't they? But, they are really bad for you.
Me: Is it the butter?
Hub: Yeah. A lot of it.
Me: Two sticks?
Hub: Yeah, how did you know?
Me: The best cookies always do...

Almond Cookies
2 3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup cold butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. almond extract
Almonds (whole, slivered, whatever you fancy)
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces, add to the bowl, and cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add eggs and almond extract and stir until just combined. Lightly flour hands, then roll dough into one-inch balls. Place balls on cookie sheet and press an almond into the top of each one, flattening the cookies slightly (or sprinkle with slivered almonds like the hub did). Bake until bottoms are golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sesame Noodles

The hub & I went up north for a few days last week for a little anniversary getaway. We never seem to get the chance to do anything like that, so it was a special treat to celebrate the 5-year mark & it was absolutely wonderful. 

While we were there, we discovered the ever-so-charming American Spoon. We fell in l-o-v-e. They had samples on hand and we couldn't get enough of...well, everything. We ended up settling on jars of the Strawberry-Rhubarb preserves, the Cherry Peach salsa, & the Toasted Sesame Seed Vinaigrette as "souvenirs." In my book, the best things to bring back from a trip are edible. That way, you get to be reminded of the wonderful time you had & foods you ate while you were away long after you're back home. It's lovely. We had the preserves on a baguette for breakfast when we got home,

the salsa was paired with chips for a mid-afternoon snack, and the vinaigrette was used in this fabulous (& oh-so-easy!) dinner. 

Sesame Noodles
Thin spaghetti (as much as you're hungry for)
Green onions, sliced thin
Sesame seeds
Directions: Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Drain and toss with the desired amount of vinaigrette. Top with green onions & a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Enjoy warm or chilled!

PS- Just an FYI for ya'll... If you're wanting to give American Spoon a try, Amazon has some great sales/bulk deals. I plan on placing an order just as soon as we run out!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Portobello Burger

I have never been a fan of mushrooms.

For as long as I can remember, the texture has just done me in. Slowly, I've been conditioning myself not to pick them out of every dish that they find their way into, but I'm still working on it. So, when the hub suggested picking up some portobello mushrooms for burgers at the market the other day, I was a wee bit hesitant and totally intimidated by the enormity of them. We went ahead & threw them in the cart with the understanding that I would probably not be partaking. And that was that.

 it turned out to be one of a handful of times that I am glad I was wrong.

2 portobello mushroom caps
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp.dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbs. minced garlic
Sliced cheese, optional
Directions: Place the mushroom caps, smooth side up, in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, and garlic. Pour over the mushrooms. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes, turning twice. Plug in your Foreman grill to preheat. When mushrooms are done marinating, spray the grill with cooking spray & throw the mushrooms on the grill. They only need a couple of minutes, so keep a close eye on them. If desired, top with cheese towards the end of cooking until melted.

The handful of changes we made to the original recipe are reflected above. Overall, super good! And they really didn't end up having too much of a mushroom texture. I might cut back a little on the balsamic vinegar next time, as it was a little bit strong, but we'll definitely be making these again. Mmmm!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo

I whipped up a new dish for dinner tonight & it was pretty darn good. The sauce ended up being a little bit on the thick side. So, I mixed in a little bit of extra olive oil at the end & that did the trick! I might even add a smidge of water next time to thin it out even a bit more. This was suuuper filling & I'm hoping it holds up well in the fridge because we had a ton of leftovers. Enjoy!

1 12-16-oz. package of pasta (I used a 16 oz.)
1 12-oz. package silken tofu
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Olive oil & sea salt to taste
Directions: Cook pasta according to directions on the package. While pasta is cooking, combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor (I used a blender). Blend until smooth. When pasta is finished cooking, drain, rinse, & return to pot. Toss in a light amount of olive oil to evenly coat noodles. Salt lightly, if desired. Combine sauce with the pasta until the desired pasta/sauce ratio is reached. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato Chips

We tried a new recipe tonight and it was mmm mmm good!
Suffice it to say, I ate waaay too many sweet potatoes tonight...

2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used chili powder)
3 large sweet potatoes (cut into 1/4-inch slices)
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Stir together olive oil, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Brush the sweet potato slices with the maple mixture and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the potato slices over and brush with any remaining maple mixture. Continue baking until tender in the middle and crispy on the edges, about 10 minutes more. Keep an eye on them though because they can burn quickly. Suuuper yum! :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Baby Shower Poms

My mom-in-law & I threw a surprise "sprinkle" for my sis-in-law/bro-in-law tonight. Since it's their third, we didn't want to have a full-on shower, but we still wanted to celebrate their new addition. So, we had a "sprinkle" instead. It was just a small, casual, come-and-go diaper shower kind of thing. We embraced the sprinkle theme & I made these poms for decoration.

The hub was a doll & fluffed them out for me
(since that's the part I least enjoy).

I think they added a nice touch. We had mini-vanilla cupcakes & white chocolate-covered red velvet cake balls, both topped with blue sprinkles, mini-blueberry cheesecakes, and little boxes of kettlecorn. Everything went off without a hitch & we were really happy with how it all turned out.

And it just makes us all the more excited to meet our new nephew!

If he's anything like this guy, we'll get along just fine. :)
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