Friday, November 30, 2012

Meatless Dish: Hearty Rice Skillet

So by now, most of my friends know about my quest to lower my cholesterol. Because of this, every now and again, people send me recipes that they think I might like.  One friend recently forwarded me this recipe to try. (Thanks Morgan!) 

  One thing that I really like about this recipe is how easy it is.  It's literally things that you most likely already have on hand.  Makes it a good meal to throw together at the last minute or if you are running low on fresh ingredients.  It's a combination of different canned ingredients, frozen veggies and rice.  Totally easy peasy! 

When I made it the first time, I failed to notice that it called for quick cooking rice, so I had to cook it way longer, leaving me with undercooked rice and overcooked veggies.  I don't usually have quick cooking rice on hand, so the next time I just prepared the rice in my rice cooker separately and then added it in near the end.  It seemed to work fine.

The best part is the melted cheese on top.  The cheese is one thing I miss with this new diet.  Oooey goey melty cheese... mmmm.... anyways, I enjoy a meal that still lets me enjoy my cheese.  It's not a large amount of cheese, so it's still pretty good for you, but it just adds enough to make it oh so yummy.

Hot sauce is an optional ingredient according to the recipe, but I don't think it should be optional.   Don't be tempted to skip out on it because you don't like things too hot.  Just add to taste, because the hot sauce is what really gives this dish it's flavor.

It also calls for almonds, but I just skipped those because they didn't seem that necessary.

Try the recipe for youself: Hearty Rice Skillet by Better Homes and Gardens.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Little Red Riding Hood, Grandma and the Woodsman

Sorry for the long absence from blogging.  My computer was in the shop. It was a bad electronics week for me. I killed my phone and my GPS by spilling water in my purse and on top of that our laptop cracked open.  So for a week and a half I was disconnected from the world with only a little I-touch that I could check my email on.

I did get my computer back right before Thanksgiving, but I've been caught up in a few good books that I couldn't put down, so I decided to relax over the holiday and finish them before returning to the blogging world.

I know it's almost the end of November which is a little late for a Halloween post, but I still wanted to share the costume that I made for my little girl.  I had so much fun making it and it was fun dressing up as a family.

It rained and poured on Halloween  so we went trick or treating at a couple different churches that had set up inside.   Our church had a carnival with games and food while my in-laws church did an inside trunk or treat....or more like table or treat.  It was nice that we got to enjoy the evening even with it raining down buckets.

I spent most of my energy making the Little Red Riding Hood costume.  My favorite part was making the cape.  I especially loved seeing my little girl in it, maybe I'm just biased, but I thought she looked pretty darn cute.  I also made her a little skirt to match.  I looked everywhere for just a plain white shirt to go with it, but all I found was a boys shirt, so I made do and sewed some lace around the collar to make it look a little more girly.

As for my husbands and my costumes, I tried to use what I had around the house. I wanted to spend as little effort as possible on our costumes partly because I was running out of time, and partly because I didn't want to waste a lot of time making something that we'd never wear again.

 I did sew my nightcap though.   I searched around looking for the easiest way to go about it using what I had and ended up making it from a tutorial on making a picnic bowl cover.  A little weird I know, but it it worked well, and it ended up looking just as I had imagined.  Here's the tutorial: Salad Bowl Cover by Make it Do.  I made the ruffle longer and gathered it before attaching it so that it would be more ruffly then the tutorial but otherwise I did everything else the same.

So for my grandma costume I wore the nightcap I sewed, used a white baby blanket as a shawl and actually used a dress that my mother had sewed for herself when I was a child.  Somehow the flower print felt a little grandmotherly to me.  I  also bought a white long sleeved shirt which I wore under the dress.

My husband used a hat that he got in New Zealand, it's a little more farmerish then woodsman but it worked well enough.  He wore a flannel shirt with some work pants and actually carried a knife strapped to his belt.  I think the woodsman actually carries an ax but the knife has a cool wolf on the handle which fit in with the theme.  I thought that it might be a little weird that he was carrying a real weapon around little kids, but no one seemed to care.

At first my little girl didn't quite understand what we were doing, but once she ate a piece or two of candy she realized what was going on, and really got into going to each table collecting candy in her little basket.  Overall, it was quite a fun evening.

A few days later I took her outside for a little photo shoot since I didn't get very many good pictures on the actual night.  I tried to take a bunch of pictures in our back patio, but that didn't go very well.  She had just gotten up from a nap and usually she's pretty happy but not this day.  You can't tell but just minutes before these pictures she had been crying.

I was able to get a few okay shots without tears when I started bribing her with chocolate. But it wasn't until we left the backyard to wander the complex did she start to smile.  She loves to walk and be outside.

I think my little girl's favorite part about the costume was the fact that she got to carry a basket.

She had fun carrying it around and putting things in it.

I think she made the cutest Little Red Riding Hood.  It turned out just as I pictured.

My husband thought the skirt would be cute with straps to make it look like more of a real dress.  I didn't know if I was going to have time so I did them at the last minute.  They do look cute, but if you look up close you can tell that I didn't do a very good job.  I either will have to redo them, or I may just take them off so that it can be just a skirt.

As we were walking around the complex we ran into some of the kids that live in the neighborhood.  Two of the girls decided that it was their job to look after my girl.  They had fun walking hand in hand and helping her out even though they are only 5 and 6.   My little girl loves hanging out with older kids so she was more then happy go along with it.

I'm not big into Halloween but it was still a lot of fun making the costume and seeing how cute my little girl was.  It was also nice to do something as a family... and collecting a little chocolate was an added bonus.  :)

In the next week I hope to get up posts on the cape and the skirt, so look out for those!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crafty Time: Clean/Dirty Magnet

So ever go to put dishes in the dishwasher and don't know if they are clean or dirty?  Or you've started to unload dishes and half way through, you realize you just put away dirty dishes?   I've done that too many times, so finally I decided to make my own clean/dirty magnet.

It's such an easy craft and totally worth the whole ten minutes it takes to make.

I used just your typical frozen juice top. Using cardstock paper, I used the juice top to trace my circle shape. I cut out shapes and used letter stickers for the words and then used a little bling to make it a little fun. Next, I used a 3 dimensional sticker on the indented side of the juice top, and then glued the circle to it. You could use anything thick enough to raise the circle above the top of the lip of the juice top. Stick a magnet on the back and that's it! Now I'll always be able to tell whether or not I have clean or dirty dishes. :)

The only downfall to this project is that the dishwasher is still in reach of little hands. My little girl has pulled it down several times and managed to take it apart, so I had to hot glue it back together.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Christmas Stockings

So I wanted to make Christmas stockings for our family last year. I unfortunately decided to take on the project way to close to Christmas, so chose to wait until after Christmas to start my project. I figured that way all the Christmas fabric would be on sale too.

Because this was a project from last year, the photos are really old before I started learning how to take better photos so excuse the rug in the background and the dark light. I thought that this was a perfect time to put this post up though because it's already November, and so that you can avoid my mistake of starting to late.

It was a pretty easy project to do and I had a lot of fun picking out fun different Christmas fabrics. It was my first time doing applique so that was a little challenging at first, but there's lots of information out there on the internet that helped me.

I love how they came out and am so excited that we now have personalized stockings for our family. Before, we had some random stockings that each of us had picked up somewhere over the years. Now that we are a family I think it's nice to have ones that go together. I also picked out coordinating fabrics instead of matching fabrics that way if there is ever any little additions to our family it will be easy to make more.

If you want to make your own stockings, I used the Christmas Stocking Tutorial from Sew Like My Mom.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Barbecued Corn on the Cob

One of my absolute favorite things about the summer season is barbecued corn.  I love, love it.  I will crave it all year until barbecue season.  And when I finally get to have it, it's just so heavenly delicious.

And yes, I know, this barbecue season is pretty much over every where.  But out here, the weather has been so fickle.  It rains one week and then the next week it's in the 80's.  So I've been trying to make the  barbecue corn season last as long as I can.

Ingredients you'll need:

  • butter (or some sort of butter like substance :) )
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • husked corn
  • tin foil

(you could add salt too if you want, but I think it's flavorful enough without it)

 Slather the corn in butter. Sprinkle with pepper and garlic powder.

Wrap tightly in tin foil.

 Put the corn on barbecue.  Grill on medium heat with lid on.  Cook for about a half an hour turning it 90 degrees every five minutes to make sure it's evenly cooked on all sides.

Enjoy the steaming hot corn fresh off the grill.  Mmmmm... delicious!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Apple Picking

One of my friends recently moved here from the east coast and has been searching to find a place to pick apples.  I recently finally found a place nearby and suggested we check it out.

There were lots of wonderful apple trees.  There were plenty of apples in the trees, but it was perfect for our little kids because there were just as many good apples on the ground as there were in the trees.
They only had a couple of different kinds of apples on the trees that you were able to pick, but they had plenty of different kinds of apples in bins.  After we picked our apples, I selected a few granny smiths since they are the best for pies.

It was a lovely day to go on a little outing.  It was perfect weather, nice and sunny yet not too hot.  We got lucky especially since the weather has been so temperamental around here lately.  The weather can't seem to make up it's mind which season it's in.

All the apples on the ground were perfect for the little ones. They had fun picking all the apples up off the ground. Though, even with all the great apples on the ground, somehow my little girl always found the ones that were the most rotten.

I don't know if she really knew what these apple things were that we were picking. But they sure looked like fun. The other half of the fun was just being able to run around in the fresh air.

The only problem was that the kids kept taking all the apples out of our buckets and throwing them on the ground. Or they would put all the rotten apples in the bucket and we would have to pick them out. So finally we got them their own buckets that they could fill and dump out to their hearts content.

It was a lot of fun, and a great activity. It was nice to bask in the sun, pick apples and share good times with friends.

But now, I have nine lbs of apples...Whatever shall I do with them?
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