I love to have fun with paper, food, paint, music and events and just being creative in all of it. However, I don't feel the need to be a perfectionist nor a professional in any of my creations. I wish I could have a blog JUST about the art of cooking, photography, sewing, art, mothering, jewelry making, card making, dancing, gardening, deep spiritual thoughts, decorating, poetry, party planning, baking.... and the list goes on but I can't. I don't think I was created with the ability to focus on one task. I like all of these hobbies layed out before me and the freedom to pick whatever I choose depending on the mood or time I have.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Apple Peanut Butter Sandwiches

I saw a picture of this and I LOVED the idea! 

You will need:
1/4cp peanut butter
2 apples cored and sliced that have already been dipped in lemon
2 tbl granola
1 tbl honey
chocolate chips
1. Mix honey, peanut butter, granola and chocolate chips
2. Put the pb mix in between each apple slice
to make cheddar sandwiches
1. spread rasberry jelly on apple slices and the put cheddar in between each apple slice.
Warning: I premade these the night before and the next morning the apples were soggy and slippery.  My boys were not too excited about that.  So don't make them the night before.

No Bake Chalkboard Cookies

The Cookie:

Now for the EASIEST how to:
Graham crackers
Chocolate or black fondant
powdered sugar or white icing writers
skittle for the apples
green sprinkles for the stem

1. Melt the chocolate in a pan add 1tbl of shortening.
2. spread hot chocolate over the graham cracker in the middle making sure to leave the edge w/o chocolate this will be the board.
3. Let chocolate cool and with a toothpick write your message into the chocolate. 

Just to clarify the bottom one says "I love the Math Teacher" my hubbie teaches math :)
4. Press into the chocolate the red skittle and green sprinkle to make the apple.  And a white sprinkle at the bottom for the chalk.

5. Once chocolate is completely hardened sprinkle powdered sugar over the chocolate and let it fill into the creases of the writing.  Then use a slightly damp cloth and carefull remove the access powdered sugar.  After doing one this way I decided it was easier to use the white icing writer.

Jello Fruit Slices

IMG_8648I have a large fruit tree outside our door.  We have yet to figure out exactly what kind of fruit it is.  It looks like a grape fruit but it is as tart as a lime.  They range from yellow to green and they are med to large.  I haven't had any sucess in opening one up that is ripe since I don't know what ripe means because we don't know what they are. 

I decided to find a better use for them.  Gut them and fill it up with JELLO!

1. Make the Jello as instructed on the box. 
2. Gut the oranges/limes/grapefruit whatever it is you use.
3. Put them in a muffin pan (so they don't spill) and fill them up with jello. 
4. Let them become solid 3-4hrs and then slice them up.


The lovely pictures are from the blog More Fruit Please

Macaroni on the stove-top

This stove-top recipe was hard to find as most of the recipes I came by were for baked macaroni and cheese.

Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese
8oz macaroni, or any smallish tube shaped pasta
1 tablespoon butter
6 oz evaporated milk
6 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper

Boil the pasta according to package directions, but reduce the cooking time by one minute. Drain and pour back into the cooking pot.
Over medium-low heat, add the butter and stir until melted.
Mix the egg, milk, and spices and pour over the pasta. Stir until it begins to thicken, about three to five minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat then add the cheese in four installments, making sure the first is melted completely before adding the next.

The recipe and pictures is from the website Evil Shenanigans.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Delightfully Surprised

I was perusing Vintage Wanna Be's website and was delightfully surprise to see that I was featured!  So flattering to see your picture/ your work admired on someone elses blog!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nautical/ Pirate Room

This is what I have to work with.  The selection here for home decor is limited if your on a budget so my creative instincts need to kick in!
The Fabric: I will be making a crib bedskirt, twin duvet, pillows, crib blanket

Some decor items- I will set these around the room

A paddle- I plan to put either a quote or initials on the paddle

captains wheel wall hanging- place on the bunk bed with a screw so the boys can move it around and play!

cute little pirates- I will glue these to some book ends
simple hat rack- put anchor or something else on it.

Stay tune to see the finish product!  I will have to hurry because my boys are sooo EXCITED to have their room finished.

Guava and Banana Smoothie

Isn't Guava beautiful and it has a strong sweet scent that flirts with you before you even taste it.

One of the advantages of living in S. America is that we get to choose from a lot of different exotic tropical fruits at the market.  One of the not so rare ones is Guava.  It's not as common like pineapple but not rare like the Taxo fruit, which we still need to try.

We decided to make some Guava and Banana baby food for our little one.

Peel Guava and remove the seeds from the middle.  Stick it in a blender with a banana and 1/4 cp of plain yogurt. 

He LOVED it! I am definitely making some for me. It was really good!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Orange Chicken

This wasn't hard but it had a lot of steps.

I googled tons of recipe and picked what looked like the easiest and also this one had how to pictures I used blog chef's recipe .  I am a visual learner so pictures for lots of steps recipes is a must.

Orange Chicken

Vist the site for the great how to recipe.  It was really good.  The only thing different that I did was I chopped up celery, red bell and carrots and add it to the chicken.  I NEEDED something healthy to compensate for deep frying the chicken.  I didn't use a lot of oil maybe 4 tablespoons and I felt like it was enough.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kitchen Stool update

I got this hand me own stool from another missionary couple that left the country.  I don't have a before picture but it was just wood color and old looking.  We have used it as a plant stand, a lamp stand, odds and ends holder etc... Well in our house it was never used for sitting until now.  I went out and bought some orange paint which my husband was not to keen on but it actually turned out fantastic and he also loved it.

I used spray paint and wall adhesives to decorate the top.

Spinach and Pepperoni Stromboli

I have used 3 different pizza dough recipes and this one surpasses all of the others in flavor!  It also is a lot faster you only have one 10min dough rising section.

For the YUMMY dough: (I use this for pizza or breadsticks)
from Got A Little Space to Fill

1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the honey, olive oil, salt and flour. Stir and then use your hands. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
for the Stromboli
3/4cps shredded Mozzarella
1/2cp shreddedCheddar
Pepperoni slices
2 tsp Garlic seasoning
3 tsp Italian Seasoning
shredded Spinach
sliced ham
Olive oil for brushing on
1 tbl parmesan
cornmeal for baking sheet
Assembling Stromboli:
1. Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal and press dough into it to your desired thickness. Brush olive oil and italian seasoning to the top.
It will be folded in thirds.
2. Middle section: Start with a layer of pepperoni, then cheddar cheese, then ham then spinach and mozzarella cheese.
3. Sprinkle with garlic salt and italian seasoning and start the same layer again.
4. Fold over one flap: once you fold over a flap layer with slightly less pepperoni and cheese. Layer close to the crease so it doesn't come out.
5. Fold over the other flap over this whole layer. 
6. Brush olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan, garlic and italian seasoning.

Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal and press dough into it to your desired thickness.
Bake at 400f for approximately 20-25 or until crust is golden.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes w/ Peanut Butter Syrup!

Some people would call this breakfast I call it DESSERT! 

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup
From Our Best Bites
1 1/2 C flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C buttermilk *
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs canola oil
1 large or extra large egg
2 small-med ripe bananas
1/4 C mini chocolate chips (or reg. chips roughly chopped) tossed with 2 tsp flour
Cooking Spray or butter for pan

Peanut Butter Syrup
1 C maple syrup

1/2 C peanut butter

*As a substitute for buttermilk, place 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar in a 1 1/2 C measuring cup and then fill the remainder with milk.
Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined. Place bananas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Fold into batter. Add the chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.
For syrup, heat peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add maple syrup and gently whisk to combine. Heat in the microwave for another 30 seconds, whisk, and then set aside

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat. Coat pan with little butter and then pour on pancake batter. Use1/4 C batter for large pancakes (4-6″) and 2 T for kid-sized ones (2-3″). Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.
Reheat syrup if necessary and pour over warm pancakes.

Freezer Instructions: Let cooked pancakes cool to room temperature. Place in a single layer in the freezer until frozen and then place pancakes in a ziplock bag or airtight container. Reheat in a microwave or toaster until heated through.

Some of my other favorite pancake recipes:
One of my favorite things to experiment is pancackes see below for links to my other yummy pancake recipes!

Lemon Ricotta with Strawberries

Rainbow Cake Pancake
Gingerbread Waffles with Apple Chutney

Pancakes with a Message
Cheesecake PancakesStrawberry Cheesecake Pancakes

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes with Lemon Glaze
Pancake mix of your choice
3/4 cps Blueberries
2 tspn Lemon extract
1/3 cp of Instant oatmeal
Lemon zest

1. Make pancake mix ad directed on box and add the rest of the ingredients to the mix.
2. Spray griddle with cooking spray.
3. Pour pancake mix.

Lemon Glaze: Use any of the following
whisk together:
1/2 c. plain nonfat yogurt
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
lemon glaze icing:
1/2 cp of powdered sugar
3-4 tbspns of milk (depending on the thickness you want)
2 tbspns of corn syrup
1tsp of lemon extract
lemon zest

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Girl Scout Chocolate Thin Mint Cookies wanna be

I saw this post while perusing Food Gawker and I had to click and you know once you look at all the pictures your sucked into craving it and then you just HAVE to make it. So I did. I think the thinner the cookie the more it taste like a thin mint.  I haven't had a Girl Scout thin mint in a while but in my opinion they were good. I do want to try another recipe and instead of using a cookie cutter (it was more time consuming) I would just roll up the dough in a roll, freeze it and thinly slice it.

Chocolate Thin Mint Cookies
from Handle the Heat
Chocolate Wafers:

· 8 ounces butter, room temperature

· 1 cup powdered sugar

· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

· 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

· 3/4 teaspoon salt

· 1 1/2 cups cake flour (all-purpose would work just fine)

· Chocolate Peppermint Coating:

· 1 package mint dark chocolate candy melts

· 1 pound good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

· peppermint extract to taste (about 1 teaspoon)

Cookie dough: In a mixer cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and continue to cream, scraping the sides of the bowl a couple times if necessary. Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter is smooth and creamy, resembling a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the batter is no longer dusty looking but still a bit crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, gather it into a ball, and knead it together into a nice, smooth mass. Divide the dough in 2, flatten into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 15 minutes.
Rollout and bake: Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough out really thin, about 1/8-inch. These are called thin mints after all. You can either roll it out between two sheets of plastic, or dust your counter and rolling pin with a bit of flour and do it that way. If the dough is too firm to roll you can microwave it for 5 seconds. Cut out cookies and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the peppermint coating: Meanwhile, prepare your chocolate coating. Using a double boiler, slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until it is glossy and smooth. You can add 1 tablespoon of shortening if your chocolate is too thick. Alternatively, use a microwave in short 15-20 second bursts to melt the chocolate. Stir in the peppermint extract if you don’t have the mint candy melts.
Finishing the cookies: Using a fork gently drop the cookies one at a time into the chocolate coating. Flip to coat all sides. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan to drain any extra chocolate off the cookie. You are after a thin, even coating of chocolate. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set.

3 Easy Steps for Making Baby Food

Long ago when I lived in the Land of Plenty (bka the U.S. of A) where life moves at a faster pace a friend shared with me about freezing baby food in ice cubes.  At that time in my life I had ABSOLUTELY no desire to make my own food when I could easily go down the grocery store aisle and extend my hand out and voila I had breakfast, lunch and dinner in a matter of seconds.

Now that I live in the Land of All Things are RIDICULOUSLY Priced (bka Ecuador) I have chosen to make my own baby food. It really isn't hard and it saves us a WHOLE bunch of money and not to mention so much more healtheir for my sunshine. I wish I would of at least tried it back then when I lived in the land of plenty that way I would of realized how easy and healthy it was for our little ones.

3 Easy steps for making your OWN baby food:
1. Buy lots of fruits and veggies at the grocery store.
2. In 15min (depending on the fruit/veggie it can be less or more) I can steam and blend 2 to 3 meals. Sometimes I make tons and in one hour or less I can steam/bake/cook all of it and blend it or use a food processor and use it all of it for weeks on end.
     For steaming:  Use a steamer basket and place it in pot with enough water in it that it doesn't go pass the steamer basket.  Cover with lid and steam until tender.
     For blending:  I don't have a food processor but you can use one instead of a blender.  Stick cooked veggies, fruits in blender.  You will need to add a couple of tablespoon of water or sometimes I use apple juice and blend.  Since I make tons of it at once I prefer to keep my veggies/fruits separate so that I can mix them up later before freezing.
3. Serve it up!

Storing option that I use:
Freeze it in ice cube tray or whatever other method butters your biscuit.
Read post below for more info on freezing & refridgerating.

Freezing Baby Food in Ice Trays


Freezing baby food in ice trays is so great because it allows you to make tons at one time and most icecube trays are about 1oz or more. 

In my lifetime as a mom I have discovered that every household has different guidelines and rules for storing food so read my info as just another mom sharing what I have discovered to work.  If you have stricter guidelines than what I posted from Momtastic than do what works for you. 

This is some of the research that I have done on freezing baby food but feel free to google it yourself for more info.
This is from Momtastic she has more info on her website:
For optimal quality and nutrient retention, keep frozen baby food cubes in the freezer for a maximum of 3 months.Baby food cubes are safe to remain in the freezer from 3 to 6 months. Using baby food cubes within 1 month to 3 months is really more prudent. Due to the amount of water crystals that tend to build up with baby food purees, and due to the fact that nutrients may leach/evaporate upon thawing because of the water crystals, it is more prudent to use your frozen baby foods cubes as soon as possible - 3 months of storage tops. We always recommend using within 1 month if at all possible.

In the refrigerator, it is recommended that fresh pureed homemade baby food be stored no longer than 48 hours (many food safety authorities say that 72 hour is fine.). This limit ensures that bacteria growth in the puree is kept to a minimum and that the food does not take on the "taste of the fridge". This "rule" applies for veggies, fruits, meats etc.
If you do not plan to freeze your homemade baby food, I suggest that you make the puree on a day to day, or every other day, basis. For example, one sweet potato may be baked and then you may freeze one half without pureeing it and then puree the other half. This method will help cut down "waste" and also allow for food safety.
You should not freeze meat purees from meats that have been frozen when raw, thawed, cooked and then frozen and then, thawed again.
If you ever forget what the "rule" is, remember that you can take out a raw frozen roast, thaw it, cook it and then freeze the leftovers for another meal.
Once you have thawed the leftovers, you must use them within 48 hours; you should never re-freeze the leftover-leftovers.

For thawing options whether its: submersion method, microwave or stovetop see momtastic.  In my opinion she has very thorough instructions and options. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BABY food! Pumpkin Smoothie

This recipe is good for baby 8 + months.

1/2 cp fresh pumpkin Puree (from scratch see below) or canned PURE pumpkin not Pumpkin Pie mix
1 banana
1/4 cp Plain Yogurt
dash of cinnamon

1. Mix all of the ingredients above in a blender.
Make sure there are no chunks to prevent choking.

How to Puree fresh Pumpkin
1. Cut pumpkin into cubes w/o the skin.
2. In a pot use a steamer basket put enough water in the bottom of pot so that it doesn't go through the steamer basket. Steam pumpkin until tender.
If you overcook veg. or fruits it loses its nutritional value.
Freeze left over pumpkin if your not using immediately it does freeze well. The cooked pumpkin will turn a brownish orange so don't be alarmed when you peak into the bowl and find that color.

DIY Wall Decorative Hooks

Inspiration on the wall! 

I bought these hooks at Hobby Lobby on the 60% off aisle! I didn't care for the graphics on them so I bought them with the intention of redoing them.
I removed the hooks and started the mod podge process using some scrapbook paper. Initially I wanted to do initials but the more I thought about it I liked the idea of having quotes up on pretty paper. I had in my craft stash a book of quotes on vellum.  I cut out the quote and glued it.  I wouldn't put modge podge over the vellum.  I tried it on one and the vellum just bubbled.  You may have better luck but my advice is don't modge podge over the vellum.
This quote by Thomas Hood "And Each Heart is Whispering "Home, Home At Last!"
"The Ornament of a House is the friends who frequent it" Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can use Christmas paper for a more seasonal look.
Pinned Image

Pear & Ham Stuffed French Toast Muffins

I woke up with a desire to experiment and the results were fabulous.

Pear & Ham Stuffed French Toast Muffins
made18 med. sized muffins

12 pieces of bread torn into pieces or cut into squares
18 thin slices of cream cheese
2 tbl of sugar
1 pear diced
3 eggs
1/2 cp of milk
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbl of diced onions
1/4cp of diced ham
maple syrup

1. In a med size bowl beat milk, eggs, cinnamon and onion. 
2. Pour torn bread into egg mixture and make sure its completely covered in mixture.
3. Use cooking spray on muffin pan and begin the assembling.
Layer assembly:
1.bread mixture
2. slice of cream cheese
3. sprinkle diced pears and sugar
4. more of the bread mixture of it
5. sprinkle a small amount of diced pears over it

Bake at 375 for 12-15min.

While warm pour maple syrup over them!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tuesday Link ups




Chocolate Covered Brownie Ice cream Sandwich POPS

Wow, that title was a mouth full but making them was easier than the name.  Though the assembling takes time it was so worth it!

For the Brownies:
Box of brownie mix follow baking directions on box

or from scratch
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa, plus more for pan
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
pinch of kosher salt

1 bag of chocolate morsels
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13x9inch pan.
2. In the bowl cream together butter, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. When the mixture is creamy, and all lumps are gone, add in eggs, one at a time. Add in vanilla and chocolate chips.
3. Then add in flour and salt. Mix until just combined. Spread into prepared pan and bake until shiny on the top, 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool completely.
Assemble sandwich:
You have two ways to choose how to make the sandwich: You can either cut the large pan of brownies in half and put icecream over one half and then put the other half of the brownie on top. Freeze then cut into smaller sandwiches and put stick inside them or I just cut them first into squares and spooned icecream onto each square and sandwiched them and then inserted the stick and froze. 

1. In a sauce pan pour chocolate and oil over low heat until melted.  Dip each sandwich in chocolate and enjoy or freeze until ready to eat!

I got this idea from goodlifeeats.com

Just You & Me

Planting seeds of love now is so important because when your children leave home, its just YOU and HIM. I have very strong feelings about this statement. I do realize though that it takes a lot of work being intentional by dating each other, asking him questions with depth not just "how was your day?", forgiving him and continously falling in love with him, til death do us apart.

without the Love Birds.

I really enjoyed making this simple painting. I especially love the blue, red and brown color palette!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

I am really getting into making my own salad dressing.  I am constantly amazed at how uncomplicated they are.
My 4yr old after his bite of his Strawberry, Pear, Arugula & Spinach salad he looked at me and said "Mommy what kind of dressing is this?"  I replied Poppy Seed.  He said with eyes wide opened and a big smile "I LOVE Poppy Seed dressing!".  Of course he did it was sweet.

Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

1/4cp Plain Yogurt (I used lowfat)
1/4cp Sour Cream
1/4cp of Mayo
3tbs Sugar (add another if you want it sweeter)
2 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
2tbs Poppy Seeds

Whisk all of the ingredients above and refridgerate.

Poppy Seed Dressing (Oil Based)
from Allrecipes.com

1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1.In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard and onion and process for 20 seconds. With blender or food processor on high, gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream. Stir in poppy seeds.