Sunday, November 25, 2012

Baby Birthday Banner {Tutorial}

It was my nephew's first birthday last week! And we threw him a mustache bash. I'll be sharing all of the stashy details soon enough. First up, this super cute baby face birthday banner. I got the idea from Stephanie over at Simply Radiant

I made two banners celebrating my nephew's adorably expressive face throughout his first year. And I absolutely love how they turned out. Some party goers thought they were really cute, some thought they  were a wee bit "creepy", but one thing's for sure they made everyone smile. My aunt even kept one of the banners to hang in her cubicle at work.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Be my bridesmaid? {Free Printable}

I'm engaged y'all! Which means...there will be lots of wedding projects coming your way. We're planning this wedding on a very tight budget. It's going to be a very merry DIY wedding. We plan on recruiting help from all those we love around us. First up, the bridesmaids.

I put together these cards to ask my girls to be my bridesmaids. Of course, I had to let them know what they'd be signing up for. So I came up with this list of duties. It just so happens to rhyme. Don't judge.

I tried to give the list an ombre effect. So despite what some may think, my printer was not running out of ink. To download the free printable, click here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Dia de Los Muertos" Sugar Skull Face Paint Tutorial

One of the many things I've learned from my mom -- always make your own Halloween costume and never spend a lot of money doing it. It's like a personal challenge every year to come up with a super sweet costume idea using things around the house and/or spending as little as possible. 

For example, my owl costume from last year or my paper wig.

And of course my man gets just as into it as I do. He's got just as many creative juices, flowing through his veins, as I do. Have I mentioned we're a match made in heaven? 

This year is another story. We've been so busy and exhausted lately. I mean, where did October go? We really hadn't planned anything for Halloween. Then Ryan came home from work the day before Halloween with some face paint and some rhinestones. "I'm going to make you a pretty little sugar skull," he said. 

I've had this fabulous photo pinned of a beautiful girl with her face painted like a sugar skull from el Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Ryan used her as the inspiration for what you see below. It's creepy, it's sparkly, it's awesome.

We got up earlier than usual so that he could paint and bedazzle my face before work. Unfortunately, not early enough to have time to take photos of each step as I had hoped. So I apologize for the lack of photos during the process, but I'll try to explain the steps as best I can.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes. I used to shy away from them, because they were always served with those weird little marshmallows on top. Was it dessert? Was it a veggie side? Let's just say that I'm much more of a savory sweet potato person. I tried these savory little buggers last night. So easy. So yummy in my tummy.

These sweet potatoes are cubed up and tossed in a balsamic reduction, sweetened with a little brown sugar, sprinkled with kosher salt, and then roasted to perfection in the oven. They're sweet and savory. This side dish is easy to make, but does take 40 minutes in the oven, so don't wait until the last minute to throw it together.

Roasted Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tequila Jalapeno Crab Dip

I'm so so sorry to those of you who are kind enough to check back for new postings. I know I've been M.I.A. I'm teaching high school again and while I love it, planning and grading occupy most of my time. This little delicious dip has been waiting to be posted for the last three weeks.

I made this tequila jalapeno crab dip for my first Pinterest party. Everyone had to bring some grub and something crafty to make that they had pinned. I've had this dip pinned for awhile and finally pulled the trigger. Result = pure deliciousness!

I made a few changes to the original recipe. I'm not a fan of mayo, so I used sour cream instead. I also added some red bell pepper, doubled the garlic, and used green salsa instead of the Tabasco. It ended up being so damn tasty! My Pinterest craft of bedazzling my iPhone charger however... a bust. You win some, you lose some.

I might consider nixing the sugar next time. The crab meat is sweet and the red bell pepper added an additional sweetness. I'm not sure the sugar is necessary...either way this dip is too good to pass up. Kick ass really.

To make the dip, start by seeding the peppers. Throw some jalapeno, Anaheim, red bell pepper, roma tomato, onion, and garlic into the food processor.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Do they look incredibly pretty? No. In fact, they kind of look like giant cocoons. But don't let their sad and frumpy appearance fool you. These zucchini blossoms, filled with a creamy mixture of goat cheese, cream cheese and herbs, are rich and delicious!

Ryan and I like to go to the local farmer's market in Chico as often as we can. Our most recent visit resulted in a bag of zucchini blossoms, some purple Chinese long beans, and a purple basil plant. The basil is now growing at warp speed in my back yard, waiting to be used for purple pesto (so cool). The Chinese long beans shriveled in the veggie drawer of my fridge before I could think of a way to use them. That's a dollar I'll never get back. And the zucchini blossoms...well we decided to stuff 'em with  cheese and fry 'em.

We decided to try out Giada De Laurentiis' recipe. A few things we did differently: we used herb flavored goat cheese instead of plain, we used milk instead of cream, and we left out the green onions (only because they were forgotten on the grocery list).

They went from delicate flowers to little deep-fried torpedoes of gooey goat cheese. The marinara was the perfect compliment for me. Ryan mixed up some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for his dip of choice.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Holy Monkey Bread!

Saturday morning I sat starving, as usual, and wished that I had a sweet little chef in my kitchen that I could summon to make pure breakfasty deliciousness. Unfortunately, I had no tiny chef, but I did have refrigerated biscuits in the fridge. It hit me - monkey bread!

I remember my mom making monkey bread once or twice when I was a kid. I also remember thinking what did I ever do to deserve this plate of heaven? So if you want your kids (or hubby) on their best behavior, just throw out two little words: monkey bread. 

Not sure who came up with the monkey title. I'm thinking of renaming it to Stop My Heart Bread, both from the insane deliciousness and the overload of calories. Either way, it's an incredibly special breakfast that should only make a grand appearance every few months.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Very Polished Thank You {Free Printable}

I know I've been a little M.I.A. from the blog for the last week or so. Reason: I've been moving. Was it planned? No. Was it fun? No. Do I have 500 ugly bruises scattered all over my legs? Yes! Was I reminded of how much crap I have that I don't need, that tends to weigh a ton? Yes!

So through some enormous miscommunication, our property management company thought that we were moving out and we...thought that we were renewing our lease for another year.

They called us on a Friday, wondering why we had dropped off a rent check, since we were supposed to be out of the house the following Tuesday. The house had been rented to someone else. WHAT?! That was news to us.

After the initial anxiety and shock factor, and visions of us living out of storage unit, we decided to roll with it. I mean, we weren't really in love with the location of our house anyway.

The property management, being very apologetic, was willing to show us a new house immediately. We ended up signing a lease for a new place that night. The house is a little bit smaller, but in a much better location. It also has a huge fenced in backyard for our puppy, complete with kiddy pool, which Stella loves.

You just never know what life is going to hand you. One thing I do know - I have amazing friends. Family and friends, who I know had much better things to do, rallied together to help us move on such short notice. I will be cooking many thank-you dinners in the near future.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coconut Lime Macaroons

These lime macaroons are the perfect baked good for summer. They require only a few ingredients and are super easy to make. The tartness of the lime pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the coconut. I had originally planned to dip the bottoms in dark chocolate...but why mess with a good thing? 

Perhaps, in the future I'll bathe them in chocolate, but for now I love these macaroons just the way they are.

Start with one can of sweetened condensed milk.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Road Trip Kit {Tutorial}

My parents are currently on a very long road trip and my house was the first stop. Knowing my mom's tendency to crave snacks and my step-dad's affinity for pop-rock mixed CDs, I wanted to make them a road trip kit, to take with them the rest of the way.

This six-pack case had been hanging out in my craft room for awhile, waiting for the perfect occasion to be used. This was it. And just like the robot baby shower favors, this kit uses Starbucks Frappaccino bottles. They're piling up in my garage, so the more crafty ways to reuse them the better.  

This kit is cute, portable, full of tasty snacks and road trip tunes - it's the perfect road trip companion. Best of all it's cheap. This easy gift was made from things I had laying around the house. The only thing I went out and bought specifically were the snacks (tailored to my parents tastes, of course).

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brag Books from Paper Lunch Sacks

My mom saw a little brag book in a local store made out of brown paper bags. She asked if I could make her one. Well...I love a challenge. After tinkering around in my craft room for awhile, I came up with these little brag books, using brown lunch sacks from my pantry.

These brag books are just what you'd think. They're mini scrapbooks to show off the little ones in your life.  They can easily fit in your purse and they're a definite upgrade from wallet photos.

The open ends of the lunch sacks become pockets for extra photos. So as time goes by you can always tuck more recent photos inside.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tractor Baby Photo Shoot

I've been in Washington this past week visiting the fam. And I am now more convinced than ever that my nephew is the most gorgeous kid on the planet. I call him "little man" and he can make me laugh and smile like no other. With my sister in charge of wardrobe and staging and I behind the lens, we've been snapping photos of him all week.

On Memorial Day, my sister had the brilliant idea to set him in the bucket of my uncle's backhoe. So while the ribs and BBQ chicken were finishing up on the grill, we snuck off and snapped a few photos.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dutch Oven Bread

Did I make this beautiful-looking bread? I think I did! It was beyond easy (no kneading) and it looks so artisan - makes me feel fancy. All you need is a dutch oven, like my beloved orange Le Creuset above, which also makes me feel fancy.

The loaf comes out with a crunchy golden crust and soft and chewy inside. The most amazing part: you get to choose the flavor! The flavor combinations are endless, so let your imagination and pantry contents run wild! 

We tried a rosemary Parmesan and cracked black pepper loaf with the agrodolce pork chops we made the other night. As well as, a sharp cheddar and jalapeno loaf that made for some killer garlic bread to accompany our spaghetti. 

Seriously though, what smells better than fresh baked bread throughout your house? Nothing. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Butte 52: Week 6 - Patrick Ranch Antique Faire

On the Patrick Ranch, in Durham, is this beautiful old home. I wish that I knew the year it was built - no dice. I would guess the turn of the 20th century, but really I have no business making architectural guesses. 

It's one of those houses that leads my mind to wander, imagining all of the interesting people of wealth and privilege that once lived there. That and how awesome it would be to play hide and seek in a house with so many rooms.

There was an antique and design faire on the front lawn of the ranch last weekend. Ryan and I wandered through the tents and booths, scouring for inspiration. We didn't actually take anything home with us, except for a few photos with ideas.

These skeleton keys - genius! I love that they've been bathed in glitter. Wouldn't they make beautiful ornaments at Christmas time? I will definitely be doing this soon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

No Ordinary Cream Corn

About a month ago, I was frustrated and couldn't think of what to make for dinner. So Ryan volunteered to come up with something that night. I could hear him scavenging through our fridge and pantry, thinking to myself good luck. 

Then he walked out of the kitchen with this:

This is my Instagram photo of dinner that night. Look how delicious! I really do have the most amazing man. He stuffed a chicken breast with fresh jalapenos and grated cheese and served it over a bed of cream corn. I pretty much inhaled my plate and I never eat that fast.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Juicy Pork Chops with Agrodolce Sauce

Typically when you say "pork chop", I say "not interested." The majority of pork chops, at least that I've encountered, have been dry and tough (sorry, mom).

That was before I was introduced to using a brine. A brine, if it's new to you (like it was to me), is a heavily salted water that you soak meat in before cooking. It helps to break down the muscle fibers and keep the meat juicy...really juicy.

These pork chops are served with an agrodolce sauce. Agrodolce is a traditional Italian sauce that has sweet and sour elements. In this case - honey and balsamic vinegar. Oh yeah, it's incredible.

We paired it with mashed sweet potatoes. Perfection. And the guys really loved the flavor and crunch of the green onions on top. If you avoid pork chops like the plague, as I once did, you have to give the recipe a shot. You just might change your mind.

It all starts with some kosher salt and a little molasses in a pot full of water.

Add some fresh rosemary and little black peppercorns. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I stumbled upon this recipe late last night. So, of course, Ryan and I made 'em first thing this morning. It was a total team effort and we rocked it! These pancakes pack all of the flavor of a baked cinnamon roll, while feeling less heavy and dense. They're also super easy to make. Go on, try ' know you want to!

Check out that short stack of deliciousness! YUM.

After pouring your pancake batter on a hot griddle, it's time to hit it with a swirl of cinnamon! Use a ziplock bag with the corner cut off or a squeeze bottle (if you have one lying around like we did). And who says you have to stick with the swirl? You could get creative and draw a heart, a happy face, or a secret love note of cinnamon.


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