Friday, July 29, 2011

Calling all Entries for a Lemon Celebration!

Dear beautuiful lemons, oh how we love thee, let us count the ways....

So fair, so fragrant.
So sunny, so scrumptious.

I think it is safe to admit that we have a serious "thing" for lemons.

A while ago, in our Rosemary-Lemon No-Knead Bread post, we eluded to this enjoyment near-obsession with lemons, and how we think they make everything taste better (including banana bread and cheesecake--heck, we even had a lemonade party). Well, we've been cooking up all sorts of lemon ideas--lemon desserts, lemon-colored parties, even fancy schmancy lemonade. And you know what, we're STILL not satisfied. We want more lemons!

We want more lemon recipes, more lemon decor, more lemon everything.

We want YOUR best lemon ideas.
Send them our way! Share them with us, get featured, spread the word, have fun. Let us all revel in lemon splendor. :)

Over the next little while we'll be sharing some of our favorite lemon ideas and some of your favorites too.

Just click the "contact us" tab up top and send them our way. Oh, this will be such fun!

We can hardly wait for Lemon Celebration.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Classic Bran Muffin

Growing up I remember my mom making delicious bran muffins. One of my favorite breakfasts actually. BUT when I called her for the recipe she said she just used the recipe off the back of the bran box.
After trying several versions of a few different bran-box recipes (and all of them NOT turning out like the yummy ones my mom used to make- could be the humidity, the altitude...) anyway,  I went on a hunt for that
perfect bran muffin
and I found it.

and then of course I changed it.
But if you ask me, it's still perfect and healthier.
And let me tell you, when you pull these bad boys out of the oven it smells like
warm brown sugar heaven!

So here's the original recipe
and here's my healthier version. Like I said, BOTH are delicious!

1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup milk plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup applesause (or oil)
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

2. Combine milk and lemon juice. Mix with wheat bran; let stand for 10 minutes.
*the bran softens a lot quicker and better if the milk is warm!*
also, sometimes I add a bit more milk if it seems a little dry.

3.Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to milk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into milk mixture, until just blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.

4.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Sweet Mango Pork; Chinese Chicken Salad; Bacon, Kale and Yam Breakafast Burritos
Here's what we've been eating this week! Mostly some old standbys but with one good and healthy new dish (as healthy as something can be that includes bacon...).

Chinese Chicken Salad

Super Nachos

Bacon, Kale and Yam Breakfast Burritos  I found this recipe on one of my new favorite food blogs: Perry's Plate. Natalie provides tons of healthy, hearty, tasty recipes and many new ways to use vegetables. The other day I ended up with a lot of kale and swiss chard and decided to check out her blog to see what she does with them, and she had tons of ideas! This recipe is the one I decided to try and while I have never EVER thought of putting sweet potatoes in a breakfast burrito, the results were terrific. I didn't actually have any burrito wraps, so I put ours in a pita pocket though, and we all enjoyed it. Especially with the fresh salsa on top, which I also thought was an odd suggestion--until I tasted it that way. I'm telling you, Natalie has a good eye for beautiful, colorful dishes, and a good palate for tasty food!


Sweet Mango Pork Mexican Salad Emily recently made this and put the pork in a burrito. I made it and then used it in a salad. So versatile... :)

Grilled Chicken, roasted beets and some sort of crook-neck squash, corn, tomato, cheese concoction that was actually pretty good.

Hamburgers--my brother's birthday outdoor bbq celebration. :)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Repurposed Shirt to Dress (Plus Leggings)

Here we go again...
I thought this one turned out so cute and was really easy.
I'll definitely be using this idea again.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the shirt before I started, but it was just a basic baseball cut t-shirt.
First I cut off the collar and shirred 1/4 inch apart for 5 rows.
I did the outer edge first and worked my way in.
(If you've never shirred before DON'T be afraid to try. It was soooo easy. You'll need thread that matches your fabric and elastic thread. I just followed the shirring instructions on the back of the elastic thread package and it was so simple).

Next I measured across the chest to get the width I needed. (You can just lay a shirt on top that's the size you want and mark the sides.) I drew a line down and slightly angled out for the sides of the dress and another that went out for the sleeve bottoms. Cut on lines, turn the dress inside out, and sew new side and arm seams.

Now I trimmed off the hemmed edge of the sleeve and shirred a couple rows around.
(After you are done shirring steam the dress with an iron and it will gather up tighter)
I cut the dress to the length I wanted and stitched in about 1/4 inch from the bottom. 

Then I thought some leggings would be adorable so I traced an existing pair to make a pattern and whipped some out of another old t-shirt. (Sorry no tutorial for that part, I'll have to make one later).
Just as a reference, I used my size small shirt to make a 9 or 12 month size baby dress. So to adjust the size you could start out with a bigger or smaller t-shirt and you can also adjust the width with the side seams and cut the neck hole bigger if you need to. This would be an easy way to make a new toddler shirt too.
 Pretty dang cute for another free outfit!

 here's where we link

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to plant a terrarium

For my birthday this year my husband and little girls bought me two terrariums with "free reign" to fill them as I pleased. Yay! I've spent a great deal of time considering what I want to go in them, and decided that I wanted one to just be lush and green, and the other I'm still vacillating between a brown or green orchid or perhaps a "pitcher" carnivorous plant (they're beautiful). We'll see.... The options are limitless, and I had quite a hard time deciding, but here is my "lush and green" terrarium.

I'm still thinking of perhaps a fern or large-leafed plant? or perhaps a flowering African Violet? Again, only time will tell. :)

But, here's what you need to plant your own terrarium:
a container (lid or no lid, either way)
plants that like moist environments
activated carbon (I bought mine at PetCo in the aquarium section)

For my plants, I went with some moss I collected from the Black Hills in South Dakota on a weekend trip to Mt. Rushmore and two Pilea varieties.

Step 1: Prep your container by placing some activated charcoal on the bottom. This will keep it fresh and free from contaminants. It will help with fungal growth.

Step 2: Add a layer of good potting soil on top of the charcoal. I also stirred in a bit (maybe a Tbsp?) of charcoal directly into the soil.

Step 3: Plant your plants--dig little holes and place your plants in there. I added a bit of water, but I think it was too much because the next day my terrarium was super foggy with a lot of condensed water on the inside. I just opened the lid to allow some of the moisture to escape, and now it seems good to go.  

It's been a few days and the terrarium is alive and well. In fact, as to be expected, the plants seem to LOVE it in there and are thriving; I even had to trim the larger Pilea.

Good luck with your terrarium. I always knew I liked them, but I've been surprised how much I've enjoyed mine and at how well the plants are doing in it. I'm still thinking of adding a flowering plant or a fern or something. We'll see... I'll keep you posted. :)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sweet Mango Pork

I love this recipe because its a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and super versatile.
My favorite way to eat it lately is as a taco with mango salsa,
but it also works great in burritos with black beans and rice, quesidillas, on a salad with corn, beans, tomatoes, and a cilantro dressing... however you like!
And if you don't need a whole roast-worth of meat, just freeze the extra for another time.

Here's the recipe...
It's not an exact sort of thing, I've never actually measured any of the ingredients, but I'll give you an estimated amount. Don't over think it.
Put in a crock pot-

Pork Roast
 3/4 cup Salsa (I prefer fresh)
1 diced Mango
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
if you want it sweeter you can also add some brown sugar

Cook on High for 4-5 hours
Remove the roast and shred it.
Return it to the pot and add Juice from 1/2 lime
Serve however you like!

Here's the mango salsa recipe
1 diced Mango
1 diced Red Pepper
Green Onion
Lime Juice

I also like to top the taco with a little sour cream that has some lime juice and cilantro mixed in.


Here's where we link

Friday, July 15, 2011

Garden Chic Baby Shower

You are in for a real treat today! Today we are sharing with you a truly beautiful baby shower. If you are anything like me, you will immediately start going through your mental calendar to see whose birthday/bridal shower/baby shower/graduation/anniversary/etc. is coming up so that you can have an excuse to throw such a beautiful party! Just look at it--its' gorgeous!!!
And I can say things like that because neither Emily nor I had any party in hosting this shower--one of my BFFs from college helped host this shower. You can see other great creations and hear some great stories by Miranda over at Narrating Life.

How crazy gorgeous are those crepe quiches? And the brown eggs? And the cheese board? The signs! Ahh! All wonderful. The signs are made using chalkboard vinyl and embroidery hoops. I'm probably going to do that about a million times in my life... :) 

Itty Bitty Pancakes--how cute and chic. :)

I love the way the breeze billows the table cloth in this picture--so fitting for a garden party.

And here is the party favor display, also rustic and feminine.

Anyway, love the party.

Miranda is quite the party extraordinaire. Check out this Rainbow Birthday Bash she helped with and this First Day of Summer Ice Cream Party. I've also been a long-time fan of her Turquoise and Orange Baby Shower she threw.

In her own words, "I LOVE PLANNING PARTIES and I want to plan more. In fact, if you need help planning your next big shindig, please email me at for more information!"

You won't regret it. :)

Re-Purposed Shirt to Dress

I have this beautiful baby girl who seems to be growing out of her clothes at an incredible rate!
So, I'm trying to get ahead by making her some clothes for the fall.
I went through my box of  'I don't wear this anymore, but it has to be good for something' and this is the first little outfit I finished...

A comfy long sleave knit dress.
Here's how I made it...

This is the shirt I started with. (It was actually Jaime's. Thanks Jaime!)

First I cut across the bust
 (I wanted to use the cute gathered front for the top still
and the bottom of the shirt as the skirt portion of the dress.)

I used the sleave of an existing dress to measure how long to make my new sleave.
I just lined up the bottom and traced the curve of the shoulder.

Then I cut the curved line. (I know my new sleave is much wider at this point, but I'll change it later.)

Next I lined the center seams up so the shirt layed flat.

I used the pink dress again (or you could use a shirt the right size) to cut a new shoulder, armhole, and side.

I folded it in half...

and cut the other side to match.

Here are all my pieces now and how they'll line up.
I ended up trimming a bit of the top of the skirt piece to make it the right length. I also hand stitched the front closed most of the way up.

Turn the top inside out and sew the shoulder and side seams.

I gathered the top of the sleave so it fit the arm hole.

To gather, sew a basting stitch, hold on the one thread and push/bunch the fabric together. Make sure to even out the gathers (not tight in one spot and loose in others).
I also gathered a bit in the front and back of the skirt piece so it fit the top of the dress.

I sewed a seam from the arm pit to the end of the sleave along the bottom side of the sleave to make the sleave the right width. Then cut off the extra. 

With the right sides of the fabric together sew the skirt to the top and the sleave in the arm hole.
(Sorry I'm missing some pics at this point, but I just get working and forget to take photos.)
Turn it right side out and you're done!
I also made a little hair clip out of the scraps- why not.

So I reallize the chances of someone having this same shirt and wanting to make it into a dress are pretty slim, but I figured you might have something similar, or it might just give you an idea of how to reuse something from your own closet.

Enjoy your cute new baby dress and the fact that it was free!

we're linked up here