.post-body img { margin-left: -40px;}

Monday, April 11, 2016

Healthy Snacking

 So the other day I was making up this tasty treat, and just getting ready to dig in when, all of a sudden, I thought,
   "Wait! I need to write a blog post!"
 I quickly ran then to get my camera to snap some pictures before I helped myself to this yummy snack.

 Lately I've been really interested in coming up with healthy snaking ideas. Well, trying to eat healthier overall, but snacking is particularly important to me because, well, I like to snack. So I've been trying things like cottage cheese, fruit, and smoothies, which I was already doing, and I've discovered that I really love cottage cheese. But when it comes to fruit, I'm not too excited. I'm just not a fruit loving person, and there are so few it seems that I actually like. Apples I like well enough, but I like them much better with peanut butter(unless they're straight from the orchard, then I could eat them any way, any time).

 I actually saw this idea on Pinterest quite a while back, and as I was looking for some kind of snack it came to my mind. And I want to tell you that whether I eat my apples with all the toppings or not, I am always going to cut my apples this way! In my opinion it is sooo much easier!

 You can put whatever you want on these handy little apple slices, but I would suggest starting with natural peanut butter. I used to think, "Whatever, natural or unnatural. Doesn't matter." But it does. It tastes waaay better! Plus it's much more yummy and gooey from all the natural oil.

 Just in case you're wondering, I cut the core out of this slice with a tiny heart shaped cookie cutter. So that's another fun little thing you can do with these if you'd like. :)

 In the pantry I found some cinnamon granola that Laryssa had made(it also had cranberries but I skipped out on those), so I sprinkled some of that on each dripping apple slice. When I first made these we didn't have any chocolate chips at home(much to my despair) but they were still very good.

The next time I got to have my chocolate chips, making it even better!

 And you can't deny that these just look so pretty! So tell me what you think, as well as ideas for more toppings, and even other healthy snacking ideas!


Monday, February 8, 2016

Catching Up

Hey ya'll! Did you miss me? Oh my, it has been so long since I've written on here, ya'll have probably  already given me up for good. Well here I am, ready to blog once again! :)

 So, life has been kind of crazy for the past several months. Not necessarily busy, but just crazy. Laryssa, for one thing, is in a serious relationship, so I wouldn't count on hearing much from her, as she has been swept away into a lovers paradise! Sisters just have to pick on each other. ;)

 The other reason I haven't been blogging for a while is simply because I haven't been doing anything worth blogging about in a while. My creativity has been in hibernation for months! Though I have done a few simple things here and there that I can share with you now. So this post is just a chance for me to catch up on this and that from the past several months.

 For Christmas I got an awesome new desk, which I'm sitting at now to write this post.

  Yep, I'm very happy with my desk. :)

 You know, I just noticed all the horses in this picture! Haha! If I took a picture of my whole room it would make an excellent I Spy book, looking for all the horses scattered about the room. Just thought I'd throw that comment out there.

  Anyway, as you can see I have a few books on the side of my desk, some of which are for writing my story(which is still in a long, slow process), and there are two new ones I got for Christmas from my older brother. I saw this classics collection at BAM bookstore and fell in love with these books. Mostly I loved them for the covers(you know how I feel about pretty books), but I am interested in reading some classics. I had read A Tale of Two Cities in my last year of school and really liked it, so right now Laryssa and I are reading it together, which is so much fun! And I recently finished the other one, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Whew! What a book! It's a pretty intense read I'd say, with a very deep and serious story. If you've heard this story before or watched the movie, you know it's pretty dark. It really delves into the heart corruptions of the character and shows how dark and evil this world really is. So yes it can be kind of distressing to read, but for me, as a christian, it was still interesting because in this story you see the evil of man, and the hopelessness without Christ. So anyway that's what I've been reading lately.

 I have been doing some jewelry making as well. I made a necklace to wear as a bridesmaid in my brothers wedding, which is coming up in a couple of weeks! And for Christmas, I made my soon-to-be sister in law a pretty necklace. I wish I had a picture of it for you but I didn't think to take one. But I did make a similar necklace for myself afterwards.

 I loove this necklace! It's so simple but beautiful! Rachel's necklace has a different charm, a rectangular piece with the words "Blessed", which I think is the prettiest necklace I've ever made. She told me a number of weeks ago now that she wants to wear it on her wedding day! So it turned out to be a very nice, and special Christmas gift. :)

 I have also been doing some cooking lately. Not a lot but I'm trying to get into it more. As I'm sure you could guess, I made something Mexican. I'd already made fajita/quesadillas before, which you've seen on the blog, but I recently made just regular fajitas. Not to brag up my cooking, but they were so good! I cooked the chicken in the cast iron skillet, getting a good char on there, and then cooked up peppers and onions. Really good stuff. If you want to try to make these wonderful fajitas you can find the recipe I used here, Chicken Fajitas.

 Last night I helped my mom cook up dinner, and, believe it or not, I cooked something that wasn't Mexican! We had canned venison, which tastes a lot like roast beef(simply heavenly), with mashed potatoes and gravy, and some veggies of course. Anyway, it was actually the first time I made gravy! Well, sort of. A number of years ago Laryssa and I decided we were going to make some kind of steak with gravy, and having no idea how to really make gravy, we just threw all the stuff together and ended up with a sickening paste. Ever since then I've been meaning to learn how to make real gravy, and so I finally did it. It even turned out great(with my moms direction)! 

 Alrighty, so I think I've gotten caught up now.  Keep updated on the blog, I'm hoping to keep posting regularly. Until next time! :)


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Iron Skillet Corn Bread

My Discovery of Cast-Iron Skillet Potential

 I was told that food sticks to cast-iron skillets...badly.

 Did a google search: "how to use cast-iron skillets?"

 Found that they need to be properly seasoned with oil.

 Did that; followed instructions.

 Started cooking with the cast-iron skillet...

...nothing stuck... 

Became a cast-iron skillet fanatic.

Will now be using it for EVERYTHING!! 


Including cornbread! I've seen pictures of it baked in cast-iron skillets and loved how rustic it looked! The dark background of the skillet really makes the rich, yellow cornbread pop! Cast-iron skillets make basically any dish so much more vivid and presentable.

 So I had to try it myself.

 Now I know how I'll be making cornbread from now on...

 ...and how often. =)


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ginger Sweet Potato Bean Soup & Ginger-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

 The first day of autumn this year brought with it the inspiration of cooking "fall" foods. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, is what comes to my mind. I didn't want to just make the boring old pumpkin pie, apple pie, and so on, even though they are really good. But I wanted to try something different. Something that actually wasn't a dessert.

  So what could be more appropriate than soup, on a breezy, autumn day. Ginger soup at that. I was trying to think of fall-like ingredients. There was a bag of yams laying around, so that was definitely a winner. I also had a lot of prepared white beans that I had soaked and rinsed, soaked and rinsed, soaked and rinsed, over the course of several days (I know that sounds excessive). So my end conclusion: Ginger Sweet Potato Bean Soup!

 Unfortunately, we didn't have any homemade bread on the day I made the soup, so I needed a side dish. We had some raw pumpkin seeds in the cupboard that I needed to roast at some point anyway. Thinking that the soup and seeds might as well "match," I sprinkled some ginger on them along with salt, pepper, and melted butter. The taste is fantastic, even with the unfortunate twinge of burnt taste (I don't know if it's because of the pan, the oven, or just my lack of skill, but I still manage to burn things fairly often).

 Anyway, by the time the soup was ready for dinner, I wasn't even hungry. The pumpkin seeds were just too good. =)

 Ginger Sweet Potato Bean Soup

olive oil

ground ginger

ground cloves

onions, chopped

garlic, minced

carrots, diced

chicken broth


white beans




Ginger-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

raw pumpkin seeds




butter, melted

Bake at 350 on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Making Creative Chalkboards

 Summer is almost over! I can't believe it's gone by so fast! And even more shocking is that I haven't posted anything all Summer! It has been a fairly busy Summer for me, but mostly I just haven't been doing a lot of post worthy things. So now I'm trying to pick up the slack and get back in the swing of blogging. :)

 To start it off I tried something I've always wanted to do. Paint with Chalkboard Paint! I had been wanting to give that a try in the worst way and I finally just broke down and did it(A Michael's gift card helped with that :) ). Now what I originally had planned for the Chalkboard Paint was something a bit bigger than this(which I'll share at a later time), but I need to prepare a few things for that project first, so today I'm showing you the smaller project.

 It was my mom's idea actually, so I can't take the credit for this. She had these old clipboards she was planning to get rid of when she happened to think that I could use them with my Chalkboard paint. What and excellent idea!

I sat outside to paint this cause the lighting for the pictures would be better. Plus it was a beautiful day. :)

The directions for the paint say that you need two coats. One you apply vertically and the other horizontally, with the space of an hour between each coat.

Second coat all done! After you've painted on both coats the paint needs to cure for 24 hours before use. Then...

 ...it's chalkboard time!

 Clipboard to chalkboard. Not a bad idea! :) Have fun coming up with your own creative ideas for chalkboards and share in the comments!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Salad in a Jar

 Going to fairs and flea markets can be fun, and is something my family does at least once or twice a year. Nonetheless, I almost always go away with my stomach telling me I really shouldn't have eaten all that greasy, fried food. I'm sure you've all been there before. The steak sandwich and funnel cake sound great (although honestly, these don't even appeal to me anymore), and since there's not a whole lot of options that don't involve deep-fried, nutrition-starving fare, you go ahead and indulge.

 But gee, just imagine what a little bit of planning and smart thinking can achieve(and how much happier your stomach could be on the way home=). Who says you can't pack a lunch to the fair (or anywhere)? For that matter, who says you can't pack a yummy, nutrition-loaded salad?

 No one! Yeah, you might look a little funny eating salad at the fair, but it's worth it.

 I'm sure you've seen the salad jar buzz on Pinterest by now. I obviously have, and am glad I did. I love the idea of being able to make up a fresh salad ahead of time, and taking it anywhere I go.

 It's also a great way to use leftovers in the fridge! Here are some ideas to get you started:

-leftover corn or peas
-beans (of any kind)
-cooked pasta
-chopped veggies(of course)
-chicken or any meat
-walnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts(my personal favorite)
 -oranges, strawberries, grapes(gotta love fruit)!

 All that's needed to assemble the salad is to:

1) Pour salad dressing on the bottom.

2) Add tender veggies like tomatoes and onions.

3) Add crisper veggies like broccoli and carrots.

4)Add any type of protein (cheese, meat, legumes).

5) Add any kind of leafy greens(really pack them in...you can fit a lot)!

 One of the reasons I love making salads is because it's so easy to make it look amazingly irresistible. Using bright, vibrant, and fresh vegetables and fruit in a salad make it almost effortlessly beautiful!

 So next time you make a trip to the fair or flea market, think ahead, pack a lunch, and enjoy the simple, healthy taste of homemade.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Denim Tote

It's been a while since I wrote anything, but I assure you all it's not because I haven't been working on anything. I started making this tote weeks ago, and finally got it finished early last week. And I'm really excited about this project, because I made the whole thing out of a pair of jeans!! Well actually it took two pairs by the time it was all said and done, but that's no big deal.

 But before showing you all how I made this, I've gotta warn ya, it's not perfect. My sewing skills are somewhere between So-So and Down Right Awful! Not to mention I was plagued with sewing machine malfunctions(precisely why it took me weeks to finish). And if it wasn't for my moms helpful assistance, I don't think I ever would have finished it. But here it is at last, my denim tote.

From the very beginning I envisioned this tote as a beach bag to take to the ocean this year, so I wanted it to be as big as possible for carrying my things. I picked out a pair of large jeans from our yard sale that didn't fit any of the guys in my family and laid out my plans.

I needed to cut the legs to lay out flat, to give me two big pieces of material to work with.

So here I have my two pieces over top of each other.

However, they were terribly uneven with each other so I needed to cut some off of the sides to align them right. I also needed to cut off the original hem you see here on the jeans, which would make it really hard to sew.

The sides more evenly aligned, I could begin the sewing.

I flipped both pieces over to sew inside out, and pinned along the longest sides. I actually first pinned the whole thing right side out, then my mom mentioned that it would be wise to turn it inside out to sew. Oops! Yeah I forgot that part.

The sides sewn and the forming bag turned right side out again. At this point I was thinking "Whoa! This thing is way too long!" So I just cut a little bit more off the bottom. And notice that I left the hem on there that used to be the cuff of the pant legs. That is now going to be the top of my tote.

For sewing up the bottom, I turned the bag inside out again and rolled up the bottom edge, then sewed straight across.

Giving the bottom of the bag nice, well rounded corners.

Then for the top I wanted a cuff like a pair of jeans, so I folded the top down a bit and sewed above the original hem. When I finished sewing this I was like "Eeeek!" My line was anything but straight. Maybe if I keep on learning to sew I'll get better at that(hopefully).

Well then it came down to the straps. That's where I really started having problems. I couldn't do my original plan and the only alternative, I was afraid, would look too junky. But like I just said, it was the only alternative, so that's what I went with.

To make good, long straps I needed to cut into a second pair of jeans, since there wasn't enough left of the first pair to make them.

I cut out two long strips and folded the sides in, one over the other.

It was only after I had already sewn them that I realized I shouldn't have left the raw edge out to fray.

I sewed the ends straight onto the bag, which didn't turn out so good. This is really the only thing that I wish could have turned out better(besides the crooked lines of my stitches). But I had forgotten to fold in the raw edges on the ends before I sewed the straps, and after it was sewn there wasn't anything to do about it because if I tried to fold it in now it wold be waaaay too thick. But like my dear sister Laryssa said, "It's rustic." And it's just a beach bag, and I'm not one to start all over again just for a little more perfection.

From here my tote was pretty much finished. But as I was working on it, I had gotten the idea to sew on a pocket. So I grabbed the once pair of long jeans, now reduced to a pair of really short, frayed shorts, and slowly picked off the pocket. Needless to say, that really took a while.

And then, just to make it even longer and more tedious, I sewed it on by hand.

But despite the hassle, the pocket was a huge success and added the perfect touch to my simple, handmade denim tote.

And now I'm ready to hit the beach!

Although it may not be perfect, the thing I love the most about this bag is that I made it out of a pair of jeans(Okay two jeans). It was just so much fun pulling out an ordinary pair of pants and figuring out how I was going to take it and make it something new and useful to me. I've already got a ton of other ideas floating through my head right now(mostly from my pinterest board) and will be back again to share more of my crafty adventures!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Breakfast Fruit: 3 Easy Steps to Help your Family Love Fruit

 Morning is the best time of the day for me. And breakfast is the very best meal. So why don't I put more effort and time and thought into it, like I do for dinner? This is what I started asking myself after reading a post on meal planning (at this really awesome blog, Live Simply ). I mean, what could be better than waking up to a freshly prepared breakfast each lovely morning? Well, yeah, I'm the one that wakes up to prepare breakfast each morning. But I'm loving it. 

 In fact, you might say I'm getting a little too fond of breakfast preparation. I'm beginning to think the kitchen is all mine in the morning. That's always been an issue with me, actually. The kitchen needn't have anyone in it but me, while meal prep is happening. There's something a bit unnerving about having someone standing around and watching you during all that cutting and peeling, with juicy pulp and egg shells scattered across the counter (okay, I'm not always this messy, believe me), and with me running here and there throughout the kitchen for this, that, and the other. Anyway, all that to say, I like my privacy in the kitchen (and would love to have an actual dining room!) But all are more than welcome after everything is on the table and the counter is tidy and clean. =) 

 So, what's with the trays of fruit?

 Okay, I am what you may call a "fruitaholic." Fruit is my dessert. It's sweet, juicy, oh, so colorful, and wonderfully assorted. Now, there are certain members of the family who will eat it, but not extremely often and certainly not every day. So, would you believe me if I told you that I get bags stuffed full of all kinds of fruit, and that it barely lasts through the week?! I wouldn't have believed it myself. 

 But, after experimenting, I've acquired a few tricks to share with you, that will get your family eating much more fruit, much more often. Ready?

 1) Prepare, prepare, prepare. If no one is crazy about fruit, there's no way that they're going to bother washing the berries, peeling the oranges, cutting the pineapple, chopping the cantaloupe, or slicing the kiwi. It's just not going to happen. 

 So here is the second part of the secret.

 2) Make it look irresistible. Mixing and matching them and displaying them so the fruit actually looks appealing, is the best and easiest way to empty your fruit bowl, sitting lonely and neglected in the corner of your kitchen. If possible, use glassware to display your delectable gems. It does wonders to enhance their appearance. Also, choose a variety of colors. Don't put strawberries, grapefruit, and raspberries all on one tray. Rather, choose colors that will compliment each other. Believe me, it's an art.

 3) Mix it up. Make sure not to bore everyone with bananas and oranges every morning. Be creative. Try new things. One morning, we didn't have anything but watermelon, cantaloupe, and bananas. Normally, we wouldn't think of having melons for breakfast, but that's what we had. So I went right ahead and placed them on the tray alongside the bananas. And that was our breakfast tray for the morning. Hey, it works.

  If anyone tells you that fruit is boring, don't believe them. Fruit is fun, delicious, healthy, and full of  of potential.

 Is your family reluctant to eat fruit in the morning? Take a trip to the farmer's market, find some fresh, seasonal fruit, and prepare it, pretty it up, and mix and match. Next thing you know, the fruit will be gone before the pancakes!