Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Sorry for the long break everyone. Holidays (and a baby who doesnt sleep!) make life a little crazy! Hoping to be back with weekly posts in January! (I have been trying lots of new things, but not posting, oops!) Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful time with your families!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Paleo Pumpkin Pie!
fastpaleo perfect-paleo-pumpkin-pie
What did you make? Perfect Paleo Pumpkin Pie!
How did it turn out? GREAT! So exciting to have it taste like real pumpkin pie! 
Did you follow directions or make changes? I tried to follow the directions, but wound up making a ton of changes! I decided not to do a pie crust because I was short on time. I just mixed up the filling and put into ramekins. The directions called for a small can of pumpkin, I only had a big can, and since the recipe didnt specify how many ounces or cups a small can is, I just had to guess. I also ran out of my pumpkin pie spice, so I just added a little of everything. It also called for honey as its sweetener, which would have been just fine, but I am using agave nectar because it has a lower glycemic index. Lastly, I didnt have coconut milk in the can, only refrigerated in the carton, it was exactly what the recipe said NOT to use, but I didnt have a choice so I used it anyway. It turned out just fine!!
Would you make it again? Yes! It would be interesting to see how it turns out if all the ingredients and measurements were correct, I am sure it will be similar since my end result was just like pumpkin pie! We will also be making our own whipped topping, so it will be fun to try those together.
Any tips or advice?  Just to make it! I know its a little different, and it calls for coconut milk (you should have all the other ingredients on hand) but its totally worth it because it doesnt have any gluten garbage in it, nor any sugar, so its super healthy! Eat it and be guilt free! Then eat another one!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quite the Gap!

Pardon me for the huge gap in posts ladies! (Hey, where are you guys? :)
I have been busy trying lots of new things, just running a mile a minute and havent stopped to blog about them. I currently have a backlog of 24 things to post! Yikes! And thats just whats in my list, I need to add the things I have done in the last two weeks as well.
Anyway, I will try to catch up as soon as I can.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Smashed Potates! (yes, you read that right)

{for the love of cooking original photo (did get one, we were hungry and it was dinner time! shoot!)}
fortheloveofcooking crash-hot-potatoes
What did you make? Crash Hot Potatoes!
How did it turn out? Good! Mine didnt look as pretty as the picture, but they tasted good! 
Did you follow directions or make changes? I followed the prep instructions, but I didnt have little red potatoes, so used the little fingerling ones instead. They are long instead of round, and so they didnt stand up, and I think thats why they turned out a little less pretty when I smashed them. Several were smashed on their side rather than smashed from the top down. Flavor wise I dont think it makes a difference.
Would you make it again? Yes! It was a nice side dish, and easy too.
Any tips or advice?  No, I dont think so. I guess just to take your time and actually drizzle the olive oil. I was rushed and so I brushed it on instead cause thats faster, but I think using the brush there was a little bit too much.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oatmeal Snickerdoodles!

(plain chicken image, I ate all mine without a thought of getting out the camera!)
Plain Chicken Cinnamon-oat-snickerdoodle-cookies
What did you make? Cinnamon Oat Snickerdoodles! I make a lot of cookies dont I?
How did it turn out? Good! I also got the stamp of approval from Andy. They are everything I want in a cookie, oats and cinnamon!
Did you follow directions or make changes? I tried to follow the directions! I doubled the cinnamon as I always do. But, I didnt have the 1 3/4 cup Fiber Plus Cinnamon Oat Crunch cereal, so I substituted a cup of oatmeal and 3/4 cup crunched up raisin bran crunch cereal, sans the raisins.
Would you make it again? Yes! I have a million other cookie recipes to try, but I find myself always going back to anything with oats and cinnamon in it, yum!
Any tips or advice? Just that the baking time says 12-14 mins at 375 and they turned out hard. I baked mine 12 mins at 350 and they were good. I think next time I might try 11 minutes, I sure do love a soft cookie!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cream Cheese Cookies!
I went to get the link, and its gone! Says its pinned from "none" ??

What did you make? The Best Cream Cheese Cookies!
How did it turn out? Pretty good! I thought the flavor and texture turned out nice. I wasnt super excited about them, but I think its because I am more of a cinnamon and oats girl when it comes to cookies, and these were so different. But then today I ate a ton, they are good.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I followed the directions exactly, except that they needed to bake 9 minutes, not 7. 
Would you make it again? Yes, I think so! I think next time I am going to use lemon extract instead of vanilla and see what happens. I think these cookies would be great with a hint of lemon.
Any tips or advice? No, I dont think so. They were really easy. Just make sure your cream cheese and butter truly are at room temperature so you dont get any chunks when you cream them with the sugar.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip No Bakes!

(Morgan Moore photo) I forgot to take a photo because I was eating them all! 
What did you make? "Its too hot to bake so we no bake!"
How did it turn out? Good! I was craving sugar and the end of the day was nearing... I knew Olive had little time left in her before she fell apart. So, it was something quick or nothing at all! No Bakes! You combine some ingredients in a saucepan, boil 1 minute, stir in the rest of the ingredients and drop onto wax paper to set. I was able to eat one within 5-10 minutes. I like them best cold though, because then they hold together even better.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I followed the directions to a T!
Would you make it again? Yes! Great when you are short on time or dont want to turn the oven on.
Any tips or advice? Make them!

Popcorn In A Bag!
Squawk Fox popcorn-recipe
What did you make? "How to Microwave Gourmet Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag!"
How did it turn out? Great! Piece of cake. Much less expensive and healthier that the prepackaged version. In fact, I thought I was never to eat popcorn again because I was unwilling to eat the trans fat in a bag from the grocery store. I am glad I found an alternative that's easy!
Did you follow directions or make changes? I followed the directions, but there really wasnt much to it. Get yourself some kernels. Get some paper bags. Bag 'em and mic 'em! Done in 2.5 minutes. We melted a tab of butter and drizzled it on, added a dash of salt and then shook the bag to coat more evening. Then we sat down with our popcorn and watched Limitless!
Would you make it again? Yes! We decided we would anytime we watched a movie... however often we get around to movies eeps. Anyway, it was a fun stay at home date!
Any tips or advice? Nope!


WallPapering Shelves!
What did you make? "Wallpapered" Shelves!
How did it turn out? Great! It was so easy, I am almost embarrassed to do a post on it, but I was so happy with the result. It was one of those easy, "Why didn't I think of that before?" projects.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I didn't read the directions, there weren't even any to read actually. I just saw the idea for painting the back of shelving units with a contrasting color and knew I needed to do it. We have a shelving unit over the toilet in our bathroom that has seen better days. Some cleaner also leaked from the cabinet and left orange streaks down it making it even worse. It belongs to the owner of our house, so I needed something temporary. So I bought two sheets of 12x12 scrapbooking paper and just slid them in place, not even adhesive was necessary.
Would you make it again? For sure! I love the contrast and pop up color. I forsee painting or wallpapering shelf backgrounds around my house for years to come!
Any tips or advice? Nope!

Apple Crisp!

(original All Recipes Photo)
All Recipes Apple Crisp II

What did you make? Apple Crisp!
How did it turn out? Delicious! Rob had requested it after we got apples from the apple farm, and we have eaten it every night for the last three nights! Yum!
Did you follow directions and make changes? I mostly followed directions, but made the changes that other reviewers suggested. I made it in a 9x9 pan, instead of 9x13, and halved my apple mixture, but kept the crust measurements the same. This allowed me to put some crust on the bottom of the apples. I also mixed the apples in a bowl with the spices rather than just sprinkling them on top, and halved the water to 1/4 cup. I aded nutmeg to this mixture. Also, I just softened the butter in teh crust mixture instead of melting it.
Would you make it again? For sure! I think I am going to experiment a bit more with other recipes and ingredients though, as we would like a crust that is a bit more substantial - bigger chunks and maybe doughier. The flavor was amazing though!
Any tips or advice? Not really. I would make the changes that I made above to the recipe though. I think they really helped. We ate it with Vanilla Bean ice cream, which I would not leave out!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Button Ice Cream Cone Card!
What did you make? A button ice cream cone card for a friend's birthday!
How did it turn out? Cute! Everyone loved it! The buttons didn't stay on as well as I would have liked (they didn't fall off, they just didn't stay flat). Next time I'll use superglue instead of photo adhesives.
Did you follow directions and make changes? I didn't actually look at the directions. I just re-created using scrapbook paper and buttons.
Would you make it again? Definitely!
Any tips or advice? Nope!

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rollups!

What did you make? Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rollups! :)
How did it turn out? Delicious!
Did you follow directions and make changes? I followed the directions, except I used gluten free pasta (because that is what was on sale at Whole Foods :). I thought it was delicious, except the pasta package said "do not cook ahead". I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, so I went ahead and only made 4 roll-ups. Sure enough, when I went to eat my left-overs, the pasta had turned hard. ?!
Would you make it again? Yes! :) Probably next week!
Any tips or advice? Don't make it with gluten free pasta (if you plan having left-overs)...and you love it! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal!

don't mind the little sample I took from the corner!
What did you make? Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal! This blog is great because she breaks each recipe down, so you know how much each serving costs. This one was $0.46 per serving!
How did it turn out? So Good! Initially I was surprised because I expected it to be sweeter, but then I thought about it, its oatmeal, its breakfast, it really was the perfect amount of sweet! It was really easy to throw together, it took about 5 minutes to mix it up and pop in the oven. The recipe suggested topping it with whip cream, maple syrup, or milk. I have only had it plain, it was great, but I should try it a few other ways as well. Andy ate his with milk and loved it.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I mostly followed the directions. I did put 3 cups of oats instead of 2.5, omitted the salt, and added a dash of cinnamon. (Recipe had just called for pumpkin pie spice for the seasonings)
Would you make it again? Heck yes! Cant wait! We have been slacking in the breakfast department in this house, I want to remedy that so we start out our day right. This will be one of the recipes I go to, along with some crockpot egg casseroles. I am thinking about adding some protein powder to it next time just to make it a little more balanced of a meal, hehe.
Any tips or advice? Just make it asap! Also, I think this would be a great easy breakfast when you have company- quick and delicious! (Recipe only serves 4-6 though, so it would need to be doubled.)


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pumpkin Scones!
Sweet Peas Kitchen, Pumpkin Scones

What did you make? Starbucks Pumpkin Scones
How did it turn out? Pretty dang good! The scone itself is not very sweet, but it has both a glaze and a spiced drizzle- both very sweet, the two together are perfect! Andy ate three in a row. We ate them both warm and cold, both are  good.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I doubled the sugar! The reviews said the scone wasnt very sweet (the recipe only called for 1/4 cup!) so I put in 1/2. It still wasn't very sweet, but I am glad I did it, cause 1/4 wouldn't have been enough. I also doubled the cinnamon (as I always do!) and I put slightly more pumpkin. The recipe only called for 1/2 cup and I thought to myself, 'thats not very much, lets make it more pumpkiny and more moist!' I put 3/4 cup and boy was that a mistake! The dough was very very VERY sticky. I had to really flour my surface heavily, flour my hands, and pat flour on every side of the scone so that I could pick it up without it sticking to my hands like glue. Some were so sticky the shape was getting ruined during the transfer and so I had to flour my hands again, roll it into a ball to get it to hold together, and then reshape it into a triangle. It worked alright just to get me through my sticky mess but those ones puffed up more during baking and looked like little loaves of bread. The ones that I was able to just cut and transfer to the baking sheet had that nice bumpy texture on the sides, signature of a scone, and I liked that a lot better.
Would you make it again? Yes! Andy has requested that I do. It seems like a "special treat" and so I would save it for such, its not like baking your everyday cookie. These taste like something you have on a holiday or at a party. Or maybe to spice up a family day if its rainy and we stay inside playing games or watching movies!
Any tips or advice? Dont add too much pumpkin! The only other thing is I like mine on the smaller side. The recipe said to pat your dough into a 4x12 rectangle, cut into thirds, and then cut each third with an X to get 4 triangles in each section. They are really small when raw, but grew 4x times their size while baking. I think I will pat my dough into a wider rectangle, maybe no more than 3" tall, and however wide it turns out with that height. They are going to look ridiculously small, probably bite sized, but remember they grow a ton in the oven. Make these! Yum!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Banana Muffins!

What did you make? Banana Muffins!

YIKES - I can't find my link! I will update after I do some searching...
How did it turn out? Yummy! We loved them! Noelle would stick a whole one in her mouth and then sign "more" before she even chewed it!

Did you follow directions or make changes? The only changes I made were that I made mini muffins instead of bread. I also added chocolate sprinkles to about 1/3 of the batter.

Would you make it again? Absolutely! They were yummy and low sugar so I felt okay about letting Noelle eat five in one day...
Any tips or advice? Nope! Easy peasy and delicious!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Penne Pasta!

(Plain Chicken original photo)
Plain Chicken No Boil Baked Penne Pasta
What did you make?
Penne Pasta for Andy! 
How did it turn out?
I only got to try one bite as I was on my diet, but it was delicous! And Andy loved it. It tastes very similar to lasagna, probably because of the ricotta. It was so easy! And it made a ton, I put it in glass loaf pans lined with foil and froze them. Andy got 5 or six meals out of it.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I mostly followed directions. I didnt have any penne, so I used bow tie pasta, being careful to choose a pasta that had a similar thickness so it would cook through and be tender in the time listed in the recipe directions. Also, I used ground beef instead of sausage, and did not top with extra cheese as she suggested, there was plenty mixed in. I feel like this lady's recipes are usually smothered with cheese and I try to cut back a little.
Would you make it again?
Yes! Easy! Delicious! Freezable! Make some for dinner and freeze half for another night!
Any tips or advice?
Nope, it was a quick recipe to throw together, and would be easy to alter to fit what you want. Different meat, different pasta, extra seasonings etc. Make it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Am I too old for this? No! Tangled paper doll!
What did you make?
Well I didn't really MAKE anything..but I printed and cut out a Rapunzel paper doll with all of her clothes. :)
How did it turn out?
Good! I did a pretty good job cutting if I do say so myself! I meant to print it on cardstock, but forgot to put the paper in. It used a lot of ink to print, so I figure I will stick with these until they get beat up, then I will re-print. This is fun! I feel 5!
Did you follow directions or make changes? There were no directions, other than to print, and cut them out. I used my Creative Memories mat and razors to cut along the little slits. It turned out very well! I am going to purchase some magnets to put on the back, and put them on our fridge.
Would you make it again?
Um..Yes. :)
Any tips or advice?
Using the razor along the little slits will make it clean. I cannot imagine cutting this out with it. While it is not extremely difficult, there are several little details to cute around, so it did take a little awhile. I did it while watching a movie. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Maple Cookies! Scream!
Allrecipes Frosted Maple Cookies
What did you make?
The most delicious maple cookies you will ever have in your life! 
How did it turn out?
The most delicious you will ever have in your life! Haha! Not kidding, everyone raved about them! Andy must have had 30.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I followed directions initially, but as the reviews said, they were hard and flat (too much butter, not enough flour, eggs or maple). I made a second batch right away and we had a winner! They were soft, chewy, and SO DELICIOUS! Have I said that enough already?
Would you make it again?
I plan on making these as often as I can! Any excuse, any occasion! Its the first thing I am going to bake once I am off my diet. (I cheated cause I HAD TO TRY them and ate two already, they were ridiculous.)
Any tips or advice?
Yes, make them right away! Also, follow my recipe, not the original! 
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup room temperature butter
  • 4 teaspoon maple flavored extract (this sounds like a lot, but just do it)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavored extract
Cream butter and brown sugar. Add maple, vanilla and eggs.
Add in baking soda then flour. Dough may be a little sticky.
Use a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop (preferable, not necessary) and drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 mins.
Cool on a cookie rack.

For icing, combine all, put in plastic ziplock and cut tiny hole in corner. Drizzle or pipe icing onto cooled cookies. These cookies taste GREAT by themselves, and with icing have a taste similar to maple bar donuts. You choose, both are excellent!

These store great for a week in an airtight container. Don't refrigerate or they will harden. The unbaked dough also freezes really well when wrapped tightly with saran wrap. You may want to freeze half as the recipe makes 4 dozen!

Cleaning Schedule!
What did you make?
I made a cleaning schedule. I needed some direction as everything is on the back burner with a baby in the house.
How did it turn out?
I think it turned out great! I made weekly, monthly, 3 month and 6 month lists with check boxes. I plan to laminate it and use dry erase markers, but for now until I make it down to staples I am printing them out weekly and checking it off as I go. I put my vintage flair on it with a cute old graphic of a smiling housewife shining her pots, and through the window you can see her husband washing the car!
Did you follow directions or make changes? I used the above queen of clean list as inspiration and a starting point, but I googled other lists for more ideas and to make sure I wasnt forgetting to clean any nooks or crannies.
Would you make it again? When I need to update the list, sure!
Any tips or advice?
Nope! (Please note in case you want to use the list yourself, I didn't put cleaning the bath tub, vacuuming, mopping the floors, and taking out the trash because those are Andy's chores. I can add them if you want to use my list, just let me know!)
EDIT: oops, wash bath mat should be under once a month, not every three! Will have to edit. Good thing I didn't laminate it yet!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cheater Waffles!

What did you make? Easy Biscuit Waffles
How did it turn out? Pretty Good! You take a can of refrigerated biscuits and put them right on the waffle maker! I love the idea of quick waffles, they just don't happen more than once a year otherwise.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I followed directions, even down to what type of biscuits to buy- Grands Homestyle Buttermilk. She said it takes 1-2 mins to cook, I found when I set my waffle iron to number 2, they were cooked through perfectly when the timer went off and it was 2 mins and 40 seconds! :)
Would you make it again?  Yes! This could be great when company comes over and you need something quick. Just have butter and syrup, or whip cream and strawberries on hand! Each person really only needs 1 biscuit because they squish out a lot and they are dense . That means you can feed 8 people for the $1.99 a can! (besides the toppings and some eggs on the side) Yay!
Any tips or advice? The homestyle buttermilk biscuits were very 'biscuit' tasting and dense, I would like to try with a different kind next time. I am thinking the Grands Flakey. Although they do flake off in layers, I like their flavor better and they are a lot lighter, as waffles usually are, rather than dense like the buttermilk.
This was a fun experiment!
- Michelle

Stuffed Green Bell Peppers

What did you make? Stuffed Green Bell Peppers
How did it turn out? Really good
Did you follow directions or make changes?  Followed directions for the most part.  I added red bell pepper as well and I didn't have the spices called for, so I used a spice bled that I do have (Herby by Frontier).  I didn't have mozzarella either, so I used provolone slices (and I just realized I totally missed the Parmesan).  Oh, and I cooked the rice in chicken broth rather than water.  I guess I didn't quite follow the directions after all :)
Would you make it again?  Yes!
Any tips or advice? Definitely cook the rice in broth, it gives it so much more flavor.  Also, we thought it needed some cheese or something in the filling, not just on top.  Maybe adding the Parm as directed would have helped :)

Baked Club Pinwheel

What did you make?
Baked Club Pinwheels!
Plain Chicken
How did it turn out?
Good! The whole family enjoyed it. It was posted as an appetizer idea, but we cut it into larger pieces and served it with fries and fruit for dinner.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I followed the basic directions, except that I cooked chicken breast tenders in ooloive oil in a skillet and replaced the deli meat that it called for with that. I was tempted to use turkey bacon too, but thought my husband would enjoy me using real bacon once in awhile. :) I am glad I did because we lost a lot of the salt and flavor by not using the deli meat, so real bacon added some good flavor.

Would you make it again?
Definitely. Super easy and yummy.
Any tips or advice?
I would definitely recommend the healthier, grilled chicken option, and also to make sure to use enough cheese. I think I went a little light unintentionally since I didn't measure and it could have used the whole cup and maybe more. You could also add some avocado or mushrooms or something for some veggie nutrition and extra flavor.

Children's Art Display

What did you make?
How did it turn out?
Great! I have a huge, boring, white wall in a galley kitchen that I have never known what to do with. We are in a relatively short-term rental situation, so I didn't want to do anything expensive or permanent. Now that I have a little, budding, one-year old artist, this was the perfect way to add a splash of color to our space.
Did you follow directions or make changes?
I was inspired by two different pins. I used the "Masterpieces" quote from one and the picture wire closeline idea from another. I followed the directions for the wire except that I used pushpins to hold it up rather than picture hanging screws in order to leave a smaller hole. I ordered the vinyl "Masterpieces" from Etsy. I am quite proud that I took the time to measure everything precisely so that the line and words are all centered and level; usually I am too impatient and have been known to just eyeball it. I still need to find some cute matching mini clothespins for hanging - right now it is a hodgepodge or paperclips and binderclips that I found around the house. We might handmake some cute ones.
Would you make it again?
Yep! I anticipate it being a staple accessory to all of our future homes. I even ordered two vinyl word art pieces so that I am prepared for the next house! :)
Any tips or advice?
Not really, it is an incredibly easy project. So fun too!

Potty Pass

What did you make? 
Potty Pass/Bedtime Pass
How did it turn out? Good.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I never even looked at the original post.  We are having trouble with one of our 3 year old twins staying in his room at night and after trying everything else we could come up with, I decided to give these a try.  I just put stickers on card stock & laminated it.  I also punched a hole in the corner and put a string on them so we could hang them on their door and/or a hook in the kitchen so they don't get lost.
Would you make it again?  

I might need to make & try them again later.  At almost 3 1/2, I'm not sure they quite understand the purpose.  They both use them either before they are actually in bed or within the first 10 minutes after going to bed.
Any tips or advice? 
Ummm...they are working, sort of.  He's still not really staying in bed, but we are able to send him back to bed based on the fact that he has no pass rather than just because we're 'mean parents' :)  However, they have also started a problem with the other twin (who stayed in bed no problem)...he is ecstatic to get out of bed twice now. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Roasted Balsamic Mushrooms

(photo from original recipe site..I am still camera-less!)
What did you make? Roasted Balsamic Mushrooms
How did it turn out? It tastes delicious! I was hesitant to try something new with my delicious mushrooms, but I was a in hurry this week and did not have a lot of time. So I found this in my "Recipes" board and decided to try it out!
Did you follow directions or make changes? I actually changed a lot. the original recipe calls is for roasted green beans and mushrooms, and I cut out the green beans (only because I didn't already have them!). I used the ingredients listed, but substituted the parmesan cheese for the only cheese in my fridge- mozzarella! Again, I was afraid of ruining it...but it tastes DELICIOUS! I roll the mushrooms in olive oil and balsamic dressing, and sprinkled the cheese and garlic salt on top. Baked for about 20 minutes- and yum!
Would you make it again? Yes..probably tomorrow. :) Next time I'm at the store I'm going to grab some green beans and try them out!

Any tips or advice? Nope!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

French Toast Muffins

What did you make? French Toast Muffins
How did it turn out? Not so amazing. They were fine, we ate them, but there were a bit flavorless and dense. All reviews described them as "feather-light" and "melt-in-your-mouth"  and they definitely weren't. I had a one year old helper, so maybe I messed up a measurement or over mixed them. I will try them again later this week.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  Followed directions exactly, except made less butter mixture and just brushed it over the top of them after baking rather than dipping the muffins in butter. Seemed healthier that way!
Would you make it again?  I will give it one more go and hope for better results!
Any tips or advice? Not yet, maybe after I make a yummier version. :)
- Sierra

Summer Pasta Sweet Corn & Zucchini!

What did you make? Summer Pasta Sweet Corn & Zucchini
How did it turn out? Delicious!
Did you follow directions or make changes?  Followed directions, but didn't do much measuring.  I was so bummed to have forgotten the garlic at the grocery store, so used garlic powder. I also went very easy on the basil. I used shell pasta and included lots of the "optional" fresh Parmesan.
Would you make it again?  Definitely! When I was making it, I knew I would love it, but wasn't sure if Rob would. It was covered in garlic-y butter-y yumminess, but is a pretty mild flavor over all. Rob always thinks mild things have no flavor, but he loved it! It helped that I heaped fresh parmesan on his serving, but he really LOVED it!
Any tips or advice? Nope, except try it while the summer veggies are in season! The fresh sweet corn was such a great flavor in the pasta.
- Sierra

Hair Bow Holder!

What did you make? A Bow Holder for Noelle
How did it turn out? Cute! I am pleased and it should help us not lose her bows all over the house. 
Did you follow directions or make changes?  The pin actually didn't lead to any directions, just a blog with a woman selling them. So, I just made it up - super easy. I took an unfinished frame from Michaels (no glass or backing), painted it black and attached two colors of ribbon to the back of the frame. They are just glued in place now until I borrow my Mom's staple gun, which will be necessary to help the ribbons hold up to lots of clipping and unclipping.
Would you make it again?  Definitely! It would be a fun gift.
Any tips or advice? Not particularly, just that it is definitely worth making rather than buying! Only takes a few dollars and a few minutes!
- Sierra

Command Center!

What did you make? A command center! I didn't follow directions from one specific source, but made my own based on lots of different ones. If you type in "Command Center" on Pinterest, they are many to view.
How did it turn out? I like it! It is a small one - it is all we have space for and all we need right now.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I used the ideas found from multiple examples, including Vanessa's. :) The top right square is a corkboard with a piece of 12x12 paper glued on with push pins for hanging important to-dos, the bottom is a dry erase board and the bottom left is a mini calendar. The top left is a wooden letter from Michaels that I painted. I highly recommend using command strips for hanging as the foam squares that come with the corkboard just fell off of the products and left stickiness all over the walls.
Would you make it again?  When we move or need an upgrade for sure! I want to add a low profile mail slot/file holder to the wall adjacent to it on the right. I haven't found one yet though. Eventually it will include chores and the weekly menus too.

Door Sign

What did you make?
Door Sign

How did it turn out? Perfect!  Although it seems to really scare people off... which is sort of the point :)
Did you follow directions or make changes?
I did not follow any directions.  I just purchased the wood sign at Hobby Lobby & painted it with the same paint as the trim of my house.  Then I cut the wording out on outdoor vinyl with my cricut & placed it on the board.  My husband added the hooks & wire and viola...a sign that keeps things pretty quiet around here!
Would you make it again?
Any tips or advice?

Campfire Cookies

(I didn't take a photo...they were too ugly)

What did you make?
Campfire Cookies

How did it turn out?They were really ugly & hardly resembled cookies, but tasted so good I could hardly stop eating them.
Did you follow directions or make changes?
I did not follow the directions at all.  I was making some regular chocolate chip cookies and remembered seeing these on pinterest, so for the last pan, I threw in some marshmallows & put dough on top of graham crackers
Would you make it again?
Yes & follow the directions this time :)
Any tips or advice?
Not until I try to make them correctly

Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole

What did you make?
Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole

How did it turn out?
Really good!

Did you follow directions or make changes?
I followed the directions exactlyWould you make it again?
Yes!  My hubby & I both loved it!
Any tips or advice?
I would serve it with a salad or something light as it is a little bit heave of a dish.

Football Onesie

What did you make?
Football Onesie

How did it turn out?

Did you follow directions or make changes?
Apparently this is an item at an online store (I never actually clicked on the original link until now).  I didn't follow any directions, I just created the design & cut it out in iron on vinyl with my cricut.
Would you make it again? would be a great gift :)
Any tips or advice?
Not really.  I guess just be sure to measure your onesie to see how much room you really have to work with.  I just did 0-3 months (white) & newborn (pink), so my laces had to be pretty small.  I can't wait for my little girl to wear one of these on her 1st Sunday of life :)

Kitchen Command Center

What did you make?
Kitchen Command Center

How did it turn out?

Did you follow directions or make changes?
I spent a good amount of time really thinking about what I wanted to include and looking at other ideas (although this was my primary inspiration).  I ended up purchasing a 12x24 canvas and stapling fabric to it, then overlaying vinyl to create our family name.  Next, I laid a piece of fabric behind a picture frame and then used vinyl to create squares for a calendar, a space for notes & spots for more detailed notes for the current week (the notes & current week section are actually on top of the fabric & under the glass making it dry erase, while the calendar is chalkboard vinyl and on top of the glass).  Under that are 4 pieces of cork with fabric hot glued on, perfect for pinning bills or important paperwork (I ended up doubling up the cork squares to make them thicker so the pins would not go through into the wall).  Finally, I found dry erase/magnet boards at Walmart & used vinyl to put all of our names on them.  I ordered a bunch of chore magnets from Abbie's House (Etsy store) and they fill the board with no names on it.     
Would you make it again?
I don't really have a need to make it again, but I will certainly keep it :)
Any tips or advice?
I got chalkboard markers for the calendar portion & found out that on the glass, they work just like dry erase, but are much more vibrant in color and don't wipe off so easily (they wipe off with water).  I haven't tried them on the dry erase board because I'm afraid they won't come off, but on the glass they are perfect!

Andy's Birthday: Lego Bag!

What did you make? Lego Bag!
Crunchy Catholic Momma Lego Bags

How did it turn out? It turned out just fine! I bought a circle punch from Joann and punched 8 from another bag. I used the foam command strip to stick the circles on so that they stood out from the bag. It was cute! The yellow bag I drew a lego head face on it. 
 Did you follow directions or make changes?  I dont know if there were instructions, I think just a picture of what she did for her lego party. I just looked at the picture and went from there.
Would you make it again?  Why not, if there is the occasion?
Any tips or advice? Nope! Easy peasy and cute.


Andy's Birthday: Lego Head Freezer Paper Shirt!

What did you make? Lego Head Freezer Paper Shirt!
For shirt idea:
Etsy Lego Man Shirt
For freezer paper tutorial:
i am momma hear me roar Freezer Paper Shirt

How did it turn out? GREAT! I bought a regular t-shirt at target for about $6, some freezer paper, fabric paint for $3, and used foam brushes. I made my lego head template in the computer, printed it out, cut it out, traced it out onto the freezer paper, cut it out again! Then I ironed on the shirt, and painted away! It has to lay flat for four hours for drying. Andy was ecstatic!
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I followed the directions perfectly! And it turned out perfectly! 
Would you make it again?  Heck yes! And Andy is excited to make all kinds of shirts with me! This is a great way to make awesome homemade presents for cheap!
Any tips or advice? Just make sure your freezer paper is ironed on really well, check all your corners. I also recommend using a regular paint brush as my foam brush was leaving little fibers behind. I found another freezer paper tutorial last night that said when your paint is completely dry to put a piece of cloth over it and iron it again to seal it. I did not do that as Andy's present was already opened and on his body! Will remember for next time. Also, just an FYI- the paint dries and it leaves kind of a scratchy texture, but I believe it softens up with washing and drying.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Andy's Birthday: Lego Cake!

What did you make? Andy's Birthday: Lego Cake!
Betty Crocker Block Cakes

How did it turn out? OK! It was definitely a lot of fun. It was really hard though! Who knew it was so hard to get frosting smooth? I need to get myself an angled spatula and stop using butter knives. I had a major bummer moment, the cake hadn't cooled enough and I went to get it out of the pan and it broke! It was supposed to be rectangular and twice as tall. The little square was all I was able to salvage. It worked out ok though because it was less space to frost and Andy wouldn't be able to eat all that anyway!
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I pretty much followed all the directions. I cant think of any changes. I really liked her advice on spraying your scissors with cooking spray before you cut your marshmallows and they glide right through. Never would have thought of that!
Would you make it again?
  Sure? I dont think I need to anytime soon, maybe one day again for my little boy's birthday! It was interesting experience, but may never make again.
Any tips or advice? Get yourself an angled spatula! Frost your cake on a different plate and move it to the final plate when you are done. Also, since you have to trim off the dome because you want a flat cake I definitely recommend doing a crumb coat before your final coating to seal in all those loose crummy sides and top.

- Michelle

Andy's Birthday: Lego Head Pops!

What did you make? Lego Head Pops!
Living Locurto Lego Cake Pops & Marshmallow Treats
How did it turn out? Great! Andy LOVED them! He even took them to work to show them off. But it was harder than I thought. It didn't dip well, I actually had to spoon the candy melts on and then smooth it out over the marshmallow.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  The directions were pretty basic. I didn't do any cake pops, just jet-puffed marshmallows because they were the perfect shape with cut in half mini marshmallows on top.
Would you make it again?
  The lego heads- yeah if I had an occasion to! I will definitely be making plenty of other cake pops in the future! Such fun!
Any tips or advice? The more melted the candy melts are the better. I will have to read my cake pop book and see if there are any tips in there. I feel like it needed to be runnier. I remember reading that you dip it and shake off the excess, there was no excess being shaken off, it was thick and staying right on that marshmallow! I will edit this if I find any tips on getting it thinned out but still hardening right.

- Michelle

Band-Aid Get Well Card!

(flikr original image)  
What did you make? A Get Well Card!
How did it turn out? So cute! I made this for our grandma Shirley who isn't feeling well. The funny thing is...after I sent it I found out that both Michelle AND Sierra were planning on making her the exact same card! HAHA! They had both purchased the googly eyes and were just about to make them...glad I beat them to it. ;) 
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I honestly didn't read the directions..I'm not quite sure if there were any! It's pretty self explainatory though when you look at the photo. I used different colors of paper and wrote "Get Well Soon!" using sparkly scrapbooking letters. I used photo adhesives to stick on the eyes..I hope it help up in the mail. They seemed pretty secure so I'm not worried.

Would you make it again?
  Yes! Although, Michelle already called dibs on sending out the next one to a family member!

Any tips or advice? Not really. One thing that kind of grossed me out was that the card smelled like a band-aid... sort of nasty. :) But I cant see a way around that! Cant spray it with perfume...that would make your paper blotchy! :)
- Leah

Apple Spice Cookies!

 (Allrecipe original picture)
What did you make? Apple Spice Cookies!
Allrecipes Apple and Spice Cookies
How did it turn out? They were good! At first, tasting the dough and again straight out of the oven I thought they were a little heavy on the nutmeg, and especially the cloves, but Andy disagreed. When they cooled and I tried them again, the seasonings were perfect!
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I replaced the shortening with butter (always!), and left out the apple juice because I didn't have any. Also, I left out the raisins and the walnuts, because I am not fond of those. I think I also did more apples, cant remember if I did 1.5 cups or 2 cups. The recipe only called for 1 cup. I thought I might as well since I left out other chunky items.
Would you make it again?  Yes! They were really good, everyone who tried them liked them. I ate way too many.
Any tips or advice? I chopped my apples really small, time consuming but I think its better. Also, I stored them in the fridge which made them sticky, I didn't think I liked that quality, but then I realized that I thought they tasted better cold! Other people didnt seem to have a preference.

Sorry, again no pictures. I made this before we started our pinning challenge, and so they were all eaten a month ago!!

- Michelle

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas!

What did you make? Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas!!
How did it turn out? DELICIOUS!!!!! :) I am eating them as I type this..and I feel like I can eat the whole dish!!

Did you follow directions or make changes? I made a couple of small changes. I could not find a can of green chilis at all (I'm sure I was just looking in the wrong place...but I SEARCHED that store!) so I bought a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis mixed. I was worried it might ruin them, but it tastes delicious! I will do the same thing next time. Also, I just used the cheese I already had, which was a mexican 4 cheese mix.

Would you make it again?
  Yes! Mmmmmm

Any tips or advice? Advice= make this! :) Other than that... nope!
- Leah

Command Center

What did you make? A command center! :)

How did it turn out? Really well- just as I imagined it would :) It is very small compared to most, but perfect to keep track of just to-do's.

Did you follow directions or make changes? I didn't follow the directions of any specific command center- I just looked at a few for some ideas. I used two cork boards (12x12- thank you, Si!), covered them with scrapbook paper, and then worked from there :)

Would you make it again?  Yes! Someday I will need something bigger. I'm going to make one from a friend soon also.

Any tips or advice? Not really :)

- Leah

Bacon Cheese Dogs!

(Allrecipe original picture)
What did you make? Ultimate Bacon Cheese Dogs!
How did it turn out? I didn't get to try them as I am dieting, but Andy really liked them! You slit the dog down the middle, stuff it with string cheese, wrap two pieces of bacon around it, and sprinkle brown sugar on top.

Did you follow directions or make changes?  I followed the directions, except that I had no string cheese, so two of the dogs I stuffed with stripped up cheddar cheese, and the other two I stuffed with shredded mozzarella.
Would you make it again?  Yes! I still need to try them, and I think it would be really fun to roast them around a campfire one day. 
Any tips or advice? UGH YES! It says in the instructions that you can broil them, or cook over a fire. So I set my oven to 500 and popped them in and what a mistake. They smoke too much, I set off the fire alarm, scared baby, and the house smelled smokey for two days. Also the bacon grease did a lot of popping and splattered the inside of my oven door. I took them out early and had Andy pop them on the BBQ and they were perfect! Will definitely keep this in mind as a BBQ only dish.

Don't have a picture as I couldn't find my camera and Andy ate them!


The Best Meatloaf!

(Allrecipe original picture)
What did you make? Meatloaf!
Allrecipes Eileens Meatloaf

How did it turn out? Delicious! And I have never been a meatloaf gal before.

Did you follow directions or make changes?  It called for grated Parmesan cheese which I didn't have so I just left out. Also called for bread crumbs which I substituted oats for. Lastly, I made a glaze for the top, couple tablespoons of ketchup and honey mustard mixed up and brushed on top. Sounds weird but was so good!
Would you make it again?  Heck yes! I made it two weeks ago and it was so good I wanted it again before starting my HCG diet so I made it this weekend. I made it a few days ahead and froze it. I thought meatloaf was a good freezer meal but maybe not. It was fine but it seemed slightly less flavorful than the first time (unless i messed something up?) Still really good though. And when we cut it up this second time it was more dense and harder to serve. Because of that it was looking ugly and I decided not to take a picture of it. A thought, I may have slightly overcooked it the second time, and thats why it was so dense?

Any tips or advice? Make it and bake it on the spot, in case freezing changed it. Its super quick and easy! Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans! Nom nom nom

- Michelle

Lemon Cornmeal cookies!

What did you make? Lemon Cornmeal cookies! 
How did it turn out? They were decent. Super quick and easy to mix up, didn't need a lot of ingredient. They tasted fine, they just weren't really exciting. Several people we had over ate them all and said they liked them.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  It called for lemon zest which I substiuted half the amount in lemon extract instead. It recommended pinching off dough, rolling into balls, and flattening slightly. I did that and they didnt change shape, they were just boring, smooth balls. So I did some with my cookie scoop and everyone liked that better. It had a nice crunchy texture on top and soft inside.
Would you make it again?  Maybe, if I had an occasion that called for it. I have other recipes that I love more and so if cookie making was happening I have others first in line.
Any tips or advice? They could stand to be a little sweeter and more lemony. These cookies are better bigger rather than smaller, they seemed softer and best tasting that way.


Dry Erase Menu Board!

What did you make? A Dry Erase Menu Board!
How did it turn out? Good! I have been wanting to get back to making weekly menu plans and something cute and new is just the way to motivate me. It was super easy to make.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I followed the directions  except that I used a different typs of frame, mine is plexiglass. Also, it is currently standing on the counter top as in the directions, but I am going to get magnets and hang it on the fridge. I don't have any counter space really, and being plexiglass it is light and safe to hang on the fridge instead and I would just prefer it there.
Would you make it again?  I think I just need one, but probably when I need an upgrade or as a gift for sure.
Any tips or advice? Only to use a grid under your glass when lining up your stickers like directed. I cheated and just eyeballed it. You can kind of tell, but I think it worked out anyway. :)

- Sierra
What did you make? Blueberry Muffins!
How did it turn out? Good! I had never made real blueberry muffins before but had blueberries that had gotten smooshed so I decided to make a batch.They were easy and delicious. We are in the minority of blueberry muffin likers it seems as we don't like many blueberries in our muffins. So they were a little much for Rob, but our landlord that I gifted some to LOVED them. Also, my crumb mixture was a little chunky - I think the butter was too cold, but I just spread the coating out after baking to even it out a little.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  I followed the directions exactly, except that I halved the crumb mixture based on other reviewers' advice.
Would you make it again?  Yep! I will just probably halve the blueberries next time to suit our family better.
Any tips or advice? I would recommend cutting the crumb mixture in half as I did, it was plenty. I would also recommend letting the butter in the mixture soften first so that it is more of an even crumb mixture, rather than chunks of butter and dry, powdery stuff just hanging out. Next time, I will also try other reviewers advice by using brown sugar instead of white in the crumb mixture. If you are not a fan of blueberries (or even if you are), I would try this recipe with mini chocolate chips instead - yum!

- Sierra

Squares Wall Decoration

What did you make? A canvas wall decoration using scrapbook paper!I was inspired by this:
How did it turn out? I love it!! I cannot wait to see how it looks on my wall in my new apartment!
Did you follow directions or make changes?  The original directions called for styrofoam, ribbon, and tacky glue. Instead, I bought a pack of art canvases (7 for $12.99 at Michaels) and covered them in black fabric, and then used spray adhesive to secure the scrapbook paper.
Would you make it again?  Absolutely!!
Here is a photo! My camera lens broke the 2nd week of camp, so this was taken on my phone, and in the dark- so it is not the best but you can get an idea of what I did. Soon it will be up on my wall rather than in the dining room floor!

Frozen Banana Bites

(never home maker original picture)
(never home) maker Frozen Banana Bites
How did it turn out? 
They were really good after being in the freezer about an hour, but staying in longer made them so hard (too hard for me to really enjoy them).  I tried to let them thaw a little, but that just made the chocolate begin to melt and they were a mess.
Did you follow directions or make changes?  
I followed all the directions. I did end up using a spoon to coat most of the bananas as the bowl of chocolate got closer to being empty.  
Would you make it again?
Yes, but not as a make-ahead snack and in a smaller amount.
Any tips or advice?
 After being in the freezer about an hour, they still taste like banana, when you keep them in longer they loose the banana taste and are more like vanilla ice cream.  I guess it's all about preference :)
- Vanessa

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

What did you make? Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
How did it turn out? It was alright. Andy liked it more than I did. The beef was supposed to be in chunks with stroganoff "gravy" but I think the suggested slow cooker time was way too long, it fell apart into shredded beef and soaked up the liquid, it was difficult to stir into the egg noodles.
Did you follow directions or make changes? I didnt have onions, so I used a dry onion soup mix, and because that is pretty flavorful I skipped some of the called for seasonings.
Would you make it again? Maybe, I think I would rather ask for mom's stroganoff recipe. I remember growing up it was really good.
Would you make future changes? Tips? If I made again and still did the soup mix I think I would use half. I would also use half the sour scream it called for, it was nice and creamy but too sour. Lastly, I would cut down on cook time, it said 7-9 hours. I did the full time cause it cooked over night and it fell apart. I would stop it by 7 hours. 

Andy asked why I was taking a picture of him eating. :)