5.27.2009

Fresh Bed Sheets


  1. Garnet Hill Zinnia 310 Bedsheets
  2. Garnet Hill Blooma Sateen Bedding
  3. The Company Store Oceanside Stripe Percale Bedding (ON SALE)
  4. The Company Store Island Percale Bedding (ON SALE)
  5. Marimekko Unikko Bedding
  6. Plenty By Tracy Reese Sheeting Collection
  7. Tommy Hilfiger Novelty Print Pastel Colors
Hmmm... yes... I have been in the decorating mood lately! Actually, since coming to the realization that we're going to be owning our own home by the end of the year, I've been thinking about decorating for a while.

But I haven't had much time to put any ideas on paper (I mean "on blog" instead of "on paper") so as we get more into house hunting I know that I'll get more into decorating. And no, I'm definitely no pro! So when it comes to DIY, I'm totally engrossed in HGTV.

Enjoy the bright colors!

5.26.2009

Living Room Inspirations

Pottery Barn Buchanon Apartment Sofa $799 - $1,299

Ikea Linnarp Bookcase $279 (I'd try and get glass doors so no dog fur could get into the pages of the books & other stuff).

Pier 1 Imports Emerson Hall Chest $459.98 (On Sale)Ikea Leksvik Gateleg Table $179
Anthropologie Chameleon Pillow $88.00Anthropologie Mantadia Pillow $128

Ok, so I'm in a decorating mood. I just couldn't help sharing what I've been oogling this morning because our servers are down. But I love those pillows from Anthropologie. Too bad I'd have to peddle on the streets for money to pay our bills though!

Ok, now I'm really getting ancy to move and buy a house! Hmmm... maybe kitchen inspiration next? That one's easy - it'll be getting designed around my KitchenAid Stand Mixer!

Would You Like To Go To Hawaii?

Pottery Barn is have a fantastic giveaway of a trip to Hawaii! Definitely something to enter!

(Although I have to admit that we can't afford their furniture, they give me some great inspiration for our future house!)

Happy Tuesday!

More Kebobs (Beef)

So, Bimmer Man likes marinated meat. And that's fine!
Because as long as I have leftovers, that's all that matters!

Easy Beef Marinade for the Grill
1/2 cup Italian Dressing
2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup A1 Steak Sauce
1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix all together, marinate meat for 30 minutes.

5.25.2009

Charcoal Grilling... What To Do With The Used Charcoal?

So you have a charcoal grill. We have a charcoal grill too.

What do you do with the leftover ash? Or better yet, what should you do with the leftover ash?

Ideally gas grilling is the most eco-friendly while charcoal emits not only only carbon monoxide but many other toxins too.

Wood ash can be dumped in the garden and used for fertilizer, but it is alkaline so it's good for neutralizing acidic soils. But be careful if you don't know your gardens ph levels though - they sell those paper strips at garden stores if you want to find out (think back to 8th grade science!).

But charcoal, like the Kingsford Charcoal that only takes 10 minutes to be ready to cook - that stuff can't go into a compost heap. It can't go into your garden at all because of all the toxins used to MAKE it burn. Instead, it should be thrown away in the garbage.

If you use plain old wood charcoal with NO TOXINS, then yes, it can go into your compost but beware, too much is a BAD thing in your compost.

Unfortunately something that I like so much, isn't exactly that eco friendly but grilling does taste so good!

Happy Memorial Day!

Boneless Pork Ribs in the Crockpot

Fairly easy. Just gather up ingredients that you need to get rid of. I mean eat.
Chop everything up. Use the garlic press if you have one - I felt like chopping though.
Toss it into a bowl.
Add more stuff: ketchup, red wine viniagrette, honey, a bit of olive oil
And worchestershire sauce, about 1/4 cup of soy sauce, salt, pepper, etc... See? I told you - we're moving so I've just been mixing whatever I can together to make sure that we don't have that much food leftover.
And ground mustard. Maybe a teaspoon.
Whisk it all together and then pour over the ribs in the crockpot. I layered the crockpot with 2 cans of black beans, one onion and then the ribs. I didn't add any other juices, because you don't really need that much water for a slow cooker.

Then the usual - 7 - 8 hours on low, 4 - 5 hours on high.
And they'll fall apart!

FAIL: Blondies

The batter looks right....
But 30 minutes later... they were so gooey in the middle, that you'd have to eat it with a spoon.

I did follow the recipe, but I think I learned my lesson! Read reviews BEFORE you start!

As you can tell, we did kinda chip away at it during a BBQ this past weekend. The batter tasted amazing, so honestly - I kinda want an ice cream maker so I could make a Blondie ice cream. Now that sounds great!

NOTE: Generally I don't post my baking failures but because I'm not a very good baker anyway.

5.19.2009

Pasta With Fresh Veggies

Or would it be veggies with pasta? Eh, whatever...
Just get some of your favorite veggies together and make them look pretty.
I used zucchini, tomatoes, red and green pepper.
I love a plate of fresh veggies. Generally I go for the Dill Dip and hope that it's low fat (but I just bought a running magazine for inspiration last night... we'll see how that goes).

I love the Al Dente Fettuccine that I bought - it only takes 5 minutes to cook and it's really good!
And now for the hard part. Saute the veggies with olive oil until tender but still nice and crisp. I added garlic as well about halfway through the cooking process. I'd add the tomatoes at the end of the cooking just so they don't lose their skins or get more tender/soft/mushy than what you'd like. I also added a splash of lemon juice to brighten up the flavors at the very end. But you can do whatever you want (maybe lime juice or orange juice???).
Top the cooked pasta with the sauteed vegetables. Et, voila!

If you want something a little saucier, you can add white wine or chicken broth and let it simmer and thicken. I didn't though, I was too hungry. And that sounds like something a chef would do, I'm not a chef.

Salt, pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil top it off.
There wasn't any leftovers of this meal! Unless you count one tomato and one piece of zucchini with a spackling of pasta in between.

Honestly - this is what most of my summer meals are. Veggies with either cous cous or pasta, you can't go wrong!

5.18.2009

Go Green: All Purpose Cleaner

Underneath the sink is where I keep all of our cleaning supplies.

In my arsenal, I generally have the same things. They aren't very exciting.

Just vinegar
Dr. Bronner's
Method Glass cleaner (smells like mint)
Rubber gloves (I actually married a frat boy who still thinks he lives in a frat house and doesn't um, clean up crumbs or drips on the countertops)
Baking soda (which you can't see because the stupid bag doesn't fit).

I still use Method glass cleaner - I just can't seem to find the right mixture of vinegar with something else. And of course, the blue glass cleaning cloth. Just toss it in the wash when you're done!
To make an all purpose solution, it's really very easy. Some people use measurements, I just kinda go by the smell of vinegar.

I'm not one to smell like a salad, so I do it this way (vinegar doesn't smell after it's dry).
3 parts vinegar
1 parts warm (or hot) water
2 - 3 tablespoons Dr. Bronner's

Mix into spray bottle, shake well. Also, shake before each use.

If you don't mind the smell of vinegar, you can make the ratio 50/50 and add lemon juice instead. Make as much as you want or just make as much as you need for cleaning!

Happy Monday - don't go too crazy cleaning...

5.15.2009

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

You know in the Springtime, chocolate doesn't sound as good as fresh fruit. Last night I walked to the grocery store (Um, yeah, I really am that eco-friendly) and was studying all the fresh fruit. Lo and behold, there were way too many people in the fruit section of Kroger.

If you can't tell, I'm a little claustrophobic in spaces with too many people. I do not do well in crowds. So I used frozen raspberries. But not a problem, they still turned out great! This is definitely a recipe to make if you have berries in your yard - I'd do this again with blueberries, blackberries or even strawberries!
Yum... The batter smelled SO good. I can't even tell you how much it smelled like Spring. It's one of those things that fruit does to me. It makes me feel like warm weather is approaching. And it's a great feeling!

Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins

Yield

2 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (5 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, egg whites, and egg; beat well.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk to cream cheese mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Gently fold in raspberries and walnuts.

Place 24 foil cup liners in muffin cups. Spoon batter evenly into liners. Bake at 350° 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Cooking Light, JUNE 2003

And by the way - Check out Joelen's Blog and her Tasty Tools blogging events because this recipe has been entered into the Stand Mixer one!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!!

Do you remember that giveaway that I posted on Monday? You know - this???

Well, to determine a winner, I went to random.org.

Notice the pink border? Do you have Windows Vista? I really enjoy the snipping tool (go to the windows icon from the desktop on the lower lefthand corner, then search for snipping tool. You can snip a window, a specific area, etc... and make it into a JPEG. You can also send those snips to people through e-mail too). This comes in handy at work when I have a problem with my computer, especially when a database has gone a little wonky and is housed on a server in another building and IT can't actually come and look at my screen.


Et voila! We have a winner!So Jenn, just send me an e-mail with your info and I'll have them in the mail to you ASAP!

(I also sell custom cards, so if you have a picture but want it made into a photo card, send me an e-mail too and I'll let you know some more details!).

McTatty

BTW: patty.harayda@gmail.com

5.14.2009

Black Bean Quesadilla

Some days my mind is like a blank tortilla. Blank as blank can be. I haven't been too inspired lately, but I'm getting back into the baking mode, which is a good thing considering that I have 10 pounds of flour that I need to use. And lots of sugar too.

But in any case, I have black bean cravings like crazy and while Bimmer Man was studying for his finals, quesadillas were the easiest thing for me to make whilst pining away for my man.

Ok, so maybe not pining because Grey's was on, but still. It's hard to cook for one. Any good cookbooks with meals for two? I would totally buy them...
But I digress. This is a baked quesadilla. I didn't have time for that flipping on the stove crap plus the baking sheet was already out (had someone made a frozen pizza???). So I used it and washed dishes while it baked.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Layer cheese and black beans on top of each other. you can add in salsa, green onions, etc... but I just kept it simple. I don't really care what you put in, mostly because this meal totally reminds me of Rachael Ray (and she probably has made this meal) and she has super easy recipes that you don't feel bad if you swap the ingredients. Or like this recipe from Sandra Lee.
Then top with another tortilla and bake for about 5 minutes on each side.
Cut into 4 sections and eat.

So yes, this is super easy and fun to eat. Maybe good for kids? (I don't have kids)

Enjoy this quick quesadilla!

5.13.2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

If you know me at all, then you know I put LOTS and LOTS of peanut butter in Kongs. In fact THE MONSTER even has his own blog. And for once, the humans in the house got a peanut butter treat. Can you believe it?
The hardest part of making them is the amount of time it takes to roll them up into balls.
And then make the design with a fork. I've never made peanut butter cookies, so I was hoping they weren't too, um, well, flat. If you know what I mean.
In the end one lesson was learned. Use two cookie sheets next time, don't crowd them all on one. And make at least two batches - one for the doggie daycare people and one for work too. And save at least 4 to keep at home.
Yum... These are fabulous and I definitely recommend them for all those that aren't allergic to peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Cookies
From the KitchenAid Mixer Instruction Booklet (yes, the recipes are really worth trying!)

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

Place peanut butter and butter in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater to mixer. Turn to speed 6 and beat about 1 minute, or until mixture is smooth. Stop and scrape bowl. Add sugars, egg, and vanilla. Turn to speed 4 and beat about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl.

Turn to stir speed. Gradually add all remaining ingredients to sugar mixture and mix about 30 seconds. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds.

Roll dough into 1 inch ball. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press flat with fork in a criss-cross pattern to 1/4 inch thickness.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.

5.12.2009

Go Green: Make Your Own Soft Scrub

So to start this off, I'm going green and have been for awhile, I've just been waiting for my bathroom cleansers to run out so I could recycle the bottles and then make my own. I love using soft scrub, but I can't stand the nasty smells.

So I googled around a little bit for some bathroom cleaning recipes and kinda just well, dumped some stuff in a container. But it's the same consistency of soft scrub and it also smells 10 times better. And it's not a carcinogen. Plus it gets the gross crap off the sink and tub.
First, you'll start with a cup of baking soda (note the gigantic bag, that can be found at Sam's Club) and put that into the container that you'll use. Then start pouring in the Dr. Bronner's.
I think I started off with about a 1/4 of a cup, but the consistency wasn't quite right for soft scrub.
So just keep pouring... It should be nice and smooth, but still gritty - you need to be able to put a glop on the sink and scrub without it feeling too soapy.
So total, I think this is what I used:

3/4 cup Dr. Bronner's (I like the tea tree because I think it smells like a spa)
1 cup baking soda

Mix until you have soft scrub.

This can be used in your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, bathtub and anything that really needs a good scrubbing. I go through this much in about 3 - 4 weeks.

Eh, I'm not really all that sure how many people are interested in making their own cleaning supplies, but I thought I'd share anyway considering how many people are surprised that I make my own. I thought I might add in the essential oil, but the tea tree oil smells really good. Dr. Bronner's has several different scents. Lavender is great too!

Maybe I'll share my all purpose cleaner next! That's an easy one too!