Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sorry I got lost....

It has been over a week since my last post (gasp!). I have a millions things on my mind but haven't really felt like putting them out there. Life and motherhood takes over and well...I just get lost in life sometimes. I just feel like I go and go all the time (because I want to not because I have to) then I make and create new things often and I am just on auto-pilot. Then I breath and take time to enjoy life. The weather has been beautiful here the past several days, so we have enjoyed the sunshine and warm (45 degrees feels warm these days). Unfortunately when I am soaking up life, I take a break from virtual life. Anyway, I am back today and thought I would share a few pics of the loves of my life....

My baby cutie pushing a baby around that is practically the same size as her.

My big cutie getting ready for swim class.

Big cutie doing her chores while Mommy naps...if only but she LOVES to vacuum with her tongue out.

She likes to keep her tongue out while swimming too.

Then my hubs decided to be romantic..... this is what I woke up to after my girls night out...

It said, I love you more but it must have rubbed off while she was sleeping, dang baby!!

Anywho, I hope everyone had a fabulous LOVE Day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day Fun

Okay, so LOVE Day is less than a week away and I am finally getting motivated to do a little decorating, crafts and baking. Here are some really cute projects that I am looking forward to.

Remember Mad Libs when you were a kid, check out this cute little printable from In Between Laundry. A little adult version of Mad Libs. I think I am going to print out several and maybe do a countdown to LOVE Day for the hubs.  I just might print him out a couple too, so the love is full circle :)

I also loved this project from Martha Stewart and set out to do it last week when I was gathering the supplies and realized....ummm....we don't have a single crayon in this house. Remember this post. Well I really wanted to do this project because #1 it is easy #2 it is fast #3 it will be pretty hanging in our window. So I broke down and bought a small pack of crayons, not to keep, just to use this once.

Next I am going to make a couple simple heart pouches to hang on the back of our chairs to put little goodies in. I don't have a link, just something I thought of. I am going to cut out 2 felt hearts per pouch and then just sew up the sides, attach a ribbon and hang. Then throughout the day add little goodies. I will post pics once I make them.

I have many things that I want to bake. 1. basic heart sugar cookies and decorate with powdered sugar icing, sprinkles and anything else we can find to go on top. 2. chocolate covered strawberries, yummm Maybe with a bottle of champagne for me and the hubs :) 3. Valentine's Day Pops, really? Where have you been all my life? I love caramel and chocolate!

I also want to make these Berry Gummy Hearts. I found the recipe in Parents Magazine but didn't find it online so here it is. Puree a 12 oz bag of frozen, thawed berries. I am going to use strawberries. Strain to remove seeds. Pour 1 cup apple juice into microwave safe bowl and sprinkle with 5 packs of unflavored gelatin. Stir lightly to moisten and let stand 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup light corn syrup. Microwave, stirring often until the sugar and gelatin are melted about 1 1/2 minutes. Mix in the fruit and 2 tbs lemon juice. Pour in an 8" x 8" pan. Skim with paper towel to remove foam. Chill at least 3 hours until set. Dip bottom of pan in warm water and flip onto a cutting board. Use cookie cutter to make your favorite shape, hearts of course! Keep refrigerated until serving.

So that is what I have on my list. Maybe I will throw in a few more things if I can find the time and energy!

What are you making for LOVE Day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Easy Recipes

Super Bowl Sunday!! I decided on my menu last night. We might have a couple of people over no big deal. If you want to know the truth, I am not really into either team, so this year I suppose I'll just watch for the commercials and eat the yummy food. Any excuse to eat for the heck of it!

So I am going to slow cook a pork shoulder, have cubed sweet potatoes, salad and roasted red pepper hummus with veggies for an app. The best thing about all this is that everything will take me no longer than 30 minutes to prepare.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Can of garbonzo beans, jar of roasted red peppers. Dump them in a blender, food processor or whatever you have. Add salt & pepper if needed and voila! Now just cut a few veggies and your done!
Yummy Salad dressing

Take balsamic vinegar about 5 tbsp, 3 tbsp olive oil, and jam or jelly (I like to use raspberry preserves but use whatever you like or have) plus salt, pepper and garlic powder, stir it up and your done!

Pork Shoulder

Okay, if you have never slow cooked a pork shoulder before, go get one at the store now. I'm telling you this is one of the easiest if not the easiest thing to make and your husband and any guests you have over will be kissing your feet after taking a bite of this bad boy. You can just grin and revel in the joy and success of knowing that you did basically nothing to get this love from all.

You can either cook it in a crock pot or the oven. The crock pot is good if you aren't going to be home through the cooking (I personally don't like leaving the oven on when I am not at home but will leave the crock pot? Probably doesn't matter just one of my things..) Another thing is that my crock pot although big sometimes doesn't hold the huge pork shoulder plus the crock pot cooks much slower so if you are limited on time, go with the oven. Either way, I rub the entire shoulder generously with salt and pepper occasionally I add a little paprika but that's it. If you want you can take a skillet and brown all sides, that helps hold the flavor in and makes the outside crispy. I don't always do this because well, it is still really freaking good anyway and sometimes I don't feel like it :) If you are using the crock pot just toss that baby in and turn on high. You will need at least 6 or 7 hours. I like to turn on high and then check it after 5 hours, you can always turn it down if it is near done. For the oven I use a big roasting pan with a rack on the bottom, make sure the shoulder is covered completely, either with a sealed lid or aluminum foil. I use aluminum foil almost always. Put it in the oven on 300 if you have plenty of time. if you don't have plenty of time turn it up to 350 or 400. You can gook about an 8 lb shoulder at 400 in about 3 hours. You can also turn the temp up in the oven to 400 or 425 and crisp the top, I usually do this at the end. Your shoulder is done when you can stick a fork in it and the meat literally falls apart. The outside will naturally be more dry than the inside, so don't worry that just means the inside will be just right. Plus there is more inside than out! Now you can add BBQ sauce and make sandwiches or just eat that bad boy plain, such goodness! Later if there are leftovers you can put on a tortilla and make a little pork taco too, yum!

Cubed Sweet Potatoes

I peel and cut the potatoes. When cutting try to make sure to cut the potatoes all about the same size, so they will cook at the same rate. Then I just get a cookie sheet, dump all the pots in, drizzle with olive oil ans sprinkle with salt pepper and the garlic Mrs Dash. Bake on 350 for 15 minutes, take out stir around and bake for another 15 or until a fork slides easily in.

Happy Super Bowl!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eat, Eat, Eat, Ham & Beans with Cornbread + Peanut Butter Bread Recipes

So basically it has been really cold here this week. I'm not talking about a little cold or below freezing, I am talking about Antarctica cold, like -25. Yep, I turned on the weather channel Wednesday morning to -25 current temp. Definitely didn't feel like going outside even if it was to get in the car, which by the way my car battery and the hubs truck battery were dead from the beyond freezing temps. So what else to do when you are stuck in the warm house beside cook, bake and of course EAT. Needless to say this week hasn't been good for my diet. Oh well at least I stayed warm, right?

Ham & Beans with Cornbread

I had a leftover ham still on the bone that I froze at Christmas. You know it was just the chunk of ham that you probably throw out because that is the chunk that they didn't slice for you... So I put the ham with bone still intact in a big pot of water (cover it completely or as much as you can), boil for an hour or two or until the ham easily comes off the bone.

Next I transfer about half of the water to another pan and dump the rest. You could definitely save the broth but I didn't this time.

Remove the ham from the bone and dice or shred, I kinda prefer it shredded. Discard fat and bone.

In the big pot I add a couple tbsp of olive oil, diced garlic and onion and saute until the onion and garlic are opaque. Add the ham and beans, cook about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the broth, add as much as you like (soupier add more, chunkier add less)Bring to a boil, them reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Yum!! but don't forget the cornbread!


Okay, so I didn't do anything special here except follow a recipe and add jalapeno.  I use the recipe on the back of the cornmeal container, shhh don't tell anyone.... then added diced jalapenos. If I was going to make it again I would definitely use buttermilk instead of regular milk although it was still delicious anyway. I like to just crumble the cornbread into my bowl.  Seriously, so freaking good.

Are you ready for this super hard recipe? Seriously even with a 3 year old helping it took about 5 minutes or less.

Peanut Butter Bread

The best thing about this recipe is that I can pretty much bet that you have all the ingredients in your pantry right now.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (I am sure creamy would be just as good minus the crunch!)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray bread pan with cooking spray. Combine flour, sugar & baking powder. Add milk and peanut butter. Pour in loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Top with jelly, jam, honey or just eat it plain. So good!!

So get to cookin' and Have a Great Weekend!!

Never Give Up On Something You Can't Go A Day Without Thinking About.....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Big Girl

My big cutie is in dance class once a week. I will have to say that every Monday morning it brings a smile and typically a big laugh to my day. It starts the week off in the right direction...minus the whirlwind it takes to get there.

Crazy pic of the little girl next to my big cutie..huh?

When far away we are all little dots but when up close we are shining stars!
 I got this from this adorable etsy shop, just.lovely.things via one of my favortie blogs, Little miss Momma. If you haven't had a dose of LMM before, you should definitely check her

It is still freezing here, okay well BELOW FREEZING. It is currently -5. I think I will just put on my string bikini, close my eyes and dream of the beach...okay minus the string bikini add the Mama style tankini.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tips on Creating Your Own Biz

I have people ask me often, how do you...... regarding having your own business. So I wanted to start writing tips on having your own biz-nass. You know I don't know everything but I have learn a lot mostly through trial and error. If I can save anyone a little time, I will gladly tell you what I have learned or wish that someone told me because if you are like me your time is limited.

So first off, if you want to start an e-commerce website. As most of you know I have had several websites. The NEW site is definitely the best so far, I really like it and really like the features. It is also very easy to use on my end and on the consumer end too.

So my current site is powered by Merchant Moms (the host). This is the brains of the site, the insides, this is where I add all my info, products, registry, etc.. The other inside, the shopping cart, the money, etc.. is powered by Mal's. This is where you set up how people will checkout as well as gift certificates, discount codes, etc.. Currently my payment method is Paypal. I just link my Paypal account to Mal's shopping cart. You can get another company to just process your credit cards, I don't currently have that 1. because it is really expensive 2. because I am not doing a lot of business outside of my website right now and don't need to process cards separately but if you plan to do shows or fairs and need to type credit card #'s in you will want to get a credit card processor. I have used quickbooks in the past. They do a credit check for this so if you don't have good credit, be aware.

Next for the design, the outside the style of your site, you can google website templates. There are hundreds, many are free. I got mine from Boutique Mama, it is very affordable. The prices range from free to several hundred $$. Once you buy it the designer or company you buy it from will install it for you. So you will go to your control panel (mine through Merchant Moms) and add your products, check out your site and viola, it is all pretty and perfect!

I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that if you pay someone loads of money (starting at about $7,000, when I checked into it) to make you a custom site, you are getting the same thing that you can buy from a template website designer. Even if you pay someone loads of $$$ you still have to take all your own pics, add all your own products and do all the inside of your site yourself. If you pay someone loads of $$, you will still have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for someone to power/host your site. They only give you the design, the outside. Another company that does hosting and has designs is Pappa Shop (I almost used them but liked the features of Merchant Moms better).

So now with using Merchant Mom's, Mal's & Paypal, I have a very affordablele yet professional website.

So if you haven't already checked out my fabulous new website, check it out NOW. You can use code site20 for 20% off EVERYTHING!!

Feel free to comment with your questions, I will make sure to answer them to the best of my knowledge. OR if you have any good tip, share them!!

Do you have your own blog? Well I finally figured out how to make a button!! Check it out! Feel free to post the code on your blog. If you do, let me know and I will reciprocate! Thanks in advance!

The code is up there in the right hand corner....