Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday

I'm not sure which I enjoy most on Wednesdays in the blogosphere, Wordless Wednesdays or Weight-Loss Wednesdays. The latter is kind of a new Wednesday topic for me, but I'm going to give it a go particularly since I've been rambling on about cooking topics this week and still have more to come...
  • Food Tidings
  • Cooking with the Kiddos
  • Yay Giveaway!
I used to be one of those girls who was always able to eat whatever without a lot of effort at staying thin...until about ten years ago. Metabolism changes, life changes, etc. etc. pregnancy...and I find myself here, at a weight I'm not proud of and wanting to change it.

I've been reading the book Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeurst, and have really been able to relate to the various topics she discusses. She doesn't offer diet plans or tricks...just simply addresses the natural cravings we have while suggesting we fill them with spiritual "food" rather than junk food. She discusses how we can use the cravings we have to deepen our relationship with God, and I like that approach.
Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food

(Click on the book cover ifyou'd like to order a copy.)

I have a gym membership and am pleased to say that I've gotten back in there this week (much to Sweetbaby's chagrin...doesn't like being taken to the nursery...) I run on the treadmill for as long as I can, even though at the moment that isn't very long, because I feel like that's the most bang for my buck (and results in the LEAST amount of time Sweetbaby has to stay in the nursery =) I'm sore, but it feels good to be back in the saddle.

I learned from a fitness trainer that I need to lose about 30ish lbs to really be where I'm feeling great again. I took it a step further today and ordered my Shaklee Cinch Weight Loss shake mix. I think that is going to simplify this process for me a bit, and you know I love anything having to do with Shaklee!

One more thing the personal trainer shared with me was the wonderful site and app, Myfitnesspal.com. This keeps up with my calories, water intake, exercise etc. and charts everything for me. I think my favorite feature is the button that allows me to use my phone to SCAN the barcode of a particular food to find out and record the caloric information of the food. That is just too cool!

I look forward to sharing more with you about my progress in the coming weeks!


Linking up!






Monday, July 18, 2011

Yay Dish Towels

When I was looking for apron tutorials to make one for Samuel, I noticed there were many tutorials or examples of pretty dish towels out there too. I realize this doesn't make for the most interesting topic, but you have to keep in mind that these are the types of little touches I never paid much attention to back during my working days that I now notice.

The dish towels I came across ALSO gave me some good uses for some of that scrap fabric I keep accumulating as well as giving a second life to some flour sack towels I was given to use as burp cloths.

Here's another little hint as to why I'm bothering to blog about dish towels....Soon, one of my sweet followers will have a chance to win a stay-put dish towel along with a couple of other cute kitchen items as part of Yay Home's next giveaway. What is a stay-put dish towel? I'm so glad you asked...




When you have a toddler running around and grabbing everything within reach, your dish towels have a tendency to end up on the floor...down the hall....under the couch...You get the idea. This one, however, is holding its ground. Samuel has tried to yank it down a time or two to no avail. That's why it caught my eye when I saw it on Pinterest.

Here's the picture I stumbled across that will provide a link to the tutorial I followed. It's just a simple kitchen towel with some strips of fabric and ribbon sewn on. Easy as can be!



The next one is another type of towel that just looks so "summery" to me. I wish I could remember exactly where I saw this one because it was before my Pinterest days. It is even easier to make! I used a flour sack towel someone had given me to use as a burp cloth. It was stain-free and tucked away with the baby stuff. I also used more of the strips of fabric I used for the stay-put towel. Fabric scraps would also be great.

Anyway, I just sewed two strips down both sides of the towel. I left the ends unfinished so they would fray and give a homey-worn look. Isn't it lovely? (as far as dish towels are concerned ;-)


These fabric strips were part of a roll of strips I bought at JoAnn's. Love all these colors together!



Now that you're all inspired to CLEAN I mean make more dish towels. ;-) HERE are several more examples you could try. (I can't wait to try the bunting towel, the ribbon towel, and the design transfer towels. Any of these would not only add a nice personal touch to your kitchen, but they also make lovely gifts.

In a few days I will show you how I'm using this as part of a gift for Samuel's teachers this summer. (That will also kick off the giveaway!)

Still to come:

  • Summer Food for the Kiddos





  • Food Tidings





  • Another Yay Giveaway!


  • Yay Link Parties!



    Making

    The Girl Creative


    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Pizza Club

    Until a few months ago, I'd never heard of Pizza Club. I am a part of our local MOMS club though, and a relatively new member brought this idea with her when she joined our chapter. It is now one of my favorite events, so I agreed to host this month. Here's how it works...

    The person hosting provides the dough, sauce, tin foil/saran wrap, and a big table. Everyone who attends brings their own pizza pan, cheese for their pizza, and one topping. An evite is sent out and when people reply they list what topping they'll be bringing. We have it around 4:00, and kids are welcome to come and play, make their own pizza etc.

    Once you've assembled your pizza, you take it home and bake it for supper! It's a great way to get to visit with friends while your kids play AND you get a yummy supper out of the deal. Here are some pictures from this month's pizza club!


    I ordered the balls of dough from a local pizza shop. They were about $1.50 each for a medium sized pizza crust.


    I bought spaghetti sauce at Kroger and added some Italian Seasoning. You could also get fancy and make some from scratch using a recipe like {THIS}. I put it all in a big pot with a ladle for everyone to use and then placed it in the center of the table.


    Here's a shot of the table once people had been working for a while...

    We bake them at about 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. We never have any leftovers because they are so delicious! Love all the fresh ingredients!
    My Sister-in-law made this one. She did one side for herself and one side for her hubby.

    The kiddos were busy in the playroom, but you can also set up a little table for the kids to make their own pizzas. Might want to have your Dustbuster handy if you choose to do that! =)

    Variations

    If you'd like to change it up a bit, consider GRILLING it like TidyMom did {HERE} or use BBQ sauce instead of pizza sauce and go for something like a BBQ chicken pizza following a recipe like {THIS} very amazing one from Pioneer Woman (she even makes her own dough!)

    I hope you'll consider trying a pizza club with a group of friends or family! Let me know if you have any questions about it

    Other Yay Cooking Topics:

    Stay tuned!


    Tidy Mom







    monogram


    Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special






    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Yay Summer Recipes



    We have some wonderful new neighbors, so we wanted to have them over for dinner along with another couple who has been in this neighborhood for 40ish years.

    If there is anything at all going on around here, its the HEAT!! I really try to cook in ways that will keep our house from being quite so hot (crock pot, grill etc.) When we were planning what to cook, I decided to combine some good old recipes with some fresh new ones to create a very appetizing (and filling) summer meal. Since we were trying new things, we made sure to have a plan B....burgers, buns, and some easy mac for the kiddos! ;-)

    Fortunately, we didn't need our plan B. Everything turned out great!

    I always have to begin a dinner party with Mollie-Guac. What's that you ask???? Only the best and freshest tasting guacamole dip I've ever had!! Let me put it like this. I didn't even LIKE guac until this recipe. I've heard other say the same. I call it Mollie-Guac because my dear friend, Mollie, introduced me to it and graciously shared her recipe. Here ya go...Take to to your next cookout. It'll be a HIT! (This pic isn't Mollie's, but I just liked the way it looks. Quite frankly, hers never lasts long enough to get a pic!)


    MOLLIE'S GUACAMOLE RECIPE

    3 avocados, mashed
    juice 1 to 2 limes (to taste and depending on lime size)
    1/2 tsp garlic salt
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 or 2 minced garlic cloves (best via garlic press)
    1/2 to 3/4's of an onion, small diced (don't recommend vidalias;
    keep adding and tasting until the consistency/amount of onion works for you--you can always add more, but taking it back OUT's not so easy:)
    handful of cilantro if you've got it around, but I don't typically buy it special...
    a couple squirts of hot sauce
    chips of choiceMash your avocados, then add juice of one lime, salts, garlic, hot sauce, cilantro, and 1/2 onion (minced).  Taste as you go to see whether you want more lime juice and/or onion crunch.  Some people also add tomatoes to theirs, but we've just never done it that way...

    The inspiration for the rest of menu began here....with the Fire Wire. Have you seen this thing?  You string up your kabobs like so.....

    Fire Wire Stainless Steel Flexible Grilling Skewer, Set of 2

    Let it marinade...yep, on the wire. Just put the whole thing into the marinade you choose. We used a bunch of Tastefully Simple spices and some Italian dressing.

    Fire Wire Stainless Steel Flexible Grilling Skewer, Set of 2


    Now, just lay the whole kabob on the grill, and grill it like you normally would! YUM!
    Fire Wire Stainless Steel Flexible Grilling Skewer, Set of 2
    So that took care of the grilling and some of the veggies. I also wanted to use the crockpot. I needed to make sure I had something kid-friendly, so I found a crock pot homestyle macaroni and cheesrecipe... who knew you could make mac n cheese in the crockpot???? Homestyle no less! It was delicious...Here's the recipe:´╗┐

    8 oz. macaroni noodles
    1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
    1.5 c. of milk
    2 lg. eggs
    1/2 stick of butter
    1tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. black pepper
    3 c. sharp cheddar cheese divided

    ´╗┐Cook macaroni in boiling salted water for five minutes. Drain and pour into crock pot. Beat together milk, eggs, butter, salt, and pepper. Add to macaroni along with 2 cups of cheese. Stir will. Top with remaining cheese and cook on high for two hours.

    Here's a family favorite that was introduced by my sister-in-law, Natasha...This one is a Paula Deen recipe, but we just call it Tasha's Pineapple Casserole.

    Pineapple Casserole

    1 cup sugar
    6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 cups grated sharp cheddar
    2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained, and 6 tablespoons pineapple juice reserved
    1 cup cracker crumbs (recommended: Ritz)
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Grease a medium-size casserole dish with butter.

    In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Gradually stir in the cheese. Add the drained pineapple chunks, and stir until ingredients are well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

    In another medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and reserved pineapple juice, stirring with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.


    Now if you haven't already, you simply MUST check out Pinterest. I'm fairly new at it, but I'm definitely hooked on it. You can see my pins and boards by clicking the button on the sidebar. In addition to all the crafty and organizing inspiration, I also find a lot of great RECIPES! We made this asparagus recipe that I found on Pinterest, and it was fabulous!


     Season with olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese; bake 350 10-15 minutes. Yep, that's it....

    ...And now for DESSERT! Our neighbors brought over a Mango/Key Lime pie. I'd never had that combo before, but it was mouthwatering.
    Photo

    Ingredients

      For the Graham cracker crust

    2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

      For the Filling

    1/3 cup mangoes, pureed
    6 egg yolks
    1/2 up key lime juice
    2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
    1/2 cup mangoes, diced
    3 cups whipped cream

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degree.
    Make crust: in large bowl, combine cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter; mix well. Press mix into a 10-inch pie pan, sides and bottom. Set aside.
    Make filling: in a food processor (or blender) process mango until pureed. Add egg yolks, lime juice and the two cans of milk. Mix, combining well. Fold in the diced mango using a rubber spatula to keep the mango intact.
    Pour mixture into crust and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and cool pie completely. Keep refrigerated until shortly before serving. Top with fresh whipped cream.

    I sure hope you'll enjoy these recipes if you choose to try any of them. If you have them all together like we did, you'll be certain to have had one very delicious summery meal and a full tummy! Yay!

    Upcoming Yay Cooking Topics:


    • Dish Towels
    • Pizza Club
    • Summer Food for the Kiddos
    • Food Tidings
    • Another Yay Giveaway!

    Stay tuned!




    Somewhat Simple

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Yay Cooking - Aprons


    Thus far, Yay Home has been very geared toward my crafty endeavors mostly because that really is how I spend a great deal of my free time. However, this week I'd like to "pepper" in some posts related to cooking and will hopefully get to read about some of your great cooking ideas, recipes, etc.


    This summer our Sweetbaby has been participating in a church program with a cooking theme. Somehow I missed the chance to order his apron during registration?? When I noticed they would be painting their aprons on the first day, I certainly couldn't allow him to go without one!!! Goodness no!!

    I found a free, super-cute and easy tutorial for a toddler apron and chef's hat {HERE} at Ucreate. There are measurements for an adult apron as well. There are lots of free toddler apron tutorials out there, but this one was just my favorite. Adorable!

    Here's a girly one...

    Since I knew Samuel would be painting his Apron and would need it to be white or cream colored, I decided to use a printed fabric for the straps and pocket. It's not easy finding "manly" cooking-themed fabric! I finally found one I liked at JoAnn's...brown with brightly colored utensils.

    I honestly whipped this out in an hour or so...I had enough extra time that evening to embroider his name on it too. Here's Sweetbaby's one-of-a-kind, Mama-won't-allow-me-to-be-the-only-kiddo-without-an-apron....apron. =)


    Now I'm really looking forward to seeing how he painted it as well as how his "cooking" has altered its appearance. I think I'll take the leftover untensil fabric and make him that chef's hat too!

    Here are some other apron tutorials I'd like to try:

    Crayon apron from a dish towel @ Obsessively Stitching


    This one is just something cute I saw and though, "I can make that...." I like the little notepad holder in front.


    Ruffle Apron @ House of Smith's

     


    Fat Quarter Apron @ Prudent Baby


     Apron made from an Anthropologie dish towel @ ECAB
    (can't get this one to center for some reason...)


    Let's face it, I could add apron pics all day and night. I even saw a whole section in a McCalls pattern book. For now though, just grab your favorite apron or make yourself a new one and lets talk about good cooking this week! Yay!

    Somewhat Simple



    The Girl Creative







    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Hops, Skips, and Jumps!




    Here are some blog hops and link parties I'm going to check out this week. Won't you join me?


    The Adventures of My Family of 8 Tuesday Blog Hop









    Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop