Friday, January 28, 2011

A Mom's Ultimate Survival Kit

I was catching up on one of my favorite DIY blogs, All Things Thrifty and came across this BRILLIANT project: A mom's ultimate survival kit. (Or, a date night survival kit?! A boring class kit? A trip to the park kit? An overnighter kit?!)

You know how you have to dig to the bottom of your purse for know you put a pen in your bag but where is it? Voila!

She picked up items at a dollar store. If it was a date kit I'd put in lipgloss, safty pins, money, gum etc. Boring class: sudoko, colored pens, candy, straws and spitwads...

Made pockets for each...

I actually think I look more at the beautiful pillows in the background here, ha!

How awesome is that?! This way, you're not a tote-bag lugging, backpack exploding crazy person. She must have known I needed this!
She even includes a tutorial for making the cute flower on the outside!

To make it go to the site here

Happy Monday!

Start With Onions!!

Onions cooking on the stove....a prelude to something delicious! This is one small onion in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Soon as the onions get that nice translucent look, add in about 16 ounces of fresh mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. And, as you wait for the mushrooms to slowly cook and become a little brown.... might be time for a little pre-dinner "pick-me-up"! I do love fruit. Ever wonder why fruit tastes so much better and near festive when eaten out of a wonderful dish or glass? Love it!

Let onions and mushrooms cool. And while they are cooling, chop very finely, 3/4 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup parsley.

In a food processor or blender, blend one regular can of kidney beans with the parsley and walnuts. Then, add in the mushrooms and onions.
Honestly, my blender could not handle this...the thickness. So, a food processor would be best. But, truth be told, i do not have a food processor and so I resorted to my trusty hand held electric beaters. What's a girl to do? And, it did work out aok.
Sort of looks like the beginnings of meatloaf? Maybe? But, with beans. Well, it is NOT meatloaf.
Add in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs.

Well, here is what I made...a first for me...meatless meatballs. After mixing the above ingredients, put it into the fridge for about an hour. Roll into small balls and broil for 10 minutes, rotating balls once. They turned out nice and crusty on the outside and softer on the inside. Just right.

I looked back at the recipe to see if their was a sauce or how to serve, but, did not find anything.
Maybe over rice? Hubby and son loved these. I think kids might gobble these up if dipped in ketchup? We did try ketchup and it was good.

And, it was what was for school and work lunches the next day.
A few tips...I think this would make a wonderful spread on tortilla's, or on a sturdy whole wheat cracker. Just mix the ingredients and spread.
Have a great Friday. Maybe give this new recipe a try this weekend. It was fun to make and fun to eat! What's cooking at your house this weekend? xo

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lasagna Skillet

I know I commented a 'thank you' to everyone who commented on my last post but I wanted to be sure you were recognized. That is what I meant by good friends! Thank you one and all for the encouragement and upliftment. I hope I give you the same in return.

Perhaps a delicious meal will better convey my gratitude over written sentiments..!

Lasagna Skillet!


a delicious blend of noodles, meat, tomatoes, Italian spices and Parmesan cheese

We've posted previously on how much we detest Hamburger Helper (tastes like cardboard. Sorry Betty C.) and the inventive homemade hamburger helper using water, milk, noodles and spices. This is an advanced recipe of the same kind only TEN TIMES more delicious!! It's a new staple at my home. Trust me, it tastes like lasagna only you put in a fraction of the work. Et voila:

Ahh mm-hmm!

1 pound ground beef (I usually use a half pound b/c it overwhelms the dish and I like to use the other half pound for another meal)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/4 cups water
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bow tie pasta, uncooked
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dash basil, pepper

In large skillet, brown beef with onions and garlic; drain. Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt. Mix well. Stir in uncooked pasta. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; cover, simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring once. Stir in cottage cheese. Cover with and Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle in basil and pepper to taste if desired. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Pair this with our breadstick recipe here and add a crisp green salad. Yum!

Bon Appetit!

(recipe source and 1st photo from FabulesslyFrugal (dot) com. A good coupon site for you west coast couponers!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Motherhood is tough.

Why did my own mother do such a fantastic job raising us that motherhood not only looked enviable (you would always have friends a.k.a. your children, you got to dress real live "dolls" and cook food for everyone!) but it seemed easy? Now, I only have child and I cannot help but marvel at the people who have more than that and look so well put together.

Tonight Maddy and I went to the store and I broke my cardinal rule of going to the grocery store in sweats. Not only that but my other rule, I had on no make up and hmmm did I even brush my hair? Or my teeth!? The apartment is messy after I just cleaned it this morning, the dishwasher is calling out to be unloaded, phone calls need to be returned, YW Presidency meeting plans for tomorrow, photo shoot to be edited and re-scheduled because I'm not happy with the lighting, banana bread to make, pots to be scrubbed, library books to return...well, you get the idea. In fact, you probably have a list longer than mine.

I'm determined to help Madelyn learn how to soothe herself to sleep. Which means crying. I can't stand crying. Not even a little bit. I'm horrible at "tough love". I always want to run into the bedroom and rescue her and get out some toys to play, to let her know I'm there. But as I read in a book recently, there is "intelligent love" and if I look at the situation clearly, it will benefit her so much more in the long run (and myself as well) if we both can learn that when it's bed time, she goes into her crib and I have to leave. The goodnight's sleep that ensues is so worth it. Otherwise, if I try to rock her to sleep she fights it and wants to play and it's hours and hours before she'll relent. Then she's extra tired and I'm extra cranky. Tough love baby. Tough love, mama.

Aaron has had to jump into his busy season with both feet. That means, gone at 7:30am and we see nor hear hide or tail of him until 10:30-11:00pm. Saturdays he's at the office and Sundays we just try to catch our breath. Only 6 more weeks to go!

I guess what I'm getting at is...everyone keeps asking me how Aaron's busy season is going, there is such a "to-do" about it. We go to our friends' house for the weekend to relax and vent about the boys' busy week and eat delicious steaks. But what about a mother's busy season? The moment that sweet bundle of joy comes home you're on call 24/7 and suddenly your needs, wants, dreams, desires, goals, taking showers regularly get shelved. It is the highest calling or position demanding an endless rope of patience, bottomless energy and tough arms for swimming through the mire of other responsibilities. If you're a mother, chances are no one has asked you how your busy season is are you holding up? Boy, that was a late shift last night, wasn't it? Did you get that potty training project finished? How about that nap schedule? I need it on my desk asap.

I guess growing up I assumed that my siblings and I were all my mother needed to be fulfilled and happy. And I bet she would say that we were a big part of that. But I never would have thought of the things she put on hold for us, the lonely nights spent treading a circle with a baby in her arms, the endless afternoons cleaning, feeding, running after, changing, and soothing. So much of that I never figured into this motherhood thing until it happened. And I have found that reaching out to others who are in my same boat is about the only thing that keeps a mother sane. We need each other. Friends (mothers or not) are essential beings to helping us remember who we are underneath the spit up and sweat pants.

So, from one mother deep in the is your busy season going? Are you staying afloat? What troubles are you encountering with your "clients"? You are not alone!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Staying IN for Date Night

We are experiencing a wonderful and bone chilling "Arctic Snap". Yes, it does feel as cold as it sounds. It is very exciting, to say the least. So, we stayed in for Date Night and I am so glad we did.

I do love a good salad....croutons, dried cranberries, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, veggies...the works.

We are kicking off each and every Friday (weekend) this winter/New Year, with trying a fun drink with dinner. We have tried sparkling grape juice, raspberry lemonade, and last nights, Pomegranate lemonade. It was like having a dessert in a glass-ha! Very good, but, very sweet.

I was so inspired by blogging friend, Julie's, "romantic steak dinner...with hot mustard sauce", (, that I had to do a little something about it. It was so good. I baked potato's, and made steak with onions and mushrooms.
It was divine. I must try Julie's hot mustard sauce, next time round.

And, there was dessert. Need I say more?

I have got to learn how to make this!!!

All in all, a wonderful way to celebrate a successful week and kick-off a super weekend. We are following the Australian Open, so, looking forward to watching some tennis while I sew.

What's happening in your neck of the woods this weekend? My son is doing it up right by starting his day off with scrambled eggs and layer cake---(ha)-and some early morning indoor tennis. Fantastic! xo

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sausage Bow-tie Pasta with Breadsticks

1½ cups warm water
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast

Let that sit for 5 minutes. Then add:

3½ cups flour
1 tsp Salt

Mix until smooth then let raise for 10 minutes. Roll out dough into a large square on a floured surface. Brush with melted (real) butter mixed with garlic and then sprinkle with kosher salt. Fold in half and cut into 1 inch strips. Twist and place on a cooking sheet. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes to raise. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately after baking, brush with more garlic butter and sprinkle with kosher salt and grated Parmesan cheese. (recipe courtesy Fabulessly Frugal)

Brown 1/2 lb Italian sausage (or original with Italian seasonings) in large pan, add a dash of red pepper flakes
Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves, minced, with a little olive oil
When they are translucent and cooked, add 1-26oz can Italian diced tomatoes (drained), 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I substitute some with milk) cover and let simmer around 10 mins.
Stir in 1 lb. COOKED bow-tie noodles (I had shell noodles on hand) Stir to combine
Add salt and pepper and some Parmesan cheese to taste
And serve!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Provo Adventure!

This last week I was bitten by Adventure and decided to go on a 3 day trip up to Provo to visit my sister. It was a blast!

I can never get enough of those snow covered mountains..

We had a waffle party to enjoy Corinne's NEW waffle maker!

Yuuuummm they were delicious!

My sister-in-law and niece accompanied us on our trip.. we stopped by The Chocolate in Orem. A cute house converted to a sweets store. Upstairs there were separate rooms with couches, wall hangings, tables and lights..a great atmosphere for a post date or relaxing with friends..

Kaylee hard at work coloring..

Madelyn lOVED the girls we stayed with. I think she gets a little bored with just me at home..

We adore them!

And Aunt Aly of course!

I felt like I was back in my college days with those awesome girls.

I'm not sure what I'm doing in this picture, but this is one of my favorite statues on campus right next to the Museum. I'd look at it every time I'd go into the building for class. It is of a small girl posed as if she were ready to dive into the little pool at her feet. Or maybe she is dancing? I'm not sure of her history.

We went through the Carl Bloch exhibit. SO SO good. Can't get enough of great art. He is one of my favorites.. maybe you recognize his work? This one is my absolute favorite:

I was able to catch up with some of my best friends and sisters which was so great for me! It was an awesome trip, Madelyn did so well in the car/sleeping in a new place and I proved to myself how adventurous I can be ha! Challenge yourself to do something out of your comfort zone this week..I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the fun you have!

Hope your Monday is starting of well....Happy MLKJ day!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rolling around in the New Year! Ha!

I took a bunch of my fabric scrap's and cut out pentagon's and hexagon's. And, I am so loving using my Wildflower pincushion with pearlized pins. Makes me feel a tiny bit fancy and festive, when I sew.
Making a ball from my new book that Jenna and her hubby gave to me for Christmas. The book is called, Seams To Anna Maria Horner. The book is splendid and even has a pocket in the back of it with the patterns all safely tucked away for use in the future. Starting to look like a ball...I think.
Well, a little fuzzy in the photo and I do not have enough stuffing to fluff it up super tight, but, had to take a picture of it before I send it to Jenna. I am sending it to her, flat, so that she can stuff it for her little one and finish off the last patch. I like it!

And, while I sew and do many other things, I like to take time to throw out old bread crusts for the birds so they can have a little treat. You can see a blue bird, a red cardinal and the plain bird is the female cardinal.

And, here is our little deer...just waking-up. Took this picture right off of our back porch. Hope we continue to see her around for awhile. She is delightful to watch.


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