Saturday, March 31, 2012

Simple Salsa

I love this simple salsa. It's made with canned tomatoes, but it really tastes fresh!

When I make salsa from the tomatoes in my garden, I make a chunkier style salsa. This one is not like that, it's more of a traditional restaurant style salsa.

I originally found the recipe on Pinterest, but it came from the Mountain Momma Cooks blog. It called for a jalapeno, which I don't think it needs. It's got a bit of a zip to it, without one. But if you like it spicier, go ahead and add one in, but maybe check your flavor first.
The cumin is apparently optional, because I have forgotten to add it on occasion, and it still tasted great.

1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 10 oz can orginal Rotel
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
juice of 1 lime

Put all the ingredients in your food processor or blender and pulse to combine, until all the ingredients are chopped and the salsa is to your desired consistency.
Taste it for flavor and make any adjustments that you’d like.
Serve with chips

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Thirteen

My Thursday 13

Thirteen things that I should do, but don't want to (and you can't make me!)

  1. Exercise. There I said it, I like to go on walks, but that's about as far as it goes for me
  2. Give up sweets, or at least cut back. Are you freaking kidding me? Ha!
  3. Clean. 'nuff said.
  4. Stop buying things that I really don't need.
  5. Get rid of, more, clothes and shoes that don't fit or I don't wear.
  6. Stop relying on convenience foods. But, sometimes it's just cheaper and easier.
  7. Paint the trim in the house. Ugh!
  8. Put my clean laundry away instead of living out of the basket.
  9. Stop trying to change things that will never change.
  10. Get a job. Heh.
  11. Spend less time online.
  12. Stop being lazy. Notice a trend? Yeah, me too, oops.
  13. Be nicer...
You can read more Thursday 13s over here.

And speaking of sweets...I had breakfast this morning. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DIY Daily Facial Scrub

I found this scrub recipe over at Crunchy Betty's site and decided that I had to give it a try. I love it! It feels great, is natural and leaves skin feeling soft. It's not at all harsh, or drying.

  • 1/2 c. finely ground oats
  • 1/2 c. finely ground raw almonds
  • water (you can replace the water with witch hazel for oily skin, milk for dry skin, or rosewater) – this is added to the scrub right before using, NOT mixed in to the main recipe.
  • Finely grind the almonds, but make sure you don't turn them into almond butter. Put that in a bowl and grind the oats. Add oats to the bowl and mix well. Put in a covered jar or dish for storage. Mine is in an empty honey jar.There are suggestions for additional add ins at Crunchy Betty's page, if you are interested, go there and check it out!
  • Directions for use: Place a small amount, approximately 2 tsp, of scrub in your hand and add a little water and combine, letting the oats absorb the liquid. Lightly scrub it onto your face in a circular motion, and rinse. You can also leave this on to dry for a few minutes before rinsing if you'd like.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Felt Flowers

Just the other day, I discovered the fun of easy felt flowers! Easy may be an understatement, these are simple and adorable! Not normally crafty? You can make these.

Materials needed:
glue - I used hot glue but you can use whatever you have that holds fabric

Cut a strip of felt from the long end.
I started out by cutting mine down the middle, this makes a taller flower. You can cut a 2 inch strip and make a shorter flower. I use the full length of the felt, but if you want smaller flowers, use less length. You can make them how you want them.

Run a strip of glue along the bottom edge and fold your strip in half to glue it together.

Cut slits all the way across your felt strip. Don't cut all the way through.

Run another strip of glue across the uncut end of your felt strip. Start at one end and roll up your felt all the way to the other end.

The blue flower is made from a half sheet of felt. the red flower started as an approximate 2 inch wide strip.

The finished flowers!

Glued near each other on a wreath.
I love making these! There is something wonderful about a project so quick and easy to make, that looks cute, and can be used for so many things! I stuck them on a wreath, but if you attach a little circle of felt to the back, you can attach them to headbands or pins and wear them! They would also be cute attached to a bag. I'm sure you can come up with many more ideas for these cute little flowers.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Healthier Mac & Cheese

I wanted to make a homemade mac & cheese, today so I looked around for recipes and came across a recipe for "Healthiest Macaroni & Cheese" I decided to give that a whirl, with a few minor changes. I don't tend to over modify for the most part when I'm cooking, I usually stay pretty close to the recipe. I also tend to slack on measurements when I modify more. Anyway, here's how the Healthy Mac & Cheese went.

chopped cauliflower

I am such a messy peeler! I always end up with peels all over the counter and floor.
The peeled squash is quite slippery and kept trying to get away from me. I ended up using my knife to hold it in place while peeling the bottom.

Squash and milk

What I did with the leftover squash. Is it wrong to include my dragon in cooking posts? Sorry.

Tada! The finished product!

Healthier Mac & Cheese
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1 medium sized squash)
  • 4 cups of low fat milk
  • 16 ounces of cheddar cheese, shredded, 4 ounces reserved
  • 3 ounces of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1.5 pounds, uncooked pasta (You could use 1 pound, if your family normally eats less)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, finely chopped (or you can cheat, like I did, and buy a bag of florets and chop those.)

In a medium saucepan, combine the squash and milk. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, without scorching the milk. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Blend the milk and squash until its smooth. While it’s still hot, add in 12 ounces of cheddar and 2 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

While that is cooking: Cook the pasta, with the cauliflower, and drain well.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the pasta and cauliflower mixture with the squash mixture, in a 9X13 dish. Top with remaining cheeses and bread crumbs

Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Apples in my Oven

The other night we made some baked apples. They are such an easy and tasty dessert!

We started out by coring our apples, this was started with a paring knife and finished with a spoon. Then I grabbed the brown sugar, cinnamon, oats, raisins, and granola and let everyone make their own.

Mine had everything that I just mentioned, minus the granola. The kids used the granola, and one was against the raisins.

My husband's baked apple? Don't ask. No, really, don't.

I suppose I should have taken a photo of it. Though, at the time I wasn't thinking of blogging, I was just ashamed of his apple, didn't want anyone to see that horrendous thing!

Fine. He also used all of the above mentioned ingredients. Plus; honey (which might have led to one of the kids adding it as well,) a few pretzel sticks, a leftover Candy Cane Hershey's Kiss, and a few popcorn kernels, just because. Really it was quite the piece of art. The popcorn didn't pop, in case you were wondering, and the pretzels that were pushed into the apple got soggy, but I hear that the Kiss was wonderful.

They baked in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

Here is a photo of the pretty baked apple: Mine.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap

Homemade laundry soap is easy to make and super affordable! It's always nice to save a little bit of money when you can.

Just a few ingredients and a little bit of time and you're on your way to clean clothes.

  1. 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap
  2. 1 1/2 cups Super Washing Soda *this is different than baking soda
  3. 1 1/2 cups Borax
Borax and Super Washing Soda can be found in the laundry soap aisle.
In my store (Meijer) Fels Naptha can be found by the bar soap in the grocery department, not in the health and beauty department.

Grate the bar of soap, preferably with an old grater that isn't going to be used for food. But in my opinion, it's soap and it will wash off fairly clean, so do what you must and don't blame me.

Mix the grated soap with the Super Washing Soda and the Borax.
You're pretty much good to go. Store it in a closed container and add a Tablespoon or two to your load of laundry.

But wait...there's more!
If you look near the laundry soap, a couple of brands have in wash scent boosters. They are little fragrance "beads." I mix in about a half cup of these. They leave a little scent on your clean laundry. Without them, your clean clothes will be unscented. It's totally up to you on if you want scent or not.

Apple Pie in a Glass

I saw a several posts for apple cider floats on Pinterest recently. I could not get the thought out of my mind. I had to have one.

The basic idea is to take Apple cider, ginger ale, and ice cream to make a float.
The measurements are to your liking. You might want a little more fizz, so add extra ginger ale. Like a stronger apple flavor? Add more cider than soda.
You can warm up the cider, like I did, to make the ice cream a little melty and the drink more suited for a cold Winter's night. Or you can keep the cider cold. This whole drink is up to what your tastes are.
I could not make this without caramel ice cream topping drizzled (heavily) on top. You can also sprinkle a little cinnamon or nutmeg on top.
Experiment and find out how you like it best. Maybe you'll like it many ways, and in that case you have a good reason to drink a lot of this!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Getting Ready to Garden

I know, it's still Winter, but I can't wait to do some gardening. There is something wonderful about growing your own food!
For the most part I buy all of my veggie plants from a local greenhouse. Last year I started some seeds in the house and they didn't end up so well. This year, I am trying again.
Have you heard of Sprout Robot? This website asks for your zip code and then you can check off the veggies that you would like to grow. It then gives you information on what to plant, how to plant it, and when to plant it! So, according to Sprout Robot, this week I was to start seeds for bell peppers and tomatoes. So, I grabbed a few packs of seeds and some peat pots and got to work.

The website offers step by step instructions for planting, so you know when your plants should sprout, when to thin them and when to transplant them. Go check it out and grow some food!

The internet is awesome, I love finding new and useful sites!