February 27, 2012

.11 things.

I was tagged by Stephanie at Dairy Free Omnivore to do this post. It's the first time I've been tagged! Yipee!

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the person who tagged you set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you're reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

11 Random Things About Me

1. On January 5th I went dairy free for la bebe. She has a dairy sensitivity and I'm still nursing her. It's been tough going without cheese but I really don't miss anything else!

2. I love Harry Potter. Like, am completely obsessed. I have a HP tattoo.

3. I love painted nails but I almost never paint mine.

4. My husband and I spent 14 days in my car, together 24/7, and didn't kill each other. Ha!

5. Also during the above road trip (the move from AK to GA) we drove through Canada in under 42 hours. It was the craziest two days ever and I'm pretty sure we set some sort of record!

6. My dream destination is France. I'm a bit of a francophile.

7. I moved to Alaska right after I graduated from college because I had a dream about it my sophomore year. It lived up to the dream.

8. My husband and I are avid geocachers.

Caching during our honeymoon in Talkeetna, AK
9. I originally majored in Art. I quickly realized, however, that although I had the passion, I did not have the talent.

10. At one point during college I was apprenticing to be a piercer. I bit off a little more than I could chew and had to pick between the apprenticeship and continuing my college education- college won.

11. I was once hiking by myself in Alaska and came within 5 feet of a black bear. He happily munched on his berries and ignored me. I nearly peed myself.

This was at the beginning of the hike, pre-bear 
Stephanie's 11 questions for me to answer

1. What is your all time favorite cartoon?
I love any of the old school cartoons. Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Tom and Jerry. New cartoons are crap!

2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian.

3. What is one house hold item you could not live without?
It feels like I do 50 loads of laundry every week so I'm going to have to say the washer and dryer (okay, that's two items, sue me).

4. What is your least favorite (or most hated) food?
I really not picky, at all, but ground beef is not my favorite form of protein.

5. What is your favorite sports team?
Sports? I don't really follow any sports. I enjoy a good hockey game but I don't have a team. I guess I would say the Aces, if I had to pick.

6. Are you a dog or a cat person?
Cat! I love my little Asshole Wally.

7. Do you have a favorite quote?
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on." Robert Frost.

8. What do you never leave home without?
Chapstick, wallet, diapers for la bebe. 

9. Harry Potter or Twilight?
This should be obvious given my previous list. Harry Potter all the way.

10. Do you have a pet peeve? If so, what is it?
A million. One is that I hate it when people pick the nail polish off their fingernails. The sound gives me the willies. 

11. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, famous or not, who would it be? 
Alton Brown. I love him!

The 11 bloggers I have picked (that are actually only 6, again, sue me)

11 questions for you to answer

1. Where is your dream destination?

2. If you could do anything, job wise, for the rest of your life, what would it be?

3. Are you a dressy type or a jeans and t-shirt type?

4. Do you buy any snacks at the movie theater? If so, which ones?

5. Do you have any hidden talents? What are they?

6. Would you ever sleep outside, on the ground, without a tent? 

7. What's you're favorite song at the moment?

8. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

9. How many states have you been to and which one was your favorite?

10. What's your favorite pizza topping(s)?

11. Do you have any phobias? 

Have fun guys!


February 26, 2012

.no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookie protein energy bites.

Yes, that is a super long and ridiculous title but I had to get it all in there. And yes, these little guys are as delicious as they sound.

I've been seeing this no-bake energy bite craze all over the blogosphere and everyone seems to have the same recipe. A good example can be found here on Smashed Peas and Carrots. I tried this recipe a few weeks ago and it was definitely tasty. It was also, however, very high in sugar. I've been tweaking things here and there to try to slim it down a bit and, by jove, I think I've got it! Don't blame me when you eat the whole batch in one night though, fair warning.

No-bake chocolate oatmeal cookie protein energy bites makes 12
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 scoops rich chocolate egg protein powder
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or regular milk if that's what you use)
4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. I used a fork and then my hands. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. Remove the "dough" from the fridge and roll into balls, I made 12. Then enjoy! Or refrigerate if not eating them all at once. Which again, I can not be held accountable for if you do.

We are really loving these and I think we will play around with all of the add-ins. Chocolate chips are great, but lots of extra sugar. I think chopped nuts would be delicious in them. These bites were a bit more crumbly than the original recipe I've been seeing, most likely due to no honey. If you'd like to add honey or extra almond milk, feel free.

And for those who are interested, here's the nutritional stats on 1 bite.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 54 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 2%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 4%Iron 10%
Nutrition Grade C+
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet


February 25, 2012

.money saving tip: hand soap.

Saving money is pretty much a universal desire. Nobody wants to spend more money than necessary. I've been trying to find ways to save, without skimping on quality. One of these ways is by making my own hand soap.

Ignore the fact that my handwriting looks like it says "Hard Soap."
Okay, roll your eyes. Yeah, yeah. I'm such a Suzy Homemaker. 

Really though, it's incredibly easy and saves a bundle. The average 7.5 ounce container of hand soap is around $2.00, depending on where you shop. I can make 256 ounces, two gallons, of hand soap for about $4.25. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. 

For the mathematically challenged, that means I'm saving about $64, or roughly $32 per gallon of soap. 

Do you want to pay over 10 times more for something that you could only spend $4.25 on? I didn't think so. Here's how to make your own hand soap.

Hand Soap makes 128 ounces
1 4-ounce bar of soap. I used Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented with moisturizing cream and bought a 2 pack, hence 256 gallons.
1 gallon of water. 

Shred, grate or chop the bar of soap anyway you would like. I used a paring knife and basically shaved it, which made the pieces flake off perfectly. You could also use a grater though. I just avoid mine at all costs, I hate grating. 

Next, heat a gallon of water in a large pot until steaming, not boiling. Pour the soap flakes into the water and remove from the heat. Let it sit for about 15 minutes then mix well with a whisk or electric mixer. Let the soap sit overnight then remix in the morning and funnel into your soap dispenser(s) and add the remaining soap back into the gallon jug. 

I've seen a lot of other recipes that put additional things into the soap to add fragrance or moisture but I prefer just the plain ol' unscented Dove. You can use any soap you would like though. 

And that, my friends, is how to save $64 with very minimal effort! 


February 24, 2012

.chicken marengo.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by a little dish posted on the Whole Foods website, here. I made their recipe a few months ago and the Man and I devoured it. It's savory, rich, hearty and delicious.

While trying to decide what to make with my thawed chicken breasts tonight I thought back to this meal. I made some adjustments based on what I had in the pantry and what came out of it was a healthy, filling, super tasty meal.

Sara's Chicken Marengo serves 6
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 large onion, diced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can black beans (I used low sodium)
1 cup chicken broth (again, I used low sodium)
1 package button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Salt, pepper, garlic salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Heat 1/4 of the oil in a large pot or saute pan over medium heat. Mix the flour and desired seasonings together. Dredge the chicken in the flour and add half of the chicken to the pan. You can do all of the chicken if you have a big enough pan, just use 1/2 of the oil. Stir occasionally until browned. Remove and place on a plate.

Add 1/4 of the oil to the pan. Saute the onion until softened. Add the tomatoes, black beans, chicken broth and browned chicken to the pan. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

While this is simmering saute the mushrooms in a separate pan with the remaining 1/4 of the oil until they are golden brown. After the 45 minutes is up add the mushrooms to the other pan.

This dish is great served by itself but we put it over brown rice tonight (with a glass of red wine!) and it was so good.


February 17, 2012

.so easy.

Tonight's dinner was quite possibly one of the easiest things ever. It always amazes me when I make something that requires so little effort but then tastes so delicious. In college I avoided cooking meat and fish because I was terrified I would mess it up. Under cook it, over cook it, season it wrong, etc. I wish I had known back then how easy it is to make a superb meal out of very few ingredients.

The ingredients tonight were a steam fresh bag of broccoli, quinoa with diced tomatoes and the show-stealer: Baked salmon with a spicy mustard.

Which is exactly what it sounds like.

Baked Salmon with Spicy Mustard serves 2
2 salmon fillets
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon spicy mustard (I used mustard with horseradish in it)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon on a baking dish or sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Add the mustard and spread evenly on top of the fillet. You can use more or less mustard, depending on your taste.

Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked all the way through, and enjoy an awesome piece of fish.


February 14, 2012

.i'm back baby.

And feeling awesome! To those who are new to my blog, welcome! To the oldies, but goodies, you will notice some changes. Like the blog name, for instance!

I decided to reinvent this little ol' guy into something more indicative of what I will be blogging about. I'm still going to post recipes and deliciousness, but I also wanted to be able to share cute crafts, funny stories, adventures in parenting and, well, nik-naks.

I'm not sure what my blogging schedule will be, but I know I need one. I have very clearly failed at that in the past. I now, however, have a nearly 6 month old bundle of joy that sleeps through the night in her own crib and blogging is something fun I can do in my free time that makes me feel good and like myself. If anyone has a thought about a schedule I would love to hear it!

Right now I'm just taking things one day at a time, getting back into the kitchen, watching la bebe grow in leaps and bounds and loving life!