Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Online Shopping - Ebates

Hey, just a reminder - if you shop online this year, sign up for ebates through this link first and get a gift card (after you make a purchase) and get cash back on your purchases.

more details on my orignial post: here

What we've been Eating Wednesday (WWBEW)

Hey, welcome to WWBEW! (Just kidding. If you got that joke as a reference to other blogs with weekly "stuff" awesome. If not, keep reading anyway.)

I wanted to post some recent meals we've had because...they are very tasty, and I want to make them all again!!!  And they are all (almost) simple, so I want to share them with you. (Trade you ideas?)

Anyhow: Here is my 4 panel chart, strategically designed to sneak extra pins on pinterest. (haha.) We have
1. Gnocchi and Broccoli Pesto
2. Pesto Salmon and Christmas Rice
3 Roasted Veggie Medley with Italian Chicken
4. Open Face Quesadillas
(recipes below)

The most complicated of recipes above is definitely the Gnocchi and Broccoli pesto. For this I used homemade gnocchi (not hard, used extra baked potatoes) and then in a skillet I cooked mushrooms, red peppers, and broccoli  I tried to cut some broccoli small and mash it up to be like a sauce.  I was trying to go "light".  I don't remember adding anything else (maybe a little actual basil pesto) but it definitely worked for us. Delish.

2. Pesto Salmon with Christmas Rice.  For this, I bake salmon at 425 for the normal time (20 minutes?). During the last 4 minutes, we slather on some pesto and sometimes turn the broiler on too. For Christmas Rice, I threw spinach ribbons (read: fancily sliced) and small-diced red peppers into the rice pot about halfway through cooking and let that heat do the rest.  Did you notice I just snuck TWO veggies into an otherwise starchy side dish?! WIN!

3.  Roasted Veggie Medley with Italian Chicken.  This one is a little time/labor intensive. An hour before I want to eat, I chop sweet potatoes up into tot-sized pieces and toss them in some olive oil and salt. Roast 3o minutes at 425-450.  At that point, pull them out and turn them over a bit. Throw in a second pan of faster-roasting veggies (I did mushrooms and peppers, sometimes carrots too), also with a spritz of oil and salt.  (I've also burn broccoli this way.)  Set the timer for another 30 minutes.  10-15 minutes before you plan to eat, turn on a skillet and quick cook some chicken bites that have been marinating in italian dressing. (you could probably bake these instead, I just happened to cook them in a skillet that time.

4. Open Face Quesadillas. This was Zach's invention.  We only had 2 tortillas, cheese, and some random stuff around for this was it.  Cooked in the skillet, we added tomatoes and avocado and ended up slicing it like a pizza. Delicious.

Your turn...what have you been making that I can copy?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Baby Gift: 12 months of Onesies

Recently I embarked on one of my largest projects yet. (The other one is a Christmas present I can't post since the recipient is a reader...and it is not even close to being done!)

For baby shower decor, I wanted to make 12 months of baby onesies.  Actually, this little gal's mom is a big scrapbooker, and I thought having a special outfit for each month would add to the scrapbook cuteness.  

I should warn you, this project is not for the faint of heart.  It was easy at the end, but I went through a lot of indecision getting to that point.  Mostly because I can't match fabrics and I wasn't sure how fast this little baby would grow (9 month onesie at 11 months? 12 month?).

Finally, I just used bibs (pre-made) to bridge the onesie size gaps. I got mine inexpensively at Ikea although initially I had hoped to make them myself. (2013 project.)

So first I picked out some fabrics relevant to the baby's nursery theme: lady bugs.  Actually - I had already purchased the onesies.  The white onesie's were from Target multi packs. (I later learned you can buy these packages at Jo-Ann's using a coupon! For future reference.) The 0 and 1 month are from a newborn package - I am HOPING this baby still fits a newborn size at one month!!!!  The 12 month is also a more elaborate onesie to celebrate big first birthday. 
 Because the newborn onesies were not from a Gerber white pack, I had to be a little more creative with the numbers (to cover up the designs already printed o the front.)  I agonized over the fabrics matching or not and ultimately decided "cuteness" was the most important thing and really, in the pictures, everyone is going to look at the babe's face! Although I do like the concept of this 1 month look - circle background with the number in the middle.
 The 12 month is my favorite!!!
 Some more months
 All together now:
 Oops, forgot to tell you - these are all ironed on with Wonder-Under.  If this were for long-term wear, I might have added some stitching to reinforce them a bit, but I think they'll be OK for their purpose.

Next time I do this project (if ever) I'm going to streamline my fabrics and do something similar to what I did for month #1. Just to make it easier.  I'm not saying I don't love these - I really love them and I think they turned out really well.  (Ok...that 2 month bib might dwarf the baby, hope she is a drooler and needs it...but you can also strategically use it on her 2nd bday).  Cant' wait to meet this little recipient!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Zach and CSUN

I don't typically write much about Zach on here, so here's some fun information. Zach's a student at CSUN (pronounced locally as see-sun) in the film program.  He recently was accepted into their impacted upper division Film Production major, meaning now he is 1 of 50 students on a specific 2 year track to graduation! His classes are set, he will get critical internship experience, and we've heard great things from everyone we talk to about the program.

Zach is in a photography class this semester, one of his pre-requisites. We went to the swanky Porter Ranch area to overlook "The Valley" (San Fernando Valley) so Zach could get some pictures.

 Backup career in photography? Maybe so! (PS: The color shots are from my phone. B&W are Zach's)
 The park had a playground and a baseball diamond. Perfect spot for tee-ball and soccer.
Then, we saw a helicopter land!!!

Ok...maybe not...maybe this was one of Zach's assignments to develop 2 photos on top of each other...doesn't it look cool though???? Seriously. Tell me if its cool. I need the comments.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Updates to our Abode

We've lived in our house almost 3 months now.  Thats long enough to have unpacked the things we really need and to realize that a box of framed pictures that need to be hung to "decorate" isn't really critical to daily life.  Eventually...on a Saturday when I wouldn't rather be cooking or crafting, maybe that kind of thing will happen.

In the meantime, there were a few other things that needed to be done to spruce up the place.

It started with a marathon shopping day and a car full of stuff looking like this:

I assembled some shelves for our laundry room. One shelf is at a bit of a slant...oh well, what can you really expect from $40 at Ikea?  It does the job that is needed.   

Bonus: A full laundry basket of "Hey Zach you should put those away" clothes fits on  the middle shelf!

I also got a microwave cart for the kitchen, opening up coveted counter space for my mixer. (I may or may not have kneaded/made bread using my mixer on the floor prior to this day. I'll never confess.)

And on the left, you can see our new bar-height kitchen table. We have space for a formal dining table in the living area (if we hadn't broken it.) This is doing a great job as homework-spot and table while we avoid dealing with the dining table situation.

Its beginning to feel like home! I won't show you how I've trashed the guest room with craft projects. Its too embarrassing.  But if you come visit, I promise to completely clean it up 100% so you have a place to stay! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Its time for Fall! {YUM}

We had a smidge of brisk weather the other day and I quickly forgot the 105 degree temperatures of summer and immediately started to complain about the cold.  What can I say? I am weak.  Anyhow, I am excited that soups are now back in style for supper, now that it is cooling off.  Recently we had our favorite tomato soup (recipe here) and knock-off Red Lobster cheddar bisctuits (from here). YUM.

What are you cooking now that it is cooling off????

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The time of year where I post a whole bunch (before I disappear again)

I haven't had much to write lately. I thought my life wasn't interesting enough to write about. What was interesting, I instagram'd. (Follow me there! I'm kind of obsessed!)  But, I went through some pictures and decided, I really might have a few interesting things to post for the 3 readers left who still have me in their blog reader, plus my Grandparents, who read occasionally.

So here I go again!  Today's post is just about a really simple gift bag re-do.  This is actually a Banana Republic bag (and it was printed on the bottom of the bag.) But I have a bit of an obsession with saving handle bags and not so much an obsession with re-using them, so I'm trying to get in the habit of actually USING the things I "collect" so I don't become a hoarder.

So I had some cute black and white fabric that already had some iron-on stuff on the back. (Extras from another project to be posted soon.)  I peeled off the back of the Wonder-Under (I got mine at the fabric store for a couple bucks a yard) and then just easily ironed onto the bag, applying pressure for about 5 seconds (shorter than for ironing onto fabric.)  I had to quickly re-open the bag and make sure I didn't burn the rest of the paper bag, but it seems pretty secure.

 After that, I took a couple of painted wooden decals (From Jo-Ann's, abotu $.50 each) and glued them on either side of the bag, just to make it look a little more festive.
I'm having a bit of trouble with this second picture, but its the back of the bag (same bottom fabric, and a ladby bug embellishment instead). 

The whole project took 5 minutes and I spent $1 to make a cute gift bag.