Monday, December 30, 2013

Puppy love!

My mom has been busy dressing me up lately...



I even met this cool guy. 

And tried to attack my cousin....

Happy New Year!!




Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pinterest WIN: Stuffed Flank Steak

This was an amazing dinner! We actually cut the steak as directed, but went the whole way through. We then kept the second half and froze it to use it later. We also thought it was a bit too much blue cheese. It is a strong cheese so use the amount you think you will like. 


What You Need:
Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Roast: at 425 degrees F. for 35 minutes
Broil: 10 minutes
Ingredients
1 flank steak (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Lay steak on work surface. Holding sharp knife parallel to work surface and starting at a long side, slice flank steak in half to opposite long side, without cutting all the way through; open up the steak like a book. Flatten slightly to an even thickness.
3. Squeeze liquid from spinach; discard liquid. In medium-size bowl, combine spinach, cheese, peppers, bread crumbs, egg yolk, 1/4 teaspoon each of the garlic salt and the pepper.
4. Season steak with an additional 1/4 teaspoon each of the garlic salt and pepper. Press filling onto steak, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.
5. Roll up steak to enclose filling, beginning on a short side; the grain of the meat will be running from left to right. Tuck any loose filling back into ends.
6. Tie steak with cotton twine at 2-inch intervals to secure. Rub outside with oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each garlic salt and pepper.
7. Roast at 425 degrees F. for 35 minutes, then increase heat to broil and broil for 10 minutes, turning once. Let meat rest 15 minutes. Remove twine, slice, and serve.

Ours: (not sure why it looks so pink in the pictures, it was definitely brown)



Monday, December 16, 2013

Pinterest WIN: No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

These are the best and easiest cookies to make! They are so delicious. I made them for our family cookie exchange and they were a hit!



1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or chunky but is seems to make a more crumbly dry cookie)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 -3 1/2 cups dry quick-cooking oats

Directions:

1. Add the first four ingredients into a 4-quart sauce pan.
2. Bring to a rolling boil and hold for 1 minute.
3. Remove from heat.
4. Add peanut butter into the hot mixture and stir until melted.
5. Add in vanilla. (almond extract is good also, but I only use 1/2 teaspoon almond and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla).
6. Mix in the oats and drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.
7. Let cool until set.
Or put in the refrigerator or freezer to expedite the process if you are not patient, like I am :-)



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Print your own Christmas Tags - with editable text!

So I am always looking for a way to spruce up my Christmas gifts. I got this new awesome printer (HP Officejet 6600) and I am always printing crafts now. It's amazing.



Anyway, I found some printable tags but there was not any way to add text. So I made the tags editable, printed on some cardstock, cut them out, used a hole punch to punch out the hole and tied on some ribbon. So go head and click the link below to download the template with text boxes! There are two pages so make sure to check out both!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/43cmpvzzifiu1rl/Christmas%20Tags.pub

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pinterest WIN: DIY Snowflakes

Let it snow – Snowflake Tutorial

I spent this snowy day doing some snowflake crafts! What better way to re use my old MBA Books :-) 
Supplies:
  • Old book (preferably with gold edging)
  • Hot glue gun
  • wire or fishing string
  • Gold glitter
Directions
  1. Measure out 1″ strips on your book. Use black ink. Decide how many pages thick you want your strips. I used 5 strips for each. 
  2. Leave the 1st strip full length. 2nd & 3rd cut 1/2inch off. 4th & 5th 1inch off. 6th & 7th 2inches off. 
  3. *warning, if you use the full length of the page (8-10 inches), it is going to make a huge snowflake. I made my first the full length of the page and decided to make a smaller one so cut the page in half and started with 4 inch strips. 
  1. Bend the strips in half and hold at the bottom to create a petal of your snowflake.
  2. Find something heavy to lay on the petal, it will help the shape of it curve inward.
  3. Hold the bottom of the snowflake petal very tightly while tying your wire or fishing string around the end of it. Repeat steps 1-5 until you have 8 petals.
  4. Take a stack of paper strips and roll them together & tie them with wire or string.
  5. Hot glue the entire bottom of your petal. Try & get glue on every piece of paper, this will be what is the binding to hold it all together. Once you have covered the bottom in hot glue place it on the roll of paper & hold tightly until the glue has dried.
  6. Repeat step 7 & make a cross with the petals, then fill in the diagonal spots.
  7. Add extra glue to the edges (this is the only thing holding the entire snowflake together so dont be stingy!).
  8. Glue the edges of each petal together so they are more secure.
  9. I took gold glitter paint and painted the edges.


Scroll down to my tips to see the timeliest way to cut & sort these!
Mine: 

Pinterest WIN: Mini Chicken Meatball Soup

This was super delicious on this snowy day!
Mini Chicken Meatball Soup I howsweeteats.com
Mini Chicken Meatball Soup
[meatballs adapted from bite sized baked meatballs]
serves 4-6
for meatballs
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 large egg
1/4 cup romano cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix until just combined. Taking 1 tablespoon or so of the mixture, roll into meatballs of desired size.
for soup
2 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 cups raw spinach
32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
4 cups water
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups small pasta (I used ditalini rigati)
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add onion with a pinch of salt and stir to coat, then let cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in spinach and garlic, stirring continuously until spinach wilts. Remove from the pot and set aside in a bowl.
With the heat still on medium, add remaining canola oil. Add in chicken meatballs and cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook 2-3 minutes more. (If you make larger meatballs, you will have to cook a few minutes longer. Additionally I found it was easier to flip the meatballs with two small spoons since they are all crowded together in the pot.) Once meatballs are browned, add onion and spinach mixture back to the pot, then add in stock, water and tomatoes. Stir gently making sure meatballs have started to float. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes. Add in pasta and parmesan cheese, then cook for 8-10 minutes more before serving.
Serve with additional parm. Mmm.
Mini Chicken Meatball Soup I howsweeteats.com

Mini Chicken Meatball Soup I howsweeteats.com

Mini Chicken Meatball Soup I howsweeteats.com

Mini Chicken Meatball Soup I howsweeteats.com

Mini Chicken Meatball Soup I howsweeteats.com

Mini Chicken Meatball Soup I howsweeteats.com

Thursday, November 28, 2013

DIY Boot Scrunchies

Are they called boot scrunchies? I may have just made that up. Anyway, I decided I needed some to go with my Thanksgiving Day outfit. 



I found an old sweater that was too big, cut off the sleeves, and slipped them over my jeans. Easy as pie :-) 







Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Where Have You Been? Printable map with flags.

I loved this idea when I saw it! Pin pointing places my husband and I have visited in the USA since we have been together.

Go here and print out the jigsaw map on cardstock paper.
I printed it in landscape mode so it scaled down the pieces a bit.
Cut out the pieces and arrange on a corkboard.
(Don't worry, many states are attached together so it isn't that much cutting)



Using a glue stick, glue the pieces onto the cork board.


Now it is time to print your flags. Use this generic template:
OR
 Download this publisher file I converted which allows you to type and customize the flags.
Put the date on one side of the strip and the town on the other side. When folded it will create a two sided flag.


Cut out the flags and place glue on the back and fold in half around a push pin (or I used picture nails which worked well)


Place the flags in the cork board where you have visited.
(Whoops, husband just noticed I put Seven Springs, MD instead of PA, lol.......)



We need to get off the east coast! After February we will be able to add some flags in California! Can't wait! 



Monday, November 25, 2013

Pinterest WIN: Crate Dog Bowl Holder


So I loved this idea but have been waiting for the perfect crate to come along (excuses right?) And low and behold, I found one at a yard sale for $4. This is easy to do (if you have the tools).

Flip the crate upside down


trace the BOTTOM of the bowls onto the bottom of the crate. (or in my instance I used the bowls original holder.)  You don't want to trace the top of the bowls because the hole will be too big and the bowls will fall through.


Using a hole saw I cut as much of the holes out as possible. 



To cut the rest I used a dremel tool with a jigsaw end. I used the sanding end on the dremel to smooth the edges around the hole.


I finished it with a stain I had to restore the look.


The puppy loves it!

Kale Chips.... Yummm!

So my hubby got this recipe from a coworker and we made kale chips for the first time yesterday, they were delicious! So I made more tonight. If you aren't familiar with the nutritional value of kale, check it out here and kale is super cheap :-)

Preheat the oven to 375

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

Pull the kale away from the stems and tear into 3 inch squares (they reduce down when baked)



Drizzle with olive oil and seasoned salt (toss on the paper to coat the leaves)
**We love this Johnny's sea salt and put it on all our veggies!

Bake for 10 minutes





Enjoy!

I love them warm, my husband loves them warm or cooled. You decide! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wedding Gift Tags - Printable Template



Use these gift tags to make that wedding or bridal gift super special and cute!
Use the tag alone or print the matching blank one to write a special custom note.
Print and cut!

Click to download the template.
Tags
Blank Tags

Healthy Chicken Lasagna (with Zucchini Noodles)

Ok, I consider this healthy, maybe if you didn't put a ton of cheese on it (like I do with everything). So omit so much cheese if you want the total health factor.



I made this Healthy Chicken Lasagna which was the brain child of not wanting to go grocery shopping because we leave for vacation in 1 day :-) So I had the following laying around... (use beef if you prefer beef, or turkey!)

Ingredients:
1 lb ground chicken
1 Zucchini Squash
1 Tomato
1/2 jar tomato sauce
2 1/2 cup fresh spinach
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
All Spice
Garlic Cloves
(serves 2 people)

So I had a previous post where I made zucchini lasagna (http://thisisourpursuitofhappiness.blogspot.com/2013/01/pinterest-win-zucchini-lasagna.html)
and it was delicious, using zucchini as the noodles. (you can't even tell the difference!)

1. Prep, slice the tomato and zucchini into 1/4 inch slices. Line on a backing sheet and put in the oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. This helps to soften the "noodles" and tomatoes, and dry them out so the finished product isn't so watery.


2. Cook the ground chicken in a skillet and add the minced garlic and all spice to taste. Add the chopped spinach to the chicken, stir, turn off burner and cover with a lid for 5 minutes to steam the spinach.


3. Next, I used individual crock bowls for each serving. Line the bottom with 2 roasted tomato slices, top with a layer of 5 zucchini slices, layer of meat, layer of sauce, layer of cheese and repeat one more time. Top with a layer of zucchini and sauce and top with a tiny bit of cheese.



4. Bake for 30 minutes at 375. Let set for 5 minutes.

Enjoy!