Saturday, December 20, 2014

Crockpot Vegetarian Lasagna


I really love my crock-pot. It makes cooking so easy. I saw this recipe here and figured I would give it a try. I liked it so much that I've now made it three more times in roughly a month. Mmm...maybe I'll make up a batch right now...

Here is what you need:

24 oz. jar tomato pasta sauce
9 long lasagna noodles, uncooked
2 1/2 cups chopped veggies
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
15 oz. container Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 egg

Here is what you need to do:

1. In a medium bowl, mix 1 1/4 cup shredded cheese, egg, and ricotta cheese. Reserve 1/4 cup of shredded cheese for the very top.

2. Saute veggies with olive oil and minced garlic for about 3-5 minutes. Add one jar pasta sauce with the veggies. Take off heat.

3. Spread about a fourth of the veggie sauce mixture on the bottom of crock-pot. Add a layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking them apart to fit if needed. Spoon on 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Layer more sauce, another layer of noodles, the remainder of the ricotta cheese mixture, more sauce, more noodles, and the last of the sauce. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.

4. Cook on LOW 4-5 hours or on HIGH 2-3 hours.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bob Marley Finger Puppet


As I've mentioned before, I really love making finger puppets. They are just so adorable. I usually stick to making animals or vegetables but recently I've been delving into making puppets based on people. I have a coworker who loves Bob Marley so I decided to try and make her a little Bob Marley puppet! Turned out pretty great, if I do say so myself!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Carmelized Pear Steel Oats


Let me just say that this recipe is amazing. I don't know why I don't caramelize fruit more often.

Here is what you need:
3/4 cup steel cut oats, dry
1.5 cups water
1.5 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
2 pears (peeled and chopped)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Here is what you need to do:

  1. For the oats: Bring 1.5 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiling add a pinch of salt then your oats. Swirl to coat then cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the oats are tender.
  2. For the pears: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once bubbling, add brown sugar and stir. Then immediately add in pears, cinnamon, and vinegar and stir to coat. Cover the pears and cook for 10 or so minutes. Once tender, remove the lid for several more minutes then remove from heat.
  3. Divide oats between two bowls and top with equal servings of pears. 
Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles



 I saw this recipe a couple weeks ago and was so intrigued. I am not actually the biggest fan of spicy food but I thought the chocolate and cayenne combination could be pretty tasty. And it was! The heat of the cayenne was just the perfect amount to give it a complex flavor. 

Here is what you need:

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp almond milk

For the topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Here is what you need to do:
 
1. First off, preheat the oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, cayenne, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla and milk. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wets and mix thoroughly until the batter is stiff.

3. Using the palm of your hands, roll about 3 tbsp worth of batter into a small ball. Press the ball into the sugar-cinnamon topping until slightly flattened. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, place each cookie about 2 inches apart.

4. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Men's Kitchen Apron

Awhile back, my brother asked me if I would make him a woodworking apron and also a kitchen apron. I love making things for people so I was super happy that he asked me! I shared the woodworking apron here and thought I'd share the kitchen apron today. 


I found this kitchen appliance fabric and then used some maroon fabric that I already had in my giant fabric stash. I made a pattern up by using a brown paper bag, my willing-to-be-a-model husband, and an apron that I had made previously.  I doubled up the fabric so it is sturdy and I even added in a little pocket. It came together nicely and I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Here is a close up:


Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Focus: Recommended Books





As I said in October, I got so many great recommendations from my friends that I decided to do the same theme for November. Here is what I read:

Read: Restoration
Read: The Last Unicorn
Read: The Light Between Oceans
Read:  The Things They Carried
Reading:Killing Yourself to Live


I'm not entirely sure what my theme for December will be but I'm leaning towards translated books! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Vegan Baked Apple Spice Oatmeal

I've been a believer in oatmeal bakes ever since I made this recipe. Recently, I've been flirting with the idea of eliminating dairy products from my diet so when I saw this recipe here I figured I could make it vegan really easily. I eliminated the butter from the recipe and substituted almond milk for regular milk....and it is SO good. The recipe makes a lot and it is so hearty. So far we have had it for breakfast two times and I'm thinking we'll be able to have it at least two more times! 



Here is what you need:

4 cups almond milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups peeled and chopped apples
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries

What you need to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
3. Stir occasionally until the mixture is well combined then stir in the remaining ingredients.
4. In a lightly sprayed 2-quart casserole dish, pour the oatmeal into the casserole dish, cover, and bake for 45 minutes.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Best Breakfast Potatoes



We've been getting a lot of potatoes from our CSA box recently, and along with them have come some pretty good looking recipes. We whipped these up for Saturday breakfast and instantly knew this recipe would be put in the remake pile. So good!

What you need:

2 lbs potatoes, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 big bell pepper, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 stick butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt & pepper

What you need to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, bell pepper, olive oil, butter, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and some kosher salt and pepper.

2. Pour the potato mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan twice. Raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake until crisp and brown, 15-20 minutes, tossing twice.

3. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper before serving.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Focus: Recommended Books


For October I decided to read only books that people recommended to me. I asked for suggestions on Facebook and got an influx of great book ideas! So many, in fact, I may need to dedicate November to this theme as well.  Plus I really really enjoyed all of these books...obviously my friends have great taste!

Here is what I read:

Read: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
Read: Longbourn
Read: The Illustrated Man
Read: The Twentieth Wife 
Read: The Rook
Reading: Outlander
Reading: Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

I've always been wary about squash soup but after making this recipe...I'll never make that mistake again! This butternut squash soup is amazing. The perfect balance of flavors and the perfect creamy texture. Mm!



What you need:

2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
4 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 package 8 oz cream cheese

What you need to do:

1. Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet. Stir in onions until tender.
2. In a crock-pot, add in onions and all the other ingredients except for the cream cheese.
3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. Using a blender or food processor, blend the soup mixture until smooth. Return the soup to the crock-pot and stir in the cream cheese. Cover and cook on low for about 30 more minutes. Stir with whisk until smooth.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Focus: Kurt Vonnegut



I love Kurt Vonnegut. To be honest, though, it did take me until college to really appreciate him. I tried to read Breakfast of Champions in high school and was just not ready for it. Then I started reading him heavily during the summer of 2007 and really connected with him. I loved his writing style and I loved his ultimate message of people needing to be kinder to each other. Recently, I'd been thinking about him again so I dedicated September to be all about Vonnegut.

Here is what I read:

Slaughterhouse-Five  (reread)
Letters (first read)
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (reread)
Galapagos (first read)
Drawings (first read)

I also really wanted to reread Breakfast of Champions but the library was not cooperating with me!

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Spicy Little Apron




A couple Christmases ago, I made this apron for my mom!

This was one of those sewing projects where I learned so much more about sewing. I learned how to use binding, sew a button hole, make a ruffle, and use different stitches on my sewing machine. I was at my parents' house recently and noticed it had unraveled a bit after being washed. I took it back with me and mended it back up. I love giving new life again to an old project! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homemade Bread with Whey

I am somewhat obsessed with making bread these days. I blame the cheese kit that I bought a couple weeks ago. Ever since I started making cheese, I started having a lot of excess whey leftover. And what do you do with whey? Make bread, of course! Here is the original recipe that I used.

My first loaf of bread!


What you need:

2 cups warm whey (warm water can be substituted)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet dry active yeast

1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour (white or wheat)

Here is what you do:

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar into the warm whey. Then mix in the yeast and salt. Mix in the flour until just combined. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let sit for two hours.

2. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the oven racks so that one is in the middle and one is directly below it.  Put your cookie sheet in the oven to heat it up. Pour one cup water into a baking pan and put on the bottom rack of the oven (this creates steam that keeps it moist but still gives it a crunchy outside).

3. When the dough has doubled, mix in any seasoning you may want. (I've tried oregano and basil so far but my favorite is cinnamon!) Knead the dough on a floured surface--only for a minute or so.

4. Put on your cookie sheet and cook for about 20 minutes or until the outside is brown.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Focus: The Public Library



Ok, so I use the public library probably 75% of the time when I'm picking up books--so this month isn't too much of a challenge for me. But, I had a massive stack of library books that I needed to get through so I decided to make my month a broad theme of books/movies from the library!

Read: The Silkworm
Watched: Nebraska
Watched: Inside Llewyn Davis
Read: Flora and Ulyssis
Read: Dear Mr. Knightley
Read: Dad is Fat
Read: Landline
Read: The Devil in the White City
Read: Daddy Long Legs
Read: The Death Class
Reading: TransAtlantic


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Zoo Animal Puppets

I love making little finger puppets...which works out well because I love giving them to people. Here is a set that I made up for one of my pregnant friends!

I looked up a bunch of ideas on Pinterest but mostly based my puppets off of these!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Tasty Zucchini Fries

Oh my gosh these are so good. 


This is the perfect recipe to make when your garden is overflowing with zucchinis...or in my case, my CSA box! I looked at a bunch of different recipes but I ended up liking this one the best. Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Soft Flannel Baby Blanket



Here is a lovely little baby blanket I made. It is so soft and light, I think this will be a cozy, versatile blanket for my friend's upcoming little baby!


How I did it: I pinned two yards of fabric right sides together then sewed around the edges. I left about six inches open and flipped the quilt inside out. I then stitched the hole shut and sewed all the way around the edges again about 1/4 inch away from the edge. I then tied it off with yarn. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Napa Cabbage Salad

This recipe is so delicious. So delicious. I grew up with something like this but recently discovered it again here when I was searching for what to make with a head of napa cabbage that I had gotten in my CSA box.


Here is what you need:

1 head napa cabbage (shredded)
1 bunch green onions (minced)
1/3 cup butter
1 (3 oz) package ramen noodles, broken
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Ok, here is what you do:

1. Combine the green onions and cabbage in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Melt the butter in a pot. Mix in the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds. Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven until they are lightly browned.
4. Meanwhile in a small saucepan heat the vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and let cool.
5. Combine the dressing, the ramen mixture, and cabbage immediately before serving.

Enjoy! Try not to eat it all immediately. Take it from me...you'll get a stomach ache.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Zucchini Tater Tots

The other night, I was practically starving and considering ordering a pizza but decided instead to whip something up. I saw this recipe here and decided to give it a try. And you know what? So much better than pizza! Really!


You need:
  • 1 c potatoes (shredded)
  • 1 small zucchini (shredded)
  • ¼ c breadcrumbs
  • ¼ c shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ t onion powder
  • 1 egg
Here is what you need to do:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the shredded potatoes and zucchini.
  3. Place the potatoes and zucchini in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Scoop the mixture into the prepared muffin pan and press them down a bit. You can make these smaller (to get about 20 tots) but I made mine a bit bigger and made 12.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.