Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Chili

Oh snap, now I know what I'm dressing up as next year!

I hope all of you have a fun Halloween this year.  We don't ever have anything going on since we don't have kids but I do have a good costume so if you are reading this friends, stop by!  Other than giving out candy we will be eating chili.  We have chili every Halloween.  Since deer season began a couple of weeks ago, we have some deer meat to use instead of beef.  Yeah I never thought I would say that but tis the life of a hunter's wife.  This recipe was given to us by Eric's dad, if you don't have deer just use ground beef.

Texas Chili
2 lbs of beef or deer cooked
1 onion chopped and sauteed with the meat
2 TBS cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 can Rotel
1 can pinto beans
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce

Cook meat and onion together.  When meat is cooked add other ingredients.  Stir and simmer.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Serger Time

In 2011 my aunt Rhonda passed onto me her Baby Lock Imagine serger.  I was already intimidated before I even opened the box.  I tried to thread the machine myself but I am not good at learning though a book, I need a teacher. Our local sewing shop was having a serger class this week and the owner agreed to teach me how to thread my serger before I took the class.  She had never threaded a BL so it was new to her too.  Hello it was so easy with the air thread system for the loopers.  I have the best serger ever. Thank you so much Rhonda for this little jewel.

I learned a lot in the class and I am addicted now.  I can't wait to make something new with my serger.  Love the air feed loop threader and I have no tension to set!!!  Holla!  Tension setting is the worst thing about a sewing machine.  I love that you can sew "air" with a serger unlike a sewing machine.  In class to make our pillow we had to use the sewing machine for  a few things and I kept messing the sewing machine up because I was trying to sew air and pull like a serger.  opps.  I am not a very straight cutter or sewer so I also love that the serger cuts the edge fabric off straight.

This is my finished pillow project.  We even made the pillow inserts (SO much quicker than on a sewing machine) but she gave us the wrong fabric cuts so they were smaller than the pillows. I have taken a basic sewing, geometric smocking, picture smocking, and bishop construction sewing classes and I am always behind the rest of the students.  Not in this class, I was ahead of everyone and finished my pillow before others even started piecing theirs.  Not because I am a good student, but because I had the best machine. 

I gave my pillow to Claire for her cave. 

If you sew do you think it is important to invest in a good machine early on?  I am sort of torn because I think you should start low to see if you like the hobby then invest in good equipment.  But on the other hand a good machine takes away so much frustration.  I guess you should invest in the best you can afford and most sewing shops sell used machines that are in great condition.
p.s. Last year when I was trying to understand how to thread the serger I stumbled across this video.  OMG it is such a gem.  If you know me it is so a song I would have made up as an ode to my serger.  If you need a good laugh check it out. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bellarose's Banner

Last month my niece Bellarose was born!  She was (still is) so tiny.  Her pinky finger is about the size of my pinky nail.  So sweet!  She was born a little early and had to stay in the NICU for a week. 
During times of emotion I craft.  So my other sister and I got together and made a little banner to decorate Bellarose's NICU crib.  By the time we finished and mailed the banner to Bellarose's mom, she was home from the NICU.  Praise the Lord!  He has worked so many miracles in her life already,  no other way to explain it but God's Grace!

Hopefully you will never have to make a banner to decorate a NICU bed, but they are fun to make for other times to decorate with.  Here is how we did ours:
The banner needed to be small to fit on her hospital bed so for the circles I used the inside circle of a roll of packing tape for my template - around 3" circle.  I made 2 circles for each letter to make them look stronger and for the felt to stand up to the decorative hand stitching.  For the letters I used the font pharmacy and made it 200 size then bolded it. After I printed the letters off I traced around the outside edges with a Sharpie to make them a little wider and cut them out.  Place on felt and traced over them and cut the felt letters out.  I LOVE the roses on the banner- for Bellarose.  I used this great
template/pattern, Flower #3 rolled rose.  The roses were so fun and easy to make.

I just cut felt in the shape of the grouped roses and glued them to the felt.  I glued the letters to the circles and then glued the bottoms of the circles together and stuck my pom pom trim in between the felt circles and glued the top of the circle.  This is how it looked when I was finished with my portion.  Cute but it needed a little pizazz.

My sister, Angie is really good at hand sewing.  She did a straight stitch around the letters and then a blanket stitch around each circle, this really took the banner up a notch.  Here is how it turned out.

photo taken by Fair Photography

The letter stitching is kind of hard to see but who is looking at that anyway when there is a sweet baby to look at. 
Yesterday was Bellarose's baby dedication.  She was so sweet in her antique gown and my mom used another antique gown to make her bonnet.  That little pearl bracelet she has on is about the size of a ring and when we saw it we thought there was no way it would even fit around her wrist.  We were wrong, it can slip off without being unfastened. So tiny.

So happy that Bellarose is in our family-after 2 boys we need a little doll to dress up and put pearl bracelets on!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bakin Bacon

Last night we had brinner - breakfast for dinner.  I had a new package of bacon but only wanted to cook a few pieces so I did it the old way, in a skillet.  Oh how my small mind forgot how annoying frying bacon in a skillet is.  It is so messy and makes your house smell like bacon.  Several months ago a friend taught me how to cook bacon in my oven.  It is so easy.  All you do is line a cookie sheet with 2 pieces of foil (yes 2 if you only use 1 the grease leaks through).  Cook at 400* for about 20 minutes.  If you turn the edges of foil up you will create a little wall and have no messy clean up. Never again will you be so happy.  Your bacon is cooked to the perfect amount of crispness and it lays flat not curly.
Bacon has become a big part of my life since I started my new low amylose "diet" a couple of months ago. Most mornings I eat bacon and scrambled eggs, to save time I cook a pack of bacon on Sunday night and keep it in the fridge all week.  In the morning while my cast iron skillet is warming I stick the bacon in it and it heats up.  No radiation box (microwave) needed.  After my skillet is hot I add some bacon grease and coat the skillet.  Very important if you are using a non stick then add 1 egg and 1 egg white.  I just scramble in the pan so I wont mess up another dish.  It takes a few tries to get the non stick issue right with a cast iron skillet but it is worth it.  This takes about 5 minutes max and it is quicker to eat than a bowl of cereal.  

For those of you that have asked the diet is going ok.  I have lost several pounds so that is good but most importantly I have become a lot more disciplined with food-most of the time.  Before if I was counting calories I wouldn't care if I went over because it was just 100 cals and I can run that off-pretty much maintaining.  With this diet I don't eat chips because I'm not suppose to, I will eat 1 chip to get that taste and be fine.  If we eat something with a bun I will just eat the meat or 1 piece of the bun.  I use to eat a banana a day but I think I may have had 2 in the past several months.  I just don't want it because I know I'm not suppose to have that food.  I am no means 100% strict with the diet, I probably have something "bad" at least once a day.  It is usually small like few chocolate chips, but if I know I am going to have a lot of bad food like a Zaxby's club basket I won't cheat for several days. Yesterday I had a small pancake but at least it was whole wheat.  My biggest weakness is still sweet tea.  We don't and never have kept it in our house because I will drink a whole pitcher that day so that isn't a problem at home but going out to eat is.  I have gotten better at ordering water plus it saves like $2.

 Some of you have asked what my meals are so for breakfast I usually eat bacon, eggs, a piece of fruit and water.  The other breakfast option is a smoothie made with spinach, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and 50% sugar orange juice. 
Lunch is usually a big salad with some type of protein.  My fav is to cook some beef with homemade taco seasoning and top the salad with the that, avocados, and salsa mixed with sour cream.  If I don't eat eggs at breakfast I love to make egg salad. Other options would be soup or chicken salad something like that.
For a snack I usually eat a piece of cheese, fruit or some cocoa dusted almonds if I need something sweet. I also make salt and vinegar kale chips on the weekends when I have more time. 
For supper I usually just have whatever but adjust my side items to exclude corn and potatoes.  If we eat spaghetti and I haven't cheated all day I will eat a few pasta noodles, if I have cheated instead of noodles I use zucchini.  I am sort of obsessed with black bean soup and just bought the dried beans to use instead of canned, trying to get away from the bpa in the cans. 
Like I said not perfect but better than I was and I feel better.  I don't really think about sugar but there are times that only a Reece cup will do and next week we are having roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions - all 3 on the no list.  I think when you make a lifestyle change there is an evolution period so I am sticking with that. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

My latest thrift finds

I used to do posts pretty often on my thrift store finds.  The thing about thrift stores and success is you have to go often to be successful.  I use to go at least twice a week.  Now I maybe go once a month.  Sad.  But good news last week I was able to go thrifting twice, and both times were a success.  The first stop was Goodwill where I picked up this brand new, never worn pair of LL Bean clogs for $4.

I use to love to wear clogs back in the day so I just had to have these even if it were for nostalgia reasons, but it wasn't because I plan on wearing them a lot.  I've already worn them twice.  The first time I wore my purple knit maxi skirt and chambray top.  cute!

The second outfit came from a pin.
Source: via Vanessa on Pinterest

This was pretty easy to pull off, even though my outfit is nothing like that girls, ha!  Maybe when I get out my winter clothes.

My review is I love them and Eric's love is slowly growing.

The second score was this Auburnish throw. 

I was wanting to make an Auburn quilt out of old tshirts for our tailgate but lets be honest, we will probably win another championship and Cam Newton will acknowledge my existence before that happens.  This little handmade gem is much cooler and was $8.99.  Pretty steep in my thrifting eyes but it is so cute.  Some old lady probably was so proud of it back in the day but then her great niece thought it was hideous so she donated it to the thrift store.  Jokes on you great niece, your great aunt's throw lives on.  We will get lots of happy memories tailgating laying under the shade trees on this here blanket.

And last but not least this little milk glass vase, costing a major 10 cents!

That's all I've got in thrifting news, you got anything good? 
Maybe I will make an effort to thrift more since I am on that thrifting high.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How To Make Your Own Wax Melts

Do you have a wax warmer?  They seem to be everywhere now thanks to Scentsy.  I don't have a Scentsy brand but I am fancy enough to have a Walmart special!  I've really enjoyed it because I don't have to worry about an open flame and I feel like they smell stronger than a candle.  Even though it seems like everyone makes wax melts, I still haven't found a pumpkin scent that I love. What's a girl to do but semi-make my own. 
You don't have to use a new candle- this would also be a great way to get rid of the wax in the jar that didn't burn evenly or if you have a candle that has a janky wick, melt it down.

I went with my favorite pumpkin candle, $1 Pumpkin Spice from Walmart. 

This process is super simple.  Simply melt down the candle in a pot of boiling water.  I think it took less than 5 minutes to have the small candle melted down.   

After the wax is melted pour into an empty melt container.  Make sure you fill it all the way up, it makes it so much easier to pop out after the wax hardens.

 Wait a couple of hours for the wax to harden and that is it!  Pop those suckers out and you are good to melt.

Mmmmmmmmm I can smell the pumpkin spice now. 

Isn't this BHG owl warmer so adorable?!?  Do you have a favorite warmer scent?  My all time favorite is the Tyler Candles - Tyler scent.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

German Chocolate-Pecan Pie Bars

Did y'all get the September Southern Living.  So many amazing recipes to try from that issue.  I needed to make a dessert for tailgating a couple of weeks ago and was going to make the Caramel Apple-Brownie Cheesecake but then I decided to make something without dairy for Eric to be able to eat and something that I don't like so I wouldn't eat it. ha.  The German Chocolate-Pecan Pie Bars won out.  One little problem, I usually don't like pecan pie but thought these were amazing.  Try them, you will love them too!

What you need:
3 cups pecan halves & pieces
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1) Preheat oven to 350*.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

2) Line bottom and sides of a 13x9" pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2"-3"  to extend over sides.  Lightly grease foil.

3) Pulse flour and next 3 ingredients in a food processor 5 to 6 times or until mixture resembles course meal.  (I don't have a food processor so I used my blender, and it took a lot more than 6 pulses to get right consistency.  When I had it as good as it was going to get I took it out of the blender and mixed a little better with my hands)  Press mixture on bottom and 3/4 inch up sides of foil lined pan.

4)  Bake crust at 350* for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust.  Cool completely on a wire rack (don't remove from pan) about 30 minutes.

5) Whisk together brown sugar and next 3 ingredients until smooth.  Stir in coconut and toasted pecans.  Spoon into prepared crust.

6)  Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes or until golden and set.  (I could never get mine to set so I lowered my oven temp to 325* after 30 minutes)  Cool completely on a wire rack for about an hour.  Chill 1 hour.  Lift baked bars from pan using foil sides as handles.  Transfer to a cutting board; cut into bars.  

7) Try not to eat the whole pan before you take it to tailgate.  Seriously I loved these and I'm not a pecan pie person.  They taste even better cold so I left ours in the fridge.  Makes about 2 dozen.

Recipe: Southern Living September 2012

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