Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frugal Food and Healthy to Boot!

I LOVE granola bars. Perfect lunch snack, late night snack…anytime snack!Love them.HATE the price for 5 little bars that last like 2 days! So I decided to take the plunge and start making as many of the snack-y foods that I like as I can.

Not only do they taste much better (and I actually know what's going into them!) but it is WAY cheaper! I got 3 batches of granola bars out of it. And a batch lasts well over a week! I'm going to estimate here, but I'd say I spent about $25 on ingredients (I had to buy all of them, I didn't have anything on hand. So I'd say each batch cost me about $8 (I'm rounding here for the sake of mental math) and I got about 24 bars out of each batch. That's like 33 cents a bar! Ok ok ok…Enough with the's the recipe! This is SUPER DUPER easy to make (win!) and you can add ingredients to you want to suit your taste!

Granola Bars YOUR Way
Recipe adapted from online one that I can no longer find. So sorry!

Disclaimer: So I didn't take many pictures ok...any pictures)
while making these. But I did think to take a snap of the ones
I was nibbling on (ok...scarfing down) with my morning cup of tea. 

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (loosely packed)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups dried fruit(s)/nuts/seeds etc... of choice

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8x12 baking dish and line with parchment paper.
  2. Toss oatmeal, almonds & coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10-12 mins, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Put in a large mixing bowl and stir in wheat germ
  3. Reduce oven temp to 300 F.
  4. Mix in honey and vanilla extract while the oatmeal mixture is still warm. Stir in dried fruit/seeds/nuts of choice
  5. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press into place. Press reallllllly realllllllly hard. Basically until you can't squish it anymore. (I find wetting my hands and pressing hard with the palms of my hands really works well.)
  6. Bake for about half an hour or so at 300 F until it starts to become golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool completely before cutting into bars. (A serrated knife makes this easy.)

 Storing them in an air tight container in the freezer keeps them fresh and helps them hold together better.


Easiest. Curtains. EVER.

Ok, so it was sad.  Not sad as in hand-me-a-tissue-there's-something-in-my-eye...sad as in "I can't believe I am this lazy" sad. 

My kitchen has been in need of curtains since I moved into the house (3 years ago!!!  Go team procrastination!).  The windows had ugly brown metal blinds that definitely had to go.  But after shopping around, I couldn't find curtains that I liked.  I decided "I'll just make some instead!"  And then I didn't.  For 3 years. 

Until inspiration hit (YAY!)!  I was walking into the grocery store and there was a shopping cart full of stuff that was on clearance!  I couldn't resist the big red CLEARANCE. (Side note, I read on a wed design blog that red is a colour used to encourage action...hmmmm...) As I'm digging through, I notice a tablecloth there for 50% off.  It was $8.99.  It was 70"x70".

SCORE!  I have 2 windows in the kitchen that are 35" wide each.  At first I was all "WOAH gear down Big Rig, I can't make curtains!" and then I was like "Dude, it's sewing a rectangle and sticking a curtain rod through it".  And so began my "curtains from a clearance tablecloth" project.

I decided to do kind of the "cafe" style curtain.  Both because I like how they look, and it seemed the easiest option for "making it up as you go" :)

These curtains only had 3 simple steps..which I have since expanded to 7 for the sake of clarity.  (I figured Fold. Pin. Sew. didn't really cover it...)

Here it is, in more detail!
1. Remove table cloth from packaging, iron out all the creases and cut it in half. (mine was 70x70 which made it perfect for my needs.  You may have to cut to size to fit your windows).

Step 2, 3 and 4 make the ruffle and
the pocket for the curtain rod.

2. Fold over the cut edge a little bit and iron. (You don't actually have to sew a hem in it now, but folding it will give you a cleaner line for later. Trust me.)
3. Decide how long you want the ruffle over the curtain rod to be.  I decided I wanted it to be 3 inches. I also allowed 2 inches for the "pocket" for the curtain rod to go through. So I folded so I had 5 inches.  Iron a good crease and pin in place. 
4. Using fabric pencil or chalk (or pins for that matter) make a line marking out where you'll sew to make the pocket for the curtain rod.

5. If you want to add ribbon, this is the step for you!  I decided to put it along the bottom of the curtain.  Added bonus, I was able to use the hem that was already in the tablecloth as a guide to make sure the ribbon was straight.  I put it on the front and back of the curtains so that you could see it out the windows too.

Step 5. Pin the ribbon in place

I decided to put ribbon on both sides

6. To the sewing machine!!  Sew along the pins and the chalk/fabric pencil line you made for the pocket. 
7. Sew the ribbon in place (I made sure to line up the ribbon so I only had to sew a straight line along each edge of the ribbon and it stitched both the front and back ribbons in place).

 2 Curtains - ALL DONE! And it only involved sewing 8 straight lines! (4 per curtain).  That's my kinda project!!  :)
Please excuse all the dishes.  Prince Charming had just
finished washing up and they are all drying.  Isn't he great?
I did a silly happy dance when these
were hung.  I don't think I've ever
been so excited about curtains!

See? Curtains don't have to be a huge ridiculous expense, or a scary scary sewing project! 
Get creative and have fun!! :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy 2012! The Meal Planning Begins!

Happy 2012!  I can't believe the holidays went by so quickly!  I was really enjoying and getting used to starting the morning (read: 11am when I got out of bed) with bailey's in the coffee and nothing to do but kick zombie butt in video games for the afternoon. 
Sigh.  Life must go on though. 
Thanks to all the foodies on Pinterest (and my complete disinterest in dealing with CH asking me what we're having for supper at 6:30 in the morning when clearly I'm not a morning person and haven't even decided what undies I'm going to wear for the day let alone what I want to eat in 12 hours...) I've decided to jump on the meal planning bandwagon. 

So I have planned the next 2 weeks.  (Ok...we started on a Wednesday, so I guess the next week and a half if you want to be all fussy about it).

I found inspiration at this great website Meal Planning 101 - her recipes are so yummy looking!  And last night we tried the Grilled Asian Beef Kebabs.  BIG. HIT.

They were so delish! 

While CH was being the grill master, I put together snacks and breakfasts.  I made homemade granola bars, and slowcooker oatmeal!  These are so fun to make because they were SUPER easy and can be customized to your own tastebuds!  They also turned out really yummy!  I may or may not have eaten a couple spoonfuls of the granolar bars pre-baking time...yum yum yum  I love honey!

Tonight is Japanese Noodle Soup. 

I'll keep you posted!  (And will try to remember to take pictures!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yay! It's "Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday"

And now, for my next trick, as I try to delve further into the world of blogging....


My very first link up for Oh How Pinteresting Wednesdays!  How exciting!I can't wait to see all the other pins!

Yellow, how do I love thee, let me count the pins....

Zero-tolerance for knock-off Louboutins. 

Sweet Lulu is one of my favourite "window shopping" places online!

Tips for making an Amy Atlast worthy candy buffet!

My new favourite online photo editor - quick, easy, free. 
Source: via Marissa on Pinterest

Christmas is ages away, but how cute is this!  And doing a Halloween version would be so easy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh How Pinteresting Wednesdays!

Oh good.  Because I needed another reason to pin obessivly! :)
Michelle over at The Vintage Apple has a fun game for us all!  "Oh How Pinteresting Wednesdays".  

What is Pinterest you ask?  It's kind of an online inspiration board.  Or boards rather, because you can have a whole bunch of boards dedicated to specific topics/themes/colours, whatever you want!

Need an invite?  Just leave a comment and I'll send you one!  Then head over and look at all the lovely pins she's sharing, grab the button and start pinning!

So now you can obessivly pin guilt free, because you're really doing it for the better of the community!  Yes.  Let's go with that. 

Thanks Michelle!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ruffled Pendant Lamp

There's this corner of my living room that's pretty dark.  It's just the way the lighting is.  It's a funny shaped room with crazy high cathedral ceilings.  So I was hunting around online for interesting lights. 

And I found the ruffled pendant lamp.  Ok...I like where it was going!  But I did NOT like the gigantic price tag attached to the plastic versions.  Then I came across someone who made a version of it with cupcake liners.  "I can do that"  thought I!!

Then I saw someone had done one with coffee filters!  (And was selling it for $300 on Etsy.  Holy smokes!  Still not in my budget especially for a coffee filter paper lamp.)  So I went out and rounded up the supplies I needed.  I spent about $40.00 on the paper lantern and light fixture attachment (around $30 at Pier 1)then I went to the grocery store for coffee filters.  Who knew they were so much money at a grocery store!?!!   *Facepalm* duh Marissa!  Why did I not think to check the $1 Store first...hellllloooo bought almost the entire $1 Store supply of coffee filters and got enough to cover the whole thing for under $10!  All in all, at this point I'm pretty happy with the $40 lamp and I hadn't even started building it yet thankyouverymuch!!  (What can I say, I love a good bargain!)

About 4000 coffee filters and a lot of glue gun action's my version of the fluffy cloud pendant lamp!  (ok ok, it's not hung yet.  But I'm short.  And I don't have a ladder.  So either hunny is going to have to hang it up, or dad's going to have to come over with his ladder)

Step 1. Gather supplies...
  • Glue gun
  • LOTS of glue sticks
  • EVEN MORE coffee filters
  • Premade paper lantern
  • Light fixture for the paper lantern (they're usually sold together, or are at least displayed close to one another at the store)
  • A good movie (...or 12)
Step 2 - Step bazillion.  Glue on the coffee filters.  I found it easier to separate a stack of coffee filters BEFORE I started folding and streamlined the process a bit instead of having to fold, glue, stop, fight with coffee filter pile to separate from giant stack, repeat.   I've seen a few different ways that people have done this.  Some of them have the ripples from the filter in much straighter lines but I wanted more of a haphazard look.  I like the look of the ones I had seen kind of bunched up like a flower.  To accomplish this look, take the coffee filter and fold it in half.  Put a bit of your thumb in the middle along the fold and then twist it up around your thumb.  Squish the bottom to flatten it a bit.  Put a drop of glue on the flattened bit, and stick it on!
*DISCLAIMER: I know this is a mediocre description...but it's hard to figure out how to put it in words.  The moral of the story is it doesn't really matter what technique you use for ruffling the coffee filters, because they'll be all squished together and you won't even see the bottom of them.  So however is comfortable for you, go to town!  (Hey, did you ever make those little parachute/rocket thingies out of gum wrappers?  The kind you held onto and smacked the bottom of your hand to push air in and send it flying?  If you know what I'm talking about, it's KIND of like one of those, except your thumb goes in sideways, so the "hole" is on the side instead of the bottom...did that make it worse? Ok sorry...) 8 Criminal Minds episodes and about 4 movies.  (Thank goodness for rainy days!)
Look at all those coffee filters (inside view of the lamp).  It was a bit annoying at first because the paper lantern kept rolling around on the floor (I sat on the floor surrounded by a sea of coffee filters and glue gun was a beautiful sight to behold I'm sure!).  But once I kind of got a system down, it went a bit better.  I basically just followed along the seams in the paper lantern.  (You can sort of see what I mean in the picture that shows inside the lantern).I just glued the coffee filters in between the wires so they were in nice straight lines.  Then, I fluffed the filters out a bit once I had finished a section, and sort of tangled them up around themselves to avoid having any holes or spaces between the filters.

Here's the finished product!  Way easy, just time consuming! Because God forbid I choose a resonable sized paper lantern for my first attempt.  No no...go big or go home is my motto when crafting!  So this thing quite literally stands halfway up my thigh. (I know, I'm only 5'3"...ok fine...only if I have my heels on...but that's still a big honkin lamp!)  When it's finally hung I'll send some pictures.  I'm putting it over the chair you can kind of see in the picture.  It's a comfy reading chair, but needs more light.  Hopefully this will work!

Have you done any light makeovers?  I'd love to see them!!

Summer snacks! Avacado Dip, Kiwi Pops and Summer Strawberry Cake

Oh. Em. Gee.

I Frankenstein-ed together two recipes to make the YUMMIEST dip/guac that I have ever tasted!
Although I have no pictures (face slap...DOH!) trust me when I tell you it is yummmmmers to the max!  (Even my hunny the chef said he was going to file that recipe away for later!)

Here goes!

"A.L.R.ight Dip (Avocado, Lime, Radish Dip)"

2 Avocados chunked up
8 radishes diced
1 lime (juice and zest)
1/4-1/3 cup of cucumber diced (I really am guessing here.  I diced about 3 inches of the cucumber I had in the fridge)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (again...just ball parking....add as much or as little as you like.)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix it all together in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge for a bit so it gets all yummy!
We had it with lime tortilla chips make by a local New Brunswick company.  They were quite...intense on their own, but with the dip it was a perfect combo!

"Kewl Kiwi Pops"
Peel kiwis
Cut into thick slices
Find some kind of stick (kabob skewers cut in half is what I had on hand, so that's what I used) and push into the kiwi so it looks like a sucker. (Make sure to push it in really far so the kiwi doesn't fall off when you put the chocolate on.)

 Put them in the freezer while you get the chocolate coating ready.

Use a double boiler (a.k.a. a sauce pan of water with a heat resistant bowl sitting on top...just make sure the water does NOT touch the bowl, and be careful of any escaping steam!  Don't want a nasty burn!)
Melt enough chocolate to coat the kiwis.  (I used 3 squares of dark baker’s chocolate and 1 bag of white chocolate chips and mixed them together.  YUM!  But I have about 1/2 a cup left over, so I probably didn't need that much)

Take the kiwis out of the freezer and dip them in the chocolate to coat completely.  Put them back on the plate and pop them back in the freezer while you're eating supper so they have time to get nice and cool again.


And finally, for a work pot-luck that we had last week, I made a nice light summery strawberry cake. 

"Summer Surprise" Cake
I used just a basic white cake recipe, but added pink colouring to 1 of the cakes (you can choose what ever colour combo you want!). 

For the frosting I mixed together a tub of cool whip and a block of cream cheese (make sure they're at room temperature...especially the cream cheese- it just makes life so much easier). 

I also chopped up a box of local Jemseg strawberries (so delish!!!)

To put the cake together:
Alternate between colours for the cake layers
In between each layer spread a dollop of French vanilla frosting (or whatever kind you would like.  More cream cheese frosting would be good too!), and then sprinkle with pieces of chopped up strawberry.
Frost the cake with the coolwhip/cream cheese combo, and decorate as desired!

To make the little banner, I just used some foam I had left over from my pinwheel wreath.  I used my glue gun to attach it to some twine, and tied it around kebab skewers I had on hand.  Poked them into the cake and bob's your uncle!   So simple, but so super cute! (I'm on a slight bunting obsession phase right now...)

Keep the coloured layers a surprise and watch the smiles and laughs when they cut the first piece! :)

Happy summer everyone!!