Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First Time for Everything! Menu Plan

As I become more lethargic and approach my 9th month of pregnancy, I've tried to maintain some of our old routine. One of my goals has been to make a home-cooked meal each night of the week, come hell or high water (or cramps and Braxton Hicks).

The only way I can mentally manage this is by doing a lot of planning. My brain literally shuts down when it's hungry. Not only do I become a ravenous b****, I get easily confused and forget where I am. It's hilarious to witness, but dreadful to live through.

I've never been a good menu planner. Mostly because I've never needed to plan for the two of us; I used to be capable of thinking whilst under pressure. Now that things have changed, I'm adapting.

Luckily for me there are some amazing foodie blogs out there that do all the thinking for me. Today I stumbled on Polish The Stars and holy yum. This girl makes stuff that I'm capable of making, while making it look like something that is way beyond my ability level. So, four of my recipes have come solely from this tightass blog. Mad props, yo.

So I started this Menu on Sunday, but didn't get around to posting about until today, oopsie poopsies.

Sunday Breakfast: Biscuits Gravy
Brown sausage. We use Tennessee Pride's Hot sausage and it's not just a clever name. Put Pillsbury Southern Style Biscuits in the ovenAdd 4-5 tbsps flour, mix. Add 2 1/4 c. milk. Heat until thickened. Done.

Sunday Lunch: Zuppa Toscana (First, I have no idea why the first letter in the recipe isn't showing up...even when I type it here "Z" it doesn't's the last letter of the alphabet...oy vey, I guess I should hand out decoder rings to everyone that reads this. Second, I worked at the Olive Garden in college and this recipe is super)

Sunday Dinner: Beef and Ale Stew (in my case it was Beef and Light Beer Stew -- that's all I had -- waah waah)

Monday: Chicken & Dumplins
I used southern style biscuits, cuz that's all I had.

Tuesday: Chicken Stuffing Bake

Wednesday: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes (I'm not at liberty to divulge this top-secret family recipe, but it's seriously off the chains)

Thursday: Lasagna

Friday: Baked White Spaghetti

Saturday Breakfast: On Your Own (the Hubs is going into the office and I'll probably just have some oatmeal and juice, yums)

Saturday Lunch: Breakfast Burritos

Saturday Dinner: We'll Probably go out...I am pregnant after all.

I hope you try some of these recipes. So far, we've dug them.

<3 dani

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Easy, Inexpensive Window Treatments

I'm almost done with Ryne's nursery and I've done it one a pretty small budget (with a lot of help from family). However, when I went to pick out curtains and rods, I was blown away at how expensive those silly things were. (Can you tell I don't shop for these things often...?)

Eventually, I came up with an idea to keep my baby room budget in check. Dig this:

 --I take such terrible daytime photos, oy--

I bought some inexpensive knobs at Home Depot ($1.20 each)

Two cheap rods. You know the kind...the ugly really cheap ones. 

I glued the two together (get it, finials, ah ha!) 

Then I spray painted them dark brown. Boom. 

Here is what the window looked like before. Pardon the old brackets. Once upon a time, when Ryne's room was our guest bedroom, those held the old rods...two large sticks...see how cheap I am?

Here the rod is, hung.

I hung them about two inches from the ceiling. The shears I had already are really long and I didn't want to cut them up anymore than I already had.

Yes, I totally started with only two large linen shears from Ikea and when I decided I didn't want to spend money on these window treatments, I just cut them right down the middle to make four shears. Winning.  

Neat, right?

Does the job for about $12. Whoa.

Stay tuned for a nursery reveal. It's coming...soon I hope.

<3 dani

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blooming Onion Sourdough Loaf

I cannot take credit for this delicious treat. I found it at The Changeable Table It looked easy enough for me to try.

The Hubs and I enjoy a solid appetizer. In fact, pre-pregnancy, we would have one night a week where we ate only appetizers for dinner. I called it "College Dinner Night." It was awesome.

On Sundays, it's tough for either one of us to peal ourselves off the couch long enough to make a full meal, so this served as our football snacky.

You'll need:
A large loaf of Sourdough bread (unsliced)
1lb Monterey Jack Cheese (sliced thinly)
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Start by cutting the bread. This is slightly tricky because you are cutting both ways (being sure not to slice all the way through!!), horizontally and vertically. Sourdough is pretty tough, so a little smushing shouldn't leave permanent damage.

Then slice your cheese. Thinly, both length-wise and width-wise.

Chop your green onions

Add them to your melted butter

Drizzle over your bread being sure get the melted fatty goodness in the cracks

Add cheese to every single opening

Wrap in tinfoil

Place on a baking pan and put her in the oven for 15 minutes

Take it out, uncover, put back in for another 10-15mins (I added a little olive oil at this point to give the top some extra crispiness)

nom nom nom

hope you likey.

<3 dani

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Flashabck -- Halloween's Past...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall and Halloween...More?...Oh Yeah!

Halloween Bottles and a new front porch!!

The Hubs got the afternoon off unexpectedly and because I was so super excited, we made a trip to the Farmer's Market to pumpkin pick! One for me, one for the Hubs and one for the Pup. Transporting the cornstalk in my Mitsubishi was hilarious, but when I want something, I force it to happen! ;-) Here's our new front porch.

Earlier in the day, I stopped by Organize and Decorate Everything  and saw these stinkin' awesome Halloween poison bottles. I They would go so perfectly in the kitchen/dining area a.k.a zoned spooky area. And the best part about this project...totally free - weee!

I dug into my pile of bottles (which the Hubs says I hoard, but it's just one little shelf in our kitchen, I swear!). I came up with a few good ones and filled them with a little food coloring and water. It took a few tries to get the color right. My first looked similar to a bottle of...well...let's just say the yellow was a little much.

See, I keep the bottles for moments like this (honey!). Back to work! I've got the potions brewed and poison bottled, now I just need some labels. Oops, forget the lids (mostly on purpose). Craft paint to the rescue. Yup, I definitely painted the lids after I filled the bottles. Hey, I'll admit to my laziness. I want things done now, not ten minutes from now!

Okay, back to the labels. Leanne at OaDE suggested searching "Halloween Labels" for plenty of options and boy was she right. Seriously, just Google it. Tons of options. I allowed myself five whole minutes to make a final decision and printed! Any longer and I don't think I would have completed this project today. I pasted  the images into a Word.doc and resized them to fit my bottles.

I wiped the paper with used coffee grounds to create a little aging. Originally, I wanted to dip them in tea, but I thought it through and, yeah, that would take waaaaay too long. This way, the paper was pliable and still dry enough to adhere to the glass. I spritzed the paper with Elmer's Adhesive Spray and slapped it on. Perfect.

My center piece went from this:

To this:

Which do you like better?

Huge shout out to Organize and Decorate Everything for fueling my fire!

<3 dani

Fall Mantle

This year's fall mantle looks rather similar to last year's mantle. That's mostly because my brain is in pregnant mode and my creativity has been spent on the nursery. Nonetheless, I think it looks beautiful and it was inexpensive.

Most of the decor I had from years past, but I picked up a few things at Michael's with my 20% off coupon. Including the candles and flowers. The books were gifts from my sister-in-law. PS -- old books look great with any decor. Try it. I use the books my sis gave me in just about every room in the house. Obsessed!

Here are the dollar store pumpkins and garland I snagged last year. I should have bought all the pumpkins when I had the chance. I went back this year to get some for my momma and of course they didn't have them. We'll never see these cute little pumpkins again.

And the beautiful flower bundles i bought for 80% off.

There you have it. Simple, cheap, and purdy.

<3 dani

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fall is in the air (and my mouth...)

I've been trying my best to stay away from coffee shops during my pregnancy and this time of year it's especially difficult. I drink decaf coffee every morning and the placebo effect seems to be working, but recently the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin coffee nearly send me into caffeine withdrawal / shock. So much so that I had to create my own version of a Fall Coffee Drink.

Here's what I used (any variation will work, I'm sure)

Strong Coffee (1/2 coffee ground to 6 cups water)
Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Spice Creamer


First, I started my coffee. Then I put about 2 tbsp of creamer in my mug, along with a 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Put that in the microwave for about 30 secs to warm it up. Then, mix in about 1 tbsp pumpkin puree and wait for your coffee to finish...

and here's what I ended up with (I'm drinking it as I type and it's delcious).


<3 dani

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Cover for a New Tushy

I'm lucky enough to have great friends that are hooking me UP with baby gear.

When I got my lovely changing table I had to do two very easy things. First, spray paint it white. Next, find a cover for the pad. Easy right? Totally.

Except pad covers are crazy least in my frugal opinion.

So instead of buying these, I found some inexpensive fabric and made my own. I hope this tutorial does justice to the simplicity of this project.

You'll need:

1 yd fabric
sewing machine
a changing pad to cover ;-)

First I laid out my yard of fabric over my pad (inside out of course).

Then I wrapped it up and pinned it down.

I literally pinned it into the pad so the pattern didn't get off-center on me. I'm all about symmetry. I'll take these pins out once I get my sewing edges pinned up nicely. Above shows the pins down the middle. Below shows the pins along the edges. 

The corners were a tad difficult, but I just pretended I was wrapping a present and bam, got it. Make sure to pin right up next to pad here because this is the part that you'll actually sew.

I trimmed off any excessive fabric to prevent bunching. 

I left the back open like a pillow sham.

Once you've got the two ends pinned snuggly, you can take out the pins on the rest of the pad. You'll have to take the fabric off using the flap you left on the bottom. It gets tricky here, but take it sloooow and steady.

Once it's off, the rest is easy. Just sew a line on either pinned end and done. Flip it so the inside is now in and finagle it back on the pad.

Nice, right?

As for the rest of the changing table fix-in's. The top baskets are from Michael's. 40% + 15% (love the teacher discount) off totaling $15. The bottom baskets were a buck each at the Dollar Store.

The rest of the nursery will be revealed soon!

<3 dani

big shout-out to my friend Tyler who subtly reminded me how much I love blogging my crafty-ness.