Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Prepster Baby Bibs

I'm all about unique and individual, but sometimes that comes at a high price, but not if you're a DIY girl like us TT123 gals!  Finding gifts for those baby showers or dear little ones close to your heart is fun, but when you give it that extra special touch that's all your own -- it suddenly becomes a very special gift.  So, I saw this cute idea on a few of the blogs and thought I'd give it a try.

First, purchase some plain bibs from the department store.  And, gather any fabric scraps you might have around the house. 

Now begin to put a little preppy touch on that bland, little bib by first cutting out the pattern for your tie. 

Then, use that pattern to trace the pattern onto your fabric scrap, and cut out the fabric.

Pin that fabric onto your bib.  Using a sewing machine, stitch very close to the edge of the fabric and sew around the entire edge of the fabric.

Can you tell I had a lot of fun with this project?  I couldn't stop making them!  Well, my little nephew will hopefully be enjoying these, and looking like such the little preppy one-year-old!!

Just an update -- here's Mr. One-Year-Old wearing his tie -- what a dapper little guy!!

Mirror mirror on the...hope chest

Review by Lyndee:

I saw this mirror on the curb other day and it was whispering sweetly, “Lyndee, take me home, make me into something cool!”  I couldn’t leave the poor thing out in the cold so I did just what it asked me to do.  Well, let me rephrase that, I attempted to make it into something cool. The ideas was great but sometimes, things don’t work out as planned. 

I had a upper case living piece from my friend Lokhoy that I had been itching to put on something.  What better than a mirror?  Everyone should be reminded that they are beautiful when they look into a mirror, right?  Right.  I’m glad we agree on that.  The edges of this mirror had some old crap on them so I thought I would paint a border and then put the sign on.  I taped it off with painters tape and used a blue acrylic around the edges. 

When I removed the tape it was not the crisp lines that I had dreamt it would be.  Some of the paint pulled off, some had run a bit and it just didn’t look right.  Not sure how I will fix this. Maybe a razor blade.  Maybe peel it all off?  Figure out a better paint to use on glass?  Not put it on so thick next time?  I don’t know.  It’s sitting on my hope chest for now until I can come up with a way to fix it and how to hang it.  A for effort.  C for execution.  You win some, you lose some, I guess.  

Pizza Pockets

Guest blog by Molly Fairchild:
I recently hosted a Pampered Chef Party with my friend Julie Hunhoff (more about her later) for the sole purpose of getting myself one of their new items, the Brownie Pan!  What makes this so special you ask?  Well, each square is separate from the other squares so that the brownies (or whatever you choose to make) has its own edges!  Isn’t that brilliant????  Now, I am not a sweets junkie like some people I know but I was really excited to try some of the more savory dishes that were in the cookbook that Julie sent me after I purchased my Brownie Pan.  Especially the Deep Dish Pizzas because who doesn’t love pizza????

I’ll post the recipe from the ones that Julie sent me, even though I didn’t really follow it, well, at all.

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas:
1 pkg Pillsbury Pizza Crust
1 pkg Turkey breakfast sausage patties
Small can of chopped black olives
½ jar spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella cheese

Using a rolling pin, roll out pizza dough and cut into 12 squares; place Brownie Pan wells.  Cook the turkey breakfast sausage patties in the microwave.  Break up the patties and place in wells on top of crust.  Open up olives and place in wells.  Put spaghetti sauce in each well.  Grate cheese and sprinkle liberally on top.  Bake at 375F for 15-20 min.  The outside squares make cook the fastest, the four in the center may need just a tad more time.

So pretty much the only part I followed was the temp and time…sort of.  I started with reduced fat crescent rolls.  Mistake number one.  Crescent roll dough is triangular.  The Brownie Pan wells are square.  I made it work though.  Unlike the recipe in the PDF file, I tried to get the crust up on the walls of the wells too because I wanted to make pizza pockets. 

Then I took some pizza sauce and put some in each well, followed by some mini pepperonis, and some reduced fat mozzarella cheese.  For three of them, instead of pizza sauce, I put in a little bit of 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese, some diced chilies, some diced Canadian Bacon, reduced fat cheddar, and reduced fat mozzarella cheese.  My friends and I call this the “Sleazy Cheesy”.  (Check out Lyndee's version with flatout bread in a previous post).  I wanted to try a few out to see if they would work but didn’t want to commit to a whole pan. 

To make my “pockets”, after I had filled all the wells with the “toppings”, I took what I had left of the crescent roll dough and covered each well with it.  I then brushed some Extra Virgin Olive Oil on them and sprinkled them with my Parmesan Garlic Seasoning from Pampered Chef. 

All in all, putting the little pizzas together was a little time consuming but I think a lot of that had to do with trying to use triangular pieces of dough in a square well.  I got quicker as I went on and figured out the best way to get the dough in the wells without having to re-roll it out.  And, as I shared with my brave friends who came to try my creation, I am not a thoughtful cook because I left my package of cheese on my pre-heating oven and sort of melted some of it.  Ooops.  I’m sure that’s just a Molly-type mistake though. 

I put the pan in the oven, which had been heating up to 375F and chatted with my friends while the little pizza pockets were baking.  I opened the oven door to check on them after about five minutes and they looked like they were getting close to being done.  But wait!  The directions said 15- 20 min!  So, after waving a towel by the smoke alarm which went off a couple of times, I closed the oven door because they hadn’t cooked as long as they were supposed to yet.  After a couple of more minutes, we came to a consensus that it was now or never, so we took them out after about 8 min in the oven.  As you can see, they got a bit burnt.  But they still tasted pretty good! 

I decided next time I would use actual pizza dough, due to the geometry of it and also because I thought the crescent rolls were a little sweet.  Although, it did work really well with the Sleazy Cheesy ones.  And I would not cook them as long, obviously.  But other than those things, I would call it a successful adventure!!!
Now, if you would like the opportunity to get yourself a Brownie Pan so you can try this recipe or those Naughty Word Brownies, contact Julie Hunhoff to host your own show!  If you mention that you heard about her through this blog, she’ll give you a free gift for hosting, along with the free items and half-price items you’ll get based on your sales!!!  Just tell her that Testing Trendy….1, 2, 3 sent you!

Cheesy Sleazy Pizza

Cheesy Sleazy

Review by Lyndee:
I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love pizza.  It’s one of my favorite food groups for sure! Sometimes though, you have to switch it up from the standard pepperoni or sausage and get a little crazy.  I often make personal size pita pizzas to save on calories and because my family doesn’t always want to ride the crazy pizza train with me.  I often enjoy ham with pineapple or sauerkraut on my pizza and well, they just like it straight up meat.  The other day I remembered an oldie but goodie my friends and I used to make called Cheesy Sleazy. 

1 piece flatout foldit bread
Reduced fat cream cheese
Diced jalepeno
Ham or Canadian bacon
Shredded cheese

Spread the cream cheese on your foldit bread as a “sauce”.  Top with ham or Canadian bacon (I used ham).  Sprinkle with diced jalapenos.  At this point I sprinkle with garlic powder as well.  Cover with shredded mozzarella, cheddar or a combo of the two.  

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. I love to use my favorite kitchen appliance, the Pizazz, for making my pizzas.  Note that if you use reduced fat cheese like I do, it doesn’t melt quite the same as regular cheese but it still tastes awesome.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Family Photo Idea for A Spread-Out Family

My mom loves home-made, creative gifts.  She'd much rather have something like that than a big shiney piece of jewelry.  When I was younger, I thought she was kind of weird because she made such a big deal out of all that homemade stuff we gave to her as gifts.  Now, as a mother myself, I totally get it, and have the same appreciation for gifts that took some creativity and thought.

Total, she has seven grandchildren.  And, seven letters are in the word GRANDMA.  Coincidence?  I think not.  So, since we have all of us children spread out between three states (none adjacent).  We decided to have each kid, oldest to youngest, take a picture of themsleves standing next to their letter, or somehow creating that letter. 

Each parent was extremely creative, and kudos to my brother and sis-in-law who created the bulk of the letters with their four children.  They did a great job!

In order to line up the photos all within one frame, I ordered the photos wallet size.  You could also place each photo in its own frame to hang next to each other.  But, here's what we came up with,  and mom loved it!

Terrariums -- Bringing the Outside In

At the beginning of the summer I had some herbs that I had planted, and enjoyed cooking with them.  The weather soon went dry, and maintaining those plants went downhill, and they soon dried up and died. 

In middle school, I remember making a terrarium and thinking it was the coolest thing.  I combined the two ideas, and decided to make a herb plant terranium. 

This is what you'll need:
  • A fun glass/clear container with a large enough opening for you to place your plants (or herbs in my case).
  • Stones, pebbles, or decorative glass gems
  • Crushed charcoal (if you're terrarium will be enclosed).  I took some charcoal that we use for grilling, and I took a hammer to it on the sidewalk,and gently hammered it and then swept it into a dust pan.
  • Spanish Moss (for drainage)
  • Soil (I used some from my flower bed).
  • Plants (or seed)

And, here's what you'll do:
  1. First, layer your rocks/pebbles about one inch thick.
  2. Add a think layer of crused charcoal.  If you're terrarium is enclosed (with lid), the charcoal will keep the soil fresh.
  3. Next layer a thin layer of spanish moss for drainage of the water, so that your soil doesn't gradually seep down through your rock. 
  4. Add your soil (about another inch or more)
5.  Place your plants meticulously in your soil, or spread your seeds.  Do not overplant.  Some use empty spaces for unique little statues and nick-nacks to decoate their "landscaping".  I kept things pretty simple. 

And, here's how you'll maintain your terrarium:
  1. If enclosed, you're rarely (if ever) have to water your plants.
  2. If open, water 1-2 times per week.  The soil should always remain barely moist, never bone dry. 
  3. I have read that indirect sunlight works best.  I'm trying both.  Indirect sunlight for the begonias (open terrarium), and direct sunlight for the herbs/seeds (enclosed terrarium).
With the cold weather upon us, I'm hoping these terrariums thrive.  I will keep you all posted on whether or not these are successful, both the enclosed and open terrariums. 

I created some flower terrariums for our bedroom window.

I made some labels for my herbs, and set them on the kitchen table next to the window with the some great southern exposure sunlight.

From Wine Bottle to Lamp

I have really enjoyed the ideas available for empty wine bottles.  I recently came across a photo of a lamp with a wine bottle as its lamp.  I took a wine bottle that had been painted and black, and purchased a 3-Way Lamp Kit from Walmart ($7).  This is what came in the package, and the directions inside were easy to follow.  
The trickiest part was the electrical connection to the light bulb.  With fingers crossed, I plugged in the light when connected, and it turned on -- woo-hoo!!  
I placed some super glue onto the top of the bottle, and inserted the lamp into the bottle.  I let it set for 30 minutes for the light to adhere to the bottle.
Then, I attached the lamp shade I purchased ($8).  I made it for my mother who needed a lamp for her computer desk. For my Irish mother, I modge-podged on a unique bottle label I created and a greeting card that contained the Irish blessing.  I created a frame with some scrap book paper, and used my cricut to custom the frame around the blessing.  For the picture, I included my Grandpa and Grandma's 50th wedding anniversary picture adjacent to their wedding photo. 

My mom loved the lamp, and her Irish eye were a-smiling. I really enjoyed making these lamps, and have some ideas for makig them for some other people.  Let me know if you'd like me to make one for you!

Mummy Dogs for a Halloween Meal

Here's a meal for your family on Halloween night, and it's easy, tasty, and the kids can help, too!

Here's what you'll need:

  • One Tube of Crescent Rolls;
  • One Package of Hot Dogs
Here's what you do:
    • Unroll the package of crescent rolls.
    • Take each triangle section, and roll between your hand to create a long piece of dough. 
    • Wrap each piece of dough around each hot dog, and place in a baking pan. 
    • Bake as directed on crescent roll package.
    • When finished.  Apply two dots of mustard for mummy eyes, and serve with a side of ketchup ("blood").  
These Mummy Dogs were delicious.  Even the hubby and I enjoyed these with the kiddos!

Easy art

Review by Lyndee:
It doesn't get much easier than this.  Take a wall sticker and apply to wall.  Hang an old frame around it. I got my sticker at the Dollar Tree for $1 and the frame at goodwill for 50 cents. I measured it to make sure I could cut it up and make it fit within the frame. Affix to the wall and hang the frame.  That's it.  No more boring kitchen wall.  

Picture shelf

Review by Lyndee:
I was perusing the local Goodwill this weekend across this shelf.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with it but I knew I could figure something out.  I took it home and stared at it for a little bit while working in the kitchen until I decided I would attempt to make it into a shabby chic picture frame. 

I sanded it down a little bit, covered it in white paint and let it dry.  I debated doing another full coat and making it all white but decided I liked the really worn look instead.  I picked my pictures and used a spray adhesive to secure them. 

I added to small stickers to the wood as well.  The bottom one said family.  The top one said love and I was trying to cover up the mini plaque that was on the shelf. I had tried to remove it but it wasn’t coming off without destroying the shelf so I had painted over it.  But it was obvious it was still there. The top sticker didn’t set very well because of the gold piece.  It made the sticker bumpy and now it’s probably more obvious something was under there then if I had just let it go. Oh well.  It works for what I paid and what it’s meant to be.   

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Bacon wrapped green beans

Review by Lyndee:
The second side of our Friday night dinner with friends was bacon wrapped green beans.  Just the simple mention of bacon and I pretty much start drooling so I was super excited to try these. 

1 pound fresh green beans
10-12 slices of bacon 
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
¼  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon pepper

I found a few recipes for these that said you could also use soy sauce but I opted not to. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Wash and thoroughly dry green beans, then season with salt and pepper. Bundle together about 8-10 green beans, depending on how many beans you have. Wrap a slice of bacon around the center of the beans to hold it together. Lay the bundle bacon seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining beans.

Heat a small saucepan over low heat. Add butter, brown sugar and garlic and whisk until melted and combined.  Brush the mixture over top of each green bean bundle. Cover the bundles with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until bacon gets crispy.  If your bacon isn’t crispifying, you can turn on the broiler for a minute or two.

These were delicious and a big hit! Everyone devoured the beans.  I like to credit this to my upcoming culinary expertise but again, how can you go wrong with bacon? I think these will definitely be going on the upcoming holiday menu. 

Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback potatoes

Review by Lyndee:
We had some friends over for dinner Friday night.  My husband smokes a few racks of ribs and I was in charge of sides.  I figured this was a perfect time to try out some new experiments.  I started with Hasselback potatoes.  Apparently, they are the Swedish version of a baked potato.  They sounded easy and the pictures looked great. 

Cut deep slits in the potato without slicing it into pieces.  Brush on some butter, pepper, sea salt and garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.

The outsides get a slight crisp to them while the insides stay soft like a baked potato. They had great flavor and were super easy to make.  Everyone really enjoyed them.  And we had a few leftover that we diced up for breakfast potatoes on Sunday morning!  It worked out great! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Peanut butter ice cream

Review by Lyndee:
I was so very skeptical when I saw this recipe claim that you could make what tasted like peanut butter ice cream with a banana, cocoa and peanut butter.  What you talking about Willis? I knew instantly, I had to try it as peanut butter ice cream is my nirvana.

The recipe calls for
4 ripe bananas
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsps of cocoa powder

Slice bananas and put in freezer.  It will take an hour or two for them to freeze.  Once frozen, put them in a food processor until you have a slightly chunky mixture.  Add peanut butter and cocoa and mix until smooth and creamy. At this point you can add anything you want like chocolate chips, chunks of candy, berries, etc. if you so desire but it really doesn't need it. 

It has the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  If you want it harder you can put it back in the freezer but it was perfect just the way it was for me! I made a half batch just in case I didn’t love it but oh how I wish I would’ve made a full one.  This will definitely be something I keep on hand for when the sweet tooth cravings take me prisoner! 

Ranch packet fiesta

Ranch packet fiesta

Review by Lyndee:
I got a little crazy with dinner last night.  My original thought was to make a stuffed ranch, bacon and cheese chicken burger.  Unfortunately I did not have any ground chicken in my freezer so I went with ground beef.  The normal version of this I found online is around 990 calories and 75 grams of fat, the restaurant version is around 1500.  Per usual, I healthified, and mine came in around 400 calories instead.  That’s reason enough for a party in my mind.  I made a burger for one since my husband doesn’t like ranch.  And decided to use the rest of the packet and bake some potatoes. 

Bacon, ranch & cheese burger
1/3-1/4 pound of lean ground beef (or chicken or turkey if you feel loco)
1 tbsp of ranch packet powder
1/8 cup of shredded cheese (regular, 2% or fat free)
1 tbsp of turkey bacon bits

Ranch potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
Rest of ranch packet
1-2 medium potatoes (diced)

Mix together in a bowl, form into a patty and throw it on the grill.  Easy peezy.  For the potatoes, preheat oven to 450.  Slice potatoes into bite sized chunks.  In a ziplock baggie add 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and the rest of the ranch packet.  Swirl that around and add your potatoes.  Shake the bag until the potatoes are evenly coated.  Place in greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. 

Both of these came out delicious!  Applebee’s doesn’t have anything on the meal I created last night.  It was wonderful and much better than I could’ve ordered anywhere else.