Sunday, December 18, 2011

new recipes...

well, i've created just a few fun recipes lately... here they are!

skinny spinach mac and cheese cups!
from here
with just a few changes... the only cheese i used was 2% sharp cheddar and not as much spinach.  they were reaaaaaaally great!

 and roasted lemon garlic herb shrimp.
from here... with several changes--i used precooked, frozen shrimp, so the cook time was different, i halfed the recipe which worked just fine, and i used dried thyme, just as much as seemed to look right. this was a great meal and really cooked quickly--a great weeknight menu option :)


tutorial: oreo cookie pops.

okay... so for christmas, our budget is... well, snug :)
so i have to get creative with gifts!
for my coworkers, i wanted to share christmas joy without spending enough to cause me to lose joy.
this is what i came up with:

now, they're delicious.
and were very well received.
to make them, i followed an AWFUL tutorial.
so here's a better one :)

step 1: buy oreos. and break them apart (so that the filling is showing).
then, use something (i used a kabob skewer) to carve out some of the filling.

step 2: melt some chocolate (i use wilton candy melts) and dip the end of the sucker stick into it.  then, put the sucker stick in the cookie.

step 3: put the top cookie back on, line them up, and freeze them for a few minutes to help the chocolate set well.

step 4: take them out of the freezer and dip in chocolate. i use a deep and somewhat wide coffee mug, because it's easier to get the cookie covered using less chocolate. again, i used wilton candy melts (dark chocolate mint flavor--YUM!)

step 5: eat! not really, step 5 is actually package in wrappers and tie with ribbon. but with the holiday season, the oreos you can use are really fun... which was the goal of this picture :)
so there you have it. an affordable, delicious gift! enjoy!

and for the teachers out there...
i found an amazing way to make student gifts workable on a minimal budget.
check it out:

first, stockings (i found them at michaels for .49, plus 20% of my purchase and another 15% off for being a teacher!), with names in puff paint (about $2.50 for the puff paint, after discounts).
 then, ornaments--mini clear bulbs, got them for .40 each--used a green sharpie and wrote their names on the front, "first grade 2011-2012" on the back and filled them with red ribbon.

then, fun candy canes that i made into reindeer--about .20 each.
finally, i'll write a letter to each student.  my plan is to put the ornaments on our class christmas tree and have them find theirs... then have stockings be the bag they carefully take the ornaments home in! all for just over a dollar per student. i'll take it!

merry christmas to all :)
(p.s. my best gift i can't share yet... because i haven't given it yet--but just wait--the best is yet to come :))

Monday, December 5, 2011

life lately.

well, lately i've been siiiiick. so, life hasn't been too exciting. 

here are a few things that have been going on that may be of interest to others... or maybe not :)

what have i been up to?
well. feeding my dog wet dog food. (that's matt's hand, not mine. just so you know. my hands are crazy, but not quite that manly.)
 she loved it. so much that she destroyed the bowl. looks like she won't be getting wet dog food very often... we don't have a ton of bowls for her to chew up.

we discovered a great coffee shop. finally. it's great. great music, fun drinks, great atmosphere with lots of people who are artsy to the max--you know, lots of rob bell glasses and skinny jeans and colorful hair and such.
late night date to leo's coney island.
for fries and chili dogs.
does not get much classier.

 what a good looking duo we are.
it's probably even classier that we took pictures while there... all the high schoolers were staring at us. whoops.

soon after the fries and chili dog fiasco, we decided we really need to start eating better. laziness and love of food has gotten the best of us.
so, last night i made delicious salads.

and then i found a slightly outdated container of fat free cool whip hanging out at the back of the freezer! 
(august 2011 is close to now, right? come on. frozen food can't go bad... i hope).
low fat cinnamon graham crackers with fat free cool whip shoved in between... frozen a bunch so the cool whip tastes like ice cream. they're seriously amazing.

so, that's my life lately. pretty exciting, right? 
but i sure do love it.
OH. and here's a gem for you:
matt and i wanted a good christmas card photo.
but then we remembered we don't have a lot of money. so we shouldn't get a photographer.
who needs a photographer when you've got a self timer, christmas muumuus, and christmas lights? 
jeez louise. check out this pure holiday joy:

you're welcome :)

oh, and if you didn't get a christmas card from us, it may be in the mail. and if it's not, i'm sorry... again, back to the not a whole lot of money lifestyle. consider this our christmas joy sent to you! 

we have a lot of it... clearly

Friday, November 25, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot... resolutions!
 our new resolution: read more at night. and yes, "the emperor of all maladies" belongs to matt. christmas! 
 check out our decor!

and matt's addition... yikes. thanksgiving! or the day after... my sister-in-law has the pics of the day of (we celebrated with all the ebrights and the marshall clan together!)
 we were waiting in line at target at 2:30, so i made up a game. first, the emotion game...

 then, the grab anything in an aisle and take a funny picture with it.

 my personal favorite.

 at this point, ben and matt forced the game to end... apparently i got tired and not funny.

and then, breakfast at the breakfast club. seriously DELISH.

hope you all had a great thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

new food adventures.

i've got a few new recipes.
and they are deeeelish.

this one is honey mustard chicken. it's thinly sliced chicken breast dipped in: 1/2 cup honey mustard, 2 teaspoons dill, a little salt and pepper, and if you like it... some chives.  then, cover the chicken in crushed corn flakes.  put in a sprayed pyrex and cook at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

seriously. incredible.

then, a super cheap meal: a roll of biscuits (i used meijer brand because they cost 63 cents and are low in fat), flattened out and then a layer of sauce, pepperoni, and cheese. roll each one up and make little rollups. good stuff. and about a dollar a serving. i'll take it!

other things i've been up to?
check this out.
world of holiday celebrations.
 wrapping paper out of leftover whole foods bags, old cork, and a bit of paper.
i LOVE it.
and a super fun thanksgiving decoration. joy to the world.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

photo shoot...

matt won't let me put pictures up yet.
but we had a christmas photo shoot.
and let's just say it involved...
christmas lights.
christmas mumus.
and tons of joy.

just you wait.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

fun card and pinterest obsessed.

i'm officially pinterest obsessed.
i'm using it in my classroom.
i'm using it in our home.
i'm using it for christmas presents.

and i used it for cards.
check it out.
 that's super dark. but they read "happy birthday" and look cute in person.
fun, eh?
me gusta.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

post #101. failure 101.

sometimes you learn through failure, right?

failure #1.
apple crepes.
check it out...
perfectly caramelized apples...
terribly crappy crepe. and it was raw in the middle. 
eh, well. you can't win them all.

failure #2.
making dinner on a saturday.
couldn't make it happen.
so we ended up at hoggers.
(seriously, it was called hoggers.)
which was not a failure.
freaking delicious.

failure #3.
matt getting water.

but, not everything lately has been a failure!
check out the finished saloon doors...

and delicious peanut butter cookies, which i hadn't made in a while...

and a SUPER delicious maple apple chicken recipe.
brown chicken breast about 4 minutes on each side, then put in pyrex with cut up apples, 1/2 cup syrup and 1/3 cup italian dressing (mixed together). sprinkle with cinnamon and cook at 350 for 20 minutes or so. YUMMMMM!

hopefully you have better luck with crepes than me!