Thursday, May 02, 2013

Stir Fry Veggies with Gnocchi (Dinner in under 10 minutes)

I don't get home from work until around 6:00 most days of the week.  I get home hungry and tired, and sometimes just don't want to cook.  Take-out always sounds good, but that adds up and can drain a budget and widen your waistline!  Colin and I are really trying to eat out only twice in a week.  It's a real motivation to cook, because you want to save up your eating out meals for something really good and for when you're really desperate not to cook!  That also means I have to figure out leftovers to have for lunch through the week!

All that said, I'm always looking for a quick meal.  There are times I like really complex meals that takes several steps, but the majority of the time I just want something fast with minimal clean up!

This is one of the quick, minimal clean up meals.
Grab a box of gnocchi and a bag of frozen stir-gry vegetables.

Start cooking the veggies according to the package.  I stir fried them in a little butter instead of oil to give the veggies a buttery taste :).  If you can't find a stir-fry package, just cook up some veggies like green beans, snap peas, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, etc.

Once the veggies start cooking, boil that gnocchi according to the package directions.  The gnocchi only takes a few minutes to cook.

Once the gnocchi and veggies are cooked, pour the gnocchi in with the veggies.  Top with cheese of choice and stir.  The cheese helps meld it all together.

This is filling and great as leftovers (lunch the next day!).

I'd love to hear if you have any quick and easy recipes!

Monday, April 29, 2013

DIY Laundry Detergent (No Grating, No Cooking, EASY!)

It's all over Pinterest and DIY blogs-- homemade laundry detergent.

I was very skeptical and thought, Pshhh, I'll just keeping buying detergent.

It all seemed like too much work.  I didn't want to spend my day grating any bars and cooking anything I couldn't eat.

On the flip side, I hate having to run to the store just for laundry detergent.  Uhhh.

I am not a detergent diva.  I always buy the cheapest.  Sun brand detergent has washed my clothes for most of my life.  Even though I wasn't shelling out a ton of money for brand name detergent, I'm always open to saving even more money, and making detergent seemed pretty economical.

I started googling and searching Pinterest for an easy way to make detergent.  I think I've finally hit the jackpot.

I found a recipe on the blog One Good Thing.  You can head over to her page to see how she originally made the detergent.  There's also hundreds of comments left by others to answer questions you may have.  I have been using this mix for a couple months now and don't have any complaints.  I've made the mix more concentrated than the original recipe called for.

Save some empty detergent bottles to put your new mix in.  I used a 100 oz. bottle and a 50 oz. bottle.

To fill a 50 oz. bottle:
3 tablespoons of Borax
3 tablespoons of Washing Soda
2 tablespoons of Dawn
(Double each of these for 100 oz. bottle.)

Put each of these in your bottle and then fill it halfway with hot water.  Use extremely hot water straight from your faucet.  It needs to be hot enough to dissolve everything.

Shake the bottle until everything is mixed together.

Let it cool to room temperature, and then fill the rest of the way with cool water.  It may foam up and bubble over, but that will eventually go away.

Each time you go to use the detergent, give it a little shake to make sure you're getting everything mixed together. 

If it's important to you to have the great smell that comes with fancy detergents, think about adding something like Downy Unstopables to your wash.  The homemade detergent will smell like whatever Dawn you use, but it's not a strong smell.  I'm finding that the laundry beads like Downy are perfect for things like clothes and towels that I like have a strong smell, but I can leave them out for things like rags.  I get the Unstoppables when I have a coupon or their on sale, so in the end, I still save a TON of money by making my own detergent.

I can made this detergent in no time, and all of the ingredients can be found at the grocery store.

I'd love to know if any of you have made it or wind up making it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Roasted Snow Peas and Corn

Roasting.  What a marvelous thing.  It has helped me eat more veggies and learn to love veggies I otherwise hated.  That's powerful.  So this blog post is a toast to the wonder of oven roasting.  To oven roasting!  (Raise your glass in the air as we toast!).

Since we've been buying a lot of fresh produce lately, I'm trying to find ways to save money.  Produce can be costly and has to be restocked often.  Did you know that fresh food doesn't last as long as canned and boxed food?  (Of course you did.)

I found these peas on sale and threw them in the freezer since I knew it would be a few days before I got to them.

I also got out a bag of frozen corn.  I like fresh corn on the cob better, but I think frozen corn is a good second option.
Toss the peas and corn with olive or canola oil.
Put on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven and on the amount of food you're roasting).

Whip up this sauce while veggies are roasting:
-2 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
-1 tbsp of soy sauce (I used soy sauce alternative)
-2 tsp of toasted sesame oil
-2 tsp of maple syrup
-pinch of cayenne pepper
Whisk that all together.
(*See note at end of post)

Take the peas and corn out of the oven and drizzle this sauce over them.

Colin and I had this for lunch, but it would made a great side dish.  It's delicious and savory!

*If you look at the ingredients and think there's no point in buying rice wine vinegar or toasted sesame oil, because you'll never use them might be wrong.  I thought that but went ahead and bought it to try out some recipes, and I've been using both quite a bit.  I have a green bean recipe on my Pinterest board that uses the toasted sesame oil, and those green beans are ahhhmazing.  You can make salad dressings with the oil and vinegar and so much more.  Go ahead and buy them and expand your cooking.  I promise you won't regret it! (At least I hope you won't!).

---Roasted pea inspiration and dipping sauce recipe from Edible Perspective.--

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How To: Destain Your Coffee Pot

Here's a quick, no fuss tip to remove the coffee stains from your coffee pot.

It's non-toxic, free, quick, and pain free.


Ice cubes.

Yep, that's it.

Swirl ice cubes in the pot until the stains are gone.

I grew up with my dad doing this, and it really works!

Good luck!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Card Making Class

Come out for the first ever Blue Kite Class!

We'll be making Valentine's cards and learning technique from the ladies that make cards for Blue Kite!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Peaches and Cream-- Warm Dessert Recipe

Looking for a warm, fruity dessert to serve several people?
Oh, and you want it to be relatively easy?

Got it!

A lady I used to work with (thanks, Robyn!) would make this Peaches and Cream recipe for work events, and it was always a hit.  I got the recipe about two years ago and started making it for potlucks and group dinners.

I made this for a particular party and was enjoying the leftovers a day later when I snapped a couple pictures with my phone.
6 tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 c. flour (I used Pamela's gluten free)
2 eggs
2 packages of instant vanilla pudding (dry)

2- 29 oz. can sliced peaches, well drained
Reserve 6 tbsp of juice (very important!)

2- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp juice (from B)

2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine Group A with a fork and press into a buttered 9x13 dish.

Spread Group B over the crust.

Cream Group C and spread over peaches.

Combine Group D and sprinkle on top.

Bake for 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

DIY Ring Tray

I was needing a ring tray for the store and couldn't find what I needed online or at any local stores.  Instead of giving up, I DIYed.

The photos were taken with my iPhone.  I didn't intend for this to be a tutorial when I started.  I just started making it and took a few photos, then I thought maybe someone else could benefit from this.

Fill a shoebox lid with rolled up pieces of sweater (or similar material).
Make sure all pieces are about the same height.

Cover the sweater rolls with fleece.
Tuck in the top and trim the fleece a little larger than the lid.

Tuck the fleece at the top and then into the first row then into the second row and so on, tucking the sides as you go.
Pin fleece into place as you go.
You could glue it as well.

Place your rings!
(These UCA rings are for sale at Blue Kite)

Now you can make a reallllly cheap and quick ring tray.  You could paint the shoebox lid to add some pizzazz.  My lid was solid white with no logos imprinted, so I left it plain.

I'd love to see if anyone makes one!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Homemade Vinaigrette Recipes

I never understood why people made their own salad dressing.  There are about 5 million types of dressings at the grocery store, so why make your own?

What did I know?!

Colin and I have been eating more whole foods and a lot less processed foods.  I love salad, but I cannot eat it plain (not yet).  I didn't want a fattening dressing or something artificially sweetened or something that tasted like glue.

I started googling dressing recipes, and I'm not sure I'll ever go back to store bought dressings.

Here are my two favorite dressings at the moment.

Homemade Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from So Wonderful So Marvelous
-12 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
-4 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
-2 tbsp of sugar
-2 tbsp honey
-Seasonings of choice (I sprinkled in some garlic salt and Italian seasonings)
-Mix in blender
-Store at room temperature

This dressing is light and delicious.  It's also great for roasting.  Click the link above and try their roasted carrots recipe.  It's the only way I eat carrots!

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
I can't find the original link for this.  I apologize!  If this is your recipe, let me know, and I'll immediately give you credit.
-2 heads of garlic, roasted and peeled
-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 tbsp honey
-Mix in blender
-Store in the fridge

I've found this dressing can be lighter or heavier depending on how much garlic you use.  If you like a creamier dressing, use more roasted garlic.

Salad is so much better with a fresh, homemade dressing, and it's so much healthier than that stuff at the store!

If you have any great dressing recipes, leave me a comment!

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