Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can't wait to try my hand at these....

This year I have been trying to find really great cake recipes to try my hand at and then to tweak and make them my own. I have found 3 cakes so far that I can't wait to make.

This one has been bumped to the top of my list. A chocolate covered cherry cake!!!! I mean how delicious is this cake!!!! We probably wouldn't even want know the calorie count in this one, but who cares?!? It looks like heaven to me! This cake was created by Amanda over at i am baker. Which is quickly becoming one of my new favorite confection blogs. She made 2 white cakes, topped them with chocolate cherry cordials and then covered those cherries in buttercream frosting. YUMMM!!!!! Added another cake, poured hot fudge ov
er the whole thing and then covered it in oreo crumbs. I am tempted to get out of my chair and go buy the ingredients right now!

i am baker

And now that Spring is around the corner, I am getting in the mood for all things warm. Which means LEMON!!!! I have been looking for a great lemon cake and then I came across this one today. This one was made by Rosie at Sweetapolita. Who not only makes gorgeous cakes, but cute, fun cookies as well.


Lemon cakes with blueberries, lemon curd and a lemon frosting! I can't wait to welcome spring and summer with this cake!

Every heard of a vertical cake? I know, me neither. Not until I saw this elegant rose veritcal cake from Amanda at i am baker. Did I mention that I really love her stuff?

i am baker

i am baker

I started to make the vertical layer cake but, it was at midnight and so I missed some very important steps. But I will try it again soon; after I make the others.

Be on the lookout for my version of these yummy cakes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

11 in 2011

Back in January I told you about the 11 things that I wanted to accomplish during this year. And I can't believe that I can knock one of them off already.

#4. Finish little misses year photo books. I am almost done with her first one, but I really need to catch up. She will be 3 before I know it.

I finished her first year photo book back in January but I am still waiting for a deal to come along so that I can purchase it cheaper and not buy it a full price. Here is her first year.

I thought that I might take a little break from all that photo book making and wait a little while before I started working on her second year. At least that was my plan until Groupon messed it all up. There was an offer to pay $25 for $50 worth of product. I looked into it and the book that I wanted would be close to $40. So it sounded like a good deal to me. But I didn't pay attention to how long the coupon was good for. I only had one week to make it. And that was my only goal for that week; to make it an amazing. And well, I think it is! Here is what the second year looks like.

We just received it in the mail on Monday too which made it even sweeter to get. And I love it!!! I hope that one day she will enjoy having these for herself.

Does that mean that I have taken a break now...... nope. I have been adding pictures there too. And now I am all up to date for her photo books. This feels amazing!!! Now onto more ways to cross off my 11 things to do in 2011!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good for today only!

We are on the track to get out of debt. And that means that we have to watch our dollars. (I literally feel like I am watching the money. Like it might duplicate or decrease at any moment. Ha ha.)

So my friend is inspiring me to look for deals, cheap meals and coupons all over the place. And I saw this deal today for Old Spice here.

I purchased 7 deodorant sticks for only $8.08.

The normal cost for 7 from Wal-mart would have been $17.92.

I was also able to purchase some much needed Mrs. Meyers products that I love!!!

Though I am stocking up on deodorant for like 2 years I also saved almost $10 buy doing so. This feels great!!!!

The deal is good for today only though. If your man uses Old Spice, hop to it and go grab some savings!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Clean Eating: Mediterranean Vegetable, White Bean & Feta Penne

I was telling you here how watching Oprah's show on food, our meat and they way its killed and packaged made me realize that my family eats meat at almost every meal. I know its probably the norm in many American families, but I don't want it to be the norm in my home. So began our Meatless Mondays!!

Which meant that planning for our weekly meals meant that I was ho
ping to find an appetizing meal from my Clean Eating magazine that would help me achieve a happy Meatless Monday for my family. And well, I think it was a success!! The hub's wanted to go back for seconds, but his calories wouldn't let him. I went back for seconds, but little miss wanted nothing to do with it. Oh well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad!

Here is the recipe:

Mediterranean Vegetable, White Bean & Feta Penne

6 oz whole-grain penne past (we didn't have enough penne on hand so we had to use elbow macaroni. It seemed to work out just as well)
1 cup cooked canned white beans, drained and rinsed well (we used great northern beans)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (I am not a fan of tomatoes so
we only used one)
4 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
1 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
1 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium zucchini, cut into eighths lengthwise, then cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips, then cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp dried rosemary (we actually used fresh since we had it for another meal)
1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta


One: Cook penne according to package directions, adding beans during the last minute of cooking.

Two: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, vinegar, basil, pepper flakes and salt; set aside.

Three: Heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick skiillet on medium-high heat, tilting skillet to coat bottom lightly. Add zucchini and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes or until edges begin to brown, stirring frequently. Add remaining 2 cloves garlic and cook for 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in tomato mixture and drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp oil. Cover to keep warm.

Four: Drain penne-bean mixture, place in a serving bowl, sprinkle evenly with rosemary and all but 1/4 cup feta. Spoon zucchini mixture over top and finish with remaining feta.

Calories 353, Fat 12g, Carbs 44g, Fiber 11g, Protein 18g
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cup

For our first planned vegetarian meal, we were really happy with it and I am sure we will go to this recipe again! There didn't seem to be as many veggies as what they show in the picture, so just add more or less veggies depending on your preference. If you try it, let me know how you liked it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

And she did it again!

I am a fan of Oprah; no, a follower of Oprah. Yes, I said it... I follow Oprah. Now technically I do not stalk her but I LOVE her show and I am really liking her new network. She makes me think differently, inspires me to live the best life for myself, and now.... to go vegan?!?


How can I live without meat?

Well, that idea quickly went out the window. But after watching her "Food 201" show I realized that I do not go a single meal in each and every day without involving meat. And that's crazy! So though I feel like I can't live without eating meat; maybe, just maybe I could go a full day....?

Its a concept that I will have to pass by the hubs, but I think it would be something good to start. How could eating fruits and vegetables for one day out of a week be that harmful, really it should help me more than anything. I might have cravings on those days, but I would like to see what happens.

My goal is to start MEATLESS MONDAYS! at my h
ouse. It might work, but it might not. So we will see what happens!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You've Got Mail: Days 1 and 2

Do you remember hearing those words? There are still so many emotions that can rising up when I hear that. It makes me slightly miss the days of dial up and waiting to hear that voice say whether or not someone cared to send you an email that day. oh the joys of discovering you had mail!

Then again, I still get that way. Even with our normal snail mail. I can't wait to get to our mailbox to see what little goodies (yes, even my bills) have been left for me by our wonderful mail man. I know its bad when little miss now gets really excited when I slow down to stop for the mail.

Two years ago was the first time the hubs and I celebrated Valentine's day. Before then I worked at a job that thrived off of Valentine's day and from Christmas until then every day was in preparation for that one day. Which meant I didn't even have a bit of energy to put towards Valentine's day. And though my schedule is still very busy, I didn't want to just let this day go by with no celebration.

After having so much fun with the hubs' birthday I thought it would be a great way to celebrate Valentine's day for the two I love most. Add everyone's love for mail.... and you have a great 14 days of gifts! I went to Target and got a mailbox for the hubs

And a mailbox for little miss.

I am actually a day b
ehind of gifts. I completely forgot that yesterday was the first and I had "big plans" So tonight is their first day getting gifts. When there is a gift for them, the mailbox arm goes up and they know they have a present. I can't wait for the hubs to come home so he can see it!

Check back to see what other fun things I do!

Clean Eating: Pan-Seared Steaks with Bearnaise Sauce

This meal was so delicious! And gave us that great taste of expensive steakhouses without all the calories and cash! This recipe is a keeper! We followed it to a tea and didn't change a thing. We also served it with a sweet potato as our side.

Light some candles and dim your lights because you are bringing the steakhouse to your house tonight!!

Pan-Seared Steak:

-Olive oil cooking spray
-4 4-oz top round steaks, about 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of visible fat
-1/2 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
-1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, or more to taste

One: Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. cook steaks to desired doneness, about 3
1/2 minutes per side for medium and 3 minutes per side for medium rare.
Two: Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let rest, loosely covered with foil for 5 minutes. Slice steaks on a diagonal, if desired and arrange on plates.

Calories: 113, Fat 4g, Fiber 0.25g

Bearnaise Sauce:

-1/4 cup white wine vinegar
-2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
-1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
-1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
-1 large egg yolk

-1 1/2 tsp arrowroot
-sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

One: in a small saucepan on medium-high heat, combine vinegar, shallots and tarragon. Cook until liquid is almost entirely evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes.

Two: Meanwhile, fill a saucepan or the bottom of a double broiler with 1 inch water and bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce to low to maintain a gentle simmer.

Three: In a medium bowl or in the top of a double boiler, whisk together broth, yolk and arrowroot. stir in shallot mixture. Place over simmering water and cook, stirring and scraping bottom and sides of bowl or pan occasionally (more constantly toward the end), just until mixture is thickened and smooth, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. cover and set aside until ready to use.

Calories 24, Fat 1g, fiber 0.25g