Friday, January 29, 2010

Picnic Time?

I know that many of you are stuck in the dead of winter. I can't help thinking about spring. It will be here pretty soon. I hope the photos of this quilt bring you some bright, warm cheery thoughts. Added to the shop today. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Going Meatless - Hamburgers & Hot Dogs

We tried Smart Dogs this week. We were drawn to these because they are only 45 calories per dog & 0 grams of fat! We were super excited to hopefully find a healthy replacement for our favorite Hebrew National hot dogs, which are 140 calories & 14 grams of fat per dog.

Unfortunately we weren't thrilled with these. They were super soft, so there was no bite to them. We boiled them as suggested on the package. Perhaps a different cooking method would have helped? Are there any other really good vegetarian hot dogs out there that we should know about?

Either way, we didn't have to take a handful of tums after eating them & that continues to be one of my favorite things about the vegetarian diet. No indigestion!

We were not prepared for dinner one night & Dylan was craving a burger. We heard that Fatburger has veggieburgers on their menu. When we got there we found out that they were just boca burgers. But they were delicious & at only 70 calories & 0 grams of fat per burger, there's no reason to feel guilty about eating them! We're having them again tomorrow night. This time at home. We find the trick to a yummy, yummy boca burger is to load up the toppings.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


More garlands. This sweet vintage scalloped one may be my favorite that I've ever made. If I had a baby in a crib right now, this would be hanging over it right at this very moment. I think it's perfect for a nursery.
By the way, I've been thinking about my next nursery. I think I want to paint the crib yellow. Awesome.
I could also see this garland in a sewing room or a kitchen/dining room. I just love it. I have 2 of them available in the shop.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sending Me Back

I was folding the laundry this morning when the song that Dylan & I danced to at our wedding came on. Made me think of the early days of us. Feels like forever ago. Thought of where we are now. And who the heck knows where we're going or where we'll be 10 more years down the road when I'm once again folding the laundry & a song from our early days comes on.

I call that a good start to the week.

Oh yeah. This garland is also in the shop now. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quilty Bits On The Wall

Currently making things & then taping them to the wall to see how well I like them.
Hope you are having a fun weekend as well! :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thrifty Finds

I usually don't buy vintage sewing patterns unless I really plan to use them. Most times, although I really love them, I put them back on the shelf because I just imagine them sitting in my pattern box at home for forever just taking up space. But I couldn't resist these pajama patterns & the rest I just grabbed for good measure. And, I'm always happy to find a vintage sheet that I've never come across before & in blue no less.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Going Meatless - Potato Tacos (Tacos de Papa)

Carrying over some of the ingredients that I used in our Southwest Salad we had earlier this week, I made these delicious potato tacos last night

I found this recipe over at the kitchn.

Dylan's rating: 9
My rating: 10

I loved these tacos so much. The texture was amazing & there were so many great flavors. They were very filling, but I didn't want to stop eating, I loved them so much.

The recipe called for poblano chile peppers which I totally forgot to buy. So those were not included in ours. I thought that the tacos were really good without any additional toppings like cheese or sour cream as the recipe suggests, but we felt like they were a tad bit dry. So we added a little bit of the Creamy Cilantro Dressing that we used on our southwest salads & it made them amazing. Amazing! This one is definitely keeper. Loved it!

We also had Broccoli Cheese Soup this week & tonight I plan to use up those red potatoes in Vermont Potato Soup. We're finally getting some cold weather out that is just perfect for soup nights. :)

***I apologize for my poor food photos. I'm working w/ a point & shoot for now & it's so hard to take good photos indoor at night & I'm missing photoshop dearly. So sorry.***

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sparkle Power Pals Flickr Group

We are having some etsy high withdrawals with our posters out of the shop for a bit. So we set up a new flickr group called Sparkle Power Pals. We want to see where our babies end up. Where do they go to live once we set them free?

So grab a camera. Take a pretty photo of the La La Love You poster in your dining room or the flag garland in your playroom & post it to the flickr group. When our posters come back up in the shop (sometime in February, hopefully), We'll randomly choose one photo from the group & award that person with a $25 gift card to the Sparkle Power etsy shop!

What are you waiting for? Get those cameras snapping!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Going Meatless - Southwest Salad

Inspired by Jessica & a salad I recently had at Cafe Rio. Here's how we put our together:

romaine lettuce
pinto beans
diced cucumber
diced tomatoes
tortilla strips
Fresh & Easy Creamy Cilantro dressing
squeeze of lime

Dylan's rating: 8
My rating: 9.5

We both really loved this salad. Next time I make it I'll add some spanish or cilantro lime rice, guacamole & pico. I'm pretty sure that would make it a perfect 10.

We are doing well with the adjusted diet. I asked Dylan last night if he missed meat. He said no. He is eating meat sometimes without me (when we go to a resturaunt or to family's house for dinner). I think he's averaging eating meat only about twice a week. I was happy to hear that he wasn't missing it because I'm not either. It's going to take some time to find our favorite vegetarian meals, but we're headed in the right direction. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Going Meatless - Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

4 large or 6 medium potatoes

1 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup low fat milk

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled & sliced

1/2 medium head cauliflower, finely chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn kernels

2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill

Seasoned salt & fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a shallow, round 2 quart casserole or 9 x 13 baking pan.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan w/ enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover & simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain & transfer to a small mixing bowl.

Stir the butter into the potatoes until melted, then add the milk & mash until fluffy.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion & carrots & saute over medium heat until the onion is golden. Add the cauliflower & 1/4 cup water. Cover & cook until the cauliflower is just about tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the peas, corn, parsley & dill. Cook until the mixture is well heated through, then stir in 1/2 cup of the mashed potatoes. Season with seasoned salt & pepper.

Pour the vegetable mixture into the prepared pan & pat in evenly. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top & pat down lightly.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Dylan's rating: 10

My rating: 8

Dylan loved this, but I knew he would. He loves potatoes. I like this too. It's a real comfort food. I just felt that it was lacking some exciting flavor.

I have to admit that when I put the vegetables in the baking dish, I was worried about all the cauliflower & how my family would react to it. I got all worried that the dish would be nasty & would go to waste, so I whipped up a white sauce & mixed it in w/ the vegetables. Then I felt guilty for adding some fattiness to the dish. It did make the casserole bubble over a little & because I didn't want a mess in the oven, I pulled it out before it got nice & golden on top. The cauliflower became completely soft & you'd never even know it was in there. It was good.

I've never made a Shepherd's pie w/ meat. I just thought my family would like it. Anybody out there have a really good Shepherd's pie recipe that you can share with me?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rainbow of Happiness

We saw a rainbow right outside our front door last week. Then we noticed it was a double rainbow. It was pretty dang exciting.

Earlier that morning when I was driving Sadie to school, I noticed a few raindrops on my windshield & told her that it might actually rain. She told me that that she really, really wanted to see a rainbow like we used to in Ohio. I told he we'd see but thought to myself, "fat chance". I really didn't expect it to rain much.

There were lots of squeals of delight when we discovered a rainbow later that afternoon. We sat in our t-shirts & watched the rain fall from under the front porch & enjoyed the rainbow for the short time that it lasted. The desert is supposed to get more rain this week. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for more rainbows.

Craft Hope

The lovely ladies of Craft Hope have set up an etsy shop where crafters are donating handmade items for sale. All proceeds are being donated to Doctors Without Borders in Haiti. I just love the power that the crafting community can have when we all come together to do good.

Check back often as there continues to be lots of items donated & organizers are listing around the clock. Also, find information on dontaing an item here. I cannot watch the news without my heart breaking for the people of Haiti. It's comforting to have an opportunity to use our crafty talents to help them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Going Meatless - Pineapple Black Bean Enchiladas

Lizzy sent me this recipe for Pineapple Black Bean Enchiladas. I was excited to try them because I love the combination of sweet & spicy. I wasn't sure how well they'd go over with Dylan though.

My rating - 8.5
Dylan's rating - 6

I used a red enchilada sauce because that's what I had on hand. I have a feeling that I'd rate these even higher with a green enchilada sauce like she suggests. They are filling & tasty.

Dylan wasn't as happy with these. I knew the pineapple would not be his favorite but I thought the enchilada sauce would counter it nicely. I really want to make these again, but I think that I may use half the amount of pineapple that the recipe calls for & fill in with some cubed potatoes. I think that would cut down on the sweetness a bit & the whole family would be happy.

Here's how you make potato cubes for burritos or enchiladas:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt diced potatoes & place in an oiled baking dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until tender.

***edited to add: I think these are even better the next day. I'm eating them as leftovers for lunch & they are amazing!

Keep On Rolling

Don't worry. I am still sewing

Our routine was shaken up a bit last week when our computer crashed. We scrambled to figure out how we could continue to print our posters without purchasing a new computer, as we just don't have the funds for one right now. After exhausting many possible solutions, we decided that we need to wait for our tax refund to purchase an awesome new Apple computer. I'm pretty excited, actually. We've been making this eMac work for quite some time. So... posters & prints will not be available in the shop for about a month or so until we can get reconfigured & can be sure that we're able to offer a high quality product

In the mean time, I am trying to amp up my sewn products in the shop. Keep an eye out for some pretty steady updating. Hopefully. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Going Meatless - Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna

8 0z. lasagna noodles (9 noodles)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. butter
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 15oz. container ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup snipped parsley
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 30-1/2 oz. jar meatless spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan o Romano cheese

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain.

In a large skillet cook onion, green pepper, carrots & garlic in hot butter until tender but not brown. Add broccoli & 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover & simmer about 5 minutes or until broccoli is just crisp-tender.

In a medium bowl stir together ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese , eggs & seasonings.

In a 9 x 13 pan spread 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over sauce. Layer with half of the cheese mixture, half of the vegetable mixtures, and 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spoon remaining spaghetti sauce over the top. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Cover & bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Uncover & bake about 10 minutes more or until heated through. Makes 8 servings.

Dylan & I both rated this a 7.

It was good but the vegetables seemed a little bland. If I made it again I would try salting the vegetables when cooking them. We ended up salting the lasagna at the table. Although it wasn't superb, we ended up eating this as leftovers 2 times! Didn't want it to go to waste.

Dylan commented that it just wasn't as tasty as this lasagna (minus the prosciutto) which he rates a 10. I have to agree.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Going Meatless - Couscous Tacos

I had a really lovely photo to go along with this post, but our computer died & i am unable to access that photo as well as some others. It's also posing a bit of a problem with our etsy shop & printing posters & such. I'm borrowing my mom's laptop for the time being, but posts may be few for a bit while we try to work though this problem. Until then here's the recipe for some tacos we had last week.

Couscous Tacos

1 14.5 oz. can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1 cup water

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 envelope taco seasoning mix

2/3 cup couscous

8 oz. firm or extra-firm tofu, drained & finely chopped

10 taco shells, warmed


shredded lettuce

shredded cheddar cheese


sour cream

In a medium saucepan combine undrained stewed tomatoes, water, onion, and taco seasoning mix. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous and tofu. Cover; remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Spoon couscous mixture into taco shells. Add toppings. Serve.

Dylan's rating: 8

My rating: 7

Dylan really enjoyed these with green taco sauce. I thought that the filling was really soft & for some reason that bothered me. They tasted really good though. Another variation could be to use pinto beans instead of the tofu. I also thought that a corn salsa would be delicious on this & would add a bit of crunch.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Going Meatless...Again

This time for real!

I've decided to make monthly goals for 2010 instead of yearly resolutions that get forgotten about halfway through the year. We'll see how this goes.

For the month of January I have decided to go meatless. I will not purchase or prepare any meat for my family for the entire month. I feel like there is so much about vegetarianism that has made a lot of sense to me for a long time & this experiment will be good for myself & my family & help me figure some things out.

I have so many reasons for doing it. It began a few weeks ago when in the temple. I felt so impressed that that God is not happy with the meat industry & by purchasing meat I was supporting these actions that I cannot find any reason why God would be in favor of. Just as God wants us to have joy & he wants animals to as well.

And, just as strongly as I felt that things in the world of the meat industry didn't feel right to me, I also felt very strongly that eating meat sparingly would be very, very beneficial to the health of my family & that the Lord wanted us to make a change in our eating right away. So, these impressions, which I call personal revelation from the Lord, didn't go away after a few days. In fact it kept feeling more & more like a very spiritually important thing I needed to do. After discussing it with Dylan, we decided that the new year would be the perfect time to start. I actually quit purchasing meat at Christmas though.

So my reasons:
* There are tons of health benefits.
* Not worried about the protein issue everybody keeps asking me about.
* Better for the environment.
* Not supporting the practice of animals raised in factory farms.
* I believe it can help me to not feel constantly sluggish all the time.
* In keeping with the Word of Wisdom. To me "sparingly" does not mean every afternoon & evening.

To me it's totally logical. Things make sense that never did before. It seems totally clear. I don't expect everybody to agree with me & that's fine. We'll see how I feel at the end of the month. At this point I'm not sure if I can be a total vegetarian. But, who knows. I hope the month goes well with my family & I hope I can continue on for a long time as a flexitarian.

I will tell you that I cut back on my meat consumption during the last week of December & Haven't eaten any meat as of Jan. 1st. I am feeling great physically. I feel like I have more energy. I feel less bloated & haven't had any indigestion. I feel very full at meals & actually crave less between meals.

As the month goes on I will be sharing with you recipes of the foods that my family is eating. I'll try to give a rating from my meat loving husband. I would love any input or advice that you have. Here's to a healthy 2010!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fresh & Easy Winners and New Garlands

First off...the winners of the Fresh & Easy $25 Gift Cards are Stephanie & Shari. Hooray! I really love practical giveaways & saving money at the grocery store is so thrilling to me. Can't wait to send these gift cards off to you ladies! Yay!

I have lots to share with you all about the new year & some changes I've decided to make. But I must get my cleaning done first. Until then, check out the scalloped flag garlands that I just added to the shop.

Also, check out Ashley of Lil Blue Boo's Design Challenge. I am an official judge! :) You can get all the details on how to enter right here.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010

We welcomed in the new year while consuming way too many calories & fat grams way too late in the evening & now we'll be going to bed feeling sick full. But we got to break in the new fondue pot & it was pretty darn tasty. Plus, holidays are for indulging, right?

Our family is super excited about 2010. We have a feeling that big things will happen for us this year. At least we hope they will...

I'm hoping for a super great year for all of you as well. Happy New Year!!!
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