Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In My Kitchen

I am fully enjoying the start of Fall. My cardigans are so happy to be out of the closet and I'm loving being able to wear them on our morning walks to school when the air is still chilly. This time of year makes me want to cozy up at home and make lots of warm, love filled, delicious food. My crock pot and bread machine are both staples on my kitchen counter right now. And there has been a surplus of yummy baked goods laying around here as well. I thought I'd share a few of our favorite recipes with you, in case you are feeling the a cozy Fall vibe as well.

Chicken Fajita Soup
(recipe from Gara)

1 lb. Chicken, cut into chunks
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
24 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed
3 cups broth
1/3 cup instant rice
1 package fajita seasoning
1/4 cup Velveeta cheese

Chop chicken and veggies about the same size and saute until chicken is about done. Throw in a large pot and add can tomatoes, beans, broth, rice and seasoning. Simmer until rice is cooked. Add cheese. Cook until cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips.

Flax Seed Bread (for bread machine)
(recipe from
1 1/3 cup warm water
2 TBSP canola oil
3 TBSP honey
1 1/2 cup white flour
1 1/3 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup flax meal
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. active dry yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine according to manufactures directions. Select Basic White cycle and press start. Makes 1 1/2 lb. loaf.

Zucchini Cupcakes

(recipe from
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 cups powder sugar

In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, orange juice, and almond extract. Combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini. Fill paper lined cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
To make frosting; heat brown sugar, butter, and milk on stove at med. heat until boiling. Cook for 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Let cool and mix in powder sugar until it reaches frosting consistency.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Leggings for My Little Fashionista

I haven't been a very good blogger lately. All this wedding planning is consuming a lot of my free time. I have been waiting for a project to come along that not only inspired me, but also didn't take up too much time.

I love to upcycle clothes into a new something usable. It is not only thrifty but it gives you a chance to channel your creativity and make something one of a kind. Not to mention, it usually takes far less time than making something from scratch.

I found this post the other day and loved the idea of turning adult knee high socks into girls leggings. In the original post they turned a pair of socks into leggings for a little girl and also made a smaller version for her doll. That was my original plan as well, but Maya had her own inspiration going on.
I found knee socks on clearance at Target yesterday ($1.40 a pair). I cut each sock just about the heal to make the leggings. And then cut the bottom part of the sock above the toe and below the heal to make the doll legging. Then, following Sand to Pearl's directions, I simply sewed a tight zigzag stitch around the raw edges of each leggings, creating a ruffle (no need to make a hem). Each pair took me less than 5 minutes.

Maya turned the doll leggings into some elbow pad/arm warmer thing, which looked pretty cute.

Then they turned into some kind of cute ankle warmers for Wren.

And then with some true fashion genius, Maya turned her leggings into faux long sleeves to winterize her short sleeve shirts. Smart kid. She has recently informed us that she is going to design Barbies when she grows up. I could see that happening.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And now :: The Cake

Dress making operations are currently stalled while I wait for a vintage pattern I bought online to come in the mail. The pattern is for a 1970's wedding dress that isn't exactly like the one I chose, but I think we'll be able to modify it to my liking. Pictures to come!

So, while I wait, I'm working on other important details. I have found and booked our location. It will cost us a whopping $70 to rent for the day (not bad). And now I am starting on the cake. I ordered a sheet cake from our local Hy-Vee for all the guest to eat. And I'm planning on making a small wedding cake for show. Here's what I've found that I like so far.

Image from

I'm loving the bird cake toppers in this one, but few less layers would be more my style.

Image from
I'm completely in love with how delightfully simple this one is.

Images from The Ivory Dahlia

And again with the simplicity of this one. I think if I had the time to sit here long enough I could find about a thousand cakes that I love. But, the theme that I see throughout all of them is simplicity and of course, pretty cake stands. I think I can handle that. And I am so loving the bird cake toppers. Check out this YouTube tutorial showing how to make love bird wedding toppers. I think I'm going to try it out. I'll post some pictures of these too!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Nifty Thrifty Wedding :: The Dress

Well, the time has come. My partner, Adam, and I have decided to get married! Being a frugal minded couple, we are planning a simple (yet lovely) wedding for this coming November. I have a lot of ideas on how to pull off a thrifty celebration and am excited to make them a reality. I've decided to blog this little journey, mostly because it will be thrifty (fitting with the theme of this whole blog here) and it will definitely be taking up a good portion of my free time in the next few months. And so now, the planning begins.

We have approximately 2 months to put it all together. We'd like to have a crisp Fall wedding and we're scheduling around twin nieces being born and several family and friends coming from out of town (why not tie it in with Thanksgiving and save them an extra trip?). I know most people plan a wedding in about a year, but I think with the level of simplicity we're going for here, 2 months will be just fine. Oh, and did I mention we're setting a $5oo budget? Yep, that's everything for less than $500. I'm talking food, cake, music, venue, flowers, everything!

So, where to start? How about the dress? I did a quick Google search for "boho wedding dresses" and this is what I found. It was one of the first dresses I saw and it is perfect! The website I found it on looks like it is no longer operating. But I suppose that really doesn't make much of a difference anyway, I'm sure I wouldn't have paid the asking price. It is also a 1970's vintage dress, so finding a pattern looks kind of hopeless. But, luckily I have a talented mother to help me create it from scratch! I'm not sure if we'll be able to get the dress exactly the same, but I think we'll be able to get it pretty close. So, it looks like I'll be taking a trip to the fabric store tomorrow to find the perfect fabric to get us started! More to come!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Any Berry Scones

I have been making these fantastic scones almost every weekend lately. We've had lots of fresh berries around and this is a great way to use them up. I've made these with blueberries, raspberries, and even a frozen berry mix. All delicious! I am not even close to a pastry chef and I can make these scones with no problems.

Berry Scones
(makes 8-10 scones)

2 1/2 Cups Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 TBSP. sugar
1 Cup Berries
6 TBSP butter
3/4 Cup Milk

Preheat oven at 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in Butter. Mix will look like coarse break crumbs. Add berries and then pour in milk. With a fork, mix together until mixture blends. Add flour to your hands and form into a ball. Between 2 sheets of wax or parchment paper, roll out dough into a large circle (about 1/2" thick) and cut into wedges (like a pizza). Transfer on to a greased cookie sheet and back for ~ 12 minutes.

Do we really need more chairs? Yes, always.

This sad little director's chair was a yard sale find. It had been loved to pieces and was ready for a new little one to drag it around,but first it needed a little work. I took a "before" picture, but somehow I managed to delete it. The original was missing the back and the seat was worn and stained.

I took it all apart so that the few loose spots could be glued. Without a back to use as a pattern, I had to measure and create something new (not to difficult with such a simple design, although I did have to re-do the first attempt). I used the existing seat for a pattern and with about 15 minutes of cutting a sewing and putting everything back together, I was done!

It is the perfect size for Wren and she loves it. I don't think it will have a "spot" anywhere in the house, but instead will be towed around from room to room. I can't decide whether or not the frame should be spray painted or left as is. Any thoughts? I was thinking maybe a dark pink to match the pink polka dots or possibly a soft green. The rustic look it has now isn't all that bad either....