Monday, October 19, 2015

Absolute Food Wins

These recipes are so simple, that they really don't require an ingredient list.

A bloomin onion! This was an onion cut into a flower, with the bottom part still attached. I mixed together some panko, flour,  and seasoning salt for the main crust, but soaked this first in buttermilk (actually coconut milk and vinegar) and then dipped it in the panko mix. The cooking times really varied depending on the size of the onion, but I almost liked the smaller onions more because they were easier to handle. 8 stars.

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken: This recipe is so simple that it's ridiculous. Take a jar of pesto and slather it on chicken, then cook. YES!!! That's all! And oh my, it is incredible. I enjoy pesto as much as the next foodie, but this is a whole different flavor of wonderful. Make it. 8 stars for flavor, 11 stars for ease of making.

Keto Meatloaf – Stuffed w/ Goat Cheese & Spinach
2lbs fatty ground beef – preferably grass fed
2 whole eggs
3 scallions (chopped)
1 large yellow onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
handful of raw spinach
3-4 oz of che’vre goat cheese (I used mozzarella sticks this time and goat cheese the first time- goat cheese is better)
2 T tomato paste (I used BBQ sauce the 2nd time and it was so much better!)
4 shakes of cayenne pepper
3 finger pinch of oregano
2 three-finger pinches of salt
6 course grinds of pepper
1 sprigs of rosemary


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Add 2lbs of meat and 2 eggs into mixing bowl. Add finely chopped scallions, garlic and onions. Mix it up together.

Add cayenne, oregano, salt, pepper and mix up again.

Throw down some plastic wrap on the counter and then roll out your meat on top of it. Try to flatten it out and create a rectangle (mine was a little long) and then add the spinach and goat cheese to the middle. Roll up the meat into a log.

Dress up the top with your tomato paste (or leave it dry to make it more keto friendly), sprinkle some rosemary on top.

Cook about 50-60 minutes until the middle hits about 150 degrees.

A Little Deer for Your Day

Friday was craft night and I decided to create this little jewel based off a picture from a wedding blog. Just sketching on a large piece of cardboard, which was cut out and copied onto a moss table runner. That was cut out and glued to the cardboard (using the magic of rubber cement on both, dried, then put together). A little bow on my boy and he's ready for the door! It took about 1.5 hours while I was chatting the entire time and the longest part of sketching it, so it would have been much quicker if I would have printed off the original design offline.

Screen Printing at Home

I love cute t-shirts and used a fantastic at-home kit a few years ago from EZ Screen Print ( Their instructional videos are great and very easy to follow, so I finally got down to it and started my shirts. The most difficult process of this is having a clear, sunny day when you can burn the print. Really, I only have weekends for this, and while sunny days aren't hard to find, we have so much forest fire smoke in the summer that I waited until October to get my prints made. I only had a couple to make for myself, so the majority were for my mom. Step 1 involves printing your design on a transparency. Step 2 is burning it, Step 3 putting ink on, and Step 4 ironing. Yes, there are other logistics in between, but that's the majority of the process! Since I made so many small designs, there were little marks of ink in the wrong place, but that's my fault. I also didn't have great cardboard under it, so the designs would normally be even more slick.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Broccoli pesto pasta

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

adapted from Annie’s Eats

Yield: about 8 servings


1 lb. broccoli
4 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb. pasta
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Up to ½ cup milk or heavy cream (unsweetened Silk coconut milk for me)


  • Turn oven on to 375 degrees.

  • Chop the broccoli crowns into florets. Season with 2 T olive oil, salt, pepper, onion and chopped garlic. Put in oven and roast until slightly soft- about 15 minutes.

  • Bring water to a boil.  Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package directions until al dente.  Reserve 1½ cups of the pasta water and then drain the pasta well.  Set aside.

  • Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor or blender and add remaining olive oil and pepper flakes.  Pulse in short bursts, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is finely chopped.  Add in the milk and process until smooth.  If needed, add the reserved pasta water a little bit at a time just until the sauce is smooth and creamy.  (Don’t overdo it – you don’t want a watery sauce!)  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  In a large bowl (or in the pot), toss the pasta with the sauce.


    I made this with gnocchi and added some chicken. 10 star!

Hawaiian Mac Salad

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a long time and never get around to it. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
adapted from I Believe I can Fry


16 oz or1 lb elbow macaroni (uncooked)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar (I’ve used apple cider and don’t like it as much)
1 cup milk, divided (I use unsweetened Silk coconut milk with no problems)
1 cup mayonnaise, mayo-not miracle whip, divided
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled & grated
1 celery stalk, minced
Salt & pepper

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp salt and the macaroni; cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pot; add the vinegar and toss until absorbed. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of the milk, 1/2 cup of the mayonnaise, the brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp pepper.

Once the cooked pasta has cooled for 10 minutes, whisk in the dressing. Let cool completely.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, along with the scallions, carrot and celery. Stir to combine, then season to taste with salt & pepper. Chill for at least one hour before serving.


Monday, May 11, 2015

April BarkBox


This is our last BarkBox for the time-being. While it’s been a good run, we have a lot of toys now and we were hoping that there would be more useful items instead of toys and treats. I also noticed “after the fact” that last month’s box had treats which chicken fat in them, but Gracie is allergic and I didn’t pay close enough attention to the 10th ingredient on her treats and she was sensitive to them, so they had to be trashed. This month was good, but again, not great. We actually did take advantage of “Scout’s Honor” for the first time and asked for something to replace the purple toy that isn’t something Gracie would get much use out of. We ended up with some really great banana chips. I would have liked a Gulpy or something, but that wasn’t an option.

April box

Etta Says Duck Chew ($3)- Gracie loves these and will probably get it tonight

Your Dog’s Diner Pizza Pawty Crust ($7)- This is a great item and includes ingredients that you would find in human pizza crust! They smell great and were a really good size for a lab.

Hueter Toldedo Gripper ($9)- This is the toy that we asked for a replacement because Gracie either likes to cart around stuffies, or play tug-o-war, which this doesn’t work for.

Sojo’s Simply Lamb ($10)- We’re excited to try this once her banana chips run out since I figured those were more time-sensitive.

Kyjen Tuff Guys Mat ($10)- Gracie enjoyed this and it was a cute toy.

Overall, this was a good end to our subscription because it wasn’t good enough to make us regret ending it, but it was still valuable.

The Hair


The hair has been cut. 8 inches of time and effort are now gone and I don’t miss them.

What I could also do without? The massive amounts of hair that come off my dog.


She could care less about my struggles.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Smiley360 Mission: Randoms

20150318_165744I had the opportunity to try a new product through my favorite sampling site, smiley360. I’ve had a few missions from this company before and have found some really great products. I’ve bought a Arm & Hammer Spinbrush for Cole so we can match and don’t even know how many Tazo chai’s I’ve purchased since finding them. The simple chai is similar to Oregon Chai, but Tazo had a chocolate chai that is everything. Everything.

Anyway, this mission was to try out a new product from Wonka called Randoms. As the mission states, “Get ready to try a sweet new treat with Randoms®, a fantastically random gummy candy treats. Randoms® comes in 70 different shapes, 7 fruit flavors, and 3 gummy candy textures – variety like never before! They’re all mixed up so you never know what you’ll find next in your Randoms® bag!”

20150406_115146I enjoy fruit snacks, which is essentially what these are, so I thought they would be great test since I’m not obsessed with them, but still like snacking on them. Now, to the review. I didn’t love these. There are a few reasons why:

1. The texture is too soft. I like texture where when I bite into gummies, it leaves obvious teeth prints. With these, you bite into it them and they squish with your teeth. A little thicker would have been great.

2. I couldn’t differentiate taste. I could tell the difference between yellow and redish, but have no idea what the flavors were.

3. The ones with color and white are weird. I couldn’t tell you what these flavors were. They just had a little juice flavor and looked weird.

20150406_11532820150406_1152594. Some of them have liquid centers. As a child I don’t know if this would make a huge difference for me, but as an adult, I didn’t love it. The texture of this center was very weird and was pretty much a liquefied gummy. What might have been neat is if these centers were sour. I can imagine kids would like that.


So overall, I wouldn’t buy these again, but I would definitely eat them if someone brought them. They are pretty cool to look at all the different designs and they are pretty clearly made so I could figure out what each item was. I think my biggest issue was the confusing flavors. Oh, also, I LOVED that these came in a resealable bag. That actually might make me purchase them if I needed something for a roadtrip.

Monday, March 30, 2015

February & March BarkBoxes

I’m a little behind on my BarkBox postings, but here they are before April’s even arrives. Smile

IMG_5270February theme- Mardi Gras

They did a great job on the theme for this month. Mardi Gras was very cute and we loved the items, even though they smell terrible- which probably makes Gracie love them more.

Harry Barker Stuffed Mardi Gras Mask with Rope ($14)- We love how creative Harry Barker stuffed toys are and I really enjoy having them sitting around the house because they are so cute.

Le Petit Treat King Cake Biscuit ($6)- Yikes, I just read that these treats might have a trinket in them- I don’t remember seeing one and I certainly hope there wasn’t one because we didn’t look for it! Overall, Gracie really liked these and they were great little cookies, which thankfully for me didn’t smell as bad as the other treats!

Aussie Naturals Salmon Half Cigar ($5)- While I personally dislike the fishy items because of how bad they smell, Gracie absolutely loves them and actually eats herring food and has salmon oil on top of it, so she’s very familiar with this.

Delca Jester Ball ($9)- Very cute.

Petsafe Catfish Po-Boy with Pork ($7)- We haven’t tried these yet as Gracie was working on the other items. We’ll probably do these over the weekend as they need to be refrigerated and consumed within 3 days of opening.

20150319_162347March theme- Movie Night

Another very cute theme. The items didn’t completely match it, but they tried and I really like them.

Hyper Pet Dura-Squeaks ($16)- I actually wasn’t expecting Gracie to be that crazy about this toy because it’s really just a long plastic toy, but she loves it! It might be because it’s a great size to carry around and throw. Who knows.

Nature-s Bits Salmon Recipe ($8)- Another salmon item, which I know Gracie will love. I don’t even mind that we’ve had so much salmon because she loves it and it’s good for her.

Etta Says! Bison Chew ($3)- Gracie has had these before and really likes them. I was cleaning out and organizing her cabinet of goodies when Cole went outside and oddly, Gracie didn’t run after him. I start looking around and notice that someone has stolen this chew. After running down to her pen, I see little miss has started in on it, plastic wrap and all. She was about 1/3 of the way through and graciously let me take off the remaining plastic.

Pet Qwerks Pawpcorn ($10)- Very cute toy that goes with the theme.

Yeti Corp Golden Nugget ($8)- Who would have ever thought of this! I love the idea! We haven’t tried it yet, but it’s made from Nepali yak and cow milk, salt, and lime juice and you puff them up in the microwave! Very excited to try this.

**Overall, I really liked the boxes but I remember in the beginning they actually included supplies or tools instead of just toys and treats. That’s where we’ve gotten our absolutely beloved Gulpy and I really can’t keep up with using all of the toys and treats. I can’t remember the last time they included something useful. Looking back at the past year, it seems like the bandana in December and a bowl in July. Ugh, is this now just a treat/toy subscription instead of an introduction to new dog supplies?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Pinterest Party

Since January’s Pinterest Party was about 3 of us, we worked extremely hard that night and actually didn’t finish our projects. Mine was the fire hose mat which took a couple more days. February was a great success though as the theme was glitter!


Alex had her first Pinterest Party experience and started small with a few vases with horizontal glitter. While they don’t photograph well, they were very cute.


Dana took her failed January craft of covering letter with paper and turned them into a gorgeous glitter “LOVE” for her mantle.


Kim created a large vertical sign to go outside her door with red “LOVE” during January, so for February she flipped it over and went for a green “LUCK”.


Leanne’s daughter was having a birthday so she took a couple canvases and glittered them out with “She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.”


My project isn’t finished- of course- but I took a lampshade and punched out a deer silhouette. I’m planning on adding gold glitter to the inside when I stop being lazy.


Since I’m backtracking- December didn’t have a craft night, but it did have a Favorite Things party, which was a wonderful night.

Smoker Pork Loin


I used a smoker to cook for the first time! Coal got it all started up and I prepped my pork and cooked that sucker to perfection. I had to combine a couple recipes and create it myself a little bit, but it was incredible. If you ever get the chance to use a smoker, try this recipe out.

Dry Rub Ingredients: (from knead to cook)

1 tbl kosher salt
2 tbl of brown sugar
1 tbl chili powder
1 tbl of smoked paprika
3/4 tbl of garlic powder
1 tsp of dried tarragon
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of rosemary
1 tsp of dried thyme
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a ziploc baggie or bowl. I used it on two pork tenderloins.

Herb Rub Ingredients: (from

About a cup of fresh thyme sprigs (hard to measure things like this.. just a good handful)
1-½ sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 cloves of garlic
2 heaping tablespoons dry rub
½ cup of olive oil (you may opt to use more if it’s not liquid enough)

Place all ingredients into a food processor for best results or you can chop herbs and garlic by hand and mix with the oil and rub until well combined.

Prepare Meat for Seasoning (this is directly from

Remove as much of the fat from the outside of the meat as possible including the silver skin with a sharp knife.


Make diagonal cuts on all sides about ¼ inch deep to give the rub extra surface area to stick to. (This makes a big difference)


The pork loin is now ready for the seasoning process.

Season the Pork Loin

Brush on some olive oil to help the rub to stick.


Apply a good coat of dry rub all over the pork loin (top, bottom, sides and ends)


Apply the Herb Rub

Place about half of the herb rub on the top side of the pork loin and rub it all over the top and sides of the meat.

2014-IMG_3678 2014-IMG_3680

Flip the pork loin over and put the other half of the herb rub on the bottom side and more on the sides and ends wherever needed.

Refrigerator Time

Place the rubbed pork loin into a bowl with a lid.


Put the bowl with the pork loin into the fridge for about 4-6 hours or overnight is even better.

A few minutes before you are ready to smoke the meat, take the pork loin out of the fridge.


Getting the Smoker Ready

You can use any smoker known to man or even a grill as long as you can maintain 225°F and provide some smoke to the heated environment in the 225-240 °F range for about 3-4 hours straight with minimal need to open the door or lid.

Smoking the Pork Loin

Place the pork loin directly on the grate.

Let it smoke cook for about 3.5 – 4 hours or until it reaches 145°F in the center of the meat using a tested digital probe meat thermometer. When it reaches 145 °F, remove it immediately from the heat, it is done.

If you have a water pan in your smoker, be sure to use it. It does a lot of good things for the smoking environment and should be used whenever possible.

***Our 2lb pork took exactly 4 hours. 10 star.