Monday, March 12, 2012

Bathroom Organization

Well, I said I did two projects today, and that is not a lie! The other project I completed was something for my bathroom. I hate throwing things away, and I hate buying things that I can make myself, so this project is something I was very excited about. In my bathrooms, I have pretty limited cabinet/under sink space. So, I use my hallway closet A LOT! It has tons of space. Anyway, the problem with this is that I don't always have a spare roll of toilet paper in the bathroom because I only have room for one. Sometime I forget to put one in after I change the roll, sometimes my fiance forgets when he's over, and sometimes a guest just doesn't know to tell me :) Either way, having those rolls is vital! lol So, I am fixing this by creating a space that holds two rolls AND my headbands. Thus, creating more bathroom space. So, how did I do this? Well, I love oatmeal. You are probably wondering what this has to do with anything at this point, but it is extremely relevant. The item that is creating this space is an oatmeal container, one of those big ones that has the oats in it, not the box with packets. It's the perfect size to fit toilet paper rolls in, and headbands hang around it just right! (I also love headbands)

The first thing I did I was mod podge, of course! haha So, I again used the scraps from my programs and made my oatmeal container look beautiful! Then I added the headbands.

And lastly, the toilet paper...

It looks great on the back of my toilet, and now I have more room under my sink!

Happy Organizing :)

Pull Out Plastic Bags

So, I love days off! I love organizing and baking and cleaning and all those very domestic types of things. Luckily, I have today off! So, here are some projects I've been working on. I have been pretty busy with all the wedding stuff (got the marriage license today :), but I do like making time for projects around the house. I worked on two today. The first was organizing my plastic bags. If you're anything like me, you have an entire cabinet or drawer taken up with those pesky plastic bags. They don't add up quickly at my house because I use reusable bags, but eventually from forgetting my bags or not being in my car or whatever they do add up! So, today I took back my cabinet space and told those bags who is boss! So, pull out plastic bags is what happened :)
Voila! Tiny container that looks cute enough to set out if I need to, and a whole lot of extra space. Now, I was skeptical when I first heard you could do this. I'm glad I didn't give in to the skepticism. They pull out nicely and easily when you need them. So, the reason I chose today is because I finally ran out of wipes for my car dashboard and had the container to use. Once I had that, I just need to fold up the bags!

The first thing you need to do is flatten your bags nicely the way they were before you used them. Lay them flat and smooth all of the air out. Once you do that, fold them long-ways and line them up. I have two rolls, one in the container and one back up (which I just taped on the end so it was ready when I needed it) I used 12 bags for one and 16 for the other. 

Hopefully, the picture is clear enough that you can see how you fold them length wise and then the next step is laying them out in a loooong line. Make sure you have plenty of room when you do this, it will take up the length of an entire room :) So lay them down so the handles overlap on the bag underneath them. Once you have them all laid out, you need to start rolling! There is a method though...

On the first bag of the line, turn the handles up (pictured above) Then begin rolling from that end, leaving the handles poking out. This is where the top will be poking out of the container ready to be used. Once they are all rolled up, just place them in the plastic container and you are good to go!
I, personally, don't like ugly plastic bottles, so I fixed mine up a bit. I'm not overly crafty, so my mod podge skills could use some work, but that's what I did. I used the left over paper from my wedding programs (which happily matches the green in my kitchen, or soon to be kitchen once we get our wedding stuff out) and mod podged it onto the bottle. It is much nicer looking now. Before it was an armorall label, which didn't match anything.

Let me know if you have any questions! Happy organizing!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Qunioa spinach salad with maple vinaigrette

Time for something healthy and yummy!!! This is great as a side dish or if you eat enough, it can also be a meal, maybe with a side of bread :)

What you need:
1 cup of quinoa
1 bag of baby spinach
1 medium apple, chopped
goat cheese (to your liking)

3 T Olive Oil
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
1 T Maple Syrup

To cook quinoa place one cup of water and one cup of quinoa over high heat on the stove. Once it begins boiling, turn to low and let sit for approximately 20 minutes or until all water is gone.
While the quinoa is cooking, place spinach, apple, pecans and goat cheese in a large bowl and mix. Then, in a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup. Once quinoa is done add it to large bowl of salad and mix then drizzle with dressing!

Easy peasy and delicious :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Planning a Wedding Pt. 2- Programs

Well, as you may know, I am getting married in March. It, of course, is very exciting, but it also takes a lot of work. I find it ridiculous to spend vast amounts of money on things I can do myself, so I found some programs that I loved online, but didn't want to spend $4 a piece for them. So, I made them!! It definitely takes time, but since I can't pay attention to movies or hulu without doing something else at the same time, it works out well!!

So, I am going to give you some step by step instructions for making these if you are interested in them at all!

They are tri-page programs. They are simple to make ( the hardest part was figuring out the template on Word, but now I did that so I can tell you how quickly and easily!)

Well, it is pretty basic to get to this point. All I used was two types of paper to my liking, ribbon, a paper cutter, and my printer. I wanted three tiers, but you can always have more if you need it. Since this can be used for all sorts of programs, who knows what all you could do with it.

So, since the words need to be at the very bottom of your cut paper, you need to first change the size of the document. This is done by opening page layout then choosing size in that tab.  I have Microsoft Office 2007, so please keep that in mind. It should be pretty similar on all Office documents though :) So, once you click on "size" then you choose "More paper sizes," at the point you can customize your page size. I made mine 4.25 x 5.5, 4.25 x 4.5, and 4.25 x 3.5. Once I made a document for each size I just type up my information.  To make the title of the page at the bottom you must move the margin on the left side of the page. It is a blue and white bar and when your cursor is on the same line as the title then move the ruler down on the left hand side and your word will move down with it. It is super simple, but I had no idea you could do that when I started. Then I started to make the programs!

The first thing I did to put the programs together was cut the paper to the size that I wanted. I chose to make my paper 5.5 inches, 4.5 inches, and 3.5 inches. I then cut the second type of paper (the pretty kind) at 6.6ish so it would fold over the top. Once I cut each size of paper I began printing! Once it was all printed I just started putting the pages in order then used a hole punch to make holes for the ribbons to go through. Tied it pretty and then I was done!! I only had to make about 200, so it took awhile haha It was lots of fun and I caught up on some movies :) Let me know if you have questions!!

Veggie English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich

Good morning! Today I am excited to start making an old favorite. I used to eat these all the time when I was in graduate school. I decided to try one again today! So, as a vegetarian, I miss out on a lot of restaurant deliciousness (although it's not so sad since it's so much healthier at home anyway), including the egg mcmuffin. Now, if you're a vegan, this is not something you will want to try. I do eat eggs and other dairy, but I am sure most of my recipes are easy to veganize :)

So, let's get started.

Veggie Egg McMuffin
1 English Muffin
1 Veggie Sausage Patty (I prefer Morningstar)
3 T Egg Whites
Salt/ Pepper to Taste
Sprinkle of Cheese

So, I start out by making my eggs and sausage. Sometimes I make my sausage in the microwave, but it is probably better to get the fat out by making it via skillet. Anyway, heat up the pan using medium heat, pour the eggs into the skillet. Let them cook like normal scrambled eggs, for just a few minutes. I usually add the salt and pepper in right away. On occasion (aka, if I have it) I will throw in some fresh rosemary which is also delicious! As the egg cooks, I make sure my sausage is warming up. It basically just needs to be warmed all the way through and not frozen any longer.

While the egg and sausage are cooking, I toss the english muffin into the toaster and toast to my liking, which is a little brown on the edges. Once it comes out I sprinkle some cheese on it. Then put the warmed sausage on top to melt the cheese and the eggs on last since they take the longest to cook. Then the other side of the english muffin goes on top! If you are watching carbs, just use one half of the muffin. If you are watching fat, don't use cheese or find low fat/fat free cheese. Everything else is pretty low in fat and calories.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Balsamic Chicken with Polenta/Tomatoes

Well, I feel like I should live up to the title of my blog and post something related to cooking or knitting!!! Here is one of the latest dishes I have tried! I often find recipes on the internet and then change them to the way I would prefer it haha So, here is one of my favorites...although this one is from my own imagination. My fiance loooves it!! Although, he was at first skeptical to try polenta. I call it balsamic glazed chicken with polenta and tomatoes.

My photography skills are not up to par, so this is probably much better tasting than it looks :)

1 chicken breast
3 T balsamic vinegar
basil to taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste

1 24 oz. roll of polenta
balsamic (I drizzle it over the polenta so no exact measure)
2 medium tomatoes
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
sprinkle of dried basil
sprinkle of salt

So, start by marinating the chicken breast for 30 minutes in balsamic vinegar. I use a glass baking dish and cover it in foil so I can just pop it in the oven later. ( If you are a vegetarian like me you can use q'uorn substitute which I have found to be my favorite and cooks very similarly to chicken)

While the chicken marinates, cut the polenta into 14-16 pieces ( I use the whole roll) and lay in a 9x13 glass baking dish. Then drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the the polenta, I just do a quick drizzle and don't measure. So, just do it to your liking. Then I slice the tomatoes and lay them on the polenta and sprinkle the whole thing generously with mozzarella cheese. You can, of course, choose how much cheese you would like. Then cover the polenta dish with foil. Place both the chicken and polenta in over for about 30 minutes at 350. I always put the chicken on the  bottom and if I notice the cheese on the polenta is getting too brown I pull it out first.

Then it is ready to go!! Serving with a side salad is also an excellent choice :) 

Sometimes I don't have fake chicken and so I use other meat substitutes. In this example I used Veggie Patch brand meatballs which was also a great pairing!