30 April 2013

Menu Plan Monday

We're finally having spring-like weather (ignore the fact that snow is forecast for Wednesday) and I'm a little sunburned from soccer games on Saturday. Warmer weather puts me in the mood for lighter dishes and more salads, and cooking on the outdoor grill.


leftover Green Chile Enchiladas
Spanish rice


Chicken Pot Pie


Asian Chicken Salad


Fettuccine alla Carbonara


Eat out




BBQ - to be determined

24 April 2013

Upcoming Projects for the Little Fashionista to Rock

I have a couple of fun things lined up for my little fashionista. I am pretty excited to see how they turn out. She, as always, has been involved in choosing the fabric and patterns.

This little shirt dress is my current project. I am using McCalls 6389 for this one. There are a lot of pieces, but I think it will have a nice fit with all that tailoring.

These adorable pink elephants are part of my goal to become more comfortable with knits. I plan to use McCalls 5838 for this - one of the patterns in my stash. 
Another visit to my copy of Absolutely A-Line for this one. Can you tell my little fashionista loves skirts and dresses? I am trying to convince her to let me try pants...

Last of all, we're still discussing what to make. She loves this fabric because it reminds her of a favorite dress she just outgrew. I wish I hadn't already passed it on to someone else, because I could have made a pattern out of it. Anyway, it was a cute little short sleeve dress with a boat collar and pleats then falling straight down to the hem, no waist. It was black with yellow and white daisies. 

What would you make with turquoise, red and white daisy fabric?

23 April 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I promised I would give you a review of the things we had last week from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I will start with the bad news first. My younger two - very picky eaters - wouldn't even try most of it. The good news, what they did try, they kind of liked.
The Tortellini Sausage Soup was amazing. It was perfect for a cold and snowy afternoon. The grated zucchini added in tasted delicious. The Coconut Chicken Curry was also really good - but even better later in the week as leftovers. My personal favorite was the Honey Lime Tilapia. Tilapia is not very "fishy" tasting and the honey lime marinade was fantastic. The Thai Chicken Wraps were another favorite. I was perfectly happy to eat them again for lunch another day. We're going to have the enchiladas this week instead.


Asian Lettuce Wraps

Korean Beef


Sandwiches and salad


Tuscan Grilled Pork Chops
Garlic mashed potatoes




Chicken Parmesan



19 April 2013

Fire Beef

Fire Beef with Roasted Veggies

1 pound beef, cut in thin strips

Marinate 24 hours in:
2 tsp. minced garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. pepper
Dash red pepper
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. sesame oil

Grill 15 minutes at 550°
Serve with rice and roasted vegetables

Roasted Veggies

2 zucchini, sliced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 red onion, cut in chunks
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste

Toss the vegetables in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a foil covered roasting pan. Roast in a 400° oven for about 15 minutes, or until tender.

16 April 2013

Menu Plan Monday


Happy 15th of April - Tax day and a little on the chilly side. I promise, my daffodils look just like this - but I'm too cold to go out and take a photo this morning.

In other news, I was completely at a loss this morning in terms of menu planning. I wanted to use stuff I have, but I just couldn't think of anything. My kids are tired of the staples and we need some new life in our menus. I haven't used Mel's Kitchen Cafe recipes much, but a couple of months ago my recipe club had a Mel's themed night. I liked everything, so we're having a Mel's week at our house. I'll let you know how it goes.




Spaghetti (Not Mel's)






Linking up to Menu Plan Monday.

12 April 2013

Pound Cake with Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb is such a spring-time flavor. When we used to live in Oregon, I had a rhubarb plant. Not only did it make a big pretty, leafy plant in the yard, but I could go out and cut some stalks and make something with rhubarb in it on a whim. Yesterday, they were putting out the rhubarb in the produce section of my local market. On a whim, I grabbed a bunch. I decided to make rhubarb jam. I love the tart/sweet flavor and chunky texture of it. Of course, we needed something to eat with it...

Rhubarb jam
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 lbs. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 tsp. orange zest

To make jam, combine sugar, water, rhubarb and orange zest in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until rhubarb is soft and beginning to break down (8-10 min.). Remove from heat and cool 2 hours.

Pound Cake
adapted from Country Living

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Whipped cream for serving

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 8x4 inch loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each egg. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 - 60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and allow to cool 2 more hours.
Serves 8

11 April 2013

Little Fashionista Rocks the Jersey Knit Hoodie Dress

One of my sewing goals is to learn to not be afraid of knits. My past experiences with knits have involved wobbly seams, curled up hems and wonky drapes. Naturally, I realize that those are the problems of the inexperienced, but traumatic nevertheless.

I had a nice grey jersey knit in my stash. I thought it would make a great fall/spring dress for my daughter. I also had this pattern by burda.

(I'd love to hear what some of you think of burda patterns. I like them. I think they are more up to date than some of the other (un-named) vendors out there, but I don't think they are beginner patterns. Sometimes it seems like some of the directions were left out because they were obvious to the designer... If I didn't know my way around a pattern or a sewing machine, I might be frustrated.What do you think?)

I used my go-to book for tips on sewing with knits - which turns out to be really helpful and worth every penny I spent on it.

I love how this little hoodie dress turned out. So does my daughter. She's been wearing it all winter, and she keeps forgetting that I made it. I'll take that as a compliment.

Note: I took the photos of the knit dress yesterday. It was FREEZING! But I wanted to mention it so you could see how well the dress has worn. I made it last September and it's been worn and washed and pulled over her knees, not to mention climbing over porch railings...

09 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing."

"There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty."

"I've got a woman's ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it."

Thank you and farewell to a great lady - who showed women and girls around the world that dreams can be achieved, and when achieved, worn gracefully. 

05 April 2013

Mexican Salad Lettuce Wraps

Mexican Salad Lettuce Wraps

1 (15 oz.) can black beans
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans
2 tomatoes, diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Whole heart of Romaine lettuce

Rinse the beans with cold water and drain. In a large bowl, toss the garbanzos, black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, scallions, celery, cilantro, garlic, cumin, salt,and pepper. Dress the salad with the olive oil and lime juice and toss well. Separate large leaves of Romaine off the head and wash them well. Scoop 1/2 a cup of salad into each lettuce cup. 2 lettuce cups per serving. Makes 4 servings.

04 April 2013

Little Fashionista Rocks the Target Clearance Rack Re-fashion

 I hope you like the classy shots with the uncovered window wells. You can't get those just anywhere.

I was wandering around the Target clearance racks a few months ago and I found this dress:

I can't remember the price I paid - short term memory issues - but I do know it was less than $10. It was my size (roughly) but definitely not something that would be flattering on me. I decided to deconstruct it and re-make it in to a skirt for my little fashionista.

It was as easy as can be. I separated the elastic from the top and bottom - just a matter of picking out the seams. I then had to decide how much to shorten the skirt part. I measured my daughter from her waist line to where we thought the skirt should fall lengthwise. We decided it should be long-ish. I only had to cut one section of ruffle off. I tremble to think how short that dress would have been on me!

To remove the extra section and shorten the skirt, I just folded up the top ruffle and used my rotary cutter and ruler to cut a straight line across just underneath. Then, I centered the elastic with pins at the front center, back center, and side seams. I then sewed the elastic band to the top of the skirt, stretching as I went. The pins aren't just to center the elastic band, but also to act as a guide for stretching the elastic in sections. That way you get the most even stretch. You can do more pins if you want, but 4 worked well for this skirt.

She rocks it!

03 April 2013

Creative Gifts for Kids

It seems like birthdays come in waves. It will be very quiet for a while, then suddenly there are a bunch of birthdays to find gifts for. I like to find ideas for gifts that I can stock up on and have around - if possible. I also like my kids to give something that is unique and encourages creative play. This Friday, my 6 year old, 8 year old and I are all invited to different birthday parties. Good grief, right?

Here is a round-up of some of our favorite things to give:

Cost: About $10 if you thrift the sheets and t-shirts for the ties and 
buy the other materials in bulk - planning for multiple kits.

Cost: About $20 - again, for some parts, thinking in terms of making more than one kit

Cost: About $10, mostly for the clipboard and floss organizer. 
The Packs of floss will make more than one kit.

The Baking Kit
Cost: About $10 for apron, cake mix, cupcake papers and frosting.
If you sew, you can make the apron yourself using stash fabric.
You can also add other things like measuring spoons or cups and a spatula

The Craft Kit
Cost: About $20. Don't be fooled, unless you stock up during Back to School time,
craft supplies aren't cheap. You can find bulk items online too.
This kit can easily be customized to the preferences of the child it will be given to.

Here are a couple other places I go for ideas:
And, of course, Pinterest

What are your go-to gifts for birthdays?

02 April 2013

Menu Plan Monday

You may have noticed that I wasn't around last week. It was Spring Break, and we were busy. My oldest went to stay with my sister's family in Utah. The rest of us found some fun things to do around home.

 This is pretty typical. They can't help touching each other.


BBQ Pork Chops
Sweet Potatoes
Mixed Berry Parfait Salad


Cream of Asparagus Soup


Fire Beef
Roasted Veggies


Slow Cooker Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes
Fruit (cantaloupe or other melon)


Nachos/Taco Salad





Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!