Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lemon Sponge Cake/Bars

These little bad boys are the simplest dessert you'll be making for a dinner party. Add some fresh strawberries and a little dusting of powdered sugar and this easy dish will look like you spent an hour in the kitchen!

Easy directions:
Combine 1 box of Angel Food Cake and 1 can of Lemon Creme (pie filling) and stir. Then pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Can't imagine these have many calories because the cake mix is fat free. Serve after cooled and enjoy!
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Deep Cleaning.... Ugh!

Oh yeah, I'm not one of those people who loves to cleans and keeps their house in tip top shape. (Do those people really exist?) But, when I have guests coming over to stay I tend to get down and get the dirty out. Hence my cleaning spree last week.

I needed our kitchen to glisten and with the countertops and microwave all scrubbed I turned my attention to the stove and low and behold there was grease and grime all over the hood. Some Pinesol wiped most of it away but running those microwave hood vents in the dishwasher didn't make a big difference in their cleanliness. Soooooo, enter the baking soda!

I grabbed our largest stock pot and started some water boiling. Once it was boiling I slowly added 1/4 cup of baking soda (it makes a little fizz). My grates/filters were too large to submerge but I were able to get half of them covered in the water.

Boil for about 15 minutes and them flip. Rinse in the sink and you're done! I was so shocked at how clean my grates became. Friends were shocked when I sent them photos. the before is on top and the after is the clean silver metal on the bottom.

Clean living can mean more than just eating healthy. It can mean eating in a really clean kitchen and cooking under a deeply cleaned hood.
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Huge Wall Art for our Bare Stairway

I'm not sure how your stairway walls look but we've been feeling like our need something bigger. Most substantial. We had a few 8x10 frames with family photos but with such a huge wall they just didn't seem to make any impact at all.

Enter Pinterest. I saw this great tutorial at and with a Sunday afternoon free decided to take a wack at this. The boards I used were actually old closet doors that we had removed and put in mirrored closet doors. These worked great because they are hollow and therefore lightweight, however, you could use any wood for this project cut to any size you'd like.

First: the photos were easy. Take pictures in landscape, up close, download to Picasa (free online photo editor). You can change the photo to black and white if your camera doesn't have that setting. The important thing is to RESIZE them to 18x24. This will come in handy with the next step. Add a thick border of you like.

Second: upload photos to and order an engineering print. My local Staples cost $1.79 each. Having never ordered on there before I originally uploaded my photos and noticed that after cropping some were more of a portrait size so that's why I suggest using Picasa to resize. Figuring out that tip saved me a lot of time...after I figured it out of course.

Third: after you drive to Staples and pick up your creation (mine took about 3 hours to print), you have these great 18x24 prints. This is where I freaked out a bit because they seemed too big. I decided to use that extra size to wrap the photos around my board so that it looks like a canvas. I happened to have some old closet doors that I cut down to size but you could use any kind of wood to adhere your photos to. I used an 18x70 piece of wood and wrapped the extra photo paper around the back. Lightly apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the bare board, then lay your photo flat and try to smooth out any wrinkles. Wrap around the frame like a present. (Side note: Did you know that mod podge can be made with 1/2 water and 1/2 Elmer's glue? Yeah, that'll save you some money!!!)
Okay, back to work here - I then applied a thin coat of Mod Podge to the top of the photos to seal them and give them a glossy look. I will give you a TIP - try not to put mod podge on the faces of the photos. Mine did become wrinkled and while some people said, "Oh that makes it really look like canvas," I didn't like the look. I learned after doing a few that the mod podge works fine when you just avoid the faces of the photos.

Last: attach picture hangers, get out your level and hang!

Project Cost: about $30 since I had free boards.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Going Bananas!!!

Oh my gosh. It's already feeling like a loooooong summer with three kiddos at home all day every day. Needless to say, someone is going bananas around here and sadly it's me.

I've been trying new recipes and trying to hide out in the kitchen as much as possible. Kids come in and ask what's cookin', grab a bite to eat and then go back to Legos, books, or whatever it is that's captivated their attention for the day.

Today I whipped up the strawberry ice cream and then I just had to keep going and make the banana purée that is supposed to taste like ice cream. It's a cleaver idea but really it's banana purée. Ice cream needs dairy and sugar and there's just no getting around that. BUT if you are looking for something healthy to hold you over when perhaps you're trying to avoid ice cream, then by all means whip this up. You just need frozen bananas!

Add to food processor and pulse until creamy and smooth. It's smart to freeze the bananas outside of their skin.... Otherwise this becomes a big pain in the you know what.

P.S. yeah I know there are a few specs of strawberry in there. There's a chance that I didn't wash the processor before starting this next adventure. I'm lazy like that :P
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Healthy Ice Cream?

Now I'm not even sure there is such a thing, but an ice cream made with ingredients I can pronounce? Yes! This was the simplest recipe I could find and it was inspired by Cooking Light's 88 Meals under 200 calories.

So here we go!
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
4 cups strawberries hulled
2 cups low fat buttermilk

Directions: (I don't have an ice cream maker, so if you do you can follow the directions in your manual. You read that, right?)
1. Pour 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar into a sauce pan and boil until sugar dissolves. Then cool completely.
2. Use your food processor to purée the strawberries.
3. Once sugar/water mixture is completely cooled add strawberry purée and buttermilk and stir well.
4. Place in a metal bowl and put foil over to freeze for 3 hours.
5. Remove after three hours and place back in food processor and pulse.
6. Then once back in metal bowl and freeze for 4 hours.

My hubs loves strawberry ice cream and while it's not my favorite I do sometimes cook for other's taste buds. Shocking, I know. It's light, fresh, and I know what's in it. Best of all, even though I had to pull it out of the freezer and pulse it and then freeze it again, it really wasn't that time consuming. It'll satisfy that sweet tooth if you have one!
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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lego Mania!!!

My kids are Lego fanatics and no they aren't boys. I love it. We always had Legos around our house growing up but I also have two younger brothers. While the Legos were theirs, really they were everyone's because we all were engaged in the imaginative play that is synonymous with the word Lego.

So to add to the summer madness we decided to start on a few of those pinned ideas on my favorite website Pinterest. I think I visit that site more that my favorite social networking site. (I've found my inner Martha to say the least.). I found a quick tutorial on and whipped this craft up in about 10 minutes!
You'll need some Legos, super glue and some earring posts and backs. We went to Michaels and found them for $2.99 each. There were 60 posts (so that'll make 30 pairs) and 120 backs (guess we'll have extras for another project!).
Here's how we did it:
1. Send kid to retrieve Legos in pairs that they'd like to make into earrings.
2. Get your super glue ready and your steady hand.
3. Fill Lego hole with glue completely so that the glue begins to overflow, then place flat side of the post over the glue.
4. Let sit overnight to be sure it adhered.
5. Wear! Show off at school! Or sell at a craft fair like we'll be doing! Pin It

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sweet Satisfying Brunch

It's summer time here and that means the girls in this house get up laaaaate.

In addition to getting up late, my girls love their breakfast foods. I'm sure they'd be thrilled to eat oatmeal for every meal for at least a few days before they'd get tired of it.

So today we decided that the waffle iron in that cabinet above the fridge that we hide all the gadgets we bought but never use needed to come down and get dusted off. So off we went to find the perfect waffle recipe with my new favorite add in, flaxseed.

We came up with this recipe which was adapted from
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
4 tsps baking powder
1 TBSP sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tbsps vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

My directions are simple. Throw it all in a bowl and mix. I'm pretty laid back about first all the dry, then the wet. Whatever. It's all going to the same place!

We even had a few leftover which makes for an easy breakfast the next day. If we get up for that early....Pin It