Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lost Earring, made new!

I bought an adorable pair of earrings last month at Francesca's.  As sometimes happens with earrings, the first time I wore them, one of them fell out and was lost in the abyss of the walk my husband and I took that afternoon.  I was telling a friend what happened and she suggested I make a necklace out of the earring I still had.  I loved that idea!  I have jewelry-making supplies in the house.  So, I took a trip to Michael's and got some chain and fasteners.

Here's the result!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crockpot Tamale Pie

This is a recipe my mom used to make on the stove.  After looking at a few crockpot recipes, this is the version I came up with.

For filling:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 14.4 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Organic)
dash of salt, pepper to taste
1 16 oz. jar salsa (do not use fresh, uncooked salsa)
1 15 oz can kidney beans (you can use black or pinto beans too)
2 cups frozen corn
1 2.25 oz can sliced olives

Brown ground beef.  As it begins to brown, add cumin seed, salt and pepper.
Once the beef has browned, add additional ingredients.  Allow to cook until about 1/2 the liquid evaporates (you don't want a lot of liquid in the filling because it will make for mushy crust)  Taste the filling, if it tastes a little too vinegary, add 1 tsp sugar.

For crust:
3/4  cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, grated

Mix all ingredients for cornbread together in large bowl as filling cooks down.  Put filling on the bottom and layer the cornbread on the top.  Cook in crockpot for 4 hours on low.

I cooked it for 6 hours and the cornbread topping was a little burned around the edges.  

I always prep my crockpot dishes on Sunday night and refrigerate them so I can pull them out the next morning and put them in the cooking unit.  


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Whew!  Last week was tough.  I have to thank God for my husband who isn't just amazing every day, but was so incredibly amazing last week.  It was amazing know ing he was there for me and that he would support me no matter what!  I love that man!  It was very cool to hang out with my cousins, my brother, and my aunt in SF yesterday.
I'm lucky to have those people in my life!

This week should be more back to normal.  I'm not feel as emotionally run over, and I'm read to get back to my routine.

Sunday: Pineapple and chicken (or shrimp)  poorboys with sweet potato fries

Monday: Crockpot Tamale Pie

Tuesday: Bagel dogs and snap peas

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday:   Spinach and fig paninis and parmesan zucchini rounds

Friday: pizza

Are you planning new on your menu this week?

More meal planning ideas here @Organizing Junkie!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Crafts

Today, my husband and I both stayed home.  Yesterday, i was pretty numb, but today, I ended up in the fidgety phase.   I had to do things!  We cleaned house and on the way to pick up my little guy from school, we stopped at Michael's.  Our main reason for going there was to find a frame for our wedding picture, but we didn't find that.  I did, however, end up in the fall decor section and remembered this post.  So I made my own!  I opted for a smaller one because I wanted it to go in our bathroom.

I am really happy with the way it turned out, and I liked the green pumpkin since my Holloween bat towels match perfectly!

 I may have to make another for our living room later in the month.  I love Michael's and how they put their seasonal decor at 40% off in September!

Kung Fu Monkeys

Last month, my son tested for his blue belt in karate.  This means later class and sparring!  With sparring, comes the gear.  Not only does he need to have his karate uniform, but also gloves and shin guards.  The question is what does a mommy do so he can carry all these things to and from school?  Answer: she makes a bag for his gear.  And what fabric do I use?  Kung Fu Monkey fabric, of course!

I used this tutorial and made it a little bigger.  To make my pattern, I used old paper grocery bags.  It took me about 4 hours to make, and he loves it!

I used Navy fabric for the lining and the outside bottom.  I had my first adventure into quilting.  I quilted the bottom layers together for extra strength.

The drawstring is from navy cord, strung through the top and the grommets on the side.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week is so up in the air.  I'm not sure what's going to happen from day to day right now.  My grandmother passed away yesterday, and my family is heading into town as we speak.  By the end of the week, I could have 10 people staying here.  This is my loose plan for the week, but this is one week that's going to have to be flexible!

Monday:  Slowcooker Mousakka

Tuesday: Macaroni and cheese

Wednesday: Corn chowder and homemade bread

Thursday: Crockpot chicken taco salad

Friday: pizza

We may or may not stick to this.  i may let my aunt take care of a meal or two too!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby gifts

  Two  of my closest friends are pregnant with their second or third babies right now.  We've been through so much together, its like they're sisters.  I wanted to do something really special for these friends.  I found a tutorial on-line for handmade burp cloths using cloth diapers.  I had to make them!

I went to Target and bought the Gerber cloth diapers.  The tri-fold ones are the best.  Then I went to the fabric store and picked out ribbon and fabric.  I was in heaven choosing girlie fabric, my life is filled with trains, airplanes, robots, sports, and karate monkeys (more on the monkeys very soon!)

The tri-fold diapers have a panel down the middle.  I measured the fabric to cover the panel.  I ironed a 1/4 inch seam one all 4 sides.

Turn and iron fabric
Ironed sides

Next, pin fabric and ribbon (rights sides facing out)  I forgot to take a picture of this step, sorry!

Sew around pressed and pinned sides, turning ribbon under at the end.

Here's the finished project:

Here's the original link that I found:

Today, I was at a baby store with the friend I made these for and we saw some where the diapers were died some beautiful colors.  For my other friend, due in February, I think I will try that!  She's having a boy, so it's back to trains, dinosaurs, robots, and spaceships in the boy section again!

Have you done anything clever for friends' 2nd or 3rd baby?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

My husband and I are just hanging out tonight, and I finished my latest sewing project (I'll post soon), so I thought I'd start working on our weekly menu.

Right now, I am dealing with an awful infestation of fruit flies that I think came in with some peaches last weekend.  Last year, we got a few, and we were able to get rid of them pretty quickly.  This year, its horrible.  I've put everything away, and they are still multiplying and I feel like they are everywhere!  Ick!  Despite the nasty fruit flies, I go on cooking and taking care of my family!  Right now I am giggling secretly as my husband does the fly killing dance in the kitchen.  I wish you could see this, its very funny! And just so you know, fruit flies will not be on the menu!

Crock Pot Monday: Crock pot turkey chili

Tuesday: build your own crepes

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: portobello and heirloom tomato paninis  (yes, I'll post the recipe!)

Friday: bagel dogs

Saturday: lasagna

For more menu planning, go to 

Friday, September 10, 2010

And so I bake!

Isn't there an old saying that goes when the going gets tough, the tough get to baking?!

Earlier this week, I was browsing The Pioneer Woman and stumbled on her brownie recipe.  I sent my stepson across the street to get some chocolate chips and baked us up some of the most delicious brownies I think I have ever tasted!  She doesn't have her recipe on her blog (you have to buy her book) but let me tell you, these brownies are worth buying the book for!  My husband even told me that he thought they were the best he'd ever tasted, and let me tell you, my husband knows his sweets!

Tonight, I decided I wanted home-baked hamburger buns for our sloppy joes, so I made these.  I'm not sure if it was the hamburger buns or my homemade sloppy joes, but it tasted amazing!  I had seconds.   I think I need to make a couple batches of these and freeze them.  I never want to buy hamburger buns at the store again!  I made a few with sesame seeds on top and a few with coarse salt.  I loved the salty ones.  The recipe was easy to follow and very easy to make.  I hope you enjoy!

What do you do to de-stress?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More lunch ideas

It seems on most of the mom blogs I read, I'm finding lunch ideas lately.  Must be back to school time!  I went to and found so many ideas under the recipe section.  With Halloween approaching soon, I love Hot Dog Mummies, and with football season, Mini Footballs are so cute!  (I even have teriyaki meatballs from Costco in the freezer!)  I'm going to have to try this snake with cucumbers from our garden!  I hate snakes and my son will get a kick out of me putting one in his lunchbox.

Last night, my son and I made these together, and he loves them!  He wanted to make sure he has them in his lunch again tomorrow.

For hubby and I this week, I made pasta salad as a change from sandwiches.  He says he likes it!

OK, off to make our lunches!

What are you making for lunch tomorrow?

Sometimes, it all falls apart!

Last night, the stress from being back at work, a messy house, and trying to manage everything for everybody made me blow my top.  My stepson brought the garbage bins back into the house because he didn't know why they were outside (um, its Tuesday, the day we take them out), the messy house finally got to me, I had piles of laundry to fold, pets who would not leave me alone in the kitchen, and a floor that needs to be scoured.  I had it up to my ears or maybe my eyes.  Unfortunately, my wonderful husband got the brunt of my frustration.  I probably looked like a volcano blowing up!

When I'm home in the summer, I think I do a pretty good job of keeping up with the housework.  When I go back to work, between kids, dinner, homework, and everything else, the house loses.

I think I am going to hire someone to come in every other week and clean the bathrooms, the floors, and the windows.  I'm hoping it will relieve my stress and keep my husband from being out of the line of fire!

How do you cope with being overwhelmed with household chores?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekly Menu Plan

Since its a short week, and we're still not back to karate, I have a little more time to do some cooking.  I hope you are enjoying your long weekend.  I got to go to my first football game of the season with my dad on Saturday.  Always good to win the first game of the season!  We'll be back in Berkeley this week to play Colorado.  I'm just hoping we win again!

Monday: We'll be down at my in-laws house to make up for missing my mother-in-law's birthday dinner on Saturday

Tuesday: Sausage, Onion and Pepper Sandwiches (an easy family favorite) with sweet potato fries

Wednesday: Stir Fry

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Sloppy Joes  On Thursday night, I'm going to try to make these to go with them!

Saturday: We'll probably eat while we're up at the game

I want to make some of these for lunches this week and maybe my version of these.

For more menu plans and dinner ideas, go to Organizing Junkie.

Enjoy your short week!  I hope you are enjoying your long weekend!