Friday, November 30, 2012

Freezer Meals Pinterest Friday: Pumpkin Muffins as a Frozen Breakfast


A few months ago I found several pins about easy pumpkin muffins, and since I looooooove pumpkin, and cake, I tried it immediately! We love this recipe. This is one of the favorite things that I can make with my daughter. Because we are now sadly back on the no-egg bandwagon (*sigh*) this is the only baked recipe for cookies/cupcakes/muffins where she can eat the actual dough.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Freezer Meal Week: (Gluten-Free) Chicken and Rice Casserole

First off, I have to say that casseroles are great freezer foods.  You can freeze them in a casserole dish, in a plastic bag or tupperware.  They bake quickly and don't get too mushy after being frozen (Jessica might disagree with me about the rice...).  Many casserole recipes are often simple: veggies, meat, can of cream of something soup.  Easy, right?


Unless you eat gluten-free.  I have yet to find a "cream of" soup brand that is gluten-free which is a bummer! It definitely complicates things.  So here's a great recipe that freezes well and is gluten-free!  And for my gluten-eating readers, this recipe is still nice if you don't have a can of cream of something in the cupboard.  You just use regular flour instead of rice!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Cheap Freezer Baked Potato Soup

cheap baked potato soup freezer meal

Baked potato soup is one of our favorite comfort meals in this house! There is nothing as delicious on a cold winter day then a heaping bowl of this soup smothered in sour cream and crisp green onions. The best part about this recipe is that it makes about 12-14 servings! We make this soup and literally freeze enough for two other meals! And you can make it in the crock pot which makes this possibly the easiest soup ever. And since potatoes are amazingly cheap around here, it's also an extremely cost effective batch of dinners.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Freezer Meal Week

Welcome to Freezer Meal week!  We figure that between the craziness of cooking Thanksgiving dinner and the upcoming Christmas/holiday dinners, its nice to have a few quick 'n easy freezer meals.  That way, after a long day of shopping, you only have to pop something in the oven, instead of whipping up a meal from scratch.

Besides, less time in the kitchen making dinner gives you more time to devote to a holiday favorite....baking!  (Cookies, fudge and fruitcakes, oh my!)

To kick it off, we are going to give you a recap of some of the freezer meals we've already shared.

Check out our Freezer meal 101 post - complete with multiple freezers meals from one pork shoulder as well as some helpful tips.

Don't forget to check out our recipes for...


And 


This week, check back for great recipes for baked potato soup (cheap and filling!), gluten-free chicken casseroles and more...

Lastly, don't forget to check out our Winter Giveaway.  It ends on Friday and includes a $15 Starbucks gift card!  Entering the contest is easy, just click on the picture below and leave a comment!



Friday, November 23, 2012

Giveaway Time!!

We've had so much fun doing this blog so far!  We've gotten to share lots of fun ideas and we have many, many more coming!  We want to thank everyone for reading our blog by doing a....


In honor of winter and cold weather, we are giving away a package with:

A white crocheted headband with a bow (see another picture here)
A warm white infinity scarf (see another picture here
A $15 Starbucks card

To enter, post a comment on the bottom of this post with your favorite thing about winter!  Do you love making snow angels?  The holidays?  Egg nog lattes?  Post a comment about something you love and you will be entered in the contest!

For an extra entry, go to our Facebook page and "like" us.  Then comment and let us know that you did and we'll throw in a second entry for you.

We will pick a winner and announce it next Friday (November 30th) at 5pm, so check back to see if you've won!

We will ship your goodies anywhere in the United States.

Next week is freezer meal week and we're ready...we've got tons of yummy soup and casserole recipes to freeze as well as an awesome muffin recipe and more!  
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so excited for say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there!  We are grateful for our friendship, our incredible families and the blessings we've been given!

We are also thankful for all of you out there who have taken a few minutes out of your day to read our blog! Its been a great experience so far!

As a "thank you," we will be starting a giveaway tomorrow (ending next week!).  Our basket includes a beautiful scarf, a $15 Starbucks giftcard and a few other treats!

Check back tomorrow (Friday!) to find out how to enter!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Whip-It-Up Wednesday: Easy Egg Drop Soup

I have a confession. I LOVE soups. I could eat them every day. In fact, when someone would always ask "If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?" I would bypass the normal kids answers (doughnuts! candy!), and say, "soup." So not surprisingly, as it get cooler and more snowy outside, many of my recipes will be soup! This egg drop soup is wonderful.  Even just the eggs and thickened broth are tasty.  Its definitely a comfort food and only has about 150 calories for a huge bowl. Yum! 


easy gluten-free egg drop soup



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Simple Shower Cleaner

In the last few months, we've both started making a lot of our own household cleaners.  My rule is that I won't make cleaners from scratch if they aren't as effective as the ones I can buy at the store.  I like saving money, but cleaners aren't that expensive, so it has to be an improvement for me to make it.

When I first made this cleaner, I was skeptical, but found that a) it was easy to make, b) I had the materials around my house and c) it cleans as well as my Softscrub, without the bleach risk on clothing (since I have bad luck with bleach).



Saturday, November 17, 2012

DIY legwarmers (or faux boot socks)

diy faux boot socks from an old sweater

 I have been lusting after boot socks for a while now, as is evidenced here. The problem? I am super picky when it comes to my clothes, and I literally could not find boot socks that met my extreme needs. The ones I bought and referenced in that post were a bust. They were too thin, too short, not slouchy enough, didn't fit over jeans...*sigh.* (Let me add that this was after going to six different stores looking for the perfect leopard print scarf and failing at that as well.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pinterest Friday: Pinspired

Since this has been a busy week for us (thank you EVERYONE for visiting our blog!), we are keeping Pinterest Friday simple! Instead of picking one pin to try, we are going to a Pinterest "round-up" where we share the pins we are dying to try out!

Hilary's Top Three Pins 

1. I am in the crocheting mood.  Something about the cold weather and tons of skeins of yarn lying around means all I want to do is make scarves.  I have made several in the past few weeks, but they are all thick, warm scarves.  I love them, but they are too thick, big or warm to wear indoors!  So I want a lacy scarf pattern that I can wear indoors and not look silly!  There are tons of great lacy scarf patterns, but I've been eye-ing this one from The Art of Zen Crochet:


2. Last, I LOVE big chunky necklaces.  I have one that I bought and wear constantly, but I'd love a few more.  Unfortunately, they are often expensive, so I haven't purchased anymore.  I was totally excited when I found this a few nights ago from Natalie at Doodle Craft (this is a great website!  She is super talented!):



And for those who don't want to make them, she has an awesome Etsy store with tons of these necklaces for sale!



Jessica's Top Three Pins

1. Mermaid Doll from Jennifer at the crafting fiend:


My daughter is obsessed with anything ocean related right now (sharks are her favorite animals!) and this is on my list to make for her for Christmas.

2. Pumpkin French Toast Bake from Food Gawker:

PUMPKIN FRENCH TOAST BAKE

My daughter just got cleared by her allergist to eat eggs, after three years of dealing with an infant egg allergy! Since we've gone three years without french toast, that is going to need to END! I'm making this recipe tomorrow morning and I will be sure to take pictures for you all.

3. DIY Cream of "Something" Soup from One Orange Giraffe:


We make a lot of casseroles, and with Freezer Cooking Week coming up on our blog, we're going to try and do a lot of casseroles to freeze! Since Campbell's "cream of" soups are pretty dang expensive this recipe looks like a cool way to save money.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Freezer Meals 101: Pulled Pork and Green Enchilada Soup

To save money, I have decided to start freezing meals.  I am definitely not as organized or gung-ho as other people, so I like to think of this post as the "freezer meals 101 for people who aren't that organized."  Here are a few tips and steps to get you started:

1. Before you start, figure out what freezes well and what doesn't.  A great site to check out is Stockpiling Moms (for example, did you know that you can freeze milk and eggs?).  In my experience here are some things and freeze well (and some things that don't):

Freezes well!
  • Any cream-based soup (think broccoli cheese soup, baked potato soup)
  • Most stews and broth based soups (beef stew, tortilla soup)
  • Rice-based casseroles (I will be posting my recipe for gluten-free chicken, rice and artichoke casserole soon!)
  • Meat! (pulled pork freezes wonderfully)
Things don't freeze as well...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Whip it up Wednesday: Three Step Thai Peanut Chicken

three-step thai peanut chicken

Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts
1 bunch of green onions

For the Sauce:
16 oz can of chicken broth
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used my homemade peanut butter--I'll never go back!)
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp curry powder

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Jessica: Dishwasher detergent is expensive! This is another one of those things that is so stupidly easy to make that once you figure it out, you can't believe you ever paid for it. Especially if you also make your own laundry detergent, because chances are you already have nearly everything you need on hand!

diy powdered dishwasher detergent for hard water


Monday, November 12, 2012

Head Wrap Crochet Pattern (Free!)

This is the head wrap pattern I developed as a base for our Loopy Flower. It's a basic pattern you can make and embellish with any crocheted accent you'd like. I plan on making a bunch of these for my friends and family as gifts this holiday season. Everybody act surprised!

loopy flower crochet headband pattern

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chunky Bow Headband, a Free Beginner Crochet Pattern

chunky crochet headband with bow

I whipped up this headband to match the chunky circle scarf I had previously made, and to coordinate with the little girl's cowl scarf.  This is another super simple beginning project that looks so much more impressive then the small amount of work it takes to make one!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Loopy Flower, a free crochet pattern!

loopy flower crochet pattern

We have been experimenting with a new crocheted flower that's a little bit different than the traditional rose or five petal flower we normally use.  We thought we'd pass along the pattern so you can make a ton of these flowers too! They're really fast and easy to do when you get the hang of it, and they really add punch to your crocheted projects.

Chunky Circle Scarf, a Free Beginner Crochet Pattern

chunky crochet circle scarf

Winter is officially upon us! It finally snowed here in our neck of the WA woods, and it's close in ID as well, so Hilary and I've been on a crocheting blitz. Nothing makes me want to crochet more then cold weather, there are so many cute things you can make for cold weather. Hats and scarves and headbands, oh my! So if over the next couple of weeks we post a lot of crochet patterns, don't be surprised.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pinterest Friday: Salt Dough Fail

On a whim yesterday, I decided to try making Salt Dough.  I had been inspired by this pin:

1/2 is your fingerprint 1/2 is his (salt clay paint) Salt Dough - 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, cold water. Mix until has consistency of play dough. bake at 250 for 2 hours, then cool and paint….good recipe for thumbprint pendants

And wanted to make some Christmas ornaments. So I grabbed some flour, some water and salt and started. Unfortunately, I didn't even think about the flour I was using. We eat gluten-free, so I used a mix of brown rice flour and tapioca flour. Most of the time, that mix of flours mimics wheat flour. However, as I mixed it, it was super crumbly.  I found some ancient wheat flour in the cupboard and added it.  I pulled out the dough and tried to roll it out.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Real Mommy Outfit #2: Painting Playgroup

This is what I wore last week to a playgroup that involved four year olds painting trees:


I will admit that in retrospect the white cardigan was not my smartest choice. What you can't see is the orange paint smeared on my left sleeve. Thankfully it was the back of my sleeve which you can't see! This is another variation on my fall formula of dress/tunic over leggings plus a cardigan. It's a cute, comfy outfit, and I felt pretty fly. Minus the orange paint! But hey, I'm a mom. Orange paint is part of the fall uniform.

The other fly thing about this outfit is that it's 90% thrifted! This is my favorite dress right now, and it cost me a whopping $3.99. The whole outfit cost me less then $20, total. Including the shoes.

I also want to say something about these gold Bass flats. I picked these up at a thrift store for $4.99 two years ago. They were brand new and have been my favorite shoes since then. They are the comfiest things ever and seem to magically go with everything!

Now that I've raved about my shoes, here is what I really looked like most of the day:


My gorgeous daughter was pouty because she wanted to go play and do anything other then have her picture taken, and The Dude was (as always) eating various parts of my clothing. Life is good.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whip-It-Up Wednesday: Remixed Caprese Salad!

In honor of election day, I am adding a salad that is red, white and green (blue is a tough color to put in salad)!  I am obsessed with basil (see my pesto recipe here), so of course I love Caprese salad.  Big chunks of mozzarella, tomatoes and my favorite herb - basil!  Yum!  
(Normal Caprese Salad - tasty, but fairly complicated to serve)


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Reusing Old Containers

I am by nature a pack rat, and I absolutely hate to throw anything away that could be used again. My husband is even worse! I also love organization, and I love cheapness. To make the best of all these tendencies I like to re-use old plastic, glass and cardboard containers in creative ways around our house. It feels kind of silly to write about this, but I know that by re-using these things and not needing to run out and buy storage containers we've saved a lot of money. They might not be pretty, but they work and they're free!

Yogurt containers are one of my favorites. We loooove yogurt containers in our house. They have so many uses! This spring my husband saved all our yogurt containers for a month and planted his garden seedlings in them. We also use the bigger ones to hold paint and brushes when we paint rooms in our house. But this is their most common use, freezer storage of soup:

Creative ways to reuse plastic containers for organization


Good morning!

Happy Tuesday to all of the wonderful people who have stopped by our blog!  Jessica and I have been brainstorming tons of great posts that we can share with you all!  November and December can be wonderful months full of great holidays and food.  But they can also be expensive and sometimes stressful.  We have a bunch of posts coming up with great ideas, crafts and recipes to inspire you over the next few months.

Just a quick sneak peek...


  • We will be doing an awesome week of freezer meals.  Tasty ones, cheap ones and holiday-inspired ones (so you know how to make post-Thanksgiving turkey into something wonderful).
  • Struggling to find cheap but thoughtful Christmas gifts?  We will be sharing our favorite gifts and ways to avoid awkward Christmas scenarios ("Aunt Barbara's invited me to a last minute cookie exchange and my cupboard's almost empty!").
  • We are sooo grateful for all of you who've stopped by.  When we hit 1,000 page views, we will be having a giveaway, so check back often!
  • Plus lots of fun and quick recipes and posts about homemade dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent and other ways to save money around the house.


If you have any ideas or suggestions for posts, please comment and let us know and happy election day!

~Hilary and Jessica

Monday, November 5, 2012

What We're Loving Right Now....

I love seeing what other bloggers and friends are inspired by.  So often the best way to find out new projects or interesting crafts is to ask what other people are finding on the internet or creating themselves.

We thought we'd reciprocate and share the things we are into right now. So here's what we're craving, crafting and wearing!

What We're Craving


Hilary: Coconut-Almond Muffins.

Coconut Almond Muffins. Photo by pammyowl


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Frightening to Fantastic: A Thrift Store Dress Makeover

I found this dress at a thrift store, and I loved the external zipper and racer back detail with an exposed zipper, as well as the fabric and the general shape. The problem? It was from probably 1992. It was really, weirdly long (was this length ever flattering on anyone?) and a little too big in the waist.

Refashioning a thrift store dress for women

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pinterest Friday: GAK!

Does anyone else remember Gak from back in the early '90's? I used to be so grossed out by the stuff, but my little brother loved it. Well it turns out that, according to Pinterest, Gak isn't hard to make. And apparently it's a real crowd pleaser for the preschool age. So my daughter and I decided to test out a recipe!

Here is the original inspiration from Simply Kierste:



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Use for your Homemade Baby Oatmeal

My Dude is to the point where he gets really angry at me if I dare to try and feed him with a spoon. You can almost hear him screaming "MOM! I DO IT MYSELF!" Sadly, what I actually hear is "Aaauuuuuugh! Aauuuuuuuuuunnnnnh!" Punctuated by loud furious banging on his high chair tray.

It's hard though. The Dude is only seven months old! The finger foods that are safe for his age are all really slimy and hard to grab for a baby who is still developing his pincher grasp. Heck, things like bananas and avocados are hard for me to pick up sometimes! So today I decided to try an old trick I used when my daughter was a baby. It's super handy for this age of baby.

I cut up a banana into tiny chunks:

homemade baby oatmeal-covered bananas

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