Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful

Source
Happy pre-Thanksgiving to those in the US that are celebrating!  Tomorrow Dude and I are hosting (his Mom is doing most of the cooking, don't worry) about 20 people at our house, so if you could say a little prayer that all of our animals are behaving, I'd appreciate it!  Either way, I definitely will not have time to post anything, so I'm posting what I'm grateful for today. 

I am so very grateful for Dude and this conversation we had last night is just one of the many reasons:

Watching TV when The Hobbit trailer comes on
Me:  Great news about this movie, babe!
Dude:  Is this Lord of the Rings or something else?
Me:  No, it's not Lord of the Rings, it's kind of like a prequel.  Like Star Wars 1, 2, and 3.
Dude:  So it is Lord of the Rings?
Me:  No, it's about Bilbo Baggins and how he ended up getting the ring.  Frodo was his nephew.
Dude:  So it's about young Frodo?
Me:  No, his uncle.
Dude:  So it's not Harry Potter?
Me: No, not Harry Potter.
Dude:  You're going to blog about this aren't you? 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunday Morning 11.18.12

Holy crazy eventful weekend! 

Dizzy's wedding was this weekend, with the rehearsal dinner on Friday and the actual wedding on Saturday night.  We rented a hotel room on Saturday so Dude would have somewhere to get ready for the wedding and so I wouldn't be stuck being the DD like I always am!  Let's just say I stopped keeping track of the rum and Coke's I was drinking after 4...

Anyways, after brunch and checking out of the hotel, I had the joy of trying to find my car in the maze of the parking garage underneath the hotel.

By some miracle, I discovered this picture in my phone and subsequently found my car!  No clue when I took it...

Sunday Morning - Parking Spot Number

After finding my car, Dude and I came home and more or less passed out while I listened to the Hobbit soundtrack (sorry if you missed it, the post has been removed now in anticipation of the release on December 10th) -

Sunday Morning Tunes - Hobbit, Unexpected Journey Screenshot

Woke up from the nap and hung out with this little girl in the sunshine.

Sunday Morning Sunshine - Pepper & my slippers

And I don't think I took my slippers off the rest of the night...

Sunday Snuggles

Friday, November 16, 2012

One & Done: Homemade Wedding Card

Cute Junk I've Made:  Homemade Wedding Card

I'm starting a new feature here at Cute Junk called One & Done.  Any projects listed under that tag will take less than an hour to complete.  If you're looking for a quick crafting fix, that's the tag for you!  No promises on how many of these I'll upload but it's on my radar now!

Ok, so Dude's boyfriend Dizzy, (seriously, Dude had to upgrade his cell phone plan to accommodate all the talking they were doing) is getting married next week.  Dude is the best man; and this is the second-to-last of Dude's boyfriends to tie the knot; and even though the wedding is in town, we got a hotel room so we can both drink!  So this wedding is kind of big deal.

I knew I wanted to make them a special card since I used up my "You Can't Say Happiness Without Penis" card awhile ago.  I saw this super cute card in Pinterest and decided to recreate it with my own spin.

Let's get the obvious out of the way.  My dang card is backwards; and let's be honest, the dots along the bottom are so wonky, I should tell Dizzy and Danielle I was drunk when I made it to save myself the embarrassment of saying that was done under no influence at all.

Glad that's out of the way.  Don't worry, I'll tell you how to make the card so yours isn't backwards.

Ok, grab your stuff:
Homemade Wedding Card - scissors, template, ribbon glue stick, puff paint
  • Wedding Card Template from Lori Stamps
  • Scissors (a paper cutter with a scoring blade would also be helpful_
  • Glue stick
  • 3 pieces of scrapbook paper - one white fancy one, one plain black one, and one piece in a color of your choosing - it's for the bowtie.  Alternatively, you could use the black
  • One piece of white cardstock
  • Embellishments - I used a piece of grey ribbon and grey craft paint that matched the paper I picked out for the bowtie.
Here's a close-up of the paper I picked out -
Homemade Wedding Card - scrapbook paper


Ok first, cut out the pieces of the template. 

Homemade Wedding Card - stencil pieces (4)

I wanted to have my dress strapless, so if you like the straps, keep the template the way it is and skip to the next step.

I'm a complete idiot when it comes to drawing, so I cut out the dress from the template, then lined it up over top of a white piece of copy paper to get my proportions right.  Then I cut the top of the dress off at the waist and drew a half heart-looking thing where the straps used to be. 

Homemade Wedding Card - Dress stencil to strapless

Homemade Wedding Card - New strapless dress stencil


If you made a new dress stencil, cut it out.  Now we're up to speed with the rest of the class. 

Line your stencil up on your fancy white paper, trace it and cut it out. 

Then grab the weirdly shaped stencil piece and trace it onto the FRONT of your black scrapbook paper.  If you line it up on the back like you were taught in elementary school, your whole flipping card will be backwards; and if you're clueless you won't notice until the end and then be too irritated to start it all over. 

Homemade Wedding Card - Black paper stencil tracing
Stupid tracing on the back of the paper...
  Cut out that piece and line up the dress to match up with the right side of the black piece like so -
Homemade Wedding Card - dress on black paper
If you did this right, your swoopy side will be on the right, NOT the left
If you have any excess where the black and white pieces don't line up (I did), cut it off.  Then, glue the dress to the black paper.

Homemade Wedding Card - dress on black paper excess removed

Next, trace the diamond-shaped stencil onto your white cardstock.  Cut out the white diamond piece and glue it to the black paper.  I glued mine maybe a half-inch higher than the top of the dress, but do what makes you happy. 

Homemade Wedding Card - shirt stencil added

Copy the bowtie stencil onto whatever paper you're using.  In my case, I traced it onto the grey paper I bought. 

Homemade Wedding Card - bowtie stencil

I put the tie on the diamond-shaped piece and thought it looked like it was missing something.

Homemade Wedding Card - bowtie piece on shirt close up

So I freehanded a little scrap to wrap around the middle of the bowtie. 

I don't know what a bowtie looks like in real life, I'm just guessing there would be a little piece that wraps around the middle.

Homemade Wedding Card - bowtie extra piece

Homemade Wedding Card - bowtie glued on
Much better!  What is that weird turd-looking thing on the dress??
Glue your bowtie on and then it's time for the best part - embellishments!!  Here is where you can get creative.  I added buttons to the shirt part, a belt around the waist of the dress and some dots along the bottom of the dress.  If you're adding ribbon, don't forget to burn the edges!

Homemade Wedding Card - burning ribbon

I thought it was still missing a little something, so I scrounged through my scrapbook paper stash and found some cute flowers on a scrap piece and cut those out.

Homemade Wedding Card - scrap flowers

Homemade Wedding Card - Flowers on Dress

When your "bride and groom" are properly embellished, all that's left is to glue them onto a card.  You can buy blank cards at just about any craft store, or make one out of your leftover white cardstock.  I'm impatient and didn't want to run out for a blank card, so I made one out of the leftover cardstock.

Homemade Wedding Card - All together

Right about here is where I realized the whole dang card is backwards.  But, even backwards it's pretty cute, especially since it took me probably 35 minutes from start to finish to complete.

Background Noise for this Project:  Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV) - Season 1, Episode 4:  Teacher's Pet

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday Morning

Every other week Dude plays bocce with his family at the park down the street, rain or shine, hot or cold, they are out there playing.  This is a "No Girls Allowed" bocce league, so I get to sleep in and snuggle with the dogs all morning.  Win-win, I'd say since I don't particularly relish the idea of getting out from under my nice, warm covers to go stand outside in the cold and throw big balls and little balls back and forth in a giant sandbox.

Anyhow, this means that every other week, Dude is home on Sunday mornings with me and we get to make breakfast!  Since this whole gluten free shenanigans started, we've been stuck in a bit of a rut making omelettes (Blogger is saying I'm spelling that wrong and wants to substitute it with meddlesome).

Well, yesterday morning I woke up and had a craving for french toast.  So I ran to the store to pick up some GF bread and eggs while Dude started the bacon in the oven.

Sunday Morning Breakfast - french toast ingredients

I had the brilliant idea of crunchy french toast, so I smooshed up some cornflakes and honey-roasted cashews.

Sunday Morning Breakfast - Crunchy french toast, pre-skillet

Sunday Morning Breakfast - Dude and Helper
Check out the little helper hoping for some scraps! ...Pepper, not Dude.
So, Dude throws these bad boys in a skillet and approximately 14 seconds later, our house fills with smoke, the smoke alarm is going off, dogs are going nuts, and I grab the closest thing to wave the smoke away from the smoke detector - a dinner plate.

No, I don't know why I grabbed it.

Yes, I know that's probably the dumbest thing ever to use as a fan.

Why didn't I grab a cookie sheet?  They're right under the sink?  I KNOW GOSH.

Approximately 14 seconds after using my makeshift fan to save our house from burning down, I turn into the worst Mom ever and bash the plate off of Pepper's face (I didn't know she was standing behind me, I swear!).

Sunday Morning Breakfast - The "Fan" aka broken plate

Thankfully, it broke off cleanly and there were no shards of ceramic stuck in my baby girl's face, but you can bet that she got an influx of treats all day!  She didn't flinch or yelp or anything, in fact, right after I hit her, she blinked once and then went to lick the piece that broke off.

But the french toast was good!
Sunday Morning Breakfast - crunchy french toast in the skillet

And of course, no Sunday morning is complete without some good tunes.
Sunday Morning Breakfast - Tunes - William Elloitt Whitmore, Mumford & Sons

Proof that Pepper lives and is (relatively) damage free -
Sunday Morning Breakfast - Pepper & Ball

Thinking of making this Sunday Morning post a regular thing...Thoughts?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Puppy Print Memorial Frame

 
In January of this year, I said goodbye to my first dog - Sandy.  I got her when I was 13; and she was my best buddy from the first minute I met her.   Dude would always say she was my dog.  He said she got excited to see him, but whenever I came home from work, she would turn into a puppy again. 

The last year of her life was a tough one for her - she gradually stopped barking and her movements became slower; and getting up out of her bed was difficult.  But, to the end, she was always a little booger.  One time, I brought home a berry pie, ate some (right out of the pan, like a heathen!) and then left the pie on the coffee table without thinking about it.  Dude and I went out and when we came back, Sandy's entire muzzle was purple and the pie pan was licked clean!!

Another time, Dude and I bought enough pizza to feed an army, I left some on the table and this little 20-pound dog jumped onto the table, pulled one box down and ate an entire large cheese pizza by herself!

One last food story - I had a friend from Holland who brought me a box of Hagelslag.  Sounds weird, but it's essentially chocolate sprinkles that you put on toast. 

Source
Anyhow, I had the box in my work bag; Sandy pulled it out and shredded it.  I got home and there were little chocolate sprinkles EVERYWHERE.  Matted in her fur, all over the floor, on her snout, all through her bed...


I made the decision to put her down in January; and even though it was the hardest thing I've ever done, I don't regret it.  The last few months of her life, I don't think she was ever able to sit down and relax; but when I held her for the last time in the vet's office and felt her muscles finally relax, I knew I was doing the right thing.

Before we took her to the vet that night, I made two imprints of her paws with an ink pad.  I didn't know what I would do with them, but I knew I wanted some kind of remembrance of her.  Then I was browsing Pinterest a few months ago, found this,and was inspired.

Originally I planned on doing a full tutorial, but seriously, this is so simple, there's no real need for a tutorial.  But if you want to make this at home, here's what you'll need:

Puppy Print Memorial Frame - Supplies - frame, picture, pawprints, gluestick
  • A long picture frame, I got mine at Wal-Mart for $3!
  • Adhesive of some sort - a glue stick/Mod Podge/Glue Dots/whatever you have on hand
  • Either a custom mat for the frame or make one yourself out of posterboard like I did
  • Puppy prints
  • Your favorite picture of your pooch
 Once you've got all this, measure your picture and center it on your mat.  When you're happy with the placement, glue it down.

Next, cut out your puppy prints and place them on the mat as well.
Puppy Print Memorial Frame - photo and pawprints on mat

Now you've got a little dead space between the prints and the photo.  I used that to write Sandy's name and the years she was alive. 

I free-handed the lettering after finding a font I liked (it's called Bready if you're wondering) on my computer because that was easiest for me at the time.  If you are good with measuring and numbers, you could really do all of this in Photoshop and just print it out directly on your mat.

To be honest, I like the homemade feel of this and I like being able to look at those paw prints and see the actual paper she was standing on, not just printed versions of her paws. 

Anyhow, once you've got everything together on your mat (printed or glued), all that's left is to put it in the frame and hang it up!

Puppy Print Memorial Frame - Finished Product

This would also be a neat thing to put in a shadow box with your dogs collar or favorite toy or even just the tags from their collar.  For me, seeing her little paw prints is enough.  I am so thankful I was able to have the time with her before she died to get the prints. 

Background Noise for this Project:  Once Upon A Time (TV) - Episode 10: 7:15am

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt

If you follow me on Instagram (if you're not, why aren't you??), you'll know that since JULY I have been attempting to locate a pint of Haagen Dazs' Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream.  I FINALLY found one pint at Rite Aid and immediately posted this picture to my Instagram feed.



Kids, let me tell you now, this ice cream was miraculous.  It was a tastebud party in my mouth.  It was everything I was hoping for and then some.  It was something like 230 calories for a half cup serving.

It was gone in one afternoon.

So ever since my binge afternoon, I've been thinking about attempting to recreate this amazing ice cream with something that won't make me want to buy a gym membership every time I eat more than a cup.

On Sunday, the weather was garbage, I was grumpy, and I wanted something fresh and light to cheer me up so I dug up my ice cream maker and started experimenting.  This recipe is mostly my own experiment, but I did have some help from this blog.

If you're following along with me, here's what you'll need

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites, real or boxed, whatever you've got
  • 1 cup of sifted confectioners sugar (is it confectioners or confectioner?)
  • 1 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • A little over 1 cup of crushed pineapple, fresh or canned
  • 1/4c coconut flakes
If you're like my Dad and don't like coconut flakes, you could use coconut extract if such a thing exists instead of the flakes.  Or maybe grind them up in the food processor?  Whatever, I like the flakes so they're staying.

I keep the bowl of my ice cream maker in the freezer at all times because I am impatient and when I want to make ice cream I want it right. now.  If you don't keep your bowl in freezer, you'll need to freeze that bad boy for at least 24 hours.

First up, put your egg whites in a mixing bowl and mix them until they're good and frothy.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - Mixing Egg Whites

This may be the only time being frothy is good.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - close up of frothy egg whites on beater

When your egg whites are frothy, gradually add in the confectioners sugar and mix until soft peaks appear and your mixture looks kind of like gooey melted marshmallow.


Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - marshamallow-y egg whites and sugar

Now add in your yogurt and vanilla.  If you want, you can mix up the yogurt and vanilla ahead of time, but I am lazy didn't want to wash another bowl so in they went with the egg white/sugar mixture.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - Adding yogurt and vanilla

Mix up the yogurt and vanilla and then fold in the crushed pineapple.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - adding pineapple

 And the coconut.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - adding coconut

At this point, I tasted the mixture to make sure I liked the flavor.  It wasn't pineapple-y enough for me, so I added a little more crushed pineapple and some of the juice.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - mixture being poured into ice cream maker

Start up your ice cream machine and then pour the mixture into the top.  Don't pour everything into the frozen bowl and then start the machine, you will regret it.  Children will cry, balloons will pop; and brand new crayons will break in half.  Ok, probably not but it won't be fun.

From here, follow the instructions for your ice cream maker for how long you should keep it running.  I have a Cuisinart and I let mine go for 25 minutes.

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt - mixture becoming frozen yogurt

Is it just me or when you start your ice cream maker is the sound tolerable but after like 15 minutes you are ready to put in ear plugs because it is so. frickin. loud.

Anyhow, you can eat it straight out of the machine, but it will be a little runny.  If you like a firmer consistency, freeze it for a couple of hours and then eat it.

I couldn't wait!

Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt

Let me tell you guys, it is SO good!  I was a fan of the chunks of pineapple and flakes of coconut, but Dude wasn't; so next time I might try throwing everything in the food processor instead of folding in the pineapple and coconut.  

This recipe made roughly 3 cups of ice cream, so based on My Fitness Pal's calculation, this frozen yogurt comes in at only 140 calories per serving.  If you really wanted to skinny it up, you could use less sugar or even substitute Splenda for the confectioners sugar.

Nutritional Information
Calories Per Serving: 140
Carbs:  26
Fat:  2
Protein:  5

Background Music for this Project:  One Tree Hill, Season 9 - Episode 7:  Last Known Surroundings

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Favorite Granola (Bonus - It's Gluten Free!)


I first started making this granola two weeks ago when Dude and I started our Gluten Free Month.  I created a kind of frankengranola by adding elements from other granola recipes I've seen floating around; but my main inspiration came from this one.  Since then I've made it at least 4 times.  We go through it so quick!! Dude likes to eat it with almond milk, I like it on my homemade organic yogurt or with an apple dipped in almond butter.  

The best thing about this granola, and I'll probably say it three or four more times before this post is done, is that you can customize it to what you like.  The problem I've always had with granola is that more often than not, there is something I don't really like in it.  Something like slivered almonds or banana chips or purple raisins or the spices are too heavy or too light, there's always something.

But with this granola, I'll give you the ingredients I use, but if you don't like nuts or don't want flaxseed, don't add it!  If you would rather use dried raspberries and nothing else, go for it!  If you want big clumps of granola, add more maple syrup or honey.  If you hate pumpkin pie spice, but love something else, add it!  Do what you like, and preferably what only you like that way no one else will eat it!

Seriously, make this granola tonight, you won't regret it.

You'll need:
  • 1-ish tbs honey
  • 1-ish tbs real maple syrup (sampler not required, but it was all I had)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 cups quick or old fashioned oats
Everything else on this list is completely optional, if you don't like something, leave it out or switch it out with something you do like.  But from here on out we're going with what I used.
  • 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbs chia seed
  • 1 tbs flaxseed
  • 3/4 cup total of your favorite dried fruit (I used golden raisins, dried blueberries and dried cranberries, 1/4 c of each)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chocolate (I used chocolate chips because that was all I had)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened, whatever you like)
First things first, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Then, put the coconut oil in a small saucepan.  Add in the honey and maple syrup.  I usually add a little less than 1 1/2tbs because I like some clumps.  Here's what my "little less than a half" looks like.  Notice its a tablespoon - 


I've added more and I've added less honey and maple syrup and it still tastes just fine.  This recipe is very forgiving!

Whisk everything together over low heat.  While your liquids are heating up, pour your oats into a small bowl.

Why did I take a picture of this?  Oats in a bowl.
When your liquids look like this,


take them off the heat and pour them over your oats and mix to coat them with the sugary mixture. 


Pour the oats in a single layer onto a parchment lined pan (not essential, but it helps down the road) and bake them for 7 minutes.  This is what they'll look like after 7 minutes.  You can see some pieces are kind of brown, others are still white-ish.


Give the oats a good stir put them back in the oven for 5 minutes, or until they are all slightly browned.


Sprinkle your coconut, chia seeds, flaxseed and pumpkin pie spice over your browned oats, stir, and bake for 5 more minutes.  This is just to toast the coconut, so if you like your coconut flakes raw, no need to bake again.  Keep an eye on your oats to make sure they don't burn!


While your oats are baking this last time, start chopping up your dried fruit, nuts and chocolate.

 
Take the granola out of the oven once the coconut is toasted to your liking.  Mine looked like this -


Allow the granola to cool completely.  At this point, to speed to the cooling process, I normally make a giant cup out of the parchment paper and remove it from the baking sheet.  Bonus - minimal clean up!

When your granola has cooled, add the fruit, nuts and chocolate and mix well.  Here is where having the parchment cup helps.  Dump everything in and just shake!  No need to dirty another spoon!


Try some now and make sure you're happy with the spices.  If not, add more.  If you wish it didn't have spice at all, send me your leftovers!


Enjoy over milk, homemade Greek yogurt, or by itself.

Oh hai me in the spoon!