Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Healthy food on the cheap and a month without meat

You know I'm all about finding good bargains, right?  Well, allow me to share today's special deals.  First, I'd like to remind you about Big Lots.  I think most people are tempted to believe it's just another discount store with a bunch of junk.  And, truth be told, they have a descent amount of junk in their inventory.  But do not overlook the food.  Big Lots actually has a pretty impressive selection.  I hadn't been in a while, so I decided to stop by today and see what treasures I could find.  I was not disappointed!

These are all high quality, mostly brand name, food items that would go for as much as two times the amount I paid for them at Big Lots.  They have a huge selection of Bob's Red Mill items that is constantly changing.  Last year I bought a ton of gluten free pizza dough mix for around $2.00 each.  That's less than half of retail.  Today I picked up a bag in Unbleached Unbromated White Flour for $2.70 and Veggie Soup Mix for $3.50.  Score!
In addition to the Bob's Red Mill items, I bought extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, 2 cans of coconut milk, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 2 Good n Natural bars, a bag of plantain chips, whole wheat macaroni, and organic whole wheat farfalle pasta.  The grand total came to $24.65.  You guys!  That's such a huge savings for these typically pricey items.

Speaking of food, my husband and I have decided to go the entire month of April without meat.  We're really excited!  The idea is that it will force us to find more meat-free and healthy recipes for the long term.  The amount of meat that the typical American eats is unnecessary and unhealthy.  We'd like to see what we can do to find healthier sources of protein and incorporate more vegetables into our diet.

So tonight for dinner I had the most delicious salad.  I've made this salad several times and I can't get enough.

It's simple and nutritious.  The salad includes spinach, garbanzo beans, shelled edamame, carrots, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.  Try it.  You won't regret it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homemade granola bars

Store-bought granola bars are expensive and most are full of junk.  Don't be fooled by the title "granola."  Most are full of sugar and have very little nutritional value.  I love having nutritious snacks on hand so I was very excited when I came across the following recipe.  These granola bars are filling, all natural, and cheaper than store-bought.

You'll need 1/2 cup of peanut butter or almond butter
1/3 cup of honey (I used raw honey here, but it's not necessary)
1/4 coconut oil
1 cup of quick cooking oats
1 cup of extras (raisins, nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, etc.)

In this batch I used raisins and flax seeds.  I often use raisins and shelled, roasted sunflower seeds.

Start by melting the nut butter, honey, and oil together in a pan.

Stir continually to make sure it mixes well.

Once the nut butter, honey, and oil are mixed, add the oat and extras and mix well.

Press into an 8x8 dish and cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Maybe two.

Once it's completely cooled, cut into bars.  You can make them as small or as large as you'd like.  I cut 9 bars.

I wrap my granola bars in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator.  

There is one tricky thing about these granola bars; they need to stay cool.  They get kind of melty and messy when they're left out for a while.  Otherwise I have no complaints.  I absolutely love these granola bars.  They're delicious and and really easy to make.

I realize with the nut butter and the coconut oil, there is a high fat content.  Let me take a moment to caution you against your fear of fat.  Fat, in and of itself, is not bad.  Also, fat does not make you fat.  Sugar makes you fat.  The fat in these granola bars is healthy fat (as long as you're using natural nut butter).  Coconut oil is wonderful for you.  Also, if you're eating a generally nutritious diet with plenty of vegetables, having one of these granola bars as a snack should not be a concern.

What's great about these bars is that they are full of protein, healthy fat, and fiber so they fill you up with things your body can use and will keep you full much longer than store-bought sugar bars.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Lazy scarf

Does anybody remember this dress?

Well, to get it to that length I had to cut off a few inches.  I just cut a big circle and kept it for several months.

Then one day this happened:

Ta da!  Easiest scarf I ever made.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I recently took a trip to the ever-gorgeous Anthropologie.  I went with a friend, of course.  As lovely as their clothes are, I just can't imagine spending the money.  While I was there I saw some beautiful tops that got my creative wheels turing.

The third blouse is the one that really caught my eye because I'd recently purchased a striped t-shirt and thought I could make something similar happen.

It wasn't much to begin with.  Just a regular old stripey t-shirt.  I bought it for $1.25 at a thrift store.

The first step was to remove the pocket and turn it into two strips to be used to add some interest to the sleeves.

Then I used some black lace that I got in the remnant's bin at Joann and laid it out on the shirt.

I carefully pinned the lace to the shirt, sewed around the edges, and trimmed the excess.

What do you think?  I'd say it turned out quite nicely.

I wore this outfit to see The Hobbit with my husband and our friends.  Afterward we ate some amazing hamburgers.  Just thought it was worth mentioning :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dresser makeover

As promised, I have another baby's room project to share with you.

Almost every piece of furniture in the baby's room was donated to us by our amazing friends.  This dresser was a welcomed addition because we needed a dresser before we could be certified as foster/adoptive parents.

It's a nice, sturdy dresser in great condition.  My only issue is that I like things to have a bit of pizzaz!  I knew immediately that I wanted to paint this guy.

I've actually never painted a large piece of furniture before and it was much more work than I anticipated.

I began by priming the entire unit.

I removed all the knobs and removed the drawers and put primer on everything that would be visible.

Then I painted the whole thing yellow!  I started to stress out when I began painting because I could still see the white primer through the paint.  Then I remember I can paint another coat.  Duh!  So after the first coat of paint dried, I started on the second.  The entire project took me about 5 hours because, including the primer, I basically had to paint the dresser three times.

But let me tell you friends, it was totally worth the time and effort.

I am in love with this dresser.  It's exactly what I wanted.

Rather than using the plain knobs it came with, I added this lovely hardware that I picked up on sale at World Market. 

Now that we have our crib and dresser, we just need a baby!
This kid already has cooler bedroom furniture than my husband and I have.  In fact, I think this is my favorite room in the house.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cloud Parade

I'd like to introduce you all to an absolutely genius idea.  Please watch this brief video and find out about an exciting new development in wedding planning.

Amazing, right?!  You want to know the most exciting part for me???  I have a shop on Cloud Parade!  

I'll be selling my jewelry and hair accessories to creative and interesting brides.  

The website launches soon!  I'll be sure to update you!

Monday, November 26, 2012