Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Meat Grinder

Or should I say my meat grinder attachment.  For my birthday this year, I asked for a Kitchen Aid meat grinder attachment.  Having watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on hulu has been eye-opening to say the least.  I WISH that I could afford to purchase all my groceries through a co-op, Farmer's Market or Whole Foods.  Since that is not an option, I decided that I could take a small step by grinding some of my own meat in order to avoid added water and chemicals and "sludge" (aka fatty parts, bone, cartiledge).
Bed Bath & Beyond's price was $49.99 and with my 20% off coupon, I paid $40.  T & I made our first recipe on Monday, just something I created in my head.  It turned out pretty good!  As usual, my measurements are not precise as I throw a little of this & that in the bowl, but these are a rough estimate.

Tex Mex Chicken Meatballs
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chilled & cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
2 canned chipotles (in adobo sauce)
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 cup masa
2 eggs
Adobo seasoning or garlic powder
Sea salt

Alternately grind chicken breast, chipotles & onion with coarse grind.  After all ground, change blades and process half of the mixture through the fine grind.  Add both course & fine grind mixtures together.  Add eggs, breadcrumbs, masa, about 2 tsp. adobo and 1 tsp. sea salt.  If mixture still feels too wet, add some more masa.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9 x 13" pan with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil.  Using large scoop, form meatballs a bit larger than golf ball.  Place in  pan and cover with foil.  Bake about 30-40 minutes.  Check that they are cooked through and let cool with foil covering.  I froze half and the other half I used to make lettuce wraps.

We wrapped a meatball in a huge Romaine leaf with a bit of Queso Fresco tucked inside.  A slice of avocado or dollop of guacamole would be fantastic, too.

The fat content is super low on these & they are really flavorful.  My husband says they are excellent.  But then again, he says that about pretty much any food, so probably not the best critique;) 

Love my husband!  Soo glad that he is not a picky eater.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Birthday Fun

The sun always shines on June 26th!!  In all seriousness, I cannot recall a birthday with cloudy skies and this is my 38th b-day.  Today was beautiful, sunny and not too hot and humid.  After church, I took a nap (best gift ever!) and later we went to the Promenade to walk around with the boys.  My passenger side window was malfunctioning so we stopped at my parent's house to check on it.  It was nice to spend time there and the boys loved playing games with their Grandma. 
At 7pm, we started home and I decided to make an impromptu dinner: pizza croissants.  We slathered sauce and sprinkled Mozzarella on split croissants and broiled.  It was really simple and good, but not so healthy. 

Sold stuff on etsy that I need to prep for shipping tomorrow. 

Here are some pics from yesterday night when my sister's family & my dad joined us for pizza, salad and a trek to the DG Rotary Fest.

Charlie loved the classic car ride and was quite upset when Daddy took him off.  T, C, R & I riding on the "hot air balloon" ride.  Daredevils only need apply; I & R bravely had their hands up most of the time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Big Old Storm

These are the massive roots that you are looking at!  The tree fell into neighbor's yard & spared my tomatoes:)

North side of yard above

My favorite pine tree, toppled.

We were struck by a monstrous storm last night and the damage is unbelievable.  At my parent's home right now until we get power.  Will post pics.  3 massive trees were completely pulled up by the roots in our yard and the power lines are on the ground.

Despite the mess, we are so grateful that our home was spared.  We also feel honored that we can be a blessing to our neighbors. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tea Dye Fail, Sprinkle and Soccer

Well, not much to say about the tea dye.  It actually looked pretty decent, but the dark spots on the shoulders (realized from a hanger) still showed.  And I decided to do a tie dye effect in dark chocolate.  In my haste to remove the rubber bands to see the results, I accidentally cut a hole in the dress.  Oops.  At least it was only a $1.50 "experiment".

T's soccer season is over and it was a fun year.  They placed 1st in their division.  Here is T, C and T's best friend.  It has been such a blessing to form friendships with all the wonderful families on the team.

The annual Wilton sale is over.  The boys went with me and we got our usual haul: meringue powder, cello bags, parchment & some sprinkles.  When we came home I organized my sprinkle stash and decided to use a vintage spice rack to make a cute display.  After I yanked the spice rack from my etsy site (it cost me $4! at the thirft store), I cleaned the bottles in hot, soapy water.  After they dried, T & I used a funnel to fill with sprinkles.  It looks darling on the counter and will serve its purpose well.

VBS went really, really well.  It was a wonderful week and I was surprised at how much fun I had.  My craft room ladies were the best!  14 children made a decision for Christ and I think we made every child feel loved and safe.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tea Dying

Now that VBS is over, I am excited to "officially" start summer with my boys.  T had an excellent report card so we celebrated by going to the A&W.  He loves the corn dog nuggets and smothering his fries in malt vinegar.  We were the only people in the restaurant so it was relaxing and a nice night out.
My etsy business is picking up.  It's so fun to field questions from buyers and research items.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me the passion for nostalgic "stuff"-I get to make some rag money & have fun, too.  Tonight I posted some high end shoes and started to work on a cream colored dress that I found.

The dress was a bargain at $1.50, marked down from $3.  There was a small yellow spot on the front that I was able to easily remove at home (thank you, Tech stain remover!).  After putting it on Irene, I noticed that there were two square shaped dark spots on both shoulders.  Not sure what they are, but was debating as to whether I should bleach the dress or not. 

Then I had an idea to tea stain the dress.  For years I have been wanting to try this and $1.50 was not a steep gamble. 

Here's the pot.  There are about 10 tea bags in there.  Not sure why it looks purple?

Here is the once-white dress.  Will post the "results" tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It's on!

Today was day #2 of Pandamania VBS at church. So far it has been a fantastic 2 days. I am so grateful for the many workers that have come to help: moms, grandmas, dads, grandpas, teens....we are a motley crew!

Woke up with chills, aches and what feels like a sinus infection. Grateful for Tylenol and Mucinex. Will post recipes, garden pics, and more vintage finds after our busy week is over.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Recycled Wrappings

Recycled curtains from my Grandma's old house, chiffon rose made from old nightgown & wooden button. I think it is a book that I wrapped??

This is probably a purse. Used old toile upholstery fabric, topped off with a satin flower I made by burning edges.

Quick post.
Do I love to wrap pretty packages for my etsy customers? Yes!!

Tonight I wrapped the purple & gray package-a vintage aluminum 3 tiered cake carrier-in recycled jersey material. I sewed a fabric bag and popped on a big old flower.

The tan & blue package is two milk glass plates that I am shipping tomorrow. Some of my old cashmere sweaters had seen better days so I used them for mitten lining and wrapping. I had enough blue cashmere scrap to fashion a wee rose to fasten onto striped ribbon.

I hope my customers feel like they are getting a special gift!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


When we stumbled onto a primitive butter press in my Grandma's cellar, it conjured up all kinds of images for me....mostly of my Grandma pressing big mounds of butter with a pretty flower design. When we took it to the nursing home, she instantly recognized the press, saying that she and Mrs. McQ (her neighbor) would make the flower impressions on 1 pound of butter.

Where am I going with this....

This past weekend I had the honor of offering a short devotional at my sweet friend's baby shower. She has two boys, both brought across the world into their mom & dad's arms here. Frankly, I have no advice to give because I feel like I am in the trenches of mommyhood right alongside her. But I do know of the best guidebook in the whole world...God's Truth, the Bible.

Deuteronomy 6:5-8 is a favorite passage of mine and I memorized it a couple years ago to remind me of what my requirements are in bringing up my boys.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols to your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

Let's break this down in practical mommy terms and I will share what I think God is speaking to me:

1) I am to IMPRESS these commands on my children. Much like that butter mold, the harder I press, the deeper the mark.

In order to impress them, I need to talk about them:

2) When you sit at home....when we sit at the dinner table, when we have family time.

3) When you walk along the road....when we are walking to downtown DG or just around the block, share God's amazing creation and handiwork.

4) When you lie down...each night spending time tucking in, praying with and speaking quietly to the boys. Some of my best talks with Tman are during this time-he feels free to share his heart.

5) When you get up...Before your feet hit the ground, talk to God about your day. Better start than coffee.

Hopefully, this encourages you. It has been a busy but wonderful weekend. The boys fell into bed exhausted from sun and playing in the sprinkler. My neighbor brought over a beautiful bouquet of red & white peonies in a pretty vase-she remembered that they are my favorite flower.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Apparently, I am not too busy to blog. C & I are waiting for nephew "I" to come play for the day while my sister Jill helps at my niece's school. The boys will "help" me run some errands, maybe we will see if Grandpa wants to go to lunch?
My schedule is very, very, very full.
For anyone that assumes stay at home moms eat bon bons all day long, here is my weekend:

-Prepping Dinner
-Pack T's suitcase
-T's soccer game
-Drop T off to see his father (coming in for visit)
-Mow lawn
-Baby shower (fun part!!)
-Write R12 curriculum for 1st-6th graders
-Set up for children's ministries at church
-Pick up T man
-Teach 1st-4th Sunday school
-Teach Jr. church
(*I don't always do this, but some teachers are on vacation)
-Get T's stuff ready for spring fair (Hawaiian theme)
-Prep etsy stuff for sale-(exceeding my goals-woohoo!)
-Call VBS helpers

Just telling a friend that I am not feeling too stressed about any of this. I have really been working hard about choosing to be content & not grumbling. That said, I am not always successful but am making baby steps.

Philippians 2:14
Do everything without arguing or grumbling.

Even if you do not subscribe to the belief that God's Word is your guidebook, this verse is so helpful.