Friday, February 27, 2015

Delicious Ideas For Diversity In The Kitchen

How do you plan meals for a member of the family that eats meat and members of the family that do not? This can be quite perplexing when sitting down to plan the menu. But with some helpful ideas, menu planning will become less stressful.

vegetarian and meat stuffed peppers

Last night we had stuffed green peppers. Two of the peppers were stuffed with the traditional hamburger, rice, and tomato sauce ingredients. The other green pepper was stuffed with black beans, rice, and tomato sauce. Same meal, different ingredients.
(Disclaimer- I also follow a gluten free diet)

To help ease the anxiety of trying to please everyone- 

  • Start simple
  • Search through cookbooks and online recipes
  • Research what others share in their menu plans

Start Simple

When I speak of starting simple, I mean to start with simple recipes such as pizzas, spaghetti, and a mac and cheese dinner. 

For example-
  • Pizza- use Boboli for one pizza, just as an example, there are a wide variety of pizza crusts to choose from, and a gluten free pizza crust for another. My husband likes sausage on his pizza. I cook his sausage and gather together and get my vegetables cut up and ready to go. Spread on the pizza sauce, add your desired toppings and place in the oven. A dinner that both of you will love.
  • Spaghetti- while your spaghetti sauce is slowly simmering, cook the hamburger. Cook your spaghetti noodles in two different pans (one for gluten free) thus avoiding cross contamination. When noodles are ready, drain and place back in the separate pans. Divide the spaghetti sauce in half, and add to the noodles. Also, add in your cooked hamburger to one pan of noodles. Simmer. Allow noodles to soak up the sauce. Serve with a side salad.
  • Stuffed peppers- see picture above

Cookbooks

Searching through cookbooks will help you discover some new ideas. Vegetarian cookbooks are great place to start. Find a recipe that sounds appealing to you. For your significant other, add ground hamburger, chicken, or sausage to the same recipe. They will be happy and you will be able to try new recipes.

Online ideas

When I am researching online for ideas, I search through You Tube videos and blog posts. Last night, I discovered an idea for another dinner. Quesadillas with a side of nachos. Can't wait to try this.

Now to you-

Please share with us how you prepare dinners in your home when one of you is a vegetarian and the other is not.


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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Etiquette Tips For Lipstick Stains on Glassware

You find the most beautiful red lipstick for Friday night dinner with friends. You are having laughs and drinks. You take a sip and there it is... the dreaded lipstick stain. Dun. Dun. Dun. How do you address this situation. Do you wipe it off?



Real Simple Etiquette Tips suggest:


Ideally you should be focused on having fun and being sociable, not doing maintenance on your glass after every sip. I wouldn’t go to any crazy lengths to avoid something that’s not such a cardinal sin. And for those who will say it’s the equivalent of your panty-lines showing, I say: Oh, relax and have another drink!



—Julie Rottenberg


So, if you are at a dinner party, do not worry about cleaning your glass after taking each sip. Enjoy spending time with friends. I am sure you are not the only girl leaving lipstick stains.

Ok, now have you heard of this lipstick tip?


"If you lick the rim of the glass you're about to drink from, it will keep the lipstick from coming off onto the glass and will leave you with perfect lipstick. To-go coffee cups are definitely still a work in progress though!" Sofia

I will be trying this trick in the privacy of my own home. If I had not heard of this tip and spotted someone licking their glass...

Let us know-

Have you tried this tip in public and how do you lick your glass with grace?


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Greeting Card Dashboards For Your Spiral Bound Planner

Creating personalized, laminated dashboards has never been easier. The most difficult aspect of this project is deciding which beautiful greeting card to use. I searched for and found two of my favorite birthday cards given to me by my husband and son. I then laminated and added repositionable tabs to the cards. Now, when I open my spiral bound daily planner, I have sweet reminders from my loved ones.

recycled greeting card dashboards

For this project you will need-

1 or more greeting cards
A laminator machine or self adhesive, laminate sheets
Scissors or paper trimmer
Repositionable tabs
1/8 paper punch


First, cut the greeting card to your desired size.


The greeting card above has a beautiful pink color on the back.


I wanted my son's sweet message to show. I glued the back of the front of the card to the back of the card. The preferred sides would show when glued and laminated together.


I placed the cards on the self adhesive, laminated sheets per the instructions and carefully brought the two sheets together. With the ball of my hand, I pressed the sheets together and smoothed out the bubbles.


Using my paper trimmer, I cut the laminated cards leaving just enough lamination to keep the cards sealed in place.



Next, I added repositionable tabs to the side of the card. To see how to create these tabs, click here. I did cut the tabs in half, placing one at the top of the card and the other half at the bottom of the card. This made the card stable in the planner.


I now have a place to stick my "to buy notes" and a reminder of a birthday message from my son.

Now to you-

What have you laminated for your planners lately?


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Monday, February 23, 2015

Gluten Free Dipped Cookies

Take an ordinary gluten free, sandwich cookie, dip in candy melts, and add some green sugar, you have a very quick St. Patrick's Day delight. I will take you through three easy steps to recreate these treats.

gluten free dipped cookies

Ingredients you need:

Gluten free sandwich cookies
Green candy melts
Green decorative sugar

gluten free cookies

Instructions:

Remove cookies from the box and have ready to dip.

In a double broiler, when the top bowl is hot, add your candy melts. Stir constantly till candy is melted.


Dip half the cookie in the melted candy.


Sprinkle the candy sugar on to the dipped cookie.

Allow to cool and harden. Place in an air tight container. 

There you have it, a quick and easy treat ready for St. Patrick's Day.



Now to you-

What are your favorite St. Patrick's Day food?



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Friday, February 20, 2015

Dairy Free Herb Cheese Filled Tomatoes

These bite sized, herb cheese stuffed tomatoes are a quick, easy appetizer for any party. With just a few simple ingredients you can create a melt in your mouth treat that will please your party guests.

This recipe required that we use cherry tomatoes. So, I went to my local grocery store and picked up two containers of the aforementioned ingredient. The cherry tomatoes looked ripe and ready to use for my recipe. As I looked at the tomatoes, I thought to myself, "How in the world am I supposed to get a spoon in to these tiny tomatoes? They are the size of a quarter?" 

Now, as I am starting to hyperventilate, because cooking is a tiny bit stressful for me, I noticed a package of tomatoes on a low shelf. These tomatoes looked small enough to use for an appetizer, yet large enough to insert a spoon. "Whew," I thought to myself, "Crisis diverted." In a picture below, the name of the tomatoes that I so happily discovered is on the package.

dairy free cream cheese herb filled tomatoes

Ingredients you will need:

20 small tomatoes
1 8 oz. dairy free cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon almond milk
1 teaspoon dried chives or 1 tablespoon fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 black pepper 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

cream cheese stuffed tomatoes

Directions:

Slice a thin layer off top of each tomato. Using a small spoon, scoop out and discard pulp. Invert tomatoes; drain on paper towels.


For filling, in a small bowl combine cream cheese, chives, milk, basil, pepper, and garlic powder. Beat until smooth. I used a spoon. Spoon or pipe the filling into tomatoes. I used a sandwich bag and piped the filling into the tomatoes.


Serve immediately or serve chilled. I tried the tomatoes immediately after I made the recipe. They were very good. Then, I placed them in the refrigerator and allowed them to chill. I did prefer the chilled tomatoes. 

I did taste test a small bite of the filling. While the cream cheese was delicious, I wanted more chives added to the cream cheese. So, to get the desired taste, I basically doubled the dry ingredients. I did prefer the addition of the herbs.

I adapted this recipe from my favorite cook book. The cook book can be found here.

Now to you-

What is your favorite appetizer to prepare?


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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Change From A No Reply Blogger With These Simple Steps

I published this post last year. Since that time, I have used this blog post 3 times to change my status from a no reply blogger. I want to share how to change from a no reply blogger for new bloggers. Also, because I need a refresher course myself at times. I would check to make sure that this function is still active each time you back up your blog. 

Change your no reply blogger status

When you comment on a blog post, your email is not attached to the comment. When this happens, the writer who replies to your comment has no place to send their reply to you.This occurs because you have not checked a box in the blogger profile section in the blog setup. In a few short steps, I will show you how to change your no reply blogger status.


no-reply blogger

First, go to a page in your blogger design form. For example, your layout page, just as long as you see your profile picture in the upper right hand corner. Then click on the gear tool.


no-reply blogger

Click on the Revert to Blogger profile

no-reply blogger

Click on the orange bar - Switch to a limited Blogger profile

no-reply blogger

This will send you to a page where you need to choose the name to display on your profile.
Enter your name and click the continue to blogger orange button.

no-reply blogger

This will take you back to your profile page, click on the triangle button next to your name.

no-reply blogger

Hover over the Blogger profile, this will become underlined, click on the underlined profile.

no-reply blogger

This will take you to your edit profile page. Click the orange edit profile button.

no-reply blogger

The, show my email address box, will not be checked, check that box. Make sure you have your correct email address in the red circle.
Scroll down.

no-reply blogger

Enter your email address in the email box. Behind username should be your email address also. I just erased mine for this blog post.

no-reply blogger

Scroll down and click on the save profile orange button.

no-reply blogger


Click on the (view updated profile)

no-reply blogger

This will take you back to edit profile (again) Click on the orange edit profile button.

no-reply blogger

Scroll down and click Cancel.

The next steps apply only if your Blogger blog is attached to Google +.

no-reply blogger

This will take you back to your Blogger profile page. Click on the gear button.

no-reply blogger

Click on the Connect to Google +

no-reply blogger

The Blue box will be unchecked, check that box, then click the Switch Now orange button.

no-reply blogger

Click the orange Add Blogs button and you are finished.
When commenting on blogger comments, check the notify me box in the bottom right corner in the comment section.

These are the steps I used to become a reply blogger. I hope this helps. If you have any information that will help or add to the steps, please let me know in the comments below.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Local Health Food Store Haul

Today, I stopped by my local health food store. We do not live near a Trader Joe's or a Whole Food grocery store. The closest store is 3 hours away. However, we do have a wonderful "Mom and Pop" health food store in our town. Last night, before I published this blog post, I was watching a favorite You Tuber share her Trader Joe's haul. At the end of her video she shared, "And if you don't have a Trader Joe's, I'm sorry that you don't have a Trader Joe"s." I laughed so hard. The timing was impeccable for this post.

I enjoy watching You Tube videos in which people share their grocery store hauls. Even though I am not able to trade at the popular chain stores, I can find some items, locally, at my hometown store. 

Here are a handful of items that I purchased.

health food haul


I was most excited to find this daiya dairy free cream cheese. I have searched for this product at the grocery store with no luck. Now, I am able to try a few new recipes, substituting cream cheese for the dairy free cream cheese. 

The Snapea Crisps were another surprise find. I had received these tasty treats in a Love With Food box. However, I could not find these in my grocery store either. They are very good and crisp just as the bag states. Let's just say, I did not share.

I have seen the sibu beauty sea buckthorn seed oil in many You Tube videos stating that the product worked well for them. I can not wait to try this oil.

Many You Tube videos share how much they like Andalou Natural products. So, I purchased the shampoo and conditioner.


This is a repurchase of the XyliWhite toothpaste. This toothpaste has a gel consistency and leaves your teeth feeling clean and minty.

The Organic Raw Kombucha bottled drink is a new purchase. I am excited to try this.

The sovereign silver is another repurchase. During the winter months my husband and I get dry cuticles that peel. We apply this gel ointment and the wounds heal quickly.

Of course, I could not leave the store without buying some gourmet coffee. This time the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle sounded worth a try.

 Now to you-

Have you tried any of these items?




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Monday, February 16, 2015

Why Do Bloggers Quit?

Recently, when I linked up to a blogger party, I noticed many new blogger faces. Then, I recognized, maybe, a handful of bloggers faces from parties that I attended last year. What happened? Where did everyone go? 




So, I did some searching and I discovered a few statistics. According to this 2009 article appearing in, The New York Times

"According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled."

"Others simply tire of telling their stories. “Stephanie,” a semi-anonymous 17-year-old with a precocious knowledge of designers and a sharp sense of humor, abandoned her blog, Fashion Robot, about a week before it got a shoutout in the “blog watch” column of The Wall Street Journal last December. Her final post, simply titled “The End,” said she just didn’t feel like blogging any more. She declined an e-mail request for an interview, saying she was no longer interested in publicity."

When I Googled blogging and quitting, I discovered Allison Barrett Carter discussing a very popular blog that recently decided to stop writing and contributing to their blog. 

Allison wrote, "There is a huge trend I am noticing, now, towards disconnecting, unplugging.  It feels as though after years of spastically and enthusiastically embracing ALL that social media has to offer, we are now regretting that decision and trying to take steps back.  We want to reclaim our lives.  I struggle with this myself.  I want my life but love the career and open doors social media gives me.  So I haven’t quit. Yet."

I did notice that she included that word, yet, at the end of her paragraph.

Convert with Content wrote an article detailing, Why blogging is still killing it-Stats and facts about blogging. Number 28 was intriguing:

28. More than two-thirds of bloggers have not updated their blogs in over a year. (Source: Blogging.org)

Yes, blogging is difficult. Blogging requires hard work and dedication. Finding content to write about week after week is stressful. The questions alone can be daunting. Do you use Wordpress or Blogger? How many times a week do you need to blog? Do you allow comments or not? How do you handle mean comments? The list goes on...

Do you throw in the towel because of this? Or is there another reason?

Some bloggers quit because:

  • Some become too busy with everyday life
  • Some quit because of lack of reader interest
  • Some graduate to another form of social media example: Twitter or Instagram
  • Some want to reclaim their personal privacy

Many bloggers write blog posts explaining how to grow your traffic and give advice about blog tactics. Most of the time the final tip or trick they offer is just to keep blogging. 

However, according to Number 28, many bloggers just pull the plug. 

Now to you-

I pose this question to readers of this blog post, "What motivates you to continue to post and produce content on your blog?"




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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Signs That Your Cat Might Have An Addiction

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we have two cats who allow us to live in their house. 



Yes, this is Charlie in gray and Callie the Tortoise Shell. They each have their own personalities. And they are ornery beyond belief. We would not have it any other way.

Charlie absolutely loves cat nip. So, I was wondering if maybe he might be addicted. Here is a video I discovered, explaining the 8 signs of cat additions. 




What a fantastic video. Now I know. Yes, he is addicted.

If you have cats in your household, you totally understand this mug.

We are extremely attached to our cats. Without knowing all of the statistics, we understand what a de-stresser it is to hold and pet your cat. Charlie loves to be carried around the house like a baby and his body warmth and purring helps to relieve a stressful day.

According to a study published in the January 2009 issue of the "Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology," owners of kitties had a reduced chance of dying from a stroke or heart disease. So not only does spending time with your furry friend, including petting her, have psychological benefits, but also physical ones, too.

Our cats bring us great joy and we know that they love us too.


Now to you-

What does your cat do that is extremely entertaining?




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