Sore Throat Soother

I don’t know what it is out here, but I seem to always wake up with a sore throat.  As the day goes on, it disappears, but it’s always there again in the next morning.  I’ve tried a multitude of things to help, from over the counter drugs to home remedies.  Today I’m going to share with you the simple drink I’ve concocted that helps sooth my sore throat.

Sore Throat Soother

None of this is rocket science, and I am sure I am not the first one to stumble upon this, but dang if it doesn’t work!  All you need to do is boil some water, mix in some honey, and drop in a slice or two of lemon and orange.  That’s it!  Drink it while it is still warm/hot.  My throat started feeling better almost immediately.  Not only is it simple, but it’s also much cheaper than any medication I could buy.  You can make multiple cups with the same fruit slices, so if you feel like you need another cup, just add more water and honey!  It also tastes pretty good, so you don’t have to worry about forcing yourself to drink it.

Hopefully my body will get used to whatever it is that is making me have this consistent sore throat, but, until then, I have this drink to help me out.

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Super Simple Headband

Today’s post was supposed to be all about a variety of headbands that are easy to make.  Unfortunately, I broke my sewing machine needle on the first sewn headband, and I need to wait until we go “into town” to buy a replacement.  Luckily for you, I still have one no-sew headband and a giveaway!

This had to have been the absolute easiest thing I have ever made.  It’s simple and turns out super cute.  Let’s start by checking out the original post, or my pin on my Crafts as Gifts board.  Following her instructions you will need:

  • elastic
  • scissors
  • felt
  • glue gun

I ended up not using the felt because I had some flowers left over from another project that I decided to use. I have made felt flowers before, though, and they are super easy-especially if you follow her directions.

headband process

All you have to do is cut the elastic (just guesstimate by wrapping it around your head), glue the ends together (making sure there are no twists), and glue your flower over the seam!  Seriously! That’s it! I waited longer for the glue gun to heat up than I did actually making the headbands!  I wished I had more elastic because it was so fun and simple!

Giveaway!

headband

How would you like the two headbands I made, plus a goodie bag of materials to make your own?  All you have to do is comment on this post, and tell me either who you want to make/give the headbands to, or where you want to wear them!  If we already have a mode of contact (email, Facebook, Twitter), then you’re done!  If not, leave me an email address so I can get in touch if you win!  The winner will be randomly selected on Monday, June 30th at 5PM Arizona time.

 

Lemon Garlic Chicken

Some days I just don’t feel like washing the dishes that go with cooking a meal.  On days like that I love a good crockpot meal or a one pan meal. I usually don’t realize it’s an “ugh! dishes!” sort of day until it’s time to cook, so by then it’s too late for the crockpot. Luckily, I came across this one pan dinner that is simple and has some of my favorite flavors. (Lemon! Garlic!) Here’s what you need:

  • chicken
  • garlic
  • lemon
  • noodles
  • chicken stock
  • parmesan cheese

Check out the original recipe here, or my pin on my Yum! Board.

Lemon Chicken

Review

I’ve made this recipe twice now.  Like I mentioned earlier, I love the flavors, so it can be hard to pass this one up. However, the second time I made this, things didn’t go as well as the first time. One of the steps in the directions is to add the noodles to the pan, cover, and let cook for 15-20 minutes.  Somehow, my noodles didn’t end up fully cooked.  It’s totally my fault, as I must have not properly arranged the noodles so they could soak up the broth and water, but it was a frustrating outcome. This also meant I had too much liquid left in the pan before the final step. So, if you decide to make this dish, be sure that all of your noodles are properly positioned so they can cook appropriately.

Also, don’t be an idiot, like I was, when removing the covering for the pan. My pan doesn’t have a lid, so I used a cookie sheet to cover it.  No big deal, right?  Except I forgot about how there would be steaming hot water droplets on the underside when I removed the “lid,” and the water definitely came off in a small river running right onto my feet.  Luckily I was wearing socks, so I didn’t get badly burned, but I did get burned.  Learn from my mistakes!

As you can see, I didn’t cut up a lemon to make my dish look pretty.  I also didn’t have any basil on hand as I don’t currently have a garden, and the store was out.  If I can get my hands on some basil, next time I make this I will certainly add it as I think the basil will add some nice flavor.

Overall, I got out of washing a zillion dishes (though I had more than I normally would so I could take that ingredient picture), and I had a delicious final product.  If these flavors appeal to you, give this recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.

 

(As a side note, my computer kept trying to correct “crockpot” to” crackpot” and I giggled each time it autocorrected.)

Coffee Syrup and Bonus Latte

 

This morning I was struggling.  I didn’t sleep well, and all I wanted to do was go back to bed.  Of course, I could do that (being a housewife has its perks), but I had a lot I wanted to accomplish today, so getting up was necessary.  Then I remembered that I had pinned a recipe for coffee syrup, and thought that it was just the thing to get me going this morning.  I made the maple vanilla version of the syrup, so I needed:

  • sugar
  • water
  • maple syrup
  • vanilla

That’s it!  Can you believe how simple this is?  You can find the original recipe here, or check out my pin on my Drinks on Me board.  Also on that board, you can find the pin for the perfect latte recipe that I followed after I made the syrup.

coffe syrupReview

This coffee syrup was SO EASY to make, and it makes a lot!  I don’t have a picture of the final product because I just put it in a vacuum sealed food jar because I didn’t have a pretty bottle, but trust.  If I had to guess, I’d think there is enough syrup to last a month. (Of course, that’s very dependent on how much syrup you decide to use each time.)  The overall cook time is around 30-40 minutes depending on how long it takes for the initial gentle boil, plus you need to allow it to cool before youput it in a jar or bottle. I didn’t feel like this was too bad, though, because it’s a low maintenance recipe.  You want to let it simmer for 15-20 minutes while stirring occasionally.  I used a kitchen timer that I set for 3 minutes.  Every 3 minutes I would check it and stir.  While I waited, I checked Facebook, Twitter, my email, etc.

On her website, the recipe author says this would be a great gift, and I agree.  I can see this being an excellent housewarming gift or hostess gift with some coffee or some mugs.  It would also be a cool shower gift.  You could make several different types and use small bottles so everyone goes home with a sampler.

After I made the syrup, I decided to follow her directions for the perfect latte.  Honestly, I only used her directions for the general gist of things.  I didn’t have any espresso, I only had low-fat milk, and I don’t own a frother. But, that didn’t mean I couldn’t follow the spirit of the recipe.  I brewed some regular coffee, though not as much as I normally do.  I put a cup of milk on the stove and set the flame to medium heat and just sort of watched it.  Another thing I don’t have is a candy thermometer, so I couldn’t check to see when I hit 150 degrees.  Instead I looked for steam to roll off the top, but not yet boil.  Since I didn’t have a special frothing device, I just used the whisk attachment on my hand mixer and beat it until there was a lot of foam. I’m not sure if I should have beat it longer or shorter, or if it was the lack of fat in the milk, but the final product left me with foam that isn’t quite like the pictures.

To put it all together, I put 2 tablespoons of my coffee syrup in my mug, then added the coffee, and finally added the milk, using a butter knife to hold back the foam until the very end. The final result was delicious.

Will I make this again?  Absolutely. Without a doubt I will do this again. I will probably try the caramel syrup next (though I am probably going to work out how to make a toffee flavor because that’s my current favorite).  I won’t be making syrup for a while, though., as today’s batch will last me for a while.  I will also make the latte again, though maybe not all the time.  It makes a lot of dishes to heat the milk on the stove and whisk it.  I might reserve the lattés for Saturdays, or, at the very least, days when I just want to crawl back into bed.

Cheesesteak Stuffed Bell Peppers

I love bell peppers.  I love them in every color.  I love them raw; I love them cooked.  I love them with hummus; I love them in my salad.  I love that they are fairly easy to grow, and that they are not too expensive at the grocery store.  I. Love. Bell. Peppers. So, when I saw this recipe, I was all over trying it.  Here’s what you need:

  • Bell peppers
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Provolone
  • Roast beef

You can find the recipe here, or, check out my pin on my Yum! board.**

stuffed bell peppersReview

This recipe is easy to follow and doesn’t take much time.  You’re going to spend some time waiting while it’s in the oven, but that’s not time where you’re doing anything.  You can read a book; write a book!  Besides, it’s not even in the oven all that long (unlike some other recipes). I will say, though, if you’re able, spring for some quality roast beef and cheese.  It will make a difference. The first time I made this I used the cheap store brands of each. When the husband and I decided we liked the recipe, we agreed that I should get better quality meat and cheese. The next time I made it, I went to the deli to get “the good stuff.”  You can taste the difference, so it’s worth the little bit extra.

I have made this recipe at least four times since I first tried it. One night, I was all set to make this when the oven started smoking, so I couldn’t put the pan in the oven.  Solution? I shopped up the green pepper and just continued to cook it on the stovetop. This was a decent solution, but I made the mistake of adding the cheese to the skillet as well.  This did not work like I wanted it to.  The cheese sort of acted like a glue and there were blobs of meat and cheese that had to be cut apart with a knife. It tasted fine, it was just took a little more effort to eat. If I needed to cook it that way again, I would finely shred the cheese and sprinkle it on top once it had been plated.

So, if you like bell peppers and you like roast beef and cheese, give this a try.  It’s certainly not as good as an authentic Philly Cheesesteak, but it’s still pretty tasty.

 

**For some reason when I went to click on my pin to take me to the link, it wouldn’t let me follow the link because it “links to spam.” So, I did a Google search to find the original recipe, and tried to re-pin it. It wouldn’t let me pin it for the same reason.  So strange!  Obviously, it is NOT linking to spam (though there are ads on the site), but I don’t know what to do about the link.  Anyone know how to handle this?  (To be fair, you don’t need the recipe.  You can eyeball every measurement and be fine.  You simply bake at 350 until the cheese looks melted.  I just like to link to original sources to give them the credit they deserve.)

Fanatic Fun

Sometimes (a lot of the time), I peruse Pinterest not for the latest recipe or DIY, but for something that will make me laugh or something that appeals to the dorky/geeky side of me.  Today’s post is all about items you can find on my Don’t Judge Me board, and, more specifically, about fan-girling.**

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that my bio says “Fangirl of random people I see on the street.  You two over there!  I ship you now!” If you aren’t a fangirl, this might make no sense to you, so here’s a primer, using some of my pins.

What is a fangirl?  Perhaps this Tumblr post about “if teachers were fangirls” will help clarify that.

Extra credit if it makes me cry

Basically, a fangirl is a fan, but much more so than a casual fan. I have always used the term as un-gendered (I believe once I wrote a post on my personal blog about the husband being a fangirl when he met Roy Underhill), but I have heard the word “fanboy” on occasion as well.  These people are like super-fans. They can be fans of a show, a character, or a performer.  There are fangirls for literature (yup-there are Pride and Prejudice fangirls, more so since Lizzie Bennet Diaries came out), fangirls for musicians (boybands are especially popular), and even fangirls of normal people.

Lots of fangirls do something called “shipping.”

Jamie what is shipping?

Or, in GIF form

What is shipping?

And if you’re into shipping, you probably have an OTP.

I'll have to remember this for the next time I have to explain what OTP means.

OTP stands for “One True Pairing,” and is pretty much the couple you most want to get together.  A lot of fangirls have OTPs that are not canon. That simply means they are unlikely to actually see their most desired pairing hook up.  Some shows (cough* Sherlock* cough) play around with the OTPs that they know fans have.  If you’re lucky, you get to see your OTP come together. It’s kind of magical.  Some fangirls write fan fiction.  There is a lot of fan fiction for non-canon OTPs.

Yes!

Some fangirls are zealous, while others are more low-key. And it is thanks to the fangirls that I find lots of pins that appeal to my own inner fangirl.

 

**Some of the links are pins that illustrate a point, but are not actually on my board.

***I did not create any of the images presented in this entry.  Please refer to the pins for the original source.

 

 

 

Personal Stationary

I have a 13 year-old niece.  Over the summer she is moving to a new state, and leaving all of her friends behind.  Having gone through something similar recently, I decided to send her a stationary kit.  My kit included 10 pieces of stationary and 20 envelopes. I wrote her a little card telling her to address some of the envelopes to herself and to have her friends address the other envelopes to themselves.  I told her to give the envelopes with her new address to her friends so they could start to write to her.  Today I’m going to show you how I made her personalized stationary.

Materials

  • Embossing stamp pad
  • Rubber stamp
  • Paper (I used cardstock)
  • Embossing powder
  • Heat gun

stationary

Process

  1. Ink up your rubber stamp using the embossing ink.  Some embossing ink is clear, but mine had a blue tint, which made everything a lot easier.  Make sure that your stamp has a nice, even coating.
  2. Place the stamp on the paper wherever you want the image.  I put my on the center top.  It really just depends on the overall appearance that you want.
  3. Cover the ink on the paper with the embossing powder.  Just dump a bunch on.  Make sure the ink is totally covered.
  4. Tap the excess off and back into the bottle.
  5. Using a heat gun, heat the powder until it has a shiny sheen to it.  (Just watch it.  You’ll be able to tell when the powder has melted.)
  6. Let cool and you’re done!

Tips and Tricks

  • I’ve been told that both a hot plate and a hair dryer work in place of the heat gun.  There are also specific embossing heat tools you can buy.  I have not tried any of these out, so I can’t say how well they work.
  • Be sure not to overheat.  I did that on my first paper, and the paper started to brown on me.
  • Don’t touch the embossing until it is completely dry.  I did that and it both smudges your paper and kinda stings depending on how hot the powder still is.
  • Have extras on hand.  This was my first time embossing, and I made mistakes or wasn’t totally happy with each stamping.

21 Day Boot Camp

When you go away to college, you get warned about the “freshman 15.” I find this interesting because it is mostly linked to dining halls and poor nutrition, but for a lot of women, the college years are a time when your body naturally goes through some changes.  Hips widening and putting on a little weight is actually something that happens to a lot of women because of normal biology. For me, the freshman 15 didn’t happen.  I did gain the weight, but it was much more gradual than just one year.  Plus I had taken up dance, and that helped modulate some of the effects that might have happened.

For me, actually, the biggest body changes came my third year of teaching.  By then I was a lot more relaxed about my profession, and wasn’t constantly running about the room out of anxiety.  I knew how to set my class up so that kids could be successful with me as a resource. I found myself sitting more in the classroom as well as sitting in the car as I commuted 45 minutes to and from work each day.  I worked out, but not every day.  My body really started changing.  My BMI said that I was overweight.  At that time I was insulted as I was still fairly muscular, which makes most short people have a high BMI. My doctor at the time was having none of it.  I needed to lose weight.

I tried all sorts of things-food diaries, working out every day, dieting.  It worked some.  I was healthy, so I didn’t care much that the weight wasn’t really coming off.  So, between the ages of 18 and 28 I had gained 35 pounds. My doctor chided me for not being the same weight as 18.  I found a new doctor.

Working out isn’t actually something I like.  I like taking dance classes.  I like hiking.  I also like eating food.  Something had to give.  I needed to make working out a habit.

You guys, I still haven’t.  For a few months, I was good because I was going to Zumba 3-5 times a week with the greyhound ladies.  I could feel my body being healthier and happier.  Then the horrible winter came and that kind of did me in.  I didn’t go as frequently.  Classes were being cancelled because of weather.  And then the house sold and there was all sorts of random little things to do.  And then I landed in a town of 10,000 people with not a lot to do.  The nearest city with fitness classes is an hour away.  I don’t have an income to pay for classes.

So, off to Pinterest, then.

It all started with this video.

I pinned this to my Let’s Get Physical board, faithfully wrote down the workout, then ignored it for about two weeks.  Self-motivation is something I am still working on.

Then I decided to check out the YouTube Channel, and I saw the 21 Day Boot Camp.  I got some people together on Facebook to do it with me, and promptly started posting the videos.

Review

Here’s the thing, I have realized that group classes work best for me.  I need people to motivate me and I need the structure of a schedule.  I had hoped that doing the Facebook group would help me with this.  I was only marginally right.  As of right now, the group is on day 14.  I have only completed 8 days.  I will say, though, that for the most part I really like the workouts.  I need to get some weights (the husband only has 15lb kettle bells and that’s a bit too much for me at the moment.  I need something more like 5-10 depending on the exercise). I like that the videos are short enough to fit into your day no matter what, and that you can simply repeat the video for a longer work out.

I did not like the video for day 5.  I hated that guy.  I hated how it was a different set up than the other work outs had been.  I actually turned the video off and moved on to the next video.  I really, really want to like this and stick with it, but it’s just not the group class environment that I seem to need.  That said, I will probably start this over and try again.  I’ve been trying to put more routine into my days, so perhaps if I “schedule” a time every day that I work out, this can work for me.  I’m giving consideration to some other options.  (There’s a work out studio back in IN that does online classes.  I might scrounge up some money and see if that works better for me as it really is classes taught in studio that you can stream online.). I know what needs to happen, but making it happen is a separate issue.

It all comes down to motivation.  I have been able to make myself write every day.  I have been writing everyday for the last 475 days.  Why can’t I make working out the same?  Do you have these problems?  What do you do to work out?  How do you motivate yourself?

Pot stickers

I love pretty much all food.  For a while, the husband and I were taking a culinary journey with his uncle and some of his cousins.  We would pick a nationality and find a Chicagoland restaurant to try out. It was a lot of fun. I would have never tried Ethiopian food if it weren’t for his uncle and his attempt to educate through food. So, while not exactly Earth shattering in it’s “newness” to me, I was super excited to give this pot stickers recipe a chance. Your main ingredients are:

  • Ground pork
  • Cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Won ton wrappers

You’ll need more than this, though, in order to season appropriately.  You can check out the full recipe here, or check out my pin on my Yum! board.

Won TonsReview

My store only carried square won ton wrappers, so I needed to improvise a little on how I closed them up.  The middle picture above was what I found to be the most successful.  One thing I noticed about the recipe was that it didn’t call for you to cook the ground pork prior to putting it in the mixture. I can’t really tell from her pictures if she did or not, but I certainly cooked the pork first.  My stove top is more of a blunt instrument than anything else, so I wasn’t sure that the pork would cook properly if I didn’t cook it prior to mixing it with the other ingredients.

The recipe makes a LOT of pot stickers.  In her directions, she says that you can freeze some.  This is certainly something I would do in the future.  Instead I just ate myself silly.  I would definitely make this again, but I would probably do some more seasoning.  I think the best place to add seasoning would be to the pork when I am cooking it prior to adding it to the mix.

At first I was worried that this was going to be a hard recipe to follow or that the technique would trip me up, but it was simple. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never worked with won ton wrappers before.  Just be patient and don’t over-fill them. I had never worked with them before and it wasn’t hard at all. If you enjoy pot stickers, this is definitely a recipe you should try.