Blueberry Lemon Donuts

Last week blueberries were on sale, and I made blueberry streusel.  That didn’t use all my blueberries, so I looked for another blueberry recipe and settled on Blueberry Lemon Donuts.  One of my favorite flavor combinations is blueberry and lemon, so I was excited about this recipe.  Here’s what you will need:

  • flour
  • sugar
  • lemon
  • blueberries

Obviously there is more than just this, so check out the original recipe, or my pin on my Breakfast board.

Blueberry Lemon Donut

Review

First of all, you probably noticed from the pictures, I don’t own a donut pan. I’ve made donuts in my muffin tin before, so I knew that this was an acceptable alternative to the donut pan.  I guess it means that I didn’t really make donuts, but rather used donut dough for muffin purposes.  That said, I don’t think it changed the flavor.  I should also say that I did not use Splenda, as indicated, but just regular sugar.

One thing that I didn’t like about this recipe is that it mentioned honey in the ingredient list, which I measured out, but the recipe didn’t mention it at all. I just assumed that I was to add it when I added all the other ingredients to the flour.  I’m not sure if the honey was not supposed to be added, or was simply forgotten in the directions.  I think the flavors were fine, so I assume the honey is intentional.

I was surprised that the dough was truly a dough and not a batter. This isn’t bad, but I was expecting something that was more pour-able.  The dough was stiff enough that putting the blueberries into the dough resulted in some resistance and some “popped” blueberries.

Overall, the flavors were just fine. I love blueberry and lemon, and both were well represented but my love of this combo might have clouded my overall opinion. I did not make the glaze, and I think that was a good choice. I think that the glaze would have meant too much lemon flavor. I probably won’t make this again, but I’m not sad that I made this either.  We ate all of them within a week, so they couldn’t have been that bad.

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Chicken Burrito Bowls

My love for one pan cooking knows no bounds!  In fact, I think it’s finally time to purchase a new pan, as this one seems to finally be losing its non-stick surface.  I’m not even mad.  It was a $20 pan that has lasted 5+ years. Until that upgrade, though, I will continue to use my beloved pan, and continue to enjoy one pan meals like today’s chicken burrito bowls.  This one has many ingredients, but mainly you will need:

  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Chicken stock
  • Black beans
  • Cheese

Obviously there is way more, like spices and onions and the toppings, so check out the original recipe, or my pin on my Yum! Board.

chicken burrito bowl

Review

I loved this recipe.  It is definitely something I am going to put into rotation.  It was super easy, and enormously delicious.  I do love sour cream and guacamole, though, so that probably played a large role in my overall love.  Even the husband liked it.  I make this other dish, a white chicken chili, with similar ingredients, and the husband prefers this.

One thing I did wrong was use too much chicken.  It really wasn’t a choice, though.  I had put the chicken on the stovetop to thaw, and then spent the day baking bread.  When I went to separate the chicken, I noticed that it has started to cook in the packaging.  Whoops!  That meant dumping in more chicken than the recipe called for.

I really love the spices that are in this recipe.  They make everything flavorful but not too spicy. It’s a great combination. I love dishes that have flavor layers, and this one had a bunch of different flavors for me to enjoy. I will totally be making this again, and it’s something I think you should try out.

Pretzel Buns

Making pretzels is something I have wanted to do for a while, but just never got to doing.  Then I came across this pretzel bun recipe and thought that it was finally time I give this a try.  I don’t know why, but pretzels always scared me.  Well, not any more!  After the bread making I’ve been doing, these were a cinch! You will need:

  • flour
  • salt
  • yeast
  • water
  • butter
  • baking soda

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

Pretzel Rolls

Review

This recipe was so easy to follow and easy to make.  I was worried because I don’t have a stand mixer, so everything had to be done by hand.  It really wasn’t a problem at all.  It was just as easy as making bread dough by hand, and I don’t consider that all that difficult. It really makes me question why I ever thought making pretzels would be hard.

One problem I had was making my dough balls smooth.  Even though the recipe didn’t say to, I turned my dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface because that’s what I had needed to do with my breads. I think that was my problem.  That extra flour on the dough made it not want to stick together in nice, smooth balls.  So most of my rolls have all these extra cracks in them.  It’s not pretty, but it still tastes good.

Another problem I had was I don’t own a slotted spoon!  (I know!  Who doesn’t own a slotted spoon?!) That made fishing the dough balls out of the baking soda water a bit messy.  USE A SLOTTED SPOON.  Buy one (I will be). I ended up with some water on my baking sheet, and when I put it in the oven, it spilled onto the bottom of my oven and I had a lovely burning smell while I was cooking.  Now I have to clean my oven again.

I will definitely be making these again.  The husband has already asked me to make them again next week.  I had originally made them to use as hamburger buns, but every night he has come home he has eaten one, so I will HAVE to make more if that’s what we’re going to use them for.  There’s enough to have hamburgers for dinner tonight, so I think tonight’s dinner is going to be a real winner.

What are you waiting for?  These things taste DELICIOUS.  Get cracking!  It does take some time from start to finish, but there’s a lot of down time while the dough rises and it is TOTALLY worth it.

Blueberry Struesel

One of my favorite things about summer is all the summer time fruits.  When I went to the grocery store this week, there were pints upon pints of blueberries, ripe, ready, and on sale.  I had to buy some.  While I do have a favorite recipe or two for blueberries, I wanted to try something new.  When I found this streusel recipe, I was set!  You will need:

  • Blueberries
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • An egg
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Milk
  • Cinnamon

Check out the original recipe here, or my pin on my Breakfast board.

Blueberry Struesel

Review

This recipe was so simple to follow.  I had everything ready to go into the oven before the oven was even done preheating.  I didn’t have any nuts, so I had to leave that out of my topping.  Next time I make this (because there WILL be a next time), I will make sure to pick up some pecans as well.  Even with setting out everything to get my pictures, I was done with all the mixing and prep in less than 10 minutes.

The final product is delicious.  Even the husband, who isn’t much of a sweets fan, enjoyed this. The end result is moist without being wet, and full of deliciousness in every bite. This is something you could genuinely make on a week day morning and enjoy for breakfast that same morning.  The only thing I was displeased with was how fast it was gone!  Guess I’ll have to make another batch!

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is spinach artichoke dip.  I love the creamy, cheesy goodness.  I’ve made the dip once or twice, but never seem to have found the perfect recipe.  So, when I was scouring Pinterest for new dinner ideas and I saw a dinner based on spinach artichoke dip, I had to try it out.  This recipe calls for a lot of ingredients, but mainly you will need:

  • Frozen spinach
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Pasta
  • Milk
  • Pepper jack cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Onions

Like I said, there are more ingredients than those, but those are the biggies.  As always, check out the original recipe for all directions and ingredients, or check out my pin on my Yum board.

sadp

Review

First of all, I couldn’t get any sort of good bacon ends like the recipe called for.  Instead I cooked a few slices or regular bacon and then added chicken to the mix to make it a little heartier.  The recipe itself was super easy to follow.  Make sure you prep all of your ingredients ahead of time so that you’re ready to add them when the time is right. The recipe definitely makes a full 9×13 pan which is 6 larger servings or 8 smaller servings. 

Overall, I didn’t think it was awesome.  It was decent, but it wasn’t great.  I was really hoping for great because I would love something like this that I could put into rotation.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be making this again.  I will continue to be on the lookout for the best spinach artichoke dip recipe I can find, but in the meantime, this won’t be a go-to for me.

 

Dog Collar

I have greyhounds, so that means we use martingale collars.  These collars are used with dogs like greyhounds because their necks are as large as, or sometimes larger than, their heads.  These collars are designed to not slip off the dog’s neck due to a looping system.  The ones I use look like this. This specific style is useful because it allows for some individual sizing, so I can switch it between my dogs.  Before the move, I asked one of the foster moms to make me two collars so the boys could have fancy collars in addition to the regular webbing collars.

I love how they look, and now I want more, especially because I need to wash the collars on a semi-frequent basis due to all the red dust out here.  Today, I’m going to do my best to walk you through how I made my own collar.

Materials

  • Fabric (one fat square would work)
  • Stiff, fusible interfacing
  • A sewing machine
  • 2 Square rings
  • 1 Split square ring
  • 1 D ring

collar

Process

  1. Cut your fabric. I cut two 18” x 2.5” strips and two 12” x 2.5” strips from the fabric. I cut one 17” x 2” strip and one 11” x 2” strip from the interfacing.
  2. Center and iron one piece of interfacing to one long strip and one short strip on the wrong side of the fabric.
  3. Make a tube out of your long strips by putting the right sides together and sewing down the long side seams using a 1/4” seam allowance.  Make sure to backstitch at each end.
  4. Trim the seams close to the stitching, careful not to cut the stitches.
  5. Repeat steps three and four with the short  strips.
  6. Turn your tubes right side out. Be gentle, but make sure to push out at all seams. Fold the unseen end edges of the tube inward. Iron everything flat.
  7. Topstitch around the ironed tubes.  This will close the ends and give it a finished look.  It is up to you where you topstitch, but I stitched at about 1/8”.  I just pivoted in each corner.
  8. Take the long strip and split square ring.  Loop the end of the strip through the right part of the ring and sew the end down so the square ring is now “trapped” at the end of the split square.
  9. Loop through one of the square rings, and come back to the split ring. On the right side of the split ring, come up from under the end you sewed down, go over the splitter, then come back down and under the left side of the split square.
  10. Loop the open end through a square ring and sew closed, trapping this ring like you did with the other end.
  11. You should now have a square ring that leads into the split ring and a loop with another square ring at the end (or middle of the loop, depending on how you look at it).
  12. Take the short strip and create a loop that goes through the two end square rings.  When sewing this closed, insert the D ring between the end flaps. Sew on either side of the D ring to close the loop and trap the D ring.
  13. That’s it!  You’re done!

IMG_1657 IMG_1658

Tips and Tricks

  • This is a million times easier if you have a collar, or at least a picture of a collar to look at for the structure.  I did my best in my descriptions, but it really makes a difference to have a reference.
  • I, somehow, bought the wrong side D ring, so it was too small. Simple fix (seen above):  just add a little square of fabric that is smaller to hold the D ring.  This also allowed me to add the flower in the picture.  The flower had an alligator clip that I slipped into the fabric square.
  • I didn’t like the quality of the finished product when I took the pictures for the process, so I started over.  It does take time to make everything look good and clean.  Find some scrap fabric and make a few mock collars until you feel comfortable with the process. I didn’t bother with interfacing for the mock collars.
  • I like to actually start by cutting my pieces larger than the final product, and then trimming down to the final size.  For example, I actually made all of my first cuts 1/2” wider than the final measurements, and then I took a quarter inch off each side. This allowed me to try and really get precise, even cuts.  I need to do things like that to make it as precise as possible, but you might be a better cutter than I am.
  • I got my measurements from an existing collar that I added seam allowances to.  If you have a dog that is bigger or smaller than my greyhounds, you’ll need to adjust the length of the strips.  I used 2” rings because I like the larger look on my dogs, but your strips might be thinner if your dog doesn’t look as good with a big collar.  Just remember to add seam allowance.
  • I used fat quarters for my fabric. This is a pretty economical way of getting collar fabric because it is often cheap (99cents each in my case), and it usually comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Once you have the basics done, look for embellishments.  The flower I used was in the clearance section.  Since it’s on the alligator clip, I can add or remove it as I see fit. You could also make a bow or add some rhinestones. There are tons of customization options.

Analysis

Overall this project wasn’t that hard. I messed up a few times when I first started trying to make it, but I slowly learned things like the best order to sew the closures. I can probably make one collar in forty-five minutes now. If you have a friend with a dog, this can be a great personalized gift to share with him or her.

 

My Cleaning Schedule

One of the things I struggle with as a stay-at-home-wife is using my time wisely.  I’ll be honest-I don’t always use it wisely.  One thing that really helps me, though, is having a schedule.  I still have large chunks of free time within my schedule, but I guarantee that I will do something useful with my day when I follow a schedule. Today I’m going to share my cleaning schedule with you.

Monday

  • Vacuum the entire house
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Mop the entire house

Tuesday

  • Laundry
  • Clean the bathrooms

Wednesday

  • Vacuum the entire house
  • Clean the kitchen
  • “Dust” the house (mostly using the vacuum attachments to clean baseboards and window sills and any flat surfaces)

Thursday

  • Clean windows and mirrors

Friday

  • Vacuum the entire house
  • Mop the entire house

You’ll notice that I do the same things over and over again.  I used to vacuum the house every day, but Monday/Wednesday/Friday seems to work just as well.  If it has been a particular “messy” day. I will throw in additional vacuuming.  The house is only 900sqft, so it takes me about 15-20 minutes total.  It’s necessary to vacuum at least three times a week because of all the red dust that gets everywhere plus the dog hair (as our dogs are adjusting to the climate here and shedding due to the heat).

I clean the kitchen a lot.  That’s because I use the kitchen a lot. I do a quick clean after every cooking, but a few times a week I scrub the sink.  I will admit that I hate cleaning the stove and the burners, so I am always talking myself out of deep cleaning them, but it does happen around twice a month.

I usually only do one load of laundry a week.  There are only two of us, and the husband wears scrubs every day, so there’s just not a lot of laundry.  However, we hang dry everything, so doing laundry means hanging everything up so it can properly dry.  That said, laundry will dry within a few hours and can be put away by the end of the day.

This is just my cleaning schedule.  I also have an errands schedule, a writing schedule, a d workout schedule-you get the idea.  Some days have more things that need to be accomplished than others.  It’s not perfect, but it works for me.

One Skillet Meal: Mexican Pasta

I know I’ve said this before, but I love one pan meals.  I’m not a huge fan of doing dishes all the time, so one skillet meals are such an awesome solution.  I get very excited when I come across one and it turns out really well, which is exactly what happened this time!  For this meal, you will need:

  • Ground meat
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Corn
  • Black beans
  • Avocado
  • Elbow noodles
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Salsa

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

mexican skillet pasta

Review

This dish was simple and super tasty.  One of the things that I found a little odd was that it calls for one cup of corn and one cup of black beans, which is less than a full can.  I followed the directions, but in the future I would just dump in the entire can and not think twice about it.

Both the husband and I loved the flavors, but he thought that it was a bit “heavy” and was more of a winter or fall meal than summer.  I mostly agree with him.  Some foods just feel “right” in a particular season, and I think this might be one of them.

I try to always follow the recipe exactly the first time I make it, as was the case with this one.  You guys, it made a TON of food.  If I had a family of four, the amount would have been perfect.  However, there are only two of us.  Next time I will half the recipe.  That said, it reheats wonderfully, so having all that extra wasn’t too bad.

I will definitely make this again.  It was simple and tasty.  I just might wait until it starts to cool down again, because the husband is right, I think this might taste better on a day with a little more crispness to the air.  I can see this becoming one of my favorite comfort dinners for a cold night.

Fangirl: P&P

Last time I did a “fun” post, I introduced you to the world of fangirls, shipping, and OTPs.  Today I want to share one of my fangirl obsessions:  Pride and Prejudice. I LOVE Pride and Prejudice.  I came to the book a little later than most people do.  I did not read it in high school.  Instead, a copy was given to me after graduation, but it took until the summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college to actually read it.  Some of the girls on my floor were arguing about which proposal was worse:  Mr. Collin’s or Darcy’s first.  (Darcy’s first OBVIOUSLY.) I couldn’t contribute, and that did it.  Time to read the book.

Since then I have become a touch obsessed.  I own the 6 hour BBC miniseries, and watch it at least once a year.  Sometimes I make the husband watch with me.  He does a fairly decent Mrs. Bennet impersonation. I have bought SO MANY of the variations and sequels.  I used to have an entire collection (like took up half a 6 foot tall bookshelf), but I donated most of them when I moved and kept only my favorites.  (LOVE From Lambton to Longbourn by Abigail Reynolds.  I own it in paperback and eBook.). I’m not a huge fan of the 2005 movie, but I also can’t deny the spot on casting.  I just wish the story had been adapted better.

So, with such a love of Pride and Prejudice, that means I MUST have pins on my Don’t Judge Me board that fill me with fangirl joy.  Here are some of my favorites.

This one uses screen caps from the 2005 movie to show Darcy’s inner struggle.

Pride and Prejudice Darcy Inner Struggles

Then there’s Colin staring longingly and appealing to the book nerd in me.

affirmations from Mr. Darcy

There’s this Austen to modern English translation.

haha I love pride and prejudice

Then, of course, are some of my favorites from the YouTube adaptation, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Gems like Jane pretending to be Darcy.

Charlotte as Caroline and Jane as Darcy -- Lizzie Bennet Diaries = AWESOME.

Or Charlotte’s analysis of Darcy’s problem (and his subsequent solution, though he didn’t know Charlotte thought he had a problem.)

Pride and Prejudice. So then you can enjoy The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube. You know it makes sense.  http://www.youtube.com/lizziebennet

I’ve tried to link to the original sources, but some of the links lead nowhere, so I just have my pins.  As always, I did not create any of these images.  Check the links (when available) for sources.

So what about you?  Do you love Pride and Prejudice?  Have you checked out the Lizzie Bennet Diaries?  What is your favorite adaptation/sequel/variation?

 

10 Minute Skirt

I hope everyone had a fun holiday weekend!  The husband and I went hiking.  I got a mild sunburn, but it was a lot of fun.  Our little section of Arizona has some great parks that were fun to explore.  In addition to hiking, I also decided to do a quick little sewing project.  And when I say quick, I mean quick!  It only took me 10 minutes!  Today I’m going to show you how to make a 1o minute skirt.  You will need:

  • A knit jersey pillow case
  • Elastic
  • A sewing machine and thread

skirt

Process

  1. Take the pillow case, and cut open the bottom so you now have a tube of fabric.
  2. Measure your waist. Cut the elastic 1 inch larger than your waist if you want the skirt to ride a skosh loose on the hips. Cut the elastic exactly at the measurement if you want to have the skirt be a skosh snug at the hips.
  3. Sew together the elastic (making sure not to twist it) so you have an elastic loop.
  4. Using the end of the pillowcase that you cut, sew the elastic into the waist by folding over the cut edge and sewing the elastic into a “tube.”
  5. You’re done!  Because the pillow case already has a folded hem on the opening, there is nothing else to do!

Hints and Tips

  • If your waist measures larger than the pillowcase, cut open the side seams before inserting the elastic and add a stripe of fabric down either side.
  • If you want a shorter skirt, simply cut off more at the waist before sewing in the elastic.
  • You could easily add pockets or a slit to the skirt if you don’t like the straight, maxi look.
  • There are many ways to put elastic into a waist.  If you don’t like (or don’t understand) the way I did, simply follow your favorite technique.
  • I love buying clearance sheet sets as a source of fun fabric. I had pulled out this sheet set to make a skirt, took a look at the pillow case that came with it and thought to myself, “this is going to be easier than I thought!” The best time to buy clearance jersey sheet sets is when the back to school and college supplies go on sale at Target.
  • I used a jersey pillowcase because otherwise my steps would be very small because there would be no stretch when I was walking. If you make the skirt shorter or add a slit, you probably could also do this with a regular cotton pillowcase.  I haven’t tried, so I don’t know.