Thursday, June 30, 2011

Muy Delicioso Mexican Lasagna

Browsing through the blogosphere yesterday, (Partially looking for something to cook for dinner, partially looking for things to post to my pinterest account, but mostly looking to kill the last 4 hours of my workday) I came across a recipe from Artsy Fartsy Mama's Blog for Mexican Lasagna.

There are always several more mouths to feed in my house than just Mike and myself. Being the only one of his friends with a girlfriend, Mike has sort of become the man of the "cool house" as of late. All single 30-year old men within a 10 block radius seem to congregate to our house around dinner time. Strange...perhaps it's because we have something besides a jar of mayo and 30 pack of beer in our fridge?

Needless to say I have quickly run out of ideas that are new and exciting to feed my ever-growing family. It's always a good or bad thing when you experiment with a new recipe and test it out on several people at once, (sometimes - let's be honest - it's a friggin disaster) this instance I feel can be counted as a success. Trust me, it tastes WAY better than it looks.

Are you ready for The. Easiest. Recipe. Ever?

You'll need:
  • Tortillas
  • Beans (black or refried)
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Veggie crumbles (and/or cooked ground beef)
  • Tomatoes
  • Rice
  • Olives
  • Cheese
  • Whatever the heck else you would put on your enchilada or burrito (lettuce, jalapenos, sour cream, tostada shells would also be quite delicious etc.)

Take the tortillas and cut them into halves and fourths. Layer them the way you would lasagna, starting with tortillas. (It's best if you make your first layer mostly cheese and "meat" so that it's sturdier.) 

Make sure your layers - Especially your first layer - covers the whole area entirely. Otherwise, you will be SOL when it comes cutting time. 

Add whatever you want between layers. Cook on 350 for 30 minutes. During cook time, I also took some leftover tortillas, cut them into strips, and fried them up in a pan with EVOO and a little chili powder. Once the lasagna was done, I put the tortilla strips on top. De-lish!

The boys got to it before I could get an actual "before" picture,  but you get the idea.

I Love Lamp

I don't know about everyone else, but I am finding more and more nowadays that my frugality has sparked my creativity. Whenever I see something...usually anything...I think "Wow - I could SOOO make that!" so instead of spending $26 for a throw pillow, $45 for a wreath, $35 for a new lamp shade, etc. etc I am just doing it on my own. It's a win all around because #1 - I save tons of money #2 - I am reducing by re-using or 'up-cycling' #3 - I am creating truly one-of-a-kind treasures to help our home to be unique, colorful and all around wonderful!

Here is how my latest project started. I saw a pillow similar to this:

I fell in LOVE with the texture and the pretty, feminine ruffles. I wanted to find a way to incorporate these into my room that I am still SO excited about! (...will post more pictures when I finish my best and final projects in there!) Coincidentally enough, I had a lamp shade that didn't match my new room. "Ding!" The light bulb went off.   

This lamp shade was pefectly fine on it's own...just not green enough!

I had seen a couple different techniques on some of the DIY blogs that I follow on how to make ruffles, but was scared of using fabric for it being too heavy and keep the light from shining through. Paint wouldn't work (plus I'm pretty sure it's flammable) and finally settled on.....are you ready for this? filters. True story.
I started by taking the coffe filters then folding them into eights. I folded back a corner and put hot glue on the point then started at the top, and staggered the coffee-filter-ruffle-triangle-thingies all the way down the lamp shade. (like so:)
Don't worry...this only took like 90 hours of my life and 40 gallons of hot glue. 

Halfway down the lamp I realized that I was turning my lamp shade from one neutral color to another. Boooorrriiing! This bad boy needed some color. Solution? Tule. I had some extra from Joanne's that I had bought for another project that matched (almost) perfectly. I cut it into 3" by 3" squares and then folded and applied them in the same fashion as the coffee filters. Color = check.

I then had to hide the ugly edges of where the lamp shade ended and the ruffles started. All I did for that was hot glue them to the inside of the lamp shade instead of the outside. After all was said and done, I used 2 packages (160 ct. each) of round coffee filters, and about 20 mini sticks of hot glue. (Make sure that if you try something similar to this you use HIGH HEAT hot glue, so that the lamp head doesn't melt the glue - and ultimately all your hard work)
I wish the lighting were better so that you could see all the ruffley-detail. It's been raining a lot so it's gray and crappy outside. I will post a better picture later. In the meantime? Use your imagination.



My little slice of heaven

Alright, ya'll. Here is an update on our new place.

#1 I love it.
#2 I hate to leave it.
#3 It gets more and more perfect everyday - with every picture that is hung, every new piece of furniture that is assembled, every weed that is pulled and every flower that is planted.

I. Am. In. Heaven. I don't even like to leave in the morning to go to work...and I LOVE my job!

Any how, I thought I would post a couple more pictures to show our progress from when we moved in. Since it's been rainy and crappy out here lately the light quality isn't the best ever, but you get an idea of how lovely it might look if it were sunny and delicious outside.

Welcome to our home! We hope you enjoy the view!
Our last room was all in brown and beige. It has been nice that I was able to just paint and recover to make small adjustments that made a big difference in our room!

The sight I look forward to everyday
I wish I would have taken "before" pictures. Once these flowers all fill out, I will have the cutest little yard ever!
Oh yeah...that's right. I totally built that wall all by myself!
You can FINALLY see the table! :) I wish you could see how big this room really is. I can't get a good angle at all of this room. (Especially one with the blinds open so you can see how much natural light this room gets!

IKEA has helped add so much more space to our counters and pantry.
This rug hides this weird vent that seems to serve no purpose...except be creepy.

Love, love, LOVE my kitchen!


We have taken every little tiny thing in this room and made it different. I LOVE that my room is so unique!

Bean Wreath

Before Mike and I ever moved into our place I have been browsing the web and searching through DIY blogs to find things to make our home be a unique, colorful reflection of our personalities and somewhere that we enjoy to be. On one such web surfing adventure, I came across this cute Lima bean wreath from one of my favorite blogs, All Things Thrifty.  Since I knew that mine was going to hang inside, I made mine a little smaller and so used smaller beans vs. Lima beans. I think it still turned out pretty cute, but then again...I am a little biased. ;)

Everything started out just fine. Styrofoam wreath from Joanne's, $5.99. 1 bag of North American beans from Sunflower market, $1.29. Hot glue sticks, $6.00. Ribbon from Dollar Tree, $1.

After several hours and 14 hot glue sticks, it was finally ready! so I spray painted it all white, (so that the beans were the same color as the styrofoam that showed through between beans) and hung it with some ribbon I found at the Dollar store - that matches PERFECTLY with my new room - and Voila!

Here is what it looks like hung up on the wall (with poor lighting):

Made them. Hung them. LOVE them!!

A Work In Progress - Continued....

There is still much to do...but here is what we have accomplished so far. Our house was built in 1921 so it's not the biggest house you've ever seen...but it is just perfect for us! The high ceilings help prevent you from feeling claustrophobic and, in my personal opinion, I think it adds to the cozniess and charm :)

Family Room

Family Room 2

Family Room 3

Family Room Window

Bathroom - Yay!

Bathroom 2


Grocery Smarts

Alright...I will admit, when I am standing in the checkout line behind the crazy lady with 10,000 coupons I get pissed. I have no patience as it is, but when she is standing there for 45 minutes and I am waiting behind her to buy rootbeer that's getting warm and ice cream that is melting it doesn't help. That was, until I attended a Grocery Smarts class.

Kat Gibson was the instructor for my class and I learned so much from her I can't even believe it! She taught me all about organizing, planning, couponing, and saving tons and tons of money. Yes, please!

For those who are unfamiliar with Grocery Smarts, it is a free website started by some lady and her husband in order to catalogue the Sunday grocery ads and link them to corresponding coupons in order for you to "stack" your deals and get everything for the lowest price possible. The class was free, the website is free, AND I will save tons of money?? Double yes!

I won't go into the whole shpeal, but trust me when I say it is definitely worth your time to look into. I strongly, strongly encourage my friends and family to check out her Facebook page for more information on how to get started, how save your family and yourself tons of money and time, and how you can host a class to share the information with your family and friends.

All of a sudden, that coupon lady in front of me doesn't seem so crazy afterall....

Canine Cookies

Ok, I've had a bajillion requests for this recipe since my first annual "Pancakes for Puppies" fundraiser.
For those who don't remember, I made a bunch of these homemade doggie treats and had them on a plate by the front door for all those in attendance to take home for their dogs. I know my dogs love them, from what I understand everyone else's dogs loved them, and all the little kids that were at the party (who thought that they were people cookies) seemed to like them, too. Don't worry, these are all natural, so no children were harmed in the consumption of these treats.


Toby's Peanut Butter Treats

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup natural peanut butter -chunky or smooth.
(regular peanut butter has lots of sugar that is not good for your pooch)
1 cup milk (be it almond milk, rice milk, soymilk, goats milk, etc.)

*I like to break the batch up into several sections and use different additions to each. Bananas, bacon bits, carrots, steamed broccoli, etc.

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Roll out dough on floured surface to approx. 1/4" thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
Bake for 20 minutes on foiled cookie sheet. Let cool, then store in an air tight container.


A Work In Progress

We signed our lease Wednesday, got our keys Thursday, cleaned and started moving in Friday, and finished the process Saturday. Pretty sweet, huh?

Here are  a few pictures of our place...there are a lot still missing, as I didn't take pictures of the parts that were especially bad as far as needing to be unpacked, cleaned, etc. 

I feel that it's important to see where it all started in order to truly appreciate how far we've come!!

You can't see my clawfoot tub, pedestal sink, or the big beautiful window with all it's natural light. This just does not do this room justice. Thanks for my beautiful bathroom Cori and Karen!
New bedset...isn't it beautiful? Thanks Karen! And thanks Mike for listening to your sister and not putting up as big a fight as I thought. :)

Aaaaahhhh couch. We meet again - at last!

Kitchen table/Computer desk/Garbage pile/Storage area


If you would have told me five years ago that one day I would be able to cook, clean, and create - and LIKE it -  I would have told you that you were absolutely nuts. Having been a tomboy my whole life, I just could never get a good solid hold on all this domestic kinda stuff. As it turns out, being in love makes you do crazy things. (Well, being in love and/or being a starving 20-something year old living off of top ramen, Hot-n-Ready pizza and vanilla coke). I realized that over the last several years  I have undergone a transformation, from being a young, stupid, carefree tomboy into a young, stupid, carefree tomboy who can cook and craft. The transformation was so seamless, no one saw it coming - not even me!

I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to start documenting my endeavors. Not only to share with my family and friends, but also to help document my slow (and sometimes painful) transformation into a domestic rock star. I hope to catalog my wins and my losses, my trials and triumphs, and inevitably remind myself of how far I have progressed...and what not to ever attempt again.    Ever

I hope you will join me on my adventure - for better or for worse - to share tips and tricks, recipes, ideas, and crafts with me. I may not be as domestic as I would like to think I am, but I am hell-bent that I will fake it 'till I make it!!