Thursday, August 9, 2012

how to: organize purses

My mother-in-law LOVES purses. She has so many when she goes through them she finds some she didn't even know she had. Luckily for me, I get those rejects. Most of my purses are from her and I needed a better way to store them than all smashed in a bin, which is where they were before I saw this awesome idea on Pinterest. It was to hang your purses in a closet on shower hooks. Genius! We just moved into a new place and had a second bedroom with a walk-in closet. Perfect. I decided I wanted the cheaper, complete circle hooks from Walmart. They're like a dollar or two and make it soo much easier to hang the purses with thick straps. I love how they look now.

how to: DIY coasters

We haven't really had a need for coasters because our table was glass but now that we moved, everything we have is wood. I love Pinterest. Unfortunately I didn't get to use it for my wedding but it's been good to me since we've moved to a new home. :)
My latest project was making my own coasters. I learned how to do it here. It needs a few supplies, but nothing is very expensive.

- 4.25" x 4.25" tiles
- 4" x 4" pieces of scrapbook paper (or pictures or whatever you want to use)
- Mod Podge (you can learn how to make your own for MUCH cheaper here)
- Sponge paint brush
- Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel
- 3/8" felt pads

Clean your tiles and give them a coat of Mod Podge
Put your paper centered on each tile and smooth out all the bubbles. Wait 15 minutes and apply another coat. Repeat two more times.
Wait 1 hour after your 3rd coat of Mod Podge and take your tiles somewhere well ventilated (outside). Spray on 2 coats of the Rustoleum Enamel (within a few minutes of each other). Try to spray in a steady, back-and-forth motion, overlapping each coat. Unfortunately for me, the spray won't dry well if it's used when it's above 90 degrees outside. It wasn't until after 9pm that it dropped below 90. Oh Tucson..

Wait 30 minutes for it to completely dry and add the felt pads. Ta da! All done :)

how to: make Mod Podge

I want to make my own coasters and I need Mod Podge to do it. I saw that I could just make it myself. Here is where I learned how.

You need a jar or container. I was too cheap to buy a jar so I used tupperware. All you do is mix 1 part Elmer's Glue and 1 part water and mix it up! I know it worked because it worked to glue scrapbook paper on the tiles I am using for coasters. One side note: the mixture does tend to settle to make sure to shake it up whenever you need to use it.
The glue was 50 cents at Walmart, the tupperware and water were free. Best DIY ever :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

how to: dress up your keys

It has been SO long since I've blogged! I've been living with the in-laws and I don't buy the groceries or have any desire to make things for a house that isn't mine. But now I'm living in Tucson with my husband. It's a new place, we moved here so he could go to medical school at the University of Arizona, which leaves me jobless, friendless and with a new place to decorate.
When we first got here they gave us our keys and they were so ugly. Gold is growing on me but these keys were just ugly gold. While on Pinterest I saw an idea to paint your keys with nail polish and I decided to give it a try.

I wrapped tape around the part of the key that I didn't want to paint. I knew I wouldn't be careful enough on my own.
I painted just regular colored nail polish, waited for it to dry, then painted glitter nail polish over it. Once both are dry you flip it over and paint again. So easy and simple but I really like how they turned out.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

how to: have a good credit score

My Victoria's Secret credit card asked if I want to sign up for unlimited access to my credit scores for $16/month. I didn't do it because 1) that's not in my budget and 2) my husband and father-in-law told me checking your credit score lowers it. That didn't seem right to me so I looked it up. Here are some facts about your credit score that you may not know that I found here and here. I think that these are important to know regardless of if you're going to apply for credit in the near future.

1. Credit scores do not measure your income or financial savvy. They measure the likelihood you'll default on your loans and that takes into account more than you'd think.

2. Using only one credit card hurts your credit. It will help if you have more than just a gas card; try for a Visa, Mastercard or AmEx.

3. Closing accounts hurts your credit.

4. Getting close to your credit limit, even if you pay them off in full and never pay interest, hurts your credit. 30% of your limit is good, 10% is even better.

5. Checking your credit DOES NOT hurt your credit score. It is very important to keep up-to-date with your score and make sure it truly reflects your actions. HOWEVER, if you ask someone like an auto loan employee to look up your credit that will hurt your score.

6. Having high credit limits will not hurt your score. Reaching your limits will.

7. You do not need to carry a credit card balance to have a good score. It won't help, it will just make you pay interest unnecessarily.

8. Applying for credit will lower your score, but not by a lot.

9. There are many different companies that calculate a credit score for you and different lenders will look into different ones. If you want to look at the score that most of your lenders will be looking at then look at a FICO score and one that is tweaked for what you want (auto loan, mortgage, etc.).

Hope this is as helpful to you as it was to me :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

how to: make toasted raviloli with marinara sauce

I've made these before and they are so good. A great way to spice up pasta, but (warning) not in a healthy way. I found this recipe here.
You're going to need some ravioli. I like to get cheese and meat raviolis and cook half of each. Just however much you think you'll need. My husband and I ate about 20-25 when it was the only thing for dinner. I like just cheap store-bought kind like what you can find at Walmart. Make sure you thaw them first.
Then, 2 Tbsp milk
1 egg
Italian style bread crumbs-start with a cup but will probably need more
2-3 cups oil for frying
Marinara sauce for dipping-we used probably 2-3 cups?
Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a fondue pot or a medium sauce pan. We've used both and the fondue pot was definitely preferable. In a fondue pot turn the temperature up to 350-375 degrees. In a sauce pan warm it on medium heat until breading sizzles and browns when dropped in. Definitely do not heat the oil up so that it's boiling; tried that our first time and we had instant coal. Didn't smell too good either. Speaking of which, opening a window while you're cooking will help eliminate the oil smell afterward.
Mix the milk and egg together in a small bowl. Put the bread crumbs in another small/medium bowl.
Put the ravioli in the milk mixture then cover with bread crumbs and set in the oil. Cook as many as can fit - the raviolis are done in about a minute, when they are floating and golden brown.
While cooking the raviolis, warm marinara sauce in a small sauce pan.
Set the finished ravioli on a plate with a paper towel and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Once they're all done, eat immediately, the ones cooked first are starting to get a bit cold. Don't worry, the hot marinara sauce will help :).


Mmmm, don't they look delicious! :) It is a bit heavy (as I'm realizing now after dinner) to eat just these (but not regrettable ha). My husband and I would recommend cutting down the raviolis and adding a salad if you want it for dinner or they would make a great appetizer if you're having a party.

Monday, March 5, 2012

how to: make honey chicken

it's unfortunate that you have to be a good photographer and a good blogger to be a good blogger haha. and unfortunately i am neither. i've been wanting to find more fitness/beauty articles that i would like to try then post about but most require i go buy fancy makeup or are more spring related and it's still winter here in freezing cold utah.
so another recipe it will be. i found it here.

3/4 pounds of chicken breast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 soy sauce
1/8 cup chopped onions (or 1/16 c onion flakes)
1/8 cup ketchup
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 glove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp of pepper flakes

the original recipe is for chicken wings but i like breasts better. (giggle). add and stir all the ingredients together in an 8x8 baking pan and cook in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes (stirring after 10 minutes).

another way to cook it would be in the crock pot. i didn't prepare in advance to do it in the crock pot although i wish i had. i love crock pots haha.
add and stir all the ingredients together in your crock pot and cook on low for 3 hours or high for 1 1/2 hours.

we ate the chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans that we cooked in the oven simultaneously. it was all absolutely delicious.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

how to: make Red Lobster biscuits



















I've been craving pizza for a long time now and we were about to get Dominos and their new parmesan bites but after Spencer decided to go play basketball we toned it down a bit and he went and picked up a frozen Red Baron pizza while I made these copy cat Red Lobster biscuits. They're obviously not identical, but they are still sooo very good.

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix Bisquick, cheese and milk together until soft dough forms. Drop 9 biscuits onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden. Mix butter and garlic together and spread on biscuits. I recommend you use it all, if not more, butter and garlic make everything taste better. :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

how to: make beef stew



















I know the picture doesn't look that great but it tastes delicious. The weather has been warming up a bit here in Provo and I wanted to make beef stew before it went out of season. It is so easy to make and always comes out delicious.

What you need:
1 lb stew meat
4 medium sized red potatoes
10 baby carrots
3 stalks of celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups of water
Beef stew seasoning packet (ours was McCormicks)
Some flour and oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Cover the meat with flour and add seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder and steak seasoning are my favorite). Add the meat to the pan and cook until browned. No need to cook all the way because it's going to be cooking for hours in the crockpot. Browning the meat will give your stew more flavor and the flour will help thicken it.
Cut up all the vegetables and add to the crockpot. Add the water, meat and seasoning packet. Stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
We ate it with a warm baguette (LOVE) and it was amazing. Enjoy :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

how to: make chocolate chip cookies

In addition to the BBQ chicken sandwiches I made Spencer one of his favorite desserts, chocolate chip cookies. In the Spirit of Valentine's Day I thought that I would die them pink.

Note, the ones I made I messed up and they turned out to be more marbley looking so I'm just not even going to add how to dye the cookies because I don't know! Ha. Unfortunately they were all eaten before I could take a picture so I stole this one from Google.

2 1/8 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used salted and it worked fine)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
12 oz package of semisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate ones because they're more sweet - obviously)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle rack positions. Mix flour, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Stir in chocolate chips.
Roll into balls and place on cookie sheets.
*Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to one month.
Bake, reversing cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden but the centers and still soft and puffy, about 15-18 minutes. Frozen cookie dough requires an extra 1-2 minutes of cooking time.
Cool cookies on baking sheets and store in airtight container.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

how to: make BBQ chicken sandwiches

So Spencer doesn't like presents. He loves free things but not presents. He'd rather just have money. I truly learned that after Christmas when he only kept one thing that I got him. So with Valentine's day I didn't really want to try. I know a bunch of things that he would like but, again, he'd rather I saved the money. I'm not creative enough to think of something free and meaningful to give him so what he got for Valentine's day was food. He was gone all day at school and I had to nanny that night so I made him BBQ chicken in a crockpot that he could use to make sandwiches when he got home. Romantic, I know. He thought it was great and I guess that's what counts ha.

I found this recipe here but I've tweeked it just a little. There was some left over so I was able to try it when I came home and it was really good.

4 chicken breasts
12 ounces of BBQ sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup italian dressing
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Add all the ingredients into the crock pot and stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. When the chicken is soft enough, shred it and let it sit a little longer. Serve on hamburger buns.

Friday, February 17, 2012

how to: make cream cheese chicken


I love cooking in my crockpot. Especially on Sundays. This past Sunday I made Cream Cheese Chicken. It is so easy and so good.

1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup of butter, melted
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 10.5-ounce can of cream of chicken soup
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

Add the butter and dressing mix into your crockpot and stir. Add chicken and stir. In a separate bowl, mix cream of chicken and cream cheese; add to crockpot and stir. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6. Shred the chicken while still in the crockpot. We add it to rice but a lot of people put it on top of pasta and love it, either way.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

how to: make Valentine's Chex Mix

Valentine Chex Mix
I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it was delicious. The pink M&Ms and sprinkles made it a perfect Valentine's Day treat. I gave some to my visiting teachees and Spencer and I polished off the rest before the end of the night. Oops :)

9 cups of Rice Chex cereal
2 cups of white chocolate baking chips
1 cup of peanut butter
2 tbsp of butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup M&Ms
Sprinkles

Put the cereal in a large bowl. You're going to want it to be big enough to stir all that cereal with the melted chocolate and peanut butter and not get it all over the counter. I was not so lucky.
Put chocolate, peanut butter and butter in a microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue microwaving and stirring in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Pour peanut butter mixture over Chex until evenly coated.
Put half of the cereal mixture in a plastic bag and add the powdered sugar. Shake until evenly coated.
The recipe tells you to stir the M&Ms and sprinkles into the other half of the cereal mixture. If you do this I promise it will not look like this beautiful picture. Unfortunately. So here I tweek the recipe for you. Spread the unsugared half onto wax paper and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Then in a large bowl combine both of the mixtures with the M&Ms and sprinkles. I am assuming that would make it look prettier than the way I did it.
Enjoy! You're going to love it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

how to: make pot roast

So Spencer has this thing where he likes to raid his family's house any time we go to visit. Our latest spoils included a lovely chuck roast and we took full advantage of it on Sunday. What better way to cook on a Sunday than with a crockpot? And that's exactly what we did.



We cut up six little red potatoes. You need to make sure that you cut them into quarters or sixths because they'll be in the crock pot with liquid for awhile and you don't want them to get mushy.





Then I put the 3 lb roast on top of the potatoes and cut up a quarter of a medium sized onion, minced two cloves of garlic and put those on top of the roast. Then I seasoned the roast with salt, pepper and steak seasoning. It looks delicious already.


I added half a tablespoon of butter to the potatoes and another half on top of the roast. We kinda just play around with different seasonings that we have lying around and that's what we did today. We put about a quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce mostly on the roast but a little bit on the potatoes too.

Let the food cook for 4 hours or until the meat is falling apart. If you want to be safe you should cook it into the roast is at least 145 degrees. Since we don't own a meat thermometer we went with the falling apart method and we're still alive a week later.
As you can tell I'm partial to potatoes (this is my plate) but they were soo soft and flavorful how could I not be? But really, the whole meal was delicious; the meat was just as soft as the potatoes. It was an awesome Sunday dinner.

Monday, January 30, 2012

how to: simple smoothie

You need a nice blender that can blend frozen fruit; otherwise, you'll need to cut up your fruit before you put them in the blender.




Put 1 1/3 cup of liquid. I usually use water but we just got orange juice and that's not a bad substitute.



Add a whole cup of yogurt. Personally, I like strawberry.






Add about 1 1/3 cups of frozen fruit. My absolute favorite is a mixed fruit bag from Walmart. It has strawberries, mangos, peaches and pineapple.




Blend until well mixed. Isn't my orange blender super cute? One of my favorite wedding presents for sure.




I love to use my personal, portable cup. It's awesome. You can get one like this cute brown one at Walmart for only a few dollars.


Friday, January 27, 2012

how to: choose a protein bar

You just bought a pack of protein bars and you're all excited because you're trying to eat healthy and you just took a step in the right direction. You may just have bought yourself a pack of bars as bad as candy. Crazy, i know. Before you buy any protein bar, make sure it is under 200 calories with a protein to sugar ratio of 1:1. Otherwise, it will add excess sugar to your diet (for a product that doesn't taste that awesome anyway) and will drain your energy.


To find other facts about potentially unwanted snacks visit this article.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

how to: work out more effectively

I like to work out somewhat frequently but I am always on the lookout for ways to make my workouts shorter. As I was purusing Twitter today instead of doing my homework I came across this great article by Shape Magazine. I love Shape magazine.
Anyway, I don't work out to try and get bigger but just to be toned. There is one move that I never do because I don't want to make my boobs smaller than they already are and that is the pushup.

Pushup



Shape says that the pushup works out your core, back and legs as well as your chest and arms so perhaps I will do these now! I am doing a workout video by Jullian Michael's right now and I just lay down when she does pushups. I guess I won't anymore.

Burpee Spike


If you're thinking I'm being a baby and pushups are actually really easy then this next workout is for you. It's the burpee spike.

Read about how to do it here.





What better time to start working out than January? So get to it! And let me know some of your favorite workouts :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

how to: curl your eyelashes

Your hair changes its form when it's exposed to heat (straighteners, curling irons..) and your eyelashes are no different. If you want to get a better curl from your eyelash curler you should blow dry it for just a couple seconds until it's warm and it will curl your eyelashes better. I promise.

Eyelash Curler+=

Saturday, January 7, 2012

how to: make breakfast cake

i've been told many good things about this treat. if you're looking for something nutritious this won't be your cup of tea. and that's what makes it so good.

Batter Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups milk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening. You should have just little pieces of shortening afterward.
Mix milk and eggs together. Add to flour mixture and stir.
Pour into greased 9x13 pan.

Topping Ingredients:
3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup soft butter

Mix flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter.
Sprinkle over cake.
You can cover and refrigerate to cook later.
Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted fork comes out clean.
Enjoy! It is delicious I promise.

how to: snack wisely

I've never been one to count calories. Never have. Hope i never will. But I do follow Shape magazine on Twitter (and totally recommend it) and they posted an article about snacks for under 100 calories and I decided to look at it. It is great!



Did you know that four chocolate kisses are only 89 calories? I LOVE chocolate kisses - don't they look delicious? The best thing about them is they're little and perfect if you just have a little chocolate craving.

Another thing I was surprised to find was five strawberries and a tablespoon of whip cream is only 82 calories. That just made my day. We already have whip cream in our fridge and I'll probably go buy strawberries today when I go grocery shopping. Happy Saturday to me :).

You can read about the other 13 snacks for yourself here.

how to: make chocolate cream pie

my husband's favorite dessert is chocolate cream pie. i've made this recipe a few times and we love it. it is really simple and easy to make. i found the recipe at allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:
1 (9 inch) baked pie crust
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. In a medium bowl beat together milk and eggs. Gradually stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Constantly stir over medium heat until it thickens and comes to a boil:
Stir for an additional minute while it boils. Remove from heat and add chocolate, butter and vanilla. Stir until melted.
Pour into pie shell. Cover with clear plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming and chill for several hours.
Top with whip cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. The chocolate shavings don't add much to the taste but they do make it look cooler. :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

how to: pay less for awesome make up

I've been wanting new make up for a long time. I didn't want to pay a lot of money but I didn't want to buy cheap make up like I always do.
So I just haven't gotten any new make up.. until I read this article and then I bought the falsies mascara. I wouldn't say that I look like I have false lashes (who do they think they're kidding in those commercials anyway?) but I do like it a lot and would totally recommend it.

Great Makeup for Under $10