Sunday, October 23, 2016

Clothespin Picture Frame


I bought this old window frame from a contractor in Fredericksburg, Texas. The glass had already been broken so I just used a staple gun to attach the twine to the back. Then I bought some cute clothespins from Hobby Lobby and attached the photos. Super cute! I've made a few of these now for weddings and home decor for friends. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wooden Pumpkins


It's FALL!!! I love fall!! It's so festive and the weather is gorgeous! I bought the cheapest 2x4 wood I could find at Lowe's and cut it into 3 different sizes (4 inches, 6 inches, 7.5 inches). I spray painted them white as a primer, so the wood grain wouldn't show through as much. I guess you could just spray paint them orange, but I didn't think of that at the time. I then painted them with orange acrylic paint (I think it was like $3 at Walmart). Once the paint had dried, I added the little sticks to the top using wood glue. I found a branch on the side of the road and just cut it into little pieces. I then used twine to make little bows, super cute!! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pillows



I am LOVING my Cricut!! I used my Cricut to create the design and cut it out on Freezer Paper. I then ironed the Freezer Paper stencil onto the pillowcase. Next, I inserted a paper bag inside the pillowcase. You can use anything that will stop the paint from bleeding through to the back of the pillowcase. I then painted the pillowcase using fabric paint and a foam brush. I immediately removed the Freezer Paper stencil from the pillowcase. If you leave the Freezer Paper on the pillowcase for too long, it's hard to remove and the paint is more likely to bleed through. I can't wait to make one of these for every holiday!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Whole 30: Banana Muffins


Ingredients

3 mashed bananas
2 eggs
3 tbsp apple sauce
2 cups almond meal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly coat a muffin pan with coconut oil spray.
  • Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix together using an electric hand mixer.
  • Pour the batter into the muffin pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Whole 30: Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Ingredients

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
4 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

Directions


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Pierce your sweet potatoes with a fork. Line a baking sheet with foil and bake the sweet potatoes for about 45 minutes. 
  2. While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the sauce. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and saute the onions. 
  3. Once the onions are cooked, add the beef to the pan. Cook the beef and then drain the grease.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir well.
  6. Add the tomato sauce to the mixture, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and cut them open. Scoop the sauce into the sweet potatoes and enjoy! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pedernales Cellars



We went to our favorite town (Fredericksburg) for the day. I really needed to relax from a long week at work, and I've always wanted to do grape stomping at a winery. We saw that Pedernales Cellars had grape stomping this weekend, so we decided to check it out. Pedernales Cellars is a little off the main road, but it's definitely worth the extra drive. They have a great view and some really good wines. We sat out on their patio enjoying the gorgeous Texas weather and yes...I finally got to stomp in some grapes!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese


Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
7-8 slices bacon
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 (5oz) bag baby spinach
2 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half (hardest part of the entire meal) and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the olive oil over the spaghetti squash. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the bacon and break it into small pieces. You can cut the bacon into pieces prior to cooking it, but I just prefer to do it afterwards. Add the bacon back into the skillet.
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Add the red wine vinegar to the bacon and bacon grease. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the maple syrup to the mixture and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the baby spinach to the mixture, one handful at a time. Cook until all of the spinach is combined.
  6. Go back over to your spaghetti squash. Using a fork, scoop out the inside of the spaghetti squash. 
  7. Combine the spaghetti squash, bacon/spinach mixture, and goat cheese. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Green Belt: Sculpture Falls


I have been dying to visit Sculpture Falls!! I've been seeing posts on Instagram and it just looked so relaxing!! Neil and I both had the day off so we decided to take a mini-adventure to find the falls. We drove to 1710 Camp Croft Rd Austin, Texas (The Scottish Woods Trail which leads to the Greenbelt Trail).  When you first enter the park make sure you take a good look at the map (we got a little lost). The trail will go almost straight all of the way down to the water where you'll come to an intersection. If you go straight you'll find this beautiful area:


There are even some fun rope swings:

If you want to go to Sculpture Falls then turn left at the intersection instead of going straight. This path will lead you along the water. There are lots of areas to hop in the nice cool water along the way.  After you pass mile marker 6.25 you'll start looking for the falls. There will be a small sign pointing to the falls (same size as the mile maker signs). 

Bam...after a 1.5 mile hike you're there!! 


We finally made it!!


Don't forget to save some water/energy for the hike back up! It might be downhill on your way to the falls, but that means it's uphill when you're headed home. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Green Belt-Twin Falls



We went to the Green Belt today and went for a little swim!! The water felt amazing, I just can't believe I've lived in Austin for 2 years and this is the first time I've ever been to the Green Belt!! Ah...sssoo beautiful!! 

Here's a good description of how to get to the Twin Falls entrance: http://austinot.com/austin-greenbelt-guide

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole


Ingredients

1 cup quinoa
1 (10 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles (drained)
1/3 cup canned corn
1/2 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 avocado (diced)
1 roma tomato (diced)

Directions

1) In a large pan, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
3) Lightly coat an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
4) In a large bowl combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, green chiles, corn, black beans, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
5) Spread the mixture into the 8x8 baking dish. Top with the remaining cheeses. Place in oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes.
6) Serve immediately with avocado and tomato as garnish.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

DIY: Tote Bag



My friend Jessica asked me to help her make a cute summer tote bag. We ended up making a craft night out of it!! Here are the steps we took:
  1. I created the images on my Cricut and cut it out on Freezer Paper. 
  2. We then ironed the Freezer Paper stencil onto the tote bags. 
  3. Next, we inserted a paper bag inside the tote bag. You can use anything that will stop the paint from bleeding through to the back of the bag. 
  4. We then painted the totes using fabric paint and a foam brush. 
  5. We immediately removed the Freezer Paper stencil from the bags. If you leave the Freezer Paper on the bags for too long, it's hard to remove and the paint is more likely to bleed through. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Ingredients

4 medium sweet potatoes (scrubbed and pierced several times with a fork)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 (15 oz) can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 1/2 tbsp lime juice
3 1/2 tbsp honey
salt and ground pepper
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and broth to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  3. Heat oil in a separate skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for about 4 minutes, adding in the garlic during the last 30 seconds. 
  4. Add onion mixture to cooked quinoa.
  5. Add black beans, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper, lime juice, honey, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Cut cooked sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the center to create a bowl shape. Leave about 1/3 to 1/2 an inch of sweet potatoes around the edges. 
  7. Fill sweet potatoes with quinoa mixture. Sprinkle the tops with cheese. 
  8. Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for a few minutes, just until the cheese has melted. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Strawberry Pretzel Salad


Well I'll just start by saying this is the best salad ever!! Maybe not the healthiest but definitely the yummiest!!

So where to start?? You can start by picking some fresh strawberries!! I went to Michigan to visit my family and I just love picking fresh fruit!! If you don't have access to fresh fruit, just grab some from your local grocery store.


Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST
2 cups crushed pretzel
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter (melted)

FOR THE FILLING
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
8 oz cool whip (thawed)

FOR THE STRAWBERRY TOPPING
2 cups boiling water
1 (6 oz) package of Strawberry Jell-O
1 1/2 cup cold water
4 cups sliced strawberries

Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the crushed pretzels and sugar. Pour the melted butter over the pretzel mixture and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. If you'd like to make them in individual cups or 4 oz mason jars then scoop out the pretzel mixture from the 9x13 baking dish immediately after removing the baking dish from the oven. Pour the crumbs into the mason jar/cup and press down. Let cool completely.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cool whip. Spread evenly over the pretzel crust and refrigerate.
  3. Place the dry Jell-O in a large bowl and add the boiling water. Stir for at least 2 minutes, until all of the Jell-O is dissolved. Stir in the cold water. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours or until slightly thickened. Stir in the strawberries and pour over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bible Journaling


My wonderful mom (and dad) bought me a Journaling Bible for Easter this year.  A Journaling Bible has margins on the side for note-taking/artwork and the paper is a little thicker so the colors won't bleed through as easily. The purpose of a Journaling Bible is the same as any other Bible, only it allows the reader to express their thoughts through artwork. 

I did a bunch of research on the different supplies to get started and here's what I ended up buying:
Alphabet Stickers ($1)
Alphabet Stamp Set from Walmart ($2)
Alphabet Stamp Set from Michael's $1.50 (not in photo)
Washi Tape
Sakura Water Colors (a little expensive)
$5 Water Colors from Michael's (not in photo)
Faber-Castel Brush Pens (takes lots of practice)
Sakura Brush Pen Set (takes lots of practice)
Colored Pencils (not in photo)
Water Color Pencils (not in photo)


After doing a few entries, I would suggest starting with: $1.50 letter stamps from Michael's, $5 water color paint from Michael's, colored pencils, and the Staedler Pen Set. 

Here are a few of my entries:






Sunday, March 13, 2016

Austin Mural Search


My sister came to visit me this week and we had sssoo much fun!! One of the days she was here we just drove around Austin and took photos of the murals. I read a few different websites about where to find the murals, but this link was the best: Free Fun in Austin.  Heidi (the writer of Free Fun in Austin) provides you with pictures of the murals and a map! The map was the most important part for us! We pulled up her link, set out a route, and started on our journey! 








Monday, February 22, 2016

Mason Jar Salads


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mason Jar Salads!! I normally prep 3 on Sunday night and 3 more on Wednesday night. They stay fresh and super yummy!! Here are some of my layers, from bottom to top:

Shredded Carrots
Cucumbers
Tomatoes
Eggs
Lettuce
Cheese
Chicken

When I wake up in the morning I add the cheese and the chicken. I read somewhere that it's better to wait to add those ingredients until the day you're going to eat your salad. You may not have to wait to add them, but I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. I also keep my salad dressing separate, but from what I've read you can put it in the jars. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Live Oak Brewery


Neil and I love Live Oak Brewery, so we were super excited when we heard about their new brewery opening up just outside of Austin. We grabbed a glass of our favorite beer (Live Oak Hefeweizen) and enjoyed their outdoor area. Great atmosphere...we look forward to going back soon!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Decorating Sugar Cookies


I just LOVE cookie decorating!! I think I'm getting a little better at it, but I will say it takes a long time. I like to make the cookies one day and then decorate the next, it seems to go a little faster that way.

Here's are some new recipes I've found that I really like!

Sugar Cookie Ingredients:

2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar 
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
4-5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt

Sugar Cookie Directions:

1) Cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer. 
2) Add the eggs, vanilla, and cream.
3) Add the flour and salt. Do not over mix.
4) Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough will stay good in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.
5) Roll out the dough by sandwiching it in-between two pieces of Parchment Paper. Do not use flour to roll out the dough, it will change the consistency of the dough. If worse comes to worse you can use flour, but try not to. Also, I suggest using Perfection Strips to roll out your cookies. Perfections Strips ensure that your dough is the same height, uneven dough leads to burning the thinner areas of the cookie. 
6) Cut into shapes and place 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. 
7) Bake at 350 for 11-14 minutes. 
8) Let the cookies cool and then you're ready to decorate!!

Royal Icing Recipe

3 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups powder sugar 
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp clear vanilla 

Beat all ingredients at low speed for about 7 minutes (yes it's a long time). This recipe is for your thicker royal icing that you will use around the edges of your cookies. When you are ready to flood the cookies add more water (5 second disappear). 




Monday, January 18, 2016

DIY: Dessert Bar


One day at work, one of my coworkers mentioned a project she was working on for her wedding.  I had some spare time that weekend so I decided to give it a shot.  I went to a few local thrift stores and picked up some items for the pie stands. I bought large plates, platters, and even a microwave plate for the top part of the stands (FYI: The large plates with decorative edges ended up looking the nicest). Then I bought candle stick holders, flower vases, candy dishes, beer glasses, and light fixtures for the base of the stands. I even found a two tiered plate stand at one of the thrift stores for $1!! It didn't come with matching plates, but I was able to find some plates to make it work. 

Once I had enough items, I started arranging the pieces to make the stands. Here's what I came up with:


Next, it was time to start assembling the stands. I used the clear Gorilla Glue to glue the pieces together. Be sure to read the Gorilla Glue directions carefully. Now this next part is going to sound weird, but you're going to want to tape the pieces together after applying the glue. I taped the pieces together to hold them in place, and then I added some extra weight/pressure by placing other items on the stands. Here's a photo to help explain this step:


Once the glue had dried, I spray painted the stands either cream or gold. Always, Always, Always use Rust-Oleum Spray Paint!! For this project I thought I'd try a new brand and the bottle literally broke on me. I ended up with spray paint going every where, including all over my face!! So I'm back to using Rust-Oleum!! Here's the finished project at my coworkers wedding:



I decided to keep the stands, I just loved them!! I figured I could use them for cupcake stands or food stands at a future party....really I just didn't want to get rid of them cuz I like them sssoo much!! Oh..and how much did this project cost me?? Well I spent about $2 on each stand. So if you're wanting a dessert bar for a party or a wedding, save yourself some money and just make the stands yourself.