Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday - Making Pillow Slipcovers

They say an easy way to change a room's color scheme is by changing your pillows.  As most pillows are $15+ each, that can get expensive awfully fast, and you're also left with your unwanted pillows that had cost you a pretty penny at one point.  This is why slipcovers are your best friend for changing your room's decor on a dime.  It's especially nice if you like to change your decor according to seasons or moods.  Rather than spending umpteen $$$ for a new color scheme, you can get or make slipcovers for your existing pillows.

Since adding all of the blue with the settee in the living room, I've been wanting to bring a bit of warmth back into our color scheme and have been on the look-out for a nice rusty-red "terracotta" color fabric.

Here's what our living room was looking like before:


Nice, but kind of bland - needs a pop of color!
As luck would have it, recently I went to a fabric outlet and found the EXACT color, so of course I jumped on it!  But that's not the best part!  I got 2 yards of the fabric for $1.78 total!!  Eeeeeeee!


I made these slipcovers for the two neutral-colored pillows that originally came with our couch.  It took me about 2 hours, but that was because I was figuring out the process as I went....aaaand was distracted by the good 'ol Robin Hood: Men in Tights playing as I worked.  So y'all could probably knock these off in no time!



I used this tute from Six Sisters Stuff as a guide to make my slipcovers.  My pillows measured 20x20, so the fabric measured 44x21 for me (I wanted some extra seam allowance for the sides).

*Note: If you wish to make a slipcover that has different fabric on each side of the pillow, you'll want to use this tute by the Wonder Forest.

So go ahead, experiment with colors and patterns with your pillows and liven up your room!  :)



In case you're one of the astute who noticed it, there is also a brown throw on the settee now.  Adding this throw (it was marked down from $40 to $6!) with brown and orange-red woven through it perfectly continues the room's colors and adds some warm coloring as well to the settee - throws are another great and versatile piece to play with!





Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday - Hanging a Picture Collage

Recently we went with my bro & sis-in-law to an estate sale and snagged this set of mirrors for $15 (after haggling the price down of course!  lol).  I recently got them up in the dining room, which makes them the first thing on the walls since we painted the room.

For the record, I did not hang these by just eyeing them.  Here's an easy way I've learned from some bloggers for figuring out how you want to hang a collage of pictures on a blank wall without making multiple nail holes.

1. lay the frames on the floor or a table and shuffle them around until you like the layout.


2. take a paper bag and trace over your frames so that you can cut out their shapes

3. using painter's tape (other tape may peel your paint!), stick the cutouts onto your wall in the same way you laid out your frames, moving them a little here and there until it looks right.


4. at this point, you can either figure out where the nailheads will need to go, or do like I did and use the Command hanging strips (we have plaster walls, so I try to avoid using nails).


5. hang the pictures and admire your work!


Happy tuesday!  :)


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday - Bedsheets

Hate folding laundry like I do?  This is a technique for organizing your bed sheets that I learned from Karl soon after we got married, and is something I wish I had known of sooner!

It happened one day as he was with me as I attempted the task of folding clean bed sheets to be put away.  I have trouble rolling sleeping bags, so you can imagine how much fun I have with huge sheets.  I can't remember the conversation verbatim, but this is close to how it went:

Karl: Why are you folding them?

D: Isn't that what you do?

K: You can just stuff all the sheets into one of the pillowcases.

D: ...*ponders for a moment* But wouldn't that make them all wrinkled?

K: They're bed sheets.  They get wrinkled anyway.

Touche.  Score one for the Kar-man.

tada!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dairy-Free Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas


Rejoice oh ye who are lactose intolerant, I have found how to beat the non-dairy pit of despair!

For about the past 6 weeks or so now, I have been testing how I do on Cabot's non-lactose cheese.  I was first told of them thru a friend's post about it on Facebook, and naturally I was surprised that Cabot not only have certain cheeses that profess to be lactose free, but:
- have actual wholesome ingredients I recognize
- is gluten free
- can be found in most grocery stores
....and IS REAL CHEESE.

You heard me!  No soy or rice milk, non-melting plastic-y so-called cheese here, folks!

NOT ALL of their cheese selections are lactose and gluten free, so be sure to look for these on the packaging before buying:
 

They have about 10 different cheeses that are safe for us non-dairy folks that you can learn more about here.  Also of note to those of you able to have dairy with no problems, I'd recommend considering using Cabot for having non-chemical, non preservative-heavy cheeses.

(Pictured above is the specific cheese I've been using)
If you're hesitant to try it out because you are highly sensitive to dairy, you still have nothing to fear.  I am the most gut-sensitive person I know.  Just the smallest minute smidget of-a-hint of dairy can throw me for a loop for days.  I approached this cheese suspiciously and tried it first as a tiny fleck no bigger or thicker than my pinky nail, and waited.  A day passed and nothing happened; I felt fine.  A few days later I tried a bite-sized cube.  Still nothing.

You have to imagine how hard it was at this point to restrain myself from devouring the whole bar in cheese-induced ecstasy.

Each time I tried this cheese and increased how much I used, I was afraid of being let down like I sometimes am when I'm trying a new food, especially when I'm just beginning to feel safe using it.   But nada.

It's been 8 years since I stopped eating any dairy, and it's been heavenly to be back.  I've made mac & cheese with bacon, had CHEESEburgers, cheese on broccoli...oh my stars.

Naturally, my sights became set on having quesadilla-goodness back on the menu!


CHEESY CHICKEN QUESADILLAS:

You'll Need:
- Cabot cheese of your choice
- unskinned chicken thighs
- corn tortillas (or whatever you prefer)
- olive oil
- salt & pepper

Prep:
- heat your skillet on medium-high heat
- add the chicken thighs and sprinkle them with salt & pepper (and any other spices you'd like)
- while the chicken is cooking, shred the cheese (I do about 1/3 cup for each tortilla, but it will depend on the size of the tortilla shells you're using)
- after the chicken is cooked-through, cut the chicken (or shred) into small bite-sized pieces

To Start:
- heat your skillet on medium-high.
- when the pan is giving off heat, add approx 1/2 tbsp of oil to the pan and immediately place a tortilla in the skillet.  Swirl the tortilla gently around to catch the oil underneath most of the shell.
- quickly add the cut chicken and cheese
- place tortilla over the chicken and cheese
- flip when the first tortilla is a nice golden-brown.  your quesadilla is done when the 2nd shell is ready.
- repeat with each subsequent quesadilla

Enjoy your cheese feast!


these quesadillas went so fast I barely had time to snap some pix w/ my cel for this post - oops 

Shared On:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Coming Soon!

Hi all - it's been a crazy few weeks with sicknesses and storms and all sorts of fun stuff, but I'm back now and I'll be posting new entries again starting the beginning of next week!  I'll be continuing my mini-series on non-toxic alternatives to things we use everyday, including my recent hair color change using henna, as well as some ideas having to do with one of my favorite things: food.  Till then, happy March - spring is coming!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meatloaf Cupcakes with Celeric Root Frosting


This is a fun recipe to turn every-day meatloaf into something that makes everyone feel like they're having treats.

What makes this recipe especially neat is the "icing".  If you're able to eat potatoes, you can blend some for the icing.  If you're like me though with a nightshades allergy (potatoes, peppers, tomatoes), you've probably also been on a quest for a potato substitute for years.

Ever hear of celeric root before?  I hadn't either until I read about using them as a potato substitute.  I'd tried the mashed cauliflower substitute, and didn't like it very much (I'm not a cauliflower fan).  However, the celeric was a winner for myself and Karl both.  He kept exclaiming the whole dinner about how good it was.

Here's what celeric root looks like:


Knarly, right?  However, underneath all that dirty, root filled skin is a white potato-like veggie.  Here's a video to demonstrate how to "peel" the skin off of celeric:


Giving credit where credit is due, I read about the celeric root substitute, as well as the idea for the meatloaf cupcakes from a paleo cookbook I was recently given called Against All Grain.  The cook/writer, Danielle, has a blog that gives many of her recipes for free here.  Check it out, as she has lots of great recipes!

Recipe:

Meatloaf:

You can get my brown sugar meatloaf recipe here.  The only difference you'll have is that since we're using a cupcake pan versus loaf, it takes approx 30 mins to bake, or until the juices run clear.

Mashed Celeric Root:

  • If you're doing 2 lbs of ground beef, then I'd recommend 3-4 celeric roots.  
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 minced garlic cloves
  • 12 oz water
  • 3 tbsp buttery extra-virgin olive oil (or butter if you're able to)
  • cheese (optional)

- Cut the celeric roots down to their whites, then slice them into wedges and cook them in boiling water for approx 12 minutes, or until they soften.

- Drain the pot and put the roots into a food mixer or use a bowl and blender/beater.  Add salt, pepper, garlic, water, olive oil, and if you'd like/are able to, cheese. (basically treat it like mashed potatoes).

- Blend until you get a smooth consistency akin to a thick yogurt.  (if necessary, add more water as you blend to achieve this)

- Dollop the creamy mash onto each 'meat cupcake' while still hot.  Top with chopped chives for "sprinkes".

- Enjoy!




Shared on the following blogs: 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Getting on my Soapbox: Non-toxic Soap

Following up to this entry from the other day, here's the start to a mini-series of non-toxic alternatives to things you use everyday.

I've been on a long road to get here, and I'm still learning and experimenting.  It's gotten easier to find good-for-you products in the last few years with awareness growing about the chemicals we unquestioningly expose ourselves to everyday, so all of the items I'll be listing in the days to come I've found at my usual grocery store, walmart, target, etc.

However, before I launch into these products, I do want to make you aware of something when you are shopping for safer products:  Companies know that more consumers are looking for and choosing healthier foods and products.  To meet this growing demand and also not lose out on the organic bandwagon revenue, companies such as Coca Cola, Kelloggs, Kraft, Heinz, etc. have developed their own offerings and standard of "organic"; even creating new sub-companies with healthy sounding names and packaging to seem as "small company" as possible.  Ever heard of Kashi?  Owned by Kelloggs.  Naked Juice?  Owned by Pepsi.  For a good run-down of others you may or may not know of, see this fun list from buzzfeed  (don't blame me if you get stuck on buzzfeed, hehe).

The same has happened with many "green" and "organic" shampoo, soaps, and lotions that look like they are produced by small hippy companies but are actually owned by large companies such as Johnson & Johnson, or as in the case of Burt's Bees, Clorox.  Don't take a product's packaging as the tell-all sign that the product is "healthy" or "natural".


Companies such as Burt's Bees did not start out owned by Clorox; they definitely had their customers health in mind when they were still a small company.  But once sold to Clorox, their ingredients have been compromised.  This is something to just be aware of when looking into products.

There's a ton of info out there about the harmful toxins found in everyday soaps.  Here's a few links to get you started in finding out more:

- Toxins found in Dove soap: scroll down a bit to see a list of the ingredients and what they are, as well as the health concerns they pose.  Keep in mind how absorbent our skin is.
- Antibacterial Soap: I am guilty of still using these liquid soaps for hand-washing.  >.<  But, I am working to phase them out because of the unnecessary hazards they pose.  If we stopped using this kind of soap, our immune systems wouldn't be so bogged-down trying to get rid of the chemicals we put in it, and could instead do what it's meant to do: ward off germs.  Trust you body.
- Overall list of ingredients in soaps to avoid and why

Ok, I'm done with that side of things.  Now let's get onto the list!

Dr. Bronner's Body Soap in Lavender



I love this soap!  I recognize all of the ingredients, it lathers really well, and smells really good.  It is paraben, sulfate, gluten, and overall toxin free (and organic to-boot).  Furthermore, it doesn't leave my skin feeling like there's a film on it, or dry it out.  There are additional scents to choose from such as almond, rose, peppermint, and citrus. (click here to see a full list).  I find this at my local grocery store for $3.50, and it lasts me several months.

Ingredients: Organic coconut, organic palm and olive oils, water, organic hemp oil, organic jojoba oil, lavender extract, organic lavender oil, salt, citric acid, vitamin E.

I'll be covering more items such as shampoos, lotions (body and facial), deodorant, shaving gel, hair dye, and makeup in upcoming posts!  

Keep thinking this to yourself: small changes add up.
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