Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Tried It – Gluten Free Crispy Coconut Chicken Nuggets

The summer is such a weird food time.  Weird, but good.  I find myself not really wanting to eat meals so much as wanting to gnaw on pieces of steak or other protein and raw vegetables.  It’s a simpler time, I guess.  Like, caveman simple.  I was researching gluten free summer foods and came across a recipe for Crispy Coconut Chicken Nuggets.  So, I tried it.  Naturally.

Gluten Free Crispy Coconut Chicken Nuggets

These little nuggets came out delicious!  They were easy to make, although I do find frying things to be tedious work.  I’m sort of a multi-tasker and when you are frying, you really ought to only do one thing at a time.  Cause, ya know, fires.  I found this amazing recipe from Num’s The Word, which is my new favorite blog name.

I like this nugget size food because it is so easy to transport. I could pop these in a plastic cup and bring them to the ball field and munch on them.  Or, I could add a few to a salad.  Watch for an upcoming post on summer food, where I explain why you should be making salads in large, lidded coffee cups and taking them to the beach.  Best thing ever.  That’s an exaggeration.  Salads in coffee cups can’t compete with espresso fudge.  But, as far as healthy beach going fare, salads in coffee cups are pretty darn awesome.

Speaking of summer, this one is shaping up to be one of the best yet for my family!  We have already had a couple of weekend trips, including one to Old Orchard Beach, ME.  The beach there is truly spectacular.

Another beautiful sunset at #oldorchardbeach:

#oob old orchard beach me:

And we still have our annual trip to Lake Winnipesaukee to look forward to.  We’ll be spending one long, full week there and I’m excited to relax and stare at the lake for several days.  In between visits to Fun Spot.  If you want to read more about Lake Winni, you can check out this post.

 

DIY Sticker Mandalas

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and buy something, I may receive a small commission***        I have a fun rainy summer day craft for you to share with your kids!  I made DIY Sticker Mandalas.  I would say your early tween to tween age kids will like this, but a focused little one could probably do this, too.  Do they make focused little ones?

DIY Sticker Mandalas

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know I was inspired by this project from Honestly WTF.  That one is a lot larger than what I made and infinitely more intricate, but I think I’ve captured the idea in a scaled down version that should be fun for kids to make while not taking a super long time to complete.  I would set aside 30-45 minutes to make one of these guys.

DIY Sticker Mandalas

Materials:

Stickers – a couple of things to note: 1.  Don’t buy puffy stickers  2.  You will need multiples of each sticker you intend to use.  If you choose to do something larger scale, you may need several multiples of each sticker.  For my small Mandalas, I used stickers from this book from Amazon and it worked well for this project.  Bugs happens to be the theme I chose, but there are lots of others to pick from!

5×5 Canvases

Mod Podge

Ruler

Pencil

Step 1:

Draw an X from corner to corner of your canvas in order to find the center.  Make it as faint as possible so you don’t have much to erase at the end.

x for center

2.  Starting from the middle point, start placing your stickers.  The idea is to make a symmetrical graphic.  You’re sort of making each side a mirror image of the opposite.  I think the pictures will explain better than my words can.

apply stickers

3.  Be an artist.  The canvas is forgiving and you will be able to pick up  and replace your stickers.  I placed and replaced and swapped out stickers several times before I got it the way I wanted it.  Also, don’t be afraid to trim your stickers.  Notice that none of my bugs have legs or antennae?  Yea, I chopped them off.  They just didn’t look right, so after finishing the 1st pass at the 1st Mandala, I removed every sticker and cut off all of their legs and then replaced the stickers and was much happier with the results.  That’s called art, people.

4.  Erase any hint of your pencil lines that might still be peaking through.

5.  Seal with a nice thin layer of Mod Podge.  My stickers actually didn’t like sticking to the canvas by themselves, so the Mod Podge forced them to stick and gave them a nice clear protective coat.

And here they are in their natural habitat (read in your best Steve Irwin (RIP) voice):

sticker mandala 1

Sticker Mandala 2

 

 

Life Planning with Anthropologie

I love Anthropologie, but I don’t really have an Anthropologie sized wallet, sadly.  In circumstances like this, I like to focus on little things I can afford so that I can have a little taste of that style that might motivate me to save some pennies for the big things I love.  For some of my favorites from Anthropologie, you can look here  or here or here or here.

Planners are one of the smaller things that I can afford and that do have that signature Anthropologie style AND are even super useful.  I’ve picked a few favorites to share with you!

Life Planning with Anthropologie

 

Ok, so confession, first.  I’m not a “Planner” person.  I’m more of a fly by the seat of your pants and live to regret it later type of lady.  Not the best way to go when you have two kids, a part time job, a small blog, 3 animals and a house to care for.  It’s a lot of responsibility, people!  I can’t just wing it, really.  But planners kind of overwhelm me.  I’m not totally sure how to use them and I think I’m actually frightened of writing down all of my responsibilities.  It’s a little scary.  My plan, therefore, is to find a simple planner with a really beautiful design that will make me want to write in it and read from it everyday.  Makes sense, no?

 :

This first one meets the beautiful design criteria.  I love the colorful cover and I’ve always loved things that have those built in bookmarks.  It also has a spiral binding when you open it, so it lays flat. Unfortunately, for this guy, the second I looked at the inside pages I got a little queasy feeling of dread. I don’t know why, but it overwhelmed me.  A little to structured for me, I think.

The Happiness 100-Day Planner - anthropologie.com:

To rid myself of the queasy anxious feeling, I moved on to this Happiness Planner.  Ok, heart rate coming down, relaxation setting in.  The insides of this planner are more freeform.  There is a weekly plan, but also questions like, “What am I excited about today?”.  There are also some inspirational quotes.

 :

I love the simple graphic cover of this one.  The inside is manageable.  A goals section, a spot where the months are listed so you can jot down the highlights and then it’s broken down weekly.  I think that is just right for me.  It’s the Mama bear porridge of planners.  Wait, is it the Mama’s porridge that Goldilocks ate?  How do I not know that?  Anyway, this one is a contender.

 :

This little guy is lovely.  Minimal, but chic  Also, there is a built in bookmark. This is small, so would easily fit in a purse of almost any size.  But, on the inside, the dreaded daily, weekly and monthly sections that make me scared.  What are you supposed to do?  Fill in ALL THREE SECTIONS?  Sorry, dude, you’re cute and everything, but too much baggage for me.  Not happening.

Year-Less Planner #anthropologie:

This one is pretty.  I like the deep colors.  It has weekly and monthly sections, which still has me slightly on edge, and it also has some blank and graph lined pages for doodles and notes.  I like graph paper, so that’s kind of cool.  All in all, I’m not *feeling* this one, ya know?  I’m not going to fall in love with this one and want to look at it every day for the next year.

So, top two contenders, the graphic navy and white or the Happiness planner?  Any planner pros out there have any suggestions for a non-planner person??

Oh My God Amazon Has Purses

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and buy something, I may earn a commission*** Has anyone else noticed that Amazon is suddenly a hot spot for fashion? I found some gorgeous purses on there today!

Aldo Delafield Tote Bag, Red Miscellaneous, One Size Aldo http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018VB6JCW/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_LvShxb1MBFGHV: Aldo Delafield Tote – $54.98

I love that pop of orange with the snake skin look and just a touch of brass.  That’s totally me.  And not an over the top price.  It’s definitely summery, but you could get away with this all year, I think.

Rebecca Minkoff Unlined Feed Shoulder Bag, Putty, One Siz... http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015QZLL10/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_2yShxb18RMQSA:

Rebecca Minkoff Unlined Feed Shoulder Bag – $242.50

I love a white leather bag.  Maybe, perhaps, not the most practical thing in the world.  I’m not a big spender on, well, pretty much anything, but I have been know to splurge on a super nice purse.  I would splurge on this.

MG Collection Calista Perforated Shoulder Bag, Light Khak... http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XMNS95U/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_.BShxb1CND638: MG Collection Calista Perforated Shoulder Bag – $20.50

This bag screams summer to me and is totally budget friendly.  I love the perforated design and the little bit of bling coming through.  This might be getting added to my cart.

Desigual Varsovia Ojos De D Cross Body Bag, Black, One Si... http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016DV5QW6/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_-FShxb09VV0AF: Desigual Varsovia Ojos De D Cross-Body Bag – $98.49

This is the greatest mix of colors ever put together, ever.  I want this.  Bad. I also want this to be transformed into a dress.

T-Shirt & Jeans Canvas Printed Tote Bag, Blue, One Size T... http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014CSJGIW/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_CJShxb1ET68AY: T-Shirt & Jeans Canvas Printed Tote Bag – $47.99

Where were bags like this when I wanted a cute diaper bag?  New moms and moms to be, this is what you want to tote all things baby in.  Not the Winnie the Pooh branded bags that were around when my babes were being born.  This bag is also a great travel/vacation bag.  Everything would fit in there.  The whole world, right in your bag!

I have to say, Amazon is probably the last place I would go to look for a new purse.  No longer.  I definitely love all of these.  I’m impressed, Amazon, very impressed.

DIY Water Color Agate Painting

It’s been a while since I pulled out the old water colors, but I had the urge last night, so I thought I would try my hand at some of the pins I have pinned with DIY water color tutorials.

It didn’t go well.  And it did go well.  Have a look.

Water Color Flowers

Here’s my first stab. I followed this tutorial from The Postman’s Knock.  This was fun.  It was cool to actually learn about how the watercolors are supposed to mix.  I wasn’t in a floral kind of mood, though, so I moved on from the flowers quickly.

I actually had taken a photograph recently that I thought would be fun to try to replicate.  After all, I had just followed a tutorial on how to blend watercolors to make flowers, so the obvious next step is to go for a complicated landscape, right?

Early Spring

Sort of horrible, but I definitely learned some things on this one.  Like maybe not *so* many trees so close together.  I figured out how difficult it is to make something that looks like a rock.  I also played around with highlighting things, like on some of the trees and a bit on the stream.  Yes, that’s a stream there on the right.  The blue/grey thing.

I was feeling slightly deflated at this point, but still bouyed enough to keep trying.  I was into the spring thing, so I went for this:

Spring in Green

Big lesson learned here, make your letters the right size to fit on you paper.  Oops.  Don’t worry, I totally tried again:

Spring in PinkJuvenile?  Maybe.  But at least I got all of the letters on the page.  Amiright?

I was about to give up hope, wash off the brushes and put the paints away for another few months.  But, then, I remembered another pin I had pinned many moons ago. It’s a superb tutorial from Persia Lou and it’s fun and easy and practically fool proof.  I say practically because there were a few practice agates that I didn’t love.  But, only like the first two.  Now I’m an agate making fool.

DIY Watercolor Agate Art

Now this is something I can get on board with!  Colorful, simple, on trend.  I think the green one is my favorite.  But, I do like the shape of the blue.  I decided to simply rip them from the watercolor paper so that they had those messy edges and then I put some black paper behind them for a mat and popped them in some frames I already had.  I’m adding these to my spring mantel.  Which perhaps I will take pictures of this weekend and share with you.  We’ll see if the sun decides to cooperate so that I can get some ok pictures.

DIY Watercolor Agate Slice Painting

Nana’s Sticky Drumsticks and a Mason Jar Salad

I have a couple of easy recipes for you tonight!  Nana’s Sticky Drumsticks and a Mason Jar Salad.

My mother-in-law was a truly great cook.  My husband and I picked up a few tricks from her over the years and one of our family’s favorites are these drumsticks she used to make and then my husband started making and now I make them, too!  She would totally not ever have called them Sticky Drumsticks, however.  She wasn’t into sticky :-).

Nana's Sticky Drumsticks

Besides the fact that these are delicious, my favorite thing about them is that they are so economical.  I got a 12 pack of drumsticks at Wegman’s for $3.41.  We usually eat 2 each for dinner in my family of four, so that’s enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.  Anytime we have a larger sized get together at our house, these are on the menu.  They are easy to make, cheap, delicious and technically they are finger food so they are easy to eat while standing up at a backyard party.  Can you ask for anything more out of a humble chicken, people??

Nana’s Sticky Drumsticks

12 Drumsticks

1/2 cup Italian Dressing

1/4 Soy sauce

1-2 cloves of garlic

1 T of lemon juice

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Arrange the drumsticks in a baking pan
  3. Mix together the Italian Dressing, Soy sauce, garlic and lemon juice and pour over the chicken.
  4. Place the chicken in the oven.  Turn the chicken every 10-12 minutes so that they brown on all sides
  5. Cook for about 45 minutes or until done.  Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your drumsticks.

Ever since I saw this Mason Jar salad on Iowa Girl Eats, I’ve been dying to try a Mason jar salad.  I didn’t have all of the ingredients to make the one I’ve been stalking on Iowa Girl Eats, so I came up with my own quasi-recipe with what I had on hand.

Mason Jar Salad with Blue Cheese, Egg and Roasted Red PeppersSo, what I happened to have in the fridge was some blue cheese, greek yogurt, eggs, baby spinach and a red bell pepper.  Someone needs to go grocery shopping.  I whipped up some home made blue cheese dressing with this fabulous recipe from Heather’s French Press .  Who knew homemade dressing was so easy to make?  I did omit the balsamic dressing, however, because, yeah, I didn’t have any.  This was super easy to throw together. I put some baby spinach in the bottom of the mason jar, added about a teaspoon of dressing on top of that, added some sliced hard boiled egg, then some roasted red peppers and repeated the whole thing one more time to fill up the jar.  Doesn’t it look so cute in that mason jar?  I’ll be having that guy for lunch tomorrow.  

 

 

Gluten Free Quinoa Bacon Cheeseburger Bites

My daughter is hilarious and she has this bit she does about soccer moms named Deborah and Barbara who go to PTA meetings and bake sales.  Apparently, they also eat gluten free and are obsessed with Quinoa.  So, now I’m officially one of her soccer moms because I’m officially obsessed with Quinoa.  I also like to say Quinoa all day.

QUINOA QUINOA QUINOA

My first foray into the Quinoa world are these Gluten Free Quinoa Bacon Cheeseburger Bites.

Gluten Free Quinoa Bacon Cheeseburger Bites 1

I got the recipe from Iowa Girl Eats.  I dare you to find a recipe over there that doesn’t look phenomenal.  I want to try this mason jar salad next.  PS, I don’t like salad, but there is something about eating it out of a mason jar that is appealing.

What I love about recipes like this is that it actually tastes like a bacon cheeseburger and the quinoa is reminiscent of the texture and taste of the bun.  And it’s the bun that I miss so very much on this gluten free road trip.

What I didn’t love about this recipe is that it was a little more time consuming than I normally prefer.  It required making quinoa, then making bacon, then making ground beef and then baking all of the ingredients together in mini muffin tins. It did make enough for 24 bites, though which equates to enough for dinner and lunch for almost my whole family, not including my son who says he doesn’t like the bites even though he didn’t even try them.  It’s ok, though, he ate a plateful of that steamed broccoli.  My little guy just isn’t interested in trying new things at the moment, so please don’t hold his opinion against the Gluten Free Quinoa Bacon Cheeseburger Bites.

So, yes, these are a little time consuming, but SO worth the time.  I really love them because they taste delicious and don’t leave me wishing for a piece of bread.  That’s pretty much the perfect food for me.

Tween “Gal”entine’s Party on a Dime

My sweet daughter is eleven, which means she is about 29 years away from celebrating Valentine’s Day with a real Valentine.  In the meantime, I’m throwing her an awesome Tween “Gal”entine’s Day Party.  On a Dime.  Because, let’s face it, we just had Christmas.

***Funny aside, my daughter and I just tried doing the math for that dating joke to see how many years away she is from 40 and the conversation ended with, Wait, let me get some paper.  We are both writers, not mathers.***

Tween Galentines Party on a Dime

For the party décor, I bought some tissue paper, an adorable BE MINE inflatable sign from Target for $5, some paper plates and goody cups and some cupcake liners and decorations.   Maybe, about $15 total.  I made an adorable tassel garland out of the tissue paper.  It was ridiculously easy, although slightly time consuming.  In my defense, I made a LOT of tassels.  I used some of the leftover tassels as a little centerpiece on the table along with some tissue paper flowers.  Instructions on how to DIY the tassel garland can be found here on Inspired by Charm, an amazing blog that I’m sure you’re familiar and if you are not I will wait right here for a few hours while you go check it out.  Go ahead.  I’m not going anywhere.  Don’t forget to come back.

You can also find instructions on how to make tissue paper flowers here and instructions on how to DIY those pretty marbled vases here.

For favors, I put together cute little cups of Hershey’s hugs and these super cute gem eraser rings I found at Target for $3.

Party FavorsI also want to either give the girls or have them make these adorable marbled clay pendants  These are a pretty quick and easy DIY if you have some sculpey clay around the house.  And some optional copper paint for added bling.  Instructions on how to make marbled clay can be found hereThose instructions are for making marbled clay dishes, so scale down the amount of clay you use so that you end up with something the size of a pendant and not a dish.  Unless you want a dish sized pendant, in which case, go on with your bad self. 

Heart Pendant 1

For food we’ll go the easy route with some pizza and then some homemade cupcakes the girls can decorate.

And for the entertainment portion of the evening, I’m planning a little photo booth action with these awesome printables you can get here from Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke.  We’ll follow up the photo booth with a movie, something with a girl power theme.  I’m thinking The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Poster

So, I might be looking forward to this a little more than the girls, but I’m ok with that.  I’m sitting in the decorated dining room typing this up and thinking about the cleaning that needs to be done tomorrow and watching the B in Be Mine slowly deflate.  Great night.

Design Inspiration from Airbnb

Am I the only one who scrolls through Airbnb ads not for vacation potential, but for design and décor inspiration?  If you aren’t doing it, you totally should.  Here’s a favorite I found this week:

Check out this Victorian charmer:

Check out this awesome listing on Airbnb: BEAUTIFUL VICTORIAN SINGLE FAMILY! - Houses for Rent in Boston:

There’s something magical about an old house like this.  I wouldn’t necessarily want to live in a house that is this old, but it would be fun to spend a week, right?

The front entry is grand, with that banister and fireplace.

Check out this awesome listing on Airbnb: BEAUTIFUL VICTORIAN SINGLE FAMILY! - Houses for Rent in Boston:

I also love the touch of whimsy with that little red elephant on the mantel.

The kitchen is clean and simple.

Check out this awesome listing on Airbnb: BEAUTIFUL VICTORIAN SINGLE FAMILY! - Houses for Rent in Boston:

I only wish the cabinets when to the ceiling.  It looks like there’s some sweet crown molding up there, though, so I guess I understand it.

I could have so many cups of coffee in this dining room.  Those windows.

Check out this awesome listing on Airbnb: BEAUTIFUL VICTORIAN SINGLE FAMILY! - Houses for Rent in Boston:

I really like the black picture rail, too.

This bedroom is my favorite room.  And it’s solidified my desire to get some shade of blue blinds for this house.

Check out this awesome listing on Airbnb: BEAUTIFUL VICTORIAN SINGLE FAMILY! - Houses for Rent in Boston:

Here’s another angle of the same bedroom and check out the fireplace:

Check out this awesome listing on Airbnb: BEAUTIFUL VICTORIAN SINGLE FAMILY! - Houses for Rent in Boston:

There’s even a perfectly unfussy patio to enjoy a summer supper

Check out this awesome listing on Airbnb: BEAUTIFUL VICTORIAN SINGLE FAMILY! - Houses for Rent in Boston:

Design Inspiration from Airbnb

 

 

 

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Menu

I’m back with an update on my Gluten Free Thanksgiving.  I tried another new recipe this week;  a really easy, unique and flavor filled appetizer.  And it doesn’t require any oven time.  We all know how precious that is.Apricot Bites with Goat Cheese, Almond and Honey

Apricot Bites with Goat Cheese, Almond and Honey

Dried Apricots

Goat Cheese

Salted Almonds

Honey

Fresh Thyme

1.  Smear a dollop of goat cheese on an apricot

2.  Top with goat cheese with an almond

3.  Drizzle with a little honey

4.  Garnish with thyme leaves

5.  Repeat

That’s it!  So easy!  These are so delicious.  It’s a really unique group of flavors and textures.

So, what else is on the menu?  A lot.  Like, probably way too much.

Appetizers

Apricot Bites

Shrimp Cocktail

Deviled Eggs

Antipasto Skewers

Cheese and Nut Plate

Ham & Pineapple Bites

ham and pineapple bites WHEAT FREE APP

Turkey (duh)

Ham

Gluten Free Stuffing

Gluten Free Cranberry and Sage Stuffing

 

Browned Butter Butternut Squash

Gluten Free Sage and Browned Butter Butternut Squash

Roasted Red Potatoes and Veggies (recipe to come!)

Cheesey Potatoes (recipe to come!)

Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Broccoli

Green Beans

Brussell Sprouts

Overkill?  Maybe.  But I’m ok with that.

I’ll be working on some gluten free pie options this week!