Monday, September 26, 2011

Yummy Soup and A Rainy Seattle Day

Today's weather is so blah but you know what?! I LOVE it! I am a huge fan Fall days sometimes. The kind that make you want to cozy up with some good music, bake, build forts with your kids, wear socks, snuggle and watch a movie, and eat homemade soup and bread... mmmmmm. 

Last Saturday I made a batch of Zuppa Toscana soup, just like the kind at the Olive Garden. It turned out so yummy and SO simple! Here is the recipe I used:


  1. 1
    Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
  2. 2
    Brown sausage in your soup pot.
  3. 3
    Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
  4. 4
    Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in pot.
  5. 5
    Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
  6. 6
    Add sausage and bacon.
  7. 7
    Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. 8
    Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  9. 9
    Turn to low heat.
  10. 10
    Add kale and cream.
  11. 11
    Heat through and serve.

    Buon Appetito!

So Fresh...

And So Clean Clean!
 I love my homemade laundry detergent. My friend Diana was the one who got me to actually put my foot in the door and try out this recipe. It's beyond easy. Is that even possible? Here's the recipe that I got from this site (one of my faves I use often).

I bought all my ingredients this time around from WalMart. I don't usually shop there, in fact I boycott the place, but I had a return to make (when we were camping on Labor day, the closest store was a WalMart) so I figured I'd check the prices... WAY CHEAPER! So, I swallowed my pride. I use an airtight tupperware container and an extra TBS measuring spoon that I store in there.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I love me a good buy!

**This post was originally written in May-when I actually did the shopping-it's only taken me a whole summer to finish it**

Last Saturday my awesome partner in crime let me go shopping SANS kids for 2 hours (I could have shopped all day but I needed to get back to nurse little Van)! It was AWESOME! I only went to one thrift store but it didn't matter... because I had no grabby hands touching everything, begging to "get it! get it please!" no baby being sad because he was in the car seat too long! I looked through at least 95% of store. Serious. Because I could. I was feeling really good with my haul and then I got to the dressing room. Let's just say that wasn't my proudest hour, realizing how much baby baggage I still have to lose but I still got some awesome things! 5 out of the 8 tops I got are Banana Republic and I got an amazing J. Crew skirt! I also took some time to look through boy clothes (of course!) and got Mason and Van some great new clothes (and by new I mean some of the were BRAND NEW-tags on and everything)! Here are a couple of my faves:

Banana Republic white sweater navy blue trim ($3)- perfect for an afternoon on a yacht?? Haha in my dreams.

Banana Republic silk top ($5)- Luuuurve this one!

Teal/Aqua linen skirt with vintage like flower ($3). I happened to have a matching flower from H&M ($1) that I've used to put on my necklace while wearing this skirt...super cute!

I am in need of a few more staple pieces in my wardrobe and will hopefully be off for another solo shopping trip this weekend.

ps- did I mention that because I donated a load of stuff before I went in the store that I got a coupon for an additional 20% off?? Woohoo!

Life as We Know It...

IS CRAZY! Keeping up with my 2 boys and my 1 man are exhausting. I have been working full time this last 2.5 weeks and all I can say is I will NEVER complain again about being a SAHM. Now that my days are back to casual waking in the morning, cooking breakfast, playing at the park, scheduled nap times, happy boys playing in their room, grocery shopping and laundry during daytime hours... I couldn't be happier.

This guy just potty trained...

This guy is walking...

This guy also just turned 10 mos... and loves the mirror (his father's child for sure)

And they are still my faves...

And now that summer is over I should probably post about our summer antics.... next time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quinoa Salad and Southwest Wraps

Last night as we were sitting down to dinner I told Braden that I felt like such a GOOD mom by serving my family something as healthy as this meal and the best part?? It had SO much flavor!

Quinoa Salad:

  • Quinoa
  • Black beans 
  • Red Pepper
  • Fresh Mango
  • Oil (you can use Olive or whatever you have, I used peanut oil)
  • Fresh Lime
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Cilantro
 Cook Quinoa as directed on package. Drain and RINSE black beans. Cut up red pepper and mango into bite sized pieces. Mix quinoa, red pepper, mango and beans in bowl.
 Add about equal parts oil and fresh squeezed lime juice until desired taste. Add salt and pepper. Last, sprinkle with fresh cut cilantro. Mix all together and REFRIGERATE for a couple of hours (or more, it taste better the longer it sits)!


Whole wheat SW Chicken Wraps
  • Whole wheat tortillas (or whatever wrap you choose, pitas would be good too)
  • Chicken
  • Seasoning
  • Hummus
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Other veggies if you desire
I cheated and used a package of pre-cooked and seasoned chicken but next time I'll make my own! This is my favorite brand of hummus and next time I'll try a different flavor to change it up. This one is Greek Style and SOO yummy, they also have a cracked red pepper one that looks delish too.
 Chop Veggies
 Spread the hummus on tortilla-top with a little chicken for protein and a TON of veggies!
Wrap and Enjoy with a scoop of salad on the side!

This is such an easy meal! I made the salad early in the day during nap time (takes about 30 minutes with quinoa cooking time) and the wraps took about 5 minutes. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dinner Biggest Loser Style

On this season of  The Biggest Loser, they showed one of my favorite recipes as a side or main dish... QUINOA SALAD . My MIL Jane introduced this super food to me a few years ago and although I haven't dived into strict quinoa regimen, I do love a good salad. It is a very summer-y feeling food! Tonights dinner will be whole wheat southwest chicken wraps w/ humus and quinoa salad. 

Recipe and Pics tomorrow!

So Little $$, SO many ideas!

I have been following this blog ClothedMuch for a little while now. She has great taste in clothes and is in exactly the same state of mind I am... not a lot of $$, not a lot of clothes but A LOT of GREAT ideas! My goal for Saturday is to spend some quality time ALONE without my kids and get my shop on! I live in such a great area! Fancy neighborhoods close by that cast off their last season clothes to D.I., Goodwill, and Value Village where I can get them at a steal and work it! Next week I'll post some of my finds and outfit ideas for you to help me judge!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Tried and True Tuesday.... Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

This recipe was found over at Gimme Some Oven and made for a simple Easter dinner dessert. I couldn't find strawberry cake mix so I used a lemon cake mix, pureed some strawberries to add to the mix and left out the lemon juice. The frosting I stayed true and to finish the cupcakes since I had some lemon and some strawberries leftover I sliced them and sprinkled them with some sugar and lemon zest and placed a slice on each strawberry.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try them and what you think!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes(Adapted from Hello Cupcake and Chow)
Cupcake Ingredients:
1 (18.25 oz.) strawberry cake mix
3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries (made from fresh or frozen strawberries)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar (adjust to achieve desired consistency)
To Make Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
Add the cake mix, buttermilk, oil and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until moistened, about 30 seconds.  Add eggs one at a time, until the batter is well-mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy, 2 minutes longer.
Pour or scoop the batter into the paper liners until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.
To Make Frosting:
Cream butter in an electric mixer on medium-speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Then add in the strawberries, vanilla and lemon juice, and mix on low-speed until combined.  Gradually add in the  powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, another 3-5 minutes.  (Add in more powdered sugar if consistency is too thin.)

Best Salad on Earth (in my opinion)

Tried and True Tuesday... CAFE RIO

Since leaving Utah almost 2 years ago, I have tasted a few different Cafe Rio knock-offs (because there are a TON of them out there...) and this is by far my favorite. The cilantro ranch will knock your socks off and most likely keep people away for a few days with the amount of cilantro but it is WORTH it!!

I found this recipe on Favorite Family Recipes and now recommend it to all! Enjoy!

Cafe Rio Pulled Pork Salads (or Burritos)

6 large Tortillas
Shredded cheese, Mexican blend

Cafe Rio Rice 
Cafe Rio Black Beans 
Cafe Rio Sweet Pork )
Lettuce (NOT iceberg, use leafy green or Romaine)

Diced tomato, onion, and cilantro (pico de gallo)

Sour cream
Tortilla Chips
Cotija cheese, crumbled (or you can use Parmesan)

Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch 

Lay a tortilla in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle cheese on it, and put in the oven at 375 for about 5 min or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, add beans, rice, pork, then lettuce and a little scoop of diced tomato and onions (pico de gallo). Add guacamole (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) and sour cream. Add crushed tortilla chips, a shake of Parmesan cheese, and top with a few cilantro leaves. Serve with the cilantro ranch or vinaigrette dressing and there you have it! (makes about 6 salads)

(scroll down to see the rice, beans, pork, and ranch recipes all together...)

2 pounds pork (we like to use boneless pork ribs)

3 cans Coke (NOT diet)

1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt

1/4 c. water

1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can RED enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness)
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.

Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.

In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.

Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!


1 c. uncooked rice

1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 can (15 oz) chicken broth

1 cup water

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tsp. sugar

3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.


2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. (**NOTE** we added a can of corn, drained, to the beans with a dash of cumin and chili powder, it was AWESOME! We recommend doing this even though it's not "traditional Cafe Rio")


1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)

1 c. mayonnaise

1 c. buttermilk

2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro

1 clove garlic

juice of 1 lime

1 jalapeno (we like it SPICY so we kept the seeds in it, if you like it mild, just remove the seeds)

Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender


Monday, May 2, 2011

Tomorrows Post...

Tried It Tuesday.
Recipes that I have tried, tasted and loved!

Tomorrows recipe... Cafe Rio pulled pork salads and Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes.

Stay Tuned!

Money Saving Monday- Homemade Soap

Saving $$ Never Smelled So Good!

Homemade soaps. So Green.

Sounds so 19 Kids and Counting or Depression Era but I love saving a buck AND love love the benefits of making my own cleaners to use daily around my house.
Since I have little grabby hands around me all day and teething gums gnawing on everything, I want my home to be as kid friendly as possible.
 About a year ago I found all these ideas online to make your own cleaners and I started with the easiest one: vinegar and water, and have explored different paths until I came to my favorites.

Here are three examples of what I use on a daily basis:

Scouring Powder:
   -Baking soda (I add a few drops of lemon essential oil because I am of the belief that all cleaning supplies should smell like lemon.)
   -Parmesan cheese canister (I buy them at the dollar store)
Uses: sinks, toilets, tile floors, stove tops, etc

All-purpose Disinfecting Spray:    **I USE THIS ONE EVERY DAY** It's about $1.00 a bottle (if not less)!
   -1 Tbs Castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner's. Can be found on Amazon for around $20 for a 32oz bottle and if you're an Amazon Prime member... Free Shipping!) Castile soap is vegetable based and biodegradable.
   -20 or so drops of Tea Tree Oil (a natural antibacterial and antiseptic and can also be found on Amazon for free shipping)
   -2 cups of water
   -Spray bottle (I buy mine at the dollar store)
When I use a large spray bottle I double the recipe and I also add a few drops of lemon essential oil because of my lemon smelling beliefs!

Uses: I mainly use it for my kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Can also be used on walls and floors.

Vinegar and Water:
   -Equal parts water and vinegar, mix in spray bottle.
Uses: I mainly use mine for windows and mirrors. If you have young kids and they like to help like mine do then give them a paper towel and spray a few pumps on a sliding glass window and let them go to town! My little man loves it and the vinegar smell dissipates SO quickly.  Can also be used on hardwood and/or vinyl flooring.

One last $$ saving tip for the day:
 Invest in some Foaming soap dispensers. I have 3, one in each bathroom and the kitchen. They are a little pricey at checkout but once they are gone you can refill them for SUPER cheap. Use a bottle of soap refill (without lotion) and add about 4 Tbs of soap and fill the rest with cold water. Leave enough room for the dispenser head, twist and shake! Viola, more hand soap!

Well littlest man woke up so back to the mommy world!