Category: Food & Home

Link Round-up: Photo Notepads, Coastal Sunburst Mirror, Coloring Books, and More

Posted on Jun 30, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has tips for making your own photo notepads, creating a coastal sunburst mirror, enjoying adult coloring books, and more.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make photo notepads.

Handmade Charlotte offered an ode to the pink flamingo.

Aunt Peaches showed us a few fun adult coloring books.

link ru coastal mirror

Kenarry taught us how to make a coastal sunburst mirror.

Happy Hooligans showed us how to make CD wind spinners.

Made with Happy taught us how to create an American flag punch piñata.

Flavor Mosaic taught us how to make banana pudding parfaits.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Kenarry

Advantage of Greek Yogurt Over Traditional Yogurt

Posted on Jun 29, 2015 by No Comments

Our grocery stores have steadily grown in size over the years. Many now carry much more than food products, but even the food sections are bigger than entire stores used to be. That’s because the number of products on the shelves continues to grow.

Today we have entire aisles dedicated to cereal or soaps, and in the dairy section we have whole milk, 2% milk, skim milk, almond and soy milks.

One of the newest expansions is in the yogurt case. So what’s the difference between traditional yogurt and some of the newcomers that are gaining in popularity like Greek yogurt?

I first learned about yogurt decades ago when my aunt from Germany was eating a plain, unsweetened variety like it was a treat. Once I tasted it, I determined yogurt wasn’t for me.

A few years later, I tried sweetened yogurt with fruit and changed my mind. I ate it because the fermented product was good for me but also because it tasted good.

Now Greek yogurt has become really popular, and other countries are being represented as well with Icelandic and Australian varieties of yogurt starting to enter the market, too.

The popularity of Greek yogurt, however, has really taken the market by storm. In 2011 it made up a little more than 20 percent of the market and by 2013 it made up more than 40 percent of the total market.

The difference? It offers twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and it is creamier than regular unstrained yogurt.

So the benefit is the protein. It works to keep you feeling satisfied for longer, plus protein is important for a number of reasons, especially as you get older.

You need more protein to keep your skin healthy, plus it is vital for building muscle, repairing tissue, and for cell growth. It makes sense that it’s gaining in popularity so quickly!

I’ve joined the ranks and made the switch.

Photo credits: Janine

Pitfalls of Smoothies and Juices

Posted on Jun 26, 2015 by No Comments

Smoothies and fresh juices are a tasty way to get valuable organic nutrition, but they are also a way to pack in the calories if you’re not careful.

I first started drinking fresh juice on an all-raw diet. It was more or less a meal replacement. But now with juice bars in vogue it’s easy to get a juice instead of a soda, and it is no longer looked at as a meal replacement but a healthy beverage.

My sister was talking with me about how expensive it is to buy juice but in the same breath admitted how much better she feels when she does. I agreed.

Juice gives me a measure of energy I don’t get even with caffeinated beverages. However, my sister moved on to tell me how her knees are hurting because of the extra weight she’s carrying around, and we revisited our personal struggles with weight and what we can do.

As we talked, I realized she was drinking her fresh-made juice as a beverage and not really considering how many calories she was consuming.

Because juices and smoothies are “healthy” we don’t think about them being full of calories, but when you buy a juice or smoothie made commercially, there is a good chance they are more calorie dense than you think.

For instance a small cup of Kale Orange Power Juice from Jamba has 190 calories and 33 grams of sugar – and that is for a small cup.

If you want the convenience of a commercially made juice, just pay attention to the nutritional facts. For example, Lakewood’s organic Super Veggie juice is cold-pressed and only 60 calories. When you juice at home you can take advantage of an easy to use juicing calculator to make sure you’re aware of what you’re really consuming.

If you’re not trying to maintain or lose weight, this won’t be an issue for you, but for those of us who are trying to find a balance between healthy, flavor, and calories, it’s worth noting what you’re consuming so you’re not sabotaging your efforts.

Straight vegetable juice is usually not too bad; it’s when we start adding fruits, powders and other additives that the calorie counts start to climb. So if you don’t like to count calories or even worry about them, if you stick with straight vegetable juice that you make yourself, you’re pretty safe.

Photo credits: pixabay

Link Round-up: Coffee Table Styling, Lasagna Mac and Cheese, 4th of July Crafts, and More

Posted on Jun 25, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has coffee table styling ideas, lasagna mac and cheese, a 4th of July pinwheel garland tutorial, and more.

A Beautiful Mess showed us three ways to style a coffee table.

The Crafting Nook shared a recipe for lasagna mac and cheese.

As the Bunny Hops showed us how to make a 4th of July pinwheel garland.

link ru diy patio

Kenarry taught us how to build a covered patio.

The Practical Mom showed us how kids can paint with spinning tops.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make a denim 4th of July wreath.

I Love to Create taught us how to make a no-sew open back fish tee.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Kenarry

Veggie Chips Not Really a Health Food

Posted on Jun 24, 2015 by No Comments

Our local grocery store has added a bulk food section in their health food/vegetarian department. It saves me a trip to the health food store, but even in a department dedicated to healthy foods it’s good to remember not everything is really good for you.

This week as I stood weighing my raw almonds an older woman stood pondering her selection and asked me if I’d tried the veggie chips. I paused for a minute trying to think of the quickest way to tell her not to bother buying them if she thought they were good for her.

We all know vegetables are good for us, but when we deep fry them we cancel out the real benefit.

For instance, you can eat a serving of steamed green beans for 22 calories and no fat, but when we batter them up and fry them as tempura green beans they transforms into a 230 calorie dish with 11 grams of fat. It’s the same with veggie chips. We choose them as a healthier option than potato chips, but the reality is that they are just as bad.

That news is bad enough, but to compound it, a recent study ranked potato chips as the “worst food for weight gain” out of all the foods in the world.

And veggie chips are not the alternative to reach for. Just take a look at the nutrition label. One serving of Terra Sweet Potato Chips actually contains more calories than a serving of Cape Cod Potato Chips.

I’m just saying don’t assume something is healthier because it is made from a vegetable.

To put it into perspective think of it this way. One ounce of baked potato is 27 calories, while one ounce of regular salted potato chips is 153 calories.

Except we don’t usually only eat one ounce. Lays snack size chips are 1.5 ounces, and when we open a family size bag of chips we are in jeopardy of easily eating 3 ounces or more.

Since chips are one of my trigger foods, my battle plan is not to buy chips – regular or veggie. If I don’t have them in the house, they can’t be my go-to snack.

Photo credits: Amazon

Link Round-up: Iced Coffee, Cornbread with Bacon Glaze, the Monthly Budget, and More

Posted on Jun 23, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has iced coffee tips, cornbread with bacon glaze, a monthly budget worksheet, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie offered tips for creating the best iced coffee.

The Crafting Nook showed us how to make chocolate chip brownies in a jar.

The Practical Mom shared 16 easy summer projects for three-year-olds.

link ru cornbread bacon glaze

A Beautiful Mess taught us how to make cornbread with bacon glaze.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor shared a free printable monthly budget worksheet.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make a denim and burlap lighted garland.

I Love to Create taught us how to make Color Shot lace shorts.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and A Beautiful Mess

Grilled Fajitas Created with Foil Packet Cooking

Posted on Jun 19, 2015 by No Comments

Summer time is the season for grilling, but you don’t have to stick to grilling hot dogs, burgers, or some other meat of your choice. You can actually get creative with the addition of a little foil.

I first learned this trick back in the girl scouts when we cooked potatoes, meat, and carrots wrapped in foil and placed it in the hot coals of our campfire.

Today as an adult, I’ve learned to be even more creative with the foil packets and one of my favorite meals includes grilled fajitas.

Really this works best in a real campfire, but can work on charcoal fire, too.

I prepare my meat and cut up veggies including onions, peppers, mushrooms, and diced chicken topped with salsa in one foil packet. I include enough filling for four fajitas or you can make four individual packets. Make sure the chicken is small enough to cook through.

The meat creates juice to help the vegetables cook, but if you are creating a strictly vegetable packet, be sure to add an ice cube before you crimp the foil closed. This will add moisture to help your vegetables cook.

I take an entire package of fajita tortillas (taken out of the plastic wrapper), wrap them in foil and place in the hot coals (after the fire has died down) for about ten minutes.

This makes them soft and easy to manage and ready to fold to eat, however if you like your tortilla with a little crunch and even a bit of the burnt flavor you can grill them over the fire but turn them quickly.

Foil packet dinners are an easy way to add variety to your summer barbecue. You can even heat up leftovers in foil packets, so leftover night takes on a whole new dimension and you don’t have to heat up the kitchen either. Just add that cold spaghetti to a foil packet and it will heat through pretty quickly. If you have a variety of leftovers, make individual packets for each and enjoy the buffet.

This is also a great way to steam fish and not smell up the house. I’d love to hear your recipe ideas for foil packet cooking. And for those who don’t have a grill or firepit, you can put your foil packets on a cookie sheet at 450 for about 15-20 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Photo credits: Reynolds Kitchens

Link Round-up: Fashion Inspiration, Recipe Ideas, Movie Night, and More

Posted on Jun 18, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has recipe ideas, fashion inspiration, ideas for movie night, and more.

A Beautiful Mess inspired us with eight outfits from eight pieces of clothing.

Kenarry taught us how to refinish furniture with chalk paint.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor shared free printable chore charts.

Create Craft Love shared a recipe for fizzy strawberry lemonade.

link ru peaches and cream cookie cups

Spaceships and Laser Beams showed us how to make peaches and cream cookie cups.

I Heart Nap Time shared some ideas for a Mary Poppins family movie night.

Cupcakes and Cashmere taught us how to make simple summer stationery.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Spaceships and Laser Beams

Link Round-up: Decor Tips, Free Printables, and More

Posted on Jun 16, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has décor tips, grilled angel food cake, free printables, and more.

Crafts by Amanda showed us how to brighten our home with coastal striped fish décor.

Spaceships and Laser Beams showed us party food in the form of grilled angel food cake with fruit and mint salsa.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor shared a free printable for daily and weekly cleaning.

link ru personality to a rental

A Beautiful Mess shared 10 tips for adding personality to a rental.

Create Craft Love shared a recipe for chocolate cobbler.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons shared easy Father’s Day marshmallow pops.

Cupcakes and Cashmere showed us eight different manicure and pedicure color combinations.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and A Beautiful Mess