Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Early Christmas Decor Shopping

Can you believe it's Thanksgiving Eve already?  I have to admit as much as I love Thanksgiving, I'm ready to get into all things Christmas.  It started with some early holiday purchases and has turned into full scale Christmas decorating around the house.
 My first pre-holiday purchases were from Cost Plus World Market. I had some reward dollars that were about to expire and used them on this cozy throw, alpine cabin and some holiday blend coffee.
 I also saw this amazing giant marshmallow sheet but I didn't buy it.
 After that the floodgates kind of opened and I couldn't resist the buffalo checked accessories at the Target Dollar Spot.
 Speaking of my buffalo check obsession, I found this handsome buck at Michael's and knew we were meant to be!
It was worried that he'd be hard to put together but it was actually a fun project for me!  Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! See you back here next week!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

[Recipe} Restaurant Style Salsa in a Flash

This recipe has been a game changer for us.  I made it for Miss High School's 18th birthday party and it was such a big hit, that I've made it weekly ever since.  It comes together so quickly with things I usually have on hand.  It's very flexible and forgiving, if you don't have a fresh lime, you can use bottled lime (or lemon like I did here) juice.
I usually use the tamed sliced jalapeños in a jar for this recipe but on this particular day I had a fresh jalapeño.   I use a BIG handful of cilantro. I like extra garlic too.
 Ingredients:
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 fresh jalapeño, seeded (4-6 sliced from jar)
handful cilantro (depending on how much you like)
juice of 1 lime (can sub bottled)
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
 This is the size of the handful of cilantro that I like to use.
 Add all ingredients to a food processor.
 Pulse a few times until combined and chunky. Don't over process.
 I like to store ours in a Mason jar.
It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!).
Delish!

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Monday, November 20, 2017

{Entertaining} Third Annual Halloween Chili Cook Off


It's become a tradition and we're in our 3rd year of the Halloween Chili Cook Off in my neighborhood.  How cool that a Fall Bucket List item has become a yearly thing!  I found these napkins at TJ Maxx.
The dining room was set up for eating but we didn't need it.
The 2017 wooden spoon trophies. This year I spray painted them.  We added some new categories and scoring methods this year. I don't have a copy of the score card but it was loosely based on this one.
We teamed up with our friends for this fun costume.  Do you know what we are?? *see the answer below*
 Miss High School helped us with our make up.  I think I liked the silver glitter a little too much.
 We had 7 chili entries this year and the competition was stiff! It was my first win ever and I won Best Overall!!  I used my Three Bean Quinoa Chili recipe with some tweaks that I may or may not share. Maybe I should guard my prize winning recipe?!
 *We were French KISS, get it?
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Friday, November 17, 2017

More Dollar Tree Finds

I'm back with some more Dollar Tree love.  Sometimes you don't see something until someone else (usually a blogger/vlogger) points it out to you. I can't remember which vlogger told me about these handy bottles but once I found them I was hooked!
 
 They are in the cosmetics section and come in at least 3 different colors (there's a pink topped bottle too).  They are for dispensing liquids through the top with a little button that draws the liquid up to the top (like they do at the nail salon with polish remover).  I've been using them for eye makeup remover and nail polish. Miss High School has about 4 of them for different things.  They are pretty darn cute too.
 Speaking of nails. I tried out their nail polish and I really love this color. I think it's just as good as any other nail polish that I've tried.   This is an inexpensive way to try out a fun new shade.
And finally this lint roller that come with a bonus mini lint roller...for $1!  I think Catherine from Do It On a Dime had sung the praises of Dollar Tree lint rollers. It's a great place to pick them up!
Have you found any Dollar Tree "must haves"?
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

{Entertaining} 18th Birthday Party

We celebrated Miss High School's actual 18th birthday in Disneyworld but we also had a little celebration with the family.
 I didn't go crazy with the decorations but I did make her a birthday banner.
I found a photo from each of her birthdays and edited them all in black and white so they'd be cohesive.
I added a label for each year and we strung the banner across the mantel.
I followed the same instructions that I used here for her sister's birthday banner.
The banner, some balloons and fall flowers made up the party decorations.
I displayed her baby book and opened it up to her first birthday page. #littlepumpkin
I used my handy dandy Ikea Raskog cart for the drink ware.
The menu was simple and yummy.   I baked up a Stouffers mac and cheese and Mr. Click made stuffed shells.  I pre-made and froze the Tex-Mex Casserole from Oh She Glows cookbook (here's a copy of it that I found online). I also made the Shredded Kale Salad from Oh She Glows, roasted veggies (like these from Thanksgiving) and Pioneer Woman's "The Bread".
Look who was home for the party!
I didn't get many pics once the party started but here's one from dessert/cake time.  She requested these bars for her cake.  I found the mini candelabra at Target.  Happy Birthday Sweetie!!

Her sister's 18th birthday party:
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

{Recipe} Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce-Vegan & Oil Free

This recipe came about because I wanted some of the pumpkin sauces I had seen out in the stores this time of year--but they all contained dairy. womp womp!  I set out to make a dairy free and oil free version for us.
 It turned out creamy, savory and delicious--just what I was craving!  The secret to creamy vegan sauces is cashew cream (raw cashews blended up in a high speed blender with some water until smooth and creamy and can be used like heavy cream in recipes).
 I found some recipes on line but I came up with my own version.
Ingredients:
1 pound of pasta (we used mini rigatoni)
1/2 cup raw cashews (if not using a high speed blender like a Vitamix, they should be soaked in boiling water for a few hours to soften, then drained)
1/2 cup water
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic,minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper
To make:
  • Cook pasta according to directions on package.
  • While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Blend raw cashews and water in high speed blender and until smooth and creamy, set aside.
  • Sauté onion in some water over medium heat until translucent, add garlic and stir to keep from browning (add more water if necessary).
  • Add tomatoes, pumpkin, cashew cream and nutmeg to pan. Turn heat down and stir to combine, allow to thicken up as it cooks.
  • Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Combine sauce with pasta, garnish with vegan parmesan (optional).
  • Enjoy!


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Monday, November 13, 2017

{Get Organized} My Nemesis Drawer

I feel like I've posted about this drawer before but if I have, I can't find it. I call it my "nemesis drawer" because I have an awful time trying to keep it organized.
Mr. Click and I share this dresser (very old hand me down) and the bottom drawer looks like two drawers but it's one VERY deep one and it's mine. I have two regular sized drawers as well (we have a large closet for the rest of our clothes but this is our only set of drawers).
I have tried to keep it organized but it would quickly become messy again and it was hard to keep things where they were supposed to be.  I looked for ideas on Pinterest and didn't find anything for deep drawers.  The Marie Kondo method doesn't work in such a deep space either.
I bought some deeper organizing bins from the Dollar Tree.
I purged some of the items in the drawer and started a donate pile.
I was only able to fit two of the bins but their height is perfect for this deep drawer. One bin holds pj's and the other one holds workout wear.  I filled in the middle area with thicker socks and pj/workout shorts. There is some room behind the bins for lesser used items.  It's not perfect but it's so much better and easier for me to keep neat!  I did this project back in the summer and the system has been holding up.  How do you organize deep drawers?

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Friday, November 10, 2017

November's Daily Goodie Box

I always look forward to getting my Daily Goodie Box in the mail.  I can't wait to open it up and see what goodies are in it this month.  Let's see what we've got!


Prince of Peace - Lemon Ginger Honey Crystals
This has all of the benefits of the Ginger Honey Crystals but now with added lemon! Ginger in great for soothing upset stomachs and aiding in digestion. 

Desserts on Us - Milk Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
http://www.dessertsonus.com/
This cookie company won the gold award for outstanding cookie at the 2009 Sofi awards.  Lacey's cookie has got rich macadamia nut wafers sandwiched by smooth milk chocolate.  They also come in other varieties like Chocolate Almond, Coconut and Dark Chocolate Almond and Espresso and Dark Chocolate Almond.

Fix - Signature Sriracha Hot Sauce
https://www.fixhotsauce.com/product/signature-sriracha-packets
I can't live without sriracha and now I don't have to be without it--ever! These little all natural packets contain organic ingredients like organic chili peppers, garlic, sea salt, cane sugar and rice vinegar. They also have a great balance of heat and flavor. Take them with you on the go!

Black Forest Organic - Sour Heads
http://www.blackforestusa.com/products/
I like this company's goal to make delicious USDA certified organic high quality candy in small batches.  The Sour Heads hit you with mouth puckering sour fruitiness and contain recognizable ingredients like cane sugar, potato starch, carrot and beet juice.


Vive - Hangover Prevention
https://drinkvive.com
Vive calls their product"hangover prevention to preload your body with powerful antioxidants, vitamins and electrolytes to prevent all causes of your hangover and feel great tomorrow!"
I like this video that they have on their site too!

Mirabella - Black Magic Marker Eyeliner
I'm a big fan of the Mirabella brand line of makeup where they believe products can be fashion forward and also good for you.  Their products are paraben free, talc free and gluten free!   I love black eyeliner for accentuating my eyes and lashes and it helps to have a precision point for application.

Pure Cosmetics - Pure Illumination Light Up Lip Gloss
This lip gloss is so cool! It's a beautiful, conditioning lip gloss that has an LED lit applicator and a chic side mirror for easy application on the go! What?!!

Napz - All-Natural Sleep Solution
https://www.napz.com/
I like the idea of an all natural sleep solution.  Napz contains chamomile, passion flower, lemon balm and hibiscus.  The combination of these herbs can calm your mind and induce sleep. Yes please!

Liquid Ice - Energy Drinks
http://liquidiceenergy.com/
And when you want the opposite of sleep, you can get a nice energy boost from Liquid Ice Energy Drinks.  Their mission is to provide the finest energy drink with the best taste in the energy drink market.

Well that's it for this month's Daily Goodie Box, you can get yours by signing up here. No credit card information is ever needed!
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