Monthly Archives: August 2013

Vintage Modern Sports Bedroom

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If you follow my blog then you know that I like to decorate and make crafts all while trying to save money. I’m pregnant with my second child and I have two children’s bedrooms to decorate. My son’s nursery was a woodland theme with pastel colors, white furniture and whimsical birds. It was adorable, but a very baby theme. With baby #2 on the way, we decided to move our son into the larger bedroom and keep the smaller bedroom a nursery. Immediately I started to fret, two bedrooms to design & decorate by November and on a budget! I wanted a theme for my son that would grow with him. I asked him what he wanted and I knew it would be sports or animals and he choose sports. I wanted a sports theme that wasn’t too “kid” like, I don’t want to change his room again in a year when he outgrows the bright colors and whimsical looking sports balls. I decided on vintage modern because we were going to be bringing alot of modern items into the room from his nursery and I liked the look of the vintage sports things I was finding. Muted colors, realistic looking sports balls and it would definitely grow with him. He had fun shopping with me at Hobby Lobby and watching his dad & I build things and decorate pieces for his room. He’s so proud to show off his room to anyone who comes over and I’m proud to say that I decorated and furnished the bedroom for just under $150. Here’s how I did it…….

First, I used all the furniture from his nursery that I would not be using for our second child. I had bought a modern green rocker for his nursery and he loves to sit in it so I knew that piece would transfer along with his toy box and book shelf. My parents gave us the twin bed, I got the red bed side table on clearance from Hobby Lobby for $17 and I got the dresser on sale when the dorm room furniture came out at 50% off for $30.

Second, I looked around our house for pieces I could use in his room. His room was a spare bedroom before so I had some picture frames and shelves I could re-use. The pictures of vintage sports balls in the black frames are pictures I found online and printed. I framed them in frames I already had making that project, FREE!

Third, I used coupons, shopped sales and re-sale stores. I got his bedding which incorporates all the colors of his room from Kohls. It was on sale and I had a 30% off coupon making his bed set, skirt and a spare set of sheets just under $50. All of the decorations are either made by me, bought from Hobby Lobby or from a re-sale store. I bought pieces for his room at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off making each item from there no more than $5 each. I got a few odds and ends from re-sale stores and my sister made some pillows with fabric I bought on sale.

Fourth, I created a board on Pinterest for his bedroom which helped me gather ideas and then figure out how I could do them cheaper! My favorite two ideas were this custom canvas that I painted which was inspired by an expensive canvas that was way out of my budget. I was able to re-create a custom one for only $20 saving over $100 from the original!
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I also had my husband build this vintage basketball hoop, Pinterest inspired, of course! We had the pallet boards already and a friend gave us the vintage rim. My hubby assembled the backboard and attached the hoop and voila….a FREE vintage basketball hoop that brings a lot of character to the room!
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Another Pinterest find was putting a pool noodle under the fitted sheet to keep our boy from rolling out of his bed. That’s the lump you see under his blankets 🙂 It has worked really well and looks much better than those big toddler rails which aren’t cheap by the way!

The shelves above the chair and bookcase were shelves we already had and I decorated them with various items that are a combination of what we already had, Hobby Lobby bargains and thrift store finds. The window curtain came from the original nursery and it helps tie in the green from the rocking chair and bedding. I re-covered the lamp with very inexpensive navy blue fabric.
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Hearing my son talk about his “big boy room” and tell me how “cool” it is brings me so much joy. I wanted him to be a big part of designing the room and he picked out alot of the decorations, fabric and has definetly put his “touch” on the room. I was lucky to get 10 minutes to get some pictures for this post, he loves playing in his room and didn’t like me cleaning up. I re-used as much as I could to create a Vintage Modern Sports room for my baby boy that will grow with him through the years.

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With a little planning, inspiration and determination you can create anything you want and on a budget! Now onto my baby girl’s room next!

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Low Carb Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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For my low carb followers and my fellow zucchini lovers, here’s an AMAZING recipe that you have to try! Although I’m pregnant, and not following my low carb lifestyle right now, I will be getting back into that routine after my baby is born and I tested this recipe out to see if it would make my low carb repertoire. It makes the cut and I must say recipes like this will make it very easy to get back into my low carb lifestyle! My Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats are one of my top recipes on my blog, this is a similar concept with different ingredients. I am a huge proponent of “use what you have”. What that means is I don’t follow recipes exactly, if I’m missing one ingredient I just omit it or replace it with something else. I made this recipe up with ingredients I had on hand, follow it exactly or use what you have on hand and make it work for you!

What you need;
2 medium zucchini or 3 small
2 cups cooked and crumbled sausage (not quite a full pound)
1/4 cup of each of these veggies finely diced – red pepper, yellow pepper, green pepper, yellow onion, white mushroom
1 tsp minced garlic
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c shredded cheese (I used 1/4 cup cheddar & 1/4 cup mozzarella)
1 can of rotel, drained
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs

How to make;
Cut your zucchini in half and scoop out the seeds making room for the filling. Place zucchini aside on a baking tray. Cook the sausage and set aside. Sauté the red, yellow & green pepper, onion, mushroom and garlic until soft. Add one can of drained rotel, return the sausage to the pan, dice the cream cheese into cubes and stir it into the mixture until melted, add the shredded cheese and season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until everything is combined. Scoop the sausage filling into each zucchini boat evenly.
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Mix the parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs together, top each zucchini boat with the bread crumb mixture. Spray the bread crumb topping with cooking spray to help the topping brown. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. You do not want the zucchini to be soggy, do not over cook it.

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I really wish these pictures would have turned out better, I was in a hurry and they don’t do these zucchini boats any justice. They are a must try and they are good leftover too. I had one for lunch today!

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

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I still have lots of blueberries to use up and these muffins were the perfect way to use them! This is a variation of my Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins, replacing the zucchini with blueberries and exchanging a few of the other ingredients just to give something new a try. These muffins taste like a bowl of blueberry oatmeal, moist, full of flavor and oh so satisfying!

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What you need;
1 1/2 c flour
1 c old fashioned oats
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 c honey
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c fresh blueberries

How to make;
Mix all of the dry ingredients together, set aside. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Make a well in your dry bowl and pour the wet into the dry, mix until incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

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Easy Pancakes & Blueberry Syrup

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If you haven’t started your day yet, start it with these easy & delicious pancakes! I’ve made them two weekends in a row & they are amazing! My store had blueberry pints for $0.88 each. I bought quite a few & decided to figure out what to do with them later. That’s how I came up with my two ingredient blueberry syrup. My husband & I take turns making breakfast on the weekends, he’s the traditional eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, toast type of guy and I like pancakes, french toast, muffins and cinnamon rolls so when I make breakfast we almost always have a sweet treat. I’ve been using this pancake recipe for awhile, it’s a Martha Stewart recipe and all I did was reduce the amount of salt. The original recipe had double the salt and the pancakes tasted salty. This recipe is so easy and the batter is thick which makes yummy, fluffy pancakes. I urge you to try a scratch pancake recipe, it’s just as easy as a box but tastes much better!

What you need;
For Pancakes:
1 1/2 c flour
1 tbls sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/4 c milk
2 tbls melted butter

For Blueberry Syrup:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup blueberries

How to make;
Mix dry pancake ingredients, make a well in the middle and add the egg, milk and butter. Whisk together and let batter sit for 5 min. Heat a griddle or pan over medium heat and melt 1 tbls of butter. Pour pancake batter into rounds of your desired size and cook on the first side 2-3 minutes, flip and cook an additonal minute. Repeat until all the batter is gone. This makes about 8 medium sized pancakes. While your pancakes are cooking pour the maple syrup and blueberries into a sauce pan, heat over medium heat until boiling, mash the blueberries with the back of a spoon or a potato masher. Let the mixture simmer while your pancakes are cooking.

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Stack those pancakes high and top with the delicious blueberry syrup and whipped cream!  Save any leftover syrup for ice cream later! Enjoy!

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Zucchini Mock Apple Pie

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You will not believe how much this tastes, smells and looks like apple pie! I’m always looking for ways to use my zucchini and I was given this idea by a very dear lady to me (thanks Susan). I looked online for recipes, but in the end I decided to use my apple pie recipe and replace the apples with zucchini. Without further adieu…..here’s the recipe!

What you need;
1 large zucchini (6-7 cups peeled & sliced like apple slices)
1/2 c sugar, plus 1/2 tbls for crust topping
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3 tbls flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbls melted butter
2 pie crust

How to make;
Peel & slice your zucchini into slices that resemble apple slices. I used my apple slicer, it removes most of the seeds, I still had to do a little seed removal. You don’t want any seeds. I had between 6-7 cups, a little low or a little high is fine. Microwave the zucchini slices for 2-3 minutes, until just soft. You do not want them fully cooked or starting to release liquid. Set the zucchini aside and mix the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream of tartar, flour and salt together. Toss zucchini in the sugar mixture until coated. Pour into the bottom pie crust and spread evenly. Top with second crust and make slits or attempt a lattice crust. My lattice crust isn’t perfect, but for my first try it was easier than I thought. Baste the melted butter over the top crust and sprinkle with about 1/2 tbls of sugar. Bake at 425 for 20 min, reduce heat to 350 and bake an additonal 30 minutes. Check the crust a few times, if its browning too fast, cover with foil and continue baking. Let the pie cool at least 30 min before slicing, let the filling thicken.

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Then enjoy with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and no one will ever know it’s zucchini and not apples! Zucchini is much lower in calories than apples, not to mention its high in vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s also a good source of potassium and vitamin A. ENJOY!!!

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Slow Cooker Lemon Thyme Chicken

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I LOVE my slow cooker, I try to use it as often as possible since it’s the only thing in my kitchen that will cook all day for me. I had made a whole chicken in the slow cooker before, it was moist but it was very wet. It sat in the juices for 8 hours and wasn’t what I was expecting. After visiting Pinterest for a few tips on how to cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker, I came up with this recipe. Did you know that whole chicken’s are very cheap at the store? I often find them for $0.99 a pound. They can be intimidating, but I promise I’ll make this easy on you!

What you need;

1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds)
1 lemon
1 bunch of thyme (about 10 stems)
Pepper, garlic powder & seasoned salt

How to make;

I hear conflicting arguments on whether you should or should not rinse your chicken before you cook it. I have never rinsed mine, but I do always pat it dry so this step is up to you….to rinse or not to rinse…..after you’ve decided, cut a whole lemon into 6 wedges, put three wedges inside the chicken, then your bunch of thyme, and then the last 3 lemon wedges on top of that. Season the outside of your chicken with black pepper, garlic powder and seasoned salt. Get under the skin for even more flavor. I didn’t measure my spices, I sprinkled them on until the chicken was evenly coated. Next, ball up two pieces of aluminum foil and put it in the bottom of your slow cooker. Make them about the size of baseballs and push them semi flat. You are going to place your chicken on top of these foil balls to keep it from sitting at the bottom of the slow cooker in all the juices and getting soggy. Once your chicken is placed on the foil, cook it for 8 hours on low. After 8 hours it’s cooked to perfection, but if you like a crispy skin like me, you will want to do this last step. Turn on your broiler, rub the outside of your chicken with about 1 tbls of butter, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and put it in an oven safe dish, broil it for about 4-5 minutes (watch carefully it will burn fast). This crisps up the skin and makes it a beautiful golden brown color. I usually make my husband cut up the chicken, but after watching him, it looks fairly easy and the chicken is so moist it falls right off the bone.

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This chicken recipe is sure to impress! Who doesn’t like a meal that cooks itself? Throw some potatoes and carrots in the slow cooker and you have a full meal when you get home. At $0.99 a pound, you probably won’t find a better bargain that tastes this good!

Tomato Jam

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This recipe is inspired by the tomato jam my Aunt & Uncle bring to Christmas Eve every year. I don’t have their recipe, so I made up my own and I’m pretty darn happy with the result. If you’ve never had tomato jam before, this is a must try!!! Your first bite is sweet, then the flavor changes to tangy and the after taste has a little kick of heat from the jalapeno! Substitute this jam for ketchup, spread it on toast, use it as a glaze over your meatloaf or with cocktail meatballs as an appetizer, or my favorite way to eat it is spread over a brick of cream cheese with a cracker (pictured below). The possibilities are endless for this, I suggest you give it a try for yourself and give it away as gifts. I’m going to be making my second batch soon and I already have a list of people who want a jar!

What you need;

8 cups of chopped tomatoes (5 from my garden gave me 8 cups)
1 cup diced yellow onion (white or red onion could be used if that’s what you have)
1 Jalapeno diced (I didn’t remove the seeds because I wanted some heat)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbls salt
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp black pepper

How to make;
Dump it all in a pot and bring to a boil, once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 3 hours stirring occasionally.
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The slow cooking process breaks down all of the ingredients and slowly turns the seemingly wet mixture into a thick jam like consistency. You want it to reduce by half.
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I’d love to hear how you would serve this, pictured below is my favorite way. This makes for a great appetizer! Or for this pregnant lady, it could be dinner! 😉
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This made about 4 cups of jam, I packaged them in about 1 cup resalable containers. I’ve never tried canning, but this would be a great jam to can and give away later. I put mine in the refrigerator and freezer, I don’t expect any of my batches to last very long!

Taco Ring – $10.00 Dinner

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I’m not really sure where this recipe came from, my mom made it when I was growing up and I’ve fixed it many times for my family. It’s very easy, feeds 4 people, and costs about $10.00 to make. You make the “ring” and then you can serve it with any toppings or sides that you like. This would make a great appetizer too, I think this might be how this recipe originated, but it makes a very good and filling dinner which is how me & my family like to eat it!

What you need;

1 pound ground beef (or use ground turkey)
1 packet taco seasoning mix
2 cans of crescent rolls
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Any toppings you desire…..lettuce, black olives, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, sour cream, hot sauce, avocado, etc, etc

How to make;

Start browning the ground beef, while it’s browning, pre-heat your oven to the temperature on the crescent roll package. Unroll the crescent dough and lay it out on a greased, round baking sheet like this….
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Press the seams together and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside. This step should not be skipped, if you do not pre-bake the crescents, there may be gooey, un-cooked crescent pieces at the end.

Once the ground beef is browned, drain it and return to the pan. Mix in the packet of taco seasoning and 1/4 cup of water (you don’t want this mixture runny) and a cup of shredded cheese. Scoop spoonful’s of the ground beef mixture onto the widest part of the crescent ring. Once all the meat is transferred to the ring, fold the skinny end of the crescent over the ground beef and tuck under. Do this all the way around creating a ring. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until the ring is lightly brown and the crescents are cooked. Serve with your favorite toppings and sides and enjoy!
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Lemon Glazed Zucchini Bread

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Guess what? Yep, you guessed it, another zucchini recipe! This is a basic zucchini bread recipe and I added a tart lemon glaze. I always try to reduce the sugar in any recipe I make, I often replace some of it with honey. I LOVE honey, and it has so many health benefits (see my honey posts). I use a local raw honey in my area and it adds just the right sweetness, naturally! If you don’t like lemon, leave off the glaze. This bread is still delicious and moist without it. I made 4 mini loaves so I could give some away, but this would make 1 regular size loaf. These would also be great as muffins!

What you need;
For the bread –
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest

For the glaze –
2 tbls lemon juice
1 cup of powdered sugar

How to make;

Mix the zucchini, sugar, honey, egg, lemon zest and oil together until combined. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until incorporated. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. I made 4 mini loaves, 1 regular size loaf might take longer than 25 minutes. To make the glaze, mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar together and drizzle over the cooled loaf. For a thicker glaze add more powdered sugar, for a thinner glaze, add more lemon juice. Enjoy!

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