Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's Cooking: Baked Potato

(Potatoes, sea salt and oil)

I've made baked potatoes before. They are pretty simple. But recently I found a few great tips on how to improve them. After washes them off really well, stab them with a fork a dozen times. Then lightly coat the outside with olive oil and sea salt.

Then, and here's the part that surprised me, cook them in the oven WITHOUT foil. Apparently wrapping them in foil makes the skin a bit soggy. If you just set them on the rack or a baking sheet it crisps the skin... mmm. With a few fixings the potatoes are a whole meal.

(Baked potato with cheese, bacon and sour cream)

Photos by moi.

Friday, June 25, 2010


“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do.

But to hold it together when everyone else would understand

if you fell apart, that's true strength.”

Photo by moi.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's Cooking: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

(Buffalo Chicken Meatballs and portobello mushrooms)

I made these for the first time last night and they were great!
They would make a perfect appetizer to take to a get together
or to serve at a Superbowl party.
Here's the recipe...

(Bread Crumbs and chicken with ingredients)

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

1) Combine the following in a large bowl:

-1 lb ground chicken

-1 cup of fresh bread crumbs*

-1 teaspoon of paprika

-1 teaspoon of minced garlic

-1/2 teaspoon of salt

(Toasted bread from the oven and torn up pieces in the food processor)

*To make fresh bread crumbs, take 3 pieces of bread and put them

in the oven for a few minutes to dry them out. Then tear

them into piece and chop them up in a food processor.

(All ingredients, including bread crumbs, combined)

I used my hands to blend all of the ingredients
together into one large lump.

2) Roll into 32 balls (When I made it I came up with 20 balls)

3) Line a baking sheet with foil and place balls on baking sheet

4) Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes

(The cooked meatballs, half of which are coated with hot sauce)

5) After you cook them coat all of the balls in hot sauce

(Franks Red Hot works well)

6) Can serve with celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing

Photos by moi.

Monday, June 21, 2010

DIY: Decorative Branches

Today's creative DIY comes from a friend of A Tale of Two Bloggers. After completely redoing her family's bathroom, our friend decided to spice it up with something she made. Using only branches from their backyard and some hemp string she had on hand, she made this hanging piece.

She added a decorative piece that she found on sale at JoAnn Fabrics for $2.25 and voila! The branches tie the bathroom together perfectly and she didn't have to spend $50 on some generic artwork from Target.

This piece is a wonderful example of looking at what you already own and seeing what can be made from it, before you buy something new. You'll be surprised at what you might come up with.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Home Improvement: Bathroom Updates

One of the joys of owning a home is the constant stream of updates it always needs. Flannel Man and I were lucky enough to find a home that had already been updated in many ways. There was a new vanity in the bathroom, new cabinets in the kitchen, new tiled floors and more.

We still have quite a bit to do, but the updated vanity has been particularly helpful. I recently reorganized the area beneath the sink and was thrilled with the amount of space we have. I love having double sinks and all of our cleaning supplies and hair products tucked out of sight. Using bins and containers to give things a specific place works well for me.

If you're looking to update your homes' bathroom soon there are hundreds of possibilities to consider. Make sure you think about what you value most in a bathroom before getting carried away with a style at a home improvement store. Do you want more storage or a sleek look? Do you want wood two sinks or one? There are endless options.

Photos by moi.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gardening on a Budget

(Flowers my friend offered me from her garden)

Gardening can quickly become an expensive habit. You need the seeds, the plants, the pots, the tools, the mulch, etc. Before you know it, you're little vegetable garden, which was suppose to help you cut your grocery bills down, has become a pricey hobby.

One great way to avoid this trap is to keep your eye out for gardening tools at yard sales. Another great tip is to ask friends and family if they would let you take cuts from any of their plants. Hostas, lilies, daisies and dozens of other perennial flowers grow quickly. You can take pieces and move them to your own garden without hurting your friends.

Soon your flowerbeds will be full of beautiful plants and your wallet won't be empty. It's especially sweet because when you sit outside and enjoy your flowers, they'll remind you of the wonderful people who made it possible. You'll also be able to pass on the favor and offer your own perennials to friends in the future.

Photos by Ann Lee.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mapping Your Memories

Flannel Man and I recently decided to get a big map of the U.S.A. to decorate the Man Room. It was $5 on Amazon and I once again used my swagbucks to get it. We got it laminated, hung it up with pushpins and then the fun began.

The big map takes up half of one wall in the room. We purchased colorful push pins and began popping them into the cities that we've traveled to. We put in different colored pins for places we've been together and separately. It was a great way to look back on all the great trips we've taken throughout the states. It's a fun way to use personal experience to decorate and it's much more interesting than a generic print from a super store.

Photos by moi.