Archives for the month of: May, 2014

Here’s a quick project the kids and I worked on (last year, and I’m finally posting it!).

It’s an easy DIY bird feeder, with just pipe cleaners and Cheerios! Well, they were supposed to be bird feeders, but eventually the squirrels got to them after they saw the birds enjoying them. They even untwisted them from the branches with their sneaky little squirrel paws and enjoyed them as “to-go” snacks. Anyway, here’s what we did…

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Cheerios

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Twist the end of a pipe cleaner into a hook shape that you can attach to a tree branch. Thread the pipe cleaner with Cheerios, then twist again on the bottom to keep them from sliding off.
  • Attach to a branch outside, and sit back and watch!

Easy DIY Bird Feeders - fun kids craft, only need two supplies!

Easy DIY Backyard Bird Feeders

 

Here’s a slow cooker recipe I tried over the weekend, which was delicious. Lemon-y, potato-y, and chicken-y. YUM!

Here’s what I came up with…

Lemony Greek Chicken and Gold Potatoes - awesome Crock Pot meal - throw everything in the slow cooker and when you come home from work dinner is ready! Also has a great tip for easily getting fresh-squeezed lemon juice out!

adapted from Jennys-Cookbook.blogspot.com

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 uncooked boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 5 gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 lemons
  • salt, to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

Spray inside of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the potatoes, onions, and garlic inside.

Place chicken on top, then sprinkle on the oregano, paprika, onion powder, and salt.

Squeeze the lemon juice on top. *TIP: for easier juicing — microwave whole lemons for 15 seconds, then roll them on the counter a couple of times before cutting in half.*

After squeezing out the juice, add the lemon halves to the slow cooker with the chicken mixture.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or 6-8 hours on low) until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Before serving, scoop out the insides of the lemons with a spoon and use as a garnish on top of the chicken.

The end of school is near! I wanted to give our son’s teacher a personalized gift and ended up creating this for just one buck.

Here’s what I did…

I entered the names of classmates, teacher, year, etc., in a web site called Wordle. After choosing the layout and color scheme I printed the image. Then I cut the excess edges of the printer paper off, and framed it in an 8×10 frame that I purchased for $1.00 at the dollar store.

Our son made a little thank you note, and I wrote a letter on the back thanking “Mrs. B” for being such an awesome teacher. I will also include a gift card, so technically we will spend more than $1.00 altogether but still not breaking the bank. 🙂

Print a personalized class list and frame in a dollar store frame. Awesome personalized teacher gift for end of year or anytime!

This weekend we grilled some buffalo lime marinaded chicken breasts and they were delicious!

I adapted a recipe from sweetlittlebluebird.com and stored it in the freezer until we needed it. Here’s what we ended up with:

Kickin Buffalo Lime Chicken grilled sandwich - Add your favorite toppings - hello summer!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4-6 uncooked boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 c. Frank’s Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce
  • 1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 c. lime juice + more if you want to squeeze some on top before serving
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Optional: sandwich buns, toppings such as onions, provolone cheese, mayo, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, Ranch dressing, buffalo sauce for dipping, etc.

WHAT YOU DO:

Place in a gallon ziplock bag: chicken, sauce, EVOO, lime juice, and garlic. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinade for 4-ish hours. Remove chicken from marinade and grill. While grilling, baste with marinade.

OR if freezing, combine all ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag, label, and freeze. Before grilling, remove from freezer and thaw. Remove chicken from marinade and grill. While grilling, baste with marinade.

Kickin Buffalo Lime Chicken on the grill - includes freezer instructions so you can make a double batch and freeze the extras for your next cook-out.Need more freezer meal ideas? Here’s a 5-ingredient Cheesy Pork Chops and Potatoes recipe

One of my favorite shrimp dishes to make is a four-ingredient zesty lemon butter shrimp. It is SO delicious I could eat it every day if possible. It does have lots of butter, though (thus its deliciousness ha!), so here’s an alternative lemon garlic shrimp recipe I adapted from SkinnyTaste.com. It has the awesome lemony flavor of the lemon butter shrimp, without the butter, and fresh healthy ingredients perfect for eating light.

To make “noodles” out of the zucchini, I used my GEFU spiral cutter. Love that thing!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp on a Bed of Zoodles. Zuchiini spiral cut into 'noodles' with shrimp, lemon, tomatoes, and garlic. Add some spice with red pepper flakes.

 WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz. frozen, precooked, de-veined, and peeled shrimp
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 small zucchini, spiral cut into noodle/ribbon shapes
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. halved cherry (or grape) tomatoes

WHAT YOU DO:

Heat a skillet over med-high heat.

Add oil and crushed red pepper flakes, then add shrimp.

Season with a pinch of salt, and cook 2-3 mins until the shrimp is heated through.

Add zucchini and tomatoes and toss lightly.

Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and serve.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Zoodles (zucchini noodles) - Awesome healthy meal idea for eating light.

 

I’m lovin’ the zoodles… Here’s another recipe I made, topped with tomato sauce.

Here’s a healthy lunch I made with my GEFU Spiral Cutter:

Zoodles - use a spiral cutter to make 'noodles' out of zucchini. Saute with mushrooms, EVOO, and garlic. Add tomato sauce or other toppings like feta cheese.

Zucchini “noodles” AKA zoodles. In a skillet, sauteed the zucchini with EVOO and garlic, added some sliced mushrooms, and topped it with pasta sauce. It was super delicious, and the zucchinis really did taste like pasta noodles.

Here’s what I did…

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 small zucchinis, spiral cut
  • 4 oz. sliced Monterey mushrooms
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Optional toppings: spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese, feta cheese, etc.

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Saute the EVOO, garlic, zucchinis and mushrooms over medium-high heat until slightly tender.
  • Serve with pasta sauce or other toppings.

Is that pasta? No it's zucchinis cut into spiral 'noodles' topped with tomato sauce. Great meatless option, or could add ground turkey in the sauce.

 

Love zoodles? Here’s my lemon garlic shrimp on zoodles recipe.

Also check out:

Easy Marinated Mushrooms

Feta, Avocado & Tomato-Topped Pita Chips

Wasabi Sesame Soy Cucumber Salad

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Fresh Mediterranean Salad

Our little guy turned two!

Here’s a quick topping I put on his cake using just waxed paper and sprinkles:

Awesome tip: Use waxed paper and sprinkles for an easy cake topping!

Here’s what I did:

1. Print out a number (I used Microsoft Word), sized to the top of the cake

2. Trace the outline on waxed paper with a Sharpie

3. Using scissors or an x-acto knife, cut out the number, to make a stencil

4. Place waxed paper stencil on frosting

5. Top with sprinkles

6. Remove waxed paper

Make a stencil out of waxed paper for an easy numbered cake topper!

Use waxed paper as a stencil for a numbered cake topper!

Make a numbered cake topper with waxed paper and sprinkles.

Make a numbered cake topper with just waxed paper (as a stencil) and sprinkles!

 

Also, check out…

DIY Fabric Party Hat with Pom Pom Topper

DIY Paper Pennant Banner

DIY Birthday Photo Shoot

DIY Photo Background

Here’s one more recipe to add to my recent noodle collection:

Sesame Noodles, which I adapted from babble.com

Awesome Sesame Noodles - great meatless option, or add chicken or shrimp. Also increase siracha for more spiciness if you want.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 lb. thin spaghetti
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. rice or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
  • Tiny squirt of siracha
  • Optional toppings: additional siracha (for spiciness), toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, sliced green onions, cooked chicken, cooked shrimp, etc.

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Cook pasta according to the package directions, then drain.
  • While pasta boils, in a large skillet heat oil and sautĂ© the garlic and ginger for a few minutes, until soft but not brown. Transfer to a bowl and add the sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and sriracha.
  • Toss pasta into a hot skillet with a bit of sesame and/or canola oil, stirring for a few minutes, until the noodles start to brown. Set aside to cool before tossing with the dressing.
  • Add to the bowl of dressing along with the any veggies or meat or other toppings (if using) and toss well to coat. Let sit for an hour, or refrigerate overnight. Serve topped with chopped peanuts, if you like. Served chilled or at room temperature.

Other recent noodle recipes I’ve tried…

Creamy Lemon Spinach Pasta

Spicy Thai Noodles

Looking for a lower carb option? Here’s an un-noodle “zoodle” recipe I made with zuchhini ribbons!

I was on a mission to stock our freezer with some chicken meals, and started with a Ranch Parmesan Chicken recipe from plainchicken.com.

Here’s what I ended up with…

Baked Parmesan Ranch Chicken - served with rice and salt & vinegar cucumber salad

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 uncooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used two since they were huge)
  • 1 c. Ranch dressing
  • 1 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted

WHAT YOU DO:

  • If preparing right away, preheat oven to 400F. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and pepper on a plate. Dip chicken in Ranch to coat both sides, then roll in bread crumbs. Place in baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  (To add a little crispiness back I sprinkled on a tiny amount of breadcrumbs on top). Drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 30-35 mins or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Approximately 5 mins before removing from oven, turn up to “broil,” which will crisp up & brown the breading.
  • If freezing, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and pepper on a plate. Dip uncooked chicken in Ranch to coat both sides, then roll in bread crumbs. Put breaded chicken in a gallon ziplock bag, and label with a marker, then freeze. To prepare, thaw, then place chicken in baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake  in preheated 400F oven for 30-35 mins or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Approximately 5 mins before removing from oven, increase temp to “broil” to crisp up the breading.

Ranch Parmesan Chicken breaded in Panko then baked.

I served this with rice (prepared in my beloved rice cooker)

and a cold salad of salt & vinegar cucumbers with dill (instead of slicing the cucumbers into slices I used a spiral cutter for the cucumbers). 

Need more freezer meal ideas? Here’s a recipe for 5-ingredient Pork Chop and Potatoes

Here’s a recipe I adapted from slowcookeradventures.com:

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Pasta {recipebookandmore.wordpress.com} Cheesy, Buffalo-y, and delicious!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx. 2 lbs.), uncooked, seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • 2 cans Cream of Chicken soup (do not add water)
  • 1 c. Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. ranch dressing
  • 1 c. mozzarella cheese
  • 1 box (1 lb.) penne pasta

WHAT YOU DO:
In slow cooker, add chicken, soup, wing sauce, and onion. Mix well then cover. Cook 3-4 hrs on HIGH or 7-8 hrs on LOW. Partway through, shred chicken with a fork (or cut into small pieces if you prefer).

Approx. 15-20 mins before serving, boil the pasta according to instructions on box and drain. To the slow cooker, add sour cream, ranch dressing, and mozzarella cheese. Add pasta noodles and stir until mixed. Let sit a few minutes then serve.

If you’re a fan of all things buffalo like me, check out these recipes:

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Slow Cooker Buffalo Ranch Chicken

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

On The Lighter Side: Buffalo Cream Cheese Feta Dip