Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feeling Lucky

I am currently in a mad rush to join as many giveaways/contests/sweepstakes as possible to furnish my new dorm room as well as buy some of the many items I am realizing I will need to now purchase on my own since I will no longer be living at home. One such contest is a gift card giveaway to Taigan. The contest is through the blog La Dolce Vita and you can find the post here. It would be amazing to actually win something and super helpful with all my upcoming expenses. WISH ME LUCK! Here are a few of the treasures found on this website that I would totally consider buying if I won the gift card.


Monday, July 19, 2010

The Picture of My Future

Here are my hopes for the future... no explanation required. Like the saying goes, a picture's worth a thousand words.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

I am a chocolatier... well, today at least

I'm usually the starburst/jollyrancher/anything fruity instead of chocolate kind of girl. But, when I get a chocolate craving, I thoroughly enjoy it. And that is exactly what happened to me today. I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Not So Humble Pie, when I saw the recipe for s'mores chocolate bars. They looked so delicious I prayed I had all the ingredients to make these milk chocolatey, gooey, toasty, crunchy s'mores-with-everything-but-the-campfire. Unfortunately, I lacked one ingredient on the list- marshmallow cream. I was disappointed, until I looked at all the other yummy ingredients I had lying around. I followed all the instructions, but had to change a few things. First of all, here is the final product:

(it may not look as delectable in this picture as it is in real life due to my bad quality phone camera, but believe me, it is just about Godiva quality... at least to me!)
So, here is the easy-peasy recipe.

First, start out with a bag of chocolate chips and a glass mixing bowl. (I used semi sweet, but milk chocolate, or really any other kind would be awesome, too.)

Dump about half the bag into the glass bowl and microwave for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between each microwaving session.

Once the chocolate chips are all melted and the chocolate is a good pouring consistency, pour into a glass or ceramic pan.

I then sprinkled half the pan of chocolate with Heath chips. Next, I took graham crackers, and broke them at the seams. I spread peanut butter onto the bottom of each graham cracker and placed them face down in the chocolate. This provides a good divider for each piece of chocolate bar.

Now, it is time for the top layer of chocolate. For this layer I used a mixture of semi-sweet chips and white vanilla chips. I microwaved for 15 seconds at a time, just as with the first layer of chocolate, and spread this new layer on the top.

Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate is solid.

This is actually a super easy recipe for anytime you get the chocolate craving. You can use almost anything you find in your fridge/pantry. Some ingredients I would love to try in the next batch I make would be honey, almonds, crushed oreos, white chocolate, mint chocolate, and the list goes on and on. Although not all in the same batch... maybe. That's the beauty of this recipe. Use whatever you like, be creative, and enjoy your creation!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

IF ONLY... I had money to go out to lunch

I'm not going to lie. I spend way too much of my money eating out. My weakness is definitely Panera. But, I've realized lately just how much money I spend on fast food and grabbing lunch at a nearby restaurant, and it's waaaay too much. I know a lot of people are in this situation. They enjoy eating out, but don't have the extra money. Now, I also like to cook, so I figured I'd use my love of cooking to end my eating out habit.
I am always looking up recipes online and in the various cookbooks we own, but I never seem to have the ingredients- frustrating! So, I've sort of been left to adapt the ingredients we often have around the house to make delicious meals. I love starting with something basic and adding just a few extra ingredients to make it spectacular! A few of my favorite adaptations are: adding sprinkle cheddar cheese to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (very simple addition, but to me it makes the macaroni so much better!) and adding fresh cut up carrots and celery, and even chunks of freshly cooked chicken, to a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.

Here are a couple of my very favorite easy recipes for delicious restaurant-quality meals:

1. Tuna Salad Sandwich
Start with: one can tuna (Drain Tuna. Dump in bowl.)
Add: chopped veggies- onion, green onion, celery, hard boiled egg OR diced pickles (you can also use pickle relish)
Put together: Layer a couple lettuce leaves, cheese (provelone is delicious,) and tuna salad between two slices of bread.
Very easy recipe and also very adaptable to the ingredients you probably have at home.

2. Potato Soup
Start with: can Cream of Chicken (You can also use Cream of Celery, Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Potato...) OR you can start by simply boiling milk and butter
Add: First, boil cubed potatoes and chopped vegetables (carrots, broccoli, celery, onion, green onion, cauliflower, virtually any vegetable will work great), cubed chicken, bacon, turkey, or anything else you may have around that seems good.
Cook: Once the potatoes are soft, and the veggies are just as firm as you want them (you could also steam the veggies) drain the water. Add the can of soup + milk (or if you opt not to use the Cream of ____ Soup, just add milk,) Mix in all the veggies, season with salt and pepper, and any other seasonings- I usually use Oregano, Garlic, and Jojo's Potato Seasoning. Once you mix everything together, add shredded cheese. That's it!

I hope you enjoy these recipes and see that you don't have to spend all the money to enjoy a delicious restaurant-inspired meal! And, I would love to hear your favorite go-to recipes as well!

A little update...

1. Live my life with no regrets. I'm sure I could be doing a lot better on this resolution, but I am trying new things and working hard to have a positive attitude. I can already notice a difference- without being so negative all the time, I am already a lot happier!

2. Never again use my bank account as an excuse for not being able to dress as I would like. Hmm... this one is a little harder. I see so many items of clothing I absolutely LOVE- then I look at the price tag. But, I am good at bargain-finding, it's just a little more challenging to find good clothes within the price range, but it is possible. Also, I have a good rule to go by when I shop: I very rarely buy anything that is over $15, if it is any more than that, I have to seriously think about how much I really need it.

3. Organize my life- starting with my room, purse, and backpack. I am pretty organized right now. Currently my room is clean and organized, as well as my purse and backpack. Now, the trick is keeping it that way. But, if I clean my room once a week, it will be much easier to keep it organized.

4. I will set up a date to get together with The Missing Three within the next month. Hmm... I am pretty much failing when it comes to this resolution. I have only talked to them one or two times recently, and we have not set a date yet to get together. I will have to work harder on this one.

5. I will do ALL my homework within one hour of arriving home from school. At first, I was doing very well on this account, but I slowly became lazier, putting off my homework until later. This I will also have to work extra hard to reinforce. 

It's always nice to take a little break, so if you are feeling stressed, or just need to relax, picture yourself here on a warm, spring day- laying in the soft grass watching the clouds move across the sky:

Monday, February 22, 2010

IF ONLY... it was spring already!

I am getting very anxious for the arrival of springtime. Winter was great, but I am very ready to see the snow melt away to a sunny, warm spring day. If you are also excited for spring, here is a picture of what we have to look forward to:

What is really getting me excited is the arrival of spring clothes at the stores. I keep getting magazines full of spring skirts, dresses, and shoes. I cannot wait to take a seasonal shopping spree and fill my closet with new, bright, warm-weather clothes! A few of the items I would love to own...

1) Candy apple red sweater- perfect for a 60 degree spring day.
2) This adorable blue-grey polkadot skirt from Delias
3) These sandals are made from recycled rice bags- so they are bright, colorful, earth-friendly, AND each pair is unique.
4) Currently in LOVE with Hard Candy nail polish, this sunshiney yellow is perfect for spring!
5) Soft tone peachy pink lipstick

And, is it too early to start thinking about summer? I'm not usually a fan of underwire swimming suits, but this floral one from Billabong is adorable!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Two Posts in One Day?

Yes, I am writing again. Only a few hours since my last post, but it's my blog, I can make up the rules, and I say I can post whenever I feel the need to! =]

I'm sure if you're reading this blog, you're probably bored out of your mind. So, I thought I'd give you some other ideas as alternatives to wasting your whole day on facebook (don't get me wrong. I am a facebook fan, but it can get old when you have nothing else to do.)
1) If you have iTunes, check the Items of the Week. There's usually one or two free songs and a free music video, and generally, they're pretty good.
2) fredflare. I cannot get enough of Fred Flare. Some of my favorite items:

Cute gifts any girl would love to get from a guy:

... and some crazy things that can be found on FredFlare that make you think what were they thinking?

3) Read some of your (other) favorite blogs, or find new blogs you would enjoy. Check the Blogger Blogs of Note 
4) and are full of time-wasting games and activities.
5) If you've tried all of these and still can't find anything fun to do, you've been on way too long. GET OFF YOUR COMPUTER. TAKE A WALk, RIDE A BIKE, PLAY A GAME, WATCH A MOVIE, or CALL A FRIEND.