Sunday, January 31, 2010

Deep-Dish Pizza Casserole

The hub and I did Weight Watchers for a while last year. We're not really following the plan anymore, but I still like using the recipes. So, when the hub's co-worker lent him the WW 5 Ingredient 5 Minute cookbook over the weekend, I was more than happy to thumb through it. For dinner on Saturday, we tried the Deep-Dish Pizza Casserole and it was delicious! I think next time I might even make a vegetarian version. Green pepper and onion is my favorite pizza combo.


Deep-Dish Pizza Casserole
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 (15-oz.) can chunky Italian-style tomato sauce
Cooking spray
1 (10-oz.) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook meat in skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring until it crumbles. Drain, if necessary, and return to skillet. Add tomato sauce, and cook until heated. While meat cooks, coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Unroll pizza crust dough, and press into bottom and halfway up sides of baking dish. Top bottom of pizza crust with meat mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 12 minutes. Top with cheese, and bake 5 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese melts. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Yields 6 servings. Six points per serving.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Powder Room

The other day, I got it in my head that a change needed to take place in the bathroom. Our apartment is pretty tiny and there's not much space to work with, but it's amazing what a spin of the color wheel can do for ya.

Before:
We don't have a linen closet, so those baskets in the back hold our extra towels. The rugs used to match the green tub in our old apartment. The tub was that not-so-pretty 1970's-era green that seems to have been a prominent color choice of that time (also the time when all of the apartments that we've lived in were constructed). Believe or not, embracing the green, which I like to call "weedy green," in our last place actually made it a little less harsh on the eyes. But, we now have a normal white shower and we were overdue for a change.

After:
I got those baskets outta there! They were just taking up space. And since we rarely have overnight guests, there really isn't a need to keep them in there. I swapped out the green rug for a light grey one and I love it! I put some candles that can be seen in the below "before" photo on top of the stool, in case all this decorating sparks the need for a bubble bath. I'm looking for something to hang on the wall, but until then...

Before:
Moving on to the mess that was my bathroom shelf... The top shelf previously held the now-moved candles. Like the rugs, they kind of went with the set-up of our old place, but I just threw them up there with the intention of replacing them when we were unpacking, but never got around to it. The middle basket was the catch-all. Straightener? Check. Hair dryer? Check. Curling iron? Check. Hair clips? Check. You get the idea. A few problems with this method of storage... Everything didn't really fit. Plus, the basket had a pink liner that didn't match anything at all. Not working. Finally, the bottom shelf. I love those tea tins. I collected a few of them when I was working at a coffee shop in college and they've served as excellent storage containers ever since the hub and I got married. But, the Febreeze and mouthwash were really taking away from the cuteness that is those tea tins. So, into the vanity, they went!

After:
Yay! I love how simple and clean this looks. I took the pink liner off of the white basket, moved it to the top and filled it with rolled white washcloths. After looking all over for something that would work for me, I found this white organizer in the office supply section. Perfect fit! I also spotted this wicker tray, which the tea tins fit in nicely. I bought it with the intention of painting it white, but I can't tell now if I like it as-is. How about you?

Before:
Old tissue box cover + big bottle of lotion = not so pretty.

After:
I ditched the tissue and put this picture in a little white frame on the vanity.
(I smell a theme...)

Before:
Weedy green hand towel and bare white wall.
Something about this is sad...

After:
So, let's make it happy!
I asked for & received this calendar for Christmas. I requested it with the intention of having Charley Harper hanging in my apartment, within my budget. So, I bought a few frames, cut up my calendar and got to hammering. I know it's probably not the kind of thing that one would usually see hanging in a bathroom. But, then again, what exactly is "bathroom art?"

And, you know what?
I. Love. Charley.
You might say that I'm smitten even.

All in all, I am really pleased with everything and I think it looks approximately 1 trillions times better (not to toot my own horn or anything...)! And on a budget, too!

Rugs = $20
Hand towel/washcloths = $9
Frames = $13
Office organizer = $6
Wicker tray = $3
Grand total = $51-ish (tax, you know...)

I got the white washcloths at the dollar store (since they'll probably be mostly for show). I got the frames there, too. They are actually brown and I just sponge-painted them with a bit of white. And I love, love, love the office organizer. I don't think I could have created something more suited to my need. It's amazing the luck you can have in the most unexpected of places. Now, I just need to find a place somewhere else in the apt. for those baskets...

PS-The cardinal is my absolute fav.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walnut Blondies w. Maple Butter Sauce

When I asked my hub what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday this year, he had no specific requests. So, I decided to try a copycat recipe of Applebee's Walnut Blondie with Maple Butter Sauce (which we love) to mix things up a bit. I remembered seeing mouth-watering photos on Bakerella's site a while back and used the same recipe that she did.


Oh my goodness,
was it sweet!
REALLY sweet.

Rarely do I find a dessert that's too rich for me, but this one definitely falls into that category. The hub really enjoyed them, which was the whole point anyway. But, I think I'll pass on the sauce next time. It just put it over the top for me. Seriously, though, do yourself a favor and whip up some of these blondies (with or without the sauce!). They're super easy and sure to please!

Walnut Blondies w. Maple Butter Sauce

Walnut Blondies:
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup flour, sifted
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Maple Butter Sauce:
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt to the already sifted flour. Then, sift dry ingredients again. Add chopped nuts and mix well. Set aside. Add brown sugar to melted butter and mix well. Then, add egg and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, until mixed well. Stir in white chocolate chips. Spread out dough in a 9-inch (I used 8x8) pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the center. In a pan, add maple syrup and butter. Cook over a low heat until the butter is melted. Next, stir in brown sugar until completely dissolved. Add walnuts. Serve the warm brownie with ice cream and maple butter sauce.

Happy baking!
And a happy 25th to my hub!



Monday, January 18, 2010

And the winner is...

A big thanks to everyone, who entered the giveaway
to win the Valentine's day necklaces!
And thanks for the kind comments, too.
You all are the absolute best. :)

The randomly selected winner of 2 V-day washer necklaces is...

#1!
Kim,
e-mail me your address, I'll have your necklaces in the mail asap.

Thanks again for participating!
Hopefully, I'll have another giveaway for you in the not-so-distant future.
Until then, friends!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Valentine's Day Giveaway

I am super excited about this post because
...drum roll, please....
I'm doing my very first giveaway!
I sincerely appreciate you all following my blog.
I mean, reallllly appreciate it.
This is such a fun, creative outlet for me and there's a certain joy in knowing that someone out there is benefiting from this blog (even if it is only a craft idea, recipe or decorating tip). With Valentine's day approaching, I thought I'd do a themed giveaway.

I made a few Valentine's day washer necklaces that are up for grabs. Specifically, I'm giving away two interchangeable double-sided pendants with one leather cord.
And just how can you get your hands on these little cuties?
Just leave a comment by the end of the day Sunday (1/17) telling me which two pendants are your favorites and a winner will be randomly selected and announced on Monday.
Easy peasy!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Washer Necklaces

I've seen several different tutorials for washer necklaces. Good examples can be found here and here. I've been wanting to try it for a while now. So, when the hub snuck a craft store gift card in my stocking, I knew exactly how I'd use it.

 grabbed some washers, a file, cord, Glossy Accents and some scrapbook paper from the store and got out my handy x-acto knife. After placing the washer on the scrapbook paper, carefully cut around both circles with the x-acto knife. After you've cut out two (one for the front and back), apply some Mod Podge to the washer, place the paper on the washer and smooth it out. After you've put paper on both sides and the washer is completely dry, use the file to smooth around the outside of the washer. A small file can be used on the inside circle, if needed.

Then, apply Glossy Accents (or a similar product). I found that outlining the outer, then inner circles and filling in the space in between worked the best.

Hang out with your puppies while you wait for your washer to dry...

After the washers have dried on both sides, string them up with a cord of your choosing. The one pictured is a thin leather cord, but it looks nice with a thick suede cord, as well. Since the washers are interchangeable, I think this would make a great gift set for someone.
Homemade and heartfelt!
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