Archive for March, 2013

Food: Tofu potato scramble

I love subscription boxes. They are definitely a guilty pleasure, but recently I’ve been trying to save every last penny so I cancelled all of them (All them being 3. Told you, guilty pleasure!). However, my mom passed on a $40 gift card to HelloFresh and I couldn’t resist, especially when there was a no commitment policy to their subscription service. Meaning, I could buy as many or as few boxes as I wanted before cancelling.

So, I signed up and bought their vegetarian box that contained 3 meals for 2 people for $59, but with my gift card it was only $19 (all shipping included)! To put it simply, the box I chose was the cheapest of all the options available, but you can choose boxes with meat, more meals, and for more people. The price is magically adjusted for you.

My first box arrived yesterday and I was excited to cook up a storm. The ingredients themselves are high quality and were packaged nicely with reusable cool packs and with a thermal wrapping. The meals are also broken down into different bags and each had a detailed picture recipe card. At one point, I actually laughed to myself as I felt like I was in a Ratatouille reality TV show as I said, ‘So simple, anyone can cook!

I think what I loved most is that the meals were different to what I’d make/dream up myself AND the nutrition value was listed right on the recipe card. Good for people like me who like to count their daily intake.

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So I started my HelloFresh journey with their tofu potato scramble recipe and I definitely had a happy belly at the end of the night.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • 8 oz firm tofu
  • 2 small white potatoes
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 10 grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup lettuce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 wheat tortillas (not pictured)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (not pictured)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (no pictured)

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1. Prepare your veggies & tofu: cut potato into 1/2 inch pieces, shred the lettuce, chop the garlic, halve the tomatoes, cut pepper into strips, slice the scallions, and finally drain & crumble the tofu in a bowl. It all pretty much looked like this after:

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2. Next, put your potatoes in a pot & cover with water. Bring them to a boil and then let them simmer for 8 minutes. Wait at least 5 minutes before you continue with the skillet portion of the meal. You’ll need your potatoes there.

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3. When your potatoes are nearly done, start your skillet and add the olive oil, scallions, garlic, and chili powder and cook/stir for 2 minutes. Next add your peppers and potatoes, cook/stir for another 5-7 minutes.

Note: when you drain & add your potatoes, save 1 tablespoon of the starchy water for later.

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4. Next, add the tofu & that 1 tablespoon of water you saved. Cook/stir for about 3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

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5. Heat your tortillas (I used the microwave) and then divide your mixture in 1/2 since this recipe is for 2 people. Place your mixture on the tortilla.

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And then top it with the cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce.

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6. Finally, hone your inner Chipotle burrito wrapping skillz and roll that puppy up. My burrito looked terrible, but it still tasted great.

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One final note: If you don’t like heat/spice, then consider less chili powder, because the chili powder is added early on and it gives everything a nice deep heat flavor; the kind that sneaks up on you after a few bites. It was amazing!

I’ll definitely be making this recipe again!

Nutrition per serving (according to HelloFresh)

  • Calories: 527
  • Carbohydrates: 43g
  • Fat: 29g
  • Protein: 34g

Life: Rules to live by

happybookI recently finished Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and I’ve been religiously writing in my daily journal for 2 months now. Recently, I noticed that I kept writing that I felt like I was in a funk. Not a goal funk, but a mood funk. If anything, my goals and activities were through the roof and I was highly productive in both work and personal time. I was doing everything I always did, but I just didn’t feel right.

This weekend was the icing on the cake though when I found myself irrationally angry. I had noticed those feelings of anger creeping up on me, especially over the little things, and I didn’t like it. I always joke that because I’m an Aries, it’s in my nature to be stubborn and hot-headed, but that’s not me all the time.

So I had a good long think about it yesterday and everything I normally do to pull myself out of a funk, I was already doing. Everything I usually do to find zen was already a part of my daily routine. And then, I figured it out. It was so simple, well…sort of. The verdict?

I wasn’t smiling. I wasn’t emanating positivity. Instead, I was focused on things I felt like I needed to fix.

So yesterday, I made a conscious effort to smile (just because) and last night in my journal, I picked out a few positive things that happened throughout the day, even though they were small victories. I also sat down to think of my own personal commandments, like Gretchen often refers to in her book.

I had previously started this and mentioned a few in another post, but I added 4 more to the list yesterday. Here are my core 7 rules to live by:

  1. Be thankful for all the good in your life.
  2. It’s ok to be me & no one else.
  3. There is no rush. Live in the now.
  4. Let it roll off your back.
  5. Be polite – you’ll get further.
  6. Smile often.
  7. Do something nice for someone else, every day.

#4 and #5 have been huge for me lately and I think #6 and #7 will only help further boost my mood and positive energy.

Upwards & onwards, friends.

DIY: Paper mache Easter eggs

Next weekend, my mom, my sister, and her 2 munchkins are coming to visit for Easter.

Since the kiddos are coming to visit, I knew I wanted to make them something fun for Easter. Of course, my sister and I talked about dying eggs or mini egg hunts in the park, but as soon as I saw this DIY over at not martha, I knew this was how I’d rack up major Auntie points. Check out her tutorial and then see how I did it below.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • Colored tissue paper
  • White tissue paper
  • Balloons
  • Mod podge
  • Sponge applicator
  • Shot glass
  • String & clothes pins (not pictured)
  • Candy (not pictured)

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Note: not martha used liquid laundry starch as her paper mache, but I used watered down mod podge (roughly 2 parts water, 1 part mod podge). I couldn’t find the liquid starch and I didn’t want to make my own paste using flour because I knew I wanted to make the eggs at least a week in advance and they warn that the flour paste can mold.

So, I watered down the mod podge and went with a watery consistency. Basically, I used what I thought would hold – you know, be enough glue, but also enough water. Now, let’s get started…

1. First, cut out your tissue paper. For the white, I worked in 3 to 4″ strips (mine were roughly cut). I then applied it to my balloon. Use the shot glass when needed to hold your balloon.

Note: my first 2 eggs only had 1 or 2 layers of white tissue paper, I’d recommend at least 3 to 4 to give them a sturdier/thicker base. You’ll see why a bit later on.

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2. Next, cut out your colored tissue paper. I did the polka dots like not martha and cut a 2 inch strip and folded it back on itself. I used my shot glass to trace a circle and then cut it out. After, cut all the pieces a part. photo(124)

3. Apply your colored tissue paper making sure your pieces overlap a bit, but not in the dotted area. For areas where you can’t fit a whole piece or fit the dot, I just filled in with the colored tissue paper, amply applying my paste. Save your excess tissue paper for later.

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4. When you’ve completed your egg, hang it up to dry overnight. Yes, overnight. So just wash, rinse, and repeat and make a few more of these little guys while you’re waiting for the others to dry.

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5. When your eggs are dry (the next day), cut a hole in the balloon to let all the air out. At this point, you’ll be able to remove the balloon from the top. Now, don’t freak out if your balloon kind of imploded on itself like below. This happened because I didn’t use enough tissue paper base. But, I kept calm and pushed it back out to form from the inside, using my fingers.

Note: this did NOT happen on my second batch of eggs where I used more tissue paper. There was a dimple or two, but nothing like this.

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6. Cut a slit from the top down the side; avoid cutting any of the white areas. You’ll use your colored tissue paper to patch this up later.

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7. Now, the fun part! Stuff it with candy 🙂

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8. After you’ve added all the candy you want, make a pull tab and patch up your egg. not martha suggested the pull tab as an easy way for the kids to ‘crack’ the egg back open. Made sense to me!

I used card stock and thick string and placed it in the slit. Then I used the colored tissue paper to paper mache it closed again. You’ll need to let this dry for at least another day.

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9. After you’ve filled all your eggs and allowed them to dry, enjoy! I had so much fun with this project that I made 3 more chocolate filled eggs. 1 for the BF and 2 for some very lucky friends.

Aren’t they adorable?

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DIY project regrets?

If I did the project again:

  1. I’d probably use smaller balloons. not martha suggested water balloons, but I already had some on hand. Of course, I do kind of like the dinosaur effect they’ve got going!
  2. Use more tissue paper on the base. I did this the second time, but not on the eggs going to my niece and nephew.

DIY: Painted bead necklace

I can’t remember how I first stumbled across Laura Parke, but I’ve been bookmarking a few of her crafts for awhile now. I think the first one I knew I had to make was this painted wooden bead necklace. It was simple, yet so fun.

I kept putting it off because for whatever reason, I couldn’t find the right wooden beads. That is until I went a little craft crazy with my mom last week in NC. I think we visited A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, and  Michael’s at least 3 times that week…not to mention all the bead boutiques! I was appalled to learn how lacking my own craft stores were.

Anyways, after a few days of scavenging for craft supplies, I was finally ready for this simple DIY. Laura gives a thorough step-by-step tutorial and even suggests using painters tape for clean lines, but I like to live on the edge and free-handed my project.

To get started, you need:

  • 10 wooden beads
  • craft paint, colors of your choice
  • paint brush
  • necklace (I used cord)
  • clasps

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1. First, paint your beads cream. Laura actually left hers natural, which I didn’t realize until after. But, no bother, I like the cream base.

2. Next, paint the colored bit. Here’s where Laura used painters tape. Note: I did have to give my beads a few coats of paint, but I put that down to the quality of my craft paint.

3. While your beads are drying, sort the clasp for your cord/chain. I used a lobster clasp & cord crimps (I think that’s what they’re called) since the cord I had was too thick for crimp beads. Only attach one side so you can still slide on your beads.

4. Check the inside of the beads to see if there are any shavings stuck inside. If so, use your paint brush to push and clear it out.

5. String your necklace with like colors together as above (i.e. cream to cream, pink to pink). You may notice a bit of paint transferred onto my cord. This was due to my own impatience as I thought my beads were dry, but apparently there was a tiny spot of wet paint inside.

6. Lastly, add your other cord crimp and the other half of your lobster claw. And voila!

Even though there’s a little bit of paint on my cord, I’m really pleased with the finished product. I have to say, the more jewelry I make, the more I like this little hobby. In related news, I wore one of my mom’s jewelry creations out on Saturday night and I just have to share…more or less, because I’m so proud of her talent. Isn’t it gorgeous?

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Life: Tuesday perspective

I once read that if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.

If you’d like any indication of how much I’m trying today; well, then I’m failing all over the place today.

In any case, the point is I’m trying and I think that’s all that matters when stress keeps floating all around trying to break into my attempted good mood.

And just because no post is complete without a picture, here’s a little something from the vast interwebs:

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Weekend review: Bridesmaid duties

This weekend, I made the trek down to NC to not only visit my mom, but to also fit in some much needed time with my friend Kat, who is getting married in August. Much to my delight, she’s asked me to be a part of her wedding.

This is the first time I’ll be a bridesmaid for a dear friend and I’m beyond excited. I must admit though, that while I love the excitement of dress shopping and bachelorette parties, I’m equally glad that I don’t have to deal with the wedding stress and finances. For me, it’s all stuffing save the dates, critiquing dresses, and planning bridal showers. And there was definitely no shortage of that this weekend.

Most of the weekend was spent with a glass of wine in hand, snuggling puppies, and catching up with Kat’s mom who is like my second mom. See…

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However, on Sunday we ventured out for a bit of dress shopping.  And now, a montage of dresses; none of which were “the one”…

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Just to make it all more exciting, Charleston is the bachelorette party destination (and June’s adventure) and I get to go cake tasting with Kat on Wednesday! Nom, nom, nom.

tinlizzieridesagain

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