Candy Corn Cones

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CANDY CORN CONES

Candy corn cones on display.

Supplies needed:
* White yarn
* Orange yarn
* Yellow yarn
* 3 small flathead nails or tacks
* 3 styrofoam cones, various sizes (try the dollar store!)

Steps:

Start with the tip of the cone, with white yarn.  Wrap around and around tightly, continuing to cover the styrofoam, as you work your way down about a third of the way. Be sure that you cover your white starter end at some point.

Next start the orange, about a third of the way down, just barely overlapping the white.  Wrap around and around tightly, continuing to cover the styrofoam as you work your way down about two-thirds of the way. Be sure to cover your orange starter end at some point.

Finally, finish with yellow, about 2/3 of the way down, just barely overlapping the orange.  Wrap around and around tightly, continuing to cover the styrofoam as you work your way to the bottom.  Be sure to cover your yellow starter end at some point.  Once you reach the bottom, you will have a tail end, just pin the end to the bottom of the cone, like this:

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Simple pin or glue will complete the cone.

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Adorably Simple Burp Rags

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So, I think this is my 5th project on the sewing machine. Not bad for only two weeks of sewing.  This has been my favorite for two reasons A) it’s easy and B) it’s so dang cute!  I followed the “easiest burp cloth tutorial” from Diary of a Quilter, for a general guideline.  The only difference I made, was rather than accenting with a ribbon, I added another print of fabric to the bottom.  I also cut that fabric in the coordinating zig zag shape.  That was a new challenge with the sewing machine.  It’s not perfect, but I am confident enough to gift it!  I’ll put the kitchen and the cave stamp of approval on this one!

This project took me approximately an hour.  Now that I know the steps, I anticipate this to be a 20-30 minute project moving forward.  Save your pattern for future, and you’ll spend more time cutting and ironing, than you will even at the sewing machine.  Very easy, affordable, and sweet gift!

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Who doesn’t love owls??!

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Zig zag detail

Caramel Apple Butterfinger Dip

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CARAMEL APPLE BUTTERFINGER DIP

Ingredients:
8oz brick of cream cheese – brought to room temperature
4 TBSP powdered sugar
2/3 cup caramel sundae sauce
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
2 Nestle Butterfinger candy bars – crushed into small pieces
4 Granny Smith Apples – sliced
1 Lemon

Directions:
1) Beat the room temperature cream cheese and the powdered sugar for 1-2 minutes.
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2) Spread the cream cheese on a platter in a circular pattern.
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3) Evenly pour the caramel sauce over the cream cheese.
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4) Add the mini chocolate chips, and last the butterfingers candy pieces.
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5) Chill for 1 hour before serving. Serve with Granny Smith Apple slices.
*TIP* soak your apples in ice water with the juice of one lemon for 5 minutes to avoid browning.
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Nearly free, jar jack o’lanterns!

September 1st.  I have officially declared it to be fall in my house.  It might be 93 degrees outside, but bring on the pumpkins, fall sweaters, and apple cider.  Ok, nix the cider – we are a wine house.

Making my daily round through Pinterest, I found a few fall projects that were adorable, but required a cricut cutter or silhouette machine.  Since I have neither, (due to their outrageous cost!!!) I came up with these very festive mason jar jack o’lanterns.  And the best part, they cost nearly nothing to make.  You likely have most of the items in your house now – so get to it! This craft can surely be done with your children, and is a great way to start your fall.  Happy autumn, and happy crafting!

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All lit up!

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 mason jars – your choice of size (mine are pint).  You can mix and match too!
  • 3 tea lights
  • 1-2 sheets of printable sticker paper.  I bought a pack of 10 for $3.49 (discounted after using a 50% off coupon).  1 sheet costs just $.35 – practically nothing!
  • Scissors

Directions:

1) Google “jackolantern face” images – and choose 3 different images to your liking.  They must be all black. You could pick a variety of faces – or even try words, crows, witches, ghosts, etc.

2) Copy and paste the faces onto a blank Word document. You can likely fit 2-4 faces on one page, dependent on your jar size.

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3) Resize the faces to best fit your jars.

4) Print them on standard paper first – This allows you to double check size, before you print on the sticker paper.  Repeat this step if you need to adjust the face sizes, so not to waste any sticker paper.

5) If the faces are to your liking, go ahead and feed your sticker paper into your printer, and print.  Be careful to know which side of the sticker paper is “sticky” and which side is the backing – so you correctly print the stickers.

6) With sharp scissors, carefully cut each piece of the face out individually.

7) Carefully pull the backing off the sticker, and place on your mason jar.

8) Repeat steps 6 and 7, with the second and third jars/faces.

WELL DONE!  Easy, fun, and CHEAP!

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins

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I created this recipe to increase veggies and protein in my 2 year old’s diet.  He’s become quite “independent” aka STUBBORN, in his toddlerness.  With eggs and greek yogurt, I know this is a great power breakfast or healthy snack to boost his nutrition intake. Freeze muffins, to have an on-hand, ready-to-heat-treat – any time of the day!

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Warm with butter – YUMM!

Ingredients (dry)

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp all spice

Ingredients (wet)

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (squeeze out excess moisture before use)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Greek vanilla yogurt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Shred zucchini – then squeeze out as much excess moisture before use.  Set aside.
  • Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice) – set aside
  • In a separate large bowl, mix moist ingredients except zucchini (eggs, sugars, pumpkin puree, Greek vanilla yogurt)
  • Add shredded zucchini to the moist mixture, stir until blended
  • Add dry flour mixture to the moist mixture, 1/3 of the batter at a time, stir until blended
  • Pour into greased muffin pans – filling 2/3 full
  • Bake approximately 18-22 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick test comes out clean
  • Makes 18 muffins
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TODDLER APPROVED!

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Hot from the oven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adapted from: http://club.chicacircle.com/the-best-pumpkin-zucchini-muffin-recipe/

 

 

 

 

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls
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Ingredients: (yield 8 rolls)
* 1 1/2 lb flank steak
* Salt & Pepper
* 5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* Olive oil

For the Veggie filling –
* 1/2 carrot
* 1/2 bell pepper
* 1/2 a zucchini
* 3 green onions
* 1 tbsp minced garlic
* Pinch each of salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, parsley, basil (all dried).

For the Balsamic glaze sauce-
* 2 tbsp butter
* 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 2 tbsp brown sugar
* 1/4 cup beef broth

Directions:
1) Start by cutting the steak into strips.  Mine were approximately 1.5″x3″. If the steak is too thick, you may need to filet it into two pieces.  You may have scraps left, to make the strips the right shape.  (*Save them for a stir fry later!)
2) Marinate the steak with salt, pepper, and 5 tbsp worcestershire sauce, for at least 1 hour.
3) Prep the veggies.  After cleaning them, cut them into tiny match sticks.  Keep the green onion separated from the rest. Put veggies aside. (*Save the other half of the carrot, bell pepper, and zucchini – and sauté with the steak scraps for a stir fry the next day)
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4) In a large, nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots, and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and stock.  Allow the sauce to come to a boil, and with time, it will reduce by half becoming a syrup-like consistency.  Stir often. Once reduced, transfer the sauce to a bowl.
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5) In the same pan (no need to clean), heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat.  Saute garlic briefly, then add the carrots, peppers, and zucchini (DO NOT COOK THE GREEN ONIONS), for 2 additional minutes.  Toss with salt, pepper, and a pinch each of oregano/parsley/basil/thyme.

6) Assemble the steak rolls.  Lay strips out, and add 3-4 of each veggie to the middle – don’t forget the green onion that was put aside earlier.  Roll it up, and secure it with a toothpick.
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7) Reheat the same skillet, with olive oil, over medium high heat. When hot, add the steak rolls, seam side down. Be sure not to touch the rolls for several minutes while it browns. Then turn roll and cook it on all sides in the same way. Cook to your desired temperature – mine were medium.
8) Remove the rolls, place on a platter.  Remove toothpicks, and top with the balsamic glaze.
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Recipe inspired by: http://picturetherecipe.com/index.php/recipes/balsamic-glazed-steak-rolls/

No Sew Floor Pillow

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NO SEW FLOOR PILLOW

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As my oldest son’s second birthday was approaching, I decided that a reading tent was going to be the ideal gift!  He can never get enough of his books, and his imagination was beginning to blossom.  No better place to read than his own private teepee.  In my mind, his gift would include a large, collapsible teepee, a floor pillow to sit inside, and a slew of new books to conquer (always used, got approximately 15 books for $40!).   Etsy (as always) was the place to find unique and stylish tents (no Mickey Mouse crap!!).  My adorable teepee was bought through StictchinNista at Etsy.  She was amazing at helping me design exactly what I wanted in colors and patterns. Check out her shop here: https://
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Next, I began to seek a large throw pillow that he could sprawl out on, maybe with me or his father, or maybe a few of his stuffed animal friends.  These pillows were atrociously expensive, averaging $100 for the size I needed. I even took the liberty of looking at dog beds, but those run $50 or more.  SO – with a little Pinterest inspiration, I decided to make my own.  It had to be simple (must be easy enough to enjoy a glass of wine and still have success), stylish (matching the teepee and his room decor), easy (I’ve no sewing machine) and of course, less expensive than what I was finding online.  Below is the simple tutorial for a large, no sew floor pillow for reading, lounging, or even for your pets!

1) Find two fleece choices (one print, and one coordinating solid) and have cut to 1 1/2 yards each.  Drive home, and pour a glass of wine.

2) Lay the two fleece pieces on top of each other.  Be sure that the correct side is outward. Sip wine as needed.

3) Cut through both pieces of fabric, to your desired size and shape.  Mine was 55″x55″.  NOTE: Your pillow will be approximately 10″ shorter as an end result (so mine became 45″x45″ approximately).  You could certainly make any shape including circular or rectangular with a few modifications.

4) Once the pieces are cut to your desired size, cut a 5″x5″ square away from each corner.  Toss the scraps, and be sure to sample your wine.

5) Begin cutting fringe pieces across the first edge of the blanket (any side).  Roughly 1 1/2″ each.  Use a yard stick or measuring tape to ensure that you do not cut the strips more than 5″ in length.

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6) Tie the fringe into knots, not too tightly, but do ensure the knots align and close the blanket.  Occasionally pull the blanket taut, so that it lays flat and does not gather.

7) Continue cutting and tying knots on sides #2 and #3.  Refill wine glass.

8) On the final side, cut all fringe. Begin tying the knots, but leave approximately 15-20 knots untied in the middle.

9) Stuff the open space with polyfil.  I used 32oz, but it certainly could have taken more for a firmer pillow.  Be sure that you are stuffing into all corners and to each side.  Pull the polyfil apart and fluff it up before inserting. Occasionally, shake the filling around for even distribution.  Sip wine.
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10) Finish tying the knots to close the hole.  VIOLA!

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This project took me approximately 2 hours (I was learning as I went. I could maybe knock one out in 60-90 minutes now). I paid about $9 for the print fleece, $9 for the solid fleece, and $5 for the polyfil. This project was $23. I think I paid more for the bottle of wine!! Be sure to take coupons with you to your favorite craft store. I bought my items at 40% and 50% off. I even saw no sew fleece kits at $10 (not my taste in patterns). You’d still have to buy the polyfil stuffing, but that is a $15 LARGE floor pillow. I look forward to my son’s birthday next month – I’ve got to contain myself, to not let him enjoy his gift earlier.

Cheers & happy crafting!
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Paleo Pad Thai

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PALEO PAD THAI

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Ingredients
1lb chicken cutlets, diced
2 carrots, peeled
1 large zucchini, peeled
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 green onions sliced into 2 inch pieces & 1 green onion diced for topping
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cashews, cilantro, lime wedges, green onion, and sriracha for topping

“Peanut” Sauce: Blend all ingredients below in a food processor, store extra in refrigerator.
1/2 cup chunky almond butter (no salt or sugar)
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup water
Juice of half a lime
2 garlic cloves
1/8 cup pure, organic maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce (gluten free)
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha
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DIRECTIONS
1) Use peeler to make “noodles” with the carrots and zucchini. Prep all other ingredients.

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2) Heat large skillet, or wok to medium heat, with coconut oil.
3) Sauté the red onion and green onions for 3-4 minutes.
4) Add the chicken and garlic, and sauté for 5-6 minutes, or until no longer pink. Salt and pepper to taste.
5) Add desired amount of peanut sauce, about 1/2 cup (above recipe makes about 1 cup in total), and sauté for 1 minute.
6) Add carrots and zucchini to the pan, mix well, and sauté an additional minute.
7) Top with cashews, cilantro, lime wedges, green onion, and sriracha.

PALEO TURKEY PUMPKIN CHILI (SERIOUSLY SPICY)

2 lbs ground turkey
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 jalapeno, seeded then diced
1-2 bell pepper (any color), seeded then diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie)
2 (10 oz each) can of Hot Rotel with Habaneros
2 (4 oz each) can diced, roasted green chilies
2 c chicken stock
¼ cup semi or bitter sweet choc chips

4 Tbsp chili powder
4 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne

Brown the turkey, and then add all the spices to it, then remove from pan.
Saute the onion, pepper, and jalapenos until soft. Add garlic and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes.
Add meat back into the pan, along with tomatoes, chiles, and stock (estimate stock to your consistency liking).
Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
Simmer on the stove for 1-2 hours. Melt the chocolate chips in, just before serving.
Top with avocado slices.