Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Treat

Many of you know I have a ridiculous obsession with coconut. I try to work it into EVERY recipe I make and everything I eat. I sometimes fear that this obsession keeps me from trying new things. Important things. Like raspberry cheesecakes and hip cocktails at happy hour.

It looks like I'm gonna have to ride this one out though because I'm too in love to break up.

So this afternoon, as usual my coconut cravings set in and I decided to make something new to get me through the rest of the summer. You see, I've been wanting a coconut snow cone SO bad that I almost can't take it. So here is what I came up with and I wasn't disappointed.

Coconut & Pineapple Snow cone/Shake

2 cups ice
3 ounces coconut water
3 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce milk of your choice
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp raw honey (if you want yours a little sweeter, I do!)

Add all ingredients into your blender (the magic bullet worked great here) and serve!

Simple and delicious and much healthier than a sugar saturated snow cone. And if you have a Tervis cup it will keep it cold all the way until the last drop. ;)

Happy Texas Summer!

Monday, July 8, 2013

So Fresh And So Clean!

Finally. We have finished out guest bathroom. Of course I'm extremely partial (since I had a hand in the entire face-lift), but I think we did a bang up job.

Our before pictures are quite minimal compared to our after pictures. Probably because I hated it before and didn't want to remember exactly what it looked like.

Don't forget to scroll to the bottom to see the cost breakdown and the total we spent on this project. We kept this one extremely under budget since we initially wanted to demo the entire room and start from scratch, but changed our minds sometime along the way. (When we decided we needed to sale) ;).

So when we came to look at the house the first time, I snapped this photo. This is EXACTLY how it looked. Toilet paper on the counter, clutter and a dirty shower. Ugh. It was pretty gross. Although other than the clutter it doesn't look THAT bad here.

We knew from the get go things would have to go in this room and the first thing was the linoleum. I think we ripped it out of there around day two of moving in since it was starting to come apart by the tub and we wanted to make sure there was no molding sub-floor. Luckily, there was not. So since we weren't sure what to do with this room yet we threw on some cheap laminate that the old owners had left over from the kitchen and called it at day... for about 10-ish months.

And then last month sometime I decided it might be nice to take down the mirror and the terrible lighting. Of course in our house there is always a surprise and rainbow wall paper happily greeted us. You can also see in this picture that we created quite the holes where the outlets are supposed to go. (Promise we didn't just leave exposed wires out for days) Anyway, Daniel re-wired the outlets because the electricity was actually coming from the kitchen breaker instead of the bathroom breaker which makes it confusing. And since we made big holes in the crappy drywall we ended up just tearing down the mirror/light wall and just starting from scratch. (This picture also shows the first grey I tried on the walls, but it was too dark for my taste.)

Here is a before of the cabinets. Not much changed for them except they got new knobs and a new coat of shiny white paint!

Next up was the floor. While Daniel was at work last week I decided there was no time like the present and I started ripping up this rooms flooring.. again. The only plus to that was getting to practice my advanced math skills on the old laminate. Why? Because I can.

 After the laminate was ripped up I was left with this yucky sub-floor. I spent a few hours peeling up old pieces of flooring and cleaning and prepping it for the new tile to be laid.

And so it began.... The hardest part is the first piece. If you mess that up the whole thing goes downhill. So needless to say, I spent the better part of an hour making sure I had that first piece right.

Those are the only before and during photos we took unfortunately... And here are the after photos of the guest bathroom. Please excuse the lighting. I'm not a photographer ;)

No matter how I positioned the camera, whether it was natural light or the light was on.. This was the best picture I could get of the new light and mirror.

So now for the price breakdown...

Paint: $17
Primer: $20
Joint Compound: $7
Sheetrock: $8
Tile: $35
Grout: $8
Crown Molding: $20
New Outlets/Covers: $30
Cabinet Knobs: Free. We used the old ones from the kitchen cabinets.
Light Fixture: Free from MIL
Spray Paint for Frame & Light Fixture: $6
Mirror: $29
Shower Curtain: $15
Curtain: $3 (from scrap fabric)
Towel Holder: $5
New Toilet: $150 (Daniel installed it himself)

Total:  Roughly $353. 
I'm sure we are missing a few dollars here or there, but still very cheap considering we replaced the toilet. If we had kept the old one we would have come in around $200. 

So this renovation didn't require much of our money it was just finding the time to get it done. I get excited walking past this room in the hallway now. Bring on the guests!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Granola Bars Revised

I've recently challenged myself to get rid of white flour, use less butter and only use whole foods that are natural and unprocessed in my cooking/eating.

With that said, I've made some changes to a few of our favorite recipes, including our go-to granola bars and I'm happy to say that I love them even more

We've decided to use coconut and almond flour as our primary "grain" around here so I was able to sub coconut flour for the all-purpose flour (if you haven't baked with coconut flour it's definitely something you'll want to look up, it's unlike other flours). 

I've also started replacing recipes that call for butter with coconut oil and have found them to be fantastic!

So the below is the new version of the granola bars that have now been adapted MANY times since I originally found the recipe, but this may be my favorite revision since it makes me feel like a real health champ! ;)

Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Bars    
  • 4 cups organic old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (we do 72%)
  • 1/2 sliced almonds (walnuts and pecans work well here too)
  • 1/2 cup organic dried coconut pieces (you can use any dried fruit, we use cranberries or apricots sometimes)
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease one 8x8 inch pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey. Use a mixer to thoroughly combine. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups assorted chocolate chips, nuts etc.
  3. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 for 9 minutes and then take out and press mixture into pan again. And then cook for another 9 minutes, press down in pan again when taking out of oven. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Oldie But Goodie

Just a little Friday recipe... for cleaning. :)

This has been my 'go to' spray for years now and even though I've posted the recipe before I made a batch last night and it reminded me of why I love it. 

It smells delicious!

It gets the job done!

It's WAY too easy to make!

And I don't have to worry about what it's doing to our home/us.

All Purpose Cleaning Spray

2 cups warm water

2 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Magic Soap
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
4 drops of patchouli oil
4 drops of orange oil

Mix all ingredients in clean spray bottle and shake! Easy enough. 

I have about 10 different essential oils that I alternate between and patchouli isn't one of them. I just use 8 drops of orange oil instead. Orange oil is a great cleaning oil since it is a natural degreaser and it's naturally antibacterial. Score!

Feel free to give it a try!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Recent Eats

We may be spending most of our time remodeling the kitchen right now, but we are still keeping the skillets hot when it comes to cooking up dinner.

I wanted to share a few or our new favorite recipes and even a few so-so ones. Just because we didn't LOVE them doesn't mean you won't.

Zucchini Lasagna  This was a definite hit! We loved this recipe! Since we've decided to eat less pasta and more veggies this was a great way to do it without losing the yummy Italian taste. The only recommendations I would have would to make sure you buy large zucchini or more than the recipe calls for. It also made for great leftover lunches today, plus some!

Black Bean Quesadillas These are an old favorite at our home because they are easy to whip up, vegetarian and delicious. They are just what a fast dinner should look like. We top ours with homemade guacamole, salsa and cilantro.

Mexican Haystacks I am in love with this recipe!!!! We changed the name to Taco Towers because Daniel thought that Mexican Haystacks just didn't seem as appetizing, whatever lets me make these more often is fine with me. ;) The only change we make it that we don't add cilantro to the rice since Daniel isn't a huge fan of cilantro overload. Me on the other hand, I pile it on top.

Cajun Chicken Pasta This recipe was just OK the night we made it, but was actually really flavorful for lunch the next day. I guess the spices needed a little more time.

Salmon with Avocado Salsa We tried this recipe a few weeks back and we both really enjoyed it. We serves it with a side of cous cous and a spinach salad. Great pairing.

Tortellini Primavera  This was a pretty good recipe. It wasn't the absolute best tortellini/ravioli recipe I've made, but it was so incredibly quick, I didn't care. Sometimes fast on Tuesday night beats out any other recipe. :)

Blueberry Coconut Macadamia Muffins It's been a while since I've mentioned these muffins and a while since I have made them until last week. Sometimes an oldie is a goodie. :) We don't use full wheat flour I normally do half white/half wheat so my husband will eat them.

Feel free to give a few a try!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Little Kitchen Progress

Although, we aren't ready for a full kitchen reveal yet, we are ready to show a little progress that has been made. Please keep in mind that it is still in transition, but we hope to have it finished in the next weeks and this girl can't wait to show the full deal!

This picture shows what/where the oven was before and even though it was nice to cook and see to the living room, it just wasn't open enough and really seemed to make both rooms look very small. (We also had just taken everything out of the cabinets to prime.)

Picture of the bar top taken off and the wall before it came down looking into the kitchen.

We got the oven moved and in the process we decided to take off the old drywall and hang some new. You can also see the old tile in this picture.

Many days in our kitchen looked like this and can drive a girl crazy when it's time to cook dinner, but some how we managed. This is a picture of Daniel re-framing and hanging the new drywall in what was an archway that we wanted square.

Drywall hung and tape and bedding done. Kitchen/oven area still a mess and in transition.

Drywall finally got hung on the open wall that we moved the oven to, but cooking was still hard with no countertops...

The tile and awful parquet floors that didn't look or meet very smoothly. We knew both had to go.   

You can see the progress we've made here with the new tile in the kitchen, new cabinets by the oven (still needing our countertops) and you can also see the painted living room on the right a little bit with the wainscoting. 

A little better shot of what will soon be our fully functional kitchen :) And you can see how the kitchen/hall flooring now flows much better!

Up next, a new coat of paint on the walls and cabinets, new back splash, the new countertops and all the little things and then I can happily decorate!

It has been so great to get to step back and see all the progress that we've been making in the house. It's really starting to feel like home. :)

Hope to post the finished room soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Everyday Love

This year, like every year I watched as people posted their sweet treats, gifts and flowers from their loved ones on every social media site out there. 

Receiving gifts is always great, am I right? 

Daniel and I have decided to spend out Valentine's Day's a little bit different though and for that reason, there were not flowers, candy or overstuffed teddy bears given this year.

There was a home cooked meal like there is every night and there were homemade cards that hallmark could never compete with. And I hope that will forever be our tradition.

Last year we were both working 50 hours a week and felt this immense pressure to make the day special.

Well, my husband did just that.... but I forgot.

Our Valentine's Day last year may have been one of the worst ever. He did do a great job, but the feeling of pressure to find the right gift and to have everything done by the time I got home and then me walking in with not even a card set us up for bad moods.

I agree that "your person" as we say in our house, should be told and shown how special they are. On the other hand, we decided it's total crap to set up one day a year to do that.


My person replaces the garbage disposal on Sunday when he wants to lounge on the couch.

My person listens to me talk for hours a week about things that happened in my day that probably in no way interest him.

My person puts a load of laundry in the washer early Saturday morning while I grab a few extra minutes of sleep.

My person waits patiently on me to get dressed Tuesday and Thursday mornings when I ride with him to Dallas even though he could have been out the door 20 minutes earlier.

My person kisses me hello and goodbye and says 'I love you' every time he leaves me and every time he comes home.

My person works hard every day to take care of our family.

My person supports my dreams even when they seem silly or unrealistic.

My person listens to me sing loudly to Adele in the car without a complaint.

My person loves me, supports me and cherishes me every day not just February 14th. He makes me feel special and important. He makes me laugh like no one else ever could. And I truly miss him when he's away. After all, he's my person today just like he was yesterday and how he will be tomorrow, next week, next year, forever.

Remember that the one day a year means little and the every day means a lot.