Tortillas on Tuesday!

Today for lunch I made quesadillas and in true fashion when eating this kind of food, I was craving some tortilla chips. My friend mentioned that she used to make her own all the time so, I gave it a whirl! They were delicious, and so easy, they just cooked up in the oven while I cut veggies and made the quesadillas, it was perfect. I used flour tortillas because that is what we had at home, but corn tortillas will work to (for our gluten free friends). The flour tortillas made more of a pita chip, which is fine because I love those, and you could make them to go with chili and all kinds of dips, definitely a perfect tip for you all going in to Super Bowl Sunday!

Ingredients:
Tortillas (corn or flour)
Olive oil
Salt

Instructions:
Cut the tortillas into triangles or strips, until they are the size you want. Then lightly coat them in olive oil and lightly salt them. Then place them in the oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes and then they are ready to eat! So good, so easy, perfect for snacking and dipping!

 

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The Eternal Craft…..

In my never ending attempts to find ways to entertain myself during my hunt for employment, post-grad, I have been scouring the inter webs to find craft projects that seem easy enough to recreate on my own, but might take a little time. Well, I think I hit the jack pot on this one. The primary purpose of most of my craft projects is to provide objects for my future apartment to cut down on costs for decorating, etc. And to give myself an air of accomplishment when people come visit me….because I made it all (vain I know, but hey, it works!) So… this is another Pinterest inspired craft with instructions from  the Jones Design Company. Its simple enough in concept, but execution is another story.

I decided to make these fluff balls in a neutral color scheme because I am really into that rustic natural look right now, so hopefully that lasts the length of my hunt for employment, because….everything I have crafted fits that color palette. Anywho, here’s a brief summary of how to make these on your own.

Materials:
1. Styrofoam  floristry ball (size of your choice, remember that adding the liners will increase the circumference, so my largest fluff was made with an 8in base, and is significantly larger than the base.
2. Cup Cake liners in the color of your choice (I used white oversized liners, brown candy liners which were much smaller and gold regular sized liners) You can also use coffee filters, which is probably more cost effective, in hind sight!
3. Scissors
4. Hot glue

Instructions:
You an choose to cover the styrofoam base in the cup cake liners or coffee filters, but I found that this did not change the way the hot glue adhered to the base for the green floral bases, but did for the larger white styrofoam base.
Take one liner or filter and fold it in half three times to make a triangular segment. Then cut the tip of the triangle off, leaving the textured end to attach. Place glue on the flat side that was just created and stick to the base.

Repeat 5 million times….. But seriously. It took me about two weeks to complete this project, primarily because it got so flustered sitting around for hours gluing the cup cake liners to the base that I had to take a few days off to motivate myself to finish the project. But don’t let this discourage you, if you only make one, you have nothing to worry about. 3 was a little over zealous, I will admit it! But they are going to look GREAT when I get to hang them finally! (which is done using ribbon or fishing line attached to the center of the ball!

Movement Monday- Group Sync

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about all you dance fiends out there, just been busy wasting time lately! However, I found this while working on some choreography this earlier afternoon and remembered it was Monday, the perfect time to share with you! I love the transitions between the duet that represents the story, and the ensemble that moves throughout the piece. So awesome. Kate Jablonski is probably one of my favorite choreographers. She has such an ear for rhythm, and translates it so well into movement. Her choreography is flawlessly rhythmic and wonderful, so check out her youtube channel to see more work. Its definitely worth a glance! she’s phenomenal! Heres my new favorite by her, check it out.

Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin

OK, confession, not my picture, I forgot to take on of my meal, but this most closely represents what my meat looked like haha! And plus, you knew I didn’t do all that plating with the coffee beans and the garnish on the side, get real people. However, this meal is simple and delicious, perfect for a night when you have a lot going on during the day and won’t want to come home and slave away in the kitchen. Cook time is about 4 hours, so its best for crock pots with delay timers and such, as it does not cook all day. I prefer my meat a little more on the rare side so 3.5 hours would have been about perfect. None the less, the sauce that results from the stock left in the crock pot is also lip smacking good. Definitely a recipe worth trying out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions:
Place pork tenderloin in a slow cooker with the contents of the soup packet. Pour water, wine, and soy sauce over the top, turning the pork to coat. Carefully spread garlic over the pork, leaving as much on top of the roast during cooking as possible. Sprinkle with pepper, cover, and cook on low setting for 4 hours. Serve with cooking liquid on the side as au jus.
So simple, and pretty legit, considering my Dad makes the most delicious pork tenderloin ever on his green egg (its a grill, in case you were wondering). Definitely not up to his standards, but pretty good for a crock pot meal. We ate it with home made mashed potatoes and a salad. Pretty good for a minimum labor dinner on a Sunday afternoon. Definitely give this one a try if you’re looking for something different to try in the crock pot!

 

Lime and Honey glazed Salmon with Black Bean and Corn Salad

Had this for dinner last night. SO GOOD. Kind of tasted like summer, which was fitting considering this awkward mid January heat wave we have been experiencing. Weird. And annoying. Anyhow, here is the recipe, its sure to please if you have people in your house who like Salmon (which I do!) It has a little kick to it, but….. still good!

This recipe is from Rachael Ray‘s cookbook called  365 No Repeats , which literally has a meal to cook for every day of the year! Its great! I highly recommend it as the next addition of your recipe collection.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
  • 1 red bell pepper (cored seeded and chopped)
  • 1 (10 ounce) box frozen corn (defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or 1/2 cup broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 limes (juiced)
Instructions
The Black Bean and Corn Salad
Preheat medium to large skillet over medium heat with 2 tbsp of olive oil and add onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper, stir occasionally for 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and corn and cook for an additional minute. Next, add chicken stock and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then, add black beans and cook until beans are just heated through. Next Remove skillet from heat and add juice of 1 lime, cilantro and spinach. Toss to wilt spinach.
The Salmon
Preheat a medium non-stick skillet over medium high heat with 2 tbsp of olive oil. In shallow dish combine: juice of 1 lime, honey, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Next, add salmon fillets and toss to coat. Place Salmon in hot skillet and cook until done (3-4 minutes each side or until cooked all the way through). Serve salmon over bed of black bean corn salad.

So good, comes with my highest recommendations, like most things I post here. This one is great for summer and the Black bean salad could be a great add on to lots of different meals!

Refurbed and Fab.

In an attempt to keep my mind off my never ending hunt for employment, I have been doing some crafting for my future abode, so at least I have something to excite me. Last week I decided I wanted to refurbish an old lamp so I went on the hunt to find something that would work. For $20 I took my lamp from old and gank to refurbed and fab. I found an old wood and brass lamp base at Goodwill for $4 and all the electrical was still in working order. I then went to Hobby Lobby and bought a shade for about $8….which sucked since the base was only $4. After buying the burlap to recover the shade (about a yard of fabric) and the felt for some embellishments, and paint to antique the base, I rounded out at about $20, but still a great price for this lamp!

So, to walk you through it, the first and most important step is to use KILZ to prime the base, you want it to be a solid white coat (I did abut 4 or 5 coats so you couldn’t see the brass or the wood grain of the original lamp base). While this is drying work on recovering the shade. Cut a pattern using wax paper or several pieces of paper put together. Wrap them around the existing shade and trace to get a rough shape so you know how to cut the fabric.  After making the pattern, make sure to add an extra inch to either side so you have enough fabric to wrap around the edges of the share to make it look clean. The shade I bought had an adhesive backing and was made to be recovered, so I didn’t have to use anything to attach it to the shade. After attaching it around the outside of the shade I used fabric glue to attach the folded edges to the inside of the lamp. After it was recovered I used a pattern from Jones Design Company to make the felt flowers. This was much easier than I originally thought! after making the 3 flowers I attached them to the shade with fabric glue. I used 3 sizes so my first flower was the five petal flower described on the JDC website, however the other two each had additional flat flower shapes to cover the larger circle I used, but its a simple fix.

Once the KILZ on the base has dried, I painted the entire base with a cream colored paint, about 2 or 3 coats to make sure it was consistently the same color. To do the antiqued look I used a metallic brown paint and a sponge brush. I dipped the brush in water and then in the paint to make it more runny. After painting the watered down mixture in a section on the base I wiped it off using a paper towel but making sure to leave some of the mixture in the crevices. This will ensure that some areas are darker than others and will really accent the indentions in the base. Coat with a clear acrylic spray if you want to add a protective coat, or leave it the natural paint color. Add a light bulb and attach the shade, and viola! A $20 lamp refurb!

Movement Mondays- “Syncronicity”

Movement Monday is back, sorry I was MIA for so long, my blog was sort of neglected during the craziness of Christmas. No fear dance friends, I won’t let you down, we back and kicking. Check out this weeks  find! This was inspired by my first trip back to dance class, and primarily ballet, in a few months. I remembered seeing this a few months back and just had to share it! I also had to borrow a word from one of my favorite So you think you can dance judges, Lil-C, to describe what this video holds. It is shocking to say the least. The dancers move in perfect uniformity all while having spot on technique, gorgeous extensions, and doing acro tricks. My jaw literally hit the floor when I watched it the first time. They look like little dance robots, but you just can’t stop looking! Enjoy.

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

If your looking for something delicious to make for dinner tonight, look no further than this post. These sweet and sour pork chops are so good, and it gave me a since of accomplishment, as it was the first time I have ever made pork chops that weren’t shake and bake (embarrassing confession, I know.) This is another delicious recipe brought on by my obsession with Pinterest! A few nights ago my mom came home from the grocery store informing me that she had purchased pork chops for us to eat for dinner but had made no plans to do anything with them. “Do you have a recipe for that?” ….. NO but I can find one quick fast and in a hurry, so I did. I will admit for some reason the bought of cooking bone in pork chops at home in the kitchen has always been a little terrifying and I always refused to make them for my boyfriend when he asked because I just knew I would screw it up, however, this was much easier than I thought and they were DELICIOUS! So, I couldn’t resist sharing them with you! Hopefully you will find it to be as easy and delicious as I did! This is a multi-part meal, but don’t be overwhelmed, it is, as I said before, much easier than it appears.

Ingredients:

1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 bone-in pork loin chops (6 ounces each) 1 teaspoon canola oil
1 small green pepper, chopped, divided
1 small onion, cut into wedges, divided
1 small carrot, diced, divided Hot cooked rice, optional

 Instructions:
In a small sauce pan combine the first five ingredients to make the sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes.

While the mixture simmers in a large skillet use canola oil to coat the pan and then brown the pork chops cooking for 7 or 8 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, then let them drain.

Next, line an 8-in. square baking dish with foil; coat the foil with cooking spray. Place pork chops in prepared pan; sprinkle with half of the green pepper, onion and carrot. Pour sauce over the entire pan.  Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes uncover; sprinkle with the remaining vegetables. Baste with sauce in pan. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until meat and veggies are tender. Makes two servings. Serve over rice or with other veggies!

Awesome meal in about an hour, and we didn’t even plan ahead, snaps to us.I highly recommend this to increase your level of meal satisfaction and self-esteem in the kitchen! Happy Cooking!

Coastin’

I had some old  twine laying around from a past project and I didn’t want it to go to waste and I remembered seeing some coasters like this at a store once, so I decided to give it a go and make them on my own! I think they turned out relatively well, and were pretty simple, minus the few burns from the hot glue gun.

Three Easy steps to making these coasters:
1. take a long piece of rope or twine and being to spiral it around itself to make a flat shape (using hot glue, super glue, etc to hold the shape)
2. Use a coaster for sizing and to ensure that you are making a flat circle.
3. Once the glue is dry and the coasters are set modge podge the back side (aka the side that is more sloppy) and let them dry over night.

Haven’t used them yet, they are just sitting out, but I am hoping they will work out and not come unraveled. I have high hopes. I am a big supporter of hot glue and its magical powers, so I have no doubt that hot glue combined with the wonders of modge podge will create an excellent hold on these coasters. Happy Crafting!

Resolve to Run

In the never ending battle of the bulge faced by many a person these days I have resolved, like many do at the beginning of the year to get in shape in 2012. I have decided that my efforts will not go unnoticed , or unassisted and therefore I will be more successful. (This all makes sense in my mind, sorry if you don’t agree) So, I have decided to do the obvious trim the fat in my diet by drinking only water and green tea (no sodas, limited amounts of coffee, and the ever evil but delicious sweet tea), also limit snacking to fruits and veggies with no dips, and make more conscious healthy meal choices or moderate my bad decisions every once in a while. I will also use SELF magazine workout tips they email out every few days to focus on trouble areas like arms, legs, and tummy in my morning work out…and now for the big guns: I downloaded a program on my iPhone called Run 10k.

I used it for the first time yesterday and it has so many great features so hopefully it will inspire me to continue through the program. The program uses incremental training to help condition your body to run long distances so every week the increments  increase the length of time you run and decrease the length of time you walk for the duration of the 13 week program. Each week you do 3 work outs, each lasting about one hour then,  doing cross training or low impact aerobics on the other days when you don’t run to give your muscles a chance to rest. The program has a great, user-friendly interface that tracks everything you are doing and allows you to put your own playlists into the program to use while you are running.

Each workout contains a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down. In the bottom right had side of the screen there is an option to pull up a list of good stretches to use during these times, definitely good pointers and tips. At the bottom left-hand side of the screen there is a music tab and this works with your iTunes library to allow you to select your music choice for your workout. After the 5 minute work out you alternate running and walking for specific durations depending on the week of the program. The program has a voice over that comes in over your music and tells you when to walk or run, it also lets you know when you are half way so if you are running on a trial or along the road you know when to head home, and finally there is a clock that keeps track of the time remaining and time completed so you know how long you worked out. After completing the segment the program checks it off (as seen in the first picture) You also have the option to link it to your Facebook or twitter so you can annoy everyone with your fitness and attempts to keep your resolutions. So far the $5 price tag and the nifty features are enough to keep my interest sparked until my next run (Thursday), so I will be sure to keep you posted.