Wednesday, November 27, 2013

{Pinned}Vegetarian/Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas

We're visiting family for Thanksgiving this year but we're still going to make a few things to take with us. 
Here's what I've been pinning and hope to make.
Let's have dessert first!
I know they'll be serving a few different fruit pies so I'm thinking chocolate!
Only 4 ingredients!
I'm going to use the Candy Cane Joe Joe's (they are TJ's version of Oreos).
Now that dessert is out of the way, onto the main course for those of us who don't eat meat.
We had this last year for Christmas and it was delicious!
I hope we have sandwich leftovers for the next day.
Mashed Potatoes
Nothing pinned here because the hubs willingly makes these every year.
Here's the 20 pound bag of potatoes that we bought. He'll probably make about 15 pounds in total, leaving a small amount veganized (easy with vegan butter and almond milk).
I'm not a huge gravy fan but it is nice to have a little for the mashed potatoes and stuffing.
The Vegan doesn't care about stuffing (the horror!) but most stuffings are made with chicken stock so I'm going to try a version of the recipe for the vegetarians/vegans. I like that they are portion controlled this way too!

What food are you looking forward to tomorrow?

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Learning Photoshop CS6

You may remember that I took a photography class recently and I wanted to keep that momentum going so I signed up for Lisa's Photoshop Basics class.
I'd never used Photoshop and I've always wanted to learn it. 
It's tough (very!)and slow going but here are a few of my edited pics from the first two weeks of class.
Week 1 {Before} 
SOOC(Straight Out Of the Camera)
Week 1 {After}
I did some complexion smoothing and background sharpening.
Week 2 {Before}
Week 2 {After}
Worked on skin tones (still a little dark but ok because we're at the beach), sharpening, hues and brightness and color balance.  You can also see I 'fixed' the stray hair  on College Girl's head.
There are so many tools in Photoshop! Good thing I have Cheat Sheet from Lisa!
Onto Week 3!

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Friday, November 22, 2013

{Getting Organized}The Chrismas List App

This little app has kept me on track and organized for two years now. 
 It's The Christmas List App on Itunes.  It is $1.99 but well worth it.
It's kind of fun to keep track of all our gift recipients and what we're thinking of buying them all on  my Iphone.  I'll use it for 'ideas' and then when I do buy them something I can just check it off.

I love checking things off! 
If I'm buying the same gift for multiple people, I can easily copy it to as many of my gift recipients as I like. 

I can also view gifts by store so I can easily see everything I need to pick up when I'm at that specific store.

It is great for helping me track our budget by person and in total.
I love this Progress At-a-Glance feature too. Who doesn't love a pie chart? (and it tells me how many shopping days I have left)!
Spoiler alert, it's 32 as of today!

This handy No-Peeking feature is my favorite! It keeps prying eyes out of my gift list.

How do you keep organized for the holidays? 
Do you use an app or are still using paper lists?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

{Recipe} Pumpkin Pancakes [Sugar, Dairy, Egg-Free]

As soon as this recipe popped up on Chocolate Covered Katie, I knew I wanted to try it.  Last night was the perfect time to try them out on Miss Middle School.  It was just the two of us for dinner and we had both been drooling over them and....
I had all of the ingredients on hand (yay!).

Pumpkin Pancakes
Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl {1/2 cup flour (I used half whole wheat), scant 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon}.
Whisk wet ingredients in another bowl {2TBS agave, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup plus 3 TBS pumpkin puree, 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp vanilla}.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well.
 Pour batter by small spoonfuls onto skillet that is set at medium heat, spread the batter out so it doesn't all sit in the middle of each pancake.
*I thinned mine with a little more almond milk.*
Flip when the sides look dry. 
 This is supposed to make 16 tiny pancakes.
I made 9 small-ish ones.
They were so good! 
Are you sick of pumpkin yet?
I'm not!
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Chalk Art

A little Thanksgiving chalk 'art' and my three attempts at it.....
This was my inspiration piece.
What are you working on for Thanksgiving?

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Friday, November 15, 2013

{Recipe} Vegetarian "Hamburger" Helper

I've made my share of boxed Cheeseburger Macaroni from Hamburger Helper over the years with ground beef and ground turkey but we haven't had it in ages. I was craving some but wanted to give it a healthier, vegetarian spin.  I tweaked this recipe for Homemade Cheeseburger Helper and was quite happy with the results.
 "Brown" the ground beef replacement (I used Trader Joe's Beefless Ground) with 1 small chopped onion until heated through and onions are translucent.
{I've also used Beefless Ground in Stuffed Zucchini Boats and Vegetarian "Beefy" Chili}
 Add in the spices: 1 tsp cornstarch, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp pepper.
 Also add 1 cup of hot water and 2 cups of skim milk and 1 1/2 cups dry pasta of your choice (I used bow ties).  Stir to combine, bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes until pasta is al dente.  Stir occasionally.

Turn off heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used 2% fat cheddar).
Let stand for 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
Add a little more cheese at serving time if you like.
Cheesy, gooey comfort food!
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

WOYWW 11.13.13

So I'm a little late but this is what I've been up to.
 Last week I made my maiden voyage to Hobby Lobby and West Elm! I didn't even take any photos at HL, I think I was too overwhelmed, but here's some WE loveliness.  
 Both stores were amazing!
 We were visiting College Girl this weekend so nothing else got done around here and this is how my dining room table looks.
 I'm getting ready for some upcoming projects. I want to reboot my Starbucks Cup Angels and I have some other surprises in store.
Oh and I love this birthday card I got from Miss Middle School last month. I was just taking down our cards and I had to keep this one. It lights up when you press the little button on the front.  The photo doesn't do it justice, it's got pearls and lace and pretty vellum's going in the china cabinet-that's how much I love it!
I hope you're having a good week!
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

{Recipe} Pumpkin Mug Cake

Who doesn't love a mug cake?
I had some leftover pumpkin puree languishing away in my fridge because...
 I had already added it to my oatmea

 and to my Crock Pot Applesauce.
I knew there had to be a recipe out there for pumpkin mug cake.
I found this fun recipe and graphic on Pinterest (where else) and had the middle schooler give it a whirl.
 I asked her to bake it in my new Anthropologie bowl.
Of course, we wanted the bonus points so we added some whipped cream.
Hot pumpkin cake out of the microwave with a shot of cool, creamy whipped topping=perfect bedtime (or anytime) snack!

What's your favorite pumpkin treat?
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday 11.10.13

It's been awhile since I participated in Scavenger Hunt Sunday but it's good to be back!
We visited College Girl this weekend!  
Here we are at dinner on Friday night (at the table).

I Collect
We hiked up the side of a waterfall and found this along the way.
I collect photos/memories.

The water made its own music.
Yes, I hiked up these stairs and many many many more.

Someone I miss
I miss her already. 
Thanksgiving break can't come soon enough!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

{Entertaining}Teen Gatsby Tea Party

This one turned 14 last month.
She really wanted a "high tea" party and we checked out a local place over the summer as a possible venue.  We loved it!  The idea to make it a Great Gatsby themed tea was also tossed around and we decided to go for it! 
I mocked up the real invitations to protect her privacy, but you get the idea.   We downloaded some Gatsby type fonts and she picked the design for the background.
This was the easiest party I've ever thrown for her and I didn't even think about favors until a day or two before the party.  
I like giving the guests a little something to take home.  I bought shower gel from Bath & Body Works and they provided the bags and ribbons.   I threw in some plain and pumpkin spice Hershey kisses and added the tags (also in Gatsby font).
We had the whole tea parlor to ourselves that night.  
I got there early to take some photos.  It feels like you're in a life sized doll house!
I picked up a few photo props like this lace parasol (and matching fan). It was fun to process some of the photos into black and white. The fan and parasol were from ebay.  You might recognize her dress from here (you won't believe where we got it!).
I used this old camera as another prop.
Here's a good shot of the fan (and me and my girl).
I also have this vintage fur that belonged to my husband's great aunt.  
I tried it on before we left. It's so warm! I would never buy a fur but this is a family heirloom. I love her monogram on the lining.
With her grandma.
The table was set for the girls with mismatched tea cups and cut crystal water goblets.
Everything was ready for the arrival of the guests.
I did need to order a cake and I got this one from QVC! I've ordered their Celebration Cake before and we've loved them but the recent reviews were not very good so I took a chance with this lemon cake.    My daughter really wanted a lemon cake (Gatsby orders 12 lemon cakes for Daisy) and we just didn't have time to make one.  The description was "tender juicy lemon layers and lush creamy lemon mousse, tangy lemon curd and rich lemon cream cheese frosting." Oh and it's covered in mini white chocolate chips!
 A few black and white pics...
Do you like it better in color black and white? 
The owner of the tea parlor has added so many cute touches to the place. It's in a small strip mall and you'd never know once you get inside. I like the pink pearls hanging from the chandeliers.
Enjoying their tea!
Here was the 'grown ups" table.  My mother in law and a friend came to help me (we had to transport the girls back to our house after the tea).  We enjoyed our tea too.
A group shot!  
This little area was great for taking photos.
Our tea consisted of sweet potato soup, mini pastries and sandwiches, heart shaped scones with clotted cream and jam, and our own little pots of tea (that we got order from a long list).  
Then it was time for THAT cake!
It was really good...
and very lemony!
I bought sparkler candles.  It takes awhile to get them to start sparkling.
After the tea, we brought them back to our house (the hubs had transported all of their 'stuff' while we were enjoying the tea) for a sleepover. The basement was set up with snacks, drinks,  Just Dance 2014  and plenty of room for them to spread out.   They watched The Breakfast Club (be still my heart!).
Speaking of breakfast, the next morning we served fruit salad, fresh bagels and spreads, tea (or hot chocolate) and juice to some very sleepy girls.
It really was an easy party for me to throw and I think they all enjoyed something a little different!

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