Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lasagna Roll-Ups

A while back, I posted about White Veggie Lasagna, and in that post, I mentioned that I don’t really like lasagna all that much. Now I’m blogging about lasagna again, and I don’t think people are going to believe that I don’t like lasagna haha. I suppose that a better statement would be that I don’t prefer traditional lasagna, but rather variations.

I’ve spent some time thinking over the years of making Lasagna Roll-Ups as to why I like them so much, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because they aren’t overly cheesy or saucy but have a good balance of meat and other flavors. Flavor is, to me, my favorite part about eating.

I originally found this recipe in one of my mother’s cookbooks. The first time I made it, I bought the wrong type of tomatoes and didn’t even realize it until the next time I made the recipe and used the right type of tomatoes. However, I liked the way the Lasagna Roll-Ups tasted the first time I made them better, with the “wrong” type of tomatoes, and so I decided to use those from there on out when I made this recipe.

Gather the ingredients:

     6 lasagna noodles, cooked
     1 lb ground beef
     2 tablespoons minced onions
     1 garlic clove, minced
     1 can diced tomatoes
     ½ teaspoon salt
     ½ teaspoon oregano
     1 to 1 ¼ cups small-curd cottage cheese
     1 egg, lightly beaten
     1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
     ¼ teaspoon onion powder
     ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, cook beef, onion, and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomatoes, salt, oregano; simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon half of the meat sauce into a greased 9-in. square baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg, parsley, and onion powder. Spread ¼ cupful of cheese mixture onto each noodle. Top with remaining meat sauce. Carefully roll up each noodle and place in baking dish.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Serving size is approximately 2 roll-ups. This recipe is very easily doubled to make for more people. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

DIY--Easy Pillow Slip Covers

I’m dedicating this post to my good friend, Justin, who first encouraged me to start a blog. I’ve really been enjoying all aspects of blogging, from thinking up and doing posts, to designing and redesigning (and redesigning again lol) the look of my blog. I’ve really been striving to carry out what I originally stated as my blog’s purpose: to stop just being a wannabe and actually do some of the things I’ve been wanting to do. I’m not perfectly there; I definitely have some big areas that I want to start making waves in (namely being more organized at home and getting rid of the mess haha), but I’ve been pleased with my progress so far. So, thanks Justin; I gave you the blame when I first started this venture, and now I’ll give you the praise! :)

I LOVE being crafty! Really, I love being crafty with a purpose. There are a lot of simple craft ideas out there…..but a lot of them are things that I would never use. I don’t like to make a project that I ultimately won’t use just because I want something to do. So, I look for ideas that I think are useful or practical. My recent pattern has been to search Pinterest after I finish my Facebook time to see if I can find any good ideas. Which is how I found the project I’m blogging about today.

I think pillows are wonderful. They’re fun d├ęcor that add warmth to furniture. When I’m at a store, I could spend quite some time just looking at all the pillows. The only problem with them is that they are expensive! “You want HOW much for this pillow?” I feel like asking. I just look at them and know that I can’t really justify the expense, nor would my husband appreciate me spending that kind of money on pillows. So, I was really excited when I came across the tutorial for these easy pillow slip-covers.

The best part about these (other than being easy to make haha)? I was able to get 4 pillow forms for just over $20 total, plus approximately $10 for fabric…..voila! Four pillows done for around $30. Yay!

I followed this tutorial here. However, I'm also going to blog this tutorial myself.

To make your own:

Gather a pillow form, 1/2 to 1 yard of fabric (depending on how many pillows you'll be making and the size; I made 14" by 14" pillows and used about 3/4 of a yard for two), thread, and your sewing machine.

Wash and iron the fabric. Cut the fabric two times the width of the pillow form plus 6 inches by the height of the pillow plus 1 inch. For example, for a 14" by 14" pillow, the width would be 34" by a height of 15".

Iron and sew a rolled hem on both short sides of the fabric.

Place the pillow form in the middle of the fabric, right side up. Fold one side of the fabric over the pillow until centered and then fold the other over until snug around the pillow form. Pin the fabric together at the top and bottom.

Carefully remove the pillow form and repin all three layers of fabric. Sew the top and bottom edges with a half inch seam allowance (I cut my fabric a little larger than I meant to, so my seam allowances ended up being more like 1 inch each; if this happens to you, adjust the seam allowance as necessary).

Turn the slip cover right side out and poke out the corners with a point turner (or whatever pointy type instrument you happen to have on hand lol). Insert the pillow form, and you're done! You're very own homemade pillow!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Banana Almond Smoothie

Recently, my husband and I have begun to endeavor to eat a little healthier and to work out to lose a bit of weight and get into better shape. Towards this end, I decided to stop eating cereal for breakfast and to start making fruit smoothies. Which also means that I have to be a bit more motivated to get up and get things done in the morning; not a bad thing, even if my bed is incredibly comfy haha!

I have been enjoying my berry fruit smoothies in the morning, but that’s not what I’m going to be sharing in this post. While on Pinterest, I came across a pin for an Almond Energy Shake that looked de-lish! So, I picked up a couple extra ingredients when grocery shopping for the week and whipped it up. I can say that it lived up to expectations grandly! It has a fairly light flavor at first taste, but the more you drink, the better it gets. I think that I’m going to enjoy alternating this smoothie with my berry smoothies in the mornings!

(UPDATED 1/31/2013) Gather the ingredients:

     1 1/4 Cups Almond milk
     1 banana, sliced and frozen
     2 tablespoons almond butter
     ½ teaspoon (approx.) cinnamon
     1 scoop vanilla protein powder
     4 ice cubes

Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. This updated recipe makes 1 serving; pour it into a large mason jar and enjoy! Note: with the updated recipe, it won't fill a large mason jar to the brim like in the picture below. It's still yummy though!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Baked Chicken With Creamy Mushroom Sauce

A lot of my cooking repertoire comes from my mother’s recipes. There’s just something about a mom’s cooking! But I’d have to say, one of my favorite recipes of my mother’s to make is her Baked Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce. Not only is it an extremely easy dish to prepare, but it’s also extremely yummy!

This recipe has quickly become one of my husband’s and my favorite meals to make. One of the reasons that I love to make it is that every time that I cook it, the chicken always turns out perfectly done and delicious. It’s one of those fail-safe recipes that you can’t go wrong with.

So, grab the ingredients, mix and bake, and enjoy yourself some yummy chicken!

Gather the ingredients:

     4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
     4 pieces uncooked bacon
     1 can cream of mushroom soup
     1 Cup sour cream
     1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
     ½ teaspoon garlic salt
     ½ teaspoon black pepper

Wrap chicken breasts with bacon strips and place in a baking dish. 

In a small mixing bowl, combine cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and black pepper. 

Spoon sauce over chicken and spread until evenly covered. 

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Enjoy!