Monday, July 28, 2014

being inspired by others...

sometimes I see someone achieve something that gets me thinking... I can do that.  Especially with social media so available and constantly in your face, I can't help but want to achieve what that person did.  And this is great motivation.  But I also feel its created a semi-identity crisis.  For instance, I have all these friends that run long distances, like really long distances, and I often get caught up in their excitement and think I can do that, without actually think of whether or not it is actually something I want to do.  I got so caught up in someone else's hobby that I tried walking a 25k, and although I finished, around mile 10 I semi-regretted it.  Regret was mostly because I did not train and take the same time and effort that has created the hobby into a big, achievable goal.  But what I did learn from that experience is that someone else's goal is not my own, and I should just take away the inspiration to dedicate myself to my own hobbies and goals.  So, along the physical activity realm, I've found I like to bike (thanks to #waltermitty) and beau and I did a relay sprint triathlon and I biked! and that's it, because running well it isn't my hobby or goal, and swimming forget it.  I'm using my new inspiration to get real crafty for an upcoming party, which is MY hobby.  

So, be inspired by others achieving great things to meet YOUR goals!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

*healthier* black bean enchiladas

This recipe is a little involved, but honestly every enchiladas recipe is. So make a list and just get to it, because this is so worth it! One time I tried to make everything from scratch, yes, the tortillas too and it was so good. But for the effort the most important homemade item here is the enchilada sauce. Get this right, and you can smother it on a frozen burrito and it'd still be delish!

*healthier* black-bean enchiladas
(For the sauce)
3 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped (or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
1/4 of an onion, finely chopped (1/4 tsp. onion powder)
1/4 tsp. chili powder
*add red pepper flakes to kick up the heat if desired
(For the enchiladas)
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups corn (I use frozen, thawed)
6 oz. fresh organic baby spinach (I just use a whole pre-packaged container of pre-washed)
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. cumin
3 cups shredded 3 cheese blend (or pepper jack, etc.)
8 large flour tortillas (I use spelt, whole wheat tortillas)

1 - Make the sauce: in a saucepan or skillet with high sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for a few minutes in a little oil.  Add tomato paste, flour, 2 tsp. cumin, and chili powder.  Cook 1 minute, whisking. Flour should brown a little and start to clump in the oil.  be careful not to burn.
2 - Whisk in broth, about 1/2 a cup at a time, bring to a light boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until slightly thickened about 8-15 minutes.  Constantly stir slowly with whisk to keep the thickening from sticking to the pan and clumping. Add salt/pepper to taste, and set aside.

For enchilada filling:
1 - Saute the spinach in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted. *if using a nonstick pan, may not need to add any oil*
2 - In a large bowl, combine beans, 2 cups cheese, spinach, *thawed* corn, green onions, 2 tsp. cumin, and cilantro.
3 - Preheat oven to 375. 
4 - Lightly oil a 9x13 inch baking dish, and pour a small amount of the sauce to coat the bottom *this prevents sticking.
5 - Generously fill tortillas with mixture, roll up tightly with ends tucked in, and place seam side down in dish.
6 - Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, coating evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top.
7 - Bake about 20 minutes, and garnish with cilantro and/or green onions (optional).

Cilantro-Lime Rice
1 cup white rice, 2 cup water, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 lime
rinse rice, mix the cilantro with the rice and water and cook whether in a rice cooker or on the stove.  when complete add lime juice.  Start with 1/2 a lime and add more as necessary.  Mix cooked rice.  and Enjoy!

recipe adapted from The Garden Gazer

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 2014 Goals

well June got skipped, at least here on the blog-o-sphere...  June, well, a lesson learned was the inspiration to get July rolling right.  June was a flurry of activities here, there, and everywhere.

July is for learning from June and applying some more thoughtful goals.  There are so many adventures to seek... new to you or new to me... there is something for everyone.  And that's my point.  To focus on my own sought after adventure, not someone else's.  Along with learning is accepting and appreciating others.  My coworker always says that your happiness is the level of your expectations -or something like that.  Pretty much if you dream to be a Disney Princess and then you find the guy actually doesn't do dishes or wipe baby butts often, well, don't be too upset.  It was your expectations, not the reality.  And hey maybe he makes a mean meal every night or folds your delicates.  I want to be more accepting of what people put out there, maybe that is their best (which is just different than mine).  expectations are key.

Best Wishes for July to me -it's going to be a tough one.  expectations, right?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

tissue paper decor: fringe garland

fringe garland is all the rage in the party decor space.  you know why?  because it is SO easy to make!  takes little time, and just looks so fun for any theme party.  I made my first one ever late the other night, when attempting to come up with simple ways to jazz up a retirement farewell dinner.  I'd say it turned out quite well, with my signs.

so, how about a tutorial...
tissue paper, tape, scissors

Instructions follow the image below:
1 - take 2-4 full sheets of tissue paper and fold in half long-length wise (fewer sheets are easier to cut, but more sheets are quicker)
2 - fold in half twice along the short side
3 - cut slits 2/3 of the way up the long edge, leaving about 3 inches at the top uncut.  Make the slits about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Scissors work easily, but I found a large paper slicer is quicker but doesn't make as nice cuts
4 - unfold and separate each sheet.  lay one sheet down and be sure the fringes are laid down nicely -this makes it easier to roll.
5 - Start at one end and roll the tissue paper sheet up, making the roll about as wide as slits.  Continue rolling the whole sheet.
6 - Whit the completely rolled sheet, twist the center solid section -be careful not to twist too tight to break it.  Fold in half so the twist makes a loop and tape around the loop.  String to make a garland and party on!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tissue Paper Flowers: the new method

I have a love for paper crafting... scrapbooking, card making, gift wrapping, party decorations.  I own about a thousand pieces of cardstock in different patterns and colors, and oh tissue paper has been my new weakness.  Tissue paper provides an easy flexible medium for all sorts of ideas.  And I'm glad others are flexing their creative muscles so I can learn and recreate.

So, most people know the accordion fold paper flower technique.  My grandma taught it to me as a young child, then Martha Stewart's minions retaught me a few years ago.  This time around we were having dinner at a restaurant and well I wanted something light and cute to go on the table, so I found this tutorial from You Are My Fav (which has excellent creative ideas) for a new sort of tissue paper flower -I'm calling it the glory pouf -definitely needs a new name, ha.

tissue paper sheets, cardstock, glue, scissors

Instructions follow the pictures below:
1 - take 5-8 half sheets of tissue paper and cut into squares.  size will affect the size of the flower -small for smaller flowers like for a garland, and I went with about 10 inch squares for centerpieces on the table.  The size doesn't have to be exact, you are cutting most of it off anyway. Fold the squares in half. Then fold it in half again. Hold the corner with all the folds, then using scissors, cut three petals, starting on the folded edge.  Again, the cuts for the petals don't have to be exact, the variations add character to your flower. 
2 - Unfold and separate all the tissue paper pieces, so your flowers are open.  Take a flower piece and fold over your finger at the center of the flower.  
3 - Pinch around your finger, remove the flower and twist just a bit to keep the flower from unfolding.  Repeat for each flower piece.
4 - Using hot glue gun (or any quick dry, sturdy glue) and a  1 inch circle of cardstock paper (or smaller depending on your flower size), glue down the twisted end of the flower to the cardstock until the flower is full.  I started with gluing at the edge, moving inward, separating the flower bunches to fill in any empty spots.

Voila - glory pouf or tissue paper flower