Monday, September 26, 2011

Playing around with Photoshop

I don't have a recipe tonight....just pictures. Today is my last day off for the week and so I decided that after all the work we did yesterday, that I didn't want to do anything today :) So I've been playing around on Photoshop experimenting with photoshop actions. Here are a few that I did........

PS I entered the second picture down (Oliver's messy face) in the iheartfaces photo challenge :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tuna Saute over Spagetti and a New Car!

So this week has been the week from.....well, you know where. Having numerous problems with my job, hit a deer with our Blazer, went to my friends what seems like a never-ending list of other small things that keep happening. SO glad this week is OVER!!! I'm ready for it to be better!

Well, yesterday it got better - we bought a new vehicle! 2003 Envoy XL - it's beautiful, fully loaded, has 4-wheel and all-wheel drive, 4 doors, and seats 7! It has everything we wanted and more (heated seats :)

Heated seats :-D (can you tell I'm excited about the heated

So to celebrate our new car, I came up with this recipe (actually I came up with it the day before but I couldn't figure out how to transition to the recipe lol).

I wasn't sure how it would turn had a recipe bomb on me a couple of days ago.....yeah that was another thing that went wrong.......ANYWAYS, this one was totally good! I bought some Anise at the market last week and I have been wanting to try it out. From what I have read about it, it is good either cooked/grilled/sauteed or raw in salads. Cooking it is supposed to mellow out the licorice-like flavor a bit, and since the hubby isn't fond of black licorice, I decided that cooking it would be the best route. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do though lol. I got a few ingredients out that I thought would go well together (and honestly what I had left in the fridge/pantry......) and sauteed them together - the tuna was a last minute addition and it was very good, although I think chicken breast would be equally good.

Here are the ingredients - tuna in water, anise, capers, yellow onion, garlic, EEVO (extra virgin olive oil), fresh parmesan cheese

Anise bulb with the tops and end cut off

Garlic bulb
 A GIGANTIC yellow onion! This is half of it!

Fresh parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste

A beautiful huge tomato from my mom's garden :)

The tops from the anise bulb - don't throw away! You can use it as a herb!

EEVO - extra virgin olive oil

Tuna Saute over Spaghetti


* 1 can of tuna in water
* 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
* 3 garlic cloves - minced
* 2 tbsp capers
* about 1/2 cup of roughly chopped anise
* 1/2 medium tomato diced
* 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 2 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
* 4-5 basil leaves chopped
* salt and pepper to taste 
* 100% whole wheat spaghetti noodles


* saute yellow onion in pan on low until soft - about 10 minutes
* add garlic, capers, and anise and turn up heat to medium for about 3 minutes until heated
* add to cooked noodles 
* add in tuna, parmesan cheese, basil, tomatoes, and salt and pepper
* garnish if you want with the "feathery" tops from the anise
* Enjoy!

As a side note we now have 2 cars for sale - a 99 Saturn for $800 and a 98 Blazer for $1800 - send me a message if interested! We spent all day today cleaning them out and washing them so we can get them out to the road. It was actually fun with the kids helping and it turned out to be a beautiful day!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Heath Fair and Caramel Apples

I'm having a hard time knowing how to start and what to write today...........I have a lot on my mind. I lost a friend yesterday from a terrible car accident. It really makes you think about your life and how you are living it. My life at home is wonderful. I have the greatest husband a girl could ask for, and 2 beautiful children.

Work, however, is a different story altogether! I hate my job - I work at a retail store in the bakery. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the actual work that I do, but I hate the people that I work for. They think nothing of treating you with as little respect as possible because, to them, all you are is a disposable number.
This is me, trying to talk to managment..........

I have had people in the past ask me if I'm going to try to move up in the company....I refer to this quote........."I honestly believe that it is better to be a failure at something you love rather than a success at something you hate." George Burns. I do not want to spend a minute more of my life doing something that I hate! You never know how short your life will be!

So that being said, I did something that I love the other day :) I cooked up some delicious, healthy food for the Health Fair at the retirement community where my hubby works. I used the fresh veggies from the farmer's market that set up a stand outside the building and had the recipe printed out for everybody to take so they can make it at home. This was the recipe that I cooked up - Ratatouille Pasta. It was a hit! I had many compliments and questions about my cooking and healthy eating. (I even had some people ask me if I'm a chef :)

 A picture of me that I actually like...........

You can't read it but my apron says "Come to the dark side, we have cookies. -V"  :)

Cutting up the garlic hands still smell like garlic.....I did make spaghetti yesterday though....

The finished product :) smelled so good!

The bowls are almost gone!

It was a great day! Afterwards, I went grocery shopping at a new store that my good friend Jake told me about. Its a marketplace that sells probably 70-80% organic/Michigan made food! It's AMAZING! Their veggies and fruit were all Michigan grown and great looking, they had a lot of different fruits and veggies that I've never been able to find anywhere else (I bought Anise.....soooo excited to cook it up!) They also have fresh meats (including fresh ground turkey YAY!), fresh salads (including hummus), Amish made butter, organic canned foods, like crushed tomatoes :), and what I was the most excited over, fresh local milk in a glass bottle! It was, admittedly a little bit more pricey than the conventional milk - but it's worth it. It was delicious and much healthier! 

Our grocery bill has gone up a little bit, but it's just a matter of prioritizing what you spend your money on. I, personally, would rather spend a little bit more money on food that is healthy and good for you, rather than spend less money on food that is laden with chemicals and hormones that are not meant to be in our bodies. My whole family is healthier, for instance, my hubby has lost 50lbs just by eating healthy and his mild IBS is virtually non-existent now. So, actually, we are probably saving money on health bills that we would have gotten later on in life! 

So the perfect ending to this day goes like this............

1. Take a can of sweetened condensed milk

2. Peel the label off and put in a pot filled with water

3. Simmer for about 3 hours - DON'T forget to keep adding water! (I forgot about it wasn't pretty....) While you are waiting, light a few pumpkin spice candles......hmmmmm soooo good! I'm sooo in the mood for fall!! And if you aren't now, you will be with the candles and apples with caramel :)

4. After about 3 hours take it out of pot and let it cool down. I usually put it in the fridge and leave it overnight. DO NOT open it right away! It will be pressurized and it will hurt you!

5. After it is cooled down, open and this is what you will see.........

6. Slice up some apples and enjoy! (If you want to go overboard a little bit, heat up some apple cider to go along with it......that's what I did :) It also wouldn't hurt to cuddle up with your sweetie on the couch with a blanket and a good movie :)

And here is a thought to leave you with...........

Personally, I would open up a healthy, organic bakery/cafe

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Handmade Roses and Homemade Chili

So, I had a lazy day today. I spent waayyyy too much time being obsessed with Pintrest! I also like to be obessed with both Foodgawker and Craftgawker, if you have never been to any of these websites, go now! (actually finish reading my post first lol)  Today it was all about the crafts :)

Here are a few awesome things that I found today.......

 I ABSOLUTLY love handmade rosettes! Whether it be paper, ribbon, cloth, or what-have-you - it doesn't matter - I love them! So I tried them out today :) Here are a few newspaper roses and some ribbon roses that I made. Plans are to use them for Christmas presents......I figure if I get started on them now, I might be able to finish by Christmas lol.

The newspaper roses I plan on painting.......I'm thinking white with a hint of pink? The fabric roses are glued down to the paper so they stay together, then I'm going to cut them out using a craft knife. I can them use them for whatever craft I want, like a headband with roses, picture frame, a wreath..........the list goes on  :) Maybe if anybody is interested I will post a tutorial on how to make them sometime in the future.

Along with my crafty mood today, I have also been craving everything fall related. I have pumpkin spice candles out, blankets on the couch, apple cider in the fridge, sticks from caramel apples in the garbage.......the only thing missing (besides the leaves changing color) is our fall food staple - CHILI!

I don't love chili, I like it ok, just not a favorite......unless it's fall. For some reason it just tastes better with pumpkin spice candles and cooler weather :) I have experimented with different chili recipes over the past few years, and I'm pretty sure that the chili that I made today comes out on top. It's a little bit different...........lots of beans, chili beans and lentils (I put lentils in EVERYTHING now) and I added corn this time. I usually only use turkey burger instead of red meat, however, I didn't have any on hand, instead I had bear burger. It's ok........not my favorite.........I just don't generally like red meat.  So's the recipe for your enjoyment :)

Homemade Chili


1  28 oz can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
1  6 oz can tomato paste
1 medium onion - diced
1 medium green pepper - diced
3 garlic cloves - minced
1 bag frozen corn or 1 can of no salt added corn
1   15 oz can chicken stock (can substitute water if you don't have any on hand)
2 cups uncooked lentils
1  15 oz can chili beans
2 bay leaves
1 lb meat - cooked - and seasoned with chili seasoning - I like to use turkey burger for less calories
pinch of salt and pepper
sour cream and/or cheddar cheese for garnish


1.  Mix all the ingredients (not including garnishes) in a largish crock pot and turn on low for 6-8 hours or turn on high for 3-4 hours.
2. Add your favorite toppings such as sour-cream and/or cheddar cheese
3.  Enjoy with crackers or cornbread........yummmmm cornbread.......didn't have any tonight :(

Now, I think I'm gonna go work on a knitting project that I started last year lol................