Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baked Eggplant Parmesean

Hello, I wanted to share my secret to crispy baked eggplant parmesan.  Personally, I find these just as delectable as their fried counterparts, but with much less fat.  

1. Sweat the eggplant.  Slice your eggplant into 1/3 inch slices and place on a towel.  Lightly salt both sides and let sit for 15 minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, mix your breading.  I use 1/2 c plain bread crumbs, 1/2 c panko bread crumbs, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 tsp dried basil and oregano, and a sprinkle of garlic salt.  Also, beat two eggs in a bowl for dipping. 
3. Dab excess moisture off your eggplant slices and dip each slice in the egg and breading.  Coat each side well and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Spray tops of eggplant slices with cooking spray and place in a 400 degree oven.  Bake until slices are cooked through and super crispy.  Turn 1/2 way through baking and spray with cooking spray.  

I serve these topped with marinara sauce and melted Italian cheese blend and a side of spaghetti, also with marinara. 

On a side note, I know I promised to share my transportation play mat, but it's not quite finished.  A couple of other projects creeped up on me this week and I haven't had the chance to complete it.  Also, we didn't get too far on the craft room yet, were hoping to paint this weekend!  Next week, I'm looking forward to sharing my $50 headboard concept for our master bedroom.  Also, I have another surprise for next week as well! Have a wonderful fall Friday! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Desert Boots

3. Suede MacAlister Boots, $135.00
4. Uhh, I can't find link to these, but aren't they cool. 
6. Mia Desert, $139.95
To be real, I'd rather be scouring the internet looking for some chunky wedges and stacked heels, but I simply have no occasion to wear such shoes at this point in my life.  Thus, I'm considering another favorite, desert boots.  I've been eying this style for a while, and I always come back to the original Clark's (they also make it in a shoe...too cool)or the J.Crew versions. 

What do you think of desert boots?  What's your go-to flat fall shoe?  

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies

These cookies have been a very big hit in my house.  My hubby, who typically puts cookies on the bottom of his dessert favorites, loves these.  Little does he know they are actually relatively low-fat compared to similar versions and they also include 1/2 cup of carrot puree.  The kiddo loves these also...their great with breakfast.

Allow me to share the recipe with you.

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup softened butter, unsalted
1/2 cup carrot puree or baby food carrots
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, oats, powder, soda, cinnamon and salt) and set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar, add carrot, egg, and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.  Place spoonfuls of dough on baking sheet (lined with a silpat or parchment paper) 2 inches apart and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 30 cookies.

Enjoy these tasty treats!

Penny Pinching Party at The Thrifty Home
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts

Monday, September 27, 2010

Closet to Craft Corner

Hello. I'm very excited to announce that we've broken ground on converting our guestroom walk-in closet into my "official" craft corner and office.  I'm really thrilled by this even though the room is, of course, the size of a closet.  We decided that since it is unlikely that the room will be used for at least a few years by a potential third child, especially since we need have a second one first; so, I've been dreaming of a corner to put all my craft and creative stash that's pretty, inspiring, and a little hidden. 

This is the room now.

Here's my inspiration.
{via Rue, a new online design and decor magazine}


Stay tuned for our progress...

Halloween Felt Play Mat

Happy Monday, everyone!  This weekend I made a little felt play mat for my kiddo, Halloween-style.  I enjoyed the process so much that I'm now making a transportation themed one as well.  These mats are small (about 18"x12") with the thought that they are fold-able, portable, and stor-able.   

Basically, I cut a piece of white felt (just shorter than the wooden dowel); then, folded the ends in about one inch and stitched down each side to create a hole for one wooden dowel on each end. 

Then, I wrapped jute around each end of the two dowels and hot glued it in place.  Now, the dowels are permanent fixtures...otherwise, they would have ended up as tools of destruction. 

To cut out each piece, I first created a stencil out of card stock and then traced it onto the felt with disappearing ink.  I attached the pumpkin and ghost faces with Fabric-Tac, but everything else can be moved and arranged however he pleases.  So far, this has been a big hit, particularly, hiding the pumpkins in the house and knocking on the door and asking "Who's there?"

When were finished playing, we can just stack everything up, fold it in half, and carry it off!

Stay-tuned for the transportation-themed felt play mat later this week!  Have a wonderful fall day!

Sharing with...

Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative
Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou
Making the World Cuter Mondays at Making the World Cuter

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Wardrobe Update and Great Day St. Louis Segment #9

 1. striped shirt, navy, gap
2. always skinny jeans (saturated dark wash), gap
3.  cascading always cardigan, olive moss, jcrew
4. Indigo by Clarks, Carle, available at
5. Bensimon, Tennis Lacet in Grey, available here, I purchased mine at Swirl (click here for an invite)
6. striped tee (mine is grey and white), gap
7. stretch slim cargo pants, beigewood (they look and fit much better in person), loft
8. ivory tee (not the one pictured), jcrew

These are a few items that I'll be wearing this fall. Basically, most days I strive for "mommy casual" in a pulled together, yet effortless, way.  I stress the word strive as, quite often, I look like "mommy no-shower".  I'm okay with that, but I've decided to tackle my closet and either 1) sell 2) donate or 3) store everything that I don't where currently.  I have a large closet full of clothes that I mostly DO NOT WEAR.  It's sad, but true.  I still own a lot of dressy "work" items, silk shirts, tight skirts, too fancy for daytime dresses, and tons of HEELS.  I'm not ready to get rid of them (It's hysterical how attached I am to my clothes) as I do use this collection to pull together outfits for the few occasions a month when I am at work, but I want them out of the way so that I can more quickly pull myself together on a day-to-day basis. 

How about to you sift through your closet and what will you be wearing this fall?

On another note, if you missed me yesterday morning on Great Day St. Louis, click here to watch the segment.  I'm demonstrating the technique used to make these...
If it would just cool off, I feel like I could really get in the mood for Halloween.

Sharing with...
Strut you Stuff at Somewhat Simple

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

breakfast apple cake

taste testing...

It's true.  I have a sweet tooth.  Typically, I like to have something fresh baked around to satisfy my cravings, but I generally do my best to make that something as healthy as possible.  But, let's face it, I never eat one serving and extra sugar is not healthy no matter how you spin it.  

Yes.  I did pass the sweet tooth on to my kiddo. He prefers chocolate anything...go figure. 
Yes. He is wearing a muscle shirt; toddlers look cute in anything, right!?!

Recently, I purchased a load of granny smith apples and I've been baking them up in the form of 
cupcakes (recipe
and this here breakfast apple cake. 

2 shredded granny smith apples
1/2 c applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 c white flour
1 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  In a separate large bowl mix eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, and apples.  Add dry ingredients to apple mixture.  Stir until just mixed.  Pour into sheet pan (I spray it with baking spray).  Sprinkle with walnuts and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Sharing with...
Tasty Tuesdays at A Beautiful Mess 
Get Your Craft On at Today's Creative Blog
Talented Tuesday at My Frugal Family
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest

Paper Crafting on Great Day St. Louis

Tomorrow morning I will be back on Great Day St. Louis (and if you are visiting from Great Day, "Welcome!") to share a paper crafting technique that I've used to make a variety of items including...

 (for tutorial, click here)

 Tune in to KMOV, Channel 4 if you are in the St. Louis area or online at 10am CST for the 411 on how to make these fun paper-crafted items, plus I'll share several variations on those square frames!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hello, Happy Monday!  Many of you are aware of my love of t-shirt yarn.  Above is a recent necklace creation to add to my collection.  If you are interested in how to make t-shirt yarn or how to make these necklaces, click here and/or here.  I will post a tutorial with instructions on how to make these little rosettes this week.

I'm posting this necklace today with the hopes that some readers will respond to these questions.
1. Would you where this or a variation (i.e. different colored yarn, different rosette fabric colors/print, thinner/thicker band)?
2. Would you purchase it?

I really enjoy making these and wearing them, but I'm not sure if anyone else would like to wear them as well...

Also, a couple of recent hair bands...
I hope you can't see all my gray hairs.

Sharing with...
Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative
Made By You Mondays at Skip To My Lou
Making the World Cuter Mondays at Making the World Cuter
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints on the Fridge

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oliver's Labels

As some of you may know from my occasional "personal" posts, I work from home (with some occasional travel), which is both a blessing and a curse.  It is actually pretty darn impossible to work with a 2-year-old who needs his mommy's full attention.  Plus, who wants to sit at their computer when they can be playing, right?  As part of my "daycare" solution, my little man is attending a Mother's Day Out program one day a week.  As part of our "Going to School!" preparation, I needed to be sure to label all his school items, which is how I found Oliver's Labels.  Since I am mainly labeling sippy cups, lunch box containers, and clothing, I needed a dishwasher-proof, machine-wash proof labeling system.  I took a chance and ordered the Starter Package in Color Palette B in order to have plenty of labels for now and in the future.  Thus far, I've been super pleased with the wear and tear of these labels; definitely dishwasher proof!

They have a wonderful array of products that I look forward to trying in the future.  

and the unique Found It tracking system. 

The truth is I see so many wonderful uses to these labels and you don't have to worry about your marker washing off, fading, etc; plus, they look so cute and streamlined!  Think sports, school, twins, siblings, etc.  For me, making these myself would have required more time and budget than ordering them from Oliver's; so, it was really a no-brainer!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Brinner, Brinner, Hashbrowns, Quiche and Pancakes for Dinner

This past Saturday evening, my girlfriends and I hosted a small "Diaper Party" for our friends' upcoming second son!

The theme for the evening, "Brinner", a.k.a. breakfast for dinner, an idea from my illustrious friend, Sara.

I wanted to share a few of items from our menu. 

Mini Spinach and Bacon Quiche
1 package crescent rolls
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 package frozen chopped spinach (thawed and well-drained)
1/2 medium onion, chopped and sauteed in butter until golden
5 pieces crispy fried bacon (torn into small pieces)
1 cup italian cheese blend
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt  and pepper
Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Then, using a biscuit cutter, cut 12 circles out of the crescent dough and place these at the bottom of each muffin tin.
Next, whisk the eggs and milk until well blended.  Add spinach, bacon, cheese and spices. 
Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full and bake until eggs are completely set.  Allow to cool a bit; then, use a knife to help ease out each mini-quiche. 

Hashbrown Casserole 
Find the recipe here; however, I added one pound of breakfast pork sausage and used light or low-fat ingredients whenever possible.

Smoked Salmon Dip
 (I'm not quite sure on the quantities used here, but I basically combined one package light cream cheese with one package of smoked salmon and 1/2 cup light sour cream in the blender. Very, very simple, yet elegant and tasty!) 

Apple Muffins with Cinnamon Glaze

The main recipe is from this book, which I absolutely love for great treats and presentation ideas.

Recipe (adapted by me) for Apple Muffins 

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1/3 c sugar
1 c milk
1/2 c melted, unsalted butter (cooled)
1 cup chopped peeled apples (granny smith)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin pan with liners. 
2. Sift together four, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl.
3. In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, and melted butter. Stir into flour mixture.  Add the apples and mix lightly.  
4. Spoon the matter into each muffin tin.  Fill about 3/4 full.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the muffins are firm to the touch.  Cool on wire racks. 

For the glaze, I combined powder sugar, milk with a little ground cinnamon to a smooth, not runny consistency.  I spread this on top of each muffin for a little added sweetness!

I can definitely say that I can't wait to have breakfast for dinner again soon!  Thanks ladies for a wonderful evening!

Sharing with...
Tasty Tuesdays at A Beautiful Mess
Get Your Craft On at Today's Creative Blog

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