Redecorating on a Budget

I want to share with you the results of one of my little pre-baby arrival projects.  And thanks to HomeGoods it cost less than $30!

Bathroom BeforeBathroom After

Really, it was just a matter of replacing the shower curtain, but what a difference!  The room looks like an entirely new place with a curtain that actually matches the tile.  The new curtain was $14.99.  And the new shower hooks and vinyl liner were less than $6 each.

Tile and Curtain

I am adding a new category with this post.  Disclaimer:  I really know very little about Feng Shui, but I wanted an F word that could indicate household projects or decorating.  So don’t come here looking for legit Feng Shui advice and you won’t be disappointed lol.

Weekly Recipe Roundup – Week of January 25, 2015

I have a bunch of new recipes for you this week.  Some of them aren’t as quick and easy as the ones I have been making in the past few weeks, but I think they were worth the extra effort.  Only problem is no baby yet!  I thought surely after spending a marathon 7 hours in the kitchen on Sunday evening that little girl would want to get here – but I guess she is still feeling comfy in there… I have to admit though, I’m hoping this will be the last weekly roundup post for a couple of weeks.  Let’s hope she comes tomorrow 🙂

Vegan Cauliflower “Risotto”

Vegan Cauliflower "Risotto"


What we changed:  We were a little more generous with the spinach. We left out the pine nuts because even though we love pine nuts, they are just so darn expensive and didn’t seem worth the extra money this week.

My thoughts on the recipe:  I really like this recipe as a starch substitute.  It made a great side dish throughout the week (you’ll see it in some of the other pics below).  But I don’t think it has quite enough flavor to stand up on its own as an entree which is why I am rating it an 8.  As a low-carb accompaniment it hits the spot, so I’m sure will be seen on our table again in the future.

Overall rating: 8/10

Balsamic Pork Chops

Balsamic Pork Chops


What we changed:  I really just used this recipe for inspiration but didn’t follow it very closely.  I didn’t make the rice.  I only was making 2 pork chops so I guessed at most of the measurements in the recipe.  I also used vegetable stock instead of chicken broth.

My thoughts on the recipe:  These made pretty darn tasty pork chops.  We served them with the cauliflower “risotto” and also sautéed some mushrooms in the pan after cooking the pork chops.

Overall rating: 9/10

Vegan Morning Glory Muffins

Vegan Morning Glory Muffins


What we changed:  We used 1 cup of all-purpose flour and the remainder whole wheat flour.  We used coconut sugar instead of regular organic sugar.  We used almond milk (instead of soy) and ground ginger (instead of fresh grated).

My thoughts on the recipe: OMG ya’ll.  These were absolutely amazing!  The recipe made 18 muffins for us and we have been eating them all week long.  They make an excellent breakfast accompaniment (as with the scrambled eggs) or they are really delicious on their own – especially popped in the microwave for a few seconds and then topped with a bit of coconut spread.  I wasn’t sure how vegan baking would be since I am so used to using eggs when I bake, but the date paste in these muffins worked wonders.  They were so moist – even as leftovers after a few days they stayed moist.  I highly recommend trying this recipe.  And with the carrots and apple and flax you can feel good about eating them too!

Overall rating: 10/10

Mango Smoothie

Mango Smoothie


What we changed: The first time I made this smoothie I followed the recipe exactly and it was ok, but the second time I made it I changed it up a bit and really liked it.  I can’t tell you exact measurements for the second time I made it because I didn’t measure, but I can tell you that I left out the vanilla and the honey the second time.  I used a little less coconut but was more generous with the chia seeds.  I also used two bananas instead of 1 and no ice.  But I did use frozen mango (a 10 oz package).  Oh, and plain greek yogurt – none of this honey or vanilla flavored stuff.

My thoughts on the recipe: This is a really nice, creamy treat that makes a good to-go breakfast.  The yogurt provides enough protein to make it last and I really thought it was better with just the natural sweetness of the banana and no honey or yogurt flavoring added.

Overall rating: 9/10

Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Sandwich

Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Sandwich

Recipe from:

What we changed:  We used Great Northern Beans instead of Cannellini Beans because they happened to be less expensive the day we were shopping.

My thoughts on the recipe:  I usually don’t go with more than one 10/10 in a week, but man this sandwich was delicious.  The recipe says to serve hot, but we were both having lunches to go.  So I toasted the bread under the broiler in the morning when I made them, but didn’t end up eating my sandwich hot – it was still really yummy.  The bean paste is easy to make and makes enough for several sandwiches.  We still have a little leftover that we will probably have with crackers and carrot sticks one afternoon as a snack.  We made the bean paste on Sunday night and then didn’t use it until Tuesday morning to make the sandwiches so making ahead is a definite option for this one.

Overall rating: 10/10

Fig and Gorgonzola Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Fig and Gorgonzola Pork Tenderloin


What we changed:  We used whisky instead of bourbon because that is what we had on hand.

My thoughts on the recipe: The recipe doesn’t specify what size of pork tenderloin to  get.  I don’t think ours was big enough.  Neither of us had ever tried stuffing a pork tenderloin before so I’m sure there is some sort of a learning curve, but I think slightly more pork would have helped and been a little less frustrating for us (you can see the mess we made in the pics above).  Taste-wise, it turned out ok.  I think that the sage was a little overwhelming and I think if we make this again I would like to change the brand of gorgonzola we used – but that’s not the fault of the recipe.  Overall this was a fun experiment, but not something I want to do regularly.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

Deep Dish Spinach and Prosciutto Quiche

Spinach and Prosciutto Quiche

Recipe from:

What we changed: I went with the buttermilk option rather than water.  I already had some sun-dried tomatoes that were not packed in oil so I chopped them and used them instead of buying oil-packed ones.  I used frozen spinach instead of fresh.

My thoughts on the recipe:  This was my first attempt at a real quiche and I have to admit, it turned out better than I expected.  I was a little worried about making the crust from scratch, but her instructions are really good and it ended up being really yummy.  I think the crust would actually make a really good crust for a Chicago-style pizza too – might have to try that at some point in the future.  I would like to try this recipe again with fresh spinach and a better work surface (I couldn’t roll the crust out as large as I would have liked to).  This made a great dinner served with roasted veggies.  It also reheated perfectly for a great breakfast.

Overall rating: 9/10

Weekly Recipe Roundup – Week of January 18, 2015

We are only two days away from our due date!  But little girl is still cooking and so are we 🙂  I have more vegetarian recipes for you to check out this week.  And they can all be made vegan by leaving out the cheese in the acorn squash and beet salad recipes.  I must confess that I did add some shrimp to the spring rolls the second time we made them – so we were not entirely vegetarian this week.  But there are lots of good veggie choices nonetheless.  Visit the links and let me know what you think!  Love, M Continue reading Weekly Recipe Roundup – Week of January 18, 2015

Basic Zoodles

Good afternoon friends,
This recipe for zoodles is really great! We made them on Friday night and loved them. They go equally well with tomato sauce or peanut sauce. Next time we will have to try pesto. Go check out Stephanie’s beautiful site and try this one out for yourself.

Simply Ohana

Mamma Mia! Pasta noodles made out of zucchini?! …  I certainly have jumped on the zoodles bandwagon- have you?

The term ‘zoodles’ refers to the hot health craze of zucchini noodles. This healthy pasta alternative is made using a food spiralizer tool. You simply insert the zucchini onto the machine, turn the crank, and voila! Zucchini noodles are created right before you eyes.


I finally invested in a food spiralizer, and it is definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools yet! They are not that expensive and are really quite versatile. Besides zucchini noodles, you can also create various ribbons and shapes using several other fruits or vegetables. My spiralizer came with 3 different attachments, and I have fun playing around in the kitchen with it.

And zoodles taste amazing. Seriously.

I love making zoodles not only because they are healthy, but they are also quick and easy to make. When…

View original post 334 more words

Weekly Recipe Roundup – Week of January 11, 2015

Good afternoon folks! I’ve got five more recipes for you this week.  And I am continuing on my veggie kick so they are almost all vegetarian or vegan  (The burritos are vegetarian if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock).  I’m planning to keep these Weekly Recipe Roundup posts going until the baby gets here. But we are at 39 weeks on Sunday so I may be taking a few weeks off any day now! Continue reading Weekly Recipe Roundup – Week of January 11, 2015

Tesla’s First Puppuccino

I had Tesla in the car with me when I stopped through the Starbucks drive through on Friday for an iced tea. Along with my beverage they handed me a little cup of “Puppuccino” – which is just a little cup of whipped cream. And as you can see, Miss Tesla thought it was pretty great 🙂 She licked the cup clean and somehow managed not to get any on her nose (I don’t even think I could manage that).


Apparently, this is an item off the Starbucks Secret Menu that you can actually order. I’ve never attempted to find the secret menu at Starbucks so I had no idea. I think I may have tried to find the Panera secret menu once, but I wasn’t that impressed. What’s your thought on secret menus? Anyone a huge fan? Any secret menu items that I really need to try out?

Blogging101 – A post for my dream reader

Who is my dream reader?  Well, you are.  I’m afraid that is terribly cliche, but it is true.  For whatever reason, you have taken the time to visit my little corner of the internet and allowed me to share a part of myself with you.  I hope that in doing so you’ve come away with something for you – a smile from one of my dog pics, a new recipe to try out with someone you love, an idea, a new connection, or even just a feeling that you can relate to someone out there.  I really do appreciate you dropping by.

So here’s another little piece of me for you.  I love this song.  I hope it makes you smile.

P.S.  If I said I posted a song by JT, do you think Justin Timberlake?  I swear I am not that old, but my husband makes me feel ancient sometimes…

Weekly Recipe Roundup – Week of January 4, 2015

Good morning my lovely readers.  I have 5 recipes for you in this week’s roundup.  And quite a variety too: only one meat dish, a couple of vegan options, and a paleo slow cooker “oatmeal.”  I am surprising myself with the vegetarian kick I have been on.  I guess I am feeling like I need more veggies after the holidays.  Luckily there are lots of yummy options available.  Let me know if try any of these and how they work out for you.  Happy eating! Continue reading Weekly Recipe Roundup – Week of January 4, 2015

Blogging101 – My first Assignment for Blogging U.

Hello my lovely readers!  Have I mentioned how much I appreciate you recently?  Well let me take a minute to say thank you for being here.  I really do appreciate it.  I am just starting my fourth week as a blogger, but I am really liking it.  It is a fun way to connect – both with people to whom I am already close but don’t get to see everyday and with people who I have never met but come form all sorts of interesting places and backgrounds.

Today I am starting a 30-day Blogging101 course that is a part of WordPress’s Blogging U.  I will have daily assignments, but not all of them will be to publish posts.  The assignments that are published posts will be tagged Blogging101 and I will post them in my Foundations category. Continue reading Blogging101 – My first Assignment for Blogging U.

New Year’s Resolutions 2015

I have to be honest and admit that I am publishing this post reluctantly. This is for two main reasons. First, because I feel a little self-conscious about it. I was the kid who couldn’t keep a diary for very long because when I would go back and read the entries I was embarrassed by them. And no one but me was even reading them! So here I am twenty-some-odd years later writing a post that I am afraid will make me feel silly in a few weeks. Second, because my life is about to change in a big way. Tomorrow marks 37 weeks for our pregnancy. I know that when my daughter arrives my life will change forever, and so I am a little hesitant to make resolutions when I have no idea how or if they will fit into my new life.

However, I think there is something sacred about reflection and setting an intention. So, I am going to risk sharing a few resolutions for 2015 with you. Hopefully, this will keep me as accountable as is reasonable, and might give someone else out there an idea for setting his or her own intention. Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions 2015