Saturday, June 30, 2012

Low Carb Bread

That's right, I said low carb bread.  OK, so it's not actually break but it looks, acts and tastes like bread... so it works.  Sometimes I struggle to stay on my low carb diet, but recently I found this trick that makes it a little easier.  Granted, it is much more costly and time consuming than buying a loaf of bread, but it's much better than eating a lettuce wrap sandwich. 
Here's what you need:

1 package of cream cheese or neufchatel
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
cookie sheet
mixing bowl and spoon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the cream cheese in the mixing bowl.  You may want to microwave it for 30 seconds or so to soften it.  Then add the eggs and parmesan cheese and mix well. ( I made a double batch since I was using a large cookie sheet.) Grease your cookie sheet.  Spread the mixture evenly over the cookie sheet, making sure to cover it completely.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 23-25 minutes.  Then remove and let cool completely.

Use a knife or pizza cutter to make bread-sized squares.  Or, use a round cookie cutter to make hamburger buns.  These can be stored in the fridge or the freezer. 
I am really excited about this because now I can have all kinds of sanwiches!  Roast beef, turkey, tuna salad, chicken, peanut butter and jelly, not to mention hamburgers, turkey burgers, tuna burgers, sloppy joes, BLTs... the possibilities are endless!  OK, so maybe not grilled cheese... that is something that I miss while eating low carb, but since this "bread" is basically cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich would basically be a huge slab of cheese.  Besides, I don't think it would work if you tried grilling this bread.

Here is the lovely egg salad sandwich that I made myself:

While I can't lie to you and say it tastes exactly like bread, it does serve its purpose as a bread substitute.  And it was delicious!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

I am writing this post before Father's Day, but I am not posting it until Father's Day.  This is simply because if I do, then Daddy won't be surprised.  Since I have to save this post for Father's Day, you will just have to remember my ideas for next year, or if you still need a last minute gift, I suppose you could throw something together quickly using one of my ideas.
Daddy got 3 surprises this year. 

Surprise #1
The first one was a plaque that Angie and I made.  All you need is a cheap frame, 2 colors of paint, and a printer.  I bought a 8.5x11 frame at Michael's using a 50% off coupon which made it $2.49.  I also bought 2 bottles of paint for $0.89 each.  I already had paintbrushes and a printer, so the entire gift was under $5.
Start out by deciding what you want your plaque to say.  It could be a poem or song lyrics or a Bible verse.  I Googled "Father's Day Bible Verses" and chose this one:
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” (NIV)
Psalm 103:13
Then, when Dad's not home, take one of his shoes and cover the bottom in paint.  Be careful not to ruin his shoe (and make sure to clean it up well when you are done!) Make a shoe print right across the paper.  (You may need a bigger paper if Dad has unusually large feet).  Allow it to dry thoroughly.
Then take your little one's foot and paint the bottom in a different color paint.  Make a footprint right over the top of Dad's.
Allow it to dry once again.  Then place in frame and wrap it up to give to Dad.
Pretty simple, huh?
My only problem with this is that 3 year olds don't quite grasp the concept of a surprise. So when you have them help you make a gift for Daddy and tell them "Don't tell Daddy, it's a surprise" they run right to Daddy and tell him that they made him a present and painted their feet.  Errgh.
Surprise #2: Father's Day Video
I don't really have directions on this one, it was just one of those ideas that popped into my head and I just couldn't go on until I tried it.  I am by no means an experienced movie maker, but I have used Windows Live Movie Maker a few times in the past.  If I can recall, it was a free download off the Windows website.  Anyway, I took clips of Angie at different stages and added them to the movie.  Then, the other day, I tricked Michael into letting me tape him dancing around with Angie in her princess dress.  I put it all together, and added some music.  I don't think it will win any awards, but I would say it's not too bad for what little knowledge I have on the subject.

If you like this (or even if you don't) you can make one of your own.  Trust me, if I can figure out how to make a movie, you probably can too.  Just download Windows Live Movie Maker and start adding clips of home movies!

Surprise #3: Cookies!!!
Something I always wished I had was letter-shaped cookie cutters.  So I justified buying a pack of them from for this project (Plus there are a million other things I can use them for!)
You can use just about any cookie recipe for these, but I used a simple sugar cookie recipe.  Prepare the dough and flatten it out with a rolling pin.  Cut out your letters with the cookie cutters and carefully place them on a greased cookie sheet, then bake.
Obviously, you can spell out any message you want.  And you can use this gift for any occasion... birthday, Christmas, congrats, etc.  I would have decorated these with icing, but I was running low on time as I was up late last night baking these.  Next time I use these I will decorate the cookies for sure.  Daddy loved the cookies, although Angie ate most of them. =)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Homemade Lip Gloss

I am a lip gloss junkie.  I always buy the multi-packs of Bonne Bell Lipsmackers and I keep them all over my house.  Lipsmackers has always been my favorite, but it can get expensive buying multi-packs costing $1 or more per lip gloss.  I have tried other homemade lip gloss recipes before, but they were complicated, they had a lot of hard-to-find ingredients, and to be honest I didn't really like the results.  Lately I have been discovering the benefits of coconut oil.  It can be used for just about anything under the sun.  You can find a list of a gazillion uses for coconut oil here.  One of those uses is lip gloss.  But rather than use straight coconut oil, I needed it to have a yummy scent.  So here's what I used:

1 cup coconut oil
1 packet Kool-aid drink mix
24 round bead organizers (These can be found in the bead/jewelry section of any craft store)

Melt 1 cup of coconut oil in a glass measuring cup.

Mix in a Kool-aid drink mix packet of your choice.
Carefully pour the mixture into the bead organizers.

Let cool.  I recommend putting them on a plate or tray and putting in the fridge.  This way, it will only take about 30 minutes for them to harden.  Otherwise it will take several hours.

This is what they look like all done:

Now I have several nice, all-natural lip glosses with a delicious cherry scent!  I am so excited to use all of these, not to mention it will save $!

P.S.  For best results, keep these in the fridge when you are not using them.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Easy Knitted Tie

Are you looking for a quick, easy and inexpensive handmade gift to make for Father's Day?  Look no further!
I am sharing this knitted tie pattern just in time for Father's Day.  It's a fairly easy pattern, and it takes only a few hours to knit.  I originally found the pattern here, then I made some slight modifications.  I made these as stocking stuffers for the men in my family last Christmas.  Dads will appreciate them since they're handmade!
This is knit using cotton yarn and 1 pair of 5 mm knitting needles. If you don't have any cotton yarn, you only need one ball which you can buy for under $2.

Directions: Cast on 2 sts
Row 1: K1, m1, k1, m1 (4 sts)
Row 2: Knit across
Row 3: k2, inc 1 in next st, k1, (5 sts)
Row 4: k2, m1, k1, m1, k2. (7 sts)
Row 5: Knit across
Rows 6-13: repeat rows 4&5 until 19 sts on needle.
Knit until piece measure 5 inches from tip.
Dec Row: k1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. (17 sts)
Knit until piece measures 7 1/2 " from tip
Dec Row: k1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. (15 sts)
Knit until piece measures 10 " from tip
Dec Row: k1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. (13 sts)
Knit until piece measures 12 1/2 " from tip
Dec Row: k1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. (11 sts)
Knit until piece measures 15" from tip
Dec Row: k1, k2tog, k5, k2tog, k1. (9 sts)
Knit until piece measures 17 1/2 inches from tip
Dec Row: k1, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k1. (7 sts)
Knit until piece measures 52" from tip or desired length.
Next: knit across
Next: k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1. (5 sts)
Next: knit across
Next: k2tog, k1, k2tog.(3 sts)
Next: k across
Next: k2tog, k1. (2 sts_)
Next: k2tog, bind off

Here is a close up picture.  Like I said, it is pretty quick and easy, and it makes a nice gift, so if you still need a present for Dad, you still have plenty of time to make one!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Redneck Doilies

I was inspired to make these after seeing this t-shirt rug in Family Fun Magazine awhile back.  I figured if you can make these out of t-shirt yarn, then why not make them with plastic bag yarn?
This project costs little to nothing to make, and it's very easy so you can make them with kids.
You can view this post for detailed instructions on how to make plastic bag yarn. 
But first, you will need an 18 inch embroidery hoop or metal wreath form. 
Take 8 plastic loops, about 1 inch wide, and stretch them over the hoop.  Arrange them like spokes in a wheel.  You will have to push 2 of them together so that you will have an odd number of spokes.

Then take another plastic loop and thread it through the middle of the loop, and then back through itself.
Begin weaving the loop in and out of the spokes, going around the circle.

Note: Instead of looping all of the plastic loops together as it instucts in the post about making plastic yarn, it may be easier to use one loop at a time and add more as needed.
Keep weaving around and around the circle, adding more plastic loops as you go.

Once your circle is about 8 inches in diameter, you will want to separate each spoke of the wheel into separate strands and begin weaving in and out of each strand.  It will help to support the structure of your circle.
Keep going until your circle is 2-3 inches away from the inside of your hoop.
Weave the end of your last plastic strip into the body of your circle.  Take a pair of scissors and cut each spoke at the top.  Tie the 2 ends of each spoke together.
And then you should have something like this:

There are several things that you can use these for.  Here are just a few examples that I thought of:

    • Chair/seat cover
    • Placemat
    • Coasters (make them 4 inches in diameter)
    • Pillow covers (make 2 and sew together)
    • Doilies
If you use your imagination I'm sure you could think of a few more uses.  Let me know in the comments if you can think of any more!

Easy Tie-Dye Tank Top

I know I posted not long ago about how to dye fabric, but I just had to share this cool shirt that I just made.  I must admit that I just recently tried tie-dying for the first time.  I don't know why I didn't before, because it's so easy.  But rather than tie-dye with multiple colors and getting that awful hippie look, I dyed mine one color. 

I just bought some inexpensive white tank tops, and I already had a few boxes of fabric dye at home.  All you do is pinch the middle of the shirt and tie string or yarn around it (I learned the hard way that rubber bands do not work) and then keep going up the shirt, tying more lengths of yarn as you go.  I did one big circle on the front, but I made lots of small ones on the back. 

After you have tied up your shirt, dye it following the instructions here.  Then rinse, run it through the washer, and hang to dry.  It's that simple!  And I definitely will be making more of these soon.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tub and Shower Magic

I was cleaning my shower yesterday.  As I noticed the soap scum-covered shower doors that I always end up scrubbing unsuccessfully, I remembered something I had seen somewhere (Pinterest I'm sure) called Tub and Shower Magic.  Since I got the idea in my head, I just had to try it.  I already had the ingredients on hand, and it's so easy that I remembered how to make it from memory.

Mix equal parts of white vinegar and Dawn dish detergent (OK, so I used Aldi brand Dawn.  Doesn't make any difference.)  I mixed 1 1/2 cups of each.  Heat the vinegar in the microwave first, then pour into a spray bottle.  Then pour in the Dawn.  Shake gently to mix.

It works just like any other cleaner.  I sprayed the inside of my shower doors with the Magic, scrubbed with a scrub brush, and then rinsed.  It's a little hard to see the difference in my pictures, but take a look:



So you can somewhat see how it took the nasty soap scum off my shower doors.  I am pretty excited about this because in the past, nothing has worked.  I have tried my regular bathroom cleaners, I have scrubbed them with a Magic Eraser, and I have even tried making some other "miracle" cleaners that did nothing.  It was super easy to make, and who would have known that mixing two common household cleaners would solve all of our soap scum problems?