So with all my intrigue in all things Pinterest, I have been making A LOT of new recipes the past couple of weeks, none of which came from a box. The kids are loving it! Yesterday I was talking to William and telling him how much I enjoy making all these great new recipes from scratch. He agreed that the eats have been pretty good as of late, telling me, “You should make more stuff from scratch, maybe you could try some cookies. Are you gonna look on scratch today for a recipe?” Uhhhh…what? How sad is this, apparently the term “made from scratch” was previously not used in our household very often, so when he saw my confused look he added, “You KNOW, the website you get all your new recipes from, SCRATCH??? You keep telling me you have been making stuff from “Scratch”????? Oh poor child…dreading having to tell him that Aunt Jemima’s maple syrup isn’t an old family recipe.
I LOVE creative people; they inspire me to try new things and make my life better. Today while Pinterest stalking I found the most amazing solution to an “organizing problem” that I have been having.
If you are like me, you know that good accessorizing can turn a few timeless mix-n-match clothing pieces into an entire wardrobe of fun and trendy styles to match every mood. One of my favorite ways to accessorize is with a chunky or oversized necklace. Recently my collection had out-grown being able to stay in my jewelry box with my “real” pieces, so I was keeping then in little boxes at the bottom of my closet or tossing them on top of my jewelry box at night. Not the best system. I was constantly down on my hands and knees digging around in the closet trying to remember what I had or where things were. I have been stalking Pinterest hoping for a solution and today it magically appeared right before my eyes. It was simple and pretty — A short towel bar, with decorative shower curtain hooks! I got off the computer right away and had mine completed in 20 minutes, check it out:
I was very excited about this project. I had a brand new towel bar that I had been planning to return because it was too short for two towels, and I had an extra set of brand new shower hooks sitting in my linen closet. The towel bar was $5.99 at Wal-Mart and the hooks were $12.99 at Target. This only took about 15 or 20 minutes to install. I am loving the results. I hung mine behind my bathroom door, so I can see it whenever I want without it being in the way.
So that’s my posting for today. Enjoy!~
Just a quick post in case I vanish for a day or two. I am in the last week of the spring quarter for school and, quite frankly, I am not loving it. I am taking accelerated Spanish and a psych class called “Survey of Human Sexuality”. As a single person living in an all english speaking neighborhood, I have not had much opportunity to make use of either topic. I decided to enroll in things more relevant to my life next quarter, things I can talk about every day with people. So next go around I am taking “Geography and Weather” and “Marriage and the Modern Family”. Should be good. In my quest to be more social now that the kids are getting older, I find myself talking to many new people and the weather seems to dominate much of my conversations. Hopefully soon, I will be able to further dazzle perspective friends with my knowledge of tornadoes and cumulus nimbus clouds. If that doesn’t work, I can always offer up ideas on how to improve their marriage (married people love it when single people give them textbook advice about bettering their marital bliss) If that doesn’t reel them in, I can’t imagine what would. Who wouldn’t love Al Roker and Dr. Ruth all wrapped up in one?
The main reason for this post was to let you know about my adventures in academia. So to top things off for this week, when I entered my last blog posting about “Wedding Wonderland” I apparently was still on a sugar high from all the free cake and punch. I forgot to close the window for the latest spanish project I was doing and somehow lost all my work. Luckily I wasn’t too far along, but now I am racing to beat the clock. If for some reason I don’t make the deadline, does anyone know how to say “My blog ate my homework” in spanish?
I just got back from our local Bridal Show, otherwise referred to by me as “Wedding Wonderland.” (Before my friends and family pass out, NO I am not engaged, betrothed, promised or otherwise, so you can put away the scoreboards.) I have a friend who owns a restaurant here locally, and they had a booth at the show and asked if I could help out for a little bit. The kids were gone for the weekend and my housework was caught up, so I thought, “Sure, it will give me a reason to be up and showered before noon on my day off.”
I have to preface this post with a confession. I was kind of dreading going, not because I didn’t want to help the friend, I actually love the food and thought working the booth would be fun, but I had other reasons for my reluctance. As a non-twenty something, non-hottie, the idea of being surrounded by skinny, giddy brides-to-be was almost nauseating. I could just picture it: little bright-eyed babes, sauntering up and down the aisles of “Wedding Wonderland”, giggling as they tried to decide which feather boa would look best wrapped around their size 2 frame on their wedding night. All the while believing that choosing the right butter cream frosting for their big day would be the determining factor for the success of their marriage.
Being older, more mature, and lets face it - quite familiar with the wedding world – when I first arrived, I thought “Oh how can they fall for all the giddy hype of the wedding industry?” I knew that if it were me, I would never be so naive about the sales tactics of these bridal predators. This was going to be some GOOD people watching today!
So, I went in and got to work. My job today was to go around and talk to the other vendors at “Wedding Wonderland”, giving them our menus and business cards hoping they would direct brides our way for their catering needs. Simple enough. That should only take 30 minutes or so. ANd Bonus, maybe along the way I could grab some nice “swag” giveaways. Piece of cake, literally!
I started out on a mission, that being: Get done and Get out, FAST. However, as I began walking through “Wedding Wonderland”, I began to discover why these brides seem so delusional and giddy the longer they were there. I was dressed up in regular street clothes, no catering uniform or anything, so I blended in with all the girls trolling for swag and happiness. I found myself being approached by every vendor I passed. They didn’t know why I was there, so I was free game.
The first person to approach me walked up and said “Oh you have such pretty hair!” Really? I dye it myself and even sometimes butcher, I mean cut, my bangs myself. But I replied “Why thank you.” I kept walking since I had a job to do. A minute later, another vendor said, “Love your handbag!” Uhhh…okay, thanks. As I worked my way through the people and booths, I unknowingly began to slow down and stop at all the tables, (not just the ones that would be interested in catering), gathering swag and compliments by the handful. I looked at the shoe booth, I ogled the bling, I tasted the yummy cake samples and found myself almost having a good time. I wasn’t digging on the wedding aspect, but for some reason I was feeling really pretty and kinda special. Maybe these things weren’t so bad.
Just as was I about to fall into the trance and drink the proverbial “Beautiful Girl Kool Aid”, I was struck by a lightening bolt of reality. I had just turned the corner of another aisle and a nicely dressed woman with perfect hair and makeup approached me. She said “Wow, you have the most gorgeous complexion! And your makeup is just so perfectly matched with your bone structure and skin tones.” Ehhhh? What? Well okay, whatever. But realized I had heard those exact words somewhere before, but where?? And then it hit me, dangling over her “oh so perfectly coiffed hair”, was a sign for a certain “Home Business Make Up Company” (no name mentioned to protect the innocent, but think pink).
I KNEW where I had heard those words before! It was on the ”lady product” aisle at Wal-Mart. Some “pink selling” lady had said those exact words to me a couple of years back, after stalking me down 2 aisles of shopping. Shortly after her kind words, there came a spiel about “pink company’s” make up and skin care lines. It had been a rouse, a way to get me feeling great long enough to hear her pitch. And it worked.
And now I was falling for it again. I had just spent an hour or so milling about, telling myself that bride or not, I was apparently the bell of the “Wedding Wonderland”! But alas, I was snookered, tricked, bamboozled, falsely flattered! It was all just part of the game. I couldn’t believe I spent that hour thinking and feeling as if I were the most gorgeous creature in the room. Yet in some weird way, I kind of liked it. Stunned and shocked by my own vulnerability, I did what any respectable 40 something year old gal would do in that situation….
I asked when the next bridal show was and wrote it in on my calendar as ”Feel Like a Hottie Day”. I blocked out 6 hours just to be safe…
**follow up** Just for all those who read this…please know that this is written tongue in cheek, and I didn’t mean for this to sound like a plea for compliments. I promise my self esteem is in fair shape (it would have to be or i wouldn’t have just bought my first pair of skinny jean/jeggin’s! who designed those!?!) I have the very BEST friends and family, and am humbled by all your kind words. Use them sparingly or they may just go straight to my “pretty head!” Love you all.
So I got a little behind on my blogging this week. Seems that there is life beyond the cyber-world and mine was in need of some TLC. The upside is that during my little break from Pinterest stalking, I decided that in my re-attempt at creating a fabu dish to share on here, I would do something totally from scratch with no recipe at all. This is my favorite little cooking game that I like to refer to as “Rushing Roulette”. The rules of the game are as follows: During a well thought out and planned grocery shopping trip, stop in the middle and think of something you have never made from scratch. Then, without phone googling a recipe, go through the store and pick out what items you THINK create the taste, look and texture you have in mind. Finish your shopping and then go home and attempt to make the dish right away, before you have time or are tempted to dig up the real recipe. The name of the game comes from the fact that because I am usually shopping on the run and rushing through, the final outcome odds are about the same as that of roulette.
Sound like fun? Oh I tell you it actually is! And even more challenging with 2 little boys hanging off your cart begging for gum or rolling cantaloupes down the aisle. For some it is stressful, but for me it’s a way of channeling my creative side while also being productive. Moms don’t always have the luxury of sitting down in front of a lovely blank canvas, water-color palette in hand, and letting the inner artist flow. So this is my version.
This week, after spending thirty minutes making out my meal plan at home before heading to the store, I suddenly got a hankering for homemade chili and it wasn’t on the list for this week so, voila, a new game of Rushing Roulette was on! I made it through the grocery store in record time and jumped in the mobile, heading home to put on my chemists goggles and let the challenge begin!
After making the mixture in record time,( 10 minutes from start to finish if you don’t count simmering for flavor), the dish was done and ready for tasting. I have to say, it turned out to be very delicious! (I had that confirmed by my favorite neighbor who is a self-proclaimed chili connoisseur). Here’s what the finished dish looked like:
It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the “broth or sauce” is a lighter, soup/stew like texture. It is really quite tastyand has bit of a zing to it . The ironic part here is that the whole reason I did this was so that I would have a great recipe to share with you, yet in my usual style of creative cooking, I didn’t write any of it down as I went. Oh sometimes I just love myself so much…
Out of love for my readers, I went back and counted every little thing I used and managed to come up with the exact recipe. Luckily my hit and miss memory was on hit mode tonight! So here ya go friends, you can make this in 10 minutes and let it cook as short or as long a you like. Let it simmer a while if you want it to marinate a little more. Mmmmmm…it’s cold outside but there’s chili inside!
1 lb ground beef
2 15.5 oz cans of mild chili beans (not canned chili)
2 10 oz. cans of dice tomatoes with green chiles (like Rotel)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of black beans (this is the only thing you will rinse/drain)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh onion
2 tbsp HOT Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cumin
shredded cheddar cheese
Brown your ground beef. Do NOT drain the fat ( I usually drain it but not for chili). While browning, open all your cans of ingredients. Drain and wash only the Black Beans.
Once your meat is browned, pour in all other ingredients.
You can eat it right away, or let it simmer for a bit to release all the flavors. Top with shredded cheese. It’s fast and fabulous.
Prep/mixing time: Approx 10 minutes
Cost: Approx. $10
Feeds: 4-6 people
Part of my obsession with wanting to be a Pinterest groupie and for wanting to write this blog, was to broaden my cooking and baking skills. (No gasps from the knowing audience please!) For those who don’t know me, in the past I have been what some people might call “baking challenged”, or “packaged desserts gifted” depending on your level of optimism. My baking skills were once so bad that long ago, when I was just a young engaged gal, a friend spent a day with me trying to figure out my issues with making cookies. After 3 botched batches, she actually yelled out “STOP!” Then much to my shock, she picked up my phone and called my betrothed at work and told him he should actually reconsider the whole thing, based solely on my horrific baking skills. Yes, it was THAT bad. I think I remember her crying or something as she left…
Now, my cooking skills on the other hand are not so bad. Give me a list of random ingredients and I can usually come up with something quite edible. I love mixing spices and sauces and trying to make the mundane an adventure for the taste buds.
With all of that said, I had wanted my first food blog posting to be about a new attempt at baking. I thought “Lets start out with a real success story!” Unfortunately, I forgot to mention that to my kitchen and baking ingredients. Let’s just say that my desire to make a monster cookie with fabulous decorative icing(how hard could that be?), turned out to be a monstrous disaster, ending with some mushy oily “stuff” in a round pan. The “non-icing” on that brilliant project, was giving myself a 2nd degree burn on the top of my left hand/wrist. Yeah that’s right, 2nd degree, on TOP! How does that even happen?!?!? I know that GOOD bakers wear their scars like trophies, bragging about how they got them making award-winning, gastronomical treats. But not me. If this thing scars, for the rest of my life I will have people saying “Oh! That must have been painful! How did it happen?” and they will sit with baited breath waiting for a tale that will change their lives. To their disappointment, I will have to reply “Uhhh…this old thing? Oh yeah, uh that’s from baking a disgusting pile of inedible mush.” Of course, if my inquirers seem like they really need a good ending, I could take a page out the “Dude’s Guide to Looking Cool” and just lie and say I got it wrestling an electric eel that zapped me.
Anywho…you probably have figured out by now that I don’t have a fabulous recipe to post and brag about today. There are no pictures of a “magazine worthy” gourmet cookie, or pictures of happy, non nauseous people eating it. Nope, all I have is a gross story and a branding on my top left extremity to back it up. However, I don’t give up easy, so tonight I will be COOKING something new (with a first aid kit on standby) and posting it tomorrow. Be prepared to be blown away by my culinary triumph. So look out kitchen because I am bringing it tonight…Game on Oven…Game On!
So, for my first trick, I will attempt to stop my little “men” from asking the un-ending question of “So what are we having for dinner tonight?” For me, this project was one with mulitple hopeful benefits. As a stay home momma of two boys, who apparently have metabolisms that break down food faster than my garbage disposal, I really have to plan out our grocery bill carefully. For years now I have made a weekly or bi-weekly menu and then shopped accordingly. As you can see from the picture below, the sheet of paper tacked on my board was not fancy and easily should have just had the word “FOOD” scribbled across the top.
Mmmmmm…appetizing right? The only thing this “menu” did was make my kids really nervous because they couldn’t read my writing and didn’t trust that somewhere on that sheet of paper it didn’t say “baked cat food casserole with shredded cheese”. Silly kids! Any frugal mom knows that a can of good cat food costs way more than a can of cheap tuna. So, to hopefully lengthen the timeline to “anxiety therapy” for my kids, I decided to create a new menu board. This is in hope of make things easier for me, more visually appealing for the kids, and more organized overall. Today I bring you “The Master Piece”!
Better, no? Surprisingly, this little work of culinary art only took 50 minutes to make. The colored papers and background were scrapbook items I already had around the house. The only things I bought were the metal clips, $4.95 and the pretty white, scalloped, silver edged gift tags by Martha Stewart (at Michaels, $4.95). The rest is creative history. I ran out of gift tags so I haven’t done the school lunch options yet, so no worries, they do get fed over the noon hour!
One other thing of note for anyone else out there who is as “Type A” as I am. On the back of each menu item, I have all the ingredients listed in ink, with the current price for each one written in pencil next to it. Makes list making and budgeting that much easier.
So, the “men” are loving the menu board. Only one of my men can read yet, so he tells the other man what is coming up for the week. They are so excited they asked if they can help pick the food cards next time we do the board. “Of course” I said! “Can we also help clip them into the metal clips?” they asked, to which I replied “What are you crazy!?!? Do you know how long it took me to get those things to stay on the paper?!?!”. Yeah…our little family is a work in progress.
Before I became a full-time mom, I think I remember actually being a much more diverse and interesting person (or at least thats how I like to remember it). I actually had thoughts beyond saving money on diapers and trying not to step on Legos in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom. I was a working gal, doing independent contracting as a political and charitable fundraiser. My job kept me insanely busy, yet somehow I was the gal who still found time to handmake 200 Christmas cards every year, while also being in the midst of working on a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign, helping chair the next charitable event and even manage to do laundry a couple times a year –I felt like I could tackle any amount of challenges put in front of me…and then I became a mom. Suddenly I went from juggling meetings and budgets, to being a stay home mom and figuring out how to hold a non-stop nursing baby, while somehow taking a potty break. I was still multi-tasking, but creativity was slowly taking a back seat to survival! I had days like many stay at home moms, when I longed for a day job with a desk and a cubicle just so I could hide out and relax a little.
Jump ahead 7 years and we find a mom who is finally finding her groove and loving every minute of being mommy. After having 2 baby boys, (3 years apart, they aren’t twins!) and multiple adventures in child rearing, I was ready to get back to being that feisty, creative gal I once knew. I wanted to take my past talents and experiences and use them to become “THAT mom”. Yes, you know the one…she bakes the best cakes, sends creative healthy lunches to school with her kids, doesn’t smell her kids socks to see if they can go back in the drawer, volunteers for everything, runs the PTA, does her own home repairs, drives carpool, saves wayward animals and does it all while wearing pearls…THAT mom! Well, thats not EXACTLY what happened…but a mom can hold out hope.
Recently a friend introduced me to a site called “Pinterest.com”. It is like the mothership for creative souls! This website has people with more talent than I could ever muster, and they post their blogs about all the fabulous things they create, do and cook. I saw it and thought I was in Inspiration Heaven! I swear Martha Stewart must look at that site and have craft envy. If you haven’t checked it out, I strongly suggest you do. These crafters, bakers and designers are no amateurs. This website is so incredible, there is a waiting list to be INVITED to be a member. It’s like the über country club for the DIY gifted.
So, I applied to be a member. I eagerly awaited my acceptance notice, all the while thinking of all the great things I was going to do once I joined. I could be one of the chosen ones! To my dismay, I was never accepted…which I am pretty sure translates to “I was rejected”. Rejected?!? How could that be?? It was like being the last kid picked for a team in PE, and possibly worse. It was kind of depressing. These people didn’t know anything about me or my talents (or lack there of). I felt like I was back in grade school hoping the cool girls would let me dangle from the monkey bars with them after lunch. But sometimes things work out for the best, back in grade school I wasn’t cool enought to dangle, but I also didn’t end up tossing my proverbial cookies due to hanging upsidedown after a feast of bologna sandwiches and twinkies. This trial of social acceptance would be no different. I was going to make the best of it!
So that’s how THIS blog got its start and its name –I am a Pinterest Reject! I have decided not to let it get me down. Invite or not, I can still access the site and try to become that mom I have always wanted to be. So voila…The Life Of A Pinterest Reject was born! I will be attempting new recipies, making new crafts, weaving ball gowns from dental floss and posting my creations, both good and bad, for the world to see. And perhaps if I am lucky, maybe just maybe, one of those fancy pants gals at Pinterest will one day see how fabulous and worthy I am to be a member of their “oh so sought after club” and they will come begging me to join.
OR…maybe not. Either way, I guarantee that this blog is the beginning of a wild and crazy adventure. So buckle up for the ride and follow along…I can’t promise that at times you won’t be sorry you did, but I can promise that at the very least you will always come away with at least a giggle!