Announcements!

This post comes to you today in four parts:

1.) An announcement

2.) A project
3.) A new series
4.) Another announcement
Part one – an announcement!
For the month of July, I have committed to writing a 50,000 word novel….as part of Camp NaNoWriMo. For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo here is a little background: November is National Novel Writing Month…NaNoWriMo. For the months of April and July NaNoWriMo has done, and will be doing summer camp sessions, and I have signed up for a month of insanity writing. A really good friend of mine (and fellow writer) is taking on this assignment with me, and I’m really glad that we will be cabin mates (in the same writing group) for the month! I’m going to try to update the blog throughout the month and let you know how I’m doing as far as my word count goal, and whether or not I’ve completely lost my mind yet!! 
Created by me with Studio for iPhone! Love that app!!

Part two: A project

I received a bag of fabric and sewing supplies from a dear lady at church and am looking for the perfect project to use this fabric for. I’m looking for some dress patterns with kind of a vintage feel to them. I’m also working this summer on making a custom dress form (along with writing a novel, and trying to read through that list I posted last week) so that I can make some better fitting dresses! So that was two projects really!
Part Three: A new Series
I’m planning a new series for the blog!! I’m calling it “Homemade” I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes, either made be me, passed down to me, or from some of my favorite bloggers. I have a few recipes in the works, and one that I will be testing tomorrow night! 
another graphic made (by me!!) with Studio for iPhone
4.) Part Four: Another announcement
Now that I’m at part four I forgot what my other announcement was going to be…..well, that tells you what this day has been like!!
I get to start writing in a few days, I have lots of fun recipes coming up, and maybe a fun collaborative post or two! 
See you tomorrow! 
Blessings, 
Megan  

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Birthday Breakfast

Saturday was my Mom’s birthday and I wanted to do something special for her, so I combed through my boards on Pinterest until I came across a Fiesta Breakfast Casserole. This is a great recipe, but I ended up modifying it based on my family’s personal preferences. Here is what I did.

1.) I sprayed a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, and covered the bottom with a layer of frozen hash brown potatoes.

2.) I diced up one red bell pepper, and a small onion. I layered this mixture on top of the potatoes.

3.) While I was working on the veggies, I had some bacon cooking in a pan on the stove. I cooked it until it was crisp, and then crumbled it over the top of the peppers and onions. 
4.) In a mixing bowl, I mixed nine (9) eggs, and seasoned them with salt, pepper, cumin, and cilantro. I use a salt grinder so I didn’t actually measure the salt, I just used two (2) twists worth of salt, a palm full of pepper, and two (2) pinches (literal pinches, with my fingers) of cumin. The only cilantro that I have is dried so I added three or four shakes…..as you can see, when I’m cooking I don’t really measure…I just play around with the seasonings as I go. I whisked all of this right into the eggs…
5.) Pour the egg mixture over top of everything in your dish and top with cheddar cheese. 
6.) I did mine the night before, and left it in the fridge over night. In the morning when I got up, I put it in the oven @375 for 45 minutes. The cheese got bubbly and golden brown, and the eggs were cooked through! Serve with salsa, green onion, or whatever other fixins’ you like! 
ENJOY!
Happy birthday to my sweet Mom! I love, and appreciate you so much more than you could imagine! 
Blessings All!! 
Megan 

Back in the Swing of Things

I have a lot to catch up on….but I’ll try to keep it pretty brief:

School started, I started running, I finished a few books, started a few books, baked some new recipes, working on a book review (or two or three), and I have a few new sewing projects in the planning stages.
I’m really loving my Abnormal Psychology class. It’s been pretty interesting learning about what “Abnormal Psychology” really means, and you’d be surprised how our society today has kind of twisted that into something totally different.

I started running….something that I haven’t done in 7 or 8 years. I haven’t done it since I was graded on how fast I could run a mile in High School. Let me tell you, running at my pace, when I want to, because I WANT to…is much more fun than being made to do it for a grade.

I have a Lemon-Blueberry bar recipe to share with you soon….

I have a book review in my drafts that I’m still working on, look for that coming soon…

and at some point I will share a tutorial for a homemade iPod/iPhone arm band for running, walking, mowing the lawn, and what have you!

So, be looking for those posts coming to you soon!!

Blessings,

Megan

The Bottom of the Barrel

Today is grocery day….yay! That may not seem like a big deal but it really is. You see, the fridge was pretty empty when it came time for lunch yesterday so I did what I could, with what I had….here is the result.

Easy Jalapeno Chicken Nachos:

(That title makes it sound waaaaay fancier than it actually is. What is really is, is scraping the bottom of the barrel, and just using whatever I had on hand. It is crazy easy, and you can mix and match ingredients….you do not have to follow this completely.)

1.) I figured out what I had on hand, I happened to have a jalapeno and half and onion. I thinly sliced the pepper, and diced the onion,

I just wanted to get a little color on the onions and peppers, so I tossed them in a saute pan with some butter, and cranked up the heat on the burner. 

Get them nice and caramelized, but be CAREFUL they don’t burn! There is a fine line between caramelized and burnt….do not cross that line! Caramelizing gives great flavor, burning does not!
2.) Earlier in the morning, mom boiled some chicken breasts so that we could use them up. I took a now cooled chicken breast and shredded it. 
3.) After I shredded it, I tossed it in the saute pan with the onion/pepper mixture, and added another tablespoon or so of butter. 
4.) While that was heating up, I melted shredded cheese over some tortilla chips (I’m telling you, this is the easiest recipe ever!). 
5) When the chicken was at the temperature that I wanted it, I simply piled it all on top of my chips……See, crazy easy!
Top it off with your favorite salsa, or hot sauce. A dollop of sour cream, and may some cilantro if you have it on hand, and you have the easiest Jalapeno Chicken nachos. 
This is one of those dishes where, all I did was use what I have on hand. If you don’t have sour cream, thin out some plain greek yogurt with a little squeeze of lemon or lime. No jalapeno? No problem! You could use any kind of bell pepper, or don’t use any at all if don’t want to! You can do what ever you want with this dish. Mix and match ingredients, play around with it until it’s what you like! Have fun with it. 
This recipe (if you can call it that) probably isn’t blog worthy, but what the heck, here it is anyway. I was thinking that if you wrap it all up into tortillas, you could do enchiladas with a salsa verde, or grill it up in quesadillas. Who knows, I’ll have to test it out soon!
Blessings, 
Megan 

The Pin Tester Movement

If you are anything like me, you have boards on Pinterest full of things you want to try right? You see it, say to yourself  “I’m going to try that! I can do it!!” and you never actually get around to doing it….I know I do! Well, I decided to join “The Pintester Movement” and finally try out one of those many pins that I said I would try. Here’s how it went.

I saw this pin on Pinterest for homemade Cheeze-It crackers.

via: http://shopgirlmaria.blogspot.com/2013/02/homemade-cheez-its.html

I followed the directions to the letter. It was really easy to make, and they were delicious but something was off. They were really moist, and chewy. Not crispy and crunchy like a Cheeze-it. I played around with the recipe a few times, changed the type of cheese I used, baked them longer, nothing helped. I honestly don’t know what to do to make them crispy. If you would like to try the recipe for yourself here it is: {with notes from me, Meg, in black}…

YOU WILL NEED:
8oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp aged white cheddar) { Author’s note: I did NOT have 8oz of ONE cheese…I had 3oz of shredded mozzarella, 3oz of shredded colby jack, and I made up the last 2oz using string cheese….}
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
3 – 4 tbs ice water
DIRECTIONS: (These are Shopgirl’s Directions…with my Pictures)


1. First, mix together the shredded cheese,  half of the salt and the softened butter. (I used sharp aged white cheddar cheese, but you can use whatever kind of cheese you like. I shredded my own cheese just because I think it has better flavor and melts better, but you can use pre-shredded too to save some time!) Add in the flour and mix until the dough looks like little fluffy clumps. Then, with the mixer running begin adding the ice water and mix until a soft dough forms. (use as much ice water as you need for a dough to form).
2. Divide the dough in two, form each into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes. Then, roll the dough out on a floured surface into about an 1/8 inch thickness and using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into about 1 inch squares.
Meg’s Corner Shelf
3. Preheat your oven to 375 deg F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper {if you don’t have parchment paper, don’t sweat…silicone baking sheets work great}. Transfer your little cheez-its onto the parchment paper, make a hole in the center of each with a toothpick, then sprinkle them with the rest of the salt. Bake for about 7 – 10 minutes (baking time will depend on your oven, just watch them carefully so they don’t burn!), or until they have puffed up and the edges begin to brown. Let cool before eating. {…or don’t let them cool…they taste great right out of the oven.}
Meg’s Corner Shelf
Even for turning out really soft,chewy, and bigger than I imagined, they still had great flavor and are amazing right out of the oven! I wouldn’t necessarily call this test a fail, but I don’t feel right calling it a win either. So it’s  a draw….a very tasty draw. Try it, you just might like it. 
Now I want to urge you to pick a pin from your boards and get to testing! You might just find that you love whatever it is you try! Don’t worry if you fail, or if it isn’t what you expect join the movement, and test those pins!
Check out the Pintester for more…well, pin testing! Have fun testing!! 
Blessings, 
Megan

p.s Go ahead and give me a follow if you like! I write about just about anything you can imagine. Sewing, cooking, books, movies…….

7 Quick Takes: 3/8/13

It’s Friday once again, and you know what that means……7 Quick Takes. I’m joining up with Jen as always, at Conversion Diary. Go check out what everybody else is talking about this week.

1.) I made this soup this week. It turned out so great! It was very flavorful, and oh so healthy. My family loved it and there was enough leftover for another meal. I recommend trying it…it’s easy, tasty, and filling. You can’t go wrong with this.

2.) Monday night, one of my favorite shows airs. I don’t know if any of you watch Switched at Birth on ABC Family, but this week’s episode was phenomenal….I talked about it in a post earlier this week. This show is so well done, and there is a lot that can be learned from it. Check it out if you haven’t yet!

3.) Tuesday my sweet, sweet dad tried to get reservations for our family at the Be Our Guest Restaurant for dinner while we are in Florida. It would have been to celebrate my 20th birthday, and mom and dad’s 25th anniversary. They are booked SOLID the whole week we are there, but that is fine with me. Just being on this trip with my family is all I need. I am so excited just to be there!

4.) Wednesday night I took the online test for the Jeopardy! College Tournament……My family makes it a point to watch Jeopardy! together every night. If we aren’t home we DVR it, and watch it later. Dad and I each take the test every year. I felt so dumb last night when I saw some of those questions, and I learned that I know nothing about current pop culture……

5.) To go along with the above, my dad was on a game show, just not Jeopardy! He was on Who Wants to be a Millionaire a few years back when Regis Philbin came back and did a week in Prime Time. We are quite proud of him around these parts. Even though he has this under his belt, Jeopardy! is the one that we both would really like to try and get on. I have watched Jeopardy! since I was in elementary school, of course I didn’t know anything back then, but now I look forward to sitting down with my family for a half an hour each night and watching it. Sounds odd I know, but we love it!

6.) You guys all know by now that I like to read. I bought a copy of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables this week. If you have not seen this book, it is HUGE! I put it on the counter and the cashier picked it up, looked at it, and (dead serious) asked me if I planned on reading the entire thing. I responded (very politely), of course…why wouldn’t I? Well, she said, it’s just soooooooooooo big! I am undaunted by this. I will be in a car from Mid-Michigan to Florida. I need LOTS of reading material! When people tell me that they don’t like reading, or that they could never read a WHOLE book……I don’t even want to think about it……I can’t imagine not wanting to read, there is something amazing about a book, here I hope this will help you understand what I’m talking about….

7.) One of my favorite ladies is performing at our church this weekend and I am so excited to get to meet her! Chonda Pierce is a Christian comedienne and she is amazing! She has a wonderful testimony, and when she sings….ah! I can’t wait! She is supremely funny, I know that we are in for a treat this weekend! 
 
I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy this time with your family and friends…I know I will!
Blessings,
Megan 

Homemade Granola Bites

It’s snowing here today, for about the third day in a row, and I’m hunkered down; working on my psychology paper, watching Downton Abbey on NetFlix, and figured that I would take a small break and share this recipe with you.

I love making these homemade Granola Bites, I eat one in the morning for breakfast with a smoothie, and it keeps me going for hours. They are delicious, you can add to them whatever you want, and they are easy to make and store.

The recipe is this:

1/2 Cup of Nut Butter (Peanut, Almond, Cashew) I use peanut butter, to please everyone’s taste
1/3 Cup of Honey
1 Cup of Old Fashioned Oats
1 Cup of Shredded Coconut (I use unsweetened because this recipe is sweet enough already)
1-2 tablespoons of some kind of flavoring in my latest batch I used vanilla, and in my first batch I used maple  you can mix it up to be whatever you want.
1/2 Cup of some kind of mix-ins: Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch chips, dried fruit.

Throw it all in your mixer, and mix until well combined. You can scoop them out into little balls, or wrap them as small bars. This recipe is entirely yours to have fun with. You can literally do whatever you want to with this recipe. I do however recommend that you store them in the freezer, they hold up much better that way, than at room temperature.

 Gather your ingredients

 Throw them in the bowl and mix well!
Mix VERY well
Scoop, 

 and store. I use leftover containers. I stack them in two layers with parchment paper between them. 
I also scooped some right onto small squares of parchment (using the same scoop from above), 
and wrapped them up as bite sized granola bars! Then I tossed it all in the freezer to store. They are quite tasty, and really easy to do for breakfast with a green smoothie, or some kind of protein smoothie. 
With this recipe I cannot stress enough to just have fun with it. You can honestly put whatever you like into it, fruit, chocolate, nuts. The possibilities are endless! HAVE FUN!
Blessings,
Megan 

7 Quick Takes: 11/30/12

It’s FRIDAY! and that means that it’s time for yet another installment of 7 Quick Takes. I’ll be joining Jen and the others, over at Conversion Diary like I always do…go read the others and add your link!

1. My last QT post was all about Black Friday….I know that I said I wasn’t doing any shopping that day, well….I was wrong. I ended up at a bookstore to buy gift cards for those people on my list that don’t like anything. While I was in line my attention was drawn to a display of Christmas CD’s and I just HAD to add another one to my collection. I picked up A Capella group Straight No Chaser’s CD, Holiday Spirits. You absolutely HAVE to check these guys out, they will blow you away! Here, let me show you….

2. My actual Christmas shopping is done….technically. I’m doing homemade gifts, so I don’t consider buying paint, embroidery floss, or canvases to be “Christmas Shopping”. I have one cross stitch project finished, another one started, and two finished paintings….however, my list keeps growing! I still have to start another cross stitch project, and a few small sewing projects. I really hope I’m not cutting it too close this year!

3. We had our first combined rehearsal for Messiah this week. Our church choir will be singing along with four area high schools (one of which is my Alma Mater), and a local Chorale. I know that it’s only been a few years since I graduated, and my former director is still there, but man did I feel old! I may only be a few years older, but a lot can change in those few years….

4. I really forgot how much fun it was to sing Messiah….it was four years ago when I did it last, this time I feel like I know what I’m doing, and I SOUND like I know what I’m doing! I’m having a great time  being a part of something that is so special to our community.

5. In addition to singing in Messiah , I will be playing in the orchestra for our church’s Christmas concert the next weekend. This is what I love! As much as enjoy praising God with my voice, when I can glorify him through song, and play my horn….that is what truly brings me joy!

6. I signed up to bring an appetizer to my staff Christmas party. I thought to myself “oh, this’ll be great! I have all kinds of recipes pinned to Pinterest!” This thought, all though true, turned out to be quite misguided. The majority of the recipes that I have pinned are deserts….so any suggestions on something that is easy, and can feed a crowd would be quite appreciated!

7. Winter Semester ends in THREE WEEKS!!! It’s not like I’m counting or anything : )

7a. Advent begins this Sunday, I want to wish you all a wonderful advent season!

Blessings,
Megan

Baked Apple Chips

It is a really cold, really rainy, really windy day here in Michigan….which to me means it’s a great day to stay inside curled up with a good book. Right now I’m reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I just started it, and haven’t gotten very far but it sounds like a great read.

Nothing goes better with a good book than a cup of hot tea. To go with my tea I made some baked apple chips.

To make the apple chips, preheat your oven to 200 degrees

Slice three apples (or however many you want) about 1/8 of an inch thick (you can slice them using a mandolin, or with a sharp knife, whatever you prefer. I used Honey Crisp apples, but you can use any type of apple.

Arrange your apples in a single layer, on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat…if you don’t have parchment or a silpat, spray your baking sheet with some non-stick cooking spray. When you have them arranged on the sheet, spray the apples with non-stick spray before you put them in the oven,

Bake your chips in the oven for two hours @ 200 degrees.

***NOTE: When the two hours are up, you will take your chips out of the oven, and ask yourself “Why aren’t they crispy…they’re supposed to be chips?!”
LET THEM SIT OUT! Leave them on the baking sheet, or put them on a plate….I guarantee that they WILL become crispy…you have to trust me on this***

Now, normally chips are served with some sort of dip right?? Salsa, Guacamole, Cheese, French Onion dip….you get where I’m going with this??

To go with the apple Chips, my mom whipped up a dip:

1 8oz. package of cream cheese
1 C. Peanut Butter
1 C. Brown Sugar
and a little bit of milk

Mix this all up, chill for a few hours and serve with your apple chips!

Beware: These are ADDICTING!! You will want to eat them all and not share…..please try to show more restraint than me! : )

Enjoy!

Cross Stitch Canvas Painting

So, I have been seeing this pinned all over Pinterest lately, and figured that if you can paint it as a mural on the wall, why not scale it down, and put it on canvas. 
With that thought in mind, I grabbed a canvas and set to work. 
I started out by drawing a grid on my canvas with a pencil and a ruler. 
Then, using this existing cross stitch pattern that I dug out of my overflowing craft basket,

I started blocking it out on my grid, adding the dark lines that, if cross stitched, would be considered the back-stitching.

I changed up the color scheme from the original. 
The original is a sunflower, that uses three different shades of yellow. 
I mixed up three shades of pink, from dark to light, and followed the pattern. 

 Now it’s time for the back-stitching. Back-stitching when you cross stitch is meant to bring out the details in the stitch work. In the original painting because of the contrasting colors you can clearly see detail.

In mine, because the colors are SO similar I ended up doing the back-stitching.

 The almost-but-not-quite-finished product. I’m going to finish it by painting my aunt’s name on the bottom in cross stitch script. This will likely be her Christmas gift this year.

It still needs to be cleaned up a bit, I achieved what I set out to do!

~Megan