Monday, February 28, 2011

Delicious Artichoke Rigatoni

Pasta is a staple in our house so we're always looking for ways to spice it up. I loved this recipe I found and wanted to share my version of it with you.

• 1 T salt
• 12 oz box of rigatoni
• 5 T olive oil
• 3 T lemon juice
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 t dried oregano
• Salt & pepper
• 1 jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
• 1 Roma tomato, diced (we used cherry tomatoes)
• 4 T fresh chopped parsley
• 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Optional: For a more filling meal, add some grilled chicken or pepperoni slices

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add salt and cook rigatoni according to box directions.

Drain pasta and rinse in cold water. Toss pasta in cold water for a few minutes until it cools.

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt & pepper.

Add the artichoke hearts, tomato, rigatoni, and parsley. If you added the optional meat, mix that in now.

Top with grated parmesan cheese and lemon juice.

Eating this as I type! Fabulous!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blog advertising?

How do you feel about advertisements on blogs?

Do you notice them? Do you avoid blogs that have giant ads all over them? Do you support other bloggers who try to make some extra money from ads?

As of now, I have chosen NOT to have ads on my blog because that's not what blogging is about, IMO. My blog was about searching for happiness and sharing my creativity with all of you. There have been times when people have asked me about advertising and I turned them down just for this reason. Maybe one day I'll change my mind, but for now, it's all ME : )

Every blogger has the choice about whether they want to have ads on their personal blog. I understand that everyone has their own opinions and they choose what they think will work best for them.

Please share your opinions!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cotton Ruffle Scarf

I keep a record of all my favorite crafts that I see on blogs and then I can go back to look through them when I need a new project. I saw this cute ruffle scarf on 3 Punk Mom back in November and finally had some time to try it. I love scarves that are not too thick so they work all year long. My scarf came our super cute and I love how the ruffles go all the way around!

I did a little fashion show for the Hubby and Kitty felt left out...
And my stupid faces...
My mini baby bump : )
He loves to take pictures of me when I look stupid.
These are totally embarrassing, but hey, I'm feeling gutsy today!
I'm a dork!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tropical Coconut Shrimp & Mango Rice

On a whim, we decided to make a fun tropical dinner on a Saturday night. It was really fun to make and the dinner was surprisingly good! It kind of reminded me of our honeymoon in Maui and the luau dinner we went to.

Baked Coconut Shrimp
Adapted from here

• non-stick cooking spray
1 pounds defrosted shrimp
• 1/3 cup cornstarch

• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper

• dash of salt

• 1 tablespoon honey

• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

• 2 egg whites

• 3/4 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a bowl, mix cornstarch, peppers & salt.

In a small microwave safe bowl, warm honey for 30-45 seconds. Add lime juice to honey and stir. Slowly add in egg whites and continue to stir.

Place shredded coconut in a thin layer on a pie plate or flat dish.

Take each shrimp, dip into cornstarch mixture, then in egg white mixture and finally roll in the coconut.

Place on the baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until coconut is lightly toasted.

Mango Rice
Adapted from here

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• rice
• 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
• 2/3 cup water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed

In a large pot, heat oil.

Add rice and mix with the oil.

Pour in coconut milk, water, and salt and bring to a boil.

Stir in the mango and cilantro.

Cover, reduce heat to very low, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Remove the rice from the heat and fluff with a fork. Add brown sugar to rice and mix well.

Cover the pot and let rice steam for about 5 minutes before serving.

Definitely a keeper dinner! Yum!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweet Craisin Banana Bread

First of all, I just wanted to say thanks for all your sweet comments about my pregnancy! You're all so sweet!

Second, I promise not to turn this into a baby AW blog. I have a separate baby blog that was designed just for that purpose. It's private right now because it has so much personal detail during my infertility journey. If anyone would be interested in following it, just let me know and I can send you an invite.

And now, back to the reason you're here!
I came across this recipe and it reminded me about some leftover Craisins I had sitting in the cabinet. This was the perfect way to use up the bag and make a yummy snack!

Adapted from Delectable Dining

• non-stick cooking spray
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup applesauce
• 1 large banana
• 1/4 cup milk
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 6 oz. package of Craisins or dried cranberries

See directions below...
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a bread loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix sugar, butter, banana, milk and eggs.

Add dry ingredients, craisins and mix well.

Pour mixture in the loaf pan.

Bake for 75 minutes or until cooked throughout.

So good! Enjoy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Team T is growing!

I'm so happy to announce to all of you that I'm pregnant! A lot of you have followed my infertility journey and sent your thoughts and prayers as we endured a miscarriage and a year of fertility treatments. I appreciate all your kind words and our dreams finally came true!

Some of you may have noticed that I started taking a closer look at all your baby crafts, nursery designs, etc. and hinting that I might be needing these things soon. It's hard to keep a secret! I also have to admit that there were days I couldn't even stomach looking at food posts because they made me sick!

But now that the first trimester is over, I'm excited to have more energy to work on some new crafts and home decor that we need to get done before the baby comes. Looking forward to getting started!

Happy Valentine's Day! <3

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Little Pleasures

I think everyone needs to remember to take some time to focus on the Happy Little Pleasures in life. I'm guilty of hardly ever doing this, so I decided it was time for another HLP post. Here's what made me happy recently...

Pesto Sauce
I recently re-discovered pesto when we had some left after a recipe. I used to eat this stuff all the time in high school and I kinda forgot about it. In the last week, I finished off the jar and now I'm onto the next one! I love it mixed with some fresh cold pasta and a little parmesan cheese. Not the healthiest, but it's SO good!

Spring Crafts
Winter sucks. We just had a major blizzard and I'm over the snow and the cold. For the past few weeks, I've been inspired to start working on spring crafts to get ready for next season. Get excited because there's some cute & springy crafts on their way! For right now, I'll just daydream about the garden flag I made last year and hope I can put it out soon!

Trader Joe's Ravioli
I could do an entire post just on the amazing food at Trader Joe's, but I'll start with this one fabulous meal. These seem so simple and ordinary. I don't know what it is, but they are awesome! I dream about these things! They're good hot or cold, plain or with sauce, and fresh or leftover. I have to refrain from eating these every day!
Blue Bloods
I haven't been very impressed with a lot of the new tv shows this year, but this one got my attention. You may not have heard of this great tv show, so I wanted to share a little about it. Dramatic, great acting, good storylines, etc.

Here's some info from CBS: BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan is the New York City Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny, a seasoned detective, family man, and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin, is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family's "golden boy;" however, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop.

What are your Happy Little Pleasures this week?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Placemat Makeover

We have a glass kitchen table and it gets scratched really easily. I like to keep placemats on it to keep it a little more covered. We've had these nasty red plastic ones that I got at Big Lots a few years ago and I always meant to buy new ones. (Don't make fun of me, I took this photo back in the fall.)
I haven't really seen anything I like that much in the stores and I want them to be wipeable in case we spill. So I found these wooden weaved mats at Joanns on clearance for $1! Cute, but they don't match at all. I primed and spray painted them and then added a glossy finishing coat.
Here they are on the table! SO much better and much more modern!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cheesy Spinach & Turkey Ziti

Well, hello! I've been MIA for a few days during the Chicago Blizzard of 2011, Hubby being sick, and getting busy with life. I apologize for accidentally posting this earlier in the day and deleting it. This is one of my favorite new pasta recipes! Definitely a keeper!

Adapted from Your Homebased Mom


• 1 lb Italian sausages (take out of casing)
• 1/2 c chopped onion
• 4 cloves minced garlic
• 24 oz. can of diced, peeled tomatoes
• 2/3 c pesto
• salt & pepper
• 10 oz. cooked ziti
• 4 c chopped fresh spinach
• 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
• 1 c grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pan, cook sausage, onion and garlic until sausage is cooked through.

Add tomatoes with juices and simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Stir occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Add pesto. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease 13 x 9 baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix pasta, spinach, mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Add in warm tomato mixture.

Pour mixture in baking dish and top with remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt, about 20-25 minutes.

So good! Seconds, please! : )
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