Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pen Holder Bookmark

This weekend I decided to tackle the wallpaper in our bathroom. Removing wallpaper is as miserable as I expected. The great thing about miserable projects is that they motivate me to do a lot of other stuff. Stuff like laundry and using up the boatload of old bananas in my freezer. Speaking of the bananas, I have an experiment in the oven as we speak that I hope will turn out so I can share it with you next week!

Now that I'm done with that, I'm blogging to delay returning to the wallpaper even further. I have a really fun tutorial to share, and I thought what better time to share it than today when I'm trying to waste time! I actually made this bookmark a few weeks ago. It is an especially great gift for a friend or teenager who journals or does a Bible study.


Here are the instructions:

1. Download the free pen holder bookmark pattern below, and cut out the pieces as well as a 12-inch length of elastic.


2. Apply the interfacing to the wrong side of one large piece and one small piece of fabric using the instructions received with your interfacing.


3. Place right sides of both of the small pieces together and sew together one of the short sides using a 1/4" seam.


4. Trim corners of the small pieces, and fold along the sewn line so the right sides of the fabric are facing outward.


5. Stack the pieces in the following order:

  • Large piece without interfacing with right side up.
  • Small pieces folded in half along the sewn line. Make sure the piece with the interfacing is on the top.
  • Elastic. The bottom where the small and large pieces all meet should have about an inch sticking out.
  • Large piece with interfacing with right side facing down.

6. Use a couple of pins to secure all of the pieces and sew around three sides with a 1/4" seam, leaving open the top between the two large pieces open. Make sure to reinforce the elastic piece, going over it three to five times.


7. Trim corners.

8. Turn right side out, making sure the the large piece with the interfacing is the back of the bookmark. If you don't pay attention to this, your elastic will be stuck in the "pen pocket" created by the smaller two pieces of material.


9. Fold the open edges in, stick in about an inch of the the elastic band.


10. Sew closed. Again, go over the area with the elastic a few times to reinforce the area.


It's pretty quick to make. The biggest challenge is turning it right side out. If you don't do it right the elastic band comes out in the "pen pocket," and you have to start all over.

Other than that, add a pen and a journal, and you've got a cute, easy and affordable gift.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Yogurt Facial Cleanser

So yesterday I posted about using yogurt in your chicken, egg or tuna salad to cut down on calories, but did you know that you can also substitute yogurt for your facial cleanser?


I've read about this in a few places. If you run out of your normal face cleaner, message a spoonful of plain yogurt into your skin and rinse with warm water. Sure beats making a late night run to Walgreens!

Make sure to use plain yogurt. I would imagine flavored yogurt would leave you with a sticky mess!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Low-Cal Chicken, Egg or Tuna Salad

If you like chicken, tuna or egg salad, this trick will help you save 52 calories. You simply swatch 1 Tablespoon of mayo with 1 Tablespoon of plain, non-fat yogurt + 1 teaspoon of mustard.


Tuna Salad
1 can tuna in water
1 stalk celery
1 Tbls. plain, non-fat yogurt
1 tsp. mustard

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mock Mashed Potatoes Made with Cauliflower

I've seen several recipes for mock mashed potatoes lately, and to be honest, I was skeptical. But I was feeling adventurous today so I gave it a try. I'm surprised to say that it was pretty good and based on my calculations half the calories you can expect from mashed potatoes with the additional benefits of cauliflower.


Here is my take on all of the recipes I found.

Mock Mashed Potatoes
1 1/2 cup water
Dash of salt
1 head of cauliflower
1/3 cup skim milk
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup light ranch dressing

Pour water into a large sauce pan and add a dash of salt. Bring to a boil and add cauliflower. Boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. You want it to be a little mushier than if you were just going to eat it as is. Drain the cauliflower and put into a food processor with the milk, sour cream and ranch dressing. Blend until you reach the consistency of mashed potatoes. Top with parsley before serving.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cranberry Breakfast Cheesecake: Nutritious Enough for Breakfast, Delicious Enough You Won't Believe It

Do I have a treat for you today - cranberry breakfast cheesecake! And it's a treat you can enjoy for breakfast.

The recipe originally came from the Yoplait Facebook page and is a dessert you don't have to feel guilty about enjoying for breakfast.


1 1/2 cups of granola-like cereal - I used Sunbelt brand Berry Basic Flakes & Oats
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 can (14 oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
4 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait triple berry torte yogurt

Place cranberry sauce in a saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Heat over low heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Pour into a medium bowl and refrigerate until firm.

While the cranberry sauce is refrigerating, make the crust. If you are using cereal with large flakes, crush up the cereal slightly. Next, combine the cereal with butter and push it into the bottom of a 2-quart glass baking dish. Set aside.

Take cranberry mixture out of the fridge and beat with a mixer. Fold in yogurt. Spread over crust and return to refrigerator.

This post is linked here:

 Organizing Junkie

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Toasted Bananas: Quick, Easy and Perfect for Grilling Season

Do you love banana cream pie? Then you will love toasted bananas. They taste like banana cream pie, but they have 1/2 the calories (toasted bananas has 195 calories compared to 425 for homemade banana cream pie) and require about 1/8 of the work.


Toasted Bananas
1 banana
4 marshmallows

Slice banana into five pieces and skewer onto a grilling skewer alternating between banana and a marshmallow. Toast in a toaster oven or on the grill until the marshmallows start to brown.

When it comes out of the oven, slide off the caramelized bananas and warm, gooey marshmallows into a bowl and enjoy!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Banana Custard

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? I learned this while working on a newsletter at work, and in honor of National Nutrition Month, I thought I'd feature some more nutritious options to some of my favorite treats.

Banana custard is a great alternative to ice cream and it takes just minutes to make.


Banana Custard
3 bananas (I usually use overripe bananas from the freezer)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Put the bananas in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add milk and vanilla and blend again until well combined. That's it; you're ready to go!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Gift for Neighbors

Usually there is still snow on the ground in early March, but it feels like April today in Minnesota. Yesterday we put up the patio swing, and my family came over for a Tex-Mex feast. My sister-in-law and I enjoyed a bottle of wine on the swing - pure bliss!

Blake and I also got in a nice long country walk, and I had time for a couple of craft projects this weekend. One being a St. Patrick's Day gift for the neighbors. Being new to the neighborhood, I wanted something fun to give to our neighbors for St. Patty's day. I just filled up small black buckets with candy in gold wrappers and attached a printable I created. Download St. Patrick's neighbor printable.

Photobucket Photobucket

Monday, March 5, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Surprise for Your Sweetie

As I mentioned this weekend, Blake's been suffering from back pain lately. He couldn't even walk up the stairs on Saturday night and had to sleep downstairs. He's feeling much better today, but he is still walking crooked. So I figured he needed a little treat.


I decided to do something tied to the upcoming St. Patrick's Day celebration. I made a printable label that says, "kisses in honor of my favorite Irish tradition." I put it on a simple brown lunch bag and filled the bag with–you guessed it–kisses. You can download the kisses printable here.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Free Printable + Sweet Treat = Easy Housewarming Gift

If you want a great, quick housewarming gift, you're in luck! A co-worker and I sold our houses two days apart and then moved into our new homes a mere two weeks apart. Tonight we got together to check out each others' new homes. I wanted to bring a little something but didn't have much time to put something together.

However, I did have time to bake some cookie bars and make a quick printable, and just like that, I had a cute housewarming gift! You wouldn't even need to have time to bake. You could just pick up some favorite candy treats and pair it with the printable.


As long as I was making the printable, I made it with a variety colors so you had options. You can view them in the Home Sweet Home printable

M&M (or Chocolate Chip) Cookie Bars

Cookie bars were a favorite of mine growing up. My mom usually used chocolate chips in her bars, but I was making these for a gift and wanted something more colorful. They are equally delicious either way. Speaking of delicious, I think these are better than their comparable cookies and they are easier to make - instead of spooning three dozen cookies onto a sheet, you just have to plop the dough into a pan and you only have to prevent one batch from getting a little over done.


Cookie Bars
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups M&Ms or chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugars. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt, and add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Fold in M&Ms or chocolate chips. Spread the batter in a greased 9x13 cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy with a glass of milk!


Well, I gotta go take care of my husband. His bad back is acting up causing him to walk crooked. It is actually really funny looking, but I try to keep from laughing because I know he's in a lot of pain. Poor guy.

This post is linked here:

 Organizing Junkie


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