Monday, December 20, 2010

Prego's Got Nothing On Me!

Lately, my brain has just been bursting at the seams from learning so many new things! If you know me personally, you might know that I've always had a "hippie" side to me (cloth diapers, organic foods, chemical-free beauty products, I was even vegan once upon a time!). So recently I have been going nuts (and staying up late, oops) reading blogs, watching videos, and searching websites for information on sustainable living. No, don't worry...I'm not getting on my soapbox...yet... but I am too stoked about all of this new information to not share some of it!
Steve and I are going to start making some changes to the way we live, starting with how we eat. I've been flexing my cooking muscles more and more so that we can eat healthy and (hopefully, in the future) locally obtained meals!
My next cooking adventure is going to be making beef ravioli with spaghetti sauce FROM SCRATCH! Now, I put "from scratch" in all caps like that, because I think a lot of people have lost touch with what "from scratch" actually means! While I was searching for a spaghetti sauce recipe online, all of the recipes that said "100% from scratch" on them were anything but! They all had, "Add 1 can of tomato paste" or "Add 1 can of diced tomatoes". Yeah...um...that's not from scratch buddy. Nice try.
Anyway, after much searching...I found a video on YouTube that was just was I was looking for (see video here).
And now I'll share :)
(Ok, I just got done making the sauce, and I forgot to take a lot of pictures along the way...oops!)

1 lb of Roma tomatoes cut in half, then create little cross hairs in the center...
Then you put salt, pepper, sugar, and ground fennel seed on the cross hairs. Drizzle on olive oil and mix together/pat the mixture into the cross hairs.
 Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Oh, in that tin foil "basket" there is about 10 cloves of garlic and a small onion chopped up, drizzled with olive oil.
 Yeah...so I forgot to take a picture of what everything looked like when it was done baking. The tomatoes look shriveled up and the onions and garlic are slightly brown and soft.
Put everything into a blender. Pulse a few times. Then add beef broth, parmesan cheese, and basil. Mix.
All done! I transfered my sauce to an old olive oil jar! Now it's in the fridge waiting to be used on some homemade ravioli :) Easy-peasy!

The Konnor Update!
He is learning how to use a sippy cup and he is a natural! I handed it to him (empty) just to see what he would do and he immediately put the spout in his mouth! So proud :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Because Lifting Weights Is Boring...

If any of you (my lovely readers) are friends with me on Facebook, then you might already know that I made homemade butter the other day and was STOKED about it. I found this simple recipe for making butter (here) and I couldn't wait to try it out! The only experience I have ever had with obtaining butter was that it came from the store, sometimes in a tub, sometimes wrapped in wax paper in a box, and that it somehow came from cows. Needless to say, I was really excited to discover that I could take the power of butter making into my own hands...literally...

All you need is heavy whipping cream (we got ours at the Ypsilanti Food Co-Op), salt, and a mason jar.
 Step 1: Pour whipping cream into jar.
 Step 2: Add salt.
 Step 3: Shake...preferably shake while dancing like a mad person and running around the apartment...which I did, but Steve was "too cool" to do...
 More shaking and baby wearing... (my arms and hands were SO TIRED afterwards)
 BUTTER!!!!
Step 4: Drain out the buttermilk and squish the buttermilk out of the butter...I tried about 80 different ways to squish the stupid buttermilk out of the butter and after failing and wasting a ton of butter, I just did it by hand!
 I shaped it into a brick, wrapped it in wax paper and put it in the freezer to harden and TA-DA!
Then I made toast to celebrate :)

-Michelle

Monday, December 13, 2010

Here's What You Missed...

Um...Oops? 
I didn't mean to completely neglect you my little blog (or my readers)! Things just got a little crazy after the move, but I'm going to ease back into this thing with lots of pictures!! Yay!!

My Seester and niece Maleigha came to visit one last time before we moved. Seester got her makeup done and we took Maleigha to the pumpkin patch/petting farm where we got our pumpkins earlier in the season.
Maleigha LOVED playing in the "corn box" and did not want to come out! She even got "buried alive" by me and Steve! 
Konnor is sitting up on his own! He can sit up unassisted for about 10 minutes, then he will get tired and fall over. He hit his head really hard once when I didn't catch him in time, so now I always make sure to put his boppy pillow behind him just incase...
He is much more interested in his toys now, especially anything that plays music! He loves to rock back and forth to the beat and "dance". 
Oh, something I learned a few weeks ago...fish will EXPLODE in the microwave. I even followed the directions on the package! Yeah, I'm not doing that again...I'll stick to using the good old stove for cooking fish. I was just telling Steve today how, when we met, all I knew how to cook/bake was microwave meals. I barely knew how to boil water! I was terrified by the stove/oven. Now, we rarely use the microwave unless we are warming up coffee that has gone cold. Now I can whip up meals without even using a cookbook! Go me!
Just proving that we are still weird despite being parents, in case anyone was worried...
 After 5 months of sleeping in his pack n' play bassinet, Konnor got a crib! This one is from Ikea and was very much on sale, but had tons of amazing reviews! Score!
 We got this serving tray from Ikea too, and bought the green placemat and woven placemat to jazz it up a bit. We mostly use it for tea. I think my New Year's Resolution (which I never make) is going to be to stop drinking pop. *sad face* I love me some Diet Coke, but pop is just so unhealthy and bad for your teeth too, so I'm going to try and substitute tea in for Diet Coke...we'll see how it goes...
 In all the years Steve and I have been together, and all the different places we have lived (7 places now), we have never owned a coffee table. We bought this one at Ikea and decided to decorate it with snowflakes for winter! Steve is MUCH better at snowflake art than I am, his are the very intricate snowflakes and mine are the "Yay! I made a heart!" snowflakes... In the spring, we are going to decorate it with flowers, I don't know what in the summer, and with leaves in the fall...
 Ignore my hair (and everything else for that matter) in this picture, but Steve thought it was too cute how Konnor and I were sitting...
 Our gingerbread house...most gingerbread houses that I've seen already come assembled, you just have to decorate them, but not ours! We learned (thanks Google!) how to melt sugar to make "glue" and we "glued" together the house! The roof pieces were broken when we took them out of the box, that's why the roof has a huge gloop of sugar glue on it.
 Konnor helping decorate...
 Stevezilla attacking the house!! Ahhh! Run away!! hahaha...
 I love this tea pot. I think it's called the "Dancing Leaf" tea pot because you put loose leaf tea in it and the leaves kind of "dance" around when you pour the boiling water in it. It's SO pretty. I also like the little tea light warmer. Hmmm...I wonder if that's why they are called tea light candles...
 This picture was taken during our most recent "adventure". On our way home from getting groceries last night, something in our Jeep CAUGHT ON FIRE! Smoke was filling up the cabin, so we pulled into a Denny's parking lot and went inside to use someone's phone (still no cell phones for us and I DON'T miss it!) to call Julie since hers is the only number I have memorized! (After getting some numbers from her, we got a ride home thanks to Lauren!) The nice waiters of Denny's let us sit down and even gave us some free hot chocolate. (Can you say new favorite place to eat?) Konnor was really happy and was like, "This is the best day of my life!" and Steve was...not so happy.

So now you are basically caught up!
I promise (well kinda promise) that I won't go as long without posting again!

xoxo,
Michelle






Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Best Friend's Wedding...

Saturday was my best friend Julie's wedding! This wedding has been a long time coming! I was so excited and even more excited to be the Matron of Honor (a Maid of Honor isn't married, a Matron of Honor is). I was really nervous to do Julie's make up though! The bride is the focal point of any wedding and the way she looks is very important! While we were in the salon, there were even some hairdressers who said they refuse to do a bride's hair because of all the pressure for the bride to look "perfect". I was like, oh geez... BUT everyone (most importantly Julie) loved the results:
Beautiful Before...
Beautiful After!
While we were in the salon, our friend and fellow bridesmaid Nicole said something about me doing make up for money (or something like that) and I said that it was just a hobby of mine, but how I would LOVE to do it professionally and actually make some money! One of he hairdressers overheard me and was like, "You don't do make up for your job?! You should!" (SQUEEEEE!!!) So I left my contact info with her and she encouraged me to do make up on girls for proms and formals and she will recommend me to any brides that come in to get their hair done! YAY!!! I will GLADLY drive back to Adrian to do make up on girls :) Or anyone who reads my blog, wink, wink ;)

Touching up the lip gloss...

Me & Steve <3
The lovely newlyweds...
Konnor and his main squeeze! Hope Craig doesn't mind...
 The wedding and reception were amazing and beautiful and went off without a hitch. I had an amazing time and so did Konnor. He got a little wild after drinking too much milk...
Dancing on the tables! lol.
Now Julie and I are both in the "Old Married People's Club" and we get to do old married people things like join book clubs or something. :D

xoxo,
Michelle

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Don't Try This At Home...No Seriously, Don't.

Last week I spent about 8 hours making a pumpkin pie! That's how long it takes when you have to keep stopping to take care of a baby! In case you didn't read my last blog post, Steve, Konnor, and I went to a farm and bought some pumpkins, two of which were pie pumpkins!
Jack-O-Lantern, 2 Pie Pumpkins, & a lil pumpkin for Konnor :)
Once upon a time, I had an amazing recipe for pumpkin pie, but I sadly lost it somewhere. So this time, I just Googled "Homemade Pumpkin Pie Recipe" and picked one from the list of results. Here's how it all went down:
Konnor in his highchair, watching Mommy aka: Betty Crocker
 First, I asked Steve to cut the pumpkins in half because I was too wimpy to do it myself. This was at around 11:30am. Then I scooped all the seeds and stringy yuck out into a bowl.
 Then I buttered the inside of the pumpkins and baked them for 30 minutes (to get the skin off easily and make the insides mushy).
 Pumpkin insides are very yellow! And this stuff was really yummy all by itself, but I love squash so that's not saying much...
My first ever home made pie crust and a cupcake pan prepared for my "mini pies".
Mixing everything up...pumpkin goop, eggs, seasoning, vanilla flavor, sugar, evaporated milk...pretty simple!
Bake for a while...and TA-DA! Home made pumpkin pie! Looks yummy huh? Yeah well...looks can be deceiving...
My "mini pies" don't look so good...the marshmallows got a little too brown...

So I decided that I don't like the recipe I used. The pie tasted ok, but I really didn't like the texture. I prefer a thick, dense pie, but this one was mushy. Also, I'm pretty sure I over-mixed the pie crust because it definitely wasn't "flaky" nor was it "delicious" like the recipe said it would be. So, 8 hours of work and all I got was a mediocre pie and some weird/messy/mushy mini pies. I need a new recipe...SIGH...

BUT WAIT!! Something amazing did come out of all of this...PUMPKIN SEEDS!!!
These turned out DELICIOUS! I can't wait to make some more of these when we carve the Jack-o-Lantern...
And here we have my little pumpkin with his little pumpkin :)

xoxo,
Michelle

p.s. How do you all like my new banner? I made it myself!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Pumpkin For My Pumpkin!

Yesterday, Steve, Konnor, and I went on an adventure to find "The Perfect Pumpkin" to carve for Konnor's first Halloween! After researching a few different pumpkin patches online, we were on our way (with Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand)! As we were traveling however, we passed a farm with a HUGE pig made out of straw out front and they also had a big sign that read, "PUMPKINS", so we decided to just stop at that place instead of continuing on to our original destination. Sometimes spontaneity is better than sticking to your plan :)
Me, Konnor, and the big straw pig!
This farm was awesome! They not only had pumpkins, but they had a petting zoo, a straw maze for little kids, and big sand box that was filled with dried CORN for kids to search for goodies in, all kinds of ugly looking squash, a barn with a huge straw "pit" inside that was made for little kids, but I really wanted to play in it...lol. Too bad Konnor wasn't older or he would have had a lot more fun...he was actually pretty grumpy the whole time because he was getting sick of getting his picture taken...
Two little pumpkins...
Some gnarly squash!
Konnor as Charlie Brown, a very grumpy Charlie Brown...
Matching black tees and gray hoodies...awww...
This is MayBell (white) and Pedro (Gray). The woman at the farm told us that they really want a baby donkey in the spring, so they brought Pedro in for the summer so that he and MayBell could become "friends", but as it turns out, MayBell did not want to be friends with Pedro, she even kicked him where it counts a few times. The woman said that, "Pedro just stood there and took it 'like a man'." lol. Looks like there won't be any baby donkeys next spring. According to Steve, Pedro said, "Man, I came all the way here for my summer vacation and all I got was kicked in the groin." HAHAHA :)


Ok, I loved this goat (on the left). Look at her floppy ears! She reminded me SO MUCH of my dog Trixie. The goat with the horns was eating his food out of his own bucket (the girl goat had her own bucket) and she was stepping on the boy goat's head and trying to eat HIS food! She looked like she was trying to drown him in his food, lol. She really loved Steve and kept trying to make Steve pet her head (just like Trixie!). I thought she just wanted to eat his hoodie because I had a goat at the zoo nibble on my shirt before! 
Mommy and baby sheep...
Konnor and some LOUD piggies...
A little cow...
Bunnies...
A rooster and all his girlfriends...
And grumpy Konnor, haha :)
Our Family Picture :)
We ended up buying a big jack-o-lantern to carve, two small pie pumpkins (for pumpkin pie, nom nom), and a teeny, tiny little pumpkin for Konnor...but that will be a post for another day!

xoxo,
Michelle