Monday, March 17, 2014

Monster Melons!

Hi Bloggers!
     This is not a post about what probably first came to your mind! (dirty dirty people) Today's post has to do with one of the many cute and handsome lil men in my life. (i.e. 3 nephews and a godson!) One of my adorable nephews just recently turned one. This lil man, however, unfortunately is currently allergic to MANY things. :( In talking with my SIL about this struggle for her and the family, I remembered the cake I made for the hubby this past summer. I offered to help and got several cute Pinterest ideas sent my way as soon as the party was set to be a monster party! Based on what I got, this is what I came up with. I'll show you each step of the way, and the final result. (There were not a ton of step by step offerings online that I could find)

   Begin by finding a nicely shaped watermelon. As lil man's birthday is in February, we had to compromise with mini watermelons. Regularly sized melons were not in season. (Commence childish giggles…just me?…oh…) The first step is to cut a small slice off of the bottom of the melon in order to NOT be cutting the watermelon while it wobbles.

   My next move was to outline and cut out this dude's mouth.

From here you can work on carving/hollowing out the whole melon. This can be cut up and tossed into the fruit salad as well. 

My next move was to cut some teeth into the top and bottom edge. Just a cool note about watermelon and carving is that you can actually score the skin and peel it off of the greener flesh. I used this method to carve a tongue for my lil monster after his teeth were done.
I also used a lovely orange and blueberries to create some goofy eyeballs and a nose. I made sure to slice the orange in nice circles, and attached everything with tooth picks. Sometimes I cut/broke the toothpicks in half for the smaller pieces.

Here is the first dude ready to go! I didn't document the whole process of the second monster just because time began to move quickly and you can figure out what I did! 

Here they are ready to travel!
I can't tell you how much fun I had making these crazy monsters! They were a hit at the party and I couldn't help but giggle my whole way through the process. This is a GREAT option for parties especially when cake is not always an option. Enjoy the final image! 

Up next you can expect a post about my experiment with succulents for our bay window in the kitchen! 


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fat Kid Food- BUT Healthy!

Hi friends,
     In the time that I last wrote, the heater has been broken and fixed, my brother got married, the washer broke and is being replaced, and Spring weather finally made an appearance! I am so excited to share so many things with you, but we'll start with FOOD. (and end with crafts!!)
      As always, I am on the lookout for ways to make food that tastes like eating buffalo wings but will let me feel healthy afterwards. This is not a wing substitute- don't get me wrong! BUT it does have chicken and buffalo sauce. I introduce to you: Buffalo Quinoa Casserole.

You Will Need:

*1 cup of quinoa
*1 1/2 cups of chicken broth (I use bullion cubes sometimes)
*1 head of broccoli cut into florets
*1 cup of hot sauce (I buy it by the gallon now…haha)
*2 chicken breasts
*chili powder for seasoning
*1/2 a small onion chopped up
*olive oil for sautéing onions and cooking chicken
*your favorite shredded cheese if you want to top the casserole off with it!

Begin by sautéing the chopped onion in olive oil in a pan. While this is cooking, season the chicken breast with chili powder.
Add in the chicken breasts and cook completely. I sometimes put a lid on the pan to keep in moisture. When the chicken has cooked, pull it from the pan. I then shredded it and put the onions in with the shredded chicken. 
Put this to the side, and begin cooking your quinoa. I cook my quinoa in chicken broth ALL.THE.TIME now. Seriously- there is no point to cooking it in water…unless you don't like chicken. The ratio is about 1 cup of quinoa to 1 1/2 or 2 cups of water/broth. Bring the water to a boil with the quinoa in it and then put a lid on it and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Now, when I put it to simmer, I tossed in my broccoli florets to cook in some of the flavor with that as well. What results is perfectly cooked broccoli that is already in the quinoa! 
Finally I get a large oven-safe dish and poor my hot sauce in. The first time I tried heating it and adding a bit of cottage cheese to get a creamy/healthy effect. It worked- but you can definitely do it without as well. 
check out the fun nails! 
Toss in the chicken, and broccoli quinoa mixture gently. I added a bit of hot sauce on the top once it was mixed as well. (I know, I know…can't get enough of it) Then I baked it in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes at 350. You could add the cheese for this step as well. (I waited and put it on my individual serving)
It's not the prettiest dish I've ever made, but it's DELICIOUS. I've been all about quinoa "casseroles" lately. They're great! You can do anything with it! (Will show you chicken with zucchini as well sometime!) 

Here is a final shot of my serving with the melted cheese on top. Seriously, it was just so yummy and filling. You don't even have to eat a whole ton of it to be satisfied. Just so tasty and popular with the hubby!

I will leave you with a few shots of my latest crafts! Most of the earrings are either available or can be reproduced if they've been sold already. The ring holders are able to be ordered to your personal liking. Choose the frame and the fabric color! Enjoy and cross your fingers for MORE SPRING!