A Week of Pinterest: Pass or Fail!

This week was our Spring Break from school and work and we decided to stay home instead of travel. While I would have all this time at home, I realized it would be a great time to get creative!

So I scanned my Pinterest boards and found  few things I wanted to try and share the process with all of you! Below are my five days of testing our Pinterest projects, from makeup to DIY art.

Monday

I’m a huge fan of makeup because I love playing with colors and creating new looks. It’s amazing what you can do with a little eyeshadow and some brushes. To me it’s similar to painting a canvas, except that it’s your face. I attempted a smokey eye look and shared my thoughts.

Tuesday

The next day I chose a DIY art project that I’ve seen float through my pins from day one on Pinterest. Melted crayon art looks so cool and yet could go so horribly wrong so I wanted to take a stab at it and see if I could create something beautiful.

Wednesday

One of the biggest boards I have on Pinterest is my cooking board. There I pin all the yummy recipes I want to make and some of them I do attempt. But I hadn’t yet made a fried recipe so I pulled one of the most repinned chicken dishes on my board.

Thursday

With three passes under our belt, my son and I attempted another DIY art project that I had seen many times on Pinterest. Around Christmas time we had actually thought to try these as gifts. BOY am I glad we didn’t do that. These were not quite a pass or fail but they definitely didn’t come out as we had hoped.

Friday

On our final day I really wanted to make some cool bath bombs so that we could relax in the bath with some soothing peppermint scented fizziness. Sadly I think I messed these up so I may attempt them again when summer comes and I have some more free time on my hands.

Our five days are up and I’m thrilled to say we had three passes and only two fails. And the two fails are something I’m interested in going back and trying again. It was also a great bonding experience for Jake and myself. We had fun making the videos and also discussing what worked and what didn’t. I think we’d be up for trying more Pinterests projects this summer!

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Instapot Inspirations Episode #63

While quilting and crafting are our top priorities when it comes to our hobbies, we’re human and we have to stop cutting fabric at some point and eat! This is where our new found love of the Instant Pot has come in handy. Check out our latest episode where we chit chat about our recent cooking successes!

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I’ve already shared some of my success with the InstaPot (really, we know it’s Instant Pot but we love to nickname things!) on my Meal Prep Monday post not long ago. Together, Dori and I talk about our interests in learning and doing more with our magical opt of foodie goodness.

#quiltnon2017 was a blast and we even WON SOMETHING! How cool is that! Check out the hashtag on Instagram so see all the great posts from this weekend’s stay-at-home party while all the Quilt Con-goers got to party it up live in Savannah.

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UH OH!! There are a few finishes in da’ house!!! Dori wrapped up grand baby #2’s quilt and even a little fuzzy-love for it to cuddle some day. That post will being coming to Hobbies Up To Here soon!

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  • A shout out to a new follower/listener: Nat Alee (@natalee4444). Thanks for the love and sharing our fun little podcast!
  • Alida gave us some great insight into how to talk to a designer about a problem with a pattern, our last podcast topic. It was super helpful to here what she had to share!
  • G of @blingnailsbyg shared our little podcast with some of her Instagram followers! Thanks for the love, G! xoxo

Thanks again to all our listeners and friends. We feel blessed to be apart of such a wonderful, crafty community that’s supportive and loving. We hope you continue to enjoy our little chats and that you feel like we’re sitting with you, laughing and sharing with you 🙂

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Meal Prep Monday: Instant Pot Magic

Instant pots cropped up in my world around Christmas time. Many friends were gifted the magical pot that cooked instantly and can cook just about everything.

Having a kitchen full of items, I wasn’t really jumping at the idea of adding another one to my arsenal. While all the food cooked in it looked great and seemed like this incredible, too good to be true item, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy one.

Luckily for me, my mom has one. She’s had it for a while now. Except she always referred to it as her pressure cooker. She even suggested it give it a go at some point because she felt that I would like it.

As my media feeds were food with pictures and posts of this cooking revolution, I asked my mom if her cooker was the same and she told me that yes, the one she had been using for some time is the same one that everyone was in love with now.

So, I borrowed it. And this weekend I made a few meals to help me make it through the week with healthy options.

Our first attempt was simple. Steaming some green beans coated in a little oil and salt and pepper.

These didn’t last long once they came out because my husband started eating them like candy. So I’d say they were a success.

My next recipe was a whole meal with honey teriyaki chicken and carrots. I got to use the sauté function and brown the chicken then pressure cooked the whole thing together. It came out great! So good that AGAIN I had to hide it from my husband. Within minutes of it being out of the cooker (while I was making the sauce thicken up a bit) he had devoured a whole chicken breast.

See?! I’m not lying. He totally nommed on a whole breast while I was busy stirring.

My last effort to play with the instant pot was cooking a whole spaghetti squash.  Now I’ve never had a spaghetti squash before but I’ve aways heard great things about it working well as a low calorie option for pasta.

Initially it took 15 minutes to soften but it didn’t feel completely cooked through so I put it back in for another 5 minutes. After that second round it was perfect. I carefully took it out and cut it open to pull apart the meat.

For lunch I made a spaghetti squash, green bean, and chicken sausage bowl and it was good. Not great, but good. I’d have to say that the spaghetti squash was definitely something I’ll have to get used to but it’s nice to have some different options for healthy eating.

So far my first foray into the instant pot has been successful. I’m fascinated by the process and I think my husband is too. He’s been very hands on with helping me cook and test out new recipes, although his favorite job in my kitchen is taste testing. I can’t wait to try it again, maybe with a meat sauce to go with my spaghetti squash.

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Meal Prep Monday: Casseroles Are LIFE!

Hey my fellow crafty chefs. It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of my creative endeavors in the kitchen. Why? Well, things have been super busy with the new teaching job and cooking took a back seat.

Plus, the husband shared with me that making all of the food over the weekend and eating it throughout the week wasn’t desirable because he felt like he was eating just leftovers again and again. I could see his point so we made some adjustments and made most of the protein items on Sunday and then cooked sides through the week.

Nothing like a fresh batch of veggies or rice each night to complement some chicken or steak!

But even that change still proved to be too tough to keep up with. The demands of my new job and our already hectic life kept getting in the way. Between grades and soccer and long working hours for the Mr., I was in need of a meal prep schedule that I could keep up.

Enter the casserole! Sorta…

I call it a casserole because I tend to put it together in a large casserole dish but in all honesty it’s more like a tossed together full meal that we reheat throughout the week. It includes a meat, veggies, and a carb like pasta or rice at the base. I’ve had some successful meals come from this new plan of attack that I’ll share below.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Ravioli Casserole

Ok this one literally was an off-the-cuff last minute idea. I had guys over watching football and a kiddo playing Minecraft so I was stuck at home trying to come up with something to feed the troops.

In the freezer I had some butternut squash cubed and ready to cook so I roasted it with garlic, oil, cayenne, oregano and sea salt. While I did that, I layered cheese ravioli into a casserole dish along with some washed spinach. When the butternut squash was fully cooked, I blended it until it was soup like and then I spread that between layers of ravioli and spinach. My thinking was to make it like a lasagna but instead of the long, flat noodles, I’d use the ravioli for layers.

I covered the top with cheese and baked it until the ravioli was cooked completely. As a finishing touch I broiled the top so that the cheese was nice and melted. And we were super impressed! I thought the guys would hate it but in the end they both ate it and enjoyed it! We added a little simple basil marinara sauce on top or to dip it into and that added bonus flavor.

Italian Sausage and Beer Pasta Unbake

My husband confided in me that he didn’t like baked pasta. Particularly the crusty bit around the edge (oh my favorite!). So, taking the idea of a pasta bake, I boiled noodles, browned sausage and beef together with garlic and seasonings, and mixed a bag of roasted peppers into a marinara sauce with the intention of tossing it altogether in a casserole dish but leaving off the last step of baking it together.

That way we still get the goodness of a full meal without the crispy bits around the edges. And when we heat it up throughout the week, we melt a little cheese on top to keep it fresh and new.

My other go-to is my Turkey Chili. I can vary certain ingredients (like marinara for salsa) to include whatever I have on hand. I’ve got a list of a few things I need to always have on hand to make one of these all-in-one meals. Things I replace when I run out, not things I buy weekly. The meat I buy weekly and that’s about it. Otherwise I have a decent stash of these items in my cabinets and freezer.Canned tomatoes

pasta sauce
salsa
frozen mixed veggies
pasta (a variety)
frozen ravioli/tortellini
frozen meatballs (Trader Joe’s are awesome)

With these things always  at home, I know I just need to grab the beef, chicken, or turkey to add. We also shop for the pasta and the frozen veggies on days when it’s a 10/$10 sale. It saves us a little money and time to grab a bunch and store them.

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Meal Prep Monday: Easy Peasy Salmon

Lately, my cooking has been a bit stagnant. I’m not trying many new things and sticking only to items I know my family will eat so that we aren’t wasting food. We’ve recently overhauled our finances so I’m watching my pennies and trying to save in as many ways as I can, too.

Recently, salmon was on sale at our local store so I decided to switch up our nightly chicken or turkey dinner for a quick and easy salmon dish using a simple Italian seasoning mixture to add some flavor. Now this easy peasy recipe can work in a number of ways (on veggies, potatoes, other meats) so I always keep handy a few packets of this Italian dressing mix.

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It’s meant to be a packet of seasonings for a dressing but I’ve found it works great directly sprinkled onto whatever you are cooking. I sprinkle about half the packet onto my five fillets and cook with butter in my cast iron skillet. I save the second half for whatever veggie or side item I’ll cook with it.

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Once the salmon has been seared on each side for about 3-4 minutes to let the flavor get in there, I add in my veggies, like green beans here, and sprinkled the rest of the packet onto them. I make sure there is enough oil or butter so that the salmon doesn’t stick to the pan and to give a little moisture to the whole thing.

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Together, I let them sit and simmer on low until the green beans are just cooked enough but not soggy. I like them with a little crunch!

I serve this over rice and it makes a great meal for dinner and as leftovers for lunches. And it’s a nice change up from the plan ol’ chicken dinners we tend to eat.

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What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’

Not too long ago I wrote about a change in our habits. We were going from a general meal prep household (where a whole day was spent preparing meals for the whole week) to a meal a night. At first I didn’t want to make the switch. Preparing meals was much, much easier at one time then having to get up the energy to cook a full dinner throughout the week.

I had some great suggestions to keep with preparing certain things on Sunday but adding the prepared foods to new meals every other night. I took all the suggestions and starting figuring out how I wanted to go about feeding my family. Since I’m the one responsible for cooking and the shopping, it’s a big weight on my shoulders and after a long day of teaching, I’m not always ready to get in the kitchen and make a full meal.

My shopping list stayed the same but I did freeze a few items that I wasn;t going to need right away. This has been a problem in the past. I’ll intend to make dinner but will forget to set out the meat or some other important item so that it will be thawed by the time I’m ready to cook. So I’m going to have to adjust my brain there and remember to set everything up before work.

The first meal I made last week were turkey burgers! Using my skillets, I sauteed some peppers with garlic in one and cooked the turkey burgers in the other. My turkey burgers were a mix of turkey meat, panko crumbs, seasonings, and a little salt. I pressed each patty in my handy dandy hamburger press so that they would all be the same size and thickness. It was the first time using them and I’m glad I have it. It made cooking the meat much easier.

The burgers were a hit! My son loved them, my brother in law loved them, and my husband did too. I made enough to have left overs for a night or two and there were a few ways to eat it. It could be eaten like usual, on a bun with all the fixings. Or if you wanted a lighter meal you could skip the bun and eat it wrapped in some lettuce. Another option would be to crumble the burger over some rice or lettuce, too!

My next attempt was a chicken Parmesan skillet meal. I browned some chicken tenders in butter with garlic and onions for flavor. Once the chicken was properly cooked through, I poured a jar of marinara sauce over the whole meal and let it simmer on low for a few minutes. When it was almost time to serve I sprinkled some hand-shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese over the top.

It was a lot of cheesy goodness and made the house smell amazing! We served over some whole wheat penne pasta and have enjoyed the leftovers served with rice or pasta.

We had a craving for ravioli during the week, too, so I grabbed some to heat up and serve to the guys. This was a simple meal and required nothing more than heating and serving but it gave us a great meal and enough leftovers for lunch or dinner for an extra day or two. Plus it helped that they were heart shaped and super cute!

Our little Moo Cow loved the raviolis too!

This week I’m going to attempt the turkey burgers again and this time pay attention to my measurements and the process so I can post a recipe for my fellow kitchen hobbyist!

I’ll share any of my successful meals!

Meal Prep Monday: A Change of Plans

For some time now I’ve been planning and prepping the meals for my family on Sunday nights. Every Sunday I’d shop and bring home large quantities of food to be prepared before the week officially began. This way I could have multiple meals done in one evening and all it would require is a little reheating.

The thought behind this was that I was a) saving time, b) saving money, and c) keeping my family fed with healthy homemade meals but not killing myself each night cooking a new meal.

That was the thought…

Then I was informed by the men of the house that they didn’t really enjoy the whole “leftover” thing. What?

Well, that threw a wrench in my plans! So much so that I haven’t really cooked any meals at home lately because I haven’t found my rhythm yet. Thinking ahead of individual meals AND shopping in lower quantities rather than mass producing meals one day a week so I didn’t have to think too much about it throughout the week just isn’t sinking in.

So I have some retooling to do in the kitchen. I need to find a way to cook a meal every other night that will keep dinner healthy and fresh. I’ve tried freezer meals where I packaged up multiple crock pot meals in one sitting to be spread out and used over the week. I could attempt that again though I do find the crock pot meals to be a bit bland. I always have to add extra seasonings when they are finished.

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And the prep time was extensive. I had to block a good 4-5 hours to clean, chop, measure, cook the meat, then dole the right ingredients into the right bags. Although it took some time and it did need extra seasonings, this came through when I was out of the country and my husband needed dinner or when we had lots of plans after work and school.

Now I’ve never done the traditional meal-a-night type cooking where I planned out my shopping based on what I needed to cook a meal every night. But the thought of it makes me feel overwhelmed. It feels like a lot of lists, a lot of planning spread out over a longer period of time and a lot of rushing to use ingredients before they go bad. Yikes…

In the end, I’m not sure what I’m doing but I’ll definitely need to figure something out sooner rather than later!!

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Luscious Chocolate Souffle: Yes You CAN!

When I think of soufflés, I see someone gently, slowly, taking their creation out of the oven when BAM! a door slams and the delicate dish implodes.  NoNoNo, I thought, I’d never be able to successfully serve such a luscious dessert with my limited baking skill set.

Until now.

A few years ago, I took a class from private chef David Lawrence.  Of course I bought his book, and OF COURSE I had it autographed!  I pulled the book out last week to research his fabulous recipes for filet mignon, which we decided to serve the family when we get together to celebrate the January birthdays on the 30th. 

 Lo and behold, there was a photo of the most drool-inducing Chocolate Souffle ever.  The introduction to the recipe insisted that ANYONE could produce this dessert, and so, I ran to the store to gather the ingredients.


  
I fashioned my own double boiler to melt the bittersweet chocolate morsels (I used Ghiradelli premium baking chips, 60% Cacao) and unsalted butter.  It worked great!



 When I finished blending the ingredients, I poured them into 10 ounce ramekins, and put the ramekins in the hot “bath” I had waiting in the oven. 

 

Oh good God!He was right!  This recipe could easily be on the menu of the most expensive restaurant in town.


 If you’d like to serve something that will have your guests standing and applauding at the end of the evening, I highly recommend you grab David’s cookbook Boy Eats World and get to it!

Happy Baking!

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Check out our side bar for some other great blogs and link-ups! This post is linked up at And Sew We Craft Together and Peeled Wellness.

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Hobbies Up To Here Episode #26

A day late but never fear, our podcast is here!!!

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We talk about baking and cooking! We both have a love for the science and chemistry in the kitchen and have turned what would normally be a chore into a hobby.

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So far this recipe book is a huge hit in the Hobbies Up To Here home. Check it out for some simple yet tasty meals.

And check out our Meal Prep Monday tag for all my posts on the delicious food I make for the week in our home!

 

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Top 5 Hobbies Up To Here Posts of 2015

This year has been amazing. My little blog went from just being about my sewing exploits to a much bigger, wider net that also included my mom. She joined me on this journey in May and having her as my companion on this new road has been a blessing I don’t think either of us knew we needed. We’ve both grown SO MUCH and I’m lucky to have her as a friend and a mom to learn with!

As a celebration of this year together I’m sharing our top 5 posts from this year. I’ll link the posts and share some pictures. Then I want you to visit Cheryl over at Meadow Mist Designs for her 2015 Best Of linky party. There will be a plethora of wonderful posts shared highlighting the best of the best this year from around the crafty web!

Looking over our stats this year, we’ve had a lot of great posts. But five of them really stand out. I looked at a number of different stats like number of views, most comments, and best month. After looking through everything that was posted this year, here are our Top 5 Posts for 2015.

#5 Post With The Most Comments

WIP: Sewing Together Wonky Blocks

This post came in with a total of 17 comments this year! My son started showing interest in sewing last year when I started working on some bigger projects using my old Kenmore. I let him into the craft room and let him sew some simple lines. That was last year.

This year he not only finished sewing them into pairs, he designed a diamond shaped block he is pretty proud of. And I’m proud of him too! This week we picked out some batting for him so he’s ready to start the quilting process and finish his first block!

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#4 Post With The Most Likes

Stir Fry Chicken and Veggies

Chicken stir fry must be a fave with this post hitting a total of 11 likes! And it happens to be a favorite here in our house! Cooking is definitely one of my biggest hobbies because, well, we need to eat but also because I find it so creative. To throw together ingredients and make something that your family loves is something I enjoy doing.

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#3 Highest Viewed Podcast Post

Hobbies Up To Here Episode #21

We love to podcast! And we love to podcast on a day when we have finished (or mostly finished) quilts. On this day in November we shared our most recent finished tops and for the month of November it brought in over 389 views!! GO US!

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#2 Most Shared Page or Post

The Details

The page or post that was shared the most this year was our details page telling you a little more about us. Go figure! It just be our beautiful faces that made it so popular!

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#1 Highest Viewed Post of 2015

The Music Quilt

The music quilt takes the top spot for one of our most viewed posts with 451 views overall. Our Christmas finished post came in second with 433 views over all.

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This was a beautiful finished quilt my mom gifted to my brother for his 30th birthday this year. It came out great and really got her engines revved to keep going and to try new things!

We’ve had an amazing year. And we’re looking forward to 2016! There are baby quilts to be made for future babies to be born. QuiltCon will be here before we know it and we can’t WAIT to meet someone our quilty friends we’ve met along the way this year. Not to mention a wedding or two and lots of podcasting to do!