Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fried Breakfast Potatoes

Lately I have been trying out a lot of new breakfast entrees. Part of it is that my sleep schedule is completely wonky due to working nights so it is perfectly normal for me to be too exhausted to make dinner at 7pm but wide awake and ready to go at 4am. During those moments of lucidness I take advantage and make a satisfying breakfast. This morning I was wanting something a little different from the typical cereal or scrambled eggs. I had some potatoes that i needed to use up so my solution was to make some fried potatoes!

  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 Tbls Earth Balance butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds

  1. Heat large skillet with olive oil and butter until melted.
  2. Chop onion and potatoes into small pieces. Add to heated skillet.
  3. Next, add garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley. Cook on high heat until onions and potatoes are brown. Stir occasionally. Potatoes are done when fork can easily pierce potato pieces and the outsides are crispy and brown. 
  4. When potatoes are finished add egg and stir to scramble and evenly mix with potato mixture.
  5. Sprinkle cheddar shreds on top and let melt.
  6. Serve with a side of toast.
Plain potatoes without egg and cheese.

If you want your potatoes to be more plain leave out the eggs and cheese. They are just as good and taste delicious dipped in ketchup. This meal doesn't take a lot of time and is easy to prepare. Hope you enjoy!

Linking Up To:
What We Eat Wednesday

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mason Jar Burlap Vase

Lately on Pinterest I have seen tons of DIY projects involving mason jars. I have been wanting to see what I could come up with seeing as how I happen to have a lot of jars. Most of mine are left over from store bought pasta sauce. After going through my craft supplies I started to experiment and this is what I came up with!

  • Mason jar
  • Burlap ribbon
  • Decorations
  • Black ribbon
  • Scrap fabric

  1. First, I laid out my fabric and measured out just enough to fit around the jar and cut it out.
  2. Do the same for the burlap ribbon. The ribbon was a little too thick for the jar so I ended up cutting it long-ways too. To make a straight cut pull out one of the burlap threads. This will leave an empty space that you can cut along.
  3. Next, use the black ribbon to tie the burlap ribbon and fabric onto the jar. You could always glue each piece onto the jar so it will be more stable but I was afraid the glue would show through. I crisscrossed the black ribbon around the jar to give it a more decorative look and to hold the fabric on better.
  4. I used just a simple knot when putting the black ribbon on which made it easier to thread the keys. I bought these keys a while ago at a craft store and decided this was the perfect project to use them on. I took two with varying sizes and threaded each one onto the ribbon.
  5. You can add any other embellishments that you may want but I was happy with just the keys. I added some fake flowers and was done!

I love what I have seen other people do with their own mason jar projects. This new vase looked perfect in my craft room next to the recently redone miniature sewing chest. I hope you all like it and are inspired to do your own simple mason jar project!

Linking Up To:
Whimsy Wednesdays

Friday, February 21, 2014

Miniature Sewing Chest

For the past couple of days I have been slowly transforming my guest bedroom into a craft room. I have always wanted a designated area to work on things and decided that keeping the room primarily as a guest bedroom just wasn't practical for my needs. I have an area for my sewing machine and a bookcase that has all of my sewing items. A couple of months ago I found a miniature sewing chest at Hancock Fabrics on clearance for $5.00. The sewing chest was unfinished wood and came with many supplies such as scissors, needles, and pins. Today I finally took the time to finish it and I am extremely happy with how it turned out!

I wanted to use some fun colors since it was a small item. I already had everything on hand so this project only cost as much as what I paid for the actual sewing chest.

  • Sewing chest
  • Paint
  • Stain
  • Water
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Finishing wax
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Glue
  • Glitter
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  1. First, I stained the top of the sewing chest. This process was a bit difficult due to the rods that hold the spools of thread. I also had to sand it a bit first to get the stain to adhere better (The top was very smooth and had some kind of clear finish on it).
  2. Secondly, I mixed up my paint. I decided to use homemade chalk paint for this project since it worked well for my Microwave Cart Makeover. The recipe I used was 3 parts paint, 1 part Plaster of Paris, and 1 part water. You can add more or less water to get the consistency you want. I first mix up the water and Plaster of Paris to get a nice paste and then add the paint. Make sure it is smooth before applying to your project. 
  3. Remove the drawers from the chest and paint all the surfaces except the fronts and insides of the drawers. I decided to paint the sides of the drawers because they kind of stick out a little from the chest when inserted so you would be able to see unfinished wood if I hadn't.
  4. Let dry and apply additional coats if necessary. I did two coats total. 
  5. Once your painted surface is completely dry, take a rag and apply the finishing wax over the entire surface. This helps protect and seal your paint job.
  6. Next step is the front of the drawers. I cut out two pieces of scrapbook paper (this does not have to be perfect. Just make sure the pieces are slightly bigger than the fronts of the drawers). I then cut a hole in the center where the knobs went and slid the paper of the knobs (The knobs were glued on otherwise I would have removed them to make this process easier).
  7. Use your Mod Podge to glue the scrapbook paper to the fronts of the drawers. Smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles and let dry. 
    Paper on drawer fronts before sanding.
  8. Next, take your sandpaper and sand the edges of the drawers where the scrapbook paper sticks out from the edge. This will help you get a clean line from the scrapbook paper that matches perfectly with the edges of the drawer fronts.
  9. Seal the paper with Mod Podge and let dry.
  10. Once it is completely dry, coat the knobs in a thin layer of Mod Podge and sprinkle glitter onto them. You want to make sure the drawers are completely dry so that the glitter will only stick to the knobs and not the entire drawer.
  11. Let dry and you're done!

I think it looks perfect in its spot with all my sewing supplies. It is the perfect size for on top of the bookcase. Next to it I keep a basket with my sewing scissors and sewing patterns for quick access. Early next week I am going to do a post on how to do that mason jar vase so keep a look out!

Also, I just linked my Banana Muffins to the What We Eat Wednesday linky party hosted by Laugh. Eat. Learn. and Orchard Girls. They both have some pretty awesome recipes that I am just dying to try. Go check it out!

Laugh. Eat. Learn.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Banana Muffins

Once again I found myself in possession of some very overripe bananas. This time I decided I wanted to make some banana muffins. I modified this recipe from The Joy of Cooking cookbook. These muffins took almost no time at all and were a breeze to make.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1.4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. In separate bowl whisk together the egg, brown sugar, bananas, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
  4. Combine the dry mixture and wet mixture. Do not over-mix.
  5. Pour into muffin pan with liners and bake for 14-16 minutes or until done.

These will be easy for me to take to work with my lunch. They took very little time to mix up and the bonus was that they were already dairy free! Hope you all enjoy!

Linking Up To:
Cast Party Wednesday

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dairy Free Pancakes

Sometimes all I want is a nice big plate of hot, gooey pancakes. My birthday was one of those days. Unfortunately, many of the boxed mixes contain buttermilk, and when there's buttermilk, there's lots of lactose. The solution? Make the pancakes from scratch and replace the dairy. This really isn't that hard and it does not add a whole lot of time. You can even make the dry portion of this ahead of time in bulk for those days you want pancakes in a hurry.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbls sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbls melted dairy-free margarine or butter
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  1. In medium bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
  2. In separate bowl combine milk, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Slowly pour liquid mixture into the dry mixture, stirring continuously and slowly.
  4. Next add the melted butter. Gently stirring.
  5. Pour pancakes onto griddle or skillet on medium heat.
  6. When bubbles have formed and popped, flip the pancakes over. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
  7. Serve with syrup and powdered sugar.
These pancakes hit the spot just when I was craving them. They are simple to make and taste delicious. Try these out the next time you want a quick, scrumptious breakfast!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

DIY Headband

I wear headbands all of the time. They are perfect for work and are a little more interesting than just throwing my hair up into a ponytail. Many of my old headbands have become stretched out and I have been in desperate need of some new ones. I have seen a few tutorials showing how to make fabric flowers and thought I could combine my love of flowers, diy, and headbands to create a usable work of art for my hair. 

  • Ribbon
  • 2 hair ties (without metal connectors)
  • Thread
  • Scrap fabric
  • 2 buttons or other embellishments

  1. The first thing I did was to make the base of the headband. I started with the hair ties and the ribbon. To measure how much ribbon you will need hold it across your head so that it goes from ear to ear (like how you will wear the headband), then add about 1-2 inches. 
  2. Next tie your two hair ties together, pulling the knot tight.
  3. Sew the ribbon onto the hair ties by folding the ends over each side of the knotted hair ties.
  4. Next, work on the flowers for the headband. Take your scrap fabric and cut out 6 circles for each flower.
  5. Fold each circle in half and sew them together, overlapping each end, forming a chain.
  6. Once you sew the last circle of the chain connect it to the first circle to form the chain into a circle. 
  7. Pull the string at the end to cinch the "petals" together and tie.
  8. Once you have your flowers sew them to the ribbon headband where you want them.
  9. Next, take your buttons or other embellishments and sew them into the middle of each flower and your're done!

This project was simple and easy to make. I now have a custom headband to add to my collection. I originally got my idea and instructions for the flowers off Pinterest. I would add a link to the website but when clicking on the link it says it is now a bead store. I took pictures of what I did to help simplify the directions. Hope you guys find this tutorial useful and make your own awesome new headbands!

Linking Up To:
Cast Party Wednesday
Worthwhile Wednesdays

Friday, February 7, 2014

Twine Picture Frame

My birthday is coming up and my boyfriend surprised me with some beautiful flowers. My new purple tulips brought a glimpse of spring in the middle of this dreary winter. These flowers really inspired me to transform something to look bright and cheery. I love the whole country cottage girly look and use that theme in a lot of my projects. I had an old picture frame lying around that no longer matches my decor and is from my teenage and collage years. The frame is made from cheap cardboard and after staring at it for a while I came up with an idea to make it fit with my current style.

Aren't they gorgeous??? The perfect bouquet to be inspired by.
The before pic. This frame is made from cheep cardboard and even the "glass" is made from plastic.

  • Picture frame
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Twine
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors or straight cutter
  • Glue stick or spray adhesive
  • Decorative items (I used a flower from the scrapbooking section of the store)
  1. First, my picture frame had the main part of the frame and an inside part that acted as a mat for the picture. This part was removable. I took it out and laid it on a piece of scrapbook paper. Cut it to size.
  2. Next, use spray adhesive or a glue stick to attach the scrapbook paper to the mat. Fold paper over like you are wrapping a gift and glue the folded part to the back of the mat. Set aside.                                                                                          
  3. Take the main part of your frame and your twine. Hot glue the edge of the twine to the frame starting on the back of the frame. Work your way around the entire frame working from the back to the sides of the frame to the front.                                                           
  4. When all of the frame is covered by the twine trim any fly-a-ways to make it look neater.
  5. Decorate the frame with your decorative items. I placed the flower on the corner. It had an adhesive back already on it which made it easy to apply.
  6. Place mat back inside frame and add a picture. All done! :)

This project took about an hour. All of the supplies I already had on hand and the new look matches my current decor wonderfully! Now all I need is the perfect picture to go inside. :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stove Top Sloppy Joes

Tonight for dinner I wanted to make something quick, easy, and delicious. I had just bought some ground beef so I decided sloppy joes was the way to go. My mom made this recipe frequently growing up so it has been a go-to family recipe for quite some time.

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 3 Tbls ketchup
  • 1 Tbls mustard
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  1. Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain fat from meat.
  2. Dice onion and add to ground beef. Continue to cook on medium heat.
  3. Stir in BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, tomato paste and brown sugar. 
  4. Spoon mixture onto hamburger buns and serve.

This recipe makes about 4-6 sandwiches. You can add more or less of each ingredient depending on your specific taste. Whenever I buy ground beef I buy in bulk because the price per pound is so much better. I then cook it all at once and separate it into individual servings to freeze for future use. I then add all the seasonings and ingredients later. If you cook the meat ahead of time like this then this recipe will take even less time. Let me know what you think of these sloppy joes!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Buffalo Cheese Dip

Last week at a work party one of my coworkers brought in this buffalo cheese dip and it was awesome. After trying it I knew I needed to get the recipe from her so I could recreate it into being dairy-free. I also needed something to bring to my brother's Superbowl party and this sounded like the perfect appetizer for the job.


  • 16 oz Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese
  • 1 Tbs dried parsley
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried chives
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2/3 cups Franks RedHot
  • 20 oz canned chicken
  • 1/2 cup Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar cheese
  1. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, almond milk, and Franks RedHot in crock-pot.
  2. Add spices to crock-pot.
  3. Drain chicken and add to mixture in crock-pot.
  4. Cook on low for 3 hours.
  5. Serve with chips, celery, and carrots.

This recipe was super easy to make and everyone loved it. I was the only one at the party that does not eat dairy and everyone kept telling me how good it was. The new dairy-free version I came up with was just as good as the regular. The original recipe uses ranch dressing which has lots of dairy. The spices, mayonnaise, and almond milk are what replace this. If you can have dairy, this recipe is even simpler to make. 

I used Follow Your Heart cheese due to how it melts. Since this was a dip I wanted the cheese to melt as much as possible. You can use any brand you want but vegan cheeses can be tricky depending on how you cook it. Some stretch better than others and some melt better than others. I was very happy with how this brand worked in my recipe.

Hope everyone enjoys this appetizer! It was a hit for me and a hit for all my dairy eating friends. Enjoy :)

Linking Up To:
What We Eat Wednesday
Whatever Goes Wednesday
Whimsy Wednesdays
Cast Party Wednesday

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Hey guys! I just joined Bloglovin and added this blog to my profile. Bloglovin is a website that lets people keep track of the blogs they follow and helps them find new ones. If you want to follow me just click the link and add me :)

Happy blogging!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Oak Dresser Redo

A couple of summers ago when I was planning on moving into my own place, I realized that I needed a new dresser for my bedroom. I started looking on craigslist and I found a simple three drawer oak dresser listed for $30. It was exactly what I had been looking for, it was close by, and it was the right price. I had to have it. After seeing it, I knew it was going to be a lot of work but I was in love. I also ended up only paying $25 for it which was a steal. There was a chip out of the bottom corner on one of the drawers and a few water stains on the top but otherwise it was in good shape. I took it home and began work on it.

The dresser before beginning any work on it. At first look, it almost looks like a weird orange stain but it was actually multiple layers of paint.
Dresser without the drawers. You can see how dusty and dirty it was beforehand.
In the middle of my work, after hours of sanding, a storm came through very suddenly. It came on so quick I did not have time to get the dresser back inside and the entire thing got blown through the yard. You can imagine my disappointment. I was convinced it was ruined but luckily I did not find one dent on it. The only problem I had was the back of the dresser has a thin sheet of particle board on the back and it became a little warped. Good thing I decided on a sturdy, all wood dresser!

After getting it sanded I took some dark walnut stain and stained the dresser. I then took some polyurethane and put two coats of it on the outside to seal it. For the knobs, I took inspiration from Kmadson's Etsy shop. I made the knobs by designing the ads on a computer program I have and then printed them out onto paper. I cut them out and mod podged them onto the original knobs that came with the dresser. I also painted the original knobs black before putting the ads on them. I decided I wanted them to be extra special so I hid special dates such as when I took the NCLEX for nursing within the "vintage ads" on my knobs.

  • Dresser - $25.00
  • Paint stripper - $15.00
  • Stain - $5.00
  • Polyurethane - Free
  • Sander - Free
  • Sand Paper - $5.00
  • Face mask for sanding - $5.00
  • Eye protection for sanding - Free
  • Rags for staining - Free
  • Paint brush for polyurethane - Free
  • Knobs - Free
  • Paper - Free
  • Mod Podge - Free
  • Black Paint - Free
Total Cost: $55.00

I am really happy with the final project and overall it has held up really well. Most of the supplies I used I already had which made it fairly inexpensive. Also, It survived a massive storm and two moves... I'd say that's a pretty sturdy dresser worth every penny!

Cheese for the Lactose Intolerant

Cheese is my absolute favorite food. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life it would be cheese. So as you can guess, the hardest part about becoming lactose intolerant was not being able to eat cheese. At the beginning I was able to eat moderate amounts of cheese but over the years my intolerance has gotten worse. I therefore made it my mission to find substitutions for all my favorite dairy products. 

There are many dairy-free alternatives to cheese but real cheese, in my mind, cannot be truly replaced. I’ve done a lot of research and here is some of the information I have found.

Type of Cheese

Amount of Lactose (per 100g)

American Cheese
Blue Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Cream Cheese
Feta Cheese
Goat Cheese - Soft
Goat Cheese –Semi Soft
Goat Cheese – Hard

Comparing Popular Cheeses:

There are hundreds of cheeses found around the world. Most of the common ones come from cow’s milk but many can be made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, buffalo milk, and even camel or reindeer’s milk. Different cheeses can have big differences is the amount of lactose they contain. Unfortunately, food labels do not have the true amount of lactose on them. One good way to estimate the amount though is to look at the total amount of sugar. There cannot be more lactose than the listed amount of sugar since lactose is a sugar. Goat cheese does have one of the smallest amounts of lactose which makes it a good option for those who are intolerant but it does not guarantee they will not have problems. Further, low-fat items will have much higher lactose content than full-fat items and can cause more digestive problems for those with an intolerance. Foods will affect individuals differently and experimenting is the best way to determine what you can and cannot handle.  

Lactose-Free Options:

There are several options for cheeses that are naturally lactose-free. While a cheese ages, lactose gets broken down. This means that the older a cheese is the less lactose it will contain. Many brands promise their items to be lactose free and these are good options for those that are not trying to avoid dairy, just the lactose.

Cabot Cheese – Almost all of their cheeses are advertised to be lactose free. They have several different varieties of cheddar and even include some flavored varieties such as chipotle, tomato basil, and smoky bacon. Some of their other lactose free flavors include: Alpine blend, Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, Muenster, Pepper Jack, and Swiss. This brand can be found at any major food store and is very easy to find. However, there will probably be more flavor options at specialty food stores like Fresh Market. I have tried the seriously sharp cheddar and have had no problems with it and found it to be delicious.

Lactaid – These products add lactase to their milks and cheeses to break down the lactose into glucose and galactose. This makes it much easier for the body to digest. They are mostly known for their milk but they also have a lactose free cottage cheese. Their products will be slightly sweeter than regular dairy products due to the sugars already being broken down. They also offer a lactase supplement that you can take before consuming dairy to aid your body with digesting the lactose.

Go Veggie! – This brand has some dairy-free options and some lactose-free options. The lactose-free cheeses are in green packaging (made with milk, coconut, and soy) and blue packaging (made with milk and rice). You can get the cheeses as slices, blocks, or shreds. Depending on which one of those you get they have various flavors including: American, Swiss, cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, pepper jack, and more. This cheese only contains some milk and is not a true dairy cheese so it has a very different taste, smell, and texture. This is a very good option when cooking.

Dairy-Free Options:

One of the simplest ways to find cheese for being lactose intolerant is to look for vegan cheeses. These products do not contain any dairy which makes this a good option for those who have a lactose intolerance and/or a dairy allergy. Due to veganism becoming more popular, these products are becoming more readily available and more reasonably priced.

Daiya – This product is not only dairy free but is also soy free and gluten free. This is a very popular brand that has many different cheese options. They have three types of cream cheese spreads including: plain, strawberry, and chive and onion. Their cheeses come in slices, wedges, and shreds with flavors such as cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, and pepper jack. This brand is one of my favorite dairy-free options and I regularly stock up on their cream cheese and cheddar shreds. These still do not taste identical to real cheese but I feel it comes fairly close, especially when you cook it in a casserole.

“We Can’t Say It’s Cheese – This is a WayFare brand that sells three types of cheese spreads. The flavors are cheddar, hickory-smoked cheddar, and mexi-cheddar. They can be found at select specialty stores and online.

GoVeggie! – Like I discussed earlier, this company produces lactose-free and dairy-free items. The options for the dairy-free are very similar to the lactose-free but do not contain any form of dairy, including casein. Also, they have a cream cheese option that I have found to be very comparable to Daiya’s version. It is not something I would eat on a bagel but tastes very good in casseroles and crock-pot meals.

Toffuti – One thing that stands out about this company is that it has a dairy-free ricotta cheese. They also have cheese slices and cream cheese. Many people love the taste of this brand and it can easily be found at your local health food store.

Teese – This cheese is offered by company started by a couple of friends called Chicago Vegan Foods. They offer cheddar and mozzarella cheese blocks and nacho cheese and cheddar cheese sauces. I have not seen this anywhere in stores but you can order it online. It is meant to be melted and is good for grilled cheese and pizzas.

Dr. Cow – This company offers artesian tree nut cheeses that are organic, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. They offer some more unusual varieties such as aged cashew and hemp seeds cheese, aged macadamia nut cheese, and aged cashew and crystal manna algae cheese. These can only be ordered online.

Vegcuisine – The Gourmet Chef is a company that sells vegcuisine cheeses. There are two options: blue cheese and feta. They are both made with soy and can be purchased online.

I have tried many of the different lactose-free and dairy-free options. I am always on the lookout for more and hope this list helps others trying to maintain a lactose-free diet.