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Sunday, January 30, 2011

slow cooker carnitas

in an effort to use the crock pot [a.k.a. slow cooker] more, 
here's another recipe!
this was the first recipe i saved to my plummelo account
and was actually shared by the friend who introduced me to plummelo...
[if you're wondering what you may have missed, hop over to check out this amazing recipe-saving site]
the only thing, i would suggest is that you follow the recipe & get a boneless shoulder
{in the crock pot, after ~9 hours of cooking}
{shredded using 2 forks}
{dressed & ready to go}
oppings include: cilantro, lite sour cream, black beans, avocado & lime juice
it's a simple recipe & takes about 9-10 hours of cooking.
the meat has lots of flavor!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

a little bunting

i've been admiring bunting for several months now
and even bought some fabric last fall in hopes of creating my own.
i finally did it!

since i didn't follow a guide, 
i thought i'd make a little tutorial in case you want to try...

fabric that can be cute into flags
4 yards of bias tape or ribbon
two index cards
fabric marker
iron & ironing board

1. select fabrics you like
they don't have to be super matchy 
[i prefer less symmetry & matching]

2. before cutting the fabric, you will need a pattern to trace.
i made mine out of two index cards.
i simply cut them diagonally and taped them together
3. using the pattern created, trace on to fabric 
with disappearing fabric marker

4. cut out all fabric pieces
[i used 18 pieces, but cut about 23 since i didn't know 
how close i'd want them until i laid it out]

5. fold each of the diamond shapes in half
and iron flat, trim edges that don't line up

6. select your thread & sewing stitch for the flags;
use sewing machine to sew into flags
[i used a brown thread & zigzag stitch]

7. find the center of your bias tape or ribbon,
i marked mine with a pin, then pinned the flags to it 
starting ion either side of the center pin & working my way out

8. select your thread & stitch for the bias
[i used a khaki thread to match the bias tape & straight stitch].
use your sewing machine to sew pinned flags on to bias or ribbon
[i pinned each flag on either end into the bias tape]

9. trim thread as needed & iron any stubborn corners
then choose a place to display your bunting

my bunting is now in my office at work!
notice the "renew" pillow on my couch? i won it in a giveaway
from anna joy of  the joy cottage
there's not a lot you can do to disguise cinder block,
but i have hopes for my blank wall [stay tuned...]

what do you think? 
[feel free to leave suggestions for the blank wall too]

i'm linking here:

Friday, January 28, 2011

10 things i learned from dad

i feel like i learn something new from my dad every whenever we talk.
he's so wise & i am blessed to be his daughter!

10. love baseball. it's america's past time &
the sport i recall watching on tv with my dad 
(ice hockey wins for most watched sport in person, thanks to my brother).
fenway park tour, december 2008
9. follow through. if you say you'll do something, do it. 
a lot of people commit to things & don't follow through,
but you should "let your yes be yes" (Matthew 5:37)

8. use your money wisely. build a savings account & be generous.
it's important to plan for the unexpected.

7. make lists. think about things ahead of time & do your best to prepare.
whether considering questions to ask at an interview, 
big ticket item(s) you want to purchase or a visit to the doctor's office. 

6. be practical. base decisions on practicality,
rather an impulsively choose something.

5. don't get too attached to possessions. 
whether, it's your car or clothes, take care of your things so they last, 
but do not be afraid to part with them.

4. be content. make the most of what you have.

3. be humble. don't brag about things you have done or plan to do.

2. family first. he's an achiever, but i always knew my mom, brother 
and i were more important than his work.
family trip to maine in 1992 [love that camcorder]
1. lead a life on integrity & discipline. this is my father's legacy
in a nutshell and what i admire most about him. 

happy birthday, dad!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

winter wear

it's been pretty cold in the northeast (monday's high was 10)
 and we're expecting yet another round
 of snow, sleet, and freezing rain this week.

since the weather has been on my mind,
here are my few favorite {essential items} for winter:

insulted travel mug
this one has a vacuum seal & keeps my coffee hot for over an hour
180 degree ear warmers
necessary for walking across campus & keep my ears warm
eurcerin aquaphor healing ointment
to keep my lips from cracking
celestial seasonings tea
i have several favorites, but  always have this in my office
what items do you rely on in winter months?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

word of the year

a few colleagues & other bloggers have mentioned 
the concept of choosing a word for 2011, 
or one that will inspire you throughout the year.
examples include ed cabellon, becca obergefell, lisa leonard,
laura from along for the ride [just to name a few].

i've been considering what my word could be...
in thinking about the year ahead, activities i anticipate being part of,
and things i hope to do, i have chosen "give" to mark my 2011.
i want to give more of my time, energy, & money.
i love giving handmade cards & notes to family & friends.
 i plan to give through service in guatemala city in march
[and throughout the year].
i want to focus on giving things away, rather than getting things
[which is why i will be suspending my weekly frugal friday finds].
i hope to give time walking, running & other healthy practices.
i'm not waiting until thanksgiving to say thank you,
but giving thanks all year long.
i may even give up something...

any suggestions?
do you have a word of the year?

Monday, January 24, 2011

chicken enchiladas

after seeing this recipe from healthy food for living last week,
i knew enchiladas would be at least one of our weekend meals.
we made a few modifications, so i thought i'd share the recipe with you!
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast (preferably organic)
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow or white onion (about 1 medium)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup salsa verde, plus additional for serving (we made our own using this recipe)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 oz (4 Tbsp) 1/3-less-fat neufchatel cream cheese, divided
4 Tbsp. cottage cheese, divded
3/4 cup enchilada sauce, homemade or store-bought
3 large (burrito-sized) or 4 medium flour tortillas 7 corn torillas
canola oil cooking spray
1/2 – 3/4 cup freshly grated 50% reduced-fat cheese, such as monterey jack, cheddar, or pepperjack
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)
2% plain Greek yogurt, for serving lite sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill a medium-sized pot three-quarters full with water; bring to a boil. Slide in the chicken breast, reduce heat to a simmer, and poach for 15 minutes, or until done. Drain water and let chicken cool in the pot for about 10 minutes. Shred chicken with two forks; set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in  shredded chicken, chopped chiles, salsa and spices. Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 oz (2 Tbsp) of the neufchatel cottage cheese, reserving the other 1 oz. Set aside.
Pour enchilada sauce into a small saucepan over low heat. When sauce reaches a simmer, turn the heat off and whisk in the remaining 1 oz neufchatel cottage cheese until completely melted.
Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until soft and pliable. 
Lay the tortillas out on a clean work surface.
Lightly coat a baking dish with canola oil cooking spray. 
Spoon a few tablespoons of the creamy enchilada sauce over the bottom of the dish; spread evenly.
Divide the chicken mixture into 3 7 (if using large tortillas) or 4 (if using medium tortillas) equal portions. Spoon each portion onto the lower third of a tortilla. Roll each filled tortilla and lay seam-side down burrito-style, tucking in the ends as you go.
 Place filled tortillas into the prepared dish. 
Cover with the remaining creamy enchilada sauce; top with cheese.
Bake, uncovered, until enchiladas are hot and cheese is bubbling, about 20 25 minutes.
Serve topped with any enchilada sauce remaining in the dish, extra salsa, cilantro, and
 Greek yogurt sour cream.
these were delicious!

{i'm linking here}

Sunday, January 23, 2011

shirt {turned} rosette necklace

another project for you...
ever since i learned to make rosettes from this tutorial by mandipidy,
i've been looking for ways to create a necklace i love.
this season, i found deep grey snuck into my wardrobe
but this tank wasn't working out [due to its racer back],
so i cut it into strips and made three necklaces.
[i gave one of the necklaces away before i i could take the photo]
...and i also made a few sets of earrings.

i'm excited about look of using a knit cotton fabric for the rosettes
and i'm tempted to make earrings in every color,
my closet better look out!
what do you think?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

loving the snow

yesterday was another snow day [my third of 2011],
which i cannot believe.
i think i mentioned before that milton loves the snow,
and i finally got some decent photos of him frolicking in the yard!

...and he's still running.
seriously, i couldn't ask for a better snow day pal; 
he cuddles and gives lots of kisses [shhh, don't tell the hubs...]
but you cannot deny he's handsome lad!
oh milton, you make me a proud puppy mama.

Friday, January 21, 2011

frugal friday finds

gap had some crazy good sales [pretty sure they're still on] 
while i was in newport, rhode island last weekend.

won't this will look very cute with my allora handmade
mustard modern pearl necklace?!
printed cap-sleeve top final sale $16.97 plus 30% off!
pure body scoopneck t $15 plus 30% off!
the apothecary sells certain bare escentuals items for $8 or $9
well-rested for eyes in the $8 bin
j.crew find of the weekend: black zipper skinny belt for $2.99
[no photo...sorry]

happy friday, friends!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

grateful girl: inspired

we've had a lot of snow in boston lately
[and i mean we've had two storms that dropped over 12" of snow]
& laura from along for the ride got me thinking about 
the things that inspire me this time of year 
[i mean winter for those who may not be currently experiencing 
snow, freezing rain, sleet & 30 degrees starts to feel balmy]
in these cold & dark months, i am inspired by

120. taking our pup, milton, for a walk while the snow is gently falling

121. seeing a d.i.y. project i want to try on a fabulous blog
and bookmarking it on tumblr

122. catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee/hot chocolate/tea
my hot chocolate at caffe vittoria in boston's north end on monday night
123. dreaming about the places i am blessed to visit in coming months:
chicago, guatemala city & galway, ireland

124. listening to a sermon from dr. martin luther king, jr.
there are several speeches and sermons listed on here on wikipedia

what are you inspired to be grateful for this week?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


in the spirit of mlk day, i'm reflecting on service.
if you have the time, listen to dr. king's sermon from 1968
about seeking greatness through service & love:
last week, i wrote a bit more about service here.

i recommend visiting the martin luther king, jr. museum in atlanta, ga.
[i went in 2008]
and the national civil rights museum in memphis, tn.
[i went in 2009 with the hubs]

did you do any kind of service on mlk day?
i'd love to hear about it!

Monday, January 17, 2011


a weekend in newport, rhode island with the girls...
joyce & steph
we stayed in the historic district
did a little shopping [i'm holding our 1st purchase, fudge]
ate some delicious mexican food at diego's
real fruit above the entryway, traditional new england decor
after dinner
and ended the evening with painting our nails
& watching "the little mermaid"
a quintessential new england town on the water,
newport is picturesque & historic.
highly recommended!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

andouille & greens with cheesy grits

another round of boston organics arrived this week.
[remember i told you about our first delivery here?]
we chose to try this recipe from our january issue of real simple
we halved the recipe and added mushrooms,
 but that was the only change we made.
this was a flavorful dish, loaded with veggies & spice from the sausage. 
oh, and it's been added to my plummelo account.
have you tried it yet?

i'm linking here

Saturday, January 15, 2011

sweater {turned} infinity scarf

while i was home over thanksgiving,
i found a bunch of sweaters i wore in college.
a few weeks later, i came across this post
from adventures in dressmaking
on my snow day this week, i gave it a try!
a comfy cotton sweater i wore in college
[though i never knew what to do with the tassels]
panels cut from the sweater
[needed 4, but 6 are pictured]
seam between panels [from outside]
completed infinity scarf
[after sewing 6 panels together, i removed 2 because it was too long]
...and wearing it.
it's so fun to be able to wear this sweater in its new form.
it was one of my favorites almost 10 years ago...
and it's nice and soft around my neck.
i will also wear it more because it's so neutral.

have you tried upcycling anything
from your wardrobe lately?

this is my first time participating in project restyle
can't say i can commit to doing it weekly, but at least monthly.