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Showing posts from 2012

our back yard project

We've always wanted to have a small house party, but felt overwhelmed with just 5 people in the living room.  In comes MY back yard project because I was tired of dust blowing into the house and staring at that ugly cinder block wall...not to mention that project that the previous owners started and never finished (see lower right hand corner of photo below).  Eric took ownership of wanting to decorate and 'spruce up' our living room, making it feel really homey and welcoming.  So MY project was the yard and my vision to make it less drab.  Our yard is teeny-tiny and fits right in with our 3 bedroom, 1200 sq. ft. house.  

Our friend had a landscaper do their back yard and he came highly recommended, so we went with them without question.  I wanted pavers, artificial grass and two trees/plants.  The landscaper recommended plants that crawl on the wall in effort to sooth my Issue with the cinder blocks...  I wasn't satisfied...  So I hunted and surfed the web for a week…

fun and funky artwork (diy!)

My guest bedroom and craft room/office needs a little inspiration, these bare walls are making me anxious!!  It stares and me and shouts "I want art, crafty projects, photos and frames!"  ... In comes Pinterest and all the awesomeness that pinners and diy-ers are creating.  I saw this pin that Better Homes and Gardens posted about DIY wall art and I couldn't wait for the next day to come so I could go out and buy my supplies!!

Michael's had a coupon for 40% off canvas- CHECK!
I headed to the Hancock Fabrics and the Sale section and found this cool tie-dye, silky fabric- PERFECT!
Then off to my FAV, Home Depot to get a staple gun and some staples- DONE!

This is the fabric I found and steamed so the creases would come out.

Cut the fabric about 3 inches longer than the canvas.

This is the section of the fabric that I wanted to showcase.

I don't have any handy tools, like those giant clips, so I tugged and pulled the fabric with all limbs to make it taut! retr…

mushroom risotto

Ahh Risotto... The ever scary, don't think about attempting it, super difficult- RISOTTO...  The only reason as to why the stigma of risotto is so ingrained in my brain is because of Chef Gordon Ramsey's show: Hell's Kitchen.  "You can't make a @#*$% Risotto?? You Donkey!"

I stumbled across a recipe on  with 1,149 reviews and 5 stars.. WHOA this must be A-mazing! Thank you Myleen for this Gourmet Mushroom Risotto recipe!!  So I scan the ingredients- simple -and I have most of them in my kitchen already... White wine- YUM; that's an added plus because I can drink it!!

...Nervous... Still... I read the reviews of the first 30 people just to see if they have tips or tricks and I pick up a few!  I also saw a video explaining how to make it, which greatly helped me visualize my success (haha).
And a success it was!!  Level of difficulty: intermediate in my opinion.  It's just high maintenance during cooking, you honestly can't walk away…

healthy shakes for breakfast

We recently purchased a refurbished Vitamix from  We chose refurbished because it came with a 7 year warranty and didn't think we needed a quieter version that was worth the additional $300 price tag.  Besides a few finger prints on the stainless steel, it works perfectly!  Eric and I talk about how this purchase is probably our best home purchase yet; we use it EVERYDAY!!

I make a smoothie everyday as a breakfast replacement, which is actually a much healthier, much more filling breakfast than my normal banana or Pop Tart.  Because I don't eat meat, I lack iron therefore bruise very easily; and normally stay for a month or so.  But I've noticed after 2 months of smoothies, my bruises only stay for about two weeks!!!  I have to thank spinach and kale for their health benefits!

Additionally, I hate the texture of yogurt but I force myself to eat it because of the active cultures that are good for you...  And into my smoothie it goes, no more texture or force-fe…

bang bang shrimp

There was a restaurant called Bonefish...  Then it closed...  They had a shrimp dish called: Bang Bang Shrimp, which was my FAV...  Then I had none...  But I found a recipe on Fake Ginger via Pinterest!!  And OH MY is it Yummy!!! 
It takes a while because you have to dip the shrimp, then fry, then coat with the sauce.. But it's well worth it! The best part is you can add more Siracha to make it more spicy!!  I took the advice of some others who suggested dipping the shrimp in corn starch before the egg/flour mixture and added 1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce to the mixture. I also made the entire 2 LB bag of frozen shrimp and had more than enough sauce for all of it. SOoOooooo  Good!!!   Get the recipe here!

photo booth props

As a graduation gift, we thought that a photo booth would be a fun and memorable way to congratulate Eric's Brother.  He'll be headed to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to continue with his passion of being a pilot.

In addition to some fun props, I made some call-outs and mustache's to dress up the photos.  Everything was made on Foam Boards that I purchased from Wal-Mart and cut with an Exacto Knife.  Cutting was the most difficult part; more curves are more hard!!  I purchased Dowels from Michael's, they measure 3/16 x 12 inches and glued with a glue gun.  The call-outs were hand drawn.  The mustache's were printed from and was super-duper helpful!!  There are a ton of other free printables so check it out! 

Say Cheese!!

raspberry chocolate torte

This one came out better than the last one!  This raspberry chocolate torte is rich and heavy.  It's chocolately, but not too sweet because it's bittersweet chocolate which pairs perfectly with the raspberry filling.

Oddly enough, it tastes better a day old, once the flavors are able to set and the torte soaks up some moisture from the chocolate ganache. And BOYYY is it worth the wait!!

Perfect with a glass of milk or hot coffee, my oh my!!

...Yet another one I'm adding to my menu!!  ...Now accepting orders!!

whipped cream frosting

This recipe is a keeper!!  It has a taste lighter than marshmallows, is super airy and light and just enough cream to let the red velvet shine.  It's consistency is very soft, but it doesn't lose too much of it's shape once piped- weird but awesome at the same time!

Sorry, can't share the recipe because it's going to be added to my menu!!

On to the next recipe experiment!!

cake pops galore!

I have been blessed with the start of my business: cody cakes and my very first order from a client that needed cake pops for a trade show.  They asked that I use a recipe they provided using a product that they had just introduced and asked for 450 cake pops!  I had TWO WEEKS to prepare!!  WHOA was this exciting stuff!!

Needless to say I'm stubborn, a control freak and perfectionist- which somehow didn't work in my favor for this project.  I wanted each hand-rolled cake pop to be uniform, packed to a certain pressure of my hand, weighing all the same weight (0.9 oz), as round as round could be; quite simply, as perfect as a hand-rolled cake pop would be. I have learned that my perfectionist and control attributes could quite possibly be my greatest weakness.  However, I was 110% pleased with the outcome of my perfectly rolled cake pops- but it took me MUCH longer than I thought...Maybe I should have... YES, I should have accepted the help that was offered!!   *note to self, …

rainbow colored cake pops

I'm working on a project and a company sent me their sugar crystals- look at all of these fun colors!!  It even shows up on the dark chocolate candy melts!!!

Can't say much just yet, because nothing is official but they sure are a cool company with great products!!  Grateful and appreciative are words that keep re-surfacing lately and I can't say it enough!!

Happy day!

peanut butter rice krispies treats

Peanut butter and Rice Krispies TOGETHER... Oh my!!  Not to mention that it's super quick and easy to prepare makes it even better!

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup agave nectar
1 cup peanut butter
7 cups rice cereal

Heat brown sugar and agave nectar until sugar is melted (almost boiling)
Remove from heat and add peanut butter
Mix peanut butter mixture and rice cereal
Pack into a 9x13" pan
Refrigerate to harden and cut

Viola!! xoxo

a milestone for cody cakes

I just wanted to share a proud moment. is officially LIVE!!

...and [gasp with excitement] I have a LOGO!!

How COOL...  [quietly in awe and having a moment]

...just wanted to share!! [all smiles]

sesame shrimp

Oh YUM!  This sesame shrimp recipe is a keeper!  I'd say we eat very healthy in our household and shrimp is hardly on the menu because Eric has ingrained in my brain that "shrimp is high in cholesterol, it isn't healthy."  Needless to say, our dinners have become very mundane because there's only so much one can cook when we don't eat red meat, chicken, pork...  Just veggies and seafood (we do this by choice if you're wondering).  So I figured I'd change things up a bit, shrimp is 'okay' every once-in-a-blue-moon.

My blue moon has risen and I found a sesame shrimp recipe on  I've deviated a little from the recipe and my additions are italicized below.  If you want a little more sauce to pour over your rice, you might want to double, or triple the recipe.

Ingredients 2 tablespoons soy sauce  2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided  2 teaspoons lemon juice  2 tablespoons sushi vinegar  2 tablespoons mirin 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder …

mashed potatoes with a spinach twist

I wanted to make some seasoned potatoes for dinner and noticed a 10 pound bag of potatoes for $1.99.  It was cheaper than buying two individual potatoes, so I went for the bulk purchase.  In light of trying to use up 8 pounds of potatoes I found a Potato Spinach Casserole recipe on  OK so I didn't follow the recipe exactly and ended up with mashed potatoes with spinach in it- but it tasted super yum and my tummy was satisfied!  My additions are italicized below.

Ingredients 7 large potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 1 cup sour cream 1/4 cup butter 2 tablespoons chopped green onions 2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 6 cloves garlic 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. I didn't do this part Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and garlic and cook …

curried quinoa

I've been on the hunt for tasty quinoa recipes.  I LOVE the stuff but Eric isn't so fond of it, so I'm trying to find more ways to cook it so it's a little more enjoyable for him.  He doesn't ever complain but it pushes me to research and find more ways to be creative in the kitchen.

I added a few veggies to the dish to give it some texture and added a little more chicken broth to cook the quinoa.  Other than that, I didn't deviate from the recipe and it was good.  It doesn't taste like a strong curry and it's not too spicy, however I did dilute the spices when I added the extra broth.

curried quinoa

2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed1 small onion, diced2 cloves garlic, minced1 cup quinoa2 cups chicken broth1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

LARGE chocolate chip cookies

Lately I've been on a junk food rampage, rummaging through my pantry for something sweet, something else salty, something crunchy, anything that isn't my normal healthy veggies.  I've exhausted my searching (and indulging in a candy binge) and resorted to baking with whatever ingredients I had on hand- cookies!!  
[seriously I'm hoping this nasty craving that's taken over me passes soon or my waistline will be unforgiving]
My eyes are probably larger than my stomach and I made them HUGE!! huge that it takes 20 minutes to bake AND you can only bake 6 per batch! ...sighhh, soooo, it took longer than a normal batch of cookies to bake.
BUT, they are SO delicious!  Totally hit the spot and subsided my junk food craving...for now.
[I should also side-bar here to tell you that I made a major baking NO-NO and answered the phone while putting my ingredients together and added more butter than the recipe called for... so my cookies flattened out more than they should …

Zucchini Bites

Simple Ingredients for a yummy and tasty appetizer!  Thank you to The Curious Country Cook for your Zucchini Tots recipe (adopted by The Naptime Chef)!  Straight out of the oven, it actually has a meat texture (for the carnivores out there) and doesn't really taste much like zucchini (for the veggie haters out there) which equates to a very well-rounded food dish that appeals to all!!

I doubled the recipe so I'd have a little more.

Zucchini BitesVia The Curious Country Cook & Recipe adapted: The Naptime Chefyields:
12 mini muffins

1 cups zucchini, grated
1 egg
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup cheese (cheddar or Parmesan work the best)
1/4 cup bread crumbs - I used Italian style
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.
2. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach.
3. In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt…

Williams-Sonoma "New Flavors for Vegetables"

At the Nevada and California border there is my favorite outlet mall.  It's my favorite outlet because there is a Williams-Sonoma outlet.  There are always great sales and deals going on, so I like to stop by, ohhhhh once a month...

I decided to get this recipe book because it was half off.  $11!!  Go get the book!

I've never purchased a recipe book that

I didn't have to purchase special ingredientsEach recipe is so quick and easy; no complicated utensils or cooking apparatus's I've actually made more than half the recipesI've actually made more than half the recipes AND liked it!! Being a part-time vegetarian (I eat seafood) it's often hard to find TASTY vegetable recipes.  It's always the same stir-fry...  Additionally, I'm always curious about all of those vegetables at Trader Joe's and not have any recipes or the know-how to make it.  This entire book has Trader Joe's written all over it- it's all of those vegetables!!
I made wok se…

Chilled Sesame Spinach

Sooo super yummy and refreshing, this Chilled Sesame Spinach hits the spot!!

I found this recipe on and had all the ingredients on hand.  
Ingredients ·Coarse salt ·2 pounds spinach, stems trimmed, washed ·1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil ·1 1/2 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce ·1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar ·1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine) ·3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Directions 1.Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; season with salt. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain immediately in a colander, and plunge into prepared ice bath. Let spinach cool completely, about 30 seconds; drain again. Using your hands, squeeze excess water out of spinach, and transfer to a work surface. Coarsely chop spinach, and place in a medium bowl; set aside. 2.In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin. Add dressing and sesame seeds to the spinach; mix to combine. Happy healthy…

I LOVE spray paint!!

I am HOOKED on using spray paint!!  A few days ago, I used it for the first time and it's so wonderful!

Living in Las Vegas and with the unfortunate downturn of the economy, there have been hotel liquidations selling furniture, accessories, kitchen items, etc.  I found a mirror for $25 and it was a gold color.  I envisioned it in a glossy white so I purchased the mirror and stuck it in the garage for another day.

I just got around to sanding it to create a more textured surface and spray painting it.  It's so quick and easy!

I wish I took a 'before' photo, but I jumped the gun and was too excited to use the spray paint.

Here it is!!  I'll show you once I find a home for it!

Happy spray painting!! (trust me, it's GREAT!)

Painting my Craft Room

Our home has been a work in progress and I've been having lots of fun with colors!  I've been surfing the web looking for craft room ideas.  There's SO many great ideas, paint colors, color schemes, organizational ideas, it's endless!!

I knew I wanted a teal blue, turquoise-y, bright fun blue.  I selected three different blue samples and tested them on the wall.

I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends what their color preference was and we all [most of us] chose the same color!

I painted three walls the solid blue.  And one wall would be my striped accent wall (blue and white).  I decided I didn't want uniform sized stripes, so I chose a pattern of 8 inches, 4 inches, 4 inches - alternating blue and white.  I measured my wall, which was 122 3/4 inches in length.  I knew that my last stripe would be a little short of 4 inches (124 inches total) so I decided that stripe would end right above the door; it won't be as noticeable, being such a small area.

...I gu…