This past week…

I kept my garden alive! Yay! It’s been hot, but I’ve been out early watering and tending to a few weeds. One of my tomato plants has a couple blooms coming out. And my herbs are ferocious. Note to self: I need to learn how to dry herbs stat!

I am super excited for the weekend. I am planning on going cherry picking with a good friend of mine. I absolutely need tart cherries in my life. They are hard to come by. But for about 2-3 weeks in Virginia you can go pick your own at one of the many farms around. I can’t wait. Good thing I cleaned out my freezer!!

This past week I did a ton of cooking. It’s been great testing out recipes. I haven’t had a miss this week. I couldn’t even tell you my favorite. The swordfish Niçoise salad with the lemon shallot dressing was so fresh and delicious. I think I ate a half pound of raw spinach that night as part of the salad. We picked our plates clean. It’s not surprising that something with bacon herb compound butter was amazing. I am going to try making the butter with a smoked sea salt next time, and nix the bacon to see if the flavors still come through. Second try at a recipe is always a good time to play with some modifications. Kebabs are always a win around here and we topped of Wednesday’s kebabs with some sweet honeydew (pistachio ice cream and cones were all gone). So good and one of the better fruits for you. I think I’ll make honeydew popsicles this weekend to capture the ripe and sweet goodness available right now. Yesterday morning I prepped the Israeli Tomato salad while my popovers were baking. I followed the recipe in My Paleo Patisserie and they did not disappoint. I whipped up a maple cinnamon butter to go with them and they were a big hit at work even though not one person has heard of them. Last night we made buffalo wings and they were seriously the best ones I’ve made myself. The sauce was good. Adding the pork rinds was a nice touch. We did several without the pork rinds and they were good, too. And I can’t get enough of that Israeli Tomato salad. We’re having it again tonight as our side. Yum!!

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We did a lot of fetching and retrieving this week in the mornings. Love my pups so much. They’re really enjoying this nice weather despite still having their winter coats.

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Pinterest Inspiration

I’ve been on Pinterest a lot lately. Finding easy projects to hone my crocheting and sewing skills. I like a little more modest fit on things, but I fell in-like with these jersey knit pencil skirts from Old Navy. They are so comfortable, they go below the knee, and you can wear them anywhere. They easily dress up or down. A few weeks back I decided to make my own. I had some leftover fabric from several years ago. It was one of those finds in the piles of fabric on the clearance shelves at G-Street. I had just enough to make a custom pencil skirt. I’ve worn it to work once and I’m going to wear it today, too! The pattern is here suburbsmama.blogspot.com/ It was definitely a really easy project (as easy as jersey knit sewing can be), but I would not do a single back seam next time. I would do the two side seams, which is also how the Old Navy skirt is designed. I would recommend this pattern at Cotton & Curls

Here’s my skirt (sorry I don’t have any pics of it on me). The top band is folded in right now because I am going to take the waist in a little.

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Have a great day!

K

What’s On Your Hook Wednesday

I finished my dishcloth on Friday night. See:

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I was on Facebook Saturday night and saw that Wool And The Gang is adding the art of crochet to their brand/company . I feel like WATG could best be described as a modern hipster brand. Nothing about them is fuddy-duddy. They are on trend and doing their part to shape the evolution of yarn arts in the 21st century. If you see something cool that is knit from a trendy/hip store, there is a good chance they already sell the materials, tools, and pattern for something similar. They are ahead of the curve. They’re British, too. So they really just can’t help themselves–they have to be cool. I heart them.

I watched a knitting stitch tutorial by WATG called “How To Knit Mock Fisherman’s Rib” and I knew it was an easy enough pattern/stitch for me to try. The video was so easy to follow. Check them out.

I found a pattern for a knit ribbed cup cozy/sleeve and thought I’d try it out. I really need to practice my basic stitches and it allowed me to try using double pointed needles for the first time. It went okay. One or two stitch mistakes, but I like the DPNs. I stopped it a little shorter than I probably should have but it still serves it’s purpose. Stretches easily onto my stainless still SIGG.

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On Monday night I made this coaster:

2015/06/img_1255.jpg I’m going to take it to work and set my mason jar water glass on it while I work. I would use a smaller yarn next time because it’s big for a coaster. The cotton yarn is great for a coaster, though. Soaks up all that condensation. No more water rings on my papers. Yay!

I think I’m going to loom knit something next. I have several projects/patterns and supplies for loom knitting projects and I want to get some of those done.

Have a great day!

K

Recipes

A couple of the recipes I’m using this week are ones I’ve been using for years. They’re both paleo. Enjoy!

Kebab Rub & Marinade (great for chicken or steak)
8 T Paprika
0.5 T Cayenne
3 T White Pepper
3 T Dried or Powdered Onion
6 T Garlic powder
4 T Sea Salt
2.5 T Dry Oregano
2.5 T Dry Thyme

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Mix 4T of above rub with .5 cup avocado oil and .5 cup balsamic and 1-1.5 lbs of chicken breast or sirloin steak cut into 3/4″ cubes. Marinate overnight or at least 6 hours. I skewer meat by itself or with hard vegetables like onions or pepper. For the vegetables going on skewers I toss them in avocado oil, salt and pepper before skewering.

Israeli Salad
1 C. diced cucumber
1 C. diced tomato (remove seeds)
1 C. diced bell pepper
1 C. diced green onions
2 T. chopped fresh dill weed
3 T. chopped fresh parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
1.5 T. olive oil
Sea salt to taste (not more than 0.5 tsp)

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl. Juice lemon over the
vegetables. Add oil and just a little sea salt. Toss and it’s ready.
This salad will last for 4-5 days and keep crunchy and delicious.

Weekly Meal Plan

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I’ve got some great desserts lined up this week–I spent Saturday in sweet making mode. I am hard core on not using paleo-fied desserts. For me that is primarily due to the fact that I’m not at a steady maintenance weight. However, I don’t have an insane sweet tooth, but I do crave sweets sometimes. So, it’s easy for me to just have a nibble. I also think paleo-fied desserts done correctly can be an excellent way to get healthy fats, which I find myself eating less of during the summer grilling season. If I grill something lean by chance, then a popsicle with coconut milk or avocado ice cream might be the perfect cap to my dinner.

That being said, my desserts from Saturday don’t fit into this category at all, LOL. I used a cup of maple syrup in these desserts. What did I make? Pistachio ice cream and waffle cones. WHAT?! Yeah, you heard that right. I just got My Paleo Patisserie a few weeks ago and these are my first desserts. They turned out amazing! Both are as good as the real thing and they both taste better than many real life alternatives I’ve had. The ice cream is like gelato or custard. It is sooooo creamy. I also made watermelon popsicles (with coconut milk, lime juice, and mint) so I could free up some precious fridge space from this giant bag of watermelon. And, with the leftover pistachio pulp from the ice cream, I made some chocolate chip (Enjoy Life) cookies with sunflower seeds, banana, and gluten free oats. I think I might freeze the cookies because I know they’ll be the last to go and the first to spoil!

Now, let’s get to the point! What’s for dinner this week??

DINNER
Monday– Swordfish Niçoise Salad with lemon shallot dressing
Tuesdayhalibut with marinated mushrooms & roasted broccoli
Wednesday– Chicken kebabs with veggie kebabs
Thursdaychicken wings with ranch & Israeli Tomato salad
Fridaygrilled chicken drumsticks & salad

Have a great week!

Kat

This past week…

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Fall and winter are easily my favorite seasons. I like snow, cold temps, coats, boots, stew, a fire, and hot cocoa. However, the past few weeks have been pretty fun despite the sweltering temps. Summer means fresh cut grass, swimming pools, and a lot fewer cars on my commute. HALLELUJAH!! I’ve been welcoming summer in a few ways the past couple weeks…

This is my attempt at Kofta from Wednesday night. It’s not pretty, but it was really good. I made a pound of lamp and a pound of beef. The beef was at a disadvantage from the start. I used Wegman’s grass fed ground beef and it was a little too lean. The lamb was perfect, though. The recipe called for way too much salt. I think a good rule of thumb is 3/4 tsp salt per pound of meat. That’s the only thing I’d change. Eggplant is so good on the grill, too. This was an easy meal to cleanup after, too. I think we’ll be having it again really soon.
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Here is my garden!! If one of these containers produces a vegetable, it will be a gardening win for my household! I have very little faith in my ability to keep these plants alive. They require regular care and watering. I am the least habitual person I know. Not a great combination. I am hopeful, though. So, there’s that. Hope.

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Here’s my sweet little herb garden.

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My sweet Gunny enjoying a raw bone. He loves him some frozen marrow.

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This is our garbage disposal. It was broken. Then I fixed it. Like a boss.

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I am so excited about this book. My mom recommended the book to me and I am excited to make something from it this summer. There are a few main projects like a skirt, jacket, and tank top. And then there are variations of each project. I hope that makes sense. I like to dress on the modest side, so it’s awesome to have a book that shows you fun ways to modify wardrobe staples.

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Gunny again. Watching his dad in the front yard. This picture is just so funny to me. And cute!

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I don’t watch Real Housewives of Melbourne, but I did watch the reunion. Australian accents are my favorite. This guy was the host. He must be famous-ish in Australia. Not sure why he wore sunglasses on his head the whole day. I was going to make fun of them, but then I realized I pretty much wear my sunglasses like that all day long, too. Never thought about it much but it keeps my short hairdo pulled back. So, I’m sort of like the girl version of this guy. Sort of.

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Ravelry

I recently knit some baby booties and crocheted a cute owl with this really soft yarn. It was easy to work with and came in a ton of colors. I realized I was getting to the point in my yarn crafting game where I was going to need a better system for organizing my projects. My current system involves yarn separated into plastic grocery bags with vague project ideas scribbled on post-it notes. No where to go but up with this amazing system {sarcasm}.

I discovered Ravelry–the Facebook for knitters/crocheted/yarn enthusiasts–in January 2014. I am slowly discovering more of the functions of the site and why some of them exist. I am especially happy about the yarn stash tracker. It’s the answer to my project and yarn organizing needs.

Check out Ravelry if you haven’t and go friend me (I’m PinkLobster). My profile is pretty bare, but I think I’ll be involved more as the summer months come and those daylight hours stretch to give me more light for some porch crocheting while the dogs roll around in the grass and dinner is on the grill.

Be Blessed,
K

What’s On Your Hook Wednesday

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Hey hookers! Dumb joke, but I couldn’t resist. I’ve always got something on my crochet hook, as it is my current favorite hobby. I’m working on a really exciting project this week…a dishcloth! Haha. Okay, so not that exciting. It’s a plain old dishcloth done using only single crochets. It’s mindless and that’s what I am in the mood for. I still consider myself a little new to crochet and I want to build my skills by laying a solid foundation and getting my reps. I actually started out on Friday night with this yellow cotton yarn on my knitting needles. Oh yeah, I don’t know how to knit, by the way. I found a pattern with only knit and purl stitches. I started and unraveled five times before moving the project to my hook. I’m not sure what my deal was with the knitting. I had just finished my first ever knitting project: a pair of baby booties. The baby booties went quick and easy and I put them on my gift shelf for the next baby shower I attend. I really thought I had the knitting thing down, but the dishcloth was just not working. The cotton yarn I was using has absolutely no give/stretch, but my main problem was I kept forgetting how to insert my needles in the knit stitch and going through on the right side of the loop and not the left. I’m guessing there is a way to knit this way, but my project just didn’t look right. Oh well. I’ll try something else later or stick to my loom knitting, which is so much easier.

I decided to follow a book of projects to get my reps in with crocheting. This is the book I am using:

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I go through stages with my hobbies. The only time I stop for a period is when I’m overwhelmed with project choices or complexity. I like a challenge and learning new techniques, but my after-work, weekday brain does not enjoy challenges. LOL.

My primary hobbies are:
Cooking (not baking)
Crocheting
Sewing
Knitting (primarily on a loom)

In my case, my Mom passed these hobbies onto me and taught me the basics of all of them. She has years of reps into all these hobbies and is a great resource for me. She taught me to love cooking and all the basics, but my husband was the one who who expanded on the foundation and helped me build more intermediate skills. Now he would say I’ve surpassed him, which works heavily in his favor since I’m the primary cook in our house. Besides cooking, I don’t think I would be into any of these crafting hobbies without my mom, though. And I sincerely enjoy exercising my creativity muscles. One of the many reasons I’m thankful God picked her to be my mama.

I posted several pins on my diy sewing and home crochet Pinterest boards. A few of my favorites…

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The sleeve sewing will come in handy and I really need a coaster at work for my mason jar water “bottle.” I’m going to play with some coaster designing once I’m finished with my current dishcloth project.

I’m also sewing some sleeves onto a dress for the neighbor girl. I’ll probably be busy this weekend with my wardrobe capsule, but hopefully I have a new project started next Wednesday!

K

Monthly Goals

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It’s time for June goals. Some of my projects I have in mind are big, so the list will be short. First, let’s visit my May Goals:
1) Plant a Veggie Garden – done! I used five containers to plant Roma tomatoes, mini yellow tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans, and zucchini. I also planted a little herb garden with chives, basil, oregano, and cilantro.
2) Stay on top of weeding and gardens – sort of on this one. This weekend I sprayed almost all the weeds, cleaned up the tulips, pruned, planted back garden and cleaned the front garden edge. I still need to weed spray the side garden and add mulch, but gardening is never ending throughout the summer.
3) Get to work early once a week – done! I like to get to work about a half hour or more early. If I do that, then I can leave a little earlier. This is super helpful on nights when dinner needs extra prep or cook time. Hoping to keep it up!
4) Schedule Handyman and dog grooming – done! Boys are getting summer cuts. I can’t wait to reduce this shedding mess.
5)Play fetch with the boys – we did this a bunch in the morning before work. Cheney could chase balls for hours. It totally wears him out.
6) Finish an amigurumi project – I love crocheting. It’s one of my favorite things to do and makes me feel less lazy when I want to relax and catch some shows on the boob-tube. I have most of Stacey Trock’s books and really like her stuffed animal (amigurumi) patterns. Her website FreshStitches.com is a really great resource, too. Anyway, I finished this cute owl this weekend:

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JUNE GOALS
1) Keep veggie garden alive
2) Stay on top of weeding and gardens
3) Wardrobe capsule for summer
4) Post regularly on this blog
5) Hang pictures
6) Knit something
7) Sew something
8) Finish book
9) Program home workouts

Until next time…K

Weekly Meal Plan

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I went grocery shopping yesterday and did my meal plan. When I meal plan I not only decide on dinners but also try to plan on some healthy snacks and ensure I have things for lunch. I’m a big leftovers fan for lunch–reinventing the meal if possible. We still have southwestern stuffed peppers and grilled chicken leftovers from the weekend, so those will serve as my lunch (and maybe breakfast) at the beginning of this week. If y’all are looking to mix up your grilled chicken (pork, beef or fish) I recommend the Dizzy Pig seasonings. They have several salt-free and sugar-free options. I am crazy about curry flavors, but the hubs is not (or he didn’t think he was until he ate a Dizzy Pig flavored grilled chicken breast and LOVED it). I used the Bombay Curry-ish (Ish is their sugar-free line) and it was awesome.

It’s supposed to be rainy all week. I like to grill out in the summer months every day, if possible. But, I picked several meals I could convert to inside meals if It was pouring rain. Here is what’s on tap for this mostly Paleo week:

DINNER
Monday– roasted broccoli, with grilled chicken sausages (Aidells chicken and apple)
Tuesday (or any rainy day)- Coleslaw & pork bbq
Wednesday– Eggplant, pepper & Tomato skewers with Kofta kebabs <<NOTE: this recipe calls for way too much salt. I think I’ll use a heaping teaspoon next time>> with Paleo Tzatziki Sauce
Thursday– grilled chicken & sweet potato curls
Friday– Peach BBQ shrimp & Spinach salad

LUNCHES
Stuffed pepper (LO), chicken breast (LO), chicken sausage (LO), Costco shrimp salad (the non-mayo one), baby kale, blueberries, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and quick-pickle mushrooms.

PREP
Paleo Mayo for my coleslaw. I am using my favorite, go-to recipe from Bad Wolf Bakery, and I have a screenshot of the recipe (Instagram @badwolfbakery)

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Quick-Pickle Mushrooms for snacking. I didn’t have all the whole spices from the recipe, but the ground ones ended up working just fine. Recipe here.
Pistachio Ice Cream I really want to make the pistachio ice cream from Urban Poser’s book, My Paleo Patisserie. She has amazing recipes and the pictures are beyond gorgeous.

Thanks for reading.

Have a great week!

K