Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guest post on Health Living Blogs

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to give you a heads up on a guest post that I wrote that is featured on Healthy Living Blogs today! I was invited to write a post for the Blog Tip Thursday series. It features my favorite photo editing software, Picasa! I love me some Google products! Tim has been trying to get me switch to an iphone but I just can't cheat on Google. I love all of their products!

1BlogTipThursday New (source)

Now in Iowa news.....we're waiting on another big snowstorm to hit. Ugh! I am so ready for spring and over these cold temps. I don't know how I survived as a kid because we got a ton more snow and it was much colder for longer back then. I remember multiple times trick-or-treating in snow boots. And then there's always the dreadful snowstorm that used to hit every year over state basketball in March. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much since it's not usually that bad anymore. But still- I'm ready for spring and flowers and green grass, dang it!!

Stay warm out there wherever you are!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

Here's the recipe you've all been waiting for! :) I did a little teasing through Instagram and Facebook last week on Valentine's Day when I showed off our dessert for the night! 


I've been making these cakes on Valentine's Day for the last few years. Now it's tradition, gotta have lava cakes on Valentine's. And on Carnival Cruises ;) Hopefully I'll be able to indulge in one of those on the open ocean soon! We've started talking a little bit about another Caribbean cruise next winter.

The recipe is super easy and uses pantry baking ingredients. Nothing fancy about the recipe or technique, just the finished product! :)

It's so easy and so good you'll have to restrain yourself from making it more than once a year for your Valentine's Day treat!



I cannot for the life of my find exactly where I got this recipe but it's so easy I have it memorized! And it's easily found on multiple websites.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes


Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate (actually just only three squares and added about 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips)
1 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tablespoons flour
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter and baking chocolate into a large microwave-safe bowl then microwave for about 30-45 seconds increments, or until butter is melted. Then stir until butter and chocolate are smooth. Add 1 cup powdered sugar then stir until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolks then stir until smooth. Add flour and stir until just combined.
  2. Butter four small ramekins or custard cups well or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour chocolate batter evenly into cups then bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the sides are set but center is still soft. Let cool for 2 minutes, then invert cakes onto serving plates, if desired. Dust with powdered sugar 



This dessert makes me want Valentine's Day to be every weekend! Only without the pressure of picking the right restaurant or meal to cook at home and the money spent or candy, flowers, etc. I love all those things and Tim executed perfectly this year, but give me these cakes everyday (without the unhealthy side effects) and I'll be one happy girl!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

Hi!

Go throw these ingredients in the crockpot! Right now! This recipe is so easy and seriously so good! I wish I would've made it years ago.

Of course it was a pin from Pinterest that gave me the idea for the sandwiches. When I was back home a couple weekends back Mom and I took a trip to the local grocery store. I always take a look at their meat section when  I'm there because it's good quality meat and sometimes their normal prices are cheaper than other grocery store's sale prices. The recipe for crockpot French dip sandwiches popped in my head as a perfect recipe for Valentine's Day. Something out of the ordinary than what we usually eat and no actual cooking involved the day of. Sounded perfect to me! I scooped up one of their beef roasts at a great price!

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches
Adapted from See Marie Cook

Ingredients:
3-4 lbs beef roast, remove as much fat as possible
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper (or 4 whole peppercorns)
1 t thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder (could also use fresh minced)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 yellow onion, chopped

Directions:

1. Add all into a crockpot and set on low. Meat should be barely covered by the stock liquid.
3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
4. Shred meat, serve on rolls with broth from pot to dip.

Wednesday evening, I trimmed up the meat really well- no visible fat in my food, ick! Then, threw everything in the slow cooker and put in in the fridge overnight. The next morning I plugged 'er in and left to work. We came home to an amazing smelling house. I was so anxious for Tim to get home we could dig in! These are so flavorful and juicy! You'll love them!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Personalized Permanent Marker Coffee Mugs

This year my Valentine's gift to Tim was a basketful of new teas and a couple homemade personalized mugs. He just started a new job and drinks tea every morning so this was perfect for him.

Plus Kaydin could get her craft on! She's so dang artsy and crafty, that's all she ever wants to do it art projects. Well, besides cuddling her massive (!) stuffed animal collection.
We picked a few different flavors from a few different stores around town.

We got our plain white coffee mugs from the Dollar Tree on Mills Civic. Can't beat a $1 mug. I got the markers at Dollar General for $2. I was a little leery since they obviously weren't Sharpie brand, but they were much cheaper and did the job just fine.

I had Kaydin do a little practicing on paper to decide her design and then she set to work on her mug. The girl is a perfectionist when it comes to her art (just like her Uncle Joshie) and we had a couple mess-ups and temper bursts. Good thing I purchased a back-up mug for this exact reason. On her second attempt she did awesome!

 
She came up with her design all on her own!

This is the opposite side of the mug I made.
After we let the mugs dry for a few minutes, we popped them in a 350 degree oven to bake for 30 minutes to set the color. It worked perfectly and was the perfect gift for Tim. He already took his basket of goodies to his office to use for his morning tea.

*I read comments on other blogs saying that sometimes the marker didn't last through a dishwasher cycle. I recommend only hand washing these mugs.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Quick check-in

Hi Family, Friends, and Readers!

Kaydin and I both have the day off from school and work so we've had a slow lazy morning so far! I took the dogs for a walk, completed a few tasks, caught up on emails, made Kaydin some breakfast. She's currently eating that while I blog and catch up on a guilty pleasure, Snooki & JWoww. What can I say? I just love them! They make me laugh.

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Soon we'll be headed out the door to start our weekend! We've got lots on the agenda. We're meeting Tim for a family lunch first. I jumped on Yelp this morning and one of the first restaurants listed was Saraj, a Mediterranean restaurant in West Des Moines just off I235 on 50th street. The reviews were prett good and the menu sounds great. I'll be sure to report back!

After lunch Kay and I are headed to Forever Pumped Nutrition, a club that features the Herbalife products they sell and also hosts fitness classes and challenges. Two of my best friends are the owners. If you are in the area, check them out! I haven't seen either of them for awhile so I'm excited to hang out and chat. Plus I'm finally returning a suitcase that's been sitting in my apartment for over two years when we traveled to Mexico for another friend's wedding. Wayyy overdue and it needs to get outta my apartment!

Tomorrow, Tim and I have a date night planned. Kaydin's gym where she takes gymnastics periodically hosts Parents Night Out. Perfect timing so Tim and I could spend some time alone for Valentine's Day. I hope to hit up a dessert and cocktail bar, Crème Cupcake, that opened not too long ago. Tim knows the owner so we've had her cupcakes before and I stopped in to pick up the jumbo cupcake we ordered for my boss last month, but I've never had the desserts. I'm excited to check it out! We're also going to pick a new restaurant in he Ingersoll area. Thinking either Bistro Montage or Jesse's Embers.


Then on Sunday, my friend Kristyn and I are going to a mixology class at The Juice Co. I bought a groupon awhile ago and in true groupon-purchasing fashion, I have waited til the last day to use it before it expires. Sunday is the last class they offer for the coupon before it expires. I was hoping to hit up The Cheese Shop or La Mie before the class but sadly both are closed on Sundays :( Guess we'll be picking a new spot for lunch.

Lots of exciting things going on for the weekend that I'll be sure to let you all know more about....probably like a month down the road given my slacking posting routine.

Oh! I also finally created a facebook page for Sprinkles of Life. Check it out! And, I recently enlisted a fellow Iowa blogger, Calee, to create a new blog header for me. It's up and posted and I absolutely love it! Thanks, Calee, for the awesome finished product!

I hope all of you have some fun plans for the weekend, too!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Mine started a little early with a completely surprising and unexpected early delivery in the form of some very pretty flowers to my office today.

Tim is the king of last minutes plans and being late. He always has so  much on his plate and a million things always in his head that he doesn't always plan ahead. I am usually the one that does the planning for our lives. This year he totally surprised me and sent a beautiful vase of flowers to my office- a day early!! Sneaky, sneaky, Timmy!

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When I saw this recipe on Sally's blog, I knew it would be one I'd be replicating- and soon! I already had a strawberry cake mix in the cupboard so it was meant to be ;)

These cute pink little cookies are perfect for Valentine's Day! A great, easy recipe for kids to help with.



Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

makes about 2 dozen cookies
  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough. Make sure all the dry cake mix is completely mixed in.  Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop small balls of dough onto baking sheet.  Stick a few more chocolate chips on top of the dough balls if you'd like. Bake for 10 minutes – do not let the cookies get brown.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will  be very soft at first.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container, for up to one week.

Another variation would be using red velvet cake mix with white chocolate chips.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I'm Attending Blend!

This May I'll be joining over 100 other bloggers and readers in Park City, UT, for a weekend of meeting new friends, enjoying the great outdoors, fitting in some workouts, and hopefully relaxing. Last year was the first year Blend was held and I'm so excited I snagged a ticket this year!

Snag this "I'm Attending" button if you haven't already got one!

It's not a conference this go-round. Only hanging out and time to connect with other like-minded people. I'm especially excited because few other bloggers from Iowa are going, too!

Interested in going? Snag the last few tickets here before they're all snatched up!

See ya in Utah fellow bloggers! :)

Who else is attending Blend this year?

**Healthy Living Summit just announced the 2013 destination of Minneapolis, MN! That's just too close to pass up! No need for airfare?? I'll definitely be there! HLS is September 13-15 for you planners out there!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Destiny's Child Reunited!

So I know the Super Bowl was two days ago now and I'm late to the party but HOLY WOW! Who else loved Beyonce's performance?  Sasha Fierce brought that fierceness!
Beyoncé's Halftime Show Blows Up Twitter| Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXXIV, Beyonce Knowles
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My favorite part of the show, though, was when Kelly and Michelle appeared on stage with her. I was cleaning up the kitchen and looked up to see Kelly, then Michelle. I stopped what I was doing and almost jumped up and down I was so excited! I yelled out loud, "ohmygod! It's Kelly and Michelle!" Kaydin thought I was crazy and asked how the girls were. "Destiny's Child!" She didn't get it but maybe one day she will! I still listen to them all the time on my Spotify. Love their songs! I even saw them in concert when I was a sophomore in high school.

Yay for their reunion!

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

DIY Film Strip Glass Vase


My mom is super creative and crafty, along with the rest of my family. Me, however, I need some handholding and detailed instructions. (Although my wine bottles turned out pretty good!) This may be a project I could complete on my own. Luckily I didn't have to!
 
I was really excited when I opened up the box containing this present this past Christmas. My mom made this unique decoration using a glass vase/container and some of our old film negatives from the 90's we had thrown in boxes.

The vase looks great amongst my old cameras and video cameras I have on display.


To make this film strip vase, Mom lined the glass with the negatives and covered them with Modge Podge. That's it! She did one side at a time and let it dry overnight. It takes few days to complete the project but is super easy and requires minimal supplies.

I love it because some of the negatives have pictures of lots of family members including my Grandpa and Grandma Lyon. Annnndd, my dad dressed up as a woman from Halloween back when I was probably 10years old, complete with balloon boobs! haha!

If you have some old film negatives from before digital technology became mainstream, bust em out and make this easy, unique decoration for your home!