Saturday, December 19, 2015

Baby Sophisticate Sweater

Yes, this is my little guy! He's finally big enough to wear the sweater I made when I was only just pregnant. It's fun to see him wearing it! I think I timed it perfectly for size and cold weather. I used Cascade 128 Superwash Silver color 1946. I had to buy two skeins and only used a tiny bit of the second skein. I'm making a hat for him out of the rest of it. It is just lovely and soft and oh so warm! 

You can find the pattern by clicking here. It is called Baby Sophisticate if the link doesn't work.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Last Minute Gifts for 2015! (Or products I love this year!)

I'm sure that many of you are already prepared for your Christmas gift giving. Yay for you! For those of you who are still in the market for some Christmas gifts, I'd like to share a few of my favorite items that I discovered in 2015. I was mopping just now, and I thought, I really need to tell people how much I love this mop. Hence, this post!

So in no particular order, the following are a few little items that you may want to consider for those loved ones in your life! (Affiliate links included)

I received the Aerolatte Milk Frother last Christmas and have used it every day since then! I've even taken it on trips with me. Really, I have! For those of you who enjoy coffee and specialty coffee drinks, this tool is for you! It has cut down the number of trips to Starbucks for me by a lot. I'm just so happy with a little tiny bit of foam, it's ridiculous! Aerolatte Milk Frother with Stand, Black

The next item on my list for 2015 is my new Swissmar Borner Mandoline! It just makes slicing sweet potatoes and other veggies a breeze! I had to carefully read the directions since I'd never used a mandoline before, but once I tried it, wow it was fun and easy! Swissmar Borner V Power Mandoline, V-7000, White

Admission, I forgot this the first go round, but remembered the same day as I was cooking dinner. My garlic peeler! I love it!!!! I don't know about you, but the smell of garlic is wonderful, but not on my hands all day long. This little silicone gadget is great. Put the clove of garlic in, roll it, and presto! The papery skin is gone. No need to use a big knife anymore to crush that skin off.  No potential for cutting yourself! Totally worth the $5 if you use garlic at all.  Zak Designs E-Z-Rol Garlic Peeler (Blue)

And finally, the item that inspired this post, my new e-cloth Deep Clean Mop! I love it! I had a Shark steam cleaner that I used, but it wore out. I liked that, but didn't like having to assemble and plug stuff in just to mop. When it died, I went in search of something better and easier to use. I was interested in the Norwex mopping system, but I just could not justify over $120 for a piece of metal and cloth. I read some reviews and comparisons, and it turns out that the e-cloth mop is very similar and actually gets better reviews. Plus it's a quarter of the price! Win!!! I'm pretty picky with my cleaning products since I was a janitor for a lot of years in high school and college. I will get down and wash the floor on my hands and knees for a good deep clean. I haven't felt the need to do that since I got this mop! I ordered this e-cloth Deep Clean Mop and the e-cloth Dust Mop Head. The best part of the mop is that I actually use it!!! Can you tell from the number of exclamation marks how much I love this mop? :)

Let me know if you have any products you love that I should try for 2016.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Confessions of a New Foodie

This post contains affiliate links. 

I'm a foodie. There, I said it. Phew, it's good to get that admission out there. I just have to recognized and admit that I am a foodie and embrace that as a good thing. :) According to Wikipedia (that's totally official, right?), "foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages.[1] A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger." 

I've realized in the past 6 months or so that I really do seek out new food experiences as a hobby. It helps that as a nursing mom I'm hungry all the time! All. The. Time!!! So eating a lot of interesting food is not just fun, but I need to eat. What could be better?

So what do I do that has made me realize this? Well, I cook lots of new dishes. Every week I sit down with my wall calendar and pick what dishes I'm going to make. It really helps me to make good, interesting healthy dinner choices when I spend 20 minutes with my computer and cook books. It saves me from the 4 o'clock scramble/panic of what do I have that I can make for dinner. The amount of stress that this 20 minutes has saved me in the past 6 months is ridiculous. It also allows me to quickly look back and see what I made previously and decide if it's time to repeat that dish or pick a new one.

I also talk about food and recipes with friends, family and coworkers. If you work with me, I'm sorry! But hopefully, you've tried a new recipe or two and found some new family favorites. :) It makes me so excited when I hear from people that they have tried one of my favorite recipes and loved it too! If you have a favorite recipe please share with me in the comments. I also love trying your family favorites.

The final foodie thing that I'm still figuring out is what ingredients really are worth the extra money in the grocery store. I'm a bargain shopper. I will be the first to get the manager's special meat and store brand food for the saving. However, I'm discovering that there are certain ingredients that it's really really worth the extra money. I don't mean organic unless Joe and I can tell a difference in the flavor. I mean certain items. I'm going to share what I find is worth the extra money because I've found they just taste so much better. If you have something please tell me in the comments because truly, I'm on the lookout for good ingredients and mainly learn about them from friends and recipe blogs.

For my whole chicken dish, I've tried a variety of chickens. This is one time I specifically seek out an organic chicken. It's just so much more tender and juicer. I don't have a specific brand, just the best priced organic chicken. It's typically about 50% more expensive, but worth it because we actually eat it all and enjoy it!

Cinnamon is the next ingredient I've discovered makes a difference. I discovered this when someone gave me a Penzey's cinnamon for a gift. Wow! I didn't really have any clue that there could be a difference in the flavor of cinnamon. But it is amazing! I don't always buy Penzey's now, but I do spend the extra money for good cinnamon. I use less too because it just has so much more flavor. Are other spices this way? I haven't particularly noticed, but perhaps some of you know of more spices that are worth the extra money.

Pasta! We pretty much only use DeLallo brand pasta now. I discovered this brand from my favorite recipe blog, Skinnytaste. It is more expensive, but Joe and I were just discussing last night how their pasta is just SOOOO much tastier than any other pasta we've ever eaten that it's just worth it. It makes that pasta a feature of the meal as opposed to just a carrier for other flavors. It's buttery and rich tasting. Are you picking up on my love for this pasta? Their DeLallo Organic Whole Wheat Lasagna, Oven Ready? Oh my goodness! You'll never eat such wonderful lasagna. DeLallo also makes the best whole wheat pasta. (DeLallo Organic WW Orecchiette, 1-Pound (Pack of 8)) Usually if I have whole wheat pasta, I can tell it's whole wheat, but I eat it because it's better for me. With Dellalo it just tastes wonderful. There is nothing that makes you think of cardboard. And for those of you who don't eat wheat, they do have rice pasta.  DeLallo Gluten Free Brown Rice, Penne Regate, 12-Ounce (Pack of 12)

These are the main ingredients I've discovered so far to make a difference in taste. What am I missing? Let me know please. I'd love to try out your favorite dishes and ingredients.