Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sewing Yet Another Bag

I have been really so bad about posting on here. I'm at that point in my pregnancy where I am just really uncomfortable all the time and now I am even having  a hard time sleeping. Lack of sleep combined with hauling around and extra 15 lbs (plus just generally feeling bad) has made me pretty exhausted. Making a whole new person is a ton of work guys ;-) It's hard to believe I have 5 weeks to go until my due date. Strangers have started telling me there's no way I'll make it 5 more weeks, that's how huge and miserable I look, lol!

Besides pregnancy I have been busy with other things including buying a new car! But more about that later. Right now I just wanted to quick post to show off my latest sewing project. This time it's a new bag that I made custom for my mom. It was really fun to have her go with me and pick out the fabrics and I'm starting to learn that bags are some of my favorite things to sew. They are so fun and rewarding! I was very happy with how this one came out but it just made me want to sew even more bags, Eric thinks I should start a business. You can find the tutorial I used here, it's a great easy bag to make that looks awesome. It's on the smaller side so if you want a giant bag it's not for you but it was quick and easy to make and it feels very sturdy.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Chest Freezer

So I have joined the realm of people who use chest freezers. It's weird, we never used our freezer much growing up and I have never been in to frozen food per se so I never would have pictured myself having one of these. I always thought they were for suburban moms with huge families (ok so I guess I am a suburban mom, but I don't have a have 6 kids or anything). What brought me around to the idea of the chest freezer was the fact that our old freezer (the one attached to our fridge) is teeny tiny and we were always running out of space for stuff. As part of my baby preparations I really wanted to make a bunch of bagels and English muffins to freeze so that I would have easy breakfast foods on hand for me and Echo after baby Clover arrives. It just wasn't going to happen with our current freezer so Eric cleaned out a corner of the basement and went shopping for the freezer this week.

We got a good deal because it was a scratch and dent price. This freezer has a pretty sizable dent in the back of it but it lives in our basement so we could care less what it looks like. Now that it's here I am actually pretty excited about the freezer. Honestly it is a great tool to have when you are trying to be frugal, enabling you to stock up on meat, veggies and other items when they are on sale. This is why Eric wanted the freezer but for me it was all about the bread :-) I pretty much make all our bread from scratch now which is wonderful but since it doesn't have the preservatives of store bought bread it goes bad very quickly. Once I discovered how easy it is to freeze bread and that it doesn't adversely affect the taste I was all about making larger batches of bread and freezing it.

I made my first batch of English muffins yesterday and stored them in our shiny new chest freezer.

Here is an inside view, this freezer is massive! I'm sure we will have no trouble filling this baby up however. I'm already keeping my eye out for good deals on meat so we can stock up. For some reason it always makes me feel good to know we have lots of food on hand, you know just so we are ready for when society collapses (haha, kidding!). It's seriously going to be so great though to enjoy home baked goodies for breakfast any time I feel like it! I have a feeling that the chest freezer will really pay off in the long run.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Banana Bread Granola

I apologize again for my lack of posting lately, this pregnancy is kind of kicking my butt and I have been really tired and just struggling to get basic things done around the house. I do miss my blog though and I was realizing the other day how I haven't done a recipe post in forever so I thought I'd share my latest obsession. Seriously you guys, this granola is so good! It's so good in fact that I have abandoned my trusty peanut butter and chocolate chip granola in favor of it. Whenever I have granola out at a restaurant I always think, "well it's not as good as that banana bread granola".

You can find the recipe here at Minimalist Baker. It is so easy to make incredibly delicious! I make mine with just pecans and no walnuts and I use maple syrup for my sweetener which I find gives it a great flavor and the smell that perfumes the house while cooking this stuff is just divine.

 Echo love this recipe too and enjoys eating it with fresh fruit. I like mine with fruit and home made yogurt plus a drizzle of honey. Try this recipe and you will never buy granola again!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Making My Life in the Kitchen Easier

We've discovered a few odds and ends around the kitchen lately that have really made things easier for me and Eric when we cook! When you have such a small space to work in even little changes can make a big difference. 

The biggest and best new thing in the kitchen is the new under cabinet shelf that Eric put in this past weekend (seen in the photo above, please excuse the messy countertop!). I'm kind of ridiculously excited about it. We desperately needed a spot to stash our cutting boards and shallow dishes and this gets them out of the way while still leaving them really accessible. This shelf is by far the best thing that has happened to our kitchen in recent months. 

We also got some awesome new cutting mats that we love but I forgot to take photos of them. You can kind of see them on the right hand side in the photo of the shelf. They are great because they are so thin and take up so little space. They are also flexible and durable and they come as a set of 4, each a different color so we can have designated cutting mats for different types of meat and veggies. We got ours at the Buford Highway Farmers Market but you can fins similar sets almost anywhere that sells kitchen goods. 

Recipe card on display
 The other things I'm posting about are just little tips that have made our life easier. First of all Eric had the idea to hang a chip clip from our kitchen shelves to use for clipping recipes up while we cook. A lot of our recipes are copied on to recipe cards and stored in a box or binder so this is a nice way to have them at eye level while you work.

My last two tips are for freezing. We are in the market for a chest freezer which I am really excited about! Our current freezer is teeny tiny and it makes it hard to stock on meats and veggies when they go on sale because we have no space to store them. I also like to bake all of our bread but it goes bad so fast without all the preservatives that are in store bought breads that freezing it is the only way to keep a supply on hand. so yeah, I am looking forward to having more freezer space in the near future.

Frozen chicken in teriyaki marinade
That being said, I have some issues with freezing things, especially meat. I know it is a really economical thing to do when we can stock up on sale meat and freeze the extra for later but in my opinion freezing meat can change it's texture and flavor and I hate that! Eric recently came across a tip on one of the frugal boards he reads that has really helped with this problem though. When we freeze chicken breasts we now add a hearty splash marinade. That way when it can marinate while it thaws and we have found that this really helps combat the dryness that usually comes with freezing chicken.

Frozen fresh ginger
 Lastly, I came across this tip for cooking with fresh ginger on one of the blogs I read. I love cooking with fresh ginger, you can't beat the flavor. However it is always really hard for us to use it all up before it goes bad. I recently started peeling the whole ginger root when I buy it and cutting it in to chunks. I stick it in the freezer and then when it's time to use it in a recipe I take out just what I need and and grate it directly in to my dish. This way I don't have to waste any ginger and it's easier to grate when it's frozen.

These are just some things I've been thinking about lately and was hoping they would maybe benefit someone else's kitchen life. Hope you all are having a lovely week!

Monday, June 2, 2014

May Photos

Another month has flown by and we are that much closer to being a family of four! Time is really going fast now and I feel totally unprepared for a new baby but I just keep reminding myself that they don't need much ;-) We had such a fun May and lots of pictures to prove it. Here's what we have been up to. 

Echo is really in to jewelry lately. Not sure where she got that from since I don't wear it much but she sure is cute all dressed up!

Member night at the Botanical Gardens

Visiting friends Will, Neil and Isaac in Charlottesville 

Visiting Logan in Alexandria and DC

Blueberries from the farmers market in Alexadria

Baby ducks!

This is all Echo wanted to do while we were in Alexandria, she must have walked around this fountain 1,000 times!

Bonding with uncle Logan

Shopping in a fancy cheese store

And to finish off our trip to the DC area Echo got to play in an awesome children's park in the navy Yard area of town. It had this great wading fountain, all the kids loved it!

 Last but not least, here are a few of my favorites from our maternity shoot last weekend (in case you aren't on facebook).

See more May photos at and more maternity photos at