Bacon Brownies

Bacon. Brownies. That’s right. Bacon brownies! Continue reading

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Meal Prep // The First Attempt

I have to admit right off the bat that I can be exceedingly lazy. Like, I am that mom that goes grocery shopping and then I’m too tired from running around for most of the day – so I get pizza. Meal prepping is a mixed bag to me. One one hand it frees me from having to really stop to consider what constitutes our larger meal of the day for David and me, but it also requires a solid amount of effort to put together. Do I worry every day, or bust my ass once?

I figured I’d try the doing it once route – which for the record was really like a horribly planned 3 day affair for me this time around. I still managed to pull it off though!

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When I grow up…

… I want to be a ____________.

That’s the question that at 35 I’ve only just begun to attempt to figure out.

I finally decided to go to college and at the very least begin getting core classes out of the way while I really made up my mind. I narrowed it down to nursing or nutrition and began school with the expectation of eventually becoming a nurse. I just completed my first semester taking math and English, and I got a 3.5 GPA!

I continued to research my plans throughout this past semester, plot out my courses, and figure out what path I would take. I discovered that as much as some aspects of nursing are interesting to me, some aspects of it are not at all what I want to do day in and day out. Having a family that has been in various aspects of the medical field, I know how it’s one of those jobs that requires a special person with drive and dedication regardless of what is thrown at them. While I may have been 99% dedicated, I knew that the little 1% of uncertainty would have an impact eventually. So I went back to what I had wanted to do from the start – nutrition.

My intention is to do my associate’s degree in such a way that I can go on to obtain my bachelor’s in nutrition and become a registered dietician if I so choose. Currently, my goal is to complete my associate’s degree with some extra courses so I can become a “Dietetic Technician, Registered”. At that point, I can either look for a job in the medical industry or do something home-based. The latter is what I really want to do.

So, while I am in school I am going to slowly work on what my goals will be as I’m sure my education will play a huge role in how I approach nutrition going forward. A number of people who know me well can tell you about my tendency to plan, make lists, and really nail down particulars in an almost scary manner. I really do like lists and planning, so it seems almost natural to me to help others. This is going to be a multi-year process, with graduation being in fall of 2020 or spring of 2021, so I’ll have lots of time to plan!

 

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Street Tacos and Pico de Gallo

Homemade Street Tacos

Last weekend I attended the very first “Taco Fest” in Reno.  I found some amazing fish tacos that I really liked.  The downside was that it was $3 per taco, and I’m talking traditional street taco size that is eaten in a few bites.  So pretty much I was spending 75c-$1 per bite.  Anyone who knows me will realize that is not my style.  So of course I decided I need to try my hand at making my own street tacos.  Now I will say that the meat will take some time to perfect, and I’ll likely utilize my Instant Pot as I did this time.  That way I can have street tacos in December.  Hah!

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Dutch Babies // Updated

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The name is weird to me, but I know Stephanie has made these in the past and they are well liked in her house. David told me last night that breakfast today was on me as he and the girls made breakfast yesterday morning. So I considered making waffles, but decided that’s too much mess. We had just had pancakes. Sophia loves crepes but I suck at them. Then I remembered the Dutch Babies I’d never actually had. Since you can make it in the blender it seemed like the perfect mostly mess-free breakfast option.

I am a big fan of using home milled flour whenever possible because it’s whole grain, freshly milled, and WAY cheaper than buying unbleached flour from the bulk bins at Winco. I get my wheat berries in bulk at Winco as well, so the price is really good. For this though, I may have to turn to my unbleached flour that I keep on hand for feeding my sourdough starter. It apparently makes a big difference, which I’m hoping will turn David around on not really loving this.

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Coconut Shampoo Bars

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For Christmas this year I decided that I wanted to make things for my friends and family instead of buying things and hoping they would like them.  Now don’t get me wrong I will never turn down wine, chocolate, or any geek paraphernalia (I do have Star Trek shirts and sweats on my Amazon wish list after all).  I’ve made lip balms and hand creams a number of times and everyones loved them.  What I have not made yet is soap or solid lotion bars, so I figured this was a good opportunity to try my hand at making them!

I have to admit that the idea of working with lye is a big part of why I’d never made soap before today.  And before you go any further please read this – Lye Safety Guide by Soap Queen – It is important that the proper measures be taken when handling a caustic material.  David is insisting I get a vinyl apron, better gloves, and full face shield before I go any further with my soap making.  That is what living with someone who is currently majoring in bio-chem is like.  😛

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Adventures in Backpacking (with kids)

On August 6th all of our collecting (dare I say hoarding) of backpacking gear was finally put to good use and we hiked to Upper Loch Leven Lake in the Tahoe National Forest.  For our first loaded outing it was a hell of a hike, and we learned some valuable things.

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David and the girls hiking in.

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Where did the summer go?! (and a PSA)

Awhile ago I swore up and down I would start blogging as soon as summer rolled around.  And then summer rolled around… and we went to the water park, the library, and David started scuba diving courses.  We spent quite a bit of time up at Tahoe when he did various dives.  Then I decided that I too would become scuba certified.  So as of this past weekend I am now open water certified with NAUI.  David… well he went a little crazy with it all and he’s now a certified rescue diver with NAUI.  We have yet to go backpacking, but we have 2 in the works before fall hits (along with more dives, naturally).

The girls are slowly ramping up their homeschooling, and only whining about it roughly half the time.  As stated before that slice of hell will be documented more in depth on my homeschooling blog, where I can assure you I will have a colorful metaphor laced vocabulary.

I’m really hoping to be in the swing of things soon though, and hopefully I’ll have pictures of some of our adventures to share!!  😀

As for my PSA…

I was cruising around on Pinterest, as I do often, and came across a recipe I decided to look at.  In the comments section someone commented how their food didn’t look the same as the picture.  The blogger made a remark about how it took a long time to fashion the food for pictures and that’s why it likely doesn’t look the same.  While I am a photographer and I understand the whole concept of food styling I frankly don’t have the time nor the energy to spend forever making my food look picture perfect.
The pictures I post are of the food I am actually about to put into my face.  Sometimes the lighting is sketchy, and if I’m really hungry you’re likely to get a picture from my iPhone.  What you see is what you get.

The place setting you see is what is at my table that moment.  Sometimes I may angle it if it’s totally heinous non-coordinating.  Although maybe I shouldn’t since most of the time that is care of my 8 year old setting the table to look beautiful.

I’m all for people who do take their time to be meticulous for their blog, but that’s not my style.  If you enjoy that much reality in your face on a food blog, then yay!  If not, that’s cool too.  🙂

 

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Finding my Groove

I realized not too long ago that I actually miss blogging.  I miss trying new things, taking pictures, and sharing it with others.  Between getting a job, being struck down by my GI disease and having part of my colon removed due to it, getting married, kids, my husband being back in school, and actively losing weight to reverse other things I’ve been diagnosed with in the last 24 months (PCOS and Hashimoto’s)  … I have been worn out.   I’m trying to get back into making as many things homemade as I can.

We (by we I mostly mean I) decided to homeschool this coming school year, and that slice of irreverent chronicling will take place over at Coffee Until Wine.  Please be aware that my use of colorful metaphors there is substantially higher.  There are a lot of homeschooling blogs that are very faith based and I am kind of the antithesis of all that.  In an effort to keep Gingham Apron a little more friendly, with fewer colorful metaphors, I have created the separate blog for homeschooling.  🙂

Since things will be changing a lot for us with me ceasing to work in order to homeschool I have to hop back on the frugal make-all-the-things-at-home train.  I’ve already begun making my own laundry detergent again, and I’m trying a new dishwasher detergent recipe as well.  Food wise I have been filling my pails with gamma seal lids full of dried goods, and making more things from scratch – sourdough crackers, sourdough english muffins, sourdough pancakes, bread, yogurt, kombucha, “refried” beans, ricotta .. and pretty much anything else I can do on my own to cut costs.

Between now and summer I want to post once per week.  Once traditional school it out I hope to post more often.  I just need to find my groove in all this craziness.

 

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Adventures in Pinterest Fails: Super Smooth Legs

Let me begin by saying that I live in a desert. Anything that helps hydrate skin is welcome, because my skin is not what it used to be. I also loathe shaving. Killing two birds with one stone seems like a no brainer.

I was relaxing with a yummy Snapshot beer by New Belgium and looking at health and fitness pins (yes, I realize what I just wrote) when I came across a pin touting the smoothest legs. It’s pretty much summer here now and my legs need serious help. I also figured I deserved a relaxing bath for Mother’s Day so I whipped up a batch and lit some sandalwood incense.

Super Smooth Legs

The recipe goes something like this … 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 1 1/4 cup sugar, and 3 Tbsp of lemon juice. The directions say to apply, shave, apply again, shave again.

It tastes amazing, and coconut oil is really good at moisturizing (which I knew).

I started with my lower left leg. Not too bad. By the second round of shaving I decided that I might only do one pass on each section. It’s pretty time consuming. 1/4 of the incense was gone by the time I finished my lower left leg.

I question the use of lemon juice. I cut myself shaving every time without fail. Lemon juice and cuts sucks.

Moved on to lower right leg. Only made one pass. At this point I start to wonder about all the melted coconut oil in the tub. My legs were pretty smooth.

Upper left leg. I’m a little concerned about sugar being in such close proximity to girly bits. Sugar and girly bits just don’t mix.

By now more than half the incense is gone. I’ve been forced to stand to properly apply the scrub to my upper legs, and it dawned on me just how fucking slippery the tub was. Regret was setting in.

Upper right leg. At this point I think Helen Keller could have done a better job with a straight razor. My right kneecap was bleeding pretty badly, and of course lemon juice. I was sliding around the tub attempting to not fall. Dropped the razor a few times, and spilled at least 2-3 tablespoons of the scrub right into the tub. It was like the Exxon Valdez in my tub. At that point I said fuck it and gave up.

I drained the tub, poured a 1/4 cup of shampoo in and tried to break up some of the coconut oil. There was sugar all over me. I jumped out to grab the blue sponge scrubber from my cleaning supplies tucked behind the toilet. Tried to scrub with that, and may have tried to scrub myself a bit too. Rinsed myself and the tub off and got out. It still looked like a greased pan, so I grabbed the bleach spray and scrubbed some more.

I apologized in advance to David and issued a warning about his shower in the morning. I really don’t want to be responsible for him nearly falling in the shower ………… again.

Sure, my legs feel softer, but I could shave like normal and then put some coconut oil on afterwards and get the same results. Because to be honest I don’t want to have to scrub my tub like that every time, or spend nearly an hour shaving.

This endeavour officially takes the #1 spot on the “Beauty Tricks I Regret Trying” beating out attempting to do OCM on my back, because there was WAY more oil involved this time around.

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