Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekend Pinterest Project: Wine Charms… & ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!

Hey there folks! 

So, first things first—we have our winner for last week.  The E-Reader case goes tooooooo….. *big drum roll*

AIMEE from!!!!  Congrats Aimee!  I’ll be contacting you to get your mailing info so you can get your prize!


(That’s right, Aimee’s the Big Winner!  Aimee Wins!!!)

Oh, and other readers, you should definitely swing by Aimee’s super-cool blog!  She’s quite the crafty lady!




I know, I know… back to back giveaways?  It’s inSANITY!


(Not THIS kind of Insanity.  I’m too lazy for that crap.)


This past week was my friend Babs’ “Dirty Thirty” birthday…


She’s a pretty cool chica, so I decided to make a Pinterest crafty-type gift for her.  I had a nice bottle of wine picked out, but thought some homemade wine charms would make a nice accompaniment.


This is SUCH an easy & quick project.  So lets get started!



Wire hoops (you can find these in the jewelry findings section at Michaels or Hobby Lobby for about $1.50, or less—Hobby Lobby frequently runs50% off sales on jewelry components)

Small beads in a variety of colors

Cute buttons (a variety pack works best, since you’ll want your charms to be different, so you can tell whose glass is whose!)

Needle-nose/Jewelry pliers



First, grab a wire hoop:

With your pliers, straighten out one edge so you can get the beads on, and then use the pliers to bend the other side down slightly.  This will make it easier to connect the two ends when you’re using the charms.

This shows the amount of bend to put in the end with the hole.

Now, start adding beads!  Fill up half the hoop, then add your button.


(I found these cute flip-flop buttons at Hobby Lobby when Sewing Notions were 50% off!  Paid $1.50 for a pack of 10!)

Then add the rest of your beads!

When you get to the bend, use your pliers to put a 90 degree bend back in the wire.


Now make 4 more!  And BAM:  You have THESE!!!



Now, kick back and have a glass of wine!


Now, I see that thoughtful glint in your eyes…. you want your very own set of wine charms!  So how can you get the set shown above?

Leave a comment here on this post, telling me your very favorite-est wine! 

For me, it’s Bonny Doon’s “Reisling To Live”.  I love their amazing bottle art almost as much as I love the wine.  It’s the perfect mix of sweet & tart.  YUM!

(Note: My wine rack is getting hideously low, so this is really all  really just a clever ruse for getting suggestions on what I should restock it with.  Muahahahaha….)

(PS—I’m not requiring it here like in the last giveaway, but if you newly follow my blog via Google+, Blogger, Facebook or Pinterest, you’ll get an extra entry!  Maximum of two entries per person for this giveaway.)

Contest is open until Thursday, April 5 at 8pm, and the winner will be announced next Friday!

For those who don’t win or enter, I hope you enjoy making your charms!  I love this project.  Everyone I know may be getting wine charms this year, it’s so fun to think up new themes!

Shared on Blissfull & Domestic, Petals to Picots, Two Sasters, 30 Handmade days, Mom on Timeout, Little Inspiration, Get Schooled Saturdays, Polkadot Pretties, Be Different Act Normal, Six Sisters Stuff, 52 Mantels, Live.Laugh.Rowe, the Sasse Life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Potatoes Lyonnaise, a la NOLA.

Not long after I moved to New Orleans in 2004, some friends & I treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at NOLA, one of Emeril Legasse’s restaurants.  It’s located in the Quarter on St. Louis Avenue in a renovated warehouse.

I make a confession to you—before moving to New Orleans, I had NO concept of what “fine dining” was or could be.  Red Lobster was a fancy dinner to me. 

We arrived at NOLA and I was bowled over.  We had one waiter for drink refills, one waiter to bring food, one clear the table, and one to use a little crumb comb to clean up our messes for us.


(Pardon me, mademoiselle, it seems you missed your mouth again.)


It was like being royalty.  Really messy royalty, apparently.  Nothing like a having a guy come by your table every 10 minutes to clean up your mess to remind you to slow down & take smaller bites.

I don’t see it on the menu anymore, but I’ll never forget the meal I had.  Grilled swordfish steak with a side of potatoes Lyonnaise.  There…there really aren’t words, but I’ll try.  Fresh, smoky, creamy, drool-inducing, potatoey awesomeness. 

I immediately went home & scoured the interwebs to learn how to make it.  And of course… Food Network has Emeril’s own recipe for it.  I’ve tweaked it a bit, but it’s still AMAZING.


Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

1.5 lbs baking potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thick

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, julienned

1 tablespoon chopped roasted garlic

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 stick light butter

1 tsp Cajun seasoning

1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley)



Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then prep your veggies.

Place the potatoes in a pot of salted water. Bring the potatoes up to a boil and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, drain, and cool. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions.


Season with salt and pepper. Saute the onions until caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes. Melt your butter in the microwave, then pour into the bottom of a 8x8 or 7x11 ovensafe dish; then cover the bottom of the pan with 1/3 of the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the first layer of potatoes with 1/2 of the onions.

Cover the onions with 1/3 of the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and roasted garlic. Repeat the layering until all of the potatoes and onions are used, then season the top layer of potatoes with Cajun seasoning and dried parsley (if using fresh, apply it after baking).

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then switch to broil for 2 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown.


Serving suggestion—we had this with grilled ham steaks… I think a bacon-wrapped chicken tender (grilled) would also complement this well.  OR, you can pull out all the stops and try a grilled swordfish recipe.



Calories 243.8

  Total Fat 8.6 g

  Saturated Fat 2.0 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 2.9 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 4.0 g

  Cholesterol 0.0 mg

  Sodium 97.8 mg

  Potassium 865.9 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 37.2 g

  Dietary Fiber 5.1 g

  Sugars 1.4 g

  Protein 4.4 g

Shared on 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Dip.


This post might as well be titled “Pinterest Strikes Again”.  I saw this & it was just too good to resist.  It makes a great high-protein, low-cal spread for apples, toast, biscuits, crackers… but mainly apples, because they’re lower-calorie.  Ya dig?


(UH-MAZE-ING.  150 calories of sweet, cinnamony, fruity, peanut-buttery HEAVEN.)


1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1 tbsp creamy peanut butter

1 tsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon



Super quick, super simple.  Combine all the ingredients in a sealable container.


Then mix, mix, mix senora, mix it all the time…


(Jump in de line, rock your body in time… OK, I believe you!)

…until you have THIS!

Makes four servings.


Calories 43.3 (with a medium apple & 3 strawberries, a total of 150 calories)

  Total Fat 2.1 g

  Saturated Fat 0.4 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g

  Cholesterol 0.0 mg

  Sodium 28.9 mg

  Potassium 68.8 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 3.5 g

  Dietary Fiber 0.6 g

  Sugars 2.3 g

Protein 3.5 g

Calcium 4.2 %

Shared on 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesdays & Crazy for Crust.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guest Post: Crawmlette!

It’s just a week of firsts around here, isn’t it?  This is my first time hosting a guest poster on my blog.  As such, it’s only appropriate that my first guest poster is also one of my favorite people on the planet—my cousin Primo.


(Former Missourian-turned-NOLA resident, fellow Cajun food lover, and Dive Buddy Extraordinaire.)

Primo moved to Louisiana in 2008 for work & then stayed for school (along with all the other awesomeness that is New Orleans).  Now he’s got a rock star job with one of the consulting firms in the Crescent City. Like myself, Primo loves the local fare—along with putting his own unique spin on it.  So here we go!

(NOTE: Portions in italics are comments from me.)


Crawfish season; it’s the magic time of year between February and June when these amazing crustaceans are in full swing and everyone is happy. Well, everyone in my area at least. These guys are consumed by the sack full (that’s about 30-35 pounds for those of you not fortunate enough to live near the Gulf) at crawfish boils. Rarely do I have any leftovers when I boil.

One of my local watering holes holds a crawfish boil every Friday evening. This past weekend, they had had an excess of crawfish at closing time, so I was able to purchase an ice chest full for $30. …It sounded like a great purchase after a night of drinking. When I woke up, I had 40 pounds of crawfish boil leftovers in my kitchen.



(A thing of beauty, I tell you…)

I knew I could salvage the tails. What about the rest?

Being time for breakfast, the answer was easy. The Crawmlette had been born. All of the ingredients were already in my kitchen. All but one was in the ice chest awaiting preparation.

IMG_0614[1] (Breakfast of Champions!  …or, hungover Cajun foodies.  Whatevs.)


The recipe is simple:

2 large eggs

½ C crawfish tails, removed  from the rest of the body

¼ C spicy boiled corn, cut off the cob

1/8c spicy boiled mushrooms

2 spicy boiled Red Potatoes



Heat a skillet to a medium-high heat.

Chop up the mushrooms to your desired consistency. The ones I had were button mushrooms so I quartered them. 

Whisk 2 eggs.

Combine the eggs, crawfish tails, mushrooms, and corn and cook yourself the best high protein, omelet your taste buds have experienced. That’s it. No seasoning required. All the flavor of the boil is still with your ingredients.

Dice up a couple potatoes from the boil leftovers. Throw them in your skillet and quickly pan-fry the outside to a nice crisp for some spicy home fries.


(DUDE.  I am stealing this plate next time I visit.  You’ve been warned.)


Rough nutritional facts for the Crawmlette: 332 calories, 15 grams of fat

Shared on 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesdays.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Pinterest Project: eReader sleeve… And a GIVEAWAY!

I, like so many others, have fallen prey to that which is Pinterest.  To the point that my husband, ever the financier, starting asking if Pinterest was a publically traded company so he could cash in on our insanity.

It is probably a blessing AND a curse that Pinterest didn’t exist when I was planning my wedding last year.  I’m sure I would have gotten sacked for pinning stuff all day instead of my real work.

This blog is already “a little of this, a pinch of that”, but I didn’t really have any crafty-type projects a-goin’ on.  Meanwhile, I’ve got an online Pinboard of “Crafty Crafty” stuff that was pulling an Energizer Bunny:

bunny(Puns about Pinterest… Punny Pins?  Pinny Puns? Yes…I’m a dork.)


ANYWAY… My mom gave me a Nook for Christmas because I travel so much for work. I LOVE this thing.  I don’t have to have the bedside lamp on to read at night, I can take a book anywhere with it, it fits in my purse… it’s just fantastic.  I’ve read 7 books already this year thanks to that little technological wonder…6 of them were Harry Potter books.

She also gave me a sleeve to keep it in, but the sleeve was made for a bigger eReader tablet, so it doesn’t fit really well & frequently just falls out of it entirely if I’m not careful. Plus…the sleeve is covered in butterflies, and it’s not really my style.  I know it’s SOMEONE’S style, but not mine (FYI, the butterfly sleeve is NOT the aforementioned giveaway, LOL).  So when I saw this tutuorial on how to make my own eReader pouch, I Pinned it like, super-fast.  Like it was going out of style.  Like it was hot.  *insert other clever similes*


Now, I consider myself relatively handy with a needle & thread—even moreso when the needle & thread are already attached to a big automated machine. However, my sewing machine is on the fritz. So I headed to my mom’s house.

I had originally decided to make my sleeve out of neoprene (and I may still—I just have to figure out how to stitch it since neither my nor my mom’s machine can sew it), but over the weekend my mom & I hit up Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, and I found this super-cute double-sided pre-quilted material in the remnants pile ($2.50 for 0.44 yd—SCORE!):


reader 015

The batting between the two layers of fabric offers up a nice amount of protection for one of these tablets—and it also offers the chance for us to make our case REVERSIBLE.  So we ran with it! 

Project Materials:

Double-sided padded fabric in a pattern of your choosing – you’ll need enough to be able to double it over and have a 3-inch flap.  My Nook is about 8.5” x 6”, so I used a 20” x 7.5” piece of fabric.

1-inch ribbon, or double-folded bias tape (if you intend to make your case reversible, you’ll need it for all the edges…if you’re not making it reversible, you’ll only need it for the flap and the top inner edge of the sleeve.)

Thread to match your ribbon/bias tape

Fastener of your choice: buttons, Velcro, snaps, etc.  Whatever you have on hand that is convenient for you.  I like the look of buttons, but button HOLES are a hassle, so we went with Velcro. NOTE: If you want to use a zipper, you can use a smaller piece of fabric since you won’t need the flap.)


reader 017


1. Trim your fabric so that you have nice, straight edges that match up all-purdy-like, ‘cuz lord knows those ladies at the fabric shop never cut it quite straight.  If you have one of those roller-razor blade things like what’s shown in the previous pic, use that and a good ruler. (I don’t know the technical term for it—it was my moms.)

2. You’ll want to hem the two shortest edges first—that’s these ones:


3. If you’re using the bias tape, open one side up so you can sew the innermost part of the tape to the fabric:

reader 022

(Big thanks to my mom, our hand-model-slash-sewing-goddess while I snapped photos)

This secures the tape in place so that you can then fold it back up, flip the other edge over the other side, and stitch it in place, and the tape won’t shift.  Essentially it eliminates the need to pin things.  If you’re using ribbon, you’ll still want to pin it (and possibly iron a crease along the edge) so it doesn’t shift around while stitching.

reader 024

Then you can trim the excess bias tape off (don’t worry about the rough ends, since they’ll be covered when you stitch the front & back together).

Do the same for the other short edge.

Now, fold the fabric exactly how you want it to be for your pouch.  Use a pin or two on each side to hold the fabric in place.  We don’t need things scooting around & getting away from flush.

If using the bias tape or ribbon, give yourself a little extra on each end, so that you can fold it inward before you sew it to the fabric—this will give you a nice finished edge on your corners.

 reader 027

Now sew the bias tape (or ribbon) like to did with the two short sides:

reader 029

reader 026

And VOILA!!!

reader 030

But wait a minute.  What’s that you say?  You’re not loving the orange today? It looks a little too much like a potholder, you say?  (Seriously, my husband said this.)


reader 032

BAM.  How cute is that?


reader 035

(Pin shown because I hadn’t attached the Velcro yet.)


Now, how many of you are reading this and think, “man, that is a GREAT project & I could really use a cover for my eReader---but I just have WAY too much going on right now”?

Fear not.


Okay, well, not THAT one up there—because that was the first one I made & we were still working out our master plan.  So, rather, you’ll receive THIS ONE:


reader 038  reader 039

(Nook not included.  Sorry, guys. :D)


Yay!  It’s my first ever giveaway on this blog!!!

I actually had enough fabric to make a couple of these, so I’m giving one away to ONE LUCKY READER here.

(NOTE: You don’t have to have a Nook specifically.  This sleeve will fit any reader or tablet that is 6.5” x 9” or smaller.)

How to win?

1.  Do me a solid and either a) “Like” our Facebook Page, b) Follow on Blogger (see the blue taskbar at the top of the page), c) Follow on Google Friend Connect (see the right-hand sidebar), or d) Follow on Pinterest.

2. Leave a comment here telling me which one of the above things you did (or do MULTIPLE options and receive MULTIPLE chances to win! [4 ways to Follow the blog = max of 4 entries per person] If you go the “multiple entry” route, tell me so in your comment so I can get you down for the proper number of entries.)

2a.) In the same comment, tell me your favorite book of all time.

3.) Be sure your comment information includes your email info so I can get in touch with you if you win!


The winner will be chosen at random using Random.Org (to keep it all bidness & unbiased).


Contest is open until Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 8pm CST.  The winner will be announced next Friday, March 30th!


Aaaaand….ALLEZ CUIZINE!!!  Ooh, wait…wrong contest.

Shared at The Shabby Nest, Chic On A Shoestring, Blissful & Domestic, Petals to Picots, One Artsy Mama, Kitchen Fun w/My Three Sons, Two Sasters, C.R.A.F.T., Making the World Cuter, and Everything Under The Moon.