April 28, 2011

Yard Sale Countdown!

Hi there! We are getting super excited for the yard sale we'll be having on Saturday morning! So far, the weather looks like it will be gorgeous! 
After work, we come home and go through each room figuring out exactly what we'll be selling. Tonight, we're making signs and starting to add prices. 
Our back porch is pretty full of "treasures", and it seems like we'll have a good amount of stuff to sell. About five other families will be joining us, so we're hoping for an awesome turnout! 

Here are some great resources that we've found: 


Yard Sale Checklist
Tips to Have A Successful Yard Sale
Money Making Tips
Organized Home Garage Sale Tips
Good Housekeeping- Easy Yard Sale


Do you have any yard sale tips for us? What's the best/worst/weirdest thing you've ever bought at a yard sale???

April 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday! (On Tuesday!)

Hi again! We ended up with a terrifically busy Monday and I completely forgot to share with you our weekly menu! Luckily for you, Orgjunkie has tons of menus ready to go for your browsing pleasure. Hop on over there to see what goodies are waiting to inspire you! 

Monday: Dinner out- whoops!


Tuesday: Grilled chicken breast, sauteed zucchini and quinoa


Wednesday: Whole wheat spaghetti, marinara, spinach and mushrooms 


Thursday: Turkey burgers with no bun, salad 


Friday: Baked cod with lemon, carrot-brown rice risotto, spinach

What are you cooking this week, menu planners? Are you doing any freezer cooking? Craving springy veggies and fruit? 

April 25, 2011

Tiny Improvements Check In- Month 1

Hi darling readers! How was your Easter weekend? Ours was full of family, food and a great service at the Church I grew up in! Oh, and an absolutely gorgeous Sunday! The flowers are in full bloom at my folks' house, the lilac bushes are budding and the birds are chirping. Spring is finally here! 
Also here is the one month mark since I decided to start making some changes in our eating/living.  How's it going so far? Not bad. Still a loo-ooo-ooong way to go, but we're headed in the right direction. So far, I've lost about a pound. 
To refresh your memory, here are my goals: 

  • I’m starting out with a high-protein/low-carb/tons of fresh veggies approach and seeing how my body responds. So far, so good! I'm also eating steel cut oats for breakfast, yum!
  • Mike and I are scheduling in cardio workouts 3x a week and yoga twice a week. We’re going to add in bike rides, walks and hiking once the weather gets nice. Not going so well- Mike's work schedule is making it tough for us to get to the gym, but I've been walking the mile to and from the train station instead of taking the bus!
  • I’m challenging myself to drink 8+glasses of water a day. I’ll do this by bringing my 24 oz. water bottle to work- I’ll be more likely to guzzle it if I have it with me! This is going well! It helps that I've been putting hot sauce/sriracha on everything! 
  • I’ll start taking a multi-vitamin and a probiotic regularly. I’m hoping this will also help boost my immune system (thanks to the kids I work with, I get tons of colds). I've been slacking on this one. Woops! 
  • Switch my eating style to mini-meals- a good breakfast followed by little, protein-packed meals throughout the day (5 total meals). Yes! I've noticed my sugar cravings are being less intense, which (hopefully!) means my metabolism/blood sugar is evening out. 
So there you have it, lovely readers. Month 1 is in the books. The weather is finally nice, so we have no excuses to not get outside and burn some calories. Mike and I are thinking about starting a neighborhood sports team of some kind...

April 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Toast

Hey there pals. As you remember, we are making an effort to stick to a healthy eating plan which means having a nutritious (but tasty!) lunch every day. We've promised to fill you in when we come across a great and easy idea for lunch, since it seems like quite a few of you are into the healthy/easy/yummy idea, too! 


This one is as easy as it gets. Inspired by Carrots N' Cake's standard breakfast, behold: 
A toasted slice of multigrain bread (this is Barowsky's 12 grain), with a little (1-2 tsp.) sunflower butter and a sliced half banana. Throw some cut up fruit and veggies on the side, and this is as easy as pie but really yummy and filling. I usually eat a slice of turkey or cheese alongside for some protein! 


Yum! 

Super Easy Oats

Oh hi! We're back to talk about the easiest and most delicious lunch EVER. Steel cut oats! You can top these bad boys with any number of things- brown sugar, chopped fruit, jam, peanut butter, nuts, sunflower seeds- whatever floats your boat! 
Now, you can make your own (we like Alton Brown's recipe!), but if you're crunched for time Trader Joe's frozen oats are awesome! 
They cook in 3 minutes and come out perfectly chewy-creamy. We topped ours with banana, brown sugar and some chia seeds. Yum! And it's really filling and delicious. Try it, you'll love it!

April 19, 2011

Night Table Re-do

Oh the joys of a few bucks worth of paint! In the span of an hour, you can transform something previously unremarkable into a lively and fun statement piece. 


We took this $12 dresser from Goodwill with it's stains and scratches and slapped on a coat of Martha Stewart's "Maine Lobster". A little Modpodge and some scrapbook paper prettied up the little drawer. We love it! 








The details: 
1/2 sample pot of Martha Stewart "Maine Lobster": $1.75
Night table from Goodwill: $12
Scrapbook paper and Modpodge: Had on hand

Total: $13.75!!!!!

:)


Edited to add: Linking up this project with the following fabulous blogs-

Anything Related



Photobucket/

Making
The Girl Creative

Maple Bacon Chicken

I have expressed my undying love for the slow cooker here many times. I can't get over the simplicity of tossing a bunch of stuff in there and then coming home to a fully cooked meal! It feels almost luxurious, like having a chef...except not.
Photo via

Okay. Now that we've got that out of the way, here's a super tasty recipe that you can throw together in a few minutes. And it has bacon. Mmmmm. 

Maple Bacon Chicken

1-2 lbs. chicken, preferably skinless (we used drumsticks and thighs)
3 cups chopped veggies (butternut squash and carrots, potatoes would be good, too!)
1 c. white wine
3 tsp. dijon mustard
3 tsp. maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 c. water or chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

To make: 
Rinse chicken well under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Wash your hands, yo. Salmonella ain't a fun thing to mess around with!!! 
If you have time, heat a heavy bottomed pan over high and crisp up your bacon. Remove bacon to bottom of slow cooker. Add in your chicken and brown for a few minutes per side. Remove to slow cooker. 
If not, just season the chicken well- add bacon and chicken to slow cooker. 
Chop up your various vegetables and add to the slow cooker. Try to layer the chicken with the vegetables, if possible. 
In a small bowl, combine mustard, maple syrup, garlic, salt and pepper (a pinch of each) with the water and wine. Mix well and pour over chicken and vegetables. 
Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, or until chicken and vegetables are tender! 

If you have extra time, strain out the juice into a sauce pan and reduce over low for 15-20 minutes, or until thickened. You can also whisk in a little cornstarch to speed up the process. Serve over the chicken and vegetables. 

April 18, 2011

Carving Out a Work Space

When you live in a tiny, oddly shaped apartment, it can be difficult to figure out where to put your furniture. Our apartment has several nooks that we have struggled with since moving in over three years ago. One is in our bedroom and currently houses a dresser and our ginormous TV. We strung up a curtain to cover up the TV when we have guests, etc.


The second nook is in our living room and is the location of our only living room window. In this nook, we have placed: a bookshelf, a reading chair, a table and a Christmas tree. None of these setups seemed to work- the chair just gathered junk, the bookshelf was too tall and blocked light and the Christmas tree can't stay up all year.


While moving around some furniture, I had a lightbulb moment. Why not make that nook our office space? I usually blog at the kitchen table or in bed, but I've been wanting a space to spread out a little bit. Our desktop computer currently lives in a corner of our bedroom and is a clutter magnet. So, after a bunch of moving and rearranging, behold:





What do you think? Does our little office nook work? We want to paint the desk a bright grayish-white and get a larger rug to define the "office": area.


Linked with: 





Making


Tip Junkie handmade projects

April 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

Happy Monday!! It's bright and beautiful in Boston- a perfect day for the Boston Marathon! Since I'm home from work today, I'm planning a little marathon of my own- getting some cooking and cleaning done while it's nice enough to have the windows flung open. Then, outside for some gardening! Ahh I love days off! 
So, as always, I'm linking up to Orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday. Go check it out- lots of awesome recipes and menu planning goodness! 
My goal for this week's menu is to use up the stuff that's hanging around in our freezer. Lots of veggies and a few random frozen goodies. Should be a good challenge! Here goes: 


Monday: Fish tacos (using some frozen cod), cabbage slaw and guacamole


Tuesday: Grilled chicken breast, garlic asparagus and some brown rice


Wednesday: Slow cooker chicken soup 


Thursday: BBQ chicken on the grill, sauteed spinach, whole wheat couscous


Friday: Whole wheat pizza with leftover chicken and veggies


That's it for us! Hopefully it will use up all of the yumminess hanging out  in our freezer. Then we can head out West (Western MA) to pick up an order of locally grown meat! What are you cookin' this week, good lookin'? 

April 16, 2011

Lettuce Lunch

I'm back (with a full belly) to tell you about another healthy lunch I stumbled upon today! Lettuce tacos.

This morning, I awoke with a fierce craving for some tacos. Like, immediately. Living in a neighborhood as diverse as ours, we're spoiled with various Latin American restaurants. We can get albondigas, pupusas, mole and tacos of all kinds on virtually any corner. Lucky for our taste buds. Not so much for our waistlines.
Peeking into the fridge, I immediately saw the leftovers from a dinner party we went to last night: guacamole and some ground turkey that we ate in lettuce wraps. Hence, the lettuce taco is born. I wanted to save some carbs, so subbing a lettuce leaf for a taco shell or tortilla was a little stroke of genius. (Tooting my own horn. Toot.)
Starting with a little quinoa salad from a few nights ago, topped with some ground turkey (just a little bit), guacamole and Trader Joe's fresh salsa- they were definitely a success. Any mish-mash of ingredients would work, and topped with some hot sauce and fat-free sour cream they definitely eased my taco craving. For now.

Are you a lettuce wrapper? What other healthy swaps can you share with us?

April 15, 2011

Summer!

We're in the midst of planning our annual camping trip to the Boston Harbor Islands, so I'm putting spring on hold for some summer dreaming. Here are some photos from last year's camping trip. Oh, and if you live near Boston this is amazingly thrifty get-away! It comes out to $20 for two night's of camping plus a few bucks for the harbor ferry. Not bad at all!

Eating dinner around an open campfire. Gazing at the city skyline across the water. Falling asleep to the sound of crickets, not city busses. It's wonderful.
REALLY Tiny Wallet Style- inside of our tent!
Don't you feel better just looking at this?
On the ferry
Mike hanging out by the water
Camp fire! 
Ahhhhh. 

April 14, 2011

Lentil Lovin'

I mentioned before that I'd be sharing some ideas for thrifty and healthy lunches with you. Here's another simple but tasty option that can feed you for a whole week: lentils!


*I apologize in advance for the not-nice photos. Our nice camera was charging, so I snapped these with my cell phone!


You can literally adapt lentils for any taste- I love 'em with some curry spices, sriracha and crispy, chopped veggies. 
Whip up some vinaigrette and serve with a poached egg over baby greens for a light and refreshing breakfast. Seriously- try it! This breakfast makes my WHOLE day better. 


Sprinkle on some cumin, chili powder and paprika. Add in diced tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and tuck it in to a tortilla for a yummy and filling lunch or dinner that you can make in just a few minutes. 


Basic Lentils


Take a cup of lentils, pick through for any rocks and rinse in a fine sieve. 


Pour the lentils into the bottom of a sauce pot and cover with two inches of cold water.
Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until your lentils are completely tender. 


What do you do with lentils? Are you a lentil lover like us?? 

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