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Monday, February 28, 2011

Do-It-Yourself Uncrustables - Cheaper and healthy!

I LOVE Uncrustables!  Piper likes them too!

My love for Uncrustable has made me overlook the fact that the jam contains high fructose corn syrup.  The peanut butter is full of sugar and partially hydrogenated soybean oil.  Oh ya, and the bread has hydrogenated soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup. 

Why take an amazingly simple idea - frozen PB&J sandwiches - and then add a bunch of junk?

Well, I’ve been trying to overlook the junky additives.  My mother-in-law won't let me and if we’re going to do this whole blog thing together, I have to keep her happy. 

Althout tension between the authors of a blog could be interesting, we all know how important it is to keep the mother-in-law happy!  So today I made a healthier (and cheaper) version of Uncrustables.  They turned out well.  If you'd like to try to make them, here's how:

I started at Valley Natural, where you push the button to grind the peanuts yourself.  That way the peanut butter is completely fresh and made of ONLY peanuts!  How novel.  Plus, it's just $2.69 a pound!

Look at that fresh PB on the left!
After trying 4 different types of bread, I can tell you that ONLY the Whole Wheat Wonder Bread worked for me.  The others broke apart - even the white bread.

You'll want to look for that package on the left. 
Next, just press the Whole Wheat Wonder Bread as flat as possible. 

I don't have a rolling pin, but rolling a glass worked great.
Then you'll want to put peanut butter on the center of both pieces of bread.

Next you'll take the homemade jam your mother-in-law made and gave you for free and put a good size glob on the peanut butter.

This was when I was trying to do it with white bread, but you get the idea!
Now just place the sandwich together, just like you'd make a normal PB&J sandwich and find a large circular object, that has sharp edges.  I used the top of a martini shaker.

Placing the martini shaker (or whatever you choose to use) over the center of the sandwich and press all the way down. 

Then twist your circular device back and forth, like che-che-che.

And here's a look at the final product! 

Take the scraps and you can either cut away an excess PB&J and make croutons, or feed them to the birdies!

Now just put your crustless snacks in the freezer!  You can eat them frozen, or send them with your kids for lunch and it will be thawed just in time!

These delicious sandwiches save money, eliminates useless packaging and it's much healthier than the store bought kind! 

Thinking of Sunny Warm Days

I'm so anxious for this snow to melt and to be planting a garden. Well, I actually don't do the planting- AT ALL, but my husband does. We usually have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and then something new that we haven't tried before. Potatoes are one of our favorites, we like to dig them when they are small.
A favorite thing to do is page through the Seed Savers Catalog-
they are located in Decorah IA and carry heirloom seeds. The photos are beautiful and they have good descriptions of the seeds too. You can order from them  here:
We have been happy with what we have gotten from them in the past.
This is AB planting our potatoes on May 2nd last year. Good Luck!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Better to See You with My Dear

This is the coolest site I've come across in a long time. Actually my son Tanner told me about it. He is my link to coolness. I've noticed the latest trend in glasses, according to Jcrew, have been chunky glasses with a little bit of a retro feel. If you are looking to make such a stand here is your chance! This is an online site to order inexpensive nice  glasses and for every pair of glasses you order Warby Parker sends one to a person in need-more info.

How it works:

  1.  you go to the site
  2.  pick a few styles you like
  3. upload your picture- you can do a virtual try on, do as many styles as you want
  4. you can order glasses that way, by typing in your prescription, doing a little measuring
  5. or you can do an "at home try on"
  6. pick 5 styles you like and they will send them to your home- free shipping
  7. try them for 5 days- show all your friends- send them all back
  8. order the ones you like best!
Ok give me your opinion on which ones in the picture I should order!

Making Progress!

You may remember Ben and I finally realized we need to add some piZzAzz to our house.

We've been making some small changes that are adding up to a big difference!

It's humbling to show the before picture of the little niche in our entry way.

Yep, that's it on the right.

We sincerely thought the plant would spruce it up. 


Now we love that little space!

We found the little bunny coat hanger at Rick Rack.  Great little store in Minneapolis!

We bought the mural on the wall at Hirshfields.  You can also find this one and other ones like it right here. 

The mirrored table is a true gem.  When I found it at HomeGoods for half off you couldn't convince me I didn't win the lottery!

Entering our house is fun now!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nibbles while watching the Nominees

Thought you might enjoy a couple recipes for Oscar night- if you are watching with the fam or have a party planned:


It's grapefruit season and this is a perfect, refreshing drink.

Grapefruit Gimlet            

1/4 C. Ruby Red Vodka
1/4 C. Vodka
1/4 C. lime juice, fresh squeezed
2 TBL. simple syrup
ice cubes
Lime wedges
sugar,grapefruit zest, crystalized ginger-minced, pink decorating sugar (for fun)
Rub the rims of your martini glasses with a wedge of lime, then dip the glasses in your rim mixture.
Place 1st 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice
Cover and shake for 8 sec.
Strain into 2 martini glasses
float a peeled piece of grapefruit in glass

Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza
makes 1, 9-inch pizza
1/2 cup small to medium arugula leaves
2 oz. mozzarella  (fresh)
all purpose flour for dusting
Pizza dough for 1 nine inch pizza
1/2 c. pizza sauce
3 very thin slices prosciutto

At least 45 min. before baking pizza, put pizza stone in oven on lowest rack position and preheat oven to the highest setting (500-550F)
Fry prosciutto in a pan , slightly, watching it carefully- just to crisp it up a little. set aside.
Trim any tough stems from arugula and thinly slice cheese. On a lightly floured surface pat out dough evenly with your fingers, keeping hands flat and lifting and turning dough over several times, into a 9-inch round. (Do not handle dough more than necessary. (if dough is sticky, dust with flour)
Dust a bakers peel or rimless baking sheet with flour and carefully transfer dough to it. jerk peel or baking sheet once or twice to help. Working quickly, top dough with sauce, spreading with the back of a spoon to within 1/2 in. of edge.
Arrange mozzarella slices evenly over sauce.
Line up far edge of peel or baking sheet with far edge of stone in the oven, jerking it gently to start pizza moving. Once edge of pizza  touches the stone, carefully pull back completely transferring pizza to stone.
Bake pizza 6-7 min., or until dough is crisp and browned, and transfer to a cutting board.
Scatter arugula over the  pizza and arrange prosciutto pieces on top.
(thank you- Tim, Danelle, MR and Brian)

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Hair" Ye "Hair" Ye

You can only rock a style-less hairstyle for so long- Change.was.needed.

I was hoping for bangs like you seen on the left.  I asked for them.

The stylist must have decided I wanted differently.

Thank goodness I'm a.) not picky and b.) actually like the non-sideswiped bangs too, I think.

So "hair" it is...

Prayer Request:  I apparently contracted jaundice.

I like it.

If you want to boost YOUR self-esteem, you can take a look here and see some of the pics that didn't make the cut and certainly shouldn't be posted online!

Want to make a change?  Get a haircut!  So glad I did!:)

Java Jack's

I'm craving yesterday's lunch today!


Our business is very seasonal, so taking advantage of the slow time is a must. 

Yesterday was my first time at a quaint Minneapolis cafe - Java Jack's.
Best BLT ever - with a sundried tomato aioli instead of tomato itself. 

Oh, and the fries, the fries were fresh and perfectly seasoned.

Even more impressive (maybe) than the best BLT is the kid's menu!  

Finally a restaurant where your children don't have to chose between 5 different junk food options! 

Piper had pulled chicken, rice, veggie sticks and a bowl of Goldfish Crackers.

I'd give this place a solid 10!  They have dinner too - I'll have to check that out too!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birthdays and How to Look Younger- or try

the skinny

<Not to hijack LKB's post, but I need to add that when I first started dating her son, I asked him a few times how his mom had such wonderful skin.  It's perfect!  He said it's because she cooks with olive oil.  Now we know the truth!>

As long as  we were on the subject of Birthdays, it kind of relates to getting older and looking younger. Which we all want to do, whether we are in our 20's (Mickey) or more (LKB).
Here is my latest regime:  I should mention, I have very DRY skin. Since I have been in my late 30's I have used Renova or Retinol. It is a prescription which you have to get from your doctor. To me it seems to "hold you". You don't see immediate results, but after using it for some time, I think it does make a difference. I use this at night.

My newest thing that I have been reading about and just purchased is the Clarisonic Facial brush. It is a tad expensive, but much less than dermabrasions. I used it last night and it does feel good, so we will see. I got the travel size- the least expensive. You can find them at: http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P245414&categoryId=B70
I also have bought my 17 yr. old a similar brush at Target, much less expensive, and she is happy with that. http://www.target.com/s?keywords=facial+brush&searchNodeID=1038576|1287991011&ref=sr_bx_1_1&x=0&y=0 this is a similar one, the one I bought was Oil of Olay for 29.00
After i use the brush at night I put on this oil, it feels soooooo good. I do this a couple times a week.


I know this sounds like a lot but it is worth it.
For daytime I use Kiehls  products:
And finally I top it off with under eye cream, right now I am using Nars, but I also love Bobby Brown.
Last night sitting watching American Idol, I noticed Jennifer Lopez's beautiful skin. Even if you don't enjoy watching American Idol, it is worth it to see her makeup changes- she has amazing skin.


more hair ideas for daughter-in-law

Ok, Jen's hair with these side bangs- woot woot!!!!!!! go for it Mickey!!! What do you think?
We'll see on Fri.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not too shabby...My mission to flip this house!

If you were my one and only reader of my original blog, you already read about my long overdue epiphany relating to my home decor.  I'll plagiarize myself to get you all good and caught up.

I promise Ben and I are fun!  Our home decor, on the other hand, would have anyone convinced we have the personality of a tuber.  When Piper was under 10 weeks old we moved into our new home.  A newborn baby, full-time job, 2 cats, 2 dogs and a million other things took precedence over decorating our "crib".
The other day it finally hit me...Our house needs some pizazz! 
Our house (which I actually love the house itself) is completely mission styled - Beige walls and dark wood everywhere.  If I won the lottery, I'd have the walls painted white, the woodwork painted white and turn the whole thing shabby chic.  Not practical, but a girl can dream.  Soo...since I can't go completely shabby chic, I guess we're going to try to turn the house "not too shabby".

I know what I like when I see it, but certainly have never come up with a creative idea (which is where LKB and her offspring, Ben, come in) and I have no natural sense of style;  I wore overalls every day until a few years ago and just minutes ago referred to our house as our crib.  Obviously, adding style to our house will take much outside influence.  With the tips and help from my husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law, I am going to makeover our house. 

Since I originally had this grand realization in October, we've already done a little.  I'll share pics once I get our place cleaned up!


Was everyone born today, or was it just my family?

Have I told you I have the greatest mom?  If I haven't it's because this blog is freshhhhaa!

Well, today is my mom's birthday!
Looks like my mom and LKB could be sisters. 
But then Ben would be my cousin, so no thanks on the sister thing. 

My little brother (who's 100 pounds heavier than I am) has a wife, Krista (who's 100 pounds lighter than I am)!

I love her.  It's her birthday too! 
Coincidentally, it's her identical twin sister's birthday as well.  Ironic or what?
My sister-in-law is the one on the bottom...I think.  :)

Happy Birthday to you 3!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm not sure what all the excitement is about, but this is Jen's new haircut. It seems to be making all the tabloids -  to me it looks like just another bob.
  Mickey is getting her haircut Friday. Do you think this will be the " new big trend"?

a Morning Wake-up Gift

After a couple days of snow and dull skies, this was such a pleasant surprise--- my morning gift.
It was like jewels of sunshine. A nice little break before more snow. Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Cooking, baking and then posting pics and sharing the recipe is fun when the cookies don't turn out less than 1 dimensional and burnt on the sides.
We only ate the centers and wasted the rest.  Grrrrr!!!