Tag Archives: #DIY

Me gusta Mexicano!

Food, food, food…..I love you! I know it is pretty clear if you follow me on social media, but I really love Mexican food, especially tacos. There’s just something about the flavors in Mexican dishes that make me happy!!!!

Several years back I experimented with a dish that has become one of my favorites to make when entertaining because it is a) simple to make b) something that puts a spin on your regular stuffed shell recipe and c) absolutely delicious.

Mexican Stuffed Shells! Yes, you heard right!

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 12.48.42 PM

I made these last week and posted some snaps on my snapchat and IG story, and so many of you messaged me or snapped me back asking for the recipe. Here it is, friends!

                                                Katie’s Mexican Stuffed Shell Recipe
Ingredients:

-1 lb ground beef
-1 package taco seasoning
-4 oz cream cheese
-1 box of jumbo pasta shells
-1 1/2 cups salsa (you can use any kind you prefer or make your own)
-1 cup taco sauce
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-Black Beans, rinsed (optional)
-Corn (optional)
-Green onions, chopped
-Sour cream OR plain greek yogurt

Directions:

Cook the ground beef as oven preheats at 350. Once beef is cooked, mix in cream cheese, taco seasoning, corn, and black beans if you are using. I have made this recipe both with corn and black beans and without, and I definitely prefer with!

As you cook the ground beef mixture, bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the shells. It’s all about multitasking, friends!

Use a 9 x 13 baking dish (I use a stoneware baker from Pampered Chef because I love how it cooks them),  and pour salsa on the bottom of the pan to coat. Spoon meat mixture into shells and place in pan. Drizzle taco sauce on top of shells, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

After your timer goes off, remove foil from shells and add shredded cheese, baking for another 15 minutes. Once completed, remove and top with sour cream and green onions.

***I provided the option of Greek Yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. This IS a recipe you can make healthier, and this is one of those healthier swaps.

These are so tasty and are different….prepare to share this recipe because once you make them for friends, they are going to ask you for the recipe!

I often get asked what I pair with these since your traditional garlic bread and salad may not go as well. I typically make homemade guacamole and chips!

ENJOY!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

What the hell is that?

Over the weekend I heard that question so many times…and it was all because of this picture:

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 12.24.51 AM

It’s like a baby….but a fruit. 

Most people had never even heard of this fruit, let alone seen a picture of it, so when I shared on The Sparkle Fitness Babe that I had gotten this item, I was bombarded with comments, messages, texts, and questions.

This, my friends, is a jackfruit.

Awhile back I wrote about one of my favorite local places, All Good Things, a place where my mom and I had fallen in love with their jackfruit tacos and jackfruit pizza. After trying it for the first time, I decided I wanted to get my one of my own and try to make some recipes with it for my meal plan.

So what the hell is a jackfruit anyway? It’s a fruit that is a relative of the fig and breadfruit and believed to have originated in Asia….and, as my picture shows, it is a fruit rather large in size.

The fruit itself can be used in a variety of ways. When brownish green, like the one I am holding, it can be used as a meat substitute, similar to pulled pork. As the fruit ripens and begins a brighter green, it is much sweeter (you can eat it at any state) but you won’t want to necessarily use it as a meat when it is this sweet.

Its taste? It is kind of hard to describe….but the best I can do is a blend between a mango, banana, and pineapple. There are SO many recipes for jackfruit (don’t believe me, look at Pinterest!).

I wanted to show you all how to clean this huge fruit as well as what the inside looks like. It’s an interesting fruit, as it is made up of arils, tiny fleshy chunks that contain a seed in each one. The seeds can be boiled and taste like potatoes!

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 12.25.02 AM

A jackfruit, after the flesh has been removed. 

Don’t be scared of this weird looking fruit…it is so delicious and versatile…and if you are trying to go meat-less, this is a great alternative!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Let’s play with Diapers!

If you are like me, you spend countless hours on Pinterest saving potential DIY projects to boards with the intention of someday creating them. Hi, I’m Katie, and I’m a pinaholic who NEVER gets around to this projects!

I finally finished up with the wedding circuit (we had 8 this year!) just in time for baby shower mania. I love that so many of my friends are expanding their families…and determined it was finally the time to make one of the projects hidden away in my Pinterest black hole: the diaper cake!

One of my rockstar coaches, Nancy, had been making them for awhile, so between her wisdom and the various Pinterest boards this project seemed like it would be a piece of cake. It was! I was so pleased with how easy the diaper cake was to make, and I loved that I could customize it for whomever it was going to!

Let me walk you through how I made this super cute dinosaur themed diaper cake for my friend Ashley’s baby shower!

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 4.48.24 PM.png

My diaper cake!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

-Box of diapers, any brand. The amount depends on how large of a cake you are planning to make. I bought a box of around 50 Swaddlers (whatever that means) and used the majority of them for the size I made.

-A base. I used a cardboard cake base, but you could use whatever you want that is sturdy.

-Small rubber bands. I purchased a box of tiny rubber bands for hair (or braces) at the dollar store.

-Large rubber bands to hold the layers together.

-Ribbon.

-Decorations of your choosing. 

-Hot Glue Gun. I used this to secure the ends of the ribbon.

-A center base. I used a paper towel roll. You could also use a wrapping paper roll and cut to the correct size if you want to go a little bit bigger.

To assemble:

The most tedious task of this entire cake is rolling the diapers. Roll each diaper as tight as you can and secure with one of the small rubber bands. I put on an episode of Sherlock and knocked all of these out at once just to get through it! After the diapers were rolled, construction of this cake only took about 10 minutes.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 4.48.34 PM.png

Who knew there were so many kinds of diapers?!?!?!?

You want to form your layers, but to make sure they stay put you want to secure your center base to the bottom of the base. To make my paper towel roll attach to the base, my mother had the idea to just cut the ends of the roll so the bottom fanned out a bit, which we then taped to the base. Nancy, my diaper cake making muse, actually uses a bottle of Barefoot wine as the center of her diaper cakes….a great option if you know mama is a wine drinker anxiously awaiting the day she can have a sip. Here’s an aerial view of layer one of my cake.

****PIECE OF ADVICE…..those of you who know ZERO about diapers like me…..some of them are printed. I did not realize this until I started rolling the diapers and realized I had bought Winnie the Pooh diapers. Fortunately the green coloring worked with my dinosaur theme, and I hid most of the Poohs, but be cautious!

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 4.46.42 PM.png

Once you have placed the rolled diapers around your center and have the layer the size you want it, you will want to place a rubber band around the ENTIRE layer. This helps keep them all from moving. Some tutorials excluded this step and just advised using ribbon, but I wasn’t taking any chances….I used both.

Repeat this for remaining layers. I wanted a three tiered cake, but you may want more or less depending on your vision.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 4.47.44 PM.png
Here is a look at all three layers of the cake. Your center base will be hidden by the third layer. Look at all of those Poohs………..

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 4.47.52 PM.png

I really wanted to do a dino themed cake because, well, I freakin love dinosaurs and thought they would be super cute for Ashley’s little babe, Emerson, when he arrives in January. You don’t have to get crazy with decor….I kept it pretty simple using dinosaur onesies and little socks, as well as a teething ring and pacifiers. I tucked the items into the layers of the cake, but in some tutorials I saw people roll them like they did the diapers and place them in the actual layers.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 4.48.01 PM.png
My absolute favorite thing about this cake? The adorable dinosaur slippers that I used as the cake topper! I found them at Wal-Mart of all places, but when I saw them I knew they had to be a part of this creation. I finished the cake off my securing a piece of ribbon around each layer.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 4.48.15 PM.png
I was so pleased with how the cake turned out and felt like it was a fun and creative way to bring an item that I know the baby will be needing! I definitely encourage you to make your own for the next shower you have to attend!

Check this off my Pinterest “To Do” List. Only about 11,543,857,344 to go!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nice Cream for the Win!

I’ve been posting a lot lately about how much I love my Nice Cream, and it has had so many people asking about that I figured it was time for a quick blog!

I LOVE ice cream, but I know that when it comes to my meal plan eating it every day is probably frowned upon, so I decided to find a healthier option to still enjoy one of my favorites without feeling like I was missing out.

Best part about my Nice Cream (besides the fact that it is healthy, of course)….it is super easy to make. Here is a step by step walkthrough so you can make it, too…..I even have a video at the end showing you how I make it if you learn better by seeing!

What you need:

-Frozen Bananas
-Protein Powder (I always use my trusty Shakeo and change up the flavors)
-Little Bit of Milk (could be almond, soy, coconut, whatever)

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-1-52-50-pm

End goal: Chocolate Ice Cream

How you make it:

Toss 2 frozen bananas into your blender with a scoop of the protein powder you choose. Include a splash of the milk you have selected, but don’t get crazy with it…..you can always add a tad more if you need it a little creamier.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-1-52-43-pm

Blend like a banshee!

Dump contents into a bowl once you have reached the desired consistency! The ice cream itself will be 2 purples and 1 red if you are following the 21 Day Fix!

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 1.52.27 PM.jpg

Oh hey, lover. 

Top with whatever toppings you prefer. My staple toppings: Almonds, Cacao Nibs, Coconut Flakes, and Chia Seeds!

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 1.52.18 PM.jpg

Beautiful. My photography skills aren’t too shabby either.

And if it helps….here is a quick video I made while whipping up some Nice Cream for breakfast the other day. Yes, I eat it for breakfast sometimes, and I am not ashamed. Today I think I am going to try out a pumpkin ice cream recipe….if it turns out, I will share, don’t worry!

Happy Nice Creaming!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Christmas Ornaments!

At my bridal shower last year, my best friend Kelly gave me an incredible present. She made a Christmas ornament out of my wedding invitation! I absolutely loved that a part of the greatest day if my life could be celebrated during the holiday season, and I went on a mission to make the same the gift for those in my life who were getting married. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make!

Today I wanted to share with you how simple this great gift is to make so you can create the same ornament to celebrate a wedding, birth of a children, or any special occasion!

What you will need:

-Invitation(s)
-Glass or Plastic Christmas bulb
-Pencil
-Ribbon

Here’s a look at my materials before I made the ornament for my dear friend Emily’s shower! For hers I opted to use both the shower invitation and the wedding invitation because I loved how the colors worked together and thought it would add dimension to the ornament.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 7.37.30 PM

When it comes to the ornament, I purchased mine from Hobby Lobby. You can find the plastic ones there year round, and they cost about $0.99 each. The top will come off so you have access to the inside of the ornament.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 7.37.41 PM

Take your invitation (or invitations if you are using multiples) and cut them into strips. I cut mine pretty thin, but not so thin that you couldn’t read the writing. Take your pencil and wrap one strip of invitation around the pencil so it forms a tight curl. Then all you need to do is take the curled paper (still on the pencil) and insert the pencil into the opening of the ornament. Drop the curl inside. Continue until all of the paper has been curled and dropped inside.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 7.37.50 PM

Depending on the occasion, you may want to add other items in the ornament as well. I have used glitter or small curls of ribbon in the event colors and dropped them in, but you don’t have to. Once all of the invitation curls and any additional items have been inserted, close up the ornament by slipping the ornament top back into place. Finish by making a ribbon loop or bow so it can hang on the Christmas tree!

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 7.37.58 PM

This is a gift that is very inexpensive to make but that has such a great meaning behind it. I can assure you anyone who receives a custom ornament like this will love it!

Happy Crafting!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

What to Expect When You are Expecting…

Ahhhh, yes.

What to expect when you are expecting.

No, I’m not talking about that movie with Cameron Diaz. Or any new additions to the Kramer household.

I’m talking about what to expect when you are expecting……to buy a house.

Kyle and I recently purchased our first home after a year long search, and boy, was it an exhausting experience. I learned a few things I wanted to share with all of you who are expecting to purchase a new home in the near future….a few things that I hope can help you!

2016-05-06 20.27.35

So what should you expect on your house hunting search????

1. It’s pretty much the same as giving online dating a try. I can’t begin to tell you how many people fooled us with the pics they listed of their home. It’s like on an online dating profile where someone claims to be 6’4 but ends up being 5’6. Seriously people….using the panoramic picture option on you iPhone camera won’t work once someone steps into your kitchen and realizes it is the size of a shoebox. Also, much like photoshop, I can tell when a doorframe has a weird curve because of your editing. Not everyone is a moron. Just show the house like it is.

2. Ok, it’s a lot like dating in general. Dating can be an emotional roller coaster. House hunting…..I actually think it can be worse. You find something you love…..you get your heart set on it…..you start visualizing how you will decorate rooms….you might even start putting things into your Amazon Prime cart…then you find out that you lost the house to someone who was faster with an offer. Then you get bummed out. Then you begin the process again. I felt like my heart got tap danced on by football cleats over and over and over again.

3. Have a list of non-negotiables when you start the search. Kyle and I had many long talks about what was important to have in our home before we started looking. We knew things we absolutely HAD to have and things we just wanted to have. This helped us when we were searching by eliminating houses right away. You should never settle with a house, so make that list of non-negotiables so you don’t regret it later.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.10.03 PM

One of my non negotiables…..an awesome kitchen. Got it!

4. You no longer spend hours on Pinterest…..you spend DAYS! The best part about the house hunting/purchase process was no longer having to explain to Kyle why I was on Pinterest so much. I think he actually realized what a great site it is during the whole process! Honestly though….I logged some serious Pinterest hours and show no signs of stopping soon, but that is ok! Finding DIY solutions for some of the projects I want to do will save us money and be fun……score!

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.10.14 PM.jpg

Part of my beautiful makeup room, thanks Pinterest! All I have left to do is have the Hollywood lights installed!

5. Always do a drive by. I fell in love with two different houses based on the pictures. When we drove by the first one, I realized it was in a shady neighbor where I am positive that I saw a prostitute walking down the street. The other we skipped the drive by and realized when we showed up that the beautiful house pretty much was located on a car dealership lot. After that we made a deal: no drive by, no appointment set to view.

6. Hire the kind of realtor that will get the job done. We started the process using one realtor who was nice but not a good match for us. I am very much a no nonsense kind of person and a shark when I want something, and we wanted a realtor who was the same. After all, if this person had to negotiate for us and go to bat for us, I didn’t want some timid mouse. Fortunately, a friend of mine who knows my style recommended Mark Young, who got the job done. If you are in the Cleveland/Akron area and looking for someone awesome, this guy is the one to call.

7. Cross reference like it’s your job. Don’t just look on one site or one app. Look on THEM ALL! In the beginning I focused on just one app…what a mistake. I found so many different listings on other sites that I would’ve missed if I didn’t check out everything. In fact, the house we ended up buying was listed on a random website when I first noticed it. Thank heavens I did!

8. Strike while the iron is hot. I understand you shouldn’t make any rash decisions, but you don’t want to miss out on your dream house either.Don’t take days or weeks to determine what to do. Go with your gut and make moves. We lost out on multiple homes we loved because we didn’t move fast enough.

9. Be prepared for unexpected expenses. The joys of home ownership means unexpected random expenses. People always say that buying a house can be a money pit, and that sure is the truth! The house we bought had brand new EVERYTHING and we still had random things come up, like the unexpected visit from a fat raccoon and her babies who decided to live in our chimney for a week. Prepare for the unexpected. Pay for inspections. Cover your butts!

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.08.07 PM

This raccoon weighed more than our dog!

10. It’s not over until it’s over………So true! The house we bought was put on the market Easter weekend. Since we were out of town we couldn’t see it until Tuesday morning. The minute we saw it we knew we wanted it, so we put the offer in that minute. Seriously, we didn’t want to lose it. Our realtor contacted the listing agent to tell him the news…..and then found out the seller had accepted an offer literally about an hour before. I was so upset. After crying and cussing like a madwoman, I contacted Mark and told him that if ANYTHING fell through on that deal to let us know. The next night he let us know that the initial deal had fallen through. YESSSSSSS! Of course we submitted everything and had an accepted offer late that day.

Kyle and I are still working at getting settled in, but I love how the house is coming together. It’s been a crazy and emotional process for me, but at the end of the day I love that I have closed the nomadic chapter of my life….the one that included 24 documented moves in about 12 years (yes, that’s a lot) and started a new one with my husband. There have been moments of frustration and sadness, as I am finding things of my dad’s as I unpack all of my things and being forced to accept that all of the big milestones in my life will take place without him physically being here. At the same time, there have been so many wonderful happy moments that I know will only continue.

Here’s to FINALLY getting rid of my storage unit and adulting!

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.10.30 PM

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,