Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mint Chip Brownies

A fun minty twist on a brownie!   The entire batch lasted less than a day in my house.

This was inspired St. Patrick's Day Recipe post over at and decided to make a version of it.

  • Brownie Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 10 oz bag Mint Chocolate Chips
  • 1 16 oz can white frosting
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 12-15 drops green food coloring
  • Non-stick cooking spray.

Make the brownies according to the instructions on the package; I used Pillsbury brownie mix and it called for 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 water and 2 eggs but mixes can vary. Once mixed, add 1/2 cup of the mint chips and stir until mixed in.   Spray non-stick 9X13 baking pan and pour in batter and bake according to instructions on browine package, the mix I used was at 350 degrees 28-31 mins.   Once done, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once the brownies are cool, open up the can of frosting and pour in the mint extract and green food coloring and mix thoroughly with a knife.

Frost the brownies with the icing

Shake the remaining chips over the top of the frosted brownies, cut into squares then serve.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gingered Pork with Mushrooms

Great way to add a dash of flavor to lesser grades of pork.  

This got rave reviews when I served it and I have been requested to serve it again and my son, who is a very picky eater, said "don't change a thing!".  I served this with quick cook rice and 1 can of green beans.

I had purchased a pound of pork that was cut into cubes at a deep discount (was under $2) which I assume was leftover pieces for a stew of sorts and went in search on the web of ideas on how to use it when I came across this recipe at Recipezaar  I didn't have all of the ingredients that it called for but I decided to give it a try, so I adapted it into the following:

  • 1 pound of pork (may work with other meats as well)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon salsa or ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and if you use fresh mushrooms slice into pieces (I used button mushrooms and  sliced mine vertically).

To make sauce, mix the honey, soy sauce, salsa or ketchup, ginger and garlic salt in a small container or bowl.

Use non-stick cooking spray to saute the pork and the mushrooms over medium high heat for 8-12 mins or until the meat is fully cooked.

Spray a casserole dish or 9X9 in pan with non-stick cooking spray then put in sauteed meat and mushroom and pour sauce over them and toss to coat all the pieces, then bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rudae's Beauty College - $4 Hair Cuts on Wednesday's


If you live in or around Fort Wayne, Indiana, you might want to give going to Rudae's Beauty College a try. 

You can't beat the price of their Wednesday special of $4 for a haircut.  All the work is done by students and then reviewed by an instructor.  The quality of the work varies from student to student and how picky the instructor is.   

We have had some great cuts and some not so great cuts - just be sure to check all sides in the mirrors before you leave to make sure it is even and how you want it to look.  If not, they have always been more than happy to try to fix anything you think is a problem and be sure you leave a satisfied customer.  

We have been going there for about 3 years and I have only had trims done and no problems.   My son has natural curly hair which makes it a challenge even experienced stylists.  He gets his haircut there about every two month and of the visits, only one was really bad and it sort of looked like Kevin Costner's hairstyle in movie "The Bodyguard" as it was patchy and uneven all over and he went by himself (he is 16) and he didn't really inspect it before he left or they would have fixed it.  

The reason I am recommending them despite not always getting a fabulous cut is that they are committed to customer satisfaction - if you are unhappy with something all you have to do is speak up and they will try to fix it.  I cannot say I have always gotten this response at salons I have been to in the past because the stylist gets defensive and takes it personal.   We all have our off days, I am ok with them not being perfect all the time, if something is out of whack I just want them to fix it as I have to live with it. 

While you wouldn't want to go right before picture day at school or the day before a job interview, if you are willing to take a slight risk you can save yourself some money.   It can be a win-win situation - you can get a bargain haircut and students benefit from getting "real world" experience.

If you don't live close enough to go here, you might want to check your Yellowpages for a Beauty College near you and give them a try. 

*Disclosure:  I am not receiving anything for posting this - it is my personal opinion based on our experience with this business.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Plastic Bottle Top Flower

Turn trash into a pretty Anthropologie inspired flower treasure!   

I saw this Anthropolgie window display and decided to give it a go. 

I am participating in the April Stash Bust over at Dollar Store Crafts and in this project used the top of a 2 liter bottle, the cap off a shampoo bottle and spray paint to create the above flower.

Items used:
  • 1 2 liter bottle
  • Craft or Kitchen Scissors
  • Plastic bottle cap
  • Amazing Goop Glue or Hot Glue Gun and Glue sticks
  • Spray pain
  • Plastic bag
  • Cardboard
Rinse out the bottle and remove the label.  Pinch it on one side and cut where there is a ridge all the way around the bottle. 
Cut the approximately 1 inch wide strips all the way around the top of the bottle.   To make sure it was even I cut into quarters first, then cut each quarter into 3 sections for a total of 12 "petals".

Press the cut pieces down to form the flower.

I decided I wanted my petal to be rounded, so I opened up a plastic bag and rounded the edge of each petal over the bag then put the bag in my plastic recycling bin for easy clean up.

Next, I opened up an old frozen pizza box and spray painted the top and allowed it to dry, then flipped it over and painted the other side. 

For the center of the flower, I used the top off of an Axe shampoo bottle, but just about any bottle cap would do.

Place glue around the bottom edge of the cap and place it firmly in the center of the plastic flower and allow it to dry.

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Bloomingdales "Tote-ally Green Reuseable Tote" Contest

I read over at All Women Stalk Fashion where Bloomingdale's is sponsoring a tote bag designing contest.   You can create an image and upload it or there also is the option to create one online, but I found the selections too limiting. 

I decided to use a simple crossword puzzle design with Bloomingdale's name on it as going green is a lot like working one; figuring out simple actions on what each of us can do to be more eco-friendly can mean a lot in the big picture of things.

I tried making mine in my "Let's Make a T-Shirt" program, but it didn't quite transfer over right and it looks like some of the lines are missing, but it was fun anyway.  

For more info on the prizes and contest click here.

If anyone decides to participate, I would love to see your creations - just post the link in the comments.  Here is a chance to let loose your inner designer and go out and create and share it with the world.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mini Easter Basket

Make a fun little basket out of an empty 2 liter plastic bottle!   It is super easy and took less than 10 minutes and cost me nothing as I had all of the supplies on hand.

I made this for Easter, but it could also be used to hold party favors for a birthday party.  I had hoped to get this posted before Easter, but I started a new job two weeks ago and I am behind in my postings and crafting.  I am participating in Dollar Store Crafts Stash Bust and have lots of projects to use up stuff from my stash.

Items used for this project:
  • 2 liter bottle  - empty and rinsed out
  • Craft or Kitchen Scissors
  • Candle
  • Matches or Lighter
  • Amazing Goop Glue or Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Ribbon (around 24 inches)
  • 1 clear stone or button
  • Easter Grass or shredded paper
  • Candy or other small goodies

I used an empty Mountain Dew 2 liter bottle and rinsed it out and removed the label, but you might want to leave the label on as a reference point for cutting.  Pinch it on one side and cut into it just below where the bottom of the label was (is) and cut all the way around.

Light the candle and hold the cut edge to the flame close to it, but not directly on the flame and the plastic will curl under on the edges so you won't have rough edges.   The challenge is to get it to look even all the way around.

Cut a length of ribbon for the handle - I didn't measure it but I am guessing it was about 12 inches long.   Glue each end to the bottle bottom on each side about an inch down from the top edge.

To hide where you have glued the handle, wrap a piece of ribbon around the top edge of the bottle, overlapping slightly and then cut the length you want then glue it down then pick a clear stone or a button to embellish it.  I chose to glue mine and make it off center to make it a little different, but you could do it however you would like.

Fill with Easter grass and small candies.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Maxx the Dog Personalized Face Plate

This is another version of Personalized Maxx Face Plate that I made for my son as an Easter present in honor of his dog that went to Heaven recently.   On this plate I used the same as here except I used a Porcelaine 150that is specifically for use on ceramics.  The only thing I didn't notice when I bought the pen was that is is a "fine tip" and it made very skinny lines and I had to go back over everything several times which made it a bit sloppy.  For a project like this it would probably be better to go with at least a medium point pen.