Sunday, April 22, 2012

Estes Park


I thought that seeing the mouintains would be amazing, but I never thought it would be THIS amazing.

Since we drove through the night we got to see the sun come up over the mountains.

Jared woke me up and said "look outside!" And there they finally were! Snow covered mountains!

I couldn't stop staring for hours. I was taking a million pictures like the biggest tourist dork. I was glad people couldn't see me.

We got into town around 6:30am and thankfully were able to get a very early check in.

Jared was snoring with seconds. I guess even Estes Park can't fix that problem :)

We got up for the day and got a late breakfast at the Egg and I, it was pretty delicious.

We were only supposed to go walk around town BUT we decided to go check out Rocky Mountain National Park....

There was only one problem, I was wearing heels. Ugh!

We spent a few hours driving around and got out to take some beautiful pictures, but I have blisters from my very cute ankle booties lol.

Today we are going back and I am DEFINITELY going to be prepared this time!

After the park we walked around town and looked at all of the cute little shops.

Dinner was at Poppy's. Had really great pizza there and a local raspberry wheat beer. That was yummy!

We couldn't help but notice that everyone is so friendly here!! It makes people from Iowa look like real jerks.

I'm excited to go exploring the park some more today, in tennis shoes :)

Thanks for reading, have you ever been here?


On the road for our 12 hour road trip!

The view from the car right as the sun was going down.

THIS is what Jared woke me up to!

This is right behind our cabin. The water is freezing!

See my pretty shoes? lol

There are elk everywhere! This one was just a few feet from the car. They don't seem to be afraid of people at all.

I was holding my breath here... It is very high up! I made Jared come back down to get me :)

I loved Jared's white shirt and blue jeans in these pictures. They just pop!

Our sweet baby... I miss her so much!!!!!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's Road Trip Day!

It feels like forever ago that we decided to run away and get married in Estes Park, Colorado.

Well TODAY is the day we finally leave!

There are so many mixed emotions running through my head tho....

On one hand I'm soooo happy to marry my best friend, on the other all I can think about is leaving my baby...

Chloe. She's going to be 7 months old... on the day that we get married. I won't see her for 7 whole days. I've never been that long.... The longest has been overnight. And that was hard enough.

She's so cute!

I wonder if she knows that we are leaving because the last 2 nights she has slept like an angel!

I'm going to snuggle her a ton today :)

Estes Park is going to be amazing! I've never seen the mountains. And of course I get to marry the man of my dreams!

Have you ever left your baby for so long? I know she will be in good hands but it just breaks my heart!!!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Healthier Mac and Cheese

As you probably already know, we love cheesy things!

It doesn't really matter what kind of cheese it is... we will eat it.

Jared is the one that likes to eat healthy but he's is slowly converting me. I have rewritten a lot of our recipes to make them healthier without sacrificing the flavor.

I can't remember where I got the original recipe for this. However, by the time I was done with it it's a VERY different recipe than the original.

I only use 2 Tbsp. of butter instead of an entire stick!

Let me know how you like the recipe, I hope it's still yummy.

I usually add 2 cups of fresh spinach as well but didn't this time because I wasn't sure if our friends liked spinach.

I served this with Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes and also accidentally deleted some of these pictures as well! Sorry :)

Serves 8


1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
4 c. milk, 1% or fat free
1 Tbsp. vegeta
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 oz. cheese, I used queso blanco velveeta, skim mozzarella would be great here!
2 egg yolks
1 lb. pasta, I used small shells
1/4 c. breadcrumbs, whole wheat


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Preheat oven to 425.

2. In a large saucepan heat oil on medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add butter and let it melt. Add flour to make a roux. Let the flour taste burn off for a minute or two.

3. Slowly whisk in milk. Add all of the seasonings, bay leaves, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Stir in cheese and let melt.

4. In a small dish, add 1/2 c. or so of the cheese mixture and the egg yolks. Stir well. Add this back into the cheese mixture. Add chopped fresh spinach if using.

5. Add cooked pasta to the mixture and combine well. Pour into a greased 9x13 dish. This will still be pretty liquidy looking but I promise it bakes perfectly!

6. Bake covered for 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes

These are so yummy! I made these for a few friends that came over and there wasn't any left.

You can add more or less hot sauce depending on how spicy you like it. Ours had a kick in it but Chloe, my 6 month old, ate some and she loved it!

Let  me know if your family loves this recipe too!

I accidentally deleted some of the pictures I took :(

I slightly adapted this recipe from Rachael Ray

Makes 8 sandwiches


1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs. ground chicken
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vegeta


2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1 c. tomato sauce
1/2 c. chicken stock
3/4 c. blue cheese crumbles

8 burger rolls
8 slices mozzarella cheese


1. Heat a large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and break it up. Cook 5-6 minutes.

2. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and vegeta. Cook 7-8 minutes.

3. In a small bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients. Pour into pan and stir well. Simmer 5 minutes.

4. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Cut buns in half, lay in baking sheet cut sides up. Top the bottoms of the buns with chicken mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese.

5. Broil on high until the bread without any chicken is golden brown, about 30 seconds. Take those buns out of the oven. Put the loaded buns back in and broil an additional minute or so. Until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly! DON'T look away during this process!!! It only takes a few seconds to burn and ruin everything! And don't skip this step... I promise it makes it extra delicious. :)


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Which one???

Please help! I am shopping for a blazer and I have narrowed down to these 2 at New York & Company....

I will not be wearing that shirt either.

Which one do you think is better???

Or do you hate them both?

And this is what I'm going to be wearing for when I'm on TV!

Any help would be much appreciated,

Thank you,


Friday, April 13, 2012

Italian Meatball Sandwich

So tonight was one of those nights that I didn't start dinner until 8pm.... honestly I just felt kinda lazy.

It was a rainy dark day all day and Chloe and I were busy cuddling all day. :)

We also need to go grocery shopping and I had to put some thought into what I was going to make.

I had Spicy Italian brats in my freezer.... so I thought I would make Italian Meatball Sandwiches!

I have NEVER had one before! This was my first one, and I made it my own. So you KNOW it was delicious!

The recipe is very simple and did not take very long to put together. I made my own bread but that was also a "30 minute baguette" recipe I found online.



 3/4 lbs. spicy Italian sausage (or 3 brats)
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. vegeta
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. vegetable oil
mozzarella cheese slices
**4 baguettes or any other type of roll/bread

 1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 tsp. vegeta
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. If using brats, take the sausage out of the casing.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients except the oil in a medium bowl and mix until combined.
  4. Form the meat into balls. I got 12 meatballs out of it. Use a heaping tablespoon to make them uniform in size.
  5. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and let heat up. 
  6. Saute meatballs until brown on all sides. 
  7. In a small saucepan combine all sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
  8. Pour the sauce into a 9x9 pan.
  9. Drain the fat from the meatballs and add the meatballs to the pan. Bake, covered, for 10 minutes.
  10. Switch oven to broil
  11. Slice baguettes open. Fill with meatballs and sauce. Top with sliced cheese. Place on a lined baking sheet and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. About 1 1/2 minutes. DON'T look away!
**I used this recipe for the baguettes. The only change I made was to use 5 cups of flour instead of 3-4. 
I used HALF of the recipe to make 4 small baguettes. You could easily make them bigger if you'd like. 

Please leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions :)

Hope you love it!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SpongeBob Squarepants Giveaway!

Hey everyone!

I'm hosting a giveaway for 1 yard of SpongeBob Squarepants fabric....

You can enter several ways with Rafflecopter.... The more you do... the more likely you are to win!

Please let me know if you have any questions about the giveaway or about the fabric.

It's 1 yard (cut to 37") by 44". Has not been washed. From a pet-free, non-smoking home.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I love you Vista Print!

My business cards came in!!!!

I used Vista Print and they had them at 50% off.

They weren't supposed to come in until tomorrow! What a lovely surprise. It was much needed today.

I've never been a huge fan of pink and green, but I just think it's so cute in these cards.. And I love polka dots.

That's all I really had to say... I just LOVE them!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Delicious Couscous & Tilapia

This recipe is a healthier version of a pasta side dish in my opinion. We had it with grilled tilapia and it was sooo good together. However, chicken would be awesome too....

If you are a vegetarian you could add some grilled veggies or tofu  to make it more substantial as a main dish or a cold couscous salad.


for couscous

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (I see I can't believe it's not butter)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. vegeta
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 medium tomato, diced
2 1/4 c. chicken stock, low sodium
1/4 c. fresh cilantro
1/4 c. fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 c. couscous, uncooked

for fish
1 1/2 lbs. tilapia
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. vegeta
2 tsp. paprika
aluminum foil
vegetable oil


1. In a medium saucepan, heat vegetable oil and butter on medium-high heat. Saute onions for 4 minutes.

2. Add garlic, seasonings, and tomatoes. Saute 10 minutes.

3. Add chicken stock, parsley, and cilantro. Bring to a boil. Add couscous, stir to mix up. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Easy peasy!!!

For the fish:

1. Sprinkle all of the seasonings on both sides of the fish. I like to cut my fish in half to help with even cooking.

2. Lay a layer of aluminum foil on your grill and lightly grease it with vegetable oil. 

3. Grill on high for 4 minutes on each side. You can also do this on the stove top in a saute pan. (of course leave out the foil and just use 1 tsp. of vegetable oil) 

Chloe LOVED the couscous!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm going to be on TV!!

Yup... I'm pretty darn excited!

Last week I emailed an idea over to Paula Sands Live about having them feature my quilts. Jake, the producer, called me back in just a few minutes.

I normally don't answer unknown numbers, but I thought it was about some things I had on Craigs List so I picked up.

Nope. No weird Craigs List buyer, just the producer to Paula Sands!!!!!!!!

I was soooooooooooooooo excited!

He wanted me to email him some examples of my work and IF they liked it they would have me on the show! That was the longest hour ever! I emailed him some pictures and he called me back and said THEY LOVED IT!

wooo hooo! :) (can you tell I'm excited?)

I'm going there April 30th.... they wanted me there next week but that's way too soon for me! I'm terrified.... I've never done anything like this!

Do you know what the first thing I thought of? WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR!?!!?

Guess I'll just have to go shopping.

I also need to SEW a ton in the next few weeks. I'm almost done with the black and pink one and I just started on a custom wedding quilt for a newlywed couple. It's going to be beautiful. It will feature their wedding colors and I will include their names, the wedding date, and a quote they love. Their colors were purples and green. So pretty!

So much to do! AND we are getting married in 19 days!!!!

April has been an amazing month so far! :)

Here are the pictures I emailed them...


We live right by an Old Chicago and they do have some pretty delicious calzones... but guess what?

You can make your own! And I BET they will be better!

I LOVE making amazing things at home that I've had at restaurants.

I know I'm going to love it because I can make it however I want.... I always know it's fresh... It's healthier...and I know exactly what's going in there and how it's made.

Try this's actually very easy and you can change it to whatever you like!

This makes 4 calzones


pizza dough, recipe here
.5 oz. Canadian bacon
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 Tbsp. sriracha
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups mozzarella cheese
8 Tbsp. pizza sauce
1/4 c. cornmeal
1 egg (for egg wash)

Place a pizza stone (if using) in the oven and preheat oven to 500.


1. Make pizza dough according to my recipe directions. Let dough rise for 1 hour covered in a warm place. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Let rest for another 10 minutes.

2. Dice Canadian bacon into small bite sized pieces.

2.  Chop spinach.

3.  Mince the garlic and dice the onions.

4.   Shred the mozzarella cheese.

5. Combine all of the previous ingredients in a medium bowl. Add sriracha, black pepper, and the salt.  

6.  Dust a pizza peel (or a regular dinner plate) with 1 Tbsp. cornmeal.

7.  One by one, take each of the pieces of dough and flatten out into rounds. Punch the dough down and gently press down with your fingers into the desired thickness. About 1/4 inch thick. Layer each calzone with 2 Tbsp. of pizza sauce and 1/4 of the filling mixture.

8. Fold over the calzone and seal the ends with your fingers. Make sure to push down on the seal so that the filling doesn't come out while cooking.

Score the top with a sharp knife. It's OK if you get corn meal all over the calzone. It's delicious and you can barely tell it's there.

Lightly brush the calzone with the egg wash.

Carefully slide the calzone onto the pizza stone (or a baking sheet) and bake 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with a side of warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Look at this amazing crust on the bottom! This is what the corn meal does!!! (as well as keep it from sticking)


Pizza Sauce

6 oz. tomato paste
6 oz. warm water
3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. honey
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients together. Mix well. Let sit for 30-60 minutes.