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Saturday, March 31, 2012

April Monthly Menu- Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Yay! I actually finished my monthly menu before the month started! That really helps with my grocery shopping!

Here is April's menu- it is still dairy and gluten free, and mostly soy free. I hope you find it helpful!

Here are some things to keep in mind about the following menu:

-There are a lot of gluten free convenience products you can buy out there- my goal with this menu is to cook from scratch as much as possible.

-This menu is just for me and my husband so I can rely on leftovers on 2-3 nights a week.

-We like to eat out on Friday nights so I don't ever plan a meal for that night.

-The recipes below that have links and sources are from other blogs. The recipes that have links without sources are from my blog.

-The recipes that don't have a hot link I use commonly but haven't posted to the blog- most of them are basic things that you know how to make or are very easy to find.

I am planning hoping to do this every month. If you have any questions about the menu don't hesitate to contact me zoer110@gmail.com.

Week 1: April 1- 7
April 1st: Grilled Salmon Fillets with Veggie Packets (Allrecipes.com)
April 2nd: Gluten Free Pork Meatballs with Pasta from Food Network
April 3rd: Fish Foil Packets with Side Salad
April 4th: White Chicken Chili
April 5th: Left-overs
April 6th: Eat out
April 7th: Left-overs

Week 2: April 8-14
April 8th: Easter Dinner at Mom's House
April 10th : Pulled pork sandwiches from leftover Carnitas Meat
April 11th: Grilled Chicken Salad
April 12th:Vegetarian Korma (using coconut milk instead of cream) from Allrecipes.com
April 13th: Eat Out
April 14th: Leftovers

Week 3: April 15-21

April15th: Roast Chicken and Roasted Vegetables
April 16th: Tortilla Soup (using leftover chicken)
April 18th: Leftovers
April 19th: Imitation Crabmeat and Cocktail Shrimp with cocktail sauce.
April 20th: Eat Out

Week 4: April 22-28
April 22: Shrimp Pad Thai from Chez Pim
April 24th: Spaghetti with Deer Meat- I usually use gluten free noodles from the store.
April 25th: Grilled Fish with vegetable packets
April 26th: Leftovers
April 27th: Eat Out
April 28th: Leftovers

Week 5: April 29-30
April 29: Cashew Chicken from RasaMalaysia
April 30th: Taco Salad

I hope this is helpful to you! Thanks for stopping by!
I will be linking up with some of these parties!

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Friday, March 30, 2012

My Love Hate Relationship with Blogging

So I don't usually write posts like this, but this has been weighing on my mind for a while. Maybe putting it out there would help me figure out the best way for me to handle my blog in the future.

But before we get to what this post is really about, check out my new toy:

It's a Canon EOS Digital Rebel T3. I am still learning how to use it but I am having fun with it so far.  The pictures in this post are just me messing around with it in my living room.

Now for what I really wanted to talk about:
I guess I will start off with why I love my blog!


I just love that blogging gives me motivation to finish projects that I have been wanting to do forever. It also give me the motivation to try new things, come up with new ideas and to share how to execute those ideas.  Simply put, without my blog I probably wouldn't get nearly as much done around my house (at least things other than cleaning and cooking dinner).

Connecting with others who share my interests

This is a big one for me. Prior to blogging I would normally share my projects with my husband (not always the most interested), my family, and a few friends. My sisters are interested in crafts and sewing, but they weren't always able to see my projects in person.  I love that I can share my projects with a whole group of people who get excited about them, because they love to do the same things I do! I also love to see others be inspired by my ideas and love getting comments on them.

It encourages me to learn new skills (and practice old ones)

When I was little I wanted to be a writer. I would write stories all the time and illustrate them. When I was in middle school I really thought I would grow up and be a writer like Stephen King. That's not exactly how my life turned out. But before I started blogging I hadn't written anything longer than an email since I got out of college! This has given me a chance to express myself through the written word. I have had to practice to get my writing skills back, but having to work at something like that is a good thing. Some other skills I have learned or improved since starting blogging- photography, html, sewing, refinishing furniture and graphic design.

And then there are the things I hate about blogging- these are the ones that have been hanging on my mind lately.

Pressure is hard for me because the pressure I feel about blogging is pretty much all self imposed. I don't have sponsors that I have to keep traffic up for and I don't have a lot of money tied up in my blog.  

But I still feel it.

I feel pressure to come up with really popular ideas. I feel pressure to post frequently. I feel pressure to increase my followers. I feel pressure to not let my traffic drop, because if I do I am somehow failing myself.

When I see a blog that is growing really fast or that is huge and they have only been blogging a few months it makes me frustrated at the size of my own blog. 

I am trying to work out the best way to deal with this (and I believe writing the first half of this post helped a little, at least to remind of the actual reasons I blog).
If you have any suggestions please let me know!

There is no way around it, blogging takes a lot of time. I work full time out of the house and the time I do get at home to spend with my husband (when he isn't working) is precious to me.  Between cooking, cleaning, trying to work out, spending time with my friends and family, and blogging there seems to be no extra time anywhere. 

So coming up with craft ideas, executing them, photographing them and posting about them is exhausting enough as it is. And that doesn't even take into account linking up to parties, corresponding with other bloggers, maintaining a Facebook page, etc.

Recently I have started using a blog organizing binder which has helped me be a little more efficient at my blogging, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed still.

So there it is- much like life it isn't all doom and gloom, but it isn't all rosy colored either.  I don't think I will stop blogging any time soon, but I may back off, not post as much, not link up as much. Who knows.

Am I the only one who feels this way? What do you love or hate about blogging?

Thanks for stopping by and listening to my thoughts :)
I will be linking up with some of these parties!

shabby creek cottage
Skip To My Lou

Here Comes the Sun

Have a great day!!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Early Spring Flower Garden Tour

Spring is one of the best times of the year. It has been especially wonderful this year because this is the first spring in our new house.

 (See where the dogs were running through the corner of the beds- hopefully the hostas come back eventually.)

 (Bubbles enjoying the thick grass!)

(Bugleweed and purple tulips)

When we moved in there was not a lot of landscaping done to the house. There were railroad ties out front with small flower gardens.  But there weren't any flowers that came up in the garden last summer!


One of the first things my husband did when we moved in was tear out the old beds and get to work putting in limestone lined flower garden beds! They look so beautiful and really make the house pop.

Late last summer we bought a lot of plants on clearance and filled up the beds- they are not nearly as full as we want them, but we have plenty of time!!

(Pink Columbine)

We also added bulbs last fall and planted a few more perennials this spring.

(Pretty white tulips)

Every morning it is exciting to see what new flowers are blooming! We have so much more work to do to make this garden everything we want it to be- but I am certainly enjoying the process.

(Daffodils and Bugleweed- this bed needs some more plants and mulch!!)

Have a great day and I hoped you enjoyed seeing my early spring garden!

I will be linking up with some of these parties!
shabby creek cottage
Skip To My Lou
Here Comes the Sun
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Fabulous "Not Fried" Fish Fillets and Oven Fries

Yeah, I know I am a dork, but I love alliteration! So here is a great recipe I like to make instead of frying up the fish my husband catches.  I know fried fish tastes good, but fish is such a lean protein that I hate to make it unhealthy by adding all that oil. Plus it makes your house smell really really bad when you fry inside.

This crappie was caught and fillet by my awesome husband but you can also use any white fish from the store such as tilapia. I have also made it gluten free. If you don't have to be gluten free using bread crumbs instead of the cornmeal does taste a little better!
Fabulous Not Fried Fish Fillets
1 lb white fish, filleted
2 eggs (you can subsitute 1 cup milk if you can't have eggs)
1 cup corn meal (or bread crumbs)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Directions:Mix corn meal and all seasonings together in large bowl. Crack eggs in seperate shallow bowl and beat.
Dip fish fillet first in eggs and then in corn meal mix, coating both sides.

Place on broiler pan or baking pan with cookie sheet over it that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 425 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes until breading is browned.

Remove from oven and serve with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.

Oven Fries
6 potatoes
Olive Oil
Old Bay Seasoning
Garlic Powder

Slice potatoes into fries or wedges. I use this handy little tip from pinterest and use an apple corer. I do usually cut the middle section in half if I use the corer.

Place potatoes in a plastic bag.  I don't usually measure the seasonings, I just drizzle with some olive oil then add Old Bay, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Shake to mix.

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place potatoes in one layer over cookie sheet. Bake at 425 F for about 25-30 minutes until potatoes are browned on the outside and soft in the middle. You may want to stir them half way through baking.
Sprinkle with salt and serve.

I will be linking up with some of these parties!
shabby creek cottage

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scout's Sweet Features and Sunday Linky #3

Thank you all so so much for linking up your awesome projects last week. I am continually amazed by all the great ideas out there!

I hope all of your Springs are getting off to a great start! We have tons of flowers popping up in the garden, but it has been rainy all week. They say it is supposed to be sunny this weekend so hopefully I will be able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Here are some features from last week's party:

The strawberry one was definitely my favorite!! So cute!

Such a great idea- help make your blogging time less stressful and more streamlined!

I am in awe of those who draft their own patterns- and it turned out really pretty too!

So cute! And perfect for those of us with Shrek/Fiona hands!

I also featured some projects this week on my
Go see if you were featured!!

If you were featured grab a button and show it off!
Scout's Stitches Featured Button

And now for the main event-
 Week #3 of Scout's Sweet Sundays
There are no rules- anything and everything you would like to link up is welcome!

I would LOVE it if you would follow me- either through Linky Followers, GFC or on Facebook.
Also I would love it if you checked out some other links- I have some very talented friends!!

Show me what SWEET STUFF you have been up to!

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