Recipe Review: Peach Tomato Salad

I have been meaning to make this simple salad for 2 years.

It’s been sitting on my Sensation Salads pinterest board just waiting.

Thankfully I finally got around to it this weekend after a trip to the produce stand.

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Initially, I was not sure about the peach tomato combo, but it’s a match made in heaven.

It is delish!

I used fresh mozzarella for my salad b/c it’s easy to find.

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Balsamic reduction was my shortcut to the dressing. I also think it would be yummy with a white balsamic vinegar.

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I have a feeling I am going to making this a lot this summer.

Click here for the link to the recipe.

Enjoy!

A Turkey Burger Public Service Announcement

I have been a turkey burger naysayer for quite a while because I thought the grinding of poultry was a crime against nature.

But I must confess: I have been misguided.

These burgers are GREAT. Seriously. I have already made them twice this summer.

(click the photo for the recipe link)

They work great on the grill if you make the patties a few hours in advance and then refrigerate.

Each batch makes about 5-6 burgers.

Heat the grill to 500ºF and then turn it down to low before placing the burgers on the grates.

I would guess they take about 4 min on each side because I make mine pretty thin. Top with cheese and guac.

Home Improvement: A Built-in Pantry

So this odd little closet is stuck in behind the A/C return on the other side of this wall.

It originally had bi-fold doors in front of it, but the doors were awkward so we got rid of them.

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Then a couple years went by, we painted our cabinets and updated a few other things.

And then it became very obvious that it was TIME to do something about this eye sore.

I came up with a game plan of removing the white wire shelving and replacing it with painted shelves.

We also added the same ship lap paneling that I used on the back hall project a few weeks ago.

After:

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Project Total:

Stair treads used as shelves: $40

Paneling leftover from the hall project: $0

Paint and caulk leftover from previous projects: $0

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It now holds all my baking staples, dish cloths, paper products, towels and trash bags.

Home Improvement: Master Bathroom Overhaul Part 2

This was my original plan for the bathroom.

But sometimes dreams die. Or don’t get funded for 2 years. :)
Master bath

So I regrouped and came up with a new plan on a tight budget since we are selling this house next year (we hope)!


To be honest I have been stressing about the vanity situation.

The vanities I liked/worked with my plan were $800-1000. And that price range was NOT in the budget.

There were other options in the $200 range but they were so cheaply made that I was not comfortable using them( and passing them on to the next homeowner).

But (drumroll please) guess what I found this week on Craigslist? The brand new vanity I needed for $290 with granite top and back splash!

So here is the plan we are going with since I now know what the vanity is going to look like.

Beagle-MasterBath

Sources

Faucet

Wall and Floor Tile

 Shower Floor Tile

It’s not exactly what I would have chosen, but that vanity is perfect for resale so that is what we are going with!

Read Part 1 of this project here.

Monday Randomness: Monogrammed Key Chains, Chinese Takeout and a Built-in Pantry

I have a monogrammed key chain that I have owned for years and years.

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It’s huge and bulky which is great because it helps me find my keys in my huge bag.

But it still has my old monogram and its has been beaten to death.

So I decided it was finally time for an upgrade.

And this is the key chain I went with.

Lilly Pulitzer Monogrammed Keychain

So cute and fun.

Next up a new recipe I tried that tasted better than ANY Chinese takeout!

If your family is super sensitive to spicy food you might need to cut back on the Sriracha but it was perfect amount of spice for us.

Click on the photo for the link to the recipe from lecremedelacrumb.com. I literally whipped this up in 20 minutes.

I added roasted broccoli and steamed rice.

And last but not least I am finally getting my “built-in” pantry!

My husband helped me by getting the shelves cut this weekend.

And I finished painting it last night, and I will post the finished project next week!

Home Improvement: Master Bathroom Overhaul Part 1

Remember my plan for our master bathroom overhaul that I posted about 2 YEARS ago? Yeah. I didn’t expect you to.

Master bath

We are finally getting started on it. The tile guy comes next month. CANNOT WAIT!

This project is on a tight budget because we are just trying to get our house ready to be sold.

But I still think it’s going to be a dramatic change!!

These are the “before Rene’ moved-in pics” from two years ago.

It does not look too bad in the photos, but the vanity is literally falling apart and the vinyl flooring has really yellowed in the last two years.

Yellowed and sticky because the glossy finish has worn off.

Icky is the best way to describe the floor.

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It takes a lot of courage to post pictures of a gross bathroom. Just sayin’.

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Our Semi-DIY Landscaping and How We Saved $$$

How to Save Money On Landscaping Projects

First off, I am all about paying a professional when it makes sense for a project.

For this project we knew we could do a lot of the work. But we also didn’t want to pay a chiropractor to fix our backs for the next 6 months b/c we bit off more than we could chew dig.

So here is how we saved our backs and our wallets.


#1. Paid a grader to come remove all the old over-grown shrubs, fix any issues with water drainage and overall smooth out the yard. He literally popped the old shrubs out of the dirt in 3 seconds including the root system. That alone would have been a whole weekend project for the two of us. $150

#2. Shopped at a local nursery. I took two trips to the nursery. The first trip I looked at prices, variety, height and watering needs of the plants I liked then went home and figured out a game plan. On the second trip to the nursery, we bought all the plants.

In some cases shopping locally saved us $20 per plant compared to the big box stores. And when you are buying 25+ plants that adds up FAST. We used Lichtenfelt Nursery. Our local nursery also gives out a loyalty card that saved us another 5%.

#3. Paid a landscaper to dig the holes for each new 3 gallon-sized plant. This was another HUGE time and body saver. It takes literally seconds with the right equipment. Digging and aerating those huge holes would have taken us HOURS. It only cost us $155 for 20 holes to be dug.

#4. Laid our own ground cloth and staples to prep for the flower beds.

#5. Purchased mulch in bulk from a local supplier ($70) and spread it ourselves.


After grading and purchasing new plants.

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Paid a landscaper to dig holes where we had marked.

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Once the holes were ready we mixed in mushroom compost and top soil and then placed the plants in the ground.

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Now we just have to wait for all the grass to grow.

But in the meantime it looks like we are feeding cattle in our front yard.

share

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We will be watering ALL summer to keep our plants and grass alive.

Hope this inspires you to go dig in the dirt.

We are still in getting-our-house-ready-to-sell mode.

Lots of little projects still left to do…

Before and after exterior:

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Read about the whole front porch project by clicking here.

A Food Storage Solution That Won’t Make You Lose Your Mind (or your paycheck)

Do you know what drives me nuts?

Garden hoses.

They get tangled and kinked.

And it causes me to want to be the kind of person who cusses(only slightly kidding).

Well the other thing that drives me nuts is plastic food storage containers with all the mismatched lids.

It is enough to drive a woman mad.

Seriously.

Anyway, recently I discovered the cheap solution- freezer safe, top shelf dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and BPA free.

And the BEST PART is that they all use the same size lids. Hallelujah!


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 The bonus is that when I take meals to new moms etc I don’t feel bad sending these containers because they are so cheap, and I can even write the instructions for serving on the lid- using a sharpie and masking tape.

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I recently made a huge batch of chicken stock using the 8oz containers.

The price and availability make them perfect to use in kids’ lunch boxes too.

Click each photo for the specific links on Amazon.

This is the size I use for chicken stock, wine for cooking and condiments.

The cost breakdown on this size is 35¢ each which is even cheaper than the dollar store brands.

16 oz- individual salads and pastas as well as leftovers
32 oz- this is the perfect size for big batches of salsa, soups and chilis

They also offer this super large 1/2 gal size, but it has a different sized lid to I opted out.

This post contains affiliate links to help pay for the costs associated with this blog.

Monday Randomness: A Few of My Favorite Things

After typing that title I now have the Sound of Music sound track running through my head.

You do too? Sorry about that.

When the dog bites, when the bees sting…

Moving on.

I wanted to share some favorites from the last few weeks.

#1. This bread. OMG it is to die for. The best quick bread I have ever made (and I have made A LOT).

as

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It is delightful and has veggies. Win win. Make it this week!

#2. This in-shower lotion. Since I turned the ripe old age of 30 I am trying to take my moisturizing routine a little more seriously (aka just actually using moisturizer). I love this b/c I can quickly use it in the shower, it’s not sticky, and it smells great.

#3. These jeans. I have been on the hunt for a new pair of jeans. These are perfect for a short stocky 5’2″ woman with big thighs and a not so thin waist(see bread recipe above for proof). The jeans are true to size and fit me like a chopped jean (not capri length because= unflattering!). They are the perfect wash for summer.

 #4. This supplement. Someone suggested I start taking apple cider vinegar because of some digestive issues I was having. And now I can’t believe I didn’t know about it sooner. I can tell a big difference in how I feel after eating and just generally less bloated (TMI much?). I take them in the morning with food.

#5. And baptism Sunday at our church. This year it was held at an outdoor amphitheater. So fun and inspiring.

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And this photo was taken from my church’s social media.

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I always love the inspiring act of baptism, reminding me of the new life we have in Christ.

At our church the person who does the baptizing is chosen by the person being baptized.

Lots of dads, spiritual mentors and friends participated.

It’s a tear- jerker for sure.

Thanks for all the encouragement last week after reading my Failing at Life post.

I hope you have a great week!

Manly Potato Mixture (aka Potato Salad) |

Whenever my husband says, ” I won’t eat ____,” it challenges me to create a recipe that he does like.

And one of those things is potato salad.

Actually anything under the mayo/salad category is a no-no in his book.

Egg salad (or deviled eggs)

Chicken Salad

Macaroni Salad

He says it’s all gross.

So I set out to create a potato salad that he likes.

And you know what? I did it.

But he said he will only eat it if I call it something other than potato salad.

His suggested names were:

Manly Potato Mixture

or

Yummy Potato Goodness.

Anyway this potato salad is delightful and contains no mayo.

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Manly Potato Mixture (aka Potato Salad)

serves 6

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 lbs red potatoes
  • 3-5 slices of bacon, cooked and diced
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 can of olives, sliced
  • 4 oz block cheese (cheddar or pepper jack), cut into cubes

In a microwave safe bowl combine the oil and garlic. Microwave for 1 minute to infuse the garlic into the oil. Then add the lemon juice, oregano, and s/p. Set aside.

Wash and dice the red potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Fill a large stock pot with the potatoes, add enough water to cover them, and 1 tsp of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain. Pour the potatoes into the serving bowl. Toss with the dressing. And then allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients.

Serve at room temperature and enjoy.