Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Second Hand Treasures ~ Vintage Cookware

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved old things.  I enjoyed looking at a vintage item and wondering about it's history.  Now, I tend to look for things to incorporate into my small, but growing collections while still thinking about the previous owners.

A few weeks ago, we happened to be running errands not too far from my favorite thrift shop.  I was pleased when my four year-old asked to go into what she calls the "bird store".  Fitting name since there's a bird on the sign.  We didn't have anything else planned for the day, so we parked the car and ventured into the shops for some browsing.

Grace enjoys testing each chair and sofa in the furniture department, but her patience wears off by the time Joe gets to the hardware department.  By this time she is so excited, she just can't wait to get to the toy section!  I love that she can be equally pleased with a 99 cent thrift shop find as she would be with a shopping spree at that major toy retailer.

I thought that I took pictures of all of our finds from that day, but when looking back at my camera I noticed I only took a couple photos of some pots and pans we picked up that day.  So, I'll have to come back another time to share the rest of our second-hand treasures with you.  But for now, take a peek at 3 of the items we brought home with us that day!

The top two pots were my picks for the day!  
I have a difficult time resisting old enamel kitchen items.  
Joe has wanted a cast iron skillet for some time.  
This one needs a little cleaning up.  
Since I don't have any experience with that, 
I'll leave that up to him!  

I love that large stock pot!  
I wish I had this one around when Grace was smaller, 
it sure would make for a great photo prop!  

I don't usually purchase two enamel pieces in one outing.  
We live in a small house, so I really try not to go overboard with collecting.  
So, for the sake of space and our budget, 
I usually limit my purchases to ONE collectible item.  
Especially, when it's not half price day!  

But I really had a tough time deciding 
when I came across this green pot.  
Even Joe was surprised 
when he spotted both items in our cart!  
I rationalized it like this:  
Well, we haven't been here in a while...
and probably won't be for a few weeks...
And I don't have anything this size (speaking of the stock pot) 
or this color (that green pot) yet!  

I'm still waiting for Joe to clean up this skillet 
and cook up something delicious!  

I'll have to pull a few more items out of the cupboards, so I can snap some photos to share with you next week!  

This post has been linked up to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pizza with Pillsbury Artisan Crust ~ and a Giveaway!

Ever since I was a kid, pizza has been one of my favorite meals.  We didn't eat pizza every week, but when we did it was always takeout and always on Friday nights.  Pizza delivery and a video rental was always a perfect start to the weekend!

After I moved out of my parents' house, Friday night pizza was still a tradition.  The only difference was that we didn't always do takeout pizza.  Occasionally, we would pick up a pizza crust and add our own toppings.     Store bought pizza crust and leftovers for toppings made preparing our own pizza easier than finding the menu for the local pizza place!

Now that we're trying to eat healthier, I was super-excited to hear that Pillsbury now offers a whole grain Artisan Pizza Crust with 16 grams of  whole grain per serving!  Thanks to General Mills, Pillsbury and MyBlogSpark, we had the opportunity to try the Artisan crust along with a bunch of other great gifts (but we'll talk about those later).

Since we've both been in the mood for Buffalo Chicken Pizza from our local pizza place, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to save some cash and make our own at home.

I started by making a crock pot full of Shredded Buffalo Chicken.  When it was time to shred the chicken, I reserved about a 1/4 cup of the sauce.

After unrolling and pre-baking the crust, I used a silicone brush to coat the top of the crust with some of the reserved sauce.  I then topped with some reduced fat mozzarella cheese.  The shredded buffalo chicken is next. Once the pizza was assembled, I poured some of the reserved sauce over the top of the pizza, being careful not to add too much.  I wanted to make sure the pizza was full of buffalo flavor without getting soggy.

The result?  A deliciously crunchy, whole grain crust topped with ingredients that suits our family perfectly!  I mean, what pizzeria is going to use reduced fat mozzarella on your pizza delivery?  Let me tell you, that pizza didn't last long either!  The two of us polished off that 6-serving pizza in no time!  It was soooo good!

I am very pleased that we bought a spare crust when we picked up the one to review!  I'm thinking our next pizza will be a Cheese Steak Pizza like the ones we used to get when we lived in Philly!  I'll be sure to let you know how that one turns out, too!

For more pizza making ideas and flavor combinations, check out Farmer's Market Ideas from Pillsbury.

As I mentioned earlier, along with the coupon for the Pillsbury Artisan Crust, my prize pack (shown below) included a bunch of great kitchen items perfect to help with making great pizzas!

What's even better is that I've been given the opportunity to giveaway one of these awesome prize packs to one lucky reader!  It's easy to enter!  Just follow the instructions on the rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  The prize pack, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills and Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark.

Monday, May 6, 2013

100 Day Weight Loss Challenge ~ Starting Over at Week 5

So much for my plan of eating healthy while the hubs was home last week!  Too much leftover pizza and birthday cake, along with a lot of meals on the road both added up to a non-diet-friendly week.  Boy!  The scale sure did reflect all of those bad choices!

Rather than hang my head in shame or kick myself for doing badly, I'm starting this week with a positive attitude and going back to the things that worked for me in Week One.  I mean, I might as well since the scale is (almost) right back where it was that first weigh-in.

Shredded Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken was my friend that first week!  Low in calories and full in flavor, Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce is a great condiment to have in the fridge/pantry at all times!  I'll be enjoying guilt-free Buffalo Chicken Wraps and Buffalo Chicken Pizza.  I'll probably add some Buffalo Chicken to a bed of lettuce and other salad fixings for a restaurant style salad.  One that I can control the ingredients and keep the calories low!

We picked up a lot of produce last week.  We still have plenty leftover and I'll be using it as much as possible this week to help get in those veggie servings!

Other than week one, water has not been a strong point for me.  While I know I feel better when I drink water, I just find it so difficult to skip over the Diet Pepsi that I love so much!  This week, I'm starting off the week without any Diet Pepsi in the house.  I drank the last of it over the weekend and didn't get to the supermarket yet.

I plan on getting some exercising in this week and am on the look-out for a used (cheap) treadmill since I don't have a walking buddy to walk with me.

I'm not making any huge goals for myself this week.  Just really trying to get back to where I was that first week...mentally!  I was so determined and showed some decent will power.  I allowed treats and sweets but didn't over do it.  I need to get back there.  That's my goal for this week.

Menu Plan Monday 2013 ~ Week of May 6th


Steak Fajitas 
We have lots of fresh veggies that need to be used.
Fajitas are my favorite way of using up a lot of vegetables
and I can't wait to give this recipe a try!
I already have the meat marinating in the fridge.  


Buffalo Chicken Wraps
I've been having a tough time with the 100 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
I lost almost 4 lbs. the first week.
Looking back at the foods I ate that week,
I see that I ate a lot of shredded Buffalo Chicken.
Only makes sense to go back to what worked that first week!
Plus, this shredded chicken is so delicious and simple to make,
I don't really need an excuse to add it to our menu!


Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing 
I bought a new cookbook this weekend.
There are quite a few recipes that I want to
add to future menu plans,
including this easy dinner salad!


Leftover Night 


Buffalo Chicken Pizza 
I haven't decided if we'll have individual pizzas
using tortillas and flatbreads
or if I'll use a store bought pizza crust.


Taco Salad 
A taco salad sounds like the perfect weekend food!
The flavors of take-out without the guilt,
especially since I don't add a lot of cheese
or sour cream to my tacos!


Crock Pot Beef Barley Soup
This recipe and photo is from my other, long-forgotten blog.
I make this soup whenever I stock up on beef from Costco
or find a really good deal at the supermarket.
So easy, so delicious!

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable. If you haven't checked out Yvonne's blog before, I suggest you drop everything and head on over to check out her delicious recipes, inviting tablescapes and stunning photographs!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Not-So Wordless Wednesday ~ Grace's Pink Ice Cream

Grace is a picky eater and rarely tries new foods.  A few weeks ago, she surprised us by wanting to try a few new things.  Most of her new choices were junk food, but we still encouraged her since she's been getting bored with the handful of foods that she does like.

Ice cream was one of the foods she wanted to try and that was only because she saw a commercial for a new gadget where kids can make their own single serving size of ice cream!  Honestly, I didn't even realize the commercial made any sort of impression on her.  Normally, she's very vocal about letting us know what items she would like us to buy her when she sees them on TV.  She never even made a peep about the ice cream shaker.

On a day out at the mall with my Mom, Grace suckered me into getting the ice cream maker.  It was $9.99 and I had a gift card in my wallet that I was wanting to use.  We made the ice cream after dinner and Grace loved it!

Just yesterday, while running errands, Grace requested pink ice cream.  This, again, was something new as she has only tried vanilla when we made it at home.  Since we were out, we stopped by one of the local farms that also has an ice cream parlor.  I was shocked when Grace recognized the farm as the pumpkin patch we went to in October!

I ordered Grace a kiddie cup of strawberry since she was still insisting on pink ice cream, but I worried that she wouldn't like the strawberry chunks.  She looked like such a big girl carrying her cup over to a table.  She took very small bites at first.  I thought maybe she wasn't pleased with her choice, but then Joe realized the texture of the hand-dipped ice cream was different than the  less solid ice cream we made at home.  He stirred it up for her a bit and made it more like the ice cream she was used to.  This resulted in bigger spoonfuls and some pink ice cream on her white leggings!

Also, just as I suspected, Grace did not like the frozen strawberries in her ice cream!  She spit it right out, said it was yucky and wiped her tongue on her arm!  (The camera was already in my bag, so I didn't get a picture.)  We'll have to try pink sherbet the next time, since I don't think she will want to eat the strawberry again!

As we were leaving, Grace spotted some picnic tables outside and requested that we have an ice cream picnic the next time we go out for ice cream!

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