Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Bridesmaids' Gift

Hey guys!
I'm in and out a lot lately, so I haven't been to regular around here.  Just thought I'd pop in really quick and show you one of my latest projects.

I ordered 6 lime green towels from Kmart and paid just over $20 for the 6 and shipping.  I turned 5 of them into wraps for the girls to wear the morning that we all get ready.  I don't know what they're going to think, but I'm in love with them.   Personally, I stay wrapped in a towel after I get out of the shower while I'm doing my hair and makeup.  It will be nice to have one of these that stay velcroed on.
Sorry about the crappy photo quality!! I used my webcam because I left my computer cord in MN.

These have elastic in the back and about 5" of velcro at the front.  A cute black and white polka dot grosgrain ribbon runs down the front.  I sat down the other day and whipped all five of these out in about an hour.  It was a fun, quick little project.  I'm contemplating embroidering initials on the front, but I'm not entirely sure! 
The sixth towel I'm going to try and turn into a hooded wrap for my little flower girl.

On a side note, these girls are beginning to get a little spoiled!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thanks For Coming!

I think I may have hinted at our favors a time or two in the past, but I wasn't fully ready to share with you what was going on.  But now, I suppose there isn't any point in holding back.  It's not as if you guys are going to be there, and I'm ruining the surprise!

I'm going the photobooth route for our wedding.  And before you guys said you've heard it a million times (because I have too!) hopefully the little touches of me will make it stand out.

But, first, at the beginning.  I went to a bridal expo last May shortly after getting engaged.  I really wouldn't recommend it to anyone, I didn't get a whole lot out of it.  But what was there was a photobooth for everyone to try.  That was actually the first time that I had heard of one and thought it was just the coolest thing, and I HAD to have it.
But that wasn't going to happen for $900.  Absolutely not, especially since it was just a fun added bonus to the reception.

Then later in the summer I got an email from that company saying they were having a special going on for half price rentals.  I emailed them to see if they had my date available, and luckily they did.   I told myself I could justify it if I found a fun way to make it into a favor.  I was already budgeting to spend at least $1/guest which would be $300.  So for just a bit more, this became the option.

So I quickly sat down and came up with an idea of a photo frame for the pictures so our guests could take their picture home and do what they'd like with it, and it would have our names and wedding date on it, along with a nice little Thank You message.
Here's what I came up with:
(sorry for the crappy quality, I had to take it with my webcam since I don't have my computer cord)

I debated putting a magnet on the back of them all so they could easily be put on the fridge, but I decided that was an unnecessary expense, and some people might rather put them on a memo board, etc.  So where it stands now, is that about 200 of the 300 are completely finished.

Then, a couple weeks ago I got an email from Vistaprint like usual, and one of the freebies was a small banner.  So I laid out a design and uploaded it to have it printed.  I believe I paid no more than $5 for the following (and that was only the shipping).

(again with the crappy picture)

It came rolled up as a banner, and I took it into my mom's work and had the framer mount it onto GatorBoard which is a very stiff foam board.  I went in to pick it up today and her boss was ringing me up for that and a can of paint, and he said, "Don't worry about the board, we'll throw it in for good luck."  How sweet?!  I would have only been paying $10, but it was an unexpected surprise.  I'm going to place it on a large black easel (that I'm borrowing from my own work) next to the booth which will be in the entry hallway into the reception.
At the bottom it reads: "To preserve your memories, please place your fabulous photos in the photo mats found at your seats, enjoy them as our gift to you!"

I'm going to make small matching tents to place on each table, to direct the guests towards the booth.  This has become one of the more exciting projects for me, and I'm loving the way it's turning out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

To Do List, Version 2.0

Just over a month ago, I posted my first tentative list of things to do.  Here it is again with hopefully some lines crossed through it and things accomplished.  But there will be many add-ons now too I'm sure.

(From January 18th, changes in red)
-Decide on a DJ We have already signed with our DJ company, but we missed a couple "Meet the DJ Nights" already and have yet to pick out who we want
-Go and talk to the florist We have a deposit down, I just want to finalize what is in season, see what I've changed my mind about since last spring.  And I need her opinion on how to make my hurricanes work as vases.
-Get Mr. T to pick out a wedding band so I can buy it It's now picked up and waiting for the big day!
-Start looking and maybe hopefully book our honeymoon At first we didn't think we could do one, but I've been home working and will do so again in Feb. and March so I've decided to devote that money, plus a large graduation gift to it.
-Finish the invitations and get them mailed out I have about 80 of the 140 completely finished.  The rest should be done in the next week hopefully.
-Finish the coasters I started I'm about 1/3 of the way through them
-Finish the table squares I have 20 of 30 ironed and the edges are ready to be sewn.  I need to iron the rest and then sew around them all.
-Finish the favors I believe around 200 of the 300 are done
-Put the handles on the totes I made for the girls
-Finish the felt flowers as the finishing touch on the clutches
-Pick up my dress and have Zan alter it
It fits perfectly but it needs to be hemmed still
-Get the bridesmaids' dresses dry cleaned and altered We have all the money for them now, and we're going to alter them first, and then get them dry cleaned so they're nice and pressed for the wedding.  The girls will be getting altered as they're in town.
-Finish my guestbook
-Buy and personalize the aisle runner
-Make all of the bows for the tulle swagging at the reception
-Get the rest of the hurricane tops for the vases/candle holders for centerpieces from Jane
They're in the basement of the store somewhere, I need to find them They're all cleaned, and organized in new tupperware containers.  It's labeled for the reception.
-Get the votive holders and votives from Jane She found tealights for $0.20 when she was at the gift show last week, so I'm going to do that instead of tealights like I originally planned. I picked them all up from Jane.  We put all of the votives inside of the holders and pulled up the wick so they're ready to light.  They're also organized in new containers and labeled to go.
-Go and talk to Yvonne about the cake My mom's friend, who is an amazing cake person is doing our cake and I need to talk with her about what I'm thinking.
-Get all of the guys in and get them fitted for tuxes by the beginning of February
We're getting them from a local shop in town and our wedding falls during Prom season so we need to get in there early.
Right now we have Josh, his brother, his dad, and two of our ushers in.  Still 7 to go.
-Finish the flower girl dress I'm working on or find an alternative if it fails
-Take the "compatability test" our pastor wants us to do and then go through the counseling with him in MN
We've taken the test and it's getting graded.
-String the letters inside of the wreaths
-Make more of the escort cards for the people I already know are coming for sure
-Do up some mock wedding programs so I know what I want when it's time
-Get cocktail napkins from the reception I talked to the guy and he said I can get some ahead of time to stamp on and place at the bar.
-Gather the rest of the wedding pictures from all of the family members I have 13 people left to get them from, but I did buy all of the frames to put them in.
-Call the hotel and see how the blocked rooms are doing
-Make invitations for the rehearsal dinner and decide on any decorations The design is finished on my computer, they just need to be printed.
-Finalize the music for the ceremony and reception
-Call the lady who plays the organ at the church and see if she can do our wedding She can't do it, so I need to find someone new.
-Make the pocket squares for the guys
-Get everything together for the out of town bags We have been collecting maps of the downtown shopping area and the town and such from our Chamber of Commerce.  I still want to put together a list of the churches in the area and their service times in case anyone wants to go on Sunday morning.  And then I need to make a trip to Sam's Club and stock up on things to put in their bags.
-Put together the kids' favors
-Finalize transportation plans for the day of My aunt's ex husband owns a bus and he is going to let us use it for the day of.  It fits thirteen so it  could take the wedding party back and forth.  We're also looking into renting a larger bus from my parents' friends that can act as a shuttle to and from the hotels.
-Gather the rest of the supplies for the bathroom baskets These are done! A nice trip to Dollar Tree solved this one.  A post will be coming shortly!

(Updated since then)
-Figure out what Mr. T is doing for his guys' gifts 
-Get the favors for the rehearsal dinner into cello bags with tags
-Make the wraps for the bridesmaids
-Do a hair trial so I know what I want
-Sew in my wedding dress label
-Buy stamps for the invitations
-Get/make pens for the guestbook
-Song request cards to fill out during cocktail hour?
-Get the fleece and make the blanket for Liam, to match Ella's
-Figure out and make the flower girl basket/purse/pomander
-Make the cosmetic bags I got fabric for
-Find wood and paint signs for directions

That's where I'm at for now, and I know there's a whole lot more that I can't even think of!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

I'm happy to announce that my first ever winner is Miss Kelly...aka KJPUGS!!
Here's proof that I did it nice and fairly.  I just entered all of your names into Excel in the order which the comments were received and had draw a number.

Kelly, I'm letting Kristin of Everyday's a Memory know that you won.  You can contact her at her Etsy shop to start the process of your two charms.  They have been paid for, along with the shipping so you're good to go!!

On a side note, I probably won't be around for awhile.  I'm back home in IL for 1.5 weeks and I'm heading down to Springfield this weekend to work Cheerleading State with my bosses.  We've got about 5 hotel rooms so it should be a great time!
But when I do get back to regular posting I've got lots of things to share with you.  I made a very successful trip to Dollar Tree the other day, and the first batch of my invitations are completely finished. 
I'll see you guys soon, have a great weekend!

Monday, February 8, 2010

My First Giveaway!!

Allright guys, I was thinking about holding out until I hit 100 followers, but I just couldn't pass this up.
The other day I was on Etsy, making Alchemy requests and such, and one of the ones I was doing was for part of my Bridesmaids' gifts.  I was looking to have two charms made for each girl; one with a picture of the two of us, and one with their initial.

Everyday's A Memory came up with the best idea and the greatest price, so I decided to go with her.  She is going to create 10 glass tile pendants for me, 5 in square, and 5 in rectangle.
7/8"x7/8" square
 1"x2" rectangle.
Both will have the bail on them, not the keychain.  Then I decided on the pictures I wanted to use, and made up some quick artwork for the initials I wanted to use and sent them all her way.
Each girl will be getting a rectangle with her initial, and a square with a picture of the two of us.  I'm going to have these tied around their bouquets, and then they can use them afterward for a necklace or whatever they would like.
She came up with the amazing price of $15 plus $5 shipping since I was doing a large custom order.  Now I'm just waiting for them to come in the mail.  Kristin was amazing to work with and I can't wait to see how they turn out!

So now here's where the giveaway comes in!!
I purchased an additional set and paid for the shipping, so if you're the lucky winner you will get 1 rectangle and 1 square pendant customized to your specifications shipped to you!  I also set up with her, that if you buy 4 or more sets you can have the same discounted price of $1.50 per charm.
After winning the giveaway you will work directly with Kristin to create your charms and then she will ship them to you.  Shipping has already been paid for the two charms you're winning, but if you decide to purchase more, you will be responsible for the difference.

The giveaway will end Thursday February 11th at 8PM central time.  I'm leaving early Friday morning for the weekend so I'll be drawing a name on Thursday night and probably announcing the winner that night as well.  The winning name will be chosen at random.  For shipping reasons, this giveaway is only open to US residents.

So here's how you can enter. (You may do one or all of the following).
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

1st - Become a follower of my blog, and tell me that you are. (1 entry)
2nd - Follow me on Twitter, and comment with your username.(1 entry)
3rd - Go check out Everyday's A Memory, and heart her shop or your favorite item.  Let me know that you've done so. (1 entry)
 4th - Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link. (4 entries)
5th - Tweet the following Check out the #giveaway @happilyafterall is having  for a set of custom glass tile pendants! Go check it out (2 entries)

So that's a total of 9 entries!!  Good luck and remember the giveaway ends this Thursday at 8PM.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Non Wedding Related: TV Stand/Dog Kennel

I just wanted to share a few pictures with you all from our latest project.  When we were home in IL a couple weeks ago, I talked Mr. T into building a table with me to fit over Chief's dog kennel.
After a quick trip to Menards, we came away with the wood and a brand new toy he wanted to use to build it that I bought him that will double as a birthday present (in March!)
We spent the next day out in my dad's shop and this is what we created.
It slides down right over the kennel, so we don't just have a big kennel sitting there in the way of everything.
We got it all built in a day, and then I stained and varnished it while he was back up in MN working.  It takes up so much less room than the old dresser our landlord left behind.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Corn Bread Taco Bake

This is definitely the most delicious recipe I've made in the last 4 days since I've started this.  I've never even really been a fan of corn bread, but this, it was GOOD.

Here's the original recipe.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
8 oz can tomato sauce
8 1/2 oz pkg corn muffin mix (1/3 cup milk and 1 egg)
2.8 oz French Fried Onions
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a skillet, brown the meat, then drain.
Return the meat to the skillet.   Stir in the taco seasoning, water, green peppers, and tomato sauce.
Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.
In a separate bowl, prepare the corn muffin mix according to the directions on the box.
Mix in half of the french fried onions.
Spoon the corn muffin mix on top of casserole and spread to the edges.
 Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Top corn bread with the remaining french fried onions and the cheese.  Cook for 3 more minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Spoiler alert!! If you look closely you can get a sneak peak at my invites in the works sitting on the table!   And there's my lovely Cricut =]

Nutritional facts for 1 serving: 363 cal, 14.7g fat, 589.5mg sodium, 28.4g carb, 1g fiber, 20.5g protein

My Custom Jewelry From Etsy: Part One

So yesterday I spent a few hours on the couch with Chief playing around on the computer.  I spent that time talking with Etsy vendors about some custom jewelry.  I put in a custom Alchemy request, and then proceeded to talk with 9 or 10 people about what they could do with my vision.
Here's what I was thinking:
I saved a picture from someone's shop and I can't remember where I found it, but it was from awhile ago.
I'm looking for a necklace similar to the first picture, maybe with a third strand. Or with the second strand being pearls and crystals as well instead of a chain. I like the size of the pearls, and how they are mixed in with the swarovski crystals.
I kind of like the brooch in the second picture better because it has more detail.
If possible, and the price will increase with add-ons, I would also be looking for matching earrings and possibly a bracelet.

The first 6 or so were doing their own thing, and didn't really get was I was hoping to accomplish.  And then someone finally got it.  We emailed back and forth for quite awhile and finally came to a decision.
She actually knew where to get the exact filigree as the first picture.
She is going to add a large rhinestone to the center of it, and clip of the third attachment point.  We decided instead of having a chain as the second strand, we're going to do a mixture of white pearls and clear crystals like in the first strand.
Then she is also going to do a bracelet with the same focal point and double strands that match the necklace.
Both of these she is making for me for an awesome price of only $43.65 including the shipping!!
I sent her Paypal money for half of the amount, and she ordered the couple of parts she needed tonight.  Which means she'll get started on them this weekend, and out in the mail within about 1 1/2 weeks.
I can't wait to get them and try them on with my dress =]

Have any of you made Etsy purchases for your wedding or other things?

p.s. Here's a great giveaway for an 18x24" poster at Shooting for a $3,000 Wedding.
p.p.s. Here's another awesome giveaway from One Bored Mommy for all of the Rembrandt Whitening Products and a couple new KY products, perfect for Valentine's Day! 
p.p.p.s Miss Pug finally reached 100 followers and is giving away a Name Change Kit to celebrate! 
p.p.p.p.s.  One more!! Check out this Vistaprint giveaway at With this ring I thee blog!! 

I have to add just one more!! It's a $25 GC for 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pot Roast Stroganoff

From our dinner tonight.... original recipe found here.
It was good, but not as good as the last two nights.

1 Tbs butter
2 cups water
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 small can of mushrooms - sliced
10 oz extra wide egg noodles
1 package fully cooked pot roast with gravy
1/4 cup light/fat free sour cream
In a skillet over medium-high heat, place butter, noodles, onions, mushrooms, and water.
Cover and bring to a boil.
Uncover once it's boiling.  Continue boiling for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, separate the gravy and remove meat from the package; cut into bite size pieces.
Stir roast, gravy, and sour cream into noodle mixture.
Cook uncovered until thoroughly heated.  About 3-4 minutes, or until noodles are ready.
Makes 6 servings.
My plate.  I'm realizing what looks like a little, can be really filling!
We topped it off with another romaine/spinach salad.  I added a glass of Moscato to the meal....yum!  I was actually able to squeeze two glasses into my daily calories today.  What a nice treat =]

Nutritional facts for 1 serving: 426 cal, 1.4g fat, 369.1mg sodium, 37.2g carb, 1.5g fiber, 23.8g protein

P.S.  I've lost 4 pounds since starting this healthy eating/calorie counting on Saturday night!

Rehearsal Dinner

Mr. T's dad has taken on the task of organizing our Rehearsal Dinner.  I guess the rehearsal dinner is the groom's responsibility, which I wasn't aware of, but he was and is super excited about doing it.  He looked around town and picked out the place all on his own and is getting really into it.  He's really big into food and is set on having an open bar as well.  There aren't a lot of options around our town that can hold a group of 60 and that have a bar as well.  Luckily he landed on a place we all love.  It's a great local hangout that gets a lot of business around 1:00 AM when the bars let out.  It's a truckstop located just off the highway and is open 24 hours.  But don't let that fool you, it has amazing food and gets just as much business during normal hours.
It's called R-Place and has been a staple around Morris for ages.  It's just off I-80, and I highly recommend it if you're ever traveling that part of the highway.
This is the back room of the restaurant that we'll all be in for the night.  You can catch just a small glimpse of what the rest of the place looks like.  I wish I had taken pictures of the rest of the decorations, because it really is awesome.  It's overflowing with things from way back when.  You could spend hours in there looking at it all and still find something new the next time you go back.
The guy in charge of events will be setting up the tables in two long rows on each side with the middle area being clear and the front of the room as well.  Where you see the computer screen in the last picture, he'll set up a bar with beer and liqour of our choice.  We've decided to do the menu banquet style, and that will be lined up just outside of the room.
The Menu
Pot Roast
Fried Chicken
BBQ Ribs
Garlic mashed
Cheese tortellini
Baked beans
Iceberg lettuce with various dressings
Potato salad
Macaroni salad
Tortellini pasta salad
Cole slaw
Assorted fruit tray
Vegetable tray

All non alcoholic drinks are included.  We're getting all of this for just $14.95 per person and that includes tax.  They leave the gratuity up to us, dependent on the service.

Now that the place is settled I can start working up mock invites for the rehearsal and the dinner.  I'm also thinking some cute signage for the buffet to let everyone know what they're eating.

How did you guys decide on your rehearsal dinner spot; is it a local favorite?

p.s. Born to be Mrs. Beever is hosting her first giveaway on her blog.  Go check it out!
p.p.s. Miss Mojito has a wine themed giveaway on her blog as well!  And she also has a kitchen organizing themed giveaway here!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicken Zucchini Marinara

Here's another delicious recipe for you, coming from our dinner tonight!  You can find the original recipe here.
And here's the way I did it.

1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 chicken breasts
2 cups tomato and basil spaghetti sauce (most jars are 2 1/2 cups, so just use it all)
2 cups zucchini - thinly sliced
4 oz mozzarella
2 egg whites
Side note: We do all of our shopping at Aldi's.  I don't know if you have one around you or not, but they're super cheap and the food is just as great.  They've really made improvements from when I was little.  Their produce is fresh and the meat is delicious.  Mr. T and I can usually get away with spending about $60 for 2 1/2 weeks worth of groceries.

Mix the bread crumbs and half of the grated parmesan.
 Coat the chicken breasts in the egg whites.  Then coat both sides with the bread crumbs/cheese mixture.
Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat until hot.
Brown the chicken on each side.
 Pour half to 3/4 of the sauce over the chicken.
Arrange the zucchini slices over the chicken.  Sprinkle with the mozzarella and the rest of the parmesan.
Top with the remaining sauce.
Cover.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

All done!  Makes four servings.
Mr. T's plate.  He gets pasta, I don't.  And a freaking huge piece of chicken.
There's my little chicken, with a nice side salad.  Don't let the size fool you, I was stuffed!

Nutritional facts per serving: 314 cal, 8.1g fat, 1,015.9mg sodium, 28.3g carbs, 4.4g fiber, 35.2g protein

Button Tutorial

Here's the deal on making your own buttons, like the ones in my previous post.

First: Create a jpg to say anything you want. I made mine in the photo editing software of my choice. Just make sure you start off with a canvas size of 2"x2" so you don't distort it too much when you make it into a button.

Second: Host your photo somewhere online so it has an image location. You can use photobucket or flickr. I just like to use Facebook, and I have one album that I set the privacy so only I can see the pictures. So no one has access to it, but at the same time, each picture has a web address.

Third: You need to know where your button is going to link to, and also the location of your picture.

<a href="" mce_href="" target="_blank"><img alt="HAL" src="" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=150 mce_src=""/></a>

Fourth: Copy and paste the html above and replace all of the bold with your corresponding information.  The first two are the same, and whatever address you put in is where the button will take you.  I'm not entirely sure the point of the HAL but I put that as HAL for Happily After All.  You can make it say whatever you would like.  The last two are the same as well and that is the link to where your picture is.

Fifth:  You have a button!

Sixth:  In order for anyone to use the button and place it on their own site, they'll need to copy the html code.  But you can't just paste it on your blog, because it will show up as the button.  You need the html to display as text so it can be copied.  To do this, you can insert a scroll bar under your button.

<a href="" mce_href="" target="_blank"><img alt="HAL" src="" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=150 mce_src=""/></a>

As you can see, if you were to copy and paste the text inside, it would create a button.

Here is the html you'll need.

<div style="background-color: white; border: 3px none black; font-family: Georgia,Garamond,Serif; font-size-adjust: none; font-size: 16px; font-stretch: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; height: 120px; line-height: 26px; overflow: scroll; width: 200px;">

<span style="font-family: "Times New Roman"; font-size: 12pt;"><a href="" mce_href="" target="_blank"><img alt="HAL" src="" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=150 mce_src=""/></a></span></div>

The part that is bold, you will replace with the html code from your button.

You'll need to make just a few changes with the bold section.  If you leave it like it is, it will simply put a button in your scroll bar instead of putting the html text.  That defeats the purpose of doing it right?  To fix that you have to replace all of the < and >'s in the bold section.  For example the < a at the beginning?  Switch out the < for & l t ; (remove the spaces)  And the >'s will become & g t ; (remove the spaces).
This will deactivate the html code from displaying as the button.  Where you type & g t ; a > will show up in the scroll bar.  Then your followers can copy and paste right out of the scroll bar and place your button on their page.

Hopefully you guys don't have any problems figuring this out!  Let me know if you have any questions.


I would definitely not call myself HTML savvy, but every once in awhile I can figure things out on my own.  And then I feel kinda cool! Like these buttons.
Clicking on this will bring you to my homepage.
<a href="" mce_href="" target="_blank"><img alt="HAL" src="" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=150 mce_src=""/></a>

If you'd like to put my button on your page, just copy and paste the html code above into one of your widget spaces along your sidebar. 

And this one will bring you to my Twitter page.

Tutorial coming soon, so you can make your own buttons.

DIY: Coasters, Part Two

Part One

While I was back at home for two weeks recently, I finally got around to getting my coasters done.  Most of them anyways.  Back in part one I said I was going to use the StazOn ink in black to stamp on them, but I changed my mind a little bit after running across some awesome embossing powder at the Unclaimed Freight store I was telling you all about.
I already had green pigment ink in a very similar color, so I decided to stamp on the coasters in green, and then emboss them with the green powder.  We just so happen to have an embossing heat gun laying around the house from my mom's stamping days, so it worked out perfectly.
I didn't take any pictures along the way, but basically you get your stamp inked really well, stamp onto your surface, and then coat the entire thing with embossing powder. 
Don't worry about using too much, because all you do is tap it off onto a piece of paper and funnel it back into the container.  After doing 100+ coasters the container looked like it had been barely touched.
Then all you have to do is heat up the powder and watch it turn.
I was doing all of them the first way and my sister came in and said I should do them on an angle to make them "more interesting."

Right now I have somewhere around 100 done, and I need to figure out how many more I want to do.  They're going to be sitting at the bar, so I don't know if everyone will grab one, if some people will grab one with each drink, etc.

Side story:  So you know the little caddies at a bar that hold napkins and straws and stuff?? Maybe?  Well I was telling my sister how I wanted to steal two of them from the bar we always go to, and she was saying she could probably get her friend's parent to get them for me since they own the bar.  I probably mentioned this like three times.  Then one day Mr. T's mom took me to a new little store in town to buy some spaghetti bowls she thought I would like.  It was a restaurant supply store that was open to the public, and a few rows in we found exactly what I was talking about.  There were two of them, they were black, and they were only $1.82 each!
In case you don't know what I'm talking about:
The coasters fit in perfectly, and now I want to find some cute straws and make some drink stirrers to go in those other little cubbie holes.  I'm pretty sure all 100+ fit in that container.  So then there will be another 100 at the other bar, and I can leave about 50 at each for refills as the night goes on.

And thanks to some of you girls, I was able to sell most of the extra coasters, so this project only ended up coasting me about $10 not including the stamp.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Creamy Broccoli and Meat Lasagna

I think at one point I said this blog would be mostly wedding, with a little extra thrown in.  Well here's the extra!

You might remember my non New Year's resolution; well since then I've only worked out like 3 times! ha so I've decided that instead of working out to get the weight that I want off, I'm going to go back to eating healthier and counting my calories.  I don't remember if I talked about it or not, but last spring I lost 20 pounds by cutting my daily caloric intake to just over 1,000.  I kept track of everything I put in my mouth with an app on my iPod touch called Lose it!  It lets me search foods or enter in my own nutritional facts and keeps a running tally of my daily calories.

So last night I searched and found recipes for dinner for every night for the next week and a half.  They're all under 400 calories per serving.  I went shopping this morning, spent more than usual because it was a lot of fresh produce, and tried out my first new recipe tonight.  And it was a success!

I made a small change to the recipe I found here.  When I told Mr. T what I was making his first question was if it had any meat in it.  Well it didn't, so I added it in.

6 lasagna noodles cooked
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup flour
¾ tsp garlic powder
2 ½ cups milk
3 cups fresh broccoli chopped
3/4 - 1 lb ground beef 
1 ½ cups low fat cottage cheese
Brown the meat, drain and set aside.
Boil water, cook the lasagna noodles until they are firm to the bite.
In a large saucepan, saute the onions in oil until they are tender
Add the flour and garlic powder.  Stir until blended.
Gradually add the milk.  Bring to a boil.  Cook for 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Add the broccoli.  Cook for 3 minutes.
Add in the meat.
Stir in the cottage cheese.
Coat a 13x9x2 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Layer 3 cooked noodles and 1/2 of the sauce.
 Repeat for the next layer.
Cover and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until it is bubbly and the broccoli is tender.
Makes 8 servings.  As in I cut it into 8 pieces.

The first couple of slices came out a little messy, but it was delicious and creamy and good!
I paired it with a salad of spinach leaves, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots.
And water, because it has no calories!

Nutritional facts: I entered in all of the ingredients into my Lose It! app and here is the following per serving.
236 cal, 7.4g fat, 9mg cholest, 242.3mg sodium, 21.8g carb, 1.7g fiber, 20.1g protein
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