Friday, November 22, 2013

Where to find me!

- Visit my studio class at Clayton Yoga Monday nights at 6:30.
- Click here to book a private class with me!

- It is first come first serve, please arrive 10 minutes early to ensure a spot.
- Wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat!
- Relax your mind, body and soul.


As an avid runner, I found pleasure in allowing my mind to wander. To me, freedom came along with running. After an injury that required time to heal, I gravitated towards yoga. I began practicing yoga in 2009. But once injured, my passion for yoga grew. In 2013 I became a registered yoga instructor.
If you let it, yoga will provide more than just a physical outlet. It allows you to explore your mind and your breath as well. Uniting all three components of your body opens up a whole new journey in life. By practicing with me, I will help you create your own journey through yoga.
You can expect my class to challenge your body; and if you allow your breath to center your mind, it can be relaxing too. My Vinyasa class will flow through poses in a timely manor. Students should expect to receive direction in poses and options for more advanced poses. Beginners and experienced yogis welcome!
Yoga is a gift I intend to share with everyone. See you on the mat!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lavender and seasame pillow

Winter is coming (sorry, I just couldn't resist). 

Like most young newlyweds, we're trying to save $$$. Sure, sure we do indulge on a few splurges. But day to day we try to stay cheap. This means eating at home (which, this is a perk of living together if you ask me... home cooked meals!), using Netflix instead of cable, and skimping on the A/C and heat! The last one is the biggest deal for me. As long as I'm bundled up, it's no big deal. But the worst thing on Earth is getting into a bed with freezing cold sheets. Well, maybe getting out of bed is actually the worst. But, you understand what I'm saying.  

Having my microwavable pillow has been an absolute life saver! You can buy these almost anywhere, but it really is sentimental if you make it yourself (or give a homemade one as a Christmas gift!!). 

Here's how to stay warm without your heat :) 

- 1/2 yard of material
- Sewing machine- unless you are dying to hand stitch it
- Scissors
- Sesame seeds- about 2 pounds
- Dried lavender buds- optional
- Pencil- creating your pattern
- Ruler 

First, cut your material. I created a pattern which consisted of 4 separate pieces. The pattern was about 1 foot long. It looked like this: <--->. I enjoy this pattern because it fits around my neck nicely. You can see measurements below: 

Next it's time to sew. This seems like an obvious point to make, but make sure the front of your material is facing inwards. (So you're sewing on the wrong side of the material.) Align your first piece with another and sew along the edge. Leaving about 1/8 of an inch raw. Once you've pieced together all four, you'll sew the remaining open edges together. However, you must leave a hole! 

Using the hole, turn the piece right side in. Next, using a funnel fill your pillow with sesame seeds and lavender buds. You're almost done! 

Finally, you'll need to either hand stitch the hole together or you can just use the sewing machine again. 

I decided I wanted to make a little pillow case with an old tea towel my mom had given me. Tea towels are great to use because they've been washed 1,000,000 times- so their dyes won't run at all. Plus they're super soft. 

Microwave instructions:
Simple place in microwave for 4 minutes. This will insure it stays warm for about 4 hours. Place under your bedding 10 minutes before you climb in... you won't regret it! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Apple Butter!

Apple of my eye

As you know, I've just recently found out how to properly use a mason jar. Did you know, they were created for an actual purpose? Not just for sipping whiskey and coke. I know, I know, I was shocked about that too.

I decided to utilize these mason jars by making apple butter! You cannot tell me that apple butter does not scream fall. Top it off with some warm, homemade bread and you'll be one happy camper.

With fall being in full bloom (too ironic?), the apples are among us. I challenge each and every one of you to utilize this season to do something with fresh apples! Pies, tarts, jams, juices- anything. Just stop passing them by or it'll be too late!

- 6 quarts of diced apples: I mixed granny smith and fuji
- 2 3/4 cups sugar: If you decide not to use tart apples, don't use as much sugar
- 2 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp. salt

Start out by peeling and dicing all of the apples. This helps if you've got an awesome friend (or a reluctant husband) to help! This is by far the most labor intensive part of the recipe. After this is finished, it's cake.

Next, put apples in your largest cooking pot. Drizzle the spices and sugar over the apples. Cover and cook on high for about 4 to 5 hours. Stir occasionally with a whisk.

You'll know your apple butter is complete when it's dark in color and becomes thick. To jar your butter, click here.

Enjoy with ease! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Making Spices

Drying your herbs:

How many spices do you have on your shelf that have been there for more than six months? Well they're just taking up unnecessary space because spices only hold their oils for roughly six months! Crazy, huh?

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an excess amount of fresh basil. I didn't want to waste it, so I decided to dry it and use it for my spaghetti sauce! The process was actually super simple and not labor intensive at all. 

- Spice container
- Spice
- Knife
- Cutting board 

If you're picking your own spice, you'll want to read up about the proper way to harvest. We just cut the whole stock of the basil plant (we had that much). But if you're just harvesting a few leaves of basil, you'll want to prune it right above a set of leaves . Pruning is very important for the plants health. Try to not let your basil flower.

But if you have flowers,  you'll want to get rid of them before you eat the plant!

After that, you'll just spread your leaves out and wait for them to dry. I just laid them on a paper towel on my kitchen countertop. These need to stay there for at least three days and probably no longer than one week. (Another way to dry would be to bundle the stems and hang the herb upside down! This is a very effective way of drying.)

Day 1
 Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

After you feel they're dry, you just cut them up and put them in your spice jar! Simple as that! You can also experiment and dry different herbs to make tea!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce!

A little taste of summer:

I know... I know... It's fall- start doing fall things and stop doing summer things. But I can't seem to let summer go juuuust yet. Is it me? Or does it feel like fall is going by rather quickly? I mean, if I'm honest with myself, I shouldn't be canning fresh tomatoes... but if they're still growing, I'm still canning.

However, for our wedding we were given a dutch oven. If you've never used one of these babies, GO BUY ONE! Not to mention, they're the perfect chili pot (see, that's fall-ish).

So, I came across an abundance of freshly picked tomatoes, and had to make some spaghetti sauce.
Little side story: before I came to college, I wasn't aware spaghetti sauce came in a jar. My parents had always made it homemade... I didn't know the other stuff existed. It was a blessing and a curse: I've had great sauce all this time... but now I'm too snobby to accept it in a jar... Actually, I'm sure if you were to serve it to me, I probably wouldn't notice.

Back to the point. So I made this great spaghetti sauce and then I learned how to can it! It's a super, quick and easy way to can- trust me. The label on the mason jar made it look WAY more complicated than necessary. Let me tell you how!

- Tomatoes 
- 1 Onion
- Italian seasonings- parsley, oregano, basil 
- Salt 
- Pepper
- Olive oil
- Meat (optional) 

- Canning jars (yes, the real purpose for mason jars)
- Water to boil 
- Dishwasher
- Tongs
- Clean/damp rag 

Forewarning: I tend to go more by taste than by measurements. So nothing is exact. I can tell you, however that I used a WHOLE lot of garlic... and it is delicious.

To begin, you first need to dice your garlic, tomatoes and onions. I don't mind the skin in my sauce. If that isn't for you, just blanch your tomatoes prior to simmering.

It's optional to put meat in, I didn't- but if you do, go ahead and brown your meat in a separate pan.If you're not using meat, use a little more olive oil to get some more fat.

Next, brown onions. Once this is complete, toss everything into your biggest pot. (This is where my dutch oven comes in handy!)

Simmer your sauce with the lid off. This can take over an hour. Just be sure not to burn the bottom of your sauce!
While you're simmering your sauce, place the mason jars in the dishwasher. Boil a pot of water and place the flat lids within the pot.

Once the jars are on the drying cycle (and your sauce is complete), take one jar out at a time.

Fill up your mason jar with your sauce. Quickly and thouroughly clean the rim of the jar with your rag. It's necessary for it to be completely cleaned. Don't skimp on this step or it will not clean. Once you've cleaned the rim, simply withdraw the lid from the boiling water and screw it on!

Your lid needs to be this clean!

It's important for EVERYTHING to be hot. Jars. Sauce. Lids. Everything.

It will take about an hour for the jars to seal. You'll know they're sealed when the lid is popped inwards. And that's it! It's a super easy way to can, you don't need a pressure cooker or a whole lot of time! Fun, fast and easy.

But then you have to clean :(

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

chocolate chip cookies- enough to share!

It's never the wrong time for cookies:

So, I was writing my "thank you notes" and my aunt had given me a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond. You know, that store that you go into and they try to get you to buy everything you never knew you needed? They're super friendly, don't get me wrong... but no! I don't want to buy the item of the day at the cash register... just let me buy my over priced juicer. Anyway, so I was writing my thank you's and I had mentioned I was going to buy a mixer with her gift card. THEN, she sent me her famous chocolate chip cookie recipe! They're so good,  she used to sell them! You've all been waiting patiently... So here they are!

- 1 C Butter
- 1 C Peanut Butter
- 1 C Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp. Vanilla 

-- 2 1/2 C Flour
-- 1 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
-- 1/2 Tsp Salt

--- 12 oz. semi- sweet chocolate chips (Hershey's) 
--- 12 oz. semi- sweet chocolate chips (Nestle) 

With a mixer (my first time using my beautiful Kitchen Aid!!!) Blend together the first section (-).

In a separate bowl, blend together your dry ingredients (--). Then combine the two.

Finally, mix in your chocolate chips.

Use an ice cream scoop to pack your cookie dough. 

Even Captain wanted to help... Notice him licking his lips? 

Place in oven for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees. However, once they started to become golden, I'd take them out. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 3 min. Then, transfer them onto a wire drying rack.
These make a large amount of cookies. Too many for Matt and I to eat, so we froze some of our dough! And, the dough tastes much more like peanut butter than the baked cookie does!