Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday 2013

Growing up, I was always involved with small businesses as my family owned not one, but two. Because of this, I not only learned the hard work and dedication that goes into owning a business of any size, but I also learned how much it means to the smaller businesses to have your support.  Being a small business owner of my own now, with Crooked By Design I am so grateful for everything you do to keep my passion alive and thriving. 



Be sure to check out the Crooked By Design Facebook Page for today's coupons, but also, check out these amazing small businesses too!  Grab a coffee at your local shop, eat at the non-chain restaurant. Every little bit helps!

-For amazing beach jewelry, my go-to shop is Seaside By Arlene.  She makes all her jewlery from awesome finds off the beaches in Maine.  I love her work, and I know you will too.

-For handmade banners and party supplies, my favorite shop is Signed & Sealed. This super mom creates all her items by hand is takes custom orders too. Our banner was a hit at my guy's birthday party!

-For all natural bee products, handmade in my hometown of York, ME, check out The BeeCH Co. These moms specialize in natural beauty products and I have only heard raving reviews of them.

-For hands down the most incredible balsamic vinegars and olive oils, Saratoga Olive Oil is the place to go.

-For all your Mary Kay needs, hit up my gal Susan at her site http://www.marykay.com/sbaurle/


Have a small business or shop of your own? Please comment with a link!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Your Pins Tested! Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken

As promised, I am testing out pins and sharing them here.  There are so many, that choosing one really is a hard thing to do! This one, however, was an easy choice because it was quick to put together and I had all the ingredients on hand.  Oh, and in case you are wondering, it was so so so delicious and 3-year-old Atticus approved!

*feel free to send me pins you want me to test out!  You can also follow my pins with the link to the right




I don't know where this recipe originated from, but I found it from this pin. Of course, because it's something I always do, I changed a couple little things to make it suit my family, as you will see from the original recipe vs. mine.

What you'll need:
1 can pineapple chunks
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. soy sauce (I use a gluten free one, of course)
2 lbs chicken (I used three chicken breasts), cut into small pieces





Toss it all in the crockpot, on low, about 6-8 hours until the chicken comes apart easily with a fork. 

I wanted mine a little thicker, so about 20 minutes before I planned on eating, I added a little corn starch and stirred to thicken it up a bit.  It was so easy and so good!


Monday, November 18, 2013

DIY Laundry Detergent

One of the biggest grocery expenses for us is laundry detergent. I have sensitive skin and tend to be a allergic to some brands, so many of my detergent purchases have been a waste of money when I realize I can't use them.  So when my sister from The Mommy Stories did a series on money saving DIY things, I was intrigued by this laundry detergent.  Because of my skin, I tested her's out before making a batch of my own, and I loved it!  My clothes smelled yummy, were clean, soft and the best part of all: a batch costs an estimated $2!

What you will need:

The initial cost is about $10, but you only use a little bit of the washing soda and Borax, so they last awhile.  The washing soda was a little hard to find, but I did end up finding it at Hannaford, and I have heard that Wal-Mart and Target usually carry it too.

1 1/2 bars of Yardley soap (also found at Target or Wal-Mart)
3/4 C Borax
3/4 C Washing soda
2 gallons of water



 


The first step is the most annoying to do.  With a cheese grater, grate a bar and a half of Yardley soap.  Heat 6 C of water in a large pan--like the kind you would cook a lobster in.  When heated, add the soap and let it dissolve, stirring it to blend.  Next, add the soda and Borax and mix until dissolved.  Add 1 gallon of water, and then 6 C of water.  Let it sit, stirring often until most of the clumps are gone.  The more you can smooth it out here, the smoother it will be when done.  Once it looks basically melted together (there will be some clumps), turn the heat off and leave it alone for 24 hours.  At that point, you can give it a good stir and bottle it.  One batch filled both of these detergent bottles!

Be sure to shake it well before using and it takes about 1/4 C or half of the laundry detergent cup per load.





Sunday, November 17, 2013

Your Pins Tested! Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

I have been seeing many dreamy Pins on Pinterest lately, but end up (like I'm sure many of you do) just pinning them and never going back to try them. So, I have begun a mission of testing out your pins and boy and I am excited!

The first one I wanted to give a go at was this Cream Cheese Crock Pot Chicken, linked to the awesome blog The Larson Lingo.  This recipe had everything my house loves: its quick to prepare and easy, slightly resembles tacos, so I can tell my three year old he is eating his favorite meal-sorta-and I had most of the ingredients handy.  Did I mention how easy it was?

I followed the recipe found over at The Larson Lingo, but changed a few things to cater to my taste buds and what I had on hand.  The first thing I changed was the chicken I used.  I buy large packs of chicken breasts and divide it up in freezer bags with different marinades so I always have yummy chicken ready to toss in the crock-pot. For this recipe, I grabbed the one frozen marinaded in Caesar dressing. This was an excellent choice, because it gave the meal just the right amount of zing! 

You'll need:
2-3 chicken breasts (I used frozen)
1 package of cream cheese (I used a Greek yogurt kind and it was great)
1 can black beans
1 jar salsa (I used peach salsa)
1 package frozen corn (I also threw in some peas because I had some leftover in the fridge)

I put the crock-pot on high and threw it all in.  I left it alone for a few hours, stirred, and once the chicken started to shred, I knew it was close. Total, I'd say it took about 5 hours on high.  About 25 minutes before we ready to eat, I took the lid off so it would thicken a bit and then served it over jasmine rice, topped with cheese and sour cream.  It was so delicious! I am definitely making this one again.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie Stew

One of our favorite meals is chicken pot pie.  As a gluten free-er, you probably understand how annoying and time consuming it is to make a pie crust for it, so I cheat when my house craving this comfort food.  One way is to use gluten free Bisquick on top as biscuits, and another is to make the stew inside and top it with cheese.  Either way, boy is it delicious.  Here's what I do for the stew.


What you'll need:
2 cooked chicken breasts-diced, shredded, however you like it
1 diced onion
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dill
sprinkle of thyme
salt and pepper to tastse
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
32 oz gluten free chicken broth
1 small package of celery, chopped, with leaves too
about 5 carrots, chopped
1/2 a package-a whole package of frozen corn (depending on much you love it!)
1-2 diced potoates
1 bag of boil in bag white or jasmine rice

What to do:
In a large pan, saute the onion, basil, garlic, dill, thyme, salt and pepper with the butter and olive oil.  Let this cook for a few minutes, but be careful not to burn the onion or the whole soup will have the burnt taste.  add the celery, carrots and potatoes and cook for another couple of minutes. 


Add the half & half and chicken broth and slowly bring to a light boil.  Add the cooked chicken.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let cook for a couple hours.  Basically, its done when the veggies feel done, but I find letting it simmer a little longer than needed gives it that extra yummy taste.  About 25 minutes before you are ready to turn it off, throw in the boil in bag rice (without bag, just toss it in).  Let it cook and soak up some of the soup.  If you like your stew a little thicker, you can add a little corn starch. 


I was too lazy this batch to make the pot pie part, so I topped it with some cheese, let it melt a little and enjoyed! My three year old also loves this.  Have leftovers? Throw it in a freezer zip lock and put it in the freezer for later!

*For this particular batch, I had a bunch of stuff in my fridge I wanted to use up, so I improvised some and used what I had.  The chicken was leftover honey mustard chicken, and the veggies were from a previous night's dinner. Use what have to waste less and save money.