Monday, April 30, 2012

Pesto & Feta Turkey Burgers - One of My Favorite Dinners

When my husband & I went to San Fransisco for our honeymoon, we ate twice at a burger place that had what was, in my opinion, the greatest idea ever.  They had a hamburger that had pesto as a topping.  I LOVE pesto!  The burger was amazing, which is kinda why we went back a couple of days later.

I love me a burger, but they aren't something that I feel like I can eat every week.  I try to diversify what we eat.  We have no-meat days, chicken days, beef, turkey, and once in a while pork or ham.  Anyway, when we returned, I decided I wanted to try adding pesto to my burgers, so that I could have that pesto-y meat-y deliciousness whenever I wanted.  Thus, my pesto feta turkey burger was born!

We use lean ground turkey.  The extra lean tends to not be a juicy for burgers, although it works fine in things like a spaghetti sauce.  Without further ado...

Pesto & Feta Turkey Burger
(makes one burger)

1/4 of the package of ground turkey,
1 Tablespoon of Buitoni pesto
A handful of feta cheese

Mix these three things together & form into a patty while your skillet heats up over medium-high heat.

We don't have an outdoor grill, so we use a skillet to cook our burgers in.  You'll want to spray your skillet with some olive oil or Pam, or whatever you like to use, before putting in your burgers so that they don't stick & burn to the pan.

I cook my burgers at a med-high heat level for about 8 to 9 minutes each side.  You'll see here my turkey burger with the mix-ins on the left & my husband's burger without on the right.  The just-turkey burgers hold together a little bit better & don't brown quite as much.  I love a little bit of crispiness on the outside of my burger, while the inside stays cooked, but juicy!  If you want to avoid this though you can cook it for longer on a lower setting.

Once it's done, I like to add some tomato to my burger, put it on a bun & it's good to go.  You can add whatever toppings you like, but this is my favorite combo.  We like to have these with sweet potato fries!

I have tried this with ground beef instead of ground turkey, and it is good as well, but I seriously like the ground turkey burger better.  I'm not really sure why, but I feel like the flavors of the pesto & feta are more noticeable in the turkey burger than they are when beef is used.

Do you like turkey burgers?  Have you tried them before?  If you're skeptical, let me tell you that I told my dad about these burgers, and even though he is totally a beef kind of guy, he loves them, and they now have them quite often at my parent's home as well.  So really, give it a shot if you haven't before!

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Friday, April 27, 2012

We Reached 200 Followers & "What I Know" Guest Post

Oh my gosh!  Did you see?  My little blog reached 200 followers on Google Friend Connect on Wednesday.  That's crazy!  I'm so happy!  Every time I log in & see that little number has increased by even ONE number I get that bubbly happy feeling inside.  So THANK YOU to my beautiful followers.  It means so much to me that you are here :)

Today I'm guest posting over at Southern Lovely.  Lindsay has a series there that she runs most weeks on Fridays called the What I Know series.  Bloggers do guest posts to teach others something about a topic they know a lot about.  It's a really fun series & you should check it out if you haven't before. 

 Anyway, today I am her guest poster!  Hooray!  I had a hard time thinking of something to write about, but I ended up going with a topic I actually know quite a bit about... being the wife of a doctor.  I talk about the years of school & training that it takes to be a doctor & some of the challenges of the lifestyle.  I hope that you'll go over there & check it out... and if you hopped over here from there, welcome!  We hope you'll stay a while! :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Basement Laundry Room - Complete Build

A few months ago, my parents decided to update their laundry area.  My parents live in the same house I grew up in, and their laundry has always been in the basement.  I'm about to show you why my dad is a flippin' expert on all things building & home DIY related.  At least I think so.  He's talented in fixing things & building things for the home on a budget.  When I was young, he built our swing set (made of wood, by scratch, his own design) our shed, our back deck, the extension to the back deck, the dog house, the wooden path to our front porch... the list goes on & on.

They also are constantly renovating & making updates & changes to their home.  So as I said, their laundry is in the basement.  At this time it looks like this.

Just a couple of months ago, it looked like this.

WOAH!  I know right?  Oh that dresser in the front that you see the back of here, that's the dresser they gave me for our tv stand project.  Here it is from that same angle.

The shelves on the left there my dad built for storage when I was younger.  The cabinets above the machines were actually my idea.  My dad had been putting this project off because he wasn't sure what to do with that back wall.  He wanted to be able to have access to all of that stuff, the pipes & things, behind the washer & drier.  I thought he could put open cabinets up there, each with a shelf or two, which would give Mom storage for her laundry things, as well as cover the ugly, while still providing access to those things.  I dreamed, he executed!

He also put in a drop ceiling.  I went to Home Depot with him when he got the materials.  It takes a lot of math to figure out all the materials needed for a drop ceiling.  We argued over the math for a while, but we figured it out eventually.  He also put in the recessed lighting, for which there is a new light switch right outside the door to the room.

It also has a raised floor.  Thus, it's not as cold & hard to stand on as the cement basement floor, and also it is a protection in case the washing machine floods or leaks at all at some point.  They also put a little counter top in the corner for folding & sorting.  We don't really iron in our family, but Mom got a new little tiny ironing board as well... see it there on the ground unopened :-)

This is a better picture of the storage shelves that my dad build a long time ago.  They were just brown ugly shelves before, but they decided to but doors on the top shelves to hide away some things, while leaving the bottom shelves open.  Mom laid down some new liners on the shelves, and they painted the whole thing as well.  It's so pretty now!

So that's an introduction to my parent's awesomeness.  They did this project very inexpensively, considering all that had to be done, electric work, building walls, putting up drywall, lighting, ceiling, cabinets, painting, counter, floor... it was also done very quickly.  Within a month of time.

Apparently we need to hurry up & buy a house so that my dad can help me fix it up before they move away some day.  He always reminds me of this haha!

So what do you think?  Didn't they do a great job?  I know, I have rockstar parents :-)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Simple Bedskirt - Beautified!

As you may have figured out, I've been slowly but surely updating our bedroom.  Our bedroom wasn't really decorated at all for the past 4 years, but now the focus is on it.  Thus far, I've painted my dresser, painted the walls, added some art to the walls in the form of painted ceiling tins, and painted my bedside table, as well as my husband's.  We also just got our duvet cover as a wedding gift, so that's new too, although I don't have any pictures of what it looked like before.

Next up on the list was a bedskirt.  I don't think I've ever had a bedskirt.  Our bed just sits on a simple metal bed frame, so we really have needed one to cover the frame & the box spring we use.  I had a gift card to Amazon, so I spent about $18 of it on a super simple tan Queen sized bed skirt.

Our bedding is brown, so I thought it was probably best to go with the simple tan so as to not clash.  However, I really want to bring more color into the room.  It feels very beige currently.  So, I decided to add a bit of trim to the bottom of the skirt to update it & make it a little prettier while adding a bit of color.

I bought about 7 yards of a ribbon trim & had it cut at JoAnn Fabrics.  I was looking for a light blue-grey ribbon & found this one that I like with some velvety ribbon.  I used hot glue to attach the ribbon to the edge of the bedskirt.  I used the seam as a guide, placing the bottom edge of the ribbon right at the seam line.

I feel like it adds a little big of color to the bed, without clashing with the rest of the bedding.

I had originally wanted to do a blue bedskirt, but I'm glad I didn't, as I think it wouldn't have looked right.  I do want to add a light blue throw to the end of the bed to add another bit of the color there.

Sorry it's kinda hard to take in the whole room with these pictures, the room is very small & I took these "whole room" pictures by standing with my tripod in the hallway to try to get the most room in the pics.

Have you updated your bed lately?  I still need some new bedside lamps, some more art for the blank walls, a headboard, a throw, some kind of window treatments.  Oie, so much to do!  Good thing it's fun!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

A Pretty Way to Organize Embroidery Thread

Some time ago, I came across an image from this post on Pinterest & thought it was a wonderful idea for organizing embroidery thread.  I didn't have any thread at the time that needed organizing, but as of yesterday, I did.  I completed my Christmas stocking last night!  Remember, the one that I was working on for myself?  I had cross-stitched my husband's stocking a couple of years ago & was working hard on my own.  I didn't get it done in time for last Christmas, but now it's done, and I will be using it this coming year.  It was somewhat weird working on a Christmas stocking while the flowers were starting to bloom outside, but now it's done & I can move on to other embroidery projects!

Anyway, once I was done, I still had leftover embroidery thread from the kit that I didn't want to just throw away.  I wanted to hang on to that leftover thread & use it in some other upcoming projects I have planned.  But the little piece of cardboard that organized the thread when I got it out of the kit wasn't going to cut it anymore.  So, I took a hint from the photo I saw, and used dollar store clothes pins to organize my threads.

Ahh I love it!  They look so cute!  I just wrapped my leftover thread around the clothes pins & stuck them into little mason jars leftover from our wedding.  I love finding ways to use these, and I think they are a great way to hold these little clips of color.  The pins fit in the jars perfectly!

I was planning on just sticking these on my box shelves for storing, but they look so pretty sitting out!  So I couldn't do it.  They are now sitting pretty in a little row on my desk.  I love the color they bring to my little work space & they are completely functional as well!

See, how could I put these pretty little guys away?

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Treasure Hunting Thursday - Coffee Table Carts

A few weeks ago, I saw this cart sitting outside the Treasure Mart.

It's pretty cool isn't it?  It was either brand new, or already sold when I got there, because it didn't have a tag on it.  So I don't know how much it cost.

But when I first saw it, my first thought was, "this could make an amazing coffee table!"  If I hadn't just built us a brand new coffee table, I would have been running inside to see how much it was going for if it wasn't yet sold.  Wouldn't that be cool?  Add some rustic wood to the top & voila!  Instant awesome table!

I did some searching around to find some other cart tables around the blog world & internets.  These are all so awesome...

Ana White
With Love
Young House Love
Pieced Pastimes
Fancy Pants Weddings
Better Homes & Gardens
What do you think of this trend?  Now that I think of it, I could have made that cart into an outdoor table for our back patio.  Darn.  I think they are pretty cool though.  Do you think they'll stay in style or will they be a passing trend?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Favorite Kitchen Gadget! Corian Cutting Boards

Kate at Centsational Girl is having a link up today for favorite kitchen gadgets & I thought I'd throw my favorite into the proverbial pot.  My favorite kitchen gadget is a solid surface cutting board I got from an art fair a few years ago.  It appears that they are made of Corian material.

Actually, I have two.  I got one about 3 years ago at an art fair in Milford, MI.  Then 2 years ago I got another one at the art fair in Plymouth, MI.  I loved my first one so much I had to get another one.  I recommend these cutting boards to everyone!  They are great because they don't get cut into like plastic or wooden ones can, and they are completely non-porous, so you never have to wonder what kind of bacteria is growing in them.  Plus, they are machine washable, stain resistant, & heat resistant.

I looked on Etsy to try to see if the guy who makes these sells there, and I didn't find him.  There are some other Corian boards there, but none of them are this shape with the hole there on the side which makes it really easy to handle.  I did a Google search too & couldn't find a web site at all.  I do see him at all kinds of art fairs around Michigan though.  If I go to one, I can usually count on him being there.

If you ever see a Corian board at an art fair, seriously BUY IT!  They are amazing & will last a lifetime.  They would make great gifts too!  Or go up to the Etsy link & buy one from there.  I will never use another cutting board after discovering these.

I will be linking this post up to Centsational Girl's Kitchen Gadgets link party.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Race Season Has Begun! My Crazy Weekend & Announcements

One year ago, I decided to get a part time job to fill some of my time during the weekends when my husband was at the hospital working.  I figured I had the time, so since I found something I love to do, it was a good idea to take on this job to earn a little extra money.  That job, is timing races.  I'm on a small team of people who all work together to go to various races in the area to time them.  We time 5Ks, 10Ks, Marathons, Halfs, Triathalons, and other less common race distances too.  It's a crazy job that can be pretty stressful at times, but I love it!

Over the winter we didn't work too much.  But now race season is in full swing!  If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen that I worked two BIG races over this past weekend.  One was a marathon, half, 5K & 10K on Saturday, and on Sunday was a large 5K 10K.  I'm pretty exhausted.  I had to be at the Saturday race at 5:30am, and the Sunday one at 6am.  I'm typing this Monday morning, and once I'm done I'll be getting ready for my regular job.

It's a lot of work, but I really do love working at these races.  I love the shorter races especially because I love seeing those first-time racers finishing their race & being so happy.  I can feel my insides swell with happiness for them!  Marathons can give me this feeling too.  It's not uncommon to see people cry when they finish their first marathon.  Marathons can be very emotional & trying.  It makes my heart swell to see them :)

There are a lot of steps to take when getting prepared for a race.  One of them is getting the bibs ready.  I had multiple bins of bibs at my house last week for labeling.  After I got home from work every night last week I'd set up our dining table to label bibs.  It's tedious, but easy work that I can do while watching tv.

Thus-far, all of the income I have received for the past year from this part time job has gone directly to paying off my student loan.  But, by the end of this month or early next month, my entire student loan will be paid off!!!  I'm super excited about it.  It was so worth it to take on this job.

I have a plan for the extra income once the loan is paid.  I really want to open an etsy shop creating some things involving something I love to do, but haven't talked too much about here on the blog because I typically take on large, long-term projects with it.  But this would be on a smaller scale.  Anyway, I thought of this idea & thought it was pretty genius.  It turns out there are some people already making similar products on etsy, but not exactly like I would make, so I still think it's a good idea.  I'm so excited to get started.  I'm working on some of the paperwork stuff I need to do for it this month, and will be starting to make product & get ready for opening next month!  Keep a look out for my opening... I'll have some giveaways & fun to go along with the announcement!

If you have any advice for me about opening a shop, feel free to contact me by email, twitter, facebook, or leave a comment below!

I also have an announcement that I've started sponsoring Emily at 52 Mantels.  I love her blog & thought it'd be a good place to debut my new button!  Did you see it over there on my sidebar?  I also created a new blog header & facebook page header.  I love them!  I really wanted them to be colorful & represent my blog & things I plan to do with the shop.  I think they are very pretty :)  My button should be up shortly on Emily's page, so go over & say hi to Emily at 52 Mantels!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Treasure Hunting Thursdays - Tobacco Baskets

Have you seen the pretty pictures of old tobacco baskets on various blogs?  Do you know what they are?  They are very beautiful, but this is the only one I've ever seen, and it was pretty expensive - for me, it was about $100.  Yikes!  I found this one at the antique mall in Traverse City.  Note the lovely shag carpet going up the step there on the left.  Haha, makes me giggle.

This one isn't very large, but it is in really good shape.  I found pictures of both pretty perfect ones and ones that are practically falling apart and they can all be used beautifully in your home decor.  Let's look at some examples.

Miss Mustard Seed
Caught in Grace
I love this one above.  A fun way to use the tobacco basket by putting things in front of it on the wall.  This could be done seasonally with wreaths too!

Living Rich on Less
Southern Living
They are beautiful on mantels.

My New Wife Life

Tracery Interiors
Shopping Candy for My First Home
What do you think of these tobacco baskets?  Do you have one in your home?  Wouldn't they be fun to decorate?  I think so :)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Painted Birdhouse Centerpiece

When I saw these little wooden birdhouses at JoAnn's a couple of weeks ago for only $1, I couldn't resist getting one.  What a fun little painting project!  I got a birdhouse, and a set of tiny paint pots.  I hadn't seen these before either, but I'm sure they've probably been around forever.  They are sets of paint with colors that all kind of "go" together.  So since I wanted to paint my birdhouse with multiple colors & didn't want to buy a whole bunch of full single colors of paint, these little pots were perfect.  They were $1 too.  So this was a $2 project.  Yea!

My birdhouse is very little.  Not at all big enough for a real bird to use outside.  So I decided to use it as a centerpiece for our table.  I ended up putting the birdhouse in a nest.  Pun intended.

I set the birdhouse in a bowl, on a little block to lift it up a bit.  Because I was going to fill the bowl with the nest!

See.  I used regular old shredded paper to fill my bowl up around the birdhouse.

And that's our little $2 spring centerpiece.  I've said before that I don't really have much of a "stash" of things in our house to do the seasonal shopping of the house for decor that some other bloggers seem to be able to easily do.  So finding inexpensive decor is important for me.  I had a ton of fun painting this one.  It felt like a craft project I would have done when I was younger.  Something I don't do very often, which makes it interesting.  My little house obviously didn't turn out perfectly, but I love it still & I think it's adorable.

Have you hand painted anything lately?

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