Monday, August 5, 2013

Web Wins

I used to feel guilty about spending so much time on Pinterest. I probably should still feel a little guilty about spending so much time on Pinterest -- you ultimately end up spending hours finding things that you likely will not look at ever again, much less attempt to cook, build, or style in real life. BUT! Sometimes there are gems on there that are well worth the discovery that you say to yourself, if I hadn't lied on the couch all morning in my U of M sweatpant capris on my laptop, I would've missed on on this.

My primary obsession with DIY's and making things from scratch is not really to be all-natural or anything like that. Although I do greatly appreciate knowing what ingredients are in something I'm eating, if you leave a plate of the chemical storms of horror that I am sure Oreos are in front of me, I will eat them and not think twice. The driving goal behind my missions is to save money. Some things are such a ripoff that it drives me absolutely crazy. We get the bill at a restaurant like Longhorn and I about faint, because that chicken and rice was not worth that much, let alone some beers.

I am all about saving money! Then I can buy more stuff for me that's fun! :) Right, Darin?!?!?


1. Peasant Bread

I am in disbelief at how beautifully this bread turned out. It was so mega easy that I can actually see myself making it on a semi-regular basis for our ordinary bread usage -- sandwiches, toast, anything. You don't have to knead it, and and if you stick the dough in a Pyrex bowl, it can rise and bake in it without any fuss. It was way tastier than I had imagined. Try slicing it up and serving with this outrageously delicious and simple feta dip. These two recipes comprised my dinner last Sunday all by themselves. If you are not culinarily blessed -- try this bread! It's almost foolproof!

A nice buttery, crispy crust!

2. Homemade Laundry Detergent

Way back in the winter time, I made my own powder laundry detergent. And it sucked. I probably should have put all of it in a food processor or blender to make the particles smaller, but I was afraid of my smoothies tasting like baking soda for the rest of my life and left the mix as it was. Chunks of soap would keep not dissolving in the wash (especially since I like a cooler wash to save energy) and would subsequently melt in the dryer and just be a big fat mess. Lame. Luckily, I found this alternative recipe for homemade liquid laundry detergent!

The best choice was buying Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap. I hadn't heard of it until I read this method of making detergent -- it's a really neat company that is fair trade and has all-natural ingredients. And this huge bottle was under $15.00. The amount of soap I used for my huge batch of detergent was like, two tablespoons. I found it at Meijer, so I guess it's pretty mainstream now and at most regular stores.

(Pic from Amazon where you can buy it as well)

I poured my detergent mix in a huge Tupperware bin and just give it a good shake before scooping a cupful into the washing machine, and there you have it! Saving mega dollars and no dyes or irritating stuff, in case you have people with sensitive skin in your life. I feel like a pioneer when I use it and that works for me.

Now there is no way to make alfredo sauce with healthier ingredients that won't sacrifice taste a bit. Accepting that fact, I gave the above recipe a try and was really, really pleasantly surprised at how good it was. If you are okay with the mild taste of cauliflower, this sauce is really good! I found myself tasting it over and over when it was heating up just because I straight up liked it. 

I melted a good bit of parmesan cheese into it and mixed it up with some tricolor pasta and grilled chicken and Darin ate it, so that's a healthy meal success in my book! But this sauce's tour de force for me is as the sauce on a healthy pizza. OH MY GOSH! I had it for dinner tonight and it was every bit as satisfying as a real white sauce pizza. I toasted a healthy flatbread (this kind from Aldi, which is really really tasty) and put my cauliflower sauce on, and some chicken and a half cup of mozzarella cheese, and had an awesome under-400-calories dinner that I couldn't even finish.

Melty goodness with pesto chicken on top. 

Yes, please. Where was this tutorial in February where our bathroom was so cold that I chose not to get razor burn from all my goosebumps and just my leg forests thrive? (Ew, sorry that I wrote that.) I only tried the first step, and rubbed my St. Ives Apricot Scrub on my legs and rinsed it off before shaving, and HOLY WOW did it make a difference. So soft and fancy. I am now on an exfoliation mission -- it probably solves many other skin woes. This was one of the few beauty/health tricks I've encountered that actually worked in a noticeable way, not just a placebo effect. I think? Maybe I'm losing it.

Nevertheless, give these four Pinterest discoveries a try. 

Now enjoy photos of what we have been up to lately. 

In my opinion, a sweet shot of the Ambassador Bridge as Darin and I locate a certain rum that my dad wanted that we could only find across the border.

Darin and I enjoyed a nice shower at DTE Energy Music Theater (or Pine Knob, if you prefer) to watch Dave Matthews Band.

Our view from our room at the wonderful Yorkburg Manor Bed & Breakfast. I seriously loved this place. 

Happy to have arrived after a painful, painful many miles over hot sand dunes.

Love the photobomb of my sandal in my hand.

Lake Michigan is very pretty... and very freezing.

Sleeping Bear Dunes is a neat place. I highly recommend not trekking across them to the beach -- next time I will be content to roll down them like the little kids do.

It was sweet to get some fresh air on our anniversary in Williamsburg & Traverse City. We had a great time!