Homemaker's Habitat http://www.homemakershabitat.com Homemade Food & Fun for Families Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:19:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 https://i0.wp.com/www.homemakershabitat.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/hh_small_icon.png?fit=32%2C32 Homemaker's Habitat http://www.homemakershabitat.com 32 32 124012918 The Perfect Mother’s Day Giveaway and Gift Guide http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/23/perfect-mothers-day-giveaway-gift-guide/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/23/perfect-mothers-day-giveaway-gift-guide/#comments Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:58:49 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2513

Ask any mom what their perfect Mother’s Day would look like and you’re likely to get a surprisingly simple answer. Some moms might dream of brunch with the family. Others might just want to sleep in and read a book. My version of the Perfect Mother’s Day: put on my cutest comfy clothes, throw some snacks and...

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The Perfect Mother's Day Giveaway

Ask any mom what their perfect Mother’s Day would look like and you’re likely to get a surprisingly simple answer. Some moms might dream of brunch with the family. Others might just want to sleep in and read a book. My version of the Perfect Mother’s Day: put on my cutest comfy clothes, throw some snacks and a water bottle in my purse, gather up the kids and head to the park for a beautiful afternoon with my family. Then come home to a clean house and a delicious home-cooked meal. To help make this fantasy a reality for everyone,  I’ve pulled together The Perfect Mother’s Day Giveaway and Gift Guide!

My gift guide features a few of my all-time favorite gifts. Things that make me feel great, make life easier and more enjoyable every day. Even better, one of you is going to WIN THEM ALL. Now through Mother’s Day, enter your information in the form below for your chance to win this amazing prize package valued at over $900. Read on to see my list of sure-fire mother-approved gift ideas plus your chance to win them all.

The Perfect Mother’s Day Giveaway and Gift Guide

LuLaRoe Leggings

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about these legendary “buttery soft” leggings. I was skeptical until I bought a pair and tried them on. Believe the hype. They are super, incredibly comfortable. Perfect attire for a busy mom because they offer unparalleled comfort and unique style that works whether you’re chasing kids at the park, lounging around after a long day or paired with a cute tunic for the office or ladies night out. They even come in matching sets for mom and child. Lilly and I have several matched pairs and we love dressing as “twinsies.” The only trick with LuLaRoe is that they aren’t available through traditional stores and can be tricky to find online. Lucky for me, my best friend in the whole world recently became a LuLaRoe Consultant and I’m thrilled to share her with you. Whether you’re completely new to LuLaRoe, someone searching for an awesome mom-approved gift, or seasoned LLR addict in search of your “unicorn,” join my friend Sarah’s LuLaRoe Page on Facebook and she’ll be happy to help. For our giveaway, Sarah is generously offering one lucky winner two pairs of those famous leggings, a matching set for mommy and child.

Casa Verde Dyed Shibori Tote with Tassles

Every great mom has a great bag on her shoulder. How else could we magically produce tissues, toys, bandages, snacks,  and water cups at a moment’s notice out of what seems like thin air? I am absolutely in love with this gorgeous Shibori-Dyed Tote Bag from Casa Verde. Generously sized to hold everything a mom needs for a day at the park and featuring an electric blue dye pattern and adorable tassels, this bag is the perfect summer tote. Even better, this bag is was handmade by global artisans and ethically sourced. Casa Verde is a globally-sourced online boutique committed to earth-friendly practices and ethical working conditions. Its also the passion-project of my dear friend and neighbors Karli and Travis. Their shop is full of drool-worthy, on-trend jewelry and accessories, home decor and kitchen gear with lots of awesome, thoughtful gifts for mom. For our giveaway, Casa Verde is providing our winner with this gorgeous Shibori Tote. Even if you don’t win the giveaway, you can still win — this tote is currently on sale  at a great price thats too good to last.

Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle

One of the first things a mom throws in her tote bag is a great water bottle, and this one from Hydaway is awesome! I saw these bottles when I was at the International Housewares Show last month and I fell in love with the sleek design. One of my pet peeves about most bottles is that they are huge. Even when empty, they take up a ton of real estate in my (already loaded) bag.  This one solves that problem because it collapses flat when its empty. Its the perfect bottle to keep in your bag at all times for quick refills on the run. Plus its BPA-free and dishwasher safe, making it a great option to share with thirsty kiddos. For our giveaway, Hydaway will offering our winner one 21-ounce bottle in the color of your choice.

bObsweep bObi Classic Robotic Vacuum Cleaner and Mop

Less time spent vacuuming? Now thats a gift! You guys, I was so, so excited with the good folks at bObsweep offered up their bObi Classic Robotic Vacuum and Mop for this giveaway! I received a robotic vacuum a few years ago and it is easily one of the best gifts I ever got. In a house with kids and pets, the floors are constantly sprinkled with crumbs, pet hair and dirt. Although daily vacuuming is basically a necessity, its a chore that caused me constant anxiety and meant less time with my kiddos. Having a robotic vacuum that can tackle the task for you is like a weight lifted off your shoulders. One lucky winner will get to experience just that because bObsweep will be sending you their bObi Classic Vacuum Cleaner and Mop. Talk about a Mother’s Day dream come true!

Fagor America Lux Electric Multicooker

This is, hands down, my favorite kitchen appliance (and that’s saying a lot!). I’ve had my Fagor Multicooker for a couple of years now and it has completely changed the way I cook weeknight meals. It combines the functions of a slow cooker and a pressure cooker plus it offers a browning feature and a delayed timer setting, plus much more. I cook everything from rice to stews, roasts to slow cooked oatmeal in my Fagor Multicooker. Its so versatile and easy to use, it truly makes for one-pot cooking that any busy mom will absolutely love. Bit don’t just take my word for it. The good folks from Fagor America are providing our winner with their brand-new, Fagor Lux Multicooker, which Good Housekeeping just named “Best Multicooker,” so you know its awesome.

So there you have it! Everything mom needs to look good, feel good and work less on The Perfect Mother’s Day! Which gift would you love most? Which one would your mom love?

While you’re thinking it over, go ahead and enter the sweepstakes below and to win them all. After you enter, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom and SHARE the contest with friends for an extra chance to win!

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15-Minute 15-Bean and Ham Soup in the Multi Cooker http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/20/15-minute-15-bean-and-ham-soup-in-the-multi-cooker/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/20/15-minute-15-bean-and-ham-soup-in-the-multi-cooker/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 19:18:40 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2500

Is your family still working your way through a mountain of Easter ham? This week we’ve had ham breakfast biscuits, ham and Swiss paninis, ham, potato and pea frittata. After a few days though, its time to get serious and enlist the mother of all leftover ham recipes: ham and bean soup. Since time got away...

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15 Minute 15 Bean SoupIs your family still working your way through a mountain of Easter ham? This week we’ve had ham breakfast biscuits, ham and Swiss paninis, ham, potato and pea frittata. After a few days though, its time to get serious and enlist the mother of all leftover ham recipes: ham and bean soup. Since time got away from me yesterday, I prepared it in my multi cooker. I give you 15-Minute 15-Bean and Ham Soup.

15 Minute 15 Bean and Ham SoupThis yummy, hearty, creamy soup is the perfect thing to eat on a rainy day with a loaf of crusty bread or some homemade corn muffins. Even better, its super affordable to prepare using leftover ham and a 1 pound bag of dried 15 bean mix.

If you manage to plan ahead, soak the beans in water in the morning before you leave the house. At dinner time, simply sauté some onions, carrots and celery in the multi cooker, then add in the soaked beans, leftover ham and ham bone, broth and water and set the multi cooker to high pressure for 15 minutes. Once the pressure is released, use the back of your spoon to smash a few of the beans to create a creamy texture, season and serve. So easy!

15 Minute 15 Bean and Ham SoupWhat if you forgot to soak your beans? No problem — just put the dried beans and water into the multi cooker for 30 minutes. When the timer beeps, release pressure, rinse the beans and start the soup. You’ll still have dinner on the table in under an hour.

What if you don’t have a multi cooker and want to make this in your slow cooker? Thats fine too. Soak the beans overnight, start the soup in the morning and set the slow cooker for 8 hours. No matter how you do it, this recipe is super forgiving and delicious.

Going back to that part about not having a multi cooker (sometimes called an “Instant Pot,” although thats just one brand name) — what are you waiting for? These things are awesome! If you’re not familiar, a multi cooker is a handy little appliance that combines the functions of a slow cooker with the speed of a slow cooker, plus it has a brown/sauté setting and a delayed start timer, making it the most versatile tool ever. I used mine al the time! If you’re interested in getting one, be sure to check back here next week because I’ll be announcing a really cool giveaway I’ve put together for Mother’s Day and my favorite multi cooker is one of the prizes!

The Perfect Mother's Day Giveaway

 

The contest will be live starting on Sunday so be sure to check back for details. Its really an amazing prize package…I kind of can’t believe I was able to put it together.

Meanwhile, back to the 15-Minute 15-Bean and Ham Soup recipe. That leftover ham’s days are numbered!

15 Minute 15 Bean and Ham Soup

15-Minute 15-Bean and Ham Soup
Makes about 8 one-cup servings

Ingredients:

1 pound bag of dried 15-bean mix
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalks, diced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 pound of cooked, diced ham plus the ham bone( if available)
4 cups unsalted chicken broth or stock
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Soaking Dried Beans

  1. Pick through beans and discard any debris. Rinse beans and combine 6 cups of water. Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight – OR – place in a multi cooker and close the lid. Lock the lid, move valve to sealing and cook on Manual for 30 minutes.
  2. When the bean soak cycle is done, and you hear the beep sound, click the Cancel/Keep Warm button. Let NPR for 10 minutes, and then QR until all the pressure is out.
  3. Open lid, transfer beans to a colander and rinse under fresh water.

Instant Pot Soup Instructions

  1.  Press the “saute/brown” button on the multi cooker, and add the oil, onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the pot. Cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. (This is an optional step.).
  2. Add the ham and ham bone, soaked beans back into the pot along with the broth, water and bay leaf and close the lid. Lock the lid, move valve to sealing and cook on Manual for 15 minutes.
  3. When the soup is done, and you hear the beep sound, click the Cancel/Keep Warm button. Let NPR for 10 minutes, and then QR until all the pressure is out.
  4. Open lid. Discard bay leaf and ham bone. Use the back of a wooden spoon to smash some of the beans on the bottom and sides of the pot to create a creamier consistency. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

Slow Cooker Instructions

  1. Soak beans overnight following the instructions above. Rinse beans and add with remaining ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours (or on high for 4 hours).
  2. Open lid. Discard bay leaf and ham bone. Use the back of a wooden spoon to smash some of the beans on the bottom and sides of the pot to create a creamier consistency. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase something through these links, I will receive a small percentage of the profits at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting Homemaker’s Habitat!

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Jon’s Killer Cilantro Lime Margarita Recipe http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/19/kershabitat-com200906jit-arita-killer-margarita-html/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/19/kershabitat-com200906jit-arita-killer-margarita-html/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 17:46:00 +0000 https://homemakershabitatcom.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/kershabitat-com200906jit-arita-killer-margarita-html

My husband is a multi-talented man. He’s an artist, a photographer, and a golfer; he knows virtualy every country song ever recorded, has an incredible talent for cheering people up, looks great in a white t-shirt and makes a Killer Cilantro Lime Margarita. Jon doesn’t use margarita mix because he likes to keep it real....

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A Killer Margarita Recipe

My husband is a multi-talented man. He’s an artist, a photographer, and a golfer; he knows virtualy every country song ever recorded, has an incredible talent for cheering people up, looks great in a white t-shirt and makes a Killer Cilantro Lime Margarita.

Jon doesn’t use margarita mix because he likes to keep it real. You can’t have one frozen because real men don’t “do” frozen. And you’ll have to wait your turn because he makes them one at a time…shaken; not stirred (sound familiar?). The result: a drink thats refreshing, smooth, tart and slightly sweet all at once. Just like Jon.

Over the years, his recipe has evolved…fresh cilantro was a recent addition and it pairs perfectly with guacamole. But a few things have always remained the same, and also completely delicious.

So, without further ado, I give you the Killer Cilantro Lime Margarita with instructions written by Jon himself:

A Killer Margarita Recipe

Killer Cilantro Lime Margarita: “It’s pretty simple, but really killer”
Makes 1 margarita

Ingredients
1.25 shot of tequila
.5 shot of countreau
1 shot of triple sec
1.25 shot of freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of about 2 limes)
3 tablespoon of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Kosher salt or sugar for glass rim (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped cilantro 

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake it the hell up.
  3. Run a fresh lime around the rim your glass and dip it in salt or sugar.  Garnish it with a lime slice and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

P. S. in case you’re wondering, he does mean POWDERED sugar, and its the key ingredient. It dissolves into the drink much more smoothly than regular granulated sugar (believe me, we’ve tried).

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Get Slurping: 10-Minute Ramen Noodles in Easy Miso Broth http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/13/get-slurping-10-minute-ramen-noodles-easy-miso-broth/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/13/get-slurping-10-minute-ramen-noodles-easy-miso-broth/#respond Fri, 14 Apr 2017 03:58:04 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2466

When I think back to how I experienced ramen noodles as a kid  compared to the way my children eat them, I get a good laugh. In days gone by, ramen was something cheap and easy that a babysitter might feed us when my parents were away (plastic pouch of brick noodles + water + “seasoning packet” =...

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Ramen Noodles in Easy Miso BrothWhen I think back to how I experienced ramen noodles as a kid  compared to the way my children eat them, I get a good laugh. In days gone by, ramen was something cheap and easy that a babysitter might feed us when my parents were away (plastic pouch of brick noodles + water + “seasoning packet” = dinner in 1988). I love that ramen has been elevated to such a wonderful place in the last few years and that my kids are experiencing something far more authentic, flavorful and healthy than I ever did. I also love that, despite the complex flavor profile, my recipe for Ramen Noodles in Easy Miso Broth is still incredibly simple and quick to prepare.

Ramen Noodles in Easy Miso Broth

A true Japanese Dashi broth can take some time to make. To cut down on prep time, I use a number of prepared items in my broth. Most are easy to find in a regular grocery store with a well-stocked Asian foods section but, depending on where you live, a few items may require online ordering. I start with store-bought chicken broth and then add a witches brew of various flavor enhancing ingredients to create a truly slurp-worthy broth. Luckily, the hardest part about all of this is shopping for the ingredients. Once you have them all on hand, this soup can be ready in just a few minutes time.

Ramen Noodles in Easy Miso Broth

Once the broth is made and the noodles are cooked, you can top them as you please. My kids love the combination of steamed edamame, shredded fresh carrots, sliced avocado, roasted seaweed snacks and toasted sesame seeds on top of their noodles. Jon and I will add sliced shiitake mushrooms, leftover from making the broth, along with wilted baby spinach and Sriracha. If we have leftover chicken or bbq pork in the house we’ll sliced that up and throw it on top. A soft boiled egg is a nice addition too. Everyone customizes their bowl as they please and then the slurping commences. So much slurping!

My kids insist on approaching their bowls with chopsticks as well as a spoon and they make quick work of devouring the noodles and veggies before slurping every last bit of broth. As I said, they love this soup. The only downside, I suppose, is that we’ve seriously raised the bar on their future college dorm food expectations.

Ramen Noodles with Easy Miso Broth

Ramen Noodles in Easy Miso Broth
Serves 4

Ingredients
Broth:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons Hikari Minute Miso
4 cups unsalted chicken broth
2 cups water
4 dried shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 packages/bricks dried ramen noodles (do not use seasoning packet if included)

Toppings:
shredded carrots, steamed edamame, steamed or sautéed baby spinach, sliced avocado, sliced cooked chicken or bbq pork, roasted seaweed snacks, toasted sesame seeds, Sriracha

Instructions

  1. Place olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 minute. Add Minute Miso and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Add chicken broth, water, soy sauce and dried shiitake mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes longer.
  2. Add ramen noodles, stirring to break them into individual strands, and cook for 3 minutes, until noodles are soft. Add toasted sesame oil. Taste broth and adjust seasoning as needed (add additional soy sauce if needed).
  3. Remove shitake mushrooms from pot. Slice into bite-size pieces and discard tough stems.
  4. Ladle noodles and broth into individual bowls and top with sliced mushrooms and other toppings as desired.

Pin It:

10 Minute Ramen Noodles in Easy Shitake Miso Broth

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Fast and Easy Ideas for an Awesome Race Car Birthday Party http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/11/fast-and-easy-ideas-for-an-awesome-race-car-birthday-party/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/11/fast-and-easy-ideas-for-an-awesome-race-car-birthday-party/#respond Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:23:43 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2390

Its no secret that Max loves cars. Especially Hot Wheels cars. At this point our home has been overrun with them. They are in his bed, the couch cushions, the floors, the stairs. Everywhere. When it came time to pick a theme for Max’s 3rd Birthday, there was only one option: Hot Wheels Cars! Over...

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Easy Ideas for an Awesome Race Car Birthday PartyIts no secret that Max loves cars. Especially Hot Wheels cars. At this point our home has been overrun with them. They are in his bed, the couch cushions, the floors, the stairs. Everywhere. When it came time to pick a theme for Max’s 3rd Birthday, there was only one option: Hot Wheels Cars! Over the years, I’ve learned that with my kids’ birthday parties, simpler is usually better. Even so, we like to do a few things to make the day special, and this year was no different. With the help of Pinterest and a little imagination, we had a wonderful, adorable, affordable celebration featuring these Easy Ideas for an Awesome Race Car Birthday Party.

Race Track Number 3 Cake
Easy Ideas for an Awesome Race Car Birthday PartyThe birthday cake is the centerpiece of a great birthday party and this one was no exception.  I made two basic 9×11 inch cakes, one layer of chocolate and a second layer of vanilla. I made my cakes from scratch using a couple of favorite recipes but box cake mix would work well for this too. Then I simply turned the cakes out onto a platter, iced them with our favorite vanilla buttercream and added an Oreo cookie “tire” border around the edges. To make the number “3” as neatly as possible, I printed a number 3 onto a piece of 8.5 x 11″ paper, cut it out and traced it onto a large sheet of nonstick parchment paper. Then I cut the inside part of the number 3 out and laid the parchment stencil over top of the cake. I filled it with an even layer of chocolate graham cracker crumbs to create the track and used store bought green decorators icing to add the “grass” border. Some Hot Wheels cars and a checkered flag banner completed the look. The cake was delicious and looked great at the center of our table. Max loved it!

Easy Fruit and Veggie Cars
Easy Ideas for an Awesome Race Car Birthday PartyYou guys, how cute are these??? I originally saw this idea on Pinterest, using apple segments for the body of the car with red grapes for wheels. I was concerned that apples would turn brown, so I switched to clementine segments and used green grapes since Max likes those better. I’d also picked up a bag of miniature pepper and it occurred to me they would make wonderful cars as well, so we sliced baby carrots for the wheels and away we went. Simply thread the fruit or veggies on a toothpick and break off the overhanging toothpick edge. They turned out so cute and the little “wheels” really turn so the kids had a great time with them on their plates.
Easy Ideas for an Awesome Race Car Birthday Party

Stoplight String Cheese and Pepper Sticks
Easy Ideas for an Awesome Racecar Birthday Party
Another adorable idea pilfered from Pinterest! Plain ole string cheese with little pieces of red, yellow and green peppers laid on top to look like a stop light. I used the small end of a Mellon baller to cut out the pepper pieces and just laid them on top of each cheese stick. The kids went nuts for these. Not sure how many actually at the peppers, but I think a few gave them a try.

We also offered hummus and pretzel “dipsticks” although I was too lazy to do cutesy food labels so I’m not sure how many people got that reference. However, I loved that we were able to offer so many healthy food choices, along with the standard cake/ice cream/pizza delivery trifecta.

Dollar Store Race Track Table Runner
Easy Ideas for an Awesome Race Car Birthday PartyOur party decorations turned out so cute. The best part — I only spent about $8 TOTAL on them! I started by downloading a party pack of free printable Hot Wheels decorations created by another blogger. The Hot Wheels bunting looked great over the entrance to our dining room (and it was free). Next I picked up a pack of Hot Wheels cake plates to carry the theme. Everything else came from The Dollar Tree. I was so pleased with the race track table runner! I started with a red plastic Dollar Tree tablecloth. On top, I added a black plastic tablecloth but I only unfolded this one the long way to create a “road” down the center of the table. Next I used some white washi tape to add the center lane and put a couple of cars and trucks on the table for effect. $3 and about 5 minutes and we were ready to party!

Wheely Easy Party Favors
Easy Ideas for an Awesome Race Car Birthday PartyDon’t you just love Pinterest? I originally saw these adorable free printables around Valentine’s Day and thought they were incredibly creative. The printable is laid out to be a treat bag topper that you staple to the top of a small cellophane bag. We were able to find Hot Wheels Cars on sale at Target. They are small and affordable and the kids were able to play with them during the party. They really were a perfect favor. I’d planned to take each car out of its packaging and drop them into a cellophane favor bag just like the one I’d seen on Pinterest, but I forgot to pick up treat bags. Instead, I left the cars in their packaging, cut out just the logo part of the free printable and glued it directly on top of the Hot Wheels logo. They turned out great and the kids really enjoyed them (although Max the Hot Wheels Hoarder had a hard time passing them out until we assured him he’d get to keep at least a half dozen….this kid has a really problem with the cars my friends!).

All in all, it was a great party. Fun to come plan, affordable and easy to execute and everyone had fun…especially our very special birthday boy!

And if you’re planning your own race car birthday party, be sure to follow me on Pinterest and check out my Race Car Birthday Board for more great ideas!

This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase something through these links, I will receive a small percentage of the profits at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting Homemaker’s Habitat!

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My Simple Tricks for Feeling Beautiful Inside and Out http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/10/simple-tricks-feeling-beautiful-inside/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/10/simple-tricks-feeling-beautiful-inside/#respond Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:57:12 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2411

Grey hair, don’t care? Yeah right! After my alopecia diagnosis, my doctor and I decided it would be best to avoid hair color for awhile, giving my hair a chance to grow back without any potential irritants. Its been about four months since I last colored my hair and, as the greys increase, some days...

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Tricks for Feeling BeautifulGrey hair, don’t care? Yeah right! After my alopecia diagnosis, my doctor and I decided it would be best to avoid hair color for awhile, giving my hair a chance to grow back without any potential irritants. Its been about four months since I last colored my hair and, as the greys increase, some days I look in the mirror and can’t believe what’s staring back. Between the salt and pepper hair, crow-footed eyes, pajama-heavy wardrobe and often grumpy attitude, sometimes its hard to find the real me. Now more than ever, taking care of myself makes such a difference in how I look and feel. None of this is rocket science, but I have found few simple tricks for feeling beautiful inside and out, and they’ve made all the difference. Here are my favorite tricks:

Give My Wardrobe Stitch Fix
My SimpTricks for Feeling Beautiful I’ve found that one of the best ways to balance the insecurities about my hair it to wear clothes that make me feel great. But since I’m not much of a shopper, Stitch Fix has become my go-to source for confidence-building clothes. Even before my hair loss, Stitch Fix has been one of my favorite ways to shop. They do a great job of choosing unique, affordable pieces that are just my style. Almost every item in my wardrobe that earns a compliment is from Stitch Fix. At least once a season, and especially if I’m getting ready for an event, I schedule a fix and there’s always at least a one or two items in the box that I love. I also love giving their gift cards to friends and family — who doesn’t love getting a big box of clothes in the mail? I’m enough of a fan that I recently joined their affiliate program, so I may share deals from them on occasion.

Roll Out My Yoga Mat

Even with my hair growing back pretty nicely at this point, my doctor has noted that stress can trigger more fall out. So, I work really hard to manage my stress with yoga and meditation. It might sound a bit cliche but its the type of exercise that works for me and just about the only way I’m able to stretch my sore muscles, work myself out of a grumpy funk or just feel better in my body. Since I’m really terrible about getting out of the house for classes, I have a subscription to YogaGlo, a web-based yoga studio that has tons of classes. I’m not an affiliate or getting paid to talk about them. But I truly believe my YogaGlo practice has been on of the single best investments I’ve made in my overall well-being.

Give My Skin Some TLC
My hair may be going grey, but my skin is going to look good, by God! I am completely addicted to these Miss Spa sheet masks from Target. Apparently sheet masks are all the rage with the beauty bloggers (not that I know what I’m talking about) because they give your skin a boost of extra nourishment or something. If nothing else, they smell great and leave my skin feeling amazing. Plus they only cost a few dollars each and force me to sit still for 20 whole minutes. Its an easy indulgence. Every time I order something online from Target or visit the store, I throw a couple of them in my cart to use after the kids are in bed at night.

Eat Something Good and Good for Me
BroccoliSpinachPizzaWhen I’m feeling my worst, chances are, I’m running on caffeine and not much else. Hangry is not pretty. Often, if I find myself feeling woozy and cranky I have to remind myself to slow down and eat something healthy and easy. A piece of avocado toast or my favorite spinach and broccoli pizza are some of my favorite ways to fuel up. The world (and the face in the mirror) always looks a whole lot better when I do.

Eventually, I hope to get to a point where I can color my hair again if I choose to. Even if I don’t color my grey roots…I think it might be fun for Lilly and me to dye the ends of our hair bright blue or pink this summer (since the dye won’t touch my scalp, I think it will be ok).  In the meantime, I’m learning to love myself for who I am today. If you’re struggling with your own sense of self, I hope some of these simple tricks for feeling beautiful might help you too! And if you have other suggestions for feeling like your best self, please share them with me! I could use all the help I can get.

This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase something through these links, I will receive a small percentage of the profits at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting Homemaker’s Habitat!

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And Then He Was Three… http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/10/and-then-he-was-three/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/10/and-then-he-was-three/#respond Mon, 10 Apr 2017 15:49:53 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2405

You are my sunshine. My rainbow baby. My little man. Focused, determined, sweet and kind.  You are a runner, a cuddler and a boy through and through. We are amazed by your complete and unwavering devotion to cars. My heart melts in your presence. You are the littlest little I’ll ever mother again and I drink...

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And Then He Was Three

You are my sunshine. My rainbow baby. My little man. Focused, determined, sweet and kind.  You are a runner, a cuddler and a boy through and through. We are amazed by your complete and unwavering devotion to cars.

My heart melts in your presence. You are the littlest little I’ll ever mother again and I drink in every second of your smallness. The way you hug, the way you rest your head on my shoulder when you are tired or sick. The way your hair smells when you’ve been running around and the feel of your cheeks after playing in the cold. I will never hold a tinier hand than the one you outstretch to me each morning. Rebecca_Max

And yet, I love to celebrate your growth. You like to do things for yourself. Potty training was a breeze. You regularly and proudly dress yourself now. You adore your big sister and strive to keep up with her in all ways. You’re not one to complain. Last week I pulled a quarter inch cactus pricker out of your chest 5 days after we visited the desert room at the conservatory. It would still be stuck there if I hadn’t noticed. 

You are a wild man. A Guy’s Guy. A Dude.

You are well-spoken but only when you choose to be. A tinkerer, and a doer. You make “Vroom” a verb.

Happy-go-lucky and quietly hilarious. Thank you, Max, for sharing your special blend of wonder and joy with us. Thank you for completing our family better than we ever could have imagined. Thank you for being you. Happy Three, Little Dude. 

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This Pasta Pomodoro Will Make You Cry Tears of Joy http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/04/pasta-pomodoro-will-make-cry-tears-joy/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/04/pasta-pomodoro-will-make-cry-tears-joy/#comments Wed, 05 Apr 2017 03:59:50 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2360

This is it. This is the one. Hands down, my family’s favorite pasta recipe. I’ve probably uttered those words before. Might do so again. It will all be lies. Lies. This. Is. It: Pasta Pomodoro. This is the recipe you serve to say: “I’m sorry.” “I love you.” or “Will you marry me?” And, because the...

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Pasta PomodoroThis is it. This is the one. Hands down, my family’s favorite pasta recipe. I’ve probably uttered those words before. Might do so again. It will all be lies. Lies. This. Is. It: Pasta Pomodoro. This is the recipe you serve to say: “I’m sorry.” “I love you.” or “Will you marry me?” And, because the universe is kind, its easy enough to make on a Tuesday.

The first time I tasted Pasta Pomodoro was at Scarpetta at the Foutainbleau in Miami Beach. It was our first date night after Lillian was born. We’d heard rumors about Scarpetta’s legendary pasta pomodoro and I was so excited to taste it. My mom offered to watch baby Lillian, only a few weeks old, for a couple of hours while Jon and I snuck away to the restaurant, just a few blocks from our rental house. I squeezed my exhausted, flabby, post-pregnant self into a fancy dress and hooker heels, all in anticipation of this ridiculous pasta. It did not disappoint. It was incredible. The sauce was velvety and buttery and smoother than any tomato sauce I’d ever tasted before, with a distinct, heavy dose of basil. It became my mission to replicate it at home.

Pasta Pomodoro

After much research, I based my Pasta Pomodoro recipe off of a version once featured on the cover of Bon Appetit. Their recipe was deliciously close to Scarpetta’s version, but it lacked something. Over the years, I’ve made refinements and, based on my family’s reviews and those of basically anyone who’s ever tried it, I think I finally nailed it.

Pasta Pomodoro

We eat this about twice a month and it never gets old. The first bite always makes my eyes roll back in my head. The sauce is velvety to the point of being unctuous. The tomato flavor is bright without being tart, with tons of basil to round it all out. Its amazing with spaghetti or bucatini, although even linguine will work.

This dish is so simple it really does require excellent ingredients to shine. Look for cans of real, imported whole San Marzano tomatoes, high quality Italian spaghetti, the best parmesan cheese you can find and more basil than you think you’ll need.

Trust me, you will not be disappointed with this one. Give it a try. I dare you.

Pasta Pomodoro

Pasta Pomodoro
Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
4 large sprigs fresh basil
1 cup grated parmesan reggiano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper to taste

1 lb. best-quality imported spaghetti or bucatini

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add basil. Allow basil to steep in tomato sauce for about 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer sauce to a blender. Add a half cup of parmesan cheese and sugar and puree until smooth.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and spaghetti and cook until about 2 minutes before tender. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
  4. Return pomodoro sauce to skillet and along with pasta. Toss pasta in sauce over medium heat adding the butter and another 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.  Stir in some of the pasta cooking water as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Continue tossing until pasta is completely coated in sauce, about 2 minutes more. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately with remaining parmesan cheese as a garnish.

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Pasta Pomodoro

This Pasta Pomodoro recipe combines tomatoes, basil and butter into the most velvety, flavorful sauce ever. Everyone will love it.

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Your New Favorite Sandwich: Easy Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto and Mozzarella http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/04/new-favorite-sandwich-easy-roasted-asparagus-prosciutto-mozzarella/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/04/new-favorite-sandwich-easy-roasted-asparagus-prosciutto-mozzarella/#respond Tue, 04 Apr 2017 21:18:36 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2354

Every spring, I look forward to making my favorite soup and sandwich combo: Spring Pea Soup with a Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwich. This is one of my most favorite easy weeknight dinner combinations. The soup alone is amazing and, lucky for me, its one of the kid’s favorites too. This week I’m sharing my...

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Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto and MozzarellaEvery spring, I look forward to making my favorite soup and sandwich combo: Spring Pea Soup with a Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwich. This is one of my most favorite easy weeknight dinner combinations.

The soup alone is amazing and, lucky for me, its one of the kid’s favorites too. This week I’m sharing my super-simple recipe on TheInspiredHome.com. The peas and basil combine for such a bright, fresh flavor and the color is absolutely gorgeous. Head on over to the site for the recipe but be sure to swing back here complete the meal with this perfectly paired sandwich.

Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto and Mozzarella

As delicious as the soup is, its nothing without this sandwich. Similar to a caprese sandwich –another one of my favorites — but heartier and springier. Roasted asparagus spears provide a delicious, tangy bite of spring while whole wheat baguette adds nuttiness. Of course, we can’t forget the prosciutto for meaty, salty flavor and lots of fresh basil and olive oil.

All together, this combination is so perfect. When asparagus is in season, this becomes one of my favorite weekday lunches. Although I can’t quite sell the kids on this one (they get regular grilled cheese), on rainy spring nights Jon and I enjoy this soup/sandwich combo with  glasses of sauvignon blanc and a cozy fire. Makes for a wonderfully easy/elegant midweek date night meal.

Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto and Mozzarella

Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwich
Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients
1/2 bunch (about 10) thin spears fresh asparagus, bottom 1 inch of stems removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 of a whole wheat baguette
8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
6 thin slices prosciutto (about 1/8 pound)
6 leaves fresh basil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange asparagus spears on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and salt. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, until spears are soft and golden. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  2. Slice baguette into two pieces, then split each piece width-wise down the center. Toast baguette pieces in oven for 5 minutes, just until golden at the edges.
  3. To build sandwiches, place 3 pieces of prosciutto on bottom layer of bread. Top with half of the asparagus spears, 4 slices of mozzarella cheese, and 3 basil leaves. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice. Season generously with salt and pepper. Repeat with remains ingredients to build second sandwich. Serve immediately, with Spring Pea and Basil Soup, if desired.

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How to Make a Lost Tooth Box from a Mint Tin http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/03/make-lost-tooth-box-mint-tin/ http://www.homemakershabitat.com/homemakershabitat.com/2017/04/03/make-lost-tooth-box-mint-tin/#respond Tue, 04 Apr 2017 02:21:17 +0000 http://www.homemakershabitat.com/?p=2336

Lillian lost her first tooth! For her inaugural visit, the Tooth Fairy will be bringing this adorable Lost Tooth Box I made from a mint tin. I can’t wait for Lilly’s reaction in the morning! Perhaps more than most little kids, Lillian has been absolutely aching to loose a tooth. She is one of the youngest...

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Tooth Fairy Box
Lillian lost her first tooth! For her inaugural visit, the Tooth Fairy will be bringing this adorable Lost Tooth Box I made from a mint tin. I can’t wait for Lilly’s reaction in the morning!

Perhaps more than most little kids, Lillian has been absolutely aching to loose a tooth. She is one of the youngest in her kindergarten class and the very last one to still have all of her baby teeth. She has watched so many of her friends loose teeth and has been waiting patiently for it to be her turn. Finally, last week, one of her bottom teeth became extremely wiggly. She’s been wiggling away for days. And today was the day!

Lilly's First ToothUnfortunately and much to her dismay, the little “tooth necklace” that the school nurse gave her to keep the tooth safe popped open during recess and the tooth disappeared into the playground mulch. She was quite devastated until I assured her the Tooth Fairy would understand and would gladly accept a note.

So she penned this rather clever explanation:

Tooth Fairy Note

“Dear Tooth Fairy, I lost my tooth. Then I lost my tooth. From Lilly”

The good news is that the Tooth Fairy will be providing her a far more secure container to hold any future lost teeth. This adorable Lost Tooth Box is perfectly sized to hold a tooth (or a shiny new coin).

Lost Tooth Box

In full disclosure, I can take very little credit for this whole tooth box idea. I am not a craft blogger. I am relatively crafty, but food is where I devote most of my energy. Lucky for me, my insanely talented friend Cassie, founder of the wildly popular website Little Red Window, shared her own DIY Lost Tooth Box last fall and I immediately fell in love with the idea.

Cassie’s Tooth Box is ridiculously cute. She used a dental floss container, plastic vinyl and a cutting machine to create her intricate and adorable design. Its absolutely lovely but I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull it off as-is (I don’t have a vinyl cutter and don’t trust myself to freehand the design). But her version got the wheels in my brain turning. Soon after, I happened to notice some mint tins in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s and had a lightbulb moment.

Lost Tooth BoxFor my Lost Tooth Box, I ended up spraying my tin with a coat of white spray paint primer (I made two boxes, so that I’d have one ready for Maxwell when he loses his teeth some day).

Lost Tooth BoxNext, I found a simple tooth image in clip art via google, sized it to fit on the side of my mint tin and printed it out. I cut out the paper tooth and used it to trace the tooth shape on to a piece of blue painter’s tape, which I stuck on the front of my now-white mint tin.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/bwbig/tooth.pngThen I sprayed the tins with gold metallic paint and let them dry completely before peeling off the tooth sticker.

Lost Tooth BoxFinally, I used a chalk paint pen to add white lines around the tooth, just to add some interest and I lined the inside of each tin with felt to give the tooth a nice soft spot to rest.

Lost Tooth Box

To complete the surprise, I printed out a copy of Cassie’s Free Printable First Tooth Letter to tuck under the pillow with the tooth box.

Lost Tooth BoxThis was such a fun project to work on and, really, quite easy to create. And Cassie’s letter completes it perfectly. I am so excited to share this special gift with Lillian. I know she’s going to feel so important to be part of the “Official Tooth Fairy Smile Club.”

Thanks, Cassie, for the wonderful inspiration!

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Lost Tooth Box

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