Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chicken Review

I made the Roasted Orange Chicken with Thyme and Potatoes tonight.

It took WAY longer than I anticipated and our 5pm dinner turned into 6:30. That happens though. I thought this dish was really good. The sauce is very yummy and I highly recommend it. Total time for the potatoes and chicken was 2 hours. A little long for my taste, but I made enough to have leftovers for 2 days. Not too shabby. The potatoes were just ok. I wasn't that impressed with them. My tatoes didn't turn out as crunchy.

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What's For Dinner?

Pinterest time.

Tonight we are having this yummy chicken and potato dish. I am pairing it with a side of steamed carrots and zucchini.

Stay tuned for the review.

Roasted Orange and Thyme chicken with Crusty Potatoes

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Friday, January 27, 2012


Pinterest demands it's very own post.

Here I am: Made By Lora on Pinterest. Give me a shout out and I would love to see what you are following.

My boards probably need a little bit of organizing, but some times I just don't have time to sort. You know, my brain doesn't work like that. It's pin, move on. Pin again.

So with all these pins I have been really feeling like performing on them. So, here we go. A new thing at Made By Lora. I hope to share with you some of my favorite "Pin Reviews" as I do them. I have already done a few and neglected to take my own photos, so I will just use the author of the pins photo (photo credit provided).

Here's where I stand on my pins thus far and what is on the horizon:

Homemade Mayo
After my husband swore that he would not eat my homemade mayo because of the whole raw egg factor, I quickly googled and proved to him that store bought mayo also uses raw eggs. The difference is that my mayo will not withstand sitting on a shelf for 8 years because it does not have perservatives. I found the recipe: HERE
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I followed the recipe exactly and this is what I ended up with:
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It looks like this blogger was able to get a higher yield of mayo with the same amount of ingredients, no?
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The mayo turned out very yummy. I used Olive Oil. I think next time I will try a different oil. It was a little too "olive oily" tasting for my preference, but not horrible.

I then decided to use my homemade mayo to make some homemade chicken salad.

Homemade Chicken Salad
You can find the pin and recipe HERE

This recipe is divine. It is such a welcome change to my normal sandwich routine. I eat at home almost every day for lunch and it gets quite boring. This was a nice addition to the routine. I think I might limit how much I make it from a calorie stand point, but this nursing mother who recently had the stomach flu, welcomed this mayo-e tasty delight.
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I decided to make homemade focaccia bread to go with my sandwich. It was super duper easy and really jazzed my sandwich up, and was great for a pasta dinner that night.
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The Bread Bible book is my go to book at the moment for homemade bread recipes. My son has requested english muffins next!
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Here is the recipe:
2 C lukewarm water
2 tsp yeast
3 tsp salt
4 C unbleached flour
2-3 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp kosher or sea salt

Place the warm water in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over it, and stir until it is dissolved. Add the salt and 2 cups of flour, and with a balloon whisk, stir briskly until the mixture is smooth.

Using a sturdy wooden spoon, stir in the remaining 2 cups of flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a loose ball. The dough will still be quite sticky. If it doesn't form some semblance of a ball, add additional flour (1/4 to 1/2 cup)until it does.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to ferment for about 12 hours.

Two hours before you are ready to shape the focaccia, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to stand in a warm place to rise again.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Line two 13 x 8" baking sheets with parchment paper and gently pour the dough onto the sheets, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Dimple the dough deeply with your fingers and stretch each portion into an oval or rectangle about 1 inch deep. Brush it with olive oil, sprinke with rosemary and salt, and place into the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the focaccia is a deep golden brown with darker areas around the dimples.

Art for Nolan's Room
Last month I put forth some effort in making a nice room for my 1 year old.
I was in love with this painting PIN
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So I replicated it
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Homemade Hand Soap
This was a lifesaver. I made this homemade hand soap and it is lasting FOREVER! Saving tons of money. With a family of 4, hand washing is a near constant thing. !MAKE THIS

Here are a few things I have on the horizon

EmersonMade knock off outfit

I love THIS outfit
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So I have plans on replicating it.
I plan on using these two patterns and modifying them to get this look.
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I will be modifying the neck line
And this skirt, I will be eliminating the sash.
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Hand Lotion
I just ran out of hand lotion, so I will be making this tomorrow. Body Lotion

Those are my two pins before Hawaii. However, I am making something for my nieces birthday.. soooo.. here's hoping that a week brings me busy hands.. and carpel tunnel from hands at that!


No Shampoo Challenge

Are you on Pinterest? Pinterest is like a dream come true for me. As I have many ideas floating around in my head, I usually lose track of the things I want to try or need to do. Pinterest is such a guilty little pleasure for me. And there is an app for my phone, so I can sneak some "pinning" here and there.

The first thing I started "following" on pinterest was all the DIY stuff out there. If you know me, you know I am a freak for DIY. Oh I love it. I love the challenge, I love the fulfillment, I love the movement. I have long wanted to make all my household supplies. I love using every day products that are not harmful to myself or children, in things like cleaners, detergents, AND now, shampoo.

I have been reading a ton about people opting out of using shampoo and conditioner: you can see blogs that detail it out here, here, and here. Let's face it. This stuff seems a little silly at times. You buy 2 containers of product and really is it doing much for you?

It isn't working for me. I moved to a small town a couple of years ago and left the big city full of amazing hair colorist and stylist. Now, after many attempts, I did find someone that could actually do a good highlight, but along the journey I found many people who had no idea how to highlight hair. That left me with having many stylist trying to "fix" their mistakes and ultimately damaging my hair to no end. So when I would go to the next stylist and tell her of my horrible journey, she would list out the many products that I "needed" to fix the damage.

Alas, a lot of money later my hair is still damaged and dry.

I spent $48 on this:
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I spent $30 on this tiny bottle:
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In an attempt to try and help my now damaged hair, I decided to try and let my hair fix itself. I found the website Simple Mom through Pinterest and she gave a great tutorial on how to go "poo" free.
This is what I needed:

Baking Soda and water for shampooing:
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photo from Simple Mom

Apple Cider Vinegar for conditioning.
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photo from Simple Mom
and Coconut Oil on days that my hair is really dry
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I am currently still using conditioner because I have a ton left. As soon as I am done with that I will go with the vinegar and coconut oil.

I have thick hair. It's curly. It's sometimes a big mess of a mane to care for. I was reluctant to start this home remedy because I really didn't think it would work. BUT it is working. This morning I woke up to my hair not feeling dry. I didn't use pomade to try and control out of control damaged hair and it is shiny (but not too shiny).

Can it be? Can this really be the answer to my hair woes?

Tell me if you try it. I will post a picture on an actual day I don't pull my hair back.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Little knits

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Being a knitter, crafter, doer.. I am always looking for things to challenge me. My first item that I made was a super bulky scarf. Yes, it took me about 2 weeks and it was on the biggest needles ever. I wanted a "fast" knit. And two weeks was super fast back then.

Fast Forward to now and here I am, using the tiniest little needles, with the thinnest yarn, for one sweet little girl.. who happens to turn 2 in a mere few weeks. I am knitting fast, but I am uncertain that these small needles and yarn will get me anywhere fast.

When showing this to my friend, she said "well you had a choice. Why didn't you make her a bulky "something"?"

It's the challenge.
and it's on.

Check back for updates.

Here is the sweet Lulu's present last year. My challenge with this pixie coat was teaching myself how to cable.
If you would like to make this, here is the pattern Pixie Coat. It was a middle tier knit in terms of difficulty. If you have questions regarding the pattern, please feel free to contact me.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Celebrating the First

We just celebrated my son's first birthday. I was very excited for his birthday.. there were many reasons, but one was because I had made him a quilt. Quilts are one of those things that I now understand why there are such people as "Quilt Makers." It's a deathly task. First finding your quilting squares, then designing, pressing, pinning, lining up, sandwiching... the list goes on and on. I would say that this quilt averaged about 90 hours total. The wonderful thing about this being his first birthday present, is that it brought so many smiles and even tears to my face when making it. I thought of him being rascally with it, cuddling with it, storing it away one day because he is just "too old" for it, and then bringing it back out when he is ready for it again. It was an emotional gift. I was so pleased with my first attempt at quilting.

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This quilt has many imperfections.. no straight lines.. no lined up squares, but it is full of love. And that makes me happy.

With his birthday, I had to make him a shirt and crown. I make these crowns for other people, and it felt so good to finally be making one of my own.
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These crowns are available in my Etsy store at: Made By Lora

Coming back: first topic simplicity

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For Weeks, Months, Years I have been dreaming of a more simplistic existence. A way to tread more lightly on this Earth. I have wanted my children to understand that "wanting" of "things" is in bad form and that we as a society need to take back the excitement of less meaning more. I grew up around retail. My mom worked/works retail, I went to college to study retail, my husband works retail, I sell things (handmade at least ;-), retail is all around us. On that same note, I firmly believe in decreasing consumption and I read many blogs ( Zero Waste, Soule Mama, Mommypatumus, Frugally Sustainable) I read many books ( Simplicity Parenting, Freedom of Simplicity, Waldorf Education)

I speak a great deal of needing to live more simply.
If you are this man:
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or these women
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Or especially this man
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You have heard my thoughts on simplicity. In my ideal world I would live on a farm. I would have my closets friends and family living within walking distance. We would have animals to tend to. We would grow food. We would thrive as a community together. There would be fires lit. Stories told. Bread made. Knitting circles. Mending of trousers. Yea, kind of like a commune. With clothing ;-) Just something about that really appeals to me. Although I find it slightly impossible to obtain, when I think of that life (in my romantic eye) I see peace, serenity and happiness.

So for now, I try to bring my simplistic views to a much smaller scale. In our house. Trying to find a balance of simplistic life. I have no better seen the need for taking control of our lives then last week. On two separate occasions I witnessed Hudson lose it in stores. His body was overcome with a sense of "needing" "wanting." His eyes swollen, tears flowing down his face, anger filling his body, words unable to be found, pure exhaustion because he "wanted" and I was saying "no!" He has never been a kid to "want" a lot. He usually wants a lot of love. He usually wants a lot of your attention. He has never in his 3 years wanted "stuff" for the sake of wanting. It dawned on me how we spent our December. The constant influx of "stuff" making its way in to our house. Disrupting our lives and rhythm. the constant ringing of the doorbell of the UPS delivering something new. We would hear the rumbling of his engine and we would perk up to see that, yes, he is stopping yet again at our house. Our house full of newly opened boxes, plastic wrap, unable to find its place in our recycling bin because it was already too full. Unfortunately December and January brings my birthday, Christmas, and Nolan's birthday so there is indeed going to be "stuff" coming in to our lives. BUT on that same note, we don't need to be adding unnecessarily. Simplicity.

So it started. My time to start. To scale back on things. To reteach my child that we don't "need" all this "stuff." To help Nolan understand that he too will grow to be happy without needing stuff. To be honest, our kids play with less than a handful of things, but we have a room dedicated to storing their things. We have closets full of clothing (most of it unworn), we have cupboards full of dishes never used, we have a pantry full of food waiting to be served. It's time.

The main thing I want to teach my children is the importance of "making." If you know me, you know I make. I make a lot. I don't buy gifts, I make them. It's a rewarding feeling. I want that for my children.

My steps to simplicity (are you tired of this word yet)

1. Making bread every week.
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2. Inviting curious and helpful hands back in to the kitchen
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3. Making my own clothes. (within reason. I will not make my own undergarments (yet) or gasp.. never will I make my own jeans.. I don't give up jeans)
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4. Limiting coffee out. This is going to be my hardest thing. I will keep outing coffee to special occasions. Not an every day thing like it is now. As this converstaion unfolded yesterday:
Me "we are going to mix to get a coffee"
Hudson "can I get a special treat?"
Me "no, we have homemade ice cream at home you can have"
Hudson "well we have coffee at home too"
Me "UGH!!!!!!"
But he is right. I need to lead by example
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5. Make our household cleaners, lotions, soap, etc.
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6. Drive less (this would help if we moved in town)
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7. Use the library
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8. Decrease spending: this one has way too many layers.

I am keeping my list small, to be realistic. It takes time to meet these goals, but I know we can do it. And fortunately my husband is on board.

Here's to 2012 and hopefully great things for this family. and no more store tantrums cause, really, that sucked!