Plums & Onions

Another delight wrapped in shimmering foil.  Plums and onions.  Sounds very strange, but truly, it's very good.  I made it for friends when they came for dinner, and had a salad as a back-up, but every bite was eaten.  And I even checked the napkins after dinner.

You'll need:

  • 4 quartered plums (mine were yellow-flesh on the insides, but I'm sure the red ones would be tasty as well)
  • A good portion of a red onion, sliced into long pieces (note:  TFN asks for a whole onion, however I didn't want to have heartburn/smell bad the next morning.)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar.  VINEGAR.  Not Merlot.
  • A cluster of thyme sprigs (mine probably measured a loose 1 Tbsp)  I left the spring whole.
  • Always - salt and pepper, to taste
Toss everything together and dump into the middle of your foil pack.  Wrap securely into your cute little rectangle and grill over medium-high heat for 12 minutes (no need to flip.)

Watch for steam when you open and serve.  Seriously - I know it sounds odd, but the savory sweet was a perfect side for the peach grilled pork loin (coming soon!!)

Click {here} and enter to win this week's giveaway.  Beading and plums - they go together.

Beads and Babble {giveaway}

So remember a few days ago when I hinted at a giveaway?  Well, this one is another MONSTER!  If you craft, bead, like pretty things, you need to pay attention!

I'll let Shannon introduce herself:

Hello. I'm Shannon owner of Beads and Babble an online retail bead store. What can I say? I love beads and their endless creative possibilities. I offer a large selection of unique Czech glass beads which I pack and ship directly to you. Shipping is free to US and Canada addresses. I personally answer all emails and check my in-box frequently. My bead inventory is constantly expanding and changing week to week. If you can't find the bead(s) you're looking for in my store I might be able to order them, it never hurts to ask.

Her stock is amazing, and the free shipping hooked me for life.  I love free things.  I'm not cheap, I just like free stuff.  Stupid not to.

Got those creative juices flowing yet??  Good.  And, here's how awesome Shannon is.  She's offering up a $50!!!  Seriously!  This will buy a TON of beads!  Enter with Rafflecopter below!



My Life in an Instagram #5

According to L

The rules to play are simple:
  • Make sure you follow my blog
  • Grab the button above and include with your linky party lists.
  • Link up your weekly tale of life in your life. This can either be a post from your blog, or your Instragram feed link (such as: gramfeed.com/YOURNAME), or a photo blog you have.
  • Visit the other links and let them know that According to L sent you.

My BFF and her gorgeous family.  Sidney was baptised (and wore the most ADORABLE headband!)
Never gets old.  I need at least one sleeping baby photo a week.

Maverick.  I am sexy (but not good at the self-portrat thing)

Rebel rule breaker at Blue Man Group.

We are a small but mighty group.  Even the big dogs had to start somewhere.

Pink drinks, and crunch shrimp rolls on a Minneapolis rooftop.  What more could a girl want?


WINNER! In the Clear Giveaway!

Our biggest turnout yet, not that I'm surprized, this was a pretty awesome prize to win!!


Congratulations to Ang Alford!!!

I'll contact you via email with all the details!

Thanks everyone for playing!!

And, in case you're wondering, I've got ANOTHER awesome giveaway coming on Friday!  Stay tuned!!!

beads & babbles

So What Wednesday

Happy Hump Day!  I have to say, I am could burst with bloggy pride!  You all have had such nice things to say, and while I do try to play it cool, I do love hearing how wonderful you think I am!

Are you ready?  Be sure to hop over to read what everyone else is complaining bitching bragging talking about this week.

  • I took picutures during The Blue Man group performance.  I just wanted to Instagram them, not sell them for profit!  But I'm not above that, if anyone's got an extra buck or two!
  • I may have "overpromoted" my guest spot at the Poop Whisperer, but I was so friggin pleased with that post {click here if you missed it, though I don't know how you could have!}
  • I had four spring rolls at lunch with my work husband.  It was a buffet.  I felt I had to eat more to make it count.
  • I stalk the National Camera used section almost daily.  I want a new camera so badly.  Too bad we need food, the mortgage and student loans paid first.
  • Now that Nate is gainfully employed, I fantasize about quitting my own job.  Refer to the previous bullet on why this is not happening.
  • I really really hate those "family stick figures" on the back of cars.  Like more than a person should.  What, because you have a family, I shouldn't rear-end you?  Stop distracting me with stupid stickers, then!
  • I've been kind of obsessed with Google Analytics lately.  I'm hoping to find some magical stat that will attract more sponsors {hint hint}
  • I'd rather get a bikini wax than go to the dentist, which is odd because way more people see my mouth than my crotch.
  • I've tried out several different signatures on this blog.  I'm sorry for the inconsistancy, but I just can't make up my mind!
  • I didn't get these patriotic headbands posted to Etsy sooner, now I'm going to be left with a lot of leftovers, unless you want one!  Super cheap and really cute, I promise.
What are you complaining bitching bragging talking about this week??



Dear 18-year old self,

Before you start reading, click over {here} to enter my super awesome giveaway. 

Hey, 18-year old Liz. Sup.  This is the future you writing to share a few things. You probably won’t listen because you’re stubborn (and you won’t grow out that either) but I feel like I should try to help.

At 18, you are now finishing up high school, preparing for your last summer before going off to college in the fall.  You live at home with your parents; your older and cooler sister is off in the real-world.  Your room is plastered with pages from the Ambercrombie & Fitch catolouges, and smiling pictures of you arm in arm with all your girlfriends.  You are still jaded from being dumped by the love of your life.  I assure you, he is not the love of your life.  While he grows up to be a fairly decent man, he was a douche in high school. Seriously. (no offense, dude)

You will casually date in college.  Do more of that.  Boyfriends are great, and they give that warm, fuzzy secure feeling, but you have a LONG time to be secure.  Sitting in the seventh year of being with our husband, I will tell you, it’s wonderful to cross that finish line, but good Lord, have fun before you get there!  College is the only time in life when you can act “like that.”  Once you graduate, you will be expected to button-up, get a job, and be responsible.  At no other point will you be allowed to take afternoon naps after your one class of the day, get dressed in a super skimpy tank top, drink too much, pass out in the hallway of your dorm in the middle of making out with that random hottie from your English lit class.  These types of actions are frowned upon at most corporate holiday parties.  Please note: I am not encouraging you to sleep around.  Be smart.  At an appropriate parenting age you will have two beautiful daughters and we greatly appreciate being able to pee without a burning sensation.

And while we’re on the subject of men, please be more careful with our heart.  There are 100 d-bags out there for every decent guy.  The d-bags are always super cute and very exciting.  This fun can only be sustained for a short period of time.  Learn to recognize when the party has ended and leave before the crowds bum rush the doors.  Too many tears are shed as a result of these assholes.  Refer back to lover boy from high school.  Not worth our time.

When it comes to men who are worth our time, we will eventually meet one.  After a successful long-distance relationship (the urban legends are true) we will marry him - and it will be the best wedding you've ever attended, obviously.  Do us a favor - be patient with him, especially after our first daughter is born.  He tries very hard.  He really is a great father.  And having a baby is incredibly difficult.  Anyone who thinks that having a baby will save a relationship is an idiot.  You will often consider killing the baby, yourself or your husband, all in one breath.  Restrain.  Try to remember, even when he does things differently than you, if he doesn't harm/drop/dismember the baby, it's OK.  Sure, it's not as perfect as we would do it, but it'll do.

Flip through those stacks of photos.  See all those smiling girlfriends next to us?  A vast majority of them will remain good friends and have a kick ass dance party at our wedding.  We have had these ladies in our life for a very long time, and I am happy to tell you that not much changes over the years.  Encourage and nurture these relationships.  As you get married and have babies, you need a net of women to catch you when you stumble, and you will stumble.  In fact, some days get pretty bleak. I don’t want to spoil the end of the book, but the whole marriage and mom thing is not as easy as it may seem.  Call a friend or two.  Don’t be ashamed.  You would do the same for them in a heartbeat, and they love you for it.

Be nicer to our parents.  They seem like total dictators right now, but they really want the best for you.  I don’t know how else to explain it to you, other than you have to blindly trust me, which I know an arrogant teenager would never do.  Your parents will be a huge support for you later.  Our daughters adore them, and through their eyes, you realize they really are amazing people.  Be especially nice to our mom.  Once you become one, you’ll know why this is critical to follow.  No one will ever love you like your mother.

In college, you’ll study English and creative writing.  Stick with it.  You’ll be offered other jobs, but they will stifle your creative sense, even though they pay the bills.  I don’t intend for you to be some starving artist, but recognize what you want and what you love and don’t wait to get it.  Here, this 30-year old is finally writing again and it feels amazing; we should have been doing it all along.

Even after I write all of this advice down, I really don’t want too much to change.  Friends and family will always be super important to you, and with my sage advice, those bonds can only grow stronger.  Our parents still love us, despite being a total bitch at times - they are our parents, would we expect any less.  Those waste-of-space guys toughened your skin and made you the confident woman that our husband falls in love with.  We grow into a pretty kick-ass person.  Don’t screw it up.


Patriotic Headband!

The Fourth of July is rapidly approaching.  I had the best of intentions in my design to get these up on my Etsy shop, and then waiting too long, and then the power cord crapped out on me, so I can't even charge my half-way decent camera.

So I bring you a deal, via iPhoto. 
This headband can be yours for only $7!  This includes shipping!  
Normally I set shabby duos for $8 or more, so this is a hell of a deal!
A red, white and blue shabby chic trio is attached to white elastic, but I can attach to a metal headband as well, if you'd prefer (just tell me so, I'm not a mind reader!)

Leave a comment with your PayPal address and size preference (or age of the melon that intends to sport this beauty)  I will ship as early as Wednesday morning, leaving plenty of time to arrive in your mailbox for those picnics!

Breakfast with Curious George!

Oh my, our little strong-willed child met her goal!  We got to have breakfast with Curious George on Saturday!

The build up was probably more exciting that the actual meet and greet!  But once he was there, we have one very happy child...

And one who was like "Ummm...Where the cute little cartoon version of the monkey?  This thing is huge and freaking me out!"

We feasted on pink yogurt, bagels, and sprinkle doughnuts.  And according to Nate, the worst coffee he's ever had.  I guess that's what you get for 10 bucks.  I personally was disappointed there was no Diet Coke, but I suppose it was a breakfast targeted at children.  Whatever.

There were monkey masks to color and story time with a Curious George book.  Something about going on a train - I was too distracted wrestling the wiggliest 15-month old baby on Earth.

Olivia had a good time, but after he exciting week of a new school and a sleepover at Grandma's the night before, she wasn't on her BEST behavior, but still made a fun morning of it.

Waiting of our photo op 
Best buddies (and she's actually looking at the camera!)
Avery, still not sure.  And still constantly moving as seen by the blur.  I need a better camera.
This experience was a good one for Olivia to have.  Not because she got to meet a beloved character, but because she worked for something and earned it.  The next "puff ball" goal is to stop sucking her thumb.  This is a HUGE hurdle for us to overcome and Mom and Dad may give up before she does, but it's worth a try, right?  Plus, I'm super sick of the overbite and drool.

Be sure you click over {here} and enter in our In the Clear giveaway!

Crunchy BBQ Chicken

Chance to snag $20 from In the Clear - giveaway going on now! Click {here} to enter

If your freezer is like ours, at any given time, you can find:
  • Two frozen pizzas
  • Frozen waffles that Avery will throw on the floor instead of eating
  • A quart of ice cream (usually chocolate)
  • Phineas and Ferb Gogurts with all of the Candice ones eaten (because apparently the "girl" ones taste different to Liv_
  • Several assorted bags of Steamfresh vegetables
  • Three pounds of chicken
Chicken is a required staple in the house when you've got hungry kids to feed.  It's easy, versatile and pretty much always on sale (read: cheap)

You may have seen the recipe on your French's Fried Onion container where the crushed crunches are used like breadcrumbs and baked on chicken.  This dish takes it step further and use one of my family's favorite summer time treats - BBQ sauce.

There is nothing wrong with the store-bought sauces, but we have become huge fans of Chef Earl.  He's the sweetest, funniest man who sells his jars at the Minneapolis Farmers market.  The first time we went this season, we bought 3 bottles (all different flavors) and are about ready to buy more.  We've even turned friends on to him (including a favorite preggo lady who made a stop by this table) What can I say - my family loves to dip!  And nothing says summer like grilled meat dipped in that spicy, sweet red goo.

I bring you my crunchy BBQ chicken.  And while this isn't my typical grilled summer fare, I assure you, it's amazing.


Set your oven to 375 and get your ingredients:
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • about 1 cup French's Fried Onions, crushed (handy for stress relief after a hard day)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper
  • about 3/4 c of your favorite BBQ sauce (not gonna lie, this is totally estimated.  You'll see from my photos, I just squirted the chicken to coat, there was zero measuring going on)
Line your baking dish with foil.  You could skip this, but I am trying to save you grant you more time to read my fabulous blog, check out Pinterest, or watch Bravo TV in lieu of scrubbing dishes.  

Season your chicken well with salt and pepper.  Mix the flour into your crushed onions.  My photo shows them waiting patiently in a shallow pan, but then I realized I wanted to sprinkle the onions, rather than dredge them, but the technique you choose is up to you.  We're looking to coat them - the method you use to get this result is up to you.

Cover one side of the chicken with your BBQ sauce, then top with about half of your crunchy mixture. Flip over into your pan and repeat on the other side.  I apologize for the grodie, uncooked chicken photo.  Not my best work, but I'm trying to teach something here!

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until they are cooked through - we don't need any food poisoning on my watch thank you very much.

When you're done, you'll have a wonder main dish for your dinner!!

(Notice those Steamfresh veggies I mentioned before.  I have no issues with a bag of wonderful veggies over the fresh stuff that will most likely go bad in my fridge before I can cook it!)

P.S. Don't you think I need new plates??  These were a wonderful first purchase when Nate and I first moved in together.  They were cute and fun at the time, but I want some classy, white plates that are "grown up."  Who's with me on this??  Let's start a petition and get the hubs on board, what'd ya say!?



Baby Carrots

Happy Saturday!  Be sure to check out the giveaway sponsored by In the Clear {here}

Carrots may be one of my favorite side dishes.  They are sweet and healthy, they just take so long to boil! After I think of it as a side dish, my dinner is 5 minutes from being complete and I'm too stubborn to serve cold food.  Must be my dad's picky nature instilled in me - that man will complain if any food hits his plate that won't give him some kind of burn.

This foil-wrapped side dish takes about 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat, which seems to be the standard for a lot of our grilled proteins.  A little planning on my part, and I've got a colorful addition to my dinner table.

For our family of 2, plus two halves, I made a 1/2 lb of baby carrots.  You can adjust to fit your family's needs.

You'll need:
baby carrots
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbsp of tarragon (about 2 stems with leaves removed)
1 Tbsp butter

Pile on the carrots, sprinkle with shallots and tarragon, dot with butter.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grill over medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes.  Watch for steam when opening up the foil pack!



Five Question Friday

It's technically Friday for 23 more minutes... a little late the party, but I like to think it as very fashionable and cool.  Obviously, totally me (she says, while wearing a ponytail and yoga pants)  Trying out the questions from My Little Life

1. What do you keep a stock pile of?
I am totally prepared for a natural disaster.  We have diapers, Diet Coke, 3 dozen juice boxes, several half opened bags of Doritos, a subscription to Netflix, and... wait... there's only a half a bottle of wine left in the house.  I gotta go!  Where's the canoe.

2. If Ben & Jerry asked you to invent an ice cream, what would it be?

My current favorites from CherryBerry:  cake batter ice cream, graham cracker crumbs, strawberries, raspberries, carmel drizzle and maybe some cookie dough chunks if I'm feel extra "hungry."

3. How do you blow off steam?

I love to veg with crappy reality TV.  My DVR is stocked with:  Pregnant in Heels, RH of NJ, 16 and Pregnant, Sister Wives, Restaurant Impossible, Top Chef (but I'm waiting patiently for the next season to start), Our America with Lisa Ling, The Soup and half a dozen others.  Oh, and there's always a glass of Pino Grigio and Pinterest nearby too.

4. What would you do if you had an hour to yourself anywhere within a ten mile radius of your home...no kids, no hubby, just you?

See the first two answers.  Wine and Cherry Berry.  This should be obvious.  The theme of me is pretty apparent.

5. When you were 16, what was your curfew in the summertime?

Gosh, that was a long time ago.  Probably 10 or 11.  I remember always having to come in and tell my half sleeping mother that I was home.  This got to be funnier as I would come home during college breaks and my 21-year old, somewhat tipsy self would wake my mom and talk about what a fun night I just had out with my girlfriends.  She would patiently listen and probably laugh historically after I left the room.

Click {here} to enter my current giveaway.


Balsamic Kettle Chips

Over memorial weekend, my sister and brother-in-law made this for the adults to snack on while we watched the hooligans run around the back yard.
I'm sorry, the kids in my family are just too stinkin' cute!

The steps are very easy and it's a snack that doesn't have to stay cold or hot (perfect for summertime, or basically any kind of entertaining/munching/TV watching/Pinterest snacking...)

Take kettle chips and spread evenly onto your plate.  Use whatever size you'd like to feed whatever sized crowd you have.  Sprinkle generously with blue cheese.

Take equal parts of brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, bring to a boil and let reduce for about 5-7 minutes. For my 12" plate, I had used 1/2 cup each, and had PLENTY of sauce leftover.  What was I going to do, let it go to waste?  A second plate MAY have been made for the hubs and me.  Maybe.  Don't judge.  Let cool slightly.  Drizzle over your chips and MOW DOWN.

Now that I've reminded you of summer party food, be sure to jump over {here} and enter the In the Clear giveaway for all your party and crafting supplies!


My Life in an Instagram #4

Have you entered the In the Clear giveaway?  Link up and be sure to hop over {here} to get in on these party and packaging goodies.  You know you could always use some fabulous additions to those summer BBQs!  (Hello, the Fourth of July is just around the corner!)

Time to link up and show your stuff!

According to L

The rules to play are simple:
  • Make sure you follow my blog
  • Grab the button above and include with your linky party lists.
  • Link up your weekly tale of life in your life. This can either be a post from your blog, or your Instragram feed link (gramfeed.com/YOURNAME), or a photo blog you have.
  • Visit the other links and let them know that According to L sent you.
I have to admidt, I don't have a ton to share this week.  I've been hiding behind our "real" camera a lot taking photos of the recital {here}, Father's Day {here}, and new bracelets {and here}.  But I digress.  I give you my life this week, in Instagram filtered form!

Your turn!

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