Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

Yummy, easy egg muffins April 14, 2017

Filed under: do it yourself — Heather @ 9:00 am
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eggmufinsWhile I know that breakfast is an important meal, I admit that I often have a difficult time eating a good breakfast. I’m usually hustling out the door to work or an exercise activity without a lot of time to make something healthy. My typical meal is grabbing a granola bar and coffee that I can eat at my desk or in the car.

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But I’m trying to get better about what I eat. So I was happy to discover a new dish for easy to make egg muffins. The eggs provide good protein and the extra ingredients help fill me up. The size makes them easy to pop in the microwave to heat.

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I’ll provide the basic recipe below but you can use any ingredients that you want! Make all vegetable, add some meat or bake with just eggs. Here’s the recipe:

 

 

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Ingredients:

12 large eggs

1/2 cup red peppers, chopped

1/2 cup green peppers, chopped

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cup turkey pepperoni, finely sliced (optional)

1/2 cup bacon bits (optional)

Salt, pepper (or other seasonings) to taste

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Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

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Break eggs into mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Add ingredients to eggs and mix well. Season to taste.

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Coat muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Pour egg mixture evenly into 12 muffin cups (I use a 1/3 measuring cup for easy filling). Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

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Place remaining egg muffins in sealed container and refrigerate. Enjoy!

 

Make a vision board for the new year January 18, 2017

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Cheers to a great year!

Week 3 of my best year ever started! So far, it’s been a good year. I kicked off my fitness routine (more to come on that later), biked a few times, met up with friends many times, and got working on some professional projects.

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One of my favorite activities that I like to do to kick off a new year is make a vision board. It’s a fun, simple way to  keep my goals, and dreams, in a visible spot (I usually keep it in my home office but since I’ve been in a temporary apartment while house hunting, I keep my board on top of the microwave and it’s proven to be a great spot. Every time I heat up some tea, food, whatever, I look at my board. It often reminds me of where I want to head and to lose the distractions!).

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Making a vision board is also a perfect excuse to get some friends together (not that we need excuses!). While you can of course make one on your own, I find it fun to get together to share your goals and see the creativity others use when making a board. My friend hosts an annual vision board making party with a bunch of women, food, drinks and craft supplies. It’s a lot of fun! I couldn’t make it a few times in the past so gathered my sisters and other ladies together because I really wanted to make a vision board. Last year, I helped plan a vision board party for my sorority alumnae chapter. And if you want to make it on your own, go for it!

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Remember that nothing on that board has to be perfect, nor is it set in stone. It’s your vision board! Some women get detailed both with their goals and creativity with paper, stickers and images, while others think broader, find what they need and glue it on wherever the whim takes them. And that’s beautiful because…say it with me….it’s your vision board! (Getting the picture that this project is all about you?)

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You need simple supplies to get started:

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Your goals. Some people get detailed (lose 10 pounds, get a puppy, go to Italy, find a new job, etc.). You can do whatever you want. It is after all your vision board! I often set some specific goals but this year I am focusing more on broader goals, with a few details included.

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Poster board. This can be any type of poster board. I usually choose a  standard white board with a little thickness (for easier display) and cut it to 15″ x 20″ size. It keeps it manageable to make and to display.

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Magazines. Use any magazines to find images of your goals, words, letters, whatever you want. If you make your board with a group of people, ask everyone to bring what they can. It’s fun (and easier) to have a variety of choices.

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Craft supplies. Stickers, sparkles, decorative paper and any other fun crafty item you want to include on your board.

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Scissors. For cutting your images and paper.

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Glue sticks. Place your items and stick ’em on!

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You can add any other item to your list. Whatever helps you get started and focused. No one is going to knock on your door to check the status of your projects/goals. The idea is to keep you focused on what you want. As I said, sometimes those goals change and sometimes you simply decide you want to do something else with your year and life. Have fun with this project! It’s your vision board! (okay, I couldn’t resist.)

 

Tomato/cucumber salad holds onto summer September 23, 2016

Filed under: do it yourself — Heather @ 11:45 am
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tomatoesI know the first day of fall happened yesterday but I’m not quite ready to pull out the sweaters, boots and chili recipes. Instead, I’m wearing shorts and sandals today, and snacking on some refreshing summer vegetables.

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Believe it or not, I wasn’t a fan of tomatoes until about two years ago. Yes, I ate tomato-based foods (spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc.) but I politely declined any fresh tomato. Then I happened to try grape and cherry tomatoes and loved them. Now I buy containers of the mini tomatoes from the road side farm stand near me almost weekly since I love to snack on them. I even grew a small plant on my balcony, which produced some delicious cherry tomatoes. But, sadly, not enough to keep me fulfilled, thus I continue to support our local farmers.

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In case you’re wondering (as I did) about the difference between grape and cherry tomatoes – it mostly comes down to the shape. Cherry tomatoes are round and small, similar to cherries. Grape tomatoes are typically oblong, and a little hardier and smaller than cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes tend to be a little sweeter than their grape size counterpart.

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Anyway, I digress. With this love of the mini tomatoes, I started making a tomato and cucumber salad over the summer. Each time I made it, I added various ingredients to switch up the flavors based on my appetite.

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tomatocucumbersaladIt’s such an easy recipe. I slice a handful of grape tomatoes in half (length way). How many I use depends on the salad I’m making. Just for me? Maybe 10-12. To share? I add more. Then I slice a cucumber into small pieces and mix the vegetables together. Some other ingredient options:

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Fresh mozzarella balls, sliced

Bacon bits

Chopped hard boiled egg

Fresh spinach

Chopped chicken

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Then I add mix 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then drizzle onto the salad. Toss lightly and enjoy!

 

Easy slow cooker shredded chicken August 22, 2016

Filed under: do it yourself — Heather @ 2:00 pm
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shreddedchicken

Easy slow cooker meal.

I’m going to admit something. Here goes…..my interest in cooking this summer has been small. No, actually it’s been pretty nonexistent. I don’t know what happened. I really got into cooking this past winter and spring. I made many new recipes and enjoyed the process. But this summer, I’ve struggled to find the enthusiasm to cook and some days even to eat (no worries, Mom, I am eating.). I don’t know if it’s the hot, humid weather or too much on my schedule. I even told a friend that I thought eating was over-rated, which made her gasp (she’s a big food lover and enjoys cooking so probably not the best person to confess to!).

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But this week, I realized that I’m drinking too many smoothies for dinner or nibbling on edamame. Probably not the healthiest way to eat. So I decided to go back to my easy to make recipe that provides a few meal options. I thought I’d share it in case you’re in need of an easy meal.

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I was fortunate to work from home the other day while I finished some newsletter articles. That allowed me to be home to think about dinner in the early afternoon and remember this easy recipe!

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Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pound(s) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 cups salsa (I tend to use more salsa because I like the extra ‘sauce’ at the end. I also use chunky, mild salsa but you can use whatever brand/type you prefer.)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp fajita seasoning (optional)
  • Green and/or red bell peppers, sliced (optional)

Easy prep:
I add all of the ingredients to my slow cooker, then lightly mix everything together. I make sure that the chicken is mixed in and covered with the salsa. Then cover with the lid and cook on low for 4 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, remove and shred with two forks. Mix shredded chicken back in slow cooker and let cook for 10-15 minutes.

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chickensalad

I love chicken fajita salad!

Once cooked, you can make the chicken into any meal. I often make a chicken fajita salad with lettuce, chicken salsa mixture, shredded cheese, vegetables and tortilla strips. I also make chicken tacos and fajitas.

 

How to make homemade wool dryer balls March 13, 2016

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I love making crafts, learning new activities and anything that lets me be creative. My projects may not always turn out fabulous but I usually have fun trying, which is really what matters, right?

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I’ve always enjoyed different do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. Many of my projects over the past few months are focused on being healthier and greener in my home as I try to move away from chemicals and also save money. I often am asked how to make different items so decided to share some of my projects on this blog. You’ll notice a new DIY tab where these type of blogs will be organized.

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To kick off this new tab, I’m sharing how to make homemade dryer balls with wool yarn. You can also add natural essential oils for a fresh scent.These wool dryer balls are a nice alternative to dryer sheets and fabric softener, which often contain harsh chemicals and dyes. Many of the commercial scents, such as lavender, are made with chemicals that create the scent and aren’t made with natural ingredients. So the more I thought of these chemicals seeping into my clothes, sheets and towels, which touch my very sensitive skin, I decided to try making my own dryer balls.

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These wool dryer balls are very easy to make. I’ll forewarn you to keep a tight grasp on the yarn ball as you’re wrapping as it’s a bummer when the ball drops and unravels (that thankfully only happened once to me!).

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You need:

  • 100% wool yarn (I bought from my local craft store. I chose a cream color so I can use in all fabric and color laundry loads).
  • Pantyhose (use one with a run in it!) – I used a knee high but full leg will work too.
  • Essential oil (optional if you want scented dryer balls)
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Here’s what to do:

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Wrap the end of the yarn around your middle and index finger approximately 10 times. Remove that yarn from your fingers and wrap yarn 3-5 times around the middle so it looks like a bow.

dryerballs_woolstart

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Continue tightly wrapping the yarn around and around, ensuring it forms a round ball. Do this until the round shape is about the size of a tennis ball. Cut the yarn and securely tuck the end into the ball. Make sure this is tucked securely into the ball so it doesn’t come unraveled during the wash cycle (see below).

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Repeat the same action until you have a total of four balls.

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Next, place one ball into the bottom of the pantyhose (if you’re using a full leg hose, cut just above knee length). Tie a tight knot right above the yarn ball, then repeat with each ball. Make sure the last knot is secure.

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Add the yarn balls in the pantyhose to the washer (you can wash with dirty load of laundry). Wash on the hottest heat setting. Then dry on the hottest setting. This allows the yarn ball to felt, or fuse together to create a solid ball. I washed and dried my yarn balls first on a medium heat setting – this caused the yarn to not felt securely and they fell apart during the next wash cycle. I washed and dried my next set of yarn balls on the hottest cycles and it worked!

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Once the balls are dry, remove the pantyhose. Now you can use your new dryer balls! Add the dryer balls to your next load of laundry’s dry cycle. For a freshly scented laundry, add 1-3 drops of essential oils. I use Purify (cleansing blend) or lavender, but you can use any scent that you enjoy!

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Tips:

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Remove laundry from the dryer when it’s dry, not always when the dryer turns off. Drying your clothes longer than necessary often causes static cling.

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I include 3-4 dryer balls per dry cycle.

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It takes one drop of essential oil per ball for a great smelling load of laundry! For a stronger scent, add more drops. The scent usually lasts two cycles. Reapply oils whenever you feel necessary.

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To order Purify, lavender or other essential oils, click here (this is my website for essential oils).

 

 
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