Sweet P's Owl Birthday Extravaganza

Ok, it wasn't quite an extravaganza, but it sometimes felt like it. Thanks to Auntie Rosita's amazing graphic design abilities and my amazing sewing skills (do you hint the sarcasm here?), this birthday was a hit. I was thrilled with how it all came out. This is an overview of the party and each section will have an additional blog to highlight that area. You can also find an entry on Auntie Rosita's blog (which you should visit anyway if you never have).

The Party
Auntie Rosita made the invites, of course, and they turned out super cute. I love owls and since Sweet P does too, I thought Look Whooooo's 2 was an appropriate theme. I've actually loved the theme since she was 1, but thought Who and 2 rhymed better. Am I crazy? Maybe. Check out Auntie Rosita's blog for a pic of the invites.

Birthday Banner
The adorable banner was also designed by Auntie Rosita and overnighted to us in time for the party! I made the tissue balls the night before with tissue paper I had lying around the house and some pipe cleaners. Super simple and they turned out really cute.

The Party Hat
Who do you think designed the party hat? Yep, Auntie Rosita. She emailed it to me and I printed, cut and glued it together. Hole punched holes in the sides and tied in some ribbon, glued on a cute little pompom for the owl's hat and added a sprig of ribbon to the top. LOVE how it turned out.
I've seen these cupcakes in various places and went on a mission to make them as healthy as possible. They turned out pretty cute, pretty healthy and pretty tasty. More on the recipe and construction of the owl cupcakes in an additional post.

I saw one version of these masks at Joann's and Auntie Rosita sent me a pic of the girl version from Michael's. And of course, our Michael's didn't have them so Auntie Rosita overnighted 3 masks as well. Auntie Rosita must really love us!!! The kiddos colored these using Do-A-Dot markers during the party and took them home as a party favor. This was a great activity and I think Sweet P and her friends had a fun time with them.

Party Favors
The icing on the cake (teehee) was the party favors. These bad boys (and girls, I suppose) took me about a week, but it was well worth it. I LOVE how they turned out and that each kiddo got their own. I found the idea here and made MUCH smaller versions for the toddlers at the party. I also included two bottles of bubbles I had left over from her party last year.

I love how everything turned out and I think my girl had a great time, I know I did! We got to reuse the banner and hat at her birthday party in Dallas with my family and now I have them to put in a scrapbook.

Check out 2012's Monster Birthday Party!

I'm Famous, Ya'll!

Okay, so maybe I'm not quite famous, but I'm pretty excited about this feature.

My dear friend Amy (I talked about her here) wrote an article for the Associated Press (AP) about coffee crafts and featured my coffee collar! It also has some other fun ideas about coffee crafts and I LOVE me some coffee.

I am so excited about this and love how Amy's article and photo turned out. Check out the article here, here and here!

If you missed out on the original coffee collar post, you can find it here. But the directions and supply list are also in the article. Thanks Amy!

Pesto Grilled Cheese

Auntie Kannon is visiting and we spent our morning driving around to garage sales, a soccer game, the Farmer's Market and Market Day...in the rain. Made for a maddening morning (and 2 hours in the car), but we finally made it out of the car and into the Market and we had some yummy breakfast burritos around 11 or so. So we were hungry again when 3pm hit (we wanted ice cream, but that idea got nixed). We whipped up some spinach pesto we found here and decided it'd taste pretty delish on a grilled cheese, so you're getting 2 recipes rolled into one!

The Recipe: Spinach Pesto

What you need:
1 cup fresh (from your garden if ya got it) spinach
1/4 c feta cheese
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp walnuts
1 tbsp minced garlic
sprinkle of garlic salt
sprinkle dried basil
sprinkle oregano

Put it all in a mini food processor and pulse until smooth (the feta can be a bit chunky in the end). Serve with pasta, chunky bread or grilled cheese!

#2) The Recipe: Pesto Grilled Cheese

What you need:
1 tbsp spinach pesto
grated or sliced colby cheese
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 tsp olive oil

Spread spinach pesto on one slice of bread. Place cheese and second slice of bread on top of the pesto. Pour 1 tsp olive oil in skillet and heat. Grill sandwich on medium in a skillet until lightly browned on both sides.

SO yummy! We scarfed the sandwiches before taking a picture, but trust me...they were amazing!

Vegetarian Recipes Blog Hop!

Ok, y'all, I'm hosting my very own blog hop today. And it's all about vegetarian meals. Please only post vegetarian meals -- NO meat allowed! At least for this blog hop, anyway. It doesn't have to be a meal either, it can be a dessert. Because I love dessert. And dessert recipes. So post away! And hop away!

The Recipe: Baked Veggie Sandwiches

What you need:
Some good, good bread (sorry that's a family joke, but you need a good crunchy bread or something like ciabatta)
handful of spinach
1 mushroom
2 artichoke hearts
4 slices of roasted red pepper
1 tsp olive oil or 1 tbsp marinara
2 slices of colby cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut your bread in half lengthwise. Spread olive oil or marinara on both sides of bread. Add mushrooms, chopped spinach to one side and top with a slice of cheese. Stack red peppers and artichokes on the other half and top with remaining slice of cheese. Bake for 8 minutes. Stack together halves and serve! So yummy.

1) Entries MUST be a vegetarian recipe/picture/meal/dessert.
2) Please try to visit (and comment) on at least 2 other recipes.
3) Please link back to this post with a link or this button!

The Iowa Farmer's Wife

Pimento Cheese Pizza

I know that title might sound a little, um, gross, but trust me. It's not the healthiest vegetarian meal on the block, but it's really good, y'all. The Farmer would hate it because it has mayonnaise, but it's actually really yummy.

The Recipe: Pimento Cheese Pizza

What you need:
8-inch pizza crust (from recipe or store bought)
1/2 c of shredded cheese
2 tbsp mayo
2 tbsp chopped green olives
1 tsp olive juice
1 tbsp chopped green chile

Mix all ingredients (expect the pizza crust) in a small mixing bowl. Spread on pizza crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

So yummy and SO quick!

Why I'm a Vegetarian and Chana Masala

Happy National Vegetarian Week!

I'm a vegetarian for lots of reasons, but let me back up for a minute. If you want to get right down to it, I'm a lacto-ovo, pescetarian. All that really means is that I eat dairy products, eggs and fish. My dear husband does not. Well, he is sort of lacto since he eats yogurt and cheese, but the man despises cow's milk, eggs and fish. Although he will eat eggs if they are baked into something, like a cake. But anyway, enough about that.

I really only eat fish at restaurants and don't keep fish or cow's milk (since neither of us drinks it) in the house. Eggs are a different story. I eat them for meals and use them for baking on occasion. Otherwise I use vegan eggs.

So why exactly am I vegetarian? Most people might think it's because my husband is, but I became a vegetarian before we started dating. I'm not a huge fan of red meat. I don't like the taste and chicken just grosses me out, but I won't get in to how disgusting meat is.

I read a book once (can't remember what it was or where) that talked about animals that eat vegetables all day long: horses, cows, etc. and how powerful they are. It then talked about how powerful meat-eating animals: lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), sleep all day (and they do). That's one of my main reasons. I think about how tired eating meat made me. I know that might sound weird, but think about it.

I can honestly say that the Farmer and I are sick less and neither of us suffer from allergies. Our meals are also a whole heckuva lot more creative than when I was a meat eater. And honestly, I like it that way. Despite what most people who meet us think, we get plenty of protein. Most people eat WAY too much protein, since it's in a lot of non-meat foods already.

I can't believe I'm sharing this, but as a child/teen/young adult I suffered from IBS. Since eating a vegetarian diet, I rarely (I can't even remember the last time) have IBS issues. And we are definitely regular around these parts.

There is also vast research that shows that a predominantly plant-based diet can help lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes (but you should also steer clear of highly processed foods and "bad" fats). Quite frankly the amounts of hormones and antibiotics in meat, eggs, milk, etc. scares me A LOT. I should also mention that what they do to animals to get the meat is disgusting. The egg industry is pretty gross too, but I'm not there, yet.

The Farmer has other reasons for becoming a vegetarian, but most of our reasons revolve around the health benefits. I'm not out to convince anyone to give up meat, but think about it. It's better for you, your body and our world.

Vegetarian Recipe: Chana Masala

What you need:
1 can of Rotel (or one large tomato and green chiles)
1 small onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of fresh spinach
2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 tbsp minced garlic or 2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c plain yogurt
1 cup water

Place Rotel and onion in a mini food processor and pulse until pureed. Heat olive oil and garlic in a skillet on medium heat and pour in tomato puree. Add cumin, turmeric, ginger and lemon juice. Cook until the water cooks out and the puree lightens. Add fresh spinach and cook until wilted. Pour in garbanzo beans and stir in yogurt. Pour in 1 c of water (you may need to add a bit more...I like a lot of liquid) to create a gravy. Simmer on medium low for 5 minutes.

Serve with naan.

This meal is so good (and I don't really think the picture shows that!) and tastes great with naan.

National Vegetarian Week

It's National Vegetarian Week this week (says the UK anyway), which means we're celebrating! (Because who doesn't love a celebration?!) This week I'll be featuring the reasons we are vegetarians and why you should think about going meat free...at least once a week! It's easier than you think, and tasty too!

Take the Veggie Pledge or just plan to eat at least one meat free meal this week to celebrate National Vegetarian Week!

I'll even have a linky party later in the week where you can link up your vegetarian meals from this week! Hope you'll join my family and me as we celebrate National Vegetarian Week today through next Sunday!

Did I use enough exclamation points in this post? Can you tell I'm excited about this?!

Saving it for Later

Sweet P and I just made an 11 hour drive to Gammie's house. We got here Monday evening and I have to say that my little chickadee did pretty awesome (except for the whole opening the stall door in a gas station bathroom).

We had plenty of books, snacks, toys, stickers, a fun Splash art toy and DVDs for the last 1.5 hours ('cause we were both getting restless). She actually had more fun looking at the DVD cases instead of watching the DVD!

She only napped for 40 minutes, but that's what happens when 40 minutes after she falls asleep you have to stop to pay a toll. Blasted toll. Anyway, we made it here safely and soundly, but I do have a funny story to tell.

Right before she fell asleep she was eating a stick of celery. I thought she'd finished it, but after she woke up, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw her chomping on something. Yep. Celery. Apparently she woke up and the very first thing she did was take a bite. Guess she was saving that for later.

Eating Toddler Leftovers

This is a column written by my dear friend Amy. Her stories are funny and oh so true! This is the most recent column, but she writes them every other week in the Des Moines Register. Worth the read!

Happy Birthday Pancakes

Happy birthday to the sweetest 2 year old I know!

And a quick birthday recipe:

The Recipe: Almond Flour Pancakes

What you need:
1 1/4 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour (we found ours at Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup (heaping) organic rolled oats
2 flax eggs (see recipe at bottom)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup organic soy milk

Combine dry ingredients. Add flax eggs, honey, olive oil and soy milk until well combined. Spoon on griddle drizzled with olive oil. Cook on medium heat for 1 minute, then flip. Makes 3-4 servings (depending on who's eating them!). Top with blueberries, peanut butter or syrup. Yum!

Flax eggs: Whisk together 1 tbsp of organic ground flaxseed and 3 tbsp water for each egg. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. It will become gel-like and work more like an egg.