Posted 06-26-2017 at 06:13 AM by Jessica
I LOVE crepes. And I know that I say I LOVE every recipe I write about, and that is absolutely true as well. My heart is big enough to love all the food. There’s just something about crepes though. They’re much lighter than pancakes, and even though they’ve got their fair share of sugar, they seem kind of healthy to me – especially when they’re loaded with berries.
Another reason I love them so much is because of how easy they are to whip up with kitchen staples you likely already have on hand! I’m about to take the ease one step further, by whipping them up using NO mixing bowl. Yep, you read that right! No mixing bowl needed – the only supplies you’ll use are a clean recycled plastic water bottle, a funnel, a frying pan and a spatula.
Note: This would be PERFECT for camping! Simply add all the ingredients to the bottle and store in a cooler until breakfast time!
- 2/3 c. flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. milk
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil or melted butter
- Optional: Powdered sugar, Nutella, whipped cream, fruit
Take the funnel to the bottle nozzle and start adding the eggs, flour, butter or oil, milk and sugar. Seal the bottle and shake until the ingredients are well mixed. Butter your frying pan and place on medium heat, then pour enough of the batter to coat the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, flipping when it reaches a golden brown color. Put the crepe on a dish and add your choice of toppings (Nutella with lots of berries is my favorite!) fold in half or roll, then top with powdered sugar.
How simple was that?! Enjoy!
Posted 06-25-2017 at 05:47 PM by Jessica
Want an original, beautiful and healthy gift idea?!
If you’re in need of a relatively inexpensive and very unique gift idea for someone (and you know they’re a fruit lover) this is perfect! For starters, you’ll need a variety of fruits… For example: oranges, pineapple (I love using a pineapple because it’s just so darn cool-looking!) bananas, bunches of grapes, red and green apples, kiwis, melon, pears etc. You’ll also obviously need a basket. I like using the kind with a handle as it makes it easier to transport, but any size or style basket will do. Also, some colored tissue paper or cellophane, maybe some paper confetti, and a piece of cardboard that you’ll cut to the size of the bottom of the basket. A colored bow or ribbon also adds a nice touch.
If you’d like to do a little more than just fruit you can always add in a bottle of honey, a bag of granola, some cheeses or chocolates… anything! If you’d like some tips on assembling the basket, keep reading…
Grab your basket, and if you’d like it to be a little more sturdy you can put the piece of cardboard as a base. Start by adding some tissue paper on the sides before adding in the fruit that will hold it all in place. If you’re using a pineapple, place it in the center (because pineapples are the best and they deserve to be the center of attention).Then add in the other fruits around the pineapple, placing the larger fruits at the bottom and the smaller ones like the plums or kiwi’s on top so they can be seen. If you’re using bananas, detach them from the cluster and arrange them individually to add a pop of color all around.
Once the fruits are placed you can add in more tissue or cellophane paper and any other items you’re gifting. If you want to take it one step further, wrap the entire basket with some of the cellophane paper and tie the top with a bow!
There you go! It’s a really simple gift to put together, but it’s creative and lots of fun to do. This is a great “just because” gift, it would be awesome to gift to a family moving into a new home as a house-warming gift, or to the parents of a new baby. No matter how you assemble it, whether it’s just a simple basket with some bananas and oranges or a large one filled to the brim with colorful fruits, whoever you gift it to is sure to appreciate it.
Posted 06-24-2017 at 11:37 AM by Jessica
Want to save up for a vacation, put some extra money away for the future, or just cut down on costs generally?
To start, you’ll need to analyze how much you spend in any given category (food, clothing, utilities…). Put together a spreadsheet, write it in a notebook, or use an online budgeting site! Calculate your monthly transportation and/or gasoline costs, how much you’re spending on groceries, eating out, etc. Sometimes it can be a shock to see how much you spend vs. how much you really should be spending, but in order to be more financially savvy, you’ll have to face the reality and look at all of the numbers in order to know what needs to be cut back and come up with a game plan!
Did you really need to go out to dinner 4 times that week? Or perhaps you could’ve waited for a sale before grabbing those expensive shoes? Each family is completely different when it comes to the extra expenses and how they work them out. If eating out is important to your family, don’t stop it entirely! Perhaps just opt for less expensive restaurants, share large dishes, or cut down a bit on the number of times you go.
Other costs are just plain necessary (like gasoline, groceries, etc.) but there are obviously ways that you can cut back on them, too! For example… Carpool, take the bus, meal plan before grocery shopping, use coupons… etc etc etc.
Here are just a few more tips!
1. If you’re spending too much on utilities, consider disconnecting all the electronic household appliances when they are not being used. The microwave, televisions, and even computers that are turned off but still connected to a charger in the wall can still be using up electricity. Even though it’s a small amount, it adds up!
2. Also, you can reduce gas consumption and electricity by turning off the thermostat in winter season and using the fireplace instead (depending on the type of fireplace you have). Or just opt to not have the heat on as high at night and layer everyone up with a few extra blankets and warmer pajamas. As long as everyone is still comfortable, changing the temperature by just a few degrees can make a big difference!
3. When it comes to furnishing your home, buying clothes or household items, try to purchase second-hand whenever possible. Many people sell their objects and furniture online or at yard sales, and you can usually find quite a few pieces are are in almost-new condition! (I once bought barstool chairs for super cheap, and they hadn’t even been used! The previous owner bought too many a while back, and just stored them in her garage.)
4. Or, instead of buying anything at all, do some research and figure out how to restore or even just repaint your current furniture, or learn to properly clean your old shoes or patch up worn-out clothing for cheap. PLUS, before going out to buy a new pair of shoes, try selling the few pairs that you don’t like or that don’t fit first!
5. As mentioned before, to cut back on gasoline costs, try to find someone that may want to carpool – whether that’s a carpool buddy for work, or perhaps a group of parents that trade off taking everyone’s kids to school. Not only are you spening less on gas, you’re also helping the environment as well! Woohoo!
6. And, also as mentioned before, try to find ways to cut back on food expenses as well. Simply look for ways to not to leave each day to eat in restaurants – packing lunches for work, taking turns with cooking to lessen the meal-making burden, and simply setting a limit for how many meals can be take-out or eaten at a restaurant.
7. When grocery shopping, check the supermarket ads before you go to see what is on sale. Also, learning how to use coupons can help you save so much! Plus, never go to the store hungry, and try to have recipes already planned out so that you don’t end up wasting money on items you don’t even need.
Those are just a few specific tips that have personally helped me to save money. Each family is different, with different expenses being more important, so be sure to take some time to see what would really help you best!
If you have any tips on saving more money each month, leave them in the comments! I’d love to hear what you do, and I’m sure other readers would as well!
Posted 06-22-2017 at 09:52 AM by Jessica
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a successful and fun birthday party! Here are 10 tips for planning a party on the cheap…
1. Set a budget: The most important thing about starting a party is your budget. Set the maximum limit of your budget and do not spend more than budgeted.
2. Guest list: The amount of money you spend can vary greatly depending on the number of guests. If you do it only for a small group of children your expenses will be much lower and if you consider that there will be adults, obviously the expense will be greater.
3. Date and time: The schedule is very important, plan it after lunch or after dinnertime so you can prepare only snacks, appetizers and other light foods. That way you can leave more free room in your budget for other things.
4. Location: The cheapest option is your house or in the house of a family member or friend – or if weather-permits at an outdoor park. If you choose to rent a place like a club house or a party room do it during the week and at earlier hours, as that will also reduce rental costs.
5. Using disposables: If you want to use disposable items for cups, plates, utensils, and tablecloths try to buy them at your local dollar store, or buy with coupons during a sale. And don’t throw out the extras, save them for the next time.
6. Food options: If you decide to have a lunch or dinner party ask your close family or friends to help you by bringing a favorite dish or snack. That way you aren’t spending as much and you will have a larger variety of foods. Plus, the dishes can be a great conversation-starter!
7. Drinks: Do not consume soda if you have the option of preparing fresh waters with flavors. Aside from being healthier, it can also be less expensive. Also, put names on the cups so the children and adults will keep their own, and prepare ahead of time to make your own ice.
8. Cake: Instead of shelling out a fortune on a cake from a bakery, try your hand at making your own! You can snag a box of cake mix for a couple bucks and whip up your own frosting from ingredients in your pantry. A couple dollars worth of sprinkles and fun candles will be all you need to make a cute cake.
9. Invitations: Do not spend money on paper invitations. Instead, use social networks like Facebook to create your own event with all of the details on your party. It’s easier to see who can attend this way, and all without spending a single dollar.
10. Decorations: Get creative with finding decorations for your theme. Balloons are fairly inexpensive, and can make a room feel very festive. You can also use decorations from a previous holiday or party, or ask to borrow decorations from a friend or family member. Remember not everything has to be of excellent quality; if your budget is limited there are always good options that don’t break the bank.
Posted 06-20-2017 at 12:24 PM by Jessica
When it comes to vinegar – I’ve always been totally clueless. I have hardly touched it for cooking, let alone used it to clean! Pinterest came around and helped to change that, though. Suddenly I saw pin after pin that exposed me to all of these uses regular old vinegar could have when it came to cleaning your home!
The one cleaning solution I was most anxious to make was one that involved Dawn soap in order to create a shower glass cleaning spray! My shower has always driven me nuts since we have such hard water where we live, so it always looks insanely dirty. And yes, I have invested in a squeegee, but that didn’t always cut it! I’ve tried half a dozen different shower-specific cleaners, and they usually left me inhaling chemicals without even accomplishing much! Because of that, I decided to give the vinegar shower-cleaning solution a try… and LOVED it.
I wish I had taken before and after photos to show you just how nicely this solution works! Anyways, it’s super easy to make – simply mix 1 part Dawn with 1 part white vinegar and pour into a spray bottle! Spray your shower down and let sit for at least a couple of minutes. Scrub the heavily soiled areas lightly, and then rinse clean and watch with amazement as the hard water deposits, dirt and soap scum disappear!
Posted 06-17-2017 at 03:31 PM by Jessica
If you’re looking for authentic and super delicious Mexican Enchiladas, you’re in the right place. This recipe belongs to my suegra (mother-in-law) who is from Mexico City, Mexico. She is an incredible cook, and her enchiladas are to die for. I’ve always made my enchiladas by using the oven to cook the rolled up tortillas with the meat, sauce and cheese, but the authentic way is a bit different – you don’t use the oven at all!
Okay, let’s get to it! Here is her recipe for Enchiladas Verdes – translated from Spanish to English just for you!
- 3 chicken breasts
- 1/2 large onion
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 or more serrano or jalapeño chili’s (depending on how spicy you’d like it)
- 25 tomatillos
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 branch of cilantro
- 20 to 25 corn tortillas
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Shredded or crumbled fresh cheese (mozzarella or queso fresco work great!)
- Sour cream, avocado, cilantro
Cook the chicken with onion and salt in boiling water for 25 minutes. After it is thoroughly cooked, strain out the chicken and shred it. Be sure to reserve the water and onion for later use.
In a separate pot, cook the tomatillos and chiles for 5 minutes in boiling water. Then in the blender, add the reserved water and onion and liquefy the tomatoes and the boiled chili peppers along with the garlic cloves. Pour pureed salsa back into stockpot and bring to low boil.
Pour the oil into the bottom of the frying pan and heat it up so that you can fry the tortillas lightly on each side (do not leave the tortilla in the oil for a long time).
After, dip each fried tortilla into the boiling salsa, then place on a plate and put the chicken on top of the tortillas placed on the plate (1 or 2 tablespoons will be sufficient) and roll them in. Pour additional sauce on top of the enchiladas, and finally, adorn with crumbled or shredded cheese, onion, cilantro and sour cream to taste. ENJOY!
Posted 06-14-2017 at 10:00 PM by Jessica
Summer is officially HERE! Well, in terms of school being out it is. The first official day of summer according to the calendar is the June 20th, so we’ve got just a bit longer to go. As soon as the weather gets warm enough I transition from my boots, flats and sneakers to nothing but flip-flops. I’m honestly a very lazy person. So much so that even the thought of taking a few extra seconds to strap on sandals is enough to keep me wholeheartedly addicted to flip-flops.
Even if you aren’t a huge flip-flop wearer like I am, I doubt you’ll be able to resist how cute these flip-flop wreaths I’ve found are! They are the perfect symbol of summer, and you can usually score them for super cheap at Walmart or during a sale at Old Navy! Take a second to look through the following tutorials – then get crafting!
A few of my favorite flip-flop wreaths…
You can make this fun flip-flop “wreath” welcome sign in under 30 minutes! Now that’s my kind of craft! Head here for detailed instructions.
Head here for a tutorial on this style of flip-flop wreath. There are 6 different flip-flop wreath themes that A Day in the Life with TJ has crafted, from Patriotic to Wild Colors!
This last wreath is also super inexpensive to make, and has a cute flower in the middle! Check it out here.
Posted 06-4-2017 at 03:23 PM by Jessica
As much as I love berries, they can also be a big pain. I find that unless they’re all eaten within a few days they go bad and I’m forced to throw them out. It’s particularly sad when I know I spent nearly $5 on a tiny carton of raspberries, and they’re all going to waste! In order to prevent that from happening again, I did a bit of research and have come up with 3 tips that can help make sure that you never have to toss out moldy berries again!
Buy when on sale: It’s rare to find a coupon for berries, but if you do, run to the store and use it! Also, check the weekly ads from your favorite grocery stores to see if anyone is offering up a sale. When the prices have been cut on the berries you like, stock up! Don’t worry, even if you grab 5 packages of blueberries, I promise none of them will go to waste if you follow the other 2 steps…
Vinegar wash: I’ll admit, when I first came across this “vinegar wash” tip for extending the life of berries, I was skeptical. But now that I’ve tried it and have seen raspberries last in my fridge without any mold for nearly two weeks… I’m sold.
Simply mix 1 cup white vinegar with 3 cups water in a large bowl. Place the berries inside the mixture and let soak for at least 2 minutes. Afterwards, rinse off the vinegar and pat dry. The pH of the vinegar is what kills off any mold spores and bacteria – greatly extending the life of your berries.
Freeze: Place the amount of berries you expect to be able to eat in the fridge and then store the rest in an airtight freezer-bag. Berries stay good in the freezer for around a year! I love to add a cup of frozen blueberries to my warm oatmeal for breakfast, or I use the frozen fruit to make smoothies or berry pie!
Alrighty, that’s it! Let me know if you like these tips, and what YOU do to get your money’s worth when it comes to produce.
Posted 05-26-2017 at 07:37 PM by Jessica
Does the long list of ingredients in your dogs’ treats scare you a bit? Do you ever get sick of giving your dogs the same boring dog treats? (Okay, maybe they’re not really that boring, lots of them are actually really cool! I’m just trying to be persuasive here…) Do you want to give your dog an extra-special and good for them treat every once and a while? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then I highly suggest you try your hand at making some homemade dog treats! I promise they’re simple.
Here are two of my dogs’ all-time favorite treat recipes…
Pumpkin Apple Dog Treats
Have you heard about how good pumpkin is for dogs? It’s so great for promoting healthy digestion. These fiber-packed treats will probably become your dogs’ favorites in no time. Want the recipe? Click HERE.
Frozen Strawberry and Banana Smoothie Dog Treats
With each one of these recipes I’m always so tempted to try a bite… I mean, they’re all human-safe ingredients! They just don’t always happen to taste so great to us thanks to the lack of sugar. These Smoothie Treats though… they’re pretty close to yummy. Packed with nutrition from the fresh fruit, these are perfect for helping your pup to cool off on hot Summer days! Find the recipe here.
Let me know how your fur babies liked these! And if you have any favorite recipes, share them in the comments below!
Posted 05-22-2017 at 07:36 PM by Jessica
In the past month in Utah we’ve had our share of both 70 degree sunny days and a couple of snowstorms. Lovely Utah. Because of the roller-coaster ride Mother Nature puts us Utahns through during the Spring, it’s important to know what flowers are hardy enough to endure the cold weather we’re still experiencing in May if you’re interested in getting started on beautifying your yard. Because I’m the kind of person that runs to Home Depot as soon as they start selling flowers, I’ve had to do my research on cold-tolerant flowers that can be planted in the early Spring. Here is a list of a few of my favorites…
Pansies are my favorite early spring flower. These annuals come in so many different colors, and even different sizes, too! With all the variations, you could easily get away with simply planting pansies all over your yard, and still have it look incredible!
Ahh daffodils… If I had unlimited room I’m sure my yard would be overflowing with daffodils. These beauties prefer full sun, and lucky for us, they’re perennials so they will come back each year!
I grew up in a home with a massive lilac bush in our backyard. I remember the sweet fragrance it filled our yard with, and how gorgeous the flowers were! Because of that, I’ve always loved lilacs. Especially since they are okay with the chilly weather as long as they’re planted with full sun exposure.
4) Harmony and Acoma Iris
Like lilac, iris love full sun, and do well when planted in the early spring. These unique flowers would make a beautiful addition to your yard.
5) Grape Hyacinth
These I remember from my grandmothers’ garden. Her front yard was filled with these flowers. I love their unique blooms and deep blue-purple color! If you’ve never planted these, you need to give them a try!
Have you gotten started on planting in your yard? What flowers have you chosen?