Monday, March 30, 2015

Cinnamon Chip & Cream Cheese Scones

A couple years ago, I had a delicious cream cheese scone while on vacation in Utah.  I became a little obsessed with the idea of it and found myself thinking through how this bakery was able to get chunks of cream cheese throughout their scones without it completely mixing into their batter.

It occurred to me that if they froze the cream cheese before mixing it into the batter, it would hold its shape and leave little chunks of cream cheese throughout the pastry.  I finally got around to testing my theory out a couple weeks ago.

I prepped my cream cheese by cutting it into 1/4 - 1/2 inch cubes, placing the cubes spaced out in a single layer on a plate and freezing for a few hours.  Then, I mixed my frozen cream cheese cubes and cinnamon chips into one of my favorite scone batters.

After anxiously watching the scones in the oven, I was rewarded with a deliciously sweet and creamy Cinnamon Chip and Cream Cheese Scone that paired perfectly with my cup of tea.  Not only did my theory work, it tasted delicious too!!  I love when thing work out the way I want!
Cinnamon Chip & Cream Cheese Scone Recipe

What made it even better, is when My Love came home and tasted them.  He is my best taste tester because he is brutally honest with me.  At first he thought I should add some cinnamon to the batter. But, after his second scone, he said that I should keep them the way they are because they are "addicting"!  SUCCESS!!!

Here's the recipe:

Friday, March 27, 2015

DIY Air Freshener

For her third birthday, Lovebug had a science experiment birthday party (I plan on sharing the details of that party one of these days!) and one of the experiments required baking soda.  So, we bought a Costco sized bag of baking soda to ensure we had enough to test the experiment as well as to allow each kid to run the experiment.  We figured that between the party and all the baking I do, we'd get through it.  

Well, despite having about 15-20 kids at the party, a handful of holidays and a kicked up effort to bake, we are barely getting through what seems to be a lifetime sized bag of baking soda.  The problem is that the baking soda is going to expire later this year.  So, I have had to come up with some creative ideas to make use of it before it goes bad.

This DIY Air Freshener is one of those ideas.  I always keep a box of baking soda in my fridge to keep any odors at bay.  So, I decided to replace the not so attractive box with a cute and decorative mason jar air freshener.  
DIY Air Freshener

Here's how I made it:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

DIY Decorative Closet Storage Boxes

Over the holidays, My Love and I spent some time getting our closet organized.  He went through his clothes and pulled out items that could be donated.  While I spent my time, making better use of the space.

One shelf, in particular, needed serious attention.  It would start out stacked with neatly folded clothes but would quickly turn into a dumping ground for anything and everything.  And any time I would go to grab something from the shelf, I'd have to spend five minutes digging through clothes to find what I was looking for.  It was really inefficient, messy and a complete waste of space.  (Sorry I don't have pictures of the before but I'm sure you can imagine what it looked like.  Just think messy teenager bedroom, but on a shelf.) 

Eventually, we plan on installing a nice closet system.  But, that project isn't high on our list right now.  So, the goal was to make the closet more functional by using more vertical space with closet storage boxes, while sticking to a budget.   But, it had to look nice too!

Unfortunately, I wasn't loving the storage options I was finding...  The ones with cute designs were out of my budget and the ones that were the right price were... well let's just say functional and leave it at that.   So, I decided to grab some plain canvas storage boxes with lids and pretty them up with some fabric paint.  I just love how they turned out!!

Here's how I did it:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Moist & Tender Chicken Kababs

Growing up, chicken kababs were a staple in our house and one of my favorite meals.  I finally got my moms recipe the last time she was in town and can't stop making them!  I guess I am making up for lost time?  Plus, now that the weather is warming up here in Arizona, I'm sure these delicious babies will be in heavy rotation! 

The chicken kababs are tender, moist, full of citrus flavor and incredibly easy to make.  They are a great make ahead or weeknight meal because they need to marinade overnight and they cook really quickly.  Plus, they pair well with almost any vegetable side dish.  My parents would serve them for family dinners as well as for company and they were always a hit! 

Delicious, quick and versatile - the perfect combination for any meal!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Changes Around Here

If you're a regular visitor, you've probably noticed that posts have been few and far between over the last year or so.  At first, it was adjusting to being back at work while juggling two kids. Then, it was adjusting to two kids going to different schools, meaning two drop offs and pickups while scrambling to keep the house together, getting kids to activities, preparing meals and working full time.  Then, cold and flu season hit us with a vengeance again and again and again and again...  Seriously, what did we ever do to you colds and flu's!?!  I'm starting to take this personal!!

To make matters worse, somewhere in the midst of all this, I got a little lost.  I started questioning all my ideas, my recipes, photography and staging skills, my personal taste, etc.  I even gave some thought to changing my blog - name, content and all!  I don't know how it happened or why, but I was overthinking everything.   I just felt like I had lost my voice, which left me overwhelmed, uninspired and in a bit of a creative block.

So, I took a minute day month time to stop, assess and figure out what to do.  

The first thing I realized was that I did not want to stop blogging.  Even when I questioned myself, I was still coming up with ideas that I wanted to share and I still enjoyed blogging when I actually did it.  Blogging was always on my mind and I felt a void when I wasn't doing it.  Plus, I didn't want to set a bad example for my girls by quitting something I really enjoy because it had become challenging to make it work.

Then, I really started focusing on what the crux of the issue was.  And the answer was time.  I simply didn't have time to focus on The Lovebugs Blog the way I wanted to and I wasn't willing to compromise the content just to get a post up.  I also wasn't willing to prioritize my blog above my family or life.  

So, after giving it a lot of thought.  I've decided to scale back. Big time.  

When I was posting regularly, I had gotten up to six posts a week, which was a lot.  But, posting six times a week just doesn't work for me anymore.  First off, I don't have the time to really create good content six times a week.  Secondly, the schedule I had created for myself felt rigid and sometimes I'd have an idea or something to share that wouldn't fit neatly into one of the designated daily categories. And lastly, it was adding unnecessary stress in my life, which completely defeats the purpose.

So, I'm cutting back to three posts a week and focusing only on content that I am most passionate about....  

  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • Organizing
  • Crafting
  • Home Decorations
  • Holidays
  • Kid's Stuff
  • Knowledge Share
  • Anything else that might be of interest

Maybe one day I'll get back to a more frequent posting schedule?  But, for now, you can expect to find recipes on Mondays, as usual, and fun projects, tutorials, etc. on Wednesdays and Fridays, based on what we've been up to.  

I really appreciate you sticking with me as I worked through things over the last year or so.  I feel so much better now that I have a plan and have shared it with you.  To be honest, I feel pretty ridiculous for not doing this sooner.  But, sometimes we just have to ride the wave to see if we're still standing on the other side.  

I'm really excited about the content I have planned and am feeling really good about the direction The Lovebugs Blog is going.  Like I said, I feel like I lost my way for a bit there, but I have found my way back to why I started blogging in the first place and it feels great! 

***Sorry for the word-y and picture free post!  But, I felt the need to explain myself!  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Quick & Easy Mud Pie

A couple weeks ago, we attended a potluck dinner at a friends house where we were responsible for dessert.  I didn't have much time to make it and I didn't want to take anything store bought, so quick and easy was the only option.  For some reason, despite all logic, I had my mind set on making ice cream pie.  

Seriously, who makes ice cream pie when it has to travel for 25 minutes?  I mean, it might make sense if you live on the east coast where there has been freezing temperatures and record snowfall this year.  But, we live in Arizona.  As in, the desert.  I admit, it was not my brightest moment.

In fact, I regretted it immediately once we got in the car.  But, I had to commit since I didn't have any other options at that point.  The pies obviously melted a bit in route but, lucky for me, the kids didn't care what their vanilla ice cream and candy pie looked like and it was dark by the time the Mud Pie was served to the adults .  So, the only thing anyone could judge on was taste.  And they tasted fantastic!  

You can't really go wrong with a chocolate crumb crust, coffee ice cream, chocolate ganache and nuts, right?  In fact, this Mud Pie was so good and so easy to pull together that I made it again this weekend to celebrate National Pi (3.14) Day!  

If you are looking for a quick and simple dessert that will be a hit, give this Mud Pie a try.  Only, you might want to consider serving it at your own house.  Take my word for it, it doesn't really travel well. 
Quick & Easy Mud Pie Recipe

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What's for Dinner?

Oh my gosh, you guys!  Sometimes, despite my best intentions, things just don't go the way I want them to.  I had planned on getting back to my regular posting schedule since the start of the year.  But, between life, work and colds (I swear, it's Groundhog Day around here!  Just as soon as one of us recovers another one goes down and the cycle just keeps repeating!), that has not happened.

I have so much content I want to share and just haven't had the time to focus on my beloved blog lately.  This week will likely be a bust again, but I'm hoping to get at least a few posts up and then, if all goes well, I should be back at it (with a vengeance!) next week.  

But, of course I just jinxed it.  So, there's that.  I swear I'll get back into my groove one of these days.  :(  

Sorry to be such a flake lately.  Hopefully things are going more seamlessly (and with a lot less snot!) for all of you than it has for me! 

But, for now, what's for dinner?

Monday:  Pesto Chicken Panini with Sweet Potato Fries and fruit (recipe coming soon)

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas with beans and fruit

Thursday: Leftovers

Saturday:  Eat Out

What's on your menu this week?

'What's for dinner?' That question used to haunt me until I started Menu Planning a couple years ago. Now, menu planning is a scheduled part of our weekend routine. See how we do it here.
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