Greek Pasta Salad

I am NOT adventurous when it comes to cooking and trying new foods.  So the fact that I made this pasta salad AND liked it is still a miracle in my mind.

My family has recently discovered Penzey Spices. This spice store will overwhelm your senses; I’ve been known to sniff a few too many spices and seasonings and end up in a sneezing fit.  There is a great variety of sodium free options, although this recipe was not inspired by one.  This recipe was inspired by the Greek Seasoning: a traditional blend of lemon, garlic, and oregano.

This past Sunday was a warm and cloudless day that was perfect for sitting outside while grilling and catching up with family.  I wanted to make a contribution to the meal so I decided to be inspired by a seasoning.  I found a great Greek Salad Dressing recipe from Penzey and added it to a pasta salad.  Here is the recipe and proof of my actual cooking:

Greek Salad Dressing:

Mix 2 Tablespoons Greek Seasoning with 2 Tablespoons water and let it stand for 5 minutes
Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup salad oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tablespoons water, and 1 Teaspoon sugar
Stir the dressing into cooked Rotini Noodles
Let the noodles cool before adding in Black Olives and Feta Cheese as you desire

Feel free to add in other veggies or cheeses to your pasta salad.  Black Olives and Feta Cheese were as adventurous as I was willing to get.  And honestly, I picked MOST of my Black Olives out.  I tried a few though, so I’m calling it a win! ENJOY!

Littlehouse Decor

It might be my Spring Fever flaring up, but giving thrift store finds a fresh, new life has been at the forefront of my mind lately.  A fresh coat of paint can give any item a new life.  A dated candlestick or forgotten picture frame will flip the creative switch in my brain and I go into total DIY mode.  Luckily for me, this seems to be contagious.  Between my thrift store finds and my mom’s painting, I could fully furnish a little house…..if only I had an apartment.

Recently, I gave myself the challenge of going to a few second-hand stores on a budget of $20.  I am surprised to say that I did not go over my budget.  Here is what I came home with:

 

 

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There wasn’t much fixing, painting, updating needed for these pieces.  I painted the candlestick white so it would fit in well with other decor items that I have.  The rest of these items just needed a little elbow grease to get the sticky price tags off.

My only concerns with having Spring Fever/DIY Fever is that I’m afraid I will have too much furniture and decor when I find an apartment of my own.

Disclaimer: I understand a Ceramic Popcorn Tub is NOT decor, I just really love popcorn and couldn’t pass it up!

 

‘Tis the Season to be Naughty

*To the tune of Good to be Bad by Pentatonix*

So bad, so bad, good to be
So bad, so bad, good to be
So bad, so bad, well it feels so
Good to be bad, good to be bad

I’ve been thinking ’bout this year a lot
Whether I’ve been a good girl or not
Santa promised he won’t get mad
Sometimes it feels so good to be bad

I couldn’t help but have a little fun
Said all the golden years are said and done
Let’s try next year and see where I’m at
But, oh it feels so good to be bad

Friday Favorite: Free Concerts

My FREE ($10) concert!

Not many things are actually free now days; there are always strings attached.  My favorite example of this is Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI.  All the concerts are free within the Summerfest grounds but there is a fee to get in.  I don’t necessarily call that free, but I don’t complain too much because I quite enjoy Summerfest.

But Kilbourn City Live, now that’s a free concert.  Unless you plan on buying food, drinks, or merchandise.  So my free concert cost me $10 because I had two Smith & Forge Hard Ciders.  Here’s a little snapshot of the night:

GGOOLLDD

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Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons

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Uncle Kracker

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Unplugged


Take a look into my three day trip to the waterfall capital of Wisconsin.  This trip was almost completely, somewhat unplugged, kind of, and not always by choice, I guess.

The trip started with packing.  I dislike packing almost as much as I dislike UN-packing.  But this time, it was a little more challenging.  I was minimizing everything I possibly could.  The goal was to take as little as possible to indulge in the outdoors rather than do average, everyday things outdoors.  Trust me, there is a difference.  Indulging in the outdoors means having expectations but not needing to follow an itinerary.  Plans change, weather changes, roads change, so go with the flow and see where the adventure takes you.  With that said, here is what I packed:

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  • Pudgy Pie Maker
  • Water Bottle
  • Tackle Box
  • Bug Spray
  • Rain Jacket
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Pillow
  • Fishing Pole
  • Books
  • Notebook and Pencil (some of my best thinking happens outdoors)
  • Flashlight
  • Camera and Lenses
  • PJ’s
  • Sweatshirt
  • Map
  • Hat
  • Shorts
  • Yoga Pants
  • T-Shirts
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandanas
  • Shoes
  • Pocket Knife
  • Chapstick
  • Swimsuit
  • Toilet Paper
  • Aloe

Not pictured: the tent, food, folding chairs, and sleeping bag pads.

Now lets establish the environment of which I spent three days exploring.  Several dirt roads were taken to get to the campground (I’m not quite sure all of them can be classified as ‘roads’).  The trees were tall, the creek was running, and the birds were chirping.  I was in my happy place.

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I consider this campsite exceptional, considering nothing was reserved before arriving at the campground.  In fact, this was the first site at the first campground encountered.  Pretty lucky.  After the first morning, this was the only site in use; a little rain scared all the other campers away.

Throughout the course of my three day adventure I finished a book that was first cracked open two months ago, explored 6 waterfalls, avoided poison ivy, stayed away from all technology except for 2 texts, and took more pictures than I know what to do with.

Without any cellphone service, I was able to experience all the waterfalls had to offer.  There were no distractions and no schedules to follow.  And since pictures are worth a thousand words, here are a few from each waterfall visited.

McClintock Falls

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Strong Falls

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Eighteen Foot Falls


Twelve Foot Falls

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Eight Foot Falls

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Horseshoe Falls

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Camp Life

Berry Good Salad

I might be late to this whole salad craze, but I’m trying to make up for lost time.  I only started liking salads about a year ago because I was sick of eating fast-food during my busy work schedule.  I’ve learned that salads don’t take that much time to make and are a better alternative to eating out.

Salads are great because they are full of fiber and protein if you add the right ingredients.  It’s easy to throw in leftovers from last nights dinner to make an exciting salad!

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Here is the recipe for my newest salad:

  1. One Package of Salad Greens

  2. One Can Mandarin Oranges; drained

  3. One Cup Raspberries

  4. One Cup Shredded Mozzarella

  5. 1/3 Cup Crushed Peanuts

  6. 1/4 Cup Raspberry Vinaigrette

This salad is one of my new favorites because I can get fresh lettuce and raspberries from my dad’s garden.  Also, it takes no time at all to whip it up.

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ENJOY!

Terrarium Building

I’ve been inspired! This funky fish container has just been screaming for attention. Well I finally found the perfect project: a terrarium, or as I like to call it, a Fishrarium.

After creating my Fishrarium, I compiled a list of steps and tips to help you along the way for creating your own terrarium. Follow along or jump around; whatever works best for your creation.

Step 1: Find a unique container for your plants. Not everyone has a chunky glass fish sitting around so feel free to use a decorative bowl or large vase.

            Helpful Tip: Use a container that you can fit your hand in. Learned that tip the hard way.

 

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Step 2: Buy the correct amount of plants to fit in your container. Find a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. This will give you more options for when you start planting them.

            Helpful Tip: I found the largest variety of succulents and cacti at Lowe’s.
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Step 3: Gather the rest of the supplies needed to build a terrarium. Here are some suggestions:

  • Soil
  • Pebbles
  • Decorative rocks
  • Small garden decorations

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Step 4: Fill that terrarium up!! I started with a layer of rocks at the bottom because I liked the look of it. They are also useful for water drainage and filling space in large containers. My next layer was soil. Here comes the fun part. Arrange the plants how you think looks best. Make sure to space them out a little bit. Breathing room will allow them to soak up maximum sunlight to survive. Lastly, I placed some pebbles along the top layer of soil to add a little spunk.

 

Step5: Find a spot to put that sucker! (Pun intended)

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A little extra knowledge to keep succulents and cacti living:

  • These plants need a half-day to a full day of sunlight.
  • Let the soil dry out a little before watering. This allows the roots to grow deeper.
  • If your plants appear to be bleached out or their color turns yellow, the plant is getting too much light.