Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Green Tea Latte Recipes

I discovered Green Tea Latte at Starbuck's about 2 years ago. They have become my total and complete self-indulgent item. Thankfully, Starbuck's Coffee has not found our little town. I would gladly sacrifice my grocery money for my addiction. I think God is saving my family from starvation, by ensuring that my special treat can only be found about once a month.

Over the weekend, my craving was overwhelming so I began scouring the Internet for "Green Tea Latte Recipes". Most of the ones I found looked something like this:

1/2 to 1 teaspoon green tea powder (Matcha)

2 ounces warm water

4 ounces warm milk

3 teaspoons sugar or honey

1/2 to 1 cup ice cubes

Mix the green tea powder with the 2 ounces of warm water, mixing well to dissolve. Transfer this mixture to a blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Well, that sounds great except what in the world is Matcha?? So I went to the kitchen to invent my own satisfying concoction. I came up with a creamy, rich and slightly sweet drink that was high in fat and calories but dreamy to drink. Here it is (notice that I was grabbing things I could find in the fridge)

1 & 1/2 cup brewed green tea (cooled)

1 T whipping cream

1 T french vanilla coffee creamer

1 cup (or so) ice

1/2 T Splenda (I think you could substitute any type of sweetener here)

I placed it all in the blender and mixed until it was smooth. As Rachel Ray would say, "YUM-O"

Here is a picture of my empty coffee mug. It is my favorite mug because 1) it is big and can easily hold 1 and 1/2 cups of drink and 2) the curve of the mug sit perfectly in my hand and 3) my mother in law made it.
By the way - Check out the "meant to be" blog for more recipes!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Meal Planning Monday

Why Plan Your Meals ?

*Saves money at the grocery store
Planning your meals allows you to purchase only what you need. Gone are the days of wilted veggies and 3-year-old cans that were purchased because they looked good at the time. Meal planning also takes advantage of buying in bulk with less waste. If you know that several meals will be using onions, you can purchase an entire bag of onions rather than just a few at a time.

*Makes the 5 o’clock rush less hectic
I don’t know about you, but 5 o’clock at our house looks like a train station. Kids being shuffled back and forth to activities, homework spread on the table, kids are hungry and searching for a snack…do I really need to go on? Meal planning eliminates one big question: “WHAT’S FOR SUPPER?” Meals can be planned according to your schedule. For instance, if we have several commitments that afternoon; I will plan to have sandwich night or a crock-pot meal.

*Planned meals are healthier
Convenience foods and restaurant foods are loaded with fats and calories with very little nutritional value (per calorie). Taking the time to sit down and make use of fresher ingredients eliminates those extra calories and overly processed ingredients. I like organizing my week of meals to insure variety. One night we may have beef another fish. My family has often sunk into the rice pit. When I wasn’t efficiently organizing my meals, it seemed we were having rice with every meal. Proper planning helped me to decrease our consumption of rice and increase our consumption of fresh vegetables.

*Allows for more eating at home as a family
Studies show that families that eat together at least 3 nights a week have children that are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. However, I also believe that it helps EVERYONE in the family. I believe that eating together as a family helps reduce stress and build stronger family relationships. Family meals are not always pleasurable. There is the whiney toddle, spilled drinks, annoying table manners and much more. Keep your expectations reasonable and take small steps. This is a journey, not a sprint.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My New Year's Resolution (2008)

I am finally getting around to accomplishing my new year's resolution. Just in time for 2009! My resolution was to read the entire Bible. My epiphany occurred last year when a friend asked how I can follow a religion when I don't know EVERYTHING it proposes. Well, I was raised in a Christian home, attended Church more Sundays than I have not and decided to become a Christian myself at age 11, but true, I don't know EVERYTHING the Bible preaches. I found http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com/ in August. The site breaks down the Bible into daily readings for 365 days. Since I was behind the curve, I have been reading 2 - 4 days worth to catch up. I have now read 1 /3 of the Bible and am very proud of myself. My goal is to finish before its time to make a new resoluion! I have really enjoyed this though. I started getting up in th mornings about 15 minutes earlier than normal. I fix my cup of joe and enjoy the silence of my normally bustling house. That 15 minutes has grown into 30 and now about 40 minutes of time. I don't know what I'll do once I have finished, but I am loving this schedule. I also think that this is setting a good example for my kids. They both know about my goal and ask how I'm doing. I hope that this encourages them to read the Bible more also.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Holiday Set

YAY! I was actually able to get another holiday set made. This was designed for my sweet little niece for her birthday, but I loved it so much that I decided to offer it as a custom. My neighbor is already in line for 2 sets. I love my neighbor. She has 3 younger girls and always keeps me busy ;) I was so proud how the applique turned out on this one. All that practice is finally paying off. Earlier in the summer, I was working on a t-shirt for my son and I became firmly convinced that applique was not for me! This would be a great Valentine's Day set too! You can find the listings at my etsy store: http://www.nstitchesdesigns.etsy.com/ and on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=220311336341

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My friends and I have a "Fill the Freezer Party" each year. We always plan it near the beginning of November before the holiday craziness starts. Each attendee brings one or more homemade freezer meals. We draw numbers out of a hat. Number 1 get first pick of the meals, then number 2 and so on. Here are the rules:

– Make servings that would be appropriate for 4 to 6 people.
– You do not have to bring all the same thing.
– Make as many batches as you want to swap. That is, if you bring 3- you take 3 home; bring 6 – take 6 home.
– Make a soup or casserole that you can freeze and bring your cooler.
– It does not have to be already frozen.
– Also- even if you can’t come you can send your food and we can swap for you.

· * Also if any anyone has allergies to things we should try to avoid cooking feel free to let us know.

· Storing the soup in freezer bags or disposable containers works well.
· Remember to let your soup or casserole cool well before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer
· Label your soup (provide the recipe if you want to).
· As I recall from last year – about 10 cups of soup is enough for 4-6 servings for a meal. If someone remembers differently, let me know. Don’t stress over the amounts – it will all work out and we will all go home with yummy soups and/or casseroles for great meals during the Holidays.

We have a great afternoon together and come home with supper! It is a low key get together and easy to plan. Popular meals include casseroles, chili, and soups. I had a difficult time this year deciding what to take. Last week, I made a breakfast casserole for supper and it filled to pans. So the extra became one freezer meal. Yesterday afternoon, I was watching Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals. She took chicken breasts and stuffed them with goat cheese, spinach and parmasean cheese. They were then wrapped in bacon and baked. Yum-o! Sounds like a winner!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Green Sauce

If my family has a favorite herb, it has to be cilantro. It is a staple on the grocery list and look for new recipes that use it all the time. One family favorite is seared ahi tuna with "green sauce" and fried rice. Green sauce has turned out to be wonderful on steak and chicken too! Give it a try and let me know how you like it!
Green sauce
3 cloves garlic minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 minced jalapeno with seeds removed ( if you like extra heat, do two)
1 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
Place everything in the blender or food processor. Serve. Yum!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My New Holiday Set

This holiday set is one of my favorites! This 2 piece set is bound to turn heads! The lined top has a contrasting peter pan collar trimmed in pink ric rac. The sleeves are three-quarters length and also show the contrasting dots. The top features diagonal buttoning with lime green buttons.
The blue jeans have an adjustable waist and have been embellished with the dot fabric and pink ric rac. Just contact me if you are interested in having this set re-created in sizes 3t-5. Thanks!


Thanks for visiting the blog of N'Stitches Designs! Please be patient as I learn this foreign technology. I will hopefully be adding news things each week. Let me know what you think! I can handle constructive criticism.