Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so you’ll need something appropriate to eat for breakfast right?

Try this Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. It’s delicious…and easy to make too!

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal


  • 1 (15 oz.) can Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice*
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 1/2 cups Dry Old-Fashioned Oats

*1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice:

  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Allspice or Cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

PREHEAT to 350 degrees. WHISK pumpkin puree, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder. WHISK in milk.


MIX in dry oats. COAT 8 x 8 dish with non-stick spray. POUR in mixture. COVER with foil and BAKE 45 minutes. REMOVE foil after 35 minutes.



It’s an easy breakfast treat for a cool fall day. As an added bonus, the recipe makes about 9 servings, so you’ll have enough for your whole family (or for leftovers!).

Credit: Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal recipe adapted from Budget Bytes. Photos taken by me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great Products that Help Great Causes

This holiday season, why not buy your loved ones gifts that also give back? There are so many great products out there that not only make great gifts, but also support great causes.

31 Bits (

What do they do? 31 Bits Designs is a socially minded business designed to give internally displaced women in Northern Uganda an opportunity to counter poverty. By giving these beneficiaries access to the international market, they are able to earn an instant income, providing homes, food, and education for their families. The 31 Bits program equips women by providing literacy education, financial and vocational training, holistic care, and strong support systems, empowering individuals to further their careers and attain social equity.

What to buy? Necklaces, bracelets, cuffs, wedding jewelry and gift cards.


Not For Sale Campaign (

What do they do? The major obstacle that we face in the fight against modern-day slavery is that the crime is hidden. Individuals that work in the field know that slavery is not part of the current collective consciousness. Initially, it shocks the general public to learn that slavery still exists and is widespread. It is even more shocking for them to realize that it may exist in their own backyards. A holistic, all-encompassing response is in order. Igniting and aiding this comprehensive response is the Not For Sale Campaign’s purpose. The Not For Sale Campaign bridges knowledge to action. With your help, we are working to raise awareness and collective understanding about human trafficking.

What to buy? Clothing, accessories, gift cards, scarves and journals.


Krochet Kids intl. (

What do they do? With hook and yarn people can make amazing products. Being paid a fair wage to do so allows for them, for the first time, to provide for their families and begin planning for the future. By teaching these people to crochet, Krochet Kids intl. empowers them to rise above poverty. Today, over 100 people go to the Krochet Kids intl. compound in Northern Uganda everyday to work and to rewrite their stories for the better. The products created abroad from the cooperation of our staff in America and artists in Northern Uganda has created a sustainable cycle of employment and empowerment.

What to buy? Stickers, headwear, clothing and accessories.


Back to the Roots (

What do they do? Founded in 2009 as a 100% sustainable urban mushroom farm, BTTR Ventures (aka Back to the Roots) has transformed into a unique company focused on bringing sustainable grow-at-home products into households across the country. Their vision is to serve as a standard bearer of innovation and responsibility in our community in order to inspire others to work towards a more sustainable future. Inspired by the idea of producing local, fresh food from what was an urban waste stream (recycled coffee grounds), Back to the Roots has since grown to create the Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden which lets anyone, across the country, grow their own gourmet mushrooms at home as well.

What to buy? Grow at home mushroom kits, premium soil amendments, replacement bags, t-shirts and monthly mushroom club memberships.


Warby Parker (

What do they do? Everyone has the right to see. Unfortunately, millions of people around the world today don’t have access to proper vision care. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with renowned non-profits, such as, to deliver one pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair that we sell. In doing so, they enable you to share the gift of vision with someone who can’t see today and give them the opportunity to read, to work and to live a fuller life.

What to buy? Optical frames, sunglasses and monocles.



What do they do? With every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for one. The One for One movement is about people making everyday choices that improve the lives of children. TOMS has given over 1,000,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need around the world.

What to buy? Shoes, apparel, accessories, eyewear and gift cards.

Hand in Hand Soap (

What do they do? For every bar purchased, Hand in Hand will donate a bar to save a child's life. Buy a bar, give a bar. Hand in Hand soap is 100% vegetable based, vegan, organic, gluten-free, biodegradable, palm-free, paraben-free, petrochemical-free, cruelty-free, sustainable and Fair Trade USA certified.

What to buy? Soap – by the 2 pack, 5 pack or 10 pack.

Credit: 31 Bits, Not For Sale Campaign, Krochet Kids intl., Back to the Roots, Warby Parker, TOMS and Hand in Hand Soap.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Helpful Household Hints – Floss for Fixing Pet Toys

Everyone has their own household tips and tricks that they’ve picked up over the years. Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeve too and I’m continuing my little series of Helpful Household Hints to share them with you.

Helpful Household Hint #3: Floss for Fixing Pet Toys

Even with a pup as calm as mine, pet toys only last so long. Carrying your beloved toys around in your sharp little teeth and the occasional games of tug, eventually will cause a bit of wear and tear.

Instead of going out and buying a whole new batch of toys, try salvaging what you have. I’m sure your pup will be thankful to have his/her favorite toy around as long as possible.

patient pup

First, sift through that toy bucket and determine what is salvageable and what is not. Some toys may just have too many holes.

To fix that beloved stuffed animal you will need to know how to do a basic hidden stitch (here’s a YouTube video I found if you need some extra sewing help). Next, you will need some sewing utensils: a needle with a fairly big hole on the end and floss.

Now you might be wondering, “floss?!?!” The reason I use floss is the reason for today’s helpful hint. Floss lasts a lot longer when it comes to fixing stuffed animals. Personally, I’d rather mend my dog’s toys less often, wouldn’t you?

To get started, I cut off a long length of floss (probably about double the length of my arm) and thread it through the needle. Pull it through only to the halfway point of the floss. Then take both ends of the floss, hold them evenly and tie them in a thick knot. Now not only do you have the thickness of floss, but you have DOUBLE the thickness of floss.

Find one end of the hole you want to fix and thread the needle up towards you through the inside of the stuffed animal. Your knot should hold on the inside and be hidden. Continue the stitch throughout the length of the hole. I usually go back up the length of the stitched hole again for added reinforcement.

Wha-lah! Fixing your pet’s toys is as easy as that.

Feel free to send me any questions that you might have about this helpful hint. As I was writing, I was starting to feel like a video almost would be necessary to fully explain the process. But if you are an expert sewer, just the idea of using floss should be enough for you.

Credit: Photo taken and edited by me. Video via expertvillage on YouTube.

Bacon Pumpkin Pie Truffles

Anyone planning on going non-traditional this Thanksgiving?

These truffles are the perfect way to ease away from the traditional and surprise your guests.


I found this recipe for Bacon Pumpkin Pie Truffles on FOODBEAST that basically takes a good old regular pumpkin pie, with addition of brown sugar-baked bacon thrown in the batter, and deconstructs it. The idea is simply amazing and I wish I thought of it.

For the full recipe, please visit FOODBEAST. If you make them, please comment and let me know how they turn out.

What other recipes are on your Thanksgiving menu this year?

Credit: Photo and recipe by FOODBEAST.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In an Autumn Kind of Mood

Bad blogger. Bad bad blogger.

Sorry, had to shame myself a little for not posting for so long. Helping my love with various projects and entertaining an out-of-town houseguest has kept me busy…but I’m back now and on to the blogging.

Technically it is fall now (don’t tell Mother Nature because I love 90 degree weather in October), so I’m starting to think about cozy things like rustic recipes using pumpkins, warm fall colors, toasty blankets and tights!

Mosaic Maker-tights2 

Tights seem to be all the rage right now. Do you love them or hate them? I’m torn.

Credit: (1) Thigh-Highs in Heather Graphite from J.Crew, (2) Solid Opaque Tights in Decadent Red from J.Crew, (3) Ruffle Legging in Wine from free people, (4) Poconos Sweater Legging in Natural Combo from free people, (5) Launch Plaid Tights from ModCloth, (6) Leg Warmers by High Fibre Design from knitonthenet, (7) Thigh-Highs from, (8) Bondage Tights from Wolford, (9) Leg Warmers in Gray Melange from H&M, (10) Big Dot Tights 03 from Happy Socks, (11) Movement Legwarmer in Heathered Coal from Lululemon Athletica, (12) Big-Stripe Leggings in Warm Redwood from J.Crew, (13) Hansel From Basel Nylon Kneepad Tights from asos, (14) Mini Cable Knit Tights in Toasted Almond from Gap, (15) Ribbed Tights in Decadent Red from J.Crew


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Helpful Household Hints

Everyone has their own household tips and tricks that they’ve picked up over the years. Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeve too and I’m continuing my little series of Helpful Household Hints to share them with you guys.

Helpful Household Hint #2: Keeping Brown Sugar Soft and Fresh

Has this ever happened to you? You find a great cookie recipe. You pull out all of the ingredients from your pantry. When you get to the brown sugar, you find that it has hardened into an unusable rock.

Hey, it’s happened to me. Brown sugar is finicky.

Instead of going out to buy more sugar or trying to save what you have at the last minute, here’s how you can prevent it from happening in the first place.

It’s simple. Your brown sugar needs moisture. You need to store it properly.

You’ll need four things:

  1. A container big enough to fit your bag of brown sugar (I use a 12 oz. container that once housed frozen cool whip).
  2. A small “cup” (I use a plastic measuring scoop with the handle cut off & my mom uses an old school medicine bottle with no cap).
  3. A cotton ball.
  4. Water.

That’s it. Nothing fancy.

Simply pour your brown sugar into the container. Place your cotton ball into the small “cup” and moisten it with a little water. Make a small indent so that small “cup” can fit in the sugar with the lid still being able to close. Seal your container tightly. Re-moisten your cotton ball ever so often.

Wha-la! No more crunchy brown sugar!

What tricks do you use around your household to make life a little easier or to fix the boo boos once they happen? Please share!

Credit: Photo taken by me.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Balsamic Pear Salad

I made a salad yesterday that actually turned out to be pretty delicious. In my hurry, I neglected to take any pictures (will you please forgive me?).

Pictures or not, the recipe was too good not to share.

Balsamic Pear Salad


  • 5 oz. bag of Mixed Greens
  • 1 Pear
  • 1/4 of a small Red Onion
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Cashews
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil


  1. POUR bag of Mixed Greens into a large bowl.
  2. DICE the pear into small cubes. ADD to the bowl.
  3. THINLY SLICE the Red Onion. ADD to the bowl.
  4. CHOP nuts and ADD to the bowl.
  5. GRIND fresh Pepper over the Mixed Greens.
  6. POUR the Balsamic Vinegar over the Mixed Greens.
  7. DRIZZLE the Olive Oil over the Mixed Greens to taste.
  8. MIX and SERVE.

Here’s a photo from the website I found the original recipe and what her salad looked like…


If you don’t have a pear, Mandarin orange slices or strawberry would also be tasty options. Further possible additions to the salad could be crumbled/shredded cheese or even avocado slices.


Credit: Recipe adapted from Tried-and-True Cooking with Heidi. Photo from Tried-and-True Cooking with Heidi as well.