The list – Wrapping Up

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I am in shock that my birthday is only three days away. 31. When did that happen?!? Oh ya, while I was busy planning weddings and making babies! Time really does fly by!

I had ambitions of accomplishing a list of 30 things while I was 30. Well, half way through that year of being 30 – we got pregnant. So, a lot of these things went on the back burner. I thought I’d do a final recap of the list to see the overall progress.

 

1. Finish my “in progress” knitting projects: This definitely did not happen. I did go through about a whole laundry basket of half finished things and pull them apart. There are still a few outstanding projects laying around.

2. Create a family year book: This one I did not get to. I actually did find a digital photo book site that I LOVE called MixBook.com. I went through several sites comparing their software and available templates and customizing options – along with price, and this site was by far my favorite. I didn’t get to the year book yet – but I did a book of newborn pictures of my son, and our wedding album! Our wedding album took me weeks of lunch breaks to complete. I’m very excited to start doing Year Books now though!

3. Owen’s baby bookYes and no. I did the above mentioned mixbook of his new born photos. I also filled out a lot of his “baby book” pages, just haven’t added pictures to it yet.

4. Create a sugar flower for a cake: I can’t believe I still haven’t done this one! I did however finally try out my “The Mat” for rolling fondant. I also impressed myself a few weeks ago making a fondant coffee mug surrounded by fondant coffee beans on a 15″ cake!

5. Drop my weight by 5lbs. – BWAHAHAHA – nope. ;)

6. Save another $5k for my house fund: House fund is now replaced by baby money.

7. Do five unexpected random acts of kindness for friends: This was a difficult goal for me to keep track of. I didn’t want to feel like I was being nice because I had to because of my goal, or whatever. I did deliver some surprise baked goods. I think in future goal lists stuff like this will stay off so I can just be nice for the sake of being nice!

8. Repaint/mini redecorate the master bedroom: Currently in progress! We have the ceiling (popcorn) scraped and ready for new texture. Then we’ll paint it and paint the walls and move back in. For my birthday last weekend I got a new duvet set, so we’re on our way!
9. Take Owen to the zoo: This is happening on Saturday for my birthday!
10. Have a “kidless” weekend getaway with my husband: This one didn’t happen. With the new baby on the way we got a little distracted. Though, it might have to happen before she actually comes!
11. No more pop! – This was going great until I got pregnant! Now it’s all I want! I’ve managed to keep it to one a day on weekdays if I have one at all. Once she is born, this will be back on track!
12. Get movin’, walk, run or bike a total of 300 miles. – I tracked 97.26 miles in the year. The three days before I found out I was pregnant were great, I Did 3.5, then 4, then just over 5 miles each day. Then I slept for three months. haha. I’m going to make a new goal for next year. Hopefully get my fit bit, and get my 10,000 steps a day in!
13. Get a massage/facial once a month – I’ve had one since I found out I was pregnant. Although, I will be scheduling a birthday one for this weekend!
14. Take Owen to the beach – Done! I can’t wait for more beach days this summer too!
15. Clean and organize the office/guest room – Well, the short story is there is no more office/guest room! It’s now officially Owen’s big boy room. We did the ceiling, repainted, added molding and baseboards, updated the light fixture and moved in all his stuff including his new big boy bed! We donated/gifted/and trashed a lot of stuff over the last couple months.
16. Take a “art” class. (baking, decorating, photography, anything!): Over the last year, I’ve done 3 paint and sip classes! The final one being my favorite is hanging in the baby’s nursery.
17. Write a business plan: This also took a back burner as I had to focus on other things and our changing lives!
18. Shoot a gun: Took care of this one on our trip to Arizona last November.
19. Teach Owen to swim: We’ll be signing up for swim lessons for this summer!
20. Donate 12 boxes/bags of things to goodwill. – Two more BIG bags and a box full of stuff went off to Goodwill in September, which officially completes this goal!
21. Take Owen to The Playdate Cafe with a friend 
22. Take Owen to KidsQuest with a friend: We didn’t make it to this particular location, but we did check out another local children’s museum
23. Figure out “Freezer Cooking” So rather than wear myself out doing a full day of prepping dozens of meals, I found a new great way that works for me. I found some smaller pyrex freezer to oven dishes. When I cook meals, I cook half that night, and freeze the other portion, sometimes even two portions! When I make burgers, I buy the family pack of ground beef and prep it all into patties. Then freeze three in a bag together.
24. Continue Owen’s monthly pictures. Figure out a back drop for standing shots – This definitely didn’t work. A walking/running/squirmy toddler made that decision, haha.
25. Go on a hike with a view -
26. Do a family picture in a photo booth: Forgot about this goal – maybe they’ll have a photobooth at the zoo!
27. Go sailing with my family: The boat is going away! And we never got a final sailing trip!
28. Organize all my knitting patterns into one note book: This was off to a fabulous start, will complete it once our remodel is done!
29. Not buy any greeting cards – Did pretty good on this all year until we got to mothers and fathers day. With our house in chaos and all my things difficult to get to, I had to cave and buy a couple.
30. Be more positive 
(31. bonus – make this list cute with something off my FREEBIES board!)

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

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I’d like to share the dinner we just had! This pregnancy has not been kind to me as far as wanting to prepare meals, especially meals that involve meat. Which sucks when you’re supposed to be getting enormous amounts of protein on a daily basis.

So, last week, I dumped 8 frozen chicken breasts from Costco into my crock pot. Sprinkled in some chicken grilling seasoning and garlic salt, and covered it in water. I set it on low, and went to work. When I got home about 9 hours later, it was perfectly cooked, very moist and pretty much just fell apart as I shredded it. I used some that night for a casserole and put the rest into freezer bags, about 3 cups in each bag.

So, when I was feeling enchiladas for dinner it was even easier knowing the chicken was already cooked! I just pulled a bag out in the morning and put it in the fridge to thaw during the day.

 

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I threw the cooked chicken, 1/3 a can of enchilada sauce, a can of green chilies and some frozen corn (about a cup) into my large skillet and just combined them over medium heat.

Then wrapped the mixture into taco sized flour tortillas. I place them in a baking dish that I had covered the bottom with a thin layer of enchilada sauce.

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Then sprinkle the top with Mexican Blend shredded cheese. Cover them up with foil, and bake for 30min at 350 degrees!

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I forgot to take a picture of them finished before we dug in. What can I say, this pregnant belly has a mind of it’s own!

 

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:
– 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
– 1 can red enchilada sauce
– 1 cup frozen/canned corn
– 1 can green chilies
– Flour taco sized tortillas (8-10)
– Shredded Mexican cheese blend

1. Combine chicken, 1/3 of the enchilada sauce, corn, and green chilies in a pan. Heat and stir until combined over medium heat.

2. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce in your banking dish to cover the bottom. This prevents sticking.

3. Scoop some chicken mix into a taco shell, and wrap it up. Place this in the dish against one edge. Repeat until you’re out of chicken mix. If you’re running out of room in your dish, you can smoosh your enchiladas down a bit to make room.

4. Sprinkle with Mexican shredded cheese

5. Cover the dish with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

6. Remove from oven, let stand for 5 minutes. Serve & Enjoy! Goes great with a quick side of Mexican Rice and Black Beans (Zatoran’s makes a decent one!)

Cooking shredded chicken in bulk

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As a busy full time working mother and wife with another baby on the way – I’ve been trying to figure out ways to streamline my cooking and still provide healthy meals to my family.

I’ve wanted to get into Freezer Cooking, which is all over Pinterest, but we have a tiny drawer freezer (not ideal for stacking) and I really an all day event of planning shopping, cooking, packing up food just sounds exhausting.

I have started the idea of cooking something that is double the size of what we need for one night, and then packing up and freezing the second half. Another short cut I thought would be helpful is cooking up a bunch of chicken, shredding it and freezing it. Then it can be easily defrosted and tossed into whatever dinner I’m making. Saving me the step of cooking it each night I need it.

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Start by dumping all your chicken into the crock pot. I purchased one of those big packs from costco where you get 8 packs of 2 breasts for like $20. Right out of the bag, I could fit all 16 in my crock pot. I did this once before with frozen breasts and I was able to fit 8.

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Generously sprinkle the chicken with whatever seasonings you want. I used chicken grilling seasoning and garlic salt and a dash of ginger. You could also throw in a chopped up onion, carrots, celery, whatever at this point if you wanted.

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Then fill with water to cover the chicken. I put mine on low and left for work. I was gone about 10 hours and came home to perfectly cooked chicken. When I used frozen, I left it for the same amount of time and it was fully cooked by the time I got home as well. So, if you’re home monitoring your crock pot, this could take a lot less time – but it doesn’t dry out the chicken to leave it longer if you have to.

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Take the chicken out of the water (I used my canning tongs) and let it cool a bit on the cutting board. The warmer it is the easier it falls apart, but you don’t want to be burning yourself either!

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Then you shred! I just take two forks and twist them in opposite directions and the chicken will literally just fall apart. Then you can pull it if any big pieces remain.

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I packaged my chicken into Freezer Ziplock bags with about 3 cups of chicken in each one. I wasn’t picky about being exact since my dinners are usually more of a this and that situation than an exact measured recipe.

When you’re ready to use it, you can either
1) Pull a bag out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge to thaw
2) Set the whole bag in a bowl of hot water
3) Dump the contents in a bowl and microwave for about 3 minutes. Then add directly to whatever you’re cooking!

I’ll share my enchiladas I made with this chicken tomorrow!

Happy Pinning!
Happy Cooking!

Gold Dotted Coffee Mug

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Well, this Pin comes from something I made for someone as a Christmas Gift! So I’m a little behind in sharing. I’m gonna play the pregnant mother of a toddler card while I still can :)

It was really a combination of two pins that led me to the craft I chose.

Materials:

1. Coffee Mug
2. Paint (I used Martha’s metallic gold all surfaces paint)
3. Dotter (you can find these at the craft store, mine was from the scrapbooking section. You can also find them in the nails section at Target for nail art!)

This pin of painting dots climbing up stemless wine glasses:

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And this pin of dotting a coffee mug with a sharpie:
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We have a cousin that loves her coffee and she is always posting pics to Instagram of sitting on the porch or in front of the fire with her coffee cup.

I found this lovely mug at World Market for only $4.99. Originally, I was in search of a large plain white mug, but couldn’t find the right one. This one jumped out to me instantly for my cousin.

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So first you’ll want to take your mug and clean it with rubbing alcohol to make sure there are no gooies or residual oils on it from your hands.

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The mug’s lovely backside.

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Then take your paint and pour a little out. I used a mini cupcake liner for this. Quick & easy prep and clean up.

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Now, grab your dotter. This can really be any tool you want. The hard metal dotter is good for small and consistent dots. You could even use an old pen/pencil with a point. Or, if you want a more loosey feel to the dots, you could use a Qtip or the eraser end of a pencil. You get the idea.

Dip your dotter lightly in the paint.

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Then dot your mug! You may want to do a few practice dots on your cupcake liner to get the feel.

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I started by doing one layer about a 1/3″ thick around the entire bottom. Then I decided to go over that again, with some dots slightly overlapping. Really I just let me hand go and tried to be as random as possible.

Then I slowly inched up the cup and just made them less dense and close together the further I went up the cup. Add a few more random dots up towards the top if you feel like it!

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And that’s all there is to the paining!! According to the directions on the paint, this now had to cure for 28 days. Yowsa. So, I just stuck it up on a shelf in my craft room until it was time to wrap Christmas Presents. Thankfully, I planned far enough ahead to allow for adequate drying time.

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You could use the sharpie approach as well. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this. Sometimes the Sharpie doesn’t set, or it steams off in the dishwasher. The paint should be top rack dishwasher safe if you let it cure the full time.

 

Happy Crafting!

The List – Half Way Mark!

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Happy New Year!! I know I’ve been a little silent for a while, but I’m hoping to change that this year! I’m planning on getting organized which will hopefully make it easier for me to be back involved with this blog I love!

In the mean time, I’m officially 30 and a half, which means my 30 things to do while I’m 30 list is at the half way mark! Let’s see how I’m doing!

1. Finish my “in progress” knitting projects –  Nope. haha, still need to focus in on this!

2. Create a family year book – Finally chose my site, now to un-bury my desk so I can get on the computer and get to work!

3. Owen’s baby book - Started the scrapbook version. And finally found a store bought one I loved and started to fill it in.

4. Create a sugar flower for a cake – Still haven’t done this!

5. Drop my weight by 5lbs. -Hmm, now I don’t remember where my weight started. But, I do know I want to drop another 5 from where I am today!

6. Save another $5k for my house fund - Work in progress

7. Do five unexpected random acts of kindness for friends - Work in progress

8. Repaint/mini redecorate the master bedroom - no progress yet
9. Take Owen to the zoo - Excited that we got a $100 gift certificate to the zoo!
10. Have a “kidless” weekend getaway with my husband
11. No more pop! – Still going pretty strong on this!
12. Get movin’, walk, run or bike a total of 300 miles. – October through December I only recorded 12.48 miles! Bringing my total to 79.74, or 26% of my goal. I need to do 36 miles/month to stay on track!
13. Get a massage/facial once a month -Definitely pushed this to the way side as we got into the holiday season.
14. Take Owen to the beach -
15. Clean and organize the office/guest room – Back to chaos :(
16. Take a “art” class. (baking, decorating, photography, anything!) – Have a fun outing planned this month with my mama!
17. Write a business plan
18. Shoot a gun  
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And it was a big one! We went to the shooting range over our Thanksgiving vacation with my parents. Turns out, I’m kinda good at it!
19. Teach Owen to swim
20. Donate 12 boxes/bags of things to goodwill. – Two more BIG bags and a box full of stuff went off to Goodwill in September, which officially completes this goal!
21. Take Owen to The Playdate Cafe with a friend
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Owen and Brooke had a ball!! hehe. Owen loved all the different play areas, but especially the ball pit!
22. Take Owen to KidsQuest with a friend
23. Figure out “Freezer Cooking”
24. Continue Owen’s monthly pictures. Figure out a back drop for standing shots – After he learned how to walk – this is near impossible. So I try to just get a good pic of him every month. Hopefully he’ll learn how to pose soon so we can go back to good comparison shots!
25. Go on a hike with a view -
26. Do a family picture in a photo booth
27. Go sailing with my family
28. Organize all my knitting patterns into one note book 
29. Not buy any greeting cards – Still haven’t purchased any new ones!
30. Be more positive – I’ve been working on this just through my attitude primarily. However last month, I confronted an old “issue” that had been weighing on my life in a negative way. Nothing about this drastically changed my day to day life, just provide some healthy and positive resolution.
(31. bonus – make this list cute with something off my FREEBIES board!)

The List – September Progress

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Yup – more than half way through October and I’m just getting to this post! ACK! Suddenly my life has become crazy busy. Oh ya, because the baby learned how to walk. ha! So, even though I haven’t had a moment to test any Pins, I thought I should at least update you on my goals!

 

1. Finish my “in progress” knitting projects –  I can’t stop starting new projects. It’s kind of ridiculous. I did get done another baby blanket which I already gifted to the friend ♥

2. Create a family year book

3. Owen’s baby book

4. Create a sugar flower for a cake

5. Drop my weight by 5lbs. – Got a new scale. My weight hasn’t moved – but I’m feeling more squishy. I’d like to rein this back in.

6. Save another $5k for my house fund

7. Do five unexpected random acts of kindness for friends

8. Repaint/mini redecorate the master bedroom
9. Take Owen to the zoo
10. Have a “kidless” weekend getaway with my husband
11. No more pop! – This month I had 2 sodas. They were both the morning of a hangover. ha. For some reason that’s what my body wants when it’s feeling it’s worst!
12. Get movin’, walk, run or bike a total of 300 miles. – September I only recorded 5.5 miles. Bringing my total to 67.26, or 22% of my goal. I’m almost half way through my year and only a quarter of the way through this goal!
13. Get a massage/facial once a month – Success! In September I got a 90 minute massage and a facial!
14. Take Owen to the beach -
15. Clean and organize the office/guest room – It’s getting better! We continue to purge, and I’m using up supplies whenever I get a chance. The bed has managed to stay cleaned off too!
16. Take a “art” class. (baking, decorating, photography, anything!)
17. Write a business plan
18. Shoot a gun 
19. Teach Owen to swim
20. Donate 12 boxes/bags of things to goodwill. – Two more BIG bags and a box full of stuff went off to Goodwill in September, which officially completes this goal!
21. Take Owen to The Playdate Cafe with a friend
22. Take Owen to KidsQuest with a friend
23. Figure out “Freezer Cooking”
24. Continue Owen’s monthly pictures. Figure out a back drop for standing shots – 12 months complete!! I will post the chain of pics soon ♥
25. Go on a hike with a view -
26. Do a family picture in a photo booth
27. Go sailing with my family
28. Organize all my knitting patterns into one note book 
29. Not buy any greeting cards – None bought in September, and a few more used from the stash!
30. Be more positive 
(31. bonus – make this list cute with something off my FREEBIES board!)

The List – August Progress

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1. Finish my “in progress” knitting projects –  I finished one project that was previously started! WOOHOO! But, forgot a picture! It was one of those plastic bag sleeves for my mother in law. I also started AND finished two projects! But, then started and left two more. Yarn and I have a tricky relationship.
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3. Owen’s baby book – I started! Thanks to my sister for “forcing” me to drag out all my supplies! I got three 2 page spreads complete! I also finally hooked up my Silhouette Cameo last night so I can use that to keep me going!

4. Create a sugar flower for a cake

5. Drop my weight by 5lbs. – Scale is still broken. I’m trying to eat more veggies and walk more, but I don’t think the number has gone anywhere.

6. Save another $5k for my house fund 

7. Do five unexpected random acts of kindness for friends

8. Repaint/mini redecorate the master bedroom
9. Take Owen to the zoo
10. Have a “kidless” weekend getaway with my husband – Well, it wasn’t a full weekend, and it wasn’t a getaway – but baby did go to Grandma’s house for a night while we had my husbands annual birthday BBQ at our house! Grandma also came down to babysit while we spent the evening at the Snoop Dogg concert!image

11. No more pop! – Last official soda was 6/2. We did go see World War Z over the last weekend and I had a few sips of cherry coke. I had to! I was parched from movie snacks and there were no other options! But, it was just a few sips, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself over that one!
12. Get movin’, walk, run or bike a total of 300 miles. – This was a good month! I recorded 36.39 miles in my Run Keeper app/ add that to my previous total of 25.37 and I’ve gone 61.76 miles! That’s 20% of my goal.  I’m excited for our temperatures to get out of the 80’s so I can some more after work walking.
13. Get a massage/facial once a month – FAIL. I was a day short of making my goal for the month and got one on September 1! It was glorious! I need to get another one soon since this barely scratched the surface of back issues from lugging around a 25lb baby.
14. Take Owen to the beach -
15. Clean and organize the office/guest room – Back to chaos. But, I am getting rid of and finishing up a lot of things! Thankfully none of the mess is new mess.
16. Take a “art” class. (baking, decorating, photography, anything!)
17. Write a business plan
18. Shoot a gun 
19. Teach Owen to swim
20. Donate 12 boxes/bags of things to goodwill. – Took another carload down to the Goodwill this weekend! Did the hard thing of getting rid of brand new things that I’ve never used and have been sitting around. I have the hoarder mentality of they’re useful so I’ll use them someday. Even though I won’t. That brings the grand total to 10 boxes/bags!
21. Take Owen to The Playdate Cafe with a friend 
22. Take Owen to KidsQuest with a friend
23. Figure out “Freezer Cooking” – I started out in June with 12 or so bagged frozen dinners. I have three left! It’s been great, but still could be much better! We’re almost coming to an end of breast feeding, so that will make more room in my freezer and more room for freezer cooking!
24. Continue Owen’s monthly pictures. Figure out a back drop for standing shots – 11 months and counting! Still behind on editing
25. Go on a hike with a view - Went on a hike through some beautiful mountains with streams and a lake at the end!

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26. Do a family picture in a photo booth
27. Go sailing with my family 
28. Organize all my knitting patterns into one note book 
29. Not buy any greeting cards - Bought none in August!
30. Be more positive 
(31. bonus – make this list cute with something off my FREEBIES board!)

Baby Landon’s Blanket (and free pattern!)

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The first real craft that I fell head over heels in love with was knitting. I taught myself how to do it from a little knitting manual my roommate had in college. Soon, I started selling my wares in craft shows, which led to wholesale sized orders of yarn. Well, one order. One very large order. Which I’m still working through three years later. Thankfully, it gives me lots of yarn to go to when a soon to be born baby needs a blanket!

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Baby Landon will make his way into this world next month, so I’ve been working diligently to get this finished up in time for the baby shower! Of course, Owen had to test it out too and make sure it was baby approved.

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Striped Knit Baby Blanket

5 Skeins of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick in Oatmeal (color A)
1 Skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick in Cabernet (color B)
13mm long knitting needles
K Crochet hook

Cast on 88 stitches.
Row 1: (A) Knit full row
Row 2: (A) Purl full row
Row 3-14: (A) Repeat Rows 1-2
Row 15: (B) Knit full row
Row 16: (B) Purl full row

Repeat Rows 1-16, 7 times

Finish with repeating rows 1-14

Bind off loosely.

Pick up in the corner with your K hook. Single crochet around the perimeter of the blanket twice using color A. Stitch 3 SC in each corner.

SC once around using color B, with 3 SC in each corner.

SC twice around using color A and finish.

Weave in loose ends.

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Homemade Hummus

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I know I’ve been a bit quiet lately. But, I discovered how EASY it is to make homemade hummus and I’ve been sitting in a corner with a bowl of hummus and a bag of pretzel chips for the last week stuffing my face. No joke.

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Homemade Hummus

2 cans of garbanzo beans
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice

1. Drain one can of garbanzo beans and add to Vita Mix (or food processor)

2. Dump the second can in with all the juice, and add the rest of the ingredients.

3. Blend til smooth. In the Vitamix, this was a quick jump up to 10 and a little help from the tamper as needed, for about 45 seconds.

 

See? Easy. I like my hummus cold, so I still had to wait a bit to enjoy mine. I also sectioned it off into small snack size gladwares so it’s easy to grab and go for my lunch every day!

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