Smoothie Cubes

I really enjoyed the smoothie I made a few months ago, but the task of making a new one every night or morning, and cleaning the food processor every time was not something I was interested in.  When I saw this pin that had (among other things) a tip to make smoothies ahead and freeze them as cubes, I knew I had found something I liked.

So I made two batches of smoothies.

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I picked up 2 ice cube trays for a total of $1 at Target.  Washed them, obvi.

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I filled the cubes up with smoothie.  It was basically one smoothie = one ice cube tray.

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Then I froze them overnight and they looked like this!

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For ease of storage, I popped out the cubes and put them into plastic storage bags. This way I could keep going on the cycle and make more smoothies until I had a nice stock pile.

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Grade: Cost: Time:

A

$1 for the trays, I already had the ingredients.

About 15 minutes, not including freezing.

Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
This worked pretty well for me.  If you are the kind of person that makes a smoothie everyday, I would recommend doubling the batch and freezing half so you can have back up smoothies.
Overall Impression:
This was super easy and made breakfast easy. It is also a good way to take advantage of any produce you have that is about to go bad.  Could also do this with homemade stock!

Life Hack – How to Cut a Watermelon With Quarter

Are you as addicted to lifehacks as we are? Did you know we’ve been testing them too? We’ve been putting our reviews on facebook simply because they aren’t log enough for full blog posts….. until now!

How fantastic is that!?!?!? I was as excited as a kid in a candy store when I read this. It was GOING to happen. Lets get started.

You’ll need: Watermelon and a quarter. Be sure you clean the quarter. Bleach it or soak it in dish soap for awhile.

Life Hack - Don't have a knife? Use a quarter to cut the watermelon and karate chop it in half! Tested on Pintertesting.com

Step 1: Make an indent in the watermelon with the quarter. Rubbing the rough edge back and forth like a saw works best to break the skin. (see example below) It’s pretty tough to cut through. It will take you awhile.

Life Hack - Don't have a knife? Use a quarter to cut the watermelon and karate chop it in half! Tested on Pintertesting.com

Step 2: Make an indent around the entire watermelon. It doesn’t need to break through, just enough to create a line. I’ll be showing you an easier step to puncture the watermelon next.

Life Hack - Don't have a knife? Use a quarter to cut the watermelon and karate chop it in half! Tested on Pintertesting.com

Step 3: Rub away enough on one spot for the quarter to actually break into the watermelon. Be careful! If you push too hard you’ll lose the quarter in the watermelon. I had a few close calls… Once you puncture through enough you’ll be able to roll the quarter through the crease. (Well, sort of roll…. ) It will take a lot of strength in your fingers but rolling the quarter is a LOT easier than pushing directly down.

Life Hack - Don't have a knife? Use a quarter to cut the watermelon and karate chop it in half! Tested on Pintertesting.com

Step 4: You’ll know you’ve punctured far enough when you can see the pink of the watermelon. You’ll need to see this line around the ENTIRE melon!.

Life Hack - Don't have a knife? Use a quarter to cut the watermelon and karate chop it in half! Tested on Pintertesting.com

Step 5: Insert pathetic video here…. I actually took a video but it was.. well pathetic. It wasn’t until this step that I remember I’m a very nonviolent person… I attempted to karate chop the melon but it was more like a slap… I tried to lightly drop it on the counter but was afraid of it splattering everywhere. After realizing my karate chopping was useless I decided to just pull it apart. It’s actually really easy to pull apart. I googled a video of someone chopping the watermelon to prove that it also works…

Life Hack - Don't have a knife? Use a quarter to cut the watermelon and karate chop it in half! Tested on Pintertesting.com

Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ $5 for a watermlon 30 Minutes
Level of Difficulty:
Easy/Medium
What I Would Change:
Do this when you’re angry…. karate chopping a watermelon sounds like a great stress reliever. Cutting through the watermelon with the quarter certainly is frustrating enough.
Overall Impression:
IT WORKS! I’m as surprised as you are. It’s tough… It takes a long time but it’s possible! My family laughed at me… they even begged me to start using a knife but I persisted. I feel like doing this was a major accomplishment in my life and something everyone should try once. Why? Well, why not?

Fourth of July Ice Box Cake

Every year I find adorable Fourth of July pins and I never end up doing them.  I always end up feeling like I missed an opportunity.  This year I decided, “No More!” I chose to try out a recipe that I’d seen on tv and recently came across on Pinterest. Another first for me is that this is an icebox cake.

 

Strawberries

I started by cutting the tops off of 1 lb. of strawberries for the “surprise” strawberry cream layer. Popped those suckers right into my food processor.image

Boom. Processed.

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In my stand mixer, I made some whipped cream based on the directions in the pin. It turned out sweet and fluffy.  It was the first time I’ve ever made whipped cream and I think it went well.

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I folded the strawberry puree into about 1/3 of the whipped cream.

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Next I lined the bottom of my spring form pan with vanilla wafer cookies and piped a border of whipped cream around the edge.  This is to conceal the strawberry layer.

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I poured my strawberry whipped cream into the center and it held just fine!  I just used a large plastic storage bag to pipe the whipped cream.

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I covered the strawberry layer with another layer of vanilla wafer cookies, this time making sure to place them more evenly.

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I poured the rest of my whipped cream over the top and did my best to smooth it out.

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This is the fun part! I made a line down the cake with blueberries.  I just kind of eyeballed where I thought it should go. I filled in the space to the left with the rest of my blueberries haphazardly.

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If you are as particular as me, this will probably be the most time consuming part of the recipe and even this doesn’t take very long. I put the top stripe of raspberries and then the bottom stripe and then did my best to space the middle 2 stripes as evenly as possible.

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I didn’t line my pan with wax paper because I didn’t have any.  Spoiler alert: It was fine.

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I put the cake in the freezer all day and it was pretty frozen.  I don’t think you are actually supposed to put this in the freezer, just the fridge all day.  If you are short on time, maybe freezer for a few hours before a party.

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Grade: Cost: Time:

A

$6

Prep: 20

Total: About 8 hours

Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Next time I would just put it in the fridge over night, but then make sure to use wax paper.
Overall Impression:
I had a lot of fun making this cake and it turned out beautifully. I would definitely make this again! Everyone who tried it thought it was refreshing, fun and not overly sweet.

 

 

Remember The Milk App

I didn’t think I’d ever be writing a blog post based on an app. Frankly, I didn’t think that people posted about apps on Pinterest. But alas, here I am with my computer on my lap ready to give my review on an app called “Remember the Milk“.

Remember the Milk App tested and reviewed on Pintertesting.com

I’ve only been using this app for a week or so. I’ve already found that I love it and hate it… Let’s list the main negatives first just to get them out of the way.

1. Sharing lists. Maybe i haven’t found this feature yet or maybe it’s only on the full version, but since I co-author this blog It’d be nice to share some lists back and forth.

2. You can only sync once a day! I downloaded this first on my phone, but also added the app on my tablet for convenience sake. I went to sync it between the two and found that you can only sync it once within 24 hours. I hit the sync button first on my phone thinking it would pick up the data I had just added to my tablet. I was wrong. Limiting this is really frustrating. Which bring me to my next complaint….

3. The full app costs $25! That’s a LOT. Granted, so far I love the app, but asking me to pay $25 for it seems really steep. I can buy a notebook for much less than that and keep it in my purse.

On the plus side, those are my only two complaints. On to the positives:

1. Sync your notes across multiple platforms. Enter them on a computer, a tablet, your phone. It’s accessible anywhere. I love this feature. You can even sync it with calendars. Work.. personal… It’s great!.

2. Make your own folders. I’ve made ones for work, for home, shopping, Pintertesting, cleaning, birthday gifts…. you name it, I have a list for it somewhere. It’s a GREAT tool for keeping your life organized. Part of me wonders how I’ve lived without it for so long!

3. Set due dates. Have homework due by a certain date? A big project at work. Use the reminders on this. It’s great!

4. Set locations. Need items only from Target or Costco? Well, you can make lists based on location. Next time you’re going there you’ll already have a list of what you need!

5. Search. You can search for any of your notes. Search by date, by title, by tags…. Remember you had a list for items you need for dinner? Use the search feature and you’ll find it in a breeze.

In summary, this app is great for people who are always on the go, people who need to remember a lot of things, and people who love lists. It’s an excellent organizational tool, and GREAT for students, teachers, and business professionals. If you’re a manager, you may love this app. Really the biggest downside is the cost. $25 is too much for the average person. If it were half the price (say $12.50) I’d consider it. If it were $9.99 I’d buy it in an instant. If in a month from now I’ve found myself moving all my list making over the the app then I might save up the money to buy this. As a blogger I think I will love it for keeping track of all my projects, while also being able to see at a a glance all the other things I need to do in my life. Workout routines anyone?

I’m clearly still hemming and hawing about the full version price, but the app is free for the general version! If you plan on using this on only one platform this app could be a steal! I intend to stop using it on my tablet and stick with using it on my phone for the time being. I see enormous potential for it and I’m glad I found it. This may be the solution I’ve been looking for. Who knows, maybe I’ll splurge and buy the full edition for my birthday.

Update: I’ve been using other note apps for awhile. While I’ve learned to tune out the “memo” app, seeing a cow on my home screen with the word “remember” in the title always grabs my attention. It’s almost annoying but GREAT marketing. Bravo app makers, you’ve caught my attention.

Grade: Cost: Time:
A- Free version or $25 for full version N/A
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
The price! Holy smokes is that a lot. You don’t need the full priced version of the app, but if you’re going to use it across multiple platforms you’ll need it.
Overall Impression:
A great organizational tool. I’m glad I found it. This may be the app I’ve been waiting for. I’m a list making addict. I have so many pads of paper around the house and once I make them I rarely end up looking at them again. They just get lost or placed aside. I always have my phone with me. Plus, the fact that you can set up separate folders (blog, home projects, grocery list, homework, etc) is invaluable. I give high praises to the designers of the app. I’d recommend the free version to just about everyone and the full priced app could also be a great tool for working professionals.

Trying to think about what kind of lists you’d make with this? Here’s a list of the ones I currently have:

  • Grocery list
  • Work projects
  • Freelance work
  • Cleaning
  • Errands
  • Birthday Gifts
  • Things to buy later
  • Library due dates
  • Pintertesting – Projects to do.
  • Pintertesting – Posts to write.
  • Books to read
  • Home projects (ex: repaint the deck)
  • Blog items to buy
  • Future (Items to be on the lookout for. Ex: a new sidetable.

Baked Bacon

Real Talk: I hate cooking bacon.  I hate the way the fat crackles and hits my arm.  I hate that I don’t have that cool mesh bacon burn blocker apparatus.  Hence why I chose to cook bacon inside these cinnamon rolls instead of just cooking it.

Hades

I found this pin and thought, “Perfect.  Now I can cook bacon without rage.”  So I laid out my bacon on a foil lined baking sheet.  My cookie sheet was dirty so I went with my pizza sheet. If you look closely, you can see that I used 2 overlapped sheets of foil.  This was a mistake. You want your foil to be one sheet.  The fat from the bacon will liquefy and seep through between two sheets of foil.  I had a greasy mess to clean at the end because of that. Which seems like the opposite of the point of this pin.

Baked Bacon

I followed the directions on the pin exactly. Oven at 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes. This is what I got:

Burned Bacon 2

Why did this have to happen to my precious bacon?  Why? I guess it could have been worse. I could have tried this with more bacon. The bacon lovers in my house were pretty disappointed.

Burned Bacon

Grade: Cost: Time:

F

$2

Prep: 2 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Level of Difficulty:
Easy? It wasn’t hard to set up, but it didn’t work correctly.
What I Would Change:
1. Use one large sheet of foil to catch the fat.2. Bake it for a shorter amount of time. Definitely keep an eye on them.
Overall Impression:

I was pretty steamed that these didn’t turn out.  Obviously the length of cooking time was incorrect.  I might retry this while watching them closer to determine what the proper baking time is.

 

Lose the Bat Wings – 17 Arm Exercises

I recently found out that I get to be a bridesmaid. That means photos galore. Awhile back I told you about a leg workout I’ve been doing. I said I had been combining that routine with another arm one. Well, THIS is that arm routine.

Lose the batwings - 17 arm exercises tested on Pintertesting.com

To access these arm exercises you will need to either log in with facebook or create an account. (I HATE that!) I could access it on my tablet and phone without logging in so hopefully it’s just a computer feature. Still it’s a pain in the a$$.

What I liked:

  • Tells you what area of the arm you’re working (Biceps, triceps, shoulders, etc)
  • Images of each workout
  • Step by step instructions.

What I didn’t like:

  • Having to log in to access the content. What gives?… Ok I get it, but it’s a turn off….

Workouts:

  • Biceps:
    • Hammer Curl
    • Concentration Curl on Stability Ball (I just did this in a chair)
    • Bicep Curl
    • Crossover Hammer Curl
    • Reverse Bicep Curl
    • Horizontal Bicep Curl
  • Triceps:
    • Overhead Triceps Extension on Stability Ball
    • Tricep Kickbacks
    • Kneeling Triceps Extension
    • Single-arms Triceps Extension
    • Weighted Overhead Triceps Curl
    • Push Up with Triceps Extension
  • Shoulders
    • Cheer Press
    • Dumbbell Front + Lateral Raise
    • Side Fly Extension
    • Weighted Arm Circles
    • Shoulder Press.

My Routine and Results: I started with 5lb weights. I have very weak arms. The first few exercises were easy but by the time I was nearing the shoulder exercises my arms were exhausted. I did about 15 reps for each routine. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s enough for a beginner. I’ve seen incredible results on my arms within just a few days. The best part is that you can do these almost anywhere. I’ve even done a handful of these at my work desk.

Grade: Cost: Time:
A Free Varies. Mine is usually around 20 Minutes
Level of Difficulty:
Easy/Medium
What I Would Change:
Switch around the routine. I do these the way it’s listed, but I think alternating between each muscle might help you go longer (ex: Bicep, Shoulder, tricep, etc)
Overall Impression:
I’ve seen great results. I’ve done this so many times that I hardly need to even look at the list anymore. Most of these are easy enough for beginners, but also basics for more experienced workout enthusiasts.

 

Strawberry Poppyseed and Bacon Chopped Salad

I had a lot of strawberries left over from the greek yogurt strawberry banana bread that I made last week (which in case you didn’t read about it…. do yourself a favor and go read about it. It’s delicious!) Well, anyway… aside from that not being proper grammar, I had almost a full container of strawberries left. Of course that was planned because I also had planned this….. a strawberry poppyseed and bacon chopped salad.

Strawberry Poppyseed and Bacon Chopped Salad tested on Pintertesting.com

I’ve been hooked on salads, specifically chopped salads for the past year or so. The cafe at work makes these salads that are to die for! I’m not proud of this, but their poppyseed dressing is so good that I have even licked the plate to get more of it…. When I saw that this recipe comes with its own poppyseed dressing, I almost jumped through the roof! Hello homemade crack!

The original recipe comes from Cremedelacrumb

Ingredients
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups strawberries, chopped
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon diced red onion
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup strawberries, chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons poppyseeds
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl toss together chopped lettuce, strawberries, bacon, and red onion. In a food processor or blender, add all dressing ingredients and pulse 1-2 minutes until smooth. Pour dressing over salad and top with crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy!

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My Comments

This salad was delicious! It will be perfect with a few alterations.

  • Be careful how much bacon you add! Our bacon pieces were tiny so I cooked two extra pieces. It was way too much bacon.
  • Add a little less sugar to the dressing. The dressing was good, but I’d take away maybe a teaspoon, potentially a full tablespoon of sugar from the dressing. With the strawberries it became just a little too sweet.
  • Keep an eye on the red onion. It’s really good balancing out the dressing, but can be a lot very quickly.
  • Add chicken. That would have made it a perfect recipe.
  • Switch out the bacon for some walnuts.
  • Change out the fruit. I think the dressing would taste just as good on apples as it did on the strawberries.
Grade: Cost: Time:
A- A lot of basics, but can get pricey. Estimated = $10-$20 for ingredients. 15 Minutes
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
See “My comments” for extensive list. In summary: add chicken, add nuts, limit bacon and onion. Limit sugar in dressing or use another sweetener.
Overall Impression:
A really really good salad, but needed some individual tweaking. Add chicken and less bacon and it could be A+ as is. I’ll be using this dressing again for sure.
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