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Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

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Jan 23, 2012 | Everything Else, Topics | Tags: , , ,

I don’t have a lot of Pinteresting finds to share as of late, but I thought I’d share a recipe that’s been a hit in our house for years now.  It’s simple, its tasty, its healthy, and I think it doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves.

Roasted potatoes. I’m just saying, no peeling, no boiling, no mashing, no adding a bunch of fatty ingredients.  Leave the skins on, dice them up, toss them in some olive oil and spices, roast them in the oven, and you’re done.   Who needs mashed potatoes?  These suckers are good hot or cold, travel easily (great appetizer for parties, great side item for picnics or potlucks) and (warning!) are mildly addictive. They are such a hit in our family every time I make them that I’ve stopped skimping and started just making the whole five pound bag. Yes, five pounds, and they all get eaten.

I am sorry to say, the only pictures I have to share of these potatoes are from before I cooked them. If you must know, in the flurry of doing our read aloud of The Hobbit, and then scrambling out the door to boy #3’s basketball practice that we nearly forgot about, this batch got overcooked (a euphemism for burned).  I decided there was no reason to add insult to injury by posting pictures of my burned roasted potatoes to boot.  However, it appears as if my boys (including my husband) didn’t notice because they devoured all five pounds as quickly as usual–yet another reason to love these things, even when they’re “overcooked”, they’re scrumptious!  It’s pretty hard to mess these up!

Sometimes I make these with rosemary, sometimes with dill, sometimes I omit the parmesan cheese, sometimes I throw in some feta cheese, as was the case with the batch you see pictured here. But, I always add the olive oil and kosher salt. And, as a tip, using parchment paper will save you a lot of hassle at clean up time.  A recipe is included below, enjoy!

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes via Real Simple Magazine, June 2006

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 sprigs fresh thyme (or, we use a few teaspoons dried dill or rosemary instead)

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Transfer to a roasting pan or 9 by 13 baking dish.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, stirring once.  Serve hot or at room temperature.


Reading With Boys

It seems to me that people often make it look as if reading to their children is an effortless and organic experience–I have visions of moms and dads in other homes curled up quietly with their children, books in hand, creating warm memories that will last a lifetime. In my world, sitting down to read with five boys means that fights break out over who gets to sit in my lap, boys perch themselves on my head and shoulders for the best picture-viewing angle they can find, and the shocking invasion of my personal space makes me want to hand the book over and tell them to read to themselves–it conjures up anything but warm and fuzzy images.  Also, finding books that interest everyone in the wide age range of my boys, ages 4-11, proves to be challenging.

Only recently have I attempted to be more consistent with doing group read-alouds with our boys.  I don’t have the silver bullet for making group reading with boys easy, but I have learned a thing or two that has helped make it a more enjoyable experience around our house. The only reason I’m leaving girls out of this is because I can’t claim any expertise on that topic; my world is hopelessly male, anything outside of that realm I can’t claim any authority on, but that doesn’t mean some of these ideas can’t work with girls either.

Tips for Reading with Boys

  • Let them engage in another, quiet, creative activity while you’re reading to them. For whatever reason, sitting still and boys do not go well together–the more I demand it of my boys, the worse the outcome. When I allow them to color or draw while I am reading aloud, it actually helps engage their mind and keeps them from getting restless. When I can find free coloring pages online related to the story we are reading, I print those out ahead of time. But, other times, I just have them bring out whatever random coloring books we have around and they lay on the floor and color while I read. If they aren’t in the mood to color or draw, I also allow them to play with legos or blocks, anything that’s quiet but keeps their brains engaged and their bodies out of trouble (and off my head!) while I read. (more…)


Switch to Health (S2H) STEP

You may remember my post on the S2H REPLAY.  If you don’t, read the review on the REPLAY first and then come back.  Much of the way the program works is the same, the only difference is that the STEP keeps track of steps you take and gives you a reward code for every 10,000 steps.  I was really surprised how quickly I could get to 10,000 steps even though I spend some of the day sitting at my computer for work.  I averaged 5,000 steps a day.  On days I ran, I could get 5,000 steps just from my run.  I actually found it fun to see how many steps I took in an average day.  So you can probably expect to get 3 or 4 reward codes a week with the STEP. (more…)


Fabric Hoops Decor

I found this great post and couldn’t resist sharing. Such a simple idea, yet so beautiful. I did something similar in my daughters room with scraps left over from a quilt a friend made, but used square frames instead. I like the round hoops better.



For a great way to incorporate it into a nursery, check out this blog


Repurposed Vintage Suede Jacket

We are back in town and recovering from an action-packed Christmas! I reopened all my online shops and the sales are coming in again.  As we speak, the boys are enjoying their new trampoline in the backyard, thereby giving me a little time to break away to check back in on Tidy Tangle.

I thought it only fitting to throw a post out there about a pinterest-inspired project I squeezed in somehow before leaving town for Christmas.  Your reaction to this before-and-after is going to depend on whether you’re a glass-half-full, or glass-half-empty kind of person.  Bear with me here, I’ll tell the story in a timeline of pictures…

Pictured below is a beautiful vintage suede jacket that I’ve had for several years, handed down from a friend.  Please excuse the cell-phone photography, I was in between cameras at this point…

Vintage suede jacket before...

Now, if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, or you have a weak stomach, you might see the after picture like this:

Vintage suede jacket after, version 1

(You might also notice the messy chair, but that’s another story…)

Yikes, I know, but keep bearing with me…

If you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, you might see the after picture like this:

Vintage suede jacket after, version 2

In case I’ve lost you, I repurposed the jacket into a purse, using a tote bag pattern that I created a few years ago.

So, as you can see, it all depends on your perspective.

Now, for the longer version of the story.  I loved this beautiful suede jacket well for the last three years.  However, its age was showing, the leather was starting to wear out in some places, seams were coming loose, and it was fairly dirty.  I took it to the cleaners to get a quote on repairing and cleaning it, and they came back with a “ballpark” figure of around $100.  The dream of keeping the jacket alive died that day and it’s been hanging undisturbed in my closet ever since.  Though tempted to take it to Goodwill, I just couldn’t bring myself to let go of it completely.

Then, I saw this inspiring picture on Pinterest, with the description below:

Thrift store suede jacket + a belt + a tote pattern

Well, one thing led to another, and the next thing I knew, I’d cut that jacket up and turned it into a tote bag.  It’s a good thing that cow had already suffered because I seriously butchered that cow hide on my cutting table in an effort to get as much usable fabric from it as possible, it was a gruesome sight, I decided to spare y’all the pictures.  There were a few times in the process where I began to doubt myself, and I longed to restore it to its original vintage glory, but I pressed ahead.  The final result was a real leather handmade bag that would’ve cost me hundreds of dollars to purchase, and I gave new life and purpose to an old piece of well-worn, and well-loved leather.

That jacket was a work of art, obviously custom-made for someone decades ago who spared no expense.  As someone who is a craftsman herself, I really appreciated the workmanship that went into it.  My hope is that the person who made it would be proud to see it go on to have new purpose.

As well, I’m pretty sure that the fur collar left over is real fur, so the question on the table is: how can I repurpose that??  Maybe Pinterest will give me some inspiration for repurposing fur collars from vintage suede jackets too!  Just in case, I’m holding onto the fur collar…

Interior view of my "new" bag...


Hand-painted Christmas Ornament

So this is the last you’ll hear from me before New Years.  It’s been a busy season of Etsy sales, which I just wrapped up with a final shipment of six orders today.  My husband and boys learned how to make due without me a lot over the last couple weeks, but it was well worth all the effort.  Thank you to all my wonderful Etsy customers, it was wonderful to finish out my year with such a bang!

In the midst of the chaos, the boys and I stole this Pinterest idea last week to make some teacher’s and grandparent’s gifts.  I’ve learned that people actually do read my blog, which means when I post this stuff before Christmas, it’s not a surprise for their intended recipients any longer–but I make the sacrifice to offer you these last-minute ideas before Christmas is upon us, because they wouldn’t be much use after. (:

So, I will offer another before and after picture here, in the spirit of my Candy Cane Flops that I posted about last week.  Of course, our hand-painted ornaments didn’t turn out nearly as beautiful as these, but they were fun to make anyway, and if life is more about the process than the product, then this project fits the bill.

So, here’s the idea we were trying to recreate:

Handmade Painted Ornaments

Here was our version:

We bought a pack of clear, glass ornaments from a craft store (pretty sure you can find them at Walmart too) and I let the boys pick out a selection of acrylic paints.

Then, we opened up the top of the ornaments and started squeezing the paints inside, letting it run down the sides of the ornaments (to reiterate, on the inside of the glass, not the outside).

Not a great picture above (hard to focus on something clear), but you get the idea.  Then, we started shaking, rattling and rolling, trying not to break the glass.  I didn’t let my four-year-old participate because of how delicate of a process it is, but my 5-11 year olds did.  It was a bit of a slow process, we found it was helpful to tap on the glass, roll the ornament around in our hand, and add more paint a little at a time till all the gaps were filled in.

This was one of my favorites, achieved with a lot of tapping against the palm of our hands

The best part of all of this was that the paint was inside the ornament through the whole thing, so there was not a lot of clean up involved–that’s my kind of kid-friendly art project!

Here is a link to another post with directions on doing this, though she didn’t do it with kids, so the process turned out a little different for us.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, I look forward to time with friends and family reflecting on the birth of our risen Lord and Savior.  See you next year!


Candy Cane Flops and Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

Mrs Claus and her elves are busy around here baking up goodies.  Yum, Yum.

It’s tempting only to blog about my successes in life, but to err is human, so I’m just laying it all out there today.  I got this great idea for the Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses (yes, I’m getting a lot of mileage out of these), and decided to cut a couple corners in making them myself.  As it turns out, buying Pillsbury sugar cookie dough is not the same as this cookie recipe.  I was hopeful I could skip the step of making my own dough and still come out with something that looked vaguely similar to this:

Candy Cane Blossoms



Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix

I’m assuming I’m not the only one looking for affordable last minute gift ideas right now. Tis the season! I found these cute Christmas tins that look like miniature paint cans at Walgreens over the weekend and thought they’d be a fun way to gift some homemade hot chocolate mix this year.



Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

I have a new food group now and it’s called Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie.  I have one nearly every day, as long as I can get to the ripened bananas before one of my hungry boys does.  Naturally, I found this recipe on Pinterest, it’s the perfect blend of sweetness, without being too sweet (I don’t have a big sweet tooth), and still considerably healthy.  I will include the recipe in this post.  She calls it a “shake,” but I prefer the word smoothie as I attribute shakes to anything with ice cream in it, this has no ice cream and is very healthy.

What could be a more perfect way to enjoy a shake than in a Coca-Cola glass with a big, striped straw.  I have no idea where this glass came from, it just showed up in my cabinets last week.  As for the straw…my boys love drinking their smoothies with a straw, but it’s hard to find big ones that can handle thick liquids.  So, I purchased some of those giant Pixy Sticks when I stumbled upon them at a local grocer, let the boys savor their sweetness, then cut the empty straws to the right length.  They also came in handy for this photo I made of my oilcloth insulated koozies (:

Banana Peanut Butter Shake (copied from Lunch Box Bunch with my own slight alterations)
serves 1-2

1 1/2 cups very ripe banana slices
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup good peanut butter, room temperature – it should be soft and spoonable
1/4 cup+ soy milk (or any kind of milk)
optional: cinnamon (I haven’t tried this but it sounds yummy)
swirl in: 1 Tbsp peanut butter when pouring


The Jesus Storybook Bible

I am in love with this Bible.  It truly is really well done.  What I particularly love is that the author writes each story from the Bible and then shows how to that points to Christ.  The subtitle is “where every story whispers His name” and it truly does!  I love reading this with my daughter (she’s 2.5 years old and she loves to listen to the stories) before naptime and bedtime.  I even learn something new when I read it 🙂  So if you’re looking for a great Christmas present for your kids (and you!) then turn to this Bible.  You won’t be disappointed. You can buy it here.

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