April 16, 2014

Neon Love || Dream Closet

Wednesday ~ Starbucks, grocery shopping, lunch with a friend, bank, post office. 

Neon Love

Polyester shirt

Green cropped jacket

Converse flat shoes
$84 - johnlewis.com

Irene Neuwirth onyx ring

Chanel earrings

Nail polish

April 13, 2014

Meal Plan || Number Two

Meal Plan || Number Two 

Happy Sunday everyone! Our meal plan for this past week. I'll include recipes or links to the recipes I used. I'll also include any modification, notes, or LOVES (favorite products/ingredients). 

Weekly Meal Plan, Number Two, The Graffitied Gardenia Blog
Meal Plan || Number Two

Side note - COMMON BREAKFAST AND LUNCH in our house 
Breakfast selections: Yogurt, cold cereal, oatmeal, toast, and/or fruit. 
Lunch selections: Leftovers, peanut butter and jelly, fruit, raw vegetables, or use monthly spending money to get whatever you want. 


Pork Chops, pasta salad, cantaloupe 
The husband cooked the pork chops in this really cool cooker. Its a Char-Broil The Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer he got it for Christmas a few years ago. We love it! Hooks up to a propane tank, he's made ribs and roasts in there too. The roast is outstanding! He's a great cook and really creative with flavors and seasonings.

If you got a man that is handsome, smells good, treats you nice, and can cook....you better take good care of him! I really hit the jackpot, that's for sure.

Loves: Pasta Salad, huge fan of Betty Crocker Suddenly Pasta Salad - Classic. So simple and delicious, great to have on hand, less than $2.00 a box, which is less expensive than buying the ingredients individually. I usually have two stocked in my pantry, it's a great last minute side if needed. I make a lot of things homemade, but if I find something that I like I have no problem using boxed or pre-made items. 

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken, rice, and a green salad
This Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe is all over Pinterest. I tried it the first time, the dude was not into it. It calls for ½ cup apple cider vinegar so it was pretty vinegary and our whole house smelled like vinegar. But I still loved it so I wanted to try it again with a modificaiton - I subbed half the vinegar with pineapple juice. I thought it was super tasty, but not as crispy. The man is still not down with it. So this will go on my chick gathering or dudes not home menu, it's clearly a loved recipe with the amount of Pinterest attentions it's gotten.

I also added pineapple chunks and bell peppers to the chicken while in the oven at the half way mark. Served on rice and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. I highly recommend trying this recipe at least once! Also, add a little Sriracha to the sauce for some heat, if you like. I'm serious, please try this recipe, it's better than any take-out sweet and sour chicken I've ever had. The leftovers heat up nicely too, just not crispy but that's expected.

Me and two of my friends love trying new recipes on Pinterest or other places, whenever we try something new we send pics to each other and say if we love, hate, or would try again with changes. It's pretty awesome! We have all tried this recipe and love it.
Recipe: Mel's Kitchen Cafe Sweet and Sour Chicken

Homemade Pico De Gallo, weekly meal planning, The Graffitied Gardenia blog
Fresh Pico De Gallo

Cheese quesadillas (with fresh sliced jalapeƱos for the man plain cheese for me), refried beans, and fresh homemade pico de gallo
Loves: For cheese I used sharp cheddar and pepper jack, this is my favorite combo. Fresh pico or salsa is the best thing ever {heart} Add fresh mango and/or fresh pineapple for a fruit pico, equally as tasty.

Pico De Gallo 


  • 1/2-1 Yellow Onion Diced
  • 4-6 whole Roma Tomatoes Diced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno Diced Finely
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro Chopped
  • 1 Lime Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt


  1. Cut, mix, taste add any needed ingredients.

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Date night 

Kielbasa, rice, and a green salad
Kielbasa I like to slice into bite size pieces and cook in a cast iron skilled on the stove, a little burnt is my favorite. It's funny growing up we had kielbasa and rice for dinner often, so whenever I make this I feel like a kid again. 

Good inexpensive dinner as well. Kielbasa is under $3 (usually with coupon $2), rice is under a $1 depending on what kind of rice you eat. We like white rice (pretty sure from living in Hawaii, I got so used to eating white rice everyday I crave it now) which is about a quarter a serving, lettuce is under $1. So dinner for under $5 for two people, plus enough for 1-2 lunches, depending on how much you eat. 

Leftover Kielbasa ideas: Served with pancakes, as a sandwich, omelet, loco moco, or diced with eggs and potatoes for a breakfast burrito. 

I love old family pictures

Homemade Banana Bread
This recipe I will not give you (sorry), but will share a story. The banana bread recipe belonged to my husband's great grandparents (picture above), on his mom's side. His mom makes it all the time and he grew up eating and loving this banana bread. When we lived in Hawaii together, his mom would bake two loafs and send them to us; this was the first time I tried it. It was everything I had heard it was. 

When we got engaged, his mom gave me the recipe. It was my favorite gift, I don't even think she knows how much it meant to me. I love recipes, then to received a recipe that's been passed down, I tear up just thinking about it. One day if we have kids, it's going to bring me so much joy to pass on this recipe. I remember the first time I made it I was so nervous, I waited for him to take the first bite....and.....do you like it??? He said, "My mom is the banana bread queen, but you are the banana bread princess!" Works for me! I'm much rather be the princess. 

Mini bake in loaf pans, prefect for gifts! The Graffitied Gardenia blog
Mini bake in loaf pans! How cute!!

I found the cutest disposable bake in mini loaf pans at TJMaxx, love them! So if the banana bread turns out good (tastes good and not like cardboard) in the mini loafs. This will be delivered to my neighbors tomorrow. Could also be my new favorite gift, maybe mini carrot cakes next time!!!

Update: Pans worked great and so cute! I'll definatly be on the lookout for these again. Super cute wrapped in plastic wrap with bakers string and a label! Easy to use as well, just pour the batter in and bake as normal (no need to spray with non-stick), safe for up to 400 degrees; at least that's how these worked. 

Check back next Sunday for meal plan number three. 
Have a wonderful week! 

{you are beautiful and wonderfully made} 

April 10, 2014

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting || A House Favorite

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 

Huge fan of carrot cake, I'm actually surprised how many people like carrot cake, but you never really see it served places...weird.
The man loves carrot cake, so part of begin the wonderful wife that I am (hehe) I was on a mission to find the best. 

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, The Graffitied Gardenia blog
Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 

Tried a few then of course ended up at America's Test Kitchen, this was the winner for our taste buds. No stuff inside, just simple carrot cake, with a mound of cream cheese frosting and walnuts! I've tried it with two stacked 9 inch round cake pans, and cupcakes, but like the 9x13 pan best. If you do a stacked cake make sure to double the cream cheese frosting recipe or you'll be sad. 

My Notes: If you have a food processor it will save you SO MUCH time. I made this recipe two times before having one, boo! Took forever. Saved money and waited for a 20% off coupon to Bed, Bath and Beyond then I was a proud owner of my very own food processor!

In the recipe you slowly add vegetable oil to part of the ingredients using the food processor to mix it, hopefully your food processor has this awesome addition. See that little teeny tiny hole? That's made for this! You just fill up the tube in the top part with the liquid you're needing to add and it creates a small steady stream in. BRILLIANT! If you don't have the hole you just need to stand there and be patient. 

This is also great if you need to emulsify oil into something to make...maybe a vinaigrette dressing. If you add it to quickly the things you want to blend, won't.

Kitchen Nerd: Emulsion  ~ wikipedia
An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible (nonmixable or unblendable). Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion should be used when both the dispersed and the continuous phase are liquids. In an emulsion, one liquid (the dispersed phase) is dispersed in the other (the continuous phase). Examples of emulsions include vinaigrettes, milk, mayonnaise.

As always my kitchen and/or product LOVES for this recipe:
A few of my favorite things...The Graffitied Gardenia blog
A few of my favorite things...

Powdered Sugar - C&H, I use only C&H for all my sugars. I've tried others and stuff doesn't taste or melt right. For powdered sugar I think C&H tastes better, I've tried two other brands and they tasted chalky.

Vanilla - Penzeys Single Strength Vanilla it's a lovely rich flavor, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to ingredients I like. Pricy at $13.99 for a 4oz bottle, but worth every penny! The bottles are really cute dark glass too, so when I finish a bottle I wash it and use as a little flower vases around the house or for gifts. I also keep a couple with the lids so if I need to take a small amount of liquid somewhere. Like say....you brought garlic bread to a pot luck but wanted to bring Olive Oil and Balsamic for dipping, cute right! It also comes with a soaking vanilla bean inside, at least the 4oz does, depending on how much I'm baking I'd say one lasts me 3-4 months.

Vanilla if you live in Colorado or by a Savory Spice Shop - Savory Spice Shop Tahitian Vanilla or you can order online, delicious! This is my old favorite, but living in Wisconsin now, I want to support local as much as possible.

Cinnamon - Penzeys Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon, oh man...if you like cinnamon this stuff is outrageous! It's the best purest cinnamon flavor, just smelling it makes you happy. It is strong, so maybe use a little less than you're used to. Thank you Katy for sharing this favorite with me!

Flour - King Arthur All-Purpose Unbleached Flour

Zester (use nutmeg, lemon/lime/orange zest) - Microplane Premium Zester, lots of fun color options. If you don't have one, then you get one, the first time you use it for fresh nutmeg AMAZING!
Smile ear to ear!

Nutmeg - Fresh

I hope you make this simple delightful carrot cake and like it as much as we do!

Upcycled Penzeys vanilla Bottle for a flower vase, The Graffitied Gardenia blog
Upcycled Penzeys Vanilla Bottle || Flower Vase 

{you are beautiful and wonderfully made}

April 6, 2014

Meal Plan || Number One

Hi!!! It's been way too long, I've missed you all and am looking forward to getting back into this blogging thing. If this is your first time here, welcome!!! 

I love meal planning, yes this is true. Since I love it so much, it really never occurred to me how much others don't. I've wanted to share my meal plans for sometime now, then the months keep passing. The other day I was reading a blog and the girl stated how much she hated meal planning then there were three comments in the comment section also saying the same thing, I realized I needed to do this already! So this is my new adventure...I'll be posting my weekly meal plan here recipes or links to recipes will be included. I'll be posting the week after so I can comment on any changes I made. I'll also share favorite side ideas, favorite brands, and favorite regularly made items.  

Because of copyright laws and my love for finding new blogs to follow with recipes, unless the recipe is mine (very few) then I'll post a link to their blog where you can get directions, ingredients, whatever. Also, I make a lot of America's Test Kitchen or Cook's Country recipes, I will post a link to the recipe; unless it's the current season you'll need to sign-up for a membership or the free trial to get the recipe ~ totally worth it! I love them!!! America's Test Kitchen completely changed my life and love for cooking. Any money I can send their way to keep them on the air is my pleasure! Another thing I love about ATK is they usually have videos of how to make everything, totally takes away the scary factor if you're new to cooking or baking.

I've been posting my menu on Instagram for a couple months and met some other meal planners who I follow for new ideas, love making cyber friends! I plan my menu a month at a time, then grocery shop for non-pershibles for the whole month on my first trip. Then I make a small trip each week to get any needed fresh ingredients. 

A couple of years ago, I posted how I shopped and planned my food budget. Just like I wrote there, you have to mold your plan for your life and since moving to a different state ours has changed. I'll be posting sometime this month my new style.


Weekly Meal Plan || The Graffitied Gardenia blog
Weekly Meal Plan || Number One 
Porkchops with pineapple fried rice. This is one of our favorite recipes, my husband puts this in the "birthday dinner request" category. 
It's from Pioneer Women, we like double the Sriracha and I use red onions, they caramelize so nicely, pretty sure this recipe is the reason I'm starting to like onions. I also sub can pineapple, drain in a strainer, then brown in a skillet. 

Homemade Black Bean Soup || The Graffitied Gardenia blog
Homemade Black Bean Soup
Black bean soup (this is made in the slow cooker!) and grilled cheese - This is a planned leftover, I made the soup last week and froze half to have some tonight. In my meal planning I don't typically count planned leftovers as my leftover night. This soups was delicious! I love Panera's black bean soup, so the thought of being able to make my own equally as good is blowing my mind!  I highly recommend making it. The recipe calls for vegetable stock, I used chicken instead. 
Loves: I recommend Penzeys Chicken soup base.

Blueberry pancakes and sausage. 
Loves: I keep Saco cultured buttermilk blend (you can buy at most stores, Walmart for sure in the baking isle, usually bottom shelf) on hand if I need buttermilk for a recipe. A friend recommended the pancake recipe on the back. First time trying, yum! Thanks Erin!! There are a few recipes that I'll still buy fresh buttermilk for, but this is good for the others. I added a little coconut oil to my syrup, tasty! 
My pancakes - blueberry pancakes, topped with more blueberries, sliced banana, peanut butter (peanut butter on pancakes is a family favorite that I grew up eating) then the coconut maple syrup ~ heaven! 


Date Night

Sloppy Joes, baked beans, and raw carrots. 
Loves: Baked beans, Bush's of course
my favorite is Bush's Grillin' Beans, Southern Pit Barbecue.
Need side ideas? Carrots! Both of us like raw carrots, this is a very inexpensive easy side.
Buns for the sloppy joes - For Thanksgiving last year, I tried a recipe from Pioneer Woman for rosemary dinner rolls, loved; super easy and you use store bought frozen dinner rolls! This recipe is so awesome, I now use it for anything I need buns for and make mini sandwiches instead of large sandwiches (which I like better anyways!) and change the seasoning on the rolls. The frozen dinner rolls are plain, I prepare the rolls same as the Pioneer Woman's recipe but instead of rosemary I'll use other seasonings/herbs. This is also great for my budget, with it being just us two, super easy to have the frozen rolls on hand and make as needed. Instead of buying a bag of rolls, then having to figure out what to make with the extra rolls so they don't go to waste. 

Jolleen's Sloppy Joe Recipe
Print Recipe
Serves: 4


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion - red minced
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 pound ground beef 85 percent lean
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon "Louisiana" Hot Sauce my favorite hot sauce
  • 8 Rhodes dinner rolls


  1. Heat oil in 12 inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering; add onions, chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onions is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until almost cooked though, but still slightly pink, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato puree, ketchup, water, and Louisiana Hot Sauce. Simmer until sauce is slightly thicker than ketchup, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste. Add brown sugar if any extra sweetness is needed, but the red onion usually takes care of this. Spoon meat mixture onto buns and serve, I love using Rhodes dinner rolls and serving as mini sandwiches. Follow package directions for prep, before baking top frozen rolls with melted butter and coarse sea salt.

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I planned to make homemade carrot cake, but made brownies instead. I'll make the carrot cake later this week and do a single post on that, it's amazing!
Loves: My favorite brownies are Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownies, Costco box of 6 packets about $9. True story - this is what we used for our wedding cake! My auntie made a little tiered brownie cake and our wedding topper was the bride and groom Homies (the quarter machine figures), then she made sheet pans of brownies for the guest!
So when I eat them it's sentimental too. 

A post on how I create my weekly/monthly plan to come...

Let me know if you make any of these things and how you liked them! 
Also, what are some of your favorite things to serve for a side?

{you are beautiful and wonderfully made}

March 17, 2013

Tassel Earrings || DIY

Do you ever read someone's blog and think, 
"Wow, I wish we lived close to each other and could be friends?"

I want to give a shout out to one of my favorite blogs Henry happened; Stephanie is a DIY queen. I can't wait until we have our house and I can start making more of the stuff she posts! One of the first things I want to make are these ~ so cute with wheat grass too! Then when I have my chick palace all set up I'll start my way though all of these amazing DIY necklaces.

Last week Stephanie posted DIY tassel earrings (instructions for a necklace too) and I couldn't wait, I had to try them this weekend. Love, so cute! I want to make more...they're addicting. These are the three I made today, the only change I made was I used wire to wrap, instead of more embroidery thread.

Turquoise Tassel Earrings
Silvery Purple Tassel Earrings
Dark Purple Tassel Earrings

What color do you want to make?
I will definitely add this to the list of things to make with my ladies when I have my
"Pinterest Make It Night" parties.

What's your favorite DIY blog? 
Please leave in the comments below, I'd love to check it out. 

{you are beautiful and wonderfully made}