‘Tis the Season(s)

I often wander into Whole Foods and peruse the aisles of down-to-earth, good-for-you products with their wholesome ingredients. The expansive variety of ready-to-eat items on the hot bar. The mingling of the kindred tree huggers…those of us who love to put good into our bodies and do good by Mother Earth.

I always get pizza and 2 cookies. It’s kind of like when I have Mexican. Three crunchy tacos; there’s really no point in looking at the menu. But, I digress…

But did you know that there was magic happening over in the seasoning section?

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I used to have this thing with always wanting one of those gourmet seasoning sets, but I didn’t particularly care for the one-flavor-fits-all packaging. There were always one or two seasonings that I really wanted to try, but didn’t want to waste money on the ones I didn’t think I’d want. Randomly, I found out that you can totally make your own seasoning set at Whole Foods!

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I know right!

So basically, it works like this:

1. Find a super cute container to put your seasoning into. This step is especially important if you’re giving this as a house warming gift… *hint, hint, wink, wink* And bring a mini funnel, if you have one. In retrospect, that would have been helpful…

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2. Take the containers to the counter to have them weighed. When you go to pay for the seasonings, they have to weigh the containers individually and this will ensure you don’t pay double for the container that you brought into the store. Think back to the science experiments in undergrad where you had to weigh each chemical so you didn’t mess up the whole assignment…

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3. Select your seasonings and fill your containers. The best part of being able to make your own seasoning gift set is that it can be super personalized for the lucky recipient!

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4. Checkout! The best part of this whole deal is that you get to sample some spices without breaking your budget. I think I love that part the most 🙂

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I decided to go with Orange Chipotle, Rosemary, Aegean and Yakima Applewood, Smoked Sea Salts. ‘Tis the seasons indeed!

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Does it sound good to you? Let me know in the comments for a chance to use these delicious seasonings in your next dish!

Make It Awesome!

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Look Ma, No Hands!

This post is not sponsored and is solely the opinion of this really excited blogger!

I used to have a conundrum in the kitchen. When I would make a cake or cupcakes, I would usually have a little batter left over and I was never really sure what to do with it. I would proceed to make some extra cupcakes and of course eat them as I went along.

That worked for a while until I had to buy bigger jeans.

I didn’t want to throw it away, so I had to figure something out…

Did you know that you can freeze batter??!

There are over 6 billion people on this planet and I can’t be the only one who didn’t know that. So yes, you can totally freeze cake batter! When I figured this out, it became a whole new adventure jsut trying to get the batter into the freezer bags. It defeats the purpose of putting batter into bags to keep from wasting it when it doesn’t actually make it into the bag…

So one day, as I harmlessly perused the interwebs for something totally unrelated, I came across this beauty:

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image from walterdrake.com

Y’all, they make a holder that allows you to be hands-free! I might be late to the party, but I have arrived!! I used to think all the “As Seen On TV” stuff was fooey, but this thing has changed my life!

LITERALLY:

1. Set up the holder. It adjusts to the height you need to hold various bag sizes.

 

 

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2. Pour your food in the baggie. Seal it. Label with the contents and date and then put it into the freezer.

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The official name is the Hands-Free Baggy Rack and you can find them here and they are sooo worth the investment. Even if you don’t bake, you can use it for lots of things that need to be transferred to a bag…like prepping stuff for a crockpot meal! I’ll definitely be using some of those in the very near future 🙂

Walter Drake has some pretty nifty stuff, if I do say so myself!

Make It Awesome!

See Why I Love Memphis

Emerson said something ingenious, that “Every artist was once an amateur.”

Ya know, Ralphie, I think you may be onto something there. I started this business, seriously wondering if I would ever be able to make it work. The more I’ve done, the more I’ve flourished. And that’s not to brag, I’m just really surprised at what I’ve been hiding from myself for so long…

My dear friend is the owner of this company called QBHome Paint and Sip Studio and I’ve been working with her for almost a year now. I usually do the desserts for her paint sessions and always wanted to try my hand at doing one of the paintings, but I didn’t think I could do it. It’s not one of those paint-by-numbers sort of deals, and you actually have to put the pencil to the canvas before you can begin to paint.

I think this is where the “sip” comes in because it helps when your pencil, paintbrush, and inhibitions flow…away.

Quo is an art teacher by trade and an art teacher by talent. The hubby and I finally got to take a class from her, completing the “Memphis” themed painting that I’d been wanting to do for a year. I was nervous about how it would turn out, but one thing Quo emphasizes and reassures her clients about is that the painting is all their own.

I knew that it was a Memphis-themed painting, so I wanted to make it express what Memphis means to me. So I made the painting all “our” own…welcome to our city!

1. It’s our “Memphus”

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The hubby and I are both transplants to the city. My family moved here in 1993 to help take care of my grandfather after grandma passed away. I never wanted to be here. I don’t like big cities. I don’t like lots of people. There is too much bad and not enough good here. He never wanted to be here either. He had a worse experience with the city than I did.

We both ended up on a social networking site, looking to meet new people because, if we had to be here, we might as well meet someone to make it fun. He liked my outfit. I liked his style. Suddenly Memphis wasn’t looking all that bad! We learned that no place is perfect and every place is what you make it. We made Memphis look good to each other and we were each others’ “home;” I have yet to find another city where I’d rather live and we certainly travel a lot. With everything that is this city, the good and the bad, it is the place that has made us who we are and is helping to mold us into the people we aspire to be. We put a lot of time, effort, and money into supporting this city and the economy…because the city is truly what we make it.

Meeting each other turned out to be a divine intercession. The colors of the arrow were the colors of our wedding. He picked them out.

2.”Who you be? SOUF G!”

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A big part of our time and identity is who we are as Christians. We are members of the South Germantown Road Church of Christ. We are both youth counselors, he’s (we are) the Young Adult minister, as well as the Audio/Technical/Social Media guy, I’m a teacher of any given group of children/young ladies, and have somehow found my way into being co-leader of the Married Women’s Ministry, in addition to various other committees that pop up. The kids started calling the congregation “Souf G” when we traveled to various youth events and it’s stuck with the counselors.

Just writing all of that down, I’m not entirely sure why we haven’t turned a room into an apartment at the building. Souf G indeed…

3. You don’t want none.

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One day I was driving past a taekwondo school and swerved into the parking lot. 15 min later, I was a student. That was almost 11 years ago. My mom followed me in a few months later. Then after we’d been dating a while, the Mr. decided it was be something cool to try. So now, we’re at this school…Midtown ATA. The instructors here are like my moms. I have a lot of them actually. Pretty much, if you feed me, I’ll never go away. Kinda like a stray cat. Anyway, my school is awesome and I’m there molding young minds and trying not to get my head handed to me by really flexible pre-teens with fast recovery times. It’s the best in the city, with instructors who care about each other and our students. Come by and see us sometime!

4. We’re so Hollywood.

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We get fancy on date nights. We met online and our first date was my choice of restaurant, so of course I picked Olive Garden. Italian is my favorite food on the planet, with garlic bread being the top of the list. We got there and it was crowded so we strolled across the parking lot to McAlister’s Deli. We ordered our food and he went to pay. He’d left his wallet in the car. I offered to pay so that we wouldn’t have to wait and hold up the line. He later told me that he felt bad and thought he’d never see me again. I told him that he’d see me at least one more time because he owed me a meal. In our own ways, we still don’t let each other forget it 🙂 We actually went to a McAlister’s to do part of our engagement photo session with Crystal Chick Photography!

One of our favorite past times is watching movies. We have the Malco app on both of our phones, so at any given time, we can see what our viewing pleasure options are. I also have the IMDB app on my phone so that I can check out any trailer that is mentioned at any given moment. If it’s a real thing, I’m thinking we might actually be hardcore couch potatoes…

5. Grit and Grind

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Our hometown team is the Memphis Grizzlies. I love them. They’re even better people off the court, giving back to the community in every way possible. It’s kind of gotten to the point that you expect great things from them and it’s not a surprise when they do something incredibly awesome and charitable. And that’s not a bad thing, because that is the character they possess. We still smile and our hearts get a little bigger, but now it’s like “eh, those men are so stellar, so I wouldn’t expect anything less…” in the amazing way they are.

I grew up loving the Chicago Bulls and the hubby did too, as that’s where he was raised. So once a year, we wear our Chicago Bulls gear and brave our way down to the FedEx Forum to cheer against the Grizzlies… *gasp* Our favorite (and funniest) game time memory was in January of 2012. We went down to support the Bulls, had floor seats, were all decked out in red and black; we’d even gone shopping for hats just for this game. So the game starts, the team gets 6 points out of the gate. I’m cheering and clapping and the hubby is quiet. I’m decked out in Bulls gear and cheering every time the Grizzlies make a point. We lost that game too (Bulls), but we won (Grizzlies)! The ticket sales people still remember me as the Bulls/Grizzlies girl. I was honestly just excited to be there…

But this is the part of my painting that I’m most proud of. I decided that I wanted to paint Grizz, mostly because I needed to fill in some space, so I went for it. To say that I was intimidated, doesn’t begin to describe. But my art teacher encouraged me. RWE basically said that you have to start somewhere. I figured if it didn’t turn out well, I just wouldn’t show anyone. I was so shocked at myself that I sat there for 10 minutes just looking at it, astonished that this actually flowed from me. Even I just kept saying “wow…that is so cool…”

And it wasn’t the sip, I was having water that night lol

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I told the hubby I painted a sun just because he’s the sunshine in my life. He just rolled his eyes at me and laughed.

And I’m not bragging, just hoping sharing a bit of encouragement. There are typically many things that we want to do in life and they can sometimes be incredibly intimidating. Sometimes you will fail before you succeed, but you will never know until you try. You are filled with infinite potential and an innate gift to be able to make this world a better place. No matter where you are physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally, your state of existence is what you make (of) it.

And if you’re interested in making some art, head over to QBHome’s Paint and Sip Studio. She’s opened a brand new location at 206 E GE Patterson and you can see the schedule and register for classes here. If you’re in or around Memphis, that’s downtown in the arts district and the zip code is 38103. I hope to see you there real soon!

awesome tag

It’s a Sweet Win!

Happy Thursday morning!

Guess what?? I’ve decided to host our first contest and giveaway!

Woot!

So to all of my bakers and foodies out there, here’s your chance!

Why are we doing this? Mostly to help me out. I bought this stuff on our anniversary trip to Savannah, GA and I can’t make up my mind what to do with it…

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contains sweet potatoes, pecans, pure cane sugar, spices, and xantham gum

So far, I want to put it on a sweet potato or top off some Southern corn bread, but I think that it deserves so much more!

Can you help me out? The person who comes up with the best recipe will win a $25 Visa gift card and a recipe submission on their behalf to The Peanut Shop. They don’t currently have a custom recipe for it, which is why it’s been a challenge to narrow down exactly what I want to do with it. I can’t let myself just eat it out of the jar, which is the prevailing option…

The contest will run until midnight CST on August 17th and the winner will be selected and announced August 18th! Add your recipe suggestions in the comments below. Whatever you submit, I’ll actually bake it, take some pics, all that good stuff. I can’t promise that I’ll save you any though…

Good luck!

Prize: One winner will receive $25 Visa gift card. Winner outside of the US will be responsible/billed for shipping costs.

Rules: Contest is open from noon CST on August 1, 2013 until August 17, 2013 at midnight CST. Giveaway  to all participants 16 years of age and older. Void where prohibited by law. The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Should they not claim their prize within this time, another winner will be selected. Please ensure that the email creatingawesomenessity@gmail.com is added to your “safe list” so that your notification doesn’t go into the spam folder.
Disclosure: This is an independent blogger giveaway. It is in no way associated with The Pecan Shop, Visa, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social media network. Should you have any questions, please contact Katherine at creatingawesomenessity@gmail.com.
awesome tag

Are You Tempted?

Last Saturday, I was invited to provide desserts for a Singles Only Valentine’s Day event. I was so excited and my mind went into overdrive trying to come up with a themed spread. The event was hosted by QB Home Paint & Sip Studio, which is owned by my fabulous Home Interior Designing Queen (and sorority sister) Quo Landfair Bailey. The lady is seriously multi-faceted and multi-talented!

The story: I’d bought these awesome golden apples quite some time ago and never had an occasion to use them. I was really determined to use them.

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Singles? Check. Temptation of being single ever happen? Yep. Wait, don’t apples have have something to do with temptation? Eureka! So, for the theme, I came up with “Are You Tempted?”

Simple enough, huh? Yeah, things are usually not that simple with me.

The immediate temptation of the desserts is plain and clear. I’m fat and happy at the moment, so I didn’t even try to resist…

This seems to be the appropriate response...

This seems to be the appropriate response…

This was the menu…simple, yet delectable.

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Seriously, the only thing that saves me is that I do this for other people…

This is the First Kiss cupcake. It’s not my invention, I found it here, but I drizzled some chocolate over it. You can never go wrong with chocolate!

 

 

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chocolate lemon (hubby’s fave,) strawberry, and strawberry vanilla cupcakes

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white and milk chocolate covered Oreos with a pretty snake design

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So the apples represent the Great Temptation in the Garden of Eden. And the snake too, throw a little bit of that in there.

2013 also happens to be the Year of the Snake in the Chinese zodiac. The most important thing about this being the year of the Snake is that it’s said to be the year that one should spend money wisely and save when you can. See?

I'm not making this up!

I’m not making this up!

Not all that simple, but clever eh?

Make It Awesome!

 

Showered with Love

Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a shower-themed baby shower for my dear friend Carolyn. Her sister is a member of Delta Sigma Theta and I had this awesome elephant that I wanted to use for something, so it totally worked out!

So, very simply, the theme was “Let’s Shower Carolyn with Love!” Her daughter has been named Madison and the colors were centered around the baby’s room colors. Aunt Tracey did all of the food catering and I got to do the dessert table, games, and favors.

When the guests entered, there was a table set up for them to sign in and to write well wishes for both mom and baby.

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that is a pretty cool elephant!

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double duty…guest book and bedtime story for the little one…

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The food was so good! I remember eating two plates. I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one…

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I found the little elephants in the $1 bin at Michael’s and decided that I wanted them to be white, for a cleaner and more uniform look. I thought to myself, “Self, they’re small, plastic, and harmless…a coat of paint should suffice…” Three coats in, I’m swearing by the application of primer on any and everything…

For the centerpieces, we had umbrellas, strung with “raindrop” crystals and elephants. If you know any member of this sorority, you know there’s never a shortage of elephants! I was very thankful that auntie had plenty to share!

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We played a variety of games, but what I thought would be the most fun to do would be to play “Never Have I Ever,” the G-Rated, baby shower version. The object of that game was to put a coin into Madison’s first piggy bank for every activity that you’d done. It was hilarious! Until I realized that I was putting the most money into it. I guess I should be thankful to have experienced so many things in life, because it sure cost me that day lol

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For dessert, we had cake and cupcakes. Mom requested chocolate and wedding cake cupcakes, so that’s what we had. I mixed the icings and flavors and ended up eating a wedding cake cupcake with dark chocolate icing. Can you say the best of both worlds? The only reason I didn’t get another was because I was a little slow on the draw against the other guests.  It’s for the best, I suppose…

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We had such a wonderful time and the most beautiful hostess for the shower. Now we’re all just sitting around patiently waiting for baby Madison, so we can spoil her in real life…

Make It Awesome!

A House Full of Sugar

A few weeks ago I had one of the best nights of my life.

My friend called at the last minute looking for a babysitter for her two little ones. Since I’m having the baby cravings, I was delighted to help her out. Since I’m crazy, I suggested inviting my niece and nephew over to make some new friends. So on a spontaneous babysitting gig, our home was filled with the pitter-patter of 4 sets of feet belonging to minis ages 3, 4, 5 and 6.

I don’t try to fully ascertain how my hubby felt about it, but at one point amid mass screaming, I realized that he’d disappeared and that an adult beverage was missing from the fridge. All I could think was that this very well could be real life…

The kids came over. They played Twister. They played Connect 4 Launchers. They laughed. They ran. They screamed…and remembered to say “excuse me” on their laps through the kitchen. They watched Finding Nemo for the bajillionth time. They put Guitar Hero stickers all over themselves and each other.

I promised them that if they were good, we’d paint sugar cookies. This led to the tribal chanting of “Are the cookies done yet? Are the cookies done yet?” Those were the longest 10 minutes on the planet.

Since this was a spontaneous babysitting gig, I didn’t have time to make the canvas sugar cookies for them to draw upon, which would have been pretty sweet to see the little artists work. Aunt KC decided to wing it and just make sugar cookies from the package and let them paint straight from the oven with icing and edible markers.

Lesson learned? Drawing in icing with an edible marker is not a good idea. Pretty sure I’ll have to replace that set, but the memories and time spent with the kiddos? So incredibly worth it! Plus they dedicated one cookie each to me. I adore those munchkins…

Can’t say auntie will be jumping at that opportunity again any time soon. Good to realize that I haven’t lost all of my faculties.

Make It Awesome!