Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Baked Penne Pasta

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We all know my family loves their carbs. Bread and pasta is a daily staple in our house hold. We try to do whole wheat as much as we can and I try to always add some puree into our spaghetti sauce. It is my sneaky way to get some extra veggies into that family of mine. Today I am sharing our Baked Penne Pasta Recipe. It is simple to make and oh so delicious. I hope you all get a chance to try it out. Pair it with some homemade French bread. Yum!!

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Baked Penne Pasta

1/3 cup diced mushrooms
1/4 cup squash puree
1 jar spaghetti sauce or homemade spaghetti sauce
2 cups of pasta cooked and drained
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese for topping

Combine first 4 ingredients into a 9x13 greased baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes @350' Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

* I cook my squash and then puree it in my nutri-bullet. Add 1 tablespoon of water if you need to thin our your puree a bit. I usually do a big batch and then freeze it in 1/4 cup portions. Just thaw before needed.

*If you have leftover sausage, chicken, or ground turkey throw it into this dish. It is a great way to use up leftovers.

Print Recipe HERE

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XO Danielle

Monday, April 29, 2013

Norah's Quilt

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My friend Kim had a precious baby girl recently. To welcome that new little one, I wanted to make something sweet and beautiful, just like her. It has been years since I have made a quilt. They are just not my favorite thing to do, but for some reason the birth of a new baby girl had my quilting wheels turning. I wanted to make a simple, beautiful quilt for my friend and her sweet, new baby girl. I went to Wal-Mart and checked out their clearance section of fabric. I scored this floral fabric for under $2/yard. I snagged some bias tape and batting, then made my way home. The red yarn was already in my sewing stash.

This project came together pretty quickly. The most time consuming part was tying the quilt, but a few episodes of Nashville helped me get through it.

Want to make your own quilt for a special little one in your life? Below I have a few simple steps. A quilt was actually the first thing I ever sewed. My sisinlaw taught me and I kept on sewing after that.

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Start out by laying out your fabric. 
Your bottom piece, the batting, and then your top piece.

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Once your fabric is laid out, trim off the extra batting.

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Now begin pinning your layers of fabric and batting together. I like to start in the middle and work my way out. This is the easiest way to pin, while keeping your fabric smooth and flat.

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Once all your fabric is pinned, begin tying your quilt.

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I use a yarn needle and continue to thread my yarn through my blanket, where all my pins are. I don't cut my yarn until I have threaded it through the whole blanket.

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Once my yarn is threaded throughout my blanket, and the pins have been removed, I begin to cut and tie my yarn. Once all my thread is tied, I trim my edges if needed. After that I sew on my bias tape to create a finished edge. Then I'm done! Wrap a little burlap around your finished blanket, add a pretty flower, and deliver it to the new mama.

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I think have a new love for simple long as I don't have to cut a bazillion squares I am a happy camper:)

For a crib size quilt you need 2 yards of fabric (1 yard for the front, 
1 yard for the back) and 2 packages of bias tape.

XO Danielle

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Quick Fixes For Boxed Pancake Mix

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Lets get real folks..we all like it...whether you buy boxed pancake mix from the store or you use my ready made pancake mix,we all like a little convenience in the morning. Whether we are hustling about, getting littles ready for school, or getting ourselves and our hubby's off to work, we are crazy busy right? Although it would be quicker to grab a pop tart and call it good, it is not the healthiest option. That is where pre-made mixes help a sister out. I love pancake mixes because in less than 15 minutes I can have a hot breakfast on the table for my family. In today's post I am sharing a few of my family's favorite quick fixes to boxed pancake mix.

Chocolate Pancakes

1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tbl oil (vegetable or canola oil)
1/2 berry puree*
1 cup boxed pancake mix
1 tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup ground bran flakes*
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, and berry puree. Add boxed pancake mix, cocoa powder, oat bran, and chocolate chip (if using), mixing until just combined. If your batter is to thick, add a small amount of milk to thin it out.

Cook on a hot skillet or griddle. Serve with homemade maple syrup.

*To make berry puree, take 5-6 frozen strawberries and add 1-2 tablespoons of water. You want just enough water to allow you to puree them in a food processor/magic bullet. You can use strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or a berry mix of all three. Adding this puree gives your pancakes an antioxidant boost!

*I purchase my ground bran flakes from Winco, in their bulk food sections. I love to keep this staple in my pantry at all times. You can add it to breads, rolls, soups, potatoes, and sauces. It is a great way to give our family an extra serving of whole grains and is a great source of protein and fiber.

Strawberry Yogurt Pancakes

I originally shared these on instagram

1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tbl oil (vegetable or canola oil)
1/2 cup strawberry yogurt*

1 cup boxed pancake mix
1/4 cup wheat germ

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg, milk, oil, and yogurt. Add bxed pancake mix and wheat germ, mixing until just combined. If your batter is to thick, add a small amount of milk to thin it out.

Cook on a hot skillet or griddle. Serve with homemade maple syrup.

*Change it up and substitute whatever type of yogurt you have on hand. Plain, vanilla, or berry. It will give your pancakes a health boost and make them so tasty!

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pancakes

1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tbl oil (vegetable or canola oil)
1 tbl packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup ground bran flakes*
1 cup boxed pancake mix

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg, milk, oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add the bran and boxed pancake mix, mixing until just combined.

If your batter is to thick, add a small amount of milk to thin it out.

Cook on a hot skillet or griddle. Serve with homemade maple syrup.

*I purchase my ground bran flakes from Winco, in their bulk food sections. I love to keep this staple in my pantry at all times. You can add it to breads, rolls, soups, potatoes, and sauces. It is a great way to give our family an extra serving of whole grains and is a great source of protein and fiber.

Additional Pancake Add ins:

Sometimes I just want a little something extra to add into my regular pancake mix. Here are some additional add ins you can use to vamp up your pancakes.

1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 ground flax seed
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup ground bran flakes
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup diced apples + crushed walnuts for topping
1/4 cup mashed bananas 

All of these add ins can give your pancakes an extra nutritional boost. Experiment and see what your family loves. Don't forget to pair your pancakes with some Homemade Maple Syrup. It is delish!

Print Recipes HERE.

XO Danielle

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Easy Citrus Pie

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Recently I have had an abundance of grapefruits from Bountiful Baskets and from some friends. I love to eat grapefruits with a little brown sugar sprinkled on top, but a girl can only eat so many grapefruits in a day. I decided we needed to have some grapefruits in dessert form. Luckily the same day I had this idea, I saw this recipe. We tried it in pie form and loved it! So whether you make this as a citrus pie or a citrus bar, you will enjoy some wonderful Spring worthy treats!

1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
pinch of salt.

What You Do: Combine all ingredients until crumbly, then press dough into your two greased baking pans. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork. Bake at 350 F for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling. Little are great for helping with the crust. They were more than happy to press the dough into the pans:)

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3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon citrus zest *
1/2 cup fresh squeezed citrus juice *
1/2 cup flour
powder sugar for dusting the top.

What You Do:  Whisk together all ingredients until just combined, pour into two prepared baking pans with crust. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, until the bars have set. Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar.

*I used grapefruit zest and grapefruit juice. It took one whole grape fruit to do that. I had my littles squeeze the juice out of the grapefruit. They were more than happy to help. Just be sure to remove any seeds from the juice:) You can also use limes or lemons to make your citrus pies. Just use whatever you have on hand.

Makes 2 Pies

Print Recipe HERE

Enjoy Lovelies!

XO Danielle

Friday, April 26, 2013

Family Night: Discovery Children's Museum

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The new Discovery Children's Museum reopened here in Las Vegas. We went for family night a few weeks ago and had a blast. My parents gave the kids a pass and we have been enjoying exploring and playing with all the new exhibits. The kids are already planning there next trip back. Too fun!

XO Danielle

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to Save $$$ at Vons + Vons $50 Giftcard Giveaway

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I receive emails every day asking me the same question..."How do I save if I don't have a Winco, Wal-Mart, or Costco near me?" Everyone wants to save money and keep their family on budget, but sometimes that can be hard. Depending on where you live, you will have different groceries stores within a reasonable driving distance. I love showing you lovelies how to shop on a budget. I love sharing the thrifty tips and tricks I have used over the years to help my family save $$ and stay on track. Today I am showing you how to shop at Vons and save.

Vons is one of those stores where I love the adds, but when I get to the store the prices are a little steep for my liking. This can be discouraging when trying to keep your groceries on budget. Don't get frustrated lovelies.... I have a secret. You can save at any store with careful planning and shopping. I was able to try this out recently at a Vons grocery store. I snagged one of their mailer adds, a pen, some paper, my coupons, and calculator. I wanted to have a plan going into the store. I do this no matter where I shop. You wouldn't build a house, make a dress, or bake a cake without a plan right? So why shop without a plan? It just doesn't make sense. Having a plan puts you exactly where you need to be when shopping. You are prepared and ready to save your family $$$.

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I geared up for my shopping trip, by browsing the Vons mailer add and planning, planning, planning...oh wait did I say planning? I took note of what was in my pantry and food storage. I made a list of items that needed to be restocked. If you look at the Vons add, you will see they have in-store coupons that you can clip and bring into the store. These coupons allow you to receive a lower price for select items. I used these little gems to stock up on some food storage staples. Margarine (I know you hate it, but I love it. Lets agree to disagree on this one), trash bags, pasta, deli meat, crackers, and a few canned biscuits. The biscuits were 99 cents and are perfect for busy nights, when Hubby is in charge of dinner.

These coupons for Vons give you the listed price for each item you buy. For example, above I was able to use a coupon for King's Hawaiian rolls and buy 2 packs. We love these rolls, since we use them in my Mini Hawaiian Ham Sliders, but they can be pricey. I only buy them at rock bottom prices. If a coupon doesn't specify a limit, then you can use it over and over again. I loved the fact that with the Vons coupon, I didn't need multiple copies. The one coupon applied to each item I bought, which matched it. The less time you spend cutting coupons, means more time with that family of yours. You can also combine those in-store coupons with manufactured coupons. Double the savings!

I wrote out my list, only allowing myself to buy what was on sale. Buying these items at rock bottom prices is a great way to stock up on food storage. A well stocked pantry means you will have a lesser chance of running to the store for the one thing you forgot. Keep your staples stocked and you will be golden!

For this particular trip I knew I was really low on pasta. Vons had it on sale for under $1.00. I bought 26 bags of pasta. I now have a lot of pasta, which will last us for many months. I also stocked up on margarine. It was under 78 cents, which is a rock bottom price in my area. I stocked up on crackers and chips. We only buy these items when they are at their lowest price, which means I only buy them every 4 months or so. I stocked up and these snacks will last us for the summer.

When making my purchases in the store, I try to think about how long it will last my family. I ask myself if this purchase is something that will help my family and I be happy and healthy. Although chips are not the healthiest...well not at all actually...we do enjoy them in the summer during picnics. I buy them because it is something my family looks forward too. Buying them at their lowest price, means I won't be tempted to buy them later when the cravings hit and the prices are high. Make sense?

Once I had my list ready to go, I made sure I had my 4 basic grocery shopping must haves.

1- my grocery list (with prices listed and how much I plan to spend) 
2- store add + coupons 
3- cell phone, which I use as my calculator
4- reusable grocery bags - save a tree please:)

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I then put my plan in motion. There were some items I wasn't able to get on my list, which allowed me to get a few other things that weren't. My budget was $120, which meant that was all I brought with me. I add everything into my calculator, so I don't go over budget. If you do not bring a calculator into the grocery and USE it, then you are bananas. I never have the vomit feeling in my stomach...wondering what my total will be at the check out...I know my total because I added all my items into my calculator. This also helps me in catching any mistakes the check out person makes. It has happened and I have been able to save precious pennies correcting those minor mistakes.

One cool thing about Vons, is that now they have a gas rewards program. For every dollar you spend, you earn a gas reward. These gas reward points add up and you are able to use them when purchasing gas. You can save up to 20 cents per gallon on gas. With raising gas prices, this is definitely a bonus to smart shopping.

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My total money spent, for my fully loaded cart was $117. Well within my budget and I earned some gas reward points as well :) It turned out to be a successful shopping trip. Aren't those the best! Use my tips and I promise your next trip will be just that. Successful!

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********** GIVEAWAY CLOSED **********
Are you ready to try out some smart shopping now? Von's Grocery Store is giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky Blissful and Domestic reader.

Here's what you have to do to enter....

Follow Blissful and Domestic via facebook, bloglovin', or twitter

Leave a comment on the Vons Twitter page with the #FueledbyVons hash tag. 
Tell them one thing you like about their stores.

Follow Vons on Twitter

Many ways to enter lovelies. Leave me a comment for each thing you do. The giveaway will close next Wednesday, May 1, 2013 @ 6am.The winner will be announced later that day.

********** GIVEAWAY CLOSED **********

Good Luck!

XO Danielle

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Charlotte's Web the Musical

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Before you ask...cause I know you are going to...Yes my daughter was channeling Ben Stiller in his best "Blue Steel". She's never seen Zoolander, but somehow she nailed Stiller's stellar look exactly :) She rocks what can I say!

On a more serious note...well not really serious..just a not "blue steel" note we went to see Charlotte's Web the Musical this past weekend. It was ridiculously cute. It was completely geared towards my littles sense of humors, which was so fun! Hearing them giggle and cheer during the play was just too awesome. The Henderson Pavilion put on the play. It was outside, the weather was beautiful, and we had some yummy snacks to munch on during the show. I am so thankful we were able to save a bit of money this month and use it on tickets to this show. Spending the night with my littles was the perfect way to end a busy week. Keagan and Libby told me it was The.Best. Night.Ever. and guess what? It was :)

Have a fabulous day lovelies! 

XO Danielle

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Cupcake Nightie

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We hit 90 degrees here in the desert yesterday. I was talking to a friend after church yesterday and of course the weather came up. We were talking about how dang hot it was, we carried on until we realized come July we would be praying for 90 degree weather. We quickly stopped complaining and sent up a little prayer of thanks for the bareable weather we are having :)

That warm weather got my sewing wheels turning in my head. I knew that once the weather really gets serious and hits 100+, I would want some pajamas for my little Miss to sleep in and keep cool in. I recently picked up this cupcake and dotted fabric at Wal-Mart. They were both on clearance (my favorite) and absolutely adorable for a little girls nightie. I showed these to Miss Priss last night and she loved them. She was super excited that I was going to use them to make her a nightie. She loves nightgowns, since that is what all ladies where. A night gown just makes you feel pretty (her words, although I do agree). If only I could get her to sit like a lady when wearing them, but that is a whole other issue in itself.

Anyways I made this nightgown last night, which is why she is not modeling my cupcake creation. I was too excited to share it with you lovelies. This nightgown was simple and was done in less than 45 minutes. I love projects like that!

So here are a few simple directions, so you can make a nightie for your own littles miss.


1/4 yard fabric (this is my cupcake fabric)
1/8 yard fabric (this is my polka-dotted fabric)

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I took my cupcake fabric and folded it in half hamburger way, making the right sides touch.
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I then pinned me fabric and sewed. This created my side seam for the nightie. Once I had my side seam, I created a casing at the top. Make sure to leave an opening to feed your elastic through.

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Once your casing is created, feed your elastic through. I measured my daughter around her chest, under her arm pits. She was 23 inches. I used a piece of elastic that was about 20 inches long. I knew this would stretch to 23 inches and would be able to grow with her. I am all about longevity when sewing clothes for my littles. I fed my elastic through the casing, sewed it together, and closed my casing hole. Next, I moved onto the bottom of my nightgown. I knew the nightgown wouldn't be long enough, so I added some contrasting fabric to lengthen it. I like her nightgowns to be below the knee. I always make her dresses and nightgowns longer, since she will get more use out of it this way. She grows like a weed, so I want her clothes to be able to grow a little with her.

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I then took my contrasting fabric and folded it half hot dog style. This created one long, folded strip. I folded the strip in half again and sewed it shut (see above picture). This created a circle of fabric, which becomes the bottom strip of the nightie. Does that make sense? I am having a hard time explaining this. Golly! I hope the pictures help :)

Next you will take your dotted fabric and pin the raw edges to the bottom of the nightgown (make sure it is inside out - right sides touching).

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The last thing I did was use my leftover elastic scraps and created straps. Each strap is 5 inches long. Usually I have her try on the nightgowns before I add straps, but I think I got it right this time. I have made her quite a few, so I am getting better at eyeballing the straps. You can always have your little miss try on the nightgown to make sure the straps are in the right spot.

Then you're done. Super easy right?

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Makes me want to make one for myself..... If only I could pull off cupcakes the way a six year old can. Oh to be young! If you make one yourself, pin it to the Blissful and Domestic Craft Pinterest Board. I'd love to see it!

Have a fabulous Monday Lovelies!

Find more tutorials HERE.

XO Danielle

Saturday, April 20, 2013





Tonight is leftover night. We are heating up some leftover potato pizza and watching a movie. This is exactly how a leftover night should be. I love leftover nights, since I feel like I am getting a meal for free. I am using up a meal that others might have thrown away. It is also a night when I don't have to cook. We heat things up in the microwave, relax in our pj's, and enjoy a family movie. Not too bad for a Saturdy Night.

Potato Pizza is awesome. Make some mashed potatoes and place them in a 9x13 baking dish. Add your pizza toppings and bake for 25-30 minutes @350. Dinner in under 30  minutes rocks!

The winner of the Tea Ribbons Giveaway is Katrina Hutchins.
Email me lady and we can get you your prize:)

XO Danielle
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