Easy Cheddar Stuffed BBQ Burger Recipe

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CHEAP, EASY, HEALTHY EATS
Next weekend is the 4th of July – which brings to mind lovely summer evenings with fireworks, outdoor grilling, and family. I won’t have the opportunity to do any of those things next weekend, but I thought that shouldn’t stop me from grilling right now! I looked up tons of “easy burger recipes” and found a whole list of not just beef and turkey burgers, but also black bean, chickpea and portobello mushroom based burgers. It took me two days to decide what I felt like doing and I settled on this exciting recipe that promised patties stuffed with cheese and topped with caramelized onions and barbecue sauce. It also boasted being super easy and healthy. Again, I don’t know if you can call something super healthy if it’s been stuffed, but hey:)

CHEDDAR STUFFED BBQ TURKEY BURGERS
Hop over to Baker by Nature for this quick recipe and then hop back for loads of pictures, cost analysis and my final opinion.

The run-down:

CHEAP
I spent $6 on 92% lean beef, $1 on spinach (which I will also being using on the Strawberry Spinach salad from my prior post), $2.50 on buns, $0.88 on Kraft BBQ sauce. I already had a block of cheddar and all the herbs I wanted at home. That’s a total of $9.50 for 4 burgers, with tons of buns and spinach leftover.

EASY
The recipe on Baker by Nature included photos, and it really did look super easy. I think the hardest part for me was getting my charcoal grill to stay lit (haha, yeah, this was only the second time I’ve ever grilled in my life, and there is no one around to give me any tips. The first time, I googled it and found a super easy step-by-step guide for using small charcoal grills – I have a 14″ tabletop grill. The second time, today, I just winged it, figuring I;ve done this successfully once before, how hard could it be the second time around?) Needless to say, by the time I got the patties on the grill, only half the grill was lit for some reason, so I had to grill two patties at a time, HAHAHA. Oh well, it still worked, didn’t it?

HEALTHY
I used 92% lean beef, a block of cheddar cheese instead of Velveeta and Kraft slices, and Aunt Hattie’s Potato buns. Not exactly the healthiest choices, but you could easily make this healthier.

RECIPE IN ACTION
All in all, it was super easy to make – I chopped up my spinach and mixed it with the ground beef, herbs (salt, pepper, onion & garlic), and BBQ sauce. The patties stayed together perfectly.

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I did two stuffed patties and two unstuffed because I knew I would be refrigerating two of them for later. I will say this – the stuffed thing did nothing for me, and this is probably because I wasn’t using creamy, gooey Velveeta. I really wished I had just put slices on top.

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While the grill was lighting (or not lighting, as it were), I started the onions on the stove. By the time the grill was lit and the first two patties were done – so were the onions.

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Top the patty with some BBQ sauce and onions, and you’re good to go. They were so simple and so good – even my kiddo loved it. I loved the simplicity of what went into these patties, and the combination of the BBQ sauce and the caramelized onions made a flavorful contribution. This recipe was a total win, and I will definitely be making these again!

My Geeky Thoughts, Edition One

1. Monday

blogthoughts1shockedchibiSo this was my first full week back at work after being off for 6 business days. I was so geared up for working on my personal projects that I did not want to go to work at all. Unfortunately, we keep losing people in my office, which puts more work on the people who haven’t left yet, and… every single day I came home exhausted this week. I will say this, though – I am usually that person who wants to do a good job no matter what I’m doing (where everything needs to be just so because that’s the best way, and why would it be done any other way?) and so my anxiety is generally higher due to CARING so much. By Tuesday I had made the behemoth mental shift away from that, and I now feel like a normal person. Who needs medication? Just push me too far and I detach, apparently. I am now able to go into the office, tell myself I DON’T CARE everytime something stupid, frustrating or awful happens, and get my work done. Suffice it to say, I am also looking for new opportunities, just like everyone else in my office.

(Isn’t that such a cute chibi? Check it out at dokidokimaddy.deviantart.com!)

2. Gaming

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I haven’t played a video game (outside of playing here and there with my son; I’m talking about playing for ME here) since I finished my second playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition back at the beginning of the year. A friend of mine at work was saying she was going home and letting off steam by playing Elder Scrolls Online with her hubby (yes, they have two Xbox Ones, lol). All her talk about the game peaked my interest, and on Friday night I went out and bought it. It’s funny because this is my first foray into playing an online multiplayer game. Usually I like being a lone wolf, battling through my RPG alone. Even with Dragon Age, which is one of my absolute favorite series, I avoided the multiplayer portion completely. It was very difficult to get used to running around the world map and seeing all of these other players – some doing the exact same quest that I was doing. It takes a lot of effort at first to decide who’s a baddie that I need to kill and who’s just playing their own game. I haven’t decided if I like it yet. I know what my friend would say: “It’s so much more fun if you play in a group!” Meh. We’ll see. I don’t know if anyone wants to be subjected to my playing style, hahaha. It does make for a good release from the stress of work, so I’ll keep it up for a bit and see how it goes.

The game does have some amazing voice actors in it, and I love recognizing them as I’m playing through:
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3. Crafting

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After looking up so many geeky crafts in order to get some ideas for this blog, I decided that I needed to make something for my friend for her birthday. There’s this LOTR cross-stitch that is for sale on Etsy, and there is no pattern to be found. I figured I could just examine the photo and make it up on my own. I went to Joann’s and bought DMC floss in colors I thought would work well, based on the photo (I was at the store, squinting at my phone in my attempt to color-match. Not the greatest.) The lettering was super easy. The stones surrounding the door? OH MY GOD. Trying to get the shading and sizing right is a nightmare. I really have to stop just “winging it” and actually do things that have directions. Directions are so much easier to deal with than trying to make it up as you go. Ugh. I thought I totally messed up today, and everything was looking wrong, so I set it aside and stepped away thinking all my work this weekend (2.5 hours Friday night, 5 hours Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday) had been for nothing. Talk about frustration. Just now I laid it out on the couch and stepped back to look at it, and decided that it can totally work after all. I just need it done by Friday, haha. I’ll post a pic when it’s complete, if only to satisfy my own blood, sweat and tears on this freaking thing.

(On a side note, this is the first time I’ve cross-stitched in a very, very long time, and it was extremely cathartic to sit on the couch and listen to music while I counted stitches. I don’t know what it is – something about the fluidity of the colors combined with mathematics? It is an excellent exercise in relaxation – if you don’t mess up.)

4. Writing

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I’ve been practicing my drawing skills so much in preparation for the graphic novel I’m working on that I haven’t done any writing. On Saturday I was able to decompress enough from the week that scenes were starting to come to mind for a story I had shelved a few months ago. There is nothing like being able to hop back into a story as if you never left it – FEELS SO GOOD. I do want to have a feature on here that shows snapshots of what I’m working on creatively, but I’m just not sure how that is going to play out yet.

5. Movie of the Week

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Someone at work gave me a code for a free Red Box movie, so I decided I wanted to make use of it this weekend because it was FREE. I’ve stayed away from Red Box ever since I got Hulu Plus and Netflix because there is so much variety right there on my TV screen that I haven’t felt a need to make a trip to rent the latest movie. Not only that, but I am that person who keeps a movie for like 3 days because I’m too lazy to return it, which means I spend $6 on a movie that wasn’t even worth it. I’ve decided that if I ever really wanted to see a movie that wasn’t available on Hulu or Netflix, I would just spend the $6 on the Xbox Movie app because at least then I wouldn’t have to leave the house. So anyway, while I was at the store picking up ingredients for the burgers I made this weekend, I browsed Red Box and found absolutely nothing worthwhile. But since I had this FREE code, and I was THERE, I figured, hell, might as well grab something. So I rented Seventh Son. I hadn’t seen it, but remembered that it seemed like an entertaining action flick if nothing else. I love Jeff Bridges, and the kid who played the main character had adorable puppy dog eyes. That’s about all that was redeeming from this movie to me. It was a very B film and some of the dialogue and certain story elements (such as the love story between Tom and Alice) were very hard to not roll my eyes at. Even though my kid wanted to turn it off and get back to his video game, I made him sit and watch the whole thing with me, haha. And I definitely made sure to return it within the necessary timeframe to avoid a charge – in the end, the movie was free so huzzah for that!

12 Ways to Geekify the Office

I mentioned yesterday that my workplace is a soul-sucking black hole, and I think we could all agree that it would be a lot easier strolling into the office if we were able to geekify it a bit. Office Wars, anyone?

1. TARDIS Trash Can

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Even though it is a container for trash, it would be a glowing emblem of the fact that even though I’m stuck in my cube for 8 hours, I know that there is some cool shit in the world. Doctor Who forever!

2. Game of Thrones Office Chair

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Even better? Give me a throne to sit on in my little cubicle, and I will pet my cat and laugh maniacally as I answer my email. (If only I could bring my cat to the office.)

3. Portal Bookends

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Everything might be digital these days, but I would bring in books just so that I could use these little guys on my cube shelf.

4. Comman Sit Stackable Stools

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First of all, dear workplace, give us some awesome common work areas – that would be great. Then decorate them like this. They do look kind of uncomfortable in the photo, but you know, maybe actually use a real table?

5. Conference Room Table

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Better yet, I would happily go to team meetings and participate if I got to sit at a Viking longboat. Such ambiance! Such flair!

6. Office Light Diffusers

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Speaking of ambiance, how much better would the office feel if you were able to diffuse those awful flouresent lights?

7. Light Saber Pens

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I still like taking notes on a notepad instead of my laptop, and I would be way more susceptible to paying attention in meetings and remembering what we talked about if I could write with these bad boys. Step aside, BIC!

8. Tiki Tissue Box

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I also might be more willing to ignore how thin, rough, and just god-awful the office tissue supplies are if I were pulling them out of this guy’s nose.

9. Cheeky Office Signs

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I wish more people would be passive aggressive at work, leaving little gems for people to read. There was a great back and forth regarding an office sandwich that made me laugh. Sigh. We should laugh more.

10. Medieval Weapon Push Pins

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In the meantime, I would happily stab these into my cube walls to hold up important papers, inspirational quotes, and the little sketches of chibis that try to keep me cheerful.

11. Office Cross-Bow

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If that doesn’t help, I would love to make something like this. Again, Office Wars, people!

12. Mario File Cabinets

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Lastly, even though everything is digital now and we don’t really have a need for these, I would set them up in the office just on principle.

5 Ways to Stay Motivated & Finish Your Shit

So I was on vacation last week, and I came home completely inspired to work on my personal projects. I was completely unpacked with all laundry and dishes done within an hour of being home. I made lists and goals. I was ready. I had PLANS, people.

Then I went back to work on Monday.

I work in a “cube farm,” a soul-sucking, you’re-a-number-not-a-person corporate black hole. I was able to keep my momentum until Tuesday morning, at which point I abused the snooze button and lost it all.

But I have PLANS, people!

So how can you stay motivated and inspired even when you are exhausted and have a mind of mush? It’s not easy, but it CAN BE DONE. That’s right, caps-lock has been RELEASED for this post. Read on for some ideas –

1. Be Prepared.
Have a handy list available that you can refer to when you’re too tired to be inspired. Depending on what you’re working on, this could be a list of deadlines, blog post ideas, a story outline, priorities of what you want to get done in the next 30 days, 3 months, by the end of the year, etc. When you feel like a lump on the couch and can’t even move your arm to reach the remote let alone remember what your grand plans are, a list can help you find your path.

2. Set the Mood.
So you peeled yourself off the couch, but now you’re staring at a blank computer screen. Need to light a fire under your butt? Try putting on some music to set the mood. I’ve been listening to K-Pop when I’m working on articles, a Fall Out Boy Pandora station when I’m cooking, and a Jeremy Soule station (video game instrumental) when I’m working on my fantasy novel. I mean, when you go to the movies, the soundtrack is just as important as the dialogue or plot because it sets the mood and draws you in – you can do the same thing with your own work in order to put you in the right mindset.

3. Don’t Wait.
Are you trying to do things in a certain order and are dragging your feet to get to the next item on your list? I know who you are – you Type-A folks – because I am guilty of this, too. I say this to you – for god sakes, SKIP IT. Don’t let it stop you. Joss Whedon writes his candy scenes WHEN HE WANTS. So don’t wait. If you have something on your mind but it’s on next week’s list, do it now. It’s better to check SOMETHING off instead of just staring at the list and getting nothing done. For example, I wanted to publish part one of my review of Saga Vol. 1 today for The Well-Read Geek feature, but because it is a more involved post and I want to do it justice it is taking much longer than I planned. Instead of stalling on that item, I’ve worked on other items while that article has been percolating in my mind.

4. Make the Time.
Don’t say, “This weekend I want to work on such-and-such.” Be specific. WHEN? Good intentions can lead you anywhere, and it might not be where you wanted to go. Grocery shopping, friends, family and chores can eat up your whole weekend – specifically schedule time for your work. While you may need to be flexible, setting aside that time for yourself will help you turn intention into reality. For example, I know my evenings can be busy, or I just might be exhausted and run out of steam – however, I know that if I wake up an hour early in the mornings before work, I will have 60 minutes of uninterrupted time to get something done. Bonus? When I head into the maw of the soul-sucking black hole, I already feel a sense of accomplishment for the day. (Trust me, it is HARD waking up at all, let alone an hour EARLY, but I’ve got PLANS, people!)

5. Talk About It.
There is something to be said about letting people know what you’re working on. You don’t have to get into specifics (I personally feel like I jinx myself if I get into too much detail on an unfinished project), but the moment you share with someone close to you, you make yourself more accountable. They care about you and they are going to follow up and see how things are going, because they know the project is important to you. It can be incredibly motivating to know that if you don’t get your stuff done when you say you’re going to and someone asks you how things are going, you’re going to have to say, “They’re not going.” Sad face. It’s so much better to give a positive progress report! You don’t have to be an island – you can use a close friend or family member to help you hold yourself accountable to your goals. Don’t let them slip away.

Ultimately, only you know how important your goals are, and only you can reach them. In the amazing words of Neil Gaiman, I leave you with this:

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Now go finish your shit!

10 Cheap, Easy, Healthy Strawberry Recipes

Strawberries are in season, and there is never a better time to take advantage of the availability and cheapness of this fruit than now! If you didn’t get enough of the Low Calorie Angel Food Cupcake Dessert post, check out these easy and delicious-looking strawberry recipes below.

1. Strawberry Jam

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Check out this recipe on scatteredthoughtsofacraftymom.com. Only 3 ingredients and takes about 15-30 minutes from start to finish. We eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my house, and this homemade jam would be much healthier than the store-bought variety. I think I need to make this over the weekend….

2. Strawberry Dole Whip

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Brought to you by Chocolate-Covered Katie, “the Healthy Dessert Blog,” this recipe is perfect for summer. And with just 5 ingredients it is cheap, easy and healthy. It’s in the 100’sF here in the Arizona desert, and I want to make this dessert right nooooow.

3. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie… Or Strawberry Crisp?

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So this recipe, modified by Sugar & Spice by Celeste, could be either a strawberry rhubarb pie (which, I know a lot of people shy away when they hear “rhubarb,” but to be honest it’s not that bad! My step mom made this a lot when I was growing up and I loved it) OR you could leave out the rhubarb, add additional strawberries, and call it a strawberry crisp. Either way, it sounds like a win to me!

4. Dreamy Strawberry Scones

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Okay, so this one is not as easy or healthy as the other recipes I’ve been adding to the list, but Natasha from Natasha’s Kitchen had me at SCONE. And her title is very accurate – they are DREAMY. She guest-blogged on Better Homes & Gardens with this dream of a recipe, and I want to whip these up, brew some coffee and sit out on a patio where there’s a nice cool morning breeze blowing, preferably looking out over the ocean… *looks off in the distance*

5. Strawberry Banna Smoothie

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Doesn’t this look crisp and refreshing for summer? Ali over at gimmesomeoven.com touts this recipe, and it is super easy, clocking in at 5 minutes to make.

6. Fresh Strawberry Water (Or…Juice?)

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This looks even more refreshing than the smoothie above! Check out the recipe on savynaturalista.com for this delicious drink.

7. Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

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I love this idea – what a perfect summer dessert! You could make it healthier and just eat the fruit salsa with a spoon (but who is going to pass up those cinnamon crisps?) Check out the recipe at spendwithpennies.com.

8. Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

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Okay, I know some people frown upon putting fruit in their salad, but it is delicious, and this super healthy salad can make up for the sugary desserts you really want to make with your strawberries. Check out this refreshing recipe over on gimmesomeoven.com.

9. Skinny Crunchy Stuffed French Toast

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I don’t know if you can call something skinny when it’s been stuffed, but I’ll take dessert for breakfast, thank you very much. Hey, blame it on strawberry season! Check out this recipe on Savory Nothings and make yourself a scrumptious Saturday morning breakfast.

10. Best Ever Strawberry Daiquiris

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And I would be remiss if I didn’t include something just for the adults (although sans rum the kiddos could participate, too). Check out this easy recipe over on unsophisticook.com.

Whew, I think I got a little carried away there – I can practically smell strawberries now, and I am starving. I already ate all my strawberries from my angel food cupcake day… I guess I need to go to the store!

Enjoy, and please let me know if you have any favorite recipes that weren’t featured here – I’d love to hear about it!

10 Awesomely Geeky Blankets to Knit and Crochet

When I first learned how to crochet all I made were afghans, so I am a sucker for an awesomely designed blanket. My blankets, however, were made of boring granny squares and ripples with pretty color changes. The lovelies below are just badass. Wouldn’t you love to have one on your bed or thrown over your sofa? I want to make all of these!

1. A Galaxy Far, Far Away

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This is a Star Wars beauty. Check out Not All Who Wander Are Lost 32 for the pattern.

2. Super Mario Screenshot Afghan

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This beautiful rendering of Super Mario Bros. is by allisontendo over on Instructables (check it out for the free pattern), and as she points out, retro games are easy to translate to crochet due to their pixelation. I actually might make this for my sis for Christmas or something:)

3. Assassin’s Creed Revelations Ottoman Crest

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This Assassin’s Creed knit blanket would be perfect for a gaming room or den. Check out Ravelry.com for the pattern.

4. Pokemon Blanket

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Alas, no pattern for this lovely, but just bask in its awesomeness! This blanket was designed and crocheted by stephyw2001 over on Sprite Stitch Board.

5. TARDIS Blanket

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Check out this child-sized TARDIS blanket! You can get the crochet pattern for free over on Ravelry. This pattern could easily be expanded to make it adult-sized, because let’s face it – we’d want this one for ourselves.

6. Harry Potter Blanket

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Here’s an awesome patchwork crochet blanket for Harry Potter fans. Miranda graciously put up her pattern on her blog over on Modern Day Rapunzel.

7. Gamer Afghan

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Here’s another great square-along blanket featuring some great video games. Alicia1018 included a link to the pattern in her post (which is on Ravelry).

8. Mario Blanket Take 2

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Check this one out! It just boggles my mind – I would never be able to take the time to make this one, but Gege Crochet spent blood, sweat and tears making this for her hubby. She did not use graphs for this project, but she did create a FAQ section on her blog and posted some videos, so you might be able to do something similar to this if you really wanted to (I feel exhausted just looking at this one, haha).

9. Portal Companion Cube

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Aww, I would be remiss if I didn’t include this beautiful Portal blanket. The pattern is up for free on Instructables.

10. Take This Throw

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This Zelda throw hits close to my heart, and I may have to make this one for sure – it’s just a throw blanket so it wouldn’t take too long. Ana Petree Garcia designed several of these retro blankets and is selling them on Etsy. Alas, no pattern, but if you really wanted to make one for yourself, you could probably figure it out by the photo.

Are you inspired yet? Which one is your favorite?

Easy TARDIS Baby Cuddle Blanket Crochet Pattern

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I love all kinds of crafts, but crochet is very close to my heart. I used to crochet professionally and had my own online store that sold baby booties and hats that I designed and made myself. What I really want to do with this segment of the blog is find some awesomely geeky patterns to try, but during my research I became totally inspired to make the following item for you all – there is SO MUCH great Doctor Who crochet/knit stuff out there that I will definitely devote an entire post to it, but for now, let’s start with a cute baby cuddle blanket that features the TARDIS. Since I whipped this one up myself, I’m sharing the pattern below. I was going to post a video demonstrating part of this pattern, but alas I had technical difficulties – hopefully I will be able to add one to this post soon.

TARDIS Baby Cuddle Blanket
1 skein Police Box blue (I used Loops & Threads Impeccable in “Royal”) ***Please note, my photos did not capture this color well, lol. Oh well, you get the idea;)
1 skein white
Pillow stuffing (I used Poly-Fil)
size H crochet hook
Yarn needle
Embroidery Floss (for the “POLICE BOX” lettering)
Stitches: slip stitch (sl st), chain (ch), single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc)

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BLANKET
We are making a quick granny square here – working from the middle outward.

BASE/ROUND 1 – chain 3, 3 double crochets in the 1st chain you made, 2 ch, 3 dc in same chain as the other dc, 2 ch, 3 dc in same chain as the other dc, 2 ch, 3 dc in same chain as the other dc, slip stitch into the first dc you made to end the round (you should have created a square).

R2 – ch 2, dc in each stitch across, [2dc, 2 ch, 2 dc] in the 2 ch space, dc in ea st across, [2dc, 2 ch, 2dc] in the 2 ch space… repeat around, ending with a [2dc, 2 ch, 2dc], then slip stitch into the first dc you made to finish this round.

R3-R14 – ch 2, repeat same pattern from previous row.

R15 – ch 1, sc in each stitch across, 3 sc in the 2 ch space, sc in each stitch across, 3 sc in the 2 ch space… repeat around, then sl st into the first sc to close the round.

Fasten off and weave in the yarn ends.

***If you want a larger blanket, just keep repeating R2 until you reach your desired length, then finish off using the instructions for the R15 here.

TARDIS
We are starting with the roof, and then working our way down the sides. We will be using a quick color change to add the white windows, and finishing it off with a bit of embroidery to add paneling to the windows and the “POLICE BOX” lettering, if desired (I used a bit of thread because I didn’t have anything else on hand, and you can see it’s a bit too thin – I would recommend using embroidery floss).

R1 – Make 2 chains, 4 sc into the first chain, sl st into first sc to close round.

R2 – ch 1, 3 sc into first st, 3 sc into each of the next 3 sc, sl st into first sc to close round. 12 stitches total.

R3 – ch 1, 1 sc into first st, 3 sc into next stitch (the center st of the clump of 3 stitches in the corner of the prior round), 1 sc into each of the next 2 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 2 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 2 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into next st, then sl st into the first sc to close round. 20 stitches total.

R4 – ch 1, 1 sc into the first st, 1 sc into next st, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 4 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 4 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 4 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 2 sts, sl st into first sc to close the round. 28 stitches total.

R5 – ch 1, 1 sc into the first st, 1 sc into each of the next 2 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 6 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 6 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 6 sts, 3 sc into the next stitch, 1 sc into each of the next 3 sts, sl st into the first sc to close round. 36 stitches total.

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R6 – ch 1, working in the back loop only, sc into the first st and into each stitch around, sl st into first sc to close round. Still 36 stitches, and will remain so for the rest of the piece.

R7 – ch 1, working in both loops again, sc into the first st and into each stitch around, sl st into first sc to close round.

R8 – Repeat R7.

R9 – ch 1, sc into first 10 stitches, change to white yarn, 1 sc into each of the next 3 sts, change back to blue, 1 sc into next stitch, change to white yarn, 1 sc into each of the next 3 sts, change back to blue and leave the white yarn hanging at the back of the work, 1 sc into each remaining st, sl st into first sc to close round.

R10-11 – Repeat R9. Note – after the last white stitch, cut off yarn and leave a 6 inch tail – take both white tails (the beginning and end) and tie them together, then weave in ends.

R12-14 – Repeat R7.

***Pause here and do any of the embroidery if you wish to include it – once the box gets too large, it may be more difficult to add the embellishments later.

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R15-21 Repeat R7. At the end of R21, fasten off.

Leave a long tail when you fasten off – you will be using this to sew the TARDIS to the blanket. You could slip stitch it to the blanket using a crochet hook if you wish; I prefer a yarn needle. I suggest sewing down 3 sides, stuff the TARDIS with stuffing/batting, then finish sewing it down.

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You’re done!

Low Calorie Angel Food Cupcake Dessert

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CHEAP EASY HEALTHY EATS
I am a Pinterest fiend by nature – anything that allows me to organize my brain in awesome little pictures that connect to even greater information is a win – and I have a board devoted to cheap, easy, healthy eats. Hey, I try to inspire the good stuff, even though I tend to fall back on greasy, cheesy tacos and enchiladas, which are my kryptonite.

Sometimes these healthy recipes turn out to be awesome, and sometimes they make me stand in the middle of my kitchen and laugh at what I’ve made.

So I thought, hey, maybe others could benefit from my experiments with these so-called cheap, easy, healthy recipes. I am specifically going to focus on recipes that meet the above three qualities – but I am going to chase after those that claim to be amazing, even though they are only 25 calories each! Shall we test the theory that if it sounds too good to be true, it generally is?

Our first contender actually looks really decent – they are regular-sized cupcakes, and if you enjoy angel food cake, this one’s for you (even if you don’t like it, but you are trying to calorie-count in order to lose weight, you should reconsider – especially if you can get the toppings just right!)

ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES – 60 CALORIES EACH
Hop over to Eating on a Dime for this quick recipe and then hop back for loads of pictures, cost analysis and my final opinion.

The run-down:

CHEAP
Strawberries are in season right now, so YAY! I got a 1-lb container for $0.88, and they look amazing. Considering these are just a topper, I’ll have plenty left over for work snacks (bonus!).

I spent $6.46 total, but I had tons of leftover strawberries and cool whip, and was able to make 40 cupcakes. That’s $0.16 per cupcake, including the unused items, and these babies will last me and my kiddo all week.

If you wanted to go cheaper, you could leave out the cupcake liners (I didn’t have any in the pantry and had to buy some) and coat your pans with cooking spray or oil. Angel food cake is so delicate that I didn’t want to risk destroying the cupcakes in my attempt to remove them from the pan’s clutches, so I sprang for the extra $1.50. I also didn’t shop around for the angel food cake mix and bought a box for $2.99 – I’m sure you can find it cheaper!

EASY
I used a Betty Crocker box of cake mix, but you could make your own angel food batter if you wanted. For me, this is supposed to be easy, so just add water sounds good to me!

Four ingredients, 3 steps, 5 minutes prep and 8 minutes cook time? I’d call that EASY.

HEALTHY
So like I said, this recipe boasts under 60 calories per cupcake, which caught my eye. For a dessert, I’d say that’s a win! If these bad boys turn out half as good as they looked in the photo, I’ll have to try out her 80 calorie chocolate cupcakes, too!

RECIPE IN ACTION
So first things first, the items:

recipe1ingred

Before I even preheated the oven, I cut up my strawberries into quarters and put them in a bowl with a little bit of water mixed with a bit of coconut sugar. I covered the bowl and put it in the fridge to sit awhile. You don’t have to do this, but it gives the strawberries an extra bit of sweetness.

recipe1straw

The cake mix doesn’t look like much, but when you add water it practically doubles in size!

recipe1mix      recipe1mixed

I filled my cupcake liners and popped them in the oven for the designated time, rotating the trays halfway through.

recipe1filled

As you can see, they shrank once they cooked and cooled –

recipe1baked

So, I’ve got like 40 cupcakes now, and I’m the only one here, hmmm. I ate three right off the bat. They are so light and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness from the strawberries and cool whip – and each one takes just two bites to devour.

recipe1mecupcake

DECISION?

A total winner. I’d make these the next time I have a gathering for sure. Eating on a Dime has tons of content, and I totally suggest heading over there for other great ideas!