Journey toward happiness

May 9, 2009

All eyes on Sarabee Designs

Filed under: Etsy, Handmade — Tags: , , , , , , , — Tara @ 12:56 am


One of my closest friends, Sarabeth has a great store on  Sarabeth spins and dyes her own yarn and even makes cute items with the yarn. She had a great idea to “Spotlight” etsy stores on her blog every Saturday. Well, I am stealing her idea and doing a spotlight on her. You can get to her store by going to  Also, check out  Sarabee Designs blog listed under my Blog Roll.il_430xN_53045377

Check out our Q & A.

1. When did you start your craft? I began knitting when I was 8, but just began dying and spinning yarn last summer.
2. How did you hear about Etsy? through random googling during bored times at work. 🙂

 3. Was Etsy your first choice or did you look at other options for a store? I originally wanted to open an actual store, but with the economy the way it is, and my husband in school and a new baby in the house… it was not good timing to try something that big… so etsy was my way to get my stuff out there and have a creative outlet.

4. What inspired you to start spinning and painting your own yarn? Painting my own yarn came through my own lust for unique yarns. From there my love for natural fibers was born (after knitting with buttery soft merino wool and luscious peace silk, you just can’t easily go back to acyrlic yarn!) and through that I wanted to learn to spin… it’s all happened quite fast!

5. What are No Pokes and how did you come up with the idea?  No Pokes are tip protectors for knitting needles. they serve a couple of purposes, it’s very easy to lose stitches when you set down a knitting project, so this helped by creating a “stopper” of sorts on the end of the needle… the second purpose (and inspiration for them!) is that knitting needles can cause bodily injury… i thought this idea up after pulling a knitting needle out of the back of a dear friend after she accidently sat on her project!! It’s funny now, but it was super scary then!!il_430xN_52821358

6. How do you find time to be a mother of three boys, a wife, and an artist? haha… good question! no, really it’s all worked out quite well. I have a studio area in my basement and I retreat there during naptimes and after the boys are in bed. I also have an incredibly supportive husband, so that helps A LOT.

7.What do you do to relax? I retreat to the shower, which with three little ones is about the only place i can find privacy in my house… also knitting and spinning are both incredibly relaxing to me, even know when I’m trying to build my shop’s inventory… so I get to work and relax at the same time.

8. What is your favorite food? that is a hard one… I’m currently really watching calories and working off some of the baby weight… so probably anything fried 🙂 seriously though I love grilling out and now that the summer is coming, I’d say grilled anything! 🙂

9. Will you share a recipe with us? Sure!! For a cool summer treat try our “Frozen Yogurt Pie”.
You will need one large container of yogurt (strawberry is our favorite)
One container of fat free cool whip
One graham cracker crust

Mix yogurt and cool whip well and pour into crust… freeze for 2-3 hours… serve… it’s light and very creamy… also extremely easy and will please a crowd on any warm day! 🙂

10. What are your plans for your store in the future? Currently I’m trying to list regularly and keep the shop “fresh”. I’m also getting ready and stocking up on inventory for my first big craft fair over Labor Day. I’m still learning about my craft and trying new things… so my plans are to keep learning and improving my yarns and to keep expanding my customer base. My dream is to bring in an actual income from this… even a small one would really be an achievement!

Thanks SB, you are always encouraging and inspiring!

Love ya,



August 19, 2008

The bounties of summer

Filed under: recipes — Tags: , , , , — Tara @ 1:20 am

I just LOVE fresh garden veggies in the summer. A huge zucchini came my way at work and at the same time our summer squash was ripening. The recipe just came to me. It is simple, colorful and delicious. Feel free to use any veggies that you like, but make sure you try it this way. Yum!

Summer’s Bounty

1 clove of fresh garlic


Summer squash

black pepper to taste

Mediterranean sea salt to taste

Mozzarella, Parmesan, or any other Italian cheese

1. In a large skillet, mix 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. butter, and chopped garlic clove.

2. Cook over med-low heat for about 2 minutes.

3. Throw in chopped zucchini and summer squash.

4. Salt and pepper well.

5. Saute for 10-15 minutes until soft. Do not over cook.

6. Cover with cheese and serve.


Simple, healthy, and mouth-watering.

Enjoy your summer,


July 2, 2008

Taters and Hens

Filed under: recipes — Tags: , , , — Tara @ 10:55 pm

Ok. I know I should totally just redirect everyone to PioneerWoman’s site because I have yet another recipe from her. MMmmmm…the taters are so good. They are my fav right now. They are easy, delicious, and full of flavor. You gotta try them. The cornish hens are good too. I found the recipe somewhere on the internet. I can’t remember where. Sorry for not giving props to the correct person.


Crash Hot Potatoes

Small, round new potatoes (I use golden)
Olive oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Any Herb
1. Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender.
2. Drizzle olive oil on a cookie sheet and preheat oven to 450 degrees
3. Place potatoes on baking sheet and smash slightly with a potato masher(should resemble a cookie)
4. Brush tops with olive oil.
5. Salt and pepper generously.
6. Sprinkle herbs on top(I like to use rosemary)
7. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Yummy, Juicy Cornish Hens

4 tbsp. Butter
3 tbsp. Honey
4 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tbsp. Orange Juice
2 Cornish Hens, halved
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt butter and stir in honey and chili powder, mix well.
3. Stir in orange juice, salt and pepper, remove from heat.
4. Cut hens into halves, rinse well and pat dry.
5. Place hens in baking dish, skin side down, place in oven for 6-8 minutes.
6. Turn hens over and baste with all of the mixture.
7. Bake for approx. 45 minutes or until well browned.

And Voila…A Delicious Meal for Two!

Try these recipes. I am sure you will love them just as much as we do!

Enjoy the feast,


June 16, 2008

Great Garlic Greens Beans Batman!

Filed under: recipes — Tags: , , , , , , — Tara @ 7:53 pm

This may possibly be the only way fresh green beans should ever be cooked. It is another recipe from PioneerWoman. Man, she is great! PW calls this recipe “Fresh Green Beans, One Way”. Of course I have made a few changes. I am only cooking for two. Feel free to look up PW’s recipe if you have a whole mess of beans.



Great Garlic Green Beans

1/2 lbs. fresh green beans(cleaned and snapped)
1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1 lrg. garlic clove(smashed and diced finely)
1 heaping tbsp of bacon grease
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 to 1 cup of chicken broth
1.  Start snapping the stringy ends off of the beans. Leave the beans long if you wish. I prefer more of a bite sized bean.
2.  Melt bacon grease in a deep skillet over medium heat.
3.  Add the garlic and stir for just a minute. Don’t let that garlic burn!
4.  Throw in the onions, beans, and peppers. Stir for a couple of minutes. This step is just adding a little color and allowing the garlic to cook.
5.  Dump in the chicken broth with a pinch of salt and lots of pepper.
6.  Cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until broth has been absorbed by the beans.
7.  Once broth is gone, allow mixture to caramelize for a few minutes.
8.  Serve only after having a few bites for yourself. You worked hard, you deserve it.

Now serve these delicious beans on the side of something grilled. I served them with chicken/bacon/BBQ/pineapple kabobs(see directions below), BBQ chicken legs, and fresh buttered corn. What a healthy meal! Well, besides the bacon grease and bacon and butter. Yeah, yeah I know. Just eat salad for lunch tomorrow to make up for it. This is a meal you have to eat!



BBQ Chicken/Bacon/Pineapple Kabobs

Uncooked bacon slices
Chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
pineapple chunks
BBQ sauce of your choice(I use Stubb’s)
Wrap each chicken cube with 1/2 – 1 slice of bacon and skewer. Then a piece of pineapple. Then another bacon and chicken cube. Then..well you get the idea. Throw the kabobs on the grill and let ’em start doing their thing. After you flip them, paint on the sauce. Make sure the pineapple get plenty of sauce too!
Once chicken is cooked completely. Removed from grill and try not to burn yourself as you scarf these down. Serve with Great Garlic Green Beans, if there are any left by the time you get to the table.

Many garlicky good wishes to you!


May 22, 2008

Italian Chicken

Filed under: recipes — Tags: , , , — Tara @ 1:23 pm

Well, we fixed the chicken the other night and of course I forgot to take pictures. I can’t quite get used to photographing all my food. I promise to remember next time. This chicken is easy and delicious.


Italian Chicken
2- 4 Chicken Breasts
1 small bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing
1-2 large Potatoes
Potatoes, Carrots, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Onion, or any other vegetable you have laying around the house
1 cup of shredded Mozzarella Cheese


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Place chicken breasts in a baking dish. I use a 9 x 12.
3.  Pour bottle of dressing over top and let the chicken marinate while cutting the veggies.
4.  Coarsely chop the veggies and add to baking dish.
5.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until breasts are thoroughly cooked.
6.  Sprinkle the cheese over top of the chicken and veggies and return to the oven until cheese is melted.
    It should only take a few minutes.
7.  Serve and enjoy.


This is a quick and easy recipe that turns out like a gourmet meal. Make sure to use potatoes because they absorb the dressing and taste wonderful. Don’t skimp on the cheese either. I always use more than a cup. Mmmmmm……


Merry baking,



May 20, 2008

One great pot roast

Filed under: recipes — Tags: , , , , , — Tara @ 3:07 pm

For several days, I searched the Internet looking for a new pot roast recipe. After scanning through what seemed liked hundreds of recipes, I took several and joined them together. The result was a perfect marriage of flavors. I cook this in a crock pot for 6-8 hours on low. The pot roast ends up fork tender and fills the house with irresistible aromas. Sorry no pictures just yet. I will make it again soon and entice you with beautiful pics.


Tara’s Special Pot Roast
3-5 lbs. pork roast or tenderloin(you can also use beef)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 tbsp beef bouillon base
1 can sliced mushrooms
Worcestershire sauce
black pepper
garlic powder
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.  Coat the meat with garlic power and fresh ground black pepper
2.  Heat frying pan on med-high and add olive oil
3.  Fry the meat for a few minutes on each side to form a golden crust
4.  Meanwhile, mix cream soups, mushrooms, a few dashes of Worcestershire, bouillon base, black pepper, and garlic in crock pot. Use as little or as much of the garlic as you desire. I tend to use quite a bit.
5.  Place the golden pork roast/tenderloin in the crock pot.
6.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir after a few hours to make sure all of the meat is covered in the ooey-gooey rich sauce.

I like to serve this over buttered egg noodles or homemade mashed potatoes. Yum-yum-yum! This is one of our favorite dishes. If you are only cooking for two, then there will be plenty left over for lunch the next day. Double the recipe if you are cooking for a small army. You may even want to double it so you have plenty of leftovers. It is even better the next day!

Now dust off that crock pot and start cooking!

Enjoy the smells,


May 15, 2008

New Direction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Tara @ 1:58 pm

I started this blog and really wasn’t sure what to do with it. So far, it has consisted of randoms thoughts and nonsense. This morning as I logged in, it hit me. NC Man and I are constantly trying out new recipes. Why not share these with the world. Lately, we have been taking our old recipes and revamping them. I can’t wait to share. I know there are about a gazillion cooking blogs out there, but I would love to share my recipes and gardening ideas with friends and family. I will try to post pictures when I can. I am excited.

This should be fun.

My favorite flower, the Poppy

Peace, love, and happy cooking,


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