Monthly Archives: February 2014

Scrap Room to Scrap/Guest Room Transformation

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That’s right, you read that correctly.  I have my scrapbook stuff in my guest bedroom.  Actually the guest bed is in my scrapbook room.

When Hubby and I were house shopping (6ish years ago), one of the stipulations was that I got to have a room just for my scrapbooking stuff.

I have been scrapbooking since I was 15 years old (10 years at this point) and had always had to keep my stuff in my travel bag or tucked in a corner of my 12×10 bedroom at my parents house.  Oh, how grand it would be to have a whole room…A WHOLE ROOM dedicated to just my scrap stuff!!!

Every house we looked at, I envisioned which room would be “mine” and how I would decorate and organize it all.

We found our house, Berk picked his room, I picked mine and we were happy!

First things first, I painted mine purple.  I heard that purple sparks creativity…perfect for a scrapbook room!

It had many phases between my corner computer desk, Berkley’s corner computer desk.  Nothing really seemed to work right.

Then…after 4 years of having a whole room dedicated just to crafts, we found out we were expecting a little bundle of joy (whom
(or is it who?  dang it!!!) we now call him Ayden).  Since we weren’t really planning for Ayden…I had to think quick as to what we were going to do.  We need to have the guest bed for when we go out of town, our friend can have a comfy place to sleep when she watches our dog and when my parents come…they need a comfy bed too!  I didn’t even decide which room would be the baby’s room until about 4ish months before Ayden’s arrival.  I wanted to wait until we found out the gender.  If we were going to have a girl, I would just put her in my scrapbook room and build her theme around the purple walls.  I’m so glad we have a boy.  Nothing against girls, but it would have been more work to move all of my scrapbook stuff out, patch the walls where the shelves are and put closet doors back on the closet.  So…Someone “upstairs” took pity on my natural laziness and blessed me with a beautiful BOY!!!

Anyhoo…back to my dilemma…I have a whole room…bursting with “stuff” that I now have to trim down enough to fit a queen size bed and also leave enough room for people to stay in the room, somewhat comfortably.  Now we do not have a big home, it’s perfect for us, but the bedrooms are just average size bedrooms.  This is a BIG task to take on at 24 weeks pregnant!

But, nonetheless it still needed to be done.  And it needed to be done before I could even get started on Ayden’s room since the bed was still in there.

So, I went through and “cleaned house” (not really, just the one room).  I mean really cleaned.  I am what you would call a “pack rat.”   A trait passed down through the generations.  I had stuff in there I hadn’t used in over a decade.  I had to play a game of “just toss it and forget about it.”  I did, and I never looked back.  I still have a small pile of things I think I can sell on eBay.  But most everything went to the garbage heap or to donation.

After the “toss, donate, and sell” stage was complete.  I removed everything from the room so I could reorganize from scratch.  I am a firm believer in you gotta make a mess, to clean a mess.  As you will see in the pictures below…I was in a desperate need of reorganization.  So out went everything, and it only came back in as much as I could carry and got put away into it’s new place.  Some stuff had to wait until I got my new storage modules though.

Once cleaned out, I waddled myself up to Michael’s and purchased some of their storage cubes.  They were 50% off that week so I could get everything I needed without having to get one per day to use the 40% off coupon.  I got all that I NEEDED (wanted more), asked a friend to come help build, and we got to work.

Here are some before and afters photos.  I am about to bare my soul here.  Don’t judge my messiness.  I love to organize, but never said I was always organized!  The room didn’t get used much and for some reason, if I did craft, I brought my supplies out to other areas of the house then threw everything in back in the room when I was finished.  I think it has something to do with the room not being very open to natural light.  Even tho it does have a nice big window, the view isn’t the greatest and I prefer natural light surrounding me!  Makes me feel happy, happy, happy.

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Yes, Gus laid there on his own will.  He loves to lay under the table where I’m working.  Quite often he laid under the desk if I was scrapbooking before.  Now, there isn’t much room for his bigness.  But he found a way to fit himself “in” there.

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Ok so obviously the “after” photos after the first one was quite a while after Ayden was born because I just saw him standing in the window.  Haha, but you get the picture.

This is where the bed was…see, I had a big project on my hand but what an accomplishment!!!

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I would like to add a BIG THANK YOU to my father-in-law for building my new countertop.  We gave him the measurements and he built, laminated, and installed my countertop.  It’s beautiful and sturdy!

Now, if only I made more time to play in there instead of watching TV.

Hope you enjoyed and I’d love to see picutres/stories of your organizing projects!

Happy Day after Valentine’s Day

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…Happy Valentine’s day…

Those words have not voluntarily left my lips in probably more than 13 years.  I’ve said it, but only when it was said to me and I did not want to be rude and say “Valentine’s Day is stupid.”

Even in the past 10 Valentine’s Days since I have been with my husband, I have not received a Valentine’s Day gift.  When I first started dating my husband (a few months before Feb14), I told him that he didn’t need to get me anything for Valentine’s Day.  I explained to him my thoughts on the Hallmark holiday and again said, I needed nothing.  He must have verified 100 times before believing me.  I think he was afraid I was saying one thing and wanting another.  But I was not!

My thoughts on Valentine’s Day…

At first, I think it was out of annoyance that I never had a Valentine.  I mean when I was a kid, my mom would leave me a little card and stuffed animal on my bed and that was fun.  When in high school, a friend and I exchanged gifts but made them seem like they were from mystery guys so that the guys in our class would wonder who got us Valentines (there were like 15 kids in our class at our small private school so it’s like I know who you know and you don’t know anyone, type of situation. lol).  Then I think it turned into anger related because I’m single sort of thinking.  But I was clever and masked it with this explanation.  Greedy women expecting gifts and getting mad if they don’t get anything or don’t get what they want.

While I still firmly believe this, over the years, when I would explain this, people would ask me, “What about Mother’s Day?”  I had to think quick and make something up to not let them be right.  But they WERE right.  It’s the same thing.  I’ve always celebrated my mother and father on their respective days.  What makes Valentine’s Day different?  I DO think that the middle-of-February-holiday is way over compensating for something, I just can’t put my finger on it.  I think it’s more about “getting lucky” or “impressing someone” rather than “I love you.”

What’s more romantic than gifts and appreciation on February 14th?  Gifts and/or appreciation on April 3rd or September 28th.  My point is any random date.  Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be about “how big can I do this?”  Every one loves to feel loved and thought about.  And as for me, I would rather be surprised with something expected than to have a day where I know something is coming. Then I know that someone was actually thinking about me instead of a calendar telling them to do so.

I feel like the Grinch, when his heart started growing…

Now, this sounds like I am going from a non-Valentine’s Day person into some mushy lovey dovey flowers and chocolates every February 14 for the rest of my life person.  I’m not.  I am just saying that I may not be as anti-Valentine’s Day as I have in the past.

Maybe it’s all a part of my quest for true happiness, maybe it’s becoming a mom and becoming softened, maybe it’s just me…growing up (shhh, let’s not say that last one again).  In the past, I would rather wear black and have NOTHING to do with the day of red, pink, roses, and balloons.  Now I found myself making chocolate covered strawberries yesterday (not because it was Feb14, just happened to be a coincidence).  And right now I am making brownies for dessert when my sister’s family comes over for dinner and I plan to cut them out into little hearts.

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating love.  I’ve always been a supporter of love and condone the showing of love.  Just something about the expectations of Valentine’s Day ruined it for me.  Not sure if I will ever be one of those expecting something on Valentine’s Day, but I might do more in the celebration of it…

I am going to get so much flack from any one who knows me over this.  But I’m ok with it.  I am being true to myself and sometimes that’s admitting change.

Christmas RECAP – Food Edition

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Alright, last week I recapped my crafts from this past Christmas.  This week is…food!!!

I love food, but I am no chef or professional baker.  And to be truthful, we kept the food list on the smaller side this year.

As I’ve probably mentioned before, (and will probably more and more) my parents had to move to Maryland a few years ago.  So every year for Christmas, they come down and stay with us.  Normally, they are able to come a few days before Christmas Eve and we all have stuff that we prep.  However, this year, they weren’t able to come until very late on the night of the 23rd.

In our family, we’ve always had a get together on Christmas Eve with various finger foods, cookies, and fun stuff.  As kids, we used to open the contents of our stockings from my mom and saved gifts for Christmas morning.  But as we have all gotten older with extended families, we now all get together on the Eve and exchange gifts then.  The tradition we have kept is the finger foods.  In the recent years, my mom and I have experimented with some new treats, but we always have the same base items.

Sadly, I do not have “in detail” professional food pix of each item, but I have enough so you can get the picture.

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With my parents coming so late this year, I wanted the day of Christmas Eve to be as easy as possible since I knew they would be tired.  I am the world’s best procrastinator (I believe I’ve shared that before) and I am usually running around trying to do everything at the last minute.  So, in the idea of keeping it simple, we narrowed the cookie choices down to just a handful and I even asked my mother-in-law to bring a couple of our favorites that either my mom or myself make.  My food prep started the week before Christmas.  I made the dough for my sugar cookies (best sugar cookies EVER!!!) and my peppermint cookies, wrapped them in wax paper (next time will use plastic wrap or parchment) and put them in the fridge.  The next day, I rolled and cut them and set them on layers of parchment, put them a cookie sheet, covered the whole thing in plastic wrap and then foil and put in the freezer for a few hours (at least 6 or so, they have less chances of sticking together when you put them in a bag if they are completely frozen).  Once completely frozen, put into gallon size zip top bags.  SAVE the parchment paper, fold up and put in zip top bags.  I only bake on parchment so I save mine and am able to reuse it to bake the cookies on.  Then on the 23rd, I took the cookies out of the freezer.  Lined the kitchen counter with sheets of the parchment, placed the cookies an inch apart.  I let them thaw while the oven preheated.  I rotated my three cookie sheets and then just baked them, one sheet at a time.  Making cut out cookies is my LEAST favorite thing to bake.  I can not stand all the mess from mixing, the annoyance of cutting them and them sticking to the counter and losing their shape, the sweating of doing all of this while the oven is on and trying to pay attention to taking cookies out of the oven every 7-8 minutes, resting on the sheet for 2, then moving to a cooling rack.

So here is my tip to you!

Day one…Mix dough, divide in half, wrap in plastic, put in fridge…clean up.

Day two…Roll dough, cut dough, place as many as you can on sheets of parchment (size of cookie sheets), layer sheets, wrap, put in fridge…clean up.

Later on day two…transfer cookies to zip top bags and return to freezer (don’t forget to safe the sheets of parchment).

Day three…(anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks past day two)…thaw cookies on sheets of parchment, preheat oven, then just rotate your little heart out!

Easy peasy!!!

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On top of not liking to bake cut out cookies, I do not like icing them.  I am in love with the idea of perfectly piped on icing or evenly smeared on frosting, I do NOT like to DO it.  It’s too tedious and I am way to impatient for that.  So in the interest of time and saving from having an anxiety attack, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate and dipped the peppermint cookies in it.  You might notice, if you click the link for the peppermint cookies, that I did not follow the instructions for making them into candy canes.  Again, too tedious.  I did it once when I was younger and I figured they would taste just as good in rounds.  So what I did do was when I separated the dough to do some red and some white, I then divided the red and white doughs in half.  When I rolled them out I placed one color on the other and rolled to the 1/4″ (ish) thick and they kind of became marbled.  Loved it.  With the sugar cookies, I made up some icing out of margarine (out of the tub), powdered sugar, milk and a little vanilla.  I do not have a recipe or anything close to it as I just throw it all together, mix it, add more of whatever I think it’s missing, ask my mom how to fix it, keep adding stuff until it’s right.  Put it in a zip top bag, cut a small section off one corner and just squeeze and zigzag over all the cookies.  (Have y’all figured out that I’m lazy yet?” 😉 )

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Complete list of what we had at our Christmas Eve finger food party:

~Relish tray with black and green olives and various types of pickles

~Rice Krispie treats (via my grandmother and aunt)

~Veggie tray with veggie dip

~Cracker tray with cheese dip

~Pepperidge Farm Beef stick

~Deviled eggs (via my sister and my FIL, they are in constant competition every holiday)

~Snowballs and Pecan Tarts (via my MIL, who also brought homemade mac n cheese, not pictured)

~Fudge (also…MIL)

~Also not pictured, were Frickadillers (Danish meatballs passed down from my Great-grandmonther)

I’m sure there was more in the kitchen that I can not remember right now, but it’s all yummy and gone now…can’t wait til Christmas!

~And Last but not LEAST!!!  Kringlers (Danish cookies also passed down from my Great-grandmother)

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These special pretzel shaped cookies are a tradition in my father’s family on his mother’s side.  Only a few family members know how to make them (maybe 4 or 5 (and I think only like 3 people actually make them) ).  I just had to send this picture up to my Uncle to show my grandmother and great-aunt that I made them all by myself.  Definitely, the highlight to my holiday and so proud that I can now carry on the tradition and my son will grow up knowing what these yummy little cinnamon and sugar covered cookies are.  The best part about making them was having my parents home with me when I did.  Also, giving my father a kringler, warm out of the oven, and him telling me that in all of his years of eating kringlers, he had never had one straight from the oven.  Bucket list item…checked off!

I would love to hear about your family’s Christmas traditions, especially the food!   Bonus points if there is some ethnic or cultural heritage behind it!  I love to learn!

Thank you for stopping by…next week some photo bloopers.  My son thought he’d help me take pictures of my Christmas crafts…

Have a great Tuesday!!!

I think…(that’s a lie, I know) I have the cutest kid in the whole entire world!

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I know I know, every mom thinks (knows) they have the cutest kid in the world.  And they do.  But I just have to share a snippet of why I think (know) my kid is the cutest.

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Ayden is 2 years, 2 months, and 13 days old.  There are some days where he is definitely a TWO-YEAR-OLD!  But mostly, he’s just cute with a touch of the TWOs.  He’s been talking for quite some time, but I am just in awe at how much clearer it is getting.  I am also amazed at how much he understands.  I used to have to emphasize the key words of my instructions or explanations.  Now I just say them regularly and he understands!

For instance, if he sees something in the Jeep when I need him to get in his car seat, he gets distracted and then doesn’t want to get into his car seat, because he wants to play with whatever he has spied with his little eye.  Usually, I don’t mind him playing with whatever he’s found, but I need him to get in his seat so we can GO!  I’ll say, “sit in your seat, and you can play with the [whatever he saw].”  And he does it!  He gets in his seat, nicely and I reward him with the item.  (This works about 95% of the time!)  I just get so amazed that he listens and knows what I say!

Now, with all this talking, has come some of his key phrases.  You know, the things you hear millions of time throughout the day.  But I love his little voice and love that he is forming phrases AND that I actually know what he’s saying!!!  I really am his mom because I can understand him (most of the time)!

Now, all parents know (or find out, I should say) that our kids are mockingbirds.  This goes for words and actions!  It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad (only if you’re words or actions are bad).  But it always cracks me up when he does these “mockingbird” actions.  He will just say “like Mommy” or “like Daddy” whomever it is that he is copying.  (is that the right use of “whom”?  I consider myself to be good at grammar, but I think I confused myself just now…moving on!  A.D.D. you will not win!)

Take last night, I laid down on the floor, on my back with one knee bent and the other ankle crossed and resting on my knee.  Ayden saw this and laid down on the floor, “like Mommy” with this legs crossed too.  He laughs because he knows it makes me giggle when he copies me.  So…I conducted an experiment to see just how much he would copy me.  He amazes me at how intuitive he is.

As I am laying on the floor with my legs crossed, I switch my legs.  He switches his.  I do this back and forth a few times and so did he.  He even made sure he had the correct leg over the other, mind you.  Then I put one leg straight up and one down.  He does the same.  I switch them and so does he.  I put both legs straight up in the air…that’s right, he did it too.  Then I split my legs to the sides and SO DID HE!!!  I was shocked at how accurate he is.

Now, you experienced moms might chuckle at my amazement but remember, he’s my first kid so everything is amazing!  This is probably something he’s been able to do for a long time but I never thought to actually “test” it.  Anyway, we both had a good laugh.

I noticed this “like Mommy/Daddy” phrase quite a few months ago when we would walk the dogs.  If on the occasion that Berkley and I were home at the same time when the dogs needed to be walked, we would often all go as a family (one dog at a time though, usually as they get crazy when both of them are out at the same time).  I would push Ayden in the stroller and Berk would have the dog on the leash.  I would notice that Ayden was sitting forward in his stroller and waving his arm all over and saying “like Daddy.”  When I studied what he was doing, he was SWINGING his arm and saying “like Daddy.”  Because he was watching Berkley swinging his arm as he walked.  HA HA HA WHAT A GOOFBALL!!!

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(yes, he is wearing two hats..have I mentioned his goofiness?)

He was saying “Dis?” and pointing to things when he wanted to know what they were.  He still does, from time to time, but now he points and says “right there.”  I just love how he says stuff.  It’s so stinking cute that it makes me pinch his cheeks together and give him kisses all over like I’m some sort of crazy person.  hmmm…maybe I am.

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(fluff on his face)

I don’t know how many 2 year olds say “please” and “thank you” but I must say (brag) that Ayden is pretty good at it.  A few nights ago, we were watching Nemo (his firs time).  All of a sudden, he pops up and runs to the pantry, saying “cracker, please?” (more like “kah-kuh, peese?”).  Only, he’s not pointing to any of the cracker choices, he’s pointing at the peanut butter, Nutella, fluff, cereal section of the pantry.  In an effort to offer something with some sort of nutrition, I pickup the peanut butter?, “no no no, peese?”… Nutella? “no no no, peese?”…cereal? “NO NO NO, PEESE?!?”  Finally I pick up the marshmallow fluff and he delightedly says “cracker!!!”  I tell him it’s not a cracker and I’m not going to just give him fluff.  I tell him I will spread some on a cracker (yes, I know it’s not on the mom-of-the-year award list for toddler snacks, but with his eating habits, sometimes whatever he will eat, he will get, against my healthier efforts tho).  So, I spread a thin layer of fluff on a Belvita Brown Sugar & Cinnamon breakfast cracker.  (He ate almost two!)   As I hand him the cracker he says, “thank you” (pay-pyou) “you’re welcome” (can’t type the phonetic for that one, but it’s fairly close to the way it’s supposed to sound).  I’m still trying to explain to him that one person says “thank you” and the other person says “you’re welcome” but for now, I’ll take both and be proud!

(ok, this is the last one…no one want’s to read a year-long post about someone’s kid that isn’t their own)

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“Watch George”

Ayden has taken to Curious George.  Thanks to the PBS Kids app on the iPad and iPhone and now we record them on the DVR.  And I must say that George is the among the least “annoying” shows to listen to and educationally and morally, I don’t mind him watching George.  This picture is just now while I am typing this post.  There is a TV that he is looking at.  I am at my (used to be) Dining Room table that has been pushed into the corner of the room and I now use as a “desk-like” contraption.  He is standing on his stool that he sets next to my chair.  He was eating yogurt, here (yes I have pix of that too) and asked to “watch George.”  Something that I hear often.  But, what I love about this picture (and it happens often) is that he leans on me while watching it.  I can do something that I want to do, he’s doing something that he wants to but we can still be in contact and I cherish it!

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one word…yogurt! (“ah-yoht”)

Ok, there are so many more cute things that he says that I will have to do another post.  I started making a list in my Blog Planner (post about THAT coming soon, very exciting) but I just don’t have enough room for all his cute phrases in the “post idea” section.  So I’ve started a Master List (what WHAT! a list).  Keep your eye out for things like “No, thanks” “Don’t cry” and “Booger…eew!”

I’d LOVE to hear the words, phrases, and other speaking developments you’re kids have had or are having!  Even the way they interpret words (before they figure out how to say it the right way).  Leave them in the comments below.  Aren’t babies amazing?!?

Introduction to “Trim Tuesdays”

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Ok, so I am sure you’ve heard of Transformation Tuesdays and I have participated in those on the social media networks.

Well we are planning a trip to the Keys this summer and I would like to trim up by then.  I really only have 10 pounds til my goal (and honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever get down to my goal weight) and I am sort of ok with that.  But I am not ok with how things still jiggle (that shouldn’t be jiggling).  And since I will be going to the Keys and probably be spending a lot of time in shorts and tank tops (a few years ago it would have been bathing suit and flip flops…sigh), I kinda wanna look my best.  I know I am going to want a lot of photos taken and yes, even be in some…gasp!

So, I introduce to you….du-du-du-daaaaa (pretend that was a superhero introduction tune)

“Trim Tuesdays”…

I am not able to get the exercise in like I had been able to the past year that I have been losing weight.  I am also not able to go to a gym.  So I will be finding ways to get my trim on here at the casa!  I know I have many mini-workouts pinned on Pinterest and I’m sure I will incorporate them.  I say “incorporate” because I have a problem following programs (I think it stems from my problem with being told what to do).

So toward the end of each month (until July…that’s when our trip is), make sure to check back for updates on how my trimming is going.  It has been one week since I gave myself first and second degree burns on my stomach (it was the colander’s fault…not mine) and it is still quite painful as the skin is starting to peel and the sores are still open and sensitive.  So there won’t be too many ab (crunching type movements) exercises for at least another week (at the most, I’m sure) but as soon as this boy is in bed, I’ll be picking up the weights for some arms, some legs, and some PLANKING!  I am excited to see what I can do.

The hard part is done…I’ve lost 45 pounds, this should be the easy part…right?

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If you would like to see more of my Transformation Tuesday photos, you can find them on Instagram (feel free to follow me if you aren’t already) @theveronicablog and search #transformationtuesday.  I will also be posting my #trimtuesday photos each month starting at the end of this month!

Now to finish my green smoothie (2nd day of two clean(er) meals and one not as clean meal…hey, that’s good for me).

Woohoo, something healthy(ish)

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In an effort to try to clean up my eating a little bit, I decided to take the plunge and try to make those egg “muffin” thingies I see all over Facebook and Pinterest.  Now I have made some in the past, but they were mini ones with just egg and cheese for my tiny tot.  He ate some that day, but not any of the reheated leftovers, so I haven’t made any more since then.

But I eat leftovers so I made some for me.  And if he eats any of that…bonus!!!

I saw a friend post her bacon wrapped, sausage, egg muffins on Facebook and it inspired me.

So I had a log of Butterball Everyday Turkey Breakfast Sausage (forgive the lack of picture of that, I was in a rush) in the freezer that I thawed yesterday.  And this morning, I put it all together.

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I browned the turkey sausage in a pan on the stove (it’s pretty dry since there’s not as much fat as regular sausage, but I didn’t add any oil or anything cuz I didn’t want to add any fat).  I grated 2.5 ounces of Kraft Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese on the fine grater.  And I cracked 12 eggs into a pourable measuring cup, whisked, and added spices.  I chose onion and garlic powders, Creole seasoning, and red pepper.

I used my jumbo muffin pan because the small one just wasn’t big enough and boy am I glad I did.

I sprayed with cooking spray then divided up the turkey sausage into the bottom of each muffin cup.

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Then I divided up the grated cheese among the six.

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Next, poured the egg mixture over the top of each cup.

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WARNING…pour slowly.  Since the eggs are thick they fill the cup quickly but after they sit for a few seconds they settle into the sausage/cheese, then you can go back and fill more if needed.  This filled my jumbo tin to almost the top of the pan.

I baked them in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.  They probably would have been fine at 23 minutes as they were a little overdone for my liking.  But the finished product was still yummy.

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Next time I might try other combos with veggies and maybe different meats (ooh, even veggie meat).

I think I could probably make 12 regular size muffins with this, they were so huge!

I then entered my recipe into My Fitness Pal and these are the facts according to them:

(Like I said, there were 6 huge muffins)

for one muffin

~~~333 calories, 23g fat (what do you expect, it’s eggs and cheese), 30g protein~~~

You can obviously change it to suite your taste or dietary goals.

This would be delish with a green smoothie!  I consider it a good way to get protein, veggie, fruit in for breakfast.  But what do I know, I ain’t no dietary expert.  It just seems better than Eggos or toaster strudels.  haha

Have fun and Enjoy!

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