happy homemaker monday

I usually link up to Menu Plan Monday at the beginning of the week, but I feel like a change today, so I’m participating in Sandra’s weekly feature instead 🙂

The weather in my neck of the woods:
Sunny and 48 degrees. The snow is melting away, but what a mess!

Things that make me happy:
Electricity, Earl Gray tea, and cozy evenings

Book I’m reading:
Not reading anything at the moment.

What’s on my TV today:
I haven’t had the television on all day, but I think I’ll pick out a spooky movie to watch after the kids are in bed tonight.

On the menu for dinner:
The kids are having mummy pizzas (made with English muffins, strips of cheese for the gauze, and olives for they eyes). Drew and I are having chicken curry over cauliflower “rice.”

On my To Do List:
Finish the laundry (is this ever not on the list, LOL?)
Sweep up the kitchen

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
I made this Atkins-friendly pumpkin cheesecake last week for my birthday and it was quite good! I think it needs a little more sweetener, but not a bad jumping-off point.

In the craft basket:
More elf hats! My friend asked me to crochet nine more in the next size up, so that’s keeping me very busy.

Looking forward to this week:
A quiet-ish week! Also, I’m looking forward to a day to myself tomorrow. Drew will be at work, the boys will be in school, and Laura will be spending the day at Mimi’s, so I hope I can manage to get a lot done and have a little time for myself, too.

Tips and Tricks:
Use a melon baller to scoop out the membrane and seeds of jalapeno peppers. So much easier than a knife!

My favorite blog post this week:
I read a lot of great posts, but Cravings at Everyday Paleo is one that I wanted to share.

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
I barely kept up with my Google Reader last week, so I didn’t really venture out and read anything new.

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):
I have to post two, both from yesterday morning. The first is our side yard, and the second is Noah who couldn’t wait to get out there any play in the snow!

Lesson learned the past few days:
It’s really important to be adaptable — whether it’s dealing with 14 inches of snow before Halloween or handling the disappointment of not getting much candy trick-or-treating. “Going with the flow” will make things easier!

On my mind:
Thinking of my family and friends both home in W. Mass. and locally (especially my brother, SIL, and niece) who still don’t have power and might not have it until the end of the week 🙁

erin condren at plum district


I’ve been reading all about how amazing the Erin Condren Life Planners are and last week (or the week before) I missed out on the deal One King’s Lane was having. But lucky for me, Plum District is currently running the same deal! For the next day and a half, you can get a $50 gift certificate to ErinCondren.com for $25. And you can use the code fabulous to get an extra 10% off your order.

New sign-ups might also get an extra bonus, but I’m not sure. Either way, this is a super-great deal and I cannot wait to order my new planner! But if you’re not the type of girl who is into organizers, she also has fun and colorful cards, labels, and all kind of goodies. The designs are fresh and modern and cheerful!

If you sign up for the Erin Condren deal at Plum District, I’d really appreciate if you’d use my affiliate link! Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  • May not be applied to taxes & shipping
  • Limit 3 per person
  • Cannot be combined with any other specials or offers
  • Voucher NOT valid for personalized iPhone cases
  • Limited quantities available
  • Expires 1/24/2012

menu plan monday, 10.23-10.29

I am kind of flying by the seat of my pants this week. I drew up a quick meal plan, but I’m not sure if I’ll really stick to it.

My crustless pizza casserole was delicious, though! Next time I make it I’ll take measurements and photos and post the recipe. It really is a delicious way to get all the flavor of pizza without the extra carbs. (Plus, it was less messy to eat!)

Lunches are typically a big salad (my standard is organic mixed greens with goat cheese, poached chicken, walnuts, dried cranberries, and balsamic dressing). With the cold weather very clearly here I’m making a lot of soups, and often have a cup to go with that salad. For example, this morning I am roasting butternut squash and onions. I’ll add that to my homemade chicken stock along with some curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and whatever else sound good, puree it, and have a delicious autumn soup. Cream of broccoli is another favorite that is simple to make. I love soup!

Anyway, here’s the general idea:

  • Sunday: Crustless pizza casserole, salad
  • Monday: Cube steaks with mustard gravy, steamed broccoli, salad
  • Tuesday: Chicken Marsala over cauliflower puree, green beans, salad
  • Wednesday: Steak. Whether I cook it, order out, or go to a restaurant I am having a big old steak for my birthday! And a big salad. And probably broccoli. Maybe a baked potato if I’m feeling naughty. And this Atkins-friendly pumpkin cheesecake.
  • Thursday: Roast chicken with vegetables, salad
  • Friday: Reuben meatloaf, steamed veggies, cole slaw
  • Saturday: Asian chicken lettuce wraps

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

friday favorite finds – sweet tooth

It’s Friday! So that means it’s time to link up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen‘s Friday Favorite Finds. Here are my Pinterest food finds for the week.

You might be wondering why a person whose blog is called “Pure Sugar” is suddenly so down on sugar and carbs. Well, when my husband was diagnosed with diabetes about a little less than a month ago, it became necessary to make some dietary changes, and that’s why we’ve been eating low-carb. I’m also really interested in Paleo diets because I’ve read a lot of research about how eating Paleo is beneficial to diabetics and people with auto-immune disease (like Hashimoto’s, which I have). I’m not 100% committed to this just yet (and maybe I never will be I don’t know), but I do feel a lot better avoiding certain foods so I’m mostly looking for these types of recipes lately.

Main dishes, side dishes? No problem. The desserts are giving me trouble though. I have quite the sweet tooth as my blog’s name suggests. So I’ve been collecting low-carb and Paleo-friendly treat recipes as I see them. My birthday is next week, so I think I might be picking one of these instead of a more traditional cake. Just goes to show, you don’t need flour to make a fab dessert! Check it out!

Pumpkin Pie Dessert – This one needs some tweaking to fit into our diet, but I don’t think it would be too hard. Pumpkin and pecans are both allowed, and we do eat dairy, so I think this one has potential!


Apple-Walnut Dessert – A Paleo twist on apple crisp, one of my favorites


Fudgy Paleo Brownies – For some reason, this doesn’t seem to be linking back to the original source, but check out Health-Bent’s recipe here. I would use peanut butter instead of almond butter, but wow, do these sound great!

Source: None via Carol on Pinterest


Chocolate Paleo Snack Cake – Sense a theme here? I looove chocolate! I can stick with any eating plan as long as it includes chocolate cake on occasion.


Paleo Coconut “Rice” Pudding – I haven’t totally ruled out rice yet, but for now I’m not eating it. However, I used to really enjoy my Kheer recipe and if I can make something similar (with cauliflower of all things) I will be thrilled!


Be sure to head over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen and see what inspired everyone else this week!

one king’s lane: $15 credit – free sachets!


Have you visited One King’s Lane yet? It’s a deal site with beautiful home decor items. Right now they are giving new members a $15 credit (and their referring friend gets $15 when the first purchase is made, so if you sign up, please use my referral!) There are new deals daily and there’s almost always something around $15. You can apply the credit toward shipping, too if you find something even cheaper.

For example, today they have these French Laundry cedar sachets for $10:


There are other styles too. They also have a CIA Cookware sale going on with many item $15 or less!

Some of the other items I’ve seen include linens, pillows, furniture, frames, and so on. If you’re looking for a beautiful frame to hang around your Samsung LED flatscreen, this would be a great place to look!

menu plan monday 10.16-10.22

I feel like my menu planning has become much simpler since I’ve started omitting starch (for the most part) from our diet. I mean can you get much easier than Protein + Vegetable(s) + Green Salad? I don’t think so.

I’m finding continued improvements in our health, one of which is that my rosacea, which typically flares up this time of year, actually seems to be getting better (!) and my dry skin… dare I say… feels smoother than usual.

Anyway, on to the meal plan!

  • Sunday: Crustless pizza
  • Monday: Turkey burgers, salad
  • Tuesday: Chicken fajitas (wraps optional), salad
  • Wednesday:Sausage Parmesan, steamed veggies, salad
  • Thursday: Pesto chicken, CSA veggies, salad
  • Friday: Steak, CSA veggies, salad
  • Saturday: Asian lettuce wraps with ground chicken, shredded carrots, scallions, cashews

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

holiday crafting

I thought I’d give you a peek into my crochet basket so you know what’s keeping me from blogging. Any guesses? Elf hats!

Last week a high school friend asked about knit newborn hats for photo sessions (he and his wife are photographers). After I hooked up this sample, I sent him a photo to get his thoughts:


He liked it and asked me to hook up nine (!) hats ASAP.

I’m 1/3 of the way done, which doesn’t sound like much but I think it’s pretty good since I’m not a fast crafter! Hopefully I can crank the rest out and get the lot mailed out early next week. After that I might put a few in my neglected Etsy shop. We’ll see.

freschetta proud to support pink giveaway

Photobucket October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Freschetta is doing their part to support research through thier “Proud to Support Pink” program. From Sept. 25 – Oct. 31 when you purchase specially marked packages of FRESCHETTA pizza and Artisan Pizza Crusts, you will help them reach their goal of a $50,000 donation to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Specially marked packages are printed with codes that you can enter at: www.ProudToSupportPink.com.

Each code entry equals a $1 donation to the center to support breast cancer research, up to $50,000.

You can also share your own story or a loved one’s breast cancer journey, where they will be displayed on the site and on the FRESCHETTA Facebook page for inspiration.

PhotobucketWhen you  enter the code found on the back of packages you will be automatically entered into an online sweepstakes for the chance to win an iPod Shuffle. Fifty will be awarded each week. In addition, Freschetta will match the iPod prizes by donating an additional 200 to four selected cancer centers across the U.S. for patients to use during treatment. The cancer centers to receive the iPod Shuffle devices include:

  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York
  • Jane Brattain Breast Center (Park Nicollet Health Services) in Minneapolis
  • Avon Foundation Breast Center (John Hopkins Medicine) in Baltimore
  • Seattle Breast Center (Northwest Hospital and Medical Center) in Seattle

Freschetta Proud To Support Pink Prize Pack Giveaway!

To help spread the word about the Freschetta Proud to Support Pink program, I’m hosting a giveaway for a great prize pack. The winner will recieve:

  • One full-value coupon for a free Freschetta pizza (up to $8.39)
  • Two pairs of Freschetta Proud to Support Pink earbuds – one for you and one to share with a friend (estimated value $25)

photo (1)

The prize will be mailed directly from Freschetta. To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Freschetta Fresh Connection Blog Team and received promotional material and a coupon as part of my participation in a campaign by Freschetta.  I did not receive any financial compensation for this post. The opinions expressed are my own.  This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.