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Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta Recipe! Plus, a healthy version too.

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Recipes

With the start of this new year,  I am excited to get focused on cooking and eating healthy again.  My family comes from Italy, so naturally pasta is my favorite thing to cook and eat.  It's not easy to make a creamy pasta that is good for you, but I found a way.  With a few simple substitutions, this recipe is a healthy, fresh meal with a lot less fat and calories.  It was sooo tasty too, so I was very pleased!! This recipe is very quick and easy.  Look below for the regular recipe along with the healthy substitutions that I used. 
 
Creamy-Tomato-And-Spinach-Pasta
Creamy Tomato And Spinach Pasta
 

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ lb. penne pasta
  • ½ (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach

Healthy Substitutions:

-whole wheat pasta instead of white

-1/4 cup fresh basil instead of dried (sooo much better)

- fresh chopped tomato instead of canned

-my favorite marinara sauce instead of the tomato paste and water mix

-8 oz plain greek yogurt instead of cream cheese

-add grilled chicken breast for extra lean protein

This recipe tasted amazing with the healthier, fresher alternatives. 

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10) minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  2. While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.
  4. Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the parmesan and whisk until melted in again.
  5. Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from www.inspireddreamer.com

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How to get the perfect soft curls, plus my FAVORITE hair products!

Written by Lyndi. Posted in About Me, How to...

Being an interior designer, it's funny to me that a lot of my emails and comments that I get from my followers are questions about mine or my kids appearance.  These questions range from our hair, clothes, skin care, my gym routines, to what we eat on a daily basis.  I am definitely not an expert in any of these fields, so that's why it makes me laugh to answer some of these questions.  I have had several requests to do a blog post about my hair and I have recently found some amazing products, so I thought I'd share them with you. 

Check out Madison's hair when it air dries...can you say crazy lion afro? This girls hair is thick, coarse and naturally curly.  She has a beautiful color and ever since she was a baby people have asked me if I dye her hair.  She gets compliments on it all the time, but her hair is usually in a braid or a messy bun because it's so hard to tame.  Until now!! I have tried a variety of flat irons and none of them can even compare to the Sam Villa Sleekr.  It took her hair from crazy to sleek within minutes.  Check out her before and after pictures...unbelievable! beforeafter

Then there was me...my hair is naturally thick, coarse, and a bit frizzy.   With these certain hair products and tools, I can get my hair soft and healthy looking.  IMG_5297photo456 IMG_5337IMG_5340IMG_5341Let's talk products

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 1.  Redken Smooth Lock: I put this in my hair before I flat iron or curl it and it keeps it nice and smooth...or, put it on the flyaways after styling.

2.  Palmers Coconut Oil Formula:  This is one of my all time favorite styling products and it is inexpensive and you can buy it at Target.  I put a small amount on each section of my hair before I curl or flat iron it.  It keeps my hair smooth and frizz free. 

3.  Redken Hairspray #12: I use this when I am done styling to give my hair the finished look...smells great too!

4.  Redken Powder Refresher: This is key...especially if you sweat on a daily basis, or if your hair gets oily.  I try to go 5 days without washing my hair (it's so healthy for your hair to do this) and this helps keep my hair looking fresh and clean.

5.  Heat Protectant:  Make sure you use a heat protectant spray before you use a flat iron or curling iron.  This will protect your hair from becoming damaged.  This Matrix brand is the one I am currently using, but there are several great ones out there. 

6.  Hot Tools Ceramic Curling Iron: I use 1 1/2 inch rod and I curl it in large sections to give it that relaxed, soft look.  Here's a great tutorial on exactly how I curl my hair with a curling iron, from my friends blog The Girl in the Yellow Dress.

7.  Sam Villa Sleekr Flat Iron:  This is the best tool I've ever owned.  I use this to do my hair straight, soft sexy curls, beachy waves, or tight curls.  I absolutely love it.  Here's a tutorial to learn how to use a flat iron to make curls.

If you want to purchase the Sam Villa Sleekr, I have a 20% off code for all of my readers.  Use EBDC in the coupon code box when checking out. 

I bought the Redken products and curling iron from Ulta.

*UPDATED*

Here is my routine on when I use these products:

Day one: wash hair, heat protectant, smooth lock (just a small amount), blow dry, section hair and apply a small amount of the coconut hair milk to each section right before you curl or flat iron it.  It depends on the day if I use the hair spray because it will add more hold, and somedays I want a more relaxed look.

Day two-five: Use the powder refresher the day your hair starts to look or feel greasy. It will pull the grease out and give it volume instantly.  I spray it on and blow dry it through for a minute. Some people can keep the same curls from the day before, but I usually need to go through mine quickly again. When I do, I apply a small amount of the coconut hair milk to keep it looking tame. After I am done curling it, I will wait for all the heat to get out of my hair and I will pull my fingers through it to make the curls separated. I will add some oil shine or the Redken smooth lock to calm any flyaways. It usually only takes me ten minutes to do my hair on the days I don't wash it.

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New Years Eve Party for KIDS!

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Holidays, Kids & Family Life, Party Planning, Uncategorized

Hello my friends!  I think my new years resolution needs to be to keep up on my blog a little better (ahhhh...life's been crazy)!  I am so excited to start fresh in 2014, and I plan on this upcoming year to be a very happy one for me. 

This New Years Eve, I decided to have a party with kids instead of adults...and I couldn't be happier!  I am thrilled to bring in the new year with them and make it an amazing memory for all of us.  I have come up with some ideas to make the night easy and super FUN!! 

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I'm letting my kids invite a few friends and this will be our agenda:

Come in your PJ's: Okay lets be honest, I am doing this first one mostly for myself!  Wearing your pj's just makes everything better...plus, you can eat more this way! 

Have Balloons with Written Times:  To make your night and schedule run smoothly, blow up balloons and add a paper with your plan for that specific hour.  When it is that time, let the kids pop the balloon and read what is next on the agenda. They will love this!!

balloons

 6:00-Make Individual Homemade Pizzas:  Making your own pizza is always a hit with kids and it gets their creative brain working.  You can make the dough yourself, or just buy the pizza crust already made (that's what I'm doing).  Then, buy pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, peperoni, olives, ham, pineapple, mushrooms, tomatoes, and whatever else you like on your pizza.  Bake them for 10-15 minutes on 375 degrees.  EASY!!

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7:00-Make Party Hats: Create your own party hats for your celebration with cardstock and ribbon! Decorate them by using pom-poms, glitter, sequins, glitter glue, ribbon, and anything else you have laying around. 

partyhats

Party hat picture from handmadecharlotte.com

8:00-Make and Decorate Cookies & Sprinkle Topped Milk Glasses

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9:00-Play Charades: Come up with topics that have to do with new years eve...a few ideas are: Sparklers, Time Square, Clock, 2014, Balloons, Confetti, Party, Crowd, Goals, Food, Midnight, Ball Drop.

10:00-White Elephant Gift Game, Write New Year Resolutions & Hot Chocolate Bar
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11:00 Karaoke & Dance Party!! Turn up the music, dance, sing and have Advil close by!

12:00 Scream, Bang Pots and Pans, Brush their Teeth and go to BED :) !

I hope you have a wonderful New Years Eve and a blessed New Year!

Love, Lyndi

P.S. If you want to go by New York time so the kids can go to bed sooner, then change your clocks in the name of your sanity.

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Christmas Quotes {Free Printable}

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Free Printables, Graphic Design, Holidays

I hope you are all enjoying this lovely Christmas season.   I just wanted to quickly post a few pictures of some printables that I created to go along with my Christmas decor and I wanted to share them with you!  Download them for free below!

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Love Lyndi

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Restyle your Christmas Tree with SPRAY PAINT!

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Christmas, Holidays

Last year for Christmas I lived in a very Tuscan style house with a lot of dark brown and cream tones.  My Christmas tree went perfect in that house!  I knew that when I moved to a mostly white and gray house, my tree would have to be changed.  I didn't want to spend a ton of money, so I decided I would try to spray paint some of the ornaments.  So, guess what?!?...it totally worked!! Hallelujah!! I used 4 cans of spray paint and spent about $75 bucks on additional ornaments and filler.  Merry Christmas to me and my budget :) !

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Here are a few of the ornaments from their beginning stages.

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These are the exact cans of spray paint that I used.  I got them all at Lowes.  I used the glitter paint over the white spray paint on the stars, snowflakes and branches.     
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The sparkle paint made it look perfect and brand new!

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and the final look...

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Thanksgiving Table Decorating Ideas

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Holidays, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a very special holiday for me because it has been a tradition with my extended family to come to my house for the weekend.  Before my Aunt Kathy died (see her story here) she was my right hand man and we would plan every detail together.  When Thanksgiving time comes around, I especially miss her.  She was the life of the party and was so much fun to be with.  I am missing her more than words can describe right now.

A few of our traditions on Thanksgiving day that we have been doing since I was a little kid are: playing football at the park, eating amazing food (of course), having a pinata for all the kids, and having a talent show (a completely hilarious one) at the end of the night.  We always play cards and games late at night throughout the weekend and calories are NOT aloud to be counted.  It really is the best time...there is no drama when my family is here and it is full of laughs and no sleep.  Lucky, lucky me!! 

I found some great ideas on decorating for Thanksgiving that are easy and most are even inexpensive.  I hope you all have a wonderful time this Thanksgiving, and if you don't have plans, then come on over!!

 

Via Party Resources.

 

Via Whimsy and Wise.

 

Via Hwtm.

 

Via Apartment Therapy.

 

Via Style Me Pretty.

 

Via Apartment Therapy.

 

Via Layla Grayce.

 

Source: Unknown.

 

Via Spread Decor.

 

Source: Unknown.

 

Via Apartment Therapy.

 

Via Hwtm.

 

Source: Unknown.

 

Source: Unknown.

 

Source: Unknown.

 

Via Anna and Blue Paperie.

 

Via My Hearts Desire Blog.

 

Via Simplified Bee.

 

Via The Lettered Cottage.

 

Via The Party Animal.

 

Source: Unknown.

 

 

 


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Pink and Gray Girls Bedroom {all the details}

Written by Lyndi. Posted in Interior Design

p&g7I have had several requests for the specifics in this bedroom that I designed and decorated.  I thought I would share every detail and help you create a similar room!  So, here is the scoop!!

Paint: {Kwal Brand}

   -Pink: Sacred #CL 1351W

   -Light Gray Stripe: TinMan #CL3232W (My favorite gray color-I painted my entire house this color)

   -Dark Gray Stripe: Shoal #CL3234D (I also used this color when I painted the shelves)

Bedding: Shabby Sheek Pink Bedding from Target, included the comforter, and it comes with 2 pink ruffle pillows

Pillows:

   -White Bolster Pillow from Target

   -Gray Ruffle Pillows from Nordstrom.  These aren't the exact pillows shown, but very close (the pillows shown are currently unavailable).

   -Large White European from ZGallerie.  I bought them in the store, they currently don't have them online. 

Chair: Safavieh Daisy Wing Chair

BedSkyline Wingback Gray Upholstered Headboard

Lighting: white mini chandelier pendant lights

MirrorHoward Elliot Anita Round White Mirror

Rug: Gray Hand Tufted Wool Rug.   This isn't the exact rug that is shown, but it is similar and is an amazing price.  This rug is 5x8 feet.  

Bird Mobile: From Lullaby Mobiles on Etsy.  They customized it with the pink and gray.  It turned out so cute!

Shelving/Shelf Decor: Frames and accents came from HomeGoods, ZGallerie, and Boutiques. 

 

If you want to see the entire bedroom, here is the initial post on the Pink and Gray Girls Bedroom

 

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