Monday, September 15, 2014

Pizza Panini with Dipping Sauces Recipe {a "Mom and Me" Lunch!}


I've been looking forward to autumn for a few weeks now. I love the cooler weather, wearing my jeans and sweaters, the pumpkins, the sounds of football games on TV, and...yes, the food! Today's recipe for a Pizza Panini Sandwich (two ways!) is a perfect warm "comfort food" meal that can be tailored to fit anyone in your family. It makes for a perfect "Mommy and Me" lunch on a cozy autumn weekend afternoon at home. No panini maker needed!
Homemade Pizza Panini with Spicy Dipping Sauce (no Panini-Maker needed!) from Serenity Now

The folks at Oscar Mayer sent me a little package with some new products to try. My challenge was to give their new "old world style" pepperoni and salami a little taste test and share a fun recipe with you all. I can say now that both the pepperoni and salami were a big hit, and even my picky picky husband couldn't wait for me to finish taking the following photos so he could gobble up half of my sandwich!
Make a Pizza Panini (without a Panini maker!) with #OldWorldStyleOM


Since the sauces are the first thing that need to be made, we'll start with that part of the recipe first! My sis was kind enough to lend me her favorite recipe. It took me less than five minutes to make.

Homemade Pizza Sauce (Dipping Sauce)
Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce (Less than 5 Minutes!), also great for dipping, from Serenity Now blog
Ingredients:
-1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
-1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
-1 1/2 tsp. dried, minced garlic
-1 T ground oregano
-1 tsp. ground paprika
-tiny dash of salt (optional)
-dash or two of ground red pepper (you can leave this out of the kids' sauce if you like)

Instructions:
Empty ingredients into a bowl. Stir well. That's it. No, really. That's all!

Spicy Ranch Dressing (Dipping Sauce)
Easy Spicy Ranch Dressing Dipping Sauce, from Serenity Now
Ingredients:
-1 bottle Ranch dressing
-1 tsp buffalo style hot sauce (I used Franks, and added an extra dash)
-dash of dill weed
-dash of chili powder

Instructions:
Pour desired amount of dressing into a bowl (separate some for the kids, if they don't like spicy). Add other ingredients. Stir well.

****Now for the sandwiches!!****

Mom's Sandwich:
Homemade Pizza Panini with Spicy Dipping Sauce (no Panini-Maker needed!) from Serenity Now

Thick bread (I used a ciabatta style roll)
Pizza Sauce
Spicy Ranch Dressing
Mozzarella Cheese
Oscar Mayer Old World Style Turkey Pepperoni
Oscar Mayer Old World Style Cracker Black Pepper Salami


Kids' Sandwich:
Kids' Pizza Panini on a Pretzel Roll, from Serenity Now

Thick bread (I used a pizza roll for the kiddos. Small, so just the right size for my 6 and 8 year olds.)
Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Oscar Mayer Classic Pepperoni

You can make mom and kids' sandwiches at the same time if you have a "Foreman" grill or a toaster oven...no panini-maker needed! You can see the way I make paninis with our Foreman grill here.

Instructions for sandwiches:
How to Make a Pizza Panini (two ways!) at home, from Serenity Now

1. Slice bread in half and add a small amount of pizza dipping sauce to each half.
2. Top with mozzarella cheese, and add some spicy ranch dressing to mom's sandwich (leave it off the kids' if you need to).
3. Fold the Oscar Mayer deli meats and arrange on the sandwiches. I used turkey pepperoni and cracked black pepper salami for mine. The kiddo sandwich was made with classic pepperoni.
4. Close sandwiches and add to the preheated Foreman grill or toaster oven. Toast/grill until cheese is melted!

These would also be great open-faced, and you can add things like peppers, olives, or mushrooms to spice things up.
A "Mom and Me" Pizza Panini Lunch, from Serenity Now blog #OldWorldStyleOM
Homemade Pizza Panini with Spicy Dipping Sauce (no Panini-Maker needed!) from Serenity Now


Enjoy your meal while you watch football, listen to the leaves crunching outside, and stay warm in your fuzzy socks and sweats!

Did you know...

• Oscar Mayer brand is great for convenient meals on the go and at home.

•Beginning August 2014, just in time for back-to-school season, you can find Oscar Mayer Old World Style products in the refrigerated-meat section at retail stores nationwide.

 •The Old World Style line of deli meats includes four new varieties, all in sandwich-ready slices: Classic Salami, Cracked Black Pepper Salami, Classic Pepperoni and Turkey Pepperoni.

 •A 4 oz. package of Old World Style pepperoni or salami retails at $3.29 SRP

 •Old World Style pepperoni and salami makes for a great addition to any sandwich, but it’s also an excellent source of protein, with up to 8 grams per serving.
A "Mom and Me" Pizza Panini Lunch, from Serenity Now blog #OldWorldStyleOM


What's your favorite sandwich to make with pepperoni or salami?

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekend Bloggy Reading :: Link Up!

Happy Friday! Welcome to my Weekend Bloggy Reading link party. Fridays are fun because this is the day of the week where other bloggers stop by to link up their best post of the week here at Serenity Now, and readers get to browse tons of fun project ideas. If you're new here, don't forget to "Follow" or subscribe so you don't miss future parties and projects!

*Please be sure to read my guidelines before you add a link--I've had to bypass so many great projects lately because they didn't include a link back to my blog in the post!

This party is a great place to showcase your very best post of the week (home decor, crafts, party ideas, recipes, DIY, tips and tricks, etc.) and to see what else is out there.

Did you miss any of this week's posts? On Tuesday, I showed off a craft tutorial for a DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display; I'd love for you to check it out. There were also some awesome features from last weekend's link party on Monday.


Time to link up your best post of the week!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display

This post brought to you by Martha Stewart Crafts® and Plaid.// I'm easing back into creative blogging after taking an extended maternity leave, and I am so excited to show off today's post, a DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display, made with Chalkboard Paint and other items from the new line at Martha Stewart Crafts®. What do you get when you mix a thrifted cabinet door, some instagram prints, and some super-fun chalkboard paint?
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts


DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

I don't know about you, but I seem to take more photos with my phone than my Nikon lately. I don't want all those special moments living forever on my phone screen, so I decided to come up with a way to display our family memories where we can all enjoy them.

Don't have an Instagram account? Don't worry, I'll give you some more ideas for this display at the end of the post!

I decided to do my best to use thrifted items and things I had on hand for this project, so I hit up my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to browse their cabinet door selection. They had plenty to choose from. I wanted a sizeable display, so I selected a large oak cabinet door for around $10, because I wasn't sure how the laminate would work with the chalkboard paint layered over spray paint.

Here are the supplies you will need:

DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

1. Martha Stewart Crafts ® Laser-Cut Stencils
2. Martha Stewart Crafts® MultiSurface Chalkboard Paint
3. Martha Stewart Crafts ® 2oz Erasable Liquid Chalk
4. Craft paint brush (or see #6)
5. Assortment of coordinating fabrics (optional)
6. Martha Stewart Crafts ® pouncers--these are better if you're using small stencils
7. Baker's twine, string, ribbon, or plain twine
8. Pencil
9. Printed instagram photos (this is how I print mine)
10. Staple gun
11. Scissors
Not Pictured: Sand paper or palm sander, spray paint in your color choice, mini clothes pins, hot glue gun or needle and thread for fabric rosettes (optional)

How to Make Your Own Chalkboard Instagram Display:

1. Prep
Sand, Clean, Paint

I started with my plain old cabinet door. You know, the one with lovely white paint drips down the front. After removing the hardware, I took it outside and sanded it down in about five minutes with a palm sander. I also made sure to clean it off well before spraying. It took me several coats of spray paint to cover up the oak. I figured that some of the grain would continue to show through, but wasn't too concerned because the photos would cover most of it.
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

2. Stencil
Secure, Paint, Dry, Cure Time

After choosing which of the stencils I wanted to use and deciding on a layout, I secured my stencil using stencil tape from my craft stash (Martha Stewart Crafts® brand). I added my chalkboard paint to a paper plate palette, and used plain craft sponge brushes to brush the paint on.

I did one light coat, let it dry for one hour, and then added a slightly thicker coat. After that dried, I moved the stencil to paint the next portion of the cabinet door. When the pennant shapes were dry, I grabbed another stencil sheet and added polka dots in black and pink chalkboard paint for some extra pattern.

It's important to let the chalkboard paint cure for 24 hours before writing or stenciling on it with chalk. 
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

I loved the effect! Pennant banners are so much fun--Martha's team is great at choosing fun and trendy patterns and shapes for their stencils.
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

3. Creating a System for Hanging Photos
Decide on amount of photos, secure twine, clip on mini clothespins, add photos

I took a stack of my photos and moved them back and forth across the board until I found a grid that worked for me. I used a pencil, post-it notes, and a level to mark off the lines where I wanted my twine to go. I was lucky enough to find this pretty turquoise and white baker's twine in my craft stash, but you can find it in most craft stores or even the Dollar Spot.

My grid ended up with space for twenty photos, which is a great amount!
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

I used a staple gun to attach the twine to the back of the cabinet door, pulling the twine taut (without snapping it). I also left a bit of twine on each end to make a knot, so no twine would slip under the staples. This is where having a nice, thick oak door came in handy. No staples going through the wood!
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

4. Fabric Rosettes (Optional)
Use scissors, a hot glue gun, or a needle and thread to craft some rosettes as an embellishment for your display. Hot glue onto the frame of your display board as embellishment


DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to any of the rosettes I made. I just twisted, braided, and pressed the fabric until I found a shape I liked. I ended up using hot glue for these guys, with the exception of the one with the button embellishments...I folded that one back and forth and sewed through the center to keep it in place!
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

I used my trusty got glue gun to adhere the rosettes onto the frame in a pattern that I thought looked cute.
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

5. Use your chalkboard!
Stencil or hand-write something onto your pennant banner with your Martha Stewart Crafts® Liquid Chalk. I thought about using another shape to stencil inside the banner, but decided on lettering. 

You'll need to "season" your chalkboard with a piece of a chalk before you can write on it. I rubbed a piece of chalk over it and then erased.
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

Other words: Inspire, Fall, Autumn, Summer, Spring, Winter, Grace, Smile, Inspire, Create
Other ideas for the board: recipes, 4 x 6 photos, favorite quotes or verses on small cards, postcards, baseball cards, business cards

Voila!
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts
DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

DIY Chalkboard Instagram Photo Display from Serenity Now! #plaidcrafts and #marthastewartcrafts

What I love about the new line of chalkboard paint is how easy it is to work with! The finish goes on smoothly, and the dry/cure time is true to the advertisement. My only wish would be that it might come in the "Martha blue," which is my fave! The liquid chalk goes on smoothly, doesn't smudge...and it erases with water!

Are you loving this medium too? You can find the Martha Stewart Crafts® Chalkboard Paint line at Michaels craft stores. They also have a new line of Martha Stewart Crafts® Vintage Decor Paint!

If you're interested in learning more about Martha's chalkboard paint, you can watch this brief intro video from the folks at Plaid:

 What would you write on your chalkboard display?

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

Want to connect with the Martha Stewart Crafts or Plaid team?

● Plaid Website: http://www.plaidonline.com/  
● The Plaid Palette Blog: http://www.plaidonline.com/blog - The Plaid Palette is a source of inspiration with news about new product introductions, project ideas, tutorials from Plaid’s craft experts and giveaways.
● Newsletter: https://www.plaidonline.com/craftnewslettersignup.aspx - Sign up for Plaid’s email newsletter for special coupons, project ideas and more!
● YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/plaidcrafts - Plaid’s YouTube channel features videos with product demonstration, special seasonal projects and ideas from top Craft Experts.
● Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/plaidcrafts 
● Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InspiredByPlaid 
● Instagram: http://instagram.com/plaidcrafts - A look into daily life at Plaid and project inspiration.
● Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/plaidcrafts 
● Google+: http://plus.google.com/+PlaidOnline

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I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Inspiring Project Ideas {link party features}

Is it Wednesday already? How's your week going? I hope you'll stick around, because tomorrow I'll be showing off a new craft tutorial! (yes, I'm trying to slowly ease back into creative bloggingI've got some creative inspiration for you, and today I'll be sharing some Features from the weekend link party. If you're new to the blog, I take a couple of days each week to let other bloggers showcase their project ideas here, and I take a day to feature a few of my faves. We have crafts, home decor, DIY, recipes, party ideas, organizing, tips and tricks, seasonal projects, and more!

Here are some projects that caught my eye this week:

~Fall Booth via Shabby Love



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fit Made Fun Day!

This post brought to you by LeapFrog.// Interrupting this weekend's link party to let you all know about a super fun event today, Fit Made Fun Day, sponsored by LeapFrog!




What is Fit Made Fun Day?

LeapFrog, one of my favorite brands to work with, is collaborating with GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS to create a 3-hour event (from 1pm - 4pm) on the beach in Santa Monica (North of the Pier and by the exit to Lot 1550 on PCH ).

While a DJ spins KidzBop tunes, local children and their parents will enjoy healthy snacks as they gear up to become the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS holders for “Most children making sand angels on the beach,” “Most people hopping on one foot,” and “Most people doing a swim dance.” Also attending the event is the celebrity talent, soccer star Mia Hamm (yes, the Mia Hamm!), who will lead the competition. Children attending will also enjoy a few photo ops along with the musical entertainment.

How can I be involved if I am not a Santa Monica local?

I don't live in California, but doesn't this sound like a fun day? Why not make an effort to round up the kiddos and the dog, and take a hike, bike through the neighborhood together, walk downtown, or visit the playground to get all those wiggles out? There are a lot of ways to be actives as a family. I sent some interview questions to Mia Hamm, and she'll be sharing ideas for getting the whole family active, so stay tuned!

How is LeapFrog encouraging kids to be fit?

LeapFrog has just released the LeapBand, an activity tracker that comes with eight different customizable pets from LeapFrog's popular Pet Pals franchise – a cat, dog, dragon, monkey, panda, penguin, robot and unicorn – which can be customized by color and name.

With their very own virtual pal, children can play 10 preloaded active games and challenges with access to 40 additional free challenges. Basically, you move and earn points.

I'll have a review of the LeapBand on the blog at some point, but for now, I can say that it looks like a must-have for younger kiddos for this year's Christmas wish-list!

How do you and your kids stay active?

I will receive product in exchange for this post, but all opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated for this post. 

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Weekend Bloggy Reading :: Link Up!

Happy Friday! Welcome to my Weekend Bloggy Reading link party. Fridays are fun because this is the day of the week where other bloggers stop by to link up their best post of the week here at Serenity Now, and readers get to browse tons of fun project ideas. If you're new here, don't forget to "Follow" or subscribe so you don't miss future parties and projects!

*Please be sure to read my guidelines before you add a link--I've had to bypass so many great projects lately because they didn't include a link back to my blog in the post!

This party is a great place to showcase your very best post of the week (home decor, crafts, party ideas, recipes, DIY, tips and tricks, etc.) and to see what else is out there.

Did you miss any of this week's posts? On Tuesday, I told readers why I've fallen in love with having cute nails, and on Thursday I showed you how to apply Jamberry-- easy peasy! There were also some awesome features from last weekend's link party on Wednesday.


Time to link up your best post of the week!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How to Apply Jamberry Nail Wraps (A Step by Step Photo Tutorial)

On Tuesday, I told you all about why I am in love (and a little bit addicted to) with Jamberry. Today, I'm going to show you just how easy they are to apply! I've got a step-by-step photo tutorial to share, but you can also view some application how-to videos on Alison's Jamberry website. It may seem like a lot of steps at first, but once you've done an application or two, it is a breeze and goes so quickly!
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


If I can figure 'em out, anyone can! Here's a step by step photo tutorial for you.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


Supplies:
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now

1. Dish soap (you want something without oils in it). At home, I use Dawn Free and Clear.

2. Alcohol wipes

3. Mini heater or hair dryer

4. Small, wet wash cloth sealed in a Ziploc bag (Microwave it for 10-15 seconds, or until very warm)

5. Nail file

6. Cuticle pusher

7. Nail scissors or nail clippers

8. Your favorite new set of wraps!

9. Optional: coordinating polish

*Note: You can use Jamberry application supplies (and they're great), but I often use a hair dryer, rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball, and wooden cuticle sticks (you can pick them up in any beauty supply aisle at WM, Target, etc).

Instructions:

1. Wash hands thoroughly, scrubbing nails to remove any oils.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now

(You may also want to soak the fingers nails of each hand in a bowl of white vinegar after washing.

*Note: For kids, I add a step of having them soak their fingers in white vinegar for a minute after washing their hands. Follow up with wiping that off and then cleaning each fingertip as you go with rubbing alcohol. Kids' fingers are oily!

2. Carefully push back the cuticles of each nail.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now

(You can also push a cuticle cream that dissolves really stubborn spots)


3. Choose your wrap design! These are "Siesta," which was just discontinued, but there are over 300 designs to choose from online!
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


4. Use the clear sheet to decide which wrap fits the first finger you want to do.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


5. Use the alcohol swab (or a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol) to scrub the first nail clean.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


6. Use the nail scissors to trim the amount of wrap you will need (I usually just cut it in half) and use a cuticle pusher to lift it off the sheet and hold it in front of the heater or a hair dryer until the wrap begins to "curl" just slightly. This keeps you from getting your finger oils (ew) on the back and it activates the sticky part.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


7. Use the cuticle pusher to continue holding the nail and carefully lay it down on your nail. Then press very firmly, especially on the top edges of your nail.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now

Tip: Use a cuticle pusher to continue to press the nail down. You can also add the step of using a wine cork for pressure as well.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now



8. Press your nail, wrap side down, into the warm washcloth in the baggie. It will be HOT. You need the heat to bond the wrap to your nail. Try to hold it for 10 seconds or so. (I sometimes have to microwave my baggie again for 15 seconds or so)
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now

9. Repeat pressing the wrap down on the nail, using the cuticle pusher and/or the wine cork.

10. Repeat the process for the next nail, and so on. If you're painting an "accent nail," do that as your very last step.

11. The nails with the wraps on them will be crinkly at the edges. Don't freak out. Just use your nail scissors to trim the excess. Sometimes you will need to trim your fingernails at the same time if you have big chips like I did.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now

Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


12. Use your nail file to file in a 45 degree angle downward to finish off your seal and make the edges nice and neat.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


13. Use your baggie for one last heat seal and smooth with your cuticle pusher.
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now

And now you have pretty nails!
Jamberry Nails Tutorial (Step by Step!) from Serenity Now


I really can't say enough good things about Jamberry. Designs that might look a little "busy" on the shopping cart screen translate so nicely on tiny little finger nail sheets. I love the patterns now!

You can visit Alison's Facebook page to learn more about Jamberry, ask questions, and to request a free sample.

*You can also order through my current online party!**

Who's ready for girls' night in?!

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

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