Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year...New recipes...

So tonight I made turkey meatloaf for tomorrow night's dinner. Yes, sounds strange, but I do this often, so I can accomplish other things on my "to do" list, the next day, like exercise, clean up, pay bills, read, crochet, or go on Facebook! ha!

My usual "go to" recipe is the Glazed Meatloaf from America's Test Kitchen. I ♥♥♥ that show. I have tried many recipes from that show and each time, every single one has come out delicious! I couldn't find my printed recipe for Glazed Meatloaf and when I tried to access it online, I was prompted to sign up for a 14-day trial and input a credit card? What the? Uhhh...I don't think so. I mean, it's good and all, but totally not worth inputing my credit card for!

So, I "googled" glazed meatloaf and wished for the food gods to shine upon me! And boy, oh boy, did they! I was led to (which btw is one of my fave go to recipe websites) and stumbled upon Glazed Meatloaf I. All my additions/substitutions are in RED.


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I only used about 3tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder (I used bottled spicy brown mustard)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 pounds ground beef (I used 1.25lb Jennie - O ground turkey)
  • 3 slices bread, broken up into small pieces (I used one cup Panko)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (I sauteed one whole chopped onion in butter & olive oil until caramelized)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules (I didn't have any so I omitted)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl saucepan, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and mustard powder (and half of caramelized onions.)
  3. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 min. If mixture is still too thick add a bit more water.
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread, onion, egg, bouillon, remaining lemon juice and caramelized onions and 1/3 of the ketchup mixture from the small bowl saucepan. Mix this well and place in a 5x9 inch loaf pan.
  5.  I like to shape mine into an even loaf on a cookie sheet pan. To drain excess fat while it is cooking, on top of my cookie sheet, I place a cooling rack covered with foil, puncture slits in the foil and then shape the loaf on the area where the slits are. All the excess fat will drip onto the cookie sheet below.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour (30-40 min for 1lb meat), drain any excess fat, coat with remaining ketchup mixture and bake broil for 10 more minutes.

Ok, so I totally hijacked this recipe, but it's still pretty similar to the original right?! Well, let me tell you, that bit of lemon juice makes ALL the difference! I took one bite of this meatloaf and knew I had to blog about it TONIGHT! It had me at hello...

You can see the bits of grated carrots and caramelized onions throughout the meatloaf. Try this recipe today...and let me know how yours turns out!

I think I like sharing my hijacked recipes...this might have to be one of my new blogging things for 2011!

Happy Cooking♥♥,
The Mariano Project

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Cheer

I can't believe it has been a whole year in our new home. Last Christmas when we got the keys to our house, my good friend Jessica made me this beautiful wreath.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to put it up since we were painting and moving, so this year it served as the starting point for my decorating.

I didn't think I was going to decorate at all this year, but on December 20th the shopping gods shined on me and led me to Jo-Ann Fabrics and EVERYTHING I bought was 70% off! I got a shopping cart and loaded it up with a 7ft tree (lights built in), some ornaments, a feather wreath (I had my eye on for ages!), 3 Santa dolls, 2 poinsettia garlands, and 1 pine cone garland and a partridge in a pear tree! Ha!

Since I was on such a shopping sale high, I headed over to Michael's where everything was 60% off! I gathered more ornaments and two white feather trees, which I absolutely adored! After Michael's, I still felt I was lacking in the ornament department, so Target had the perfect solution with their $1 white and silver snowflake ornaments!

When I first put the tree together, I was pretty disappointed on how "skinny" it was compared to the picture they advertised on the front, but at 70%, who can complain!
The hubby wanted to start a tradition of buying one special ornament each year. So here's the one we bought for 2010.
The frugalista in me couldn't bear to shell out over $10 each for Christmas stockings, so when I came across these "dollar store" silver stockings, I snagged them up right away.

Of course, I had to "jazz" them up and customize them to make them a bit more "fancy". So, by shelling out another dollar for some stick on rhinestones at Michael's, for $3 I had customized stockings! Holla!

And finally this holiday season would not be complete without a customized Christmas card.

This may be my last post of the year, but I do plan to come back FULL FORCE next year with lots more projects and posts!

So, have a very safe and fun-filled Happy New Year!

2011 is gonna be AWESOME...I just know it!

The Mariano Project

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks...

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, there are so many things I am THANKFUL for this year. It has been an eventful year of twists and turns, but yet, even with the challenges, it was very fulfilling.

Here is what I am THANKFUL for...
  • A loving & supportive husband who loves me for all my imperfections.
  • Great parents, siblings & two beautiful nieces.
  • A beautiful home & neighborhood.
  • Having central heating during these cold nights.
  • For all my wonderful friends.
  • For being given a new opportunity with a new company, during these challenging economic times.
  • The public library for its copious amount of books that helped me with my interview and fueled my reading habit.
  • The Power by Rhonda Byrne. It changed my life in so many ways...
  • For being able to give and love open-heartedly and freely.
  • For great health and always having food in my refrigerator.
  • My iPhone...seriously how can I live without it.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

The Mariano Project

Monday, November 1, 2010

Here's my Pillows...

Wow, has it really been almost 2 months since my Pillow Talk post?? It's so funny, because after I posted that I became deathly ill with some kind of food poisoning and just last week, it happened again. But this time it was the stomach flu & colon inflammation, which also meant a trip to the ER = Not fun at all...

Anyways, I probably finished these pillows about a month ago and I absolutely love them! While outdoor fabric can be kind of stiff and rigid, I've noticed that after a few uses they have definitely eased up. I used a basic square pillow pattern with an envelope style back.

Notice the "Karate Chop" indentation on the pillows? It gives the pillows a cuter flair don't you think? Kinda like they have ears?!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween Eve...

I didn't think I was gonna decorate for Halloween, but then we bought some candies and I just couldn't resist! I had bought mini pumpkins earlier this month and incorporated them into my Fall dining room centerpiece and thought that would be festive enough. Yeah, right! Who am I kidding?

Today I came across some really cute burlap sacs that I am either going to frame or make large pillows out of, so that started the decorating base. I used the plain side for my set up. Then, I came across reusable pumpkins with built in lights and at 2 for $10, who could resist a white skull shaped pumpkin! And no icky pumpkin seeds to scoop out. Well, actually, I do like scooping them out...

On the door I used double-sided tape to put this place mat on to my front door.

Being the neurotic person that I am, I didn't like the empty space between our porch light and my pumpkin decorations, so I grabbed some tissue paper that we had and made a Martha Stewart pom pom. I even cut out a spider from some black card stock. Jay said my spider had a "cat" I guess, I made a "cat spider"....spooky!

In addition to the usual candies like Reese's and Snickers, we decided to get some Rice Krispies Treats to give to our first ever Trick-o-Treaters! I had seen some really cute 8oz Coca Cola cans at Costco and was thinking, how cool would that be if we gave those out! But, sadly,I was DENIED!

No costume for me this year, so I thought I would put up a picture of my most favorite costume to date. A bubble bath! I won Best Costume with this bad boy, at TWO Halloween parties in 2008!

So, to all you party goers tonight, I wish you a very Happy & Safe Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Unwinding & Relaxing...Ok not really!

So, it's been 25 days into my new found freedom and things have been going pretty well. The first week was filled with staying up until midnight watching movies on my iPhone, waking up at 8am, taking morning walks, cooking dinner, and going out on random trips to the store. And then the second week came and half way into it I was BORED. This A type personality with B type tendencies was BORED.

And then an email came. It was for an interview. And my A type kicked into full gear and I was studying and answering interview questions like there was no tomorrow. I was in total "Ace the interview" mode. It's literally been 7 1/2 years since my last interview, so I was flipping out!

But, with the help of my hubby (who happens to conduct interviews at his job) and a fabulous legal recruiter friend (aka Jessica), I went to the interview over prepared and ready to answer any question. In a matter of one week, I knew more about myself that I ever wanted to know and about the company I was interviewing for!

So in order to quell my interview jitters, I decided to start crocheting. It was something completely unrelated, so I could digest all my interview homework and unwind by focusing on crocheting. With the fall weather creeping in, I decided to make my cute little niece a beanie. She's 7 months and barely has any hair! This child needs a hat!

This hat took me about 2 1/2 hours to complete. I used a 5mm hook and Caron Simply Soft in Violet. I used the Puff Stitch Crochet Hat pattern from The Art of Crochet by Teresa. I was completely blown away by how easy this hat was to make! It looks complicated and intimidating, but in reality, it is a breeze! Oh, and I do recommend watching her You Tube video tutorials. I believe this contributed to the success of my hat! And for the pom pom on top, I used this tutorial from Bella Dia.

The matching scarf on the bottom was actually the start of a blanket I was going to make for our living room, but after 3 stripes into it, I wanted a different look. So, it became the perfect "baby scarf" to accompany the hat!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Heart of the Matter

Two weekends ago, I had the luxury of having the whole house to myself while Jay was doing his monthly military reserves duty. I had this book in my possession for over week, but had a bunch of stuff going on, and so there it sat on my nightstand collecting dust.

On Saturday evening, I thought I would pick it up and get in a few chapters to help me fall asleep. Well, I should have known better right? Emily Giffin books DO NOT make one sleepy at all, in fact, they have the opposite effect. They suck you in and you get wrapped up in the story and the characters and then 3 hours later at 1:30am, I found myself flustered and exhausted after the emotional roller coaster I had just gotten off of! How about that for a wild and crazy Saturday night!

I love how Emily incorporates characters from her previous books. It brings a sense of cohesion with all her books. Heart of the Matter will touch the heartstrings of married couples and single moms as well. It is a very real perspective of the choices we make in our lives and the effect those choices can have on those we love. We can all get caught up in our daily lives and in the needs of others, that sometimes we may neglect those who matter the most to us. This book delves straight into those circumstances and the consequences they can have.

Recommended: Yes! Yes! Yes!