Friday, December 24, 2010

Freezer Cooking and getting ahead

Since we are going to be away for Christmas, I was trying to figure out a good use for the produce I still have. Freezer cooking to the rescue.

I chopped up some bell pepper, carrot and few other veggies. Then I mixed them together and put them in quart size bags as a start to many stir fry meals later on next week. I also mixed some chicken (chunked), carrots, peas and gravy so as to make some quality chicken pot pie filling. Just add crust and bake. Looking forward to taking some nights off next month.

Time to start on the pizza sauce and dough. Love it when the house takes on that smell of a pizza parlor. YUM!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Embellishment Craze

Two of my scrapbooking friends have sent me the cutest treats! My friend, Amanda, has sent me a handmade fabric bird that is beautiful. And it makes it so hard to use, because it cannot go on just any page. And my friend Dara, sent me a super cool paper pack of Bella Road's Christmas line. Without which, a few folks would have been without Christmas Cards this year.

So, I got to thinking. What super cool and fun gift can I send to them as a thank you? Luckily, I live near the fashion and flower district. I put the rain boots on and headed to Maple Craft on (surprise) Maple between Olympic and 9th. Love this place. Snagged some beautiful ribbon flowers, found some coordinating ribbon to go with them and threw in some butterflies for good measure. Headed to Little Tokyo and bought up a few Japanese postcards that will make great journal tags and added some star shaped wooden beads painted in a variety of colors.

I hope they have as much fun using the supplies as I did making the kits. Good times!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Baking

Christmas Baking is here! I decided to experiment today. I am using a fun recipe for cinnamon-oatmeal cookies. I altered a Martha Stewart recipe to make it work for me. I omitted the raisons. Also, I baked them in my handy-dandy bar pan. It makes individual squares. Special thank you to my beloved mother in law who bought this for me. It is used frequently! Lastly, I made a dent in the top of the cookie and added a little raspberry jam.

* 1C all purpose flour
*1/4 tsp of baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (each)
*1/2 C butter (1 stick) (softened)
*2/3C brown sugar
*1/3 C sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C oats
1/8 raspberry preserves

1. Mix sugars and butter until fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
3. Add egg and vanilla to butter-sugar mixture.
4. Add the flour mixture.
5. Add the oats.
6. Scoop the cookie mixture into greased bar pan. Could also try a muffin pan and see if that works.
7. Make a dent in the cookie mixture with the back of a spoon. Add a dollop of raspberry preserves to the divot.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 minutes or until golden brown.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Scrapbook Challenge 4

Alright, we are plowing through challenge 4. Four is a fun challenge with chipboard. Making your own chipboard accents. I had fun making a few, but the one that was most playful was the star of David I made to add to a Hanukkah page.

Step one, cut out the image. Step two, paint it a fun color. Step three, outline with stickles (starry night). Lastly, run over the paint with a fabulous glitter pen to brighten it up. Another option would have been to spray angel mist over the chipboard (after paint, before stickles).

Enjoy the page. Here are a few pictures close up of the accent and a great picture of Aaron.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Playing with photos

Going through a lot of older photos, I found some fun ones that I love. I wanted to do something with them and represent them as part of our family photos. Thankfully, the Sketchy Thursday sketch really helped. Way to go Sketchy Thursdays for helping me with my groove! Still using up some of that garage sale kit. Always love using up scraps and whole kit pieces. Enjoy!

Scrapbook Challenge 3

Just working our way through a whole bunch of fun ideas. This challenge called for a fun ribbon border. I love ribbon. I save ribbon from just about everything. And my favorite thing to do with ribbon is staple it to a page. The only thing nearly as fun as ribbon is some lace! So this little page about Katie has both.

Once again, I am borrowing one of Becca's cute kids to scrapbook. This is a page about the first time I met Katie. Katie would sleep for around three hours at a time. She slept best after she had been fed, burped, changed and held. Unfortunately, the colors in this layout are not showing up so well in my pictures, but trust me when I say, they are pink and cute.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Scrapbook Challenge 2

Next on the scrap agenda, is focusing on one photo. The recommendation is to make it black and white and emphasize that with colorful papers. I had this great photo of my father in law and my niece walking in color. I wanted to emphasize this photo with the colors, because it looks so much fun to see Dina's pink crocs! So here is me focused on one great photo about one great walk.

The papers, embellishments and letters all come from a fun page kit by colorbok I picked up at a garage sale. You would think I have enough in my own stash... but passing up fun paper is too challenging for me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scrapbook Challenge 1

To bring on the creativity, I have started using Creating Keepsakes 52 Scrapbooking Challenges by Elsie Flannigan. Creative challenge one was a focus on journaling, mainly through strips. So, I pulled out my fun Braden pictures and had a blast. Thanks to Elsie for the creative spark and thanks to Becca for having such a cute little boy.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Orange-Cinnamon Rice Pudding

Time for more weekend food! This weekend we are enjoying orange-cinnamon rice pudding. Also taken from Food Network's magazine. Yum!


- 1 strip of orange peel

- 1/2 tsp of grated zest
- 1 T of unsalted butter
-1 C of arborio rice
-4 C of milk
- 3/4 C of granulated sugar
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp of vanilla
- 1/2 C of mascarpone cheese
- 3 tsp of confectioners sugar


1. Combine the orange peel, 2 cups water, the butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the rice and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

2. Bring the milk, granulated sugar, cinnamon sticks and vanilla to a low boil in another saucepan. Add the rice and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir in the grated orange zest and 1/4 cup mascarpone.

3. Transfer the rice pudding to a large bowl and let cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and set, about 2 hours.

4. Beat the remaining 1/4 cup mascarpone and the confectioners' sugar in a bowl.

5. Remove the cinnamon sticks and orange peel from the pudding. Serve topped with the mascarpone and cinnamon.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Almost done... making the Christmas cards

Almost finished with making all of the Christmas cards I need. Thanks to Mojo Monday, I have a new sketch to play with. Still working through my Bella Road paper pack and loving every minuted of it. Starting to hoard the scraps and figure out other uses. The Jingle all the way stamp is a fun set from Stampin' up. It is called alphabet soup. The count down is on and I am only 15 cards behind. Giddy up!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another Round of Christmas Cards

Thank you Friday Sketchers for your fabulous sketch! It got the creative engine running and gave me a fun way to play with my new Bella Road Paper pack. Between delightful sketches and playful paper I will survive this holiday season. Thanks Friday Sketchers and Bella Road!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Sketchy Layout

Thanks to my lovely and talented friend, Amanda, I have learned the joys of Sketchy Thursday! So, I finally sat down to scrapbook. It was nice taking a break from Christmas craziness to play with fall paper. Ah paper! Here are some fun photos of my fall layout.

Enjoy this layout about fall in Disneyland.

Lemon Bars

The weekend has arrived and thus the baking begins. Thanks to the Food Network Magazine March 2010 (Volume 3, Number2) issue, I made lemon bars. Tasty! This recipe has things like white sugar, white flour and other items on the naughty food list. That is why this is weekend food only.

So I made lemon bars for a Christmas Party and unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the finished product. The bars went like hot cakes... or rather like lemon bars.

I do, however, have many fun filled photos of the process along the way.

1 1/2 Sticks of cold butter diced
2 Cups all purpose flour
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup Confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with oil. Line the pan with foil and grease the foil.
3. Pulse butter, flour, both sugars and salt in the food processor until the dough comes together. About 1 minute.
4. Press evenly into the bottom and up a 1/2 inch on the sides of the pan.
5. Bake until crust is golden for 25 minutes.

4 Large eggs and 2 Egg yolks
2 Cups granulated sugar
1/3 Cup all purpose flour
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 Cup fresh lemon juice (about 8 lemons)

1. While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl.
2. Whisk in the juice and zest.
3. Remove the crust from oven and reduce temperature to 300 degrees
4. Pour filling over the warm crust and return to the oven.
5. Bake until filling sets, about 30 minutes
6. Let bars cool in the pan and then in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
7. Sprinkle powered sugar over top
8. Lift out foil and cut into bars

Yeah weekend treats!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hanukkah is here

We are in the thick of Hanukkah and although I am a little late, I made a few cards for my friends. One of the nice things about Hanukkah, is that it lasts 8 nights. So, I have some time to get these in the mail. To all those who are celebrating, Happy Hanukkah!

For this card, Bo Bunny's new Winter line came through! Nothing like bling and ribbons to brighten up any holiday.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crafting Again

Still have many homemade Christmas cards to go. But thanks to Mojo Monday, I managed to get three done. I am so pleased with them, they are definitely worth the extra postage.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Homemade Christmas

This year I worked several weeks on a homemade Christmas and Hanukkah. Most of our families will receive Cranberry-wine jelly, pecan-praline syrup, pecan-maple syrup and savory applesauce. The silver lining to the intense hot work of canning is a truly tasty gift! I decorated and labeled the jars and included some other treats.

For the Christmas goers, I made Christmas journals, with pages for keeping track of favorite memories and recipes.

Of course, since I am constantly moving forward, I am already making a list of other homemade gifts I can make for next year. Once I get these boxes in the mail, I intend to take a breather. Then open the Christmas binder and begin notes for 2011.

Hope everyone's shopping or crafting is going super swell!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just one of the dogs

I realized on our morning walk today, that the two furry devils and I have a lot in common. Mischa and Paige sniff the ground with such interest and delight. They mosey along taking their time to savor the journey and then they begin to walk in earnest. They pick up the pace to keep up with me and grin as the feel good endorphins pour through their body.

In reviewing the walk, I realize that I am no different. I stop at a few back yard fences to smell roses. Sometime I slow down my pace to enjoy the ocean breeze or get a closer look at the water fowl near by. Then I realize I need to get some exercise and I pick up the pace. I smile as I realize how strong and skinny I am going to be if I just keep this up.

So, in the grand scheme of things I guess we really are a pack. And we really do take on characteristics of our loved ones, often when we are not looking!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Goal Setting

Most people know that I am a crazy goal setter and list maker. And as I am moving to California, I have started my goal setting and list making in earnest. Actually, I have started it in spiral notebooks but you get the idea. So in addition to getting packed, finding the right mover and getting the dogs situated, I have been making my California goals. Eating more vegetables, making my own yogurt and daily walks on the beach are a few. Noble goals yes, but my most ambitious goal is the one I am most excited about.

I love writing letters. I love getting letters. My grandmother's favorite comment is that you have to write letters to receive letters. This is not a problem for me. So, after reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I was inspired to write more letters. (I highly recommend this book to any and all people who love a great story.) The goal: 365 letters in one year.

My plan is to begin May 3, 2010 and end May 2, 2011. Within that time period I hope to have written 365 letters.
Here are the rules:
  • I can use postcards, notecards, paper and birthday cards.
  • But I must write a paragraph or more. I cannot sign a card and call it a letter.
  • I can send a letter to the same person several times
  • But cannot reproduce the same letter and send it to multiple people.
  • All letters, notes and such must be handwritten.
  • I cannot count Christmas cards. ( I am so strict!)

What do I hope to achieve by this? A sense of purpose, a chance to keep in touch and a great deal of fun. And if we happen to discover the joy of really cool stamps along the way, so be it!

Keep in touch!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sense of Accomplishment

After reading and debating, I took the plunge. I decided to spend a weekend, grocery shopping, assembling and cooking several meals for the freezer. One trip to Whole foods, Kroger and Costco and one day in the kitchen yielded over a dozen meals. I made two lasagnas, 12 Chimichangas, two mac'n'cheese dishes, two pasta bakes, three turkey meatloaves and one chicken in raspberry sauce. I even managed to get a shower in that day. How about that?!

Since we are working hard to sell the house, we have been trying to keep it spotless. This takes a lot of energy and creativity! So, there is not much left over for cooking. Eating out is not good for either the waistline or the budget. Hopefully this will solve a great many dilemmas.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Telling it all

Here is my greatest attempt at communication. Although I still enjoy the handwritten letter, I am starting to believe it is easier to keep people in the loop and get feedback like this. So, without further delay... the silver linings of my life.