Sunday, September 20, 2009

MIA

Dear Readers,

I sincerely apologize for my lack of posts as of late. This is primarily due to two reasons:

(1.) On Labor Day weekend, my boyfriend proposed...Yep! I'm engaged!!

(2.) My internal hard drive AND my external hard drive BOTH crashed...Yes, they are toast...isn't it ironic that my back-up drive also died?? Ugh! The external one is hanging out with the Geek Squad right now...keeping my fingers crossed.

But no worries. I'll be taking new pics of any new cooking and crafting adventures...and inevitably, wedding stuff too...

Thanks for understanding!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hair Rosettes

I made these little hair clips and pins for a co-worker's little girl...mostly because I was feeling crafty and I have no kids! :-P

All you need is scraps of ribbon and a needle and thread!

Just do a running stitch and when you pull the thread, it'll form a little rosette! Do a few extra stitches to keep it in place.

I attached some clips and brooch pins (or both) so she could wear them in her hair, on a headband, on a dress, on her shoes, on a belt/sash, etc.

You can stack more than one and just stitch them together.









Monday, August 31, 2009

Shredded Beef Sandwiches

I felt like using the crock pot for a SUPER easy meal.

The night before, I threw a chunk of London broil into the crock pot with one roughly chopped onion, 1/2 C. water, a dash of dry steak seasoning, and some barbecue sauce.

You can use any cut of meat (brisket, flank/skirt steak, etc), any barbecue sauce, any combo of seasonings (Mrs. Dash, brisket rub, etc), omit the onion, or replace the water with broth...whatever you want!

I let it cook overnight and here's how it looked when I woke up.


I threw it into the fridge, so it would be ready for me after work. When I got home, I skimmed off the fat and used tongs to shred the beef.


I felt like it needed some veggies, so I added in a bag of defrosted veggies...a blend of peppers and onions.


I put the crock pot insert back in and cranked it to high to heat it through...if it's too watery, spoon some out and leave the lid off, so as it bubbles, the sauce will thicken.


Serve on hamburger buns. Potato chips and pickles optional. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

DIY Loop Scarf

What's a loop scarf? Well, it's a scarf inspired by the necklush. What's a Necklush? It's an accessory made from free-form loops of cotton fabric. It can be worn as a scarf, cowl, necklace...the possibilities are endless!

When I first laid eyes on these, I thought they were so cool and unique...and the gears in my brain were working on how I could make my own...they looked kinda easy. But, of course, someone already beat me to the punch. I used a tutorial from this old dress...but I can't find it now!! Here's a similar tutorial though, for a braided one, which I'm going to make asap!

This is a really great "upcycling" craft!! What were you going to do with all those old t-shirts anyway??

Start with a clean t-shirt. Lay it down on a table and cut horizontally straight across the shirt, creating loops.


Try to go for the kind of t-shirts that don't have seams on either side. But if yours does (mine does too!), no big deal!

You'll end up with a pile of loops. The more loops you have, the fuller your scarf will be.


Now, gently tug on the loops. You can do several at once. The fabric will naturally curl in. See? you didn't have to cut perfectly straight! hehe

If your t-shirt did have seams, you'll notice that it didn't curl in very nicely on the seam, so just use some scrap fabric to cover it up.


Now you've got a lovely scarf you can wear numerous ways!






They would make really great gifts, and you can make any color combo you like. You can also thinly brush on some paint mixed with fabric medium if you want to channel your inner-artist. Don't put on too much though because your fabric won't curl up nicely.

It's still really hot outside, but you can make a bunch of these now so you'll be ready for fall!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Enchiladas Verdes Casserole

I love casseroles. I love how you can throw just about anything in there and you'll end up with a yummy, comforting, steamy hot square of goodness on your plate.

Roasted, peeled, and seeded poblano peppers


Salsa verde


Chicken broth


Sour cream and cheese


Shredded chicken


Layer the ingredients






Bake until hot, bubbly, and delicious!


Enchiladas Verdes Casserole

6 roasted and skinned poblano peppers, chopped
1/2 can of chicken broth
1/3 C. salsa verde
8 oz container of sour cream
1-1/2 cups of shredded cheese + 1/2 C for the top
2+ cups of shredded chicken
Corn tortillas, or flour, if you like
Optional: green onions & limes

Heat the poblano peppers, salsa, and chicken broth. Remove from heat and add the sour cream and cheese. Layer the tortillas and chicken with spoonfuls of the sauce in between. Sprinkle on the green onions, if using. End with tortillas and sauce. Top with cheese. Bake until bubbly and heat through...350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with green onions and lime wedges.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sweet, Spicy, & Sticky Drumsticks

You like alliteration? Me too...along with these amazing chicken drumsticks.

I adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart Living for Sweet-and-Sticky Grilled Drumsticks by adding Sambal chili paste! Just add the amount you want depending on how spicy you like it.

Throw all the ingredients (except the chicken, duh!) into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let it reduce. The recipe says it'll become the consistency of honey, but I don't think you need to take it that far! It'll get a lot thicker as it cools down.


Throw in a couple spoons of this at the end.


I let it cool to room temperature and then poured about 1/3 of it on the chicken and let it marinate all day.

I brushed on the rest while grilling.


Don't forget to cut big slashes in the drumstick to let the flavors permeate the chicken.

Some people may call this burnt, some may call it caramelized, but I just call it delicious!


Sweet-and-Sticky Grilled Drumsticks

1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
8 chicken drumsticks, skin on
Coarse salt
  1. Bring wine, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer until mixture has thickened to the consistency of honey, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Using a sharp knife, make three diagonal slashes through the skin and flesh on both sides of each drumstick (this will help the flavors permeate the meat).
  3. Preheat grill to medium-low. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for just 7 seconds.) Place drumsticks on grill, and brush with sauce. Close cover, and grill 4 minutes. Flip chicken, and brush with sauce. Continue to cook, flipping and brushing with sauce every 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through, about 20 minutes total. Season with salt.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings

Although summer is technically over, it's not too late for some warm-weather barbecuing!

I tried out this recipe from Kraft Foods because it looked really delicious and reminded me of my favorite Plucker's wing flavor (off the menu)...Jamaican Jerk!



Just off the grill!


Yummy and caramelized!!


1 envelope GOOD SEASONS Italian Dressing Mix
2 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)

Mix it all up and throw it onto 3 lbs of chicken. I used chicken wings, but feel free to use drumsticks, thighs, etc. Marinate for 1 hour, up to overnight. Grill or bake.

I highly recommend this recipe! It'll get you out of the usual chicken rut!