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!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Diaper Cake, Baby Boy

I made a diaper cake and some cupcakes for a co-worker's baby shower.

Contrary to how it may sound, these are not made from edible pampers...hehe






Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing (tinted blue)...too bad it turned out Tiffany blue instead of baby blue...oh well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Peach Buckle

What do you do when it's summer and peaches are on sale? You buy a mountain of them and then realize you can't possibly eat that many...and then you look for recipes like this.

Here's a tip: If your fruit is getting too ripe, go ahead and peel and chop it. You can freeze it in plastic freezer bags in the right amount for your recipe!

I roughly chopped up 2 peaches and 2 nectarines. I left the skin on one of the nectarines for color.


Cream the butter & sugar until fluffy...but guess what. I didn't plan ahead and leave the butter out to soften...oh well.


It says to add eggs one at a time, but I'm a rebel. I threw 'em all in along with the vanilla.


Add the flour, baking powder, & salt. I didn't whisk them first, nor did I "spoon & level" the flour. Martha would not be happy with me.


Once that's all mixed, fold in the peaches by hand.


Then make the topping, which is the cinnamon, almonds, and the 2 tbs. of sugar...you DID remember to reserve 2 tbs. of sugar right?! You didn't just add it all to the butter at the beginning?? Good!


Spread the batter into a buttered pan or skillet. Sprinkle on the topping.


When it's done, it'll be golden & delicious.


This is an awesome seasonal dessert. Not to sweet & perfect with a glass of iced tea! Enjoy!

Peach Buckle
from Everyday Food

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for skillet
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds peaches, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, nine-inch square baking pan, or a two-quart shallow baking dish. In a large bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla; beat to combine.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until incorporated. Fold in peaches.

3. Spread batter in prepared skillet. In a small bowl, mix together remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and almonds. Sprinkle mixture over top; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and topping is golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Howdy everyone! If you're reading this blog, you've made it safely from my old blog to this one. Thanks for sticking with me!

I have taken a little break and done a little redecorating. I hope you like it!

I know I'm pretty behind on my updates, so I'll be updating regularly from here on out! (or let's just say I'll try my best!)

Today's recipe was inspired by three things: (1) the cucumbers from my sister's garden, (2) the ingredients in my fridge, & (3) company coming over and I needed to make a salad.

I started with 4 Kirby cucumbers from my sister's garden. I peeled off some of the skin and then scooped out the seeds/pulpy stuff with a small spoon. You can also just use regular cucumbers or English ones.






















Then I sliced 3 Roma tomatoes, but you can use any kind...
















I added a little bit of white onion that I sliced super thinly on a mandolin
















If you have company coming, arrange it all nice-like on a plate. If you don't care, just slop it on the plate.
















Put that in the fridge to chill and then make the dressing.

Use a big knife to smear the garlic and salt into a paste.
















Throw the garlic paste into a jar or plastic container along with the olive oil, vinegars, & herbs. Give it a good shake. It'll look like this.
















Pour it over the salad. If you're not gonna eat it right away, put it back in the fridge and let it marinate. It'll taste even better!
















Cucumber Tomato Salad

1/2 tsp. salt (sea or kosher)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 C. olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dried basil (chopped, fresh if you have it)
1 tablespoon dried oregano (again, you can use fresh leaves if you have 'em)
4 pickling cucumbers (Kirby-variety, or English cucumbers)
2+ tomatoes

The ingredients are really flexible...just whatever you have on hand...thinly sliced red, white, or yellow onion, bell peppers, olives, slices of fresh mozzarella cheese...

Enjoy!!