September 30, 2011


     Hello!  Today's card required me to dig out Season of Friendship, a stamp set that I've had for a looooong time but just never use (which is a shame because it's a fantastic set).  The color inspiration for this card came from Autumn Traditions DSP in the 2009-10 Idea Book & Catalog.
     Yes, I did cut out all of those leaves and flowers but I think it's well worth it.  It adds a tiny bit of dimension to the card.

Stamps: Season of Friendship, Falling Leaves
Ink: More Mustard, Elegant Eggplant, Soft Suede
Paper: Whisper White, Soft Suede
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Scallop Circle #2 Bigz die, grosgrain ribbon, brads, dimensionals

September 27, 2011

Lemony Pasta

     Hello!  It's Recipe Tuesday and today's recipe comes from an issue of Family Circle magazine.  Lemony Pasta is super easy to make and can feed a family of four or would make a great dish to take to a pot luck gathering.  We make this as a side dish but you could easily add sliced chicken breast for some protein.
     A few tips... The original recipe called for 5 tablespoons of lemon juice (juice from 2 lemons) but I love lemon flavor so I usually add 7 tablespoons (juice from 2 1/2 lemons) and then sprinkle a bit on top just before serving.
     I'm not a fan of asparagus so I omitted that ingredient and replaced with another green veggie, peas.  This dish is best served warm but does work well as a cold pasta salad.

Lemony Pasta
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
5 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook penne pasta according to package directions.  Add asparagus  to pot for final 7 minutes of cooking time.  Set aside 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta mixture and place in serving bowl.

2. In small bowl, whisk together ricotta, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Add ricotta mixture and bacon to pasta and stir well to combine, adding reserved water by the 1/4 cupful is needed (I don't need to do this).  Serve immediately.

September 23, 2011

Watercoloring & Heat Embossing

     Hello!  Today's card is one that was inspired by a card I saw in the winter 2008 issue of Take Ten by Jennifer Meyer.
     For this card, I stamped the flower and leaf images on glossy white with VersaMark and then embossed them with black embossing powder.  I then spritzed the images with water, used an Aqua Painter and to pick up ink from a drop of ink refill (I created a palette in a plastic lid) and touched it to the image.. the ink spreads in the water creating a soft watercolored look.  For my card I chose to use one color on each image but you can certainly mix colors.
     This technique works best with line-art images that have compartments; that way the ink will tend to stay in the area you want it to (you can see the green started to run out of my leaves).  Another tip I have is to let the ink flow where it wants; stirring or pushing the ink too much will muddy the color.
     I recommend practicing this technique several times before committing to project, I scrapped several pieces before I created one that I liked.

Stamps: Flower Fest, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Ink: StazOn Black, VersaMark, Wild Wasabi, Pretty in Pink
Paper: Basic Black, Pretty in Pink, Wild Wasabi, Whisper White
Tools & Accessories: Aqua painter, black embossing powder, heat tool, scallop border punch

September 20, 2011

S'mores On the Range

     ... the range top oven that is!  It's Recipe Tuesday and today's recipe was born out of a need to use up 24 Hershey bars (yes, 24), 2 bags of marshmallows and a box graham crackers.  Ok, we really didn't need to "use" any of these ingredients up, but they just didn't stand a chance in our cabinets for long and I wasn't going camping anytime soon.
     After eating several chocolate bars and a few marshmallows my genius husband said: "hey, let's make S'mores".  Only problem was we didn't have a campfire...  That's where the oven comes in.  We figured out that if you carefully assemble the graham cracker, chocolate square and marshmallow, preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 5 minutes they came out PERFECTLY!  I do prefer my marshmallows toasted to a crisp but these will definitely do in a pinch.  The chocolate melts and even though it doesn't look like it, the marshmallow is gooey in the middle.  Genius!  I married a genius! 

*Note: You WILL need to keep an eye on your S'mores in the oven, the chocolate may melt faster than expected.

September 16, 2011

Using the Block in a Whole New Way

     Hello!  Today's card was inspired by Angie Juda's Flower Fest cards over at her blog Chic' n Scratch.  I am someone who must have things neat and organized and cringe when I get ink somewhere it shouldn't be - like the clear blocks!  So it took me a second or two to get used to the fact that I would need to ink up the entire clear block to make the background for this card (deep breath).
     If you've never seen this technique before it's very simple.  Instead of using a stamp to create the orange background I inked up a clear block and used that as a stamp instead.  I did press a little harder than I would have had there been a stamp on the block, just to make sure I got as much ink off the block as I could.  I love the speckled look the block gives you.  If you're more of a visual learner Angie does have a video tutorial available on her blog.  
     Once I got over the initial shock the rest of the card was incredibly easy to make.  The birds were stamped with black StazOn as was the sentiment. 

Stamps: Dark & Dreary, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Ink: Pumpkin Pie, StazOn Black
Paper: First Edition DSP, Very Vanilla, Basic Black, Pumpkin Pie
Tools & Accessories: Clear blocks (I used B), dimensionals

September 13, 2011

Perfect Peanut Noodles

     It's Recipe Tuesday and today's recipe is not for those who are "so-so" about peanuts or for those who are on a diet - there's a full cup of peanut butter in this dish.  I am a HUGE fan of anything related to peanuts: butter, cups, ice cream, PPJ's, crackers, pad thai... you name it - if it's got peanuts in it, I'll try it.  Definitely my weakness.  I wouldn't last a day on Survivor if they offered me a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.  Wait, who am I kidding, I wouldn't need a spoon...  Anyhoo, I only had to make this recipe once to know that this would be be new favorite dish  ;)
     The original Peanut Noodles recipe came from the Campbell's Soup website (here) but I changed it up a bit to make it more of my own.  The original recipe has the noodles served over coleslaw mix (ewww) and included red pepper flakes.  I'm not a fan of hot or spicy food so I chose to omit this last ingredient.  Because I omitted the coleslaw I figured I had to add some type of veggie to the dish so I added green pepper, onion and garlic... we add those to everything we make so why stop now ;)  As for the chicken, you can grill the breasts, cook them whole in a skillet or do what I do and cube the chicken before cooking.      
     This dish is best served warm (the peanut sauce is sooo thick and creamy) but does work for a cold pasta salad.

Peanut Noodles
2-3 chicken breasts
Green pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
Chopped peanuts (optional but recommended)

1. Cube chicken and saute in skillet until no longer pink. Remove from skillet and set aside.

2. Chop green pepper and onion and saute 5-10 minutes; add garlic

3. In small bowl, beat broth, soy sauce, olive oil with fork until smooth (this will take a few minutes). Set 1/3 cup of this mixture aside.

4. Add chicken to vegetables in skillet; chop peanuts and cilantro and add to skillet.

5. Add cooked pasta and peanut mixture to skillet and mix well.

6. Top each serving with drizzle of remaining peanut mixture.

September 9, 2011

On a Dark & Dreary Night...

     Hello!  Halloween is my favorite holiday but surprisingly I only own one Halloween stamp set (although Spooky Bingo Bits is super cute and I may have to order that soon!).  I originally purchased Dark & Dreary when it was featured in the 2010 Holiday mini and was happy to see it carried over to the 2011 Idea Book & Catalog.
     Today's card was inspired by Patty B's Pretty in Paint card (here) over at SCS.  I absolutely loved her layout and decided to change very little on for my card.  I did want to add a bit of sparkle to one of the layers so I pulled out my Iridescent Ice Stampin' Emboss powder and VersaMark and applied it to the entire second layer.  I should note that I stamped the sentiment in StazOn before applying the embossing powder.
     Even though the Iridescent Ice gives this card a great "wow" effect, it was very simple to make and could easily be mass produced.  If you plan on making Halloween cards but need to stock up on paper or accessories (or perhaps a new Halloween stamp set!) there's still time to place an order!

Stamps: Dark & Dreary, Baroque Motifs, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Ink: StazOn Black, VersaMark
Paper: Pumpkin Pie, Basic Black, Old Olive, Whisper White
Tools & Accessories: Heat tool, Iridescent Ice embossing powder, grosgrain ribbon, dimensionals

September 8, 2011

Bully Cat

     This video has nothing to do with stamping or cooking but is so cute that I just had to share it.  I'm not sure what's funnier: the bully cat or the cat with the "lion" hair cut who struts in midway!

EMBED-Bully Cat Stuffs Cat In Box - Watch more free videos

September 6, 2011

Upside-Down Nachos

     It's Recipe Tuesday and today's recipe is not new, just different.  We are HUGE fans of nachos but not a huge fan of soggy tortilla chips, which is what seems to happen when you layer the meat and beans on the chips before baking.
     So we decided to turn the nachos upside down and melt the cheese on the nachos first; this melts the cheese and crisps up the chips too.  We've also found a way to make this awesome dish lower in fat; we use ground turkey, baked tortilla chips and reduced fat cheese.  And to make my half of the nachos even more low fat, I use Morning Star Farms Soy Crumbles in place of the ground turkey.  Once you season the crumbles you'd never know they weren't real meat (although Aaron absolutely refuses to even try the crumbles... I think he's afraid it's not "manly" to eat soy).
Upside-Down Nachos
Green pepper
Black beans (we love Goya)
1 lb Ground beef
Taco seasoning
Taco sauce/salsa
Nachos chips
Cilantro (optional but highly recommended)

1.  Chop and sautee peppers, onions and garlic.  Add black beans and cook 5-10 minutes or until beans are thoroughly cooked.

2. In separate skillet, brown ground beef/turkey and add taco seasoning (follow directions on seasoning packet)

3.  Spread tortilla chips on baking sheet, layer with cheese and cook in 350 degree oven until cheese is brown and bubbly.

4. Layer chips with meat and bean mixture; top with tomatoes, taco sauce/salsa and cilantro and enjoy.

September 2, 2011

Joy to the World!

Hello!  My favorite Christmas carol is Joy To the World so I was tickled pink when I saw Stampin' Up! used this as an inspiration for The Sounding Joy stamp set.  And of course, when I saw Renee Van Stralen's Follow the Recipe #18 card over at her blog Stamping for Sanity I knew I had to CASE it.  I absolutely loved her card so I decided to change very little.  This card was simple enough to create that I'm thinking I may just use this as my Christmas card this year!

Stamps: The Sounding Joy
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Crumb Cake
Paper: Crumb Cake, Very Vanilla, Cherry Cobbler
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Lattice embossing folder, Cherry Cobbler seam binding ribbon, scallop trim border punch