April 29, 2012

Framelits Die Cards

     Shannon from the Stampin' Up! home office shows you how to create two unique cards with the Framelits Dies.

Labels Collection Framelits Dies 125598, $26.95
Hearts Collection Framelits Dies 125599 $26.95

April 27, 2012

Heart Trio

     Hello!  Today's card was inspired by Freshly Made Sketches Challenge #16 (here).  Have I mentioned how much I {love} that site?!
     I purchased both the small heart and postage stamp punches months ago but haven't touched them since Mr. Brown delivered them (gasp!).  So I thought I'd dust them off and put them to good use...  This is a quick and simple card to make, it took me less than 10 minutes total! 

Paper: Whisper White, Rich Razzleberry, Rose Red, Regal Rose
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder, small heart & postage stamp punches, grosgrain ribbon, dimensionals

April 24, 2012

Chicken Taquitos

   O.M.G.  These are without a doubt my new favorite meal. I could easily eat them 7 days a week and never get tired of them!  Thanks to Annie's Eats (here) for supplying Recipe Tuesday's latest recipe, creamy chicken taquitos. But don't let the name fool you, they're not creamy like creamed corn... yes, there is cream cheese in the filling but it's more of a smooth chicken filling.  And the crispy crunch of the tortilla balances the filling perfectly.
   To save time and make this a quick weekday meal we use rotisserie chicken. 

No, wait. That's not true. 
     We're officially addicted to Market Basket's incredibly flavorful rotisserie chickens.  No need to season the chicken, pull out the Foreman Grill, stink up the house, wait for the chicken to cool before shredding it and then clean the grill.  It's so much easier to pick it right off the bone and they taste SO GOOD.  Of course, there's a little sampling going on as I pick the bird but I want to make sure it's quality chicken before I serve it.  

A piece for me... a piece for the recipe... a piece for me...
     Aaron and I love chunky
salsa and when we don't have time to make it ourselves we found Newman's Own Blackbean Salsa is the perfect substitute. It's a little on the warm side but when mixed with the rest of the ingredients it gives the filling just the right amount of kick (and I'm not a fan of hot/spicy foods).
     And there's a bonus: these scrumptious little treats can be frozen until ready to use!  Just freeze assembled taquitos for 30-60 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to freezer-safe container or freezer bag.  To bake, simply add a few minutes to the 15-20 minutes baking time. 

Creamy Chicken Taquitos
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened (low fat is ok)
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • 10-12 6-inch flour tortillas
  • Salt
  • Cooking spray
1.  Preheat oven to 425.  In large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, spices, cilantro, green onions, chicken and shredded cheese.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

2.  Place tortilla on work surface and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture down the middle of the tortilla.  Roll tortilla tightly around the filling and place seam-side down on baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling, spacing the assembled taquitos evenly on the baking sheet.

3.  Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with a pinch of salt (Annie strongly recommends you don't skip this step and I concur!).

4.  Bake 15-20 minutes of until crisp and brown.  Serve with sour cream and salsa, if desired.  Enjoy!

April 22, 2012

Happiest Birthday Card

     Donna from the Stampin' Up! home office shows you fun new ways to add that extra level of detail to your next card.

Apothecary Art stamp set 125996, $27.95

Labels Collecion Framelits Dies 125598, $26.95

April 20, 2012

Calypso Flowers

     Hello!  Today's card was inspired by Angie Juda's Clear Block Cards (here).  I love the simplicity of her cards but wanted to add a few layers and a little "bling" to mine.
     This card is simple enough to make in mass quantities.  Looking for a little variety?  Just change the color and image!

Stamps: Flower Fest
Paper: Whisper White, Calypso Coral
Ink: Calypso Coral, StazOn black
Tools & Accessories: Rhinestone jewels, dimensionals

April 17, 2012

Shortbread Cookies

     Hello!  It's Recipe Tuesday and today's recipe for shortbread cookies was inspired by a recipe I found on the back of a bag of Nestle chocolate chips.  I absolutely love shortbread, almost as much as peanutbutter, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it.  There's just something about the buttery goodness that I can't resist. 
     The original recipe makes shortbread bars.  I'm sure they would have been delicious but I wasn't in the mood for bars. So I tweaked the recipe a teeny bit and made cookies.  The dough was a bit sticky at first but after a short stay in the refrigerator it was easy to handle.   
     This recipe was incredibly fast and easy to prepare, only 5 ingredients!  The cookies are buttery with just a bit of crunch and  the chocolate drizzled on top adds just the right amount of extra sweetness.

Shortbread Cookies
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Beat butter and sugar in mixer bowl until creamy.  Gradually beat in flour, mix until well combined. 

2.  Drop batter by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet.  Bake 15-17 minutes or until edges are slightly golden brown.  Cool completely.

3.  Using the microwave melt chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds.  This may take up to 2 minutes, depending your microwave.

4.  Drizzle chocolate over cookies with a spoon or pastry bag (sip-top bag with one end snipped off).  Enjoy!

April 15, 2012

Going, Going... Gone!

     Hundreds of stamps and accessories from the 2011-2012 catalogs are retiring, and this is your last chance to get them before they're gone. Many products are only available while supplies last, so be sure to get your order in early!

     When you view the retiring stamps list, you may notice it's longer than in years past. During this transition to the new annual catalog, there are a higher number of stamps being refreshed and replaced than usual. While many stamps are going away, most are being replaced so that the breadth of our stamp lines is every bit as broad as ever!

To view this list click (here)

     Keep in mind that along with stamp sets, the coordinating wheels and paper will also be retiring.  These items will only be available while supplies last!

     And finally, the 2010-2012 In-Color papers, inks and ribbons will also be retiring.


Emerging Colors Technique

     Carrie from the Stampin' Up! home office shows you how to create the emerging color technique.

Clear Embossing powder 109130, $4.75

Extreme Elements stamp set 115181, $26.95

April 13, 2012

Birthday Leaves

     Hello!  Today's card was inspired by Julie Gearinger's Manly Fall Birthday card over at SCS (here).  Her layout is great and I love the idea of incorporating leaves into the card, something I never do.
     I decided rather than stamp leaves I'd dig out and dust off my Leaves #2 die.  Before I cut out the leaves I ran the paper through my Big Shot with the Lattice embossing folder, just to give them a bit of texture.
     The background is one stamp so to give it the illusion of several pieces I used Stampin' Write markers to color directly on the stamp.

Stamps: Nature Silhouettes
Ink: Soft Suede, Old Olive
Paper: Soft Suede, Old Olive, Bravo Burgundy, More Mustard, Whisper White
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Leaves #2 die, Lattice embossing folder, button, hemp twine

April 10, 2012

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo

     Hello!  It's Recipe Tuesday and this amazing recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo comes from my favorite food blog, Sweet Pea's Kitchen (here).
     Christina recommends splurging and using fresh pasta and I have to agree, the taste is amazing.  Plus, the fresh pasta will absorb the cream sauce better than boxed pasta.  Aaron also recommends splurging and using a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano from the deli section of your grocery store rather than bagged cheese, the fresh taste can't be beat!

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo
  • 3/4 cup half-n-half, divided
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 9 oz fresh fettuccine or 8 oz boxed
  • 2 ounces Parmegiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
1.  In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of the half-and-half, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Cover and remove from heat.

2.  Stir 1 tablespoon salt and the fresh pasta into the boiling water and cook according to package directions.  Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta.

3.  Return the half-and-half mixture to medium-low heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Slowly whisk in the Parmigiano. Add the pasta and cook, coating the pasta evenly with the sauce, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Season with pepper to taste. Working quickly, divide the pasta among the bowls, and serve immediately.  Top with grated Parmigiano if desired.  Enjoy!

April 8, 2012

VersaMark Embossing

     Donna from the Stampin' Up! homeoffice shows you how to use the VersaMark marker to create a beautiful card using the selective embossing technique.

Versamarker 100901, $3.25

Clear Stampin' Embossing powder 1091030, $4.75

April 6, 2012

Wishing You a Wonderful Day

     Hello!  Today's card was inspired by lisaadd's gorgeous card, They Say It's Your Birthday, over at SCS (here).   I love Lisa's layout and decided to make the card as similar to hers as I could, using what I have in my supplies.
     The background is First Edition DSP (love that stuff!) and from what I can tell it's explaining the history of the type writer... interesting.   I ran Marina Mist CS through the Big Shot with the Lattice embossing folder before using the Stars #2 die to cut out the stars.  This gives them a bit of texture.
     I was going to use a different sentiment but after looking through my stamp sets I realized that this particular sentiment matched the "typewriter font" feel in the DSP.

Stamps: Bring on the Cake
Ink: Early Espresso
Paper: Crumb Cake, Early Espresso, First Edition DSP, Marina Mist
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Lattice embossing folder, Stars #2 die, button, linen thread, Stampin' dimensionals

April 3, 2012

Keeping Cilantro Fresh

     Hello!  It's Recipe Tuesday and today's entry isn't a recipe but a helpful tip, one that we wish we'd known about years ago!
     Aaron and {love} to add cilantro to our Mexican dishes.  I usually purchase a bunch at the grocery store the day of our meal but we could never keep it fresh.  It always ended up as "cash in the trash" after a few days.  We tried just about everything we could think of to keep it fresh: keeping the bunch in the lower section of the fridge (in the bag and out of the bag), placing it in a glass of water (like a bouquet of flowers) and just leaving it out on the counter but nothing worked.  Within a day or two it would shrivel up or turn all slimy and gross. 
     One of Aaron's co-workers suggested cutting up the cilantro, placing it in an ice cube tray with a little water and freezing it. 
Such a simple idea... why didn't we think of that?! 
Now, whenever we need cilantro we simply take a few cubes from the freezer and add them directly to the dish we're preparing.  The water melts and only the cilantro is left - it tastes like we just picked it up at the store and you'd never know it was frozen!

April 1, 2012

Psst... Have You Heard?

     Stampin' Up!  had some big changes in store for their Idea Book and Catalog beginning June 1st - and I can't wait!

Here are the details:

Annual Catalog
  • Starting June 1, 2012, Stampin' Up! will release one annual catalog, comparable to (but smaller than) the current Idea Book & Catalog, and two seasonal catalogs, comparable to (but larger than) the current mini catalogs.
  • The annual catalog will run from June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2013.
  • The annual catalog will be reduced from over 240 pages in the current Idea Book & Catalog to 208 pages.
  • The annual catalog will be printed on lighter-weight paper.
Seasonal Catalogs
  • The Occasions, Summer, and Holiday Mini Catalogs will be replaced by two seasonal catalogs called the Holiday Catalog and the Spring Catalog.
  • The first Holiday Catalog will run from August 1, 2012 through the beginning of January, 2013
  • The first Spring Catalog will run from the beginning of January, 2013 through May 31, 2013.
  • The seasonal catalogs will be larger in both size (8 1/2" x 11") and page count (about 40 pages) than the current mini catalogs.
     And here's the really important info:  The current Idea Book and Catalog will expire on June 1st - NOT July 1st. 

     With this in mind, the retiring stamp list will be available mid-April.  As soon as it's available I'll post a link.  SU! has already announced they will be discontinuing the Simply Adorned and Decor Elements lines.  If you'd like to purchase an item from either of these product lines you have until May 31st to do so!