Monday, April 29, 2013

Branch Out

I got a chance to play with the Branch Out stamp set this past weekend. It's been long retired so don't look for it in the catalog. I used Early Espresso, Pear Pizzaz and Poppy Parade. Enjoy!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Feta and Parmesan Zucchini Bake

I have so many different recipes for zucchini... Fried zucchini, sauted zucchini, zucchini cakes, zucchini bread, zucchini squares, zucchini gratin, roasted zucchini, grilled zucchini... It never ends! With the zucchini season approaching it's time that I share some of those wonderful recipes with you. This time it's Feta and Parmesan Zucchini Bake. My two favorite cheeses! How can you possibly go wrong with that!




Ingredients:

6-7 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash
2 Tb canola oil
2 Tb minced garlic
2 tsp dried thyme
4 eggs
2/3 C light sour cream
1 C crumbled feta cheese
1/2 C fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Tb lemon juice
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a large casserole dish with nonstick spray.

2. Slice the squash into 1/4" slices. If they are larger squash, cut them down the middle before slicing. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the squash, garlic and thyme. Saute and stir just until the squash is starting to soften slightly. Don't cook too long or it will be mushy after it bakes in the oven. Remove from the heat.

3. Beat together the eggs, sour cream, cheeses and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl. Place half of the squash into the bottom of the casserole. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper (remember the cheeses are salty!) then spread 1/2 of the egg mixture over the top. Repeat with remaining squash and egg mixture.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and slightly set. Serve hot.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Magical Corn

You better not tell me that you knew about this little trick and you were keeping it away from me! I tried it last night and it works like MAGIC!! No more picking out hair from the corn. It's amazing, superb, wonderful, basically there are no words for it! I will not be cooking corn any other way from now on. Do try it at home.


Take corn and cut off  a little bit at the bottom where the husk is attached together.



Put a wet paper towel at the bottom of your microwave plate and place the corn on top of it. I microwaved 4 ears for 9 minutes on high, so a little bit over 2 minutes per ear would do it. I also used white corn and I know that it cooks a bit faster than yellow corn.



 Let it cool for a minute so you can handle it. Holding it on top and start squeezing the corn out of the husk. I had trouble with the first few but the last one came out perfect which means it's just a matter of practice.



You end up with delicious, cooked corn with no hair whatsoever!!!


What a brilliant idea!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

... And you thought I forgot ...

I did very little stamping on this card. Everything was pretty much done with Cricut and MS punch (butterfly). The green used is Pear Pizzas. Enjoy!





Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Graduation Cupcakes


Any graduation parties? Look at these absolutely adorable cupcakes!



Monday, April 22, 2013

El Torito's Cilantro Dressing

You can buy El Torito's dressing in the store but I really don't think that it's as good as this recipe. Try it and let me know what you think!


Ingredients

1 Tbsp dry ranch dressing
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2/3 to 3/4 cup chopped cilantro

Blend all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor for 30 seconds. Start adding the oil while still blending. Voila! That's how simple it is!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Vegetable garden

This is a proof that if you really want to have a vegetable garden, you can have it, any way you want it!







Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chicken pasta in creamy tomato sauce

Here is an easy, fast and very delicious recipe. Enjoy!


Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
1Tbsp red pepper flakes (use less if you don't like your food with a bite)
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used 4 cubes of the frozen garlic from Trader Joe's - it's simply fabulous!)
1 jar of marinara sauce (also from TJ)
1/3 cup cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pasta of choice, rigatoni or penne would work the best


Cook pasta while you are preparing the sauce. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and fry it for 15 seconds so the garlic does not burn but flavors the oil. Add chicken and let it brown on the outside. Add the marinara sauce and heat it up. Add cream and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer until chicken is done. Add your cooked pasta and mix it well. Don't add too much of it as you don't want to end up with a dry dish. Also, make sure that the pasta is still hot when you add it to the sauce as it will absorb the flavor better.

Enjoy this finger-licking goodness!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lets cook bacon in the oven and avoid the mess!

I love bacon but I hate cooking it. The splatter gets everywhere and I just get more frustrated with it than anything else. I finally started cooking it in big pots in hopes of catching all the grossness. You can imagine my happiness when I came across this interesting idea..... Yes, baking bacon in the oven! Cover baking sheet with tinfoil and arrange bacon slices on top. Put the pan with bacon into a cold oven, turn it on and begin your timer.  Bake it at 375 degrees for about 20 min or until done.




Now,  enjoy!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Cream Pie Muffins

Oh my, are these delicious?!? The recipe is originally from Cook's magazine. They are a little bit of work because you have to make the Boston Cream and cut the muffins and fill them up with it, BUT.... they are worth it! The cupcakes will look very puffy when you take them out of the oven but they will go down as they cool. Do not overbake them! Mine were done before the tops were golden.

 Click HERE for the recipe.





Enjoy this finger-licking goodness!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Lovely Tree Thank You card

Hi everyone!! Here is my favorite stamp set again!! I used Always Artichoke and Chocolate Chip markers to stamp the tree. I love the embossing folder, which I've used in the past. It was a great opportunity to dust off my tag punches and put them to work in this card. Enjoy!!



Happy Crafting!!



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Florentine Garden Ring

Perfect appetizer for a party! Some of you may have already tasted it as I made it many times before. This is my own take on the Pampered Chef's Florentine Garden Ring. Enjoy!




Ingredients:
8 oz. turkey or ham, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 box (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 boxes crescent rolls
2 tomatoes, sliced

Turn oven to 350 degrees. Combine ham, onion, 1 cup of cheese, spinach, mayo and garlic in a bowl. Arrange crescent triangles overlapping 4 inches from the edge of a round baking stone. Using a small roller, roll wide ends of the dough towards the center of the baking stone to create a 5 inch opening in the middle.
Spoon spinach mixture over the dough and top it with sliced tomatoes. Bring points of triangles over the filling and tuck them under the dough. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden on top.

Enjoy this finger licking goodness!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lemon pound cake

It's lemon season and my tree is covered with fruit. You are going to love this recipe if you are a lemon-lover. Yes, it's very, very ... lemony. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
3.4 oz instant lemon pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
8 oz sour cream
6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Icing
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.

Place all cake ingredients in no particular order into an electric mixer and beat until well combined. Divide batter between the two prepared loaf pans. Bake 45-55 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes.

To prepare icing,place powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well. Drizzle over cakes and let set.

Enjoy this finger licking goodness!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Get whale soon!!


I think that it's a pretty darn happy card for someone who is not feeling up to par, don't you think?
I used my wonderful Cricut to cut out the circles but you could easily use punches if you have them handy. The paper used is Basic Grey, Real Red and Bashful Blue. Of course the cute whale got a Copic touch up. I would too if it made me look cuter!! he,he,he! Enjoy!



Happy Crafting!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mini Turkey Meatballs

I think that I may have mentioned that I'm becoming a fan of ground turkey as opposed to ground beef. Not to say that I would completely forget about ground beef, of course. I found this recipe on Food Network and we all love it. I usually serve the meatballs dry as they have so much flavor of their own that it's a shame to cover them in any sauce. However, I'm sure that some tomato sauce would go great with them as well. Click HERE for the delicious recipe!



Enjoy this finger-licking goodness!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chocolate bowls

What a brilliant idea for a party! You can make bowls large or small depending on the size of the balloon!!





How fun!

Oaktree

I just got the grain embossing folder and decided to play with it. I embossed Craft paper and then sponged it with Chocolate Chip. The stamp is done with Chocolate Chip and Artichoke marker.



 
Happy Crafting!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones

Known for being usually a little on a dry side but perfect with a cup of coffee, scones have either their supporters or haters (don't be a hater). I was trying to duplicate a recipe for vanilla scones sold in Starbucks and I must admit that they came out very good if not better than the Starbucks ones. They were not as dry as the usual scones and I loved them for it! I buy my vanilla beans on Amazon.com because that's where you find them the cheapest. They last you for a while as there are only few recipes that call for the use of the actual vanilla bean (I used them in this recipe and the creme brule). I must tell you, however, that the vanilla beans make a huge difference in this recipe as opposed to vanilla extract. Enjoy!!



Ingredients:


2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup half & half
1 egg
2 vanilla beans, scraped

 

 Vanilla Bean Glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons half & half
1 vanilla bean, scraped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a baking sheet with a parchment paper and set aside.


In a food processor (or a large bowl) add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, then pulse or whisk to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until well incorporated and mixture is the texture of cornmeal. Alternatively, use your fingertips or a pastry butter to blend butter in.

In a separate bowl, whisk together half & half, egg, and vanilla bean seeds. Add to flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Alternatively, stir until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface then gently knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough together. Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick then trim sides to make a rectangle.

To make petite-sized scones: Cut rectangle into 6 rectangles, then cut each one in half diagonally (pictured above). Transfer to prepared baking sheet then bake for 8-9 minutes, or until edges are just starting to turn golden brown.

To make mini-sized scones(these are the ones that I made): Cut rectangle into 6 rectangles, then cut each one in half diagonally. Cut each triangle in half to make 2 triangles. Transfer to prepared baking sheet then bake for 6-7 minutes, or until edges are just starting to turn golden brown.

Remove scones to a cooling rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together glaze ingredients. Dip cooled scones in glaze then place back onto cooling rack to harden completely.

Enjoy this finger-licking goodness!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A lovely birthday

I mentioned it many times before that Lovely As A Tree stamp set it simply timeless. All the years I've been making cards and it's still around in the SU catalog. In this card I used Early Espresso and Always Artichoke with some designer paper I found in my scraps. I got an opportunity to use my Canvas background stamp which I love. I used the markers for the stamp. Enjoy!