Sunday, September 17, 2017

Butterfly Wishes

I have a couple of cards to share today. When I look back at what I have created over the past two months, there has definitely been a recurring theme of sorts...butterflies, foiling, and florals.  Clearly, those are all things I love and I have enjoyed doing a lot of experimenting. Stay tuned for more!

First is just a simple foiled butterfly that I made for a dear friend.  The butterfly image is one of many from Crafty Vectors.  I printed it on a laser monoprinter, ran it through the FoilMaster with a variegated foil, and then cut it out using the SCAL software - it makes it so easy and is so exact.  The rest was just a matter of layering the card pieces together.  I love the simplicity of it.

Ready for the print and cut. 

A closeup of the cut lines before it was pulled off the mat.

Oh - before I forget to highlight it, the "Happy Birthday"  ribbon is printed with the Brother P-Touch Embellish new ribbon and tape printer.  I have not used it a lot, but it is definitely fun to be able to print on ribbon and I will be glad when they come out with more ribbon options.  And it doubles as a tape printer so I love that it is multipurpose.

Here is another card using the same butterfly file.  This time it was printed on a transparency, foiled and then cut out. Pearls were added to give the body dimension and flower stamen were used to create the antennae.The greeting was also foiled.  This was a get well card for neighbors who both ended up in the hospital at the same time for entirely different reasons - and were both released several days later!  Now that is togetherness!  So glad they are fully recovered now!

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Crafting and Generosity in the Wake of Harvey

I have been so touched by the amazing generosity of the crafting community the past week. So many companies (especially the small ones) have been sending a percentage of profits to TX or creating groups of items where proceeds will go to help.  It is just a reminder that it doesn't always need to be a large gift to make a difference; a lot of small gifts add up as well and bring help in just the same way.

In that vein, I was reading a post from Patricia at A Little Hut.  She lives in the Houston area and luckily is okay, but she has been spending a lot of her time volunteering to help others who did not fare as well.  She also spent sleepless nights during the howling winds - so she drew.  Her story is here.

I loved the simple but stately qualities of her bird (the state bird of Texas) and wanted to use it to celebrate a birthday.  Out of tragedy and sadness, good things can happen.  And I am hoping this bird will bring joy to the recipient.

In her details about her creation with the bird, she didn't have perfect shade she wanted for one of the colors in the leaves. So she took a colored pencil and made the shade she wanted.  OMG - a lightbulb went off,  Why did I never think of that - I can create the colors I need with pencils, markers or watercolors.Duh!!  And it just so happened that I ran out of the silver Mica paper (from Paper Temptress) that I wanted for the lighter gray color, so I grabbed the opal Mica paper and colored it with a marker.  And you will see the unexpected but fun results!

A little closeup of the bird - see the mottled gray coloring? That is the marker colored paper. 
I love it and can't wait to try it again with other mediums.
I also embossed the background to give it some interest,
and added sequins and clear butterflies from the 28 Lilac Lane collection.

I attached the bird with foam dots to give it some dimension. I also cut an
extra layer of the stems out of black and offset it to define the leaves a bit more.

Thank you, Patricia, for all you are doing to help those who are suffering so much devastation.  
God bless Texas (and Florida who may need all the prayers we can spare as well).
Pin It Now!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Catching up on Birthday Cards - multiple posts! to come!

I just want you to know that I have not been lazy this past month - I have been BUSY!!  I had forgotten, foolishly, that August was a month FULL of birthdays (including mine!)  So I have been making cards like crazy and trying to get ahead for September so I can end my "late streak".

Still working on the creativity aspect, but it is slowly coming into some sort of a rhythm and I am capitalizing on every second of it, So prepare yourself for a plethora of cards, sprinkled with healthy muffin recipes in between.   I think if I can download my photos from the camera as I take them, or at least the same day, and edit them, it will be a lot easier to just blog and grab the photos to illustrate.  It's the photo editing that takes me the most time - the writing comes easy. So we will see...... I think it will be a better plan if I can stick to it!

I started writing this days ago - why can't I finish one task at a time? I seem to be flitting from thing to thing but I am determined to stick with this and start posting again.  And it's good for me to focus on something other than the heat and humidity here - it's just plain yucky, even on the coast.

So starting September with a post! :)

The first card I would like to share is a birthday card using one of Birds Cards cutting files. I love her files because they cut well and they are so versatile.  The framed greeting is a simple print and cut done in SCAL software on the Silver Bullet.  And then I decided to foil the greeting which made it even more fun and gave the card a little sheen.

The file ready for the print and cut, I foiled it, 
keeping the foil off the registration marks, 
and then cut it out on the SB.

The greeting is popped up on foam dots.  You can see the sheen of the foil at this angle.
The patterned papers were from my stash that I am trying to put to good use!
Little pearls adorn the corners.

The next card I think I posted before, but I changed it up a bit this time.  I don't often use the same design, but I loved the feel of this card and it was for a special couple who both needed get well wishes at the same time (two entirely different medical issues - they so deserved a card - at least!!)

The design is from Dominic (Crafty Vectors) and I cut the butterfly in a frame in several layers, with a foiled acetate layer on top to mimic the flutteriness (is that a word(?) of the wings.

I added pearls on the body and took some flower stamens, cut them off and colored the pearls on the tip to make antennae.  That was fun and something I will definitely do again!

You can see the foiling on the greeting as well as the foiling on the acetate.  
This is one of my favorite cards - but then again I LOVE butterflies and have fun
trying to do different things with them.

This card was delivered with some get well muffins to hopefully brighten their days. They are both doing well and I am so happy to have them as neighbors here at the beach!

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

No Churn Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

It has been so miserably hot here. I know - I shouldn't complain as people in the south and even Midwest have it so much worse.  But we are not used to humidity in the high 80% - it is stifling and there have been days where there has been NO ocean breeze to move the air, even a little bit.  Ugh!

And when it's too hot to cook or bake or even eat (!), what better use of energy than to indulge in a cooling frozen treat!  This is truly delicious.  I cut the calories a little by using Swerve confectioner's sugar that has NO calories.  The taste didn't suffer at all, in fact I think I like it better than the first time I made it with regular powdered sugar.

If you like peanut butter and chocolate (and who doesn't?!?), you just HAVE to make this ice cream!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

adapted from Created by Diane

2 c. heavy cream
1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed coconut milk
1/2 c. peanut butter  (split in half - 1/4 c for the ice cream and 1/4 c for the crumble)
1/4 c. Swerve confectioner's sugar (zero calories )
1/4 c. Enjoy Life (dairy free) mini chocolate chips

Chill the mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least 3 hours - I like to do it overnight.

Mix 1/4 c. of the peanut butter with the confectioner's sugar until the mixture is almost dry and crumbly.  Add an extra tablespoon or two if needed to help "dry out" the peanut butter so it's not a liquid.  You want it kind of dry.  Set aside.

Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form - 2-3 minutes.  With a chilled bowl you won't need more than 3 minutes (and you don't want it to turn to butter!)

Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup of the peanut butter and mix on low until well combined.

Place half of the ice cream in an ice cream freezer tub (I really love the Tovolo tubs on Amazon).  Then sprinkle half of the peanut butter crumble over the top and half of the mini chips.  Pour the rest of the ice cream into the container and top with the remaining peanut butter crumble and mini chips.

Yes those are a plethora of mini chocolate chips and peanut butter "fluff" chunks.  It's sheer heaven!

Freeze for at least 4 hours and ENJOY!  This may be my new favorite flavor (until the next one!)

What is left to say...... but YUMMMMMMMM!!!!   

Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake - Grain Free

This recipe is worth every effort and fills the kitchen with the most wonderful aroma.

Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake - Grain Free

adapted from Everyday Grain-Free Baking by Kelly Smith

1 T. butter
1 T. plus 1 t. raw clover honey
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 c. pecan pieces, finely chopped

1 T. butter
2 T. raw honey
1 1/2 T. cinnamon

3 1/2 c. almond flour
1/4 c. coconut flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. raw honey
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. full fat coconut milk
1 T. vanilla extract
2 t. apple cider vinegar
4 eggs,  plus 2 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 315 (that is not a typo!).  Lightly grease a 9x9" baking pan and set it aside.

In a small bowl combine the butter, honey and cinnamon until very well blended. Add the finely chopped pecans and mix until well combined.  Set aside.

Cinnamon Swirl:
In a small bowl, whisk the butter, honey and cinnamon until well blended.  Set aside.

Coffee Cake:
Combine the almond and coconut flours, baking soda and salt in a food processor.  Add all of the remaining ingredients except the eggs and egg whites to the top of the dry ingredients in the order listed.  Cover and pulse a few times to combine.  Then process until the batter is smooth and creamy, about 20-25 seconds.

Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and add the eggs and egg whites.  Cover and pulse a few times to combine.  Then process just enough to blend the eggs into the batter, about 10-15 seconds.  Scrape down the sides again as needed.

Pour about half of the batter into the square baking pan.  Spread it out evenly using an offset spatula.

Spread the cinnamon swirl mixture over the batter and carefully spoon the remaining batter on top of the cinnamon swirl..  Use the offset spatula to smooth the top of the coffee cake batter.

Finally, crumble the topping mixture over the top of the batter, covering as evenly as possible  Gently press the topping into the batter.

Bake the coffeecake for about 45 minutes of until light golden brown along the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.

Let the cake cool for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.  Serve warm or freeze individual slices for future use.

When baking something that is primarily almond flour, it is best to serve it as soon as possible.  If there are leftovers, keep them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.  I like to rewarm baked goods in the microwave to improve the flavor after storage.

Pin It Now!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

"Cake" and Ice Cream Treat - gluten free!

There is nothing earth shattering about this recipe.  People have been putting ice cream on cake for decades - maybe even centuries!  Why not?!?  And substituting a brownie for cake is not a new idea either. knew there was a "but" coming....... making a gluten free chewy brownie that is the most delicious thing ever on its own, and THEN topping it with homemade ice cream is indeed a wonderful .

These brownies are so good - even if you are not gluten free, you will love them.  They have NO flour in them at all, and no refined sugar.  So how could they be good?  Well I don't know, but they are!  My neighbors are my taste testers and they said these are the best brownies they have EVER had.  Seriously - the BEST EVER!!!!  I was so delighted.

So they are delicious AND good for you - a real success in my book!  These turned out a bit thin because they needed to bake in an 8x8" pan and all I had was a 9" square - but even that did not diminish the flavor - they are just a little on the skinny side!

After I passed out samples, I packaged the rest and put them in the fridge - and quite honestly forgot about them.  I know - it's hard to imagine but I did....that is until tonight.  I decided to send dessert to one of my neighbors, so I put one of the brownies in a glass custard cup, topped it with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, and drizzled slightly warmed Trader Joe's caramel sauce over the top. It looked beautiful and it was enjoyed with rave reviews.

adapted from Easy Flourless Muffins, Bars & Cookies

6 T. coconut oil
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips and dark chocolate chips (I used about 50/50 of each)
2 large eggs
2/3 c. coconut sugar (133 g)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. unsweetened cacao powder (you can use cocoa powder (20 g)
3 T. arrowroot powder (21 g)
1/4 t. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 and line an  8 x 8" square pan* with foil with two sheets of foil (one on top of the other forming a +) so the brownies can easily be removed when done.  Grease the foil with coconut oil or cooking spray (I like the coconut oil cooking spray!)

Place the coconut oil and chocolate into a small saucepan and heat over low heat until they wre melted.  Stir continuously so the chocolate doesn't burn.  When melted, remove from the heat. to cool slightly.

Beat together the eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla for about 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes smooth and pale.  Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.  Reduce the speed to low and add the cacao powder, arrowroot powder and salt, mixing until well combined and scraping down the sides as needed.  The batter will be thick and smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a greased spatula.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is set. Remove from the oven and let the brownies cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely..  Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for longer.

And remember, you can get creative with these brownies and add your favorite ice cream on top to make them a special occasion.  And let's face it - every day is worth celebrating, right?!!?

*I didn't have the correct size pan at the time, so used a 9 x 9" pan following all of the directions. The brownies came out delicious, they were just really thin.  Next time I will be prepared! :)

Pin It Now!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

No Churn Vanilla "Coconut" Ice Cream

I have been wanting to try this idea for a long time and with the temperatures beginning to climb this week (and my ice cream supply in the freezer at an all time low) - well - there was no time like the present.

So the no churn ice cream is nothing new on this blog - or on most blogs.  It is clearly something people are happily embracing and enjoying.  But I wanted to work toward a "healthier" version and this is step 1.  Instead of using sweetened condensed milk, I used coconut sweetened condensed milk.  The downside of this product is that it is made with cane sugar, and I am trying so hard to eliminate refined sugars from my diet.  That is why this ice cream is step 1.

It is super easy to make your own coconut sweetened condensed milk.  I have found recipes using full fat coconut milk and either honey, coconut sugar or maple syrup.  It does however need to simmer on the stove top for a long time.  But that would be an easy project to do in the evening.  So I am going to make all three varieties (depending on reviews out there and other ideas), and then try them with a basic no churn vanilla recipe and see which delivers the best flavor.  This will definitely be a fun experiment and I hope to end up with a tasty, "healthier" ice cream.  Once I have the base, then I can play around with flavor.  Such fun!

In the meantime, this step one preliminary recipe is fabulous.  I used vanilla bean paste because I love getting all of that rich vanilla flavor in the ice cream.  And if you don't like the flavor of coconut - never fear.  I could not even tell that there was coconut milk in it.  I will try it  again when it is frozen to see if there is a difference, but so far so good. (full disclosure:  I love it whether or not the flavor of coconut is present.  I am not a coconut hater, but I understand that many are, so trying to find a way to be sure this appeals to all!)


1 can unsweetened coconut sweetened condensed milk
1 pint heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (extract is fine, but the paste gives the flavor more depth)

Always chill a mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least a few hours - overnight is even better.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut condensed milk and vanilla bean paste and set aside.  Pour the pint on heavy cream in the chilled bowl and beat on high for about 3 minutes - until soft peaks form.  Fold in the coconut condensed milk mixture and nix well.  Pour into ice cream freezer container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.  This is so creamy and good.

I served it on grilled nectarines (mouthwatering good - but failed to take photos). Next time....
But, I DO  have a mini "cake and ice cream" recipe  WITH photos to share soon - it got a big thumbs up from the neighbors!


Pin It Now!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Almond Flour Blueberry Lemon Scones - Grain Free

These are a treat any time of the day, but I love starting the day with a fresh scone.  I am learning that when baking with almond flour, things are best eaten fresh - right out of the oven.  These are literally bursting with lemon and blueberry.  The texture is a little different, but the flavor is unmistakably summer at its best!  Enjoy.

Almond Flour Blueberry Lemon Scones
adapted from The Nourishing Home

2 3/4 c. almond flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
2 T. cold unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 T. full fat coconut milk
1 T.. lemon zest
2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 T. raw clover honey
1/3 c. dried blueberries

Combine the almond flour, baking soda and salt in a food processor.  Pulse in the cold butter until the butter resembles pea-sized.  Use a pastry cutter as an alternative to a food processor.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and honey until well mixed. Using a spoon, stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend until thoroughly combined.  Fold in the dried blueberries.  Place the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Sprinkle the counter or work surface with a handful of almond flour.  Melt 1 t. of butter or coconut oil to brush on top of the scones.  Set aside.

Once the dough is chilled,  shape it into a ball and place it on the floured surface.  Shape the dough into a 6" square - it should be about an inch thick.  Cut the dough in half twice to form 4 small squares.  Then cut each dough square in half diagonally to form 8 small triangles.

Carefully place each triangle (scone) onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Brush the tops of the scones with the melted butter or coconut oil.  If desired, sprinkle the tops with a little coconut or maple sugar.

Bake about 16-18 minutes or until the scones are slightly golden along the edges.  Serve warm and enjoy.

The dried blueberries plump up perfectly and add great flavor.

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Special Wedding....

This past weekend, my family traveled to Fresno where my daughter and granddaughters live.  It is not my favorite place to travel as it is a long car ride on a good day (about 5 hours).  And in the summer, it is hot.  Fresno did not disappoint when it comes to summer weather..  It was in the 90s when we drove in and 102 on Saturday - ugh.  People tend to say that dry heat isn't as bad, but let's face it - HOT is HOT!!

But enough of that - once settled in, we were able to enjoy some family time. I loved having extra time with my two boys (who are really adults!), my DIL and my adorable grandson. He entertained all of  us with his dancing and chattering and toddler antics the whole time.  It was great fun.

Saturday was the day of the wedding and all went well. I don't think I have ever seen my daughter happier, and I hope that stays with her the rest of her life. Her daughters love her new husband, and his daughters love Missy.  Seems to be a beautiful blended family.  What more could I hope for - right?

Her colors were gray with purple accents, so I used that inspiration to design her wedding card.  I wanted it to be simple and elegant and think I achieved that.  I used a beautiful image from Power Poppy ( LOVE her floral designs) and foiled it in purple. The foiling is so difficult to capture, but hopefully with the different angles you can see how pretty it was. I was thrilled to see how all of the detail was enhanced by the foil.

A perfect example of how difficult it is to capture the color and shimmer
of the foil.  But also a good way to see the detail of the digi image.
It is beautiful in its simplicity.

A little better capture of the foiling.  Now you can see why I love it.
It just brought the image to life.

The sentiment is from Anna Griffin, stamped on Gina K Heat Resistant acetate 
and heat embossed.

I wish them a very HAPPY life.....

Pin It Now!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Almond Flour Pizza Dough on the Grill!

Making grain free pizza just got easier with the Simple Mills Pizza Crust Mix.  I have several of their mixes in my pantry and this is the first one I have tried and I am so glad I did. It was excellent.

This is the dough before it is baked on the grill (or in the oven).

The box makes 2 - eight inch pizzas.  I followed the package directions and parbaked them first on the grill at about 350, then added the toppings and baked for close to 15 minutes as they were a bit heavy on the toppings (I seem to get a bit carried away when it comes to adorning my pizza!! :)

I had two sets of toppings for these 8 inch wonders.  The first was pizza sauce (just a little - I don't like a lot of sauce!), parmesan cheese, sauteed sliced red pepers, mozzarella cheese.  After baking I added a little more parmesan along with chopped fresh basil.

Roasted red pepper and cheese pizza

The second one had pizza sauce, uncured natural pepperoni slices, mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.  So simple and so delicious.

Pepperonii and cheese pizza

No "grain-free" or "gluten-free" crust is going to taste as wonderful as "regular" gluten flour bread pizza crusts, but this was actually a better than expected alternative.  The toppings were so good that the "different" crust didn't matter as much - and it was honestly tasty.

I will continue my experimentation, but it's nice to know I have something reliable to fall back on as needed when that pizza craving hits! Pin It Now!

About Me

My photo

I am a mother to three and Grammy to two beautiful granddaughters and one very handsome little grandson.  Was born and raised in southern California and am happy to call it home.  I fill my days with volunteer work, paper crafting, needlework of all kinds and cooking and baking.   I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who fill my heart on a daily basis.