Thursday, May 30, 2013

Foiling Fun!

I have made a commitment to do a better job of using what I have.  There... I put it in writing so now there are witnesses and my deeply embedded sense of guilt will hold me to it - oh how I hope!!

A couple of years ago I purchased a FoilMaster from Sherri at That's Scrap Inc  - the same place where I got my awesome Silver Bullet Pro.  I have no problem putting the Silver Bullet through its paces, but until recently, the poor FoilMaster has been the neglected child in my craft room. No more....

A recent revelation shared by other crafters gave me a renewed desire to put it to good use - I could not understand why my results were spotty and not as beautiful as theirs. WARNING - technical explanation to follow! Then I realized I had to make some adjustments to my laser printer so I would get a higher concentration of ink, thus giving the foil a better surface for adhesion,  Voila!!!  Success!!

The card is by no means perfect, but it's a start - a good start!!
 This is the mirrored image left in the foil after it adheres to the laser printed digi stamp.  The digi stamp is from Fred She Said - Dragonfly Flower Doodledallion.
Through June 2 she is having a special sale - 
20% off everything over $10 and 40% off everything over $20!!


Rainbow foil was set over the digi image with red foil over a black laser printed frame.
The text was done in white so the foil would not adhere to it.


The finished product!!  
I cannot wait to do more foiling - love the effect!
Hope you do too!!

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Muffins

I have clearly been on a muffin kick for some time now.  I am not sure what it is - but I love them!  They are easy to make, have an infinite amount of possibilities, and deliver almost instant gratification!  And of course they make the kitchen smell divine!!

So when I was at Trader Joe's the other day, I just about gasped out loud when I saw their jumbo blueberries (still have to create something yummy with them!) and containers of delectably ripe raspberries. Needless to say I grabbed about every fresh fruit in the aisle and left a happy girl!  I see a fruit salad in the making later today :)

But first, the raspberries needed my most immediate attention as we know they last only so long - or should I say not so long  - in the refrigerator!!  So when a recipe was posted using lemon, raspberries and the unexpected ingredient of cornmeal - I was too curious not to give it a try!

And to make it even better, Truvia baking blend was the recommended sweetener. I have used before and really love it. So that made this even more of a must try for me!

Raspberry Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

Adapted from My Baking Addiction



1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 x large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups raspberries, rinsed and drained well

Glaze:
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Truvia baking blend
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Preheat over to 435.  Lightly coat  a muffin tin with a non stick spray (I love the Everbake from King Arthur)

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, Truvia, baking powder, cinnamon, salt adnnd lemon zest until blended.

In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg yolks, and butter.  Slowly add the buttermilk mixture into the four mixture, stirring just until blended.

Whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form..  Fold the whipped egg whites and raspberries into the batter until gently blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling about 3/4 full.  Bake muffins for 5 minutes at 425 and then reduce the oven temperature to 375 and continue baking 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown .
Place muffin pan on wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.





When just warm, dip the tops of the muffins into the glaze to give them a bit of a shine and tangy topping.





HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!


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Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Positive/Negative Card Experiment!

I have had a long list of cards to be made longer than I want to admit.  Last weekend was my time to try to make as many as I could.

After making the positive/negative card from Dominic in an earlier post, I still clearly had that on my mind. This file from Paulo looked so detailed and pretty, but I wasn't sure what would be remain on the mat! Would it be enough of an image for a second card? Well, much to my delight it worked pretty well!!

For any of you who have cut Paulo's files, most are very detailed. Well, the Silver Bullet Pro accepted the challenger of this project and did a beautiful job.  I can always count on it!

Here are the very intricate pieces left behind.The beautiful paper is from Patricia at Paper Temptress


Look how thin and perfect this cut is???


Perfection.......right??

And here are the results.....




I love how they turned out.  The "thinking of you" tag was actually printed on my laser printer and foiled in gunmetal with my FoilMaster - another awesome machine from Sherri.

And speaking of Sherri and That's Scrap Inc and the Silver Bullet Professional...... in case you have not heard the GREAT news.....




And you can purchase it from Sherri at That's Scrap, Inc!



Congratulations Sherri for the 100 rating for customer service and the Gold Award.  Those of us who own your machine and love it are so thrilled for you!


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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Minestrone Soup a la Farro!

Just a few weeks ago I didn't have a clue what farro was!  Imagine that?!?  In case you have been living in an unenlightened cave like I have, it is a grain with more protein and nutrition than quinoa - and personally I like it a LOT more.  It reminds me of  cross between brown rice, wild rice and barley.  It has a wonderful earthy nutty taste and is quite easy to use in place of barley or rice - as far as I can tell.

I have found several recipes I want to try, but tonight was time to use up some veggies that were going to see the trash soon if I didn't get creative!  So I found a recipe from Mario Batali for a farro minestrone soup and pretty much redid the whole thing with what I had on hand and I think the results were pretty good.  The soup was definitely thick and filling and I could easily have added more broth or water to make it "soupier"!  But I was happy with it thicker.  It made a very hearty meal!

ITALIAN FARRO SOUP

loosely adapted from Mario Batali's Minestra di Faro Lucchese

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 medium shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 cup farro (used Italian pearlized)
1 (12 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup roughly chopped baby carrots
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tsp. King Arthur borsari salt
4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
1 quart chicken stock (or broth)
Lemon pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium high heat until hot.Add the shallots, garlic, celery and baby carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks and celery are translucent (the carrots will finish cooking later).  Add the farro, beans, and tomato paste, mixing well.  Add the chicken stock (or broth), bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup gently for about 30 minutes.



While the soup is cooking, in a saute pan, heat another 2 Tbsp olive oil.  Add the chopped zucchini and squash and cook until barely tender.  Add the seasonings to taste and let set until the soup is almost ready.



When the farro has cooked and plumped up absorbing a lot of the liquid, add the cooked squash for a few minutes to heat together. Add more broth if you want a thinner soup.  I like it on the thick side!

Serve in a soup bowl and garnish with basil ribbons and Parmesan cheese.




This is VERY healthy and super filling.



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Monday, May 20, 2013

Negative and Positive Cards!

It is no secret that I love the card designs that Dominic makes..  His files are perfect for the capabilities of the Silver Bullet Pro Cutter.  It takes the tough tasks and handles them with ease!

One of the really fun things about Dominic's files are that it is easy to use both the positive and negative image from the cut and make two cards out of one - and I love that especially since it usually takes me forever to come up with an idea!!


Here is the positive and negative image - perfect for TWO cards out of one cut!


I needed a birthday card for my daughter who will be thirty something next week so that was task one! I used his hydrangea pattern for the first time and I LOVE it.
The card front

Detailed leaves


Here is a perfect example of what a beautiful job the Silver Bullet Pro cutter does.  It amazes me every time I use it - I am in awe of the detail and precision with which it cuts.  And you can see the beauty of the Mica paper from Patricia at Paper Temptress


Finished card #1

And the bonus with Dominic's flower files are that the "scraps" left behind make another beautiful hydrangea!  I just cut a shadow layer out of the double sided adhesive from All That Jazz (this is the best double sided adhesive) and carefully placed it over the remnants and voila!... a new image!
The leftover (negative) "scraps!!



Carefully covered with a shadow layer of double adhesive paper.


The leftover petals on the adhesive layer



Then, since there was adhesive left open in between the petals, I just sprinkled Ritz glitter over the flower and it adhered so nicely..


Glitter added to cover the adhesive and make the petals POP!!


 All that was left to do was remove the remaining backing on this flower and you are left with an instant sticker!! How cool is that?


Carefully remove the adhesive backing for an instant sticker!


And then you take the new glittered "sticker" and adhere it to your card and with a few added details you have a second hydrangea card that looks totally different from the first one!

Finished card #2
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Mother's Day Muffins!



Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod




Ingredients:
12 large or 18 mini Authentic Gourmet Croissants (from QVC)
1 1/2 cup coconut milk (or almond or regular milk)
1 cup International Delight Cinnabon creamer
6 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1  Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tsp. ground cinnamon

Waiting for the topping...

Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup (minus 1 Tbsp.) brown sugar
1 Tbsp, maple sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Streusel Topping for Muffins

Ready for the oven!


This recipe ended up being my Mother's Day gift to me!!!  I made them the night before, which I highly recommend, and baked them the next morning.  They baked just like a strata, raising a good 1/2" higher than the muffin pan and then settling back down after 5 minutes of cooling.  They were incredibly moist, flavorful and just plain yummy!!  There are so many ways to serve them.  A little powdered sugar on top is a simple addition.  Even though you certainly can serve them with butter and maple syrup, I found they only needed a drizzle of maple syrup for the perfect French Toast flavor as the croissants were bursting with butter!  And even a simple glaze, vanilla, maple or cinnamon, would be wonderful and definitely elevate them to a supreme richness. I really liked the simplicity of the maple syrup - not to mention the ease of cooking. It's a great way to satisfy a French toast craving without having to stand over a hot griddle.  These are going to be a staple for all sorts of occasions - including when I just want to feel pampered!
(and an added bonus is they reheat beautifully in the microwave too....if you are lucky to have any leftovers!)



With a bit of maple syrup......... YUMMMMMM!!!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Asparagus Risotto - Pressure Cooker Style

Well I finally did it - I took two recipes and created something I can call my own! Will wonders never cease?!?

First of all, I have to thank my neighbor for reminding me that I even HAVE a pressure cooker!  I love it when I use it, but am clearly guilty of "out of sight out of mind" syndrome!


Thanks to a recipe from Skinnytaste, I knew what I needed to make with some beautiful fresh asparagus that I had picked up at Trader Joes.  However her recipe was the long version over the stovetop.  So I found a similar recipe from "Bob Warden's Slow Food Fast" cookbook and combined the two and I think that worked about as perfectly as it could have!

Risotto Ingredients

Asparagus Risotto (Pressure Cooker Style!)


1 lb. fresh asparagus
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves minced garlic
2 shallots, finely chopped (or one very large one as shown in the picture!)
2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
4 tsp. lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. Borsari seasoning (or more to taste)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, rough chopped

Wash the asparagus well and cut the tips off about the 1 1/2"  length.  Set aside.  Cut the bottom stalks off at about 2"  and discard.   Cut the remaining stalks into 1/2" pieces and set aside separately from the tips.

I have a Cooks Essentials pressure cooker and it has a "brown" setting, so used that for the sauteeing steps. Heat the oil and butter and sautĂ© the chopped shallots and minced garlic for about 2 minutes. Then add the uncooked rice and  asparagus stalk pieces (the 1/2" pieces) and cook for a minute or so, stirring continuously.
Waiting for the liquid ingredients and the pressure!


Add the remaining ingredients with the exception of the Parmesan cheese, parsley and asparagus tips.  Lock the pressure cooker, be sure the pressure is on high, and cook for 7 minutes.

While waiting for the pressure cooker, put the asparagus tips in a small bowl, cover with water and microwave on high for about 2 minutes.  Drain immediately.

So excited to actually get a photo of the "quick release" of the steam!
When the risotto is done, perform a quick release to let all of the steam out of the pressure cooker as quickly as possible.  Remove the lid, stir the contents as there may be some residual liquid on the top which will be instantly absorbed, then add the cooked asparagus tips, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.  Add salt and pepper to taste if needed and serve immediately.

Creamy risotto almost ready to be eaten...

Chopped parsley and shaved parmesan


This is incredibly creamy and good.  Will serve approximately 6.


Adorned with the asparagus tips

And the final touch - more shaved parmesan and parsley for color!

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Passion for Purple Cards!!

I have had to really push myself lately to get some cards done. I wanted to be creative, but the ideas just were not coming and I was in a time crunch (ok - when am I NOT in a time crunch?!?)

So I needed to work on a get well card for a dear friend and a birthday card for my granddaughter first. Yes there are still other cards to make, but these come first!

The first one is from an SVG Cuts file - Woodland Fairies. I used Paper Temptress mica to cut the silhouette with my Silver Bullet Professional.  The cardstock is also from Paper Temptress and I used just a bit of washi tape (that is fun to  use!) and rhinetones to add as much bling as possible to brighten her day.  The inside talks about "wishing" her well......

I love the silhouette figure - I used double sided adhesive and glittered the wings with Ritz glitter - I love how that glitter doesn't fall off (except when I knock it over in my craft room!) and it feels like silk when it adheres to any adhesive - it is awesome.





For Haley, my youngest granddaughter, I found a fun file from Birds Cards called 3 Gift Box.  The Silver Bullet made it easy to put all of the pieces together.  Her favorite colors (this week!) are purple, and I was already on a purple kick so that fit right in!!  I used the amethyst mica from Paper Temptress to accent the gift boxes and ran the strips through the Provo Craft Swiss Dots embossing folder to tie it into the patterned paper and give it a little interest!   I printed out an Amazon gift card so she and her Mom can go shopping online and she can get the books (yes she loves them!) or toys that she wants!!  It is so hard to shop long distance when the wish list is vague!  I just hope she isn't disappointed......



Happy Birthday, my precious granddaughter Haley!

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Scott!

My oldest son just celebrated his birthday..... he turned ??.  It still puzzles me how I could possibly have a child that age (the card below gives away the details .... I just don't want to admit it in print!

Scott LOVES to golf.....I mean he loves EVERYTHING about it and would probably be on the course every single day if he could afford not to work and be a man of leisure.  His wife is an avid golfer too, so that makes it nice.

I have made him many birthday cards, using the golf theme and I thought I could not possibly do one more.....I had exhausted all ideas until I thought of a golf cart.  So it's not the most ingenious card I have ever made, but it works!

His sister-in-law was married last Saturday ON his birthday, so we have not celebrated yet.  But since he is not reading my blog  *gasp* - I think I am safe in posting the details!!

Once I found the golf cart image on line, I traced it in Sure Cuts a Lot Pro and cut it out with my Silver Bullet Pro using Paper Temptress mica paper. I also cut out a shadow layer to make it pop a little.

I then printed a birthday greeting on the outside of the card using a laser printer and then ran it through my Foilmaster with gunmetal foil to give it a nice sheen. I like how it turned out.

The added pennant is just a simple triangle cut out of incandescent card stock from Paper Temptress.  The wheels are embellished with silver brads that have been colored with a black Spectrum Noir marker.  It's simple, but I hope he will enjoy it!


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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.