Thursday, May 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Missy...

Today is the celebration of another family birthday - my daughter who lives in northern CA.  I hope she has a wonderful day full of hugs and love from her daughters and all things that make her happy.

This card was an experiment.  My kids tend to be my "guinea pigs" when it comes to trying new card making techniques. I know if the card fails, they will still love the thought.  At least that is what I tell myself...

I have been reading about Brushos all over the internet and seeing amazing things created with them. So this was my first try and I cannot wait to do more.  I want to make pages of colors and cut them out rather than just use them as background.  And next time I would probably use less as this is a bit intense, but I love the colors.  This  background represents just two colors used - look at all of the variations of color that literally explode off the paper.  It's such fun and makes a non artist feel talented!  LOL

Isn't that fun??

I used a clip art pattern for the dandelion image and great mica paper from Paper Temptress.  It's a whimsical card, but I am happy with it - I hope she likes it. :)

I love the fine detail...

Love this dandelion image...

A print and cut with the greeting that was foiled...

I love the rhinestones but they are really hard to capture in a photo - 
they are scattered throughout the background...


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Monday, May 18, 2015

Sending Words of Sympathy

I have talked about it before.... making a sympathy card is without a doubt the most difficult card to make.  And there are certainly situations that make it even harder.  This was one of those times.

I have been blessed to have a lot of warm and wonderful people enter my life.  The dear lady who is the recipient of this card is truly one of my guardian angels. She came into my life when I moved back to CA after having lived in Arizona for 12 years.  I was not in the strongest physical shape and needed a part time caregiver.  That is when this special woman created a "forever spot" in my heart.  She not only helped me for a year (I was in wheelchair at the time and couldn't drive) but she challenged me to live - really live and reach for all that I could do.  Over time and a lot of tough love on her part, I found the will and the strength to leave the wheelchair behind and fight the system to drive again.  She saw the strength inside of me even when I couldn't, or didn't want to.  I owe her so much.  And even though we mutually ended the employer/employee relationship, we have remained close friends for the past ten years.

A week ago I received a very short email from her. She is now in her 80s,  but living a full and active life. Sadly she shared that her oldest son had recently passed away and that the healing would now begin.  My heart ached for her and I felt/feel so helpless.  So this card is for her - this special lady who was a transforming light in my life.   I hope it reminds her that she is dearly and forever...

God bless you and your family.....

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amazing Morning Glory Muffins~

I have seen all sorts of recipes for Morning Glory Muffins on the internet so a not sure why this is the one I chose to try, other than I have had GREAT results with recipes from Sally's Baking Addiction.  The muffins especially never let me down.......and this one was NO exception.  Wow.

Morning Glory Muffins

adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

2 c. white wheat flour (freshly ground)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking spice (Penzey's Spices - great combination of complementary spices)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. ground flax (optional)
2 large eggs
1/2 c. coconut sugar (can use light or dark brown sugar)
1/4 c. honey
1/3 c. melted coconut oil
1/3 c. applesauce
2 tsp. orange zest
1/4 c. pineapple orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. dried cranberries
2 c. shredded carrots
1 c. grated apple (about 1 apple)

Preheat the oven to 425.  Spray a muffin tin or use cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and flax together until combined. Set the mixture aside. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, coconut sugar, honey, coconut oil, applesauce, orange zest, pineapple orange juice and vanilla together until well blended.  Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until most of the ingredients are mixed, then add the cranberries, apple and carrots and fold everything until there are no remaining dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

So much fresh goodness...

A great way to disguise veggies and fruit!

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling to the top.  Bake for 5 minutes at 425 and then lower the temperature to 350 and continue baking for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan  for about 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling

These are delicious and moist and don't taste "overly healthy" even though they are (!) and I am eager to make them again using a variety of combinations including grated zucchini and mini chocolate chips, zucchini and crushed pineapple, grated apple and pumpkin, raisins and shredded carrots and pineapple, and on and on!

These muffins make you say OMG YUM with the very first bite!  I made them twice in one month and am ready to make them again with some different ingredients.  So many fun options - shredded zucchini, crushed pineapple, blueberries, raisins (black or golden), chopped nuts, pumpkin, dried cherries.... what would you try next??

This recipe takes healthy to a whole new level of deliciousness!

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

For those of you who are still blessed to have your Mothers, I hope you are able to spend some time with them today.  And for those of you who are Mom's, I wish you a day full of love and happiness and time with those you love.


File is from Birds Cards.  

The beginning - two of these were cut and colored vellum 
was sandwiched in between the flowers and leaves.

Closeup of the greeting.  The layer in the background
is colored with clear Wink of Stella brush marker 
which makes the words appear to be sparkling

Happy Mother's Day!

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Birthday Cake Celebration!

You thought this was going to be a food post, didn't you?!?  Surprise!  No food here - not this time.  But there is birthday cake, made from beautiful colors of paper from Paper Temptress. :)

My youngest granddaughter is 9 today.

File is the Birthday Cake from Miss Kate's Cuttables. I cut out extra candles and stars to get" nine" on the cake, plus added the number "9" for one of the stars at the top of the cake to set off her ninth birthday!
It is a lot of detail cut and it all went beautifully thanks to the Silver Bullet Professional.

You can see how detailed the cuts on the candles are. Two of the layers were run through an embossing machine to get the swirled look.

I wish I could bake a cake that looked like this!

"Haley" is cut out of vinyl to help personalize it more.  Really happy with how it came out and hope she loves it too...

The vinyl cut beautifully and I really like that font.

This was a really fun card/cake to make and there are many things you can do with the design of the cake. I used all of the layers, but you could certainly simplify it, which is one of the things I love about making my own cards. There are so many ways to personalize it with "your special touch".

A side view to see the image attached to the card with foam dots.


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Pressure Cooker Beef Stroganoff

So I already shared that the family enjoyed beef stroganoff while celebrating my oldest son's birthday. Some of you have asked for the recipe, so here it is.  I will apologize in advance for the lack of photos (the ones below are recreated from leftovers - thank goodness for leftovers!!)  LOL  I am not good at remembering to take photos when I am trying to get plates of food onto the table and juggle the timing of all to keep each component hot.  So oops on that. But trust me - this was fabulous - tender and scrumptious.

Beef Stroganoff in the Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)

adapted from Pressure Cooking Today
2 lbs grass fed beef (you can use anything from chuck to sirloin) cut into 1" pieces
1 Tbsp expeller pressed  coconut oil (this variety has NO coconut flavor) (canola oil is fine too)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (I love using the microplane fine grater for this or a garlic press)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 c. beef broth or stock
1 Tbsp. beef base/bouillon (for added depth of flavor)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb combination of sliced white mushrooms and sliced cremini mushrooms (in whatever proportion you like)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch (I like to use arrowroot starch)
3 Tbsp. cold water
1/2 c. sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
sprig of fresh thyme (optional)
Cooked egg noodles
Fresh chopped parsley to garnish

I like to freeze the beef for about an hour as it makes it much easier to cut.  After cutting, season it well with salt and pepper.  Set the pressure cooker or Instant Pot to brown or saute (same results, different features) and heat the oil.  When hot, add the beef and brown. Do not overcrowd the beef.  It took me about three batches to get it all browned - just remove the browned pieces to a plate and add more cubes until all are brown.

Once the beef is done, add the chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently so it won't burn.  It will take about 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook another minute.

Now add the beef broth with the dissolved beef base and cook another minute, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.  Add the browned beef and any juices on the plate....  Set pressure on HIGH.  Set the timer for 18 minutes.

While the beef is coming to pressure and cooking, heat the butter in a skillet, add the sliced mushrooms and cook until golden.  Season with salt and pepper.

When the beep goes off on the pressure cooker,turn it off and  let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.  After that, use the quick release to let the diffuse the remaining pressure. When the valve drops, remove the lid.

Combine the arrowroot starch and water and mix until smooth..  Add the mixture to the broth in the pot stirring constantly.  Select Simmer and bring the broth to a boil, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Add 1/3 c. of the gravy to the sour cream and mix until well combined.  Add the sour cream mixture to the gravy and stir until well blended.  Add the sauteed mushrooms and pour over the cooked noodles.

Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley and serve.  DELICIOUS!

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