Monday, August 12, 2019

Birthday Card - A Little Hut inspiration

Once again I am way behind on posting  so am just gong to try to share cards that I have done the past few months and delicious foods I have made and catch up on sharing.  And I have LOTS to share :)  Between creating, baking, working on diamond painting (totally addicted and doing a huge one so nothing to share - yet - but have MANY more to do that are smaller) = quicker gratification!!

Anyway - will keep sharing.  If you want to follow me on Instagram, my posts there are more timely and one of these days I will be coordinated enough to have my blog posts match my IG posts!!  Don't hold your breath!!

This summer I have had a lot of GREAT family time with my boys (Rob and Scott's family) and have been gobbling up time with the grandsons. They are so much fun. We had two beach weekends together in a row so now I am totally spoiled - and it feels wonderful!!

Ok - enough about me and on to this card. It was so much fun to make and I love Patricia's designs at A Little Hut.  I want to use more of them because they open up so many creative ways to interpret them.  This birthday card was for a neighbor friend and she loved it.  Made me so happy.  That's the beauty of cards to me - the smile that they put on the face of the recipient = pure joy for me.

This is just the basic file - but even without anything it is so beautiful.  
Would be great glittered or just the flower colored - so many different
ways to highlight it!

The colors are all cut outs of the Shimmer Sheetz which cut effortlessly
with the Silver Bullet Platinum.  Looks almost like stained glass - 
only prettier if possible!

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Dove Inspired Sympathy Cards - the Hungry Jpeg!

Seems that I have been making a lot of sympathy cards this summer so far.  I am always looking for new ideas  and I love how beautiful these doves came out.  I love using vinyl for more intricate files because it can handle the detail often much easier than paper!

The image is from The Hungry Jpeg.

Sometimes the simplest designs can help create the most beautiful cards that express much with few words.

The image on the left was removed with transfer tape.  It is the main image and the one
on the left it was what remained behind - leaving another beautiful image for a card.

This file was super detailed, but cut beautifully out of vinyl.  It's a good thing to remember
that there is no reason all cards must be made with card stock and paper.
The vinyl adds a lovely touch and transfers easily and needs little else.

I have another sympathy card to share soon, along with some birthday cards and new recipes.  I was feeling a bit "uncreative" lately but am getting some enthusiasm back.  I have to admit that a lot of my free time has been spent working on my diamond painting (I am still loving it) which is huge and I have collected many more to do - I love them.  It's a great way to just stop and take a breath.  I have also been doing more volunteer work and am getting ready to take over the presidency of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oceanside so have been trying to get more organized so I can continue to find the time and energy for all of the things that I love.  I am still a work in progress!!

Enjoy what you love.......Life is too short.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Ambitious Kitchen Tahini Brownies - GF and fabulous!

I am still enjoying cooking and baking with Tahini and trying new things.  This recipe was on the Soom (my favorite tahini) website and I have been eager to make it.  Trust me - it doesn't disappoint.  Even better, these brownies are gluten free, grain free, and have no refined sugar (if you don't count the chocolate chips!)  These are delicious on their own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  Major YUM!  I will be making these often!

adapted from Soom Foods

1/2 c. Chocolate Tahini
1/2 c. Tahini
1/3 c. coconut sugar
3 T. vanilla infused maple syrup (regular pure maple syrup is fine)
1 t. vanilla bean paste
2 eggs
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. coconut flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the chocolate tahini, regular tahini, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and eggs until smooth.

Gently fold in the cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking soda and salt until combined.  The batter will be thick.  Finally, fold in the dark chocolate chips until they are well distributed.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Bake for 23-26 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.

Cool the brownies completely on a wire rack before cutting.  Enjoy!

Makes 16 bars

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

INTRODUCING... A Baby Card....and....a....???

So about a week ago I got a call that my new grandchild was about to enter the world - finally!  It was morning and I knew there was some time before I would be heading to the hospital - so I had time to make a card.  That's what every self-respecting crafter things of first - right?!?  But I didn't know if they were going to have a boy or a girl so what could I do?  Easy - make two different card fronts, of course!!

I don't know why I waited until the last minute to think about this, but it certainly forced me into a creative zone whether or not I wanted to be there!!  I just knew I could not arrive at the hospital without a card for this wonderful occasion.  Nothing like putting pressure on myself!

So I created these components

File is from Lori Whitlock - cut on the Silver Bullet Platinum

And put them together into these two cards:

 Crazy, right?  But I was prepared and ready for anything when we entered the doors of the hospital that night.  I had printed out the inside and had it with me, tape and all!  So once I knew the baby was here, the card was finished and delivered in person!!


Welcome precious little bundle, Graycen Robert (Graycen spelled that way means gift from God and that he is).  Robert was my father's name and is also the name of my youngest (after Dad).  It is also Megan's Dad's middle name - so the families are well represented! :)

So happy for Scott and Megan and Carter. Congratulations!

Barely an hour old

About 5 days old

Big Brother Carter with his little bro!

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Luscious Lemon Bars

Luscious Lemon Bars

adapted from Once Upon a Chef

The Crust

94 g. unbleached flour (3/4 c.)
31 g. arrowroot starch (or cornstarch) (1/4 c.)
1/2 t. salt
58 g. powdered sugar (1/2 c.)
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2" pieces

Line a 9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil.  Push the foil into all of the corners and up the sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure that the foil overlaps all of the edges. (the overhang will make removing the cooked bars from the pan so easy).   Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray,  or grease it with butter.

Put the flour, arrowroot starch or cornstarch, powdered sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor.  Add the steel blade attachment and pulse for a few seconds.. Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse to blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds.  Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer, building up a thin edge around the sides to keep the filling from oozing under the crust.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Be sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350.  Bake the crust until light golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Topping

3 large eggs
300 g. raw cane sugar (1 1/2 c.)
2 T. lemon zest
5 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
 25 g. unbleached flour (3 T.)

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon juice zest and flour together.  When the crust is baked, give the lemon mixture a final whisk and gently pour over the top of the crust.  Return the pan to the oven immediately and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the topping is set and firm.  Let cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45-60 minutes, and then cover and chill in the refrigerator until cold.  The bars will cut more easily when cold.

To serve, using the foil overhang, lift the baked lemon bard out of the pan and onto a cutting board.  Loosen the foil from the edges of the crust and remove.  Using a sharp knife (or a pizza cutter), trim the edges off (if desired), then cut into 2" squares.  Use a fine sieve to dust the squares with powdered sugar.  Store in the refrigerator and serve chilled.

These are not super sweet - they have a nice tartness to them.  I prefer a slighly tart lemon bar - SO GOOD!!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Chocolate Tahini Banana Bread

Once I started making hummus (oops - I still need to post that recipe!) I have become slightly obsessed with finding new ways to use tahini.  It has the most delicious taste.  But I always thought of tahini as something you would use in a savory dish, until I made this bread.  OMG!  This is another MUST bake recipe,  The bread is so moist and the chocolate tahini adds a delicate cocoa flavor without the overwhelming sweetness normally associated with a chocolate spread.  It's perfection - really.

And it is super easy to make so there really is nothing from stopping you from trying this delicious breakfast, mid afternoon, any time of day treat!!!  (try warming a slice in the microwave for 20 seconds with a little butter on top... I am getting hungry again!

Chocolate Tahini Banana Bread

from the Soom website with minor changes

3 very ripe bananas
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. good quality tahini (I use Soom)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 t. vanilla bean paste
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. chocolate tahini

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper

In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas  with the applesauce..  Add the tahini, eggs and vanilla and stir well to combine..  Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Fold these ingredients into the banana mixture.

Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Melt the chocolate tahini in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Drizzle half of the chocolate tahini over the batter, swirling the batter with a knife to form ribbons.
Pour the remaining batter on top and repeat with the chocolate tahini.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes clean.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Finish cooling on a wire rack.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Baby Rhino Shower Card

I cannot believe I overlooked posting this whimsical card.  It was definitely a challenge to come up with a baby shower card that highlighted a "rhino" theme.  I literally found one image that looked "cute" and inspired me to create this card which was surprisingly fun to make.  I never thought the words "cute" and "rhino" would go together, but this project changed my mind.

My neighbor's daughter is expecting her first child any day now and there was a shower for her last month.  They know they are having a boy and the nursery is being decorated in a rhino theme so that was my challenge.  Certainly there are a gazillion files for baby designs out there, but I wanted the card to fit into the theme, so after much searching, Miss Kate's Cuttables had the absolutely cutest baby rhino on the internet!!

Since I decided to have this little rhino peeking in the window, I had to make him a lot smaller and had no issues getting the tiniest detail with the Silver Bullet Platinum.

Look at those itty bitty toenails!!

And here it is assembled.

The window was cut from some my patterned paper stash and lined with acetate on the inside so
it looked like there was glass.  The writing was done with the pen tool in the Silver Bullet.  She sent me a picture showing it proudly sitting on top of the baby's dresser - just waiting for his arrival!

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

It wasn't until I became a mother that I fully realized what an incredibly taxing and rewarding job it was - and that every day should really be Mother's Day - right?!?  There is no job that requires you to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ... no breaks!!!  Crazy!  But..... the pay is not measured in dollars and cents but in  the countless rewards of enjoying each milestone in your child's life and feeling your heart swell when they look at you with love and delight.  The only thing better than being a Mom, is being a Grandma! :)

But today, the focus is on my Daughter in Love who is expecting their second child in about 6 more weeks..... that is coming up so fast!  I had so much fun making this card for her and was my first time doing anything like this.  My fingers may have been glued together when all was done, but the end result was worth it.

I normally do not make 3D paper creations.  I am in awe of the multi-dimensional structures that so many create and love the results.  I was just never sure I had the patience for it.  But this project seemed like a good place to start to get over my reluctance to try something new - and I am so glad I did!

I learned a lot with this first project, but we all have to start somewhere and I am eager to try another project like this soon.

This daisy zig zag card is from 3D Cuts. The centers of the daisies are cut out of a paper velvet to add some interesting texture.  All of the card stock is from Paper Temptress.
It would be fun to use this basic file and create some other flower "tops."
I will undoubtedly leave that to those who have the talent to design
and I will happily benefit from their talents and make more cards!

This is how the card looks folded and ready to be inserted
into an envelope.  It folds pretty flat and is so neat.

I enlarged the card tag that was part of the file so I had room
for a larger greeting.  I flipped up some of the petals to give the daisy a more
dimensional look.  And the white background paper is covered in
translucent yellow Nuvo Drops. They look really shiny in person.

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Egg Roll in a Bowl

The concept initially threw me, but this was actually delicious and very Keto friendly.  I used varying ingredients from three different recipes, substituting and adding according to what I had on hand.  Sometimes you just do NOT want to make one.more.trip. to the store!  Such was the case with this dinner, and since I didn't know how it would have tasted if I had used just one recipe in total, I can say wholeheartedly that this morphed creation was actually really good!


adapted from Pinch of Yum, The Girl Who Ate Everything, and Simply Scratch

1 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. fresh grated ginger
1 t. Chinese five spice
1 lb. ground pork
1 pkg. coleslaw mix
2 carrots, shredded
1/4 c. liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 T. toasted sesame oil
1 T. Shaoxing rice wine
2 t. toasted sesame seeds
3 green onions, sliced
Cauliflower rice or jas,ome rice

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 1-2  minutes.  Add the ground pork, five spice and soy sauce or liquid aminos.  Break apart until the meat is browned and cooked through.

Add the coleslaw mix and carrots.  Then add the rice wine, toasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.  Toss frequently until the cole slaw starts to wilt.

Serve over cauliflower rice* or jasmine rice and garnish with the green onions and additional sesame seeds.

* I like to roast the cauliflower rice to give it a richer flavor. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know.... I know....... tahini belongs in hummus and only in hummus - right??  Well that is what I thought up until recently.  I have been seeing recipes scattered over the internet and favorite food blogs utilizing tahini in a variety of ways and I just didn't have the courage to try any of them.  But this one just spoke out to me - I mean tahini is just sesame seed paste so  how could a slightly nutty  ingredient be bad in a chocolate chip cookie??  So I gave it a try and let me tell you - there is no turning back now!  I have 2 jars of tahini on regular delivery from Amazon to make my favorite hummus from Molly Yeh (recipe share soon) and now these cookies and anything else I can find. These are my new favorite cookie and of my neighbors who have tried them have raved about them - there has not been one naysayer in the group.  These are a MUST bake as soon as you are feeling like venturing out of your comfort zone. They are a little more work - chopping the dark chocolate and chilling the dough - but trust me.  These cookies are worth every bit of effort.

And I have every intention of trying new recipes with tahini because it is just delicious to save for only hummus and cookies - so stay tuned!!


adapted from Simply Scratch

4 c. all purpose flour, unbleached
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. tahini (I like Soom Premium Tahini)
1 c. raw cane sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 t. Mexican vanilla (preferred, but regular is fine)
10 oz. dark chocolate bar, cut into chunks (I used Trader Joe's 72%)
flaked sea salt (Maldon is excellent)

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the softened butter, tahini and sugars on low until well combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Add one egg at a time and beat on low just until well mixed.  The vanilla can be added in with the last egg.

Gradually add the flour mixture in and beat on low just until combined. Do a little at a time or it will fly everywhere!
Mix in the chopped dark chocolate.

Use a one tablespoon scoop and make cookie dough balls.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment is optional but makes cleaning easier)  and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Prepare another baking sheet with parchment and place 12 chilled cookie dough balls on the sheet.  With the bottom of a small glass, slightly flatten the cookies.  Return the unused dough balls to the refrigerator in between batches.

Bake for 9-10 minutes.  The cookie edges should be barely browned.  Remove from the oven and lightly sprinkle with sea salt flakes and allow to cool on the baking sheet before placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  This makes about 5 dozen medium sized cookies.

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