Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Card Holder

Since I'm in my "nesting" phase of pregnancy - figured I would get busy and do the things I know I'll never have time (or care to) do once Baby S is here!  I decided to take all the cards we got from when we found out we were expecting...from the showers....and advice cards and make little books  to save all these special words!  So fun - turned out super cute!

2 pieces cardboard
2 pieces card stock
Hole puncher
2 Metal Rings
Letter stickers

Start by going through all your cards - and organize them in size.  
This way you'll know how big to trim the cardboard.  Then I cut the cardboard to fit the largest card - then cut the card stock and glued that on top of the cardboard.

I hole punched the cardboard and all the cards where I wanted it - then thread that through the metal rings.
Then I wrapped the ribbon around the book - used the two brads to secure the ribbon to the back of the book - and then cut the ribbon to fit the book / bow / knot.  (Whatever you decide to do)

I then used my cricut to create the letters on the front - but scrap booking stickers work too :)
AND then you're DONE!!  It's that simple - and now you have a cute way to present all your post cards / cards / invitations!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

FALL COOKBOOK CLUB -- what what!!  I'm not a huge fan of flavored bread, BUT I thought this recipe looked very fall like - AND turns out, I LOVED IT :) I'm not the best baker (I'll be honest - I don't like to bake...cook, yes....bake, no), so I let the other fellow cookbookers put this together.  It was easy and tasted good - so now I can try to make on my own :)

2 cups all purpose flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled)
1 cup whole wheat flour (again, don’t scoop!)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup white sugar
6 ounce container vanilla yogurt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (plus a few extra for the top of loaves)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9×5 (or similar sized) loaf pans with nonstick spray and set aside.

Combine flours (after you put your flour in the bowl, just grab a teaspoon or two of it and toss with chocolate chips), cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk gently to combine and set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl combine brown sugar and white sugar and whisk to combine, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar.  Add yogurt, eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and mix together, being careful to not over mix.  When combined, gently stir in chocolate chips.   Divide batter between loaf pans and sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out with a few crumbs attached.  All ovens are different, I would set your timer for about 45 minutes and keep an eye on it after that.  Don’t overbake!

Let cool for 10 minutes and then run a sharp knife around edge of pan and remove loaves from pan.

Easy Catalina Chicken

I love recipes that have the word "easy" in them...I don't always believe it - but this was true!  This was super easy, and had a really great taste!  It kinda reminded us of "sweet and sour" chicken!  We made this up with some white rice (then you just take the extra sauce and drizzle it right over that) and Green Beans.....such a complete meal!!  Do it up :)

1 cup Apricot or Apricot-Pineapple Jam (Peach is yummy too)
1 cup Catalina Salad Dressing (Russian works too)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (like Lipton)
3-5 lbs chicken (breasts, bone-in/boneless, thighs, tenders, whatever)*
olive oil
*The amount of chicken you use is very flexible.  If you use less, you’ll just have lots of sauce, and if you use more- you’ll have less sauce to spoon over rice, but there’s plenty to cook that much chicken.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a large oven proof skillet or dutch oven to medium-high heat on the stove top.  If you don’t have an oven proof one, you can use any skillet and just transfer your chicken to a baking dish after searing.

While pan is heating, place jam, Catalina dressing, cider vinegar, and 1/2 of the onion soup packet (just eyeball it) in a bowl and stir to combine.  Set sauce aside.  Sprinkle remaining onion soup mix onto chicken pieces and pat on all sides with clean hands.

Drizzle olive oil into hot pan to coat bottom of pan.  Place chicken pieces in and cook without moving for 2 minutes.  Flip chicken to other side and cook for 2 more minutes.  Pour sauce over chicken and spread out evenly over chicken pieces.

Place pan in oven, uncovered and cook until chicken registers 165 on a meat thermometer.  Different parts of the chicken will vary in time so gauge according to what you are using.  boneless skinless breasts usually take about 20-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes.  Serve chicken and sauce over hot white rice.  Serving size varies according to how much chicken you make, but serves a bunch!

Green Beans with Balsamic Butter

Had cookbook tonight...the last one for awhile!  :(  Figured I would take a break to get a hang of the whole mother thing!  BUT it was a great night!!  We made some yummy treats!  These beans were really good - just a twist on your typical green beans!!
OBB Cookbook – serves 8

2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 green onions, chopped (the entire thing)
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the onions, garlic, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook on medium, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes or until most of the vinegar is reduced into a thick syrup and has been absorbed by the green onions. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, combine the vinegar/onion mixture and the butter. Set aside.

When the water begins to boil, add the green beans. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the beans float to the top and are bright green. Drain. Toss in the balsamic butter and serve immediately.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Kim's Baby Shower - Jungle Themed

Kimmy's shower was themed around "Wild for Baby J", so we followed a jungle theme!  Check out how cute stuff turned out!! :)
 For each of our food - we did a play on "jungle names...." 

and I had to come with a good presentation of the food I was in charge of :)

and I had to come with a good presentation of her gift....I mean check out Linda's work on the left!!

Restaurant-Style Ranch Dressing

Helped host Kimmy's baby shower this week, and I had to make something new so I could blog :) We already had the food menu figured out, SO I decided to find a new recipe to make Ranch dressing to go with veggies!  This was so yummy I could have licked it!!  Might be my new go-to for when I make home-made fries....