Monday, December 21, 2009

Meatless Monday! Nacho Bread Pizza

Here's another one we have often, but I didn't take a picture...sorry! It's another Rachel Ray fave:

Nacho Bread Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf baguette or semolina bread, day old is fine (whole wheat is great)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped or 1 pickled hot pepper of any kind, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans(I use refried, vegetarian style)
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup prepared salsa, any variety
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar, smoked Cheddar, Monterey Jack or pepper Jack
  • 1 heart romaine or 1/2 iceberg head, shredded
  • 1/2 cup green olives with or without pimiento, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion or 2 to 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 plum or vine tomatoes, seeded and diced

Directions

Split bread lengthwise. Hollow the bread out and cut each half in half across, making 4 boats.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil, 1 turn of the pan, garlic and hot peppers. Drain beans. Add half of the beans then mash the remainder of the beans in the can using a fork. Add mashed beans to the pan and combine with whole beans. Season beans with hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. When the spicy beans are hot through, spread them evenly across all of the bread. Top with salsa and liberally sprinkle with cheese, covering bread to all edges. The boats will only be half-full. Melt cheese in the oven until it bubbles and begins to brown.

Top Nacho Bread Pizzas with lettuce, olives, onions and tomatoes and serve. You can pick it up with your hands, but eat over the plate (or the kitchen sink, like me).

Want more Meatless Monday ideas and reasons for going meatless once a week? Visit Meatless Monday.com

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fibers on Friday on Saturday (night)!

I was reluctant to post my progress on this sweater last night because little progress had been made this week. But, on this snowy afternoon, I was able to squeeze in a couple hours of knitting and now I feel it's worthy of a progress report.

You'll remember last week I had completed the front, back, and one sleeve of the sweater.

Well, here's the progress on the second sleeve as of right now:

I think it's important to stress maybe not how much I've been able to finish, but instead what I've learned along the way. When we set out for our long drive to MA two weekends ago I found myself having four uninterrupted hours to work on the sleeves. To do this, I needed to know how to increase stitches. Well, the only increase I could remember at the time was *knit into the front and back* of the stitch. Fine. Good. Except this method leaves evidence that a you've increased a stitch...it's not very pretty or inconspicuous. But, at the time it's all I knew and I didn't have books or the internet to consult, so I rolled with it.

When I was finally able to look up other methods of increasing stitches I discovered a VERY easy way, which is virtually invisible. Take a look at my little tutorial, click to enlarge if needed, and ignore that I wrote "Viola" instead of "Voila'" in step 3. :

PS: Aforementioned tutorial....yes, just learned how to put that little beauty together...so, chalk up another learning experience.

PPS: My four year old took those pictures. Natural, I say it!

So, there you have my Fibers on Friday progress report for this first attempt at a sweater which is intended to go to Afghans for Afghans once it's finished.

Did you get to play in snow today? We did!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meatless Monday!

This is what's for dinner tonight....so no picture yet! It's from Cooking Light. Visit Meatless Monday.com for other ideas.

Spaghetti with Caramelized Onion and Radicchio

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cups thinly sliced yellow onion (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • 3 1/2 cups thinly sliced radicchio (about 1 head)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 15 minutes or until almost tender, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until deep golden (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add red pepper and garlic. Cook 3 minutes; stir occasionally. Add wine; cook 4 minutes or until liquid evaporates.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Add reserved cooking liquid, pasta, radicchio, parsley, and oregano to onion mixture. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper; toss to combine. Top with cheese.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Are We There Yet?


I'm on it, dog'on'it! I worked on this week's CPS Challenge on this rainy day. I was in desperate need of a masculine "get well" card for a dear friend who, although only in his thirties, had to undergo full knee replacement surgery. Yikes! Poor guy! So, this week's sketch, coupled with the adorable Mr. Campy stamp set from Cosmo Cricket (thanks Steph...you da best!), made for the PERFECT card for our friend in Deutschland (keep it a surprise, Kati :-).

This may be my favorite card to date! I Love, Love, Love the sketch first of all. I love all the layers of paper. I Adore, Adore, Adore this paper from Cosmo Cricket. And I'm Proud, Proud, Proud that I had the vision to create the hill by ripping paper and chalking the edges (click image to enlarge for detail). The other day Elise created chimney smoke from using vellum! I shook my head in admiration of her creativity and vision. Now, I'm no Mamacow, but I love my hill! Thanks for the inspiration, Elise! You're outta this world!

So, it may be an uphill climb right now for our friend's recovery, but hopefully he'll be on the downhill slide real soon! He needs to be ready for some bike rides when we visit Germany :-)

***The Kraft cardstock is from PTI
All patterned Paper is Cosmo Cricket (Mr. Campy)
Stamp is also Cosmo Cricket (Mr. Campy)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Got Snow?

Here's my new little Snowman Stamp (A Muse) applied to this week's CPS Challenge.


We don't have snow :-( But we have the c-c-cold weather. I'm anxious to get some snow fun in with my girls this winter. Might have to hit Massachusetts again to hot the BIG hills!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fibers on Friday: We have a sleeve

So, evidently I was very delusional, or painfully uninformed, last Friday when I posted my intentions of FINISHING this sweater during our car trip to Massachusetts. Couldn't someone have warned me that sleeves take AS LONG, if not LONGER, than knitting the body of the sweater? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? Brit Knitter?

I knitted for 4 hours straight on the way to MA....barely ever looking up! I knitted for several hours while in MA. I knitted for maybe 2 hours on the way home, but the sun was at such an unfortunate angle and was flickering through the trees in such a way to make my semicircular canals and cochlea and cilia and other ear related/vertigo related organs not very happy. All that.....and I didn't even complete one sleeve! I finished it up when we got home, but the seams aren't even stitched! UGH!

Oh well, I'm doing the best I can. I'm sorry, little Afghan child, for the delay of this sweater. I have the best intentions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meatless Monday! Spring Noodle Stir Fry

This is another Rachael Ray recipe. It's quite yummy. Nice flavors, it satisfies our craving for Chinese Food....which we are quite lacking in these parts.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup dark sesame oil
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 pound vermicelli or capellini pasta
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut on an angle into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, halved

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons sesame oil, the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper.

  2. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil over high heat. Add the onion and asparagus and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and the sesame oil sauce; cook for 1 minute over high heat. Lower the heat to medium, add the pasta and cook, stirring, until heated through, 2 minutes. Top with the walnuts.


If you'd like to read more about going meatless once a week, visit Meatless Monday!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fibers on Friday

Front and back are done. Sleeves are started! We're off to a weekend trip to Massachusetts, so I hope to complete this sweater during the car ride! Enjoy your weekend, all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thinking of You

On Monday one of my girls proclaimed, "Mommy, I want to scrapbook all day long"! Be still my heart, child! You got it! We set to work, although "all day long" equates to about two hours in a four year old's life. And I loved those two hours although I didn't get an ounce of my own craftiness in. This is what she created based upon my holiday hugs card from a few days ago:

Is it not precious?

So, yesterday I made some time for my own craftiness and set to work on the CPS sketch for the week. I made it fit with the SPCC color combo, too.

Have you ever made a card and just could.not.stand.it? Well, I have no earthly idea where my creativity was/is, but here's what I originally came up with:

Oh my gosh! Dreadfully boring! Unless you're into straight lines, no visual interest, and very strict adherence to the sketch. I could not sleep last night just thinking about how dreadful it was!

So, this morning I tore it all up and added some stuff. Yes, I tore it all up, instead of starting fresh, because I'm cheap environmentally conscious like that. I scalloped the border of the lavender paper, added a layer of the patterned paper which has really cool velvet red circles (so texture) and green to match the chair, and added a scalloped piece of lavender paper on top of the red plain circle (which is opposite of what we generally do, but it looks cool, I think.) I like it better now. Now it's more worthy of entering these challenges.


The image is from Stamping Bella. She's cool and fun to color with copics.

Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

I Heart Faces: Tooshies!


The photo theme at I Heart Faces this week is TOOSHIES! Here are my two little padded tooshies when they were 7 months old. Check out more adorable tooshies by clicking the link below.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Hugs! A card!

Doh! I created this card two days ago, but haven't posted it and now it's too late to enter it in one of the challenges! Oh well....

The first challenge (the one I'm too late for) was for color at SPCC. Here's the combo:

And next was the sketch by Card Patterns:

And here's my work, but it will only be submitted to one challenge :-(

~For the celery color I used the Christmas tree patterned (embossed) cardstock (Michael's)
~For the bashful Blue I used the felt snowflakes from Close to My Heart
~The stamp is from JoAnns....it was on clearance, it's super cute.
~I just used real red cardstock and little gems from Amuse
~I added my new Dew Drops to the snowflakes
~I had fun coloring the little guy with Copics.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Heart Faces: Sun Glare

Oh I love these challenges! For two weeks now I've known that this challenge for capturing a photo with sun glare was coming up. One day I was at the park and had an opportunity to get a picture of one of my girls with the sun behind her. I did. I got it. BUT, I had the UV filter on my lens and so the whole picture is just washed out, with a few distinct sun rays.

So last night I had another chance while our kids played with friends in a leaf pile. I got a few good ones of the sun, but narrowing down the best one that included a face was hard. It was definitely a learning experience (which is why I love these challenges). I noticed what was happening to my camera as it metered different areas; meter the sun and the kids turned out dark. Meter the kids and it made the picture look like it was taken in the daylight, not dusk.

I also learned that a little spot on the lens will pick up the glare and leave every picture with a little alien spot floating here and there......ooops, time to clean that puppy!

So, that's what it's all about, right? Learning! This may not be a stellar photo, but I captured the rays of sun....and a cute little one playing in a pile of leaves!

Check out more sun glare by clicking the button below

Meatless Monday!

Cauliflower Feta Pasta Bake! This is a Rachel Ray recipe. I regret to inform you that I forgot *gasp* to take a picture of this dish when I made it....sorry!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 pound ziti pasta
  • One 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups pitted kalamata olives, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring halfway through, until browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Lower the temperature to 350°.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the ziti until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta and cooking water to the pot and stir in the crushed tomatoes, feta, olives, the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and half each of the parsley and bread crumbs.

  3. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish; top with the roasted cauliflower and remaining breadcrumbs. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top.

For more Meatless Monday ideas, click here!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fibers on Friday

Here's my progress from this week. I got a couple inches completed on this front part of the sweater. I wasn't quite as die-hard about working on it because Daddy got home from a two week stint away, so we've been having family time. Still moving right along, though!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DIY Christmas Countdown Calendar

Yay! I got back to my paper! I've been so wrapped up in knitting, the paper crafting has been neglected. But, MAN, I had fun working on this puppy! Have you seen these boxes from Karen Foster? I think I saw it last year in a scrapbooking magazine and knew I wanted to make my own countdown (Advent) calendar. Fortunately, I stumbled upon the box in my local stamping store....so I got to work!

I went through my bits and pieces and scraps of Christmas supplies. This project is AWESOME because every single little box can be decorated differently. Click image to enlarge for details.

A close up of the odds and ends. Only have one snowflake? No problem! Only have one mitten? No problem! For the little Christmas trees on days 21 and 4, I cut out the image from a piece of embossed cardstock, added Stickles for the ornaments, and then used Glossy Accents to make the whole thing shine.

I had a blast making this thing and I know my girls will have a blast counting down to Christmas and getting a little treat every day. I have a crazy friend (you know who you are) who is known to have THREE advent calendars running in her house during the holidays.....this would be perfect for her and her gorgeous family!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday : In Honor of Mimi


November 18, 1928 ~ February 12, 2004
Thinking of Mimi on her Birthday

I Heart Faces: Autumn Beauty



The challenge for the week at I Heart Faces is Autumn Beauty. Beauties, in my case. The other day we went for a nature walk and I snapped a lot of pictures set on black and white in hopes of capturing the perfect Christmas card photo (successfully, by the way). But, I'd switch the settings back to color here and there and was able to catch a couple of these shots in full autumn color.

Check out more Autumn Beauties by visiting I Heart Faces!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meatless Monday! Sweet and Sour Tofu



I have made this dish several times. I originally used The Crockpot Lady's recipe and would cook it in the crock, but this time I did it on the stovetop. I prefer it made on the stovetop because the veggies get too mushy for my taste when cooked in the crock. So here's what I did:

Ingredients:

1 block extra firm tofu, sliced, drained, and then cubed*
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 green pepper
1 cup broccoli
1/2 onion sliced
hot pepper flakes, optional
1 bottle Sweet and Sour Sauce

After the tofu has been drained and cubed, toss in a bag with 1 TBS cornstarch. Saute in a skillet with olive oil until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Saute veggies starting with the ones that take longer to cook, like the carrots. Cook all veggies until they're to your liking. Throw the tofu back in and add the sweet and sour. I don't use the whole bottle....just enough to coat. Heat through and add pepper flakes if desired. Serve over rice.

*To drain tofu, I slice the block into 8 equal pieces. Lay it on a cookie sheet lined with a kitchen towel and paper towels. Place another layer of paper towels on top and cover with another kitchen towel. Sandwich it together with another cookie sheet or cutting board and place something heavy on top like your teapot. Let it drain like that for 20-30 minutes.

Feel free to toy around with this. It's very forgiving. Add different veggies....add pineapple....whatever! Delicious!

Check out more meatless ideas at Meatless Monday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fibers on Friday


Here is my sweater that I'm knitting for Afghans for Afghans. Over the course of the week, I finished the back of the sweater and last night started the front. Really, it's going much more quickly than I ever imagined a sweater would. I only work on it about an hour a night, so in a couple weeks it should be complete. I always imagined a sweater would take the entire winter to complete....granted, this is a child's sweater, but still! I'm happy and now confident I can knit one for myself and my kids!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday : Roger



***I can't help it! I have to be wordful on this one! I really had no idea what I was going to post for this Wordless Wednesday. But, then first thing this morning, I was reading my friend's blog in which she spontaneously burst into song. Judging by my pictures, you can probably guess the song that inspired this post. Right? Here's my rendition:

"And I've been to the desert on a........
CAMEL
named..........................
ROGER!"

Yup, that's my husband on a camel in Abu Dabi, UAE back in '05. Click here for more WW posts!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another sad one, but let's try to make it HAPPY!

This has been circulating on Facebook (I've checked the validity). A story about a little boy at the end stages of cancer, who will be celebrating Christmas early this year. His wish is to receive tons of CARDS!

Let's Do it!!!!

Here's the one I'm sending:

Here's the brief story and address:
A 5yr old boy named Noah Biorkman , is in the last stages of a 2 1/2yr battle with Neuroblastoma Cancer.The family is celebrating Christmas next week and Noahs request is to get lots of Christmas cards..Lets get him some Please send cards to:

Noah Biorkman

1141 Fountain View Circle

South Lyon,Mi 48178





Monday, November 9, 2009

Meatless Monday! Black Bean Soup

Bust out your crockpots, here's a good one! It's from Cooking Light. I served it over some white rice, because it was so thick, it was great as a Rice and Beans dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I used Veggie broth)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 serrano chile, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Preparation

1. Sort and wash beans; place in a large bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours. Drain.

2. Combine beans, broth, and next 5 ingredients (through chile) in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 10 hours. Discard bay leaves. Stir in juice and salt. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro. Top each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

***I used a potato masher to mash up some of the soup. I just like it to be a little starchy and thick.


Want to go Meatless one night a week? Visit Meatless Monday for ideas!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

For the Better Good

While I was blog hopping through the CPS card entries, I read about a good deed being done in support of a little girl who has suffered a horrendous crime and loss (on this blog). In order to brighten her day, there are several blogs dedicated to raising awareness of her story and violence in general. People are uniting and sending cards to help her through this time. Here's a snip-it of the story:

"On October 4th, 4 teenagers armed with knives broke into a home in a small town in New Hampshire. Alone and sleeping inside were a mother and her 11 year old daughter. These 4 boys broke into this home with the intent to rob and kill anyone inside. They stabbed the mom, Kimberly Cates, to death and left her daughter, Jaimie, for dead in their driveway. It was a completely random act, their home was chosen only due to its secluded surroundings."

So, I'm sending a card and I encourage you to do the same! It just feels good. Here's the info:

This is the card I sent. On the inside, I wrote, "Who's thinking of you? WE ARE!........"