Friday, October 30, 2009

Fibers on Friday

Starting a new one; Fibers on Friday! Don't you love how compartmentalized my life is? Can you imagine being married to me? It's Meatless Monday, dear. Wait! It's Wordless Wednesday, honey. Hold on! It's Fibers on Friday time!

So, it's that time of year again that I'm ready to pick up my knitting needles and tackle a project that's been neglected over the warmer months. My mom just gave me a book called Knitting for Good, so I'm inspired to do just that! The book refers to a project called Afghans for Afghans in which handmade projects such as knitted or crocheted sweaters, blankets, mittens, and hats are sent to Afghanistan. Well, I'm diving in! And I'm trying to get my knitting circle to do the same.

My first project for the cause will be a sweater! GULP! I've yet to make a sweater, so here goes!

This is what I'm attempting:


And here's the wool I've chosen:


I'll be keeping you posted on the progress on my newly created Fibers on Friday! Join me if you'd like!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Meatless Monday! Three Cheese [F]icken Penne

It's Meatless Monday time again! This is a special recipe. My cousin made this while we were away for a family memorial in North Carolina. It's Three Cheese Chicken Florentine adapted from Cooking Light Magazine. When she made it, she used Morningstar Chicken Strips and I thought it was delicious. I've made it several times since and find I really don't like the fake chicken product, but this recipe is delicious even omitting the meat all together.

I love food because one dish can bring me back to an event or an occasion or a loved one.....over and over again! So, this dish will always remind me of that fabulous reunion weekend spent celebrating Aunt Linda.



Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 4 cups hot cooked penne (about 8 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
  • 2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast (keep it meatless by using a fake chicken product or keep it out entirely)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and black pepper; sauté 3 minutes or just until spinach wilts.

Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until very smooth. Combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, and soup in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

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If you'd like to read more about the Meatless Monday movement, visit Meatless Monday.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Scrap Weekend

What a lovely time we had up in Nort' Jersey! A very productive scrap weekend with four girlies!

It wasn't like last year's drive up to the Poconos, but here's the nice fall foliage that greeted me at the hotel.





















A few shots of our workspace with all the essentials!





Me and Steph!












The hotel left a lot to be desired. The food was horrendous! On the last morning we were to be served brunch. The buffet table had french toast and eggs and breakfast meat. The problem, however, is that the syrup was boiling! To the point of caramelization! It was not edible! So what did the staff decide to do? Replace the French toast with Salmon from the night before! It was comical.

On the first day the fire alarms were set off, so we were evacuated! It was so scary to think that if the sprinkler system was set off what would happen to our tools and supplies??? It was all good, though.

So there you have it, our scrappy little weekend. We're planning on making our own little getaway at a shore house this winter....which is making us all very excited for another getaway!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meatless Monday! Sesame Noodles

Hi all! This recipe is from Pioneer Woman. It's superb.

I cannot, for the life of me, get good Chinese food in my neck of the woods. When I saw this recipe on her site, I knew I had to give it a try. I'm so glad I did, because it will be my go-to Chinese food from now on!



Simple Sesame Noodles (copied from PW)

12 ounces thin noodles, cooked and drained (angel hair, thin spaghetti, or Asian style)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon hot chile oil (more to taste)
4 to 5 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons hot water
3 to 4 green onions, sliced thin

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with green onions and toss.

(I used Asian Ramen-type noodles)

****Of course, if you want beautiful illustrations and tons of pictures of the preparation of this dish, visit Pioneer Woman's site!

If you'd like more ideas on making a meatless dish one night a week, visit Meatless Monday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CPS #137 Ooooooh, Witchy Woman

Here's the sketch for this week's CPS Challenge:


And here's my little Witchy Woman:

Click on image to have a closer look. It's a Lockhart stamp that I colored with Copics and Stickled the skirt. I love the purple and green combo.

Friday night our local stamp shop, One Little Spark, held a "Howl at the moon" stamping event. There were classes to attend and free make 'n takes. Steph and I dropped in for some action and here's what we came out with:

Look at this little booklet that holds a chapstick! How cute!



So fun! Thanks for looking and have a great day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meatless Monday! Cheesy Lentils and Rice

Ahhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhhhh! I'm screaming here! My blog is listed on MeatlessMonday.com on their bloggers board! It's the first one on the list! Holy Moly! How cool is that? Thank you, MeatlessMonday!


Perhaps too late for your dinner tonight, but consider this recipe for your next meatless night. I think this would be good with perogies, although it would be a CARB filled meal. But, any time I eat perogies, it's carb overload because I like them with fries! But, throw in a nice Jersey 'mater and you're golden!

This is from Southern Living Cookbook:



Ingredients:
- 1 c. uncooked brown rice
- 2 T. butter or margarine, divided
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 c. dried lentils
- 1 c. chopped onion
- 1 c. chopped green pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 t. paprika
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 t. ground red pepper
- 1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:
- Cook rice according to package directions, adding 1 T. butter and 1/2 salt. Set aside.
- Cook lentils according to package directions; drain and set aside.
- Melt remaining 1 T butter in a large skillet over med heat; add onion, green pepper, and garlic, and cook until tender, stirring often.
- Stir in lentils, tomatoes, and next 4 ingredients; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 min, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in brown rice. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Cover and let stand 5 min before serving.

Do you want to make a meatless night for your family? Head on over to MeatlessMonday.com and see why you should!

A photo challenge!

There's an awesome website for photography. It's I Faces.



Every week they have a photo challenge to enter on Monday and Tuesday. This week's challenge is to take a photo that shows excitement!

We took our girls fishing for the second time this summer, but it was the
FIRST time we actually caught fish! So exciting! I think I captured Paige's excitement perfectly!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apple Butter!

Ahhhh, the 24 hour Apple butter project!

We were supposed to go apple picking last weekend, but the orchard we wanted to visit was already picked over! I had almost given up on making apple butter this year, but decided at the last minute to buy apples from my local farm stand and get to work. Look at these beauts:


I used 7 varieties: Gala
Wine Sap
Sunkiss
Red Delicious
Cortland
Jonathan
Empire


I cooked them down and put then through the newly purchased food mill ($50....ouch!)

This is what 15 pounds of apples yields:


I put the apple suace in the crockpot to cook over night. This recipe comes from pickyourown.org. She says to cook it all night and it should reduce by half. Well, mine barely reduced at all, so I switched it over to the stove top in the morning.


I let it cook down for several hours and then got to canning.

And now, after learning the art of canning over the summer, this is what I have in my pantry:

"......you were stockpiling canned goods, making a bomb shelter of our basement. And I can't believe you let the moral go by as you were soaking in the product placement."

Sorry, I can apply a lyric to almost every move I make in the day. And it's almost always Ani. This is what I was thinking as I took a picture of my pantry :-)



Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Treasure Box Project

This adorable little craft idea was featured in this month's Family Fun Magazine; 3 Things to do with a paper towel roll. I knew I wanted to do this with my kids, because they both have such a huge collection of little trinkets that I am constantly resisting the urge to throw away! I thought I could make this, attach it to their wall, and I'll have a place to throw these things they can store their little treasures. I mean, honestly, how does my four year old keep track of a teeny tiny key to her jewelry box? I don't know, but it's always around!

So, it occured to me, we could make this project, not with plain ol' brown paper rolls, but with colorful, bright, vibrant cardstock!

Like the tattoo? It's Fire Prevention week, be a Hero.

The storage possibilities are endless; pencils? barretts? petit fours?

The girls loved doing this project. I wasn't fanatical about making it perfect, they rolled the paper and taped them. They "decorated" their shoe boxes. The whole time we worked on them, they said, "This is awesome project, Mom.....it's so much prettier than the plain brown ones in the picture." "This is soooooo much fun"!

Madison went on to make a little cavern for her Ariel figure! Paper crafting at its finest!

Anyway....have at it! Grab a shoe box, cut some paper to size, and make a treasure box for your little treasure hunters!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spoooooky, another two-for!

Hi friends, I'm coming at you today with another two-for! This SPOOKY little number will be submitted to the CPS Challenge and 2 Red Bananas.

Here's the sketch for CPS:

And here's my take:

A close up of the bling for the eyes and the bat positioned with pop dots:

The challenge for 2 Red Bananas was to create a Halloween project......voila!

The bat punch is from EK Sucess. I plan on using it for goody bags for my girls' Halloween party at pre-school.
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As an aside, a story about one of my kids: Yesterday Paige woke up and immediately had a request for me. "Mommy, I need you to knit me a net. I need a net for my contraption that I'm making to catch a mouse. I'm also gonna need wood and twigs. Mom, will you help me hunt for twigs?"

Mercy! Can I just sit in awe of the fact that my child has confidence enough in my knitting skills to request a net? That she knows such a thing would be perfect knitted? That she knows and can use the word contraption? That she wants to hunt for twigs with me? I'm blown away. Every day.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meatless Monday! Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Are you ready for another meatless recipe? Make this tonight for Meatless Monday....or save it for another day....but try it soon! It's delicious and a sure hit among friends.

This is copied and pasted from my cousin's blog, Savoring Earth's Flavors. It was at her house that I first ate this. I've made it several times since and if I bring it to a pot luck, or share it with friends, it always is devoured.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

1 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped (or more if you really like spinach)
1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3 TBS chopped red onion (I only use 1 TBS at the most)
10 - 15 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 (6oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I just use however much I want to, which is probably more)

1. Cook orzo in boiling water/ broth until tender, about 8 - 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2. Combine orzo, spinach and nest 5 ingredients through salt in a large bowl.

3. Drain artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade. Coarsely chop artichoke hearts, and add to the orzo mixture. Pour reserved marinade over the orzo and gently stir.

4. Add feta cheese to orzo tossing gently to combine.


You can visit MeatlessMonday.com to learn more about why you should have a meat-free day once a week!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CPS #135 Comfy Cozy



It's been a couple of weeks since I participated in a CPS Challenge. I wasn't in a very creative or productive mood for a while, but I'm good now :-) This week's challenge is nice and is perfect for the Karen Lockhart stamp I was waiting to use.


I stamped the robe on patterned paper and colored in the belt with Copics (chartreuse to be exact). I really thought the turned collar and sleeves could have used some fluffy flocking. I was tempted to run right out and get some, but really I'd rather spend my time actually crafting than running around buying stuff for said crafting. I take pride in working the best that I can with what I've got. Plus, I always have my girl Ani Difranco singing in my ear......

"Don't let the sellers of stuff
power enough
to rob you of your grace"

So, there you have it. A little robe, minus flocking, but still cute and comfy.

Thanks for looking! Enjoy the end of your week!