Monday, January 31, 2011

Hot Chocolate

It's 5 degrees outside. That's right 5. Tomorrow it's suppose to be colder but I can't wait until then. We got home from school and the kids begged me to make some hot chocolate. So here we go. I thought it was pretty good for my first time and I wanted to share.

Hot Chocolate

4 cups whole milk
4 oz milk chocolate chips (about one cup)
4 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used some baking chocolate I had let over from the souffles)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in large saucepan. Wisk while heating until chocolate is melted and temperature is near boil. Garnish with whipped cream.

baked breakfast

I have been playing around with foods my hubby can eat. I made this breakfast for him and it was actually really tasty. Lots of flavor and texture. I used veggie sausage I got from Costco. It's from Morning Star Farms. I think that you can get it at the grocery store too. It's packed with Protein and tastes like regular sausage. I also love this way to prepare it because it's the perfect serving size for him. He gets what is in the Ramekin and that's it. Very filling.

First I sprayed my skillet with cooking spray. Then I threw some mushrooms and sliced bell peppers. You may want to add the bell peppers first because they take longer to cook.  NOTE: If you use regular sausage for this recipe cook the sausage in the pan first. Then add the veggies. Since my sausage patties are precooked I just need to heat them through.
Add the sausage once you like the tenderness of the veggies. Then I seasoned with Morton's Light Salt and pepper.
Add sausage and veggies to Ramekin. Crack your egg over the top.
Bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 15min for fully cooked egg and around 11 min for runny yolks. I DON'T like runny yolks so that's how long it took for mine to cook thoroughly.

Baked sausage and egg breakfast

1 bell pepper, sliced
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 sausage patties, chopped
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Saturday, January 29, 2011

message board

I had this mirror from IKEA in my kids' bathroom for years but it wasn't doing it for me anymore so I decided to re purpose it. I took the hanging hooks off and sanded it down.
Then I removed the mirror (it wasn't hard, it was just hot glued on) and painted the wood an ivory color. Then I used a black stamp pad to shade the edges. My daughters room is black pink and white so I picked this paper to add to it. I just measured the frame and cut the paper out to the size I wanted. Then I used this spray adhesive I got from Michaels to adhere it to the frame. It worked great!
I used the chalkboard spray paint I had left over from another project on the mirror. It works fine just spraying straight on the glass. Then I glued the chalkboard square back into the frame, added some ribbon and it finished.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mozzarella Bake

This is an easy appetizer. Throw it all in the oven and broil. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go eat the whole thing before the hubby gets home.

1 pound fresh mozzarella
3 Roma tomatoes
1 clove garlic*, minced
salt pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over

Spray an oven proof dish with cooking spray. Layer slices of cheese with slices of tomatoes like a lasagna. Make sure you put the garlic in one layer. Salt and pepper and drizzle with oil before you bake it. Set your oven on a high broil. Bake 10-15 min. You will need to watch it because depending on how far it is from the top of the oven it may take longer or shorter to melt and brown. Serve with chips or a sliced french bread.
*I showed the whole bulb of garlic in the picture. You only need one clove from that and it will be plenty.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spinach Shake

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband is on a diet which means life for me has been difficult. I am happy to say that he has lost 20 pounds since Jan 3rd. It's been hard for me to find recipes that fall within his guidelines and gives variety. Here is a great recipe for a shake. I have lots of fruits and vegetables on hand so throwing it together is very easy when he needs to get out the door quickly.

Spinach Shake

1 packed cup of fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped cantalope
1/3 cup blueberries
1/4 cup Greek yogurt ( I used blueberry)
1/2 cup ice water
1 tablespoon sugar substitute
juice from 1/2 lemon

Blend in blender or magic bullet until desired consistency.  You can add ice if you like.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Purple Birthday Card

 I am loving purple lately. I took a 4 x 8 piece of card stock and folded it to make my card. Then I cut a square 3 7/8 x 3 7/8 in a lighter purple. I used the "sweet treats" Cricut cartridge to cut out a 3 1/2 inch flower in the dark purple. Then I ran that through my paper crimper to give it some texture. Then I cut a 3 inch flower using white card stock. I used a stamp pad to give some color to the white petals and stamped happy birthday with the same ink.

 I rounded the edges of the lighter purple with a punch
Glue it all together and add a ribbon and it's finished.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lemon pancakes with strawberry syrup

These pancakes are fluffy and light which may be a bad thing because I could eat them all day long. My daughter will NOT eat strawberries so I make this syrup to trick her into eating them. She said it was so good so I say these are kid tested!

Strawberry syrup

8-10 strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup sugar
juice from one orange

I threw these ingredients into my magic bullet* to blend for about 30 sec. Then refrigerate until ready to use.

*If you don't want this to be a liquid just mix the ingredients and let sit for a half hour then scoop onto pancakes.

ingredients for the syrup
fresh orange juice

Lemon Pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 rounded tsp of baking powder

4 eggs, separated
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
3 lemons juice and zest (I used Meyer lemons because I think they are so yummy, They are a mix between lemons and mandarin oranges.)

1. sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside.

2. separate the egg yolks from the whites. Put the whites in a bowl you plan to whisk them in.
3. Add wet ingredients in with the egg yolks.
4. Zest and squeeze the juice from the lemons into the wet ingredients.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
6. Whisk the egg whites to medium to stiff peaks. Then slowly fold into batter. The more delicate you do this the more fluffy your pancakes will be.

7. cook in pan or skillet. They take a little longer than the pancakes I usually make so be patient.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

sour cream packet valentines

I learned how to do these from some friends where we used to live. They are easy to do and fun to give to people for Valentine's day.
Cut your paper 4 1/2" x 6 1/2". You are going to roll the paper into a cylinder (see below) so make sure you cut your paper so the direction of the design on your paper makes sense. Make sure you pic a good heavy cardstock.
I used hot glue for this but you can use Red Liner tape too. Glue to form a cylinder.
Pinch one side like so
It will look like this inside
Using a paper crimper, crimp about 1/2 inch. This will make it looked sealed like the sour cream containers you would get at a fast food joint.
Hot glue the side you crimped. Now place candies or any prize or treat you would like in the container.
Follow the steps above to seal the other side NOTE: pinch the other side in the opposite direction as the first side. see pic above. Crimp and glue.
Add a little tag or note and you are done!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

O M G...Oreo, Minty, Goodness

 I made them again with white and milk chocolate. YUM!

I was asked to bring a dessert to a party last week. I wanted to try something new so as I was blog surfing when came across Bakerella which is one of my favorite sites. I got this idea from her and let me tell you. THESE ARE SO GOOD!! They are fairly easy (I am not the best when it comes to working with chocolate) plus I made it harder on myself by doing them heart shaped. I would recommend just doing balls because I think it would be much easier to dip. You can use regular or mint Oreos ( I used mint) and white, dark or milk chocolate (I used milk chocolate). TIP: Use baking (melting) chocolate. Chips will not work for this. 

Oreo Bites

One package of Oreo cookies, finely crushed
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
one package of chocolate bark for melting

Using a food processor finely crush the Oreos. Mix with the cream cheese. From here you can shape the dough anyway you like. I used a tiny heart shaped cookie cutter to form the hearts but it took a LONG time and wasn't as easy to dip. Put your rolled balls on a pan lined with parchment paper. Put in freezer to firm them up.

Once your bites are nice and firm in the freezer begin to melt your chocolate. I love the melting chocolate because you can do it in the microwave without much worry.

I poked the bites with a skewer to dip in the chocolate. One at a time, I dipped them and raised them out and rotated them until the extra chocolate dripped off. Then hanging over the parchment paper I twisted the skewer until the bite fell off then I smoothed over the hole with chocolate. The chocolate will harden quickly because the bites are cold.

Monday, January 17, 2011

spinach and strawberry salad with dressing

You can add mandarin oranges or kiwis to this recipe. I like it plain and simple.

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp.dehydrated minced onion
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
Blend for 30 seconds then add about 1/2 to 1 tablespoons of poppy seeds however many you like!!

The dressing is best chilled so make it ahead of time. When you are ready to serve the salad, toss together sliced strawberries with baby spinach leaves.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Icing

These recipes are very simple and yummy. I made them into mini cupcakes. You can flavor the icing anyway you wish. I picked lemon for some odd reason... just sounded good.

Vanilla Cake recipe

If you make this as a cake use a 9 x 9 baking dish:)It made about 50 mini cupcakes.

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

Combine first 4 ingredients. Mix well. Slowly add the dry ingredients. I sifted the dry ingredients. I am not sure it's needed but I wanted them to be light. Once dry are mixed with the first 4 ingredients, add milk. Mix. Bake in 350 degree oven. It took about 6-7 min for the mini cupcakes.

Lemon Icing

1 cup vegetable shortening
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 cup whipping cream (start with 1/4 and add more if needed)

Cream shortening. Add sugar and continue to blend. Add salt, flavoring and coloring* and whipping cream. Beat at high speed until fluffy!!

*if desire

Friday, January 14, 2011

chalkboard containers

This project tried my patience. I bought these glass jars to hold my sugar, flour and brown sugar. They were so plain I wanted to do something fun with them. The ones I bought have these ribbed corners which was my biggest headache. I would recommend a jar that is smooth all the way around.

I cut out the design I wanted to paint onto my jars with my cricut. I used some left over vinyl so that it would stick to my jar.
Here is the jar ready to be painted
I put a plastic bag around to protect the rest of the jar. This chalkboard spray paint was VERY runny. I was not prepared for it. I have used chalkboard paint before but not in the can. I got the paint at Michaels.

You may want to do 2 coats of paint. The nice thing is that if you make a mistake you can scratch the paint off pretty easy so when you are writing with the chalk don't push too hard.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

pear card

This card is fun if you have a lot of things to say to someone. They can keep unfolding it. The card paper is cut to 4"x12". Fold it into 3rds so you have 3 x 4" squares. Then you fold the corners of the outer squares one top to bottom and one bottom to top.

You can decorate the front however you want. Here I hand cut out a pear and using a glue pen I outlined it and poured sparkles on it to make it look like a pear.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Valentine Wreath

I have seen this wreath done with felt but I chose to use napkins instead. I think it's cheaper and easier to cut out.

I got this wreath and these napkins at Hobby Lobby. The wreath is 12x1-1/8" and the napkins are 25cm x 25 cm. I got two packages of 50 napkins.

Choose the size circle you would like to use. I used this painters tape as guide to cutting mine. I created about a 3" circle. I found that cutting 3 napkins out at a time worked nicely.
Scrunch the napkin around your finger. They look better if you scrunch them a lot so don't feel you have to be perfect.
Add some hot glue to the spot where the tip of your finger hits the center of the circle
Press against the Styrofoam for a few seconds
Finished product

This project took me about 3 hours to complete by myself. If you have someone to help cut out circles it would go much faster.