Friday, May 30, 2008

Multi-Event Card

Last year I got a friend a gift that was a little more than what I typically would give someone, but it was for his birthday, his new house, a thank you for always watching my dogs when I needed him too, and just for grins I threw in Christmas as well...

Here's what the card I made to go along with the gift looked like (the colors are a little distorted because I scanned this one in instead of taking a picture of it - oops!):

I should have more cards to upload this weekend!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Grub

Although I didn't have big plans this holiday, I did want to cook. Problem was that I was the only one home this weekend - was there any point to cooking all of the food I wanted to? But I decided I would do it and would just end up eating it ALL WEEK...

Here's the menu:
Oven Baked Brisket
Creamy Cilantro Potato Salad
Squash and Zucchini Sauté
Simple Whole Wheat Bread
Double Chocolate Brownies

We'll start with the brisket. I don't quite have my smoker over here yet, so the only option was to do it in the oven. And who better to get a recipe for a southern meal from than Southern Living? I found this recipe for Oven Baked Brisket on their website and it had 5 stars and great reviews - so it went on the to-do list...

Next came the potato salad - I was browsing cooking websites and my love for cilantro came into play when I saw a recipe for Creamy Cilantro Potato Salad on A Taste of Home Cooking. I didn't get any pictures of the finished product because to tell the truth, it didn't look as good as it tasted - and it tasted great! Not as creamy as I typically have it, but less mayo means less fat and that's not a bad thing... Here are some pics of the preparation though:

And next up is the Squash/Zucchini Sauté. Although I've made squash many times before, I typically throw it in a pot and boil the crap out of it. Tastes somewhat good, but when I came across another way to prepare it on Dianne's Dishes, I decided it would make a good side dish for the meal. Once again it wasn't too pretty once it was all prepared, but the prep looked good!

Next came what was probably my favorite part of the entire day. I've always wanted to make homemade bread, but I've been very intimidated by it for some reason. I figured I could try it though, and if it failed miserably, I would just throw it away and pretend it never happened. But it didn't fail AT ALL - it worked out wonderfully - I was acutally surprised everytime it actually did rise as it should have! I got the recipe from Piggy's Cooking Journal - and I'm SO GLAD I did! I just actually enjoyed it for breakfast as well... can't complain!

And last but not least was dessert. If I were to pick one favorite blog to go to for desserts, it would definitely be Bake or Break - her desserts are INCREDIBLE yet not overly complicated either... I wanted to make some brownies, so I chose her Double Chocolate Brownies. The leftovers will certainly be brought to Young Life tomorrow night, because they are not safe in my house!

And that's what kept me in the kitchen for most of the day yesterday. And luckily my neighbors came over last night to help me make a dent in it! Now to go finish the dishes... ugh.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stamp Camp - May 2008

So each month I go to "Stamp Camp" hosted by my Stampin' Up demonstrator. We typically do ~4 projects and then there is a group of us that bring a card to swap based around a central theme. I thought I would highlight these each month and I post any random projects I do along the way as well...

This month there wasn't a 'theme' for stamp camp (sometimes it revolves around a certain technique) and the theme for the swap cards was 'Kid's Birthday'.

Basic Cards:

Gift-card Holder:

Front (I'll be changing the scallopped piece out, I'm not happy with that part of it...)


My swap card! I love this one...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spicy Crackers and Creamy Jalapeno Dip

A few of my favorite things... I LOVE these crackers and they are only made better by a knock-off version of Chuy's "green dip" - it's phenomenal!

Creamy Jalapeno Dip

1 cup Mayo
1 cup Sour Cream
1 packet Ranch Dip Mix
5 roasted jalapenos (peeled and deseeded)
1/2 bunch of cilantro
Milk as needed

Process/Chop the cilantro with the sourcream in a food processor (or very good blender). Once the jalapenos are peeled and deseeded, process them into this mixture as well. Then add in the ranch dip mix and the mayo. I add quite a bit of milk too so it's a little bit thinner (and lasts longer!) You can make this entire recipe fat free and not compromise on any of the taste - it's wonderful!

Spicy Crackers

4 sleeves of saltines
1/2 cup of oil (canola, vegetable, olive oil)
1 packet of ranch dip mix
Cayenne pepper (to taste)

Mix the oil, ranch dip mix and cayenne pepper in a 2 cup measuring cup. Layer 1 sleeve of crackers with 1/4 of the oil mixture in a gallon size storage bag. Close and shake up in between each addition until all of the crackers and all of the oil mixture is in the bag. Flip the bag over every 15 minutes or so until all of the oil is absorbed. I typcially make these a few hours (or days) before I will actually need them to make sure the oil is all absorbed. These crackers are good with the dip above, with cream cheese or chili or soup - or even all by themselves!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Twisted Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are from recipe and they are super simple to make. You can use pre-made cookie dough (I use chocolate chip), or make your own from your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (or the sugar cookie type recipe the original recipe calls for). They are great for parties because they only take 1-2 bites and don't make much of a mess. They tend to go faster than other chocolate chip cookies for some reason...