Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Fun 2011

Summer is quickly coming to a close. We did so many fun things this summer! I am so happy we were able to squeeze it all in! Over at Noel Mignon, we have a challenge to create a layout about your summer fun for 2011. Here is my take on the challenge.

Until later!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Study Hall is up!

School is in over at Noel Mignon. The newest kit, Study Hall, is up for pre-order today! You don't want to miss this kit! Lots of fun school themed items!

Until later!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hidden Treasures

Every now and then I have a stack of unloved scrapbooking items. I happened to be cleaning my scraproom and came across my stash of October Afternoon's 5 & Dime. I hardly even touched it yet! Gasp! The horror! So I challenged myself to create a layout using only this collection. The only extra items I allowed myself was one sheet of cardstock and some letters. This layout came together quickly and I was able to use bits and pieces of this awesome collection! Pick up your 5 & Dime items from the Noel Mignon store today and see what fun items you can create!

Happy creating!

Monday, August 22, 2011

End of Summer Fun with GCD Studios

Ah yes. Summer is slowly drawing to an end. The temperatures are finally cooling off and school is just around the corner for my oldest. She will be in first grade this year. My how the time flies! She is also my goofy child. Always making faces and being silly. One day I caught her playing around with a mustache and was lucky to have my camera handy to capture the moment.

To create my layout, I used several different papers from the Fun House collection. I free handed a mustache on a piece of cardstock, cut it out, and hand stitched a few lines for texture.

The white cardstock was looking kind of bland so I added a little bit of mist. There you have it. The completed layout!

Fun House Coney Island
Fun House The World's Greatest
Fun House Come One, Come All
Fun House Trick Pony

What are you doing to capture the last few summer days? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy creating!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just Around the Corner

In less than two weeks my oldest will be in first grade! I still can't believe it! She is super excited to meet her new teacher and classmates. We already did all our before school shopping and have everything ready to go.

As promised, here is my newest layout I have been working on. I used the Salt Water Taffy kit from Noel Mignon to create this layout.

Happy Creating!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Mongolian Beef

Today I am going to share with you a new recipe we tried for dinner. The girls loved it and so did I! The only thing I would change next time is to add a little less soy sauce. It came out a bit too salty. Then again, that might just be because I reduced the sauce down a bit too much. Oops!

When I went to the store I was unable to find any flank steak. I ended up using Flat Iron Steak instead. Other than that, I had all the other ingredients on hand.

Mongolian Beef Recipe
makes 2 servings

You will need:

1 lb of flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 teaspoons of canola oil
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger (about 1/2 inch piece)
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic (about 2 -3 large cloves)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3 large green onions, sliced crosswise into thirds

Prepare the meat:
First, make sure the steak slices are dry (pat them dry) and mix them with the corn starch. Using your hands or a spoon, move them around to make sure all pieces are coated. Place beef slices in a strainer and shake off excess corn starch (see picture bellow).

Make the sauce:
Heat half of the oil in a large wok at medium-high and add the garlic and ginger. Immediately add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and pepper flakes. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl. Don't worry if the sauce doesn't look thick enough at this point. The corn starch in the beef will thicken it up later.

Cook the meat and assemble dish:
Turn the heat up and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook, stirring until it is all browned (this is a quick thing). Pour the sauce back into the wok and let it cook along with the meat. Now you can choose to cook it down and reduce the sauce or leave it thinner. Add the green onions on the last minute so the green parts will stay green and the white parts crunchy.

Serve it hot with rice.

Tomorrow I'll be posting a couple of new layouts that I have been working on so make sure you stop by. Happy Tuesday!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Something Fun with GCD Studios

My daughter has been learning to read and has finally progressed to the harder books. Now that she can't finish a book in one night, she is in desperate need of a bookmark. Never fear! Mommy is here to save the day! I decided to make a special bookmark for her.

First I chose three papers from the Animal Crackers for Girls collection. I cut out three 2" x 2" squares and glued them on a piece of scrap paper. Here is my favorite part! Sew the three pieces together!

After the items were sewn together, the bookmark still needed a little something. I cute out a couple of flowers, added a saying, and tied a ribbon on top.

Animal Crackers for Girls Little Leopard
Animal Crackers for Girls Large Droplets
Animal Crackers for Girls Jungle
Material Girls Girly Girl
Soul Food Chipboard Plaque Stickers

If you are looking to create a little something special for your child, create a bookmark. Not only will it help promote your child to read, it's also a great way to use up your scraps!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Chocolate Chip Cookies

For those of you who know me, I absolutely LOVE to bake! So I decided to start sharing some of my baking adventures with you. I will also share some of my cooking adventures as well. So without further ado, welcome to Tasty Tuesday!

I had the biggest craving for chocolate chip cookies yesturday but I did not want to venture back out in the 100+ degree weather to buy some. Then I remembered that I have a couple of chocolate chip recipes I saved that I have been wanting to try out. This recipe calls for you to brown the butter which I have never done for a cookie before but it really does change up the flavor.

After I mixed up all the ingredients, the cookies were ready to go in the oven. Don't they look oh so yummy?

After about 10 minutes of baking, they were done. The cookies turned out a bit larger than I am used to so next time I will have to make them a big smaller. I blame my eagerness to get my chocolate chip cookie fix! The girls and I waited just long enough to were they would not burn out fingers and finally, the desired gooeyness met our lips....swoon! Yes, the cookies were that good! They are almost as good as store bought but without all those pesky preservatives!

Curious about what recipe I used, here you go. Enjoy!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 ¾ ounces)
½ tsp. baking soda
14 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 ¾ sticks)
½ cup granulated sugar (3 ½ ounces)
¾ cups packed dark brown sugar (5 ¼ ounces)
1 tsp. table salt
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven rack in the middle position. Line 2 large (18×12 inch) baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl and set aside.

3. Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in 10-inch skillet (if possible, do not use nonstick) over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes.

4. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

5. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.

6. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

7. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.

8. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.

9. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.