Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Recipe of the Week...Mac-n-Cheese

One of the simple, comfort foods that I love is Mac-n-Cheese...I think that it has to be a dish that originated in heaven! Where else could something so creamy, cheesy, warm and filling have come from?!?! Anyhoo, while I was grocery shopping I stumbled across a new kind of shredded cheddar cheese that had Philly cream cheese in it, so I bought it to try in home-made Mac-n-Cheese...

Here's how I make mac-n-cheese from scratch:

  • 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1 - 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz. bag Kraft shredded triple cheddar with a touch of Philly cream cheese
Place macaroni into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes. (Macaroni should still be firm). Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan melt butter and add in flour, stirring until blended. Whisk evaporated milk and ground mustard into butter/flour mixture, stirring constantly until thickened. Turn heat to low and add all but 1/2 cup of the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Add drained macaroni, salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder to cheese mixture, stirring to combine. Pour macaroni mixture into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle remianing 1/2 cup of the cheese on top and bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. SOOOOO good!!

Note: Another variation is to add cooked ham that has been cut into cubes to the mac-n-cheese before baking...this makes a wonderful one-dish meal!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Ribbon Flower Tutorial

Happy Monday, All! Today I would like to share with you 3 variations on how to make a very cute and simple flower just by using scraps of ribbon! These fun little flowers work great to decorate cards, scrapbook pages, gift bags/boxes, and other papercrafting projects as well! Here are the 3 items that I dressed up with ribbon flowers that I made...

A card:

A small gift box:

And a gift bag:

All of the flowers are made basically the same way, but I added a little variation to the red flower, which uses a wider ribbon.

Let's get started! Begin by punching a 1" circle from a scrap piece of cardstock to form the base of your flower:

Set circle aside. Cut ribbon into 2 1/2" long pieces. (The narrower your ribbon is, the more ribbon you'll need for each flower. The gingham and blue flowers, shown on the projects above, were made with narrower ribbon and the red flower was made with wide ribbon). Apply a Glue Dot to the end of each piece of ribbon and adhere the ends of the ribbon to each other to form a loop:

Attach a Glue Dot to the back side of each loop and attach the loops to the circle base as shown here:

Run a piece of very thin organza ribbon through the holes in a coordinating button and tie ribbon into a knot to secure. Apply Glue Dots to the back of the button and attach to the center of the flower:

Ta-Dah!! Here's what your finished flower should look like:

Now for the instructions to create the red ribbon flower that I attached to the gift bag...once again begin by punching out a 1" circle from a scrap piece of cardstock. Following the same directions shown above, form loops with your ribbon pieces and secure with Glue Dots. Pinch the base of the ribbon together and secure with a Glue Dot:

You will need to use 2 additional Glue Dots to secure the bottom part of the ribbon where you've pinched it together:

There really is a Glue Dot on the corner of that's just hard to see in this photo - sorry!!

Fold the left side of your flower petals back and secure with Glue Dots so that they will retain their shape...your flower petals will now look like this:

Attach the petals to the cardstock circle with Glue Dots, slighty overlapping them as you go. Your flower should now look like this:

Using a liquid glue, (I used Liquid Glass from CTMH), attach a large button to the center of the flower and let dry. Fold a scrap piece of green ribbon to form a leaf and tuck under the edge of your flower, securing with Glue Dots. Your flower is now ready to attach to your project:

Happy Scrappin'!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quote Sunday

God let me stand on your promises;
Or fall on your grace...
Please, Oh Lord,
not again on my face!
~ Unknown

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Signs of an Oklahoma Spring

Whew! It's hard to believe that tomorrow is already Friday...this week has just flown by!!

Don't you just love spring?? I sure do! I love to hear the birds singing in my yard and to see all of the flowers and trees start to bloom! Here are a few spring pictures that I've taken over the past few days of some of the sites I see around my yard this time of year...

The first two photos are of some bluebirds that are building nests in the birdhouses that are attached to my back fence - aren't they so cute??

Next are some photos of a few of the spring flowers that are blooming around my yard:

And lastly, here is a photo of one of the beautiful Bradford pear trees that are in bloom along the entrance to my neighborhood:

Wishing you a happy day!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recipe of the Week...Cherry Crisp

A couple of weeks ago my friend/co-worker Kristin asked me if I had a good recipe for cherry crisp with an oatmeal topping. I told her that, as a matter-of-fact, I did have such a recipe! (So, Kristin, this post is for you!!) I hadn't made cherry crisp for a while, so last week while I was on spring break I made one for my fellas, (who were much appreciative!), and thought that I'd share the recipe with you this week!

  • 2 - 10 oz. bags of frozen, pitted cherries (I used organic cherries), thawed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut (NOTE: if you don't like coconut you can omit and add a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans)
  • Extra softened butter to grease baking dish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease the inside of a 7" x 10" x 2" baking dish with butter. Place thawed fruit, with juices, in a medium mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 3 Tablespoons flour to cherries and toss to coat. Pour fruit mixture into baking dish. To make topping combine all of the dry ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Add softened butter to the dry mixture and cut in until dry mixture forms coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over fruit mixture. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and refrigerate any left-overs. Soooo good and excellent served with coffee!!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

"A Happy Home" Card and Housewarming Gift...

My friend Janice and her hubby Dane recently built/moved into a new home, so I made these tile coasters for them as a house warming gift. (Sorry for the glare on one of the tiles!) I used brown StazOn ink, the swirl stamp from the Felicity stamp set and the letter "R" from the CTMH Rustic Letters stamp set to create these monogrammed coasters for them. I tied them up with a pretty teal blue satin ribbon and they made a really cute and practical gift! (Janice said that they match her decor perfectly - yeah!!)

Here's the cute house-warming card that I made for them too...the sentiment on the inside of the card says "is filled with love and laughter". It's hard to tell from the photo, but the word home is attached with 3-D dots with a curve in the middle to give it a banner effect:

I also made a set of tile coasters for my friend Gina, who bought new furniture last week while we were on spring break. I figured that she should have new coasters to go with her new furniture! Once again I used brown StazOn ink as well as the swirl from the CTMH Felicity stamp set. (I've gotten a lot of mileage out of that swirl stamp, haven't I??) I also used the little bird from that stamp set as well as the "Seize the Day" phrase from the CTMH "Something Splendid" stamp set. (Again - sorry for the glare on one of these tiles, too!)

Thanks for looking! Have a WONDERFUL week!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quote Sunday

"Trust everyone but always brand your cattle". ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recipe of the Week...Easy Make-Ahead Lasagna

Shortly after Mike and I got married he told me that I just HAD to get his sister Sandy's lasagna recipe because it was one of his favorite meals. Sandy happily obliged and wrote down her recipe for me so that I could make this dish for her little brother! Over the years I've tweaked her recipe to make it mine, and to this day it is still one of Mike's all-time favorite meals.

  • 1 large jar of Ragu with mushrooms (2 lb. 13 oz. size)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. lean hamburger meat
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a 24 oz. container of lowfat cottage cheese
  • 2 cups mozarella cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lasagna noodles - uncooked
Brown hamburger meat and onion together until onions are tender and meat is no longer pink. Rinse hamburger meat with hot water to remove excess fat. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients, except the cheddar cheese and lasagna noodles. Spray a lasagna pan with non-stick cooking spray and spread 1/3 of the meat/sauce mixture in the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles and top with 1/3 of the remaining meat/sauce mixture. Repeat, ending with final layer of meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top with cheddar cheese and cover pan with foil. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake foil-covered lasagna for about 45 minutes or until hot and cheese on top is bubbly. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Can be served with a side salad and garlic toast - DELICIOUS!! Any leftovers can be frozen into individual serving containers to pack for lunches.

Wishing you a terrific day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Interchangeable Photo Canvas Tutorial

Happy Monday! Today is the first day of my spring break - WOO HOO! - so I decided to create a quick little canvas project to share with you!

Start out by painting an 8" x 10" artist's canvas with acrylic paint...I used Apple Barrel's "Nutmeg Brown" for the base color:

Once the paint has dried, apply a light coat of a coordinating color on top of the brown - I used Apple Barrel's "Barn Red". (You'll want the brown paint to show through the red paint).

When the paint has dried, use a pencil eraser to create painted dots on the canvas. I used Apple Barrel's "Antique Gold" for my dots:

While the dots were drying, I cut out the hearts, flourishes, and the "You and Me" phrase using my Cricut and the Don Juan cartridge. I cut out 4 sets of "You and Me" - one in each of these 4 colors: Barn Red, Teal, Gold, and Tan. I also cut out 2 sets of the hearts in the same 4 colors, graduating the sizes of the hearts:

Using a Zig glue pen, apply glue to the backs of the red, tan, and teal cut-outs and adhere them together - staggering them slightly as shown in the following photos:

Once you've gotten the layers glued together, using a brown pen loosely trace around the outside edge of the teal phrase, adding "x's" and "hatch marks" for definition:

Layer and adhere the heart cut outs, as shown, and loosely trace around the hearts too:

Apply 3-D dots to the back of the phrase and hearts and set aside. (NOTE: This is a GREAT way to use up the negative space left from the 3-D dots...just cut apart in the sizes you need!)

Cut a 1" wide piece of grosgrain ribbon, (I chose red), 20" long. Fold the corners to angle the ribbon upward when it is adhered along the top edge of the canvas. Attach a brad to each of the angles to hold in place. (I used a Crop-A-Dile to punch the holes in the ribbon).

Apply 3 rows of Terrifically Tacky Tape to the back of the ribbon - in the area between the brads:

Make two marks on the ribbon, centered between the two brads that you've already attached, to use as a guide to punch holes for 2 more brads. Using 2 more brads, attach 2 Tim Holtz hinge clips to the ribbon:

Attach the ribbon to the top of the canvas and knot the ribbons together at the top to form a hanger. Trim the ends of the ribbon.

Triple mat a 4" x 6" photo with coordinating cardstock:

Attach the matted photo to the canvas using the hinge clips. (NOTE: Since the matted photo is only attached with the hinge clips, you can change it any time you like!)

Apply the flourishes where they are tucked slightly under the matted photo. Attach the "You and Me" phrase to the lower right corner and the staggered hearts to the lower left side:

Tie hemp through the holes in 2 little buttons and attach with glue dots to the centers of the hearts. Tie a small hemp bow and attach with a glue dot to the bases of the flourishes located near the top, right edge of the matted photo. Your interchangeable photo canvas is now complete and ready to hang on a wall!

I'd love to see the canvases that you create! Please feel free to share photos of your creations with me by clicking on "Contact Me", (which is located under my blog header), and upload/email your canvas photos to me!

Happy Scrappin'!!