Sunday, August 7, 2011

Delicate Doilies

Hmm..the new In Colours for 2011-2013 includes a gorgeous purple called Wisteria Wonder. It's such a delicate feminine purple, even suitable for baby girl cards. I can see it as wedding shower cards, perhaps even as the colour theme of spring weddings next year.

And, what a perfect combination with the new stamp set Delicate Doilies. This stamp set actually reminds me of Circle Circus, which I also love. I am drawn to the geometric swirls with floral accents and have seen some beautifully simple creations made with it (I will post samples later).

There are so many new amazing stamp sets in the latest Idea Book & Catalogue (released on July 1), I will have to begin making up events just to be able to send out cards!

Stamp Set: Delicate Doilies & Curly Cute
Card Base: Whisper White, 4.25"x5.5" cut long-ways
Layer #2: Wisteria Wonder, 4"x5.25"
Layer #3: Whisper White, 3.75"x5"
Ink: Whisper White, Versa Mark and heat embossed with Clear Embossing Podwer
Punch: Fancy Flower, Doily Triple Layer, Five Petal Flower
Ribbon: Pretty in Pink Satin Ribbon
Embellishment: Basic Rhinestone

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Jelly Slice

This is a total throw back to my growing-up years. The recipe for jelly slice came from my Aunty Carol, and she used to make it for us kids when we visited. I am sure it came from one of those Womens Country Association Cookbooks, or something along those lines. It is so easy to make this - you don't even need to turn on the oven or stove. The most you need to do is boil the kettle, and I am sure pretty much everyone can do that.

I have to admit, I don't remember the last time I even ate this, although I have had the raspberry jelly in my pantry for a while just waiting for the opportunity to make it. One of my Facebook friends posted a picture of one she had made for a baby shower, and I thought that it was about time.

I love the simplicity of the clean lines, just remember to use a hot knife (run it under the hot tap and wipe dry with a clean kitchen towel) for each slice.

Your kids will love it, and it looks great, if not a little kitsch, if you layer green and red jelly at Christmas time!

Jelly Slice
Makes one 8x8 pan

1 package plain tea cookies (Marie Biscuits in Australia), crushed
6oz unsalted butter, melted

Combine crushed cookies with melted butter in a large bowl. Press firmly into an 8x8 square tin. Set aside. 

1 can sweetened condensed milk
juice from 2 lemons
3 teaspoons gelatine dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Pour over cookie base and shake gently to ensure it is evenly spread. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

1 package raspberry jelly
200ml boiling water
200ml cold water

Mix jelly with boiling water until dissolved, mix in cold water and pour gently over middle layer. Refrigerate until set, at least for 2-3 hours, or overnight.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

With All My Heart

This is my all time favourite die for the Big Shot - the Lattice Bigz Die. I love that it is so simply elegant and easy to make into a stunning card. I also love the colour combination of Baja Breeze and Early Espresso. There is just something so classic, yet modern, about those colours together.

Stamp Set: With All My Heart
Card Base: Whisper White, 4"x4"
Layer #2: Early Espresso, 3.75"x3.75"
Layer #3: DSP Pocketful of Posies, 3.5"x3.5"
Lattice: Whisper White, 3.5"x3.5"
Lattice Fill: DSP Pocketful of Posies, 3.5"x3.5"
Ribbon: Early Espresso 1/4" Grosgrain
Ink: Early Espresso
Punch: Modern Label

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mini Potato Salad

Ok, I am on a salad recipe roll these days, but honestly, it is HOT outside, and there is nothing I prefer more than a refreshingly COLD salad straight from the fridge on a day as hot as we have been having. Honestly, today it feels about 40C. I almost passed out pushing the stroller on the way home from the park this morning, and that was 10am. Crazy times, but I love it! I would take heat and humidity any day over snow and ice - hands down! No complaints about the weather from me.

So potato salad. This is one of those family of salads I tend to suck at making. I over cook the potatoes, I tend to always  under-season it, I add too much dressing, you name it, I have done it to the humble potato salad.

Walking through Loblaws the other day I saw these mini multi-coloured potatoes (no comments on buying's too hot to venture out...sorry farmers) and couldn't resist them. I used to buy them, but the supply was so erratic you never knew if they would be in stock so you couldn't plan for them. Now I see them piled high next to mini red skin and mini white potatoes, all in the same convenient 1.5lb package. Yay for convenience! When fingerlings are in season, they are side by side these potatoes too.

I wasn't sure if the brilliant purple hued variety would bleed into my white potatoes and I would end up with a grey mess, but luckily they stayed their own fabulous colour. Perhaps a creamy dressing isn't the best to showcase the gorgeous colours, but what a nice surprise biting into a piece of potato and finding out it's purple on the inside. Love it!

Like the pickles? That's my husband. I asked him to make dinner one night, he made potato salad with all kinds of stuff in it - even the pickles, which I have grown to love.
And again, I am rumaging through the bottom of the fridge for ingredients, but they all work together majestically in this recipe.

Mini Potato Salad
Makes 6-8 serves

1.5lbs potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
5 slices of bacon, roasted then chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 piece celery, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
3-4 sour pickles, diced (not the sweet ones, I used cornichons)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, drain and set aside to cool. Place in the refrigerator until cold.

Meanwhile, prepare all the other ingredients and combine in a large bowl. Mix well.

When potatoes are cold, combine with dressing and other ingredients. Season well - be careful of adding too much salt, as the bacon, pickles and mayonnaise all are quite salty.

This salad tastes amazing the next day too, so if you needed to, it could be prepared a day ahead.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baby Thank You's

Back to card making, which I absolutely love. These are the cards I made for my twin thank you's. I adore Fox and Friends for all things kid or baby related, and seeing as we had one boy and one girl, we have Pretty in Pink, Bashful Blue and Certainly Celery.

Stamp Set: Fox & Friends, Curly Cute
Card Base: Bashful Blue, 5"x5" square - fits nicely into a medium Whisper White square envelope
Layer #1: Certainly Celery, 4.75"x4.75", and run through the Big Shot with the Backgrounds #1Texturz Plates
Layer #2: Whisper White, 4" x 3.75", unfortunately not a Stampin Up border punch
Layer #3: Pear Pizzaz In-Colour Designer Paper, 3.75"x 2 & 7/8"
Punches: 1 & 3/4" Scallop Punch, Modern Label Punch, 1 & 1/2" Circle Punch
Ink: Certainly Celery
Ribbon: Certainly Celery Satin
Cardstock" Bashful Blue, Pretty in Pink, Certainly Celery and Whisper White

Carrot Apple Slaw

Well, the heat has been incredible lately. This is summer, and this is what we wait for all year. I love it, I love it, I love it. I also love my air conditioner, my barbecue and the splash pad for my kids. And, on a day like today there is no reason whatsoever to heat the inside of my kitchen more than it already is.

I wasn't exactly sure what to make today. It was too hot to get to the store so I had to figure out what to do with everything that was left in the bottom of my fridge. It's not bad by any means, it's just that it's leftover from the weekend - bits of this, ends of that, half eaten pieces here, wrapped up ends get the picture.

Part of my kitchen philosophy is to never waste food, and I seem to be doing quite a lot of that lately. I am too tired (twins are almost 6 months old, which means that it's 6 months I haven't slept a whole night through - but that's another story), I forget what I have, I am too lazy to look, but basically when I cook these days, it needs to be quick. I don't have much of the luxury of time these days, so the quicker I can prepare and cook a meal, the better. Hence, not much thought goes into the lunch or dinner process these days.

Well, I want to change that. I want to enjoy cooking again. It has been way too long to have to do something, rather than want to do something, if you know what I mean.

So, in my fridge, leftover from the last expedition to the grocery store (if you see someone struggling with infant twins and a very independent 2 year old, that's  me!) I had apples and carrots, and a couple of green onions. There was some broccoli and cauliflower too, mushrooms that should have been cooked at least 4 days ago and a couple of lemons. Carrot slaw was entering my mind, carrots and apples, maybe some dried cranberries for sweetness. I was thinking of a carrot and raisin salad, but I detest raisins, so something similar would work, why not cranberries?

The end result is a tart, tangy and suprisingly refreshing shredded slaw. Yum, and yum. It was so good, you know exactly what I am having for lunch tomorrow.

Carrot Apple Slaw
Makes enough for 6 servings.

6 carrots, peeled (or 2 bags matchstick carrots from grocery stores)
2 gala apples, or any sweet eating apple, not peeled
3 green onions, green and white parts, chopped
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt & pepper

Julienne the carrots and apples. I used my mandolin with the 2mm cutting blade, but you could cut by hand, or cheat and purchase the matchstick carrots at the grocery store.
Add green onions and quickly add the lemon juice. Mix well, but gently, to ensure the lemon juice is stirred through. This will help to prevent the browning of the apple.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. You might want to add a little more honey if you find the dressing too tart. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve - the longer you let everything meld together,the better it will taste.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Packaged Cookies

As I sit here and eat yet another cookie from the other day, I decided it's time to give some away before I eat the entire batch of 30. Not that I couldn't, and that I don't want to, it's just that I probably shouldn't. I have already put on 30lbs with this pregnancy, and with technically another 12 weeks to go, that could balloon to almost 50lbs before I know it. In the back of my mind, there is always the dreaded thought of how long it will take me to get back to my normal size. 

Fairly simple packaging, I just used up some leftover Christmas Contempo DSP and some Old Olive cardstock (Stamping Up) and wrapped it around, tied it up with some Old Olive ribbon and hey presto, magically wrapped cookies - ready for giving!

Now the question is who will be the lucky recipients?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's been a while since I have had the time, or the energy, to cook and then sit down and write here. I feel bad, I really enjoy doing it, but something had to give. The reason is, we are expecting (again), and this time we were quite shocked to learn that we are having twins! I know, major freak out for a couple of days, with thoughts running through our heads - will we need a new car to fit three car seats, three kids in diapers - holy crap (literally), two new cribs, more clothes, more bedding, another mattress, baby formula and then the big kicker for me....bye bye personal time!
Now that we are over the shock and surprise, we are really happy and excited to welcome one boy and one girl in March.

Seeing as we just woke up to a new year, one of my resolutions is to be more productive and consistent on the blog, and my other one is to be a better wife to my husband - who does absolutely everything possible to make my life easier. I figured, it's time to give a little more back. I'll try. Really hard. I promise.

So, seeing as it's New Years Day, and there's not much going on in our house (except for some serious potty training for our 2 year old son), it's a good day for good old Chocolate Chip Cookies. It's something I can do with my son, while I wait and watch for the signs that it's time to "go".

These are fairly simple, they have a couple of different ingredients, but they make for an excellent light and crisp cookie - especially fresh and hot out of the oven.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Cooks Illustrated, I think - this recipe has been in my handwritten book for a while now)
Makes 30 x 1oz scooped cookies

2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional, I put it in, you can't taste it, it just adds another layer)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
2 cups flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla, almond extract, vinegar and baking soda and mix until light and fluffy and well combined.
Add egg and mix well, scraping down sides before adding flour and chocolate chips. Mix gently, but well.
Portion dough into 1/4" balls (I used a 1oz ice cream scoop), place on baking sheets and flatten slightly.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking. You want the edges to be browned and the tops to be blonde in colour.

Santa would be proud, Enjoy!