Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Blog

I've decided to close down my shop, at least temporarily. Having 2 kids is keeping my pretty busy with out adding sewing to the mix. I'm going to sell off what's left in my Etsy shop (and hopefully get a few remaining items listed) and after that, I'll just leave the shop there to save my name but there won't be anything active. That means that this blog will be pretty much inactive, too. (Not that I was that good about posting here, anyways!)

What I am doing now, however, is weekly meal planning. I've had a few friends ask for this, and I'm starting a new blog dedicated to posting the weekly meal plans and recipes each Sunday. If you're interested, you can check it out at Let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Cut-Out Cookie Recipe

This is a great pumpkin cookie recipe from a pumpkin cookbook I have. It's become a tradition over here to make them every Halloween. I usually double the recipe to have enough to share with friends and neighbors (the recipe says this will make 50 cookies but they must use miniature cutters. I find it only makes about a dozen cookies w/the cutters I have).

2 1/4 all-purpose flour (I like to use whole wheat)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch salt
3/4 cup butter, at room temp
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I like to use sucanat)
2-3 Tbs finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg yolk

Sift the flour, spices and salt together in large bowl. In separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar and orange zest. Add in flour mixture, pumpkin puree, and egg yolk and mix to form a soft yet stiff dough. Divide into 4 balls, flatten each and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 mins. Preheat oven to 375 F. Take one section of dough out of fridge at a time and roll out to about 1/8" thick. I like to roll between two sheets of wax paper, dusted w/a bit of flour. Cut out cookies w/Halloween or fall cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 mins or until light golden on the bottom. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting. You can frost these with a cream cheese frosting or a traditional sugar cookie icing and they are also delicious plain (not too sweet, which is perfect for me).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meal Plan week of 8/15/10

This week my customary two crock pot recipes are coming from the Crock Pot Lady. I'm just linking the recipes so I don't have to re-type them.

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken and Veggies

Crock Pot Broccoli Beef (I will serve this over brown rice)

Mahi Mahi Steaks w/Mango Salsa and Curry Couscous (I'm pretty sure this came from Rachael Ray. I've had it in my recipe box for years and it is SO good!)

Make salsa ahead of time and refrigerate. Combine the following:
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1" fresh ginger, grated
1/4 of a cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
20 or so blades fresh chives, chopped
1 lime, juiced

Grill the Mahi Mahi:
Squeeze juice of one lime over 4 mahi mahi steaks. Drizzle with EVOO and season w/S&P. Grill about 5 mins per side.

Make the Couscous:
2 cups chicken broth or water
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs EVOO
1 handful raisins (I like golden raisins for this)
1 cup couscous
2 scallions, sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 navel orange, peeled and chopped
2 oz sliced almonds

Bring broth to boil w/curry powder, salt, oil & raisins. Place couscous in separate bowl. Add boiling liquid and cover. Let stand 10 mins. Fluff w/fork and stir in scallions, carrot, orange and almonds.

Top fish with salsa and serve w/couscous and additional veggies if desired.

"Happy" Pork Chops (this came from a wine tasting I held at my house)
6 pork chops (1/2 to 3/4" thick), seasoned w/S&P
EVOO for sauteing
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups uncooked rice
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 med jalapenos, minced
1 cup water or beer
2 cups chicken broth
fresh cilantro, chopped

heat oil in large skillet; add pork. Sear on both sides just until brown, about 1 min on each side. Remove from skillet and cover loosely w/foil.

Add garlic and onions to skillet. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 2 mins, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add rice, stirring until just begins to brown, about 3-4 mins. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, beer and broth. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 mins. (If using brown rice like I plan to, I'm guessing this would need to simmer more like 1/2 hr before proceeding to the next step and you might need more liquid - refer to package directions).

Place chops on top of rice, cover. Simmer 8-10 mins until pork is done. Let stand 5 mins before serving. Sprinke w/chopped cilantro and serve w/green salad or veggies of choice.

Salmon Salad Fajitas
Combine in mixing bowl:
1 tin salmon, drained
2 Tbs mayo
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 tsp chili powder

Add, stirring gently:
1 carrot, grated
1 green onion, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
S&P to taste

Serve in whole wheat tortillas or pitas. Makes 4 servings.

New Items in Shop

I've just listed a few new items in my Etsy shop. I'm particularly fond of this adorable birdie prefold. Check it and the other new items out at!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meal Plan week of 8/8/10

Szechuan Orange Ginger Chicken
1 orange, juiced and grated rind
2 cloves garlic, fnely chopped
1 tbs fresh grated ginger
1 tbs cider vinegar
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
2-3 bell peppers of various colors, cut into strips
oil for sauteeing
hot cooked brown rice

Mix orange rind w/ garlic and ginger, set aside. Whisk orange juice, vinegar, hot sauce, sugar and cornstarch, set aside. Saute chicken in oil until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. Cool the ginger, orange rind, and garlic in same hot oil for about 10 sec (until fragrant). Add bell peppers and cook 2-3 mins. Return chicken to pan, add sauce, cook until thickened. Serve over rice.

Tuna Burgers
Mix:Bold2 tins water packed tuna, drained
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat breadcrubs
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs teriyaki sauce
1 tbs ketchup

Shape into 4 patties. Sprinkle some cornmeal on dish and coat patties on each side. Fry in olve oil for about 6 mins per side or until browned and heated through. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce or in whole wheat bun or pita. Serve w/veggies or green salad

Thai Chicken Tortilla Pizza
Preheat oven to 375
Bake 4 large whole wheat tortillas for 3 mins on ungreased cookie sheet.
Make Thai peanut sauce:
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup light soy sauce (important to use light otherwise will be too salty)
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbs honey
1 tsp garlic powder
pinch red pepper flakes

Spread 1-2 Tbs peanut sauce on heated tortillas
Sprinkle evenly on tortillas:
2 cups diced cooked chicken
small red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup grated carrots
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Bake 10-12 mins until cheese is melted and edges are lightly browned.

Curried Chicken Apple Salad
1 tbs oil
1 tbs curry powder
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 med apple, cubed
6 dried apricots, diced
salad greens

For dressing: heat oil in small saucepan. Add curry powder and onion. Saute 1-2 mins or until onions are tender. Add lemon juice, honey and salt. Simmer until sauce begins to thicken, about a min. Remove from heat and cool. Stir in mayo and yogurt. Set aside. In large bol, toss chicken, celery, red pepper, apple and apricots. Add dressing and gently toss to coat. Serve over salad greens.

Crock pot chili
2 lbs ground beef or steak cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Brown ground beef in skillet. If using steak you don't have to brown. Mix all ingredients except beans in slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hrs. Stir in beans and cook on high 15-20 mins. Serve w/your favorite chili fixins and cornbread or tortillas.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Embellished Shades

When our oldest moved out of the nursery into her big girl room, we moved the wooden blinds with her. That left the nursery with only a valance above the windows. We found these plain white roman-style shades and put them up. But they were so boring. So I decided to embellish them. I have a bit of a fabric stash going on, and found some complimenting colors in there. I was hoping to do two different fabrics and alternate them. Unfortunately I didn't have enough material of only two patterns, so I ended up with more of an eclectic, hodge-podge look. I think it works, though.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan 7/26/10

I told a friend that I would share my weekly meal plans with her. Since I'm writing them up for her, I thought I'd post them here, too.

I normally do 5 or 6 days of meals and plan to have leftovers one or two nights.

The meals:
1. Jenna's Penne with Veggies
2. Red Beans and Rice (I like to serve w/green salad)
3. Pork Chops w/apples and kraut (pick out some veggies of choice to serve with this)
4. BBQ Chicken w/quinoa (say keen-wa) and veggies
5. Crock Pot Chicken w/Pepper and Pineapple

The recipes:
Penne w/Veggies
1 lb box of Penne pasta cooked al dente (I like to use whole wheat pasta for better nutritional profile but any will work)
approx 1 lb Italian sausage, cooked and then sliced into rounds (I cook this up as I'm bringing my pasta water to boil)
1/2 med onion, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 med zucchini, sliced about 1/8" thick
2 med yellow squash, sliced the same
1-2 tomatoes, chopped (totally optional, sometimes I leave them out)
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for sauteing and drizzling
S&P (salt & pepper) to taste
Parmesean or Romano cheese to taste

Saute the onion in a big skillet until translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the two kinds of squash and saute until tender. Add the tomatoes if using and cook for just one min more then remove from heat. Add in your cooked and drained pasta and your cooked sausage. Drizzle w/EVOO, toss together, and season to taste w/S & P and cheese. This makes a lot so you can have your leftovers on a different night :)

Red Beans and Rice
2 stalks celery, with leaves, sliced
1 med red onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or one cup dry beans, soaked overnight and cooked earlier in the day)
6 oz (approx) canadian bacon, cut into strips
1 cup chicken broth
about 5 Tbs parsley (here you go - a use for your parsley! I just eyeball it and never actually measure my parsley)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce (this is what my recipe calls for but I usually end up adding a lot more)
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 cup rice, cooked (I like brown rice, again for better nutritional content)
EVOO for sauteing

In large saucepan or skillet, saute celery, onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf in EVOO about 10 mins until veggies are tender. Stir in beans, canadian bacon, broth, most of the parsley, worcestershire, and hot pepper sauce. Stir occasionally until heated through. Discard bay leaf. Spoon over hot rice and sprinkle with remaining parsley. This is a pretty good meal as-is but I often like to add a green salad. (You might get leftovers with this one, too).

Pork Chops w/Apples and Kraut
I'm gong to give you the recipe as it's written, which is for oven cooking. I'm going to assemble this and put it in the crock pot instead.
4 1" thick pork chops
2 apples, cored and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
14 tsp nutmeg
32 oz sauerkraut, drained
veggies of choice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brown chops in skillet about 5 mins on each side or until browned. Place chops in 9x13 baking dish (I don't see why you couldn't leave them in the skillet if it was oven safe). In bowl, combine remaining ingredients except veggies and mix well. Divide evenly and mound on chops. Cover and cook about 1 hr or until fork tender. Serve w/veggies of choice.

BBQ Chicken w/Quinoa and Veggies
This is simple. Just BBQ whatever kind of chicken pieces you like. We got a great tangy BBQ sauce at the local farmer's market that we'll use on this. Cook quinoa according to package directions (they have a big bag at Costco or I usually get mine in the bulk section at Sprouts). If you get the bulk kind, I think the ratio is one cup of quinoa to 2 cups water (like rice). I like to add butter and salt to the water when cooking. Steam until all the water is absorbed. You can also make in a rice cooker. Cook up whatever veggies you like and serve all together.

Crock Pot Chicken w/Peppers and Pineapple
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2" pieces
4 med carrots, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs grated gingerroot (or 1 tsp ground but it tastes better w/fresh)
1 Tbs packed brown sugar
2 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp red pepper sauce
8 oz pineapple chunks in juice, drained and juice reserved
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 med red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
hot cooked rice for serving

Mix everything except pineapple, cornstarch and bell pepper in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hrs. Mix reserved pineapple juice and cornstarch until smooth and gradually stir into chicken mixture in crock pot. Stir in pineapple and bell pepper. Cover and finish cooking on high about 15 mins until slightly thickened. Serve over rice. You can top w/sliced green onions (or chives - come on over and get some!), toasted coconut (unsweetened), and/or chopped peanuts or cashews.