Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Curry Ketchup Recipe

The other day I was looking for a recipe to bring as an appetizer to a friend's house. I thought chickpea patties sound really yummy and easy (my first mistake). Hubbie suggested that I make curry ketchup for dipping, like they do at T'afia (one on my favorite restaurants in Houston) for their Chickpea Fries. The only thing that turned out to be easy was the ketchup. You could totally dip frozen french fries in this- it completely elevates whatever you dip it in. The funny thing is, I don't think I even LIKE curry or ketchup. I might even dig out a real curry recipe to try sometime soon!

As for patties...sometimes bad recipes happen to good people. I blended all the ingredients together like the recipe said, decided to bake them and spooned into muffin tins. Then I realized i had FORGOTTEN to add the mashed potatoes. So I had to spoon it all out and blend it up again. At this point, chickpea goo was on everything- on my jeans, the floor, all over the counter, the entire the texture was sort of strange. I ended up deciding to fry them, which actually went OK on our brand new electric griddle. Ended up taking way longer than expected, like an hour. I could have cooked an actual dinner in that time! They ended up tasting good, but I guess everyone has to have a few misses sometimes.

Silly me, I forgot to take a picture, this is borrowed 
Red Curry Ketchup Recipe:

1/2 cup of ketchup
1 tbs lime juice
2 tsp curry powder

Mix it all together and dip to your heart's content!

Update...this is the super easy version. I am so adding this harder one to my list for when I have more time!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Edamame Bruschetta Spread Recipe from Honest Vanilla

Happy Tuesday, folks! I can't take a lot of credit for this recipe, but I just HAD to share the love. I did adapt it a bit to make it even easier than the original recipe. I am a huge fan of letting my blender do the work for me- you should be too!

I made this when a few friends came over for dinner the other day, and I seriously could spread this stuff on bread all day long. They said it reminded them of Guacamole. So yummy, and a great quick appetizer when you are having people over.

Edamame Bruschetta
This recipe makes a LOT, enough to serve at least 6, and maybe more if you have more than one appetizer.

1/2 cup of herbs (I did a combo of basil, parsley and lemon mint from my patio)
3 garlic cloves
Half a 16 ounce bag of shelled Edamame
2 tbs of olive oil
1 tbs of grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the Edamame in the microwave with a little water for 3-4 minutes until defrosted. While your waiting, put the herbs, de-skinned garlic and olive oil in your blender/food processer and whirl it about until it's nicely crushed together. Slice your baguette into little crostinis and pop in the oven at 350 degree for about 10 minutes or until nicely toasted. Make about five pieces for each person.

When the microwave part is done, drain most of the water and add the Edamame to the blender. Blend it together until it is just a little chunky. Add a little water if it's not incorporating well. Dump the spread in a small serving bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the Parmesan. Serve with the crispy bread on the side and let people put as much as they want on each piece.

This recipe tastes great both hot and cold, and I am pretty sure leftovers would taste just as yummy spread on a sandwich the next day.

Adapted from:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spring Wreath: Make your own moss monogram!

Changing the decorations over for the seasons is super fun. I have several Rubbermaid boxes that hold my fall, Christmas, Valentine's and spring decorations. I'm not such a fan of Saint Patty's day, and I sort of loose steam for summer, but for the rest of the year, I'm all over it! I think spring might be one of my favorites (baby chicks, Easter eggs!!) and I have already put out all my decorations, even though it is not quite March.

Yay little peep!
When I was wandering the seasonal decoration section recently at Hobby Lobby, I saw this little monogrammed wreath:

I thought it was cute if a little...plastic-y. I mulled it over for a few days, and decided to make my own! What you'll need make your own letter:

Some sturdy cardboard- something that will hold up but not be too hard to cut
Acrylic paint in a nice spring color, if you want to cover the cardboard up (mine had some writing on it)
Package of dried moss (got my package from Dollar Tree, but the floral section of any craft store would have it too)
Craft or Elmer's glue
Ribbon or yarn

To start, trace with a pencil the letter that you would like to make. Make sure it is kind of thick and even. My S ended up being about 9 inches tall. Take a hole punch and make a hole somewhere near the top of the letter, where it looks like it would hang well (I unfortunately skipped this step for mine. Do as I say and not as I do in this case). Paint the letter if you want it to be extra pretty and a bit sturdier, back and front. You won't have to be quite as thorough about sticking moss on there if you take this step. Let dry.

Spread glue on the letter about an inch at a time, and press bits of the moss on so the letter is mostly covered. Make sure not to cover up your hole too much. Let it dry for about an hour, and then look over your letter to make sure there aren't any weird open spots. If there are, put on a bit more glue and patch them. Let the letter dry overnight.

Take a long piece of ribbon or yarn (figure out where you want to hang it in advance so you know how long/short it should be) and loop it through the hole and adjust so it hangs nicely. I love how nice my monogram smells, and that it wasn't made from bits of plastic. What do you think?

P.S. I linked this post for Sew Chatty's Link Up!

Sew Chatty

Friday, February 24, 2012

Broccoli Soup Recipe- Mmm, Healthy Creamy Soup!

Happy Friday everyone! I have been a horrible poster. The combo of vacay, then work trip, then stomach flu while on work trip has made me an unambitious blogger. I am headed back to the lovely state of Texas this morning, so hopefully I will get back on track!

I love making soup. Love, love, love. Potato and corn chowder are near the top, but broccoli is probably the kind I make the most. Since I started making soup, I have also started making and freezing my own broth from leftover chicken carcasses. So cheap, plus the sodium level is insanely better (obviously, the only sodium is what you put in). I'll have to cover how I do it in a future post.

I also loooove rouxes, which I mentioned previously in one of my breakfast posts. They can make so many yummy things, and who doesn't have some flour, butter and milk in the house? With this cheese-y broccoli recipe, I tend to throw in whatever veggies I have in the house. Broccoli of course, but on the day I made the soup for this post, I also steamed some carrots along with my broccoli and threw some free spinach into the blender with the rest of the veggies. Also as an FYI, I most of the time I use frozen broccoli, since it's cheaper and all cut up. If you do that, you only need to do the boiling in step two for about five minutes. 

Last little tip, whenever I do buy a big head of broccoli, I cut and steam the head, and save the stalk for making soup later in the week. Tastes a lot better pureed, and I then I don't have to feel bad about throwing away fresh vegetables. Normally this soup is a lot more bright green, but the spinach and carrot made it a little darker.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
(makes quite a few servings, so think about halving this if you don't want to eat soup for a whole week)

3 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
4 cups broccoli, chopped
Dash of garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar
Slices of crusty bread


1. In a large saucepan, mix chicken broth, onion, broccoli, garlic
powder, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover,
and simmer 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

2. Remove bay leaves and pour mixture into a food processor. Pulse
until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Reserve in a bowl.

3. In the original saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour, salt, and a
little pepper until a thick paste forms. Add milk and cook, stirring
constantly, until mixture thickens. Add cheddar; stir until it

4. Pour in broccoli mixture and cook until blended. If necessary, add
more chicken broth to thin. Season with additional salt and pepper.
Serve with bread for dipping.

Adapted from Parade:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Vest that Never Was, or Making a Shrug from a Rectangle

Last year sometime I decided to make a vest from a book I got when I was learning to crochet, "Learn to Crochet in Just One Day." The patterns are a little old-fashioned, but I found the instructions to be super useful, if you're looking to learn how to crochet. In any case, I really liked the hole-y pattern of this vest, and I planned to change it up a little to make it less 80's looking. I had some pretty pink wool yarn I had gotten at Michael's on sale for super cheap, and for some reason at the time I thought this project would be super easy.
Awesome 80's school picture
In any case, I got about half-way through the pattern and stopped (I hate shaping around the chest area and making armpit holes), then decided to pick it back up this year when I was de-stashing my yarn. Tried it on again, wrapped it around me, and then realized (re-remembered?) that I had not made it wide enough to fit around my tummy. Oops. I had worked pretty hard to get as far as I had, and I really liked how nice the fabric looked, so I was determined not to waste my effort.

I had read in a Lion yarn newsletter about turning a rectangle into a shrug, and Wa-La! I had my inspiration. Creating this shrug was so super simple, any beginning crochet or knit-er could do this project with a little patience. In a nutshell, crochet a rectangle that is long enough to cover the bottom of your shoulder blades. For this piece, I did crochet one, skip a stitch, etc. in order to get the pretty holes. You could use any pattern you like so long as it produces a nice rectangle shape. Then I turned the rectangle inside out and slip stitched a seam up until about my armpits and flipped it right side out. I went around the armholes in a single crochet for about 5 rounds just to give them a more distinct shape. Be sure to check out the above blog link if you decide to try this, or leave a comment if you have any questions.

To finish, I slipped some flocked ribbon around the arm holes to make them a little tighter. Here is how it turned out:

I was pretty happy with how this turned out, and am so excited to wear this around town! =)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oven Pancakes with Fruit Compote

I seem to be on a bit of a breakfast kick lately. Not sure why, except that breakfast is one of the most awesome meals of the day! I mentioned this recipe a few days ago, and now that we're here in snowy Colorado and I had some extra time on my hands, I decided to try it out, compliments again of Betty Crocker.

The recipe said it served 2-4 people, but I'm pretty sure it would only serve four small children. I doubled it for three people and baked them in two 6x6 glass containers instead of a pie pan. The only other thing I changed about the recipe was that I sprayed the pans with Pam and only melted a tablespoon of butter in each one, just to reduce the unhealthiness factor a bit. I thought they still tasted delicious! Reminded me a bit of a baked crepe.

Puffy pancake in all its finished glory!
I made a yummy cinnamon apple fruit compote to put on top, which hubby and I both agreed was a suitable replacement for syrup. Get the pancake batter in the oven and then start on the fruit.

Fruit Compote:

2 apples
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 sugar
1 1/2 cups water

Chop the apples into small pieces. You can peel them, but I never do. Put your sugar, water and cinnamon in a sauce pan, stir it all together and cooking on high, let it come to a slow boil. Dump in the apples, stir it all together, and cover. Keep it at medium high and stir it every few minutes- it should be pretty bubbly the whole time. Cook until the apples are relatively soft. It took a little over 20 minutes for my fruit to be done, which timed very nicely with the pancakes coming out of the oven.

Uncooked pancake batter. You can see how buttery it is!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Heart Shaped Eggs...One Day Late

Happy Late Day of Love! Hubby was gone yesterday morning for work, so I made him heart shaped eggs this morning instead. Was a pretty easy breakfast. Just warmed up the pan, put in my heart shaped cookie cutter, cracked the egg in, put some seasonings on top, and waited for it to fry. Took longer than usual for it to be ready to flip since the egg was contained within the heart shape, probably 4 minutes?

Since the pan was well greased, I was able to flip it over pretty easily. I let it cook for another 2-3 minutes and then I gently ran a butter knife around the cookie cutter so I could remove it. Would have been a much faster process if I had had two cookie cutters! Since Valentine's Day is already over, these would also be great as a sweet anniversary breakfast.

We are leaving on vacation today for a ski trip, but I will try to post once or twice while I am gone. =)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Distressed Wood Picture Frame Pin Board

Pretty much everyone I know is using Pinterest these days. Granted, it is a pretty awesome idea- give people a place to keep all the random ideas, recipes and what-all they find for later. The amount of content we all come across online is absolutely stunning, so it totally works. However, I am one of those weirdos who still gets the newspaper, and I like to clip out recipes, books I see reviewed, events I want to go to, and since I have nowhere to keep them I stick them to the fridge with magnets. And then hubbie yells at me because they  fall down and you can't actually see the fridge is white. So. This little project was an attempt to impose some order on my little bits and pieces of paper.

It all started with a huge Amazon box (thanks, honey for having 18 boxes delivered for your new computer!) and a really ugly old picture frame.

We found this cool old sailing picture at a re-sale shop a while back, but the frame did absolutely nothing for it. I felt bad just throwing away the frame, and I had always wanted to try distressing wood, and this seemed like a good opportunity. That way, if it totally sucked, I wouldn't be ruining something that was nice or cost any money! You're probably noting that the frame already looks a bit distressed, but I was shooting for pretty distressed, not old and ugly distressed.

I Googled around and found what looked like a pretty simple technique for distressing wood using Vaseline. Check it out here. So to start, I painted the frame a nice gold color.

Then I rubbed on the Vaseline on the edges like the tutorial said- you can sort of see the shiny places in the picture. Once it was dry, I painted a pretty blue over it. You can see how the paint didn't stick well in the Vaseline-y places, which was exactly the point:

To finish this part off, I used our dry sink scrubbie (you were supposed to use steel wool, but I just didn't have that around) to get some of the blue paint to come off and let the pretty gold show through. I was actually super pleased with the result. I think it looks a lot like the chair found here.

After the frame was complete, I just needed to create the board for the pinning part. I could have bought cork board, but again, was kinda feeling the "use what's around the house" vibe. So I took that big old Amazon box, traced the inside of my frame and cut it up with a box cutter. Three layers seemed about enough so that the pin didn't stick out the other side.

I had some fabric leftover from when I was hemming our Ikea curtains, so I wrapped that around the layers of cardboard and used a regular stapler to stick them all together.

Put the fabric board inside the frame, and then traced another piece of cardboard from the outside of the frame, and then had hubbie use an industrial stapler to staple the cardboard into the wood and add a new picture frame hanger.

My new real life pinterest board is now hanging on the inside of the door of my crafting closer, and the fridge is much cleaner now!

P.S. This post has been added for Sew Chatty's "Link Up" party!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Easy Pancake Recipe

When we woke up this morning I was craving some nice fluffy pancakes, IHOP style, but was too lazy to go out. So my awesome husband whipped these up from the Betty Crocker cookbook. Seriously, go try this out before you go Google another pancake recipe some Saturday.

Turns out the secret to fluffy pancakes (guess I'm really stupid here) is whipping the egg with a mixer before adding the other ingredients. Normally I just give my egg a half-hearted scramble with a fork, but the extra effort is seriously worth it. Stay posted for pancake series part II- we are going to give Betty's puffy oven pancakes a try when we are on vacation in CO this week!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Recipe for Focaccia Pizza

One of my oft used and favorite recipes to make is a focaccia pizza. The dough has lots of nice herbs in it and makes a great flat crust pizza. In honor of a Valentines party I made the pizza into little heart shaped pizzettes with a cookie cutter. Normally though, after letting the dough rise I just put down lots of corn meal on my cutting board and roll it out to the size of my pizza stone.

As an FYI, when my husband makes this pizza, he puts the stone in the oven for about 15 minutes, carefully pulls out the stone, and then uses a pizza peel to scoop the completed pizza from the board to the stone. This creates a really awesome crispy texture, and the pizza is cooked in about eight minutes or so.

Focaccia Pizza
Makes one decent size crust

1-1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 pinch ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup water
A bit more olive for rubbing on the dough while it is rising


In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper (if you don't have all these spices, just throw in what you have). Mix in the vegetable oil and water.

When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). If you want to pre-heat your pizza stone, see instructions above. Punch dough down, put cornmeal on a large cutting board and roll out until it is nice and thin. If you want to make mini pizzas, cut out your shapes. If you're not ore-heating your stone, use a pizza peel or your hands to carefully transfer the pizza over to your pan. Add your sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings (I did salami and red pepper), and toss that baby in the oven! If you do pre-heat your stone, add all the toppings before transferring over to the pan so you don't burn yourself. Bake for 8-10 minutes with a pre-heated stone, or 15-20 if not. Check it every few minutes, as your oven may vary.

Adapted from:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Handmade Valentines Made from Recycled Paper

I have always loved making handmade cards from found bits of paper, old cards, decoupage, and whatever random bits of things I have stashed in my craft bin. In particular, I love making handmade Valentines, as you saw in my post for make envelopes the other day. I'm currently traveling for work in lovely Roseville, CA, and during a quick Wal-Mart trip the other night, I found these adorable little letter stamps for 97 cents that reminded me of the ones I saw in this post for a hand stamped onesie.

For some reason I always end up making some sort of craft project (probably out of sheer business traveler boredom) out of whatever I have at hand and stuffed in my laptop bag. This time, I just couldn't wait to try out my little stampies, so I decided to make another Valentine! Here was what I had at hand:

-Stamps and ink
-Random pieces of paper
-Sewing kit
-A newspaper
-Mini pointy scissors (kept in my bag for crocheting, or in case I need to stab a terrorist in the jugular)

I found an ad that had a lot of white space in the newspaper and stamped around in a heart shape three times to spell out the word love. Cut those out, and paged through the Valentines day ads in the paper for some other things to cut out- I found a sparkly heart, a bottle of wine, and something that said "My Valentine." I didn't have a glue stick, so I just used my little sewing kit to stitch my pieces to the paper and then to make a cute edging. Then, ta-da! I had my little card. Now I just need to my an envelope. =)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Make a Handmade Envelope!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, I wanted to share what I did so I could package up some handmade cards to send in the mail! I did some searching online, and did find one tutorial that looked pretty easy, however you were supposed to take apart an envelope that you already had, and I had none that could encompass my non-traditional sized cards- like this circus Valentine with the puppy head that poked over the side of the card:

So instead, I decided to chart my own course and make a simple on the spot envelope with a cute lining on the inside.

What you need:

An awesome card
Glue stick or double stick tape
Paper that will fit your card when it's folded over to create flaps for the envelope
Nice scrap-book paper for the lining
Cute stickers, if you want to use them to close your envelope instead of gluing it shut

To start, I took a piece of computer paper (you could use something fancier from the scrapbook section of a craft store so long as it is pretty big and not too patterned if you want to send in the mail) and placed my card like the above so I had enough room to fold over a nice flap on the top and the bottom if they overlap.

Then, draw rectangles with a pencil so you know where to cut to start your bottom flap, like the below:

Cut out the flaps, then fold up your bottom and sides around your card, like the below. Then flip your bottom flap over the side flaps- that is the position you will eventually glue them in.

Next, fold the top flap over so it covers the card nicely, and then mark that spot with a pencil like you did for the bottom.

Cut, starting at your mark, and then use the guides of the folded paper to cut the top flap, so it is even with the  card.

Put your card in the envelope, and fold over the top flap so you have a little extra room above the card for your lining to show. As an FYI, if you find your flap doesn't quite cover the card like you want, you can cut a square and glue it so it lines up with the top of the side flaps and the top of the bottom flap.

Take out your card and cut a piece of scrapbook paper so it is the same size as the inner envelope, and then glue it in with your glue stick.

Take your glue stick and put just enough glue on the side flaps so they stick to the inner flap. Here is the finished back and the front, where you can also see the lining. Make sure you have a sweet message written inside the card, and if you are going to mail the card, seal it up with your glue stick. If it's just going with a present or something, you can just use a sticker to close it.

Hope this all makes sense to you, and maybe gives a little inspiration to whip up a few cards for the day of love!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Eggs Benedict Substitute!

For the continuing cookbook challenge I decided to try what Betty Crocker called Brunch Eggs on English Muffins. The basic blueprint is a yummy cheese sauce with scrambled eggs and canadian bacon on half an english muffin. There were a few things I didn't like about the recipe. 1. Scrambled eggs on top of bread sounded like they would all fall off when you tried to eat it. 2. I didn't have any canadian bacon. So, to fix this, I made eggs over medium (you could do poached as well if you are feeling ambitious) and subbed in some fried salami. One thing I always keep in the fridge these days is salami. You can put in on some many things: pizza, breakfast sandwich, pasta carbonara...Of course if you want to make this a vegetarian breakfast, just leave out the meat!

The first thing my husband said when he sat down to breakfast was, "Wow, fancy!" I think the sauce resembles a Hollandaise sauce, without the two sticks of butter and constant whisking or you'll end up with buttery scrambled eggs factor.

The basic building blocks for this sauce are made with something every chef should know- a roux. A roux is made up of melted butter and flour, with milk or broth mixed in. This is can be the starting place for a lot of things- gravy, alfredo sauce and soup, to name a few. The big benefit is that it's lower fat than tradtional sauce bases because it only uses a little butter, and no heavy cream is needed. Keep your handy-dandy whisk at your side, and you will be amazed at what you can create. I will share some of these other super-easy recipes at a later date.

Save this recipe for a nice brunch that doesn't take very long to whip up!

Better than Benedict Egg Muffins
Serves four

2 toasted English muffins
4 eggs
4 slices of salami, bacon or canadian bacon (bet you could try spinach here too!)

For the sauce:
1 tsp butter
2 tsp flour
1 ounce cheese
1/2 cup of milk
Pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika to taste

Melt the butter in a sauce pan at medium heat. Mix in the flour, it will form a lumpy paste. Pour in the milk, and start whisking. Keep whisking as the milk comes to a gentle boil, and after a few minutes the lumps will work out. Don't leave the pan sitting or the sauce will scald. When the sauce is smooth, whisk in your spices. Dump cheese in pan and whisk in until smooth and melty.

Fry your eggs until the yolk is almost cooked through. Briefly fry your salami or canadian bacon so they are warm, or cook up your bacon while you make your eggs. Put the meat on top of your toasted muffin half, then your egg. Whisk your sauce one more time. If it seems a little thick, whisk in a little more milk. Pour sauce evenly over the muffins and serve. Yum!

p.S. This post has been entered in Positively Splendid's "Link Party"!

Positively Splendid

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy Super Bowl some klutzo ruffles

It's Super Bowl Sunday today! Looking forward to lots of yummy food at the party we're attending this afternoon. I am making more sweet and sour meatballs  and my own veggie tray. I'm not a huge fan of the store bought veggie trays- who wants to eat celery anyways? It's going to have sweet peppers, broccoli, baby carrots and some cucumber I think. If only I had a tray that was football shaped to put them in!

Stayed up way too late (2 am) working on various craft projects last night. Made some good progress on a handmade pinboard and a backing for this cute little frame.

Had two moments yesterday though that will help you understand why I call myself the Klutzy Crafter. First, on the way to dinner I was working on crocheting the motifs on the top secret project I am currently making. They are super cute, but require lots of (tedious) end weaving. When I finished weaving in one part, I attempted to drop the tapestry needle into the pocket of my crochet bag and missed. After ten minutes of searching, it appears that the bowels of the are have swallowed it. No biggie, except that was my LAST needle, so now I have to make another trip to the craft store.

One of my motifs. Hope all the ends are worth it!
My other klutzo moment started when I decided to try re-creating the ruffled clutch found here at about 1 am. Probably my first mistake was starting so late at night.

I have what some people might call a love hate relationship with my sewing machine. I love the idea of what can be created with a little thread and fabric, however my patience and skills don't necessarily always match up with the dream. After about 45 minutes, I ended up with the below....and a broken sewing machine. The bobbin just won't feed, so I guess I'm going to have to go fix that.

My ruffle tube
So...go Giants and Patriots! What yummy thing are you making for the Super Bowl?