Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Candle Gifts

These are the candles I "made" for gifts this year. I didn't make the candles, I just embroidered the flowers and glued them on. The pattern in from Embroidery Library (as usual.) I'm really happy with the way they turned out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Year's Christmas Ornament

I make a Christmas ornament for my family members every year. Lately, they've been machine embroidered. Here's this year's ornament, made from a pattern purchased at Embroidery Library. They take a while to stitch out, but they turned out beautiful.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

An Easy and Adorable Bag

This bag is made from a purchased (very cheap) canvas bag embellished with ruffles and flowers. I got the idea from UCreate! I pinked the edges of my ruffles instead of stitching them (saved time and looks better) and I ran a gathering stitch and pulled it up instead of gathering the way it says in the tutorial.
This was my first attempt at fabric flowers, and I got ideas from several places on the web. I think there's room for improvement, but I'm fairly happy with these for a first try. This one is for a gift -- I just might have to make one for myself!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bookmark Mania!

I've been making bookmarks for gifts. I'm going to give them to my book club kids, among others. I still have some more ideas, but here's what I've got so far.

I love magnetic book marks. I think they work GREAT. You don't have to worry about them falling out of your book, and you can even position them on the side of the book precisely where you left off on the page. So, the ones in the middle are magnetic, made of fabric with Heat-n-Bond between the layers. You just glue on thin magnet strips (I used an old magnetic business card off the refrigerator and cut it up.) The heart one is laminated, but I don't like that one as much. I'm also planning on making some out of some pretty scrap booking paper. You could get really creative and do a patchwork design, or use ribbons, etc. The possibilities are endless.

The one on the left is a lace lily bookmark, machine embroidered using a pattern from Embroidery Library.

The one on the left is a book thong, made with beads and boggles from my stash. I'm planning on doing some more of these too.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spinach & Artichoke Baked Pasta

As Rachel would say, Yum-OH! We really liked this Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta. But, do you know how expensive Gruyere cheese is???? Too much for me (over $14 for about 6 oz.) I used regular baby Swiss cheese, and I used more than the recipe called for. Next time I would use even more cheese and a little less spinach. If you like the dip, you should give this one a try!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Mac 'n Cheese

It's fall, and my favorite time to cook. This weekend I made Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, and it was a huge hit. I think I followed the recipe almost exactly. There was a lot of cheese sauce; so much that the 13 x 9 pan ran over. Next time I will use a lasagna pan that I have that holds more. This would be a great recipe for a pot luck. If I make it again just for us, I would half the recipe -- it makes A LOT. Yum Yum. BTW, this was probably the most unhealthy thing I've made in the past year.
Again, this is not my picture. I keep forgetting to take pictures.....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shrimp Puffs

I made appetizers for dinner last night in honor of the Cardinal's World Series game. These shrimp puffs were very good. I don't have mini muffin pans, so I used regular muffins pans and didn't split the biscuits. I baked them about 3 extra minutes. I also used two cans of the little baby shrimp, and that worked quite well. I also didn't use dill--I used some Old Bay seasoning instead. Also added a little Tabasco.

This is not my picture; it's from the web site. I forgot to take one!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Embroidered Cards

Wow! It's been so long since I've posted anything. I've been making things, just not been very good about posting. I made a dress for my niece's wedding, and I really loved it. But ended up not getting any pictures of me in it! I'll take one the next time I wear it.

Aren't these the cutest cards? The are made from embroidery patterns from SewAZ Designs. Go check them out. These were really quick and easy to stitch, and a lot of fun. The variegated thread makes them easy, and looks good. I'm glad to get a chance to use it, since I rarely have a patter that's appropriate. There are 12 designs in the pack I purchased; these are just a few....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Peach and Strawberry Crumble

I just have to tell you about this one. It was SOOOOOO good. I would not have thought to put peaches and strawberries together, but this is an excellent combination. The addition of the almonds in the crumb topping also was delightful. Peaches are one of my favorite fruits, and I used peaches fresh from the family orchard to make this Peach and Strawberry Crumble. The whole family raved about it, so you should give it a try!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grains & Fruit Summer Salad

Wow! It's been so long since I've posted. It's not that I haven't been doing anything, I just haven't posted about any of it. I went on a trip to Georgia with my husband (he was on business, I wasn't!) Then, we had a week at the lake with my entire family.

So last night I made a main-dish salad recipe that I found in Better Homes & Garden's magazine (July 2011) called Grains & Fruit Summer Salad. You may have to sign up to the BHG site to get the link to work. My picture doesn't look like their picture because I mixed my salad up -- there's is all separated in piles. Here's the changes I made:

The store didn't have any cantaloupe, so I left it out.
I used red cherry tomatoes.
I used brown rice for the grain
I used cucumber instead of zucchini (I don't usually eat raw zucchini, do you?)
I used pecans instead of walnuts.
I did used salmon, but not smoked salmon (and that was a mistake -- used the smoked!)
I didn't bother with the fresh herbs -- didn't think it was necessary.

I liked it. My hubby said it was strange, but he ate it. I don't think I'll make this one again, but I'm not sorry I tried it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins

I tried a new Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffin recipe. This one isn't particularly healthy, although it came from Cooking Light. Next time I might try a little whole wheat flour. I used pecans instead of walnuts, and substituted  Splenda in place of some of the sugar. I used frozen raspberries. These are absolutely delicious. They are very cakey, so could be used for a dessert as well as for breakfast (or a snack!) I highly recommend trying this recipe.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spaghetti and No-Meat Balls

I tried another "experimental" dish. Spaghetti and No-Meat Balls is a food network recipe that uses mushrooms and tofu to make meatballs instead of meat. Surprisingly, this turned out pretty good. I had to use more bread crumbs than it called for, to make the meatballs hold up. I also added some Italian seasoning -- or you could use seasoned bread crumbs, because I though it would be too bland with just the salt and pepper for seasoning. I think I could have used a bit more seasoning. I also wish I would have put some Parmesan cheese in the tofu mixture -- I think that would have added a lot.

I used a jarred spaghetti sauce instead of making the one in the recipe. I'm not sure I'll try this one again. I guess if I get adventurous. It was a little labor intensive, and I'm not sure it was good enough for that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Embroidered Napkins

I was interested in trying some cutwork embroidery. I had some patterns from Adorable Ideas, and the one I actually ended up using was a free one that I got when I attended one of their seminars, so I'm not sure if it's available on the website.

I stitched on a couple of napkins that belonged to my late mother-in-law. I don't believe she ever used these -- they didn't feel like they had ever been washed.

They stitched up fairly quickly. The pattern stitches a guideline first, then you have to cut away everything from the guideline. That probably took the longest, because you can't remove the napkin from the hoop. I like the way they turned out, and intend to stitch up the rest of the set.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Beach Bag

My sister gave me this bag to embroider something on. She wanted something beachy. This pattern is from Embroidery Library, and is supposed to look like a water color. There are many layers of colors in the sand and the palm leaves. After having some hooping challenges (small bag, large design) it stitched out just fine.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Breakfast for Dinner

We usually don't have time for a nice brunch for Easter, and we like breakfast food, so I made this Bacon and Cheese Strata for dinner tonight (Saturday.) We enjoyed it, and I particularly liked the slight mustard flavor. I made this a "low meat" recipe.  I used one slice of deli ham, and about two tbsp of real bacon bits instead of the bacon. I also used Swiss cheese, not Gruyere, but close enough.

The picture is when it just came out of the oven and it was nice and puffed up. It fell, of course, but that was expected. Hope you enjoy your Easter feast!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Triple-Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Poppers

This is a recipe from Hungry Girl, for Pepperoni Pizza Poppers. We really liked it. I think next time, I might spice the filling up a bit with some hot sauce, and add more tomato paste -- it was a bit rich for my taste. I did use regular "mini" pepperonis, which worked great. But not turkey, so a bit more fatty.  I also used some pizza sauce I already had for dipping, rather than make the one in the recipe.  These are worth trying! Enjoy!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Almond-Crusted Tilapia

I'm always looking for easy and tasty fish recipes. This Almond-Crusted Tilapia was OK, easy, but a little bland. Perhaps it needed some more salt, and maybe a little hot sauce in the mustard. But, I would make it again, and possibly tweak it a bit.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another Crocheted Scarf

I just finished another crocheted scarf. I hope I don't have to wear it too much any more this year! It was very easy but it took a while, since it is all single crochet, and there are lots of stitches. I think this one looks particularly good using a variegated yarn, and it is really warm!

Here's a link to the pattern from Lion Brand Yarns.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Corn and Crab Fritters with Guacamole

These Corn and Crab Fritters were very good. I've always had trouble with crab cakes - any recipe I've tried, we've ended up eating them with a fork, because they don't hold together. These actually "caked" and we could eat them like crab cakes. I don't think the flavor was quite as good though. I think I need to combine some recipes. I did like the corn in these, and I added some Old Bay seafood seasoning. But they needed more crab, and I think some more seasoning - Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, onion, hot sauce. We really liked the guacamole sauce with the crab cakes - that was different too. So, these were good, but I still think I can do better.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Earth-Friendly Snack Baggies

I made these snack bags to go with my lunch box. This pattern was also from the Lunch Bags! book. You can't really put anything gooey in these, but they are great for chips or even sandwiches.  They are machine washable, too.  Also, it took less than 1/2 hour to make two of them!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pan-Seared Scallops on Linguine with Tomato-Cream Sauce

Yummy. First time I've ever cooked scallops. We thought this was really good. I used 1/2 sour cream and 1/2 milk in place of the cream. I used canned diced tomatoes. I think it would have been better with fresh, but the can was fine. I think it could use less lime juice, and next time I would include some garlic. I cooked the scallops in butter, to add some richness, but I couldn't get them to brown. I think I put too many in the pan, or something, but I wanted that crispiness and didn't get it.  But, we still enjoyed this dish.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snow Day Lunch Bag!

Well, since I've been posting about recipes I've made during snow days, I wanted to show you what I've been sewing during those days too. I've actually made a couple more pairs of boxers, but you've seen those before, so I didn't take any pictures of those.

I purchased a book called Lunch Bags, and it's full of wonderful, beautiful projects. Of course, bags are my favorite thing to make, and since I take my lunch to work every day, I NEEDED this book.

So here's the first bag I made from this book:

I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. Can't wait for lunch tomorrow!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day Quiche

OK, another snow day recipe. I had some asparagus and a pie crust in the freezer, so I thought I'd make a quiche. Well, traditionally you would use Swiss cheese, but I didn't have any so I improvised. Everyone enjoyed this!

Bake your pie crust for about 7 minutes at 425 degrees.

Cut up 1/2 pound of asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces. Saute in butter while the crust is cooking. Add 1 Tbsp flour for the last 30 seconds.

In a bowl mix:

3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 wedges laughing cow swiss cheese - light
1/2 cup sour cream
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
salt & pepper

Spread the asparagus in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the egg mixture over. Sprinkle with a little more mozzarella. Bake at 425 for about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day Soup

When there is 1/2-inch of ice covering everything, it is necessary to find something to cook for supper that doesn't require a trip to the grocery store.  I was in the mood for something in the crock pot, so here's the soup I came up with.

Brown some sausage (I used 3 links of spicy Italian sausage) in a skillet.

Add the sausage and the following to a crock pot:

1 chopped onion
2 stalks chopped celery
2 chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 oz. chopped mushrooms
3 diced potatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 quart vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Italian seasoning

I let this cook for about 4 hours. About 1/2 hour before serving, I added about a cup of thawed frozen spinach (you could use fresh, too.)

I sprinkled with Parmesan cheese when serving. It was pretty tasty for just being "thrown together."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Healthy Macaroni & Cheese

This was very good.  I didn't use low-fat cheese, so it wasn't quite as healthy as it could have been, but we got our veggies with our cheese, at least. I think I made it exactly as the recipe, but didn't use the bread crumbs.

Give this No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese a try!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Crochet Scarf

I had the urge to do something with yarn, which is common for me in the winter. I searched the internet for simple crochet patterns and found this Scalloped Cowl on the Lion Brand Yarn website. It was fairly simple and I like the way it turned out. I don't like long scarves under my coat because the tails hang down and make me look fat. I think this cowl will keep me warm and eliminate the bulk of a long scarf.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spinach-Black Bean Lasagna

Ok, this was kind of a weird dish, but I really liked it. Hubby said it was "OK," which is kind of high praise for him for vegetarian stuff.  There are a few mistakes in the recipe, so I'll tell you about those.

This is a recipe from, called Spinach-Black Bean Lasagna.  First of all, a big jar of pasta sauce is about 1 lb 13 oz., not 2 lbs. 13 oz. I do think the pasta was a little dry, so a small can of tomato sauce might be good to add.

Secondly, the instructions are a little bit off. In the paragraph about the layers, the last layer says "bean mixture" twice. I just did a third layer just like the first two, and ended with the spinach layer.  It might be better to end with the bean layer, but it didn't seem to make much difference. One of those "bean mixtures" should be "spinach mixture."

I think the pepper-jack cheese is critical. The finished product isn't too spicy, but it has a little zing. You should give this one a try. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Potato Soup

Another recipe invention.  Really not feeling well, and wanted some cream soup. I had this entire package of mushrooms that I need to use, or they were going to spoil.  I thought I'd make cream of mushroom soup, but I decided to make it a bit more hearty and add potatoes.  Also had some swiss cheese for a while, so I thought that would be a nice addition.  Here's what I did:

Cube two large potatoes (or three smaller ones) and boil them until tender (about 10 minutes.)

Chop up 16 oz of mushrooms and saute in 3 Tbsp of butter, along with 1/2 onion chopped very fine.  After the onion and mushrooms are tender, add 2 cloves of garlic finely minced, and saute for another minute.

In a separate soup pan make a white sauce:

Melt 3 Tbsp butter, add 3Tbsp. flour and cook for a minute.
Add 6 cups of skim milk, salt and pepper, and cook until bubbly.

Add 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 cup of shredded swiss cheese. I added about a cup of vegetable stock, to make it a little thinner.

When all is melted and thickened, stir in the potatoes and mushroom/onion mixture.  Add 1/2 cup of chopped parsley.

This one was a big hit!  Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Black Bean Soup

Made a delicious black bean soup last night so I thought I'd share it with you. Here's the changes I made to the recipe:

I didn't use 10 slices of bacon. I started out with a couple tablespooons of oil in the pan.

I used vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth, and I used about a cup more than called for.

I used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. I really like these and use them a lot.
I added a 4-oz can of chopped green chilis and about two tablespoons of sugar.
I also added about a tablespoon of real bacon pieces (used in salad) and about a tsp. of liquid smoke.
I didn't use the cilantro. I like cilantro, but didn't have any.  And, I don't think I'd use the whole bunch like the recipe says! That seems like a lot.
I forgot the lime juice. I don't think it made much difference.
I used the cheddar cheese for garnish, but not the sour cream or onions.

This was a great alternative to regular chili, and you should try it!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Four Cheese Baked Penne

I tried a new pasta recipe tonight, and it was a success.  Creamy and delicious, and low fat too!  Here's the recipe from Food Network. The only thing I did differently was use rotini instead of penne, and I didn't put in the rosemary, because it's not one of my favorite spices.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Eve Recipes

We always have a few friends and family over for New Year's Eve, and I like to make a selection of appetizers.  Here's some of the recipes I used this year:

Monster Mash, a Paula Deen recipe from Food Network:

Shore is Good Seafood Dip, also from Paula Deen:

A recipe from an appetizer cookbook for Roasted Red Pepper Dip:

This one is so easy, and tasty! You just stir together 16 oz. of sour cream, one envelope of onion soup mix, and a jar of roasted red peppers, chopped.

Roasted Garlic Hummus, also from the cookbook:

For this one you have to roast an entire head of garlic in the oven. Here's how. Then mix:

2 Tbsp. roasted garlic
1 can chick-peas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 c. fresh parsley
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp curry powder
a few drops of sesame oil
dash hot pepper sauce

I mixed this in a food processor, and drizzled in some olive oil, until it was the creamy consistency I wanted.

I also made an Easy Italian No-Bake Snack Mix, that I didn't take a picture of.

Mix 3 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning in a large zipper bag.  Add:

4 cups small pretzels
1 can (12 oz.) cocktail peanuts
7 oz. cheese crackers (cheeze-its)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated.

Throw it all in the bag and mix it up.

Hope you can try some of these recipes.  I was really happy with all of them!