Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dying and Stamping Wooden Clothes Pins

I have been working on dying and stamping ordinary wooden clothes pins for a couple of weeks now (between camping trips and our out of state adventures).  Wooden clothes pins are porous and absorb dye very well.  They are also inexpensive and easy to work with.  I did not want them to all be identical so they are a mix of colors and shades.

First I dyed them in a bath of water and non toxic vivid liquid water color paint.  I let them bathe over night and then hung them outside to dry.  Working with them on a string makes it very easy to handle each without covering everything in spray or dye.

Next I randomly sprayed each with a combination of Dylusions Ink Spray (White Linen, After Midnight and Crushed Grape).  This allowed for each clothes pin to be slightly different from the others. 

My last application of spray was Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Dried Lavender.  In the pictures you can't really see the Glimmer Mist but in person they shimmer nicely.

The last step is to stamp each clothes pin randomly with your choice of rubber stamps and ink.  I am still working on these but I really like the results.  Simple, easy, unique and inexpensive. 

Published Card Submissions with Stampington and Company

I have been amazingly blessed to have been published in four separate Stampington & Company magazines recently.  Magazine submissions are very time consuming.  It takes a lot of work to get each card's supplies and instructions documented, labeled, packaged carefully and into the mail.  But seeing your art in full color and your name with the cards is worth the extra time and effort.  I am not sure of the volume of submission each magazine receives but I do know that they receive submissions from all over the world.  I am very humbled that they have picked my art to grace their pages. 

The issue at the bottom is from Take Ten - Autumn 2015.  Take Ten offers rubber stamp enthusiasts of all levels great ideas for creating quick and easy cards in less than 10 minutes. I created two cards featuring tiny wood houses sprayed with Glimmer Mist and was really just playing with these card designs.

The next pictured magazine (from the bottom - above Take Ten) is the Stampers' Sampler - July, August, September 2015.  This delightful magazine provides over 200 cards and stamped project ideas — complete with detailed shots and step-by-step instructions to provide an added dose of paper crafting inspiration. They actually featured three owl cards of mine on page 76 (not pictured) and the Steampunk Halloween cards that I created on pages 46 and 47.  I really loved creating these cards as Halloween is my favorite holiday and Steampunk is so delicious.  The two go together perfectly.

The third magazine from the bottom is Somerset Studio Gallery - Summer 2015.  This beautiful magazine is filled with hundreds of samples of extraordinary artwork presented up close and in detail. It includes rubber stamping, calligraphy and paper crafting in each issue.  I have never been published in this magazine before so I was very excited.  They selected two of my domino/oriental inspired cards to publish. 

And the last magazine pictured at the very top is another issue of Take Ten - Summer 2015.  I created a whole set of cards featuring simple stamping and badges and they selected four different designs to print.  These were very fun and fast cards to create.

I guess it's back to my art studio to dream up new submissions and creations.  

Stampington & Company - https://stampington.com

Sunday, August 16, 2015

S'mores Cookies

This is another recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.  She combines the classic ingredients in S'mores to make a bake at home cookie.  No campfire needed but a tall glass of milk is a perfect compliment to these sweet treasures.  The only drawback I discovered was that these cookies do require a 4 hour refrigeration before baking so they cannot be made at the last minute like traditional chocolate chip cookies.  However, the combination of the graham cracker crumbs, miniature marshmallow and milk chocolate chips are delicious!

S'mores Cookies

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5-6 full crackers)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, honey and vanilla extract and beat until completely combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for an additional 15 seconds.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture all at once and beat until a dough starts to form. Add the marshmallows and chocolate chips and mix on low for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give the dough a final stir by hand. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to 1 week).
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough, form into a ball and place at least 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the edges are set and the cookies begin to darken, 14 to 20 minutes. Place the baking sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the wire racks to cool completely. The cookies should be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Brown Eyed Baker:  http://www.browneyedbaker.com/

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ultimate Magic Bars

I found this recipe on Brown Eyed Bakers blog.  I thought these would be fun to make for work as a Monday morning treat.  Anthony is in charge of taste control and gave these a big thumps up.  Easy to make although waiting for them to cool and cut could be torturous.

Ultimate Magic Bars
By:  Brown Eyed Baker

For the Crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour

For the Bars:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans
1½ cups shredded coconut
¼ cup caramel sauce, microwaved for 15 seconds
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over all sides.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour and mix until crumbly. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven, then sprinkle the chopped pecans over the crust, and top with the shredded coconut. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over top, then drizzle with the melted caramel sauce. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and return to the oven until the edges are light brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares. The bars can be kept at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Oreo Mint Ice Cream

Years ago I visited the original Ben and Jerry's in Burlington, Vermont and after seeing how the magic was made and sampling their sweet treats I just had to get myself a souvenir from the gift shop.  My selection was this Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Cookbook.  Last weekend Anthony and I made Oreo Mint Ice Cream.  I took the recipe up a notch in the mint department by using Mint Oreo's vs. traditional Oreo's.

Oreo Mint Ice Cream
By:  Ben & Jerry's Cookbook

2/3 cup coarsely chopped Mint or Regular Oreo Cookies
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Place the cookies in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more.  Pour in the cream and milk, and whisk to blend.  Add the peppermint extract and blend again.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.

After the ice cream stiffens (about 2 minutes before it is done), add the chopped cookies, then continue freezing until the ice cream is ready.

Makes generous 1 quart.

Beef Enchiladas

Alex and I whipped up these delicious Beef Enchiladas from Brown Eyed Baker on Thursday.  They are flavorful, spicy and the meat was very tender.  The only change I would consider is maybe making a little extra sauce as ours really cooked down.  You can increase or decrease the level of spice by adjusting the amount of jalapenos you add.  The recipe takes about 2 1/2 hours so plan on extra time from start to finish.

Beef Enchiladas
By:  Brown Eyed Baker

3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ pounds boneless chuck steaks, trimmed of fat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
½ cup water
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, divided
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped canned pickled jalapeƱos (more or less depending on spice level you would like)
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas 

1. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, sugar and salt.
2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle the meat with salt and cook until browned on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate.
3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions to the pot and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pot, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender and can be broken apart easily, about 1½ hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Strain the beef mixture over a medium bowl. Transfer the meat and any other solids to a separate medium bowl and break the beef into small pieces. Mix together with half of the shredded cheeses, the cilantro and the jalapeƱos.
6. Spread ¾ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Microwave the tortillas according to package directions to soften. Spread about ⅓ cup of the beef mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll up tightly, and place in the baking dish seam-side down. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the enchiladas and spread to ensure that all of the ends are covered in sauce.
7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top of the enchiladas, cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Make-Ahead: The beef filling and sauce can be prepared through step #5 and refrigerated in separate containers for up to 2 days. Prepare the rest of the recipe as directed, increasing the covered baking time by 5 minutes.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Grilled Pork Kebabs with Hoisin and Five-Spice

This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated.  The sauce is delicious and the meat is very tender.  A new favorite for sure!

Grilled Pork Kebabs with Hoisin and Five-Spice

Pork tenderloin is popular because it’s lean and reasonably priced, but it lacks flavor and tends to be dry. Grilling increases flavor but only on the meat’s exterior. By cutting the tenderloin into 1-inch cubes for kebabs, we create more surface area for flavorful char. We also salt the chunks briefly to help the pork retain moisture. We toss the pork pieces in a flavorful, low-moisture glaze (which contains added cornstarch to help it cling) and thread them onto skewers. A mid-cooking application of glaze adds extra zing, and the brief time on the grill minimizes moisture loss.

2 (12-ounce) pork tenderloins, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

4 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Vegetable oil spray

2 scallions, thinly sliced 


1. Toss pork and salt together in large bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk five-spice powder, garlic powder, and cornstarch together in bowl. Add hoisin to five-spice mixture and stir to combine. Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin mixture.

2. Add remaining hoisin mixture to pork and toss to coat. Thread pork onto four 12-inch metal skewers, leaving 1/4 inch between pieces. Spray both sides of meat generously with oil spray.

3A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

3B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).

4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place skewers on hotter side of grill and grill until well charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip skewers, brush with reserved hoisin mixture, and continue to grill until second side is well charred and meat registers 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cinnamon Swirled Pumpkin Coffee Cake

I found this recipe on the Buns in My Oven blog and it does not disappoint!  Her description perfectly describes the deliciousness:
This pumpkin coffee cake is loaded with as much pumpkin as possible making it dense and creamy, almost like a pie!
Cinnamon Swirled Pumpkin Coffee Cake
By:  Buns In My Oven - http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/
For the cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown cup sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree

For the cinnamon swirl:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the crumb topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into small squares
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk or cream


To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the pumpkin puree. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Spread half of batter in prepared baking pan. Pour half of the cinnamon swirl over the batter and drag a knife through the batter to swirl it around. Top with the remaining batter and repeat with the remaining cinnamon swirl mixture. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.

Bake coffee cake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes before glazing and serving.
To make the cinnamon swirl:
In a small saucepan melt all of the ingredients together, stirring constantly.
To make the crumb topping:
Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives until you have coarse crumbs.
To make the glaze:
Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Almond-Vanilla Butter Rounds

Almond-Vanilla Butter Rounds

From:  Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans
Makes 18 large cookies

2 ¾ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon  baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
18 whole unblanched (with skins) almonds

Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until lightened in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  Mix in the egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract until smoothly blended, about 1 minute.  On low speed add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated.  The dough will be soft and sticky.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is cold and firm enough to roll into balls with your hands without sticking, about 1 hour.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using an ice-cream scoop or measuring cup with a ¼ cup capacity, scoop out mounds of dough.  Roll each mound between palms of your hands into a smooth ball, flatten it into a 3-inch circle, and place the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Press a nut into the center of each cookie.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are light brown, about 22 minutes.  Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then use a wide spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Comfort Meatballs by Ree Drummond

On our meatball recipe quest we whipped up a double batch of these tasty comfort meatballs (recipe by Ree Drummond - The Pioneer Woman - Food Network) last night.  Alex and I both liked the tangy sauce but Anthony thought the flavor was too heavy in the vinegar department for his taste buds.  He is more of a brown gravy sort of guy.  Still the meatballs were incredibly moist and I would highly recommend the base of the recipe even if you select a different sauce. 

Comfort Meatballs 
Recipe by:  Ree Drummond (Food Network - The Pioneer Woman)

For Meatballs
1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
3/4 cups Oats
1 cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion
1-1/2 teaspoon Salt
Plenty Of Ground Black Pepper, to taste
For Cooking Meatballs
1 cup All-Purpose Flour (coating For Frozen Meatballs)
Canola Oil  

For Sauce
1 cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion
1 dash Tabasco

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove meatballs from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.
Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.

Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serve with egg noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, or crusty French bread.


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