Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Here it is! This cake has such a dense, brownie-like texture, it will amaze you that it contains nary a lick of flour! And - do not skimp on the glaze. YUM!
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Monday, September 29, 2008
You are looking at the newest design team member for Feeling Scrappy!!! The big announcement was made late last week, and I am so thrilled! There are some huge, exciting changes in store at Feeling Scrappy right now that are set to be revealed very soon, so be sure to stay tuned. And mark your calendars for the Sketch-apalooza II, which is set to start next month. This is one class you do not want to miss!
Project Notes: I did some the detailed hand-stitched stars and smoke trail from the rocket here using techniques I learned in the amazing Feeling Scrappy sewing class that just wrapped up.
"My Cutie Pies"
Project Notes: The felt flower embellishments here were hand-cut (the color of them has been very distorted by the scan), and I drew the flourishes free-hand before stitching them with a back stitch. The rub-ons here are Reminisce Cocktail Script.
"Happy Fall, Y'all!"
Project Notes: Another page showcasing a cool stitch I learned in the FS sewing class. The pumpkin photos are a panorama shot that I cut into individual tiles. I find that seasonal photos are often perfect as a sort of patterned paper in their own right! The rub-ons here are Reminisce Pink Flamingo.
"Life is Sweet"
Project Notes: This paper is absolutely amazing with its lustrous sheen, and I really wanted to showcase the cute candy on one side while also using the confetti pattern on the reverse. The perfect solution was to cut the candy out to use on their own! I played a little with the photos here by tinting the square photos a shade of pink, and I love the playful effect that technique lends to the overall page. The rub-ons here are once again the Reminisce Cocktail Script.
Project Notes: I covered some chipboard flowers here with the coordinating patterned papers, which is such a fun technique. This page was a study in complementary colors, as I chose the purple card stock and embellishments to really make the yellow patterned paper pop!
First Birthday Invitation
Project Notes: This invite is very similar to the one I sent out for Jack's first birthday. I gave out the Barrel of Monkeys game as favors for the children who attended. It was a hit!
Project Notes: The moment I saw this new line, I knew the blocked rooster paper would be perfect for a block set like this one. I once again found myself wielding my drill for this project in order to adhere the metal embellishments to the blocks. Flexing my crafting muscles! I found the raw wooden blocks in the craft section at Hobby Lobby.
As always, these and many of my other projects can also be viewed in my Scrapbook.com gallery.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out. :)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I will post both the recipe and the link here. When I made these on Monday, I actually had to substitute 2 squares of semisweet chocolate for 2 squares of the unsweetened, since that was all I had on hand. By reducing the amount of sugar accordingly from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups, I actually think I preferred them this way to the old standard. The texture was even fudgier than before - YUM! As an added change-up, I used toasted hazelnuts in place of the pecans. Hazelnuts are entering their peak season, so you should pick some up and give them a try. Sweet or savory, they can add such depth to any dish!
Baker's One Bowl Brownies (and that is really the truth - one bowl is all it takes!)
4 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil. (I never do this. I just grease my pan with Pam. :)
MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and pecans; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.
And here is the link to the actual recipe.
Now - and don't laugh! - we have actually for the last year or so gotten hooked on boxed wine. Not your stereotypical White Zin Franzia (I hope I'm not stepping on any toes here - lol!), but a very tasty little Merlot that comes in a lovely black box. Each box holds the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine, and once opened, the wine will save for several weeks. (Corked wine from a typical bottle loses its zip even after just a few hours.) And the total cost comes out to be about $7/bottle. Can't beat that with a stick! It's a nice option for having a decent wine for drinking and cooking on hand without worrying about it going "bad." Boxes are actually starting to make a cool resurgence thanks to their kitschy, retro appeal (and the fact that they are superior is preserving the integrity of the product), so you should check out your local wine store to see what they carry!
Stacy, I hope this has helped answer your question.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Anyway, the lasagna requires a bit of ground beef, so I had that on hand last week. And when the lasagna didn't pan out, I was reminded of how many options are open for an impromptu supper when all you have on hand is ground beef! I was able to put together these two yummy dinners, and all at lightning speed. I thought I'd share my "recipes" with you, although you'll have to bear with the loosey-goosey nature of these directions since I usually prepare these off the cuff. I hope they will inspire you to see what a delicious and economical dinner option ground beef can be. Enjoy!
Chopped Steaks with Easy Onion Gravy
1 lb. ground beef
Approx. 1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. Cavender's Greek seasoning*
Salt & Pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp. Canola Oil, divided use
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups beef broth (I always make my own with beef base that I keep on hand)
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. dried thyme or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
Mix ground beef and bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, egg, Cavender's, salt and pepper by hand in a large bowl. Form into four patties, as you would for hamburgers.
Heat 2 Tbsp. canola oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add patties and saute until deeply browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove beef from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine to pan and stir to scrape up browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Simmer wine/onion mixture until thickened and bubbly, and then add the beef broth, whisking briskly to incorporate.
In a small bowl, blend the butter and flour into a smooth paste. Whisk mixture into simmering onion/wine/broth mixture until smooth, and bring back up to a simmer. Stir in soy sauce and thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add steaks back to sauce, coating the steaks on each side with the sauce. Cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until steaks are cooked through and sauce is thickened. I like to serve these with a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes and some English peas.
*If you've never used this before, you really should try it! This is a terrific blend of herbs and spices with flavors of oregano and garlic, and it is a great substitute for poultry seasoning or seasoned salt. It is actually made here in Arkansas, of all places!
* * * * * *
Now, in this second recipe, I am going to urge you to try something new! I know for many of us, tacos are a go-to meal when we're too tired to prepare anything else. We brown the meat and keep the folks at Old El Paso quite happy by tearing open a packet of their seasoning mixture. It dawned on me one night as I was reading the back of that handy-dandy packet (which, by the way, is laden with sodium and lots of not-so-healthy additives) that I have spent a veritable fortune to stock my spice cabinet with the same spices included in taco seasoning, so why on earth was I not making my very own at a fraction of the cost? And as a much healthier option, to boot!
Amy's Taco Beef
Brown and drain 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
Then add 1 recipe taco seasoning mix:
2 tsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1-1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp.onion powder
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
And stir in:
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
Bring to a boil; cover and simmer over medium-low heat until your desired consistency.
The taco seasoning mix can be made beforehand and stored in an air-tight container until ready to use if you are a stickler for having things pre-prepped. Around here, we always have taco salad in lieu of tacos. Have you seen the tortilla bowl makers? Everyone needs a set of these! They make ordinary tortillas into crispy taco bowls, and without any added fat. They are perfect! To make my taco salad mixture, I take a prepared recipe of my taco beef and add a drained can of mexicorn and a drained can of seasoned black beans. I chop up a head of iceberg lettuce, and then layer the lettuce and then the meat in the the taco bowls. Topped with your choice of cheese, sour cream, salsa, and/or avocados, this is a delicious meal that is actually not so bad for you!
I hope y'all enjoy these easy weeknight meals. You'll have to let me know what you think!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
And a link to the product page: http://www.diecutswithaview.com/product_view.php?id=1531
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
No recipe collection can do without a good go-to for chicken and dumplings. There is just something so comforting found in a hearty bowl of this delicious stew, and something about the first hint of crispness that comes in the early fall has me yearning to make a batch! Matt was actually the one who mentioned this recipe this morning when I asked him what he would like to eat for dinner, so tonight marked the first chicken and dumplings of the year.
In my experience, the thing that separates this recipe from the others I have tried is the dumplings themselves. They are seriously so easy, it's just plain silly. Really. If you can mix with a fork, you will do great! I have tried other recipes that call for rolling out the dough, in the process creating such a FINE mess, I think the resulting dish could have been used as mortar for new homes in the area. With this recipe, I simply use my mini scoop (the size I use for cookies) to dollop evenly sized portions on the simmering broth. Simple as that!
There are some steps involved in this recipe, but none is at all complicated. This is a wholesome, no-frills recipe that is sure to win rave reviews. Enjoy!
Chicken and Dumplings
For the chicken -
1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 leek, sliced in half moons
1 rib celery, diced1 carrot, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 parsnips, peeled, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 qt. low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. each chopped fresh sage and rosemary
For the dumplings -
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
2/3 cup whole milk
3 T. unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 375 with rack in the center. Cut chicken into large pieces. Combine flour and salt, cayenne and pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. In a deep oven-proof pot, heat 1 T. vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown half the chicken; transfer to a plate. Brown the rest of the chicken in 1 T. oil; remove. Reduce heat to medium. (Be sure to SAVE your dredging flour.)
Sweat vegetables and bay leaves in 1 T. oil until softened, 5 minutes. (Sweating means to place all of it in a pot with the oil, stir to coat, and then cover and cook, stirring occasionally. Basically a combination of sauteeing and steaming.) Deglaze with wine; simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in remaining dredging flour to coat vegetables. Gradually add broth, stirring until smooth. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook for 20 minutes. (While stew is in the oven, make dumpling dough.)
For the dumplings, blend dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Heat milk and butter until butter melts; blend into dry ingredients. After you remove the stew from the oven, stir in the chicken, lemon juice and herbs, then bring stew to a simmer on a burner. Shape dough into small balls (I use a small ice-cream scoop, like I use for shaping cookies) and drop the dumplings onto the simmering stew. Return pot to the oven and braise until dumplings are cooked through, about 20 minutes. You can test them for doneness with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, you're set!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
In spite of the amount of wine used here, this recipe isn't boozy in the slightest. And the onions give this gravy almost a French onion soup feel. Divine! The recipe recommends serving with egg noodles, which would be terrific, but I went the ultimate comfort route and served the roast alongside a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes and some English peas.
The recipe link...