Monday, August 22, 2016

Simple Teriyaki Sauce

Simple Teriyaki Sauce

1 cup white sugar
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground ginger or fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp's. cornstarch
2 Tbsp's. cold water

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and black pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

While sauce is heating, combine cornstarch and cold water. When sauce comes to a full boil, add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce is thickened and bubbly.

Remove from heat and use with your favorite recipe.

The cooled Teriyaki Sauce can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Creating with Gorjuss The Dreamer

This set of stamps is from Santoro-London, and is part of the Gorjuss collection.  Just like the Fox card I put together in October 2015 and the Rainy Daze card I created in March 2016 I used my Copic markers to color the images and then added a little depth with double sided mounting tape and finished the card off with Floral Embellishments.  I also added some distressing to the card to give it a softer overall look and feel.  I selected similar colors to the ones featured on the stamp.  The Floral Embellishments are by Petaloo and I added Stickles (Grape Crush) to the rain drops dripping from the cloud.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Giant Lemon Sugar Cookies

I discovered this recipe on the Taste of Home site.  The cookies are lightly flavored from both lemon juice and lemon zest.  I did roll my cookie in the coarse sugar vs. brushing the tops with coarse sugar.  I might be tempted to up the lemon presence a bit and double the recipe ( as is it only makes 12-14 cookies) the next time I whip these up.

Giant Lemon Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs  
1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 teaspoons coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Beat in lemon peel and juice. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar; gradually beat into creamed mixture. 

Shape 1/4 cupfuls of dough into balls. Place 6 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten to 3/4-in. thickness with bottom of a measuring cup. Lightly brush tops with water; sprinkle with coarse sugar. 

Bake 12-15 minutes or until light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.        

Friday, July 8, 2016

Water Pitcher Template Cards

The Stampers Sampler Magazine features Tempting Templates as one of their regular features and challenges readers to use the template in their designs.  The template featured in the cards I made this week is a simple water pitcher.  You can use the Tempting Template in any way you wish large or small, on it's own, adding multiple templates to your card etc.  It is only limited to your creativity. 

For the four cards above I decided to shrink the template down into a tiny water pitcher and to have flowers pouring out of each.  I like to use limited supplies and layout designs when I am making a set of cards.  In this case I made 4 cards all with a similar design layout.  I have been a bit limited in my card making time but it felt good to stretch my creative muscles this week.  I am not sure if I will have time to play with the template any more this weekend but it was fun to give it a whirl.   

Paper:  Graphic 45
Glimmer Mist:  Tattered Angels
Stamps:  Graphic 45
Ink:  Versa Fine - Onyx Black
Flowers: Burlap - Recollections, Paper - Jolees by You, Heirloom Roses - Tim Holtz and Petaloo - Antique Peach
Pen:  Gelly Roll - Clear Sky - Sakura Japan

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Baked Brownie

I found the Baked Brownie recipe on the Brown Eyed Baker Blog.  It is adapted from the Baked Cookbook  The Baked Series of Cookbooks are something of a national treasure.  You can find their cookbook series on Amazon.  I made these last night and brought them into work today and they completely disappeared.  I did take some pictures on my cell phone and then forgot to download them.  The picture above is from the Brown Eyed Baker Blog.   

A little history about the authors:  After years in the advertising business, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito decided to leave their day jobs and open a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Baked opened in January 2005 to instant rave reviews. The authors have been featured on Oprah, the Food Network, Martha Stewart’s daytime show, and the Today show. The bakery has been reviewed in countless magazines, both local and nationwide. Lewis and Poliafito live in New York City.

The Baked Brownie
Brown Eyed Baker:

1¼ cups (177 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process will work)
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1½ cups (298 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (99 grams) packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large heat-proof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it, about 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

I have had this recipe since the Summer of 2005 from Kraft Foods.  I love cheesecake and these hand-held bars are convenient for an outdoor setting.  Prep time and cooking time are both about 30 minutes.  I took these camping last weekend and shared them around the campfire.  I wrapped the leftovers and froze them individually to enjoy at a later date.  Eventually I would like to try to make these delicious bars with raspberries or blackberries.  I also recommend chilling the crust before adding the jam as outlined in the recipe instructions.

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Kraft Foods

6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 jar (8 oz. blueberry jam or preserves
1 cup blueberries

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Mix butter and graham crumbs in 13x9-inch pan; press onto bottom of pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat until blended. 

Stir preserves in jar until softened; spread evenly onto crust. Top with berries, then cream cheese mixture.

Bake 30 min. or until slightly puffed. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Greek Style Chicken Skillet from BHG

I found this recipe recently on the Good Housekeeping site (  It was easy to prepare and it was nice to have only one skillet to clean aside from the sauce pan I prepared the couscous in.  I would make one modification though and that would be to double the sauce and add more crumbled feta cheese over the top.  I wished there had been a bit more sauce to help flavor the plain couscous and you just can't go wrong with a little extra cheese.  I have posted the recipe below as I found it on the BHG site.

Greek-Style Chicken Skillet
A tomato-inspired vegetable mixture is spooned over chicken and couscous in this main-dish recipe. To add even more interest, substitute a flavored couscous mix.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 - 1/4 pounds total)
salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (1 medium)
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium)
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
1 10 - 3/4 ounce can condensed tomato soup
2 cups hot cooked couscous*
1/2 cup crumpled feta cheese (2 ounces)

  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. In a 12-inch skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken registers 170 F on an instant-read thermometer, turning once. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.
  2. Add zucchini, sweet pepper, onion, garlic, and the 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to skillet. Add the water; reduce heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Stir in soup. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes more, stirring once.
  3. To serve, divide couscous among dinner plates. Place chicken on couscous. Spoon vegetable mixture over chicken and couscous. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.
*For 2 cups cooked couscous, in a 1-quart saucepan bring 1 cup water and a dash of salt to boiling. Stir in 2/3 cup quick-cooking couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Munsters Grandpa Dracula Cards

I purchased this great Dracula Grandpa stamp from Viva Las Vegastamps. It is Al Lewis from the Munsters. Part of what made his character so funny on the show as Dracula was his extreme age since Dracula is ageless. His character on the show was also sarcastic and irritable. The Munsters was on the air before my time but I remember seeing reruns as a kid.  When I saw this stamp at Viva Las Vegastamps I knew I had to add it to my collection.  It just has so much character and personality.  I added the stamp to Graphic 45 papers, ephemera cards and stamps.  I think the end results turned out odd without being too creepy.  I made these cards for my own amusement since they have a slight Halloween feel to them.

Grandpa Dracula - Viva Las VegaStamps
All Other Stamps - Hampton Art, Graphic 45, Rare Oddities
Paper - Graphic 45, Olde Curiosity Shoppe
Ephemera Cards -  Graphic 45, Rare Oddities
Ribbon - Offray
Embossing Powder - Hampton Art, Clear
Ink - Ranger Distress Ink, Pumic Stone & Versa Fine, Onyx Black
Adhesive Diamante - Triveni

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Panting Shar-Pei Cards

These cards feature another great stamp from Viva Las Vegastamps.  The panting Shar-Pei is adorable and was just begging to be the center of attention.  The Hugs and Kisses stamp is from an old Stampin' Up! set and seemed to fit the theme of the card.  I was still tinkering with the card the day after I made as I felt like they needed a little something extra.  The glittery cork stickers from Pink Paislee were exactly what I needed.  They added just enough sparkle without detracting from the main focus of the card.  It is not uncommon for me to continue to play with embellishments after a card is completed until I am satisfied with the card as a whole. 

These cards also feature Scrabble tiles that were actually left over from our Letterboxing event last December.  We used them as part of a set of clues.  It's great to re-purpose items in crafts and cards.  I was unable to find Scrabble tiles locally at any of the craft stores so I ordered these from Clever Crafting via Amazon.  Each card features a different four letter word related to dogs which makes each card slightly unique from the other.

Panting Pei Stamp - Viva Las Vegastamps
Hugs and Kisses Stamp - Stampin' Up!
Clear Embossing Powder - Hampton Art
Chestnut Embossing Powder - Zing
Ink - Versa Fine Inyx Black
Scrabble Tiles - Clever Crafting (via Amazon)
Glitter Heart Stickers - Pink Paislee
Paper - Graphic 45, Recess - Basic Grey, Bo Bunny and Fancy Pants

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

You're Pretty Awesome Mother's Day Cards

I wanted to make some cards that had a softness but were not ultra feminine with more of an outdoorsy feel to them.  I felt like my old set of In Full Bloom stamps from Stampin' Up! were just what I was looking for.  It was interesting that when I opened the container that I had actually placed Stampin' Up!'s idea page under the stamps for reference.  I am never able to copy others art but I do find it fascinating to see what someone else may have created.  I made my cards and then looked at the saved idea page once they were completed.  It's amazing how different my cards turned out from theirs.  You can see the comparison above up close if you click on the picture to enlarge it.

I made two very similar cards but utilized different stamps from the set and turned the layout direction of the background.  I also added an additional patterned paper to one of the two cards.  The trimming of the edges of the stamped and embossed images was the most time consuming element of the creation of the cards.  A true labor of love when you give up that much time for someone else.  For those that make cards you know exactly what I am talking about.

With older retired stamp sets I have found Ebay to be a great resource to track down what I am looking for.  I have had this set since 2004 so finding it used is your best option.  Or if you are local I am always happy to loan mine out for your creative needs.  I do not currently have a Stampin' Up! representative but you can easily locate one locally too.  Sometimes they can help locate a retired used set for you to purchase.  Never a bad resource to know folks in the industry. 

In Full Bloom Stamps: Stampin' Up!
You're Pretty Awesome Stamp:  Stampabilities
Paper:  Club Scrap, Around the Block, Bo Bunny and My Mind's Eye
Ink:  VersaFine - Vintage Sepia
Embossing Powder:  Hampton Art - Clear & Zing - Chestnut
Stickles:  Vintage Photo


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