Wednesday, 30 January 2013

House Mouse Card

I've had this card for awhile and finally put the finishing touches on it. I keep my cards pretty simple, after all, it takes a fair bit of time just to colour with Copics so by the time I get that far, I'm pretty much ready to have the card done! I haven't put a sentiment inside yet but I think it would make a cute retirement card or even, thanks for a wonderful party.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Croissant and Cheese Strata

I love making dishes the night before or ahead of time, so I can relax when its time to make a meal especially when its in the morning. This make ahead breakfast casserole is one of my favourites. I especially like it because it doesn't contain meat, unlike most of the other make ahead brunch dishes that I have seen. Just out of the oven....
Goes nicely paired with a fresh fruit salad....

Here's the recipe, I hope you give it a try.
Croissant and Cheese Strata
4 croissants
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green onions
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup Swiss Cheese
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Split croissants in half lengthwise and place bottoms cut side up in 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Melt butter, saute mushrooms and green onions until tender and liquid evaporates. Beat eggs and milk together. Pour half the mixture over croissants. Layer with mushroom mixture, and cheeses. Pour on remaining egg mixture. Add croissant tops, cut side down. Let stand 1 hour or overnight in fridge. Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 min. Cover with foil if croissants get too brown.

Saturday, 26 January 2013


That's my word for 2013. I tend to multi-task and flit from one project to the other. Otherwise, known as a procrastinator and a non or slow-completer of projects. So this year, I am going to be different. I am going to choose one project and stick with it. Or mostly.

FOCUS is also how I have been taught to train the dogs. If they are focused on you, the rest will follow.

I'm going to not load up everything I own in scrapbooking supplies everytime I go to a day crop but I will be organized and compact. I will read ONE book at a time. Or I will try. I am making good progress so far.
I have pulled out several projects that have been waiting for some attention and finishing them.
When I take classes, I never seem to actually complete everything so before I move forward, I have pulled them out and I am working on those also.

I rarely design my own things because I always feel I have "other" stuff to work on. I have found a couple challenge blogs that I am interested in and I hope this will help me to "FOCUS" on something specific that I want to create and get the ball rolling for 2013.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Cheesy Dreams

Did anyone else ever have these growing up?  I think they were designed to use up leftover hamburger buns in my house but there was nothing better then cheddar cheese and bacon broiled on a bun. They would probably call the calorie police on me these days, but I still like to serve them up once in awhile, for old time's sake. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Downton Abby

Is anyone else addicted to this show?
Downton Abby is a British Period drama set at a fictional Yorkshire Country Estate named Downton Abby. It follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the Post-Edwardian era. It is a fascinating show that draws you into the lives of the individuals both upstairs and downstairs and highlights many important historical events around that time period.
A friend told me about it this summer and I finally remembered to put it on hold at the Public Library. I got a copy just before Season 3 premiered a couple weeks ago. Season 2 is also available at the Libary but you'd better get your request in soon as there are a number of holds on this very popular series. This is a photo of the "real" Highclere Castle where the series is filmed. They use some of the interior rooms as well.

Maggie Smith is excellent as the ruling matriarch.

Give it a watch. You won't be disappointed but start at the beginning so you can have fun identifying with the characters and learning about their personalities. It's on Sunday nights at 9 on Masterpiece Theatre. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Cookbook Recipe

I have many cookbooks in my cupboard sitting idle. With the advent of the Internet, now I get most of my recipes from that source. While I enjoy the latest and greatest recipes, I appreciate the tradional fare from days gone by. With that said, I will begin my quest to make a recipe from each of the cookbooks that I own over the next year starting with this one...
I chose to make Cheesecake squares, kind of a combination of a square and a cheesecake. Very yummy and pretty easy to put together. In case, you don't have a copy of this cookbook, I have included the recipe for you to give it a try. Just out of the oven....
Just out of the freezer. I had some leftover after serving them so I popped them in the freezer and now I have them ready to take to another event.
 Favourite Cheesecake Squares
1/3 cup Parkay Margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
1 8oz. package of cream cheese,softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup M & M's
Beat margarine and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour and nuts. Mix well.
Reserve 1/2 cup crumb mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of 8 x 8 pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
Combine next 3 ingredients, add egg. Layer 1/2 cup candy over crust, top with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with remaining candy. Bake at 350F for 20 additional minutes. Cool. 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Book Review

Finally! After 4 books and 849 pages in the final book, I have completed the Eragon series.
The last book Inheritance was probably my favourite. This series was pure fantasy... elves, dragon riders, dwarves and other creatures. There were a lot of battles but if you like this type of book, you would enjoy the series. AND I just saw the Author on Sugar Dome judging Dragon cakes so it's almost related to baking. Anyway, I was really happy to complete it because now I can start on a book I've had my mind on for some time... Night Circus.

This novel got really good reviews. It is the debut novel for its author and so far it has me intrigued.
I will let you know how it turns out. I'm reading much earlier in the year as I would like to meet my goal of 20 books (or more).

Sunday, 13 January 2013

M & M Party Cookies

I was lucky enough to have my oldest nephew for a sleepover during Christmas Break. It is obvious that both my nephews are quite skilled in the kitchen even at a young age. They enjoy baking with their Mom and both my brothers are very good cooks. I'm glad this is something we can do together other then tubing at Chicopee. LOL.

We decided to make M & M Party cookies even though traditionally we like to make gingerbread together. (we will save that for another visit). These are a pretty standard cookie and I was happy to use up some of the candy I still have hanging around the house after the holidays.

The finished product...
M & M Party Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups M & M's (we added some chocolate chips, also)
Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend in dry ingredients.
Stir in add-ins. Bake at 350F,10 minutes or until lightly browned.
(I like soft cookies so I tend to underbake) Enjoy!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Homemade Snowman Christmas Card

With all the scrappers and cardmakers that I know, I only got one homemade Christmas card from my friend, Corrina.  I'm just as guilty as I did not send out a single, homemade card MYSELF!

I really liked this card. I am a fan of holly cut-outs and I loved the technique she used to glitter up the snowman. It comes on a sheet of peelable outlines, then she stuck it on a glue sheet, sprinkled with Glamour Dust and coloured with Copics. When I use this product, it always looks juvenile but I may have to try it again when I see how well hers turned out.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Some words to ponder

I happened upon this poem on a blog that I was reading recently. They said they found it folded up in the pages of an old bible. I thought it had a good message and wanted to pass it along.
"Now, Lord, you've known me a long time. You know me better then I know myself. You know that each day I am growing older and someday may be very old, so meanwhile please keep me from the habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from trying to straighten out everyone's affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody, helpful but not overbearing. I've a certain amount of knowledge to share: still it would be nice to have a few friends who, at the end, recognized and forgave the knowledge I lacked.
Keep my tongue from the recital of endless details. Seal my lips on my aches and pains: they increase daily and the need to speak of them becomes almost a compulsion. I ask for grace enough to listen to the retelling of others' afflictions and to be helped to endure them with patience.
I would like to have improved memory, but I'll settle for growing humility and an ability to capitulate when my memory clashes with the memory of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that on some occasion I might be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably kind; I've never aspired to be a saint... saints must be rather difficult to leave with... yet on the other hand, an embittered old person is a constant burden.
Please give me the ability to see good in unlikely places and talents in unexpected people. And give me the grace to tell them so, dear Lord."
Some thought provoking words to ponder. Wouldn't it be interesting to meet the person who wrote this? 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Peanut Butter M & M Bark

You may be sick of candy at this time of year but this is a really good one to make and give away if you need a little thank-you. I had a freak accident at work and tripped on my lanyard attached to my data key and ripped the innards out. Fortunately, we have a great computer guy who was able to retrieve my files. Sadly the data key is history. Maybe he should work for Blogger.
 There has been a real problem uploading photos for some people including me. I'm well on my way with my goal to become more computer savy because I figured out it wasn't a problem on my end and I'm using another method to retrieve the photos.  Enough computer talk, on to the candy. Here's what you will need (other then iron discipline to not eat the candy yourself)
Peanut Butter M&M Bark 
1.5 pounds white chocolate wafers
1 tsp. cooking oil
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups Peanut Butter M & M's
Line a baking sheet with foil. Melt white chocolate on low heat in a heavy saucepan with 1 tsp. cooking oil. Stir in peanut butter until melted. Pour onto foil. Melt chocolate chips and spread on top and swirl into peanut butter mixture with a knife. Immediately sprinkle on M&M's. Place in fridge to set. Cut or break into pieces.  

Friday, 4 January 2013

Twelve in Twelve

So let's recap how things went for the 12 in 12. The goal was to make a list of things that I wanted to do, not things I SHOULD do, like lose weight, exercise more, eat better, keep the house cleaner, invest in TFSA's. These are things that I WANTED to do and a list to help me remember them better.
It really helped me to be more mindful... read more, use more of my endless scrapbooking supplies, try and become more knowledgeable on the computer by blogging etc.

I didn't make an afghan or start a Heritage Album and I probably didn't use all my purchases within 30 days but I accomplished more then I expected to. This year, I'm going to use my friend Robin's idea and use a Smash book to keep track of my 13. Nothing formal, cuz that's not what its all about.

You can see my list on the sidebar. Just simple achievable goals to accomplish in the upcoming year.
I hope you are inspired to join us for the 13 in 13. It's a lot of fun to see what other people have come up with and to help them achieve their goals too. Good luck everyone.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Sugar Cookies

I had my little buddy helping out in the kitchen this week. He did the measuring, the mixing and the cutting and decorating of the sugar cookies. The dough was a little soft (I have some doubts about the measuring and I see a fair quantity of flour that didn't make it into the bowl on someone's clothing) but the cookies turned out great and taste fantastic piled with icing and decorations.
Here they are going into the oven, there was a wide assortment of themes happening from dog bones to reindeer....

and here are the final masterpieces, each one carefully produced for best effect...
And the LAST cookie, could it be, we had run out of icing?

Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup soft shortening (part butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)

Cream shortening and butter until fluffy. Add vanilla.
Add sugar, mixing until creamy. Sift together dry ingredients and add to wet
mixing thoroughly. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Roll out chilled dough
and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 350F approx. 10 minutes.
Ice and smother with decorations as desired.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Piggies in Blankets

My first post of the New Year.... I will be coming up with my 13 in 13 list of things I want to do but they're not resolutions so I don't feel obligated to have them for today.

 It's nice to have a day to kick around and spend some time with family.

I've actually been baking again, believe it or not,  with my nephew. It doesn't matter if we get to it before Christmas or not. Our tradition is always to make sugar cookies and decorate them.  I only have one nephew right now so the other will have to come at a later date. I will show you our creations later but for right now, here's a favourite appetizer that our family likes. We actually had them on Christmas Eve.
I use this recipe for Sure Fire Pastry and I always use Mini Sizzlers. Not sure if there is any other kind. You can buy sausage rolls pre-made but there is nothing like "home-made". Can be eaten plain or dipped in Dijon or some other favoured spread.

I cut the sausage into thirds and wrap each one up in a coat of pastry. Forgot to get a pic of their golden tinged, flaky deliciousness but you get the idea. I don't make them perfectly but you could take a little more time if you were preparing them for guests.
Happy New Year!

Sure Fire Pastry

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup lard
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. vinegar
cold water

Cut lard into flour. Beat egg yolk slightly in bottom of measuring cup and add vinegar and enough cold water to make 1/2 cup of liquid. Pour over flour and mix with a fork. Press into 3 balls and chill at least a half hour and then roll out.