Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter

Hope everyone is celebrating this joyous holiday!
We got together with family on Good Friday so here's a few things to share from our celebration.

I usually bring the desserts (no surprise there). I kept it simple because it seems like everyone is cutting down on their sugar consumption. Cupcakes...

Raspberry cheesecake and Peanut Butter Cheesecake in a JAR!

I will post this recipe once I perfect it. Everyone thought it was delicious (I didn't bring any home) but I found it a bit rich. Everyone loved the portion control, though.

We made a bunch of sugar cookies during March Break but alas, they never made to Easter dinner.
Kudos to my 11 year old cousin, Maddie,  who made up an Adult Egg Hunt. She printed out slips of paper and hid them inside plastic eggs and we all had to find 3 each hidden in the house. She designed it kind of like, Roll up the Rim (Canadian Rite of Spring at Tim Horton's), some were "try again", some were for Lindt chocolates, some were for prize of your choice including packets of gum, Tim's Cards and Bath and Body Works soap etc. What a creative idea. We all enjoyed it very much. 

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Favourite Colour Combo

This week's challenge over at Sassy Cheryl's is Challenge 159; Favourite Colour Combo.
I tend to use teal and rose quite often when I colour and Sally Decorating Eggs was perfect for this Easter weekend.

The Copics I used for Sally were BG 11, 13 and 15 and R 83,85. Some of my favourites which I turn to time and again. I think Sally got a little too much sun on her face this weekend but we're not complaining.

Egg Hunt

As you can see, it was still a little snowy for our Egg Hunt which we celebrate on Good Friday but the kiddies LOVED it. Here's a few things I have learned over the years about running the perfect Hunt.
1. Hide the candy in plastic eggs. That way you can put in bulk candy and have a lot of variety and keep the items away from dogs and clean, no matter what the weather.

2. Assign each child a specific colour. Our family ranges from 2 to 11 so this way the younger children have a shot at getting to the eggs. Man-Man (2 years old) was assigned the colour GREEN and it was beyond adorable watching him go after "his" eggs. The left-over colours can be wild.

3.  As the children get older, they would much rather find money in the eggs, then candy. We still go the loonie, toonie route but maybe a bill in a GOLDEN egg would make it a lot more fun.

4. Take a Ziploc bag with each child's name on it to take their loot home afterward.

5. MAKE them put the plastic egg halves back together so you don't have to do it next year. Really, you'll thank me for this tip.
I enjoy putting together the Hunt every year with help from my Aunt Janet and the kids really enjoy it as too. Hope this gives you some ideas for your family gathering.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Delightful Inspiration

I found another digital stamp site with a monthly challenge called From the Heart Stamps. They send you the Delightful Inspirations Monthly stamp each month for free if you participate in the previous month's challenge. I figured I could handle one more challenge so I decided to participate. The stamp was a set of 3 baskets and I chose to use the Easter basket. I coloured with Copics and added some bling and glitter but it's difficult to see. And look....I was able to use my Cricut again.

I cut the egg card on my Cricut using the Close to my Heart "Art Philosophy" cartridge. Now that I'm actually opening those little booklets, I am getting more familiar with what's available, so now when I sit down to think up a new card design, the ideas in my memory bank. Now if I could just get going on the sentiments. Sigh!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Perfect Cookie Base

It may seem like I'm constantly making the same type of cookie but like all bakers, I am always on a quest for the Best of the Best. I found this recipe on the blog Cookies and Cups and decided to try it. After all, the "perfect" cookie base? In actuality, I don't think its too far from the truth. The corn starch helps the cookie stand up, kind of like the pudding cookies without the pudding taste. I added the usual Milk chocolate M and M's and chocolate chips and these cookies were wonderful. You can add whatever you fancy, these cookies are versatile; perfect for the sweet tooth.

The Perfect Cookie Base

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups of your favourite candy or chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients.
Stir in candy until evenly distributed
Drop by heaping tablespoon onto cookie sheet and bake for 8 -9 minutes at 350F until
edges are just golden. Make sure not to overbake for a nice, moist cookie.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sassy Cheryl's Challenge 158 - Fancy Edges

This week's challenge at Sassy Cheryl's is Fancy Edges. I hope my edges are fancy enough for the challenge. I like simple designs but I thought this card worked out well. I used the image; Polly's Slice of Cake and my kindly, generous friend Corrina, cut the Happy Birthday for me on her Silhouette. I added a little glitter to give the icing dimension and popped up the flame.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Springtime in Ontario

I'm usually pretty postive about the weather. Afterall, we live in the north and we get to celebrate the beauty of all four seasons.  I walk the dogs mostly every day rain or shine because they love it; but even I was getting a little impatient for signs of spring. Here's the scene out my back door this morning, the temperature was below zero and there is still snow on the ground but there were ICICLES from the melt, indicating that spring is just around the corner. At least, I hope so.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Pickled Eggs

Pickled eggs.... you either love them or hate them! I personally do not care for them much but my older brother LOVES them. So sometimes, I'm a good sister and I whip him up a batch. Over the years, we have fine-tuned the recipe to just where he likes it. No garlic! It's a great high protein snack to grab when you're feeling peckish. Take a walk on the wild side and give this recipe a shot.

Pickled Eggs
12 hard cooked eggs, peeled
375 mL white vinegar
125 mL water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed pickling spice

bay leaf
sliced onion

Place peeled eggs in large jar.
Put next 4 ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for
5 minutes. Pour through a strainer over eggs. Cover and refrigerate.
Let stand at least 2 days before using.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Chocolate cookies with an Irish twist

Even though I'm not Irish and have absolutely NO connection to anything Irish, I thought I would jump on the St. Patrick's Day bandwagon and use it as an excuse to bake. Chocolate and mint, a perfect combination to celebrate with the Emerald Isle.
This cookie is so easy, you will want to celebrate too!

Chocolate Cake Mix cookies
1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks and Mint M&M's)
Bake for 8 - 10 min at 350F.
Be careful. They burn easily.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Green, Orange and White

I actually finished my card for Sassy Cheryl's Digital challenge #157; Green, Orange and White early but some significant computer problems prevented me from posting it early. I used the adorable image Callie's Little Umbrella and you can't really see, but her boots and the umbrella have glossy accents as well as a little sparkle on her dress.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

March Break One Year Ago

One year ago for March Break, the weather was unseasonably warm and I had the K litter from Lindor. They were able to be outside, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the warm temperatures.

Today, there is another fresh fall of snow and the temperatures are below freezing. What a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Who doesn't love a meal in the crock pot? When you come home, the meal is already decided and you just have to come up with a couple of sides. I recently tried this version which starts with the meat being browned in the oven first and after. I usually par-boil my ribs but I really liked how this version turned out. Meat doesn't make the best photo but you get the idea.

Slow Cooker Barbeque Ribs
4 pounds pork back ribs
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder (about 1/2 tsp of each)

2 cups of your favourite bbq sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp dried oregano
dash hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place ribs in shallow baking dish and season. Bake for 15 min, turn over and bake for 15 min more. In a medium bowl, combine the sauce ingredients.
Place sectioned ribs in a slow cooker, pour sauce on top and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.
If you want to carmelize your bbq sauce, put them back in the oven for 15 minutes at 400F.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Kraftin' Kimmie Challenge

I found another Challenge that I wanted to link up to this week. I first found the Lulu stamps by my favourite artist; Cheryl Alger, on the Kraftin' Kimmie site. These stamps are hands-on, meaning they come in rubber cling. I'm also happy that they are a Canadian company so I can get things quickly and without the exorbidant shipping costs.

Here's my take on Challenge 169: Clean and Simple.....

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sally Feeds the Birds

Here's my card for this week's challenge over at Sassy Cheryl's; Challenge 156 - Flowers, Flowers Everywhere. Well, not here in Southern Ontario. We still have 37 cm of snow on the ground that has to melt but it's starting slowly but surely. Spring is just around the corner. I know that because the skunks are back out.
The image I used was Sally Feeds the Birds. For the inside of the card, I left the sentiment blank for now but I wanted to try a technique that I spotted on a blog not that long ago. I love how it turned out!
Think Spring, everybody!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

13 in 13 February Recap

So let's see how I did for the month of Feb. I did manage to use the Cricut for the world's smallest oval, I have completed some random acts of kindness (most of them involved baking but what's wrong with that?)

Lindor completed her Rally Novice one and did amazing on her final test. Most of the error was due to handler (that would be ME!) My chocolate girl is so smart.

I've continued my reading and I am still waiting for a big points redemption to arrive. I'm enjoying cooking from my various cookbooks and YEAH!!! I have been trying to link up regularly to Sassy Cheryl for her card challenges (LOVE her digi's!!) So I think I've done really well.

Still some room for improvement. I haven't been able to send a card yet. So strange when I make dozens of them. Maybe I'm too attached. LOL.
So here's the progress on the afghan starting with a WHO DUNIT?.....

Was this the culprit?? or was it this one....
All I know is I came downstairs and they were both having a ball playing tug of war so I don't know who got the yarn out of the bag. Regardless, I was able to accomplish THIS much on my afghan. I love crochet, so relaxing especially spending an hour trying to unravel the yarn.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Thick and Chewy M and M Cookie Bars

In my quest to use up my stockpile of baking supplies, I decided to use this recipe that I found on It lived up to its name thick, chewy and may I add; scrumptious. I took these squares to the Just Gutsa Crop along with some peanut butter cookies so if you're looking for the recipe, here it is...

Thick and Chewy M & M Cookie Bars

1 1/2 cups of butter or margarine(melted)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 12 oz bag of M & M's ( I used milk chocolate )

Mix melted butter and sugars, stir in eggs and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients being careful not to overmix. Fold in M & M's reserving a few to sprinkle on top. Turn batter into greased pan and spread out with a spatula. Sprinkle with M & M's. Bake at 350 for 30 min or until top is golden and firm and bars are starting to pull away from the edges. (I found I had to watch carefully as the middle was a little slower to firm up) Cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Avery's Big Flower

Yesterday, I was at a really great fund-raising Crop for Crohn's and Colitis and got to spend some time with a nice group of ladies. I hope they were very successful in their efforts to raise money for this cause. It was a 12 hour event but alas, I only completed 5 cards. Maybe a little too much time catching up with the friends? Regardless,  I was really happy to visit, relax, win some prizes, and complete this week's challenge at Sassy Cheryl's,
This week the theme was monochromatic. Here's my take on Challenge #155 Blue...

I used the Digi; Avery's Big Flower. Still lovin' the challenges!