Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some Things to Share

One of my layouts is up on the Nikki Sivils blog. I used some of Nikki's products using the Victoria's Street line and Julie Tucker-Wolek (part of Nikki's domestic design team) spotted it on Scrapbook.com and asked if she could showcase it on the blog. So there you have it! I think it's a layout (a 2-pager) that I haven't shown on this blog so go check it out on Nikki's blog to see it!

Also, in the past two weeks I have injured myself three times:
1. I slammed my right pointer finger in my desk drawer.
2. I accidentally dropped a dining room chair on my left foot (the seat back part was what fell on my foot)
3. I stabbed myself and drew blood with my thumbnail.


Why don't I show you another scrapbook layout? This one features pictures of me and some friends at a baby shower two weeks ago. We played the diaper game, where you melt chocolate bars and put them into diapers and then everyone has to smell them to figure out which chocolate bar it is. Yeah, my table won with 9/10 correct. Our prize? Non-melted fun-sized versions of the chocolate bars. It had been so long since I ate a Butterfinger. The title of this layout comes from the movie Bring it On:

Torrence: Missy's the poo so take a big whiff!

I think you kind of have to see the movie to get it, but anyway... The circular yellow thing on this layout is actually a chipboard shape that I covered with yellow ribbon. That's a really easy way to dress up plain chipboard, especially if you don't have paints or mists.

I also added a photo effect to these photos, which you will find out more about next month during the Getting Scrappy With... series. Can I just say, if you haven't tried out Picnik.com yet, please do. Lots of fun stuff there.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Around the House

Happy Sunday! It's been nice having time off, but the work week begins again tomorrow. Humph. 

This weekend I got some scrapping done. This is a layout I did for the Scrap the Moments challenge to use something you found around your house, such as a ticket stub. It just so happened that I had a ticket stub on my desk from the Hanson (yes, Hanson) concert I went to two weekends ago. So here is my layout for that challenge. 

What did you guys do for the challenge? Don't forget to go to the Scrap the Moments blog and submit your layout! You have until December 6 to enter for your chance to win a cool scrapbook kit from Catch the Moments.

And also don't forget about these other great things:
Scrap Outside the Box aluminum foil challenge - enter until November 30
Cook Scrap Craft giveaway - enter until November 30 for your chance to win a $40 coupon code to CSN Stores 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

So I didn't make Thanksgiving cards this year. But I did make Halloween cards for next year. So... yeah.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! And if you find that you just can't eat any more leftover turkey, might I tempt you to try this delicious recipe from the blog Feeding Four? This is called Cheesy Mexican Skillet and it is truly delicious. Pasta, meat, cream cheese, sour cream, salsa. All mixed together. It's awesome and really easy to make, especially on a weeknight. My husband really liked it, so I was glad about that because sometimes I try new recipes and then I feel bad if he's eating it just because he's hungry and not because it's delicious. :/ Not the case with this dish! I'm putting it into our recipe rotation!

I think that if you took the pasta out of the equation, you'd have a really thick and delicious chip dip—think Tostitos or Fritos scoops. Yum! I told my husband that and all he said was, "Pastaaaaa!!!" so I guess we'll just be keeping it as a main dish around here.

Happy Thanksgiving again and if you haven't already, go enter my giveaway for $40 to CSN Stores!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Roasting Pan Review

I've got another CSN Stores review for you! Back when I got my pizza pan, I also got this Nordicware Oven Essentials 18.5-inch Large Roaster in Red. Yes, a red roasting pan. The color totally sold me!

You can see a little bit of the color in this picture. It's more of a maroon than a bright red, so it looks really classy. It is also very heavy duty. I had a 17-pound turkey in there and the pan was still easy to lift.

You might also notice that I don't have a roasting rack in the pan. This pan didn't come with a roasting rack and I don't know anyone who has ever used a roasting rack before, so I just didn't use one. If you like roasting racks and prefer a pan that comes with one, then this might not be the roasting pan for you. However, you can always buy a separate roasting rack or you can just go without. The turkey turned out fine without one.

This turkey was a very snug fit inside the pan. I was a little surprised. Turns out, I ordered the 18.5-inch pan, but was sent a 14.5-inch pan. Of course, I didn't check this until the day of our party so I just shrugged my shoulders and in the words of Tim Gunn, I made it work. The turkey was snug but it still fit and didn't drip any juices on the bottom of my oven. The turkey also cooked through and in the exact amount of time the turkey package said it should.

This pan was very easy to clean because it is non-stick. You have to handwash it, but it's so easy to clean that it really doesn't matter. I love easy things!

Even though this Nordicware roasting pan turned out smaller than I anticipated, it's still a great pan and I would definitely use it again. I have another recipe (that is not turkey or chicken) that requires a roasting pan, so I can't wait to try it out! You'll just have to wait and see what it is!

I’d like to thank CSN Stores for sponsoring this review! (I was given the product, but was not compensated in any other way for my opinions.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stylish Blogger Award

Hey I won an award! Carrie, over at Everyday Moments, who also happens to be on the Scrap the Moments design team with me, received a Stylish Blogger Award and passed it on to me!

By accepting this award I must complete the following tasks:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded me
2. Share 8 things about myself
3. Pay it forward to 8 bloggers that I have recently discovered
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their awards

So here we go!
1. Every Sunday night I do my nails while watching TV.
2. eHarmony rejected me.
3. I like using my credit card reward points to get Old Navy gift cards. (Too bad I can't rack up those reward points faster.)
4. I hate wet sidewalks. I think this stems from being at public pools and the gunk that would get stuck to the wet walkways and sidewalks there. Have you ever looked at a wet sidewalk? Nasty.
5. I've been to London three times.
6. I love the smell of burning leaves. But I don't burn leaves! That's illegal!
7. I just went over 38,000 words for National Novel Writing Month. Not far now from 50,000.
8. I am three pounds away from my target weight, and about four-ish pounds away from where the Wii Fit wants me to be. (Wii Fit does a goal BMI.)

And who will my lucky eight bloggers be?

1. Amber at Hoot-n-Annie
2. Savanna Lea at Carson Cat Family
3. Keli at Feeding Four
4. Amanda at A Few Short Cuts
5. Jill at Blessed Scrapper
6. Stephanie at A Year of Slow Cooking
7. Staci at Creating My Everyday
8. Danielle at Homespun with Heart

(Honorable mention goes to my husband's blog: I Have Nothing Interesting to Say Let's see if he notices! tee hee)

Thanks again, Carrie!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scrap the Moments challenge

Alright, everyone, it's challenge time! Head on over to Scrap the Moments because there is a new challenge posted.

Your challenge is to create a layout using something that you find around your house on the layout. For example, a ticket stub, receipt, business card, anything like that! You can use a photo as well, as long as you have something else on your page!

I know exactly what I'm going to do for my layout, so hopefully you'll see it soon! More details are at the Scrap the Moments blog! The winner gets a kit from Catch the Moments kits! Awesome! So what are you waiting for? Let's get creative!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Other uses for corn tortillas

Before we get into corn tortillas, may I just remind you all that I've got a giveaway going on??? Click here to enter to win a $40 gift certificate to CSN Stores. You have until November 30 to enter.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Earlier this year I did a post on uses for corn tortillas. Well, once again we have a package of corn tortillas in our fridge that must be eaten! I don't even remember why we bought them in the first place. Tacos maybe? Anyway, after making myself a chicken salad wrap and a turkey wrap, I found a new recipe that utilizes corn tortillas. Breakfast Tostada. The recipe was first posted on Yum Sugar and involves eggs, a corn tortilla, pork sausage, avocado, and other goodies. You can stick to the recipe as is, leave out a few items (I left out tomato - uck) or add in other ingredients. It's very versatile and really takes no time at all to make.

Here is my adapted version:

1 corn tortilla
olive oil
1/2-inch-thick slice of ripe avocado, mashed (I found it so hard to mash the avocado)
1 oz. (about the size of a 1-inch meatball) of pork breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean is gluten-free)
1/2 cup spinach leaves (and now we have lots of spinach left over...)
chili powder
about 2 eggs, scrambled
salt and pepper

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Rub a few drops of olive oil onto both sides of the tortilla. Toast the tortilla in the hot skillet until lightly browned and crispy on both sides. Set tortilla on a plate.
3. Crumble pork sausage into the hot skillet and stir around until nicely browned, about 3 minutes.  Add spinach, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of chili powder and stir until spinach is wilted. Remove pan from heat.
4. Spread avocado on tortilla, then top with the spinach mixture.
5. Return pan to heat. Add a few drops of olive oil if there is no fat in the pan, then crack egg into the pan. Sprinkle egg with a little salt and pepper and scramble. Place scrambled eggs on top of tortilla and serve immediately.

I didn't get a picture of this because the night I made it, my bus was late coming home so we were really hungry by the time our tostadas were ready. We both really liked them, too. You can eat them with a knife and fork or try to wrap them up and eat them with your hands. Either way, they are yummy.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oh so much to get through!

Before we get down to business, one quick thing to remind you of: the aluminum foil challenge at Scrap Outside the Box is still going on until the end of this month! Don't forget to break out your Reynolds Wrap (or store brand, whatever you got) and show us how you worked it on your layout! We'd love to see your layouts! Just link them up to this blog post

Okay, now onto business. A lot has been going that I'd like to share with you all, so I'm going to try to do it in one post. Hope it doesn't get too long. 

First off, the other day I got a fun prize package in the mail from Nancy aka Homesclscrapper. I participated in a blog hop and won! She sent me out this really great package of goodies that I can't wait to start playing with.

Second, if you're planning on having people over for Thanksgiving, perhaps you might consider some festive decor. I saw cool, do-it-yourself yarn wreaths featured on the Cartwheels in My Mind blog and discovered the woman behind the idea for the yarn wreaths: Danielle Burkleo. Danielle posted a super easy tutorial on her blog, which you can find and follow here. These wreaths don't have to be fall-themed. You can make a yarn wreath using whatever colors you want. But I copied mine on the wreath with the multi-colored yarn (you'll see the picture at the end of Danielle's blog post) because I thought the colors reminded me of the changing leaves. I was so excited to find similar colored yarn at Michael's AND I found the perfect branch accent. Seriously, it was the only one they had! And it became mine! I wish my flowers had turned out larger, but the only size felt I could find was 8.5 x 11. Oh well. My wreath is 18 inches, but they had a smaller one. I just felt that the smaller one wouldn't be large enough over my mantelpiece. I totally think I'm going to make some of these as presents. I love them!

And last but not least: FOOD. (I think I've gotten "cook scrap craft" all in one blog post! Hey!) Something interesting I discovered at Whole Foods: gluten-free corn pasta. (As if there isn't already enough corn in the foods we eat, but I digress.)

The corn pasta is not as starchy as the rice pasta (nor is it as cheap as Trader Joe's rice pasta) and it tastes just as good. We used it to make Pam Anderson's Shells and Cheese, Gluten-Free (see picture below), which was much easier than the other mac and cheese recipe we had been making and was also very tasty. I like when I find a recipe that doesn't require a shopping cart full of ingredients, and this one also didn't take as long to prepare as our other recipe. Nor did it use up as many pots and pans as the other one. Geesh, I hate cleaning pots and pans.

And then after making this, of course, I went to Trader Joe's and found a box of gluten-free rice pasta and cheese (like the Kraft boxes) for $1.29. So I think that's how we'll be doing gluten-free mac and cheese on weeknights from now on. It's just easier because on weeknights we don't have time to wait 30+ minutes for dinner to be ready. I'm hungry when I walk in the door at 7 and the box of mac and cheese is something that my husband can definitely handle and have ready by the time I get home. Ah, it's almost like old times. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Oh my goodness! There is so much to share with you! I've got recipes, craft projects, and scrapbook stuff galore just waiting to be turned into blog posts. Seeing as Thanksgiving is a little over a week away, I thought that today I'd share with you some gluten-free tips for Thanksgiving.

But first, may I make an announcement? I applied for the Scrap the Moments design team and... I won a spot on the team! I'm so excited to get to work with Devon, owner of Scrap the Moments and the online kit store Catch the Moments, which if you haven't checked out already, please do so, especially if you like Thickers. You should also go visit Scrap the Moments because it's a brand new challenge blog, so if you like to participate in challenges or you're looking for something to jump start your creativity, then this site will help you do that! I'll keep you posted on when there are new challenges. I'm so excited to be a part of a talented bunch of scrappers! 

Okay, now on to the food. 

Last weekend, my husband and I had people over for the third annual Early Thanksgiving. Not only was this my first time making a turkey, but we also had Celiac disease to contend with. So I did some research online and here's what I found:

1) If you're doing a gluten-free Thanksgiving, read the packaging on the turkey you pick. Not all turkeys are gluten-free. And even if they say gluten-free, the included gravy packet might not be gluten-free. I completely forgot what brand of turkey we got, but we got it (a 17-pound bird) at our local grocery store, so you shouldn't have trouble finding one.

2 and 3) It's easy to make your own gravy using pan drippings from the turkey. It's also easy to make your own stuffing using gluten-free cornbread. Bob's Red Mill makes a tasty cornbread mix and then you just need gluten-free pork sausage (Jimmy Dean), gluten-free chicken broth (Progresso), and an onion (or not). The recipes for both the gravy and stuffing can be found here.

4) Also, read this from The Savvy Celiac if you have guests bringing gluten-free items. A lot of good points that I did not think about.


We didn't make gluten-free pumpkin pie because my husband doesn't like pumpkin-flavored things, but if you need more gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes, here are a few helpful links:

And here is everyone enjoying the food:

Oh yeah. I was excited about not ruining my first turkey (more later about the roasting pan):

I hope all of this has been helpful! Just because you are eating gluten-free doesn't mean you can't eat well! 

And don't forget about my CSN Stores giveaway! Go here to find out how to enter.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

1st anniversary and giveaway!

Can you believe that my blog has been around for one year? (Technically yesterday was the official one-year anniversary, but whatever.) It's been a lot of fun cooking and crafting with you guys and I look forward to another year of more inspiration!

In honor of my blog's first anniversary, I wanted to do something special, something to thank the loyal readers of this blog. So I'm going to have a giveaway!

Remember me talking about CSN Stores, the online retailer that has everything you could possibly need from a cool new counter stool to dishes, shoes to purses, and pet products to workout gear? Seriously, anything you could be looking for is all at CSN Stores!

And luckily for you guys, CSN Stores has offered up a $40 gift certificate, valid at any of CSN's online stores, for one Cook Scrap Craft reader. Isn't that awesome? How do you enter? All you have to do is go visit CSNStores.com, find something that you like, and come back to this blog post to tell me what you'd spend your $40 on. You have until November 30 at midnight to enter. Then I'll use Random.org to pick a winner!

Good luck to everybody and thanks so much to CSN Stores for this awesome opportunity!

Note: This giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canadian readers. There may be international shipping fees to Canada that the gift code cannot cover.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shel's Marinade for chicken or pork chops

My husband and I buy meat in bulk - chicken or ground beef, usually. We divide it up, put the divisions in freezer bags, and put those in the freezer. Then it's there for whenever we decide we want meat. When it's time to have chicken, we often stumble upon a conundrum: what kind of chicken?

I'm of the school of thought that chicken has to BE something. Chicken Parmesan. Lemon chicken. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake. My husband on the other hand would be perfectly content to eat plain poached chicken and rice. My ideas require work. His idea is easier. Michelle's idea is a nice compromise.

Michelle has her own garden where she grows fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. "My favorite herb is the lemon basil," she says. "It is this wonderfully lemon-scented delicacy!" So what does she do with this delicacy? "I throw a handful of leaves in a ziploc bag with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and chicken breasts or pork chops. I let it marinade for a few hours and then grill the meat! OMG! That lemon basil gives the meat such a wonderful flavor!"

It is a wonderful flavor! Okay, so we didn't make it exactly as Michelle instructed (We don't have our own herb garden, we don't have an outdoor grill) but we did marinate the chicken breasts (actually tenders because we don't have a meat mallet) in lemon juice (from the bottle - we are lazy), basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. The chicken marinated overnight and then my husband popped them on our George Foreman grill and dinner was ready super fast! Yum!

If you want more delicious dishes from Michelle, go check out her blog, Shel's Creative Emporium. She's been sharing loads of recipes with her readers lately! I love it!

Thanks for joining us for yet another week of Getting Scrappy With... Don't forget to visit Michelle's Scrapbook.com gallery for lots more scrappy inspiration. And if there's anything else you'd like to know about or see from the featured scrappers, let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Inspiration from Michelle

Welcome back to Getting Scrappy With...! Today I'm going to show you how Michelle's layouts have inspired me.

On Monday I posted one of Michelle's layouts, called "My Chef", and that happens to be the layout that I scraplifted. 

Click here to see this in Michelle's Scrapbook.com gallery

I really liked the swirl of paper at the bottom and the overall simplicity to the whole layout. Proof that you don't need to go crazy to make a great layout, especially if it's the pictures you really want to showcase and not the supplies. My layout uses pictures I took of the pretty fall trees around where I live. I used papers from Crate Paper, Recollections and Colorbok. The sparkly letters and numbers are American Crafts, as are the sparkly flower shapes.


As you can see, I didn't put a journaling rectangle above the pictures like Michelle did on her layout. Instead, I used one of the brown side spots to journal. I did that mainly because I was using stuff from my stash to create this layout and I didn't have a coordinating journaling spot or extra blank piece of cardstock. So I improvised! That's what's so fun about scraplifting. You can take the general idea of a layout and then change it up to suit your style and your scrapbook stash.

If you've visited Michelle's blog or Scrapbook.com gallery and used one of her layouts as inspiration, post a link to your work in the comments. I'd love to see it - and I'm sure Michelle would, too! There's something good cooked up for Friday, so don't miss it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting Scrappy With...

Click here to see this in Michelle's Scrapbook.com gallery
It's that time again! Time to Get Scrappy With... Michelle Stankevicius aka Shelstan on Scrapbook.com. Michelle does layouts in all different sizes (12x12, 8.5x11, 6x6) and I love seeing how she changes things up from layout to layout. I don't remember when I first came across Michelle's work, but whenever it was, her layouts really appealed to me and I hope they do to you, too. I've been following Michelle's blog, Shel's Creative Emporium, and not only is Michelle an awesome scrapbooker, but she's an all-around awesome person, too! Check out her blog because she has a whole lot more than just scrapbook layouts—you'll find cute pictures of her kids, pictures of her home decor, and yummy recipes! But first, let's get to know Michelle a bit better.

When did you start scrapping?

I started keeping scrapbooks when I was in junior high. Of course, my style has changed drastically since then, and continues to change with the times! I have taken some art classes and have read a lot of design books, so I think that technically my style has improved in terms of composition and style. I also was trained as a professional photographer at Glamour Shots and another portrait studio when I was in college, so I think my photography has become better over time as well!

Why do you scrap?

It started as a fun way to document vacations and special occasions and has morphed into a way to document my family's everyday lives. I hope my children will want to take "their" scrapbooks with them when they move out and will look back on them as a way to remember the best of times!

Click here to view Michelle's Scrapbook.com gallery
Your kids are in a lot of your pictures and sometimes I see you on a layout. How often would you say you scrap yourself?

Honestly, I'm not crazy about doing it, but I force myself to do it every once in awhile. If I am trying to preserve my children's childhood for them, I'm sure they'd appreciate a pic or two of their mom thrown in for good measure! Having three kids, I am usually the one behind the lens, but occasionally my husband will turn the camera on me!

What are your favorite scrapbook manufacturers?

I really like companies that provide lots of coordinating elements like: Basic Grey, Studio Calico, Jenni Bowlin, Crate Paper and Sassafras Lass are just a few. I really don't have any ties to any ONE company!

Where do you get your creative inspiration?

I subscribe to all of the different scrapbooking magazines, so I get a lot of ideas there. I also love browsing blogs and Scrapbook.com. I have a group of "friends" that I met through Scrapbook.com from all over the country and we offer encouragement, challenges and inspiration to each other, too.

Do you have a favorite technique that you use on layouts or something that you think of as your signature?

I love buttons and butterflies!! My daughter always says, "Don't forget to add a butterfly, Mom!"

Where and when do you do most of your scrapping? 

I usually get about two hours a day (if my other two kids are occupied) when my baby naps. I usually scrap at the kitchen table, so I can keep my eye on what's happening in the house. My husband is currently finishing our basement and there is a beautiful corner of the great room with my name on it! LOL I hope to move my scrap stuff down there when it's finished.

Right now all of my stuff is housed in my hall coat closet, and two scrap bags! I have lots of storage containers that are begging to be displayed once our basement is finished. My darling husband created two oversized closets for me in the basement to house all of my scrap supplies and he's creating some built-in shelving for my books and craft stuff. All I need to find is a scrap desk and comfy chair to complete the vision!

That sounds awesome! For my readers who might live in your area or who might be visiting, is there any place you'd recommend they check out for scrap supplies?

Unfortunately, most of the local scrap stores in my neighborhood have gone out of business! :( There is a really great scrap store in downtown Chicago that I try to take a trek up to about once a year. It is called Windy City Scrapbooking. I buy most of my stuff at my local Archiver's, Michael's and JoAnn's. I also order a lot online. (shhh...don't tell my husband!) I subscribe to some kits. (Scarlet Lime and Studio Calico are my faves!)

Well, from reading your blog, it's clear that you have other crafty hobbies aside from scrapbooking.

I love to paint. I have created lots of original paintings for my home, as well as murals on the children's bedroom walls and some decorative stenciling in my bathroom. My mom is super crafty. When I was younger she taught me to crochet and cross stitch, but I haven't done those in years. My mom is still crafty. We sometimes scrap together and she makes some really pretty and unique jewelry too! My other favorite hobby is cooking. I have taken a few classes at SurLaTable and love to try new and unique recipes!

Because Christmas is right around the corner, what's on your Christmas wish list?

My Christmas wish list... I'd love to say it's huge, but then I'd sound greedy, and in today's economy, I shouldn't be asking for anything. BUT...it's just a "wish" list, right? So, a girl can dream....haha....I'd really love that Martha Stewart loopy punch. I swear I'm going to make one of those 7 Gypsies Letterblock Printer trays one of these days. I adore butterflies, so I'm always looking for new ones. And I don't have any yet, but I'd like some of the new Echo Park and KI paper lines!

And in un-scrappy news, I'd love Jessica Seinfeld's new cookbook Double Delicious. (I have her first one: Deceptively Delicious and it's pretty good!) I saw her on Oprah this morning, cooking up a storm and it made me so hungry! She made this great looking crock-pot lasagna that I have to try!

Well, I've seen a lot of recipes on your own blog that I'd love to try! Thanks for being part of Cook Scrap Craft this week, Michelle!


If you want to check out some of Michelle's recipes, then head on over to her blog. You'll definitely get inspiration for this week's meals. And don't forget to visit her Scrapbook.com gallery to see Michelle's scrappy work. Then come back to Cook Scrap Craft on Wednesday for more Getting Scrappy With...!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's getting 'chili'!

The colder weather always signals, for me, that it's time to start making chili. I've always been a fan of chili. My family used to make it and then put cooked rotini pasta on top. It is so good!

For the longest time, I grew up with sort of spicy chili, which I liked (especially with the pasta on top!) but then my mom got a recipe from someone for a sweet chili. You heard that right: sweet chili. It's made with sugar. Oh yeah.

Some advice: this is not something that you can whip up real quick after coming home from work at 6:00 (or 7:00, in my case). It takes three hours to cook and THEN you have to cook it some more to let the water evaporate. (You'll understand when you read the directions.) Give yourself plenty of time to make this. It's a good Sunday dinner.

Are you ready for it?

Ron's Sweet Chili

1 pound ground beef
1 14-ounce can tomato puree (Hunt's is gluten-free)
1 15-ounce can kidney beans (Rienzi is gluten-free and says it right on the can)
chili powder
1 tbsp sugar

1. Brown beef and drain. Place in pot/dutch oven.
2. Put other ingredients in the pot/dutch oven. Sprinkle chili powder on top.
3. Fill pot with water. Cook on medium heat for three hours. Keep refilling with water. When ready to serve, cook all the way down.

Sorry, no pictures. We were so hungry, we ate without taking a picture first.

In other news, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month (aka NanoWriMo) after a two-year hiatus. My current word count is 8,839 words. I need 50,000 by the end of this month to "win". I can do it! Anyone else participating?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CSN Review!

Remember awhile back when I told you I'd be reviewing something from CSN Stores? And remember how I also told you we really love Udi's gluten-free pizza crusts? Well, I decided to get a little something to help us out with making our new favorite pizzas. A pizza pan!!!

I've never owned a pizza pan before and had been baking pizzas on a baking sheet. I know you can cook the pizza right on the oven rack, but it's so hard to get the pizza out of the oven. I have nightmares about spilling cheese and pepperoni on the bottom of my oven and then having to clean it. Hence, the baking sheet.

But, as you know, I wanted a crispier gluten-free pizza and I thought a pizza pan would keep the gluten-free pizza crust from getting sogged down by the pizza sauce. And I think this Frieling Round Crisper (that's its technical name) did its job. The holes in the center of the pan allowed heat to get through to the bottom of the pizza and kept the crust from getting too soggy. There was a definite crunch when I bit into the pizza. (I also baked the pizza for the full seven minutes, like I did last time. Another tip, wait to top the pizza with sauce, etc., until right before you're going to put the pizza in the oven that way the pizza doesn't have so much time to soak up the sauce.)

And the pizza came off the pan so easily because the pan is non-stick. You could also use this pan for baking homemade or frozen pizzas in the oven.

Be careful when handling or washing (hand wash only) because the pan does scratch. After we washed it, I noticed a scratch mark on the surface. Is our dishwasher scrubber too harsh? I don't think it will affect the cooking quality, though.

I’d like to thank CSN Stores for sponsoring this review! (I was given the product, but was not compensated in any other way for my opinions.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Christmas List

Back in college, my roommate Kim and I discovered a little made-for-TV movie called The Christmas List. It's one of those so-bad-it's-good movies with classic moments, like the one where two twins (played by impossibly awful actresses) are buying perfume and one says, "But I don't want to smell like my sister." The movie stars Mimi Rogers as Melody, a department store perfume saleslady who has "the nose". She can ask you a series of questions (like, what is your favorite flower?) and instantly know what scent is perfect for you.

image from here
One night, Melody makes a Christmas list. It's just for fun, she thinks, so she puts down crazy stuff, stuff she wants but knows is unattainable (a car) and stuff she wants but won't allow herself to splurge on (pink fuzzy slippers). She then shows the list to her friend and co-worker who yanks the list from Melody's hands and puts it in the "mailbox" of the mall Santa Claus.

After Melody's list is "delivered" to Santa, things start happening to Melody. She starts getting the things on her list, although not necessarily in the ways she had hoped.

The whole thing is super cheesy but Kim and I loved this movie so much that we made it a point to watch it on TV every year while eating pizza and Oreos. We don't get to watch it together anymore and dumb old ABC Family is making it incredibly difficult for us to watch this movie on our own during the holiday season. The Christmas List used to be part of the 25 Days of Christmas programming and then it got moved to the COUNTDOWN to the 25 Days of Christmas programming in November. And now it seems that (according to this blog) instead of airing this wonderful movie, ABC Family is choosing to air ridiculous crap like The Dog Who Saved Christmas (vomit), Home Alone 4 (didn't know they made that many...) and the entire Harry Potter saga (what do those movies have to do with Christmas?). That doesn't mean that The Christmas List won't air. It might, just not as part of this special programming. Last year (or maybe it was the year before) I was home (don't know why - I think it was a Monday??) and I turned on TV to watch while I ate lunch and The Christmas List was on!

Why don't I just buy the movie and watch it whenever I want? BECAUSE THEY DON'T PRODUCE THIS MOVIE ON VHS OR DVD. Seriously. You don't know how much this stresses me out.

Anyway, the point of all of this is this: In the spirit of lame Christmas movies, I decided to make my own Christmas List chockfull of stuff that's kind of unrealistic in terms of me getting it, as well as stuff that I want but just haven't bought for myself.

1. The Christmas List on DVD (Come on already!!!)
2. anything from my Scrapbook.com wish list: http://www.scrapbook.com/myplace/index.php?mod=shopping&u=181811&m=wish
3. a new car
4. a gift subscription or a scrapbook kit from any of the following kit clubs:
5. nude and black trouser socks
6. a Clip it Up
7. these cute TOMS shoes in a size 7
8. white socks to wear with tennis shoes (Is it sad that I don't buy myself socks?)
9. gold flats (still miss my old broken pair)
10. brown kitten heels
11. new black kitten heels
12. braces/Invisalign
13. trip to Germany
14. more colorful flats!
15. Old Navy/GAP gift cards
16. massage
17. work from home
18. mini curling iron
19. Whole Foods/Trader Joe's gift cards
20. wreath storage holder
21. Dr. Scholl's insoles and heel cushions
22. 12x12 scrapbook albums
23. mailing labels
24. supportive walking around the house shoes/sandals
25. Tupperware containers for cereal, chips, cookies, etc.
26. a remodeled master bathroom
27. new cabinets and countertops in the kitchen - and I want the kitchen painted in Martha Stewart colors, the kind on her Macy's kitchen collection
28. Pur two-stage water filters
29. a new dining room set
30. book reading light - sometimes I get on the bus and the seat light doesn't work, so then I can't read because it's dark outside
31. Catwalk by TIGI Sleek Mystique Blow Out Balm
32. paddle brush (for hair)
33. to win a good Mega Millions or Powerball

So what's on your Christmas List? Go crazy! You never know...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Hey all! The new challenge is up at Scrap Outside the Box! This month you are challenged to make a layout about any subject you want in any way you want as long as you use ALUMINUM FOIL.

I participated in this challenge... as a member of the Design Team! That's right! I won a spot on the Scrap Outside the Box Design Team. I'm super excited to create with materials and objects that I otherwise would never think to work with! So how will you use aluminum foil? Here's what I did:

Foil ghosts! If you don't have the embellishments you want, then make your own! Check out the Scrap Outside the Box blog to see how other members of the design team used foil. Then, armed with inspiration, try your hand at the challenge. You've got until the end of the month to link your layout on the Scrap Outside the Box blog. Have fun!