Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween mini album

So here's what I did while I watched the World Series: made a Halloween mini album! A long, long time ago (two years, maybe?) I won a prize pack of Nikki Sivils Halloween scrapbook goodies, including a cute ghost chipboard album. I didn't know what to do with it at the time, but then I had a bright idea! Wouldn't it make a cute album for showcasing kids' Halloween costumes throughout the years? Brilliant! Doesn't matter that I have no children and who knows when we ever will. At least when we do have kids (ya know, when we're 50...) this album will already be done and ready to go! TIME SAVER! So here's what I came up with:

Title page - a picture will go in the big "O" in "Halloween."

Some other pages:

There are 12 pages total so that's 12 Halloweens. And if our child is still Trick-or-Treating after that (hey, my last Trick-or-Treat was as a freshman in high school. I was Baby Spice.) then I'll figure something out.

The only problem is (aside from not having a child yet) there are no holes in the ghost chipboard for the metal clasp. So I can't really make this an album yet because I can't attach the metal clasp to bind the pages! Any thoughts on this one? What tool do I need to bore holes into the chipboard? And why didn't the stupid thing just come with holes??? Is mine defective?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not a Scraplift

Usually I do a lot of scraplifting in my scrap work. I find it easier to start with a sketch or someone else's layout as inspiration. But occasionally I'll come up with a design on my own, such as with this layout. I sketched out this one with these pictures in mind, although I didn't know exactly what papers or embellishments I wanted to use. Everything on this, except for the Mr. 3,000 letters and the yellow cardstock, is from the July Hullaboo kit from Lucky Girl Crafts, which is sadly going out of business. And I got the last July kit. :) The papers worked perfectly with the summer baseball pictures. I cut out the paper banner, which is hard to do with larger scissors. I should really invest in smaller scissors for the fussy cutting. Oh, and if you were wondering, yes those pictures are from the Yankees game when Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit - plus a couple more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Pizza for Me

This is a black bean pizza. Oh man, it's SO good. I got the recipe from Fitness magazine a couple months ago. It was part of a feature called Takeout Fake-Out. I liked the look of it in the pictures and so I cut out the recipe and put it in the recipe folder of my shopping binder with hopes to one day make the pizza. Well, that day finally came. 

I didn't make this gluten-free because I didn't think my husband would like a pizza without pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. This pizza has cheese, corn, avocado, black beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and refrigerated pizza dough. It was pretty easy to put together (You'll need a rolling pin for the dough) and definitely delicious. The black beans give it a meaty flavor, and I love the way the chili powder tastes mixed with all the veggies. Go here for the original recipe. I left out the tomatoes because I don't like them and the scallions because I'm not sure what those are. Instead of cheddar cheese I used Monterey Jack because it was what we had in our fridge. Can't wait to have the leftover pizza slices for lunch during the week!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dusting off the Crockpot

And I do mean that literally. Our six-quart Crockpot had a thin layer of dust on top of it. Gross. Guess we don't use it very often, huh? The last few times we've used a slow cooker, we've used our little two-quart guy. But if you're making something like soup or stew, the bigger guys are going to be able to hold more, even if you're only making the soup for two people. Anyway, enough of my rambling. What did I make in the big Crockpot? Crockpot Tortilla Soup. This is a recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking, which pretty much has EVERYTHING you could possibly want to make in a slow cooker, even lasagna.

This recipe utilizes chicken, veggies, chicken broth, and spices. I didn't have green peppers or onions, so I just threw in some onion powder. I didn't have garlic cloves so I just threw in some minced garlic. I didn't have any cayenne pepper so I just left that out. Our cooked chicken was poached. And if you're doing this gluten-free, make sure you use gluten-free chicken broth. I like Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock (which is basically the same thing) but you can't get it in Target's grocery section. (We just got a revamped grocery in our local Target and I was doing our shopping there because they gave out coupons galore, but I still had to hit up A&P for the gluten-free chicken broth/stock.)

This was super easy, as are most slow cooker recipes. I got it started in the morning and then let it cook on low for eight hours while I went to a pumpkin sling (see picture at right).

We garnished with sour cream and tortilla chips and a little bit of cheddar cheese. It's kind of like a supreme chicken taco only in soup form. And it made the house smell so good while it was cooking. Yum!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Do You Scrap?

Recently I had a conversation with someone about scrapbooking and a very interesting question was posed to me: You don't have any kids, so what do you scrap?


It's true. My camera (and now my iPod Touch) go EVERYWHERE with me. Baseball games. Concerts. Outings with friends. Weddings. Vacations. My feelings. If there's a chance to take a photo, I will take that photo. And then scrap it.

So I made a layout about all the things I scrap, using up some leftover photos that never made it onto layouts but that I couldn't just throw away. (I love the one of my dad holding my wedding bouquet, but the wedding album had enough photos.) The layout was also a good way to use up some scrap supplies in my stash, including letter stickers. I've had those sparkly pink letters (from the Target $1 spot) for more than a year and spelling "what" finally used them up. Woo!

If you don't have kids either, then what do you scrap? Or for every scrapper out there, what do you scrap?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October Quote Challenge

My entry for Scrap Our Stash's October Quote Challenge is up on the Scrap Our Stash blog today. My quote inspiration came from C.S. Lewis. You can see it and read all about it when you click the link! Check it out and see what all the other entries look like, too. (You might find some good quote inspiration for your own layouts.) You have until the end of October to enter your own quote-focused layout. The winner will be offered a Guest Design Team spot for the month of December.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Front Door

Happy Halloween! We have outdoor decor!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pepperoni Puffs

If you're looking for a different way to do pizza, then check out this recipe for Pepperoni Puffs from A Few Shortcuts. These were really yummy and easy. Plus, I was able to make them gluten-free! Hooray! Here is our gluten-free adapted recipe:

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup pepperoni (We used slices and cut them up into smaller pieces.)
1/2 cup pizza sauce

1. Grease a muffin pan. (The original recipe calls for a 24-cup mini muffin pan. I don't own one of those, so I just used a regular 12-cup pan. The puffs weren't as puffy, but they still tasted good.)
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder and baking powder. Whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni. Let stand 10 minutes and preheat oven for 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Stir the batter and divide among the muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, microwave pizza sauce until warm. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Friday, October 14, 2011

White Wedding Cake Cupcakes

Kat says that she's more of a baker than a cook, and so she's sharing with us her favorite cupcake recipe. This recipe for White Wedding Cake Cupcakes comes from the website Recipe Girl. A tip from Kat: she thinks they are best when they’re a day old!

These are really tasty and very soft. I adapted the recipe to make it gluten-free: just used a box of Betty Crocker gluten-free yellow cake mix and all-purpose gluten-free flour. For the frosting, I used a can of Betty Crocker Whipped Cream Cheese frosting, which is gluten-free. 

Don't make fun of my frosting skills. The gluten-free stuff doesn't rise as much as regular stuff, so the cupcakes were a little deep in the cupcake liners. And that makes it hard to get the knife on top of the cupcake to frost. I ended up frosting the liners more than the cupcakes! If you're fancy, you could use a pastry bag or fashion one out of a Ziploc bag. But I don't have time for that sort of thing. I do have time to eat the cupcakes! Yum!


Thanks to Kat for being part of Cook Scrap Craft this weekDon't forget to visit Kat's blog and gallery for creative inspiration! And let me know if there are any questions you have for the scrappers or if there is a particular scrapper you'd like to see featured.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Inspiration from Kat!

One thing that I like about Kat's layouts is that they don't get too fussy. I love the simplicity in her layouts! There are so many layouts that I wanted to scraplift, but I chose this one. Kat wrote that it took her only 10 minutes to put together, so I decided to see if I too could make a 10-minute scraplift layout. Success! And I like the way it looks AND it used up some scraps. So here is Kat's layout:

And here is my layout in 12x12 form:

I used part of some scrapbook packaging to create the journaling spot. And, actually, the patterned paper on this and the letters and the heart sticker are all from Kat! So thanks to her for the inspiration and the supplies!

Show us how Kat inspired you in the comments section! If you want more inspiration, visit Kat's blog and gallery. And don't forget to check back here on Friday for a special treat!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting Scrappy With ... Kat!

click here to see this in Kat's gallery
This month's featured scrapper is long overdue! Kat, or HappyGRL as she's known on, has been a follower of my blog since the beginning. In fact, we both became followers of each other's blogs around the same time because we both started our blogs around the same time. (You might remember her for the cute ornaments she made.) I really like the way Kat uses pictures on her layouts. She'll take one picture and put it twice or three times on her layout. Maybe two of the pictures will be in black and white and one will be in color. It definitely inspires me to play more with my pictures and not just the scrapbook materials. You can become a follower of Kat's blog, too, but first it's time to get to know Kat better with the Getting Scrappy With... Q&A!

You started scrapbooking at the end of 2008. What keeps you scrapping?
I love the hobby.  It relaxes me and I really have fun doing it.  I love looking back on my old projects and I hope that my future family will too!

I look back at some of my old pages and cringe, but I’m still glad I have those pages and the memories preserved.

Where do you get your creative inspiration? 
I get a lot of inspiration from magazines and Pinterest (love that site!).  I scraplift a lot of the layouts that I love.  I consider that to be the ultimate compliment to a scrapper. 

We'll get to the scraplifting later! Do you have a favorite technique that you use on layouts or something that you think of as your signature? 
I love paint splatters.  The majority of my layouts have that tiny, messy effect on them.
What are your favorite scrapbook manufacturers? 
I love Crate Paper and Sassafras – both companies come up with excellent color combinations and patterns.

How often do you scrap about yourself? 
I am in most of the pictures that I scrap.  I would say about 15 percent of the layouts I do are just about me.  It was hard to start scrapping myself, but I think those are pages that people (future kids?) will want to see someday.

Are you on any design teams? 
Yes – Punky Scraps, The Creative Type, and Butterfly Crafts

Where is your favorite place to scrap? Is there a certain time of day that you prefer to scrap?
Because of my job, I do most of my scrapping on the weekends, when I don’t have to work.  I scrap on the floor of my scrap room, even though I have a desk.

click here to see this in Kat's gallery
What does your scrap room/area look like? 
A disaster area!  Ohmigoodness, it looks like a paper/embellishment bomb went off in there!

I hung a paper towel roll from the ceiling and poked holes in it.  I have all my ribbons hanging from that.  I also bought those plastic drawer thingies you can buy at the hardware store that are typically used for holding nails, screws, etc.  I put all my different embellies into those.

For blog readers who may live in the same area as you, are there any local scrapbook stores that you can recommend?  
Unfortunately, my favorite store, The Pink Pineapple, closed about a year ago.  There is another store in my area, Ever After Scrapbooks, that I go to occasionally.

What is one thing you will miss about the summer?  
Flip-flop weather

But after summer comes fall and winter. What are some scrapbook items that might find their way on your Christmas list?  
After seeing the CHA releases, I want sooo many things.  At the top of my list is the Studio Calico Classic Calico line and the Crate Paper Random line.


Thanks for being a part of Cook Scrap Craft this week, Kat! And to everyone else, don't forget to check back later this week for inspiration from Kat and a yummy dessert. In the meantime, check out Kat's gallery and her blog for lots of scrappy inspiration.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Italian Sausage and Potato Roast

Disclaimer: I don't actually like peppers and onions. But I do appreciate the flavor they give to other foods during the cooking process. Therefore, when I saw this recipe for an Italian Sausage and Potato Roast, I knew that we had to try it. I DO like sausage and potatoes, and this recipe was a great way to get rid of some potatoes that were making our kitchen countertop their home and overstaying their welcome. You can follow the above link to see the full recipe on the A Few Shortcuts website, but here are some tips from me to you in regards to this recipe:

1. If you don't like peppers and onions or the flavor they give to other foods, this is not the recipe for you.
2. I purchased sweet Italian sausage as opposed to hot or mild sausage. It was definitely not spicy. Just right.
3. For those out there who eat gluten-free, Premio brand Italian sausage says "gluten-free" right on the package. Apparently Johnsonville and Shadybrook Farms brands are also gluten-free, but I like to support companies that make it easy for me when I'm at the grocery store.
4. We didn't have garlic salt, so we just used regular salt and some garlic powder.
5. This is a very easy dinner to make during the work week. I cut up the onion and peppers Sunday night, put them in separate containers and placed them in the fridge. I set all the non-refrigerated ingredients out on the counter the night before we were to have this so that it would be easy for my husband to find everything we needed and throw it all together. And really, once everything is cut up and ready to go, all you do is throw it together on the baking sheet.
6. It's helpful to put foil down on the baking sheet - EASY CLEAN-UP.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Freeze Those Balls!

MEATballs, that is. (Har har.) One of the most easiest meals to make is spaghetti and meatballs. And did you know that you can make meatballs ahead of time, then freeze them until you want to use them? I read about it in the October Real Simple (which also includes several different recipes that use meatballs aside from the traditional pasta version). You can make your meatballs any way you want. To freeze, place the uncooked meatballs on a parchment-lined (I used wax paper) rimmed baking sheet until firm. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw before cooking. As Rachael Ray would say, How easy is that??

What else do you guys freeze until you're ready to make and eat it? Share in the comments!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Wienermobile

Lest you think all I've been doing lately is cooking, here is a scrapbook layout I made recently. Back in July, my husband and I were driving down the highway when we saw a weird-looking car ahead of us. My first reaction was, "Is that the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile?" But what would the Wienermobile be doing driving down a NJ highway? But, sure enough, as we got closer to the weird car, it WAS the Wienermobile! Of course I had the camera with me, so I took some pictures from the car. I have NEVER seen the Wienermobile in person, so it was very exciting for me. This layout is based on a sketch from Kathy, who was last month's Getting Scrappy With... scrapper. And the layout was for the September grid challenge over at Scrap Our Stash. Have you guys ever seen the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile before or did you have one of those whistles?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fitness Chicken BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

We've been cooking up a storm here, and I've got another great recipe to share with you. This one came from Fitness magazine several months ago, but we just now got around to making it. I adapted the recipe a bit in order to work with ingredients that we had in our fridge and pantry. Here is a link to the original recipe.

And here is our version:
Chicken and Bacon Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
at least 1/2 a chicken breast cooked however you like it (We had some leftover chicken that had been floured and fried from another recipe.You could also do poached chicken.)
4 slices of bacon
1/3 cup buttermilk, shaken (Again, another way to use up leftover buttermilk.)
2 tbsp. mayo
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. black pepper
bag of Romaine lettuce

1. Cook bacon and crumble into large pieces.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayo, cider vinegar, mustard, minced garlic, salt, sugar, and black pepper.
3. In a larger bowl, put in lettuce, chicken, and bacon.
4. Pour the dressing on top of salad and toss well.

We topped ours with a little bit of Monterey Jack cheese because we had some. Feel free to add whatever you want on yours. Or follow the original recipe exactly and you'll end up with tomatoes and croutons and other things that make the salad healthier. Our version - probably not so healthy, but that's okay.

This is a really tasty salad. I loved the flavor of the bacon with the dressing. It would make a nice salad if you're having people over for lunch. It does not, however, make good leftovers. The dressing makes the lettuce soggy and it's just not good. So if you need to, cut this in half so that you don't end up with too much.