Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Using up scraps

Just wanted to share another layout that I was able to create pretty quickly over the holiday weekend. I found a sketch that I liked in my sketchbook and went through my scrap bag to find some papers and embellishments that would go together and BAM. DONE. Love. It.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

One sketch, Two layouts

I love when I have free time to scrapbook, and I love it even more when I'm able to use up scraps and create multiple layouts in record time. What I like to do is take a sketch and create one layout, then use leftovers from that layout to create another similar layout. It's easy and saves time, especially if you're behind on your photos, which I always am. Check it out:

These layouts are based on a sketch from Once Upon a Sketch. I did the Deep Fried Oreo layout first, realized that I still had half of that striped paper to use up, so I decided to do the sketch again with a different picture and embellishments. Sweet! What are some of your favorite scrappy timesavers?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday, Black Friday

Somehow I don't think actually shopping on Black Friday would be as entertaining as this commercial. (Scroll down past the story to see the video. And I apologize for getting this song stuck in your head. It's better than the original, which Rebecca Black apparently took off of YouTube. Hmm.) I also don't think people look that put-together after waiting in line for hours outside in the cold. I'm sleeping in today. How about you?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Second Turkey

Here it is, folks. My second turkey made for our Multi-Holiday Party last weekend. This year I basted the turkey with an apple cider glaze. (Found the recipe in Real Simple.) It gave the turkey a nice golden look but I didn't really think it affected the flavor of the turkey at all. Oh well. The smell of apple cider boiling on the stovetop did make the kitchen smell nice. Are you preparing turkey this year? How do you like to make it?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recipes Without Pictures

Here are just a few things that we've made recently but didn't take pictures of.

First up: Real Simple Lemony Tuna and Olive Oil Pasta
This was pretty easy to make. Instead of lemon zest, I just used lemon juice. I'd use less black pepper or no pepper at all. Too hot for us.

Next: Bacon-Stuffed Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
Feta cheese, sour cream, pepper, and oregano get stuffed into chicken breasts. This was the first time I'd cut into chicken breasts for stuffing. (Be careful when cutting the hole into the chicken. Don't cut off a finger. I think the proper way to do it is to hold the chicken with your non-dominant hand, palm-down. Then with your cutting hand, slice into the chicken. Does that make sense? Google it. Maybe there will be pictures.) I think it turned out well. We both liked this one. Even though I didn't have the entire chicken breasts stuffed, the flavor of the stuffing really got into the chicken during the baking process. I made instant mashed potatoes instead of homemade. I mean, really? Homemade mashed potatoes? Please. I added some onion powder at the same time that I added the potatoes to the boiling water. This is a REALLY filling meal. It's heavy. Drink with water. Maybe even leave out the mashed potatoes. Or take one big chicken breast and somehow cut it into two so that your chicken isn't so big. Ours were HUGE. We also used a brand called Tender-N-Juicy because it was on sale. Best. Chicken. Ever. I don't know if other stores carry it. I'd never heard of it before this. But the chicken was so juicy! It was awesome.

Third: Real Simple Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
I followed the hints in the comments posted on this recipe and didn't brown the meat beforehand. Just roll it in flour (to help thicken the sauce) and put it in the slow cooker along with everything else. I cooked nothing in the skillet as the original recipe suggested. I also didn't use dry red wine. Instead, I added more beef broth. This was really easy to make gluten-free and really easy to make period. I cut the recipe in half, which meant that the cooking time got cut in half, so keep that in mind if you don't want 8-10 servings. I can't wait to have this for leftovers! (Also, I didn't use thyme or bay leaves.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Black Bean Salsa

Deana is sharing with us a favorite recipe that she takes to parties or makes when she entertains at home. "It makes a TON," she says. "I will use the leftovers the next day to add to lettuce and make a quick salad." So without further ado, here it is: a recipe for Black Bean Salsa.

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can shoe peg corn, drained
1 large tomato, diced (drain juice)
1 can diced tomatoes w/green chilis, drained
1 onion, chopped (Vidalia is best)
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp. cumin
cilantro to taste
juice of a lime
(chopped black olives are optional)

Mix all ingredients together and serve with tortilla chips.

Thanks again to Deana for being a part of Cook Scrap Craft this week! Don't forget to check out Deana's Scrapbook.com gallery and her blog. And also don't forget to let me know if there is a specific scrapper that you'd like to see featured or if you have questions for any of these scrappers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Inspiration from Deana

click here to view in Deana's Scrapbook.com gallery
This week's inspiration is going to be a little different. Instead of doing a scraplift, I'm going to "lift" a technique from Deana and use it on my layouts.

Deana mainly types her journaling, which is something I don't tend to do. I always get the size wrong, plus I don't mind writing everything out by hand. Although, that does get problematic when I write something on a journaling spot and misspell a word. I like the look of typed journaling, though, and want to incorporate it more into my scrapping.

Here's what Deana has to say about her typed journaling:

"If I'm printing my journaling onto a sticker, journal tag, etc., I'll print onto regular printer paper first. Then I'll adhere my sticker, tag or whatever I'm using onto the journaling I just printed and send it back through the printer.

Other times I'll insert a journaling box onto my page using Word and then type my journaling inside that box.

I'm sure there's a more exact science to this for getting the sizing right, but I usually just keep changing the font or area of my text and then reprinting until I get it right!"

And here is how I used typed journaling on my page:

I always like the look of journaling on thin strips of paper, so that's what I did here (making sure to leave lots of space around each line of text to make it easier to cut after I printed it). This layout is about the 25 songs I listen to most (as of last month) on my iPod, plus three honorable mentions because I've been listening to those songs a lot, too, but clearly not enough to make the top 25 list.

How do you guys journal? Do you handwrite or type? What are your tips for typing out journaling? Share with us in the comments!

For more journaling and design inspiration, check out Deana's Scrapbook.com gallery and her blog. And come back Friday for a fun party recipe.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting Scrappy With... Deana!

click here to view this in Deana's Scrapbook.com gallery
Welcome to November's Getting Scrappy With! This month is filled with COLOR! I love looking at Deana's layouts on Scrapbook.com because they are so bright and cheery. Plus her designs rock! You can find her on Scrapbook.com under the moniker DeanaB, but she also has a blog called Divalogues. She's been designing for Nikki Sivils since Nikki started her business and she is an Emeritus Designer for SRM Stickers. So let's dig into the colorful - and Zumba-filled - world of Deana!

What are your favorite scrapbook manufacturers?
Nikki Sivils and SRM Stickers are obvious favorites because I design for them, but I also love working with Bella Blvd, Echo Park and  American Crafts. If it’s cute, fun, and colorful, I’m in love!

What are some scrapbook items on your wish list right now?
I really want ALL of the new Bella Blvd lines. I especially love Making the Team and Christmas Wishes. I also want the new Amy Tangerine line from American Crafts. To be perfectly honest though, I really should use what I have before buying more new stuff.

When did you start scrapping?
I’ve been making scrapbooks for as long as I can remember but really got into it after I attended a Creative Memories party in 1999. When I discovered the online world of scrapbooking in 2007, I was officially obsessed!

How has your style evolved over the years?
My style has thankfully changed quite a bit since that Creative Memories party, but I will always have a love for multi-photo layouts with lots of journaling!

Why do you scrap?
I scrapbook to have a place to put our photos and to tell as many stories as possible. Secondary to that, it's a creative outlet for me. 99 percent of my pages have journaling on them. Without that, someday someone would be looking at our photos and wondering, “Where was this? What happened? What was said?” I look back at pages all the time and think to myself that had I never put that story on paper then I would've never remembered those details at a later date.

Where do you get your creative inspiration?
Online scrapbooking galleries, Pinterest, blogs, magazines… everywhere!

click here to view this in Deana's Scrapbook.com gallery
Aside from using lots of color, do you have a favorite technique that you use on layouts or something that you think of as your signature?
I’m definitely into creating “scenes” on my pages, so paper-piecing is a technique I use quite a bit.

How often do you scrap about yourself (or scrap pictures that you are in)?
I’d say it’s about 50/50. I’ve been making chronological scrapbooks for my daughter since she was born so she definitely has a bigger collection of books! But if there’s an event I’ve been involved in or something I want to remember about myself or my husband, I’ll just add those pages to separate books.

Where is your favorite place to scrap? 

I always create in my craft room, any time of day or night, depending on whether I’m feeling inspired or not! You can see lots of photos of my craft room on my blog. I mention some of the ways I organize my products in that blog post link, but my favorite way to keep everything organized is to keep it behind closed cabinet doors. I have a hard time trying to get inspired to create if there’s too much clutter around.

Do you have any other crafty hobbies?
I make lots of cards! I own a sewing machine, but only use it for paper projects. One of these days, I really need to make something with fabric!

What is one thing you will miss about the summer?
Hanging out with my daughter! I miss her when she's in school.

Thanks Deana for being a part of Cook Scrap Craft this week! Don't forget to check out Deana's Scrapbook.com gallery and her blog. And keep checking back with Cook Scrap Craft all week long for inspiration from Deana and a yummy recipe!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Need help planning Thanksgiving?

We are having some people over for a Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Boxing Day party and, as the hosts, we are in charge of the turkey. Last year we hosted an early Thanksgiving party and it was my first time making a turkey. Thank goodness for the Thanksgiving Planner from YumSugar. If you're hosting Thanksgiving, this is the planner to download. (It's a PDF file.) It tells you what you need to do up to two weeks in advance so that you're not running around like a chicken (or turkey) with its head cut off the day of your party. It was super helpful to me last year (as was my Betty Crocker Cooking Basics cookbook, which has a section on cooking a Thanksgiving meal) so I recommend checking it out!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving or another holiday party? Got any preparation tips to share?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More Snowtober Pictures... After the Snow

I ran out of scrapbook adhesive so I don't have anything scrappy to share with you this week. Instead, I'm going to show you more pictures of our yard after "Snowtober." We're still waiting for the landscape/maintenance crew to come around and clear out the trees and branches, but I can't really fault them for taking so long. Our Association office didn't get power back until Friday.

This is the three that the snow bent down.

I don't like that the branches are touching our gutter. Who plants a tree that close to a house anyway?

Here are some branches that have split.

There is a tree down there. Thank goodness it fell away from the house.

Across the street

Another view of the tree right next to our house. WHO PLANTS TREES RIGHT NEXT TO A HOUSE?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tangy Ranch Chicken

This recipe for Tangy Ranch Chicken comes from the blog Tomorrow Farm Fiber Arts. And it is SUPER easy. Ranch dressing, mustard and brown sugar come together to coat chicken breasts. Here are some helpful tips to note before making this recipe:

1. If you are on a gluten-free diet, make sure your ranch dressing is gluten-free. We like Ken's.
2. I had ginormous chicken breasts, so I cut one into two pieces.
3. You have the option to grill the chicken or broil it. I chose to broil it. Just put the chicken on a baking dish and place that in the oven with the broiler on.
4. The recipe states that it will take 10-15 minutes for the chicken to cook. It took my chicken 25 minutes. (Does anyone else have this problem when cooking chicken? It always takes me longer to cook chicken than recipes state. But I don't have this problem with other food.)
5. I made the dressing mixture the night before and let the chicken marinate in it overnight.
6. If you're going to serve the chicken with the extra dressing mixture, warm up the dressing mixture in the microwave for 20 seconds.

This is definitely something that we would make again! We had ours with salad, but this would be good with rice or potatoes, too.

And there are tons of other recipes linked up to that blog post, so check out all of them!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Redux

We are finally in the month of November, which means THANKSGIVING! Last year I posted information on how to do Thanksgiving gluten-free. I hope it was helpful! I'm going to repost some of the tips and links from last year as a refresher for my followers and for those new to the blog who didn't see these tips the first time around.
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.

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.
More gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes:

If you have any gluten-free Thanksgiving or holiday recipes, please share them with us in the comments!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


So over the weekend it snowed on the East Coast. A lot in some places. And it knocked out the power to thousands of people, including us.

We were in Virginia for a wedding on Saturday when it snowed, so we weren't trapped inside our house, but when we came back on Sunday....

After I took this picture, our  neighbor pulled down the branch so that it wasn't left hanging.

This tree has sort of popped back up but it is still leaning. Thankfully, away from the house.
We've got another tree on the side of the house with broken branches that, thankfully, fell away from the house. (Who plants trees right next to a house?) And there was no power, which meant no heat. So we booked it to my in-laws' house, which did have power but no cable, TV, or internet. Thankfully our power came back Tuesday (and the ground beef in our freezer is still frozen and edible) so we were able to move back into our home and resume as normal. But there is still a lot of destruction, mainly downed trees and power lines, and many roads are closed. Not to mention that a lot of people still have no power and might not get it back until Friday. The hotels in our area were completely booked. And it's not even winter weather season yet.

Here are some other destruction pictures near where my in-laws live in New Jersey. Mike's dad said it looked like a nuclear bomb site.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Get Crumby!

Many of the recipes I make call for bread crumbs. Because I need to use gluten-free bread crumbs, this can get expensive. But I have a way to make my own bread crumbs should the need arise. This isn't a new idea. Maybe some of you already do this to save some money at the grocery store. But if you own a small food processor, just take the ends of a loaf of bread, tear them up, place them in the food processor, and pulse until the bread pieces are small crumbs. This works great for us because my husband always ends up with one loan end piece of his gluten-free bread. What are you gonna do with it? Make bread crumbs! I own a Procter-Silex Food Chopper, which is great for chopping up all kinds of things. If you don't own one of these inexpensive devices, might I recommend you get one? What are some cooking shortcuts that you use in your house? Share in the comments!