Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cheesy Sausage and Potatoes

Back before my husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease, one of the meals I liked to make was Cheesy Sausage and Potatoes using smoked sausage and Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potato mix. Unfortunately, the Au Gratin Potato mix is not gluten-free, so we haven't been able to eat it in a really long time. Until now! I used this recipe for Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes and just subbed in all-purpose gluten-free flour and added cut up pieces of sausage. It turned out really good! I thought it tasted pretty much like how the Betty Crocker version tastes. I would definitely make it again! However, I had way too many potatoes. I cut the recipe in half and just used two Idaho potatoes, but they were really big, so I think next time I'll try to get smaller potatoes. (Sorry for the not so good picture.)

Happy holidays, by the way! The blog will be on winter break until January. See you in the new year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December Daily Interruptions

I know we've had some interruptions on the December Daily blogging, but I didn't want to neglect the Getting Scrappy With feature and there were just other things that I needed to share. But we're back in the saddle again with some DD pictures. (You'll notice that I skipped a few days. Don't worry - I've got pictures for EVERY DAY in December, which is very exciting for me because I didn't think I'd have a full DD album this year.)

Dec. 18 - presents are wrapped

Dec. 19 - finally a holiday drink at Starbucks. Peppermint Mocha!

And in advance, Dec. 22 - The Christmas List airs on ABC Family at 7 am EST/6 am CST. If you're up that early and don't have to go to work, ch-ch-check it out! It's such a silly movie, but I love it—bad acting and all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government is Wrong - Book Review

According to Andrew Napolitano, the government is wrong pretty much ALL the time. Over 15 chapters, he details all the ways the U.S. government violates citizens' natural laws and acts contrary to the Constitution. Taxes? Wrong. Making laws about who we can and cannot marry? Wrong.

Napolitano gives many interesting examples as he details all the rights the government takes away from us. For example, the government can't make private businesses do anything. Napolitano points out that while the government forces most private businesses not to discriminate in hiring practices, this is not across the board. Does the government force Major League Baseball to hire women? No. So why does so-and-so business have to? Why does the government even care? These are private businesses. If they want to hire only men, that's their prerogative. If they don't want to sell their goods to Hispanics, they don't have to. Most rational people would say that these aren't good business practices, but it is the right of these private businesses to run their companies however they see fit even if it harms their bottom lines and gives them a bad public image. Why is the government interfering?

Napolitano writes that the government's role is to protect freedom. "That connotes protection from force and fraud, but it surely does not connote punishing the politically unorthodox, transferring wealth, regulating personal private behavior, stealing property, or manipulating currency," he writes. But those are the exact things the government does in an attempt to "protect freedom."

Within each chapter there are sections divided by subheaders. I felt that Napolitano used these subheads a little too much in the beginning of the book, giving the book a choppy feel. Also, some of the material toward the end of the book was a little boring and sprinkled with too many legal terms that I've only ever heard in Legally Blonde (which means I have no idea what they mean). But overall, the book brings up a lot of great questions and challenges what we know about the government. You may not agree with everything Napolitano says. Because he is a judge, I almost felt that sometimes he was being a little devil's advocate/lawyerly. But I do like that the book isn't liberal or conservative. It's not about politics. It's about pointing out hypocrisy and getting a discussion going among American citizens.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Catching Up on Some December Dailies

Dec. 12

Dec. 13

Dec. 14

Dec. 15

No holiday party is complete without: sparkling grape juice

My favorite Christmas song/album: I am quite a fan of "O Holy Night" by Sandi Patti and "Joy to the World" by Mariah Carey

My favorite seasonal recipe: chocolate chip pumpkin cookies

The perfect New Year's Eve outfit includes:  my pajamas

At the parties, I'll be drinking: We enjoy sparkling grape juice out of plastic wine glasses

Eggnog, good or bad? I don't know if I've actually ever HAD eggnog. 

Did you ever take pictures on Santa's lap at the mall? There is actually a picture of me as a child on Santa's lap on our mantel.

Gingerbread Latte or Peppermint Mocha: What about the Caramel Brulee Latte? Starbucks brought that back, didn't they?

Worst gift I ever got: I have no idea.

Best gift I ever received: I get a lot of good things as gifts. Uhm, last year I was kind of obsessed with our popcorn machine.

My family has this weird tradition: We always make a stop at Walgreens to pick up some random ingredient we forgot to buy beforehand.

My best bargain find for a gift this year: We redeemed credit card reward points to get Amazon gift cards and then we used the gift cards to buy people presents.

If I could only buy all my gifts from one place, I'd shop at: Target

Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman: Frosty

My favorite holiday memory: putting up the tree

My favorite Christmas movie: White Christmas - so bad it's good!

The best part about holiday decorations is: the lights - I like things that twinkle

Rip off the wrapping paper or neatly pull off the tape: rip it off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Miracle on 34th Street or It's a Wonderful Life: Miracle on 34th Street, although it bothers me that Natalie Wood's character is supposed to be so smart and advanced at her "progressive school" and yet in the letter that she writes to Kris Kringle, her handwriting is ATROCIOUS and she can't even spell the word "believe" correctly. OKAY??

It doesn't feel like the holiday season until: I start wrapping those presents and watching the Christmas movies.

All I want for Christmas is: scrapbook supplies and clothes

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pulled Chicken BBQ Wraps

Today Seppa is sharing with us a healthy and delicious chicken recipe. She discovered this recipe when she was going through her weight loss. "So yummy and healthy at the same time!" Seppa says. Sounds good to me! Here it is:

Pulled Chicken BBQ Wraps
1 cup diet cola
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
3 tblsp. steak sauce
1 tsp. dehydrated onion flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs uncooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
whole wheat tortillas
romaine lettuce

Combine diet cola, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, steak sauce, onion flakes and garlic powder in heavy sauce pan. Gradually bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Season chicken breast with salt an pepper, grill or broil until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and pull apart into shredded bite size pieces. Combine chicken and BBQ sauce. Mix evenly to coat. Spoon about 1 cup of filling into the tortillas. Add romaine, roll up and enjoy!


I didn't get to make this one because my husband doesn't like BBQ chicken. (Who did I marry????) But for all of you barbecue and chicken lovers out there, this sounds like a great one to fire up on the outdoor grill (come summer time) or on your George Foreman! 

Want to share your favorite barbecue/chicken recipes? Post in the comments below!

Thanks again to Seppa for joining us this week on Cook Scrap Craft. Don't forget to check out her gallery and blog for lots of great creative inspiration.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inspiration from Seppa!

Today's inspiration comes from Seppa's layout "Sam & Seppa". I really liked the simplicity and the squares (I love squares), so I thought I'd try my hand at it, too!

Here is my take on her layout. (You can't really see it in this picture, but I used orange misting spray on this one.) I had an 8x8 pad of Basic Grey paper that I used to cut the squares, the strips of paper, and the orange title tag. The little white flowers are from an old American Crafts collection.

How has Seppa's layout inspired you? Share with us in the comments section! And for more inspiration, check out Seppa's gallery and her blog! Come back on Friday for a healthy and delicious recipe!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Getting Scrappy With... Seppa!

Happy holidays and welcome to December's edition of Getting Scrappy With. This month our featured scrapper is Guiseppa, aka Seppa, a very talented scrappy with lots of wonderful scrapbook layouts and other projects in her gallery and on her blog, My Creations. She designs for Fancy Pants, Zva Creative, Samantha Walker, and the Let's Capture Our Memories sketch team. And now we're going to get to know Seppa a little bit better!

click here to view this in Seppa's gallery

What are your favorite scrapbook manufacturers?

Besides the ones I design for I really love Cosmo Cricket, Pink Paislee, American Crafts, and Echo Park. I could keep going though.

What are some scrapbook items that you really, really want right now?

I love new product and since Winter CHA just took place...give me one of everything baby!

When did you start scrapbooking?

I started scrapbooking about 16 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. Like anyone, I want to preserve family memories, but I also love the creative process and seeing the end result. Scrapbooking makes me happy.

Where do you get your creative inspiration?

I love going online to find inspiration as well as in magazines.

How has your style evolved over the years?

Well, I think for the most part I tend to stick to a simple design. That is how I started. But since then I have developed a love for embellishing. I have added more embellishing to my designs. 

I am a 12 x 12 scrapper all the way. I used to scrap 8.5 x 11 but changed over to 12 x 12. Got to fit more embellishments on a page!

How often do you scrap about yourself?

Every once in awhile I scrap about myself. It is much easier to do it now that I have dropped about 60 pounds. I hated being in pictures and having the focus on me. Now, I love to do it!

Congrats on your weight loss! That is a fantastic accomplishment! Is there a technique that you think of as your "signature"?

I would like to say that my signature is dimension. I love layers and dimension on my pages. Pop dots are a staple at my scrapbooking table. I don't ever create a page without using pop dots.

click here to view this in Seppa's gallery
I've started using pop dots more. They are great! Where do you scrap and what does your scrap area look like?

I share an office with my husband (I really need my own room). That is where I do all of my scrapbooking. I usually scrap during the day when my husband is working and the kids are at school.

I don't think there is anything real pretty about it but I do have a place for everything. It's just that not everything is in its place right now. [I use] lots of storage bins and shelves. I do have a homemade clip it up. It is just a stand that has two wooden dowels that have metal clips attached and it holds all of my embellishments. It is a great way for me to see what I have.

Do you dabble in any other creative projects?

I have started to dab a little bit into sewing. I have made some blankets and small sewing crafts. The Samantha Walker Creative Crafters Team I am on has opened me up to how fun sewing can be.

For my blog readers who may live in your area, can you recommend any good local scrapbooking stores?

I have a couple of really good scrapbooking stores near me [in Utah]. One is called The Book Table, located in Logan. The other is Carolee's Creations, home of the Adornit Brand. All the locals should stop by. Carolee and the Adornit girls are super sweet. I love them!


Thanks for being part of Cook Scrap Craft this week, Seppa! And to all the readers, you know how this works: Come back on Wednesday to see more of Seppa's scrapbook work and on Friday, we'll share with you a yummy chicken recipe.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December Daily 11

Dec. 11: We went to see a Gingerbread Wonderland today! It's a local gingerbread house (and other creations) show at an arboretum. Local adults, kids, families, scouts, and school groups create something out of gingerbread and candy and enter it into the show. Visitors then vote on what creation they like best. Here was our pick for No. 1:

It was based off of Angry Birds, but it was called Merry Birds and instead of green pigs, there were reindeer! SO CUTE! It was very hard to choose which one we liked best because there were so many great contenders. Here is another one I liked:

A Harry Potter gingerbread creation! Someone also made the house from Up, complete with colored marshmallows attached to dry spaghetti for the balloons coming out of the chimney. Very creative stuff.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Daily 10

Dec. 10: I spent the afternoon baking Chocolate-Peppermint Wafers. (More like Chocolate-Peppermint Sugar Cookies because I used Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix instead of the Real Simple from-scratch dough - WHATEVER!) These cookies are being sent out as gifts for family members. Yum!

Friday, December 9, 2011

December Daily 9

Dec. 9: Just making some cookie cutter Christmas ornaments while watching Frosty the Snowman (and The Santa Clause) on TV. "Oatmeal!"

I also made a holiday card for the challenge over at Siehled With a Kiss. Here is how I interpreted the card sketch:

I used some product packaging on this card, which was very resourceful of me, and a bunch of scraps. I'm glad to have an extra holiday card on hand in case someone unexpected sends us a card. That always happens every year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Daily 7 & 8

Dec. 7: I love Christmas music! This year, if I was making Christmas mixes for people, this is what the playlist would be:

1. The Chipmunks Christmas Song - Alvin and the Chipmunks
2. Jingle Bells - Barbra Streisand
3. Chestnuts Roasting (The Christmas Song) - The Carpenters
4. SNL Christmas song - Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan, Tracy Morgan
5. So This is Christmas - John Lennon
6. Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano
7. Ding a Ling the Christmas Bell - Lynn Anderson
8. Nutcracker Suite - Mannheim Steamroller
9. Joy to the World - Mariah Carey
10. Oi to the World - No Doubt
11. Winter Wonderland - Phantom Planet
12. Ay Ay Ay - Ricky Martin
13. Merry Christmas Everybody - Steps
14. Carol of the Bells - The Vienna Boys Choir
15. Run Rudolph Run - Hanson
16. Let It Snow - Michael Buble
17. Got Something for You - Best Coast, Wavves
18. You'll Never Find My Christmas - Bishop Allen
19. Toy Jackpot - Blackalicious
20. Electronic Santa - Blazer Force
21. Tiny Tree Christmas - Guster
22. Get Down for the Holidays - Jenny O
23. Mrs. Claus Ain't Got Nothin' On Me - Little Jackie
24. An Angel Gets its Wings - Trisha Yearwood and Vince Gill

Dec. 8: Christmas cards have started coming in! I've got them hanging from our (real) tree branch as part of our mantel decor. Wahoo!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We Interrupt This December Daily for a Giveaway Announcement!

Hey everybody! Some of you may be done with your holiday cards and some of you may not. But no matter where you are in the card-making process, there is a new card-making challenge and giveaway over at Siehled With a Kiss. There are four ways to enter the giveaway:

1. Follow Mary Pat's blog and leave her a comment
2. Use the card sketch that she created or create your own new holiday card and post a link to the blog post. (This must be a NEW card.)
3. Post about the giveaway on your blog or Facebook page and then leave a comment on this blog post telling Mary Pat that you shared the news.
4. "Like" the Facebook page Siehled With a Kiss

The deadline is December 11 at noon EST. The winner will be announced on the 12th. And what will the winner win? A $25 gift certificate to! There will also be three second prize winners - $10 gift certificate. Yay! Good luck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Daily 6

Dec. 6: Just a little holiday decoration at my desk courtesy of my parents.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December Daily 5

Dec. 5: Sharing my favorite holiday cookies with my co-workers.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Daily 4

Dec. 4: Just finishing up Christmas cards! This year every card is different. I used prompts from Jingle Belles to help me complete my cards. If you need inspiration and encouragement to get your Christmas cards finished in time for next year, then you definitely want to check out Jingle Belles in January for all-new card-making challenges.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Daily 3

Dec 3: We got our Christmas tree today! We went to Lowe's and bought a Fraser Fir. It's somewhere between five and six feet tall. It fit in the backseat of my car! We have so many ornaments, I think next year we might have to get a bigger tree.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Daily 2

This December Daily isn't as hard as I thought it would be... so far. (Getting this vertical picture to upload vertically in Blogger was very hard, however.)

Dec. 2: If only I carried cash on me, I would have donated. These guys really put on a show! Too bad I can't add video to my scrapbook album.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Daily

I wasn't going to do a December Daily album because I wasn't sure that we'd be doing a holiday activity every day of December until Christmas. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that it would still be okay if I did a Sort of December Daily mini album. So here is the picture for December 1:

Dec. 1: The gifts we ordered for people (primarily using Amazon gift cards - thanks credit card reward points) have started arriving! 

Are you doing a December Daily album? If you don't know what that is, here is a link that will show you an example of one by Ali Edwards, how to put it together, and explain a little bit about what it is.