Saturday, December 11, 2010

My "Family Tree"

For my annual homemade family Christmas present this year I decide to make a family tree. Of course this is not at all a traditional family tree but kind of tells our history pictorially and starts at the bottom of the middle with my parents. Then goes in a sort of round way up to the top my with little niece, the newest member of our family at the top. I really like how it turned out. I already gave it to them at Thanksgiving because that is when everyone was going to be there which is why I can already post it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fedoras and Cigars

This picture made me think about my little brother, he's a big fan of hats and cigars. so I used it as the cover of his birthday card this year. Yes in case you are wondering we have 3 family birthdays in close proximity.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Peaceful Happiness

This is the front of the card I made for my sister-in-law's birthday this year. She's got a lot of new stuff going on right now (house, baby, I think that's plenty). So I wanted to convey peaceful happiness on her card and this is what I came up with.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nutter Butters & Milk

This is front of the card I made for my mom's birthday this year. She loves Nutter Butters and milk so I took this picture and I wished her some happy time with them. Does it make you hungry for them? Does me!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"French" Pear Tart

Just thought it would be funny to call it that in light of my last post title. Anyway it is supposed to be French. And it does actually have apricot jam that was produced in France in it. I made it recently for a Reformation Day lunch at my church where we were supposed to bring food only from countries where the Reformation took place. And since it is a tart, made with frangipane and pears and french apricot jam I really think it does count as French, right?

So I tried it and it was yummy. I'd recommend it. It's an Everday Food recipe (though I used my own crust recipe), and you can get it here. The one I made is of course pictured above.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Greek" Pizza

I was thinking about this awesome pizza from a Greek restaurant in Decatur, GA called Chris's Pizza. It's so wonderful! (so if you happen to live in the area and haven't been there you should totally try it).

Anyway, I thought I'd try to recreate it to the best of my ability. And this is what I came up with. Not the same as theirs but reminds me of it and is very yummy regardless. Hope you enjoy!

Makes 2 - 7 in. pizzas

Ingredients:
2 - 7 in. thin pizza crusts
3 oz low fat ground pork sausage
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
4 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
10 or so grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms

Instructions:

Brown sausage and drain.

Meanwhile spray a non stick cooking pan with the cooking spray and saute the onion and garlic over medium heat.

Spray both crust with the olive oil spray and when the onions are cooked remove from heat and spread over the 2 crusts, dividing evenly. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the mozzarella and then 2 tablespoons of the feta cheese over each crust. Top each crust with the sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Bake at 425 for 7-10 minutes till cheese is melted and the crust is as crispy as you want it.

Calories: about 120 per for 1/4 pizza, 475 per whole pizza

Saturday, October 16, 2010

1939

That's the year my grandparent's got married. It's amazing think how much has changed since 1939 and they've been together through it all. They're both in their 90's, which is amazing enough itself, and that means they've been married for over 75% of their lives.

This of course is the front of the card I made for them. I made it kind of sepia toned just to give it that long time feel. And I love this picture of them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

So it's fall. Which is kind of sad and yet very exciting to me. I don't like the cooler weather but I love the holidays. And pumpkins kind of put me in that mood. So this is my centerpiece this year.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fried Potatoes with Turkey Kielbasa

This is a slight change to my Fried Potatoes With Mushrooms that makes it into a very tasty and low calorie but filling main dish. I love it! Hope you do too.

Serves 4 (or 2 if you so desire)

Ingredients:
Canola oil cooking spray
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
3-4 golden potatoes, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces (peeling still on)
4 oz. turkey kielbasa (sliced about 1/4 in. thick and then each slice halved)
2-4 cups sliced mushrooms
Salt free all purpose seasoning, to taste
Salt free garlic and herb seasoning, to taste
Dash of kosher salt

Directions:
Heat a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray (you will also need to spray a few more times with cooking spray as you go when the pan gets dry). Add the remaining ingredients and saute for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender. Then serve.

Calories: About 200 calories each for 4 servings.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Labels

I made labels like this (got the picture on-line) for a meal I took to a family of a new baby girl recently. Since I was giving it to them at church instead of at home (and they might not be eating it right away) I thought it might help. And I think they turned out so cute.

Friday, September 10, 2010

40 Years!

My parents have been married for 40 years! this year and have a great relationship so they have a lot to celebrate when every anniversary rolls around. This is the front of the card I made for them this year. (Translation: "Here's to you")

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pesto Pizza ala Ruth - adjusted

Also known as my Dad's favorite pizza, this is a pizza inspired by one my friend Ruth made for me years ago. I can't remember exactly what she put on it except for the pesto but I've been making this ever since and it is yummy! So thanks Ruth, if you're reading this, for the idea!

This recipe is actually for 2 mini pizzas (you know how I like to make things mini). But you can of course make a regular sized pizza, just increasing the amounts as makes sense.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
2-7 in Thin Pizza Crusts
1/4 cup prepared Knorr's Pesto Sauce (Prepared according to pkg directions)
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
4 ounces reduced fat sausage, browned and drained
1/2 cup of a red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into bite sized strips
1/2 cup red onion, sliced and cut into bite sized strips

Instructions:
Spread 1 tablespoon pesto sauce over each crust (so 2 tbsp. total), reserving the rest to drizzle over the top of each pizza later.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over each crust reserving the rest to sprinkle on the tops of each pizza later.

Divide sausage over each pizza and then add mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. Sprinkle each with the remaining cheese and drizzle the remaining pesto on top.

Then bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes till crust is lightly brown and cheese is melted.


Calories per serving: about 525 per pizza, or about 262 for 1/2.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nicknames

This is the front of the card I made for my big brother's birthday this year. He's such a fun and funny person that he's inspired quite a few nicknames over the years (some from when he was little of course - in case you're wondering) and I decided to commemorate them in this card. And I think this picture of him just so perfectly illustrates his laid back and hilarious humor.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Holding Ryleigh

I don't really think there's much of anything I'd rather do than hold my niece (and apparently the same goes for the rest of my family, as pictured here - her mom and dad are in the bottom left and right corners). And she is coming on vacation with us this year! I made this little informal collage for my family as a fun thing to give them for while we're at the beach. This is the first I'm sure of many creative projects featuring Ryleigh.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

My favorite thing, as I told my Dad on the inside of this card, about the 4th of July is him - because it is also his birthday. I hope everyone has a great 4th of July and has something about the day to make them as happy as he does me! Independence maybe?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Two Favorite Fathers


Happy Father's Day!

I of course only have one father but my little brother is a father now too of the most beautiful little baby girl ever. My father has been an amazing dad and I know my little brother will be too. These are the fronts of the cards I made for both of them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mushroom Lasagna

People were eating lasagna on a show I watched last night. And it made me hungry for it. Then I remembered I had a bunch of mushrooms and I thought yummy! So I came up with this. Hope you enjoy.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
6 lasagna noodles
4 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
8 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup white wine
Black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese

Directions:
Spray a 11x7 in. baking pan with cooking spray. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms and white wine. Allow to cook until all but about 1/2 cup of the liquid is evaporated.

While the mushrooms are cooking, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the two tablespoons of flour until smooth. Add the cream and milk and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles (will take probably at least 7-8 minutes).

Once thickened, add to the mushrooms and stir. Cook for a few more seconds just till all is combined. Then remove from heat.

Layer the lasagna as follows:
1. 1/2 of the mushrooms
2. 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese
3. 1/2 of the lasagna noodles
4. 1/2 of the feta cheese
5. remaining noodles
6. remaining feta
7. remaining mushrooms
8. remaining Parmesan

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, allow to cool slightly and then cut into desired portions and serve.


Calories per serving: about 325 for 1/6, about 240 for 1/8

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'm an Aunt!

front of card
back of card

I have a beautiful new niece! I've been dying to say so (she's a week and a half old already) but I had to wait to till her parents had opened this card to post this. I made this for them - and her, in thought anyway, because of course she can't read yet or understand what it says :). The picture on the front of the card is one of her nursery walls (isn't it pretty? ).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Again

Happy Memorial Day! I know its not officially summer but when you live in FL and the average temp has been in the 80's for several weeks now and you hang out at the beach every weekend it might as well be. So I decided it was high time for a new centerpiece on my dining room table. I decided to go more beachy this year (those are sand dollars in the tall vase). And a friend gave me the shorter vase, I think it looks kind of jelly fishy. Anyway, simple as usual but I love it.

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day and a great summer too!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Funny Quotes Collage

click on pictures to enlarge
This is a compilation of my favorite funny quotes from or about movies or TV (some of them are only funny if you know the context but I hope they make you smile anyway). I posted the pictures from the file I made these in instead of them assembled so you could read them more easily (when you enlarge). On my wall they in a 16x16 inch frame in the same order.

I'd highly recommend any of the tv shows/movies cited here ... except Primeval (the movie about Gustave, which was reviewed in the no longer published magazine Premier). I have no desire ever to see it but I couldn't stop laughing when I read the referenced quote.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I made this card for my mom (she's the best!). Since I kind of waxed nostalgic about her on the inside I thought this design I came up with for it kind of fit that feeling.

In this inside part I filled the word "MOM" with phrases/things that come to my mind about my mom when I think back over my life with her. I took the words out since they are personal but you get the idea.

I hope that any mother reading this has or has had a wonderful Mother's Day this year!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

This was so easy and yummy (not heavy but healthy and delicious). I wanted to do something with chicken and broccoli and this is what I came up with. This would be so easy to customize to your taste, substituting seasonings and vegetables, even cheese as desired. I hope you enjoy it.

Serves 4 (or 2 if you eat large pasta servings)

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked pasta (make sure to reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning, Black pepper to taste
2 cups fresh broccoli
1/2 cup white cooking wine
2 seasoned cooked chicken breasts, chopped
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds (*see below for toasting instructions if needed)
2 heaping tablespoons shredded Parmesan

Directions:
Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray (will have to spray several times throughout as needed). Saute garlic, onions, mushrooms and seasonings together for about 5 minutes on med heat until tender.

Add broccoli and cooking wine and season again. Saute just a few minutes more until broccoli is crisp tender.

Then stir in the pasta, chicken and reserved pasta water and continue to saute just until the chicken is heated and the pasta water is absorbed.

Remove from heat, stir in toasted almonds. Top with the Parmesan cheese just before serving.


*To toast almonds simply saute them in a non stick pan over med heat until lightly browned. Watch closely because they will burn easily. And remove them before the get too dark. Once you start to smell them they are pretty much done.

Calories Per serving: About 400 (for 4 servings)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yogurt Happiness

I'm sharing here with you the news I shared with my Mom recently in this sort of postcard I made for her (which I had a lot of fun making for some reason).

When she was here visiting me we discovered this awesome yogurt place (Yogaberry) with the most delicious flavor (Taro) and there aren't any in Atlanta where she's from. I mentioned the yogurt on Facebook and a friend told me ... well you can read the postcard (click on it to view a larger version). Anyway, if you can find the Taro flavor frozen yogurt anywhere I'm telling you it's worth a try. It tastes better than ice cream! Oh and by the way it's fat free!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Cake

I made this fudge cake (also known as Texas Sheet Cake but I think fudge cake is more accurate - and if you've never tried it you should) for a co-worker who didn't want to acknowledge her birthday. Thus the "HAPPY" without "Birthday". And with yummy chocolate cake what's not to be happy about?

I liked the way "HAPPY" by itself looked so much I may just do that even for people who do want to acknowledge their birthdays :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fried Potatoes with Mushrooms

Yummy, easy, low calorie, low sodium (just cause we often get too much sodium without even trying). Add more salt or oil if you don't care. Enjoy.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
Canola Oil cooking spray
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1-2 cloves minced garlic
2 golden potatoes, cleaned and diced (with peeling still on)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (cut the slices in half if they are large mushrooms)
4 tablespoons white cooking wine
Salt free all purpose seasoning, to taste
Salt free garlic and herb seasoning, to taste
Dash of kosher salt

Directions:
Heat a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray (
you will also need to spray a few more times with cooking spray as you go when the pan gets dry). Add the remaining ingredients and saute for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender. As I said, yummy!

Calories per serving: about 160 ea for 2 servings, 80 ea for 4

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Happy first day of spring, isn't it exciting?! And along with the first day of spring, out goes my winter centerpiece and in come this years spring/Easter centerpiece. I used these beautiful eggs again (see last year's post) but in a different way this time as you can see. The eggs in cups remind me of decorating eggs (the part when they sit in the cups and soak up the dye) and I just love them all lined up in a row like this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Nod to Crate & Barrell on St. Patrick's Day

This is how I decided to fill the built in bookcase in my living room in my new apt. (I have other bookcases for my books). Last year I posted my green magazine files in honor of Martha Stewart on St. Patrick's Day. So this year I thought I'd pay a little tribute to my favorite store and the inspiration for a lot of my decorating style. Some of these dishes are from Crate & Barrell and others are from Target and Williams-Sonoma. But the whole effect reminds me of a Crate & Barrell display and I love it. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Vegetable Strata

I had a bunch of fresh vegetables I wanted to use in a new dish and came up with this using a sort of combination of two of my favorite scalloped potatoes recipes and adding to them. I'm not sure how appetizing the picture looks but the result was delicious! Sooo good.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
Black pepper
Crazy salt, to taste
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 1/2 golden potatoes
1 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Heat onion and garlic in the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini, squash and mushrooms. Season with black pepper, crazy salt and kosher salt. Saute until vegetables are tender but not too much so.

Meanwhile, peel and slice potatoes very thinly (as you would for scalloped potatoes).

Spray an 8x10 pan with cooking spray. Layer in about 1/3 of the sliced potatoes. Add a layer of 1/2 of the veggies. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the Swiss cheese. Repeat these layers and then top with the final 3rd of the potatoes. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if desired.

Cut butter into thin slices and layer over the top. Combine the milk and cornstarch and pour over the whole dish.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Meanwhile combine the panko and Parmesan. When the 40 minutes is up, sprinkle with the panko/parmesan mixture and turn the heat up to 425. Continue to bake 10-20 minutes more till the topping is nicely browned and the vegetables are tender.


Calories per serving: about 210 (remember I don't really count the veggies, except for the potatoes).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Coconut Cream Parfaits

Like coconut cream pie but faster. And yummy!

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
Coconut Graham Cracker Crust (the crust in this recipe), crumbled
1 cup vanilla pudding (prepared with skim milk)
1 cup whipped cream (homemade or store-bought)
1/4 cup coconut


Instructions:
Combine pudding with whipped cream. Fold in coconut.

Layer as follows in each of 4 individual dishes:

1/4 cup pudding
1 tbsp. crust crumbles
1/4 cup pudding
1 tbsp. crust crumbles

If desired, top with more layers and/or more whipped cream. Just note that the calories are figured for the layers as I've listed above.


Calories per serving: about 271

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happiness

My little brother and sister in law recently had an anniversay and I made them this card. And they are going to be parents before their next anniversary of a sure to be adorable little girl and so I couldn't help representing her by the cute little face peeking out on the front.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sausage, Feta & Corn Nachos

I love these nachos but they're a little unusual. I combined several flavors I like together. Hope you'll give them a try and enjoy them.

Serves 1-4 (depending on you)

Ingredients:

Approx. 5.5 oz ground sausage, browned and drained
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1/3 c. canned whole kernel corn, drained
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
1.5 oz. white cheddar (or whatever kind you like), shredded
Approx. 30 tortilla chips (I used blue corn chips because I like the way they taste, but use whatever kind you like)

Instructions:

Assemble however you like. I like to layer half of the chips and then half of everything else on top and then repeat. Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes till cheese is melted as much as you want it to be. Serve immediately.


Calories: about 760 for the whole thing or 380 if 2 servings and so on.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cheesy Fingerling Potatoes

I was hungry for some potatoes and had some tomatoes I wanted to use up and so I came up with this. Not super low calorie but not super high either. And pretty yummy. Hope you enjoy.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumble with a tiny bit (or more if you don't care) of bacon grease reserved
1 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. fingerling potatoes, cleaned and halved lengthwise
1/4 c. chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
A pinch of coarse salt
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c. shredded swiss cheese
1/4 c. shredded white cheddar

Instructions:
Heat oil in a pan over med heat. Add the onions, garlic and potatoes and toss to coat with the oil. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

Continue to cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Remove the potatoes from the pan and place in a casserole dish and drizzle with a tiny bit of bacon grease.

Add the tomatoes to the pan you were cooking the potatoes in and saute for a few minutes until tomatoes are cooked.

Combine the tomatoes with the potatoes and add the crumbled bacon. Toss with the cheese and bake in the oven at 450 for just a few minutes till the cheese is melted to your liking.


Calories per serving: about 280 if 2 servings, 140 if 4 servings

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Unpleasantness

I made this sign to explain some unpleasantness in my otherwise wonderful apartment so I don't have to explain it to guests every time they come over.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Money Gifts

Several people in my family got some money gifts for Christmas this year and since I like every opportunity to create something this is what I put the money in before wrapping it. Get it?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Favorite Family

Yes they're my only family but they're awesome. I made this for them for Christmas this year. It's a scene of us all doing/reading things that had to with what we are currently involved in or have been in the past year.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cupcakes for Christmas

This year I made a variety of cupcakes for my coworkers. I gave everyone one of each: carrot cake, yellow w/ chocolate frosting, chocolate with pb frosting and coconut. And I found these great inexpensive cupcake boxes which were perfect!