Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hand Painted Wooden Growth Charts

These make the best gifts! I have made them for so many kids, now I need to get some finished for my own! Use your imagination - you can do any color and theme! They are hand painted, and then I use my CRICUT for the letters and numbers. See what you come up with!

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Take on Shrimp Cocktail

I have the most amazing shrimp cocktail recipe for you. Instead of buying the cocktail sauce, make your own. Believe me, the few little changes I have made takes this dish from ho-hum to terrific.

5 Star Shrimp Cocktail

1 lb raw jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 lemon
1 orange
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, green part only, sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp horseradish
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
Extra Light, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

For the Shrimp: in a large bowl, add the shrimp, the zest of 1/2 the lemon, the zest of 1/2 the orange, juice from 1/2 the lemon, 3 cloves minced garlic, drizzle of olive oil, and a drizzle of Grand Marnier and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. This is the marinade for the shrimp, let sit for 1 hour (not more, the lemon juice and the Grand Marnier will start to "cook" your shrimp and will make them tough and rubbery.)

For the Cocktail Sauce: in a small bowl, combine ketchup, horseradish (be sure to taste as you add it slowly, so to not make it too spicy and overpowering), the parsley (reserving 1 tbsp), 1 minced garlic clove, the sliced greens from the green onion, 2 tbsp Grand Marnier, the zest of 1/2 lemon, the zest of 1/2 orange, the juice from 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, and set aside.

For the sauce to drizzle on the shrimp after they have cooked: add 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp parley, salt and pepper.

To cook the shrimp, heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, add shrimp. Now here is the MOST important tip to remember- DO NOT OVERCOOK THE SHRIMP!!! As the shrimp cooks, you will notice they start to turn translucent and pink, that is when they need turned. From that point cook the shrimp no more than 1 minute on the second side. You will only be cooking the shrimp 3-4 minutes total!! Now remove the shrimp from the pan and put into a bowl.

Drizzle the shrimp with the olive oil and lemon juice sauce, serve warm with the cocktail dipping sauce.

I made this recipe along with a Ribeye steak for my husband for Valentine's Day. Try this recipe for a special dinner with someone special, and you'll knock their socks off!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

KP Duty for Leftovers

I have some great ideas for making over your leftovers. I love having meals that do double duty, cooking once, and eating twice (or more). My favorite double duty meal is shredded beef (or pork). I start with a roast in the crock pot. Season generously with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder. I also add fresh garlic, 4-5 cloves, and if you have it on hand a few chipotle peppers in adobo. Add water and cook on low for the day, and there you have it, shredded beef for tacos or burritos. Then, for the next day, simmer your leftover shredded meat in bar-b-que sauce for bar-b-que beef sandwiches. I like to top mine with coleslaw. Another super versatile ingredient is rotisserie chicken. For a family of four, we are able to get 2 meals out of one chicken. I like to use half of the chicken in a pasta dish, and the other half in a soup or salad. For the pasta dish, I combine any bite sized variety of pasta, cooked, chicken, also in bite sized pieces, pesto, fresh tomatoes, diced, and Parmesan cheese. Save a little of your pasta water to loosen up the sauce. I have also added cream to these ingredients to make it a little more luxurious. So, for the soup, use your imagination. You could go with the standard chicken noodle, or chicken and dumplings, or try the Thai Chicken soup recipe from the Food Network magazine. Or you could skip the soup all together and make a pizza. One of our faves is buffalo chicken pizza. For the boys' portion of pizza, I use Ranch dressing for the sauce, and on the adult portion, I use wing sauce. Top with the chicken cut in bite size pieces, and mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with Ranch just before serving. You could also use the leftover chicken for a Chicken Cobb salad, or make it a Southwestern Cobb salad by adding black beans, corn and a spicy Ranch dressing. I have made the same salad with leftover steak too. Leftovers don't have to be leftovers, makeover your main ingredient to create a whole new meal, your family with thank you, I promise.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Smooth Sailing.....

Today I had the boys' pictures taken. I have been looking forward to having them done, they are vintage style Valentine's Day pictures. I have had this picture in my mind, both boys sitting there, smiling, looking so sweet and adorable. Well, reality hit! The photographer was fantastic, my boys were not! Cash is in his mommy phase and didn't want to be put down. He cried and clung to me like I was going to leave him. Every time Cash started to get comfortable and enjoy himself, Chance was quick to ruin that! Taking the toy he was playing with, hitting him with the baseball bat (it was a foam one, but still). AAARRRRGGGGG! By the time we got out of there, I wanted to cry too!! I'm excited to see the pictures. In the meantime, I am reminding myself that there is no plan with kids, they keep me on my toes, and when I least expect it, I am blown away by how much I love them, even while pulling my hair out by the roots!

So here's the latest. I made this using silver jewelry wire, freshwater pearls, labradorite and glass beads. Each bead component is wired seperately, so this is more time comsuming, but worth the effort. It's a great way to mix different colors, and materials.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I made these earrings yesterday. There is sooo much room for creativity with these. The drops are interchangeable, so you could have a pair of earrings to match every outfit. I started with dainty, sterling silver earring wires, then, using headpins and wire, and various beads and bead caps, I put together four sets in a very short time. Afterall, I do have two, crazy boys to run after, so, my craft time is very limited! Plus, I can't just sit down at the table or desk, I would have "helpful hands" in the middle of everything in no time flat. So, most of my beading gets done at the kitchen counter.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Check out this great necklace I put together in less than 5 minutes and for less than $10!!! All you need is a vintage broach and a long string of pearls. Double the pearls twice and pin on the broach! This style is soooo in right now. Let me know what you think. I found both items at a consignment shop.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Super Soup

The Thai Chicken Soup was great. My hubby and I both loved it. Chance, who is 3, liked it too, but Cash, 1, didn't. He ate a little, but I don't think that his palette is quite developed enough for a complex soup like this one. Is was perfect, creamy and sweet, with a bit of heat that touches the back of your throat for the finish. I am not really one for cooked bell peppers (they're sometimes bitter), but the red bell peppers complemented to soup nicely adding a sweet, fresh flavor.

Dinner Tonight

Well, as a self-confessed magazine junkie, I am going to try and review recipes as offen as possible from the magazines I frequently read. Tonight is a recipe from Food Network magazine, November 2010. Thai Chicken Soup - we'll see what the hubs and kiddos think!
This weekend we tried the recipe for Buffalo Chicken Nachos from the Food Network magazine, the Jan. 2011 issue. I changed it up a bit, I used regular tortilla chips instead of ranch flavored, mozzarella instead of cheddar, and instead of sprinkling blue cheese crumbles over the top, we drizzled homemade ranch dressing on top. They were fabulous, super easy and super quick!