Saturday, August 31, 2013

Some Creative Discoveries

This recipe was actually a complete accident. I had planned on making a tortilla pizza, but saw that I had two tortillas left when I pulled the bag out of the fridge. And there was a lot more spinach than I wanted to use on a pizza. The oven was already preheated, so I decided to play around a bit. This is what I came up with.

Baked Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Tortillas (3)
The egg/ spinach/ cheese mixture kind of reminded me of making spanakopita. This time it was on tortillas, though, instead of filo dough. I just layered on my filling, topped it with another tortilla, and baked it until the egg was done. It was so delicious that I had to make another one the next day for breakfast.

Baked Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Tortillas (2)
Baked Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Tortillas
¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1 egg
2 flour tortillas
dash of garlic powder, cayenne pepper powder, salt, and pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Mix together all of the ingredients except the tortillas. Place one of the tortillas on a baking stone, and spread the spinach mixture onto it. Top with the other tortilla. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the egg has set.

My mom sent me an awesome box of goodies in the mail last week. It included a magazine, tortillas, and many other goodies I will be sharing in the posts to come. I sent her this card to say thanks. I used a little house stencil to make the pictures.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Exploding Box

I made Sydney a box as a going away card.
It was not just any card, though.

Nor was it just any box.

It was a box that exploded! When you open up exploding boxes, 12 pages fold out to reveal a card/ scrapbook that can hold anything your mind imagines. I made mine a memory album of the years that Sydney and I have spent together.
In the center of the box/ card I put my graduation picture. I did not see her open it in person (I put it on her bed before we drove down to TN.), but I can only imagine the surprised look on her face when she opened up the box to reveal all those memories.
Before I left, I also made Sydney (and the rest of my family) some Nutella rolls. They are like cinnamon rolls, but are stuffed full of Nutella instead. Sydney and my mom are Nutella fanatics, so you can guess how long these lasted at my house.

nutella rolls (2)
Nutella Rolls
serves 8

1 tbsp dry yeast
4 cups flour
½ cup warm water (110 degrees)
½ cup warm milk
1 tsp salt
½ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup Nutella

Cream Cheese Icing:
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp melted butter

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water for five minutes. Combine the milk, butter, egg yolks, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to stir the ingredients together. Pour in the water and yeast, salt, and flour. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Cover and allow the dough to rise for an hour in a warm place. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to make a 12” by 16” rectangle. Spread the Nutella over the top and roll it up so that it is still 16” long. Cut the roll into 8 two inch thick rolls. Cover and let them rest for another 30 minutes. Place the rolls in a nonstick baking stone. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Meanwhile, beat together the cream cheese icing ingredients. Once the rolls are done baking, top with the icing ingredients. Serve warm.

nutella rolls (1)
And the cream cheese icing just made them that much better.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A New Card Form

Remember the summer squash bread I posted about last week? I liked it so much that I decided to try to use the flavors in a baked oatmeal recipe. Much easier and smaller than an entire loaf of bread, this baked oatmeal will still give you all the summer time flavors. I know that summer is not technically over until well into September, but I always consider Labor Day Weekend as the start of fall. You better get this recipe in quick. Summer is almost over, and fall is right around the corner.

Summer Squash Baked Oatmeal
Summer Squash Baked Oatmeal
1 cup oatmeal
1 medium summer squash
2 tbsp milk
1 banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of salt

Blend the squash and banana into a puree. Mix all the ingredients together and pour them into a small oiled baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
You might not believe it, but I have abandoned the cascade cards for a while to make way for this new shaped card.

The first flap folds out to show the message, and you glue the second flap down to make a little pocket. I like to stick letters into the pocket for the recipient. I made this one for my neighbor, Savannah.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Three in One Muffin

When you can't pick between having a muffin, omelet, or a bowl of pasta, this delicious alternative will give you the best of all worlds. Perfect for a breakfast, light lunch, or dinner side, you will wish the recipe made more than six. I think that's enough said. Just go ahead and enjoy!

Broccoli-Provolone-Pasta Muffins
Broccoli-Provolone-Pasta Muffins
makes 6
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
3 cups frozen broccoli
2 ounces dry angel hair pasta
2 ounces shredded provolone cheese
2 eggs

Cover the broccoli with water and microwave for 5-6 minutes. Drain and set it aside to cool. Break the strands of pasta into 3 evenly long pieces. Cover them with water in a microwave safe container, microwave 5 minutes, and drain. Blend the cooled broccoli together with the salt, garlic, and eggs. Stir in the cheese and pasta. Spray 6 muffin holes with oil and divide the mixture in between them. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

This is a really cute craft idea for preschool and early school aged children. Just wrap some construction paper around an oatmeal box, top with a different colored "tower" shape, and print off pictures of Rapunzel looking out of her window. Let the kids color the pictures in and glue them onto their towers. For a little boy, use a rectangular box wrapped in construction paper with a piece of construction paper folded in half for the roof. Let them glue on pictures of firefighters or whatever you can think of.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reese's Cup Scones

I made these Reese Cup Scones a while back, just before I left for college. I wanted to make a few special goodies for my family before I moved, and these were on the list. The scones have a peanut butter base with chocolate chips and chopped Reese's cups mixed throughout. How could you go wrong with that?
reeses cup scones (3)
Reese’s Cup Scones
makes 20 scones
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup shortening
½ cup frozen butter
¼ cup chocolate chips, frozen
½ cup chopped Reese’s cups, frozen
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the sugars. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream with the beaten egg yolks, and then add to dry ingredients. Cut in the butter and shortening. Without working the dough too much, stir in the chocolate chips and Reese’s cups. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface about ¾ inch thick. Cut it into large triangles. Bake for 15 minutes on a large baking stone. Allow the scones to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
This recipe made a ton, so I had plenty to share with the neighbors or anyone else who is scone worthy.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weird but Successful Concoctions

I had a random desire to make some cookies the other day, but I did not want to make just your ordinary chocolate chip or snickerdoodle. I wanted to create a cookie that anyone could enjoy no matter their allergies. Thus the allergy friendly chocolate chip cookie was born. It contains no wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, or gluten. No tomatoes either! Everyone can gobble up these crisp and delicious cookies without having to worry about a trip to the ER.


Allergy Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies

Allergy Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 32
2 cups oatmeal
½ cup almonds
2 tsp cornstarch
4-6 tbsp almond milk
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup brown sugar
2 ounces chopped dark chocolate
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup pitted dates
½ tsp salt

Place the dates in a bowl of very hot water and allow them to soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, blend the almonds and oatmeal into a flour. Stir together all the dry ingredients. Drain the water off of the dates and blend them together with the coconut oil, milk, and vanilla. Mix the wet and dry ingredients, stirring in the chocolate chips last. Scoop out one tablespoon at a time of the dough onto a baking stone and press the balls flat. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack.

I must have just been in a weird mood because this card's folding technique is a bit strange to say the least.

I think it turned out pretty cute, though. If only I could remember how I did it... :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Sunday #2

It's another Slow Cooker Sunday, and I have a great recipe to share! If you loved the brownie batter oatmeal, sea salt brownie baked oatmeal, or overnight chocolate brownie oatmeal, you are in luck. I have come up with yet another way to enjoy a nice serving of brownie flavored oatmeal. This one is made in a slow cooker as it is Slow Cooker Sunday, so you can have that hot bowl of brownie oats with little prep time or clean up. Sit down and enjoy your nice bowl of steel cut oats before starting your busy day.

Crockpot Brownie Batter Steel Cut Oatmeal
Crockpot Brownie Batter Steel Cut Oatmeal
½ cup steel cut oats
2 ½ cups water
1 banana
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
sugar, to taste

Cook the oats and water in a small crockpot on the lowest temperature setting for 4-5 hours. Stir in the cocoa powder and cornstarch, making sure there are no lumps. Mash up the banana and stir it in as well. Cook on the high temperature setting for an additional 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and sugar to taste.

Here is another babysitting craft idea that I used quite a few times. It is really simple to make, but holds the kids' attentions for a long time. For some reason my little neighbors love the TV show Cupcake Wars, so I decided to host one of my own. To do this, just print off a template for a cupcake, cut out construction paper around it, and let the kids have their own "Cupcake Wars". They will have so much fun coming up with cool flavors, sprinkles, and icing. Then you can judge which of their creations is your favorite.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weeknight Fare

If you want a quick meal to share (or have leftovers for the week), these two recipes are a great choice. Who doesn't love pasta? It is the perfect comfort food. Paired with cheesy mashed cauliflower, this is a great home cooked meal.
Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Pasta
Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Pasta
8 ounces dry spaghetti
1 pack (4 cups) of frozen broccoli
2 cups milk
1 cup sliced onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp flour
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized cubes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Saute the onions, mushrooms, and chicken in a pan, using oil as needed. Cook the pasta and broccoli according to the package’s instructions. Mix the pasta, chicken, and veggies together and set aside. Whisk the flour, seasonings, and milk together. Pour this into a pot and stir continuously over medium low heat. Once it’s thick (about 10 minutes), add in the cheese. Stir well, pour the pasta and veggie mixture into the bowl, and toss to coat. Serve with extra parmesan cheese.

Mashed Cauliflower
5 cups frozen cauliflower
2 wedges Laughing Cow cheese or cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Steam the frozen cauliflower in the microwave for 6-8 minutes. Combine everything into a blender. Blend until creamy.
I made these foam pancakes for Harper's American Girl Doll café. Originally they were supposed to be her Christmas present, but she spotted them on my craft table. After she went on and on about how cute they were, I just had to give them to her. She's just a bit spoiled.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Single Serving Waffles

I didn't bring a waffle iron to college, but it would have been a great idea to. They are small and easy to use especially if you are lacking a stove or microwave. This recipe yields about 1 1/2 waffles (not the Belgian kind), perfect for a quick breakfast just for you. You can whip up the batter the night before and have breakfast ready in less than 5 minutes the next morning.

Overnight Single Serving Apple Spice Waffles

Overnight Single Serving Apple Spice Waffles
½ cup oatmeal
6 tbsp applesauce
1 egg
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves

Mix the oatmeal and applesauce together. Let the mixture sit overnight. The next morning, add the spices, baking powder, and egg to the applesauce and oatmeal mixture. Whisk it together very well. Cook the waffles in a preheated waffle iron according to the instructions on the waffle iron. It makes about 1 ½ waffles.

I saw the idea for this type of card in the PaperCraft magazine. It is made up of two sizes of circles lined up in a row on top of patterned paper. I finished it off with a butterfly sticker in the corner.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chocolate Strawberries Before Class

I am getting into the hang of college life. Every morning I have enjoyed a nice bike ride before getting ready for my morning classes. After my ride, I always want something refreshing and full of flavor to give me a little energy boost. Smoothies are always a great choice. This one tastes like eating a chocolate covered strawberry. Who could beat that?

chocolate strawberry smoothie
Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie
1 cup strawberries, tops removed
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp cocoa powder
dash of vanilla extract, optional

Break up the frozen banana into smaller pieces. Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!
Here is a super simple "Miss You" card that I made in the minutes that I had before leaving to babysit one of my families for the last time. The little boy I gave this to just started kindergarten, and is a real sweetheart. He loved the planes, and surprised me with a few cards of his own.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Milk Carton Houses and Summer Bread

I strategically picked a southern college so that I could come back closer to home where it is warm. Ohio's weather just is not my thing. It was beautiful here today. The sun was out, and it was in the 90s. That's what summer should be like. I made this bread while I was still at home, but it just did not feel like summer with the cold weather and rain. Now I am in the mood to share it. I now present you summer squash bread!
summer squash bread (2)
This loaf is like zucchini bread's even more delicious cousin. It is perfect for a summer afternoon tea out on your back porch.
summer squash bread (1)
Summer Squash Bread
makes 4 mini loaves
3 cups flour (or 2 cups flour and 1 cup oat flour)
2 tbsp oil
4 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2 large bananas
2 summer squashes
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar

Mix together the sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and flour. Use a blender or food processor to blend the squashes into small chunks (do not puree it). Blend the bananas separately into a puree. Combine the squash, bananas, eggs, yogurt, oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Stir everything together and then divide between four oiled mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the bread to sit for five minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack.

This craft is also from before I moved. It was one of the last activities I did with the kids I use to babysit, and it was so fun that I had to make one for Harper too.


All I did was cover a milk carton with construction paper, fold another piece of construction paper in half for the roof, and print off little pictures of windows and doors. This is the one Harper made. She was being a stinker that day, and didn't put much effort into it. The other girls colored theirs in and made it look like a little tower house. They turned out really cute, but I didn't have my camera with me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hummus Wraps!

My mom is a hummus fanatic, but I never really got into it. Something about the taste just wasn't right. Then I tried roasted red pepper hummus at my favorite restaurant, Jason's Deli. I fell in love. No wonder it was one of the first things on my college shopping list. I got a big container for only $2. I'll be in hummus heaven for the next couple of days.


Tonight's dinner was a veggie hummus wrap. I layered on the hummus, piled on the cheese, and stuck some carrots and lettuce in for a crunch factor. This cheap meal was delicious. I whipped it up after my class got out at 7pm, and I had dinner by 7:10.
Veggie Hummus Wraps
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 whole wheat tortilla
1 carrot
3 tbsp roasted red pepper hummus
handful of lettuce

Peel and slice your carrot. Spread the hummus onto the tortilla. Sprinkle on the cheese and top with the carrot slices and lettuce. Roll up and enjoy.

This is the card that I made for my mom. It is a swinging card. You pull the two sides, and the middle portion swings in to reveal a place to write your message on the back.

The picture is from when we were in Europe. (Switzerland to be exact.) I miss those days, and I really miss my momma. (No wonder she has been popping up in my blog so much lately.) I can't wait to see her again and introduce her to roasted red pepper hummus.