Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are delicious! And they are probably gone now, as I am scheduling this post to be published a few days from now :)

Again, I've been in a easy-as-pie mood lately and they really couldn't be any simpler.

This recipe is from Betty Crocker. I changed a few things.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time 40 min Makes 36 cookies

  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/4 t mint extract
  • 6 drops green food color
  • 1 egg (I let it warm to room temp, too)
  • 1 c mint baking chips
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Mix cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg in bowl, until soft dough forms. Stir in mint and chocolate chips.
  2. Drop teaspoon-sized dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. (I used a Silpat. More on this later.)
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 min (my oven took 12 min.) Cool on sheet for 3 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
If you like mint-chocolate ice cream or mint brownies, then you will love these!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cute as a Button card

The following is a card I made for a baby boy, but the colors could easily be adjusted for a baby girl.

I found a similar pattern to this in Card Makers magazine. I like finding patterns and then tweaking them a bit to my satisfaction :)

I thought the sentiment gave way to using a button instead of a brad for the center of the flower, but I didn't have any buttons that matched the color scheme I was using. I used my new button clear stamps from We R Memory Keepers to stamp a blue button onto cardstock, cut it out, and added some glitter ink to the top. I need to credit the rest of my supplies, but unfortunately I got in the habit of throwing away most of my packaging as soon as I buy something.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tip of the Week

If you are like me then the man in your life loves steak. Problem is I am not willing to go stand outside in subzero weather and grill anything during the winter!

I think I finally figured out how to decently pan-fry steak this week.

First of all, you want to let whatever meat you are cooking with come to room temperature. I learned this from Rachael Ray and it really does make a difference!

Second, make sure whatever pan you are cooking it in is super hot. I am always too impatient to let things heat up (or come to room temp, for that matter.) Here again, it really does make a difference. It also doesn't hurt to put a little bit of oil in the pan. Having a super hot pan will make a nice sear on the outside.

If you are using a smaller pan, cook only one at a time, keeping the other warm under some tented foil. I cooked my 3/4-in steak for 3 minutes per side and it came out medium-done (exactly how I like it!) Just adjust according to you preference. I have also learned that letting meat rest after you cook it really is important (here again, a patience factor for me) because it lets the juices redistribute, making for a tastier meal. Not to mention, it's easier to slice.

This method also worked really well for some cod that I seared later in the week. I'm not sure it would work well for chicken since you don't want any raw poultry in the middle. However, I have heard a tip to fry poultry in a pan and then transfer it to an oven to finish cooking.

I never thought I would write a post entirely dedicated to meat...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Valentine Garland

After two weeks (and I'm not exaggerating!) of almost nonstop sorting, organizing--and reorganizing after my daughter "helped", my craft room is 99% done!

99% done was good enough for me to pull out a Valentine's Day project. This one was easy-as-pie, which was exactly what I was in the mood for.

The instructions can all be found at Martha's website so I won't post them here. Seriously, this project only took me 10 minutes to do and it so very festive!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Have you tried...

...therm o web adhesive?

The stuff is amazing.

As in, "where-have-you-been-all-my-life?" amazing.

I love taking classes at our local Archiver's store. I not only learn new tips and tricks there but I am also introduced to new products that I would normally just pass by in the craft store. Such was the story with Supertape. I had never heard of the stuff before and we used it in the latest class I took. Since then I have seen it all over the place. It had just blended into the background until now. So I'm doing my part and introducing it to YOU!

It's as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Cut the length needed for a project. Adhere the sticky side down.

2. Peel off the protective tape. (They aren't kidding, it is SUPER STICKY! So remove only when you know you are ready to stick the next layer down.)

3. Adhere the final layer, whatever it is.

I'm sure it has dozens of uses, but I largely use it for ribbon. I have hated adhering ribbon to my cards and scrapbook pages because it is either lumpy or it falls off. This is the ultimate solution! Try it; you'll love it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


We moved to a new house this last summer. The majority of my craft things ended up being packed in a very unorganized way, and with Christmas being so busy this year...well, let's just say that neither my husband nor I could even find a pair of scissors to use last week.

So I vowed to myself to get my craft room under control this week.

Which is why I haven't been able to craft one thing. Sad face.

I am proud to say that, except for my scrapbooking stuff (which is, like, 75% of what I own that is craft-related) everything is neatly organized thanks to 7 days of little-to-no-plans and a very patient 17-month old daughter. She was just happy to sit and sort through my stickers and paper. I have to admit that her "helping" was more like taking one step forward, two steps back. But it kept her happy which meant I got more done. And even my scrapbooking stuff is organized into neat piles, waiting to be put away. I have pictures of my progress that I will post once everything is in place and, um, pretty?

I have an addiction of going to craft stores and buying more stuff than I will ever use so I have been very firm with myself. I cannot buy anything new until I complete one box of unfinished projects. That's saying a lot.

See you next week!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

I didn't expect to post to recipes back to back, but this macaroni and cheese (a.k.a. 'roni cheese) is a staple at our house and at my parents (especially when my daughter is there for dinner.)

I've had this so much throughout my life that I am pretty sure it is to blame for my love of dairy (and, therefore, my abnormally high cholesterol.) But anyway. Obviously I like it. And it is also really easy to make which makes me like it even more.

Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4 (or 1 adult and a very hungry toddler)

  • 3 c macaroni noodles
  • 3 c milk
  • 8 oz medium cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1 t onion salt
  • 1 t dry mustard
  • Paprika
Cook the noodles according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile, combine milk, cheese, salt and mustard in a blender. Drain noodles and place in a greased casserole dish. Pour blended cheese mixture over cooked noodles and stir until well mixed.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir again until well mixed. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for additional 25 minutes or until golden, bubbly and crusty.

I once tried making macaroni recipe that calls for a white sauce and got so annoyed with how long it took that I gave up and went back to this.

A family tradition (if you can call it that) is to sprinkle our portions with seasoned salt and lemon juice. It is so delicious! Oh, and I've never had it with anything other than green peas. Except for tonight. We were out of peas so we had green beans. And it felt strange.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jailhouse Potato-Cinnamon Rolls

Ahh...I have finally reached another week off. This one feels the most relaxed I've had for awhile now that all of the holidays are behind us. Well, except for Valentines Day. More to come on that one...

Anyway, to celebrate I thought I would share a recipe for what are easily the best cinnamon rolls I have ever personally made and some of the best cinnamon rolls I've tasted, period. And it's totally worth throwing that new diet you just started out of the window.

Jailhouse Potato-Cinnamon Rolls
(Adapted from a recipe I found in Woman's Day March 2007)
Makes 24 (VERY LARGE CINNAMON ROLLS! I halved the recipe when I made them and still ended up with more than we could ever possibly eat by ourselves)

Cinnamon Rolls
  • 2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 oz active dry yeast
  • 3/4 c plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 9 c all-purpose flour
  • 4 c firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Grease a large bowl and four 13 x 9-in. pans.

2. Rolls: Cook potatoes with water to cover until tender when pierced (about 15 min.) Remove and reserve 3 c cooking water in a medium bowl; drain potatoes. Let water cool until it registers 110 to 115 degrees F.

3. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl (not the one you have greased!) and mash. I would mash them until they are smooth, possibly even use a food processor or something. I didn't mash mine quite as well as I should have. Luckily you couldn't tell once they were baked :)

4. Stir yeast and 1 t sugar into reserved potato water until yeast dissolves. Let stand 5 min or until foamy.

5. Add the 3/4 c sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt and yeast-potato water to potatoes. Whisk to blend. Add flour in 3-cup increments and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated. The dough will be very soft. Transfer to the greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size. Punch dough down to deflate. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

6. Filling: Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium size bowl until blended.

7. Remove dough from bowl and divide in quarters. Work with one portion at a time and keep the rest covered. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a 12-in.-wide, 1/4-in.-thick rectangle. Brush with 1/4 c melted butter; top evenly with 1 c of the brown sugar mixture.

8. Starting on 12-in. side of the dough, roll up carefully like a jelly-roll (whatever that means.) Using a serrated knife, cut each roll crosswise in 2-in.-wide slices. Place slices 1 in. apart in greased pans. This puts 6 in each.

9. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until they get puffy, about 1 hour.

10. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. P.S.--I didn't adjust anything for high-altitude and they turned out just fine.

11. Icing: Stir ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over rolls while still warm.