Thursday, November 3, 2011

Table Scraps - Beef Vegetable Soup (Crock Pot Recipe)

It is a cold, rainy, dreary day today. I did achieve my goal this morning of getting to the grocery store and back before the rain started. That was the highlight of my day. As soon as my son got on the school bus, my daughter and I raced to the store, and although I didn't think I needed very many things, we somehow managed to fill up the cart. Pork loins and spare ribs are on sale at Meijer this week, by the way, which made the trip worth it.

Nothing makes a cold, rainy day better than homemade beef vegetable soup. I made this recipe up one afternoon with what I had on hand, and I loved it so much that I am afraid to alter it in any way. Even my somewhat picky kids like it. You have to keep in mind that I can most of my vegetables, so that is why you see measurements in quarts and pints. Just remember that one pint equals two cups and one quart equals four cups.

Beef Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat
1 quart potatoes, cut into chunks
1 pint diced tomatoes, with juice (or you can use a store bought 14 oz can)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 bag (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables (I use a carrot, pea, green bean, corn blend)
2 small wedges of cabbage, thinly sliced
1 quart tomato juice
1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
1-2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf

Heat 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, and brown the stew meat. Add the browned meat and all of the other ingredients to the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Serve with homemade bread or cheese and crackers. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yarn Scraps - Rapunzel Wig

My daughter's favorite movie is Tangled. She would watch it every day if I would let her. So, naturally, she wanted to be Rapunzel for Halloween. I decided to make her a wig to wear with her costume out of yarn. I was a little unsure whether or not I could pull it off, but I love how it turned out, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be.I wish I would have taken step by step pictures, but I really didn't think it would actually turn out as well as it did. I started with an old pair of tights. I cut off the legs and sewed the part that I cut off together, making sort of a cap. I used two skeins of Loops and Threads Impeccable yarn from Michael's in Butterscotch. I cut each skein into strands 120 inches long. Then I cut a piece of felt about 1 inch wide by 8 inches long. I gathered all of the yarn in the middle (60 inches on each side) and placed the felt piece under the yarn, right at the center. Leaving about an inch of felt uncovered on each end, I sewed right down the middle of the yarn and felt (so you have about a 6 inch wide band of yarn), attaching the yarn and felt all together, and also creating the "part" for the hair. I trimmed off the extra felt, and then I sewed the felt and yarn to the cap I made out of the tights. I tied the yarn together at the base of the skull and braided the wig and hot glued silk flowers all over the wig. Not at all difficult, and the most time consuming part was cutting each strand of yarn.

This would also be perfect for Jessie from Toy Story! Just use red yarn, cut the strands a bit shorter and make two braids. Maybe we will do that next Halloween!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paper Scraps - All good things must come to an end

It feels so weird for me to say this, but as of today, I am no longer on any scrapbooking design teams. I have been on various kit club and sketch blog design teams for about four years, so this is going to be hard. I still love scrapping, but rushing to meet deadlines and creating work that, to me, wasn't design team worthy because I felt rushed was taking its toll on me. I thought I needed to be on design teams to be happy, to keep my scrapping fresh, and to just keep scrapping at all. I thought once my son started school that things would slow down, but in fact, quite the opposite has happened, and we are busier than ever.

This doesn't mean that I am going to stop scrapping. I am hoping this will allow me to get back to the root of why I started scrapping in the first place. I want to fill my pages with stories of our lives and meaningful journaling. No more searching for new and unusual techniques or crazy tutorials that my kids aren't going to give a hoot about when they look at these pages years from now. It is time for me to tell my stories, and that is exactly what I plan on doing, and I'm looking forward to doing it at my own pace with whatever supplies I choose to use. I seriously doubt that my kids are going to care about whether or not I used the latest and greatest in paper and products. It is time to keep it real, and keep it simple. I'm not necessarily saying my style is going to change, but I hope to make my pages much more meaningful. After all, scrapping is still an artistic outlet for me.

Here are the last few pages I did for Creative Scrappers. Thank you, Kristine, for having me on the design team for another term. Maybe someday things will slow down, and I'll join again, but for now, I am going to embrace my new creative freedom and run with it.Notice anything about these pages? Not a single one has any journaling on it. Not every page needs journaling, of course. Sometimes the pictures tell the whole story. But I want to go beyond the pictures and express more. I think my next project is going to be to make a journal to jot down stories and things I want to be sure to document on my pages. I'll post it when I get it done! Thanks for looking and happy scrapping!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Table Scraps - Pulled Pork Tacos (Crock Pot Recipe)

I have a confession to make...

I HATE grocery shopping. Seriously, despise it. The only thing I hate more than grocery shopping is grocery shopping on a weekend...with my husband.

Yes, I said it. I HATE grocery shopping with my husband. Trust me. It is an ordeal from hell shopping with him, and it starts before we even leave the house. He has a standard grocery list saved on the computer of things that we usually buy on most grocery trips. That list is organized by aisles in the store. He prints this stupid list out and then makes me go in the kitchen to look in the cabinets and refrigerator while he calls out items on the list and crosses them off if I say we already have that. If I try to add something to the list in the middle of this process, I am told to wait because we aren't at that aisle of the store yet on the list. You see where this is going, right?

Once at the store, he immediately pulls out the list and starts reading and planning out his strategy for maximum efficiency. There is no leisurely stroll to browse items. If I pick something up and put it in the cart that was not on the list, I am interrogated as to the necessity/when it will be used/what it will be used for. And let's not forget about the endless "Don't we already have that in the cabinet?" question. When I go to the store alone, I rarely make a list, and if I do, it is just a few key items that I am afraid I will forget. And 99% of the time when I do make a list, I don't even bother to pull it out of my purse once I get to the store anyway.

There is one thing that does make me happy when I go to the store though. That is a sale on boneless pork loins! I love it when I find them on sale for $1.99/lb or less. I usually buy two or three of them when they go on sale. Once I get them home, I slice them in half and freeze them for future meals. They are so versatile, and I use them for tons of things from pulled pork BBQ, pork stir fry, etc, etc.

One of my favorite uses for boneless pork loin is for my pulled pork taco recipe. My husband loves this recipe so much that he ate leftovers for lunch for three days straight and was sad when it was gone. The beauty of this recipe is that it is done in the crock pot, so there is very little work. Just throw it all in and forget about it.

Pulled Pork Tacos
2 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 large onion, quartered
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup chicken broth

Trim fat off of meat and place meat in crock pot. Add chicken broth and then the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove meat from crock pot and shred with a fork.

Serve meat on flour tortillas with sour cream, Mexican cheese, fresh lime juice, and fresh cilantro.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Table Scraps - Roast Sticky Chicken

If you like rotisserie chicken, you are going to love this recipe! This chicken tastes a lot like rotisserie chicken, but you slow roast it in the oven. This is a staple at our house, and it is super easy to make too. And it smells oh so good while it cooks!
Roast Sticky Chicken

2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 onion, quartered
2 Tbsp butter/margarine, melted
1 whole chicken (about 5 lbs)

Combine the salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl.

Remove giblets, neck, and whatever all of that other stuff is inside the chicken and discard. Wash chicken under cold water and pat dry. Place chicken in a roasting pan, and sprinkle some of the seasoning inside the cavity of the chicken. Place the onion inside the chicken, and tie the legs together.

Brush the chicken with melted butter, and sprinkle on the rest of the seasoning. Cover chicken, and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Remove cover from chicken, and bake, uncovered, for 5 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the leg or thigh reads 180 degrees.

Most of the time, I make gravy out of the pan drippings after the chicken has been cooked. To do that, all you do pour the pan drippings in a glass measuring cup. Skim the fat from the top and reserve 1/4 cup of the fat. Pour the fat in a saucepan and add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. Whisk together until smooth, over medium heat. Add enough water to the rest of the pan drippings to equal 2 cups, and gradually add that to the flour mixture. Whisk together, and bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened.

I love this recipe because I usually get another meal out of the leftovers. The leftover chicken is great for creamed chicken on toast or buffalo chicken dip!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Winner winner chicken dinner!

I have to apologize for not announcing the winner of the scrappy goodies from my first blog post. I just completely forgot about it, and it hit me as I was driving to my son's school this morning. Thank you all for following my blog and for leaving me comments. I LOVE reading them all!

So without further adieu, I present you with the winner of the scrappy supplies...Comment #4 was Roz!!

Roz said...

I've been a bad blogger lately, but I'll try to be better! You are great!

Congrats Roz! I will get your prize out to you asap!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yarn Scraps - My Etsy Shop (Hook Happy)

My grandma taught me to crochet when I was in the fourth grade. Over the years, I've made some afghans, scarves, doilies, and such. Last year I thought it would be fun to start making hats for my kids. I made a couple and posted them, and some of my friends encouraged me to start selling my creations. So my Etsy shop, Hook Happy, was born.I started out making girl hats with flowers on them. Then I started making some boy hats. Later I played around with my patterns and started making ear flap hats for both girls and boys. I love coming up with fun color combinations and styles. I make up all of my own hat patterns and designs. They are all 100% original, unique, handmade creations by me, and me alone.A lot of time and love goes into each and every hat I make. A friend on Facebook posted this the other day, and I thought it was very fitting for those of us putting ourselves out there with our little boutiques.

When you buy from boutiques and small businesses, instead of helping a CEO buy a third vacation home, you are helping a mom put food on the table, a student pay for her college textbooks, a little girl finally gets to take that ballet class they couldn't afford. Support our boutiques!

I am gradually adding new items to my Etsy shop as I make them, and I've brought back a few of the most popular sellers from last year. I hope you will check out my shop and share it with your friends too! I also have a Facebook page that you can like to keep up with all of the latest additions. Thanks for your support! You have no idea how much it means to me!