Sunday, May 29, 2011

Broccoli Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese

This is more similar to a casserole rather than traditional mac and cheese because you don't make a separate cheese sauce. However, a quick stir shows its creaminess. I grew up eating something similar to this, although the broccoli and whole wheat pasta are my additions. If you're looking to up the fiber in your pasta dishes, dishes with cheesy sauces are good ways to get introduced to them.


2 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
7 oz whole wheat pasta, cooked to al dente (I used shells)
1 - 1.5 c broccoli, steamed and chopped
3/4 c fat free condensed milk
1/2-1 tsp dried mustard
salt and pepper
1 egg + 2 egg whites, slightly beaten.
1 tbs butter, diced
1 c other shredded cheese (e.g., Parmesan + more cheddar, etc)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spritz a casserole dish with a little cooking spray. Lay a single layer of pasta, top with a handful of cheddar cheese, and a handful of broccoli. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and ground mustard. Continue layering and seasoning until out of ingredients.

Add in eggs and milk, and stir the mixture together. Dot with butter.

Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes until liquid has set.

Uncover, top with 1 c of reserved cheese and bake until golden brown. (The dish shown below could have stayed in the oven a little longer, but I was hungry!)

Serves 4-6.



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Slowcooker Lamb Shanks with Dried Plums

Wow, time flies when I'm not looking! I knew I had skipped a weekend, but not 2 weekends!

I made this recipe at least two weeks ago, possibly during the first week of May because I know Easter made me think of lamb recipes. I modified this leg of lamb with prunes recipe from A Year of Slowcooking mainly by swapping in lamb shanks and adding more veggies. Even though it was just me, I ate all four servings and didn't freeze a bit!

(Sorry for the terrible pictures)


4 good-sized lamb shanks (Note: they're often sold in packs of 2)
2 carrots, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 onion, diced (1 cup)
1.5 c dried plums (prunes), roughly chopped (a few big handfuls)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 c apple juice or white wine


In a small dish, mix dry spices.

(Optional) Brown lamb shanks in olive oil in a skillet.

Place chopped veggies in the base of the slowcooker. Sprinkle with a small amount of spice mixture, maybe 3/4 tsp.

Rub lamb with remaining spice mixture. Arrange in a circle over veggies. Try not to stack them, if possible.

Toss in prunes and pour in liquid. Add cinnamon stick.

Cook on low for 8 hours or until tender. Mine we perfect after 8 hours of cooking time and several hours on warm because I got home super late from work that day.

Serve with couscous, quinoa, or just some nice crusty bread.

4 servings

Lunch box shot.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Whole Wheat Banana-Chocolate Muffins with Pecans

This is my first recipe using the GORGEOUS raspberry ice Kitchen Aide stand mixer that my auntie bought me. I will definitely post a picture of the stand mixer later, but you can see it here.

I woke up in the mood for muffins. After a quick Google search I found this recipe at Epicurious. It's a 1999 Bon Appetit recipe. I modified it slightly by adding whole wheat flour, using a few less chocolate chips, and adding pecans. After looking at the pictures, I probably could have added a few more chocolate chips, although the muffin I munched fresh from the oven had just enough.


1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c butter
1/4 c milk
1 egg
1 c mashed bananas
1/2 c chocolate chips (original recipe calls for 3/4)
1/2 c pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg, mixing thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add dry mixture to wet, adding milk, as well. Add mashed bananas, mixing well.

Stir in chips and nuts.

Pour into prepared muffin pan, about 3/4ths full. This is a particularly dense batter, so it took about 40 minutes to bake. The muffins are done when a tooth pick comes out clean.

Makes 12 regular muffins



Monday, May 9, 2011

My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge #11

This is probably going to be my last posting for My Pink Stamper's National Scrapbook Day challenges. I made it all the way to 11 (doing 10 out of 12), but I think I'm out of time. I really enjoyed completing all of these challenges even though the product seemed a bit rushed at time. However, for nearly every challenge (except for this one, the mother's day challenge, and the layout), I made at least two cards for each challenge, which has helped me rebuild my stash and improve upon the first design. For example, on the glam, glitz, and glitter challenge, for my second one, I left out the glitter. Frankly, I like the second card a lot better. However, if not for the challenge, I would not have gone looking for an image that I could glam up. Being under a time crunch (each challenge was supposed to be done in an hour), also helped me keep the cards simple (mostly just a Cricut diecut, ribbon, and a stamp), but nonetheless fun. I'm not sure when I'll be able to set an entire day/weekend aside, but I will try to incorporate more challenges into my papercrafting. Anyway, the eleventh challenge was to make a project using pink, green, and black. I used the American Alphabet cartridge, My Pink Stamper Sweetest Cupcakes stamp set, the Sew Easy, and ribbon from my stash. The hot pink paper is from Papertrey Ink. Here's my card:



Thanks for visiting my blog. Have a great week!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge #10

The tenth My Pink Stamper NSD challenge is to make a layout or a card with a pet in it. I used the American Alphabet cartridge that came pre-installed with my Cricut Expression 2. The sample images have funky colors and I just followed along with that. I used a Stampin Up scallop punch, the My Pink Stamper Fabulous Phrases stamp set, pattern paper from the Crate Paper Toy Box collection, and misc twine and other paper. Here's my card:




My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge #9

The ninth My Pink Stamper challenge is to use glitz, glam, and glitter in your project. I have been dying to make a card with boots every since Robyn an a number of other bloggers I follow were talking about the Texas Stampede back in March. This boot is from the American Alphabet Cricut cartridge. I used gold stickles for the glitter/glam element, and Papertrey Ink cardstock and ribbon. The sentiment is from the My Pink Stamper Sweetest Cupcake stamp set. Here's my card:



Sunday Supper Series #16 - Ham, Asparagus, and Shallots Crustless Quiche

For no particular reason, I skipped last week's Sunday Supper. I had pictures and recipes to post, but didn't have the urge. Anyway, today's recipe is a super simple item for brunch. I baked a ham last week, taking advantage of the post-Easter sales and had a ton of leftovers. Ham seems to go well in breakfast times, even for those who are not fans of the ham and potatoes dinner. I modified recipes found at Finding Joy in My Kitchen and Simply Recipes. I went a little light on the cheese and perhaps too heavy on the milk, but it turned out just fine. Definitely a yummy dish that I will make again.


3 eggs + 2 egg whites
1/2 c skim milk
1/2 c 2% milk
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c cubed cooked ham
1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 1" pieces and steamed
2 large shallots, thinly sliced, about 1/2 a cup
Olive oil, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute shallots in olive oil until softened and beginning to brown. Steam asparagus as you cook your shallots. (I use those awesome steam bags made by Ziploc or Glad.) Toss shallots and asparagus is a little salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, beat eggs and then add milk. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, about 1/2 tsp each.

In a 9" pie pan that has been spritzed with cooking spray, toss together asparagus, ham, and shallots. Mix in cheese. Pour in egg/milk mixture and level out the top.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until set.

Serves 4.


My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge #8

Happy Mother's Day to all the hardworking moms out there! I hope your kids and husbands are pampering you today, as you deserve it!

Here's my entry for My Pink Stamper's National Scrapbook Day Challenge #8, which was to make a summer-themed project. The lighting, which had been sketchy all day yesterday due to the rain, became terrible last night and I was too lazy to haul out my Ottlite. Thus, I had to wait until morning to take half-way decent pictures. This card was made using the Pack Your Bags Cricut cartridge, which has a variety of summer-themed travel cuts. I hope to do a number of mini-albums using this cart, but they haven't happened yet. These shorts were quite time-consuming as each colored flower is individually placed and some of the pieces are quite small. However, with the help of my trusty Cutterbee tweezers, I was okay. Ribbon and cardstock are from my stash. I used Distress Ink "brushed courduroy" around the edges. The sentiment is actually from My Pink Stamper's More Punny-licious stamp sets, but I realized that I definitely want to look for some summer and travel-themed sentiments. Here's my card:



Here's the inside:
Head back over to My Pink Stamper to see more National Scrapbook Day Challenges!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge #7

Well, I took a longer break for lunch than I intended. I haven't had a nap yet, but I'm thinking about it. Challenge #7 was to make a scrapbook page. This is actually my very first full-size layout using my Cricut. It's definitely a little basic, but not a bad first effort. I used the Life's a Party cartridge for the shaped page and Sesame Street Seasons for the photo and journal mat. To dress it up a bit, I used some Glossy Accents on the balloons. The paper is from the Basic Gray "Life of the Party" collection. Here's my layout:






Thanks for visiting. Head over to My Pink Stamper to play along or for more inspiration.

My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge #6

Okay, it looks like I'm skipping another challenge, #5 which is to make a 3D item. I actually have a number of 3D projects planned, including the Travel Tales Suitcase Mini Album designed by Kathy at Paper Phenomenon. However, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to make that could be made in an hour. I know, for my last post, I posted a card that I made before today, but it was something that I had never posted on my blog so I believe it was okay to enter it. Challenge #6 is to incorporate a tag in your project. I know what a tag is, but I'm not entirely sure what form it can take in a project. Thus, while I think the scallop that I used to mat the necktie is a "tag," I put the sentiment on a little tag just in case. I'm making several of this design of a Father's Day card to send to Operation Write Home. The deadline to submit Father's Day cards is May 21, so if I make a bunch this weekend and next, I should make the deadline. For this car, I used Cricut Essentials and Wrap it Up, My Pink Stamper Happiest Moments stamp set, American Crafts eyelets, twine from Papertrey Ink and misc paper from my stash. Here's my card:



Thanks for visiting. Head back over to My Pink Stamper to play along!

My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge #4

I'm skipping the third challenge at My Pink Stamper's blog because I'm behind and wasn't took inspired by it. However, if you're following along, click here to see what it is. The fourth My Pink Stamper challenge is to make something for Mother's Day. This is the card I made for my husband's mother. She just got it in the mail today, so it's okay to post it. I used the Echo Park "For the Record" paper collection, the Wrap it Up Cricut Cartridge, My Pink Stamper Happiest Moments Stamp set, and misc other goodies from my stash. Here is my card (sorry for the bad lighting):


The inside is super simple, using a Martha Stewart Punch called "Botanical Scallops." Photobucket

Thanks for visiting. Head back over to My Pink Stamper's blog to follow along!

My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge #2

The second National Scrapbook Day Challenge at My Pink Stamper is "make a card or scrapbook page using kraft cardstock." I used that Sesame Street Friends cartridge to make an Oscar the Grouch card. He's my husband's favorite. This was my first time using this cart and boy is it a pain! All the intricate details meant about an hour's worth of punching out little chads of paper. However, he turned out pretty cute. I used My Pink Stamper Punny-licious stamp set and other goodies from my stash. Here's my card:




Head back over to My Pink Stamper's blog to follow along!

My Pink Stamper NSD Challenge # 1

The first National Scrapbook Day Challenge at My Pink Stamper is "anything cupcake." I'm only about a solid hour behind in posting, but seeing as woke up at 530am, Hawaiian time, and it started at 10am Central, I don't think it's too bad. I used my NEW Cricut Expression 2, the American Alphabet cartridge, a new Darice embossing folder, DCWV paper from the "Summer Dreams" collection, the My Pink Stamper Sweetest Cupcakes stamp set, and misc ribbon and paper. Here's my card:





Head back to My Pink Stamper to follow along!

It's National Scrapbook Day!

Although this is technically the second one I've celebrated, I was a baby scrapbooker last year and all I did was marvel over all the spiffy events on the web and the neat projects I saw. Robyn is having an all-day event at My Pink which started at 10am CST. I just finished my first project and will have it up shortly. Other events going on include Laura at Following the Paper Trail who is participating in a Ustream blog hop, the Creaking Keepsakes Magazine blog celebration. Also, the Greeting Farm is having a weekend-long challenge.

Check back for more later! Have a wonderful, scrappin Saturday!

Martha Stewart Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I've been on a red velvet kick of late. (See the layer cake I made a couple months ago here). Thus, when realized that I needed a treat for a birthday in my office in a hurry, this red velvet cupcake recipe by Martha Stewart fit the bill. I lightened it up a bit using apple sauce, but otherwise followed this recipe.


Cupcake Ingredients
2.5 cups cake flour, sifted
2 TBS cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1.5 c sugar
1 c apple sauce
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 c buttermilk
3/4 to 1 oz red food coloring (I poured until the desired color was achieved but used < 1 oz)
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp white vinegar

Cupcake Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using buttermilk substitute (1 cup milk + 1 TBS vinegar), make it now and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, and apple sauce until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in food coloring and vanilla.

Mix flour and milk into sugar mixture, alternating flour, milk, flour, milk, flour whisking well after each addition.

Stir vinegar and baking soda together. Be prepared for it to foam. Quickly add to batter.

Pour batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4ths full. Bake 20 minutes until springy and cooked through.

Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 24 regular cupcakes.


1 c butter, softened
12 oz cream cheese (I used light)
1 lb confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, then vanilla. Mix until smooth.

It is not entirely necessary to refrigerate this frosting, but it may speed things up a bit.


Aren't they pretty?