Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Owl Punch Class-minion!

Are you familiar with adorable, hilarious "minions" from the Despicable Me movies?

Are you familiar with Pharrel's "Happy" song from the second movie?

If you're not, check it out by following this link to YouTube - it will surely make you HAPPY...

 Because it is so popular I decided I would make it part of our Owl Punch Class.

Here's the minion I made:
This body is made from the Owl Punch, minus the ears, punched out of Daffodil Delight card stock. He has black Owl feet and then another pair for hands - I added the arms just from scraps. His overalls were punched out of Pacific Point card stock - this is just the Owl "vest".

I gave him googlie eyes and hair, along with goggles, made from scraps and circle punches from the Owl.

Here's the finished card:
How appropriate this greeting is, especially based on the popularity of the song!

There are so many things you can do with Owl punch! Just be patient and have a pair of tweezers (!), as there are many little pieces to work with!

I'll be sure to share the other cards we are making with you soon!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What's cookin'? - "Italian" lunch!

It's lunchtime.

If you're in the mood for something not too heavy, but tasty, try these two options:


Stracciatella Soup
Both our choices that remind me of my Italian upbringing!

Pastina is kind-of like a comfort food to me now. When I was little it was my one of mom's go-to foods when I was sick.

It's quick and simple, and it makes you feel all warm inside... AKA "comfort food".

First, you go to the store and buy a box of Pastina so you always have it on hand! This is what it looks like:

They are usually just tiny pasta stars!

There are plenty of brands to choose from also! Whatever your store carries, whatever's cheapest, it's all the same!  Barilla, Ronzoni, Prince... I do usually have this on hand because it's good to add to soups, especially Italian wedding soup or like my first recipe today - or to just eat alone, by itself.

You will need:

1/4c Pastina
1c water or chicken broth*
1 egg, lightly beaten
1t butter
1T grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste


• Bring water or broth to boil in a small pot.
• Add Pastina and salt; cook until most of the water is absorbed (3-4 minutes)
• turn off heat and stir in egg - it will cook in the hot pasta
• add butter, cheese, and pepper

You could add Passtina to the following soup as well; I didn't.  It's like an Italian version of "egg drop soup"...

Stracciatella Soup


4c chicken broth*
4 eggs
1/3c grated Parmesan
1T chopped fresh parsley
2c fresh spinach
Salt to taste

• bring broth to a simmer in soup pot
• whisk together eggs, cheese, parsley, and about 1/2t salt.
• slowly pour the egg mixture into broth while stirring
• continue to stir until the eggs are "set" (about one minute)
• add spinach and stir to wilt

Stave off that cold! 
Perfect for a rainy day!
**Making your own broth:

I have been making my own chicken broth lately. It seems that it is something that I am always buying at the store.

Making your own not only means that you can control the ingredients, but it is better tasting than the store-bought.

The soup was killer because of the broth!

If you haven't tried making your own yet I highly recommend it! It's easy and way cheaper in the long run!

** I usually make broth the day after I have used a whole chicken, or a rotisserie chicken in some other recipe. Buying the rotisserie chicken seems to be my trend these days! They're inexpensive and save a lot of cooking time!

Just take the chicken carcass (if you have some meat on it - great, but it's not necessary) Throw it in a soup pot and cover it with water.

Add salt pepper and any or all of the following: carrot, celery, onion, parsley.
They don't even have to be nice - Just clean! And, by nice I mean you can use the parts of the veggies that you have cut off to throw away from other recipes! Just save the ends of carrots or celery - or even onion skins - in a Ziploc bag as you are preparing other meals during the week. They just help to flavor the broth and you will be skimming them all off and throwing them away anyway!

Which leads me to my next step:
Cook on low heat at least two hours.

Skim all veggies out and throw away along with the chicken carcass that has been plucked of any remaining bits.

Now you have chicken broth free of MSD or an overload of salt!

I like to freeze mine in leftover containers from cottage cheese (or anything). I even pour some into ice cube trays, freeze them and then pop them out to freeze in Ziploc bags - easy to add a little bit of broth that way to recipes.

If you are not eating meat and want to make vegetable broth just don't include the chicken carcass and throw in any vegetables that you would like. Just follow the same steps.

Enjoy your lunch!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's cookin'? -Macaroni and cheese -All Grown-up!

Before we left for spring break vacation we had the most delectable meal....

Mac & Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Rosemary, and Goat Cheese

O..... M..... G......

I will definitely be making this again!

It came from a website called . I highly recommend that she has lots of yummy stuff over there!

Anyway in my house, homemade macaroni and cheese is a tried and true winner especially with the boys!

What I liked about this recipe was that not only did they like it but, we enjoyed it too! It had a more sophisticated flavor with the addition of earthy rosemary. Also, it was more filling because of the chicken. Not only that, the goat cheese adds a slightly tangy difference from the ordinary cheddar.

Just use caution! The sauce is cream-based, so be sure to make it when you are having a light eating day!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound rigatoni
1 quart heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
8 ounces goat cheese
2 cups shredded roasted chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken!)
salt and pepper to taste


1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Add the oil and rigatoni to the water and cook according to the directions on the package, 10-12 minutes.
2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, pour the cream into a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the rosemary and garlic to the cream and bring it to a simmer - take care not to let it boil over. Allow the cream to reduce by about half.
3. Stir in the goat cheese and chicken and continue cooking cooking it till the cream coats the back of a spoon.
4. Thoroughly drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce. Coat the pasta in the sauce and simmer over low heat for a few minutes. Serve hot.

Go for a l-o-n-g walk....

April stamp club - Part II

Holy smokes!

 Last week was spring break for the boys and we went away. No Internet service in the mountains of Pennsylvania meant no blog!

Time to catch up!

Before I left I had showed you a basket that we made in stamp club:
We used the Envelope Punchboard to make both the basket and that cute bow, and I posted a link for a tutorial in a previous post. It was a big hit!

Almost all of my stamp club members own the Envelope Punchboard, so we will use it to make different projects in the future.

For April club we used it to make the basket, the bow, and this card:
It's called an "envelope card" because the card itself is attached to the envelope. 

It is a 4" x 4" card, and we used the Petal Parade stamp set (Sale-a-Bration) to make a random design. The ink colors we used match the paper - Crisp Cantaloupe, Soft Sky, Pistachio Pudding and Summer Starfruit (retiring). 

You follow the directions on the Punchboard in order to make an envelope to fit that size card. Then just glue it to the inside!

We used a "belly band" from the matching Sweet Sorbet DSP (Sale-a-Bration) to hold it closed.
We added a Soft Sky flower using the Petite Petals punch (Occasions seasonal catalog ). A couple of large rhinestones give it some "bling"! We also added some sweet dot-detailing with our favorite White Gel Pen on the Scalloped Circle Punch of the belly band.

Now is ready to present to some lucky recipient!
We also made this darling spring-themed card:
Isn't it adorable?

It is a CASE of a card made by Kim Williams, a member of my downline and then awesome stamper!

It was so adorable that I had to copy it at stamp club even though the stamps used are retired! I never do that! It just frustrates my members if they want to buy something and I say "you can't get that anymore"!

The Spring Sampler stamp set, the cloud embossing folder and the greeting set, and the Daffodil Delight seam binding ribbon are all retired.

What you can still get - if you act fast - (because they're on the current retiring list) is: the Needlepoint Embossing Folder and Midnight Muse card stock and ink.

Other colors of card stock and ink used were: Cajun Craze, Old Olive, Daffodil Delight and Melon Mambo.

We also used the 7/8 inch scallop circle punch and the 1 inch circle punch, which also are still available.

Our new catalog comes out June 2.

In the meantime, be sure to check the Stampin' Up! website for all of the retiring stamp sets and accessories!

For the first time ever stamp sets will only be available while supplies last - so don't delay!

Get the products you love before they are gone!

Visit my website at:
And click on "shop" in the upper right-hand corner.

It will take you to the main Stampin' Up! website. There you can view everything - the retired lists, the main catalog, the Occasions seasonal catalog, all digital products, and things that we only offer online (like photopolymer stamps sets and online classes)!

Have fun!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Throwback Thursday" - Easter cards

Today I was getting ready, making sure I had enough Easter cards to send to family next week. I had some recent ones from stamp clubs but I was short two and I had to go into the cardbox (a.k.a. "the stash").

I came across these two beauties that we made at least two years ago in a spring punch class:

I think I will send the "bunny butt" card to our nephew Sam. He will get a kick out of the soft cotton tail!

The bunny butt itself is made from basic circle and oval shapes.

The sky is sponged using a cloud stencil. Stampin' Up! no longer sells that stencil, but you can do the same thing using a piece of paper punched with the scallop circle!

The fence is made from strips of white card stock, but the tops of the vertical posts are actually pieces punched with the jewelry tag punch. You can't see that they are just little pieces of paper - the horizontal fence post hides the fact that it is separate!

You'll see variations of this card still around on the Internet. In fact, I think we made a similar version last year ) or the year before) with the bunny hopping into what looks to be a hole in a tree.

Too cute!

The second card shows a flower native to Hawaii called Heleconia.

Believe it or not, this flower was made with the bird builder punch! 

Look closely... The bottom three sections of the flower are actually the bird without a head! The top section of the flower is made with the wings of the bird!

 Amazing what a little sponging around the edges can do, huh?

I hope you have enjoyed these "throwback" cards! Now they are finally being sent after collecting dust in my stash! It's about time! Isn't that why we make cards? To send them?


Monday, April 7, 2014

April stamp club - Spring has sprung!

With Easter just around the corner, I couldn't resist taking a break from our normal creation of cards to make this cute little basket:
It was made with the Envelope Punch Board, and it's oh-so-easy!

All it really involves is a piece of card stock and a few folds, cuts and glue dots!

The best thing about this project is, not only did we use the punch board for the basket, but it's also used to make that adorable little bow! 

Two more uses for our favorite new tool! 


I found directions for both on a video by Deb Valder here:

Make your basket, fill it, and brighten someone's day TODAY!

What's cookin'? - Cuban sandwiches

I promised that I would tell you how they turned out...

The other night I made a Chipotle-honey-lime pork roast:
It was mentioned in a post dated April 3, if you would like that recipe.

We had some left over meat so I had planned  ahead to make traditional Cuban sandwiches. Now mind you, I didn't know what a traditional Cuban sandwich was until I read the post for the pork, above. The website that I had visited mentioned that they used the leftover pork in various recipes, including the Cuban sandwich.

Of course I was curious, so I scoured the Internet. 

What is a Cuban sandwich?

A traditional Cuban sandwich is a variation of a grilled ham and cheese. It has roast pork (the essential ingredient!), ham, Swiss, pickles, yellow mustard, and (sometimes) salami. It is on a traditional Cuban bread (similar to a French baguette or Italian bread) that has been grilled and pressed flat.

I decided to give it a whirl. The closest thing I could find to the bread I wanted were the "tortas" that they sell at Costco. They are crusty yet somewhat flat.

I layered the required ingredients and buttered both sides of the torta. I grilled it in a pan, pressing down much as I could.

The result?
A man-pleasing sandwich!

Important ,because I live with three guys!

Seriously, utter deliciousness!

I will surely will make this again when I make a pork roast or pulled pork! It's a great use of leftovers.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's cookin'? - A Tropical(?) Meal!

Our dinner last night had a Mexican/ Caribbean/ tropical feel to it. Why not? The sun was shining and I wished that I was on a tropical island in the Caribbean! But really, I had the recipe for the meat and since I always try to serve things that go well together, the side dish and dessert complimented my main course.
I had a pork roast in the freezer. My favorite way to cook a pork roast is to bake it in the oven with cloves of garlic hidden in multiple slits that I make in the meat. Then, I lay two slices of bacon on top and slow roast it. The bacon provides a juiciness and slight flavor. 

The picture below shows this. The last time I made it I cooked it in my crockpot. I balled up aluminum foil so it was raised up and didn't lay in all the drippings (I didn't have a small rack).
But recently I wanted something different so of course, where did I look? Pinterest!

On my board "What's for Dinner" I had pinned a Chipotle-Honey-Lime Pork Tenderloin. 

Pork marinated in the tangy juice and zest of lime, the sweetness of honey, and the spice of a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Doesn't that just sound like summer? I'm there!

 It called for the tenderloin to be grilled. I had a pork roast. I knew that it was too thick of a cut to be grilled. So, I improvised...

Here is the link to the original recipe:

I followed the recipe exactly with one substitution - I used agave syrup instead of honey. It's a recent sweetener switch for us!

I marinated it as directed, and as I said before, I knew it was too big for grilling so I seared it on both sides in a pan, then transferred it to the oven. I basted it occasionally with the leftover marinade. All in all, it took about 1 1/2 hours in a 425° oven.

All four of us loved it! We had leftovers and I had already planned ahead to make traditional Cuban sandwiches for tonight's dinner. I'll let you know how those turn out!
For a side dish I served this Black Bean and Corn Pasta Salad:
This salad is definitely going to be a hit at summer cookouts, especially when we do anything with a Mexican flair! It's such a nice change from the traditional pasta salad that I usually make.

Or, I could see adding grilled chicken to it for a main dish salad!

For this salad you mix together and then chill:
• cooked and drained tri-color rotini
• 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 small bag frozen corn, thawed
• 1 can Rotel
• 4 green onions, sliced
• 1/2c white onion, chopped
• 1/2c red pepper, chopped
• 3T fresh cilantro, chopped
• 8oz. bottle Zesty Italian dressing
And for dessert?
I got creative.

We had leftover rice from Chinese takeout over the weekend. I cooked it on the stovetop over low heat in one can of coconut milk for about 20 minutes, so that it got soft and fluffy.

I cubed some fresh mangoes and threw them on the rice. A sprinkle of flaked coconut, and it was ready to go!

Mmmm.... All that's missing is my fruity drink!