Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Feel Better Blend: get well card

 
Rain!  Rain!  And more rain!  Is this the theme song where you live too?  Since it is too wet to be outside I've been at my table in front of the window making cards this past week.  My current two favorite stamp sets, or sets that I've been using a lot lately, are from Papertrey Ink and are the TEA FOR TWO and TEA FOR TWO ADDITIONS sets.    Such fun to work with, versatile sentiments and a lot of accessory/accompanying stamps to really personalize.
 
For my "Feel Better Blend" card I used this week's Mojo Monday #358 Sketch Challenge (blueprint of the sketch shown below).
 


Card Details:

Stamps:  Papertrey Ink Tea for Two and Tea for Two Additions
Ink:  Versacolor Green Tea, Stampin' Up! Taken with Teal, and Memento Rich Cocoa
Cardstock:  Stampin' Up!
Designer Paper:  Papertrey Ink
Accessories:  Teal grosgrain ribbon, miscellaneous button, Martha Stewart eyelet edge punch, Spellbinders Nestabilities oval and scalloped oval dies.


 
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My 60th Birthday


Today is my 60th birthday and I have a lot of thoughts about this BIG birthday.  This isn't my normal post but today evoked so many emotions in me that I just felt the need to write them down.

I've never been bothered by birthdays.  They came.  The numbers progressed.  Birthdays just happened.  But this year was different.  I am now 60 years old.  I really can't be considered even middle aged.  Nope...I'm getting up there in years.

Kind and thoughtful friends and family have given the usual lines such as, "You are only as old as you feel."  And, "...age is just a number" but you know what?  In reality, I AM older than I feel and age IS a number and my number this year is 60!  As well meaning as these phrases may have been offered, I just haven't been able to shake the number.  My grandmother, who I loved dearly, was already 60 when I was born so I always thought she was old.  I'm NOT middle aged because let's be realistic here!  Even though I plan to live beyond 100 years, I highly doubt I'll make it to 120 which would still allow me to consider myself middle aged.

And this past year I've had several physical and health concerns that are not going to get better with "a spoon full of sugar."  Nope!  They are signs of growing older.

All of this has really gotten me...yes I'll admit it...depressed.  Silly or not, this NUMBER has affected me and how I feel.

NOW, before you stop reading (if you've read this far even) and think that I'm all gloom, doom and on death's doorstep, I must say that I've had a wee bit of an epiphany.  It actually came from my Aunt who sent me a birthday card and wrote, "consider 60 as the next exciting chapter in your life."  Now THAT was positive inspiration.  No berating or negating the number.  However, it certainly is a new chapter that I've not experienced.

And do you want to know something?  It IS going to be a new chapter.  This past week the Mister and I made an offer on a 5 acre, century old farmhouse and barn and beautiful piece of property in the country and the offer was accepted.  We purchased our retirement home and with it, a dream of mine is going to come true.  I'll have my very own little homestead with my horses in the barn and all of the critters I can afford to keep. 

So I'll end today's little epistle on a positive note about turning 60.  I didn't have a party.  There were no balloons or birthday cake.  But what there is is an adventure to come.  I move a lot slower than I once did.  I do use a cane from time to time.  I can't ride my horse like a young person or chase her in play.  BUT, I can look forward to and enjoy all of the dreams I've had my entire life of living in the country on my own little farm.  Having as big of a garden as I can manage.  Enjoying my home and my critters.

Yep!  Life is going to be ok...60 or not.  Everything is going to be ok.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Jennifer

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Naan


Naan!  So good!!

"What's under the Cake Dome Sunday # 54" is a bit different today.  I didn't bake a dessert.  Instead, I made a batch of Naan, an East Indian flatbread.  This recipe is the best I've ever had with the exception of Naan made in the kitchens of my Indian friends or in a really good Indian restaurant.  And Naan isn't just for dinner.  It makes a great alternative to hamburger buns and sandwich bread or eating just plain, and believe me, the Mister and I eat a lot of Naan just plain and straight off the griddle.
 
The recipe is very simple and basic and I imagine you have all of the ingredients in your pantry.  You will want to allow a total of at least 3 hours for preparation to finished bread because the Naan needs to rise a couple of times and then the individual cooking time on the grill.  I about 18 individual Naan that are about 5 inch rounds from this recipe but it will depend on how large you make your dough balls and the size of Naan you want to make.  If you want larger bread (8 inch pieces) then you'll make fewer total.


Naan

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional, but I highly recommend it!)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Let it stand for about 10 minutes, until the yeast dissolves and becomes foamy/frothy.  Stir in the sugar, milk, egg, salt and enough flour to make a soft dough (I used about 4 cups).  Knead for about 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover the bowl with a damp towel and set aside in a draft free place to rise.  Let the dough rise for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down the dough and knead in the garlic.  Pinch off small handfuls of the dough that are about the size of a golf ball.  Roll into balls and place on a tray.  Once  you've made all of the dough balls, cover the tray of dough balls with a damp towel and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
  3. Preheat your grill or griddle or fry pan to high heat
  4. Roll out one ball of dough at a time into a thin circle.  Lightly oil the grill (or griddle or fry pan...depending upon which cook surface you are using).  Place the flat dough circle on the heat surface and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned.  Brush the uncooked side with butter and turn it over to cook.  Brush the cooked side with butter and cook until browned (about 2 to 4 minutes.)   Remove from grill and continue the process until all of the Naan has been prepared.
* NOTE:  Naan freezes beautifully.  Make up a big batch and freeze what you don't use immediately.  Just pull out of the freezer to thaw and/or warm in the oven.  They'll taste freshly made every time!


Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Fresh Blueberry Sauce


The Mister and I were out shopping at the grocery store and he said he thought cheesecake might taste good.  "Well," I said, "we need to get some cream cheese for it."  To my surprise, next to the regular 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese we discovered new-to-us Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Product.  Since we both really enjoy Greek Yogurt, we thought this might make a very tasty Cheesecake.  We also found some fresh blueberries and right then I knew what this week's "What's Under the Cake Dome Sunday #53 would be: 
Blueberry Cheesecake made with Greek Yogurt!

I can say unequivocally that as I licked the batter bowl, this was definitely the best cheesecake batter I'd ever had.  So once it was in the oven I had to wait overnight for it to chill and find out how yummy the finished Cheesecake would be.  The Mister and I were not disappointed!


Cheesecake made with Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese topped with Warm Lemon Blueberries
 
Ingredients:

Crust:
  • 2 cups finely ground graham crackers (it will take about 30 - 35 graham cracker squares)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Filling:
  • 3 8 ounce packages Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Product
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
  • 4 eggs
Warm Lemon Blueberries:
  • 1 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.  Line the bottom with Parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and butter.  Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in the centre of oven for 8 - 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until completely smooth.  In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and flour; gradually beat into the cream cheese until well combined.  Beat in the grated lemon rind and juice.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Pour mixture into the crust.
  4. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 - 50 minutes or until set around the edge but the centre still jiggles slightly.  Place on a cooling rack.  Burn a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from the parchment.  Cool to room temperature in the pan.  Cover and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Uncover.  Release the clip on the springform pan and remove the outer ring of the pan.  Discard the parchment.  Transfer the cheesecake to a serving platter.
To make Warm Lemon Blueberries:
In a small saucepan place the blueberries, lemon zest and juice and the granulated sugar and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until the fruit begins to break down slightly.  Leave to cool before spreading on the cheesecake.


We really, REALLY enjoyed this cheesecake.  If you'd like to try an alternative to regular cream cheese I would encourage you to substitute Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese product.

Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Peter Rabbit Thank You card

Did you know that I have a real thing for Beatrix Potter and her stories of Peter Rabbit and all of the woodland creatures?  Yes, I do!  I discovered quite by chance this stamp as well as one other recently on EBay.  As I've said many times, I do not need more stamps and have been quite happy rediscovering so many sets that I already have.  But I couldn't resist this little stamp.  It feeds my Beatrix Potter collection of goodies.  In fact, in the very near future I'll be telling you about more items in my Peter Rabbit collection. 

For this card I used this week's Mojo Monday # 354 Sketch as seen below:


Card Recipe

Stamps:  All Night Media Peter Rabbit eating Radishes,  Papertrey Ink sentiment
Ink:  Momento Tuxedo Black, Image colored with Copic Markers and Prismacolor pencils
Patterned Paper:  Stampin' Up!  (a really old papers that I had in my stash)
Tools & Embellishments:  Spellbinders Nestibilities circle dies (in round, scalloped and pointed round), Machine Stitching, Ribbon and gold colored half crystals.



Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer
 

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Compliments to the Chef: Part two

 
Another thank you card using the same stamp set as my last post: Compliments to the Chef from Stampin' Up!  In fact, most things about this card is the same with the exception of the designer paper (from Martha Stewart paper pad), I rounded the corners and added a different sentiment from Papertrey Ink.  The tag was punched with a very old Cuttlebug tag cutter.  All stamping was done in Versamark with Detail Silver Embossing Powder.  A little grosgrain ribbon and the card is complete. 



My photo didn't turn out very well (it's dark and raining here) but I'm enjoying trying some variations on the original card. 

More cards to come.


Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer
 

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Compliments to the Chef


The other day I saw a meme on facebook that read something to the effect of "I never can clean my craft room because I get distracted by all of the cool stuff I find that I have."  Does this happen to you?  It sure does to me.  I was supposed to be cleaning my craft room and I discovered the Stampin' Up! set that I purchased a while back and completely forgot that I had it. 

So much for cleaning.  I got my ink and papers and embellishments out and made this thank you card.

Stamps:  Stampin' Up! Compliments to the Chef
Ink: Versamark with Silver Detail Embossing Powder
Designer Paper:  Martha Stewart Playful Blue paper pad
Tools:  Cuttlebug and frame embossing folder for the placemat, Spellbinders Nestabilities circle cutting dies



Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer
 

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Raspberry Fudge Brownies


If it is Sunday, it must be time for What's under the Cake Dome Sunday? and today is #52 of the sweet treats since I bought my old Cake Dome at a second hand shop. 52 weeks of desserts! I feel like it is a bit of a milestone, somehow. I can certainly say with confidence that the Mister is enjoying the desserts.

Today I made brownies, but not plain brownies. Nope! These brownies are chocolate with chocolate chips and raspberry swirled throughout the batter. And if that isn't decadent enough, I decided to make chocolate ganache to drizzle over the top of the brownies.
 
I love making these for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, they're very, very moist yummy and almost like fudge!  The second reason is that if you've recently made raspberry jam and seem to have an overabundance of homemade raspberry jam in  your pantry, this recipe is a great use of some of your jam.

 
Raspberry- Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
 
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam or preserves - divided*
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 9 inch square baking pan or round pie pan (I used a pie pan so I could cut mine in wedges.)
  2. In a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and chocolate and heat, stirring often, just until melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla until blended. 
  4. Whisk in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, 1/4 cup* raspberry jam with the egg/sugar mixture until completely blended.
  5. Add the flour and whisk just to incorporate.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.  Spoon the remaining 1/4 cup of raspberry jam*  by dollops over the batter using a teaspoon, then run a knife through the batter a few times to achieve a marbled effect.
  7. Bake until a tester/toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs still clinging to it, about 40 - 50 minutes. Watch carefully to be sure they don't get too done.
  8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the brownies cool completely in the pan.  Using a sharp knife, cut the brownies into wedges (if using a pie pan) or squares (if using a 9" square pan).
  9. Drizzle with chocolate ganache


Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hospitality Thank You Card


This is a little thank you card I made using the town house stamp from Papertrey Ink's set titled Boards and Beams.  This stamp set has a house, townhouse, stones walk, fences, trees, potted plants and a lot of sentiments too.  It is such a versatile set!


I fussy cut the potted plants in front of the white picket fence and popped them up on foam dimensional tape.  The windows have a touch of Glossy Accents clear dimensional glaze to give the a glass-like appearance.  The layout sketch is this week's Splitcoast Stampers layout challenge SC 496 shown below.

 
Card Recipe:
 
Stamps:  Papertrey Ink Boards and Beams
Ink:  Momento Tuxedo Black, Stampin' Up! Certainly Celery and Brocade Blue, Image colored with Copic Markers.
Designer Paper:   Making Memories English Garden
Embellishments:  Craft Essentials Brown Gingham Papercrafting Ribbon, Inkssentials Glossy Accents clear dimensional glaze, Stickles glitter glue, Foam dimensional mounting tape
  


Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pineapple and Lemon Morning Eye Opener

 
I'm working on cleaning up my act.  Yes I am!  This past week I've started my day with a Pineapple/Lemon morning eye opener smoothie.  Yippee Skippy! It's tart and zingy and delicious and it will get your eyes opened!   As well, it contains a good supply of Vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber. 
 
Simple ingredients, whipped together in your blender, will fortify you and get you out the door for your morning walk, workout, swim, run or whatever your day's activities bring your way.


 
Pineapple/Lemon Morning Eye Opener Smoothie
 
In a blender combine the following:
 
  • 2 slices of Pineapple (fresh is best if you have it but canned will work)
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Honey
  • 2 or 3 ice cubes
Blend thoroughly in your blender or food processor and enjoy!



This Pineapple/Lemon Morning Eye Opener smoothie is delicious!  Truly!  And knowing all of the healthy advantages that Pineapple, Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey have...well...YIPPEE SKIPPY!  This smoothie is a winner!

Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vintage Sewing Machine card

 
It's been a while since I've stamped and made any cards.  I have no good reasons why I haven't.  I can say, however, that I've missed it.  I bought this stamp set a year or two ago.  It is from The Craft's Meow and I just love the set which includes a variety of vintage sewing accessories and themes.  Today I FINALLY got it out and inked it up!
 
I had a lot of fun attempting to detail the image with thread and machine stitching and also accenting what would have been a gold colored trim/detail on these old black sewing machines.  One thing I do find funny about the set is that the sewing machine is backward.  I certainly have never seen a machine that sews facing this way.  But, the stamp set is fun and I went ahead and played with it.
 
 
For inspiration for card layout I stopped by Mojo Monday blog for the MOJO Monday #353 layout.  This sketch was just the ticket I needed to get my creative juices flowing.  The sketch layout is below:
 
Card Recipe:
 
Stamps:  The Craft's Meow  "Sew Happy"
Ink:  Versafine Onyx Black and Tea Dye Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Accessories:  Spellbinders scalloped square Nestibilities cutting die,  foam dimension mounting tape
Embellishments:  Machine stitching, thread, distressed seam binding, crocheted lace edging, button charm, Crystal Stickles glitter (on the sewing machine needle), clear embossing powder and gold gel pen.


 
I'm looking forward to doing a lot more card making on a much more regular basis (I hope!).  Sewing still occupies most of my free time and I do have a lot of projects started.  But I really don't want to let my card making go by the wayside.
 
Hope you're enjoying a lovely summer day!
 
Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lemon, Almond and Poppy Seed Pound Cake


Today is the mister and my 12th wedding anniversary!   I knew I had to make him something special for today's "What's under the cake dome Sunday # 51" to celebrate "our day".  Strawberries are abundant right now and the mister loves my Strawberry Shortcake on Sweet Biscuits, which I made for him a few days ago.  But this time I wanted to make a special celebratory cake.  Then I remembered this recipe for 7-Up pound cake that my mother used to make.  I've tweeked the pound cake recipe slightly and I think it makes a perfectly wonderful "shortcake" as well as just to eat plain.

 
Our 12th Anniversary
Lemon, Almond, Poppy Seed Pound Cake
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups of flour, sifted TWICE (don't ask, just do it) 
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Poppy Seeds
  • 7 ounces of any lemon-lime carbonated beverage (7-Up, Sprite are good choices)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • finely chopped almonds to dust the Bundt pan before baking (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and shortening until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add the sugar while beating.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  4. Add alternately the twice sifted flour, poppy seeds, 7-Up (carbonated beverage) and the lemon and almond extracts and lemon juice.  Mix well.
  5. Grease and flour a 9 or 10" tube pan or a Bundt pan and then dust the greased/floured pan with the finely crushed almonds. 
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. 
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and continue baking the cake for 25 - 35 minutes longer.  Use a cake tester or toothpick and insert in center of cake.  When it comes out clean (no batter sticking to the tester) then the cake is done.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto serving plate.
 



 I served our Lemon, Almond and Poppy Seed Anniversary Pound Cake with sliced strawberries that had macerated in a tablespoon of sugar and then topped with a dollop of whipped cream. 



Until next time,
Cheers!

Jennifer 


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