Sunday, March 30, 2008

Template 50

Well, I made it to the big "five-oh". Number 50, who knew? I think this means I'm retiring from templates, LOL. Just kidding :)

Thank you so very much to those of you who have taken the time over the last several months to leave comments. I read every single one and they lift my spirits regularly! They really make me smile, so thank you.

Credits: Background paper from "Wishing on a Star" kit. Stars from "Seeing Stars". All other papers from "Summer Bright" kit by Heidi Williams of Weeds and Wildflowers Design. All elements by Gina Marie Huff of Weeds and Wildflowers Design. Font is Dave's Hand.

Download Template 50 Rectangle Here!
Download Template 50 Square Here!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Template 49 A and B

Credits: "Believing in You" kit by Gina Marie Huff of Weeds and Wildflowers Design. Fonts are Journal and LD Slash Serif.

Download Template 49A and B RECTANGLE here!
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Template 48

Credits: Flower from "Shabby Fall" kit, all stitching from "Believing in You" kit, all papers from "Being Me" kit. All kits by Gina Marie Huff of Weeds and Wildflowers Design.
Credits: "Celebrate" freebie kit from Shabby Princess. Notebook paper from "Welcoming Spring" kit by Gina Marie Huff of Weeds and Wildflowers Design.

Download Template 48 RECTANGLE Here!
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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Template 47

Credits: Green paper from "Being Me" kit by Gina Marie Huff of Weeds and Wildflowers Design. Everything else from "Believing in You" kit by Gina Marie Huff. Fonts are '28 Days Later' and 'Journal'
Credits: Rope ring, shape of heart, and shape of stars from "Believing in You" kit by Gina Marie Huff of Weeds and Wildflowers Design. All papers from "Chirpy Days" kit by Jackie Eckles and Jomi Van Bekkum. Font is 'DavesHand'.

Download Template 47 RECTANGLE Here!
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Links Schminks

Thanks, Steph, for letting me know I forgot post the links to the template! LOL, it's fixed now :)

Template 46

Credits: "Believing in You" kit by Gina Marie Huff of Weeds and Wildflowers Design

Download Template 46 Rectangle HERE!
Download Template 46 Square HERE!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Template 45

Ah, yes. Templates. I do so love scrapping, after all :)

Credits: "1 Fish 2 Fish" kit by Heather Roselli. Journaling font is "Journal".
Credits: "Sweet Chic" kit by Michelle Coleman. Font is Marcelle Script.

Download Template 45 RECTANGLE Here!
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Recipes?? What?

I've had some recipe requests come in via email, so I thought I'd post some of them as well as a few of our other family favorites. I'll get back to scrapping too, LOL, but I totally have food on the brain this week!

Pasta Perfect

A friend recommended this recipe recently. We made it and BAM!! Instant family favorite, no lie. The kids inhaled it and my husband loved it too. It was in a Kraft magazine originally.

3 cups farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked
4 cups broccoli florets (chopped)
3 tbs Kraft roasted red pepper Italian with parmesan dressing
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 ½ pounds)**
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato-basil spaghetti sauce
4 ounces cubed cream cheese (I used fat-free)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli to the cooking water for the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking time. (or steam broccoli separately). Meanwhile, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, turn chicken over; continue cooking 4-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Drain pasta, return pasta to pan and set aside. Add pasta sauce and cream cheese to chicken in skillet; cook on medium-low heat 2-3 minutes, or until cream cheese is completely melted, mixture is well blended and chicken is coated with sauce, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Add sauce mixture to pasta mixture; mix well. Transfer to 6 serving bowls.

Cut chicken crosswise into thick slices. Fan out chicken over pasta mixture in each bowl. Sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 servings, about 1 ½ cups each.

**I cooked two regular breasts of chicken. When it was cooked through, I cut it into bite-sized pieces, smaller would have also worked. I only then added it to the pan and began to cook it up with the dressing and garlic. Also, to serve, I mixed the entire mixture together instead of removing the chicken and fanning it out pretty on top, which would have also been nice.

Italian Chicken

My husband wooed me with this simple and delicious recipe from his mother when we were dating. It has since become a family favorite. Of course, I'm the one who makes it now, LOL!

4 large frozen chicken breasts
6 slices provolone cheese
1 jar or can of your favorite spaghetti sauce ($.82 Hunts Chunky Garden recently)

Place chicken in baking dish. Pour entire can of sauce over the chicken. Bake covered for 60-75 minutes. Remove from oven; drape cheese over the chicken. Recover, continue to cook for 15-25 more minutes.

Spinach Pasta Salad

1 lb. Pasta, cooked al dente, drain, rinse in cold water
3 C cooked chopped chicken
6 oz fresh spinach, shredded/torn (approx 8 cups)
1 C black olives, chopped in 1/4’s
4 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
3 cups diced tomatoes (grape tomatoes, YUM!)
3/4 C monterrey jack cheese, shredded

2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced

Blend dressing ingredients. Pour over mixed salad. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes before serving.

Sensational Salmon or Fabulous Fish

I love this salmon recipe, from my best friend. You might too.

The quote from Justin: "Are you sure this is healthy? This tastes way too good to be healthy." Kinley and Tanner ate several servings.

One large salmon filet (Costco's are delicious)
"I can't believe it's not butter" spray (or real butter, as you like)
Lemon pepper

Cover a cookie sheet (or something similar to it) in tin foil. Spray with cooking spray. Lay salmon flat on top. Spray with butter all over the top, season liberally with the lemon pepper. Broil uncovered on low for 25-30 minutes in the oven. Delightfully crispy on top, but flaky, moist, and tender inside.

Philly Sandwiches

My husband loves Philly Sandwiches and I got some ideas from a friend on how to make these. They turned out better than I had even hoped. I've never thought to mix everything together so completely and it made a huge difference. Ha ha, if you are from the east coast, I'm sure these don't look authentic to you, but it's the name we call them around here! Philly Sandwich

1 and 1/2 pounds shredded beef, cooked in a crock pot in advance. I used thin steaks, but a roast will do.
1 green pepper
Entire large package of fresh mushrooms (what is that, 8 oz? 16 oz?)
1 cup diced onion
3 tbs butter
1/2 block of cream cheese (I used fat-free)
1 cup mozzarella cheese.
2 tbs worchestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Use the butter to saute green pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic together. Add worchestershire sauce, beef, salt, and pepper. Slowly stir in cream cheese, then mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately on toasted deli rolls.

Notes: This made a SURPRISINGLY large amount of food. We had plenty of leftovers for today. I think one of the keys to success is not having too much beef in the mixture. I prefer it heavy on the toppings, lighter on the beef (strange, since I'm generally a rabid carnivore). But it seemed more flavorful that way. It turned out to be a good thing that I didn't have as much beef as I had hoped to work with :)

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I LOVE the biscuits at Red Lobster, so I tried out this copy cat recipe. They turned out beautifully and they tasted authentic. Delish! My daughter enjoyed eating the batter raw, which I thought was disgusting, but whatever!

Here's the recipe:
2 cups Bisquick. baking mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese -- shredded
1/4 cup margarine or butter -- melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450. Mix baking mix, milk and cheese until soft dough forms; beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min. or until golden brown. Mix margarine and garlic powder; brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm. Makes 10-12 biscuits.

Company Meatballs

I received this yummy recipe originally from my wonderful sister-in-law, Kayla! It makes a TON and has been a major hit in our home on every occasion where we have served it.

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tbs salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 cups ketchup
3 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional, but delicious!)

In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together. Divide into approximately 60 round, 1-inch diameter meatballs. Place in a single layer in one (most likely two) ungreased baking dishes.

Mix sauce ingredients together, pour evenly over meatballs. Cover with foil and bake on 350 for 45-60 minutes.

Slice meatballs, stir around in pan to get a little extra sauce, then put the sliced meatballs on soft sandwich rolls with one slice of provolone cheese. DELISH!!

Brown Rice Salad

My 2-year old, who traditionally does not eat anything green, won't leave me in peace to eat this salad. I have to share at least half with him.

Brown Rice Salad
Cooked brown rice (warm is the best!)
Chopped romaine lettuce (I just buy it in bags)
Parmesan cheese
Italian dressing

Combine ingredients to taste and voila!

*My sister recommends toasting the brown rice in the oven with the parmesan cheese. It is quite delicious that way, but easier to forego that step. It's really tasty either way, but the oven-toasted, cheesed-up rice is a special touch!

**I like to add shredded chicken or anything else that suits your fancy!

*** I should mention that I don't like brown rice and I don't like lettuce. So there you go. I LOVE THIS SALAD!!!

Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken
4-8 frozen chicken breasts (just depends on size, generously fill the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, some overlap ok)
2 cups french dressing
1 and 1/2 cups apricot preserves/jam
1 envelope lipton onion soup

Combine dressing, preserves, and soup mix together in a bowl. Pour over the chicken in a 9 x 13 pan. Bake on 350 for 90 minutes. Serve with or over rice.

**Recently I have been adding 1 cup water to the sauce, then when the chicken is done, I have been shredding the chicken and putting it back into the sauce and serving it over the rice that way. It's going farther and the chicken portions make more sense!

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes
(Adapted slightly from Better Homes and Gardens Crockery Cookbook)

This is a MAJOR hit at our house! We actually serve this to company sometimes and they can't believe how delicious it is. It puts Manwich absolutely to shame!

3 lb. ground beef
2 C. chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 C. ketchup
1 C. chopped green bell pepper
1 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. water
2-4 Tbs. brown sugar
4 Tbs. prepared mustard
4 Tbs. vinegar
4 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp. chili powder

1. In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, and garlic till meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat.

2. Meanwhile, in a 3 ½-4 qt. crock pot, combine everything else. Stir in meat mixture.

3. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 6-8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-4 hours. Spoon into toasted buns, and top with cheese. Makes approx 16-20 servings. Can be frozen in freezer bags after cooking for later consumption.

Ritz Chicken

The whole family loves this chicken! And it's so easy!

Ritz Chicken
Originally from my friend Lisee

6 large chicken breasts
2 tubes Ritz crackers
6 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
1 to 2 cups sour cream (can use fat-free!)
1/3 to 1/2 cup butter, melted (**OPTIONAL! I have been making it without any butter at all for months now and it tastes GREAT!!)


Put Ritz crackers in a Ziploc bag and smash with rolling pin until crushed into crumbs. Coat chicken with sour cream then roll chicken in Ritz cracker mixture and place in a suitable baking dish. When all of the chicken is in the dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pour melted butter evenly over chicken. Bake uncovered in oven for 60-90 minutes at 350 or until chicken is cooked through.

***Of course you can make it in much smaller increments...but why? ;)

Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Orange Sauce

I love that the pancakes are so high in protein. We love these around here.

Originally from my friend Hilary C.

Pancakes (Makes about 4 or 5 adult-sized pancakes)
3 eggs
1 cup of cottage cheese
1/2 cup or more of flour.

**I would DEFINITELY make two batches of the pancakes (one batch at a time though, unless you have a gigantic mixing bowl!) for a family of more than 2!

Mix together with electric mixer. I used my food processor this time and it gets more of the chunks out of it, but if it has some in it, it tastes just the same. Pour on griddle and cook on medium heat. These take a litte longer than normal pancakes. Cook till golden brown.

Orange sauce
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 to 1 cup orange juice
4 T grated orange peel (optional)

Melt butter and sugar in saucepan and let it cool. Add orange juice, eggs, and orange peel. (Adding the OJ first helps to cool the butter/ sugar mixture faster) Boil for one minute and remove from heat. Serve warm over cottage cheese pancakes. * I would not double the sauce part of the recipe; this makes a goodly amount and can be stored!

**Sauce can be frozen and scooped out of freezer bag in desired serving increments if you make this in large enough quantities that you want to save it for a later date. Just reheat on stove or in microwave.

Hawaiian Haystacks

Hawaiian Haystacks

Chicken Mix (2 cans fat –free cream of chicken soup, 1 can chicken broth, 2 cups chopped cooked chicken)

Toppings Suggestions
Chow mein noodles
Pineapple tidbits or chunks
Mandarin oranges
Chopped olives
Chopped celery
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped Green Peppers
Shredded cheese
Diced Green Onions (or any kind of onion)

You’ll be REALLY surprised at how delicious it is to mix some (or all, if you're me!) of these ingredients together!

Chicken Alfredo

I've had some recipe requests come in via email, so I thought I'd post some of them as well as a few of our other family favorites. I'll get back to scrapping too, LOL, but I totally have food on the brain this week!

Chicken Alfredo

1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
2.5 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Do NOT use the grated cheese in the green can)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Diced tomatoes to taste
Diced chicken (Heat up chopped, cooked chicken with: 1 part “dale’s sauce), 2 parts “57 sauce”, 1 part water)
Fettuccini or rigatoni noodles

1. Warm diced chicken up in a pan with just enough of the Dale Sauce, 57 Sauce and water to adequately coat the chicken.
2. Melt butter in a separate medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through. Stir in parsley and serve immediately. Top pasta and sauce with chicken and tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Alice Springs Chicken from Outback Steakhouse

I'm digressing slightly from templates, but I think sharing this recipe is worth it :) It's a knock-off recipe for the Alice Spring's Chicken from Outback Steakhouse. I've slightly modified it from the original and I like it even better. It's a delicacy around here!

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken
Honey Mustard Marinade:
1 cup Grey Poupon Dijon mustard (divided)
1 cup honey (divided)
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
salt, pepper, paprika to taste
8 slices bacon, COOKED
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/8 cup fresh parsley (optional)

Combine 1/2 cup mustard, 1/2 cup honey, oil and 1 tbs lemon juice in small bowl. Whip mixture for about 30 seconds. Pour as marinade over the chicken breasts and marinate them in the refrigerator, for about 2 hours.

After the chicken has marinated, preheat oven to 375 F and heat up frying pan with 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat. Sear chicken in pan for 4-5 minutes per side, depending on the size of the breast, or until golden brown. **This is the majority of the cooking time, so don't skimp on time. You don't want raw chicken! Remove the pan from heat, and transfer chicken into a baking dish.

As the chicken is cooking, sauté the sliced mushrooms in butter in a separate pan. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and a dash of paprika. Mix 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and pour the entire mixture over the chicken.

Stack two pieces of cooked bacon, crosswise, on each chicken breast. Spoon the sautéed mushrooms on the bacon, being sure to coat each breast evenly. Spread 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese onto each breast, followed by 1/4 cup of Cheddar. Bake the pan of chicken for 15-30 minutes, or until the cheese is thoroughly melted and starting to bubble. Sprinkle each chicken breast with 1/2 teaspoon parsley before serving.

Master Menu

I was a little surprised at how much interest my comment about the master menu generated, LOL! I received several posted comments and a whole lot of emails, and I'm still chuckling. I'm happy to share my menu! My husband just doesn't want anyone showing up on our doorstep for taco night :)

I was so tired of planning over and over and over again our weekly menu, forgetting good recipes, or eating something 4 times in a 2-week period, etc. So much time! So much energy! So much brain power! Just do it once and be done!

My spreadsheet now has 3 pages (tabs, actually). The first page is an overview of the entire 8-week plan. The other two tabs are the first two weeks in detail, including side dishes and master shopping lists. Eventually I'll have tabs for each of the 8 weeks. I've been using the list for two weeks now and I am in loooooove! It's detailed enough to just print and go, no additional thought required. But it's flexible enough to swap out recipes, move things around when plans change, etc. I'm sure I'll need to make some modifications at some point, but it's working well so far.

So, here you go. Click Here.

This can help get the juices flowing on a possible format for your own favorite family recipes. Or maybe you only want a 4 or 6 week rotating menu. Or you want to have spaghetti more often, why not? Or you want more slots to try new recipes, put them in! Think of the food-storage possibilities!! If you know you are going to make spaghetti 6 times a year... buy all 6 jars on sale and be done for the year! Maybe you'll want a Mexican food night... or a soup and salad night... or a seafood night... the possibilities are endless.

Today I went grocery shopping and it was so nice. I knew we weren't going to be around for dinner tonight or tomorrow, so I just crossed all of those ingredients off of my shopping list and bought only the things that we are actually going to eat! No more "we should eat more broccoli, so I'll buy some today", just to let it rot in the crisper. I only bought what I needed, what has a specific purpose for the week. Most importantly I didn't have to plan the menu. I just printed off the list, went through my fridge and cupboards to see what I already had, and went to the store. Very minimal brain power. It frees up brain cells to create templates :)

If any of the recipes I've listed on our own menu intrigue you, let me know; I'm happy to share! Many thanks to my friend Jamie for introducing me to this concept!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Template 44

Credits: Background paper from "Olivia" kit by Shabby Princess. Everything else from Scrapartist collab "Reverie" kit, with Gina Marie Huff of Weeds and Wildflowers, Amber Clegg, and Jomi Van Bekkum. Font is Kids.

Download Template 44 RECTANGLE Here!
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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Easter Journal Highlights

I'm really feeling the need for spring lately! I thought these would make for some fun little easter and spring highlights. One is in paint, the other in crayon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Template 43

I dropped off the face of the earth for a while to reorganize my life! It's been a busy several weeks, with one of my greatest accomplishments being an 8-week rotating master menu! I've been making all kinds of lists and goals in a frenzy, trying to organize what has recently become a very chaotic life! I'm feeling better now, ready to head into spring with a framework for our lifestyle instead of flying by the seat of our pants all the time! And it's good to be back to scrapping!

Credits: Gina Cabrera's "Lucky Star" kit. Font is Plastique.
Credits: "Busy Bee" kit by Sarah Jones.

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