Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Horse Theme Birthday Banner

I had a friend from the mom's group inquire about making a banner for her son's birthday party.  She was very specific on the paper she wanted and sent me the link.  They were using  Debbie Mumm paper to make the invitations and it really was cute.

I found the paper in Michael's and bought all they had, as I didn't want to take any chance or running out mid-project and not be able to get more.  That could be disastrous.

While in Michael's I saw these cute die-cut horse stickers and knew they were a must have for the spacers.

This banner did consist of a second strand for the name.  Adding a name continuously to an already 8 foot banner can be too much, plus it gives them more options when they go to hang it for the party.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fabric Wreath

I had been thinking since I took the Christmas wreath down some time ago, that I really wanted something on the front door.  I wanted a wreath but what kind I was unsure of until I saw this on another blog.  So off to the craft store I went for the supplies.  

I needed fabric, that was number one.  I wanted something summery and festive.  My original plan was to go with red, white and blue, but that didn't pan out when I couldn't find those colors in Walmart's fabric section.  So I went with some summery Caribbean sea colors.  I bought the fabric in a bundle, and bought two to be on the safe side of having enough to cover a wreath form.  The directions called for a 12 inch form, but of course when I got to the store I couldn't remember reading a size anywhere and ended up buying a 18 inch form.  Good thing I got that extra fabric.

The fabric got cut into 1 inch wide by 6 inch long pieces.  My cuts were rough, I just eyeballed them.  From there you just tied them to the form, I double knotted them to keep them from falling off.  It took about 2 hours from start to finish, cutting and tying.  I was pretty pleased with the look of it when all was said and done.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

At some time yesterday I read on Facebook that it was National Peanut Butter Cookie Day on June 12th.  I love peanut butter cookies, so this was just an excuse for me to fire up the oven and bake a batch.  One of my favorite peanut butter cookie recipes comes from America's Test Kitchen, but I saw that Peanut Butter & Company was selling Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies for the "holiday".  I love peanut butter, and I love oatmeal so I went in search of a recipe.

It didn't take long for me to find a keeper.  Allrecipes had one that had straight forward ingredients and the reviews were glowing.  I did however swap out the shortening and used butter.  I didn't have any shortening on hand, and I just usually prefer butter.  I have been known to have 20 pounds of butter in the freezer just in case of a baking frenzy.  I also didn't flatten with fork, they did fine on their own.

The result was a delicious cookie.  Could be adding this recipe to my make for Christmas present list.


  • 1 1/2 cups shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening and peanut butter. Add the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix well.
  3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  4. Drop by the rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Flatten with fork. Bake for 12 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kiss of Death

I often worry about jinxing a good thing.  For example saying at work "Wow it's quiet tonight", driving in the car and saying "Easy ride, no traffic".  These statements could be the kiss of death, five minutes later things can be going haywire at work or I could hit the Cross Bronx Expressway and crawl the rest of the way to work.

This year I worried about jinxing the flowers in the garden, I could be doing it right now by just writing about them.  But since we moved into the house there were flowers that I had planted that I didn't even know the color of, as the deer tend to shear off all the buds before I even get to see any color.  This year all of the plants, so far, have bloomed and blossomed.

These are the day lilies I had never seen the color of.

The irises get bigger and more beautiful every year.

The hosta have filled out.

I bought two of these potted tomato plants at Costco this past Friday.  I have tried the past three years to grow some vegetable only to have the deer trash my plants and smash my tomatoes.  In each of the pots is a very well established tomato plant, basil and marigolds.  

As much as I despise the deer sometimes, I really do think they are beautiful animals.  Just tonight on the way home from the movies we saw a mother and brand new fawn crossing the street.  The do hold a sweet spot in my heart.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Enchilada Casserole

Through the mom's group I belong to we have a meal support to help mom's who maybe just had a baby or  if they are sick.  I try to make something that travels and reheats well.  This past week I had a meal support and I knew exactly what I was going to make.  The family I was cooking for was keeping an eye on what they were eating so I didn't use ground beef, I used ground chicken.

The Enchilada Casserole is full of flavor and one recipe makes enough for two families, so I kill two birds with one stone feeding both families.  Normally it gets made in a 9X13 baking pan, but I arrange the ingredients in two 8X8 baking pans.  The recipe says it serves 8-10, but those serving sizes would be big pieces, I am going to say it serves 12 generously.

Now some of you may look at this recipe and think there are a lot of steps, don't skip any of them because everything is done for a reason.  The toasting of the corn tortillas give the casserole a rich corn flavor, the homemade enchilada sauce is delicious.  This isn't your typical greasy mexican casserole.  I actually love it with Texas Caviar as a side.

Enchilada Casserole
From Cooks Country Magazine

20(6-inch) corn tortillas 
1 1/2cups  low-sodium beef broth 
1(10-ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes (see note)
2pounds  85 percent lean ground beef 
2tablespoons  vegetable oil 
2onions , chopped fine
8garlic cloves , minced
2tablespoons  chili powder 
1teaspoon  ground cumin 
3(15-ounce) cans tomato sauce 
4cups  shredded colby-Jack cheese  (see note)
3jalapeño chiles , seeded and minced
1tablespoon  hot sauce 
Salt and pepper 

1. TOAST TORTILLAS Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Toast 3 tortillas in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until they bubble and turn spotty brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining tortillas.
2. PROCESS TORTILLAS Tear 8 toasted tortillas into rough pieces and transfer to food processor. Add ¾ cup broth and Ro-Tel tomatoes (with juice) and process until smooth; transfer to large bowl. Add beef to empty skillet and cook over medium-high heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain beef in colander, then transfer to bowl with tortilla mixture.
3. MAKE FILLING Add oil and onion to empty skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and remaining broth to skillet and simmer until slightly thickened, 
5 to 7 minutes. Stir half of tomato sauce mixture, 1½ cups cheese, 1 minced jalapeño, cilantro, and hot sauce into bowl with tortilla mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
4. ASSEMBLE AND BAKE Arrange 6 toasted tortillas in bottom of baking dish. Spread filling evenly over tortillas. Arrange remaining tortillas over filling and top with remaining tomato sauce mixture. Bake until filling is bubbling around edges, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese and remaining minced jalapeño evenly over casserole. Bake until cheese is browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I am always looking something to do with very ripe bananas.  I came across this recipe in an email, I don't know which website it came from as I get a ton of recipes in my email almost on a daily basis.  This one called for ingredients I had on hand, which is always important.  

One of the ingredients I swapped out was regular chocolate chips for white chocolate chunks, that was because I just prefer a regular chocolate.  I also choose mini-chips over chunks, I felt that would give more chocolate flavor in every bite.

This recipe turned out to be a keeper, they were moist, tasty and easy to make.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 3/4 cups (225 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (2 ounces) (65 grams) chocolate chips or chunks
3 large ripe bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
I always start by mashing the bananas with a potato masher right in the bowl I am mixing everything in.  The pour the rest of the ingredients into the bowl.  Mix well, but don't over mix otherwise muffins will be tough.  Spoon evenly among a 12 cup muffin tin that has been coated with cooking spray.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, then test with a toothpick until it comes out clean.