Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cheesy Garlic Bread

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Most of the time when I make garlic bread, I take a half stick of butter or margarine, melt it in the microwave, add WAY too much garlic powder, then spread it on a halved loaf of italian bread and stick it in the oven.  Sometimes I'll top it with shredded cheddar cheese.  Both are delicious.  But there is nothing quite like the recipe below. 

When I was in high school I decided one year that I wanted to make my parents a fancy three course meal for their anniversary, complete with a menu we printed on our trusty old dot matrix and servers (my brothers dressed up with towels thrown over their sleeves.)  I did this a few different times, but of all the recipes I've made, this one has lasted the best in my family.  People literally inhale it.  It is probably incredibly artery-clogging, but it is phenomenal and soooo worth every bite. 

Unfortunately since I discovered it in high school, I can't tell you where this recipe comes from.  Probably one of my mom's old cookbooks, but if anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd love to give them credit. When I was in college I used to keep some of this in a bowl in the fridge, then spread it on a piece of bread and heat it up in the toaster oven for a quick snack. Yum! Hope you enjoy!

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Minced garlic to taste (you probably only need 4 cloves, but I like more)
5 scallions, washed and chopped
1 bag of shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
Mayonaisse

Mix the garlic, scallions, and cheddar cheese, then add just enough mayonnaise to make it wet and spreadable (probably a spoonful or two).  I really recommend at this point putting the mixture in the refridgerator for a few hours to let the flavors combine; I really do think it's tastier if you do this, but it's not required.  Then spread it on a halved loaf of Italian bread and cook it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 350, or until the cheese is nice and melty.  Let it cool a bit, then slice it and serve with yesterday's fettucini alfredo or some other fantastically delicious pasta dish.  Definitely not the healthiest meal, but BOY is it GOOD! 

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Monday, January 30, 2012

The BEST Fettucini Alfredo You'll Ever Have

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My family loooooves alfredo.  I started trying years ago to make different recipes that I found and I think I've come pretty darn close to perfect.  In the past it would be too oily or still have chunks of parmesan, but this recipe is nice and smooth AND it doesn't separate when you reheat it!  So, here you go:


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter/margarine
fresh minced garlic, onion (opt.)
3 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese (If you want you can mix it up a little with another cheese)
freshly ground pepper and sea salt
fresh basil, chopped
1 lb. cooked fettucini or linguine noodles

In a pot on the stove, heat the olive oil and butter until the butter is melted.  Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent.  Add 3 tbsp. flour and whisk.  Veeeeerrrryyyy slowly add the milk, stirring each time until it is completely incorporated with the flour mixture.  (If you add the milk too fast you'll end up with hot milk with lumps of flour.  NOT appetizing.  Go slow.)  Once you've completely added the milk, add the cheese, stirring until you have a nice, thick sauce.  Mix your fettucini noodles with the sauce and serve topped with pepper, salt, and basil.  Enjoy!

(This goes GREAT with garlic bread. I'll share my favorite garlic bread recipes tomorrow.)

Sorry I've been missing for a bit- I've been making a bunch of things to share with you I just haven't photographed or blogged them yet. I'll get more up this week, I promise!

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Baby taggie & one more appliqued onesie

Pin It A few months ago I went to a craft consignment sale and picked up a stack of flannel pre-cut squares that were perfect for making taggies like the patchwork taggie from my tutorial.  I made one to go along with the homemade gift bag to give our friends for their new baby. 



Naturally I had to make an appliqued onesie to go with everything as well.  They're just too easy and too cute not to throw in with a baby gift set. 



Here is the finished set, including the owl softie and the baby thank you cards.



I'm thinking that maybe by the end of this year I might try to make up some coordinating baby gift sets to bring to a craft fair.  I've never done a craft fair before, but I've always loved looking at the baby displays.  And of course, I love making baby crafts!  Have you done a craft fair before?  What are your thoughts on them?

*UPDATE 5/5/12- I am now selling items like these in my Etsy shop.  Please contact me if you would like a custom order. 
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Apple Dumplings

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If you aren't on Pinterest yet, you should be.  If you are, please follow me- I'll follow you back!  I loooove Pinterest and spend WAY too much time on there, but it's just such a fantastic source of inspiration. 

So that's where I found this recipe for Apple Dumplings.  I love apple recipes, but this one really got me because it's made with Mountain Dew!  That was just too weird to me, so I had to try it.  The link I found was from Or So She Says, but she found the recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  It's not her original recipe either, she found it in a collection of recipes her mom had saved.  I would love to know who originally came up with the idea of using Mountain Dew in this recipe, though.  It doesn't taste like Mountain Dew when it's done, I'm just still fascinated with using it as an ingredient. 

So this is my first new recipe for the New Year, and it is phenomenal!  You really don't need all the sugar this recipe calls for, so I'd probably cut back on that if I made this again because it is REALLY sweet.  I definitely recommend stopping over at one of these ladies' blogs and trying it out yourself.  It's a keeper.  In the words of my husband, it's what apple pie should taste like.

I think next week I'll try to make something a little healthier....


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stuffed Owl Softie

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One of my new year's goals was to make more stuffed animals, like this dinosaur I made for my nephew a couple of months ago.


I found this pattern in a book called One Yard Wonders, which has a number of patterns that can be made from one yard of fabric.  There was also another pattern in this book for an elephant, which I decided to make for our friends' new baby.  Well, I wasn't crazy about the way it turned out.  First of all, I wanted to embroider eyes (which I'm not very good at) so I opted for closed eyes which was easier.  The pattern also has the elephant with pidgeon toes and very short limbs, which makes him sit with crossed legs.  To top it all off, I put his arms on upside down, which made them stand up straight in the air.  I didn't think it looked appropriate, so I sewed his arms together.  The result- a meditating elephant. 



My daughter fell in love with this (because it's pink) and so I let her hold it and she promptly unsewed the hands (so it would be easier to play Ring Around the Rosie) and practically pulled off an ear.  After all my disappointments with this pattern, I decided I just couldn't give it away as a gift.  It was just too weird.  My daughter has now added it to her collection of toys to play Ring Around the Rosie with, so at least it's put to good use.

So I decided to bite the bullet and make an owl instead.  I've been obsessed with all the owls on Pinterest and particularly these bookends from Pottery Barn Kids. 

Owl Bookends

When I looked at them at the store I thought, "I could make something like this."  (I think that about a lot of the overpriced kids items there.)  So the other morning while my daughter was playing I drew a pattern on paper and then cut it out and sewed it up during naptime.  It's super simple and I was so excited that I would be able to share my pattern with all of you. 

So here it is!  You can download it by clicking HERE.  If you have any problems, let me know.  I can always email it to you directly. 

Directions to make Stuffed Owl Softie:
1. Print and cut out the pattern pieces on paper or cardstock.  The body will need to be cut on a folded piece of paper, or you can just cut out the one from the first page to use as a template.
2. Cut out two owl bases- one for the front and one for the back.  I used the same fabric, but you don't need to. 
3. Choose fabrics and iron Heat N Bond Lite onto all pieces except for the body of the owl.
4. Trace the remaining shapes (eyes, belly, wings, beak) onto the Heat N Bond paper and cut them out.
5. Peel the paper off the back of the pieces with Heat N Bond.
6. Take the front base of the owl and iron on the belly piece.  Sew across the top with a straight stitch.
7. Iron the two wings onto the front base and sew across the inside edge with a straight stitch.
8. Iron the two eyes onto the front base and sew around the edge.
9. Iron the two irises on top (I made my owl looking to the right) and sew around the edge.
10. Iron on the beak and sew around the edge.
11. Put the two owl body pieces together, right sides facing, and sew a 1/4" seam around the edges, leaving a 2 inch gap for stuffing. (I left my gap on the side next to a wing.)  Turn right side out.
12. Add fiber fill to stuff the owl.  (If you wanted to make it a bookend rather than a pillow, you could put something heavier in the bottom like a little bag of beans or rocks.)
13. Slip stitch the opening closed.  Congratulations!  You have a super cute owl softie!

While I am sooo happy with the way this turned out, I think the Heat N Bond is a little stiff, so it's not too cuddly.  It's better as a decoration than something to snuggle with.  I'm not sure if there is a way to improve this (ex. washing).  Any ideas?

If you make one of these, please send me photos or a link to your blog post!  I'd love to feature them on Binge Crafter!

Happy Crafting!


*UPDATE 5/5/12 - I am now selling these owl softies in my Etsy shop if you'd like to order one that is already completed. 
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Baby Thank You Cards

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I love the idea of babies sending thank you cards.  I write my daughter's in first person from her point of view, an idea I stole from my sister-in-law.  I thought it was funny to have her make snide comments about me ("Thanks for the gift card to Toys R Us!  I wanted to use it to buy an XBox Kinect, but my mom bought diapers with it.  Figures."), but what I really enjoyed was making cute Thank You Cards.  Here are the first two baby thank you cards I made for her. 

Her first Thank You Card (I made the shapes with the George & Basic Shapes cartridge- the only one I had at the time.  I later upgraded to the baby carriage from the New Arrival cart that I use below.)


Her second Thank You Card (I made this using the New Arrival cartridge for the baby and Stretch Your Imagination for the present.)

So I wanted to make some baby gifts for some friends who just had a baby, and I thought cute Thank You cards were in order.  I would have made some monogram stationery like I'd made for my mom, but they were keeping the name a secret!  So instead I made these. 


Aren't they adorable?  I was really smitten with these, especially since they weren't really "me." (Far too elegant- my taste tends to be less fancy and much more like a 10 year old, as you can see from my two earlier cards.)  The pink and grey flower paper is from a K&Company pack I had used when making my mom's brag book.  I thought it was beautiful, but didn't really go with the other patterns I was using from the pack.  I actually used it to make this card a couple of months ago.

I used my new Cricut Expression 2 to cut out the carriage and card base, which are both from the New Arrival cartridge.  I embellished with some tiny pink satin ribbon and grey bling, both of which I'd gotten from AC Moore.  (They sell the rolls or ribbon on sale for 25 cents each and their sheets of bling are only $1.  Can't beat that.) The E2 made these sooo much easier to make.  I really like being able to see everything laid out on the screen and adjust to fit the paper size (these patterned sheets were 8 1/2" square, and I wanted to get as much use out of them as possible, since I only had 2 1/2!)  Unfortunately I eventually ran out of the paper, but I was able to make 4 of these and 4 cards using the "thank you" remnants from cutting this card and some matching carriages on an ivory background. 

Hopefully this will make their new baby's correspondence much easier.  Come back later in the week to see what else I made the new baby.  I love making baby gifts!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pink and Turquoise Party Prep

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My daughter's second birthday is at the beginning of February.  Last year I went all out with the rainbow theme (which is actually the same as we used for her room).  We had:

Rainbow Invitations



Rainbow Jello

(I had pictures of her from each month of her first year on both sides of this card)

I tried so hard to make sure she wouldn't end up one of those girls who is obsessed with all things pink.  Well, guess what her favorite color is?

So I caved and decided I'd have a pink party for her this year, but I had a hard time choosing another color to go with it.  Until the other day, when she and I went to AC Moore and Party City and grabbed this haul.

Introducing PINK AND TURQUOISE! 



Turquoise is a little challenging to match, but so far we've had pretty good luck.  As well as those colors, we're going to have ice cream and cupcake decorations, because my daughter is obsessed with these two things as well.  What's really funny is that the only time she's ever had cake was her first birthday and she's only had ice cream once.  But she loves them!

I was really lucky to find the two ice cream cones in this picture in the clearance section of AC Moore for $1 each.  They're filled with bubbles, but they perfectly match our colors and theme!

So over the next couple of weeks, expect me to be sharing more of our Pink and Turquoise party decorations.  Do you have any great ideas you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear what you think.  :)

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fondue Feast!

Pin It One of our favorite date restaurants is The Melting Pot.  My hubby brought me there for our first Valentine's Day as a couple and we generally go back each year either for Valentine's Day or our anniversary.  We always get cheese & chocolate- generally the Cheddar Beer and the Oreo topped chocolate.  Deeeelicious! 

So a couple of years ago, we decided to try to make some at home.  My brother gave us a fondue pot one year as a Christmas gift, so every year since we've had a Fondue Feast to celebrate the New Year.  We start about 8 pm on New Year's Eve.  Cooking helps to keep me awake since I tend to be an early bird.  We also like that we can experiment a bit more, especially with dippers. 

I am a hit or miss cook.  Everything I make either ends up terrific or terrible.  Last year, I messed up the cheese fondue but the chocolate was great.  This year, it was the other way around. 



I was soooo proud of this cheese fondue.  I used gruyere and emmentaler, which are a bit sharp in my opinion, but I really liked it anyway.  We enjoyed this with bread and granny smith apples.  Here is the recipe I used, which I definitely recommend.


This is the hot mess of a recipe for chocolate fondue from Ghirardelli.  I actually found the recipe on the Martha Stewart website, but I guess it's an ad there, because this is definitely NOT a good thing.  The recipe called for a TON of milk and so it ended up being almost entirely liquid, even after I tried to save it adding a ton more chocolate.  Don't get me wrong, this tasted fine, but basically it's drinking chocolate.  That's exactly how I enjoyed it the next few days- I added it to milk and drank it like hot chocolate.  It was definitely NOT fondue.  We tried to enjoy this with gingerbread man marshmallows (left over from our Hot Cocoa Bar), cinnamon sugar graham crackers, strawberries, an oreo brownie, and (what actually went best) rice krispie treats.  So, I definitely do not recommend this recipe.  Unless you just want to make hot chocolate. 

Do you fondue?  I'd love to know what your favorite recipes & dippers are!


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Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Giveaway Winner!!

Pin It WOW!  What an amazing response to my New Year's Giveaway!  I am so excited that so many of you posted your New Year's Resolutions.  I've had so much fun reading them.  It's nice to know that so many of you have such similar resolutions- hopefully we can all help keep each other motivated & inspired.  I'd really love to have a week devoted to organizing tips & tricks later in the month, so if any of you who have "organize my scrap room" resolutions get going & would like to guest post (*wink wink*), I'd love to have more guest posts!!

And now for our big big winner.  Congratulations..... DEBBY!!! 

So what do you win?  I'm a huge fan of surprises (and I think you guys might be too, seeing the response to a mystery giveaway) and I wanted to make this one something good, but also something to help you accomplish your resolutions.  So I decided to wait until I'd chosen a winner so that I could give our winner something fitting.  Debby's comment was:

That has always been a hard one for me cause most the time I can never keep them. This year I must try harder. I have started 3 recipe books for my kids, I want to finish those this year. That is my main one. Blogging is to get back into it. I have neglected my blog for sometime now, time to get it going again. Thats it, I can never do more than that or they never get accomplished.
angel hugs
Debby

So Debby, to help you work on your recipe books, I'm going to send you a $20 gift card to the craft store of your choice! (AC Moore, Michael's, JoAnn's, or Archiver's since those are the ones I have near me.)  Congratulations!  I'll be sending you an email directly. 

If you'd like to help Debby with her blogging resolution, head over and encourage her at her blog, Debby's Stampin' Heaven.

Thank you all so much for entering!  It was so exciting to have such a successful giveaway!  Happy New Years to all and best of luck on your resolutions.

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