Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Easy Layered Cabbage Rolls

We always eat cabbage on New Year's Day and also black eyed peas (which I love and don't know why we don't eat those more often). Here's the cabbage recipe I make every single year. It is easy and we love it.

Easy Layered Cabbage Rolls

1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 lb ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
dash pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/3 cup uncooked rice
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 soup can full of water
1 tbs brown sugar

heat oven to 350°. Place cabbage in a greased baking dish (I use one that is about 7x11x2). Set aside. Brown ground beef w/ onion and drain. Add remaining ingredients to ground beef and stir well. Spoon evenly over cabbage. Cover w/ foil and bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 min.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a nice Christmas (and even those who don't celebrate it-I hope you had a nice December 25th). I've been holding off on posting my Holiday cards so I'm going to post them here all at once. I only made 5 different ones this year.

stamp set: Two Cool Dudes from SU, Not Quite Navy craft ink and cardstock, Whisper White craft ink, Real Red cardstock, Stampin Up scallop edge punch, ribbon unknown, clear embossing powder, SU chalk for the cheeks and I used an orange zig marker for the nose. The white is shimmery cardstock (not SU but the same).

I *think* this was Ballet Blue cardstock, Snowflake cuttlebug embossing folder, Whisper White craft ink (rubbed over the snowflakes), Cricut snowman from Doodlecharms, hat from Paper Doll Dress up, Stickles for the hat band, rick rack for the scarf, you can't see it but there's diamond dust paper on the buttons, and I used an orange copic marker to color the noses (instead of cutting out separate noses from orange paper). Stampin Up chalk for the cheeks. The white card base is made with Paper Trey Ink white cardstock. The snowmen are cut from shimmery white cardstock and Chocolate Chip cardstock.

Real Red and Garden Green cardstock, shimmery white cardstock, Garden Green ink, red stickles for the dots on the tree, Snow Swirled stamp set, Many Merry Messages stamp set, Priceless stamp set (for the swirls-it's hard to see them), burgundy ink (I can't remember which burgundy but I think it was the older retired color), ticket corner punch.

Garden Green cardstock, shimmery white cardstock, stickers and rubons from Imaginisce, Tim Holtz distressing ink, Stampin Up scallop edge punch.

White cardstock from Paper Trey Ink, Pretty in Pink cardstock, Stampin Up patterned paper and chipboard frame (from the Country Living bundle), shimmery white cardstock, Imaginisce rubon, and the greeting stamp is from the Take a Bough set from Paper Trey Ink and I used Real Red craft ink to stamp it. Also used a Creative Memories corner rounder punch.

I never posted the ones I made last year so I'll post those in the next week or so.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wow-my new lens rocks!!

I'm still getting the hang of it but the IS alone makes me so happy with this lens. Here are a couple of pictures I took to try out the IS when I first got it. Keep in mind that I'm very shaky and in the past, could not handhold below 1/100 without some blur and below 1/80, forget it. This first one is 1/30 handheld, no image stabilization, 100% crop:

Pretty bad, huh. That's how shaky I am.

this is the same shot but with IS. Still 1/30 handheld, 100% crop:

Now this isn't even close to tack-sharp but I can't believe the difference! Amazing!! I took a picture of Sammy tonight at a 1/15 shutter speed, handheld. It is not super sharp either but wow-I could never have taken one this sharp at that shutter speed! In fact compare this (100% crop) with that globe picture at 1/30.

Other specs of these pics: aperture f/2.8. ISO 800. WB auto (I have the most trouble with white balance). The lens is the Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS USM. I got a pretty good deal on it (not at B&H) but when I bought it, I was shaking.

Now y'all don't go thinking I'm going to be posting amazing pictures with this lens or anything. Do not put that pressure on me. hehe.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Taco Soup-yum

This soup is super duper easy and we had it tonight. Steve loves it-the kids don't. They don't like soup (other than Chili and I guess I never thought of chili as soup. I've just always thought of it as chili). So the kids got frozen chicken nuggets. I love soup in the winter so they eat a lot of chicken nuggets and jelly sandwiches in the winter.

Easy Taco Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 onion chopped
2 cans tomato sauce (15 oz each)
2 cans diced tomatoes (14-15 oz each)
1 can green beans, undrained (about 15 oz)
1 can corn, undrained (same size as the beans)
2 cups water (or use one of the tomato sauce cans)
1 envelope taco seasoning (I make this myself-stay tuned for the recipe)
2 cans kidney beans (optional-I don't add these)

note: if you like it extra spicy, use the spicy diced tomatoes for one or both cans. Beware-it is hot (or maybe I'm just a wimp but to me it's hot)

Use a pretty big pan for this. My pans go from a 4 qt which is too close to being too small for this recipe to a 6 or 7 qt stock pot type thing so I use the stock pot. It only ends up about half full but my stovetop stays cleaner.

Cook ground beef with onion (I cheat and use minced dried onions). Drain well. Add everything else and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Pour into bowls and garnish with cheese, sour cream, avocados, or whatever else sounds good. We just use crackers. I might add some cheese next time. This recipe makes a lot.

Taco Seasoning recipe

I found out that the packaged Taco Seasoning mixes have trans fat so I make my own. I do eat things with trans fat (like pop tarts, hamburger helper, betty crocker potatoes...) but if it's easy to substitute I try to do that. This is from Make a Mix which is a really fun cookbook.

2 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp crushed dried red pepper
1/2 tsp instant minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Mix together. Makes the equivalent of 1 package of taco seasoning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby card

I made this quick card for the daughter of a friend of mine-she just had her second baby. I cased this card from bigsky at SCS. You can see hers here. I had to change it a little because I didn't have the right colors of ribbon. I made the outfit on the cricut with the new arrival cartridge and the circles are cut with nestabilities. Paper is: Imaginisce, Stampin Up, and Bazzill. I think the ribbon is Stampin' Up organdy. Swiss Dots cuttlebug folder. The color came out funky-I need to use my light box in a different place I think. The light color cardstock is Stampin' Up Vanilla cardstock.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Basic Meatloaf

Meatloaf is probably one of Steve's all time favorite meals. Only thing is I hate making it. I am really weird about raw meat and I don't like to mess with it. I can put a steak in a pan, a roast in the oven, etc but I don't like to DO stuff with it. I don't want to cut it, pound it, roll it, stuff it, or in the case of meatloaf, mix it. In the past it was even more of a chore because the recipe I had had to be made in loaf pans and they are such a pain to clean. I was using these low fat two piece pans and even if I lined them with foil, I had to poke holes for the grease to drain out and it would end up getting under the foil and making a mess anyway. And lining both parts and then putting them together was like nails on a chalkboard for me. Foil rubbing against foil is not good. Another thing is that the recipe needed 1-1/2 lbs of ground beef and our beef is only in 1 lb packages-we get it frozen from the processor and have no choice, and I wasn't about to 'save' a half pound of beef in my fridge. So I'd use 3 lbs and make two meatloaves, which doubled the cleaning and required a 2 gallon freezer bag to mix it, which is not easy to find sometimes. So anyway I decided to find a recipe that didn't call for loaf pans and that I could use 2 lbs of ground beef instead of 3. I found one on allrecipes.com that called for 1-1/2 lbs but I converted it to use 2. It's very similar to my old recipe and honestly, I probably could have just altered my recipe to work but I didn't think about that until after I found this one. So I made it tonight (used a freezer bag to mix up the ingredients of course-I am not mushing raw ground beef through my fingers. eww.) and it turned out perfect. I did have to add some cooking time.

Basic Meatloaf

2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1-1/4 cups milk
1-1/4 cups crushed crackers (one sleeve of townhouse crackers was just about the right amt)
1 onion chopped, or 4 tbs dried minced onions
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste (I don't even own pepper so I didn't add this)

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all of the ingredients together, whatever way makes you comfortable. Form into a loaf-like shape in a 13 x 9 baking dish. Mine was probably about 2" tall but it actually got taller in the middle during baking. Squirt ketchup all over the top. I didn't make a picture with it but I might next time. Bake for one hour and twenty minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165° or so (original recipe said to bake for one hour). Mine was hotter than 165 (which actually makes me happy) but still very moist and not dry or tough. It was perfect and Steve's eyes actually rolled back in his head at one point. For maximum impact I may make fried potatoes with it next time. He loves those too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Candy Cane treat holder

We always give a food type gift to our mailmen (there are two), UPS man and the lady at the post office (she is a real sweetie) plus our trash pickup guys. So anyway I always add on a thing of candy canes. I usually just put the candy canes in a cellophane bag, make a patterned paper topper, and staple it on. Boring. This year I wanted to make something using some of my stuff that I just HAD to have. So I made these very simple, yet not as simple as usual, candy cane treat holder things. I used my nestabilities, big shot, scor-pal, stamps and ribbon. I think they look cuter than my usual ones. Stamp, real red ink and cardstock (whisper white and real red) from Stampin' Up. Also used nestabilities plain and scalloped circle and the scor-pal for all the scoring. The ribbon is from somewhere that I can't remember. Probably Walmart. Also a magnetic mat (for the nestabilities) came in very handy for this project.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chicken Soup

Today was my daughter's birthday and she got to pick what I made for supper. I didn't have all the ingredients for her first pick so she decided on chicken soup. I'm not sure why-I don't ever make chicken soup (in fact I don't think I ever have other than Campbell's) and she's never asked for it before. I've been sick the past two days though (with a cold) so maybe she subconsciously felt bad for me (had to be subconsciously because she would never openly admit that) and picked something that she knew would make me feel better. So anyway I appreciated it and made the soup plus some biscuits. The other two kids don't like soup (they have never even tried it) so they had frozen chicken nuggets. They love that junk. So anyway I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and tweaked it a little.

Super duper easy chicken soup

1 tbs butter
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion (I cheated and used dried onion)
about 8 cups chicken broth (or water and chicken bouillon)
1 large can (about 13 oz) chicken, not drained
1 cup sliced carrots (I didn't have any so I didn't use these)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
pepper if you like it (I don't)
about 2 cups egg noodles (I put in about 4 handfuls and I think each one is about 1/2 cup. I should have measured)

melt the butter in a 4 qt saucepan and cook the celery and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, chicken, carrots and the spices. Bring it all to a boil and add the noodles. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or so.

The kids had corn with their nuggets so I also put some of the leftover corn in the soup. It was pretty yummy with the corn.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My card for the magazine inspiration challenge

My room is still a mess but I was able to make this very simple card tonight. I used the round shapes on the magazine page for my inspiration as well as the background color. The snowflakes are glittery but it's hard to tell from the picture. Also I just got this new lens (today) and I'm still getting used to it. I forgot to switch my ISO after I had been doing some playing so it's a bit grainy. This proves that no matter how good or expensive your lens is, you might still take crappy pictures because you're just a bad photographer. lol. Anyway the cardstock is Stampin' Up Baja Blue, patterned paper from Imaginisce, ink is Stampin Up Whisper White, OLD heat and stick embossing powder from somewhere, Stampin' Up Dazzling Diamonds glitter, white Paper Trey Ink cardstock, Cuttlebug embossing folder (snowflakes), Stampin' Up circle punches.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Magazine inspiration

It's my turn to post the inspiration challenge for the SCS Blogger group #1. I've decided to use this page from an OLD issue of Martha Stewart Living. Take inspiration from this page to make a card, layout, or whatever you'd like. Use the layout, the shapes, the colors, whatever. I will work on it tomorrow, hopefully. It's been pretty hectic around here. I'll also work on the prize for the winner, which will be chosen through a random drawing of everyone who does this challenge-so for now it'll be a surprise. I will probably post what it is when I decide what it is. Deadline will be 2 weeks from today which is December 18th (a week before Christmas-eek!). Please leave a comment with a link to your project. Here's the pic-click on it to see it bigger:

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