Friday, April 30, 2010

1st of the month reveals

Morning everyone, being the first of the month I have some more shares for you.
Firstly for stuck sketches we had to play around with this sketch

my layout....Larsen really has no fear of the water at the beach he just heads straight in. Isn't that yummy submarine from 3tails so cute and I have used up some older October afternoon pattern paper.

It's also time for a new challenge at scrapawhile.

This month Tarrah has set the challenge of using multible photos on a layout. Addison at three is starting to take an interest in letters and numbers, his life long journey of learning is slowly beginning.

That fun book round is from lilredrocket and that cute apple pin is from mylittlebitofwhimsy and finally that cute little apple charm is from my2angels .

Before I go I just want to Thank everyone who has left me such lovely comments recently I truly appreciate each and every one.

Till next time...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

An Ellie Krieger Recipe Roundup!

I love my copy of Ellie Krieger's So Easy. Since I received the book four months ago, I have made at least fifteen of the recipes and they have all been a hit. There are so many reasons why I love this book. First of all, the recipes really are "so easy". Secondly, I love all the nutritional facts and tips she provides in each recipe. But most of all, I love how each recipe is so well tested and executed. The recipes measure out perfectly, with no waste, leading me to have complete confidence in Ellie's expertise. I know that when I commit to making one of her recipes, it is going to come together perfectly. Definitely a sign of well-tested recipes!

This book is just about attached to my hip these days. I have a lot of Ellie's recipes lined up in the coming weeks, but this post is a roundup of the six recipes I tried this week, all quick, easy and delicious.

My daughter and her friends went absolutely nuts for Ellie's Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats made with crispy brown rice cereal (shown below), natural peanut butter, honey and chocolate chips. I made a half batch, subbing the dried cherries for chocolate chips per Ellie's instruction, and the half batch made 12 generous sized bars. They were gone in a matter of minutes!

The kids loved them and I was happy to have fooled them into a healthier after school snack. I am a peanut butter fanatic and these really hit the spot. Hands down the best rice crispy treat ever. It was a good thing the kids ate them all or else I would have.

In an effort to use up some of the nuts in my pantry, I made Ellie's Cherry-Almond-Chocolate Clusters. This recipe is about as easy as it gets and I was really blown away with the results. A simple combination of toasted almonds, dried cherries and melted chocolate, these treats are addictive. It's like a homemade candy bar with crunch from the almonds, sweet chewiness from the dried cherries and lots of yummy chocolate. The clusters are a very generous size and really satisfy your sweet tooth.

With some leftover wontons, I made Ellie's Powdered Sugar Crisps. A couple of wonton wrappers, a tad bit of canola oil, a hot oven and a dusting of confectioners' sugar and we were happily crunching away! A fun crunchy treat that would be even better with maybe a sprinkling of cinnamon and some fruit salsa on the side. I would definitely make these again.

I love making smoothies and was very happy to try Ellie's Cherry-Vanilla Smoothie. A gorgeous purple hue, this was by far our favorite smoothie in the book. The recipe made a huge amount, so both me and my son had a glass and then we poured the remainder into popsicle molds. I'm anxious to see how the smoothie tastes as a popsicle. I'm crossing my fingers and will tell you all about the results on Monday's Popsicle of the Week post!!

For an indulgent breakfast treat, I made the Broccoli-Cheddar Breakfast Bake......all for myself! Can you believe that no one else in my house likes broccoli? They should all be committed! The breakfast bake is made the night before, sits in the fridge overnight, and is great to have in the morning because you can just throw it in the oven! I really enjoyed having such a nice breakfast and not having to do any of the work in the morning. The casserole was a combination of eggs, milk, whole wheat baguette, cheese, onion, and broccoli. I plan on sharing this with my Mom................. good thing she likes broccoli!
NOTE: There is one down side to this recipe, if you can call it that. It requires 8 whole eggs and also 8 additional egg whites. I'm not usually a fan of having 8 egg yolks leftover and I know that many of you feel the same way. All I can say is that this was one tasty casserole that I would be happy to make again. I think this recipe is worth having 8 egg yolks leftover.

The sauce on Ellie's Asian Chicken Wrap is genius and will take the blah's out of your normal everyday brown bag lunch. Ellie makes a delicious, spicy, slightly sweet, Asian-inspired sauce that really jazzes up any plain old sandwich. The sauce is a mixture of 3 tablespoons plain Greek-style nonfat yogurt, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon Thai-style chili sauce (such as Sriracha).

That sauce is like liquid gold and I'm really lovin' it!! I was heavy-handed with the Sriracha because I wanted my sauce to really deliver in the heat department. This sauce was perfect in Ellie's Asian Chicken Wraps with grilled chicken, sliced red pepper, and napa cabbage. I happily ate two of these sandwiches for lunch this week and can't wait for my husband (The Sriracha King) to try it out. Best of all, these wraps can be made ahead and are even better the next day. I have a feeling this will be my husband's new favorite lunch box treat.

I am submitting this Asian Chicken Wrap to my friend Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sundays roundup.

I have a couple more recipes to share from So Easy. You can find the first three recipes listed on this post online at the Food Network, or by clicking on their link within this post. The last three recipes have not yet been posted, so there is no link. I did, however, include the recipe for the Asian-inspired sauce because everyone should try it. It is some good stuff!

In the meantime, I'm loving Ellie's recipes so much that I just ordered her first book, The Food You Crave( $8.99). I am anxiously awaiting it's arrival, checking my mail box everyday. There is nothing better than receiving a new cookbook in the mail. It makes me do a happy dance:D

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

same but different....

As you know Addison is obsessed with diggers, both these layouts were taken on the same day but the concept behind the layouts are totally different.

This first one which I have used with my gorgeous friend taryn as our photo challenge for this month (where we use photos from the same batch and scrap them to see how different they turn out) chronicles Addison's way of still playing on his own, he loves playing with the kids on the street but he also loves his solitude and gets so engrossed in what he is doing he forgets about everyone else.

Both layouts have gorgeous chippies from 3tails and I have used one of their large chipboard diggers to mist over with some yummy chocolate glimmermist.

This second layout which I have used for a fun scrapbook relay over at scrapawhile tells the story of Addison's continued obsession with diggers and dirt.

AHHHH dirt!!!

I hope you pop on over to taryn's blog to check out her take on our challenge too and please come back on Saturday for some more reveals I have to share.

Till next time...

last of the pinkalicious fun: game and goodie bags

I posted the bingo game I created for the party in an earlier post. It was a mini version so the girls could win quickly. I gave them their goodie bags as the prizes.

Ella loves games, as long as she's winning. :)

Dad was the official bingo card caller. I couldn't have done the party without his help. He's awesome.

The goodie bags.

Elle showing off her goodies. The girls couldn't wait to get their hands on them. Sienna put a marker on every single square of her bingo card just to make sure she won. So cute!

Because some of my girlfriends want to know all the details of the party, here's what was in the bag: a matching pink pearl necklace and bracelet (Target dollar spot before Easter), a fairy wand, a pink ring pop and cotton candy Lip Smackers. I put everything in cellophane bags and tied them with sheer pink ribbon. A lot of the girls wore their jewelry to church on Sunday.

I know there are a lot of posts, but overall, it was a pretty simple party. It was planned for one and a half hours, but we were done with everything after an hour. The girls just played the rest of the time.

Sweet little memories.

Ella's self-portrait that greeted her guests. Thanks to all her friends who made it such a pinkalicious day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Potato Cumin Curry

At the moment, I am in love with curries and this Potato Cumin Curry is no exception. It really is amazing what a can of coconut milk and a couple tablespoons of curry powder can do for the humble potato. Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are celebrating spices this week, with the challenge to use one or more spice from our spice cabinet. Sounds like the perfect excuse to whip up another tasty curry recipe.

This potato curry is so simple, quick and delicious. It is a combination of russet potatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, curry powder, cumin, and saffron. A quick one pot meal, that comes together quickly and provides instant comfort in a bowl. Extremely filling, this is a delicious meal that I will make again.

Potato Cumin Curry
Adapted from Kitchen Express by Mark Bittman
Serves 4-6
Peel and cut four baking potatoes into half-inch pieces. In oil, cook a thinly sliced onion until just soft, about two minutes; add a couple of tablespoons of curry powder, a tablespoon of cumin, and a pinch of saffron. Add the potatoes and toss to coat with the spices. Then add a can of coconut milk; fill the can with water and add that, too. Bring the mixture to a steady bubble; cover and cook until the potatoes are almost tender; about eight minutes. Add a drained can of chickpeas. Combine well and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender and the beans are warmed through. Serve topped with freshly chopped cilantro.

Notes/Results: I really liked this recipe. It was delicious and comforting, not to mention a very tasty one-pot meal. I made a few changes, using a can of lite coconut milk and leftover chicken stock instead of the water. I didn't have cilantro, so I garnished with chives. This curry was great served right away, but was much thicker and tastier the next day once the flavors had a chance to meld. This is definitely a recipe that I will make again.

This is my submission for I Heart Cooking Clubs. We're really spicing things up in the kitchen this week, click on the link to check it out!

Monday, April 26, 2010

to be three again...

Oh to be three again and have the freedom or THREEDOM to do anything without a care in the world. Another photo of Addison from our Summer at the beach. I finished this layout off last night, I had been wanting to use that gorgeous prima butterfly for a while now and I finally had the chance!

Of course the chippie boat is from 3tails and I just LOVE my new lemon maya mist I think I have used it on my last four layouts., and finally some new October Afternoon fly a Kite....HEAVEN!!!!

Before I go don't forget to head on over to lilredrocket for some awessome new kits and goodies Shell has in store.

Till next time...

pinkalicious fun: craft

There's a part in the Pinkalicious story where the little girl who has turned pink blends in with a patch of pink peonies at the park. Soon she's surrounded by bees, butterflies and birds.

I was trying to come up with a simple and doable craft for 3-4 year olds and found white chipboard butterflies at Scrapbook USA for 10 cents each. That's not a typo. They're from Making Memories too. I punched out dots from pink sparkly paper and bought some clear gems at Micheal's in the dollar section. We made these:

Ella loves crafts. I'm sure you can imagine how happy that makes me. She was so excited when she saw the sample I made up, she kept wanting to create one right away.

I ran the sparkly dots through my Xyron to make them stickers. That took some time but made things so much easier in the end.

The girls enjoyed making them even more than I thought they would.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Popsicle of the Week: Choco-Coco Pops

Popsicle of the Week is going to be a new feature here at Stirring the Pot. As a family, we LOVE popsicles. We eat them all year round, but can really go through them in the summertime. Awhile back I bought two cookbooks dedicated entirely to popsicles and bookmarked almost every recipe in each book. In an effort to cook my way through these two books, I will be featuring a new popsicle recipe each week! I'm hoping we will find some new family favorites!

There are many popsicle molds for sale and there is even a new kitchen appliance for sale called the Zoku Quick Pop Maker ($49.95 @ Williams Sonoma). The Zoku is a fun product that is getting rave reviews for making popsicles in a mere 7 minutes. I'm really looking forward to getting one of these in the next few weeks, but for now I have a few different popsicle molds that I can use.

For these Choco-Coco Pops, I used these Mickey Mouse Popsicle Molds by Tupperware. There are six plastic molds and each mold holds around 2.5 - 3 ounces of liquid. This is a perfect size for children, but a bigger mold would be nicer for adults. Sometimes it can be difficult to get the popsicle to release from it's mold, but these Tupperware molds released very easily.

I've collected popsicle molds over the years, but you really don't need any special equipment. You can make popsicles from everyday household items such as muffin tins, cupcake liners, paper cups, shot glasses, and juice glasses. Paper cups are especially nice because there is no fooling around with a mold, trying to get the popsicle to release itself. If using paper, you can simply tear the paper away and have at it. Wooden popsicle sticks are widely available everywhere, namely at places like Hobby Lobby and/or Michael's. I have even seen people use straws, cocktail stirrers, cocktail picks, bamboo skewers, lollypop sticks, chopsticks, plastic spoons, plastic toys, pretzel rods, chocolate rolled wafer cookies, biscotti, and cinnamon sticks as popsicle holders.

Today I made Ellie Krieger's Choco-Coco Pops from her new book, So Easy. The recipe is a mixture of one can lite coconut milk, 3 ounces dark chocolate, sugar, and vanilla. The mixture is cooked on the stovetop until the chocolate melts and the mixture is thickened. Once it has cooled, it is poured into popsicle molds and chilled for four hours. They were extremely tasty and are going fast, even on a cold and gloomy day like today!

*The reigning "Popsicle King"- Jackson

I have two cookbooks that I will be using for Popsicle of the Week. The first is called Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone by Krystina Castella ($11.48 Barnes and Noble). This book has chapters on Healthy Energy Pops, Fruit Juice Pops, Soda Fountain Pops, Cream and Pudding Pops, Coffee and Tea Pops, and Cocktail Pops. I think that this book is more for the adults and has some really nice, unique, and creative recipes.

The second cookbook, my favorite of the two, and the most family-friendly, is called Ice Pops "Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats" by Shelly Kaldunski. I found my copy at Williams-Sonoma, but so far it is not available online at Williams-Sonoma, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. I think it was just released and should become available shortly. This book is basic, easy, and has fantastic recipes for both children and adults. There are chapters for Fruity Ice Pops, Chocolate Ice Pops, Creamy Ice Pops, New Flavors for Ice Pops, and another chapter on Creative Shapes for Ice Pops.

Stay tuned.....there is going to be a fantastic giveaway for Shelly Kaldunski's Ice Pops Cookbook!

Popsicle of the Week will be featured each Monday for the next 12 weeks at least......... possibly longer!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Green Pea Salad

Moss's was an old steakhouse on the downtown strip of my hometown in Elyria, Ohio. Elyria, Ohio was never and is still not a mecca of fine dining. In fact, when I was a kid we had the four basic fast food chains: McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut. We had the neighborhood Friendly's, which me and my girlfriends wore out on a regular basis. We had two dining establishments in town and they were both steakhouses. One steakhouse was family-owned and the other was a chain restaurant. Back in the day, everyone use to go downtown to Moss's, because it was family-owned unlike that steakhouse out by the mall. I'm sure Moss's served up some wonderful steaks, but all I remember was their pea salad. Gosh was that stuff good!

As soon as you would take your seat at Moss's, the waitress would bring out a basket of soft bread and a jar of pea salad. Moss's pea salad was a mixture of peas, mayo, and shredded cheddar cheese. The idea was to take a scoop of the pea salad and spread it on the soft bread. It may sound strange at first, but it really is delicious. That darn pea salad was my entire reason for going to Moss's.

Imagine my surprise when I received my recent issue of Cooking with Paula Deen and there was a recipe for Pea Salad. I was even more surprised to find that Paula had actually lightened up the recipe. Yeah Paula!

Green Pea Salad
Adapted from the May Issue of Cooking with Paula Deen
Makes 4 servings
2 cups fresh or frozen peas, thawed (I used used frozen)
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
3 strips cooked and crumbled turkey bacon (I used regular bacon)
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayo
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
2 teaspoons rice win vinegar
In a large bowl, combine peas, egg. bacon, bell pepper, mayo, shallot, and vinegar. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Notes/Results: This is a great springtime or even summertime side dish! Instead of having the standard potato or macaroni salad at your next cookout or barbecue, try this green pea salad. It is the perfect addition to your grilled, barbecued, or even fried chicken. I really like how Paula lightened up this recipe by cutting the mayo with a bit of vinegar. The little chunks of egg and bacon add delicious flavor and color to the dish. This green pea salad is going to be a new side dish here at Stirring the Pot. It was a hit with everybody. Best of all, I don't even feel bad about eating it!

I am submitting this tasty green pea salad to Reeni at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice for her Side Dish Showdown.

I am also submitting this to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sundays roundup, a weekly roundup of soups, salads and sandwiches.

pinkalicious fun: cupcakes

It wouldn't be a true Pinkalicious party without the pink cupcakes. We ordered these from Dippidee in American Fork. They're the fun-size so they're perfect for little ones.

They were white cake with pink frosting and pink sparkly sprinkles.

Love these little plates and napkins. I bought them on clearance at Target months ago. Couldn't resist the pink and the polka dots and knew I'd use them for some occasion.

Ella goes straight for the frosting.

Mykel is going to love this. Kate misses the cupcake all together! :)

Sweet little Lizzy.

Our adorable granddaughter, Madi. Ella has started calling her Mads.