Monday, November 29, 2010

OhMiGawd Chocolate Chip Pie

Yes, that's right my friends, I made a pie today.

My sister shared the recipe from this blog post from The Passionate Penny Pincher blog.

It's really called Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie, but trust me when I say this: when you take a bite, you'll go "OhMiGawd". It's deserving of the name.

So you probably have guessed that I prefer cooking to baking. I'm just not much of a baker. But when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try. It got 4 thumbs up in my household for both taste, and ease!

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter (splurge..the butter is worth it)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
6 oz package of chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla
9 inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the flour & sugar.
Add melted butter and blend well.
Stir in eggs, chocolate chips, pecans and vanilla.
Pour mixture into pie crust.
Bake for approx 1 hour or until golden brown (I did mine for 50 minutes).
Pie will wiggle when it comes out of the oven, but will set as it cools.

Don't wait until the next holiday to make this pie. Your family will thank you! (your waistline, however, probably will not).

Enjoy your new day!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Visit A Homemade Christmas by the Scrap Shoppe!

My friend Michele is hosting A Homemade Christmas at her blog. That's right - 3 weeks of crafts, decor, and recipes!

Check it out:

Hint: I'll be guest posting during the recipe week.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Shaved My Legs

I shaved my legs last night.
Not because I had a hot date.
Or because I had a cute (short) skirt I wanted to wear.
Or because I was going to the pool/beach.
Not because I hoped I was going to get lucky.
But because my legs itched.

Yeah. That's when I realized I'm old.

I'd just shaved my legs, because it'd been too long, and my legs itched.

And then I started thinking - how LUCKY am I that the only reason I have to shave my leg is because I feel the need to do so.

I don't have a boyfriend who nags me to shave them, he never even mentions it. Ok, probably because he's a guy, and just doesn't notice. But still!

I mean, I never expected to end up with a guy like mine.
He's a city boy, and I'm kinda a country girl.
He's a die hard Yankees fan, and I H.A.T.E the Yankees. Yeah, it's a strong word, but I really do hate them. Detest them even.
He likes crowded cities, and a go-go pace.
I like wide open spaces, and time to relax and enjoy life.
He loves NFL. I love NCAA football.
I love animals, he's allergic. (yeah, this one is a tough one!)
I love(d) country music, he hates it.

Seriously, if I had made a list of the interests I hoped my partner in life would have, he wouldn't have made the the final cut.

Had I made a list of the characteristics I hoped to find in a partner, well buddy - there I hit the jackpot.
Thoughtful. This guy is so very thoughtful - he bought me perfume this weekend, because he knew I wanted it. Just because.
Caring. When I'm sick, he wants to know if he needs to pick up anything on the way home from work. When I'm stressed out at work, he does his best to distract me and make me relax.
Easy going. This is from an actual conversation that happens a couple of times a week
Me: "what do you want to do for dinner"
Him: "whatever you want to do"
or this variation:
Me: "how do you feel about ____ for dinner tonight?"
Him: "sounds great"
Realist: he's down to earth, he gets what's going on in the world, and he cares enough about me to send me articles he thinks I'd be interested in (whether he is or not).
Helpful: he helps around the house, without me having to ask (much less nag). He gets up to feed the dogs before I remember to (speaking of...I'm 23 minutes late feeding them - if he'd been out here, he would have fed them on the dog!). 
Giving: He will go with me to anything I want to do, whether or not he wants to do, and he won't gripe about it. Example: he went to the rodeo with me. Just once, and I learned my lesson. Poor guy...what a disaster! By the by..I go watch MMA fights with him, and I really hate that stuff. Just another lesson in compromises.

This guy is so good to me. I couldn't ask for a better partner to spend my life with. And I can't help but think that if I had this list of interests that were "must haves", I'd never have considered him. I'm so thankful that I did, and that I do have him.

We watch sports together. I still curse the Yankees. He tells me everyone hates a winner. I tell him that if they are paying that much for a team, they should win every year. Blah blah blah.
He watches my FSU Seminoles. I watch NFL (as much as I can stand). We both hate the Dallas Cowboys (this has been a fun year!).
We don't listen to music together (much).
He has lots of allergy meds, and I think he actually likes the pugs. He'll deny it of course.
I don't drag him out into the country much, and he's shown me the "local" side of NYC.
We watch NASCAR together (yes, I've converted him on that point!), and have even gone to a race.
We play Wii together, and sometimes I even win. Until he spends his free time playing so he can make sure I don't win. (he doesn't much like to lose..go figure).

I could go on and on. What I really want to say is this: I'm so thankful that I have this guy in my life. He's nothing like I expected, and yet, so much more. Hon - thank you. You rock, and I appreciate you so much.

Yeah, all that cuz I shaved my legs. Next week: washing my hair. Can you stand the anticipation???

Enjoy your new day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Big Time Baby!

Milestone Culinary Arts Center hosted an evening with Ming Tsai as he celebrated (ahem..marketed) his latest book: Simply Ming - One Pot Meals. (wow, three links, one sentence!)

The evening included wine before/during/after the demo, a buffet meal of Chef Tsai's dishes, and a personalized autographed copy of Chef Tsai's book. All this for the bargain price of $75. Seriously.worth.every.penny.

Let's start with the Milestone Culinary Arts Center. It's located in the uptown area of Dallas - and is an AMAZING venue. They had a lovely space for receptions, a demo theater, and a teaching kitchen. The space is beautifully decked out with various Viking appliances and cabinet options. It's the un-store, store part of it. I would love to have a reception, party, or take classes here through the Viking Cooking School.

I could go on and on - because the facility and the chefs were just incredible.

I know you're really curious to hear about Ming Tsai. So I won't dither dather on any longer.

Quite simply, Ming Tsai is incredible. He's HYSTERICAL, in a crusty-sarcastic-chef sort of way. Right - my kind of people. He's an amazing chef too. If you didn't know, he's currently competing to win The Next Iron Chef competition on Food Network. He wouldn't tell us any thing, except that he made it to final 4, and the last challenge was in Vegas (which was the episode that aired on Sunday).

Chef Tsai's One Pot Meals cookbook is based on the premise of quick, healthy, and affordable meals. Quick: since all meals are made in one pot, clean up is easier. Healthy: fresh ingredients, readily available in most supermarkets. Affordable: a meal for 4, under $20. Seriously - who isn't looking for these three things?? I'm so looking forward to trying some of these dishes, and learning more about Asian flavors. (yes, I'll blog them for you!)

Chef Tsai demo'd his "Mom's Vinegared Shrimp" recipe for us - it was later one of the items on the buffet dinner we had. SO GOOD. So, so very good.

Here are a couple of pics from the demo:

And here's a pic of me with Chef Tsai (tongue tied, as usual):

I really enjoyed our evening, and can't wait for another opportunity like this! 

Enjoy your new day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Or, uhm, winners.

Cuz I couldn't choose just 1!

Drumroll please! says...

And...#6 is AMBER!

For our NEXT winner..Drumroll...... says...

And ...#13 is MELISSA!

One more...drumroll please!

And...#9 is TRICIA!

Congrats ladies! I will contact you via Facebook with next steps on how to get your pendant.

Thanks to ALL of you for the very kind comments. I hope you have fun making your own jewelry!

Enjoy your new day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mom's White Chicken Chili

Ok, so it's not my mom's original recipe, but it's a popular one! I borrowed it from her, and love to make it when the weather turns cool. Don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients - it's really pretty easy!

1 stick of butter (don't skimp - go get the good stuff!)
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper (black pepper is fine too)
1 sm can green chilis
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 lb chicken breast
4 oz sour cream
1/4 cup flour
white kidney beans
1 tsp tabasco (or cayenne)

--boil chicken w/ 1/2 tsp garlic until tender; set aside (or cheat, and used the sliced/grilled chicken you can find in the deli meat section, cube it up into bite-sized pieces)
--saute onion, 1 tsp garlic, 2 tbsp butter ~10 minutes (if you used the cheat above, just add all the garlic here)
--remove mixture from pot, lower heat
--melt remaining butter on low heat
--wisk flour to make a roux; let it brown up before continuing on
--add broth & milk, wisking constantly
--bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer
--simmer 20 min, stir occassionally
--add sour cream
--top w/ cheese before serving (I use monterey jack here to keep with the theme!)

Don't forget to comment on this blog post for your chance to win a custom pendant.

It's (almost) a new day!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How do you DO that??

I know you've been on pins and needles waiting for me to post the tutorial for the glass charms.

Well folks, the wait is over!

So let's go.

First: gather your supplies:

That's right - 4 adhesives! Here's the supply list:
ModPodge (acid free)
Glossy Accents (or Diamond Glaze)
Acid Free Liquid Adhesive (I like Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue)
Ball Chain
Ball Chain Connectors (packet on left)
Glue-on Bails (packet on right)
Glass Tiles
Craft knife

Choose either photos, or patterned paper you love. For this example, I'm using photos as the focal point of the pendants. My printer has settings that allow me to print in wallet size or smaller, which work well for these pendants.

Ready? here we go!
1. Trim your photo:
for the DFW Pug Rescue charms I did, the picture took up almost the entire charm. therefore, very little trim was needed:

I needed a little more trimming with the charms for SNPR:

Steps 1 & 2

for the rest of this post, I'll focus on the SNPR charms.
2. Add a layer of ModPodge over the photos (to seal the ink, and keep it from running). Now, this is very important. LET IT DRY.

That's right, walk away. Let it dry.

3. Choose a pattern paper to act as the background for your photo/charm. In this case, I chose a black & white pattern to pop the color on our pampered SNPR pug (left side of photo below). Adhere the photo to the background paper, being sure to leave plenty of border for the tiles to fit in. I use the Tombow Mono to adhere this step (quick drying).

Steps 3 & 4
4. Adhere the glass tiles to the photo/background paper using Glossy Accents or Diamond Glaze (right and bottom row). do your best to get an even coat over the entire tile.

And then walk away again. Let them dry!!

5. Take a craft knife or very sharp pair of scissors and split the tiles. Then trim away any excess paper. Your charms should now look like this:

Now, if you really wanted to, you could skip the next step and cruise on down to Step #8 where you add the bails. But I'm a stickler for details, and I couldn't have a blank backing.

6. Using either ModPodge or the Tombow Mono, adhere another patterned paper to the backside of the charms. I used two different scraps for the charms below:

Once again, let them dry. Walk away...

7. Add a thin layer of Glossy Accents to the paper backing to seal them in. This is also a good place to reseal any spots where the Glossy Accents didn't adhere to the glass tile.

ok - you know the drill. Walk away...let them dry.

8. Whew, finally! Time to add the bails. Break out the E6000 (you may want to make sure you have decent ventilation - this stuff is seriously stinky!), and adhere the bails to the back of the charms.

Uh huh, you guessed it. Give them some drying time.

Are you humming the jeopardy theme song yet?

Well, that's it! You now have charms! Errr, pendants. I can't vouch for your charms, or lack of...wouldn't dare. Nope, nuh unh. Not me.


The glass tiles are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. The ones above were 1.75" squares.

I've also done some earrings (using a handmade asian paper): 

Gorgeous, huh?? And super easy!!!!

Ok, so I also promised to spill my secret dealer supplier. Or not so secret. Before I do, I want to say that I am sharing this seller with you b/c I've had great dealings with her, and have been very happy with the quality of her products. I'm not famous talented important anything enough to receive any sort of endorsements, yadda yadda yadda. I did shop around (the internet), and liked her prices best.

The adhesives can all be found at your local Joann's, Michaels, Hobby Lobby or other craft store.

I like to get my glass tiles, ball chain, fasteners and bails from Kristens Krafts, an Etsy seller.

I shared this technique with my crafty and creative friend Kim (who has two fledgling Etsy shops - check them out - Jewelry and Charms and Sugar Skulls and Goth Fun).

She came up with this uber cool Dorothy pendant:

And the back is red glitter!!! Doncha just LOVE it?

(If you're quick, she just put it into her Jewelry & Charms Etsy shop: Deconstructed Dorothy)

What are you inspired to create? Do you have a photo that you'd like to see as a pendant?

Tell me about it (via comment here on my blog), and I'll choose a random winner to create a custom pendant for you. Contest closes 3pm CT on Monday, Nov 8th. One entry per person...US only please.

For an extra chance to win, follow me via Google Reader, or any other RSS feed. Just leave a 2nd comment letting me know how you follow my blog.

It's a new day!