Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back to Cards

Someone asked me to stop with the recipes and get back to the cards - so here I am posting some of my latest creations.
A friend asked me to design some bridal shower invitations - these are what I came up with. The stamp set is retired but one of my favorite bridal sets. The cards all use Wild Wasabi, Perfect Plum, Baja Breeze and So Saffron. They are all spritzed with the Vanilla Smooch. They are all colored using the Watercolor Crayons.

This one uses one of the new embossing folders - the rows of hearts at the bottom.

This card uses one of the frame embossing folders. The large oval punch fits perfectly in the frame.

Here a variety of circles and scallop circles were used. It is embossed with Elegant Lines embossing folder.

And here I used strips of card stock as the background for the image. This would be a great way to use up some scraps.

This was the 'winner'. She liked this layout but originally I had used the polka dot embossing folder and she wanted the Elegant Lines. No problem! I decorated the envelopes to coordinate with the invitations.

Here you can see more of the envelope. They did turn out nicely. Congrats to the bride and groom - many years of happiness!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Veggies, veggies and more veggies

The produce baskets we have been purchasing every two weeks really are a good deal - and they have sparked my joy of cooking. I admit I had been in a real rut with my meal planning - frozen entree, frozen veggies and maybe a packaged salad. Getting the fresh veggies forces me to look for recipes we might like and pull out some old ones.
The zucchini in this week's basket sent me to my recipe boxes (I have 3 of them) and searching for some old recipes I knew I had. The recipe boxes were in a terrible mess so I spent some time this morning sorting and rearranging them - but did find the recipes I was looking for and another one that looks hopeful for the next time we receive zucchini.

For lunch I made Italian Zucchini Pie. DH was at work and DD#2 is away for the weekend at a retreat, so I decided to pamper myself with some home cooking instead of the cold sandwich and salad that I had planned. You can find my recipe here,
Italian Zucchini Pie

I added a bowl of fresh fruit (the kiwi was also in our produce basket) and had a very nice meal. I did not let it sit for the full 10 minutes so fell apart a little when I served it but the second slice (yes, I had a second one) served up just as pretty as could be.

The other zucchini recipe that I dug out was a Cucumber Salad that had a note at the bottom that you can use zucchini instead of the cucumber. DH loves cucumber so I thought I would see if I could get him to eat this. I had a medium cucumber in the frig so I combined the zucchini and cucumber. The recipe can be found here, Cuke/Zuke Salad. (I think if I used all zucchini it would taste different. The cucumber taste spread throughout the salad so it was pretty hard to tell which was cuke and which was zuke when we ate it).

We also got some fresh asparagus in the basket. I have never cooked fresh asparagus. I grew up on canned and have recently cooked frozen quite a bit. I like it and DH eats it although not his favorite side dish. I planned to make an asparagus risotto but with all the pie crust I ate at lunch thought I should try something lighter and the orange asparagus appealed to me because we also have a bunch of oranges to eat up from the produce basket. Fresh orange zest and orange juice sure do make a difference in a recipe. The asparagus tasted so fresh and almost like summer (considering the temps are frigid and we had a dusting of snow this morning - that was no easy task). Here is a link to the Orange Asparagus recipe.

Our lovely supper consisted of the Orange Asparagus, Cuke/Zuke Salad and a Turkey Mignon (okay - so I did use a frozen entree - these are Schwan's and we love them - turkey wrapped in bacon complete with a little pop-up to let you know when it is done - super quick on the George Foreman!)
And - what did DH think of the meal - he loved the cucumber salad and could not tell there was zucchini in it. After he ate it I confessed and he was shocked. He told me he would eat it if I fixed it like that. ( He also promised to try the Zucchini Pie - maybe lunch tomorrow).
He loved the way I dressed up the asparagus - so I would say the meal was a big hit.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The family ate eggplant - and enjoyed it !

We got an eggplant in the produce basket this week. The family has never been very receptive to eggplant. So - I began my search for a recipe I thought they might like. Of course, my experience with eggplant has been Ratatouille (not a big hit) or Eggplant Parmigiana (seemed like a lot of work and between frying the vegetable in oil and thick breading defeated my purpose of healthier meals)
I found a community recipe on Weight Watchers online that sounded like it might be the answer. Instead of heavily breading the eggplant, the recipe uses egg white and dried bread crumbs for a light breading. No frying in oils but baking the breaded slices helped cut down the calories/points.
Now - to just get the family to eat it. DD helped me assemble the layers which is always a good way to get someone interested in a new dish. DH was really hungry by the time dinner was ready so that might have helped too. I also made some homemade dinner rolls so there was plenty for him to fill up on if he didn't care for the eggplant. He was not enthused to say the least.

The family concensus was - "That was good!" I even have DH's approval to make it again. It was very tasty - and with the dinner roll and some fresh veggies you have a meal. You can find my version of the recipe here, Baked Eggplant Parmigiana

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Orange Chicken and Broccoli

I still have a bunch of broccoli to use up from the produce basket we purchased almost 2 weeks ago.

We have had kale, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower - experimenting with some new recipes and some old trusted one. One bunch of broccoli was used for a broccoli salad (craisins, sliced almonds, onions and mayo dressing). The other has waited patiently in the soda frig in the garage.

I tried a new weight watchers recipe - with a few changes. The original recipe is Lemon Chicken and Broccoli. I had oranges to use from the produce basket too so I made substitutions for the zest and juice. It was pretty good! I will definitely make this one again. And it was only 5 points (without the rice - that added another 5 - but that is basically a full meal - add some fresh veggies or tonight we had some pickled beets - and you have a meal).

Orange Chicken with Broccoli (4 servings - 5 Points Plus each)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
2 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour (divided)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
1 tsp minced garlic
2 1/2 cup uncooked broccoli, small florets and cut up stems
2 tsp orange zest
Juice of one orange

Cut chicken into thin slices or bite size pieces. Place in a large bowl and toss with the flour, sale and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet until water sizzles. Place chicken in skillet in a single layer and cook until lightly browned - about 5 minutes - turning as needed. Remove to a plate.
Put 1 cup of the broth and the garlic in the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping the browned chicken pieces from the skillet. Add broccoli, cover and cook 1 minute.

In a small cup, stir together remaining 1/2 cup of broth, 1/2 tablespoon flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt, add to skillet and bring to a simmer over low heat.

Cover and cook until broccoli is crisp tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in chicken and orange zest; heat through.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in orange juice.

Serve over rice.

I should have taken some photos but didn't - maybe next time.