Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Having Fun - Jessica Sprague Card Class

I love the classes over at Jessica Sprague. If you do digital art and you have not been to her site, you should go. She offered a free class for making hybrid cards. Here's what I put together for the first class:

The papers come from LivEDesign, found at Jessica

These papers and elements come from LiveDesigns, Splendid Finns (both over at Jessica Sprague) and TADA (a company no longer around)

I can't wait to have these printed so that I can send them out!

Some friends are going on a road trip soon so I had them over to make a little snack for the drive. Many people know it as "Muddy Buddy" but we know it as candy crack. It is wonderful, super sweet and it will leave you wanting just a bit more.

Chex Muddy Buddy (from the Betty Crocker website)

9 cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex®, Wheat Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Feel Like I Can Fly or At Least Have Fun at Elitche's

Yesterday we have a family birthday party to celebrate Orlando's 12th birthday. We spent it at Elitche's. Orlando and Angelo love to hang out with Ethan.It think it makes them feel cool. They did lots of thrilling things, like "The Tower of Doom."

Amy watched and worried. They were cool about it.

Then Amy treated the boys to a ride on the "XLR8R" which is the tallest free fall swing ride in Colorado (and a bunch of other states, too, I'd imagine.) Orlando had always wanted to do it, but it was an extra fee. Amy was up for the treat. Here's how it goes:

You get the special gear on.

The operator gives you instructions and tips.

They hoist you up to the special hook that carries you up 150 feet into the air. One person pulls the orange cord once you are ready to fall. Ethan said that the first few seconds must have felt similar to what it feels like to skydive.

Then you swing back and forth a bunch of times.

Once it is over you feel pretty pumped up!
What a treat for the boys! Thanks, Sis!

This one is thrill enough for me. It is my favorite ride in the park. I used to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE roller coasters but ever since Ellie was born I find that I can't handle them very well. I was a little tempted by the Boomerang, but I was with my mom and sister who only love going on the sedate rides, like the Ghost Blaster.

They also spent time enjoying the waterpark.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bike From Work Bash

Yesterday we had some fun at:

Last year over 600 people attended this free event. By the look of the bike valet, I image there were at least that many this year.

There were some really good causes that had booths. Take Wishes for Wheels as an example. They pick a few Denver kindergarten classes. At the end of the year every kid in that class gets a bike and a helmet. In May they handed out 450 bikes. They are always happy to receive donations and volunteers to help assemble the bikes they get.

Another really cool one was the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge. They have three non-profits that will win award money. They ask people who bike, hike, walk, etc., to pick one and log the miles they go. The organization that has the most miles wins $50,000. We picked "Trips for Kids", an organization that gives bikes to kids and takes them on a ride. You can log on a clock your miles, too.

And of course, we are always thrilled to see the guys fro Yellow Designs perform!

This guy was stumping for riders to join in on the July 10th Big Wheel Rally in Boulder. He was a hoot, especially when he did the big BMX jump on his Green Machine.

There were lots of other things going on like free pizza, burritos, beer and wine. Salvagetti's bike shop hosted a fun game. They set up cones and prizes. The player took an old beat up bike with no tube or tire on the back and tried to push it the farthest or hit/run over one of the prizes. It sounds weird, but it was a lot of fun. Ethan won a box of Clif Builder Bars (very yum) and a $10 Happy Coffee gift certificate.

There was a company making shirts for donations. It was fun to watch him make it while you waited. We donated some cash and Ellie got a shirt that says:

There were some really fun bikes, many of them from the Denver Cruisers club:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lirbrains Do Lady GaGa and Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

This is what it means to not feel tired - I think I had forgotten. It is the first summer in 16 years where I don't have small, dependent children, am going to grad. school, teaching a summer school type program or have a very sick in-law. And I have to say, it is wonderful. I was totally popped each morning for the first two weeks of summer break, but now I feel refreshed. I have redesigned and planted a section of my garden, kept up with my online teaching, worked on some curriculum, am organizing photos from last year so that I can finally work on that digital scrapbook and hung out with The Girl. I think she is getting rejuvenated, too. I don't even have much laundry to do (Yeah!)I'm even almost ready to prep for some quilting!

Here's some fun:

Here's a quick and easy dish that I made to go with our Lemon Garlic Talapia that we had for dinner yesterday. Even Larr, who does not like cauiflower, liked it.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
4 cloves garlic (optional)
2 teaspoons olive oil (approx.)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. After removing the exterior leaves, rinse and pat dry your head of cauliflower. Trim the stem, and chop cauliflower into bite-sized florets. But, the florets and stems should be cut into roughly the same-sized pieces to ensure even roasting.

3. Toss the florets into a a large bowl or big baggie. Sprinkle the olive oil, salt, and pepper over the florets – then toss to coat them evenly. Place these on a large baking dish. The dish should be large enough to spread the cauliflower into a single layer (we used a 9 1/2 x 13 pan).

4. Carefully use the side of a large chopping knife to smash four whole cloves of garlic. Once smashed, the cloves should easily slide out of their papery exterior. Place the smashed cloves in the baking pan, and place the pan into the oven.

5. Cook the cauliflower for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, until they are softened, aromatic, and browned along the edges. I would recommend checking the cauliflower after 15 minutes and shaking the pan to prevent the florets from sticking. Additionally, you may wish to add a little more olive oil at this point to prevent sticking.

6. Remove pan from oven, serve, and enjoy! We really enjoyed this just as it is written here, but you could also add a few spices, some sesame seeds, sliced almonds, etc.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's a big day in our household. Ethan came back from a week long stay at Boy Scout camp and Ellie raced in the Colorado State Time Trial Championships.

Ethan has way more fun at camp than he had expected. He went down focused on earning three of the badges he needed in order to get close to being able to work on his Eagle.

Ethan was part of Super Troop since his own troop was not attending camp that week. Super Troop is made up of various boys from different troops. The boys stayed in canvas tents, most of them sleeping on cots. Ethan did not have a cot, which was only a problem a during the few nights that it rained. The end of his sleeping bag got a little wet during those nights.

After getting set up at Camp Vasquez, he was elected as the troop leader by his peers. Period 1 he did Environmental Science. Period 2, just down the mountain, was Communications at Camp Hollywood (the building with the computers and technical equipment). Then they had a lunch break. Period 3, Emergency Preparedness, was back up at Camp Vasquez. There was really not a lot of down time, but the boys still found time to hang out, teach each other card games (like Blind Man's Bluff.)

The theme this year is a western theme which means that there were fake gold nuggets that the boys earned, found and traded for stuff. One they had a big party with the everyone at camp. At one point, a troop leader, John, pretended to be a bandit. He came into the party, shooting his gun and dressed from head to toe in black. He was yellin' that Sheriff Kelse had stolen his town, his people and his gold. They lock hands and got into a finger duel with the bandit flipping Sheriff Kelse over. The sheriff won and put the bandit in stockades where the boys could throw stuff at him. The camp staff had erected an entire ghost town for the occasion. During outpost on Thursday night a bunch of the boys set up an economy. Some of them formed companies and went out to prospect for interesting rocks. Some boys prospectors, some where miners and a few were bosses. They included Ethan, Ryan and Andrew. They had a pretty good business going. The camp staff found out what was happening and told the boys that it was against "Leave No Trace" to do such things, so they could not take any away. A few boys tried to set up a black market. At one point the workers revolted and Ethan had to make an official statement on behave of the other bosses that there would not be any black market activities. On Friday night Ethan learned how to make a money's fist knot from a staff member. There was also a flag ceremony where Ethan was awarded the Baden Powell Award for being one of the best scouts who models living by the Scout law. He also received a Ranch Award. The staff liked Ethan so much that they tried to convince him to come back down and be on camp staff. Ethan was very pleased with the offer, but could not accept the offer as he starts work with Jeffco Open Space on Monday. On Saturday Ethan came home happy, but tired and hungry. There had been a black bear about 40 feet from his troop tent area. He stayed up much of the night to make sure the bear did not attack. He had been alerted that the bear was in camp. He was looking out and could not see it in the dark of the night. Suddenly a camp truck drove up and started honking. It turns out that the staff was chasing it out of camp and back into the wilderness. It was a lot of excitement!

Ellie had a great time racing. She had a very competitive group this year with several girls who left from the race to go to Nationals in Bend, OR. She placed 5th, but was within less than a minute than the person who came in third.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Priming for Father's Day

In anticipation of Sunday and Father's day, my father-in-law called up to arrange a BBQ. Rex's family will bring the burgers. He asked us to bring the side dishes. He asked for deviled eggs (My mother's specialty. Sadly, I do not think I inherited the deviled egg gene from my mother. Maybe Ellie did since they are so alike.) and potato salad. The standard All American potato salad does not do much for me so I am hunting around. I asked Don if he is actually set on having that. Luckily, he is flexible. Here's what I am considering:

Roasted Potato Salad

via the Dogs Breakfast

Serves 4 as a side dish

NOTES We’ve sometimes added bacon or lardons to this salad, or used sliced shallots instead of Vidalia onions. You can also think of adding dill, or chervil, or whatever mild herbs you like, just be sure to use a generous amount of tarragon. The roasted potatoes do not refrigerate well. You can also make this using unpeeled boiled potatoes, it makes a lighter-tasting salad that does keep well in the fridge.

4 pounds of fingerling potatoes
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
about 2/3 C olive oil
a Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
½ C fresh tarragon leaves
½ C Italian parsley leaves
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1. Clean and dry the potatoes. Cut them, unpeeled, into bite-sizes pieces, toss them with olive oil, salt, and a little pepper, and roast them in a 400ยบ oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden and crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside.

2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Pour the vinegar into a salad bowl, and whisk in enough salt to balance the vinegar’s acidity. Add the pepper and mustard, and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil in a thin stream while whisking. Add the Vidalia onions and fresh herbs, and let them macerate in the vinaigrette while the potatoes finish cooking.

3. When the potatoes are done, let them cool for about 20 minutes before adding them to the salad bowl and tossing them gently to coat with the vinaigrette. Let the salad rest for a few minutes before serving so the potatoes can absorb the flavours, then taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.

---------- Or maybe---

That Good Salad


* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 2 heads romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
* 2 cups chopped tomatoes
* 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
* 2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
* 1 cup Caesar salad croutons


1. In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; cover and shake well. Chill. In a bowl, toss romaine, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, almonds if desired, Parmesan cheese and bacon. Shake dressing; pour over salad and toss. Add croutons and serve immediately.


Grilled Potato, Corn and Bell Pepper Salad
Serves 4-6
print Printer Friendly Recipe

1.5 lbs. small potatoes (I used small redskin)
2 ears corn
2 bell peppers (I used red), cut in half
1 large vidalia or red onion, cut in half or in quarters (thick slices)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley

2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
3 Tbsp. good quality balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Grill all the vegetables. Here’s what we did:

Scrub the potatoes and add them (whole) with cold water in a saucepan/pot. Bring to a boil, add some salt, and cook until JUST tender. A fork should be able to go into the potato, but it should still take a little effort. Cool them slightly and then slice them in half lengthwise.

Toss or lightly brush all the vegetables with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Then, start grilling. You’ll want to start the corn first, followed by the peppers and onions. Since the potatoes are pretty much cooked, they can go on last. Grill until there are noticeable char marks on the vegetables and the peppers and onions are tender.

Cut the corn off the ears, and slice the peppers and onions into strips. Combine all of that with the potatoes and the parsley.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together the garlic and the balsamic vinegar. Slowly drizzle the oil in, while continuing to whisk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly toss the vegetables with the dressing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cherry Creek Farmer's Market and Carnes Asada

It was such a lovely day today. After fixing breakfast for Larr and sending him off to work, I mowed our front lawn with a push mower, trimmed some of the bushes, weeded parts of the flower gardens and felt generally pleased with the work I accomplished before it got too hot to be outside and working enough to break a sweat. It made me feel good. After that I headed to the Cherry Creek Farmer's Market. I love going as often as I can. They are open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, though I hardly ever make it on Saturdays. I had a grand time.

I scored big at the Palizza Farm booth where the person working the booth was wonderful, inviting and knowledgeable. The prices were great, too. I sampled the shelling peas and found them to be almost like candy. Thinking my family would enjoy them, I purchased a few pounds. I also got small new potatoes, cucumbers and a gorgeous head of cauliflower.

I also enjoyed the various flower vendors. I wish that I had a spare ten dollars that I could have used to get one of these bouquets. I think they were a wonderful deal. Peonies are one of my favorite flowers and I love how they smell. Which one would you want to take home? I think the person who put them together did such a lovely job. I would not have thought to put in the bits of wheat which contrast so nicely with the soft pedals.

One of the first booths I visited was "Over the Moo" which offers lactose and gluten free ice cream made with coconut milk. I tried the vanilla and the chocolate, opting to get some right before I left since I knew it would melt quickly. The owner is a great young lady who had been stricken with an awful illness that completely changed how she eats. She created these desserts so that others like her could have fun stuff to eat.

I had a hard time deciding what to have for lunch. I loved the look of the Denver Biscuit, but was not in the mood for bread.
I went for Mexican Street style food over at the Pinche Taco truck. It was hard deciding what to get. In the end I picked the Asada because the ones that were coming out of the delivery window looked so good.I imagine it was all great. I so enjoyed it that I decided I would make them for my family. You can see the recipe I used below.

I also tried a few things at the Raw Shanti Bar. By that time my money was spoken for, but I plan on visiting them next week. I am not sure if I will go for the flax seed crackers or one of the fabulous macaroons. When I asked the owner, Josh, for a business card, he gave me one attached to a small bag of some tasty looking mix that can go on yogurt or in cookie. I am excited to try it.

Here's a variation on Carnes Asada.
I was inspired and guided by the one found at, but had to make a few modifications based on what I had on hand and what my family likes.

Carne Asada

1 Flat Iron Steak (1 skirt steak or 2 hanger steaks)


juice of 1 limes
1/4 C olive oil
(1/4 C minced cilantro - I did not have this)
(1-2 Serrano chillies minced (to taste) - I omitted this)

1 Tbs minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin seed
2 tsp kosher salt (less if using table salt)
black pepper to taste
(1 Tbs pureed kiwi (optional)I did not have this)

(1/4 C sweet onions minced - I did not have this)
(1/4 cilantro minced -I did not have this)
Avocado, cubed
Queso Fresa Cheese (Cheddar would be fine, but different from this)
Fresh lime juice

1 batch of homemade tortillas (You can serve this without a tortillas, or you can serve them on corn tortillas for a wheat free option. It is the more authentic way to do it.)

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a container with a lid that will fit the meat. Kiwi has a powerful enzyme called actinidin that breaks down protein, making it a great addition to the marinade if you don’t plan on letting the meat marinate overnight. Taste it and add more salt or sugar if needed. It should be relatively salty, but not so salty that it burns your tongue. The sugar is a personal preference thing. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar.

Cut the marinaded meat into small bite size pieces and saute in a stir fry style. Be careful to not overcook the meat.
(Here's her recommendations: When you’re ready to grill the meat, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. This helps ensure the Carne Asada will cook evenly. If you’re using a broiler, move the rack to the top position and turn the broiler on high, with a grilling rack on top of a baking sheet. Scrape any excess marinade off the meat and place the meat on the grill. Cook until nicely browned on one side, flip and brown the other side. Skirt steak will cook much faster than hanger steak, so be careful not to overcook it.

Transfer the Carne Asada to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife to roughly chop up the meat then add it to a bowl with the sweet onions, cilantro, and any juices that accumulated on the baking sheet or cutting board.

Serve the Carne Asade with fresh tortillas and Pico De Gallo.)

I served mine by placing the shredded Queso Fresca and some avacado on a tortilla, adding the meat and squeezing a bit of lime over everything.

We thought this was very tasty. Too bad Ethan is away at camp and did not get to try this one. I'll have to make it again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Snicker Doodles, Silly Putty and Beginning to Feel Freed Up

Here's the beautiful spot from Mount Falcon overlooking Morrison in the morning. Larr supervises trail building during the summer and gets paid to go hiking from time to time.

Here's how it looked in Golden during the hail storm in the afternoon.

Friday, before the rain hit, I spent some serious time in the front garden, the very spot that the family helped me weed and turn over. I stirred in some compost and top soil, all the while visions of plants played in my mind. So often my gardens have been a bit of what is already there, a bit of what I get from friends or from Eleanor's garden and a few of my desires added in. This time I spent a lot of time looking through gardening books for Colorado, examining the cool pre-planned gardens over at High Country Gardens and scouring the local garden nurseries. While I could not find all of the plants I dreamed of, I found a few that I love. Just as I got them in the ground the rain began to fall. As I retreated indoors Larr called to say that there was golf ball size hail in the mountains. I had Ellie dump out the laundry baskets, I gathered boxes, camping chairs, etc. and began covering the garden. Ellie and I stood, transfixed for a short while, as the wall of hail descended into Edgewater, over the tree tops at our neighbor's house and onto our yard. By the time it got to us the hail had taken itself down a few notches, only coming in at about gumball size. Up in the mountains it hailed enough for the plows to go out and clear the 6" deep mess of marble size hail. My garden fared well and seems to be happy in the near constant rain that we have had for days.

Ethan spent Saturday hosting an airsoft battle. Ellie spent it finally feeling better after sporting a high fever, sore throat and aches, with plenty of pains for the last few days. Larr and I watched "Sparticus" while we tackled too much laundry. It feels good to be getting out from under the burden of piled up choirs. I finally am beginning to feel a bit freed up. I am going to clean up my craft room and see what I might be inspired to create. While doing laundry I ironed much of the hand dyed fabric I've made recently. I'll be sure to post some photos of those. They should be inspiration enough.

Part of cleaning up a bit included removing silly putty from Ellie's bed set. In a fit of boredom she used her glow in the dark silly putty to make stars on her ceiling. In the morning she found that they had fallen down and become smeared and ground into her sheets and her comforter. With the aid of rubbing alcohol, a butter knife and some cotton balls I was able to remove all traces of the stuff - hurray!

Here's some nice recipes for a cold summer night:

Yolanda's Famous Chicken (from Cooking Light, July 2010)

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half and 1 lemon wedge)

2 (1 1/2-ounce) bread slices
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon 2% reduced-fat milk
1 large egg
Cooking spray
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
4 lemon wedges


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Tear bread into pieces. Place bread in a food processor; pulse until breadcrumbs measure about 1 3/4 cups.

3. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound chicken to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.

4. Place flour in a shallow dish. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a second shallow dish. Combine milk and egg in a third shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Working with 1 breast half at a time, dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Dip into egg mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat evenly on both sides. Place chicken on a large plate. Repeat procedure with remaining breast halves, flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumb mixture; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray; add 2 teaspoons olive oil, swirling to coat. Add 2 breast halves to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat chicken with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and remaining breast halves. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Serve with lemon wedges.

Snicker Doodle Cookies (Crispy or Soft)

Here's the recipe if you want thin, crispy cookies:
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 tea Vanilla Extract
2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you are using salted (regular) butter)
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

(For soft, puffy cookies use shortening in place of the butter and increase the Cream of Tar Tar to 2 teaspoons.)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F .
2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter/shortening and 1 1/2 cups of white sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs, blending well after each. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; stir into the batter until just blended.
3. Roll the dough into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, but still soft.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lemon Bars and a Colorful Knit Beanie

I've been working on a series of colorful knitted hats. The first one began just for the sheer joy of working with bold colors (I'm all about color!) It was lots of stripes of colors, but I did not like the way I carried the yarn throughout the hat. The method I used with that hat created a bump or bulge where the fibers climbed through the inside of the hat. It did not bother Ellie, so she asked for that hat. So I made another hat, using a different method to carry the colors. I liked it much better. So did Christy, so it went home with her. I was a bit more creative and funky with the varying stripe widths. I still had some yarn left over, but not quite enough, so I augmented it with a few new colors and set off to try again. This time I mixed it up a bit more and carried the colors in two directions. This is my favorite of this series. Ellie loves it, too. I guess a girl cannot have too many hats. We both like the vertical stripe section best. I may have to do a fourth hat with just those kinds of patterns. I still have a small bit of yarn in my bag...
It is a simple pattern using #3 needles I cast on 90 stitches and make a band. Then I add one stitch every ten stitches and change to a stockinette stitch (100 total) which is knit until it is about ___ inches long. I then begin reducing every tenth stitch, then every ninth stitch, and so on.

I'm also enjoying having a bit of time to bake:
Lemon (or Lime) Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup lemon (or lime) juice (2-3 lemons, juiced)
Zest of one Lemon
Powdered Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. It should look something like sand. Gently Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.It does not need to be very neat, just evenly spread. Mixing or playing with it will result in an overly hard shortbread crust.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/12 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour over the baked crust.

5. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool. For a festive tray, make another pan using limes instead of lemons and adding a drop of green food coloring to give a very pale green. Dust the top of the lemon/lime bars with powdered sugar. After both pans have cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares and arrange in a checker board fashion.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Recipes, Paper Crafts and Inspiration

I'm close to jumping into summer and I've got too much to recap from just the last week or so. I'll delay it a bit and share some recipes, as well as some inspiring links instead.

Here's what I made for Larr's lunch that is hiker friendly:

Pepperoni Pasta Salad
Yield: 10 servings
Time: 20 minutes + 1 hour refrigeration
Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!

1 -16 oz package multicolored pasta
1 small can olives
3 large carrots
1 green pepper
1/2 bunch green onions
2 tomatoes (or 1/2 C sun-dried tomatoes)
3/4 C pepperoni
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
2 T olive oil
1 T Johnny's Garlic Seasoning
1 t sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing (I use Light)

1. Boil up your pasta, rinse in cool water and set it aside in a large bowl.
2. Chop up your veggies and the pepperoni.
3. Add all ingredients, but the Zesty Italian Dressing to the pasta and mix well.
4. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
5. Just before serving pour the Zesty Italian Dressing on to taste.


Here's one that I copied from The Cooking Photographer. She changed it up for ButterYum.

Lemon Vinaigrette
2 teaspoons finely grated lemons zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed to wet pasta

Blend the lemon zest and juice, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette to taste with more salt and pepper.

1 pound cappelletti (Hat shaped pasta)
1/2 pound diced ripe tomatoes
16 ounce tub fresh mozzarella pearls, drained
Lemon vinaigrette
Lots of fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the cappelletti according to the directions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Move the pasta to a large serving bowl and toss together with the rest of the ingredients.

Notes: I rewrote the recipe so the above picture could be copied, but this recipe idea belongs to Patricia from ButterYum. Visit her picture by picture instructions at

Lemon vinaigrette recipe belongs to Giada De Laurentiis. Picture and write-up by Laura Flowers.

Or how about some cinnamon rolls? My friend, Laura, called me this morning and we had virtual breakfast together. She was eating cinnamon rolls, I was prepping for a meeting at my house so I made some for my meeting. I wanted to try a new recipe. This is one I snagged from It is a nice, less dense and not too sweet version that we all enjoyed:

Cinnamon Rolls II from


* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 3 tablespoons softened butter
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/3 cup white sugar
* 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
* 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 tablespoons milk


1. In saucepan, heat 1/2 cup milk, water, and 2 tablespoons butter until very warm. Place milk mixture, salt, flour, yeast, sugar, and eggs in the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle. Press Start.
2. Once Dough cycle is complete, remove the dough from the bread machine and punch down. On a floured surface, roll into a large rectangle. Smear with the softened butter. Combine the cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar. Sprinkle over the rectangle. Generously sprinkle the raisins and/or chopped nuts over the top.
3. Roll the dough up into a log starting at the long side. Cut into 12 slices. Place the rolls cut side down into a 9x13-inch greased baking pan. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Combine the confectioners' sugar, 1.5 tablespoons melted butter, vanilla extract, and 1.5 tablespoons milk into a thick frosting; set aside.
5. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool 10 minutes. Spread frosting over baked rolls and enjoy.

If you happen to have a few minutes to spare you can find some wonderful inspiration over at:

Paper Crave's review of the National Stationary Show. part I and part II

Paislee Press has fun scrapbooking and party stuff.

Rebecca Thuss
has some really fun, inspiring paper goods, especially for parties.

If you want a great international theme summer playlist, check out the one that Molly Irwin shared on her blog.

Then to round it out, be sure to check out this amazing paper sculpture by a young Japanese college student. It took him four years to make and includes a fully functional train, as well as lights. It is by Itoh Wataru: