Saturday, November 27, 2010

Craft Project: Celery Stamp Rosebud Wrapping Paper

While browsing a blog called Creature Comforts I came across an easy craft project. I'm a big fan of craft projects, but rarely do anything crafty anymore. So, when I came across this do-it-yourself wrapping paper project a couple months ago I promised myself I'd try it for Christmas this year & I'm very glad I did; it was a lot of fun :)

After you review the step-by-step directions on the Creature Comforts blog, you may find my tips below to be helpful:

1) I used white Kraft paper purchased from Michael's instead of tissue paper or paper bags. However, I did buy plain gifts bags to stamp too.

2) Some celery stock bases make better stamps than others. I bought six & 3-4 worked very well.

Below is my best stamp. I wiped it off & used it for 2 different colors.

3) I pressed my celery stock stamp into the paint, then gently onto a paper plate to rid it of excess paint. Or, you leave the excess & stamp your paper 2-3 times to make a variety of darker & lighter rosebuds. The lighter rosebuds are perfect for overlapping with other colors. I found that red looked very nice over a shade of light pink.

4) Grouping stamps in threes or fours looks very nice, as opposed to randomly stamping all over the paper.

Below are the colors that worked best for my Christmas wrapping paper. I used different brands of acrylic paint.

I stamped a whole roll of paper that I'll be able to use to wrap presents. Of course, I actually need to do some Christmas shopping now...



Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I develop an addiction to pumpkin every November, year after year. What's different this year is that I've discovered gluten-free recipes that are super easy to make & healthy too! Elana's Pantry is an awesome web-site that I use daily for new recipes. Both pumpkin recipes below are courtesy of Elana's website.

Pumpkin Bars
(see my pic above)

½ cup pumpkin (acorn, butternut or other squash) puree (learn how to roast a pumpkin in 10 easy steps by clicking here)
½ cup agave nectar
2 eggs
1 cup blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

1. In a food processor, combine pumpkin, agave and eggs and pulse for 2 minutes
2. Pulse dry ingredients into wet for a full minute, until well combined
3. Pour batter into a greased 8x8 baking dish
4. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes
5. Serve naked or with whipped cream

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Muffins
(see my pic above)

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ cup agave nectar
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh baked pumpkin (or winter squash), well packed (learn how to roast pumpkin in 10 easy steps by clicking here!)

1. In a large bowl combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves
2. In a Vitamix puree oil, agave, eggs and pumpkin until smooth (*I used a regular blender, FYI)
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry
4. Place paper liners in cupcake pan
5. Scoop batter into paper liners
6. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes
7. Cool for 2-3 hours
8. Serve

Makes 8 muffins


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Jalapeno Sour Cream

My mom found this recipe recently & my husband quickly added it to his dinner repertoire. It's really easy to make & it adds a lot of flavor to ordinary sour cream. It has a nice kick w/ the jalapenos, but the maple syrup gives it a nice sweet taste as well.

Makes 4 potatoes. Total time: 40-45 minutes at 450.

For the sweet potatoes--

Rub with oil and salt:

4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried

For the topping, combine:

1/2 C sour cream(or plain yogurt) *I (ellen) use sour cream, FYI.
1Tbs pure maple syrup

2 tsp jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 tsp fresh lime juice

salt and Tabasco to taste *I (ellen) don't use Tabasco, FYI.

Serve potatoes with maple-jalapeno sour cream, bacon bits, and sliced scallions.

This recipe came from a magazine that my mom used to subscribe to... Cuisine at Home. There is also a website:


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Orange Chocolate Coconut Clusters


These chocolate treats are delicious, VERY easy to make, & pretty healthy too!!

TIP: visit link at bottom of the page to be directed to Elana's website for direct links about toasting almonds & coconut, cacao chocolate, etc. -e

2 cups dark chocolate chips 73% cacao
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup almonds, toasted then coarsely chopped
1 cup shredded coconut, toasted

1) In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate over very low heat

2) Stir in the orange extract

3) Allow the nuts and coconut to cool, 10-15 minutes, then stir them into the melted chocolate

4) Drop by heaping tablespoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet

5) Allow to cool

6) If need be (as in it's too hot in your kitchen for these to set) transfer clusters to a plate and cool in freezer

7) Serve

*This recipe is from Elana's Pantry. Please click on the link to visit her blog/website. She has tons of amazing gluten-free recipes!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Benny's Super Easy Thai Chicken for Two

Anyone who knows me probably knows that I rely on my husband to do all the cookin' around our house. I can bake just fine... but cook dinner? Not so much. However, my husband came up with a Thai Chicken recipe that is sooo easy even I can do it! :)

* Thai Chicken for Two *

2 Organic Chicken Breasts (cut into small 1 inch pieces)
1/2-1 cup Quinoa or Basmati Rice
1 bottle of Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce
Veggies of your choice (I use Squash & Zucchini, 2 of each)
1 Onion (diced) & 1/2 Red Pepper (diced or cut into strips)
2 Cloves of Garlic
Olive Oil

1) Start Quinoa (or rice); cook on low while sautéing veggies/chicken, etc.

2) In a Wok (or a large frying pan), sauté onion & peppers on medium heat w/ a bit of olive oil

3) After about 5 min or so, add the chicken to Wok; continue sautéing on med heat

4) When the chicken is about 1/2 way done (still a bit pink), add veggies & garlic; turn heat up a bit (from 5 to 6)

5) Once chicken is done & veggies are cooked to your liking (i prefer them tender w/ a bit of crunch), add the entire bottle of Thai Red Curry Sauce & simmer on LOW heat for approx 10 min.

Serve over quinoa/rice. Enjoy!

NOTE: This recipe is easy to alter for just one person, or for more. For just one person, use only 1/2 bottle of Thai sauce & only 1 chicken breast.