Month: February 2015

My quest to make a really good Cashew Chicken at home, lead me to start using Hoisin sauce on a regular basis. Like ketchup or mustard, not all Hoisin sauces are equal when it comes to quality or taste.  When I fell in love with the Hoisin sauce sold by Wildtree (you can find it HERE), I had to shamelessly promote it. I like the taste of this Hoisin sauce more than what I bought before, and for a bonus I get close to four ounces more for almost the exact same price. This sauce is a keeper, and so is the crock pot recipe I’m posting today. All four of my kids will eat this dish, which gives this recipe a solid endorsement as a kid friendly food worth trying.

Hawaiian Style Country Ribs

  • 3 lbs boneless pork or beef ribs
  • 8 oz can of pineapple chunks (not drained)
  • 2/3 cup (6oz.) Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 ½ TBSP Sesame Oil
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 6-8 Cups of rice cooked
  1. Place contents of bag in crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. Prepare rice per package directions (may substitute canned coconut milk instead of water when making rice).
  3. Serve ribs with rice. Top with sauce & pineapple chunks from Crock Pot.

* This recipe can be successfully prepped and frozen to be cooked in a crock pot on a later date.

I was preparing for all the fun I would have scrapbooking our Disney World Trip before we left, and I have spent several days organizing photos since our return. There were 1,800 pictures from my camera, 200 pictures from my daughters camera, 200 pictures from my phone, photos from my husbands phone, and the 500+ pictures from our Disney Photopass. It’s exciting to see them all, but overwhelming to try and decide where to start. I let the February Kellybell monthly blog challenge help me out. I used her Prototype City kit, and Simple Date Vol. 7 and can be found on her site HERE. I altered a Simplicity Template from Southern Serenity Designs by Amber Morrison.

I’m looking forward to playing with my participation prize:

The kids were excited to see the towel Hidden Mickey on the bed in our room at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. I used Pixelily’s Love Sparks Kit from Gotta Pixel.

Some fun photos of my little ones playing with Play-doh using the Spring Promises page kit by Stacy Carlson and available at Gotta Pixel.

 

 

I ran accross some really fun free personal use printable cards on Pintrest, and I just have to spread the word about some of the great freebie’s I found.

Some of my favorites traced back to one artist: Pixiesprite’s Disney album in Photobucket. Here’s a few of my favorites, but Pixiesprite has covered just about everything in and around Disney World, Disney Land, Disney Paris, and Disney Cruises. I’ve shared a sample of what they look like below, but there are hundreds of cards in Pixiesprites album. I burned through some ink and card stock playing with Pixiesprites free card creations. Pixiesprite, whoever you are-Thank you so much for sharing.

I also collected links to some of the awesome freebie’s Britt-ish Designs has put up on her blog. I think these are just fantastic and they coordinate with her Project Mouse digital kits beautifully.

Project Mouse Freebie 1.

Project Mouse Princess Edition Freebie

Project Mouse At Night Freebie

If you are into simple and quick check out this blog article with a printable freebie from avegasgirlatheart. She has a 13 page adobe file that has all of her cards and freebies arranged and ready to print.

Most freebie’s are packed in a small file with each card as a separate file. It can take time moving all these files into one document for printing. If you are a photoshop user I recommend grabbing this action from Happy Scrap Girl. It was worth every cent in getting my cards from file to paper. It’s called Action: Pocket Cards to Print Letter Size and is available in Happy Scrap Girls store at The Scrap Orchard.

 

I make this on my stove at home on a regular basis, however the recipe went with my family on a road trip we made last summer.  We had just finished eating this in Grand Teton National Park, when a Grizzly Bear walked through the picnic grounds. It was one animal sighting I really did not want to have. Fortunately our van was close by, and a family in the next picnic area over spooked the bear into leaving.  The chili was really good, and I liked the local Moose Drool beer too.

Servings: 6
Yield: 6 servings
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs chopped
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
  • 2 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and stir in the ground turkey. Cook and stir until the turkey is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Stir in the onion and celery; cook and stir until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the beef broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, garlic, chili powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle each bowl with a teaspoon of Cheddar cheese, if desired.

 

Book Review of Faking It (Loosing It book #2) by: Cora Carmack

I give it three out of five stars for funny moments and happy endings.

What I liked about the book:

1) The mismatched romance. It was fun how two people find each other when in the past they might have written each other off as out of their league or not their type. There is a fast build of affection. This is definitely an insta-love kind of romance, but it was palatable because Max and Cade are oblivious to it through most of the book.

2) Cade is a lovable character. He’s smart, hard working, good-natured, call’s his grandmother, and volunteers with disadvantaged youth. It was easy to root for him getting a girl after the first book where he doesn’t get the girl. I ended this book hoping his intelligence and good humor would rub off on Max.

3) The bodice ripping scenes were great fun. My favorite one was Max and Cade dancing in a club after Max officially left her boyfriend.

What I didn’t like about the book:

1) Stephen King said it best in his Memoir On Writing, “Adverbs are not your friend.” I heard every single one, and each rang like nails on a chalkboard.

2) The heroine Max. Her character was immature and self-centered. She doesn’t want to be judged based on how she looks, but she’s free to judge others by how they look. When Max met Cade she thought he was gorgeous, but because the guy dressed in mainstream attire he was not her type. I was really annoyed by how the sister in law was half way to evil just because she was blond and was a former beauty queen. I was surprised to learn it was a detestable offense to release doves at a wedding.

I did this, but it didn’t happen right after our vows, I won a pageant when I was a teenager, and I use to have long blonde hair. Am I an evil stereotype troupe and don’t know it? The antagonist sister in law was not very kind to Max, but her actions were such a stretch on reality and very cookie cutter “bad guy”. Yes there are plenty of people out there who are mean and judgmental towards those who get tattoos and piercings. However, I find it immature and judgmental to immediately discredit someone as not suitable for friendship because they look normal.

3) The overall romance conflict. I can handle a good conflict of misunderstanding, but this was ridiculous.  It was all unfounded self-doubt nonsense, and did not fit into the action-taking place.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, and I really liked the third. If I were to dump one of the three books, or wish I had my audible credit back, this would be this book.

I have been known to have some hoarding tendencies, and I come by this honestly.  There’s an established hoarder streak in my family tree, and I have family who would seriously benefit from being on the A&E show. Fortunately I mostly hoard craft and art supplies, most of which can be contained in my craft room or on an external hard drive.

I’ve been pulling out some gem’s and excitedly coming accross new items as I prepare for all the scrapbooking fun I will have upon my return from Disney World. There is a lot out there, but I’m going to show off some of my tried and true favorite Disney digital kits, as well as some amazing newer ones.

From WM(Squared) available at the Scrap Orchard:

Feel The Magic-The Mega Bundle

Pirate Pillage-The Bundle

From Britt-ish Designs and available in her store:

Project Mouse: At Night The Bundle

You’ve Got a Friend In Me Bundle

Monstrosity

Change Your Fate

Galactic Alliance

From Studio Flergs at The Sweet Shoppe:

A Frozen Heart: The Collection

#believe in magic: inner beauty

 

From Jenn Barrett at The Sweet Shoppe:

Home on The Range

 Out of This World: The Collection

From Kristin Conin-Barrow at The Sweet Shoppe:

Land of Make Believe: Bundle

Ice Queen: The Collection

From Pixelily available at her Gotta Pixel Store:

Friends with the Monsters

From Connie Prince Designs available at her Gotta Pixel Store:

My Happy Place

Mouse in the House

Chinease New Year

From Kelly Bell Designs and available at her store (I keep looking for the BUY WHOLE store button here):

Prototype City

Expedition Safari

Hooray for Hollywood

Princess Overnight

If you need some fun Disney font’s to add to your stash you can grab the following free ones at fontspace.com: Walter, Mickey Ears, Mouse Memoirs, and JLR Mouse House

I found this recipe in All You Magazine last year, and with a few adaptations, made this a regular dinner on the menu.
Mini Penne with Italian Sausage
Servings: 6
  • 1 lb. Mini Penne Pasta
  • 1 lb. bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 (14.5 ounce cans) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tsp dried crushed basil
  • 1 tsp dried crushed oregano
  • 1 (5-6 oz. bag of spinach)
  • 1 small package Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions and drain.
  2. Rinse and dry spinach with a salad spinner.
  3. In a large skillet over medium high heat sauté onion in olive oil before adding the sausage to brown. Cook sausage until no longer pink then stir in garlic, basil and oregano and cook for only an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 min.
  5. Stir sausage mixture into pot with the drained cooked penne pasta. Add spinach and mozzarella cooking over medium heat, just until the spinach wilts. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Adding Audio Books to my routine doubled the number of books I read in January 2015. I used the Kit, “That’s What She Read” by Tami Miller Designs and LJS Designs available at Pickleberry Pop.

Book Review of The Serpent and The Pearl, By: Kate Quinn

I give this book five out of five stars for immersing me in the 14th Century Vatican, exposing me to stunning characters, mesmerizing me with mystery and intrigue, and making me hungry like a culinary trained foodie. If you haven’t read a work by Kate Quinn you need to, the woman will wrap you up in a tale and leave you begging for more. I could not put this book down.

What I loved:
1) The pacing. Every scene is necessary to the story. Some scenes are lush and lovely, others are ruthless or funny, but all of it is relevant.

2) The characters. You enjoy coming to know them by their thoughts, but then love them more for what you see about them through the point of view of other characters. I enjoyed the way the work wove together the character’s lives. They were rooting for each other, their lives connected, and this also deepened my connection to them as a reader.

3) The story. There’s romance, a person on the run, a turn of good fortune, a murder mystery, and the reality of true historical events in the Vatican under a Borgia’s Pope. I was easily engaged in the plot, and then had the added bonus of exquisite descriptions of 14th Century fashion and food.

I had the added benefit of listening to the audio book version of this, and the three main characters each have their own narrator. Between the work and the actors, this is one of the best audio book I have listened to in years, fantastic.

Week 11 in my Project Life Album 2014

  • Cards: “Office Hours” March 2014 Kit by: Studio Calico; “Maggie Holmes Edition” Core Kit by: Project Life
  • Embellishments: Paper die cuts, sequins, and ticket washi tape by: Studio Calico; Owl washi tape unknown
  • Markers: Ranger Distress Markers by Tim Holtz in Festive Berries and Iced Spruce
  • Adhesive: Glue Dots and 3M ATG
  • 4×6 Flip Flap by: Close to My Heart