Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Freebie - Feed Your Soul Project

Just a quick post-Christmas note before I scoot out of town again. I am headed to a blissfully small town and a house with NO computer or internet! I wanted to share this link, though, just in case you didn't get everything on your wishlist from Santa. Cheer yourself up with a lovely and FREE print from the Feed Your Soul project. Gorgeous art to print at your convenience from some serious talent in the illustration world - Elsa Mora, Jessica Rose, and so many more. Happy Holidays indeed!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

garland, originally uploaded by craftapalooza.

We are headed over the river and through the woods for the rest of 2009. Enjoy this holiday season!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fri-DIY - Gift Packaging

Christmas is nearly upon us! I hope all of your presents are made or purchased and awaiting the final gift wrap touch. A great present is so much better when wrapped with extra attention. AND beautifully wrapped presents look so much better peeking out from under a tree or handed to someone special. This week's Fri-DIY has some lovely and easy ways to amp up the anticipation of unwrapping a present.

I love the combination of fabric and paper for the gift tags above. She handily provided her cute template to download, but these could be made from scratch easily enough as well. Heck. you don't even need the fabric, use a piece of the wrapping on the present and be super coordinated!

Peapods idea to recycle old catalogs into gift tags is pretty, practical, and earth friendly. Santa likes it when we recycle. I love that she used a punch, but circle or rectangles would be just as nice.

If things are just TOO busy to craft pretty packaging, Domestifluff has kindly offered her adorable printable gift tags for free! Print, cut and stick.

And for even more ideas, head over to The Martha for a slide show of over 70 gift wrap ideas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meatless Monday - Fried Deviled Eggs

Day 320

Even though I am a recipe junkie, I still sometimes I stumble across a recipe that totally surprises me. This one from The Splendid Table did just that. In theory, I supposed it could work. An egg with all the extra flavors from juiced up yolk filling AND the crispy edges of a fried egg sounded tantalizingly like the best of both worlds. However, I have been led astray by novel recipes before, so I hesitated a bit before plunging ahead with this one. It didn't disappoint, though, and was really easy as well. This would be an interesting lunch dish for any house guests who might be around during the holidays. I've modified the original recipe a bit and cut it in half so the recipe below will feed two as a main dish for lunch or 4 as a side/first course for supper.

4 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon very finely minced onion
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Dressing & Salad:
Leftover egg stuffing
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 cups baby spinach, well-washed and dried

Cut each egg in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out yolks into a medium bowl. Reserve the whites on a small plate nearby.

Add mustard, onion, milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, and salt and pepper to the yolks and stir well to combine. They will make a thick paste.

Carefully stuff each egg white half with the yolk mixture. Level off so that the stuffing is level with the edge of the egg white, not mounded up like with traditional deviled eggs. This is important so the eggs will lay flat when they are fried. Reserve remaining stuffing to make into the dressing.

Fried Deviled Eggs

Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large non-stick pan. When hot, place each egg stuffed side down into the pan. The oil will bubble up some, so be careful and keep a close eye on the pan. Fry the eggs until the crisp up, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and turn stuffing side up onto paper towels to drain.

In same bowl with reserved stuffing, add oil, mustard, and vinegar. Stir well to make the dressing. Put spinach in a large bowl and add dressing, tossing to coat evenly. Plate the salad and top with the fried deviled eggs.

Friday, December 11, 2009


This week's Fri-DIY brings together tutorials to make some great last minute gifts. Christmas and Hanukkah are right around the corner and who isn't strapped for both cash and time right now. These gifts could be whipped up this weekend and be ready to go. Next week I'll have a collection of fantastic gift wrapping ideas to wrap these cuties up.

There are so many things to do with a simple drawstring bag. Happy Things tutorial is very easy to follow even for a beginning sewer. See the notes at the bottom of her post for ideas how to finish the inside seams to make it a little tidier for gift-giving. Make a bunch give them to your friends who travel a lot. They are great for stowing shoes, bathing suits, or dirty laundry in a suitcase.

For friends who imbibe, why not try this interesting recipe for Skittles Vodka. Seriously, it just looks cool. Make one big batch and then put in small bottles to share the rainbow of vodka.

I love this idea to re-use vintage earrings as magnets. If you have some laying around, this project is super easy to complete, probably taking a half hour or less for a set of ten. Think how pretty they would be on your favorite fashionista's fridge.

Finally, a customized clipboard would make a great gift for a teacher, a writer, or a super-organized list-loving woman (ahem). Skip to my Lou shows two different techniques for making this adorable gift.

Scissors sharpened and at the ready!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Freebie - Christmas Stickers

Christmas Stickers Traditional

Tis the season of giving, so here are some cute Christmas stickers I designed. Stick them on presents, to close holiday cards, or on anything that needs some holiday cheer. I've made them in traditional colors and in brighter colors, if you prefer something more hip. Enjoy!

Christmas Stickers Bright

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meatless Monday - Blackened Citrus Glazed Green Beans

Citrus Seared Green beans

I was lucky enough a few weeks ago to meet the Lee Brothers at an event a few weeks ago. Their new cook book is really fantastic and they are just as charming and witty in person as their writing. These beans were inspired by their Skillet Green Beans with Oranges recipe, however, I couldn't be bothered with the sectioning of the orange and what not the evening I made this. I did, however, have some fresh squeezed citrus juice handy thanks to the husband's excellent bartending skills (see below for a bonus holiday cocktail recipe). My tastebuds are indebted to the Lee Brothers for pointing out the lovely combination of green beans and citrus.

We ate these along with some delicious steamed crab legs. The combination of the sweet crab and the tender, citrusy green beans was great. However, the beans would also be good alongside poached or grilled chicken breasts or steamed fish fillets.

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 lb green beans, trimmed
juice from 1/2 lemon
juice from 1/2 lime
juice from 1 clementine, or 1/2 orange

Combine the juices from the lemon, lime, and clementine in a small bowl.

Add oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over high heat until just smoking. Add the beans in a single layer to skillet. Cook for about 8 minutes, only stirring every 1-2 minutes so the green beans get nicely charred.

Remove pan from heat and add the citrus juice. Swirl around pan to coat the beans until nearly all the juice has evaporated. Remove from pan immediately to prevent the juice from reducing too much and burning. Serve warm.

BONUS RECIPE: The Clemaretto Sour

The husband came up with this recipe a few years ago. Since clementines are only available for a short time around the holidays, this is the perfect cocktail to serve at a Christmas party or before a big holiday dinner. I suppose an orange could be substituted for the clementine, but then it wouldn't be as special!

Juice from 1/2 lemon
Juice from 1/2 lime
Juice from 1 clementine

Combine the juices in a cocktail shaker. Depending on the juiciness of the citrus, it should be between 1/4-1/2 cup of juice. Add an equal amount of Amaretto to the juice and a lot of ice. Shake until chilled, then strain. Serve in a martini glass with a wedge of clementine to garnish.

Friday, December 4, 2009


This week's Fri-DIY is full of inspiration for decking the halls this holiday season. I am so in love with the Rosette wreath above, but it seems like the kind of project that I would have needed to start last June! I think it would also look great done in tissue paper. Maybe that could speed the process along?

Never pay money for gift bows again thanks to the great tutorial over at How About Orange. She always has great ideas, but this one really is a winner.

Martha's pretty idea marries art and twinkle lights. The perfect solution for a dark corner in need of some Christmas spirit.

While cutting strips for the gift bows, cut a few more to make these pretty paper ornaments. I'm planning on making them supersized and hanging from the ceiling this year.

Happy crafting!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Meatless...Thursday? - Olive, blue cheese, tomato omelette

Day 315

Wow, I didn't anticipate being so busy after the Thanksgiving holiday, but here it is Thursday and I haven't even gotten around to posting a Meatless Monday recipe. So here it is a few days late. Don't blame the recipe, though. It's delicious and totally not at fault for my tardiness.

This recipe is based on a similar one from my current fave cookbook Olives, Anchovies, and Capers. All the ingredients are staples in my fridge, so it was easy to throw this together for a very quick dinner. This would also be a wonderful brunch dish. Toss a green salad and go.

1 Tablespoon butter
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped black olives (oil cured black olives or straight from a can, don't use kalamata or green olives as a substitute, they will taste weird with the blue cheese)
1/4 cup chopped grape tomatoes
2 Tablespoons crumbled soft blue cheese, gorgonzola or roquefort

In a 12" non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Swirl around pan to cover bottom. Add eggs and cook a few minutes. When edges begin to set, lift them carefully and tilt pan so the runny uncooked egg will flow under the omelette. When the top begins to set, sprinkle olive, tomato, and cheese on one side of the omlette. Carefully fold the other side of the omelette over top the filling and let cook just until cheese melts. Slide omelette out of pan and onto serving platter. Use a big sharp knife to cut thick wedges. Serve immediately.