Saturday, June 30, 2012

jello cookies

Here is the direct link for: Jello Cookies.

This pin comes from the blog, I {heart} nap time. The blog's author, Jamielyn, made these with her young son. They first mixed the dough batter (basically a butter cookie recipe) and than her son played with it, like play dough. She then rolled the dough into colorful balls, flattened and baked them.

This is not Jamielyn's original recipe. Her blog entry stems from this recipe: Jello Cookies. I like Jamielyn's vibrant colors so much better. I wanted mine to be just like hers.

But nothing about this recipe was fun except the colors. My cookies didn't turn out anything like her photos promised. I even played with them using a cut-crystal glass to give a decorative imprint. Those are the cookies buried on the bottom of the jar. I made them one-inch like she suggested and they were too small. The only thing I learned from this recipe? Throw it out immediately. And my advice to you? RUN! and don't look back on this.

FYI. The I {heart} Nap Time blog's cookies are beautiful and playful. They definitely enticed me to make these cookies. But some things are just too good-to-be-true. Next time, think twice about pinning a baked good with 'jello' as an ingredient! 

Oh, I almost forgot -- jello baked in the oven does not smell good!

And finally, a quote from another blog, Catching Something Invisible, (of course, I found this out too late):

Jello Cookies are The Worst."

Happy pinning!

Friday, June 29, 2012

BLT fried egg-and-cheese sandwich

Here is the direct link for: BLT Fried Egg-and-Cheese Sandwich.

I absolutely love egg sandwiches of all kinds! And this sandwich is no exception!

The recipe comes from the blog, Wine & Food, and it is chef, Thomas Keller's 'scrumptious recipe'.  As you can see, I didn't have any rustic white bread in the house, only our usual Brownberry country white, but still it was delicious.

FYI. Next time I will buy a loaf of crusty white bread especially for this recipe. Presentation and crunch would be spectacular then!

The red pin award for yummy! I will definitely make this sandwich again and again and again . . .

Happy pinning!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

words to live by

author unknown

Once a month I've decided to include a pin from my board: Words to Live By. So the short and sweet of it is this whimsical quote. Wouldn't you agree, that the pinners we follow, especially those with similar tastes and styles, are slowly becoming more than simple acquaintances? I think so.

Thank you for all your wonderful pins! And taking the time to read about mine!

Happy pinning!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

how to hand-wind a center-pull ball of yarn

Here is the direct link for: How to Hand-Wind a Center-Pull Ball of Yarn.

I found myself in a predicament this morning, needing to hand-wind a skein of yarn but definitely needing both ends for double stranding the yarn in my project. I found this link from the blog, Damp City Knits. It gives a great tutorial on how to hand-wind a loose hank of yarn into a ball with two available ends.

The tutorial is straight forward and easy to follow with lots of photos. Just remember to wind the ball loosely to not 'stress' the yarn and don't lose track of the inside end. The blog's author cautions that when using "some delicate or 'sticky' yarns, such as mohair or lace-weight silk yarn, it can be difficult to pull from the center, as their strands tend to stick together and tangle. In these cases, it is best to knit from the outside of the ball." Good to know!

I then tested out my new ball of yarn by knitting double stranded, pulling from both the center and the outside. It worked slick! A great reference pin.

The red pin award for practical resource!

Happy pinning!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DYI vintage framed chalk blackboard signs

Here is the direct link for: DYI Vintage Framed Chalk Blackboard Signs.

I originally saw this pin, Our Secret Chalkboard Elf, around Christmas time, and thought it was so cool! But much to my disappointment, Julie, the author of the blog, EAB Designs, doesn't give you the 'how-to' for making your own framed chalkboard, just that she has one and uses it in her home.

The 'how to' pin/link, above, comes from the blog, Hey Gorgeous. Their instructions are pretty detailed with photos that tell lots. I had purchased my frame, a wooden frame with no glass, at Michaels with my half-off coupon. I receive a new one practically every day once you sign up form their emails. My husband cut a piece of masonite board to fit my frame insert. He sanded it lightly and hand-painted it (not sprayed) with the chalkboard paint, at least a couple of coats. Pretty simple.

FYI. The only thing I didn't think of when buying my frame was whether or not the frame created enough of a ledge for the chalk to rest on. My frame doesn't have that, thus the little ceramic jar, above, works great for holding the chalk. Cute enough.

I hung my chalkboard in my kitchen, next to the phone. The family uses it for messages like this one: 'happy birthday Hannah'.

The biggest plus? no more little post-it notes all over the place telling the kids "don't forget this", "don't forget that", and "by the way, this is where I am". Works like a charm, so far.

The red pin award for easy-peasy! It looks really nice too. I am pleased.

Happy pinning!

Monday, June 25, 2012

weight watchers chicken tikka masala

Here is the direct link for:  Weight Watchers Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.

This was delicious, especially if you love Indian food!

This recipe comes from the Weight Watchers website. This is what they say about the recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala -- "Everyone's favorite Indian takeout dish, lightened up in a slow cooker". A cup of the chicken and sauce yields one serving. Very filling. And only 4 points! I added white basmati rice as a side to round out the meal.

I have never used the spice, 'garam masala', before, have you? The whole house smells of cinnamon and cloves, yum! Garam masala has a strong flavor, but tasty. My husband and son liked it and said they would eat it again. I know I definitely would, like tomorrow. This is one of those recipes you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will taste even better the next day. I love those kinds of recipes. The recipe makes 8 hearty servings.

Red pin award for this recipe! I'll let you know how it tastes tomorrow.

Happy pinning!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

leafy washcloth pdf pattern

Here is the direct link for: Leafy Washcloth PDF Pattern.

This entry is for the knitters in the crowd.

I have admired this pin for some time now. It comes from the website, Tricksy Knitter. The designer has created a free pdf of this pattern.

Knitting washcloths make great summertime projects that are so quick and easy! On Friday I went to Michaels craft store looking for several skeins of inexpensive and colorful yarns. What I found was this yarn, Sugar n' Cream, in lots of wonderful colors for only $1.99 a skein. I bought several with the hopes of making several by summer's end. Wouldn't this leaf washcloth make a great Christmas gift along with a bar of rosemary-mint organic-looking soap?

So far I have knitted three washcloths. You may have noticed they're all a little different from each other. Being a designer myself, I like to play with ideas and I wasn't satisfied with the look of my first leaf (variegated-actual pattern), so I knitted another leaf (green), this one with a new look to the vein down the middle, and with my third leaf (cream), I added several stitches and rows to the pattern to create a larger leaf overall.  I like this final leaf washcloth because . . .

One. It's a bigger leaf, thus more washcloth to hold.

Two. The leaf's veins are more pronounced, thus more visible.

Three. The leaf's shape, especially at the top, is simpler design-wise.

For what it's worth, I like this 'new' leaf pattern. If you like it too then email me at mariemayhewdesigns@gmailcom. I will gladly send you my revisions.

The red pin award! The pattern has great potential.

Happy pinning!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

bulletin board frames

Here is the direct link for: Bulletin Board Frames.

This pin comes from the blog, Shannon Makes Stuff.  Shannon, the blog's author, has created a whole wall full of colorful little frames for her children's art work. They sure seem simple enough to make.

Our bulletin board frame is large, a good 26-inches wide by 36-inches tall. A perfect size for all my endless post-it notes and reminders!

My husband likes to walk alleys. On one of his walks he found an old framed picture sitting alongside someone's garbage bin. The glass was broken and the print inside was ugly, but the frame alone was a wonderful find.

My husband put this project together for me. He used 3M's Scotch brand Super 77 for the adhesive on the backing and he highly recommends it.

In the end, I get to keep the bulletin board for my basement office. Doesn't it look nice?

I am so pleased.

The red pin award for usefulness!

Happy pinning!

Friday, June 22, 2012

marie's banana-berry bread recipe

This entry is a little different today. It originated from a pin that lead to something so much more!

On Tuesday, June 19th, I gave you the link for my most favorite banana bread recipe as posted on Cooking Light's website: Marble-Chocolate Banana Bread. Remember I mentioned another bread, the Banana Blueberry Bread? well, I made it, sort of.

I didn't have all the ingredients, so I improvised quite a bit. In the end I invented a new recipe, I think. And I wanted to share it with you! It is so yummy and moist and it still has the banany-flavor. My family loves it, especially my husband. He actually said he could taste the granola - the nuttiness of it. I was impressed. Here's the recipe for your review:

Marie's Banana-Berry Bread

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup ground granola*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about two)
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup egg beaters
cooking spray

*enough organic granola cereal placed into a blender or food processor and pulverized until you have 3/4 cup total granola powder. I used Kirkland's Organic Granola with Almonds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 1 cup flour, ground granola, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda in a large mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Place the additional 1/4-cup of flour into a separate bowl with the blueberries. Toss to coat. Set aside. FYI, this helps keep the blueberries from completely sinking to the bottom of the bread during baking.

In another bowl, combine the oil, mashed bananas and eggs. Stir well. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir just until moist. Fold the blueberries-flour mixture into the batter.

Pour batter into a 8x4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden skewer inserted in the bread's center comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Yields 16 slices.

This gets the red pin award for cleverness on my part. After you taste it, you'll agree! and yes, I will definitely make it again!

Happy pinning!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

dawn dish soap - laundry pre-treat for oily stains

Here is the direct link for: Dawn Dish Washing Liquid . . . It's Not Just For Dishes Anymore.

This pin comes from the blog, One Good Thing. The author loves this product! She uses it for everything under the sun. On her blog she gives quite the list exclaiming its many wonders. Who knew?

I went to her sight intrigued with the notion of using Dawn dish soap as a laundry pre-treat for oily stains on my t-shirts. My shirts were starting to pile up, all with nagging oil stains on them. This is the gist of my usual removal routine: Soak the shirt for a day or two, wash it (hoping the stain comes out), wear it, eat something and spill on it all over again!

So I gave Dawn a squirt, so to speak. One Good Thing instructs to place a small amount of original blue Dawn on the stain, scrub it with a toothbrush, and then throw the shirt in the wash as usual. I did just that, not 100% confidant in my scrubbing skills. In the end, there were still a couple of very faded stains. But overall, out of 10 stains, 8 were gone. It has been an annoyingly oily week here at the Mayhew house. I was curious though to give it another try with some 'good' scrubbing this time.

And yes, this time ALL the oil stains came out! Yippee! I got my shirts back! For some reason the scrubbing is just as important as the squirt of Dawn. One Good Thing does say 'to scrub (the shirt) until the oil is removed'. Whatever that means? I don't need to know all the details, I guess.

Red pin award! I tried something new and I definitely liked the results. Dawn is kind of a spooky product, don't you think? :}

Happy pinning!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

weight watchers pepperoni pizza burgers

Here is the direct link for: Weight Watchers Pepperoni Pizza Burgers.

We had these burgers for supper tonight thinking my kids love pizza they will love these. No go, but my husband and I liked them. We both agreed though that they needed a little tweeking.

They definitely needed a little pizza sauce. So next time, instead of the tomato slice (buried under the cheese) I would put a dollop of pizza sauce atop the burger. I didn't have any parmesan cheese, so I substituted a slice of mozzarella instead. I really liked that! I also didn't have any hamburger buns. Didn't really think it needed it.

So, for next time, this is the new 'pizza burger' combination: the burger, 6 thin slices of turkey pepperoni, a dollop of pizza sauce, a slice of mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh basil. All under the broiler to simply melt the cheese. Doesn't that sound good?

I'll make these burgers again but with the new changes. No red pin award yet. Not tonight, Weight Watchers!

Happy pinning!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

marbled-chocolate banana bread

Here is the direct link for: Marbled-Chocolate Banana Bread.

I went on Pinterest today to find a recipe to use up some very ripe bananas. Honestly, I couldn't find anything interesting or yummy-looking. So I went on Cooking Light's site specifically looking for this bread recipe and then pinned it.

This comes from their 'Best Banana Bread' edition. The Cooking Light staffers share their all-time favorite healthy banana bread recipes. They list 13 different banana bread recipes to try.

Okay, I have a confession to make: This recipe isn't new to me. I have made this bread before, at least 25 times before! It is an all-time favorite and my family never tires of it. This bread is so moist and banana-y tasting every time! A tried-and-true pin, a BEST-EVER recipe. I hope you enjoy it and share it with all your Pinterest friends.

A red pin award, of course!

Tomorrow I am going to make Cooking Light's Banana Blueberry Bread. Still have two ripe bananas left.

Happy pinning!

Monday, June 18, 2012

make your own vanilla extract

Here is the direct link for: Make Your Own Vanilla Extract.

Years ago I made vanilla extracts for Christmas gifts. My own personal bottle of vanilla needs a complete makeover though, thus I found this blog, Bethany Actually, and learned a thing or two new about making a new bottle of vanilla extract.

This blog post has wonderful photos to get you excited about bottling your own vanilla. What I gleaned from it actually came from the comments section at the bottom of the post.

Here are three new tips I particularly liked:

One. Run the vodka through a standard Brita water filter pitcher. This person says that this process creates a considerably cleaner tasting alcohol. And if filtered a few times it will remove the 'vodka' taste and make the vanilla even more enjoyable.

Two. Cut the vanilla beans length wise about 2/3 of the way up. Put the cut side into the jar then add bourbon as the liquid (not vodka).

Three.  Cut the vanilla beans in half. Use a half of a bean in a jar with 2 cups of sugar with enough space to shake the sugar around. Shake the jar every couple of days to blend the flavor for a month. This person uses vanilla sugar in their coffee and on their cereal. I have several recipes that request vanilla sugar to be added to it.

I didn't have a Brita water filter, but I did go out an buy some bourbon. Plus I made a container of the vanilla sugar. The water filter idea is very intriguing to me. Keep that in mind for next time. I love pushing an idea further! This pin and especially the comments did that for me.

My vanilla extract and sugar now need to sit for one month. I will keep you posted on how it turns out.

The red pin award! These are both a gift for me this time.

Here is a great website for every kind of bottle imaginable:

Happy pinning!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

how to make a pom pom using a fork

Here is the direct link for:  How to Make A Pom Pom Using A Fork.

This pin comes from the blog, Eskimimi Makes. In her tutorial she shows how to make a pom pom with a kitchen fork and a little yarn. It worked slick and quick too!

The red pin award! Very clever and a great resource.

Want various sizes? simply wrap the fork a number of times. My orange pom pom, above, was wrapped 30 times and the green, 60 times.

The secret to it all is in the knot tying. Tie it tightly! If needed, get some help from a friend to hold it in place as you tie. If not, it can all fall apart. And I can attest to that!

FYI. These pom poms are smallish in size. So if you want larger ones you would have to use something wider like a meat serving-size fork. I will have to try that sometime. Then I could have my own tutorial on making pom poms with a serving fork!

Eskimimi has another tutorial on her blog that I will have to try another time: How to Tie A Bow Using A Fork.

Happy pinning!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

baked chicken nuggets

Here's the direct link for: Baked Chicken Nuggets.

Our house is now McMayhew's, no need for the golden arches here.

These chicken nuggets were absolutely yummy! The secret ingredient? Panko Japanese bread crumbs found in the oriental section of your local supermarket. The recipe comes from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food with Sarah Carey series. Sarah says, "The three-step breading method -- coating the chicken in flour, egg and breadcrumbs -- seals in moisture and gives a crisp crunch without a lot of added fat." I would tend to agree! Not greasy at all!

The recipe includes two dipping sauce options: honey mustard and spicy ketchup. I had in the fridge some leftover honey mustard sauce so I didn't make her sauces. Next time though. I liked the chicken-dip combo. The chicken needed a little zing that the sauce provided. The nuggets need a little something, like an added seasoning or extra salt. I'm not sure what it is yet, but will keep you posted.

A red pin award, most definitely! I will make these again for sure. And I would try the breading method on fish or shrimp as well.

Happy pinning!

Friday, June 15, 2012

salted caramel butter bars

Here is the direct link for: Salted Caramel Butter Bars.

This recipe comes from the blog, Cookies & Cups. But after reading the entry this blog isn't the originator of the recipe. Shelly, the author's blog, loves sweet things, thus this bar recipe. She used in her recipe Princess Cake and Cookie Bakery Emulsion. Shelly says it adds "an almondy-citrus flavor" to these bars that she highly recommends. I have never tried emulsions before, but will order for a bottle. She has picked my curiousity.

The emulsion is used instead of vanilla extract. The bar recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of extract so I can see that it would enhance ANY recipe. One teaspoon extract = one teaspoon emulsion.

The emulsion comes from LorAnn's Oils. This is what the website says about this emulsion:

"LorAnn's Princess Cake and Cookie baking & flavoring emulsion has a light, nutty taste accented with undertones of citrus and rich vanilla. Use it wherever you want to impart a creamy flavor.  Delicious as a flavoring for butter cream frosting.
Flavor combination:  Vanilla + Almond + Lemon
Substitute Princess Cake and Cookie in your recipes calling for vanilla extract for a winning flavor update!  Try it in your favorite chocolate chip or sugar cookie recipe for a new flavor twist.

Princess Cake & Cookie Emulsion will be the "secret ingredient" in your cookies, cakes &  frostings!"

Long and short of it. . . The red pin award. Even without the emulsion it is a yummy recipe. My family loves them! These bars cut into little 2-inch squares would make a nice addition to my Christmas cookie repertoire.

FYI.  I would refrigerate the 'extra' crumb mixture earlier (she forgets to mention this in her recipe), so that the dough would be firmer and easier to crumble. My crumbles are more clumpy. I like the photo of her bars, see Cookies & Cups, with the smaller crumbles on top. Note to self: Let the bars cool, then cut right away. They were a royal pain to cut once completely hardened. The caramel, you know.

Happy pinning!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

a mason jar as blender-jar

Here is the direct link for: A Mason Jar as Blender-Jar.

FYI. Did you notice my collage photo above? I created it using the Picmonkey collage tutorial. For more details check out my blog post for June 5, 2012.

Using a Mason jar as a blender-jar? What a clever idea, especially for a quick smoothie or small batch of pesto or even chopped nuts! My standard blender attachment blade fitted perfectly onto a standard regular-mouth Mason jar. This pin comes from the  Real Simple blog; its author does caution though, "Don't fill the jar more than half full, and as with any regular blender, avoid very hot liquids." Makes sense, especially since it doesn't have a vented top.

I tried my newest contraption on a smoothie for my daughter. Half a prepackaged frozen Yoplait chocolate-banana yogurt smoothie mix, a little milk, a scoop of chocolate protein powder and 'wa-la'! She loved drinking right out of the jar. Any leftovers? simply screw on a Ball Mason jar plastic storage cap and there's more for later. Saves on clean up too!

For its cleverness, this deserves the red pin award! Let me know what you're going to use your blender-jar for.

Happy pinning!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

cut-and-come-again lettuce sampler

Here is the direct link for: Cut-and-Come-Again Lettuce Sampler.

This comes from the blog, The Vegetable Gardner. This is a real thorough reprinted article from The Kitchen Gardener on growing garden lettuce, depicting all various kinds of lettuce (including photos) and their particular growing specifics. A great resource! It instructs how to cut the lettuce with a scissors correctly so you will reap 2 to 3 more cuttings before you have to reseed.

I am growing pots of lettuce, above, on my backyard deck, just outside the back door. I bought my lettuce mix from a local garden store. My lettuce sampler came with six varieties, most of them mentioned in The Kitchen Gardner's article. I daily give my lettuce a haircut, snippin' off the leaves with my fingers, as much as I need for our supper's salad. I use my fingers because my pots of lettuce are not that big to need using a scissors.

I give this a red pin award. A great link to have as a resource for next year. Of course, I will never remember any of this after this year!

Happy pinning!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

best-ever iced coffee

Here is the direct link for: Best-Ever Iced Coffee.

This recipe comes from the blog, Craving Comfort. The blog's author, Dana, highly totes this drink saying "This is the last iced coffee recipe you will ever need." I don't think so, not unless you want to gain a good chunk of weight. Although I have learned a ton about iced coffee from her site.

The biggest tip I gleaned came in the making of the coffee concentrate, using the 'cold-brew' method. It supposedly gives you a 'smoother, acid-free coffee base'. I would tend to agree! I will always make my iced coffee this way from now on. Even made with decaf coffee it was a smoother drink (I am a decaf person).

To sweeten the coffee she gives her recipe for 'sweet cream': a blend of canned evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. I gave it a try, but it was much too sweet for my liking. Did you know that by adding sweetened condensed milk to your drink officially makes it a Vietnamese iced coffee?

I would definitely make this recipe again, thus the red pin award! But instead of adding the 'sweet cream' I would substitute whole milk and Stevia. That way I can control the milkiness and sweetness factor.

FYI.  In the process of writing this post, another pin came up through Pinterest. This pin comes from the blog, The Yummy Life. Monica, the blog's author, has written a very thorough blog post on the ins-and-outs of cold-brew iced coffee. The mother-load of iced coffee information!

She begins the entry by clearly stating: "Get the smoothest taste without bitterness using this easy method; control the sweetness, flavor, calories, and cost by making your own favorite coffee drink." This about says it all! Here is The Yummy Life's blog post on  Cold-Brew Iced Coffee.

So in the end, you NOW have ALL the recipes and data needed to make the Best-Ever Iced Coffee.

Happy pinning!

Monday, June 11, 2012

best-ever baked oven fries

Here is the direct link for: Best-Ever Baked Oven Fries.

This recipe comes from Annie's Eats blog. She claims she has found the best-ever recipe for oven fries. My family and I would tend to agree with her. After eating just one fry, my husband turns to me and says, "You can definitely make these again!"

The recipe is a little putzy in the making, but I think the more you make them the easier it will become. Also these fries are baked in more fat than I would like them to be, but I believe the oil could be reduced slightly and still create crispy, golden fries.

All in all, I'll make these fries again. Probably next week. And yes, this recipe receives the red pin award.

Happy pinning!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

7 ways to use pinterest

Here is the direct link for: 7 Ways to Use Pinterest.

This sight has some great tips on the how to use Pinterest. The one I most found valuable was the tip #1: Stop sharing it all on Facebook. Who would have known that every pin I made would show up on my Facebook page?

This article comes from the blog, The Hyper House. Julie, the blog's author says, "Pinterest being linked to Facebook makes it easy to find friends but how annoying is it when you see 12 updates on your Facebook feed because someone just discovered cute puppy photos?" So true. No wonder people were 'unliking' me. I would have done the same!

I liked her sound advice and doable tips. This pin gets the red pin award!

I then went on to read another great article by The Hyper House: More Pinterest Tips.

Happy pinning!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

cinnamon roll waffles

Here is the direct link for: Cinnamon Roll Waffles with Cream Cheese Syrup.

I made these for the kid's last day of school yesterday. A fun treat to kick off their summer vacation. The recipe comes from The Lady Behind the Curtain blog. Sheryl, the author of this blog, says, "I've made pizza, sandwiches and muffins in a waffle maker. Why not cinnamon rolls!" So, I tried it and she was right, they are fun and tasty! Yes, this earns a red pin award!

The recipe is easy enough: one package (5 rolls) of store-bought cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting included and a waffle maker. The recipe calls for a syrup, but I didn't make that. Instead, I let the frosting come to room temperature and then simply drizzled it over the top of the hot waffles. So simple, needs nothing more.

Note to self: Remember to spray the waffle iron with oil! Secondly, this is a treat/snack item, not a breakfast substitute. These waffles are smallish in size and I can see the kids eating several of these without blinking an eye!

Happy pinning!

Friday, June 8, 2012

easy lemon chicken

Here is the direct link for: Easy Lemon Chicken.

This recipe comes from The Queen Beehive. She begins her entry saying that this recipe is a family favorite and one of her most requested recipes. So of course, I had to try it.

She gives two recipes: one for the stove top and one for the crock pot. I tried the crock pot style. It's hot today here in Minnesota. If I was to make it again, and I mean 'if', I would definitely cook it on the stove top and not shred it. The chicken would brown better in the butter, thus look like her Pinterest photo. My photo above looks like it tasted: nothing special.

The recipe called for the juice of two lemons. The flavor to me was too concentrated, too lemony, especially after sitting in the juices all day.

Thumb's down. But at least I can cross this off my 'to try' list!

Happy pinning!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

blueberry-sour cream pound cake

Here is the direct link for the recipe: Blueberry-Sour Cream Pound Cake with Lemon Cream.

What can I say, but it's Martha Stewart with another winner. The cake definitely looks spectacular with the Lemon Cream dolloped on top. The whole recipe whipped together easy enough. It makes a big batch, two loaves. What is it with Martha Stewart and her recipes? They have a tendency to make such large quantities? Not complaining here. One loaf for my family tonight and another for the freezer. It's nice having baked goods frozen away for an unexpected adventure!

My family liked it and so did I. I prefer the cake without the cream. The cream took away from the cake's subtle flavor. But it adds a pretty-factor. The red pin award! Yes, I most definitely will make this cake again.

Note to self: Next time I will put the lemon zest in the cake instead of the cream.

Happy pinning!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

apple cider pork short ribs in the crock pot

Here is the direct link for: Apple Cider Pork Recipe.

I had 3 pounds of boneless pork short ribs in my freezer and this recipe was just what I was looking for. The recipe is from Crock Pot Guys, a blog that 'shares awesome crock pot recipes all from a guy's point of view'.

I prepared the ribs as the recipe dictates, adding the pork short ribs, red potatoes, carrots, an onion, and the liquid was apple cider. I didn't have any steak seasoning or red pepper flakes. In the end everything could of used a little more salt, but we just added it at the table. The meat and vegetables were cooked to perfection and the gravy was light not at all heavy. My daughter, who isn't a big meat eater, ate two helpings even.

So yes, the votes are in. The red pin award! I would definitely make this recipe again.

Happy pinning!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

how to make a photo collage in picmonkey

picmonkey collage technique

Here is the direct link for: How to Make a Photo Collage in Picmonkey.

Picmonkey is a free photo editing site in which you can upload your photos and create cool effects like the collage above. I have used Picmonkey mainly for watermarking photos for my pattern business.

I created the above collage using the tutorial by Something Swanky. Great and easy tutorial! All you need is a bit of time, a photo or two and a little playfulness.

The red pin award. I will definitely do this again and again and again . . . .

Happy pinning!

Monday, June 4, 2012

greek yogurt ranch salad dressing

Here is the direct link for: Greek Yogurt Ranch Salad Dressing.

I like ranch buttermilk dressing but not all the fat. And it seems you need so much to coat your salad greens. And the 'lite' version is NOT the same thing. It needs to be flavor able!

I made the Greek Yogurt Ranch salad dressing recipe as she said and it was too runny. The trick is getting the right consistency, adding enough milk to get creamy, not runny. I think 1/4 cup milk (not a 1/2 cup) would be plenty. I used Stonyfield's organic yogurt instead of Dannon's and I found it a bit sour tasting. I do not know if all Greek yogurts are created equal.

I ended up adding 1/2 cup lite mayo to the dressing to thicken it up a bit. I threw it in the blender so it would be creamy. Of course, I liked this better! So the question is: Is it better than the lite store-bought version? Yes, it tastes much fresher. This recipe has potential though. Still a little more tweeking needed.

UPDATE 6/05/12:  After letting the dressing sit for a day or so to blend flavors, I tried it again. YUK! I don't think I like Greek yogurt that much. Too sour tasting. So a thumb's down on this recipe.

Happy pinning!