Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pot Roasted Brisket

As I was getting ready to prepare my Passover dinner for my family. I was planning on serving my great grandmother Goldberg's pot roast dish along with the usually Matzo ball soup and wine. I unfortunately became very sick with bronchitis. If you never had bronchitis it feels like a slow death. I was miserable, but I still wanted to make something. While I was laying on the couch Martha Stewart was having a show about Passover dinners. She has this simple recipe for preparing pot roast. I decided to use this recipe instead of our family recipe, and I was so happy with the results. My hubby John even told me he like it better than Grandma's recipe. Oh, was that a knife in my heart. Oh well, to each his own. If you never cooked a brisket before than try this recipe. It's easy, and simple. Your feel like you did a lot of work, but only you know you really didn't.

Ingredients: 8 -10 brisket, 5 onions, 3 carrots, 2 celery sticks, 2 garlic cloves, 4 bay leaves, salt, and pepper.

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Rub salt, pepper and garlic cloves all over brisket. Cut up onion in quarters. Dice up carrots and celery sticks. Place onions, carrots, and celery in large roasting pan. Place 2 bay leave on top. Place brisket on top of veggies. Place remaining bay leaves on top. Cover with foil or lid. Place in oven for 4 hrs. Take out and let brisket rest for 1/2 hr before serving. I usually make mash potatoes to go along with the brisket. That's it! Try it your family will love it!

Card Making

I was looking through some old photos, and I came across these pictures of Christmas cards I did when we living in the White Mountains. I haven't been scrapbooking, or making cards lately. I've been too busy painting, and decoration our house here in Flagstaff. When we lived in White Mountain Lake I did a lot of crafts since I needed a creative outlet. When your renting a house you can't really paint, or put holes in walls. This was my escape. I hope you give card making a try.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pasta Vazoo

Here's a dish I've been making for years. We eat this dish at least once a week. It's easy, and delicious! I've made it for family and friends. I've made it for potlucks and parties. Everyone always loves this pasta dish. I hope you give this one a try. Best of all it makes the kitchen smell great, and you really feel like a experience cook even when you know your not. Happy pasta eating!!! By the way, my monkeys named this dish...

Ingredients: 10 Roma tomatoes, Angel hair pasta, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, salt, sweet basil, 3 garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, butter, shrimp and garlic bread optional

First fill stock pot with water to boil pasta. I usually add salt and olive oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half, and place in baking pan. Sprinkle garlic salt, basil, and salt over tomatoes. Press garlic cloves over tomatoes then drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 35 minutes. In meantime rinse raw shrimp. Combine olive oil, 1 pressed garlic clove, garlic salt, and basil to shimp. Mix together, and set a side. In large mixing bowl, add about 1/3 c. butter, 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 tsp. salt, and 3 tbsp basil. Pour cooked tomatoes into large mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher, and mix well. Add cooked pasta, and mix. In a sauce pan on high heat. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Add shrimp, and shredded parmesan cheese. That's it!!! Broil garlic and serve.

Kaya's valance

I recently open up a box of Kaya's baby clothes. They are so cute! I really enjoy remembering her in those outfits. She was so adorable. I decided to use them as a valance instead of keeping them in an old box in the garage. Now I can see them everyday. These outfits are a good starting point for me to tell Kaya stories about when she was a baby. She really likes to hear stories about herself. We laugh together, and I really enjoy seeing her light up after each tale.

Supplies: nails, yarn, ribbon, clothes, clothes pins

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Felt Kleenex Box

My girlfriend Stephanie and I were shopping at Michael's craft store, and I ran across these decorative miniature Kleenex tissues. You know the kind you keep in your purse. Well I decided to make a case for it out of felt. I originally was going to add decorative felt flower with buttons to the surface. I decided not to since the decorative Kleenex was enough. Here's how.

Supplies: Felt, embroidery thread, needle, scissors, and Kleenex.

I cut a 6" x 6.5" square out of the felt. Fold in corners together and handed stitch along edge. Enclosed Kleenex inside than make finally edge taut. Hand stitch remaining edge than cut off extra fabric with scissors. That's it. Easy and fast.

Favorite books

My father bought me the complete series of Jane Austen books, but I didn't become interested in her until I saw the the BBC film Pride and Prejudice. The first time I saw this epic film I was glued to the couch. I fell in love with Miss Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. I could not wait to read Pride and Prejudice. I raced down to the local library and checked out a copy. I sat in my house night, and day reading. It didn't matter if the laundry was over flowing, or if the kids wanted more candy. I didn't care. I just wanted to get back to my book. After I finished this book, I felt I needed to have more. That's when my dad and I wandered into a book store, and he bought me the entire series of Jane Austen books. It was one of the best gift he ever given me. I enjoy reading these books often, and just recently I read a new book about The lost memoirs of Jane Austen by author Syrie James. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Right now it's one of my favorites. I hope you will try viewing, or reading a Jane Austen story.

Grandma "Mero's" Cookbook

I thought I would share this family cookbook with you Flora's Kitchen Recipes from a New Mexico Family by Regina Romero. John's mother wrote this New Mexico style cookbook in 1997. I was pregnant with my first son Sage, and during this time I was very interested in family history. Since I was getting ready to have my first child, I felt I needed to know more about our family trees. When I first read this book I was surprised to learn about how each one of these recipes was connected to family members, family events, and family stories. I love my mother in laws cooking. I make many of these recipes from this book for my family, but when I do. I often relive, in my head, the cherish family stories of the author Regina Romero. I'm thankful for her efforts to retell her cherish, childhood memories in her cookbook for me to share with my beautiful children, and our future gene pool. On behalf of my 3 beautiful monkeys............ "Thank you Grandma Mero."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Decorative Letters

I've never been a fan of names in rooms, but my daughter wanted me to paint her name on her bedroom wall. I like to create my own stencils, but I saw these letters at Michael's and decided to use these instead. It's a little time consuming, but as usually I just put a Jane Austen movie in the DVD player, and starting crafting. It was a great afternoon. I found these great decorative scrapbook paper at the dollar store. They matched the colors of her room perfectly.Here's how I did it.

Supplies: Letters, craft paint, foam brushes, decorative scrapbook paper, x-acto knife, pencil,mod podge, acrylic sealer, and trash bag.

I used the trash bag to protect the surface I was working on. I traced letters on the wrong side of decorative paper. On the inside of the completed tracing, retraced the letter again. Use the original trace as your guide. You want to make a smaller image, so that you can see the painted edge on your finished letter. Cut out smaller image using an x-acto knife. I hope this isn't too confusing. Check out my close up to see what I mean. Paint your letters. Mod podge the cut out paper image to painted letters. I used 3 coats. Once dry, coat with a clear sealer. I embellished my letters with stickers, but get creative and use ribbon, buttons, puffy paint!!

Decorative Containers

Once again I needed some help keeping the kids things off the floor. This time it was Kaya's drawing supplies like crayons, markers, and colored pencils. Kaya likes to draw and cut a lot, so I recently put a table and chairs in her room. It was a good idea until I found all her drawing stuff all over the floor! I decided to make her these decorative containers to match the colors in her room. They were fun to make. I used empty oatmeal containers, butter containers, and large cereal boxes. I didn't want to use old cans since some of the edges are sharp, but you can if you like. Here's how.

Supplies: empty container, decorative scrapbook paper, ribbons, button, paper cutter, glue stick, and glue gun.

I cut decorative paper to size of container. Sometimes the paper won't cover entire container, so just add an extra piece to fill in. I hot glued paper on. I embellished with ribbon and a button. How easy is that! Only a few minutes to assemble. Now Kaya has a place to put all her drawing supplies, and I get to have a clean floor. I love the simple things.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Best Tasting Asparagus

One day I was watching one of those cooking channels, and I saw this interesting way to make asparagus. I decided to try this recipe that night, and it was a big hit with my family. My kids usually don't like asparagus, but by just adding bacon it made a world of difference. I've made this easy recipe several times for family and friends, and as always everybody loves the asparagus! It's so easy, and once you try this you'll never go back to eating it plain again. Here's how.

Ingredients: Asparagus, and bacon. That's all!!!

Snap off the tail of each asparagus. Wrap bacon slice around each spear. You can also cut bacon in half if you prefer. Set on baking sheet. Bake at 385 for 18 minutes. You can add salt and pepper if you like, but I usually don't. It's simple, and delicious!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Build your own Wall Hooks

I've been looking for a wall peg board for my hallway which leads to our garage. I hate it when the kids come home and throw everything on to the floor. I, of course usually end up picking everything up and hanging stuff on door knobs. Not attractive at all. I've been shopping around town looking for the perfect wall hanger, but everything I found was just too short in length, and overpriced. I decided to build my own. I measured the length of the wall then headed out to Home Depot and pick up a piece of wood. I found these great hooks at Target. Here's how I assembled everything.

Supplies: Piece of raw wood, glossy paint, hooks, 3" drywall screws,electric drill, and leveler.

First paint the wood with several coats. I only painted front and sides. Use formula: length in inches x number of hooks plus one. This will give you how many inches each hook should be spaced apart. For example: my measurement for my project were 60" x 9 = 6.6" Every 6.6" on my board I placed a hook. Predrill the holes, so the wood won't split. I used drywall screws instead of the screws that came with the hooks. This way, I know the hooks will hold a lot of weight. Now I have plenty of hooks for the whole family. No more stuff on the floors, and one less thing for me to pick up. Yee haw!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Decorative thumb tacks

I finished making this cute cork board for my daughter Kaya's room, but I didn't like the way these plain thumb tacks looked. I found these great scrapbook embellishment at Michaels. It took me a few seconds to make these new and improved thumb tacks for her new cork board. Here's how...
Supplies: Thumb tacks, scrapbook embellishments, glue sticks, glue gun.

Hot glue thumb tack and embellishment together. That's it! I'm going to make a few for my kitchen as well. This was so easy, and it really makes your message boards POP.

Sage's room

Decorative Cork board

My kids are always bring home art work from school. Some are too cute to put away. I decided to make decorative cork boards for their rooms. Now they have a place to show off their amazing art work. I thought this would be a more difficult project to attempt, but I was surprised how quick and easy this was. Now I need to make a few more for the kitchen and boy's rooms. I like the idea that I can personalize these cork boards along with their room themes. Here's how.

Supplies: Cork board, fine sand paper, craft paint, foam brushes, decorative card stock, ribbon,scrapbook adhesive, clear acrylic sealer, and trash bag.

Lay out trash bag to protect surface. I sanded the wood frame. I painted wood frame with foam brush. Applied clear acrylic sealer over paint. Place scrapbook adhesive to back of decorative paper and then placed on cork board. I used ribbon where decorative paper edges met and fastened down with more adhesive. I used scrapbook adhesive because it would be easy for me to change the decorative paper out. So simple!!!

Mod Podge Foot Stool

Kaya has this cute foot stool. It just plain white and rather weathered looking. I decided to give it a face lift to fit in better with her room decor. I love the way it turned out! It was a fun project for me to do. I can't wait to experiment with something else. Kaya loves ponies and cupcakes. Each night before she goes to bed. I kiss her good night and tell her to dream about ponies and cupcakes. I decided to put a pony on her foot stool and place a single cupcake for the pony's eye. It's personal and looks great in her room. I hope you give this one a try. Here's how.
Supplies: Craft paint, stool, decorative card stock, pencil, x-acto knife, mod podge,foam brush, and clear acrylic sealer.

First paint stool. Draw, or trace an image onto card stock. Cut out image using an x-acto knife. Place cut out image onto the stool. Mod Podge several coats as directed. I put around 10 coats on. Once dry place a final coat of clear acrylic sealer to prevent tackiness. That's it. Easy!!!

Homemade Applique T-shirts

My neighbor Amber sent me pictures of these great applique t-shirts she made for her kids. I loved them! I always seem to have a hard time finding t-shirts that share my children's interests. I thought it would be great to create my own appliques for them. Once I got started I couldn't stop! I decided to make a few for my friend Michelle who is getting ready to have her 4th child. I really enjoy the personal touch of these t-shirts. My kids love the idea that mommy did something special just for them. Here's how.
Supplies: fabric, heat n bond lite iron on adhesive, scissors, card stock, pencil, needle, thread,x-acto knife, and iron.

Prewash fabric. Iron adhesive to fabric as directed. Free hand an image on to card stock, or you can trace an image. I did bother. I used stencils, and die cuts. I found a lot of great ones at the dollar stores. Cut out image using x-acto knife. Trace image onto fabric. Cut out image with scissors. Peel off paper backing and iron image onto t-shirt as directed. Sew around the edge of the applique. I used a machine, and free handed my stitching. I preferred the free hand style better. You can embellish your applique with ribbons, embroidery thread, buttons, and puffy paint. Once you get the technique of this project down the possibilities are endless!