Monday, February 28, 2011

Marathon Monday...Just Keep Swimming

Happy Monday everyone! Guess where I will be spending the next couple of weeks???

Yes, right here in the local pool. My doctor diagnosed me with a strained/sprained ligament in my ankle. I am doing physical therapy and everything bothers it, even riding the stationary bike. Today my physical therapist found a tiny bone spur on my ankle on the x-ray which she said is greatly aggravating the swelling in my ligament. SO...nothing that involves impact at all right now. But she did say swimming was okay. So I bit the bullet and joined the local gym, which has these pools.

It was coooooold this morning when I left for the gym! I scraped ice off the windshield to be able to drive. Okay, maybe not such a big deal in other parts of the country but in Southern California, that's cold! This is my super excited to be awake at 5am face...

As i'm taking this self portrait in the gym locker room I panic for a moment thinking...what if somebody walks in right now and sees me taking a photos of myself in my suit and cap and goggles in the mirror??? Super embarassing. But, since there was nobody else crazy enough to be getting into the pool when it's 35 degrees out, not to worry. Super embarassing might be the fact that it looks like I only have 1 ear in that photo.

So...that's where it's at. I will be swimming quite a bit for the new few weeks and doing PT 2-3 times a week. My therapist is pretty nice and understands (I think) my need to get back running again. Without swimming and Reese's peanut butter cups, I might go insane with no exercise. The price of the gym is well worth it.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by today!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A few more notecards

Happy Saturday!! It's gorgeous here today with lots of fluffy white clouds and blue skies. It poured rain all night but today it's the calm after the storm. We are headed outside in a little bit but I have a few more notecard sets to share that I made for the PSA Essentials showing on the Home Shopping Network.

I used the Frenchie peel and stick stamps for these and some Jillibean Soup papers...

I left them sentiment-free, but any sentiment would work with these cards. Thinking of You...Call Me...Just a Hello. Very versatile stamps!

Cupcakes!!!! This little cupcake stamp is one of my favorites. So cute and the sentiment is oh so true...

And I had some Sassafrass Lass scraps to use up so I made this last set. Simple and to the point. The stamps are from the Cupcake peel and stick pack. They are small 3x3 cards, perfect for slipping in a gift bag.

Notecards on Saturday!! I hope you are having a great weekend. We are off to enjoy the blue sky while it lasts, thanks for stopping by today!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everybody loves chocolate chip cookies. They are a classic cookie, a fun treat, and an occasional breakfast. See...don't they look good?

But bite into these bad boys and you get a little more than you bargained for!

No, really. That's an OREO inside!!! See?? Oreo INSIDE the cookie!

I saw these at the Picky Palate food blog and knew I had to make them. Jenny from Picky Palate has been showing lots of fun stuffed chocolate chip cookie recipes lately, her latest one is S'mores stuffed cookies! Want to see it again?

These cookies are giant. I just took my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and sandwiched an oreo between two big scoops of dough. I formed the dough around the cookie and baked at 350 degrees. Pretty easy for a big impact!! Not an everyday indulgence, but a fun occasional treat. And maybe a breakfast...

Happy Thursday Friends!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Echo Park goodness

Hi Everyone! I feel like i've been on a scrapping drought lately. I haven't made too many new layouts lately. But this sketch from Back Porch Memories got my mojo flowing...

I used some Echo Park papers for this one, from the Life Is Good collection.

I love these photos of my sister giving a bath to her sweet baby Molly. I have so many fun photos from my trip to Maine last summer, these are some of the first ones to get scrapped!! I also tried my hand making those spiral rolled flowers.

They actually turned out easier than I thought! I don't typically use green that much on layouts, so this was a fun departure for me. And it felt good to get scrappy again!!

Hope you are having a great week so far. Happy Wednesday!! Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CSN Stores Winner!!

Happy Tuesday everyone!! I have a quick post today to announce the winner of my CSN Stores is the random number generator...

The winner is JONI!!!!! Congrats Joni on winning a $40 giftcard to CSN Stores!! Joni is having her kitchen demolished right now and is getting a brand new kitchen this spring. So i'm sure the giftcard will come in handy. Joni, I will email you with your giftcard code.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway!! I so appreciate all your great comments on my blog! I will have some scrappy goodness I will see you all then!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Marathon Monday...what's your song?

**LAST day to enter my $40 giftcard giveaway!!! GIVEAWAY HERE***

Happy Monday!!! I just spent the best weekend visiting my mom and going to a 40th Disco/70's birthday party of my oldest bestie in the whole world. It was an amazing weekend but now I guess it's back to reality!

I am going tomorrow to have my ankle examined by a professional. I took ALL week off from any activity last week and it was the hardest thing ever. I am not good at being patient. At all. But we'll see what the doc says and hopefully I can resume doing something. Anything. Please, anything!!

In the meantime, I need some new music. I love listening to music when I workout and my playlists are all getting stale. I have some iTunes giftcards burning a hole in my help me spend them! I like almost all types of music (not including country, no offense to all those country fans out there).

Here's what I've got going on right now...these songs seem to always end up on my playlists.

1. Eminem: Not Afraid

eminem Pictures, Images and Photos

2. Motorhead: Ace of Spades

motorhead Pictures, Images and Photos

3. Metallica: Hit The Lights

4. Neon Trees: Animal

5. Linkin Park: What I've Done

linkin park Pictures, Images and Photos

6. Ricky Martin: Livin' La Vida Loca

Yes, you can have Ricky Martin AND Metallica on the same playlist and your ipod won't explode. Pinky promise. So...what music do you listen to when you workout? Or in your car? Or around the house? Give me some good suggestions for new playlists!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lots and Lots of Notecards

A couple of weeks ago, PSA Essentials stamps were featured on the Home Shopping Network. And I was asked to make some samples that may or may not be shown on live TV. Well, I am happy to say that I DID see some of my cards on TV! No matter I had to stop and rewind and freeze frame a few times to make sure the card *really* was mine. It was fun to watch Libby demonstrate the stamper and show a variety of DT work on TV. I think she will be on HSN again, so I will have to let you all know when to watch again!

I made quite a few notecard sets. I love making notecard sets because they are easy and fun to give away as gifts and I can get quite a few cards made in a short amount of time. I tend to go very simple for notecards, so the recipients can actually mail them without having to add any extra postage. Let me show you some sets I made for HSN.

Using PSA Essentials Rosettas and some Jillibean Soup papers:

PSA Essential Rosettas again...

And more Rosetta stamps! I love these!!

Okay...that's all I have today. I hope you're having a great week, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pretzel Bites

***Don't forget to enter my $40 giftcard giveaway!! Check out this post: Giveaway***

Last summer I tried making soft pretzels for the first time and it was a big success. Everybody loved them. I took them to Bunco one month and they were very well received. My kids love shaping the pretzels and creating twisty pretzels as well. And when I was in need of an appetizer to appeal to a crowd on Superbowl Sunday, I turned to the soft pretzels. But to be honest, I didn't have time for the twisting and pretzel making. At Mel's Kitchen Cafe, I saw a recipe for pretzel bites and instantly printed it out. These were super fast and easy (if you don't count the time you wait while the dough rises) and also delicious!

I'm more of a sweet snacker, but these little heavenly nuggets might have switched me over to the salty side of snacking. At least for an afternoon.

The 'icing on the cake' was the butter you brush on top of them right after coming out of the oven. Warm, light, salty, chewy, buttery...these really were amazing. I had to physically restrain myself from eating them all before going to my neighbor's house for the Superbowl. They were gone within minutes of arriving (for the record...not all by me!).

I used margarita salt on the top of these and it added a great little crunch. I will absolutely be making these again and again!!

Pretzel Bites
recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Note: if using active dry yeast, increase the yeast to 1 tablespoon. Proof the yeast in the warm water and sugar (let it bubble and foam – maybe about 5 minutes) before adding it to the flour and salt.

*Makes about 2 dozen pretzel bites

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water

1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Don’t be afraid of the high heat! This is what will help those pretzels to brown up perfectly and stay soft on the inside. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.

Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. You don’t have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 7-8 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time – it won’t hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat.

If you want to check out a photo tutorial of the shaping steps for the bites, please check out the post on Mel's Kitchen Cafe here: photo tutorial

I really hope you try these, they are a crowd pleaser and were absolutely delicious. Hope you're having a good week so far. Thanks for stopping by!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CSN Stores $40 Giftcard Giveaway!!

Hi Friends!! Happy Tuesday! Are you on a sugar crash from all the Valentine goodies you ate yesterday? I was actually pretty good, I only had a few little things. Okay, who am I kidding. My husband got me one of those super king sized Reese's peanut butter hearts and I cuddled it and slept with it all night long.

Today I have a big giveaway to offer awesome readers!! I was contacted by CSN Stores, who offered me a $40 giftcard to giveaway to my blog readers. CSN Stores has over 200 unique shopping sites that offer almost anything you could ever want. Cookware, bakeware, home decor, health and fitness, kids and baby...the list goes on and on. Please check them out here: Office Furniture.

What do you need to do to win???

1.Leave me a comment on this post and tell me something you are looking forward to this spring. Melting snow? Maybe a race you have planned? Crafting handmade Easter baskets? Spring break in Cancun?

2. If you are so inclined and like what you see here, please consider becoming a follower!!

3. If you facebook about this giveaway or blog about it at your blog, please leave me another comment telling me you did that (leave a link if you can). You will get an extra entry into the random drawing!

You have until February 21st at 9pm (Pacific Time) to leave a comment. After that, I will draw a name at random to win the $40 giftcard. You will be able to use this giftcard at ANY CSN Store, on ANY product. Pretty cool!!

And since I can't have a post without a you go. A whole lotta cupcakes!!!

Good luck to everyone on the drawing. I hope you are having a great start to your week...thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Marathon favorite Breakfast

Happy Monday and Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!! We don't do anything big for Valentine's Day but I make sure to leave a little something out for my kids at the breakfast table in the morning and we usually have a fun dinner, too. No big deal, just a little bit of extra love. Do you have any big plans? Did you celebrate this past weekend? news on the ankle. It still hurts. This week I am going to see a doctor to see if it needs to be amputated or replaced. Okay, I am being dramatic. But I finally came to the realization that I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I need a professional opinion. Why is it so hard to ask for help sometimes?

Anyway, I am going to share with you today my favorite breakfast. It's a great way to refuel after a run or fuel yourself for the day. Here it is: Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie!

It's not new or novel or earth shattering but it's delicious and creamy and yummy and keeps me full all morning long. I love that.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 cup fat free soymilk
3 oz vanilla greek yogurt (about 1/2 of a small yogurt container, you can add the whole container if you like it super creamy)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 heaping tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 frozen banana

Blend it all up. Add 1-2 cups of ice, blend again. Easy!!!! You can also add a scoop of protein powder for even more staying power. I love how it fills me up and keeps me full until lunchtime. No more 10am snacking at work.

I hope you all have a fabulous week. It was 80 degrees here this weekend (yes, my grass is that green right now. I love it) but it's supposed to rain rain rain this week. Stay tuned for a super fun giveaway I am going to be posting on my blog this week!! You don't want to miss it. Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Good Girlfriends

I really don't think there's much better in life than a good girlfriend. Somebody that lifts you up when you are down, somebody you can grab a drink with, somebody you can text at all hours of the night. You know, a good girlfriend. I am extremely lucky to have a few of them in my life. And with Valentine's Day coming up, there is no better time than now to send a little handmade card to your best girlfriends!!

A little Cosmo Cricket paper, a ca-UTE stamp from PSA Essentials and you have a sweet card to send a girlfriend. How about another one??

Another ca-UTE PSA Essentials stamp and fun sentiment. Can't you see sending this in the mail? Okay, maybe with some extra postage because of the big ribbon and button and twine...but can't you see sending it!??

What are your plans for this wonderful Friday? Maybe a night out with some girlfriends? Maybe shoveling snow from your yard? Maybe a little Valentine crafting? Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a good one. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Homeade Oreos

Are you looking for a special treat to make somebody in your life this Valentine's Day? Or are you looking for something you can hoard from your family when everybody is in bed and eat all by yourself watching repeats of The Bachelor? And maybe with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream?? And some drizzly hot fudge? Then this is the recipe for you!!! Homeade Oreos...

Ah yes, the classic oreo. We never had oreos in our house when I was growing up. My mom did a ton of cooking and baking so we always had homeade cookies somewhere, but never oreos. It wasn't until high school that I discovered the magic of these cookies, and then they came out with chocolate covered oreos. Oh wow, that changed my life. And my waistline. And not for the better. But NOW you can make them at home, and make them cuter than ever!

These are basically chocolate cut out cookies that I cut out with a simple circle cookie cutter. I then took a smaller heart cookie cutter and pressed it halfway into the circle. Then baked. I made the filling inside and found it a bit hard to spread over the cookie. So I ended up just plopping it on the cookie and smashing two sides together.

Yes, some of them became double stuff. And some are triple stuff. No judging.

They don't taste exactly like oreos, they were missing that crispy crunch of the cookie. But they were delicious and were devoured by my family in record time. What a fun recipe.

Here are the links to the recipes. I found these on the Bake at 350 food blog (which is a pretty amazing blog).

Chocolate Roll Out Cookies (I left out the espresso powder)
Cream Filling

You could even switch out the cookie cutter on the top to match any occasion. Hope you're having a great week so far! Thanks for stopping by...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creative Scrappers Sketch #139

Hi Everyone! Today I have a layout I did using a Creative Scrappers sketch AND some Echo Park paper. I *finally* got my hands on some Echo Park paper, this is the line called Life Is Good. They are one of the newest paper companies out there and they have some awesome stuff coming out for CHA this year! I cannot wait to get my hands on it (yes, I already have some on pre-order!). In the meantime...the sketch...

And the layout!

I just love this photo of my daughter. It was taken last summer in our backyard. She looks so grown up and then I see the Chuck E. Cheese tattoo on her arm and I remember that she is still such a little girl!! This is a layout documenting all her favorites at 6 years old.

I used some crackle medium on this plain chipboard butterfly...

And another big flower! I love these!!

I realized that I don't use yellow that often and I enjoyed pulling the yellow accents from the paper and using it for some of the bigger embellishments. It just reminds me of spring!

That's all I have today...hope you have a great Wednesday!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Marathon Monday...a Non-update

Happy Monday everyone! How are you all doing? Did you have a good Superbowl Sunday? We spend Superbowl with our friends and neighbors and it's always a good time. Lots of yummy food and drinks (peach bellinis) and all our kids play SO well together. It's really awesome. Now I think I'm having eaters remorse...too much good stuff yesterday.

I planned on updating today with how my marathon training is going...but it's not going anywhere. Last Sunday I rolled my ankle on my run and i've been down for the count ever since. I've been doing the R.I.C.E. thing as much as I, ice, compression, panic...I mean elevation. But between chasing the kids to softball and baseball practices, working full time and trying to eat my weight in pizza rolls on Sunday, the recovery has been slow going. I rode the stationary bike twice this weekend and tried out the elliptical today at the gym. No real pain but it just feels unsteady and shaky. So I guess I will be resting for a few more days. Wish me luck. I am no good at resting.

So today I will share you with the Crop Suey Challenge for February!! You need to use 9 items on your layout...that's the challenge! Multiples count as 1, so if you use 3 buttons = 1 item. Easy, right?

I hoard my Jillibean Soup papers like nobody's business but I thought the colors were perfect for this softball photo from last least. My daughter was on the Orange Tigers and let me tell you...they were ORANGE!!!

I used some more Jillibean Sprouts...

And I really love these big white flowers. I think I got them at Oriental Trading! You know, a gross of flowers for about $5 or something like that.

I hope you join us over at Crop Suey this month. The winner will get some awesome Cosmo Cricket papers and that is worth playing for!

I hope you all have a great start to the week. I have some Superbowl munchies that I made yesterday that I will share this week and hopefully squeeze in some Valentine treats as well. And...maaaayyyybe a run. We'll see...Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sugar Cookies Truffles

I have made quite a few different kinds of truffles. Peanut Butter Truffles, Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles, Cake Truffles...but these little goodies that I made last weekend I think were the best truffles yet. Sugar Cookie Truffles!!

I have always loved sugar cookies and these just took sugar cookies to the next level. Here is what you need:

Recipe from Cookies and Cups
1 bag of pre-packaged sugar cookie mix (you can use your own recipe if desired)
1 can of vanilla frosting
1 bag white chocolate chips

1. Mix the sugar cookie mix according to the package. Bake and make sure you don't over bake them. In fact, you might want to under bake just a little bit.
2. Let cookies cool completely.
3. Mash up processor, rolling pin smash in a bag, whatever you need to do to smash them up good and smashed.
4. Mix in can of frosting until you can roll the dough into balls.
5. Freeze dough balls for about 20 minutes.
6. Melt white chocolate chips in microwave bowl in the microwave until smooth and creamy. You can add a tbsp of shortening if needed to make creamy.
7. Dip frozen dough balls in chocolate. Add sprinkles and let harden at room temperature.
8. Eat, eat, eat!!!

I had some extra mini cupcake liners hanging around, so I put them into the liners for a festive look. What do you think?

And the mini size = built in portion control!!! Do you think I just ate one???

With Valentine's Day coming up, you can even switch things up a bit. Get yourself some candy melts from your local craft store and make some Valentine sugar cookie truffles.

For some reason i've been hoarding these super cute heart sprinkles. I just love them!

These might actually be the perfect refueling food for my long marathon training runs. Do you think they would fit in my pocket or tucked into my sports bra??? Mmmm...might be worth trying.

Happy Friday Everyone!!