Quick Soup

September 16, 2010

I will be posting soon about the treasures I got this summer- but I realized this is Thursday and I have some stuff to get done before Saturday morning (I visit my Grama).  And, the eBay 10 cent insertion fee deal ends TODAY- I need to get off my duff and list some stuff!

Here is a quick recipe for this busy day- super yum and kid friendly- AND I think it was from Cooking Light!

Italian Sausage Soup


8 ounces hot or sweet turkey Italian sausage

2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano

1/2 cup uncooked small shell pasta

2 cups bagged baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil



Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan, and cook about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; return to pan.

Add broth, tomatoes, and pasta to pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Remove from heat; stir in spinach until wilted. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and basil.


I’m Still Here!

September 14, 2010

Hi everyone!  Miss me?  I know my blogging lacks….consistency. But I look at other blogs, and it’s tantamount to trying on bathing suits with Heidi Klum- I’m intimidated.  But I will persist!

I have also had a stinky summer.  Two deaths in my family, helping with funerals and cleaning and hosting relatives, lots of driving, and right before the kids came home from grandparents’ house my hubby hurt himself at work and has been way-laid on bed rest and loopy pain drugs!!  So I’m striving to “let go, and let God.”  At times you really need to just surrend and realize you have no control over life.

Moving on- school has started, and I found a great granola bar recipe.  I tried it last night- in true Sam-fashion, my changes are: grape nuts and milled flax seed instead of wheat germ (didn’t have any in the pantry), 1 cup of Craisins for the dried fruit (decided to guess an amt.) and I threw in a small handful of choc. chips I had left over from another recipe. Yummo!  Next I will make a tropical dried fruit and nut bar with coconut.

If you still have real tomatoes available, I suggest making pasta sauce. The other week I made tomato sauce the crockpot.  I didn’t follow a recipe- I just blanched*, peeled, seeded** and chopped up tomatoes, threw them in the crockpot with some sautéed (in olive oil) onion, green pepper, garlic and carrot (all diced in food processor), some tomato paste, fresh rosemary, s&p, bit of sugar, Italian seasoning, red wine and a few meatballs for flavor.

* Cut a shallow X in the bottom of the tomatoes, drop in a pot of boiling water for 15-45 seconds, then quickly drop in ice water.  the peel will slide right off. Works the same with peaches.

** Just squeeze a cut tomato till the seeds squoosh out!

If you have access to REALLY good real tomatoes, I suggest making an open-faced tomato and feta sandwich with basil.

It’s quite scientific- mix some feta with mayo, pepper and chopped basil.  Slather the mixture on your bread (this was homemade bread), place a layer of tomato on top- CHOW DOWN!

Back soon with a new post- I want to show you some of the junk wonderful new treasures I acquired this summer.

Butterfly Tutorial

April 10, 2010

I’m going to try a tutorial!  I made these butterflies last month and thought you might like them too.  I made them as palanca for a Cursillo weekend.  This idea is not original to me- I received it as a present on my Cursillo weekend a few years ago.  I’m not sure where the butterfly came from, but I devised this tutorial myself.


  • yellow or orange foam sheet (I normally hate foam, but it’s perfect for this craft)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors- regular ones and small cuticle/fingernail (optional but helpful)
  • Black Sharpie pens- regular thick one and an ultra fine
  • White paint and small paintbrush
  • Adhesive-backed pin backs (self-sticking)

1) First make a butterfly template. I used the butterfly I had to help me out, but really you can just look at a photo (or use mine above) and draw one.  It’s easiest to sketch half of it on a folded piece of cardboard and then cut out so it is symmetrical (like making a heart).

My template was about…. 3.5″ wide?

2) Trace as many butterflies as you want/need onto the foam sheet with the pencil.  Cut them out.  This is where the cuticle scissors help!

3) Using the thicker Sharpie pen, start drawing the markings.  I photographed them in order so you can see how simple it really is.

a) body down center

b) bottom edges-thick

c) top edge- thin

d) 2 curving lines bisecting each wing

e) curves on tips of wings

f) curves on tops of wings

4) Next, using the ultra fine Sharpie, mark the fine lines.  Use my butterflies as a guide, or the butterfly photo. (sorry I don’t remember it’s link)

5) Almost done! Get out the white paint and your fine paintbrush and paint the dots.  As you can see, they are mostly along the bottom edge and tips of the wings.  And a few faint stripes at the base of the body.

Once all your babies are done, attach the pin backs by just peeling the paper off the adhesive and slapping them on!

Admire all the work you’ve done. Time to set them free!!

You could use these for palanca, to describe Easter in church, as a craft when teaching the butterfly life cycle- even have a Velma Gratch party!

I hope you liked this and it was helpful in some way.   Let me know if I was unclear……



Wait and See!!

April 9, 2010

Look out tomorrow for a tutorial to make these:

I hope the green background doesn’t annoy you too much!


April 9, 2010

I don’t know about you, but the quiet in the morning when everyone is in bed is just heavenly.  Of course I’m not talking about  the 5 a.m. morning, but 9:30 a.m. during Easter Break.  The cats are running around, the TV is off, hot tea is at hand– ahhh…..

I have lots of catching up to do- and I will!  I think I will even try to schedule posts for publishing on subsequent days—ooooh!

First up- those Christmas gifts I said forever ago I was going to post.

For the kids I made Christmas quilts and matching pillowcases. The quilts are just a simple checkerboard of 2 fabrics. Flannel on the backs.

 girl quilt

 boy quilt

Sorry for the bad photos!  Bad lighting and all…

For the grandparents I made silhouettes of the kids. Easy-peasy, looks fancy- just takes time.   I photographed the kids’ shadows (or you could photograph a side view of their heads on a light background) and then printed them on regular paper in black and white.  [Mind you, I don’t have Photoshop or such, or this could be a LOT easier] I outlined the heads in pen, cut them out, and then scanned that into the computer again.  I did this so I could print the silhouettes directly onto nice paper in the future.  I printed these onto blue paper in this case, cut them out, and mounted them on scrapbook paper in frames (all cheap, from Michaels).

Lastly I made a doll for my daughter!  I used the Mimi Kirschner pattern on purl bee.  “Virginia,” as she was named on Christmas day, was not hard to make- just time consuming.  It took me probably 6 hours to do the doll itself. (I’m sorta guessing- I started after the kids left for school and finished right before they got home. I DID have lunch and all in there too…) The dress and embellishments took a few more hours.

I used a combination of purchased wool felt and wool I felted myself.  I really like her hair- it’s plaid! I thought that was cool to infer highlights and shades and all instead of plain monotone brown.

I have 2 more partially done- well, one started and one planned in my head!!

And lastly I decorated these houses (for ME!)- bought at Michaels. I wanted them to look vintage, and they came out more Mary Englebreit. Still very cute!  I used those crazy cheap Christmas picks for decoration- I thought I was smart to use them for trees and bushes.  The only problem was that they melted easily in the hot glue- made it tricky.  The other decorations were tiny tree ornaments and pipe cleaners.

That’s it for now!

Super Bowl Eats

February 4, 2010

One of the new blogs I frequent is Life As Mom– I recommend subscribing to it!  It’s about parenting, family, saving money, trying to keep your sanity, etc.

She put a call out for Super Bowl recipes- I’m game!  We generally do they typical “manly” foods- stuff with meat, stuff with cheese. Dips, chips. (and some veggies to wash it all down)

One recipe I’d eat up all by myself if I had the chance (admit it- you would too!) is that Buffalo Chicken Dip.  Mama mia!!  Here is one recipe that I’ve made- it was on Rachael Ray- David Garrard’s Buffalo Chicken Dip.

David Garrard’s Buffalo Chicken Dip

1- 8 ounce package cream cheese

2 cups cooked chicken (a store-bought rotisserie chicken works best), shredded

1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce, recommended brand Texas Pete

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup blue cheese dressing (eyeball it)

1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (eyeball it)

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Cover the bottom of an 8×8″ dish or pie plate with cream cheese.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken, wing sauce and butter, and pour over the cream cheese-filled dish or pie plate.

Top with just enough blue cheese dressing and mozzarella cheese to cover (adding too much cheese will cause a thick skin to form that will make eating the dip difficult once the cheese cools).

Heat the dip in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with Scoops (Tortillas or Fritos) alongside for dipping.


February 3, 2010

Ok, I know I said I was going to next post about my Christmas crafts, but it’s late at night, and I’ve been taken over by cupcake fever. Maybe it’s because I’m organizing a Tea, maybe it’s just because I’ve always thought cupcakes were so CUTE!!  So here are a few things I’ve stumbled across in the past few days.

#1- I’ve been ogling the new (at least to me) stamp and punch packs by Martha Stewart at Michael’s.  With my trusty 40% off coupon in hand, I bought the cupcake one. (Because I needed it- for Valentine’s cards…) It comes with 3 rubber stamps, so you can do the icing/sprinkles in a different color from the cupcake liner, or you can just use the all-in-one stamp.  Then you use the punch to cut them out. Look how cute! 

I experimented stamping and punching on different papers and then pasting icings on top of different liners.  The weird things in the middle are the clear rubber stamps.

#2- In searching for cupcake ideas I found this super cupcake ornament tutorial by Bake It Pretty. It’s quite simple, but they do a great job explaining the steps.

#3- THEN I see that Bake It Pretty was kind enough to make darling printable cupcake gift tags!!! I had to print these out for future use….

By the way, have you been looking at something like this  recently?  Tomorrow will be day number THREE of no school.  And another snow storm is expected this coming weekend!  Usually central Virginia get icy yuck, so this is a treat. It was too fluffy f0r a snowman, but great for sledding.

Until tomorrow!