Monday, October 29, 2012

tonight's dinner

Braised short ribs! I've made the Pioneer Woman's tomato paste short ribs.. and they were I'm trying my own version.. I coated the short ribs lightly with flour and then seared them on each side for 45 seconds in a few tablespoons of oil.  Tossed in some onions..cooked them a little bit..and added in some thyme, parsley, minced garlic,..then I added a bay leaf and deglazed the pan with red wine. Added in a little water..with salt and pepper. I then put the pan in the oven with a lid on it at 375 degees.. it's been going an hour and the meat is nicely separating from the's already so tender.. potatoes are boiling on the stove for mashed potatoes.. after the meat is done I'm going to take it out of the pan.. remove some of the liquid and add some sour cream to the pan to make a quick sauce! I started at around 10:30...I'd say our dinner will be done midnight! While I'm cooking I've got Julia and Jacques going on the tv... you can watch episodes here

I've been playing around with my camera this week...I love love love food styling and photography.I majored in food styling in college and I am trying to get better at it... I have a small apartment and small windows so it's hard to get enough natural light. I love the way these photos turned out...I had a table in front of the window..I experimented with putting a white sheet over the window so I didn't get a harsh blinding beam of light.. another trick I learned is to use parchment paper to cover the window.. and a tripod..I ran out and bought a mini one just for food pics.. oh and was struggling with every time I hit the camera button it wiggled the camera a bit.. enough to make my photo slightly blurry.. I now put it on a 2 min. timer..and that works great!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

savory chicken

I had a midnight mini-marathon of one of my favorite cooking shows..."The Chew." Michael Symon made Chicken Paillard in under five minutes. It looked so good I had to have 2 am I started defrosting the chicken ..around 3am I all ready to cook and I check the fridge and pantry... bacon? no.. onions? all out.. chili flakes? nope..can I make Chicken Paillard..nooo.. I did have the sour cream..and some garlic.. it sounded good. I got the pan nice and hot..threw in the butter.. then the chicken..great sizzle sound! perfect. Sear the chicken both sides (added in minced garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper)  till nice and caramelized.  Deglaze the pan with a tiny bit of water.. take the pan from the stove top to the oven.. LOVE my pans! they make me feel all chef like.. after chicken cooked all the way thru I took it out..deglazed the pan again..this time with a spoonful of sour cream..and drizzled the sauce over the chicken. done!  
Best. chicken. ever.

chevron gift tags

So this was the easiest thing ever to make..
 washi tape + mailing tags ..that's it! 
Tags are from Staples and come and large and small sizes.. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

polymer clay..want to try..

The last time I remember working with polymer clay was when I was about twelve years old ..and after watching tons of Carol Duvall polymer clay episodes about jewelry making and ornaments I thought I could make anything. I was pretty good later on with regular clay in high school ceramics and even won some awards.. but all I can remember from my early days with polymer clay is that I had a really hard time getting it to be soft and workable and then I remember a funky smell from burning it in the here's my next try with polymer clay.. I've found some cute ideas for some gifts and gift tags... I've got the metal letter stamps and white clay for the above garden sticks above...Photo and idea from:

Gift tags photo and idea from:
I LOVE these jewelry plates.. It's so fun how you can imprint all different textures..I've seen some lace print ones out there too... photo and idea from:  You can use already colored polymer clay or basic white, bake it, and then paint it with acrylics and a sealant. 
Cut out any shape with cookie cutters! Photo and idea from:

all this from a can of biscuits!

Buttermilk shmuttermilk...doesn't matter what kind you use really..I think..they all taste the same to me..except honey butter..eww don't use honey butter. It's the texture that counts..with flaky layer biscuits you can make chicken and dumplings in a crock pot! annnd biscuit beignets!  I made both of these recipes this week and they were so so good!  Both were super easy! 
Here is the recipe for the chicken and dumplings:
Biscuit beignets:  Now I'm not sayin these taste like real beignets but they're good for when you really want a beignet and not wanting to make them from scratch...annnd I needed something to make out of the half a can of biscuits I had left over from the chicken and dumplings! 

washi tape ideas

gift tags...
decorative letters... (Joanns has better letters and more variety than
napkin rings? papercrafts...
There are many varieties of washi tape on the internet and tons on Etsy's one that I love that sells for $3.49

It's chilly let's get crafty

Nothing is quite as nice (or as cozy) than new slippers.. shoes
a nice (instant!) fire..
...and making little crafty things : )
Pattern is from:
I used the printable pattern to trace the felt...but I handstitched with a blanket stitch in the middle and around the edge of the donut.. and used a regular stitch for the was surprisingly easy! I've mastered French knots and they make great sprinkles!
I made this ornament for a friend who loves foxes...
I found the perfect pattern and guide from:
A tweet bird with holly and berries..
flower stitch for the petals and French knots for berries..
Tutorial from:
Scottie dog.. so cute! I found many scottie dog ideas on pinterest.. but I added a bell and plaid ribbon to mine. So far I've made six of these..
This was my practice piece and it turned out really good so I made it into a heart ornament.  This was just after I learned how to make the flower.
Inspiration for these snowflake hearts
(I made three but only one is pictured) is from:

washi tape!

I recently found out about washi tape..and I'm thinking why wasn't this stuff made years ago! There are so many uses! I'm going to start with using it on Christmas present gift tags..and then make some cards to start... (My Christmas theme this year is kinda simple but homemade? Anthropology-ish?  Think presents wrapped in brown craft paper with twine and chevron stripes..and maybe some b+w photos... and upside down mason jar snowglobes..)   so I found some tape that is pretty close to washi tape at Michaels it was in the scrapbooking/sticker section and the brand is Recollections. While I was there I picked up some polymer clay and I am going to try to make those chalky hand stamped ring bowls that are all over pinterest!