Thursday, January 26, 2012

Coconut Curry Chicken

Call it the fear of the unknown, or the Toddler Syndrome but I tend to avoid new food because I'm convinced I'll hate it. It is only magnified when we're talking ethnic food because the smells and ingredients are generally very new to me.

I finally gathered enough courage to try curry about a year ago and, OH MY, what in the world was I waiting for? Well, in reality I've only ever had one recipe with curry in it... but baby steps! If you like curry or Indian food, or even if you don't but you do like chicken and rice, I suggest you try my recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken. Not only does my super picky husband like it, but all in all there are 5 ingredients so it can't be beat.

Coconut Curry Chicken

  • 1+lb boneless, skinless chicken breast; cut into strips
  • 1 large yellow onion; cut into strips
  • 2 sweet red peppers (or 1 pepper and 1 tomato); cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 13.5-14oz can coconut milk
  • 1-3 Tbsp. of Pataks Hot Curry Paste (suit to your taste)

  1. Saute onions for 5 minutes over medium heat
  2. Add chicken strips and red peppers and continue to saute with the onions. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through
  3. Turn down heat and stir in a suitable amount of hot curry paste
  4. Immediately pour the coconut milk over the mixture and stir to combine and dissolve the curry paste
  5. Let simmer until thickened slightly (10-15 minutes)
Serve with flat bread and white rice. YUM!

All My Best -- Jess

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Top 3 -- Websites

I spend a lot of time on-line, whether it's gathering inspiration, information, or delectable recipes. I have a ton of websites I use daily and others not so often but that I love entirely. Rather than put up websites that I use the most often -- Facebook, anyone? -- I thought I would do the ones that I find the most interesting and full of great ideas.

#1 - Pinterest - If you know anything about me, you'll know that I've been obsessed with Pinterest for months. Whenever I have extra time to burn, or I'm just super procrastinating something important, I turn to Pinterest. Where else can you find gorgeous outfits, mouth-watering recipes, easy craft projects, beautiful home decor, funny pictures or inspirational quotes? No where that I can think of. If you haven't check it out already, let me know; I'll send you an invite so you don't have to wait 1+ weeks to start creating your own pin boards.

#2 - PatternSpot - It's no secret that I like to sew. Now don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not a seamstress, but I really enjoy making things rather than buying them when I can. For a collection of sweet patterns (many of them free) I turn to PatternSpot. Now, not all of them are free, but even those that are not are very reasonably priced. Think of it as an Etsy for patterns. Some are even patterns for embroidery and the like. I love love love the things I find on there.

#3 - Picnik - As a blogger, it's convenient to have a site that will edit your photos quickly and with really simple tools. Mind you, I'm in love with both Picasa and PhotoShop, but sometimes all I need is a quick change and Picnik will do that for me. Unfortunately, the site will be closing down on 4/19/2012. You can create an account, or just use the site as a guest; there was also an option to buy a premium account. If PhotoShop is too complex for you, Picnik could be your new best friend because it's incredibly user-friendly and until April 19th, premium access is FREE.

I highly suggest you check each of them out if you are not already familiar with them.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Smorgasbord Breakfast Biscuit

I can't be the only one who wakes up craving a hot diner breakfast: scrambled eggs with cheese, an english muffin, bacon/ham/sausage, and some hashbrowns. While it's definitely delicious it's not condensed into a serving size nor is it portable for a work day when I need to eat on the go. My solution? The Smorgasbord Breakfast Biscuit! Not only is it delicious but it is freezable and will last 3 days without a problem in the fridge, meaning I can have a "homemade" breakfast when I'm running late.

You can throw in practically anything you would want for breakfast (just cook it first) and voila! You're full.

  • Bisquick (just add water variety. I use the Garlic Cheddar package for a savory option)
  • Water, however much your bisquick needs (mine was 1/2 cup) + an extra 1/4 cup
  • 3-5 slices of bacon
  • 3-5 Sausage links
  • 1 slice of canadian bacon or pork roll OR 5 slices of sandwich meat ham
  • 1/4 cup of shredded or cubed cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, swiss, etc)
  • 1 english muffin, cubed
  • 3 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 handful (about 15) tater tots, cooked, cooled and crumbled
  • Optional: Onions, brocolli, spinach, roasted red peppers, etc.

  1. Preheat oven to temperature stated on the Bisquick package
  2. Cook meats together in a saute pan (chop the bacon first for it to cook faster). Brown them to get the best flavor and make sure to cook the sausage thoroughly. This would be a good time to add any vegetables if you are using them. When done, pour on a paper towel to cool.
  3. Scramble the eggs in the same pan used above. Take care to scramble the eggs so there are some big chunks. Cook until just done (do not overcook as they will continue to cook while the biscuits are baking), when you have reached this point, turn the stovetop off.
  4. Chop the meat and english muffin into bite size chunks.
  5. Pour Bisquick mix into a large mixing bowl and add the meat mixture, english muffin, crumbled tater tots and scrambled eggs.
  6. Add the water and gently fold the ingredients together until combined
  7. Stir in the shredded cheese
  8. Grease a cookie pan or muffin tin with spray and spoon on heaping mounds of the biscuit mixture
  9. Bake for 8-11 minutes until cooked through
  10. While best enjoyed warm, can also be eaten chilled.
For those of you who crave sweet in the morning: rather than bisquick use your favorite base for bread pudding or French toast and definitely don't use any vegetables.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby Blanket / Play Mat Tutorial

Sometimes it's a little too easy to get caught up in the frilly fun baby things. They are just about everywhere and just so dang hard to resist. Do me a favor and take a step away from the solid gold rocking horse (yes, Beyonce, I'm talking to you)! The best nursery items are the most practical ones. New moms need the things they'll use day in and day out.while you're at it, if they have more than one use, they should be declared domestic gold! Mind you, I have no babies yet so maybe when I do my tune will change but something tells me that I'll just get more obsessed with the multi-purposed goodies.

In addition to the diaper cake, I also made a matching taggie blanket that can serve double duty as a mat for tummy time! The only way this blanket could have been easier was if it was made of no sew fleece but I doubt it would be quite as precious.

Materials Needed:
  • Receiving blanket
  • Coordinating fabric (about 1 yard)
  • Quilt batting
  • Coordinating ribbon (about 20 inches)
  • Contrasting thread
  • Paper stencil (optional)
  1. Lay receiving blanket over the coordinating fabric and cut around in order to have a matching piece of fabric
  2. Sandwich a section of batting between the two pieces and cut around to create a perfectly sized middle section.
  3. Layer the materials as follow: batting on the bottom, right sides together and on top. Pin around the edges and one in the center.
  4. Fold a 5 in piece of ribbon in half (wrong sides together). Diagonally place one in each corner between the two pieces of fabric (between the batting and fabric) and pin in place.
  5. Straight stitch with a 1/4 inch hem around the outside. Stop when you have about 4 inches to go.
  6. Flip the blanket inside out. The taggies in the corners do a great job of helping you pull the corners out all the way :)
  7. Pin the opening shut (raw hems in!) and stitch around the entire border (taking specific care to close the opening)
  8. To create a bit of a quilted element: cut a paper stencil of whatever shape you'd like. Pin it where you find it appealing and simply do a straight stitch around the stencil. This could also be done using a stitched applique instead.
Voila! Warm blankie, taggie toy, and play mat... All-in-one!

All my best -- Jess

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mmm! Diaper Cake!

At this point in my life, it seems like there is a perpetual pregnancy going around my friend circle. The Mr. and I are not quite there yet, so it's fun (for me at least) to celebrate the arrival of the little munchkins. Yesterday was the baby shower for my WBFF (work-BFF) -- so this past week has been spent creating some sweet gifts for her little bundle of joy.

I'm always one to do a themed present and this time around I opted for football. In addition to an assortment of sporty baby necessities, I made a diaper cake and a taggie blanket/mat (directions coming momentarily!).

There are diaper cake tutorials everywhere; seriously, just google it and you'll get hundreds of thousands of responses. I used the method of rolling up each diaper individually and attaching them around an empty paper towel roll with rubber bands. The roll not only provides a starting foundation, but it's also a great way to anchor the layers together. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures while I was making it, so no tutorial from me. Bad Jess! I know... I'm sorry!

The photo is deceiving, but my cake is 3 tiers. 38 diapers on the first, 20 on the second and 7 on the top. Since I used an empty roll, there was a hole in the center that was just the right size to attach the security blanket.

The keys to an attractive diaper cake are:
  • Wrap the diapers TIGHTLY
  • Disguise the rubber bands with pretty ribbons on the visible layers (I layered a baby blue ribbon with a football ribbon on the top and bottom tiers and just the plain blue on the middle tier)
  • Coordinate the accent pieces with a color/theme
  • Consider wrapping a receiving blanket, fabric scrap, or baby towel around one or more of the layers (see tier 2)
All my best -- Jess

It's Moving Time

Hello BlogSpot!!

As much as it pains me to admit it, I think I'm ready to make the transition here. I've been a faithful Wordpress user for a few months, and it's time to make the change. I thought I chose wisely when I started my original site but WP doesn't have the creative flexibility offered here. Afterall, everytime I find an awesome blog, it is ALWAYS on BlogSpot. If that wasn't a hint from above then I don't know what is. I will link the blogs to eachother for the next few posts, but will eventually phase the original out.

Here's to hoping that I will be better able to connect to like-minded crafty ladies!

All my best -- Jess
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