Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cooking: Minestrone Soup

Justyn has been craving minestrone soup talking about how he's totally gonna make it someday. Well.. he never got around to making it, so I made it for him tonight. I found a recipe through Link:

Justyn said that I can make this ANYTIME. He loved it that much. I altered the recipe since I was impatient and didn't want to wait 2 hours before it was ready to eat. First I cooked the bacon until they were just about crisp and then added the onion, leek, carrot & celery. Those sauteed for 5 minutes. Then I added the crushed tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, 2 cups of water & 2 cups of beef stock. I let that come to a boil before adding the zucchini and potato. Half an hour before I served it, I added the green beans and pasta. 15 minutes before serving I added fresh basil & parsley. So in total, I only let the soup cook for an hour but it came out really nice.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bri's Back from Japan!

Well temporarily at least. She's back visiting for the holidays. It was so good to see her tonight.. it has totally been a while.

Since it was a potluck (why is it called that anyway?), I made some honey mustard glazed chicken wings from Sooo good. I think I made these last year for Superbowl and everyone loved them. the recipe is super easy too.

Here are the pics from Bri's "reunion". By popular demand she made us okinomiyaki (cabbage & rice flour based pancake thingy).

Here's a random pic of me with makeup on. Trust me, it's a rare occasion when I have this stuff on but I think I'm getting better at it, so you might see more of it more often.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve Beef Wellington

Here's the Beef Wellington I made for Christmas Eve. This version turned out tons better. Justyn used the word "perfect" to describe it :)

Oh yeah.. here's the video I shot with my new Flip Camera Ultra HD :D Do you like how my sister freaked out in the background? Haha..

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cooking: Beef Wellington

I decided that I was going to make Beef Wellington for dinner on Christmas Eve and since I hadn't made this for a very long time, Justyn suggested that I do a test run today.

I recently saw Tyler Florence's Ultimate Beef Wellington on Food Network. The recipe seemed easy enough and looked really delicious. His version calls for mushroom duxelle, proscuitto & mustard. Note the lack of liver product. I'm not a huge liver fan so this recipe called out to me even more. It also comes with a green peppercorn gravy and since I couldn't find the green peppercorns in the brine, I just excluded it.

Here's a picture of the meat and goodies before being bundled up.

I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make a cute topping for the log.

I also made some roasted brussel sprouts which didn't turn out so well since they were slightly undercooked and some mashed potatoes.

I'm not going to make mashed potatoes for Christmas Eve since I was pretty wiped out after cooking this 3-course meal. Instead, I'll just serve it with some bread or something.

Recipes Used:

Wrapped Presents

I loooove the kraft wrapping paper I got from Michael's. I could totally use this stuff for occasions other than Christmas. These are Christmas presents for Justyn. The red bow is made out of felt using instructions from this website:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Embellish Magazine Challenge w/ Snowflakes

I really love It provides really great inspiration for cards and layouts. To be honest, I had no idea what I was going to do with these colors for a while but finally it this idea hit me. It's a little plain but I quite like the simplicity of it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

NAC: Gift Boxes

OK really quick post before I go to bed. I've already stayed up an hour past my bed time :(.. I made these explosion boxes with paper snowflake ornaments inside. I wish I had more time to tie bows on each but I'm beat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NAC: Another Quirky Card

I'm not even going to bother explaining this one because I can't really. One of my friends requested this so I obliged but I have no idea what I produced haha. It's just a weird and quirky card.

NAC: Domokun Birthday Card

I couldn't post this card until today since I wanted to keep it a suprise for my friend's birthday. He loves it :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NAC: Gift Card Holder

I made this gift card holder tonight for my sister inspired by Kristina Werner's A Year in Cards video on (Video:

Monday, December 14, 2009

NAC: Baby Shower Cards

One of my friends just found out that she's pregnant! Congrats to her :) As a gift, I told her I would make her baby shower invitations. Here they are. I asked her to choose one of the below designs and she chose the first one. Personally, that's my favorite. It's a little time consuming to stitch each of the colored thread but I love the effect of it. Besides, the rest of the invitation is pretty darn simple so I think I can pull it off.

What do you guys think? Do you like the first or second one better?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cooking: Pot Roast w/ Mashed Potatoes

Justyn was telling me earlier this week that he wanted pot roast and roast beef so I decided to make him a loving home cooked meal that he was so craving. I originally wanted to make Paula Deen's recipe but it would require 8 hours to cook. I didn't have that much time so I used Barefoot Contessa's recipe (

I started out by searing off the big chunk of meat.

Then I added the mirepoix (onion, celery & carrot). BC's recipe called for leeks and no celery but I thought it would extra flavor by adding the celery. I also added the garlic after the mirepoix were half way softened.

The cognac and wine went in next along with the tomatoes. BC's recipe calls for whole plum tomatoes in puree but I just used regular ole crushed tomatoes. Fresh rosemary and thyme went in after that. Here's a money saving tip.. get the poultry herb pack of herbs instead of rosemary and thyme separate.

I brought the mixture up to a boil and then added the roast back in. This simmered for 2.5 hours.

The last half hour of cooking, I started the potatoes. Here's the recipe: Protip: If you want fluffy and velvety mashed potatoes, use a ricer. It was my first time using it and the pay off was epic.
So here it is... I think the next time I make this, I'll use beer in place of wine. The sauce was slightly on the tangy side which wasn't bad but I wanted a deeper flavor to it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

NAC: I'm kinda back?

Well, I decided to give it another shot tonight. I just couldn't not make something. I even tried out my new swear word stamps. These are going to get used A LOT.. especially when I'm frustrated with crafting heh. I guess you could say this is my take on Nice and Naughty.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Ugh I'm so frustrated right now. I only have a few more cards to make for Christmas and I'm fed up. Do you guys ever get to the point where you just don't have anymore creativity left in you? In one night I can crank out at least a couple cards and today I'm empty. I remember the wise words of Ali Edwards saying just to step away from it and that it'll come back but I can't stand the time where I'm not crafting and being good at it. Especially with a bunch of friends telling me that I'm good at what I do. It just makes me feel even worse because I should be able to do this everyday.

/rant over

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NAC: Hand Cut Birthday Card & Snowflake Ornament

I was looking at one of my favorite blogs called Emellish Magazine ( and saw that they had a challenge up. This challenge was to be inspired by pine cones, leaves & acorns. When I saw the pillow, a light bulb in my head went off. I could totally make something inspired by that. Little did I know how tired and cramped up my hand would get after I was done. But I love the effect it gives the card. You don't even have to make it perfect for it to look good. I basically started out by cutting out some leaf shapes and then drawing in negative spaces where I would need to cut. I did the same for the flower which was inspired by my Anthropologie gift card bag.

I also made this snowflake ornament over the weekend. Sometimes I'm so weird. I was sleeping in on Sunday morning when I suddenly bolted up in bed and went directly to my craft desk. Since having the Stampin Up snowflake punch I haven't really made much with it. I had the idea to fold the punched out shape in half and make an ornament out of them like I've done in the past with other symetrical shapes. It worked! Doesn't it look intricate? Totally easy though..

Christmas Party @ Julie's

This past Saturday Julie through Ken invited us to her house for a Christmas party. Before I post the pictures I just wanna say that not only is this chick a great hostess but she is on fire in the kitchen. The highlights were the meatballs and sauce she made from her grandma's recipe & the nut bars. It's gooey, caramely, slightly more salty than sweet. Just my kind of dessert. I thank her and Ken for inviting us. We had a blast!

The peeps:

The kiddos:

The food:

White Elephant Exchange: