Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Printables & Craft Punches

So, if you are crafty and a DIY mama, chances are you have heard of or visited tatertots & jello.
It seems like Jen, the creative mastermind behind this darling site, has her finger on the pulse of the crafting community.  I know this is my go-to site when I need a new and fresh idea, a tutorial or just something to get me out of a crafting brain freeze {that's a technical term, if you are wondering}.

So when I had the chance to sponsor a giveaway on tatertots&jello I immediately knew this was the perfect site to showcase Libby Lane Press.  So, go ahead and mosey on over to tatertots&jello, enter the giveaway that offers not only Libby Lane Press printables but also EK Craft Punches {LLP fave}.

Then stay awhile and get to see first hand what the hype is all about. I promise it's worth it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yarn Turkey Craft {as promised}

So, last week I stumbled upon the cutest craft on Pinterest and decided that was going to be the next project, in addition to the no-sew ruffled tablecloth which is next on the list.
Anyway, off to Hobby Lobby we went and after a few tantrums and bathroom trips we made it home safely with a styrofoam ball, yarn, craft sticks, and felt in tow. So, if you feel inspired on this rainy day {or atleast it is here in the DC suburbs} try this little craft, you can find the instructions here.   My assistant was extra helpful and cannot wait to see the feathers added to this little guy on Thursday.  We wrote the sentence starter: 'I am thankful for'  to make it as easy as possible for guests to grab a feather, feel thankful and decorate our turkey. We even added coordinating fall themed scrapbook paper to really dress him up for the holiday.
So, as you decorate your own turkey in preparation for Thanksgiving keep in mind that no matter what,  there is always something to be thankful for.

Disclaimer: Please excuse my photography- it has been raining for days so I am not the best 'fauxtographer' without natural light. 
Head and Body 

Hint: my turkey's head was a little heavy so he has feet to keep him from wobbling. Easy fix- just added 2 extra craft sticks and covered with remaining felt from the beak

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spicy Korean Pork {for the night you want to skip nuggets or grilled cheese}

So, after the success of the Cheeseburger Meatloaf last week Danielle has decided to spice it up a bit. Wait until you see the pictures.. the 'fauxtography' is rather impressive, I must say. So, if you decide to give this recipe a whirl, please leave a comment. I would love to know your take on this dinner with a little bite.

I love spicy ethnic food!  Unfortunately my food preferences do not mesh with that of my family.  However, my husband and I both have found that we LOVE Korean food.  A Korean BBQ restaurant was recommended to us by a friend that we both thoroughly enjoyed.  Since then I have been trying to recreate the experience at home.  Fortunately once you have the ingredients for a Korean recipe on hand many of them are actually very simple and fast.  My friend passed along several good recipes that she prepares for her family that I plan to try and share soon.
For this particular recipe you do need to make a trip to an Asian grocery store.  Luckily for me, there are several in my area.  Don’t let the Asian market intimidate you.  Once you have gone you may decide to do most of your shopping there.  The produce is amazing and you can find all your standard groceries plus many others you may have difficulty finding.  The pork shoulder was readily available at the market and ALREADY thinly sliced.  At first I assumed red pepper powder was cayenne pepper.  I made the smart decision to verify this with my friend.  She explained that it is different, used in many Korean recipes and also available at the Asian grocery store.  It was not hard to find this ingredient in the store.  In fact they sell it  in so many different size packages it took up almost an entire isle.  The remaining ingredients should be readily available at your average grocery store.  
I decided to serve the pork with lettuce for wraps.  This is what they do at the Korean restaurant and it really does work well.  I also made an easy and QUICK cucumber kimchi instead of Korean kimchi.  This can be served on top of the pork or on the side.  It doesn’t have the pickled taste of regular kimchi, but is very good.  
(Addisyn had a grilled cheese tonight because we can’t always eat like a 2 year old.)

Spicy Marinated Pork

(Dwaeji Bulgogi)
Serving Size: 2  (I doubled this recipe for guests)
14 oz. pork shoulder, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. red pepper powder
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. Asian Sesame Oil
1Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. mirin
pinch of black powder
Put all the ingredients except the pork in a bowl and stir to mix well.  Add the pork to the mixture, making sure the sauce is evenly applied to the slices.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before cooking.  Stir-fry until fully cooked.
For the Quick Cucumber “kimchi”
I like using English cucumbers or Japanese cucumbers – the skin is thinner and they have less seeds. If you have a julienne slicer I think this works great and is even nicer then the thin slices.
1 large English cucumber (or 2 Japanese cucumbers), sliced very thinly
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh chili pepper (or more depending on your tastes)
generous pinch of salt
Mix together all ingredients. You can make this a few hours in advance and store in refrigerator, however the longer it sits, the less “crunch” you’ll have. I like making this cucumber pickle 1 hour prior, storing in refrigerator, and serving it cold for texture and temperature contrast.

spicy pork

Spicy marinated pork in a lettuce wrap

Cucumber Kimchi

Monday, November 14, 2011

What's YOUR font?

My name is Nicolle, Libby Lane Press designer, wife and mother, and self proclaimed font addict.  I could honestly look at fonts for hours on end. I love curly, swirly, swashes and swoops. The more the better. However, I love them paired with a nice upstanding not too thin, not too pudgy printed font as well. Yep, I am also particular.  I can look through the ads in the paper on Sundays and identify the fonts used by name. I was over the moon when I noticed that Pier One has been using the lovely Lady Rene, which I own and adore.  So, today I decided to share a few with you.  All of the fonts I have selected are FREE from www.dafont.com by searching the name below, however please read the terms of use prior to to downloading.
So, all I want in return is for you to tell me about your favorite font.. you never know.. you may have one that this font addict has yet to swoon over.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guest Blogger: Look what's cooking!

So, I have this wonderful friend that always has the best ideas in the kitchen.  She is creative {former teacher like yours truly}, a planner {girl of my own heart}, and then something I am not: a natural in the kitchen.  Now, don't get me wrong.. I like to bake with the best of them but real cooking.. Still trying to perfect that. In the meantime, once  a week Danielle will be dishing about her latest meals and hoping that they add a little spice to your menu as well. Enjoy!
Cheeseburger Meatloaf
actual finished product!

I am always looking for easy kid friendly recipes that the entire family will enjoy and this one fit the bill.  Rachael Ray’s magazine even showed pictures of a child making the meatloaf.  I enlisted my two year olds help for this one but she decided she would rather paint today using a carrot as a paint brush. What I loved about it is the veggies are chopped very small in the food processor so even my very picky eater may get a serving of something good for her tonight.  
The meatloaf only took about 10 minutes to prepare and turned out scrumptious.
I have always loved to cook and that did not change when my daughter was born.  When she was very young my husband, trying to be supportive, would offer to put together dinner so I could take care of the baby.  I very graciously explained to him that I have spent all day with our darling daughter and I would love to take a break.  It was actually relaxing for me to spend the time alone in the kitchen while she was in his capable hands.  I need to be honest though.  The types of food I make and the time I have to prepare them have changed dramatically now that she has entered toddlerhood.  When Addisyn was a infant she would eat anything I gave her now she barely tries anything!!  It is very frustrating to me but I keep cooking and keep offering her my creations.  I put a little of whatever I make for us on her plate each night and just hope she eats.  I always try to have a side dish of something that I know she will eat so that she does not go to bed hungry but I really, really try not to be a short order cook.  
People ask me all the time how I have the time to cook with my husband at work and a 2 year old demanding my attention.  I do have a couple tricks up my sleeve.  
1. The first is the learning tower.  This wooden platform has been my savior so many times.  Addisyn loves to be at the same level as me and “helping” whenever she can.  I try to give her small things to do whenever she wants to help.  I have been told that if children participate in the cooking they are more likely to eat.  It hasn’t worked for me yet but she is having fun none the less and we are spending time together doing something I want to do.  
2. My daughter also LOVES to paint.  If I need a significant amount a time to prepare a meal I give her some water color paints on the kitchen table with huge paper and let her go to town.   
3. I’m not ashamed to say that my third trick is the television.  I try to minimize tv time during the day so that I can put a movie on while preparing dinner with minimal guilt.  
The recipes I pass on to Nicolle for her blog are ones that I have had success with and my family has enjoyed.  Hopefully you enjoy and can have some stress free cooking time as well!

Cheeseburger Meatloaf 
(RACHAELRAYMAG.COM, November 2011)
  1. 2 cups italian bread cubes (I used whole wheat bread crumbs and skipped step 1)
  2. 1 carrot
  3. 1 celery rib
  4. 1 onion
  5. 2 lbs. ground chuck (I used ground meatloaf mix)
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/4 cup ketchup
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. 6 colby-jack cheese sticks
  10. 1 1/2 lbs. red-skinned potatoes
  11. EVOO
  1. Grind 2 cups italian bread cubes into coarse crumbs in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 400°. 
  2. Cut 1 carrot, 1 celery rib and 1 onion into 1-inch pieces. Using the same food processor, finely chop the vegetables. 
  3. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add 2 lbs. ground chuck, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. 
  4. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands until just blended. 
  5. Transfer the mixture to a 10-by-15-inch baking dish; pat the meat into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle. (I don’t have a 10x15 dish.  A 9x13 dish worked fine.)
  6. Arrange 6 colby-jack cheese sticks lengthwise on top; fold the meat over the cheese. 
  7. Pat well into a loaf that is about 4 by 12 inches, pressing to seal the seams. 
  8. Scatter 1 1/2 lbs. quartered red-skinned potatoes around the loaf. Drizzle lightly with EVOO; season with salt and pepper. 
  9. Bake until the potatoes are tender and the cheese begins to ooze, about 50 minutes. (I thought it needed an extra 10 for the potatoes.)
The Learning Tower
Addisyn- Sous Chef/Artist

So, let us know what you think.. I am certain this is making it to the Libby Lane Press dining room this week!