Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Q's Creative Cards: Blooms

Come into my garden, where are the flowers are blooming and they will never fade!

Such a pretty way to share a part of your creative self with your friends and family; cards to build hope, strengthen friendships, express gratitude and celebrate important days.

We'll build a bouquet, fold, layer and arrange all of the sweet blooms into easy-to-create cards.

Classes in Utah are from May 9-13th.  

Kits will ship for mail order on May 9th.  Please add shipping from drop-down menu.
 

Blooms


Class Schedule 
Mon., May 9th          Sandy Hobby Lobby                 2 - 4 pm
Tues., May 10th       South Jordan Hobby Lobby        5:30 - 7:30 pm
Wed.,
May 11th       South Jordan Hobby Lobby        10am - noon
Thurs., 
May 12th     American Fork Senior Center      6 - 8 pm
Friday,
May 13th      Layton Hobby Lobby                 10am - noon
Friday,
May 13th      Layton Hobby Lobby                 2 - 4pm
Friday,
May 13th      Layton Hobby Lobby                 5:30 - 7:30 pm 
Wed, May 18th        West Valley Hires Big H            6 - 8 pm 

What you'll need: 


Adhesives:  Roller-type adhesive for putting cards together.  

Foam squares, THIN foam squares, 1/2" foam roll.

1/8" tacky tape (or similar product)
Glue dots (Micro, mini & medium). Scotch tape.

Tools & Supplies:
Scissors (long & fine-tipped)

Paper Piercer & 1/8" hole punch

Ball Tool & Foam Cushion for curling paper flowers
Hickory Smoke Distress ink & Sponge

Cracked Pistachio Distress Ink (for distressing paper roses)
Craft Mat
Large lid or small container to place small items from kit

If you have any questions, please let me know.
...and would love if you posted these pictures to Pinterest!
 






















































































 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Q's Creative Cards: Flights of Fancy

Spring is the reason I love Winter.  Without Winter, there would be no Spring! Those first flower bulbs bulging through the cold earth and later, fully bloomed flowers and then, the most relaxing thing to watch...butterflies. 

Flights of Fancy Card Kit celebrates those delicate creatures. With gossamer wings they seem ready to flutter off the card!

Each of five cards also features beautiful gold foil sentiments and other hints of shimmery gold...and each kit includes these Printables so you can foil & create on your own.  Besides step-by-step photos & instructions to create these cards, are additional tips on the card designs and techniques.

Kits will begin shipping March 21st.  Please go back and add shipping if you want the kit mailed to you.  I do combine shipping and will refund the difference to you once I ship the order.  If you are attending a class, I will bring the kit to you there.



Flights of Fancy


Class Schedule 
Mon., April 4th        Sandy Hobby Lobby                 2 - 4 pm
Tues., April 5th       South Jordan Hobby Lobby       5:30 - 7:30 pm
Wed., 
April 6th       South Jordan Hobby Lobby       10am - noon
Wed, 
April 6th        West Valley Hires Big H             6 - 8 pm 
Thurs.,  
April 7th    American Fork Senior Center     6 - 8 pm
Friday, 
April 8th     Layton Hobby Lobby                 10am - noon
Friday, 
April 8th     Layton Hobby Lobby                 2 - 4pm
Friday, 
April 8th     Layton Hobby Lobby                 5:30 - 7:30 pm 

What you'll need: 
Adhesives:  Roller-type adhesive for putting cards together.  

Foam squares, THIN foam squares, 1/2" foam roll.

1/8" tacky tape (or similar product)
Glue dots (mini & medium). Scotch tape.

Tools & Supplies:
Scissors (long & fine-tipped)

Paper Piercer

corner rounder
Bone Folder & score pal type tool (a trimmer will work)
Ground Expresso Distress ink & Sponge

Diamond Stickles or similar clear glitter glue
Craft Mat
Large lid or small container to place small items from kit

If you have any questions, please let me know.
Would love if you posted these pictures to Pinterest!












































































































Chocolate Mint Whoopie Pies for St. Patrick's day



*I thought I would revisit this recipe for St. Patrick's day, enjoy!

Make something special for St. Patrick's day (or ANY day) ... these chocolate mint treats are like an inside out cake and easy to wrap up and put in a lunch box.  They might just yell out "whoopie" when they see it!


 Chocolate Mint Whoopie Pies

{by Susan Neal}

           

Chocolate cake rounds
{makes approx. twelve 4" Whoopie pies}



2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa Powder (I used Hershey Extra dark)

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup softened butter

1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg



Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (several minutes).  Add egg and mix thoroughly.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix buttermilk and vanilla together.

Add flour and buttermilk mixture, a little at a time, alternating dry and wet ingredients.  Mix on low, do not over-mix.



Use a 1 1/2" scoop and scoop batter (it will be stiffer than normal cake batter) onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.  Place 12 on a sheet, keeping at least 1" apart as they will spread.



Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Do not over-bake.  To check, touch the top of the rounds.  If the top springs back they are done.


 Chocolate Ganache


8 oz. chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream



Melt chocolate chips with cream in a double boiler until smooth and glossy.





Green Mint Filling/frosting



3/4 cup butter, softened

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

2-3 cups powdered sugar

7 oz. marshmallow cream

1/4 cup milk

1/4 tsp peppermint extract (or more if you want a very minty flavor)

2 drops of green gel coloring (or your favorite coloring)



Assembly:  Spoon a thick layer of chocolate Ganache on back of one cake round.  Let set in refrigerator for 10 minutes. 



Fill pastry bag with large tip.  Pipe generously on back of the other cake round.  You can also apply filling with a spoon and smooth out with a knife.



Place frosting round on top of Ganache round.  Press gently.  Refrigerate for a half hour.  Take out 15 minutes before serving.



Or wrap individual Whoopie Pies in plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to place in lunch box.

If you're looking for more St. Patrick's Day ideas, check out my Irish Blessing Card class!  Just a few kits left! 




Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Studio 5: Homemade Parardelle & Beef Stroganoff



Beef Stroganoff.  A favorite Russian born meal made popular in the 50s.  Comfort food for sure, but I've elevated this dish to something you will want to serve for a special occasion.  It's fancy, but it's not fancy.  You'll understand what I mean by this when you're finished reading.

I debated on how to approach this favorite dish of ours.  It's ALL good, but I think what makes it really, really good is using your own hand-crafted pasta, so I'm going to start with that, because really...once you have this down, it'll change your life (well, it changed mine!); from buttered noodles, to spaghetti, ravioli, chicken noodle soup and anything else you used to use from a box.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking...  a box is so much easier.  Ultimately, yes, but it won't take you much longer (10 minutes vs 20 minutes, from start to finish) but the real motivation for me is eating it.

It simply is superior!  Homemade pasta is tender and silky smooth, with a lovely bite, rich eggy flavor and soft yellow color.

Not to mention that when you do finally find Parardelle in the dry pasta section of your grocery store, it's anywhere from $3.50 - $5 for a bag that will cost you about .50 to make homemade.

I'm not saying I'll never cook from a box again, but it is no longer my default pasta.  If you're not a rabid home cook like me, but like to make occasional dishes to impress, then try this and let the rave reviews pour in.
I've made pasta before, using a variety of recipes and really wanted to knock this down to something EASY.  As in no-recipe easy.  Well, there is technically a recipe, but it's so simple you won't need to write it down.  Ready?

1/2 cup flour + 1 egg = 1 serving

That's it.  No fancy flour, just regular all purpose, you keep-at-home flour.  A large egg will suffice, but don't panic if you have an extra large, it'll do, you'll just have to add a little more flour. 

Full disclosure, yes, I do have a sweet Kitchen aid mixer with pasta attachments (thanks honey!), but you DO NOT need them.  If you have a rolling pin you are good to go.

Surprisingly, I don't even use my dough hook to knead the pasta, I figure it's a free workout.  Written recipes are at the bottom, but here's a photo tutorial...just follow along. (you can click on images to enlarge).


You can use any surface or bowl, but I like working on a wooden board.   Makes me feel more Italian!

Place flour on board or bowl.  Make a broad well in center.

Crack eggs into well.  Start mixing carefully with fork, collecting flour along the way.  Keep going until the dough can be handled with your hands.

Use a metal scraper to pull all the stray bits back into the dough.  Have a 1/2 cup of flour handy as you will need more to adjust the moisture in dough.  It should not be sticky, just smooth.

Knead. 

Knead.

Knead.

Knead.

Knead.  I like to knead a full 10 minutes, so I put my timer on.  You can get away with less, but 10 seems about perfect. 

You could hand this task over to a child or spouse ya know, but why would you because really, this is quite satisfying.

Wrap in plastic and let sit at room temperature to rest for at least one hour.

Tada!  Fun eh?  Now, we move on to forming your pasta.  Lots of choices here, but we are making Beef Stroganoff, which is a hearty, meaty dish and we need an equally hearty pasta, so we are making Parardelle, which is a broad pasta and SUPER EASY to make!


Cut dough in half.  It's easier to work with that way.

1.Roll out until very thin (remember that pasta will increase in size as it's cooked).  Use a dusting of flour to keep dough from sticking.

2. Cut down to smaller size if it's easier for you.

3. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut approx. 1" strips.

4. At this point you can hang on a pasta dryer if you have one, or just toss into little nests, making sure pasta is still dusted with flour and it won't stick together.

You could cover pasta for later use at this point, or place into a large pot of water that is heavily salted (I'm taking a handful of Kosher sea salt).

5. Cook for 1 -2 minutes, which really depends on how you like your pasta and how thick it is.  Try some after a minute and go from there.  

6. Remember though, it will continue to cook a bit because I'm placing it directly into my Stroganoff.

This may seem more work than necessary for what many consider a side note on a dish like Stroganoff, but in many ways it's the star of the show.

I've divided our Stroganoff recipe into 4 parts.

1. Tender Beef recipe (make ahead)
2. Roasted Mushrooms
3. Sauce
4. Finishing

Tender Beef:  I'm giving you a recipe for creating tender beef pieces, which is essential to a good Beef Stroganoff.  However, you may already have your favorite method or cut and to be honest I've used left-over steak and roast to make this.  But to make from scratch just follow my recipe below.  I like to use a cut of meat that once braised and cooked for a few hours is super tender, like a chuck roast or short ribs.  Avoid stewing meat.   

1.  Saute 1 chopped onion and equal parts of chopped celery and carrots with 2 Tbsp of oil.

2.  Cook for 5 minutes in a deep heavy pot until browned.  remove from pan and set aside.

3. Add more oil.  Salt & pepper beef chunks

4. Sear in hot oil for 5 min. approx. until brown all over.

5.  Add the vegetables back into the pot.

6.  Add 2 cups beef broth (or stock) or until covered.  Add a few bay leaves and a bunch of fresh Thyme.  Cover.

7.  Cook low & slow, either in your oven or stove top for 2 hours.


Roasting Mushrooms:  You could saute your mushrooms with your onions and garlic, but roasting is a neat step for creating intense mushroom flavor and very much mimics beef in texture when cooked this way.

I like to leave my mushrooms whole if they are small or cut into chunks.  Crimini are best, but a combination of wild mushrooms is lovely too.  Place mushrooms on large cookie sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with coarse Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Toss with hands and roast in a 425 oven for 15 minutes or until brown.

Reserve for Stroganoff sauce.







Making Sauce:  
1. Slice one large shallot and several cloves of garlic. 

2. Saute in a large heavy pan in a Tablespoon of oil and a Tablespoon of butter until soft, about 5 minutes.  Do not let brown. 

3. Add another Tablespoon of butter and add the roasted mushrooms.  Cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Add a Tsp. of Smoked Paprika and a dollop of Dijon mustard.  Stir and cook out the Paprika for a minute.

5. Add about 1 cup of beef broth (that is usually what I have left when I make my tender beef bits, but you can use a container of beef broth or stock as well.

6. Add tender beef bit to pan.  Reheating them if necessary.

7. If not, then proceed to turn down the heat and add 1/2 cup of sour cream.  Stir until combined.

Taste.  (best part).

If you've been seasoning along the way, which I recommend, you'll be fine, if not, then add enough salt & pepper to make you happy.  Let simmer lightly while you cook your pasta, which only takes a minute.  Sauce will reduce a bit.

Add pasta to pan, stir carefully to combine.  Dish with tongs, making sure you get a bit of everything in each dish.  Dollop with a generous spoonful of Crème Fraîche (see below for DIY) and chopped chives. 

Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a salad.

DIY Crème Fraîche
This is expensive!!  So make it yourself for half the cost.  2 ways...

1/2 cup  Sour cream, 1/2  cup heavy whipping cream.  OR
1 cup heavy whipping cream + 1 Tbsp buttermilk.

Mix well.  Cover.  Leave at room temperature for 12 - 24 hours.  Will store in refrigerator for 2 weeks.


Recipe for printing
Beef Stroganoff with Homemade Pasta
{Tender homemade pasta, roasted mushrooms & Crème Fraîche make this a special dish}



Homemade pasta for 4 people (see recipe above)
1 lb. Tender beef chunks (see recipe below)
1 large shallot, sliced finely
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup beef broth or stock (from making beef or store bought)
1 tsp smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup sour cream
Finish with Crème Fraîche and chopped chives.

Slice one large shallot and several cloves of garlic. 
Saute in a large heavy pan in a Tablespoon of oil and a Tablespoon of butter until soft, about 5 minutes.  Do not let brown. 
Add another Tablespoon of butter and add the roasted mushrooms.  Cook for another 2 minutes.
Add a Tsp. of Smoked Paprika and a dollop of Dijon mustard.  Stir and cook out the Paprika for a minute.
Add about 1 cup of beef broth (that is usually what I have left when I make my tender beef bits, but you can use a container of beef broth or stock as well.
Add tender beef chunks to pan.  Reheating them if necessary.  If not, then proceed to turn down the heat and add 1/2 cup of sour cream.  Stir until combined.
Taste.  (best part).
If you've been seasoning along the way, which I recommend, you'll be fine, if not, then add enough salt & pepper to make you happy.  Let simmer lightly while you cook your pasta, which only takes a minute.  Sauce will reduce a bit.
Add pasta to pan, stir carefully to combine.  Dish with tongs, making sure you get a bit of everything in each dish.  Dollop with a generous spoonful of Crème Fraîche and chopped chives. 
Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a salad.

Serves 4

Tender Beef Chunks
{this recipe preforms double duty...supplying you with melt in your mouth beef chunks
 for your Stroganoff and super flavorful beef stock}

1 lb. chuck roast or boneless short ribs, cut into 1" cubes
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 large onion
2 cups beef broth or stock
Coarse Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
3 bay leaves
a bunch of fresh Thyme (or tsp dried)

In a large heavy pot with cover, sauté vegetables in 1 Tbsp oil until soft and browned, salting along the way about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan.
Add other Tbsp of oil.  Make sure it is very hot.  Salt & Pepper meat.  Add meat chunks being careful not to overcrowd the pot.  If your pot is too small, do in two batches.   Brown well.  Add veggies back into pot.  Add beef broth.  Add herbs. (I like to add the entire branch of fresh Thyme and then fish it out after it's done cooking).  Bake in 300 oven for at least 2 hours, or on stove top very low heat (just simmering) for same time. You could also transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours on high.


Studio 5: Key Lime Chiffon Pie with Coconut cookie crust

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