Sunday, September 23, 2012

Personalized Stationary - Heat Embossing

A while back I bought card stock at Target for writing notes, but I was beginning to feel that they were a little to.... blah. Jenny has been embossing now for a couple of years and she was my inspiration to jazz up my plain old cards! Embossing is the process of creating a three dimensional image on paper or other materials. This is a simple, easy way to have personally designed cards in less then five minutes!


Card Stock           
Embossing Powder


  • Using the rubber stamp and embossing ink pad, stamp the design on a blank card stock.

  • Next sprinkle embossing powder generously on stamped design.

  • Pour excess powder off and return to container once done using. No other powder should be on the card other than the stamped design.
  • Lastly heat the stamped image only until the powder changes to a shiny liquid and is raised 

  • Allow embossed image to cool

You are done!  Who doesn't love snail mail??... Go send a note and make someone's day!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Baked Kale Chips

We have received bunch upon bunch of kale this summer from our CSA and I have to admit that a few of those bunches have gone to waste, because I couldn't find a way to incorporate them into a meal that our whole family liked. When I saw two fresh bunches in this week's share, I vowed not to waste it.  I took one of the bunches and made my first batch of baked Kale chips and what I found is that baking kale transforms the dense bitter tasting vegetable into a light crunchy snack.


1 bunch of Kale
1 Tbs olive oil
Sea salt to taste


Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Rip into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt.

Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.

Benefits of Kale

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus..
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

Fall is a time of change and new beginnings. The colors outside are changing, the mornings are crisp and refreshing, and tomorrow is the first day of FALL! Where has the time gone?? With getting engaged, visiting great friends and family, buying (moving) into a new house and attempting to train for a run up Snowmass (in Aspen), I haven't had the time to appreciate and enjoy all of the positive changes in my life. In yoga my teacher had a great message when talking about fall and the changes we are faced with. "Let Go-Inhale - Let - Exhale - Go. Repeat this when you are facing changes that are difficult."  The message is simple, and during class, I thought about how I was going to let go and enjoy and embrace the changes in my life.  Instead of packing our condo or resting up for the run this weekend, I am going to "let-go" by baking and having a glass of wine! We will need a treat in Aspen, Right?

Everyone around me has been talking about pumpkin, so Pumpkin Bread it is! I usually use the recipe from The St. Johns cookbook, but since it is packed I found a great recipe from My Baking Addiction. Enjoy and let fall begin!

Pumpkin Bread
Makes: 2 loaves, Prep: 20 minutes, Bake: 60-90 min

1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons pumpkin spice **

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pans that you choose to use.
2. In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, vanilla and sugar.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice. Add to mixture until just blended and pour in to prepared pans.
4. Bake for 60-90 minutes.

** You can buy pumpkin spice or you can make your own: 3 tablespoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons cloves, and 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice. Mix well and store in a spice container.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Southwest Chicken Soup

Fall is in the air and I am craving warm, comforting foods. This recipe for Southwest Chicken Soup is a twist on an old favorite and it never disappoints. The soup can be served with a variety of toppings, tortilla chips or a loaf of crusty bread.  I usually throw half of it in the freezer, to pull out on a gloomy day.


4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (I have also just purchased a rotisserie chicken :))
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed

Optional Toppings

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 avocado (sliced)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips
Sour cream


Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the corn and garlic.  Cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

These low-sugar vegetable pancakes are amazing, and  both of my girls (2 yrs and 9 mo) thought so too.  I tried a greek yogurt and maple syrup topping, that I will be using on all of my pancakes from this day forward. The addition of greek yogurt into the topping reduces the amount of sugar/calories per serving  (when comparing it plain maple syrup), adds protein and gives it a creamy consistency. This is a new breakfast fav!
Pancakes (Recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

2 large eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 granulated sugar
2 tablespoons each of milk and plain greek yogurt - whisk until smooth
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
Butter or oil, for coating skillet

Maple Syrup Topping
3 tablespoons of greek
1 tablespoon of maple syrup

In a large bowl, combine eggs, olive oil, sugar, milk/yogurt mixture and vanilla until smooth. Stir in zucchini shreds. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir dry ingredients into zucchini batter, mixing until just combined.

Combine maple syrup and greek yogurt, stir until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Once hot, melt a pat of butter in pan and swirl it around until it sizzles. Scoop 1/4-cup dollops of batter in pan so the puddles do not touch. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook another minute or two, until golden underneath. Transfer pancakes to prepared pan to keep warm as well as ensure that they’re all cooked through when they’re served. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve pancakes with a dollop of maple syrup topping

Monday, September 10, 2012

Banana Breakfast Cake

We seem to have overly ripe bananas at our house all of the time. I actually like them super ripe, but no one else in my family can stomach a slightly spotted banana. I stumbled across this recipe for a banana breakfast cake when I was trying to find a use for my otherwise tainted fruit.  In my opinion, this cake is a bit sweeter and more moist than traditional banana bread, and you can add a fruit or chocolate glaze/icing to make it more of a treat.



3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter  
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup sweetened coconut 
4 very ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups)
1 1/2  cups greek yogurt



  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9- to 10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes inches Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas and coconut. Finally, mix in half the dry ingredients, the yogurt and then the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the pan, rap the pan on the counter to debubble the batter and smooth the top.
  4. Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check the cake after about 30 minutes - if it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature. If you have time, wrap the cooled cake in plastic and allow it to sit overnight before serving - it's even better the next day.