Saturday, December 19, 2009

A star is born!

I wanted to share a delightful submission from our design team member Kristie.  Some of you may even subscribe to her blog - she is so talented!  I have attached her directions for making this super cute Christmas Star using a neat grouping of our papers.  

Be sure to check out her blog for other great ideas and projects...


DECEMBER 15, 2009

Tuesday's Tips & Techniques: Embellished Star

 Would you believe this star began life as a Christmas Tree topper? I picked it up at Joann's, with my coupon.  It is heavy, waaaay too heavy for any tree that fits in my house so I redesigned it into a lovely kitchen decoration. I used a variety of Cookbookin' papers and embellies and just in case you'd like one too, here is how I did it!

Those of you who know me, know I really have an aversion to measuring. Do I even own a ruler? Well, I do but it's lost somewhere in the junk drawer. {No, not really.} If you are one of those amazing measuring people. Simply measure each side of your star's arm areas -the places you want to cover with paper. I looked for my ruler, just for you measurers but I couldn't find it -looks like it really IS lost.
This was one of those "having 5 kids is really convenient" times, I just went to one of their bedrooms and snagged a ruler from one of them! My star's arms measure: 5x2-1/4x3-1/2inches. Cut your papers just inside those measurements or make yourself a template to use for cutting the papers.

MAKE A ~no measure ~ TEMPLATE like me!

Push one flimsy piece of scrap paper over the area you want to make a template for. Technical, I know!

Ah, see, there is the lovely impression.

 Cut out the template of the template;)

And check real quick just to be sure it fits right, trim until it does.

Then cut out a real template from scrap chipboard, cardboard, whatever you have around that is a little sturdier than cardstock.

There it is, THE TEMPLATE. {Keep this around in case you get another of the same kind of star...I embellished one of these exact same stars a few weeks ago but somehow lost my template}

Now, choose some papers and cut away. I used some of my favoriteCookbookin' papers: Cookin' up Memories and Preserving Memories, for mine. They just go perfectly in my kitchen!

I like to stick my papers right onto my star with vellum adhesive (or any low tack adhesive) so I can really see how they look. Some of these papers ended up on the cutting room floor...

I stood it up to take a look and make sure I liked how I had it. I like to use a 4-3-3 paper technique on these stars. 4 of one paper, 3 of another paper and 3 of a third paper. I played with several papers for this one and kept dragging the entire project to my kitchen to see how it was going to look...Finally, I made my paper decisions. 

 I always ink my edges on a project like this so one by one, I pulled the papers off, inked them and then replaced them so I wouldn't forget the order that I liked them in!

Finally, ready to permanently adhere the papers to my star. I use Mod Podge, but only on the back of the papers. Just personal preference. I'll probably be sorry when I splatter the star with pasta sauce one day.

I hung a nice little metal rimmed tag, also from Cookbookin', around the star. Gives it a nice feel, don't you think? 

And now it happily resides on my kitchen countertop alongside some of my other Cookbookin' creations.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mini French Silk Pies

Cookbookin' has lots of friends who participate in recipe swap classes at their local stores. This submission came from a "Trim and Fit" recipe swap! I don't know about you, but I feel pretty puffy after my Holiday indulgences! I wanted to include this submission either as a healthier alternative for a Christmas party dessert, or a "get back on the wagon" dessert to have in your freezer for after Christmas!

Our "Executive Chef" Patty created this layout using papers from our Chocolate Celebrations and Mom's Diner collections. I love, love, love the use of the lidded pie plate from our Mom's Diner stamp set. There are just so many ways you can use that stamp set. To create the same look, use the stamp with black ink and fill in the handle with a silver pen. Cut a 5" piece of tulle to tie around the stem of the pie plate and tie a knot. Finish by sticking a pearl-topped pin through the knot. You have my word that this recipe is just as fabulous as the layout. Enjoy!

8 oz. package mini Oreo Cookies
1 cup chocolate Teddy Grahams
2 Tbsp. butter-flavored spread, melted

½ cup butter, softened
4 oz. reduced – fat cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
¾ cup liquid egg substitute
Sugar-free Cool Whip, for garnish
2 Hershey’s chocolate bars

For Crust:
Fill 15 standard-size muffin tins with paper liners. Seal Oreos and
Teddy Grahams in a zip-top bag and use a rolling pin to crush them
into fine crumbs. Add melted butter-flavored spread;
mix well. Divide crumb mixture into lined muffin cups. Press
crumbs firmly into the bottom of each muffin cup, then place
muffin tin into freezer for about 20 minutes.

For Filling:
While crust is in the freezer, in a medium bowl, beat butter,
reduced-fat Cream cheese, and sugar with an electric mixer on
medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and melted
chocolate. Gradually beat in egg substitute on high speed for about
3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Spoon filling into chilled crusts
and refrigerate at least two hours or until well chilled.

To Serve:
Top each mini French Silk Pie with 2 Tbsp. of Sugar-Free Cool Whip.
Break chocolate bars into individual pieces and add one piece to each mini
pie as garnish.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just some ideas!

I don't know about you, but my mom and I are constantly clipping little ideas out of the many magazines that we subscribe to.  The holiday issues of Women's Day, Real Simple and Good Housekeeping are my favorites for great craft and gift giving ideas.  We wanted to share some of our favorites with you on this snowy, snugly day!  (In Colorado anyway!)

1. Women's Day magazine suggests: "Be a secret Santa this month - 
leave a poinsettia on your neighbor's front porch with a note that 
simply says 'Enjoy'". 
*I think I'll leave plates of cookies instead.  :)

2. Get creative with your gifts this year….Create a collection of 
your favorite recipes (and include a small sample, if possible) to 
give as a gift. This is a great way to pass on culinary traditions to 
your family and friends.
*Recipe's as gifts?  What a swell idea! :)

3. Deck your halls with something different this year - hang your 
favorite holiday cookie cutters from pretty ribbons in your kitchen 
window. Inexpensive and fun! 
*Do this in your kitchen window and take a picture for me!  
I would love to post pictures of everyone's festive cookie cutter garland! 

4. Gift in a jar for yourself:
Mix together a large batch of instant oatmeal and scoop up a serving 
that costs only about 25-cents per day. In a large bowl, combine 1 
container (18-oz.) quick-cooking oats, 1 envelope (3.2-oz.) nonfat dry 
milk, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 1 cup raisins or dried 
fruit of your choice. Transfer to an airtight container. For 
breakfast: Scoop 1/2 cup oatmeal mix into a bowl and add 1/2 cup 
water. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Makes about 16 servings.
*Done and Done! This one sounds great to me,
and I have been a very good girl this year!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A note from "P"!

Today I am excited to bring you a special guest blog from our very own "P" of PJK designs ~ Enjoy!

Just before Thanksgiving, I attended a recipe swap and pot luck at my local scrapbook store. The food was delicious some of which is pictured above. If you squint, you can see my cookies pictured in the upper right hand corner on a pedestal plate. They are Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies and they won a million dollar prize in the Pillsbury Bake-Off. I’ve also attached the recipe that I made for the swap. Each scrapper participating in the swap made 35 of their recipe cards.

I saw the recipe for these cookies on TV somewhere – maybe it was an advertisement on the Food Network? I thought to myself at the time that I have a lot of men in my family who love peanut butter cookies – my Dad, my brother, my son, and my son-in-law. So I went to the Pillsbury website and tracked down the recipe. It looked easy and it even starts with Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough. Now I have to tell you that I have turned up my nose at prepared cookie dough in the past. I’m embarrassed to say that thoughts like “who doesn’t make their own cookie dough?” have gone through my mind. Guess what? These cookies are great. My husband Fred announced, “these are the best cookies you have ever made”, after eating one cookie. So far this cookie season, I think I’ve made hundreds of them. I even made these little gems and hand carried them on the airplane for our family gathering in Scottsdale over Thanksgiving. You can probably guess that they were a hit. My sweet daughter-in-law, Katie, even declared at one point that there was nothing on the dessert menu at the restaurant where we were eating that could top the cookies back in our hotel room so she would just rather wait for dessert.

So without any further ado, here’s my version of Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies.

Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies
What You’ll Need:
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 roll (16.5 oz.) PillsburyĆ¢ peanut butter cookie dough; chilled

1. Heat oven to 375 °F.
2. In a small bowl mix cinnamon and granulated sugar; set aside.
3. In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape into about 24 (1-inch) balls; chill until needed.
4. Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly.
5. Shape 1 cookie dough slice around each peanut butter ball; covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.
6. Roll each ball in sugar/cinnamon mixture.
7. On an ungreased cookie sheet, place balls 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball slightly.
8. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.
Note: I am careful not to overcook these so that the peanut butter ball in the middle stays creamy. Be sure to cool cookies on a wire rack for best results.

The original recipe can be found here.

It calls for rolling the unbaked cookies in a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, and chopped peanuts. I’m sure they will be a hit either way you make them.

Happy Cookies to you!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tanned and relaxed!

 Jackson having a nice, relaxing float in the pool!

Dear friends,

I hope you had a wonderful and realxing holiday with family and loved ones.  As you know, the Kershaws were relaxing in warm and sunny Scottsdale.  This has little to nothing to do with recipe scrapping but I wanted to share some family pictures with my COOKBOOKIN'TM friends! 

Geoffrey, Alice and little Jackson Kershaw on Thanksgiving Day