Puffy Christmas Cards

I can’t help myself. I love the holidays. And I love sending a little bit of puffy happiness in the mail.

Gathered the goods.

So I pulled out my crafting supplies and decided to make a little something to put on the envelopes for my holiday cards. I just used basic cards, blank ones, but you can use whatever you want.

Start with the outline of a tree….

Once you have the outline, fill it in and be patient. You should let this layer dry before moving on.

Add a little star… some “ornaments”… etc.

And let it dry. So simple, but makes the cards just a little bit happier and special.

Cute!

 

 

 

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

It tastes better than it looks, I swear.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone! Anyone else have a mass amount of leftovers?

The other night we decided it would be much better to make something good and hearty with the leftovers instead of just smothering turkey in mayo and putting it on a slice of bread. Genius struck… well, kinda. One of my friends pitched the idea of making turkey pot pie. I almost died right there with the idea of making my first pot pie. So we gathered all the leftover veggies and turkey and got to work.

Gather Up:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 celery stalks
1 small onion, diced
1 cup of mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 tablespoons of flour
3 cups of shredded, already cooked turkey
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
spices (ground pepper, salt, cayenne, garlic powder)

Step one, make someone else do all the hard work of dicing and prepping the veggies and turkey.

Preheat the oven to 350. In a skillet, heat up the butter and oil. Add the celery, onion, and mushrooms. Saute until onions and celery are soft.

Yummmm, veggies

Then add the flour to make the roux. You’ll want to cook that for about four minutes, until the mix is dried out. Slowly add and stir in the chicken stock. (At this point, it’s going to look pretty brown, so it may not be totally pretty. Dump in your spices. Add to your liking.)

Almost beautiful!

Then you can throw in the turkey and frozen peas, and just think, you’re almost done. Just missing one thing… the pie crust. I used my pie crust recipe, cut it in half, and rolled out the final dough for the top. Don’t forget to poke a hole or two in the top, I almost did.

Bake for 30 minutes. Before you put it in the over, you might want to put the pan on a cookie sheet in the event of spillover. When the timer dings, pull out and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Yum!!!

Enjoy!

Holiday Gift Back (Easy)

I know how you can give money without spending a dime.

There are so many people that think of giving back during the holiday season. The ringing bells of the Salvation Army annoy shoppers as they walk into Wal-mart, the excessive mailings fill our boxes with requests for some extra cash, and everyone is asking for something. Sometimes, we just don’t have the time or energy for this, but I have a quick solution. For those of us shopping online, use Socialvest.

It’s easy, sign up (click the link above), install the program (all it does is let you know where you can earn money), and shop. 1, 2, 3. When you shop, the businesses that work with Socialvest give back money and you decided what non-profit you want to give to.

Love animals? Give to your local shelter.

Super cat: Everyone loves a flying kitty!

Tree hugger? Support an eco-cause.

Can’t give blood, but want to? Give to the Red Cross!

It’s really simple and if everyone did it, we could help out without doing much more than buying our Christmas presents. Think about it.

The Basic Pie Crust

I am notorious for taking short cuts. But with the holidays around the corner, perhaps it is time for me to learn how to really bake. (Shhh… my shortcuts are my best kept secret, but people should still think I can really bake.)

While it may not be perfect, that’s a sign it’s been homemade.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of flour
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (I often forget to do this first, and then wait a lengthy time for my gas stove to get ready.)

Place the flour and salt in a bowl, add the shortening and butter.

Oh, look. Almost done!

By hand (yes, you will get messy), mix in the shortening and butter until it looks like little pebbles. Then slowly add a tablespoon of cold water (one at a time), until while mixing you’ve got yourself a ball of dough.

If you want thick dough, keep as is, or be like me, mess up, and forget to do so. Place ball between two pieces of wax paper and roll out.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’. Keep that dough ball rollin’.

Place into the pie pan, pinching the edge of the crust to make an edge. Poke the bottom with a fork. For the first 10 minutes, bake with aluminum foil on top to keep it covered. I used a cookie sheet.

Whelp, it works in a jiffy, anyway…..

 

Bake uncovered for 15 more minutes (or if its thick, another 20). Test it to make sure it’s done. Let it cool before putting anything in it. I like to make a pudding pie for it. But that’s for another post. I survived the crust, isn’t that enough for right now?

Christmas Chaos – Easy Snowflakes

Just some hot glue and glittery nail polish and you’ve got some snowflakes!

I’m getting into the Christmas spirit. Some would say it’s a bit early, but it’s never early when it’s already cold out. So I decided that I need to make something special to put up. With a hot glue gun and a mirror, I make a six legged snowflake.

Just let it cool down.

Once the glue is cooled, you can easily peel it up from the mirror. I then used my glittery nail polish to give it some sparkle. I used my Stop and Stare by PURE ICE. But any glittery polish will do. Toss them around the table setting for a party and you’ve got an easy snowflake set for decoration.

 

Buy Me Something II

Oh, wow. I just found this place in New York City that has cookies I’m craving. No, I’ve never had them, but I really, really want to try them. Their “compost cookie” is filled with pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, chocolate chips. I mean, it can’t be bad, right? The place is called momofuku milkbar and the cookies are $12 a tin. Tempting to buy…. tempting.

Compost Cookie

And then they have these blueberry and cream cookies that I’m drooling over.

Blueberry and Cream Cookie

 

 

Dim Sum Adventure

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It all started with a list.

So one of my friends said I HAD to try dim sum. I’d categorize it as Chinese tapas. So the other Sunday we ended up on the T to Boston en route to Chinatown.

We didn’t have a plan, but it appeared that 11 am is a very popular time for dim sum on goings. Case in point: the first restaurant telling us we’d have to wait a half hour and then share a table with strangers.

With an approving nod we were on the same page, and headed around the corner and found another location: Great Taste Bakery and Restaurant. I mean it said “great taste” in its name. Gotta be good. This one was busy, but we slipped into an open table right away. It was then I took a look around. There was not one sign I could read or a special I could understand (further indication that I need to learn to read more languages if I want good food). So I let my friend pick the food. (Okay, the menu had English on it, I was just being lazy.)

When the plates started coming out, I realized I shouldn’t have had anything to eat before. It seemed like it would never end. Seven plates later, we could begin noshing on shrimp dumplings in what I think was rice paper wrapping, some sort of beef wrapped up in a pillow of dough, a really scary looking crunchy ball I couldn’t break into, and way more.

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The hardest part was not that I had to use chopsticks (I’m actually really good at that from eating countless pounds of Chinese takeout as a college student), it was trying to cut things in half without a knife. See Exhibit A:

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That was actually delicious. But my favorite was something I’d never order because I didn’t know what it was before. Taro. It came in these little fried cubes of goodness. I could have eaten my weight in it. Taro, from what I gather, is a tuber, like a potato.

So now I’m just planning my next Sunday to go back. Who’s coming with me?