Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Peace Postcard

My December postcard for my year-long postcard project. 

  Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu; Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi 

Translation: May the entire world know peace, happiness, and love;
Om peace, peace, perfect peace

May all beings be happy
May all beings be healthy
May all beings live in peace and harmony today, in 2013, and always.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bear and Polar Bear Toast

What a cute and simple way to serve toast!  I turned regular whole wheat toast into bear toast with soy butter, bananas, and chocolate chips, then added powdered sugar to create polar bear toast.  You could even substitute the chocolate chips for raisins, make a circular bear head with an English muffin, or change the soy butter to peanut butter.  What's on your bear toast?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Leek Potato Soup with Coconut Milk

On Christmas morning I made leek potato soup, thanks to some inspiration from my Dad.  It's a hearty winter soup with (you guessed it) - leeks, potatoes, and coconut milk, which reminds me of home and Thai food all in one bowl.

It's delicious.  Unfortunately, I don't think the picture does this soup justice.  

For this recipe you'll need:
several tablespoons of vegetable oil 
3 cloves of garlic, minced
small onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 14-ounce cans of chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup regular or light coconut milk (I used light)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound potatoes, chopped in bite-size pieces, cooked
1 tablespoon Trader Joe's garlic and herb butter, or regular butter

Servings: Makes 6-8 bowls  

1. In a stock pot, add the vegetable oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and celery for several minutes.  Salt and pepper this layer. 

2. Add the chopped leeks and garlic butter* and sauté until they wither down. Again, add salt and pepper.

3. Next add the broth, coconut milk, cooked potatoes, and another dash of salt and pepper.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remembering to stir often so the coconut milk does not burn or stick to the bottom of the stock pot.

4. Serve hot and enjoy!

* We bought some Trader Joe's garlic and herb butter for our Christmas Eve lobster ravioli so I decided to throw some into the soup for another layer of flavor instead of regular butter.  Who am I kidding, we only had one stick of butter left and I needed the whole stick for Yum-Yum Cake

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Felt Monster Ornament

While I was making our felt ornaments for our Christmas card tree, I asked M which ornament I should make next and he selected this monster from my Pinterest board. Isn't he so cute with his one off-center eye, red spikes, jagged tooth, and blue foot? There's a tutorial for a fabric and felt monster here. However, I didn't follow the tutorial; I made a few adjustments from the original picture/pattern and only used felt. 

What should we name our little felt monster?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Card Tree

Merry Christmas!  This morning I finally put the finishing touches on the birch tree and displayed the last of our Christmas cards and felt ornaments.  Thanks to Martha Stewart for the inspiration; now our cards hang like ornaments on the branches.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Macadamia Nut Cookies with White and Chocolate Chips

M and I made these Macadamia Nut Cookies with White and Chocolate Chips for my Christmas Cookie Exchange.  The original recipe was here, but we tweaked it a bit. We tested the recipe first, which stated that it yielded 4 dozen, but those were TINY cookies.... so the second time around we formed much larger cookies - about 20. 

1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. 

3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a fork.  Then add them to the above mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract. 

4. Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the macadamia nuts and chips.

5.  Roll the dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten and shape the cookies with your hands or fork. 

6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Noel Cross Stitch

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel.... 

This NOEL tea towel for my Mom was inexpensive and quick to stitch - I completed it in one night.  While I was Christmas shopping I saw a cross stitched NOEL ornament  (around $20) in a little French boutique and knew I could replicate it on a tea towel for much less. A package of three blank towels was around $8 at Joann's.  Even with the cost of the water soluble canvas, which I used to stitch the red DMC thread onto the towel, the price was still no way near $20. 

I found the letters here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Felt Christmas Tree Ornament

I'm on a roll with my ornaments - three in one night.  For this felt Christmas tree, I used three pieces of olive green felt for the tree tiers and magenta felt for the heart, similar to the design for this envelope; and I cut a circular piece of pink felt for the background like this simple felt tree. The rick rack, heart, and stitching around the outside all match. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Heart felt ornament

'Tis the season to decorate the Christmas tree and this year I am making felt ornaments.  
Here's my first one - a felt heart in red, olive, and white with an olive button. 

 I was inspired by this picture.