Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Ultimate Career

I recently finished reading this book, "The Ultimate Career," by Daryl Hoole. My mom gave this to me when I was in marriage prep mode and three years later I can finally say I read it. When I was first married I flipped through it and knew that it would be an amazing read someday. But I realized that it would be more beneficial once I had children and spent more of my time running a household. Once I realized my family would be expanding (hooray!) I pulled this book out and started reading. It was absolutely wonderful! I loved every bit of this book! I think it is a must have and I highly recommend it to all of you who are mothers, wives, or homemakers!

Monday, February 15, 2010


For those of you who are pregnant, or have ever been pregnant, you will probably understand the feeling of CRAVING something specific. With this pregnancy I have found that my constant CRAVING is green apples. I cannot get enough of them. They are an everyday thing as of late! While I was looking at delicious food blogs I came across this idea from Picky Palate.

She used different ingredients for her sandwich, but I just used what I had and it was incredible. Slice a quarter of an apple (green or red, whichever is your favorite) as thin as you possibly can. Grate your favorite kind of cheese (I used Tilamook Colby Jack flavor). Butter the outsides of two slices of bread (I used a multigrain and it was delicious). Place one slice, butter side down in your skillet. Layer with grated cheese, sliced apples, then another light layer of grated cheese. Add second piece of bread with butter side up and brown on each side of the sandwich. Cut in half and serve with Honey Dijon Mustard and the remainder of your apple! Yum, yum, yum! I think I need one right now!

PS: If you're like me and were not aware that dijon mustard usually has alcohol in it then I would like to warn you they do. If you are okay with this then no problem, but due to my religious beliefs I do not consume any alcohol. Therefore, I searched and found one brand/type of dijon mustard that does not contain alcohol. It is French's Honey Dijon Mustard. Most store bought salad dressings also have alcohol in them so make sure to check if you do not wish to eat foods with alcohol in them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

This year for Valentine's Day my hubby and I decided to give homemade gifts. I wanted to do something special and put a lot of thought into it (although not a lot of money). When I saw this idea for "52 Reasons Why I Love You" I knew it was perfect for my guy! It was a lot of fun to make, although I did spend a lot of time cutting and gluing. It is made from a deck of playing cards, scrapbook paper, and clip art images found using google images and microsoft word. You will also need craft glue, scissors, a hole puncher, and a piece of ribbon to hold it all together!

Here's a close up of some of the cards I made for him!

It was a lot of fun putting this together and thinking of all the reasons I love my husband. Of course there were more reasons than I had cards! Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Asparagus Chicken

I made this yummy recipe a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share it with everyone! It was absolutely delicious!

Chicken with Asparagus

4 chicken breasts - pounded out
16 pieces of asparagus - cut off ends and blanch (steam for 2 minutes then rinse in cold water)

Mix together:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced

Mix together:
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

Dip chicken in butter mixture. Wrap chicken breast around 4 pieces of asparagus and secure with a toothpick. Roll in bread crumb mixture. Bake in greased, glass pyrex dish at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Make one package of Knorr hollandaise sauce and drizzle over the chicken breasts before serving.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Infant Car Seat Cover

I have been working diligently on preparing for our first baby to join our family. One of the things I have made is this car seat cover. I love how it turned out!

I started with measurements of the length and width that I wanted. Then I laid out my fabric and started cutting. I lined the edges with Bias Tape Maxi Piping. I think it was a nice "finishing" touch! Now our little guy can sleep soundly in his car seat while we are out and about! Anyone want one? They are $20, including shipping charges within the US. Email me at mswenson28 AT!

Upcoming baby project: Crib Bedding!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hanging Valentine

Last year at Valentine's Day I found this big wooden heart at TJ Maxx (I love that store). I found 2 coordinating, matching ribbons and looped them through the tiny hole it had drilled at the top. Then I tied them in a knot and hung it on my front door! I love how it turned out. This year we are in a new apartment and there is no place to hang wreaths on the front door. I managed to hang this one up for Valentine's Day, but I keep seeing beautiful acorn wreaths like this one, and gorgeous heart wreaths for Valentine's Day like this one. I cannot wait until the day when I can once again hang a wreath on my front door properly!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day Balls

I saw these in a Martha Stewart magazine (she had done white and silver ones for the New Year) and I thought they would make cute Valentine's decorations in my glass jars. I think they turned out really cute!

  • STYROFOAM balls (I used 4 1.5 inch balls, but you could use bigger ones)
  • 50 mini cupcake papers (or more for bigger balls - use regular cupcake papers for balls bigger than 5 inches) Note: the balls double to triple in size once the papers are all attached.
  • Glue gun with glue sticks
  • Pencil

Take pencil and place the eraser in the center of the cupcake paper. Scrunch the paper up around the pencil. Place a small dab of glue on the paper at the eraser end and press onto STYROFOAM ball. Repeat until ball is covered, placing the papers as close together as you like. The closer together you put them the more you will need, but your balls will look fuller with more papers. The finished result...

And here is a close up of what they look like! Super easy and super fun! Just throw on a movie and you'll be done!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My First Sewing Project

Since I am a new craft blogger I thought I would share my very first sewing project from from a while back.

My first time sewing (yes I chose probably one of the hardest projects to begin with) was when I reupholstered our dining room chairs. We inherited a beautiful heirloom dining room set from my grandparents when we got married. It's in pretty good shape but the chairs were badly in need of recovering. I searched for fabric for over a year before I finally made my decision. I began and finished them almost 2 years ago and I am still loving the way they look! Here's a zoomed in shot:

They turned out wonderfully. My mother-in-law is an interior designer so she helped me make a pattern from the old chair cushions. The piping was the hardest part but I think I managed quite well for my first time. At least most of the mistakes are not visible!

What was your first sewing/craft project?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Delectable Cinnamon Rolls

I have always wanted to make cinnamon rolls but I could never find a recipe that I wanted to try. I saw these and thought that they would be an easy first try (because there's no yeast in them). They are the best cinnamon rolls in the whole world. Both Josh and I agree on this! So give them a try, they are definitely worth it!

Adapted from Our Best Bites "No Yeast Sweet Rolls"

For the dough:
3/4 cup cottage cheese (4% milk fat)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 Tbs real butter, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
9 oz. (2 cups) flour; more for rolling
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 C (1 stick) real butter at room temp, divided
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1 T cinnamon


1 C powdered sugar
2 T butter, melted
2 T milk or cream
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, combine the cottage cheese, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse in short bursts just until the dough clumps together (don’t over-process). The dough will be very soft, probably softer than you're used to. Don't add anymore flour! Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times just until smooth. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 12x15 inches.

Now put your filling on. After the rolls are filled and cut. Place them in a glass pie dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

When the rolls have a few minutes left in the oven. Whisk your glaze ingredients together. When the rolls are done cooking, let them cool for five minutes. Then spread the glaze over the top! They are the best when they are fresh out of the oven, but they still taste delicious the next day!

My husband's comment on these was priceless! Here's what he said:

"They're AAAAAAMMMMMMAAAAAZZZZZIIIIIINNNNGGGGG!!!!!! Best thing ever! Yum! You will want to print this recipe on gold leaf and frame it on your wall after you've eaten one!"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blankets & Burp Cloths

This was my first crafty project that I did for our baby boy on the way. They are burp cloths with a matching blanket. They are made out of flannel and are hemstitched around the edges. Then you crochet around the edges to finish them off. I used baby terry as my yarn so the edges are nice and soft!

I made a set of blue!

And here are the burp cloths from a set of white (blanket not shown). I love crocheting around the edges because I can do it while watching a movie. That way I get to have a break and I still feel productive!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Poppyseed Cake

A delicious family recipe that has been handed down for generations! This cake is perfect with a glass of ice cold milk!

1 yellow cake mix
1 pkg. of French vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. poppyseed
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 tsp almond extract
3 T. flour

Mix eggs, sour cream, water, and melted butter. Then add yellow cake mix, French vanilla instant pudding, flour and almond extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add poppyseeds and beat until mixed. Grease bundt pan and pour cake inside. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes (until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Take a knife and slide it around the edges to ensure a clean removal from the pan. Turn over onto a cake stand or a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to give it a finished look!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Travel Tote

I have really been enjoying my new found talent of sewing! I still have a lot of improving to do but I wanted to share one of my first projects that I made last summer. I checked out a bunch of sewing books from the library and found this travel tote so I quickly found some fabric and whipped it up! I think it turned out great for one of my first projects!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

White Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

This cheesecake is truly to die for (if you are a fan of cheesecake). I have found that it is not too hard to make and everyone loves it. Even my grandmother, who doesn't particularly like sweets, loves it! Here are a few key points to making any cheesecake:

1. Always have your eggs and cream cheese at room temperature

2. Always add your eggs last, adding them one at a time and stirring just until mixed. (If you over beat the eggs you run the risk of having your cheesecake crack.) With this particular cheesecake (or any cheesecake that calls for candy chips) you can add the white chocolate chips after the eggs and just stir until mixed (about 5-10 seconds).

3. Always bake your cheesecake in a water bath. For those of you who don't know what a water bath is you take a casserole dish (preferably the biggest one you have) and set your spring-form pan inside it. Then you fill up the casserole dish with water until the bottom of the spring-form pan is settled in the water. I am not positive why this prevents the cheesecake from cracking, but I suspect that it distributes the heat more evenly.

Everytime I have made cheesecake and followed these three rules I have had success! Happy baking!

White Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Cream Cheese Filling:

5 (8 oz) packages cream cheese

1 ¾ C sugar

3 Tbsp. Flour

1 Tsp. Grated Orange Rind (or Lemon)

1 Tsp. Vanilla

¼ Tsp. Salt

6 eggs at room temperature

¼ c. Heavy or whipping cream

1 Bag of white chocolate chips


1 ½ c. finely ground graham crackers

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1/3 c. sugar

1/8 Tsp. salt

Grease springform pan. Mix cream cheese, and everything but eggs, until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat until just combined. Pour into crust that has already been pressed into pan and baked for about 10 minutes at 350˚. Bake Cheesecake for 10 minutes at 500˚ until top browns slightly. Turn temperature down to 300˚ and bake for about 50 minutes more. Let cool for 30 minutes and then place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. It’s best to make the cheesecake one day ahead so that it has ample time to cool and firm up.

Before serving melt white chocolate in the microwave and drizzle on top of the cheesecake for a nice finish.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Parmesan Breadsticks

All I can say about these breadsticks is Yum, Yum, Yum! My husband and I couldn't stop eating them. You must try this great recipe, it is quick and easy and they are a perfect addition to any pasta meal! (Recipe from The Sister's Cafe.)

1 ½ cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 ½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter (may need a little extra)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar and let it sit and bubble for a few minutes. Add the salt and flour. Knead dough for 3 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. (I did all of this in my Kitchen-Aid mixer) Melt 3-4 Tbsp of butter and pour most of it onto a cookie sheet. Roll dough to about the dimensions of the cookie sheet. Cut to desired width (I did them pretty thick), then twist or lay flat on cookie sheet. Brush remainder of butter on breadsticks and sprinkle with garlic salt, parmesan cheese, and parsley. Raise for 10-20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden (It only took about 15 minutes for mine to turn golden brown).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pleated Skirt

My last quarter of college I took a class called "Costume Construction" (my degree is in Theatre Arts). For my final project I had to sew something for myself to wear. I chose to make a pleated skirt to wear for graduation (and church afterward). This was my very first attempt at making clothing. It turned out great, but I actually only ended up wearing it once though. I got pregnant shortly after and of course now it doesn't fit. I hope that I will be able to fit into it again someday!

Don't you just love the fabric?