Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recipes from the 2011 Spring Weekend Scrapbooking Retreat

fruit loops

The Cinnamon Chips Scones have already been posted to the blog HERE. And the Spicy Hot Chocolate HERE. As for the others, they are below.

Stacey's Froot Loop Bars

3 tablespoons margarine

1 bag miniature marshmallows

1 box froot loop cereal

Melt butter and marshmallow at low heat until melted. Remove from heat and mix in froot loops until covered. Press in 9 x 13 inch greased pan.

Stacey's Sloppy Joes

4 pounds cooked ground beef, sautéed with 3 white onions

1-35 oz. bottle Hunts ketchup

1 cup brown sugar

1 large squirt of mustard

Cook ground beef and onions. In a separate bowl mix ketchup, mustard, brown sugar. Pour mixture over ground beef and serve on buns.

Stacey's Chicken Salad

4 grilled cut chicken breasts

2 boxed penne pasta, cooked and drained

4 ½ pouch of soft bacon bits (just need to clarify this with Stacey... is this 4-1/2 pouches?)

1-8 oz. jar of shredded parmesan cheese

1-bag shredded carrots

½ yellow pepper chopped

½ red pepper chopped

1 large bag sliced almonds

Several sugar snap peas (3 small bags)

1 bottle 36 oz ranch dressing

1 squirt of Italian oil dressing

Mix all ingredients together. Add a little more than half the bottle of ranch and a large squirt of Italian oil dressing and mix it up. Then leave it sit overnight in the fridge; the next day it will be dry. At that point, add the rest of the ranch and remix.


2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons adobo sauce (use the sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce)

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3 pounds boneless Boston butt port roast, cut into 2" pieces 1 cup beer or chicken broth

Combine first 6 ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker, stir in pieces of roast. Microwave beer in a 2-cup glass measuring cup on HIGH 2 minutes or until very hot. Pour beer over meat in slow cooker, do not stir. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or until very tender. Shred meat using 2 forks. Serve on heated corn tortillas. Topping ideas: queso fresco, chopped fresh cilantro, salsa verde, diced avocado, finely diced red onion, sour cream, lime wedges.

Cheesy Mexican Rice Casserole

2 (8-oz.) packages Mexican Rice (I used Vigo)

2 cups (8-oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1 cup sliced green onions

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika

Prepare rice according to package directions. Combine hot cooked rice, 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir until combined. Transfer seasoned rice mixture to a greased 13x9 inch backing dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and paprika. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Makes 10 servings.

Orange-Mint-Red Onion Salad

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

5 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned

1 small red onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings and halved

2 avocados, sliced

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

pinch of sugar

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons minced fresh mint

8 fresh mint leaves

Combine first 4 ingredients in a salad bowl. Combine lime juice and next 5 ingredients in a small bowl; slowly add oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Drizzle dressing over salad; sprinkle with minced mint, and toss. Top with mint leaves. Makes 10 servings.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

B&A: hybrid scrapbooking page

BEFORE (the digital backdrop for Weekly Scrapbooking Challenge #4):

around the house

And AFTER with three-dimensional embellishments added to the page (i.e. traditional scrapbooking supplies added to a flat digital page).

house list full

house list close details

house list details

For those of you new to hybrid scrapbooking, the digital backdrop is essentially a 12x12 photograph. While the top image appears three-dimensional, it is merely an illusion created with my Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 software. After completing the backdrop, I order it as a 12x12 page through; once receiving the page, I add traditional scrapbooking elements - giving me the best of BOTH worlds (ease and freedom of digital along with the hands-on creative experience). If you have any questions about the software or embellishments, let me know!

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

straight out of the camera [sunday]

SOOC Sundayjpg

A shot from our last day at the retreat.

stacey sooc

It pretty much sums up my sister's time there :) The girl seriously deserved to put her feet up after making so many of our delicious treats!! Thanks again, Stacey.

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we've been retreating it this weekend...

mary retreat

And a productive one at that! As promised to the ladies attending, I'll be sharing some of the recipes here later this week (Stacey's Chicken Salad and Sloppy Joes, Carnitas Tacos, Mexican Cheesy Rice, and Orange-Mint-Red Onion Salad ). Despite HUGE pressure, Stacey refuses to budge on her special cookie recipe.

For the first time in several years, I did not use the retreat to work on client images. In addition to scrapbooking I organized photos, preplanned several pages, and organized my supplies - what a great feeling. I took a little time as well to chill... watched a couple of movies, had some great conversations, and simply RELAXED - what a great feeling.

I'll be back later this evening with my SOOC post for the day...

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Friday, March 25, 2011

5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. New photography book by Jose Villa.


Beautiful, beautiful. Click HERE for more information.

2. Stitchable Stationery by Sublime Stitching.


What a fun way to get your craft on!

3. ModCloth - My absolute favorite place to shop. F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E. Picked up this cute jacket for a steal:


Along with this adorable top:


4. Rubber boots. I especially LOVE the variety out there this year. Here's what I found at Target alone:




All perfectly paired with my new jacket, pictured above :)

5. El Burrito. My mother-in-law treated me to lunch there last Friday. Not only was the restaurant fantastic, there is also a grocery store on-site complete with deli, bakery & meat counter.


Can't wait to go back.

Happy Friday!!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

pure fluff


It's been a busy couple of weeks - working on taxes, preparing for our Spring Weekend Scrapbooking Retreat, photo sessions, the monthly faithbooking crop... you know how it goes. With taxes out of the way, I feel a HUGE relief and can't wait to pursue more exciting things.

Like going to the library, painting bedrooms, and messing with artwork for the walls. For real.

Just looking forward to some regular-life stuff, which is my kind of fluff ;) I'll be back soon with some weekly challenge posts!!!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

my new bagS

Remember when I told you all about the birthday gift I'd ordered for myself? Well, it arrived.

the main bag

I ended up being gifted a second gorgeous bag as well!!!!!

my new bag 2

I love both; pictures alone just don't do them justice. They will be *perfect* for shopping at the Farmers' Market this summer. And the Traders Market in Elko/New Market. These spacious bags are ready to be loaded up with all sorts of treats :)

In case you missed my original post, I ordered the bag from Etsy seller Bayou Salvage. (Looks like Anthropologie in New Orleans will be carrying some of their goods as well!) A few of my other favs are the ruffled leggings that are HERE and this super cute tunic (click HERE) and adorable dress that is HERE.

The ruffles get me every time.

bag on chair

Speaking of which, you can even properly girlify your NOOK/Kindle with a Gussy bag (click HERE).

Girlie heaven. ✿ ✿ ✿

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

straight out of the camera [sunday]

SOOC Sundayjpg

It's a rainy day here in the Twin Cities. Not the ideal setting for a natural light photo session. That being said, I do like the moodiness it tends to create... as shown here in my SOOC shot for the week:

rainy day sooc

I hope you have a wonderful, hunkered-down sort of day :)

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Friday, March 18, 2011

5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. Chocolate-covered gummy bears from Candyland. And their Chicago Mix popcorn. And Chocolate-covered potato chips. And just about everything else in that store!

chocolate-covered gummy bears

2. Death by Caramel Bars. Seriously, the best bars EVER.

caramel death

I whipped up a batch as an add-on to some other snacks made for the bible study gals. Thought I'd make them just to try. Now I'm seriously hooked. Here's the recipe:

Death by Caramel Bars (from Southern Living)

3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup uncooked regular oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 (2.07-ounce) Snickers, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can dulce de leche (found in the Mexican food section at the local grocery store)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stirring just until blended. Fold in chopped Snickers.

Spoon batter into a greased aluminum foil-lined 13"x9" pan coated with cooking spray, allowing foil to extend over ends of pan. (Pan will be very full.) Spoon dollops of dulce de leche over batter; swirl slightly into batter with a knife. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. (This may take several hours.) Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan. Peel foil away from sides of uncut brownies and cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen.

3. Craft Count - a site that tracks Etsy's top sellers. A great way to explore new shops :)

craft count

4. The Weeds & Wildflowers Anniversary Sale (digital scrapbooking), taking place now through March 20!!

weeds&wildflowers sale

Everything is 20-40% plus get an additional 25% off when you spend $25 or more. Click HERE for details.

5. When Your Hormones Go Haywire: Solutions for Women Over 40 by Pamela M. Smith.


If you're 40+ and feel like you're going through puberty all over again, THIS BOOK may be for you. And for those of you under 40 suffering with wacky hormone issues, here's your "fun" item:


Estroven PMS - you'll find it in smaller quantities HERE and a few reviews (in addition to a little more information about the product HERE) and several more reviews HERE.

Happy Friday!!

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekly Challenge #9 - Stream of Consciousness

stream of consciousness

I paired up this belated weekly scrapbooking challenge with THIS former faithbooking lesson at the crop on Saturday. This page idea reminds me very much of Twitter. Or Facebook. The idea being to create a scrapbook page that features stream of consciousness writing/thinking.

Sooooooo, what's going on in your head? Kind of a scary thought. What's even scarier is NOT taking a moment to think about what you're thinking about. If you've never examined your self-talk, creating this scrapbooking page about it would be a wonderful exercise. (Examining my thoughts/self-talk was a life-changing experience for me AND the basis of my eating disorder treatment many years ago - that story is HERE.) You'll find a wonderful article on the topic by Les and Leslie Parrott HERE, in addition to this INCREDIBLE BOOK by Jennifer Rothschild HERE. Jennifer has also authored a bible study along the same lines (Me, Myself & Lies) which I have yet to check out.

Thinking about my thoughts is an on-going practice, a deliberate daily choice. Journaling is one of the tools I use to help me recognize faulty thinking (in addition to God's Word, which I'll share more about in a later post).

Okay, back to the scrapbooking page :) Unlike the rest in the weekly series, this page is fully digital. Not a hybrid, nor ever going to be a hybrid. I'll be back soon with Weekly Challenge #10!!!

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

straight out of the camera [sunday]

SOOC Sundayjpg

It was nearly this time last year we spent the day at the Minnesota State Capitol. Must be something in the late-winter air because the same "lets-have-a-family-day-in-St.-Paul" urge came over me today.

But I wanted to find something slightly different.

We decided on the Minnesota History Center (a great online package sealed the deal). Here's my shot for the day:

minnesota history center sooc

BTW... I was caught completely off-guard by the exhibit, "The Value of One Life." Powerfully emotional stories of tragedy and hope - the BEST part of my day by far. I would strongly encourage you to read each story if you have the chance to visit the Minnesota History Center yourself.

I was moved again tonight by THIS POST and the pain surrounding so many in Japan. Praying for those who are hurting; reminded of the stories that touched me so deeply today - individuals who overcame catastrophic circumstances to find joy and success. Praying the same for victims in Japan.

Looking for a way to get involved? Just click on the links below for a few resources:
Be back tomorrow with that overdue weekly scrapbooking challenge...

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Friday, March 11, 2011

5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. Sunday Brunch at the Birchwood Cafe. With items such as the Pear, Parmesan & Black Barley Waffle or the Buttermilk Crepes (allspice-poached apples, caramel nutmeg mascarpone, cider vinegar reduction & candied walnuts), the place is a force to be reckoned with.


2. This hot chocolate recipe will keep you warm in more ways than one ;) It is absolutely DELICIOUS, reminding me very much of a certain Spicy Mexican Mocha.

spicy cocoa

Spicy Hot Chocolate

Recipe from Fork, Knife & Spoon
(serves 2)

2 cups milk
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2oz chocolate, broken into pea-sized bits (I used milk chocolate chips)

Whisk together milk, cayenne pepper, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar. Over low heat, bring to a boil watching carefully. Remove from heat, add chocolate pieces and cover, waiting two minutes and stirring until chocolate melts and incorporates into liquid. Add vanilla and pour into mugs. (BTW, I popped a few marshmallows under the broiler to give them that "fresh off the fire" feel.)

3. With it being Lent & all, I thought some of you might be interested in a new fish place or two. I've heard very good things about Mac's Fish-Chips-Strips in St. Paul and Cafe Twenty Eight in Minneapolis. Too, the Church of St. Albert the Great has been recognized by City Pages and a couple local news channels and has been referred to as THE BEST Friday night fish fry.

fish fry

4. Looking for someplace REALLY SPECIAL to celebrate your wedding anniversary? Perhaps a second honeymoon? One of these Rhode Island beach cottages would make *the perfect* retreat for two.

castle hill

5. The Smitten Kitchen. Love this website, especially this Pumpkin Bread Pudding recipe and these Homemade Pop Tarts.

smitten kitten

Happy Friday!!

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