Saturday, April 22, 2017

NEW Mark Downs on Kits

Back when Apron Strings started, knowing how hard it can be to find time to scrapbook, we wanted to help make the most of that time by helping reduce the things that could sometimes bog you down: finding coordinating product, making selections and bringing it all together.  Boom. . .Apron Strings scrapbook and cards kits are born.

Even though Apron Strings is closing, that philosophy remains.  I didn't just pull kits together, I used them - still do.  I've used them for traditional pages and pocket pages (ie Project Life®.)  I've made mini albums and specialty albums.  I've made cards and small seasonal décor pieces.  All with Apron Strings kits.

Come stock up on the remaining kits (Scrapbook and Card and remember Card Kits come with color instructions) before they're gone, and save 30% on remaining stock.  This weekend, you can save an additional 10% on your order.  Enter Code:  SAVE10.

Coupon expires 4.23.17 and must be present at the time of checkout.  Refund cannot be given for missing codes.   

Friday, April 21, 2017

Food For Thought

You'd think not posting for two weeks I'd have a lot of recipes, but that whole tax prep scenario interferes with the most basic of making meals too.  I do have a few recipes though.

I made these Sausage and Kale Lasagna Roll-ups on a Friday, during Lent, so I left out the sausage and substituted it with roasted sweet potatoes.  I just diced the sweet potatoes, tossed them in oil and sprinkled them with Italian seasoning and roasted them at 400 for about 30 minutes.  Since finding this really easy Alfredo sauce in another recipe, I use it whenever a recipe calls for a jarred sauce.  It was good.  Creamy.  Warm.  It was about as easy as assembling a traditional lasagna.

I wanted something different for dessert and this Buttermilk Pie sounded good.  Super simple to pull together.  It was custardy and smooth.  It would have been tasty with either sweet whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Alfredo was a theme apparently, but that's because I had a lot of cream in the 'fridge, so 5-Ingredient Creamy Southwest Chicken Alfredo made an appearance.  I made a couple extra chicken breasts, but kept the pasta the same.  It was good.  A bit of kick from the spices.

I initially pinned these Hobo Roasts for camping, but decided they sounded good for a cool evening instead.  I didn't have any meatloaf seasoning, so I searched and found this meatloaf seasoning - I added a teaspoon of celery salt.  It was just a hair salty, so next time I will cut the salt in half and reduce the celery salt to a half of teaspoon as well.  (A note, the reviews were pretty bad on the seasoning, but it looks like the amounts, and even the addition of ingredients, have been updated from what reviewers were talking about.  I thought it was a well balanced seasoning that had none of the "extras" found in store versions.)  As for the roasts, they were good.  They were dense, but not in a dried out way.  They had a Salisbury Steak thing going on.  Also, the ingredients call for Worcestershire sauce, but it doesn't appear in the directions.  I checked the blog post but there's only a picture of her sprinkling the sauce on the already formed patties.

I made Balsamic Chicken Skillet mostly because I had everything on hand.  What's not to like.  Chicken.  Melted Cheese.  Balsamic Vinegar.  All good.  A quick to pull together recipe.

This Sheet Pan Italian Sausage and Roasted Veggies was one of the more colorful meals I'd served.  You could use any link sausage you have on hand.  I had some chicken-mozzarella thing, that was great.  I loved all the veggies.  The only thing I didn't like was that with these sorts of "toss with pasta" recipes, all the mix-ins fall to the bottom of the dish.  I always need to remind myself to skip the "toss" step and just serve the pasta and veggie mix separate, so you can be sure to get the portions you want.

Bananas Foster Upside-down Cake looked good and sounded pretty straight forward.  Let's see. . .to start I picked up ripe, but not the usual over-ripe bananas you'd cook with, thinking you'd want them to hold up in the baking.  Apparently not.  They came out with a really weird texture, like what I think a plantain would be like - dense and way too chewy.  I had two family members ask what I did to the bananas, and if they were, in fact, plantains.  Go for the usual over-ripe bananas.  Next, the sauce.  I waited a bit longer than the called for 10 minutes to turn the cake out, but I'm not sure it would have mattered at the 10 minute mark.  The sauce had crystallized along parts of the pan, making candy, and thus making it hard to turn the cake out.  There was no sauce to speak of, really.  Nothing gooey left in the pan, nothing to drip over the sides and soak into the cake.  The cake was good though.  I don't know what the issue was.  Was it baking at altitude, though it wasn't over baked.  Was it the alcohol?  I don't know.  I won't try to do it again, but have at it and let me know. 

We've got no cable - and unless hubby can trouble-shoot it, won't until next Tuesday.  So I've got to find something to occupy myself.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New Mark Downs on Embellishments

Holy cow -- I've been MIA for two weeks.  Yikes.  I've been dealing with the hell that is preparing to file taxes.  Tax prep usually derails me for a couple of weeks every year.  The stress of it makes me sick every year as well - like. clock. work.  Every year I tell myself I'm going to start in January and finish in March.  And while I may start in early, every year I finish a week before the deadline.  But taxes are filed and done for the year.  And, I'm recovering from being sick.  

Taxes were first, which meant taking time away from dealing with closing Apron Strings and continuing the mark-downs of the remaining stock.  I no sooner sent off my tax stuff, than I sat down to update the site with fresh prices.  

I love embellishments, regardless of my difficulty in using them at times.  Those bits and baubles really help anchor photos, highlight journaling and bring a story together.  Those little things add so much, all while playing a supporting role.  With those thoughts in mind, there are new mark-downs are on all embellishments - save up to 30% or more.  

TODAY ONLY save an additional 10% on your entire order by using code:  SAVE10
Codes are good for one use only and must be present at check out.  Refunds cannot be given for missing codes.  Expires 4.21.17

Go.  Shop.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

We Are

Apparently if you don't post photos for a couple weeks, you have quite the selection of things to choose from.  This is not always the case, but today it is.  Not posting last week makes us look quite productive.  Some of us anyway.  Some of seem to have a disturbing amount of time on our hands. 

It's also an odd collection of happenings around our place.  Some of them are best not contemplated for overly long.  

  • Shopped Pioneer Woman's online store, which, can I just say is as mind boggling as the store, minus the nutsy Spring Break crowds.  My wishlist will get me through several gift-giving occasions.  Anyway, received my order and the detail to packing is insane, and totally fun.
  • Our Girlie has always, ALWAYS, had more boys in her friend group than girls.  So much so it concerned her pre-school teachers.  We've always thought it was a smart move.
  • The 16 y.o. may not be motivated to drive - he's had his permit for over a year now - but he's rocking the cooking classes.  Now, if he'd just bring that home and cook a meal or two.  Oh, and get his license.
  • The face of one who has learned to play Solitaire and won after four tries.
  • When things start to get weird at dinner.
  • When possible, this is the best way to exit.
  • When you're trying not to look like you want to scarf down someone else's meal
  • Serving lunch to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House (the 16 y.o.)
  • Ahhh. . .Mmm-hmm.
  • When Girlie offers to make pasta. . .I leave until I need to whip up the marinara.
  • Was D.E.L.I.S.H.
  • I think all those in the health care industry think this.  Every. Day.
  • The stupid chickens who just couldn't be done BEFORE I decided to run to get dinner because they were taking too long.
  • The dinner I picked up while the stupid chickens came to temp during my short absence.  They were amazing when we finally had them the next night.
  • When a fourth "person" tries to get in on your game
  • We all need pen pals
  • He's always said he wants to be YouTuber when he grows up.  Apparently he's decided not to wait.  Just nobody tell him he has to upload those videos.
  • Damn Sorry! and its cards where moving backwards is your only option and you have to take that.
  • I'm just going with the "It's Spring Break" defense
  • No comment.
  • They stay together at the Ariana Grande concert.  Just a note - he's the fan and it was Girlie's Christmas present to him.
  • I'm always surprised when she goes outside and doesn't take off
  • When your wash is finally done, and all your friends are back in your sights
  • I want a job where you can be wrong almost all the time, in varying degrees (no pun intended) and still keep earning your paycheck.
Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New Store Closing Discounts & Deals

I have always enjoyed a good mystery.  Both the kind found within the pages of a book and those that are delivered by the mailman.

I'm speaking of a goody-box mystery.  The kind filled with scrapbooking items.  They are a great value and I already know I love the products!

As I was counting and sorting and generally organizing to close out product, I thought what if I put together a mystery box?  Filled with goodies you already love?  So I did.  

Here is a Spring-themed Kitchen Sink.  It's filled with patterned papers, that feel Spring-y, from companies that have been featured in past Apron Strings kits.  Lines like American Crafts Day Dreamer, Echo Park Spring, Pebbles Garden Party and more.  While paper is great fun, it's also nice to get a dash, or ten, of embellishments, so I've grab buttons, brads, journaling cards, tags, yards of ribbon, pins, rhinestones, pearls, and other goodies to round things out.  All this for just $29.99!

Mix the kit into your stash to freshen it up, or break it apart into kits of your own making and pairing it with photos.  It's a great kit for mini albums or home decor and party decorations.

PLUS, this week you can save an added 20% on your entire order.  Use Code:  CLOSING20 at checkout.  Code is good for one use and must be present at check-out.  Refunds cannot be given for missing codes.  Discount is taken off during check-out.  Offer expires 4.7.17

Go.  Shop.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Food For Thought

It's Spring Break here - well we're wrapping it up, anyway.  All four kids were home - for the first time in six years their school schedules matched up.  I had hopes of heading out somewhere, even overnight, with them, but work schedules got in the way.  Boo.  

The demise of plans is what I'm using to blame my lack of cooking meals this week; I just didn't have it in me.  It works in my head, but I don't think the family is buying it.  I had a plan.  And a shopping list.  I just never made it out of the house. . .except to make a run to Taco Bell on a night when the chicken that was being smoked, didn't appear as though it would be done for dinner.  I made the off-hand comment, as I left to get tacos, "Watch, it'll climb the last 20 degrees and be done when I get back."  Truer words were never spoke.  Two of those stupid birds were indeed done by the time I set the bag of tacos and burritos on the kitchen counter.  We had the chicken the next night - it was fabulous.

I did make a couple things, however.

Sunday, I set up a brine for the chickens that would be smoked on Tuesday.  I used my Favorite Brine, but instead of orange rind, I used lemon (goes well with chicken) and added some thyme.  I should have cut back on the rosemary, but didn't.  Not that it was bad, I love rosemary, but I wanted more thyme to pair with the lemon.  The chicken was amazing - moist, a touch of sweet.  I now have a four more chickens to break-down for pre-cooked chicken recipes and bones to cook down into broth.  Something perfect for this rainy-waiting-for-snow day.

I still had those two pints of this 5-minute Enchilada Sauce to use up.  I opted to make smothered burritos for In-Law Dinner on Monday.  I used this Taco Spice, mixed in refried beans, rolled 'em up and smothered them.  Boom. Done.

I found two containers of left-over pumpkin stuffed way in the back of the fridge, so when I needed a dessert, I decided to find something to use it up.  Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins to the rescue.  These were really good, very moist, nice warm seasonings.  I liked the cream cheese, but I think I may have been overzealous in my swirling - next time I'll cut back on that.  Still, there was a nice layer of the cream cheese.  Here, at altitude, they took longer to bake, but stayed moist despite the longer cook-time.  The moistness, actually, makes storing them difficult.  Put them in a sealed container and they get wet. . .You can actually leave the top loose, or store them in the 'fridge.

I needed a side for the burritos.  I always have black beans on hand, so this Southwestern Black Bean Salad worked for me.  We used it as a salsa with chips.  It was good, with a nice tang from the lime juice.  It would have been a good topper on the burritos.  It would also work as a non-meat filling for burritos or tacos.  I can see it on top of a bed of lettuce, as well.

I may not have put much, or any, effort into meals this week, but what I did do, used up some languishing items.  So that's a bonus.

We're expecting a snow storm, or we were 12 hours ago, I'll need to check the weather to see if they're sticking to that story.  So maybe, we'll enjoy a weekend with us at home, sort of a stay-cation, instead.

Happy Friday,

Mystery Box and New Deal

New week.  New mark downs.  New Deal.

I've always loved a box of goodies, the mystery kinds.  It's like a two-fer in terms of surprises - I get fun snail mail and it's bringing gobs of stuff I already know I like.  I've purchased a few from some of my favorite manufacturers - October Afternoon, Scenic Route (remember them), October Afternoon . . . I may have a few from October Afternoon.  

Today, it's my turn to create a Kitchen Sink of boxes.  This one is themed, too - Spring to be exact.  So, papers and embellishments that have that Easter, Mother's Day, Spring-y feel.  You'll find:  patterned paper (can you say 40 sheets), assorted ribbon, brads and buttons, journaling cards, chip and wood pieces, pin, clips, jewels, pearls, etc.  Each Kitchen Sink kit is a little different, though, if you get more than one, there may be some duplication in papers

The kits have a retail value of $90. . .but you'll get it all for $29.99 (plus shipping.)  Quantities are limited - get one today!

Oh, yeah, and there's new mark downs on the website - full kits, TV Dinner, Paper Packs, PLUS a new discount to apply to your entire order - 20%!  

Enter Code:  CLOSING20  Code is good for one use and must be entered at check-out - discount applied upon check-out.  Code expires April 7, 2017.

P.S.  I have plans to create other seasonal Kitchen Sink kits.  Watch the website.

Go. Shop.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Food for Thought

I mentioned yesterday that I had no idea what day it was, let alone what I'd be making for dinner.  It's been that kind of week.  I missed my window for planning and shopping, so anything I've made this week has been on hand.

Fish on Fridays means Baked Lemon Herb Tilapia made an appearance (and our Archbishop wouldn't give us a dispensation to have meat on this St. Patrick's Friday.)  I like tilapia for it's ease of use and that it takes a variety of seasonings really well.  It's a great fish in tacos.  Tonight was about lemon and herbs.  It was okay.  There's a butter spread you make that holds all the seasonings - it was kind of a pain to make (I'd use a mixer and really soften the butter.)  While the butter kept the fish moist, it wasn't as herbalicious as I prefer, though it wasn't bad, it might have just been the combo of herbs.  I have other herb fish recipes, so I opted not to keep this one.

The Archbishop may have said no to Corned Beef, but being Irish I had to have something besides a beer.  I had this Crockpot Irish Soda Bread pinned and decided to give it a go.  It came together super fast.  Being in arid Colorado I needed more buttermilk than the recipe called for but it took two-ish hours in the slow cooker.  Now, I've never had Soda Bread, so I wasn't sure what to expect. . .but this recipe produced a soft loaf, that was just a touch sweet.  I really like it, and because it is a nice base, I'll try dried cranberries or cherries.

Browned Butter M&M Cookies sounded like a nice finish for the week.  The browned butter gave a little extra richness to the cookies, which I opted to cook a little less (a suggestion in the recipe) because I like a softer, lighter cookie.  I didn't add the optional chocolate chips or nuts, but I think next time I will and cut back on the M&M's.

We had our brisket on Monday - hubby smoked it.  I needed to come up with some sides with things I had on hand.  I had carrots - a lot, because I need to make chicken broth - and apples that were looking less happy daily.  So a quick search produced Moroccan Maple-Roasted Carrots and Apples.  I wasn't sure about the seasoning working well with the brisket, but threw caution to the wind and whipped up some Garam Masala and went to town.    I used granny smith apples, and opted to leave the skin on them.  It was good.  I liked the smokiness and warmth of the spice.

These Buttered Noodles were another side for the brisket.  I was short on the noodles, so the sauce was a bit saucier, but they were still good.  Next time I think I may let the butter brown, just for extra flavor and check the seasonings - salt especially.

I had two pounds of strawberries, and precious little else for making a dessert.  So when I saw this Strawberry Shortcake Skillet that's what went in the oven.  I chose to use half my strawberries and made up the difference with raspberries.  I like the crunch of the corn meal in the topping, but it got a little soggier than an all flour mix, so I may cut back on the corn meal the next time.  I'm not sure cooking it longer would have solved the issue, I think it's simply a corn meal deal.

I have no clue what will be on the menu tonight. . .so I'd best get digging.

Happy Friday,