Thursday, April 28, 2011

{tasty} Today

Today, I slow cooked a brisket in nothing but this...

and I quite liked it. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

{crafty} Blast From the Past Blog Hop

Welcome to Taylored Expressions Blast from the Past Blog Hop! The theme this month is CLEAN & SIMPLE. How is it that simple can be so difficult? This card came together quickly but I can't help but look at it and want to add more.

I used kraft cardstock for the base, all other papers are from TE's November '10 monthly kit.

I used the TE Scallops & Circles impression plate on the blue cardstock and inked the edges. 
I stamped the coffee cup, from the Sprinkled with Love stamp set, onto the polka dot paper twice and used pop dots to create some depth. I stamped it once more on cream cardstock and cut out just the cream and again popped it up. 

A chipboard label covered with cream paper is home to my sentiment from the From the Heart Funnies set. And finished off with a sheer blue ribbon.

This is a truly simple card for me, but I think the color combo gives it a nice little pop and this cute little coffee cup has me craving a cup now!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

{crafty} Canvas wall hanging

I have really been enjoying playing with altered items lately. I found that it comes a little easier to me than creating scrapbook layouts and cards. It is a little difficult for me though to create something without having a purpose for it, or knowing who it will be for. I just keep trying to get out of my comfort zone, and luckily, Im always happy with the results.

I made this wall hanging with 3 thin 5x7 canvases and the My Minds Eye Fine & Dandy collection. I started with the "Dream everyday of your life" chipboard piece and continued the theme for there. I wanted it to be an inspiration and hopefully, wherever this item ends up, that is exactly what it will be.

The flowers are simply made, but I love the look. I cut several circles out in different sizes and papers, inked the edges and then roughed them up with a paper distresser. I layered them and finished off with brads and buttons, using ribbon as the stems. Also used on this canvas was glimmer mist, Fiskars scalloped border punch, brown ric-rac and staples. 

While searching through my rub-on stash I found this "Dream and then make it happen" from CTMH. I had them both in white and brown which worked out well to contrast off the chipboard clouds. Also used glimmer mist, Martha Stewart Optic Edge border punch, Crate Paper chipboard, silver pearls, and ball fringe. 
I LOVE ball fringe!

For the last canvas piece I created a banner. I totally cheated and used my Cricut for this. I think it probably would have been faster to just cut them myself, but I'm not the greatest when it comes to keeping a straight line. The letter stickers are from the Pink Paislee "Fetching" collection. Also used on this piece: glimmer mist, Basic Grey "Cupcake" rub-on, Ek Success border punch, and silver pearls.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

{tasty} Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread

Beer bread is something wonderful. Its fool proof, and sometimes thats exactly what I need. I have been trying my hand at home made bread lately and honestly haven't had that much luck. One thing I have most definitely learned is that you cannot go by a set amount of time when it comes to allowing the bread to rise. And yes, I learned that the hard way. It all comes down to temperature. For rising and baking. Slowly but surely I am working out all the kinks.

With beer bread, however, that is not an issue. And better yet, it is SO simple and super versatile.

Basic Beer Bread
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 12oz bottle of beer

See? Simple! You can even omit the baking powder by using self rising flour.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can season it however you want. Whatever flavor calls out to you, just go for it. Also try different beers, as that will change the flavor profile as well. The first time I played with it I came up with this bacon cheddar version and its so good I just don't want to try anything else. I have used the Guinness as I did here. An IPA, which truth be told was not my cup of tea but my husband loved it. And more often New Castle.

To the basic recipe above, add:

  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 375° and grease a loaf pan. Combine all ingredients, except beer, in a large bowl and mix together. Slowly pour in beer and mix until combined. Spread in to loaf pan and bake until golden and toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Bake for 20-25 minutes if doing muffins.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minute, remove from pan and cool 10 minutes more. Serve warm, or room temperature.

And let me tell you, this bread is so moist and tasty that you don't even need butter.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

{tasty} Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

I love my slow cooker. If I had the space it would probably have a permanent spot on my kitchen counter. My absolute favorite thing to make is pulled pork. It is easy. Nearly effortless. And downright delicious. Not to mention the leftovers. First things first, leftovers always start with pork & potato tacos. Always. Well, unless in this case where this delicious pork hurried out my door and off to my husbands work for a slow cooker cook off. 

This simple rub is wonderfully earthy and compliments pork nicely. 

Coffee Rub
  • 3 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Pepper
  • 6 tbsp finely ground coffee

Trim large fat pads from a 3 pound pork shoulder and lightly rub with oil. Work the rub in over the whole roast. You want the sucker totally covered. When you think you have saturated it enough, add whatever rub you have left and saturate it more. Throw it in the crockpot and cook on low for 10-12 hours. Because of the fat content of the pork shoulder you do not have to add liquid. If you use tenderloin, add about 1/2 cup of stock or water. 

When the pork is done use two forks to shred it to pieces. 

Here is where it gets tricky. Its time to add some sauce. But please, do not douse this deliciously earthy pork in your traditional store bought tomato based BBQ sauce. Im begging you. It will be the worst mistake of your life.

It wasn't until recent years that I discovered that other parts of the country consider BBQ to be something totally different than what I grew up with. What I grew up with was nothing more than terrible in a bottle. It rivals Miracle Whip.

The first time I made a vinegar based sauce I fell in love. Its tangy, zippy, a little sweet and surprisingly enough really allows the flavor of the meat to come through. I don't believe I have ever made this sauce the same way twice, but the basics are always there. Apple Cider Vinegar, Mustard, and Brown Sugar. As far as I know this is a Carolina style BBQ sauce. Although it seems this varies a lot region to region.

I have made this pork twice, with 2 different sauces and loved both

Sauce #1
2 cups
 apple cider vinegar

1 cup mustard, just plain old yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, fine grind, or to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon your favorite hot sauce, or to taste

Combine in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Do not boil. Makes 4 cups. 

Sauce #2
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup applesauce (could use apple juice as well)
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp honey
hot sauce, to taste
black pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Sadly these are all approximations. I threw this sauce together quickly and didn't measure anything. This was actually my favorite sauce with this pork. I will definitely have to make it again and hopefully find that I got this right.

Add your sauce to the pork and cook on high for about 15 minutes. Serve up on buns with Pepperjack cheese. Yum!