Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

I know, you just hate Brussel sprouts, right?  When you were a kid you had the most awful experience with them and never want them to come near your plate or mouth ever again.  Here’s the thing, Brussel sprouts are actually quite yummy when prepared the right way.  This recipe is one of those ‘right ways’.

The first step to making a good batch of Brussel sprouts is to make sure that you’re picking up good sprouts at the store.  Look for Brussel sprouts that have a rich green color- you don’t want sprouts that are too pale looking or ones that are way too dark.  So a rich, somewhat bright green is good.  You also want to pick ones that aren’t blemished and don’t have holes in the leaves.  Finally, you want Brussel sprouts that are heavy feeling for their size and are firm to the tough- no mushy ones here!  Your Brussel sprouts should be okay in the fridge for 3 to 5 days after you bring them home, however I would recommend cooking them the day you get them or the next day.  To prep your Brussel sprouts, pull off the first few outside leaves.  These leaves should be fairly loose and easy to pull off.  They are also the ones most likely to look a little bit dirty.  Once you’ve pulled off the leaves, you’ll have a little bit of the stalk exposed.  You can just chop this off.  Then you can chop your Brussel Sprout in half from top to bottom.  Doing it this way allows the leaves to remain attached to the rest of the stalk.  At this point you can rinse them under some water.  If you have a larger sprout, you can quarter it instead of halving it.  (For this recipe I recommend this anyway since you’ll be shredding them).  Along the way you might loose a leaf or two and that’s okay!  Your Brussel sprouts are now ready to cook.

One final note before the recipe.  I originally saw this in the Food Network Magazine (Dec. 2011).  I’ve changed it up just a little bit to make it more WW friendly.

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

You also need Olivio or butter- I forgot to add it in the picture!

  • 1 lb Brussel Sprouts, shredded in a food processor
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 T. light Olivio (original recipe called for butter)
  • 2 T. cider vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Saute the shallots in 1 T. Olivio over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add cider vinegar and sugar and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.

    Here are the shallots on a plate- I totally forgot to take a picture in the pan🙂

  3. Transfer shallots to a bowl or plate and wipe out pan with a paper towel.
  4. Put about 1 T. Olivio in the pan and increase the heat to medium high.  Add the Brussel Sprouts and salt and pepper to taste.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. After 5 minutes, add in remaining Olivio and  1/2 cup water.  Cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Finally stir in the shallots and you’re done!

    Time to eat!

For those of you playing the home game, everything in this recipe is gluten-free and WW friendly.  If you divide this into 4 servings, the WW calculator puts this at 4 points per serving.  If you do it at 6 servings, then 3 points a serving.  Please let me know what you think of this recipe.  I think it’s great.  It’s a very easy dish to prepare and tastes fantastic!

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Just a couple of sewing projects….

I’ve got two projects to share with you today.  The first one I made for my mother-in-laws basket party for her mission group at church.  After much debate I decided to make my basket coffee and tea themed.  I’ve been wanting to use a Moda fat quarter bundle that I picked up in July so this gave me the perfect excuse.  Almost all of the fabric used is from the Java collection by Deb Strain.  I love, love, love this collection!  I also picked up a mini twist-up tool back in August at a quilt shop in Delaware.  The combination of tool and fabric gave me the perfect excuse to make a small wall hanging.  The final quilt measured about 13″ by 15″ and has a rod pocket on the back for easy hanging.  Here’s a few photos, let me know what you think.

the finished basket

As a side note- the basket itself is one that I found for $2.99 at the Goodwill.  A little bit of hot glue, ribbon and several buttons dressed it up quite nicely.

Now for my other project- it was entirely for me!  I’ve decided that I love making purses.  I came across a pattern for one that I thought was okay but figured with a little bit of tweaking, I’d like it a lot more.  One of the reasons that I’m using patterns right now (before I come up with my own) is so that I can learn new techniques.  So for this purse, I changed the angles of the front pockets, added in a border at the top of the purse and instead of using a cardboard bottom, used a plastic one.  The first two changes were completely based on looks.  The last change was simply based on the fact that I was afraid the cardboard wouldn’t be durable and if I ever had to wash the purse, I was screwed with cardboard!  I picked up the main fabric at Jo-Ann’s when we first got it in over the summer.  I didn’t know what I would use if for but it was so pretty that I had to add it to my stash.  The brown and pink fabrics for the pockets as well as the black lining were fabrics that had been in my stash for who knows how long!  I found the buttons when I raided my mason jars.  Something that you can’t see in the picture (because I didn’t take one of the inside) is that there are several pockets on the interior.  The entire purse is lined with a fusible fleece- even all of the pockets.  This gives a little bit more stability.  So once again, let me know what you think.

I’m thinking that one of my next posts will be a couple of organization tips for those of us obsessed with fabric and paper.  And please let me know if there’s anything you’re interested in having me post.

1 Comment

Filed under sewing

Butterscotch Candy

I love the taste of butterscotch.  In fact, I think it’s hard to find someone who really doesn’t like it!  Like the candied walnuts, I’ve been wanting to try to make hard candy for a while now.  This recipe is very easy to make.  The only special tool that you need is a candy thermometer that has a clip on it.  It’s best if you can move the clip up and down to adjust how far into your pot the thermometer rests- you don’t want the tip to be touching the bottom of the pan as you can get an inaccurate temp. reading.  Another helpful hint is to check your thermometer before you use it to make sure it’s reading the proper temp.  If you boil a pot of water with the thermometer clipped to the side of your pot and with the tip in the water, the thermometer should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit when the water boils.  It’s a little tip that I picked up in the Taste of Home magazine.  You can then adjust your recipe temp. up or down depending on the water test.  (i.e. if the water test tells you that the water is boiling at 202 instead of 212, subtract ten degrees from the recipe temp)

So on to the recipe!  It sounds kind of weird that these simple ingredients will make up such a yummy candy but I swear it works.  The recipe was published in Taste of Home Homemade Food Gifts and is by a woman in Indian named Edna.  I want to give credit where credit is due but don’t want to put her whole name and location out on the internet.

Butterscotch Hard Candy

yeah, I know my pieces aren't perfectly square!🙂

  • 1/2 c. butter, softened (plus a tiny bit to grease your pan)
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 2 T. water
  • 2T. white vinegar
  1. Line a 15 inch by 10 inch pan with foil. (I used a small cookie sheet).  Use your tiny bit of butter to grease the foil to prevent the candy from sticking.  I imagine you could also just use non-stick foil without the butter but I haven’t tried that yet.  Set your pan aside.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine all of your ingredients.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes- this helps to dissolve the sugar crystals.
  3. Uncover;  cook without stirring, until your candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees (this is hard-crack stage).  Remove your saucepan from the heat and immediately pour onto the prepared pan/cookie sheet.  Do not scrape the saucepan and do not spread the mixture. (don’t ask me why you shouldn’t, it was just in the original article!)
  4. Cool the candy for a few minutes.  You want to take a sharp knife and score the candy when it’s cool enough that the score lines don’t melt back together but warm enough to actually make the score lines.  I scored mine into 1 inch sections- this will give you about 130 pieces of candy (roughly 1 pound).  Allow the candy to cool completely.  Once cool, you can simply break it apart at the score lines.  Store your candy in an air-tight container.  I will tell you this- if you used the butter, your candy will feel a little bit greasy from it.  That’s why I’m trying the nonstick foil next time!

I highly recommend that you immediately put your saucepan in hot, soapy water to keep the leftover candy that you don’t scrape out from hardening in your saucepan.  This makes clean-up so much easier!

Like the walnuts, this recipe is also gluten-free.  I would encourage you to always check your ingredients though with any recipe just to be safe.  If you’re doing Weight Watchers, I plugged the recipe into the tracker online and it comes out to 1 point for every two pieces which is really more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth!  :)  This is another recipe that would make a great gift for the holidays. Let me know how you make out with this recipe!

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Candied Walnuts

I’ve been looking to make candied nuts for quite some time.  I bought a bag of walnuts ages ago and finally found a recipe a couple of weeks ago to use.  I’ve modified the recipe to change the spices up but the original recipe can be found here.  (And seeing as how that’s the first time I’ve tried to link another site in a blog post, we’ll see if it works!) I’ve also changed the amount of ingredients used because Jim loves these walnuts.  So do the ladies at work- one even said she could just sit and eat all of them up!

So here goes!

Candied Walnuts

  • 4 cups of walnuts
  • 2/3 c. of margarine or butter (this is approximately a stick and a couple of tablespoons, you don’t have to be perfect with it!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 2/3 c. brown sugar
  1. Melt the margarine or butter in a medium to large skillet over medium heat.

    I know, looks like a ton of butter, right?

  2. Once melted add in the brown sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  Stir the mixture to combine all of the flavors.  Keep over medium heat, stirring occasionally as the sugar melts.

    smells so delicious!

  3. The mixture will begin to bubble up- at this stage be very careful not to burn yourself!

    trust me, it's bubbling🙂

  4. Add in the walnuts and stir gently to coat them.  Continue to cook for about five minutes over the medium heat, stirring to keep mixing.

    already looks yummy, doesn't it?

  5. Dump the walnuts onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper or non-stick foil.  Separate the walnuts so they don’t harden into a clump.

    let them just sit there for a little while- try not to eat them right away!

  6. Allow to cool and enjoy!

The walnuts can be stored in an air-tight container but they probably won’t last too long!   This recipe is gluten-free but not Weight Watchers friendly.   Also, with the holidays coming up, these nuts would make a great hostess gift or just a gift for someone at the office.  I’m not fond of Martha Stewart but some of her current holiday packaging is really cute and these nuts would look great packaged up with it.  You could also just package them in a tin.  I would recommend putting them in a bag first and then using a bit of tissue paper to dress up the tin.  Another idea for packaging them would be to fill up a mason jar.  You could then just use a square of fabric and some ribbon to decorate the lid.  A tag could be easily attached to the ribbon.  These ideas would work for pretty much any food gift or really any gift that is small enough to fit in the container.

Next time- a recipe for homemade butterscotch candy- it’s easier then you think and you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry!

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

A fresh beginning…

There has been so much going on with my life that I dropped the idea of using this blog over a year ago. However I’ve decided that it’s time to pick things back up again. So welcome to my revamped blog. I’ve deleted all of the old posts- mostly because I didn’t want to try to fool around with resizing pictures. I’ve got a new layout with a pretty cool picture for my header for the time being. It’s a stock photo that came with the layout so I’m working on finding a photo of my own to put up there instead.

A brief look into what I hope you’ll be able to find here on my blog. As most of my friends know, I like to do a little bit of crafting every now and then. Okay, maybe a lot of crafting. Papercrafting, sewing, painting, etc. I love to create. There’s very little that makes me as happy as I am when I’ve got ink all over my fingers and a new project sitting in front of me. It probably wasn’t the greatest idea for me to get a job working at Jo-Ann Fabrics, but I like my job there. It gives me an opportunity to help other people with their projects. Of course working there means two things- that I always see a fabric or paper that I want and that I always have a million and one ideas floating around in my head. So, after all of that, you can expect to see some posts on here about my crafts. Sometimes I’ll just post a picture of a project that you can pick up in my store (which will be open soon). Sometimes I might post a DIY so you can have some fun. Or maybe I’ll post a technique or two. We’ll see!

I also love to cook and bake. But more cooking than baking which is kind of funny since I’ve been doing a lot of the baking lately. I also joined Weight Watchers back on Sept. 13th (my 29th birthday). My first WW goal was to lose thirteen pounds. I’m halfway there. It’s been hard and kind of frustrating because sometimes all I want is a candy bar or a few slices of pizza and I know that it’s not good for me. So my diet is slowly changing and I’m discovering new foods/recipes along the way. My end goal is to lose almost 100 pounds. I’d like to be at least halfway there by my 30th birthday. I’ve also got a few friends with dietary restrictions (such as needing to eat gluten-free). So you should expect to see some recipes on here and some adventures in the kitchen. I’ll post about things that I like and interesting recipes that I find. I’ll also try to make a note if a recipe is gluten-free.

You might also find me posting about just random, silly stuff. Or maybe posting about something- like an image or poem- that’s inspired me. I hope at some point to have a few contests, particularly when it comes to crafts. Maybe I’ll post a picture and ask you to create something inspired by it. Or how about a card sketch every once in a while. Or I might just have a fun giveaway just for the heck of it. I can promise you one thing, any contest or giveaway that I have will have a completely random winner.

Now that’s quite a bit for my first post! Please follow me and enjoy the journey we take together in crafting, the kitchen and life.


Filed under Uncategorized