Tuesday, March 30, 2010
It's official now......we will be going branding again this year. My husband's family has a cattle ranch, I've been "branding" there once, maybe twice in the last 24 years that we have been together........they do things modern, and get it done...as fast as possible.
So, branding isn't new to me...but doing it the good old fashioned cowboy way has been something I've been exposed to only in the last couple of years! My son is friends with a lil' cowboy (8 years old) whose Dad is a world famous rodeo bull-fighter. He lures the bull away from the cowboy who has been bucked off... they own a huge ranch, tucked away in the hills surrounded by sagebrush and wilderness...sort of like what you may see on movies like "Lonesome Dove"...or Wild West shows....anyhow, they brand the old fashioned way...with real cowboys on horseback, the whole nine yards....there is a bunk house, and a fire pit...where campfire beans are being simmered for the afterwards feast. We feel very honored to be included in the mix of people invited. In the last few years, our western friends have also auctioned invitations for urban people to participate in this cowboy experience. They donate the proceeds to charity... it's quite an ordeal.
My lil' cowboy and his buddy are all over the hills...while, although I'm a farm girl...I'm still not quite that wild west...as I watch where I walk...avoid any rustling sound...or "piles".
This year, my son has committed himself to play 2 songs on guitar (to the cowboys, and I guess the newly branded calves...which I've been told doesn't hurt) ... with his teacher by his side ... I'm sure I'll have stories to share ... we always do! I suspect this will be around a campfire...this might be a new experience for me...we have never stayed the into night...YIKES! (It's dark, so driving out...may need to be by the light of the moon! I don't plan to spend the night!!!)
This recipe layout is one that I did for a swap a few years ago...I had my husband's Granddad in mind when I created it....(the recipe)...although branding on the ranch is a "get it over" thing (for them) these days...once upon a time, I know he did it the old fashioned way too. (When he passed away, we lost one of the last Eastern Oregon real deal cowboys)...He'd be tickled to know how much I look forward to going to our friend's event, and that his great grandson plays guitar (he did too, that and the fiddle)...he never met our kidlets...I was such a whiney weinie back in the day (during branding only....that or hunting things), I think a star will be twinkling down on us!
I'm going to post a new card tomorrow, I promise! I just wanted to make sure my recipients received their cards before I posted!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Card #1: I had heard that working with these cuts might be a bit challenging. I agree, the larger the cut, the easier it is to work with...I can't recall, but I think I cut Minnie out at 3-1/2" ... not sure, but I could check it out if anybody is interested. Like almost 100% of everything I do...I always stamp...I even went so far as to stamp the dots on my flower...I got a little crazy wild with dots...
Card #2: The first time I scoured my lil' handbook...I KNEW what I wanted to do. NOTE: I highly encourage this be cut as large as your layout or card will allow. I learned a bit about improvising on the teeth and the tongues. It worked out....I wanted my mice small enough to put on a regular sized card...so...if small is what you need...and if your eyes are starting to age at all (my 20/20 vision is no longer) ... a pair of dollar store glasses might be a good thing to have on hand!
This is a sentiment from one of my Stampin Up! sets. I am appreciative of my huge assortment of SU sets, especially my sentiments....I also stamped the "Let's Celebrate" on the front of the card with another set from SU. Late night, I'm like a kid in a candy shop (oh yeah, I sort of posted about that the other day~here's that link in case anybody is interested):
After 12 years of building my craft inventory...I have lots of options! :)
Card #3: Tinkerbelle is one of my favorite characters. I hope those little flowers look like pixie dust from her glittery wand. That was the idea....I want to revisit this card....I'm not sure I achieved what I was striving for...
Card #4: I want to make about 6 more of these!~ I have a few friends who are creeping up on this milestone birthday, and I thought it was a fun way to pair it up with the Classic auto! I used Copics, glaze, and stamped with the coolest 50's-style sentiments! The sign was off the CARS cartridge......I see all kinds of needs for the signs on this cartridge! (Perfect for scrapbook pages!) My son was a CARS fan...and I absolutely luvved taking my children to the movie, we bought the soundtrack...dvd....yada yada yada.....
I can't wait to see what new Disney cartridges appear on the market! It's great to be a kid, no matter what age!
I had never heard of friendship bread before, I guess this isn't new, and according to the starter mix and the recipe that I received, the Amish have been doing this forever. A friend of mine sort of burst my bubble and informed me how I can make my own starter...but, I like my version better....the comraderie of gifting starter is so much more special... I do know, there is NO WAY possible I have enough friends to keep my starter going...so, unfortunately, my enthusiasm with the bread did END....but that wasn't until after my family had enjoyed many many loaves of it!
My layout: I wanted to jump on the forest friends trend (probably a bit late)...and somehow the childhood Toad and Frog type books kept creeping into my thought process...I visualized a group of forest friends all gathering together to have a picnic...(you know, sitting on a toadstool, ladybugs and butterflies, a little deer, bunny and raccoon....oh and some flowers....)..I still didn't get to that creative place that I was going for...but...the direction I ended up with worked out. I have to say, this was one of my favorite recipe pages I ever created (I always say this is my fave...I totally get into it I guess).....this group I have swapped with, have been "friends", although on-line, with me for many years... I feel priveledged to call them my friends. If they were my neighbor...I'd have given them some starter for sure! So, IF you receive a starter...this is what you need to know:
· Day 1: This is the day you receive the batter. Date and place bag on counter.
· Day 2,3,4,&5: Mush the bag.
· Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Mush the bag.
· Day 7,8,&9: Mush the bag.
· Day 10: Mix and divide the starter. See instructions below.
Pour entire contents of bag into non-metal bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups flour, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 1-1/2 cups milk. Mix well. Measure 1 cup of batter into each of 4 one-gallon Ziploc bags. Keep one for yourself and give three to friends along with a copy of this recipe. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Add to remaining batter in bowl:
· 3 eggs
· 1/2 cup oil
· 1/2 cup applesauce
· 1/2 cup milk
· 1 cup sugar
· 2 tsp. Cinnamon
· 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
· 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
· 1/2 tsp. Salt
· 2 cups flour
. 1 large (5.1-oz) Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
Grease 2 large non-metal loaf pans. Mix an additional 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon. Dust pans with 1/2 of this mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle remaining sugar & cinnamon mixture over the batter. Bake for 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Note: If you keep starter for yourself, you will be baking every 10 days. Only the Amish know how to create the starter. If you aren't lucky enough to get a starter...here is how you can make your own....I like the thought of having been given a starter...but just in case your circle of friends are not connected to the Amish....you may need to start your own! It's easy:
To “start” the bread (Day 1)
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
My second recipe is simple. The theme was, a childhood recipe that we tweaked along the way. Well, it doesn't take long to be around me to know I CANNOT STAND TO EAT seafood. Imagine that, living in the Pacific NW, where we are known for the premium seafood that we take from the ocean and shores. (Columbia River salmon? That's right in my backyard...) Anyhow....clams........blech! So, my tweak was to remove the clams...which I know is potato soup...but to me...it's my Mom's clam chowder...So, even though not one little mussel came even close to the pot....it's still clam chowder....that's my story and I'm sticking with it!
7—8 Slices of Bacon, cut in pieces
6-7 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 can of clams, (in clam juice) <---NOTE: I included a tag which clearly stated to LEAVE THESE OUT!!!!!!!!! I did put them in this recipe since it was to be the "old days" version....
4-5 cups milk
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch completely dissolved in 1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper (to preference)
Fry bacon in onion. Add potatoes and clams. Simmer until potatoes are cooked. Slowly add milk with stove temperature at medium heat. Add dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly until chowder is thickened. Season to taste!
Note: Other fun ingredients may be added such as Carrots and Celery.
Add these or veggies of choice with the potato mixture prior to adding milk.
For thicker chowder, add more dissolved cornstarch.
If chowder is too thick, dilute by adding more milk.
So, my cutting and pasting is looking a little funky on my blog. It's late, and I uploaded these pictures in draft mode from the factory before I left this Friday evening. (I LUV Fridays!) I have other pictures in draft form to post over the weekend. I'm stalling until early next week when I will post some new creations....I just want the recipients to see first!
If you have any questions on the recipes...let me know! I can vouch for how they taste!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I'm like a kid in a candy shop...ok, not the kid thing. I'm not 100% convinced that all of you know what I do in real life. (In play life, I sneak into my craft studio and scrapbook, create cards, or just hide...this is when I'm not being a Mom and follow my 9 and 10 year old kidlets from sporting event to sporting event and all other kinds of kid things!)
Back to my "real life" job....I own a specialty food, primarily novelty chocolate business. My Mom and I started it in 1986...after I gave corporate life the "boot"...I am convinced I simply cannot play office politics very well....instead...I have my own kitchen politics, yet..this time, I'm probably the unpopular one! :)
I grew up on a farm, and 24 years ago, we decided to add farm value added products, thus our food line. I never dreamt we would be distributing all over the country to specialty shops/retailers and event planners! I don't think I should probably share some of the celebrities or "names" who have received our products (there are some pretty interesting people)... I'm the indirect supplier, I mostly sell through another party....the multi-levels of marketing! It's been a good life, business ups and downs...but, I wouldn't have changed (too much at least) our ride for anything. I have enjoyed the family business...and am thrilled to be first generation of this aspect of it. I'll have to admit, the orchards I am 2nd generation to...that was my parents dream, they developed this beautiful piece of earth into farming, mostly orchards...my husband nows manages it...since the beginning of time, we've added 26 acres of asparagus...It's a living for us...and a way of life for our kids too.
The picture I'm sharing is ad specialty...we sell to many companies who use our products as marketing tools. One of my bestest customers and I, luv to dream up new ideas for her to take around to her clients. This was her suggestion...I know the concept isn't new...we have been making the orange jelly belly version for years now...but, I had never made them pastel...I have managed to taste test these too!
So from time to time, IF you see something edible on here...it's because I'm procrastinating from working...the FYI on my "real life" too, will hopefully explain why we do what we do! (Butterflies from the last post! I'm not sure what kind of event that was for...maybe a Bat Mitzvah?)
Thanks for dropping by! I now have 100 of these to get packed and 2nd Day Aired out the door!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Since I did the Texas Christmas, here is the Washington state one! I wanted to upload this yesterday...but my battery issue...Actually, I needed to get a picture of a green chocolate butterfly to a customer of mine who ordered a couple hundred Spring chocolate flowers, bees, ladybugs, etc...somehow, I'm not convinced there are green butterflies, so before I move forward with that portion of the order...I needed a confirm! The centerpieces will be beautiful I'm sure...just not sure of the green! While I was at my lil' photo lab...I decided to get the pictures of what I intended to do yesterday...(pretty long unnecessary bit of info there, huh!?)
This layout is from many years ago, as all the layouts I've shown are...Back in the magic days when my nephews knew that Santa was real (Santa is real, isn't he?)...now that little blondie is playing college baseball (3rd base) and is being scouted for the next step of his baseball career...another little cutie is studying to be a neuro surgeon...amazing....life still is waiting to see what my little kidlets aspire to be...I couldn't be more proud of my family...my kids and nieces and nephews...this scrapbook has huge meaning to me too...I'm ready to get it completed, but will miss it. (My standstill with finishing it happened about the anniversary of a very hard chapter of our lives....I'm ready to face this year's "day"......as we approach the 3rd anniversary in the next couple of weeks...I'm aware of my setback...and am ready to try to deal again.) I want to give this gift in August...just have some hard layouts ahead.
I also want to note...this isn't 100% complete. I need to include a list of traditions on a tag to tuck into my pocket at the top. I just haven't done it yet...it's close...need to print out and do.
This one is obvious...but look out for Da Bird....I used a favorite cricut cartridge on this..."Joys of the Season".
Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, March 22, 2010
So, I went up to my little photo lab...(where I take pics of our chocolates with each proposal anymore...it is a requirement....I am forced into technology!!! LOL! Actually, I don't know why I resisted it for so long...it truly does save me time and money to be e-mailing pictures of samples...it's been a long learning curve with our business...considering we started it right when personal computers were entering the market ... there wasn't such a thing as internet then!) (enough about that)...anyhow...BATERRIES KAPUT! Too bad, too....I was about ready to reveal my favorite layout of sis's gift. Even more important....I created over the weekend, and will post results in a few days....these are RAKS...and hopefully can be delivered before they are shown on my blog. Typically, after I make a pile of cards with a set...I move on from that set...ready to grab onto other precious sets...this one, however...I KNOW I will be using again in the near future. I'll try to remember to tell you why...it's something about the "feel" of this set....it reminds me of Eastern WA so much...that in the near future...I'll pull it out again. I have you wondering...by the end of the week...pics, I promise!
But for today....the picture I am posting...I have belonged to a recipe swap group...where we "themed" our pages and ultimately ended up with our own little themed cookbooks. I have about 10 of these books now, and in the early days...the hostess then was so kind to punch our pages and have as an option...chipboard and binding for us to complete our book.
Well...last week...I pulled one of those recipes out...and cooked it up...from our Salads Book. Mary, if you are reading...I've made your rice/hamburger/salsa casserole recipe over and over...and can't seem to get enough of it. The theme was salads and I think picnics...I serve this hot ... so dinner it is! If anybody is interested...I don't think Mary would mind if I shared...just let me know!
This is the cover I decorated for this swap. Like I said...batteries kaput...but this cover reminds me of SPRING!
Hope you all had a great Monday! Mine was BUSY!!!!