wearing handmade wednesday: indiscretion!

my dear friend pili has inspired me to partake in "wearing handmade wednesday"!  i have some handmade clothing items, lots of jewelry and many other accessories so i know i will have a lot to share in weeks to come.

my inaugural post is about a handmade top.  the design was inspired by a movie favourite of mine - tim burton's "alice in wonderland".  i found a downright wicked dress in mara's etsy shop, Indiscretion, which i fell in love with.  however, i don't wear dresses too often and the dress listed was not my size so i asked her if she'd make me just the top part in the same design.  she did, and i LURVE it!!! now go check out this listing because if you love it as much as i do, you can have one too! =)


let's pretend it's saturday

i know i said i'd post the 2nd recipe on saturday and that didn't happen.  why?  well, i rarely measure things when cooking. when i make a recipe to photo & post on here i have to make sure i measure things properly.  then i did a big deep cleaning of my house saturday morning and misplaced all my notes on my stew!  i finally found them, filed with the electric bill of all things.  so let's pretend it's saturday and i'm posting this on time, ok? ;) 

southwestern beef stew

1 tbs vegetable oil
1 lb sirloin strip steak(s) cut into bite sized pieces (you can use stew meat too)
4 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, minced
1 white onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, mined
1 14 oz. can of beef broth
1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (or more, depending on your taste)
1-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1. heat the oil in a dutch oven on medium high.  add in the meat and stir fry until lightly browned.  remove from pot and salt to taste.  set aside.
2. add tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and beef broth to pot.  bring to a boil.  reduce heat to low and cover.  let cook about 20 minutes.
3. stir in zucchini, cilantro and cayenne pepper.  add back in steak.  let cook about 10 minutes.
4. prepare cornstarch by dissolving it in water.  add to pot.  cook and stir until thickened, and if needed bring heat up to medium high to thicken.

makes about 6 servings.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


friday fuzzies: part 2

[fri'dā fuz'ēz] n. handmade finds of pure cuteness to make fridays even better

every friday i will share with you something or things that i found which meet the following criteria:
1. it's cute
2. it's handmade
and most of all,
3. i covet it

post #2 of the day - the theme is mummies!  all wrapped up halloween cuteness!

little mummy by PWdesigns... now this is a mummy i could hug!

cute mummy custom halloween tee by sugarlocks...  an adorable little mummy for your little one to wear!

hello kitty mummy necklace by missmercy...  hello kitty is cute in anything, even a mummy costume!  and if you like this get it fast - there's only 2 left!

halloween reversible tote/trick or treat bag by EMCreativeDesigns...  cute dancing purple mummies which reverse to purple circles.  perfect for use all year long!

friday fuzzies: part 1

[fri'dā fuz'ēz] n. handmade finds of pure cuteness to make fridays even better

every friday i will share with you something or things that i found which meet the following criteria:
1. it's cute
2. it's handmade
and most of all,
3. i covet it

since i missed "friday fuzzies" last week, i'm going to do 2 of them today!  this is part one with the theme of zombies! (and for those looking for the second recipe of the week, it will be posted saturday)

i cannot do a zombie post without my favouritist little zombie EVER!!!!!  zombie lovers tee by rockythezombie is available for kids of all ages (i have a tee and a tank myself!) on your choice of tee, tank or hoodie!  here's to ROCKY WORLD DOMINATION!  ;)

undying love pendant by thegraphicsshoppe...  love is forever even beyond the grave!

zombie kyle wooden kokeshi doll by licoricewits...  a super cute and shy little zombie who is really rather harmless.  he likes to nibble on ears because he's not brave enough to go for the brain.

zombie cupcake charm by baconFaced... comes with a complimentary penny sized cookie!

tor the stuffed zombie strongman by FireBongo...  he has a trick arm!  it falls off when he tries to lift his dumbbell.

OOAK needle felted zombie bunny by amberrosecreations...  walt is the first in a series of "zombie cuties".  i can't wait to see the others!


even better the next day

this week we'll have 2 recipes since i missed last week...  it's been a bit busy around here and i haven't been able to sit down and type out everything until now.

with the first day of autumn being this thursday, i thought a nice hearty italian meal was an order.  this eggplant parm is great in any of the 3 stages: fried eggplant by itself (or dipped in marinara), fresh out of the oven, or as leftovers the next day.  and the marinara is quite tasty over your favourite pasta as well.  add a side salad and some crusty italian bread and you've got yourself a dinner that's incredibly satisfying on these cooler days.

eggplant parmesan with homemade marinara sauce

1 large eggplant
all-purpose flour
2 eggs
italian style bread crumbs
vegetable oil
marinara sauce (recipe to follow)
fresh deli mozzarella, thinly sliced
shredded mozzarella
grated pecorino romano cheese

1. heat oil over medium to medium-high heat in a dutch oven, large pan or deep fryer. beat eggs in a large bowl. prepare one plate with flour and one with bread crumbs.
2. peel eggplant. slice it lengthwise into 1/4 thick slices. dredge the eggplant in flour, dip in egg to coat and then dredge in the bread crumbs. fry eggplant in oil, about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
3. in a large rectangular baking dish begin with layers: start with marinara on the bottom. add a layer of eggplant, then marinara, then shredded mozzarella, and finish with a sprinkle of pecorino romano. continue to layer until you reach the top of the pan. the top layer should be eggplant, marinara, then the sliced fresh mozzarella, and a sprinkle of pecorino romano. bake for 25 minutes, or until the top layer of cheese begins to brown.

homemade marinara

3 tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tbs. chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbs. chopped fresh oregano leaves
salt and pepper

1. heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. add the onions and cook until soft (about 3-4 minutes). add garlic and cayenne pepper. stir and cook for about a minute. add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. bring to a boil. cover and reduce heat to medium. let cook about 30 minutes.
2. stir in the parsley, basil and oregano.

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


friday fuzzies

[fri'dā fuz'ēz] n. handmade finds of pure cuteness to make fridays even better

every friday i will share with you something or things that i found which meet the following criteria:
1. it's cute
2. it's handmade
and most of all,
3. i covet it

today's theme is pumpkins!  my orange kitty is my little pumpkin.  and these little pumpkin items are just as cute, well, close.

stack o' jack o' lanterns by dancesippydance...  a trio of quirky pumpkin cuteness!

halloween cameo necklace - little witch with orange pumpkins and moon by RedFenyx...  such a sweet little necklace i'd wear all halloween season

bunny needle felted toy by Fairyfolk...  a BUNNY in a pumpkin!!

cute pumpkins sock knitting bag by stuckinillinois...  a cute little sack to hold your crafty halloween projects (or halloween treats!)!  and it is lined in an orange "boo!" fabric.

3 felt ornaments - miss pumpkin, clownia and frankenstein by camamiel...  this is just the pumpkin you'll get when you purchase this trio.  you will need to click the link to see how ADORABLE the other two ornaments are!!! =)


homemade pasta in homemade soup

one thing i have not attempted yet is homemade pasta.  but my man - lucky me - got himself a pasta machine.  he loves to make pasta (especially ravioli!) so when he wants to make some i am more than thrilled!  i get to sit back and relax while he makes this soup, one of his favourites.  with some freshly baked italian bread, this dish is perfect for the upcoming cool weather.

tomato and cheese ravioli soup

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 pints of cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt & pepper
32 oz. chicken stock
2 cups water
1 lb. fresh cheese ravioli (recipe below)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
6 scallions, chopped
1 small sweet onion, diced

1. in a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  stir in the tomatoes and garlic, and season with salt & pepper.  cover the pot and cook about 8 minutes.  pick up the pan and shake it occasionally during this time.
2. add the chicken stock and water, and bring to a boil.  cook for about 5 minutes. remove from heat and add in ravioli, basil, scallions and onion.  stir then let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.  serve with crusty italian bread.

makes about 6 servings.  enjoy! =)

homemade cheese ravioli

pasta dough (make according to package directions)
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated provalone
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbs. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1. combine ingredients in a bowl.  place rolled (and cut into 32 2" squares if you do not use a ravioli mold) pasta dough on a lightly floured surface.  place about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the center of each square, 1 teaspoon if using a mold.  lightly wet the edges with water with your fingertip and top with another layer of pasta dough.  press to seal the edges.

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


friday fuzzies

[fri'dā fuz'ēz] n. handmade finds of pure cuteness to make fridays even better

every friday i will share with you something or things that i found which meet the following criteria:
1. it's cute
2. it's handmade
and most of all,
3. i covet it

a little late, but i'm still getting it done on friday!  today's theme is ghosts.   i love the show "ghost hunters" and do believe ghosts are for real.  these though aren't spooky - just pure cuteness!

cute baby boys bib ghosts from jessii83...  i wish i knew someone with a little boy to give this to.  it's too cute!

halloween ghost miniatures set of 3 by LennyMud...  no matter which 3 you get, they're all OOAK and simply adorable pieces for the holiday.

violette the goth ghost girl by trinlayk...  she's ready to cheerfully haunt in her frilly black dress and skull bone bow.

haunted bookmark with spooky stained glass ghost by funktionslust...  this little ghost and kitty bookmark is so wonderfully themed for a great spooky storybook.

halloween ghouls cupcake soap by ajsweetsoap...  this soap looks good enough to eat! =)


hot off the grill

with labor day fast approaching, i thought it would be prime time to post my burger recipe.  i love burgers - between them and bacon, i don't think i could ever go vegetarian.  lately i've been hooked on these...

mushroom onion swiss burgers

2 lbs. ground chuck
1/4 cup italian style bread crumbs
1 egg
1 large sweet onion, halved and ringed
salt & pepper
3 tbs. butter
1 8-oz. package of whole button mushrooms, sliced (don't buy pre-sliced, i'll explain later)
6 thick slices swiss cheese
6 good quality hamburger buns
optional: bacon, cooked

1. in a large bowl, hand mix the meat, egg, bread crumbs, salt & pepper til well blended.  form into 6 loose balls (do NOT pack tight!).  gently flatten into 3/4" patties.  cook to your desired doneness on a grill or in a frying pan (i like mine medium, so i do 6 minutes per side on a grill).  when burgers are close to being done on the second side (about 2-3 minutes to go), cover with swiss cheese to melt.
2. while burgers are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet on medium.  add the mushrooms and the onions.  stir occasionally.  side note on the mushrooms: i have found that pre-sliced mushrooms don't soften and absorb the butter like whole mushrooms that you slice yourself will do so i recommend slicing them yourself.
3. if bacon is desired, add a few strips.  top with mushroom & onion mixture.

makes six 1/3 lb. burgers.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...