Sunday, January 24, 2010

Super spins on Pizza!


Normally I keep my freezer stocked with Greek flat bread (also called pocketless pita). You can get it anywhere, but I have found the best price in a yummy thick soft option at Sam’s Club. They are perfect to pull out of the freezer, toss toppings on & pop in the oven at 400 for personal pizzas on Friday nights. I generally get giant pepperoni from the deli when Boars Head is on sale, it freezes wonderfully as well. (I also use the bread to toast w/ soup, dip in hummus…)

Anyway, since we made traditional pizzas Friday night, I was out of the flat bread Saturday so the photos you see this time are traditional pizza crust (yikes! lucky I found yeast in my fridge!)

Anyway, we made 3 variations this weekend:



-        Warm a couple Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a non stick pan

-        Thinly slice 2 onions

-        Put them in the pan on Medium heat & stir from time to time until caramelized

-        Add a package of diced mushroom and a package of diced portabella mushrooms

-        Cook down a few minutes to reduce juices from mushrooms

You can use store bought PESTO, but if you would like to make your own, here is how I did it, just throw these things in a food processor to make a paste.

-        Basil leaves

-        Sun dried tomatoes (if I have them)

-        Pine nuts or walnuts or pecans

-        Olive oil

-        Normally I put parmesan in my pesto, but not always if I know I am putting it on pizza that will have cheese as a topping anyway… 


-        Mix Pesto with a teaspoon or so of balsamic vinegar

-        Spread pesto/vinegar mixture onto crust

-        Spread the onions & mushrooms that you caramelized evenly over the pizza

-        Sprinkle Goat cheese on the pizza (fresh Mozzarella would go well if you don’t like/have Goat Cheese)

-        Bake at 400

-        (if you have it) garnish with chopped fresh basil

This pizza is great hot, but was also wonderful the next day cold!

Too tired to type the other recipes tonight, so more to come later this week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Joe's Luminary Lamp with his Photographs - Progress Update

Joe has made SIGNIFICANT progress on his Luminary Lamp project this week. He had this vision of using his photographs to make lamps. He has tried a few options and believes he has come up with the one he wants to move forward with. He did tests this week with the prints on the lamps and they look great. Now we are on to the final step of integrating handmade paper to frame the image and we will have one beautiful finished piece! Can’t wait, but in the meantime, here is a picture of his prototype. It looks so nice whether the light is on or off, I can just see the final product in my head and it is wonderful!

Joe’s Braised Beef Roast

Braised Beef Roast

Well Joe made a WONDERFUL dinner the other night. He also was kind enough to type out the recipe and take a few snapshots of the process for me to share with you all!

2 lbs roast, round steak, or ternderloin
2 cups red wine (3 buck chuck from Trader Joes works good)
1/4 cup olive oil

2 1/2 cups Beef or vegetable stock

1-2 stalks Celery

2 Tblsp minced garlic

2 large carrots or equivalent baby carrots, cut 1/4 inch pieces

1/2 cup red onion

1/2 cup sweet or yellow onion

1 Tsp Thyme

1 Tsp dill

1 bay leaf

1 Tsp ground pepper

1/2 Tsp salt

2 1/2 cups mushrooms any type, a variety works nice.

Make marinade for the roast and marinade for 2-6hours prior to cooking

1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cup stock

1/4 cup olive oil

1 stalk celery finely chopped

1/2 Tsp Thyme

1/2 Tsp dill

1/2 Tsp pepper

1/Tsp Salt

1 Tblsp minced garlic

Add to Zip lock bag with the roast. Refridgerate for as long as you can before cooking. 2-6 hours

  • Grill -- or - sear the Roast on each side in a HOT skillet with a bit of oil 5 minutes a side or so.
  • Reserve the marinade for the sauce.
  • Use 1/2 of the reserved marinade for the Braising vessel and 90% of the onions both red and yellow, 90% of the Mushrooms. cover tightly Place in oven at 425 degree F for 45 -75 Minutes or to desired doness

Make the sauce

  • add remainder of the reserved marinade just a few carrots, 10% of the onions both red and yellow, 1 Tblsp minced Garlic, remaining thyme, dill, pepper, Bay leaf.
  • Add a 1/2-3/4 cup more wine and also Broth. Should start with about 3-4 cups total
  • Bring to boil in Sauce pan then reduce heat an simmer to the desired thickness. 45 minutes or so
  • Strain to a sauce vessel or bowl.

Remove roast from oven
Let the roast rest covered for15 minutes.

Goes wonderfully with steamed Green Beans & Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Myas Muffins & My most recent work of Pearls

Well Mya & I make Blueberry muffins from time to time. We have been close to perfecting a recipe when she said "Let's add Chocolate Chips". I didn't think it sounded right, but we tried it and they are yummy... So here it is!

Myas Muffins: Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Preheat oven to 400

Beat until smooth:
1 Cup milk - WARM it a few seconds in the micro (just to get to room temp) so it doesn’t make the butter lump up
½ Cup softened butter
½ Cup Canola or Smart Balance Oil
½ Cup Egg White beaters (or 2 eggs)
2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Add these ingredients on top of mixture, but don’t mix them in yet:

4 Cups flour
You can use all purpose, OR here’s what we do to really add some grains & depth of texture/flavors):  1 Cup all purpose, 1 ½ Cup Whole Wheat, 1 ½ Cup Oat Flour (if you don’t have any, toss some oats in the food processor for a while)

1 Cup Granulated sugar
1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Brown sugar
4 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Nutmeg

Optional, but we like to throw in ½ Cup Flax Seed Meal

Now gently mix the dry ingredients together (this is to get them integrated with each other evenly without having to do it in a separate bowl – save dirty dishes!)

Once dry is mixed, fold the dry mix with the moist batter below just enough to start to integrate the dry with the wet. DON’T Over mix.

Add Blueberries & Chocolate Chips – don’t be shy : ) We normally do about 2 Cups BB & 1 Cup CC (but Mya may add more when I am not looking : )

Fold together
Put in muffin tins

Bake 15-25 min (length depends on size S/M/L) Until toothpick comes out clean.

Also, here is my most recent Pearl designs, which I made my sale of the day today! 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leftovers into AMAZING "Chili"

- mashed potatos
- chicken chirizo (I had left over from taco salad nigth, so you could use other mexican meat if you want)
- salsa (I used my new favorite kind from Trader Joes, the fresh black bean & corn - which I worried wouldnt last another week raw)
- chicken broth

Joelyns Turkey Chili

Boil: diced potatoes, drain set aside

Cumin Seeds
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Minced Garlic

Add & Saute:
Minced Onions
Minced Mushrooms
Minced Celery (opt)
Minced Apple (opt)

Add, Mash & Simmer:
White Wine
Veggie Broth
Basil Leaf
Ground Coriander
Lemon Juice
Diced Soft Potatoes
Minced Jalapeño Peppers

Add & Heat through:
Black Beans
Baked Beans
Chunks of Turkey (or Chicken)

Serve with tortilla chips to dip in it - yum.
Garnish w/ diced avacados if you have them

PaPas Best Chili (named by Mya : )

Chili perfected over many years by Joe Welch:
16 Oz tomato sauce
16 Oz diced tomatoes
1 Ib - 1.5 Lb sirloin (see marinade recipe) - broiled or grilled - sliced to desired size
Med sized onion - 1 inch cut /sautéed in olive oil
1 red or yellow pepper - 1 inch cut /sautéed in olive oil

2-4 Serrano peppers sautéed in olive oil then chop finely
1 - 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 t chili powder
1/2 t salt
1 t thyme
1 bay Leaf
1 t basil

bring to boil then lower to mild simmer for 1-2 hrs

once simmered add:
8 Oz pinto beans
8 Oz baked beans
additional chili powder to taste

simmer additional 15 minutes
pull out bay leave

Steak Marinade perfected over many years by Joe Welch, based off his moms recipe:
Mustard (dry or jarred)
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Minced Garlic
Seasoning salt

Best to marinade steak overnight & then grill or broil it, but good no matter what

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday night Food w/ a twist! YUM

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes & Blue Cheese

OK, so 1 of our favorite Friday night foods is to make our own twice baked potatoes. Earlier in the week I bake potatoes (this week w/ the meatloaf I already posted).

So then I normally empty the potatoes, mash w/ a little light sour cream/garlic/bacon bites/cheddar. Then I top w/ green onions after baked for the second time.
QUICK & YUMMY. Healthier than getting them from a chain & still yummy enough to feel like a treat.

but, tonight I was out of cheddar AND I needed to use up both plain & sweet potatoes so I came up with a YUMMY SURPRISE NEW RECIPE : )

- Hollow out potatoes & sweet potatoes (equal amounts of each)
- Mash w/ pepper & light sour cream & Blue cheese (I bet goat cheese would be good to, I plan to try that nx wk)
- I add bacon bits from the freezer which I either buy precooked/cut OR make by cooking & breaking up turkey bacon to freeze & pull out as needed.... BUT THIS WOULD BE GOOD W/OUT MEAT TOO
- Top with a little light cheddar or mozzarella blend (if you have it)
- bake to heat through
- Top w/ diced green onions


I just made these & posted them to Etsy. Just in time for Valentines day shopping!  They are called Secretly Jaded Valentine because they  have the little sterling silver hearts and the stone I ended up using is called Soochow Jade (which I will tell you more about in the post)

Yummy Bold Meatloaf (& it freezes great)

Meatloaf (which Joe said he never liked until he had mine : )

1 lb lean beef or ground turkey
1 pks Spicy Italian chicken sausage (Trader Joes. If you cant find this, use whatever you can find & add some dried crushed red peppers to kick it up – Ground Turkey also works well)
1 pk sweet or original or Italian chicken sausage (original pork sausage will work too)

Worcestershire Sauce
Bread Crumbs (oats or crushed croutons are fine substitutes – you just need enough to balance the moisture and help bind)
Egg White Beaters (or a normal egg if you aren’t worried about cholesterol)
Minced onion
Dry or normal mustard

IF you don’t like veggies, don’t have any or are in a rush, this meatloaf is great without them too, but we love veggies and always want them in everything so….

As for veggies, sometimes I chop, sometimes mince, sometimes purée. I use whatever of the following that I have on hand, I use this as an opportunity to clean out the fridge.
(total about 1.5 to 2 cups):
Red cabbage

NOW, if you sauté the veggies you DON’T need as much of the breadcrumbs because you will have already cooked out a lot of excess moisture. I’ve done it both ways; it’s just about time and mood. Also sautéing does change the flavors of the veggies.

This is supposed to be a semi spicy meatloaf, so if you didn’t include spicy sausage, then I suggest putting BBQ sauce on top of the meatloaf. Trader Joes is pretty bold so I mix with ketchup. If you used spicy sausage you don’t need to put anything on top, unless you’d like to.

This meatloaf goes GREAT with baked sweet potatoes

I haven't been able to bead much this past week, Aiden has been sick with a cold. Here is a piece I did get done and plan to post tonight.

Oh and here are the kiddos

Friday, January 8, 2010

Yummy & Easy Peanut Beef Crock Pot

Yummy & Easy Peanut Beef Crock Pot

Well I didn't get to post a recipe last night. I didn't get to make dinner last night actually! Aiden was sick and Mya had some hard homework. Pretty sure I won't get to cook today either, so I am going to share what I made last week and how quick and easy and yummy it was.

Slow cook:
Beef Roast (chicken would also be good, or pork for that matter)
Peanut sauce or peanut dressing to taste (Marzetti Thai Peanut Dressing or Trader Joe's to name a few... I have made sauce pretty easily in the past too, but when there isn't time, just buy it!)

Toss in frozen peas once the dish is cooked, they just need to heat uppp

Serve over rice

Joe likes xtra peanut sauce heated up in the side to pour on his meat, but you don't need it (or much in the cooked portion) if you are trying to go lean! It's flavor goes a long way and is such a nice change to traditional pot roast....

As for Ardent Designs... that was on hold today to take care of the kids. I do have a picture to share of one of the new designs, but I have yet to post any new items to my store or to get the rest of my works photographed in the past coupld of day.... I hope the weekend brings me time to get more done and posted.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Butternut Squash Casserole


1. Cut in half, bake, deseed & mash 1 large or 2 small butternut squash (I generally do this on the weekend when I am baking other things)

2. I generally make a variation of this Green Bean Casserole recipe earlier in the week when I plan to make the squash dish later in the week….

I modify the above linked recipe for health & speed by
 -  skip topping (I just use some Trader Joes fried Onions which are trans fat free), or don’t top it at all
 -  For the beans: I just steam them for a couple of minutes
 -  For sauce: less salt, low sodium/fat broth, use less half & half and replace the rest with skim milk or white wine, ONLY USE ½-2/3 of the SAUCE once you make it IN THE DISH SAVE THE REMAINDER of the SAUCE for the Butternut Squash Casserole recipe below

Butternut Squash Casserole

Boil a pot of water & toss in a box of Whole Grain pasta (any shape)

To the mashed squash add:
garlic, nutmeg, Italian seasonings, pepper to taste

In a bowl, add Ricotta cheese (I use low fat & generally use about half as much Ricotta as squash, but that’s a preference thing)

Add the sauce left from the bean casserole you made a few days ago : )

Add some broth or white wine or skim milk IF needed to make the mixture more the thickness of spaghetti sauce VS mashed potatoes… (just so it doesn’t dry too much when baking)

Kale (or spinach, but I preferred the Kale)
Drained cooked whole grain noodles
Dried cherries
Diced pack of precooked Chicken Sausage (I like the apple chicken from Trader Joes or Sams Club)
*or to go vegetarian replace the meat with a pack of diced portabella mushrooms

Mix all of the above, put in a dish, top with chopped walnuts & parmesan cheese
Bake at 350 or 400 until heated through

Today I beaded more jewelry as well. I managed to photograph some, but not all of it and posted one. Must get to bed so I can get up early tomorrow, so I will wait to post more items for my Valentines Day series. Here's a sneak peak.

Back to the Luminaire, Back to MacGyver'in

Back in November we posted a sad little post feeling sorry for ourselves because we were having a hard time coming up with a solution for a luminaire, or wall sconce.

It's a new year and we are back to the project with more successes than failures this time. No photo yet but seems we are on the right track with manufactured luminaire base with applied original photos printed on Vellum applied to the base to provide a one of a kind Luminaire Lamp. Look for it soon in ADPhotography etsy store

We are still working on the wall sconce too that will be made from warm glass.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sweet potato and Mustard chicken with Roasted Veggies and Goat Cheese

I am so high energy now that I have recovered from pregnancy and birth, that I am starting to focus on Health again. I often make recipes on the fly that float through my head and when they are good I am so sure I will remember how I did them, but sometimes I don't. So I try to type them down if they were a hit with the family. It occurred to me.... I have a blog and never enough to say, I should share some of these recipes as we are all starting a New Year and most likely focusing on health.

Here's what we had tonight YUM....

Sweet potato & Mustard chicken

Bake/mash a sweet potato. set aside.

Heat pan to med-high, add a little olive oil
Add minced garlic & spicy mustard (& a little honey or maple syrup if you’d like)
Add diced mushrooms (if you have them)
Add chicken breasts
Cover with heavy skillet (I use this on top of the chicken to speed cooking, it’s fine if you don’t, just cover it with a lid instead)
Add veggie or chicken stock
As pan dries, add white wine & stock as needed
Add Tarragon & Thyme to taste
Flip chicken often so it doesn’t stick

When chicken is done, add a mashed sweet potato & stock to make desired thick sauce
(I have made this w/out the sweet potato, but it adds vitamins & fiber & thickness. Without it, the chicken is more like Honey Mustard Chicken)

Roasted Cauliflower & Grape Tomatoes

Coat cut cauliflower & whole grape tomatoes with olive oil & salt & pepper
Roast in oven at 500 (I used parchment paper)
When done, pull and mix in some goat cheese to melt and coat the veggies
I was out, but this would be great with fresh basil

Well I have been beading up a storm! I have been working on a lot of different series. I am continuing my "Jaded" series from last years Valentines day designs as well as the pink and red series.
Additionally I am rebuilding my Simply Silver & Gold collection since it was so popular and therefore depleted and I have a ton of new pieces. Lastly, I am returning to my Bali Silver and Natural Stones series that was sold out at past shows. I cant wait to get some of these new items photographed and posted. I will keep you all updated on my progress.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

I have been busy making jewelry over the holidays. I also loaded up on new beads, so I am full of inspiration. Santa brought me glass and tools this year too. SO much to do, so little time.