Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ginger sesame chicken

Ok, so food photographer, I am not!  The problem is, it's hard to take pictures while I'm cooking!  My energy is more focused on making sure that I'm reading the recipe (when I read recipes), or that I'm not burning the food.  Generally I have my phone in the kitchen next to me and can grab a quick crappy cell phone pic, that does the food no justice at all, but a picture of something is better than a picture of nothing! 

Anyway...Ginger Sesame Chicken...another favorite in our house!  One that is pretty easy to make, but at the same time, one that I don't make nearly often enough.  When I do make it, it's gobbled up pretty quickly.  I found the recipe in a cooking magazine a few years ago.  I can't remember which one it was, but the recipe is as follows:

1 tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 c. chicken broth
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. maple syrup
4 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 c. chopped green pepper (Doesn't have to be green pepper.  I often will use orange or yellow peppers)
1/2 c. chopped onion
Hot cooked rice

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients until blended; set aside
In a large sillet or wok, stir-fry chicken in 1 tbsp. oil for 4-6 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm
Stir-fry green pepper and onion in remaining oil for 2 minutes.  Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.  Add chicken; heat through
Serve with rice
Makes 4 servings

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm back!

So, since this here blog doesn't get read tons, my absence most likely wasn't noticed!  In any case, we've been so insanely busy the last couple of weeks, that blogging has been the lowest on the list of priorities.  Simply surviving has been what life has been about lately.  The reason why?  Hubby was coaching boy's high school swimming this year and championship season was the last couple of weeks with districts, and then state this past weekend.  I'm totally going to brag on my hubby here for a bit...he had a great group of boys swimming for him this year, and took the largest team to state that the school has ever had!  I'm an insanely proud wife, but we're all insanely tired too!
I decided that I wanted to make something for the team, since the banner somehow went missing partway through the season.  The final product turned out pretty close to what I had envisioned too!  I love it when projects turn out like that!  I used my silhouette cameo, and spent a couple hours getting everything cut out.  After that, it was just a matter of getting everything layered and stuck down.  The font I used was "varsity", which I was able to find free online.  By the time the state meet came around this past weekend, a couple of the parents had donated some money to get a new banner made up.  The new banner looks really sharp, and they'll have it for next year now too!  I think the boys appreciated the fact that at least for the district meet that they had something up in the stands.  I don't know though...they're teenage boys!
State went pretty well.  There were 2 relays and 4 individual swims...the most that this school has ever had go!  I may be biased, but I think that my hubby is a pretty great coach!  All but 1 swim made it back for finals on the second day, and the team placed higher than they ever have.  Although the season ended on a high note, I think everyone was ready for it to be done!  I can deal with a 3-month swim season!  After years of age group swimming, and having meets once, if not twice a month...EVERY month, having 2 weekend meets in 3 months is a pretty good deal!

Since we both had the day off work today, we made the most of it and had a much needed family day in Seattle.  We took a trip over to Seattle and took a ride on the great wheel.  It was a bit spendy, and the views would have been better had it been a completely clear day out, but it was fun nonetheless!  Since the wheel is pretty new, we decided to go for a ride just to say we'd done it.  After that, we had dinner and then came home.  I love family days, and we make the most of them when we get them!
Here we are in our gondola on the great wheel!

Tomorrow means back to work, and getting back into a "normal" routine...whatever that is!  I'm looking forward to things somewhat settling down for a little bit!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Creative Memories tools coming in March!

I love all my Creative Memories tools!  Of all the stuff that's out there, you just can't beat the quality of their tools or albums.  You truly do get what you pay for in the industry.  I love when new stuff comes out and get especially excited when they release new tools.  The new shape maker tool is one to get excited over!  While I still love all the original shape maker tools that they came out with, but I don't pull them out very often.  This might be just the thing to get me to pull my old shape makers out, especially if these new shape makers are a different size than their old ones were!
Along with the new shape maker tool, there's several more products coming in March to get excited about, including a new cricut cartridge!  I can't wait until I can get my hands on them!  If there's anything you're interested in, be sure to visit my Creative Memories site.  You can find a link to my site over on the sidebar on the right.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Melty Beads

Does anyone remember these things?

Melty beads!
I remember making lots of projects with these darn melty beads when I was a kid.  In a state of nostalgia last week, I picked up a few, ok a lot of these when I was at JoAnn's looking for my next project to do.  I had the boy with me, and I got him all excited about making fun stuff with them.  I've discovered a few things...those darn beads are a lot harder to work with when your hands are bigger than they were 20 years (yikes!) ago!  Also, the things that you can make are a lot more intricate than they were back when I would make things with them!  Seriously!  3-d projects and everything!  The only things that I ever made were things on the square and circle pegboards.  I think I figured out how to make a heart.  I do remember having a lot of magnets made out of these beads all over the refrigerator.  Feeling ambitious, I picked up one of the 3-d project kits.  Oh.My.Word., did my back hurt after being hunched over the table trying to follow the pattern and make sure I had the right colors in the right place!

Seriously!  Look at these patterns!

This was one of the easier ones.

I do have to say though, they look pretty cool when they're done.  I've still got a few more to go until I've got this whole set finished.  The poor boy wants to help so bad with this one, but the patterns are so complicated with the different subtle shades of color on a few of them.  It's somewhat hard for him to manage the small beads too.  I think if I would have picked up a kit with the larger beads, that would have made a difference.  Heck, maybe the larger beads would have been easier for me to pick up too!

3-d projects...who knew?!

I decided to pick up some off-brand $1 kits at Michael's thinking that maybe those ones would be a little easier for the boy to make.  While they're certainly easier, the quality isn't that great.  They didn't melt as nicely as I would have liked, and a lot of the beads split while they were being melted too.

All that being said though, it's still a fun project.  The boy is waiting for me to finish with the kit so that we can "make our own designs" with the rest of the beads.  So far we've done pretty well keeping them contained.  There haven't been too many that have spilled on the carpet (yet).  I'm fearing the day when one of us gets a little too excited and doesn't pay attention and knocks the whole container over onto the floor.  I'm not sure whether I'm going to cry or laugh if/when that happens!  I did read though on the manufacturer's website that there's this cool little "vacuum" that you can get to clean all the beads up!  I might have to look into that if I can find it!  Meanwhile, I think I may have to stock up on some smaller containers to keep all the different colors separated out.  It takes more time digging through to find the right color than it does to put the beads on the peg board.
Hubby asked me what exactly I planned to do with all of these once I was done making them all.  I stared at him blankly and retorted that the grandparents were all going to get magnets made with love by the boy for Christmas this year (Mom, you've been warned)!  At least these will be cooler than the (lack of) designs that I came up with as a kid!