July 31, 2023

Parmesan Peppercorn Scones

I like to bake on weekend mornings, especially because the house smells of cinnamon and nutmeg. However this morning, I was craving something savory rather than sweet, so I decided to make some Parmesan scones.
I found this recipe in Katie Brown Celebrates cookbook, and as per my usual routine, decided to modify it a bit. I cut the recipe in half, because it really made a TON of scones. In the end, the halved recipe made about 30 small (3") scones, which was plenty for us. These would be great to bring to a brunch party as an alternative to the usual fare of muffins and danish.
Parmesan Peppercorn Scones (makes approximately 2 dozen)
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into squares
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cups milk
  • ½ cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together dry ingredients (minus Parmesan) in a bowl, then cut in the butter pieces with a pastry knife or fork until you get small crumbs. Mix in the Parmesan. In anther bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, buttermilk and milk. Add this to the dry ingredients a little at a time. Once it's mixed in, turn out onto a floured work surface, flour your hands, and knead until mixture comes together, adding more flour as needed. Cut into triangles, circles or with other cutters and place on a oiled baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned.
These are delicious warm or at room temperature. I could imagine that they'd be good sliced in half and made into BLTs or other sandwiches too.

July 30, 2023

The Best Healthy Fried Rice

I stumbled upon a recipe from an issue of Everyday Food (I love that magazine, such simple recipes and the format is perfect for stuffing pages into my recipe box) for "Crispy Rice with Mushrooms and Carrots" that looked tasty. It was served with a fried egg, and which sounded yummy as the runny yolk might mix nicely with the rice. And it was yummy! Here's my version:
Mr. Geek is a big fan of Asian food, so I knew he'd like this, but with all the "mmmmms" and "you should blog about this", I knew it was a big hit. I nearly took a photo of him chowing down, but really, who wants to see that.

I modified the recipe slightly, by adding a veggie bouillon cube to the rice (I used brown, not white) and adding some shredded zucchini in place of one carrot, since our zucchini is growing at weed proportions and I'm constantly coming up with new ways to incorporate it into our meals.

Crispy Rice with Mushrooms and Carrots (from Everyday Food)
Feeds 4
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Sriracha), plus more for serving (optional)
  • tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Coarse salt
  • 14 ounces shiitake, baby bella or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 3 cups rice
  • 4 large eggs, sunny-side up, for serving
In a small bowl, combine hot sauce, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. In a large nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add hot-sauce mixture and rice and cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

Using the back of a spoon, flatten rice mixture and increase heat to high. Cook until bottom begins to brown and crisp, about 2 minutes to 4 minutes. Divide among four plates; top each with a fried egg and serve with more hot sauce if desired. Garnish with parsley.

July 27, 2023

Christmas in July Holiday Bake, Craft & Sew Along

This year seems to be the year of Christmas in July revivals. From the local radio station and local TV weather channel to in-store sales, this week has been all about jingle bells and . Of course the blogosphere is playing along too, and this week over at According to Kelly, Skip to My Lou, and A Southern Fairytale.
Each day a different blogger is featured, either in the crafts category at According to Kelly, sewing at Skip to My Lou, or baking and cooking at A Southern Fairytale. These posts are a great way to get a jump start on your handmade holiday gifts. I'm sharing my tutorial for Silhouette Art, which is a great handmade gift year round.
Head on over and get inspired! Merry Christmas!

July 26, 2023

Brothers, Sisters, Dachshunds and Bo Derek

This is just a simple post about family. I'm fortunate to have someone whom I grew up and whom I actually like. I'm talking about my brother, who will kill me for posting this photo highlighting his pasty skin.
Sometimes it feels like you have nothing in common with your siblings, but I'm lucky to have at least one brother who I love spending time with, along with his wife, who's channeling Bo Derek minus the cornrows in this photo.
SoJo and I spent a few days together at the beach with them, since they so kindly decided to go with us when Mr. Geek couldn't go. Their help with Soren was so abundant and appreciated.
We went to the Delaware Seashore Park one evening and had fun frolicking in the sand and surf.
I love being on the beach in the evening, cooking up sand soup and kicking at the foamy surf.
which is one of the few times the dogs can join us.
That's Westley and Joey, my sister-in-law's parents' dogs. Their little legs were funny in the sand. It was so hot, even at 7pm, that the poor dogs were panting despite having plenty of fresh water to drink.
Mr. Geek and I have differing opinions on this, but I really hope Soren can have a sibling one day, especially one as wonderful as my brother. Especially if that sibling comes along with a great wife too.

The Rosemary Wells Collection from Scholastic Storybook Treasures

On the days when it's sweltering hot outside and I'm going nuts trying to keep my 2 year old busy, I'll admit that I sometimes turn to the DVD player for help. I like showing DVDs to my son because I can monitor what he watches and there aren't annoying commercials targeting him to want want want.

We recently got to watch The Rosemary Wells Collection ($19.95) from Scholastic Storybook Treasures, which will be available on August 3rd.
I remember receiving a copy of her book "Read to Your Bunny" as a gift from our local library, which is given to all children/babies who join the library. We read it pretty frequently at naptime. How cool that it was on one of the stories on this DVD collection! You might be more familiar with Max and Ruby, or even Noisy Nora, other popular books by Wells.

Soren and I liked the DVD, though some of the material was beyond his level, like "Otto Runs for President", since well, Soren has no idea what the conflict in that story is. However, we did enjoy the segments with Max and Ruby, which we'll be finding books about in the very near future. There are segments narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal and a performance on "Read to Your Bunny" by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

I love how Scholastic takes classic stories and turns them into animated shorts, yet retains the illustrations and narrative of the original book, unlike a lot of film adaptations of late, and can definitely see buying more of these classics in the future.

If you're a big fan of Rosemary Wells, definitely check out The Rosemary Wells Collection from Scholastic Storybook Treasures.
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Rosemary Wells Collection from Scholastic for review purposes.

July 25, 2023

sootheTIME zzzTIME Collection

When my son was an infant, we surived many sleepless nights due to swaddling. It really comforted him and allowed him to go to sleep peacefully for hours at a time.

Though those days are behind us now, my friend is due with her second baby this fall, and I received two items from the sootheTIME zzzTime line of sleep essentials to help ease her little one into a (hopefully) sound night of sleep and relieve any colic that might accompany him into this world.
The first thing that struck me about the sootheTIME items was the cute design. It's gender neutral, made of light, breathable cotton, and has a subtle, modern pattern of a stylized, sleeping baby face.
The Snooze Wrap Plus goes beyond the typical swaddling wrap, with a head support cushion and other tabs that help keep the baby comfortable. I'll admit that at first, the Snooze Wrap Plus seemed a bit daunting with all the tabs and velcro, but after reading the simple instructions, I was quite impressed with how many features the Snooze Wrap Plus has.

There are different swaddling options (hands-out/hands-in) as well as a head support cushion with neck support tabs. Another option is the velcro on the back to keep the baby on his/her back, though you'll need to have a compatable SootheTime crib sheet. This feature would be great for keeping an infant on her back and reducing the risk of SIDS.

sootheTIME also makes the Snooze Sack, also in the same lightweight material and cute pattern, which would work nicely in keeping baby warm without a blanket.
It zips from the bottom up, which works great for diaper changes and also for prevening the infant from unzipping the zipper. Comfort vents built into the sack help prevent overheating.

You can purchase sootheTIME's zzzTIME collection at Babies R Us, both online and in store.
Disclosure: I received a sootheTIME Snooze Wrap Plus and Snooze Sack for review purposes.

July 24, 2023

Elmers' Adopt a Classroom: Help Raise $10000 by Bagging It Forward

While most families will soon begin shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies, choosing the coolest pencil cases and binders, there are lots of children who aren't as fortunate, who end up starting school without the most basic supplies like pencils and paper.
This Back to School season, Elmer’s is celebrating it’s every day low pricing on back to school supplies at Walmart by partnering with Adopt-A-Classroom to help make a difference in classrooms across the country.

Elmer’s will donate up to $10,000 to Adopt-A-Classroom with your participation. Join now!

The Elmer’s Virtual Bag It Forward is charity blog meme, bloggers are able to raise $10 per blog post for Adopt-A-Classroom by writing a blog post and donating a virtual bag of school supplies . Elmer’s will donate $10 per each post written to Adopt-A-Classroom, up to $10,000.

HOW CAN YOU JOIN? It’s easy.
  • Participate in the Elmer’s Virtual Bag It Forward and by giving away a virtual bag of school supplies and creating a blog post with specific rules described below.
  • Elmer’s will donate up to $10,000 to Adopt-A-Classroom.
  • You can give as many virtual bags as you want.
  • The Elmer’s Virtual Bag It Forward will officially begin at 12 AM EST on July 22, 2023 and end at 12 PM EST on August 12, 2010. Blog posts submitted to us before or after that time period will not be counted.
  • The blog post link has to be submitted in the comment section below for your participation to be counted.
  • In addition copy and paste the following text into your blog post:


  • Copy and paste these rules into your blog post.
  • Create a blog post giving a “virtual bag of school supplies” to other bloggers or write about your Back to School shopping trip at Walmart.
  • Link back to the person who gave you a bag of school supplies.
  • Let each person you are giving a virtual bag of school supplies know you have given them a bag.
  • Leave your link in the Elmer’s Virtual Bag It Forward comment section. You can also find the official rules of this virtual #bagitforward program there.
  • Elmer’s is donating $10 for each blog participating in the Virtual Bag It Forward Donation to Adopt-A-Classroom (up to total of $10,000 for blog posts written by August 12, 2023).
  • Please note that only one blog post per blog url will count towards the donation.
Here is the photo you can use for your virtual bag or create your own!Here are the bags I created and donated to our local school district for children in need.
If you live in the Mid-Atlantic or New England, (Citizen's Bank is also collecting supplies for school kids in need through the Cradles to Crayons program. Just drop of supplies at any of their 250 branches. Just thought you might like to know, if you're not sure where you might donate supplies.

I'm also sending a virtual bag to my friend Amy at Great Cakes Soapworks. Her two girls are probably starting to prepare again for school, plus she makes some pretty amazing soap!

What are you waiting for? Head on over to the Adopt a Classroom site and get started. You participation is much appreciated!
Disclosure:As an ambassador for the Elmer’s Bag It Forward campaign, I am being compensated for contributing blog posts to the #BagItForward initiative. I also received $100 to use at Walmart toward the purchase of items for the #BagItForward bags I created as well supplies for my own family. I chose to use the entire $100 toward a family in need.

July 21, 2023

Free Printable Bookplate

I designed a cute bird bookplate for some books I have but thought I'd share it with my blog friends. Just right-click and save it, then print it out and put inside your books. This would be nice for labeling school books too.
You can download it here too. Enjoy!

Ooey, Gluey, Sticky, Fishy Window Art {Tutorial}

More crafting???? Yeah, I'm wondering how I pulled this all off in one week too. Well, for one, it's been quite sweltering around Pennsylvania, so we've been inside during the day, and two, I had another art workshop at the library this morning and needed to come up with a project that is do-able in an hour, appropriate for all ages, cheap, and fits the library's summer theme--water. Hence I decided onwith a fun and kinda messy project.
I love the way that tissue paper looks in a window, like a poor girl's stained glass, so I thought it would be nice to make some sun catcher-type art with a fish theme.
The kids loved it, especially the glitter and sand that we added at the end. What is it about glitter (I hate it, since I'm afraid I'm going to contract art teacher's glitter lung one of these days) that gets the kids so hyped up? One mom said to me that her son came in all sour-pussed but after using the glitter and sand he was in a great mood. That made me smile.

But I digress. Here's what you'll need (and pardon the bad flash photography. This was done at night in the kitchen.)
  • Tissue paper (cut into 9"x12" pieces, and also some scraps for ripping if you have some)
  • Elmers' Glue
  • Foam brushes or paint brushes
  • wax paper
  • 9"x 12" construction paper
  • scissors
  • pencils
  • colored pencils or crayons
  • sand and glitter (optional but SO worth it)
  • sequins, foam fish, other sea embellishments (tiny shells would have been great if I could have found some)
Step One
Cut a sheet of wax paper about 14" long (or longer). Pour some glue into a bowl and add some water (my ratio was 3 parts glue to 1 part water). Mix it up to combine.
Then spread some glue across the wax paper, making sure to cover at least an area that is 9"x12" (the size of the tissue paper and construction paper)
Lay a sheet of tissue paper on top of the glue. Add more glue on the top.
Add more layers of tissue paper to make the water and the waves of the ocean. Be creative!
I started with the background colors, then ended with a strip of green for the bottom of the ocean. Keep spreading glue over the tissue paper.
Step Two
While the tissue is still wet, you can start adding things like fish (foam or hand drawn ones)
sequin "bubbles", glitter, or even more tissue paper. To make seaweed, take a small bit of tissue and crinkle and roll it up
Then attach it to the wet surface and slather more glue on top of the seaweed.
Yours might look like this one.
I also added a starfish and sand dollar on the bottom too.
Sprinkle in a little glitter and add some sand (be sure you have lots of wet glue on the tissue paper so that it sticks) for sparkle and interest.
Step Three
Now you'll want to frame out your picture. Take a sheet of 9x12" construction paper in whichever color you'd like and fold it in half (it will now be 9x6")
and draw the inside of the frame. You can make it a rectangle, a circle, or scalloped, or whatever. Just make sure the opening is big enough to see your aquarium.
Cut it out.Open it up, and glue it on top of your aquarium.Step Four
After everything is all dry (usually overnight) trim the excess wax and tissue paper from around the outside of the frame.
Then tape it onto your window and enjoy your ocean view.
Related Posts with Thumbnails