Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guest Post – Havarti, Honey & Tomato Grilled Cheese

Happy Canada Day weekend to all my fellow Canadians! Today’s recipe from One Hungry Dude was actually inspired by me. Well, not really but I did see something similar on Oprah several years back and continue to talk about how delicious it would be. So, if you love today’s twist on grilled cheese, I’ll accept your thanks ;)

Every once in awhile, you have to treat yourself. Havarti is not regularly in our refrigerator; we usually stick to cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. So when I saw pre-sliced Havarti on sale at the grocery store last week, I quickly snatched some up. Havarti can have a somewhat sweet and sharp flavour, depending on the age of ripening — but it tends to blend well with many sweeter fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, red peppers, and even cranberries.

• 8 slices of bread
• Margarine
• 8 slices of Havarti
• 8 to 12 slices of tomato
• Honey
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Spread margarine on one side of each slice of bread. Place half of the slices, margarine side down, on a griddle or large frying pan. Start building the sandwich by placing two slices of cheese on the bread. Drizzle honey on top of the cheese. Add two to three slices of tomato per sandwich, until the bread surface is mostly covered, and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining bread slices. Heat over medium-high, flipping once when the bread becomes golden brown. Once the other side reaches the same colouring, remove the sandwiches from the heat. Let sit for two to three minutes, then slice in half and serve.

This recipe yields four sandwiches.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Baby’s Room – Part II

A long, long time ago (ok it was only 4 months ago but it seems like forever since I was still pregnant at the time!) I promised a Part II to the My Baby’s Room post showcasing some of the decor that hadn’t been put up when I wrote the first post. Well better late than never! Here’s the second part of the nursery tour.

I was so excited when I found this set of 4 forest animal prints on Etsy – they are just so cute! I bought them along with the alphabet print from Mateo & Tobias. Cathy was super nice over email and I got the prints really quickly. Her prices were really reasonable and I put the prints in frames I got at Michaels with coupons.

We knew Nathan would need a toy box since he had tons of things to play with before he was even born. Instead of a traditional toy box we bought this wicker chest at Home Outfitters. It’s in his room now but, once he’s older and actively playing with a lot of toys, we can bring this to the living room and it will blend in with the rest of grown up decor.

Nathan's Room

To round out the art in Nathan’s room I bought a set of 5 bird decals from Six Under a Tree Studio on Etsy. I knew I wanted vinyl but I also knew I couldn’t spend the small fortune that a lot of companies were charging. Six Under a Tree has a pretty great selection for really reasonable prices. My set was only $10! I placed the Daddy, Mommy and Baby birds so they’d look like they are perched on the side of the crib. The other two birds found a home sitting on the door frame. This picture also shows a door hanger I received at my shower and a set of Beatrix Potter books that were mine as a kid. We got them from a gas station promotion which sounds crazy now. Do any other Canadians remember the awesome things you used to get from gas stations when we were kids?

Nathan's Room (1)

There are other things hanging that you’ve already seen like my Name Wall Art, Paint Chip Garland, and Initial Canvas. I’m so happy with how the room turned out. It’s cozy and inviting and its little inhabitant seems to really like it in there!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Guest Post – Step-by-Step Garden Salad & Homemade Croutons

The crazy humidity has finally subsided here in Southern Ontario but summer has definitely arrived. Nothing says summer meals to me like salads and One Hungry Dude is here today to share a simple and delicious fresh summer salad. Enjoy!

A cool, crunchy salad is one of my favourite treats during a hot day — it's such a refreshing and tasty side to almost any dinner. I've prepared this recipe in stages, and although it looks like a lot of steps, the preparation time for everything is only about 30 to 40 minutes. Perhaps the best part of this recipe is that you'll have plenty of dressing and croutons left over for future salads (though I've also often found myself snacking on the crusty, salty bread cubes), since both last for several weeks.

• 1/2 Cup olive oil
• 1/2 Cup white vinegar
• 2 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 Tsp dried thyme
• 1/2 Tsp dried basil
• Splash of hot sauce
• Sprinkle of paprika
• Sprinkle of garlic powder
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a Tupperware container, then seal the lid. Shake the container until all of the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Place the container in the fridge for at least a few hours, though overnight will really allow the ingredients to meld.

• 4 to 5 slices of light rye bread (about a quarter of the loaf), cubed
• Olive oil
• Sprinkle of basil
• Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cube the bread, and place in a large bowl. Drizzle just enough oil over the bread to cover each piece. Add the basil, salt and pepper, then toss. Place the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the croutons become golden brown and crisp.

• 4 to 5 leaves of Romaine lettuce, washed and broken into pieces
• 2 slices of tomato, diced
• 1 mushroom, stem removed and sliced
• 1 baby carrot, julienne style or shredded
• A sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese
• Pepper, to taste

The salad is built in layers. Start by placing the lettuce pieces on the bottom of the bowl, then in order, spread the mushrooms, tomato, carrots, cheese and pepper on top. Add the dressing (make sure to shake, before pouring) and croutons, and serve.

* The amount of ingredients for the salad portion of this recipe is based per bowl.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More DIY Father’s Day Cards

As many of you know, this past Sunday was Father’s Day. I was very excited to help my husband celebrate his very first Daddy Day – you can see his present on the Sugar and Shimmer Facebook page. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a celebration around here without some homemade cards! This year’s cards were all from Nathan because, let’s face it, he’s the star of the show these days :)

This first card was for my grandfather and Nathan’s Great-Gramps or GG for short. I used paper for the background and to create the number sign and heart. The 1 is a premade card and the Gs are chipboard.

Father's Day Cards (2)

This card is obviously for Chris. It’s just layered paper, a felt heart sticker and a chipboard medallion. I loved the “Best Friends” sentiment and I think that Daddy did too.

Father's Day Cards

And last is the card for my dad and Nathan’s Gramps. The heart and letters are all assorted stickers. I also used cardstock and some assorted patterned papers and then doodled in the corners to finish things off. I love the image of the two foxes together – perfect for a card from a little one.

Father's Day Cards (1)

I hope all the dads had a wonderful day!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Guest Post – Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Happy Father’s Day weekend! Hope everyone is doing something nice for their dads – we’re headed to my parents’ house this afternoon to celebrate all the dads in our family. In the meantime, here’s another recipe from One Hungry Dude. These pancakes were wonderful and would make a great Father’s Day breakfast tomorrow!

I'm a huge fan of having breakfast foods at dinnertime. So on Saturday evening, while suffering from a bout of sweet tooth, I decided to whip up a batch of pancakes. This recipe uses a simple batter, combined with the irresistible hint of cinnamon and fresh apples. I topped these with some maple syrup and placed a few slices of bacon on the side. I was tempted to lick the plate clean.

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2 green apples, peeled and grated

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat together the egg, milk, and green apples. Add this to the dry ingredients, and stir until combined.
Lightly grease a griddle, then pre-heat to about 350 F. Use a ladle to pour the batter onto the griddle, making a batch of about five to six pancakes at a time. Cook for about two to three minutes on each side, until golden brown.

This recipe should produce enough for two batches (10 to 12 pancakes) on a normal sized griddle. So, to prevent the first from cooling while you're waiting for the second set, consider getting your oven involved in the cooking process. Heat the oven to 225 F. Then place the pancakes inside the stove, using an oven-safe dish. At such a low temperature, the pancakes will stay moist, while you finish making the remainder of the meal.

We have a four-sided Kitchen Aid grater. I used the medium shredder, when I made this recipe, and it gave the pancakes a subtle apple flavour. The next time, I plan to use the larger shredder, for bigger chunks of the fruit. That should produce a more pronounced apple taste.

Friday, June 15, 2012

1…2…3…4…Monthly Baby Pictures!

My little guy is 4 months old! I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed and how much he’s grown. Remember back when I posted about taking his One Month pictures? Well I’ve kept up with the monthly photos and I just finished creating two pages for his scrapbook that show just how he’s changed over the last four months.

Nathan Page 31  Nathan Page 32

I am loving digital scrapbooking. Once again, I was able to complete both these pages using elements and papers found entirely for free. These pages started with a template from Shabby Princess that I just rotated for the second page and were completed with more papers and elements from Everyday Mom Ideas (love her kits!) and Design House Digital (please note that while the kit I used is no longer free, they still have tons of free stuff to offer). You can even get a free 30 day trial of Photoshop from Adobe to get you started!

I have only 8 pages left to complete Nathan’s 40 page album. My Photobook voucher expires on June 25 so you can bet I’ll be busy scrapping until then! Please let me know in the comments if you’re interested in seeing more of my work so I know whether to put additional pages in future posts!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Guest Post - Shrimp, Sausage and Ground Beef in Garlic Sauce

It was a busy week for me and Nathan with lots of outings and visitors to the house so unfortunately all my current projects fell by the wayside.  But I wouldn’t leave you with nothing to read this week! That’s where my husband, One Hungry Dude, comes in with another fabulous recipe. Hope you enjoy and check back next week for some posts from me!

Sarah and I watch almost every episode of The Best Thing I Ever Made on The Food Network. The show allows celebrity chefs to share some of their favourite recipes — from desserts and chocolate to deep fried goodies and garlic-themed dishes. This Sunny Anderson-inspired appetizer was featured on the 'Garlic Power' episode. I modified it, mostly due to a lack of recommended ingredients, but the altered recipe was still so good, it quickly got turned into dinner.

Shrimp, Sausage and Ground Beef in Garlic Sauce
• 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 mild Italian sausages, casing removed
• 1/2 pound ground beef
• 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 to 1/2 of a Jalapeno pepper, depending on your heat preference
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Four cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• Salt
• 16 to 20 shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
• Fresh bread

In a medium-sized frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and sauté the beef, sausage and onions. As it cooks, break up the sausage with a wooden spoon until it resembles ground beef. Add the seasoning salt, paprika and black pepper. Cook until the fat is rendered and the onions are tender and cooked into the meat, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the remaining oil, garlic, and a sprinkling of salt, and lower the heat to medium-low. Let the flavors infuse over the low heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the shrimp to the garlic oil, raise the heat slightly, and stir and turn to cook the shrimp evenly, 6 to 8 minutes. Anderson recommends serving as an appetizer on toothpicks, with crusty, chewy bread.

Good, fresh bread is the key to the success of this recipe. I actually chose to use a fork to spread the mixture onto some rye bread, like a pate. Then, used the bread crusts to sop up some of the garlic oil. Delicious!
This recipe yields four to six servings.

— Recipe inspired by Sunny Anderson's Shrimp and Chorizo in Garlic Sauce

Friday, June 1, 2012

Guest Post - Sautéed Mushroom Grilled Cheese

Welcome to the weekend and another guest post by One Hungry Dude. This week it’s one of my favourites – my husband makes fantastic grilled cheese!

Grilled cheese can be such an easy meal to prepare. Kids love it, and for people and families with a busy schedule, the sandwich can provide a hot, filling and nutritious meal. I've experimented with several grilled cheese recipes over the last few years, and this is one of my favourites. It's simple, quick to prepare, delicious and perfect for my family, which features a few picky eaters.


For mushrooms
• Six Mushrooms, sliced
• Two Tbsp Butter or Margarine
• 1/4 Tsp Dried Parsley
• 1/4 Tsp Dried Thyme
• 1/8 Tsp Garlic Powder
• Splash of White Vinegar
• Splash Red Wine
• Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the sandwich
• 8 Slices Bread, Rye preferred
• Butter or Margarine, enough to spread on one side of each bread slice
• 1 1/2 to 2 Cups Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese blend
• Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter starts to bubble, add the mushrooms, parsley, thyme, garlic, vinegar, wine, salt and pepper. Cook for about five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms brown and become tender.

As the mushrooms are cooking, spread the margarine on the bread. Place half of the slices, margarine side down, on a griddle or large frying pan. Put a handful of the cheese blend on top of each, then add a spoonful or two of the mushrooms, and salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining bread slices. Heat the sandwiches over medium heat, flipping once when the bread becomes golden brown. Once the other side reaches the same colouring, remove each sandwich from the heat. Let sit for two to three minutes, then slice and serve.

For an extra flavour kick, consider serving with your favourite marinara dipping sauce.

This recipe yields four sandwiches.