Friday, December 14, 2012

Baked Cheese Herb Dip, a Great Holiday Appetizer

Hot cheese dips are always a big hit at parties.  I've previously shared my all-time favorite cheese dip; my mom makes it at Christmas time each year.  This one is a bit different with an addition of herbs and mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar. The combination of cheeses, herbs, and a little bit of tomato garnish makes for a delightful dip.  Serve it warm with some toasted baguette slices, or Triscuit crackers would also work.

Baked Cheese Herb Dip

1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
12 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese
about 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tomato, diced

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mustard and thyme.  Add cheeses and chopped basil leaves.  Spoon into a small baking dish or pie plate.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

source:  slightly adapted from Inspired Taste

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Classy Christmas Tree

Two years ago, almost to the day, we began our move across the country from Monterey, CA, to good ol' Georgia!  Our first stop was in Nevada, where my husband's sister and her family live.  We enjoyed a few days with them and celebrated Christmas early.  We had a wonderful time!  One of the things I distinctly remember from that trip was my sister-in-law's gorgeous tree.

So, I asked her if she would be willing to send me some pictures of her tree, all decked out this year, to share with you.  You're going to love it!

The attention to detail is gorgeous: burlap garland, black and white framed photos of the children, silhouettes of the children, glittered 'K's signifying their last name, white lights, and touches of lime green with ornaments and ribbon.

Thanks for sharing your tree with us, Melissa!

You can see from the photo below a bit of Melissa's taste in home decor, which is beautiful.

 Someday I hope to share with you more pictures of their lovely home.  I always love it when my phone goes off with a picture text from my sister-in-law.  It's usually her latest DIY project and I'm always inspired!

More Christmas inspiration to come in the next few days.

Linking to:
christmas tree party

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 Edible Gifts

I'm taking a bit of a blogging break while I'm out of town for a few days.  Instead of sharing some of the things I've made for Christmas, and didn't photograph before I left, I rounded up some edible gifts for you.  These are great for neighbors, co-workers, friends, or even to package up and send to your favorite person who might live very far away {hint-hint, someone could send something to me!}

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites


Gingerbread Biscotti


Oreo Cookie Bark

Terribly Terrific Toffee


Homemade Granola

Blueberry Tea Scone Mix


Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix


All-Purpose Spice Rub


Spiced Nuts


Ice Cream Social in a Box


Friday, December 7, 2012

Miniature Veggie Quiche Recipe

Last night I hosted a neighborhood get together for the ladies who live right around our home.  We had a great time visiting and it was the first time most of us had ever met, so we had  a lot to talk about!

I made some appetizers and two different types of truffles {recipes coming soon!}.  I have always loved quiche, and the miniature ones served at various parties are always my favorite.  Well, I found a great recipe for making your own!  They are a lot less expensive than the frozen ones you buy in the store, equally as delicious, and you can change the ingredients to fit your flavors. {Just fill with your favorite quiche fillings -- ham, bacon, sausage, just cheese--the possibilities are endless}.

Disclaimer:  I never purchase store bought pie crust.  They don't taste good to me, and somehow I always ruin them.  However, when preparing for a party in the middle of the week, with three small children under foot, store bought was the best way to go.  So, I apologize in advance that these are not completely 'from scratch'.  Definitely feel free to make your own crust, although for a quiche, it would be best to use a tart crust dough.  And, the crust doesn't stand out in a quiche like in a pie, so the flavors of the quiche definitely masked the flavor of the store bought crust.

Miniature Veggie Quiche

1 (15-oz) box refrigerated pie crusts {or 2 homemade tart dough recipes}
2 tablespoons butter
6 oz. finely chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese {you can also use Swiss, Parmesan, or cheddar}

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease 2 24-cup mini muffin pans.  Unroll pie crusts onto a lightly floured surface.  Using a 2 1/2-inch cutter {such as a ravioli cutter} cut out circles of dough, rolling out scraps until dough has been used up.  You should be able to get 40 quiches.  Place in the muffin tins and press down to form to the pan.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms, onions, pepper, and garlic.  Saute' for a few minutes, until tender.  Place a small amount of veggie mixture in the bottom of each crust.  Sprinkle a little bit of the cheese over the veggies.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, half-and-half, mustard, salt and pepper.  Carefully pour into prepared crusts, making sure not to spill over the edges.  {There will most likely be some of the egg mixture leftover.  This is okay.  Save it and make an omelet later}.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Cool slightly in pan before removing.  Serve warm.

source: slightly adapted from Southern Lady Magazine

Linking to:


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DIY Wooden Verse Sign Tutorial

When we started decorating the nursery for Mason, we knew we wanted to hang a verse over his crib.  Bradley cut out the wood, making it look sort of rustic, painted it white, and hung it up before Mason was born in April.  Until last Friday, it hung on the wall just like that.

I'm glad, though, because the original verse I had chosen wouldn't have been as fitting as the one that is now there.

Here's a little of the process:

We measured above the crib and then Bradley figured out how long each piece of wood should be to give it the pallet-like look that we wanted.  It's a bit staggered, on purpose, and I like it this way.  You could easily make all the pieces the same size; be creative.

A calculator is always handy when coming up with exact measurements!

We used a furring strip to make this, which is less expensive than other types of lumber.  One piece runs a little less than $1.50.  For our project, we only needed one strip.  He measured with a straight edge to get the exact cuts.

He's using a miter saw in this picture, but you don't need to, as there are no angled cuts.  Just cut right on your marks.

After all the cuts were made, he laid out the pieces to match his diagram, just to make sure it looked as good as his picture.  It did!

Back to the garage he went, and used more pieces of the furring strip {or you could use 1/4-inch plywood} to attach all the pieces together.  We wanted it to stand out a little bit from the wall, so this gave it some dimension.

No pictures of this, but he then painted it white.

My job was to put the verse on; this is probably why it sat unfinished for months!  I do not own a Silhouette machine, or a Cricut, so I knew I would either be free-handing the verse or printing it out on the computer and making some sort of stencil.

My free hand is not great, so I used Wordpad to create the words, Lucida Handwriting is the font, and just made it as large as I thought I would need to fill in the space.  I laid out the words to fit.

I ended up cutting out around the letters and used them as a stencil, tracing with a pencil.  I filled in the letters with a black Sharpie.

I've written a little bit about our journey finding out that Mason has Down Syndrome. {You can read my 31 Days of a Truth Driven Heart where I shared more of how God has worked in my heart through this}.  Even though he was born with this chromosomal disorder, he is still wonderfully made by God.  This was ordained from the beginning of time, and we trust that God's ways are perfect, good, and for His glory.  So, we are rejoicing in our sweet little boy who is such a delight to our family!  We hope that one day he will learn to praise God for being fearfully and wonderfully made.

Linking to:

Home Stories A2Z

Or so she says

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gold & Silver Christmas Mantel

We are almost finished with the Christmas decorating around our house.  The girls LOVE having the tree up with lights and decorations.  My almost 3 year old came downstairs on Sunday morning to snuggle with me on the couch and said, "Oh, I LOVE you so much, Christmas tree!"  She can be quite expressive.

I finished putting together my mantel this morning and I'm happy with it.

Last week I saw a post on Kate's blog about a table she had refinished.  The table truly is lovely, but what caught my eye was the vignette on top.  She had beautifully mixed gold and silver decor and it was stunning.

I copied her a wee bit and like what we have now.

My 'tree' is a small tree that we cut down from our garden area.  Bradley cut it off for me; I spray painted it, and then he nailed it to a small piece of wood so that it would stand up straight in the container.

I adorned it with some gold and silver balls {the gold ones were purchased at JoAnn's last week, 60% off; silver ones were from last year}.  I bought those glittery trees at the end of the year clearance last year, I think for 90% off, and had forgotten about them until a few weeks ago.

The JOY blocks were a quick project this morning from some wooden blocks I found marked down at Lowe's.  A little bit of paint, some hot glue to make the letters, and some glitter to cover the glue made for an easy little bit of art.

I picked up a few floral picks at JoAnn's last week, also 60% off, and the glass globe is filled with ornaments we've had.  The gold ones were from Pier One, six years ago, and the silver ones are Dollar store finds from last year.

I'm not into changing out the picture over my mantel for the seasons, so it stays there year round.  The colors actually blend quite well this time around.

My stockings are not yet hung with care; they are still halfway finished, as they have been since last year.  It's on the list to do, though, so you'll be seeing an updated mantel picture whenever they get finished.

Linking this up to Kevin and Layla's mantel party today.  Head on over there and check out all the gorgeous mantels!

The Lettered Cottage

Oh, and my little helper who wanted to get in on her own photo-op insisted that I put a picture of her in this post.

More Christmas projects to come!