Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Art Project

A few days ago, I bought a plain wooden frame from Jo-Ann's Fabric. Guess what I did with it!

Before: a plain wooden frame.

After: A one-of-a-kind 1920s -inspired frame full of glitz and glamour! I just wanted to do something fun with it.

I added some "oomph" to this with glitters. This frame took 7-10 hours to complete, from the beginning to the end.

It is water-resistant, everything is acid-free so the photo that it will one day hold, will never be damaged.

Here was how I did it:

Note: the pictures should already be measured to fit the frame. Do this first.

1. You will need: a wooden frame; scrapbook paper in several different designs; pictures of the subject matters that you want to feature (I printed mine out from the Internet); glitter glue, and water-resistant Collage Pauge with the matte finish.

2. Tear your scrapbook paper up into strips of different lengths and widths, and glue them to the frame using Collage Pauge (CP), and then apply a layer of the CP on top of that.

3. Attach the pictures with CP, and apply another layer on top of that, too.

4. Apply glitters around each picture.

Tips and hints:

The pictures and scrap paper that you use will affect the "tone" of the frame. For instance, 1940s pinup pictures will create the retro bombshell look, while Victorian-era prints can help create a tone of nostalgic elegance.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Banana-Raisin Bread

Is anybody else excited for the upcoming Winter holidays season? I feel that when there is joy in my heart (and a reason to feel that way), the whole world seems to be a lot more magical! One of my most favorite things to bake on cold days is a loaf (or two) of banana-raisins bread. Unfortunately, I can't really eat this anymore because of my gluten problems, but I still bake this for my loved ones. Hence, this recipe is not gluten-free, and I have not attempted to bake this with a gluten-free multipurpose flour yet. Here is the recipe!

Banana Raisin Bread

Yields two loaves. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


2 1/2 overripe bananas, mashed; take the remaining half-banana and cut it into slices and set them aside.
2 cups of multipurpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup of raisins (use more or less, depending on your preference)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick of softened butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix all dry ingredients together evenly. Add in wet ingredients. Stir just until evenly mixed. Pour equal amounts into two loaf pans. Top with more raisins and the sliced banana. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and check by inserting either a toothpick or wooden skewer. If it comes out dry, the bread is ready. If it is still wet in some areas, lower the temperature to 300 degrees, continue to bake the loaves and check on them every 5 minutes.



Sunday, October 7, 2012

Our Winery Tour

Last Thursday, we went on a winery tour in the Temecula wine country, specifically South Coast Winery. Sean took me on a very romantic horse-drawn carriage ride at sunset through the winery, and we also got a bottle of wine to take home. We chose the white wine, since red really isn't our favorite. Our tour guide told us that all of the grapes had just been harvested, hence the barren look of the vineyard.

Tammy and Sean

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Maple-Sesame-Ginger Glazed Chicken

Last night, Sean and I had maple-sesame-ginger glazed chicken, along with roasted asparagus, and everything was amazing! We love to eat boneless, skinless, lean chicken breast (it truly is a great way to get protein, besides lean turkey meat),  so I always try to come up with different ways to spice it up.

The asparagus was pan roasted in olive oil, sea salt, and ground pepper. To prepare it, simply wash the asparagus, cut off one inch of each stem, at an angle, and throw that way. Cut them in half, at an angle. Roasted in the pan with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, a few sprinkles of sea salt and ground black pepper. When it's still crunchy yet tender, it's ready.

For the chicken, you will need:

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 thawed chicken breasts, washed and set aside

2 Tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of fine sea salt (if you have only coarse, grind some in a blender)

1/2 teaspoon of either Sriracha or Tapatio hot sauce (feel free to add more)

1/2 teaspoon of dry minced onion

1/2 teaspoon of dry minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon of paprika powder

1/4 teaspoon of Herb-ox sodium-free granulated chicken bouillon (optional, but it does bring out more of the chicken flavor). We really like this brand because not only is it sodium-free, but it's also gluten-free and has no MSG added.


Mix all of the seasonings and spices together, rub on both sides of the chicken breasts, and put them in a casserole pan or some other baking pan. If there is any of the seasonings and spices mixture left, pour on top of the meat.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. By now you should see that a lot of the juices and mixtures have gathered in the pan. Scoop the juices up with a spoon and pour back to the top of the meat. Put everything back into the oven for another 5 minutes. Take the meat out and cut a piece; if the juice runs clear, then it's ready. If not, put it back in, lower the heat to 300 degrees, and check every 5 minutes; you do not want chicken to be dry. Serve with the juices poured back on top.

              Tammy and Sean