On Thursday I went to the Jeremy Camp concert with my sister-in-law Jen and my Aunt Sherry. It was powerful to say the least. Four bands total and all were amazing. Here are some captures from that night.
v1: I used Camera Raw and PS - CS3. In Camera Raw, I increased the saturation and clarity, brought the vibrance down and intensified the black. In Photoshop, I added overlay paintbrush textures to the background and decreased green in the channel mixer.
v2: I used Camera Raw and PS - CS3. In Camera Raw, I increased the saturation and clarity, brought the vibrance down and intensified the black. In Photoshop, I used the channel mixer to intensify the blue/greens. Added contrast and created a background pattern with different blending modes. I also decreased the yellow and magenta in the color balance layer.
v3: I used Camera Raw and PS - CS3. In Camera Raw, I increased the saturation and clarity, brought the vibrance down and intensified the black. In Photoshop, I used the b/w adjustment layer and masked out the blue jacket. I added a color fill to the image, desaturated, added contrast and an orange nose for the snowman.
This is one of my favorite meals to make and it happens to have cream cheese in it. Okay, so maybe that's what pulls me in. It's easy to make, and it happens to be a $25,000 recipe. It took top honors in the Pillsbury Bake-off competition a couple years ago. That's how much a woman won for her recipe — $25 G's. Granted, she prepared this in a competition on national television, which in itself is a feat, but how awesome is that? I adjusted the recipe slightly to satisfy my tastebuds.
Crescent Chicken Squares INGREDIENTS 5 oz. cream cheese, softened 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 shallot, minced 1/4 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. pepper 2 tbsp. milk 1 tbsp. pimientos, chopped
1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or crescent recipe creations seamless dough sheet 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted 3/4 cup whole-wheat croutons, crushed DIRECTIONS Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix cream cheese and 1 tbsp. softened butter; beat until smooth. Add chicken, chives, shallot, salt, pepper, milk and pimientos; mix well. Separate or cut dough into 4 rectangles. If using crescent dough, firmly press perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto center of each rectangle. Pull 4 corners of dough to center of chicken mixture; twist firmly. Pinch edges to seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops of sandwiches with 1 tbsp. melted butter; sprinkle with crushed croutons. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Here are the antique store and estate sale finds for last week. Yes, I started going to estate sales as well. I can't get enough of it. Almost every lunch break I am out and about stopping at a new one to see what I can find. I think I'm becoming a vintage/antique junkie. But it keeps me entertained and it's fairly inexpensive.
The camera above was mentioned in a previous post. I ordered it online. It came in the mail last week so I'm counting it as last week's finds. It's a Kodak Duaflex II produced in 1950 – 1954.
I purchased this camera over the weekend at Paramount Antique Mall. A similar camera to the above but it's a Kodak Duaflex produced in 1947 – 1950. This beauty is in excellent condition.
These vintage bulbs came from my first estate sale. I might resale these online. Haven't decided yet.
Two full sets of pink ornaments. I may resell these as well.
I spotted this bike and knew it would go well in our house. Not sure where yet, but it will have a place soon enough. It's about 20 inches long. I don't think it's very old, just a good find for me.
Wine jug I purchased for only $1.50. This was my cheap find for the day.
A new collection I've started – vintage spinning tops. I've been thinking about this for awhile, and after seeing this one, I decided to go for it. It's in great condition with minimal rust. Now I'll be retracing my steps through antique stores I've already been to. I know I've seen several tops around, so that will be my goal this week. Hopefully they aren't too pricey.
I can't get enough of this adorable little girl. Below are a few shots from my visit with one day old Alexis. She's doing a lot of sleeping and just so precious to look at. And look at those long fingers. She already needs her nails trimmed! She has little scratches on her face, but now has tiny mittens to wear.
The below shots were taken this evening when I went over after work. Three days old now. Lots of sleeping but I managed to get a shot in while she had her eyes open. I look forward to seeing this little girl grow!
v1: I used Camera Raw and PS - CS3. In Camera Raw, I warmed the photo by adjusting the yellow temperature and reduced the saturation. I also increased the recovery, clarity and added more contrast. In CS3, I cropped the photo and used an overlay texture. I adjusted the levels and blurred the background a bit more.
v2: I used Camera Raw and PS - CS3. Using the same settings from the previous camera raw image, in CS3 I cropped the photo and converted to BW. I changed back to RGB and added yellow and red through image>adjustments>variations. I added in an overlay texture and reduced the opacity of it. I then adjusted the overall levels and reduced the saturation.
Here's an easy meal to make during the week. You can substitute chicken or another protein if you prefer. I bought the Honeysuckle turkey breast on the bone because that's what was available to me. I de-boned it and cut the turkey into small pieces.
Spinach and Turkey Skillet INGREDIENTS 1 turkey breast, cut into small pieces 1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, divided 1 bunch fresh spinach leaves, torn
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and membrane remove, diced 3 tbsp. fresh grated parmesan DIRECTIONS Sprinkle turkey with salt. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey pieces; cook and stir until lightly browned. Remove from skillet. Reduce heat to low. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender. Return turkey to skillet. Stir in rice, italian seasoning and pepper. Reserve two tbsp. chicken broth. Stir remaining broth into skillet mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered for 14 minutes. Stir in spinach and reserved broth. Cover; cook 3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and spinach is wilted. Stir in tomatoes; heat through. Serve with parmesan cheese. Serves four.
Source: Adapted from All-new Light Cooking Cookbook
Friday at work, a few people got together and decided to bring random breakfast items for a big Friday feast. This was my contribution. I've tried this bundt cake a few years ago from Adriene. I checked her blog to see if the recipe was on a previous post and sure enough it was. I'm amazed by how fast food can disappear at work.
Blueberry Cream Cheese Bundt Cake INGREDIENTS
FOR THE CAKE
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. whipped cream cheese
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large brown eggs 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 12 oz. bag frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
FOR THE FROSTING
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
DIRECTIONS Grease and flour bundt cake pan. Using an electric mixer, combine melted butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add brown and white sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt and cinnamon; mix well. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in blueberries by hand.
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
Place pan in an unheated oven.
Turn oven to 200° and cook for 20 minutes.
Increase temperature to 250° and cook for 20 minutes.
Increase temperature to 275° and cook for 10 minutes.
Increase temperature to 300° and cook for 60 minutes or until cake it set.(knife comes out clean)
Remove cake from oven and cover with aluminum foil tightly for one hour. Steam generated will keep the cake moist.
For the frosting, cream the butter. Add vanilla and powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Use cake decorating tip of your choice and fill pastry bag with frosting. Decorate as you see fit.
I was looking through my Slow Cooker magazine for some inspiration. I liked the sound of one recipe but didn't have all the ingredients for it and didn't want to make a trip to the store. So I fused two recipes together for the pot roast. This is the first time I've had roast on a slice of french bread covered in swiss cheese. I was blown away by the flavor. It takes pot roast to a whole new level. I've also included the garlic mashed potato recipe below. This is comfort food at its finest.
Open-faced Pot Roast Sandwich INGREDIENTS 3 tbsp. canola oil
1 3–4 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
1/4 cup all purpose flour 2 tbsp. tomato paste 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 medium red onion, quartered
1 small bag of baby carrots
3 celery stalks cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme 2-3 sprigs of fresh sage
2 bay leaves
loaf of french bread cut on the bias
sliced swiss cheese
DIRECTIONS Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Brown roast on all sides; approximately 10 minutes total. Transfer roast to a slow cooker.
Stir flour into pan; cook one minute. Add tomato paste and cook one minute more. This will form a base for the gravy.
Deglaze saute pan with wine, cooking until liquid evaporates. Stir in broth and Worchestershire; bring mixture to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits.
Transfer broth mixture to the slow cooker. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, sage and bay leaves. Cover and cook until meat is fork-tender on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on low-heat setting for 8-9 hours. Discard thyme sprigs, sage and bay leaves.
Transfer beef to a large plate. Using two forks, pull meat apart into bite-sized pieces. Add two tbsp. of gravy to moisten. Strain remaining gravy through a sieve and keep warm. Save carrots and onions for the sides.
Preheat broiler with oven rack 6-8 inches from heating element. Lightly butter both sides of the french bread. Place under broiler until lightly toasted. Turn bread over for same result. Remove from oven and place the shredded pot roast on the toasted bread. Top each piece with with a slice of Swiss. Broil until cheese melts, approx. two minutes. I like to finish my sandwich with a drizzle of gravy on top. Serve with gravy, carrots and onions.
Rinse potatoes, removing dirt and debris. Quarter the potatoes, cut each one twice, and place in an empty saucepan. Fill saucepan with hot water until potatoes are fully submerged. Cook on medium-high heat. When the water boils, add a pinch of salt. To test for doneness, poke a potato with fork. When you can easily perforate the potato, it's cooked. Strain off water reserving approx. 1/4 cup. Let potatoes cool for 10 minutes. (In same saucepan is fine).
While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 400. Place three garlic cloves (with skin left on) onto a small piece of aluminum foil. Pull sides of foil up around it to create a bowl. Place foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on the garlic. Cook in oven until garlic starts to brown approx. 10-15 minutes. Turn over once during cooking. Remove from oven and close up aluminum foil around the garlic. Let sit for five minutes. Remove garlic skins and place cloves on a plate. Mash with a fork and set aside.
After potatoes are cooled, add reserved water back to pan along with 2 tbsp. salted butter. Mash with potato masher. After a few minutes of mashing, switch to an electric hand mixer for a more creamy mashed potato. Alternate adding milk and half 'n half in small amounts until you've reached a desirable consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add roasted garlic to mixture. Continue mixing until you are satisfied with the texture.
For the past few months I've really taken an interest in visiting antique stores. Oftentimes I don't find anything, but I'm a total browser so I'm okay with that. The two things I'm always on the lookout for — pottery and old cameras. Things I think I want, I end up talking myself out of. I'm not a spender. I'm afraid of clutter. Okay, I'm not afraid, it's just not my thing. I run a tight ship at the house — except for the unfinished basement. That's a different story. We're currently working on finishing the basement and hope to have it completed by summer — at least insulation, walls and flooring. I have a room down there with all my art supplies, paintings, drawings, paper — you name it it's probably in there. The only problem is, there isn't any organization. That's why I need the room finished. I work well in a fairly organized environment where everything has it's place and I can find it whenever I need it. I want that. For the past month, I've been thinking about painting a lot. I miss it dearly. I haven't painted since I was a student at Butler, before graphic design came into the picture, about eight years ago. That seems so long ago. This year I will be approaching new digits in age and I'm okay with that. I certainly don't feel like I'm 30 but if that's what my number has to be, then so be it. I'm embracing it. Talk about getting off subject. Here are my finds over the past few weeks:
A yellow pitcher for the kitchen purchased Tuesday of last week.
Something about this caught my eye. It needs cleaned up a bit, but I can handle that. This was purchased Thursday of last week. I found a set similar to these at The Flea Market on Sunday. I really wish I would've picked them up. It was the whole fear of clutter thing that stopped me. I thought this would be cute to display at Christmas.
These little toys I bought only for nostalgic purposes. Muppet Babies is one of my favorite cartoons growing up. Every time I see them, I think of my childhood. Gonzo riding his tricycle and Miss Piggy in her car riding into their imaginative worlds of time machines and pirate ships.
Same goes for Fraggle Rock. We have from left to right: Boober, Wembley, Gobo and Mokey. These are the kind of shows I'd like my kids to watch. I should start ordering them now, ya know, for the kids I don't have.
I scored this little beauty at the Flea Market. Spartus Full-Vue c 1948-1960. I'm currently exploring different TtV shots. I recently purchased a Kodak DuaFlex II for the same purpose. It's traveling to me by mail as we speak. Image below of what it should look like...
The next few items I found yesterday are these adorable Valentines cards. The above one is my favorite. What I am going to do with these, I'm not sure yet. But I couldn't pass them up.
The last item I bought yesterday is this vintage clown bank. I think it's adorable. Some might question its clown scariness, but to each his own. There's just something about it I'm drawn to, so I had to get it. I look forward to going back next month!
Graphic designer, baker and a photo taker. Inspired by Jesus, photography, stellar design, all things creative, cooking, the arts and funny stuff.
I prefer to visually tell stories through photographs; whether a trip I was on, a dessert I made or a recent vintage find. Art is all around me, and I capture it whenever I can.