Saturday, July 16, 2016

Cool-the-Kitchen Greek Dinner

I'm always looking for cool summertime meals that don't heat up my kitchen and takes advantage of all the fresh produce at the market and in my garden.   I'm making this tomorrow and thought it was time for a repeat in case you missed it the first time.  I did this on Studio 5 in 2013...enjoy!

I love to cook, but in the summer I want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible and create as little heat in my house as possible.

Hopefully you have tomatoes and cucumbers and maybe even peppers & onions growing in the garden, but if you don't, they abound at farmer road-side stands and are inexpensive in the grocery stores. 

Staying seasonal and grilling outdoors meets all my summer-time demands with a tasty Greek street food known as Souvlaki.

Souvlaki is basically meat on a skewer.  Typically this is made with lamb or chicken, but I think Shrimp would be great too.

The method that makes Souvlaki special is using typically Greek ingredients and marinating the meat before grilling.  Pita bread, Tzatziki Sauce and a Greek salad round out the flavor and nutrition of this perfectly light and summery meal.

Chicken Souvlaki  (serves 6)

1 1/2  lb chicken breast
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
3-4 cloves garlic, minced


Slice chicken diagonally so you have strips (about 1/4" or so thick).  I like to thread my chicken on the skewers (back and forth) instead of cubes.  I find the chicken cooks more evening, the chicken won't rotate on the skewer and you get more crispy bits.

Place in a bowl with all the marinade ingredients and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours, but overnight is better.

If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before adding meat.  Otherwise skewer meat onto metal skewer in a back and forth method until the skewer is almost full.  You want the meat snug but not overly tight.

Cook on a medium/high grill until each side is seared, about 8 minutes total.  Look for no pink in center of chicken.  You can continue to baste chicken with leftover marinade as long as it's cooking.  Do not baste chicken after it's cooked.

Sprinkle with finishing salt (coarse kosher salt).  Add a  lemon wedge on the plate for an extra lemon-punch.  Serve with warmed pita, shredded lettuce, Greek Salad and Tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 whole English cucumber (no seeds), grated
2 cups Greek yogurt (or strain reg. plain yogurt until thickened)
1 Tbsp (about 4 cloves) garlic, minced finely
1 heaping Tbsp fresh chopped dill (or 2 tsp. dried dill)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt (to taste)


Place grated cucumber in a strainer over a bowl.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.  This will help to reduce the amount of moisture in the cucumber.  Let sit for 20 minutes or so, then push against strainer to remove excess moisture.  You can also dab with paper towel.

Add to the rest of the ingredients.  Taste and add more salt if necessary.  I would make this ahead of time as it tastes even better when it has time for the flavors to marry.  Will store in the fridge for as long as the yogurt says (a good week or more).

Greek Salad

1/2 English Cucumber, sliced in quarters, then 1/2" pieces
3 vine ripe tomatoes, quartered, then slices in 1/2" pieces
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopper
1/2 cup Kalamata black olives (sliced or whole)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Red wine Vinegar
1 Tsp dried oregano
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


I've give you measurements for the salad dressing, but you'll save time and get a perfect salad if you dress and taste.  Add dressing ingredients directly to the bowl without measuring.  A round (pouring olive oil from a spout one full turn) is approx. 1 Tbsp.   So 3 or 4 rounds.  3 or 4 shakes of the vinegar will equal approx. 1 Tbsp.  Taste...need more salt?  More vinegar?  Just add a bit more.  Try it!

Add all ingredients together except the cheese, sprinkle it on after it's done.

**Low carb version:  Use Sour cream instead of Yogurt (or half & half) for the Tzatziki.  Use a low carb wrap instead of a pita bread.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Studio 5: Pinwheels & Giveaway!

When I plan my Studio 5 segments, if possible, I try to tie into my current class and in this case, it's all about pinwheels.

I had so much fun making this cute pinwheel for my upcoming "Red, White & YOU" class, that I decided to immerse myself into pinwheels... I almost drowned!  So many cute ideas and so little time.

This was right before I left on a long trip and I didn't have enough time to do everything I wanted.

It became clear to me after a lot of research that the We R Memory Keepers Pinwheel punch board was the way to go.

I'm not much of a uni-tasker (a tool that only does one thing), but I have to say, this tool is completely worth purchasing if you're only doing one party.  The time you save is invaluable!  So, today, I'm showcasing pinwheels made from the Pinwheel Punch Board and a great little template (hand-cut or die-cut) I used for my class and that I still really love, as it has a different shape and is good for smaller pinwheels.

But first, let's give a Pinwheel punch board away! 

Just leave a comment on this blog post today and tomorrow morning I'll randomly pick a winner...Good luck!

You'll get the Pinwheel Punch Board and a set of 10 attachments (these are invaluable!) and extra long straws.

Moving this nostalgic child's toy into today's DIY trend is all about size.  Using the simple, charming and playful shape in different sizes can tie a party together and create a custom look quickly and inexpensively.

Go BIG (more on that later) for drama & the WOW factor...these large pinwheels can fill real estate in a flash, perfect for backdrops and hanging decor.  And because these are so light, they are easily attached with pins or thumbtacks.

Go Small for those tiny touches that really leave a big impression!  From food picks to invitations and place settings.

Go traditional size for functioning favors, garlands, treat toppers, hat toppers and more.

Apart from size, you can add your own creative touch to pinwheels by adding a center to your pinwheels.  

Punches, pins, brads, pompoms, printed elements (like my wedding words), buttons etc...

You can also add streamers to the back of your functioning pinwheels for added movement, like in this example, I added cascading ribbons that I tied to the top of the straw.  Just be sure that your streamers don't interfere with the movement of the pinwheel.

To see a step-by-step tutorial on using the Pinwheel Punch board, click on this image to enlarge.

To make a SUPER big pinwheel, I used the large sheets of cardstock I'm starting to see in craft stores, specifically my local Hobby Lobby.  I found the large gold sheets (Strathmore Chromolux 19/5" x 26") in the art department, next to the poster paper and core board.  

We R Memory Keepers also has a line of patterned large sheets (22" x 28"), which I found right next to the Pinwheel Punch board and supplies.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Q's Creative Cards & More: Red, White & YOU!

On December 7th, 2000, I became a US citizen. It was a special day for me.  

I will always treasure my Canadianism, but growing up with the cultures of my immigrant parents (Austrian & German), as well as the unique French culture of Quebec, I never felt quite at home.

I can still remember my first flight into Salt Lake City. Those mountains!  Lump in my throat, I just felt like I was home and this was years before I actually moved here.  Maybe it's because my husband is American and I've adopted his family's love of country, but regardless, I really do love the Red, White & Blue.  Everything 4th of July screams summer to me...I can smell the Bar-b-ques, taste the watermelon, feel the warmth!

Instead of creating specific holiday projects, I've borrowed from it's colors & icons to design a celebratory kit that can go so many ways...birthdays, celebrations, parties etc...  3 cards, 2 gift bags (think party favors or hostess gift) and my favorite, a functional pinwheel! 

I can still remember my Mother buying me those inexpensive plastic pinwheels from the grocery store and holding them out the window on the way home, thrilling at the sound and speed of it.  This whole kit makes me feel like a kid again and that is a good thing!

Please join me in class in Utah (schedule below) or I'll mail the kit to you to make at home with my easy to follow photo slideshow.  Kits start shipping Monday, June 20th!  Please add shipping from the drop-down menu if you want it mailed.  Otherwise I will bring to class.

Red, White & YOU: Cards & More

Class Schedule 
Tues., June 21st        South Jordan Hobby Lobby        5:30 - 7:30 pm
June 22nd       South Jordan Hobby Lobby        10am - noon
Wed, June 22nd        West Valley Hires Big H              6 - 8 pm
June 23rd     American Fork Senior Center      6 - 8 pm
June 24th      Layton Hobby Lobby                  10am - noon
June 24th      Layton Hobby Lobby                  2 - 4pm
June 24th      Layton Hobby Lobby                  5:30 - 7:30 pm
Mon., June 27th        Sandy Hobby Lobby                   2 - 4 pm

What you'll need: 

Adhesives:  Roller-type adhesive for putting cards together.  

Foam squares, THIN foam squares, 1/2" foam roll.

1/8" tacky tape (or similar product)
Glue dots (Micro and Mini). Scotch tape.

Tools & Supplies:
Scissors (long & fine-tipped)

Small Pair of Pliers
Small 1/8" piercer tool (picture below) or something similar to wrap 'firecrackers' around.

regular Paper Piercer
Brushed Corduroy Distress ink & Sponge

Craft Mat
Large lid or small container to place small items from kit

If you have any questions, please let me know.
...and would love if you posted these pictures to Pinterest!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Studio 5: Paper Plumeria Lei

Mother's Day is not the only celebration in May that features flowers...I've always loved the tradition of presenting Leis to Graduates and wanted to create a paper version!

With a few basic paper crafting supplies and a few sheets of paper you can create beautiful lasting plumeria flowers.  String them together for a striking graduation Lei, tuck behind your ear for a feminine tropical touch, grace a gift bag or box for Mother's Day, or even decorate a summertime Luau.

One little tip is to spray your finished flowers with a perfume spray for an added sense/scents :)

Create your flower

A plumeria is a deceptively simple flower.  It took me a long time of studying the flower and many prototypes before I came up with a full-proof, easy to create flower.

You will will only need

*Cream Colored lightweight Cardstock (67 lb works best)

*2" long oval punch (you can use slightly different sizes if you want)
*1 1/4" circle punch
*Adhesive (I used an ATG gun, but anything will work as long as it's re-positional to a degree)
*Colored Ink and Sponge


Start by coloring/inking your petals.  Any tear drop shape petal will work, but I used a 2" oval punch, then cut one end to a point.  You can download a template here. I've also included a JPG and PNG file so you can use your electronic die-cutting machine for super quick petals!

I used a variety of ink pads I had at home to create the color combinations I wanted.  

Use a stamping sponge and ink one end of the petal until about halfway.  Ink the other color from the other end until halfway, then blend the two colors.  You can add a 3rd color to deepen the edges at the top of the petal.

While the petals are a bit damp from the ink, use any barrel shaped tool (like a pencil or pen) and curl one side up and the other down.  It will have a wave shape to it.  Let petals dry for a few hours, or use a heat gun to speed up the process.

Punch a circle and mark center with a pencil.  Cut from edge of circle to center.  Apply adhesive along cut edge and fold over at least 1/4 of the circle to create a cone shape. 

This will hold the petals in place.

Apply adhesive to bottom tip of petals, in the center and not more that a 1/2" from the tip.

Place first petal in cone with tip touching center of cone.  Repeat with each petal, overlapping slightly.  

With the last petal, overlap like the other, but also slip the other side under the first petal.  You should have the unique Plumeria pinwheel center.

To create a Lei, you'll need 16 Plumeria flowers, a 36" piece of kitchen twine and two 9" pieces of stiff ribbon.

Double knot the center of the twine. 

Pierce the center of each flower.  Use a threader (in this case, I use a dental floss threader available in any pharmacy) to bring one end of twine though bottom of flower.  Repeat on other side of twine, so both flowers meet in center double knot.

With flower against double knot in center, tie another double knot, about 1 1/4" from center of flower (or 2/3rds from center of petal).  This will create the perfect spaces between each flower.  Repeat the double knots and add flowers until you have 8 on each side.

It's difficult to tie the kitchen twine behind your neck, so I tied it to some larger stiff ribbon at each end.

I've also including some printable sentiments that you can download, print and cut out to add a sentiment to the Lei.

You can also add these paper plumerias to gift bags, boxes or even tuck one behind you ear.  

If you have any questions, please email me.  




Studio 5: Key Lime Chiffon Pie with Coconut cookie crust

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"The art of being
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~Henry Ward Beecher



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