{P}Inspired - Lobster Chowder

I've actually taken a little hiatus from Pinterest lately - mostly because once Halloween hits, life gets busy with Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I'm back pinning again - I love finding new recipes and crafts to try.

I've been noticing that one of my pins (click here for the pin) has been getting a lot of action lately.  It's a lobster chowder that is low carb, gluten free, and with some minor modifications dairy free. 

It was cold this past weekend, and I had lobster already on hand -- not a live lobster, but a frozen variety - wild caught, all natural, sustainable, from Maine.


so when it kept getting pinned, I figured I'd better try it.  

I did have to go to the liquor store and buy the Cointreau,  so I just bought one of those mini bottles that you get on an airplane.  The liquor store had a billion different mini bottles of alcohol, so I also bought a mini bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey. No … I'm not a bourbon drinker, but I have read the Stone Barrington novels by Stuart Woods, and it's one of the drinks Stone always orders - so bought it to try.  Haven't tried it yet, but will let you know when I do.  


About the chowder … since I didn't have live lobster, I substituted vegetable broth for the lobster broth.  For the almond milk, I only had 2 cups in stock, so used heavy cream for 1 of the cups.  Cauliflower is used instead of potatoes so that keeps it low carb.  One of those bags of precut raw cauliflower you find in the produce section is just about 2 cups.


My picture of it is not very pretty, but you get the idea.  It was pretty creamy and with the vanilla almond milk, and cointreau it had a very mild sweet taste - lobster has a sweet taste to it as well, so I expected that.  It was very tasty as is, but I think that next time, I will use a Chipotle Garlic Spice instead of just plain garlic powder.  I shook some on my bowl of chowder and it complemented it very well, and I do like spicy.

Now I need to go back to BJ's Warehouse Club to get some more of the lobster, so I can have a lobster roll (which is what I bought it for in the first place.

Neon Challenge

I was playing along with one of the Challenges on the Kitchen Keepsake board.  One of the monthly challenges is to do something inspired by a Pinterest Pin.

Here is this months pinspiration:

So, we were supposed to do something using Neon colors - which is quite a stretch for me.  I did have some Neon foam letters and while walking around Michaels, found large clothespins in Neon colors and hatched an idea.  That's how it goes ... one thing leads to a thought ... which leads to a plan ... which sometimes leads to creative action.

So here's my Neon creation:

Altered clothespins used to be a big thing several years ago and I guess they're making a comeback since they're back in the stores.  This one will grace my desk at work - I might make another for my scraproom desk too.

{P}inspired - the Radish Debacle

I wanted to make a recipe I found on Pinterest here.

Simple enough.  Slice the radishes, cover w/olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper, then bake.

So on my first pass, I think I sliced them too thin.  Some were overcooked, some were undercooked. Some were just right .. sounds like a fairy tale.  I will say this ... the ones that were not burned - well ... they were fabulous.  I found I liked them a little to the well done side (but not burned).  The ones still a little white, tasted OK, but were limp - so I liked the texture of the browned ones.

So I did what anyone would do.  I made a second batch.  These, I used the mandolin on a thicker setting, so they weren't so paper thin.  I took them out of the oven and all was well.  Then since I'd been tasting and eating the first batch, I put them back in to get a little crispier.  And that was my mistake - I should have just left well enough alone, but I had to temp fate.

So here is what I ended up with:


Burned to a crisp.  This is no way a reflection of the recipe - it was all me.  I just didn't set the timer, or didn't hear the timer, I don't quite know what exactly happened - but I burned them - and they looked so good just a little bit ago - I wish I had taken an interum picture - but you'll have to believe me.

Although I did have more radishes, I was over it, so didn't try a third batch.  I might try again in the near future - they were tasty.

{P}Inspired - Christmas Box

Last post from my Christmas In July cropping.

This was inspired by a Pinterest Pin - that you can find here.  The one in the pin looks like a fuzzy paper, but mine uses a paper smooth red paper with a small pattern on it.  Up close it almost looks like material.  The belt is from a rhinestone strip, and the buckle is a silver glitter paper, which I actually cut from a glittery gift box I had.  


The top of the box is an embellishment from thee My Minds Eye Lost and Found Christmas pack, which just says Merry Christmas and has some red glitter on it.

This project was pretty easy, but it does take some time to let dry.  I used clothespins to hold the paper on the box until the Scrappy Glue was dry.

{P}Inspired - Memo Notes

First, I found these post it note holders on Pinterest here.

I bought the picture holders to make them ... oh ... probably over a year ago.  A couple of weeks ago, I finally got the chance to make them, and I made several.  Here's a couple that I did ...

You can buy the photo holders going either way ... upright or sideways.  I tried it both ways, and think that the sideways ones are easier to write on when you use them.

So then while surfing through Pinterest (I'm hopeless addicted), I found that someone turned how you stand the acrylic photo holder.  You can see the pin here.  Absolutely Brilliant!

So I changed the ones I did to sit that way, so that it is easier to write on when you make a note.


Are you still with me .... 

Fast forward to the Christmas in July Virtual crop with the Kitchen Keepsake group.  I decided that rather than a traditional note holder, I could make a Countdown to Christmas display.  Did you know that you can write on an acrylic frame with dry erase marker?  Besides acrylic, you can also use them on glass.

So here's my Countdown to Christmas display.  All I need is the marker and I'm good to go.  I used papers from the 2010 Echo Park WinterTime Collection, which came with the letter stickers and embellishments.

I think I'm going to make some more.  I really like them.  My birthday is coming up ... maybe I'll make a countdown to my birthday, or freak out the boss and do a countdown to retirement - shoot ... I would need a little more space for that number.


{P}Inspired ... Sausage and Egg Tarts

Found this recipe on Pinterest (where else).  It's super easy and tasty.  I try, try, try to stay on a low carb diet, and am always on the lookout for breakfast foods that either can be premade and reheated, or are quick to make.

This one can be done either way.


Sorry about the picture ... I tend to forget about taking the picture until I've already taken a bite so this was actually what was left over from the batch I made.  Perfect for reheating.

You can find the recipe by clicking here or the pin is here.

I used the same sausage that she did, and if you notice in the picture there are 8 sausage rounds and you make 12 tarts, so you just have to spread it around some.  It was easy to split it up to fill the 12 cups.  I used real eggs (the recipe said 6 - 8 and I used 6) and I added diced red and yellow peppers that I had on hand.  When I took them out of the oven, I took a knife and split the top and added a portion of a slice of cheddar.  I really split the top to make sure they were cooked through and then decided to add the cheddar because I like cheese and I had a wonderful Boars Head Aged Cheddar in the fridge.

So on to the taste - they were great which I guess is why I'm sharing.  The eggs were cooked but not dried out and the sausage gave the dish a tasty kick.  I think next time, I'll try some other veggies just to change it up a bit.  This one is a keeper!

{P}inspired ... Beer Cake

A few weeks ago, I saw this pin on pinterest.

It was about making a three tiered cake out of beer.  This is not a cooking thing, you actually used beer cans to create the cake.  Now, when I saw this, I immediately thought of my friend Cindy who would be celebrating a milestone birthday this month, so I filed it away on my craft board.

Cindy's birthday is Sunday, and since I work with her, I left the cake on her desk for her to find when she came in to work yesterday.  I would have posted yesterday, but I didn't want her to see it before she got to work and saw it in real life.

So here's my interpretation of the beer cake pin.


For those that want to make this, I used 12", 10" and 8" cardboard cake rounds.  The first hurdle was finding the cake rounds.  Most are sold in multipacks, and since I don't bake, I didn't want to have 9 of each size left over.  I found a pack of 3 - 12" ones at Michaels, and just cut 2 of them down to size.  The second hurdle was the happy birthday ribbon, which I also found at Michaels.

Pretty much, you just stack the beer cans on the cake round and then tie the ribbon around it.  The ribbon sort of keeps it in place, but I also used glue dots to give it some more stability - not on every can, but on several.  The very top, I put a flameless candle, after all, you can't have a cake without a candle.  

I was pleased with how it came out.  She was pleased and Miller Lite is her favorite, and several people at work thought it was a pretty cool idea, of course, I couldn't take full credit since I found the idea on Pinterest.

{P}inspired ... Yogurt covered Blueberries

Ahhh ... another Pinterest find.  So yummy.

I like blueberries, I like greek yogurt, and they're both a healthy snack.  I found this link on Pinterest where the blueberries were dipped in yogurt and then frozen.

The instructions seemed simple enough.  You pour the yogurt in a bowl, put a blueberry on a toothpick and swirl it in the yogurt, then freeze. 

I used blueberries, and blueberry greek yogurt.  My fridge/freezer is a side by side, so I couldn't use a full size tray, so I used a foil covered paper plate.


Although it seemed easy, it wasn't as easy as it sounded.  Because the greek yogurt is kind of thick, the berries kept wanting to jump off the toothpick.  Some berries had full coverage with the yogurt, others didn't.  You could also see where the toothpick was, which I didn't particularly like.  Let me say, it wasn't a complete fail.  It worked, they froze well, and it was a tasty treat.  I just don't think that I'd spend the time doing it again.

Here's my finished product:


I would consider myself a lazy cook, so for my next try I think I am going to dump the yogurt in a bowl, gently stir in the berries, then use the toothpick to move them from the bowl to a sheet and freeze.  It seems to me that it would go much faster.  I'll let you know when I try it ... who knows it could be a big failure.

One other thing I thought I'd mention ... when you take these out to eat, they unfreeze quickly, so I just take out a few at a time when I want a treat and I'm at the freezer -- you know ... you're standing there with the door open contemplating what's going to satisfy you at the moment.  Instead of reaching for the tub of icecream or the chocolate bar, having these yogurt blueberries works much better ... especially if you are trying to eat healthier - LOL.

{P}inspired ... Brown Sugar Scrub

I am a big fan of Pinterest.

I probably pin too many things, and some might say I need an intervention.

That being said, I do sometimes find great information, like how to kill ants, and how to fold a bag of chips so you don't need a chip clip, and my personal favorite, how to fold up those plastic shopping bags so they aren't a big wad of mess (like mine used to be).

I also have found lots of crafty stuff to try, and this past weekend I did just that.  I made a Brown Sugar Scrub which was originally pinned from Stephanie Lynn's Under the Table and Dreaming Blog.  I started with this craft, because I had recently bought some containers at Walmart (I don't remember what exactly I bought them for in the fist place), and I had all the other ingredients in my pantry.  Being a scrapbooker/stamper didn't hurt either because I had all the decorative items to complete the jar and make it look nice.

Basically, you just put Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Oil (I used olive oil because I couldn't find sunflower), and Vanilla in a bowl and mix (you can get the exact measurements from the link above). Easy, easy recipe.  Just mix, scoop into jars, and decorate.

Here's my finished product:


The recipe made these two jars full, which was plenty.  The flowers and ribbon on the jar where from Michaels, and I stamped the tags.  I put the flowers on the side because I didn't want anything on top where you open the lid.  Just my way of thinking.


When I was cleaning up the mixing bowl, I used the remnants and it really did work as a scrub, it smelled pretty good, and since it was all made with food ingredients, I did a taste test and it tasted OK too.  All in all a fun, easy, quick, project.  I could see this being a project at a girl scout meeting (do they have those still ?), but also for adults.

Roasted Chickpeas

Time for the Pin-Did challenge.

Pin-did challenge
Over at the Modern Marigold, there is a weekly challenged called the Pin-Did ChallengeEssentially you actually use one of the pins you've posted on Pinterest as inspiration for your own creation.  I pin quite a bit, so I have lots of inspiraiton to work from.

This week I made Roasted Chickpeas.

From Pinterest:

Roasted ChickPeas

My Try:

Roasted Chickpeas - my try

This was my type of recipe.  Very easy, and can be done in a toaster oven.

You drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, spread them on a baking sheet and toast for about 45 - 60 minutes.  They are done when they are crunchy.  After about 40 minutes, I was taste testing until I felt they were done enough.  Once done, toss with whatever seasoning you like.

I actually used the recipe at WillowBird Baking for a Chili Lime flavor.  There are all sorts of recipes all over the internet, so just do a search.  I'm trying to eat a little healthier these days, so these were great.  If I can only mimic the flavor of Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar chips, I would be in my own personal heaven.

I will try these again.  I might try something a little sweeter using cinnamon and brown sugar, and maybe something with peanut butter flavoring.  Very tasty and fills the need for a healthy crunchy snack.  Best of all, they keep for a couple of days.  For hints, I would say, make sure to spread the chick peas out on the baking sheet as I occaisionally hit one that was mushy - throws off the whole effect - other than that enjoy.