January 16, 2014

Black Bean Crackers with Jalapeño Popper Dip

That game above all games is set to be played in a couple weeks. My f.i.l. purchased a new TV before Christmas, anticipating his team being there.
Since I wouldn’t desire to be anywhere near MetLife Stadium in February, we will do our tailgating indoors!
What better time, Kristen, to try out new Cheese & Cracker recipes, huh? Smile
As I was serving a crock of slow-cooker black beans to my sons the other day, I told them not to eat it all because I needed a little for the crackers I would be making with roasted red peppers. My youngest exclaimed, “You will be adding roasted garlic, right?!” So… credit given for inspiration, Harrison!ejblackbeanFor the crackers you can use a food processor to whirl all but the rice flour, then transfer to saucepan to heat. I thought it would be much simpler to just toss everything into my little pan then use the hand blender to chop.ejdoughAfter the rice flour is stirred into the boiled ingredients, it’s time to roll the crackers out on the silicone baking mat. (or however you’ve prepare your pan)ejcrackersI simply score the dough with the pizza wheel before transferring pan to oven.ejtoastedAfter baking 15-30 minutes (it really depends on how thin you want to roll them & how crisp you wish the crackers to be) they are turned into another pan and toasted for about 5 minutes.ejcrackers
I love this dip/spread. Next time I have been requested by the hubs to use more jalapeños – I just didn’t want to offend anyone’s palate this first try…ejjaladipThis topping is quite delicious! I will have to try it as a breading for something fried one of these days.ejtopping
I will probably double this recipe next week; and prepare but freeze for baking just before the BIG GAME.poprdprecipeOh! and next time I bake crackers I’ve been requested to add chipotlé.blkbnrecipe
Such a delicious combo!elisabethjeanPlease check out some other cheese & cracker participants:

January 14, 2014

baby boy giftings:

goodThe past year has been full of pregnancy revelations, baby showers & births. Here are a few things I’ve stitched these last couple months for some boys:bear(Doesn’t every nursery need a bear-skin rug?)binkieI “mustache” if you like my binky…mustache(this design comes from Embroidery Garden)blanketAnd for the sports-minded family, we’ve got an oh-so-soft basketball blankie,soccera soccer ball hat,biba baseball bib,lacesand a football onesie.

dudeI remember a time when each of my boys should’ve been wearing one of these… Smile

dude bottomAnd, last but not least,cardsI got to make a few cards with my Silhouette cutter!

…now, I’ve got to go finish up a few girlie gifts…

January 9, 2014


Christmas gifts for teachers – a great way to show appreciation for their incredibly tough job of working with my boys. Wish I could give them all $200 to spend on themselves or for room supplies… But that is not in my budget. What is in my budget is time. Time spent baking gifts with love. My gifts are remembered, evidently. cookiesOur first biscotti blitz occurred in December of 2011. So August 2012 when I was registering the boys for school, one of the teachers asked if I would be making biscotti for Christmas again. Hadn’t really thought about it at that point, but I kept it in mind... Yeah -- Here were the cookie selections for last year:labeledAs November rolled around this past year, I decided I would change it up a bit and make like 3 different flavors of my caramel corn and a couple other candies. But my youngest said, you know Mom, the teachers are asking about their Christmas biscotti.


So I planned out my flavors. I made:

ejcaramelappleCaramel Apple




ejcherryeggnogCherry Eggnog


ejredvelvetRed Velvet


ejreesespbReese’s® Peanut Butter


ejlemonblueberryand Lemon Blueberry.DSCN9407My sophomore told me he was getting dirty looks from previous years’ teachers as he delivered his gifts…DSCN9401…and the youngest told me a couple of his instructors were inquiring as to whether or not any more little Shinglers would follow him…DSCN9402

(I will be posting recipes for these 6 varieties of biscotti, sometime… )

Spending Christmas together

Many people are unable to celebrate holidays with the ones they love.spending time at the grandparents'Time, distance, death, bad choices and/or consequences of sin can cause the “circle to be broken”…grandma & grandpaI was blessed this year through technology to transcend the time & distance issue.borrowed your picMy loved one is over seven thousand miles and eleven time zones away; yet we were able to re-create a bit of our growing-up years by playing a flute/piano duet.

Scan0009(playing in the “dark ages”)

Growing up in a small church we had many musical opportunities – Christmas Eve service would afford our family chances to sing or play instruments, in varying configurations. (4 kids, 5 instruments, 6 vocalists or any combination thereof… you can do the math…)old5Daddy was regularly requested to sing “Gesu Bambino” – my mom accompanied him for years until I could pound it out on the keys.



So, on a busy pre-Christmas Friday morning I opened this note in my email. Quick internet search brings me to suitable music.gesubambinoI eventually came to the conclusion that the easiest way to send her the accompaniment was to record it off my Yamaha keyboard and upload it to YouTube.

I did not have the opportunity of hearing her “play with me,” but she sent word that it went well. I was blessed; and I pray the people she played for were touched as well.old1I love you, Sister! Thank you for the occasion to spend a little time together.

January 7, 2014

“A Toy Christmas” production

No sooner had the final curtain dropped on the junior high production of  “James And The Giant Peach”… then we were into costuming for the high school’s annual rendition of  “A Christmas Carol” spin-off. This year the theme was borrowed from Disney’s Toy Story movies: “A Toy Christmas” was born…programThe characters were brainstormedboardand the costumes planned out. (This video produced by the school documents some of the drama behind the scenes…) Smile

We again spent hours at our favorite discount fabric store, SAS. Our favorite behind-the-bridal-cutting-counter employee Svetlana always takes time to do our nearly hour-long cutting/counting/weighing process to check out.enlargeMy largest first project was fitting “Hamm” with a generic pattern. Here’s how I did it:

  1. I used about 13 feet of paper off the artist roll…

  2. I split the pattern piece down the “straight of grain” arrow,

  3. then I cut where it said “lengthen or shorten here”.

  4. I marked straight lines on the paper to keep the pattern pieces properly aligned.

  5. Used a glue stick to adhere the pattern tissue to the artist paper.

  6. Carefully pressed the tissue into the proper corners.

  7. I tore off the excess paper from the back (as it was difficult to pin through.)

  8. Removed paper from both sides of enlargment.

  9. ta-da!hamm

These were the other costumes under my care:buzzduorexslinkdollywoodyhammhood

What a grand show it was!

Love that Green Army Men Stomp!
This is video I captured during the second performance. Love that Green Army Men Stomp!

If you’d like to see more pictures of “A Toy Christmas” you can do that here. (I “borrowed” a few myself, since I wasn’t sitting close enough to get a good shot…) Smile