Monthly Archives: August 2009


Now THAT’S a Ham Sandwich!

This sandwich is sort of Croque Monsieur meets Monte Cristo meets Grilled Cheese and is soooo rich and delicious!

First, whisk together an egg [or two] and some milk.  Add a little pepper, paprika, and some fresh chopped rosemary and lemon thyme.  Heat up some butter in a skillet and dip your bread [I used whole wheat sourdough] into the egg mixture, coating both sides.  Cook the bread like you’re making french toast.  When it’s finished, remove the bread from the pan and top with shaved ham, pickles, mayo, and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Melt a little more butter in the skillet and place the sandwich back in for some melting action [about two minutes on each side over low to medium heat].  Remove from pan, cut in half and eat it up!!!  [And yes, I took a bite out of it before taking this picture.  I couldn’t resist!]

shannon's ham


Egg & Purple Potato Casserole

La la la rosemary and thyme … lemon thyme in this case.  I am posting two recipes today – both of which use these fresh and fragrant herbs.  First up is my egg and potato casserole.  I used purple potatoes in this batch because that is what we had picked up at the Prospect Park farmers’ market we went to last Saturday.  Any potatoes will do.

potato herbs

Cube your potatoes and boil for about 8 minutes [should still be firm in the middle].

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together four eggs with a little skim milk [like you are making french toast].  I did mine right in the casserole dish [be sure to spray with a little organic canola oil first!].

eggs & milk

Dice some tomatoes, red peppers, and scallions and stir into egg mixture.  Strain your potatoes, roughly chop your fresh rosemary and lemon thyme and mix it all into the eggs.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.  I also microwaved some turkey bacon and crumbled that in as well.  Now you are ready to pop it into your preheated oven at 375 degrees [covered in foil] for about 45 minutes.

ready for oven

When it’s finished, it will be fluffy, golden, and slightly pulling away from the sides of the casserole dish.  Serve and enjoy!  Great for breakfast, brunch, and even dinner.  Serves four [or two if you’re really hungry!].

egg & purple potato casserole


Handmade Custom Wedding Albums & Guest Books

Ok, I know … I’ve been slacking off on the blog lately.  I do not know where the time goes, but it goes fast.  We are working on moving soon so my free time has been eaten up by browsing at apartment listings … and Ava, oh Ava!  Nine months old and on the verge of WALKING!  She can take about four steps and then she’s on her bum, but you can see the determination on her face.  So as you can imagine, I have my hands pretty full.  That said, I have a few minutes while I wait and see if Ava is going to fall asleep in her crib to bring you today’s post.

After the vows have all been said and the cake has all been eaten and the honeymoon is over [so to speak], you will want to look back and remember all of the beautiful moments from your wedding day.  These handmade custom wedding albums and guest books will hold your memories and well wishes for many years to come.

The photo album keepsake and guest book by Daisy Blu boast hand stitched embellishments and archival quality paper.  Very simple and very elegant.



The handmade albums and guest books by Priscilla Foster are filled with loving care and attention to detail.  Choose from a variety of fabrics, ribbons, and other personalized touches.


Know someone that makes albums and or guestbooks?  Send me a link in the comments section … I love checking out new stuff!!!


Accessories for the Ring Bearer

I am sitting on the sofa staring at my computer screen while Ava takes a nap.  Now is my chance to type away uninterrupted and of course, I am drawing a blank!  It’s too hot to think – even with the A/C running.  Or maybe it’s my rumbling stomach reminding me that I skipped breakfast.  Now the big decision for the day – do I make something to eat, sit and wait for the words to come to me, or start cleaning the bathroom?  I was recently reading an article by Kacy Faulconer in Parents magazine titled, “39 Things Every Mom Should Know” and number 3 was ” Do your chores while kids are awake.  Using up naptime to wash dishes or clean the bathroom is truly soul-crushing”, so I guess I’ll keep typing … or make a grilled cheese.

My stomach won.  I made a delicious grilled cheese [cheddar] on organic whole wheat sourdough we got at the Farmers’ Market this weekend.  Yum.  Ava woke up [on cue] just as I sat down to eat it.  Ahhhhh……..What was I blogging about?  Motherhood sidetracks me sometimes.

The ring bearer is part of the wedding tradition dating back to ancient Egyptian times when jewels were presented on ornamental pillows during the ceremony.  When the exchanging of rings became a part of getting married, these traditions were combined.  In today’s weddings, the ring bearer is usually a young boy related to the bride or groom who carries the rings down the aisle on a pillow.  Some couples have the actual rings loosely sewn onto the pillow with thread, while others leave the rings with the best man and send the bearer down the aisle with fakes.  We will have my nephew, Taylor, carry our rings for us … and I haven’t decided if we will go with a traditional pillow or one of these beautiful custom bowls from Paloma’s Nest.


If we do go the traditional route, Emici Bridal has a wonderful selection of pillows to choose from.


Nothing is cuter than children dressed to the nines in loads of tulle [girls] and cute little tuxes [boys].  Taylor will be wearing a tuxedo for our ceremony and thanks to Me and Matilda, I have tons of great handmade bow ties to choose from – love the colors and patterns!



There is also a whole bunch of ring bearer gear out there for your dog, but I’m saving that for a post I have in the works for animal attire.  Okay, the babers is eating a magazine.  Gotta run.  XOX!


Love Notes, Newspaper, and Recycled Egg Cartons

Just a quick post today to share a few crafty finds I came across this week …

I fell in love with this the moment I saw it!  A embroidered love note via kate.cupcake.  She makes custom notes too – just check out her Etsy Shop for details!  [Great gift idea!]


I’ve seen tons of crafts you can make from recycled egg cartons and they all look like, “Hey, look at this crappy craft I made out of recycled egg cartons”.  Then I saw these lights on esprit cabane … they actually look like something I might put in my house.  And they are super easy to make.  I bet they would look great brushed with a little gold or silver leaf paper too!


And if I ever have time to make something, I might make one of these baskets fashioned out of newspapers.  What a great idea!  Get the details at CraftStylish.



Tasty Couscous Salad

I just recently became a big fan of couscous.  I had eaten it before – usually as a muted little side dish, but never as the star of the meal.  I love the texture of it … the way it rolls around and pops in your mouth.  Delicious!  I was staring in my cupboard and refrigerator today wondering what I would have for lunch and this box of couscous stared back at me …


So, I got out my cutting board and chopped up a red pepper, halved some grape tomatoes, shredded a carrot, performed a chiffonade on some fresh basil leaves, and peeled two mandarin oranges.  I poured 1 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of the couscous, covered it, and let it sit for five minutes.  When it was ready, I fluffed it, added a pat of butter and my veggie/citrus mix.  Then I stirred in about a tablespoon of honey and squeezed in the juice of one orange.  That’s it!  Serve warm or chilled!  Would be great with some almond slivers tossed in too!

tasty couscous salad


Couscous & Eggplant Casserole

I made this versatile dish for us last week and we gobbled it up without even missing the meat [we love a good steak here in the Shirley household]!  It’s fairly easy to make and can be made ahead and thrown back into the oven to heat up again when you’re ready.

To Make Couscous & Eggplant Casserole …  Slice off the top [and discard] of a large eggplant and then cut into bite sized cubes, lightly salt and set aside.  [I removed the skin from one half of the eggplant and left it on the other just to have different textures.]  Saute onions and red peppers in olive oil with salt, pepper, a little bit of cumin, and some cinnamon.  Toss in your eggplant cubes [or use a separate pan if yours isn’t big enough] and add a little more olive oil.  Be careful with how much oil you are using – eggplant is super absorbent and you don’t want it to be greasy.  If you have them on hand, toss in a handful of golden raisins too.  Keep on medium heat until tender then remove and set aside.


Meanwhile, cook your couscous according to package directions [mine took just five minutes and I tossed the ‘spice pack’ that was included].  In a small bowl mix about 1/2 cup ricotta cheese [goat cheese or fresh mozzarella would work well in this dish too], fresh chopped parsley, and a squirt of lemon juice [or some orange or lemon zest].  Now the fun part – mix everything together in a casserole dish or baking pan, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional ten minutes.  Eat.


I would have taken a prettier picture of it plated, but we couldn’t wait long enough to eat it.  When you have an eight month old that isn’t sleeping through the night, you eat when you can and you do it fast.  :-)  Enjoy!

baby / tots creativity life

Keeping a Baby Journal

When I was pregnant Mike brought home a pretty little journal for me to document my pregnancy and Ava’s childhood.  I write in it as if I am writing to her and will give it to her to read when she is older.

my journal

I must admit that there are a lot more entries from when I was pregnant than since Ava was born … I had more time back then!  I write in it honestly and with an open heart about all of the laughs and frustrations and everything inbetween.


I like journals with a leather cover, as they seem to stand the tests of time.  This suede wrap journal from Kate’s Paperie is hand crafted in Italy and I just love the color options! Fill up the pages with tales of morning sickness and interrupted sleep … oh and of course first words, steps, and smiles.

katespaperiewrapjournalThis delightful “Smile” journal by Jenni Bick comes in yellow, black, pink, and green and can be personalized [embossed]!


I also came across a great article from Quinn Creative on making your own journal – tons of links!  Get out that pen and start writing!! XO.

creativity wedding

Wedding Place Cards & Favors – Buy Handmade or DIY

In my opinion weddings should be small, intimate gatherings as opposed to huge, lavish affairs.  I see no need to invite everyone you have ever met [ie – your fourth cousin and  the guy that grooms your dog].  I feel like the bigger the wedding, the more it becomes about the “Event” and less about the actual union of two people in love.  We are planning a small wedding full of people we cherish and lots of beautiful details.  “A Romantic Evening in the Country”.

My father passed away unexpectedly this past December, but I want to make sure he is remembered at the wedding.  He loved nature – especially pine trees.  The house is surrounded by them [literally].  So, in honor of his memory we will be handing out little seedling pines to our guests.  I found these online at Plant a Memory and they gave me a great idea.  We are going to purchase the pines from a local nursery and then make our own casings out of cardboard paper towel tubes.  We can design our own memorandum / how to plant sheets [on recycled paper] and tie them off with some raffia and maybe a few dried wildflowers.  I’m even thinking about decoupaging the tubes [sounds like a project for my mom and mother-in-law to be!  lol].


And keeping with the nature theme … check out these heart shaped bird seed favors by 2 Birds in Love.  Made with locally grown organic seed in Frankenmuth, Michigan.


I like the idea of adding some calligraphy to these origami paper cranes by Craftation and using them as place cards for your wedding guests.


I think these delicate paper globes are beautiful.  They would look great strung up mobile style or in a streamer line … and they would make great holiday ornaments too!  There’s something so whimsical and romantic about them.  Handmade by an elementary art teacher, Guy’s Art Gal.



If you’re crafty [or know someone who is], you can save money by making some of the wedding favors and decorations on your own.  You can’t buy the sentiment that personal touches add.  Mom & Carin, hope you have your glue guns ready!  XO


Fun with Food – Art, Books, and Gourmet White Castle

I’ve been a little behind on my posts the past week or so … so much going on!  Ava is approaching the nine month mark and is more active than ever [what on Earth will I do when she starts walking?!?!].  She loves pulling herself up on anything she can reach and her new favorite hobby is taking things out of boxes or off of shelves and throwing the contents onto the floor for me to pick up so she can do it all over again.  And we are planning a move in the next month or so [more details on that to come]!!  I’ve started several posts that I haven’t had the time [or energy] to finish, but today I am determined to hit that “publish” button!

It’s no secret that little ones love to play with their food, but now it seems to be all the rage for adults too.  The only difference is that we adults call it Art instead of a mess!

Brazilian artist, Vanessa Dualib, turned her passion for playing with food into a book rightfully titled, “Playing With Food”.  This book is fun to look at and although I don’t think it was her intention, gives me tons of ideas for getting kids to eat their vegetables!!



Doesn’t this look like a tasty tapas platter you might find at some popular eatery?


Guess again!  It’s all made from this fast food order from White Castle!!  For more gourmet fast food creations, check out Fancy Fast Food!


This installation by talented artist, Hanna Von Goeler, is titled “Biogen” and drew inspiration from the genetic engineering of tomatoes.  The wire sculpture is covered in dried tomato skins that have been sewn together.


And to round up today’s fun food post, I leave you with the twisted foodie blog, Insanewiches.  The title says it all [insane sandwiches].


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