Sunday, January 24, 2010

Carrie's Chicken Salad

Submitted by Michelle
You may recall that in my last blog entry I wrote about Carrie's chicken salad sandwiches and how I can't get enough of them...well, this past Saturday my dreams came true. Carrie came over to stamp AND she showed me how to make her savory spread. She also gave me permission to share her recipe with you so here it is!
You will need chicken breasts. I used 2 large ones that I had left over from a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You could also poach (a.k.a. boil) raw chicken breasts or bake some up if you don't want to buy a rotisserie chicken. The only no-no to this recipe would be using canned chicken. The flavor would not be the same and besides, canned chicken grosses me out.

You'll also need mayonnaise. Carrie says it HAS to be Best Foods. No Miracle Whip or cheapie grocery store brand. Along with the mayo you'll need DILL relish (not sweet relish), onion, celery, salt, pepper, and spices such as dried dill and garlic powder.

The last key to this recipe is a Food Chopper. Carrie has a Pampered Chef chopper and I love this recipe so much that I'm going to order one for myself, though I am not big on having gadgets when a knife will do the job, however I think the reason I love this chicken salad so much is because the chicken is chopped so small. I think you could also use a Cuisinart to chop your chicken and Carrie claims that she used to chop the chicken with a knife prior to her Pampered Chef days. Whatever you choose to use to chop your chicken make sure it goes from looking like this...
to this...
Carrie doesn't have measurements for this recipe so we used 3 stalks of celery and 1/2 an onion, chopped super small. (If you have the Pampered Chef food chopped you can chop the celery and onion with it too!)
Actually, we didn't use all of the onion shown above. We used about 3/4 of that. It really depends on how much oniony flavor you like.

We put the chicken, celery and onion in a big bowl and then added 2 heaping tablespoons of the dill relish and about 1 cup of mayonnaise. We mixed it all together and added salt, pepper and spices to taste.
It ends up looking like this:
The first time Carrie brought her chicken salad to my house I would have swore she used canned chicken because it was chopped so small. It looks delish, don't you think?

This chicken salad makes great sandwiches, especially if you fire up the panini press and grill them on some tasty bread. (We used La Brea Bakery Three-Cheese & Semolina loaf.) It would also be good as part of a salad, perhaps with lettuce, grapes and some nuts.
To finish off our lunch, Carrie also brought some peanut butter cookie dough that she made from scratch. We put some mini chocolate chips on top, baked them off and had a fantastic dessert.
Once I get that recipe from her, I'll share it with you too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bigger Isn't Always Better

Submitted by Michelle

Carrie came over on Sunday for another afternoon of stamping. It is great having a friend who lives nearby and brings lunch along with her stamping supplies. This week it was her famous chicken salad sandwiches which I MUST blog about someday soon if she'll let me share the recipe. They are to die for! But I digress...

Carrie worked on Valentine's as well as treat bag toppers. She hails from Michigan and has to send her gifts out early.
Inside this card Carrie stamped Happy Valentine's Day and added a punched out heart. Tres cute!
Carrie used the Sending Love Specialty Designer Series Paper from the Stampin' Up! Occassions Mini Catalog on this project. I love how the paper is sparkly and shimmery. And as always, the good ol' top note die for the Big Shot makes the perfect bag topper.
My mission on Sunday was to clear all the miscellaneous projects OFF of my craft table. Here is what I came up with:
This little number must be at least 2 years old. I remember creating some sort of 3X3 card for my Claremont club during a summer a while back...I had lots of the paper and ribbon cut so I just went with a patriotic theme and made this card. The star is embossed in silver which dresses the card up a bit.
The paper for this card was originally cut for a workshop I did last year. We made a baby themed gift card. This time around I used it to create a generic card that you could use for any occasion. The stamp set is one of my new favs from the Occasions Mini Catalog. It is called Vintage Vogue and I can't get enough of it.
Finally, I had at least 10 scallop circles cut and I know I used them to make a Christmas card in 2008. Not wanting to let them go to waste, I pulled out some old designer series paper and made a birthday card. I used the Happy Moments stamp set from the Sale-A-Bration catalog. Many of my stamping friends know that I am a HUGE fan of the stamp-a-ma-jig, a tool that lines up images perfectly. Well ladies and gents, I'd like to report that Stampin' Up! has come out with Clear Mount stamps that are used on acrylic blocks eliminating the need for the stamp-a-ma-jig. The birthday cake and the words "happy birthday" are 2 separate images. On every card I was able to stamp the cake and then the words and line them up perfectly with my new clear mount stamps.

It feels good knowing I put some extra paper to good use and it is nice having more room on my craft table for new projects. Now if I just had a chicken salad sandwich to munch on...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Cultural Experience

Submitted by Michelle

Over the weekend I experienced a Mexican QuinceaƱera. Claudia, the daughter of my front row friend Veronica, turned 15 this month and in their culture it is traditional to have a coming of age ceremony, much like the Jewish Bar Mitzvah or the American Sweet 16.
The day started with a special mass at a Catholic Church. Celeste and David went with me.
Isn't her dress amazing???

Though the mass was in Spanish, I know enough of the language to understand most of what was going on. During the mass Claudia read scripture and expressed her love for and gratitude of her family. Veronica also spoke about Claudia, expressing how proud she was of her and how much she loved her.
Celeste's older brother Gregory was a chambelan. He was one of several young men who served as Claudia's escorts for the celebration.
Afterwards, there was a party to celebrate Claudia, complete with dinner and dancing. Claudia and the Chambelans performed 2 dances that they have been rehearsing for several months. They did an amazing job!

Claudia in her dancing dress and her beautiful mom, Veronica

I was so happy to be included in such a special and joyous occasion. Having lived in Southern California for most of my life, I found it so interesting to take part in something that I have heard about for years but never experienced first hand. Congratulations, Claudia!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Loveland, CO Postmark: Not Too Late!

Submitted by Linda

This past Saturday I was lucky enough to be creating some valentines with some FRFs (Front Row Friends), and here is what we worked on:
This cute 3x3 card was super simple with the scallop border punch and the small tag punch.
This repeat from last year is so sweet with the scallop envelope and the hearts popping out!
These giant 'metal edge tags' are really lids from frozen juice. We attached scallop and circle punched papers, and viola! A great big tag to attach to a cello bag of candy!
Use a crop-o-dile to punch the hole!
This is the backside......
Now, this is the time when it pays to plan ahead! Last year I wrote a similar post about sending your valentines EARLY to the postmaster in Loveland, Colorado, so that you can have your cards sent out with the most dear postmark and poem.

For 63 years, the Loveland Post Office, has re-mailed valentines. Last year over 200,000 cards were handled by Loveland, from 100+ countries and all 50 states. More than 12 million valentines have been re-mailed since the program started in 1947. Look here for more info on Loveland.

Here's what to do! To have valentines re-mailed with the Loveland postmark, enclose your pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes (with postage) and mail in a large stamped envelope to:

Postmaster
Valentine Re-mailing
446 E. 29th St.
Loveland, CO 80538

Deadlines: Valentines headed OUT of the U.S. should be in Loveland by Wednesday, February 4.
Valentines whose destination is in the U.S. should be in Loveland by Monday, February 9.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day

Submitted by Michelle
Tomorrow is my stamp club in Claremont so I've been prepping all evening long. We'll be making the two cards I posted here as well as another card that I copied from the latest Sale-A-Bration catalog. Check it out.
Cute right? Why waste time designing a card when the professionals at Stampin' Up! have already done the work for you.

In preparation for "Valentimes" (as the kinder kids say) this card will be a bonus for my girls in C-mont.
I used my new I {heart} hearts wheel and Perfect Polka Dots impressions folder, both found in the Occasions Mini Catalog.

And now that my work is done, off to bed I go!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Fun

Submitted by Michelle
Yesterday 3 of my friends and fellow stampers, Carrie, Lisa and Rachel, came over and spent the afternoon in my craft room. Everyone worked on their own projects and we had a great time talking, stamping and listening to music. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday. Totally low key and in the company of good friends. Here's what we got done.
Lisa, who is Celeste's mom, was working on Valentines for Celeste to use next month. She created a single card that Celeste can sign on the back and give to her friends. She wanted the look to be kid-like and she was able to use up some of her old product, making room for the new.
Rachel was in need of birthday cards so she took inspiration from my display board and re-created a card I made a while ago, though the idea to use the large cupcake on the card was totally from Rachel! (How come I never thought of that??)
Carrie was inspired by a Thank-You card Linda and I made 3 years ago to match our Christmas cards. Carrie made it her own by changing the colors.
Carrie also came up with this cute cupcake card. So simple, but way cute! I love the Basic Black cardstock in combination with the Melon Mambo.
And I was working on ideas for my upcoming Claremont club. I rarely make sympathy cards but I think it is a good idea to have them on hand so I created this one using the Sizix Top Note die on the Big Shot and Thoughts and Prayers stamp set.

I'm still in love with the Medallion stamp so I used it on this card. My 3 stamping amigas all said they liked it. I'm still not sure. It may get tweeked a bit this week.
I hope your Sunday was enjoyable, no matter how you spent it, and here's to impromptu crafting with front row friends.

Friday, January 1, 2010

SoCal "Must Do": Mission Inn Riverside

Submitted by Linda
I know that I joke about living my life in a 2 mile radius, but sometimes, we Southern Californians can miss out on local gems. Last December, I read an article in the L.A. Times about the extravagant light display at the Mission Inn in Riverside. We meant to go, but a broken hand and a trip to the E.R. kept us local.

This year, I was determined to get there. About 3.5 million lights depict toy soldiers, elves, gifts, snowflakes, Santa, etc. The hotel takes up a city block and looks like a combination of California Mission and European villa, with grounds that include courtyards, a bell tower, a clock tower, a rotunda, chapels, fountains, restaurants and a spa. Many famous guests, including 10 presidents, have graced the premises and have added to the quirky history of the hotel. The picture below is the entrance before dark......
And here it is, lit up with tons of lights!Craig really liked these palm trees. They were wrapped with white lights on the trunks, with tons of red lights on the palm branches.
Horse and carriage rides are available in these beautifully lit carriages. One of the carriage companies was "Cinderella Cindy's Carriage Rides". It really looks like a fairy tale!
Here are Craig and I in the lobby in front of a very tall tree.
The "Festival of Lights" goes through this Sunday, January 3rd. But if you miss out this year, put it on your calendar for December 2010!