Friday, January 9, 2009

Valentines anyone?

There are a TON of paper craft ideas out there that could easily be transformed into a sweet valentine for a friend :)
Here are some of my favorites -- cheesy valentine sayings included.
(All pictures are courtesy of the sites I link to)

Valentine Treat

I think these are absolutely adorable -- and so easy!! These cute little treats are actually individually wrapped lifesavers. These would be great for a class valentine exchange.

Strawberry treat

I really like 3D projects. This one holds a few small treats. You could easily do a line like "Valentine, you're Berry Sweet" Also, the link has the template you can download to make them yourself. If you have Cricut DS software there is a cut file you can download :)

Party Hats

Ok, so I realize these are supposed to be witches hats. I was thinking they would make adorable party hats -- think party favors -- or in this case, Valentines. How about putting a saying (on the bottom) like, "Hats off to you Valentine," or "Valentine, you're the life of the party"

Treat Bag

These cute little bags would be incredibly simple to transform into a valentine. All of the instructions are on the link. If you happen to have Cricut DS software I have a cut file for a bag like this with a window in the shape of a heart :D

Chocolate Holder

I really like this 3D box -- the perfect size to hold three Ghiradelli chocolates -- yum! The instructions are kind of involved so it would make a great Valentine for a close friend or family member.

I resolve to...

This year I decided to set a goal to seriously spice things up. Well, not a goal so much as instigate a new habit: New Food Friday.
My poor husband has been suffering from eating the same meals over and over again and it was time for a change. Each Friday I'm trying a new recipe for dinner. If it's good I'll share it on here.
Luckily tonight was OH SO GOOD. The kind that is 100% worth blogging about -- perhaps even dreaming about.

Tonight's recipe is .....
Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Now let me start by saying I used to be afraid of veggie burgers. Up until about 1 1/2 ago I thought they sounded terrifying and completely yuck ( I think I was envisioning a brocolli patty or something). Luckily my eyes were opened and I was introduced to the Gardenburger and it's been a regular in our home ever since. Unfortunately Gardenburgers aren't cheap and it's always a hit-and-miss if Costco will even have them in. Nontheless I've been intimadated by homemade veggie-burger recipes. Until tonight. It was sheer serendipity that I came across this recipe this evening. I don't know how it came up on but I'm so glad it did :) It was easy, and delicious and healthy and inexpensive. Is there a better combination!? Either way that was my super long introduction to one of my (now) favorite meals:

*I added some changes to the original recipe based on users comments. You'll see here the exact recipe I used, which is not identical to the original online.

* 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
* 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled
* 2 eggs
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce (optional. I did not use it)
* 1.5 cups lightly ground whole oats

1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet. *** I used my electric griddle and set it to 375 degrees***
2. In a medium bowl,COMPLETELY DRY Beans. Then mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. COMPLETELY drain the chopped veggies of any excess water/juices. **I put mine in a strainer and pushed them down until the juice came out the holes.*** Then stir into mashed beans.
4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in oats until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.**mine made 6** I also stuck mine in the fridge for about 15 minutes at this point to allow it to solidify more.
6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

I also want to add that I think using an avocado or guacamole with slices of sharp cheese helped it to taste so moist and yummy.