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Coconut Sugar Scrub

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Wrapping up Food week- Mixed Berry Crisp

Food week is coming to an end, and I’ve saved one of my favourite fall desserts for last.  I found a bag of mixed berries next to a bag of oatmeal in my freezer and thought these two could be great together.  I also love a traditional apple crisp, but I thought the berries would be a nice change.  Fruit crisp is a pretty straight forward recipe and there are lot so variations, so feel free to browse the web.  I threw this one together on my own.

You’ll need:

  • Oatmeal- quick cook oats
  • mixed berries- frozen or fresh
  • cinnamon
  • sugar
  • cornstarch
  • flour
  • butter

In an effort to make room in my freezer for all the other meals, I had placed the berries in the fridge.  I liked this better since I could drain the excess juice so the crisp wouldn’t be runny.  The bag wasn’t full, but I ended up with about 2.5  cups of berries. All the other measurements were based on the amount of berries.  I added 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1 tbsp of cornstarch to the berries and mixed.

Portion out the berries in little meat pie tins.


In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup of flour.  I also added the 1/4 cup of sugar mixed with cinnamon left over from my Cinnamon Swirl Bread and 2 tbsp of butter.  Mix together until combined.  I started off using the fork, but it worked better mixing by hand.


Pour the mixture over top of the berries.


Cover with plastic wrap and foil, and freeze.  When you’re ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and foil, bake at 350F until heated through.


Or, if you’re like me … keep one out to eat right away.  Once it’s heated, I put it under the broiler to caramelize some of the sugar and get a really crunchy topping.


Also, if you feel like you’re catching a cold, serve with Bourbon Vanilla ice cream, and cuddle up under a blanket to watch Only You.

Robert Downey Jr. in Italy makes everyone feel better.


I hope you enjoyed Food week here at A Paper Buffet!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Operation Fill the Freezer: Double post: Chicken Enchiladas and Chicken Rollatini with Zucchini

Food week continues, and I’ve got a double chicken post for you today!

The first recipe is for Chicken Enchiladas.  In the past, I’ve gone to those ‘we-prep-everything-you-put-together’ cooking places.  I was curious at first, and did it a second time, but I realized 1) I don’t mind the prep work 2) I think it’s a bit expensive for what you get 3) they were recipes that I could make at home.  I’m not dissing these places, I think they’re great for busy families, or people who don’t like to cook.  I had made Beef Enchiladas at one of these places, and realized I could do this at home. 

I decided to make chicken enchiladas with pulled chicken made in the crockpot.  I thought this was the best way to ensure the chicken had a lot of flavour and wasn’t just grilled and cut into strips. 

I made up this recipe, so feel free to add other ingredients as you like. Because this uses a crockpot, you can cook the chicken overnight and then put it together the next day.


You’ll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts- boneless/skinless
  • one can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 pkg taco or fajita seasoning mix
  • wraps- I used whole wheat
  • salsa
  • cheddar cheese
  • crockpot
  • foil freezer pans

I’m not a big fan of cooked peppers, but feel free to add red, green or yellow peppers, and maybe some jalapeños for heat.


Combine the can of diced tomatoes, with the juice and the taco or fajita seasoning in the crockpot.


Add your chicken (you can add more if you want a bigger batch of enchiladas).  Cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours, I guess. I’m still learning this whole crock pot thing).


When the chicken is ready, take it out and shred it with a fork. It will fall apart on it’s own it’s so tender!


Shred your cheddar cheese.

Is there anything better than a mountain of shredded cheese? I think not.


Place a tortilla/wrap in your foil pan and fill with the chicken, salsa, some of the diced tomatoes from the slow cooker and top with shredded cheese.



Roll up and place seam down to keep it rolled.  I put two in each pan, but this will depend on your serving size and the size of your pan.  Cover with shredded cheese.


I was afraid to put any more of the salsa or diced tomatoes on top of the wraps at this point because I don’t want them to be soggy.  I plan to add the salsa before I cook them.  Thaw the night before serving in the fridge. Bake at 350F until the cheese is melted and it’s heated through.   Enjoy!

The second recipe is for Chicken Rollatini with Zucchini, and this is not my recipe.  I found it on Skinny Taste, a recent discovery in my food blog travels, and it looked so good I had to try it.  Gina’s recipes are compatible with Weight Watchers, which is fantastic.  You can see her detailed recipe with specific amounts.  It’s hard for me to adapt the imperial measurements to metric, especially with ounces, so I just eyeballed my ingredients.

I often ask my Italian grandmother for her recipes, and am left mystified when I ask “how much” because she always says, “oh, you’ll know”.  So follow my Nonna’s advice.  You’ll know.  I think it makes for more authentic cooking anyhow.  

I love breaded chicken, and often bake it, but typically I use salad dressing before I bread the chicken. This recipe calls for olive oil mixed with lemon to dip the chicken in before breading, and I was intrigued!

You’ll need:

  • thin chicken breasts- I buy my chicken in bulk, and they are very large, so I cut them lengthwise in threes, and then pounded the chicken flat
  • Olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • grated Parm cheese
  • shredded mozzarella
  • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • lemon juice
  • cooking spray

Shred your zucchini using a cheese grater.  I used the smaller size, but you can use either.

Shred your mozzarella cheese.  I used a ratio of approximately 2 parts zucchini to 1 part cheese, if that helps you. 

The only thing better than a mountain of shredded cheddar cheese, is a mountain of shredded mozzarella cheese, am I right?


Sauté your garlic in some olive oil, and add your zucchini, and the grated parm cheese.  Cook for a few minutes and then when it’s cooled off, add your mozza cheese. 


You don’t want the cheese to melt completely, so you have to wait.


Now spread some of the zucchini mixture onto the flattened chicken and roll up.  Gina is a pro, so she doesn’t need toothpicks to hold the rolls together, but I did.  There’s no shame in toothpicks.


In a small, but wide bowl, combine equal parts of olive oil and lemon juice.  In a 2nd bowl, dump your bread crumbs in here (Gina’s recipe calls for more parm in the breadcrumbs, but my Italian breadcrumbs already had cheese, so I didn’t add any extra).  You’ll dip your chicken into the lemon juice/olive oil, then into the bread crumbs to coat.  Place them in a baking pan.  Now you can remove the toothpicks and they could look something like this. Spray them with the cooking spray.



Bake in a preheated 450F oven for 25-30 minutes.

Wait in agony patiently as the smell of breaded chicken, cheese and zucchini fills your kitchen.

The olive oil and a spritz of cooking spray ensures that the breading is nice and crispy.  The lemon adds just a hint of flavour and works really well with the zucchini and the cheese.  I tried a little roll before I portioned these guys and put them in the freezer and they were incredible.  A little bit of prep work has a big pay off.



Only one recipe left to finish off food week and it’s a sweet dessert- see you tomorrow!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Operation Fill the Freezer- Chicken Pot Pie

Food week continues here at A Paper Buffet and today’s chicken feature is Chicken Pot Pie.  I emailed my dad for his recipe, and while I was making it, I realized, it’s on the back of the soup label! I guess that means I won’t ever have to worry about losing the recipe!  (recipe is adapted from Campbells Chicken pot pie recipe)

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into pieces
  • 4 cups cooked vegetables (you can used canned or frozen)
  • 2 cans cream of potato soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • thyme to taste
  • refrigerated biscuits
  • foil freezer  pans

You could easily make pie crust, or purchase small pie shells, but I couldn’t find anything bigger than appetizer pie shells, that weren’t full pie size, so I went the biscuit route.

Bake your chicken and when cool, cut into cubes.  I baked my chicken with some Herb du Provence, it’s one of my favourite spice blends.  Since it already includes thyme, I knew the flavours would work well together.

I had some fresh celery and carrots to use up, so I chopped those and combined with half of a chopped onion (also known as the cooking-holy-trinity) and sauteed until just tender.  I didn’t want to cook them completely since they will cook in the pie before serving and I didn’t want them to be mushy.

I found some peas in the freezer, so I added those at the last minute, just to make sure all the flavours were combined, but that the peas weren’t cooked completely.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s mushy peas!

I love how colouful this combination is!


In a bowl, combine your cream of potato soup, milk, thyme, salt and pepper. I whisked it until combined and creamy.  Add in your veggies, and cooked chicken and stir to coat.

Panic because your bowl in not big enough.

Divide into foil freezer pans, I had enough for 5* pans (see note below).



Open your can of refrigerated biscuits (have you ever heard the joke about the blonde sitting in the car outside the grocery store, who gets shot in the head?  If not, let me know, and I’ll tell you…) and place the biscuits on top of the pies.  I decided each pan would be two servings, so I used two biscuits for each pan.



Put the lids on each pan, and mark with date and label.


Panic because you overfilled the pans and the soup is oozing out of the lid.


*Write yourself a note to use 6 pans next time to allow for expansion of liquids.


Keep one out because they look so good and bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until biscuits are baked and mixture is hot throughout.


I plan to thaw these the night before I want to cook them so the cooking time is reduced and I don’t burn the biscuits before the veg/chicken mixture is warmed through.




Just a few more recipes to go as Food Week continues!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Operation Fill the Freezer- Roasted Butternut Squash and Zucchini soup

I could eat soup year round. This soup is hearty and I typically make this in the fall/winter.  I have posted this recipe before, but it’s so good, it’s worth repeating.

It was a recipe I made by accident, so feel free to add more roasted veggies or spices if you like.

You’ll need:

  • Butternut Squash
  • Zucchini
  • 2 cooking onions
  • Chicken stock- homemade or prepared; substitute veggie stock if you prefer
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • Immersion or standard blender

You can play with the ration of squash to zucchini to suit your taste.  I wanted this batch to be more squash-y (humour me) so I had one squash to two zucchini.

Cut the zucchini and 1 onion into small pieces, no need to mince them, but try to keep them evenly sized so they cook at the same rate. Place in baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Just remember that zucchini gets peppery when it cooks, so better to under-season than over-season at this point. You can always add more later

Cut your squash, scoop out the seeds and place in baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  I score the squash so it’s easier to peel the skin off once it’s cooked.  Typically I buy the pre-cut and peeled squash, but my supermarket didn’t have any.  This saves one step, as well as cutting the squash, which always makes me nervous because the rind is thick.  Be careful and take your time.

Roast the veggies in a 400F oven until cooked. The zucchini and onions will cook first (that’s why I keep them in a separate pan), about 20 minutes.  The squash, depending on the size can take 30-40 minutes. Just check with a fork, when it’s tender, it’s done. 

See all those caramel-y bits on the onions? that’s what you want.


Let the squash cool a bit so you can peel it.  The skin should come off quite easily, but you may have to get your fingers dirty to make sure you get as much squash off the skin as possible.



Chop the 2nd onion and saute with about 1 tbsp of olive oil in your soup pot, until tender.

Put the cooked veggies into a large pot and cover with your broth.  I was using homemade chicken stock, so I also added a chicken bouillion for some extra flavour.  Because I’ve made this soup quite often, I know that if I just cover the veggies with the broth, it’s the right thickness for me.  As I mentioned, this is a recipe I made up, stumbling upon by accident, so I don’t have any measurements.  If you’re worried about thickness, start with less stock, and you can add to it when you blend it until you get a consistency you like.  You’ll just have to let it simmer after you blend it, so all the flavours come together with the added stock.


Let the veggies and stock simmer; the longer the better.  I usually let it simmer for about 45 minutes, but always no less than 30 minutes.   When your soup is done simmering, transfer to a blender, or use an immersion blender to puree the veggies.  This is where you can adjust the consistency of the soup by adding more stock if it’s too thick for your liking. Puree until smooth.


By now you will be overcome with the deliciousness of the smells in your kitchen, so pour yourself a tiny bowl to enjoy before you portion the soup for the freezer.  If you’re feeling extra special, serve with a dollop of sour cream.



Come back tomorrow for another recipe as Operation Fill the Freezer continues!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Operation Fill the Freezer- Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings

One of my favourite meals as a kid was my mom’s sweet and sour chicken wings.  They’re not hard to make, but they do take a little time because of the basting.  These aren’t low fat wings; there are things you can do to reduce the fat as you go, but I think wings are one of those moderation foods that you need to enjoy with full flavour (read fat). 

You’ll need:

  • Chicken Wings – if you can find skinless, all the better.  I couldn’t find them at Costco, so these ones have skin but have the tips removed
    • I had a package of about 50 wings, and I had enough sauce.  The recipe calls for 24 wings.
  • You can also use chicken thighs if you wanted to

For the sauce (if you want your wings really saucy, double this)

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Chicken bouillion dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • hot sauce to taste

Start by browning the wings.  You can broil them to be able to drain the fat easily, but as I don’t have a broil pan, I browned the wings in a non-stick skillet.

In a sauce pan, mix the ingredients for the sauce.  I didn’t have any lumps from adding the cornstarch directly to the cold ingredients, so there’s no need to dissolve it first.  Whisk the ingredients together and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes over medium heat.


Arrange your wings in a baking/casserole dish and cover with some of the sauce.  I pour out some of the sauce to keep it for when I’m going to serve the wings, and that way I won’t have to worry if I use the wrong spoon with the raw chicken vs. cooked chicken.  Place the wings in a pre-heated 350F oven and baste with the sauce every 10 minutes, for a total of 30 minutes.

Look at those wings! Yum!  I portioned them in small freezer bags, 6-8 wings in each bag, and kept one serving out for dinner that night.  I put the wings under the broiler before serving to get them a bit more crispy on the outside and caramelize the sauce.


While these would go great with oven-baked french fries, or other finger foods, I usually serve these with a salad and veggies so I get some balance and nutrition.

These are great make-a-head wings, and you can bring them to a football party. I’d would double the sauce, bake them as here, but keep them in a warmed crockpot with the extra sauce.


Stay tuned for more recipes as Food Week here at A Paper Buffet continues!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kicking off Food Week: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

The Discovery channel has Shark Week and here at A Paper Buffet, we’re having Food Week!

There is a crispness in the air that can only mean fall.  Which means: I don’t feel like salad for dinner anymore.  Summer meals are light, and fresh; fall foods are warm, spicy, comforting.   I love to cook, and enjoy trying new recipes.  I also love the old standards that I grew up with.  Taking a peek in my freezer, I realized I was running out of chicken and would need to stock up again.

Enter: Operation Fall Freezer Fill-up.

I also realized, I was getting tired of cooking chicken  the same way.  Typically I buy chicken in bulk, portion it and freeze it.  Then I’m stuck trying to figure out what to do with it!  So this week will have a heavy focus on chicken, but some other good eats.

I’m starting off with Cinnamon bread.  I recently found the wonderful food blog Baked Bree and then I found her recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bread.  I love anything cinnamon, and I love bread, so naturally cinnamon bread is a winner.  I, however, do not like raisins.  Supermarkets continue to torture me and I can only find cinnamon-raisin bread. So this recipe was made for me…no raisins!

You’ll need:
  • 1 tbsp quick rise yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs butter

I hauled out my hand-me-down Kitchen-Aid mix stand mixer,  (thanks Mom!) complete with electrical tape, and got to work.  The dough comes together so easily, with just a few simple ingredients.  Combine the flour and the yeast, then add the water, honey, canola oil and salt; let the mixer knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Turn the dough a few times by hand, and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let double (about an hour).  Knead the dough, roll out and cover with melted butter and cinnamon sugar.  Roll up and place into baking pad, cover with towel and let rise for 30 minutes. {You should go see Bree’s post for pictures because it was dark at my place by this time}.

The whole process of making bread fascinates me.  Watching the dough rise gets me every time.  Remember those grow-toys we had as kids? You put them in warm water and they grow to the size of the container? I had an alligator that grew to the size of a giant fish-tank. I digress.

This bread smells incredible while it’s baking.  It’s agony waiting for the 25 minutes (at a 350F oven) to be up.  You know the bread is going to be good when even the cinnamon sugar can’t contain itself!

Oh. My. Goodness.  I nearly burned my hands trying to get at this bread right away.  It turned out a perfect; golden brown on the top and cinnamon goodness bubbling out.

See the cinnamon waterfall? that means it’s going to be good!!

This bread is ooey-gooey deliciousness. See those cinnamon trenches?- heaven. 

A cup of tea or coffee, this is the perfect breakfast, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, after-dinner snack.

It is sweet though.  When I make this again, I will cut down the sugar.  The recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, and I only used 3/4 of a cup and I found it to be a bit too much.  Next time I’ll only use 1/2 a cup and I don’t think it will make a big difference.

Bree suggests this would be amazing as french toast…and I’m considering her other suggestion and make bread pudding, but I can’t guarantee it will last long enough to make anything else. I doubt this will make it to the freezer.

Happy Sunday friends and get ready for Food Week!

Friday, September 9, 2011

to a great pair

I love punny stamps, and one of my favourites is from Stampendous, that features little images and cute sentiments.  My mom ordered an anniversary card, and I knew I had to use this set.  I picked my current fav colour combo of grey and lime green and set to work!

Isn’t it fun! Who wouldn’t love to receive this on their anniversary! The card base is SU Basic Grey, and I’ve layered some Whisper White.  DP is from my stash and I used it on the birthday cards (see previous post), also ordered by mom.  The ribbon is Old Olive satin ribbon and I was surprised how well it worked with the lime green.

I stamped the pear in grey ink, and added another beside it (I really need to get one of those mirroring stamps…) and then came my favourite part- watercolouring.

I used Pear Pizzaz (because it’d be weird if I didn’t), Old Olive and just a hint of Yo Yo Yellow to lighten it up a bit.

Some green rhinestones below the sentiment pulled it altogether.  I used some of the same DP on the inside, but forgot to take a picture.

Such a simple design, but this one still packs a punch because of that bright green.

Happy Friday friends!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Birthday cards in 3,2,1…

My mom called with an order for three birthday cards, feminine, to be hand delivered.  She’s a pro now in telling me the information I need to know right away ;)   She also requested an anniversary card, but I’ll share that with you tomorrow.
Here are the birthday cards I made for her, again using sketches from my Paper Crafts Sketch magazine.
The first card is soft and very “flowy”.  I found a set of flowers I had made when I first got this nestibilities flower die, and thought it was perfect for the sketch.  I stamped the flourish in SU Sage Shadow on some Very Vanilla card stock.   I placed the flower in the centre of the flourish, then added some adhesive pearls.

I love the layers of the flower. I’ve also discovered that spritzing the paper with a fine mist of water helps the paper curl into more realistic flower petals- try it yourself!  The sentiment was also stamped in Sage Shadow, and the card base is Crumb cake.  I kept the inside blank, and matted some more VV cardstock with the SS.

The second and third card uses some brighter papers, but still keeps them feminine.
I typically avoid panels (I hate cutting them) and my nestibilities rectangles just weren’t the right size for what I wanted to do.  But I was hooked on this sketch and really wanted to make it work.  The card base is Night of Navy, and I found some floral DP in my stash.  I distressed the edges of the DP and spritzed it with water to help curl the edge. 

A mat of Basic Grey is the backdrop to the panels, and the flower stems are stamped in matching grey ink.  The present (from Birthday Whimsy, as is the sentiment) was stamped in Brocade blue- a blue with lovely grey tones.  I used some coordinating DP to make the flowers with the small nesitibility die and used a silver brad to keep them in place.   I love the symmetry of this card!

The third card has a vertical layout, and was designed as a pocket card (you’ll be seeing a pocket card soon), but I modified it for a traditional card.  This layout really highlights double sided paper, and I found some prima flowers that were the right shade to match.  I’m really loving the lime green, grey and blue; it’s a colour combo I need to remember.  I layered the labels and added some grey grosgrain ribbon.  The inside has a  sweet birthday message.

Check back tomorrow to see the anniversary card I made, it uses one of my favourite Stampendous stamps!

Happy Thursday!

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