crafting is sanity

DIY or die.

Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas

Wow, April has passed by in a flash! I almost forgot that I had made a resolution to post twice a month :) So here’s another food-related post! I seem to be doing more and more of those lately – makes me wonder if I should’ve chosen a different blog name… Oh well!

If you’re like me, then you love Mexican food! It’s probably my second favortite type of cuisine (after Japanese) and I was really craving enchiladas the other day so I decided to make them!

Gather your ingredients

Gather your ingredients

I ended up filling my enchiladas with black beans and corn because 1) I forgot to defrost chicken and 2) even if I had defrosted chicken, I probably would’ve been too lazy to cook it :) Good thing I love vegetarian dishes!

Put your filling about 2/3 of the way on the tortilla

Put your filling about 2/3 of the way on the tortilla

Then roll it tightly and carefully, keeping the filling inside. Put them into a 9×13 baking dish, seam side down.

I fit six enchiladas into my pan

I fit six enchiladas into my pan

Pour the enchilada sauce carefully over the tortillas

Pour the enchilada sauce carefully over the tortillas

Sprinkle some cheese

Sprinkle some cheese

And then I added some corn for good measure

And then I added some corn and red pepper flakes for good measure

I ended up adding more sauce and cheese before I popped it into the oven.

Yummyyyyy

Yummyyyyy

So I made these to take to work for lunch the next day so I didn’t try them right out of the oven. Please excuse the paper plate I ate these on :P

So good!

So good!

The black beans, corn and cheese all melted together and created this super creamy and flavorful mixture! I forgot to say that I seasoned the black beans with garlic and chili powder to give it some heat. I also sprinkled a BUNCH of red chili flakes on top for even more heat before baking them. Delicious and leftovers for DAYS! Yum! But it will definitely be a while before I make these again – just too much food! :)

Happy cooking!

-Yenny

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Lasagna Cups

Happy April! It’s finally beginning to feel like spring here in LA! It was a nice 82 degrees today :) Last week, my friends and I had a potluck. It seems that we like to do that haha! I made lasagna cups this time – yet another recipe I found on Pinterest :)

Not the best picture but yum!

Not the best picture but yum!

So I was kind of in a rush to take pictures so please forgive me for some of the terrible angles. You’ll notice that my finished lasagna cups still have some of the powder on the wonton skins, which I realized I could’ve fixed but didn’t this time. I got the recipe from here and modified it a little. I always stray a little from recipes because I like to make it to my own tastes.

Let's start!

Let’s start!

I used 3/4 of the ground turkey and seasoned it the way I would for pasta – garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, a little salt and pepper. I cooked it with half of a white onion.

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I forgot to take a picture of the next steps but I dumped the whole can of crushed tomatoes into the ground turkey and onion mixture. The ricotta cheese, I also eyeballed an amount and mixed it with a little italian seasoning. I didn’t want to season it too much since I knew the ground turkey mixture would be more flavorful. Then comes assembly!

Spray your muffin tin thoroughly with cooking spray

Spray your muffin tin thoroughly with cooking spray

And put a wonton wrapper into each one. I did this super quickly (I was running late) and they probably could have been neater and more evenly squished into the cup.

Layer some ricotta on the bottom and spoon the ground turkey mixture on top

Layer some ricotta on the bottom and spoon the ground turkey mixture on top

Then sprinkle a little mozzarella cheese and put another wonton skin on top. Repeat the ricotta layer and ground turkey mix layer. Finish with more mozzarella.

Yum!

Yum!

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This is where I would have: 1) brushed some of the powder off OR 2) wet the exposed corners with a little water OR 3) done an egg wash on the edges. I put them into the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until I saw the edges of the wontons crisp up and the cheese fully melted.

Soo yummy!

Soo yummy!

They were still yummy with the extra powder (I mean, its just flour) but not as pretty!

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They were a hit at the potluck so I’m happy! I will definitely make them again because they are SO much faster and easier than making actual lasagna! But I would definitely do something about that flour residue. And maybe make sure I’m not running late so they turn out prettier hahaha :)

Happy cooking!

-Yenny

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I baked a cheesecake!

My friend (and neighbor) Alex turns 24 today! Wow, he is SUCH a youngin’! I like to think of him as the little brother I never had – which means I like to boss him around and needle him and be kinda mean to him :P Like any big sister would! Anyway, he’s young and has the metabolism of the Energizer bunny (super unfair!). He asked me to bake him a cheesecake for his birthday and I did!

Definitely not as pretty as I had hoped =/

Definitely not as pretty as I had hoped =/

It was my first time baking a cheesecake and it’s definitely a time intensive thing to make! I followed this recipe with a few modifications.

Ingredients!

Ingredients!

I can’t drink milk so I always have soy milk in my fridge – I subbed soy milk for the milk and used more graham crackers than what the recipe called for. So my friends and I did a white elephant gift exchange over Christmas last year and I got this handy dandy blender! (Similar to the size of the Magic Bullet but not upside down) I decided to try and see if I could make graham cracker crumbs with it!

I think I started with 4 broken up crackers

I think I started with 4 broken up crackers

Pulse pulse pulse!

Pulse pulse pulse!

Pretty successful!

Pretty successful!

I had to pick out a few chunks that didn’t get blended but overall it was MUCH faster and easier than my old method of crushing the crackers in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin hahah :) So I had to do the whole blender thing maybe 4 more times to get this:

Super fine!

Super fine!

NOTE: You can also buy pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs at the store but what do you do with the rest of the box?? I like buying whole crackers and crushing them myself because I can eat the rest of the un-used crackers! I am definitely NOT going to eat the rest of a box of graham cracker crumbs. Unless I was really really starving :P

I used roughly 20 graham crackers and 9 tablespoons of melted butter to make the crust

I used roughly 20 graham crackers and 9 tablespoons of melted butter to make the crust

It was probably more butter than I needed but I really wanted to make sure the crust stayed put and held together!

Now time for the cheesecake filling. It is REALLY important to let all the non-dry ingredients reach room temperature before you start baking!! I let everything sit out for 2 hours before I started (you can see from the time on my microwave between the ingredient picture and the graham cracker picture). It is much much easier to cream the ingredients together when they’re at room temperature!

This was just the cream cheese and sugar creamed together

This was just the cream cheese and sugar creamed together

Yummmm

Yummmm

Once you add the eggs, vanilla, milk and flour it gets much more liquid.

Ready!

Ready!

Carefully pour the cheesecake batter onto your crust. I actually spooned it at first to make sure my crust stayed in the pan :)

Carefully pour the cheesecake batter onto your crust. I actually spooned it in at first to make sure my crust stayed in the pan :)

To prepare the cheesecake for its water bath, I wrapped the bottom in foil like so:

IMG_0837Then put the springform pan into the empty roasting pan and slide it into the oven. THEN pour water into the roasting pan. It’s hard to see in my picture, but I filled the water level until it was about halfway.

I just used cold water from the tap, not boiling water like the instructions say

I just used cold water from the tap, not boiling water like the instructions say

I baked it for a total of 1 hour and 16 minutes, which was definitely a little too long! I checked it at one hour and it was still very very liquid. So I added 8 minutes, checked again and added 8 more minutes. I probably should have stopped after 1 hour and 8 minutes. To prevent cracking, I left the cheesecake IN the oven for 2 hours until the oven was cool . I finished baking at 9:30PM and took the cheesecake out around 11:30PM. The top was definitely a little brown :(

This is how it looked after about 18 hours in the fridge:

Not terrible but not very pretty either!

Not terrible but not very pretty either!

Too brown on that edge!

Too brown on that edge!

Crust was a little messy with I took off the ring

Crust was a little messy when I took off the ring

But the birthday boy seemed to enjoy it! He ate a huuuge slice after I gave it to him :)

Happy Birthday Alex!

The birthday boy!

The birthday boy!

Happy baking!

-Yenny

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DIY Spring Yarn Wreath

Happy (almost) spring!

I’ve been lagging on making a new spring wreath for my door – after I took down my Christmas wreath, I just hung my old jingle wreath as a placeholder. But I finally got my butt in gear and made a new wreath!

 

My fave color! :)

My fave color! :)

I once again used my straw wreath form that I’ve used countless times (as you can tell from the Sharpie marks) and some leftover yellow yarn I found while cleaning out my room at my parents’ house.

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Hot glue the end of the yarn and start wrapping! I had forgotten HOW LONG wrapping a wreath form in yarn takes!! I think it took me about 1.5 hours over 2 days. I wanted to make sure I covered the black markers completely since I was using such a light colored yarn.

All wrapped!

All wrapped!

Then I gathered some leftover burlap and yellow fabric from my burlap & flower wreath. I really liked how the burlap flowers turned out from here but when I actually tried to make them, I wasn’t very successful =/ I don’t know what went wrong! But maybe my burlap knit was too loose… So I just made up some flowers of my own!

I tried to make different sizes

I tried to make different sizes

It started out with the same method as the original link, but I just twisted and hot glued whenever I felt it looked pretty. I think the yellow ones are a little flat but they were a lot easier to work with than the burlap! Burlap sheds EVERYWHERE.

I hot glued them on in a pattern I liked

I hot glued them on in a pattern I liked

And used the same yellow fabric to hang it up!

I added the bow after because I thought it needed a little more cuteness

I added the bow after because I thought it needed a little more cuteness

Snip snip!

So cute!

So cute!

I took these pictures at night when I finished and hung the wreath. I literally take my floor lamp outside and take pictures :D But I like the warm tones!

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Then I took some more pictures in the daylight:

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I love it!

Best thing about this was that it was all free! I already had the wreath form, yarn, burlap, yellow fabric and hot glue gun! If you didn’t have the supplies, it would probably cost you about $7-10. Still cheap and fun!

Happy crafting!

-Yenny

 

 

 

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Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Happy February!

Continuing my posts about the dishes I made for my holiday potluck! Today is the third and final thing I made! And I totally cheated for this one :) My friend Wandy had brought Pao de Queijo for another potluck I had been to and it was so deliciously yummy and easy when I found out that she had used a mix, I was sold!

This is the mix I found at the Brazilian grocery store

This is the mix I found at the Brazilian grocery store

Luckily in my neighborhood, there’s a Brazilian grocery store that has the mix. Unfortunately the directions were in Portuguese:

My Spanish knowledge wasn't super helpful here

My Spanish knowledge wasn’t super helpful here :(

Google translate to the rescue!

Not 100% exact, but good enough for me to follow!

Not 100% exact, but good enough for me to follow!

Here are the instructions:

1. Pour contents of bag into a medium bowl and add 1/2 cup of cold water and 2 medium eggs.

2. Mix well until all liquid is absorbed. Knead dough for about 3 minutes, or until smooth and incorporated.

3. Pinch and roll into balls (I did about 1.25 inch diameter) and place onto baking sheet. Make sure to leave room in between.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 40 minutes or until they are golden.

Step 1 - pour the mix into a bowl

Step 1 – pour the mix into a bowl

 

Step 2 - add eggs and water

Step 2 – add eggs and water

 

Step 3 - mix!

Step 3 – mix!

 

Ready to go into the oven!

Ready to go into the oven!

I don’t remember exactly how long I baked them, but it wasn’t for the whole 40 minutes as suggested in the instructions. I checked on them after about 30 minutes and they were ready!

So fluffy n the inside with a great crunch on the outside!

So fluffy and chewy on the inside with a great crunch on the outside!

Yum yum!

Yum yum!

I wish I had taken a picture of the inside so you could’ve seen the chewiness/fluffiness! Oh well, maybe next time! I’ve seen many recipes on Pinterest for Pao de Queijo made from scratch but I don’t think I want to spend that much time to make it when the mix is so simple and tastes great to me!

Thank you Wandy for introducing me to Pao de Queijo mix and for always reading my blog! :)

 

-Yenny

 

 

 

 

 

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Hawaiian Roll Sliders

Happy (super belated) New Year!! Wow, my first post of 2014! I meant to post way closer to the beginning of January, but oh well, here we are!

As you may remember from my chocolate tart post, I made 3 dishes for a holiday potluck with my friends. This is the 2nd dish I made – Hawaiian Roll Sliders!

Unbaked!

Unbaked!

Ok so I have no good pictures of the finished product because we were too busy eating it so please bear with my less than awesome pictures :P. I got the recipe from Pinterest, of course and thought it would be super fun and easy to make for the potluck! I did make some changes, some worked and some did not. I omitted the poppy seeds and the Worcestershire sauce, mainly because I didn’t want to buy them lol

Gather your ingredients

Gather your ingredients – Hawaiian rolls, onion powder, dijon mustard, butter, ham, and swiss cheese

The Hawaiian rolls came in a pack of 12, but that didn’t fit into my pan, so I only used 9 rolls. I sliced them in half horizontally like so

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Then I made a mixture of dijon mustard, onion powder, butter and a little soy sauce (in place of the Worcestershire sauce). Smear it on-

I really got it into the nooks and crannies of the bread

I really got it into the nooks and crannies of the bread

Then start layering the ham and swiss:

First layer of ham

First layer of ham

Ok so I went a LITTLE overboard with the cheese because I didn't want to have any leftovers (BAD IDEA)

Ok so I went a LITTLE overboard with the cheese because I didn’t want to have any leftovers (BAD IDEA)

I layered more ham on top and for my second layer of cheese, I went a little lighter

This is what I should've done for the first layer as well lol

This is what I should’ve done for the first layer as well lol

I smeared more of the mustard onion mixture onto the tops of the rolls

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I made these the night before! Covered the pan with foil and brought them to the potluck to be served there. I think the mustard-onion mix had a chance to really soak in overnight.

After baking!

After baking!

I threw it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and I left it covered. That was enough to get the cheese melty, but it wasn’t really hot enough all the way through. Then use a good knife and slice along the bread separations to eat!

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You see how there’s SO MUCH CHEESE in the middle?? That’s where I made my mistake! Definitely should’ve went lighter on the cheese (and ham too) I didn’t want ham leftover either so I used the whole pack :P Again, BAD IDEA lol. The sliders were good, but on the saltier side! I also didn’t drizzle anything over the sliders. The mustard-onion mixture was great though!

If I make these again, and I probably will – I would use less cheese and less ham and bake it for a longer amount of time. So basically, I would suck it up and have leftovers and not be so impatient and hungry to eat :)

If you decide to make these, I hope my mistakes help you!

Happy cooking!

-Yenny

 

 

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Chocolate Tart

A few of my friends and I got together to have a potluck before the holiday craze started and at first, there were more of us going! But 3 of them ended up having to be out of town/were busy for various reasons but I still ended up making 3 different dishes for the potluck! And I’m glad I did! It gave me a chance to try recipes I had pinned but never had an occasion to make. Enter this chocolate tart:

Not as smooth as I wanted it to turn out =/

Not as smooth as I wanted it to turn out =/

I got the recipe from Pinterest, as usual but never thought I would get a chance to make it since I didn’t have a tart pan and had no plans to buy one anytime soon. But I borrowed a tart pan from my coworker and made this tart!

Ingredients! I ended up not using sugar at all

Ingredients! I ended up not using sugar at all

I definitely modified the recipe a little – I always reduce the sugar when I bake and in this case, I omitted it completely. I also scrapped the corn syrup for the glaze on top. Another change was that I had an 11 inch tart pan and the recipe called for a 9 inch one.

Start by crushing the graham crackers-

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I throw them into a ziploc bag and just crush with a rolling pin

I throw them into a ziploc bag and just crush with a rolling pin

Melt the butter

Melt the butter

Throw the crushed graham crackers in

Throw the crushed graham crackers in

And press into the pan and bake!

Because the pan I used was wider than what the recipe called for, I had to crush some extra crackers to cover the bottom and sides

Because the pan I used was wider than what the recipe called for, I had to crush some extra crackers to cover the bottom and sides

While the crust was baking, I started making the filling:

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I used evaporated milk instead of heavy whipping cream

I used evaporated milk instead of heavy whipping cream

And tossed the chocolate in after the milk had come to a boil.

All melted! Then add in eggs, vanilla and salt

All melted! Then add in eggs, vanilla and salt

I slowly spooned the filling into the crust because I was scared that if I had poured the filling in, the crust would’ve gone all over the place!

So smooth and shiny! But not for long...

So smooth and shiny! But not for long…

This is what the tart looked like after it finished baking:

It ended up getting a few bubbles on the surface :(

It ended up getting a few bubbles on the surface :(

So I proceeded to make the glaze, hoping that it would cover the bubbles. This is where I completely changed the recipe. I usually make a ganache from just butter and chocolate and it turns out great! So I tried making a ganache with the remaining evaporated milk and 4 ounces of chocolate. I also threw some butter in.

My makeshift double boiler

My makeshift double boiler

After everything melted together, I spooned the glaze on top:

It looks much much smoother, but not perfect

It looks much much smoother, but not perfect

Sliced!

Sliced!

So the crust didn’t quite stay intact all the way but it was still delicious! It had that great dark-chocolatey flavor where its slightly bitter. Great texture, almost fudgey! It lasts for a very long time in the fridge – I brought the leftovers in to work and we ate it for about 4 days.

I had a lot of fun baking this tart – but I don’t know if I’d make it again in such a large pan!

I’ll be sharing the other 2 dishes I made later on – most likely in 2014!

Happy holidays!

-Yenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DIY Christmas Wreath

Happy December! I can’t believe its almost the end of the year! This year I’ve been more in the Christmas spirit and wanting to make a more traditional wreath for my door. Last year, I did a candy cane wreath and the only problem I had with that is that it rained and melted some of my candy canes and attracted ants! Not this year!

Ta da!

Ta da!

I LOVE IT SO SO MUCH. :) This is how I started:

Supplies from the 99cents store

Supplies from the 99cents store!

I got 4 things from the trusty 99cents store: 12 feet of roping, two holiday-looking sticks and that glittery snowflake made of bells.

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I unrolled the roping to make it into a bigger wreath, using my wreath form as a guide.

This is was easy since the roping is wired! It holds its own shape and I twisted it back on itself.

This is was easy since the roping is wired! It holds its own shape and I twisted it back on itself.

Then I figured out the placement of the decorations and since I didn’t have any dark yarn or twine to attach them to the wreath, I MacGyvered “yarn” out of black thread:

I just double the thread back and forth until I got something substantial enough to work

I just doubled the thread back and forth until I got something substantial enough to work

Placement is decided!

Placement is decided!

The sticks were a bit long so I bent them back (I couldn’t cut them off since my scissors couldn’t cut through the surprisingly sturdy wire!)

I hooked them onto each other for more sturdiness

I hooked them onto each other for more sturdiness

Everything is held on by my black thread-yarn, which worked surprisingly well! I tied the snowflake onto the red ribbon like so:

This way it's centered!

This way it’s centered!

Now for some pictures!

It was surprisingly sunny today so the pictures are a little bright

It was surprisingly sunny today so the pictures are a little bright

I love that poinsettia with the berries!

I love that poinsettia with the berries!

Glittery snowflake!

Glittery snowflake!

Here’s the wreath in the evening:

So warm and festive!

So warm and festive!

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Project Breakdown:

Wreath supplies: $4 from the 99cents store

Ribbon & thread: Already had

This was by far the easiest and cheapest wreath I’ve ever made! SO much fun and I made sure that I could take it apart and reuse the material for next year!

Happy holidays!

-Yenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chambray Shirt Re-do

Hello again!

Just another quick post before the Thanksgiving festivities start. Have you ever been shopping and found something you really really like but there’s ONE little detail that bugs the crap out of you?? Trust me, we’ve all been there. Luckily, growing up with my seamstress mom meant that I had learned to be able to see what could be fixed on a piece of clothing and what couldn’t. :)

Enter this chambray shirt:

I had been looking for a chambray shirt for weeks now!

I had been looking for a chambray shirt for weeks now!

I snagged this one at Macy’s on their clearance rack! I love the very faint rose/floral background. So feminine! I was NOT into the bejeweled collar.

The "jewels" were very loosely sewn on and I thought they looked tacky

The “jewels” were very loosely sewn on and I thought they looked tacky

So I went rip rip rip with my seam ripper and….

Voila! No more bejeweled collar!

Voila! No more bejeweled collar!

I also really love how this shirt has snaps instead of buttons

I also really love how this shirt has snaps instead of buttons

And the best part of this was the price!

$7.19 down from $34.50!!

$7.19 down from $34.50!!

I LOVE Macy’s clearance racks and all the coupons they send out!! Such good deals to be found!

Happy shopping!

-Yenny

 

 

 

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Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Happy November!

Just sharing a quick post on some thing I recently experimented with. I never grew up eating brussels sprouts but I always saw on TV that people reacted quite badly to them! The Friends Thanksgiving episode where everyone is late and Monica locks them all out but the only dish they have is the brussels sprouts – classic! Love Friends :)

But they seem to have undergone a popularity surge and are popping up everywhere in restaurants and on Pinterest so I decided to try them out on my own. I bought frozen brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s and did a little cooking.

Blanched these for 2-3 minutes

Blanched these for 2-3 minutes

Then I cut them all in half

Then I cut them all in half

Then I tossed them all in a bowl with some melted butter, salt and pepper

Then I tossed them all in a bowl with some melted butter, salt and pepper

I tossed them in the butter mixture for a while, then I spread them out on a cookie sheet to go into the oven. I sprinkled togarashi (Japanese chili powder), garlic powder and onion powder on top before putting them in the oven. I don’t remember exactly how long I roasted them for – I checked after 15 and 20 minutes and pulled them out when it looked done.

Fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

They were pretty darn delicious! I’ve made them several times since them – using both frozen and fresh brussels sprouts. I noticed that fresh ones take a little longer in the oven and the frozen ones don’t get as crispy but both are still yummy!

Happy cooking!

Yenny

 

 

 

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