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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Recipe Friday: Cheesy Baked Shells and Broccoli

When it comes to comfort foods, macaroni and cheese has always been a go to meal for this Midwestern girl. I grew up on Kraft macaroni and cheese that came out of the box and used a powered cheese mix. My mom would make it following the boxed directions and serve it along with hot dogs, apple sauce, and green beans.

Now that I am a bit older, I still enjoy macaroni and cheese but prefer it made with all natural ingredients and with some healthy additions.

Cheesy Baked Shells and Broccoli


Ingredients:

3/4 pound medium pasta shells
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (skim, 1%, 2%, or whole)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (use can substitute with any variety of low-fat or 2% fat cheeses)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper
1 16-ounce package frozen broccoli florets

Directions
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add 1 ½ cups of the cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the nutmeg, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Add the pasta and broccoli and toss to combine. Transfer to a 8-inch square or a 1 ½-quart baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.
  • Cook in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is nicely browned.

Cooking Tips
  • You can add 1 cup of cooked ham, turkey, or chicken to the dish for additional protein.
  • Experiment by substituting cheddar cheese with other cheese selections including shredded Italian blend, shredded Mexican blend, sharp cheddar, or Swiss cheese.
  • If you don't like broccoli, you can substitute the vegetable with green beans, peas, asparagus, or your favorite vegetable.
Happy Eating!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Leftovers

Happy day after the holidays!

I am sure most of you (like myself) have either leftover turkey or ham in the refrigerator and wonder what to do with them.  Below, you will find a few links to my Wauconda Food Examiner site with a few after the holiday meals.

Turkey Paella – made with leftover turkey, chorizo sausage, rice, and spices.


Frittata with Tomato Topper -  filled with leftover turkey or ham, potato, and cheese seasoned with mustard and topped with tomatoes that have been enhanced with browned butter.


Leftover Holiday Pizza – made with a prebaked pizza crust, leftover turkey or ham, artichokes, and lots of cheese


Easy Breakfast Strata – made with bacon or leftover ham, cheese, tomatoes, day old bread, vegetables, and eggs


If you try any of these recipes, please post a comment below to let us know how it turned out.
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last minute homemade gifts

As soon as I received this recipe from Cheeky Kitchen, I knew it would make a great last minute homemade gift for someone on my Christmas list.  Grab the kids, as this would be a fun family project to do together.



Handmade mints make the perfect gift! Here's the quick, easy way to get yourself 10 perfect batches of red & white mints that everyone will adore!

Ingredients:
1 (1-pound) package of gum paste
15-20 drops high quality peppemint essential oils
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring paste
1/4 cup powdered sugar
10 small metal tins for wrapping

Directions:
  1. Open the gum paste and drop in 15-20 drops of peppermint oil. Knead it together until your kitchen smells like a candy cane forest.
  2. Split the gum paste in half, then drop a bit of red coloring paste into one of the halves. Knead until the red coloring is fully mixed into one half. TIP: grab yourself a pair of kitchen gloves before you get going.
  3. Split each mound of gum paste into two.
  4. Roll into four thick ropes, then place them together, cut the roll in half, then roll into two long, thing ropes.
  5. You want your ropes to be about 1/2 inch in diameter. Work quickly to keep the exterior of the rope from drying out and looking crumbly. Working on a long piece of parchment or cutting board to protect any work space from bleeding dye.
  6. With a super-sharp knife, slice the ropes into 1/4" pieces. They might get squished a bit, so gently press them into rounds to make pretty little dots of mints.
  7. Toss all those mints on a baking sheet and allow them to air dry for 48 hours before packaging them.

Happy Crafting!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Last Minute Gift: Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Looking for a fabulous last minute gift to make for a special teacher, hairdresser, or someone that is on their feet all day? Then consider making a special blend of Peppermint Sugar Scrub courtesy of Home Spun with Love.

Homemade sugar scrubs are simple, thoughtful and well received gifts! All the wonderful natural ingredients in homemade sugar scrubs make this a gift you can feel good about giving without the concern of additives, colors and fake ingredients that can irritate the skin or worse. The moment you smell the cool natural peppermint oil you are energized and happy as can be. True aroma therapy!

Peppermint Sugar Scrub Recipe


Ingredients:
3 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup grape seed oil
Peppermint oil {added to your liking}

Directions:
In a medium bowl, add sugar and oil. Mix to combine. Check for desired consistency adding more oil and/or sugar as needed. Add in your peppermint oil and mix well. Spoon into clean, dry jar(s). Since the oil will float to the top, this will need to stirred prior to using. This can be used all over the body, but is especially good for feet and hands. Should stay fresh for about two weeks.

To finish off the jar, Home Spun with Love found these really pretty labels designed by Cathe Holden for World Label.


If you are not familiar with the designs of Katherine Holden you can see more of her wonderful work on her blog, Just Something I Made.

Happy Crafting!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Monday, December 19, 2011

Featured Freebies for the Week of December 19, 2011

Hello and Happy Monday to Everyone!

It has been a busy holiday season, but I wanted to make sure that our faithful followers still received their weekly dose of fabulous printable and digital image freebies.


Cre8tive Hands shares a mug of cocoa digital image

Beyond the Fringe shares a sentiment tree digital image


That’s all for now! Have a wonderful crafty week!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Friday, December 16, 2011

Recipe Friday: Polenta Sausage Bake

Looking for something different than the regular rice or noodle casserole? This yummy Polenta Sausage Bake will delight the taste buds and turn into a favorite winter meal requested by the entire family.

Polenta Sausage Bake


Ingredients:
24 oz.  prepared polenta, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb.  sweet or hot Italian pork sausage, casing removed
1 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced (about 2 cups)
** I am not a fan of zucchini, so I substitute with fresh mushrooms and diced tomatoes
2 cups jarred pasta sauce 
6 oz.  shredded Fontina or mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)

Directions:
  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the polenta slices to cover the bottom of a 3-quart shallow baking dish, trimming the slices as needed to fit. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  • Cook the sausage in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often to break up the meat. Remove the sausage from the skillet. Pour off any fat.
  • Add the zucchini to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until it's tender. Stir in the sauce and heat to a boil. Return the sausage to the skillet. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Spoon the sausage mixture over the polenta. Top with the Fontina cheese or mozzarella.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and the cheese is melted.

Happy Eating!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Friday, December 9, 2011

Recipe Friday: Candy Gifts

The holiday season is upon us and that means lots of parties. Can’t decide what to give the hostess as a gift? Consider making one of these decadent chocolate creations as a special holiday gift.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark


Ingredients:
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped 
8 (1-oz.) sqs. semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
6 (1-oz.) sqs. white baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Red food coloring
1/3 cup peppermint candies, crushed

Directions:
  • Line an 8"x8" baking pan with aluminum foil. Spread almonds in pan; set aside. 
  • Place semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high one minute; stir until smooth. Microwave 10 to 15 more seconds, if necessary. Pour semisweet chocolate over almonds. Allow to harden.
  • Repeat microwave melting instructions for white chocolate.
  • Stir peppermint extract into white chocolate. Pour half of white chocolate mixture into another bowl and tint pink using red food coloring. Slowly pour white and pink chocolate over semi-sweet chocolate; gently swirl with a knife. Sprinkle top with crushed candies. Chill until firm, about one hour.
  • Use foil to lift candy from pan; break into pieces. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Chocolate Almond Fudge


Ingredients:
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Pinch salt 
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Directions:
  • Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan and line bottom with waxed paper.
  • Melt 12 oz. chocolate with cream in a heatproof bowl set over a medium pan of 1 1/2 inches of simmering water, whisking until smooth (do not let bottom of bowl touch water). Remove pan from heat and whisk in vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside.
  • Melt remaining chocolate in another bowl set over same pan of simmering water, whisking until smooth. Pour plain chocolate into prepared pan and spread to coat bottom evenly. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes to set chocolate.
  • Spread chocolate and cream mixture over set chocolate. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and gently press into chocolate. Let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate, covered, until very firm, 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Run a thin, sharp knife around edges of pan. Turn mixture out onto a cutting board and peel away waxed paper. Turn fudge right-side up and, with a sharp knife, cut into 64 (1-inch) squares. Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Double Chocolate Covered Toffee Grahams


Ingredients:
2 sleeves graham crackers (18 whole crackers)
6 (2-oz.) vanilla candy coating squares, cut in half
4 (1-oz.) white chocolate baking squares, chopped
4 tablespoons shortening, divided 
6 (2-oz.) chocolate candy coating squares, cut in half
4 (1-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking squares, chopped 
1/2 cup toffee bits

Directions:
  • Break each graham cracker in half.
  • Place vanilla squares, white chocolate squares, and 2 Tbsp. shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until white chocolate is soft; stir until smooth.
  • Dip 18 graham cracker squares entirely in melted white chocolate.
  • Place dipped grahams on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill 20 minutes or until white chocolate is firm.
  • Repeat procedure with chocolate squares, remaining 2 Tbsp. shortening, and remaining graham crackers.
  • Drizzle any remaining semisweet chocolate and white chocolate over dipped grahams; sprinkle with toffee bits. Chill until firm.

Triple Chocolate Nut Clusters


Ingredients:
1 (16-ounce) jar dry-roasted peanuts 
1 (9.75-ounce) can salted whole cashews
2 cups pecan pieces
18 (2-ounce) chocolate bark coating squares, cut in half
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels 
4 (1-ounce) bittersweet chocolate baking squares, broken into pieces
1 tablespoon shortening 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Directions:
  • Combine first 7 ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on LOW 2 hours or until chocolate is melted. Stir chocolate and nuts; add vanilla, stirring well to coat.
  • Drop candy by heaping teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let stand at least 2 hours or until firm. Store in an airtight container.

Have fun making your candy gifts and make sure prepare lots of extras to enjoy yourself!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BESTeam Etsy Finds: Week of November 27

Get ready for holiday shopping!  Come look at some of the great products we found on Etsy this week presented by the Boosting Etsy Shops Team.



Most popular color combination embodies the spirit of water, emerald green, vivid blue and royal purple. A ruana is similar to a cape, but open on the sides. Measures 42x79 inches. Wearable art is not only a fashion statement, but a savvy investment in your wardrobe! Think about it -- you get an accessory that is guaranteed to be one of a kind and looks fabulous on you! Count the compliments as soon as you tie one on! 



These gorgeous fashion statement earrings are wire-wrapped from argentium sterling silver wire and hammered for strength and beauty. Attached are beautiful faceted sodalite gemstones wire-wrapped with argentium sterling silver wire. Argentium sterling silver is made with a touch of germanium that is considered to severely inhibit tarnish. All silver on these earrings is sterling silver.



Vince and I (that's Vincent Van Gogh to you), we like our irises. Sure, his is a masterpiece that is on the top ten list for most expensive paintings ever sold and mine is just a greeting card. The choice is yours: you can either save up, oh around $82 million for his, or snap up this future top ten masterpiece for only $5.25 plus shipping.  This 5"x7" card (image size approximately 4"x6") is hand-painted on cream-colored cardstock and comes with a matching envelope. Each card is titled and signed by me. Left "empty on the inside" for your message.

The Creativity Bugs love the opportunity to promote other artisans including their fellow Estians but especially the BESTeam group. These friendly, talented, and very hardworking individuals work together to promote their shops and help others with marketing, advertising, and tips and tricks for running an online business. If you are a seller on Etsy, have a blog, and either FB or twitter, then you might be interested in joinging the BESTeam: Boosting Etsy Shops Team or the Etsy team page. You can find information about the team, as well as apply for membership HERE!

Happy Shopping!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Featured Freebies for the Week of November 27th

Here are this week's free digital images or printables found on websites, blogs, or submitted to us from friends and followers:




That’s all for this week!  Happy Crafting!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Sunday, November 27, 2011

BESTeam Etsy Finds: Week of November 20

Why waste gas and shop in crowded malls when you can get some wonderful gifts online at Etsy.  Come look at some of the great products we found on Etsy this week presented by the Boosting Etsy Shops Team.



Wings amongst the flowers... A little birdie flew too close to sniff the flower and left behind a little tail feather... This Victorian hair fascinator would look great in your hair, on your purse, or anywhere else you can find for a little flair. The light purple flower is accentuated with a blue rose and teal speckled feathers. The clip is easy to put in and would look great on a teen as well as a woman!



The Chinese porcelain beads are reminiscent of the antique dynasty porcelains which are famous throughout the world. The beads have been hand painted with Chinese characters representing longevity, happiness, wealth, love, and good fortune. Measurements - 18 inches long (46 cm) with a 3 inch (7 cm) extension chain. The drop pendant is slightly over 2 inches (5 cm) long.



A Swarovski crystal bracelet with deep blue and clear crystal Swarovski elements beads. The sparkle of the crystal beads and the color of the rich deep blue beads give this stretch bracelet some real bling. Made with deep blue plated zircon gem cut 8mm beads and crystallized Swarovski elements 6mm bicone beads on a stretch cord, this is a beautiful sparkly bracelet for any age group.

The Creativity Bugs love the opportunity to promote other artisans including their fellow Estians but especially the BESTeam group. These friendly, talented, and very hardworking individuals work together to promote their shops and help others with marketing, advertising, and tips and tricks for running an online business. If you are a seller on Etsy, have a blog, and either FB or twitter, then you might be interested in joinging the BESTeam: Boosting Etsy Shops Team or the Etsy team page. You can find information about the team, as well as apply for membership HERE!

Happy Shopping!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Recipe Friday: Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes

This yummy crockpot dish is courtesy of Heather Carter via scrapadabadoo.com. It is sure to become a family favorite.

Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes

Ingredients:
2 lb. frozen hash browns
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 10-oz. can cheddar cheese soup
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. cubed ham
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:
  • Place frozen hash browns in crockpot on a low setting.
  • In sauce pan add together evaporated milk, cheese sauce, butter or margarine, and salt. Bring to boil.
  • Pour over potatoes; add ham and mix together.
  • Cook for 3 hours.
  • Add grated cheese and cook for 1 hour.

Happy Eating!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Recipe Friday: Chicken and Mushroom with Garlic Wine Sauce

Directly from the pages of Cooking Light magazine comes this fantastic recipe for Chicken and Mushrooms in Garlic Wine Sauce.

Put this Chicken and Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce recipe together in less than 25 minutes, probably without a trip to the store. It's adaptable to your pantry--if you don't have egg noodles, use another kind of pasta, and if you're out of tarragon, try basil, oregano, or thyme.


Ingredients:
4 ounces uncooked medium egg noodles 
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided 
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided 
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 (8-ounce) package pre-sliced mushrooms 
1/2 cup dry white wine 
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Directions:
  • Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.
  • Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place chicken breast halves in a shallow dish. Combine 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring well with a whisk. Sprinkle flour mixture over chicken; toss to coat.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add garlic, tarragon, and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Add white wine to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently.
  • Return chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer 2 minutes. Uncover; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. Stir in noodles; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Place about 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Happy Eating!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011


Thanksgiving comes but once a year,
But when it comes it brings good cheer.
For in my storehouse on this day
Are piles of good things hid away.
Each day I've worked from early morn
To gather acorns, nuts, and corn,
Till now I've plenty and to spare
Without a worry or a care.
So light of heart the whole day long,
I'll sing a glad Thanksgiving song."

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Creativity Bugs ~ Sandy and Sue

Monday, November 21, 2011

Design Team Calls

Have you ever wanted to be a designer for a design team? Then check out the latest calls from:


Momenta Design Team Call – accepting applications through December 15, 2011. Click here for all the details.


Delightful Challenges Design Team Call – accepting applications through November 30 , 2011. Click here for all the details.


Flying Unicorn Design Team Call – accepting applications through December 31 , 2011. Click here for all the details.


Stamp School Design Team Call - accepting applications through December 9 , 2011. Click here for all the details.


Nikki Sivils, Scrapbooker Design Team Call - accepting applications through December 28, 2011. Click here for all the details.

Good luck!
Creativity Bug - Sue

Friday, November 18, 2011

Recipe Friday: Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

Tired of serving traditional pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? Consider a new holiday tradition by making these scrumptious spiced pumpkin cupcakes for your guests.

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients:
½ cup finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons sugar
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
½ cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy cream cheese frosting

Directions:
  • Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  • In heavy 8-inch nonstick skillet, cook pecans and 2 tablespoons of the sugar over low heat about 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted. Spoon and spread pecans onto sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar; toss.
  • In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full).
  • Bake 19 to 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • Frost cupcakes with frosting. Sprinkle edge of frosted cupcakes with pecans; press lightly into frosting. Store loosely covered.

Enjoy!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Monday, November 14, 2011

Featured Freebies for the Week of November 14th

Here are this week's free digital images or printables found on websites, blogs, or submitted to us from friends and followers:

The Paper Squirrel shares a Mod Christmas Tree digital image

Little Scraps of Heaven shares an Indian Summer digital image

Edrian Thomidis shares a free coloring page of an elephant and ghost

Lost in Paper Scraps shares 2 octopus digital images and an owl.

That’s all for this week!  Happy Crafting!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

Friday, November 11, 2011

Recipe Friday: Spicy Beef Sloppy Joes

In honor of Veteran’s Day, make your special GI Joe (or Jane) a hearty meal with this recipe for Spicy Beef Sloppy Joes.

Spicy Beef Sloppy Joes


Ingredients:

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 (16 ounce) jars salsa
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (8 oz.)
1 ½ cups shredded carrots (3 medium)
1 ½ cups finely chopped red and/or green sweet pepper
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 – 8 Kaiser rolls, split and toasted

Directions: 
  • In a skillet cook beef over medium heat until brown, stirring to break meat in pieces. Drain fat.
  • In 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker stir together beef and remaining ingredients (except rolls).
  • Cover; cook on high-heat setting 4 to 5 hours or low-heat setting 8 to 10 hours. 

Happy Eating!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue

BESTeam Etsy Finds: November 11, 2011

Are you starting your holiday shopping yet? Why bundle up in your heavy winter coats and go to a jammed mall when you can purchase gifts in your pj’s all from the comfort of your own home?
Come look at some of the great products we found on Etsy this week presented by the Boosting Etsy Shops Team that would make wonderful holiday gifts.

A perfect gift for a teenage girl, mom, aunt, or special female in your life.
This bracelet is made with memory wire. It wraps around any wrist and consists of tiger's eye beads, silver spacers, green glass beads and black glass beads. It is very unusual and one of a kind.


Image a holiday tree decorated with handmade ornaments. 
This beautiful 3 inch satin ball ornament is adorned with lace, flowers and ribbon whose beauty will last forever and  surely become a family heirloom!


Calling all husbands!! Show the woman that you love just how special she is this year by purchasing this beautiful flower necklace with stones.

This necklace is combined of 12 three-dimensional flowers with 5 petals each.  The flowers are connected to one another with stylized links and small flat rings. On one of the flowers is a soldered 4mm Citrin cabochon stone and a 4mm Iolite cabochon stone; on three more flowers are soldered small pieces of 9ct Gold. Size of each handmade silver jewelry item flower is about 0.9" x 0.8".  Length of the necklace : 19.6"

The Creativity Bugs love the opportunity to promote other artisans including their fellow Estians but especially the BESTeam group. These friendly, talented, and very hardworking individuals work together to promote their shops and help others with marketing, advertising, and tips and tricks for running an online business. If you are a seller on Etsy, have a blog, and either FB or twitter, then you might be interested in joinging the BESTeam: Boosting Etsy Shops Team or the Etsy team page. You can find information about the team, as well as apply for membership HERE!

Happy Shopping!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue  

Veteran's Day 2011

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -John Fitzgerald Kennedy


The Veterans Day National Ceremony begins at 11:00 am ET on November 11, 2011 at Arlington National Cemetery  and includes a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns. This annual ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.


We want to personally say thank you to all the men and women who serve, have served, and have died protecting the United States and its people. God bless you all!

Creativity Bugs ~ Sandy and Sue

Sunday, November 6, 2011

BESTeam Etsy Finds: November 3, 2011

Get ready for holiday shopping!  Come look at some of the great products we found on Etsy this week presented by the Boosting Etsy Shops Team.



True Blood Purple Fascinator, Vampire fascinator, NOLA, Wedding couture fascinator
Length is 7.5 inches with purple Ostrich feather, purple bionet feather, purple Peacock feather curled, and purple ranunculus flower. Comes on a sawtooth clip great for thick or thin hair.



This beautiful dyed purple shell bracelet (likely mother-of-pearl) is great for medium sized wrists. The total length of the bracelet is 8.5 inches (21.5cm), however, because of the size of the beads, the interior circumference is 7" (17.78cm), making it perfect for a wrist between 6.25-6.75", depending on how much wiggle room you prefer.



Show her that your love is ENORMOUS by treating her to this vibrant heart-shaped crystal of genuine Fluorite!  This multicolored 2" (5cm) heart is suspended from green, purple and blue Fluorite Crystals. A sterling silver chain with a sterling silver lobster claw clasp finishes the necklace. This necklace is 17 1/2" (#cm) long, a perfect length for your heart to nestle by her heart! 



Perfect for the holidays, as a gift..imagine "You light up my life"..as the caption on the card enclosed! Whatever you choose to do with it will be pleasurable, it really is an adorable and unique find.  The lamp measures 10" tall and 2" wide at its base. In very good vintage condition, It works perfectly and is ready to give someone another generation of beautiful light!

The Creativity Bugs love the opportunity to promote other artisans including their fellow Estians but especially the BESTeam group. These friendly, talented, and very hardworking individuals work together to promote their shops and help others with marketing, advertising, and tips and tricks for running an online business. If you are a seller on Etsy, have a blog, and either FB or twitter, then you might be interested in joinging the BESTeam: Boosting Etsy Shops Team or the Etsy team page. You can find information about the team, as well as apply for membership HERE!

Happy Shopping!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Recipe Friday: Potato Soup

When the weather starts to get chilly, there is nothing better than hot soup to warm a body up. These two potato soup recipes are sure to become family favorites.

This first recipe is made in a slow cooker or crockpot and requires just a few minutes after cooking to prepare.

Smashed Potato Soup


Ingredients
3 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
½ cup chopped yellow and/or red sweet pepper
1 ½ teaspoons bottled roasted garlic
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup whipping cream, half-and-half, or light cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
Sliced green onions (optional)

Directions
  • In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine potatoes, sweet pepper, garlic, and black pepper. Pour broth over all.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Mash potatoes slightly with a potato masher. Stir in whipping cream, cheddar cheese, and the 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions.
  • If desired, top individual servings with additional sliced green onions. Makes 8 servings.


This second recipe requires an oven and a little bit of time, but is it so well worth it.

Baked Potato Soup


Ingredients
2  large baking potatoes (about 8 ounces each)
6 tablespoons  thinly sliced green onion (3)
3 tablespoons  butter
3 tablespoons  all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons  snipped fresh dill or chives or 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  black pepper
4 cups  milk
1-1/4 cups  shredded American cheese (5 ounces)
4 slices  bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled

Directions
  • Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush; pat dry. Prick potatoes with a fork. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 40 to 60 minutes or until tender; cool. Cut each potato lengthwise. Scoop out white portion of each potato. Break up any large pieces of potato. Discard potato skins.
  • In a large saucepan cook 3 tablespoons of the green onion in butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour, dill, salt, and pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir for 12 to 15 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Add the potato and 1 cup of the cheese; stir until cheese melts.
  • Top each serving with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, remaining 3 tablespoons green onion, and the bacon.
  • Makes 5 to 6 servings (5 1/2 cups)

Happy Eating!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue