Friday, September 28, 2012

Lasagna Muffins Recipe and Instructions

This summer I started teaching a new "Yummy Bites" class and it has been a lot of fun!  We have baked Pie Pops, Pie in a Jar, Peach Dump Cake and Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes.  I try to choose projects that are fun and can be served individually.  I also like projects that do not require 50 ingredients and that my residents have not tried before.  Most recently we made "Pinterest inspired"  Individual Lasagnas baked in a muffin tin.  And Oh Boy- were they good!

Lasagna "Muffins"- YUMMY!

I sort of followed a recipe, and sort of did my own thing- which is the way I cook at home.  But I will give you the basic recipe and you can embellish as you please:

Lasagna "Muffins"

Wonton Wrappers
Bottled Spaghetti sauce of your choice
Medium Onion
Ground Turkey
Olive Oil
Cooking Spray
Italian Spices and salt and pepper to taste
1 Egg
Garlic ( I was lazy and bought the minced stuff in the store)
Parmesan Cheese
Ricotta Cheese- small tub
Italian Cheese Mix-whole bag

I originally planned to add mushrooms but one of my ladies didn't like them so I left them out.  But at home we probably would have added mushrooms and since my daughter is vegetarian, made it with zucchini, mushrooms, onion, sun dried tomato and spinach and left the turkey out altogether.

First Brown your onion and turkey in a splash of olive oil.  Add garlic and Italian Seasonings to taste along with a little salt and pepper.

Miss Willie- My Assistant :-)

Once your meat is browned add spaghetti sauce so that the flavors can mix together before you construct your mini lasagnas.

Lightly Spray the muffin tins (Jumbo Muffin Tins, not regular) with cooking spray.

Layer  and overlap your wonton wrappers ( which can be found in your grocer's  refrigerated produce section) into the bottom and sides of your tins (about 3 each).  They dry out pretty fast, so cover them up.

First Step

Mix up your cheeses-  I think the Ricotta Cheese is a 16 oz tub- plus 1 egg, more italian seasoning or fresh parsley, a whole bag of Italian Cheese mix.

Then layer meat sauce, cheese, wonton, meat sauce and cheese and add some parmesan on top.

Ready to go in the oven!

Bake at 350 for about 15-25 minutes or until your cheese browns on top.  It's always best to let lasagna sit for a little while, but we dug in right out of the oven and they were quite tasty.  I can't wait to try a vegetarian version at home!

Hope you try these out- and let me know how you like em!

Till next time-  Stay creative both in and out of the kitchen!


Fabric Covered Tissue Roll Pumpkins Tutorial

Fabric Covered Tissue Roll Pumpkin

This year is just zooming on by!  I can't believe September is almost gone- and the holiday season is quick approaching.  I have so many fun projects in store for Fall- thanks to lots of great inspiration from my favorite guilty pleasure- Pinterest!

In fact this next project was inspired by a few different versions of Fabric Covered Tissue Roll Pumpkins I saw out on the"Interweb".  I put my own little spin on the project and combined several ideas to create a fun design.  These are great projects for folks in Memory Care- but some of my Assisted Living  and Rehab folks have enjoyed making these as well.  If you find remnants or find a great sale on fabric-  these pumpkins come in at around $1.50 each.

Quick Tutorial and supplies needed to make this project:

Toilet Tissue Roll
1/4 yard fabric for each pumpkin
Brown paper to make stem
Brown  pipe cleaner
Silk flowers and leaves
A pen, glue stick or wood skewer to "poke" with
Glue Gun


First Smoosh your roll of toilet tissue so that it is not obvious what your pumpkin is made from.  Cut two pieces of batting about 3-4 inches wide and long enough to just tuck into the cardboard roll.  Take your fat quarter and center your batting on top in an X. 
First Step is to Smoosh your Toilet tissue roll
Tuck your batting and  fabric into the center of the tissue roll
First tuck in your batting, then start tucking your fabric starting with one of the longer corners.  Remember to tuck in one direction, and turn your project as you tuck and pleat the fabric into the center of your toilet roll.  You may need to use a little muscle to make sure you get it all tucked in nicely!

Ready to add the stem!
Once all your fabric is nicely tucked in, you take your brown paper and roll it into a tube, then twist and scrunch it into a stem for your punkin'.  No glue is needed, just stuff in in.

Wrap your pipe cleaner around a pen or your index finger to make a vine, then fold it in half.  Glue your pipe cleaner, leaves and fall silk flower at the top- and you are finished!

Ta Daaa!!!
Even the Gentlemen at Horizon Bay in Arlington like this one!
Our pretty pumpkins all in a row!
This is a fun fall project and could be modified to be jack-o-lanterns or apples.  You could wrap with burlap but if the fabric gets too thick it is hard to stuff in the center of the tube.   I highly recommend this as a project for Seniors who are in Memory care- as it is a very easy project with attractive results.

Till next time-  Stay Creative and Enjoy the Cooler Weather!


Busy Little Bees Part 2

Since I haven't posted a lot this year, sometimes I have technical difficulties.  I couldn't get Blogger to let me add more info to the last blog- so I decided just to go with the flow and split the post in half.

Love the dangle earrings!
As I was saying- we have had some successes lately with our Poly Clay Jewelry classes.  Another of our recent winners is our Mokume Gane earring and bracelet sets.  Here is an example of one of my ladies' jewelry.

This summer we have also completed a lot of painted wood projects.  From small birdhouses to plant pokes, to decorative butterfly and flower glass pebble embellished projects-  Wood has been our friend!  Here is a great example of our butterfly and flower projects class.

My ladies at Chambrel hard at work!
The finished project
Great Colors!

I love that every time we do a project- they all turn out so different and really show each individual's personality!

Our last Summer project was a 3-D Paper Piecing Floral Design.  I have to say that this project was one of the all time favorites of the year.  With a little adjustment, this project was actually appropriate for all of my seniors- from those in Memory Care to Independent Seniors.  I simplified the design slightly for my Memory Care residents, but their projects turned out really great!  Here are some of my students in action:

Working away at Atria in Carrollton

Close up of her pretty bouquet!
I even have had one of my ladies do about 10 of these in her room.  She's planning to give them to her family and friends as Christmas presents this year!

Well that's about it for the Summer projects- wish I had taken more pictures because we did some great room diffusers, tumbled stone decoupaged tile coasters and some fun patriotic door hangers as well.

Next up- Fall projects!

Until next time- Have Fun and Stay Creative!


Busy Little Bees Part 1

Happily, my class schedule is getting busier every month, and I have not had a lot of time to post.  Summertime was a very busy creative time in our "Get Your Craft On" classes, Dirt Therapy classes and Poly Clay Jewelry classes.   I would like to share with you a few of the projects we completed over the last few months.  Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to take pictures, so many of our projects go unrecorded- including some great tumbled stone decoupaged coasters, reed diffusers with customized fragrances and decorated vases and patriotic door hangers.

Going all the way back to July 4th- Here is a fun watercolor/ mixed media flag inspired project. I taught this project to seniors in Assisted Living and modified it for my Memory Care students as well.  Everyone was very happy with the results!  We painted the design in watercolor, applied glitter to the stars and dimensional paint to the frame.  We raised the stars with small pieces of foam core for a three dimensional look.
Patriotic Art Created by one of my students at Winters Park in Garland

One of the most popular projects of the summer were our painted tote bags with felt button embellishments.  I found some great tote bags at the Dollartree and used DecoArt fabric paints.  We embellished with Felt flowers and buttons from Michaels.

Pretty Tropical Bag for a Pretty Lady!

Another Happy Customer at Horizon Bay In Arlington, TX
In addition to our regular Arts and Craft classes- we sometimes work on Garden decorations.  Here is a great example of our completed pots for the patio at Silverado in Plano Texas.  These pots were made by my Memory Care students.  The designs were made by using our fingertips as the body of our butterflies.  The black painted details really make the designs stand out.  We placed the pots on their front porch area where they sit and enjoy time outside when it is nice.

Fingerprint Butterfles and Felt Flower Plant Pokes
Painted Pots with Summer Hardy Annuals

In addition to planting out our pots, we started vegetables from seed and planted them in our raised beds.  Here are a few of our sucesses.  Cucumbers, peas and radishes did pretty well until the really hot summer weather kicked in.

Cucumbers and Peas on the Bamboo Trellis
Cucmber on the Vine
We also have been having fun in our Poly Clay Jewelry Making classes.  I have found the secret to success- always keep all my students working on the same project.  In the past, I had the ladies make lots of different styles of beads and they would end up working on different projects- and many times, nothing ever got completed.  Now I choose one project and we all do the same design (then put our own spin on the project).

We recently tackled making Polymer Clay Calla Lily pendants and they came out beautifully!
Close up on our Calla Lily Pendant

Dee Dee and June at Signature Place in Dallas       

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Busy Summer!

Wow!  I can't believe I have not had time to post anything all summer!  We've done a bunch of great projects, and I only have a few pictures of recent projects.  I've been really bad about taking photos this year.  And now we are sneaking up on Fall already!

I'll share a little of what we have been doing lately:

I recently started a new class- Yummy Bites Cooking Class.  Although many of the Retirement Communities offer occasional simple cooking classes- I wanted to do something completely different.  And armed with ton's of Pins from my Pinterest pages I have found some great fun and YUMMY food for us to try.

We've already tried Pie Pops- and they turned out just OK.  We used Berry and Cherry filling, but found we had too much crust and not enough filling in the little pies.  We all agreed that it might be tastier to use creamy filling like chocolate, pumpkin or coconut creme.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the finished products.  Recently we baked rainbow cupcakes in ice cream cones.  They were a big hit with the ladies.    Here are a few pictures of our finished cupcakes- they are not perfect, but they tasted good!
Rainbow Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
We made Apple Pie in a jar as well- and these were really yummy.  To tell the truth, we didn't actually use a recipe- we just eyeballed the ingredients, used premade crusts and they came out just fine!  We all agreed that baking in Mason jars was something we wanted to try again!
Ready to go in the oven!
Our finished project- Yummy!
Last week we made Peachy Keen Bars-  and they were very simple to make with only 7 ingredients- French Vanilla cake mix, canned peaches, eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla and cream cheese.  We were supposed to let them cool but they smelled so good, we dug in right away so they didn't quite keep their bar form, but nobody seemed to care.  We all agreed that the best part of class was sitting around the table visiting with each other (reminded us of old times visiting around the kitchen table with friends and family). 

I'll post again soon so that I can share some of our fun craft projects that we completed over the summertime.  Until then-  Stay Creative and Have Fun!


Monday, May 21, 2012

It's my "almost summer" post!

Wow!  This is year is just flying by.  I am having so much fun working with my Seniors and am teaching more and more classes every month!  I just have not had a chance to post much this year or tell you about our Spring projects.  This is only a small fraction of the projects we've done since half the time I  forget to take pictures of our completed projects.  I would like to share some of the fun projects and classes we have been busy with the last few months.

In February we made some great Polymer Clay heart necklaces using a few simple additional charms and silk cording.  These projects were great projects for my ladies in Assisted Living residences and we had a wonderful time making them.

Polymer Clay Heart Necklaces
 In March we made some fun Door Hangers for St Patty's Day using paper plates, tissue paper, fun foam shamrocks and pipe cleaner hangers:

We also had a lot of fun this Spring with gardening projects- not to mention making some fun plant pokes:

This project is our container garden at Autumn Leaves in Rockwall- we started all these plants by seed!

Fun Wooden Spoon Flower Plant Pokes
We had a great time planting out the large planters at Winters Park in Garland- hopefully the plants will get regular watering and will grow throughout the summer months!

In March we started working on Spring Door Hangers, Spring Wreaths and Spring Topiaries:

My Ladies at Franklin Park in North Richland Hills!

Punched Paper Flower Topiaries at Atria in Richardson

In May we celebrated Cinco de Mayo by making festive Paper Flowers  at Horizon Bay in Arlington and they turned out as pretty as the ladies that made them!

Dollar Store Embellished Canvas Bags- just in time for summer outings:

And let's not forget our Cinco de Mayo Latin Rhythm party with the Seniors at Chambrel at Club Hill!  We had a fun afternoon being silly and making music together!

The Latin Music class has been lots of fun for both my Independent Seniors and Seniors with Alzheimer's.  It is a great form of exercise and a good deal of fun.  We encourage dancing as well as playing instruments!

I guess that's it for now!  Off to teach a Latin Rhythm class tomorrow and am going to scour Pinterest for a few arts and crafts ideas for my class tomorrow afternoon!

Till next time--Have a great Memorial Day holiday and always Stay Creative and Have Fun!