Monday, January 31, 2011

Paninis – PuertoCuban style! (or Almosta Cubans)… An International Culinary Adventure… or something…

So I may be buried under piles of paper and jewelry supplies but occasionally I pull myself out of the mess and make dinner for the Brent-man and myself.

My friend, Jamie, has been sharing recipes and pictures of her new “skinny” meals and one of them caught my eye and whet my appetite :)  It’s called “Cuban Sandwich Quesadilla” and is made with Pernil, a slow cooked pork, pickles, ham, swiss cheese and mustard.   Now, I’m not a fan of mustard but I like everything else on the sammie so I figured we’d try it out.

Here’s what you need for a traditional Cuban:

Pernil (skinny variety from
Some type of bread (we used Naan)
Dill Pickles
Deli sliced ham
Swiss cheese (or other easy melting white cheese)

On Saturday Brent and I spent the afternoon shopping up in the “big city” and hit WinCo and Sunflower Market… our two new fave stores.  We picked up some yummy organic veggies at Sunflower and made our own peanut butter at WinCo. We were like small children at the peanut butter station.  LOL! It’s actually very cool to watch and it tastes DIVINE.. nothing but peanuts… no additives or extra “fluff”.

So after we unloaded all our goodies we pulled out the pork roasts (they were small 1 lb roasts) and threw a couple in a glass bowl, mixed up the marinade and let it sit over night.  We turned it a few times that evening and then into the crock pot it went Sunday morning.  Our house smelled absolutely DIVINE and thankfully since the roasts were smaller we didn’t have to let it cook the full 8 hours. I think we made it 6 before our stomachs demanded to be fed. LOL!

We pulled the pork out, barely let it cool, and shredded it with forks.  We probably could have just used the tongs because that pork just fell apart if you looked at it hard.


I took a little “culinary license” when creating our sandwiches… 1) we were out of mustard and 2) I forgot to buy ham, but that’s ok with me.   On my sammie I subbed provolone cheese for the swiss because I don’t handle swiss cheese very well.  SO much for authentic, eh?  So these are “almosta Cubans”…. they were delicioso anyway!  I am all about KEEPING IT REAL here on my blog.  You may see fru fru art, but the rest of it is all me, all real… the good, the bad, the ugly, and an occasional panini.



The bread that we used is called Naan.  It’s an Indian flat bread and I am sure it can’t be that difficult to make… I’ve been reading about it today and we’re going to try it out sometime in the near future.  Yeah, so I think I have REALLY messed this recipe up.. they’re PeurtoIndaCuban Paninis now… and Panini is an Italian word.. well heck.. it’s an international culinary adventure.  And we made them again tonight with Dijon mustard… great, now the French are involved… what has this kitchen come to?

But alas, we continue…

So I don’t have a traditional “panini maker” but I was able to create the same effect with a few everyday kitchen gadgets that are common in most kitchens.  Brent has this FABULOUS cast iron griddle that can be used across two burners on our gas stove, so I flipped it over to the “grill” side of the griddle and laid out the sammies, then I folded them over and let them heat up.

To “press” the sammies and get the “panini effect” I used a metal cookie sheet and Brent’s new BSA 100 anniversary cast iron skillet (Lodge).  See.. Keeping it REAL… always open for an opportunity for creative cooking :P


Look at those yummy little treats getting all nice and squooshed and heated through!  LOVE IT! LOVE IT! NOM, Nom, nom, nom…. noooomm…



So we let them sqooosh there for a while.. I didn’t track the time… I flipped them over once and grilled the other side . When they looked all nice and toasty and crunchy on the second side I slid them off onto a plate and sliced each one in half.  I served them up with grapes and marinated cucumbers and onions.  Delicioso!


Now go out and make your family something adventurous!

Inky Smiles!


PS.. we made them again tonight… so good.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gearing Up For Creative University

Gosh I’ve been busy behind the scenes here lately getting ready for Creative University and a visit from my aunt and cousin from Massachusetts who are going to be here when I return from C.U. and stay with us as they travel cross country to LA.  Crazy stuff!  We DID finally get Christmas down and put away and even de-junked the Christmas/Seasonal Decor closet (aka under the stairs). Yahoo! 

I’ve also been working on 60 charms (20 art charms, 20 fillers and 20 extras for swapping on my own) for the Charm Swap that I am in and in charge of and working on the jewelry class that I am teaching.  I’m prepping my supplies, packaging them up and planning the agenda for my class (so I can keep on track, haha!)  I really wish I could share photos with you of what I am working on, but it’s supposed to be a secret so I can’t share just yet…

However, I do have some photos of the roomie gifts that I did last year and don’t think I ever shared these with you so I’m going to share them now. :)

I wanted everything to kind of have a little “theme” so I found some fun goodies in the CU “colors” and put these together.  They were very affordable and easy to make. Everything except the mini nail polish (Sally) and the treats  (Wmart Valentine’s aisle)came from the Michael’s dollar aisle.  I wanted to be able to do 5 sets of gifts at a reasonable price and still have some fun.  Presentation is the key to sprucing up dollar items.

Here’s the package all done up.  I bought the bags at Michaels ($1) and created some digi art in Photoshop for the front of the bags.  I also cut and punched out some cute lacey borders and adhered them to the main “label” and then to the bag.  I looooove the lacey lingerie background.. fun and whimsical.



Here’s a snapshot of the “loot” laid out.   The notebooks were $1 and I added some altered chipboard (covered with BG paper) and some Maya Road flourishes that I glittered to death and adhered to the front of the notebook.  The pencils came in a pack of 12 for $1… I split them up and made little tiny label size wraps that I stamped with a CTMH stamp “Special Delivery”.   The mini pedicure kit was also $1 and I tied a little stamped shoe tag (also glittered) to it with a ribbon.  The nail polish was less than 99c at Sally, I think I got it on sale and the sleep masks were also less than $1.  The princess door hanger came in a pack of 4 for $1 and I pulled out the pink and green ones and glammed them up with glitter and put a cute little sentiment on it.  The treats came in multi packs from Walmart’s  Valentine’s treats aisle.







Whether you’re headed to CU, a different retreat, or just need some fun little giftie ideas, I hope this inspires you.  This year I am doing something completely different and without quite so many goodies, but it will still be fun!  Can’t wait to share the pics with you later!

Inky Smiles!

Monday, January 10, 2011

National Clean Off Your Desk Day

This is the current state of my desk…

Picture 78

{Pardon the picture quality.. I snapped it with my webcam because I am too lazy to haul upstairs and charge the battery for my camera.}  It could be worse… oh wait, it IS worse.. you don’t see the stuff upstairs on my table that has to come down here to the desk to find new homes. LOL!

Today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day… I read it somewhere online so it must be true! :) How perfect!  I guess you know what I will be doing today, tomorrow, and the next day.  Sorting out this desk and all the goodies that are upstairs on the table.  I won’t even mention that all of my Christmas decor is still up and on display.  That happens when you go away for Christmas and come home to a funeral, work, and then get a nasty humdinger of a cold. Christmas can wait.  The desk, however, can not.  I have projects to create and work to do!  Creative University is just 6 weeks away and I have lots to get done and finished up!

I’ll get to working on this mess and get back to the blog soon! 

In the meantime… show me your messy desk! Leave a comment with the link so I won’t feel so bad.

Inky Smiles!