Monday, November 30, 2015

pincushion christmas gift

Since we visit Ohio at Thanksgiving, we often exchange gifts then with some people.  I made a few gifts and bought a few gifts for people - it just depends on what I think they'd like.

For my sewing goddess friend Sarah, I made a pincushion by crocheting one!  It actually turned out pretty cute I think:

First you make the cup, but I had to alter the handle because I could not make it a tube to stuff - my yarn and hook weren't ideal for that.  So I improvised and just made a flat handle.  Then you make the "tea" and attach it:

The original pattern calls for a tea bag string to come out, but I tried it twice and could NOT get it to look good.  So I decided to make it hot chocolate with marshmallows:

Okay, those are pins to emphasize the pincushion - but I like to think they are marshmallows:

It is filled with stuffing and some polyfill pellets (never had seen those) but are little plastic pellets to help weigh it down so it stands up properly.  It's a fun little project for that sewer who needs a pincushion!

Friday, November 27, 2015

cherry coffee cake

This was from my wedding cookbook, and I for some reason thought it was another chocolate cherry cake until I made it.  It looks a little like a cobbler but it totally tastes like cake.  It is very easy even though the cake part is made from scratch.  The cherry part is pie filling.

Then you top it all off with a super tasty glaze:

This was seriously delicious and we loved it.  Andy ate around the chunks of cherries, and the flavor of the cake part was just so tasty.  I'd recommend anyone make this!  I think I'd make it in a glass dish next time because it was a little dark on the bottom...but I chose this dish because it has a lid that makes it super easy to take it to work!

Cherry Tree Coffee Cake
Preheat oven to 350°
Cream together:
1 Cup butter or margarine
1 3⁄4 Cup sugar
Add, beating in one at a time: 

4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together, add and stir until smooth: 
3 Cup flour
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder

Spread all but 1 cup of batter in a 16x11, greased and floured pan Spread cherry pie filling over batter. Drop reserved batter over cherries.
Bake for 45 minutes.

Glaze for Coffee Cake
1⁄2 cup powdered sugar
4 tsp. milk
1⁄4 tsp. vanilla
Drizzle over cooled cake. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

doorknobs as hooks

As we were finishing up our guest room, we wanted to put something up on the small wall space next to our closet.  We thought hooks would be good for our guests, but didn't want just boring hooks.  So we came up with the idea of doorknobs.  I found some online that were white, and painted them the same color as the feature wall:

So they stand out on the lighter color but fit the color scheme:

Adds something a little different for our guest room.  Yay!  I also touched up the ceiling as part of this, so I believe our room is completely done now.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

the easiest biscuit ever

Making homemade biscuits is pretty easy...the worst part is the rolling of the dough and then rerolling after you cut out circles.  I already made that easier in that I didn't use a round cutter but just cut squares, but still had to roll out.

Therefore, when I found a recipe on Pinterest that didn't require rolling out, I totally wanted to try it.  The recipe I found online is called butter dips, but it's basically a biscuit.  You mix the dough, put it in a dish over melted butter, and bake.  Yep, it's that easy.

I forgot to take a picture until we had already eaten them with sausage gravy over it.  Sorry about that...but they were so good and supper came together fast because these are quick.  They bake at a super high temperature, but that actually gives a little crisp to the bottom, which I really loved...especially under sausage gravy.  This was a keeper and went into the recipe box for a speedy biscuit!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

caramel apple cupcakes

This was one of the best recipes I made from my cookbook lately.  This is an easy way to doctor a cake mix that makes it so freaking tasty!

The cupcakes alone are tasty:

Then you add caramel and it's even tastier!

I highly recommend!  I ate some with and without the caramel and it was really good both ways.  I do love apple cinnamon desserts, but they were a big hit at work and with the family.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes
2/3 cup peeled and diced Granny Smith apples (I used whatever apples I had)
2/3 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped (optional - I didn't use)
1 box with and streusel from Crumb Cake Bread/Cupcakes (box on the shelf at grocery store)
18 caramel candies (I just used ice cream caramel topping)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place paper liners in cupcake pan
3. Prepare batter as described on box.  Fold in chopped apples and walnuts.
4. Fill each paper liner about 1/4 of the way full with batter.
5. Top with a bit of streusel, then fill with remaining batter.
6. Top again with the remaining streusel.
7. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs.
8. Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cool completely.
9. Melt caramels in top of a double boiler or microwave.
10. Drizzle caramel over tops of cooled cupcakes using a fork or a teaspoon.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

rhubarb ice cream

I love rhubarb pie - it's my second favorite after apple.  And not rhubarb strawberry, but the delicious tart flavor of pure rhubarb!  So when I was at the doctor's office and saw a recipe for rhubarb ice cream, I figured I would want that sometime.  So I snapped a quick photo to have it.  I have to say having a smart phone is very convenient at times!

My sister gave me rhubarb (since I had to leave it with our house in Ohio where I planted awesome splits off Kris' plants) in a vacuum-packed freezer pack, and even though it said 2011, it was beautiful and looked fresh!

So first you cook the rhubarb in the oven with sugar, and it makes this delicious syrup.  I didn't keep all the syrup in with the rhubarb because I figured it would be too runny when pureed, but man it was so delicious and tart...I couldn't stop licking my spoon after it accidentally kept falling in :)

The recipe does not require an ice cream maker, so it just requires whipping of cream and then folding in the puree.  Then freeze:

Honestly I would redo this and make it in the ice cream maker instead of this whipped heavy cream again.  I think that would make for a more consistent creamy ice cream.  But the method for the rhubarb puree to add in?  Awesome!  If you love rhubarb pie, you'll love it!!

Friday, November 13, 2015

carrot chips take two

Since I didn't enjoy the carrot chips last time, I tried a new recipe I found online that used strips that are peeled with a veggie peeler instead of slices.  So great, that might work better!

However, they still turned brown by the time they got crispy:

Still not ideal, and although they crisped up better, they still weren't anywhere near as tasty as the fried ones.  So after two tries, I'm giving up and only buying them.  Last time I bought them at the Amish market and man they were tasty!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ikea shelving

We have lots of games and not a great place to put them.  They were in our guest bedroom closet but hard to reach.  We also rearranged our living room and moved our tv out of the little 'cubby', and it was completely empty.  Andy found a great shelving unit at Ikea that will fit right in there and be great for games.

So here it is just after assembly:

We left out two vertical pieces so that there would be more horizontal space for storing the longer game boxes:

I also bought the little 'door' inserts to put on the cubbies on the bottom.  I needed a place to store my yarn for crochet, and I wanted it hidden since it's not super pretty:

Don't worry, we have since loaded up the other cubbies.  But doesn't it fit in there so perfect?  It's a great thing to have and is currently holding a lot of my Christmas cards as a work in progress.

And yes, Jeph, all my yarn that I currently own fits in those cubbies.  And?  It only fits in three of the cubbies...the last one is for some other things.  So my stash is small ;)

Monday, November 9, 2015

carrot chips...take one

I say take one because I'm definitely going to try this again with a different recipe!  In other words, this is not a keeper, but since I use my blog to share my adventures with friends and families as well as a journal of sorts so I can look things up, I'm blogging about it anyway.

I love carrot chips but most of them are fried...and I was hoping for a healthier version.  So I found one online for slicing carrots with a mandoline and then baking them. Perfect!  Except that my mandoline didn't work because of the way it was shaped and carrots are so narrow.  So I had to hand cut them, which wasn't super hard but getting them even was NOT easy.  This was the final verdict:

Yes they are not pretty.  The problem is that in order for them to be crispy, they had to be browned basically, which is not pretty.  And although they didn't taste burnt, they didn't taste as good as the fried ones.  I have another recipe saved to try so we'll try that becuase this isn't worth keeping.  I can't find the recipe online right quick, but it's not worth sending anyway!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

katniss wrap, or giant infinity scarf

I've been crocheting quite a bit...and I mostly make stuff for myself with a few gifts thrown in.  I found a pattern online to crochet a Katniss wrap...a wrap like Katniss wore in the second Hunger Games (I think it was the second one).  Ultimately it's a beast of an infinity scarf, and you just wrap it fancy to wear.  I worked on it at my last library conference, and I really like the stitching patterns:

This is how it is worn like the Katniss:

Here is a picture of wearing it like the long infinity scarf just to give you an idea:

Then I got crazy and wore it all hoodie like:

I had to rip out a lot of what I made to make it bigger, then it still feels a little tight.  However, I blocked it, which means wet and then I stretched I'm hoping once it dries (which is taking days since it is such a beast) it has a little more length so it's not as tight!