Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not So Speechless Sunday: Project Pink

On this second to last day in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month as you most likely already know, I'm participating in Project Pink hosted by The Artsy Girl Connection.  I had to, had to, had to share this increeeeedible cake from My Cake School. I have always loved white on white cakes and this one is so beautiful. I love the whimsy lettering. I really, really want to try my hand at something like this.

Fourteen years ago, I lost a woman I considered my second mom to cancer. I still have such vivid memories with her, like belting out Celine Dion in the car with her after school. Almost two years ago, I lost my grandpa to stomach cancer he most likely got from working in a nuclear plant nearly his whole life as a chemist. I cherish my memories of playing Uno with him, watching him do his daily crossword and fall asleep in his chair every afternoon like clockwork.

Below, all the links are listed of any one participating in Painting the Blog World Pink for a day:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homemade Breakfast Burritos

Whew! Today was crazy, busy but fun. I thought I'd quickly share something I made this last weekend to save time during the week. That's right, homemade breakfast burritos. I've seen them floating around pinterest and thought they were a brilliant idea. I definitely get sick of cereal every day - which is saying something, cause I do love cereal. There are mornings when I just feel like something with a little more oomph, sans the time to make oomph.

You can make them as healthy as you wish. You control the portion sizes and make them customized to each family member's taste. Just make sure to mark the outsides of the foil once wrapped if you make them different from one another.

Along with eggs, you can throw in chicken, bacon, ham, cheese, onion, pepper or any other filling you like. When you pull them out in the morning, microwave for 2 minutes and add salsa or ketchup, if desired.

I'm hoping to get a Saturday set aside here soon and make some freezer meals. I've got a handful of recipes on my Must Make Someday board on pinterest that I would love to try out soon!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Spiderweb Pumpkin Cake

I found this pumpkin bar recipe from Life's Simple Measures last week and had to give it a shot since I had some leftover pumpkin to use up. She listed a delicious sounding maple cream cheese frosting to go on top of hers, but I didn't have any maple extract. Boo. It is now on my list to get before holiday baking begins! Eeee! Super excited!

I cut the recipe that Jess posted for the pumpkin bars in a third, so here is what I used, which made just the right amount baked into a 6 inch cake pan. (Note: This is not cake like, but a very dense moist bar. I just wanted to put a cream cheese filling in so I used a circular pan. Plus I only had enough pumpkin for a smaller batch of batter.) For the full recipe and beautiful pictures check out Jess's recipe at Life's Simple Measures.

10 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/4 c. canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 c. sugar
2/3 c. all purpose flour
2/3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. baking soda
1/3 tsp. salt
2/3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp. ground ginger
1/3 tsp. ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, canola oil, eggs, and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and fold together until completely combined.
Pour batter into 6 inch cake pan. Bake at 350 for about 25-28 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

After letting it cool, I cut it in half and used the cream cheese recipe from Life's Simple Measures to fill in between the layers. Now, I needed a frosting to cover the two layers and filling.

I thought about how much I love chocolate and pumpkin together (see: 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies), so why not add a chocolate frosting to the pumpkin bars? Enter: my Pinterest Cupcakes Board, where I knew I had pinned some frosting recipes to try. You would have pinned this too, right? Gorgeous chocolate buttercream for piping.

Photo credit: Alice @ Savory Sweet Life

I used the chocolate buttercream recipe shown above from Alice at Savory Sweet Life. It is deeeeeee-licious and so easy to spread.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon almond extract)
4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
    Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer on medium speed.

    Sift powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Mix together . (It will be a little lumpy at this point.)

    Add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat on medium for 3 minutes. Now frost away!

    Then I took some of the leftover cream cheese frosting and piped two X's one on top of another. Then, just circles about a half inch apart. Finally, take a knife and pull the frosting starting in the center to the outside. These defining spiderweb lines would have been more dramatic if I had made my initial X's and circles thicker.

    Thanks for sticking it out this far if you've made it to the end of the post :) I hope you've enjoyed my little mash up of recipes!

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. Go check them out for more inspiration!  

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Garlic Chicken Puffs

    I am in love with the ease and yumminess of making dinner using crescent rolls. Remember these scrumptious Baked Chicken Cheese Filled Rolls or the Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Braid? Well, I had this recipe pinned for a while and had the 4 ingredients on hand. Yes, only four. Easy enough. Promise!

    I nearly halved the recipe shared by Cheryl over at Tidy Mom, which means you will get 16 puffs if you follow the directions below. We ate them for dinner. Doubling (or even tripling!) the batch would work perfectly for a potluck, appetizer at a party or a family larger than 4 people.

    2 chicken breasts, cooked, cut in 1/2 - 1 inch cubes
    2-3 ounces cream cheese
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1 can crescent roll

    First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Next, cook/bake/grill your chicken breasts as you like. I added a little Mrs. Dash seasoning to mine before grilling it.

    While the chicken is cooking, mix cream cheese and garlic powder together until well blended.

    Unroll crescent rolls and cut each perforated triangle into 2 triangles. You should have a total of 16 triangles after doing this, since there are 8 crescent rolls per tube, each triangle being cut in half.

    Place 1 tsp of cream cheese mixture on the center of each triangle. Place 2-4 cubes of chicken on top of cream cheeseand then fold the corners in over the mixture.

    Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and sprayed with no stick spray. Place all the puffs on the cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes, or until puffs are golden brown. Allow to cool.

    It was a good thing I had people to share them with, because I could have easily eaten all of them. They taste super good warm out of the oven. Pair with some mashed taters and veggies and you're set.

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. Go check them out for more inspiration!  

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    I Won!

    I very rarely ever win raffles or anything of the sort. This trend dates back to elementary school when the dozens of raffles were held during the annual harvest carnival. Last week, I stumbled upon a giveaway at Crafty Critique for the PDF pattern/tutorial for a Kristi Koo superhero cape.

    I was the first to enter and ended up having insanely good odds due to a lack of entries. Must have been just my luck. Madison from Crafty Critique left the giveaway open longer than planned in hopes of others entering. Even though, I nearly won by default, I was still so excited to win something! I can't stinkin' wait to make one of these for Addison!

    Please, please, please go check out Madison's awesome reviews and tutorials at Crafty Critique. Also, go check out Kristi Koo on etsy and her blog. Thanks so much to both Madison and Kristi!

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Speechless Sunday: Teaspoon of Love

    FlourishCafe on Etsy

    One day, I may attempt to make a mini gallery wall in my kitchen, full of this artist's work. Just love it!

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Trick or Treat Bag

    11 days til Halloween?! Where on earth did October go? I just love this trick or treat bag my sister made for Addison.

    She used this tutorial for the technique of making a bag, just without the quilting or piecing together part. We're novices regarding sewing so we needed a visual on turning it inside out and getting the handles on correctly.

    I'm in love with the fabric. So cute! It was hard to photograph, but the boo fabric is sparkly, which makes everything better, right?

    The inside lining is the same a the handles. It's just the perfect size for my niece. Can't wait to take her out! You can expect to see some pictures of this bag in action a couple Mondays from now!

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. Go check them out for more inspiration! 

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    My Very Own Handmade Wallet Clutch Thing

    The wallet clutch thing you see below came about for two main reasons:
    1) I haven't sewn anything for myself, ever. Not that I have been sewing for long, but I've only ever sewn gifts.
    2) I needed a new wallet, since my duck tape one - gift to me from my littlest sister - was falling apart. I figured those were good enough excuses to sew this up.

    I fell in love with this Moda Hometown by Sweetwater fabric during a trip to Fabric Depot. Then, I saw it again at Craft World and thought it would make the perfect little wallet. So, wallet clutch thingy came about based on a Checkbook Cover pattern from Amy Butler's Style Stitches.

    I added the credit card slots to the bottom pocket, since the original pattern didn't have any. In the next day or two, I plan on showing a little tutorial on how I did it, so stay tuned.

    My absolute favorite part of this wallet is the text print. All the cities near and dear to my heart are here: Boise/Idaho Falls, very near to where I was born - Portland, where I went to college - Northern California cities, right around where one of my closest friends is from - Baton Rouge, where my other close friend is living. Good stuff.

    Well, what do you think? Have you sewn yourself anything or do you sew so many gifts you forget about yourself?

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. Go check them out for more inspiration!

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Yukon Gold Baked Fries

    A fairly plain title for a post all about working with what ya got on hand. Inspiration comes from this pinned recipe from a while ago that I was going to try to replicate...only I didn't have the correct combination of spices. (I have a very, very limited number of spices. Remember, I'm a baker. I do wish I was a cook, too. Maybe eventually.)

    So, once I determined I wasn't going to be replicating anything. I sliced up my yukon gold potatoes. The thinner you slice them, the faster they will bake. That being said, I wasn't quite on top of my game, as the ones shown below are pretty thick.

    At this point, I would like to point out, one potato goes a long way. These are yukon golds, not russet potatoes, which are generally bigger. But, after making these a handful of times, I would say about a 1:2 ratio (potato:adult) works pretty well.

    Throw all the slices in a bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of spices. I just used a cajun mix, salt and pepper. Pretty simple.

    Spread the fries out so that they are not stacked (too much) on top of one another. This way, they will bake quicker. I bake these at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and then on broil to make them a little crispier for about 8-10 minutes. This can all be adjusted based on how crisp you like your fries, so make sure to keep a close eye on them while on broil, as they can burn quickly.

    We love these at our house - easy and far healthier than fried fries. Experiment different seasonings to find what you like best!

    Serve with your favorite dish, and dip if desired.

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. Go check them out for more inspiration!

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Halloween Ghost Kid Art

    I've seen these ghost foot prints around pinterest and blogland. I wanted to make one with Addie, but her awesome baby sitter, beat me to it! I just love footprint/handprint/fingerprint anything. It's just so adorable.

    This is pretty self explanatory, but in case you were wondering: she used half of a sheet of foam (construction or scrapbook paper would work just as well), white paint brushed onto the kiddo's foot, black puffy paint dots for the eyes (googly eyes would be fun!), white puffy paint for the name and year, finished off with a festive orange ribbon to hang it.

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. Go check them out for more inspiration!

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Window Antiquing

    A few weeks ago, I saw a link to Stuck on Gray and realized she (the blogger) is local. Really, really local. Like, she sells things in the local antique mall. I had never been in the antique mall. Why, you ask? Well, until over a year ago, my crafty creativeness really never got a chance. My plate was piled high with college and work. Upon graduation, my incredibly talented friend Michelle started sewing, again. I became very interested and well, the craft side of my brain erupted. It was so exciting creating things and I loved seeing new life in old things, too. So, jumping off that tangent, back onto answering why I had never been into the antique mall in the town I have lived in for 19 years of my life. Well, I never thought I liked anything antique. Didn't that just mean old?

    Turns out, I do like some antique things. Not all of it, but some. And getting back to Stuck on Gray, here are a few of her awesome creations in the antique mall I went window shopping in a few days ago. First up, I just adore this director's chair in robin's egg blue and cream linen.

    I think these wood signs are so pretty, too.

    I'm a sucker for kitchen appliances, brand spanking new or antique. I hold no judgment. I just love this scale she had in her booth.

    Moving out of her booth and into another I found to be full of awesome antique kitchen appliances. My favorite thing in the entire two story mall, was the aqua manual egg beater on the right.


    If I had endless storage space and all the children in the world had full tummies every night (i.e. I could justify spending money on what I don't actually need), I would have a huge collection of matching pitchers and tumblers or really any sort of glassware. I just love it.

    Probably my favorite display in the whole place - this lady's booth was beautiful. I really would just like to transport that entire hutch into my kitchen. I love love love the colors.

    Oh, I saw this retro baby walker and had to snap a quick pic of it. Boy, have baby walkers sure come a long way. (Apologies for the picture blurriness here. All photos in this post were taken with my phone.)

    Well, there you have it. A little virtual antique window shopping. Is that an oxymoron? Virtual antique?

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. Go check them out for more inspiration!

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

    Breakfast for dinner, also known as Brinner, is always excitedly welcomed in our house. My mom and dad started this with us when we were younger. I'm sure Brinner is an anticipated treat in your house, too. Could you resist these at any point throughout the day?

    I would eat breakfast for every meal if I could, so once I saw these cinnamon roll pancakes - and instantly repinned it on to my Breakfast Board of course - I was just waiting for an excuse to make them.

    The thing is, these are insanely easy to make. There are 3 parts to this deliciousness: pancake batter, cinnamon drizzle and icing. You could use a homemade pancake batter if you wish, or one of those yummy pumpkin pancake recipes I've seen around blogland. However, this time, I just used a box mix, so I don't have a recipe to share for pancake mix today.

    Next, the cinnamon drizzle. It is ideal to have a bottle to squeeze the drizzle out of and onto the pancake. I used a Wilton squeeze bottle which can be found in the baking isle at JoAnn's or Michaels, and are inexpensive at $2 for 2. Or an old honey bottle or something similar would work, too! [Update: One of my readers said she tried making these and ended up using a baby medicine syringe thing to squirt the cinnamon drizzle out. Genius Emily!]

    I found the cinnamon drizzle recipe linked above to not be nearly liquid enough. I don't think I misread the recipe but mine was just a chunky, very unsqueezeable, brown sugar/cinnamon mixture after following the recipe. So here is what I mixed together to make it able to squeeze out of a bottle to swirl into your batter:

    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 t ground cinnamon
    1 T butter, melted
    2-3 T milk - start slow and add until you think it is the right consistency (you may need a little more)

    Expert Tip: Make sure your cinnamon drizzle can squeeze some out of your bottle before you pour your batter onto the skillet. Or else, you end up still needing to thin it, while your pancakes quickly begin to turn brown and needing to be flipped. Hence, the following picture.

    Yes, that is not how you make cinnamon roll pancakes, although it still tastes pretty darn good. The pancakes needed flipped before I was able to thin the cinnamon drizzle even more to squeeze it out of the bottle. Thankfully, there were more pancakes to be made, so allow me to try again.

    There we go. Much better. And, I was so excited I made the second round of pancakes correctly, because after flipping them over as you normally would to finish up, the cinnamon drizzle created a very real cinnamon roll-like "ditch" where you could unravel the pancake. They really look just like a cinnamon roll!

    These are wonderful cinnamon pancakes to eat just as they are once finished. But, if you want cinnamon roll pancakes, they must be iced with cinnamon roll frosting. Here's the regular frosting recipe (halved) that worked out well from Erin (a fellow Oregon blogger!) at Making Memories, the blog I found via Pinterest. The recipe halved (shown below) is the perfect amount of frosting for about 8 hand sized pancakes, depending on your generosity.

    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 tsp. butter, melted
    1/4 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 Tbsp. milk (almond milk works just great, add more if you want it to be thinner)

    Erin also lists a cream cheese frosting and a maple frosting! Go check them out if you like. I'm definitely trying the maple one next time. And yes, as if these needed to be any more sugary sweet, that is a little drizzle of maple syrup on the little pancake above. What can I say, I don't have just one sweet tooth, but many sweet teeth.

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. Go check them out for more inspiration!

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    October Book Club: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

    As I mentioned yesterday, I wasn't able to attend book club this month. I have read Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie and found so many notable quotes I just loved. After finishing The Five People You Meet in Heaven, I decided to make a printable of one of my favorite quotes to share.

    I made the 3 versions. You should be able to click the image to enlarge it, then right click it to save it. Next time, I will try to get google docs or another one of those sharing sites hooked up.

    Each should print 6x6 inches. Let me know if you would like another color scheme. And next time it feels like the end - whether good or bad - remember, it's just the beginning. I find so much peace in hope for the future and thank God for new beginnings.

    This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page.

    Cookies & Cream Cupcakes: Halloweenified

    At book club last month, I signed up to bring snacks to this month's meeting. Turns out, I double booked myself and was unable to attend October's meeting to discuss The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom. I was super bummed, because I was looking forward to talking about the awesomeness that is always in Mitch Albom's books. However, I did end up sending some super fun, tasty and festive treats to the meeting with a friend.

    Yup, that's a Halloween Oreo baked  into the bottom of the cupcake! I browsed through my Cupcakes board on Pinterest and realized I had pinned various versions of cookies & cream cupcakes...5 times. I obviously need to tone it down. Anywho, I got the delicious cookies and cream frosting recipe from Kristan at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. That specific post has a pretty funny prelude to the actual recipe. Check it out.

    I used a Yellow Cake Mix to bake the cupcakes, following the directions on the box. Before putting the batter in the tray, I placed one Oreo in the bottom of each decorative liner. I baked the cupcakes until just golden on the tops, where the cake is sponge-like when touched. Once cooled, I frosted them with the cookies & cream frosting. Want a lick?

    Here's what you do to make a big batch of orange speckled cookies 'n cream frosting:

    4 sticks salted butter, softened
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    8 cups powdered sugar
    15 Halloween Oreos, crushed very finely

    Beat butter, cream and vanilla on medium-low until smooth and well-combined. Slowly add powdered sugar. Once powdered sugar is barely mixed in, increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. Fold in crushed Oreos. This will be enough if you plan on piping tall mounts of frosting on each cupcake. If you don't, I would suggest halving the recipe.

    Tip: If you are wanting to pipe a super tall, bakery-esque piles of frosting onto the top of these cupcakes, just like Kristan did and I had hoped to, you must obey the line that specifies the Oreos be very finely crushed. Why, you ask? If you do not, the frosting will not be able to squeeze out of a Wilton tip because a cookie chunk will be barricading a pretty frosting swirl from settling on your beautiful cupcakes. I learned that the hard way and had to settle for spreading the frosting with a knife. Sigh.

    If these had been for an actual Halloween event, I would have tried to think of a creative name for them, like Goblin Dirt Cupcakes and dyed the batter orange for a full on Halloween treat. Or maybe I would have bought one more box of Oreos so I could have crushed some up into bigger chunks into the batter to have speckled cupcakes. Next time! But, since these were for book club and I was crunched for time, this is what they got.

    There were reports that these beauties were a big hit at book club, which is what this was all about anyway.  Can't wait for November's meeting!

    I finally have my page of other blogs I share my posts at, as listed here. You can also always access these parties by clicking the Show & Tell tab at the top of my blog.
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