Friday, February 15, 2013

Foodie Friday and Valentine's Day!

Well I'm not going to lie and say our Valentine's Day wasn't at all perfect.

I was sick with the flu that's been going around so I pretty much laid on the couch most of the day. And I didn't feel up to making a nice pancake breakfast like I usually would on a special day.

The roads were bad so Paul couldn't commute to work - which was actually a blessing in disguise because he could stay home and wrangle the crazy kids while I curled up on the couch feeling sorry for myself. Lol.

I made heart shaped pizzas for dinner. Paul got put to work in the kitchen grating cheese and chopping meat and peppers for the pizza.

For dessert we had heart shaped cinnamon buns with pink icing and sprinkles. And boy am I glad I made the dough the day before. That made making cinnamon buns a lot easier.

Then we played some Valentine's Bingo using conversation hearts as our markers. We had fun but I was tired.

Thank goodness I'm feeling quite a bit better today! Tomorrow Paul and I are going out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants - kid free. It will be nice to have a date night. I'm so excited.

Oh and here's my littlest cutie acting all sassy.  Isn't she sweet?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chloe's Princess Birthday Party

We just had Chloe's 4th birthday party this past weekend. She wanted a Princess party - complete with a Cinderella carriage cake and Sleeping Beauty piñata.

The girls all seemed to have fun.

First we made magic wands.  They are super easy.  All you need is wooden dowels, foam stars, glue and decorations (rhinestones, stickers, sequins, beads, buttons, foam shapes, etc). 

I put white glue in little styrofoam cups and gave them each a paint brush.  Then when they were all done, I used my glue gun to glue the dowel in between the two stars and tied a bow with a ribbon around the dowel.

Then we did the pinata.  Here she is... a little creepy, but I did my best. haha.

When the pinata finally broke apart, the top of her head was still hanging on the broom handle and the rest fell... wish I got a picture.  It was like Sleeping Beauty got scalped! Ick!
So many princesses... and one lone knight to protect them all!

Then we had cake (which was actually Rice Krispie cake covered in icing and fondant).

Here's a picture of the birthday girl in her new froggy toque and fleece night gown.... and holding her wand!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Foodie Friday - Shortbread Cookies

Well, I know it's only Thursday, but the post is ready and I'm excited that this week I'm back on the ball.  So... here it is a day EARLY (for once) -Foodie Friday!

Hi, I'm Megan and I'm a shortbread-aholic. I don't know what it is about shortbread, but if there is shortbread nearby I just can't stop eating it. It's one of those cookies that is delicious and melts in your mouth. And is found in abundance at Christmas time.  So, in other words, I've been eating it nearly non-stop for a month... ahem

Anyway, here is my favorite shortbread recipe. I usually make them plain but you could add a maraschino cherry or Hershey's kiss or other topping before baking them if you wish.

The key to that perfect melt-in-your-mouth shortbread is to not overcook them. You want to take them out when the edges are just BARELY turning golden. For me that was 8 to 8.5 minutes. It will vary by oven. I would start with 6-7 minutes and then check them every 30-45 seconds until done the first time. That will give you a better idea for time on the second pan.

Shortbread Cookies

1 lb butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup corn starch
3 cups flour
1 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and vanilla.  Cream in sugar, flour and cornstarch.  Beat with an electric mixer until whipped cream consistency.  Roll into balls and flatten with a fork.  Add cherry or Hershey Kiss to top if desired.  Cook at 350 F for 7-8 minutes until BARELY golden on the edges.  Let cool about 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire racks.

These freeze really well too!
Anyway, hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!  Ours was lots of fun.  And we even got some tobogganing in with the kids.  So much fun!  Thanks for being patient with me and my recent lack of posts.  I am determined to be more motivated (in terms of my blog) this year and to do at least one post a week.  Happy New Year from The Crafty Conundrum!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Inexpensive Halloween Decor

I can't believe it's already half way through October!  I've been pulling out the Halloween decorations -some old ones from last year, some hand me downs from my Mom (who is moving and getting rid of TONS of stuff), and some new additions on the cheap. 

I came across some super cute FREE printables via (where else?) Pinterest and added those to some cheap-o frames from the Dollar Store.

Keep Calm and Scary On printable found HERE.  One Hour Broom Parking printable found HERE.

And, of course, some cobwebs and spiders -courtesy of the Dollar Store as well. 

You can pick up a bag of these small pumpkins at the grocery store (or other various gourds and maize) for only a few dollars.  They make a great addition to Halloween decor on a budget!

The Thanksgiving printable (My turkey, 'tis of thee) can be found HERE.  And the Eat, Drink and Be Scary one is HERE.

My mom gave me this cute painted wood skeleton too.  Plus I have my Halloween Wreath I shared with you last year that I still love.

What are your cute and inexpensive decorations for Halloween?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Strawberry Limeade Concentrate

 I found this Strawberry Limeade Concentrate recipe from Simple Bites via Pinterest and had to give it a try -after all, I had some strawberries from the garden that were getting a little too ripe.  It's pretty tasty.  I would tweak the recipe a bit -just that I would either add more cubes to the same amount of water, or just add less water than the recipe calls for.  It wasn't strong enough in my books.  But once I added more concentrate, I liked the results.  And it was super simple which is always a plus.  And for some reason I forgot to get a photo of the juice mixed up.  Darn!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dinosaur Party -Pinata

 Ok, so I am kind of  REALLY delayed in posting this birthday pinata I made for Carter's party (which was in July), but I had kind of forgotten about it after I did that LONG post on the T-Rex cake. 

Anyway, my boy wanted to have a DINOSAUR birthday party so I made this Shonisaurus pinata.  For those of you who don't know what a Shonisaurus is, it's an ocean dwelling reptile that lived in the time of the dinosaurs.... don't worry, I wouldn't know either if I didn't have a future paleontologist on my hands.  Haha. 

I used a balloon for the basic form.  I started by doing a bunch of layers of papier mache on the balloon. Then used crushed newspapers and LOTS of masking tape to construct the tail and snout.  I attached these to the balloon shaped body with masking tape.  Then attached some string to make a handle.  Finally, after more layers of papier mache, I painted it and added the fins using lightweight cardboard (cereal boxes).  Carter loved it.  I doubt anyone else knew what it was -they probably figured I didn't know what color dolphins are supposed to be.  LOL.  But they had fun beating it to death (yes, morbid, I know...)

Oh, and I almost forgot the most important step -cut an opening and STUFF it to the gunnels with candy and tiny toys (dinosaurs),  Hope you like it as much as I liked making it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Foodie Friday - Cinnamon Burst Sour Cream Zucchini Bread

 I apologize for my lack of presence in the blogosphere this last while.  Ever since So You Think You're Crafty, I haven't seemed to be able to get back into the swing of things.  We had an AWESOME time on our trip to Drumheller and Calgary (other than me getting the 24 hour flu).  But I am sure glad to be home.  Chloe and I are now in Edmonton.  Surgery is in on Monday.  I feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster.  Some days I'm really excited to get it over with and get her on the road to recovery.... other days I'm terrified.  I have visions of her (stubborn, independent, strong willed girl that she is -and love her for it) pulling out IV's by herself or breathing tubes.  She does not like to sit still or be told what to do.  I know we have family all praying for her and that it will be ok.  I'm sure the nurses at the children's hospital have seen it all before -I'm more worried about the mom (aka ME) who hasn't see it all before.

Ok, enough about me -on to Foodie Friday!

My garden has been THRIVING this year.  Well, most of it.  I've given up on my tomatoes... but the zucchini is producing like crazy.  This is what I have in my freezer:

 Enough grated zucchini to last me what seems like FOREVER.  So my wonderful mother has been emailing me link after link of zucchini recipes! LOL.  She bought some cinnamon chips from The Prepared Pantry that she hasn't used yet, so she let me use them to make this recipe for Cinnamon Burst Sour Cream Zucchini Bread from the Prepared Pantry site.

And it was DELICIOUS!  It was so incredibly moist, plus the cinnamon chips melted, leaving behind cinnamon swirls that seemed to have a bit of crystall-y stuff that gave it a bit of crunch -if that makes any sense.

The only problem was one of my loaves stuck on the bottom of the pan, so this is what I got.  Next time I'll use CAKE RELEASE (see THIS post) -it hasn't failed me yet.

Here is a shot of it when it's cut.  Doesn't it look delicious?  I'm so glad I can add that to my list of great foods to make with my never-ending zucchini supply. 

Have a great Friday.  I have some other posts I've been working on writing up -because I've still been baking/cooking and crafting, just have been a slacker when it comes to actually doing up the posts.  I hope to try to schedule those for while I'm gone.  Although, last time I tried the scheduling stuff, it never posted it when it was scheduled.  We'll give it another shot.

The recipe is included below.

Cinnamon Burst Sour Cream Zucchini Bread 

(source: The Prepared Pantry)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini squash
1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together.  Fold in the sour cream, oil, and zucchini.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Stir in the cinnamon chips.  Pour the batter into two well-greased (or greased and floured) loaf pans.  Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until done.  Cool for ten minutes on a rack before removing the loaves from the pan.