Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oreo Cookies

 So, can I just say I am SOOOOO very excited (and terrified) for this move!  I can't believe it's coming in 3 weeks.... but I wish it was tomorrow.  I'm so sick of packing already.  I can't stand living with boxes everywhere and staring at all the things I CAN'T pack yet because, well, we still need to LIVE. Needless to say, I haven't done a lot of crafting, but I can pretend that I still belong here, right? Lol.

Remember back to Valentine's Day when I said I would post all the recipes?  Well... better late than never, right?  Right!

So here goes.  For the pink, heart-shaped oreos I used the same recipe as the candy cane oreos I made at Christmas time, just substituted a white cake mix for the chocolate cake mix -and added some pink food coloring.  Then instead of forming them into balls, I put two smaller balls together and tried to make them into heart shapes.  I think I would have preferred the chocolate cookies and pink icing (maybe flavored like cherries or strawberries), but now I know better for next year.

I also made us some heart-shaped calzones (some with pepperoni and some with JUST cheese).  They were pretty tasty.  Next time I need to get a bigger heart cutter (or use a big circle)... mine leaked a bit and they were small to begin with so they didn't have a lot of cheese left in those ones.  
 The kids liked them -I think they would eat a lot more foods if they were all in cute little shapes!  I used this recipe that was on Craftzine for the dough.  I used slightly different toppings -that's the beauty about pizza-like foods!  Easy peasy, as my son would say.

And now I will sign off, go curl up with my book and pretend not to feel guilty about not packing.  Have a great night!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Foodie Friday #27 -Spice Cake with Gumpaste Flowers

My husband's Aunt asked me to make a cake for a party she was having for one of her friends (who is a friend of the family too).  I wanted to share it with all of you.

I used a bunch of gumpaste flowers that my mom had lying around her house.  And, yes, you heard that right -lying around her house.  She teaches cake decorating classes at Michael's so when she makes the flowers with her classes she saves them, but doesn't always use them all up.  And I think there were some flowers she had left over from making some wedding cakes too.  Anyway, my decorating job wasn't anything magnificent, but her flowers made it look way more classy than it would have otherwise.

I made a spice cake (scroll down for that recipe).  And I wanted to teach you few tricks I've learned from my wonderful mother.  If you already know these tricks, just bare with me.  The first is CAKE RELEASE.  And it is great.  We used to always grease (shortening) and flour our pans, but this is quicker and better. 

For 2 9-inch round pans I just made a little, but you can make more and store it if you want.  I just don't make cakes a LOT.  I used 2 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp shortening, 2 Tbsp oil.  Just mix equal parts of each ingredient until smooth. 

Then brush it on with a pasty brush

Ta-da! It works wonders.

 The second trick I forgot to get pictures of.  But basically to get a cake iced smooth, you can ice it and let it sit a few minutes (just so the icing isn't sticky to the touch anymore).  Then take a piece of parchment paper and lay it on part of the cake.  Then use your hands to gently smooth it out.  Carefully remove the parchment, move it to another spot and repeat until your cake is smooth.  The warmth from you hands helps "melt" the icing just a bit and the parchment paper gets that smooth look.

Happy baking!

Spice Cake Recipe:
1 box white or golden cake mix
1 c milk
1/3 c vegetable oil
1/4 c pure maple syrup (or pancake syrup)
3 eggs
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Buttercream frosting

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease 2 9-inch round pans.  Beat cake mix, water or milk, oil, eggs, maple syrup, and spices in a large bowl on low speed for 30 seconds.  Then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Pour batter evenly into prepared baking pans.  Bake 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes and then remove cakes to cooling racks until completely cool.

Place one layer of the cake top side down on a plate, put icing on that layer and top with the 2nd layer.  Then frost the whole cake.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baking Powder Biscuits

Well, first I guess I should maybe apologize for the lack of crafty project posts lately.  I realize I have been doing mostly food posts.

With all the packing going on here getting ready to move, some of my craft supplies are getting packed away.  And I don't want to be doing any big projects that I will have to take in the move.  Because more stuff =more packing.... and more packing =one unhappy Me.  I do NOT like packing -not in the least.  Also, I thought I would try to work through some of our food storage and food from the freezer before the move too (who wants to pack a bunch of food to move?).

With that said... Here is yet ANOTHER recipe post -the Baking Powder Biscuits from my Valentine's post.   I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.  Whenever we make them we go through them FAST -especially if we have strawberry freezer jam or E.D. Smith's triple berry.  Mmm Mmm!

Baking Powder Biscuits 
 (**recipe makes a LOT -about 50**)

7 cups flour
8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) sugar
16 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 cups shortening
2 2/3 cups milk

Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Cut in firm shortening with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture has appearance of fine crumbs.  Add milk, a small amount at a time, to dry mixture.  Stir with a fork or spoon until it forms a ball around the spoon.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead a LITTLE (if you knead too much they will be tougher).

Roll out to between 1/2 inch and 1 inch thick.  Cut with a floured cookie cutter (in this case, I used a heart).  Let stand on an ungreased baking sheet for about 10 minutes.

Bake at 425F (on the middle oven rack) for about 10-15 minutes, until LIGHTLY browned around edges.  Cut open to enjoy with butter or jam!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My First Blogiversary!

I can't believe it's been a whole year since my very first post.  Do you remember it?  It seems like ages ago.  So much has changed in my life since then -and in my blog.  My pictures still aren't great, but, hey, no one's perfect. 

I guess I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for making this such a great adventure.  A year ago I didn't really expect anyone would read this, and here I am -thanks to you!

It's been crazy and fun and amazing.  Thanks for letting me share my projects, recipes, successes, failures, and ramblings with you!  Really, thank you.  It's been real -REAL FUN!

Here's to another great year with more great projects.

And... since every great post deserves a photo (even one that has nothing to do with it).... here's my son.  This is what I get when I make quesadillas. LOL.

Foodie Friday #26 -Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Awhile back the grocery store by my house had a TON of bananas on discount (they do that whenever they get a new shipment -they bag up the "old" ones).  I thought "SCORE!" so I bought a few bags and threw them in my freezer.  But since we are moving in a month, I figured it might be the time to do something with them and start emptying my freezer.

I have a banana bread recipe and a banana chocolate chip muffin recipe we like but wanted to try something new.  I thought adding oatmeal would make them healthier.  So I typed Banana Oatmeal Muffins into the search bar on Pinterest and low and behold I found these babies!

Image Source: Babble via Pinterest
Yum!  I wiped away the drool and went to make my own.  I had enough bananas to do a batch and a half, so I changed the recipe below to reflect that. 

First, mash your bananas.  I kind of skipped this step a bit.  I took my bananas out of the freezer and put them in a bowl with warm water until they thawed.  Then opened each one up and squeezed the basically mashed bananas into the bowl.  But I'm lazy, you might not be.  So go ahead and mash your bananas.

Then add the milk and quick oats.  Set that aside.

Cream your margarine/butter and sugar together.  Then add the eggs.

Combine your dry ingredients (minus chocolate chips) in ANOTHER bowl (I know, this is what almost turned me off -3 bowls!? what? but it was worth it).  Then alternately add your banana/oat mixture and your flour mixture to the margarine/sugar mixture.  Stir until combined.

Then add the chocolate chips.  And fill your muffin cups 3/4's full.  Bake at 375F for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean.  Remove the muffins to wire racks to cool.  Actually, I found that if you leave them for a couple of minutes in the pan before you try to remove them, they stay together better.  I lost a couple of bottoms taking them out immediately.  Or you could buy muffin liners and not be cheap like me. LOL.  That would solve the problem too.

Once they are cool -or before if you can't wait (but don't burn your tongue!) -cut them open and put some butter on them.  Then scarf them down!  Because THEY. ARE. DELICIOUS!

And the kids loved them too -not like the Banana Cranberry Muffins I made and ended up eating them all because no one else would eat them.  Definitely a keeper.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
(Recipe Adapted from a post on Babble)

3 cups (about 7 large) bananas, mashed
3 cups quick oats, uncooked
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups margarine or butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
6 cups flour
1 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2  teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tins (or line with cupcake wrappers).

Put mashed bananas, oats and milk in a medium bowl.

In a second large bowl, cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs.

Then, in another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture and the banana mixture alternately to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir until combined.

Spoon the mixture into the cups. Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day at Our House

 Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day!  We sure did.  We had baking powder biscuits with jam for breakfast.  Yummo!

 And HEART shaped calzones for dinner.

 With pink heart shaped oreos for dessert. 

 All in all it was a great day.  This year at dinner we all told each other reasons why we love each person.  It was a fun tradition -and sweet to see what the kids said.  I will post the recipes for these later on.  Have a great week until then!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

 This week we had something the kids love -chicken nuggets!  And not those mediocre store bought kind -the good, juicy, flavorful kind.  Oh yeah!  They just gobble them up and us grown ups like 'em too.

Why I love these little suckers even more is that they are pretty easy to make.  

First, cut your chicken up into bite sized chunks.  I think I used about 4 chicken breasts.

 Then make your bread crumb mixture.  I put 1/2 c panko crumbs, 1/4 c parmesan, 1/4 c finely grated cheddar, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp parsley, some salt and a bit of pepper in a pie plate and mixed it up. 

 Melt some butter.  Then dip each piece of chicken in the butter.  Then roll it in the crumb mixture.

 Place on a foil lined baking sheet.  And repeat with all of the chicken.

Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes.

 See how the cheddar melts and gets all brown and crispy.  Yummo!

 You could make them up with some homemade fries.  Or whatever... we just had some plain rice and veggies.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Free Nursing Cover Deal from Udder Covers

Remember the free baby sling deal I told you about a few days ago?  Well, apparently the same promo code (VALENTINE) works towards a free nursing cover from Udder Covers

Or you can get a gift set minus the cost of the nursing cover.  The gift set includes the cover, a Milk Bandz bracelet, and 2 pairs of cloth nursing pads.  You only pay $5 plus shipping.  These would make great baby shower gifts. 

I ordered one the last time they had the promo but haven't used it yet.  They look pretty nice.  Maybe I will gift it to you some lucky lady having a baby.

Don't forget to stop by and check out this week's Foodie Friday.  And have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Foodie Friday #25 - Mini Cinnamon Rolls

 There once was a girl who had a sister-in-law.  A very nice sister-in-law, who happened to live a few doors down the way.  This wonderful sister-in-law bought a bunch of Two-Bite Cinnamon Rolls.  And so... for a few days in a row, that girl would walk over so the cousins could have a play date and sit down to chat with a cinnamon roll (or two!).  Yum!  Well, if you haven't already guessed -that girl is me!  Shocker, I know.  So, thanks a lot, Lise.  Now I frequently crave one of those delectable morsels.  So I tried an experiment to see if I could duplicate them.  So far, I've made these.  They aren't quite right, but still tasty.

 So here goes:
Mini Cinnamon Rolls

2 c. flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c shortening
2/3 c milk (or 1-2 Tbsp more if needed)
brown sugar

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in shortening until crumbly.  Add milk.  Knead lightly until smooth.  Split dough into 2 halves.  Roll out first half very thin in a rectangle.  Spread liberally with softened margarine.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and then with brown sugar.  Leave one long edge with no toppings.  Roll up jelly roll style and pinch seam closed.  Cut in half inch slices.  Place into greased mini muffin pans.  Bake at 375 -400F (depending on your oven) until lightly browned (about 8-10 minutes?). 

 The kids liked them.  I'm not so sure... only because treats that small are too easy to just pop in your mouth whenever you walk by the container.  Maybe I should abandon this quest before my waistline starts to hate me.  LOL.  Well, here's to another weekend!  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DEAL! -Free Baby Sling

I found a great deal today (in my inbox) that I thought I'd share with everyone.  Because I can't use it, I figure someone should benefit from it. 

Seven Slings is offering free baby pouch slings -all you pay is shipping.  Just type in the promo code VALENTINE and it will deduct 100% of the cost, you just pay the shipping.  Make sure to check out the sizing chart to get the size right.  Oh, and a bonus -you can use it more than once!  Just open a new browser each time you do.  If you have a lot of baby showers coming up, this would make a great gift.  And I think they will exchange it one time for a different size if it doesn't fit.

Have a great day!  And happy shopping.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pinterest Picks -For the Home

Can you tell I'm getting excited to have my own house?!  Haha.  This week's Pinspiring post is all about things I have been pinning to my For The Home board.  And, man, am I ever excited to try some of these out!

First up is a gorgeous lamp refashion from one of my very favorite bloggers -Kimbo at A Girl And A Glue Gun.  She spray painted it and added a little pizzazz with a pleated "ribbon" and some cute polka dot fabric (and, of course, a glue gun!).

 Cute Lamp Makeover by A Girl and a Glue Gun

And another favorite is this -magnetic paint inside the cabinet door to hold those little magnetic spice tins.  Although, my kitchen cabinets will be oak, so I'd have to repaint them all -which I want to do anyway.  But that is a LOT of cupboards and so it seems to be a daunting job. 
 I Heart Organizing used magnetic paint to hold her spice containers in the cabinet door

I love this tutorial for a DIY captain's bed.  It has loads of storage under it and therefore takes up less space than storing the stuff elsewhere.  There is another photo on this site that has it done for an adult room with drawers under with rope handles.  Love it.
DIY Captain's Bed with storage by Ana White

And then there's this little beauty... so now I just need to figure out where to snag a giant wooden spool from....  They added some dowels and made it into a bookcase/coffee table.  I so NEED this!  And it would probably be relatively cheap -right up my alley!
 Coffee table/book shelf made from a wooden spool by Vonnylein

This is so cute -if I had a craft room (other than the kitchen table) I would definitely want one of these little caddies for all my crafty stuff (scissors, X-Acto knife, ruler, etc).  Made from an old coffee can.  And although I don't drink coffee, I'm sure I could find someone who does who would give me a can....
 Organizer cover for a coffee can by Flower Girl Design's Etsy shop

Fun kitchen utensil holder. 
 Utensil Holders from Under the Table and Dreaming (who got it from HGTV, but I can't find the post on HGTV to link up to)

And this bag holder is way nicer than mine. But I guess that isn't saying much seeing as right now I just have all my bags shoved not so delicately into another bag and that bag shoved very nicely into my back closet!
Bag holder by House of Grace

Have a fantastic day!  Adios for now.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Foodie Friday #24 - Spinach Chicken Stromboli

We recently tried out the recipe for Spinach Chicken Stromboli from Our Best Bites Cookbook.  I didn't have any Italian seasoning, though, so instead of brushing the dough with olive oil and sprinkling with seasoning, I just brushed it with Italian dressing.  You know me, I'm the Queen of Substitution (yep, that's a real thing.... or it is now).  I've done a stromboli before with chicken and broccoli, but I think this one tops it.  Either use the Breadstick (Pizza Dough) recipe from Our Best Bites, my pizza dough recipe, or your favorite pizza dough.

 (Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites)
Roll it out into a rectangle and brush all over with Italian dressing (leave a little bit around the edge).  

Sprinkle with:
a couple tablespoons parmesan
1 1/2 cups shredded mozza
1 1/2 cups (recipe called for 2 cups) spinach leaves, loosely chopped
shredded cooked chicken (about 2 cups)
2 Roma tomatoes (chopped)

Roll up like you would for cinnamon buns and pinch seam and ends shut..  Place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet (I sprayed a piece of aluminum foil and put that on a baking sheet).  Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan.  Make a few slits in the top with a sharp knife.  Bake in a preheated oven (425F) for 15-20 minutes (or until top is golden brown).  Cool for about 10 minutes and then cut into 1 inch slices.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce (pizza sauce, marinara, or alfredo).

And because I knew my kids would take one look at it and go "yuck, I'm not eating that," I made extra dough so I could make these...

Which they loved.
I did basically the same thing, but I spread a little butter on the dough instead of dressing.  Then added mozza, diced ham, and diced cooked broccoli.  I sliced the roll BEFORE cooking it and placed each roll in a greased muffin tin.  Then cooked them until the tops were starting to brown and the cheese was bubbly.  We had a bit of trouble with some sticking to the pans, but it was worth it.  The kids gobbled them up!

On another note, the conditions got removed yesterday -we are officially first time home owners!  Yay!  Now I have to go start packing (boo!).  But on the upside, this will give me the kick in the pants I needed to get our stuff organized. haha.  Have a great weekend everyone!