Friday, January 29, 2016

Valentine's Cake Balls

 Last year I made these little boxes of treats for friends local and far away.
 I made red velvet cake balls using this recipe.  I bagged up the cake balls I was mailing in little cellophane bags.  I put the heart box into little square boxes with the cards that I wanted to mail.
 I made these little cards to go with each one.
 I printed a little message on the inside of my cards using this tutorial.
 I found these little paper mache heart boxes and I covered the tops and sides with scrapbook paper.  I added ribbon to the boxes I was passing out here and tied the tags to the top of those.
I was really digging the red and brown last year.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Donut Valentine

 I saw these pinned last year on pinterest and then this year when I found this little wax paper bags at Hobby Lobby, I decided to make my own.
I created a printable and printed it on card stock and then I taped the edges of the bag over the print where I wanted my message to go.  I ran it through again and was left with my Valentine's message
 Here's a free printable link.
And just in case here is  a video for printing on odd sized papers.
Add donut, and they are ready to go.  Fun, and cute and adult or kid friendly....just saying.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cupid Cookies

 I made these cookies last year for Valentine's Day.  I have a friend that makes cookies, but she lives pretty far away and didn't have time to ship them with all her other orders....but I was OBSESSED with these cupid cookies.  The original cookie came from here.  I decided it was time to try out royal icing cookies.  I know, I know there are so many things for me to learn, but I'm more than fine with these little ladies.
The clever party-you use a snowman cookie cutter to make the shape!
 Turn it upside down and then use some icing to outline your figure.
 It dries really quickly and then you can go and start filling in each little section. Below is the face.  Let it dry/add details etc etc.  I posted the recipe below and I used 8 cups of icing for the fill, and then added a little water so the icing would thin a bit.  You squeeze the icing inside the lines and then tap the cookie on a counter so it will smooth out a bit before it dries.
 This is the finished product.  I used a heart sprinkle for the side of the hair.
 Once they dried I bagged them up.
 I researched a bunch of recipes and the cookies and icing I used was pretty tasty.
Royal Icing Sugar Cookie Recipe
For the Cookies
Ingredients:  1 sticks of butter (softened), 1 c. powdered sugar, 1 egg, 1 t vanilla, 1/2 t almond extract (optional), 2 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 t salt
Instructions:  Cream the butter and eggs.  Add the extracts.  Mix in the flour and salt.  Cover and chill for two hours.  Roll about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out shapes and bake at 375 for 12 minutes.
*You can freeze the dough in a Ziploc freezer bag.  Just thaw it overnight in the fridge.  Set it out in it's not totally thawed, but you want it to be chilled and not mushy or the shape won't hold well.  
For the Icing
Ingredients: 4 T meringue powder, 1/2 c. water, 7-8 c powdered sugar (more will created a thicker icing-8 cups would be good for outlining, 7 cups for flooding), 1 t. vanilla, 2 T Crisco, 2 T light corn syrup
Instructions:  Mix the meringue powder and water on high until it's fluffy and the white makes peaks (this takes a few minutes-at least five).  Add the rest of the ingredients.
*Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a month.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mini Pecan Rolls..Gone Vegan

I adapted this recipe from Pioneer Woman.  I'm not vegan, but my brother is, and sometimes I like to share my calories.  He's skinny.  I'm not.  So, when I want to try out a recipe, if I can tweak it a bit to make it Vegan, I do so I can ship some his way.  
I adjust this one a bit from the original because I'm not feeding a ranch.  
You can print the recipe here.  If you don't want it to be vegan, just replace the vegan butter for the real deal.  
Or..here are the step by steps with the adaptions for a smaller batch gone vegan.  
For the dough, I took Rhodes bread loaves and pulled one out and let it thaw as the package instructed.  It rose, and I punch it down and then rolled it out as far as I could stretch it.  
 I melted 1/4 c vegan butter in a pan over medium  and then added 1/2 c chopped pecans, 1/2 c karo syrup, and 1 t. vanilla.  I let it come to a boil and then pulled it off the stove and set it aside.
 To the dough I added 1/4 c melted vegan butter and then a ton of sugar and cinnamon.  Really...I covered it/doused it, could have added more.
 I put little spoonfuls of pecans and the 'juice' into 24 mini muffin cups.
I rolled up the bread like a log and then cut 24 really thing slices and placed them on top of the pecan mix.  I let them rise for about 20 minutes (and used this time to preheat the oven to 375).  I baked it for 15 minutes, and then turned the muffins over on a baking sheet almost immediately (the instructions said they came out better if you waited 20 minutes, but I found when i tried that the pecans stuck to the pans bc the sauce had hardened.  You may have to spoon some of the pecan mix back on from the pan.
One thing I learned, store these and eat them the next day....they are even better-I don't know why, but....it's true!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Color Your Own Valentine's Card

 I send cards to my godchildren and their assorted siblings for just about every holiday.  They are all reaching an age where it's really fun because they enjoy mail.  This year I'm putting this little guy with a package I'm mailing.
 I found some free coloring pages on the internet (by just searching 'free Valentine's coloring pages).  I cut them out and glued them to a card.  I then took three colors and tied them together and then hot glued them down (you could also use zots (glue dots)).  I figure the paper will rip off so you can use the crayons.
If I were going to mail these I'd add a piece of bubble wrap  so they crayons won't push through the envelope in the mail.
I'm adding a message inside, and then it's ready to roll!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pizza Muffins

My friend Amber recently shared this recipe with me.  It was really easy to throw together and I love the Italian seasoning...it really made the muffins.  She used turkey pepperoni to make her's healthier.  I did not, but we both agreed they were tasty!
Pizza Muffins
Ingredients:  15 oz refrigerated biscuits (cut into 4ths), 1/2 c Italian blend seasoning (shredded), 1/3 c black olives (sliced) (I skipped these), 1/2 t garlic (minced), 1 T Italian seasoning, 2 oz Pepperoni slices (cut into 4ths)
Instructions:  
1.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.
2.  Place biscuit pieces in a large bowl.  Toss with cheese, olives, garlic, Italian season, and pepperoni.
3.  Press slices into muffin pans.  Fill 3/4 of the way full
4.  Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes (until golden brown)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Magic Cookie Bars

Every Christmas my work does a cookie recipe exchange.  We bag up two cookies per participant and attach the recipe.  This year's batch was a good one for sure!  I'll be posting some of those great recipes, here is one of my favorite, by my teammate, Heather.
Magic Cookie Bar
Ingredients:  1/2 c butter, 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs, 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk, 1 pkg (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, 1 c. nuts (chopped)
Instructions:
1.  Heat oven to 350 (325 if you are using a glass dish).
2.  Melt your butter in a 13x9 baking pan.  Sprinkl graham crumbs over butter.
3.  Pour milk evenly over the crumbs.
4.  Top evenly with remaining ingredients.  Press down gently.
5.  Bake 25-30 minutes (until lightly brown).  Cool before cutting.  Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Felt Flower Tutorial

I filmed a short video on making this felt flower.  It's going on to a wreath I'll share later this week.  A true trashy treasure.  In the meantime, you can find the video (starring my dogs barking through the window at all my neighbors as they come home) here.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Easy Sausage Appetizer

I needed a last minute appetizer recently when one more person was added to something I was hosting....I always have that fear of 'is it enough' when it comes to meal prep?  Incidentally-it's always enough, but...I pretend it's because I plan so well.  Anyway, I had some polish sausage in the fridge.  I cut it into 1/2 inch (or so) pieces and I tossed about 3/4 c brown sugar on top in a crockpot.  I tossed it around a bit and then set it to cook for 2 hours on high (you can also do 5 hours on low).  I tossed it every once in awhile, and the finished results is a really delicious sweet coated meat as the brown sugar caramelizes.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bar B Que Chicken Cornbread Pie

I grew up on casseroles.  It's such an easy way to hide vegetables.  It's just best if you hide my vegetables.  I tried out this recipe from tablefortwo and it really was delicious!  I've found a lot of duds through the year, so....I'm really glad to have found this treasure.  I'm definitely adding it to my casserole rotation.  It covers all the food groups in one pan, and reheats well the next day...if it makes it that long! 
BBQ Chicken Cornbread Pie
Ingredients:  
Bottom layer:  8.5 oz box cornbread mix, 1 egg, 2 T butter (melted), 3/4 c milk, 1/2 c. corn kernels
Top Layer:  2 T olive oil, 2 large piece of chicken (cooked and shredded), 3 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 med onion (chopped), 1 small red bell pepper (diced), salt and pepper to taste, 1 T chili powder, 1 1/2 t ground cumin, 2 t. hot sauce, 2 T Worcestershire sauce, 1 c. tomato sauce, 1 1/2 T brown sugar, 10 oz shredded cheddar cheese.  
Instructions:
1.  Heat oven to 400 and grease a 9 " pie pan.  
2.  In a bowl, mix the cornbread mix, egg, butter, and milk.  Add corn.  Pour mix into pan and bake for 15 minutes (or until the top is just set and golden brown).  Remove from the oven.
3.  In a skillet, on medium heat, add the oil, onion, and red pepper.  Cook until soft and add chicken, garlic, and saute until fragrant.  Add salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce.  Cook for 5 min and then add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar.  Stir and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer until thickened (about 7 minutes).  
4.  Pour over cornbread mix.  Sprinkle the top with cheese.  Turn on the broiler and broil on high for 3 minutes (cheese should be melted).  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Easy Fried Rice

I found this recipe at therecipecritic.  I love a good stir fry.  I also like being able to control the items that go into my dish.  One thing I usually do is make the rice the day before.  I stick it in the fridge until I'm ready for it.  It just has more of the feel of stir fry....it was a tip a friend of mine from Korea told me...the truth is there may not be real reason to do that, but in my head it makes a difference, and at night when I'm tired from working-it saves some time if the rice is already ready to go!
Easy Fried Rice
Ingredients:  2 chicken breast (cooked and shredded), 3 c of rice (cooked), 2 T sesame oil, 1 small onion (chopped), 1 c. frozen peas and carrots (thawed), 3 T soy sauce, 2 eggs (lightly beaten), 2 T green onions (chopped)
Instructions:  
1.  Cook and shred chicken.  Season to taste. 
2.  Heat a skillet or wok on medium.  Add sesame oil, onion, peas and carrots.  Fry until tender. 
3.  Move to the side and add the beaten egg.  Scramble.  Mix the eggs and veggies.  
4.  Add rice and chicken.  Pour soy sauce on top.  Stir and fry all ingredients until heated through.  Add chopped onions.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Snowman Muffin Tin

I know, I know....so many snowmen on this blog.  I just love them.  I, clearly, have spent too much time with my friend Terry-who will paint on anything.  Literally, she drives her old car to work on Thursday b/c it's bulk trash day.  I'm not alarmed by this...I'm inspired.  This is another note from her book. She buys old pans at thrift stores and garage sales.  I had this pan from a craft I planned to do about 4 years ago. I bought it at the dollar store.  I decided if I hadn't done that craft yet...it probably wasn't going to happen, so....I got out some paint and made some snowmen.  Gingerbread would be cute too, but...the nice thing about snowmen is that you don't have to pack them away after Christmas.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Decorating with Drawers

 It turns out I'm obsessed with drawers.  I actually have more than these, but....here are just a few around the home.  I took these photos in December, so...you'll see a few Christmas pieces.  I don't know why I love old drawers, maybe b/c they had a life before, they tell a story, but now....I repurpose them, and they are so much more interesting than a new crate or basket.  I have one that houses old recipe books.
 I keep this old drawer that used to hold nails etc at a home improvement store and put whatever seasonal plates/napkins go with the upcoming holiday.
 I have an old sewing drawer than holds some circus glasses I bought at an antique store once upon a time.
 This little red square draw is where I throw coasters and remotes in my living room.
 I bought some (more) old sewing drawers to hold some odds and ends around the house.  The bottoms were missing/or falling apart, but....they make the perfect little wall shelve and I love that they aren't from the same sewing table.  I bought them for five bucks.
 This old drawer has the same purpose in one of my bathrooms.  It's half useful, half decorative.
This old hardware drawer is where I stick 7000 lotions and some devotionals in my bedroom.
I've got some more I'm storing some crafting supplies in, but....I'll save those for another post.