Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ultimate Party Meatballs

Appetizers: my favorite food group.
What? Not a food group, you say?
Shut it.

If there was a way to do it without seeming a total freak, I'd eat appetizers for every dinner. Little bits of 20 different things...heaven.

Got this recipe from Mom Central to try out a new way to make party meatballs. Yeah, those ones you stab with the fancy toothpicks that everyone has had before.

My MIL makes them with chili sauce and grape jelly. So when I told her I was bringing some for Christmas Eve that were slightly different, she seemed a bit skeptical.

You see, at my inlaws, Christmas Eve is a ton of appetizers and soups. We just graze and open gifts, and then go fill up the plates again, open more gifts, eat more. It's a vicious cycle of gluttony and greed.

I made the Ultimate Party Meatballs hoping they would live up to MIL's incredibly high standards.

The recipe:
1 16-oz. can Ocean Spray jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 12-oz. bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1 2-pound bag frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail size meatballs

They were really good.
And, the review from MIL was that she liked them much better than her own version because, with the cranberry flavor there was a little more kick and less sweet (which she is not a person who likes things sweet) than using the grape jelly. (And ignore the fact that in the photo it's not all cookbook pretty looking...stuff in a crockpot in my world is messy)

So, we all know that New Years and bowl games are all about parties and appetizers.
This is the cheapest and easiest appetizer you could possibly make.

Yum and tasty.

And the Ultimate Party Meatballs website has a bunch of party ideas, so you could be hungover and still plan a party.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Christmas Cookies

I make a few varieties of cookies for Christmas each year, a couple standbys and then I try something different to keep it interesting.

This year, a few pictures and recipes for you to check out!

Dipped Gingersnaps
(got this out of Taste of Home years ago)
2 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 C. molasses
4 C. flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1 T. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Additional sugar
2 packages vanilla baking chips
1/4 C. shortening

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in molasses. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 3/4 inch balls and roll in sugar. (I use a cookie scoop for this so that the cookie will be uniform in size). Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly. Remove to wire racks to cool. Melt chips with shortening in a small sauce pan over low heat. (I use the double boiler method or have found sometimes this can scorch. I don't have a double boiler, I just use a bowl that is slightly bigger than the sauce pan and get that going with a rolling boil of water and that melts everything nicely for dipping). Dip the cookies halfway; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper to harden.

Cream Cheese Finger Cookies - (this is the exact recipe, I always double it)
(another winner from Taste of Home)
1/2 C. butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 C. flour
1 T. sugar
dash salt
1 C. finely chopped pecans
Powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, sugar and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans (dough will be crumbly). **I have found if the dough is just a bit to dry/crumbly to shape, I will keep the mixer going on low and add a bit of water until the consistency seems right.**
Shape tablespoonfuls into 2-inch logs. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire racks.

Best-Ever Turtles
(from Gooseberry Patch Christmas book 6)
2 1/2 C. pecan halves, toasted
1 C. sugar
3/4 C. corn syrup
1 C. whipping cream, divided
4 T. butter
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips, melted

On a baking sheet, arrange pecans in sets of 3; set aside. Combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup whipping cream in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches full boil. Slowly add remaining cream and butter; heat, stirring, until mixture reaches soft-ball stage or 236° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; still until caramel is creamy (about 5 minutes). Spoon about 1 tablespoon caramel over each set of pecans; cool. Spoon 1 teaspoon chocolate over each; let stand to harden.

Also did some sugar cookie cutouts the kids decorated - I think they do great work!!

Hope your Christmas is also this sweet!

Friday, December 12, 2008

MS Slippers

My pal Andy has MS. And instead of getting that bit of news and running out and feeling super sorry for herself, she did something else instead.
She started knitting. And the money she makes from her endeavors online goes to support other artists living with the disease.

She has slippers and baby legwarmers. And she just fired up an Etsy store as well to multi-promote herself.

Check out her main site at MS Slippers and also her new Etsy store.

Food Porn

I can't believe I haven't posted any of the photos from Thanksgiving on here yet. OMG!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sonia's Hot Artichoke Dip

Here's the world famous, best you'll ever have,
Hot Artichoke Dip:

1 C. artichoke hearts (get the can of quartered artichoke hearts and then chop them up really good on your cutting board)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 C. mayo
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chile peppers
1 C. parmesan cheese
1 t. garlic salt (add more if you wish but it's pretty strong stuff)
additional parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, mix artichoke hearts, mayo, parmesan cheese, cream cheese and green chile peppers. Definitely use a mixer and not by hand or the mixture will not be combined well enough. Scoop mixture into a deep dish pie plate. Sprinkle parmesan cheese lightly over the entire top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is lightly browned and bubbly. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

That recipe is my own creation, configured it myself, don't say I never gave you anything. When you serve it, there is never any left - so no hope for some to make into a soup later. Sorry!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pumpkin Bars

These pumpkin bars are easy and darn tasty. Got the recipe from a friend about ten years ago. Ten blissful years of pumpkiny, cream cheesy goodness.

Without further ado...

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
1 2/3 C. sugar
1 C. oil
16 oz. pumpkin
1 tsp. baking soda
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and spread in a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Buy the cream cheese frosting from the store and resist the urge to eat it before you spread it on the cooled pumpkin bars.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Costume

My younger son Zach wanted to be something a little outside the norm. Link from Legend of Zelda. He actually wanted to be Link last year but I was already constructing a complex witch costume for Sammie and knew I'd never have time to sew both so I promised him this year I'd do Link for him.

So....what do you think?
The forearm pieces are old soccer shin guards he outgrew that I spray painted. The boots are women's fuzzy slippers (two pair, one for the cuff added on). I sewed the tunic, hat and pants. We threw on some leather belts for the body pieces and I managed to find a sword and shield that were fairly close matches.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

11th Hour Halloween Sewing

This is what I'm doing right now...full costume details after Halloween if I manage to get this sucker done!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Apple Pie

I pink puffy heart me some apples. So I make every different combo of everything in the universe that has apples in it.
I really like Allrecipes and when stuff has a 5-star rating by hundreds or thousands or users, chances are it's a pretty solid recipe.
I have made this Grandma Opie's Apple Pie and it is darn good. The only change I would make to the recipe is that I've used my basic pie crust recipe and doubled it so I have plenty of dough to make sure I can do a nice lattice top on it.
Seriously, go to the link and print off the recipe and ENJOY! Yes, it's a little time consuming to make a pie from scratch, especially when you slicing and peeling a bunch of apples for it.
Guess what...doesn't matter, it's so good! Love yourself with a beautiful apple pie!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall Flowers

With the end of warm temperatures nearing, I'm trying to enjoy the flowers that are blooming now and are hanging on to give me some pretty color before the snow flies. Hope you enjoy too!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tuscan Bread

I already mentioned that this year is the Year of Bread. I want to make "REAL" bread. The good stuff. The stuff that sometimes takes 2 or 3 days of your attention between the rising and the pounding and the yeasting. The ultimate for a carb lover, like myself.

I have the most fabulous cookbook for making authentic breads, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I've made several things out of it and though making bread is a combination of artistry and science, I haven't had a dud yet.

Tuscan Bread

Flour Paste
1 3/4 C. boiling water
2 C. unbleached bread flour

2 2/3 C. unbleached bread flour
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2 T. olive oil
about 1/2 C. water, room temperature
Semolina flour or cornmeal, for dusting

1 - Make the paste 1 or 2 days before making the bread. Pour the boiling water over the flour in a mixing bowl and stir vigorously until the flour is hydrated and makes a thick, smooth paste. Cool, cover, and leave out overnight at room temperature.

2 - The next day, make the dough. With a large metal spoon, mix together the flour and yeast in a 4-quart mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add the paste and olive oil. Stir together (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), adding as much water as it takes to make a soft, supple ball. It's okay if the dough is a little sticky because you can add more flour while kneading.

3 - Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and knead by hand for about 10 minutes (or mix for 6 to 8 minutes on medium speed with the dough hook; you can let the dough rest after 4 minutes of mixing and resume 5 minutes later to make it easier on your machine). The dough should be tacky but not sticky. Continue to sprinkle in more flour as needed. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees F. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

4 - Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours. If the dough doubles in size prior to that, knead it lightly to degas it (the "punch down") and return it to the bowl to continue fermenting until it doubles again or until a total of 2 hours has elapsed.

5 - Line a sheet pan with baking parchment and lightly sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina flour. Gently divide the dough into 2 equal pieces (they should weigh about 18 ounces each), being careful to minimize degassing the dough. With a light touch to protect the internal gas, form the dough into boules. If you plan to bake the loaves as rounds, transfer the dough to the prepared sheet pan. If you prefer oblong loaves, shape the dough rounds into batards after a 15-minute resting period, and then place them on the prepared pan. Mist the dough lightly with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

6 - Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until it nearly doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough by placing the covered pan in the refrigerator immediately after shaping and leave overnight. The dough should be nearly ready to bake when you pull it out of the refrigerator. If not, leave out at room temperature for a couple of hours.)

7 - Prepare the oven for hearth baking, making sure to have a steam pan in place. Pour 2 cups of water into the steam pan. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Just prior to baking, mist the loaves with water and dust lightly with bread flour by tapping some through a sieve held over the loaves or by flinging the flour across the surface of the dough. Score the breads (shown in the photo).

8 - Slide the breads directly on to the baking stone (or cookie sheet), parchment and all, or place the pan on the middle shelf of the oven. After 30 seconds, open the door, spray the oven walls with water and close the door. Repeat twice more at 30-second intervals, and then lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the steam pan 10 minutes after loading the oven (be careful not to splash yourself in case there's any water left), rotate the loaves 180 degrees for even baking, and continue baking for 10 to 20 minutes longer, or until the loaves turn a rich golden color and register over 200 degrees in the center. If the crust is getting too dark and the inside has not reached above 200 degrees F, place an aluminum foil tent over the loaves and continue baking until the desired temperature is reached.

9 - Transfer the loaves to a rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

Days to make: 2
Day 1: 15 minutes flour paste
Day 2: 10-12 minutes mixing; 3 1/2 hours fermentation, shaping, and proofing; 20-50 minutes baking

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chicken Parmigiana

Here's the post that proves my reviews aren't total BS. I love writing the reviews over on LRR and generally try to get products I anticipate actually liking or finding useful. My most favorite and useful "product" thus far has been the subscription to Relish! as I have used it faithfully, renewed the subscription with my own money, and recommended it to many friends.

Here's a great recipe I did not too long ago that was super easy and super tasty. Even the boys were willing to try it. And, that Italian parsley is fresh from where I plucked it outside my back door. Jealous?

Chicken Parmigiana

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 C. panko bread crumbs
3/4 C. parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated (or use parmesan if that's what you've got on hand, the real stuff, not the powder stuff in the green can)
2 large eggs
2 T. olive oil
2 C. marinara sauce
1 8-oz. fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 C. Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish

1 - Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board in between two sheets of plastic wrap (I actually use wax paper, it holds up better). Using a mallet, pound chicken thin. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

2 - Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken in the beaten egg, the dredge in the breadcrumbs mixture, turning to coat both sides.

3 - Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place the chicken in the skillet (you might have to do in batches, or use two skillets) and cook until golden, 3 minutes per side. Spread the marinara sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish. Preheat the broiler.

4 - Transfer the chicken pieces to the baking dish, placing them on top of the sauce. Top each chicken piece with slices of fresh mozzarella. Broil about 4 inches from the heat until the sauce is hot, cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

I grabbed a Barilla noodle I had on hand, and made up noodles to serve over because I cannot say no to carbs.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Photoshoppin': Diffuse Glow

One of my big goals is to learn to do more with my camera (a Canon Rebel SLR) which I love even with the, like, two things I know how to do with it besides point and shoot.
Another goal is to do cool stuff with my photos on Photoshop.

So, the light outside the other night was really great and the girls looked a little rumpled but very cute even after a grueling (ha!) day at school, so since they are my only two willing photography subjects, we did a few shots and then I played with them in Photoshop and wanted to share a "new to me" option I found while fiddling.

Here is Sammie's photo SOOC (straight out of camera):

And here is the photo after I brightened it up a bit then used the "Diffuse Glow" option in Photoshop. I love the effect!

Same with Emersyn, SOOC:

Then, with "Diffuse Glow":

How about you, any favorite Photoshop tricks you like?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pulled Pork

I am fortunate. Because of where I live, there are some things that pretty much, it's the best ingredient I can possibly put on the table. Case in point: pork.
When I go to the butcher to get pork, any cut, it's worthy of a centerfold in Bon Appetit. End of story.
So, though I don't exactly cook using pork constantly, when I do, the recipe better stand up. I mean, what is the point of having access to such excellent product when the recipe to prepare it is only mediocre?
It sucks.
But, as I've said before, I can read a good recipe and taste it in my head and KNOW if it's going to be good or not. Sometimes my gauge is a little off, but rarely.
So, I set off for the quest to find the most wicked awesome pulled pork recipe, my arrival at this recipe means I have deemed it - kickass. It is WORTHY of Iowa pork. Thank you Tyler Florence.

And, seriously, it's easy. If you can make a rub, and you can throw a few things in a saucepan, you've got it nailed.

Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse salt

1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time for, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator. (I always leave the rub overnight, I mean, just do it, this is a plan ahead meal anyway)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Put the pork in a roasting pan and bake for about 6 hours. Basically, roast the pork until it's falling apart and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F.
To make the barbecue sauce: combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Remove the pork roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes.
While it's resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half. Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.
While still warm, take 2 forks and "pull" the meat to form shreds. Using 2 forks, shred the pork by steadying the meat with 1 fork and pulling it away with the other. Put the shredded pork in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the shredded pork and mix well to coat. (Put the amount of sauce according to taste, it is a very intense sauce...add a little at a time, then I serve some in a milk creamer to put on the table so people can add more or less according to their personal preference)
To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom 1/2 of the hamburger bun. Add slaw or pickle or any other condiments your guests might enjoy.

This is the pork (I get Boston Butt if possible) with the rub, just out of the oven before it's been shredded. The rub and the hours in the oven have made this completely great crust of flavor all over the pork shoulder.

This is the sauce, simmering away on the stove. Now, seriously, make sure you scrape up all the burned bits of drippings on the bottom of the pan from the pork - deglaze the sh*t outta that pan, it makes the sauce taste ridiculous. And those "white" things floating around in it are the garlic cloves (which I usually double). This sauce is so good, I start just eating it with a spoon while hubby is shredding the pork, it is sinfully good.

You want a pulled pork sandwich right now, don't you? Yeah, me too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stop and Smell the Roses...

Well, the old-fashioned roses, but they don't have much for smell.

With our home improvement projects this year, I added a lot of perennials to a couple of flowerbeds once the construction was over.  I've really been able to work a lot outside this year since all the kids are finally old enough to entertain themselves in the yard without me needing to keep a constant eye on them for fear of someone running out in the street.

So, these are the best pics I can take until I get a macro lens, but really, I just like having pictures of the flowers that greet me when I go outside!  Enjoy!

As we head into fall, will you be doing any planting for next year?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rustic Apple Tart

I make a lot of dessert dishes with apples. Why? Because every single person in our house will eat them, even hubby who rarely eats anything sweet, he likes apple stuff.

This is a recipe I clipped from a flyer from my local grocery store. I've modified it some as the original recipe made too much filling for the pastry, I didn't even end up using it all, so I'm adding those changes to be closer to what I did use.

And, yeah, it was darn tasty.

4 apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 sheet (1/2 package) puff pastry, thawed
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 T. butter
1/3 C. sugar
2 T. orange juice
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract

1. Combine apples and lemon juice. In another bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Toss together flour mixture and apple mixture.
2. Roll out puff pastry on a baking sheet. Brush pastry with beaten egg white; top with apple mixture. Dot with butter, and fold edges toward center.
3. Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine sugar, juice, vanilla and almond until smooth. Brush glaze over tart. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Thank you to all the people who added me to their blogroll and readers!  I'm excited to get some great ideas and feedback from readers here about all the things we all enjoy - cooking, knitting, gardening, arts and crafts, and so on and so forth.

The winner of the $25 gift card to Williams-Sonoma is As American as Apple Pie!

Thanks to everyone and stay tuned for fresh new posts coming out of the oven soon!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Psychotic Hobbyist Relaunch!

I've moved all my posts from my old location and will now have recipes, knitting projects, gardening, and so on and so forth all here so I can have the entire list of my blogs in ONE SPOT! Yippee!

So, to remind you about this one over here and to start diverting the traffic where it is supposed to be, I'm having a giveaway. And it's not something I got paid or I'm regifting, no sir, I'm paying money out of my own pocket to give you something super cool. Because I want to build up this location to start some dialogue with other bakers, gardeners, knitters and crafters. It's what keeps me sane during the school year!

What you can win: a $25 gift card for Williams-Sonoma (because everyone has to eat, but not everyone has all the other hobbies)

How to enter:
  • Leave a comment on any post (besides this one), a recent dated post or a newer one, it doesn't matter. In transferring the posts, they are now commentless. So go comment on a post (not this one, go exploring...). I added the topics list on the sidebar if you only want to look at knitting posts or sewing posts, etc. Leaving a comment gains you 1 entry.
  • Add this blog to your feed reader. Leave a comment on this post saying you did, gain 1 entry.
  • Add this blog to your blogroll. Leave a comment on this post saying you did, gain 1 entry.
  • Mention this blog in a post on your own site, leave a comment saying you did, gain 1 entry.
This giveaway will end August 14th, 12PM Central time.

Also, if you have a hobby type blog yourself and want to swap links, let me know, I am building up my blogroll here too.

Thanks for stopping by, hope YOU win the $25 from Williams-Sonoma! Good luck!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Salami Salad

I'm always on the lookout for a unique salad. Especially when asked to take things to church for suppers and things like that, the same old same old simply won't do. So, this bread salad was perfect. And when I showed up at the church salad luncheon it was served at, my MIL informed me it was already gone and was the first thing to run out. Not bad!

Toasted-Bread Salad with Salami

1 loaf Italian bread, halved lengthwise and toasted

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

salt and pepper

4 large tomatoes, chopped

1 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and chopped

4 ounces deli-sliced salami, cut into thin strips

1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1) In a large colander over a bowl or the sink, drizzle 1/2 cup water over the toasted bread to saturate. Squeeze the bread with your hands to remove any excess liquid, then crumble into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large serving bowl and drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.

2) Add the tomatoes, cucumber and salami to the bread and toss to combine. Add the basil and drizzle the red wine vinegar and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil on top. Toss and season to taste with salt, pepper and more olive oil.

Recipe from Rachael Ray magazine site

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Coconut Shrimp


I love shrimp. So, I find a lot of main dish recipes, appetizers, salads and anything else I can to use shrimp. Even though I hate peeling them but then you know they’re good and fresh.

Coconut Shrimp

1 egg

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup beer (I used an NA lager)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups flaked coconut

24 shrimp

3 cups oil for frying

1) In medium bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup flour, beer and baking powder. Place 1/4 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls.

2) Hold shrimp by tail, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip in egg/beer batter; allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees.

3) Fry shrimp in batches; cook turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, remove shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

Original recipe found here - it’s got 5 stars on Allrecipes!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Give Me a Big Challah!

Last year, I had a personal goal of mastering a variety of soups.  This year, it’s the year of kick ass bread.  I think I can do it, but there is a little more science involved with bread, so there’s not always a guarantee that everything will turn out OK.  So, imagine my glee when my first attempt at challah bread turned out lovely.  I followed the recipe out of my 2007 The Best of America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, which you can’t access on their site without a membership, but I did find the same recipe here if you would like to make your house smell divinely of fresh baked challah bread.  You can let me know how it goes…

Friday, February 15, 2008

Scrapbook Layout

One of the nice thing about hobbies, is that sometimes other people can’t do them and they want you to do it instead. For money! Woot!

I have been making 9×9 scrapbooks for baby gifts and will start work on the 4th one, for hire, in the next week or so. I create 32 pages of baby’s first year moments, do delivery room and newborn photos to get the album started for the new parents, and do layouts leaving room for them to add photos at a later date of those special milestones.

Here is a page I did in a book I just completed of mom and dad with their new baby boy on a page. The nice thing about the 9×9 size, you can do a couple photos on the page or one larger one, they are quite fun!

Friday, February 8, 2008

World's Softest Baby Blanket

My BIL and SIL just had their 3rd girl at Christmas. Making a baby blanket for her was how I spent November and part of December. I cast on 110 (give or take, can’t remember now) and just did straight knitting of each color before the skein ran out. I used 2 skeins of each and, hold on to your hats, it’s pajama yarn and was the SOFTEST blanket in the history of babies, I kid you not!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

French Onion Soup

In my 2007 quest to master soup, here is another of the success stories and I must confess, it was kick ass. And, honestly, on a scale of 1-10, I think French Onion soup garners at best a 3. It’s not one of my favorites. But it is one of hubby’s favorites so I decided to seek out a great recipe I could make well. Tyler Florence’s recipe was the winner and I thought it tasted fantastic - pretty good considering it’s not one of my faves. The baguette croutons were the best part….yummy.