Sunday, December 27, 2009

the beard hat

Hi all!  I do hope this Christmas season has treated you well!  Once I finally finished all of the Christmas projects I had to get done, I started on a new item.......the beard hat.  We took the prototype to the family party for one of the white elephant gifts, and it was a hit, so I thought I'd try a few more.  I'm sure there will be more to come, but here are the first.  My foxy hubby is the model.  Thanks Mitch!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicken Stroganoff Recipe

I made this a few nights ago, the first dish I had really cooked in a few days.  (I wasn't feeling well)  Anyway, the most exciting part is that my 2 yr old ate it!  Yay!!!

Chicken Stroganoff
4 bacon strips, diced
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
1 8 oz pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 c chicken broth
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sour cream
hot cooked rice or noodles

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve for later use.  Add the chicken, onion, and mushrooms to the skillet and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.  Add the broth, garlic, salt, paprika and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Combine the flour and sour cream until smooth; add to the skillet and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir fir 2 minutes, or until thickened.  Adjust salt and pepper if needed.  Serve over rice or noodles and sprinkle with reserved bacon.  (Here it is shown served over brown rice with a side of green beans and fresh pineapple.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy Christmas Tree Hat!!!

Hi all!  This is my latest labor of love!  So, this is for all of you who need a little help getting that holiday spirit!  Look how festive my hubby looks even while doing business on his cell phone!  It's comfy and cozy, and sure to bring a smile to everyone you see!  I even wrote the pattern down this time, so it'll be up for sale in my etsy shop soon!  Happy Holidays eveyone!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dreamy Chocolate Pie!

For my food assignments for Thanksgiving this year, I am making the rolls (as usual), one pan of yams, and two pies; one chocolate and one white chocolate coconut.  The two pies are my kids favorites, so they're a must have on Thanksgiving!

I thought I would share with you here the recipe for the chocolate pie.  I just finished it, so it's all ready to go!  It's one of those make ahead recipes that tastes soooo good and is soooo easy!  It's a pretty humble picture, I know, but decorating it with whipped cream and chocolate shavings shouldn't be done until it's almost serving time, or until you plate it up, in my opinion.  So I guess my point is, don't let the picture fool you, it's the best chocolate pie ever!  It's smooth and creamy and very rich!  I do have a word of caution though.  If you plan on having a pie with some tartness to it, like lemon or lime, please eat the chocolate first.  The tartness of the other pie will completely ruin your palate for the smooth richness of the chocolate.......for a short time.

Dreamy Chocolate Mousse Pie

Heat until melted:
1 large milk chocolate hershey bar (or enough small ones to equal  7-8 oz)
25 large marshmallows
1/2 cup milk

Cool completely and fold in:
1/2 pint cream that has been whipped

Put in prepared crust and refrigerate until ready to serve!  And yes, use a premade one from the store.  You don't have to worry about the dishes after and it has it's own lid that will protect the top from any mishaps or eager fingers!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Awesome pumpkin bread!

My favorite pumpkin bread recipe ever is out of a the Lion House Christmas cookbook.  It stays moist and is soooo yummy!  Irresistible at my house! I love it as it is.  My sister has to have nuts in hers, and when I make it for my friend, she has to have chocolate chips added.  Make it how you like it.  If you're looking for a great pumpkin bread recipe, give this one a try!

Lion House Pumpkin Bread
1 1/3 cups oil                                                1 tsp cinnamon
5 eggs                                                          1 tsp nutmeg
16 oz pumpkin puree                                     1 tsp baking soda
2 c flour                                                        2 pkg vanilla pudding mix
2 c sugar                                                           (3 oz each)
1 tsp salt                                                       1 c chopped nuts
                                                                         or chocolate chips, opt

Mix oil, eggs and pumpkin.  Beat well.  Mix dry ingredients with a whisk in a separate bowl.  Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until incorporated.  Add pudding mixes and nuts or chocolate chips if desired.  Mix thoroughly and pour in greased and floured loaf pans of desired size.  The recipe is designed for 2 large loaves.  I make 4 smaller ones.  If making large loaves, bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Reduce the cooking time for smaller loaves.  I baked the smaller ones for about 30 minutes in my oven, checking for doneness with a toothpick.  Cool for 5 - 10 minutes in pans, then remove the bread from the pans and allow to cool.  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New scarves for the holiday gift show

I've been crocheting like mad the last week or so.  I'll be participating in the Logan Holiday Gift Show at the Riverwoods Conference Center in Logan on Friday and Saturday November 6th and 7th.  I will have a booth with Elliettebaby who makes darling baby clothing and super cute hooded towels and bath mitts.  I will be selling hats, scarves, baby sweaters, potscrubbers, and a few other miscellaneous items.  My cute neighbor was able to model for me this afternoon, so I took some pictures of some of the scarves I will have available there.  If you're looking for something specific, I will also be taking orders for custom items! 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spider Cupcakes

We made spider cupcakes today!  I think they turned out pretty well!  The original plan was to use gumdrops for the spiders, but I couldn't find any of the larger gumdrops at the store, so we decided to try something new.  We used homemade tootsie rolls for the whole spider.  It was a great 'kid friendly' activity.  I baked up a plain old cake mix from the store, used our favorite frosting recipe (cream cheese frosting, yum!), hot fudge sauce for the spider webs, and the homemade tootsie rolls to mold the spiders!  I will give you the tootsie roll recipe in case any of you want to give it a try!
Tootsie Rolls
 5 Tbsp butter, melted
4 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup powdered milk
3 cups powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients together and knead until everything is fully incorporated.  This should keep the kiddos occupied for awhile.  Then, roll into desired shapes!  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crochet Bunny Costume Pattern

My 5 yr old decided he wanted to be a bunny this year.  I think he's figured out that he gets lots of votes at the annual family Halloween Party on the cuteness factor and he's trying to capitalize on it!  That, and he thinks that the neighbor's new bunny is pretty cool.

Anyway, I wasn't really excited to sew a big furry bunny suit.  I've sewed enough furry suits to really want to come up with an alternative that would still look good and be a bit original.  I came up with this version using a pair of gray sweatpants already in his wardrobe, a gray turtleneck I purchased at a local thrift shop for $3, 2 skeins of yarn, silver pipecleaners and one sheet of self-adhesive pink felt.

I wrote up the pattern as I went, hopefully it is pretty accurate.  If you have any questions about it, feel free to comment.  I will try to answer any questions or concerns you have!

This pattern is for a child size hat, mittens, 2 bunny ears, and one bushy tail.

Things you will need:  Grey pants and long sleeved shirt to fit child, 2 skeins worsted weight yarn in a gray to match the clothing (I used 2 skeins of lion brand jiffy yarn in silver heather), silver pipecleaners (I used 14), one sheet of pink self-adhesive felt, a size j and a size p hook, and one tapestry needle.

Gauge: with J hook and 1 strand, 4dc x rows = 1 1/2 ".  With P hook and two strands, 2 sc x 2 rows = 1".  The gauge is not super important.  You need to be in the ballpark for the hat and mittens to fit.  The tail doesn't matter, and the ears are somewhat forgiving where the pipecleaners are so flexible.

Notes:  within a row, if it says to repeat around, repeat the portion in between **.  Also, if it says to dc around, or sc around, it means to just make one row of dc or sc.

Hat:  Ch 3, sl st to 1st ch to join.  Row 1:  ch 3, 14 dc into foundation loop, sl st to top of ch 3 to join.  Row 2:  Ch 3, dc into top of ch 3, 2 dc in each dc around.  Sl st to top of ch 3 to join.  Row 3:  Ch 3, *dc in next 5 dc, 2 dc in next dc*, repeat around then sl st to top of ch 3 to join.  (35 dc + ch3)  Row 4:  Ch 3, dc around, sl st to top of ch3.  Row 5:  ch 3, *dc in next 6 dc, 2 dc in next dc* repeat around ending with dc in last dc, sl st to join.  (41 dc + ch 3)  Row 6 - 13: ch 3, dc around, sl st to join.  fasten off and weave in ends.

Bunny Ears:  take 3 silver pipe cleaners and twist together into one long straight line.  Make 3 more of these.  Then take two of the groups of three and twist together at one end to form the top point of the ears.  Take the other ends and fold them in towards each other and twist together forming a bunny ear shape.  The end shape should measure approximately 2 inches across on the bottom and be about 10 inches in height.  Make one more of these so you have 2.  Use two strands of yarn together for this and use a larger size p hook.  Row 1:  Attach yarn to bottom corner of ear (pipecleaners) and sc 4 onto the bottom edge.  Row 2-3:  ch 1, turn.  Sc in each sc across.  Row 4-5: ch 1, turn.  Sc across row, increasing one sc (this means you need to make 2 sc in one of the sc on the row)  Row 6-8: Repeat row 2.  Row 9:  Ch 1, turn.  Sc across, decreasing one (this means you need to do one sc2together on this row).  Row 10-13:  Repeat row 2.  Row 14:  Repeat row 9.  Row 15-17:  Repeat row 2.  Row 18-19:  Repeat row 9.  Row 20:  Repeat row 2.  Row 21:  ch 1, turn.  Sc 2 together, fasten off.  (If you leave the tail of the yarn, you can crochet over it in the next step.)  Edging:  Using a J hook and one strand of yarn, sc around pipe cleaner and raw edge of crocheted ear.

Take the pink felt and cut out two ear shapes a bit smaller than the crocheted ears.  Remove the backing from the felt and stick to the ear.  To finish the hat, you will need to try it on the child who will be wearing it.  Mark where the ears will go.  Before sewing the ears on, bend the bottom straight edge and the sides of the ear so that it is curved in a bit around the pink felt.  Curving helps them to stand striaght.  Sew on the ears in the desired position.  I put mine close together and actually sewed them together on the bottom center edges as I was sewing it to the hat.  To give additional stability to the ears, I took 2 more pipecleaners, folded them in half and twisted them together.  Place these inside the hat under the ears.  Take the edges and fold them so they stick up through the hat behind the ears.  Bend the pipecleaner so the portion inside the hat remains flat against the head and the edges poke straight up behind the ears.  The ears should rest on the pipecleaner edges.  They may still flop around a bit.  If you wish them more stable, us more pipecleaners and you may stitch them in place.

Mittens:  Using a J hook and 1 strand of yarn beginning at cuff edge Row 1:  ch 6, sc in second ch from hook and each ch across.  (5sc)  Row 2-16:  Ch 1, turn.  sc across row in back loops only.  To join edges, ch 1, turn, and sc both short edges together.  Row 1 of body of mitten:  Ch 1, sc around the edge of the ribbing spreading 18 sc evenly.  Sl st to join.  Row 2:  Ch 3, dc in each sc around increasing 3 stitches.  Sl st to top of ch 3 to join.  Row 3-4:  ch 3, dc in each dc arount.  Sl st to top of ch 3 to join.  Row 5:  Ch 3, skip 4 dc.  Sl st to 5th dc, ch 3, dc in next dc and each dc around, dc in each ch and sl st to top of ch 3 to join.  (20 dc + ch3)  Row 6:  Ch 3, dc around, decreasing 3 stitches.  Sl st to join.  Row 7:  Ch 3, dc in each dc around.  Sl st to join.  Row 8:  repeat row 6.  Row 9:  Ch 3, dc around decreasing 5 stitches this row.  Sl st to join.  Row 10:  Ch 3, dc2tog around ending with one dc in last stitch.  Fasten off leaving enough to weave through the top of each stitch and pull tight and fasten.  Weave in end.  Thumb:  Attach yarn to thumb opening.  Ch3.  Make one row of dc (8dc), sl st to beg ch.  Row 2:  ch 3, make a row of dc decreasing 2.  Sl st to beg ch3.  Fasten off, leaving end long enough to weave through tops of stitches and pull tight and fasten.  Weave in end.  Make 2 of these.

Tail:  With 2 strands of yarn and P hook, ch 3.  Sl st to first ch.  *Ch 16, sl st to ch3 loop.*  Repeat this until the tail is as bushy as you like or until you run out of yarn.  I ran out of yarn.  To finish , sew the tail to the seat of the gray pants.  
Hoppy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Turkey Day Hat

Well, if any of you out there love family and food as I do, you must look forward to Thanksgiving Day all year long!  I'm already thinking of what roll recipe I'm going to use, and what kinds of pies I get to bake!  And I get to share it all with my family!  What could be better?  
So, here is my ode to our beloved Thanksgiving Day.  Making the pattern up as I went along, it turned out a bit crazy, but also a bit fabulous at the same time!

Maybe sometime I'll write up a pattern, but for now, it stands alone, completely unique screaming,  "I love turkey!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Caramel Apple Butter

Through late summer and fall it seems I find myself in the kitchen canning several times a week.  I have canned tomatoes and spaghetti sauce for several years, but as time goes by I seem to add more and more things to the list.  It's become almost an obsession, trying to fill all of those jars, getting my storage area as full as possible.   Here is a picture of a portion of what I have in our storage area.  Alas, it has turned cold and all of the vegetables have frozen.  Not so for apples.  Those of you with apple trees are probably just getting started.  I have been canning applesauce and apple butter.  I've experimented with a few apple butter recipes and have found one that I love.  So, I thought I would share!

Crockpot Caramel Apple Butter

14 c applesauce  (use about 6 lbs apples, I cut and core mine, then cook them down in a small amount of apple or grape juice, then run them through the food mill to puree and remove the skins)
Place apples in a large crockpot.  Add 4 cups sugar and mix in thoroughly.  Cook on high without lid for a very long time stirring occasionally.  The batch I made today was in the crockpot for about 14 hours (I made applesauce last night and just left it in over night).  It doesn't need to be that long, just until it is cooked down to a butter consistency and turns a dark amber color.  Unwrap and add 43 caramels to the pot.  When caramels are melted and incorporated, check the temperature with a candy thermometer if you have one.  It should reach about 160 degrees F.  If your crock does not get hot enough, move the butter to a pot on the stove.  Pour into prepared jars and process in a water bath for 15 minutes.  (Please adjust these times according to your local extension offices guidelines for your altitude)  If you like, you may add 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cloves, and 1 tsp cinnamon.  This recipe makes 6 pints or 12 half pints.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spooky Sugar Cookies

This is my favorite sugar cookie.  Thick and soft is how we like them at our house, and these fit the bill.  This time of year, I like to make bats and ghosts.  That way, I only have to make two colors of icing; black and white.  And if I don't feel like piping eyes, we just use mini chocolate chips (white and chocolate) for the eyes.  To get the black frosting for the bats, you need to get the food color that comes in a gel or paste.  I got it at my local craft store, but anywhere that sells cake decorating supplies should have it.  When we lived in a smaller town with no such store, I just asked them at the bakery of the local grocery store if they would sell me some, and they gave it to me for free!  The black has a great effect on the tongue, especially for parties!
Soft Sugar Cookies
1 cup sour cream
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
4 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and flavoring and mix well.  Mix flour, salt and baking powder in another bowl.  Add sour cream and flour mixture alternating until fully mixed together.  Chill for one hour.  Roll out ( I usually roll them to just under a 1/2 inch thickness) and cut into desired shapes.  Bake at 425 for 5 - 7 minutes.  Frost with desired frosting.  (Our favorite is cream cheese frosting!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Candy Corn Crochet Hat Pattern

I've been so blessed by the kindness of friends and family, my heart is full.  In a show of gratitude, and as a way to remember the little life that never made it (I miscarried on Wednesday), I have a quick pattern that I worked up last week.  It's really simple and a bit corny, but my kids love it.  It fits my 5 yr old as well as myself and my husband.  If you want it smaller, just decrease the rows of each color by few rows.

Candy Corn Hat Pattern
I used Peaches n Cream cotton yarn on this hat in white, orange and yellow.  Size G crochet hook (or hook needed to obtain correct gauge.)  Gauge: 5 sc x 6 rows = 1 1/2 inch square

Begin with white yarn.
Row 1:  Ch 2, 4 sc in 1st ch, sl st to 1st sc to join.  Ch 1.

Row2:  Sc in each sc around increasing 2 sc (this means you will do 2 sc in 2 of the sc of the previous round, just spread them out as you go).

Row 3 - 15: Continue pattern increasing 2 sc on each row.  When finishing row 15, switch to orange yarn when pulling through the last 2 lps of the row, or you may finish out the row with white and fasten it off and weave in the ends and just start the new rows with the new color.

Row 16 - 34: With Orange yarn, repeat established pattern increasing 2 sc each row.  At end of row 34, switch to yellow yarn.

Row 35 - 36:  Repeat established pattern increasing 2 sc each row.

Row 37 - 46: Sc in each sc on previous rows with no more increases, keeping it even each row.

Row 47 - 48:  Sc in each sc of previous row decreasing 4 stitches on each row.  (I decrease by doing a sc2together 4 times, spreading it out evenly)  Fasten off and weave in ends.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Buttermilk Crescent Rolls

Today we had roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and these yummy crescent rolls for dinner.  The roast is great for Sundays because I just put it in the crockpot in the morning and it's ready for dinner, so I have time to work on the other dishes to really complete the meal.  I really enjoy making bread and rolls.  I'm the designated roll maker for all of the family functions.  I have more than one recipe that I like, but this is one that I go to often.  It doesn't take quite as long as some of my other ones and always looks and tastes great for just us, or when we are expecting company as well.

Buttermilk Crescents
2 pkgs active dry yeast                       1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup water                                     1 cup buttermilk, warmed
2 eggs                                                1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar                                      4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
1 tsp salt                                             1/4 cup butter, melted

I generally mix this up in my kitchenaid mixer.  Any large mixer will work.  I have done it by hand on occasion, but it's much easier with the mixer, if you have it.  Add warm water and yeast to bowl.  Then add buttermilk (I usually use 1 tbsp vinegar mixed with enough milk to make 1 cup, unless I have buttermilk on hand), sugar, eggs and 1/2 cup butter to bowl.  Start mixer on low.  Begin adding flour gradually, then add in salt and baking soda.  Continue mixing and adding flour until you have a soft dough that's not too sticky.  Allow to raise in a warm place until double in bulk.  When you are ready to roll out the dough, divide it into 3 equal pieces and form into smooth balls.  Roll each piece out with a rolling pin into a circle.  Cut each circle in to 12 pie shaped wedges.  Brush with butter and roll up starting with the wide end first to form crescent rolls.  Brush again with butter and allow to raise until double in bulk.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 -18 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush with butter when you remove them from the oven.  Makes 3 dozen crescent rolls.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The striped lacey black and light blue shimmery scarf

My newest etsy listing is this scarf.  I had some fun blue novelty yarn that I'd been trying to find a good use for.  Finally I came up with this scarf.  I adapted it from a dishcloth pattern that I had.  Hope you all like it.  My cute neighbor modeled it for me! 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mmmmm! Tomato Cream Soup!

I usually fix a more elaborate dinner on Sundays, but some days, I just don't feel like it.  Today was one of those days.  So, I made homemade tomato soup!  Probably my favorite soup ever!!!  I have actually given out this recipe a few times, and the ones I gave it to make it frequently, so I guess it must be a good one!  I thought I'd share it with the rest of you!

Tomato Cream Soup
2 quarts crushed tomatoes (8 cups)
2 tsp chicken bouillon
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 bell peppers, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 - 3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tsp dried basil
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
6 cups milk, divided
In a large saucepan, simmer tomatoes, bouillon, salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter until tender.  Add red pepper flakes and basil to this mixture and saute briefly, then add this mixture to tomatoes.  In another saucepan, melt remaining butter, stir in flour until smooth.  Gradually add 2 cups milk.  Bring to a boil;  cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Add to tomato mixture.  Stir in the remaining milk; heat through (do not boil).

Today, I served it with chicken and cheese quesadillas.  It makes a great accompaniment to the old standby grilled cheese as well!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Life

Just a couple of quick notes about me and what kind of things I plan on putting in this blog.

I am a stay at home mom of 3 (one more on the way due next spring). I love to cook, crochet, and garden. I have a few other hobbies such as reading, knitting, singing and playing the piano and sewing, but I think cooking, crocheting and gardening are the top 3. They keep me sane, really.

I figured this would be a great venue for me to share with you all what I do, and what I love. I hope you all enjoy it and find something useful, or uplifting!