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!