Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why, Hello there, Beautiful.

Where have you been all of my life?!

Meet my new favorite toy, my Mixer. Watch it make easy work of creaming butter and sugar!

I can't believe I used to do this by hand!! Who does that?

And in 5 minutes, my persimmon cookie batter is done! A week ago (when I made these cookies last) I'd still be creaming my butter and sugar!

It's magical. I love it. Thanks, Dimples!

In the one week I've had my KA mixer I've made:

Persimmon cookies

Molasses cookies (PW recipe, and it's awesome.)

Pizza dough X3



mashed potatoes X2


Scrambled eggs

all just for the sake of using the mixer, I love it so.

Handmade Christmas recap

I think this years' handmade Christmas went much better than the last. First, I started early and collected ideas. That was key. It made me feel organized and the projects didn't seem so difficult, and if one seemed too daunting, I moved on to another idea. Here are some pics of my finished projects.

For my pre-teen nieces I made these little fabric journals. The first one that I made was the blue one, and I was least happy with it's design, so I added her name to it, and a little extra inner pocket. It also fit the best over the journal, so in the end I was very happy with it.

For my one year old nephew I made these little fleece slippers. I used my husbands Moccasin slippers as a template for the design, then googled the "average size of a one year old foot in inches" to get the size. I was delighted when they fit him perfectly. Also, I sewed the buttons on extra tight so he wont be able to pull them off and choke on them. Because I care. :)

And for my four year old niece, I made this purse that I posted a few months ago. She wasn't very impressed with it because there was a giant red gift bag that she fit inside, and it was way cooler. I'm sure she'll love the purse when the giant gift bag stops being so awesome :)

For my 10 year old nephew I made a little fleece hat that had 7 panels, and little ear flaps decorated with buttons. I used my own head as a template for that hat, and since my head is freakishly small, it barely fit his! I think it was cute, though. Maybe he can wear it under a beanie when he goes to the snow :)
Anyways, I had a ton of fun personalizing my gifts, and actually using my sewing machine! I will definitely be doing this again next year, except I'll be starting a little earlier so that my gifts can be more intricate. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll know how to knit by this time next year!

Candy Making

This was my candy making-ist season ever! Along with my Mom and a girlfriend I made about 300 nougats, 250 peanut butter balls, 2 pans of Fudge, 1 pound of candied nuts, 2 slabs of peppermint park, 100 caramel pecan pretzels and 100 Russian tea cookies. Okay, so the last one was not candy, but they were made in the middle of a candy marathon, so they totally count.

For my co-workers I bundled up little packages of Russian Tea Cookies, Fudge, Peppermint Bark and Caramel Pecan Pretzels and Candied nuts, and wrapped them in cute bags. Dimples and I passed out candy every time we had friends over, and we each ate way too much ourselves. Some of it was destroyed in an unfortunate glass breaking incident, and some of the nougats are still in my fridge, bringing me shame for not dipping them in Chocolate yet.
I love the Holidays.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Busy Bee!

I've got a lot of yummy recipes to post, and a lot going on, I've just been way to busy to post! Hopefully that will change as yesterday was my last day at full time job for TWO whole weeks! Woot!
In the meantime, here are some pictures of my Christmas decorations, because I know everyone is dying to see them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Broccoli, White Bean and Cheddar soup

I found this Broccoli, White Bean and Cheddar Soup Recipe the other day, and thought I would give it a try.
First, when I went to the grocery store I couldn't find "Cannelli Beans" anywhere, so I decided to get Navy Beans. They're white, right? Same thing. (They aren't by the way. Cannelli beans are white kidney beans. Live and learn!)
I used my Turkey stock that I made Thanksgiving Day instead of the Chicken Stock. It smelled so good on the stove! Then I cut up the broccoli, tossed it in, threw in the navy beans and poured it in the blender. This is so easy it's magical, I thought.
Then I turned on the blender that was filled with my delicious smelling soup. FFFFWAP! The steaming hot mixture sprayed all over my kitchen. All over me. All over my floor. Idk, I must have filled the blender too full.
I was pissed. So I poured myself a little bowl of mess and tasted it. Heaven! I almost don't regret the fact that cheesy broccoli bean crap is dripping down my walls.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner

So our first Thanksgiving at home was kind of fantastic. It was very Chill, and it was nice that way. Anyways, here is our beautiful Turkey:

Yumm-o! And it was so juicy and buttery. I basted that sucker with garlic butter, and stuffed it with sliced apples. It was delicious.

And I thought pioneer woman's green beans added some fun color to the meal. They were tasty, too. (I altered the recipe a bit by adding full pieces of bacon to it. I love me some bacon)

And here are some tips for future Thanksgivings:

-- When a bowl falls out of the cupboard and breaks on the counter, don't use the vaccum to clean up the mess. Even though it seems like a one teaspoon measuring spoon is too big to be sucked into a vaccum hose, it's not. And then you won't have a one teaspoon measuring spoon anymore.

--When the Turkey says "with Giblets" and there's only a neck in the cavity, the rest of the giblets are in the neck hole. Be sure to take these out before you cook it, or else your husband will find them when he's tearing the meat up, and make fun of you.

-- When you put an apple in the cavity, be sure to remove the sticker on the apple, or your husband will find it when he's tearing the meat up, and make fun of you.

-- When you aren't quick with the baster, the juice will shoot across your kitchen. We both learned this one the hard way.

-- Pans from the oven are hot! Don't grab!

-- Stove burners that are on are hot! Don't touch!

-- Your normally well behaved shih tzu will become a begging beast when she sees a bird that is the same size as her. You should probably put her in another room.

Anyways, hope everyones Thanksgiving was fabulous! I'm off to drift into my Turkey coma now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Walnut Pie Recipe

As requested :)

2 1/4 Cups Flour
1 teas. Salt
3/4 Cup + 2 tbs. Crisco (no subsitutes)
5 tbs ice water

Blend salt and flour, then add shortening. Blend until peasized lumps form, then add ice water. Roll into 2 balls (makes 2 crusts, or one crust and lattice). This is some seriously awesome pie crust. You'll never buy another pie crust again.

Walnut filling:
3 Eggs, beat until light
3/4 Cups sugar
1/4 Cups melted butter or marg
1 Cup Corn Syrup

Add sugar, melted butter and corn syrup to beaten eggs. Whip together and pour into unbaked pie shell, top generously with nuts. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until knife inserted comes clean. Start buying pants in a size larger.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holiday Planning!

I'm so excited that the Holidays are here! This will be the first year that Dimples and I have Thanksgiving at our own apartment, and this means I'm making a turkey. Lord help us all. Well, actually, Pioneer Woman help us all. She's showed me everything I need to know here and here, so I'm feeling prepared. My Mom and sister are coming over, so it's going to be very small and cozy (the cozy part is because our apartment is like 600 square feet, so when I say cozy, really I mean cozy.) My Mom came over yesterday and we planned our menu:

Acorn Squash- Me
Onion Bread-Mom
Mashed Potatoes- Sis
Walnut Pie- Mom (we fought over who got to make this. She won...this time. :)
Pumpkin pie-Me
Stuffing- Mom (and since I'm making the turkey, we wont be cooking the stuffing in the turkey, thank goodness. I find that practice disgusting. Would you like a heaping dish of salmonella? Yummy)
Cranberry sauce-Me

And we'll each make an appetizer. I'm excited. Thanksgiving is probably my favorite Holiday because all you do is hang out and eat all day. If we could somehow incorporate gifts into Thanksgiving it would be pretty much the best day ever.

I'm still working on my handmade Christmas gifts, though to be honest I haven't done much since I finished the purse. I'll get there. Really I should have got some done yesterday because I had the entire day off, but nope, I just watched old movies all day. It was fantastic.

And to finish up, last week a sister of one of Dimples clients sent Dimples home when a can of homemade oatmeal cookies. She told them not to eat them all, he had to share some with his wife. I thought this was adorable, so today I made a batch of sugar cookies with a peppermint vanilla frosting to put in the can so he can take them back to her. :)

Here is the easiest bestest Sugar cookie recipe ever, which I found on the back of a set of Wilton cookie cutters:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teas vanilla extract
1/2 teas almond extract (I omit this. I don't keep almond extract around)
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teas baking powder
1 teas salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl; add to butter mixture one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough (this is my favorite part! I'm all about instant gratification when it comes to cookies). Roll and cut with cookie cutters as desired. Bake 6-7 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on racks and frost.

And here are my finished cookies:

And boy howdy are they good. I know what you're thinking: Those would've been prettier if she'd waited until they were cool to frost them, right? But remember when I said I'm all about instant cookie gratification?

True story.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Squeee! Look what I made!

I finished my first Christmas Gift yesterday, for my 4 (almost 5) year old niece, and I'm ridiculously proud of it. It turned out SO cute!

The purse part is made from fleece that I found in the remnant bin, and the applique is made from felt. My niece LOVES frogs, so I looked up pictures of tree frogs on google, and modeled my little felt frog from that.

I'm so happy with how it turned out, and I hope she loves it. This handmade Christmas is already off to a better start than the last.
Fleece remnant: $1.18
7 colors of felt: $1.75, I used only a tiny bit of each, so I'll say $0.50
Buttons: $2.25 for a pack of 50. I used 7 so $0.35
Total cost: $2.03, plus 2.5 hours it took me to finish it. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Handmade Christmas

I know, I know, Halloween is still going on in my little college town and I'm already thinking about Christmas. The truth is, I've been thinking about it for awhile. I think I'd like to try my hand at a handmade Christmas, where all or most of my gifts would be handmade.
This will not be the first time I've done this, in 2006 I tried really hard. I made pretty much everyone scarves and hats. The problem was, I was new at crocheting, and I couldn't size anything. The hats were all either too big or too small, and some of the scarves came out more like ascots (sorry, SIL B!) which I guess would've been cool had I intended to make ascots. So I wont be doing that again. I remember being in a crochet frenzy the weeks before Christmas, and I'm pretty sure my fingers formed a claw for the rest of the year. I also handmade soap, which was a blast. The only problem with doing that was it was really expensive. I split the cost with a girlfriend from work, but I really don't think even that is an option this year. For the men, I borrowed my mom's dehydrator and made beef jerky, which would have been awesome if I had been able to keep my husband (then fiance) from eating it. I ran out and didn't have anything to give his brother. Awkward.

So anyways, I'm going to put the last time I tried this behind me. It was a mess, and I was stressed and it was not really fun. (Although like a year later my sil told me she thought it was sweet, and that she couldn't remember what other people gave her that year, she remembered she got a handmade scarf and hat from me, and that made me feel better :)

November is also a tad late to start this project, especially since my free time is so sparse. Luckily, I've finished all the old seasons of LOST so I won't have hulu tempting me all the time. Today I'm just gathering ideas until I have to work, and I'd really like to get started next weekend (I've got a four day weekend, so I feel like I can maybe get some stuff finished).

For the pre-teen nieces, of which I have 3, I'd like to make Journal covers, similar to this, but maybe not patchwork. I think I'll sew on some simple felt appliques instead. (I'll purchase the simple hardcover blank journals at our local art supply. I always thought a blank paper journal was more inspiring than a lined one.) I found this picture on sewmamasew, a blog which is an amazing resource for handmade Christmas ideas.

I think my 4 year old niece would get a kick out of a cute purse, like this one. I just have to be sure to sew a cut out of a tree frog on there somewhere. (again, this picture is from sewmamasew)
For my sweet baby nephew, who will be ONE next week (holy flying time, batman!) I think I'll make him a little cap. Boys are hard to make gifts for, and he'll be too young to think a handmade gift is more fun than it's wrapping, but I think his mom will get a kick out of an adorable hat. I also may try my hand at these shoes,

but he's walking now, so I'll make them out of fleece so they can be house slippers. And of course I'll make them a little more manly (picture from On Pins and Needles)

And for Dh's brother and SIL, who just announced that they are pregnant (yay!) I found this idea for bibs from JennyGarland I thought were adorable, and maybe another pair of the shoes, but really tiny. The baby is not due until May/June, but babies are just fun to make stuff for. I'll also make them cloth napkins that match their dining room colors.
That's as far as I'll get today. The one person I'm having trouble thinking up an idea for is my 10 year old nephew B. Any ideas, Riah?
Here are two awesome resources for handmade Christmas ideas:
Sewmamasew (obviously, I referenced them about a million times up there)
Crafty homemaker -- Her Friday Craft links are full of ideas, that's where I found both the bibs and the shoes.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Oops! I meant to post these on Friday, but I got caught up in the last season of LOST on My bad :)

This is Su-bee. She looks mad, but that's only because I'm making her sit still. She LOVES her bee suit, and she wore it to visit my mom and her friend. Yes, I'm one of those that dresses up her dog. Don't hate.

(and P.S. you're not allowed to judge my dirty floor. I was sick! KTHX)

And these are our pumpkins we carved Halloween night. DH's pumpkin has got (and I quote) a "douchey" smile. He's also wearing a bluetooth headset, lol. And mine is supposed to be a wolf howling at the moon. DH said it looks like he's pooping, in front of the moon. Awesome. (there are some really talented stars on the side, too) My arm is sore today from scraping out the moon area.
Hope everyone else had a fun, safe Halloween!
p.s. Those mini caramel apples I posted the other day rock. Go make them. Right now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Etsy Love: SgtNunsWife0311

Last week I spotted these cute little guys on Etsy

I thought they were pretty funny, so I started checking out some of the sellers other items and found these, which I loved.And while I was debating whether or not to get them, I noticed that the seller had the same name as me, so I figured it was meant to be, and I placed my order. Shortly after I received a personal email from the seller, who was more than sweet.

(sorry, I'm no photographer!)

A few days later I got my padded envelope, with each pair of earrings on their own little card in an organza bag. Very cute. I also got a ring, which matches two of the pair of earrings I ordered. I was very surprised by the quality of the jewelry, especially since I only paid about $4 per pair of earrings! Very impressing. I've already got tons of complements on my silly little skulls.

So if you're looking for fun, beautiful, quality jewelry, check out SgtNunsWife0311

Monday, October 13, 2008

Baking bread

One of the great things about being the youngest sibling is that I get hand-me-downs from my brothers and sisters. A few weeks ago my sister in law and brother gave me a bread maker, and I finally made my first loaf of bread (not counting quick bread, like pumpkin bread).

I used this recipe from (one of my favorite websites) -- sweet honey french bread

The only thing that I did differently is instead of adding more honey at the 25 minute mark, I added about 4 tablespoons of cinnamon and sugar, and I rubbed honey all over the bread before I put it in the oven (I could've used the bread maker to cook it, but this was quicker).

Well, it wasn't the prettiest thing, and I poked my finger through it trying to see if it was done, but boy was it tasty. It was like a cinnamon roll.

Also, I made this "pumpkin butter" from the recipe that Pioneer Woman posted. I have an on and off relationship with pioneer woman. Sometimes she posts things on her confessions section that irritate me (like a private conversation with her handicapped brother...) but then she posts these recipes on her cooking blog and I love her again. It's like slathering pumpkin pie on your toast. So. Delicious, and a really easy way to use up that last cup of pumpkin puree!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fall Baking

Yay, Fall is here! And because it's finally officially Fall, it's time for me to make pumpkin flavored food (our favorite!).
On Monday I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread. This is one of our favorite things, and last year I made at least ten loaves. The recipe I used last year called for two packages of pudding (!!) and vegetable oil. (It calls for coconut pudding, but I always substituted with vanilla. I don't like anything competing with the pumpkin flavor) While it is melt in your mouth delicious, it's a little too decadent to eat as much as we eat of it. So I decided to change it up and I found a more healthy recipe that has applesauce instead of the oil and pudding.
While it is more healthy, it just is not as good as my pudding pumpkin bread. It's sort of dry and really chewy and it tastes more like applesauce than pumpkin. I don't think I'll be making that exact recipe again.

Then, yesterday with my leftover pumpkin puree I made pumpkin cookies. Someone emailed me this recipe last Fall (I wish I could remember who!), and they are super easy and delicious!

1 cup shortening
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 and 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (all purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Beat shortening, pumpkin, egg, powder, spice, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Fold in flour, soda and salt. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

3 tbsp real butter
3/4 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

Frost cookies after they are cool. Combine butter, vanilla, milk and brown sugar. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Boil for five minutes-stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar.The powdered sugar may clump, just stir and the clumps will disappear. If the icing gets too thick, add very hot water 1 tsp at a time to thin.

When I make the cookies, I usually drop the spoonful of batter into a bowl of cinnamon sugar and roll it around. Then I put it on the cookie sheet and squish it flat with a spatula. That way, it's got more of a cookie shape and less of a globular shape. I also omit the caramel icing, I'm sure it's good, but these cookies are tasty enough without it. They're sort of like a pumpkin snicker doodle.


Monday, September 8, 2008

My first completed project since...2005!

So, here's the shirt. The shirt has lots of problems, but I like it. See those two weird seams in the back? I misjudged how big I was, and had to insert a panel late in the process. They're kindof special...but then again so am I.

I'm really proud of the sleeves though. I've never done a good sleeve before, so these little cap sleeves were quite the accomplishment for me!

I would've taken a picture with it on, but when it's on I can't get it off! The fabric just doesn't have enough stretch, so I'm going to have to make a cut down the back and put in buttons or a zipper in the side or something. Bummer.

But I can't be too harsh on it beings it's the first thing I've sewn from beginning to end in three years. It's pretty good considering that! The top half is from a Vogue pattern, and I free-handed the bottom part using another shirt as a pattern.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm Officially Official now!

Southern Girl, from Introducing Ya'll to Arizonians has given me a blog award! It's the Arte Y pico award, and despite my two years of high school Spanish, I can't read the blog that the award originated from. That's cool, I trust Southern Girl, I'm sure she didn't just sell my soul or anything. I hope.

Thanks Southern Girl! I hope you continue to read my blog!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The tale of three sewing machines

It's been probably three years since I've last sewn, beings I didn't have a sewing machine. But, my birthday was last week (the 9th) and now I have one!

My dear Husband and my Mom bought me this, and everything to go with it:

A brother CE-4000! I've already made a giant mess of my work area, as I'm sure I will do for the next few months :)

And this is from my in-laws, they gave it to me a few weeks ago. Isn't it gorgeous?! Even my H, who hated the idea of having "old" furniture loves it. When you unfold the leaf there is a gorgeous painted sewing machine inside.

And now I guess I can use this! It's a QVC tiny serger my boss gave me years ago. I've never had a reason to use it, but I'm hoping i can finally get some use from it.

So now I have three sewing machines. I've already made one shirt ( I hated it, but it was practice) and today my bff and I spent about 7 hours making her a fall dress. I had forgotten how much fun this is.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Grandma's 6 week Bran muffins

My Grandma used to make these for my mom when she was growing up. The recipe was lost for awhile, but my mom found it a few months ago and copied it for me (the original is still on my Grandma's original recipe card--it's pretty cool)

The claim is you can keep the uncooked batter in the fridge for 6 weeks. I don't know about that, the longest it's ever lasted in my house was 3 weeks.

6 cups 100% Bran flakes (not cereal!)
1 Cup boiling water
3 Cups sugar
5 tsp. baking soda
1 qt Buttermilk
1 Cup oil (vegetable)
5 Cups flour
4 Eggs
2 tsp Salt

In a huge bowl, Mix 2 cups bran flakes with 1 cup boiling water. Add sugar, eggs, and oil, mix well. Gradually add flour, salt, baking soda and 4 cups bran, alternate with buttermilk. Mix well.

Bake the desired amount, refrigerate excess up to 6 weeks. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 6 dozen.

That's it!

The bran flakes are a little hard to find, but I found them in the bulk section of my local grocery store for .37 cents a pound! (A pound makes about 1 batch)

And just for fun, I took pictures of the process.

These are the bran flakes-they look like wood shavings.
Added 1 cup boiling water. I'll be honest, this smells terrible. But hang in there! It's worth it.
Added sugar, eggs, oil
Mixed well
In a seperate bowl, I mixed the remaining 4c bran, flour, salt, and baking soda.
Then I alternate the dry ingredients
with the buttermilk
until both are all mixed well
Then I took out a few cups, and tossed in some raisins and cinnamon
and mixed well.

And then my memory card was full. I filled a muffin tin half full, and sprinkled the top with cinnamon sugar. mmmmm. You can toss almost anything in these: Cinnamon apples, cranberries, applesauce (especially if your mix gets a little dry), walnuts etc.

*edit 9/9/08 I have to add that you can't half this recipe or double it. Something goes off and they wont turn out right! Also, be sure the bran you're getting is not cereal, that doesn't work. It has to be wheat bran. Good luck!

Monday, July 14, 2008


I have an incurable sweet tooth. Always. So tonight I made coconut cupcakes while Dimples was at the Gym. (I know I know I'm a bad wife for making delicious yummy cakes for my husband to come home to from the Gym. I suck:)

Anyways, I've never really tried to use a frosting tip before, so I tried just for fun. It puts lots of frosting on the cupcakes. And that's okay with me. I LOVE frosting.

And the verdict iiiiiiiiiis:

I'm Terrible at it!

But that's okay, because sprinkles cover all my failures. They also now cover my floor and my counters and the inside of the grills on my oven :)