Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Hawaiian" fruit dip

I was invited to a Hawaiian themed birthday party a few weeks ago and spent some time googling trying to come up with something clever to bring. I came across this recipe in a About.com answer and although I was unsure there was really anything "Hawaiian" about it, thought it sounded pretty tasty. And it was! This is definitely something I'll keep on hand during the summer when our house is over run with fruit. It comes together really quickly and adds an unexpected lime pop to fresh fruit.

Hawaiian Fruit Dip
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice, undrained
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1 lime

Combine milk, sour cream, and pudding mix; whisk until smooth.
Stir in pineapple and coconut.
Zest lime to measure 1 teaspoon zest; juice lime to measure 1 teaspoon juice.
Stir both into dip.
Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
To toast coconut, preheat oven to 350º; spread coconut onto cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until light golden brown.
Serve with fresh sliced fruits.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Amazing Carrot Cake

Last Saturday was Dimples' birthday, and as is tradition, I needed to make an awesome cake. Last year, much to my dismay, he requested funfetti (what adult wants a funfetti cake for their birthday?!). This year he requested carrot cake.

I was a little nervous because I've never made a carrot cake before, but I knew Dimples' aunt had an awesome recipe, so I emailed her to request it.

I multiplied the recipe 1.5 so I could have three layers of deliciousness. I didn't quite have enough frosting, so I had to make do. a This really is the best carrot cake I've ever had!


2 cups sugar

1 cup corn oil

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup canned drained unsweetened crushed pineapple

3 cups packed grated peeled carrots

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. butter 2 9 inch cake pans with 2 inch high sides. Line pans with waxed paper. Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Sift flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt into sugar mixture. Beat to blend. Puree pineapple in processor until smooth. Add to batter. Stir in carrots, walnut and coconut. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to racks. Cool 15 minutes. Cut around sides of pan to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks. Remove waxed paper. Cool cakes completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2- 8 ounce packages of cream cheese

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter in medium bowl until smooth. Sift powdered sugar into mixture. Beat until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over top. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting in swirls over top and sides of cake. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover, chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

So, happy birthday hun! I'm looking forward to making you many more birthday cakes :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Where the magic happens

Or where it will happen, at least :) Yesterday Dimples and I took a trip to IKEA with one purpose: the Expedit Bookshelf and desk combo. I'd originally seen it on Young House Love's basement makeover, and have been obsessed with having it for my own ever since. Finally I think my husband got fed up with having my sewing machine on the dining table and scraps everywhere, and asked if I was ready for my desk!

So, here's a look at my new craft space in the corner of my guest room. I promise to make recovering my bench my next project :)

I love it so and I can't wait to use it (all of the time!). The workspace is HUGE! It's already a little too cluttered for my liking, but that's the hazard of a craft space. I can't believe I had all of this stuffed into two boxes in a closet for all this time.

What does your craft space look like?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

Recently, after forgetting to purchase bread for a dinner I rediscovered my good old hand me down bread machine. I didn't realize how much I'd missed it!

I'd seen the blog Grocery Cart Challenge mention these bread machine butter rolls a few times, and one day I decided that they sounded really good. I was looking for easy snacks to take to works, and Gayle makes a batch and freezes them, which I thought was a great idea.

These were really easy to make. too easy, almost. And so, so good! The only bad thing about them is that we ate almost the whole batch that night and didn't have any left to freeze. I'm pretty sure that's disgusting of us, but these are really that good! I made them again for my husband's birthday party, and everyone loved them.


  • 1 cup warm milk (70 to 80 degrees F.)
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast


  1. In bread machine pan, put all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer.
  2. Select dough setting.
  3. When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. Divide dough into 24 portions.
  5. Shape dough into balls.
  6. Place in a greased 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan.
  7. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-16 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe originally from Recipe Zaar.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Floral shirt

I'm really excited to share this shirt. For once I've actually made something that I will wear! In public! Squee!

Okay, enough of that.

This shirt started out life as two white shirts. both of them I wore often and one just wasn't white enough anymore, so I banished it to the rag bag. The other I was wearing to work last week when I spilled coffee down the front of it. I don't want to talk anymore about that.

After seeing such cute flowery/ruffly tops repurposed from other shirts at Hope Studios and Tea Rose Home, I decided to give my tired white shirts a second chance.

I found the tutorial for the flowers at Tea Rose Home, but I just made circles instead of the heart shape.

Then I purchased an inexpensive fabric dye and dyed the "new" shirt in a pot on my stove.

I'm in love. Probably just because i'm ridiculously proud of myself, but that's cool too.

Total cost for my "new" shirt: $1.66 (for the dye). Not bad!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Peach Berry Pie

I promised this recipe long ago, during the summer months when peaches were aplenty. Somehow, I forgot to post it! Ooops, well, bookmark it for next summer gals, because it's a winner. I loved this pie!
I loved to make this pie with local peaches and berries from the fruit stands that dot the highway out here. Score one for country livin', y'all. The produce is awesome.

First, I make my mom's super easy pie crust, recipe here.

Then, the filling:

4 cups fresh peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced
1 cup fresh berries
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1 teas ground cinnamon
2 tbs butter cut into pieces

Place peaches and berries into a colander to drain for 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss in sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour into prepared (not cooked) pie crust and put butter pieces on top of mixture. Top with crust. Bake 45 minutes at 400.

If you want your pie crust to be super pretty you can brush it with egg white and sprinkle with course sugar. I've made this pie both with the lattice crust top and a solid crust top, and it's delicious either way!

I have no idea where I got this recipe from, I scribbled it on a sticky note ages ago, but it's very easy and definitely a summer favorite!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Birthday Banner

My MIL turned 50 this March, and I offered to help with the decorations. FIL wanted to do the traditional black "you're SO OLD" decor, and I got to do all the shopping (yay!). For some reason nobody had black or black and white Happy Birthday banners. Even the party stores! They'd have all of this over the hill black and white stuff...and then a rainbow colored banner. Fail.

I remembered seeing this adorable birthday banner on Life in the Fun Lane and I decided to attempt my own.
I used Holly's fabulous tutorial, except instead of staining the paper with coffee I printed the letters on a gray background of swirls and flowers, and used black poster board for the larger circles.

I was thrilled with how it turned out! (I think I'm always thrilled with my crafts...oh well!) It was a change from the boring foil banners and it looked classy and frilly and pretty. I love it. I also curled the leftover ribbon ends after hanging, so they weren't just dangling there.

From start to finish this took me two episodes of The King of Queens, so about an hour, and cost me almost nothing. I paid 50 cents for the poster board, $1 for the crepe paper (which I used half a roll of-and it came with two rolls) and I already had everything else. Not bad for an hour of craftiness and .75 cents!
Sorry for the crummy photos! In hindsight I should not have taken them against a gray wall on a dark, gray rainy day. oh well, Holly's photos are awesome and you get the point!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pina Colada Cake

Awhile back I came across a recipe for a pina colada cake on a cooking board, but foolishly didn't save the link. When it came time to think of a dessert for Easter this was the first thing that popped into my head. I tried googling for a recipe, but everything I found called for creme of coconut (what IS that?!) or Rum, neither of which was on the original recipe that I saw. So I came up with my own.

1 box yellow cake mix
8 oz can of crushed pineapple
1/2 C. shredded coconut

Prepare cake mix according to instructions on box, mix in crushed pineapple (I drained most of the juice and saved it for later) and coconut. Bake according to directions on Box. After removing from oven pour reserved pineapple juice over cake and let soak in. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting I made a combination whipped cream/cream cheese frosting, and I was so happy with how it turned out. It was delicious!

Frosting (recipe modified from Allrecipes.com)
1 box cream cheese
1.5 cups whipped cream (I made the real stuff-no cool whip :)
1/2 c. coconut
1/8 teas salt
1 teas vanilla extract
1 c. white sugar (I used granulated and it wasn't gritty at all)
2 oz. crushed pineapple

Use a mixer to cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in vanilla, salt, coconut and crushed pineapple and mixed well. Fold in whipped cream.

garnish (optional)
Lots of shredded coconut (all said I used an entire bag for this cake), some toasted.
maraschino cherries

I almost didn't want to add the coconut after I frosted it because I thought it looked pretty enough already, but it had to survive an hour and a half trip in the car so I'm glad I added it, it helped it stand up to the foil wrapped around it and we got there with only minor damage :)

Monday, April 5, 2010


I won something you guys! I'm super duper excited as this is the first time I've won anything since....I was 11 and I won a Christian music CD from the radio. This is way cooler.

CookiesandCups hosted the giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to GreenPartyGoods.com. I'm way too excited about it. I plan to load up on super cute cupcake wraps, liners and carrying boxes.

Thanks Cookiesandcups! I will never be without adorable liners again.