Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strawberry Applesauce

The original recipe can be found here.

Time Needed: 1/2 hour
Level of difficulty: easy
Materials needed: 5 apples, 1/2 cup water, 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon), 8-10 strawberries, 1/4 cup sugarDirections: Peel and chop your apples. Put in a saucepan with water and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until fork tender. (I simmered with the lid on, but I don't think it matters.) While simmering, stem and chop your strawberries. After the 15 minutes are up, add your berries and simmer another 5 minutes. Then remove from the heat. If using a cinnamon stick, remove now. From here, there are a couple of options for you. If you like chunky sauce, you're done. If you like it a little more smooth, there are several things you can do. Run the sauce through a sieve, put it in a blender, or do a quick pulse on your food processor. I like mine baby food consistency, so blender it was for me. Once you're done with this step, taste and check for flavor. This is when you add the sugar. I say wait till now because if it doesn't need it, don't worry about it. However, you can add as much as needed to get desired sweetness. Let it cool because it'll be stinkin' hot. Then, serve it up and be proud of your accomplishments!

PS: like my dish? It was my hub's great aunt's wine glass from the 192o's. I'm pretty sure it's real gold rimming it.

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

The original recipe can be found here.

Time Needed: 45 minutes
Level of difficulty: easy
Materials needed: 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed, 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1 large egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats, 3/4 cup Craisins

Directions: Preheat Oven to 375°F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine, sugar, brown sugar and butter and mix well. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add in cinnamon, baking soda, salt and flour and mix well. Fold in by hand the oatmeal, walnuts, and dried cranberries making sure that all ingredients are uniformly distributed. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 3-inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

Yeah, yeah, another vegan recipe. I got an ice cream maker from my in laws for Christmas, and while I made the vegan recipe for my vegan friend, I think this is my favorite creation from it so far.

Time Needed: 2 1/2 hours
Level of difficulty: easy
Materials needed: 1 1/2 cups soy milk, 1 can coconut milk, 1/2 cup agave nectar, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until completely combined. Alternatively, you can put the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the bowl or blender container in the refrigerator, and chill it for at least two hours. You may choose to skip this step, but your ice cream will not freeze as solidly if you do. After chilling the ingredients, place the mixture into your ice cream maker, and process according to the manufacturer's directions. Serve immediately, or store in a freezer-safe container until ready to eat.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vegan 3 Bean Chili

I must preface this recipe with the statement that I am not a vegan. Chik-fil-a and I are too close for that to happen. However, I had some friends over today for a spa day and one of them is vegan, so I tried out some vegan chili just for her. And I have to say... I'm totally sold on it. This is definitely going in the "go-to meal" rotation.
Time Needed: 45 minutes
Level of difficulty: easy
Materials needed: 2-3 bell peppers (chopped), 1 onion (chopped), 3-4 tablespoons water, 3-4 cloves garlic (chopped), 1 packet of taco seasoning, 1 can kidney beans (rinsed), 1 can pinto beans (rinsed), 1 can black beans (rinsed), 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 can corn, tomato juice or water (optional), cilantro (to taste), salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions: Saute the bell pepper and onion in the water until softened. Then, add the garlic and taco seasoning and saute for 5 minutes. Then add the beans, tomatoes, and corn and simmer for 30 minutes. Add water or tomato juice as needed to reach desired consistency. Once done simmering, add cilantro, salt and pepper as desired.

This is really yummy served with tortilla chips and sour cream. And, if you are thinking, "Hey, sour cream isn't vegan," my response would be, "Well, they make non-diary sour cream, so use that!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

GIANT embroidered wall sign

I've been working on this every day for a week and, I'm SO excited to unveil it to you!

Time Needed: 6 hours
Level of difficulty: easy
Materials needed: giant frame, printer, pencil, fabric, quilting batting, embroidery hoop, needle, embroidery floss, pins, scissors, Elmer's glue, paintDirections: Go find yourself a big HUGE frame. The one I have is 24x36 (that's half as tall as I am)! If you want to do a crackle frame, paint the whole thing with Elmer's glue. Then, while it's still wet, paint it with the color you want to crackle. As the glue and paint dry, the bottom color will show through. Way cheaper than real crackle paint, trust me! OK back to the embroidery part. Once you've chosen a phrase you'd like to embroider, play computer for awhile. Play around with fonts until you find one you love and that's reasonable to embroider. Look online to find free download-able fonts, too. That's where I found mine. Then, blow it up as big as you need to get it to fit (I used 300 point font - yeah, that's huge) and print that sucker out. Lay it out on the cardboard backing that came with the frame to get the look you want. It'll look something like this:
Then, trace on the pattern onto your fabric with your pencil. Do this lightly, and it'll more or less rub off when you're done. That'll look something like this:Back the fabric with your quilting batting and pin it down. I don't ordinarily pin these things down, but this is a big BIG project that wouldn't stay together otherwise. So pin your heart out all over the edges and throughout the middle to keep things where they need to stay. Stick your embroidery hoop on, and get started with embroidering. If you don't know how, check out the tutorial I have here. It should look something like this:

Halfway through! Lookin good, huh?

Once you're done embroidering all the words, lay it out in the frame to double check the look. This'll also let you know if you need a little sparkle or design added in.
I ended up thickening some of the edges of my red words and adding a few vines into the edges because it needed something. From there, secure the sign to your cardboard backing, stick it in the frame, and hang it on the wall. And then enjoy how COOL you are because this is an AWESOME project!
PS: In case you're wondering why I chose the quote I did, well.. it's kind of corny. The hubs puts up really well with my crafting and creating and messmaking. So when choosing a fun, cute quote, I actually took one out of a techno song. My hubs loves techno, so it was kind of a fun tribute to him. Aw, cute! :)

Button Redo

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Upcycled Teacup Candles

Time Needed: 30 minutes
Level of difficulty: easy
Materials needed: teacups, paraffin candle wax, candle wicks, double boiler or boil bags, candle scent (optional), candle wax dye (optional), water

Directions: In either a double boiler or boil bags, melt the wax completely over medium heat. This will take 10-15 minutes or so, even if the was is labeled as having a low melting point. It's still wax and still takes awhile to melt. I'd recommend the boil bags so you don't ruin or wax up your double boiler. While that's melting, put the wicks in the bottom of your clean teacups (make sure they're clean or you're gonna have gross candles). Once the wax is melted, add any wax scent or wax dye that you feel like you want to add, and stir with a wooden spoon (or, in my case, a random bamboo skewer) to ensure proper distribution. Carefully pour wax into the teacups, making sure the wicks are well above the top of the wax. To ensure they stay straight, you may want to tie the tops to some bamboo skewers and rest those on the lip of the cup. Once the wax has dried enough to put a solid film on the top of the candle, cover the wax with water while it hardens. The wax will dip in the middle as it hardens, and this keeps it from dipping quite as much. Once hardened, dump out the water, trim the wicks, and enjoy your beautiful new candles. The best part is that when they're all gone, you can just start over again. Oh, cute!