Saturday, November 15, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I bought a book about crochet edging on fleece and I gave it a try for her shower gift. I made a blanket, hat and mitten set. It came out cute and the technique was easy once I got the hang of punching holes in the fabric.
The fleece is so soft and snugly; I hope they get a lot of use out of the set.
I'm also working on something special for Potluck Designs. It's a copy of a blanket my mom's Aunt Alice made years ago. I love cross stitching the pictures onto the crochet blocks. I'm having fun copying Aunt Alice's design and adding my own touches.
Finally, soon to be for sale on etsy is a festive winter garland! It's so cheerful and perfect for this time of year. Mini hats, mittens and stars are strung from a snowy white crocheted strand. I just have to get the photos in order and it's ready to go.
Now that Rachel's in Grad School, we haven't spent much time together cooking and crafting. Hopefully we'll find the time to keep up with our blog, she spends most of her time reading. I, on the other hand, have no excuse!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
We had a party today for Mom's birthday, it was great to have everyone together! I made ribs and flan for the first time, they both came out really good...what a relief.
Rachel made her famous cake that takes hours of preparation and it was worth every minute...so moist and melty.
Ryan had fun roaming around the house, he doesn't come here too often so there's a lot to see and do in a short amount of time.
Stephanie came to PaRtY and she is great at talking to Grandma so we love having her company.
Grandma had some laughs with her great grandson
My favorite part was the decorations...I love a festive house!
And life is good!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I realized we never blogged about our trip to Brimfield so here's a little recap of our time. Mom, Rachel and I were stricken with exhaustion from lack of sleep and extensive heat and sun exposure which led to uncontrollable laughter and tons of hilarious situations.
Like when our mom, wearing her new Bakelite Scotti Dog pin, found a linguine noodle in the bottom of her bowl of broccoli...
I laughed so hard I cried...
We had so much fun digging through piles of vintage table cloths, scavaging for deals on Pyrex and Stangl, and admiring all the beautiful things we could never afford.
I can't wait to go again next year!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Oh but this guy was in the bag. His nose was so cute, he got spared from the jam pot. He's for breakfast tomorrow instead.
My jam came out pretty delicious, it tastes just like those fruit nectars you can buy in cans at the grocery store. The only problem is that it didn't set well. It's thick enough, but you'll need a spoon instead of a knife to get it onto your toast. I'm not sure what my problem is, but this is the 3rd jam I've made that hasn't set up for me. I followed a recipe, and used pectin to help it along, but no luck. I need to read a little more about it to figure out where I'm going wrong.
Only 6 lovely peaches and I got these three jars, plus one that's only half filled so I didn't can it... just stuck it right into the fridge for right-away-eating!
Friday, September 5, 2008
So my car is at the dealership for some repairs and I got this awesome red Mustang convertible as my loaner car! My car wasn't ready to pick up yet so I get to cruise all over town in my hot ride this weekend too! Don't get me wrong, I think my Volvo station wagon is hot too but this is FUN!! Too bad its supposed to rain all day tomorrow :(
This is what happens when I ask Charlie to take my picture out the window...DOI!!!
This is not a photo of me. This is how I feel already, after the first week of grad school. Man is there a lot of reading to do!!!
I'm taking a break at the library right now to get my nose out of the books for a moment and give my brain a rest. I'm taking four classes and they warned us that each class would demand about 8-10 hours of outside work per week. I thought they were kidding. They weren't!
Anyway, it's fun so far and I'm making new friends. I spent Labor Day at my friend's lake house again, and attempted to make this Zebra Cake that's been floating around all over the internet. Mine came out ok, but it was a little disappointing. I read on another site that the actual cake recipe wasn't that tasty, but I went ahead and used it anyway. This was true, there wasn't much flavor. I would make this again and use a different vanilla / chocolate cake recipe. My batter was also pretty thin. I assumed it was ok in order to get the rings to work correctly, but after a while they sort of melted together, and in the final product, the lines were so thin they had almost disappeared. On top of that, after 42 minutes in the oven, my cake was still a liquid mess. I left it in for an additional 15 minutes until a cake tester came out clean.
This recipe has huge potential. Not only does it have amazing serve-appeal (everyone says, "OOOH stripes!") but it'll also be super delicious if you make it with your favorite vanilla/chocolate cake recipes. I demand a do-over!
*edit: photos aren't on my laptop... oops! I'll post them when I get home.*
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Me and Laur at lunch
Lauren and Allan at Camden Yards
Allan and Charl at the Aquarium
This is probably the tank with striped bass and blue fish. They are probably talking about fishing.
The weather was really beautiful and it was fun to be around tons of Yankee fans all over the city! The Yankees won Friday night and the game was full of exciting plays. Charlie and Allan shared hours of laughs discussing Family Guy episodes and me and Lauren enjoyed the peaceful hours that they had each other to talk to. We are really glad they guys get along so well and that we have one big happy family!
When we got home, we celebrated our parents' anniversary. Ryan was there for the weekend and we got to spend some time talking and playing with him. He's really into trucks, planes, big messes, etc. While out with Babcia, he saw a big dump truck and a huge pile of dirt. He was saying "dump truck" but without the "p" in dump and with an "f" instead of "tr" in truck. =0
Monday, August 18, 2008
I've been working at camp every day but I took a few days off to go down the shore with Charlie. We had SO much fun doing everything beachy under the sun!
Riding the roller coaster up
And down some more
Charlie and Mom eat fudge and play a mean hand of Rat-A-Tat-Cat
I sink the 100 point holes in Ski Ball
Mom and Uncle Johnny ride the coaster
Yesterday my sisters and I got together at our parents' house. Lauren brought Ryan and we walked down town for lunch.
Walking to town under a blue sky
Subs at Hershey's
Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up!
Then our mom called later to say she was heading home from the beach and she watched Ryan while we went to Rita's for a refreshing treat and to Target to see if there was anything good to buy. I got a coffee pot to keep in my class room so I can brew fresh coffee all day :)
The depressing part is that I just left it in my car since I'll be back to school in a few weeks :(
I've been crocheting a lot and posted a new blanket on www.potluckdesigns.etsy.com.
I also made a blanket as an engagement gift for a "friend of a friend of a friend" and the engagement party turned out to be a surprise wedding...the girl who asked me to make the blanket wound up being a bride's maid!
The summer just flew by and we have one last hurrah planned...Me, Charlie, Lauren and Allan are heading to Baltimore to see an Orioles/Yankees game on Friday. We'll also do some sight seeing and I promise to blog about our trip.
I also promise to have PLC with Rachel this Fall and to cook, craft and blog like we set out to do! But for now its all about camp and the kids are sucking up all my energy!
That's me at the sink
We're painting a mural too!
A basic chocolate dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar... how can you go wrong? The recipe, which I found at Cookie Madness, says to place the cookies 2-inches apart. I found that they didn't spread or flatten out much, so after the first batch I pressed them down lightly with the bottom of a measuring cup. If you're like me and your patience runs out after two trays go into the oven, feel free to cram more than 12 onto a sheet. Like I said, they don't spread much and I easily fit 16 onto one tray.
These are good, but basic. My major issue with snickerdoodles is their tendency to become rock solid after cooling off a bit. But fresh off the tray, they were chewy and soft, with a little spice and a nice crunch from the sugar. I hope they earn me my keep on the sofa for the night!
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
In large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Add flour mixture and stir, do not beat, until mixed.
Combine the 2 tablespoon sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar. Shape dough into 1″ balls; roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2″ apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 6-9 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheets immediately. (I baked mine for 8).
Makes about 36 cookies
Sunday, August 17, 2008
This summer got away from us pretty quickly. Sandra has been working at a Summer camp as an art teacher, and I've just been... working. Sandra finishes up camp this week, and I finally left my job on Friday so hopefully we'll both have a little more time for cooking soon!
In the mean time, check out Sandra's Etsy shop... she's listed a new project for sale.
And I want to say thanks to Clumbsy Cookie for pulling my name out of a hat! I won a pretty cake lifter, so I guess that means I'm going to be baking a cake pretty soon.
(ps - those cupcakes are Peanut Butter with Chocolate Drizzle, and I baked them on December 8th, 2006. I dug one out of the archives to post... what good is a blog without a photo???)
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I wanted to make a blueberry pie, and did a little hunting on the internet for a recipe. I love reading other people's blogs because they talk about the recipes they make and tell you what went wrong. So based on those opinions, I figured out that Cook's Illustrated had a really good recipe that wouldn't have a runny filling, thanks to the inclusion of a shredded Granny Smith apple in the mixture. When the pie bakes, the pectin in the apple cooks out and helps the filling thicken up. Half the blueberries are also mashed and cooked down on the stovetop before filling the pie, and that also helps remove some of the moisture from the filling. It really worked! The filling was fantastic and even after the leftovers sat in the fridge overnight, not a single berry oozed out into the pie plate.
The crust recipe was also from Cook's Illustrated, and it called for 1/4 cup of ice cold vodka. The theory is that while it cooks, the vodka evaporates leaving flaky layers. The crust was really good too, although sticky and a little hard to work with. I'd use it again and just chill chill chill between rolling it out and then trying to move it to the pie plate.
I also made these Dixie Bars. I'm not sure what the name means, but they taste almost like home made Twix. The bottom layer is a shortbread, then a layer of caramel with nuts, and then finished with chocolate. Cut these bars really bite sized!! A little tiny taste goes a very long way.
I found the recipe here
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 can sweetened condensed milk (300 mL)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 cup pecan pieces
4 squares semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp butter
24 pecan halves (optional)
Heat oven to 350 F.
Combine flour and sugar; cut in butter to form soft dough. Press evenly into an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden.
Combine milk, sugar, butter and corn syrup in heavy saucepan, cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and boil for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly or until mixture thickens slightly and turns a caramel colour. Remove from heat; stir in pecan pieces. Spread evenly over base. Chill.
Partially melt chocolate with butter over low heat. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Spread over caramel layer. Garnish with pecan halves.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I've been loving my summer vacation so far and even though camp started it still feels like I'm on vacation. Charlie's parents are on vacation too, all over Europe! They stopped off in Bayonne for a day before leaving and Charlie's brother came over to see them too.
Mami cooked us dinner and I helped.
We had party chicken, mashed potatoes, salad with strawberries and bleu cheese, and dinner rolls. For dessert, we had vanilla and caramel ice cream with strawberries and fresh made whipped cream! It was really good and we all had a fun time together.
I also learned about Panko breadcrumbs. They made the baked chicken so crispy and crunchy, like it was fried!
I've been busy making business cards and hang tags for my blankets.
It was a pain because the templates didn't line up right with the sheets of paper! I saw that the pack of business cards I bought got terrible reviews online because of the bad template so I had to improvise. Charlie helped me create a template of my own and it actually worked with a little tweaking. For the hang tags, I bought clear stickers to print on and white tags on a string. We folded the sticker in half wrapping the hang tag so it's double sided. The hang tags were even more of a pain because the printer kept feeding the sheets through differently so it was hit or miss. I definitely do NOT recommend Avery double sided business cards or clear labels!
The ribbon I ordered came the other day so all I need now are the gift boxes. I ordered some from ULINE, brown craft boxes that were the perfect size. The only problem was they smelled like vomit. They stunk up my craft room! So I returned them and I'm nervous to buy boxes online again.
Heres a picture of the latest blanket I made. It was a custom order for a friend. It's all jazzed up with my ribbon and hang tag. The hang tag has my logo on the front and care instructions and my etsy address on the back.
I'm working on a new blanket too, its white with rows of little purple flowers. I love to crochet!!
I haven't seen Rachel since last weekend. I don't even think I've talked to her all week!!! We haven't done PLC in so long. I know she is working on some kind of quilted lap top carry case. I hope she posts a blog about that! I want to see how its coming along.