Archive for March, 2012

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Letter Wreath

March 29, 2012

The second wreath I made for my grandmother was a foam board letter.  I was given the task to make a wreath for her front door that has a screen door over the front and is not a wide door.  I saw plenty of inspiration on Pinterest and decided on a monogram.  I went to the local craft store and couldn’t find any great pre-made letters in a font or size I wanted.  (I am a font snob, by the way.)

Materials:
-One foam board
-Pencil
-White acrylic paint
-Exacto knife
-Sandpaper
-Ribbon

Steps:
-Sketch or print out a letter you’d like to cut out.  I hand sketched a letter from a font I found online that I loved.  I was doing the letter R.
-After sketching, use an exacto knife to cut out the letter.  This part can be tricky so make sure your knife is REALLY sharp!
-After the letter is cut out, I used sand paper to smooth out the edges (my knife wasn’t sharp enough)!
-Paint the letter the color you’d like.  I went with white to really pop on the front door.
-Add ribbon and hang on your wreath hanger!

Happy Crafting!
-Amanda

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Felt Wreath

March 26, 2012

I was preparing for a trip to visit my grandmother and tasked with making her two new wreaths for her home.  This wreath was to go on her back door that stays open into her living room.  I wanted to make something springy and happy and this is what I came up with: a felt bulb grapevine wreath!

In order to make this wreath, you need to pick what color felt bulbs you want to make.  I chose a mixture of blue and yellow to give a good Easter / Spring feel to the wreath.  I’d love to make one for my house that is made of one color.  I’ll post if I make it!

I was anything but precise when I cutting my felt squares.  I cut my felt sheets into approximately 2 inch strips.  (I cut it in fourths.)  Fold the strip in half (or thirds) and roll it into a bulb.  Secure with a straight pin.

 I laid out my pinned bulbs on the wreath until I decided I had enough to cover as much as I wanted.  I then heated up my hot glue gun and filled the bottom with hot glue to hold it together as well as the end where the pin is securing the bulb shut.

Glue the bulbs in whatever design makes you happy and enjoy your beautiful wreath!  I added a big yellow bow to make it springy, but it is beautiful without the bow too!

Happy Crafting!
-Amanda

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Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

March 22, 2012

Apparently the number one food of the 1920’s was pineapple upside down cake so for our 1920’s party, I made cupcakes!  I found a delicious recipe on: Cookbookmaniac.com

Let’s dive into the recipe:

Ingredients:
12 slices of fresh pineapple
Maraschino cherries
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup pineapple juice (blended from fresh pineapple)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 vanilla cake mix (and ingredients for it)

Procedure:
Making the pineapple topping
1) Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat
2) Add brown sugar and pineapple juice until it has dissolved, then remove from heat.
3) Mix cinnamon to the sugar mixture

Make the vanilla cake batter

Assembling the cupcakes
1) Butter the muffin pan or ramekin
2) Scoop 2-3 teaspoons of the sugar mixture into the bottom of the ramekin
3) Place a pineapple slice on top & a cherry in the middle
4) Spoon batter into the ramekin until three-quarters full
5) Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
6) Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes before serving

Reflection
I followed these directions exactly and it turned out delicious.  I made some in my silicone cupcake pan and some in ramekins. They were both perfect and delicious.

This dessert fits into my general thoughts of everything is better bite size!  Mmm mmm.

Happy eating!
-Amanda

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Birthday Cake

March 19, 2012

Melissa turned 30 this year and we celebrated in style!  Here is the cake I made her for her big day!

The cake is a white cake with buttercream icing.  I baked two 8 inch cakes one night, glazed them in apricot glaze and then refrigerated them.  The next day I made buttercream icing from scratch and iced the cake.  I covered the buttercream in a buttercream fondant from the Duff line of baking products. It tasted much better than the wilton fondant and was easier to use.

I am never able to get my fondant perfectly smooth (see below) so if you have any advice, please share.

I piped white buttercream for the pearls along the bottom and black-ish buttercream for the fringe.  The flapper girl and words are written in a fondant marker I bought at a local store.

It was really delicious and gone fast!

Happy eating!
-Amanda

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This week

March 12, 2012

Hey folks,

I will be out of pocket for the next week, but have a lot of stuff pending!  I won’t have internet access to upload photos and posts, but I’ll try to prep them in a document so I’m ready to schedule away!

What can you look forward to?

  • How to throw a 1920s theme party
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes
  • Birthday Cake
  • Wreath How-To’s
  • Pillows
  • and so much more!

I’ve been busy crafting and baking so I promise I’ll share soon!  Plus I still owe y’all some wedding photos/crafts.  I have a big list of things I want to do on here, so please know you’re always on my mind and I wish I had more time for you!

Happy Spring Break!
-Amanda

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

March 8, 2012

I know.  Intense title.  I get tongue tied every time I try to say it.  But words stop when you bite into one.  Oh Em Gee. These things are amazing.  You’ve got the richness of cheesecake with the comfort of chocolate chip cookies and then the crust of the cheesecake.  Uh! Words do not do it justice.  Take a look:

(I know, right?  Is your mouth watering?  I know mine is!)

Let’s jump right in here:

Ingredients:
Crust:
-1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
-5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
-1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-3/4 cup flour
-2/3 cup chocolate chipsCheesecake Filling:
-10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 large egg, room temperature
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Procedure:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper or foil allowing a little overhang and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave your oven on while you prepare the dough.

3. While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Using your hand to form clumps, distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter in teaspoon-sized clumps. Be sure to use all of the dough.



5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least a couple hours.


6. Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into squares for serving.


I copied and pasted this recipe directly from the awesome blog I found it on: Brandy’s Baking Blog
The amendment I made to this recipe is the crust of the cheesecake.  My favorite cheesecake crust is actually made from Biscoff cookies crumbled with butter, instead of graham crackers.  Seriously delicious.  Since this recipe is in such a small container, it doesn’t make very much.  I think next time I’ll double the recipe so I can share and keep some for myself.  My other recommendation is that the cookie can be hard to cut through so you may want to strategically place the cookie dough or cut it while it’s warm so as it cools, the dough may be easier to cut.  Just a thought.
You need to try this.  It’s easy to make and so yummy.

Happy Baking!
-Amanda
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Turkey Meatloaf

March 5, 2012

Last night I made turkey meatloaf as an easy meal, but something I hadn’t made in a while (or in turkey version).  I followed the recipe in the book mostly, and then decided to veer off.  I’ll explain my likes and dislikes at the end!

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
-1 onion, chopped
-1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed and leaves chopped (about 4 cups)
-1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
-1/2 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
-1 large egg white
-Kosher salt and black pepper
-1/4 cup ketchup

Procedure:
1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a bowl, combine the turkey, onion, spinach, parsley, bread crumbs, mustard, egg white, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

2. Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet and form it into a 10-inch loaf. Spread with the ketchup. Bake until cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.

Recipe from Real Simple.

I made a few changes to the recipe. For example, although I have spinach in my recipe and lack mustard in my picture, I did just the opposite.  I used mustard and forgot to add the spinach!  I also used dried parsley and a whole egg.  I’m sure the egg white is healthier.  My meatloaf trick is to put a slice of bread (or two) at the bottom of the loaf pan to absorb grease.  It works wonders, even though the turkey was lean!

 The changes I would make next time are the following: less or no onion (too sweet!), more ketchup, more salt and pepper.  I also think I might like it mixed beef and turkey, just to give it more umph.  It’s a thought.  We’ll see!

Happy eating!
-Amanda