I know you already know it's that time of year - the mosaic review time! They are everywhere in blog land these days :-)
Last year around this time I promised myself that this would be the year that I too would celebrate with a mosaic of all that I'd made in 2012 and I'm happy to be (kind of) meeting that goal. I looked at my flickr photos but since I feel in LOVE with Instagram I've completely neglected flickr, which made it hard to get everything together that I've done in 2012. That's ok. I'm all ready to be better organized for next year. I consider this blog a work in progress and I'm always trying to improve what's going on here - some days it's more obvious than others :-)
I'm also trying to enjoy looking at what everyone else has accomplished this year and not compare my achievements to those of anyone else. It's so easy to fall into that whole of judging yourself and feeling like you're falling flat. Well, it is for me anyway. But I'm trying to appreciate all I did get done and it feels like a lot! Quilts, bags, clothes - even got brave enough to bust out the serger! Went to Sewing Summit and had such a wonderful time. Made quilts and other samples that went to quilt market. Gotten to know new crafty friends. Been motivated to try new things and get better at others. It's been a busy year, a productive year...a wonderful year.
So my goals for 2013? Trying to narrow them down is so hard! Do everything, faster, better, bigger...except no. I'd like to get better at free motion quilting and serging. I'd like to take better photos and post more consistently here. I'd like to finish more projects that I already have the supplies for instead of just continuously adding to the stash and the to-do list. I'm getting a list together and I'm enjoying the process and that is good enough.
Thanks for joining me here - I hope you'll join me for more fabric, food and fun in 2013.
Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 27, 2012
A couple of notes:
- I use my kitchenaid to mix this with the paddle attachment, the dough is wet but you could probably do the first mix with an electric mixer and then stir in the last flour with a spoon.
- I heat my milk, water and butter in a 4 C Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave until the liquids are warm enough that they melt the butter and then I let them cool back down to warm before I add them to the flour mixture
- My loaf pans are on the smaller size (8 1/2 x 4) for this recipe and this makes 2 loaves.
- If you are gluten-free or Paleo, I'm sorry to tempt you this way. Really.
English Muffin Bread
5 1/2 C bread flour
5 tsp instant rise yeast
1 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 C milk
1/2 C water
1/2 C butter (1 stick)
Heat milk, water and butter together until butter is melted (microwave or saucepan), then let cool till warm.
In your mixing bowl combine:
3 C flour, yeast, salt, soda, sugar - stir to combine
Add the warm butter/milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add remaining flour to make a stiff but still wet dough - I usually only put in 5 C of flour total (so 2 additional), mixing well after each addition. Spoon dough into greased and cornmeal-ed pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double - about 45 minutes. I put both pans in my microwave to let them rise - my kitchen can be cool in the winter but the microwave holds the heat and moisture in and I usually get a good rise this way.
Bake 20 - 25 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven. Loaves are done when they're a nice golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
Force yourself to let them cool a bit and then head right on over to toast heaven!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Oh and one of those prints is not like the others...can you spot the one? I think color wise it was spot on though and played really nicely in the mix!
Hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday and is having a little R&R time today :-)
Also I wanted to say a huge congratulations to Debbie over at A Quilter's Table on winning the Pink Chalk holiday tutorial contest - it's just fun to see someone so talented and so nice win something that seems well deserved :-) I've been linking up all month (and all year really) with Debbie's Tuesday at the Table - a monthly linky party full of fun food and fabric projects, if you haven't checked it you should!
Back tomorrow with the best/easiest English Muffin Bread recipe - seriously, you'll never eat better toast!
Sunday, December 23, 2012
6 quarts of popcorn, pop then put a large non-stick (or greased) roasting pan
preheat oven to 250 degrees (if your oven runs hot then 225)
1 C butter, melted
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
In a large saucepan (mine is 3.5 qt) bring to a rolling boil. Boil 5 minutes, I stir constantly. Some recipes say to not stir at all. That makes me way too nervous. So it's up to you, stir or don't stir. Then after 5 minutes of boiling, remove from the heat and add:
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
The vanilla will give off some steam and the soda will make the mixture foam up like crazy. You have to stir stir stir and then get that foamy stuff poured over your popcorn quickly. Stir to coat then get it in your oven. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
I let cool in the roasting pan and it works out fine. Some recipes I read said to pour it out onto cookie sheets to let cool. I read that as more dishes to wash so I just skip that. Again, your choice :-)
Store in an air-tight container.
Cracker Jack Variation
6 qts popcorn
1 1/2 C Spanish peanuts
1 C butter, melted
2 C brown sugar
1/3 C light corn syrup
1/3 C molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp soda
Cooking directions are all the same :-)
Hope everyone is having a good weekend as we wind our way down to the big day!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Rachel's Wheel pattern - you can find it here at Pink Chalk Studio. It's a good pattern for trying out curves if you're looking to build your confidence in that area.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
this Coffee Mocha mix over at Crunchy Peas and it even comes with the cute label already made! My child was beyond thrilled to help measure and stir the ingredients. I hesitate to reveal this here but I'm not a coffee drinker, like not at all but this mix has enough other goodness that I even like it! A ringing endorsement right? ;-) We also dipped pretzel rods in white chocolate and then my dear daughter sprinkled them to her heart's content. A gift totally fitting with our "year of sprinkles" theme for 2012!
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
1 C shortening (I've tried these with butter - good but not the same)
2 C sugar
1 C buttermilk or sour milk (1 Tbsp vinegar + milk to equal 1 C)
2 tsp vanilla
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
4 - 5 C flour
Cream shortening and sugar, then add eggs, beating well after each. Add buttermilk and vanilla - mixture will look like it's starting to separate. Add 1 C flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Mix well. Gradually add remaining flour one cup at a time, mixing after each. I always use the full 5 C. Dough will still be fairly soft. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Roll out on floured surface, leaving fairly thick. Bake 10 - 12 minutes at 350.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I absolutely love anything almond and Linzer cookies, with their almond and raspberry combination are just sublime to me. But have you ever made them? The "real" Linzer cookies? You have to cut out two cookies for each cookie sandwich and then cut out a "window" (or several small ones) out of the top cookie, then wait for them to cool and blah, blah, blah. It's too much work to even TALK about making them ;-) So I was delighted when I found this bar cookie recipe that replicates all the deliciousness with a fraction of the work.
adapted from Cake Mix Cookies by Camilla V. Saulsbury
1 18.25 ounce white (vanilla) cake mix - side note, even though all the name brand cake mixes are shrinking I realized the Kroger brand mixes are still a full 18.25 ounce mix and while the flavor selection is limited the quality seems good. That is all.
1 C finely chopped almonds (I pulse in food processor, then measure)
1/3 C veg. oil
2 tsp almond extract
1 12 ounce jar seedless red raspberry jam (I use Smucker's)
extra sliced (or chopped) almonds for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350. Foil line a 9x13 pan and spray with Pam or Baker's Joy.
Mix all ingredients together with electric mixer until crumbly. Set aside 1 1/2 C of the crumb mixture. Press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Spread raspberry jam over the crust. (TIP: I sometimes buy the 18 ounce jar of jam and use a little extra, totally up to you). Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the jam layer. I also usually sprinkle some extra sliced almonds on top at this point. It just seems fancier. And yummier.
Bake 25 - 28 minutes or until crumbs are set (firm to the touch). Let cool on a rack before removing from pan. Sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar once they're cool. Eat three and give the rest away! Or keep 'em and just go for it. They make a lovely breakfast treat.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Vanilla Mini Donuts with Salted Caramel Glaze
adapted from Mini Donuts by Jessica Segarra
1 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Sift dry ingredients together in bowl and set aside. Then in a bigger bowl mix wet ingredients together:
1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
3/4 C milk (we've used whole and 2%, both work fine)
3 T veg. oil
2 tsp vanilla
Mix to combine and then gently add dry ingredients to wet, mix until there are no lumps. If you stir too vigorously the donuts will be tough. You will eat them anyway but you'll be annoyed with yourself.
Make sure to grease your pans! We like Baker's Joy or Pam.
We pour the batter into a large ziploc, make sure the top is closed and snip off one corner to fill the pans. Fill each indention about 1/2 full.
Bake at 375 for about 8 - 10 minutes, top should be set and if you want to test with a toothpick it will come out clean when they're done. Makes about 20 of the mid sized mini's.
Turn out and cool on wire racks.
16 soft caramels (like Kraft)
1 Tbsp half-n-half
Melt together in a microwave safe bowl in 15 to 20 second intervals, stirring after each until the glaze is smooth and combined. Dip the tops of cooled donuts in the caramel and let set up for a few minutes before sprinkling with sea salt. This glaze won't ever harden, or at least we never had enough left to find out how long it took ;-) This isn't a caramel frosting but a real caramel glaze. Also my picky eater didn't like the stickiness of this glaze which meant for more me. She has NO problem with the stickiness of a half inch layer of Nutella smeared on top though...nutter.
Friday, December 7, 2012
found a site with so many amazing ones - maybe I need to add to my collection (teehee).
my friend Ali had a similar experience - if she couldn't work it out it probably just can't be done. Cute sparkly reindeer was an ornament from Target this year.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook - a great book full of large batch cookie recipes made for sharing. I halved this one and changed the mix-ins to get the flavor I wanted.
Lemon Pistachio Biscotti
3 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C packed, light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 C pistachios (you can buy shelled bags at Trader Joe's)
zest of 2 lemons
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, set aside. Cream butter and sugars together, then add eggs and vanilla, beating well after each egg. Stir in flour mixture - mixture will be thick and crumbly. Finally add nuts and lemon zest - I knead in gently with my hands to mix at this point.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment or silpats. Divide dough in half and shape in two rectangles - flatten with hands and slope edges to get traditional biscotti shape. Bake for 30 minutes - toothpick should come out clean. Let cool 10 - 15 minutes and then move to cutting board and slice on the diagonal into half inch slices. Lay on cookie sheets cut side down. Bake 10 minutes on one side, then flip over and bake 10 more minutes on other cut side.
Let cool completely and glaze.
You can make this with lemons, limes or oranges. I used lemon here :-)
1 C powdered sugar
juice and zest from one lemon (or lime, probably juice of only half an orange)
Mix together, add more juice or sugar to get the thickness you want and drizzle over cooled biscotti.
Try not to eat them all!
We also made a Triple Ginger variety: substitute 1 Tbsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground pepper and 2/3 C finely chopped crystallized ginger for the lemon zest and pistachios. The glaze on the ginger variety was an orange citrus glaze. Oh and I found an 8oz bag of candied ginger at Trader Joe's for only $1.49!!! Chopped and tossed in sugar I called that just great for this recipe and a total steal.
I love making yummy treats to share during the holidays, still thinking about what else I'm going to make this year. Many of my favorite holiday memories include food, so it's a nice way to travel down memory lane while hopefully creating those same memories with my own sweet girl. Some other holiday favorites you might see around here this month: Mom's Caramel Corn, Gram's Sugar Cookies, Lumberjacks (you know you're curious) and Linzer Bars. Mmmmm. If anyone has favorite recipes to share I'd love to hear about them! Also linking up with Debbie over at A Quilter's Table - Tuesdays at the Table always has an amazing collection of links to check out :-)