Saturday, December 18, 2010

Part 3: Sugar Cookies!

Before Simon and I were destroyed by the stomach flue this week, we completed the third and final chapter of our Christmas spectacular adventures. Alton Brown supplied us with this recipe via the wonderful ways of the internet.

It's pretty basic; make a wet bowl and a dry bowl, then slowly add the dry to the wet, stirring often:

keep stirring until it makes a nice little ball...or pick it up in your hands and squish it into a ball when you get tired of stirring...
Once in a ball, cover with plastic and put in the fridge for about 2 hours. What I really like about this recipe is that Alton Brown suggests rolling the dough in powdered sugar instead of flour. It worked really well and added a nice, light sugar taste to the cookie instead of that unpleasant flour taste.

Roll it out to about 1/4 inch, cut, and decorate!

Sadly, this is where disaster struck. Sugar cookies only cook for about 9 minutes...TOPS. What only cooks for 9 minutes? It is too easy to forget about something cooking for only 9 minutes! So...we forgot...and half of them burned. The other half, however, were delicious.

And yes, I know, we are not the world's best decorators. It was fun, however, and we enjoyed playing with the frosting!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peppermint Bark!!

Christmas Spectacular part 2!

We made peppermint bark using this recipe! This has to be the simplest cookie/holiday treat ever. All I needed was brown chocolate (I used some chocolate chips that we use in pancakes), white chocolate, vegetable oil, peppermint extract, and some silicone ice cube trays in the shapes of stars....stars are christmas-y, right?

oh, and also some crushed candy canes. The recipe suggests using a meat tenderizer. Since I do not have a meat tenderizer, I used a hammer..bang bang!

First step is to add some vegetable oil to the brown chocolate, melt it, and then add half of the peppermint extract. Then, stir, pour, and add candy canes. Put in the fridge for about half an hour or until they are nice and solid.

I was a little nervous about the white chocolate. Sometimes white chocolate can taste funny and people don't usually like it as much as brown chocolate, but this candy melts white chocolate tasted delicious.

Repeat the brown chocolate process with the white chocolate, and put it back in the fridge:

Half an hour later, pop them out and yummmmmmm!

I intend to make some more and bring them to my office holiday party next Monday :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Spectacular part 1

That's right, Christmas Spectacular!

I really love Christmas Trees, like super duper adore them. Unfortunately, I haven't had one since I left for college...oh..say..roughly 5-6 years ago. Now that we have our own place I was so excited to get a tree (!), but then I thought about it and realized we do not have the space for a full sized tree. I spent some time super bummed and then Simon suggested we get a tiny fake one and it will be our own until we get a larger place. So we did and I love it!

We had some red Christmas ornaments and some silver spirals and a fat headed snowman, but nothing altogether colorful. That's when I decided to make wet felted garland!

I bought the wool above from a store on etsy. It is really bright and soft and gorgeous.

We then set forth and made a gigantic mess. Once the balls are wrapped dry, we had to soak them in hot soapy water and roll, roll, roll until all was felted:

Some turned out better than others but eventually we made balls out of all of the wool. Here are a few along the way:

Hours later we strung them onto some black embroidery floss and placed it on the tree! We didn't have quite enough to loop it all around the tree, but Simon managed to cross it back and forth across the front to make the most of what we had.

So pretty, so happy : )

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Roast Chicken!!

We've been practicing our roasting skills and cooked a wonderful roast chicken the other night, complete with veggies and stuffing.

We've been pulling from a number of recipes. What we've decided works best is the following:

25 minutes per pound at 350 degrees until the breast temperature is 170 degrees
rub the chicken in butter before roasting. sometimes we squeeze lemon on it, sometimes we add herbs and spices, but always butter

Big chunks of veggies under the bird taste WONDERFUL after steeping in the chicken's juices while it cooks...

And there ya have it. delish. I've certainly made better stuffing in my life, but for a quick no-fuss meal it sufficed to pick up some ready-to-make stuffing and add some roughly chopped onion and celery. The remaining onion and celery can be thrown in the roasting pan beneath the chicken! Next I want to learn how to make some stock, a friend gave me her recipe so we'll see!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sloppy Joes!

Sloppy Joes! I've been slacking in the crafts department, but the cold weather has been making me crave warm hearty meals. I don't believe I've ever had sloppy joes least not that I can remember, but we were looking for dinner meals this week and for some odd reason I thought, yum! meaty, vegetablely, messy sloppy joes.

They were shockingly easy. We browned a pound of ground meat with a bell pepper and 1/4 onion...

...then added these lovely ingredients (the recipe had exact measurements, but I think it could be done simply by taste):

let it all simmer for about 20 minutes....

and voila! We ate about two each and then had some leftovers. They were suuuuper delicious and definitely a recipe we will make again. Most of the ingredients are everyday items we have in our kitchen which makes it a really easy last minute dish. It is especially good for using up extra hamburger buns before they go stale : )

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baked Ziti!

It's been a hectic few weeks with grad school work and we've been putting off a lot of home cooked meals.


We made baked ziti last night...and a ton of it. We tried this recipe on a whim, we originally wanted to make enchiladas but weren't sure if we'd be able to find tomatillos (or good tomatillos) at our local supermarket.

My favorite part of the prep work was "shredding" the mozzarella. It was messy and left lots of little bits of cheese on my fingers for me to then nibble on.

Simon took charge of the meat. As a former veg, I still get pretty uncomfortable playing around with raw meat.

The sauce got really messy but it smelled delicious. I think we'll use less tomato sauce then the recipe calls for next time. It didn't thicken very well and the dish ended up a little watery when all was said and done. was/is deliiiiicious!

It seems as though Fall came upon us in full force, so in addition to our warm, hearty dish and our pumpkin beer, we lit our very first fire in our new fireplace. It was wonderful. The room was nice and toasty and there was no problem with smoke, soot, or sparks threatening to set our carpet on fire.

It was all very lovely.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Larger Magnets and Blueberry Deliciousness

Just a few quick projects to post about today. Expect a large post sometime next week on my new sewing machine! Lauren is coming over on Sunday to check it all out and show me what's what.

Once Simon and I settled into our new place, the magnets I made looked super tiny, albeit adorable, on our big, white, empty fridge door. So I ordered some larger buttons and used the same process to make some larger fridge magnets. I've included two of the previous ones for scale:

In an attempt to cook more, eat out less, and eat healthier, I made Simon and I some blueberry muffins using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I'm not going to re-type the recipe because I strictly stayed on her recipe.

I must admit, adding the lemon zest and using plain yogurt turned out wonderfully.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thai Chicken Curry

o.m.g. delicious.

A while back, our friend Erica Saint Clair wrote a cookbook: Paleolicious. I had not been able to cook any of the recipes until the other night when Simon and I were looking for something fun to cook in our new kitchen! This recipe for Thai Chicken Curry is fantastic, absolutely delicious and really super easy.


1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
Crush red pepper
Black pepper
Olive Oil
1 inch ground ginger
1 diced small onion
1 sliced red bell pepper
3 sliced cloves of garlic (we used 2 because our garlic was very big)
1 tbsp honey
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (we bought sweetened for no particular reason other than we didn't realize it was supposed to be unsweetened...and boy did we love the sweet taste!)
1 packet curry powder

Sprinkle the chicken with the red and black pepper and cook in a little oil. Our chicken was a little big so this took some time.

Once that was finally complete and Simon and I were positive that we weren't going to eat raw meat, the chicken was removed and the onions were placed in the very same pan:

We sauteed them for a while, mostly because we're not big fans of very onion-y dishes.

Next, the pepper and garlic were added and they sauteed for about 2 minutes.

And then put everything in the pot! Coconut milk, honey, broth, ginger, curry powder, everything. Stir until it boils, turn the heat down to medium and then let it simmer until about half of the liquid reduces.

It turns a really pretty shade of gold, and began to smell delicious.

Pour in a bowl and serve!! Delicious. We were very happy with this simple, filling and flavorful dish.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Button Magnets!!

Back in 2007, How about orange... posted a tutorial as to how to make fabric covered buttons into fabric covered pins. Then, in 2009, How about orange re-posted a tutorial as to how make these button/pins into magnets...the perfect project for little ol' me who is about to move into a new apartment and wants fancy new pretty things for it!

First, I bought this fabric button kit from; I bought two which totaled eight buttons:

Next, I went to a local yard sale and retrieved some fantastic fabric scraps for $1. I grouped these scraps with some old head scarfs of mine and created a large pool of pretty fabrics to choose from.
The kit comes with a white plastic tub, a blue pusher, button fronts and backs complete with sewing loops:

The kit also comes with a fabric sizing chart which shows the appropriate circle size for the specific buttons included, here is some fabric cut to my button size:

Once the fabric is cut, the process is super easy and really quick. Just place the fabric right side down onto the tub and place the button front on top.

Proceed to push the button front into the tub and fold the excess fabric into the cavity of the button front.

Next, remove the sewing loop from the button back (this will later be replaced by a magnet) with some pliers. This is by far the hardest part of the entire process and is easily completed within 10 seconds.

Place the button back on top of the folded in fabric and use the blue pusher to set it in place.

You get something that looks like this:

Pop the button out and voila! finished product!

These are what my eight look like. All I have to do now is go to the hardware store, buy some magnets and glue them to the backs!

All in all it was a really fun and quick project. I can't wait to see them on our fridge : )