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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

 

wordless wednesday :: sewing, a favorite winter pastime


Monday, February 23, 2009

 

pie crust : 2, kate : 1


so, pie crust is kicking my ass. why can't i figure out how to make a good one? maybe i got too confident after this awesome night in october. it's the only time i have ever made a good one. and i tried to remember all the things the instructor said and did. okay, so i didn't KNEAD the dough. even though she did. i did totally squeeze it all together, though. i man-handled it a little!

maybe i'm just trying too hard. maybe it's getting too warm when i roll it out? i remember her saying something about the butter being cold, so that it creates steam....

i wanted to make delicious, cute mini apple pies for my little munchkins. and i will say the crust came out *much* better than it did this time. but not as good as this time. i can't seem to escape the chewy, tough crust situation.

seriously, any pointers? anyone?

kids loved them, though, so that's something. it was for them, after all.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

 

rockin' rolls

i have always always always wanted to make cinnamon rolls. fresh. home made. warm, gooey and yummy. having been a health foody type for many years (note the past tense), these seemed just. . . evil. so i never attempted them, partly because i knew i would eat the whole pan if i did make them.

yes.

i was right.

could. not. stop. eating. the. rolls.


of course i had my helper in the kitchen. he loves to knead dough.

you can see the concentration on his face. if we're making ANYthing, the first question is, "can we knead this?" um....waffle batter? no.


i wish i could provide the recipe, but alas, i can't find it! perhaps this is a sign. step away from the cinnamon rolls....


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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

 

crafty goodness :: bean bags!


i'm totally a novice sewer. that must be said up front. however, i'm REALLY enjoying learning. a lot. i decided to make these really cute bean bags. i figured i get to sew AND the kids get a little toy out of the deal. what could be better!

as usual, i didn't have the right "ingredients" for the project, so i had to improvise. i used felted wool (old sweaters) rather than actual felt. so, this, i hope, is to blame for how funky these came out. i like them, but they're totally off kilter. but, in the end this doesn't matter. the kids love them.

we tried filling them with popcorn, beans and rice. the popcorn is definitely the filling of choice. they make a satisfying sound when you toss them.



this idea comes from nikki at whiMSY love. go check out her tutorial.

she makes it easy for us novices to follow along. and her bean bags are way more nicely done than mine. i will try again when i have practiced more and have the felt to work with. the sweater was just too....chunky.

anyway, thanks again to, nikki for a great project!

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

 

happy valentine's day

we have been having so much fun making little treats for valentine's day. sadly, we're let getting them in the mail, but hey, family is forgiving, right?

i recently came across this really fun blog--whiMSY love. and nikki who authors it has some really great crafty ideas for kids. so we did her SUNSHINE CLAY. link over to her for the recipe and tutorial. it's a really fun project. we made some awesome cookies for tea parties, a val day necklace, a pencil holder and some valentine magnets to give as gifts.

thanks to nikki for such a GREAT project!









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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

 

a new (cardboard) house!


i think this is one of the coolest things ever. b's grammy got him it for christmas. but i take full credit. it was my idea and i knew he'd, actually, both of them would love it. and they do.

it's a cardboard house that the munchkins can decorate any way they like. how much fun is that? she got it at garnet hill. here's the link in case you wanna check it out.

i purposely stashed this gift away until now because, well, i live in new england and that should tell you something about how desperate we moms can get long about mid-february for SOMETHING, anything different and fun for the cabin fever'd kids to do. this was the perfect something. it kept them super busy for a long time just painting and coloring on it. and now it serves as a great playspace. it's something new and that always has star power around here.

"i'm checking my email, mommy!"

my only complaint is that the directions for how to put it together were. . . shall we say, a bit lacking. and i would have been swearing like a sailor if my 4 year old wasn't trying to help me get the thing up. i'm not great at putting stuff together, but i eventually figured it out. so, that's cool.


i realize now, i have no photo of the finished product, painted in all it's glory. i'll have to stick one up on a wordless wednesday sometime.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

 

breakfast yums :: applesauce spice muffins


we are suckers for a good muffin around here. i think i have mentioned before that my son thinks going out for a muffin at a local bakery is just the bees knees. he's so easy to please. and i love him for it.

but on this day my daughter with chicken pox was having a friend over to see if she could spread the love (and the spots!) over to her. it's sort of strange, but sort of understandable that we would WANT our kids to get sick now rather than later and get that natural immunity happening.

i digress...

so, what else to serve at a chicking pox party? muffins! what toddler doesn't love a good applesauce muffin, i ask you. none that i know. and these were no exception. this recipe comes from Gourmet and i adapted it a bit, so i put my changes in purple (mostly, i downsized the sugar.) i have to say we LOVED these muffins. like, really loved them. the whole dozen was gone in 2 days. that's a lotta muffins. no wonder why i'm feeling so round. . .

APPLESAUCE SPICE MUFINS

makes 12 muffins


INGREDIENTS:
For muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg --i omitted since i had none on hand
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar --i downsized this to about 3/4 of a cup
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted --also downsized this to just 1 stick. that's a lotta butter!
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup pecans or walnuts (3 1/2 ounces), coarsely chopped --i omitted for better toddler eat-ability. is that word?

For topping --i omitted the topping altogether. again, too much sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Prepare muffins:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together eggs and brown sugar in a large bowl until combined well, then add butter, a little at a time, whisking until mixture is creamy.

Stir in applesauce, then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened. Stir in nuts and divide batter among muffin cups.


Make topping and bake:

Stir together all topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of muffins. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan and cool slightly.


Cooks' note:
Muffins, cooled completely, keep in an airtight container at room temperature 1 day.

Stir together all topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of muffins. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan and cool slightly.

Friday, February 6, 2009

 

as if we weren't stuck inside enough. . .

the littlest one has chicken pox. o long winter, you just got longer.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

 

winter eats :: fish chowder


we New Englanders like our chowder. it's a classic dish and for me, usually a summertime one. which is odd, in a way. who wants hot soup in summer? but, it's so much a part of the culture here that it falls under the category of "that's just what we do." in fact, we eat a lot of strange stuff in the summer. greasy, heavy fried food. fish and chips, fried clams, french fries. then we chase it all down with some ice cream. what the hell are we thinking? no wonder there's a Dunkin' Donuts on every corner out here! our food habits are crazy!

with that, i give you an easy recipe for fish chowder. (chowdah!) what can i say, i had a craving. and this was totally yummy and great with a fresh, crusty loaf of bread with lots of cold butter. (buttah!) i adapted the recipe from williams-sonoma.

FISH CHOWDER
serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
1 leek, halved, rinsed and sliced
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/3 cup fresh corn kernels
1 1/2 cups fish stock or water
1 tsp. fresh chopped chives
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. cod or other firm white-fleshed fish fillets, pin bones removed and fillets cut into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 cups milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until it renders most of its fat but is not crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the leek and potato and cook, stirring frequently, until the leek softens, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the stock, the 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper to the pan and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the potato is tender, about 20 minutes.

Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Add the fish, corn and milk to the pan and cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the fish easily flakes apart, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into bowls, top with chopped chives and serve immediately.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

 

cookie carnival :: february challenge

it's cookie time again! after what seems like a long hiatus, it's time to get back to it.

as many of you know, i had a hard time choosing a cookie this month. it seemed like valentine's day made it so that i could not get chocolate out of my head. you gotta have chocolate on the love day, right? and then i fixated on chocolate and raspberry. but i couldn't find a really GREAT choco-ras concoction, so i had to go a different route instead. . .

and i landed (yet again) at this book. i won't gush about it anymore as i've done that enough.
without further ado, this month's cookie is the CHOCOLATE FUDGE COOKIES with TOFFEE and DRIED CHERRIES from the awesome Regan Daley.

for your ease, i've got a handy-dandy pdf of the recipe all ready for you. so, have at it! i can't wait to hear about (and see) everyone's results!

please get your links to me by feb 28th. remember you can post at any time. it's up to you. just get me the link and the photo by the 28th @ 7pm EST to be included in the round-up.

cheers!

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