Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gingerbread Minions

Why am I hoarding small (sugar cookie) gingerbread men?

Time will tell..... :-)
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Upside Down Apple Pecan Pie

My parents came in from Georgia for Thanksgiving, so I didn't have to cook a thing.
But I still wanted to contribute!

I saw this recipe from the TidyMom blog and knew I HAD to try it!  Mine turned out fabulously - eventually.  I think I had an extra cast iron skillet in the bottom of the oven which messed with the cooking time. The FIRST time I took it out, I had flipped it out onto the pan and realized the apples in the bottom weren't fully cooked yet! So I RE-flipped it, put it back in the oven (without the skillet!) and baked a little while longer.

It was fabulous! Not for the faint of heart, the pecan mixture adds a LOT of sweetness to a normally-tart apple pie.

Thanks to my hubby for the beautiful pictures!

 And my little turkey is officially bigger than the one we cook!  (Last time we did this, she wasn't!)

Upside-Down Apple Pecan Pie 

From TidyMom

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup melted margarine or butter
1 box of Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crust
1 tsp flour
6 cups (6 medium) sliced & peeled apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Heat oven to 375°F.

1. In 9" pie plate, combine pecans, brown sugar and margarine; spread evenly over bottom of pan.
2. Prepare pie crust according to package direction for two-crust pie (flouring each side of crust).
Place bottom crust over pecan mixture in pan.
3. press crust down around sides of pan.
4. In large bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. mix lightly.
5. Spoon into pie crust-lined plate.
6. Top with second pie crust, and flute.
7. Cut slits in several places.
8. Place pie plate on cookie sheet and bake at 376° for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool pie upright in pan for 5 minutes
9. Place serving plate over pie (after cooling for 5 mins)
10. Invert pie, Carefully remove pan. Some nuts may remain in pan, replace on pie with a knife
Cool at least 1 hour before serving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spread Sunshine!

This card went to a sweet, deserving friend of mine! She's pregnant with a toddler at home, and deserves a nice break!
I used my new Texture Boutique and some Core'dinations cardstock for the yellow sunshine. I couldn't figure out what accent colors I wanted for the LIFE of me! I settled on red because it was a bright, happy color!

I also decided to put small coffee beans on my envelops for RAK. They are adorable!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Welcome Back, RAK!

Inspired by Stacy and her RAK Birthday Project I pulled out the last few Starbucks cards and got them ready to send away!

I love this card. I used an ultra-fine silver embossing powder on the words and it makes ALL the difference! Words look so much better with the ultra-fine powder, IMO. I used my espresso cup and added "whipped cream" (ie, liquid applique pen!) and a few pearls to highlight the elegant simplicity!
The back is simply the gift card holder and a small fork bow!
 Stay tuned! My Christmas cards are in the works and will be sent out early this year (I hope!)

The REST of the cards!

I mentioned before that September/early October had 10 birthdays for us! Here are a few more of the cards I made to celebrate!
This was my "man" card - it went to my dad and my FIL.

This card is probably my favorite from the group I made! These went to my 2 year old niece and a good friend of ours that turned 1 in October! It was made using Once Upon a Princess (OUAP) Cricut cartridge. I also used my edge punch (Threading Water) and some pearls to accent the princess' dress.

Happy birthday to everyone we love!
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Herb Focaccia Bread

I found this recipe a few years ago and have spent the last few years tweaking it to suit my family's taste.  It's definitely a family favorite! It's also my go-to recipe to send with homemade spaghetti sauce to new moms or as a "get well" meal. 

Here's the cast list (I've added rosemary because I adore it. Feel free to follow the recipe and leave it out!)

Of course, my small helper wanted in on the action. Mommy does the measuring, but E gets to do the fun part - the "mixing"!

I love how the mix looks as the herbs all get added. 

When I have time, I like to follow the "1/2 - 2xs" rule with the yeast.  If you use half the yeast and double the rise time, your flavors develop more and you have a different depth of flavor. Today, I just followed the recipe.  Rise for one hour (or until doubled). I let dough rise under a damp, warm dish towel (one that doesn't have fuzzies, or else you'll be making fuzzy bread!)

I vary the baking methods as well, depending on what I'm looking for that night.  Some nights, I want a more crisp, flatter bread.  Those nights, I roll the dough to about 1" and follow the baking directions (450 for 15 minutes).  However, this bread tastes quite similar (or better, if you ask my hubby!) than Macaroni Grill bread. So on the nights I'm looking for that comforting flavor, I will leave it more of a thick loaf, lower the bake temperature (usually to about 350 bake convection) and lengthen the cook time (I usually just start pressing on the middle around 20 minutes and go by how much it "squishes." Very technical, I know. Sorry!)

Then we enjoy! 

Here's the recipe, copied from My Wooden Spoon

Easy Focaccia Bread

* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon table salt
* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* cracked black pepper
* kosher salt
* 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Making by hand:
1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and a pinch of black pepper. Mix in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and water.
2. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Canvas Bag #1

E's friend Lily turned one in October and part of our gift to her was this canvas library bag!
It's my first attempt at vinyl in my Cricut, adhereing to canvas. I think it turned out pretty well!
I cut the crown from OUAP and the letters are one of the fonts on the Hannah Montana cartridge. I used gems for the top and middle of the crown. The two little bows on the handles are fork bows. (If you've never heard of a fork bow, it's one of my favorite scrapbooking/crafting techniques. Check it out HERE)
There are two other bags that came in the package, so be watching. One already has a future destination (Lily's big sister Maddie also needs a book bag!) but the other is still up for grabs!

If you have a great idea for a personalized bag, send it my way! I'm contemplating making myself a hospital bag for when Broster arrives :-)
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