Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa On A Stick

I hail from the land of the great Minnesota get together, the Minnesota State Fair. A place where you can get anything and everything on a stick - from Alligator to deep fried Twinkies.  In keeping with the tradition of the fair and the spirit of this season, here comes Santa - on a stick.

1 stick, preferably dry and breakable, any length
Off-white felt
Felt color of choice, for hat
Hot glue gun, scissors, sharpie

Cut your felt pieces
Mustache: 3/4" x 1"
Beard:  1.5"x 1"
             2.5" x 1"
          3" x 1"
For the hat, measure around the stick and add about 1/4".  This will be the base of your hat.  You can make it as tall as you want.  Cut in a long triangle.  Mine is about 6" tall.

Cut out your beard, mustache and hat as pictured above.

When choosing a stick, pick a longer stick and break it in half.  The breaking point will become the face of Santa.  Trim down the top of the stick so only about 1" of the heart of the wood is showing.

Next, hot glue the beard onto the stick in layers, starting with the longest length.  
Add the mustache last.

To make the hat, run a bead of hot glue down one side of the triangle, starting at the tip and stopping about 1/2" from the bottom (see picture below).

Next, put Santa's hat on, only gluing the back.  This will keep the hat looking a little loose in the front, and allow you to move it a bit so his eyes don't get covered.

The last step is to give him some eyes - I used a sharpie.

How can you use your Santa?
1. Tie him on a gift. 
2.  Stick him in the snow to greet your guests.
3.  Put a bunch of Santa's in a can and use for a Christmas centerpiece. 
4.  Attach a ribbon and hang him from your tree.  
5. Add him to a wreath

Enjoy Santa on a stick!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemons and blueberries are a match made in heaven.  Add them to a semi sweet muffin batter and they're out of this world delish.  No jokes, these will be the BEST muffins you've EVER had!!!!

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (in my opinion the best cooking blog out there)

Yield: 14 large or 56 miniature muffins

1 1/8 cups sugar, divided
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (from two large lemons)
1T lemon juice
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 container fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 14 standard muffin cups (or 56 minis) with paper liners. Mash 1/8 cup sugar and lemon peel in small bowl until sugar is slightly moist. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg. Beat in buttermilk, then vanilla and lemon sugar. Beat in flour mixture.  Carefully fold in blueberries, as to not break them up.

Divide batter among muffin cups, about 2/3 full.  Bake muffins until lightly browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes (baking time was on the shy side of 20 minutes for mini muffins).

Devour.                In about 2 seconds.               Seriously.                They're that good.

Baby Gifts

Some of my most favorite things to sew are baby gifts - especially those of the girly variety.  Our fab friends just welcomed a sweet baby girl to their family, and Mama got her sew on.

My new obsession is freezer paper stenciling.  There is a great tutorial on MADE that I used to get started.

Next up is my go-to baby gift - the tag blankie.  All you need is one yard of furry fleece (I get mine at JoAnn's) and several ribbon choices cut in 4" lengths.  I get most of my ribbon at Michaels, and have had some luck with the ribbon grab bags at Hancocks.

The baby item I get the most requests for are the flannel burp cloths.  They are super cute and super absorbent.  I made a smaller version of the burp cloths to use as diaper wipes for PBJ.  Yes, I had to wash them, but when you cloth diaper, you're washing non-stop!  The best part about these is that they hold up through multiple kids.  I have friends that have used these with 3 kids and they're still their fav's.

Last up in the gift basket was this adorable 5 minute headband.  I scored several of the plain headbands at a trip to Hobby Lobby.  Though we don't have a Hobby Lobby remotely close to us, I stop whenever I see one to stock up on some of their great finds!
To make the headband, I deconstructed a silk gebera daisy - removing the plastic back and center.  Pin the petals to the headband and sew a small X using your machine - ensuring not to sew over the hole* in the center of the flower.  Attach a button or scrap booking brad* to the center of the flower and VOILA! 
*If you're using a scrap booking brad as the center of the flower (as I did) you need to make sure not to stitch over the hole in the petals.  When attaching the brad, splay out the brad arms in between layers of the petals so it doesn't scratch the infant's head.

All of these baby items are quick and easy options for a memorable, handmade gift!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sewing Room Organizer

I recently built this wall-mounted organizer for my sewing room.

1/2 Sheet (28") pegboard
1 - 12' Pine 1X4
2 - 1/2" dowels, cut to 28"
4- cement wall anchors, for ends of dowels
3- large cans - recycled from my Marinara Sauce recipe
fabric to cover the 3 cans
pegboard hooks
1 can multi-surface spray primer
1 can brown spray paint

I made the box for the bottom first and mounted it to the pegboard. I then cut 2, 4" lengths of the 1X4 to make the ribbon holder. I used a 1/2" drill bit to drill holes in the 1X4's to hold the dowels. I mounted the 1X4 pieces to the pegboard. I flipped the whole thing over and mounted small scraps of wood on the back- top and bottom- to allow for the use of pegboard hooks. If you mount it directly to the wall, you wont be able to use the hooks. I pained the whole thing, including the dowels and let them dry for a few hours. I (eh- em, my hubby) hung the organizer and then added ribbon to the dowels, and put the cement anchors (4 for $1) on the ends to hold the dowels in place. I covered the cans with fabric to match the roman shade and chair cover I made for my sewing room. I drilled a hole in the cans to be able to hang them with the peg hooks. The covered cans in the box are Crystal Light containers covered with scrapbooking paper.

1 hour build/paint time
2 hour dry time (1 coat primer, 2 coats paint)
1/2 hour for hanging, covering the cans and organizing it.
Total cost was about $12.

Love it!

Softie Dolls

One of my new blog reads is TaDa! Creations. Angel had posted a softie doll tutorial she used from 60 Piggies. Follow the link for the tutorial!
These adorable dolls will go in Bubba and PBJ's Easter baskets, along with a few other goodies. I know I will be making many more dollies from this tutorial!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

French Onion Soup

I recently invested in a hand held mandoline from Target. Best $15 I've spent in awhile! It will make the job of slicing all of these onions much faster and will spare you the burning eyes and tears!

8 Medium-large onions, sliced thin, and then cut in half.
3T Butter
4 Cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4C Soy sauce
1/4C Balsamic vinegar
2T Worchestershire sauce
1/4C Beef stock
3/4CWhite wine
Salt and pepper to taste
10C beef stock
1 french baguette, sliced in 1" slices
Guyere, swiss or provolone cheese - 1 piece per planned serving.

1. Thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic. Melt butter in large saute pan and add onions and garlic to pan.

2. In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, worchestershire sauce, beef stock and white wine. Mix and add to onions.

3. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low for at least 2 hours, until all the liquid has been absorbed and onions are a dark brown color. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the beef stock to the onions. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Add more liquid if necessary.

5. While the soup is coming to boil, place baguette slices on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for a few minutes at 400 degrees.

6. Set oven to broil. Ladle soup into oven safe bowls. Place 1 pc baguette on top of soup, and top bread with cheese. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and set in oven for 1-2 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.

**The bowls will be VERY hot!

Thai Peanut Chicken

Adapted from Sisters Cafe

1lb whole grain spagetti noodles

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1T freshly grated ginger, or 1tsp powdered (use more as desired)
1/2C creamy peanut butter
2T sesame oil (available in the Asian food section)
1/4C soy sauce
3T brown sugar
1T rice vinegar
1tsp red pepper flakes
1C hot water

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth.

2T olive oil
1/2C chopped white onion
1/2C chopped red pepper
3C chicken, cooked and shredded
1/4C chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1/4C peanuts
2T sesame seeds

1. Make sauce and pasta set aside.

2. Saute olive oil, white onion, red pepper and cilantro in pan until onion in translucent. Add chicken and heat through.

3. Combine everything in large pot and heat through. Plate the dish, top with peanuts and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

**This makes a HUGE batch. It does freeze and reheat well though.

Honey Dijon Dip/Marinade

1C mayo
1/4C whole grain mustard
1/4C honey
salt and pepper to taste

Combine and 1) Serve with pretzels or 2) Place in a Ziploc bag with 3-4 chicken breasts. Let marinade in refrig for 2-3 hours. Pour entire contents of bag in a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu Caserole

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

3 chicken breasts
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
2/3C white wine
salt and pepper
1 pkg (5-8oz) prosciutto
3C cooked rice - I used Jasmine
14oz chicken broth
2T butter
1/4C flour
1/4C sour cream
1/4C milk
2T parsley, chopped
1C Swiss cheese, grated
2-3T blue cheese crumbles

1. Chop and saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent. Chop and saute chicken breasts in same pan, adding white wine, salt and pepper.

2. While the chicken is cooking, chop prosciutto and place on wax paper. Microwave for 5 minutes, until slightly crisp.

3. When chicken is done, place in a large mixing bowl with rice and prosciutto.

4. Using same saute pan, bring chicken broth and butter to boil. Very slowly add flour while whisking. Continue to whisk until smooth. {This sauce is called a roux.}

5. Add roux to the chicken/rice mixture and stir well. Add sour cream, milk, parsley and cheeses.

6. Bake at 400 for 25-20 minutes, until bubbling.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mama B's Beef Stew

1 large roast
1 large onion, diced
2 lbs baby red potatoes, quartered
1lb carrots, sliced
1/2 bottle red wine - I used a Cabernet
1T Worcestershire sauce
1/4C soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
4C beef stock
corn starch, for thickening

1. Place roast, liquids, veggies, salt and pepper in your crock pot. Set it on low heat to cook for 6-8hours, or high heat to cook for 4-5 hours.

2. When roast is done, it will fall apart. Separate meat and veggies from cooking liquids. Place cooking liquids and beef stock in a stock pot and heat to boiling. Remove about 1C of liquid and add corn starch, about 3T. Mix well so there are no lumps, and add back to liquids, stirring well to combine. Add meat and veggies when liquid is at your desired consistency.

3. Cook over med heat to heat through.

I served this with popovers with cinnamon honey butter. Heavenly.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Toffee Dip

From: Jess

1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1/2C brown sugar
1/4C granulated sugar
1tsp vanilla
1 bag Heath toffee chips (w/o chocolate)

Place cream cheese, sugars and vanilla in bowl and mix for 2 minutes. Fold in toffee chips 1/2 hour prior to serving. Serve with tart apples.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mama B's Marinara Sauce

Makes 12, 16oz jars

1 stick butter
4 large onions
8 cloves garlic
1/3 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C soy
3T Worcestershire sauce
1C Cabernet (I use 3 buck Chuck from TJ's)
2- 6lb cans crushed tomatoes (the institution sized can at you're local warehouse store - they're less than $3/each)
10-12 leaves of basil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice your onions and place in large stock pot (I'm talking LARGE). Mince garlic and add to pot as well. Add butter, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire and Cabernet to onions and garlic and simmer covered over low/medium heat for 1 hour.

2. Remove stock pot from heat and spoon onion mixture (juices included) into blender of food processor and puree until smooth (unless you like chunky sauce, then just set to grind for 20 seconds). Pour mixture back into stock pot.

3. Puree crushed tomatoes if desired. Add to stock pot with onion mixture.

4. Chop and add basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Be sure not to scrape the bottom of the pot with the spoon. If there is any sauce burnt to the bottom and you scrape it up, it will ruin the sauce.

5. Remove from heat and spoon into 12 quart sized containers (I have been using these and LOVE them - they have a twist top). Freeze for future use.

This sauce ended up costing me $0.83/jar vs. the $5 I usually spend. I use red sauce in cooking about once/2 weeks, so this is a cost savings of over $100/yr!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2 days, 3 More Dresses for the Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Design Challenge

Biron, WI - Population: 810.
The majority of this dress was cut from a 34 yr old t-shirt previously worn by my MIL, who grew up in Biron. I re-purposed the original sleeves into the current sleeves, and had enough left over to cut out and applique the remaining sleeve fabric on the skirt of the dress - front and back. I appliqued and embroidered the white star on the side. Yesterday the Pink Floyd dress (pictured below) was my hubby's favorite - today it is this one!

Next up is the Pink Floyd dress. My hubby found this t-shirt (yes, I have him searching out t's now) and had to have a dress made out of it. It was a 3T - not quite big enough - so I had to cut out the logo and embroider it onto a different chest piece.

Check out those baby blue eyes! You can just see the sassy is her face....

The waist piece is cut from a pair of 3T leggings.

The last dress for today comes from a men's Scooby Doo tee. The waist piece and sleeves are cut from a long sleeve. The neckband and skirt are from a t-shirt we tie dyed for PBJ's birthday party favors.

I have 5 more dresses cut out. I don't think I am ever going to buy clothes for PBJ again!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ginger Soy Glaze

1/4C honey
1/4C soy sauce
1/4C balsamic vinegar
3T olive oil
1 1/2tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2T parsley, finely chopped
chives, for garnish

Combine all ingredients. Pour over your favorite fish or chicken. Cover dish and refrigerate for several hours. Place in baking dish and bake in marinade. When serving, pour remaining from baking dish over meat and top with chives.

My experience:
Bake salmon at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.
Bake chicken at 400 degrees for 22 minutes.

This would also make a wonderful dipping sauce for pot stickers or egg rolls, or a stir-fry sauce.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lil Blue Boo / Dharma Trading Design Challenge

Here are my first 2 attempts at the Lil Blue Boo "Sienna Dress" pattern. All you need to make a dress are a couple of old t-shirts and an hour of your time! I am so happy with how they turned out, and more importantly, PBJ loves them! Get your {fab} pattern at Lil Blue Boo.

I drew out a pattern for the sock monkey and then appliqued it onto this dress. I added button eyes and a heavy ruffle to the bottom hem. Yes, PBJ is being a monkey in this photo......shocker, I know.
Miss PBJ was actually cooperative for this picture! She loves this dress.

The chest piece is from a Paul Frank t-shirt I got at the Goodwill for $2. I appliqued black hearts on the skirt, and a double heart on the back.
I have plans to make many, many more of these dresses! They are quick, and unique.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mama B's Tomato Basil Soup

6lb canned, crushed tomatoes (I used the industrial sized can from Sam's Club - it was only $2)
1 pint half & half or cream
1 stick butter
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh basil -OR- 3-4T pesto
1/2 can of OJ concentrate - DO NOT add water
1C chicken stock
1/2C milk
salt and pepper

1. Chop onion and garlic, saute in stock pot with butter until onion becomes translucent. Meanwhile, get out your blender or food processor.

2. Puree the onions, garlic and butter. Start adding tomatoes 1 C at a time to the blender, puree until smooth and pour into large stock pot. Continue working in batches until all of the tomatoes are pureed. Be sure to toss in your fresh basil or pesto with some tomatoes and puree as well.

3. Place on stove top over low heat. Add cream, OJ concentrate (just the concentrate, do not add water), chicken stock and milk. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Let simmer for 2-3 hours, the longer the simmer at the lowest heat makes the best soups.

5. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches - My fav uses the No-knead bread recipe I have posted here - topped with smoked gouda and apple slices.

**Add apples to the puree mixture for a sweeter soup.
**Add 2C of cooked, pureed carrots for a heartier soup.

This soup freezes very well.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Apple Pannekoeken {Puff Pancake}

1C flour
1C milk
6 eggs
2 apples
2T butter
Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Set aside.

2. Melt butter and pour into 9X13" baking dish. Spread butter thouroughly, including sides of dish.

3. Combine eggs and milk in large bowl. Add flour slowly, whisking continuously to avoid lumps.

4. Pour batter into buttered dish. Top batter with layers of apple. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until pancake is puffed and golden.

6. Dust with powdered sugar or top with maple syrup.