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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

DIY Flat Cap

I love having grand kids. Life is so fun when they are around. Now they are moving closer so I can see them a little more often. Yeah!! 

Not so great a picture, but this guy visited over the weekend and he wanted to wear Grampy's cap. Love these caps. I tried to get a picture of his older brother too, but he was a little camera shy. 

I found a flat cap tutorial online and I think I'm going to have to make these so that the grand guys can wear them when they visit. Just too cute! 




Monday, December 8, 2014

Snowman Felt Stocking Pattern

Happy Monday! Hope you had a blessed weekend.

Life has been busy and I can't believe we're through the first week of December already. Basketball season has started for two of our boys and evenings get kinda hectic around here. I really try to appreciate the time I can relax a little.

But I've still been crafting. I've made several items in preparation for Christmas festivities, and I'm not done by any means, but I'm getting there. Of course we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, our Savior coming into the world, but we also enjoy sharing gifts with each other and celebrating family times.

It wasn't too long ago I was asked to make a couple poodle skirts for an event our youngest daughter  was involved in at school. In the end I really only needed to make one, but I had fabric for two. Instead of returning the excess, which I found out I could have done, I decided to save it. 

I was almost sorry I hadn't returned it, when I came up with this little project for my grandchildren and so I thought I'd share it here.

Grandma's "Once Upon a Time" efforts to teach me embroidery were probably in vain, but hopefully the grand babes will overlook Grammy's not-so-valiant efforts. This is one of the first ones, so hopefully I'll get better as I go along.

All I had to do was pick up a little orange for the nose. I figured I could spare the 23 cents. I had embroidery floss for stitching and some ribbon for the hanger.

I'm sure you can machine stitch and maybe even glue the features on with craft glue. Have fun and let me know how you did!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sugar and Spice Cookies



Still chilly here in Wisconsin. Did you grab that cup of hot chocolate yesterday? I was glad to have some made when our youngest son got home from school. He had a little time before he had to go to back to school for basketball practice and an after school snack was definitely on the list. Also, to warm up our kitchen yesterday, I decided to bake some cookies. They were also great for the after school snack attack.

I love to bake and I'm always on the lookout for recipes that are easy, inexpensive and that I know my family will like. A good molasses cookie is always on the list for the mister. He walked in after work, grabbed one, and the first words out of his mouth were "Spice Cookies?" This is a favorite cookie recipe from The Basics and More Cookbook, my all time favorite cooking resource.

Below is the basic recipe. After a little trial and error I came up with a nice looking, crispy on the edge, soft in the middle cookie. Don't worry, no waste. The other cookies were good, just not as pretty as I wanted them to be. Today the plate is empty!

Just when I thought I'd have to lower my expectations for having a great looking cookie, I finally was satisfied with the results of my experiment. 

This is how I did the gluten free version:

I used King Arthur Gluten Free multi-purpose flour. By the way, this is not a sales pitch. I included the link so that you could clearly see which flour was used. Some sources say that this flour is about 155 grams per cup. I've found that with baking any cookie, I have much better results when I weigh the flour as opposed to measuring it by the cup. I now highly recommend the use of a scale for measuring flour. I think when adjusting for gluten free, each flour mix is a little different so measuring becomes even more of a necessity. Usually you can do a web search to find out the measurement per cup for various kinds of flours.

I also added 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum.

I used a stoneware pan rather than my usual metal pan. It seemed like that's what this cookie needed for the crisp edge and soft middle.

I baked at 350 degrees instead of 375. In my opinion the gluten free flours tend to brown a bit more and the hotter oven seemed to make them over done, even in the same amount of time.

With all certainty, make sure you chill the dough a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight would be better.

I dipped the dough balls into the powdered sugar before baking.


Sugar and Spice Cookies

(original recipe)




Ingredients:
¾ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses or sorghum

2 cups flour 
2 tsp. soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. cloves
¾ tsp. ginger
Directions:
Blend together first 4 ingredients. Mix remaining ingredients and add to first mixture. Mix well.

Form into balls. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Dip into powdered sugar while warm.

My notes: Chill dough for at least 2 hours or overnight. Roll in sugar before baking. Parchment paper is a plus.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Best Hot Chocolate


Hope you had a warm and wonderful weekend. We welcomed some snow yesterday and the mister had to do a little shoveling before church. Not too much, but this is way to early as far as I'm concerned.

Our oldest son commutes to college classes and this morning as he entered the kitchen he reported that the local radio station was boasting a balmy 5 degrees.  I knew then that our teens were just going to be chomping at the bit to scrape the windshield this morning before we had to drive to the school bus. 

A warm mug of something is wonderful on a day like today and I have just the recipe to share with you. It was right in my favorite cookbook and it is so good. As everyone was relaxing in the living room last night, I went out to the kitchen and made some with some Almond beverage. It was equally amazing!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup sugar
3 T. cocoa
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk (or your choice of unsweetened almond or coconut milk)
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: 

Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium saucepan.

Add hot water to your sugar and cocoa mixture and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly and boil about 2 minutes. You'll have what amounts to a thin chocolate syrup. Sounds good already, right!

Now you can add your milk. Stir and heat. Do not boil.

Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Of course do whatever variations suit you. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream. Change up the flavor by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, almond flavoring, peppermint flavoring, a few instant coffee grounds or whatever. Above all, wrap your hands around the mug and stay warm!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Budget Friendly Eats: Cheddar Cheese Chowder


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Last night was a night that couldn't be beat as far as a beautiful sky and favorable weather. But it was also election night, "high school kids need a ride night", and I was glad I had this soup in my menu plan. Served with some gluten free pumpkin muffins it was the perfect supper.

I substituted an equal amount of King Arthur Gluten Free, multi-purpose flour and used bacon for my meat choice. Mmmm!




Cheddar Cheese Chowder

Ingredients:

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups cubed potatoes
½ cup grated carrots
½ cup diced celery
¼ cup chopped onion
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper


1 cup of one of the following meats: ham, bacon, tuna, sausage or hamburger
2 cups grated cheese
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk


Directions:

1.       Cook together first column until vegetables are tender.  Do not drain.

2.       Depending upon your meat choice, fry or brown meat as needed.

3.       Melt butter in saucepan; stir in flour. Add milk and stir until thick making a white sauce.

4.       Stir white sauce and meat into vegetables. Heat through.

5.       Note: If using bacon, you may substitute the bacon grease for some of the butter for added flavor.

6.       Serve piping hot!