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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday - Week 5

Grandma Nixon's Gingersnaps

1-1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs

4 cups white all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

Combine and cream together the butter, brown sugar and molasses. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well in between each egg. 

Sift together the flour with the baking soda, spices and salt.

Stir and combine. Roll into balls and press with a sugar-coated glass. 

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes

Enjoy with a cup of hot cider!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My First Apron...

 I recently did a swap through Flirty Apron Swap. Shawnee did a wonderful job hosting! I got to make my apron for Jennifer in Blackfoot, Idaho. (That place just sounds cool!)  I was pretty nervous about making an apron. I knew I could do it, but the process seemed a bit scary. Ahh!

But, my mom gave me some good pointers, and off I went!

I made a practice apron and it turned out pretty good. I am glad I made it, because I learned a lot from the process. (Like sticking my ties in to soon and sewing them inside the lining) 

As it turned out - It wasn't that scary after all! The apron has a very simple design with no added frills, but I am definitely looking forward to expanding my sewing know-how and trying new patterns. 

I just loved these buttons! This was my idea of adding some little touches that weren't sew-involved. 

I am kinda thinking of taking a class....I never thought I would want to learn that much about sewing, but it would be nice to feel more comfortable adding trims and "frillies".  At least then I would be able to call things by their names and not just generalize with a made-up name. 

Frillies. adj. Cute and adorable. noun. The things that you put on aprons to make it look really professional and sassy.

Anyways, I hope my partner enjoyed it and will get some good use out of it!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday - Week 3

Cast Iron Apple Pie


5 pounds firm apples (about 8-10)
     - I like to use 2-3 different kinds, and I always use Granny Smith
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 F

1. Peel, core and cut apples into large chunks
2. In a big bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and zest
3. In a smaller bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle over apples and toss to coat
4. Place the prepared crust in to the bottom of a #8 (10") cast iron skillet
5. Dump in the apple filling and dot with 3 tablespoons of butter cut into small chunks
6. Place the top layer of crust and crimp the edges. Brush with half-n-half (or whole milk) and sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of sugar (*raw sugar looks best!)
7. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 and then reduce heat to 325 and bake for 30 minutes longer or until crust is a nice golden brown

Pie Crust

2-1/2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, diced
2 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons cold water

Sift flour, salt and sugar together. Cut in cold butter until the dough looks coarse. * A trick my mom taught me was to put the dough in to a tupperware bowl that has a lid, and shake the dough up, instead of cutting it in. It will yield a coarse mixture, without adding any heat from your hands...keeping the butter cold!
Shape the dough in to two balls, wrap and chill for 1 hour.

A little vanilla ice cream on the side....Heaven!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Knot Just Knit-Wits: Making Pumpkins

What You'll Need:
Fabric squares  - festive oranges and Fall themed fabrics work great!
Hot glue gun - or  fabric glue
Rice or Dry beans
Embroidery Floss
Cinnamon sticks or twigs from your backyard
Green felt, plastic Ivy leaves, Rafia, buttons, scrap fabric, etc... for decorating!

Step 1
   Cut the squares into  circles - They don't have to be perfect!  As a general rule of thumb, whatever size square you start with, your finished pumpkin will be about half the size. For example, a 12" square will give you about a 6" pumpkin.
Step 2
Stitch along the outside about 1/8" from the edge. The goal of this stitching is to create a drawstring. So, weave in and out of the fabric. The stitches can be rough - I usually go with  1/2" stitches and then sometimes 1/4"...I haven't noticed it making a difference in the end result.

 Step 3
Put a small handful or rice, or dry beans, inside the bottom of the Pumpkin - The purpose of this is to add a little weight. Normally no more than 1/4 cup - Even for a bigger 18" pumpkin. 

Step 4
Fill the pumpkin with batting. How much you use here is up to your own personal tastes! I like my smaller Pumpkins pretty full, and my bigger Pumpkins pretty loose.

Step 5 
Pull the strings to draw-in the fabric. Tie off the strings, but leave an opening for the size of your twig (or cinnamon stick).  I usually wait and tie off the strings after I glue in my stem - but whatever is easiest!

Step 6
The Pumpkin Stem - I have seen cinnamon sticks used for the stems before, but I have been using twigs that I cut off from random, dead branches. I used all different diameters, it just depends on what you like! 

Step 7
Place a bead of hot glue  or fabric glue) around the bottom of the twig and quickly stick it in the hole of the pumpkin. Hold the fabric to the glue and let set.

Step 8 
Decorating! You now have your basic pumpkin and it's time to dress it up! For the leaves, felt or plastic Ivy works great! Also, I like using Raffia all by itself tied around the stem!

Knit -Wit Paula made a couple really cute Pumpkins out of wool - stems and leaves in all! My favorite part of making these simple pumpkins, is how fun and easy it is to change the look with just using different fabrics, textures and materials, so on and so forth! So - get going! Make your pumpkin patch just in time for Fall!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday - Rhubarb Cobbler

I was a lucky girl this fall, since my father-in-law grew an over abundance of Rhubarb! I cut it all up and froze several 4-cup bags. I experimented with a "healthier" version of the Rhubarb Cobbler recipe out of my old Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. It turned out wonderful, and even got more thumbs-up compared to the "unhealthier" original recipe!

1/4 cup Organic Cane Sugar
1/4 cup Blue Agave
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
4 cups Rhubarb - Cut into about 1" chunks

Combine ingredients into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil for 1-2 minutes - Don't burn! Pour hot fruit into 8" or 9" square baking dish. 

Combine in mixing bowl:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cut in:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk

Spoon batter onto hot fruit and sprinkle with about 3 tablespoons of Organic Cane Sugar.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes - Or until a nice golden brown!