Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
- Apricot Hair Clip - Eternal Eden
- Sour Cream and Marscarpone Butter Caramels - BrownBagBakery
- Vintage Squirel Salt and Pepper Shakers - rhan
- Sailboat Blueprint Neck Tie - Rabbitstop
- Vintage 70s Pendleton Blazer - Pistol Poppy Vintage
- Modular Messenger Bag in Mustard - Bayanhippo
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Makes about 3 doz
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt; set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add pumpkin, egg and vanilla; mix well. Mix in dry ingredients well then fold in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls on greased (or parchment lined) baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set all the way through and lightly browned on the bottom.
These are very much on the cake like side of cookies and similar to a lot of quick breads they get somewhat sticky the longer you store them. I also find the flavor gets richer over time like quick breads as well. Store these in an airtight container for 2-3 days. If I'm feeling particularly indulgent I'll sometimes drizzle a little extra melted chocolate on top of the cookies after they've cooled.
Cranberry Pumpkin Bread (this is a Libby's recipe) Makes 2-9 x 5 inch loaves
3 cups all purpose flour
5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups sugar
1(15 oz) can pureed pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease two 9x5 loaf pans and set aside. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl or mixer combine vegetable oil, sugar, pumpkin and orange juice and beat until well blended. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just blended. Fold in cranberries. Divide batter evenly into both loaf pans and bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove loaves from pans onto rack to cool completely.
*I actually prefer dried fruit in this recipe but fresh or frozen is good too. Like the cookies above this loaf is fantastic warm from the oven but seems to get better as it sits.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake
For the crust:
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs sugar
4 tbs cold butter
For the filling:
2-8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar, divided
1 tbs vanilla
1 cup pureed pumpkin
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tbs ground cinnamon
3 tsp espresso powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or with a pastry cutter blend crust ingredients until the mixture resembles course sand. Press into the bottom (not sides) of a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes, cool completely.
Using a mixer combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Remove 1 cup of mixture and transfer to another bowl. Add the espresso powder to the 1 cup of filling and mix until the coffee has dissolved and is uniform in color; set aside. Blend 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and allspice into the remaining filling. Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the crust in the spring form pan. Top pumpkin mixture with the 1 cup coffee filling mixture. Bake for 55 minutes or until filling is set. The cheesecake will puff up in the middle a bit as it bakes and then relax back down as it cools. Run a knife around the edge of the pan for easy unmolding. Allow the cheesecake to cool before removing the rim of the spring-form pan. Chill until ready to serve.
Roasted Pears with Carmel Sauce*
For the pears:
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 pears halved and cored
1/4 cup walnuts (or your favorite nuts)
For the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tbs butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place butter in a baking pan large enough to hold the pears in a single layer: set in the heating oven until it melts. Sprinkle sugar over melted butter, then place pears, cut side down, on top. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven, turn pears over and baste with pan sauce. Return to oven; bake until golden and glossy, about 10 minutes longer.
Let cool slightly.
While the pears are cooling prepare the caramel sauce. Before you begin the sauce, make sure you have everything ready to go - the cream and the butter next to the pan, ready to put in. Making caramel is a fast process that cannot wait for hunting around for ingredients. If you don't work fast, the sugar will burn. Be very careful during the process of making the caramel; boiling sugar is much much hotter than boiling water. Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on. As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted. Transfer pears to dessert plates or bowls. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for several minutes. Place pears into serving dish/dishes then drizzle with caramel sauce; sprinkle with nuts. Serve immediately.
*The caramel sauce may be made in advance then stored in a glass jar (after its cooled completely) in the refrigerator until needed.
Pinto Bean Pie (I promise you if you didn't know what this was you would think it was pecan pie)
1 tsp cornmeal
1 prepared unbaked pie crust
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pinto beans
1/2 cup pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cornmeal in pie crust and set aside. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Beat in sugar, butter, vanilla and pinto beans. Pour filling into pie shell. Place pecans decoratively on top of pie. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until golden brown and filling is set.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but mostly they are the recipes I get the most enthused about making. As always I hope you enjoyed the recipes and maybe added a few to your box. I'll see ya next week for what to do with your turkey leftovers!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Preparing just the breast is really only a small version of the whole enchilada so if you wanted to you could certainly take the recipes here and translate it to your whole bird (you brave whole turkey roasting soul you).
Rosemary Roasted Turkey Breast
3 pound skin on turkey breast*
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup water or chicken broth
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt. Set aside.Wash the turkey breast and pat dry. Loosen the skin from the breast and spread a generous amount of the rosemary mixture under the breast skin. Rub the remainder of the rosemary mixture over the outside of the breast. Use toothpicks to seal skin over any exposed breast meat. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Add the 1/4 of water or chicken broth to the bottom of the pan to help keep the turkey moist while roasting. Roast according to the number of pounds your turkey breast actually weighs this is usually 20 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 180 degrees.
*If you cant find skin on, or don't want to use it for any reason, don't its not totally necessary I just happen to prefer it ;)
Mediterranean Style Stuffed Turkey Breast
3 pound turkey breast bone-out, skin removed
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
3/4 cup dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbs all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 artichoke hearts roughly chopped
1/4 Kalamata olives roughly chopped
1 tbs butter, melted
3 large slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup water or chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a lengthwise slit in turkey breast to within 1/2 in. of opposite side; open meat so it lies flat. Cover with plastic wrap and flatten to an even 1/2-in. thickness and set aside. In olive oil saute the onion and garlic until tender. Stir in flour, thyme, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and add the spinach, olives and artichokes to the sauce. Remove the plastic wrap from flattened breast and arrange the cheese on top, spread the sauce over the turkey breast and starting at a short end, roll up and tuck in ends and tie with kitchen string. Place on a rack in a roasting pan with a 1/4 cup water or chicken broth in the bottom. Brush with melted butter. Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature reads at least 180 degree. Let the breast rest for 10-15 minutes before removing the string and slicing.
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
1 medium onion sliced
1 medium red bell pepper seeded and sliced*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces turkey Italian sausage, casing removed
3 pound turkey breast
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
salt to taste
In a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker combine onion, bell pepper, garlic, rosemary, and oregano. Crumble sausage over onion mixture. Rinse the turkey and pat dry; arrange over sausage. Sprinkle with pepper. Pour in chicken broth. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 5 to 7 hours, or until internal temperature has reached 180. Remove turkey from cooker and cover to keep warm. In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and cold water. Stir into cooking liquid in slow cooker increase heat to High, and cover. Cook, stirring 2 to3 times, until gravy is thickened (about 10 more minutes). Season to taste with salt. Spoon gravy over turkey or reserve for individual pouring.
*Any color bell pepper may be substituted.
Deep Fried Turkey my sister's recipe :)
12 pound turkey (size varies but 12 pounds is pretty middle of the road)
Make sure your turkey is completely thawed, if not you may end up with a turkey missile and serious 3rd degree burns!
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Cajun seasoning to taste
Melt the butter and olive oil on low heat, add the garlic and Worcestershire and Cajun seasoning. Inject most of the mixture into turkey and under skin. Rub the remainder on the outside and store the bird for and overnight resting. Add peanut oil up to the line on the inside of the turkey fryer (or see your manufacturer's instructions for recommended quantity of oil). The turkey should be submerged with one inch of oil above it while cooking. The turkey should be placed in the frying basket neck end first. Slowly lower basket into hot oil. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cook turkey for 4 minutes per pound. Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees F (80 degrees C).
I hope these recipes have given you guys a little inspiration for trying something new this year! And if you've never had deep fried turkey, give it a try sometime! I know, it is a little bit of a daunting task, but it makes for some of the moistest bird you'll ever taste. Stay tuned for next week, I'll be covering my favorite part of the meal desserts!
If you happened to miss the first post of the Thanksgiving Day recipe series and would like to have a looksie, visit this link--->T-Day Side Dishes
Friday, November 5, 2010
- Cranberries (jellied, can shaped)
- Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Since cooking is such a fun pass time for me now and I know there are many of you looking to change up your menu a bit; I'd like to share some of my favorite recipes that I now contribute to my family's Thanksgiving meal.
I've decided to break this down into three separate posts, one a week for each category.
This week (as the title suggests): Side dishes
Next week: Turkey!
The following week: Desserts
The week of Thanksgiving I'll be posting a follow up post on what to do with your left over turkey.
So lets get to the gettin'...
Each of these recipes serves about 8-10 people.
First off, one of my favorite side dishes of all time!
Jalapeno Corn Casserole
- 1 (15 oz) white shoe peg corn, drained*
- 1 (14 oz) can cream-style corn
- 1 (8-ounce) packaged corn muffin/bread mix
- 1 cup plain low fat yogurt (Greek style is fine here too)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 cups shredded Pepper Jack Cheese (divided in half)
- 1 small can jalapenos drained and diced
- 6- sweet potatoes peeled cubed and boiled until tender
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tbs maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
- 3 pounds butternut squash - cut in half and seeded
- 1/4 cup water (for roasting squash)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 dash pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 6 cups sliced peeled apples
- 1/8 cup white sugar
- 1 cup cornflakes cereal, coarsely crushed
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 medium red onion quartered
- 1 green apple cored and quartered
- 2 jalepeno peppers seeded and halved
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves*
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tbs fresh lime juice
- salt to taste
- 4 pounds Brussels sprouts sliced in half
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 small red onions, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
Friday, October 29, 2010
- Retro Orange & Black Full Apron - Lovers Dovers Clothing
- Fleece Ghost Poncho - Izzy B's Stuff
- Trick or Treat Snoopy - Barnaby Huxley
- Franko Sock Monkey - Suzanne's Stuff
- Lips Flexible Mold (this reminds me of the wax lips I loved as a kid) - ShopSakura
- Candy Corn Fudge - Paula's Shop
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
What is millet you say.
An ingredient in bird feed for one. But also a pretty awesome grain.
I haven't always been blessed to have the wide view of food I now have. Growing up my culinary exposure ran about as far as the San Francisco Treat and Hamburger Helper could throw me. So lets just say I had no idea about a lot of food stuffs.
One day I was invited to stay and eat supper at a friends house. All was well until I saw what we were having.
And as you can see by my beautiful illustration, her whole family laughed at my ignorance and I quickly found a good excuse to leave....then made sure to never agree to stay for a meal again for fear of not knowing what the hell I was eating.
Now thankfully I'm pretty proud to say I not only usually know at least a little something about most fruits and veggies and food stuffs in general but I'm pretty sure I can make a more awesome Eggplant Lasagna than my childhood friend's Mom any day of the week.
But that's not what this post is really about. This post is about millet and hopefully expanding your food knowledge. On one of my many ventures into health food I stumbled upon millet. At first I really didn't know what the heck to do with it except sneak it into things instead of rice or along with rice in order to bump up our whole grain intake. But eventually I started finding more ways to use it. One in particular is my very favorite way! It makes an awesome nutty tasting muffin that's perfect for breakfast on the run but especially good served with blueberry preserves.
|1.||Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups.|
|2.||In a large bowl, mix the flours, millet, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the soy milk/vinegar mixture, egg, applesauce, and honey. Stir buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just until evenly moist. Fold in dried fruit. Transfer batter to the prepared muffin cups.|
|3.||Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.|
Friday, October 22, 2010
So the theme today in honor of all the awesome new friends I made last night is...
- Vintage Tin Bingo Box - Pip and I
- Vintage Bingo Game Piece Ring - Kyle Looby Jewelry
- Bingo Book - Another Work in Progress
- Bingo Bank Handmade Stoneware - Shars Art Pottery
- Antique Bingo Cage - Blue Belle Bazaar
- Bingo "I came to win" Button - Creative Clam
- Sister Ivana Wynne, the bingo player - Nun of a Kind
AND now for our giveaway winner announcement! Drumroll please..........KD Design Studio is our winner Yay!
Ms. KD I'll be contacting you shortly to get your address!
Thanks everyone for entering & have a great Friday and fun weekend!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Ever since I the very first time I saw The Water Boy anything that gives me any kind of trouble gets called the devil (pronounced with a "b" instead of a "v") and up until 2 years ago my husband and I had this conversation every year...
Hubs "When are you making your Halloween cookies?"
Me "Never! I hate them and I'm never making rolled cookie cutter cookies ever again!"
Hubs "But you say that every year."
Me "I really meant it last time, sugar cookies are the debil and possibly the death of me."
Every year even though I would swear never again, I'd decide its was a good idea to make cut sugar cookies. Something about their festive little shapes and all the sparkly colored sugar and royal icing just sucked me right in like a big gaping black hole. And then I would say "what the heck I'll try again" and have a melt down again.
I'm a good cook and a darn good baker but for some reason I could never never never seem to get the dough right for cut out cookies. The dough would be too dry/wet/warm/soft/whatever it wasn't ever right. Truth be told I don't really even like sugar cookies much...give me a p-nut butter cookie, chocolate chip cookie or better yet a combination of the both and I'm a happy girl! I do love how festive they are though and being able to share them with friends and family and they just really remind me of making them with my mom as a child so there's all kinds of sentiment behind them. AND I just couldn't let something so small as a teeny tiny cookie call me out. So every year I'd try again, somehow fail and end up with a big ball of dough in my trash can.
Then I found this recipe, I can't tell you what is different about it from the others I tried mostly because I threw them away/burned/stomped on them as soon as my attempt failed. But I know it works and I get perfect cookies every time now!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
So, off to make my yearly cookies to share with friends and family (if any make it past the Hubs) & Happy Thursday to everyone and good luck to all that entered the giveaway! A winner will be drawn tomorrow morning, I can't wait!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Last Friday was a bit of a scramble for me so I missed my FF post. Sooo I'm making up for it here with two feature boards plus the onset of my shop's very first giveaway! For my features this week I've got two totally different themes going on; one something of a masculine gift theme since tomorrow is my Pop's birthday and the other a mix of some more my fall-ish vintagey feeling things I've happened upon this week.
Now it's giveaway time!! I first thought to myself, "I should probably wait until I have a few more followers before I do a giveaway ." But then I thought, "Pfftt what the heck I'll do it anyway and see what happens!It'll be fun anyway, right? Right!" So without further nonsensary....Here's how to enter:
I've also been a busy little bee adding new items to my shop this week too...
Good luck to everyone! Be sure to tell your friends so they can participate in the giveaway too and have a great weekend!!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Every year when the season starts to change I turn into something like a kid watching the clock waiting for school to let out. I get so excited when the first cool evenings of Autumn arrive! For me it signals the beginning of all the fun things I love to do...dragging out decorations, baking loads of stuff that smells warm and comforting and all cinnamon-y and whatnot, and the return of yummy pumpkin bagels to my favorite shop across town.
It's been a little hectic around our house the past week so I've just now gotten our Halloween decorations out. It never seems like its going to take very long but I sometimes forget that I seem to "collect" another few bits and pieces for the next year....like this funny little guy...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
In the mean time hope you like the features this week and have a great weekend!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
In honor of Fall finally finding us here in East Texas I'm having a 1/2 price shipping sale (within the U.S.) for all items in my Etsy shop now through October 16th for Facebook fans ( Bits & Barley Fan Page ) and blog followers (yous guys)!
Just mention your blog user name if you're a follower or Facebook user name if you're a fan of the Bits & Barley page (you must reference your name in order to be eligible) in notes to seller upon checkout. **Please wait for an adjusted invoice to be sent to you via PayPal after you Commit To Buy. Don't worry I'm pretty fast on the draw and it'll be sent right directly :)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This feeling is never a good one...Did I forget to turn off my flat iron this morning? No. Did I leave the soy milk out on the counter again? Not that either. After 30 minutes of trying hard to figure out what form of impending doom must be happening somewhere that's caused me this particular feeling I gave up.
And as fate always has it I almost immediately remembered, my birthday is on Wednesday.
This might not seem like a problem per se and its not particularly in and of itself except a few weeks ago I made an appointment with our dogs Vet to have my dear Bitty's yearly shots and check up. This again is not that big of a deal except our Vets office is one of my least favorite places on the face of the earth. Don't get me wrong, I love our dogs Vet he is the best animal doctor I've ever met, but they work on an extremely loose terminology of appointment. Basically they write your name, along with a long list of other names, on a schedule for a particular day and then wait and see what happens. In other words something like first come first serve but on a certain day. I'm not particularly fond of sitting in a tiny room with 50 billion other people crammed in with me waiting till the end of time with some of the worst behaved animals I've ever seen sooo I'd lodged that information in the part of my brain that holds all the horrid things that I'd rather poke my eyeball out than actually do. Hence the nagging feeling and impending Vets office doom.
I knew I would have to fulfill my duty as a good pet owner and visit out Vets office but I could do something to make myself feel better! So I ordered these:
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
- Hand Embroidery Autumn Leaves - merriweathercouncil
- Dusky Autumn Throw Lap Quilt - PiecesOfPine
- Cashew Clusters - nikid
- Welcome Sign - SuzsCountryPrims
- Yellow Autumn Maple Leaf Felt Earrings - hitree
- Beer and Cedarwood Natural Vegan Soap - krugsecologic
or perhaps the promise of festive crafts brought to you by Martha and the Fine Living Network :)
Friday, September 17, 2010
Now lets get on with what this post is really about: the totally cool, beautiful, wonderful things I've been blessed to stumble upon. I've been throwing around an idea for a way to show my appreciation for some of the coolest people and things I've found in my daily online ventures. "Feature Friday" is what I've come up with, a post every Friday featuring a collection board chocked full of my favorite things for the week. Thus I give you the very 1st in a line of Friday awesomeness :)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Feeling a little burned by the other book, I was a little reluctant to try anything from Sweets but dear Lord am I glad I did. Although at one point after making her Walnut Wonder Cake I thought my husband might be plotting to pull the old "I must have been sleep walking when I ate the whole thing" bit.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
1.Ruffle Front Fleece Jacket by cotylee
2.Women's Plaid Double-Weave Western Tunic from OldNavy
3.Prized Rose Peep-Toes from Anthropologie
4.Miss Me Glam Boot Stretch Jean from Buckle
5.Bella Rustica Antique Bronze Tiny Twig Hair Pins by WoodlandBelle
6.Faux Boot Legwarmers by LeshasWorkshop
7.Sterling Silver Necklace by gypsystudio
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Anyway, I'm still working on a tutorial that will hopefully be fun and interesting but until then I'll send out my thanks today to Jewelry by Jessica S for including my new fall mini wreath ornament in her treasury yesterday!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Probably my most thought about topic this week (aside from product tweaking and YouTube) has been my studio remodel. It's in desperate need of change and I am sooo ready for it! As of now the walls are white (eww) but are at least mostly covered with my paintings drawings and whatnots. I know there are people that actually do like plain white walls but I can't be counted as part of that camp. I need color! I've picked out turquoise as my wall color of choice and have red curtains lined up to divide the studio from our bedroom but have the pretty big dilemma of large heavy immovable objects on two of my walls. I've debated about just painting around them. Cause no one will know but me right? Wrong, some crazy part of my brain says "But YOU will know!" and a weird warped version of Poe's beating heart sequence from The Tell Tale Heart ensues.
So the paint issue is sort of at a stand still for now.
This leads me to my other major issue which is storage. I'll be honest. I've got a lot of stuff, and by stuff I mean all kinds of crap. Paint, brushes, canvases, sewing supplies, collected papers, books and specialty papers, yarn, beading supplies....you get the idea. Most of this stuff is just sort of in what I call controlled mess zone. It looks like a pile of nonsense but if I need to I can find what I need fairly quickly. I can usually go a few days, maybe a week before I freak out and have to reorganize my mess but lately its been driving me more batty than usual.
In search of ways to better my much needed improving creative space I found these awesome resources:
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
but I always end up where I belong.
I know...I'm pretty sure that elicits some form of eye rolling, but it's typically true. I tend to move through things intuitively rather than with a focused rational method. I think on a high functioning level my brain knows my goal, forms a path and leads me to the destination, but I'm not always (read rarely) aware of it.
Most, if not all of my creations coming out of my workshop are that way. I start with a general idea and play with it until I'm happy. I've never been one to follow a strict guideline and seriously struggled in classes where I had to make essay outlines and things of that nature. I would just go into *blank stare at the wall for 10 minutes* mode if I had to think that far ahead.
So what's my point?
I'm a scatterbrained fool? Hopefully not, although if you were to stop me in the middle of this tirade trust me it would take a full 5 minutes for me to remember where I was.
The point is that everybody's creative process is different. Some people are laser focused and know from start to finish how something is going to work for them and some (like me) start at the beginning of an idea and feel their way through it. My best ideas come to me while I'm just letting the creative juices flow. Sometimes I start a project and realize that working on it was just a primer for something else, something way bigger and better.
I'll tell you a secret though...I DO sometimes wish I could be super focused. I kinda envision that version of myself as being something like Rachael Ray (but not annoying or scary), able to accomplish 20 different things in the span of minutes all because I didn't get distracted by something shiny.
At the end of the day though I'm still able to work up enough focus to channel my creative juices into my various projects. Most recently I've gotten obsessed with wreaths..Every year I make a wreath out of cedar clippings and random Christmas type things for the holiday season but have in the past few years also started making fall/harvest type wreath too. I made one like this from Martha Stewart's website last year which is kinda the inspiration for the wreaths that I'm making now. I'll be updating with finished picks of them as I have them and they'll be introduced to my Etsy shop shortly so keep an eye out they're pretty much the awesomeness.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
If you look closely you can see my traditional torn post-it note marking system. One of the first things I do when I get a cookbook is mark the recipes I have to try first. At first glance I was a little leery of Cake Keeper Cakes just because it seemed a little more like a coffee table book than an actual baking book; beautiful images and somewhat strange and unconventional layout for the recipes themselves threw me off but really was a nominal issue. Patty Pinner's Sweets: Soul Food Deserts and Memories reads more like a novel than a cook book and is completely fun and truly fascinating to read the origins of the recipes she's laid out for you.
That said there are more recipes in these two little books that I can't wait to try than in any other books in my cooking library. Don't get me wrong I cherish the copy my husband gifted me of Dori Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours, and it is in my opinion a must in a full baking armory of books. However, the types of recipes in that style of book can be time consuming and require ingredients that I may not have on the fly. Which is other huge reason I am loving these books, not only are the recipes themselves simple to achieve (yet creative and in a lot of cases elegant) most do not require much other than basic baking staple items.
P.S. Sorry about the not so great photo, my kitchen doesn't have the best lighting and it was like 9:30 pm when I took this out of the oven so I had no natural light. Still its not too bad I think :)
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I love that line. It's so simple, just do it, just be what makes you happy, have fun and love life.
Often I think we stray from actually consciously acknowledging the things that truly make us happy, the simple things and the big things that we love.
- Being the proud owner of a goofy dog that hops around like a baby horse when he's happy
- Finding a stray ice cream sandwich hiding in the freezer
- Sharing your life adventure with your best friend and love of your life
- Being able to channel artistic energy into tons of different avenues
- Spazzing out to a dance song when no ones looking
You get the picture. When you go so far as to really focus on the things you love, it becomes your life.
Originally I intended to compile something of a collage of things I love but got distracted....So no collage, but I did manage to take this totally cute picture of the galloping dog for your entertainment ;) and of course I can't leave out his less goofy but smellier counterpart
the best pups around ♥
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Peach Pound Cake (Revised view the original recipe here)
1 c. butter (see note about substitutes)*
1-3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. low fat peach yogurt
2 1/2 c. fresh or frozen peaches
(1/2 cup of the peaches can be replaced with any other fruit you wish blueberries and raspberries are sure winners but apricots or strawberries would be excellent too)
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the batter alternately with yogurt. Fold in the peaches.
- Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
As originally written the cake probably tastes pretty much like a standard pound cake but maybe just a touch heavy on the almond flavor. Although, almond extract is a traditional flavoring for pound cake, 1 tsp. is just too overpowering for my taste especially since peach should be prominent here. Adding fresh or frozen peaches is a great way to add some flavor and texture (and of course it looks very pretty) but if you really want peach flavor you're going to have to add something extra. That's were the peach yogurt came in. I've recently gone on a yogurt kick using it in the place of sour cream and mayo; if you haven't tried it please do you'll probably love it and it's so much better for you. I first thought I might just use plain low fat yogurt to replace the sour cream but decided I would need extra peachy-ness so I opted for peach yogurt instead. I cut back on the sugar because of the sweetness in the yogurt and because I love the combo of cinnamon and peaches in peach cobbler I added a tad here.
If you try it, I hope you enjoy and as always feel free to play with the recipe like I did, make it your own and have fun! :)