Sunday, December 25, 2011

White Christmas

Merry Christmas! I'm in Colorado, having a white Christmas. Burrr.


I haven't updated in awhile, and I just had to brag about the many things I've made in the past week or so!

Although I haven't done any new crafts, I have knocked out quite a few recipes. Who knows, I might just hit my 50 mark by the new year. I do still have a week left, and we'll be stuck in the mountains with nothing to do. I'm sure my mom would love for me to offer to cook.

Recipe #37 - Cream Cheese Sausage Balls: I helped Tiffany make these and couldn't believe how easy they were. They were delicious too, even without the cream cheese. If I made them myself, I would add the cream cheese to see if they're that much better (how could cream cheese make them worse???)

Recipe # 38 - 3 Minute 3 Ingredient Mint Fudge: This was absolutely amazing. I didn't believe that it was as easy as it said, but it was. I couldn't find andes mint chips at the store, so I just used two packages of whole andes mints. Stick them in the microwave with a bag of chocolate chips and a can of condensed milk and 3 minutes later you have fudge. It was so crazy. It made me wonder why I had spent so long making fudge all those years.

Recipe #39 - Chocolate Mint Brownies - Just add a York Peppermint Patty in between brownie mix. SO easy. Only I could screw it up. I needed a quick dessert to make Logan for his gift and I thought I had brownie mix at home. I did, but it was peanut butter chocolate mix. Instead I decided to add them to the middle of chocolate cake batter to make chocolate mint cupcakes. Again, only I could screw this up. Somehow I managed to be in such a hurry that I forgot to add the eggs. I was trying to figure out why the batter was so fluffy and why the cupcakes weren't sticking together when I realized... Did I add eggs? nope. No eggs. Oh well, Logan said he loved them still (yeah... he won't lie about that to me. He usually finds the one thing wrong with everything I make) and said he didn't even notice.

Cost for this present - $3 for peppermint patties

Recipe #40 - Oreo Truffles - I had some of these at Susie's craft club last month and absolutely loved them. I was so impressed until I saw the recipe - Blend oreos, add cream cheese, cover in melted chocolate. That's it! But it tastes so wrong, like some sort of cookie dough. Yummm. The problem I had with these was that I couldn't find white baking chocolate at the grocery store (that's what you get at the neighborhood wal mart) so I decided to just melt hershey's cookie and cream bars on top instead. It sounded like a great idea (oreo white chocolate covered oreo truffles?) but apparently these bars aren't real chocolate or have something weird in them because they wouldn't melt, just caught on fire like a marshmallow, and clumped together right away. I went back to the store the next day and bought white chocolate, so they turned out alright. I made them for my friend Jamie, and bought a little Christmas pail to put them in, so I had lots left over. Not for long though.

Cost for this present - Oreos $3 + Cream Cheese $2 + Chocolate $5 = $10


Recipe #41 - Fluffernutter Bites: These were a present for my childhood friend Rachel. In high school we would have sleepovers that would always wind down at 2am with a fluffernutterbutter sandwich on the floor of my room. I found this recipe and thought it was perfect for a little surprise christmas gift. They were very good and very easy to make!

Cost for this present - Peanuts $2 + Peanut butter $2 + Dry milk $3 = $7


Recipe #42 - Chocolate Peanut Butter Croissants - Not much to say here. I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. I love croissants.

Recipe #43 - Oh my goodness, this is going to have to be two recipes in one. Get ready to have a heart attack just from reading. My mom put me in charge of the dessert for our friend Christmas dinner on the 22nd. Baaaad move. We decided on making the Chocolate Wasted Cake using the Black Magic Chocolate cake recipe (Recipe #44) and call it "The Next Best thing to Ryan Reynolds" (because we thought it was better than The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford). So what we did was make two 8" circle cakes using the black magic cake recipe. We let them cool for a bit and I took a nibble of a piece that was left in the pan. It tasted HORRIBLE! It was completely bitter and salty, we couldn't understand what we did wrong. Just as we were planning a trip to publix to buy a chocolate cake, we tried the outside of the cake and it tasted fine. In the end, we decided that the center of the one cake was the only part that was messed up so we just cut the center out, plopped it on top of the other cake to make a volcano, and continued with our adventure. Crisis averted. This whole time, Jane's 85 year old little british grandma was sitting quietly at the kitchen table watching us and giggling to herself at our frantic problem solving. Anyways, the next step was to make the frosting from the black magic recipe and pour it all over the outside of the cake. Pour. We covered the cake, and the platter it was on, then moved the cake to a different plate and covered it again. Then we melted bags of rolos and twixes in the microwave and put them in the volcano hole that we had cut out of the salty cake. Imagine a chocolate volcano filled with melted candy bars. While Jane was doing this, I was covering the sides of the cake with chocolate chips. When we were both done we added more chocolate frosting to the volcano part where the melted candy bars were. Then we drizzled melted chocolate over the whole cake. Then we added a santa hat in spray frosting (it was Christmas, after all). The final product looked like this:




It was very chocolaty and rich, as you can imagine, but it was nice having the caramel of the rolos and the cookie of the twix and the hardness of the unmelted chocolate chips mixed in with all that melted chocolate. It gave it some texture. I do admit, by the end of the baking experience it had turned into a disaster of a kitchen and a game of 'what else can we melt?'



Recipe # 45 - Santa Hat Brownie Bites: My final recipe I have tried in the past week is this adorable and quick one. We came to colorado and my mom was sick all day in bed [with a cold] and asked me to make something to bring to our family Christmas today. She showed me her version of these from her pinterest, which I immediately ignored and reverted straight to my own. Check! Recipe #45 done, and funded by my parents. Everyone loved them. I decided not to mess with piping melted white chocolate [*flashbacks of oreo truffle fiasco*] and went with the cans of frosting you can buy that come with the four tips (which we used for the chocolate wasted cake). When I finished making them and gave an extra one to my brother to try, I was amused at how he was attempting to eat it. The brownies themselves are those two-bite brownies you buy in the store, and the strawberry on top made it just more than a mouthful. I called him stupid and told him to just bite it in half. Then I tried. Fail. I knew it was impossible to just 'bite it in half' and I didn't want to eat the strawberry separate from the brownie because I wouldn't get the full effect. Finally I just stuffed the whole thing in my mouth and tried not to choke as everyone in the room was laughing at me, including myself.



So those are all the recipes for now. Some recipes I might be able to try up in the mountains are:


I just got approval from my mom to do the cooking while we're up there [like that was a battle], this will be fun!!!!


One more thing before I go...

I just saw this great tutorial on how to make an accordian mini scrapbook . It's adorable and cute!
The problem is my browser won't pin a video to pinterest and I just NEED it there.
So here's what it looks like the and the tutorial is the link above!!

Accordion Mini Scrapbook - Mini Album Scrapbook Gifts

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Calendars

Goodness... I still have a week left of this nothingness.

To top it all off, I was sick yesterday and had to call out of one of the only shifts that was going to get me out of the house this week. Luckily I had a wonderful boyfriend to take care of me last night and I'm perfect today! It must have been one of those 24 hour bugs or something.

Anyways, I haven't left the house yet today, but I sure did get a lot done!!!

We'll start with the advent calendar... When I was little, my mom would drag out the advent calendar each year and my brother and I would get to open the little box and have a piece of candy or a present every day. It was so wonderful and it made December so much fun. My brother's senior year of high school I had to BEG my mom to do it just ONE MORE TIME because it was the last time my brother would be home with us. Guilt trip works every time.

Of course, that wasn't the last time my brother would be home for Christmas, we have had a Christmas at home together every year since (except this year, when we're all meeting in Colorado), but it was the last time I saw that ratty advent calendar, and something has been missing from December ever since.

So once a month, they have this food truck convention in my town. All the food trucks from the area park in one parking lot and you can go around and try all their foods. Last month, Logan and I went for the first time and tried a Blue Crab Roll. It was so heavenly. It was $10, so we split it, but we were savoring every bite and wishing we had more. The food truck event rolled around again on Sunday, but Logan had gone home to go to an epic football game with his family. EEEEVEN THOUGH he left me at home all alone, I really wanted to surprise him with a crab roll when he got home Sunday night. I fought with myself all day about getting a crab roll for him, but I didn't know if I could bring myself to pay $20 for two sandwiches (I would have to have one too!) when I was extremely low on money and had just bought him an $80 iPhone case for Christmas anyways.

So what did I do????

"I can make that myself!"

I looked up a recipe online. After sifting through all sorts of recipes that just weren't right (why did they all have bacon in them?) I found this recipe from Cooks.com for Hot Crab Rolls (Recipe #34). So I ran to the grocery store, and much to my surprise a can of crab (yes, I was surprised that crab comes in cans too) cost $5 and the recipe calls for 2-3 cans! So I would end up spending $20 anyways! Well, I made do and only bought 2 cans, plus the other ingredients was about $15, and I got the experience of making my own crab rolls.



They were delicious. It was then that I decided that I would give Logan an advent calendar of gifts for every day until Christmas since I had so many little presents for him anyways. The crab roll was gift #1. He couldn't even tell the difference between mine and the truck guy's (I made sure he tried it first before I told him).

His second gift (yesterday) was a bottle of soap for his bathroom, since he had been out of soap for about a week and 'kept forgetting' to get some. Ahhhhh drives me crazy!!! So gross!

His third gift (today) was cupcakes with peppermint patties in the middle. I got the idea from this Peppermint Pattie Brownie Recipe (Recipe #35) but I didn't have any brownie mix so I made cupcakes instead. They would have turned out a lot better if I hadn't forgotten the eggs. Damn.

I also tried to make Old-fashioned Pull-apart Buns (Recipe #36) (you caught that I TRIED to make them, right?)... I followed the directions specifically, but my dough wouldn't rise!!! Argh. I don't know what I did wrong, but I was never meant to be a breadmaker anyways. I'll defrost bread any day.

I also managed to complete Logan's Grill Master Apron (which will be his gift on the 20th) which I was inspired by through this apron. I'm pretty proud of it, hopefully he'll like it!!! Notice the built in beer coozy, beer opener, all the pockets, and the accessories to go with them!



So remember the Dammit Dolls I made for my brother's birthday and Logan's Christmas? Well my mom was sending my brother's package to him up in Boston and saw the Dammit Doll and loved it. She took a picture and showed it to some of her fellow teachers at work, and one lady wanted one made for her too! So I went ahead and bought more fabric $5 and googly eyes $1 and made a better, cuter Dammit Doll. The problem was, I was torn between giving Logan the better Dammit Doll or the one I had made for him originally. Eventually, even though I felt bad, I wrapped up the new one for Logan and passed on the old one to my mom's coworker. Got $10 out of it though! Here's both dolls together. New one is on the left, old one on the right.


Today I completed bow shirt inspired by one found on pinterest from reddressboutique.com. (Image no longer available). Here's how it turned out:



Finally, I made another gator wreath for Logan's parents for Christmas. This one's a little bigger with a bigger F in the middle and double layers of piping to form the wreath.



Sorry it's a quick post, I'm off to see a movie with Logan!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stats

Just in case anyone is counting... and even if anyone isn't because I am...

I have officially spent about $82 making 22 Christmas gifts for this year.

That averages at 3.72 a gift.

My ratio of recipes to try to recipes tried is now 148:32 when it used to be 134:21.

That is all.

Pink Panty Droppers and Stockings

Exams are over...
Classes are over...
My internship is over...
For the next two weeks I have nothing to do except show up for the odd shift at work.

Let the games begin.

The other night I had an opportunity to make recipe #32... the Pink Panty Dropper. It's pretty much just beer mixed with frozen pink lemonade and vodka. It was good, much better than just beer alone.

At the moment I am making recipe #33, Apple Chips. It's great because my house smells like cinnamon apple. I always buy cinnamon apple candles so that my house smells like that, but this is the real thing!!!

Yesterday I completed an adorable office stocking for my dad, adapted from the missionary stockings found here.



Total cost for this present: $1.00 for the shirt at goodwill.

I also broke down and bought Christmas presents for the children I babysit for. I've handmade them gifts before, like the cloud pillow below, but they just don't ... get it ... and it ends up being a lot of work for no point.



With all my free time, I'm going to work on:
Fluffernutter Bites for my friend Rachel
Another Dammit Doll for a woman at my mom's work
Another Gator Wreath for Logan's parents?
A Teacher Wine Glass for my mom
Some Knight Shoes for me
and

I think I'll head over to the BETACenter and play with some babies too. That sounds like a plan :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December is upon us...

It's been awhile since I've posted. I was going to talk about how busy I was with school and how little I got done crafting and cooking, but then I went through my pictures which proved otherwise. Apparently I've been so busy because I've been crafting and cooking ON TOP of finals... oops!

So I left you off after Thanksgiving...

The week later was my friend Tye's birthday. A celebration... for a guy... that I could make manly cake for...
Perfect chance to make the adorable Hamburger Cupcakes!!! (Recipe #25)


Everyone loved them, and they were SO delicious... cupcake, brownie, and frosting? How could they not be? The problem I had with them was that I spent sooo long putting each color frosting on to them through a hole in a sandwich bag, but when I put them in my nifty cupcake container the indents for each cupcake smeared the frosting and made it all jumbled. Oh well, everyone liked them anyways.




My next project was for the Scuba dive club I am a part of. We went to some fancy country club brunch and everyone had to bring a $10 gift for one of those evil gift exchanges where people can steal each other's gifts (I had a bad experience in girl scouts once...). I scoured the internet for Ocean or Diving related gifts I could make. I finally found these Super Cute Sea Creatures from Futuregirl and went to work making them right away [or... the day before the party]!

Here's all my little guys on my sad, sad, skinny Christmas tree: (I was in a rush and forgot to grab the starfish when I wrapped them, so he got left behind. Now I have my third real ornament!)


And here's a snapshot of each one:






I think they turned out cute, but when we got there people were saying "Well it SAID $10 but it was unofficially a $20 gift." Grr.... Anyways, everyone ooohed and aaahhhed when they were opened, I didn't have to admit to being the lame-o who made the gifts, and I left with these cute wooden alligators for my brother's birthday! (AFTER the handtowels I wanted were stolen).

Total cost for this Christmas gift: About $3 for the felt and embroidery thread.




Next we have the Dammit dolls. I had been meaning to make one of these for Logan for Christmas ever since I saw them at the craft fair, Great Day in the Country. They were like $15 or something at the craft fair, and they really weren't that cute! Good ol' Meredith and I... "We could just make them ourselves!" So I did. The only expensive part of this was the Gator cloth... it was like $10 a yard. I bought half a yard I think... for $5, and used it for 2 Dammit dolls (they were so easy to make I made one for my brother's birthday too) and the Gator Wreath, and still have cloth left over.
When your favorite team is losing/ And you're bouncing off the wall/ Here's a little dammit doll/ To help youease the fall./ Just grab it firmly by the legs/ And find a place to slam it/ As you whack the stuffing out/ Yell, "Dammit, Dammit, Dammit!"


Total cost for two of these dolls: $5 for cloth, already had stuffing, used scrap felt for backs instead of expensive fabric.



Alrighty... NEXT I have something I am extremely proud of. You know that list I might one day make with my top 10 things I've made? Yeah, this will definitely be on it.

I wanted to make my friend Tiffany an apron for her birthday. She loves to bake, and doesn't own an apron. At first, I was making this apron that wasn't so cute from my own pattern. Then I saw this apron on pinterest and fell in love. Unfortunately, it's from etsy and was like $30. I decided to attempt to make my own version.

Again, I left it to the last minute but I had drawn patterns on cardstock to trace so I wasn't just winging it, so it turned out really well!!! The only thing I would change is that I would write the name in print with dots at the corners of the letters, like in 3rd grade. I always think my handwriting is pretty until I attempt to write on fabric. Then it just looks uneven and blah.

Total cost for this project: $10 for fabric



Finally, I also had to make Tiffany a baked good for her birthday! She and I get sushi together all the time, so little candy or cake sushi would be perfect. I found this recipe for strawberry shortcake sushi on pinterest and decided it was perfect! (Recipe #26)

It turned out alright... one thing (there always has to be something) is that it said to lay the cake on a clean dish towel to let it cool. Well, I guess my dish towel was TOO clean because I felt like the cake kind of tasted like laundry detergent. Oh well, the strawberry will cover it!!


Finally, I've been working on some recipes. There's no way I'll get to 100 by the end of the year, especially since I am leaving for Colorado in less than 20 days, but I'll shoot for 50, just because.

#26. Chocolate Mug Cake - I had a sweet tooth one night and thought I would try this out, but I wasn't that big of a fan. It wasn't chocolately enough for me, it just tasted kind of, bleh, like flour with cocoa.

#27. Healthy Ice Cream - Reminded me a little of baby food, but still delicious!!

#28. Deviled Eggs - yes, simple, but one of those recipes I had always wanted to try and never got around to. I made these today... Logan and I both love deviled eggs, so he'll be excited when he sees them in the fridge tonight!

#29. Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken - This is in the crock pot right now for dinner tonight. Okay, that might be cheating, but I tried the recipe, it's just still cookin! I'm throwing them on some warmed up Mountain bread when we get home from our meeting tonight, hopefully they'll be delicious! (They smell wonderful) And they are SO easy!

#30. Okay, I scrounged up some recipes I had tried before. I guess the point of this was to just get my 'Recipes tried' board to 100, not to necessarily try 100 NEW recipes. Paula Deen's Not Yo' Mama's Banana Puddin' - This is my favorite dessert of all time. I guess it's a good thing that Logan doesn't like bananas, otherwise I would have an excuse to make it all the time. YUM!!!

#31. Buffalo Chicken Dip - my ex boyfriend's mom used to make this, and I would go crazy every time she did. It's delicious! So I remembered it last year and made it for tail gating at my place. It didn't look great, but once everyone tried it they were hovering around it until every last piece was scraped up. Once we ran out of chips, people started resorting to some biscuits I had made to get every drop of the dip in their mouths. I made it again this year and brought it to a friend's house. Once again, it was a HUGE hit. Tiffany and I put a little bowl out for the guests then hovered in her kitchen around the pan eating the rest of it. Yes, fatties. It's what we tend to do when we're around eachother's cooking.




There's all my projects I've done for now... over the next few days I will be [hopefully] finishing a grill apron for Logan for Christmas, as well as a work guy stocking for my dad. I also bought the ingredients to make pull-apart buns... get pumped!!!