Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tweaking Tradition

Texas Sheet Cake is my family's favorite birthday cake...if I had a dime for all those sheet cakes... With the first birthday of the years arrival, I decided to take a few twist and turns from the same ol' and after rummaging through my new fave found this delectable little ending to a big birthday dinner. Raspberry Fudge Brownies. It has all the same qualifications...namely, lots of chocolate. Look closely and you will see the chocolate chips in the brownie, the second layer of Ghirardelli chocolate fudge, and the topper...a raspberry cream cheese whipped cream frosting. Most was delicious! In an 8x8 pan, it claimed to serve 32. It is rich, but I got only 16 servings. It is one of those recipes that is made in stages, refrigerating between each. The steps are quick and easy, but it is an all day process. In my opinion...well worth the time investment. But then again, I never met a chocolate I didn't like...maybe even love! This is a five star recipe...comparable to any you may find on an expensive restaurants dessert menu. Go to the site for the award winner. I followed the recipe exactly as given. No changes necessary.
Happy Birthday to my Sweetie...Love You!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Market Tote

Road-trip Tote. Flea Market Tote. Urban Tote. Library Tote. Beach Day Tote. I had a hard time naming this one because it can be all that and then some. Fashionable. Rugged, discontinued upholstery fabrics. Old denim touches. Strong enough to carry your heavy stuff and pretty enough to tote around your latest crocheting project. Look at some of the awesome fabrics I salvaged when I spotted a box-load at a local furniture store.
QUESTION: "Whatcha gonna do with those?"
RESPONSE: "Nothing, you want them?!"
FINAL ANSWER: "You betcha."
I brought home the whole shebang and waited for inspiration to strike. The Market Tote was born. I've been test driving helps me to identify the good, the bad, and the ugly in the design. With a few necessary modifications, this could be one of my favorites.
I'll let you know what those alterations are in an upcoming post...this is what's known as a blog cliffhanger.
Stay tuned!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Game Night...and Day

Spare time. Remember that concept? We have a lot more of it than we think...especially true for my family at the moment. With video games banned for a's a long story, but believe me, it was a just consequence...I am requested to play board games daily. Our family favorite, bar none, is Scrabble. I've convinced myself that it is an extension of our home school day. Using the dictionary, learning new vocabulary words, utilizing math skills, planning strategic moves...come on, you've gotta give me this one! We take our game play very seriously around here. Gabe, the nephew I mention in the last post, often joins us and he has really upped our game. His Pogo sharpened skills have elevated him to a new level and we have been studying from the master. Rules to live by in our Scrabble playing world...NEVER waste an "S", know your two-letter words, play your blanks wisely, and skipping your turn to dump tiles can be VERY advantageous. My 14 year old proved this final rule to be true last night...skipping and dumping while in last place. On his next turn he was able to break ahead with his 7 letter word...SERVINGS...for a whopping 70 points! Proud moment for a parent. James, my 11 year old, played his first 7 letter word...CARDINAL...the night before. I'm busting over here! The final score, for those of you who care...let's just say mom lost by 1 point. It's also a rule in my house that adults NEVER throw a game. So when you win, you know you've won fair and square. My favorite family rule came into play last night...winner picks up! It keeps those darn winners humble. Winter Olympics and Scrabble...they go together like movies and and snow...peanut butter and get the idea. Play Scrabble and learn.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fabulous Finds

As a salvage crafter I am always on the look-out.
Garage sales, estate sales, Goodwill, flea markets, attics, basements, friends and family pass-alongs, and for today's nephew Gabe's friend. These are just a few of the ways that I acquire inspirational pieces that beg to be transformed. I decided that it was time to feature those items that I consider...real finds. This particular piece is a "real beauty"...but to quote Gabe correctly you need to infuse it with a hefty dose of sarcasm. Regardless, he thought of me (thank you, thank you, thank you) when his friend told him that its future was going to be spent in the dump!
Oh, baby...check this out...
It is a beauty! Retro colors that are popular today...streamline design...solid construction...made in America! So, what are my plans for it? Absolutely nothing! I will give it a good cleaning, but why mess with perfection?! Lately I have been toying with the idea of a baby line and this stroller is propelling me forward. When that is accomplished, it will serve to display my products at the shop...Harmony in Life.
Baby bonnets, booties, blankies...Oh baby!
Here it is with the baby blanket my grandma made for me when I was a baby
...there's that color again.
Gabe was right (he loves when I admit that) this is a beauty.
Thanks for thinking of me, Gabe...thanks for saving this stroller from an untimely death...and thanks for doing your small part in keeping our world beautiful.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Addicted To Love

I'm addicted to those smiles that I talked about yesterday...the ones from your kids that say, I love you're the best! Gotta get me some more of those. Here's the ticket... After a hard day of plowin and playin in knee deep snow, greet them with a mug of hot chocolate when they walk in the door. Again I was jammin on the web site when I stumbled upon this hot cocoa mix. I remembered it while I was shopping at Aldis...I had to call home (one of those moments that I was happy I had a cell) to my sick boy and have him get online to the site and read me the ingredient list that I forgot to jot down. Good news! They had it all...even the mini I'm making it on the cheap! I reduced the 45 serving recipe to 10 because I wanted to make sure we liked it. Makes sense, right? Already making a second was that good...and that easy. Whisk all the ingredients together and store it in pretty jars...Valentine's gifts!
Of course I have my personal stash for when the boys come in from the cold...might as well face it I'm addicted to love.
Here's the recipe for 10 servings with a few alterations I made (in parentheses) after reading the reviews...
Hot Cocoa Mix
2 1/4 c dry milk
1 c + 1T (+3T) confectioners sugar
1/3 c + 1T (+3 T) unsweetened cocoa
1/3 c + 1T powdered non-dairy creamer
In a big bowl combine sifted confectioners sugar and sifted cocoa to dry milk and non-dairy creamer. Whisk it together. Store in air tight containers. For individual servings combine 1/3 cup of mix with 3/4 C boiling water. Top with marshmallows or whipped topping.
Now if you're feeling daring...spice it up. This recipe is rumored to be the one that Johnny Depp (another guilty pleasure) claimed was his favorite in Chocolat. I recommend viewing it this upcoming week in celebration of Love...and Lent.
Easy Mexican Hot Chocolate
3 T cocoa mix
1T chocolate syrup
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 pinch of chili powder
1/4 c milk
3/4 C boiling water
Zap your water in the micro until boiling...add milk and the rest of the ingredients.
Prepare yourself for a taste explosion!
Now sit back, pop in the movie, and get ready to smile.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Fluffy French Toast Are you asking yourself...what's this girl talking about? Well, I'm talkin French "retro" craving of late. Have you ever had those mysterious cravings for a particular food that you haven't eaten in years? You're really not sure what triggered the Pavlovian response...a memory...a conversation...a television commercial...but it's there and it refuses to go unaddressed!
That's my French toast story and I had to share it with you because when my family awoke to its cinnamony goodness they were all smiles and when they said, Wow, Mom...thanks... it was with genuine heartfelt emotion. I swear their loving expressions bore a new passion within me! I found the winning recipe at a great site that my sister-in-law Joann shared with You've gotta check it out. Don't just take my word for it. With a 4 1/2 star rating...684 reviews...saved by 15,839 people...we can't all be wrong! What makes it different from every French toast recipe out there??? Flour...the secret ingredient. It makes all the difference. Now you could go to the site to get the recipe, but I will share it with you here as well.
Fluffy French Toast
1/4 c flour
1 c milk
a pinch of salt
3 eggs
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract
1 T sugar
12 thick slices of bread
Mix first 7 ingredients together with a whisk (stir periodically as needed). Heat your skillet...spray with Pam. Dip the bread (I used regular's all I had on hand) and heat until golden brown. Top with banana slices (or your fave fruit) and syrup. Yummy!
This recipe freezes well between waxed you can pop it in the toaster and enjoy whenever the mood strikes you. Makes a great midnight snack!
One last cool thing about that you need to change the number of servings, it will do the math for you and convert the recipe accordingly. Cool, huh?
What's your retro craving today?