Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Doing Hair

My sister tells me I always have good hair. I'll agree I think my hair is one of my stronger features-- it's healthy and long and naturally has a fair amount of curl. The color is a little ash-y so I like to add some red or some highlights, but generally try to embrace the color. For me, it's not one of those things I lust after everyday, I usually just do it and forget about it the rest of the day.

As one of my friends in high school once said, "Hair, accurately rated. Doing Hair, Overrated!" I have a pattern (shh! don't tell) I wash my hair and dry it and do it down or only partially up. Then next day I don't wash it and usually wear it up. I'll even let you on a more embarrassing secret -- sometimes I wear it up 2 days in a row.

When I wear it up, it usually is in a messy bun. If it starts out differently, well that's what it is by the time I go to bed. Well, I was feeling a little bored and decided to spice things up the other day and try something new.

Check me out!

P.S. I was inspired by Lauren on ABC Family's Make It or Break It. She is always doing something cute with a french braid.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Brithday Cake for Michael

I was looking for something delicious to make this year. Last year I made this cake:

This year I decided I want some that made your mouth water and would be less time consuming to make. I toyed with some strawberry cakes, a lemon chiffon, a pumpkin cake, and Michael choose a german chocolate cake.

I decided to make it all the way from scratch. If you think box cakes taste the same as a homemade cake, you're wrong. Very wrong. And if you think they aren't worth the extra work, well you're wrong again. At least not with this German Chocolate Cake recipe. It wasn't to hard and it was so delicious. You will never taste a box cake this good.

I layer the cake by creating a flood wall. (a thick pipe of frosting around the edge) and then smeared some still hot and run traditional German chocolate cake icing-- from the same recipe. Then I iced the sides with Creamy Chocolate Icing, very quickly. I filled the top with the rest of the GCC frosting and tried to be decorative with the pecans. I really put together and iced this cake in about 25 minutes. I wish I would have had more time!! But it still makes your mouth water doesn't it?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

For the Blue and Gold Banquet, I was asked to bring a casserole. I wanted something really easy, super appetizing and cheap. Here's the recipe I came up with.

Chicken Tetrazzini
4 TBSP butter
4 TBSP flour
3 cups of milk
2 TBSP Parmesan cheese
1TBSP Parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder or 1 cloves of garlic minced
1/8 tsp pepper

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour, whisking until blended in and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk, whisking until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and spices. Cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly.

Mix or layer with sauce in 9x13:
2 cups of chicken, cooked and cubed. I used leftover thanksgiving-turkey
3 oz of angel hair pasta or spaghetti -- I use my pamper chef pasta measuring thing and use about 4 servings. Break in half and cook.
2-4 cups of vegetables. I used a summer squash melody this time but have used other carrots, peas, green beans, etc

Sprinkle with 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

And there you have it!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Car Cozy

I followed homeade by jill's Cozy Car Caddy and made Landen a great new toy! It's great for stashing a few cars for church (I wouldn't recommend taking 6 cars to church) and doubles as a playing mat!

Our JoAnn's didn't have a a great selection of duck cloth (black, red, blue, army green) So, I went with the army green to contrast the denim. I picked up the other few odds and ends I didn't have for under $5! WaHoo!

So, Here's what I did. I followed Jill's directions because I liked the idea of the piping and the heavier cloth. BUT if I was making it again, I'm not sure I'd use duck cloth. My Little Gem's Car Cozie Tutorial used flannel, so I think any fabric would be good. Why? Well, it was really hard to sew the binding into it and then turn it and sew around it again. It was 8 layers of heavy fabric and my machine is a little old. But if your kid is rough on stuff, it might be really good.

But, it worked out great. I used wonder-under on the felt pieces, plus I stitched around the edge of the road. I guess I didn't pay attention to the dimension when I bought the felt because my felt wasn't long enough and I had to use two pieces, you could definitely use flannel or cotton here too. For the "parking" spaces, I went over them divided twice, and decided not to paint the number on. I think it looks cute without it. Landen loves these! He parks all his cars and then reparks them it's very cute!

I loved the idea of denim on the outside. So, I cut my car out of some yellow flannel scraps and used buttons on the wheels to avoid more sewing. (I was getting tired of it) And I think they are really cute! I sewed them on really good, and it's a good thing because Landen sure likes to pull on them!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cake Balls

So, I know this recipe has been floating around the blogsphere for like years. And I distinctly remember a fellow bloggers post with a recipe similar to this, but thinking it didn't look that good.

I was wrong.

Don't these just look amazing?

They are incredible. Red velvet cake dipped in chocolate? What could be more divine? I decided to give them a try for party we went to. They were a great hit, and I was sorely disappointed that they all disappeared- because there wasn't any to bring home!

So Try them out on your honey for V-Day! Red Velvet Cake Balls by Bakerella

Saucy Meatballs

Today, I'm so excited to try Kitchen Cafe's recipe for Saucy Meatballs. I decided to try them over rice for dinner, but these would do much better as an appetizer. Like for the super bowl, so I'm a day late and dollar short! :)

I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I modified it for 1 pound of hamburger, so here is the recipe w/ the adjustments.

1 lb of hamburger
1/2 cup of quick oats
2/3 cup of milk
2TBSP of minced onion
1 tsp of salt
2/3 teaspoon of pepper

Combine. Roll into medium sized balls. I used my cookie scoop, which makes them about the size of walnuts and I got exactly 30 meatballs. Put them on a pan and freeze them for 5 minutes. Then roll them in some flour and brown them in 1/3 cup of canola oil. I put my pan on medium high heat. You want the outside nice and brown, but uncooked inside. Then I put them in a 9x13 glass dish. Pour the sauce over and cooked for 40 minutes.

I left the sauce the same-- 12oz jar or cocktail sauce, 1 can of whole cranberry sauce, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of white.

I also cooked brown rice to serve over it with a side of veggies. It was SO GOOD. The meatballs were the most perfect texture and held together really well. And the sauce was so good. We couldn't stop licking the spoon! LOL. But there is a lot so I will have to find another use for it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Secret to a Good Cheesecake is ....

....lots of work, patience, cream cheese, eggs and lots of calories.
So, Try my simpler still incredibly delicious solution!

Grandma's Cheesecake Pie
1. Beat 4oz of cream cheese (half of a package)  and 3/4 cup of sifted powdered sugar.
2. In a separate bowl, whip 1 cup (or half a pint) of whipping cream until it forms soft peaks
3. Fold the two bowls together with 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Want to know how to use it?
- Fits an 8x8 pan, 8" pie plate or 12 cupcakes
- Try a graham cracker, oreo, pretzels or vanilla wafer crust
- Put sprinkles on it.
- Stir in some berries
- Drizzle chocolate or caramel on top. 
- Put it in the freezer for a frozen taste.
- Put some food coloring in for the holiday--

I made a batch in a cupcake pan. I had some heart print cupcake liners, that I put a whole Oreo in the bottom. I added a little red sprinkles on top so we had some for Valentines Days!

Try this topping: Berry Glaze Topping
mix 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup (4TBSP) of cornstarch in a pan. Puree 1 cup of berries and 1/2 cup of water.  Add water to make 1 2/3 cups. Stir on medium heat until it thickens and boils, add 2 cups of berries

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black Crocheted Blanket - Repurposed

So, I started this blanket back before I was married and never finished it.  While I pregnant with Landen, I finally had enough of it laying around unfinished and just finished it.  It was crocheted with a half-double, which is a small thick stitch and made the blanket fairly hot.  Looking back, this was probably not the best idea.  I decided I hated it. I'm ashamed to say that it was so poorly done! The edges weren't straight, and I didn't know much about dye-lots. I stopped and started it so many times too!  LOL, So this is what the mess looked like.

I couldn't really stand this blanket and the only function it served was under a sheet on the airbed when company came to stay.  But the yarn is really nice and it was expensive.  So, after much contemplation I decided to re-purpose the yarn into another blanket.

This time around I decided to do a granny square with size K hook. I choose the particular block because,
1. It's easy.
2. It hides flaws in the yarn (from undoing the blanket)
3. It hides mistakes.
4. Since it's blocks it makes it easier to make a square blanket.
5.  I think if I shuffled around the different shades I could get it to look pretty good and not as tacky.

My new goal was to have to blocks completed by the end of January.  I'm proud to announce that 137 blocks later, I finished my last one last night!!  Here they are, stacking against the wall.

So, My next dilemma is this: how to sew them together.  I started out with a full/queen size blanket, and I now I have 137 5-inch blocks.  While I would make a few more to get the exact number I need, I don't want to be crocheting the 123 blocks I would need to make it the same size as before. 

I do have enough to make a smaller twin size blanket, but I'm not sure what purpose that would serve at my house where we have a queen size bed and a crib.  I thought about making a throw, but that would make either 1 really big one or 2 smaller ones.  I was thinking about making one all black, and then maybe getting red or white and making a checkerboard out of the other one.  But my living room color scheme doesn't match, so the next question is who wants one?