Friday, December 17, 2010

Run straight into my mouth Mr. Gingerbread man!

Gingerbread. Mmmmm. It smells so delicious from start to finish, and this recipe is easy to work with and (gasp) does not require refrigeration!

I found an "old" recipe buried in a box I had packed years ago. I am still not sure of its source, and I had to modify it from what I had written down because it was for gingerbread cake (still nom-a-licious!) not for gingerbread cookies. Well, no problem right? Just throw a little more flour in there and voila, we're good to go!

Ok, I added spices too, don't want a tasteless cookie here people! These do have the Kyle stamp of approval, as I woke him up at 4 am with some fresh cookies and coffee and he wasn't mad!

Gingerbread cookies:

1/2 c Sugar
1/4 c Butter
1/4 c Butter Flavored Crisco or other shortening (I guess since you're using butter, non-butter flavored would be ok. I used the butter flavored though.)
1 Large Egg
1 c Molasses
4 1/2 cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt

Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and molasses.

Creamed sugar & shortening/butter mixture with added egg and molasses.
 While that is mixing up, put all of your dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. I am far too lazy to sift the heck out of things, and this works just fine.

Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet mixture, about 1/2-to 1 cup at a time.

Keep adding the dry ingredients until the dough gets too stiff for your mixer (I'm terrified of breaking my lovely KitchenAid and don't have a dough hook, boo!)

I mixed the rest of the flour in by hand(s) in the bowl. If you wanted to, I suppose you could knead it in. I didn't feel like doing that.

Turn out onto parchment or waxed paper and smash dough together nice and good a few times. Get all of those holiday frustrations out! BAM, KAPOW, POWIE! Ok, don't beat your dough too hard, but you get my drift.

I then divided mine into three balls and worked each one in my hands until it was nice and smooth.

Yay, pretty dough balls! Now we get to let it rest for a few minutes. Get your rolling pin ready. I did a University of Cookie tip and rolled mine between two sheets of parchment paper because I, well, wasn't using an actual rolling pin.

Meet my friend, Mr. Thermos:

 Yes I did.

Roll them about 1/4 inch thick, cut with floured cookie cutters, and bake on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for about 7-9 minutes at 350 degrees.

 I let mine cool on the pans for a couple minutes, then moved to racks.

Then I tested a few.

Don't mind me, it was 3am.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Apple Fritters

I got frustrated when I looked online and couldn't find an apple fritter recipe to match those you find in a donut shop. So I went on a baking mission today to get it right. According to my critics (my neighbors, roommate, and boyfriend) these are the real deal. 
The fresh apples, combined with the simple ingredients make them oh-so-delicious, and easy enough for anyone with patience to make.

NOTE: As with most of my recipes, this makes a lot. I ended up with about 2 dozen fritters, give or take. If you make them "donut shop size", then you will probably end up with about a dozen or so. 

4 Granny Smith Apples
3 c Flour
1c Sugar
2.5 tsp Cinnamon
Dash  Ground Cloves
tsp Salt
tbsp Baking Powder

1 c Milk
3 Eggs

Oil to fry.

3c Powdered Sugar
¼ tsp Vanilla
1/3c Milk
Double glaze recipe if dipping both sides (which I did).

For fritters:
Peel and core apples. Chop into pieces, about 1/4 to 1/3 inch is good, it doesn't have to be exact. Chunks are ok! Set aside.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. 

In a separate bowl, mix milk and eggs lightly. Mix with dry ingredients until combined. Fold in apples.

Make glaze by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl slightly larger than the fritters you will be making, set aside.

I used about 2 inches of oil to fry the fritters in. It's hard to say how long exactly you need to fry on each side as it depends on how big you make your fritters. When they're golden brown, flip them. When that side is golden brown, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil. 

Place freshly removed fritters on paper towels to absorb some oil. Place a paper towel on the top of the fritter(s) as well. After a minute or two, dip one or both sides into the glaze using a fork. Let excess glaze run off of the fritter, and place on a cooling rack with aluminum foil or paper towels underneath. You can improvise this, they will just have a little more glaze.

Keep going until all the dough is used up, and enjoy! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Delicious Vegetarian Enchiladas

I love these, even though they're vegetarian! Just kind of threw together the recipe one day several days ago and stumbled upon it today, so I thought I would share it with you guys. Enjoy! I'm not the biggest fan of corn tortillas unless they are fresh, and I've never made them fresh (I have the stuff to make them now, so I will be trying this soon). I just go with flour tortillas. You can always go with store bought, the fresh ones just taste so yummy.

Flour tortillas:

2c flour
1 1/2 Tsp Baking powder
1 Tsp Salt (really makes a difference)
2 Tsp Vegi Oil
3/4 c Lukewarm milk

Combine dry ingredients. In a sep. bowl, wisk the wet together and slowly add to flour mixture.

The dough will be sticky. Knead for 2 minutes (will remove stickiness) set aside and cover with cloth for 20 minutes. The dough will not rise, but it needs to rest.
Divide dough in to 8 balls. Roll out on floured surface until they are as thin as you want them (with this recipe they do rise while cooking a little, so you want them as thin as you can get them unless you want pita style)

Throw on a griddle (30 seconds each side)

Picture Via Tales of A Happy Housewife

Enchalada insides:

2 Herloom portabella mushrooms
2 cups regular mushrooms
1 each (3 total) Bell peppers: Red, yellow, green
1/4 c onion
2 tomatos
Butter for pan
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cans enchalada sauce
LOTS of cheese (or none)

cut everything up small, throw all but tomatos in a large frying pan, add about 1/2 c water.

Take another pan, put in one can of sauce, and add the tomatos and taco seasoning.

Add a scoop or two of the sauce to the veggies.

Once everything is all cooked up, take the tortillas one by one, put some cheese in it, add as much stuffing as you can, wrap it up and throw it bottom side (seam) in a non-stick baking pan. Once your pan is full, throw it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese you sprinkled on the top has melted completely.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Home Made Dishwasher Detergent

After Katie showed me how easy it was to make the laundry detergent, I decided that I would give dishwasher detergent a go. We were out of the store bought stuff, so I headed off to the grocer to buy what I needed for both (since they're the same thing!).

See the orange Kool-Aid? Yeah, don't use that.
Super easy to do. All you have to do is mix 1 part washing soda with one part borax, and throw in a packet or two of LEMONAID Kool-Aid (for the citric acid). I used orange. Not my best idea ever, but it gets me through.

I also use vinegar as my rinsing aid for super sparkling dishes.

Mix the Borax and Washing Soda together in a air tight container.

Use one TBS in the pre-wash and one TBS in the wash, and use vinegar for a rinse aid for nice, clean dishes at a fraction of the cost!

*note* if you're having a problem with cloudy dishes, try mixing the dish soap with a little water before you put it in the dishwasher and it should be better :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent!

OK, so for the past year I've been making my own laundry detergent. I started for a few different reasons: Seth (my oldest son) has horrible eczema, I hate the smell of most detergents and I wanted to save money. So today I'm sharing this recipe.

I looked for a lot of recipes and all of them are about the same ingredients. I have only used the powdered recipe but they do have liquid recipes and I will post those also.

Powdered Laundry Detergent:

1 cup/bar grated Fels Naptha

1/2 cup 20 mule team Borax

1/2 cup Washing Soda (please be sure to get Washing Soda)

Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light or small loads, use 1 tablespoon. For normal loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons. Cost per load .15.

Liquid R
ecipe #1:

3 Pints Water

1/3 bar grated Fels Naptha Soap

1/2 cup Washing Soda

1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

2 Gallon bucket to mix it in

1 Quart hot water Hot Water

Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket completely with additional hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. You may add additional HOT water if the mixture becomes too thick. Mix Well before each use. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load. Makes 64 loads. Cost per load .03.

Liquid Recipe #2:


1 bar grated Fels Naptha soap

5 gallon bucket

1 cup washing soda

1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

4 1/2 gallons water

Put grated Fels Naptha in saucepan and cover with water. Heat on low until dissolved. Fill bucket with hot water and add soap. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup borax and mix well. As it cools, it will thicken. If mixture becomes too thick, add hot water to thin it to desired consistency. May be used immediately. Mix well before each use. Use 1/2(normal) to 1 cup per load (heavy). Cost per load .04.

-You won't see suds with this detergent, this is totally normal-

*Fels Naptha is also a great stain remover. Dampen the stain and rub with the bar to pre-treat

**All of these ingredients are usually located on the laundry detergent aisle at the grocery store. Fels Naptha bar is about $1.29, 3 lb Box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda about $3.00 and 4 lb box of Borax is about $4.00. The Borax and Washing Soda will last quite some time.**

Edit: Prices have all gone up on the ingredients (as of 8/25/2012), but they have also gone up for regular detergent. Fels Naptha bars have gone up to about $1.79, Washing Soda is now about $4, and Borax is now about $5.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My newest projects

Hello all! Sorry I haven't posted in a bit, life is insane. The Army likes to keeps the hubs busy and I've been spending lots of time with our Valarie, effectively keeping both of us from posting.

Anyways I figured I'd share some of the recent sewing projects.
My BIG sewing bag!

My sewing kit

and my personal fav; My Skull and Crossbone Dishcloth
-very easy pattern-

Please feel free to ask for the sewing pattern numbers or for the knitting pattern (we would love to see the completed projects)

**I'd also like to give you all a heads up, Valarie and I will be making a 1950's dress and also we will be knitting some snoods (40s-50s knit hair net) soon so keep your eyes peeled!!!

**Also feel free to send us ideas of what you would like to see, we are both always looking for new ideas

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pillow Case Dresses!

I made some pillow case dresses for a dear friend of mine, and I just had to share some pictures of the finished products. They are so easy to do, I recommend them as a beginner project for anyone new to sewing! I didn't realize I hadn't done so already. I just love the fabric, all of which I got on sale from Joann's, and the ribbon is from Joann's as well. Boyfriend not for sale.

Don't mind my handsome model ;) 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My first experience with fondant

For my brothers' friends birthday, I made a Mario 1-Up cake with Marshmallow Fondant. It was much easier than I thought it would be! The cake had a chocolate base with chocolate frosting, and I covered that with the fondant.

We also got him an ice cream cake.

Warning, video has naughty language, but it's funny.

The Marshmallow fondant was really easy to make.

I don't remember where I found the recipe, there are numerous ones online.

You basically take mini marshmallows, add a bit of vanilla (how strong depends on how much you like vanilla), splash water in with your fingers, pop it in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, and heat in 10-15 second incriments until the marshmallows are soft and fluffy looking. You don't want to over do it.

Then you mix them all up. If you're going to add color, now is the time. Gel coloring is the best to use. Mix it in with a tooth pick, then mix the marshmallows up with a buttered spoon.

Toss in a little powdered sugar until it starts to get stiff. Then you're going to need to knead it. I always butter my hands when it comes to this part. You want to keep adding powdered sugar by kneading until the fondant is nice and stiff. If it is TOO stiff, you can add a little butter.

I've heard that this stuff has a shelf life of 3 months, but I don't know about that. Make sure you sprinkle something when you go to roll it out, or it will stick like mad!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My first videos!

I'm sorry they're not the best quality, but it's my first go at knitting videos! My cousin asked for a little knitting assistance, and it was Valarie to the rescue.

How to knit Garter Stitch and Bind Off:

Garter Stitch, Yarn Overs (YO), and Knitting 2 Together ( K 2 Tog):

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to do the Knit stitch

Start out with a few stitches on your needles. The amount doesn't matter, it's best to just practice a little before you start a big project anyways. A beginner project that doesn't have any real purpose can be called a "swatch".

Now on to knitting. Cast on your desired number of stitches using the method you like or know how. Ten or twenty are good numbers to work with if you're just practicing.

To begin, make sure you hold your loose thread (tail) away to make sure that you don't knit that instead of the working yarn, like so:
You can see the working yarn dangling down the back of my fingers.

Next, set your second needle on the LEFT of the stitch closest to the end of the needle:

Take the needle and stick it through the stitch, from the left to the back.

Now take the working yarn and "grab" it with your needle, pulling it through the stitch.

Take the newly made stitch and slide it off the first needle on to the second needle.

Congratulations, you have made your first knit stitch!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

One of many addictions

I'm not going to lie- when it comes to crafting, baking, etc, I have a few addictions. Cookbooks, especially the vintage kind, have a very special place in my heart. While I typically end up just using the recipe as a guideline (yes, I'm one of THOSE people), I still love reading through books to get ideas. The more pictures, the better. Maybe one day I will have my own cookbook (HA, yeah, right).

This is part of my collection, there are a few laying round somewhere else but I couldn't find them.

 I think my two favorites are the Williams-Sonoma "Essentials of Baking" and "The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book, Wartime Edition (1942)" that I got as a birthday present.

I recommend the WS book for anyone that is interested in baking but doesn't have much experience. They have a wonderful way of explaining how to do things, there are pictures of techniques as well as detailed instructions, and troubleshooting pages (which I love). They also have a section on what different types of equipment and how to use them.

What is your favorite cook book?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day to all you wonderful mommies out there!

A special "thank you" and happy mommies day to my amazing mom, Robin. Thank you for everything you've done mommy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Grocery Game

I finally did it. I signed up for the grocery game, and I am going to stick to it for the whole 4 week free trial. I will document my savings and let you guys know how it goes. If you want to try it out, PLEASE use me as a referral! The email is [email protected]

You can check it out at

I will be posting after each grocery trip. My first one will be on Sunday, after I get the paper and can clip some coupons.

This should be fun!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sorry I've been away.

You may have noticed there haven't been many posts from me lately. I was pretty sick. On Friday, the 23rd, I was in so much pain that Kyle ended up making me go to the Emergency Room around 4AM (now Saturday). They found a 3 cm gall stone, sent me home with pain meds, and told me to call to schedule surgery. Sunday I spiked a fever and my pain got worse so I went back to the ER. They admitted me. I had surgery to remove my gall bladder on Thursday. I've been in the hospital for the last week, they just discharged me yesterday.

I got a call while I was in the hospital from my job. They fired me for being "unable to perform my duties". I had been keeping in contact with them as much as possible considering I was unconscious most of the time, sending emails as soon as I knew anything new, but obviously that wasn't enough for them. That really made me lose it- I almost had to be sedated.

So I'm trying to figure stuff out, how we're going to deal with me losing my job and still pay rent, and all that fun stuff. I'm stressing out and freaking out, but trying not to stress myself out more so that I can heal.

I just wanted to update everyone about what was going on.

Edit: Sorry for any typos, I'm still on a ton of pain medication.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dragon Apron in Photos (VERY image rich!)

Katie helped me with my first major sewing project- an apron! Probably should have done something a little easier for the first time. I could not have done it without her! She did so much (well over 1/2 of the sewing!) , it was wonderful.

Now the pictures: