Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tooth Fairy Door Hanger Craft

When I was a child I remember putting my tooth under my pillow and in the morning like magic the tooth fairy would have exchanged the tooth for money. Now that I have kids of my own I often wondered how the "tooth fairy" made that exchange without waking me up. Have you seen the size of a 6 year old's baby tooth, they are so tiny!! And where on earth is it under this huge pillow?! So with that in mind, when my daughter started to lose her teeth we would put the tooth in a bowl on her doll house by the door. During the exchange I would hear a suspicious tinkling sound as the sleepy tooth fairy fumbled to find the tooth in the bowl. And our tooth fairy is, by nature always in a hurry (even in her sleep) so we thought we would make things easier for her. I made this tooth fairy door hanger by drawing a tooth template on paper, and cut two out of fabric, then sewed the two tooth pieces together using my machine, (using 1/4" seam allowance) making sure to leave a hole to then turn inside out and stuffed with cotton balls (as I'm into using whatever you have around the house and I was out of pillow batting). Once stuffed I sewed the hole shut, drew on some eyes with a Sharpie (next time I will get the eyes more even, ha, ha I think she's winking!) Or maybe it's bad Botox! Then I made a tutu with some left over fabric from another project, ruffled it using the Bernina ruffling foot attachment, love, love that foot!! Cut out a simple purse from a bamboo felt scrap, and went to town with the hot glue gun, gluing on rhinestones into a crown on her head, on her tutu, purse, and glued on a leftover piece of gold braided rope for the door hanger part. The one pictured here was the trial/first one made, the changes I would make to improve upon it would be using tulle for the tutu instead of what I used. I would use coordinating ribbon for the hanger part. I would do a better job at drawing eyes or maybe even get some googly ones and hot glue on instead. I will improve upon this rough draft and the real thing can be viewed or purchased on my website soon. This one has a purse that has a small pocket for the tooth in the front of the purse and the other part of the purse holds the cash! 4/13/12 I added a pic of the template I drew for the tooth pattern and the second tooth fairy door hanger I made. This time I did a heart pocket on the front of the tooth and a bigger pocket on the back for the money. Didn't do the face and used tulle.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another use for Nutella, yes I think so!!

One of my favorite desserts (and I have lots of them) would have to be eclairs. And I make them at home all the time. One day I got lazy and didn't want to make chocolate frosting, but really wanted to eat a yummy eclair. So...I improvised, and it ended up even better I think! I frosted them with Nutella. If you aren't familiar with this product, I'm sorry, but you are missing out! It is a chocolate/hazelnut spread and it's delicious. I use the Betty Crocker (red bible, cookbook) cream puff recipe for the eclair shells. Put the dough into a disposable pastry bag with a hole cut in the bottom. Pipe out onto a greased cookie sheet and bake according to the directions. I fill with instant vanilla pudding, also piped into the shell using a pastry bag. Then frost with Nutella. And yes...that is my bite out of the eclair in the picture, it was delish! Yet another use for Nutella spread!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Home on the Range

At the ranch baby lambs are starting to be born, one of my most favorite things that happens every spring.  During the summer time the herds go on the mountain to graze. While they are out on the mountain range they need constant watch care by a good shepherd. These sheepherders need a place to call home during this time. These rustic homes are called sheep camps. They are similar to a camper or trailer but with some differences. They are made to pull behind a pick up truck, up and down steep terrain. They are equipped with a wood burning stove for warmth, a bed to crash on, a pull out table to eat on. Which brings me to the inspiration for this post. My father in law has one of these camps that lives at my house when not in use. I walked by it the other day to check on our bees and it brought back some pretty sweet memories. When I was young, one of my favorite things was to go to the herd with my dad to check on the sheep, the herder, bring supplies and move the camp closer to the grazing herd. When we got done with our work the herder would make us home-made tortillas on his wood burning stove. I have made tortillas so many times, but can never get close to the taste that he was able to create in that rustic camp. We ate them with only butter but they were fantastic. I can't walk by a sheep camp or eat a hot tortilla without thinking of our trips to the sheep range. If you ever get a chance to eat a mutton and sour dough dinner made by a real sheepherder, made in a real sheep camp, don't pass it up!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Highly Explosive Cheesecake!

Today I'm blogging about a recent mishap with a cheesecake. I have made cheesecake many, many times. And have (until this one) had much success. My husband loves cheesecake and so for his birthday every year I make him one. Well I love Food Network and when the satellite is turned on at our house I get my fill of cooking shows! (We only have satellite tv about 2-3 times a year for a few weeks at a time, long story, we will save that for another day!) So I saw Paula Dean making this yummy looking cheesecake, and thought to myself; "I should try that recipe for a change". (p.s. don't try something new on an important day, just saying). So I followed the instructions and it recommended cooking the cheesecake in a water bath to keep it moist and  to keep it from cracking, I baked it for the recommended time, took it out, examined it, didn't look done, so put it back in for about 5-7 more min. What happened next was very sad Y'all! (sorry had a Paula Dean moment) I opened the oven door to find that the cake had totally exploded! And of course I had just cleaned the oven the day before, what are the odds?? Hmmm....too late to make another cake, expectations high, what to do?? Well Y'all I told my hubby that my love for him just couldn't be contained! There was so much love baked into the cake that it exploded! It tasted great despite it's poor appearance. And no disrespect to Miss Paula Dean, I'm sure it was not the recipe, but pilot error! I don't usually brag about my failures but I figure everyone has them, why not share and laugh about them once in a while!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Go Have Fun!

As parents we have many responsibilities and things we must do everyday. My challenge today is to not forget or get too busy to have fun with your kids everyday! They are only young once and they grow up so fast, so get out there and enjoy your kiddos! Today for fun we did something my dad used to do with us as kids. We hooked an old car hood to the four wheeler and pulled the kids around on the snow. You may see this as a little redneck,  I prefer the term recycling. And it's darn fun!! They slip and slide so good!! Have fun today!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Suspicious Spinach!

Spring is coming...I think! (Currently there is a new blanket of white snow on the ground here). But in a few weeks, (weather permitting) I will plant the early veggies in my garden. I love to get lost in seed catalogs this time of year and dream of all the things I want to plant and how I want it to look and taste. For lunch I had a spinach salad and as I opened the plastic container that reads "Organic Baby Spinach" I see a leaf with a few holes in it. Now to the untrained eye these could have happened during handling, packaging, or maybe it  grew that way. But I know better, they are munch holes from some little insect living in the field where this spinach was grown. Some might be grossed out by the thought of bugs on their food, but I have come to the realization that for me bugs are better than the alternative (food treated with pesticide). There are many reasons I plant, water, tend, harvest, sweat and work hard to produce a garden every year, the first is that I enjoy it very much. My mom always said "it's cheaper than therapy" and I agree, it is great for emotional and physical health! But another reason is that I know everything I did to the food that was grown in my garden.And when I serve it to my family I know there are no harmful chemicals used. Now having said that, I know why farmers feel the need to use these chemicals, when people buy a head of lettuce in the grocery store will they pass it by because it has chew marks taken out of it? Probably! But not by me, I get a little nervous when things look too good! I have had many battles with bugs in my garden, but avoid the use of pesticides and chemicals. That means getting creative to find other means dealing with the little "buggers". I have decided that I'm willing to share with the bugs. As long as they don't get more of the food than we do, we have no problem. (Except squash bugs, those nasty things are my mortal enemy and I have a strict kill on site relationship with them!) Since no amount of pesticide could kill those things I physically dispose of these little guys. I bring this up today to get us thinking, "is what I am feeding my family safe?" We live in a place where we have just about any food we want, whenever we want it. There is a movement towards food that is grown in a safer way. I realize this costs more, but we must think if we are what we eat, no wonder there is such a rampant increase of cancer and other yucky ailments. So next time you see a bug in your lettuce or a bite taken out of your spinach leaf, just think, "could be worse, could have been heavily treated with pesticide". By the way excuse the bad nail polish, i haven't had a professional mani in years!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shared Recipe: "Magic" German Pancakes & Special Syrup

Today I'm sharing a favorite family recipe. My mom used to make these for me and my sister when we were little and my kids love them!! I think they love them because they grow out of the pan, and of course they taste so good. But you could put this syrup on a piece of cardboard and it would probably go down! When making these, make sure to turn on the light in the oven and watch them grow! But don't open the door until they are done, (or it will fall).
Magic (German) Pancakes:
1 Cup Flour                                 
6 Eggs
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tbls Butter
Mix all ingredients (except butter) until smooth. Preheat bottom  (your biggest) oven to 425 degrees, when heated put butter into 9x13 pan and put in oven until melted, then pour in batter, Do NOT Stir! Bake and watch rise for 15 min. (Note in my photo of them that they are golden brown in the middle and a little too over done on the corners, hence the bottom oven instruction!) They should be golden brown and grown out of pan.
Special Syrup:
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Stick Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
Melt all syrup ingredients together in saucepan until boils then put into blender, (Cocoa Motion machine works too!) Mix in blender for 1 minute and serve over pancakes, enjoy! P.S. this is not allowed on any diet!! I have done lots of variations of this recipe, I like peaches and strawberries added the best!