Archive | November, 2010

Sew a Coloring Case For Your Little Artist

30 Nov

She loved it!

Are you looking for a simple creative gift to make this Holiday season?  Sew up a coloring case for the little artist in your life.  I recently made one for my five year old cousin and it was quite a hit!  I actually had something similar growing up that I remember enjoying a lot.  It was great having my crayons together with my coloring book so I didn’t have to go find crayons when I wanted to color. You will need 1/2 yard of fabric , thread, and matching double fold bias tape.  Either choose a sturdy fabric like I did or you may want to line the bag and use batting for added support.  Upholstery fabric scraps would also work great for this project.

Cut a piece of fabric 12.5" X 38". Also cut 2 strips of fabric 12.5" X 3"

Sew bias tape to the short ends of your rectangle. I like to use double fold bias tape as it seems the easiest to work with.

Fold down the right side 8" and pin in place. Fold the left side down 12" and pin in place. Sew along the top and bottom.

To make the crayon holders fold down 4" on the left side and sew along the top and bottom. Then sew a straight line every 1" a little bit shorter than the length of your crayon as shown. (You could also use colored pencils or markers). This only holds 11 crayons but no one ever uses white anyway. If you would like for it to hold 12 increase the dimensions to 14X38.

With right sides together sew each tube using a tiny seam allowance (1/4"). Turn right side out and sew across ends. Press handles.

Attach handles to bag.

Insert crayons and a new coloring book and you are finished!

Notes: You could also easily sew a pocket on the opposite side from the crayons.  I am looking forward to making one for Eli whenever he learns to color.  Right now he just eats crayons. 🙂  I think this would be a great thing to take along on car rides to Grandmas.

Apple French Toast Strata

29 Nov

A Wonderful Breakfast Treat Perfect for the Holidays

Are you looking for a special breakfast dish for the upcoming holidays?  Try this simple and delicious recipe for caramel apple french toast strata.  It is delicious and great for company.  We recently had it when my sisters were visiting.  It is also a great way to use up stale bread.  I made it with bread that Brandon thought tasted too healthy. 🙂 

Cube 5 slices of bread and place in the bottom of a 7X9 pan or double the recipe and use a 9X13. Then cube 4 oz. cream cheese and place on top. Slice 2 apples and lay on top of the bread cubes and cream cheese.

Add 1/2 cup of sliced almonds if you like.

 

Combine 4 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 T cinnamon. Beat well and pour over bread mixture.

In a small saucepan combine 6 T. butter, and 6 T. brown sugar. (You can also use 1 T corn syrup to make a thicker syrup). Bring to a boil and then pour over the mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Before serving dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Eli playing while I cooked

Thanksgiving Celebrations Part 1

26 Nov

Eli all ready to head to Mamaw and Papaw's house to spend the night.

Eli loves spending time with Mamaw

Anna and Kate

Papaw and Eli

Interesting table decorations. I think my grandparents won them maybe?

Aunt Christy working hard. I love eating on china.

Eli-I think I like turkey and green beans

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

23 Nov

Yummy pumpkin spice latte perfect for Thanksgiving week

I happen to be one of those gals who loves fancy coffee drinks.  What I don’t love is their price tag.  If you haven’t visited a coffee shop lately you might be shocked to learn that most drinks cost around $4.  One of my favorite drinks in the fall happens to be a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I do visit coffee shops on occasion but they are a rare treat for me.  Instead I am often coming up with my own version at home.  It’s fairly simple but I’ll warn you.  Once you make one and see how easy it is it will be hard for you to plop down $4 at Starbucks. 🙂  

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. milk-any will do but skim milk actually gets the most frothy
  • 2 T. pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 2 T. sugar I used sucanat
  • 1 T. vanilla-yes a whole tablespoon!
  • 1 t. pumpkin pie spice.  If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice then I would substitute: 1/4 t. nutmeg, 3/4 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. ginger.
  • 1/2 c. hot strong coffee-you could also use 1/4 c. espresso but I don’t have an espresso machine. 

Heat milk on medium heat. Skim milk works really well as it gets nice and frothy.

Add pumpkin puree and sugar (I used sucanat which is why it is a brown color)

When it is steaming remove from heat and stir in pumpkin pie spice (or the substitution) and vanilla.

Pour in strong coffee or espresso and enjoy!

It is best topped with whipped cream and enjoyed with a friend.

Review: Pro Hair Care: Salon Secrets of the Professionals

22 Nov

Pro Hair Care: Salon Secrets of the Professionals

I recently picked up the book Pro Hair Care: Salon Secrets of the Professionals from our library.  It is probably the first book on hair care that I have ever picked up and I found it very helpful.  It covers everything from hair anatomy, dietary guidelines to step by step instructions on how to use various styling tools.  I really enjoyed how the book went through different styling products.  The color photos which illustrate how to achieve different looks were wonderful.  I think I will be trying a new style in the morning.  Probably the only thing I didn’t care for about the book was that it included a couple of examples on how to style guy hair (not a priority at all of mine-I don’t like guys who spend more time on their hair than I do). 🙂  Overall a fun book.  It would be great to use and have a friend over and experiment on each other!  Now if I only had a little more time to spend on my hair every morning. 🙂

How to make homemade pumpkin puree

22 Nov

Last week I decided that I was feeling adventurous I guess you could say. I decided it was time for us to eat our porch decoration. Random I know! 🙂

Last week I decided I was not paying the exorbitant price for a can of pumpkin and decided to make my own using our front porch decoration.  It really wasn’t that difficult at all and I now have about 15 bags of pumpkin puree in my freezer all ready for muffins, bread, pies, baby food, and anything else I come up with in the next month or so.  It does take a couple of hours from start to finish but is definitely worth it. 

Rinse and dry your pumpkin.

Remove the top portion by using a very sharp knife. It's easier to remove if you don't pull the top off like I did. 🙂

Remove the stem/top portion and discard. Keep the pumpkin seeds if you plan on roasting and eating them later.

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all of the gunk (saving seeds if desired).

Place half of pumpkin inside side down. Add about 1 cup of water to the pan. Since my pumpkin was very large I used a disposable turkey pan.

Remove the outer skin on the pumpkin. Allow pumpkin to cool for a while. Cut the pumpkin into pieces and either place in a food processor/blender or I placed them all in a very large pot and used an immersion blender to puree.

Elijah enjoying homemade pumpkin puree for the first time

Yummy! He likes pumpkin a lot. Especially mixed with a little homemade applesauce Mamaw made. 🙂

Notes: I paid only 2.49 for my pumpkin about a month ago.  Although it was a little bit of work I estimate that we saved about $20 by making our own pumpkin puree.  We have really enjoyed having it serve as a fun fall decoration on our porch and now we are enjoying it now in a variety of dishes.  So far we have made: pumpkin waffles, muffins, bread, polenta, and a pumpkin pie latte.

Sesame Garlic Italian Bread

18 Nov

Serve this alongside some homemade lasagna or spaghetti and your husband will think you hung the moon.

Are you looking for a new way to jazz up a simple Italian meal?  Try this delicious Italian bread.  It is beautiful but not difficult at all.  Don’t be intimidated by how it looks! 

In a mixer fitted with dough hooks (or a bread machine set on the knead cycle) combine:

  • 1 1/2 c. warm water
  • 3 T. powdered milk
  • 2 c. bread flour-you could also use whole wheat bread flour (I think this is what I used I can’t remember)
  • 2 T. yeast
  • Mix all of this briefly.  Then add:
  • 1/4 c. sugar-granulated regular sugar or raw.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 T. minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 t. salt 
  • 1/2 c. oil-I like canola. 
  • Mix together and then add flour 1 cup at a time.  I ended up using about 4 1/2 c. at this step.  Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes.  Remove dough from mixer and place on a lightly floured surface.  Divide dough into 2 parts. 

Take each dough portion and roll it into a rectangle roughly 14X10. Spread with butter (softened) and sprinkle lightly with parsley flakes, parmesan cheese, and garlic salt.

Roll up tight like a jelly roll: start from the long side and roll to the other long side.

Slice rolled dough in half down the middle. Then twist together loosely. Make sure to pinch the ends together.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, parley flakes, and sesame seeds. Let rise about 30-40 minutes. bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

Note: This recipe does make 2 loaves.  You could easily half the recipe.  I usually do make 2 loaves and wrap one very tightly and place in the freezer.  The bread easily stays fresh for days.  (I do keep mine wrapped tightly with plastic wrap).  This bread is also wonderful alongside soup.  A perfect way to round out a meal.  Try some today!