Monday, March 28, 2011

Toasted Hazelnut Butter..

For some reason the other day, while still sick I got to thinking Oh My God I want to make home made nut butters!! I have tons of nuts in the freezer I should! I went looking around and realized all it took was a food processor and nuts. Oil if you need to thin a bit and seasonings if you want to change up the flavor. How simple is that!!


















So this morning, ok more noon cause I slept late and had a nice hour long phone call and then let my hazelnuts come to room temp after the freezer I started my toasting. I will say so far my first complaint would be the skins!! I have about 4 bags of hazelnuts in the freezer of course skins on. I read you can toast them and put them in a towel and rub and they come right off!! Uhm.. I am not having that easy of a time.. I pick out the few I can get and back in the oven. I am watching patiently in hopes to NOT burn them cause Ewww to burnt hazelnut butter!!! I have about a cup left out of the 2 cups that are fighting me and I just may say screw it and leave on what is left! If anyone has better suggestions let me know!! Otherwise People look for raw unskinned and shelled nuts haha!

After an hour I finally just put the last oh 15 or so nuts with whatever skin they had on in it and the food processor is running!!!


So as it runs I stop and scrape down the paste and let it buzz again. I realize yup pretty thick and think ok lets start with vanilla cause I love vanilla and it can't hurt it right! so I drizzle a little in and let it keep buzzing. Still pretty thick so remembering all my various readings I drizzle in some olive oil a little at a time and just go on until it looks like what I want. I did add a pinch of cinnamon and a couple pinches of kosher salt ( the only salt other than sea that I will use!) and give it a taste. Wow intensely hazelnut!! Good but maybe too intense for me?

My favorite way to eat peanut butter is on a toasted whole wheat muffin with banana a honey. So I put the Hazelnut butter to the test that way, really the reason I made it was to have it that way and to try to make nut butter haha. So I did and it is not bad at all!! I may still like the peanut butter better but I am so glad I tried to make this, I will definitely make other kinds just to see how they taste and I will enjoy this one :).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blankets!!

Yup I jumped on that band wagon of tie fleece blankets! Among my baking and attempting to sew I thought OH! I can make blankets too! of course like a nut I did not take Pictures of all that I made including the one for Erik and the one for Slater. But I have the 2 I made myself, the one I made Cori and the 1 I made Cooper! so here is the first one my awesome colorful skulls. In case you can not tell I quite enjoy my punk rock side and skulls ;). I am on a massive skull kick and when I found this material it was because I really wanted to try to make a rag quilt. Sadly the Snuggle Flannel of this print is impossible to find, so sad :(. BUT My awesome friend Pati found the fleece in IN and sent me some.. YAY HER!! so I have an awesome Skull and Pink blanket of which I am snuggled up in as I type!!

Next I have My other blanket, may as well get myself out of the way first hahaha. I went hoping to find the above material, instead I found a pretty black red and white one. And what is stashed among the big huge Hawaiian like print??  Why skulls of course ha ha Love it!!
 To keep with the skull theme we will come to Cori's blanket. A 10 year old very much like her Daddy. I made him a cool dragon blanket and he wanted an identical one for his baby. Well when I went back sadly the material was gone. She is a bit of a tom boy and even likes her skulls ha ha. So I found this cute rocker fleece and went with it!

Finally I have Cooper's blanket, Slater's was a cute Alligator blanket and I so wish that I had a picture of it but I have Coop's and that works! Cooper has been playing Hockey so when we found the hockey sticks and puck's I knew which he was going to get!!  Apparently both boys loved their blankets which made me super happy!!

The other Bags!

So the bags, as I said Mom and I decided we needed to make everyone a shopping bag for Christmas!! Pattern number is in the Flamingo post below cause I am simply not getting up again :P. The first one I made all by my lonesome was the one to the left from my Grandma's pretty blue and yellow flower material. I also made an apron like the flamingo one but apparently am lacking the picture. After the first couple the flaps on the side we decided were just not necessary and people kept asking us what they were for; they are for attaching to the bag stands at stores but apparently not necessary. So all further bags do not have them!


The next set of pictures are the two bags we made my Aunt and Uncle. They spend a lot of time on the boat and at the beach as soon as the weather is warm in Massachusetts. So we felt the cute sail boat material would be appropriate! Of course my first lesson was pay attention to the direction of the fabric!! Which I failed to do with the flamingos haha.   
                                                                                                


The next set are the ones that we made for each of my Grandma's One got the bright colored floral like design the other got the country blue that has a specific name that is completely escaping me at the moment!!











Next we have my Sis-in-Law Ashley's.. She likes cute things and we found this adorable flip flop material and decided for Ash it would be perfect!!
And finally we decided we wanted to try and take this pattern and make a smaller version. So we took the pattern and using my baking parchment paper we cut a smaller pattern. For some reason the only picture I have on hand would be the adorable Pink and Black skulls I made for Cori ( the boyfriends 10 year old daughter!) and I made sure to have enough material for myself later!! I love it and she is using it for her swim meets!! Super happy about that!

this little bag is so my favorite, mostly because it is just so damn cute!! Either way I have stacks of material cut out and bags to sew.. so I guess my cooking/baking blog just grew to include crafts!

Earrings..

I have been playing with Jewelry for some time, maybe not perfect but I am quite proud of most of them. Lately my thing has been Earrings! So easy and you can do so many different things. Now if only I can learn how to take proper pictures of them all you could actually see them in all their glory!!! I usually do not like Gold, but the beads to the right were calling to me and I decided I would dabble with a bit of gold. I wanted to make a select number and let my Mommy chose some of her liking. Luckily that pair she didn't choose as it was my favorite, sadly Marlo did haha!! I went back and the beads were no more!! I will keep my eyes out and hope that I stumble across at least one more set for myself! The other pair I simply wanted more Red and Gold! well that and my Mommy has been looking for Red earrings forever! She chose both other Red pairs but not my favorite pair, They just made me think of Bollywood!! I did make one little pair out of silver because well silver is my preference!! And I seem to make what I like haha!










The pair below is one of the few orange pieces that I have ever made. During my last trip to IN last summer I visited my favorite bead store in Mishawaka and when I saw these I had to buy them. I have had the beads for over 6 months before I finally came up with how I wanted to use them!


These two sets of flowers were actually beads that were suppose to be used for bracelets, but I thought they would make darling earings. Of course Mommy chose the white ones which I did not expect at all! They are super cute!                                                                      















These were another set of interesting beads that caught my eye, I have them in 3 colors this pretty blue, a white and a green. Not sure which of the 3 is my favorite but I like them all!

And holy smokes was trying to fit all these damn pictures a pain! I wanted these all here though, they were all one sitting lol

Marlo's Christmas Gift!!

My Best Friend Marlo loves Flamingos!! So I always try to make sure I get her something flamingo for both her birthday and Christmas; I have been doing this forever!! Seeing as we have been bestest friends since 6th grade that is a LONG time ;). So this Christmas My Mommy and I decided we wanted to make bags and possibly approns. Useful bags for say groceries! That was our main goal we went on a hunt and found what we would start out with in Buttrick pattern B5338 Bag d. After making the first one we started tweaking them to our liking. For Marlo's I used a pretty stiff interfacing so that her bag held it's shape.  I also used the pattern  Butterick 6567 B which I made reversible with flamingos on one side and bright pink on the other!! I was quite excited since I have never really sewen before until these attempts. Marlo's bag and appron were done toward the end of the time, but was the set that I did completely on my own!!! Now my bummer on the apron is I didn't pay attention to the direction of the flamingos so alas they are upside down!! But I am still happy with my cute little Retro Flamingo Apron!! Either way She was shocked and happy to see her new bag and adorable apron. Even if she doesn't wear it she has it!!

Taste of Home Jambalaya...

Yup another one from the new Cookbook! Yay Taste of Homes Comfort Food Diet Cookbook!! We were game to try something new, I am always up for new things and recently my Mommy has been all over the idea as well. How perfect is that!! I knew that Okra was in either Gumbo or jambalaya and well if it was suppose to be in this uhm yea I was leaving it out!! The one veggie that this Tina does not like, luckily there was no call for it!! What we didn't like was the polish sausage, I feel it was too smokey. I would like to try this with andouille sausage, I think that spice would be fantastic in this recipe. We liked it over all, not jumping for joy because of the polish sausage but definitely worth making again, quite tasty!

Jambalaya:

1 lb smoked Polish sausage, cut into 1 inch slices
1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (14.25 oz) beef broth
1 can (14.25 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/3 c tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1-1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 lb cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cooked rice.

In a 5-qt slow cooker, combine the first 12 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is no longer pink.
Stir in shrimp and rice. Cover and cook 15 minutes longer or until heated through.

We actually kept the rice out and just poured the jambalaya over it but it really was quite tasty, I will just play with the sausage typed :).

Cashew Chicken...

I love..LOVE Chinese food, well any Asian faire for that matter. So when given the chance to make it I take it. In the newest Taste Of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook I have found a couple different ones that I can't wait to try. First the cookbook, I bought this one because the last one given to me from my friend Atlantis was great and my whole family loved everything we made from it. So of course I had to get the new one!!
What I made first was Cashew Chicken. We all love cashews and it sounded so good and it was!! True we sprinkled a few more cashews on cause again we love them so that will have tweaked the orignal Weight Watchers point value of 8pts per serving, but we loved it!! Serving is 1 c w/o the rice but still tasty!!

Cashew Chicken:

3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 Tbsp sherry or reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 tsp sesame oil, divided
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-in pieces
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 c reduced sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp minced fresh gingerroot
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp canola oil,divided
1 1/2 c fresh snow peas
2 med carrots, julienned
1 can ( 8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/4 c unsalted cashews, toasted
Hot cooker rice, optional ( but oh so necessary!)

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 2 Tbsp soy sauce, sherry or broth and 1/2 tsp sesame oil; add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and broth until smooth. Stir in the sugar, vinegar, hoisin sauce, ginger, salt, and remaining soy sauce and sesame oil; set aside.
Drain chicken and discard marinade. In a large nonstick wok or skillet, stiry-fry chicken in 1 tsp oil until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.
In the same pan, stir-fry peas and carrots in remaining oil until crisp-tender. Add water chestnuts.
Return chicken to the pan. Stir sauce mixture and stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Sprinkle with cashews. Serve with rice.

Really super tasty and perfect for that Chinese take-out craving!!!

Pasta Fagioli Soup!

To update things.. we will start with what was done prior to now better late than ever!! Someone at my Mommy's work ( Yes I am 35 and still call my Mom.. Mommy.. I love it!) gave her a copy of this recipe from a Family Circle Magazine Feb. 2011.  This was a tasty hearty soup!! Really just need a nice hunk of bread to go with it if necessary a nice light salad. It was soo tasty! Now I couldn't find small pasta shells, just medium but true I didn't look for them the family did so I made do with what I had, but it was still great just a little thicker!! Now per the notes from the co-worker, we did as she did and used 3 cans of broth and increased the tomato paste from 1TBSP to 3 TBSP. Will post the recipe as in the wonderful magazine!!

Pasta Fagioli Soup:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
8 oz ( about 2 c) small pasta shells
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 bunch fresh kale, stough stems discarded, cut into 1 inch pieces and washed
2 cans small white bean, drained
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Grated Parmesan for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute.
Stir in tomatoes, broth and 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Add pasta and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes.
Stir in kale, cook 5 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium and stir in beans, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Heat through
Ladle into bowls; garnish with Parmesan.

7 pts per serving for Weight Watchers, uhm.. the part that says how many servings in gone so the points may not be all that helpful. It was super tasty and if you want you could use Veg stock and make it completely Vegetarian!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

long time no type!

It's been some time since I have had any updates. Between that last post and now I had holiday baking, Christmas, my Birthday, the discovery of enjoying sewing in the form of bags! a renewed interest in my jewelry making. In February I spent 5 weeks away taking care of me and came home to end up extremely sick with 2 very different very bad infections. Finally on the mend I hope to get back to blogging and maybe include my crafts with my baking/cooking. Decisions to make on that front. Hope to be back soon!