Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cookies & a Tray

Tonight I'm heading to my friend's house for "Girls Night In".  I am so looking forward to spending time with my close friends.  I usually take a dessert, and tonight is no different.  Because I didn't have time to shop I made do with what I had at home, which are ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies.  But of course!  You can't go wrong with chocolate chip cookies...oh and brownies...a nice cheesecake is always good....and let's not forget cupcakes....oh! cake balls!...OK, I'll stop.  So, I made my favorite chocolate chip cookies but decided to add some cardamom spice to them.
 Here's the recipe:
adapted from Ghiradelli  chocolate chip cookie recipe

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cardamon
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter -- I used 1 stick salted and 1 stick unsalted as that is what I had
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)
2 large eggs
1 bag Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.  In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cardamon -- stir together until well incorporated and  set aside.
3.  Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. (I used KitchenAid mixer for parts 3 - 6)
4.  Add vanilla and then eggs one at a time and beat well.
5.  Gradually add the four mixture.
6.  Add the chocolate chips and stir together, by hand.
7.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet.
8.  Bake 9 to 11 minutes until golden brown (mine were done in 9 minutes).
9.  Remove from oven and leave cookie sheet for about 2 minutes.
10.  Place cookie sheet on wire rack to cool completely.

I took the cookies to my friend's house on this tray....
As you can see you can also use the tray to display jewelry!

It was super easy to put together.  Here's what I used....

Plastic Tray -- $1 from Dollar Tree store
Tissue Paper -- $1 from Dollar Tree store
Modge Podge -- already had

So, for $2 have a nifty tray I can use for baked good (just added coffee filters in between the food and the tray).  

Until next time....
Luna wearing her new outfit her Aunt Nora gave her.  

Friday, May 25, 2012


I've been gone for a while...not sure if anybody noticed.  No emergency, nothing bad happened...just took a break.  I wanted to concentrate on my Etsy shop but I think I stressed myself out over it.  I couldn't think of what to make.  I kept on second guessing myself, and wondering how to market it and how to get more people interested that in the end I ended up doing nothing.  {{big sigh}}  I decided that maybe if I bought some new supplies it may recharge me, so I'm waiting for that to come.  However, yesterday while shopping at Marshall's I came across this placement.
I thought it was perfect for a "placemat clutch".  I've seen countless tutorials out there for them but the ones I've seen involved sewing.  I still wanted to make one but I am too intimidated by my sewing machine (don't ask why...but I've taken control and signed up for sewing lesson next month!).  I figured at $1.99 I would buy it and save it for later.  When I got home I thought, "hey, why not use super glue?!?!"  Why not indeed!  I figure if it didn't work I wasn't out much money.  And guess what it worked!

I added a rhinestone (it was part of an earring that died) and, since it was last minute, I added velcro for closure.  Basically I glued the sides together, clipped them in place to allow the glue to dry and then I glued the velcro and the rhinestone.  Took me like 5 minutes.  I love the end result.
front of clutch

inside of clutch
My mom thought I had just bought it at Marshall's so I guess it looked good. Vivian asked if I was going to sell it. Haha!  I guess she liked it also.  I'm happy that after weeks I made something...even if it was super easy.  

Until next time....
Luna about to chomp on her favorite treat. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Clay Feathers

So, I was checking out Craftgawker and saw this lovely feather made out of clay.  They were made by Michelle from The Gilded Hare (wonderful blog!).  I loved the look of the clay feathers, and since I had clay on hand I thought I'd give it a try.

Although hers looks a lot better, I don't think mine turned out so bad.  I think with some more practice they may end up looking a lot nicer.  Vivian liked them and wore the teal one today. :)

Here's the how... all you  need to do is shape the polymer clay into the size of feather you want (mine were about 2x2 inches) and form the quill by pressing down on either side with a toothpick or, like I did, use the end of bobby pin.

and then with the same toothpick or bobby pin make lines down on each side.
Don't forget to add a hole so that you can attach chain, rope, leather cord, etc.
Then bake for the amount stated on clay package.  I added varnish after baking and done...

 Until next time....

I told Luna I wanted to take a photo and she immediately sat down! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A hike & a slice of pie....

Went for a hike with my guy Saturday morning.   The weather was perfect and I captured the following photos...

One part of the path was lined with cactus on either side...I walked very carefully.

Can you see the angry face?
And what do you do after a hike…why eat Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake of course!

I got the recipe from Martha Stewart via the Delish website.  I made one change (well, some of the measurements for things were changed, oh and maybe one other ingredient...but that's it!)  in that I used these cookies for the crust…

Oh my dang!  It was delicious!  It does take some work to make but so worth it.  Try it, you’ll like it!

Here’s what I used:

1 pound or so of hulled strawberries
3 tbs. light corn syrup
1 cup finely ground Trader Joe's Cookie Thins Toasted Coconut 
1 cup plus 3 tbs. granulated sugar
3 tbs. melted unsalted butter
3 (8 oz.) cream cheese – at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt
1 tbs. vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs – at room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese – at room temperature

1.  Preheat over to 300 degrees. 
2. Place strawberries on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle corn syrup.  You will need to make sure the strawberries are coated with the corn syrup.
3. Bake for about 1 ½ hours until strawberries turn deep red and syrup thickens (I didn’t see any syrup so I thought I screwed something up, but it worked out).
4.  Let strawberries cool completely and then put in a bowl and mash them up.
5.  Turn the oven up to 350 degrees.
6.  Add 3 tbl. sugar and melted butter to the cookie crumbs and stir until combined.
7.  Press mixture, in an even layer, into the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan  and bake for 10 minutes until crust has darkened and firm to the touch.  Let cool over wire rack.
8.  Turn down oven to 325 degrees.
9.  Add cream cheese to bowl of electric mixer that has been fitted with paddle attachment and mix until creamy for approximately 2 minutes.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
10.  Add gradually remaining sugar (1 cup) and salt and mix until incorporated. 
11.  Add the eggs one at a time, and mix well after each addition.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of bowl.
12.  Mix in vanilla bean paste and mascarpone until very creamy and there are no lumps remaining – approximately 3 minutes.
13.  Add 5 cups of cream cheese mixture to the mashed strawberries.
14.  Stir to combine and pour mixture on top of crust and smooth with a spatula.
15.  Add dollops of the plain cream cheese mixture on top, and smooth with a spatula
16.  Wrap the exterior of the spring-form pan in 2 layers of foil and set in a large roasting pan.
17.  Add boiling water until water reaches halfway up the sides of the spring-form pan. 
18.  Bake until set – about 1 hour 10 minutes. 
19.  Remove spring-form pan from water bath and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
20.  Refrigerate until cold – at least 4 hours (I left mine overnight)
21.  Cut a slice, taste it, eat that slice, and try not to go back for seconds, thirds…all of it. J

As I said lots of work, and you really need to read the directions before trying (I didn’t and so got frustrated when I was ready for baking it and learned I had to boil water first!).  The hardest part for me was putting the foil on the wasn't the prettiest site.  I’m sure there is an easier way!  Oh, and it also would have helped if I put the stupid spring-form pan together right.  I would have inserted a photo of the complete cheesecake, but parts of it didn't look so pretty.  It didn't affect the taste though! 

Until next time!