Winter Weather Blues- Now with a Festive Recipe!

Well, winter is here. Hopefully not to stay long. Today as I type this we are dealing with a warm, balmy -7Âş. And I live here why? I look out my window and feel a little sinking in my heart, the squirrels won’t even come out today. On the plus side it is sunny out, and I love the sun. A day off doesn’t hurt either. The kitties are enjoying a day with me, lots of snuggles, it can be pretty hard to type with 3 laying on your legs. They are also not enjoying the cold, I am often seeing them piled up by the heat registers. One of the more popular hangouts is by the water dish, so it almost looks like they are hanging out by the water cooler. Girl has taken over post as I type this, and as uncomfortable as I actually am, it becomes harder and harder to move her, especially when she looks like this.

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I am continuing on my holiday gift making journey. I just finished a really fun netted infinity cowl last night. Its HUGE! I never thought I would be able to finish it. I really need to take some last minute pictures and get them up in my shop. I don’t want anyone to miss out on the pretty things for holiday and for themselves. I can’t wait to gift these to their owners. Making things for people that makes them happy makes me happy! THIS is why I do art.

My worklife is proving to be a challenge to my business this year. Since we have such a short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, all my weekends are at the store. And asking for it off seems silly and rude. I usually can get a show in or two during this season, and this year, none have worked out. That is how I was able to afford Opal last year. This year I have a few new goals, one being a new computer, I love Frank (he’s my frankenstein, I built him and he’s kinda big) but for some reason he’s struggling to play videos, he likes to freeze up when I work on etsy, or my blog (one of the reasons I have been so quiet… along with work), he’s just not doing what he needs to do for me. So I have a computer on top of my must buy list. Computers are not cheap. Ugh. Not cheap at all. We have a bunch of other “fun” home improvements on our list as well, new carpet is one of them and will be here in a couple weeks. Lots to get done before the summer. It will all be beautiful in the end. 🙂

B. and I saw Catching Fire on Wednesday. Our Hoop group canceled for the night on account of terrible weather, and we had some time to kill because traffic was so bad. I won’t go into my thoughts on the movie aside from that I liked it a lot, but my big thing was OMG those knits! I love the fact I crochet, I really do. I hate the fact that every yarn shop has a bajillion knit projects out on display and no crochet. If I ever learn how to properly knit (as in knit better than what I do now) I will learn specifically for her outfits. Goal for next year! Woo!

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A bit of a reminder post about my holiday specials at my shop!

On my etsy shop– enter “GIFTGIVING” at checkout to receive 20% off!

Note this discount does not apply to my handspun yarn. The time that it takes for me to spin, ply, set, and tag is more a labor of love than a major money maker. (I spend at least 4 hours with each skein, many on the upwards of 6-8 hours. If we do the math, how much I sell my yarn for, and minus the roving cost, my wage can sometimes be as low as $2- $3/ hour)
Due to those circumstances, I am doing a different offer for all handspun yarn purchases! At checkout, in notes to buyer- enter “holidaylove” and I will send you a special thank you- a pair of Sterling Silver and stone earrings (normally $15-20) for free. My way of thanking you for buying my handspun and your support.

Please let me know if you need help with etsy- I am happy to help!

Last but not least, I have a new recipe- I have seen versions around but this way I have it in one place. My favorites.

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INGREDIENTS!
3 Tbsp.  butter
1 pkg.  (10 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallows (I tend to go a bit more on the  marshmellowy side)
5 cups  Rice Krispie cereal (I love the generic cereal for these)
16 OREO Cookies, coarsely chopped, divided (I put mine in a ziploc and smashed away)
3- 1 oz. squares of Bakers Semi Sweet Chocolate (The next time I do this I might use one less Chocolate square, its really pretty that way.Your own mini Pollack painting!)
Confetti Sprinkles for Sundaes

 

MICROWAVE butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 45 sec. or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1/2 min. or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 45 sec.

ADD cereal and 1 cup chopped cookies; mix well.

PRESS onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining chopped cookies; press lightly into cereal mixture to secure. Cool completely before cutting into squares.MICROWAVE Chocolate squares for 30 seconds until melted, stirring between each 30 second session.

Drizzle with spoon over Krispie Treats.

SPRINKLE those sprinkles!

ALLOW chocolate to set up by cooling

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Yes kids this is one of my silicone pans. There are certain things that I only want to use silicone for, one of which is Rice Krispie treats!!! (another one is for my caramels. I cant believe I used anything else ever, but that is another blog post)

ENJOY!

xoxo

It’s HERE! My favorite Cheesy Potato Recipe!!!

Ok gang, so I think I have covered a few things about my tastes in food. I don’t like spicy, and I hate to reheat food, with the exception of a couple foods. It’s wasteful I know, but it never tastes the same… Along with my Sweet Chili Chicken I am adding another recipe to the foods that taste delicious reheated.

This meal has been tweaked a bit… from a Good Eats episode. Ok, tweaked alot. When I ended up watching this episode I felt like it was a completely different food, and I was curious on what Alton Brown had made. Anyways, this is my take on it.

First off, if you do not have a Mandolin slicer- GET ONE. Ours has paid off in the time we save on making this meal (its at least once a week in the winter)

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Gratin Potatoes

This is a simple dish that’s quick to make if you have a mandolin slicer and a great way to use up all the stagnating leftovers in the fridge.

Equipment:
Casserole pan
Mandolin Slicer

Ingredients:
3 pounds of medium starch, potatoes (Yukon Gold, Superiors, California Longs)
1/4 cup Half & Half
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 or more cups of filling. This could be various herbs, spices, meats, vegetables, cheese, pretty much anything you think would be good. This is an excellent way of getting rid of excess leftovers.

Directions:
1. Wash and slice the potatoes around 1/16” or 1/8” thick
2. Grease pan with a light coat of butter
3. Make a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the pan
4. Sprinkle in part of the filling, add salt and pepper
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until pan is completely filled
6. Distribute Half & Half evenly on top of pan, then press down lightly with your hands to push out air bubbles.
7. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees
8. Remove foil and cook for 10 minutes
9. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving

Good Eats, Season 1, Episode 2: This Spud’s For You

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Potatoes part a: Start browning your beef while you are slicing potatoes with your mandolin. By the time you are done with those you can start chop chop chopping your carrots up and add them to the beef with corn! Stir stir- add seasonings! (We also add a bit of Worcestershire sauce to give the beef a little zip, just a little bit.)

 

Potatoes step one: Buttered pan, lay one layer down of potatoes, salt and pepper.

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Step 2: First layer of Cheese! (We use Mild Cheddar here) photo 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Step 3: Another Layer of Potatoes!

(you can see the cheesy goodness underneath)

Salt and Pepper! Don’t forget it!

 

 

 

 

 

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Step 4: Add ingredients!

We have 1 Bag of baby carrots, 1 can of corn, and 1 lb of ground beef.

You can obviously add some other tasty variety, but this is what works best in our home. Oh yes, and Steak chopped up is really good too!

 

Step 5: Another Layer of Potatoes and Cheese!

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Step 6: Last layer of potatoes- Now before you put the half and half on you will want to squish it down with your hands, not a extreme squish, just something to push out any crazy big airbubbles and allow it to cook more evenly. Now we add about a quarter cup of half and half evenly to the top.

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Lastly is the final layer of cheese. We use Sharp Cheddar here- it browns the nicest, but you can use pretty much what you like.

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Lightly cover with tinfoil. You don’t want to burn the cheese to the tinfoil, but it also needs to be covered, unless you like smokey burnt messes. No thank you!

Pop it in the oven at 400° with tinfoil on. Bake for 45 mins. Remove tinfoil! Bake for another 15 or until you see fit. (I like a nice crispy top)

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Voila! Cheesy potatoes. Delicious. Customizable, and reheats OH SO WELL!!! 🙂

 

Enjoy!

An update and a new project.

Ah, I am finally feeling better, I hate being down for the count. And although my week wasn’t going to be super exciting, I did feel like I was missing out on some even in the world that my presence should have been at. SO if I missed yours. I am sorry.

I am realizing with every passing day I need a new computer. For some reason PCs don’t like me. Do I know why? No. They crash, they freeze, they slur their words when I watch movies. I had an android phone, I zapped it with my energy and had to replace it 4 or 5 times before I went to an iphone. I hate to say it, but Operation Buy Christine a New Computer has commenced for this holiday season, and I am looking at a fruity variety. All holiday dollars made will be going twards a new computer for me to work on. So let’s do this! I got awesome things to sell and people got Christmas gifts to get. (A little motivation for myself, my computer situation is somewhat disappointing and depressing.)

On the plus side, I already finished one holiday gift. Its absolutely lovely. Now I have to wait to give it. And not post photos. How am I to do this successfully? I am known in the past to be too excited for some holiday gifts that I give them at Thanksgiving. I guess I can do that, but its still not the same. I always feel weird, like, “um, so I don’t have anything for you because, well you remember I gave you that thing a month ago?” Yea… No matter what I always like I came empty-handed. I started on another gift. Some of my handspun and I am struggling. 4 times I have frogged this yarn. Its lovely and I have a great idea for it, its just not coming out right. So I am going to put it aside and keep working on other things. A few more things to sell first. I finished another cowl- but I am debating on whether I would like a new cowl or if I should sell it. I am going to do a couple more, and really finish the pattern so I can post it up here! In the mean time, here is a couple shots of some recently finished pieces that I love.

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The color looks a little off here, but it has a lovely assortment of raspberry, a smidge of green, some purple and blue. Its from Madelinetosh A.S.A.P. The color used here is Alizarin. Its very soft and chunky- my ballwinder couldn’t wind this stuff because it was so soft. The lower picture is featured in Fog. photo 1 I tried winding that one 5 times before I gave up and did it the old fashioned way- using B.’s hands and me winding it. One time the ball flew off the winder and all the way across my work table and onto the floor! I was a bit skeptical on whether or not I was going to like working with it because it was so soft. But I was very pleased. It makes a nice substitute for Rasta in a pinch (not as thick thought)

2 skeins was all it took!

I know the pattern by heart but I am going to do it at least one more time before I post the full pattern. A test in something thinner should be a good challenge. I got some Prism yarn its a hand-dyed merino from Amazing Threads that has a nice softness, but not as thick so we’ll see how this challenge goes. I wasn’t super happy when I balled it, it likes to felt on itself, so frogging might not be much of a possibility if this is a failed experiment. Let’s hope for the best!

I posted a few new items on etsy the other night. One of them was modeled by B. since I wasn’t feeling super photogenic that day. Its a pretty feminine infinity scarf but he pulls it off quite well. photo 4 (3) photo 5

 

Other than that its same ol same. I picked up S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst, but dont know when I will really have any time to go through all the book and its accessories. I have many goals. The third Unwind book is also in queue on my kindle which I am itching to read. So many things to do and not enough time!

 

Tomorrow B. and I will be making potatoes. A favorite of mine. We will be taking lots of pictures so we can post them on my site. My sweet chili chicken recipe has been a very popular post, and I have seen some great numbers in visitors. So I want to share another one of my faves. (It reheats suuuper well!!!)

 

xo

-C

NaNoBloMo Day one- ish and a recipe!

Ok, so its November. Happy November. I had an unfortunately lame halloween but on the good side…we still don’t have snow. So that is a happy moment. Ben is getting busy for a November challenge for writing music and I am super excited for him to work on his goal He is very goal oriented, and when he has one, he always seems to succeed at it. Me, I get close, real close but many times I get distracted by other things. (That “I have A.D.D joke – ooh shiny!” was truly written about me.) But I will try this one. Apparently not only is it a music writers month, but also a national writers month as well. Along with those, I was also notified it was a blogging month. One blog a day for November. Can I do this? I think I can. Since I didn’t know about it until now, I don’t want to fully disqualify myself from it so I will make 2 blogs on two different days to cover from me starting on November 3rd. Maybe a few followers will help. I found one of my blogs was reblogged on Tumblr and I got super excited! People do read these things!

A quick recap. On Friday, I worked, and made some cards with some nice ladies, we pushed past our comfortability zone and I had them try some new techniques and played a bit. I felt everyone enjoyed their card making experiences. I went with a Dia de Los Muertos theme- I don’t know how much people give cards for that celebration, but I liked what I worked on.

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Saturday I had off but came into work for a demo on Inktense. It went great! I had at least 20 people watch, and learn and remind me I am doing what I am meant to do. I just have to figure out how to do it. A gentleman was turning 77 next week and he told me I have inspired him to do art. THAT is WHAT I WANT TO HEAR! I welled up from his praise- I want people to be inspired. The demo taught me a few things as well that the internet world is lacking… A proper demo of the amazingness of these pencils. In the near future, once I am done with my trunk show, and possibly my other holiday gifts, I want to sit down with Imovie, and start making time-lapse paintings of how amazing inktense can be. Two hours can be really intense to sit and work and chat thru the whole time but a video would be so amazing. So that is another goal of mine.
Ran home for crocktoberfest- what a fun night! delicious foods, friends and games. We tried Ladies and Gentleman for the first time. It was a fun game and I think with the right crowd it would be really fun, but the startup is slow and the rules feel long. so only about half of the table as into that one, we will play it again and it will be amazing. We got to make my favorite crockpot sandwich stuff Sweet chili Chicken!
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Sweet Chili Chicken

1 1/2 frozen chicken Breasts
1 bottle of Franks Red Hot – Sweet Chili Sauce
1 dry packet of Hidden Valley Ranch

Put the frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot, cover with sweet chili sauce. Cook on Low for 6 hours. Pull out the chicken, shred with two forks, put back in crockpot. Add dry Ranch packet and cook for another hour or so. This can cook for longer, but the sauce will reduce more, and could potentially burn on the sides.

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Serve on toasted buns- I prefer Kaiser Rolls and some shredded cheese. The extra ranch or buffalo sauce is optional depending on your tastes.

Another variation- the pinterest recipe we originally pulled it from had Franks Hot Sauce instead of the Sweet Chili. As someone who doesn’t care for the hot part, this was far too hot for my tastes. And I also felt it was more hot than flavorful, and the sweet chili is perfect. Bit please try your own and see what works best for you.

Oh yes, and I am one who does not like leftovers, I LOVE THESE AS LEFTOVERS. I call this a win! Its SOOOOOO GOOD!
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I did do some super productive things this weekend though that made me feel pretty good.
I woke up with a crazy idea to move furniture around, to help organize my spinning area. It can get a bit out of sorts and I need as much organization in it as possible. I woke up, dwelled on it all day, came home and BAM! Took care of it myself, no shopping trip to ikea or target for me! Yeah! Hind sight would tell me to measure first. I just lucked out enough with it fitting in the closet perfectly.

I nailed another shopping day out of the park. Last week I figured I would have to go to 4 different stores to get what I wanted. I got everything in one store. Today was the same. Found exactly what I was looking for, it fit, I felt amazing in it. Ring me up lady, I am outta here! Next is shoe shopping!

After the first of the year I also will be working on a new facet of my shop. Bridal fascinators. I just like fascinators in general, and I am thinking, put a pretty russian tulle with some handspun handmade flowers, and a little bling? OOOH that just sounds delicious.

Until next time!
xo

Pinterest fails, Pinterest wins… Pinterest posters need to include all info.

So I have to write about my pinterest fail today. I found these last week, and I have been dying to try them out. They look gorgeous, and delicious and not so terribly good for you. Success right? Wrong. 5 easy steps? No. Its 6. And they should be a bit more specific on the timing of chocolate melting in the microwave. Too much meltage and it gets gross, and too little and you have hard chocolate. Also these clearly have sprinkles on them, so that would be another ingredient. The lies! I just cant take it!
 So here is the post. I have added my notes in teal to the recipe for better cooking. I know its not much in notes, but this one tiny step would have made WAY BETTER Looking DESSERTS!!!!
Funny story, my mom and I were talking about these yummy things we were planning to make, and I find out she was making the same thing, just in white chocolate and the golden oreos. Like mother like daughter I guess! I sent her a pic and told her to freeze them, her recipe for the white chocolate ones had that in the directions!
Ok the recipe!
Only 3 ingredients, 5 steps, EASY UNLESS YOU ARE LAZY!
**Warning** These are very addictive & melt in your mouth!!
Freeze the balls before you roll them in chocolate. It does not work as well if you do not!!!

Oreo Balls

Ingredients:
1 package of Oreo Cookies
1 block cream cheese, softened
1 pack Cooking Chocolate (Hershey’s Semi sweet chocolate chips the best)

Method:
1. Place Oreo Cookies in a bag/blender and smash/blend until it is the consistency of dirt.
2. Mix the softened cream cheese into the smashed Oreos.
3. Roll the mixture into balls.
4.Freeze the balls before you roll them in chocolate. It does not work as well if you do not!!!
5. Melt chocolate in the microwave.
6. Cover balls in chocolate then leave to set in the fridge.
So clearly I do not have a chocolatier in my blood. Thats ok, I still make fantastic caramels, and other tasty treats (at least the fam seems to think so) and these did turn out pretty damn good, albeit, not pretty.
And now, my pinterest fail…. NAILED IT!
Oreo balls.

Oreo balls.