Monday, December 31, 2012

Mexican Pizza

First off, thank you to everyone who has followed my craft challenge board on Pinterest for getting me to 500 followers before the year clocked out! I was waiting for that. (slight musical reference to Coheed and Cambria's song the Suffering, in case it was ringing any bells with anyone...) (if it isn't go download it and then read this again so it rings...)

In this house and in my apartment, tortilla shells are seen as a hugely versatile flavor vessel.  You can make tacos, quesadillas, mexican pizzas, tortilla chips, fried ice cream shells, breakfast burritos, crunchy tortilla strips for soup, the list goes on and on.  Homemade tortillas are pretty easy to make, and now that I am thinking about it I may just do that when I get back to my apartment.

Regardless, we had leftover chicken from tacos and decided that Mexican Pizzas were in order.  Now, when I say Mexican Pizzas, they are obviously a tad Americanized...

What can I say, I love colby jack cheese.  Regardless, we made the chicken by boiling chicken for about 30 or so minutes (it was not frozen) until it was easy to shred.  Drain the water and add about 2 tablespoons of your favorite taco seasoning, more or less to taste.  Some taco seasonings are a bit stronger than others.

So we had this leftover chicken, and I buttered the griddle.  I put down the taco shells on the griddle (heated to between 300-350) and put a little pat of butter on the topside for when I flipped them.

Let them cook for a few minutes until they start browning and flip them over.  I let that side cook for a few as well, flipped once more, and added cheese to the top side.  I threw some chicken on the griddle with a few spoonfuls of salsa and let it heat up.

Transfer the shells to a plate, add more cheese if you did not get enough, and finish heating up the chicken.  Put the chicken on the shells and top with all of your favorites.

Or just make toasted buttered tortilla shells and marvel at how delicious they are. 

Or cut them into triangles and marvel at how much better they are than tortilla chips and how fun it is to splurge and cook things in melty delicious BUTTER.

Seriously, how do people get by without butter? 

The shells get crispy enough that you can pick them up and eat them by hand, assuming you toast them until browned.  It is like a thin and crispy pizza, you know, without anything that goes on a typical pizza other than cheese.

Practically the same thing.

2013 I have a feeling will bring a lot of new recipes and a WHOLE lot of shenanigans.  I have a sewing machine for the first time ever, a waffle maker, a hankerin' for homemade ice cream, and a book full of new and interesting recipes to master...

And then sub out half the ingredients for something else because I can never leave anything alone...

Well, at least I am consistent.

Happy crafting, and Happy New Year!

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Taco Dip

-1 can frito lay bean dip (or can of refried beans)
-1 carton sour cream (fat free is fine)
-1 bag of colby jack cheese (no exceptions, unless fresh shredded is an option, it's delicious)
-1 bag shredded lettuce (or similar amount in shredded spinach, my preference)
-1 or more tomatoes, diced (more if you don't have picky souls)
-2 TB Taco Seasoning (more or less to taste)

Mix the taco seasoning with the sour cream and then layer the ingredients on a platter in the order they show above.  Serve with tortilla chips or veggies and enjoy a delicious party snack!

Just in time for New Years!

Short and sweet and to the point, this chick has to jet outta here.  On to other shenanigans!

Happy crafting. Pin It Now!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chair Imagination

 If you are not raiding Peddler's Malls and flea markets, I question your sanity.  There are a lot of things at flea markets, like this red chair my sister paid hardly anything for, that can be made beautiful in a few easy steps.

For instance, this chair is easy to take the bottom and back off.  Most upholstered things are done in stapes or tacks which can be removed and redone or in some cases covered over without worrying about redoing it.

My sister stapled the new beautiful fabric onto this chair, touched up the paint with some spray, and now has herself a beautiful little desk chair that is cute and unique.

Buying a chair from a Peddler's Mall can save you a lot, even if it means you have to invest in fabric.  Next time you shop, think about upcycling.  Don't think about what it looks like now, think of what it COULD look like later.

And as always, happy crafting!

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Cake Pops using Cake Mix

 SO, if you humans are like me and you own a babycakes cake pop maker, one of the first things you learned is that regular cake mix doesn't work.  Also, if you are like me, you prefer to make as much as you can from scratch but do recognize the value in some preflavored things.  Case in point, cake mix of the orange or strawberry or red velvet varieties include pretty well done flavors that just need a touch of extra assistance. 

But still there is the problem of not liking the cake pop maker...WRONG! I was skipping through the links of the world wide web when I happened upon a forum on the babycakes site that I did not even know existed in the first place.  And on this site I found many people talking about how to use cake mix in their CPM! What luck! 

As it turns out, you just need to to not include the oil, substitute milk for water, and only use half of the water amount (now in milk).  The egg amount stays the same. I added a little extra milk, as I did not agree that only using half got me the texture I wanted.  I like for it to be thick but still to run off the mixing blade.  Here is what I did:

-1 box strawberry supreme cake mix
-3 eggs
-2/3 c +an extra dash (maybe a couple of TB) milk
-6 really big strawberries cut up really small (like I said, every cake mix needs a little boost) or more, as you see fit.

Just mix it all up and pop in your CPM.  It should take about 3-3.5 minutes to cook these.  I am not sure why these seem to cook so much faster than my cake pops that are completely scratch made, but I am sure there is some science behind it.  My bets are on the butter in the real recipes, it is such a sneaky little guy!  I filled some with strawberry cream cheese filling, and others with bavarian cream.  The recipe made close to 70 cake pops.  That is the main thing to remember with cake mix, you are going to come out with a LOT.  That is nice though, if you are having a big party because you get a lot of cake pops without a lot of brain strain.  For my smaller things, I would still stick to my scratch recipes for the times you just need 20 or so.  It took me 2 full things of white chocolate and maybe a half of a regular chocolate pack of candiquik to get all of these dipped. 

Some are coming with me to Terre Haute this Sunday, as they are one of my friend's favorite flavors (and mine too), and others will go to my sister's house for her party she is having.  Thankfully she agreed to take the orphans off my hands.  For anyone questioning my sanity for making them tonight when I do not need some of them until Sunday, I can assure you that cake pops are far better if they have a day or so to sit.  The cake pops I made for Christmas are still good and still being munched on, and that is without being in the fridge.  These little guys have a much longer shelf life than a cupcake does. 

And they are much simpler to transport.

If I was going to do red velvet, I would use chocolate milk instead of regular, and add in maybe a half a teaspoon of almond extract too.  If I was going to use orange, I would add orange zest to it, and an overly ripe banana to any banana mix. To lemon, I would add poppyseeds, haha!  I personally would not leave any mix alone.  They all have room for improvement.

Happy crafting!

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Camo Baby Shower Cookies

If you don't have a little yellow duckie cookie cutter, I question your sanity.  Not only are they exceptionally cute for baby shower things...they are cute in general! Are you telling me you would not smile if someone gave you a duckie cookie?

I would smile.  That's for sure.

Regardless, this is actually something I did quite a while back but my mom was going through pictures and reminded me of it.  It is such a cute idea that I wanted to share it!

It really isn't a how-to as much of a concept showing.  I like to do it a color at a time so that they do not run together.  It requires a thicker icing to do it, you obviously will want it stiff enough that you don't have to worry about it going to far.

If you don't need to stack them, you could do it with cake icing for a lofthouse-esque appeal.

As an added bonus, those sandwich cookies right there are to DIE for.  I make a cream cheese icing filling with a tablespoon or so of Jelly Belly Pina Colada syrup in it and a couple handfuls of coconut.  If your mouth is watering, it should be.  Slap it between two sugar cookies and you are have a tasty little cookie.  If you are making homemade sugar cookies and are going to put sugar on the top of them, mix in a packet or two of true lemon or lime and dust it on them.  This will cut the sweetness and add some pizzazz.

And who doesn't enjoy pizzaz? Pin It Now!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

German Roasted Pecans

-1 16oz bag of pecans
-2 egg whites
-1/3 c white sugar
-1/3 c packed light brown sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-Dash of salt
-1/2 tsp cinnamon* (this is the recipe I used, but after tasting it I would kick it up to 1 tsp)
-Optional: sprinkle ginger over the nuts when they are on the pan

Preheat oven to 300.

Beat the egg whites until frothy (high speed for a few minutes until they are white and, well, frothy) adding the vanilla near the end and beating in as well.  Mix the sugars, salt, and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Mix the nuts in with the egg when finished beating and stir to coat.  Add in the sugar mix and stir to coat again.

Place on a greased baking sheet (used a jelly roll pan for this) and spread out.  You can sprinkle them with ginger or nutmeg if you want.  Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring once throughout the process (about halfway through).

I let mine cool on a foil so that they would not stick to the bottom of the pan.  After tasting them, I decided that when I make these again I will most certainly be upping the cinnamon.  Everyone's tastes are different so I never have a problem with starting out small on stronger spices and working up to the right amount.

I have been on a mission to discover the perfect recipe for German Roasted Nuts like those that I find at the mall and at Nashville, Indiana, which is one of my very favorite little places to walk around and shop.  And eat.  These are a little closer to what those taste like, and they are very delicious without a doubt.

They are a good step in the right direction, and that is what matters most to me.  The bad part will be me eating them all within a few days...haha.

Prepare to be addicted! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Craft Disaster Fix

 So, let's say you had an idea to personalize a large glass canister for someone.  Let's say you got the 2X Cover spray paint and sprayed it over a stencil that you had put on there with painter's tape. 

And let's say you took it off...and it looked like this.  What do you do?

Panic? Probably.  Think you have potentially ruined the jar and worry that you are screwed? Absolutely.  But most importantly, you sprint through your house, run to the utility room and grab a jar of goof off wipes.

New craft rule.  When paint is involved, have Goof Off Wipes on hand.  I am not even kidding.  You are on borrowed time when it comes to crafting, eventually there will be a mistake.

So, the goal here was to find a way to get the smudges gone and the splatter off and help to make the design look like it should.

I wrapped a goof off wipe around the pointed end of a flosser stick.  That may sound incredibly odd...which it probably is.  But I needed a pointed object to allow me to get in the tiny spaces and fix them.  This was just the first thing that came to mind.

So I wrapped the wipe around a few times and I very carefully started rubbing over the mistakes to wipe them off.  The very best advice I can give is to keep the stencil nearby and go slowly.

In the end it turned out looking really good, and my sister really liked the canister!  I was very happy to be able to give unique gifts at Christmas to many of my family members.  If at first your craft does not succeed quite like you planned it, fix it!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Lemon Poppy Cake Pops

-3/4 C flour
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
-1 egg
-1/2 tsp lemon extract
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 TB milk
-2 TB Lemon Juice
-1 TB Poppy Seeds

Beat the butter and softened butter together until it is light and creamy. Add in the egg and the extract and mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Heat up your Babycakes Cake Pop maker and spray it with cooking spray if you do not have the nonstick one.  Fill the wells and cook for five minutes.

I filled mine with lemon curd and dipped them in white chocolate.  They are TASTY! I really may never make lemon ones without poppy seeds again.  It makes them look so much more fancy as well.

Well the holiday shenanigans are in full force, so I am going to keep this short and SWEET.  Enjoy your holidays!

Merry Christmas, and as always, happy crafting! Pin It Now!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Penguin Pops

-3/4 C flour
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
-1 egg
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1/2 cup sugar
-4 TB milk

White Chocolate (almond bark)
Chocolate dyed black
Butterscotch chips
Googly Eyes

Beat the butter and softened butter together until it is light and creamy.  Add in the egg and the extract and mix.   Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Heat up your Babycakes Cake Pop maker and spray it with cooking spray if you do not have the nonstick one.  I like to use cookie scoops to fill them.  Cook for five minutes and remove.

According to basic Econ, there are trade-offs in cake pop making.  If you don't fill up your wells very much, your cake pops might be odd shaped.  If you fill it up a lot, they will be perfect domes but some will run over it and make all these crazy edges but you can break those off later.

I like to cut cones out of mine and hollow it out a little bit.

I filled these with bavarian cream.  If you do not have a place where you can get any, vanilla pudding would also be an option.  I had a goal of going for a pseudo boston cream pie flavor with these.

I put the tops back on mine when I have them filled.  I take the bottom part of the cone off so that it fits back on well. 

Melt the white chocolate and dip your cake pops in them.  Before the chocolate sets add eyes and a beak. Do this step for all of the cake pops before moving to the chocolate.

Melt the regular chocolate and add some black food coloring to it.  I would suggest not using a water based one if you can avoid it.  My chocolate started to seize up, but I added a splash of cooking oil and mixed vigorously.  I reheated it, added just a touch more oil, and it was ready to go.

I would use a knife and pretty much paint the chocolate on.  I went around the "top" of the penguin head and then used the knife to put on little wedge shapes at the sides for wings.

What I ended up with are super cute little penguins that are almost too darn cute to eat....ALMOST.  I think they will be delicious.

My best tip for cake pops is making them in advance.  Cake pops taste better the next morning, and they taste even better the day after.  They just do well when they set.  Cake pops will often last longer than regular cake because they are coated in chocolate and essentially sealed. 

Flavors like lemon especially have a tendency to be better a couple days after they are made.  Which is really good news for anyone planning a party!

I will have to dedicate this to all my penguin loving friends out there...or maybe just a particular one. 

Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Long Hair Braiding

Today's post is about a full on double braid all the way across my head.

Name that YouTube sensation! If you said Double Rainbow Guy, you are correct.

My goal was to bring you Christmas candies today, but that just really did not pan out at all for me.  Some days you are in the mood to do Christmas candy, other days you just want to lay in a hammock all day and let the world pass by.  Well, I had no hammock either, but I did crash on the couch for most of the evening reading King's 11/22/63. 

Pretty much the farthest thing from Christmas candy imaginable.  Guess I will be making candy sometime tomorrow to make up for my complete lack of desire to participate today.

BUT I did have a desire to braid my hair after I showered.  Keep in mind, I have super long hair. I started this braid by flipping my head forward and taking about an inch-wide section from right behind my ear.

I started by dividing it into three sections and crossing it a few times in a normal braid pattern.  Then, I started pulling hair from the side nearest to my face and adding it to the braid.  I did not pull from the other side.  I continued to do this all around my head (pulling small sections each time) and leaning toward whatever side I was working on so that I did not get hair mixed in that I did not want. 

I looped it all around my head and came across the top a second time before putting all of the remaining hair into a bun.  Hopefully this is a decent enough explanation, because I am not in the mood to draw my very helpful diagrams.

Sometimes if my hair is in a regular bun it does not hold because there is so much hair.  This way allows some of the weight to be taken off.  Also, since I did this wet it will make a beautiful scrunched effect when I take it down in the morning to go finish some shopping.

Happy crafting- this chick is going back to her book and her very snuggly sherpa throw. Pin It Now!

Friday, December 21, 2012

iPhone Ringtone Creation

I know that this is posted a lot, but I still know a lot of people who aren't comfortable with making ringtones yet.  It can be a pain at the start, but once you get a few settings tweaked it is cake!  And you know me, I love cake.

So here is my version of the instructions:

1.        First, check and alter your computer settings.  Go to control panel > folder options > View, and under advanced settings uncheck hide extensions for known file types. 

2.       Go to your iTunes and start playing a song that you want, have a pen and paper ready.  Take special note and write down the time when the part you want starts playing.  Get as close as you can to the right timing, and write it down.  Listen a few times if you have to.

3.       Right Click on the song and go to “Get Info”

4.       Go over to options and put in the start and stop time for your song.  My example is “Cups” from the Pitch Perfect Soundtrack so it would be (start time :21.5, stop time :36.5).  This song does not necessarily need half seconds in it, but some will to avoid odd start or end notes.  You can make it any part of a second, it does not have to just be .5.

5.       Hit ok and play the song again to make sure that it sounds how you want it to. For text tones, you will want to keep things at or less than 5 seconds long, or else you will have to hear all that song every time you get a text.  Ringtones are better at anything up to 30 seconds.

6.       Right click on the song and select create AAC version.

7.       Create a folder on your desktop for ringtones.  Drag and drop the song into the folder. 

8.       You should see .m4a on the end of the song.  Click the song twice slowly or right click and say rename, and change the extension to .m4r.  Click yes on the warning.  If you are making it a text tone instead of a ringtone, consider starting the name with Text-(name) or similar so you know which ones are which.

9.       Drag the song back over to iTunes and hover over the library sidebar and drop it. Drag and drop it your phone and enjoy!  You may want to delete the AAC version from your library (the 30 second or less clip) because if not it will play if you set your library on shuffle and really throw you off and make you wonder why only the chorus played.  You will also want to go back to Get Info on the original song and uncheck the start/stop times.  Been there, done that.
From folder to library.  Simple, simple!
Here are a few start/stop timings that I suggest, besides Cups as mentioned above:
-"Ho Hey": Lumineers   ( :53.5 ; 1:05 )
-"One More Night": Maroon 5  ( 1:11  ;  1:31.5 )  This one arguably could be 1:11.5, if you are really particular, go with that.  Or at least 1:11.2.
-"50 Ways to Say Goodbye": Train  ( :44.8 ; 1:15 )
-"The Wind": Zac Brown Band  ( :31 ; :46 )
-"Home" Philip Phillips  ( :42 ; 1:15 )

Text tones:
-"Everybody Talks": Neon Trees ( 1:06 ; 1:11 )  This gets you "everybody talks, everybody talks, everybody talks too much"
-"Girl Named Tennessee": Needtobreathe ( 2:02 ; 2:05 )  first, if you haven't heard this song book it on over to iTunes.  Second, this clip will play "My sweet girl from Tennessee".  You can set individual text tones for people, and I think this would be a cute one to use.  To do that, go into your contacts list to the person of choice, hit Edit in the corner, and select a text tone or ring tone for them. 
-"Tonight, Tonight" Hot Chelle Rae ( :12 ; :14 ) to get "la, la, la, whatever"
-"Better Dig Two": The Band Perry ( :55.3 ; 1:01.6) to get "here lies a girl who's only crutch, was loving one man just a little too much"
-"Lazy Song": Bruno Mars ( :16 ; :21.8 ) to get "don't feel like picking up my phone, so leave a message at the tone"

Really think about the part of the song, and ringtones and text tones can give everything a little more personality.

Happy crafting!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

French Braids and More

I get asked all the time if it takes forever to fix my hair.  I have hair that is literally probably close to 3 foot long at the longest strand.  I am, after all, 5'7 and it is down to my waist.  However, people are usually really suprised to discover that I rarely condition my hair, don't own a curling iron or a straightener, and rarely blow dry it.

I do use T-Gel still because as a baby I always had scalp issues, and I still use it every couple of showers to keep my scalp in good shape.  Other than that, I stick to clear shampoos to avoid the gunk of the others.  I will use conditioner if I have used a lot of freeze it hairspray on my hair because otherwise the tangles nearly bring me to tears haha!  I have found that most people who use conditioner every time they shower tend to have hair that is more flat.  I have also found that people with poor diets have poor hair quality.  Call me crazy, but your body will tell you if it is not happy with what you are doing.

But, back to me fixing my hair.  As I have said I don't own the typical tools nor do I blowdry often, so that tends to lead people to question how I fix my hair.  Nine times out of ten I let it air dry a while after a shower, and then sleep with my hair in a bun that I put up when it is partially damp.  In the morning I take it down, it has crimped itself, and I put a bit of mousse on it and go.  I consider that multitasking.  I also braid my hair A LOT, and taught myself long ago to french braid my own hair.  So, here is my attempt to explain how to do it! (Plus a few more fix tips).  We are going to stick with the caption descriptions for this one.

Brush all of your hair back and take a small section from the front of your head.  If you don't want your braid to start this far forward, you can always pull bigger ones.  Once you get the motions down and the tightness adjusted, you can really do anything you want.  Divide this section into three smaller sections, and cross them over like a regular braid a couple of times.
I usually cross both sides twice in regular braid fashion before I start pulling because it gets me focused on the motions.  Once you are ready, pull a small section of hair from one side and add it to the section of the braid on that side. In the picture you can see that the piece I am pulling from the front will be added to the section of braid on that side.  After you get really good at braiding you can cross under and add it to the opposite side for a pop up braid.
Continue doing this on each side.  As you get further back along your head you will want to pull sections that are narrow but deep.  This will pull the hair from the front of your head up to your crown where the braid is happening, which I hope the picture explains better than I can.  If you are wondering, no I do not highlight my hair, this is just what my hair does naturally.  I get a lone blonde streak in the front most summers.  Regardless, keep doing this until you have all of your hair braided in and then finish it like a regular braid. 
The few times I get my hair cut each year (like twice, three if I am feeling crazy) it is always hard to braid it for the next month or so until it grows out a bit.  This throws a wrench in my love of side braids, but is easy to work around.  Flip your hair all to one side.  I find most people have a side they are more comfortable with.
Pull up the top section of your hair, getting in all of the short layers if you can.  Make sure you get what is in the back too.  Divide it in to 3 sections and cross a few times in a normal braid pattern.  Then, start pulling from the front side and back side of the remaining hair.
It should come out looking like this.  Clearly I was doing all of this right after a shower, but this is a great way to put your hair back after scrunching too, the wavy messy braid always looks cute.
This is completely not a braid at all, but I would argue I have some very easy five minute fixes when it comes to my hair.  With your hair flipped at least mostly to one side (you can play around with the amount that is flipped over) grab a section from the front and twist it back towards your head. Twist it at least an inch or two before you start adding in hair.

Start adding in hair while continuing to twist and work your way back around your head.

Finish it off with a quick bun.  I do mine by pulling my hair almost all the way through a pony tail to make a loop of hair.  I then take the loop through the pony tail again, not pulling it all the way through again (to loop the loop, if you will).  I finish it off by pulling it through once more, again not all the way.
 Keep in mind that it is going to take a while to get used to braiding your own hair and getting it tight enough.  Keep a brush handy so that you can work tangles out as you go, because if your hair is anything like mine it will tangle during all of this.  I sleep in my braids often to get a variation of crimped hair for the next day, so don't discount what a bad braid can turn into by morning.  If you find it difficult to learn how to do this using a mirror, don't.  Just sit somewhere where you can think and picture what you need to do in your head.  That really helped me when I was learning.  I found myself moving in the opposite direction that I needed to when using a mirror when I was starting off.

Good luck!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tropical Cheesecake Bars

This is one of those times where I turned a complete and utter sinking ship of a shenanigan into tasty dessert MAGIC.  With a little luck, a memory that works so much better when I am frantically trying to fix something, and a strong desire to avoid failure, you can make just about anything work as far as I am concerned.

Life is meant to work, it wants to work.  Or at least I like to pretend that is the way of the world.  My blog, my rules, after all.

This time, I have decided to make you suffer through the background story of all of this and then relay the actual recipe in the end.  I am attempting to teach the world a "never give up" style lesson.

So I really liked the dessert cheeseball I made my best friend.  I wanted a tropical one, all pineapple-y and coconut-y and orange-y and yummy.  However, I think my lack of draining the fruit 100% and then adding in some maraschino cherry juice and just not having the luck I needed for the day, it ended up rather runny and syrupy.  Hmm, I said to myself, this is no good. 

So I hop in my car and I go get cool whip.  At this point I am thinking I will just make it a dip, right, and cool whip will make it more creamy and dreamy. NO, cool whip failed me like always. 

So I sat and I pondered, and I pondered and sat (with the mix in the fridge), and then thought some more.  I was thinking about what I had invested in the mix.  The amounts of this and the amounts of that.  I pondered substitutions, I pondered additions...and came to me!

CHEESECAKE BARS!  Ice cream was a big no go for this, especially since my machine is at school.  But I have seen a million cheesecake bar recipes and similar, and what I had already put in just needed a few eggs and a base to make it happen! 

Here's what I did:

-1 pack of reduced fat cream cheese
-2 eggs
-3/4 container of cool whip
-1.5 lb powdered sugar
-1/2 can of pineapple tidbits, but you should use a whole small drained can of crushed if you have it because that was my original plan
-1 small can of drained mandarin oranges, chopped up a bit
-handful of coconut
-1 tsp of maraschino cherry juice (optional)

-1 box orange supreme cake mix
-1 stick melted butter
-1 egg

Mix the bottom 3 and press into the bottom of a 9x13.  Mix all of the top ones and pour over it.  If you don't have coolwhip, leave it out and cut the sugar down to 1 lb.  That is more along the lines of traditional cheesecake bars, it just HAPPENS to work with the cool whip too.  I think the coolwhip version comes out with more of a chewy top around the edges whereas originals come out with a soft or crunchy top depending on a few other things.

Bake at 350 for at least 45 minutes.  Depending on how thick your cream cheese topping is, you may need to bake it longer. But as I learned tonight, if you just watch the dish, it will tell you when it is done. We usually let these cool, covered, overnight and then cut. But as long as you let them sit an hour or two, you should be able to cut them and get them out of the pan. 

I love having a window and a light on the oven here at home.  Mine at my apartment has neither.  Quite sad.  But I was watching this dish bake, asking myself the odds of it coming out good (50/50 it either does or does not).  As it bakes, it rises up, gets air bubbles, is light, etc.  Then, eventually you start seeing the bubbles go down, the color start to darken, and everything settle.

I equate it to having to go on stage.  You get ready to do it and get all worked out and antsy, then (hopefully) you pull yourself together and are good to go.  When I started seeing the top sink and it flatten down and golden up, I knew I was going to be ok.  Mine ended up baking over an hour, but my topping was really thick.  Just watch it and add time accordingly.  If you pull it out and it is wobbly, it isn't done.  When you pull it out and it is just set in the middle, you are good to go. 

Pineapple cake as a base would also be plenty fine, coconut would be delicious.  Play around with it. And most of all, don't give up.  On anything.  At least not until you have exhausted all of the options. 

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Creative Christmas

My best friend loves Mickey.  I love to make creative gifts.  I also love finding something that I just know will mean a lot to the person I am giving it to.

So remember the oreo ball from yesterday? It got a nice coating of sprinkles that were shaped like Mickey and sugar cookies around that to smear on the yummyness.  In each ear I put oreos dipped in chocolate and white chocolate.  They also got Mickey sprinkles.

I get pretty obsessive about finding the right gift.  I knew this bowl was perfect for my friends, and munchies are never a bad option.  I have so far found my best friends and one of my sisters the perfect gift.

The bad part about it is when I cannot find just the right thing for the rest of my list, I get rather antsy shopping. I so very much want people to know that I really thought about them and took a moment to think about the things they love.  People mean a lot to me and Christmas is a time that I try to show it to them. 

This is why I love places like eBay, antique malls, flea markets, and all the normal stores.  This particular bowl I got from Target, and it comes in a smaller size as well.  I have roughly 7 more days to find that special gift for all my special people in my life. 

Merry Christmas blog readers! Each of you has made this blog extra special to me, and I truly hope your holiday seasons are excellent. 

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Quick Corn: Gourmet Made Easy

 This cannot get any simpler.  Gourmet popcorn is super delicious.  Sometimes, you really just want some without the time required to get it done or the cleanup after.

So, get a bag of microwave popcorn and either a pack of candiquick or a bag of whatever flavor of baking chips that you want. 

Pop the corn, shake it around in a collander (think the frying baskets that have bigger holes) so that the kernels filter out.  Melt your chocolate or whatever it may be and drizzle it over your popcorn. 

If you are melting chips or candiquick, melt it for one minute first.  Stir it around if it is chips, try to break it up a bit if it is candiquick.  Melt in 20 second intervals until it is melted.  Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil if it is chips and will not melt to the right consistency.

I prefer to do it in a plastic bowl with a lid so I can just store it in the same one.

I made chocolate, butterscotch, and white chocolate.  The butterscotch is by far and away my favorite of this whole batch.

It would make a great gift as is, mixed together, with sprinkles, etc. 

Consider mixing your chocolates (e.g. peanut butter chips and chocolate) to create even more flavors.  White and butterscotch? Yum!  Either mix when you drizzle or mix the batches later.

If you have a small space, or don't own a popcorn popper, this is a pretty good solution.  It also would make movie night extra special for all your extra special people. 

I also think it would make a delicious base for trail mix.  Yummy. 

Happy crafting!

P.S.  You might want to expect a lot of cooking and baking posts for the next week or two haha.  The holidays and calories go hand in hand in this house.  And I wouldn't have it any other way!

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Oreo Cheeseball/Icing/Dip

First, the recipe:
-1 block of cream cheese (at least close to room temp, so that you can mix things in)
-1 row of double stuffed oreos, crushed (or more if desired)
-1 vanilla pudding cup (or equivalent in made pudding)
-1.5 lbs (boxes) of powdered sugar

Mix the cream cheese and pudding together first to get it a little more liquidy.  Then, mix in all your other stuff. 

If you would like to have it as a dip for a party, cut the powdered sugar down by about half and work up from there to get the consistency you want.  The same goes for icing/filling for cakes and such.  It has such a delicious flavor, any fans of cookies and cream icing or dirt pudding would really like it.

In a small bowl or 5 inch pan, line the dish with saran wrap.  I put chocolate chips on the bottom, then started scooping in some cookie cheeeseball. 

As I layered the mix in, I put some chips around the sides too.  I did it this way so that I did not have to get messy.  More layers, more chips, more layers, more chips.

I had enough to make a good sized ball in a 5 inch pan, with some leftover to put in a shallow container (about 1 inch tall).  You could make two smaller dessert cheeseballs.  Chill them in the fridge. 

I say, go big or go home.

I do not know how well this will set up just yet as I only just made it, but it made a fairly stiff mix.  I have a pretty good hunch that the powdered sugar amount in this thing will be plenty effective at firming this little bugger up. 

Don't you dare skimp out on me and use regular oreos.  That extra creaminess is phenomenal to this taste.  No off brands either! Oreos are one of the few things I completely refuse to use anything other than name brand and a particular kind (double stuffed, I am not backing down). 

This weekend held a wedding cake, Christmas cookies, and a yummo dessert cheeseball.  That's a bake-cess if I ever heard one.

Happy crafting!
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reindeer Cookie

This is more of an idea than a how-to, because I do not have any recipes to cough up here and you may use very different icing than what we do. But the basic concepts will still apply.

I wanted to make reindeer cookies that looked like they were hitched up and ready to pull santas sleigh.  I think these would be super cute on the side of a cake or something as well.

I did the brown icing first, black next, yellow and red after.  If you use a liquid icing that dries solid, layering in the colors while the base is still wet allows you to do a lot of different things.

In this case, it keeps it all one level and they look more painted than anything else.  If you do a mitten or ornament or similar and put streaks through it, you can drag a toothpick up and down across it and make very interesting prints.  It also helps to do circles (imperfect is fine) and drag a toothpick out from center to edge to do a tye dye look.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, because I LOVE to make Christmas treats.  Candies, cookies, cake pops, whatever I can get into I DO!

So, get creative with that decorating.  Merry Christmas! Pin It Now!

Friday, December 14, 2012


So a few weeks ago my friend Gretchen and I collaborated on a wreath she wanted to make.  She was talking about hot glueing it to a foam form, which definitely would work.  But I talked her in to trying it on a wire wreath form, and using ribbon to tie the ornaments on.

Why did I think this would better? Well, first, I was hoping I would save her from having to use hot glue.  She still ended up using it to keep the ornaments from flopping around while she was making it, but she did have to use a LOT less.  Which is always a plus.

Also a benefit to this wreath is that since it is tied on, if you don't have to glue it you could essentially take it apart if you ever wanted to change the colors.  Gretchen used a large thing of ornaments from Hobby Lobby and a 6 pack of white ones, and red ribbon.  She had about a third to a half of the big pack left.  I think the form was about an 8 inch, but it could have been a ten. 

She cut the ribbon long enough that she could curl the ends once she stuck them through to the front.  You could mix the sizes of ornaments if you wanted it to fill in easier or have those variations.  It took her about an hour or so, and it turned out to be incredibly cute! 

I really wanted to make one of my own, but Christmas is coming way too quickly and it just won't have the time to really hang there and be beautiful.  So perhaps next year!

The wire form was under $3 at HL for a wire one, so the whole wreath came in at well under 20 bucks.

Happy crafting! Pin It Now!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scraplace: Jewelry Leftovers

 I really do not recall the last time I bought a necklace.  I used to buy cheap stuff at Body Central all the time, sometimes Rue 21, places like that.  I still have some of those, but as for recent purchases or really recalling buying anything from this year...I just can't put my finger on it.

As for necklaces I have made, I might have to employ my toes in order to count them all ;). 

Regardless, let's cut to the chase.  I had some charms left over from raiding clearance racks at Michaels.  I cut a shorter chain in half, then cut the loop of an eye pin.  I wrapped the pin around a washer to attach it to the chain.

The darn necklaces I bought at a huge festival have tiny chain links and I am out of smaller jump rings.

After that it was a simple thing of attaching the pieces.

I attached the charms to the washer with more cut eye pins, wire would also be just fine.  I attached some extra charms and chain to the washer as well to spiff it up.

I have also included my latest attempt at working on my Instagram skills.  I am still not quite sure what the hype is all about but it does make for some fun experimenting.

I have my only final of this semester early in the morning.  I have really enjoyed not having finals all week, and hopefully this one won't be too terrible.

Random note, if you don't watch Big Bang Theory you are missing out, I am cracking up as we speak.

Go make some scrap necklaces for your own enjoyment.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Ornaments: Merry Marathon

 So today is one of those days like we have had for the last 12 years where everyone gets all pumped because the numbers are all the same.  They conveniently forget the fact that they probably don't recall what happened on 11/11/11 or 05/05/05 or if it turned out good for them or not.  Yet still, here they are, positively elated and wishing on clocks or penguins or whatever people wish on these days. 

Yea, needless to say I don't buy into it.  But what I do buy into is taking some crazy fad and turning it in to something productive.  This idea was not entirely my own.  A very good friend of mine mentioned that he was going to post multiple posts on his creative writing blog (found at, which I don't think he will mind me sharing) today because everyone was all bananas over the date.  He said he wasn't going to do 12 things, which of course got my mind spinning on if I COULD do 12 things for this blog...

So needless to say since we are two of a kind, we are now both in the process of our 12 things.  Well, not entirely, because obviously if I am typing this I am done.  But I had a head start.  In under 6 hours I give to you this Christmas cheer.  It serves the double purpose of not making me back down from a challenge and for filling up my little tree.

This time, I am adding all of the individuals after all of this, and putting the explanation in captions below.  Hopefully this works this time, haha! Remember, most of these will take you well under 30 minutes to do, drying time aside.

To make this I cut about 3 feet of tulle and stuffed it inside the ornament.  I used a sharpie (high tech here) to put on the eyes and mouth, and white + copper puffy paint to put on a nose and scarf.  The biggest time is drying, it is super quick and easy!

There was probably never a loony toon I liked more than Marvin the Martian.  Admittedly, I used to go around trying to imitate his voice, demanding my space modulator back...NOW.  Regardless, to make him I stuffed the ornament with black feathers, way faster than painting! I painted his eyes, hat, and a little strip of red at the bottom and he was good to go.
As you may or may not know my soon to be craft studio is full of damask print.  I probably should have been working on it today instead of making 12 ornmanents...oops!  Regardless, this is also stuffed with black feathers, the damask is freehand and I coated it in polyflake.
This is green crackle paint sponged on with a sponge brush.  Right after I had it on I put polyflake on it to let the glitter dry in the paint.  If you use crackle, be prepared to choke.
Another crackle painted ornament, only this time I used a knife to put it on.  For everything except the green ornament above, I used a plastic knife.  It was great for helping to control the texture.  The paint does crack later, so don't be alarmed if it takes a while for it to go into effect.  As always, I coated it with polyflake.  I have all of these ornaments drying on pieces of styrofoam cups that I cut apart to make stands.  I will have to finish the backs later.
Soooo...this was originally going to be a pine tree on here, but after I got to doing it I just coated the whole front.  I am really not sure why.  I do, however, love the texture, it reminds me of a pinecone, so I am ok with it.

Do me a favor, and say hi to RoboRaptor's leg! He helped me craft.  Anyway I used a sparkly ornmament, puffy paint, and a yellow jewel to make an "elf" on this ornament.  I really like Elves...if they are the blond Lord of the Rings variety (I'm lookin at you, Bloom).  But that would be weird to put on a Christmas tree, so holiday elf it is.

This thing is cracking me up.  I pulled up a picture of the Abominable Snowman on Google Images to get an idea of what to do.  The white is done in crackle paint! It dries incredibly quickly and lets you do all sorts of oddball textures.  If you are going to freehand something and use a sharpie, draw your lines twice as thick in case you paint over them a little.
I am not really a college sports fan, but I think this little bugger will find a home on my mom's tree.  I used another 3ft or so of tulle and this time wrapped red sheer ribbon around it as I went.  I stuffed it into the ornament, tied a festive bow on top, and used my favorite white puffy paint to do the symbol and name.  Everyone remember that puffy paint that I started with for that infamous ornament?? Yea, I just NOW finished that bottle.  Great stuff!
For you non sports fans, I wanted to include the shot of how cute it was even before anything was painted on it.
Here comes Santa Bulb, here comes Santa Bulb...round 2! I used crackle paint and multiple other colors to whip out a basic Santa face.  The more I look at it...the more I think it looks like it is from the Jetsons.
IT'S PSEUDO GARFIELD! I did not have yellow paint, so I will have to fix that later after I get near some.  Again, google image the picture and get to painting. 
As arguably the most truly me in all of the ornaments of today, I made a Coheed & Cambria based ornament. If you do not know who they are...get off my lawn.  TOTALLY KIDDING! But I really like them and have for years, and they may well go down as my favorite band overall. 

Please excuse my messing up of the table, I had to have all of my stuff within arms reach to make sure that if I was holding a wet ornament and got a great idea, it would not be hard to make it happen.  I already had all of the materials for this on hand, which made it that much better.  If you are getting ready to craft, take a look at what you have buried in your totes and organizers before you go buy more.  There are some very crazy things that make for quite the ornaments later.  To make all of these, I used less than 10ft of tulle, less than 4 ft of ribbon, a fraction of two different colored bottles of puffy paint, and barely made a dent in my other paint or polyflake.  The ornaments that are clear came from Michael's (who sells plastic ones individually thank you very much) and the green ones came from my friend Gretchen.

Consider also the many variations on some of these: using red or green tulle on the snowman to make a santa ornament or elf, using feathers in place of tulle, using a part of a boa, etc.  Don't just do what I did because I showed you can- make it better and show everyone! That is what I love about crafting and creative things, we have such a way of building upon what others do that everything is really just the base for something else.

GET TO CRAFTING!  And thanks for stopping by my blog :).

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