Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Red Burlap Heart Wreath for the Valentine Holiday

A pretty little red burlap wreath
hung on a white shutter was my inspiration.
Found  here

My wreath needed to be much larger 
to fit the wooden frame I intended to hang
on my wall.
So I used 2 wire clothes hangers as my 
wreath frame by cutting off the hooks and
bending each hanger into a half heart shape;
then twisting the two halves together
at the center top.

The bottom was left open
for weaving the burlap onto it.

I purchased 2 yards of burlap.
Then cut the entire length of the 2 yards of the fabric 
into strips each measuring 5 inches in width.

This was easy to do by measuring
5 inches from the edge of the fabric
(making sure the fabric is cut straight to begin with),

Then pull out a thread 
to be used as a cutting guide like this...

First pick up a thread with a skewer,  
knitting needle or awl.

Then pull it and ease it out.

See the line where the thread is missing 
in the photo below?

 I measured over another 5 inches and
pulled that thread for my next cutting line,
and so on.

After cutting the strips apart, I
pulled off 4 or 5 threads on both side of the strip
to give some interest, not just a hard edge.

Next, fold each strip in half lengthwise
(frayed edge to frayed edge) 
 to find the center thread
and pull that thread out as well.

This is where you will weave the strip onto the wire.
Just weave under and over as shown below
about every 1  -  1  1/4 inches.  
By following the thread line, the burlap
strip will be perfectly centered on the wire.

Pulling all those threads does make quite
a mess with lots of lint flying everywhere!

There was a dusting of red covering everything
including the floor.  
There was a layer of red on the bottom of my socks.
I felt like my beauty consultant daughter had done
a hair cut leaving it fall to the floor and I 
was walking in it.
So some dusting and sweeping was in order
(and a change of socks).  I found that
it was best to collect it all up with a dry dusting cloth.
When wiping with a wet paper towel, 
the red dye from the fabric left a 
stain on some painted surfaces
which was difficult to remove.

Then I just looped a length of
jute upholstery webbing around the
wreath to hang it from the frame.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Spumoni Birthday Cake

A few years ago we were invited out to dinner. 
We had never visited this restaurant before 
and I have to say I was
very disappointed with my menu selections.

For the main course I ordered
Broasted Chicken.
It made sense to me that Broasted 
should be a compound word
for "oven baked-roasted".

I was wrong.
And although the server offered to bring
me something else, he seemed rather frustrated
that everyone at the table agreed
I was served deep fried chicken.
I declined the offer.
I ordered it, so I ate it.
 Eventhough something deep-fried 
was the very thing I was trying to avoid.

Turns out "Broasted" is different than deep-fried
 in, as far as I can understand, that
deep-fried foods are cooked by floating
 on top of the oils, cooking one side at a time 
and requiring turning to cook both sides.
Broasted foods, on the other hand,
are pressure cooked in the oils so that all sides
are cooked evenly at the same time.
Okay, so I learned something I didn't know before.

For the dessert course
I settled on a Spumoni Cake.
Mmm, I thought, I'm already familiar
with Spumoni ice cream...
the Italian version of Neapolitan
with flavors of Chocolate, Cherry and Pistachio.
Love it.

I could envision the cake wondering
would these three flavors be a
bundt style cake where the flavors
were swirled all around?
Or, would it be a beautiful 
three (3) layer cake?
I was excited to try it and couldn't wait
for our server to bring it.
It would be the perfect end to a not so perfect

And when the server came
he set a bowl of ice cream in front of me!

Ice Cream?!?!?!?!? 
Did the menu description
say anything about ice cream?

NO,   it said, 
plainly in black and white,
Spumoni CAKE
ice cream is not cake, folks.

Well you can see how I've overcome
my dissappointment over the years. Ha
I can tell you this, I've learned to ask my 
restaurant servers alot of questions
about menu items, their ingredients and 
how they are prepared. 

this week was my husband's birthday.
I haven't forgotten the beautiful
Spumoni Cake I'd envisioned that night.

For this birthday I departed
from the usual predictable decorated
birthday cake and made a 
Spumoni Cake.

I didn't follow a recipe but used
these cake mixes.

Each mix made two layers
so, after baked, I put one layer of each flavor
in the freezer for another time.

To the chocolate cake I piped Nutella into the
cake batter.  Being rather thick, it didn't want to break off so
became these little strips instead of little dollops.

To the Cherry Chip cake I added 
chopped maraschino cherries and a couple
drops of red food coloring.
It turned out a pretty pink but looks kinda
orange here.

To the white cake I added a 1/2 teaspoon
or so of almond extract and 4 drops of
green food coloring.

I wanted a light whippy "frosting".
And discovered a product called TruWhip which is 
an alternative to Cool Whip
that claims
all natural, non gmo certified, 
has no hydrogenated oils,
no high fructose corn syrup.

I stirred together
a small box of instant pistachio pudding mix
and 1/3 - 1/2 cup of milk
and folded it together with 1 container of TruWhip.

(This wasn't quite enough to finish the job
so I ended up making a second batch
of my pistachio pudding and TruWhip
whippy frosting and used
 most, or at least more than half, of the
second batch.)

I stacked the cakes with the 
chocolate on the bottom
cherry chip in the center
 and almond flavored white cake
tinted a pale minty green  on top.

Frosted all the sides and piped rosettes on the top
to hold the candles.

There....all done.

 Pistachios sprinkled around the top
or pressed onto the sides of this cake 
would have been more impressive,
but pistachios, being a softer nut, can get soggy
and need to go on immediately before serving.
 I opted not to add any to this cake.


Happy Birthday Dear

Sharing at Jan's Daily Cup

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Favorite Quote for National Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month

If you are cold, tea will warm you.
If you are too heated, it will cool you.
If you are depressed, it will cheer you.
If you are excited, it will calm you.
                                ~William E. Gladstone

Friday, January 2, 2015

What I Made for the Christmas Kitchen Ornament Swap

Well, now that the holidays are behind us
and things have settled down a bit,
allow me to do a little backtracking
and show you what I made
hosted by Erica at Golden Egg Vintage.

I was partnered with 
Trisha at American Honey Home.
You can see what she made for me
in my previous post here.

The rules were that we were to make 
 two kitchen related ornaments,
one tag or card,
include a favorite recipe,
and anything extra
maybe something "sweet".

Last year I played around with making 
Christmas card Putz style glitter houses 
They were allot of fun
and they turned out so cute. 

For Trisha I decided to make something similar,
a Gingerbread House.

Made from card stock,
with a flame-less battery operated tea light inside.

I decorated the roof to resemble candy dots.

And added lots of snowy glitter 
a little bottle brush tree at a corner in the 
front of the house.

This ornament was small enough that it 
could hang on a tree if you should so choose.

I think it would be wonderful under 
small glass cloche.

My second ornament was a
Gingerbread Man
made from an air dry recipe of
applesauce and cinnamon.

I got this recipe from my son's second grade teacher
close to 20 years ago.  
I made some tree ornaments back then
(gingerbread men, rocking horses, reindeer, 
angels, and more).
We've hung them on the tree every year since then.
And every year they smell delicious every time I 
open the box and unwrap them.

Since I was going with the gingerbread theme,
I printed off a printable found online
and applied to a shipping tag
over some coordinating art paper.

Added a dictionary clipping of gingerbread,

and attached a 
vintage measuring spoon,
and a 
tiny bite-sized gingerbread man cookie cutter 
with a strip of
Christmas homespun fabric.

Read a previous post to see 
more about the tiny cookie cutter.

Then I antiqued the tag and
added glitter around the edges.

The recipe I sent to Trisha is one of my very favorites
and one that I've made since a young girl
found in my mom's Better Homes & Gardens
 recipe book.

"Frosty Date Balls"
found on page 41

I prefer pecans instead of walnuts.

I love how the cookie balls get all goey
when rolled in powdered sugar
straight out of the oven
while still piping hot.

I tucked a few 
Christmasy sweet treats of
chocolate, peppermint and English toffee.
(and hoped Trisha wasn't diabetic)

Merry Christmas Trisha, thanks for being
a great swap partner.

Thank you Erica for hosting a great Swap Party!

Warm Hugs,