I decorated some sugar cookies for a cookie swap. Trees, snowmen, snowflakes and pointsettia flower. I always end up with so many cookie ideas I want to try, but I try to limit the number of colored icings I have to make. I ended up trying a few different cookies but managed to do it with only 5 colors. Easier to make AND easier to clean up!
Pointsettia (how do you say that?? point-sett-ahs, point-sett-ee-ah?) cookies made with a snowflake cookie cutter.
I used a candy corn cookie cutter to make some tree shapes - include a Charlie Brown-esque triangle tree. Instead of making brown royal icing, I just used chocolate chips melted in a little baggie. I cut a corner off the baggie and used that to "pipe" the chocolate for tree trunks and for...
Snowmen arms! These were my favorites. A small circle cookie stacked on a bigger circle cookie while the royal icing is still wet. That's a lot of sugar in one cookie!
I've been looking all over for pumpkin roll-out cookies... and not just pumpkin shaped or decorated like pumpkins. Actual pumpkin. I couldn't find a recipe for cookies with pumpkin in it... so I took my favorite sugar cookie recipe and changed it up.
I almost always use known recipes so this was a bit out of my comfort zone. I swapped some of the butter for pumpkin, swapped some granulated sugar for brown sugar, and added the fall spices we all know and love. I found the cookies to be a little chewier than the sugar cookie recipe I usually use, but still very enjoyable. And they had that pumpkin flavor!
The cookies held their shape really well. They puffed up a bit in the oven but deflated after cooling. The cookies had a bit of orange color from the pumpkin, and were speckled with those wonderful spices.
The pumpkin flavored pumpkin shaped pumpkin decorated cookie! The cookie recipe isn't very sweet on it's own but adding the sugar icing certainly gives the cookies enough!
Pumpkin Roll-out Cookies
1/2 c. butter (1 stick) (I used salted butter)
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbl. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg1/2 tsp. ginger
a pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter
I got the apples ready before actually making the candy so I could keep my eye on the thermometer. I used twigs instead of popsicle sticks - I just cut a pointy end to stick in the apples.
I was attempting to make a blue raspberry flavor for the candy coating. I combined raspberry and tutti-fruitti candy oils... close, but not quite the blue raspberry flavor I was looking for. I made some grape ones too. There is special candy colors too - I used blue, but you won't need that until later.
Start by boiling sugar, corn syrup and water. There's no need to stir the mixture a lot. Sugar crystals that don't dissolve can be a problem, and mixing it too much can get sugar crystals stuck on the side of the pan. Hard crack stage in candy cooking is about 300 F. I used my candy thermometer this time, but I've also done it by watching the size and shape of the bubbles, and having a glass of ice water next to the stove. You can keep drizzling a big of the candy into the glass of water until it feels like a lollipop or hard candy when you bite into the cooled piece.
Big, rolling bubbles in the boiling candy means it's close to the hard crack stage. At this point I added the blue food coloring and let the boiling incorporate the blue. Adding blue will make a translucent blue candy coating - to make it opaque, add white to the color you want it to be.
Close! It moves quickly to 300 F to keep an eye on it!
Once I started dipping apples in the candy mixture, I wasn't able to take any pictures. But dip individual apples in the candy, and then allow some of the extra candy to drip off before placing the candied apples on a greased cookie sheet.
It doesn't hurt to have a helper at this point either. And remember, the candy is still REALLY HOT! Don't drip on yourself, don't lick the spoon or bite into an apple until the candy has cooled!
You can use a spoon to drip the candy on the apples if the candy becomes too shallow to dip the apples in. And to clean up, fill the pan of candy with hot, soapy water and just let that baby sit. The candy will eventually dissolve and what seems to be terrible mess cleans up pretty quickly!
We've been trying something new in our house - once a week, we're trying to go meatless. So welcome to Meatless Mondays! ...Being introduced on a Wednesday.
Combining cooking vegetarian with making easy dishes on hot summer days, and this dish was born. It was very simple, it starts with cooking tomatoes with onions in some olive oils. After the onions have softened a bit, I added some salt, pepper, Italian herbs and a splash of white wine. Artichokes marinated in oil, along with all that flavorful oil, were then added and allowed to heat up. Next, I added a container of baby spinach and allowed that to wilt over the heat for a minute or two. The pasta was locally made and I cooked it a minute or two shy of the time suggested on the pasta's label so that it could finish cooking in the tomato-onion-artichoke goodness. Throw in some mozzarella and enjoy!
We've had a bit of an empty spot in our living room area that I thought a nice shelving/desk area would fit wonderfully.
My husband and I figured out what we wanted for the spacing. We had decided that the lowest level would be perfect for a laptop desk and then have some other shelves that wouldn't be as deep.
We used half-inch pipe for the supports. It was already black in color but the finish wasn't very pretty, so we ended up hanging up the assembled pipes on our dog's outdoor run and spray painted the pipes with a semi-gloss black.
For more info on sizing of the pipes and getting all the right fittings, check out this blog with DIY instructions, which was the inspiration for this project.
The shelves were made out of live-edge slabs of pine and spalted maple. My husband also made our dining room table out of live-edge pine, and the shelving unit is open and visible from the dining table. The computer shelf was made out of pine, which naturally had a greater width where we planned on keeping the computer. The maple shelves above were narrower, but the spalting provides some really neat designs in the wood. We bought the wood after it had been freshly (and using sustainable methods) harvested, so it had to sit outside so the sap remaining the wood would dry.
Making sure the pipes are level... Each shelf was installed individually and then the next pipe section could be added. The pipes are screwed into the floor, and dry wall anchors attached it to the wall.
The maple shelves were finished with a heavy-duty polyurethane. A few coats were applied to build up a bit of a protective surface. Self-leveling epoxy was used on the pine-computer shelf - which is the same finish used on the dining table! It's almost like we planned it... Holes drilled in the shelves allow the pipe supports to go right through the wood, with pipe structures to increase support underneath the slabs of wood.
Completely installed! I still have plenty to add to the shelves but I'm so excited to have the shelves up.
The right side was purposely spaced to allow for Adi's bed to fit. She seems to like it! (She's photobombing the picture above, and is the black blob in the picture below)
These pictures aren't the greatest, but I was just too excited to not post about it!
We are big fans of homemade pizzas. Almost every Friday night, we get home from work and paw through our fridge until we find whatever combination of leftovers will make that night's perfect pizza. But, it is Friday night. So let's not go crazy. I buy pizza dough at the store and for a while I had been purchasing jars of pizza sauce. However, after realizing a little too late that we had run out of sauce I found this incredibly easy and incredibly delicious sauce. Let me show you why I love this recipe.
These are the ingredients. I love when recipes call for "1 can" of anything. I love not doing dishes.
I don't typically measure spices/herbs (again, I hate doing dishes) but I followed the ratio of the recipe.
Give all those bad boys a quick stir... and we're good. Try it! It's delicious!
Now at this point, I made enough for a small, 8 oz. mason jar. We'll use that up pretty quickly, but pizza sauce is the type of thing we only use up a few tablespoons at a time. I don't want this whole mess going bad on me in the fridge...
Which is why I made frozen pizza sauce pucks! I can keep the can in the fridge and these pucks in the freezer. By freezing the pizza sauce in muffin tins, I'll be able to thaw a puck and have just the right amount of sauce for a pizza.
I stuck the pucks in a freezer bag, labeled it with the date, and stuck them back in the freezer. Easy and delicious! And I only had two dishes to clean!