Friday, July 22, 2011

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins ~

Oh how I've missed baking! I cleared the calendar of everything for the month of July so I could have surgery and today I just had  to get in there and bake. I even got out my food processor to make the streusel for this recipe even though you can just mash it with a fork. I wanted to go all out!

Now I know that pumpkin muffins are probably not what you plan for your summer menu. I didn't really plan it either, it just sort of happened. The year before last, at Thanksgiving, there was a shortage of pumpkin. It was so scary - can you imagine not having pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread or anything pumpkin at that time of year?? So this past Thanksgiving, I bought more than enough, because I was scared that I wouldn't be able to find it on the shelves and nobody else in my family would either.

Not. The. Case.

So I had 3 cans of pumpkin just sitting there staring at me every time I walked into the pantry. So I decided to make these:



Where's the streusel you ask? Well, I forgot to use it. However, they were just as yummy!

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen. She is hilarious and I urge you to go and read the post about her pumpkin muffins! I think the woman can salvage almost anything she makes in her kitchen but I was rolling by the time I finished reading about this one.

As always, I tweaked my recipe to suit my tastes. 

1) I used part wheat flour as opposed to all all-purpose flour. 

2) I also don't know how much pumpkin pie spice I used. There was some in the bottom of the container that looked to be about 1 teaspoon but I was not in the mood to fight with it so I just poured all of it in. (Did you know you can make your own pumpkin pie spice? I've added the recipe for it at the bottom of this post).

3) I also have something against most oils, so I used butter instead. I know you think it is crazy but butter in moderation is actually better for you than oil. Just trust me on this one!

4) I cut the sugar down to just 1 cup. I like even numbers.

5) And WHOOPS! Instead of using 1 cup of pumpkin, I just saw the part where it said "15 ounce can" and used the whole can!

Lastly, I made a streusel topping to put on my muffins. I forgot to put it on mine, but nevertheless, I made some. I always make up a bunch and keep it in the fridge because it is kind of a hassle to make it every time you make muffins. That recipe is there too.

So here is the (accidentally) altered version of the recipe for pumpkin muffins:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large muffin tin with liners. My recipe made 8 large muffins. Once muffins are in oven, lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 27 minutes.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1 - 15 ounce can pumpkin
6 T butter
2 large eggs
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon

Melt the butter in a bowl. Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix well. Add everything except flour and mix well. Lastly, add the flour and mix until combined. Divide evenly into muffin liners and bake.


Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 stick butter
1/2 t ground cinnamon

Throw all into the food processor and pulse until butter is chopped.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe:

  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground allspice

Despite all of my efforts to demolish this recipe, the muffins came out moist, light, and YUMMY!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pincushion ~ A Definite Necessity!

I used to have a pin cushion. It was really cute, it was in the shape of a bunny and it had floppy ears and it was made out of pink calico.
Then one day I found my dog chewing on it, pins and all, and all that was left was a raggedy ole body and a tail. 

Poor bunny.

But anyways, I found one that I like from Prudent Baby. Their's is SO cute and even has some embroidery on the top of it.
Go on over and take a look at her tutorial.

Here is a picture of mine. I don't know what is up with my camera but the colors didn't come out true. That's a shame because they really are very nice. But here is a view from the side.


And here it is from the front. I love bows.
I think this looks kind of like a lady's hat.


I put a bunch of buttons in the bottom of it so I will know right where to look when I need one.
I'm sure they will outgrow this jar pretty soon!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Banana Muffins ~


  • I walked into the kitchen this morning and saw two bananas that were ripe beyond eating. Those are the best only kind to make into any kind of bread or cake. So see? I had no choice but to make these delicious banana muffins.
  •  

  • The best part is that I made them up using only one bowl! Ok, so that really isn't the best part but it's still good. 

So I found this recipe on the Internet. Problem is, I only had 2 bananas, not 3. So I had a feeling there would be a problem with them being dry. Luckily for me, the site lets you adjust the serving size. So I adjusted it down from 12 servings to 8 and voila! It only calls for 2 bananas now. 

  • So here is the new recipe. Read it closely - does anyone see anything odd in these ingredients? 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 5/8 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

  • You are so right! How in the world do you use only 5/8ths of an egg?!?!  I didn't notice that until it was too late though so I just threw the whole egg (minus the shell) in. 

Also, in an effort to feel like I was being healthier, I replaced a bit of the all-purpose flour with wheat flour. You can not tell the difference, I promise. You could probably also throw in some walnuts or pecans and they would have been good too. I'm just not a nutty kind of person. Um, you knew what I meant so shush it. So here ya go! Bake some up!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers. This makes 8 cupcake size muffins or 5 perfect big muffins. I chose 5 big ones.

Place butter in a bowl and melt. Add 2 large ripe bananas and mash with a fork. Crack 5/8ths of an egg (hahaha, or 1 whole egg) into the same bowl and mix everything together. Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar and stir until combined well. Lastly, add the flour and stir. Divide into the muffin papers and bake for 25 minutes.
Enjoy!! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Apron Strings ~

Raise your hand if you like aprons.

I am a big fan of looking at aprons but I really have never worn one. However, I have been baking a LOT this past year and it would really benefit me to wear one. When I get done making/decorating a cake, I usually have powdered sugar everywhere. So I started searching around for aprons I thought would do the trick. 

Who knew there were so many different styles of aprons?!?!

I found some that I thought you might like to see.

This is the "Totally Cute Apron" and I agree, it is SO cute! I probably like it so much because it has my favorite color combination of the moment all over it.


I also like this dishtowel apron because it covers more of the subject. This is exactly the part of me that gets all sugary when I'm making cakes! I also love the ric-rac and the polka-dot ribbons. Don't polka dots just do something to you? They make me feel all... cute.


The next one is also one of my favorites for totally different reasons. 1) I like repurposing things, 2) This one is not for baking but for working on things around the house, and most importantly, 3) it is super cute! Don't be fooled, this apron has a huge pocket that goes all the way down behind those other 2 jeans pockets. Nifty, huh? Go take a look at THIS blog for a tutorial on how to make a jeans tool apron of your own.


Ok, this last one could possibly be my favorite too. Can you have 2 favorites of something? Anyways, I think you may have to wear high-heels and pearls while you cook in this one. It is a pattern from 1951 but I could totally see myself wearing it!


Thanks to all those folks out there with these amazing apron tutorials. There are so many more if I had time to share them all. I am going to start wearing one. Soon. Just gotta figure out which one to make first!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sew.Craft.Create.: Joe's Totes Giveaway


This is an awesome giveaway!!

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And here is the yellow one that I am dying to have...

Rose - Marigold

Look how roomy it is inside, so easy to organize!


And here is how it will look thrown over YOUR shoulder!


Head on over to the Sew.Craft.Create blog and enter for your chance to win it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Not Just Another Jeans Purse ~


I ran across a tutorial for a purse called "Not Just Another Pretty Purse" at Sew A Straight Line, by Sabra Gubler.  It is a nice fantabulous purse made from that trendy grey and yellow fabric that is all the rage right now. It has absolutely everything you could need in a purse, including a zipper pocket, key fob, and cell phone holder. Well, I didn't have any of that very trendy fabric that is all the rage. I had a ton of scraps and a pair of jeans which I thought would work out just fine. So I will show you have I use her pattern and tutorial, which she so graciously shared with all of us and put my own spin on it.

Here's what you'll need:
Pair of jeans, new or old
1/2 yard of fabric for lining, plus a little more for the yo-yos
Fusible interfacing
fabric yo-yos
magnetic snaps
buttons
hot glue gun (optional)


I had these Jeans that were given to me by a friend. They were too long for her and, well, not made for my body type even if they had been big enough. The first thing I did was cut off the waist band. Set it aside to use later.


These are were really nice jeans! See how I so expertly covered up the size tag?? But this purse can be made with any size jeans so you're in luck! I prefer the dark-wash jeans because I don't want my purse to look too barn-yardy. I was trying to keep the chic-ness of these Elle jeans.



Then I cut out the butt of the jean, leaving the pockets intact. This will be the back of your purse. These pockets will come in handy for loose change, gum, etc.



This is the part that I found tricky. Since the butt of these jeans was too wide to get the pattern piece on top of both of the pockets, I had to cut out that middle seam. It worked just as well because, again, it eliminated that barn-yardy look and upped the chic factor. Just make sure that you allow enough fabric for a seam down the middle of the pockets.


This next part is pretty much like Sabra's tutorial except for a few minute changes, mainly due to those darn pockets! In her tutorial, she makes her own zippered pocket, which I don't have the nerve to try yet. However, since this one already has pockets, there is nowhere to put a zippered pocket. Just lay out all of your pattern pieces just like she says.





TIP: I did this on the carpet. Why? I have no idea! It is so much easier on a hard surface. Use a cutting board or a table. Or even a cutting board ON a table!


Here is where I place my big pouch. It is on the back of the inside of the purse lining. Isn't that lining adorable??!


I made my cell phone pocket a bit wider because I have a big fat blackberry. I also made another pocket to sew into the back lining instead of that lovely zippered pocket. (Can you tell I'm full of zippered-pocket envy?) To make my pockets, I used the bottom cuff of the jeans. That way I already had the top edge finished off. Besides, I thought it raised the cuteness factor.



One other thing that you will want to cut that I added to my bag is the loops for the handle. Since I used the waist band of the jeans for the handle and wanted to also use the original jeans button, I had to have some sort of loop to hook it through. I forgot to take a picture but my loops are about 4 inches wide and 5 or 6 inches long. Just seam them up the long side, trim the seam, and turn them right side out. When you get to the part of the tutorial that instructs you to sew the lining to the outside of the bag, you will want to put the ends of these loops in between the fabrics. When you turn it, you will have a loop on each end, ready and waiting for your handle to go through.


I took these magnetic snaps off of my old purse. The one I absolutely hated. I don't recommend this because then you have to finagle and bend the prongs back and I had to resort to a pair of pliers. You can get magnetic snaps at any craft store. Another thing about this flap: In the tutorial she tells you to put it about 1.5 inches down on the back and sew. Well, because of those pockets again, I sat there for a good minute trying to figure if how this would work. I did just move it up a bit and my purse still came out fine. I just had to work around those pockets a bit.


Although covered buttons are delightful, I absolutely love the vintage look of yo-yos and thought they would go well with this Elle jean purse. I didn't have any yo-yos so I made my own out of some scraps of coordinating lining fabric. Here's how:



Cut a circle about 6 inches across. With needle and thread, stitch around the outside of the circle on the wrong side. When you get all the way around, pull the thread to make the fabric gather. Your fabric will fold in on itself and then you will have a cute


Check out the price on these buttons! They were on clearance for 25 cents a card! I used them for the middle of the yo-yos but you could use them for the handles or decorations.


I also made 3 smaller circles of the jeans fabric to make smaller yo-yos. I laid these on top of the big yo-yos and then glued a button on top. However, you will want to make your yo-yos ahead and sew them to the flap/purse before you sew the lining shut. This will let your purse be washable. I was just to lazy excited to get this purse done to to it right.
        
Lastly, I hooked the waistband (which I had trimmed neatly) through the fabric loops on the side and just buttoned them up!

  
I am looking forward to making many more of these "more than pretty" purses!
And thank you Sew a Straight Line for the awesome tutorial!

Monday, July 4, 2011

My New Blog Button ~

Happy Independence Day! ~


Borrowed this greeting from the ladies at eighteen25. Go on over and check out their blog if you haven't yet. They are hosting a raffle and have lots of other fun stuff to look at!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Flowers in my Food!

When I was younger and living at home my mother brewed tea on top of the stove. We had a pan that I remember to be THE tea pan. Maybe she made other stuff in it but when it was time to make tea, there was no question about what to use. So anyways, one day my mother brewed the tea, poured it up in a glass, and brought it to me in the living room. I took one drink of that tea and I was as confused as a cow on astro turf! Without even thinking I called out, "This tea tastes like flowers!" That was back in the day when tea was supposed to taste like tea. We never added peaches or blueberries or hibiscus back then. Well, maybe they did but we didn't know about it. About the only thing added to a good glass of tea in the South was sugar. Turns out, my mother had boiled some potpourri in the tea pan and the taste of it just didn't come out when it was washed. We still laugh about that today, I'm sure the look on my face was priceless!
Well, for a few months now I've been wanting to try some cupcakes with flowers in them. Lavender is all the rage right now - they even put it in tea!! So I scrounged around on the Internet looking for some recipes. I came up with a few and sort of put them all together to fit my needs. I started out with this recipe from another blog. However, I hardly ever use self-rising flower. Then I checked out this one but noticed it had no leavening in it - nothing to make it fluffy! So I finally just used the first one but tweaked it just a bit. 
First of all, I made my own lavender sugar. About 3 weeks ago I combined about 1/3 cup of lavender flowers with 2 cups of sugar. You can't just go pick your own lavender or go to the flower shop. You have to get lavender that does not have any pesticides on it. I got mine at Central Market in the bulk foods section. It was only about 63 cents for what I got. So I put the lavender and the sugar in this big Mason jar and left it for 3 weeks, although 2 is long enough.




After 2 or 3 weeks has gone by, the lavender sugar is ready to use. Just sift the sugar to get the flowers back out. I sifted mine twice and there were still some flowers that managed to sneak in. That's ok because you are going to put a few of the flowers in the batter anyway. Don't flip out trying to separate them!  So here are all the ingredients you will need, minus the salt, which you can add or not. I did.




Lavender Cupcakes
1 cup flour
1/2 cup very soft butter
1/2 c. lavender sugar, sifted
1 ½ t. baking powder
1/8   t. salt
1/4 t. lavender flowers
2 eggs
3 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350. 

Sift lavender sugar to get the flowers out. One of the original recipes said to put part of the sugar in a food processor with ¼ t. lavender flowers and blend. I tried that and it didn't work so I just threw the flowers in there whole. I know, it was a big chance to take but I had no other choice.

Mix together the butter and sugar until smooth, then add the eggs one at a time, until completely blended. Add the flour and mix gently. Add the milk. Original recipe said  to use 1 -2 tablespoons but I used 3 tablespoons. I did taste the batter and it tasted suspiciously like the sugar cookie dough I made a week ago. Hmmmm...

Line a muffin pan with 10-12 paper liners and distribute the batter equally. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until done (mine took 17 minutes and I made 10). 

When the muffins are cool, decorate with pale lavender colored frosting and sprinkle with lavender petals (or whatever blows your dress up). I used white dragees but they would have been pretty with nothing but frosting.



As for how they tasted, the lavender was so faint that you might think you were eating just a vanilla cupcake. However, I did taste it and it gave these cupcakes a little hint of something special. Also, I have not had much luck in the past with just plain vanilla cupcakes. They were either too dry or too something. I think these would make for a perfect vanilla cupcake if you leave out the flowers and add a teaspoon of vanilla. So there you have it, the long awaited lavender cupcake. Not bad having flowers in my food!


*This recipe will be linked to the following parties:


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About Me ~

This is me.  

My name is Jennifer. I also go by Jenn (friends), Esmeralda (mother), Darlin' (brother), JennyKay (father), Jenny (rest of my family), JD (friend), and a few others.

 I live in Cowtown, Texas. That's Fort Worth to those who are are wondering where the heck Cowtown is.

I don't wear boots but many in my family do, we try to carry on the redneck legacy ;)

I love to make things, whether it is something edible, wearable, or just plain cute. However, I haven't spent a lot of time displaying that part of me because, honestly, I've been too busy with other stuff. Well, now it's time to shift gears.

I work full-time in the admissions department at a huge hospital. I've done most all of it - ER, surgery, physical therapy, and now I am settled in outpatient radiology. I have gotten to know some of my patients on a first-name basis and some of them just stop by to see me when they happen to be in the area. No kidding!

I am also going to school to be a nurse. Yeah, I just can't get enough of the hospital!!

I also work part-time for a business consultant - filing, reconciling accounts, and whatever else he asks.

And ALSO, (I know, what else could there possibly be?) I make custom cakes. My next project is to set up a website to display them. You will probably see some of them here too, especially if they are unique enough.

I am very generous, I love to give to other, help people out, share my time.

I love to write, whether it is an email or a short story, which is probably why I have this blog and another one called Daughter of the King.

I have a snarky little Boston Terrier named Tug. Here he is. I don't normally put clothes on him but he was having some private issues >.<


Last but not least, I am waiting on the right man to come along and sweep me off my feet so I can start this post over with, "I am a wife and mom of 2 beautiful children."