Browsing the blog archives for August, 2011.

Oreo Kisses, a Smore Package and Rice Balls with Hidden Veggies

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy

There has been a lot of cookie baking going on around here and actually, a whole lot of other treat making and painfully-from-scratch cooking going on as well. So much that I’m going to just have to post a heap of my queue as thumbnails to get through it all so I can post the new stuff. It’s not that my kitchen creations (and my craftyness) this past winter/spring/summer are not amazing, because naturally I think they are lol, but there is so much more amazingness on the way!

As with many of the whimsical creations coming out of this kitchen, these adorable little creations are courtesy of Bakerella! They could not be easier and as usual, these are amazing. I made them as Valentine’s Day treats for Wee One #1’s class party. I wrapped them in foil and made little tags that said ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ for him to give to his classmates with his paper cards. I wasn’t there, but he said they were a hit – despite not looking at all like the kisses I had intended them to look like. Whoops.
There are so many cute smore-themed ideas for end of school year gifts for teachers. I actually made this one for our principal, because she has really gone out of her way for us more times than I can ever properly thank her for. I first saw this idea over at Back Porch Creations and I loved it, but I needed my packaging to be a little more girlie than that.
I made these (recipe #14 from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious) alongside the Italian Meatloaf from the same book. The meatloaf was ok, but I had seconds of these rice balls! They’re not a quick fix though, they take some effort to make, but just like everything else in life, when does quick and easy usually equal amazing? Alonst never, especially in the kitchen. These rice balls are actually loaded with chicken, sweet potato and either spinach, broccoli or butternut squash puree – I used spinach. I also used whole wheat breadsrumbs instead of whole wheat cracker crumbs.

I also just found out a few minutes ago that today, August 30, is National Marshmallow Day. What?! How did I not know about this?! I will whip up something with marshmallows in it for dessert – what are you making to celebrate now that you know? 😛

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Knitting, knitting, knitting and maybe sewing….

Crafty, Healthy, Kids

This post title does not at all describe what I’ve added to the site today, just what’s keeping me from adding more. Whenever my amazing, wonderful yarn-spree-paying-for husband buys me heaps of yarn, all I want to do is knit it up. We have been buying from Knit Picks a lot lately, not just because their prices are very reasonable (though they really are) but because their shipping isn’t painful. Ordering the same types of yarn from other shops will run us twice as much! Now that the wee ones have three other wee ones next door to play with everyday, I plunk down on the patio and watch all six of them run and chase each other and throw their little heads back in laughter and make delicious memories. Wee One #2 is the only one to have a new playmate her exact age and man, do they get along well. Instant besties, it’s the sweetest thing. The oldest kids are just a year apart and have created a series of videos for their new You Tube channel. Yup, that’s what I said. My favorite is when the neighbor kids stay for supper and we fill both kid-sized picnic tables, it’s soooooo cute to have half a dozen kids running around. I know, I know, that’s crazy. Don’t worry, I will probably not be having another three kids. Probably. I am still the weird neighbor that brings baked goods next door almost everyday – except now my next door neighbor totally gets it and so far likes everything I’ve made for them. Score. Anyhoo….


We’ve also checked out the park and we’ve gone swimming at the dock a few times. I have to admit though that I miss walking for an afternoon swim in the lake by our old place. There were often pretty decent waves on the lake, which was fun for so many reasons and the sand bar was sweet too. However, being able to go for a swim whenever is rad – dock or lake. 🙂


I added two posts today, one in Crafty and one in Healthy, though as I have noted before I am aware that most of the recipes in that section should be dubbed healthier, and not necessarily healthy. Ahem. I’m getting through the backlog of things to post. I should be totally up to date in less than a month! I’ll be posting Halloweeny stuff on time! Hooray!

These were silly and fun to make for the last day of school for Wee One #1’s class. He just finished grade 5, so it had to be something fun but not too cute. They’re one of those projects that’s done in 20 minutes and only requires a few supplies. These are literally Rolo sleeves wrapped in construction paper.
This is Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious version of Italian Meatloaf. It’s made with spiced breadcrumbs, lean ground turkey, carrot puree and turkey bacon (among other things). It was just meh but I think if I took out the extra liquid and just left the carrot puree it would hold together a lot better. Or maybe adding some ground oatmeal? We’ll see if I even re-do this one again. This book has had enough winners for me already as it is and this was the 13th recipe I made from it.

I also remembered to take photos of the kitchen to show you, so I’ll get on some pictures of the pantry and talk about that tomorrow!

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Homemade Nutella

Domestic, Kids

I almost posted about homemade bacon wrapped tater tots, but I realized I didn’t take photos of the actual tater tot process, just the bacon wrapping bit. So I will fix that and get those up this week. Instead, I went with Nutella. My girl Sammie made a batch too! Her post on that is here, and she did a great job!! She really is my kitchen soul mate. She used this recipe from Su Good Sweets and I used an adapted version of the recipe she wasn’t crazy about. Both of our batches turned out well and our husbands and children (and maybe us too) ate enough to prove they were both delicious!

Here are a few pictures of the process:

More baking and cooking and crazy fun to be had around here this afternoon. I’m working on a slow cooking pork shoulder for pulled pork sandwiches later. I wanted to try the Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Dr Pepper Shredded Pork but my husband isn’t a big fan of anything too ‘unusual’ in the kitchen lol.

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I’m a Sucker for Apothica (plus Banana Bread, Rolo Cookies and Scrapbooking Paper)

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Pretty

I was pretty proud of myself with today’s updates for you. I added some really amazing Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies to the Domestic section, then wee little Post It Packages from scrapbooking paper (which are really, really cute, I have to say) in the Crafty section and I even managed to get my Deceptively Delicious Banana Bread post up in the Healthy section – all long before my self inflicted deadline. Then I got to the Pretty section, and there are a couple of hair tutorials I was going to post, but I’m not too happy with the photographs so I decided to do a Window Shopping post on Apothica instead. Oh boy. I got sucked in. I adore makeup and shiny things and girly colors (and even matte things and dark colors) and before I knew it, I was almost late to post this!! Ack! Way to be distracted by shiny things, May.

Moving on.

These cookies are a lot easier to pull together than they seem but so so so much yummier than photos can possibly get across to you. Imagine. It’s a chocolate chip cookie, which is already pretty great and then BAM, you’re hit with a mouthful of caramel. Right?!
This is the post that assisted in making me late today. Apothica is now accepting PayPal and for me, that’s cause to celebrate! Lipglosses that are so shiny they rival MAC’s Lipglass and shimmering face powders so pretty they’re right up there with Too Faced’s Candlelight Powder. Color me in love.
This banana bread tastes just like banana bread! So what? So it’s made with pureed cauliflower! Hello serious vitamin boost with no questions asked!
This was an end of school year gift for the hard working secretary at my kids’ school. All elementary school secretaries work hard, I have on doubt, but they so often are overlooked when all the teachers get well wishes and mugs!

I would love to get some photos up of my new kitchen, but every time I think to do it there is something more pressing that needs to be done. The whole fridge to sink to oven kitchen work triangle is great in this house – for sure the best and easiest I’ve ever had. My husband has serious issues with clutter so I try to hide most of my kitchen power tools and this kitchen has decently deep cabinets so my blender, food processor, bullet, slow cooker, etc are all tucked away. At first I thought it would be a pain to pull stuff out when I wanted to use it, but as long as all the cabinets are kept tidy (so far, so good) I just grab the gadget I need when I need it. It also frees up space for rolling out dough or cooling things on racks. I’ll put it on my to do to get pictures of the kitchen today so I can have them up tomorrow.

I promised Wee One #2 that today would be a crafty day. At the end of the school year, her report card was as perfect as a report card can be without your child being an alien. So we told her she could choose her ‘passing gift’ (who came up with that phenomenon anyway?!) and she chose a book on learning sewing crafts, Made By MeChildren's Crafts & Hobbies Books), a sewing basket with the essentials and fabric. She picked out some from Fabric Closet and tulle in 3 different colors from Fabricland. Her favorite thing so far has been embroidering and today she wants to attack a tshirt for the first time, so far we’ve stuck to plain squares of fabric to practice on. Wish us luck with this little project!

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Homemade Makeup and Some Fun in the Kitchen

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Pretty

Another catch up post today – and today I posted about homemade makeup again! Yup. Homemade lipgloss this time. First though, I’m trying to update each section with one article a night till I’m caught up and then I can blar, blar, blar on and on about whatever it is I’m obsessing over.

Homemade peanut butter cups are honestly better than store bought ones. The chocolate has a better crunch to it and there is just something satisfying about knowing what’s in your treats – even if it happens to include 2 cups of icing sugar! At least there’s no mystery chemicals that no one can pronounce, right? The wee ones love them, adults love them and if you pick up the molds, they even look pretty close to the real deal.
When I made this soup, I was perfectly healthy. Then just a few days after I made it, I had a horribly sore throat and lost my voice for a week! What?! Who let that happen?! It was awful, but this soup was a great comfort and of course I believe all that garlic and heat made me feel better – even if no one appreciated my awful garlic breath!
I know making a jean skirt from an old pair of jeans is nothing new, but it’s not difficult even with just the most basic sewing skills. Most of the effort in this project is in the ripping out of the old seam, which is usually at least double stitched. The result is a cute skirt that you can be sure will fit!
Yesterday I talked about making homemade mineral eyeshadows – today I’m onto homemade lipglosses! The glosses take longer to make but you can churn out more at a time and they are just as customizable. I made hot pink and then purple and also a batch of clear for Wee Ones #2 and #3.

I have the great fortune of a new friend, who just happens to be a professional chef (how lucky am I?!), lend me one of his serious, grown up professional cook books. You all know by now how much I love to do silly, playful things in the kitchen. I mean, who doesn’t love it when I stuff a brownie into a cookie? Or when I bake pies into cakes? (I did that just last month and it’ll be a nice epic blog post when I get to it). But there is just something about putting on my apron, kicking the kids out of the kitchen and really setting to stretch my skills and make something as pro as I possibly can.

My new kitchen is pretty amazing for this sort of thing. Maybe tomorrow I’ll give a walk through after I do my catch up post for the day. So last night, with the assistance of this book, I made the best beef stew I’ve ever made. I know, I know, oh Maytina made a stew woooooow, but even my husband, who usually says after supper ‘thanks so much for making supper, it was really good’, turned to me after a few bites and said ‘wow Maytina, this stew is really good’ and then a few bites later he turns to Wee One #1 and says ‘isn’t this even better than usual?’ and then when the was wiping up the remains of the stew with his bread he said ‘seriously, burn this recipe into your brain, can it be the new way you always make stew?’ Maybe I will skip ahead and post this recipe soon.

Also this week, the Beekeeper’s Quilt was introduced to me. Holy moly. I absolutely must make this. I still feel that way about the sock yarn blanket (my sister Nikoleta made this one). There are only so many hours in a day unfortunately, so this amazing quilt will have to wait a while. But I can dream.

I’m just starting the foot on my first Cobblestone sock in Knit Picks Stroll in Sprinkle Heather. I made a pair last year for my mother in law too. They knit up quick but I’m itching to get to my queue. I can’t ever have more than one thing on the needles at a time, unless the sock blanket is one of them because I’ll knit up my leftover sock yarn after each pair of socks before I move on to something else. My list-oriented-ness is alarming even to me sometimes. Ha!

So fun to be posting again!

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Getting Settled & Catching Up

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Pretty

Greetings long lost souls. It’s been two weeks since my last post which, while better than the seven weeks between that and the post before it, is not cool and should be my last disappearance for a while. Things are falling into place around here – all the boxes are unpacked, all the clutter has been tossed or donated and I can finally look around the new house and sigh happily instead of having no idea where my extra food processor blades are (the horror).

Actually, there is one casualty of this move – the nubby thing on the top of my pressure cooker. Insert loud, inconsolable sobbing here. I was positive that I packed it in the pressure cooker. Of course when I took the lid off once it was out of the box, it was not only not inside the pot but not inside the box. Now that everything has been unpacked, I have to give up and order a new one. My dad gave me his (hilariously unused – hilariously because he’s owned it for 30 years and it still had the original recipe book/instruction manual inside) just a few months ago, but I can’t imagine making mashed potatoes without it now! It’s actually good for a lot of otherwise time consuming cooking, I should write an article about that.

So far this week, I have added four articles to the site – one for each section and yes, all from projects or recipes done and photographed months ago. However, they are all good projects and recipes!

These are Pecan Pie Cookies, they have been officially counted as the 7th cookie of the year, baked back in February. I know, as if I’m only posting them now, but here they are – in all their pecan pie glory. They have all the pecany, brown sugary, buttery (and even slightly creamy) taste and texture of a pecan pie with the portability of a cookie. I know, I know. You’re welcome. Go make some. I’ll wait here.
This torte was pulled from Smitten Kitchen, and just like everything else I pull from there, it was very, very good. It’s not fussy at all, and while its technically a summer squash, I used a butternut squash and cooked it in the dead of winter!
Making mineral makeup was so fun!! Everything from knowing what’s actually in the makeup that I put on the biggest organ of my body, to being able to control the exact colours and richness is just amazing. Not to mention you can say you made your own (which is rad enough) and compared to other mineral makeup of the same quality, there is a decent savings there too!
This hat is really really cool, but it’s also an epic fail if we’re determining success by wearability. Intended as a 31st birthday gift for a man with at least an average size head, it might fit Wee One #1. I decided to write about it anyway though because the pattern is great, and the finished product, while totally useless to the person I had intended it for, turned out better than I expected it to. I really love to do any kind of colourwork, but I usually sequester intarsia work to one room, out of the children’s grasp, so as not to walk into a room with yarn barf all over the place. Anyhoo, these were made in one room and somehow also made pretty quickly, for me anyway.

Tomorrow I’ll add more articles to the site and blog about them here! There are so many fun things I’ve made that I can’t wait to show off. Homemade Tater Tots, anyone??

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New House Dance!

Domestic, Kids, Small Town

We did it. 12 years, 9 addresses and 3 kids later we finally bought a house. It is everything we hoped for and sometimes even more – generally when we discover something we didn’t see before. We are still technically living in the woods, but now we are in an ity bity town in the woods. There are literally something like 40 houses here max, and thank God our next door neighbors are great! We haven’t met anyone else since we got here on Tuesday. Next week, once we’re all unpacked and I’m back to baking up a storm, I’ll make something cute and bring it around to meet other neighbors. Fun!

I could not be more excited – or busy – or eager to blog. Over the next week or two I’ll add links to recipes and how tos I photographed a while ago but haven’t posted. By the time I’ve caught up to what I’m baking and knitting now, I’ll be unpacked! Here’s three for Saturday.

Peanut Butter Balls, made waaaaay back in February, are classified as a cookie in the cookbook I baked them from, but they were not included as a weekly cookie because they’re balls. Not cookies. Ahem. (read)
Mozzarella Sticks (also made in February) really are just battered and fried cheese, but man is battered and fried cheese good – especially when you season your coating. (read)
These Holiday Spice Cookies were the 8th recipe the kids did from the Baking With Kids cookbook. I admit they’re a little random for the end of March, but Wee One #2 picked them, so away she went. (read)

Tomorrow I’ll be back with more and maybe an unpacking update. I am itching to bake and to knit but I can’t stop unpacking until we’re totally unpacked because the half-unpacked mess drives. Me. Crazy. So I have been channeling all of my kitchen powers on dinner. Thursday night was a serious chicken alfredo and last night I made a garlic-stuffed herb-crusted roast. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe rosemary chicken!