Monday, July 25, 2011

...You are what you eat!

Avoid Fruits and Nuts...You are what you eat!
That is the sentiment I've stamped inside this card. *giggles*

If you have a fondness for House Mouse and Friends stamps you'll want to be sure to scamper on over to the HOUSE MOUSE AND FRIENDS blog for this week's 100th Challenge Blogspot Celebration that is going on. This is my card for the 100th challenge which requires the use of a House Mouse stamp (of course!) Buttons, Bows and Bling.

Card Recipe:
Stamps: House Mouse by Stampa Rosa and Stampabilities
Designer Paper: Making Memories
Ink: Momento Tuxedo Black and colored with Copic markers
Accessories: Nestibilities rectangle and scalloped rectangle dies, Offray ribbon, Ink Essentials Glossy Accents, pop dots foam, red crystals and buttons from my miscellaneous stash and machine stitching around the edges.

Until next time,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Morning Star the Unicorn

When my daughter was a very little girl she used to love to carry a My Little Pony in her hands at all times. If I remember correctly (though these days the memory wanes a bit at times) one of her 'ponies' was a unicorn. When I discovered this adorable stamp I immediately thought of Stephanie and her little ponies.

This stamp is from the Enchanted Hollow series made by The Stamp Barn. The unicorn is named Morning Star. I also have a very sweet looking dragon as well as a Pixie Fairy named Capri. It is such a fun set!This little card is intended to be more of a gift tag to go along with a little gift for the mister to give to a special little princess. She too loves My Little Pony figures and unicorns too.

Card Recipe:
Stamp: "Morning Star" from the Stamp Barn (part of the Enchanted Hollow series)
Ink: Stamped with Momento Tuxedo Black ink and colored with Copic Markers
Accessories used: Nextibilities octagon shaped dies, stickles glitter in Red, Green, Silver and Waterfall, Purple gem stones and Prima Flowers.
Until next time,
Stay cool!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I scream! You scream! We all scream for ICE CREAM!
I treated myself to an early birthday present and it is something that the mister has wanted me to buy for a long time! Hang on a second...isn't this MY birthday present? *smiles* I gave myself an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid and today we decided to give homemade ice cream a try. Oh my!! Mission accomplished. I've never had such rich and creamy ice cream before this.

We decided to make our first batch Vanilla. Since I like trying new things I suggested we make our first batch of homemade vanilla ice cream to be Vanilla Bean ice cream. I have never purchased vanilla beans before so this was a lot of fun for me to do a little research on vanilla beans as to how to use them. THIS is a vanilla bean (actually three vanilla beans) and they came in this clear, plastic wrapped package. After I bought these I have now discovered Vanilla Beans at my local grocery store and they come in clear viles (tubes). Either packaging is fine. The first step in making vanilla bean ice cream is to carefully cut open each bean and scoop out the seeds with the tip of the knife. The seeds are super-duper-tiny! Add the beans to the mixture of heavy cream, 1/2 and 1/2, sugar and just a scant of salt that you have mixed together in a pan on the stove top. After you've scrapped all of the beans of their seeds and added the seeds to the cream mixture, drop the bean pods in too. Now it is time to heat this mixture while stirring constantly just until it begins to simmer. In another bowl whisk two eggs. Now pour very slowly and whisk very quickly the cream/vanilla bean mixture from the stove. You want to add the hot cream mixture slowly and whisk constantly soas not to end up with scrambled eggs. Now add the whisked contents of the bowl back into the stovetop pot and heat to about 170 degrees whisking constantly. You don't want this to boil so watch the temperature. Through a fine sieve, pour the hot mixture and you'll be left with a very creamy custard in the bowl. Cover the bowl and chill this mixture in the refrigerator for several hours.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT throw away the vanilla bean pods. Just rinse the pods off carefully and dry them and store them in a cool, dark place. Even though you've removed the vanilla bean seeds, the pods still contain some wonderful vanilla flavor and aroma. You can mix the dry pods in a bowl of sugar for a light vanilla sugar flavor or perhaps grind them up in your coffee grinder and add them to your coffee grounds when you set up your next pot of coffee for a mild vanilla flavor coffee. Definitely reuse the pods. This has been a public service announcement to save the vanilla bean pods. OK. You've twiddled your thumbs for several hours and it is time to take the cold custard out of the refrigerator and put it into your ice cream maker. Follow your ice cream maker manufacturers direction. For mine, I just turned on the machine and slowly added the custard. Twenty minutes later.........VANILLA BEAN ICE CREAM!! Yum! Yum! And lots more yum! We had our ice cream in waffle bowls. I had these beautiful raspberries just begging to be placed in my bowl of ice cream. Oh my! So rich! So good! So filling! I confess, my dogs got to eat the waffle bowl because I just couldn't eat another bite. Gabe, Paige and Noah were most grateful!

I improvised on THIS RECIPE from EPICURIOUS for their Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

I know we will be making a lot of different kinds of ice cream and sorbets this summer. Because I have some fresh raspberries and strawberries I think a cool berry sorbet is next in line to be tried.

Until next time,


Monday, July 11, 2011

Rhubarb ! Endless possibilities

Last Saturday the mister and I went to the farmer's market where, much to his delight, we found RHUBARB! The mister is a huge lover of rhubarb and he likes it so much that he'll eat the pieces right off the cutting board. Ewwww... but to each their own, I 'spose.

I do like rhubarb and immediately set about making rhubarb/strawberry jam. This jam turned out Deeeeeeelishous! It was very simple to make and only made 4 half pint jars so we won't be overwhelmed with jars upon jars of rhubarb jam...unless, of course I make more which I most likely will. Especially after putting a dollop on top of vanilla ice cream (see first photo...oh what a yummy sundae!) Back to the Rhubarb jam. Ingredients are simple:
3 cups of rhubarb chopped into 1/2" to 1" pieces
1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup honey
1 pouch liquid pectin (85 ml size)

Prepare and sterilize your jars for waterbath canning.
Bring rhubarb to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until rhubarb is very tender.

Add strawberries and the lemon juice. Cover and allow to simmer until the mixture is soft (5 - 10 minutes)

Add the honey and bring to a boil. Stir constantly to avoid sticking.

Add the pectin and boil hard for 1 minute stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, ladle into HOT jars and leave 1/2 inch at the top for headspace. Place jars in the canner, cover canner, return water to a boil and process. Boil filled jars for 10 minutes or as per manufacturer's instrustions, and then remove jars.

Cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.
Well, that is pretty, eh? Oh and it is absolutely wonderful flavored jam. I like the use of honey rather than a boatload of sugar in this recipe.

Now for the pies. The first rhubarb pie is called an Amish Rhubarb pie. This is a basic rhubarb pie recipe but rather than using a top crust, it has a crumble topping with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in the flour/sugar/butter crumble mix. For this pie fill the bottom pie crust with the rhubarb mixture (any basic rhubarb pie filling will work). The mister does not like to have his rhubarb pie adulterated with strawberries and requested his pies be entirely rhubarb, so that is what I made for him. After filling the bottom crust with the rhubarb filling, top with the crumble topping. Bake it up until nice and golden and bubbly. The second rhubarb pie I made is similar but has the tradition two crusts. This is the pie the mister cut into first: I had about 5 more cups of chopped rhubarb remaining after I made the jam and the two pies so I froze the rest of the rhubarb for future use. I plan to make some rhubarb crisp and cobblers at a later date.

I must say though, the jam is my favorite is wonderful not only as a biscuit or roll topping but adding a dollop to a ball or two of ice cream is just wonderful. And a light drizzle of chocolate was the perfect complete touch.

Until next time,


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mary Engelbreit Print Fabric Jelly Roll Quilted Tote

Last summer I bought my first 'Jelly Roll'. No, I'm not referring to the kind of jelly roll you eat, but rather, a fabric jelly roll cut used in quilting. I was in an apron swap where the theme was Cherries, Cupcake and Mary Engelbreit. You can read about that swap HERE. For the hand towels I used a couple strips from the jellyroll to embellish them with a Mary Engelbeit design. But what do I do with the rest of the jellyroll?

Inspiration struck! I was reading one of my favorite quilting blogs, CLUCK, CLUCK, SEW written by Allison Harris. Allison creates many wonderful tutorial and THIS ONE is for an easy double Hour Glass design. When I saw it I knew what I had the perfect quilt pattern to use with my Mary Engelbreit jelly roll. I set about matching up complementary patterns and colors from the jelly roll in order to have some semblance of a design and pattern. Following Allison's tutorial I cut my pieces and assembled them, finishing them with a simple wide zigzag stitch and the addition of satin rose buds handsewn between each block. As I normally do, I added a couple of pockets to the inside of my tote bag as well as a key clip.

I lined my tote with denim and added red webbing for the handles. I rather like the outcome of the tote. It is going to be put to use tomorrow when the mister and I head into Ottawa to the Farmer's Market. I'll be filling this with farm fresh vegetables and perhaps a fresh loaf of bread from the Boulangerie.
I hope you are enjoying a beautiful Holiday Weekend. Here in Canada we celebrated Canada Day yesterday (July 1st.) Monday, in the United States, is Independence Day (July 4th.) A lot of National pride, celebrating and fireworks going on on both sides of the border this weekend.

Until next time,