Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Crafting II

Finished the tent for the girls for Christmas.  Looks like fun.  Can't wait to give it to them!

(disregard the basement mess, please)

Thanksgiving Cooking

Thanksgiving was a success.  Mom and I made 5 pies and a pan of corn bread in about 3.5 hours on Wednesday night. 

Got a picture of our spread as well:  Turkey, mashed potatoes (mom's fantastic make ahead ones), green bean casserole, dad's home made stuffing, bro's vegan mac and cheese, fresh baked bread, and baked squash.  Not pictured is the cranberry jello/relish and the corn bread and gravy.

Our pretty holiday table.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spinning a Yarn...

I'm working currently on spinning a wonderful blue, green, purple yarn for a Christmas gift.  It's slow going, but beautiful stuff.

This is the hat that's already done and was  Birthday present.  More yarn for a scarf in the works.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beef and Gravy with Mashed Potatoes

Decided on a different dinner this evening.  It's been ages since we've had mashed potatoes (probably since last Thanksgiving) and I don't think I've ever made Beef "Tips" and Gravy since I was married, so I thought I'd give it a go from scratch.  It was quite easy.

Beef and Gravy
2 Small Steaks (I used two small NY strip steaks)
Garlic powder
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 cups water
Dried minced onion
1 can mushrooms (optional)

Mix together a few Tbsp of flour with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Cut 2 steaks into small strips (bite sized).  Coat the steak pieces in flour mixture.  Brown steak in batches in a skillet with a bit of olive oil.  Once all the meat is browned put back in pan on med-low heat, sprinkle in some dried minced onion.  Mix corn starch with bouillon cube and water until smooth and combined, pour over beef, add in mushrooms if using, and cover.  Simmer until thickened and bubbly.

Serve over mashed potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes
potatoes (I used 6 tiny potatoes and had mounds left over from the 3 of us)
water - fill the pot 2/3-3/4 full
butter - 1/4 cup ish - more if wanted
milk - enough... don't know how much.

Boil potatoes in a large pot of salted water until soft (if you stick a sharp knife in and lift up a potato it should fall off).  Drain off water, mash potatoes in the pot skins and all.  Add in 1/4ish cup butter mash until melted.  Pour in milk and mix until creamy.

We served this tonight with steamed baby carrots.  Hit with the now 3 year old (or will be in 2 days)!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Holiday Crafting I

I finally got restarted on my holiday crafting.  Got down to the sewing machine and started on some bears for the girls for Christmas.  They're an old pattern that I've been making for years.  Fleece bears, and left over fleece from other projects.  One is grey with variegated blue ear insides and feet bottoms, the other is the variegated blue with grey ear insides and feet bottoms.  Both are stitched, but I ran out of stuffing.  I guess I make a trip to JoAnn's!

Also on the Christmas list for the girls are home made dolls.  I'm still working on the pattern a bit - got stuck on the hands.  One head, body and legs are done, other head pending design.

Many more projects in the works but I dare not list them here as they're for people that can read (and read my blog).  I don't want to spoil the surprise! :-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In Pursuit of Strawberry Cake (Vegan)

I've been looking for the past week and a half for a good strawberry cake that is vegan.  That means no jello mix.  The 2yo turns 3 in a week and a half and requested a strawberry cake.  I like to make the cakes vegan so that everyone in the family can enjoy without making two cakes :-/  So, the inventing began.  Couldn't find anything that I had all the ingredients to, so I adapted my chocolate cake recipe as a starter.  This is what I came up with:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 oil
2 tsp ground flax seed mixed with 1/4 warm water and whisked until thickened like eggs (binder)
3/4 cup berry puree (I used mixed berries for starters because I have more of those)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1Tbsp vanilla
1 cup cold water

Bake 350 in 9" round pan or in cupcakes (I did both for this experiment) for 20-30 mins.  The cake took 25, the cupcakes took 20.  I got 1 9" round and 10 cupcakes.  The cake is light and fluffy and dark purpley blue. (The mixed berries had blueberries, raspberries, and black berries.)  Tastes great, just sticks to the cupcake wrappers.  Not sure about how to get the cake version out of the pan as I forgot to grease and flour it... :-/  There's always tomorrow for another experiment and this time with flour and grease!

UPDATE:  Once the cake was tasted (she liked it, btw), she said, "Well, maybe chocolate..."  Ugh!  2yos! :-)  Also, the cake came out of the pan VERY easily!  Yay!!!

Birthday girl with her cake ready to blow out candles.

Cake and ice cream - you can nearly see the strawberry red center layer.  I went for a chocolate and strawberry cake just to cover all my bases.