Well, whew! Survived the busy holiday craft show season! I had 4 shows in a one week period…the best one was at my oldest daughter’s previous school, where I am known and my reputation for quality preceeds me.
We got American Girl dolls for Midnight and The Diva. They were ECSTATIC! We took them to Los Angeles for a Brunch with Santa at the American Girl Place…it was a super fun surprise and we all had a great time. Of course, now I am up to my ears in tiny doll clothes!!!
Cute thermal ice cream jammies for McKenna…
Midnight and Australis in matching leotards and leggings for gym…
McKenna is ready for Valentine’s Day…
Midnight is thrilled with this black cashmere sweater for Australis…
And there are even MORE items tucked away. I’m working on a storage cabinet and I want to give it to them with lots of little outfits inside. So far, I haven’t bought a single pattern to make the clothes. I made the leggings from a pattern I drafted using the leggings McKenna was already wearing and I got the rest of the items from the FREE patterns you can get from Liberty Jane. Now I’m off to sew some more! Enjoy!
We had a great idea for the annual Santa picture…
November 17th, 2012 · 1 Comment
Yeah, that’s me…lazy. Actually, let me revise that. Truthfully, I am REALLY busy! If you are a facebook or real life friend, you know that I have
gone DRIVEN to the East Coast THREE TIMES between mid May and early November. I was the ONLY adult in the car. I took TWO kids. I SURVIVED. I usually drive a MINIMUM of 800 miles a day. Yes, I AM human, lol!
Anyway, now I am BACK! Several of the friends are saying I should focus my writing on traveling now, but I am WAY too scattered to focus on just one thing, I think. Case in point, today’s post.
It’s time for the HOLIDAY SHOPPING FRENZY! And like most artisans and small business owners, I would STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to shop small, shop local and shop handmade. If you are truly worried about the economic state of our nation, there is nothing more proactive than buying a handmade gift, lovingly crafted by your neighbor, who will use the money for more supplies, to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads and maybe there is a little extra for the kids to take music or dance lessons.
AND I promise you the reaction you will get from said carefully chosen gift will be so much greater than that generic, bought at the mall last minute, plastic, made in China whatever.
So, with that said, I CHALLENGE you, readers and crafters, to post here with some handmade items you purchased OR that you have for sale! PLEASE include a LINK to the item, for easy reference and to help your fellow shoppers and artisans. I will choose a WINNER randomly from the comments and that person will get a surprise (prize will depend on who you are, of course ;))
Just a reminder that the shipping department is closed until June 15th while I take my girls to Montreal. They are modeling for my friend Servane (you can check out her AMAZING clothing HERE). Then we are going down to Washington DC to Rock the Mall with about a quarter MILLION other Girl Scouts! I’m calling it a vacation, but it’s still alot of work, hahaha!
so, I know I’m behind again, but my “pinterest project” of trying new things from pinterest has been going well. lots of new recipes the family is loving and fun projects and ideas to share with the kids. Usually, I get ideas FROM pinterest, but today, I have a reverse. I’m blogging about this first so I can pin it myself…
First, I suggest THIS particular brand of coconut ice cream. Lots of yummy coconut bits and it just reminds me of summer. Then, you need THIS brownie recipe from another of my fav sites, Instructables.
Just follow the recipe for the brownies. Cool just a little, basically until you can’t stand to wait anymore…
Cut a good sized piece, it should be crisp on top and gooey inside…
Plop some coconut ice cream on top…
Dust with some almonds…
You *could* top with some hot fudge or chocolate sauce, but I didn’t have either of those and really, I just wanted to EAT IT!!! Yum!
Enjoy and share my pin!
I know, I’m WAY behind…see, I’m the Troop Cookie Manager for our *rather large* Girl Scout troop. And here, we get boxes of cookies from the very beginning, instead of taking orders, like back in the day. This is our initial delivery last year…
and we STILL had to pass out cookies EVERY DAY the first week! So, I’m sure you can imagine how much of my time just this takes…then there’s homeschooling Butter, the girls are both taking dance (3 classes on 3 different nights) and working and cleaning and…lol!
Thankfully, we still have to eat. That’s why so many of my pins and posts are about food. It’s really easy to find a great new recipe to try on pinterest and my family has been happily chowing down.
I can’t believe I never knew you could cook a whole chicken in the crockpot…but you can. And you don’t even need to add any liquid!
You can find the original recipe here at A Year of Slow Cooking. I made some modifications and I’ve detailed that in this recipe…
1 whole bone in chicken
1/4c salad dressing (I used Lite Italian)
salt and pepper (I always use garlic salt, except in baking of course)
I also used
1 whole head garlic, separated and peeled
gizzards, liver, neck, whatever the heck that junk is inside the chicken
Ok, this is super easy…are you ready? First, you get your husband to open the chicken and rinse it with cool water. Have him take out that junk they stick inside, but keep it. He can pat it dry with some paper towels too. Put the wierd stuff back inside. Put all the garlic cloves inside. You pour the dressing over it while he rubs it in. Salt and pepper it well.
You might be asking why I’m saying to have your husband do it…for me, cold meat makes my hands cramp up. I can’t even mix meatloaf (thank goodness for my Kitchen Aid!). So, when there is meat to be touched, I try to get Chops to handle it. He’s pretty accommodating. Also, if you have two people, you reduce the risk of salmonella on the salt and pepper and dressing…
Now, just pop that chicken in the slow cooker and cook 8 hours on low (overnight or all day I guess) or 4-5h on high. I use high because I don’t have to get it in until noon.
Try to resist the yummy chicken smell…
Since this was my first time with this method, I was a fool and tossed the juice from the crock pot. I wanted to get the chicken into a baking dish and crisp the skin a little. Next time, I’ll save the stock. I could cook a pork shoulder for BBQ in that!
Oh…roasting, lol! So, like 400 for 20 min…however brown and crispy you would like…
It was tasty! Very moist, though it still needed a little salt, so I will have to figure out how to salt it a bit more next time. Keeping the skin on and the juicy weird bits inside with the garlic really helped the flavor, plus now you have some roasted garlic cloves to spread on bread.
Serve with salad and smashed roasted potatoes.
January 24th, 2012 · 2 Comments
Well, here I thought I was going to talk about a SINGLE pinterest item today, but I guess I already forgot I made this Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake from alexandracooks so early this morning, lol!
It wasn’t until around noon that I realized I let Chops go off to work without cutting open the squash for me *le sigh*. Worried about changing my dinner plan, I confirmed that he would be home early enough to cut thie squash so I could cook it and get some into Butter before her hip hop class, it was on!
Team Dixon loves some squash. Our most preferred way is with a little brown sugar and, as always, REAL VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP from our friends at Rocky Ridge Sugarmakers. In keeping with my “pin a day” project though, the grownups decided to give an herbed version a try. What I really LOVE about this recipe is the simple fact that you can just ROAST a squash. NEVER AGAIN will I worry about burning myself with a pan of boiling hot squash water! Awesome! And SOOOO easy!
I used THIS recipe from my nemesis, Martha Stewart (I had the same initials before I got married, coincidence? I think not…) but mostly just for the squash roasting directions. That part IS important.
What’s NOT important is what herbs you use. I keep a potted fresh basil on the counter, so that went it, cut with scissors. Some dried parsley flakes and garlic salt too. If I’d had oregano or rosemary, that would have joined the party. And a generous handful of good aged Parmesean (not that junk in the green can). I would encourage you to try different seasoning blends that your family already likes. Also, for those not in the know, spaghetti squash is downright AWESOME! It doesn’t have the carbs or gluten regular pasta does and you can enjoy it herbed, sauced (like spaghetti) or sweet. Very versatile!
Oh yeah! Today was another Pinterest double feature at dinner time…except for once, I forgot to take pictures! OMG, I’m SO SORRY! So I’m going to have to borrow the OP’s pictures…
First, I want to say that I chose the PERFECT day to make these…The Diva has a little cold, so I kept her home, which meant keeping Butter home from violin as well. It was POURING rain too, so I didn’t figure it would be so great to put both kids in the car and drive up to Butter’s school for only 45 min of vioin…It was a great day to stay inside and eat comfort food.
Around noon, I figured I better get the Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops from Real Mom Kitchen started. Shown here with mashed potatoes, which I didn’t do…
I paired them with these Crispy smashed potatoes from finecooking.com.
These pork chops were PERFECT! I am always worried about undercooking the pork, but after 4-6 hours, there is NO WAY these could be underdone! They literally fell apart with a fork, like pulled pork. The potatoes combine the best of smooth mashed-ness with a crispy outside that I am particularly fond of. Team Dixon gives these items 2 thumbs up and I’m planning to cook more pork chops in the slow cooker!
Oh…how about a BONUS? After I started the pork chops, us girls snuggled up to watch Lemonade Mouth again with old fashioned popcorn! I know lots of my friends scoff at how I do this all the time, but it’s really fast and worth it to have almost no “old maids”. I use Orville Redenbacher or the Boy Scout popcorn. Quality popping corn is a key ingredient here.
To be totally honest, yesterday was actually a pinterest “triple play”. Some things are easy and I can whip them up with supplies already on hand, like yesterday’s egg cups. Some things are more complex or require shopping for and planning ahead. I’m surprised I was still motivated enough to ALSO make these Butterbeer Cupcakes from amybites!
I did the ganache first because I was sure I was going to screw it up, hahahah! That was almost a mistake because it was so yummy, I kept dipping things in it (Girl Scout trefoil cookies, pretzels, apples) to make sure it still tasted good, hahahah! My family pronounced them DELICIOUS and made them disappear faster than Ron running from a spider!
Today (Sunday), I was going to start with a blueberry loaf, but realized I am almost out of BAKING POWDER! I can’t believe it! Honestly, I can’t remember when I bought that last can, but it boggles my mind to realize I’ve finally run out of something that you use so little of…anyway…I reached for a can of crescent rolls, thinking I’d make cinnamon crescents instead, but had grabbed a can of Grands instead, so we just had biscuits with jam, maple syrup from Rocky Ridge Sugarmakers, or honey from wild Hawaiian bees. Ok, so I have a thing for food, good food, quality ingredients…you should too.
Now I have to make it up to the tummies…Greek Feta dip coming up! In fact, it’s in the fridge now, flavors mingling. Picture to follow.
And now I’m going to find a craft…I need to make something that’s NOT food before I explode, hahha!
later that night…
Cheesy Vegetable Chowder from luluthebaker
This was SOOOOO good! Chops and Butter agreed it is better than Coco’s. The Diva seems to be catching a cold, so she’s ornery…and a picky eater…I added some toasted buttered bread and a ham steak for Chops “where’s the protein? I NEED meat.” But it would even be good diced and added to the soup itself.
What I liked best is most people probably have the stuff to make this at hand. Just some butter milk and a flour/water mix to thicken it, along with the potatoes. We all ate plenty and there’s enough left over for at least one more dinner. I’ll have to do the math, but this was a pretty inexpensive, as well as filling, dinner.
I didn’t find a craft to do, by the way. I do have a dozen or so dollies to finish and some Christmas trees (so I can be early for next year). But I did flip through some magazines and decided to finally get on making myself the perfect tshirt and yoga pants. I’ve set the shirt pattern out…
January 21st, 2012 · 1 Comment
Yes, yes…I know…no pinterest project yesterday either! I meant to, of course, but wound up just hanging out and enjoying the family.
I need to catch up though! So I started my day with a yummy egg in toast cup…
You can find the recipe here at Sweet Potato Chronicles. I added some sauteed mushrooms on one and sharp cheddar on another…Chops had mushroom and plain. I thought for sure Butter would love this, but she sniffed at it and refused…whatever kid! More for me! I also cooked them a bit longer, I like the yolk set. You could add all kinds of tid bits like bacon, green onion, a sausage crumble…
It’s cold and rainy today too, so I made Chops a big ol list of stuff to get from the store, with the promise of a full belly all weekend I have at least half a dozen recipes chosen for the weekend…
Up first…Chicken, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quesadilla with an Avacado Sour Cream from Sugar Cooking.
I substituted some cranberry sage turkey breast and skipped the jack cheese (but will include it next time)…
I guess you could really put just about anything in a tortilla or bread, grill it and it would be yummy…especially if there is some cheese too…there was some avocado sour cream left over as well, so I’m sure we will munch that later. I really liked this, the spinach makes it feel lighter and healthier. Chops gives it thumbs up too.