Sunday, March 25, 2012

Seeing Stars

First of all, I apologize for the HUGE delay between posts! To make up for it, I'm posting something really cool. This quilt!

I made it. The End. 
But seriously, I would never have just gone for it (on my second quilt!) if it weren't for this super great tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew. (I'm also collecting red, white, and blue fabric so I can recreate hers). This was a gift for a dear friend of mine I hadn't seen in years. She loved it, and now I just need to make one for myself!

These are super easy! Even if you don't think you sew, you can make these. I promise. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

I don't think I need to say anything else. 
But of course, I'm going to. 
I wasn't crazy about the dough recipe. Is wasn't very fluffy (yes, that is a very technical baking term). On top of that, it just didn't make that many (as you can see). I looked up some other recipes and played around with it a little, and this recipe makes about 12 dang good rolls:

For the dough:
* 3 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (about 1 1/2 packages)
* 1/4 cup warm water
* 1/2 cup butter or shortening (I used Smart Balance light spread)
* 1/3 cup white sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 cup of milk (I used Silk Vanilla Soy Milk)
* 1 egg ( I used Ener G Brand egg replacer. It works great.)
* 4 cups flour, plus extra for kneading

For the filling:
* 2 medium sized apples peeled, cored, and diced. 
* melted butter, shortening, or Smart Balance 
* about 1/2 cup of milk
(follow your heart on this. I usually melt about 1/4 cup)
* brown sugar (this is for filling AND the apples, so again, follow your heart, but I'd say you will need no less than 2 cups)
* cinnamon (for filling)
* Vanilla powder (if you can find this stuff, it is delicious. I got mine from the Home Show. If you can't find it, it's no big deal).

Directions for Dough:
Add the warm water to the yeast and soak 10 minutes.
Scald milk; pour over the shortening. I think this works better if you microwave the shortening for about 10 seconds first. Add sugar and salt and cool to tepid. Add the dissolved yeast and beaten egg (if you are using egg replacer, don't worry about beating it). Add 4 cups flour adding one at a time mixing after each addition.
Dough should be soft but firm enough to handle. Knead on floured board until elastic and smooth (5-10 minutes). Avoid too much flour. Turn dough into well oiled bowl. Let rise for 1-1/2 hours.

Making the Apple Filling:
Essentially, you are making apple pie filling here, but with only 2 apples. If you are familiar with making pie filling, feel free to use your own recipe. I make mine pretty much to taste. In a pot, combine diced apples, brown sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to taste. You will only need to cook this down for about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Assembling your Rolls:
Press dough down and roll into a rectangle. Cover with melted butter. Layer with brown sugar. Sprinkle on cinnamon. Be aware that this is all to taste! On top of this, add that apple pie filling. DO NOT add all of the filling. It will leak out when you roll it out. Use about 1/2 to 3/4 (use your judgement).  Roll up like jellyroll.
Using a scissors or a piece of string (confession: I use dental floss), cut off slices about 2 inches thick. Place slices in any pan you want, but remember they are best if they touch each other when they bake.   Let rise until rolls fill the pan. The original recipe said 1 hour, but I could only wait 25 minutes and it was perfect.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 20 minutes.
Pour the leftover apple filling on top of rolls and enjoy!
I know this is a time consuming recipe, but come on...don't these just look so good?
[side note for all of you who are as impatient as I am: I made similar rolls in a hurry the other day, which means I let them rise about 45 minutes the first time and 23 minutes the second time. They were still delicious and surprisingly full. I find that letting the dough rise on top of a preheating oven, especially with the oven door cracked, helps them rise better].

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cloth Coasters!

I first got the idea for quilted coasters from this blog. To be honest, though, inspiration is about the only thing I followed here. I'm sure if you do follow the tutorial, you will end up with beautiful, rounded coasters. If you are impatient and distracted like myself, you can just make it up as you go and STILL end up with cute, scrappy little coasters! Basically I just made six tiny little quilts, which I gave to my beautiful and talented cousin, whose own work can be found here.

Here it is in action!
And of course, the backs of them.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Heaven

This morning I made these Chocolate Chip Cookies... And let me tell you, they were amazing. (ok, really I wanted to say "Yumazing," but I thought that might be taking it too far...). I based the recipe off of the Chewy cookie recipe in this month's Food Network Magazine

Don't these just look delicious? I did make a few changes to the recipe, though. (No offense to Food Network, I'm sure if you follow their directions exactly you will also end up with something delicious!) 
  • With the butter, I added about 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter. I think this just adds a little more flavor to the cookies, without tasting like a peanut butter cookie. 
  • I also replaced the eggs with Enger G brand egg replacer, and the butter with Smart Balance dairy-free buttery spread (basically it acts just like margarine, but is vegan friendly!) 
  •  I was out of white sugar, so I just did the whole thing with brown sugar.
  • My only other change is that I did not refrigerate the dough... I'm too impatient for that.
I used Ghiradrdelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. I love the way these chips taste, but they are kind of huge in terms of chocolate chips, so they can be a little overwhelming. 

It's a miracle these ever made it out of this bowl and onto the pan, rather than just strait into my mouth!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quilt #1

As in, this is the first quilt I made, not that this quilt is #1 above all other quilts. 

About a month and a half ago now, I decided I should start quilting. Well, to be more specific, I stumbled upon This Blog. After fawning over all of the cute quilts and fabric, I thought "I could do that." And then I thought "And I want to." So the next day I went to the store, and by the end of the week, I had this quilt. 

There are definitely things I decided to do differently after making this quilt. For example, I made up my own rules for basting and binding, which resulted in some interesting crinkling in the fabric, but all in all I'm pretty pleased with it! Also for some reason, the swirl design on the back makes me think of cowboys. Am I alone on this one?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Getting Homely: The Beginning

My darling former roommate, whose own work can be found here, used to refer to anything crafty or homemade as "Homely." So here I am, getting homely.