Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

What's up with all these magazines going out of print?

Let's have a moment of silence for the passing of
one of the best home decorating magazines ever.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Casserole For Dessert?

This is called Chocolate Casserole and it's kind of like a bread pudding. It has a liquid chocolate center. ☺

Chocolate Casserole
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
2 Tbsp crumbled chocolate-flavored graham crackers
Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, the 1/4 cup sugar, and baking powder. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Using a wire whisk, stir until smooth. Stir in peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into an ungreased 1-quart casserole. Set aside. In same mixing bowl stir together remaining sugar and cocoa. Gradually stir in boiling water. Pour mixture evenly over batter in casserole.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. Remove from oven and top with peanuts and graham crackers, if desired. Serve warm with whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.
This recipe is perfect for people who don't like their chocolate too sweet. Use milk chocolate chips and serve it a la mode if you want it sweeter. ☺

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rolling Along

This crayon roll is like one of the gifts we made this past Christmas for some of the kids' cousins. It is so simple. Really. Especially if you cheat and repurpose something. I got this placemat at Walmart. It's a fairly stiff one so that eliminates the need for interfacing you would need if you were using a lightweight fabric when you are making the crayon roll.

Take your placemat and a crayon to figure out how much you need to cut off. Fold the placemat over the crayon until enough of the crayon is sticking out of the top. Now you know how much to cut off. (Or I could just tell you how tall mine is before I folded it up and stitched it: about 6 1/2 inches). I cut my placemat the long way this time, rather than on the short side because I wanted it to hold more crayons. This way will hold about 16.

I'm so not good at tutorials.

Okay, after I cut it, I sewed a zig zag stitch across the cut side so it won't fray, plus it looks cute. Do this step BEFORE you start to sew the crayon pockets.
You can see it here. It's not sewn together yet, just folded up and pinned.

Next I sewed a zig zag stitch up each side, but before I did that
I folded a 26 inch length of ribbon in half and sewed it
into one side when I stitched the entire side.
(If you're using a ribbon with a pattern on one side,
fold the ribbon right sides together.
It will make sense later when you use the ribbon
to wrap around the roll.)

This picture was taken before I unstitched my ribbon and re-did it the right way. ☺

Now to make the pockets. I just tucked a crayon in there
to figure out how wide the pockets needed to be.
They ended up being 1 and 1/8 inch wide.
Depending on how long your fabric (or placemat) is
and how many crayons you want, you might need to adjust that
a little to make sure it's even.
(My placemat is about 19 inches long.)

So after the pockets are sewn, it's all done! Just put your crayons in and then roll it up, starting at the end without the ribbon and tie it with a bow.
Give it as a gift along with a drawing pad or coloring book.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Layers Of Heaven

Chocolate Trifle
1 brownie mix, prepared
1 (3.9 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 chocolate candy bar

Bake and cool the brownies completely. Cut into 1 inch squares.
In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain.
In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping. Repeat layers. Shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish. Refrigerate about 4 hours before serving.
(And don't be a scatterbrain like me and forget to layer the Cool Whip.
Oh well, it still tastes the same!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Valentine Treat

Strawberry Heart Pillows

frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
strawberry jam or preserves
Cool Whip
strawberries, sliced
chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Unfold pastry. Cut into hearts with 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake about 20 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.
Cut each heart horizontally in half. Spread 1 teaspoon of jam onto bottom half of each heart. Top with 1 tablespoon of Cool Whip and a strawberry slice. Cover with tops of hearts. Drizzle with chocolate and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 1 hour.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Technically Homemade Donuts

We used to to have these a lot growing up but this is only the second time I have made them for my kids. Mostly because donuts are so unhealthy. But they are sooooo good. If you don't feel like making them from scratch and want a super fast way to make some yummy donuts, this is how you do it.

1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 to 2 quarts oil
glaze, frosting, cinnamon/sugar, etc.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when you flick a little water (from a distance) into the pot and it sizzles. While the oil is heating, cut holes in your biscuits. I used a water bottle cap for lack of a better idea.
Slide the biscuit dough into the oil and cook until golden brown on one side and then turn it to brown it on the other side. Drain on a cooling rack or paper towels. While still warm, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or a glaze made of powdered sugar and milk, or heat some chocolate frosting in the microwave and dip them in.

It's important to note that the smaller biscuits work best, like the Grands Jr. Pillsbury ones as opposed to the Grands. The Grands are just too big and don't cook in the middle. I had a can of each so I cut the Grands into small pieces, but the Grands Jr. were perfect.