Monday, February 27, 2017

Quilt Block 3 & 4

Monday's happen to be one of my favorite days. Why? Because that is the day that Abug and I go down to Grandma's to work on our Quilt top. I really need a reason to like Monday because Monday does get a really bad rap.

Last week my blocks were purple and green and pink and green. I couldn't decide other than I really liked bright colors. It came to me, pick one of the colors from the previous block and make sure to incorporate that into the next block, that way they'll all kind of go together.

So purple and green so green and a color. That color happened to be pink so quilt block 3 had to have pink and then add a color. If you can see, I added yellow and orange to the mix. There was also purple and green that goes with previous blocks. Oooooo I like where that is going.

Quilt block 4 had to pick up a new color from those so I went yellow (and really orange) and added blue. Lots of great choices for Quilt Block 5 :). Let's see what next week brings!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

2 Years 8 Months

This little girl. She's great. I can't even imagine how to tell someone just how great she is... seriously. In fact, I want to grow up and be just like her.
  • You have started singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star after I sang it to you here recently when you were sick and it was one of 2 songs I could think of.
  • The other song was the ABC Song. You sing it too now.
  • Your boot size is a 9.
  • Clothing size is either a 3T or a 4T
  • You had the flu. It sucked. You weren't tested, but we all know that's what it was.
  • One of your favorite things is doing chores with Papa.
  • You learned how to do puzzles.
  • You love to read.
  • Your favorite tv shows are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, Sophia the First, and Princess Elana of Avalor.
  • Your new favorite movies include (Frozen, not new) Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Bee Movie, Zootopia
  • You were in a wedding. You refused to have your picture taken. You were loud up at the front and everyone thought you were just adorable.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Quilt Block 1 & 2

My friend Harriett is huge into quilting as is my grandmother. I've made a couple quilts in my time plus a few blankets so I can sew, although I can't put a button back on a shirt nor can I fix the pocket in my jeans. I won't ask my mom, she threatened to throw them out if I asked again... so I'll be hitting grandma up to help there too :).

Anyway, back to Harriett. She came across this quilt pattern thing on the internet where the lady gives you a pattern a week for 25 weeks and then on week 26 teaches you how to put them together into a quilt top. I hit grandma up and asked if she'd be willing/interested in helping Abug and me do this and she said absolutely. My grandma leads such a HUGE busy schedule that I had to get into her schedule.

She told me not to worry about fabric, she had material and we'd find things in her sewing room to complete this project. I started off with bright green and purple. Then really liked green and pink. I have no idea what my plans are, all I know is my plans are for my baby girl to spend time with her great grandma and I get to spend time with the both of them! That's the goal. So here are the first two quilt blocks. We're a few weeks behind on this adventure. It's all good though.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Our Valentine's Day

Here while back I started thinking about Valentine's Day and wondering what to get hubby. When I asked him what he wanted, his response was a quart of Thank You Cherry Much Ice Cream and the ability to eat the whole thing and not feel guilty. I laughed so hard, but he was serious.

Then I got to thinking about it and decided that he needed a receiver hitch in his truck. I have one in mine, but my dad's got stolen when his truck was in the shop getting worked on, so dad had to borrow mine. It made me realize that we needed another one at least so I decided to get him one like the picture above. This way he had 3 different sizes, versus mine 1 size. My one will haul our flat bed trailer but if it is bigger or smaller than what was on my truck (and don't ask me what size I have) we'd have been screwed, so I decided to get him the 3.

I was afraid I wouldn't pick the right thing out though, so I loaded him up in the truck, drove a round about way to get there trying to throw him off, and took him to Harbor Freight which is where I decided to buy the receiver hitch from. When we pulled into the parking lot, he laughed so hard at me it frustrated me. I wasn't real sure why he was laughing, but he said he knew exactly what we were after when I pulled into the parking lot, he just had to wait and see if he was correct.

I got a rose bush, bear, and chocolates. Truthfully I'm not sure, I haven't opened the heart box just yet. I just assume it's chocolates. And a sweet message.

Abug got a double Blu-ray set from us that was the animated and live action version of Cinderella. That's what she's been wanting and talking about for weeks. Grandma and Papa got her an Elsa Pillow. Memaw got her a cute little love bug.

I kind of figured the weekend before Valentine's Day we'd go out since the 12th is our proposaversary date but we didn't. We obviously couldn't on Valentine's Day because of the wedding, so he finally took us out Friday night to Outback Steakhouse. It was good, but my steak, being a higher cut, was just meh. He was happy with his choice though.

After that we went to our friend's house to house/dog sit as they are on a work vacation. Technically it's for work, but it's totally vacation! And that was our low key Valentine's Day.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes

If there is one thing they tell you to do, it’s try something new. While baking cupcakes isn’t a new concept for me, I’m not so good at it. It’s really always been a bit of a challenge for me, and I’m not really sure why. So when the January/February 2017 Food Network Magazine came out and they had a whole section devoted to cupcakes for each month, I just knew I had to partake… and at least try.

As we know, I messed up the January cupcakes just a bit… but it was more icing related issues than it was cupcake related issues. And the cupcakes themselves were excellent.

When I saw the cupcakes for this month, I was quite excited. While they don’t want them to be for a special occasion but say a random Tuesday, these cupcakes scream Valentine’s Day to me. No, I didn’t make them on Valentine’s Day or even for Valentine’s Day because I was busy getting ready to attend a wedding, but I knew I was going to make them no matter what.

This morning I had a few minutes so I went into the kitchen, gathered up all the ingredients and went about my way making Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes.

One of the ingredients it called for was instant espresso powder. Well, I didn’t have any and didn’t have much luck finding any at the store either, so I used instant coffee instead. Really other than the fact that it isn’t quite as strong of a flavor, they are easily swap-able with each other.

Other than that one swap, I followed the recipe to a T.

This month I was able to measure out the batter into 12 cupcakes compared to last month when I somehow only wound up with 11 cupcakes. So I’m making progress.

The cupcakes called for a glaze over the warm cupcakes of strawberry jam or jelly mixed with lemon juice. I used jelly. I have to point out that between the nice chocolate flavor with the flavor of the icing, I didn’t really taste the strawberry layer. I took my Mother-in-law over a cupcake this morning when I went to check on cows and she too didn’t really taste that strawberry jelly layer.

Unfortunately this isn’t the “right” time of year for strawberries. While I liked them, hubby thought they were a little under-ripe.

When I was making my frosting, or icing if you prefer, my white icing tasted great. The white chocolate melted up nicely, then mixed with the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla, it turned out to be a very good tasting icing. Not to sweet, but it was sweet enough, and I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate.

Sadly, my chocolate icing on the other hand, when added to the butter, then mixing in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk, something happened and it got chunky. I’m not exactly sure what I did incorrectly, but there were those chocolate chunks in my chocolate icing. Whoops. Why does it seem like I keep messing up the icing in these cupcakes?

Then… piping the icing on…. <sigh>. So I prepared my piping bag, it said to use a large circle tip. Well from my years in cake decorating classes, the teacher said to fit with a coupler and just use that. That’s what I proceeded to do… I placed my white icing in one side of the bag and the chocolate in the other just as the directions suggested. That’s when things went down hill fast. I started squeezing out to get both colors. Well this makes just enough icing for all 12 cupcakes.

In the end I was short icing so I had to spread it on with a spatula. So while they weren’t real pretty, they tasted pretty darn good, but hubby didn’t really agree. He wasn’t crazy about the different flavors together… but my mother-in-law on the other hand agreed with me. I’m not sure there needed to be the strawberry layer because it didn’t really shine through, but otherwise, the cupcakes were pretty good. I like the icing too, so I assume this might make a good cake some day…. never know….

Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes (via Food Network Magazine, Jan/Feb 2017, pg 59)
Ingredients:
  • For the Cupcakes
    • 1 c flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
    • 3/4 c whole milk
    • 1 c sugar
    • 3/4 c vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 c strawberry jam/jelly
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • For the Strawberries & Icing:
    • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 12 medium strawberries
    • 2 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temp
    • 2 pinches salt, separated
    • 2 tsp vanilla, separated
    • 2 tbsp whole milk, separated
Directions:
For the cupcake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners.
  2. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a large bowl
  4. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot but not simmering; pour over the cocoa powder mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Let cool a few minutes, then add the granulated sugar and whisk until dissolved.
  6. Whisk in the vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla, then whisk in the flour mixture until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
  8. Bake 20 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when gently pressed.
  9. While the cupcakes are baking, mix together the strawberry jam/jelly with the lemon juice and brush on the warm cupcakes.
  10. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Chocolate covered strawberries
  1. Microwave 4oz semisweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring, until melted.
  2. Dip the strawberries in the chocolate; place on wax paper.
  3. Let set, 20-30 minutes.
For the Icing:
  1. Microwave the white chocolate and the remaining 2 oz semisweet chocolate in separate bowls, stirring each, until melted.
  2. Let cool.
  3. Beat 6 tbsp butter and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.
  4. Beat in the melted white chocolate.
  5. Add 1 c confectioners sugar; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tbsp milk
  6. Set aside the white chocolate icing
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 with the semisweet chocolate to make semisweet chocolate icing.
  8. Spoon the white chocolate icing onto one side of a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Spoon the semisweet chocolate icing next to the white chocolate icing so the two flavors are side by side; pip swirled icing onto the cupcakes.
  9. Top each with a chocolate-dipped strawberry.
  10. Enjoy, especially on a random Tuesday.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day Wedding


Valentine's Day we spent at a wedding celebrating the union of two of our friends, Justin and Kristi. They asked Abug if she would be their flower girl. Of course she said yes, but I'm not sure she knew what she was saying yes too 😀.

Deb, Tracy, and I worked on their cake. I heard rumor they initially weren't going to have an official wedding cake. I don't know if that was true or not... but after our cake day, Kristi asked if we could make her a Red Velvet Cake like Deb made that day. We obliged. Kristi also asked if I could make sugar cookies. Initially she wanted wedding bells but I didn't have a wedding bell cookie cutter and when she asked, I kind of lost track of time and thought I didn't have enough time to purchase a cookie cutter so I convinced her to do hearts since it was Valentine's Day. Then I felt bad when I realized I could have gotten the cookie cutter in on time.

We got to the wedding day... I was following Deb & Grady and witnessed a guy put a G8 in the ditch quickly. Just right through a four way stop, pavement was a little wet and it looked like he was hot rodding it and did a 180 in the road and off in the ditch he went. It was a pretty, red Pontiac G8 too....

When we got there, there was horrible cell reception. Hubby was coming from work and I was doing what we did in the olden days hoping we could hold the phone just right to get text messages out... let alone getting a phone call in or out.... Wow! Do you remember the days before cell phones and text messages?

Anyway Abug knows how to have her picture taken and we could not get her to get her picture taken to save our lives. But then when no one was paying attention to her anymore, she went off and pouted. Drama queen much?

The wedding itself was gorgeous. The venue was gorgeous. Congratulations to the lucky couple!

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