Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Goldfish Got Nothin' on my Wheat Cheese Crackers

I've seen three recipes for Goldfish-like cheese crackers in the past week. I think thats a sign! Since Goldfish are my favorite crackers, I decided to try them with my own spin and they turned out to be very tasty! They were gobbled up before I could snap a photo, and I even stole some from the kids' pile because they were so yummy. Give 'em a whirl!

Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers

4 T cold butter
2/3 c whole wheat flour
6 oz (1 1/2 c) cold shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350F. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Dough should make a ball around the blade.

Dump dough onto a sheet of waxed paper. Form into a disc, cover with another sheet of waxed paper, and roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Do not remove waxed paper and place in the freezer for five to ten minutes.

Remove from freezer and peel off top layer of waxed paper. Use a small cookie cutter to cut crackers (or just run a sharp knife across dough in a grid pattern); occasionally dip the cutter in flour to ensure a clean cut. If dough becomes too soft, return to freezer for a few minutes.

Place cut-outs on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are just golden-brown. Cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Little Something I Whipped Up

A month ago, when my friend was visiting from Denmark, we bought plenty of adorable, sparkly fabric to make matching tutu skirts for our daughters. We worked hard to finish hers since she was heading home soon, and I just got around to finishing the skirts for my daughters.

I'm glad I waited, because when I hit Hobby Lobby for satin to line the skirts, I found this fabric on sale:

Love! It's a light-weight, soft knit that has purple and hot pink polka dots in the mix--a perfect match for both of the skirts I planned to make for my girls. I ran home and figured I could whip up two tops and two skirts for my daughters to wear to church the next day.

Well..."I'll just whip them up" seem to be my famous last words. Before I knew it, six hours had passed and my four starving children lurked around the table wondering if they were ever going to be fed. What?! I think that I sew in a time warp, because I always spend way more time than I anticipate when I plunk down at the machine. Oops.

Here are the fruits of my labor:

Top A.

Top B.

Ensemble A.

Ensemble B.

Cute daughter in a cute outfit.

Another cute daughter in a cute outfit.

I even received my greatest sewing compliment to date at church. One of my uber-stylish friends peeked in the back of one of the tops as she asked "Are these from Gymboree?". Ha! I was so flattered! At $6.50 per outfit, I think the time spent was well worth it.

I'm linking to these sites today:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sunshine On My Shoulder

My poor purse. I loved this tattered, abused satchel. Clearly it served its time well, and I'm very ashamed to admit that I carried it around like this for a week.

Despite my best efforts, I have not been able to find a purse that I love. I've hit all my usual treasure troves, but nothing (that I can afford, anyway) has really jumped out and said "Buy me!". Soooo...

In true crafter's fashion, I decided to try my hand at making a purse. After a long day of futile purse shopping, I didn't want to head back to town for fabric. Since I'm a major tightwad, I didn't want to spring for a pattern. Thus, I dug to the very bottom of my fabric stash, harvested some hardware from dear Old Blue, and ripped off a fabulous design from Made by Rae. A few hours later, I had this...

And I was thrilled! It's sunny, energetic, and it has secret pockets for my two possessions that all my children covet: gum and phone. It came together quite easily and I'm really happy with the result.

I started from the inside out, using the most random yet sturdy fabric I had.

At first, I was thinking a plain, bright yellow panel would be good. Then, the idea evolved into chevrons. Since I'm mathematically challenged, I decided to ditch my failed chevron attempt and that yellow and white stripes on a diagonal offered just the right Giorgio-esque panache (I couldn't get enough of those stripes in the '80s and '90s and I still love them. Phyllis Nefler would be so proud!).

The pleated, blue-striped canvas is from my Grandma Lorna's basement, and now that I think of it, so are the bright yellow and the pale yellow I used for the lining. Now that is awesome!

I cut apart my old blue purse (and shed one last tear), added some tabs to those gold rings,

and voila!

A new purse that is screaming "summer vacation!". I felt so vibrant at the grocery store today with this purse draped over my shoulder. I think I'll even try my hand at constructing a few more until I save up enough cash for that Michael Kors number I'm eyeing. Ha!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fantastic and Healthy (er) Chocolate Chip Cookies

In sixteen years of serious baking, I've lived by this philosophy: If you're going to make and/or eat a treat, it should be fabulous. I hate the idea of "healthy desserts" like cakes baked with applesauce instead of butter, custard made with egg know what I mean, right? Make an indulgence a real indulgence!

Little did I know my philosophy would fail me once I reached 30. Now that I have four children, a fitness-crazed husband, and a body that I have to work extra hard to keep fit, I am trying to find ways to healthify my recipes (I can make up words on my own blog, yes?). I have a major sweet tooth, so I figure that counteracting the junk with some wholesome goodness would do me a bit of good. Sacrilege!

That said, I believe I've found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. It boasts 100% whole grain, packs extra fiber and protein, a delightfully chewy-crisp texture, and the cookies taste great. My kids love them, my husband loves them, and I love them. Now I don't have to feel AS guilty when I accidentally eat seven...oops! Whip up a batch and see what I mean.

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugars together, then add eggs. Mix well and beat in vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add flour and mix until combined. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips. Dough will be slightly sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour. Drop by tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for nine minutes, or until edges are barely brown and tops are set.

Let cookies cool on the pan for two minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Makes about three dozen cookies.


Pink Butterflies for Baby and Big Sis

Amber graduated from kindergarten this week, and she really wanted to give her fantastic teacher a special gift for her new baby girl due any day.

Amber chose this pink and white onesie, some coordinating butterfly fabric, and adorable pom pom trim. I chose the white satin blanket edging (instant waistband!) and we got to work.

I love the way the pom pom trim gives this simple skirt a charming, whimsical feel. I also love using blanket edging as a waistband. I think I'll do that more often! I sewed three rows of stitching with my double needle to create two elastic casings. Cute!

Since Amber loves to match her little sister, she thought for sure that Mrs. Belnap's older daughter needed an ensemble as well. This time, I went for scallops and bows on the top layer and yellow underneath. I made the same waistband to tie the looks together and I was thrilled by the outcome.

I added some ribbon and fabric to the shoulders of a Walmart tank top and tied them in perky knots.

Last, but not least, I made two matching hair bows with more fabric and ribbon.

Mrs. Belnap and her daughter loved the outfits, and the best part is that Brittany can use the baby's outfit for her doll when Little Sis outgrows it.

I'm linking to Tatertots and Jello and Delicate Construction. Have a sunny weekend!