Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tutti Fruity

Just popping in to share my newest (and most successful by Etsy standards) treasury with you all!

This treasury was made to feature some of the members of the new Etsy Team from The Handmade Gift Guide, a blog that features some incredible handmade wonders for your perusing and shopping pleasure. Treasuries, as I mentioned in my last shop update, are excellent ways to uncover fab finds on Etsy, and great treasuries can mean sales to your friendly shop owners. If you want to help get a treasury to the front page (which all but guarantees some of the items will sell) just click to visit and then click on your favorite items and get them a bit o' exposure!

'The fruits of our labor' by jojobeandesigns

For members of the Handmade Gift Guide Team and more!

EAT FRUIT Farmer's ...

Felt Play Grapes- Green

Very Berry Felt Necklac...

The Flowers were Almost...

NEW - Chunky Bartlett P...

Apple ukulele ( applele...

Earrings, Acorns, Natur...

Woodland Apple (WC 15) ...

Handmade Gift Tags, Set...

Handmade Wooden Bowl in...

La pomme

A perfect pear pair


Happy Go Lucky - vintag...

Birds-Eye Maple Cutting...

Pink and Red Apple - So...

Treasury tool is sponsored by A/B image testing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Easy Peasy

I've become Slacky McSlackerson. Cooking easy peasy stuff that requires a few minutes of prep and a short cooking time, or a long, unattended cooking time, or even better, E cooking time. Dishes that allow me to leave inspiring and thoughtful notes like, "350, 20 minutes, thanks!" This recipe equals not only one dish like this, but two. Inspired by a Better Homes and Garden recipe for Superbowl chicken wings, I  have made this recipe twice and love it! It makes for incredibly moist and flavorful chicken, and if you double it, you get a fantastic salad for the next day.

Spicy Yogurt Chicken - Two Ways
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skin and fat trimmed
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika

Place chicken in a shallow dish or ziploc bag. Stir yogurt and seasonings in a small bowl. Reserve a few tablespoons for tomorrow's salad. Pour remaining yogurt mixture over chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Serve hot.

Spicy Yogurt Chicken and Cashew Salad
1 leftover chicken breast
1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped
reserved yogurt mixture
3 Tbls. olive oil
2 Tbls. red wine vinegar
2 cups mixed greens or baby spinach
a handful of red grapes (which I didn't have, but love!)

Shred or chop chicken into a large bowl. Add cashews, greens, and grapes. Whisk yogurt mixture with oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

* Also, Pretty Please take a moment to vote for my Pom-Filled Dark Chocolate Cupcakes in the POM Wonderful Contest! I'd appreciate it, as always!

This post is linked to:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dinner for One

When E is out of town, I get a little lazy with my cooking sometimes. I try to eat well, but cooking for one has never been my favorite thing. I tend to stick to things that are fast and portable, and that doesn't always equal delicious. In this case, however, it does. This little dish is like eating a big bowl of shrimp scampi without needing a fork. Plus, the added nutritional punch from the spinach and whole grain won't leave you feeling as guilty as a big buttery bowl of pasta might. Not that butter or pasta has ever made me feel guilty, but you know what I'm saying.

Shrimp and Spinach Scampi Toasts
serves one

1/4 lb. shrimp, shelled and cleaned
1 cup baby spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbls. unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tbls. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
small whole wheat baguette

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, blend butter with garlic and parsley until well combined. Place spinach and shrimp in a small baking dish and season well with salt and pepper. Dot with butter mixture and bake until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
Slice baguette in half lengthwise and toast under broiler until golden. Top with shrimp, garnish with red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice. Pour any butter that remains in the baking dish over the toast.

* Also, Pretty Please take a moment to vote for my Pom-Filled Dark Chocolate Cupcakes in the POM Wonderful Contest! I'd appreciate it as always!

This post is linked to:
Friday Potluck
Fresh Clean And Pure Friday
Tickled Pink
I'm Lovin' It Fridays

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sparkles and Scooters and Stamps, Oh My!

There has been so much sugar here in the past week that I'm afraid my  teeth might fall out. Therefore it's time for a sugar free shop update!

I've been all about glitter and rainbows this week. In case you didn't know, I dig sparkle. I know glitter is like the herpes of the crafting world, but I can't help myself! This week you can find:

I've also been treasury happy for weeks now. Don't know what a treasury is ? Oh well, my dears you are missing out! Treasuries are fun little collections of listings created by etsy members to highlight some of their favorite items and shops. Organized by theme, color, or whim, they can introduce you to really amazing new finds and help you to show off your favorites. Creating them can get very addicting, but it is so fun. Here are a few of the loveliest I've been a part of this week:

What are you waiting for? Get hunting through the many treasuries on etsy or create your own! Just don't blame me if you get hooked!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Persephone gets her revenge

Sure, kidnapping a girl and en-prisoning her in the Underworld isn't exactly romantic. Hades was no Casanova. But at least he had the wherewithal to feed Persephone pomegranates, even if it was a nasty trick designed to keep her coming back to him. Somehow pomegranates have morphed from the ancient form of rufies into a common ingredient in decadent, romantic desserts. I don't know what that says about us as a society, but they sure do taste good. Pair them with a luscious ingredient like dark chocolate and you have something really special. These cupcakes are my imagining of what Persephone would whip up to pass the time with Hades. She probably wouldn't give him any. I wouldn't.

Pom-Filled Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing
makes 10 cupcakes

For Pomegranate Curd Filling:

3 egg yolks
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. unsalted butter, cubed
3 Tbls. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. gelatin
pinch of salt
Scant 1/2 cup Pom Wonderful juice
red food coloring (optional)

Whisk egg yolks and a pinch of salt in a small bowl, set aside. Pour a Tbls. of the Pom juice into another small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top to soften, set aside. Prepare an ice bath and (you guessed it!) set aside. In a small saucepan, cook remaining juice and sugar over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture comes just to a boil. Remove immediately from heat. Pour a small amount of hot juice into yolks, whisking rapidly to temper. Continue whisking in small amounts until all of juice is incorporated. Add mixture back to the pan and add butter and gelatin mixture (make sure you whisk the gelatin into that Tbls. of juice first). Continue whisking and cooking over medium heat until mixture has thickened, about 8 minutes. Pour into prepared ice bath and stir until cool. Stir in several drops of red food coloring if desired (otherwise your curd is an unsightly brown shade). Cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface of the curd (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for at least an hour.

For Cupcakes:

3/4 c. all purpose flour
6 Tbls. dark cocoa powder
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
scant 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 Tbls vegetable oil6 Tbls Pom Wonderful juice

Line a muffin tin with paper liners and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sift flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Reduce speed to low and add egg, oil, milk, juice, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans.

For Icing:
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. Pom Wonderful juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, heat juice over high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until a syrup has formed, about 8 minutes. Beat butter and mascarpone until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat vanilla and cooled pomegranate syrup into icing until well combined.

To assemble cupcakes:
Cut a small inverted cone shape from the top of each cooled cupcake and eat them :). Fill each hole with a teaspoon of pomegranate curd and top with icing. Decorate as desired.

*The pomegranate curd alone makes an amazing treat (I had to hide it from myself while the cupcakes cooled) and I'll be folding the extra into whipped cream later to make frozen mousse. Yum!

*This is also my entry for February's Dessert Wars Challenge: Dark Chocolate and Hearts!
The February prize package includes:

This post is linked to:

Dessert Wars

Thursday, February 03, 2011


A quick note: I am guest posting today over at Heidi's blog, HoneyBear Lane. So exciting! Heidi is a fabulous seamstress who makes the most gorgeous quilts, and her blog is full of ideas for revamping your home or clothes, as well of tons other fun inspiration! If you are interested in making a special Little Chapel of Love Birdhouse for your Valentine this year, pop over for my tutorial! There is also a giveaway and a coupon code for my shop, so I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Chocolate. Brownies. Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts to be exact. Featured on the cover of the latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine and currently circling the foodie blogiverse like the plague. The one recipe that has ever tempted me enough to ban the box and make brownies from scratch. We've talked about this. I don't do brownies from scratch. I'm an underbaked-by-3-minutes-from-the-box kind of girl. A fudgy, gooey, moist and chocolatey brownie kind of girl. The kind that can never be created by from scratch recipe. Until now. Well played, Bon Appetit. Well played.

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
Bon Appetit, Feb. 2011

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 Tbls. unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 tsp. salt (generous)
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into a cup measure and leveled)
2 tsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 c. plus 1 Tbls. unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces

Position rack in the lower 1/3 of oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line 8x8x2 inch metal pan tightly with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang, and spray with cooking spray.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until foam subsides and browned bits form on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately add salt, sugar, cocoa, water, and vanilla, stirring to blend. Let cool 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously between additions. Once mixture looks shiny and thick, stir in flour until blended (about 60 strokes). Stir in nuts and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean (it should have a few sticky crumbs on it). Cool in the pan on a rack. Remove from pan using foil sling and slice into 4 bars. SLice each bar into 4 pieces.

*My notes: Bob Appetit recipes amuse me. They often leave ingredients out of the ingredient list and then toss them into the steps like an afterthought (so it's a good idea to always read a B.A. recipe through before you start!).  When making these brownies, I measured the cocoa, salt, and sugar into a large bowl and set it aside. Then I measured the water and vanilla into a bowl. Once the butter was browned, I poured it into the large bowl of cocoa mix, tossed in the vanilla mix and stirred. I didn't feel like doing that part in a pan. I also do not have an 8x8 metal pan, only a glass one. I used a 9x5 metal pan and had to bake them about 8 minutes longer than called for. Go with your gut here, and you will be rewarded.

These were so incredible, even the next day! Like chocolate crack. All they needed for me to be in total bliss was a scoop of coffee ice cream. Do it.

This post is linked to:
Simple Lives Thursday

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Everything is better on a stick...

especially humble (dare I say, trashy?) snack foods. Hot dogs are better on a stick, especially when battered and fried. Snickers bars, too. And Twinkies. And everyone knows there is no heaven like a perfectly toasted marshmallow on a stick. But it's not always summer time and we don't all have wood burning stoves. Some of us are currently frozen inside of our homes thanks to several inches of ice, and while a roaring fire would sure be nice, it ain't happening. I can microwave the you-know-what out of some chocolate though, so there is hope for today (hope and Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts, but we'll get to those later!).

My darling little cousin Owen gets to hand out my Little Monster Valentines to his preschool class next week, so I had to make him something a little special to go with them. No pencils for my buddy! These chocolate coated marshmallow stirrers were just the thing. This is certainly not a recipe, but it is an excellent way to put the snowed in kiddos to work if they are getting cabin fever. Just be careful, you might end up with most of them in your mouth, even if they are meant for stirring into cups of hot cocoa!

Chocolate Marshmallow Cocoa Stirrers


1 bag of large marshmallows
1 bag of grill skewers or long lollipop sticks
2 cups of chocolate chips or candy melts
Assorted sprinkles
Baker's twine
Plastic treat bags.
Wax paper

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and pour sprinkles into a shallow dish. Stick a marshmallow on all of the skewers.

Pour chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir and continue heating in 30 second intervals until chocolate is just about melted. It will continue to melt as you stir after about 2 minutes of total heat.

Dunk marshmallows into the melted chocolate, turning and tapping to allow excess to drip off. Dun into sprinkles and stand on baking sheet. Continue dipping until they are all coated. If you move slowly, you may need to zap the chocolate for another few seconds in between dips!

Let stand for about an hour before wrapping them in a plastic treat bag and tying with a length of baker's twine.

And there you have it! Cocoa stirrers ready for sliding through your Valentines and passing out at school! You can do these with milk, white, or dark chocolate (coloring white chocolate with red or pink would be very cute!) add some peppermint extract to your chocolate, or add nuts or other candies. My only wish is that I could stir one into a big mug of hot chocolate spiked with Bailey's and topped with fresh whipped cream right now. *sigh* But that kind of behavior is frowned upon :) Soon, baby, soon!