Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekend Sweets: Healthy Graham Crackers

I LOVE graham crackers and so does Ada, but they're not great for you, so I decided to try to find a healthier alternative. These are SO good. They're a little bit spicy, perfect for the fall. I got this great recipe here and changed it just a smidge by adding ground cloves.
1 C wheat flour
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C dark brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1 t baking soda
1/2 C butter (chilled and cubed)
1/4 C honey
1/4 C water

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Mix flours, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and baking soda.

Step 2: Add cubed chilled butter to the mix and mix well. It will be very crumbly. Then add the honey and water until everything is well combined. At this point it will still be fairly crumbly, don't worry, it's normal!

Step 3: Remove the dough and shape it into a disk with your hands. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/4" thickness. Cut into crackers or fun shapes with cookie cutters.

Step 4: Bake on greased sheet for 15 minutes.

This makes a fairly large batch, so you can freeze some before you bake them. Freeze after step 3 in a ziploc and then remove and bake when you want more!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fat Quarter Friday: Circle Zipper Pouch - Binky Pouch

This week I wanted to make something small and fun. I used this tutorial to make this adorable zipper pouch for Ada's binks. She made the bag to hold her earphones, but mine turned out rather bigger than hers and can actually hold my ipod with some finagling, but it is a little tight. You could use it for all sorts of little things like lip gloss or change. I've been thinking of lots of cute things I could do with this basic idea and hope to make some of them soon to share with you as well! This is a fun quick little project, it took me less than 30 minutes to make start to finish!
1 fat quarter
fusible interfacing or thin batting
7" zipper (or bigger)
keychain ring

Step 1: I used a cd case to trace my circles, it has a diameter of about 5 1/2". Trace four circles.
Cut out your circles and cut two of them exactly in half. Also cut out a 2"x2" little square for the ring tab.
Trace and cut out your interfacing or batting (I used interfacing), you'll need one circle and two half circles. Adhere your interfacing to the backs of your fabric circles and half circles.
 Step 2: Take one half circle that doesn't have interfacing (this will be part of the lining) and place it right side up with the flat edge at the top. Place the zipper right side up on top and match up the top edge.
 Take a half circle with interfacing on in and place it right side down on top and match up the top edge. Sew the layers together using a 1/4" seam.
 Fold both edges down and top stitch in place using a 1/16" seam.
 Repeat step 2 on the other side of the zipper.
 Step 3: Take your 2" square and iron it in half with the right side facing out. Then open it up like so.
 Fold the two edges in to meet the middle crease you just made.
 Then fold in half and iron.
 Stitch on both sides to hold it in place.
 Fold the tab in half and stitch it on directly over the zipper like so.
 Step 4: Lay your zipper piece out like so and pull the zipper tab so it is in the middle of the circle.
 Place the circle with interfacing on it right side down on top, and then put the circle with no interfacing right side up on top.
 Sew around the outside of the circle with a 1/4" seam. Make sure that all your layers meet up nicely as you go. Trim off the excess zipper and use pinking shears around the outside edge. If you don't have pinking shears, you can just cut some slits along the outside edge, but be sure not to clip the seam you just made.
 Step 5: Turn the bag right side out and top stitch around the edge with a 1/4"-1/8" seam.
 For my topstitching, I did not go over the zipper. I did one half circle and then the other.
 Attach a keyring to the little loop, toss in some clean pacifiers and hook it on to your diaper bag! Or your kid's backpack to hold gum and chapstick or your gym bag to hold your keys and cards, or...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Homemade Granola: Cranberry Spice

We love granola at our house, but it is rather expensive, so in order to get our fix, we made some homemade stuff. We've tried a bunch of different recipes and combined them to make our own. This recipe is great because it's amazingly filling (we usually eat it with Greek yogurt), and it's very versatile. If you don't like cranberries, substitute raisins or dried blueberries. If you don't like flax seed, substitute sunflower seeds. You get the idea. While it does take a little while to bake, it's very easy to make! This recipe makes about 10 cups.
2 1/2 C oats (I used quick oats)
3/4 C wheat flour
1/2 C flax seeds
3/4 C coconut flakes
1 1/2 C chopped almonds
1/2 t salt (we used sea salt)
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t ground cloves
1 stick butter
1/6 C water
2 t vanilla
1/2 C maple syrup
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 C dried cranberries (I used craisins)

Step 1: Mix together all the dry ingredients except the brown sugar and the craisins (the first 10), oats, flour, flax seeds, coconut flakes, chopped nuts, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and ground cloves. Set aside.

Step 2: Preheat your oven to 325. Take the wet ingredients, butter, water, vanilla, and maple syrup and put them in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium low until the butter is melted, then stir in the brown sugar. Heat the mixture until it just starts to boil. Remove from heat.

Step 3: Mix the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients until just combined. Spread it out on a greased edged baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes at 325. Gently stir the mixture every 15 minutes. During the last 10 minutes or so, add the crasins.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekend Sweets: Sneaker Cake - Strawberry Air Cake

This is a family favorite recipe for birthdays and special occasions. We call it sneaker cake because my mom was "sneaky" and stole the recipe from our neighbor who used to make this cake for weddings. There's nothing quite like it, it's light yet very flavorful and Ada loved it for her first birthday! It's actually not as much work as it looks like, give it a try!
White cake mix
whatever the cake mix says you need for it (most likely eggs, oil and water)
Pudding mix (vanilla or white chocolate are best) (~6oz I think)
2 T Strawberry glaze (you can find this over by the caramel apple dip stuff)
Cool Whip (8oz)
Heavy whipping cream (16oz)
scant 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 cartons of strawberries

Step 1: Pour your cake mix and pudding packet in a mixer as well as whatever the back of the cake box says you need (probably eggs, oil and water). Pour mixture into two 9" round cake pans that have been well greased. Bake according to the box directions. Check with a toothpick before pulling them out to cool.

Step 2: Now we're going to make the filling. Pull your cool whip out of the freezer if you haven't already and let it thaw a bit. Wash and cut up about 1 C of strawberries. Cut the strawberries pretty small, no bigger than a nickel. In a bowl, mix the cool whip, 2 T of strawberry glaze and the cut strawberries. Add more strawberries if you want.

Step 3: Take your cooled cakes out of their pans and then place one on a cake stand or plate. Take a long knife and cut off the rounded top so it's a nice flat surface. Then plop all of the filling from step 2 on to the top of the flattened cake and spread it out in an even layer. Lay the second cake on top. Place in the fridge while you make the frosting.
Step 4: Take your heavy whipping cream and beat it in a mixer for about 2 minutes until it peaks. Then put the mixer on low and slowly add in your scant 1/2 C of powdered sugar. Beat until just mixed. Now you can frost your cake. Start by globbing some around the top edge and gently patting it down the sides.
Then you can just run a knife along the edge and it pretty much frosts itself. Then do the top!
Now you can decorate with strawberries.
 Serve and enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fat Quarter Friday: Quilted Wall Hanging for Photos

This week I made a cute little quilted wall hanging for pictures. I was inspired by a project from Baby Times where she made a photo front that you staple to a canvas. It was cute, but I didn't have a large square canvas, so I made up my own project. I think it turned out really sweet!
4 fat quarters (2 for the front squares, 1 for the backing, and 1 for the binding)
Quilt batting (12.5"x24.5")

Step 1: Pick two of your fat quarters for the front. Cut four 6.5"x6.5" squares from each.
Step 2: From one of the fabrics from step 1 that you want to be the picture holders cut four 2.5"x6.5" rectangles.
Iron them in half hotdog style with the right sides facing out.
Place them along the bottom edge on the same fabric squares from step 1 so that the raw edges meet up with the edge of the square.
Sew in place 1/8" from the edge on each side.
Step 3: Assemble your front panel by sewing the squares together, first in pairs. Make sure that your little rectangles from step 2 are all situated at the bottom and that your pattern alternates like in the picture. Iron your seams toward the non-picture squares.
After you sew your pairs together, iron the seams down.
Step 4: We're now going to make out binding from another fat quarter (I had two of the same which is why it's the same color as the squares). We'll need enough to go around the perimeter of the wall hanging which currently measures 12.5"x24.5". That means we need over 74" of fabric 2.25" wide. Cut and sew strips together until it's 80" long (this should be 4 strips cut long ways from the fat quarter) and iron open the seams.
Fold the long strip in half lengthwise and iron.
Step 5: Now we're going to make the back. Our fat quarter isn't going to be big enough, so we'll have to piece it together. Take your fat quarter and position it so the long sides are vertical and cut it so it's 12.5" long.
Cut the leftover piece to be 12.5" as well and then sew it to the big piece.
Iron the seam to one side and cut the rectangle so it measures 12.5"x24.5". Also, cut your quilt batting to be 12.5"x24.5" as well.
Step 6: Now we're going to layer our top, batting and backing together like so with the right sides facing out.
Pin it in place all around the sides and in the middle as well to keep the layers from shifting.
Stitch in the ditch between the squares on the top.
I also sewed around the outside edge with a 1/8" seam to hold the edges together.
Step 7: Now I'm going to make a small casing on the back to thread through some ribbon to hang the quilt, as well as something stiff like a dowel to help it lay flat. This step is optional and I just made it up at the end, so it's not the best, but it works well. From your leftover backing fabric cut two rectangles, mine were 2.5"x8.5". Don't worry if they aren't that long.
Sew them together, iron the seam and trim so that the strip measures 12.5" long.
Turn the strip wrong side up and turn the short side under 1/4" and then 1/4" again and sew it in place.
Repeat on the other short end.
Fold it in half hotdog style with the right sides facing out.
Position it on the top back of the wall hanging and pin in place.
Sew 1/8" along the top to hold it in place.
Step 8: Using your favorite method, bind your wall hanging with our binding strip from step 4. Here is a good tutorial if you're unfamiliar with binding.
Attach a ribbon and dowel if you want, add pictures and hang it up!