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Category Archives: Crafts

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Sandwiches

I was cooking up a storm on Valentine’s Day, starting with eggs benedict for breakfast, then I tempered some chocolate for the second time in my life and made these little hearts and lips in these silicone ice cube trays I found at the dollar store. I was inspired by Martha Stewart to make these teeny-tiny little arrows to go in the centres. She made arrows out of pens but I adopted the technique to toothpicks. I think they’re adorable and used them again in my mini caramel and chocolate covered marshmallows. Too cute!

And for my official Valentine’s dessert I combined two recipes to make these ice cream sandwiches thinking Steve would love them. He couldn’t warm up to the idea of the frankenrecipe of ice cream and strawberry cheesecake. I think it’s delicious! The cookies didn’t have quite enough graham flavour so I’ll keep working on those. This sandwich recipe would be great to save for spring/summer as well.

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Strawberry Cheesecake Sandwiches

Graham Cookies:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 (11.25 ounces) cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and frozen
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces) milk chocolate chips (I omitted these)

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Pulse one or two times to combine. Add the cubes of butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You can also use a hand held pastry blender.

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla. Add the mixture to the food processor and pulse until a soft dough begins to form. Remove to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Using a 1 1/2-tablespoon scoop, drop balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing at least 2 inches apart. Flatten dough balls with the bottom of a measuring cup.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the edges are browned. Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: http://www.handletheheat.com (I omitted the chocolate chips)

Strawberry Cheesecake No Churn Ice Cream:

Ingredients:

One 8 oz. bar of cream cheese (light or regular) softened

One 14.5 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk (regular or fat free)

1 tsp vanilla

One pint (500ml) heavy cream, well chilled (35%)

1 21 oz can of strawberry pie filling (540ml)

Instructions:

Place a large glass or metal bowl in the refrigerator or freezer for whipping the cream.
Using an electric mixer or whisk attachment, beat together the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Set aside.
In the chilled bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat the heavy cream to soft peaks.
Gently fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream.
Mix in the strawberry pie filling.
Pour the mixture into a container that you can freeze and has an airtight lid, cover, and place in the freezer until frozen.

To make the sandwiches: Smoosh a scoop of ice cream between two cookies and serve! 🙂

 

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Candied Nuts

This is my first year making little gifts for my daughter’s teachers and babysitter. Her babysitter is Muslim (but she takes part in some Christmas traditions) so I needed to find something I could make with Halal ingredients and I thought these nuts would be great for everyone. I added some almonds and cashews to the pecans for a little variety. It’s really simple, and it first bite it doesn’t seem like much, but the more you eat, the more you want, they’re so addictive!  These would be great to have on hand when the holiday visits start. They’re also a lovely topping to sweeten up salads or coarsely chopped on top of oatmeal. With the nuts I included a little satchel of “Holiday Scent” and threw it all inside a festive gift bag. My daughter had fun helping to stuff the bags so it’s a win-win all around!

Candied Nuts

Candied Pecans

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound pecan halves (about 4 cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
  2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Whisk egg white and water together in a separate bowl until frothy. Toss pecans in the egg white mixture. Mix sugar mixture into pecan mixture until pecans are evenly coated. Spread coated pecans onto a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until pecans are evenly browned, 1 hour.

Holiday Scent

2 cinnamon sticks

10 whole cloves

5 allspice berries

the zest of an orange

Add ingredients to a small saucepan, along with about 1 cup of water. Simmer on the stove top to release scent. Add water as needed. (Watch carefully because you definitely do not want to scorch your pan!)

Halloween Fun!

We had a great weekend last week. I am a total Halloween freak! For Miss M’s lunchbox I made a few treats, including tortillas that I cut shapes out using cookie cutters, but I forgot to take a pic. The rest are fun ideas I found on Pinterest. I tried making brownies in an 8×8 pan instead of a 9×9 pan and it didn’t quite work out. As you can see, the middle rose too much and the sides were over-baked. Now I have to go searching for a real brownie pan!

Apple, peanut butter, and mini marshmallows!

Apple, peanut butter, and mini marshmallows!

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Juice box covered in white duct tape with googly eyes.

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Weiners

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Monster cupcakes!

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I had planned to make brownie pops 😦

Engagement Ring Options

No, I am not engaged, but it looks like someone in my immediate family /friends circle might soon be. 😉  I’m just posting this for any young couples out there that might be interested in having a beautiful ring without the huge price tag. Once I learned about how the diamond companies operate, I have been a huge advocate of conflict free diamonds and diamond alternatives. In these trying economic times, it pays to look into your options. I’ve done a lot of research online about diamond alternatives and more economic diamonds, then created this handy guide. There are price comparisons for natural diamonds, enhanced white and enhanced blue diamonds, lab created diamonds, Moissanite, and diamond “hybrids”. With all these great choices out there, I think everyone from any tax bracket can find a ring they love.

Here’s a great article as well, from the New Zealand Herald with links to a Huffington Post. How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? 😉  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11204767 Fun little excerpt:

The De Beers marketing machine continued to churn out the hits. They circulated marketing materials suggesting, apropos of nothing, that a man should spend one month’s salary on a diamond ring. It worked so well that De Beers arbitrarily decided to increase the suggestion to two months salary. That’s why you think that you need to spend two month’s salary on a ring — because the suppliers of the product said so.

Note: All rings are about .69-.75 carat weight or equivalent. I have seen moissanite in person and absolutely love it! It has beautiful sparkle and tons of fire.

Some sources: www.BlueNile.com   www.angara.com    www.biggestrocks.com  www.moissaniteco.com   www.brilliantearth.com   www.miadonna.com  www.betterthandiamond.com   www.quorri.com 

Update, September 2, 2015: I’ve been researching Amora Gem Ultra and it looks quite lovely. It is from the moissanite family of gems but is whiter, and it seems to have nicer cuts as well. It’s a bit more expensive than moissanite but if your’e thinking of getting something larger than 1 – 1.5 carats it might be worth it. It’s still less expensive than a genuine lab created diamond. Check out some videos on YouTube and I think you’ll be intrigued. http://www.amora-gems.com/

Click below for PDF document

RingComparisons

Moissanite ring set in rose gold in etsy shop RosadosBox

I absolutely love sparkly rings and am thinking I might use that as an incentive to finally get off my butt and start working out and eating better. If I get to my goal weight I would treat myself to a lovely right hand ring. What do you think? Have any of you tried this type of reward system for weight loss? Did it work?

Fairy House

I was just going through my Pinterest folders and realized I hadn’t posted photos of my fairy house I made out of a Fun-kin (faux pumpkin)! I thought I would share. I simply cut out the shapes for the door using regular pumpkin carving tools, and made the door out of popsicle sticks that I cut with pruning shears, and glued together with “Goop” glue, then added a piece from an old necklace. The little hinges were taken from a birdhouse I found at the dollarstore. The mushrooms and gazing ball were made with Sculpey and marbles. The fairy figurines I found at Michael’s. The lights were bought online at Wise Mall = $4.29 Warm White Mini 40 LEDs Wedding Party Christmas Fairy String Light: Amazon.ca: Tools & Home Improvement.

It really was a lot of fun making this and Miss M. kept trying to help but she’s still a little too small. She had fun using the pumpkin as a house for all of her little figurines. The neighborhood kids also liked taking a peek on Halloween night. 🙂

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Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

My daughter has fine, whispy baby hair that is just past her shoulders and it’s starting to tangle – a lot! She has a habit of twirling her hair when she’s falling asleep, and the other morning I woke up to find a large quarter sized tangle in her hair. It took about 10 minutes to unravel the thing and I accidentally pulled out a few of her hairs along the way, which definitely did not help her morning attitude. I use all natural shampoo on her hair but not conditioner, but I didn’t want to go buy more expensive “natural” hair products for her so I decided to make my own. I’ve seen this idea of using various hot oils to condition hair, including olive oil, grapeseed, or coconut oil. I had olive oil and coconut oil so I decided to mix both using roughly 1 heaping tablespoon of the coconut oil and a teaspoon of olive oil. I microwaved them to melt the coconut oil and make it warm to the touch but not hot, and put it in Miss M’s hair while was in the bath, working from the tips to about 1 inch from her scalp. I left it in for about 15 minutes then shampooed her hair. I put the leftover oil in my own hair, mostly on the ends. Most people say to put a shower cap on or wrap your hair in plastic wrap, but I didn’t bother. While my daughter was napping I had a shower and washed it out. After our hair dried it looked like both of us hadn’t showered in a month! The oil was still in our hair. I didn’t want to bath her again because she has eczema and too much bathing can irritate her skin, so I just left it like that until the next day. (We didn’t go anywhere so we didn’t need to be presentable for anything).  I had to wash our hair 3 times to remove the oil! But it worked. Her hair is much softer and has less tangles. My ends definitely feel smoother as well. If you’re curious, give it a try!

Salt Dough Stars

Little Miss M. was supposed to be a mermaid for Halloween. She had the most adorable turquoise sequined costume and I had a long blonde wing that I was going to get her to wear. I saw this idea on pinterest to make realistic looking dried starfish using salt dough so I decided to make some as a necklace for her.  It called for rolling out pieces and sticking them together to form a star, but I thought of a decent shortcut. I had a star cookie cutter that I used instead. Then I pushed in the points to round them out a little, pinched the base of each arm and then flattened the whole star to make it look more organic. For detail, I used the end of a paintbrush to make the design. As you can see, these aren’t very durable. My daughter was playing with them for a few minutes and broke the ends off a few of them. That being said, I think it looks pretty good! And guess what – after all that effort, on Halloween night she refused to wear the costume! She wanted to wear her pink fairy dress instead. lol

Salt dough stars

Salt dough stars

Salt Dough Clay

1/2 cup of salt

1/2 cup of water

1 cup of flour

Add the 1/2 cup of salt and 1 cup of flour to a bowl stir in the water adding it slowly – you may not need all of the water. You want the dough to be dry – if it gets sticky add more flour. Knead the dough and then roll out and use as you want. (about 1cm or 1/4″ thick)

Once you have made the shapes you want then you need to dry them so you can paint. Traditionally salt dough is dried in the oven which takes about 3 hours at a 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note: I accidentally baked mine overnight and they were fine. They were a little crinkly on the bottom but they didn’t burn.

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