Monday, February 27, 2012

The Big Cookie Project: Week 44

I almost forgot about this week. Sadly, no pictures of this week's dessert. I ate it before I could take a picture of it. I've actually fixed this dessert twice in the past few weeks. Super easy, and makes two servings, know what it is yet??

Nutella Cake in a Cup...mmmm. I happened across it while searching for Nutella recipes and the appeal was that it was to make only one serving in a large mug. I made it the first time and I barely ate half, there was so much cake. The second time I made it, I divided the recipe in half and still had some cake left over. Here's the recipe:



a large mug
4Tbsp all purpose flour
4Tbsp sugar
1 egg
3Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3Tbsp Nutella
3Tbsp milk
2 1/2 Tbsp oil
*Any toppings you want! I used some caramel drizzle on top, but some whipped cream on top sounds delicious too.

Mix all the ingredients together and microwave on high for 1 minute and 45 seconds.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you should have all the ingredients in your pantry right now. If you don't have Nutella, peanut butter is a great substitute. If you don't like some much sugar you can add some Splenda instead.

Hope you enjoy this quick dessert. Happy Baking....I mean "Happy Microwaving" :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Take THAT Crockpot Yogurt!

Take that crockpot yogurt, I beat you! (Insert evil laugh here)
I signed up to make crockpot yogurt at a church function for this upcoming Wednesday night. I had never made it before, but thought, "How hard could it be?"
Pretty hard, in fact.
I tried for the first time two weeks ago, following the instructions carefully. In the morning, I was expecting gorgeous yogurt, instead I was greeted with sour smelling milk that was a little lumpy.
Try #2 happened a week after that. A little different instructions, same results. My hopes for homemade yogurt were quickly going down the drain.
Try #3 was yesterday. I asked anyone and everyone on tips they had to make homemade yogurt. I was ready! Instead of a list of ingredients, I'll just give you my timeline of events with the ingredients, it will make it easier to understand.
11:30 AM- Pour 1 gallon milk in to large crockpot. Turn on high, let sit for 4 hours. If you take a peak during this time, there will be bubbles forming on the top, but it SHOULDN'T be boiling.
3:30 PM- Unplug crockpot, and let it cool down slowly. This will take 3 hours. You are wanting to be able to stick your finger in the milk for about 10 seconds and for it to not be too hot.
6:30 PM- Now that the milk has cooled down, it's time to add your yogurt and powdered milk.
These are what I used. For every 1/2 gallon milk, you will use 1/2 cup yogurt (with active cultures) and 1/2 cup powdered milk. Since I used a whole gallon of milk, I added 1 cup yogurt and 1 cup powdered milk. ***The first two times I tried this recipe I went and bought super expensive yogurt. You don't need to do that. I got this Yoplait Greek yogurt for .99 cents each. Super cheap and the flavor is really good.
To add the yogurt, remove 2 cups milk in to separate container, add the yogurt and whisk together. Combine the yogurt mixture back in to the crockpot and whisk. Do the same thing with the powdered milk (Remove 2 cups milk, whisk in the powdered milk until combined. Add the powdered milk mixture back in to the crockpot and whisk together).
The next part is the hardest: Wrap it in a big bath towel and just let it sit....for forever! Well, not forever, but close to 12 hours.
7:30 AM - I got up this morning really excited and nervous to see if it had worked. 3rd time's a charm, right?? I carefully unwrapped my crockpot from the towel and took off the lid. I put my spoon in, and SCORE! It's yogurt. Below is my accomplishment!
So, now I have A LOT of yogurt. The consistency is pretty good to my taste. If you want it thicker, like Greek Yogurt you should line a collander with coffee filters and then spoon in your yogurt. Make sure to put something under your collander to catch some of the stuff that will separate. The extra whey (I don't know if that's exactly right) will drain, and you will be left with thicker yogurt. I went ahed and put the whole crockpot in the fridge to thicken up a little bit. In a few days it will be carted off to church and enjoyed by many.
The sad thing is, I don't even like yogurt that much...haha. It was just bugging me that I couldn't figure it out. Greg was really happy I only wasted 1 gallon of milk instead of more.
If you try it, good luck!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sewing a Shirt

You know how aggrevating it is to have an idea of something you want to buy, but can't find it? I have this problem frequently, usually in the clothing department. I'll have this very specific idea of what I want a top to look like, what fabric I want it made out of, and how it should look on me. I spend time looking online or even going shopping for something that usually doesn't exist. I had a top that I got from Old Navy a few years ago and liked the look, so I spent last night trying to make a copy of it out of material that I chose.

Here's the top that I tried to copy. I like it, but the only thing that was annoying was the big keyhole in front...I was constantly trying to fix it so as not to flash anyone. I went to JoAnnes and picked out some really pretty eggplant-colored fabric. I was a little shocked at the price ($9.99/yard), especially since I didn't know if it was going to work or not, or all end up in the trash. I went ahead and did it anyways (now that I look back, it's a little sad that a splurge for me is less than $10). I only bought one yard, and then bought 1/4 yard of some cream satin for the tie around the neck (not pictured). When I checked out, the fabric was half off because it was at the end of the bolt, yay! I came home, used my Old Navy top, started cutting and sewing. Here is the end product:

I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out looking like a top! It even fit like a top! I made this top maybe an inch or two longer than the original, because I like my tops long. I made my satin tie, strung it through the neck and it just didn't look right. I took it out and used some thick ribbon that I had and tried it next. It still doesn't feel right either. I have toyed with the idea of taking some satin fabric, eggplant fabric, braiding it and using it as a neck tie. The braided tie idea looks really good in my head, but don't know how it would look in real-life. If you have any ideas, send them my way.

All in all, not a bad investment for $6. Happy Sewing!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pig Crochet Pattern!

Ok, I don't have a lot of experience typing out crochet patterns, but I will be trying to give you my pig pattern! I made this pattern up as I went and really enjoyed finishing it a few days ago. I bet somewhere out in cyberland, there is a pattern just like this, but for right now it is one of my originals. Hope you enjoy it.

Picture #1: Front view of pigPicture #2: Sideview of pigPicture #3: Tail of pig :)

Round 1: 6 sc into Magic Ring (6)

Round 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)

Round 3: sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, around (18)

Round 4: sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, around (24)

Round 5: sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, around (30)

Round 6: sc in next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, around (36)

Round 7: sc in next 5 st, 2 sc in next st, around (42)

Round 8: sc in next 6 st, 2 sc in next st, around (48)

Round 9: sc in next 7 st, 2 sc in next st, around (54)

Round 10: sc in next 8 st, 2 sc in next st, around (60)

**I attached the eyes at this point**

Round 11-20: sc around (60)

Round 21: sc in next 8 st, dec over next 2 sts, around (54)

Round 22: sc in next 7 sts, dec over next 2 sts, around (48)

Round 23: sc in next 6 sts, dec over next 2 sts, around (42)

Round 24: sc in next 5 sts, dec over next 2 sts, around (36)

Round 25: sc in next 4 sts, dec over next 2 sts, around (30)

Round 26: sc in next 3 sts, dec over next 2 sts, around (24)

Round 27: sc in next 2 sts, dec over next 2 sts, around (18)

Round 28: sc in next st, dec over next 2 sts, around (12)

Round 29: dec 6 times (6)

Tie off, but do not cut.

For the tail: Still working with the yarn from the body: crochet 10 stitches, then sc 10 stitches back. You will get a spiral effect. For a longer, more spiral tail, you can just add more stitches.

F/O weave in ends.

Legs: make 4

Round 1: 6 sc in to Magic Ring (6)

Round 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)

Round 3: sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, around (18)

Round 4: In back loops only, sc around (18)

Rounds 5-9: sc around (18)

F/O leaving long tail to attach to body

Ears: make two **these were tricky, I'll try and explain as best as possible

Round 1: 6 sc in to Magic Ring (6)

Round 2: 2 sc in next 4 stitches, 2 slip stitches in next two stitches (this will give it a flat bottom)(10)

Round 3: * sc in next st, 2 sc in next st* repeat 4 times, then slip stitch in last 3 stitches (15)

Round 4: slip stitch in next 5 stitches, skip a stitch and continue to slip stitch down the other side of the ear. **The reason for skipping a stitch, it will give the ear a point at the top.

F/O leaving a long tail to attach to body


Round 1: 6 sc in to Magic Ring (6)

Round 2: 2 sc in eac st around (12)

Round 3: sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, around (18)

Rounds 4-6: sc around (18)

F/O leaving long tail to attach to body.**Before attaching to body, I sewed to small buttons for the holes on the snout. You could glue on felt, or embroider with black yarn, whatever you prefer.

Assemble your pig as you prefer.

Happy Crocheting!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Big Cookie Project: Week 43

I am really excited about the cookie(s) this week! I got to be a help at Carrie's reception by helping with the Cookie Bar. Since Carrie didn't want a traditional cake, she went non-traditional with the idea of a Cookie Bar. We decorated numerous tins (mostly popcorn tins or cookie tins from Christmas) and filled them up with different kinds of cookies. Carrie made White Chocolate Macadamian and Oatmeal Raisin, my mom made Peanut Butter, her friends from church made Sugar and No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal and I made Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Sugar Cookies. It seemed like a lot of cookies when we were filling the table with them, but by the end of the night most of the cans were almost or completely empty. It was great seeing people get plate-fuls of the cookies and was easy for cleanup and we didn't need silverware to eat them! Here's the first picture of the whole Cookie Bar. Carrie's reception colors were teal and gray with a sort of rustic/outdoorsy feel. I sprayed most of the cans with spraypaint...there were a ton of colors to choose from at Lowe's! Then, I covered some with scrapbook paper that resembled bark from trees.

These tins were full of Sugar, Oatmeal Raisin and Surprise Cookies. The Surprise Cookies and Sugar Cookies were made by friends of Carrie. I thought it was really neat and special that they could help out with the dessert.

Funny story about the Peanut Butter mom made those and I told her it would be cute if she would glue some peanut shells around the edge. She bought a huge bag and asked my dad to be really careful and try and break them in half to make them easier to attach to the tin. She came home to find a huge bowl of shells. My dad found out that my mom only used a handful of shells for the project. He had spent all that time eating all those peanuts and breaking shells for my mom to only use about 10 peanuts. I wonder how many peanuts he actually DID eat :)

A different angle of the table.

Here's the recipe for Chocolate Cookies:


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

sugar, for rolling


1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.

2. In a mixer, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla until combined. Gradually add flour mixture. Form dough into a flattened disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls, then roll each ball in sugar to coat.

***After placing dough balls on to cookie sheet, I lightly pressed doughballs to flatten them a little. Seems to help with the spreading process for me, but you don't have to if you don't want to.*** Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minute. Transfer to a rack and cool for 5 minutes.

These turned out really good, I was a little sad I only got to try one cookie. They were the first kind of cookie to disappear from the cookie table.

I really loved doing this with and for my sister and I would do it again in a heartbeat, happy baking guys!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Big Cookie Project: Week 42

I didn't actually make a cookie this week, I made a bread. But since the name of the bread had a cookie in it, I decided it would count. :) It was very good, moist and addicting. From the picture you can see it made one big loaf (9"x5") and two small loaves. I was going to give away all the loaves, but we couldn't help ourselves and dug in to one of the small loaves.



2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cup cinnamon chips ***I left them out, bread was great without it***

2 Tablespoons flour ***To cover chips, left this out as well since I didn't use the cinnamon chips***


2 Tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon


1. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour and baking powder in a bowl. In a mixer, cream butter nad 2 cups sugar, salt and cinnamon until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla nd sour cream and mix until combined. Coat cinnamon chips with 2 Tablespoons flour and stir in to batter.

2. Spoon batter into four to five greased mini loafs or 2 large loaf pans. Don't fill more than 2/3 full. Combine 2 Tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of batter in the pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes for small loafs and 60 to 70 minutes for the large loafs. Done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

If you've ever had Amish Friendship Bread, this is very similar. The good thing about this is that it only fixes two loaves, instead of a million plus starters like the Amish Friendship Bread.

Got this recipe from:

This has nothing to do with desserts, just thought I'd share...

I found a recipe for Pizza Dip, yes you read right, PIZZA DIP! I fixed it the Super Bowl and it was super tasty. This is on my list for making again.

I won't give you the long typed out recipe, so here's a link:

Happy Baking and have fun pizza dipping!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Big Cookie Project: Week 41

Island Cookies were very fitting this week. It has rained so much at our house that I feel as though we've been surrounded by water and our house will become an island soon. These cookies also became a little bit more expensive than I had expected. I put all of the chocolate chips, nuts and coconut in a big measuring cup to take a pretty picture and discovered (a tad too late) that some sugar ants had infiltrated the coconut. Greg would have called it "extra protein", but I would never be able to do that, so it all went in the trash and Greg had to make a quick run to the grocery store for the ingredients...a second time.
Here's Take #2, all those add-ins looking extra delicious. Here's the recipe:
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened ****I used crisco, always makes the cookies spread better
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 Nestle Toll House Chocolate Morsels
1 cup flaked coconuts
1 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Add in egg. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, coconut and nuts.
3. Drop by spoonful onto baking sheets.
4. Bake for 8 to 11 minutes. Cool on baking sheets and move to wire rack.
***This recipe comes from the Nestle Classic Recipes book, LOVE this book.

Sweet and very "island-y"

Loved all the chocolate chips, my favorite part.

Here's to happy baking, and hoping you don't float away in all the rain. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

DIY Friday!

I don't know about you, but I hav an official "junk drawer". Anything that we don't know where we should put it, it goes in the drawer: pens, chargers, markers, candles, etc. I couldn't deal with all of it just floating around. I had gotten little organizing bins to fit in drawers for my makeup, but those suckers are expensive! I think I spent over $30 just to organize one drawer, way too much for me. Then, I found a cracker box! It was the perfect shape to organize my things and best of all, it was free! I love those cheddar cheese crackers as well as the kids, they disappeared pretty quickly.

The box filled up with pens and other things. It's not the perfect solution, but it is way better than what it was.

DIY #2

So, I have this sweater cardigan. I've had it for years. It's seen me through two pregnancies, been stretched across my huge belly, it's been my "dressy" cardigan to church and has officially been downgraded to "just around the house". Greg thinks I should get rid of it, he would prefer to never see it again, but that's where I differ. I love the thing. But the unthinkable happened...the silly puppy made a hole in the elbow. EEEKKK! It was the perfect opportunity for Greg to have it gone. Still, I've dug in my heels and decided to sew on cute felt patches on the elbows.

I decided to do hearts on the elbows, it's almost Valentine's Day.

I pinned them on the elbow. This was sort of tricky. I actually just wore my sweater and pinned them on. I stuck myself a few times, but it got done!

Done! Did a cute stitch around the border and then did a little heart in the middle. My sweater still lives on!!! I do not know how long it will last, but it is being worn at this moment, and it's holding up pretty well.

Happy Friday!