Not so Vegan Cupcakes

By Stephanie

I am REALLY late to get on the cupcake wagon.  I know, I know.  But March is the month when most of our birthdays happen.  And the school district here lets us bring in homemade stuff…for now anyway.  So for my son’s birthday I asked him what he wanted me to bring in.  We threw around a few ideas, but settled on good ol’ cupcakes.  Then I went to a friends party for her daughter where she had made cupcakes.  They were really great!  And from a vegan cookbook.  I am not vegan.  There is nothing wrong with being vegan.   But I’m not.  So I used her cookbook and we baked four different kinds.  All really yummy.  So here is my non-vegan cupcakes.  Based on the recipes from this book.  I LOVE that they only make 12.  This way I got to try several different flavors without being stuck with 3 dozen of each.  Not that that is a BAD thing…I just like to try a few different ones without a 36 cake commitment.  I think my favs are the coconut lime…so far.  But they are the only ones I have really tried yet. 


Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Makes 12

1/3 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

Melt coconut oil over low heat or on low setting in microwave.  Don’t get too hot.  Let cool until warm and add in other ingredients.  Set aside.

In separate bowl combine:

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp. lime zest (about 2 limes)

1/4 tsp salt

Mix with a whisk to get out any lumps.  Add in wet ingredience and just mix to get out lumps add in 1 cup coconut (it calls for unsweetened but I had sweetened, so that is what I used).  Put into 12 cupcake liners and cook at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes.  Cool COMPLETELY before frosting. 

Lime Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup butter (room temp)

1 tsp vanilla

juice from one lime (about 3 T)

1 tsp lime zest

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and oil.  And in all other ingredients.  Mix till fluffy and combined.  Just enough for 12 cupcakes.  Top with more sweetened coconut. 

Oatmeal Rolls

By Stephanie

I made these for a friend of mine.  Okay, I made them for dinner and instead of eating the last three myself, I shared.  So I wouldn’t eat them all…myself.  She like them.  Actually what she said was “ridiculously good”.  I wish I could take credit for such ridiculously good rolls, but alas, the recipe was from my friend Dawn.  Thanks Dawn.  So I will share too….


Oatmeal Rolls

Makes about 20-24 rolls

2 cups water

1 cup oats (I have used about every kind…they all work)

3 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

Boil water in saucepan.  Add in oats, butter and sugar.  Cook 5 minutes.  Set aside and let cook till just warm. 

In mixing bowl add in 1 Tbsp yeast, 1/3 cup warm water and 1 tsp sugar.  Let sit 7 minutes.  Add in oatmeal mixture and let sit another 3 minutes.  Then turn mixture on low and add 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 Tbsp salt and 1 –2 cups AP flour until dough pulls away from sides.  Form into rolls and put into greased cookie sheet.  Let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until they just start to get golden on top. 

TIP: my mom adds in 2 eggs.  It makes them a bit softer, but I like without. 


Wallpaper Update...

By Jen
So I wanted to update all of you on how my wallpaper party was coming, and let me tell you, it has been one big party! NOT! It has been a nightmare to take off. The problem is when I started to take off the paper I discovered that there were two other layers underneath! Apparently when they would wallpaper their houses back in the day they would just go over what was there. But the good news is there are products that work out there and will make it easier for you so here is my run down:
Hot water= OK but you still need to scrape a bit and you need to really soak it
Water and vinegar= NOTHING, this did nothing
Water and liquid fabric softener=Not so much more than the water alone
DIF= This was my favorite but you really have to let it sit for about 20-30 mi. and it really makes a big difference.
If you are going to be taking down wallpaper make sure to do out and get yourself a bottle of DIF and a good scrapper from your local hardware store and you will be a lot better off! The next step will be painting and I will post pictures of the room when that part is done.


We were featured!!

It always makes us feel special when we are recognized by another blogger..

Extreme Personal Measures


How to sew a zipper

by Stephanie

I don’t know if this is the “right” way or not, but every time I try what it says in the pattern I end up unpicking it and doing this instead.  This way always ends up flat and no puckering. 

First zigzag or overlock stick the edges of where the zipper will go.  This way all the threads are out of the way.

Second, pin together the fabric where the zipper will go matching up seams and notches.  Mark where the bottom of the zipper will be.  I usually lay the zipper along the seams and use two pins to mark the spot (right above the metal end).  Most times I will back stitch and switch to a regular stitch to finish sewing down the rest of the seam to sew pieces together.  Even if the pattern has you do this separately, it lays flatter if you sew it all as one seam. 


Third baste together the fabric pieces.  Baste stitch is your longest length stitch.  You just want to hold it for a while, but you are going to take this out so you don’t want a regular stitch here.  I make the seam 5/8th inch in from the side so you have enough room on each side to sew the zipper in, but make sure your pattern allows for that before you sew.

Then press open the seam. and lay your zipper so the middle of the zipper matches your seam.  Pin zipper on both sides.


Then using that same basting stitch (largest regular stitch) and using your zipper foot,  sew along each side of the zipper attaching it to the fabric edge.  Do this on each side with zipper closed.


Then on right side of fabric, using zipper foot and a regular length stitch start on right upper side of zipper and sew down right side keeping stitch about 1/2 inch from middle seam and zipper middle.  You will not be able to see the zipper since you are sewing on the outside or right side of the fabric, but the seam in the middle should be the same as the middle of your zipper.  Don’t sew too close to the seam or you will be too close for your zipper to go up and down.  Also keep fabric straight and don’t pull as you go.  This will keep it flat and even.  At the bottom (right before metal end of zipper) pivot and sew across zipper to left side.  You can pivot by making sure needle is down, lift up foot and turn fabric 90 degrees.  Sew over end of zipper and do again.  Make sure you don’t hit the metal end of zipper with your needle or it will break.  Yes, I have done this too.  Now sew up left side of zipper keeping same distance from seam to where you are sewing as right side.  


Now with a seam ripper CAREFULLY remove basting stick down the middle.  If you slip you will end up with a hole in your fabric and threads that catch into the zipper.  Yes, I have done this before and it sucks, so don’t slip.  Do it carefully.




Then remove all the threads that are along the edges.


You are done!!  Well make sure zipper does go up and down all the way.  I usually iron it after this step.


My little BIG project!

by Jenny




So just like many of you out there my husband and I have fallen on hard times, aka we have no money, and we have just moved into this house that his grandparents own while he is finishing school. This really is great because the rent is nice, by which I mean we have no rent, so I really cant complain, or shouldn’t, its just one thing, the entire house is pink and blue! No I am not exaggerating, the entire house has either blue or pink in one way or another all over, from ceiling to floor. So I have decided to remodel the house, with of course the grandparents consent. So I am going to take you along for the ride and we will together take the ups and downs of this little home! We will be starting in the living room because it’s the first room you see when you walk in my home and first on the list is the wallpaper which has got to go. So this week I will be ripping it off and trying different ways allowing me to be able to tell you which method works the best! so stay tuned and we will take this cute little home and make it a great and fabulous little home!

New Dress

By Stephanie

I love dressing up.  But I have a hard time finding dresses that are long enough.  I am 5’9”.  I like knee length but that usually means above knee.  I like just below.   Jo-Ann's had a great sale on fabric (60% off) and Simplicity patterns were $1.00.  So for under $20.00 including zipper, button and interfacing I had stuff to make me a new dress. 

TIP: Pattern sizes are NOT the same as regular dress patterns.  Do not be alarmed if you pattern is in the teens and you normally don’t wear that size.  Go by measurements.

But I was nervous.  I make stuff for my kids all the time.  But they don’t have curves (okay, I don’t have top curves either, just bottom ones).  And I didn’t want to waste time or money.  But I set out in uncharted territory, determined.

Sewing is great.  In one or two afternoons you can take a few yards of fabric and create something totally different.  I love how patterns are like puzzle pieces you fit together.  I love how you see it all come together. 

And if you are going to sew clothes, you NEED a serger.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Mine was a birthday present from my mom.  It came from Wal-Mart.   It is a bugger to thread, but it is awesome and I couldn’t sew clothing without it.  Thanks mom.

Here it is…my new dress.  Yes I am sucking in.  Yes, I need spanks under this.  And PLEASE ignore that background stuff.  My sewing space, blah…


Here is a better pic of the cool collar..the reason I chose this pattern.


It does have belt loops I can add in and do a belt…not sure…what do you think??


By Amy
The office I want you to see

“Perfection is pride stepping on your creativity” Robin Sue of Big Red Kitchen
I just love this quote.  I think this fits me to a “T”.  I love to decorate and cook and sew, but if I don't do it perfectly, I beat myself up about it.  When I want to post something on a blog, I look at all the other blogs and think, “how do I think I can compete with these people who are infinitely more talented than me?“  But that’s not why I should post.  I am not so much competing with them, as I’m looking to express myself and find my own style and creative voice.   Then I think, "I want to do everything right and not make any mistakes."  But isn’t that part of being human?  We’re not going to do everything perfectly.  Mortality is a messy business, and perfection is too cold, too impersonal.  We need some more humanity in our lives, not more perfection.

The Real Office - How it usually looks!

Rebecca’s Chicken as Pot Pie

By Stephanie

I have NO idea who Rebecca is, but she makes super yummy and kid friendly chicken.  I am sure you probably have made this (if you have kids).  I certainly have.  But my friend Wendy made this into a potpie.  Super yummy.  AND the kido eat it.  Okay, not ALL of the green things.  But honestly, most of it..


Rebecca’s Chicken

Serves 6-8

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 package Italian Dressing Mix (dry)

Put into Crockpot on low 6 hours or high 3 hours. Shred chicken.  Then add 4 oz cream cheese and 1 can cream of chicken soup.  Mix. 

Okay you can stop here and serve over rice or noodles…but WAIT…..

Add in one bag frozen spring vegetable mix (I use beans, corn, carrot mixture..NO LIMA’s for me!) Mix and put into 9X13 pan.

Then mix up one batch bisquick biscuits and drop by spoonfuls on top.  Bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes until biscuits are cooked through.  Watch the kidos eat vegetables with little complaining.  (Notice I didn’t say no complaining).


Alfredo with Broccoli and Chicken

By Stephanie


Another reason I am not a size 2. 

So this is one of my “go to'” meals.  Alfredo.  I try to add in broccoli and chicken for protein and vitamins, but really, it’s still alfredo.  When cooking you don’t have to be exact, so depending on how dangerous you feel, put more or less butter in yours.  My mom and niece both had recipes that called for cream cheese.  So I experimented and came up with a lower fat version based on that.  NOT low fat…LOWER fat.  Feel less guilty, but yes, still alfredo.  And my kids LOVE it.  So yes, I will continue to make it…and workout after.

Lower Fat Alfredo

8 oz. Neufchatel cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

2-4 Tablespoons butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 –3/4 cup milk

1 cup graded parmesan cheese (plus some to top with)

1 lb broccoli cut up into 1” pieces

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1” cubes

2 T oil

1 box pasta (I like penne or fettuccini)

In large stock pot fill with water and bring to a boil.   When the water is boiling add about a teaspoon salt and then the pasta and broccoli.  Cook according to pasta directions just to al dente.  But reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water when you drain. 


In separate small sauce pan combine Neufchatel cheese, cream, butter, garlic and milk.  Heat up over med-low heat.  When hot add in parmesan cheese and still to melt.


In large sauté pan heat oil over medium heat.  Add chicken half at a time (don’t overcrowd the pan).  And I usually cut the chicken when it is still partially frozen….and cook it that way.  SSSSSHHH don’t tell.   Cook chicken until golden brown on the outside, but not all the way through.  Then take the chicken out and put on separate plate.  Add into pan the rest of the chicken and cook same as before. 

Add chicken and sauce into drained pasta.  You will need to loosen up with pasta water.  Put the lid on and let sit for at least 5 minutes.    The sauce will absorb into the pasta and make it SO delicious. 


Oh I almost forgot!  You know that pan with all the great drippings from your chicken you can throw some pasta water in that and scrape them up before adding to the pan with pasta, chicken and sauce.  No need to waste flavor…


Enjoy along with a good cardio workout…..


by Stephanie

So I noticed something taking pics of my food.  I have ugly pans.  And my presentation needs work.  Lots of work.  Everything tastes good (at least I think so, and my thighs are the proof) .  But looking fantastic and awesome…not so much. 

And it starts with my ugly pans.  Not really ugly, just over used.  My non-stick skillet is no longer non-stick.  I have one decent sauce pan, because I had a Pyrex one that broke so I had to replace it two years ago.  My sheet pans look dirty but that is just cause I can’t get all that stuff off that has been baked on for 10 years.  Oh and I lost one of them so now I am down to one cookie sheet.  Not good for that poor pan.   My big colander had the bottom break off over a year ago so it doesn’t stand up on the counter, you have to prop it up in the sink.  My Crockpot will NEVER come clean (I use at least twice a week if not more).  My poor kitchen-aid (although it looks pretty, it’s red) smokes a bit when doing more than 3 loaves and bread and hesitates when you turn it on.  I cook.  A lot.  So my pans are used…a lot.  It shows.  

And I can’t even hide them.  In this house they have a pot rack.  (our table was too big to fit under it so yes, we occasionally hit our heads on the ugly pots). 


The only cool cooking pan is the one in the middle with the yellowish orange and decorated with fruit.  That little gem was a hand-me-down from my grandma (who passed on over 20 years ago). 

I just figure if you are looking at the ugly pans you don’t notice the purple wall color. 

Here is hoping for some new pans this year….


I heart SHOES

by Stephanie

I was on Better After and she was featuring Shabby Apple cute dresses and I saw some shoes.   Oh shoes.  I love shoes.  I love these shoes….


I mean really could you just DIE for these??  You can buy them HERE



by Stephanie

So Amy (other sister who has not posted yet), found this fabulous site about fashion and using what you already have.  I also have four great sisters and mom that we occasionally trade clothes.  Case in point, I called my mother to get some undershirts from Down East Outfitter (look under tees on the link) and she said “wait a minute”, checked her closet and had all but one that I was looking for (she had 3 out of the 4).  WAYOO!  And she wasn’t using them so she is bring them to me…for free!!  I love to swap out stuff.  Some of my favorite things have come from swapping.   I have a sister-in-law that wears the same size shoes as me plus loves a 4” heel.  LOVE her hand-me-downs!  And when (for whatever reason) I don’t fit into something I have sisters to pass it to. 

I love the 30 for 30 challenge she has listed.  I am totally going to do this!!  Bloglandia has so many great ideas!  I seriously get sucked in…for hours….now I am going to do the laundry, then assess my closet for 30 things….

Bliss Fabric

by Stephanie
I have an obsession with FABRIC!  I do like almost all fabrics, but designer quilt fabrics are a HUGE problem.  For a while I made purses…just so I could buy more fabric.   So I could tell my husband I HAD to buy it, you know, to make more purses. 

It was fun, but was turning into a “job”.  I have a job.  I am the baker, transportation director, housekeeper, tutor, laundress, cook, seamstress and more.  Yes, I am a stay at home for four growing kids.  I am plenty busy.  So purses, fun, but kind of done.  Yes, if someone offers me an obscene amount of money, yes, I would make them one.  But it would have to be obscene.
I also have three daughters that I get to sew for.  (yep only one boy, the teen years might be rough).  My niece announced her engagement and I thought what a great reason to make the girls a new dress.  When she told me her colors were red and aqua I just about died.  I was THRILLED!!  I had been drooling over Bliss by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.  TO DIE FOR CUTE!  Now I had a great reason to buy some. 
And here is what I did with it….
home in wa
I know, I know.  Totally Darling!!  I let the girls pick their own fabric (from this collection) and pattern (from my drawer).  The oldest wanted the polka dot and I loved it so much I used it as the accent in all three.  If you paid my a ridiculous amount of money, I would make some for your girls too.  But it would have to be ridiculous. 

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

By Stephanie

Whenever we go to Utah my kids have learned that we HAVE to stop at Zuppa’s.  They have all kinds of soups, sandwiches and salads.   Oh and everyone gets a chocolate dipped strawberry!  I have a few favs there.  But since I don’t live within 18 hours of any Zuppa’s I was forced to try to copycat as best as I can.  This one my six year old was trying to describe this.  “You know mom, the pinkish soup with the spice”…and when I finally made it, she was thrilled.  It is a orangeish pinkish color from the red pepper.  It’s also a great way to use that cauliflower that you always buy, but never use.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

1 head cauliflower chopped into 2” pieces

4 cups chicken stock

1-2 leeks washed and diced small

1 red pepper diced small

2 Tbsp butter

dash cayenne pepper

dash nutmeg

2 Tbsp flour

2 cups monetary jack cheese

1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream

Put cauliflower and chicken stock in large pot.  On high heat bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until cauliflower is very tender and breaks apart with a fork.  Pour cauliflower and stock into a heat proof bowl and set aside.  In that same large pot melt butter over medium heat.  Add leeks, red pepper, cayenne and nutmeg (you could also add a garlic clove here if you like too).  Cook until pepper is soft and leeks are cooked down (about 5 minutes) stirring constantly.  Add flour into pot and stir for 1-2 minutes.  Slowly add in stock and cauliflower whisking to stir out any lumps.  Continue stirring to bring to a boil and soup will thicken.  A few cups at a time put into blender and blend until smooth.   Add back into pot (I don’t like my really smooth, but you can also put through a strainer if you don’t want any lumps, but I really like mine with texture).  Add cheese and stir to melt.  Turn off heat and add cream.  Serves 6-8.  Usually only 6 for us. 


If you have never used leeks, this is a great way to start.  They remind me of a big green onion.  They do grow in the ground and usually have dirt in the layers.  Cut all the darkest green off and the root end.  Then slice down lengthwise.  Under running water wash in between the layers to remove the dirt.  Then slice again to quarter and then dice.


Here it is diced up with the red pepper….



Armoire Redo

By Stephanie

I have been DYING to show you this, but it really took a week longer than I anticipated.  It was a HUGE project.  I always thought for someone to take a piece of furniture and paint it white was wasn’t that fantastic…until now.  Now that I realize all the sanding ( I loathe sanding) and layers of paint (which I tried to get around by using a primer and paint all in one…don’t do it, just do the primer and then paint…trust me) and top coat (which I haven’t done on all of it yet), well it was a LOT of time…

So yes

I sanded

then used a liquid sander

painted using Behr’s primer and paint in bright white (again, use a primer then paint)

traced the design in pencil (got the design from HERE ) I then reduced the size.  I needed it smaller.  I LOVE her walls and that curtain she got the inspiration from. 

went over the design in brown sharpie marker-

filled in every other “chain” with a gray regular marker

seal with clear polyurethane


But here it is before….actually almost before, I had started sanding the one door and the other door I had to take off since it got damaged in our move.


And here is the ALMOST done… I felt the design looked a bit flat and the one door wasn’t done yet.   And realized the site I got the template from WAS different.  On well.. now what


My DH suggested in shading in some gray to make in appear more 3-D.   Here are the door side by side so you can see the difference.


And here is the final product (minus the top coat of polyurethane)


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Rise To The Occasion-My Fav Bread Recipe

By Stephanie

So, if you don’t already know, the kind of yeast you use makes a big difference.  I have been using the active dry for a while.  I ran out and so I got a quick rise, not realizing the difference.  I used the same recipe I have for well over a year, but I was on the phone and didn’t check it.  And here is what I ended up with……


Not that I am complaining…just more room for butter and jam.  Just not what I expected. 

Here is how it usually looks….


I love this recipe.  Next time I will put it in three pans not two.  And I figured out a while ago this it about $0.60 a loaf.  It really isn’t that hard and it tastes super yummy.   

OH I ALMOST FORGOT!!  A friend here told me about coconut oil.  It helps with making sure the bread won’t mold.  In the dessert, that was never an issue, but here it has been.  So I am trying it today!  I will let you know.  It does smell nice, we will see if it effects the flavor at all.  I am just using it in the place of the oil called for.

  I adapted my recipe from this one I found on the web.  My mixer won’t make this much (I SO want a Bosch!!)  Anyway, here is my version…

My Favorite Bread Recipe (makes 3 loaves)

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/3 cup vital wheat gluten (VERY IMPORTANT!)

1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast (if you use active dry this will only make 2 loaves)

2 1/2 cups warm water

Put into mixer (or bowl) and mix all together.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Then add:

1/3 cup oil (any kind including shortening works)

1/3 cup sugar or honey

1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. salt

2-3 cups white flour

Mix until dough pulls away from sides.

See here…


Then divide into three loaves and put into greased loaf pans.  Put into oven (NOT turned on) for 45 minutes.  Then without taking pans out, turn oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35 minutes.  I can smell mine now (literally!!).  ENJOY!!


Bring me up to date..

By Stephanie
I know every 5-8 years you should revisit your closet and makeup bag.  However when you are in “survival” mode.  You make what you have do.  Now that we are getting settled in with a steady paycheck again, I did it.  I bought my FIRST pair of skinny jeans! 
I watch What Not To Wear often enough to know women with hips (me!) shouldn’t wear them.  But my sisters sent these DIVINE boots click here to see.   I had to have something to show off these boots…it had to be skinny jeans.  I tried jeggings….um….NOPE!  Way to tight and I felt a bit…..exposed.  But the skinny jeans were not too bad. 
So then I realized it is seasonal depression time.  Yep, I have been feeling a bit gloomy.  I can’t go to Hawaii yet, but I can get my hair done (check), get a cute outfit (check) and address my makeup…hum…
So at lunch I had a new friend here tell me about Kandy Johnson.  The makeup lady.  I had never heard of Kandy.  So I googled her when I got home and WOW!   Totally impressed.  And without buying anything new (yet) and not much time I updated my look.   Staring with my brows.  I  LOVE a sculpted brow.  But I have never had one.  And I didn’t know where to start.  She shows you how step by step.  I really feel like I look younger!  Not quite a day on the sunny beach, but it does help me feel better…


I love my front loaders……but

by Stephanie
Ok, so for a family of 6 I adore my whirlpool duet washer and dryer.  I have had them for 5 years.  But there are a few things that I though I would pass along if you have some or are thinking of getting them.
First you have to leave the door to the washer OPEN when you are done with your loads.  It has to dry out.  And it helps about once a month as you are doing a load of bleached things to take a spray bottle of bleach and spray down inside that “ring”.  You will see mold spots if you have never done this.  Even when we lived in the dry dessert did I do this but now that I am in the Pacific Northwest…a must!
Second at least once a month when you are doing towels instead of detergent use 1/4 cup baking soda and in the bleach dispenser use 1/3 cup white vinegar.  Your towels will smell better and so will your washer.  No need to buy expensive “cleaners” for your washer.
Third, you are probably using too much detergent.  Unless you have an infant or construction worker, you only need about 2 Tablespoons powder detergent.  Try it.  I have been doing this for 3 years and not every noticed a difference in how clean my clothes are.
Lastly, when you talk pants and jeans out of the washer shake them and get the folds out of the legs.  When in the washer they tend to twist up.  If you don’t they will stay with those twists in the dryer.  But if you shake them out and fold in  half once, and then again, problem solved.  jeans with no wrinkle lines down them. 
Happy Laundry Day!!


Chocolate Soup

by Stephanie

So really this is a chocolate pudding, but my girls call it Chocolate Soup.    I mean really, what sounds better on a cold night.  Some soup.  Some chocolate soup….

This is made with Morning Moos Chocolate Powdered Milk.  If you don’t have it I am sure you do some substitute, but  I never have…

Chocolate Soup Recipe

In large saucepan combine:

1/2 cup Morning Moos Chocolate powder

1/2 cup flour

3 cups hot water

Whisk till combined and turn heat on medium-low.  Stirring constantly until thick and bubbly (about 7 minutes).  Take off heat.  In medium bowl whisk one egg. Gradually add about 1/4 cup chocolate mixture to bring egg up to temperature.  (I end up adding about 1 cup) then pour back into pan and continue mixing.  Add in 1 Tablespoon butter, 1/4 tsp salt and 2 oz bittersweet chocolate.  I prefer Ghirardelli.  Let cool, but serve still warm topped with sweetened whipped cream (and yes I do use the real stuff!!) This makes enough for my whole family (of 6) to have a bowl. 


Look at the melting cream…….(sigh)…….



Curtain Re-do

by Stephanie
I got these red panel curtains from my mother…thanks mom!  For FREE!  THANKS MOM!!  Anyway,  I wanted to add in more aqua in the room.  My sister (the same one that sent the cheetah) also sent this aqua micro  suede.  I had enough for 4 panels to get a band of the aqua on the bottom and a pillow or two…yet to come.  I sew.  I love to sew.  I know a lot of you don’t sew.  You are welcome to use a hot glue gun, fabric glue or whatever…but I will sew.  Oh and ignore the mess you see in the rest of the room…





These I did for the dinning room with some quilt fabric, also from my sister and some tiny striped I actually bought myself…and yes that is my Christmas tree box…in February.



Oh the things you can do with...J E L L O

by Stephanie
This recipe has been around for years. But for family night I wanted something special so I made this in clear plastic cups. Now we only have a family of 6, so to be honest, it was a LOT of jello!! (sugar rush!) Anyhoo...this would be great for a party too. You could just follow the recipe for jigglers (on the Jello package) and do it in smaller clear cups without the ice cream. But I LIKE the ice cream. So here it is...
1 small box of jello in grape, blue berry, lime, lemon and strawberry
1 qt of vanilla ice cream (cheap is fine)
In heat proof bowl put in 1 cup water and microwave 2-3 minutes until boiling. Add in grape jello and stir to dissolve. Add in 1 cup ice cream and stir to melt. Pour into 9X9 dish or into 6-8 individual containers (like clear plastic cups. Put in fridge about an hour to set. Repeat with all packages of jello being careful to pour gently as to not mess up layer below with new warm jello. Chill at least 1 1-2 to 2 hours at the end before serving.


French Macaroons- not the coconut version

by Stephanie
So if you have ever had a French macaroon, you know they are heavenly.  But H. E. double toothpicks to make!!  I consider myself a pretty accomplished baker, but these, are, difficult.  So if you are in a bad mood, having PMS, or otherwise…don’t attempt.  Seriously.  But if you are in a good mood and ready for some work..here they go.



1 1/2 cups almond flour or almonds finely ground ( I do this in my food processor)

1 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Sift together in a bowl and set aside.  In large bowl (or in kitchen aid mixing bowl) add 3 egg whites.  While whipping to soft peaks and add 1/4 cup sugar, pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp. vanilla.    Gently fold in almonds and powdered sugar mixture being careful not to deflate eggs.  Fill pastry bag or gallon zipper bag with tip cup with scissors (make this a SMALL opening).  Okay, here is where it gets “technical”.  Make sure you are using a silpat mat or parchment.  I actually prefer parchment.  Starting from the center pipe in circular motion a SMALL circle about the size of a quarter.  No bigger!  And give them LOTS of room.    This batch makes quite a bit, don’t worry.  Let them sit for 10 minutes then put them in a 300 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Then once they are done, again let them sit for another 10 minutes to cool before you attempt to move them.  This is why I like parchment, you can slide it off to cool and start another batch.  Let cool completely and make a chocolate ganache with 1/4 c hot heavy cream and 1 c chocolate chips.  Once ganache cools, put a large amount (as much as you can) to glue two cookie together.  Licking hands in between each one (okay don’t that is just gross). 

First batch….


Second batch….


Third batch….


Final product….


This is what they are SUPPOSE to look like..


Maybe next time…..


Cheetah baby

by Stephanie
We are renting, so I can't paint. Ok, the landlord says it's ok, but my husband won't let me paint. The walls that is. So...I am redoing a few things. Amy (sister #1) sent me this fab cheetah print. LOVE IT!! I changed the bed to another wall. So much better, it looks larger in the room now. And I actually darkened the aqua cover and pillow shams with rit dye (total mess, but works fabulous, still have blue fingernails) since I took this pic, but it is a work in progess so I will post more later. The other prints are from Blush by Basic Gray for Moda. Designer quilt fabric is my vice. (Not the only one, just the one I will admit to) I just (sigh) every time I walk in the room now....



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