Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mom's Quilt

Last year I decided to take up quilting (I am still not sure why I decided to do that, but I am loving it) and last spring I made my Dad a quilt. Well, then I said I would make my Mom a quilt, as Dad had one and apparently wasn’t great at sharing. It took a while to find a quilt or fabric that would suit my Mom but then I came across the Cherish Nature line by Moda. It was perfect, and even better, I got the kit for the quilt on sale for 50% off! Whoo hoo. My Mom loves butterflies and so I thought that the fabric from Paula Prass’s Flights of Fancy would be perfect for the backing.

The quilt turned out great. I started it in mid January, but had to wait for a little while once the top was done while I waited to get some batting I wanted to try. I decided to use Hobbs 80/20 fuseable quilt batting.

I free motion quilted this (I am getting much better at this), but decided to outline some of the birds and butterflies in the fabric to try and make them stand out a little more. I don’t know if it worked all that well, but I do like the way it looks.

I really wanted to get this to my Mom and as my Dad was coming up for a weekend I wanted to get it done and sent back home for her. Unfortunately that didn’t give me enough time to do the binding by hand like I have done on my other quilts. I had been wanting to try machine binding a quilt for a while to see how I liked it so this was the perfect excuse. Well, I love it! I was able to do the binding in one night and I like the look. I probably won’t to this for every quilt, but I am sure I will be doing it again.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April Fools Cupcakes

I didn’t remember it was April Fools this year until the night before (which is one reason this post is coming after the fact and the other is people from work read this so it would have ruined the surprise). I wanted to do something, but didn’t have time to really thing this up, so I was messing around on the interned and stumbled upon Cupfakes by Willow Bird Baking.

These would be a great idea and I had everything I needed at home except for the avocados and I was lucky enough to find ripe ones at the store.

I made a couple of changes to the biscuit recipe as I didn’t check to make sure I had enough milk at home and ran out =(

Cheddar Bacon “Cupcakes”

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 sugar
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
3/4 water
2 tbsp skim milk powder (alternatively use milk instead of water)
1 egg
4 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped, divided
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped finely
2 tbsp dried chives

1. Chop the bacon strips into small chunks and cook on in a pan until brown and slightly crispy. In a pan (you can use the same pan and cook them in the bacon fat if you want or use olive oil) cook the chopped onions until they are soft. Set aside the cooked bacon and onion.
2. In a bowl mix together all ingredients for the “cupcakes” ( flour, sugar, cheese, water/milk, milk powder, egg, butter, baking powder, vanilla, bacon, onion and chives). Mix until the dough hold together and is uniform.
3. Spoon in to cupcake liners.
4. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
5. Let cool completely before frosting.

Avocado Frosting
3 Avocados
4 ounces cream cheese
1 tsp lemon juice
salt pepper

In a blender or food processor combine the avocados, cream cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.
Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes before serving, (don’t do it too early or you run the risk of the avocado turning brown.

Alright, these do look like cupcakes, with an albeit interesting choice in colour for the icing. However, everyone was already pretty suspicious of me before I brought these out (it might have something to do with the fact that I had already been playing with computer mice that morning). It took a little convincing that I hadn’t done something horrible to the “cupcakes”, but once people tried them, they loved them! I liked the scone, but not being a big avocado fan myself, I could take or leave the topping.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was reading my feed one day and saw that someone had made chocolate chip cookies filled with an rollo- how awesome is that? I folowed to the original recipe and found all sorts of variations, oreo filled cookies, brownie filled cookies - so much yumminess. I knew I had to make these. I decided to try two combinations - oreo (regular not double stuffed) and brownie. I followed the original recipe and formed the cookies around either an oreo cookie or one of my fudgy brownies. Unlike the original brownie filled cookie - I cut my brownies to about the size of an oreo, I needed a cookie that could be eaten in one sitting. The other fun part about this size is I mixed all the cookie together so you wouldn’t know what filling you were getting until you bit into them.

I didn’t change anything in the recipe and the instructions on Picky Palate are fantastic, so i am just going to tell you to go there and check out her recipe.

The dough seemed a little dry when I was working with it, but it worked great. These were delicious and stayed soft while the oreo in the center stayed firm, how awesome is that?

The cookies were a big hit and were loved at my house, my work and O’s office! Only three people have been lucky enough to pull out both an oreo cookie and a brownie stuffed cookies. It was mixed on which was better, it was said that the brownie cookies were better as there was “more love” to them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Smurf" Cakes

I have no idea why I decided to make these - but the blue cupcake and the white frosting reminded me of Smurfs, and so these have been christened as smurfcakes for no other reason than the colors. The cupcake is a blueberry cupcake topped with a lemon buttercream (don’t you just love the combination of blueberry and lemon?).

The cupcake recipe is of my own making as I was playing around in the kitchen and the frosting is a variation of a recipe from group recipes.

Blueberry Cupcakes

½ cup margerine or butter
¾ cup blueberry puree
½ cup milk
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup sugar
2 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
Blue food colouring (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and fill cupcake pan with liner.
2. In a bowl (much easier with a stand mixer), beat the butter until soft. Beat in the sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs and egg whites and bea until a smooth mixture is formed.
3. Add in ½ the flour followed by the milk and the remaining flour and baking powder.
4. Fold in the blueberry puree (and the food colouring if you want to make the cupcakes a brighter blue).
5. Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ to ¾ of the way full.
6. Bake for ~20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Lemon Buttercream

3 ½ cups icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp milk
⅓ cup butter (softened).

1. In a bowl with a mixer cream the butter and the milk. Slowly add in the icing sugar ½ cup at the time.
2. Mix in the lemon juice. (If it is too runny add a little more icing sugar to help thicken it).
3. Enjoy!

These cupcakes were very cute and the color combination was amazing. The blueberry flavour in the cupcakes was faint, and as such was overwhelmed by the lemon (not that it was a bad thing as the lemon frosting was AMAZING).