Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blueberry "Mojito"

I was having drinks with friends this summer when I had a blueberry mojito. It was delicious, and I have found myself wanting one ever since. The only thing about it I could remember was that it was made with blueberry vodka, so when I saw blueberry infused vodka on Keep it simple, I knew I had to try it.

I followed the directions and left 2/3 cups of vodka sit in 2 cups of vodka overnight, then ran it through a coffee filter to come out with a nicely colored vodka (that albeit still pretty much tasted like vodka if drinking it straight).

In a glass crush some blueberries and mint leaves. Then add 1 ounce of the blueberry vodka and top with sprite. Enjoy.

I know this isn't a true Mojito, and really all it seems to have in common pretty much is the mint - but it is a tasty drink! You don't have to use sprite/7up, but I like the lemon lime flavor it adds.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Family Tree Quilt

December 2011 marked the 55th anniversary for my Grandparents. I was very excited for them, and wanted to do something special for them, so I decided to make them a quilt. I ended up making them a Family Tree quilt with all their kids (medallions), grand kids (leaves) and great grandchildren (leaves) at the time of their anniversary on it.

Sadly I was unable to finish it for their actual anniversary, but I did show them the top which was finished. They loved it.

Now I have it quilted (I love how the tree shows on the back with the quilting), bound and sent off. It arrived yesterday just in time for the snowstorm! I hope it is keeping them warm in all the snow.

I would like to thank my very talented friend Iza for drawing the tree for me - it was perfect.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Mini Bookshelf Quilt

I finally got a project finished! I started this weeks ago, and had it all made, waiting for the binding. Apparently that was a big obstacle as it sat there for week, with the binding waiting to be sewed on. I got it all finished finally, and I think it looks great. Now I just have to decide were I am going to put it - it will most likely end up hanging on the wall by my bookshelf.

This was a great quick project (except for my stalling on the binding) and was a great way to use up my skinny scraps. I used the tutorial from Don't Call Me Betsy, which was great.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Jam Bundt

A couple people at work take turns baking cakes for people’s birthdays. Recently it was my turn to make the birthday cake for my cake decorating buddy. I was getting a little tired of making cakes with flowers on them, and knew she probably was as well. From previous discussion I knew that she was a fan of bundt cakes – both look and texture wise, so I decided to give everyone a break from the icing laden cakes that had been coming from class. I have loved following the Food Librarians “I like big bundts” over the past years and thought that would be a good place to start looking for something to make. When I came across the Peanut Butter and Jelly Swirl Bunt, I had to make it – especially as the recipient loves peanut butter!

I did make a couple changes with the jelly. I used a strawberry rhubarb jam (complete with fruit chunks) that I had made in the summer and I increased the amount as it didn’t look like there was enough jelly in the pictures.

I also topped it with a peanut butter frosting, and served it with additional jam should people wish to add more (I don’t think anyone turned down the extra jam, and by the time it was done my 2 cup jar was almost empty!)

Below is her recipe (originally from Welsh’s) with a couple of small changes.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Swirl Bundt Cake

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth worked fine)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup dairy sour cream

¾ to 1 cup Jam

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the baking rack in bottom third of oven.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Continue beating as you add the peanut butter and vanilla.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated, followed by the sour cream.
5. Slowly add flour mixture and mix until just blended (if using a mixer, use the lowest speed). Spoon half of the batter (about 3 cups) into greased 12 cup bundt pan. Dollop 1/3 Ts of the jelly over batter avoiding edges of pan.
6. Partially stir jam into batter using a skewer or thin bladed knife. Spoon remaining batter into pan and dollop and swirl remaining jelly into batter.
7. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Peanut Butter Frosting

¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar

1. Cream together the butter and peanut butter.
2. Mix in the icing sugar until smooth.
3. Enjoy

Everyone loved this cake, especially the birthday girl. It went so fast I was unable to get a picture of the inside of the cake with the jam swirls.

I will be making this cake again soon – I think it would be great with some blueberry jelly, and I am looking forward to trying it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentines!

I had some leftover fondant from my last cake class, and decided to use it up on a cute Valentines day cake. It started with the green fondant and then I had the great idea to make some lady bugs. As it was Valentines, I decided to try some writing. I think it turned out pretty good considering I had no idea what I was going to do when I started!

The cake was a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting - everyone at work enjoyed it and I had no trouble finding someone to take the last piece off my hands!

Lady bug with her antennae (I couldn't decide if I liked them better with or without).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Creamy Jalapeno Chicken

I needed something new and interesting for supper this week to get myself out of the rut I have been in lately. When I came across a recipe for Jalapeno Chicken on How Sweet Eats, I knew this was perfect as I love jalapenos. There isn't a lot of color in this dish (veggies on the side sort of make up for this) but it is very tasty.

Creamy Jalapeno Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons sunflower/safflower oil
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour (any kind will do, I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup skim milk
1 12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

1.Finely chop the jalapenos, onions and garlic. This is easiest done with a food processor, just give it a couple of pulses and you are done. Keep these for later.
2.In a pan, heat the oil and add the chicken breasts (seasoned with salt and pepper if you would like). Cook the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes a side, the chicken should be cooked through and browned on the outside.
3.While the chicken cooks, add the butter to a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook the jalapeno/onion/garlic mix for 2-3 minutes (will the a little soft and fragrant).
4.Add the flour to the butter vegetable mix and stir (the butter and flour will become a thick paste) and cook for 1 minute.
5.Slowly whisk in the milk and evaporated milk to the butter/flour/vegetable mixture, allowing it cook and thicken. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until thick and add the parmesan cheese. If you want it to be a thicker sauce, turn the heat to low and leave it cook for a couple more minutes.
6.To serve, place sauce on the chicken.

Yum! I loved this and the sauce was fantastic with rice (I even ate just the sauce on rice for leftovers the next day). This meal will be in my regular rotation of meals from now on, it was easy to make and made a tasty dinner.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Final Cake - Gumpaste and Fondant

My Wilton Fondant and Gumpaste class has ended and I had a great time. It was a lot of fun playing with fondant and the flowers all turned out really great. I decided to play around a bit, and convinced O to shape me a new cookie cutter, and ended up with some great looking Plumeria flowers! I love the tropical look (especially as it is February and I am anxiously awaiting spring).

Thank you Erin for a great class. I am looking forward to the upcoming Advanced Gumpaste Flowers class later this spring.