A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fighting the Good Fight

It's been a bit rough around here lately. Between some unforeseen/foreseen stresses and general malaise, we seem to be in a constant state of partially having a cold.  Last week, I fought these things with chocolate cake and Indian food.  The Indian food seemed to knock out the cold impulses, at least for a day or two.  And the cake?  Pretty damn good, Joy the Baker!  (It was pretty similar to this recipe, minus the cream cheese and orange, and adding in some cocoa powder.)  But I digress.

Cold-Busting Indian Chili

(adapted from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness)

1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste (about 3-4 Tbsp.)
1 onion (optional- I was out, but I'm sure it would have been good with it)

3 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/4 tsp. peppercorns
1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes
1" piece of cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 c. water

Don't be put off by the long spice list; you probably have most of those things already, except for maybe the garam masala and the cardamom pods.  

In a large pan, heat the oil.  Add the first set of spices, and let it cook until the seeds start to pop. (You may want to use a cooking screen to protect yourself from flying oil!- I got one from the dollar store a million years ago.)
Add your onion (if using) and garlic to the hot spices.  Cook until the onion is translucent, or until the garlic stops smelling raw.  Then add your canned tomatoes and drained beans.  Evenly disburse the second set of spices and mix them in.  Pour in the water, and cook for 15 minutes.  Just before serving, add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce.  Serve over rice, with plain yogurt to temper the spice.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Confetti Cookies!

It's Zizi's 3rd Birthday party tomorrow, and what could be better than sprinkle-laden cookies?  These were inspired by a recipe in Joy The Baker's newest cookbook, Homemade Decadence; but being that I have been working with limited amounts of time lately, I decided to just use my tried-and-true (and delicious) shortbread recipe, then roll the cookies in sprinkles before baking them.  

Confetti Cookies
(adapted from both Joy the Baker and Martha Stewart)

2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 c. unbleached flour
1 1/4 tsp, salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean (optional)
1 entire container of sprinkles (3/4 oz)

Get out your mixer!  Blend up the butter until it is spreadable, (about 3-5 minutes) then add the sugar.  Slowly add in the flour, and once it is all incorporated, the salt.  Add the vanilla extract, and mix some more.  Use a knife to split open your vanilla bean, and scrape out the seeds.  Add the seeds to your cookie dough, and mix a bit more to incorporate them. Lastly, add a few tablespoons of sprinkles to the dough, and mix them in.

Pour the sprinkles into a small bowl; one that you can fit your hand into.  Take out small amounts of dough (about a tablespoon each) and roll them in the bowl of sprinkles.  Press hard enough to get them to really stick to the dough.  When you have rolled all of the cookies, put them on a parchment-covered sheet, smush them down a bit (so they are slightly flattened) and freeze for 30 minutes.  Bake at 300* for 30 minutes; they will be brown on the bottom, but not the top.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Life with a newborn

Baby Sage is here!!  He's now 7 weeks old- and I'm not quite sure how that happened so fast.

For some reason, it's taking us a bit longer to adjust to having a newborn than it did the first time around. 

 Maybe it's because we also have an (almost) three-year-old?  He is a bit fussier than Z was,but things are getting better every day.  We switched to a formula for sensitive tummies and adjusted his bottles so he gets less air (and therefore less burping/fussiness) and that appears to be helping.  I'm still managing to cook at least 2 times a day, even if it's just microwave oatmeal and/or frozen foods sometimes.  

I have a really great helper
We're adjusting expectations around here too... when you only get 10 free minutes to do part of a project, it's hard to be happy with that; but at least after a while, you can see some progress.  My goal is to post here on Fridays- which for the rest of this year, would be a huge improvement!!  

These took me over a week to make, but somehow, still got done before making an invite on Facebook.
Right now I'm planning Zephyr's 3rd birthday party (a musical Fantasia theme- it will be awesome even if slightly confusing to describe), doing a bit of preschool-homeschooling (working on calendar time and things related to fall), and trying to maintain a bit of order amid the chaos.  Most days I feel pretty successful!

Apple hat!  She chose the design and I put it together.
Thanks for hanging in there with us; or coming back, as the case may be.  Next Friday I should have a book review for you!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Baby Update and Brownies!

So, the baby is supposedly due in about a month, but I have a feeling it will be sooner than that! I've been getting together our supplies and compiling a huge Amazon list of things we'll need right away in an attempt to be more organized than last time.  This week I also finished his mobile! Secret Name Baby "S" is getting a space theme for his room. :)

I wasn't sure if I was going to like the sparkly bits, but I think this is my best mobile yet!  I used a wire frame for a wreath, hot glue, old flannel from my spaceship pyjamas, stars cut with my Cricut, a "D" ring for the top, and some ribbon and string.

My  helper! 
Today's been the first day in recent memory that it's not 5 million degrees in my house, so what am I doing? Baking brownies, of course!  I used a Ghirardelli mix (the best ones, IMO) with coconut oil instead of regular oil. Then I cut up some marshmallows and dusted the top with graham crackers to make Extreme S'More's Brownies.  I can't imagine anything could go wrong with that!

Before baking...

And after.... Nothing to see here! (except delicious melty marshmallows!)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Granola Day!

What to do when it's rainy outside and you have no desire to leave the house? Make granola, of course!

It makes your house smell like cinnamon and oatmeal and general deliciousness.  I haven't made any for quite a long time, so we are definitely overdue.  I used this recipe, with 4 cups of oats, a variety of trail mix nuts and fruits, some unsweetened coconut, olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and agave nectar.  I also added about 2 Tbsp. of almond milk, just to help it stick together a bit more.   

My counter: the aftermath

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coconut Cherry Brownie Cookies

Do you feel the need for chocolate cookies, but are out of chocolate chips?  These cookies will make it all better. :) (and they are semi-healthy too)

Coconut Cherry Brownie Cookies
(adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

1/2 c. unsweetened coconut "milk"- the beverage kind, not the canned stuff
2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
 (full disclaimer: I was out of baking soda, so I did 1 1/4 tsp. of baking powder and omitted the salt)

1/2 c. sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 c. dried sour cherries
1/4 c. cocoa nibs

image source

These are cocoa nibs.  They added a bit of crunch and healthiness to otherwise delicious cookies. Kind of expensive, but I've stored this container of them in my freezer for over a year, and they are still good!


Preheat your oven to 350* and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk and the flax seeds.  Mix.  Then slowly pour in the melted coconut oil while mixing.  (I used my stand mixer instead of a whisk because I didn't trust the coconut oil to stay liquid, but it did just fine!)

Add the extracts and sugar.  Then using a sifter (fun!) sift in the flours and cocoa powder.  Lastly, add the baking powder/soda/salt.  Once it is all incorporated, add in the cherries, coconut, and cocoa nibs.

These cookies spread a lot, so try not to put them too close together.  (Cookies that stick together always remind me of a scene in this old show called Steven Banks Home Entertainment Center.  It was so funny and not on DVD anywhere, but I did find it on youtube! I was also lucky enough to meet him once with Joyce when I lived in LA.  She knew him because he used to do the show live at the playhouse!  But I digress...)  These cookies are super soft and almost brownie-like (hence the name). Bake for 13 minutes and enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2015


After a long break, I'm back!  I've been finishing up a lot of projects around here lately (Cleaning out Z's closet! Getting rid of tons of books and magazines! Decluttering the craft room! Making stuff!) and starting on some new ones.  (Did I mention that I'm pregnant with baby #2, a little boy due in early August? :) That's a long term project for sure!)  Things have been a lot easier this time around, but still had a few weeks of on-and-off sickness.  Now, I'm getting my energy back, and things are starting to get back to normal.

15 weeks!

Zephyr is really into fish and all things aquatic right now, so one day I designed and sewed her a big cuddly goldfish.  I am most proud of the fins with the line details!

 It fits right in with all of her other sleeping toys.  :) (She fell asleep with her hand in a unicorn puppet there.  We both thought it was pretty funny!) (and yeah, she likes sleeping on the floor, little weirdo.  Getting her a big girl bed soon though!)

After many many moons, I finally finished my quilt!! It's a big lap quilt, so not big enough for a bed or anything, but I'm really happy with it!

Some handsewn details

And a heart in the middle!