Pint sized sophistication


Saturday, May 28, 2011

My latest project was inspired by a stroll down the sale aisle at Joann's. What can I say, I love getting a good deal. How good? This little girl's dress only cost $10 to make. That includes fabric, trims, buttons and the pattern. Gotta love Memorial Day deals! I slightly altered the pattern to make it more how I envisioned it, but they were basic changes. Stephen said it looks like a tiny cocktail dress, I think it looks like a mini Anthropologie dress. My only change would be adding more fullness to the skirt (it looks a lot less full because it's tied in the back). If there's one piece of advice I'd give to my fellow sewers, it would be to get creative! Don't let the pattern or the pictures dictate what you make. There are so many fun things you can do to make projects unique and stylish! Happy sewing!

Crisis averted


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Despite the chaos that was yesterday morning, the was one recipe that did shine through (other than the chocolate chip cookies)... thank goodness! It's a what we call Jill's birthday cake. Well, at least some of us. Stephen loves to refer to it as his birthday cake. Anyway, Jo always makes it and it's always really rich and yummy. The cake and the filling are real easy to make, but the frosting takes a little time and patience, so if you're thinking about making it, read the directions carefully and you'll be pleased with the results!

Jill's Birthday Cake
1 c. unsweetened cocoa
2 c. boiling water
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine cocoa and boiling water with whisk until smooth. Let cool.
3. In large bowl at high speed, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla for about 5 minutes.
4. At low speed, beat in flour mixture (dry ingredients) alternating with cooled cocoa mixture.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes in 3- 9" pans. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pans onto wire cooling rack.

Filling Ingredients
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. unsifted confectioner's sugar
1 t. vanilla

1. Beat ingredients well (until light and fluffy) and put in between layers of cake.

Frosting Ingredients
1 (6 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/2 c. light cream
1 c. butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
-Bowl/container of ice to set mixing bowl on top of

1. In a small saucepan, combine chocolate pieces, cream, butter and stir over medium heat until smooth. Once smooth remove from heat.
2. While whisking, blend in 2 1/2 c. of confectioner's sugar.
3. In bowl, set over ice and beat until frosting holds shape. (should be stiff)

*Best if stored in refrigerator

Buckets of blueberries


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yesterday Stephen's dad came home and asked if we would go help pick blueberries. The place was out in the middle of nowhere, but it was absolutely beautiful. We ended up picking about four buckets of berries. When we bagged them up to freeze them we realized there were a lot more that we thought, so I decided to bake blueberry muffins from scratch. They turned to be some of the best blueberry muffins I've ever had- much better than the boxed stuff! Summer is the perfect time for fresh berries, but if you don't have any on hand, frozen ones will work too!

Bakery Blueberry Muffins
2 c. four
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ c. vegetable oil
4 tbsp. butter, melted
¾ c. whole milk
1½ tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 c. blueberries
2 tbsp. sanding sugar (for topping- optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 12 standard muffin cups with liners.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, lightly beat together oil, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, eggs and milk.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. With mixing speed on low, slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
5. Remove bowl from stand, gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
6. Place into oven and bake for 24-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Place muffins on wire rack to cool completely.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 12 muffins

Loaded Mini Chicken Pot Pies


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It was finally time to put the pot pie maker to good use. Stephen and I whipped up some filling and cooked pies for his parents and James. The filling came together in about a half hour, and the pies took 8-10 minutes to bake (4 at a time). Everyone seemed to enjoy them, so I'd say the recipe is a winner. Note that it is the same amount for baking a full-sized pot pie, so if you're looking for a recipe, look no further.

Loaded Chicken Pot Pie {recipe adapted from}
NOTE: Recipe was used with Breville Individual Pot Pie Maker
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. onion, minced
1/2 c. celery, diced
2 c. classic mixed vegetables (frozen corn, carrots, green beans, potato, peas etc.)
2 c. chicken, finely cubed (as a time-saver, we used a rotisserie chicken from SAM's)
1 can chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. Nature's Seasoning
1 tsp. ground thyme
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
2 packages Pillsbury pre-made pie crusts (in roll) [1 package if making large pot pie or crust recipe found here]

1. Melt butter in pot or dutch oven. Add onion and celery. Cook until translucent. 
2. Add flour and stir. Mix in chicken broth and cream and bring to a slow boil.
3. Once liquids are boiling, toss in chicken, then mixed vegetables. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
4. Check to see if filling needs additional seasonings. Add according to taste.
5. Prepare pie crusts and turn on machine. Once heated, spray lightly with cooking spray.
6. Place crust bottom into maker and scoop 1/3 c. filling into each pie. Place top crust on each pie.
7. Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
8. Unplug machine and let cool for 2 minutes. Remove pies with a spatula and let them rest for 3-4 minutes before serving.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Melt butter in pot or dutch oven. Add onion and celery. Cook until translucent. 
3. Add flour and stir. Mix in chicken broth and cream and bring to a slow boil.
4. Once liquids are boiling, toss in chicken, then mixed vegetables. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
5. Check to see if filling needs additional seasonings. Add according to taste. 
6. Roll out crust and fill bottom of pie pan. Pour mixture in.
7. Place the crust top on and press sides together to seal the pie. Use knife to cut vents in the top of pan to allow for steam to pass through.
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Allow pie to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Lemonhead Cookies


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've talked a lot about Over The Top Cookies, so I thought I'd talk some more... only this time it'll be about a recipe I've duplicated. I've been searching for the perfect recipe for quite some time... and yes the lemon cookies I made last time were really good, but they weren't at all the same. This time though, I stumbled upon the one. There were a few changes I made, they'll be reflected in the recipe below. So try them out, you're going to love them!

Lemonhead Cookies
3 c. flour
1½ c. granulated sugar
1½ c. butter or Crico
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 (8 oz.) bag of Lemonhead candies, crushed

2 tsp. lemon juice
½ c. powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream sugar, eggs and butter (or shortening) together. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat for 1 minute.
3. Stir in salt, baking soda, flour (add flour one cup at a time), lemon zest, and crushed Lemonheads.
4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, flatten and bake on a pan lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutes.
5. Let cool on pan for 3 minutes.
6. Transfer to cooling racks and prepare glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add additional powdered sugar if necessary. Use a spoon to drizzle lightly over cookies. Let cool.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies

Sunday Brunch


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Consisted of pecan belgian waffles and a frittata made by Stephen. We bought a book a month or so ago at Williams-Sonoma that featured egg dishes. He was so eager to make things out of it but since we were moving it wasn't really possible. Now that we're sort of settled, I think we'll be eating a lot of eggs.

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