beautiful dreamer

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The other day I got the DIY itch and headed to the craft store to get inspired. Dream Catchers just stuck in my head, so I decided to have a go at one. Usually before I try something new I will google tutorials to get an idea of what I am getting myself into, but there really were not many detailed or helpful tutorials for dream catchers. And I thought to myself, what kind of person would I be if I didn’t fix that problem? 

First a little background on dream catchers: Dream catchers originated with the Ojibwe people and slowly, through marriage, spread through other nations over time. As the stories goes, there was a Spider Woman that watched over all of the children, but as the people spread farther away, she could not longer take care of all the children. Soon the mothers and grandmothers started making dream catchers that would catch all the bad dreams and never allow them to reach the children. Children would have only good dreams and the bad dreams would vanish in the morning. I think it is an amazingly sweet and happy story.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

8′ of twine
Metal ring
Super Glue
7′ of wax cotton thread
Assorted beads, feathers, and ribbon

Step 1: Wrapping the hoop

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The first step is to wrap the hoop with twine. Begin by putting a dab of super glue (quick drying) on the hoop and giving it a moment to dry. Once it is dry you will have a foundation to begin wrapping. Once you get the hang of this, it will go pretty fast. Every several wraps, push what you’ve done so far together, so you can’t see the hoop underneath the twine.

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When you (finally) get to the end, you can either end the twine with a bit of super glue OR you can make a loop with the excess twine. This way you will have a way to hang your beautiful creation at the end.

Step 2: Making the web

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Begin by tying the end of the thread at the top of the hoop. I usually go ahead and string my beads at this point because it is easier than trying to do it in the middle of stringing the web. Use a dab of super glue on the knot, so that there isn’t a risk of it coming untied.

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Wrap the thread all the way around the loop until you come back to the top. Make sure each of the wraps are evenly spaced around the loop because this will be the base of your pattern.

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Continue making your way around the circle looping the thread through the bottom of each triangle. It is important that the thread you choose is heavy duty because you will be pulling it taut along the way.

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Drop the beads in wherever your crafty heart desires. If you went ahead and threaded them before you began, you’ll be thanking yourself right now. If you didn’t…well, you’ll be getting creative.

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You can choose how small you want the inner circle to be. If you leave it larger, you can even add a feather or something in the middle. You can also continue until the circle is almost closed. Whenever you decide you’re done, you’ll want to tie the end of the string off and use a dab of super glue to secure it.

Step 3: Embellish

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This is the fun part! You can decorate your catcher in whatever way you desire.

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Since we live by the sea, I added shells into mine. I also love a little sparkle, so I added crystal beads. Feathers are a very traditional way to go and also add the light movement that I associate with dream catchers.

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I added a feather to the web of the last one I made and I wrapped the hoop with lace ribbon.

The sky is the limit with the way you can decorate your dream catcher – you’ll never make the same one twice, which is what is so great about this project. Be creative and let your dream catcher reflect all of your favorite things. This would be a fantastic project for kids and teens. If I did it with kids I would probably pre-wrap the loops and just let them decorate.

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There you have it! I hope you enjoy your dream catcher and it serves you well to keep the bad dreams away!

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sour cream pound cake

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This recipe is pretty nostalgic for me. It is a combination of my mom’s recipe with the addition of some of my grandmother’s recipe. My mom’s recipe is pretty cryptic and, since I can’t ask her to clarify, I was kind of left to figure some parts of it out myself. My grandmother used to add sour cream to her recipe (which is a relatively common occurrence in the south), so I’ve added that into the original recipe as well.

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While I still have no idea what “1 Box 10X Sugar” means, it’s still really awesome to have this recipe book from my mom.

Step 1: Prep

There isn’t a whole lot of prepping for this recipe, but the few things that need to be done are super important. First, the butter must be at room temperature. I emphasize this, not because I think you’ll ignore me, but because I am so bad at this part. I’ll decide to make a cake and then have to convince myself to not just microwave the butter for an easy fix. It really is better if you just give it a little while to be come up to room temperature… The eggs also need to be room temp, but that doesn’t take nearly as long.

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The other very important step is to butter and flour the pan. Take the wrapper from the butter you are using for the recipe and grease down the inside of the pan. Then add a little flour and dust it around until the pan it is completely coated.

TIP: This method is better to use when baking, especially if you use nonstick pans, because it won’t leave residue like cooking spray.

Step 2: Mixing

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One of the great things about pound cake recipes is that they are incredibly easy to make and don’t take too much time. Because there are only a few ingredients, you’ll want to make sure you use quality products for each one.

Put the softened butter in the bowl and cream it together with the sugar until it is smooth. Once those two ingredients are well mixed, add the sour cream and mix on medium speed until it is incorporated. Next you’ll want to turn the speed to low and alternate adding one egg and a third of the flour until you have mixed all the ingredients.

I made a few different versions with this batter, so I separated the batter equally into three bowls. I added cocoa powder (about a tablespoon) to one bowl, cocoa powder (1 tbsp) and chocolate chips to another, and just chocolate chips to the last bowl. You can add whatever flavors you want to this recipe. That’s what I love about a good base pound cake recipe. Get creative!

Step 3: Bake

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I put the flavored batters into three smaller tins (3″X5″) for baking. I also made a larger vanilla cake in a 5″X10″ pan.

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The correct baking time is critical for pound cake. If you bake it too long, it becomes dry and doesn’t have that buttery, melt-in- your-mouth texture. If you don’t cook them long enough they’re still raw in the middle and will just end up being mushy. Cooking times will vary for the pan size, but you’ll want to keep an eye on them. When they start browning on the top and smell delicious, they are probably done. I know it sounds weird, but the smell is really important. You can always use the tried and true toothpick test to make sure as well.

Step 4: Enjoy!

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Once the cakes come out of the oven, you’ll want to let them sit for a few minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack. If they stay in the pans for too long they will continue to cook from the heat and you will risk a dry cake.

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My very favorite way to enjoy pound cake is with a little heavy cream and fruit. My grandmother used to eat it this way and one of my very few vivid childhood memories is of eating pound cake just like this with her. Whipped cream and ice cream are two other wonderful ways to enjoy this yummy dessert.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, it makes me warm all over thinking of the memories I have attached to this cake.

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This recipe is Zoey-Approved!

SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE RECIPE

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of sour cream
3 cups of sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking pan. Cream together the softened butter and sugar, then add the sour cream and mix until combined. Turn mixer speed to low and alternate adding one egg and 1/6 of the mixture, until you have combined all the ingredients. Transfer mixture to pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then moved cake to cooling rack and let cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy!

 

lasagna cupcakes

lasagnacupcakes

Finally! I am writing a blog about the lasagna cupcake recipe. It is such a fun dinner – and super easy to boot! The cool thing about this recipe is that you can really change the flavors to suit whatever mood you are in. For example, I used some leftover roasted vegetables from dinner the other night. (more about that later)

This is an awesome, kid-friendly dinner and they can even help make it!

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Here’s what you need:

Wonton Wrappers
Tomato Sauce
Ricotta
Shredded Cheese (some italian combination)
Vegetables or Meat
Cupcake Pan
Nonstick stray

Step 1: Prep

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As I mentioned above, I had some leftover roasted veggies from a couple of dinners ago. I decided I wanted to try them in these cupcakes, so I threw them in the food processor and let it do its thing. Since I cooked these with plenty of salt, pepper, and olive oil, I didn’t need to add any extra seasoning to them.

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Next you’ll want to spray your cupcake pan with nonstick spray and place the wonton wrappers in them. I have found that two in each cup works best and if you place them with one corner in the bottom, they will cover most of the cup.

Step 2: Assembly

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Assembly of the cupcakes is wicked easy. It’s all about the layers. This is where you can get creative and use any flavors you want. You can also add meat to the recipe if you would like, just brown it beforehand and mix it in with the sauce or ricotta.

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First, start with the tomato sauce. You could make your own sauce from scratch, but who has time for that mess? There are so many great natural and organic choices that it would be crazy to waste the time. I think.

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Second is the toss-up layer. I used the aforementioned veggies. I tossed onions, zucchini, mushroom, and tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted them in the oven. You could go with some sort of meat or fresh veggies. I usually use fresh zucchini and squash, but I thought the roasted veggies would add a nice depth of flavor. I was not disappointed!

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Third layer is the ricotta cheese. YUM. I could eat this out of the cup. By the spoonful. Just a little tip, I put a dollop down, and then once you put the shredded cheese on top, you can press it flat rather than trying to unsuccessfully spread it with the spoon.

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Last layer is the cheese. Just sprinkle some on top of the ricotta and press the layers down to compact it a little.

Next, you’ll want to repeat the four layers one more time in the same order. Put a little more cheese on top at the end, so you have a nice final layer of delicious melted cheese.

Step 3: Bake and serve!

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Into the oven they go! This is the hardest part…waiting. I usually wash dishes, so I can enjoy the meal afterwards with little clean up.

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Don’t they just look delicious?

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The final product is so wonderful.

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They get even better with time too. Try them cold out of the fridge the next day – divine!

LASAGNA CUPCAKES

24 wonton wrappers
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup roasted veggies (or other filling)
1/2 shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cupcake pan with nonstick spray. Overlap two wonton wrappers in each cupcake cup, making sure they cover the sides thoroughly. Evenly distribute half of the tomato sauce between cup, next evenly distribute half of the roasted veggies between each cup. Continue doing this with the ricotta cheese and the shredded cheese. Slightly compact the layers and then repeat the other half of the tomato sauce, roast veggies, ricotta, and shredded cheese layers.

Put the pan into the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the wonton wrappers are browned.

Let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes and then ENJOY!

chex krispy treats

chex-treats

A little twist on a basically perfect sweet treat. That’s how I roll. There is a local coffee shop here that had some krispy treats made with chex mix and I decided I was game! My trend lately is the super easy recipe and this one fits right in.

Before we start…when did there become 27 different types of chex mix? I had no idea. I’ve never been so indecisive about cereal in my life. I went with corn chex mix, not because it is gluten-free or corn, but because the person beside me was humming loudly and starting to freak me out. It did occur to me later though that this would be good with any of the other varieties of chex as well. Chocolate and honey nut sound particularly delicious. Just from food for thought. (ha.)

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Here’s what you’ll need:

butter
marshmallows
chex mix
sprinkles (or whatever you decide to dress them up with)
bowl
spatula
wax paper
microwave

Step 1: Melt the butter and marshmallows.

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Put the butter in a medium to large size bowl and microwave for about a minute if it is cold. If your butter is room temperature, it won’t take nearly as long. Add the marshmallows and stir them to coat. The only way to possibly make a marshmallow better is to coat it in butter. Lucky for you, you don’t need the ENTIRE bag of marshmallows, so “taste-testing” is totally acceptable and definitely encouraged!

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Next you’ll want to melt the marshmallows in the microwave. It only takes a minute or so. I always love the consistency of the melted marshmallows – they still barely hold their shape, but you know everything in your kitchen is about to be covered in sticky.

Step 2: Gettin’ sticky with it!

Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah… anyone? Okay…

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This part is so much fun, it is probably my favorite. Add all the chex mix to the melted marshmallows and butter…the calm before the storm. This can be really fun with kids too, just do it before bath time and not after…

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I use a plastic spatula because it makes for an easier clean up. Make sure you fold them in gently, you don’t want to end up with a bunch of crushed chex squares. The chex texture is part of what makes this version of krispy treats so much fun!

(well, that and the sprinkles. sprinkles make everything fabulous.)

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Speaking of sprinkles… like that segue? Add a bunch of them. As many as your colorful heart desires. I think I ended up adding about a 1/4 cup when it was all said and done AND I added even more to the top. I have a thing for sprinkles.

Step 3: Spread it out.

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Now, we could be totally predictable and put these in a greased pan and cut them into squares later… Or, we could be awesome and just let the chex fall as they may on a piece of parchment paper. (I’m in a punny mood tonight. Ha.)

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I would suggest that you deal with this immediately. If you only put it in the sink and fill it with water and soap, you will really appreciate yourself later. It will be a sticky mess. Everything will be a brilliant stick mess and totally worth it. Even my camera had a slight layer of sticky on it after this recipe.

Step 4: Cut and ENJOY!

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Look at all that gooey goodness! You’ll need to wait for a little while before you cut and dig into these beauties. If you’re really impatient, the freezer will speed up the process.

Distract yourself by washing that bowl…

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I opted to cut these all willy-nilly and get a little creative, but you could just cut them in squares in be done with it.

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The really great thing about this recipe is that you can modify it in so many ways. Add chocolate chips and nuts or go with white chocolate and butterscotch. I love the rainbow sprinkles, but you could go with chocolate instead. The possibilities really are endless.

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CHEX KRISPY TREATS

1 10oz bag of marshmallows
1/4 cup of butter
4 cups of chex mix
1/4 cup of sprinkles

Begin by melting butter for 1 minute in the microwave in large microwave safe bowl. Add marshmallows and stir until evenly coated with melted butter. Return bowl to microwave and melt marshmallows, about 1 minute. Gently fold in chex mix until completely covered. Add in sprinkles and fold until combined. Transfer mixture of a sheet of parchment paper or a greased baking dish. Let cool for 15 minutes. Cut and ENJOY!