Tuesday, May 31, 2011



Another amazing recipe from my friend Michelle.

Melt together 1/2 cup shortening (I like the butter kind), 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Let cool.

Mix together 2 Tbsp yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp sugar.

Beat two or three eggs. Add cooled milk mixture and frothy yeast mixture. Add four to five cups of flour. Knead well.

Place in a greased bowl. Cover, and let rise until doubled in size (bonus tip from Michelle- let it rise in the oven. I made these after baking cookies. The oven was off and had been off for about thirty minutes but was still warm).

Punch down, allow to rest ten minutes.

Shape into rolls and let rise again. (This time I added a bowl of water to the rack on the oven to keep a little bit of moisture in the oven. I should've done that the first time the rolls were rising).

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Brush with butter.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Rainbow Dress and Lace Trimmed Bloomers


I made this dress a little bit ago. (I actually entered a little contest so couldn't blog about it before). The fabric was from Joann's Tutti Frutti collection. It was a bit stiffer than I anticipated. Next time I'll use a pattern that's better for stiffer material or a softer fabric.


Anyway, I used Simplicity 5695 again (see here, here, and here). I extended the sleeves a little bit so I could sew a casing for the elastic about half an inch from the edge, giving the sleeve an extra little ruffle.


I used Vanessa's Mini-Boden tutorial featured on Craftiness is Not Optional for the bottom half. If I were making this again (and I probably will b/c I adore the way the pockets are shaped and how they turned out!), I'd make the skirt more a line. I shirred the waistline as directed and it was an epic fail. I ended up sewing a knit band on the inside and making three casings for some 1/4 inch elastic.


I used Susan's Shortcake Knickers pattern again (well, I actually made these first. Anyway), using muslin instead of knit. I added the elastic casing and sewed the lace trim (that I thought was a great buy but was more expensive than I thought).


Want more inspiration? Check out Jessica's Pattern Remix series.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Best Pizza We've Ever Had!

Yes, it's THAT good.


Recipe from my lovely friend, Michelle.

2 tbsp butter
1 cup hot water
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour

I heated the water in a pyrex measuring cup (the kind that holds 2 1/2 cups or so).

I added a little bit to a separate large bowl.

When the water was warm (and not hot) I added the yeast and sugar. Let the yeast activate (I skipped this the first time and had flat crust but I was seriously missing out on fluffier yet substantial crust). It will get nice and frothy looking on the top.

I added the butter and salt to the measuring cup with the remainder of the hot water.

Mix water/butter/salt mixture, yeast/sugar mixture with flour. Stir really well. Then knead well and roll it out.

Top your pizza. I sprinkled oregano, basil, parsley, and salt on my crust, added about 5 oz tomato sauce (a little more than half of a little can), and fancy pepperoni- the kind that is in a big stick. Tyrone did a great job cutting it for me. It is also the cutest thing to hear Ansley say four syllabled words like "pepperoni" and "quesadilla."


Bake at 425F for 9-15 minutes, depending on toppings. It took about 14 or 15 minutes for ours. I like to err on the side of being a little bit underbaked b/c when I reheat it in the oven the next day, it isn't too done. (Yes, I do like my cookies a minute underdone and soft in the centers and my bananas with no spots of brown and the tiniest bit of green left near the stems).

I can't stop thinking about this pizza and scheming up toppings like California Pizza Kitchen's Thai Peanut Pizza or BLT pizza or Ian's Mac and Cheese Pizza. . . .

Friday, May 27, 2011

(Pretty) Perfect Yellow Cupcakes


I made these last week. I didn't make the frosting b/c they were going to be decorated at an activity. I liked how they were moist and not too dense. They tasted a bit muffin like to me, probably due to the milk and/or my not super refined taste buds.

Original recipe found here.


* 1 cup unsalted butter
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 4 eggs
* 3 cups sifted cake flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup milk
* Regular or silver cupcake paper liners

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixer with a whip attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to cream. Gradually add the vanilla and eggs and mix in well. Sift together the dry ingredients; then mix into the butter mixture alternating with the milk. Pour batter into cupcake paper-lined muffin tins filling them 3/4 full. Bake until puffed and firm in the center and light golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool. (Freeze at this point, if necessary.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ice Cream Social Shortcake Remix


Here's a little Ice Cream Social Dress designed by Jess that I made for Ansley last summer. She grew a lot in the first year and I was anticipating it would continue for longer. . . . Anyway, it didn't fit her last summer but now it's great. I moved the strap elastic towards the center of the strap, giving her a bigger ruffle on each side of the elastic.


I used Susan's Shortcake Knickers pattern again but used some cream eyelet (instead of knit) from Ansley's Easter dress. (I think Dana's Kid Short pattern would work too). I traced about an inch around the pattern and added about six inches to the bottom. I ironed a tiny fold, then one at about two and a half inches. I sewed around the leg, leaving an opening. I measured elastic (I wrapped it, unstretched around Ansley's leg. I added about half an inch to it when cutting. With the gathered fabric and the overlapped elastic from sewing it together, the leg band isn't too tight) and made a casing for it.


I love the bloomers above and below her knees.


So much fun!



Want more inspiration? Check out Jessica's Pattern Remix series.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chicken Biriyani


Recipe found here.

Biriyani is a baked Indian dish of spiced rice combined with chicken, seafood, or other meats. This version omits the baking step while maintaining the authentic flavors. Whole-milk yogurt keeps its creamy texture when cooked; don't substitute low-fat yogurt, which will curdle

* YIELD: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)
* COURSE: Main Dishes


* 3 cups water
* 2 teaspoons salt, divided
* 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
* 1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice
* 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
* 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used white meat- either boiled or ready to stir fry)
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 2 teaspoons curry powder
* 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (didn't use this)
* 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (I used paprika)
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced (I used 3)
* 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (couldn't find this so I used low fat)
* 1/2 cup golden raisins (didn't use these but want to try it with craisins)
* 1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted cashews
* 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (didn't use this time but it adds a pretty color)


* Bring water, 1 teaspoon salt, and saffron to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice and cinnamon stick to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Discard cinnamon stick.
* Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt to pan.
* Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add curry and the next 5 ingredients (curry through serrano chiles); cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add yogurt***, stirring with a whisk; cook 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Add chicken and raisins; cook 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add rice; stir well to combine. Sprinkle evenly with cashews and cilantro.

***I tried to compensate for my low fat yogurt by turning off the heat and mixing the yogurt and rice in. (I left the chicken in the whole time to make sure it was done). The warm food heats the yogurt up but hopefully doesn't curdle it. :)

Marie Simmons, Cooking Light
MARCH 2004

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

(Oprah) Oatmeal-Vanilla Cookies


Found here.

I just used semi sweet chocolate chips this time. These had a great texture and a perfect vanilla flavor. I'm intrigued by the mix in possibilities. It's a toss up if I prefer these for standard chocolate chip cookies or the Imitation Doubletree cookies. Tyrone likes these better.


* 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, or 2 cups oatmeal flour
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp. baking powder
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup light brown sugar
* 2 large eggs, at room temperature
* 1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract (use the real stuff!!)

Candy: Chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or chunks, bittersweet chocolate shavings, caramel chips, M&Ms, chocolate-covered pretzels, broken candy bars, marshmallows, peppermints

Nuts: Chopped macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, and walnuts; peanut butter, coconut flakes

Fruits: Dried candied pineapple, dried papaya, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, candied ginger, golden raisins, dried apricots

Other: Cinnamon, cardamom, maple syrup, sanding sugar, walnut or orange liqueur, coffee extract, peppermint extract, jam, citrus zests, almond paste, sea salt, cream cheese

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Place oats in the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade and process until finely ground. (Or use ground oat flour and skip this step.) Transfer the ground oats to a large mixing bowl and add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Put the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat on low speed until soft, then increase speed to medium and beat until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar and then brown sugar, beating until very light and creamy.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and when blended, slowly beat in the reserved dry mixture. Stop while the dough is still streaky, and scrape it out onto a floured surface. Divide dough into 2 sections and gently knead each with your hands until just blended. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 days (or freeze for up to a month). Take out 10 minutes before ready to bake.

To assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. For each cookie, take about a 1 1/2-inch ball of dough and knead in toppings as desired. For nuts, fruits, and candy, add what you like as long as there's enough dough to bind together the ingredients. For intensely flavored add-ins, like extracts, zests, salts, and spices, use a very small pinch, less than 1/8 tsp. (See combination suggestions, right.)

Place cookies evenly on prepared sheets, giving each enough room to spread. Bake until center sets and cookies are lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

Cookie Combinations

Walnut: Walnut liqueur + walnuts
Mint chocolate chip: Peppermint extract + chocolate chips
Mocha: Coffee extract + milk chocolate
Spice: Ginger + cloves + nutmeg + cardamom + cinnamon
Tropical: Papaya + coconut + macadamia nuts
Snickerdoodle: Cinnamon + sanding sugar
Ginger Snap: Ginger + cinnamon + clove
Chocolate-Caramel: Chocolate chips + caramel
Chocolate-Orange: Grand Marnier liqueur+ grated orange zest + chocolate chunks + pecans
Macadamia: White chocolate chips + chopped macadamia nuts
Fruit and Nut: White chocolate chips + dried cherries + pecans
Candy Bar: Bittersweet chocolate chunks + toffee bits
Chocolate-Almond: Milk chocolate chunks + sliced almonds
Chocolate-Coconut: Chocolate chips + coconut flakes

Vanilla dough recipe adapted from Milk & Cookies by Tina Casaceli (Chronicle Books).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My First Dress

I'm pretty excited about this dress! It actually fits, it's super comfortable, and nice and breezy. Oh and the length? It's not the most flattering length (ie doesn't hit at the smallest part of my leg) but it's practical for all of those mommy bend and snap picking up toys/food/little people moments.


No, I am not pregnant. Yes, I could afford to do more sit ups and yoga. Moving on. I used a Shade shirt to create a pattern for the top. I made it two layers b/c it's a little sheer (ie I cut two fronts and two backs, sewed them rst (and clipped the curves!), then treated each double layer as one piece and sewed the front and back together, rst). I top stitched around the sleeves but don't really care for how it looks so I left the neckline untopstitched. I basted and gathered a rectangle that was almost 1 1/2 times around me and sewed it to the top portion. I love this lightweight knit. The stripes are horizontal on the top portion and vertical on the "skirt" portion. The hem is raw (ie unfinished) so I can always trim it if I decide I need it to be shorter.


I am also awesome at modeling. ha ha ha.


A surprisingly decent self portrait.


Linked here!