Friday, February 5, 2010

A little sunshine (award) to spread around

It was an extra special surprise when Sweet Harper gave me this award!

Yesterday and the day before were really long hard days (work's at an extra stressful part of the year right now). And honestly I'm ready for Spring and sunshine and flowers to come back again.

It's been cold and gray for a a while now. I like lots of things about winter- but enough's enough already!

The guidelines say to link to 12 other blogs. So I linked to a few that are bright spots in my little corner of the blogosphere. Some are new-to-me blogs that I've found great projects on this week, others are blogs I've been a long time reader of.

Here are my 12:

Sunshine Award Guidelines
1. Put the logo in my blog or post
2. Pass on the award to 12 fellow bloggers
3. Link to the nominees within my post
4. Let the nominees know they've received this award by leaving a comment on their blog
5. Share love and link to the person who gave this to you

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What kind of cookie says neighborhood watch?

I love my neighborhood. It's a fabulous area in a small artsy city. It's eclectic with all sorts of people living in it. Students renting for just a few months, people who've bought houses that they're renovating and still other's who've lived here their whole lives and everything in between!

Someone or some group took advantage of the fact that we all don't know our neighbors like people used to (and in some areas still do).

In response my little neighborhood has come together. We're all making an effort to know each other and keep our area safe by forming a neighborhood watch. I've volunteered to be "captain" of my street.

I'm excited to get to know my neighbors better. I don't know anything about a neighborhood watch. What I do know is that I'm not a clipboard and checklist kind of girl.

I'm more the gift bag type.... so when I go door to door to meet people and give them information the information is going to be with cute little bags. Complete with cookies.

But what the heck kind of a cookie says neighborhood watch!

I didn't think I had anything that fit so I started making a list. Here's what I was able to find. (These are some of the most random cookie cutters I think I've ever looked for.)

Police Car
Earthmover (nothing to do with this, but seriously an earthmover cookie cutter!)
Fire Hat
A Spy... which looks an awful lot like the crime watch "criminal" icon.
An eye- which is kinda creepy, and I don't think I'd use it although it's also the crime watch logo

Then it hit me....

A house is perfect. Not complicated, I've already got it and it fits!

Now all I have to do is figure out what flavor- sugar cookie, maybe gingerbread?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The New Spinning Wheel, it's just like riding a bike

I'm so excited, yesterday hubby set up my new spinning wheel!

Back in June I took a weekend long beginners class (you can see it here and here) but without having my own wheel I didn't have the opportunity to spin again until now.

Looking at it all set up I was afraid I'd forgotten everything I had learned.

Turns out spinning is like riding a bike. After a few minutes of adjustment everything was coming back to me and I was able to spin the first yarn on my new wheel!

I started with the plain wool that came in the box but I have some wool that I dyed during a class back in July. I never did anything with it (secretly I think I was saving it in hopes of being able to spin it on my own wheel someday).

And I can't wait to spin up. (You can see the posts about that class here and here).

More to come!

(Oh and Happy Groundhog Day! I'm hoping for Spring, how about you?)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Strawberry and Chocolate Champagne Muffins

Hello Love Muffin.

I've been so excited for the February Cupkins collaboration between Joanne @ Ready, Set, Craft! and I. Of course we chose Valentines Day as the theme for our cupcake and muffin recipes this month.

I tried to think romantic... breakfast in bed, something sweet to start of the day for your sweetie. The idea of chocolate covered strawberries and champagne kept coming to mind and I wondered if it would work in a muffin.

Turns out it works wonderfully!

I've never baked with champagne before but it made the muffins really light and slightly sweet/tart in a unique way. I absolutely love how these came out! Even after I got the recipe down I made a few more batches for "testing" just to be sure.

Here's How To Make Them:
  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of milk (nonfat is fine)
  • 1/3 cup of applesauce
  • 1/2 cup plus one good glug (probably about 2 tablespoons) of champagne
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of diced strawberries
  • Slightly less than 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Next add the egg, oil, milk, applesauce and stir until combined.

Now it's time to add the berries. Sprinkle a little pinch of flour over them before you stir them into the batter (so the berries don't all fall to the bottom of the muffins as they bake).

and the chocolate chips (don't forget the chips!).

Mmmm- doesn't this look yummy already with all those berries and chocolate chips in there.

Last but not least add the champagne and stir just until the ingredients combine.

To make the hearts on top of each muffin you'll need to color some of the batter pink. Scoop a few spoonfuls of just the batter (not any of the berries or chips) into a small bowl. Use a drop or two of food coloring to turn it pink. Keep this aside, you'll need this halfway through baking.

Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way full and bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes- at this point the muffins will be halfway done.

Pull them out of the oven and use a skewer do add the pink batter in the shape of a heart.

Don't keep the muffins out of the oven too long. Making the heart for each muffin really doesn't take long to make, just don't leave them on the counter while you answer the phone or anything!

Once you have all the hearts made put the muffins back into the oven and cook for another 11-12 minutes. (Or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.)

The baking times are based on using a large muffin pan which makes 6 oversized muffins. You can also make 12 regular sized ones with the same amount of ingredients but the baking times will vary.

Sweet, cute, romantic even... and just plain Yummy! And don't let the champagne fool you the kids would love these if you wanted to make them as breakfast for the entire family.

Be sure to head over to Joanne's blog and learn how she made these chocolate strawberry Valentine cupcakes.

Don't they look great, that strawberry frosting looks A-maz-ing! And I love the chocolate hearts and "love" sign on top.


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