Cupcake Baby Gift

I saw this great tutorial on Pinterest of onesies and baby socks turned into cupcakes for a baby gift. Recently a friend had a baby, so I wanted to give it a try. The tutorial can be found at Club Chica Circle

It really is pretty easy to make these look cute and like actual cupcakes. The only thing I would suggest is to use only newborn sized onsies. I had trouble making the larger ones look nice or even fit into a cupcake wrap. As you can see below, there are 2 larger sized ones. I made them work, but it was very difficult.

Upholstered Wall Hangings

Well folks, this is by far my favourite pin thus far. Not because it looks better than any others I’ve done or because the end result was any better, but because of how easy it was!

If you’re one of those people who love Pinterest and all the great DIY projects but think you don’t have the skills to make it, then this is the pin for you! It took me 45 min from planning to install. That’s it. It really is that easy.

The pin came from a blog called The New England Southerner. Now being that I live in a rental we are trying to not put too many holes in the walls or hang heavy items, so I’ve been looking around trying to find things to decorate with that fit this criteria. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to decorate a small space without putting things on the walls. So when I came across this pin I thought it was ingenious.

To make these wall hangings all you need to do is pick out a great fabric to match your decor, pick up some foam insulation from any hardware store (I used 1/4 inch thick and it was $6 for the whole sheet which made all 3 of my panels) and have a staple gun on hand. Then you measure the space, decide how big you want each panel to be and measure your materials out. All that’s left now is to fold over the fabric and staple it onto the insulation. I took a picture to show you how I did it.

You’ll notice that I have quite a bit of overhang on the bottom. That’s because I decided not to cut the fabric more in case I wanted to use it someday for something else. The great thing about these panels is that because it’s just insulation and staples, if you ever get bored of the fabric and want to change it up, it’s super easy! Just pull out the staples and assemble new fabric.

In total these cost me $18 plus staples (like a few cents?). A great price for a great addition to any space that has a blank wall and needs a little pizazz!

Oh, and some of you are probably wondering how to hang something like this. Again, really easy. Because it’s simply Styrofoam and fabric all I did was poke a nail through the top and bottom, yes through the fabric and all, nail it into the wall behind it and then pull the fabric over the nail head so it’s not visible. Done! Use a nail with the smallest head possible and once it’s through the fabric you should be able to scrape your nail over the surface and move the threads back into place making the nail look like it was never there.

I honestly hope someone else tries this project. It’s fast, it’s simple and it looks great!

Stuffed Acorn Squash, Oven Fried Chicken Bites & Tootsie Rolls

Well today’s post is a triple threat. That is, triple the pin it, try it and eat it! It’s been a while since I’ve posted so I thought I would try out a few recipes today and give you the run-down.
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On the menu tonight was:

Stuffed Acorn Squash – courtesy of the Lean Green Bean
Oven Fried Chicken Bites (I added the bites portion) – found onTheFoodNetwork.com
And last but not least,
Tootsie Rolls, home made of course, thanks to Food 52
So let’s start off with the:

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This was theirs:

 
This was mine:
 
Now I’m sure you can see that there is an obvious difference. The thing about this recipe was that it can be very diverse. The thing I love about cooking is that you can take the base of a recipe and turn it into whatever you desire. Say you don’t like mushrooms *cough* like me *cough*, you don’t have to put it in! Or you don’t have sweet potatoes in the pantry at the moment…again, like me. This doesn’t mean you can’t make the recipe! It just means you have to alter it. And in a lot of cases, that can work in your favour. Now, I’m not saying take out a main ingredient or anything like that, I mean, fettuccini alfredo wouldn’t really be fettuccini alfredo without the alfredo. You get my point? But substituting broccoli for mushrooms or chicken for sausage isn’t going to make or break the recipe.
Anyways, I’ll get on with it. The recipe calls for the following and I did not have the underlined things:
·         1 acorn squash
·         1 sweet potato
·         1/2 a small onion, diced
·         2 cloves of garlic, minced
·         2 Tbsp mushroom, diced
·         1/4 c zucchini, diced
·         1/2 c apple, diced
·         1/2 c veggie broth
·         3/4 c quinoa, cooked
·         1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
·         1/2 tsp paprika
·         1/2 tsp cumin
·         1/8 tsp cinnamon
Not a big deal, instead I used carrots, broccoli, snow peas and rice. The end result was still quite tasty! You may say that because I didn’t use the exact ingredients that I didn’t really make the recipe. But I think I did. To me cooking should be focused on whatever you have around the house and turning it into something wonderful. This recipe does just that.
One thing I’d like to note though is not to forget step 6…it may not exist in the recipe instructions, but in the step by step walk through she writes to put it in the oven for 15 min or so at 300 degrees. This is obviously quite important to finishing the cooking. Enjoy!

Oven Fried Chicken Bites

Then next recipe I tried was Oven Fried Chicken. I changed this recipe a little bit too, just to use what I had around the house. I didn’t have any bone in chicken breasts, but I had boneless and in the picture it looks like they had made bites so that’s what I decided to do. I also did not have rice-corn crispy cereal, but I had raisin bran! And I didn’t have melba toast either, but that is easily substituted with either pre-ground bread crumbs or I had an intentionally dried out piece of French bread that I threw in the food processor with the cereal to grind up.
 
 I find having a little bit of dried bread around the house is a good trick. If you ever have bread that you know is going stale and are considering throwing out, DON’T! Just leave it out to dry then food process that baby and voila! Bread crumbs that most people go out and buy in the store, add some herbs and you’ve got your own Italian bread crumbs.
This recipe turned out great. If given a choice I probably would have gone for the corn flakes or something of that sort but the end result was still yummy. Served with a side of sweet and spicy thai sauce and you’ve got something very similar to the sweet and spicy thai bites you pay full price for at Boston Pizza.

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

The last and final recipe I tried tonight was home made tootsie rolls. Now here is a recipe I probably wouldn’t recommend to anyone, unless you are allergic to corn syrup like one of the commenter’s on their site. The flavour really wasn’t close to a tootsie rolls, not to mention the overwhelming taste of dried milk. Not a pleasant experience.
 
Let me give you a run down. I made the recipe just as it says to but only had 1 cup of dried milk. The recipe said you may not use it all, so I was hoping I wouldn’t need the last 1/4 cup. Unfortunately the candy was still much too sticky without it, so I started adding more powdered sugar. I probably added about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of powdered sugar before it started to become workable. The other downside was that the powdered milk made it very grainy. I had read this in the comments and one reader had said that they were able to get that texture out of it after much kneading. Well I kneaded and kneaded and it was still grainy. The person who suggested this may or may not have been the same person who was allergic to corn syrup, maybe they were just looking on the bright side? Anyways, I’m glad I didn’t have that 1/4 more of powdered milk or else I would have had a lot more flavour and graininess to counter.
I wanted to try and save the candy from the garbage because I hate to waste! Especially with such an expensive ingredient as honey. So I started experimenting. I found that adding about 2 tablespoons of molasses (hence adding yet again more icing sugar) helped with the flavour but unfortunately the grainy texture is a lost cause.
Overall, I’m sorry to say that this recipe did not pass my test. Now on to making the failed project into something more edible. Wish me luck!