Monday, August 30, 2010

Sticky, Gooey, Goodness...

If you’ve ever been a guest at our lil’ abode out here in Cali, then you’ve definitely enjoyed a can of the ever popular Pillsbury Sweet Orange Rolls and or a can of the cinnamon rolls too. Sometimes I feel like I run a bed and breakfast… so these little cans have become quite handy… but that’s a story for another time. Now, I won’t deny it… I live for these rolls. Bri and I can split a can any day of the week… and usually do at least once (gasp.) I blame my parents who served up these tasty treats almost every holiday and plenty of Saturdays too. Sadly, I can’t blame them for the fact that I eat a silly amount of these rolls… and have no self control when they are in front of me.

Do ya’ll remember THIS post? Remember what I told you to do with the other half of the dough? It’s the perfect recipe for sticky, gooey, sweet roll lovers like me... and you absolutely MUST try this… it’ll change your world (or at least your Saturday mornings) forever. Amen?

Carmel Sticky Rolls      from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day!

For the Dough:
Use half of THIS RECIPE that’s been refrigerated for at least a few hours.

For the Carmel Topping:
About 30 pecan halves (Do NOT chop them!)
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp butter (room temperature)

For the Filling:
4 tbsp butter (room temperature)
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ cup chopped pecans (toast ‘em if you like)
A pinch of black pepper (trust me.)

You’ll wanna keep your bread dough as cold as possible so go ahead and do all the prepping first.

Start by creaming together the topping in your beloved Kitchen Aid mixer. Don’t argue with me… you NEED one! Grab a 9 inch cake pan and spread the mixture evenly over the bottom. Then scatter the pecans all over the sugary spread.

Next, mix up your filling. Cream the butter, sugar and spices together, and set aside.

Now grab your dough (about a 1 ½ lb piece). Lightly flour your working surface and roll out the dough to a long rectangle about 1/8 in thick. Spread your filling over the dough with your fingers… don’t be afraid to get a little messy! Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the filling. Then roll up the dough, longside, into a log. Grab a serrated knife and cut into 8 pieces.

Arrange the rolls in your cake pan, swirl side up. IMPORTANT: cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let them rest for an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the rolls for 40 minutes or until golden brown. The caramel will be oozing a bit and your house will smell like pure bliss.

Grab a cake stand, platter or plate and invert the caramel rolls onto it immediately. Then grab a cup of coffee, a hot roll, and ENJOY!

P.S. I linked up here...

Friday, August 27, 2010

There were never such devoted sisters...

I have a sister. She is amazing. She’s my God-given friend for life and we are super close! Her name is Renee and she is beautiful, witty, and very passionate about kids. Well, my baby sister just began her first year of teaching 2nd grade back home in Missouri and I’m so stinkin’ proud of her! I wanted to make her something super special for her very first classroom… and of course my obsession with pennants would have it no other way…

I began with these supplies…

And whipped up a brightly colored Pennant…

And some fun tablecloths to cover the not-so-fabulous tables…

She also requested some very “Nae” lanyards… which absolutely must include little animals and owls, because that’s who she is… adorable.

Make something special for a teacher you love ya’ll!

P.S. I'm linking up to these parties...

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eating my way through L.A.!

So now that I live in Cali, I suppose it would only be fitting if I took advantage of the “Fabulous Los Angeles” being so close. I met my childhood friend Kels, who is staying with us for a bit, up in L.A. earlier this week so that we could experience the fabulousness. We were sorely disappointed. It went a bit like this: “Oh look, Rodeo drive!” “Wait, that’s it?” “Oh, there it went.” The other “hot spots” were all the same experience… the city was dirty, crowded, and took a million years to get anywhere. We’d enter something in the beloved GPS which said 8 miles away… and forty minutes later we’d arrive at our destination. This Missouri girl did NOT love the L.A. traffic, that’s for sure!

So, being me, and a total foodie, I decided I’d just eat my way through this city, since that was the only part I was enjoying… and boy did I enjoy the FOOD L.A. had to offer! I’ve heard about a bazillion different little eateries during all the hours of Food Network I watch, and I brought a list of places to try while I was there…

First stop: UMAMI BURGER. Kels and I had both written this one down as a must try! I had the So-Cal burger (Ha.) It had roasted tomato, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, medium rare beef and a delicious spread that had me lickin’ my fingers! We also shared some cheesy hashbrown balls with spicy mustard dipping sauce…YUM.

Next up: SPRINKLES Cupcakery! Bri and I are HUGE Food Network fans, and this summer we followed both the Next Food Network Star & Cupcake Wars. One of this year’s weekly Judges was Candace Nelson (love that she spells her name the RIGHT way) who owns Sprinkles in L.A… the very FIRST cupcake shop! So when I was heading north, I just HAD to have one of her famous cupcakes! I chose Red Velvet since it’s my favorite… and luckily, Kels brought Bri & I a BOX of different cupcakes the next day! Love that girl. Anywho… the cupcake was DELISH! Definitely the best red velvet I’ve ever had!

THE cupcake…

It didn’t last long…

Then there was: LOS 5 PUNTOS. Kels’ friend Narda is getting married… which is why Kels is way out here on the west coast. Narda is from Mexico and her family owns an authentic Mexican Grocery & Meat shop. We had the BEST pork taco EVER. We were however the ONLY blonde haired, blue eyed girls ordering up a taco at this awesome shop… what can I say, we wanted AUTHENTIC!

Last stop: TOAST! Before I headed up to L.A., I did an extensive search for the very best foodie spots. This restaurant came highly recommended by Food Network hosts and most certainly lived up to the hype! I’m a sucker for good atmosphere and cute décor… this place was my style! Not only was it a super cute eatery, I had the most ridiculously delicious Brinner… Coffee Cake Crusted French Toast with real maple syrup, breakfast potatoes with sunny-side up eggs (is there any other way?) and FRESH squeezed orange juice! YUM!

Look at the adorable jars full of cookies with chalkboard labels!

Oh goodness…

After all that good eatin’ I rolled myself back to San Diego for a food induced coma… but boy was it worth it!

Have you visited any amazing spots lately? Let a girl know where to get some good food!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just Peachy...

There are many things about living in California that I am not a fan of, but the fact that almost every fruit is grown right here, or super close… that I like. So now that we are living in the land of beautifully cheap, fresh fruit… I have discovered that I LOVE peaches! I walked into Trader Joe’s (the best grocery store ever) sometime in May and saw this…

I immediately threw one of these crates in my cart (or placed gently), checked out and smiled all the way home, so proud of my $4 purchase that I was just beside myself! It was only after eating peaches everyday for both breakfast and lunch and then subsequently buying another one of these babies, that I decided I might need a faster way of using them up. Oops. Sooo… what place do you think of when you see peaches?? Georgia! And who lives in Georgia?? Why Miss Paula Deen of course! I quickly grabbed her sons’ cookbook; “Ya’ll Come Eat” off the shelf and flipped to the mouth watering Peaches & Cream Muffin recipe. Enough said… I ran to get out the butter. These muffins were dense, fruity, buttery bites of goodness, and although they do have fresh peaches in them… there’s nothing healthy about eating one...and that’s the way I like it.

Peaches & Cream Muffins                The Deen Brothers

2 cups flour
2 sticks of butter (melted)
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 largish peaches (finely chopped) (or a 15oz can drained)
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab the cooking spray and coat your muffin pan. It’s not really necessary if you have a non stick pan… there’s enough butter in this recipe that I’m pretty sure they’d never stick. Ever.

Grab a large bowl and mix the butter, sour cream, sugar, vanilla & flour. Gently fold in your peaches.

Fill your muffin tin & bake for 35 min or until golden brown on the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let your muffins cool for about 10 minutes in the tin, and then completely on a wire rack… unless you can’t wait and just HAVE to grab a warm muffin, a good cup of coffee and head for the porch. I would. Enjoy ya’ll!

So now that we’re all settled into our new condo… I’ve done it again. There were four beautiful peaches just sitting on the counter, day after day until I realized that I couldn’t possibly eat them before they rotted (Riiiight.) So I grabbed my latest issue of …

Yes, it’s official… I’m a typical housewife who now reads Martha Stewart Living. But in my defense, I received an entire year free after buying my Singer, so there.

Back to the point at hand… there was a lovely recipe for a nectarine cupcake (very easily adaptable to peaches) with a whipped topping that was calling my name. This time, the same flavors were translated into a light fluffy, cupcake with a refreshing whipped cream topping… YUM! I’m ashamed to admit that these 12 little cupcakes were gone in a mere 2 days. It was not a proud moment, but they were DELICIOUS! Just TRY to have restraint or will power when these little delights are lying around. I dare you.

Peach Cupcakes with Whipped Topping      by Martha Stewart

1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp butter
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 medium sized Peaches (pitted, peeled & diced)

1 cup cold heavy cream
½ cup sour cream
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then line your muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Sift together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) in a small bowl. Grab your mixer and beat the butter and sugar for a couple minutes until it’s fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time while the mixer is running. Add the milk & dry ingredients in alternating batches until it’s nice and smooth.

Fill the cupcake papers with about half the batter. Then add a heaping tablespoon of the peaches to each cup, and then top with the rest of the batter.

Bake until the edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Cool them completely in the muffin tin. Your house will smell amazing. Neighbors will come snooping. Husbands will walk into the house with smiles on their face.

When you’re ready to grab a couple and enjoy perfectly sweet deliciousness, whip up the topping: Simply put the cream, sour cream & sugar in your mixer and beat until peaks form. Seriously it’s the easiest form of “frosting” ever and it’s light, and refreshing complement to the cupcakes!

Sigh. You’re welcome!

P.S. I'm linking up to this lil' party...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Girls Gettin' Crafty!

I’ve been fallin’ head over heels in love with all the flower-like pins and accessories in the blogosphere lately! Ladies like Lindsey @ The Pleated Poppy and Jessica @ Allora Handmade just blow my mind with their talent! And although I have definitely purchased some of their amazing swag, they inspired me to whip up a little somethin’ to dress up a cheap bag I bought this summer.

My friend Linz recently came out for a visit, and we decided to use our creative powers and GET CRAFTY! We stopped by JoAnn’s for some supplies and grabbed our handy dandy hot glue gun! After cutting up some strips of fun fabric, we twisted and glued them to a felt backing. I attached some safety pins to the back with more glue and a lil’ square of felt… and Voila! Some Twisted Blooms were born…

Here’s the bag I picked up at Gap earlier this summer…

And here it is all gussied up…

Linz decided to glue her blooms to a couple of headbands…

So cute. Hope ya’ll have a fabulous weekend! I’m linking up to these super fun parties…

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My favorite meal of the day… Brinner!

I’m pretty sure I could eat breakfast foods for EVERY meal of the day. My tummy starts growling just thinking about pancakes, French toast, omelets, bacon, cinnamon rolls, hash browns, biscuits and gravy… Mmmmm! The hubby and I quite often find ourselves having these foods a lot more often than just in the morning. In fact, while I’m writing this post, the hubby is begging me to make orange rolls… at 10 o’clock at night… on a Wednesday. My waistline is doomed. Anywho… this recipe from Rach is simply DELISH! It’s a breakfast sammie that you’ll want for lunch and dinner too!

Here’s the lineup…

Denver Egg & Potato Hash Sammies     Rachael Ray

8 small yellow potatoes (thinly sliced)
3 Tbsp butter
8-10 Eggs (depending on how many you’re feeding)
Splash of milk
Pint of mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
1 large green pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
3/4 pound cooked ham steak (finely diced)
8 slices of sourdough or firm white bread (toasted)
Sliced sharp cheddar cheese

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grab a skillet and put a few Tbsp of EVOO over medium heat. Add the potatoes in a thin layer. Season ‘em up with S&P. Cook until their crispy brown (about 8 min or so on each side)

YUM! I tend to nibble on these while I make the eggs. Shhh… don’t tell Bri.

Grab another skillet and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green pepper and ham and cook for about 5 minutes or so. Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl and add to the skillet. Add a little S&P and cook until the bottom of the eggs set and then pop the skillet into the oven for 10-12 minutes. They should look like this…

To assemble your sammies… layer some potatoes on a slice of toast. Top each with a quarter of the omelet (or less if you’re feeding more). Top the eggs with a slice of cheddar and then slice the sammie in half (corner to corner.)

Now take a big bite and die of happiness.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Bridal Tea à la Pennants!

It’s no secret that I stumbled on to this whole blogging thing by stalking other blogs and stock piling all the sewing projects, crafts, home décor ideas, and recipes in my “favorites.” Well… when it came time to throw Miss Casey a bridal shower, I turned to that looong list of ideas. Once again, I’m completely in love with the ADORABLE pennants all over the blogosphere! Remember this Pennant I made for my Daddy for Father’s day? So I decided to whip up a whole shower centered around this adorable idea… and here’s what I came up with:

First stop: JoAnn’s for some scrapbook paper to cut into tiny triangles and some cardstock with matching envelopes in a lovely shade of turquoise!

Then I decided to make some pennants based on the awesome scrapbook paper I used on the invites, so back to JoAnn’s I went for some funky fabric!

I used the same method for making these pretty pennants that I used for Father’s Day: HERE. But the basic steps are to cut out two triangles, sew them wrong sides facing on 2 edges, flip them right side out and iron them, and then do a pretty topstitch along the edge to give ‘em a clean look. Then I used premade bias tape and pinned the triangles inside the fold. I made one quick and easy stitch to hold it all together! Here’s a close up…

Now, I needed to whip up a quilted table runner to match the pennants and make the table (with the red velvet cupcakes!) the star! Now, I know you’re sayin’ to yourself “Riiiiight Candace. You just whipped up a quilted table runner, just like that.” Seriously though… this was easy peasy! I found the pattern right HERE along with a hand step by step tutorial!

In no time at all, I had my strips tacked down to the batting and backing of my quilt! Then I just machine quilted a couple lines on each strip of fabric, using the seams as a guide! The only time consuming and mind numbing part of this lil’ project was the fact that I had to hand sew my binding on my quilt… ew. I did, however, cheat, and buy the same premade bias tape I used for the pennants, so I can’t really complain. Having made binding and then put it on a queen sized quilt… I can tell your first hand that it is no picnic!

After packing these babies up in my suitcase, I finished packing up our apartment, moved to our condo, unpacked, decorated… and hopped on a plane to Missouri. Whew. July was an insane month of my life. Sadly, in all the craziness, I forgot to take a final picture of the runner before it was actually at the shower. Anywho…

Casey’s Aunt Terri graciously offered to have the shower at her BEAUTIFUL home! I was so excited to get the party set up, since half the decorating was already done thanks to her amazing decorating skills and her gift to Case (more on that in a sec.)

Isn’t her home just beautiful? She had the perfect spot for the pennants too!

Here’s the Runner all finished! I hope it finds a lovely home in Case & Kev’s place! I love the pattern so much, I might just make a few more of these for friends and family!

See those LOVELY glass cake stands and candle sticks? Aunt Terri MADE them! She has an amazing talent for gathering old glass dishes and creating beautiful pieces like these! I told her she needs to jump on the Etsy bandwagon and start selling these… I know I’d want a few!

The cupcakes are red velvet… YUM! I used the Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe, along with PW’s PERFECT cream cheese frosting recipe! The cupcake wrappers were so darn cute, they matched the runner perfectly in chartreuse and turquoise, but once that red batter hit ‘em, they were a sad shade of brown. I had extra scrapbook triangles for the invites, so I made little cupcake toppers with toothpicks! I also made Paula Deen’s mini Blondies… they are always such a hit! The matching M&M’s were brought by the lovely Meagan, and we served Sweet Tea & Lemonade in glass pitchers with sliced lemons. It was a sticky, stormy night so I was glad I decided to go with cool drinks instead of hot tea! The night was full of good conversation, food, friends, family and girly gifts… the perfect way to spend a summer night!

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