Monday, January 28, 2013

My First semi-Homemade Pie. Ever.

I was having one of those "being a mom is so hard" kind of days when my husband told me that he was taking the kids and for goodness sake would I go do something for myself.

So I decided to make a pie.

I've had the Crisco recipe for pie crust on my fridge for weeks now but I keep finding an excuse not to use it because, after all, the idea of making a pie absolutely terrifies me.  I had, however, purchased some canned cherry pie filling so at least I didn't have to think past the pie crust.

I made 3 big mistakes:

  1. I did not chill the shortening nearly long enough. 
  2. My water was not icy cold.  And I added too much of it.
  3. Apparently it takes 2 cans of filling to make a pie.
Here is my first semi-Homemade cherry pie:

It didn't taste terrible.  Which is good.  But as I was lamenting my first trial with my husband he said, "Yeah, pies are really hard to make."  In spite of my 3 mistakes, my biggest frustration was actually tenting the outside rim with foil.  I baked the pie for 10 minutes and went to foil the edges and burned my thumb instead.  I guess you can foil the edges first and then take the foil off for the last 10 minutes as well; I didn't know about this option.  Also, I found out that they make silicone rims to make the whole process much easier.  Anyway, the edges of this pie ended up crispy.

Move over quest for the perfect brownie recipe because I think I just found a new lifelong ambition.

Next time I'm going to put my shortening in the freezer and a cup of water in the fridge.  Just to be safe.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fresh Broccoli Salad

My coworker had a bridal luncheon a few months ago.  One of the ladies brought in a really delicious broccoli salad which another coworker requested that I find the recipe for.  I googled "Broccoli Salad" and found this one from  After I printed off a copy for this other coworker, I decided that it did, in fact, sound good enough to make myself so I gave it a try.  YUMMY!  Maybe one of the best broccoli salads I've had?

Fresh Broccoli Salad

  • 2 heads fresh broccoli
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 lb. bacon
  • 3/4 c raisins
  • 3/4 c nuts
  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  1. Place bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.  Cool and crumble.
  2. Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces and cut the onion into thin bite-size slices.  Combine with the bacon, raisins, nuts and mix well.
  3. To prepare the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth.  Stir into the salad, let chill and serve.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Black and White Chocolate Cupcakes

I found this recipe in a BYU alumni article about the founders (who are BYU alumni) of one of my favorite bakeries: The Sweet Tooth Fairy.  (Another reason BYU is the superior school.  Ahem.)  I made these cupcakes a few weeks before Christmas. 

I only had half of one before they had all vanished.  Not exaggerating.  That half that I DID have was very, very delicious.  Another plus?  They are super easy to bake.

My daughter was in charge of the chocolate chip placement.  She also helped me swirl the frosting.  I think she did an excellent job.  (So does she.)

Black and White Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c and 2 T dark chocolate cocoa
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c ready-to-eat chocolate pudding
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 24 cupcake pan cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds until well combined.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.  Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl and resume mixing on medium speed for an additional minute.  Stop the mixer and fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Fill the prepared cupcake liners with batter 3/4 full.  Bake about 15-18 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
White Chocolate Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 c white chocolate chips or 6 oz. white chocolate, melted
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 1/3 c powdered sugar
  1. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute.  Add melted chocolate and vanilla; mix for an additional minute.  Add powdered sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy after each addition.
  2. Spread the frosting on the chocolate cupcakes.  Garnish with fresh raspberries, chocolate chips, or chocolate sprinkles.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Craft Room: Update

I haven't been as good as I had planned on being on updating the progress of my new room, but we are nearly finished!  My husband has been hard at work getting things painted, installed, and built.  I've been busy sorting and organizing.  Here are a few pictures of our progress:

We bought this shelving unit at IKEA after seeing one in a friend's craft room.  As you can tell, I have hardly filled it up...which means I need to do some shopping!

I was in desperate need of some workspace.  My old 12x48 workspace, which I used all of the time, just wasn't enough.  So I proposed an idea for a work table to my husband and he built it for me--like, in a day.  He's amazing.  I would have been happy with just a slab of particle board, but he went a step further and trimmed it out in decorative edging.  It looks fantastic!

That box on my desk and the bag to the left of it (hard to see) are full of things that I have acquired and need to be organized since this project began.  I think I have a problem.

I had to go buy a third paper organizer.  It was on clearance which makes me think that Hobby Lobby might not be stocking them anymore.  That makes me nervous; I'd better stop buying paper.  (Yeah, right.)  There is a collapsible hobby table that I found at Joanns that we allowed space for (folded up) between the paper organizers and my desk.

My closet is one of my most favorite things about my room.  There is so much room in there that, again, it will take me awhile to fill it up.  I wanted to keep my modular organizers (previously part of my desk) so S built the shelves to accomodate them (I even have room for a few more.)

Finally, it's hard to tell, but in the previous picture and the next picture, you can see an angled wall that I haven't quite known what to do.  I found a giftwrap organization method on Pinterest that I thought would be ideal in this spot.  I've always wanted to get my giftwrap out and on display: it can be so pretty!

Even since I took these pictures a few weeks ago, we've made a lot of progress.  I am confident that by the end of January everything will be installed and I'll be ready to play again!