Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cherry bath fizzies ( Last minute Christmas gift )

I put together this gift thanks to Martha Stewart's recipe. Simple ingredients, easy mixing, and some waiting.

What you need:

1. 1/2 cup citric acid ( from the grocery store, canning section )
2. 3/4 cup cornstarch
3. 1 cup baking soda
4. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
5. Food coloring
6. Essential oil or candy flavor
7. Cookie cutters or any mould of your choice

What you do:

Stir together citric acid, baking soda and corn starch. Pass mixture through a fine sieve or flour sifter into a mixing bowl. Add sugar.

Add some food coloring to about 1/8 -1/4 cup water. The less water the better. Sprinkle a bit of the colored water unto mixture. It will fizz some. Mix till damp or until you can pack mixture with your hands.

Add essential oil or candy flavor ( I used cherry ), a drop at a time till desired strength of smell. ( May take about 10-15 drops)

Mix till color is even throughout. Spoon or pack into desired mould. I just heaped patted and cut with cookie cutters.

Leave out to dry at room temperature. Waited about 2-3 hours before gently pushing them out. Original recipe calls for overnight drying ( I am not that patient ).

Now have fun with pretty packaging.

PS: silicone moulds make the popping out part so much easier!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Quick and easy Advent calender

The whole family helped with this one. We use mini kraft envelopes from staples, punched some ready made chalkboard labels ( from Hobby Lobby ) and had our 5 year old practice writing her  numbers by labeling them with a silver metallic sharpie pen. After scouring the internet, we decided on some activities for each day of the holiday month and  hand wrote them on paper. I picked up the silver stars for Hobby Lobby as well. Our little girl just stuck them on. Here are a few of the activities we agreed on :
Taking clothes to the women's shelter
Watching a basketball game
Eating christmas candy
Writing a letter of gratitude to friends
Skyping family on other continents ( we are originally from Ghana, West Africa )
Building a fort with blankets and reading a christmas story
Baking a cake for Jesus
Seeing the Zoolights in Chicago
Making a gingerbread man
With this done, maybe we will have a dance party tonight...;)


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Simple Thanksgiving wreath

It is never too late to get my Thanksgiving decor going. I had to make do with what I had around the house : old book pages, card stock, craft punch , chalkboard paint and burlap. Just getting started for the  Holiday season.
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mini Jello cakes {Milk Free}

This sunday, my son gave me a wonderful idea! He asked if I could make him a cake with Jello gelatin dessert. He chose Berry and Lemon as his preferred flavors and we went to work ... These cakes turned out to be so moist and a bit gooey, which made it easy to mold into whatever shape. I had a lot of fun!! The cake recipe is at the end of the post.
A few things:
  1. Do mix cake batter completely before adding  gelatin
  2. I found it easier to divide batter into equal parts in different bowls to mix in gelatin before pouring into cake pans
  3. I used 5 tablespoons gelatin powder to 3 cups of mixed cake batter { I think using a whole box of gelatin might give a much too sweet cake}
  4. Stir gelatin gently into cake batter with a spatula
  5. You may add some food coloring { I skipped it, hence my "green" looking berry cake }
  6. Used two 8 inch cake pans
When the cake was done, I crumbled all of it on some wax paper, patted it down and cut with cookie cutters..He loved it!! The added bonus?:   the colors were his favorite team colors..GO MSU!
Cake recipe
2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup{2 sticks} butter, slightly softened - I used soy margarine
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1cup milk - I used water
5 tablespoons each of preferred flavored gelatin
Mix butter and sugar, till well bended, add eggs one at a time, mix well. Mix flour, salt, baking powder and add to wet mixture, alternating with water. Divide batter equally, add gelatin and
bake @350F for 30-35mins or till tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Furniture adventure

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I am currently going through a romantic phase in my life. I am all into antiques, pearls, peonies , poems and vintage finds. I am working on transforming our basement guest room into my "vintagey", romantic hideout. {Will post pics in the future} So when I spotted this dresser at my local church thrift store, I knew I could make something out of it. I liked the mirror but was not totally in love with it. It had to come off..luckily all I needed for that was to unscrew bolts behind the dresser.
Then came removing the knobs, sanding,..lots of sanding, painting with a flat interior paint ..lots of patience and the lettering. My greatest challenge was getting the graphics on the wood. Thanks to wonderful tutorials via http://thegraphicsfairy.blogspot.com, {she has a list of 12 tutorials on how to transfer graphics unto practically anything} I pulled it off. I chose to use the blender pen method. Bought a colorless blender pen from Michael's.
The quote happens to be a favorite of mine, courtesy of Oscar Wilde. I am really amazed at how much loving myself liberates and allows me to give fully too. Anyway, back to the dresser. I typed it out on my Silhouette Cameo screen, picked a font, flipped it so the letters were backwards, printed and got to work with my blender pen. Again, I would refer you to http://thegraphicsfairy.blogspot.com for a tutorial on how it is done. Had to fill in the quote with a paint marker after the blender pen method just to make it easier to read.
There are a lot more pics to enjoy as you scroll down the page..


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Caramel cake with caramel/chocolate frosting

This cake is really light. I made enough batter for one cake pan. Used a deep 8 inch pan which  I got from Hobby Lobby. I started baking a few years ago after we found out my son had a severe milk allergy. So all my baked goods are milk protein free . I use a lot of soy margarine, almond milk and coconut butter { Olivio brand} in my baked goods.


1/2 cup unsalted butter { I used soy margarine} 
1/2 cup sugar                                                         
2 eggs slightly beaten                                          
3/4 cup self-rising flour                                       
1tbsp milk { used almond milk}                              
1 tbsp caramel syrup                                           


1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened                     
2 tsp caramel syrup                    
2 tbsp milk                                  
2 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar    

Preheat oven to 350F.
Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat till light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in eggs. Sift in flour and fold gently using a metal spoon.
Fold in milk and syrup.
Pour into greased and floured  8 inch cake pan.
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, till firm to the touch.

For frosting, put butter, caramel syrup and milk in a large bowl.
Beat with a mixer till smooth.
Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, till frosting light and creamy.

Once cake is cooled, cut in two with long serrated knife, spread a thick layer of frosting on cut surface and replace top half of cake.
Continue to cover cake till all covered with frosting. Keep in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Once frosting is firm, you may sprinkle with some powdered chocolate. I used a Martha Stewart cake stencil for this design effect.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Easy Fruit bowl

2 baking pans, E600,  candlestick, silver spray paint, chalkboard paint and chalkboard pen.
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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Apricots..light and sweet! ( milk free )

Saw a recipe on Pinterest for peach cupcakes..so I modified it, made it milk free, used a shortcut  { don't judge, I work long hours } and used fresh apricots instead. Would not recommend this for a cake you plan on covering fully with frosting. The cake and cupcakes end up being very light and fluffy , so the cake might crumble under the weight of the frosting. Believe me, tried it so I know. Be careful with the fresh apricots in the frosting..tends to make it runny so would need a lot more confectioner's sugar to firm it up. Might be a good idea to smash apricots, drain and throw into frosting or use freeze dried ones that have been pulverized in a food processor.

Cupcake recipe:

     1 yellow cake mix               
 3 eggs                              
1 cup soy peach yogurt   
1/3 cup milk or water   ( I used almond milk )
1/3 cup oil                       
 You may throw in 1/4 cup of drained smashed apricots or pulverised freeze dried apricots.

Mix all ingredients for about 4 minutes with an electric mixer..will be quite thick, scoop into lined cupcake pans and bake @350 for 20-25 mins or just follow directions per cake mix box. Allow to cool before frosting.

Buttercream recipe

1 cup soy margarine                      
 1/4 cup shortening                          
1/4 cup smashed drained apricots 
1 2lb bag confectioner's sugar      

whisk margarine and shortening till pale and fluffy, add a quarter bag of sugar and whisk, till fully mixed, then add apricots. Now you decide how runny you would want your frosting. Keep adding sugar 1 cup at a time till you get a desired consitency..forms soft peaks without falling. Frost and enjoy!

Let me know what you think..try it, tweak it, give some feedback.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

English garden Tea party

My Little girl turned 5 this June. Well she had given me a heads up that she wanted a tea party..so mommy got to work. Must confess I started planning this in April. This gave me time to look around, draw inspiration and pick goodies for decor from my favorite thrift shops..{ antique shops, goodwill, dollar tree..} . My favorite part was the painting of  the tea sets { thanks to Martha Stewart's multi surface craft pearl and metallic paints}. Did I mention I got these "never been used " tea sets at 50 cents a set??. See the finished product at the end of these posts.
Pictures courtesy of  Darcy at http://www.darcyholsopplephotography.blogspot.com/2012/06/rosies-5th-birthday-tea.html
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decorated with sugar paper..these were the kids' favorite
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Party favors

Dollar Tree crafts..each girl upon arrival would take a necklace off a branch to wear.


Inspiration from http://www.creativityinprogress.com/blog/2011/04/plastic-easter-egg-tea-cups/ There is a sweet tutorial on fun things to do with plastic Easter eggs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Red sweet wine and strawberry cake with strawberry frosting ( Milk free)

For Cake:
I package yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup red sweet wine
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/3 cup oil
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with an electric or hand  mixer for about 4 mins and bake per cake mix directions. Allow cakes to cool.

For Frosting:
1/2 cup butter or margarine ( I used soy margarine)
1/4 cup shortening ( may add more if desired). Optional
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup strawberries

Whisk margarine /butter and shortening till fluffy and pale, add sugar, whisk till well incorporated and then add strawberries and whisk for another minute or so. Whole process takes about 5-10 minutes.
Frost cake and enjoy!!
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