Diving Into A New Experiment

Barbi here! Apparently I have not been as active here as I should be.. at least, that’s what she says. To make up for my deliquency, I have helped create Jan’s newest venture. Go me! ūüôā

Crochet has been one of her hobbies for as long as I can remember, but only recently has she been allowing other people the pleasure of seeing her talent. What started as baby shower gifts will hopefully turn into a little recognition for a craft that has been forgotten by many.

Mom’s designs are completely unique. Not a single blanket is ever the exact same. We decided (yes, we, not just me) to base the name – Left2Crochet – on her unique ability to crochet left-handed. Since all crochet patterns are written for right-handed people, this is quite an accomplishment.

Please take a few seconds to check out the shop and leave her some encouraging feedback! As usual, this is just an experiment. We are not dreaming big here, but it never hurts to test the waters, right? So, in we go!

More Traditional Sweet Treats!

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you are like me, you are hurrying here, there, and everywhere trying to get ready for the big day.¬† Holiday baking is a tradition for most people, and I am no exception!¬† I have a few items that I have made at Christmas time for nearly 23 years.¬† The kids and Tim say that it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.¬† I have been making these first 2 recipes since I was just out of college.¬† The last one I created just last year, and have already made it twice this season!¬† Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS

4 c. powdered sugar

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. peanut butter (can use crunchy)

12 oz. chocolate chips

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 block paraffin

Mix sugar, butter, and peanut butter with mixer until well-blended.  Shape into balls and chill on foil-covered cookie sheet. Melt chocolate chips, butter, and paraffin in double boiler.  Dip the chilled balls into the chocolate mixture. Return each dipped ball to foil-covered cookie sheet and chill to fully harden the chocolate.  Store in cool place.  Makes about 50, depending on how large you make each one!

CHERRY NUT BREAD

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. buttermilk

1 c. chopped pecans

1 (10oz) jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped

Grease standard loaf pan. Stir together dry ingredients in medium bowl.  In a large bowl, cream sugar and margarine. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, mixing well after each addition. Bake in prepared pan at 350 degrees for about an hour or until toothpick comes out clean.   This recipe also makes about 6 small loaves which are great to give as gifts.  Reduce baking time to about 30 minutes.  Make sure toothpick comes out clean.

CRANBERRY-WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/4 c. milk

2 tbsp. orange juice

1 egg

3 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1-1/2 c. fresh cranberries, chopped (dried cranberries also work)

1 c. white chocolate chips

Mix sugars and butter.  Stir in milk, orange juice, and egg.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Add to sugar mixture. Stir in cranberries and chips.  Drop by spoonfuls on to cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 for 12-13 minutes.  Makes about 60 cookies.

These are great just like this, but also taste great with a thin layer of icing.

Thanksgiving Desserts!

Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cranberries. . .the menu items at our Thanksgiving Day dinner remain the same from year to year.¬† Yours probably do as well!¬† We enjoyed Thanksgiving Day this year with Tim’s brother and his family for the first time in 8 years!¬† With four parents, 8 kids ages 12-21, and one girlfriend, we knew we needed plenty of food. . .and plenty of food we had!¬† Two turkeys, two types of cranberries, and two types of dressing, plus lots and lots of other side dishes and desserts made for quite a feast.¬†¬† Here are a few recipes for desserts that we enjoyed this¬† year.

PECAN PIE¬† This is my mom’s recipe with just one tweek. . .chocolate chips!

1 c. light corn syrup

3 eggs

2/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. chopped pecans

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 (9-inch) pie shell

Preheat oven to 350. Combine corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl; mix well.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips; pour into pie shell.  Place pie on baking sheet. Bake 50-55 minutes or until filling is set about 3 inches from the edge.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Serve each piece topped with whipped cream.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

5 large apples, peeled and sliced

2 c. fresh cranberries

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 c water

3/4 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 stick butter, softened

Spray bottom/sides of 13×9 pan.¬† Layer apple slices, cranberries, and pecans in pan.¬† Pour water over all.¬† Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbs.¬† Spread over fruits and nuts.¬† Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is browned.

Love Thy Mother

Many appologies for the lack of posts! Clearly we are off to a slow start with this project, thanks to exams and graduation for Barbi and a house full of company for Jan. Hopefully life will slow down in the next few weeks if we’re lucky.

In the midst of all the end-of-school-year craziness, Mother’s Day kinda snuck up on me (I know.. world’s worst daughter). I managed to grab a sweet gift (monogramed note cards from Minted.com), but the guys had a little trouble. Noticing the absense of gift-wrapping requests or flower advice, I sent out a text message enquiry around 10:30 Saturday night. Mass panic followed, as I suspected,¬†but¬†a midnight Walmart run successfully solved the near disaster and I earned a renewed big-sister respect.¬† We’ll see how long THAT lasts..¬†

Anyway, this cake was not originally intended to celebrate Mother’s Day, but I added the chocolate chips when she wasn’t looking. Sometimes a sneaky nature comes in handy.¬†¬† What are your Mother’s Day stories?

Coco-Pecan Cake

1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. water
1/4 c. baking cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda

In a saucepan, bring butter, water, and cocoa to a boil; whisk until smooth.¬† Cool to room temperature.¬† In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.¬† Add cocoa mixture; beat on low speed just until combined.¬† Add sour cream, eggs, and baking soda; blend until smooth.¬† Pour into a greased 13×9 baking pan.¬† Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.¬† Cool on wire rack.

Frost with prepared coconut-pecan frosting (yes, we cheated).

Managed to snap one pic before the hordes descended