Thursday, May 28, 2009

Time To Update!

I've been working on so many things lately and just been so dang busy that I haven't had time to get on the computer to post! So here's some pics of my latest adventures...

A little toy heart for Summer to play with...

inspired by HERE
The nice thing is, she actually plays with it! Yea! It's a winner. :) Essentially you just sew two sets of hearts (leaving openings on each side) and then sew those together, stuff them, and use and invisible hand stitch to sew the hearts closed (for the tutorial, click the link above). Really easy and fun. I bought some jingle bells to put inside so it would make some noise, but I realized too late that with all the stuffing around the bells they just don't jingle. :) Oh well.

And here is a party garland I made for Dixie's birthday party...

inspired by HERE
Hm... I think I need to make this garland longer so it will string back and forth more times. That's the nice thing about this... you can keep adding to it and adding to it, or even cut it down to fit an area and then sew it back together. Very versatile. But I love how cute it turned out. Sorry for the bad pics. It was night time when I took these, so the lighting was bad.
Again, this is easy to make, just time consuming. You just get a bunch of color coordinating fabrics (I used about 6 different patterns), then cut and cut and cut to your hearts content (having a rotary cutter sure made faster work of the triangles and rectangles... the flowers had to be done by hand and were another story! :)), and then sew all the shapes together in a totally random order with some invisible thread. Ta-da!

Okay, and let's not forget the CAKE for the little princess' party...

...and this one was just inspired by my brain and all of Dixie's Barbie movies. :)

So that's just some of what I've been up to lately. I've got a bazillion more things running through my mind that I want to work on, some in the works, but I'm trying to keep myself organized so I don't end up with tons of started projects and no finished ones. :) Anyway... I'm just trying to keep those creative juices flowing!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taco Soup--Ummy!

This was a recipe I tried last week... it's DELICIOUS! I'm sure it would be a lot more appropriate to eat on a cold, winter day rather than a hot, muggy, Texas day, but it's so good that I don't even care. The original recipe comes from a lady named Jane Clayson, but I modified it to fit my tastes. It's SO easy and SO delicious...

Taco Soup

-1 lb hamburger*
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2 stalks celery
-4 cups stewed tomatoes**
-1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, undrained
-1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
-1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
-1 pkg. taco seasoning
-Cheddar cheese, grated
-Tortilla or corn chips, crushed
-Sour cream
(*any ground meat will work. My hubby is a hunter, so we have a ready supply of ground venison which is what I used.)
(**if  you do any canning, I just used a large Mason jar (quart size) of canned tomatoes that I had done last year. Worked perfect.)

-Brown the hamburger (or whatever ground meat you are using) and onions in a large pot. 
-Add the celery, tomatoes, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. 
-Simmer 30 to 40 minutes. 
-Serve immediately with the chips and cheese sprinkled on top and a dollop of sour cream. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm So Clutch

I saw these SUPER CUTE little clutch bags HERE and thought this would make a perfect gift for a little giveaway that I did on my personal blog. I have 4 people to make gifts for, and I thought this little bag would be great for my SIL, Annie. So I bought my fabric, started sewing, and the further I get into this project, the more this little bag starts screaming at me, "Erin. Erin! Send me to ERIN!" (Erin is my other SIL). And by the time I was done, I had to agree... this bag had Erin's name written all over it. So it's off to Erin it goes. (Sorry Annie.) But if it makes you feel better, I already have a new one in the works for you that I think you will like TONS better. :)
So here is my little gift to Erin... (hopefully she likes it. ...and hopefully she doesn't read this before she gets it, otherwise I just ruined the surprise. Oops!)

P.S. These bags are so fun to make! There's a free pattern at the link above for anyone who wants to give it a go!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Delicious and Nutritious Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last week I went to a Relief Society Enrichment Night Activity (an activity night with a group of women from my church) and we learned all about beans... the health benefits, how to cook them, recipes to use, etc. 
Here's a little "taste" of what you can make with beans...

I'm not kidding! I was so excited about this new insight that I jumped right in to the "bean cooking world". For my first new bean recipe adventure I chose to make the chocolate chip cookies from the recipe handout we got, because of all the dessert options they appeared to be the most healthy (I'm on a health kick right now). These cookies are made with 100% whole wheat flour, they have NO butter, they only use brown sugar (no white), and they have beans to boot!
And the result? ...

... They turned out great! I keep eating them, and guess what? I feel no guilt! :) The taste is a little different from "regular" cookies, but not different in a bad way... just a different way. :) Now, granted, I'm already used to having cookies made with partial wheat flour, so if that's something you're not used to, that could be the biggest difference for you and take some getting used to. My husband says they taste like a protein bar to him. ...but that's a good thing, right??!
Well, if you'd like to try them, here is the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Beans!

-1/2 cup cooked white beans (I used canned* Great Northern Beans)
-1 cup brown sugar
-4 eggs (if you're using your food storage eggs, this is 1/4 cup Egg Powder + 1/2 cup Water)
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 1/4 cups wheat flour (you can use half white and half wheat if that's more to your liking)
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 cups chocolate chips (I used half milk chocolate chips and half white chocolate chips)
-1 cup pecans (or walnuts), chopped
*If using canned beans, drain and rinse them prior to beginning.

1. Beat the beans and sugar together until creamed. (I had to take a spoon and mash the beans occasionally to help them along.) Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. (If using a mixer, do this a little at a time to avoid flour flying everywhere). Stir well until blended.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Cover and refrigerate dough for about 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Helpful Hint: Do NOT over bake these! They do not turn golden brown when done, so try testing them with a light touch on top of the cookie to see if they are done or not. (They should be barely firm and will set up more as they cool.) You do not want them to get crisp or crunchy. Also, if you are baking two cookie sheets at a time, be sure to switch them from top to bottom and vice versa half way through for even baking.
Makes 4 dozen. (Unless you make them my size, in which case it will make 2 1/2 dozen) :)

So go ahead... give them a whirl! You'll never have to feel guilty about eating cookies again! :)