Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chocolate Croissants


These are yummy. More importantly, these are easy to make. Maybe I'm the last person on earth to know about this recipe, but even so....I'm going to blog about it. This way, if I ever get hit over the head and forget everything I ever knew....well, that won't be such a bad thing, but I'd at least like access to this recipe. By the way, me, if you are reading this and you forgot everything you ever knew, I want to tell you-you hate bread, and sweets, and you LOVE running, in fact, you run marathons, so....get back on the threadmill, girl. OK....to the rest of the world...and by 'the rest of the world'...I mean all three of you that might accidently read this....
Here's my super secret, very difficult recipe for Chocolate Croissants.
Ingredients:
1 package of canned croissants
1/2 a package of chocolate morsels
3 T. of Sugar
(I made up those last two measurements so it would seem like a real recipe).
Directions:
Lay out a croissant, place about a Tablespoon of morsels on top.

Roll as directed on the package.

Make sure the ends are sealed so no chocolate is showing (this will prevent it from seeping out while you bake). Sprinkle each croissant with sugar. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes (or until golden brown).
Linking To:
Inside Brucrew Life
TodaysCreativeBlog
It's a Blog Party
Night Owl Crafting
French Obsession Party
A Crafty Soiree
House of Hepworths
Prairie Story
Simply Sweet Home
Funky Junk
504 Main
Tatortots and Jello
Under the Table and Dreaming

Monday, August 30, 2010

4 Summer Cupcakes

I've been participating in a 4 week cupcake challenge at Hoosier Homemade.  Each week had a theme, here's a wrap up of the cupcakes I've made over the last few weeks, not to be confused with the calories I've eaten over the last month....they look very similiar! 
Click on the name of the cupcakes (links) for recipes, reasonings, ramblings, and run-on sentences:
Week One:  The Flavor of Summer-Melted Ice Cream Batter Cupcakes

Week Two:  Summer Activity-A Cooler of Dr. Pepper Cupcakes
Week Three: Cake Mix Cupcakes: Tropical Banana Pie Cupcakes

Week Four:  Candy:  Cotton Candy Cupcakes
Even though the challenge wasn't on my long term plan, it was a lot of fun to participate.  I have now acquired a list of cupcakes I want to try from the other bakers sharing their recipes weekly...to be added to an ever growing page of cupcake ideas I think of, uncover, stumble upon, and keep track of....I need to find more friends, or new gym equipment....quick!
Linking To:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Once Upon a Newspaper

On a personal note... 
It's not an obituary, but if it was....I'd be pretty ticked at my family for cutting off the top of my head in the picture.  This is the Metro Section from Sunday's Dallas Morning News, and at the bottom, on the right is my picture and a little write up about me the news put together based on an application I sent in last spring.  Maggie told me about a yearly series the newspaper puts together using teachers and student columnist.  It's called "Voices."  She thought it was right up my alley.  She was right.  I sent in a pretty scary application, and they took me anyway.  The pieces from this write up are from that application.  I'll have to find the 'whole thing' sometime...or lose it forever accidentally on purpose.   
Throughout the year I'm 'supposed' to summit articles.  I've been given my dates (they rotate), but I'm experiencing some writer's block, confusion, frustration, laziness, and timidness I don't recognize.   This summer I went downtown to the newspaper and I was 'trained.'  Or...untrained would be a more accurate description. 

It was hot, it was August, and like I said, I have fewer ideas of what I want to write about now than I did entering the building, but it was really great to meet and hear from the section's editor(s), and writers for the paper, and meet the other Voices.   They took our pictures in a studio, and they snapped about 50 shots of each of us.   I want to see the other 49 pictures of me b/c....well, nevermind... The deal is, we can write about whatever we want, it doesn't have to be education based, though I have a feeling mine will be.  We are also given a weekly question, and if we choose to answer in a smaller editorial piece, and they choose our answer, it will also run with our picture.  The picture thing sounds more like a threat than a treat.  We can also suggest articles we want to write etc, and go 'out of line' if they like our stories, but for now, I just want to get my feet wet, my pen warmed up, and my idea bank up and running.  My first article is due in a little over a month.  Right now, I'm glad to have a name near the end of the alphabet.  The problem is I've been given freedom, and all I want to write about is 'stuff' like cutting patterns in my breakfast toast and playing tic tac toe. 

Tic Tac Toast


I'm very busy and important, that's why I had time to highlight this morning's activity.  I actually saw this little toast press you could buy to do this to toast awhile ago. I rolled my eyes....not because it's not genious, but because it's sooooo not necessary to buy a punch to create this game board. 
I took a sharaded knife and I cut a tic tac toe board.  I didn't slice all the way through, just about halfway so I would have my grooves. 

I toasted to my desired 'brown.'  AKA: How patient I feel like being on any given morning before I press the toast back up b/c I'm tired of waiting.
I cut little pads of butter into fourths, and used a spoon and a drop of jelly for my alternative letter.  You could do this with fruit pieces too, but really, you probably won't do this at all b/c it's possible it won't make your priority list.  And when I say "you"....I'm actually speaking to *you* and not any alternative personalities housed in my body, they are all for tic tac toast, and they'll probably play every morning.  I hope my boss accepts extensive and important tic tac toast games as a legitimate excuse....Back to the toast....cut, brown, collect 'game pieces'....

And then....you play with your food.  Tic Tac Toast is very interesting when you play alone.  It's bad when you outsmart yourself.   Butter wins every time.  Butter would.   Try it sometime.  It's going to totally change your marriage, your relationship with your kids, and the octive of your dog's bark.  Or not.  I promise not to post for another 24 hours.  I can't promise I won't teach this to *your* child if I babysit.
Linking To:
Between Naps on the Porch
Keeping it Simple
C.R.A.F.T.
Trendy Treehouse
Pony Tails and Fish Scales

Saturday, August 28, 2010

San Francisco Road Trip Scrapbook


Last summer at this time, I had just come home from a trip to California. I blogged about it last August, but the gist of the trip was that my cousin, in California, welcomed a new little baby into our family, and my Mom, brother, and I went down to fight for her affection. ;o) We made a road trip out of it and stopped by the Grand Canyon, and San Francisco on the way...or I guess SORT of out of the way. I made a small album over the last few months to commemorate the trip. We rarely get a chance to get away as a party of three anymore, and I know this is a rare little road trip of memories I'll cherish, and now my album is complete.
I love 8x8's b/c they are pretty easy to throw together, and don't require, or have the room for a lot of embellishment. Don't get me wrong, I love to embellish, but my checkbook likes it when I'm limited.
Here are a few of the pages in memory of a few of the adventures....
I love driving to California b/c it takes you through a lot of Old Route 66, and some really fun old towns...

The Grand Canyon never gets old. This was my third trip, but my brother's first site of this incredible canyon. I squished as many pictures on this small page just to remember that we went....

...and then it was my turn to visit a new location....

I walked the Golden Gate Bridge....the fog lifted long enough for me to see beyond the Bay, I loved it!

...and have you ever seen a cuter baby?

Ever?
I love this little girl, even if she screams when I hold her....as long as she stops by the time she's sixteen or so, I'll be OK....
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Scrappy Gifts

Friday, August 27, 2010

Barbed Wire and Sun Flower Wreath

I've been a little bit obsessed with wreaths the last few weeks.  I've seen them popping up all over the net in all shapes and sizes, which makes me that much more obsessed.  I already have a ton of wreaths in my garage waiting for their seasonal debut, but...August didn't have his own wreath!  I saw this ginormous wreath at a lavender farm a few months back with a whole bouquet of purple and orange flowers attached to a roll of barbed wire.  I loved the idea of using rusty barbed wire as a 'wreath' base.  I'm sure anyone that lives 5 miles outside of a major city can find miles of free, rusty barbed wire, but after a pretty extensive search through antique stores, and pondering the pros and cons of of slicing some off a nearby farm (kidding!), I decided to do the only thing I knew how to do to acquire rusty barbed wire....I ebayed it.  I found 20 feet, and the good news it was .99 cents!  The bad news is it was more than 10 times that for shipping, which I didn't notice.  Ooops!  The reason given was that 'rolling' the barbed wire from the seller's grandfather's farm in SD was labor intensive.  Oh well, I got my wire, and learned a lesson-check the shipping.  20 feet of wire wasn't as much as I thought, and after playing around with a few ideas, I took a leap outside of my comfort zone, and I went simple with just a few precious sunflowers I snagged at a boutique, and this ribbon from Hobby Lobby....which brings me to a non-related wreath matter....did you know you can pull the Hobby Lobby coupon up on your iphone and they will scan it and give you the discount as if you had brought in your weekly ad with the attached coupon?  As if I wasn't enough of a Hobby Lobby shopping monster!
Linking To:
Funky Junk

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lego Mania...Or Why I Need a Hobby...A Husband...or a Hug

So....I might have gone a little crazy at the lego store at the Mall of America. I should say, we have a Lego store in Dallas. As a rule, I don't shop places out of town that we have in town if they have the same stuff. They have the same stuff in MN that we have in Dallas. As a rule, I try to avoid buying meaningless, silly things I'll only use once. As a rule, I never follow any rules I set up for myself. So....I bought this.

Doesn't every 31 year old need lego men ice cube trays? I thought so too.
I made ice.

You might could use these for a robot party, huh? (Have I justified this purchase yet?)

I turned all my dogs into cannibals.

The lego men screamed as my dogs nibbled.
I also do birthdays and barvmitzvahs.
I'd say I don't get out much, but I get out all the time. I'm just not quite right.
And then I decided to use these as little chocolate molds.

I made little baggies of these lego men for some lego-maniacs I know (who I previously made a lego cake for). I believe in bribing children to like me, I'm preparing for motherhood.
I could have really gone crazy playing with colors, and making features, but at this point I was ready to move on to my next toy, and the word crazy hit a little too close to home. Alternative Title to This Post-A product you will see at a garage sale at some point in the future.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups


I saw this recipe for homemade fruit roll-ups here. I love dehydrated fruit everything. I know, I know....more calories blah blah blah....but it doesn't stop me from loving it!!! When strawberries went on sale, I went down and grabbed a few pounds. I actually halved the recipe, but I'll share the full recipe, and some adjustments I'll be making next time. I messed this up enough that I almost didn't share it, so stay with me for the 'don't do this if you like this idea' part or you will hate me, BUT it was soooo tasty...I had to share. I'm keeping this recipe, and I'll be making the adjustments I'll include below next time I do make this...which will be the next time strawberries go on sale!
Ingredients:
4 pounds of strawberries
1 c. of sugar
Juice of one lemon
Parchment paper
Instructions:
1. Remove the hulls from the strawberries (all the pictures you see are half of the ingredients, so...imagine this doubled if you want to do the whole recipe).

2. Place strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a blender...and blend until smooth.

3. Place blend into a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, stir the whole time. Skim the white 'stuff' off the top after you lower it to a simmer.

4. Continue to simmer for about 45 minutes. I check it every 10 minutes or so, did a little more 'white stuff skimming'....stirring....and watching. Once it is about the same thickness as apple sauce....it's ready for the next step.

5. This is the first step I'd do differently. I laid down on sheet of parchment paper across a pan. I would cut long strips (imagine the 'fruit by the foot parchment paper'....or smaller squares so that things cooked more evenly. I'd then spoon the mix along my strips of parchment paper. Leaving a little white on the edges. It was thick enough that it didn't spread so much that it spilled, so that's good. Here is what I actually did....

The problem with this is it didn't cook evenly, and the sides got a little overdone while the center was finishing baking. As you can see, 2 pounds covered an entire baking sheet, so you'd need even more room for 4 pounds.
6. Bake for 7 hours at 170 degrees. Yes, you read that right...7 hours...so, overnight. I actually had to bake it about 4 hours longer so the middle would not be sticky, but I think if I make it in smaller strips that won't be a problem. When you can touch the middle, and it doesn't come away as a liquid, they are ready to come out.

7. Cook, and roll. (I had to roll, and then cut mine apart, which left them less neat than the example. I also had to trim off the edges.) This recipe is very yummy, it's worth another try in my book. Half the recipe made 10 width to width, rolled up fruit leathers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pasta Supreme


I have a pal that brings this to a potluck every Christmas, and I look forward to eating it, and wait for her dish to come in so I can give it a whirl or 17 on my fork. I finally asked for the recipe, despite the possible impact on my calorie count, but....I remembered I gave up on counting in about 1987...or at least accurately counting, and asked anyway. It's really simple, and another twist on the age ol' pasta salad, which is always goodness. It's pretty much the recipe on the back of the spice used in this dish, but I had never heard of this spice until she gave me this recipe, sooooo...it's new in my box of recipes.
Recipe:
1 lb of spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 c. of Italian dressing
5 t. of Salad Supreme McCormmick spice mix (more or less, according to taste)
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 purple onion, julienned
1 cucumber, cut thin
Chill over night,and serve cold.
*You can really toss whatever veggies in there that you want...because I know you needed my permission, but I like to stick to my friend's recipes 'exactly'...if I went off on my own I'd put dice a twinkie or something and toss it in the bowl and wonder why it didn't taste the same.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Candy of Summer: Cotton Candy Cupcakes

This is cupcake is for week four of Hoosier Homemades Cupcake Challenge, AND week one of my 'wire my mouth shut' diet attempt.  This week's theme is "Candy."  Maybe Cotton Candy isn't a traditional 'candy,' but...it's in the name, and they sell it on the candy aisle, and after exploring a few options, I think this probably defines summer candy for me.  Every August, the circus comes into town for a few weeks, and I went to the circus every year...and ate cotton candy at each event when I was younger.  I recently discovered you can purchase cotton candy for a lot less than a circus ticket, and their food booth prices.  I made some mini cotton candy puffs here, and I found the cotton candy at Walmart in a tub.  This go round, I found a bag of cotton candy at the Dollar Store (it's also currently in the Dollar Section at Target).  I tried out a few decorating options for these cupcakes.  I love mini everything, so first up is the mini-cotton candy topped cupcakes. 
Cupcake Instructions:  Bake a white cake mix as instructed on the box.  Ice with a strawberry icing.  I liked this combination because cotton candy is a sugar flavored candy.  If  both the cupcake and icing were strawberry flavored it would have been to overwhelming, but I think the white cake mix represented the 'sugar' well, and the strawberry gave a hint of the flavor.  I tried to give the cupcakes a little bit of a 'messy look'....b/c cotton candy is fluffy and sort of untammed.  (I bought the pink/polka dot liners at Michael's.)

For the mini toppers:  I bought Bugles (at the Dollar Store), cotton candy, and white chocolate morsels. 

I melted the chocolate, dipped the Bugles, and then let them dry on a piece of wax paper. 
I placed each Bugle on a cupcake, and added a little fluff of cotton candy to the top of the bugle.  You could hold them in place with a dab of chocolate or icing. 

Alternative Icing:  I also tried out an approach with a little more drama.  I like drama....in a dessert.  I put huge mounds of cotton candy on each cupcake. 

The package comes with three flavors, so you (and when I say "you"....I'm speaking to my future self) could ice each cupcake with strawberry/lemon/koolaide flavored (vanilla) berry icing, or just vanilla icing dyed yellow/blue/pink and then top with the three flavors of cotton candy.  One bag makes 6 dramatic cupcakes.  (I bought these multi colored dot liners at Hobby Lobby.)
Here is one little warning about cotton candy.  Top them right before you serve them, or store them in an air tight container, especially if you live in a humid environment.  Air+Cotton Candy=Magic Disappearing Act.
Linking To:
Hoosier Homemade

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lemon Wedge Sugar Cookies

It's hot....very hot. 
To cool off, I love lemon flavored Crystal Light, and I have been wanting to try one of these 'dangling cookies' for awhile now. 
The Decorated Cookie made a lime wedge cookie she hung from Cosmo glasses for the Sex in the City Movie opening, and I thought....I have GOT to do that...the Baptist way.  How about an innocent glass of calorie free lemonade?  Being Baptist really doesn't have anything to do with this, but it seemed like a good excuse for not owning a martini glass and trying out the lime wedge.  These are really easy, and it turned out better than I expected....the danging part, not the icing part....did I  mention it's hot?  I can't pipe a straight line when it's not hot, but I definitely can't be bothered with perfection when it's hot.  (So far I've blamed my crafting issues on being Baptist, and living in Texas in August.....it can only go down hill from here...). 
I cut out circles, and then sliced the circles in half, and carved out a little square with a sharp knife to 'dangle' the wedge on the glass from.  I baked....
I iced each cookie a light shade of yellow, then added a darker shade along the outside edge, and then shakily, lazily, and have dazedly (?) piped on the white lines. 
I'm done making excuses, and bad rhymes, but I am a fan of the color yellow, the flavor lemon, and the cookie of sugar. 
I could do without the heat of August, just in case anyone was wondering. 
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to School: A 'Real Life' 'Real Time' Story

Pretend to be impressed.  I wasn't planning on posting anything in 'real time' this week, but I can't hold this story in....and it's a good place for me to end after a week or 'school related post.'
Somedays are just great. 
Monday we went back to work 'offically.'  Boooooo Hissssss ::Insert Spitting.:: 
I mean, I do love my job, but I love my summers a liiiiiittle bit more, and I just wasn't ready.
I've been in meetings for weeks, but it was 'official' Monday...full time official, no random days without meetings. 
Before I go on, I work for a large district, more than 40 elementary schools fully loaded down with teachers and students.  BUT with the economy, we didn't have a lot of turn over this year. 
So....after breakfast, we all sat down and we began introducing ourselves.  There aren't many new teachers, and all have experience.  Up stands new teacher #3 of 4, and I turn to Heather (my teaching partner) to tell her I think I know #3, but before I get a chance....New Teacher #3 says, "My name is ____ Fisher...." I DO KNOW HER!  She continues to share that she has been at home for 17 years raising her kids, but previously taught at Greenwood Hills, and she taught 5th and 6th grade.  I can't stop, "You were my 6th grade teacher!" I interrupted.  What's even better about this, I LOOOOVED 6th grade because I had Mrs. Fisher as a teacher (R/LA).  It's why I wanted to teach 6th grade when I started the job hunt almost 10 years ago-I heart 6th grade and everything about it.  The hunt was successful, and it's what I taught for 6 years (R/LA/SS...to be exact) before moving into the reading specialist position I currently hold.  I never told her b/c she wasn't teaching by the time I figured out I wanted to teach.  I can't say I got all of that out this week, but life is so interesting.   And so, it came full circle! AND there is another lucky bunch of students who will get to claim her as their own.  She's not teaching 6th this go round, but she's teaching, and the world is a better place because of that fact. 

Back to School: Post-It Note Holder


This is my 6th of 6 back-to-school projects....and this is also the easiest of all six. There is a not-so-secret, secret among the teaching community that teacher's love teaching supplies. It's almost as exciting as shoe shopping, minus the whole 'The summer is over' aspect that comes with the need to shop for school supplies. I happen to own a post-it note pop-up holder...or...umm....two, but I saw this idea at a scrapbook store, and I had to try it out.
At the store they used some chipboard, but I have a little stash of free 'chipboard' I like to pull from for things like this.
Here are the supplies:

Gluestick, coaster from a restaurant, ribbon, scraps of scrapbook paper, scissors, hole punch, and rhinestones (not necessary unless you are me), ink pad, five minutes to complete this, which includes the time it took me to put the supplies away!
Steps:
1. I inked the side of the coaster. I could have used a marker, or paint to also do this, or just left it as is, I doubt too many people are going to inspect the thin edges.
2. I glued a solid color on the back, and a pattern on the front. I have a ton of scrap paper with lots of fun colors I'll have to try out. I literally grabbed the scrap on top of my stash of scraps. I cut around the edges.

3. Punch two holes...

...thread the ribbon, tie. I then stuck on a little line of rhinestones b/c I need bling in my life.
4. I pulled the back off the post-it, and stuck it down to the little chipboard. It stays in place great.

I might add a strong magnet, or even tack it up to the board by my desk....or place it in my scientific dust experiment that is ongoing in a corner of my house.
I made one more with scraps, I'm sure I'm not finished yet...

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