Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tea Cakes, Shortbread, and Zucchini Bread

Yesterday I made two different types of cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, and Classic Shortbread.  

The Russian Tea Cakes came out really good.  I took them out after 8 minutes though because they were done earlier than the 10 to 12 minutes that the recipe says.  I'm not sure where my mother got this recipe from, I will have to ask her.  I know she altered it though, cause she told me the original recipe calls for Vanilla Extract, but she always uses Almond.  Oh, btw, these cookies are also sometimes called Mexican Wedding Cakes.

Russian Tea Cakes
1 Cup Butter Softened
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Almond Extract
2 1/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup Walnuts Ground or Chopped Fine
1/4 tsp Salt
Powdered Sugar to Coat

Preheat oven to 400
Mix Butter, 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar and Almond Extract in bowl
Stir in Flour, Nuts, and Salt.  Mix until dough holds together.
Shape into 1" balls.  Place about 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until set, but not brown.  (I found that about 8 minutes was right the oven I'm using)
Remove from cookie sheet while still warm, and roll each one in Powdered Sugar to coat.  Let cool completely, then coat again with Powdered Sugar.






I got both recipes from my mother, but found out she uses the shortbread recipe from the shortbread pan she has.  I bought a shortbread pan yesterday so, my baking would go faster.  It's really pretty, it's the Norwegian Woods Shortbread Pan by Brown Bag Cookie Art.  The pan makes a bunch of cookies, and then you cut them out along the lines.  This particular pan has trees and deer on it.  I'm ok with how they came out, but I'm going to try to see if I can get them to come out better on Saturday.  They were a little too dark I think, so I'm going to try cooking them at a slightly lower temperature, and checking on them a lot more.

Classic Shortbread
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
 
cream butter, combine powdered sugar then vanilla.  Work in flour.  knead until smooth.  spray shortbread pan lightly with oil, or brush lightly with oil.  firmly press dough into the pan.  prick dough surface.  Bake at 325 F for 30 to 35 minutes.  cool for 10 minutes.  loosen edge with knife  turn onto board.  cut into pieces. 
I put a plate or something flat on top and turn
 




While I was at it I made some Zucchini bread, using another recipe my mother sent me.  This came out awesome!  I love Zucchini bread.  I didn't have nutmeg or baking powder, so, I used extra cinnamon and some cream of tartar.
 
Zucchini bread
1 and 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 cups sugar I usually use brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
3 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cloves (I usually use nutmeg in place of this)
1/2 cup  (optional) raisins, walnuts or chocolate chips or any combination of.  I used chocolate chips this time.)
 
spray loaf pan with oil or grease pan.  bake at 400 for 10 minutes and turn down to 325 for approximately one hour.
 
Loaf = 24 pieces at approximately 80 calories each, 14 g carbohydrates

I need to start going to the gym again :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fail

Today was too crazy to make cookies.  I was going to make Russian Tea Cakes tonight, but some things came up with the family, so, I'm making them early tomorrow.  There will be two cookie recipes posted tomorrow.  I might be getting a new cookie mold tomorrow :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day 1


Today I made Peanut Butter Cookies, they are a favorite among my family and friends, plus it's very simple.  Even as a young child I would help my mother in the kitchen, this is one of the simple recipes that I was able to help with.  I remember we would read the recipe together first, then I would help measure ingredients and mix.  Baking is a lot of fun to do with children, I love cooking with my nieces.

I used the Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookie recipe from the package of Crisco Butter Flavored Baking Sticks.  I always remembered getting the big tub of Crisco, but they didn't have the butter flavor available in tubs at the store I went to.  Anyway, here are the ingredients:

Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 stick Crisco Butter Flavor Baking Sticks or 1/2 cup Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Milk
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
1 3/4 Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
I also got a bag of Hershey's Kisses to put in some of them, this was my friends idea.

This recipe is supposed to make about 3 dozen, but I made mine smaller, so I ended up with a total of 54 cookies

Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Tools
My brand new nesting doll measuring cups and spoons(just came in the mail today), mixing bowls, a fork, a knife, 2 baking pans, butter flavored cooking spray, and my ingredients.


Step 2: Preheat Oven

Make sure that the rack is in the center of the oven, and preheat oven to 375  F

Step 3: Combine Peanut Butter, Shortening, Brown Sugar, Milk, and Vanilla in a Large Mixing Bowl

I measured out the 3/4 cup of Peanut Butter, and put it in my large mixing bowl.  The recipe on the package said to use Jif Creamy Peanut Butter, but I used this creamy natural peanut butter instead.  I think it came out better this way, I like the texture and taste of the natural peanut butter.
Next I added the 1/2 a cup of Butter Flavor Shortening.
1 1/4 cup Brown Sugar firmly packed.  It's amazing how much more Brown Sugar fits into a measuring cup when you pack it down.
Added 3 tablespoons of milk to the mix,
1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract...

Oops!  I accidently added the egg next, which didn't seem to be a big deal.  The recipe says to mix the egg in after the rest of the ingredients are mixed well, but it didn't seem to make a difference to me. 

Step 4: Mix Well

Then I mixed together all the ingredients with a fork, making sure to crush up all the lumps of brown sugar and crisco.  This is the low tech version, the recipe actually says to use beat it together in an electric mixer on medium speed, until well blended.

Step 5: Combine Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt
Now I'm adding 3/4 teaspoon of Salt

3/4 teaspoon on Baking Soda

and 1 3/4 cups of Flour

Step 5 Mix All Ingredients Together

The recipe said to mix at lox speed until well blended, but I just mixed it with my fork again.  The photo above is what I ended up with.

Step 6: Prepare Baking Sheet with Cookies to Go in Oven
I sprayed the cookie sheet with butter flavored cookie spray

Then, formed the dough into little round balls, about the size of a large marble,

and pressed it down with the fork, to make the crisscross pattern on top.

This is what they should look like.  

Next I put them in the oven, on the center rack, and set the timer for 8 minutes.  This was a bit too long, the first batch came out a bit darker than I would have liked, so I put the others in for 7 minutes.  Bringing it down to 7 minutes made them come out lighter for the most part, but the ones towards the back of the oven were still a little dark.  The next batch I put in the oven for 4 minutes, rotated the cookie tray, and put it back in for another 3 minutes.  The batch that I rotated came out best. 

 Step 7: Take Cookies Out of Oven, Add Hershey's Kisses to some, and Let Cool

While cookies were still warm, I pressed a Hershey's Kiss into the center of a few of them

Once cookies were cool enough so they wouldn't fall apart, I transferred them from the backing sheet with a thin spatula...

to metal racks to cool.

I'm pretty happy with the way these came out.  I'm excited to try another recipe tomorrow!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Feeling it

It's starting to feel like the holiday season to me now, and I have so many things that I would like to accomplish!  The best way for me to get things done is to just keep moving, force myself to be constantly busy.  One of the things I have decided to do is make a bunch of different cookies for my friends and family, for Christmas.  The plan is 12 different types of cookies, in 12 days... hopefully starting this Monday.  I am calling this my "12 Days Of Christmas Cookies."  I'm going to post about my experience making the cookies, and I will include the recipes.  One of the cookie recipes are supposed to be prepared, then put in the fridge overnight, so, I might have to take two days to do that one if things get really crazy.  Might make some candies and stuff also, but they won't count as part of the 12.  Even though I have them all planned out, I want them to be a surprise each day so, I won't be telling you what kind of cookies I am making.

I finished the pincushions that I was working on
These will all be for sale in my etsy shop as soon as I finish posting them :)
Trying to multitask.  I have the embroidery machine running, and I'm going back and forth trimming, cutting fabric, editing photos, and playing on the internet.



Friday, December 2, 2011

My New Pincushion

I've decided to make some new pincushions for my etsy shop, so I made a prototype that I'm going to use.  I was thinking that mini pincushions would be cute stocking stuffers.  Here is the test pincushion that I made for myself:
I have lots of pretty ribbon purchased from HollandFabricHouse, this one is my favorite.  I thought the ribbon would look cute with the green fabric, and it's useful for holding my scissors that I use for trimming, since I'm always using them.  I'm really happy with how it came out.  I've finished one other one:
This one is for sale in my etsy shop.  Here is the link if you are interested:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/87698415/green-pillow-pincushion-deer-with
More mini pincushions will be finished soon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Last minute costume ideas

I was going to be Sailor Moon this year, but since the one in the store didn't look authentic enough for me, I decided that I would try to make the costume myself. I've been really busy lately so it's still not done. Not sure if I'm going to have time to finish it before halloween. I found this really cute make-up tutorial.


I think I might be a zombie instead... or I could be zombie Sailor Moon, if I ever finish the costume.

Facebook page

Working on a facebook page for my etsy shop.  So far, I've added pictures of embroidered aprons, and hand painted monster pins.

Check out Eclectic Embroidery's facebook page

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shopping, Hunting, and Lasagna

Yesterday I made some awesome Lasagna with my boyfriend, and continued my job search and found some cool clearance stuff in the process.  Went on a job interview yesterday, not sure if it went so well.  It ended up being a group interview with three other girls.  I'm not sure how it went for me.  Still haven't heard back from the other job interview I went on last week, so I decided to go look around other places to see who is hiring.  While I was looking around the mall I found hottopic was having a clearance sale.  Everything on clearance is an additional 50% off when they ring it up.  I got two new pair of underwear, a bra, and 2 pair of earrings, for like $14!  The sale is going on online also.  My birthday was last week so I get a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $30 or more until the 24th of next month.  I'm thinking about buying $30 worth of clearance t-shirts.  I miss shopping.

When I got home I played some PS3(Playstation Store is STILL undergoing maintenance), did some dishes, tried on newly purchased items, and made lasagna.  I used the recipe from food network called Blazy's Pepperoni Studded Lasagna, it came out really good!  Things didn't go exactly the way the recipe said they would.  It took us like an hour more time than the recipe said it would, but the sausage we used wasn't pre cooked, and we spent a lot of time playing around with things.  We ended up using nearly 2 lbs of ricotta, and a little extra parmesan and mozzarella.  I think it would have been better with a little more sauce, but it wasn't dry, probably because of the extra cheese.  We also ended up with about 1/4 lb of lasagna noodles leftover.  Overall it came out good though, I will be adding more sauce next time.  There is a whole lot leftover, I bet we will be eating lasagna for the next week or so.  I think we should have cut the recipe in half, maybe we should freeze some.

Today I went back to drop off applications, and the managers actually wanted to talk to me when I dropped them off.  This has never happened to me before.  It made me really nervous to have to talk to them right then and there.  I wasn't mentally prepared to discuss why I wanted to work there.  I need to get better at talking to people, I mean I can have a conversation that doesn't matter with anyone, but it's different when it's actually important.  Oh well, even if that didn't go so well I've learned from it, and there are plenty of other places to apply.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Games and Pirates

Yesterday I went to the movies and saw Pirates of The Caribbean on Stranger Tides, found out about the problem with LA Noir, learned about the free games Playstation will be offering when the store is back up, and leveled my Deathknight to 80! Not a bad day. Not very productive, all I accomplished that I meant to was washing the dishes, and doing some sketches for some new projects I'm working on. Maybe Today will be better. I managed to wake up earlier today, that's a good start .

I liked the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie overall, but I wouldn't say it was a great movie. Johnny Depp is probably my favorite actor, if I had to choose one, and I like him as Jack Sparrow. I didn't have any great expectations for this movie, it was pretty much what I expected. The movie had it's good and bad points. I saw it in 3D and the backgrounds and costumes were really pretty, and the fight scenes and special effect were exciting. Character design was cool, especially some of the crew members and the non human characters. The storyline was alright, a little predictable at times, but I didn't expect it to be a great story.

I won't be buying LA Noir right away, since it's been causing problems with overheating PS3 and XBOX systems. Besides, I like to buy my games once they go down in price. I can understand the anticipation of a new game, the excitement, and mystery of playing a brand new game that you've preorder, or purchased the day of release. I have done that before, but at this point in my life I would rather wait for the game price to go down significantly before I purchase it. If I don't read too much about it, I won't have anyone spoil it for me.

Playstation is going to be offering free games for the inconvenience of the store being down. Here is a link to some info about it on G4. I can't wait to download my 2 free games from the Playstation Store. I think I'm going to get LittleBigPlanet and Dead Nation.

I have been playing World of Warcraft since Burning Crusade came out, but I try not to let it consume my life. I play on Muradin, and I have 3 characters that I play a lot, a Blood Elf Warlock, Troll Hunter, Goblin Rogue, and a Blood Elf Deathknight. The Hunter is the character I started out with, since it seemed easy to play, but I tired of her pretty fast and created my Warlock. In anticipation of Wrath of the Lich King coming out, I leveled my Warlock, so I could create a Deathknight. If forced to choose, I think my Deathknight is my favorite, and I have played her the most. She is finally lvl 80, but the lvl cap was changed to 85 when Cataclysm came out, so I have a lot more work left to do. I have learned two new spells, so that should be fun.

Friday, May 20, 2011

K'NEX Has Mario Kart Building Sets

I love toys, especially video game toys! I need K'NEX Yoshi and Standard Kart Bldg Set! I wish they had Bowser, he is my favorite. I hope they come out with more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goat Pizza Funny Cake and Clothes

In the past week and a half I have gotten baby goats, gone to Connecticut to eat pizza and see two comedy shows, and it was my birthday. The goats are actually my mothers, but they live at my house, and I will be helping with them. The Connecticut trip was fun, even though my boyfriend said it would be crazy, and he initially didn't want to “drag” me there with him. My birthday was pretty good, kinda laid back, but I like that sometimes.

The two goats are now named Ivy and Rosebud, both are female, if you couldn't tell by the names. They are some kind of Alpine dairy goats, not 100% sure of their proper name. They are two weeks old now. Last time we weighed them, they were 7lbs and 9lbs. I haven't seen them in person yet, since I haven't been home, but the pictures are adorable!




On Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to Connecticut to see some comedy shows, and got pizza from Frank Pepe Pizzeria and Modern Apizza. We woke up around 10 or 11am I think, it's a long drive to Connecticut. First we went to Frank Pepe Pizzeria. We stood in line for about 20 minutes to a half hour I think, but it was worth it to experience something different. We got a pizza a large pizza with mozzarella cheese. The pizza was really good, but I couldn't say I necessarily liked it better that the pizza I'm used to getting in NY, NJ, and PA. The crust was very different, it didn't seem like it rose as much as the pizza I'm used to, and thinner, and more crispy. It was a little greasy, and the crust was a bit well done(kinda burnt in spots), but not to the point where it was bad. I really liked the sauce on this pizza. Then we tried to go to Sally's Apizza, stood in line for about an hour, then heard it was going to be another hour and a half wait. We didn't have time to wait that long, so we went to Modern Apizza instead, which is supposed to be similar to Sally's. We ordered a pizza with mozzarella cheese, garlic, and half sausage. I liked this pizza more than the other. There was less crust, it wasn't as greasy, and there weren't any burnt spots. I didn't like the sauce on this one as much, it was thinner, and had less flavor, but it wasn't bad. I never feel like there is enough sauce on my pizza, if I order a pizza for myself I usually get extra sauce. Bacon is my favorite pizza topping, but my boyfriend doesn't like it, so I don't usually ask for it, since he will eat more pizza than I will.

After securing the leftover pizza in the car, we continued our journey. Next we went to Hartford Funny Bone, there we saw some comedians including the headliner who was Jim Short, and ate fried pickles. The show was good, can't remember the name of the guy on before Jim Short(bad with names), but he was alright. Comedy shows are more of my boyfriend's thing. I enjoy them, but I'm not good with remembering names of people and details. I have this fascination with strange deep fried things, so when I saw fried dills on the menu I really wanted to try them. I liked the batter they used to deep fry them, and I like pickles, but theres something strange about eating hot pickles. They were better once they cooled off, oh and the dipping sauce was good, kinda like a Russian dressing type thing with some horseradish in it, if I'm remembering correctly. We got drinks that came with free glasses. I like getting glasses from places I visit, you can never have too many glasses lol. I got a Loosened Tie for my first drink, it was made with Apricot Brandy, Banana Liqueur, Coconut Rum, Orange Juice, and a splash of Grenadine. It sorta seemed like an old man drink, but it sounded good to me, so I ordered it anyway. It was really good. Then I got a frozen Banana Banshee, which is Banana and Coffee Liqueur. This one sounded better than it actually tasted, and it melted too fast.

Immediately after the show at the funny bone, we left for the next show, which was at City Steam Brewery Cafe. Had fun at that show too, at the moment I can't remember the names of people I saw though. I do remember what kind of beer I had, it was a Naughty Nurse Amber Ale, and I got a chicken salad sandwich with a Cesar salad. Food was alright, show was good, beer was good.
Monday was my birthday, and my boyfriend got me a PS3! I played PS3 until he got home, then I let him play for a little bit. Then I drank a couple of Blue Moons and played some more! For dinner we got Chinese food, General Tso's Chicken, Fried Dumpling, and Vegetable Lo Mein. For desert we had Chocolate cake!
Yesterday I saw my dad and got my present from my parents.  They got me the waterproof digital camera I wanted.  Haven't had a chance to use it yet, maybe tomorrow.

Today I had my second job interview at one of the retail stores I applied to. I'm looking to make some extra money, so I can take online classes this summer. The interview seemed to go well, they said I would hear from them within a week. Now I'm gonna watch some Venture Bros.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Juxtapoz Presents Procrastination with James Jean

I found this video on youtube today and figured I would share it with you. This is the sort of day I'm having.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Highly Caffeinated for Maximum Cleaning Capability

Woke up extra early this morning so I could clean before I had to go pick up my boyfriend. I've been watching his house for the past two weeks while he was on vacation. I had been up for almost two hours, but I've hardly accomplished anything. So, I decided to take a short break to go get some coffee. I went to the closest convenience store and bought the largest iced coffee they had to help me clean faster. I have projects I've been working on all over the living room, and still need to finish the dishes and make the bed. I've gotten distracted by cartoons, so now I'm watching Sonic the Hedgehog, the new one, Sonic X. I love Sonic the Hedgehog! I remember years ago, I used to get up at 6am on weekday mornings to watch the original Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, Sailormoon, and Mutant Leauge. My first game for Sega Gamegear was Sonic the Hedgehog. I never beat that game. I should find it and try to beat it, I know I must have it somewhere. I have played many other Sonic games since the first one. Sonic and Crazy Taxi were the only good games I had for Dreamcast. I've been messing around on Stumbleupon during commercials, and I found zombies.org, it was interesting, but didn't have as much information on it as it could. It made me wonder how many zombie movies exist. I looked on wikipedia, and found a list of zombie movies, but was too lazy to count them. On the wikipedia page I found a link to ZMDB – Zombie Movie Database. They have 4474 movies listed. Thats a lot of movies. I'm going to try to find a list of the best ones, and watch all the ones I haven't seen. I might try to make it a weekly thing. Well, I should stop playing on here now, and try to get into cleaning mode.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Adventures in The Soil

Gardening is my newest hobby. I love fresh fruits and vegetables, so I thought it would be fun to grow my own. I've started them all in my house inside plastic containers. The first group I planted a little more than a month ago, but some of them didn't come up, so I planted some more about two weeks ago. I've planted planted a bunch of different tomatoes, peppers, and squash. For the first group, I planted multiples of each plant variety. Only about half of them came up, which was very disappointing. Different soil for the second group, and it worked much better! In the second group I planted a few different tomatoes, (but not anywhere near the variety I have)jalapeƱos, and Hungarian paprika peppers. I think I'm going to plant some more next week.

Making Faces

I started on the blue one and was really getting very detailed with it, but didn't like.  Repainted the blue one, waiting for it to dry.  I decided to go more simple with the rest of them, I like how they came out.  I still have to decided what fabrics I'm going to use and put them all together.  Since I went more simple with the faces, I'm thinking maybe some print fabric.

Chocolate and Drying Paint


When searching for images of zombie bunnies, I stumbled across this Chocolate Zombie Bunny at Think Geek. Unfortunately they are all sold out. I bet I could make one. I have made chocolate Easter bunnies like that before with a candy mold. The details, like the eyes, blood, and ribs, would have to be added on, but I think it's possible. One of these days I should break out the candy making stuff, right now I'm too busy with other things.


Zombie Bunny Heads with 1st Coat of Paint
The first coat of paint on my Zombie Bunny Barrettes is finally dry. I finished sewing and painting them about seven hours ago, and went to sleep. They stuck a little to the cardboard they were drying on, so I had to clean them a bit and do some touch up. Next I'm going to paint the faces. Now the fun begins!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Zombie Bunnies!

Making Zombie Bunny Barrettes!  I'm tired of sewing, but I'm really excited to get these in my etsy shop.  I had hoped to get them done to sell before Easter, but that's not going to happen.  I had the idea for them a few weeks ago, but it's taken me awhile to gather supplies and motivation.  Designing the shape was also an issue.  I need to get better at making decisions in a timely manner.  Hopefully I will have them done soon.