Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sweet Potato Chips

I'd got myself a deep fryer for myself for Christmas, so I tried it out tonight! Mom had left some sweet potatoes behind after the holiday, and had mentioned how much she liked sweet potato chips, so I had the perfect reason to try out the deep fryer. I sliced them up on the grater, dropped them in the fryer, and sprinkled them with Paula Deen's House Seasoning. I thought they were tasty, but Tom detected the garlic in the seasoning, so he didn't like them. Oh, well, his loss.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

After the holidays, I've been trying my darndest to use up the leftovers, mainly the ham. Ham and cheese omelets and ham fried rice (also using up leftover rice) were just the beginning. I need to make sandwiches, too, but in today's exploits, I made a Ham and Bean Soup. When I first broached the subject with Tom, he said only if I make it the exact same way his mother used to make it - just beans and ham. I looked through her recipe box and found no reference to that soup. I finally decided to modify this recipe, and here's what I came up with.
Slow-Cooker Navy Bean and Ham Soup

  • 1 lb leftover ham, cut into cubes
  • 1 16-oz bag of dried navy beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of finely chopped onions
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 t dried thyme
  1. In 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix all ingredients.
  2. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 10 to 12 hours or until beans are tender.
I cooked it on High heat, since I got a late start this morning, and intended for it to cook for 5-6 hours. Because of the late start, I had to go to work, and Tom let it cook for two extra hours (gasp!). By then, he reported that all of the water was gone and the beans were mushy and pasty. He tried it, regardless, adding equals parts water to "soup," and said it was "freaking awesome!" He liked it, he liked it!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Swirled Candy Cane Cupcakes

I don't know why, but for Cookie Day at Huber, I decided that I wanted to make Swirled Candy Cane Cupcakes.

Swirled Candy Cane Cupcakes

  • 1 box (1 lb 2.25 oz) Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon red paste food color
  • 2 containers (12 oz each) fluffy white whipped frosting
  • 1 cup crushed hard peppermint candies (about 30)
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, egg whites and peppermint extract with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter in half. To 1 portion, add food color; stir until uniform in color. In each muffin cup, place 2 tablespoons red batter; top with 2 tablespoons white batter. Swirl white batter through red batter with knife for marbled design.
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Top each with crushed peppermint candies.
I think they turned out well, with a nice bit of peppermint flavor. The only down side was that the mints melted a little and got sticky.

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Wanda sent me a link for the recipe for Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies, so I thought I'd make them for Huber's Cookie Day, in addition to the cupcakes I initially planned to make.
Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz)
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!)
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  3. With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.
  5. Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
  6. Refrigerate for about an hour. (If you're really impatient you don't have to do this, but it makes it so much easier to work with.)
  7. When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels.
  8. Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. (I used a rounded cookie scoop-full. My scoop holds about a Tablespoon.)
  9. Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.
I think they were very good. They were definitely the best warm, but they were pretty good at room temperature, too.

Huber Holiday Breakfast

For part of Huber's Holiday week extravaganza, we had breakfast scheduled for today. Upon request, I made a Cinnamon French Toast Bake. There was a lot of good breakfast food, and Santa even visited!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Huber Holiday Luncheon

The luncheon appeared to be a success! Entrees were provided by the Olive Tree in Aberdeen, and the appetizers and desserts were pot-luck. I, of course, made Spanakopita, Cha Gio, Honey-Bourbon Pecan Pie, and Pistachio Christmas Cake with Cherries. Everything turned out well. The Spanakopita was tasty, the Cha Gio was a success, The Pistachio Christmas Cake was super-moist, and the Honey-Bourbon Pecan Pie was delicious.


The third item that I made for today's luncheon at Huber was Spanakopita, which I have a recipe for from the Time Life series, "Food of the World." I made a slight change, and put the mixture into filo cups, to make them easier to eat as an appetizer.


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 pounds chopped spinach
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dill
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leafed parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • a few grindings of pepper
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 package phyllo dough
  • ½ pound butter
   Heat olive oil in a 10-12 inch skillet, over medium heat, until a light haze forms over it. Add onions and scallions and cook until translucent, but not brown, about 5-10 minutes. Add spinach. Cover and cook for ten minutes. Uncover, and add dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until almost all of the liquid is gone, and spinach sticks lightly to the pan. Transfer spinach to a deep bowl, add milk, and cool to room temperature. Stir in eggs and feta cheese.
   Heat oven to 300° F. Melt butter in a pan. In a 12x8x2 baking pan, using a pastry brush, spread butter in pan. Place a sheet of phyllo dough in the pan and brush with butter. Add 7 more layers, in the same manor. Spread spinach mixture evenly in pan, then cover with a sheet of phyllo dough and spread with butter. Add 7 more layers of phyllo dough, and pour remaining butter on top of pie. Put pan in oven and bake for one hour, until dough is a golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I fixed the filling last night, then got up this morning before work to fill the cups and bake them. I think they turned out well, and helped to add a little bit of variety to the spread for the luncheon.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Honey-Bourbon Pecan Pie

Wanda sent me a recipe for Honey-Bourbon Pecan Pie, so I decided on a whim to make it for the Holiday luncheon on Thursday.

Honey-Bourbon Pecan Pie

  • 1 1 /2 cups lightly chopped pecans
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Southern Comfort or bourbon OR the malted mocha variation (see below)
  • 1 prepared deep-dish pie crust (store bought or homemade)
For the malted mocha variation:
  • 1/2 cup Ovaltine
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) chopped bittersweet chocolate
  1. Heat the oven to 350 F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs. Whisk in the melted butter, then either the liquor or the malted mocha variation (see below). Place the pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread the pecans in an even layer in the crust, then pour the honey mixture over them. Bake for 50 minutes, or until it no longer jiggles at the center.
  3. For the malted mocha variation, stir together the Ovaltine, instant coffee and the coffee liqueur. Use this mixture in place of the Southern Comfort. Add the bittersweet chocolate to the crust at the same time as the pecans before pouring in the honey mixture.
I've never made pecan pie before, so I hope it turned out well. It certainly looks good.

Pistachio Christmas Cake with Cherries

So, for the Christmas, oops, forgive me, Holiday, luncheon on Thursday, I plan on making four items. One of those is Pistachio Christmas Cake with Cherries and Frosting.

Pistachio Christmas Cake with Cherries

  • 1 box of white or yellow cake mix {your choice}
  • **You will use the SAME oil, and eggs the boxed mix calls for, BUT instead of 1 cup of regular water, you will use 1 cup of seltzer water!
  • 1 box of pistachio pudding mix
  • 4 ounces of chopped maraschino cherries for inside the cake mix, reserve enough for each cupcake top, or cake top
  • *optional 1/3 cup chopped pistachios, walnuts or pecans–they all work well
  1. Preheat your oven according to the cake box instructions
  2. Grease your muffins pans, cake pans, or bundt pans. I used the all new Pompeian Grapeseed Oil Baking Spray. It works amazing for baking cupcakes, cakes, brownies, cookies, and more. There is no aftertaste at all, a high smoke point, and the bottle is even eco-friendly! You can save $1 Pompeian Grape Seed Oil to try it for yourself!
  3. Chop up your cherries/nuts
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add your cake mix, substituted seltzer water, and pudding mix. Mix all your ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Add your mixture to your cupcake tins, cake pans, etc
  6. Bake according to the box’s instructions for that particular pan. The cooking time should remain almost identical. I suggest using a toothpick, and checking your baked treat right at the time the instructions call for. My time for cupcakes was right at 18 minutes.
*Recipe makes 24 cupcakes*
Pistachio Frosting

  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
  • Whole red shell pistachios and fresh mint, optional
  1. In a large bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cake. Sprinkle with pistachios. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before cutting. Garnish with whole pistachios and mint if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-15 servings.
I'm not sure how this recipe will turn out - some cake stuck to the pan, so it won't look as good as it possibly could.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ravens vs. Vikings

What a crazy game! The Ravens beat the Vikings, 29-26, and the weather was just about the worst I've ever experienced at a game. It snowed, and snowed, and we weren't able to perform the halftime show that we labored over, since they needed to clear the field of snow. We ended up playing the song in our seats.
As for the cupcakes that I made for Lorie's birthday - they went over well, but Lorie didn't show up! At least our busmates enjoyed them.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Candy-Topped Cupcake Cones

Tomorrow is Lorie's birthday, and since she said she's choosing band over family, I thought I'd make something special for the bus during lunch. I made Candy-Topped Cupcake Cones. They should have minimal trash (no cupcake liners) and be a nice treat.

Candy-Topped Cupcake Cones

  • 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® cake mix (any flavor)
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 30 to 36 flat-bottom ice cream cones
  • 1 container Betty Crocker® Whipped frosting (any flavor)
  • Assorted candies and decorations, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Make cake batter as directed on box. Fill 12 cones about half full of batter. Stand cones in muffin pan. Refrigerate any leftover batter until ready to fill and bake remaining cones.
  2. Bake 21 to 26 minutes or until toothpick carefully inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  3. Frost with frosting and decorate. Store loosely covered.
Makes 30 to 36 cupcake cones
I'll find out tomorrow how they taste!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ravens vs. Steelers

Another exciting game from the Ravens. The Ravens kept us guessing all the way up until the end, and ended up defeating the Steelers, 22-20. The game was cold, but not as cold as the Jets game, which doesn't make sense, since the Jets game was a day game.
The band didn't perform a show, because the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed. We did form "Play 60" on the field behind them (I was in the P).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WBAL Pep Rally

The Pep Band was asked to perform for a Pep Rally, since the Sunday Night Football bus is in town for the game tomorrow.

Initially, the gig was supposed to occur at the Inner Harbor, but the permits didn't come through, so it was at the WBAL studio on Television Hill. We had a couple of good television shots, and we got to check out the bus. Check out the following links: Video or Slideshow.

Pictures of Pep Band with WBAL Meteorologist, Ava Marie.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ravens vs. Jets

Woohoo! Another win by the Ravens! This time it was against the Jets, and the Ravens won soundly, 19-3. For halftime, the band formed a big 75 on the field, to honor the induction of Jonathon Ogden into the Sports Legends Museum Hall of Fame.

These are my two seconds of fame from this game.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Beef Stew with Herbed Potato Dumplings

So, tonight, I made Beef Stew with Herbed Potato Dumplings, the last of the recipes that I wanted to try out while on "stay-cation."

Beef Stew with Herbed Potato Dumplings

Ingredients STEW
  • 7 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans reduced sodium beef broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (16 oz.) package frozen vegetables for stew
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup Hungry Jack® Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
  • 1/2 cup Hungry Jack® Complete Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix (Just Add Water)
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Preparation Directions
  1. COMBINE 3 tablespoons flour and seasoned salt in large resealable plastic bag. Add beef cubes. Seal and toss to coat.
  2. HEAT oil in 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add beef cubes and cook until well browned on all sides. Add 2 1/2 cups beef broth, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.
  3. STIR in frozen vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Whisk together remaining beef broth and remaining flour in small bowl. Add to stew, stirring until gravy thickens.
  4. To prepare dumpling batter: WHISK eggs and water in medium bowl. Stir in potato flakes until moistened. Add pancake mix, green onion, parsley and garlic salt; mix well.
  5. DROP batter by tablespoonfuls onto simmering stew. Cover and simmer over low heat 13 to 16 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.
Despite the garlic - shhh, don't tell Tom it was in there - Tom and I both enjoyed this dish. The only criticism I had was that I couldn't eat more - those potato dumplings were extremely filling.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup

My final new recipe attempt from my week off is Smoky Butternut Squash Soup

Smoky Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • One 3-pound butternut squash, peeled and diced (8 cups)
  • 1 small canned chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 7 cups chicken or turkey stock or low-sodium broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
  1. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the squash and chipotle and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and honey and bring to a boil. Simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Puree the soup until smooth; season with salt.
  3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir the crème fraîche with the 1/4 cup of chives. Microwave until just melted, 30 seconds. Serve the soup with a swirl of chive cream and a sprinkling of chives.
Well, the hardest part about making this recipe was peeling and dicing the butternut squash - does anyone have advice on how to make that easier? The soup has good flavor, with a bit of heat, so Tom definitely will not be able to eat this.

German Cucmuber Salad

Today, I wanted to make something I saw on Pinterest, German Cucumber Salad.

German Cucumber Salad

  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 medium to large tomato
  • 2 slices onion (slice like you would for onion rings)
  • 2-4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp dill
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Peel and slice your cucumber, slice your tomato, and slice your onion. I like to slice, then quarter the onion because its easier to eat.
  2. In a bowl, combine dill and salt.
  3. Add sour cream or yogurt and lemon juice to taste. Mix well.
  4. Add onion, cucumber, and tomato to the mixture and stir until the veggies are coated with the dressing.
Well, I didn't realize until it was too late that I didn't have any lemon juice in the house, so the flavor wasn't what it was intended to be, but I still liked it. If I make this dish again, I'll slice the onion thinner, so that it's more like my family's sour cucumbers, and I'll probably add more dill.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Steak and Potatoes Dinner

For dinner tonight, I made Slow-Cooker Steak and Potatoes Dinner.

Slow Cooker Steak and Potatoes Dinner

  • 1 1/2 lb beef tip steak, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced onions
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 bag (19 oz) Green Giant® frozen garden vegetable medley
  1. Spray 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of beef with flour, salt and pepper. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Cook beef in oil 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on both sides.
  2. Place onions in slow cooker. Top with beef and tomatoes; sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 7 to 9 hours or until beef is tender.
  4. About 15 minutes before steak is ready to serve, microwave vegetables as directed on bag. Stir into beef mixture.
I wasn't exactly thrilled with the first bite, but subsequent bites were quite tasty. I'm not used to eating beef with tomatoes, so I think that is where I got hung up initially, but the meat turned out to be nice and tender.
On a totally different note, I practiced purling today.

There are a lot more things to learn, but I think I'm starting to get a hang of knitting!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Scared To Death

I finally finished reading "Scared to Death," by Wendy Corsi Staub.

I can't tell you how hard it was, but I'm guessing that it's because it's the second book in a series. There was a huge twist at the end, so the book was a little more interesting towards the end.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Italian Wedding Soup

I needed to use up some spinach that I had, so I made Italian Wedding Soup.

Slow-Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 small head escarole (8 ounces), washed, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 3/4 cups acini di pepe pasta (such as Ronzoni)
  1. In a large bowl, stir together egg, beef, onion, bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, 1 tablespoon parsley and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Form into 1-inch meatballs (about 45) and place on baking sheet; refrigerate while preparing soup.
  2. Combine broth, carrots, escarole and oregano in slow cooker. Gently add meatballs. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Stir in pasta for last 20 minutes of cook time. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Sprinkle each serving with remaining parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve.
I made a few changes (I used spinach instead of escarole and after adding the pasta, I jacked the heat up to high and cooked it for longer than necessary), and it didn't turn out as expected. With the added time, the pasta soaked up practically all of the liquid, so I added water to make it "soup." The flavor was good, and the reason why I cooked it for longer was because the meatballs didn't look like they cooked through. Perhaps they did, but if I make this dish again, I'll only use a cup of pasta.
I also finished listening to an audiobook, "Never Go Back," by Lee Child.

I enjoy a good Jack Reacher novel, and this one was much better than the last one. I was disappointed by the ending, but it makes sense, and I can't expect Reacher to change, can I?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Learning to Knit

Today, I started the process of learning how to knit.

I looked up a tutorial, and learned the first two steps: casting on and knitting - the picture is cast on 20, and about 16 rows of knitting. The next step is purling.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hamburger and Potato Skillet

I've taken the week off, Tom and I had scheduled a vacation, then decided to cancel the reservations and stay home. Tonight, for dinner, I made a Hamburger and Potato Skillet.

Hamburger and Potato Skillet

  • 3 cups frozen mini potato nuggets (from 28-oz. bag)
  • 1 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups frozen cut green beans (from 1-lb. bag)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can (10.75 oz.) condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup shredded American cheese (4 oz.)
  1. Cook potato nuggets as directed on package.
  2. Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef and garlic over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Add beans, milk and soup; mix well. Reduce heat to medium; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add cheese; stir until melted. Top with cooked potato nuggets.
When Tom started to complain about the smell (he's extremely sensitive to garlic) while I was cooking, I started to worry about how it would turn out. It ended up good - and above all, easy. Best of all, Tom said it was good, too.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ravens vs. Bengals

What a great game! The Ravens defeated the Bengals, 20-17 in overtime. Even though I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of going into overtime, it was worth the time.

The Ravens played well for the first half, then not so well for the second half. The band's halftime show went well. We played the "Armed Forces Salute," and sounded great. We had a really cool show to go with it - we formed a tank and moved the wheels and track, an eagle that flapped it's wings, a boat with moving waves, an airplane with jets, a submarine that sank, and USA.

I even got a tiny bit of air-time.

I'm the only one where you can see the back of the head (bottom center)!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

HdG Holiday Craft Show 2013

Well, it's finally over, the Havre de Grace High School Holiday Craft Show. Unfortunately, it was not very successful. I did not make enough money to cover the cost of the space, but from what I hear, this was the worst year in recent history. Some people that we talked to have done the show for four years, and they said this year was horrible, probably because of the economy and sequester. Aside from that, I thought it was a good experience. I got to make new things, and learned how to set up a booth and displays. Here are some pictures:

The last picture is of Joan's items. She's the mother of a co-worker, and I asked if she wanted to participate in the show with me, and she agreed. Unfortunately, she was very dissatisfied with the show, and said she wouldn't do it again. I will not be disheartened, and have signed up for a booth for next year. We'll try it one more time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Scrabble Tile Ornaments

With Mom and Dad's visit this evening, I finally completed these Scrabble tile ornaments.

Even though there was some serious debate about how to complete these ornaments, I think they turned out well.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chandelier Pendant Ornaments

Today, I finally finished making these ornaments for the craft fair.

After many days of looking for appropriate images, and resizing, printing, and cutting them out, I finished gluing the majority of them to the pendants yesterday, and while I was at work today, Tom painted the backs. We both think they look great. All that's left is finding a way to hang them from a tree branch.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Today was Huber's annual End-of-Summer Luau, and I decided to make Paula Deen's Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup butter, softened, plus 1/2 cup, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple slices in juice, drained well (reserve 2 tablespoons juice for frosting)
  • 1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained well
  • Pineapple Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows
  • Chopped pecans, for garnish, optional
Pineapple Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and coat with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Divide the brown sugar evenly into each pan. Pour the melted butter equally over the brown sugar. Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries over the brown sugar. Reserve remaining pineapple slices and cherries for another use.
  5. Pour equal amounts of batter over the fruit and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.
  6. To assemble the cake, carefully arrange 1 cake layer, pineapple side up, on a cake plate. Carefully stack the remaining cake layer, pineapple side up, over the first layer. Frost the sides of the cake with Pineapple Buttercream Frosting. Press chopped pecans into sides of cake, if desired.
Pineapple Buttercream Frosting:
  1. Beat all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
Yield: about 2 cups
I think it turned out really well. It was easy to make, it tasted good, and it looked pretty. Tom thought that the cake should have been more mushy, but to me it was more angel food cake-y, and I like angel food cake.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Working in Slo-Mo

Today was horrible for me! I was in so much pain from the surgery, it made me rethink my memories from the last surgery. I also ended up taking pain pills, and crocheting a lot slower than I had the previous day. I was able to complete yarn flowers from LionBrand's Amazing "Glacier Bay."

These should make a nice addition to the selection of flowers that I will have for the craft show.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Bandage is on the Other Knee

I had quite a busy day today. First off, bright and early, I had surgery on my other knee for a torn meniscus.

I might have mentioned in mid-August that I messed up my "good" knee while at band practice. Well, I was able to get in for surgery today, and it seemed to go just fine. I spent the remainder of the day crocheting more flowers from LionBrand's Amazing.


Mauna Loa

I love the Mauna Loa flowers more than I initially thought I would. That little pop of bright color every once in a while is so eye-catching! Other that that, Mom and Dad are here to help out during my convalescence, and I look forward to spending quality time with them.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Crocheted Flowers - Wildflowers

I had hoped to crochet some flowers for the craft show in November, and I experimented with some of Red Heart's Team Spirit yarn, but wasn't happy with the results. Oh, the actual crocheting went fine, but the yarn didn't change colors as fast as I had hoped, so I decided to pick up some yarn that was on sale at Wal-Mart, LionBrand's Amazing. I finished the skein of "Wildflowers" today.

I love the way that the colors change and the overall feel of the yarn. I intend to make pins, barrettes and hair pins with these flowers.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Lady of the Rings

I'm getting really good at these rings!

I was able to make 16 rings today! I'm really happy with them. Did I mention that I sold one of the previous rings the other night? I brought the rings I had to date in to Tidewater to show Nicole, and Julia decided that she just *had* to have one. I hope that they're just as popular at the craft show!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ravens Love

Look at what I got at band tonight, a gift from the Ravens!

Apparently, it's a pretty close replica of the Ravens Super Bowl Champion ring, just in pin format. This is the kind of thing that makes band worth it - just kidding, I love band. I also learned tonight from Jeff (the guy I carpool with to band) that our last pin had an actual diamond in it. One of the other trumpet players had his pin looked at in the past, and learned that interesting factoid. Now I wonder about the stones in this pin...

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

We held Josh's baby shower today. You might recall that I made a baby blanket for him, but for the brunch, I made Cinnamon French Toast Bake.

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

French Toast Bake
  • 1/4 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, melted
  • 2 cans (12.4 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 6 LAND O LAKES® Eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup Fisher® Chef's Naturals® Chopped Pecans
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • Icing from cinnamon rolls
  • Powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Pour melted butter into ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Separate both cans of dough into 16 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 pieces; place pieces over butter in dish.
  2. In medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in cream, cinnamon and vanilla until well blended; gently pour over roll pieces. Sprinkle with pecans; drizzle with 1 cup syrup.
  3. Bake 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove covers from icing; microwave on Medium (50%) 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle.
  4. Drizzle icing over top; sprinkle with powdered sugar. If desired, spoon syrup from dish over individual servings. Serve with the additional 1/2 cup maple syrup.
I thought it turned out great! I was worried that it would be too sweet, so I chose not to use the powdered sugar or extra topping of syrup, and it was excellent just like that.

Monday, September 2, 2013

More Rings

I had a little time before work today, so I thought I'd made some more vintage earring rings.

I think I'm getting better at removing the earring backings, so that I can glue on the ring blanks. The hard part is deciding which earring to make into rings, and which to possibly save to make bracelets. I have a bunch that would go well together as bracelets, but am short an earring or two to fill out the bracelet blanks. I'll think on it some more and decide on something soon.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Vacation: Day Seven

It's amazing what I accomplished on my last day of vacation!

In addition to packing up the car, I finished crocheting another scarf in Red Heart's Boutique Sashay Metallic, as well as finishing reading a magazine. Before heading out of town, we stopped and visited a tall ship that was in town for the week, the El Galleon, from Spain.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vacation: Day Six

Oh blessed day six, I finally finished reading the book that's been torturing me!

"The Assassin's Riddle" seemed like such a promising book to start with, but it took half the book to get interesting! Now, I can handle slow starts - I read "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" - but half a book?!? After that, it moved along quite well, and then, in the last three pages, it made me cry!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Vacation: Day Five

On day five of vacation I accomplished more of the same.

I crocheted another beaded necklace - this one is about 13 inches around, I'm getting better - and I made a bunch of bottle cap earrings. One thing that I did do that was different, I made a filigree wire bracelet. I like it and want to make more - they can only get better with practice.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vacation: Day Four

It may not seem like much, but I did get something accomplished on my fourth day of vacation.

I completed reading a magazine, but more importantly, I crocheted a beaded necklace. I stayed up late last night working on it, and it's quite intricate for a first time thing. I like it, but there is something wrong with it - the pattern says it should be 15 inches long, and it's only 11. Maybe I'll make another one, but with a bigger hook.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vacation: Day Three

How unproductive was my third day of vacation? I didn't finish reading a book, or even a magazine, but I did get some stuff done.

I crocheted a scarf out of Red Heart's Boutique Sashay Metallic and two more motifs for a sachet. I also made two more rings out of vintage earrings, and three sets of bottle cap earrings. I stopped early with those because it was late, and they involve making a lot of noise.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Vacation: Day Two

My second day of vacation provided more good stuff. I finished reading a book and a magazine, I made three rings out of vintage earrings, and I crocheted two motifs, which, when put together, will make a sachet.

The book was okay. It was "Face Down Upon an Herbal," the second book in the Lady Appleton series. I didn't like how one of the characters had developed from the last book. The rings turned out pretty well, and were rather easy to make. I hope to get a bunch of those made for the craft show in November, as well as some sachets. I made a bunch of those for a swap at Silver Bella a few years ago, and while I was putting the finishing touches on them at the group dinner before the swap period, someone asked me if I was selling them. Well, hopefully I will be at the craft show. I just need to get to work!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Vacation: Day One

On our first full day of vacation, I feel like I accomplished something. I finished the book I started reading yesterday, "Face Down in a Marrow-Bone Pie," and I finished one of the magazines that I had brought with me to catch up on.

I enjoyed the book. The heroine was too forward thinking for her day, but it wasn't too annoying. Sometimes, in the Regency era romances that I read, the heroine is too much like ladies of our century, and it annoys me. I read those types of books because of the romance, not how head-strong and independent the heroine is. No, I don't want them to be simpering or wilting violets, but I do want them to need the hero. The book also helped to remind me of my interest back in college of using herbs and natrural remedies, which I never did more than by a book about, but really wanted to read. Maybe I'll try to find it and see what I can learn.
I also did a tiny bit of crafting while on the beach - flaring out bottle caps and starting to crochet a sachet. I forgot to bring scissors, so I couldn't complete very much of the sachet. Overall, a good day.