Thursday, October 15, 2015

Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes

Donuts. Apple and cinnamon. Baked. Ah, that was the word.  Baked. No hot oil. Oh yeah. I can do this!

I've saved a few donut recipes the past couple of years because the photos looked so yummy. But then I read through the recipe and I'm reminded, oh yeah, you need to use a great big Dutch oven of hot oil. I have a fear of hot scalding oil.  Oil so hot it could burn a house down. And that's my true fear-fire. I don't really know where this fear came from, and maybe it's just fear of the unknown, but fear it I do. Shake in my boots (well, flip flops anyway) FEAR. I don't even own an outdoor grill. I'm perfectly fine with other people grilling as long as I don't have to watch, but I'm not gonna do it.

But baked donuts.....Bring. It. On.

This recipe is from Sally's Baking Addiction and can be found HERE.

This is the perfect fall treat.  I don't have a donut pan but I do have a mini muffin pan so I made the donut hole version but I imagine this recipe in donut form would be just as magical.

The first thing you want to do is simmer the cider with a couple of cinnamon sticks and an orange cut into halves. This is done to enhance the flavor of the cider. And it made the kitchen smell a-mazing!

So you mix all your basic baking ingredients together and scoop the batter into the muffin pan.  I used a cookie scoop so my muffins would be similar in size.

This is what mine looked like after being baked. I popped them out of the pan and onto their sides to cool a bit. They were too hot to handle to dip in the butter and roll in the sugar/cinnamon goodness and what kind of donut doesn't need some of that kind of goodness!  Because I kept the batter scoop fairly small, the donuts didn't rise over the well and give my donuts a muffin top.   I guess then they'd just be muffins. Hmmm.  They'd still taste the same, but 'donuts' is just a happier word than 'muffin', don't ya think!

Only the tops of the donuts were dipped in melted butter but the entire donut was rolled around in the cinnamon sugar mixture. 

Here they are all lined up like good little soldiers. For me, the recipe made 44 donut holes. So how did they taste?  They were ... Decent. I thought they were a little dry. I had very high hopes for these little nuggets and while they were good, they didn't blow me away. I'm not giving up on them though. I think with just a little tinkering they could be the apple cider donuts of my dreams!

Thanks for stopping by-

Friday, September 25, 2015

PTI September Blog Hop

Today I'm playing along with Papertrey Ink's September Blog Hop. You can read all about the challenge and see the gorgeous inspiration photo HERE.

I absolutely LOVE the inspiration photo this month. Fall is my favorite season, I just wish it lasted a little longer in my corner of the world. Here's my card:

The background is smoky shadow card stock with the sentiment from Graceful Greetings embossed in silver and I love how it turned out!

Thanks for stopping by-

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Create Along With Us Sept 2015

Today I'm playing along with a new challenge at Papertrey Ink where we select a project from the recent release week and add our own little spin.  There were so many beautiful cards, tags and decor shared this month (who am I kidding, the design team knocks it out of the park each and every month!). For this challenge, I loved the round Christmas tag Laurie Willison created in THIS post.

Here's my version using The wreath from Holiday Cheer.

Thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cherry Cobbler

A few weeks ago I wanted to try my hand at stuffed peppers. Yes, the title of this post is Cherry Cobbler, and we'll get to that, but it all starts with stuffed peppers.  I have no recollection of ever eating stuffed peppers before. Not at the dinner table as a kid. Not at Grandmas. Not at the local smorgasbord that seems to have every food imaginable. For some reason I consider stuffed peppers to be a food from the'70's.  Is that when they were invented?  Were they a popular dinner party item?  Maybe I'm remembering a commercial featuring them?

I was curious about stuffed peppers so I went to my trusty source for all information-Google. And from Google I learned that I have much to learn. Stuffed peppers have been around since the 1800's. So yeah, way before the 70's, lol. Anyway, I invited the family over for dinner. They are generally my  willing taste testers in my cooking/ baking endeavors. In addition to the peppers, I wanted to make a desert but didn't want anything too sweet to go with the spicy peppers. And that's how we arrive at the Cherry Cobbler.

 Cherries. Not a fruit that's generally found in my fruit basket, but this recipe sounded too good to pass by. The recipe I used was from Brown Eyed Baker. The same blog that brought those amazing bread and butter pickles from last weeks post. You can find the full recipe HERE.

I found a large selection of beautiful, ripe cherries at my local grocery store. I have to say though, I didn't put much thought into how I was going to get the pits out of the cherries. So what's an inquiring mind to do?  Google. I swear between Google and Siri I look at least one thing up every day!  But Back to the cherry pits.  Google provided several solutions to my delima but I didn't want to purchase some little kitchen gadget just for cherries -although that seems to be a booming business- and tweezers seemed kinda wrong. I thought both the toothpick and straw options had promise so I started with those. First up, toothpicks.  Oh my word. It was like digging to China with the smallest shovel ever. I did not have the patience, or desire, to work my way through 2 pounds of cherry pits with a toothpick. Next option. A straw. Whoever figured this out is a genius!  Insert a straw in the middle of the cherry and push the pit right out the other end. The end of the straw was just sharp enough to slices right through the cherry and the pit slides right into the middle of the straw. Then you blow the pit out into a container if it doesn't fall out on it's own. It all depends on the diameter of the straw and ideally you want to use a smaller straw so you save most of the cherry interior. Note:  I would recommend covering the drain in your sink so you don't lose any stray pits down the disposal. I had a stray pit make it's way unknowing into there and oh the racket that one little pit made when the disposal was eventually turned on. Yikes!

Caution: Wear old clothes that you don't mind getting cherry stains on because if you're using fresh cherries, you will end up with juice everywhere. Seriously. My kitchen sink looked like I'd had a cherry killing party.


Next step, make the cherry filling and the biscuits. (I'm still getting back in the blogging habit and forgot to take pictures of all the steps).

Then bake.

Then eat. Then think it would be even better with a scoop, or two, of vanilla ice cream and eat again.

And end up with this.

You're welcome.

P.S.  the stuffed peppers were a hit too.

Thanks for stopping by

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bread & Butter Pickles

Do you like pickles?  Honestly, I'm kind of on the fence about them. One thing I'm sure of though is that if I'm adding a pickle or two to my sandwich, it needs to be crunchy!

This year I've tried my hand at basic canning. Nothing elaborate. Actually, I'm not even sure what I've been doing is considered canning!  It involves mason jars. And the lids did pop on one of the recipes. So to me, those two things mean canning.  This summer I've discovered one of the best farmers markets in our area. It's about a 30 minute drive but they have such a great selection it's definitely worth it!  On this particular Saturday I was on the hunt for pickling cucumbers. And I found some beauties.

Out in blog land, one of the sites I visit on an almost daily basis is Brown Eyed Baker. She originally posted THIS pickle recipe back in 2011 and it's the recipe I followed.

Slice your pickling cucumbers into 1/4 inch pieces. Add salt, stir, cover and leave in the fridge for an hour and a half.

At the end of the hour, rinse well with cold water.

Next, slice half an onion into thin strips.  Add the onions to the cucumbers and mix the brine.

Pour the brine over the cucumber-onion combo, cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours. 

Divide the mixture into jars. The pickles will stay fresh in the fridge for two weeks. 

I think I just became a pickle fan!  Crunchy and flavorful. I didn't know what I was missing out on.  What should I try next?  Any suggestions?  

Thanks for stopping by-

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Snickerdoodle Bread

In my post last week I mentioned I'd recently made Snickerdoodle Bread. I wasn't thinking about blogging when I baked it so I don't have any pictures of the process, but I do have this pic below....This bread is so tasty and the recipe is so easy, you need to bake a loaf (or 5) today!

Don't you wish you had a piece this waiting for your next coffee break?  Yum.

I was scrolling through Facebook one day and came upon this recipe. Bread was something I didn't tackle much during my year of baking. I attempted the rare muffin or scone but that was pretty much it. I have since perfected my go-to whole wheat pizza crust and I tackled the cinnamon roll recipe from Pioneer Woman last December, so I thought I could handle this little nugget of cinnamon sugar goodness.

According to my Grandmother, you also need to eat the crumbs that fall into the bottom of the pan so you don't waste a single bite!

I wrote the recipe on a scrap piece of paper, but didn't write down who it came from so I'm not able to give the well deserved credit to anyone. The recipe said it makes 4 mini loaves, but I had enough batter to fill 5 mini loaf pans. Here's the recipe:

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 package Hershey Cinnamon Chips
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, sugar, salt and 2 teaspoons cinnamon till fluffy. Add eggs and mix. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well.

Gradually add flour and baking powder to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add cinnamon chips and stir into batter. NOTE:  I tossed the cinnamon chips in flour before adding to the batter. The flour costing keeps the chips from sinking to the bottom of the pan during baking.

Spoon batter into mini loaf pans until 2/3 full.

Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-38 minutes. NOTE:  The foil mini loaf pans I used seemed kind of flimsy so I placed all 5 pans on a large cookie sheet pan before placing them in the oven. An advantage to using the cookie sheet was that it could catch any overflow in case I filled the loaf pans too full. I mean, who wants to clean the oven. Nope, not me!

After removing from the oven, cool completely before removing from the loaf pan. I simply ran a knife around the edge and turned the loaf over onto a plate to cut and serve.

Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you try the recipe!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

O Christmas Tree

Yes, I said it....Christmas!

Yes, it feels like 107 in the shade here this weekend. But I'm ready to start my holiday crafting. In past years I'm the strangely organized person making 5 Christmas cards each month starting in January so I'm all finished by December 1. This year, not a single card. So while this may seem early to most, I almost had a panic attack when I realized it's almost August.

I took Papertrey's Make It Monday challenge as an invitation to get started. This weeks challenge is to use die cuts and watercolors.  This card uses the Christmas Tree die and a few sequins as ornaments.

I also followed Lexi's example and made a birthday card using the Birthday Trio die and a variety of watercolors.

Thanks for stopping by

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July Papertrey Blog Hop

The inspiration photo for this month's Papertrey blog hop is full of butterflies and vintage goodness. Take a look HERE and join in on the fun!

And here's my card

I finally found a way to use my PTI Crackled stamp!  I've had this little stamp since it was released but it's never been inked. And it's the perfect little bit to add to a background. I'll definitely be keeping this little stamp handy on my desk.  The minute I saw the inspiration photo I knew it would be perfect for the background behind the butterflies.  I cut the butterflies out of white card stock and colored the entire image with a Copics marker, then stamped the butterfly overlay image from Heart-2-heart with a darker ink.  I'm very happy with how the card turned out and hope you enjoy it as well!

Thanks for stopping by!

All Papertrey products used unless indicated:
Card stock: Vintage Cream, Stampers Select White, Autumn Rose
Ink:  Fine Linen, Autumn Rose, Aqua Mist, Momento Tuxedo Black
Stamps:  Crackled, Petite Places: Happy Camper, Heart-2-Heart #10
Die:  Heart-2-Heart #10
Other:  Copics BG11 and R83, Cuttlebug Embossing Folder Modern Wallpaper

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Papertrey Ink has a new challenge called Create Along With Us.  I love release week. There are so many beautiful cards, tags and gifts created that my imagination overflows with inspiration.

The second I saw THIS card by Laurie Willison, I was in love.

Here's my take on Laurie's card:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Testing 1 2 3

Anyone there??

Wow. When I take a break from blogging I really go all out. January. 2013.  I really didn't intend to stay away so long, but you know how it is. Life happens.

So, a quick recap otherwise this post could go on for days.

* An opening occurred in my job that allowed me to transfer to the town where I grew up and quite a bit of my family still lives. Even though I have the same job responsibilities, it's still a new building with new people and learning how things work in this office. Even the little things like figuring out where to park and how to get in the building before it's open to the public can be a tad stressful till I find my groove.

* Along with the new job location comes the task of physically moving. Packing, labeling, sorting, purging and cleaning. To make matters even more chaotic, I was temporarily living with my parents while looking for a permanent residence. They were amazingly supportive and accommodating through this whole adventure.

* Which led to the purchase of my first home. I've always rented in the past due to multiple reasons, but if I was 'coming home to roost' as the saying goes, I wanted it to be in my own space. It took time, and a very patient and knowledgable realtor, but I finally found the right house for me.

* And as with most things, I wanted it to reflect who I am. And right now I am clean, colorful and uncluttered.  For this house to become my home, that meant a kitchen remodel, paint on the walls and everything in it's (useful) place.

* But there was still one thing missing to truly make this my home. I had the fence installed in the Spring and Riley was born on the 4th of July. It has been 9 long years since I had a dog (and 19 since having a puppy), but I was finally in a position to bring one into my life again.  And oh what an adventure this past year has been, LOL. Riley just had his 1st birthday and we've both survived a very trying year. To say we're both stubborn is an understatement.

So that's what's been happening around here in a nutshell. I'm hoping to get back on this blogging train. Probably not on any semblance of a schedule for a bit. I have so many ideas clogging up my brain right now I need to sort out first. I'm still baking, but not on a regular schedule. Just last week I made Snickerdoodle Mini Bread. Delish. And I've been making lots of homemade ice cream. The two most recent are Rocky Road and Lemonade. Both received 2 thumbs up.

And I'm still scrapbooking and card making.  In fact that's the plan for this afternoon since it's supposed to be in the upper 90's around here.

Thanks for hanging out with me for a few minutes and I hope to see you back again!  Here's a snapshot of Riley when he was 9 months old. I may be biased, but I think he's such a cutie!