Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Muffins

Today is my sweet husband's birthday so to start off his day, I made him a festive, fun breakfast that included these muffins.  The original recipe can be found HERE at Deliciously Sprinkled. I made a few modifications so I'll give you the recipe below.
The recipe calls for two cans of "Grands" Cinnamon Rolls or three cans of regular.  I don't know what's up (maybe all of this cold weather??) but twice now my grocery store has been sold out of the large rolls so I got three cans of the regular size.  Remove the icing packets and set those aside. I cut each roll into four pieces (To save time I just stacked 3-4 on top of each other and cut them all at once).  They separate on their own when you put them in the 'egg bath' and toss them around.
Here they are ready to go into the oven.  I topped them with star and teddy bear sprinkles but wouldn't these be fun for holidays topped with Christmas or Valentine or Easter sprinkles??  Be sure to grease your muffin tin WELL.  I REALLY greased mine and they still stuck a little bit.
20 minutes in a 375 degree oven and they were big and puffy!  Let them cool a bit before icing.
YUM!!! These were so tasty!  
Once you heat the icing for a few seconds in the microwave, drizzle the muffins with it and add a few more sprinkles (I mean, can you EVER have too many sprinkles??)
Combined with a spinach and cheese omelet, a special 'banana split' (recipe for that coming next!) and a few candles and it's Happy Birthday Hubby!  

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Muffins

2 package of Grands Cinnamon Rolls OR 3 packages of regular cinnamon rolls
2 eggs
1/4 c milk/almond milk/cream (I used Almond Milk just because that's what I had)
1 t vanilla
Sprinkles

Combine milk, eggs and vanilla in a bowl.
Cut cinnamon rolls into 4 pieces if using regular size and 8 pieces of using the Grands. 
Toss cinnamon roll pieces in egg mixture and place in heavily greased muffin tin.  Fill tins over the top with the roll pieces.
Drizzle any extra egg mixture over top.
Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Heat icing packets in microwave for 5-10 seconds and drizzle icing over top of muffins.  
Top with additional sprinkles

Enjoy!

On any given week (depending on how busy I am!) I love to participate in Link Parties.  These gals put a lot of time and effort into hosting these parties so I always want to show my appreciation by directing my readers to these blogs. 

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Multi-Season Yard Decor Signs

 All you need to create an ever-changeable set of yard art is some scrap wood and paint. You all know I LOVE finding ways to decorate that can be used for multiple seasons and holidays so here's one more for you!
Reclaimed fence boards are the base for this project but you could use any scrap wood you may have on hand. Old garden stakes create the base for these. I used a jigsaw to cut the heart shapes but you can certainly purchased unfinished shapes as well. This was my first time using my new jigsaw I got for Christmas. It's a bit scary but fun and I'm sure I'll be using it A LOT!
Once I painted the hearts I decided that they needed to be a bit more 'weathered' so I sanded them and added some dark wax to age them a little. You could of course just leave them as it if that's what you like.
Here they are after sanding and waxing.
Since I was using old fence boards, they already had the squared off edges at the top but you could recreate this with any scrap wood or even completely round the tops off too. I gave them a wash of white paint and then sanded them a bit as well to age them.
These garden stakes were some mighty hard and thick wood so I decided to drill the holes completely through them for the screws to go in.
Then with my trusty awl (man, I need some hand lotion!!) I make a hole through the stakes into the back of the board for the screw to go into.
One wood screw was enough to hold these tightly to the boards.  Everything got a coat of clear acrylic since these will be outside in the weather and I want them to last a long time.
Remember the idea is that these are multi-seasonal so I didn't want to permanently attach the hearts.  I just used a long nail but I may get the hooks that screw in and swap those out for the nails. I used the nails because that's just what I had on hand and they work fine.
I put my signs in my house number buckets in front of my home but you could put these directly into the ground and they'd be just as cute.
I think I'll really have to practice with my jigsaw to cut out shamrocks! But there are so many possibilities:  Eggs/Flowers for Easter/Spring; Flags for 4th of July; Pumpkins for fall; Ornaments for Christmas . . . and like I said, you can also just buy the wood cut outs.  So easy to add a festive touch to your yard or garden!

On any given week (depending on how busy I am!) I love to participate in Link Parties.  These gals put a lot of time and effort into hosting these parties so I always want to show my appreciation by directing my readers to these blogs. 

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Multi-Season Branch Centerpiece

 
 Living in a small house means I don't have a lot of room to store decorations so often, I'll create decorations that can serve multiple seasons and holidays. Just before Christmas I created this branch centerpiece.  Instead of hearts though, it had red ornaments.
Now that I'm getting ready for Valentine's Day, I simply swapped out the ornaments for paper hearts I made (tutorial for the hearts farther down in this post).
To make this, all you need is a piece of scrap wood, a branch, some white spray paint and battery-operated rice or seed lights.  Look for a branch where most of the twigs are coming out of one side.  This way, you can staple (or as I did, nail) it to the wood.  I chose to paint and sand my wood as well.  The rice lights are perfect because the wire is so thin and flexible so you can wind it closely to the branches.  I added some bling-y rhinestone ribbon to cover the battery case and make it look pretty.
Trying to save money, I decided to make my own hearts rather than buy them but you could buy little hearts to hang on this as well.
1.  Cut card stock into small squares, fold in half and cut a single heart the size of the ornament you want.  I just did it free-hand but you could print a pattern if you want.  Use your first heart as your pattern for the others so they are all the same size and shape.  

2.  Cut eight hearts.

3.  Put glue on top of first heart.

4.  Add a second heart on top of that.  


5.  Continue adding hearts until they are all attached.

6.  Apply glue to the center seam of the hearts and attach the string for hanging.

7.  Apply glue to the top heart half.  

8.  Fold it around to meet the opposite heart half and press together, forming the ornament.

I added a single pearl to the bottom of each using hot glue and then they were ready to hang on my branch centerpiece, replacing the Christmas ornaments.
I see a lot of different possibilities with this centerpiece.
Other options may be shamrocks, Easter eggs, pumpkins or fall leaves . . . 
On any given week (depending on how busy I am!) I love to participate in Link Parties.  These gals put a lot of time and effort into hosting these parties so I always want to show my appreciation by directing my readers to these blogs. 

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Folded Book Heart

Those who know me, know that I LOVE (no pun intended) decorating for Valentine's Day.  I think part of it is that the house looks so bare when you take down the Christmas decorations.  The other part for me is that living in the Midwest, January can be a terribly dreary month so the bright reds and pinks help to cheer things up a bit.  Here is a simple project that can cost you nothing if you have an old book lying around to use.  I have a bunch of these little, red, French books that are not antiques so I don't mind using them for projects.  Any book will do but a hardback is best and one whose pages are not so old they are brittle.
You'll need a metric ruler and a pencil.  This clear ruler is the best one I had but because you are starting to measure from the left edge, I had to use it upside down.  The best and easiest instructions I found were in Instructables (click HERE to go to the full instructions).  One thing they don't tell you is WHERE to begin your folded pages.  Here's my formula for this pattern:  The pattern is 40 pages.  My book had 167 pages.  167 minus 40 is 127.  127 divided by 2 is 63.5 so I began by folding page 63 is page 1 in the pattern.
After you mark all of your pages, you begin folding. Make sure you are folding at a straight 90 degree angle.
This is what the first page looks like after you've made both folds.
Another tip: I used a clothespin to hold the pages as I folded them to keep them from falling down.  It made folding each page much easier.
Here's what it looked like after I'd folded a few pages.
And here's the finished product - pretty cool! I wanted to 'dress it up' a little bit though.
On the inside of each cover, I added some Valentine paper and sandwiched a piece of ribbon in between as well.


Simply tie the ribbon and you're finished!  A quick, inexpensive project for Valentine's Day although I could see this as an Anniversary gift (maybe for year 1 which is "paper").  Instructables has quite a few free patterns and I'll be trying the Heart Inside a Heart next!  Check out this site for a TON of free patterns for different holidays, names, etc.


On any given week (depending on how busy I am!) I love to participate in Link Parties.  These gals put a lot of time and effort into hosting these parties so I always want to show my appreciation by directing my readers to these blogs. 

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Best Pie Crust & French Silk Pie

I know it's just after the holidays and NO ONE wants to think about sweets BUT file this one away for mid-January when your sweet tooth starts acting up again!  This French Silk Pie is our "Family Pie" for holidays but really, it's a show-stopper for any dinner and your guests will be very impressed!  
The recipe came from a church cookbook and I have seriously been making this for Thanksgiving and Christmas for over 30 years . . . you can tell by looking at the page haha!  (I'll give you a 'clean' version at the end of the post)
The pie is thick, and oh so rich! The recipe says it serves 8 but you seriously can hardly eat more than a small slice at a time so really, I'd say you can serve 10 with this recipe. The hardest part of this pie is you MUST beat each of the four eggs for FIVE minutes EACH.  Now, until this Christmas, I'd always just had a hand mixer so I would set up everything at the kitchen table, sit and read a book while beating!  This Christmas my wonderful hubby bought me a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (and I hadn't even asked for one!!).  So the next time I whip this up . . . oh it will be SOOOOOO easy!
Often I will use a store-bought crust but if I have the time, I much prefer making my own and I'd like to share THE best pie crust recipe I've ever used (I've also been using this recipe for over 30 years!).
It's "old school" and comes from this well-used, well-loved Hungarian cookbook (both of my parents are Hungarian).  The recipe is simple, I think it's really the technique that makes this what it is.
Do you see that it tells you to cut in HALF of your lard/shortening first to the consistence of "meal" and THEN cut in the remainder but coarsely?  Do it.  Trust me.  It makes all the difference!  Years ago I began using 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening because I feel like it's a richer crust but you can use all shortening (or lard hahaha! Now THERE's something we don't often find in recipes today!)  Prick crust and bake as you would any other crust.
Lard is pig fat and many of us remember our parents or grandparents saving it up in coffee cans under the sink after frying pork chops or bacon.  You CAN buy lard that is a 'cleaner', purer version than that we usually stored up under the kitchen sink.   
Now I HOPE if you are going to the trouble of making a crust from scratch that you are NOT tossing the scraps of dough!  Brush on a little melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes until bubbly and crisp on the edges . . . oh it is heavenly!

What a treat this always was for my kids!
Now you can see how this puffs up and is such a flaky crust!
I always top this pie with real whipped cream.  If you stabilize the whipped cream, it will not 'weep' and become runny.  In fact, you can even pipe it as I did and it will hold up for days and days in the refrigerator.  Directions for this will be at the bottom with the French Silk Pie recipe.  You can top it with shaved chocolate as well.  Since I served this at Christmas I added chopped Ande's peppermint bark.
Did your sweet tooth come to life again??  Okay, maybe it's still too soon but when it DOES, pull this out and give it a try!

Homemade French Silk Pie

Baked 9" pie crust
1 c softened margarine (you can use butter but IMO it's almost too rich with butter)
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 squares (3 oz.) Bakers unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 1/2 t vanilla
4 eggs

Whipped cream for topping

Cream margarine and sugar at highest mixer speed.  Blend in the cooled chocolate (DO not add the chocolate until it is completely cooled or the pie will be runny).  Add vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time beating five minutes at high speed after each addition (total time 20 minutes).  Pour into baked shell and refrigerate at least one hour before serving. I find it best to make the day before and refrigerate for a day.  Top with whipped cream and nuts or shaved chocolate.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

In a pan combine 1 t unflavored gelatin with 4 t cold water and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Heat on stove until gelatin melts but don't let it boil.  Remove from heat and let it cool (but don't let it thicken).  Whip your cream until it starts to thicken and add 3-4 T powdered sugar.  Slowly stream the gelatin liquid in while continuing to beat until the cream is stiff.

On any given week (depending on how busy I am!) I love to participate in Link Parties.  These gals put a lot of time and effort into hosting these parties so I always want to show my appreciation by directing my readers to these blogs. 

Monday
Farmhouse40

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