Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mini Spice Cakes Recipe

When I saw the Harvest Bites pan by Nordic Ware at William Sonoma I had to pick it up.  Seasonal or novelty kitchen items are rare in my kitchen.  I try to stick with multipurpose items, the basics, but this pan was just too much to pass up.

This basic spice cake recipe was printed on the packaging for the pan, I adjusted the cake to be dairy free as well as up the spice flavor.  I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Goody Bags : 5 Fun Crafts

Have you heard of Teal Pumpkin Project?  Its a great way to include all children, including those with food allergies or dietary restrictions, this Halloween.  I did not have food restrictions as a child, but I do now and it just plain stinks. Missing out on candy is bad enough, but to miss out on the run all together?  Its a double whammy!

I hope the Teal Pumpkin Project takes off and becomes a new normal.  It's not any more bother or expensive than buying candy.  There are all sorts of inexpensive holiday treats and trinkets.  You can find little toys, bubbles, pencils, stickers, glow sticks and the like at dollar stores, party stores, craft stores, Target, or mail order catalogs.  There are some really fun things to buy, but I like to make instead of buy whenever possible.  I also have a closet of craft supplies to use.

I looked all over Pinterest, Google, and Youtube looking for fun little crafts I could make for my Halloween goody.  I made up 5 things that I thought kids would like but there were so many good ideas.  I collected all my favorite things on a Non-Food Treat Pin Board.


Fun Halloween crafts to make for trick or treat or party goody bags.
Submitted to Whip It Up Wednesday
Submitted to A Handful of Everything

Monday, October 13, 2014

Salisbury Steak Recipe (Dairy Free)

Too many recipes for Salisbury steak include cream of mushroom soup.  This is a dairy free recipe for Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy from scratch.  I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup ground oats or bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated or minced onions
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
a dash of Worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 TBSP vegetable oil or other fat for pan frying
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (crimini or baby portobello are my favorite)
1 small onion sliced into rings or half moons
2-3 TBSP flour
1-2 cups chicken or beef broth

1) Mix the first 7 ingredients, I mix with my hands until thoroughly combined.  Form into oval patties.  If you have time, refrigerate the patties for a few hours, this prevents them from falling apart when you fry them.

2) When its time to cook, heat fat in skillet and pan fry the patties until well browned.  Add a splash of water and cover the skillet to allow the steam to fully cook the patties and deglaze the pan.  Remove the patties from the skillet.

3)  Remove the skillet from the heat and add mushrooms to pan, salt the mushrooms.  The salt will pull some moisture out of the mushrooms.  When mushrooms sweat or start to look damp, add the onions and put the pan back on the heat, add a touch more oil if needed and fry the mushrooms and onions until golden brown.  (Sweating the mushrooms is optional but mushrooms are little sponges, they will soak up all the oil you are trying to fry them in.  If you sweat them first you can use less oil, the mushrooms don't stick and you will get a better brown)

4)  Make a slurry of the flour and about 1 cup of chicken stock.  Add the slurry to the pan and stir well over medium low heat.  If it becomes too thick add more stock or water.  Allow the gravy to come to a boil and simmer until it become the consistency you like.  Add the patties back to the gravy to rewarm them.

5) Serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or rice.

Crochet Flower Band Market Bag Pattern and Tutorial

A large and slouchy bohemian inspired market bag with a pretty flower band detail.  With this market bag you can bring home all the goodies from the farmers market, or use as a beach bag or shoulder bag.

This pattern uses US crochet terms.  If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will do my best to help you out.

To make this bag I used three 2.5 ounce balls of Sugar and Cream yarn, a size G crochet hook, scissors and a tapestry needle.

Bottom of the bag
Rnd 1: Ch 8, sl st to form a ring, ch 4,(acts as tr here and throughout) 23 tr in ring, sl st into top of beginning ch 4 to join (24 tr)
Rnd 2: Ch 6, *tr in next tr, ch 2, repeat from * around,sl st in the 4th ch of beginning ch 6 to join.(24 tr and 24 ch 2 spaces)
Rnd 3: Ch 1, 2sc in the ch 2 sp, *3 sc in the next sp, repeat from * around, sl in the ch 1 to join. (72 sc)
Rnd 4: Ch 4, tr around, st st in the top of the beginning ch 4 (72 tr)
Rnd 5: Ch 6, * skip 1 st, tr in the next st, ch 2, repeat from * around, sl st into the 4th ch of the beginning ch 6. (36 tr and 36 ch 2 sp)
Rnd 6: ch 1, 2 sc in ch 2 space, *3 sc in the next ch 2 sp, repeat from * around, sl st into beginning ch 1 to join (108 sc)
Rnd 7: Ch 4, tr in each sc around, sl st into top of beginning ch 4 to join. (108 tr)
Rnd 1: ch 6, *skip 1 tr, tr in next tr, ch 2, repeat from * around, sl st into 4th ch of beginning ch 6 to join.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, sl st into the next ch 2 sp, ch 6,* tr in the next ch 2 sp, ch 2, repeat from * around, sl st into the 4th ch of the beginning ch 6.
Repeat row 2 for 14 more times or until the bag is as long as you like. Keep in mind, there will be a 2-3 inch decorative band at the top and the bag will stretch slightly.
Last row: ch 1, sc in next ch 2 sp, * 2 sc in each ch 2 space, repeat from * around, sl st into beginning ch 1 to join the round.

Flower Band
~ The flower row is actually 2 rows. First you will work the bottom half which includes the bottom petal and the bottom half of the petals on either side. The second row will make the upper petal as well as complete side petals~

Bottom Half of First Flower:
ch 8, working down the back side of that ch put 1 dc in the 4th st from hook (this is 1st petal), ch 4, dc in 4th ch from hook (this is the second petal, the ch stitch the dc is worked into becomes the center of the flower). Now counting on the sc along the top edge of the bag, sl st into the 3rd sc, dc, ch 3. Turn your work. Flip the petals so that the flower center is pointing up to the sky. Now you will sl st into the center of the flower. Ch 3, dc into the center, (this will start the 3rd petal). Now turn your work back to its original position. Ch 1, counting on the foundation ch, tr into the 3rd ch. ( bottom half of first flower complete).
Bottom Half of Additional Flowers: (This is the same as the first flower except the beginning ch is 5 instead of 8)
*ch 5, dc into the 4th ch from the hook, ch 4, dc in the 4th ch from the hook, counting on the bag, sl st into the 3rd ch, turn work, (flip petals if necessary so that center of the flower is pointing up) dc, ch 3, sl st into the center of the flower, ch 3, dc into center, ch 1, (turn work back), counting on the bag, tr into the 3rd sc, repeat from * to the end. On the last flower you will not do the final tr, instead you will join the round by sl st around the beginning ch near the petal of the first flower.
Top Half of Flowers:
*dc into the flower center, ch 3, sl st into the flower center (side petal complete), ch 3, 2dc into the center, ch 3, sl st into the center (top petal complete), ch 3, dc into the center, sl st in the space between the petal and the tr, ch 1, sl st in the space between the tr and the petal of the next flower, repeat from * around (do not “ch 1, sl st in the space between tr and the petal of the next flower” on the last flower.

Ch 7, *sc in the space between the dc of the next top petal, ch 3, tr in the ch 1 space between the flowers, ch 3, repeat from * around (do not “tr in the ch1 space between flowers, ch 3” in the last flower), sl st in the 4th ch of the beginning ch 7.

Ch 1, 2 sc in the ch 3 sp, *3 sc in the ch 3 sp, repeat from * around sl st in beginning ch 1 to join

Row 1: Ch 2, dc2tog over the next 2 sc, dc in the next 23 sc, dc2tog over the next 2 sc, ch 2 turn
Row 2-9: dc2tog over the first 2 sc, sc across to the last 2 st, dc2tog over the last 2 st, ch 2 turn
Row 10-20: dc in each st across, ch 2 turn
Row 21-29: 2dc in the first st, dc across to last st, 2 dc in the last st, ( do not “ch 2 turn” on the last row)
Fasten off, leave a long tail.

Attach the other end of the strap to the top of the bag directly across. Count 27 st from each side of the strap base and mark with a scrap of yarn. Attach the other end of the strap to the top edge of the bag between the scraps of yarn. Sew a secure seam with the tail. Line up the stitches on the strap with the stitches on the upper edge of the bag. Sew along the seam sewing the inner loops together, then go back across sewing the outer loops together. (or otherwise sew a secure seam in any manner you wish)

Weave in loose ends. Block if necessary.

This pattern is my own creation.  Feel free to make a bag for yourself or to give as a gift but I ask that you please credit me as designer and link back to this original pattern or the video tutorial link when sharing.

You may also be interested in:
Flower Band Headband, Belt or Trim
Mini Woven Basket
Sunshine and Rainbows Bonnet
Rainbow Swirls Hat

Friday, October 3, 2014

DIY Washable Nursing Pads

When I was pregnant I had dreams of making all sorts of things for baby and myself.  Nesting hit me hard but most of my time was spent in the kitchen.  One thing I was able to craft for after baby was nursing pads.  I made some from pretty green flannel and I made some from some old ratty t-shirts.  I thought the flannel ones would be so comfortable and soft and most importantly...a pretty green color.  As it turns out, the flannel would stick to tender spots and leave lint.  They were also a bit stiff  and generally were the last I reached for.  The old ratty t-shirts that had been washed countless times were perfectly soft, perfectly lint free, and perfectly flexible.  After more than a year, I still use them every single day.

I made them with four layers of fabric.  I found that it was the perfect thickness, thin enough to double up when needed, but substantial enough to stand on their own once things settled into a routine.  I do not include a waterproof layer in these pads.  I never found it was necessary and I have even read that it could be problematic by holding moisture close to the skin.  I simply change out the wet pad for a new dry one.

The t-shirts I used were 100% cotton and mostly old undershirt, plain white tees.  At first I was lamenting that I they weren't cute colors or prints but I found that the plain white and black worked best at staying hidden.  My nursing bras were plain black and white and a brightly colored pad would just love to peek out!

You may also be interested in a Nursing Necklace Crochet Pattern and Tutorial

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Welcome to my little corner of the web. I love to share things I make and ideas I have. I hope you enjoy!