Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hello and Happy Halloween! 

Just wanted to pop in and show you all what slept outside the house all weekend, just for creepy factor:

This angel statue was won as a door prize of sorts by my younger brother and I only just realized how similar it looks to this:

image from here

The weeping angels from Dr. Who.  Anyways, all weekend I was expecting her to do this:

image from here

On a happier note...I finally got to go see the exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard, WA.  The whole museum was great and it was really cool to see something that I made in such a public place.   Anyways, if you get a chance, the Nordic Fashion exhibit is up until mid November and I highly recommend it. 

On a side note, my little man can now pretend to be a viking:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thank goodness for cupcakes

Some days being a barista is a fun and more or less easy job.  Take some orders, brew some coffee, steam some milk. And then some days you're under-staffed, trying to be in five places at once: register, making food, making coffee, doing dishes and taking out the overflowing garbage all while trying not to scald yourself with burning hot coffee shots or pans.  Today was the latter sort. 

After almost eight hours on my feet and only the food I could scarf down while loading the dish sanitizer in my tummy, all I can say is "thank goodness for the cupcakes" which one of my lovely co-workers brought in today. 

I'm sorry it didn't last long enough to take a picture.  It was very cute.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween is almost here...

So here are some pictures of the costume I just finished for my little boy.  A couple of his favorite things are dinosaurs and trains, so the PBS show Dinosaur Train is naturally a favorite.  Thus his "Buddy" outfit:

Here are a couple more shots from other angles:

This is his "mom, I have had quite enough pictures taken" face.

Anyways, this is the first year I have actually made him a costume and I am thrilled that he loves it.  He doesn't want to take it off actually, which is problematic with the tail...I'm sure you can imagine.

On a completely unrelated note, I went to a craft fair today and along with the must have kettle corn, I also found these lovelies:

They were created by Debbie Thompson and her shop tom design is just full of colorful little treasures.  (I want it all!!!)

On another completely unrelated note, we seem to be unable to admit that it is not summer anymore, as evidenced by our dinner this evening:

Teriyaki burgers with pineapple, sweet potato fries, and corn and bell pepper salad with lime vinaigrette.  Yum.    Even the little man liked it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

cooking challenge

Ohh I do love a cooking challenge!

One of my awesome co-workers brought me this today:

A fresh from the garden sugar pumpkin!  And its big. 

Now I just have to decide what to do with it... pie, soup, roasted pumpkin, roasted pumpkin seeds (a must), bread, casserole,  the options just go on.   Maybe I'll make a couple of them : D

On a completely unrelated note, I have a crafty project I've been working on and its getting close to ready to share!  Want a sneak preview?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sweet 16th! Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Hello all and welcome to the second Sweet 16th post here!  I have something very fun and seasonally festive for you today : )  So, lets get right to it!

Today we will be making these:

cute no?

These are chocolate pumpkin cupcakes (they were originally from here but have been modified slightly by this blogger and then again by myself.) 

So here we go.

For the cupcakes you will need:

2 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/4 cup good quality cocoa
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. clove
1/8 tsp. cardamom
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs

fondant recipe to follow later

To make the batter, sift (or if you're like me, just stir with a fork) together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamom in a large bowl.  In another bowl stir together the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla and set aside. (If you plan on making pumpkin flavored frosting, set aside 3 Tbsp. of the pumpkin puree, but if not go ahead and throw it all in to the batter.)

In a mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each, until the mixture is light and smooth.  Alternately add the flour mix and the buttermilk mix, blending well after each. (this was my favorite part just cause it looked so dang cool!)

see?!  its all swirly and marbly!

anyways,  once you get everything mixed together, divide the batter into pre lined cupcake pans (about 1/4 cup per cupcake).  This is a little tricky as the batter is really thick and sticky.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes (mine took 17) or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for a few minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool all the way.

This made a LOT of cupcakes, I ended up with 3 dozen!

So now we get to the fun part, the frosting.  These would be amazingly delicious with a buttercream frosting or even just by themselves (I left some unfrosted)  but I wanted to do something cute for the pumpkin season so I decided to try out marshmallow fondant.  I have previously made regular fondant and wanted to try something new.  Regular and marshmallow fondants are similar in difficulty (neither is terribly hard, just messy and a lot of kneading) but the marshmallow fondant ingredients are easier to get.

I used a combination of these two tutorials found here and here both found via Stumbleupon. 

For marshmallow fondant you need:

1 bag marshmallows
1 bag confectioner's sugar
food coloring
you can add flavor oils if you like

I used mini marshmallows.  Put some marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl (a few handfuls or a whole bag, up to you for how much you want to work with) add a couple teaspoons of water, toss the marshmallows in the water until they are damp and kindof sticky, and then pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, checking at each interval to see if they are starting to puff up a bit and melt together.  At this point they are ready to be stirred.  I suggest a wooden spoon coated in butter or crisco.  Next, add some food coloring to get the color you want but a couple shades darker. (adding the confectioner's sugar will lighten it up.)

It doesn't look like much now, but this made enough for twenty pumpkins.

The next step is adding in the confectioner's sugar. I added a little to the bowl and had difficulty right away stirring it in.  So instead I greased up my hands and thoroughly coated myself and my work surface with confectioner's sugar and just worked the sugar into the marshmallow goo on the table.  This was messy and took a long time and about 1/2 a bag of sugar, but right at the point where I thought there was no way on earth it was going to work and was about to throw in the towel, it finally became workable and stopped sticking to everything it touched.  (patience...)  In the meantime, to distract my 2 year old want to be helper, this worked

mmm, thanks for the chocolate mommy!

And my fondant worked out to this

I used biscuit cutters to cut out circles for my pumpkin toppers.  I had two sizes, the larger one worked great for the cupcakes that were more domed on top, and the smaller one fit the cupcakes that didn't get quite as much batter as some of the others (oops! ).  Once I had all my cakes topped with circles of fondant, I used a butter knife to press in the lines for the pumpkin shape.

Then I pressed the tip of the knife into the center to make a dip for the stem of the pumpkin.

Unfortunately none of my pictures of the stem making process came out well so I will have to describe it as best as I can.  I got three little cups and put green food coloring in one, large green crystalized sugar sprinkles in another and made some milk/confectioner's sugar mix (glue) in the third.  Then I took a little piece of fondant, rolled it into a small cylinder, and stuck it on the end of a wooden skewer.  I rolled it around in the food coloring, patted off the excess with a paper towel, then rolled it in the sugar sprinkles.  Then carefully pulled it off the skewer, added a dab of frosting glue and stuck it onto the ready and waiting pumpkins!

I think they turned out rather wonderfully!

And if you're not a big fan of eating fondant (which, lets face it, most people aren't) its super duper easy to pick off for a chocolaty pumpkiny "muffin"

Hope you enjoyed this month's installment of Sweet 16th!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

fun stuff

Hello friends!  I've got something really fun prepared for sweet 16th coming up!  but in the mean time, here's some fun stuff I did this week. 

First of all, I love to make hats, and this past weekend I had a photo shoot with my lovely friend and model Ashley.  Here are a couple of our great and silly pictures from the shoot!

This was right before she noticed the water was dyed blue...

big grins (maybe I said something funny? I don't know)

nice fall colors!

Anyways, these are just a few of the pictures we took. There are more on my etsy shop Steambobbin where the hats are also for sale (wink wink) along with several others.

I also carved a pumpkin this weekend.  I haven't tried lighting it up yet but I think it will be quite nice.

The small one was carved by my hubby : )

Hope you all had fun times this week, I'll be back with fun goodies on Sunday!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Fall

It finally feels like fall!  The leaves are turning colors, it rained today, and the coffee shop where I work has pumpkin spice syrup in.  (btw, if you like pumpkin lattes may I suggest doing half pumpkin and half caramel syrups in either a latte or a chai latte.  It is one of the most fantastic things ever, with a little caramel drizzle on top...mmmmmm.  My current favorite drink.)

Anyways,  since it is fall now, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite pumpkin recipes, Pumpkin Spice Cookies.  These are not the most elegant or pretty cookie, but they sure are tasty.  They are more like a muffin in consistency than a normal cookie.

The original recipe was found here, but I have modified it slightly to suit my personal tastes.  So here's my version:

Pumpkin Spice Cookies:

1/2 c. butter, soft
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. canned pumpkin (note: 1 cup not 1 can)
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. clove

In a mixer bowl cream butter and brown sugar.  Beat in egg, vanilla and then pumpkin.  It should look like this

In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger and clove.  Add all of the dry mixture into the pumpkin mix and beat well.  It should be thick enough to stand a spoon up in.

Drop by tablespoon fulls onto cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes or until set. Then transfer to racks to cool.  Here they are!

Like I said, not the prettiest cookies ever, but they are so tasty.  You can roll them in a cinnamon sugar mix before baking them if you like, or frost them.  They are quite tasty with a little caramel drizzle on top if you want to get really fancy. 

So there you have it.  A nice simple hearty fall cookie.  Toddler approved.