Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's finally December 31st and my 365 day project is DONE! Check it out here
Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Free Printable: 2014 Goals

2014 is just around the corner. Everyone is talking about their resolutions so I started to think about what I'm going to focus on this year. I'm not big on resolutions but I don't think having a few goals is a bad idea. I decided to make a print and hang it in my apartment throughout the year to remind myself of what I'm trying to focus on. 

If you like it, feel free to print your own! Click here for the image. Print on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper and cut inside the lines. It should turn out to be 8" x 10".

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Favorites

Christmas is tomorrow! I've been doing nothing but wrapping and baking for the past two days. I'm ready! If you're still looking for a delicious recipe or a last minute holiday craft, I've put together my list of favorites from past years. Merry Christmas eve!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY: Simple Snowman Christmas Card

I'm trying to keep everything simple this holiday season, including my Christmas cards. I wanted to make a few cards by hand (rather than printing them out, since I do that year round) so I decided to use a method I learned in college. I cut out a simple snowman using a rubber carving block and stamped it onto some scrap paper. Here's how to make your own...

What you'll need:

  • rubber carving block (I found mine on Ebay but they are also available at art supply stores)
  • linoleum cutter (also available at art supply stores)
  • cardstock 
  • black paint
  • foam paintbrush
  • orange paper (for the carrot nose)
  • ribbon (for the scarf... washi tape would be cute too)
  • glue

Start by tracing a simple snowman onto your carving block. Carve around the outside. Makes these cuts extra deep. Now carve inside the snowman but don't carve quite so deep. Leave some lines for the paint to transfer to.

Use the foam brush to add some paint. Typically you would use a roller but if you don't have one, a brush will work just fine. You could experiment with an ink pad too but the transfer will be much lighter.

Add whatever accessories you like. I decided to use some ribbon for the scarf and some orange construction paper for the carrot nose.

 Add a holiday greeting to the inside and you're all set!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

O Christmas Tree

This year I bought my first (very own) real Christmas tree. I have a fake pink one that I decided not to use this year. I don't know why. I was just in the mood for a real one. It's definitely a Charlie Brown tree. I put it on a box and it's still shorter than me, but I love it. It's so hard for me to turn the lights off at night before bed because it's just so pretty... so I turn them on again around 4AM when I wake up for work. It definitely brightens up those dark, early mornings. Below is a photo of some other decorations I have up in my apartment. I better enjoy them now... Christmas is only ten days away. Can you believe it?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

For Thanksgiving this year I decided to try Martha Stewart's triple chocolate pumpkin pie. I know, it took me a while to finally post this but it's a great pie for Christmas too. It's not the easiest recipe but it's definitely worth the effort.

Ingredients (for the crust):
  • 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Ingredients (for the filling):
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ground cloves
  • 1 ounce milk chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start by crushing the graham crackers.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of a deep, 9 1/2-inch pie dish. Bake until firm, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over the crust. Return to oven to melt chocolate, about 1 minute.

Spread chocolate in a thin layer on bottom and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Now for the filling. Create a double boiler and melt the semisweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.

Mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves in a medium bowl. Whisk 1/3 pumpkin mixture into chocolate mixture. Whisk in remaining pumpkin mixture until completely incorporated.

Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack.

Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours. Before serving, drizzle melted milk chocolate on top. I put melted chocolate into a small ziploc bag and cut the corner to create a makeshift piping bag for the chocolate swirls.

Serve well chilled. A small slice will do the trick. This pie is rich!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday Sale

Do you have your holiday cards yet? If not, you're in luck! I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop and there are plenty of holiday goodies to choose from! Interested in a set of cards? Just convo or email me for pricing. Go take a look!

Monday, December 2, 2013

My First Yule Log Attempt

About a week ago I made an ice cream filled yule log for my dad's birthday. I'd never made one before and had a feeling that it might be a little tricky. It definitely was!

I used the same cake and frosting recipe that I use to make my double chocolate cupcakes. I lined a rimmed cookie sheet with wax paper and poured the batter on top. It only took about 10 minutes to bake. Once the cake cooled, I flipped it onto some more wax paper. My first mistake! I used two pieces of wax paper rather than one long piece so when I went to roll the cake, it split where the paper split.

While doing all of this, I let the ice cream soften. My second mistake! I let it soften way too much. I unrolled the cake, smoothed the ice cream over the top, and when I went to roll it again, a lot of the soft ice cream poured out of the sides. I put the whole thing back in the freezer and let it harden for almost 24 hours.

Once the cake and ice cream was hard, I frosted it and cut the messy sides off (at an angle). It's not the prettiest yule log but the gnomes sure made it cute.