Christmas In January–Comes To An End

January 11, 2011 09:11 by ehouston

I know, I know…FINALLY, right?  I haven’t received a comment from anyone in so long that I have determined I must have bored you guys to death.  I hope not, because I wish you all the best for the coming year.  :o) I just wanted to sneak in one last little post about our holiday and then we can stick a fork in ‘er ‘cause she is done!  We, I should say “we”, decorated faux gingerbread houses for the first time this year.  Actually, many, many moons ago I went to a party at a friends house and her mother had us make these little houses using graham crackers.  She showed us how to take the boxes the graham crackers come in and build a form, then using frosting as glue, you can add the crackers and other treats to build a candy house.  It was loads of fun and I never forgot about what a clever mom my friend had.  So, in an attempt to try new things with the Little Guy, with his help I put together the forms using old cereal boxes.  He actually did help me out by holding the tape and bringing it to me when I needed a piece.  Then I slapped together the basic foundation using graham crackers and then ‘nilla wafers for the roof.  After the frosting had hardened nicely we sat down to add all the candies.  He did okay placing the first few pieces, but once he realized it was all edible, it was over.  He just wanted to squish his fingers into the frosting, eat the crackers and shove as many candies into his mouth as possible.  Because we are still at choking hazard age I just had to pull the plug on the whole deal, but it was fun to try and I had a good time wrapping things up later that night.


(We have an M&M adorned home on the left, complete with backyard snowman, and a pastel gumdrop cottage to the right.  Another heaping helping of vintage glass ornaments are piled high in a vintage chip and dip combo bowl, sitting in between.)



After the holiday passed I started noticing bushes and fence lines disappearing.  I was just as guilty at pilfering a tasty bit of roof trim as the next, so one evening I just brought them to the kitchen counter and announced we could stop living the lie and have at them in the open.  What we learned is that the easy to grab stuff is so sweet, but most of the house had turned to stone.  Yummy stone, but stone none the less.

I also wanted to show the group shot from our holiday play date.  It was loads of fun!


Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and let’s hope for a prosperous 2011!

Kitsch Krafts

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Eating - “Sun-Dried” Tomatoes

October 20, 2010 01:24 by ehouston

Well, this time I’m not eating actually.  We had a bunch of tomatoes left over from our little veggie patch and I was determined to do something different with them.  We have eaten our weight in BLT’s and I didn’t want to make any more pasta sauce or soup.  I got the bright idea that I would dry them.   I found lots of instructions online and read through several before settling on a plan.  Most agreed that you just had to slice them, lay them out on a baking pan and set them in an oven at the lowest setting for 10-20 hours depending on the humidity and thickness of your slices.  Some suggested adding salt, pepper, garlic and other seasonings as you liked, to give them a little added flavor.  I chose to sprinkle the pans with some sea salt before laying the slices out and then I gave them another sprinkle, along with some black pepper. 

All seemed good. 


I was super excited.  The thought of these treats mid-winter was pushing me over the edge.  I was sure they would not even last a month after I finished drying them out.  I just knew a simple veggie pasta or pizza would be calling their name in the coming weeks.  But, that was okay since I would not have to open a $7.00 plus dollar jar containing about four slices.  I was going to have a TON of my very own “sun”-dried tomato goodness.  Well, 10 hours into the process and this is what I had:


Not only were they turning a terrible black color, but they appeared to be permanently seared onto my fancy pizza pan and slotted broiler pan top.  To make matters worse, my whole house smelled like roasting tomatoes.  I have since learned this is not a sent I enjoy in the slightest. 

Oh well.  It’s another live and learn moment in the Kitsch Designs world of “Eating”.

Kitsch Krafts

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Eating – Doughnuts Again!

October 11, 2010 04:46 by ehouston

Better Homes and Gardens has long been my favorite magazine to keep on hand.  Since I was little and I flipped through my mom’s copies of this magazine I have always discovered all kinds of interesting recipes, crafts and lovely homes to ponder.  To this day, BHG is the only magazine subscription I refuse to do without…no matter how tight the budget gets!  Yes, I just like it that much.

Well, BHG has done it again.  This latest issue has alternative uses for bacon!  From the moment I flipped the page and read the article title I started thinking, hey this is right up my alley.  I have had the bacon in double chocolate cookies a la The Hot Chocolatier (fab-U-Lusssssss!) and I have heard of baking it with a brown sugar coating to use it in other recipes.  But, when I saw this suggestion I made sure to buy the ingredients the next day and get started right away on this hot little number. 


I was already drooling while standing in the check-out line.  For those of you that do not know, I am a total Baconphile (yeah, I just made that up)!  I love, love, LOVE bacon.  I would say it’s the meat (if you can call it that) which has held me back from being a vegetarian.  (Pa-shaw!  Hee!)  But, to add it to one of my other all time favorite foods….WHAT!?!….this is just crazy!  I thought my head was going to explode.  (I know, I like food way to much).

So, here is my version of this delicious concoction:


As you can see mine never made it to the plate.  They were sooo good!  Rich does not even begin to describe them, but they are worth all 800+ calories for a one time indulgence.

Aw, come on.  You know you want to try it too!

Kitsch Krafts

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Eating – Savory Broccoli Cakes

October 5, 2010 01:36 by ehouston

Saw this in the Storque articles on Etsy the other day.  Thought I would try it out.  Here’s the scoop…


(Pretty cute presentation, wouldn’t you say?)

Savoury Broccoli Cakes

Makes 12 cakes, adapted from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea by Rose Carrarini
Stand mixer or electric beaters
12-cup muffin tin, greased and floured well (or silicone)

12 trimmed broccoli florets (each one should fit into a muffin cup with room to spare)
275g (1 cup and 2.5 tbsp) butter, softened
50g  (1/4 cup) sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
300g (1 1/4 cup) flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
60g (full 1/4 cup) strong cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch the broccoli florets for 3 minutes. Rinse well in cold water to stop the cooking, then dry each floret well with paper towels and set aside.
  2. Beat the butter until soft and creamy, then add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix together the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cayenne and salt, and beat this into the wet ingredients as well. Finally, fold in the grated cheese with a spatula.
  3. Place one heaping tablespoonful of batter in the bottom of each muffin case, then tap the tin against the counter to spread batter out. Stand a single floret in each muffin case, and top with the remaining batter, dividing it evenly between the cases. Spread the batter over the top of each floret roughly, but don't worry about it looking perfect. 
  4. Bake the cakes for approximately 30 minutes, until golden brown and hard to the touch. While baking, some butter will bubble up around each cake — you can mop this up with paper towels if you like, but don't worry too much about it. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before serving, but do try to eat on the same day.

Well, I whipped these up and was pleasantly surprised at how good they actually were.


(The Little Guy waited quite impatiently for me to get dinner finished that night.  No matter where I put him, he kept ending up right at my feet.  I guess he was anticipating something really great!)

We ate our cakes with homemade butternut squash soup, accompanied by homemade rice pilaf and a salad with homegrown tomatoes.  Yum!


The Little Guy had some soup too, but decided a banana was a more tasty side dish. 


Even with the cayenne pepper and turmeric, we were surprised to see that he enjoyed the broccoli cakes too!


The only thing I would warn about these cakes is that they are VERY rich.  I tried to eat two, but had to stop halfway into the second one, and I have found that because they are so sweet and buttery you should serve them with something that is completely opposite in flavor.  Needless to say, contrary to the advice in direction #4, our little family of three could not eat them all in one day (nor would I suggest that to anyone since the butter content is through the roof!).  They did freeze well and we enjoyed them again last night with some corned beef, potatoes and cabbage.

So, what does this cooler weather have you guys craving and/or cooking these days?

Kitsch Krafts

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Eating – Tomato Soup : Homemade And Homegrown

August 13, 2010 06:22 by ehouston

I realized I have not talked about any food I have made lately and with the tomato avalanche that is going on at our place I figured I would share the latest tomato soup recipe.  This actually stemmed from my mother’s arrival the weekend of July 4th with a pile of veggies from her North GA garden.  We ate what we (or, I should say I ate, since The Mister shuns most veggies) could before it was time to start coming up with ways to put up the rest before it spoiled.  The freezer is full of bags of shredded zucchini and jalapeño peppers, and we just finished up the onions.  Everything was delicious and much appreciated, but I had one dilemma regarding all the tomatoes.  As many of you know, when you grow tomatoes, unless you can them or gift them to others sooner or later you are going to have way more than you can eat in a timely manner.  This happened with roughly a large Ziplock bag full of tomatoes.  In desperation to keep them for a later use I threw the bag in the freezer and hoped for the best.  I figured I would come up with a way to use them before they took on a funny “came from the freezer” taste.  Well this is the recipe was just the trick.

8 Large or 10 Medium sized tomatoes frozen and then thawed

1.5-2 cups of Chicken Broth

1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh, chopped Basil

1/2 to 1 cup of Milk (or you could use cream)

1 can of tomato paste

Salt and Pepper (and any other spices you like) to taste

Parmesan Cheese

Squeeze the tomatoes right out of their skins into a large saucepan.  Add the spices, broth and tomato paste and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Once it comes to a boil turn it down to simmer for about 15 minutes.  Let cool and then run through a blender or food processor until smooth.  Poor back into the pan, add the milk and adjust the spices until you get exactly the consistency and flavor you are looking for.  Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for another 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve it up with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


My homegrown and homemade soup along with a veggie pita, bursting with more homegrown tomatoes and homemade hummus.  All of this displayed on my new IKEA dinnerware in white.

This recipe was enough for three large bowls of soup, but it could easily have fed 4 to maybe even 6 if the portions were brought down a bit.  Either way it was very good, quite thick and rich, but relatively healthy.  The Mister did not realize it was homemade at first and when I let him in on the secret he said he thought it tasted to good to be from a can.  Awe, he always knows just the right thing to say.  ;o)

Hope you all are enjoying as much homegrown veggies as possible this summer!

Kitsch Krafts

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Eating: “Doughnuts”

April 26, 2010 08:55 by ehouston

I had a craving for doughnuts and this is what transpired.


I pulled some things together that I though might work.  Dough, of course, and some toppings.  Powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and a little OJ mixed with powdered sugar to make a citrus glaze.


Holes were cut in the Pillsbury Grands Biscuits.  (Yes, they were whole wheat!  Because these were healthy doughnuts!….right, right…)


Some frying happened too.  It was so fast, the picture came out blurry.  ;o)


And, at last the eating commenced.  YUM!

I am beginning to think that all Pillsbury refrigerator dough has been sent from heaven for us to use in any and all crazy concoctions.  (Check out my chicken empanadas post here for another idea.)  It never fails to come out tasting wonderful, no matter what you make with it.

Have you guys ever used any of the Pillsbury products to make something completely different from what they originally intended?  Do share, I am always up for a new kitchen project.

Kitsch Krafts

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Eating: It’s A Slow Ride. So Take It Easy….

March 3, 2010 01:46 by ehouston

Yep, I have been slow cooking again.  I love that I can say that now.  Santa brought us a large oval slow cooker this past Christmas and we have been going to town trying to perfect our pot roast recipe.  But, you can only eat so many big hunks of meat with potatoes before you start to get a little bored and want to try something new.  Thank goodness my mom, er, Santa, also brought us a new slow cooker recipe book.  It’s called “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook”.

Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

(By Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufman and published by Harvard Common Press.)

If you only pull your slow cooker out for your basic pot roast recipe than I highly recommend this book.  It has 350 recipes, like the one below, and they all seem pretty incredible.

Yesterday I decided I needed something sweet, but I did not want to pack up the 6 month old just to run to the grocery for a sweet tooth fix.  Instead I decided to try the Carrot Cake recipe in this book.  Yes, you read that correctly – CAKE!


Slow Cooker Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup light olive oil

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups shredded carrot (2-3 medium)

3 TB drained canned crushed pineapple or finely chopped nuts

(Note: I used regular olive oil because that is all I had and I did not have quite enough.  So, I used canola oil to make up the difference which was a little less than half the required amount.  I also used the chopped nuts rather than the pineapple and I had a bit more shredded carrot than required, but the cake came out just right.)

The first thing you do is line the bottom of the cooker with a piece of parchment cut to fit and then coat with cooking spray up the sides about one third of the way.  You can also use butter for this step.  Then you whisk together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a smaller bowl, combine the water, olive oil and eggs, beating until smooth.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry all at once and then beat again until smooth.  At this point you will stir in the carrot and the nuts or pineapple.  Spread it evenly in the bottom of the slow cooker, cover and cook on High until puffed and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (2 1/4- 2 1/2 hours).  (Note #2: I have a brand new slow cooker and I have learned that it tends to run a little hot, so I checked my cake at the 2 hour mark and it was completely done.  Be sure to keep an eye on yours as it cooks since it will end up a dried out brick if it goes to long.)

Once it’s done, turn the cooker off, remove the lid and let it cool for 30 minutes.  Later you can run a knife or spatula around the edge to loosen it from the cooker and pop it right out and on to a serving platter.


Cream cheese icing was added to make it as authentic as possible for the taste test.  And, boy, was this cake goooooooooooooooooddddd!  It came out with a nice color, and the texture or crumb is just what you would expect from a cake baked in a regular oven.  It also came out perfectly moist.  MMMMMM!!!

On a funny note, the Mister crinkled his nose at me when I told him I made carrot cake for desert since anything with veggies (especially carrots) makes him turn and run.  Later I made us some tea and cut a small slice for him along with a bigger slice for me (I knew he would ask for a bite and end up eating all of my cake if I didn’t go ahead and bring some along for him- see I’m not so dumb after all).  I brought the whole shebang up to our bedroom for some cozy TV viewing and before I knew it he had gobbled up my big slice and was eyeing the little one too.  Ah man, don’t I know my Mister…I just had to laugh!  He even grabbed a couple more slices for his breakfast this morning! 

This recipe really is very tasty with just the right amount of spice and of course the cream cheese icing was the perfect topping.  Also, I was thinking that the oval shape of my cooker means I could create a pretty cute egg shaped cake to decorate for Easter.   HHHmmmmmmm…I am thinking brunch menu planning is in my near future.

So, have you guys made any unorthodox recipes in your slow cooker that you can share?  Send them to me.  I want to try anything that sounds yummy!

Kitsch Krafts

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