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Keep Your Lid On January 3, 2013

BANDS1

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Have you ever traveled over the river and through the woods with a crock pot between your feet, only to arrive at your destination with whatever was in the crock pot all over your shoes? I have, many ‘o times.

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I was in my normal frantic rush to get everyone and all the food I had made, out of the house and in the car (hoping to make Christmas dinner on time this year). I sadly looked down at my lovely Christmas shoes knowing soon they would be covered in sweet creamed corn and I came up with an idea. I quickly ran to my desk draw and pulled out 2 ‘Silly Bandz’ (Silly Bandz are rubber bands formed into shapes. If you have a child 8 or below you have a boat load of them crammed in a drawer. Regular rubber bands will work too). I looped the first band over one handle, then up and over the top handle of the crock pot lid. Did the same with the other side.

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My shoes made it to Christmas dinner without creamed corn all over them, Christmas was saved. Well . . . not really, but my shoes were 🙂

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Sweet Cream Corn in the Crock Pot December 23, 2012

I borrowed this recipe from my sister-in-law’s sister, Terry.

If you’re looking for an easy side dish to take to a gathering, this is it! It’s also great to take camping (if you have electricity). I used a 3 1/2 quart crock pot.

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You will need:

  • 3 lb bag of frozen corn,
  • stick butter,
  • half cup sugar,
  • 8oz cream cheese

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Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker/crock pot
  2. Cook on low for 6 hrs, stir periodically.

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Kid and hubby approved.

 

Bright White Clay Dough Recipe December 18, 2012

whtDOUGH

I found a fantastic clay dough recipe from a blog called ‘The Woodside Kitchen’, here’s the link (http://woodsidekitchen.blogspot.com/2010/11/clay-christmas-decorations.html). I really liked this clay, it was easy to work with. When baked, it’s a nice bright white.

I made Christmas ornaments from the clay with the word ‘Thankful’ stamped on the front. I gave them to my family members during Thanksgiving dinner. It was our first Thanksgiving without my mom. I wanted to remind everyone how blessed we are, even though we all miss her terribly.

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You will need:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Straw
  • Parchment paper
  • Sand paper
  • Decorative stamp (I used an ‘office desk’ style stamper. It had a canal where letters can be fed through, so you are able to make your own words. Purchased at an estate sale. I had to hold it up to the mirror to make sure I had all the letters going the correct way.)
  • Ribbon or string for hanging

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Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized pot combine cornstarch, baking soda, and water. Stir mixture over medium-low heat. After a couple of minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken (about 10 minutes). When it looks like smooth, mashed potatoes, remove the pot from the heat. Spoon the ball of dough into a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth until it’s cool. When it’s cool, knead it on a smooth surface, adding cornstarch if it feels too sticky.
  2. Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Roll out clay to 1/4 inch thick on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes (I used a small juice glass for my shape). Transfer shapes to the prepared baking sheet. Use a straw to poke a hole in the center top of each decoration, this will be where the ribbon or string will go for hanging.
  4. Bake for about an hour, turning them over halfway through cooking. (My oven is a little fickle and I had to cook my ornaments a bit longer, about 30 minutes longer).
  5. When cooled, lightly sand ornaments. Attach ribbon.

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If you want to make colored clay just add food coloring to the water before you mix it with the cornstarch and baking soda. The clay can be sealed in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Just bring it to room temperature before you use it. This recipe can also be doubled to make a larger batch of decorations.

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The blog mentions that they can be painted.

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I do recommend paying close attention to the thickness of your ornament. I read the comments from the blog and some users had trouble with the dough breaking or cracking during the baking process.

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This was an easy, inexpensive project and the kiddos loved it.

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This could also be used for other holidays and craft projects: magnets, beads, plaques, frames, bowls. Just imagine all the unique finishes you could experiment with: glue and tissue paper, Mod Podge®, glitter, metallic paint, etc.

 

Blueberry Cake with Butter Sauce July 11, 2012

It is Blueberry Season in Michigan!!  For those of you that can save some of your berries for baking I have a wonderful recipe to share.  It was passed to me by my very sweet Aunt MaryAnn about 10 years ago in one of those “chain letter recipe exchanges”.  I knew from the title of the recipe I would like it.  Who wouldn’t like something with “butter sauce” mmmmm.   I have considered having butter sauce with every meal:-)

Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter (softened, not melted)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour a 7X11 pan.  Cream together  butter and sugar.  Beat in milk.  Add combined flour, salt, and baking powder and stir.  Add blueberries.  Bake in 7×11 pan at 350 F for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix ingredients together, warm and  serve over cake.  We usually pour over the pieces individually as they are being served, not over the entire cake.   ENJOY!!

 

Ardith’s Sweet Salsa Dip February 19, 2012

Not only is this recipe tasty, it’s good lookin’ too.

This recipe comes with a funny story. My mom was attending her class reunion planning committee meeting, when the discussion moved to food and ‘who’ was going to bring ‘what’ – this recipe was brought up and everyone encouraged my mom to bring it. Mom could not recall bringing this recipe (or ever making it in her lifetime), but everyone on her committee was sure she was the one who brought this salsa to the last reunion. She kept denying that the recipe was hers, but the ownership stuck and nobody laid claim to it – so she had to figure a way to discretely get the recipe from one of her classmates.

Mom and I reviewed the recipe. We laughed and laughed because this is 100% absolutely NOT a recipe she would make, nor would my dad ever, EVER eat a recipe that contained ingredients such as ‘black beans’ or ‘black-eyed peas’. She made it for the reunion and upon entering, about 5 attendees asked ‘Where is Ardith’s Sweet Salsa Dip’. So, this is a very treasured family recipe, that has been passed on from one generation to the next. Feel free to coin it as your own, who knows – it may be yours. Oh, by the way – my dad loves, loves, loves this recipe. He’ll even eat it for breakfast.

Ingredients:

Rinse and drain 1 cup each (I usually just pour in the entire can, because what are you going to do with the tiny amount of left-overs):

  • Corn (I usually use white corn)
  • Black Beans
  • Black-Eyed Peas

I divide my mixing bowl into 4 sections, place each veggie in their own section so it’s easier to chop up equal amounts of these 4 ingredients

Clean and chop 1 cup each:

  • Celery
  • Small Onion (I have used White, Yellow and Spanish Onions. I haven’t found one that I like better than the other. I’m sure there’s a difference, but I can’t tell.)
  • Green Pepper
  • Red Pepper

I don’t always use exactly 1 cup of each veggie. I divide my mixing bowl into 4 sections, place each veggie in their own section so it’s easier to chop up equal amounts of these 4 ingredients – making sure I roughly have about 1 cup of each ingredient.

Boil:

  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Water
  • 3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup Sugar

    Cloudy

Bring these ingredients to a boil. I don’t boil it very long, just until it’s no longer cloudy (this takes a few minutes). Continually stir while it’s cooking.

Combine the canned items and chopped veggies in a big serving bowl. After the boiled mixture you’ve made on the stove cools, pour it over the canned items and veggies. Stir entire mixture together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with TOSTITOS® SCOOPS!® Tortilla Chips OR Fritos® Corn Chips www.fritolay.com. Mixture is really good the next day too.

Clear

 

Vonnie’s Potato Soup

My friend Vonnie gave me this recipe years ago. It’s a good thick soup that fills you up. For some reason, men seem to really like it. I dunno why, they just do. It does have many different salts, evaporated milk, ham, potatoes . . . that’s probably why they like it.

Potatoes (I use whatever potatoes I have on hand)

Onion (I’ve used White, Yellow & Spanish)

Celery

1 can Evaporated Milk

Milk

Salt

Pepper

Garlic salt/powder

Lawry’s Salt

Ham Chunks

Cut up enough potatoes to fill your cooking pot 1/2-3/4 full (leave skins on). Cut up 1/2-full onion and a couple of celery stalks, toss in. Cover the potatoes with water. Bring to boil for 20 minutes.

Do not drain the water. Add 1 can evaporated milk. Mash potatoes with masher. May need to add a splash of regular milk.

Add:

1 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Pepper

1 tsp Garlic powder/salt

1 tsp Lawry’s’ Salt

Ham Chunks

Cook on low for a little while. Really great the next day.

 

Au Gratin Potato Soup

Found this recipe on a store-brand box of au gratin potato mix. The recipe makes a very small batch. It was JUST enough for 2 adults and 2 kids (no seconds). I would recommend doubling or tripling this yummy recipe.

1 package au gratin potatoes with cheese sauce mix

1 can (10.5 oz) chicken broth

3 cups water

2/3 cup diced carrots

2/3 cup diced celery

1/2 cup light cream (I use whipping cream)

Mix potato slices, cheese sauce mix, chicken broth, water, carrots and celery in large saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cream. If you’re feeling fancy – garnish with parsley.