where sisters, sibling rivalry, and creativity collide.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gingerbread cupcakes with Gingerbread Molasses Frosting

Holiday baking is one of my favorite things to do.  I found a really good gingerbread cupcake recipe at www.shugarysweets.com .  I searched the Internet and couldn't find what I wanted so I made up my own frosting recipe.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp molasses
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used the old standby of 1 tbl white vinegar in the 1/2 cup of regular milk)
10 Pepperidge Farm Gingerbread cookies, pulverized
       (The ShugarySweet recipe called for 6 Gingerbread Oreos which we don't have here.)

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2  Tbsp milk (You may need a touch more if you like runnier frosting.)
2 tsp molasses
5 Pepperidge Farm Gingerbread cookies, pulverized

Preheat oven to 350'.  Line cupcakes tins with liners and set aside.

Cupcakes: In large bowl combine butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs and molasses until smooth.  Add flour and all seasonings (including baking soda and powder), stir until combined well.  Stir in buttermilk.  Fold in gingerbread cookies.  Scoop into liner until half full.  Bake for 15 -18 minutes.  Makes 24 cupcakes or about 80 mini cupcakes

Frosting: Fluff butter for 3 minutes on high.  Add powdered sugar, milk and molasses.  Add more milk or powdered sugar until it is about the consistency you want.  Add the gingerbread cookies.

I added some frosting stiffener so I could travel with mini cupcakes which we really well received!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Shrimp Pasta

Beautiful, I know.

Hey. So I know I'm not a Hanna, but Sherri said it was okay to post on here because I married into the family. As some of you may know, I am the worst at blogging so this may be my only appearance. SAVOR IT. Just like you will savor this awesome recipe that my sister and I made up this summer that Nathan and I improved LAST WEEK!

1/4 cup Butter
1/2 lbs Deveined shrimp
5 cloves Garlic, chopped

1. Saute the butter, shrimp, and garlic.
2. Set aside the shrimp when it’s cooked.

4 slices Bacon, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Zest and juice of one lemon
   8 oz sliced mushrooms
   6 oz Spinach
      3 tomatoes, diced

3. Cook the bacon until crispy.
4. Stir in the vegetables.

1/4 cup butter
        Red pepper flakes, to taste
        Salt & pepper, to taste
        Serve over pasta

5. Add the rest of the butter and seasonings
6. Serve over pasta
7. Garnish with parmesan-romano cheese

The first time we made this, I splurged on white shrimp and it was the bomb. The second time, we bought those tiny salad shrimps. Also awesome, but since it's already cooked, you don't add it until after the vegetables have cooked down a bit and just let them heat through.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jammie Dodgers

Sherri posted the main course...here's dessert!

I made these cookies (...or, if you prefer, biscuits) in honor of Doctor Who week for seminary last week.  Pretty easy recipe, the only tough part was rolling out the dough - which was about as hard as a brick when it just comes out of the fridge.  My advice? Let it sit out on the counter for about 10 minutes to soften up slightly.  Also, I used the plastic wrap on top of the dough so that the rolling pin didn't stick to the dough. I also combined the vanilla extract with the milk so as to skip a step.

The recipe is from Diana's Desserts (here is the site).

 Jammie Dodgers
Basic Cookie Dough Recipe
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated or superfine sugar
2 large eggs
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For Filling:
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, or seedless strawberry jam

(I used seedless blackberry. Word.)
Cookie Dough:
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt: add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed after each addition until blended. Stir in vanilla extract.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions; wrap each portion in plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Chill. Proceed with cookie instructions.

Yield: 4 1/2 pounds cookie dough.

To Assemble and Bake:
Roll cookie dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place on greased baking sheets. Cut center from half of cookies with a 1-inch round or heart shaped cutter.

Bake at 350 degrees F (180 C) for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Spread 1/2 teaspoon seedless raspberry jam on solid cookies; top with cutout cookies.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Memphis-Style Barbecued Spareribs

Deb and I have a pact.  A pact to post recipes.  I'm holding up my end with the protein.  Now she needs to hold up her end with the good part.

I  made this from the Cook's Best All Time Best recipes and I have to say it delivers. I changed just a few minor things and the recipe forgave and forgot.

Spice Rub (see below)
2 (2 1/2 - 3 lb) racks St Louis-style spareribs, trimmed (get that fat off)
1/2 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar

Combine apple juice and cider vinegar in small bowl.

Spice Rub

2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder*
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper*
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

*Adjust these to taste.  As is this is a spicy rub.  I cut down on the cayenne and chili powder and my kids liked it better.  I like spicy.

Combine all in bowl.

Rub about 2 tablespoons per side per rib rack.  Let the ribs sit at room temperature for 1 hour covered in plastic wrap.  At about 45 minutes start grill on a low temperature about 300-325'.  Grill meat slowly for about 1 1/2 hours.  During the last 20 minutes baste with apple juice mixture.  Rotate at least twice for basting.  Turn on oven when you start basting to 325'.  Set a wire rack (we have one we use in our smoker) over a cookie sheet covered in foil.  Transfer the ribs to the rack.  Baste with the last of the apple cider mixture and cover tightly with foil.  Poke about 4 holes to vent.  Cook until tender, about 1 to 2 hours.

Jim liked dipping his in regular barbecue sauce but I liked it plain.  It went well with a little cucumber and purple onion salad (slice both thin and add 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar and let it sit for 15 minutes in the fridge).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fashionable Head Gear

                                                  Mom & David ... need I say more?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wedding Blouse

I'm done with Laura's Epic Wedding outfit!  I ended up using Simplicity 5226--which you might notice is a dress, not a top.  I simply extended the bottom seven-ish inches.  (I made a slight A-line with the side seams so that I'd have room for her tummy and hip line)

The pattern was a good one, I can do a ton of different things with it.

I added the pin-tucks and then cut my pattern pieces over the top of them.  I navigated some unknown territory on this one and went to bed last night trying to imagine what they could possibly mean when they were describing how the collar attached to the neck.  In the end, I just trusted the picture and forged ahead.

I like how it's close to the body, not to futz-y and yet, has enough detail to be interesting.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Outdoor Wedding Skirt

I was laboring under a mighty rage today--intemperate--and like the Chinese I harnessed that power for the collective good.
China's Fury
I ran up this skirt for the Epic Wedding.  The fabric was a beast just looking for a reason to pucker and fray.  I didn't use a pattern (which wasn't a problem but I still have yet to do beautiful button holes with my machine) so it's a  basic gathered skirt tucked into a three inch waistband with a covered button finish. I used the finished edge for the hem and another band at the waist.  I made it just below the knee because Laura is not 6 anymore.

 I like the simple and dramatic effect.  A sharp white blouse will make this. I'm thinking of doing something with pin-tucks down the front and a short cap-length kimono sleeve.

Back (I ended up loosening the buttons after taking this picture as my measurements were somewhat off, but I like how it bells out gently at the hip).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Menu Help

Hey all!  I am helping the Wedding Coordinator, aka Debbie, plan meals for the pre and post wedding party that will be eating at the venue, aka Deb's house.  I started writing things down but then thought I should poll the extended familia to see what some likes/dislikes, requests/definitely don't make and suggestions w/recipes.

We will be very budget conscience.  Also think along the lines of meals for about 20+.  It will be August so we need lighter food that won't weigh us down during our post wedding boogie.

I will also entertain suggestions for the wedding buffet.  I already have some ideas and have run a few of them across the Wedding Coordinator.  Don't be hurt if I don't use your "special" jello salad with chickpeas and toast points: I am trying to fit in those items that taste good together, are non-wilting and will do well at room temperature (except for the protein).

There are no prizes but maybe I can get you a first serving if you contribute.

                                                      This pic has nothing to do with this post.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quick Quiche

I love quiche.  Jim thinks quiche is for girls.  Really?  I haven't made one in a long time and when I mentioned it to Jim he said, "I'll pick up Chinese.".  Dork.  I made it anyway AND made him have a piece before ordering Chinese.  Guess what? He didn't order Chinese.  True story.  So, here is the quiche that changed my husband's mind.

Smoke Ham Quiche

2 cups smoked ham cut into bite size pieces (I used left overs from a meal with my in-laws)
4 medium sized red potatoes cut into small bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups broccoli flowerettes cut into bit sized pieces (see a trend here?)
1/2 cup leeks cut into slices and then cut in half (green onions will work but leeks are milder)
2 cups  Swiss Cheese grated
4 large eggs whisked
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 pastry crust (I cheated and used a Pillsbury crust I had in the freezer.)

Preheat oven to 450'.  Place crust in 9" pie pan, trim edge to top of pan.  Prick bottom of crust and cover in foil.  Place in oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil and cook crust until almost done about 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Turn oven down to 350'. 

Whisk eggs in large bowl.  Add cream and milk, mix thoroughly.  Add salt and pepper, mix thoroughly.  Add cheese and stir. 

Place potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and add 1 Tbl of water to bowl, cover loosely.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Place broccoli and leeks on top of potatoes and cover again.  Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  Drain if necessary. Stir in ham pieces.  Place in the pie crust.

Pour egg and milk mixture over vegetables.  Stir lightly to spread the cheese around the pie crust.

Place pie pan on cookie sheet (this tends to go over the sides).  Bake for 50 - 60 minutes until middle is firm.  NOTE:  It may seem a little runny in the middle but it is just the cheese.  Once it cools for 5 -10 minutes it will firm up nicely.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Parmasen Zucchini Chips

Tylor and Lauren went nuts for these.  No dipping sauce required.

1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 baby zucchini slice 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Place milk in a pie pan.  Place flour, salt and pepper in a pie pan.  Place egg and water mixture in pie pan.  Place bread crumbs and parmesan cheese mixed together in pie pan.  Heat oil in frying pan on medium high heat.  Dip zucchini chips in each pie pan and then place in oil.  Cook about 1 to 2 minutes each side until golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel before serving.  Best warm.

Maple Bars (Chocolate too!)

Note:  Pic is from original blog site www.djsfavoriterecipes.blogspot.com
as is the recipe.

I found baked donut perfection yesterday.  Nirvana achieved.  Don't change a thing .. I mean it.  I'll know...


1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup shortening
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar (divided 3 tbls and 1 tbls)
 2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 envelopes yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
2 large eggs, beaten
4 3/4 cups flour (plus more if dough is sticky)

In a medium saucepan scald milk (bring to almost a boil with bubbles forming at edge of pan); add shortening, 3 tablespoons sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Stir to combine and set aside to cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl mix yeast and lukewarm water.  Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir lightly.  Let sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to bubble and become foamy.  Add eggs to yeast and stir to combine.   Stir in the lukewarm milk mixture until well combined.  Gradually add in the flour.  Add more flour until dough is no longer sticky.  Knead for 3 to 5 minutes.  Turn dough into a greased bowl.  Let it raise for about an hour or until double in size.

Punch down and roll out into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into rectangles about 5"x 2". Should make about 2 dozen.  Place on greased baking sheet(s).  Let raise for 30 minutes.

Turn on oven to 425'.  Bake the bars for 7 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before frosting.

Making icing while the bars are baking (I made both at the same time: it wasn't difficult.)

Maple Icing

1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp maple flavoring

In a small sauce pan mix butter and brown sugar and milk.  Bring to a boil on medium heat.  Simmer for 3 minutes, stir occassionally.  Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes (IMPORTANT - Don't skip cooling!)  Add maple flavoring and powdered sugar.  Whisk until smooth.  Spread liberally on bars.  Icing will set in about 15 minutes.

Chocolate Icing (not as sweet) (from Alton Brown 2004)

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate - chopped coarsely
2 cups powdered sugar

Combine butter, milk, corn syrup and vanilla in medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted.  Decrease heat to low, add the chocolate and whisk until melted.  Take off heat and add the powdered sugar whisking until smooth.  Drizzle over bars until coated thoroughly.  Glaze will set in about 30 minutes ... if they last that long.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Am I the only one who misses Picnik?  I ran across a program today - PicMonkey. It's remarkable similar to (without being identical) Picnik.  It's free right now, but I expect that won't last forever (at least not for the 'premium' bits).  Here's a sample of two pictures I tarted up - in less time than it would have taken on Picnik.
I used the "Daguerreotype" effect.

Cropped and then used the "Urbane" effect.
Better yet, you can add stickers and text!

Have fun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

iPod Case

This isn't really a complicated project--certainly not complicated enough for a tutorial.  It is merely a piece of fabric cut long enough to double the length of the iPod and enough for a flap, sewed up both sides and given a buttonhole.

But, this was instructive for me for a couple of reasons: 
A)Never throw away scraps of fabric. This was 100% grey wool from a sweater that I made into a throw pillow. I still have remnants that I'll be using for other purposes, I'm sure.

B)Wool is a great fabric for this project as it won't unravel at the edges (yes, it was washed so it's felted somewhat) and is cushy enough to not have to add another layer and more time to the project. Also, when I finished I wasn't quite happy with the blunt cut of the fold and, because it was wool, I was able to shape it without having to undo it all.
C)I really wish my machine was great at buttonholes but we have yet to do a really great one.
D)Vintage button!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seminary Prizes

I'm pretty sure none of my students read my blog, so I think I'm safe in posting these pictures.

That visit from Suzanne and Keira last month really helped me get the hang of putting jewelry type stuff together.Yesterday I made 2 sets of key chains and one necklace...in about 15 minutes.
I'm calling these:  " Abraham 3:22-23".

Ummm...haven't decided on names yet.

This is the "Leviticus 19:18". I hadn't planned on making this one, but I had enough left-over parts and pieces that I didn't need to buy anything for it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

The cheesecake layer is my favorite.
 I was telling Sherri the saga (yes, saga) of why I made this pie...trust me, the story isn't that interesting...anywho, she told me to share the recipe.  I have to admit up front that there really isn't a 'recipe' for this, but I will give you some general directions.

Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Pie
1. Bake a pie crust. I used refrigerated pie crust dough that comes from the store, but home made would be fine.  I suppose you could use graham cracker crust - which would elevate this pie into the 'no-bake' category.

2. Whip 8 oz. (room temperature) light cream cheese (neufchatel) and add in about 1/4 cup (more or less to taste) powdered sugar. Gently beat in some Cool-whip (about a cup?). Spread in the bottom of your cooled crust.

3. Slice up a bunch of Strawberries (about 4 cups).  I used my egg slicer, but a knife is fine.

4. Mix Strawberries with something. I used slightly cooled Danish Dessert (found in the Jello section of the grocery store), but feel free to use whatever glaze you have available.
Steve assured me that Upside-down Strawberry Cheesecake Pie tasted just about as good.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Coloring Page Cake Tutorial

I just posted a tutorial over at Cornelia's Kids on how to decorate a kid's cake using a coloring page as the template.
The only special materials required are a coloring page and a sheet of parchment paper. Oh, and all those bags of frosting.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Watch Out

 There should be a saying or a maxim or a true-ism or a proverb to the effect that when any two Hanna sisters get together for any length of time...watch out! No, seriously, Watch. Out.

After spending an evening and a day with Marcy earlier in the month, I figured that I had learned just enough skills to enable Suzanne, Keira and I to each make a necklace or two this weekend. Yeah. About that. Um...I've got pictures of around 26 necklaces (and one bracelet),  that we made over the past two days. (there are two or three more glass tiles that didn't make it into the pictures)

Impressive? Sure, but you've also got to factor in the dress that Keira made, the pile of mending Keira brought to put through my serger, the skirt (complete with zipper and waistband) that Suzanne made, and the curtains that I whipped up.  And two trips to craft stores.

Watch out.

The Betty Neels Collection. From L-R: Fate is Remarkable, Never Say Goodbye (aka From Poland with Love), Ring in a Teacup, The Girl with Green Eyes (aka Lucy Lockkit's Locket), Henrietta's Own Castle and Caroline's Waterloo.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

$21 Challenge

As I am now a stay-at-home Mom again, we find that even though Kevin's new job absorbs my $800/mth income, it still doesn't leave a huge amount left over for savings. We do put a little away each month, but we would like to put away a bit more. Kevin has asked me to try to our food budget down to around $400/mth, which is a bit daunting for a family of 5. I am already pretty thrifty, but I haven't been able to get below $500 for the last couple of months.
So, I am taking on the challenge!
I spotted this challenge while perusing thrifty tips on Youtube (you can really get sucked in!). I do have a pretty well stocked pantry and have been dabbling with meal plans for a while... and I love a good challenge! So, I am going to start this on Thursday 4/11.
Anyone game to join in?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Cleaning... Results Show

Spring Break is a big cleaning week in our home. As I tell my kids, "If you don't work hard in school you will get stuck doing a job you hate... like doing manual labor and cleaning up after others." For some reason they are always very excited to head back to school.
Our goal was to get rid of a bag-a-day of stuff and unpack a bunch of boxes too. We cleaned and painted, and organized 10 spaces in 7 days.

We purged 3 bags of stuff from our laundry / linen closet area.

After putting up 2 extra shelves, and reinforcing the existing one, we finally have a great storage / laundry area. Best thing: the 8" shelf just behind the washer and dryer.

The boys' room took a day and a half to sort through. I didn't take a before picture, but suffice it to say, it looked like an episode of hoarders. We purged 2 bags of stuff, a bunch of old books, and organized an entire bin of future clothes.

After many, many hours of cleaning and sorting, the boys are happy with the results. Best thing: Found a $10 bed frame with attached spring to maximize storage space underneath and head room above.

The garage! What can I say? We pretty much moved in and chucked everything that we didn't need right away into the garage. I didn't keep track of all of the stuff we threw out, but surprisingly, it wasn't a lot.

After one and a half days, this is the result. It could still use some more organization, but at least it is usable now. Best thing: Bike storage area Kevin put up.

Overall we got rid of 10+ bags of stuff, put up 11 shelves, painted 3 spaces, hung countless pictures, unpacked 7 boxes, and taught my rugrats a great lesson :D

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Crafting with Marcy

I spent Thursday evening crafting with Marcy. I'm hopeless at making jewelry on my own - there's just too many tools and wires and pins and beads and and and...my eyes tend to just glaze over when I'm in the jewelry section of Michael's and I always end up walking away empty-handed. Not this time. I now have a little firmer grasp of how the stuff goes together and what I would need to make some types of necklaces (the easy types).
Marcy put this together while coaching me in remedial jewelry construction.

One necklace, three options.

This was pretty fun to make - and super simple. Love the alcohol ink used for the aging effect.
Same-ish technique here.  Again, simple.

                  Two more necklaces...has anyone noticed a common theme to all of these?                    Interchangeableness (my spell checker assures me that interchangeableness is not a word, but I disagree).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring "Cleaning"...

...that's my name for these fiber-rich muffins.
Most of this recipe can be found in the family cookbook on page 28.  Colleen's Famous Bran Muffins is the actual title, but since I've altered the recipe a bit, I feel justified in altering the name too.

Spring Cleaning Muffins

Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs

Mix in:
2 cups of buttermilk* with 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda stirred in

Add to all of the above:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Bran Buds (cold cereal)

Optional stir ins (I like both):
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) and 1 cup shredded coconut.

Makes about 26-30 regular size muffins.  Bake at 400' for 20 minutes in greased muffin tins. (I usually make these in cupcake papers - they stick a bit to the paper).  These freeze quite well and make a great mid-morning snack or a breakfast-on-the-go or while you're doing spring cleaning.  Let's go with that.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Madness Wrap Up

I would like to thank all of those that participated in the March Madness Challenges. I have to say we have a pretty talented group here. I think we need to draw in a few more participants for our next big challenge though. Let's hit up Jody, Josie, Marcy, Gabi and any other extended family that could contribute to our collective. I'm thinking we do a summer kick off in early June?
Thanks for all the great ideas. I know I will be using a couple of the recipes in the near future. Way to go family!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012