Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holidays are exhausting!

So things have been super busy the last month or so.  I've been making candy and cooking holiday meals and quilting.  Yes quilting.  I have been holed up in my 5th Wheel/sewing room making blankets an stockings and table runners.  So if you're wondering where I have run off to that is where.  After the holidays are over (After the New Year) and I'll have a real blog up with a some goodies to share with all of you.  So until then Happy Holidays, I hope you all enjoy your time with your loved ones.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birthday Cake

What is this?  Another post in the same month you say?  Why yes indeed it is.  This is kind of a  follow up to all the cupcakes I made.  Today is my Mommy-in-law's actual birthday and last night I made her a cake for today.  It all comes down to one little detail, I am having way too much fun with gum paste.  Or at least that is what my husband tells me.

The picture isn't the best.  It was 2:30 in the morning and I was exhausted.  But you can see the roses I made from this angle =)  The cake is a pumpkin cake with a cream cheese frosting and filling.  It's so yummy and moist it's hard not to break into it early. Anyway I just wanted to share this with you.  I worked hard and had fun.  I also learned I need to get better at frosting my cakes... I didn't make enough for a crumb coat and a finishing layer of icing.  But I don't think anyone really noticed but me. Well, until next time, this is Crafty Leo signing off!  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gum Paste and Carrot Cake!

Long time no see!  A lot has been going on the last couple months since I posted in August.  My husband and I went to San Jose on a Business trip that ended up being nearly a whole month long excursion.  Living out of a Hotel, even a nice one, is still for the birds.  So a whole month without a kitchen to work with was kind of sad and boring.  But while we were there I discovered these amazing cookies at a little deli called "Specialties"  They were just chocolate chip cookies but they were the best thing I ever tasted! So I have been on a quest to duplicate that recipe.  But that whole story is for another post.  Today I wanted to talk about my new little obsession;  Gum paste.

If you don't know what it is, gum paste is made of powder sugar, glucose, gum tax, and water.  when you combine these ingredients you get gum paste, the clay of the sugar world!  With it you can do fun little things like this:

  I didn't just make these for fun (ok so maybe I did just a little bit), it was my Mommy-in-law's birthday.  She wanted a Karaoke party, and cupcakes, so I made enough for everybody.  A whole whopping 6 dozen (that's 72) cupcakes in three flavors, chocolate, carrot cake, and lemon.  I also made a flower to top each one.  It was a decent sized task, I have never worked with gum paste before, let alone ever molded flowers.  Now I am addicted.  my Mommy-in-law's actual birthday isn't until the 15th so I still have to make her a cake, and yes I am making flowers for that too Bwahahaha!!!

I took some pictures to show off my work >D  and below them is the recipe for my carrot cake cupcakes.

So a little back story on this recipe, the first time I made them with this recipe was when I was still working with Bethany from A fish Who Likes Flowers and the recipe just kind of stuck after that.  They are nice and moist and go really well with cream cheese frosting.

Preheat your oven to 350 F
This recipe yields about 24 cupcakes or two round cake pans if you wish to make it a cake instead

4 eggs beaten and at room temperature
2 C cake flour (you can use all-purpose too)
1 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
3 C shredded carrots (lightly packed)
3/4 C oil
1 t vanilla
1/2 C nuts (optional) (walnut or pecan works best)
1/2 C raisins (optional)

Step 1. Let's prep everything!  Let your beaten eggs come to room temp (approx 30 min) I recommend doing this in a medium sized mixing bowl, you are going to add stuff to them later.  If you are making a cake then this would be the perfect time to butter and flour your 9X1 1/2-inch rounds.  If you are making cupcakes then go ahead and put your liners in their respective tins.     In a large mixing bowl stir together your flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda.

Step 2.  After your eggs are at room temperature add your carrots, vanilla, and oil to them and mix them together until they are just combined. Add your egg mixture to your flour mixture and combine,  after the two mixtures are all nice and mixed together go ahead and stir in your nuts and raisins if you are adding those.

 Step 3. Put your batter into your cupcake tins (about 2-3 Tbsp per cup depending on the size).  or separate your batter in half and put into your cake pans.  For cupcakes they will bake in the oven for about 18-22 min. depending on the oven.  The cakes will bake for about 30-35 min.  Test both with a toothpick and if it comes out  clean they are done.

The last thing to do is frost them with your favorite icing.  I recommend Cream Cheese or Butter Cream.  Below is a quick Cream Cheese recipe.

1 package of Cream Cheese
4 C Powder Sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
4 T butter
1-2 t milk

combine everything except for the milk and mix on medium until smooth, add milk to soften the mixture up as it mixes. I find depending on the day I may need even more than 2 t of milk, but it's really to taste and preferred consistency.  That is all there is to it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Big Bertha's Big Debut!

So I just wanted to take a moment and let my new toy Big Bertha have a little bit of the spotlight.

Everyone meet Bertha.  Say hello Bertha...

Bertha say's "Hi."

Tonight I made some yummy sweet potato fries with my new friend.  (I also got a fry cutter because I'm lazy sometimes)  Recipe is pretty simple:

2 Medium - Large Sweet Potatoes
Oil (at least 1.5 qt)
Fryer or heavy bottom pot
Salt to taste. 

0.  preheat fryer or pot to 375 degrees

1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes.  cut about 3 inches in length and 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch thickness.  To speed up the cooking microwave your sweet potato fries for about 4 minuets before you fry them.

2.  fry sweet potatoes in batches of about 20 fries at a time... or however many your pot or fryer can handle.  cook time is about 4 minutes.

3. salt to taste


Yummy!  Enjoy

<3 Crafty Leo

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fudge, Flubs, and a new Fryer

Today was a fun cooking day for the most part.  I made fudge this morning, and it turned out yummy.  I didn't want to wait until the holidays to have some so I whipped some together when I woke up (picture and recipe below)

So we bought a new fryer yesterday, Big Bertha I like to call her (she's a 4 qt beast!).  Today was her maiden voyage.  And what was the first thing I made with my new toy?  Tortilla chips of course!  super easy, cut a small four inch corn tortilla into six triangles and fry away at 375 until they're nice and golden (approx 1min)  just a little sea salt and boy are they yummy.

My tortilla chips turned out so well that I thought I'd make something else tonight.  And here is where things went well... lets just say they kinda failed, but only a little bit.  I decided to make a funnel cake since I didn't buy one at the county fair on Friday.  I thought I'd try something new and use cake flour.  my funnel cake sunk... it stuck to the fry basket and the pieces that didn't turned into little funnel cake nibblets, which when you dust with powder sugar still taste pretty good.  So for dessert tonight we had funnel cake nibblets.

Now for a Crafty Leo tested recipe!!! 

Super Easy Fudge

3 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet if you want a dark chocolate effect, or milk chocolate if you want something lighter)
1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk (DO NOT use evaporated milk it's not the same thing and it will turn out bad if you try to substitute it!)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional I usually don't add it, still turns out yummy)
optional: 1/2 c nuts (walnuts or pecans are wonderful)

1.  either line an 8x8 baking dish or spray it with nonstick spray, or butter.
2.  combine all ingredients in medium size pot and cook on low medium heat.  Stir constantly until chocolate has melted and all ingredients have combined.
3.  spread out into your baking dish.  Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, then enjoy!

You can also do this in the microwave as well.  just use a microwave safe bowl, and make sure you stir the ingredients at least once or twice half way through the microwaving process, as well as at the end.

And here are the funnel nibblets yum yum!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

I live!

So what has happened to me in the eight months since I last posted?  Well... I got married, I got sick, I've been traveling, and I moved (All in that order too!).  I have just been a busy girl.  But that's no excuse.  This is really my way of saying I'm sorry.  I've kind of put this blog on the back burner.

All this time not blogging has given me a chance to really think about what I want to make this all about.  I was unfocused before, I wanted to write about everything crafty under the sun.  But really this should be about my true passion.  So what is that then?  Well as you might guess by my new title it would be baking.  And you would be mostly right, I love to bake and it is my true passion.  And I will also be including other recipes here as well as maybe the occasional craft or two.

So I would like to welcome all of you to my revamped blog!

<3 Crafty Leo 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Slowcooker pulled beef/pork

So working retail eats your soul in the month of December, did you know that?  I haven't done much of anything except for move and I'm not even done with that.  But I thought I'd give you a short update.  I just bought a new crock pot.  One of my very own!  So I thought I'd share my first recipe with all of you:

What you'll need:
3.5 - 4 qt slow cooker
1 2lb pork rump roast or beef roast I used a "tender roast" basically it was a small beef roast with more fat.
1 1/2 C rootbeer (12oz)
1Tbs garlic salt  (approx I just shook some out and rubbed it in lol)
1 12oz bottle of bbq sauce
hamburger buns or keizer rolls

What to do:

In your slow cooker place your meat of choice sprinkle on the garlic salt and massage it in a little.  Pour on your rootbeer and turn the slow cooker on high and let the meat cook in the soda for 5-7 hrs on high depending on how your cooker heats.  When the meat is tender and shreds with a fork drain the rootbeer and add the bottle of bbq and let cook on low for another hour.  Serve on your rolls (I toast mine a little) and enjoy!

Maybe I'll post a picture later if I don't forget =)