Sunday, February 22, 2015

What's Old is New Again

When my grandmother passed away several years ago, I inherited her cookbooks. She was an avid baker and baked nearly every day. My mom said that when  she was a kid and came home from school there would be some sort of dessert on the table. Sometimes it wasn't a baked good, but a pudding or something, nonetheless every day she made something. I cannot possible imagine making a sweet treat every day of my life. First off, I'd be enormous. Second, that's not very healthy, even with all natural ingredients, that's a lot of fat and calories. I guess there's a reason why she had such high cholesterol. Although I almost never saw her eat any of it. My grandfather was the one who liked the sweets.

She made a wide variety of recipes, which we always called, Grandmom's Cookies or Grandmom's Applesauce Cake. She did make up her own recipes for things, but she also did a lot of baking from the Better Homes and Garden's cookbook. She wrote many notes in the book...use 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 3/4 cup or V. Good when she liked it. The book was obviously used hard. At some point in time, my grandfather duck taped it. It's the 16th printing and the most recent year printed is 1948.

I've decided to make some of my favorites from the cookbook, as well as some new recipes that I've never had before. A lot of the recipes call for shortening, which I don't use, so I'll replace that with butter. Otherwise I'll try to keep to the same recipe.

My sister and I would sometimes fight over who was going to get the last cookie or bar. I didn't tell her I'm making these desserts even though we live in the same town. No, it's not because I want to hoard everything for myself, it's because she's currently on a diet. Isn't that nice of me. :)

I currently live in her house and use her rolling pin to make some of her recipes. Every time I taste one of the things she used to make, I'm transformed back to a little girl eating that item at the kitchen table. It's kind of strange, but neat at the same time.

I recently made Snippy Doodles out of the book. They lasted about a day and a half, so I guess I know why my grandmom baked every day. Recipe and pictures of the Snippy Doodles to follow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Warning: This is a long post with lots of photos. Really bad photos.

Last year I went a little nutty making Valentine's Day "envelopes" out of felt for the kids in my son's preschool class. Ok, there were only six kids, total, but still it was probably a little overboard for four year olds. I saw a few ideas on Pinterest and went with two. I did envelopes for the boys and hearts for the girls. Luckily there were three of each. I already had the felt, velcro and thread, so they didn't cost me anything, but if you buy felt, be sure to buy the cheapest stuff out there (craft felt). Usually you can get it on sale for around $2.50 a yard. If you have the felt rectangles, you could use those too, just make them a little smaller than I did.

Red and White Craft Felt
Red Thread
Pinking Shears
Velcro Strips
Sewing Machine

Being as they were for kids and I knew they would probably get thrown away right after Valentine's Day , I wasn't worried about them being perfect. So the sewing and cutting could have been better. Somehow I didn't think I would get critiqued from a four year old.

I started with the envelopes first and cut two pieces out of the white felt. And a felt red heart. The big piece is approximately 12" wide by 15" high. The smaller piece is about 12" wide by 8.5" high. On the inside of the smaller piece I used a large bowl to cut out a half circle. You could leave it straight across if you want. I wanted the half circle, so you could kind of see what was inside. Then I sewed a zigzag stitch from the corners of the smaller piece towards the top middle section about a half inch shy of the top to represent the where the pieces are glued together. Then I hand stitched the velcro on. I only had light brown velcro, so that's what I used. If I were to buy some, I would buy white. After that, I pinned the two pieces together to form an envelope and zigzagged around the whole thing using about a 1/2" seam. I used my pinking shears and went around the whole thing. Then I stitched the heart on the opening of the envelope and I was done.

Next up was the heart. I used a piece of paper to use as a template for the heart since I wanted them all to be about the same size. I cut out a white heart and then cut out a red heart using a slightly smaller template. Once I was done cutting out all of the red hearts, I cut the template in half width-wise a little bigger at the bottom than at the top. I measured how wide the heart was and cut a strip of white felt about an inch wide. I sewed the white strip to the top of the half heart. Then willy nilly cut a scallop design. Like I said, these were for kids, who were probably going to trash them, so they didn't need to be perfect. Next up was sewing the hearts together. Pin all the heart pieces together and sew around the outside. You're almost done. All you have to do now is cut the scallop edge around the outside. I think that took the longest of anything. Next time I would probably use my pinking shears.

The kids seemed to like them, especially the girls.

Happy Valentine's Day.