Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Easy Fall Ginger Cake



You know the holiday season is upon us when holiday flavors start taking over. My husband is allergic to cinnamon and with my gluten allergy trying to find something gingerbread flavored is usually a bit of a challenge.

This cake is nice and gingery - perfect fall flavor!  Its pretty quick to whip together because of the pre made cake mix, and just a few other ingredients. I love cream cheese frosting, and I think its perfect with this cake.


For the cake:
1 package Bob’s vanilla cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 c applesauce
¾ c molasses
2 tbsp. ground ginger
Mix together vanilla cake mix & ground ginger.  
In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, molasses, applesauce. 
Use a stand mixer or hand beater and mix the wet into the dry.

Line a spring form pan with parchment to fit the bottom.
Preheat the oven to 325

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. Cake is done once a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove the spring form. Let cool completely

Cream cheese icing:
8oz cream cheese
¼ c butter
2-3 c icing sugar aka powdered sugar

Garnish: 1/2 cup crystalized ginger, optional - I picked some up from the bulk section of the market 

Whip the butter and cream cheese together; slowly add in the icing sugar until well incorporated. 

Ice the cake once its cool. Chop up the crystalized ginger and sprinkle over the iced cake. Enjoy!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Totchos!

Here in Portland we love our taters, tater tots that is.  I would guess about 95% of pubs and restaurants have tots on their menu. Before moving to Portland I cannot recall this crispy little potato showing up on menus as often as they seem to around here.

This is not a healthy eating item, so I wouldn't recommend having it very often.

Tonight we are having tachos, all the fixings of a nacho on top of tater tots - one might argue that as potatoes are a vegetable they better for you then tortilla chips, I am not going to try and convince you, because we both know they aren't esp in tot form!
Totchos are another Portland favorite, they even have a facebook page!

Ingredients:
















1 bag tater tots
1/2 lb 5% ground beef
1/2 packet taco seasoning (watch out for hidden gluten, you can make your own, or check the prepackaged ones carefully)
green onion
tomato
shredded cheese
sour cream
guacamole

Cook the tots according to package directions. While cooking, brown the meat and add the taco seasoning. Cut up the tomato and green onion.

Once the tots are brown and crispy, assemble your totchos with cheese and beef first, then put them back in the oven until the cheese melts. Finish with onion and tomato and serve with guacamole and sour cream. They would probably be really great with olives and jalapeƱos as well. Or you could go all out and add black or pinto beans, and corn as well.


I don't care for raw tomatos 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baking with Buckwheat

So a couple nights ago I tried making an almond poppy seed cake with Buckwheat flour: I have wanted to cook with buckwheat flour for a while and I came across a recipe that incorporated it. I made some minor adjustments based off what I had on hand.

First off a little about Buckwheat:

Buckwheat is not a cereal and not related to wheat. It is closely related to sorrels, rhubarb and knotweeds.
Buckwheat is great for you nutritionally, it’s high in iron!

It is safe for those with celiac disease and gluten allergies/intolerance.
Buckwheat is also planted as a cover crop for beekeeping, since it produces a high volume of flavorful nectar, however those with bee allergies should be careful when using buckwheat flour.

This is what I learned:

Positive:
Texturally it was pretty good, almost exactly like a cake make with wheat flour
It tasted almost like an almond poppy seed cake

Negatives:
I used olive oil and you could taste it, a lot of it.
The cake looked like a grayish chocolate cake

So I have decided to make it again, with a few adjustments, I am out of poppy seeds and decided to add in some chocolate, and I took out the oil all together.

I  also decreased the buckwheat flour by adding more brown rice flour and adding the cocoa.


Dry ingredients by weight:
3.30 oz buckwheat flour
0.50 oz Cocoa powder
2.65 oz brown rice flour
1.76 oz almond meal
3.80 oz granulated sugar

Tsp-tbsp of butter
2 tsp baking powder
1 c milk
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
5 oz chocolate chips (I like to use semi sweet)


Preheat oven to 350
Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl (flours, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder)
In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients (milk, extract, eggs)
Mix wet ingredients into dry and pour into a prepared pan (butter the sides and bottom of a spring form pan)
Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then unmold from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

I think it looks pretty good and it tastes really good. I omitted all the oil, but I think next time I'll either add in applesauce or melted butter in place of it, as it had started to dry out noticeably by the next morning. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Winter Knitting Projects

As I may have mentioned I am working on a number of knit projects for holiday gifts this year, and I started a little late in the season and am now rushing to get things started and finished.
In the meantime between those things, I have also decided to try out some new patterns.

I found this really adorable pattern over at knit&bake for a baby bonnet, seems like every one I know lately is either pregnant or just had a baby! So I thought I would attempt that sweet bonnet.  I have a lovely teal/turquoise colour I thought would be nice for my friend up in Canada's new baby gender unknown. I am a little concerned it doesn't look long enough, but it should still fit a newborn.


I am also working on a quick cowl for myself in a lovely plum/maroon colour.  This yarn is pretty fantastic.
I am hoping to finish the cowl by this weekend, and if it turns out I will probably make a few more for the holidays in maybe seed/moss stitch or some fancy patterns if I have time. Either that or infinity scarves. 

I am dying to stop into a few of the great yarn shops in the Portland area, and this will give me the perfect excuse.

Portland Area Yarn Shops


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gluten Free Madelines


This is the first time making Madelines, the recipe I used called for superfine flours, which I did not happen to have on hand, so I just used stone ground Bob's Red Mill.

1/3 c or 40 grams brown rice flour
1/3 c or 40 grams white rice flour
1/3 c or 40 grams tapioca starch
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick salted butter (8Tbsp or 1/2c)
1 tsp vanilla


Brown Butter on medium/low heat until it gets nice and brownand smells nutty, be careful not to burn it! I prefer to use a lower heat andtake a little longer doing it. Once nice and brown, set it to the side to cool.Brush a little of the butter in your Madeline molds and set that aside. 

This is what the butter should look like
My Madeline pan only fits 8 and the recipe makes 16  so for the 2nd batch I melted alittle butter in the microwave.  You canstrain the brown butter if you prefer, I choose not to.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flours, sugar and thenadd in the beaten eggs and vanilla.  Onceincorporated slowly add the brown butter in a small stream mixing well.


Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to relax fora minimum of 1 hour.

Once it has had a chance to chill, preheat the oven to375. Scoop the batter, about the size of a large tablespoon,  into the prepared molds and bake for 13-15  or sominutes until they start to puff up a bit, mine took 14 minutes. Immediately remove from the pan bybanging it upside down over the cooling rack and let cool.

If you want to drip or drizzle the finished Madelines withchocolate, wait until they have completely cooled, and then temper somechocolate chips either over a double boiler or in the microwave and thendrizzle chocolate over or dip the cooled Madelines ½ way up with chocolate andlet them dry on a baking pan.

 Ithink they turned out pretty grand and my French husband can attest they alsotaste great, since he kept grabbing them before I could take pictures.
Definitely will be making these again!




Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Super Easy Anything Goes Shredded Chicken

Since going back to school, one of my main things that I try and focus on is having easy, healthy, and delicious items on hand to whip up dinner easily.

One of these delicious components is shredded chicken. I personally love my crockpot, I use it for tons of things, and this just happens to be one of them. The really nice thing about doing it this way is that you can make it anytime and not have to worry about keeping an eye on it.

I suggest making a big batch and then freezing the chicken in baggies.

Ingredients:
8 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
1 onion, diced (I cheated and used the pre-diced Trader Joe's package)
64oz chicken stock, or you could use water or 1/2 water.
2 tbsp garlic powder
5-6 stalks of celery



Put all the ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours, or you can do low if its going to be cooking for 8hrs. Once cooked remove the breasts from the crockpot and shred with a fork. Drain off almost all the liquid, reserving 3/4 to 1 cup. Mix together the shredded chicken and the broth.


I like to portion them into several individual freezer bags, approximately 1 cup of chicken per bag.  Then pop them into the freezer!

When ready to eat you can either remove the chicken from the bag or open the bag and put them right into the microwave. I personally like to remove them from the bag because I don't like putting plastic in the microwave, but my husband does it both ways.

Perfect for tacos, enchiladas, tacos, casseroles,chicken salad, pizza topping, buffalo chicken dip, add to BBQ sauce, etc.  A favorite at our house is making burrito bowls. Enjoy!

Cookbook Love

My cousin and I are pretty much in love with the Smitten Kitchen, if you have never been to her blog you really should check it out. She has amazing food and amazing photos.

Sadly now that I am GF I probably won't be able to eat as many of the great tantalizing things she has recipes for, however that doesn't mean I won't attempt to make some of her recipes GF so I can enjoy them along with the rest of you.

She has a new book coming out.......and she will be in Portland on November 5th @ 7:30pm at Powell's on Burnside. I might just have to go down and get a couple copies signed. I know my cousin would love that for Christmas.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

PDXBloggers Round Up

Last night at the Portland bloggers meet up I met a bunch of great people, with some really cool blogs. I even ran into a sister of an old friend of mine, Portland can be such a small town in so many ways.

One of the biggest things I took away from the meet up was that there are so many different types of bloggers, super experienced ones, and ones that are new like me. It made me feel much more at ease about blogging.

Thanks to my friend Erika (atinyrocket.blogspot.com) she helped me make a new banner and helped me add some design stuff. Its amazing how these little changes helped me feel so much more confident about my blog.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dreams do come true!

Today I bought myself a library card catalogue. Yup thats right! After posting a few weeks ago on how incredibly hard it was to find them I found one! It's originally from Corban University in Salem and I found it on craigslist and its in amazing condition.

We had to drive 45 minutes to Salem to pick it up and 45 minutes back but it was worth it! Especially at the price we got it for.

Now I just have to clean it up a little and figure out where to put it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bacony goodness mashed taters

I had a ton of Yukon gold potatoes that have been sitting on our counter for a while.
On my new kick of trying to be budget savvy and have dinners ready to go I decided to make mashed potatoes so I could freeze them.

I also had this awesome cheese, black pepper toscano, that looked awesome, so I thought I would use it as well.

Ingredients:
About 4.5 lbs of potatoes
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup cream cheese
1.5 cup shredded cheese
Water
2 tbsp salt
3 large green onions
6-7 slices bacon

Cut the potatoes into quarters,place in a pot, cover with water, add salt and bring to a boil.

Preheat oven to 375, place the bacon on a baking sheet, bake in oven 30 minutes or until bacon is crispy.

Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain them in a colander and return to the pot. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the potatoes.
Use a hand mixer, or mash by hand, to mash up the potatoes with the butter.
Then mix in the cream cheese & shredded cheese.

Dice up the green onions and add to the mixture.

Once the bacon is cooked, drain on paper towels, then dice up and add to the potatoes.

At this point you can add salt/pepper to taste, with the bacon and salted butter I didn't need salt but its up to you.

I divided the mixture into 3 large ziplock gallon bags, and then squeezed out all the air and placed them in the freezer.





Thursday, October 11, 2012

Great Harvest Gluten Free

Since going gluten free one of my biggest vices has been bread.

I love bread.
I can take or leave the pasta.
I sometimes miss couscous & yakisoba noodles.
And I occasionally miss my Odwalla Superfood smoothie (Yup wheatgrass is a no-no if you are GF)

But not finding really great BREAD to me is the worst thing to me about being GF.

I just haven’t been able to find a good substitute for a nice hot and crusty French baguette.

I am half dreading the next trip we take to visit my in-laws (they live in France), I haven’t been to see them since I went GF and I am so sad I cannot eat the French bread.

On the other hand I have yet to try making it. I really need to test it out. I even have baguette pans, but I know gluten free dough doesn’t behave the same and I just haven’t gotten up the nerve to try it yet. I hope to one day perfect my own gluten free bread recipe but in the meantime I am happy to have something to tide me over.

Since going GF I have been looking for gluten free bread that doesn’t feel like a brick when you hold it, or has to stay frozen, or it tastes like a piece of cardboard
I think I may have found it at Great Harvest Bakery. Hooray!

The thing about this bread is that’s its really good. I tried it plain at the store and it tasted like a plain piece of regular bread. I personally don’t eat my bread plain, but it was a good way to test it out. I am curious to see how my husband likes it as well.

I bought two loaves, the Dakota, which is filled with yummy things like sunflower and pumpkin seeds and Cheddar Garlic. Both are made with brown rice flour instead of wheat flour.

They also carried a cinnamon chip, and a plain variety similar to white bread. The one out in Tanasbourne off 185th has the gluten free bread on every Tuesday and Thursday, and occasionally they will also have sweets like gluten free brownies as well.

They are not made in a dedicated facility, so I would err on the side of caution depending on your sensitivity.
I ate a slice during my lunch and 2 hours later have not had a reaction, so I would say they are pretty safe, but devour at your own risk!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall la la la la Boots!

Every girl needs a good pair of fall boots right?

I always picked black accessories over brown for most of my life, black purses, black shoes, black sweaters, black shirts, black jackets, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love other colours too, navy, blue, grey, reds, greens, purples, and jewel tones are pretty much my fav, but when it came to accessorizing
I always picked black.

This year I decided I wanted some really nice brown boots.

I have been really into brown lately, probably since last Christmas actually, when I got an amazing Fossil Purse for the holidays from my parents, something I could never justify buying for myself.

I have a few pairs of boots, from a year or so ago, that I picked up relatively cheaply. I think maybe around $50.00 for each pair, and they are meh. I don’t hate them, but I am not loving them as much as when I purchased them. I think maybe because I just settled for boots that fit ok, that looked ok, but that I wasn’t really gaga over.

The equestrian style just won’t work for my athletic aka thick calves. There is usually a inch, or sometimes 2 inches, gap that just won’t zip at the top, and trying to add jeans to the equation just makes it worse…. So I was thinking some mid level, mid calf, not quite as short as ankle boots, something that looks cute with jeans or leggings.

The predicament of finding some that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and that is real leather is not the most fun shopping trip I have ever been on. Fortunately my sister, Erika, came along. Any of the boots I really liked were a little out of my price range, have you heard of FRYE’s, clearly those were the ones I liked.
Erika found some cool grey suede boots that she adores, but sadly I came home empty handed. I am hoping to find some online, but I am not sure if I’ll find any to my liking.

Fireside Grill

Last night we went for happy hour with a few friends to a new place in Beaverton, it opened earlier this summer and I am happy to report they have gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options.

I had a fantastic burger on a New Cascadia bun, unfortunately I had finished eating it by the time it occurred to me to take a photo. Sorry folks!

This burger was huge! Dressed with blue cheese crumbles, bacon & caramelized onions and came with your choice of side, I picked the salad and it was a large portion.

I'm always happy to hear about more dining options for the GF crowd.
Will definitely be back!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gluten Free Flours Conversion Chart

I came across this twice today, so I figured the universe really wanted me to share it.

My journey to gluten free

I wasn't really sure how to go about sharing my gluten free journey or if I should, it was something that was a pretty difficult thing I had to deal with for almost two years, so after writing a couple detailed paragraphs and deleting them I decided to do a condensed version.

Basically it took 2 years of multiple doctors appointments,an endoscopy, being sick nearly every day and being really involved in my own health and finally getting some answers going the non traditional holistic medicine route to finally realize that gluten was causing my problems. After fighting that diagnosis for a few months, I finally admitted that if I wanted to feel better I was going to have to just do it. So I did and I have not looked back since.

With gluten it not like you can just have a little gluten occasionally, at least it isn’t for me. For me, if I get “glutenized” I start to feel it within 20-30 minutes,and start to experience headache, pain, vomiting, among other things. To me it's just not worth it.

Fortunately living in Portland, there seems to be tons of gluten free options out there, which is great for a girl like me! I have been a foodie for pretty much my entire life, I even went to culinary school, and I really thought this diagnosis was going to be a nightmare. However I have realized that it really isn’t.

On the one hand I feel really blessed to have the food andbaking knowledge that I do have because GF baking is really a difficult task,something I am constantly trying to perfect. There are so many flours and baking mixes out there. The other thing, my husband is not gluten free, so I want to make things that he can’t tell are g-free!

NOTE: I prefer to blend my own flours, I find they workbetter. But whatever is available to you.
Also I also rarely buy gluten free premade foods, I'm not perfect & sometimes you just have to, but they don’t taste as great and they are so expensive!

There are a number of great blogs out there covering gluten free baking and recipes, but I find that some of them are super complex, and I personally like easy recipes.
So that’s what I hopefully will be posting, easy recipes.Something you can whip up in a reasonable time period that doesn’t include a billion ingredients.

Gluten free Hazelnut Shortbread

Ingredients
1/4 cup or 8 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp. lemon zest     
1/2 cup  brown sugar
1 cup brown-rice flour
1 cup finely ground hazelnut flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (if you use salted butter you can skip this)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  I had two different pans I was deciding on using a tart pan, which ended up being much to large, and a spring form pan. I went with the spring form and cut a piece of parchment paper about 2 inches larger then the bottom of the pan.



Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together. Then add in the brown rice flour, lemon zest,  and ground hazelnuts, and salt if you are using it.
Press mixture into the prepared pan, score with a knife and bake for 40-55 minutes. I checked after 30, to make sure it wasn’t getting too brown, and took it out after 45 minutes.
I let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then removed it from the pan, which was pretty easy with the spring form, and let it cool on a wire rack.

Once cool cut on the score lines. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

At this point you could dip it into white or dark chocolate if you wanted to make it a little sweeter or leave it plain, which is what I did.

I think it would be delicious with a cup of tea or coffee. Enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

L is for the way you look at me.....

I am super new to cross stitching, aka xstitch, and I am working on this pretty flower design my friend gave me, but its a pretty big undertaking, so I am taking a little break and working on a smaller project that I should be able to finish this week.

Its a homage to the Robert Indiana Love sculpture. I chose this pretty green blue thread that is color changing.



I used the free pattern from this blog:
http://jenniferhoel.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/now-what-do-i-do-with-it/

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Crazy Boston Terrier named Ivy....

So I have to share a funny story about our dog Ivy. Ivy is a 3 year old Boston terrier who we got in 2009 as a companion for our Black Lab/German Shepard Loki, it was a match made in heaven.

Ivy is a quirky little girl, I'm not sure if its all Boston terriers or just her, she occasionally has room clearing gas, screams like a human when she gets really excited and recently has gotten into a couple funny jams.

A few weeks ago we came home from work to find that she had chewed a hole through a towel and then managed to lodge herself in that hole.
I was laughing so hard and of course had to take pictures before rescuing her.

Wouldn't you know it but a week afterwards she managed to pull it off again, and gets stuck in the same towel!

Crock pot Brisket

I think I’ll save posting the shredded chicken recipe until the next time I make it so I can actually take a few pictures of the process, it’s pretty delicious so I know I’ll be making it again soon.
In the meantime, here is the brisket recipe, as promised. As I was packing it away in the fridge this morning it smelled wonderful, I can’t wait to eat it tonight!

The dogs love carrots, so when I am cutting them up, they are always hanging outside the kitchen hoping for a snack. I always cave and give them a few pieces of carrot.

Ingredients:
3 lb brisket, fat trimmed
3 medium yellow onions (I like a lot of onion; you could use less if you don’t) chopped into large pieces
6 carrots, chopped into large pieces
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 medium/large Yukon gold potatoes
4-6 cups Beef broth
5 cloves of garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
1-3 tbsp Cornstarch
Cooking spray (I like Trader Joe’s olive oil spray)

Take the brisket and sprinkle the cornstarch over it, season with salt and pepper, really rub it into the meat, shake off the excess and repeat on the other side.
Heat up a pan large enough to fit the brisket on the stove, spray with cooking spray and cook the brisket for a few minutes until lightly browned, turn over and brown the other side, once browned remove from the pan and set it aside.

Place the onions in the pan and cook until they start to caramelize, and then add to the Crockpot.

Take the brisket and cover it with the tomato paste on one side. Then place the brisket in the Crockpot on top of the onions. Place the carrots on top of the brisket, and just make sure everything fits in the crock. Cover with the beef broth until the meat is just covered.
Add your cloves of garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Cook on high for 2 hours.
After the 2 hour mark, remove the brisket and slice against the grain into 1/4 to1/2 inch slices, the meat is going to be a little tough so slicing can be a bit difficult.
Return the slices to the pot and cut up the potatoes, I like to cut each potato into 6 or so pieces, that way they cook relatively well but don’t turn to mush. Place the potatoes in the pot and make sure there is enough beef broth to keep everything mostly covered, if its peaking out a bit that’s ok.

Replace the lid and lower the heat to low and cook for 8 hours. I did mine overnight.
The meat should be almost falling apart when it’s ready. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Xstitch

This is the xstitch project I just started, I am pretty proud of myself, and I have barely completed a single leaf but it's lots of fun so I wanted to share.

Eventually I'll post the finished project.

Cooking up a storm

So this past weekend I really meant to get all my cooking done for this week, but life got in the way as it sometimes does and it was postponed til today.

On the menu:
Zucchini lasagne, zucchini enchiladas, blue cheese dressing, brisket & shredded buffalo chicken.
Quite an undertaking for a Tuesday evening.
The good news: I got everything done but the brisket (hopefully I'll get it done tomorrow!)
The bad news: It was a lot to fit into 4 hours and I didn't nearly take enough photos.

Zucchini lasagne:
Adapted from Skinny Taste

Ground Buffalo
Ground Pork Sausage
1/2 Onion (medium yellow onion)
2 c Tomato sauce* Trader Joes has a great tasting gluten free one
1/2 c Ricotta cheese
1/2 c Cottage cheese
1/4 c Grated Parmesan
2 Zucchini, sliced to 1/8th inch slices

I browned the meat, drained the fat, added the onion, cooked until translucent, then set it aside.

Slice the zucchini into 1/8in slices, you can do it by hand or use a mandolin, I have a mandolin but since I had so many other things happening in the kitchen I choose to hand slice them.

I used this meat mixture for the enchiladas so I used 1lb of buffalo and 1/2 lb of sausage and then split it in half, each recipe had 3/4lb of meat.

I personally like to use a mix of ricotta & cottage cheese, I find the melting of both preferable to just using ricotta.

Layer the sauce, zucchini, cheese mixture, meat in a baking dish, then repeat, until you run out of ingredients.

Cover with foil & bake at 400 for 40 minutes.

*so a few weeks ago I made a giant batch of tomato sauce, I then decided to freeze it, in a glass jar, something I have done many times before however this time the glass broke and I had a tomato sauce mess on my hands.

Zucchini Boats:
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Use 3/4lb of the meat mixture
4 small zucchinis
1c Chipotle salsa
1/2c Enchilada sauce
1/2c Cheddar cheese, shredded
5 Green onions

Cut the zucchinis in half. Hollow out the middle leaving a bit of an edge.
Place the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Lay the zucchini "boats" in the pan and fill each boat with the meat mix. Spoon the salsa over each boat, then top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400 for 35-45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Serve with rice!

Note: I shred my own cheese- quite often gluten ingredients are added to pre shredded cheese to prevent the shreds from sticking together.

Look for the Buffalo chicken & Brisket posts tomorrow!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Already!?

It seems as though this year is going by so quickly! It’s already October. I am not sure if that’s because I am so busy, especially the last 6 weeks being back in school or if we have just had a lot going on.
So of course this is time for me to take on another project…… I started cross stitching. Well I don’t know if I can call myself a cross stitcher quite yet, I barely have done anything.
My friend, who I made the patchwork quilt for, gave me a xstitch kit for my birthday and I had her help me start it yesterday. She has done some pretty amazing things with xstitch, for example she did the entire Klimt painting The Kiss in xstitch, I need to post a picture, it’s so intricate and lovely.

My goal is to get to the point where I could do that. I have already been drooling over some of the art patterns, Monet, Vermeer, and Van Gogh in particular.
I might attempt a fancy bookmark for my sister for her Christmas stocking.

The rest of the month of October, I will be working on a few knitting projects, school of course, xstitch, and hopefully some healthy & delicious gluten free recipes. Another thing for October is making time to exercise! I took the summer off and have been a little lazy with it, so I decided October is the time to get back into it. With holiday goodies approaching and us planning a beach vacation in February I have no excuse not to.

DIY Coasters

So this weekend I had a lot going on, I did however try out a pumpkin version of the breakfast muffins I posted last week, and they were a total fail, hence me not posting them. I think maybe after some tweaks, they might work out.
I don’t know if I should decrease the oats or add more liquid, but they came out of the oven like a hockey puck, yet they were still slightly undercooked, not quite sure how that happened. Gluten free baking is always an adventure!

I also had the opportunity to do a couple crafting projects. While our husbands were out watching Dredd a girlfriend and I decided to try one of the pinterest projects on making coasters.

DIY Coasters
I am not a huge coaster user, but maybe that’s because I don’t own any adorable ones? So we got to work. I really need to get better at taking pictures during the process of crafting.
The supplies we used were:

White tiles from home depot (18 cents each!)
Scrapbook paper, we just picked whatever was on sale at Michaels
Modpodge
Foam brush
Felt

Tip: if you have the Michaels app, there are always coupons to use!

We cut out the paper to match the size of the tile, you could really do it however you wanted though, maybe leave a border, or cut out triangles, whatever strikes your fancy.

We then covered each square with modpodge and stuck on the paper. We let that try for a good 30 minutes, and then started covering the paper with more modpodge another 4 times, so it had a nice good coat.

To finish them up we have to spray them with a non water based sealer and add the felt to the bottom of the tile and then they are ready.

We made 16 coasters and still have plenty of modpodge and scrapbook paper left over for another craft! The cost per coaster is $0.81 and we still have leftover supplies.

I think they look pretty great and would be really nice Christmas presents.
I might get some more paper and make matching sets for friends.

Speaking of the holidays, I am currently trying to compile my lists of DIY for Christmas presents. Last year I made soap, which was pretty rad, so I think I’ll make soap again, and probably the coasters and likely something else, I keep scouring Pinterest for ideas.