Category: new camera pix

my mocha biscotti

As we know, I love coffee.  I recently have discovered homemade biscotti.  Last year, my sister-in-law surprised me with her homemade chocolate biscotti…it was AMAZING!!!!  Never before had I tasted a biscotti that I liked, but hers was out-of-this-world. So, there was hope.  Store bought biscotti is nothing compared to homemade. 

This Christmas, my mom made biscotti for the celebration.  Her recipe was delicious also.  You can find it here, Chocolate Chip Biscotti, (she omitted the hazelnuts, because of food allergies).  I admit, I am not a ‘fruit with my chocolate’ kind of person, but this biscotti was really good. 

Tonight, I wanted to make some biscotti for a friend’s birthday, so I checked out the Betty Crocker website and found this one for Mocha Biscotti

I altered it a bit, here is my version: 

Ingredients for Biscotti :

  • 2 tbsp. instant espresso or coffee crystals, (I used 2 packs of Starbucks Instant Brew.  One Colombian flavored & the other Italian Roast…that was all I had on hand…it could easily use 1 or 2 more.)
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, slightly chopped (The recipe called for 1/2 cup semisweet bakingchocolate.  To tell you the truth, I didn’t even notice that it said baking chocolate until right now, as I type the recipe…lol…that’s why I used chips.)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted & chopped (I omitted these because of food allergies.  Instead, I substituted about 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips…there can never be too much chocolate!)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Ingredients for Chocolate Drizzle :

  • 3 oz. semisweet baking chocolate, (I used some semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 tsp. shortening

Directions :

  1. Heat oven to 350′.
  2. Dissolve coffee crystals in hot water.  In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and coffee with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon.  Stir in all remaining Biscotti ingredients.
  3. Shape half of dough at a time into rectangle, 10 x 3 inches, on ungreased cookie sheet.  (I always use my Pampered Chef baking stones.  I also covered it with parchment paper this time.)  Bake about 30 minutes or until center is firm to the touch.  Cool on stone 15 minutes.
  4. Cut crosswise into 1/2inch slices.  Place slices, cut sides down, on stone.  Bake about 15 minutes, turning once, until crisp and edges are light brown.  Immediately remove from stone to wire rack.  Cool completely.  (Because I’m impatient, I proceeded to the chocolate drizzle as soon as they were moved to the wire rack.)
  5. In 1-quart saucepan, heat all Chocolate Drizzle ingredients over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.  Drizzle chocolate over one side of each biscotti.  Let stand until chocolate is set.

*Recipe claims to make 3 1/2 dozen.  I must slice them extremely large because my recipe only produced about 16.  I could slice them in half, but I’m giving them as a gift and I want them to be large and pretty. 

*This recipe was made nut-free by omitting the almonds and checking all ingredients for allergens. 

*Nutritional values are on the Betty Crocker website. 

I haven’t been on the treadmill since my bout with the stomach flu, but chilly weather makes me want to bake, so I better get back on it! 

my snowy tree

Ok. Don’t laugh.  I like it. 

I had seen a post about making a tree out of a branch and so I thought I would try it. 

I wanted it to be my snowy tree that I can keep up in January. 

Other than braving the cold temps for a branch, it was rather simple. 

  • Find a branch.  Spray paint it.  Nothing perfect.  I chose white…to look cold & winterish. 
  • Once dry, I glued a piece of foam into my bucket.  I am sure that there are many ways to weight it down, but that’s what I chose.  Obviously, you won’t want to glue yours if your bucket is important to you.  (Mine was actually what a fruit basket came in…given to my husband @ work.  As soon as I saw it, I confiscated it.)  Anyways, once your branch is in place, you can decorate it however you wish. 
  • I used fluffy snow (called Buffalo snow) around the base.  Then placed a bird ornament that I gotten on sale after Christmas for $1.  The plastic glitter ornament was actually on a gift that I received LAST Christmas.  The turquoise snowflake is an embellishment that I cut on my Cricut & then glittered.  The ornaments I bought at Target.  I chose turquoise ribbon to hang them.  It felt vintage to me.  Looked snowy. 
  • Oh. I glued a ribbon around the bucket to cover up a Christmas decoration that was painted on it. Then I tied another piece of the same ribbon around the bucket and tied a bow.  This should probably be done before placing the branch in it….but I wasn’t thinking and did it afterwards. 

a new year {2010}

Wow.  2010.  It just doesn’t seem possible! 

The last puzzle piece of 2009 is in place and a new year begins. 

I feel like I should be setting goals, planning projects, dreaming, reaching, achieving… and at the same time, I seem to be stuck in the same.  The here & now of my life.  Afraid to take risks.  To try something new.  Just comfortable. 

Maybe it’s a stay-at-home mom issue.  A feeling of not “doing anything”.  No importance.  No significance.  Just blah.   

Maybe it’s an “almost 40” thing.  I didn’t think that turning 40, (which I will do in mid-February), would be a big deal.  The closer it gets, the more daunting it becomes. 

I’m not sure what it is.  But I’m not a big fan of this feeling. 

Maybe it’s spiritual.  I will be honest, my daily devotions, time spent with God, hasn’t happened much lately.  I know I am saved.  I know He loves me.  I do spend a lot of time talking to God.  Praying.  But time in His Word, is where I fail. 

Seems like here I am again.  New year.  Same feeling.  Clinging to these verses…

  • Jeremiah 29:11-14a   “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD,…” 

chocolate soynut butter cookies

soynut-cookies-dec-17
Found a yummy recipe online for “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies”, but changed it up a bit, so that it would be peanut-free. 

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy soynut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 oz. all-purpose flour (about 2 2/3 cups)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate minichips (I used over 1 cup–1/2 a bag– of regular semisweet chips)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350′.
  2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
  4. Add flour mixture to soynut butter mixture, stirring just until combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheets (I used a Pampered Chef Medium scoop and Pampered Chef baking stones).
  7. Bake at 350′ for 12 minutes or until golden.  (When using stones, I baked for 14 minutes, then removed from oven and allowed them to sit on the stone for at least 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack.)
  8. Cool on wire rack.

Yield: approx. 3 dozen

Nutritional info based on using peanut butter:  Calories 128; Fat 4.5g; Cholesterol 6mg; Carbohydrate 20.5 g; Sodium 106mg; Protein 2.3g; Fiber 0.6g

pretty pleats for paper

pleats-step-81
Whew!  It’s been a long week. 

I had the stomach flu for most of the week, then towards the end of the week, I had 2 events to get ready for.  One being my husbands family Christmas and the other, a coffee fellowship time at church this morning.  Whew! 

Today, I finally worked on my December Daily. 

I got out my sewing machine and decided to make pleats for paper! 

Here’s how:

  • Cut a scrap of paper that is the appropriate size for your layout (paper project).  Then cut a piece of ribbon quite a bit longer….I didn’t measure it, but I would guess almost double the length. 
pleats-step-1
  • Next I applied adhesive to the back of the ribbon (or it can be applied to the paper).
pleats-step-2
  • Begin your ribbon with a little excess hanging off of the edge so that you can tuck it around the back.  Now you can start to create pleats along your paper.  Pleats can be as close or as far apart as you want. 
pleats-step-3
  • Once you have reached the end of your paper, wrap the end of your ribbon around to the back and secure.  You are ready to sew! 
pleats-step-4
  • Paying attention to the direction that your pleats fold, sew in the same direction.  You can use whatever type of stitching that you want.  I used a zig-zag stitch. 
  • Here are 2 examples of the pleats that I made. 
pleats-step-5
pleats-step-6
  • To finish, you can simply trim off the excess paper along the bottom, (or leave it) and attach to your project!  I also added a santa flair pin to this set of pleats. 

It’s as simple as that! 

That completes my December Daily: Day 4. 

pleats-step-7

kate’s purse

purse-a-web
My niece & nephew have spent the entire weekend with us.  In a house of 3 people, the youngest being 15, there aren’t too many things to entertain a 10 & 6 year old. 

EXCEPT for……. 

Craft supplies! 

Kate, the 10 y.o. made this cute purse.  For the most part, all by herself!  She came up with shape, handstitched the edges, (whipstitch, is what I call it), hemmed the flap, we added a snap for closure, a shoulder strap and a flower & button embellishment!  It’s quite a pretty bag! 

We’ve also strung many letter-beaded bracelets, hand embroidered hearts and lettering onto fabric, sketched, AND we’ve been to our local museum for the Annual Christmas Tree Festival, (which I have gone to for yeeeeaaarrrs), drove around to look at the Christmas lights, shopped for furniture, drank hot chocolate, watched Christmas movies and MORE!  (I’m going to need a vacation from my weekend…lol) 

Hoping to work on my December Daily later tonight/tomorrow….I will post pictures soon! 

purse-b-web