Berry Oat Muffins

4 Apr

How in the world did I get so many frozen berries? I’ve had almost 2 pounds of frozen berries in my freezer for the better part of a year. Thankfully they don’t go bad but I had no idea what to use them to make. I had blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and a berry mix. I made some popsicles (strawberry banana and strawberries and “cream”) which those of you who follow my Twitter may have seen. I also made strawberry lemonade! But I still had about a pound of berries left and I was getting sick of popsicles.

I also happen to have a ton of quick oats from when I used to have oatmeal every morning. So I decided to get rid of some of the berries and some of the oats and make muffins! The end result was delicious, moist, had a great texture from the berries, and tasted healthy–in the best possible way. I didn’t feel guilty at all eating two of these when they were supposed to be cooling.

Because of the blackberries the batter turned a bit dark–they’re not burnt, I promise! First, let’s see these beauties, then we’ll get to the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk (can be replaced with cow’s milk)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (up to 2) of frozen berries, thawed and mushed/chopped up (I used equal portions strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with baking cups. You could grease them but I found muffin cups worked best as these muffins can be delicate to remove.

In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, soy milk, oil and sugars. Mix in berries (and any berry juice that may have come out in thawing). Stir berry mixture into oat mixture until evenly moist–make sure it’s evenly moist or you’ll get bit chunks of flour in your finished muffins. Spoon into prepared muffin cups.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes. Or maybe just 5. Or maybe just long enough to grab a glass of milk ;-)

These would be amazing with strawberry or apple butter or perhaps a bit of honey but they taste fantastic just as they are.

Makes 12 muffins

Strawberry Soymilk Recipe

9 Mar

I love milk. I love 2%, 1%, fat-free, chocolate, strawberry milk, I love it all. But I’m trying to cut as much animal products as possible out of my diet, and milk was an easy thing to change since my honey already drinks exclusively soy milk. And so, my beloved moo juice no longer has a place in this household.

In its place is something vaguely reminiscent of moo juice but that I just can’t bring myself to drink as-is. Soy milk (and my preference, vanilla soy milk) is wonderful in cooking and on cereal or in milkshakes/smoothies but I just can’t enjoy drinking it plain like I used to with cow’s milk. And of all milk’s incarnations I’ve been missing strawberry milk the most.

This evening however, a thought struck me: what is strawberry milk, exactly? Milk, well heck I’ve got soy milk and that’s pretty darn close. Strawberries, well I have some frozen ones that I’ve been meaning to get rid of. And maybe a bit of sugar, which since I need coffee to even consider making breakfast in the morning is always available. And then something to blend them all together–I’ve got that, too!!

So off to my kitchen I went and I left mere minutes later with a wonderful, sweet, slightly creamy, strawberry-licious concoction. Now I know I normally include pictures in my recipe posts but I have a confession to make…this delicious strawberry soy milk didn’t even last the 20 feet it took to walk from my kitchen to my desk. Next time I make it I promise to take some pictures ;-) The second best part about this recipe (the first being a tie between how delicious it is and how simple it is) is that it’s vegan, so I can enjoy this with my sweetheart :-)

Ingredients

  • 4oz vanilla soy milk (I like 8th Continent’s Complete or Light Vanilla)
  • 8 large frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)

Toss everything into your blender and blend until smooth! You could strain out the seeds if you want but they didn’t bother me.

Branching out

23 Feb

I’ve been a horrible crafter of late. Simply horrible. I haven’t updated with anything craft-related in far too long!

It’s because I have a new obsession. Nail polish! It’s become so bad I’ve started another blog just for my nail art :x

If you’d like to take a moment to check it out I’d be very appreciative! And I promise I’ll still try to update with some crafts when I can :-)

DIY Nail Stamping Storage Tutorial

19 Jan

Nail stamping is the art of using etched metal stamping plates to create designs on nails. You can create some truly amazing designs that would be otherwise impossible to do by hand. For the design below I did a light green base coat and stamped the blue argyle over it. Super simple and it came out clean and (fairly) neat! Forgive the smudges, this was my first time stamping!

The problem with stamping is that there’s only a few designs on each plate, so they can be sort of cumbersome to store. My solution? A Dollar Tree photo album modified to be able to hold all my stamping supplies! And I’m gonna show you how to make one yourself.

Materials:

  • Flimsy plastic photo album
  • Double-sided tape
  • Something triangular shaped that tape won’t stick too strongly to (I used a stiletto dagger)
  • Elastic scraps
  • Needle and thread

Directions

First, get a simple 4"x6" plastic photo album with the opening for photos closest to the spine of the album (as opposed to the top). I got mine from Dollar Tree (it even has removable inserts for the cover so I can put whatever I want there!) You will be turning each photo pocket into TWO plate pockets. I suggest folding it over like this to create the pockets, it's much easier than it laying flat.

Next, grab your handy-dandy stiletto dagger (or something else preferably triangular that double-sided tape won't stick to too badly) and place a ~2.5" piece of double-sided tape on the bottom as shown. The tape only needs to cover the center and not the entire width of the album because the plates won't be able to fall through so long as the middle is stuck properly.

Using the top of the triangular blade (tape facing down) slowly lift the plastic film and place the tape centered both horizontally and vertically. Press the tape down to adhere it to the thicker plastic (not the film) portion of the album ONLY, then slowly rotate the dagger (or other implement) to one side to remove it from the tape. Pull out dagger and set aside until you do your next pocket.

Make sure the tape and the film don't touch each other yet, then very slowly and starting from the outside edge of the album press the film onto the tape. Slight wrinkling may occur, you can generally lift the film carefully and try again. Repeat for as many pockets as you need, I only did half of my album since I ran out of double-sided tape.

Place one plate in each new pocket and begin contemplating how you're going to store that bulky stamper!

Cut a piece of elastic about 3" long. When finished, you'll want a snug fit so test for fit before sewing; the elastic should require a bit of stretching to fit snugly around the center of the stamper.

Take a needle and thread and sew the elastic into a circle. Open your album to the very center and carefully sew through the thin plastic. It may take a bit of force to get through, so be careful. My album already had thinner areas so I used those as a guide.

Put your scraper/old gift card in one of the pockets and slide your stamper into place. Now you're all set to stamp!

New pattern for sale! Half-Life Lambda

5 Jan

As some of you may remember, I posted a picture to my Twitter few months ago about a Half-Life Lambda I’d stitched up.

Not the original one I posted but a much better version! It even glows in the dark!

Finally, months later, I’ve gotten around to posting the pattern on my Etsy! I love this pattern so much, I can’t wait to find the perfect spot to hang it. Preferably somewhere near a goodies pile, like maybe my video game and DVD collection!! :-)

Happy New Year!!

2 Jan

Happy new year, everyone! I hope 2012 is treating you all well thus far.

I’m still horrible at updating my blog regularly, and for that I’m so sorry! Just wanted to update you all to say I just got this nail stamping set that I should be receiving in a few days and I can’t wait to try out some new nail art! Nail art has been my craft of choice recently, I’m hoping to get some tutorials up for those of you who are into nail art and such, but no promises :x

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Now, I know not everyone celebrates Christmas (I only celebrate it for the family, myself) but I think that now is as good a time as any to tell those you care for how important they are to you and to spread happiness and love to all!! And I think a sincere “Merry Christmas” does a fairly good job of doing that :-) If you don’t celebrate Christmas, feel free to insert any alternate holiday of your choice (if you like I can even wish you a Happy Halloween ;-) ).

I know I’ve been neglecting my blog for a few weeks and I apologize. Life’s been crazy but, as usual, I do still update my Twitter when I’m doing crafty (or, recently, cook-y) things so please check out my Twitter and consider following me! I update the same info to my Facebook page so please consider Facebooking me, too!

Life’s been hectic, I’m still struggling with getting sales in my Etsy shop in an attempt to supplement my Unemployment benefits, personal stuff is getting in the way of crafting, and I have to admit that sometimes my depression is just so bad I can barely do a thing all day. But you want to know what I’ve been obsessing over lately? Painting my nails! It’s become sort of an anti-depressant. Here are all the manicures I’ve done over the past few weeks while neglecting my poor blog!

In my obsession with nail painting I’ve also become obsessed with entering nail polish giveaways. I haven’t won any yet but I’m still hopeful! I just found a new giveaway, too, that you can check out here. Lots of cool stuff in this one, so wish me luck!

Once again, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Easy Vegetarian Mexican Burritos

28 Nov

I’ve obviously been more into cooking than other crafts lately; I’ve been having so much fun making recipes, too! This recipe could have meat added to it if you like, carne or pollo asada would be excellent, but this burrito tastes fantastic without meat :-)

The cheese gets so ooey-gooey and delicious. It was too tasty to stop eating and take a picture of before ;-)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 can vegetarian refried beans
  • 3 cups mixed veggies; I like 2 cups pepper strips, 3/4 onion, and 2 or 3 mushrooms
  • 2 cups Mexican rice (recipe below)
  • 1/2 avocado or guacamole
  • Sour cream and cheese (optional)
  • 2 extra large tortillas
Directions:
Put the refried beans in a  small saucepan and set over medium low heat to warm. Slice the avocado into 6 to 8 slices.
Make sure your veggies are as dry as possible and sautee over medium high to high heat with a bit of vegetable oil. Mix everything up every couple minutes until slightly browned, then take off the heat. Warm the tortillas, fill with beans, rice, veggies, sour cream and cheese, and avocado, and roll up. Grab a knife and fork and dig in! If you like you can grill the finished burrito in a large pan with a bit of oil for a crispy exterior.

Ingredients for Mexican rice:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced small
  • 1 garlic clove, minced, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.5 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies (optional)
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 dash red pepper flakes
  • cilantro or parsley, for color

Directions:

This recipe couldn’t be any easier: toss everything into your rice cooker; push the cook button. Stir everything once the rice cooker is done and remove it from the cooker so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Makes about 4 cups.

Decadent Hot Cocoa and Nutella with Whipped Cream

21 Nov

One word describes this drink: amazing! So rich and chocolatey with a hint of hazelnut. This drink is great for the coming winter! Snuggle up with someone and share this delicious drink :-)

I’d have included a picture but it was far too delicious to set down long enough to set up a shot ;-) I hope you’ll forgive me!

Ingredients

Directions

In a small saucepan, slowly warm the milk over medium-low to medium heat. When the milk is warmed to about the right temperature, whisk in the hot cocoa powder and Nutella. Continue whisking and heating to ensure the Nutella is fully melted and incorporated into the drink. Pour into two mugs, top with marshmallows or whipped cream, and enjoy this rich, decadent drink!

Makes 2 servings, because delicious hot cocoa is something that should be shared.

Creamy Artichoke Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe – Vegan Friendly Version Included!

13 Nov

I went to California Pizza Kitchen recently and had their artichoke broccoli soup. Isn’t it pretty?

 

I fell in love with it; the pepperiness, the creamy texture, the pretty little speckles from the broccoli. I couldn’t justify spending $7 on a bowl every time I went there, so I knew I had to find a recipe I could make at home. I wasn’t able to find the exact recipe from CPK, but I modified a broccoli cheese soup recipe and it turned out pretty darn close! And see, mine’s pretty, too :-D And it cost $7 for a whole pot full of soup!
My honey is working on being as vegan as possible so I’ve added some notes below for vegans :-)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (you can use margarine for a more vegan-friendly version)
  • 1 cup white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, white or black
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/16 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 14 oz frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
  • 4 to 5 large canned artichoke hearts, about a half can, chopped into thirds
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (can be omitted for a less creamy/more vegan friendly version)
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded medium Cheddar, plus a little extra for garnish (can be omitted for a less creamy/more vegan friendly version)
  • Croutons for garnish
Directions

In a large pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock or vegetable broth, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and artichokes; simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat, let it cool for at least 5 minutes but up to 20 would be even better, and puree with a hand-held immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Pulse carefully if you’re hungry and impatient and risk blending it all at once like I did. Vegans and those looking for a more health-conscious soup can stop here! It tastes fantastic at this point. If you want it a little creamier and cheesier, read on.

Add the cream and bring to bare simmer to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, stirring to blend.

Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle extra cheese and croutons over the top of the soup and serve immediately. Serve with a side of sourdough toast if desired.

Makes 5 to 6 delicious cups :-D