Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best Sugared Pecan Recipe for the Holidays!

'Twas the Wednesday before Christmas,
Outside not a 'flake,
This little creature was stirring,
Because she had to bake!

So here we are days before Christmas and the second day of Hanukkah and the baking has begun!
As the dear reader knows, I always like to try new recipes and this time of year is no exception (this year was lace cookies) but an annual favourite is my Sugared Pecans.  As my gift to all of you here is the recipe.


2 lbs Pecan halves
2 cups white sugar  (no one said these were low cal)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
dash of allspice (optional)
2 egg whites
2 tbs cold water
splash of pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 250*

In a bowl mix sugar, salt, nutmeg and allspice.

In a second bowl beat egg whites and water until fluffy.  Add splash of vanilla and beat for a few more seconds until vanilla is mixed in.

Gently fold pecans into the egg mixture.

In 3 or 4 parts add the sugar mixture to the pecans and continue to fold until evenly coated.

Spread the pecans out onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake on middle rack of your oven.

Bake pecans for a total of an hour stirring every 15 minutes. 

Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.  

These little bites of heaven won't stick around for long!  You can give them away in cute little jars or keep them for yourself to munch on (also great in a salad).

Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Savoury Shortbread

Most people associate shortbread with the holidays but I think they work well as an appetizer or to enjoy with your favourite glass of wine all year round!
There are so many combinations for savoury shortbread that it's good to just look at the ingredients you already have in your fridge and go from there.   I like the combination of using a cheese and a fresh herb - sharp cheddars go great with rosemary,  mild cheddars go well with garlic and just think of the possibilities that go with asiago!  Gulp.... so good.
Last week I purchased some fresh sage for a braised beef recipe and had a ton left over.   I always keep a big block of parmesan in my freezer so behold I had my combo!

In a bowl mix together 2 cups flour,  1 cup butter, 1/2 cup grated parmesan (or other cheese), 20 small leaves of sage (chopped) and a tsp of salt (I like to mix half regular salt with corse salt)  I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper and mustard powder.

Work ingredients together until the dough comes together.  If it's too dry add some more butter or a bit of water.

Here's a little tip - If you want to use your butter right from the fridge, grate it and it will become room temperature faster!

Once you dough comes together roll it out into logs in some plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a half hour.

After you remove it from the fridge you can either cut it into rounds or if you prefer, you can  press into cookie rounds.

Place on parchment paper and bake at 400* for 10-15 minutes - until golden brown.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mitten Ornaments

This morning marks the first snowfall (that I've seen) of the year!   My new fireplace is being installed as we speak and the large flakes are slowly making their way to the ground so naturally I'm feeling inspired.
Here's a tutorial for an adorable christmas ornament that will look great on your tree but also as a gift topper.  It's so easy to make and if you don't have a sewing machine, you can use glue.

What you will need:

Felt  -purchase at a craft store
Fur - bought  at Fabricland in the ribbon section
Stuffing - bought at Fabricland but you can even use cotton balls.
Thread or glue.


Download a template from the internet-  I used one from Better Homes and Gardens.  Then cut out two sides from your felt.

Sew around the edges leaving the top open.  You can do this by hand, machine or glue.

Now stuff your mitten.  I used quilters batting but you can use something as simple as a cotton ball.

Insert a ribbon loop for hanging, place the fur sticking out of the top and then sew a straight line across to secure it.  
I think these are adorable and so easy to make!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Stocking for your Dog

This time of year always makes me excited for the Christmas holidays ahead and nervous for the chaos that accompanies them.   All I know is that I have 4 different sewing projects on the go and I need to start finishing them before most of my free time runs out!

One of the smaller projects on the agenda was a Christmas stocking for Putter (my dog) and with the total time for this project being less than an hour, I felt it was the right one to complete!

Now I'm sure we can all agree that a stocking in the shape of well, a stocking could potentially be a "pet Peeve" (worst joke ever) so I thought a more canine friendly version might be nice!  What better than sewing a cute bone to fill with your pooches favourite things!

So the first steps in making the dog bone stocking is to determine the size you want and the fabric you want.  Once decided,  draw out the pattern and then cut it out of your fabric.

Lay your fabric right sides out and pin the ribbon that your stocking will be hanging from between the fabric in the spot you'd like it to be.

I chose to do a zigzag stitch.  Sew all the way around through both fabrics except leave the top.  This will be your opening so sew them as 2 separate pieces still with the zig zag stitch.

Lastly, tie a big ribbon around it!

Complete!  I think Putter likes it :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Best Pumkin Soup!

About 3 weeks ago I purchased a pumpkin from a local farm I was visiting because lets face it, who can resist those yummy seeds!  As each day passed I grew close with my pumpkin and thought what a waste to only use you for your scrumptious seeds, what shall we do with the rest of you?  Carving a piece of art on the side of his perfect round body was not an option as I live in a walk up so the only thing left to prove his worthiness was to create the most delicious edible I could think of.  Pumpkin, I don't believe I let you down.



3 1/2 pounds fresh pumpkin - cut into 1 inch cubes   (aprox 1/2 of a smaller size pumpkin)
1 medium onion - cut into circles
2 cloves garlic - chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of clove
Carton chicken broth (900 ml)
small can coconut milk (aprox 5 oz)
Tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
pure maple syrup (just under 1/4 cup)

*Cut Your pumpkin, discard seeds, stringy guck and peel.  Cut about 3 to 3.5 pounds into 1 inch cubes.

*Peel onion and slice into rings.

*Put your broth into pot and add your pumpkin, garlic, onion and spices and bring to a boil.

* Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer for aprox 20 min or until pumpkin is tender.

* In batches process in blender or food processor until smooth and return to pot.

*Add coconut milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and adjust to taste.  If you like it a bit sweeter put the whole 1/4 cup of syrup in or if not stick with less.

*Serve with a little sprinkle of nutmeg on top and a side of rummy roasted seeds.  Enjoy!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Storing For The Winter Like A Good Little Ant!

It's October and the weather has started cool which means that some craft blogging is under way!

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be invited to join in on some canning.  Being one of those people that makes a B-line straight to the preserves in any country store, you can only imagine how excited I got when I received the invite!

The process of canning is not as difficult as you may think, however, it is time consuming so be sure to carve out most of the day to do it.  We decided to make Mango Chutney and Lemon Honey Apple Jam - the aroma's that filled the home were out of this world!

Chopping all the ingredients was the most time consuming but a big cup of coffee + great conversation made the time wizz by.

Ready to be cooked in the pot!

You need to sterilize your jars so heat in the dishwasher does the trick.

At the same time as the food is cooking you can boil your lids.

Look at all the juices!  It's breaking down nicely :)

The final product is so rewarding, especially after you taste how yummy it is!

Thank you Kim and Annie for an amazing weekend!  The art of canning will remain in my heart forever :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Reflective Dog Collar

Those of you out there with black dogs can relate to how hard it is to find your pet in the dark!  Below is a picture illustrating Putter at night :)

This is why we needed a reflective collar for our little boy!

What you need:

Nylon Webbing
Reflective ribbon
Plastic or metal buckle (mine was plastic)

* I purchased everything from Fabricland and all the supplies for this project should cost you less than $10 -you should have plenty leftover as well :)

Step 1.  Measure length and sew reflective ribbon onto webbing.

Step 2.  Sew buckle on each end.

Such an easy project!!!

(Putter's signature pose "sleeping")
It needs to be worn with his other collar (what we clip his leash to) so I made his reflective collar a bit lose for comfort.

Also a great idea for any dog that goes camping, hiking or likes the outdoors!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"No Hands" Dog Leash


It has been way too long since my last blog post!   I've had a lot of distractions over the last couple of months keeping me away from my "writes" including a new dog!   Now I know what you all must be thinking,  " she's going to do lot's of crafts related to her new puppy" and I want you all to know that you are absolutely right!  At least for the next little while hehe :)

On a recent trip to Woofstock (a local festival for dogs) I noticed they were selling running leashes for $50-$60!  There was no way I was going to pay that when I knew I could make the same thing at home for a fraction of the cost.


8ft Flat Nylon Webbing (found at fabric store)
Grommet tool
2 metal hooks

1. Measure out the Nylon webbing to the length you desire- plus 4 inches for attaching hooks

2. Mark the nylon where to add the grommets - I wanted the option of mine to go across my chest and around my waist.

3.  Use the grommet tool and a hammer create the holes in the nylon for the grommets.  Do not feel intimidated doing this.  There are very easy instructions on the box of grommets :)  I also recommend doing this outside on a very hard surface like concrete.

This is what the tool looks like

These are the grommets

4.  Now sew the hooks on either end.  I used 2 rows of triple stitching (back and fourth 3 times) to secure.

And voila!  Your new hiking / running / walking leash!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Square Pouch Tutorial

Back from vacation and itching for a new project!   I decided to sew a new makeup pouch (a small enough project to use the last bit of my favourite fabric "Beach Boys".)

I found the idea on Three Bears and adjusted the measurements a bit.

1. Cut two 9' x 12' pieces of fabric

Because my fabric was so thin I decided to add interfacing to it.  It not only makes the fabric stiffer but it also becomes a sort of lining.

2.  Fold over and press 1/2 inch (this is where you will sew the zipper so make sure the folds are at the top of your fabric.

If your zipper isn't long enough (like mine)  add two folded tabs at each end.  To make these tabs fold fabric in half and press, then fold each end in 1/4' and press again.
If you have a long zipper this step is not necessary.

3. Sew on your zipper.  Look how cute those beach boys are!

4. Sew a seam at the bottom of your pouch.  This will attach the two pieces at the bottom.

5. Now open it up so the bottom seam and zipper are aligned.  Pin your sides and sew.

This next step is a bit tricky to explain.

6. Pinch the corners out and pin.

Looks like a chicken lol.

Anyway, keep pinching to the size and shape of box you would like.  Use a ruler to measure each corner.

7. Then sew each corner on all four sides.

8. Cut your corners 1/2' from seam and then turn right side out.

My new pouch!