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Make the best of everything!: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Brazilian Orange Salad

As you can imagine, Oranges are very prevalent in Brazil.  Here is a simple, yet amazing recipe.  When I was a Girl Scout leader, my troop did a unit on Brazil.  I found this recipe and I have been using it ever since.

Here is How:

1)  Peel 5 oranges and remove the inner core.
2) Cut the Oranges
3) Sprinkle them with Salt and Pepper!!!

Salt and Pepper??! I know!!! I was thinking the same thing the first time I tried it! But Try it!  The salt and pepper really gives a spicy and tart element to the orange and pops the flavor for a satisfactory treat!

Hope you enjoy this!!!
Visit culturecottage.com for a few other great international recipes. Including Brazilian coffee cookies!!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Brewed and Puffy Painted with Love!

Lets be realistic here. Valentines day is a women's holiday ( and I am not saying we don't deserve to get flowers and chocolates)  But lets not pretend that our guys will be wanting chocolate, flowers or a stuffed teddy bear.

 My husband Greg is not a big drinker, but he does like to open a nice Pale ale or amber ale every so often. 

 I have decided I am going to purchase a 6 pack of unique beers for him and put these labels on them for Valentines day.  ( Please don't judge by the Miller light in the pictures. I found these in the garage. Used just for pictures only!. I do plan on getting him some higher quality beer)

Here is how I made these

1) Cut pieces of Card stock into an appropriate size for labels.
2) Made up some clever beer slogans and printed them out also on card stock.
3) Decorated each label with Puffy Paint, stickers and craft foam
Just as a side note. If you are not well acquainted with Puffy Paint, then I HIGHLY recommend you introduce yourself.  Puffy Paint can put the finishing touch needed to ANY and I mean ANY craft! ( If you keep reading my blog then you will know what I mean.)  

When I was a Girl Scout leader, I was told by one of my girls that I changed her life because I introduced her to Puffy Paint! Now that's something!

Here is a close up of each beer label.

( My husband does not need beer to be happy. But I just think its funny)

( used for a Honey Weiss)

Well I hope you enjoy these! I am sure My Hubby will.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

" Little Bee" by Chris Cleave and Nigerian Chin Chin!

I started a book club with a group of co workers. ( friends really). Our local Library has " Book Discussion kits" you can check out.  They include 10 books and discussion material. I was in charge of picking the first book.  I wanted to pick a book I thought everyone would enjoy. I picked up " Little bee" by Chris Cleave without even knowing what it was about. 

For our first book club meeting I wanted to make a little something for the book club, because I really think we are statring something special.  So, I looked up a recipe for "Nigerian Chin Chin" which is basically a fried Dough.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chin_chin ( There, you can read about Chin Chin on Wikipedia)

Here is How you make Nigerian Chin Chin
Mix together a simple dough.
2 cups of flour, ½ stick of butter, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ cup water, ½ cup milk, 4 tablespoons sugar

Knead the dough and cut into small squares

Heat some Canola oil on the stove for frying ( this was a little scary for me. I had never fried anything before)

I added one piece in the oil, just so I would know when the oil would be ready

Place the rest of the dough in the oil and fry. it will be done in 3-5 minutes. ( I took it out when it was brown and floating)

Take them out of the pan, and let them rest on some paper towels. ( I then tossed them with cinnamon and sugar, I didn't think they were sweet enough)

I then placed a sample size in a plastic bag, included a recipe for Nigerian Chin Chin and decorated a bag with a Batman symbol. ( when you read the book, you will see how special Batman is to this story)

( the grease kind of soaked through the recipe...next time, I will be more careful) My book group members liked it and READ the book ( Its a great read)


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coffee Mug Charms!

I have heard stories from people about wild family get togethers.  In my family, we are only wild because we are all buzzed on coffee!!!!
This past  Christmas, my wild family went through 1 bottle of wine and 9 pots of coffee! 

People buy wine charms so they can save themselves from awkwardness of drinking from another persons glass at a party. 

 Well, now that I have made coffee charms, I can keep track of my coffee mug at my next family get together, and save myself from some potential awkwardness of picking up someone else's coffee!

OMG what if I drink someone elses coffee...and its decaf?

Here is how I made these.
1) Went online and Googled " Coffee Puns" to get some cute saying for my coffee charms, and printed them out on card stock

2) Found some miniature tiles ( I am a crafter, I just have these things around) 

3) Stole a few coffee beans/grounds from the coffee stash in the kitchen

4) Got some packs of " Hoop earrings" from the craft department at Wal-mart

5) Hot glued everything together to make the Coffee charms!

6) decorated some finishing touches with puffy paint

7) Here you go! Coffee Charms!

Close up of the finished products!
These were Really fun to make! I cannot wait to make more sets of these to gift to family members and friends!!


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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Amazing Corn Cupcakes!

Last weekend was my father in law's Birthday.  I decided to make a different type of cupcake ( he really appreciates new and different recipes) . I found a recipe for " Corn Cake" on the "Taste of home" website.  So i decided to give it a try, but make them into cupcakes! This is basically a cupcake recipe with creamed corn.

Recipe is:
 * 1 can (17 ounces) cream-style corn  * 1/2 cup packed brown sugar  * 3/4 cup sugar  *3 eggs  *1 cup vegetable oil  * 1 tablespoon baking powder  * 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour * 1 teaspoon baking soda * 1 teaspoon salt  * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon * 1/2 cup raisins  * 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Caramel Frosting 
 *  4 tablespoons butter, cubed  *1/2 cup packed brown sugar  * 1/4 cup milk  *2 to 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

combine corn and sugars. Add eggs and oil; beat until well blended. Combine dry ingredients; add to batter and mix well. Stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool thoroughly. For frosting, bring butter and brown sugar to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Stir in confectioners' sugar until frosting is desired consistency. Frost cooled cake. 

 I like to make some little cupcakes and some big ones. Sometimes, people don't want to eat such a large cupcake. 

 My frosting turned out a little runnier then I wanted. And really, I feel that too much frosting can result in a sugar overload.  I just Swirled a little bit on each cupcake.

I topped each cupcake with a kernel of corn ( frozen corn I defrosted) . I thought it was cute...but the next day, it did not look so cute ( so just keep that in mind)

Hope you like these! adding creamed corn to cupcakes made them very moist!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homemade Detective Kit!

My Nephew is going to be 5, he is a very imaginative, creative boy. I thought I would make him an extra special birthday present.  I purchased a plain photo box from Michael's, along with a few other items and created a " Detective Kit"!  First, I decorated the photo box with Water color paints, sharpies and puffy paint!

Here are some of the items that went into the detective kit. 

1) Top secret envelopes, where I put obscure clues to help him when he plays imagination. 
 2) Specimen Swabs- to help gather evidence. 
3) some magnifying glasses found at Michael's.
 4) A fingerprinting kit, using index cards and a stamp pad
 5)  a detective flashlight 
6) Plastic bags that I wrote " evidence" on with puffy paint
 7) Whisk Brooms ( found at Michael's)  
8) Fingerprint lifting tape 
9) A journal and a pen

I also added some instructions so he would know how to use all these items!

Here are some close ups of all the items that are included in the kit

 Hope you like this! I sure had a fun time making this for him!!
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Candy Sushi!

Well I do work at an insurance company 40 hours a week. I need to make life interesting some way!

1) I LOVE the people I work with, so that helps alot
2) I really do like my job....but Its insurance....
3) Once a month we have these amazing food days ( that really do get out of control) But I do like to " Go outside of the box" when we have them...It gives me an opportunity to try something new and fun!

This Candy sushi I made for treat day at work really  went over big!  ( In fact, this picture was taken by my supervisor and got e-mailed to our vice president in Minneapolis) ( Is it a good thing to be known as the one who made the candy sushi?)

Here is how you make them ( I am a right brainer, so this is how I write out recipes) ( I also assume that people should be smart enough to figure it out without me giving you exact measurements)

1) Make a thin layer of rice cereal treats ( and NO, they don't have to be the brand name Rice Krispees. I'm frugal, I get the generic brand)

2) Wrap them around Gummy worms and cut them into sushi sized pieces

3) Wrap the sushi sized piece with some fruit roll up ( I used fruit by the foot)

4) Decorate the pieces with Nerds candy, Pull and Peel licorice, and Swedish fish

Here is a picture that might help you!!

Have Fun!!!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cookie Cheeseburgers!!!

Are these not the cutest things ever? I know they have been around a while because I remember making them with my mom and bringing them in as a birthday treat when I was in second grade. ( I am 28 years old now)  This is how they are done.

Hamburger Bun= Vanilla wafer Cookie with Honey that glues the sesame seeds on.
Hamburger Pattie= Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie ( or grasshopper cookies found at the store)
Lettuce= Coconut with green Food coloring
Cheese= Frosting with yellow food coloring
Ketchup= Frosting with red food coloring

Prepare ingredients. and build your Cookie Cheeseburger!!

These are great with a side of Potato shoestrings!!!