Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Bread- How To

My new obsession---  cinnamon swirl bread!  And more specifically, cinnamon chips!  Wow.  Just wow.  Why has it taken me so long to get these.  Now I'm finding all sorts of things to put them into.  I just love cinnamon swirl bread, especially for french toast.  I tried a couple different ways to get the cinnamon chips into the bread dough and finally figured it out.  A big thank you to my friend Taryn for suggesting rolling it up like cinnamon rolls.  It works fantastic.  Here's a few tips I figured out:

First, pick your favorite bread recipe.  I use my Honey Whole Wheat recipe.  It's not 100% whole wheat, so it actually taste's fantastic with the cinnamon chips in it too.

After the bread has done it's first raising and you are ready to separate them into the different loaves and put in the pans, you need to add the cinnamon chips.  Take your portion of 1 loaf and put a greased counter top.  I just used my granite counter top with a  little pam sprayed on it.  I didn't want to add any additional flour at this point, so stick with pam.  Using your rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle.  It should only be the length a little shorter than your pan, and just roll until about an inch thick.

Now, here's the fun part.  Take your cinnamon chips and press them into your rectangle.  Make sure you cover the whole area and be generous!  I've gotten too much cinnamon once but we all loved it.  It was amazing.  I didn't do enough my first time and I was disappointed.  So play with it, but I liked erring on the side of too much :-)
Ok, once you have all of your cinnamon chips pushed slightly into the dough, start with one end and roll the dough very tightly just like cinnamon rolls.  Roll it really tight (it prevents air bubbles) all the way up.  I kind try to smooth the seam of the bread in at the end so the top looks pretty or you can just put this part on the bottom of the pan.  Put your roll into your pan and let raise until double in size.
 Bake at your normal temperature and time.  Then get ready to enjoy some amazing cinnamon bread!!!  Have fun. 
Mmmmm.  Toasted with a little butter it = delish!

Linking Up to:
Take a Look Tuesday- Sugar Bee Crafts
Chef In Training
Craft & Tell @ Cherished Bliss

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Girl Scout Costumes- Madagascar

I should have been working on finishing Valentines last week, but instead I spent several days making14 costumes for my daughters girl scout troop!  They are participating in an International Food/Dance fair.  Their assigned country is Madagascar.  After researching, I discovered that the traditional dress in Madagascar is a lambda.  It's a tube of fabric they wear around them, usually with a shirt underneath, and another tube of fabric for their heads.  I took all of the descriptions and here is my interpretation :-)
I LOVE the batik fabric I found.  It was tough finding enough fabric to have all 14 matching.  I also did a matching sarong and head scarf for the troop leader.  So fun.  The event isn't until next month but we wanted the girls to help make them, so I had the outfit ready and the girls helped feed their elastic through the casing.  I sewed it together and finished it.  They also made adorable wooden bead necklaces as part of their outfits.
Now they just have to finish learning their dance!  Fun times!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!!   Wow!  What a day!  I have finally sat down and after catching my breath, wanted to post some of the fun things I got done for today.  The highlights were the kids class parties and of course our wonderful family breakfast and dinner together.

Decorations:  My kids love helping me decorate for Valentines day.  I also add a little "extra" the night before.  We had a busy day so I got our dinner all setup the night before as well.  It felt very fancy.
 Teacher Gifts:  The kids and I made a batch of our FAVORITE Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe HERE  And wrapped them up cute for the kids teachers.
 Of course they wouldn't be complete without notes from the kids!
 The Valentines:  I LOVE the process of making the valentines. 

The Girl Valentine-  Every year I let my daughter make her own.  This year we came up with the idea of cutting out hearts in different color papers and sew them together with M&M's in the middle.  They turned out so cute!  We were doing them by hand at first, but we had to make 32 of them!  So we ended up stitching them on the sewing machine.  It was so much faster! 

The Boy Valentine-  I saw this adorable Valentine on Shindig Parties to Go and just HAD to make them.  They are linked HERE.  SOOOO cute!!  We only had to make 14 of these so these were more doable.  The only problem I had was finding Rolo's.   I found some but they were 1.76 per Rolo!!  I did not want to spend that much.  So I found some 3 Musketeers candy bars on sale for .79.  But then the template didn't fit!  So I had to remake all of the templates :-(  I copied Shindig's design so it turned out so cute.  But I hated spending the time to do all of that when it was already done for me.  Oh well.  My son LOVED his rocket.  He wrote his name on the back of all of the tags.  So cute!

 The Outfit-  My daughter always has a new outfit for Valentines day.  I made this dress from an actual pattern.  I got the pattern for 99cents at Walmart.  It was really cute and super easy.  It only took me a little over an hour.  It has a little cap sleeve.  I made it a little big but added a tie in the back.  She'll definitely be able to wear it the rest of the year.  I love how it turned out, especially since the whole thing only cost me $5, including the pattern.

 We had such a fun day!  My kids loved their litte gifts, we had a fantastic dinner (steak, chocolate dipped strawberry's, homemade french bread were some of the highlights), and a really fun day delivery valentines and partying!  Happy LOVE day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cheesy Corn & Potato Chowder

My kids LOVE this recipe.  It's super easy and has the best flavor of any Potato Soup recipe I've ever tried.  This is perfect for a cozy winter weekend!  Recipe is by Jackay on 

2 T Margarine
1 C. chopped Celery (I leave this out)
1 C. chopped Onion
2 (14.5 oz.) cans of chicken broth
3 C. of peeled and cubed potatoes
1 (15 oz.) can of whole kernel con
1 (4oz.) can diced green chilies
1 (2.5oz) package country style gravy mix
2 C. milk
1 C. shredded mexican-style cheese

In large saucepan, melt margarine over medium high heat.  Add celery and onion.  Cook and stir until tender, about 5 min.

Add chicken broth; bring to boil.  Add potatoes; cook over low heat for 20-25 min. or until potatoes are soft.  Stirring occasionally.

Stir in corn and chilies; return to boiling.  Dissolve gravy mix in milk; stir into boiling mixture.  Add cheese;  cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pick Your Plum!

First off, I LOVE Pick Your Plum! Have you heard of it?? It's a wonderful discount site/email that offers one item each day. It's kinda like Groupon, but it's all craft (ish) stuff. It's either supplies for making crafts or some times a completed item. I love the craft supplies. I've bought several things on Pick Your Plum and honestly look forward to their email each day to see what great find they are going to offer.

My ONLY problem with Pick Your Plum is that I'm in CA, and many times the items are sold out by the time I get online around 9 or 10am PST. Bummer. It's not their fault. It's a wonderful problem to have. But I would have bought a lot more Pick Your Plum stuff if they hadn't already been sold out. I'm almost tempted to check it when I first open my eyes at 6am'ish. Hmmmm.....

I was so excited to get to participate with the Pick Your Plum Series happening over on Cherished Bliss! Love this blog. I got a surprise "Pick Your Plum Item" in the mail and was asked to "do something" with it. So fun. There's also a link party going on for the next few weeks where everyone can feature their Pick Your Plum items! And there will be winners that will get free stuff from Pick Your Plum!!! I would soooo love to win that!! So follow the links here and link up!
Manic Mother

SO, here's what I got.....
a very cute, hand crocheted, headband/ear warmers.

To be honest, I was kinda sad it was a completed item. And I thought, what can I show with this! But, have no fear, I did decide to do something with it. First, here area few things you can do with it, as is....
wear it as a headband/ear warmers. Very cute. However, I live in Southern California and haven't been rock'in the ear warmers since I went to college in Utah. So you could also try...
A belt for a very skinny person. I do love this look as belt. Very fun. Or you can use this adorable crocheted piece to
embellish a bag! Yep, I cut it up and made it into this adorable small tote bag. My daughter has been begging for a new scripture bag for church. I thought this would really make it adorable!
I used the reversible tote bag tutorial from here, but before I started I simply sewed the ear warmer/headband onto the front piece of the fabric. Proceed with all other directions. I LOVE how it turned out, and my daughter is so happy. I think the headband makes it look so special, and so unique.
So thank you Cherished Bliss, and Pick Your Plum! I love your site! And I'll keep checking every day!