Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vacation Food

With a family of 7 food can become quite expensive in vacations. While searching the internet for food options in the San Diego area many options came up. We found Casa de Pico in La Mesa that had the best Mexican food we have ever had. Prices were a little expensive for my liking but the servings looked big from walking by other tables. The husband and I shared a plate and we were glad we did. A couple of kids shares the taquitos appitizers. So because we shared we got out of there for $78 including tip. I thought it would be alot more.
we knew pizza would be a cheap option for food. I looked up Pizza in google. One of the first places that pulled up was Costco! Oh my gosh! We eat there when we shop, so why not when on vacation!  For food, drink and dessert we all ate for $19.73!!!!! The kids want to go back tomorrow. We might just do that.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You Rock- Father's Day Photo Shoot

I am attempting to make my blog a little more personal along with the crafty side of me. What better way to start than to add pictures of my kids! I was short on time and $ for Father's Day so I decided to take my kids on a photo shoot. I took these pictures by a golf course near our neighborhood. It's really hot in Arizona in June so we got up and ready and were taking photos by 8:30am. That was not early enough! Feeling the side effects of a spider bite, a tetanus shot,very strong antibiotics and the heat made for a hot and quick photo shoot! Not to mention trying to get 5 kids to cooperate while taking photo's!

I'ts hard not to goof around while taking photo's. I had the kids each grab a rock and hold it up so I could add the saying, "You Rock Dad!" to the photo. When they put the rocks down they wanted to do "air" guitars and also say, "You Rock Dad!" I love my kids and am so blessed to have such great kids!

Here is a picture of the whole bunch in December. It was "Senior" Night at the football game. They honored all of the senior football players and had them and their families come on the field.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cinnamon Caramel White Chocolate Popcorn

I love flavored popcorn. I have always been inspired by Dale & Thomas popcorn flavors but not their price! Warning - You will want to make to batches, especially if you think you are going to share with others.

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Start by popping popcorn with an air popper or on the stove. If you must use microwave popcorn use natural popcorn with no butter. Make sure popcorn is in a large bowl for mixing. Add nuts to the popcorn if using. My family doesn't like nuts so I didn't use them.  Next, mix the cinnamon and brown sugar in a big microwave safe bowl. If you do not mix the two together the cinnamon will be clumpy and not mix well with the other ingredients. Chop butter, place on top of cinnamon and brown sugar mixture, then pour corn syrup over the top of everything. 

This next part is kind of fun to watch! Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Take out and stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes.Be really careful when taking the bowl out of the microwave it will be really hot. Remove, stir to combine more and return to microwave and heat on high for 2 more minutes.  At this point the mixture will be boiling or almost boiling so again be really careful when taking out of the microwave. So remove the bowl from the microwave and add in the vanilla and baking soda. Mix really well. The mixture will start to bubble more and get kind of frothy. Pour mixture over popcorn/nuts. Stir till well coated. Add popcorn mixture to a large foil lined cake pan or cookie sheet with sides. 

Bake for 30 minutes and stir every 10 minutes. I usually only cook it for about 20 minutes because I like it not so crunchy. Take out and give it a final stir. Melt almond bark/white chocolate chips according to directions. Put melted chocolate into a pastry bag and drizzle all over the popcorn mixture. Set aside and let the chocolate set. Break apart and enjoy! I would have a picture of the final product but I got so excited to eat the popcorn along with my kids that I forgot! So here is a picture from Our Best Bites where I got the recipe from. 

Cinnamon Caramel White Chocolate Popcorn

12 cups popped popcorn
1 cup roughly chopped pecans (optional)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 stick butter (not margarine)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
3 squares almond bark or 6 oz of white chocolate chips

1. Pre heat oven to 250.
2. Pop popcorn and set aside in a very large bowl with pecans if using.
3. Combine Cinnamon and Sugar in a separate large microwave safe bowl. 
4. Chop butter and place on top of mixture.
5. Pour corn syrup over top of everything.
6. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir to combine.
7. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir to combine.
8. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir to combine.
9. Add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine.
10. Pour mixture over popcorn and pecans. Stir till coated.
11. Pour mixture onto a foil lined pan.
12. Bake for 30 minutes and stir every 10 minutes.
13. Melt almond bark according to directions and drizzle over popcorn mixture. 
14. Set aside and let almond bark set. 
15. Break apart and enjoy!
Tip Junkie handmade projects Lil\'Luna

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not your ordinary jewelry box!

My Grandmother lived with my mom and step dad for a few years and the time came when she needed to be moved into an assisted living home. When they did this they went threw her stuff, sold some of it, kept some of it and gave some of it away. Out of all her stuff I received this jewelry box. You can tell by they type of box that it isn't old. So why is this box so special? Well this box has all of her buttons that fell off of clothes and broken jewelry.  I know when my mom asked me if I wanted it she sounded a little hesitant. Who would want a jewelry box of broken things? A normal person would not be excited by this but I was! What could I make with all of this stuff? 

Since I have worked with Amate Studios in the past I have some of their wonderful jewelry blanks. I knew that I had some of their Designer Series ring blanks and could make some rings with the buttons.

 Some of the buttons had flat back and some had a ring to thread through. The buttons with a flat back I used their flat ring blanks and attached the button with Dazzle Tac Jewelry Glue by Beacon. The buttons with a ring to thread threw I used the bezeled ring blank and filled the well with the glue and then set the button inside. I could have cut the ring off of the buttons but I didn't want to take the extra steps to cut and file to make sure that it would fit right on the flat ring blank. All of the rings needed to dry for at least 24 hours before wearing. I hope this inspires you to look at your broken jewelry a little differently! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes!

O.K. so I didn't want to make anything normal for the Fourth of July for dessert. Since cupcakes are all the rage I went searching on the internet for cupcake recipes. Boy are there a lot! I actually made 3 different kinds because I couldn't choose which one. By far this cupcake is my favorite. It is my OMG cupcake! I made these a week ago and am salivating as I am writing this  post and will be making another batch tomorrow! I found the recipe over at Brown Eyed Baker. She has a lot of yummy sounding recipes. 

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Yield: 22 to 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 20 minutes
For the Cupcakes:
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 & 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream
For the Salted Caramel Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup salted caramel sauce
4 cups powdered sugar
To Garnish:
Salted Caramel Sauce
Fleur de Sel (or other flaky sea salt)
1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard-size muffin pans with paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth, and the butter is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture, beating until smooth.
5. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix each addition until just incorporated.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Make the Frosting: Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.
8. To finish, pipe frosting onto the top of each cupcake (or use an offset spatula to spread the frosting), drizzle with some additional salted caramel sauce, and sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de sel.
I added a step between 7 and 8. Instead of using the caramel sauce as a topping I decided to use it as a filling in the cupcake. I burned my first batch of Homemade Caramel Sauce. It says to cook it to 350 degrees but it was burning after it hit 300 degrees. I have never made a caramel sauce like this recipe. I might try it again. So I was in such a hurry that I had my son run to the store and buy caramel sauce for ice cream! I put the caramel sauce into a squeeze bottle and added a teaspoon and a half of the salt and shook it up and then squeezed the sauce into the cupcakes until I saw sauce coming out of the cupcake. It was very helpful to put the caramel sauce into a squeeze bottle. The tip helped get the caramel sauce into the center of the cupcake. After the sauce is in the cupcake it soaks into the cupcake and make's the chocolate cupcake taste even better. Because I added the sauce into the cupcake I did not add caramel sauce or salt to the top of the cupcakes because I thought that there was enough flavoring. Next time I will add some caramel sauce to the top just for decoration. 
I couldn't find the fleur de sel salt so I used regular sea salt that isn't flaky but chunky. I think it tasted great. I also wanted to make these into mini cupcakes. I was able to make 36 mini cupcakes and 12 regular sized cupcakes.   
The DIY Dreamer Lil\'Luna