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Great Ideas — Spring Recipes {1}

14 May
 
{Make these beautiful Strawberry Cookie Tarts @ Me and My Pink Mixer}
{These Ice Cream pies look amazing @ A Pretty Life in the Suburbs }
 {Brownie Popsicles @ Munchie Munchkins}

 {These Embellished Oreo Cookies will impress anyone @ Shindig Parties}

[Wow your guests by baking up some Flutter Nutter Cupcakes @ Random Thoughts of a SUPERMOM}


{Cherry and Vanilla Cake would be such a fun Summer Party treat @ Jam Hands}
{Make a Tiered Cupcake Stand @ My Blessed Life}
{Check out these Baby Shower Cupcakes @ Burton Avenue}

 {Clever birthday or centerpiece idea — Rose Cupcakes in a Flower Pot @ Sweet Pea and Pumkins}

 {These Peanut M & M cupcakes look so delicious @ Inside BurCrew Life!! }
{ Peanut Butter Cheesecakes are perfect for a Spring Party!! }

 {Bake up some festive Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes @ Crafty Texas Girls}

 {Make some refreshing Mini Ice Cream Bites this Spring @ This Chick Cooks}
{Perfect for a Summer birthday party – Ice Cream Cookies @ Closet Crafter}

 {What a fabulous treat — Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes @ Cheat Day Cafe}

{Find out the 411 on how to make this Anemone Cake @ The Domestic Sugar}
{How refreshing would this Creamsicle Dessert be on a hot afternoon? @ Kristy Makes}
{Find out how to make your own Homemade Ice Cream Cake @ Fun on a Dime}
{This might be the perfect treat to make for Father’s Day — Bacon Pecan Toffee @ Lillidale}

{Bake up some scones with Fresh Blueberries this Spring @ Kuzak’s Closet}

{Grab the recipe for Homemade Iced Offee @ Itsy Bitsy Paper}

 {Is there anything better in the summer than fresh Caprese Salad? Get the recipe @ The Pretty Bee}

{Make an amazing Fresh Fruit Salad @ Organize and Decorate Everything}
{The perfect Chicken Salad recipe for a cookout @ Red Couch Recipes

 {Another fabulous salad recipe – Green Beans, Tomato and Feta Salad @ Sweet Peas and Bumblebees}

{Find out how to make Homemade Naan @ Tales of a Trophy Wife}

WOW – I’m so hungry now!!! There are tons of great ideas going on right now at The Weekend Wrap Up Party.Come by and check them out and share YOUR ideas  You can win a $25 shop credit to

 
Polka Dot Moon – handmade jewelry!!


 Have a Happy Saturday!! xoxo PS — The winners of the DownEast Swim giveaway, the Freschetta Date Night giveaway and the Tom & Lucy’s Art Shoppe giveaway have been announced on the TT&J facebook page. Did you win??   

  

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Great Ideas — Spring Recipes {1}

14 May
 
{Make these beautiful Strawberry Cookie Tarts @ Me and My Pink Mixer}
{These Ice Cream pies look amazing @ A Pretty Life in the Suburbs }
 {Brownie Popsicles @ Munchie Munchkins}

 {These Embellished Oreo Cookies will impress anyone @ Shindig Parties}

[Wow your guests by baking up some Flutter Nutter Cupcakes @ Random Thoughts of a SUPERMOM}


{Cherry and Vanilla Cake would be such a fun Summer Party treat @ Jam Hands}
{Make a Tiered Cupcake Stand @ My Blessed Life}
{Check out these Baby Shower Cupcakes @ Burton Avenue}

 {Clever birthday or centerpiece idea — Rose Cupcakes in a Flower Pot @ Sweet Pea and Pumkins}

 {These Peanut M & M cupcakes look so delicious @ Inside BurCrew Life!! }
{ Peanut Butter Cheesecakes are perfect for a Spring Party!! }

 {Bake up some festive Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes @ Crafty Texas Girls}

 {Make some refreshing Mini Ice Cream Bites this Spring @ This Chick Cooks}
{Perfect for a Summer birthday party – Ice Cream Cookies @ Closet Crafter}

 {What a fabulous treat — Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes @ Cheat Day Cafe}

{Find out the 411 on how to make this Anemone Cake @ The Domestic Sugar}
{How refreshing would this Creamsicle Dessert be on a hot afternoon? @ Kristy Makes}
{Find out how to make your own Homemade Ice Cream Cake @ Fun on a Dime}
{This might be the perfect treat to make for Father’s Day — Bacon Pecan Toffee @ Lillidale}

{Bake up some scones with Fresh Blueberries this Spring @ Kuzak’s Closet}

{Grab the recipe for Homemade Iced Offee @ Itsy Bitsy Paper}

 {Is there anything better in the summer than fresh Caprese Salad? Get the recipe @ The Pretty Bee}

{Make an amazing Fresh Fruit Salad @ Organize and Decorate Everything}
{The perfect Chicken Salad recipe for a cookout @ Red Couch Recipes

 {Another fabulous salad recipe – Green Beans, Tomato and Feta Salad @ Sweet Peas and Bumblebees}

{Find out how to make Homemade Naan @ Tales of a Trophy Wife}

WOW – I’m so hungry now!!! There are tons of great ideas going on right now at The Weekend Wrap Up Party.Come by and check them out and share YOUR ideas  You can win a $25 shop credit to

 
Polka Dot Moon – handmade jewelry!!


 Have a Happy Saturday!! xoxo PS — The winners of the DownEast Swim giveaway, the Freschetta Date Night giveaway and the Tom & Lucy’s Art Shoppe giveaway have been announced on the TT&J facebook page. Did you win??   

  

Guest Project: Cinco De Mayo — make Deep Fried Ice Cream!!

4 May
w_132
Happy {almost} Cinco de Mayo, friends!

blog button

I’m Jami from Ain’t She Crazy!
 
I want to
thank Jen for giving me the opportunity to share one of my favorite
Mexican recipes with all of you. Now, I don’t think I have a drop of
Mexican blood in me, but that doesn’t stop me from celebrating with
those who do!
Besides, in my family, any occasion can be used as an excuse to make a fun dessert.

So let’s get started — Mexican Fried Ice Cream.

w_077

First, you
will need to collect your ingredients. (The sprinkles are optional, of
course.) I didn’t realize until after I took this shot that nearly
everything in this recipe was made from Great Value brand foods. I just
want to let you know, that was not intentional, so just ignore the
labels, please.



084

You will also need some food storage bags, such a sandwich “baggies” or gallon sized bags that do not zip. (There are probably a dozen different ways to make ice cream balls, but this is the way I do it.)



Part 1
086


Stick your non-dominant hand inside one of the bags.


w_085
Scoop the ice cream into the “gloved” hand.

 087



Now invert the bag so that the ice cream is inside the bag. Squish it into something that resembles an ice cream ball.
 088 089 

Leave the
ball in the bag. Start with a fresh bag for each ice cream
ball…scooping, shaping and inverting the bags, until you have enough
servings, then toss them all in the freezer. You can leave them there as
long as you want to, but at least until they firm up a little. You can
easily make these up ahead of time so that the dessert seems effortless
at the time of serving.


Part 2
This is the part where you can really get the kids involved. First, get them excited about the project:w_092




Next, have them pour some of the frosted flake cereal into a zip bag.

w_094
  (You may notice I had to label mine “DO NOT EAT”
 to keep the older kids out of it long enough to make this recipe!)


Sprinkle the cereal generously with cinnamon.
You’ll want enough that you can taste it, but not so much that it is spicy. Feel free to taste as you go!
 w_103

BE SURE TO ZIP THE BAG COMPLETELY!
Then, just
have them use a rolling pin over the bag, rolling or pounding, until the
flakes are crushed up. They like this part a lot!
w_107


Part 3

Remove  the ice cream balls from the freezer. Pour the crushed cereal mixture into a plastic bowl that has a tight fitting lid.w_118
(Can
you tell, these pictures were taken after dark? Sorry, but my helpers
could not wait until tomorrow to try their creation, so we forged on.)

Unwrap the ice cream balls one at a time and drop them into the bowl.
Close the lid and shake until well- coated.
w_119 w_120 w_122w_121 

At this
point, again, you can place all the coated balls into a container and
store them in the freezer until it is time to serve dessert. This is the
way I prefer to do it, otherwise, the process feels pretty slow.



Part 4

Now
comes, the best part! If you really want to impress the kids (or
adults), you can fry up some tortillas, coat them in a cinnamon-sugar
blend (I keep mine in a shaker in the spice cabinet.) and quickly stuff
them into your bowls so that they harden in the bowl, forming a crunchy
shell for the ice cream.w_115 This is a cute and yummy effect, but also one you should practice before your
guests arrive, as it can be rather messy. When I make these for my
kids, we usually skip the frying thing, but it does add a little “wow
factor”!


Now
all that is left is to place an ice cream ball into the shell (or
directly into the dish!) Drizzle plenty of honey over the top…w_125


And top it off with whipped cream and a cherry, if you like.
 w_128


Here’s what it looks like when you skip the tortilla:
w_132

Delicioso!
I hope you all have a great Cinco de Mayo and that your family enjoys Mexican “Fried” Ice Cream as much as we do!
pinksig
Yummy! 
My kids will have a ball making that. 
I have been following Jami for quite a while.
First of all, she is funny! She is also so talented. And she’s a great cook!
  Here are a few of my favorite projects she has made:
Be sure to stop by Ain’t She Crazy and say hi! 
xoxo

 PS — 

The winner of the $50 to

is:

#33 — April!! 


Congratulations!! An email has been sent to April. 


And, the Pier 1 gift card giveaway has been extended until tonight {5/4} if you still want to enter.

Guest Project: Cinco De Mayo — make Deep Fried Ice Cream!!

4 May
w_132
Happy {almost} Cinco de Mayo, friends!

blog button

I’m Jami from Ain’t She Crazy!
 
I want to
thank Jen for giving me the opportunity to share one of my favorite
Mexican recipes with all of you. Now, I don’t think I have a drop of
Mexican blood in me, but that doesn’t stop me from celebrating with
those who do!
Besides, in my family, any occasion can be used as an excuse to make a fun dessert.

So let’s get started — Mexican Fried Ice Cream.

w_077

First, you
will need to collect your ingredients. (The sprinkles are optional, of
course.) I didn’t realize until after I took this shot that nearly
everything in this recipe was made from Great Value brand foods. I just
want to let you know, that was not intentional, so just ignore the
labels, please.



084

You will also need some food storage bags, such a sandwich “baggies” or gallon sized bags that do not zip. (There are probably a dozen different ways to make ice cream balls, but this is the way I do it.)



Part 1
086


Stick your non-dominant hand inside one of the bags.


w_085
Scoop the ice cream into the “gloved” hand.

 087



Now invert the bag so that the ice cream is inside the bag. Squish it into something that resembles an ice cream ball.
 088 089 

Leave the
ball in the bag. Start with a fresh bag for each ice cream
ball…scooping, shaping and inverting the bags, until you have enough
servings, then toss them all in the freezer. You can leave them there as
long as you want to, but at least until they firm up a little. You can
easily make these up ahead of time so that the dessert seems effortless
at the time of serving.


Part 2
This is the part where you can really get the kids involved. First, get them excited about the project:w_092




Next, have them pour some of the frosted flake cereal into a zip bag.

w_094
  (You may notice I had to label mine “DO NOT EAT”
 to keep the older kids out of it long enough to make this recipe!)


Sprinkle the cereal generously with cinnamon.
You’ll want enough that you can taste it, but not so much that it is spicy. Feel free to taste as you go!
 w_103

BE SURE TO ZIP THE BAG COMPLETELY!
Then, just
have them use a rolling pin over the bag, rolling or pounding, until the
flakes are crushed up. They like this part a lot!
w_107


Part 3

Remove  the ice cream balls from the freezer. Pour the crushed cereal mixture into a plastic bowl that has a tight fitting lid.w_118
(Can
you tell, these pictures were taken after dark? Sorry, but my helpers
could not wait until tomorrow to try their creation, so we forged on.)

Unwrap the ice cream balls one at a time and drop them into the bowl.
Close the lid and shake until well- coated.
w_119 w_120 w_122w_121 

At this
point, again, you can place all the coated balls into a container and
store them in the freezer until it is time to serve dessert. This is the
way I prefer to do it, otherwise, the process feels pretty slow.



Part 4

Now
comes, the best part! If you really want to impress the kids (or
adults), you can fry up some tortillas, coat them in a cinnamon-sugar
blend (I keep mine in a shaker in the spice cabinet.) and quickly stuff
them into your bowls so that they harden in the bowl, forming a crunchy
shell for the ice cream.w_115 This is a cute and yummy effect, but also one you should practice before your
guests arrive, as it can be rather messy. When I make these for my
kids, we usually skip the frying thing, but it does add a little “wow
factor”!


Now
all that is left is to place an ice cream ball into the shell (or
directly into the dish!) Drizzle plenty of honey over the top…w_125


And top it off with whipped cream and a cherry, if you like.
 w_128


Here’s what it looks like when you skip the tortilla:
w_132

Delicioso!
I hope you all have a great Cinco de Mayo and that your family enjoys Mexican “Fried” Ice Cream as much as we do!
pinksig
Yummy! 
My kids will have a ball making that. 
I have been following Jami for quite a while.
First of all, she is funny! She is also so talented. And she’s a great cook!
  Here are a few of my favorite projects she has made:
Be sure to stop by Ain’t She Crazy and say hi! 
xoxo

 PS — 

The winner of the $50 to

is:

#33 — April!! 


Congratulations!! An email has been sent to April. 


And, the Pier 1 gift card giveaway has been extended until tonight {5/4} if you still want to enter.

Guest Project — Make Your Own DIY Cookie Cutters!!

10 Mar
 
 Hi – I’m Callye of Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle.
I’m an artist who expresses myself through cookies.

Martha Stewart is my hero…(don’t knock her, I LOVE her!)

When I was in High School, I’d cut school just to stay home and watch
her on TV.

I love to learn, when I get into something, I go at it full steam!

I am pretty much obsessed with decorating cookies. I do it almost every
day, and still my mind is OVERFLOWING with things I want to create!

 
Over the last two years I have really become obsessed with decorated cookies.  I make them every chance I get, and I am constantly coming up with new designs.  Although I’d love to have a custom cutter for EVERY shape I make, it’s not really economical or practical to do this for every design I come up with.
There are cookie cutter crafting kits available to purchase, but to be honest, I have a really hard time using them without the help of my husband and his tools, and to make matters worse, he doesn’t always get the design how it was in my head {I HOPE he’s not reading this} or do it on my schedule. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Nine times out of ten , if I need an odd cookie shape, I make a plastic template. I actually have a {Plastic Cookie Template Tutorial} on my blog. 
However, there are some times that I really need a cutter and since I’m not one to wait around for the husband, I went on a quest to find a way to make them without  any assistance. 
I searched up and down the Internet, and eventually I ran across a tutorial to make cookie cutters from easily available household items.
Unfortunately, I was never able to find it again, but using the basics I learned from that tutorial, I began making my own custom cookie cutters.

This project requires the supplies above.  They include:
  • aluminum oven liners
  • scissors
  • gloves {very important}
  • permanent marker
  • pencil
  • Exacto knife
  • 4 inch template made from foam board {buy thepre- measured type and cut along the lines}
  • yardstick
  • clothespins
  • super glue
  • printer paper

 

First, trim all of the edges from the aluminum liner.  
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE wear gloves! 
The raw edges of aluminum are as sharp as razors and can REALLY hurt you.
 
For the record, I got the COOLEST pair of gloves from Woman’s Work, and I love them so much that they inspired the whole color palette I used for the cookies.
 I love the fact that they are made for smaller hands and I can work in them comfortably.  Plus, like I said, they are CUTE!  Just because a girl does tough work, doesn’t mean she can’t do it pretty =)
After the edges are removed, use the foam board template to mark off a four inch section on the aluminum.
Use the yardsitck to find the mid point of the section, and draw another line down the center. {There will be two 2 inch sections}
After you have marked it, cut along the farthest line, indicated by the arrow. The middle line is there to serve as a reference point when you begin forming your metal strip.
After you cut, fold the strip in half along the 2 inch line. I always do it along a straight edge such as a table to keep the folds sharp and precise.
Once you have done this, unfold the strip, and fold the left side in to meet the center line.
Do the same to the right side. Carefully fold it to touch the center 2 inch mark.
Then, fold this in half again, making sure the sharp outside edges are folded to the inside where they cannot harm you.
Just in case it was hard to understand by the photos, I also included a diagram of the folding steps.
When you reach step three, fold it in half once more.
All this folding will leave you with a strong but flexible aluminum strip.
When this is done, I always take my scissors and run them back down the strip to really straighten and flatten the edge, which will eventually be the cutting edge of the the cutter.
Now you are ready to make a cookie cutter.
A while back, I saw an adorable set of lower case serif font alphabet cutters that I really wanted. I was really bummed that they weren’t available to purchase, so I decided to make my own.
Before I began, I sat down and sketched out the way I imagined my letter cookies to look. You can also print an image from your computer, but since I already had a pretty solid idea, I sketched mine.
The sketch doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s only a guide.  If you look at mine you’ll see I did alright on the “j” but the “t” got a little bit scratchy.
When I finished I used a permanent marker to outline the drawing, taking care to avoid a lot of the more intricate little curves and corners.
It’s a common misconception that an EXACT cutter is needed to make cookies in a certain shape.
Personally, I am not really concerned with exacts.  I take a basic cookie shape and use my icing to tweak the design.  It’s a lot less stressful this way, and also leaves room for a little creative flair.
Now for the fun part!

The next step takes a little practice and patience.
Using your sketch, start shaping the aluminum around the design.

Just a little tip, when you are forming curves, find something round to bend the metal around.  I used an old rolling pin here, but you could use dowel rods, PVC pipe, or anything else around the house.
It’s also helpful to keep a pair of needle nose pliers handy, just in case.  Most of the time, I don’t use them but you never know when you might need them.
When you get the shape just right, tighten everything up and measure where you should cut off the overlap.
I’d give it about an inch or so, then snip off any excess.
Use super glue to attach the ends and clothes pins to secure them until dry.
I’ll admit, it’s not the prettiest cutter ever, but it will make beautiful cookies.  I have several of these that have lasted a very long time.  Every once in a while, one will come un-glued, but I just re-glue it, and it’s as good as new.  In a pinch, I’ve even used hot glue and and staples to close the cutters.
I use this method most often to make cutters for” fad” designs.  It’s great in situations where I am making too many cookies to hand cut, but I won’t use it often enough to justify investing in a custom cutter. 
I also live in a rural area so I don’t have access to specialty supplies and have to mail order almost everything.  This allows me to make my own cutters with things I can pick up locally and without waiting on shipping.
Is anyone surprised at the end result? It always amazes me that such simple everyday things can be used to make such pretty cookies.
I made these sparkly “j’s” in honor of my hostess today.  Thank you for having me, Jen!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! For more fun tips and cookie adventures, come visit my blog, The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle , I’d love to see you there!
Thanks Callye! Those sparkly J’s are adorable!!!
I love this idea – the possibilities are endless!! 
You will find so many great ideas on Callye’s blog, like:
 
{Turn left-over Royal Icing into Decorative Cookie Embellishments}
{How about Lego Man Cookies?}
 {Turn Different Shaped Cookie Cutters into a Leprechauns}
And so much more!!


You will love all of the Cooking Tips and Inspiration at Sugar Belle!
xoxo
 
PS — Jill at Envirocraftiness is spotlighting her favorite blogs and today she is spotlight TT&J. I feel so honored!! Thanks Jill!!! 

This post sponsored by

Guest Project — Make Your Own DIY Cookie Cutters!!

10 Mar
 
 Hi – I’m Callye of Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle.
I’m an artist who expresses myself through cookies.

Martha Stewart is my hero…(don’t knock her, I LOVE her!)

When I was in High School, I’d cut school just to stay home and watch
her on TV.

I love to learn, when I get into something, I go at it full steam!

I am pretty much obsessed with decorating cookies. I do it almost every
day, and still my mind is OVERFLOWING with things I want to create!

 
Over the last two years I have really become obsessed with decorated cookies.  I make them every chance I get, and I am constantly coming up with new designs.  Although I’d love to have a custom cutter for EVERY shape I make, it’s not really economical or practical to do this for every design I come up with.
There are cookie cutter crafting kits available to purchase, but to be honest, I have a really hard time using them without the help of my husband and his tools, and to make matters worse, he doesn’t always get the design how it was in my head {I HOPE he’s not reading this} or do it on my schedule. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Nine times out of ten , if I need an odd cookie shape, I make a plastic template. I actually have a {Plastic Cookie Template Tutorial} on my blog. 
However, there are some times that I really need a cutter and since I’m not one to wait around for the husband, I went on a quest to find a way to make them without  any assistance. 
I searched up and down the Internet, and eventually I ran across a tutorial to make cookie cutters from easily available household items.
Unfortunately, I was never able to find it again, but using the basics I learned from that tutorial, I began making my own custom cookie cutters.

This project requires the supplies above.  They include:
  • aluminum oven liners
  • scissors
  • gloves {very important}
  • permanent marker
  • pencil
  • Exacto knife
  • 4 inch template made from foam board {buy thepre- measured type and cut along the lines}
  • yardstick
  • clothespins
  • super glue
  • printer paper

 

First, trim all of the edges from the aluminum liner.  
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE wear gloves! 
The raw edges of aluminum are as sharp as razors and can REALLY hurt you.
 
For the record, I got the COOLEST pair of gloves from Woman’s Work, and I love them so much that they inspired the whole color palette I used for the cookies.
 I love the fact that they are made for smaller hands and I can work in them comfortably.  Plus, like I said, they are CUTE!  Just because a girl does tough work, doesn’t mean she can’t do it pretty =)
After the edges are removed, use the foam board template to mark off a four inch section on the aluminum.
Use the yardsitck to find the mid point of the section, and draw another line down the center. {There will be two 2 inch sections}
After you have marked it, cut along the farthest line, indicated by the arrow. The middle line is there to serve as a reference point when you begin forming your metal strip.
After you cut, fold the strip in half along the 2 inch line. I always do it along a straight edge such as a table to keep the folds sharp and precise.
Once you have done this, unfold the strip, and fold the left side in to meet the center line.
Do the same to the right side. Carefully fold it to touch the center 2 inch mark.
Then, fold this in half again, making sure the sharp outside edges are folded to the inside where they cannot harm you.
Just in case it was hard to understand by the photos, I also included a diagram of the folding steps.
When you reach step three, fold it in half once more.
All this folding will leave you with a strong but flexible aluminum strip.
When this is done, I always take my scissors and run them back down the strip to really straighten and flatten the edge, which will eventually be the cutting edge of the the cutter.
Now you are ready to make a cookie cutter.
A while back, I saw an adorable set of lower case serif font alphabet cutters that I really wanted. I was really bummed that they weren’t available to purchase, so I decided to make my own.
Before I began, I sat down and sketched out the way I imagined my letter cookies to look. You can also print an image from your computer, but since I already had a pretty solid idea, I sketched mine.
The sketch doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s only a guide.  If you look at mine you’ll see I did alright on the “j” but the “t” got a little bit scratchy.
When I finished I used a permanent marker to outline the drawing, taking care to avoid a lot of the more intricate little curves and corners.
It’s a common misconception that an EXACT cutter is needed to make cookies in a certain shape.
Personally, I am not really concerned with exacts.  I take a basic cookie shape and use my icing to tweak the design.  It’s a lot less stressful this way, and also leaves room for a little creative flair.
Now for the fun part!

The next step takes a little practice and patience.
Using your sketch, start shaping the aluminum around the design.

Just a little tip, when you are forming curves, find something round to bend the metal around.  I used an old rolling pin here, but you could use dowel rods, PVC pipe, or anything else around the house.
It’s also helpful to keep a pair of needle nose pliers handy, just in case.  Most of the time, I don’t use them but you never know when you might need them.
When you get the shape just right, tighten everything up and measure where you should cut off the overlap.
I’d give it about an inch or so, then snip off any excess.
Use super glue to attach the ends and clothes pins to secure them until dry.
I’ll admit, it’s not the prettiest cutter ever, but it will make beautiful cookies.  I have several of these that have lasted a very long time.  Every once in a while, one will come un-glued, but I just re-glue it, and it’s as good as new.  In a pinch, I’ve even used hot glue and and staples to close the cutters.
I use this method most often to make cutters for” fad” designs.  It’s great in situations where I am making too many cookies to hand cut, but I won’t use it often enough to justify investing in a custom cutter. 
I also live in a rural area so I don’t have access to specialty supplies and have to mail order almost everything.  This allows me to make my own cutters with things I can pick up locally and without waiting on shipping.
Is anyone surprised at the end result? It always amazes me that such simple everyday things can be used to make such pretty cookies.
I made these sparkly “j’s” in honor of my hostess today.  Thank you for having me, Jen!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! For more fun tips and cookie adventures, come visit my blog, The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle , I’d love to see you there!
Thanks Callye! Those sparkly J’s are adorable!!!
I love this idea – the possibilities are endless!! 
You will find so many great ideas on Callye’s blog, like:
 
{Turn left-over Royal Icing into Decorative Cookie Embellishments}
{How about Lego Man Cookies?}
 {Turn Different Shaped Cookie Cutters into a Leprechauns}
And so much more!!


You will love all of the Cooking Tips and Inspiration at Sugar Belle!
xoxo
 
PS — Jill at Envirocraftiness is spotlighting her favorite blogs and today she is spotlight TT&J. I feel so honored!! Thanks Jill!!! 

This post sponsored by

Guest Project: make a delicious French Silk Pie

15 Oct

Hi, I’m Tru. I live on a dairy farm in the Midwest and I’m always looking for ways to save money or reuse things. My kids used to call me cheap, but I like to think of myself as frugal.

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Funny thing; now that they’re older, I see them making frugal choices also. I started my original blog back in 2004, just to keep in touch with my children. Being that I had dialup at the time, it was just not worth it to keep it up, so it fell by the wayside. Awhile ago I got high speed through my cell phone provider (got sick of waiting for DSL to come to our area), so I started up my blog again and made 2 more, for my dream projects and my finished projects.
Anyway, I like to make things; whether it be out of wood, metal or soft things like fabric, yarn or food. Come along with me on an adventure of sorts in do it yourself.

FRENCH SILK PIE

First of all, let me tell you, I don’t always follow the rules. When I first got married, I tried to follow recipes, but when they didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, I started making my own rules. 

I couldn’t make a decent pie crust to save my soul, making it the way the cookbooks told me to. I believe Martha Stewart is the one who said about piemaking, “Make it cold and bake it hot”, and you should chill the dough before rolling it out. Well, I’m not Martha and that didn’t work for me, sort of.

What I mean is the only chilling I do is after I have the crust in the pan I put in the fridge to chill for a bit…. sometimes.
I’ve found for me the best way to make a decent thin crust is to make it only as cool as the water from the tap and keep the dough on the soft side to roll out. I then use a lot of flour to roll it out, to keep it from sticking, to the rolling pin and surface, which happens to be my kitchen counter. When I’m done, I clean it up with a pastry scraper. Handy little gadget by the way. I use it for many things besides scraping/lifting pastry off the counter, such as cutting brownies, rice krispie bars, etc., and to scoop up things off the counter or cutting board. 

So, on to the recipe.
These are the supplies I used.

Pastry for Double Crust Pie

Ingredients
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. shortening
6-8 Tbl. cold water

Measure out the flour.I scoop it into a measuring cup on a coffee filter, then level it off with a knife. the excess can then be poured back into the measuring cup for the next measurement, or put back into the flour container.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.

Cut the shortening ‘till pieces are the size of small peas.

Measure out 1/2 c. water in a measuring cup. Pour in about 1/2 of this and start mixing with the pastry cutter. Add more water until you get a fairly soft dough, but not sticky. I usually use about 6 Tbl. Discard the rest of the water.
Divide dough into 2 balls. (I like a thinner crust, so I get 4 balls out of this)

Lightly flour the surface you will roll out your dough. I just use the counter top. Place one ball of dough on the surface and flip it so it has flour on both sides.

Start by pressing the ball flat with your hand. Then, roll the dough, flipping it several times so it stays floured and does not stick to the rolling pin, until it gets to be about 6″x10″. Then keep rolling from center out to edges changing directions until you have a circle of about 12″ diameter.

Roll the dough onto the rolling pin. You may need to loosen it a bit from the counter with a pastry scraper.

Unroll the dough onto the pie plate and adjust it so it is down into the bottom and sides. Cut off any excess dough that hangs past the edge of the pan straight down to the counter. (Set these scraps aside, we’ll use them for a surprise).

Roll under the edges on the dough, just to the edge of the plate and flute the rim by placing your index fingers on the inside of the edge and pressing with one of your thumbs between your fingers. Wherever you have the flute going outward, press down onto the edge of the pan. This will help to keep the crust from tipping into the pan as it bakes. Perforate the crust all over the bottom and around the sides. this will keep the crust from shrinking too much and bubbling.

Repeat with the other balls of dough and refrigerate while you prepare the dough scrap cookies. Surprise!
Place all the dough scraps on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake these in a 450° oven, on the top rack, for 5-10 minutes. Watch these closely, they bake fast. Cool on a rack and enjoy.

After the cookies are done, you can bake the pie crusts, likewise @ 450° for 5-10 minutes. Again watch closely. I did the one on the left with beans placed on a coffee filter to weight the crust down and keep its shape. I don’t see enough of a difference to warrant this extra step. Besides, I had to remove the beans when the other crusts were done and bake it further, because the crust wasn’t done on the bottom. Let these cool before filling.

These are the ingredients I used: French Silk Filling
Ingredients
2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks BUTTER (softened slightly)
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs
(2) 8 ounce containers whipped topping, one for each pie

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for about 1 minute, stir until smooth, and set aside to cool. Do not use milk chocolate chips, as I’ve found they do not melt well. If you want a milder chocolate taste, use dipping chocolate,(which is what I had to do, ’cause I was out of semi-sweet chocolate chips!) If you need to do this, it is 3 ounces.

With your mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy. With a Kitchenaid, this only takes a couple of minutes; a hand mixer will definitely take longer.

Stir in the chocolate and vanilla (yes, I make my own vanilla extract) and thoroughly mix together.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating on high speed after each addition and scraping down sides of the bowl.

Here’s what it looks like when you’re finished. Mine looks quite light, again, because I used dipping chocolate.

Fill your baked pie crust with the filling. It doesn’t look like much there, but remember, whipped topping has to go on top yet, besides this is a rich pie and you don’t want the filling too thick. If you like rich pies, by all means, make only one pie out of this as the inspiration recipe called for.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so, until the filling is firm before putting on the topping. You can keep this for a few days in the fridge without topping and apply that just before you serve it.

You can either spread whipped topping over the whole pie and garnish with chocolate shavings (I shave mine off a block of dipping chocolate)…..

Or you can get fancy and do stars with a large star decorating tip. If you’re not handy with bag decorating, you can use aerosol whipped topping instead.

Can you tell which one I’m giving to a friend?

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What a delicious looking pie Trudy! Thanks for sharing it with us. Trudy is so talented, not only can she whip up a fabulous pie in no time, she can also do all sorts of other projects like these DIY benches and table: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_6dEqx5hV7r8/TDN3qA0rc4I/AAAAAAAACJc/CmPaz-VF8uQ/s1600/100_1024.JPG She made this “Leaf” themed patio! http://tru-featsandaccomplishments.blogspot.com
And these DIY stools!!

Thanks Trudy!!


Come back tonight at 6 PM for The Weekend Wrap Up Party!!


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