Monday, April 22, 2013

The Fig and Pig (A shameless recreation of a local seasonal favorite)

This combination, as you can tell by all the food blogger hype, is really delicious.

We used this Smitten Kitchen homemade pizza dough recipe, and we liked it a lot, not too difficult.  We also made the SK leisurely pizza dough from her cookbook when we did pizza night with some friends, also delicious!

Here's the topping order to make our version:
-Onions sauteed in balsamic vinegar
-Shredded Mozzarella cheese
-Pieces of prosciutto
-Sliced figs
-Crumbled Gorgonzola

Bake at 450F until crust is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes? See the SK recipe for basic baking instructions.  We just put on all the ingredients and baked them all together, no crazy layering of toppings or anything like some of the other recipes.

Fresh figs courtesy of Chad (of former Hawaiian butter mochi fame). Otherwise, I'm sure we would have no idea where to get fresh figs other than battling it out at the farmer's market.

The figs are sweet, and the gorgonzola and prosciutto are both very salty. Obviously a winning duo, but hold the arugula, please.  I can't tell you how many fig, proscuitto, arugula recipes I saw, and I just don't want to eat my pizza like some kind of strange salad.


Variations: (Tested and approved!)
1. Use dried fig slices when fresh figs are not in season.
2. Goat cheese, dried fig slices, pepperoni/salami slices, and crumbled gorgonzola toasted on a slice of french bread for bite size snacks.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Key to my Neck(lace)

My newest necklace!  I'm not much of a jewelry maker or wearer, but I've been wanting to make this because I had all the supplies except extra jump rings to put the damn charm on the necklace.  I liked this small, unobtrusive key charm (picked up for free via Diamonds International, haha), but I didn't like the dingy brassy finish or that it would probably not react too well to lots of wearing.

My sister bought me some nail polish during her recent polish shopping spree, I love the color, but I do not wear nail polish.  Making a faux enamel key is the next best use, right?  It's really easy, just coat your charm with a few thin coats of nail polish, let dry between coats, until it has completely covered the base color.  I topped mine off with some clear nail polish to make it super smooth and hopefully chip-free.


I also tried free lensing to get this picture! Taking macro shots are impossible with the Fifty, so I thought I'd try free lensing in order to get super close. Free lensing is also apparently impossible for me because I could hardly hold my lens still enough to get a clear shot, and I was already using a tripod.  These two were the only clear-ish shots that came out, but I do kind of like the interesting pink cast in the second.

Stay tuned for an interesting faux-torial on how to use split rings without buying the coordinating pliers! :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Crepes, crepes, and more crepes for breakfast

Two things conspired to get us to make more crepes.

One. We found a cute little cookbook at an estate sale that is all about crepes, savory and sweet.
Two. N's sister bought him a great crepe pan in Germany.

It's fate, right?

We used this recipe from Me Versus Martha to make our first batch of banana and Nutella crepes.  They were delicious and super filling, but Nutella is always awesome, so... biased.


Same basic crepe recipe, but this time, with a syrup/reduction made of blackberries, water, and sugar.  We strained out the seeds and put in into the creamer to pour over the crepes.  Since it wasn't very substantial otherwise, I made some fresh whipped cream to fill it out a little.

It's actually very easy to make fresh whipped cream.  I used maybe a 1/2 cup (or less), two spoonfuls of sugar, and a splash of vanilla.  Those three ingredients went into the Pyrex measuring cup and then whisked for several minutes until stiff.  That's it!


Yum! Crepes seem really fancy even though they are really just thin pancakes.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Batty about VooDoo Maggie

This is not the last VooDoo Maggie creation you've seen from me, although I am running out of the patterns in the book that I actually like.

I immediately loved this guy, but I was dissuaded at first from making him because "it wouldn't sell unless it was around Halloween."  Well, I sucked it up and made him anyways because I do what I want, haha.

A cautionary note: make sure you know where to attach your safety eyes.  The head, body, and legs are made all together in once piece so there is definitely a front side to him.  I accidentally put the eyes a little to the side of where the true front was so he has a quirky head tilt to the side (see bottom photo for proof).  Character design, right?



Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Brown Bag Wrap(ping paper)

I love wrapping things with brown paper grocery bags because I'm cheap, they're free, and I can usually dress them up a little. 

I love that Fabric Paper Glue has the same idea for wrapping things with kraft paper.  She has a really useful tip on how to make these envelopes for wrapping oddly shaped things.

I was actually just wrapping that crochet case, and even though it is rectangular it was soft and fairly difficult to wrap properly.  I didn't go all out with rubber cement, just some good old clear packing tape did just fine.

Plus, I love hang tags. It's the little details that shine when the wrapping is plain.  The hang tag made out of an old clothing price tag (nice cardstock ^^), pretty multicolor cotton yarn, and a shiny medallion sticker, just for fun.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An open question to all of you...

For those of you who read blogs,

How do you find new blogs to read?

I was nominated for a nice little blog award from Knit by Nat (thanks!).  Now, I do not generally answer these kinds of give-detailed-lists-about-yourself, those Xanga days are behind me, haha. But I appreciate the sentiment.

One thing that did strike me was that they wanted you to pass on the award to fellow bloggers who have less than 100 followers.  I actually don't think I currently read any blogs that qualify as such.  Most of the blogs I read are fairly well known, at least in their respective circles.

I find that I rely, almost entirely, on craftgawker for checking out new blogs based on new projects.  However, this is usually just the same several big blogs again and again, hardly a font of new sources.  That and the fact that craftgawker is so damn selective when it comes to accepting submissions (bitter much? yeah).

So there you have it.  Plus, with Google Reader shutting down, I've switched over to Feedly, which sort of baffles me since I used to like the recommended articles feature on Reader but now cannot seem to find the equivalent for Feedly.  Which means that I am exclusively reading content that I am subscribed to, but never being exposed to different related articles.


Above photo from a pretty fall day at La Jolla Shores :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Failed Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I have to eat my words. Last week, I said I was a pretty good judge of tasty recipes, but this one was a dud. I must admit, it's probably not the recipe's fault.  I did use rolled oats instead of quick oats because that's what I had from my last batch.  I am also not a huge fan of low-fat recipes, so I don't know what made me think this was going to be different.

Verdict: Tasted like banana bread.  For whatever reason, the texture came out so bread-y that it was basically no longer a cookie.  And if you do make them, definitely flatten it out into a cookie shape because there is nothing in the batter to melt which turns normal cookies from balls into discs.

Here's the recipe I used, give it a try?


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Round-bellied Hippo

This cutie was a UFO for the longest time, all summer I think. I just couldn't make myself sew on the legs.  And then he sat on top of the TV waiting to be photographed for almost 5 months.  Nevertheless, he is one of my favorite patterns to date.

The pattern is beautifully written with subtle but important shaping and excellent step-by-step instructions.  She also has a great idea for sewing on legs so they look more seamless and realistic.

My little hippo definitely turned out very much like a soft doll - stiff crocheting and stuffed firmly.  N has also made the same pattern and his is definitely squishier and more plushy-like.  I used a D hook to make this, and he still turned out pretty large.  One thing to consider, make sure that your wrong sides are truly on the wrong sides.  My snout is wrong side out but I made the body right side out.  I kind of wished they at least matched even if they were both wrong side out.

Check out the "Little Hippo Taweret" Ravelry pattern page. (It's a free download, how generous!)



Friday, April 5, 2013

Sleepy Kitty, purr, purr, purr

Gratuitous kitty picture, anyone?


That is all. Just wanted to share the sleepy sweetness.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A new tripod for me!

When I was at home recently, visiting my grandparents for Chinese New Years, I found this little gem in the closet.  It was from way back in my dad's journalism days (I'd never have guessed!), but he had forgotten all about it.  Anyways, he let me have it, and I'm super psyched!  I've been shopping around for a full sized tripod for a while, but all the good ones (that don't look like their legs are just going to snap off) have a going rate of at least $100 which was more that I really wanted to spend.

I think it's really funny that the brand is "Hollywood Tripod" which is not currently still a brand, I think?


Monday, April 1, 2013

Hawaiian Butter Mochi

Ok, I think I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but new favorite ever!  I seem to have a pretty good sense for yummy recipes, so I guess I don't end up with bad dishes too often.

But! Back to this butter mochi! So good!  We were inspired to look up a recipe for this because N's friend Chad brought some of his delicious mochi to a potluck.  He always brings the best Hawaiian dishes!

We found, and liked, this recipe best, over at FOODjimoto.  We forewent the shredded coconut topping since I like the subtle flavor imparted by the coconut milk, but I'm not overly fond of the shredded stuff.

You may want to put a baking sheet or something on the rack under the pan when you bake this.  It tends to drip, and those drippings smoke awfully when they hit the bottom of the oven.


P.S. Do you also LOVE the fabric I used for my backdrop??  At first, I swooned just because I love cross-hatching patterns, but then... LITTLE FORKS AND SPOONS AND KNIFE.  What? So cute!  I wish I had enough fabric to make a whole dress out of, but sadly, there is only enough for a little tote bag.