Thursday, April 6, 2017

Easter Eats

If you're looking for ideas for your Easter feast, look no further!

The first thing we make every year is hard boiled and dyed eggs.  The kids love it.  I'm not sure they'll ever really grow tired of it.  I never have!  As the years go on the designs get more elaborate and the hands stay cleaner, but the tradition remains the same.

Typically we only hide our plastic eggs, so we have a bunch of hard-boiled eggs available for eating on Easter morning.  These make a quick and easy breakfast for everyone!

Here are some eggs we've decorated in the past.  I do recommend rinsing off the sparkles if you use those!

Sparkly Eggs

Along with your hard boiled eggs for protein, you can't go wrong with a cinnamon treat!  This is a recipe for the absolute best homemade cinnamon buns I've had.  Part of the trick is using the bread machine to make the dough.  It kneads it perfectly and lets the dough rise at the ideal temperature.  The result is smooth, fluffy dough that puffs up just right.  You'll want to try these for sure!

Cinnamon Buns for the Bread Machine

Once it's time for lunch, you'll want to use up some more of those hard boiled eggs.  One of our favorite ways to prepare them is deviled eggs.  My husband can down half a dozen without trying!  Check out this cute version I made inspired by a magazine article.  They are adorable, don't you think?

Deviled Chicks

For lunch we traditionally have ham and potatoes.  I love scalloped, but twice-baked and mashed are also great!  I usually try to get a spiral ham if it's on sale, but sometimes I get the whole, unsliced ham and that's is quite delicious as well.  Typically I skip the glaze because I find the ham just right without it.  If I'm making the whole ham I like to top it with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries. If you do this, be sure and save some of the pineapples and cherries for the recipe below!

For dessert, one of my favorites is pineapple upside down cake.  It's an older recipe and my mom used to make it often for Easter when we were kids.  Follow this link to for a most delicious treat!

If you're not in a sugar coma by this point, check out these adorable cupcakes and cake.  They were, like the deviled chicks, inspired by a magazine article.  I found the marshmallow bunnies while I was out shopping and I thought they would be adorable on these grassy green cakes.  I have no separate post or recipe about the cupcakes, I just thought they were too cute not to include!

To make the cake, just bake up your favorite box mix or other favorite cake recipe.  Pour half into an oven-safe bowl and the remaining into a cupcake tin with liners.  Bake as directed.  Frost with any icing you like, then top with  *grass and decorations.   Here's a recipe for icing if you need it.

*To make the grass, empty a bag of coconut into a bowl and squeeze in a few drops of food color.  Mix until color is evenly distributed.  Voila!  Grass.

The jelly beans, by the way, are jolly rancher jelly beans, my fave!

Do you have any favorite Easter recipes or traditions?  Comment below to share.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This is a traditional Easter recipe from my mother's collection.  I like my mom's recipe but I tweaked it slightly in order to omit the shortening and add a little more pineapple tang.  The original recipe is below and my modifications are in the parentheses.  Enjoy this old fashioned favorite!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1/4 cup butter
5 canned pineapple slices, drained and halved
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening (sub coconut oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup brown sugar
9 maraschino cherries, drained (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk (sub pineapple juice from can)

Melt butter in 9-inch round cake pan.  Brush sides with butter.  Add brown sugar to butter.  Place over low heat on stove and stir until blended and remove from heat.  Arrange pineapple halves in a pinwheel pattern on top of sugar mixture.  Place cherries in center of pineapple slices.  In a bowl, cream white sugar, salt and shortening (or coconut oil).  Beat in eggs one at a time until fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Mix together flour and baking powder.  Add alternately with milk (or pineapple juice) to creamed mixture. Pour batter over pineapples.  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Turn onto a serving plate immediately.  Serve with with whipped cream.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Simply Elegant Curtains

I can hardly take any credit for the beauty of these simple curtains.  I was looking for something pretty to dress up the windows in my craft room and I came across this fabric in my stash.  It was a gift from a friend.  One of her relatives was cleaning out so I inherited some great material!

These curtains are made very simply.  I sewed a seam up each side and a pocket for the curtain rod.  I have no tutorial or step-by-step instructions, but if you can fold and iron fabric and sew a simple line, I think you can do it!

Here's a closeup so you can see the eyelet and embroidery details.  The fabric came with the embroidery and ribbon completely finished.  Trust me when I say they were easy.

I didn't want a ruffle on the top, but if you did, you would just sew two pockets and put the rod through the lower pocket.  Curtains are one of the easiest things to make for even the least-skilled seamstress.

Since I've had my Project Runway sewing machine sewing has been a cinch.  I got it at Walmart a few years ago when I wanted to make curtains for another room.  It is the perfect machine for what I need.  And, like most other things, I learned to use it by watching a YouTube video.  If you have a machine you're not sure how to use, just look for tutorials on YouTube.  If it's not a totally outdated machine, I'm sure you'll be able to find something.

Follow me on Instagram @homecookedandhandmade

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blue, Brown and White Giant Granny Square

I've been gone for over a month!  But I haven't been sitting idly by.  Here is a blanket I finished up in January that I just hadn't gotten around to sharing with you.  It's a giant granny square much like this one.  I started it without a grand plan, just some yarn that I already had around from other projects.  I hope you like it!

Giant granny squares are so versatile.  Plus they're quick and easy.  They also lend themselves nicely to using up leftover yarn because the pattern possibilities are endless.

I'm on a bit of a crochet hiatus at the moment.  It's been busy around here!  I've been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.  And after that, well, just getting rid of stuff!  Just before things got busy, I started making a blanket comprised of small granny squares.  I plan to post that in the coming months.

I have probably thirty granny squares worked up but I have yet to join them.  I was going to use a continuous join, but I think I'm opting for the single crochet join.  Do you have a favorite join for the classic granny square afghan?

If you want to see things I'm doing regularly, join me on Instagram @homecookedandhandmade.  Just type that in the search bar and you should see my page.

Anyway, here's the pattern from my giant granny square blanket.

Classic Giant Granny Square Afghan


3 jumbo-sized skeins of yarn (you will have some extra but not too much)
size I hook
needle to weave ends

Shell -three double crochets together in one space

1.  Begin by chaining four.  Put your hook in the furthest chain from the hook and slip stitch.  Pull to make a circle.

2.  Chain 2.  Double crochet two into the space.  Chain two.  Double crochet 3, chain two.  Repeat this two more times.  Once you have four groups of three double crochet chain two, slip stitch to connect.  Slip stitch to the corner.  

3.  Chain 2.  Double crochet two, chain one, then double crochet three.  Chain two and make two shells in each corner followed by chain two.  Slip stitch to join and slip stitch to corner.

4.  Continue pattern with two shells in each corner separated by chain one, and one shell in each chain two space, separated by chain two.

This is a throw-sized blanket measuring approximately 53" X 53"

Here's a great YouTube tutorial if you would like to see a visual.  Videos like this one are how I taught myself to crochet a few short years ago.  Her pattern is a tiny bit different, but really, you could follow her and end up with a blanket basically the same as mine.

Thanks for stopping by!

Join me on Instagram @homecookedandhandmade

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup

Start the new year with some easy slow cooker recipes!

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Broth
This one is simple, quick and healthy.  What else do you need to begin the new year right?  Ok, well, maybe more than a chicken and a crock pot, but this is a good start!

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
This is another great healthy recipe that whips up quick.  My family likes it and it's easy to adjust to your family's taste preferences.

Easy Pulled Chicken
This recipe hardly gets easier.

Sweet and Sour Kielbasa
This one is a much-requested appetizer favorite.  I've even used it as a meal over rice.  It's name says it all.

Lazy Applesauce
While making applesauce is typically associated with fall, it can be made year-round.

The list here is relatively short and one of my goals this year is to use the slow-cooker more often.  I also plan on purchasing a second one and maybe even a third!  I want one that is larger so I can more easily cook chickens and bigger recipes.  I also would like to get a smaller one that would be good for hot appetizers such as dips.  I'll be watching sales and thrift stores for some great deals!

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