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Friday, October 24, 2008

Zucchini Muffins

We recently flew up to Kentucky to visit my grandparents. While there, my paternal grandfather gave me some monstrous zucchinis. Since they had been sitting on the countertops for a whilte now, I decided to put my new Cuisinart to use and shred them. Two zucchinis produced about 8 cups of shredded zucchini. I froze all but two cups. The two cups I saved went into zucchini muffins using this recipe:

Zucchini muffins:

1-1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 c grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the first four ingredients--the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, blend together the sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Blend well, but don't overmix. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Scoop batter into greased muffin cups. Bake until muffin tops spring back when touched (about 30 minutes). Cool muffin cups on a rack for 10 minutes before removing them from the muffin cups.

These muffins are very tasty and have a nice crumb. Very yummy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

1UP mushroom cupcakes

When we RSVPed to a Halloween party, my boyfriend jokingly stated, knowing what our costumes would be, that we'll be bringing 'shrooms. So, I thought about sewing a 1UP mushroom out of polar fleece and stuffing it--making a 'shroom pillow for him to take with us. But when I was searching google images for 1UP mushroom, I stumbled across a posting for adorable 1UP cupcakes. I'm going to borrow that idea, but individualize it.

I'm not a 100% sure what type of cupcakes I'll make. I'd like to make a Halloween sort of flavor, like caramel apple or pumpkin. But I'll probably stick with my basic vanilla since they seem to be more like the color of the mushrooms:

Basic Vanilla Cupcakes

1-1/2 stick unsalted butter
1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2-2/3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Let butter come to room temperature and beat it until softened. Add sugar and cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. In a separate large bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla.

4. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-eggs mixture and beat to combine. Beat in about half of the milk-vanilla mixture. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.

5. Scoop batter into cupcake pan (I’m undecided about paper liners—if I can find some that will look like the mushroom colors, then I might go with cups). Fill the cupcake cups to the brim (I want the batter to bake over, so it looks more like a mushroom). Bake cupcakes until cake tester comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes.

If I do basic vanilla cupcakes, I'm going to ice them in a cream cheese-buttercream frosting dyed green (straight cream cheese doesn't hold color as well as a buttercream mix). I'll pipe plain cream cheese frosting circles on them to mimic the mushroom dots. If I use liners, I might pipe small black eyes on the front of the liners to look like the 1UP mushroom eyes. But I can't decide if this would be too messy or not.

Creating Princess Peach's costume

A few days ago, I started working on my Peach costume. Using the Simplicity pattern I bought, I cut out all the necessary pieces.

While working on the bodice, I've run into a snag. I chose broadcloth because it's easy to work with, and it was on sale. But light pink broadcloth is very thin. I forgot about this when making my fabric purchases. It wasn't until I started sewing the bodice that I noticed how sheer the fabric is. I'm too lazy to go to the store and a liner fabric, like a posh, so I've cut a "liner" out of the broadcloth. We'll see how it turns out!

I've had to tweak the pattern a bit. Since Peach's skirt is two toned, I had to cut the skirt piece of the pattern in half--one half for light pink, one half for the rose colored fabric. The picture is of one complete skirt panel. I'll post more pictures of the skirt as I get closer to finishing it.

I used the polymer (Femo) clay to make the jewels. The shape of the jewels is good, but they're lacking a sheen. I think I might glaze them, or paint an iridescent paint over them. They need something so they don't look so dull:

I'll post more on the dress as I work on it. But right now the sewing room/home office is being used by my boyfriend for actual work. So, I have to wait.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Princess Peach and Mario

I started this blog because I wanted to chronicle my attempts to use my long-lost home economic skills (e.g., sewing, crafting, baking). I blame Halloween for my new blog. My boyfriend wants to go out on Halloween as Princess Peach (me) and Mario (him). So, I'm trying to remember my sewing skills in order to make these costumes. His should be fairly easy: red shirt, red hat, and some overalls. Of course these items will have to be doctored a little bit--I bought big yellow buttons to attach to the overalls, and the hat will have to have a big M on it. But overall, this shouldn't be too hard. My costume, on the other hand, is proving to be a challenge. For mine, I have to sew a dress, make the oversized jewels, make a crown, doctor a wig, and buy some white gloves.

Yesterday, we went to JoAnn Fabrics to find a pattern to use as a guide and to pick out fabric. I found a pattern (on sale for $0.99) that will work with a little bit of tweaking. After finding the pattern, it was time to move on to the fabric. At first I wanted satin (it was on sale), but I opted for broadcloth (also on sale - $1.99 a yard) because satin is so shiny and so hard to work with. I wanted something a little more muted--without a sheen. I bought 5.25 yards of the light pink and 3 yards of the dark pink (I factored in some extra so I can make something cute for my 2 year old niece). While at JoAnn's, I wanted to see if I could find a way to make Peach's oversized jewels. I purchased some blue/turquoise and golden glitter polymer clays ($2.49 each). I also found an inexpensive blonde wig that was on sale ($5.99). I'm going to have to cut it and shape it a bit, but it should work.

Now to work on the project. I'll post pictures as I go along, to document the progress!