Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vanilla Infused Sugar Visiting Teaching Gift

I found this wonderful idea on Pinterest (of course) and knew it would be a great, original gift for our *4 NEW* visiting teaching ladies! We've been a little slow on the draw this month with the ward split, new partners and new ladies, and I'm REALLY slow posting it. But it is a great idea and with the free printable tag, they really could be a great gift any time of year.

The link to the vanilla infused sugar and the file for the tag can be found in this post at Somewhere Splendid. I doubled the recipe and split it into four pint jars. Instead of using the printable as a tag, I printed the file on a sticker sheet, cut them out and stuck them to the top of the lids. Add a little ribbon and voila. Wouldn't this be delish in hot chocolate??

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sing, Sing Out Loud...

I saw this yesterday and I just about fell over.

My calling in our first married ward was "Christmas choir listener." I think it might be a genetic thing in my family, though, so it really isn't my fault. I just promise that if it's time to sing and I'm sitting by you, I will only mouth the words..

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

There's a First Time for Everything

Yes, my friends. I tried a food tonight that I have never tried before. AND I fed it to my family. KALE! Can't live in the South without eating kale. We'll probably even have it again...this soup was delish!
I found this recipe on Pinterest, it was originally posted on Annie's Eats.

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb. Italian sausage (or half regular, half turkey sausage)
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine to deglaze the pan (*I used chicken broth)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 russett potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Add the wine to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the potatoes, kale, chicken broth and water to the pot. Return the sausage to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on medium-low. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Now, on to collard greens!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baked Donuts

My friend Kristi pinned this baked donut recipe this past week and I knew I had to try it. So it was another epic head to head battle with yeast. But I won. And there was much rejoicing this morning...6 BIG thumbs up from the kids!

Baked Donuts
Makes: About 15 doughnuts (& donut holes)

For the Dough:
3/4 cups warm milk
1 packet active dry yeast
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 ½ cup all purpose flour
pinch of nutmeg
½ tsp. salt

For the Glaze:
* Enough to glaze all the donuts
¼ cup milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
*Enough to cover all of the donuts
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

To make the dough, place ¼ cups of the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Let sit for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup of milk with the sugar and butter. Add it to the yeast mixture. Stir to combine. Add the egg and stir until incorporated. Add the flour, nutmeg, and salt and stir until the dough starts to form. Change to the dough hook and knead until the dough starts to become smooth. If the dough is too sticky, slowly add more flour until it is no longer sticky.

Transfer to the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and has formed a ball. Place the dough ball in a large lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until ½ thick. Using a donut cutter, cut out the donuts until you have no dough left. Place the doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper, about 2 inches apart. Cover with a clean towel and let sit for about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven 375 degrees F. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 7 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Be careful to not overbake these. You want them to be light and doughy inside. Let the donuts cool for about 5 minutes until ready to top with either the glaze or cinnamon sugar topping.

To make the glaze, combine the milk and the vanilla in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until just warmed. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Dip the donuts halfway into the glaze and place on a draining/cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired. Let set for about 10 minutes.

To make the cinnamon sugar topping, melt the butter in a saucepan or a microwave, and place in a small bowl. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. Dip the donut halfway into the melted butter. Then dip them into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Set on a draining/cooling rack to set, about 5 minutes.

Recipe from this blog.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentines Smalentines

I had a fun time with some Valentines for the kids, their classes and Tony this year...thanks in BIG part to my new love affair with Pinterest!

For the week leading up to Valentine's Day, I used this darling pillbox idea from The Dating Divas (this is their picture...I didn't snap one of mine). In each section, I put a little slip of paper with 1 thing that I love about each kid (and Tony), candy, and those tiny little squishy toys the kids love. They have had a ball opening a new part each morning and as a mom, I get a little kick when they look for the note from me first.

Josh chose to use this cute idea with Goldfish cookie bags to ask his classmates to o'fish'ally be his Valentine.

Anna used this cute butterfly pattern I actually had bookmarked from last year to make her Valentines. We had a ball putting them together and gluing on the eyes. We also decided to use patterned paper so we didn't have to do any additional decorating.

We came up with Sam's Valentines all on our own. We even like them better than last years...

For the kids' teachers, I made Valentine-themed puppy chow (from Pinterest here) and put it in brown paper bags. Originally, the idea was to print this cute template (also bookmarked from last year) on the paper bags, but they kept jamming in my printer so I just printed them on sticker sheets, trimmed them up, stuck 'em on the front of the bag and tied it up with my favorite red baker's twine.

Whew. I think all I want for Valentine's day is a Nap!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ombre Heart Tee Redo

I didn't mean to take a mini-break...

In mid-January, they split our was needed and anticipated. So I have a new calling (back in the primary presidency) which has taken a little extra time. And I've been busy re-doing more tees.

Here is my ombre heart tee inspired by this little girl tee-dress. I'm making a matching one for Anna...

Be back soon!