Friday, December 31, 2010

Ben's Grandma's Sloppy Joes

  • 1 1/2 lbs Hamburger
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup Ketchup
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 2 Tbs Yellow Mustard
  • 1 Tbs Vinegar

Steps (serves 6)
Brown meet over stove.
Add onion and green pepper.
Mix rest of ingredients.
Add to meat and simmer 30 mins.
Serve with buns.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Homemade Candy Treats

What better to bring to your office during the week before Christmas than candy!

Caramel Marshmallow Balls
I got the recipe from here but my recommendation is to only use 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks). Also, be careful not to let the caramel burn.

Oreo Balls
Bob go the recipe from here.
Sugar-Free Chocolate Dipped Fruit & Pretzels
Stacy's recipe is here. Note that adding agave will make the chocolate more stiff/crumbly and less spreadable. The sweetness of the apples counters the slight bitterness of the sugar-free chocolate well, but pretzels are probably best left saved for regular chocolate only.
For more candy ideas, try:
Fudge and more

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sugar Cookie Gingerbread Sculptures/Houses

Stacy and I baked sugar cookies. They baked up a lot wider and rounder than expected.

  • To make the red and black cookies we used gel food coloring. We used liquid food coloring for the green cookies.
  • For the pine trees, we made 2 trees, cut one in half, and spackled with icing.
  • For the black tree, we made a small circle cookie, cut it in half, and used it as a tree stand.
  • For the Charlie Brown and Lucy cookies, we dyed white icing with food coloring to get yellow, blue, black and pink.
  • For our mortar/icing, we used white Betty Crocker Easy Squeeze Decorating Icing

Note: We'll add shaved coconut for snow to the Snoopy display. We use cake-takers to transport the cookies.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homemade Ornaments

We used yarn, ribbon, sewing pins and Styrofoam balls
to make these ornaments at a holiday party!
For design #1: Use thick ribbon, tie into 6 knots, close the loop, and add a bell.
For design #2: Pin pieces of three colors of ribbon into place on ball.
For design #3: Wrap three colors of yarn around Styrofoam ball.
For design #4: Wrap yarn around a paper ornament form.
For design #5: Wrap yarn around ball and secure with pins at top and bottom. Add extra pins and wrap yarn around them on side of ornament.
For design #6: Wrap ribbon around Styrofoam ball, securing with hot glue as needed, and finish with pins on top and bottom.
For design #7: Wrap thick ribbon vertically around ball and wrap a thinner ribbon around it.
For design #8: Use small design pins to secure a small bead and a sequin all over ball.

For more inspiration see this example and this other example.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Home-Printed Cards

Steps to create these cards:
  1. Do a watercolor painting for the card's front, i.e. poinsettias.
  2. Scan the painting.
  3. Import the picture into Microsoft PowerPoint, resize to fit onto blank cards, and add a red outline*.
  4. Design a message for the interior of the card, i.e. "Happy Holidays"
  5. Print and cut out cover and card's interior. Secure to blank cards with a glue stick.
  6. Print out address labels if desired.
*Note: Outlining makes designs easier to cut out and apply evenly to the card.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Gifts Post - Gifts in a Jar, Pet Portraits, and Decorated Candles!

    Tonight was a choose-your-own-adventure night of crafts.

    Gifts-In-A-Jar by Stacy
    1-Pint jars she made:
    1-Quart jars she made:

    Candles by Bob
    She bought flameless candles** - just as great-smelling as regular candles but zero mess, zero stress. She decorated them by hot-gluing a thicker ribbon and then a thinner ribbon around the candles, finishing with a bow.

    Pet Portraits by Jess
    The portraits were created using watercolor paint. You can see them by clicking here.

    UPDATE: Jess finally made her gifts-in-a-jar too! It took 3 hours (surprisingly long).

    *Mexican Hot Cocoa Recipe for Pint-Size Jars
    • Ingredients to make 3 jars:
      • 5 cups powdered milk
      • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
      • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
      • 3 tsp powdered vanilla non-dairy creamer
      • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • To fill gift jars:
      • Mix all ingredients and divide equally among three pint-sized jars
      • Use tulle or other fabric on lid of jar and tie on a decorative bow
    • To make hot cocoa:
      • Combine 2 1/2 tbsp mix per 1 cup boiling water and stir
      • Each pint-size jar makes about 6 servings of hot cocoa

    For more gift-in-a-jar ideas, see this example and this other example and this further example and yet another example.

    **Note: "Flameless candles" are also called "electric candles" or "battery-operated candles." They have an LED light instead of a flame.