Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No Coast Craft-o-rama

For the third year, this awesome craft show will be at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. It runs this Friday and Saturday. I am considering going but am concerned about my ability to look and not buy. However, both crafts and the Market are pretty awesome so it is hard for me to pass up the chance to combine them. Maybe I will just bring a limited amount of cash and leave all plastic at home - that might work. Anyway, more info can be found here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gift Tags

These are some gift tags I'm making out of pictures cut from some old books I got from the library book store and some adhesive mat board usually used for scrapbooking.

Quick Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I adapted this recipe from The Joy of Cooking. The changes I made are to add orange zest and vanilla extract to the batter. I chose not to add the traditional streusel topping because I didn't want something really sweet. Instead I sprinkled some chocolate chunks and dried cherries on top.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp orange zest
Chocolate chunks (optional)
Dried cherries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9" square baking pan. Whisk together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, beat sour cream, orange zest and eggs together until thoroughly mixed. Add wet to dry ingredients and mix until just smooth. Be careful not to overmix! Spread batter in pan and top with chocolate chunks and cherries. Bake until toothpick comes out clean - about 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Winter is Coming

I took that picture the other day, on my way to the train, and have been meaning to post it. Winter is definitely almost here.

Apron Project

Here is a project I started last weekend. I bought a plain apron at JoAnn's Fabric and am spiffing it up. So far, I just have this black outline (done with puffy paint which was really fun). Should I fill it in? Which colors? I haven't decided - maybe some turquoise.

I am definitely going to add a pocket, though.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cranberry Cream Pie

I made this for a work potluck, and it was well received. I had two pieces myself because, coming from Cape Cod, I have a genetically encoded love of cranberries. I'm also descended from those Mayflower pilgrim punks on my dad's side of the family. Not something I'm especially pround of (the pilgrims, being persecuted in Europe, decided to come over to the New World to live out there dream of persecuting others); I'd rather be descended from the Wampanoag tribe that brought most of the actual food to the first Thanksgiving. At least they had the good sense to know that lobster is good eatin' (true fact: the pilgrims thought eating lobster beneath them, like eating grubs....)

Anywho, I adapted the recipe from one I found on (

Cranberry Cream Pie

1 prepared graham cracker crust (I used a store-bought shortbread crust, which was good, too)
1/2 cup chocolate chunks

2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon orange zest
2 1/2 cups cranberries

1/2 cup dried cherries (optional)
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice

To Make Chocolate Layer: Melt chocolate using double boiler method or microwave. (Personally, I prefer using the microwave instead of messing around with a double boiler. The trick is to microwave at 15 second increments and stir in between. As soon as the mixture is mostly melted but still has a few chunks in it, you should stir and it will melt those chunks. If you keep microwaving it until it is absolutely all melted then it will burn and become disgusting). When melted, stir in 2 tablespoons of milk or cream to make a ganache. Spread chocolate on bottom of pie crust.

To Make Cream Cheese Filling: In medium mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in confectioners' sugar. Scrape sides of bowl. Add vanilla extract. Add orange zest. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream. The original recipe said "until soft peaks form", but I was worried about the pie being fluffy enough so I actually beat it more than that. Fold into cream cheese mixture.

Spoon filling into crust. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill at least 3 hours (I chilled it overnight and added the cranberry topping the next morning)

To Make Cranberry Topping: In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, cherries, 1 cup white sugar, and orange juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil and thickens, stir constantly. Remove from heat and cool. Spread cranberry topping over cream cheese filling. Chill pie thoroughly before serving.

* Edited to add picture!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day of the Dead and Frida Kahlo

Today marks the end of the Mexican celebration of Day of the Dead or Dia Des Los Muertos. You can find tons of info about the celebration here:

Below is a picture of my jack o'lantern decked out in the fashion of a "calavera". I did a little bit of research on traditional ways of celebrating the Day of the Dead in preparation for a party in honor of celebrating the life and work of Frida Kahlo. The Walker Art Center is hosting an exhibit of Kahlo's work in honor of the 100th Anniversary of her birth It opened last Friday so I threw a party to celebrate.
The party was a great excuse to visit the Midtown Global Market in my search of authentic Mexican candy and maybe even some sugar skulls for our ofrenda or altar honoring Frida. I visited Fiesta in America ( where I found the much needed skulls in addition to a huge array of candy. When I mentioned that I had tried tamarind candy before and not liked it much, the woman at the store threw a few different kinds of candy into my bag (chili spiced tamarind and some sweet pulp) and couldn't have been more helpful. Unfortunately, I still didn't like the tamarind candy but I have to think I'm missing something since a whole nation of people seem to love it. I also stopped at Cosecha Imports to stock up on Jarritos soda (
Above is a picture of our ofrenda. Guests were asked to bring something to add to the altar, if these wished. Guests were also encouraged to wear their most festive, Frida-like outfits. At one point we had six or seven unibrowed guests in one room - a little surreal, sure, but lots of fun. Below is a detail of the altar; you can see one of the cool (inedible) sugar skulls. Also pictured are some of the postcards I picked up at the Walker gift shop.

After the preparations and party, I was too worn out to actually go to the exhibit last weekend. Anyway, tomorrow is the Walker's free first Saturday so I am planning to go then. There are lots of fun activities planned so I'm sure it will be mobbed. I'm really excited about the exhibit itself.

Attack of the Bat Cupcakes!