cleverchickadee


Winter Gardening Wear by quornflour
December 31, 2012, 11:43 AM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees

Since high school I have worn gardening gloves in winter. They are prettier, easily fit a liner and have good grippers.
What I discovered today while wearing them is that they work with my Windows 8 Phone. That means they probably work with an iPhone too.
The point being they are just as warm but far cuter than the gloves made for texting in the cold if you ask me!



Trial file: Don’t squash the Squash soup by texaskillet
December 22, 2012, 1:25 AM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees

Well… I have never been one to enjoy a pulp soup.  This is my answer to it and I have to say I loved it and so did TWO soup partakers, one quite by accident.

You know how most Carrot and Squash soup is pulp or essentially squash and carrot run through a blender, not this bad boy.  I received a recipe in my weekly organics box and thought…NO…I will not murder these marvelous gifts of nature that you have sent me.  I instead chose to enjoy them in their righteous and glorious state or something of the sort.  So I did what any self respecting cook does, I made it up.

Here’s how it goes:

Two Acorn squash, halved and deseeded

Two Delicata squash, though any winter squash would work again halved and seeded

Five – Six Carrots, whatever color or variety you like the best, chopped in half once shortways, not longways.

sprinkle with brown sugar and put a pat of butter in the canoe.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 40 minutes all together in a big casserole dish.

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– remove from the oven and then cool.  Once cool, remove the outer rinde from the squash and make into bite size chunks, then slice the carrots up so they are small wheels, set aside.

In a sauce pan, melt three tablespoons of butter

Chop up one white or yellow onion, good sized.

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Chop up three branches of celery

carmelize and brown these in the melted butter, add some salt and pepper to the process.

Pour in, one regular sized carton of veggie broth (most recipes seem to want you to use chicken broth, I have no idea why). Since veggie broth is sweeter than chicken broth, you will want to salt to taste, plus don’t forget we used a little brown sugar to roast the squash and carrots.  Black pepper is your friend, but use to your liking.

After you have stirred in the broth and have the carmelized onions and celery simmering in it for about 5 minutes, add in your roasted veggies and bring to a boil for about 9 minutes.  Then simmer on LOW or like a 2 for another 10 minutes and let all those flavors marry up.

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Now… trust me here…go get a GIANT bowl.  🙂  Add a dolop of sour cream and another fresh grind of pepper and get your eat on.  Amazing.. it sounds weird or maybe it doesn’t, but it’s SOUPER!  (see what I did there?)  Hah!

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If you like this let me know.  I am happy to do some more testing on my unsuspecting but generally grateful household of mouths.  If you think I should focus on crafts then…I can honestly say “fair feedback”.  🙂

Have a happy Saturday!

TxK



Hot and Sweet by quornflour
December 21, 2012, 1:36 PM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees

The other day at work I was looking in the pantry and found a bag of small marshmallows that I had picked up for breakfast ice cream.
Someone said it was unfortunate that there wasn’t any peppermint schnapps.
There was however spiced rum so I whipped up a few of these, this is one of my favorite sweet winter drinks.
8oz hot chocolate
Shot of espresso
Shot of spiced rum
8-10 mini marshmallows
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Is it unusual that I had access to all of that at work and I don’t work at a restaurant?
Anyway, it is super delicious, perfect on a cold day.



Hello world?! by quornflour
December 19, 2012, 9:06 PM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees

Testing, testing, 1-2-1-2 is thing on?

Posting from my Surface.



Trial file: Pecan Pie with Cranberries by texaskillet

Hey, long time no typie…yes, I hope to make a comeback, but I might need some encouragement.  🙂

There’s this thing that people like to do, it’s called substituting.  I tried out a recipe that substitutes some bad stuff in Pecan Pie (mainly corn syrup), for some more whole stuff (mainly honey and sugars) and adds a little bit of tart for folks that need a break from all that ooey gooey sweet stuff.  So, I made this pie and got RAVE reviews from everyone who tried it.  The boyfriend said it was the BEST PECAN PIE he’s ever had.  Not even lying…well, he might have been, but I am not. I found the base recipe in a magazine and so of course I tore it out, put it in the pile with all the other stuff to try.  Low and behold this one actually got done, with a little TxK elbow grease.  Not really.. like there’s not really grease in it, just a little butter.

Pecan Pie with Cranberry deliciousness (my grandma would probably disapprove):

1/1/2 cup pecan halves.. I used 2 since I like a LOT of pecans, I partially chopped them but made sure I had whole pecan halves on top.

1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries.. I used fresh (tis’ the season)

1 or 2, 9-inch prepared piecrusts, depending on how deep you want your pie, I like a good buttery crusty type, but you probably have your fav.

3 large eggs.. courtesy of my girls out back (thanks ladies)

1/3 cup sugar.. as real as you want it to be

1/3 dark brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 Tbs. butter or margarine, melted.. obviously I used butter (duh)

2 tsp. grated orange zest

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (opt for alcohol free if you can find it)

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt (fine ground sea salt works great)

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Spread pecan halves on baking sheet, and toast 5 to 7 minutes in the oven or until light brown and fragrant.

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2.  Lightly crush cranberries until broken, but not mashed.  Spread in the bottom of the pie crust.  I left a few whole and made sure they were floating in an asthetically pleasing distance from each other.  I like patterns, what can I say. 🙂

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3. Whisk together eggs and sugar in a bowl.  Whisk in brown sugar, honey, butter, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in pecans, then pour filling over cranberries in piecrust, redistributing pecans and cranberries as desired.

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4. Bake 40-50 minutes (for 1 pie) or until toothpick inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.  Serve warm.. or just eat for days on end until it’s gone.

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Wuahhlah!!

Finished pecan cran pie

More serving suggestionsBrandy creme sauce, heavy whipping cream with a touch of extract to bring out more nuttiness or possibly citrus flavor, ice cream (cinnamon or vanilla would be really nice).

Okay for the nutritional detail:  Per slice; 331 calories, 4g prot, 20 g total fat (only 4g sat. fat), 36g carb, 59mg chol, 192mg sod, 2g fiber, 24g sugars

If you decide to give this a go, I would love to hear how it went for you.  I took it to the family Thanksgiving this year and I was super happy I did since folks liked it.  You may have to nudge those Pecan Pie traditionalists, but they won’t regret it. 😉

-TXK



Oh Christmas Tree by quornflour
December 16, 2012, 7:24 PM
Filed under: Clever Chickadees

I believe that if your Christmas tree isn’t made of tree, then there is no reason it needs to look like a tree made of tree.



Bottle Cap Table by quornflour

A few years back I decided that I needed more color in my life.

If you knew me you might laugh at that statement. Anyway.

I always liked bottle cap art. The way they are used in shrines and other art forms to add a bit of color here and there. So I decided that I wanted to cover a table in them.

One of the things I liked about the idea of a table covered in bottle caps, is that crown caps (most commonly used for beer and “fancy” sodas,) is that they are all the same size.

Most of the instructions I found called for gluing, or putting them in a frame and then covering them with a lacquer or epoxy.

I wanted the texture.

First it came to collecting bottle caps. This table takes roughly 3.8 beers per day for a year, so either get drinking or ask for friends to help.

I had friends all over saving bottle caps for me, so that I could get a nice variety.

Then I picked up some ¾” – 1″ Crown Bolt Weather Strip nails, I got a mix of brass, copper and nickel. The caps are about a ¼” high so you need them to be able to go thru the cap and then into the table. Be careful not to get finishing nails since you will need something with a flat top to lay flush against the cap.

I also needed a table, so I searched on craigslist for the jokkmokk table from IKEA, it is made of pine and fairly inexpensive to start with and a pretty sturdy table, (I also use one for my sewing table).

Often you can find them for around 50-100$ usually missing a chair. It is about 150$ new, so avoid paying more than it sells for in the store.

Really most any pine table would work, this was just fairly cheap and accessible.

Pine is good because the wood is soft enough to pound the nails into and the jokkmokk is just the right size to evenly place bottle caps is you need it to be straight.

So in addition to loads of bottle caps and nails you will need a hammer and needle nose pliers.

Trust me, trying to use your fingers instead of pliers will only lead to tears.

If you want to paint the table, do so before you start. I painted mine black with a matte water based enamel.

Start at a corner and work your way around the table, try to keep them evenly spaced and count to make sure you have the same number along the sides. If you want to be super meticulous you could make a grid, but I was just winging it, so I didn’t.

It is super helpful if you can get a second set of hands for the border to help hold the nails in place, or make some starter caps, by putting the nail into the cap separately so that you can hold it in place with your hand.

Place the nail at the center of the cap holding with the pliers and hammer into place.

Once you have your border in place, lay out the rest of your bottle caps then working your way around the outside of the table work inward, nailing each cap in place. This takes a while, but in the end it is totally worth it.

If you wanted to you could then set these with an epoxy or lay a glass top over it, I didn’t bother because I like the texture and how it ages over time, because the caps are the same size the table top is even.

You may want to invest in a steam pressure cleaner in the event you ever plan to clean this.

I also painted the chairs to add to the color and I use it in my kitchen.

Simplified instructions

You will need:

Getting to work

  1. Place first bottle cap at the corner of the table.
  2. Using needle nose pliers hold nail at the center of the cap, hammer into place.
  3. Works your way around the table into the center, lining up each cap as you go.



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