cleverchickadee


Bucket List by quornflour

Bucket List (Originally posted on Quornflour.wordpress.com).

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For an upcoming project I need some food safe, water tight buckets.
Now I could go to Home Depot and buy a few Homer Buckets and call it a day: but that seems ridiculous, especially since they don’t need to be orange and I don’t want to pay to advertise for someone. (When I bought my Wrangler I removed all traces of the dealer, even the hitch cover which in hindsight I wished I had just spray painted, but oh well.)
I have a few buckets that I use for my recycling and dog food and kitchen laundry, which I figured I could use in a pinch, but first I figured I’d see about acquiring a few.

Did You Say Free?

Now you can get buckets from lots of restaurant and catering places that order large amounts of food supplies, especially pickles, croutons, protein powder and teriyaki.
I have had the best luck acquiring buckets from sandwich shops.
All you need to do is call (or stop in) and ask, now don’t do this during the lunch or dinner rush or they might stomp ya.
It is a good idea to call first because a lot of places don’t keep around what they don’t need, so you might need to ask them to save them for you. A smaller place may go thru a bucket a week or so, so if you need multiple call around.
Be sure to let them know if you need lids as sometimes they get separated.
I have run into places that charge a small amount for their buckets, if it is a mom and pop type place I am ok with it, if it is a chain, forget about it!

What’s that smell?

It is important to note that these buckets are plastic (not BPA free as far as I know), so they will most likely smell like whatever they were originally used for.
Generally a little time in the sun will remove significant smells and over time the smell will dissipate, so keep this in mind and time things accordingly.

I am super happy about my acquisition and after they sit outside for a day or two I will get some good use out of them!



Sew this is what I am up to… by quornflour

Sew this is what I am up to….

 

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For the last few nights I have been working on a commission quilt.
I am happy with how it turned out.

Here are some pictures.

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My etsy shop: http://quornflour.etsy.com/
 

via Sew this is what I am up to….



Instagram and Puppyface by quornflour

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I have been experimenting with Instagram, it is fun putting filters on photos of Umlaut, but I am not sure I get it. Which I hear is silly since I love taking pictures of my food before I eat it, who doesn’t really?
I am only an hour or so in, I wonder just how many photos of Umlaut I can post.

If anyone can shed light on how Instagram is a social network, I’d appreciate it.
In the meantime, more picks of the pup.

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Instagram and Puppyface.

via Instagram and Puppyface.



Divine Cupcake Intervention by quornflour

I live one town over from Boston. From the time I moved back east, my faux niece Alexz has asked when she can come visit me.

Her parents and I decided that this year, she was old enough to board a plane all by herself. So I booked a ticket so that she could take her first solo flight (across the country) to come visit me.

Her spring break coincided with Patriot’s Day, so of course I thought it would be a fun outing for us to go check out the Marathon.

Alexz is a super smart kid, though she is only 10, she is definitely smarter than a lot of kids her age (and it’s not just me that says that even if I am a tad biased).

When she arrived she went on and on about this show “DC Cupcakes” that she LOVES, I had never heard of it.

She showed me a book she had and gushed on about how amazing Sophie and Katherine are and how they make things out of cupcakes and how they made a dress for DC Fashion week “where the trends are set”. She talked about them as though they were close personal friends of hers. She idolizes them and wants to be just like them when she grows up. Frankly if a kid is going to pick reality TV stars for idols, she could definitely do worse.

Sunday we trekked out to OSV (Old Sturbridge Village) and since we were meeting friends there, one of whom is a vegan we made, that’s right vegan cupcakes using my tried and true favorite recipe.

Monday was race day, so we got up and started in on what had quickly become our routine, the Coffee shop: coffee and scone for me, hot chocolate and chocolate croissant for her. Then we hopped on the redline and headed into the city.

We went to the commons and rode on the swan boats. The weather was beautiful and perfect, (especially compared to 2012 when it was so hot some people had deferred.)

As we worked our way to the finish line an ice-cream truck passed. Alexz excitedly asked if she could have ice-cream. Being the responsible Aunt that I am, I told her, “no sweets before lunch, but I reserve the right to change my mind.”

We continued our walk, as we headed up Newbury Street I noticed a cupcake shop, mind you, I had not made the connection that Georgetown Cupcakes was in fact DC Cupcakes. She had not seen it and I needed coffee, so I said to her, “remember how I said I reserve the right to change my mind?”

“Yeah”, she says.

“You want a cupcake?”

I have seen this kid excited, but OH MY HECK, she went crazy, I instantly went from Best Aunt Ever, to BEST.AUNT.EVER!

She was very proud for knowing about the secret cupcake, which she of course ordered.

After calling all of her friends to brag about going to Georgetown Cupcakes, we headed to the Marathon finish line.

We found spots upfront across the street from the medic tent. She asked about why there were so few women, and counted each one she saw come across.

I told her what I knew about the history of the race, she commented on how crazy it was that anyone would want to intentionally run 26 miles as fast as they could. I told her about Katherine Switzer and being hassled (to put it nicely) when she first ran the marathon.

And then something happened… she went from peppy to – SUGAR CRASH MELTDOWN COUNTDOWN. I looked at her and knew we needed to get some protein in the kid, or I would be sorry. How true that was I did not yet know, so instead of heading to the finish line to meet a friend, instead we headed back to the Gardens and I sent a text to my friend that we were going to get lunch instead.

We headed to a restaurant, when we got there my friend got a call from her roommate, wondering where she was, and that’s when we found out what had happened, a mere 15-20 minutes from leaving the finish line.

Now I am not one to go on about God or Divine intervention, but I must say, this was a Divine Cupcake Intervention for sure. Had it not been for one awesome 10 year old and her obsession over cupcakes, well I don’t even want to think about that.

With or without cupcakes, I am glad she had a sugar crash, she is after all the BEST.NIECE.EVER.



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



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.


Fire and Ice – a Cocktail Recipe by quornflour

A while back I was visiting friends and they told me of this cocktail they had gotten somewhere. Now I couldn’t really remember what it was other than it was a martini and it had burnt orange oil in it.

So on a recent visit with them, I stopped at the liquor store and picked up what I thought should go in the drink. Apparently it was not the same, for starters, the one they had was a gin martini and I picked up vodka instead. But regardless, it was super delicious, and almost festive. Fire and ice is festive after all isn’t it?

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 orange
  • Cointreau
  • Vodka
  • Ice
  • Matches

We used a 16oz shaker for 2 drinks…

  1. Fill your shaker with ice
  2. Add 3 oz Cointreau
  3. Top with vodka
  4. Shake vigorously
  5. Slice the pith and zest off the orange
  6. Light match
  7. Bend peal over the flame aiming for the glass

Now I suspect you could also add the oil and then light the drink on fire, but I haven’t tried that…

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