Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Crafting 2011

I didn't do much crafting this year because we have a lot on our plate right now. My hubby took a job away from us and I'm having to solo-parent most of the time now. That along with trying to pack to get ready to join him have made it impossible to get all the fun projects done that I had planned. But, I did have some things I made a little while ago and never sent along with a couple of new projects. Here are links to the projects we did and a couple of crappy pictures too. ;-)

Here's a cute stuffed dog I made for my niece. No link for this one. The pattern came out of a wonderful Waldorf craft pattern book lent to me by a friend.

For my other niece and my 6 year old daughter, I made pencil and drawing paper holders. I love this tutorial! I've made it several times now. As you can see, I've changed it a little. I like to use a contrast fabric on the front and a velcro closure. I love that Target pads of paper fit perfectly too.

For my nephews and my boys, I made these miniature marshmallow guns. Seriously fun! So fun that my daughter insisted on having one too! I wish that all the boys lived closer because I'm sure it would have made for a fun and crazy Christmas day activity. We haven't made the goggles yet but plan on trying to make them soon.

We also included in the cousins' box some homemade gingerbread play dough. It smelled so good! We kept half here to play with too.

Every year I try to make sure the kids have a new Christmas tree ornament. At first I bought them ornaments. But, a couple of years ago we switched to making them ourselves. This year we made model magic snowflakes. Here's the post that inspired us. It was the first time we've used Crayola Model Magic and the kids had a lot of fun with it.

I also made the Eleventh Hour Scarf from Purl Bee for one of my sisters. I used Wool-ease Thick and Quick yarn in an off-white color. I wish I had taken a picture. I liked how it turned out so much that I almost kept it for myself!

I also knit a scarf for my mom. It was a light-weight lace pattern called Falling Water. I used a pretty blue bamboo blend yarn.

My dad got a Classic World War II Watch Cap made out of wool in black and red. My oldest kept trying to take this hat since it's been hanging around the house waiting to be finished for awhile. I think I'm going to have to knit him one soon too!

I put together a little gift package for my sister-in-law that had an earwarmer, coffee cup cozy and fun porcelein travel mug. I used this pattern - Blue Leaf Headband. I also made my daughter one out of a lighter weight yarn and smaller needles. It still needs a button but also came out cute. The coffee cup cozy started life as these fingerless mittens. I loved the pattern but I wasn't happy with the yarn so I frogged it down to coffee cup cozy size.

There was also a failed attempt at homemade Almond Roca. But, I don't really want to talk about it. It makes me too sad... :P There was success for Christmas Eve dinner though with a Snowman Pizza. I think we have a new Christmas Eve tradition.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Recipe : Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I know I'm posting two recipes in a row (with lots of days in between), but I need to write down our version of pumpkin muffins. I started with this recipe (which is great on it's own.) I don't even remember how I found it. I think I was googling whole wheat pumpkin muffins and needed one without white sugar. Then I kept tweaking it until it was perfect for us. It's now at a point where it pleases everyone including my non-whole-wheat-eating hubby. I wanted it to have a little more umph so I substitute almond meal for part of the flour. I use my own pureed pumpkin that I freeze in 2 cup portions so I switched out that and reduced the other liquid. I use milk instead of buttermilk since that's what I usually have on hand. (Yes, I know I can make buttermilk easily. I'm just super lazy in the morning.) I generally use high quality butter or coconut oil for fat so I replaced that (either will work in this recipe.) My kids love chocolate chips in their muffins so out with the cranberries. Also I doubled the recipe. I make 24 and freeze half for another morning. Here's the final version:

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
adapted from Eating Clean Recipes

makes 24 standard size muffins

2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Almond Meal
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
5 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (Here's the recipe I use to make up my own)
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs beaten
2 cups Pureed Pumpkin
1 cup Turbinado Raw Sugar
1 cup Milk
6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (make sure it's liquefied)
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips (I use the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Bittersweet chips)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tins.

Whisk together flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, pumpkin sugar, milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Add wet mixture to the dry and stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips. Divide batter into muffin cups. I use an ice cream scoop to make it easier.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean (well except for melted chocolate.) Cool in pans for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.