Simple Wreath for All Seasons

I'm loving my Friday posts where I get to experiment with a little bit of everything. Even when I venture out into crafting, I still tend to stick to the food theme. Today, through, I'm thinking outside the kitchen. I recently made my first wreath, and I decided to share it on my blog. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I'm pretty happy with it. 

When it comes to decor, I like to keep it simple. I'd be wanting to make a wreath and had the idea to make one that was interchangeable. I love the idea that I can change out a few pieces and customize it for the season, or holiday. 

The wreath is silver with a touch of my favorite print - damask. I decided to use neutral colors so they would match a variety of colors. I attached a "W" to the wreath and am going to collect pieces for different seasons. I simply pin the pieces on the wreath and that way I can easily switch them out. So far I've collected butterflies, felt roses, and fall leaves. The pink felt roses are sort of the default, I made those myself. 

Here's how I made the wreath!

Wreath materials:
  • Styrofoam wreath form
  • Ribbon (1 or two different colors/patterns)
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Wooden monogram
  • Felt
  • Various items for wreath (leaves, butterflies, etc)
  • Glue
Wreath instructions:
  • Start ribbon on form by attaching with straight pins
  • Wrap ribbon around wreath form

  •  Add a second color, or pattern, to the top of the wreath

  •  Glue wooden monogram letter onto wreath
  • Attach additional pieces with straight pins; see examples below

Here's how my wreath looks on the front door!

Something Savory #8: Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe

I can't believe this is my 8th Something Savory post already! I started this back in March and have enjoyed experimenting with some savory dishes, as well as the desserts. So far I've shared a wide variety of dishes, you can find all the posts here.

Today I'm sharing Easy (and tasty) Beef Enchiladas! My husband and I both love Mexican food and frequently make tacos at the house. My favorite Mexican dish is fajitas, but my husband isn't as big of a fan of all the onion and peppers. We were kind of getting in a rut, though, with the tacos. I decided to mix things up last week and make my mother-in-law's enchiladas recipe. They are so delicious!

These Easy Enchiladas are not only delicious, but also a solution for a fast dinner. There are a few different parts to the process, but some of it can be prepped in advance. Like everyone, my husband and I stay pretty busy and love quick and easy recipes for dinner. We have been doing so much better about eating at home, but we've learned to save the more complicated recipes for the weekend.

These enchiladas didn't take too long to prepare, but you could speed up the process by browning the beef and cooking the rice the night before. Refrigerate them overnight and then you are well on your way to having the enchiladas ready.

Easy Enchilada ingredients (yields 6 enchiladas, increase recipe if needed):
  • 1 lb ground beef (consider ground turkey or chicken for a healthier alternative)
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 1 package Spanish style rice (we prefer Knorr's)
  • 20 oz red enchilada sauce (two small cans)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese
  • 2/3 cup water
Easy Enchilada instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Start by cooking Spanish (or Mexican) style rice, following instructions on package, let cook while you prepare the beef
  • Brown beef in skillet
  • Drain and pat down to remove excess grease
  • Add a package of taco seasoning and 2/3 cup water
  • Simmer meat for 5 mins
  • Add rice to the beef and simmer for a couple minutes (start here if you already prepared the beef and rice). We only used about 1/2-3/4 of the rice, the rest can be eaten with the enchiladas.
  • Add 1 cup of red enchilada sauce to the meat/rice mixture, simmer for 5 mins
  • Slightly heat the tortillas (you can do this in the microwave for about 30-45 secs)
  • Spray a 9x13 cooking dish with vegetable oil
  • Scoop about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture into a tortilla
  • Sprinkle in a little cheese
  • Roll up and place in the dish
  • Repeat the process for all 6 enchiladas
  • Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top and cover with cheese
  • Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 10 mins
  • Remove foil and bake an additional 10 mins
  • Enjoy!
Hope you enjoyed this yummy Mexican dish! Make sure and check out my other Something Savory dishes, as well as my delicious desserts. Feel free to share any of my recipes or cake ideas on your blog or social media sites, just make sure and add a link back to my site. Thanks!

Basket Weave Using Buttercream

So if you follow my posts much, you may have noticed I was a bit behind last week. I didn't host my weekly link party, and I was one post shy of what I usually do. I started a new job a couple of months ago, and it has gone from moderately busy to hectic! I expect it will start to calm down a little again, but until then I may have to cut back a tad. I enjoy trying out new recipes and love sharing my creations with others. So for now, I'm going to cut out my weekly link party, but still try to stick to 2-3 posts a week. I plan on sticking to my usual posting schedule (cake decorating on Mondays, recipes on Wednesdays, and miscellaneous on Fridays).

If you missed my cake decorating post last week, I recently made a crochet themed cake for my mother-in-law's birthday! Last week I showed you how I used a Play-Doh tool to create yarn balls for the cake. This week, I'm going to attempt to explain how I made the basket weave on the side of the cake. Now, I didn't get a ton of pictures as I was rushing to finish the cake, but I hope I can still explain how the technique is done!

For the basket weave technique, you need a flat tip with a ridged edge side (Wilton #47 works great). You can use a smooth flat tip, but the ridged edges make it look like a wooden woven basket. Fill a pastry bag with the tip and some medium consistency buttercream.

  • Start by covering cake with a layer of buttercream, you will want it to be thinner on the sides as you will be adding quite a bit of buttercream.
  • Make indentations in the icing in equal increments, usually I do it around 1/2-3/4 inch thick. It doesn't really matter what exact size it is, just that you do it consistently.

  • Start at one location and pipe a line of buttercream along the indentation, from bottom to top. Pipe with the smooth side facing the cake.

  • Pipe horizontal stripes across the vertical line, leaving a space between each strip (see diagram below).

  • Move to the second indentation and make a second vertical line
  • Repeat the process by making horizontal lines, in the location of the blue lines below.

  • Repeat the process over and over by following the process of making the brown lines and then blue. Repeat until you cover the whole cake.

  • Finish by piping a line across the top, to serve as a border.
Hope you enjoy this tutorial! The basket weave adds such a unique and beautiful touch to any cake. It looks great for Easter, Mother's Day, a flower themed cake, or (of course) a crochet themed cake!

Bananas Foster Sauce

A few months ago my husband and I went to IHOP (I seriously typed it iHop at first, apparently I have an Apple addiction...). They had a new menu item I couldn't resist - Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast. My mouth was just watering reading the description, so I decided to forgo the multigrain pancakes this once and try them. As soon as I took my first bite, I knew I was in trouble. Suddenly I was very glad we don't live near an IHOP, this french toast would just be too hard to pass up. Even after I found out how many calories were in this dish (don't look it up, it will just depress you), I was still craving the rich and creamy sauce on the toast.

We were telling my in-laws about it, and my mother-in-law mentioned she had a bananas foster sauce recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Yeah I know, my list of her recipes here on the blog is getting a little out of hand. I'm a huge fan and her recipes are some of the best I've tried. The sauce can be used in so many different ways - ice cream, cake, french toast, pancakes, etc. My favorite way to eat it was as a banana split! The original recipe called for bananas cooked in the sauce (we also omitted nuts), but we liked it better adding the bananas after we cooked the sauce. I think we cooked it to long, or something, the first time the bananas got soggy and didn't hold up well in the sauce.

Here's how we made the amazing sauce!!

Bananas Foster sauce ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter (salted)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 whole bananas - chopped up to place in sauce, or whole bananas for banana splits
Bananas Foster sauce:
  • Melt butter in a medium size sauce pan over medium-high heat

  • Once melted, mix in the brown sugar and stir in

  • Stir in the heavy cream

  • Pour in the rum and stir. CAREFULLY tip the pan over the open burner to ignite the alcohol, or use a long, click grill lighter if you don't have a gas oven.

One thing to note - be very careful if you choose to light the rum on fire, you don't have to. Also, you really don't have to use the rum. My sister-in-law wasn't a huge fan of the sauce because she thought the rum taste was too strong. So if you are unsure, maybe go a little lighter on the rum. Personally, I thought the taste was decadent and the perfect blend of flavors. Our sauce was a little less alcohol tasting, though, when we got it to light.


Crochet: A Piece of Cake

My in-laws came to visit last weekend and we had a great time! Over the weekend, we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday. She loves to knit and crochet, so I decided I wanted to make her a cake with balls of yarn and a crochet hook. I started looking around online and quickly realized I may have chosen a daunting task. I have to say in a lot of ways, this was one of my more challenging cakes. But, I was pleased with how it turned out, and most importantly, my mother-in-law loved it!

My husband was a huge lifesaver with this cake. He happened to be off and was able to bake the cake and get a coat of icing on it before I got home from work. There's no way I would have finished in time without that. It was his first time making a cake by himself, that was completely from scratch. I was impressed with how it turned out! 

This cake had two main components, the fondant yarn balls/hook and then the buttercream basket weave. Today I'm going to show you how to do the fondant yarn balls, and next Monday I will show you how to do the basket weave.

When I started looking around online, I saw many cake ideas that used long, thin ropes of fondant to cover the fondant balls to look like yarn. I found a tool online to do this, but it cost about $80. I got to thinking though, and decided a Play Doh tool might work as well. You may recall I recently wrote about this exact topic.

So here's how I made the crochet toppers.
  • I started with two balls of fondant in the desired color. I made them both the size I wanted for the actual balls.
  • Set up the Play Doh tool so that the fondant will be pushed out into thin ropes
  • Grease the Play Doh tool with shortening to keep it from sticking 

  • Knead the fondant to make it more pliable and a little thinner
  • Slowly, push the fondant out through the small holes. Push it out until its about 1.5-2 inch long

  •  Cut the fondant ropes off the tool
  • Attach the thin ropes (about 6-8 at a time) using gum glue (fondant or gum glue dissolved in water)

  • Keep attaching sections of the rope, overlapping the sections in different directions
  • Repeat the process for the other balls, using different colors if desired.
  • To make the crochet hook, roll out a thin rope of silver fondant. Pinch over one end of the rope to make it look like a hook.
  • To finish it off, I made a few more pieces of blue fondant rope to add some pieces of yarn to add around the cake.

Apples Around Pinterest I'm a little late posting the last post of my All About Apples link party! But, better late than never. I don't know about you, but I had a blast this week. I love all things apple and got to try out three new amazing recipes. I also got to share some ideas and my favorite apple treats. Today's final post (sniff) is a little delayed as my in-laws came in this weekend. We had a great time with them, and I just got a little behind on my blog posting.

The apple party might be over, but I've got some exciting posts coming up next week.  I've got a special cake I made for my mother-in-law, an amazing and decadent sauce for desserts, and a wreath DIY project! I'm also working on some upcoming fall themed desserts, so keep checking back on my blog. Follow me on social media, or follow my blog, to stay up to date with my latest projects. My Instagram and Facebook followers got a sneak peek of my cake I'm posting about Monday!

Today's final apple post is all about apples around Pinterest. My Pinterest followers may have seen me post some of these this morning. I've got some desserts, a tasty-looking snack, a breakdown to the various types of apples, and a guide to freezer cooking with apples!! Click on any of the pics below to go to my Pinterest page and see the pin.

(Apple Monkey Bread)

Crock Pot Apple Butter

I hope you are enjoying this week's apple themed party! I had a blast preparing these posts and testing out the recipes. My favorite posts of the week have been my apple dumplings, and my easy apple tart. Just a couple posts left, and my today is my last recipe. I'm sad to see the apple theme end, but I'm sure I try more apples before the end of fall. Next week I'll be back to my regular posts with a cake tutorial, desert recipe, and a craft project! You won't want to miss these posts.

Back to "All About Apples," though. Today I am sharing a recipe for crock pot apple butter. My husband and I love apple butter, and we've been wanting to make some for a long time. I recently found a recipe for apple butter using the crock pot, I just had to try it out! Turns out that's how my husband's grandmother makes hers as well.

This recipe couldn't be simpler, and it was extremely tasty! We had to make some biscuits to start eating it on as soon as it was done!!

Crock Pot Apple Butter ingredients (makes 4-5 pints):

  • 4 lbs cooking apples
  • 2 cups cider
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
Crock Pot Apple Butter instructions:
  • Peel, core, and cut up the apples
  • Combine apples and cider in a large slow cooker
  • Cover and cook on low for 10 hours
  • Stir in sugar and spices, continue cooking for 1 hour
  • Blend in a mixer 
  • Freeze or pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal

I also learned something new. I needed to start the butter before leaving for work, so I decided to peel, core, and cut up the apples the night before. I am definitely not a morning person, so that seemed like a lot of work in addition to my morning routine and already getting to work early. We read that you could soak the apples for 5 mins in salt water (1 qt water, 1/2 tsp salt) to help keep them from getting brown. We did 1 lb of apples at a time and then placed them in ziploc bags and refrigerated them. The apples really weren't brown the next morning, I was impressed!