28 March 2010

It's Raining Babies!

Okay...not really. But why do they call it a "baby shower" if no infants are falling from the sky? :)

Some friends and I hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law Tara and her son Jaxon (due in May) this afternoon. Here are a few photos of our fun:

Tara's mom Denise pins on the corsage - made by Stephanie!

Look at all those gifts! That baby will be well taken care of. :)

One of the elders' wives graciously let us hold the shower in her home AND she made her signature mocha punch - yummy! Thank you, Starlyn!

Linsdey did a great job on this cute little banner for Jaxon.

Wouldn't be complete without a diaper cake.

The "Poopy Diaper" Game always gets the best reactions. :)

The lovely hostesses.

What fun to shower Tara and Jaxon with blessings. :)

25 March 2010

It's Rich-Craft: An Update

I have finally finished the burp cloths - and not a minute too soon! We are having a baby shower for my sister-in-law on Sunday. Nothing like cutting it close. :)

Aren't they snazzy? Let's hope baby Jaxon doesn't want to spit up on them because he thinks they're too cute to mess up. (Who am I kidding?!)

And already, I have a few other projects lined up...

Snappy Onesies - with interchangeable felt creatures like this:

Cute little baby shoes - I ordered the pattern from Sweet Pea Patterns on etsy.com!

Set of three canvases to hang over the kitchen table. My inspiration: a photo my mother-in-law sent to me of a shower her friend Mary Kay hosted. (She is one creative lady - and apparently puts out quite a spread!)

More Rich-Craft to come!

19 March 2010

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

When I get bored, I bake. When I get stressed, I bake. When I am missing my husband who is working out of town, I bake.

So when I discovered half a bag of brown rice cereal and two partial bags of marshmallows in the pantry, I knew what I had to do. And in the process, I discovered a recipe for the best Rice Krispies Treats. Ever.

I headed over to a blog I occasionally peruse called Smitten Kitchen. The author has a tiny kitchen (it even makes ours look big – though you do have to consider ours is a kitchen/ dining room/ laundry room combined) from which she whips up some amazing food. After a quick search, I pulled up this recipe:

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

1 stick unsalted butter
1 10-oz bag marshmallows (or two half bags, as the case may be )
Heaping ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
6 cups rice cereal (about ½ a box)

Coat an 8” square cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. The butter should melt, foam, then turn clear and golden, and finally turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently through this process, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Be careful as the period between the time the butter starts browning and the time it burns is very short – less than a minute!

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty smell, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. If needed, you can place the pot back on the eye on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal. Quickly spread into the prepared cake pan. Use a piece of waxed paper sprayed lightly with nonstick spray to press the mixture firmly and evenly into the edges and corners. Allow to cool, then cut into squares and serve.

Now, usually I am not a huge Rice Krispies Treats fan. I mean, if I’m going to consume the calories, I want it to be coated in chocolate and involve some sort of cream and maybe sprinkles. The treats I’ve had in the past have fallen somewhere in the range of a Styrofoam block. But these – these treats will knock your socks off!

Give ‘em a whirl and let me know what you think.

17 March 2010

Book Report: The Help

Some books are just so good you have to stay up reading until 2:00am - on a work night! - to find out what happens next. I can't even remember the last time I did that (Nancy Drew in 5th grade?)!

The Help by Kathyrn Stockett just happens to be one of those page-turners, but not in the creepy murder-mystery sort of way.

It tells the stories of three women living in Jackson, Mississipi, during the 1960s and the rise of the civil rights movement. Stockett beautifully weaves together the stories of three women: Aibileen, an African-American servant helping to raise her seventeenth white child; Minny, another servant and Aibileen's best friend who has often been fired because of her sass-mouthing; and Skeeter, the daughter of a wealthy white cotton farmer who is torn between her Junior League friends and her desire to become a journalist. Each tells the story in her own unique voice, each chapter more beautiful than the last. And although Help uncovers some very unsavory parts of American history, it ends with a hopeful outlook for the future - a future which I think has come to pass in many ways, but towards which we still have quite the journey ahead of us.

If you are in search of a great read, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. You will laugh. You will cry. You will swoon. You will swear. You will stare at the page with gaping mouth. Have I convinced you to go out and buy a copy yet?

If you're not on your way to the bookstore by now, GET MOVING! You won't regret it.

11 March 2010

Weekly Wow!

Some people have "Favorite Things Friday" or "Thankful Thursdays" or "Tea Party Tuesdays" - okay, maybe not that last one, but they should. :)

I have the "Weekly Wow." A little explanation...

There are SO MANY things that happen during my weeks that make me say, "Wow." The great thing about the word "wow" is its versatility; you can say wow to mean "Wow, I can't believe you just did that," or to mean "Wow! That's fantastic!" So my wows will vary each week - but they will always be there!

This week's "wows":

Spring weather! Yesterday I got to take a day off and opened all the windows to let the incredible spring breeze blow through my house (never mind all that pollen it brought with it). It is one of my absolute favorite things to hear the sweet melodies of songbirds - and an occasional rooster - and feel the warmth of the cheery spring sun brightening the house.

A visit from my parents, which also coincided with my day off. We got to spend the afternoon together, just talking and hanging out. My mom and I got to take a walk and enjoy the sunny day, then we put our heads together on some craft projects I've been working on. My sister came over for dinner and the four of us played ImaginIFF. It was so good to see them and laugh with them! It makes me wish Florida weren't so far away.

Bubbies Frozen Mochi Desserts. I had read about mochi several months ago on a blog and have been looking for it ever since. Tonight at the grocery store, I found these little frozen treats. They are made of this rice flour coating flavored like chocolate that surrounds a little pocket of ice cream. The texture is very chewy - and very good!

I have four followers on my blog! Each week I get a report from Sitemeter that tells me how many people have visited my blog. For the past few months, it has been a page full of zeroes. :( But now there are a few followers - and a few less zeroes on that report!

Today is Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday. (It's about time!) Tomorrow is a jeans day at work AND my husband comes home from his business trip. What could be better?!!

Now, tell me about your weekly wows!

01 March 2010

I Can't Believe It's Not Bacon

Recently Oprah featured several health food gurus on her show, one of which was Alicia Silverstone. (I was surprised too.) Apparently Alicia has a cookbook out called The Kind Diet - and I was intrigued (who doesn't want to be kind?) so I headed to the local library to check it out.

In this cookbook, Alicia talks about the vegan lifestyle and why everyone should make that choice too...and once you make it through two chapters of proselytizing then FINALLY she gets to the recipes. I am up for trying anything once (case in point: kumquats), so I picked a few recipes for a test-run.

The first recipe I tried was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

I mean, who doesn't like chocolate and peanut butter? An instant success - and no leftovers after the Super Bowl party!

In addition to recipes, the book listed several swaps you can make for your everyday grocery items, such as vegan bacon for regular bacon. I know, I know - vegan bacon is a total oxymoron. Nevertheless, I added it to the grocery list. And I came home with a box.

Surprisingly, my husband actually ate it (although he indicated he would prefer not to do so again)! So, there I was, left with 3/4 a box of vegan bacon. I tried to think of some way to eat it all...and so I proceeded to have BLTs for the next week - and in the process discovered my new favorite sandwich:

Two slices of whole grain toast, a slathering of vegan mayonaise (better than the real stuff - promise), two thick pieces of tomato, a leaf of crisp lettuce, and a few slices of vegan bacon. YUM.

I probably won't be jumping on the vegan bandwagon any time soon. But for now, I will just dabble. And enjoy. :)