July Crafternoon

Yesterday I held my July Crafternoon for nine of my lovely lady friends. For this one we carved rubber stamps to stamp onto reusable grocery bags. Luckily we only had one finger slice, although I would have preferred no one leave with a wound, it was pretty good considering we used exacto knives. You can see poor Katie with gauze on her finger in these photos. You may also notice she switched to an apple after her injury :( Molly brought the apples for cutting/stamping which was perfect!

I made a fake-chicken rice soup even though it’s Summer. Soup is just easiest to feed a crowd, and was easy to make gluten-free for one of my guests. I did however make a gluten filled loaf of no-knead bread, but I’m not sure how to make GF bread so it could of been disasterious if I tried. I also made a Fruity Pebble cheesecake because that was easy to make GF. I just used a GF recipe for NY Cheesecake and made the crust from crushed fruity pebbles. Swirled some into the batter and added them to the top. This also disguised the crack that formed quite nicely!

Tasha made vegan chocolate chip/cream cheese pumpkin bread, it was of course amazing. Meri made a salad of tomatoes, mozzarella, and olives…called “snackies” which was perfect to break up the sugar coma, Molly made a cake batter dip for animal crackers and strawberries (yep cake batter dip!) and Paige brought a peach cobbler cake (and the pan was empty at the end of of the night).

It was so much fun and I can’t thank these ladies enough for coming every month!
**Speaking of hand carved stamps did you see the Geninne’s book Making an Impressioncomes out Oct. 2nd!! She is the queen of hand carved stamps, no question about it!

How To Tuesday – S’mores Bark

Today’s how-to is super simple, and very Summer inspired…S’mores bark. Like the candy cane bark you make at Christmastime, but with a Summer twist. The ingredients are super simple, kids can make it, and you can easily make it vegan by using rice chocolate & dandies brand marshmallows (they toast up brown too!).

Here is what you need:
12 oz of chocolate (you can use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chips or bars whichever you prefer)
5 graham crackers crushed (1/2 a sleeve)
1 & 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows
-Pre-heat your oven to 200F
-Line a cookie sheet with foil. Try to use a cookie sheet that has edges, or create an edge with the foil so when your chocolate melts it does not spill over the edge.
-Break up your chocolate and spread it around the foil covered cookie sheet. Place into the oven until it melts. Use a spoon to spread it around the pan into a somewhat even sheet of melted chocolate.
-Sprinkle on your crushed graham crackers and marshmallows.
-Turn broiler on high and put pan of s’mores bark into oven just until marshmallows are toasted. It will happen quickly so keep a close eye on it.
-Place pan in freezer or refrigerator until chocolate is completely cooled and hard. Then break up bark into smaller pieces. Store S’mores Bark in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Sunday Links – Coffee

I love coffee, and I really love flavoring my coffee and having something different about it all the time. I’ll usually buy flavored creamers from the grocery store because Tom uses soy creamer, and he doesn’t like flavored coffee (so we skip the flavored beans) but some times I get really bored of the creamer flavors that are out there. I know there are a ton, but I don’t like the ones that are designed to taste like a “latte” (they have a bad aftertaste to me) and some times when the days are cool and rainy it makes me really want to slip on a sweatshirt, sip some pumpkin coffee and pretend it’s fall. So I decided to finally try and make my own coffee creamer.

I picked up these bottles from The Christmas Tree Shop for $1.99. I had been looking for them online but the cheapest I could find on Amazon was $5.50and did not offer “prime shipping” which is a deal breaker for me, haha. You can also sometimes find sparkling lemonade in these sorts of bottles, so those can be re-used for your creamer as well.

For my pumpkin creamer I followed the recipe posted here. I did up the amount of pumpkin slightly, used almond milk in place of milk, used fat free half and half in place of the heavy cream, and added 2 more tablespoons of maple syrup. **Oh and forgot to add that I threw in one cinnamon stick. I did not strain mine because I really like the spices and small bits of pumpkin, but you could use cheesecloth if you wanted a pure creamer. They store in the fridge for 10 days and I would say make about 2 and a half cups. My bottles are looking a little empty because I used them a few times and brought it along to a dinner party for others to try. But, they were fast to make and I’d make them again for sure! You could make it vegan too by using vegan cashew cream in place of the heavy cream, which is great because vegan flavored coffee creamers do not come in a wide variety where we live. I think you can pick vanilla or hazelnut.

My friend Tasha suggested that I make flavored syrups and then just add milk to the coffee. This is a great idea too! A Beautiful Mess has recipes for vanilla, raspberry, and caramel. But a little searching and I found a big variety of syrup flavors like..
Rosemary iced coffee and rosemary simple syrup which sounds great for summer
Pumpkin syrup which is what I made for my syrup
cherry simple syrup could be great in a mocha like a black forest cake coffee
just to name a few, the possibilities are really endless…

I have also been toying with the idea of getting a Keurigever since I had a cup at Jessee’s house. At first I thought K-cups were something like the pod coffee’s, but I guess they are not? Anyhow I am still not totally convinced I need one, I feel like maybe we drink coffee too often, and I would keep our regular old coffee maker too…but that cup at Jessee’s house was pretty darn good. Any thoughts on these?

**p.s. our cute mug is from kinshippress