September Crafternoon

Can you believe it is already time for another Crafternoon? I feel like the time since my last one just flew by. This month the date I picked for the crafternoon fell on the first day of fall, perfect for making felted acorns! Katie of The Mossy Cottage does indeed live in a mossy cottage in the woods and was kind enough to bring hundreds of acorn caps for the craft (psst that’s Katie’s new blog isn’t it lovely!!).

I ordered some wool roving in fall colors& grabbed a few small batts that I had stashed in the attic with my spinning supplies, but even with eight people we had more then enough wool to each make as many acorns as we wanted, and I still had quite a bit leftover.

Making the acorns is super easy, all you need is:
wool roving in fall colors
-acorn caps
-a small bowl with just a tiny drop of dishwashing liquid and warm water
-glue
1. Just grab a very small amount of wool, dip it in the water just to dampen and begin to roll it over between your hands as if you were making a ball with clay. You don’t have to push hard or squeeze the wool. Keep going and the ball will felt and smooth out around the outside.
2. The great thing about acorn caps is they come in so many sizes that you can test your ball in different ones until you find just the perfect fit.
3. Allow your balls to dry out (they dry pretty quickly) and then glue into caps. We used either hot glue or aleene’s tacky glue and both worked great.
For food I decided to give soup a break and make some lasagna. Perfect for making a day ahead of time and then just popping into the oven to bake right before the party. I made a classic cheese lasagna (but using low fat ricotta and part skim mozzarella) and a butternut squash and sage lasagna that I have been wanted to make for months. Again I also used the lower fat/part skim cheese, almond milk in place of the heavy cream, and veggie stock in place of the chicken stock…but I think it turned out wonderfully and I would make both recipes again. I also served salad with some quick dressings Katie and I made before the party, and bread.
For dessert I went a little bit crazy, the party was the day before my birthday so I wanted it to be a extra special birthday cake. I made a Black Joe Cake with Salted Caramel Filling & Mocha Mascarpone Frosting and followed the recipe almost exactly. The only thing I did differently was make it a 3 layer cake (by dividing the batter into 3 cake pans) and I didn’t cut the circles of parchment paper for inside the pans, and I regretted that. My two bottom layers stuck and I had to sort of salvage them back into place. I ended up putting the top layer into the freezer until I could pop it out of the pan. So for goodness sake, cut the circles!! The cake was really yummy, but be careful you’ll want to sample it the whole time…a little bite of filling, a crumb or two of the stuck cake, a taste or three of the frosting. It’s really good! And I found the caramel, fleur de sel, and espresso powder all at Wegmans.

The only new thing we did this month was a White Elephant Gift Exchange, and it was so fun! I think we will try to do it every month. I asked everyone to bring a gift either thrifted or handmade between $5-10, and everyone brought such great stuff! I had found a little pyrex dish with a lid so I filled it with some candy and included a potholder. I got a handmade framed papercut by Sean with a owl he thrifted. Now I’m looking forward to next month’s Halloween themed Craftnoon, and can’t wait to sit down and plan the menu for that.

Sunday Links – Food

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Today I thought I’d share a few more dinners & recipes we have been enjoying lately. Lets start off with grilled burritos. We stuffed ours with Spanish rice, vegan chorizo, cheese, and salsa. Then I spray a pan with a little olive oil and brown & crisp the burrito. Serve with salsa, shredded lettuce and sour cream. So yummy!

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I love Noodles & Company’s Penne Rosa, so I was excited to try this make at home version. I just left off the shrimp, and loved the use of greek yogurt instead of cream.

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I am also one of those people who love the combination of pineapple & tomato. My favorite way to eat pizza. So good. When traveling once Tom and I had some roasted pineapple tomato soup and it was heavenly. I decided to recreate my own at home and it was great! Served with grilled cheese and a salad, its just perfect. If you don’t like pineapple you could always leave it out and follow this recipe for homemade tomato soup (personally I do not like canned tomato soup, it’s like spaghettio sauce) but if you want to add pineapple chop pineapple into small chunks and roast in a 375F oven for about 20 minutes until browned. Then add to soup before boiling. I also omit the honey when adding pineapple.

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And I will leave you with some cereal milk popsicles we made! (Sorry for the terrible picture we ate them at night. I followed this recipe for cereal milk popsicles, but I was lazy and left out the step involving cornflakes completely. Instead I just used the milk & cream they call for without it. I also added fruity pebbles instead of fruit loops. These were so good! We were impatient so they were a little soft when we pulled them out, but really yummy! We use this popsicle tray which was the cheapest I found on Amazon in this particular design. I love it so much. We had a lot of trouble with popsicles getting stuck previously in the other molds we had, but this one has worked perfectly each time.