March 28, 2012

Gluten Free Orange Rosemary Ricotta Cookies

So, my car's in the midst of it's death throes. It's really not unexpected, but it's sad. My car's old enough to be getting it's own driver's license, if you know what I'm saying. In some states, it would have already had it for a year. But just the provisional license, of course. It's not old enough for a full license. And I've found that I not only know absolutely nothing about cars, but can be swayed by the cute and the pretty.

Case in point, I found this adorable yellow car for well under my max price point, with just under 60k miles (for what I can spend, that's generally the best I can find) and I fell in love. I decided that I would name it Bumblebee and pretend that it's really just a sentient alien rather than a car and play the Transformers theme song all the time and we'd go on adventures, and I'd always be happy when driving, because really how can you not be happy driving a yellow car? Turns out this car has an engine that pretty much craps out at 60k miles and is pretty cheaply made. But a part of me still wants it because it was adorable. And yellow. So now my family is helping me look because they're all secretly afraid that I will just buy the cutest car that I can find, regardless of how good it is.

I'm not really bothered. Car shopping might not be my thing, but I can out-bake any one of them.

March 19, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I've never been much of a planner. I mean, a plan-ahead-type planner. I like to plan things, but generally they're like fantasy things. Like my Oscar speech for when I win best adapted screenplay, adapted from one of my own novels, of course (which have never been published (and I've never written a screenplay in my life)).

This is pretty odd when I think about it, as most of my hobbies are things you'd think you have to plan ahead. Writing, jewellery design, baking. Blog posts. Don't get me wrong, I would love to be able to plan ahead, but the few times I've tried to outline, or design, or plan a recipe, I end up deviating so far that it ends up being absolutely no help and a waste of time. In NaNoWriMo, there's a term for people like me. We're pantsers. Because we fly by the seat of our pants. I'll go in with a vague idea for a plot, or a certain type of bead, or a flavor idea, and when I'm really lucky, I'll know a little bit more of what I want to do. Then I take that and plunge in, and see what I get when I emerge.

Mostly it's a good thing. A kid's book about the Cheese Man. A cloisonne memory-wire bracelet with Swarovski bicone beads. Applesauce cupcakes. Occasionally, it's a hot mess, but luckily I seem to have an instinct for this sort of thing.

These cupcakes are a prime example of what I can come up with when I have nothing more than a vague idea to go on. See, the bestie's birthday was Thursday, and on a whim I decided to get her Zombie Head Bon Bons from Think Geek, as I could get them free with my geek points. They're chocolate, with chewy cherry brains in the center. I thought about putting them on cupcakes for her, but because of the crazy work hours last week, I didn't have the chance. Still, the idea stuck in my head. What sort of cupcake would I make with them? Cherry and chocolate, obviously, but not like my Cherry Cordial Cupcakes, something different.

Sunday afternoon, I decided to make cupcakes. The chocolate and cherry cupcake idea was still in my head, and I had a jar of maraschino cherry juice reserved in the refrigerator, left over from the afore mentioned cherry cordial cupcakes. Then and there I decided to make cherry chocolate chip cupcakes, and I made it up from there.

March 17, 2012

Green Tubular Peyote Bracelet

Pin It

Happy St. Paddy's Day everyone! I know I've been absent this week, when most food bloggers are going nuts with green foods and boozy foods and leprechaun-themed foods. However, thanks to some crazy hours at work, my baking times were severely limited. And since I've billed this as a baking and crafting blog, I decided to work on one of my favorite crafts of all time: beaded jewellery. And I also used one of my favorite techniques: the tubular peyote stitch.

Now, I really wanted to give you a step-by-step photo tutorial, but because seed beads are so small and details so intricate, all my pictures were coming out blurry. And because of the crazy work hours, I was trying to take these pictures at 6 in the morning, so I didn't have all that much patience. But for a great video tutorial and step-by-step instructions, see Fire Mountain Gems' free instructions here. And while you're there, you might want to pick up essential supplies like seed beads, bead weaving thread, clasps (I prefer to use toggle) and the thing I can't live without: collapsible eye needles. Just try not to get yourself lost in there- they have such a huge selection of beads and jewellery making supplies, how-tos, and beading patterns, that it's easy to lose the next few hours of your life just browsing through the site. Trust me, I speak from experience. You can, of course, find the necessary supplies at any good crafting store, but Fire Mountain Gems has a better selection, at a better quality, for a better price (and shipping isn't too pricy, and they have the best customer service in the world (that might be slight hyperbole, but it's really that good)).

Since I can't share the photo tutorial with you, I thought I might share some different examples with you that I had lying around. I also included a Beader's FAQ at the end of the post for some of the things you may be wondering about.