Saturday, October 27, 2012

Stuffed & Dipped Marshmallows and Chocolate Brownie Balls

It's almost Halloween and my sister, her boyfriend and friend are coming to visit.  It's not a visit without some sweets so following the success of the snickers, I wanted to try other things.  I recently sent a friend some stuffed marshmallows from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival.  I had never had these before and he told me they tasted great, so why not make them myself?

These are so easy to do and do not use a lot of chocolate for the dipping.  I had leftover chocolate candy melts from some cake pops I had made, M&Ms from my standing-in-line-at-store-snacky feeling, chocolate chips from the snickers bars and toffee bits from the "fancy" twix I unsuccessfully attempted.  Perfect, all I needed were marshmallows.

So I adopted these instructions from the Dip It In Chocolate blog.

chocolate candy melts
goodies to stuff marshmallows with

1. Lay out your marshmallows and goodies to stuff them with.

2. Cut out a piece of the center of the marshmallows and put them to the side.

3. Stuff them!  I started with two M&Ms to a marshmallow but later added a third.  I used two-three chocolate chips and a sprinkle of the toffee bits, just enough to stuff them below the cut line. 

4. Place the cut pieces of marshmallow on top of the marshmallow.  It was sticky so I picked it up with the tip of the knife and squished the top of the marshmallow over it so the cut pieces could "adhere" back to the rest of the marshmallow.  Very simple to do.

5. Dip away!  To differentiate between the toffee and M&M, after dipping them in chocolate I dipped them into the toffee bits, also added a cute touch to the marshmallows.

6. Set aside and allow the chocolate to settle.  I didn't put them in the refrigerator right away.  Instead, I worked on dipping brownie balls!

Brownie balls - simple, simple, simple to make.  Bake up some brownies, cut them up, roll them into balls.  They are moist enough that you do not need to add any frosting but I did add a 1/4 cup of vanilla for taste.  I am definitely not a master at chocolate dipping but found this technique to be helpful.

Stuffed-dipped marshmallows, chocolate dipped brownies, salted caramels, Caneles and Benziger port night at the Neilans.

Homemade Snickers

I came across this link for homemade candy bars on Huffington Post and thought I would give it a try.  I started with snickers bars, thinking that because they are my dad's favorite perhaps I could send some out to him if they turned out delicious.

I searched around for other snickers recipes, curious to see what others have done but they were all the same.  For whatever reason, I settled on a recipe from the BrownEyed Baker.  Making these turned out to be a lot simpler than I had initially expected and they taste fantastic and exactly like a snickers bar.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Upcycled Shopping Bag

I'm getting around to setting up my work station and realized that I do not have a small trash bin anymore.  Floor space is limited so I needed to get a little creative . . . 

We had our kitchen utensil rail from the previous place hanging around so I decided to put it to use in the work room.  The intent was to use it to hold all of my cutting tools but I have since found a really great n' old medicine cabinet from the flea market for that.  So now what?  No trash bin, limited floor space - maybe I'll hang a trash bag.  But that makes me feel trashy so I'll sew some fabric around it and make it cute  :)

I'm no professional so I needed a little guidance in what others have done when working with plastic.  I found a tutorial on how to make a plastic-lined snack baggy but I didn't feel as though I needed to iron the plastic and I wasn't looking to use my trash bag for anything more than scrap fabric and paper.  The tutorial is still really cute and a project I might try down the road. 

I ended up going with a standard lined bag, just lined with plastic:

The plastic bag is from TJMaxx and it says it would like to thank me for recycling their bag, knowing that I love the planet.

I added boxed corners, just to add a little character . . .

With the help of some great tutorials: Lazy Girl and Jessab Crafts

Next on the list - hanging fabric holders for scissors, rotary cutter and other tools.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New uses for old things?

Thanks to my sister's sisterly antics at the bridal shower that she, my mom and friends threw for me nearly two years ago, I am now the proud owner of many old, wooden thread spools.  These spools are totally neat and I had a project in mind to make some kind of tapestry out of them but thanks to Pinterest, I am finding more and more new uses for these old spools.

The first project I have started are simple purse hooks.  Inspired by what I saw people using them for as jewelry hooks, I thought I could use the larger ones as purse hooks at the entryway of our house.

Very simple:  From JoAnn Fabric I bought two, unfinished 3x5 pieces of wood, two colors of acrylic paint and a package of D-Strap hangers.  I attached the hangers to back of the wood, painted them and let set overnight to dry although the acrylic paint I purchased dries quickly. 

This morning, I applied wood glue to one side of the spools and placed a heavy book over them for about an hour.  I do need to purchase some 1.5 inch nails because I want to place additional security on the spools to the block by hammering two nails from the backside of the block into the spool.  Once I do this, I will start using the purse hooks.