Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Best Pumpkin Muffins

I'm trying to use Google Adwords to come up with searchable titles for my blog posts.  What it does is take the topic of the post and then give me a list of possible titles that people have been searching for.

In this case - pumpkin muffins - the search options were endless.  I got "best pumpkin muffins", "spice pumpkin muffins", "healthy pumpkin muffins" and so on.
This recipe is all of the above, so perhaps I should have titled it "Best healthy pumpkin spice muffins"?

I'll let you decide.

You will need:


  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups pumpkin  (I used pumpkin pie filling - if you use pure pumpkin, you may want to add an additional cup of sugar)



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
Mix dry ingredients together.
Add liquid ingredients and mix well.


Use cupcake liners or lightly grease and flour cupcake tin.


Bake 
- full size muffins 20 - 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean
- mini-muffins for approximately 15 minutes, using the toothpick test as well.


Optional:
Frost with orange or cream cheese frosting.

These are so moist and delicious that I didn't add the frosting - but I have in the past and it just makes it impossible to stop eating them!


As it is, Hubby finished off about 4 mini muffins within minutes of them coming out of the oven.


More calories headed straight for my rear-end.
Actually, pumpkin has fibre, so quite possibly there will be more than calories heading that way? lol



Have a great one!
  
 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cat tent. (Actually, a tent for any small animal... except a fish)

I have three men in my life.

Hubby of course is first and foremost - but I have my "main men" Milo and Otis.

Yes, I am one of those women that sleeps with three men every single night.
(I had to make that sound better than it really is - two purr like lawnmowers - so it's not quite the three men of my fantasies.)

I saw a pet tent/cat tent on Pinterest and thought I would try it.
You will need:

  • an old t-shirt that you no longer want.  (Ideally large or XL)
  • two wire coat hangers
  • wire cutters
  • some tape
  • a box or basket large enough to hold your pet

The coat hangers in this photo are not strong enough (learned the hard way).  If you have a thicker metal hanger, that you can still cut through, it will be a much sturdier enclosure.



If you don't have a basket, a small box will work as well.  This is just half a pizza box reinforced around the edges with a little duck tape.



First off, cut the rounded part of the coat hangers off.



Straighten the hangers out into a shape something like this:



Fit the ends of the hangers into the corners of the box and then stick them together at the cross section.
Given Otis' chewing tendencies, I thought duck tape would be our best bet.



Then stretch the t-shirt over top of the frame and box.

You get the idea of the size here - this might be better for a ferret or kitten.  Odie is a little on the heavy side so, while he liked it, I thought I'd better go bigger.



I used the same frame, but put it into a large basket and lined it with "his blankie".



He loves it!

In fact, Milo (green eyes) thought he'd get into the action too and check it out.



Maddie thought she'd shove gently coerce both of the boys in together to see if it was big enough - it is, but Milo only has eyes for me, so he snuck back out.




This photo makes me laugh - GranDad and I call it "nuts up":
(brazen little bugger isn't he?)



Like father, like son. lol
My nightly foursome may have shrunk down to a menage-a-trios! lol

Next pet's names:  Dwayne Johnson and Joe Manganiello - then I'll really be bragging about whom I'm sleeping with!










Have a great one!
  
 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hallowe'en Paper Crafts - sour cream container

In writing a blog I have to be a little bit organized in my posts.
I don't always get it right, but generally I try to get holiday projects up in time for you to actually complete them before the holiday itself.
As is the case here - I'm a keener, sure - but the timing of this is more for you to be able to try it out than for my OCD that I need this done well in advance of Hallowe'en.

Okay, you're really my scapegoat.
I wanted to make these about two weeks ago and have had the candy sitting in my studio for that long. lol

Here is a SUPER easy craft for packaging up your Hallowe'en treats;

Sour cream containers!

You can use 12" x 12" scrapbook paper if you like

You can make sour cream containers that large, but that would be a LOT of candy.  You'd really only do that for Boo'ing someone with more than one child or for small gifts.

I actually cut these down to 6" x 6" - so I was able to get four per sheet.

On the side of the paper that you want to be the outside of the container, run one strip of double-sided tape down one side.



Then flip the paper over and run two strips of double-sided tape along the top and bottom.  (The greyed out arrow shows where the tape is on the other side)  You want these to be perpendicular to each other - not overlapping.



Roll the paper into a tube and stick together using the strip on the outside/front of the container.

(Milo wanted to help)

Once your tube is stuck, seal one end of it with the tape on the inside - as you can see above.

Actually doing this will probably be a lot easier than my explanation is making it sound.



Fill the open end of the tube with whatever treats you want,



Then pinch the other end closed in the opposite direction of the first edge.  If one edge lays flat on the table, like in the photo below, you want the end you are closing now to run perpendicular to the table top.

It's this different shape that gives it it's name of 'sour cream container'.



You can whip these out pretty quickly, so I just assembly-lined it and made all the tubes first.



You don't have to use fancy paper for this either.

I ran out of Hallowe'en stock, so I just grabbed some cardstock in varying shades of orange and cut them down to 5.5" x 6" (so there was very little waste)



I had a few Hallowe'en stamps I found, so I just dabbed images on the paper.  (I think I bought these last year from Michael's $1.50 bin).



If you want to make your ends a bit fancier, you can use this tool - I call it "the krinkler" and roll along each end.
Not necessary at all - the double-sided tape is more than strong enough to hold the containers together - it's just for decorative purposes.



A basket full of goodies for both of the girls' classes!



So easy, inexpensive and a really cute way to give out treats.


  
Try them out for baby showers, birthday goodie bags, even small gifts for your friends.






Have a great one!
  
 




Linked to:
Between Naps on the Porch

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crafting with Kids - Leaf Creatures

Fall is far and away my favourite season.
The weather is a bit cooler, the air crisper - the smells of leaves and mowed grass just delectable.  You can sleep with your window open - no air conditioner, no furnace.

Plus, there's so many fun things you can do in the Fall….

like create leaf creatures!
(not-so-subtle intro eh? lol)



First - you have to go for a walk with your kids.
A great excuse for you to walk off some of the Thanksgiving feast of last weekend, get a bit of fresh air and get the kids outside and off the iPad.

Let them choose all sorts of different leaves - you don't have to have any specific creatures in mind - just get colours and shapes and we'll work from there.



This step you (the parent) will have to do - you'll need to place the leaves between sheets of waxed paper and iron.



This is the only way the leaves will last.  If you don't do this, they will dry out and crumble in a day or two.

Layer it so you don't wreck your ironing board or iron;  towel or newspaper, wax paper, leaves, wax paper then towel over top.
Press to melt the wax into the leaves.



This step only takes a minute or two and the leaves are cool right away so the kids can get crafting without too much of a wait.



The idea came from a photo I saw in pinterest of a fox - so that's what I started with.

I used punches and scrap paper to make up the eyes - but a sharpie marker will work equally as well.



Where does the nose go on a fox?
I went low, but it kind of looks like a goat to me?

The dark one - somehow looked like a moose with the long nose.

Add a few details to give your leaves character and glue down!



I think a page FULL of all sorts of leaves and creatures would be spectacular!

The girls and I are off to collect more leaves!

Have fun!




  



Have a great one!
  
 




Linked to:
Between Naps on the Porch

Saturday, October 18, 2014

You've been BOO'd II

It's that time again!

Time to go "Boo" your neighbours!

If you weren't a reader last year during this post - what it is, is a sneaky treat that you give to friends/neighbours.

If you're starting this tradition in your neighbourhood, you need to choose 2 friends to "Boo".

You attach this poem:

to a little bag of goodies.



I could be stickers, or a candy bar, or even homemade treats (if your neighbours know who it has come from).

Inside the bag you should include a copy of the poem for them to share and the sign indicating that they'd been 'Boo'd' already.



You sneak over to their house drop the treats at their front door then ring the bell or knock and RUN!

They then take on the challenge and hit two other friends/neighbours using the same Hallowe'en stealth!

It goes pretty quickly with every person hitting two other people and before you know it - all the kids in the neighbourhood will have received a pre-Hallowe'en surprise.

Once you've been Boo'd, you put the sign up in your front window so that people know.

I snuck a little Boo over to an adult friend as well - she "guinea pig's" my recipes - so I tested out the squash soup on her and included some silly moustaches because she mentioned she thought they were fun.



This doesn't have to be limited to kids either.  
Boo the people around you at the office.  Take a Boo to a child in the hospital or to an elderly person in a nursing home.  Your treats could be cookies or muffins or even a new book to read.  Something small - but a treat.

Free "You Have Been Boo'd" printable here.

To see last year's goodies - click here.








Have a great one!
  
 



Linked to:
Made From Pinterest

Tatertots & Jello

Between Naps on the Porch