Friday, 30 April 2010

Strawberry and Lime Mini Cheesecakes Recipe

Strawberry and Lime Mini Cheesecakes
a Cinco De Mayo inspired recipe

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup caster/white sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon zest (2 limes)
juice of 2 limes
1 cup sliced and hulled strawberries
1-2 tablespoons of caster/white sugar

for the base:
12 biscuits (makes roughly 1½ cups crumbs)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon caster/white sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

6 glass ramekin dishes.

Crush the biscuits and add the melted butter and cinnamon (optional). Mix well and press firmly into the ramekin dishes (alternatively for a larger cheesecake us an 8-inch pie pan). Pat down using the back of a tablespoon. Place in fridge for 30mins to set.

While base is setting. Mix together cream cheese, mascarpone, lime zest, lime juice (I normally put the lime juice in to taste roughly about 2 limes worth but if you would prefer a zestier cheesecake add 1 more) sugar, using a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Pour the cheese mixture over the base and spread evenly. Put cheesecakes in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set, (if making a large cheesecake it will need at least 4 hours to set, preferably overnight).

While the cheesecakes are setting, slice the strawberries and sprinkle with a generous amount of sugar (1 to 2 tablespoons). Just before serving spoon the sliced strawberries and juice over the mini cheesecakes.

cook's notes: I have made these cheesecakes many times and they are always dissapear quickly... I will be making them again next week for Cinco De Mayo to go along with burritos, nachos, and possibly some cinnamon tortilla crisps too.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

upcycled tshirt project/book bag

Simple little project with very little sewing, a small book bag or knitting/crocheting project bag made from one of H's old t-shirts.

the project is really as easy as one, two, three...

t-shirt project bag
-1 old tshirt (I used a toddler sized shirt age 3-4)
-needle and thread (or a sewing machine because my had sewing is horrific)

1. pick out a loved t-shirt that is worse for wear. Turn it inside out, pin along the bottom seem.

2. sew along the bottom of the shirt.

3. turn the shirt right side out.. cut off the sleeves and then cut off the neck of the shirt. Tug the t-shirt material along the arm and neck holes so that the fabric curls over and fill with whatever you want.

The before picture of H's t-shirt, I have no idea where it came from the size is age 3-4 and there was very little wear on the shirt (meaning his head grew too fat for it and he had to go the the next size up).

Its a super simple project and can be done with any size shirt, use a large shirt as a shopping carrier bag (you could probably sew a small pouch out of a large sleeve to fold the shirt bag into to store in your handbag when needed). I think using kids t-shirts would make great lunch/snack bags and also a great way for kids to collect treasures when you go on walks or to the beach, as they can be easily folded up to store them and can be made from those favourite shirts that they can no longer wear.

I have seen similar t-shirt material bags in shops and if you google it you will probably find two dozen or more tutorials (I watched a youtube clip of a woman duck taping the inside of a t-shirt and using staples instead of sewing, whatever floats your boat really).

My sewing machine hates me so I need to re-sew the bottom of my bag though I carried a book and my phone around all day yesterday and it held up very well anyway. I desperately need a bigger sewing machine, nothing horribly fancy but something that will sew a few layers together without having a hissy fit at me. M machine is practically a tinker toy, and though it has been a great learning tool I could do with the next step up so I can continue learning to sew and make the things I wish to make (like more patchwork squares so I can make Katy help me make a quilt).

If I can get my sewing machine to behave I think I will make some shopping carrier bags with a few of my favourite shirts that have died a death (holes and stains) and add some doilies and buttons!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Frank the Owl

Say hello to little Frank the Owl, short for Frankenstin for his wonky stitching (actually delibratly wonky), I started Frank months ago and had a complete crisis of crafting ability so he sat half stuffed in a tin on my desk. I had originally intended to make him for Jodie who sent me some lovely font-y fabric scraps (such as the scrap on Frank's bottom). The owl didn't go so well and i abandoned him because I doubted my ability and was afraid if I sent him he just wouldn't be good enough (especially as Jodie is so fantastically talented and deserved something equally fantastic in return for the card and scraps she sent me.)

Jodie I promise I will sent something soon...

Now that I actually feel like I can craft again, it was a very long winter and I finally feel like being creative again. Now if only the sewing machine fairy would come and turn my tinker toy into a real sewing machine. *looks pointedly at the calender and Matt humming Happy Birthday*

I have no idea why the photos are off to the left, they were for the previous post but I clicked on center and they are not remotely in the center of the blog post. I have burgers to make, and pasta salad too, so I best get going and enjoy the nice weather while it lasts!

p.s. Frank is in the little Magnolia tree in the garden next to the summer/play house.

Frank's bottom.

Monday, 26 April 2010

shhhh I'm reading...

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Blurb at the back of the book: 'I didn't realize he was a werewolf at first. My nose isn't at its best when surrounded by axle grease and burnt oil ...' Mercedes Thompson runs a garage in the Tri-Cities. She's a mechanic, and a damn good one, who spends her spare time karate training and tinkering with a VW bus that happens to belong to a vampire. Her next-door neighbour is an alpha werewolf - literally, the leader of the pack. And Mercy herself is a shapeshifter, sister to coyotes. As such, she's tolerated by the 'wolves but definitely down the pecking order. As long as she keeps her eyes down and remembers her place, the pack will leave her in peace. Hardly a normal situation, but then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself...and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.

Last Book Read before going on holiday I have a weakness for Urban Fantasy, and this was a great book. My friend Marina loaned it to me and the next two after it as well.

Book taken on holiday: Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders. I started reading in the car on the way to our hotel near Heathrow (obviously Matt was driving if you are worried about such things) I finished the book at my parents' house in Idaho. I enjoyed reading some of the stories, a few real gems that made you stop and think about the possibilities of things and the magic in the everyday. A few were a bit clunky but it was still an interesting walk around Gaiman's mind and I enjoyed reading the introduction and the brief blurbs about where the stories began.

Monster by A. Lee Martinez
cover blurb: Meet Monster. Meet Judy. Two humans who don't like each other much, but together must fight dragons, fire-breathing felines, trolls, Inuit walrus dogs, and a crazy cat lady - for the future of the universe.

Monster runs a pest control agency. He's overworked and has domestic troubles - like having the girlfriend from hell.

Judy works the night shift at the local Food Plus Mart. Not the most glamorous life, but Judy is happy. No one bothers her and if she has to spell things out for the night-manager every now and again, so be it.

But when Judy finds a Yeti in the freezer aisle eating all the Rocky Road, her life collides with Monster's in a rather alarming fashion. Because Monster doesn't catch raccoons; he catches the things that go bump in the night. Things like ogres, trolls, and dragons.

Oh, and his girlfriend from Hell? She actually is from Hell.

Read while in Idaho, at my parents, in coffee shops, on the way to yard sales and misnomered Estate Sales. I loved the book, just the right mix of humor, fantasy, a fast paced, light read. I left the book for my dad to read as we alread had a ton of goodies to bring back with us.

A Lee Martinez's Too Many Curses

blurb: A magical castle, an utterly wicked wizard named Margle, and Nessy, a kobold who tends the castle, lead the way in this diabolical story of good triumphing over evil. The many residents, all of whom have been cursed by Margle, include a hanged man in the library, Decapitated Dan, unmanned armor, chatty gargoyles, a loyal fruit bat, a silver-polishing gnome, and the very important Door at the End of the Hall. Soon after the wizard dies when one of his curses goes awry, Nessy realizes that the castle is falling apart, and it is her job to bring about order.

Read at the airport while waiting to see how much longer our return flight would be delayed (6 hours) but we did get home on the day we were meant to. Finished the book a few days ago, it was a fast paced, geekily enjoyable book.

Vampire a Go Go by Victor Gischler

next book on the pile on my nightstand.. technically I started reading it before we went on holiday but as Marina lent it to me I didn't want to take it for fear of damaging it or forgetting it in Idaho.

Pride Prejudice and Zombies by Sethe Grahame-Smith

the next next book on my stack of books to read is Pride Prejudice and Zombies, which was my Christmas present from Matt but I just haven't gotten around to starting it just yet.

other books bought while away Wreck this Journal (bought from the Barns and Noble in Santa Rosa, my old stomping ground while hanging out with Meg my best friend from my school day).. I had wanted this journal a year ago but put it back on the shelf as I bought a bunch of sci-fi/fantasy/urban fantasy/horror type books already and was getting too short on space. Matt has flicked through it and shook his head at me, I think it will be a fun exercise in creativity and doing things I would not normally do with a book.. like cracking the spine *winces*.

Flea Market Style Magazine- yes I know it's a magazine not a book but I found it very inspirational and have flicked through it twice (once at Spokane Airport and once as SFO )

I love Patchwork: 25 Irrestistable Zakka Projects to sew by Rashida Coleman-Hale --I haven't read through it properly but I bought the book at the The Kinokuniya Bookstore in Japan Town Mall in San Francisco. I was going to buy a Japanese book but decided on this one as it would be a good read instead of just something to look at.

what are you reading?

p.s. I will update with some holiday photos and babble on about what we did on our three weeks away in California and Idaho but Matt is still messing about editing the pictures and we are still a bit jetlagged... and in dire need of vast quantities of coffee and sugar to keep functioning at a semi-normal level.

Also I have no idea why this is italicized it just is and I cant change it and am too rusty at html to even try. *glares at blogger*