Tagged with " Christmas"
23 Dec
2011
Posted in: Site Announcements
By    No Comments

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas (or just a nice weekend) and enjoy yourself. I’ll be taking the weekend off to spend time with my family/take a break from projects.

I’ll be back next week with all the details of my dining room makeover, a cool chalkboard DIY project, January housekeeping tips, and the most amazing cupcakes ever.

Share
22 Dec
2011
Posted in: Food
By    2 Comments

Christmas Pizza

When I was 10 I had a new baby brother who was barely a month old. My mom was hardly interested in cooking some big huge dinner for all of us kids so when we said we wanted pizza, she jumped on it. Maybe she was still under the influence of anesthesia but that year began the tradition of Christmas pizza. We started off pretty basic and we’ve since evolved to a more artisan style. If you’re thinking of starting a Christmas pizza tradition, I’m here to help.

BBQ Chicken and Pesto Pizzas

First up, you need to make your dough. I’ve included the recipe at the bottom of the page but here’s a quick look at making a yeast-based pizza dough. You’ll need to combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. (Here’s a cool tip I learned from Alton Brown, check the water temperature with your fingers. The perfect temperature for the water is just above an average person’s body temperature so the water will feel just a bit warm to you if it’s the right temperature.) When you combine these ingredients, let them sit for 5 minutes until the mix gets bubbly. If it bubbles, your yeast is good and your dough will rise!

Here’s a batch of yeast I’ve proofed. You can see the bubbles so you know it’s good to go.

Proofing yeast for pizza dough

I mix my dough in my Kitchenaid mixer. Yes, it is good for more than just making cookies in bulk. You’ll want to attach the dough hook (it looks like the pirate hook) and mix 3 cups of flour, salt, and oil with your yeast mix. Gradually add in 3 more cups of flour. You’re looking to make sure your dough is pliable but firm enough to not fall off your hook immediately when you raise the head of your machine. Check out the difference 1 cup makes:

Making pizza dough

Your dough should be sticky. That’s okay- do not flour it up more. Plop it out of the mixer bowl, grease your bowl with some olive oil, roll your dough into a ball, and place it back into the bowl. Cover with a towel and place it in a warm place until it’s doubled in size. Punch it down (yes, really punch it!), then let it double one more time. See the difference it makes?

pizza dough rising

At this point you’ll want to separate your dough into two balls, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and roll the dough out for your pans. I use Pampered Chef’s stoneware for my pizza. I roll out the dough and bake it for 10-15 minutes to get nice and firm before loading it up with toppings.

Pizza dough

Once you’ve cooked your dough you can add toppings of your choice. You’ll bake again for 15 or so minutes until your cheese is nice and melted. On this day I made a BBQ chicken pizza and a pesto pizza. The BBQ chicken pizza used BBQ sauce as a base and I topped it with chicken tossed in BBQ sauce, feta cheese, and fresh mozzarella. For the pesto pizza I used pesto sauce as a base and I topped it with plum tomato slices, feta cheese, and fresh mozzarella. You can’t go wrong with either combination or something simple like pepperoni or sausage.

BBQ Chicken and Pesto Pizzas

Pizza Dough

Prep Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 2 pizzas

Serving Size: 4 slices

This pizza dough is a perfect thick crust. For a wonderful sturdy dough, use half white and half wheat flour. Be as creative as you want with toppings.

If you don't have time to wait for the dough to rise, prepare the dough the night before, cover, and place in your fridge overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before spreading into pans the next day.

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping tablespoon yeast
  • Dash of sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 cups flour

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water (105-110 degrees). Add a dash of sugar. Proof it until it begins to foam.
  2. Attach your dough hook to your Kitchenaid mixer. Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl and add salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour. Run your mixer on low.
  3. Gradually add in the additional 3 cups of flour, 1 at a time.
  4. Let your mixer run on medium for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Pull the dough from your mixer and grease the bowl. Place the dough back in, cover, and let rise until doubled in size (30 minutes-1 hour).
  6. Punch down and let rise again until double.
  7. Punch down and divide into two dough balls. Roll out into two pizza pans greased with olive oil.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Top with pizza sauce & toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 more minutes.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2011/12/christmas-pizza/

Share
20 Dec
2011
Posted in: Food
By    2 Comments

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

I know I already posted one cookie recipe but a small project delay left me with one more day in the kitchen. I decided to whip up some gingerbread cookies. I love how gingerbread smells when it bakes and it’s one of those cookies that soothes your stomach while you stuff it. I’ve posted the recipe below and I topped the cookies with some Royal Icing to make them extra snazzy.

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

I like to mix up which cookie cutters I use. Some snowflakes…

Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies

Some Christmas trees…

Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies

Some stars…

Star Gingerbread Cookies

Some ornaments…

Ornament Gingerbread Cookies

And of course some gingerbread men!

Gingerbread Man Cookies

Have fun using icing, food coloring, sprinkles, dragees, sugar, and even mini M&Ms with your own cookies. I’m linking this up at the CSI Cookie Exchange Party:

Visit thecsiproject.com

Thank you CSI Project!
Visit thecsiproject.com

Gingerbread Cookies

Prep Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 30 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Recipe comes from gingerkitten and I decorated my cookies with Royal Icing.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter, brown sugar, and egg with a mixer on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Add molasses and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until smooth.
  4. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until well-blended.
  5. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. (Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.)
  6. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies with desired cutter.
  8. Space cookies 1 1/2-inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes (the shorter you cook, the softer your cookie will be!)
  9. Cool on a wire rack and decorate however you like!
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2011/12/gingerbread-cookies/

Share
19 Dec
2011
Posted in: DIY Projects
By    No Comments

Front Door Wreath

I haven’t had a Christmas wreath since I’ve moved into this house. It’s always one of those things I mean to do and then I run out of time or it gets bumped to the bottom of the shopping list in favor of a Christmas gift for someone else and next thing you know it’s 4 years later. This year I was determined to put something on my door.

I was at Michaels last week and I found some really pretty ribbon. This was the sign I needed. $3 for a $10 ribbon and it was coming home with me. On my drive back home I spotted the Dollar Tree in town, meaning more cheap items for my project. Here’s what I came up with.

My supplies included a 15-foot garland, a pack of bells, and supersized ornaments. $7 for all of this. For the rest of the wreath you’ll need some sticks from your yard, pipe cleaners, and a hot glue gun.

  1. Choose some nice skinny sticks and line them up. I don’t have a cool birch tree so I lightly spray painted my branches white.
  2. Wrap up your branches tightly with pipe cleaners.
  3. Cut your garland into 2.5 foot sections. Use your pipe cleaners to attach your sections to your sticks.
  4. Attach the ornaments with more pipe cleaners. Use your ribbon and wrap it around the bundle, hiding the pipe cleaners.
  5. Use your ribbon to tie a decorative bow. A glue gun might help in shaping your bow.
  6. Attach your bells to the garland down below with your glue gun.
  7. Vacuum! Those garlands shed like crazy.

Christmas Wreath

I used the ribbon and pipe cleaners in the back to hang my wreath on my front door. Now my door jingles when it opens and I finally have a front door decoration without having to take money from anyone’s gift. Success!

Christmas Wreath

Pin It
Share
13 Dec
2011
Posted in: DIY Projects
By    No Comments

Cheap and Easy Christmas Decor

DIY Christmas Tree Decorations

I’m resisting the urge to make a dirty joke with the title today but today’s DIY item really is cheap and easy. You’ll need some 12×12 paper, some ribbon, mod podge, a brush, and possibly some Styrofoam cones. I ended up using them just to shape the cones so you can reuse them again for another project. I always have mod podge and brushes on hand so my true out of pocket expenses were $1.38 for the paper and $2.70 for the ribbon. That means each item came to $2.

You’ll first want to form your paper around the cones and trim off any excess paper. Mod podge your seam closed and hold in place for 30 seconds until secure. I made two differently sized cones for my project.

DIY Christmas Tree Decorations

Let the cones dry for a bit. Then come back, measure your ribbon and wrap it around the cones using mod podge to secure it. Again, press and hold for maximum support here.

DIY Christmas Tree Decorations

After wrapping them all the way and letting them dry they were ready to go on display. These are perfect for a pop of color in your room or to fill an empty spot just needing a little more kick at Christmas. I matched mine to my kitchen display and its blues and greens.

DIY Christmas Tree Decorations

What projects have you been working on this holiday season?

Share
12 Dec
2011
Posted in: DIY Projects
By    5 Comments

A-Wreatha Franklin

Do you pin? If you’re not sure what that means, I’m talking about Pinterest, the website that is saving hard drives from the gigabites of inspiration photos people once saved. If you do know what Pinterest is or are hoping to find me on there, this is my Pinterest page. Either way, it’s amazing and has helped me be creative to the awesometh power so you should check it out.

 

While using pinterest I saw this pin and decided to take it and make it my own. First, my supplies:

DIY Christmas Card Holder

I had 3 yards of 16 gauge wire, 48 clothespins, a pack of red beads, red ribbon, and emerald green Krylon spray paint. You’ll also need some wire cutters and scissors for this project.

Christmas Card Wreath tutorial

Step 1: Spray paint all your clothespins. I did 2 coats while they were all pinned on an old Ikea box.

Step 2: Split your wire in half. Make each half into a circle. You’ll see I only did 1 here in the photo but in the end I had to use 2 since the clothespins really weighed it down. The original tutorial called for a wire hanger but I had followed Mommie Dearest’s advice of “no more wire hangers” so I had to make due with what was on the shelves of Hobby Lobby, hence the doubling up.

Step 3: String your clothespins and red beads onto the wire(s), alternating each time. You’ll want to put the clothespins on so the gripper ends are free to grab your Christmas cards, like so:

When you get to the end, tightly wrap them together. My double wire made for a really supportive closure.

Step 4: Attach a pretty bow over your bound ends. I also attached a ribbon to hang the display.

That’s it! Not including spray paint time and the hours I lost inside Hobby Lobby I spent maybe 23 minutes on this project or 1 Parks & Recreation episode. My husband has since dubbed this creation “A-Wreatha Franklin” because he’s weird or he has some weird love affair going on with its namesake. Either way, here’s my creation hanging on my chalkboard:

DIY Christmas Card Holder Wreath on DIY Chalkboard

Not too shabby. Certainly it’s a lot easier than having all the cards sitting on a table and having them fly off every time the heat kicks on. Pinterest saves me once again!

Share
9 Dec
2011

Gift Ideas: The DIY Diva

I’ve started moving up from craft projects to DIY projects. My husband is a bit of a This Old House addict so we’re never short on tools in our house. I first started “borrowing” some of his tools but recently I’ve made some purchases of my own. Here are some of my top gift ideas for that home renovation junkie or HGTV fan.

Christmas Gifts for the DIY Diva

DEWALT D26441K 1/4-Sheet Pad Sander
I used my last sander so much that it died in front of me. My new Dewalt sander hasn’t seen the same fate. I use it to sand out the uneven walls in my house, decorative projects, and even when I refinished a table. If you plan on refinishing furniture this is a must-have tool.

Martha Stewart Crafts Dual Temperature Glue Gun
How did people live before glue guns? I’m sure you can see the many fine points of a glue gun but I’ve used mine on fixing up furniture, household items, decorating for parties, or even on my wedding invitations. This one is dual-temp so you can use it on wood or metal or even something delicate like silk flowers.

Great Neck Saw 128 Pieces Tool Set
Know someone just starting out? This is the perfect kit for a new homeowner or someone who is looking to start their first home project. If you know someone looking to build up a tool supply, this kit is perfect. Among its many items are a glue gun, a staple gun, an adjustable wrench, 4 screwdrivers, clamps, and even picture hanging accessories.

9 Amp 7-1/4 in. Mitre Saw
Having a mitre saw has changed our house. If you plan on doing trim work or even designing your own frame then a mitre saw is incredibly useful. Prices have dropped in recent years and this one is on sale for the holidays so if you know someone looking to add finishing touches to their home this is a perfect gift idea.

Martha Stewart Living Tester Sampler Interior Latex Paint, 14 Pack
Know someone whose more of the painting type? I’m a recent convert to the Martha Stewart paint line at Home Depot. I’ve painted my kitchen with her cornbread shade and I’ve got 2 more of her colors selected for future projects. I think anyone looking to paint their walls or even their furniture will like these samples to give them a good starting color.

Share
7 Dec
2011
Posted in: Household
By    No Comments

Gift Ideas: The Tech Nerd

I’m a bit of a nerd. No apologies, it’s fun being a nerd. There’s a lot of people like me out there who love technology and gadgets and you may have no clue what to get them. I have some ideas for under $100 you can give to your favorite nerd.

Christmas for Nerds

Ceramic Pig Speaker
I can’t explain it but there’s something darling about this little pig. Instead of a corkscrew tail you plug in your mp3 player of choice and the pig broadcasts the sound throughout your home. For $7 more you can monogram it with your name or even a special pet name.

Nook Simple Touch
I love my own Nook. I didn’t want a tablet because the whole point of an ereader is to read on them and the e-ink makes reading very easy without straining your eyes. My battery lasts more than a month even with all the reading I do. I also love being able to just touch the screen to turn the page. If you know someone who already has an ereader, other great ideas are gift cards for books or a nice case for their device.

A Song of Ice & Fire Series
If you know a nerd who hasn’t read the Song of Ice & Fire series, it’s time to introduce them. This is the series of books the HBO show Game of Thrones was based on. You can buy a 4-ebook set plus the newest book for the nook for just $45 or buy the physical copies of the books for $41.

Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board
You have to know your audience with this one but I got the Wii Fit for my birthday and I love it. It wasn’t about losing weight but rather about being active. It’s actually a really fun way to work out and I’m surprised by how much energy I use playing with it. For a nerdy person me who already has a Wii it’s a great gift idea. The only game that gets as much play in my house is the next item on the list.

Mario Kart Wii with Wii Wheel
This is a game both my husband and I love. Having a Wii is totally worth it if you play Mario Kart. Kids love it almost as much as adults do. It’s a great destressor and a fun way to play against a friend if you have a second control. On Thanksgiving weekend there were aunts and uncles playing nieces and nephews, brothers playing brothers, and in-laws playing in-laws.

Share
5 Dec
2011
Posted in: Household
By    No Comments

Gift Ideas: The Entertainer

Stuck on a Christmas gift idea? All this week I’ll be suggesting some of my top picks for those hard-to-shop-for people. All the choices are my own and no one is sponsoring them. Today’s target: the entertainer. If you’re looking for something for a mom or a friend who likes to entertain, prepare food or just serve it up for a crowd then here are some great ideas for you.

Christmas Entertainer gifts

Oak Finished Bar Cart
This cart holds glasses and 9 wine bottles. It even has a drawer to hold all the wine accessories you (or your friend) have. (no longer available)

Capiz Eco Bird Plates, Set of 4
These would look beautiful on a table or just displayed in a china cabinet. The capiz shell plates are made from mollusk and lacquered for durability.

Orka Chocolate Fondue Set
What’s a better gift for an entertainer than a fondue set? This isn’t your classic 70s set; it has sleek modern designs and 4 forks to help friends dig in. It keeps itself warm via a supplied tealight candle.

Circular Cheese Board and Tool Set
On top you can slice your fancy cheeses and hidden inside a swivel bottom are all your fancy tools to do the cutting. Break this out whenever you break out one of the wines from your bar cart.

Assorted Gold & Silver Mosaic Barware
What a great gift that can be used over the Christmas holidays or even over New Year’s. You can choose either a bottle coaster, shaker, or champagne bucket in the brilliant design.

Share
29 Nov
2011
Posted in: Household
By    2 Comments

December Tasks

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you can get overwhelmed by chores. Not those little daily tasks like sweeping or wiping down the sinks (though those are no picnic either) but what I’m talking about is the little things like rotating tires, pulling old clothes from the closet, or remembering to fill out my calendar for the next year.

One amazing way I’ve found to keep up on all those tasks is through Get Organized Now. Every month they create a checklist of the household tasks that often slip our minds. They even offer a printable version that allows you to check back on past months in case you need to play catch up

Get Organized Now just posted their December checklist and so I’m passing it along to you. What I like to do is map out all the tasks that apply to me from the list and plot them on my calendar. Then I fill in the empty spots on my calendar with other tasks I have to do, like painting chairs or taking my car to get inspected.

Bucilla Christmas Stocking Dog

Don't forget to make a Christmas stocking for your dog.

Some of my top tasks for December from the checklist include:

  • December 1: Donate items while decluttering to make space for your Christmas decor
  • December 4: Make all the cookie dough for the season and freeze it. I like to make slices or dough balls in advance to really save time.
  • December 6: Label all the circuit breakers in the house. Something that could easily slip the mind but really should be done.
  • December 17: Do a thorough pre-Christmas cleaning of the house and have a pizza party to feed all the helping hands.
  • December 19: Winterize the car. For me this means making sure my car has passed inspection, has tires in good condition, new wipers, all the fluids filled, and de-icer and a scraper on hand for those awful Missouri ice storms.
  • December 24: Wrap gifts and make an overnight breakfast casserole for Christmas morning
  • December 28: Inventory all the Christmas items you used like wrapping paper and gift tags and restock at after-Christmas sales. While you’re there, return any unwanted gifts.

At the end of every month just pop onto Get Organized Now and check for your next list. It’s really easy and I can’t recommend it enough.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share