Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Zucchini Spice Bread

I decided to welcome fall and at the same time avoid watching the Bears/Packers game with some baking this past weekend.  We put up all the Halloween decorations on Saturday so it was starting to get moving in the Summer is over let’s bring on Fall kind of direction in our household.  Apple picking is just around the corner along with pumpkins, corn stalks, squash, and apple cider doughnuts.  Even though Christmas is already out in the stores, taking up valuable Halloween decoration and candy space, and I swear Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been out since the end of August, I have been looking forward to refreshing cold glass of apple cider to acclimate myself to the new season. It is still a bit too warm for the latte, no offense you pumpkin spice lovers out there, your crisp temperatures will come.

I love all the flavors of the fall season.  They are more deep and aromatic than then fresh bites of summer, but not as heavy and sweater inducing as winter eating.  Cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg mixed in with brown sugars and rich butter create a dense taste that is both warm and inviting after a day spent outdoors picking pumpkins and hanging up spooky ghosts that creep out the neighbors and at night.  This quick bread has a very dark color with all the fantastic spices but don’t let it fool you, it is at home with a nice smear of whipped cream cheese and that cold glass of apple cider or warmed with a bit of butter and the spiced latte of your choice.  I have even toasted a piece or two for a comforting breakfast.

It uses some of that zucchini that might have been squirreled away in your freezer from the summer’s bounty or from fresh bought at the store which can still be found a good price.  If using frozen zucchini don’t be afraid to pour off some of that extra liquid but not all of it, we don’t want a dry loaf.  The recipe is very forgiving when it comes to the spices. Sometimes I cut back on the ginger and add in a bit more cinnamon for a richer flavor that is less reminiscent of spice cake and is more like apple pie.  I have a cooler oven so I bake my loaf 5-10 minutes longer than the recipe calls for and since it is a dark batter you have to keep an eye on it, checking it often with the toothpick.

Zucchini Spice Bread
1 large zucchini grated or 2 cups grated

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp. white sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs or egg equivalent

1&1/2 cups flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1&1/2 tsp cinnamon

¾ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

¾ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly coat a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs. In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt.  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine well.  Stir in the grated zucchini.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread out evenly.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes then cool fully on a wire rack.

This baking adventure turned out much better than the Bears/Packers game; at least if you were a Bears fan, sigh…..  The leaves are changing and the Halloween decorations are beginning to appear around the neighborhood.  Soon it will be time for hoodies every day and my favorite crafting time of year, the Howl-oween Tricks and Treats Craftathon!          
Happy Fall Y’all!

Kelly

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Doggone Dirty Craftin Linky Party

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 Got a ton of scraps sitting around?  Head over to Mad for Fabric and get some tips on how to put together your own patchwork top


Art Club Blog posted a great tute on how to make these image transfer halloween coasters.  
They would be a great spooky addition to your coffee table for next month.

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  • Link up any project you want as long as its made by you.  That means sewing, painting, recipes, photography, DIYs, and anything else creative you can think of. 
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Charity dresses

This post is a long time coming but I promise it will be worth the wait.  Every January the Craft Club chooses a charity and bases that month’s craft around the needs of that charity.  We have made quilts and blankets for kids in hospitals, crocheted red and blue scarves to show support for Special Olympics athletes competing in Illinois, and made quilted pet beds for animals in shelters.  It’s a great way to give back to a world that has given us so much.
 
This year we chose to make pillowcase dresses for Dress a Girl Around the World.  This amazing organization is part of Hope 4 Women International.  The objective is to create a simple and easy to care for garment for a little girl in need.  These dresses will travel all over the world to countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and even to young ladies right here in the United States.  “We dream of a world where every girl has at least one new dress” is the mantra this charity is based on and it reverberates in the heart of each person who sews a gown for these little ones.
Every girl deserves the dignity of owning one nice dress.  A garment that fits correctly, gives them a sense of pride, keeps them covered with a renewed feeling of safety.  Some of these young ladies live in societies where woman are not respected as they should be and these dresses show them that each of them is loved and cherished.  Pastors in villages where these dresses have been donated report that these garments give the girls a protected and cared for appearance which may discourage a would-be predator.  Additionally, a Dress a Girl Around the World tag is sewn in a visible location on each dress so that others know that this girl is under the care of an organization, hopefully adding another level of safety for her.  It’s amazing that one dress can add so much beyond what we think of in a garment.
These dresses are made from new pillowcases and can be made in less than an hour by even the most novice sewer.  The website provides you with links and PDFs to walk you through sizing your dress, cutting armholes, sewing the shoulder ties, and even ideas on how to embellish the dress to make it unique.  You can purchase a new pillowcase or make your own using the super simple Sausage Pillowcase technique.  Cotton is the fabric of choice for these dresses for many reasons: it’s strong and durable, soft on the skin, easy to both sew and wash, breathable, and offers coverage for the girls, no see-though fabrics here!
With only a few simple steps the pillowcase is transformed into a cute yet functional dress for a girl to be proud of. We chose bright colors and patterns of cottons to really brighten their days and help them enjoy life as a child.  These are children after all and they deserve a touch of wonder in their world.  We added pockets, ruffles, and buttons, embellished with rick-rack and embroidery, even made our own bias tape for some of the shoulder ties to keep the dresses up-beat and happy.  Along with the colorful fabrics we employed bright threads and stitch patterns, using all of our faculties to show these sometimes forgotten girls that we are thinking of them and are working to improve their lives, even the smallest amount, when they cannot.
I am so proud of these Craft Clubbers I worked with on this craft.  We made 23 beautiful well-made dresses for this charity!  Everyone worked hard as a team: some cut armholes and measured pillowcases for sizing, others sewed in elastic and worked on the shoulder ties, and still others sewed pockets and tags on the dresses finishing them off and getting them ready to be donated.  A few of us were so inspired we made a few extra on our own to add to the growing pile.  Twenty-three dresses were donated yesterday to our Illinois Ambassador to be provided to little girls of all ages.   Pinks, blues, yellows, purples, and greens of every shade, beautiful hues that I hope bring smiles to the faces of these deserving girls.  I wish I could travel with these amazing Ambassadors to these countries to hand deliver a dress to each of these young ladies.  To make even a greater impact, so show them personally that we care about them, that we want them to have the best future there is.  Perhaps someday I will be able to go, to give and receive hugs, but until I do I will sew pillowcase dresses with love sewn in with every stitch I take.
If you have a great idea for a charity we can help through crafts please let us know about it in the comments.  Be happy and healthy out there, always do your best!
Kelly 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Doggone Dirty Craftin Linky Party

Rhinestone Beagle



Cheryl @ Sew Can Do has a great post of "just because we can, doesn't mean we always have to make everything handmade" and it turned out wonderful.  Plus my birthday is coming up and I want a My Little Pony themed party too!


This quick, vegetarian, and really quite colorful recipe for Mexican Stuffed Peppers looks so simple.
Simply Stacie helps put a fast and yummy dinner on the table in no time!



OK Well I'm in fall mode so that means tons of pumpkin recipes. 
Jennifer @ Sweep Tight posted a delish looking one for Pumpkin Mousse Parfait!

Head over to Super Duper Kids Blog to find out how to make your own
American Girl Doll sleeping bag.  Perfect for those chilly nights coming up.


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  • Link up any project you want as long as its made by you.  That means sewing, painting, recipes, photography, DIYs, and anything else creative you can think of. 
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lemon Zucchini Loaf Love

I don’t know about all of you but I am still working through my summer zucchini bonanza.  Those big yacht-sized ones will keep for weeks, patiently waiting to be shredded for bread and muffins.  While too big and fibrous for frittatas and stir-fries, the big boys will never be turned away when offered up by generous neighbors, they can be stored for an extended period of time to keep the summer seasonal baking alive until fall comes. I learned this year to cut out the porous core with the seeds to keep from shredding them into the finer textured quick breads like the lemon one below.  The guinea pigs love the cores and make quick work of them when offered up as the daily veggie treat.  But if I am making a hearty loaf that can stand up to a good smear of whipped cream cheese I will go ahead and leave them in for bite and loaf stability.

I wanted to try a new zucchini recipe or two this year to keep it exciting and keep my poor husband from suffering from zuc burnout like last year.  I made tons of quick breads, frittatas, muffins, stir-fries, and even grilled it up on the bbq.  A new recipe I tried that really woke up the taste buds and didn't make you feel like you were eating yet another heavy spice laden slice of quick bread trying to hide the fact that it contained zucchini was this Lemon Zucchini Loaf.  I wanted one that was bright and fresh but did not have a gaze on top. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good glaze; it can truly take a loaf from a simple snack and elevate it to cake status.  But this loaf was going to get sliced and packed in my husband’s lunches and a glaze would end up adding a soggy factor that I didn't want since it could end up sitting in a truck for several hours before being eaten, we do have to keep up "the wife who bakes the yummiest things for her husband" ideals.  If I was serving this at a party or event I would definitely splurge and top this wonderful bread with the tart and yummy glaze.

This recipe yields a dense loaf that is very reminiscent of a pound cake but without the butter.  The lemon is bright and clean and coupled with the density make this almost dessert like without a heavy sugar load.  With only one cup of shredded zucchini in the recipe this loaf could be baked anytime of the year when you need a little something for a treat or to give as a gift.  The recipe is from Sunny Creek Farms.

Lemon Zucchini Loaf

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, or egg substitute equivalent
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan; set aside.  In large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In medium bowl, beat 2 eggs well, then add canola oil and sugar, and blend well. Then add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend everything well. Fold in zucchini and stir until evenly distributed in mixture.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and blend everything together, but don’t over-mix.  Pour batter into prepared 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  My oven runs a little on the cool side so I bake for 55 minutes.  This loaf does not really get a golden top while baking but the sides get a nice caramel color to them. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

This bread isn't too sweet and the lovely lemon flavor really shines through.  Brunches, Sunday mornings, or hostesses with the mostesses would all benefit from this simple slice-able treat.  I think I will go cut a slice and try to move on through the paper-piecing technique Anita taught me this past weekend.  She is such a great teacher and my star piece makes me very happy!  I am going to work on learning how to make my own piping to finish it into a pillow cover that I promise to share, but I have to finish it first! Good thing for baked goods and rainy days, they make for great crafting!

Keep it homemade out there, I know you will!
Kelly    

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Doggone Dirty Craftin Linky Party

Rhinestone Beagle



Deborah @ Three Dawg Lady Designs gave yet another reason to love zucchini.
Zucchini and yellow squash fritters!






We both agree that all girls are superheroes so why not check out this adorable costume tute from Vintage Violet Style to make sure they are appropriately dressed.


Did you get featured?  Grab the button below.  We made it just for you!

Rhinestone Beagle
  • Link up any project you want as long as its made by you.  That means sewing, painting, recipes, photography, DIYs, and anything else creative you can think of. 
  • Please NO ETSY SHOP links.  I already spend way too much time shopping there. 
  • We would giggle with delight if you would grab our button!  No pressure though; it's not mandatory to participate. 
  • Show some love and visit a couple of the other crafty projects and leave some comments.  It's nice to know someone other than your family and friends is actually looking at your posts out there in cyberspace. 
OK here we go!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Calling all Howl-oween Crafters!


It's that time of year again that we look to you, the amazing crafting community, to volunteer to be a part of our annual
Rhinestone Beagle


We are looking for a few good crafters to guest post for our 4th year of the craftathon.  You can do anything from scary snacks and creepy costumes, to trick-or-treating trinkets and disturbing d├ęcor.  Simple to complex, anything goes.  We just ask that it’s a you-original creation or at least a fresh take on an old favorite.

So if you're passionate about Halloween like we are, or if you just have a spectacularly spooky idea you want to share, here’s what you do. 

  • Send a quick email to rhinestonebeagle@gmail.com letting us know you want to participate before September 27th with your name, a brief description of your craft and your blog url.  
  • Then get started on your tute.  We will need you to have the finished post emailed to us by Sept 30th.  That way we have time to work out any kinks that may arise.
  • Don't forget to take lots of pictures detailing your process and in true RB fashion if you have a dog please try to include them in one of your pics along the way.  We will also take any other animal friends in the pics if you have them, be they furry, scaley, feathery, or of the smooth hide variety.
 We will also be doing a special giveaway, just for the crafters that participate.  Who doesn't love freebies?!

Thanks so much and don’t forget to stop by for our weekly linky party, Doggone Dirty Craftin, every Thursday!

Craft on!


 Anita and Kelly