A Little Claire-ification

bright ideas for the busy & budget minded…

30 Days Of Thankfulness: Day 30 – A Year To Be Thankful

Thankfulness - 2012 Collage

Here we are at the end of November – wow!  Many of us have been in “holiday mode” for a while now – maybe even before the turkey was cleared from the table. Believe me, I love to see the tree and decorations go up too.   Thanksgiving is by far my favorite meal of the year and Christmas is my favorite holiday overall.

It was important to me, however, to finish the “30 Days Of Thankfulness” series.  It’s been a great year and we have so much to be thankful for.

Every month and every day.

xoxo,

Claire

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 23 – Air “Craft” ing 101

Today I am thankful for 14 years of marriage to by best friend in the world.  Happy Anniversary to my sweet Husband.  I am also thankful for safe travels and hugs from family members that we only see once or twice a year.

And yes, that might be a picture of an airplane tray table and I might have been crafting mid-flight.

I have a problem.  😉

In my defense, I DID keep my seatbelt securely fastened and I did NOT run with scissors.

 

Besides, it kept my fellow passengers amused.  I just can’t believe they wouldn’t let me plug in my glue gun or I might have actually finished this cute holiday craft!  All these silly rules.  😉

So when I return from the family holiday chaos I’ll get this one posted.  In the meanwhile, after the big dinner with 30 family members yesterday, we wondered why the little ones were so quiet…

Blogging at such a young age! 😉

So the “big people” enjoyed coffee and dessert in peace.  For at least 10 minutes.

Hope you all are having a great holiday weekend and maybe nabbing some great “Black Friday” deals too!

xoxo

Claire

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 19 – Delicious Butter “Silk” Tart (my FB Contest Entry!)

Happy Monday!  Wish I could have gotten this out sooner but it was not to be.  That’s ok.  I know some of you are night owls like me so maybe I’m just really early!!  🙂

Today I am thankful (as always) for my sweet Husband.  It was another crazy work day for me.  So many deadlines before the holiday and then preparing to come back into projects right after… I need strength.  Or at least more caffeine.   My sweet man has been working tirelessly all day going through the last boxes and tools that need to be organized to get our garage finished.  He’s such an amazing help and is always calm when I get frazzled and feel like my head might explode.

And all of his organizing was amidst Littlest & Middlest “bouncing off the walls” since it’s holiday break.  The Oldest must be so happy that he can finally drive right about now.  I considered texting him 4 little words as he was about to leave to “hang out at Chik-Fil-A” (or do some other important teenager thing):

“Take. Me. With. You.”

Anyway, we made it through another Monday and now here’s the Butter “Silk” Tart!   This yummy custard tart recipe replaces buttermilk with “Silk” vanilla soy milk and there is NO skimping on flavor!  I used a round tart pan but if you just have a pie pan to work with, you will be just fine!

The background story:

Recently, I got an email that “Silk” was hosting a recipe contest.   I am not a vegetarian, but we absolutely love “Silk” Soy Milk – both Vanilla & Chocolate – around here.  And I am not getting paid to say this (I wish!) so when I saw this contest, I thought it might be fun to replace the buttermilk in one of my favorite recipes with Vanilla “Silk”.   Long story short, I signed up for the (again, non-sponsored) contest on the “Silk” FB page!  If you can take just an eensy second to vote for my recipe it would just make my day  month.  I really want to win that $1000 to put towards The Oldest’s upcoming college tuition!  Oy!    Anyway it’s reeeeally simple – all you do is go to the “Silk” Facebook page and click “Like” (if you never have before) and then click on the “Recipe contest” icon, then vote on the “Delicious Butter “Silk” Tart by Claire” entry (as opposed to the “Delicious Butter”Silk” Pie by Claire –  yes, I am clearly a scatter-brained goofball and accidentally called it a pie instead of a “tart” ANNNND the correct entry is now somehow showing twice so just vote for the middle one as I am going to see if they can’t delete the last duplicate entry).  ::sighs::   I am obviously challenged (I promise I am not responsible for any of the voting issues in Florida!).

Anyway, provided they don’t call and ban me from the whole thing for being a dork, and provided that you aren’t snoring by now, thank you (thank you, thank you, thank you) in advance if you can take a minute out of your busy day to do that!!

Wake up!  Back to the recipe.    I personally think that buttermilk pie is better than most custard pies – it’s slightly firmer and tastier in my opinion.  If you like custard pie, you will most likely love this one.  Fun fact:  the mixture of soy milk and a little lemon juice creates a great buttermilk replacement so if you are lactose intolerant, this is the perfect recipe for you!   And if ALL dairy is a problem for you, I am sure you probably have some ideas for replacing the butter in this recipe as well.  I don’t and I should maybe be buried with some fresh bread, cheese and a stick of butter.  And some bacon.  Feel free to share your butter replacement ideas if you have any!

You might remember my easy and super savory tart / pie crust recipe from my “Green Onion & Goat Cheese Tart”?  Well this Butter”Silk” tart  incorporates my favorite sweet pie tart crust recipe, which is a take off of Martha Stewart’s pâte sucrée (AKA “sweet pie dough”).

The Ingredients

For The Tart Dough:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup ice water

 

For The Filling:

 4 egg yolks at room temperature

1 cup of sugar

2/3 cup flour

¼ tsp. salt

6 tbsp butter, melted

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup (less 1 tbsp)  Vanilla “Silk” Soymilk

¼ tsp. baking soda

Making The Tart Dough:

This yields two tart / pie crusts so you will have an extra to freeze for your next recipe or you can double the filling and make two Butter”Silk” tarts!

First, place the flour and the sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer or a food processor.  Process for a few seconds to combine.  Add the chopped butter into the flour mixture and mix or process until the mixtures resembles pea sized crumbs.  This will only take about 10 seconds in a food processor – be careful not to over mix.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks and ice water and beat lightly to combine.  With your mixer or food processor running, slowly add the egg mixture JUST until the dough holds together.  About 30 seconds.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half, forming two discs  Do not over work the dough.  The chunks of butter staying intact will produce a flakier tart  Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before baking.

Once thoroughly chilled, roll out one disc of your tart dough on a lightly floured surface.  It is really important to work with chilled tart dough so if you are rushed or busy, do not skip that step!

Lay the dough into the pan and form the dough into your tart or pie shell.

Once formed, place your dough lined pan back into the fridge and chill again while your oven heats.  {Make ahead tip: If you are baking the next day, wrap your formed tart / pie crust extra tightly before chilling overnight}.

Preheat your oven to 400*.

Once your oven is heated, remove the tart shell from the fridge and line with aluminum foil and ceramic pie weights  {Handy tip:  Dried beans can be used as pie weights.  However, as I’ve mentioned in the past, once beans are used as pie weights they cannot be re-used for cooking  / eating, so if you DO use dried beans, grab a mason jar, etc. and recycle them for future use as pie weights in your next recipes}.

Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes then remove the foil and pie weights and bake for 5 minutes more – you want the shell to be a light golden brown.

Making The Filling:

 While the tart is baking, add the lemon juice to a measuring cup;  Add the Vanilla “Silk” until it reaches the “1 Cup” line and stir to combine.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.  Add the baking soda to the “Silk” mixture and stir until dissolved.

In the bowl of your mixer, add the eggs and sugar and mix until combined and it is a lemony yellow color;  Mix in the butter, and then add the flour gradually so it does not clump.

Ha!  I happened to also grab a yellow mixing bowl so the egg yolks are almost camouflaged in this picture.  Oh well, there goes my chance at being “The Next Food Network Star” (now I REALLY need help with that college tuition).

Add the “Silk” mixture to the eggs and mix until combined.  This may appear to be slightly curdled – it’s totally fine.   Stay calm.

Place a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drippings.  There will be drippings y’all, especially if you are using a tart form.

Pour the filling into the pre-baked tart shell to just 1/4” below the rim of the crust. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 400*.

Reduce the heat to 350* and bake for another 25 -30 minutes.

It should be a beautiful golden brown at this point;  The sugar and the “Silk” creates a gorgeous thin crispy, sweet crust over the top.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.   Allow to cool completely (or as long as you can wait!) before releasing from your tart form and serving.

Enjoy!!

Let me know if you get a chance to make this and have a great Thanksgiving week!

xoxo,

Claire

Linking Up to:

Wednesday Extravaganza @ Hungry Little Girl

 

 

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30 Days Of Thankfulness: Day 18 – Best Of The Weekend #2

It’s another beautiful day – chilly and windy but sunny.  I am enjoying my coffee on my back porch watching as the wind blows through the tree branches and makes ripples on the lake.  I don’t see the ducks this morning… probably because they are smarter than I am and are huddled together under a tree somewhere down on the bank, heads tucked in and snoozing.   The water reflecting an amazing palette of greens and some yellows reminds me that we have such an amazing Creator.

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised”. (Psalm 113:3)

Today I am thankful for another day and for the gift of sight to take it all in.  No matter what your beliefs, if you are sitting in front of a computer or any electronic device reading this, you probably realize that even in the toughest times, we have so much to be thankful for.

Now on to the Best Of The Weekend #2!  I have once again been blown away and so inspired by so many beautiful decorating ideas and delicious recipes I that have seen this past week.  As always, some of these posts may have been posted prior to this week, but they are ones that I have just found and enjoyed so I want to pass them on.  I try to keep it at 10 posts but will break that rule if I ever can’t just narrow it down!  Claire, the little rule breaker.  That’s me.  So here we go in no particular order at all.  If you were featured last week or today, feel free to right click and grab my “Best Of The Weekend” button above and tack it on your post.  Sorry I don’t yet have an official button.  I’ll figure that out some day.

Nesting Place – Fall Decorating With What You Have

The Nester has a beautiful blog and if you haven’t ever stopped by, you really should!  I love this post about using what you already have to subtly “Fall-ify” your home for the holiday.  This is great advice for Christmas as well!

Mom On Timeout – Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

These make me want to lick the screen, y’all.  Trish always has great ideas!

Nap-Time Creations One Yard Summer Dress

Two things. Well ok, three.  First, yes I know it’s almost Winter.  Second, I have three boys so I have to just sit back and wait for the possibility of Granddaughters one day (please let it be at least another 10 years).  Third, how stinking CUTE are these little dresses??  So now you have all Winter to make some for your daughters or Granddaughters.  So adorable.

Miz Helen’s Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

Ok, sweet Miz Helen had me at “cheese” – this looks so yummy (and also a sneaky way to incorporate some cauliflower in the mix!  Smother it in cheese?  Brilliant!)  Can’t wait to try this one. Miz Helen was also so nice to feature my Chocolate Orange Snickers Cake on her “Full Plate Thursday” post on 11/15.

Junk Chic Cottage – Vintage Holiday Home

I am just in L-O-V-E with every single eensy little detail pictured over at the Junk Chic Cottage.  To say that Kris has a beautiful way with style and interior design is the understatement of the year.

Real Housemoms – Super Juicy, Brined {Roasted} Turkey

Anyone else ever get intimidated by “the bird”?  My experience with brining has always turned out great, juicy turkeys.  Stacey & Aubrey over at Real HouseMoms always have some great recipes and this humorous post links up to a great recipe for a perfectly brined bird every time.  Who’s getting hungry??

One More Time – Sweater Christmas Trees

A funny little story about these… a few weeks back I saw some sweater Christmas trees at Target.  I immediately went and thrifted a few sweaters and even bought a few styrofoam cones.  If you saw my hand-painted Target knock-off holiday pillow a few days back, you know I like to see if I can make it myself!  Then literally the next day I saw THESE little beauties that Tammy over at One More Time posted.  They are SO much more gorgeous than the ones at Target so once I get around to finally making mine, I am happy to say it will be a “One More Time” knock-off instead of Target!  🙂 Thanks Tammy!

Funky Junk Interiors – Holiday Entertaining {With Nature & Junk}

There’s a reason Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors was featured in the FOLK magazine 2012 Christmas issue.  Her ecclectic “junky” style makes me want to go raid every garage sale and thrift store in a 25 mile radius to see what “junk” I can repurpose!

GingerSnap Crafts – Festive Christmas Countdown

This is actually a post from 2011 and I can’t even remember where I just saw it this past week but I bookmarked it because it is too cute!  Ginger gives a great little tutorial on “how to”.

Crazy For Crust – Blueberry Slab Pie

There are so many reasons to love all posts over at Crazy For Crust. I think I gain a pound every time I click on one of Dorothy’s beautiful pictures.  Frankly, it was a toss-up between this and her more recent “Pie Round Up”  post but The Husband loves blueberry and this is on my list to make.

Ok, post-edit here.  I am already breaking the rules but just saw these and MUST.  Share.  So here’s #11:

Hungry Happenings – Cheesy Crescent Roll Leaves

You might have noticed by now that I am a complete SUCKER for cheesy goodness.  How yummy do these look??  And how darling on your Thanksgiving table?  If they even make it to the table…  Thinking I would eat very last one.

Hope you are all feeling the urge to create or bake something fabulous and that you all have a beautiful and inspired Thanksgiving week!  Make sure you comment or throw a picture on my Facebook page and show me what you create or something that inspired you!

xoxo,

Claire

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 13 – Pilgrims, Indians and… marbles? Oh my.

“The World Is My Pumpkin!” (3 yrs old)

You should know that the original title to this post was going to be  “There’s a slinky in my bed…”.

And there darn sure was a plastic yellow slinky tucked snugly in my bed when I went to go to sleep last night.  And a random Star Wars Lego too, for the record (ouch!).  So you know how Slinkies stretch?   Yep, this one was all stretched out and attached to the footboard.  It’s funny, but ever since our bedroom makeover, the boys just want to cuddle up and read in our bed.  Frankly, between the two little guys and the cat, we might have to start sleeping in the other room!!  Thankfully the Teenager is not interested (but he’s still my “baby” too!!). 🙂   Seriously, though, we wouldn’t change a thing.  Just don’t tell the cat that part – she already thinks she owns the place.

But anyway, this trumped the whole slinky story.

I was tucking Littlest in bed this eve and he shared some insights that I never knew about the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock (Historians, take note!).

So I’ll backtrack and begin by saying that today I am thankful for little feet and hands and giggly bellies, and also for sweet little minds that think of the darndest things.

The bedtime conversation went like this:

Littlest:  “Mama, we’re learning about Pilgrims and Indians!”

Me:  “Well yes, you know that story about how the Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower and…”

Littlest:  “Yes, yes I knoowww that (insert ‘Duh, Mom!’ here)  but… did the Pilgrims have marbles?”

Me: “Err, marbles? Well I don’t really know, I um…”

(at this point I think maybe he knows something that I don’t but that maybe I should so I am wracking my brain.  No marbles on the Mayflower are coming to mind and what are they teaching these kids anyway?!  All of that crosses my mind in the span of about a second).

Littlest: “Because if they didn’t have marbles I guess maybe they just had to blow bubbles.”

(I don’t know what my next response should be…)

Me:  “Well, I guess they could have blown bubbles, sure… and, uh, I’ll have to check on the marbles thing.”

Littlest:  “It’s ok.  They didn’t have houses or anything.  They had to build them.”

Me: “That’s right – they didn’t really have much of anything and had to build everything from the ground up.”

(I was starting to feel confident again – I know this part of the story!)

Littlest: “Well, do you know how they knew they weren’t in England anymore?”

(maybe I spoke too soon)

Me: “Because they met Indians for the first time and celebrated the first Thanksgiving?”

Littlest: “Noooo. Because they didn’t have toilets!!!  When they got them they were thankful.”

(ahhh, from the mouths of babes)

 Me:  “Let’s just say prayers, shall we??”

(it’s hard to pray while you’re trying not to giggle but I managed.)

____________________________________________________________

Happy Tuesday!!   I hope that someone you love makes you laugh today!

(oh, and that you have a toilet even if you aren’t in England).  😉

Share your comments – I love to hear them.   Oh and, thanks to all that have checked out the “A Little Claireification” Facebook page and showed some FB love over there!

xoxo,

Claire

 

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 12 – Best of The Weekend #1

Today, I am very thankful to have “met” so many amazingly talented and sweet bloggers (albeit virtually) over the last 5 weeks.  And of course, thankful to continue being inspired by some that I have followed for almost two years!

 

 

Today is my first ever “Best Of The Weekend” post – a list of 10 blog posts that I read this weekend that inspired me the most-est, even if some were posted prior to the weekend.  DIY projects, fantastic food or recipes, crafts and everything else in between that just tickled my fancy or touched my heart and made me want to bookmark it.   I’ll start by saying that I will probably always have more food posts than anything else because I love to cook and I love to eat good food but I do try to highlight a great variety of things!!

Oh and you should also know – there were WAY (way, way, wayyyy) more than 10 posts that I bookmarked and so enjoyed reading this weekend.  Like, a LOT more, but I have to narrow this down somehow!  Here goes, in no particular order:


Simple Living & Eating: Ground Beef Stroganoff

Not only does this look delish, I was also  touched by Diane’s story about her family being without power for 7 days after “SuperStorm Sandy”.  Her pictures of her family cooking up the contents of their fridge and freezer reminded me of what we went through in FL after Hurricane Charlie with no power for 6 days.  But we weren’t freezing cold!

Fairhope Supply Co. : A Veteran’s Day Story

So glad to have read this today…

Lizy B: Fall Leaf Cookie Tutorial

I am definitely trying these (gorgeous) cookies out ASAP!

Life In Grace: 12 Days of {Handmade} Christmas

All I can say is that I am SO making some of these felt scarves for me AND for gifts.  Talk about adorable AND thrifty!  LOVE!

Country Cleaver: Breakfast Reuben Sandwiches on Pumpernickel English Muffins

Kill me now.  I cannot wait to try these.  I am thinking about Christmas morning with my Dad’s hash browns.  You might see this one again before Christmas!

Living Well Spending Less: Operation Christmas Child

I posted this on Facebook and I will say it again – this is a FANTASTIC way to teach your family about the importance of giving back to those in need!  Ruth gives all of the details out in her great post – check it out and start a new tradition with your kids!

Today’s Creative Blog: Washer Lined Tray

I love this and I know it’s something I could make too!  Pretty darn cute!

Home Is Where The Boat Is:  Mini Pumpkin Pies

I make all kinds of “pumpkin-y” goodness between now and Christmas so these are right up my alley!

Fox Hollow Cottage: Decorating With Thrift Store Finds

Fantastic – I love finding something at a thrift store and turning it into something new!  Great for holidays on a budget!

Life As Mom: Busy Holiday Cooking Plan (Freezer Cooking)

I know – food again!  But, as a working Mom of three boys I have an extra fridge/ freezer AND a chest freezer in my garage – I don’t mess around!   I love to cook and we love to portion things out and freeze them for meals throughout the next few months.  I coupon shop the sales and freeze items for later.  I’ll be posting about this within the week as it pertains to our holiday prep!

I hope you all have a fantastic and blessed week!

xoxo,

Claire

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 11 – Thankful to Those Who Served

My Husband’s Great Uncle Joe gave his life while serving in WWII.

My Grandfather served in WWI and the Korean War – he passed away when I was eight.

Today I am thankful for all the soldiers who are serving our country today and for all of the veterans who have served in the past.

Make sure you thank a veteran or a soldier if you can today.  Better yet, give them a big bear hug for their bravery.

I hope you all have a blessed and beautiful, relaxing Sunday!  Going to catch up on all of my favorite blog reading this afternoon.

xoxo,

Claire

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 10 – Green Onion, Goat Cheese & Thyme Tart (YUM!)

Time to make another one of my favorites – my Green Onion, Goat Cheese & Thyme tart!  This is a also a great idea for Thanksgiving or Christmas Day breakfast if you have guests staying.   Hey, you’ll be up getting that turkey ready for dinner anyway!  Might as well have a little something in the bellies to stave off the crowd until Turkey time!  Tips below on what you can prep the night before.

At the time of this writing, there was less than 1/4 of the tart left so I am glad I got pictures!!  Today I am SO thankful for food in our bellies.

I love working with pastry dough, both sweet and savory.  This savory tart is super simple and one that everyone raves about and, once you master a tart like this, you can add so many variations to it and just make it your own.

I started with a basic tart dough (AKA “Pâte Brisée”).  Easiest recipe ever  so don’t for a second think you can’t make it.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks cold butter, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 tsp. each of salt and sugar
  • 1/4 cup of ice water

Once you start working with dough, you will know when to add a few more drops of water if it’s needed until it just comes together. The chunks of butter make it extra flaky.  Combine your dry ingredients in the food processor (you can also use your stand mixer); Add the butter and process until it forms pea sized crumbs (do NOT over process) and slowly add the water in a stream while processing until the dough just comes together.  So important not to over mix so that the butter is still in little chunks.

Once the dough was made I divided it in half, creating two rounds, wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and I put them back in the fridge to get them good and chilled again.  Always work with cold dough.  Can’t say that enough!

Then, it was ready to roll out on a floured board…

and be laid into the tart pan:

This recipe makes two tart shells:

But for today I was only making one tart, so I wrapped the second tightly and placed it in the fridge, and will make it in the next day or so.  If you have a hungry crowd, however, you can go ahead and double this filling and make both!

 Once in the tart pan, I again covered it tightly with plastic wrap and once again set to chill in the fridge for about 15 more minutes while I started to prepare the filling. (**Make Ahead Tip:  At this point, the tart dough can chill overnight to bake in the morning.   Just make sure it’s wrapped tightly).

Once chilled, line one of the tarts with aluminum foil and place some pie weights in to keep it from rising up too much (you can also use dried beans, but then you can’t cook them later so if you use beans, just save them to recycle as future pie weights!).

Into a 400* oven it goes to pre-bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 375*, remove the pie weights and foil and bake until golden – about 15-20 minutes more.

In the meantime, I chopped about 20 scallions, an inch or so in length,  and two cloves of garlic

and grabbed a few sprigs of fresh thyme from our patio garden.

Store bought thyme is fine too but if you DO use dried thyme, just remember that dried herbs are a little stronger than fresh herbs, so use a little less.  Fresh herbs are always best if available, but there are just times (thymes?) when I know it’s not possible!

On medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of butter to the pan.  Once the butter is melted, toss in:

  • scallions
  • 2 cloves or roughly chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

After a few minutes cooking on high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover;  sauté until the onions are soft – about 15 minutes.

Scallions sautéing with two roughly chopped garlic cloves, thyme and chicken stock:

While those cook down, combine the following in a mixing bowl:

  • 1/4 lb Chevre (goat cheese) – I have also used Manchego, which is delicious so just use your favorite soft cheese.
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs

Uncover the green onions and raise the heat to high, stirring until all of the liquid is evaporated – about 3 minutes.

Add the green onion mixture to the goat cheese filling and stir to combine well.  (**Make Ahead Tip:  If baking the next day, cover the filling tightly  once cooled, and refrigerate overnight).

Pour the filling into the partially-baked tart shell and for about 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  One the tart has cooled for about 10 minutes, I removed the tart from the pan.  Hello, gorgeous!

Just yummy, flaky goodness that even the smaller boys enjoyed!   Tarts are perfect for breakfast, lunch OR dinner!

Guess I better go grab a slice before it’s all gone…

Happy Baking!  Be sure to let me know if you make it or tell me about your favorite tart recipe!  I’ll get this posted over on my “Recipes” page soon.

xoxo

Claire

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Linking up to some fabulous parties:

Wonderful Food Wednesday @ At Home Take 2

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 8 – Festive Fall Felt Pinecones {Deck The Fall!!}

I should really change the title to”Pinecone” (as in singular) since today was so nuts I only had time to make one so far.  I’m talking right on full moon, Monday-esque kind of crazy.  I learn something new every day.  Today I learned I can listen in on a conference call on speaker phone with a glue gun in one hand and my Canon PowerShot in the other.

Oh, and I was also reminded that hot glue is still stinking HOT.  Oh, the price I pay to multi-task.

I was at Target the other day (surprise, surprise) and was looking through some of their Holiday decor.  Not like you can miss it  – when you walk in the door there are now gi-normous, colorful, sparkly words that are dangling from the ceiling that say “Deck The Halls” and “Fa La La La La” and things like that.  Yeah, yeah.  Talk to me after I’ve had my Turkey and stuffing, people!   The truth of the matter is, even though I am grumbling about retailers rushing us through holidays, I am sure that I will post some Christmas recipes and crafts soon too.  These things take time and planning, I get it.  And don’t get me wrong – I do so love Christmas!!  Love, love, love.  I just want to enjoy each season.

But anyway, as I was muttering my “I love Turkey and stuffing” mantra under my breath, I was indeed looking at some of their holiday decorations and saw some really cute red and white felt pinecones in a 4 pack.  I took a couple of pictures but decided to look at their website in the hopes that one of their high paid commercial photographers had possibly captured a better image than I could with my iPhone.  😉   Success.

Cute, huh?  Target has great buyers. I am convinced they are on a secret mission to undermine my bank account.

They are calling these “Felt Pinecone Filler” (yes, singular) and cost $9.99 for a 4-pack.  So, unless you are filling a small cereal bowl, it could really add up to fill in a table centerpiece.  But I thought that these would really be perfect in Fall colors too!  So I high tailed it over to the craft store and picked up a few pieces of $.34 cent felt in two Fall-like colors.  You can see that the material they used is slightly thicker than your average felt, but that didn’t concern me at all.  I was out to create a Target holiday pinecone hack y’all, not an exact replica (and that will become oh so clear momentarily).

First, I decided to use a teardrop shape in four descending sizes for my pinecone “scales”.  I cut some card stock in the four sizes as patterns and traced about 10 each onto my felt.  My white fabric marking pencil was not really cooperating, and I did eventually stop tracing and just cut the pieces freehand, which is fine and ended up being faster anyway.  Pinecones, like snowflakes, are very forgiving as no two are exactly alike (I told myself).

Once I had my little stacks of both colors cut out, I also cut a little “flower” like shape for the base and a few tiny rounds for the top.  The little rectangular piece will be used for the stem in a bit.  I wasn’t sure which color I would start and end with so I had some extra pieces for the next one.

Next I fired up my trusty hot glue gun.   This actually reminded me – during my Freshman year of college, my dorm-mates would joke and say “Claire can do anything with her hot glue gun”.   Come on girls, don’t be silly.  I’m older now and I know that a hot glue gun cannot fix the economy.

But other than that, yes.  I am pretty invincible with some hot glue.

Before starting to assemble, you should know that felt and hot glue don’t really want to be friends, by the way.  I have fabric glue as well but in the interest of this drying super quickly (and getting it posted before, say, next Tuesday) hot glue was the quick option.  And, since it did make it super fast, I will use it for the rest of my pinecones as well, but just note that you have to clear a lot of hot glue “stringies” (pretty normal with hot glue) and if you get a drop on a part of felt by accident it isn’t going to come off without a hairy (felty), name-calling fight.

I started with my two little “rosettes” or base pieces and glued those together:

Starting with the first color, I placed a drop of hot glue on the point of each teardrop and pinched it together to give it some dimension (take THAT, Target buyers!) 😉

Here’s a view from underneath after the first layer went on:

Then I alternated colors going from the largest sized scales down to the smallest:

Once I got to the top, I placed a couple of those little rounds I had cut to finish it off and then I rolled up the stem, securing and attaching with more hot glue:

He’s kind of cute right??  I shall name him Pete The Pinecone.   He only cost me $.68 cents so the least I can do is name him.

I need a bowl full of these or they could be spread out on a Fall mantle, etc.  I took a few pictures of “Pete” just to make him feel welcome and all. And I wanted to make sure you could get a good look.  I might go for a fuller look on the next one (no offense, Pete).  The great thing is you can make different sizes which would look really nice all together.

The real pinecones are biding their time for now.   So how was that for an easy, inexpensive knock-off??

Let’s hear it – send a picture of your favorite Fall / Thanksgiving crafts!

Happy almost Friday!! (Eeek!  I sound like a retailer!!).

xoxo,

Claire

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Linking Up To Some Fabulous Parties!

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 6 – Vote For Chocolate Orange Snickers Cake

Happy Election Day!  Did you all write me in for President??  There’s still time!!  😉

Today I am thankful that we live here in the USA and that we have so many freedoms, including the right to vote.

I am also extremely thankful that all of the political ads will end.  #enoughalready

Annnnnd, what could be better after waiting in line for hours to vote than a delicious slice of chocolatey goodness??  Not too many things are coming to mind, actually (although another Bermuda vacation is a close second, however):

{my birthday 2007}

I digress.  Back to the chocolate.

Anyone else out there with too much Halloween candy??  You could really make any variation on this recipe by using Butterfinger or Reese’s Cups, etc. (and with or without the orange – I just love chocolate and orange flavors combined!).

The main things you need to know are that it has fresh orange zest (that’s the healthy part!!):

and chopped up Snickers bars (well, nuts can be healthy too, right?)…

that have been melted with a little heavy cream (um… dairy?).  Ok, that’s a stretch, I know:

Yeah, it is not a dessert for the faint of heart.   It is just oooey chocolatey goodness, y’all.  Wish I could say it were healthy, but this one is not.  All things in moderation.  Just eat little bites. 🙂

Got a little carried away with the Snickers drizzle since Littlest really wanted to help!   So.  Yummy.

The recipe is here – enjoy!!  And I hope you all had a fantastic day!!

xoxo,

Claire

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Linking Up!

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