Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chewy Hot-Cocoa Cookies

1 small box of instant chocolate pudding
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix pudding mix, butter & sugar.  Add in egg & vanilla.  Mix flour & baking powder in a separate bowl.  Combine the mixtures.

Roll the dough out to 1/4" thick [I use an adjustable rolling pin & a Bethany pastry board to make this step simple]

Cut cookies & place them on a parchment covered cookie sheet, 1/4-1/2" apart. 

Bake the cookies for 6 mins @ 350 degrees. 

They will appear slightly puffy when they come out of the oven, let them completely cool on a cooling rack & they will return to their original shape.
*A quick tip: I dust my pastry board [& the ball of dough] with mixture of flour & SUGAR before I roll the dough out.

Whipped Cream Frosting:
2-3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 pint of heavy whipping cream

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, blend the ingredients until they reach a "whipped cream" consistency.

Refrigerate the cookies once they are "frosted" to preserve the whipped cream topping.

To dress them up: I sprinkle them with a little hot cocoa mix, Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits [tiny dehydrated marshmallow bits], & add a mini candy cane or crushed candy canes.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blue Ribbon Sloppy Joes

 Ok, so I've never actually won a ribbon for these... But you be the judge.  I'd place my bet on these 'Joes in any competition.

Here's the recipe:

2 lbs ground beef
1/2 large onion, diced
3/4 c. water
5 teaspoons minced garlic
2/3 c. ketchup
1/3 c. chili sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2-3 teaspoons chili powder
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 splash of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce [clear bottle, red sauce, green top, rooster on the label]
Salt & pepper to taste
 *Optional, but HIGHLY recommended:  1- 22oz can of Bush's Best Grillin' Beans [Bourbon & Brown Sugar]

Brown the ground beef in a large, deep skillet [or pot, if you don't have a deep skillet]
Add the onion [I do this before the beef is completely browned]
Once the beef is browned & onions are soft, add the water
At med/low heat, add the remaining ingredients & let simmer until it thickens!

Serve 'em up & enjoy.

These are perfect on a cold day... especially after hours of shoveling - or thinking about what hours of shoveling would feel like, while watching your husband hard at work through the window.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Cupcake Stands

I made these mini cake stands by bonding an upside-down cup to a small saucer with 100% clear silicone caulk.  Once they are put together with the silicone, leave them untouched for 24 hours!  They are dishwasher safe.   

 How cute would this be on top of a dresser for jewelry?  Or a sink-side dish for soap & sponges?

Watch for these on our Coonskin June Etsy Shop [Coming Soon!]  I'll keep everyone posted on our grand opening!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fireside Elf

I've been trying to get creative with this whole Elf on the Shelf deal because I'm running out of places to "hide" him.  So last night I set up this little fireside scene, using the centerpiece on our kitchen table.   I just added the small "fire pit" by surrounding a tea light candle with tiny stones & gave the elf a toothpick & a mini-marshmallow.  [I found them in the baking aisle... they're called "Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits"] 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hicktown Halloween

I know this is a little late, but I've been meaning to share the Halloween costume Jackson wore this year!  He was the cutest little Jason Aldean in our neck of the woods [& probably the only one].  It was a big hit!  & so simple... Jackson James already has the wardrobe & the lyrics down, he just needed a little facial hair & a guitar [his first, he is so excited to start lessons soon!]  At 4 years old, this kid is a "big"Aldean fan... 

For Christmas he asked us for a mic & a guitar strap!  He means buisness ;) 

& of course, I cannot leave out his sister, June Taylor.  Her costume was thrown together minutes before we walked out the door.  It's really nothing spectacular.  Her cowgirl boots went MIA & we had to improvise.  Her clothes were already filthy from playing in the dirt that afternoon, so we tossed on her camo jacket, her brother's "coonskin" hat, a bow, & some jewels.  Here's our coonskin June - the little hunter/trapper/backwoods beauty queen:

She insisted on wearing those necklaces.  It worked.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Elf Rides In

Santa's little helper made his first appearance in our house [on horseback] this morning & what a difference he has made!  As I have been power-organizing the house for the last couple of weeks [in preparation for the holidays], the kids haven't been on their best behavior... until now, under the close watch of Santa's tiny messenger.  "The Elf on the Shelf" is a magical [& genius] Christmas tradition for ALL to enjoy.

I'm just praying the novelty lasts long enough to get us through my first round of pie crusts this season, the one time during the holidays that I need this little red crutch the most.

Happy trails to all, & to all a good night!   


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cobwebs & Crow Feathers

 My favorite part of decorating for Halloween is dressing up our chandelier.  It's such a simple thing to do & makes such a spooky statement in a room.
I made these potions with $1 glass bottles from a craft store, water, & food coloring.  I love the old silver serving trays I found at a local thrift store. Vases & corks could work instead of the bottles too.

We suspended these plastic bats from the curtain rods in the front window.  Standing outside at night, you can see their silhouettes in the soft lamp light.  We will have strobes on them Halloween night.

 Cobwebs make all the difference.

 A poisoned apple in a jar: a decorative [vase filler] apple with a little glue & glass glitter.

 Crow feathers. [Black feathers purchased at a craft store.]

 I attached a small branch to our "Rodeo" sign using thin wire, then added the crow, leaves, webs, & moss.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread

Anyone else in the mood for "pumpkin spice" EVERYTHING in the fall?  I came up with this so I could get my fill of the season in the morning... because my pumpkin spice coffee isn't enough? This spread is so great on bagels, crackers, graham crackers, & pretzels. 

The easy recipe:

1 8oz tub of plain whipped cream cheese {the regular should work too! Whipped is just easier}
1/4 c. {heaping} of pumpkin puree
2-3 packed tablespoons of brown sugar {depending on how sweet you want it.  I was fine with 2.}
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

With a hand mixer, combine all ingredients & blend together.

I refrigerate mine in a mason jar & use by the expiration date on the cream cheese.


My Autumn Vegetable Beef Soup

I called this my "Autumn" Vegetable Beef Soup because it packs a little more heat than a standard vegetable beef soup.  I don't like anything too spicy, but the heat level of this soup is simple to adjust, so I made it "just right" for our taste.  I experimented in the kitchen last night & came up with this recipe for dinner.  Like most soups, it was even better re-heated the next day!

Ryan is a meat & potatoes kind of guy, ...he's not really into soups.  He likes stew & chili.  I would say this is a hearty compromise.  Almost chili-like in flavor, but with more of a brothy than a "saucy" constistancy.  

Ryan went back for seconds.

Here is what you need:

1 lb ground beef
2 {smaller} yellow onions - cut into petals
1 32 fl oz. carton of beef broth
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes - undrained
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. frozen sweet corn
1 c. chopped carrots
3-4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/3 c. Western Dressing {I know, sounds strange, but it was amazing!!}
1 teaspoon black pepper
Garlic powder - to taste (I just sprinkled in a little)
Salt - to taste (I used about 2-3 teaspoons)
1 Bay Leaf
A few dashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (or any hot sauce, but I love this one for soups!)

In a large pot {not quite a stock pot} I browned the pound of beef with the onion by simmering it in a small amount of the beef broth.  Once the beef was browned, I added the rest of the beef broth.  -Followed by the remainder of the ingredients.  I simmered it {covered} on low for about 45 mins.  But you could probably get away with less time.  The time is pretty flexible, as long as the vegetables are cooked through & soft.  After simmering, I could tell if I need to add either more garlic powder/more Worcestershire sauce/ or more salt.

Remove the bay leaf, serve & enjoy!

This recipe is definitely a keeper!  The list of ingredients may seem long, but they are all pretty basic.  It was a very easy soup to make.  This would probably be great in a slow cooker as well! 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Heirloom Sugar Cookie Recipe

After trying out countless sugar cookie recipes, I have very happily settled with this one, 'til death do us part.

This is one of those recipes I have kept secret for years - with the intentions of passing it down to only my children when the right time comes around.

But that's just stingy...  & I've been feeling so thankful for the support I've had this past year.  {We're coming up on one year since I started Hayseed Homemakin'!}

So I'm letting go...  & passing it along to all of you, in appreciation.

Here it goes:

1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
{I add a splash of milk if the dough seems too dry to roll out.}

Mix pudding mix, butter & sugar.  Add in egg & vanilla.  Mix flour & baking powder in a seperate bowl.  Slowly combine the mixtures.
I roll out my cookies {& all other doughs} on a Bethany pastry board- the best thing that ever happened to my pie crusts & cookies.  For cut-out cookies, like these, I want my dough to roll out at a consistent thickness... so I use an adjustable rolling pin.  Using cookie cutters, cut out your cookies & place them on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

Bake these cookies @ 350 degrees for 6-7 minutes, depending on your oven {I don't let them turn gold at all...} They are the best when they are chewy!  They may seem like they're not done baking, but, after they are completely cool, they stiffen up!

A quick tip: I dust my pastry board {& the ball of dough} with mixture of flour & SUGAR before I roll the dough out.   

The icing recipe:
3 c. powdered sugar.
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
4 oz softened cream cheese
A little milk {small splashes until you've reached desired consistency.}

I hope you enjoy these as much as we have throughout the years... They are my go-to cut out cookies & I use them for almost EVERY holiday.

Thanks again for all of the support, I truly appreciate each & every one of you :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Field Fresh Fall Decor

Ryan & I were shooting our bows in the field the other day.  I wound up a little distracted {go figure} & came home with more than a sore arm.  Our Tahoe was filled to the brim with all kinds of nature.

I added field corn {tied with a burlap bow} & various "pretty" weeds to my twig wreath.  I keep these twig wreaths up year-round & change out the decor with the seasons & holidays.

I cut this field corn right out of the field & cinched it up with a little twine from the barn.  Again, I added a few pretty weeds to the mix & finished it off with a burlap bow.

I'm in love with the window shutter flower box Ryan built for me this week.  {Packed with more weeds, twigs, & dry hydrangeas - all from our evening on the farm.}

A swag of grasses, more weeds, field corn & again; a burlap bow {all tied together with twine.}

Thursday, September 13, 2012

June's 1st Birthday

As I started planning June's first birthday party, I initially planned on a cowgirl theme... Until I stumbled upon a flock of pink flamingos.  From there, the idea warped into a Junk Gypsy/yard sale/trailer park-cowgirl/equestrian theme.  June & I love the Junk Gypsy Co.  Those women are inspirational & our kind of classy. 

My budget stood no chance at keeping up with all of the ideas I had for this party... It's really not easy to fence-in wildfire creativity when ideas begin to spark.  But, I had to remind myself that this was a birthday party, not a wedding ;)  I really didn't have to buy much.  I have a little bit of a yard sale addiction... & quite the collection of thrifty finds in my basement.  So, this is my tight-budget version of a Junk Gypsy inspired party.

The party after sunset:

Instead of flowers, I made feather bouquets.  I used the green floral foam to secure the feathers.

I love big, chunky Christmas lights... I used pink on the table.
Giving new life to ordinary glass is simple with colored lights.  Most of these pieces come from old light fixtures.
I made pink "fireflies" in mason jars by wrapping a submersible LED floral light with pink tulle.
My brother's amazing girlfriend, Etta, has a beautiful collection of old jewelry. 
I loved these old brooches.
The lanterns we strung across the yard are the same lanterns we used for our wedding.
We even lit up the corn.
Etta's mom made this globe light, how neat is this??

Vintage Glass Garden Ornaments
My simple Bundt Pan Chandelier.  {The steps to make one will be posted soon.}

 & in the daylight:

I constructed this Tee-pee with long, narrow boards, vintage sheets & thrift store curtains.  A tee-pee was Etta's idea.
Country seating- hay covered in vintage sheets.
More of Etta's beautiful old jewelry collection.
I used my old {horse jump} standards to "frame" this table.

We served fried "fair" food.
I made this little "statue" by attaching a plastic horse to a brass planter {turned over} with silicone.  Then used pink spray paint.  & voila!
Vintage Pyrex dishes to serve up sweets for the kids.
The day of June's party ended up being rainy.  We had a lemonade stand on an old dresser too, but the rain got the best of that display before I was able to photograph it.  When the rain came & washed away all of the glam, it was a great reminder that it isn't all of the fine details that make the party, it's the company of good friends & family.  They were the ones who made June's day so special.  It ended up being a wonderful time, thanks to all of the amazing people we shared it with.

& a special thanks to Etta for taking a day to help me with a few ideas & a little thrift store shopping.  {I'm in love with her style & creativity!}
-Thanks, Etta!!-