Tag Archives: baby

Birthday Recipes

Sea Ranch Sundae

I wanted to do some cooking while we were at Sea Ranch.  I like to cook but cooking dinner from the fridge after work with limited time and energy is different than planning a recipe, having an open-ended time frame and nothing else to do!

We made a batch of macaroni and cheese from The Mac + Cheese Cookbook that Rem got for Christmas and it was good but I didn’t make the best choice in the cheeses I bought.  The cheese I picked out was pretty mild and the overall dish was rich and creamy but fairly bland.  But good, as my dad used to say!  We’ll try it another time with different cheese and maybe some other tweaks.

Best-Ever Recipes

This Sunset magazine was in the magazine bin and when I saw the recipe for Dutch Baby, that was my choice for my birthday breakfast.  It is baked in the oven and should puff up rather dramatically, but our smaller version didn’t get that puffy.  It was very good and I’ll try it again in a different baking vessel, perhaps a round pie plate.  I didn’t add sugar to the batter but I suggest you do if you try it and I’ll add it when I make it again.  I looked at several other recipes and some had sugar in the batter.  I’ve added it to the ingredient list.

Dutch Baby Ingredients

Dutch Baby

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Note: This is for a 2-3 qt. baking dish, ours was 2 quart – Sunset suggests a shallow, oven-proof pan, no more than 3 inches tall – see recipe link for a larger version.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

3/4 flour

2 tablespoons sugar

Toppings

Toppings:

Powdered sugar, lemon wedges, honey, and fruit as desired.

Directions:

Pull out oven rack(s) so only lowest rack remains. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Put butter in 2 to 3 quart baking dish (see note, above) and set in oven to melt.

While butter is melting, mix batter.  Put eggs in a blender or food processor and whirl on high speed for 1 minute.

With motor running, slowly add first the milk.  Then, still slowly, add the flour and the sugar.

Continue to process for 30 seconds. (If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can mix the batter in a bowl, beating eggs until blended and frothy; gradually beating in the milk, flour and sugar.)

Remove the baking dish from the oven, the butter should be melted by now, pour in the batter and return pan to oven.

Bake until puffy and well browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Dutch Baby & Fixin's

Dust pancake with powdered sugar.  Cut into wedges and serve with lemon wedges, more powdered sugar, fruit such as blueberries and a drizzle of honey.

Sugared Pancake

I expect to try this dish again and will post if I create a more puffy pancake.  It really was a delicious treat with a side of apple sausage and some beautiful blueberries on top.

Dutch Baby with Blueberries

For dinner I concocted something that was good but a little quirky and not really quite what I had in mind.  I don’t have a recipe because I was throwing it together. Rem had enjoyed ravioli for our anniversary dinner and I thought we could make giant ravioli using won ton wrappers or skins, like my niece Miriam used when she was on The Sam Livecast cooking contest.

Making Giant Ravioli

The filling was a combination of pork sausage (I would have picked plain ground pork if the grocery store carried it), minced fresh ginger, finely chopped cilantro, green onion and arugula and some soy sauce.  It ended up being fairly salty (we had a little leftover filling and I made some small meatballs that we cooked up and ate), but with the pasta, it wasn’t too much.

pans of ravioli

Each ravioli was made with two won ton skins and sealed with egg white.  We made them in the afternoon and lay them out on baking sheets covered in foil sprayed with non-stick spray. I put them in the refrigerator until we were ready to cook them.

For the sauce (this is really where I got off base), I sauteed some diced vegetables (onion, carrot, celery and fennel) until they were nice and caramelized, then added some red wine and cooked it until it was reduced by about half.  I strained out the vegetables and wasn’t really delighted by the resulting sauce.  I ended up adding some brown sugar and some soy sauce and made it into a terriyaki-type sauce.  It was pretty tasty but didn’t work that well with the pasta of the ravioli/won tons.

I also roasted butternut squash, carrots, onion and fennel and Rem sauteed kale.  We boiled salted water to cook the giant ravioli about 5 or 6 at a time, each took about 5 minutes to cook, maybe a little less.  I drizzled the sauce over the won ton and the roast vegetables, and added a spoonful of the diced veggies I’d strained out of the sauce to the kale.  Green onions garnished the won ton.

Birthday Dinner

I had some leftover won ton for my lunch.  A few splashes of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil were delicious and exactly the right sauce for the dish.  I’ll look up more recipes using reduced wine sauces and see if I can come up with a better combo for future kitchen adventures

The biggest success of the day was dessert.  I thought about different things I might make: chocolate souffle and chocolate lava cake were two ideas that came to mind.  But for the two of us in super-relaxed Sea Ranch mode, I wanted something more simple.

Back to the Sunset Magazine 25 Best-Ever Recipes article. This one looked pretty wonderful: Coffee Sundaes with Salted Peanut Butter Caramel.  I love coffee ice cream and I don’t have it very often.  When we have ice cream at home we almost always get vanilla because we both like it.  But for my birthday I decided I wanted coffee ice cream!

The recipe in the printed magazine had a side-bar recipe for caramel sauce.  The online recipe has you start with purchased caramel sauce.  But I did a little searching on the Sunset Magazine site and found the caramel sauce that is the starting point for the Salted Peanut Butter Caramel.  They call it DIY Caramel Sauce.

Since I came home, I’ve looked at quite a few other caramel sauce recipes online and there are many to read. In fact, I’ve made another caramel sauce that is different than the one I used for this sundae and it is also wonderful.  But it makes a thicker sauce and since our end result includes peanut butter, it is better to start with a thinner sauce.

That said, when I make it again, I think I will try it with a little less heavy cream because it was a pretty thin sauce. Thin but good. This is the recipe, from Sunset Magazine.  You may want to try it with 3/4 of a cup whipping cream.

Sundae

DIY Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup whipping cream

Directions:

Put sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring until is has an amber hue, 2 to 4 minutes.

Slowly stir in whipping cream.  It will bubble up.  Cook, stirring until it boils.

My mixture was somewhat separated and I noticed some of the caramelized sugar and butter mixture wasn’t emulsifying with the cream to form a cohesive sauce, but was in hard lumps.  I was able to get most of the lumps out with cooking and stirring, pressing lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.  I ended up pouring the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove a few lumps that didn’t seem like they were going to come out.

Keep leftover sauce in the refrigerator. (If you are anything like me, you won’t have leftovers for long).

Let the caramel sauce cool,  and then go on to transform it into the luscious sundae topping.  Actually, let me be very clear: it is luscious and sundae-worthy as is.  But if you like peanut butter, you will probably want to go all the way with this recipe.

Coffee Sundae with Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Note: The original recipe is called “Salted Peanut Butter Caramel;” I tasted the sauce before adding salt and didn’t think it would benefit from a teaspoon of salt.  However, if I’d been at home, I would have sprinkled on a few flakes of Maldon or other sea salt over the sundae (before the whipped cream).

Ingredients:

2/3 cup caramel sauce (homemade from recipe, above, or good-quality store bought)

1/3 cup chunky old-fashioned peanut butter

1 pint coffee ice cream

1 cup sweetened whipped cream

1/4 cup salted, roasted peanuts

Optional: A pinch of Maldon or other sea salt

Directions:

Heat caramel sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat until sauce is warm but not boiling.

Stir in peanut butter until incorporated.

Scoop 1/2 cup of ice cream into each bowl.

Top with 1/4 quarter cup peanut butter caramel sauce, a sprinkling of sea salt flakes (if desired), 1/4 cup whipped cream,  and 1 tbsp. peanuts.

Sundae Closeup

This combination of flavors and textures had me scraping the bottom of the bowl.  I had a second (smaller) sundae the next day after lunch.  We were heading home and the coffee ice cream wasn’t coming with us.  Before the end of Birthday Month, I’ll buy another pint and make another batch of Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce.

Thanks for your visit.

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Templates for Baby Clothes Cards

Plaid Dress & Denim Overalls Cards

I finally got the templates finished for these two cute cards!  You can see more versions of the Baby Dress Card here and the Baby Overalls Card here.

I saw lots of paper at JoAnn Fabric and Craft’s yesterday and couldn’t resist this denim blue and red plaid combo.  It is thinner paper than the card-stock I used when I made them the first time around, but it made two cute cards just fine.

The templates are on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.  Print out the template at 100% size, on regular copy paper, cut out the pieces than put them down on the paper you want to use for your card.  Trace around each piece.

Trace Template

Here is the Baby Dress Card Template, and here is the Baby Overalls Card Template.

For some versions of the dress I used scallop-edge scissors for the hemline.  For this plaid version, I just cut it out plain and simple.

When I cut out, I cut just inside the tracing lines.  When you trace the overalls, use a pencil to firmly draw in the details of the pockets and waistband.  Later, you’ll go back with a marker to color in those details.

Fold the dress at the shoulder line (on the template I show that as a dotted line) and align the front and back.  It may not be perfect, so just trim where one side overlaps a bit.

Trim uneven edge

Cut out all the pieces, than glue on the pockets.

Glue On Pockets

The back of the overalls have one little place to fold: the straps that come over the shoulder from back to front. Fold where the dotted line is shown on the template.

Fold the t-shirt, lining it up carefully and trimming if the edges are a little uneven.

To construct the Baby Overalls Card, have all the pieces cut out, with pockets glued in place.  You can see where I’ve traced the front pocket and waistband seam details.

Overall Pieces

Put the back overall piece down with the inside facing up.  Put adhesive on the top part, including the ends of the straps, but only down as far as the waistband.

Glue on Overall Back

Carefully set the folded t-shirt piece in place, lining it up so the straps come up over the shoulder.  Back of t-shirt should be attached to back piece of overalls.

Gluing T-Shirt

Now put glue on the inside of the front piece bib area, down to the waistline. Line the legs up together.  Carefully set in place and adhere to front of t-shirt.

Closeup Front of Overalls

I used a fine-point dark blue marker to add stitching lines and a gold pen for the buttons and buckles.  A fine-point black pen adds a little detail to the buttons and buckles.

A folded bit of patterned paper makes a bandana for the back pocket.

Back of Overalls

The dress and apron are a little more straight forward because the dress forms the whole card with the apron or pinafore being added as embellishment to the outside.

I didn’t include straps for the pinafore or apron on the template.  Cut narrow strips of matching paper and glue to either side of apron or pinafore and glue separate strips to the back of the dress.  You can also use ribbon for all or part of the apron strings.

As with the Overall Card, I used a narrow dark-blue pen to add stitching lines, and gold and black pens for the buttons.

Close Up Pinafore

In the  earlier Baby Dress Cards, I used a white gel pen for some of the little details.

Front and Back

For the denim and plaid pair, I left the insides of the cards plain.

Inside of Cards

You can also use the Overall template to create a onesie.

Onesie

For the petticoat in the Baby Dress Card I traced the dress and cut a slightly smaller version, omitting the sleeves.

Inside Purple

I’d love to see your creations if you use either of these templates to make your own versions.  Send me a photo and I’ll add it to my Reader’s Gallery.

From the back…

Back of the Cards

or the front, these are both really cute cards!

Front of Cards

Thanks for coming by and reading my post.

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Baby Overalls Card

Baby Overalls Card

I decided that I needed a partner card for the Baby Dress Card I posted recently, so here are a pair of little baby overalls.  I think both cards are especially cute because of the details.

This card folds at the top, like the Baby Dress, with a t-shirt cut from another color of paper. Dark blue and orange markers added the seams and stitching details.  I used a silver pen for the snaps on the legs and a gold pen for the buttons and buckles.

The bib pocket, back pockets and belt loops are cut from a scrap of blue paper and glued on.

Bib Close Up

Back Pockets

For the inside of the card, I cut out a little white onesie.  A few details with blue and silver markers finish it off nicely.

Onesie

I’ve been working on a pattern for this card as well as the Baby Dress card but I’m down with a cold virus, so that will have to wait a little longer.  I will post a link when I have these patterns ready to go.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the template for the Baby Overalls Cards.

Here is a link to the post with another version of the card.

Standing Overalls

Thanks for the visit.

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Baby Dress Card

Baby Doll Dress

This sweet card is perfect for a baby shower or birthday card for a little girl.  I’ve been meaning to post it for awhile and I just made two last week so I got some new photos.

Back of Blue Dress

I used purple polka-dot paper for this one and part of a doily for decoration.  I also added some detail with a white gel pen.  This was for a co-worker who is expecting a baby girl in September.

Another colleague has two new-granddaughters this summer and for her I made one in pink with little heart trim on the pinafore.

Pink Pinafore

It is fun decorating both the front and back of these cute cards.

Front and Back

A white gel pen works well for stitching, lace and button details.  Don’t forget  to include your initials or signature on the back of your beautiful, handcrafted card.

Inside, I cut a piece of white card stock to look like a little petticoat.  Some trim and a nice greeting complete the card.

Inside Pink Dress Card

Inside Purple

Scallop scissors make a pretty hemline and dashes of pen look like ribbon trim.

I punched a heart out of the doily to decorate the back of the envelope.

Lace Heart

A few years ago, I made a yellow dress with a pinafore out of printed vellum.

Yellow Dress Card

White and yellow-orange ink trimmed the scalloped hem.  A little adhesive jewel embellished the collar.

Back of Yellow Dress

A piece of ribbon for a bow added a realistic touch.

I’ll put a link to a pattern for this card soon.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the Baby Dress Card Template.

Here is a link that shows another version of the card.

Pink and Blue Dress

Thank you for stopping by.

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Something New

I’ve added a new tab at the top of the page called “Art Journal Pages”.  It is a work in progress and is a compilation of one (or occasionally two) photos from each of my Art Journal pages.  There is a title, a link to the blog post about that page (or most often, that 2-page spread) and a photo.  Check it out. Thanks, Kathleen, for the suggestion.

In other news, I learned today that the little swallow fledgling didn’t make it.  I called for an update and was told he or she “expired” and though the report didn’t specify, the person on the phone said the injuries just may have been more severe than they realized.  I find some comfort in thinking at least this little bird wasn’t just sprawled on the hard pavement, but being cared for in a safe, warm environment.

I admit to imagining a little swallow angel, finally able to fly. May your spirit rise safely.

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Filed under Crafts, Life

Fine Feathered Friends

My feather-finding of the last year or so has escalated.  Now I’m finding birds (or maybe they’re finding me).

On Friday, just after I returned from an appointment, leaving our front door ajar, our neighbor called out to say there was a duck in the carport!  The duck, a female Mallard, was an unusual sight  in that spot, as we are on a fairly busy corner with a steady flow of traffic going by, and no creeks or ponds nearby.  Although she didn’t seem injured, it soon became clear that she couldn’t fly well at all, lifting off and landing a few feet away.

Eventually the Marin Humane Society came and managed to capture the duck and take her to WildCare, a San Rafael nonprofit whose mission is to advocate for wildlife for a sustainable world, and who actively pursues this mission through nature education, wildlife rehabilitation and community outreach.

On Tuesday Rem called and learned that “our” duck had a misaligned wing and couldn’t fly.  She is in a pond at their site with another Mallard and under observation.

Update: We learned the duck had a fracture at the end of her wing, in the “wrist” but is healing well and regaining strength.

Yesterday I left my building after work and found a little fledgling swallow on the pavement.  There are light fixtures in the outdoor ceiling of the entryway and I’d noticed sparrows swooping in and out of them. I guess this little bird had tried to fly just a little bit too early and had made a rough landing.  She was hunched on the ground with both wings partially outspread. Rem was waiting in a parking lot, down one level, and I called down to him.  He helped carry my things so I could hold the tiny bird.

As I started towards the stairs, an adult bird cheeped from her nest, up in the light fixture. My little rescue bird peeped feebly in response.  I felt terrible taking the baby away but it seemed injured and I knew the mama couldn’t get it back up to the nest and I felt sure it would not be able to survive on the ground. I was hoping to give it a chance at making it.

We went to WildCare and they confirmed that the little bird, a Violet-green Swallow, had a broken left wing and perhaps injury to her chest.  I was relieved when they said I’d done the right thing to bring her in.  She was going to be put into foster care as swallows are insectivores and need feeding every 30 minutes from dawn to dusk! Talk about dedicated volunteers!  We hope she’ll recover and be released back into the wild.

Update: Sadly, we learned today (7/22) that the swallow died as a result of his or her injuries.

I made a thank you card for the dedicated and hard working staff and volunteers at WildCare.

Bird Collage Card

Our little juvenile doesn’t have the colorful markings that adults do.  Her feathers were several shades of grey with a white face. This picture of an adult male shows beautiful violet and green markings.

Photo by Ashok Khosla www.seeingbirds.com

Photo by Ashok Khosla http://www.seeingbirds.com

Last night, at my Threshold Choir rehearsal, I learned a song from our repertoire that was new to me, called Help Her Fly.  It was written by choir member, Helen Greenspan, writing to her teenaged daughter.  It seemed appropriate in light of the little swallow I’d found.  I sang the song with the little fledgling on my mind. Here are the lyrics:

Help me love her. Help me free her.  Help her fly, her own wings to hold her safe in her flight. Safe through the night.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Day 1: Happy Birthday

Day 1: Happy Birthday

First Day of 2013 30 Days of Creativity!  Happy Birthday, Rem!!

View from hostel window

The view from our hostel room window.  We’re staying at Pt. Montara Lighthouse Hostel.

Last year: Washi Tape Banner Birthday Card

Two years ago: Birthday Pennants (I brought them on our trip and surprised Rem with them in the room this morning).

Thanks for stopping by!

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