So…I’ve been away

It has been an extremely busy summer and now were into fall! I personally can’t believe that.

Some things have temporarily changed, first being that I have gone back to school! I am currently enrolled in a Fashion Design program in Ontario and man is this humidity killing me! The nice thing however is how everything is so incredibly close, 10 minute walk to the store, AAAMAZING! On top of that being in Ontario means that I am currently experiencing summer temperatures at the tail end of September which is nice but I’m longing to layer up and cozy down with a  mug of hot cocoa.

On top of all the things that have changed I thought I should go back to things I was wanting to focus on previous to me moving across the county for a school year first being this blog. So… here I go! IMG_0367

 

Knitting and Crochet Markers

Although I am fully embracing the new season with the warmer temperatures and brighter days, there are still gloomy days and what better to do then to knit or crochet.

My Gramma was a wonderful knitter and tired to teach me to knit which proved rather difficult as she was right handed and I am left handed however, I did end up picking up crocheting leaving the knitting lessons to for my sisters.

My older sister Sandy got my Grammas knitting genes because she has become a wonderful knitter as well. I always saw her rummaging around to find something to use as a knitting marker that’s when I figured I could easily make one!

I picked up some earring clasps, I choose to use them because with crocheting the marker doesn’t move as your go along it stays put. So you have to have a way to remove the markers so a earring clasp made total sense.

While I was at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart picking up the earring clasps I grabbed some headpins, jump rings, small pliers and an assortment of beads.

knitting and crochet markers

Starting with the headpin I slipped the chosen beads in the order I wanted them then made a loop, cutting the excess metal. Using the spring ring attach the beaded section with the earring clasp.

I ended up making quite a lot of markers some in sets of 4 some in sets of 3 just depending on the beads I had on hand.

Using birch bark from some logs in the woodpile I used a leather hole punch to create holes in the bark and wove a strand of yarn through, doubling it back and tying the end to the beginning strand in the back.

Attaching the markers to the front yarn loops to create a nice display/ tag when giving them as a gift.

Happy creating everyone!

Raspberry Shortcake with Coffee Whipped Cream

If you cant tell already I am in full blown spring mode, so I thought what better then to make and bring to a friends for coffee then some raspberry shortcakes! To kick it up a notch I decided to flavor the whipped cream with a hint of coffee!

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Raspberry Shortcake with Coffee Whipped Cream

A few days before making the shortcakes I poured a small carton of whipping cream in a container and added 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee to the cream, stirring until the two are well combined. Sealing the container I let it sit in the fridge for a few days to infuse the cream with the coffee flavour.

Ingredients

Shortcake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

Glaze

1/4 cup milk

granulated or raw sugar

Whipped Cream

2 cups whipping cream

2 heaping tbsp ground coffee

 

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4-1/2 cup icing sugar

Directions

    Preheat oven to 425°F

    In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix well. Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut in butter finely. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream and milk; add to dry mixture, stirring with a fork to make a soft slightly sticky dough. Gather into a ball and on a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently about 8-10 times or until dough is smooth.

    Roll the dough out to about ¾ inch thickness and using a cookie cutter cut out rounds.

    Place on a lined cookie sheet and using a pastry brush lightly brush the tops of the shortcakes with milk and sprinkle sugar on top.

    Bake for 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

    While the shortcakes are baking place the beaters you are going to use to make the whipped cream in the freezer. It makes it a lot faster to use chilled beaters and a chilled bowl if you have the room in the freezer!

    Once the shortcakes are out of the oven and cooling on a wire rack strain the whipping cream with some cheesecloth and get to work whipping the cream with your beaters until almost stiff peaks form.

    Then gradually add your vanilla extract and icing sugar (amount depends on the sweetness you want your whipped cream to have). Beat until combined well.

  • you can also add chopped up berries to the whipped cream combining before piping onto the shortcakes.
  • Assembly

    Cut shortcakes in half, spooning a generous amount of whipped cream on the bottom half and add berries. Place the top half of the shortcake back in place and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a berry.

 

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Black Beans

There is an amazing Mexican food restaurant in Whitehorse called Sanchez Cantina and it serves the best black beans you will ever taste! So for a few years people in the village that like the restaurant have been trying to make beans that are similar to its since the only thing they will tell you is that the beans are made with love.

Well I just happen to have a friend that is Guatemalan and her mom is a fantastic cook so I got her recipe for black beans and after about 6 tries I finally got very close to the Sanchez Cantina black beans and now I’m going to share it with all of you!

black beans collage

Rodriguez Black Beans

A must have for your Mexican themed dinner!

A very freezer friendly meal!

Ingredients

1 Bag Black Beans

Mushroom Bullion Cubes

Herb Bullion Cubes

1 Head of Garlic, Finely Chopped

1-2 Onions, Finely Chopped

Directions

Place full bag of raw beans in a large pot and cover well with water. Add one mushroom and one herb bullion cube. Boil for one hour, you will have to keep adding water, every time you add water add one of either herb or mushroom bullion.

Stirring occasionally.

Add one head of finely chopped garlic and continue boiling for 2 hours more, adding water and bullion cubes when needed.

Once boiled for 3 hours turn off heat and leave on the stove top until the next step

In a large frying pan place a fair amount of oil and add diced onions to the pan. Caramelize onions do NOT caramelize them so much that they are a dark brown it will give the beans a bitter flavor. You want them transparent and just starting to turn a light brown.

Once onions are done add a portion of the beans and water to the frying pan and fry them with the onions. Will have to fry several times to get all the beans done, placing the finished beans in a different pot or bowl. Once all beans are fried stir well to get the onions evenly distributed though out the beans.

Enjoy with rice, bean salad, nachos and more!

Because this recipe takes about 4 hours to make and also makes a large amount I tend to freeze a large portion of the beans in different size freezer bags to use later. They freeze amazingly and then you have homemade black beans ready anytime you have a craving!

Luggage Tags

Spring break has just ended sadly even if you are not a student or in a job that is affected by the winter break, it is a perfect time of year to get out of our usual surrounds even if it is within the same city!

In preparing for my spring break, which took me to sunny Florida for a week, I thought I would class up my luggage with some new homemade info tags. I happen to randomly have scraps of thick leather laying around and decided to get to work.

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Tracing my chosen pattern (a random gift tag I had laying around) on the rough side of the leather then cut out all the pieces I had traced. Using a leather punch I cut out the holes for the rivets. I picked out some metal rivets from Wal-Mart on my last trip into town. Once all the rivets were in it was time for me to locate my metal letter and number punch sets, mine are 3mm.

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With a board set underneath the leather tags I set to work stamping my families names and info and used some shoe polish to give some of the tags a darker look and made sure to push the polish into the indents made by the letter or number punch.

Once everything was dry I grabbed some ribbon to attach the tag to my chosen piece of luggage and now I’m ready for my travels!

Welcoming Spring

April the start of spring in reality no matter what the calendar says! I find in Canada at least that although spring officially starts in March the most change or transition into another season happens in April. Seeds that have been started in March are starting to grow, snow is starting to melt and for the first time in months you can see the ground and best of all the long and dark days of winter are becoming brighter! Since it is officially SPRING means its time to start some plants!

So living in a northern community means that to really purchase many of the things I might need, requires a drive of about 4 hours to the city where there is more then just a small grocery store. So when I can find a second use for something it makes life and I think the planet a little better. Such was the case with the used Keurig pods, I love the simplicity of making one cup at a time so I don’t feel the need to have the second…or third cup of coffee just to finish the pot! There is however the other side of things that if you are not using the refillable pods then you are essentially creating a lot of unnecessary waste. So I decided to clean out the used pods tossing the grounds in the compost, toss some dirt and seeds in the empty pods, water then BAM freshly grown herbs are coming your way! A bonus with using the Keurig pods is that it makes it super easy to share/ give baby plants to someone!

IMG_2624.JPGHappy spring everyone!

A little about me…

Hi everyone!

I thought I would introduce myself to anyone who happens to stumble upon my little world in the internet. My name is Ashley and I am in my late 20’s currently residing in northern Canada aka the territories up with the grizzly bears and wolves hurray!

For a while now my sisters have been heavly suggesting I start a blog because in their words I am a serial crafter. I am a lover of cooking, baking and crafting and eventually came around to the idea of sharing my ideas and creations with the world so here I am! Welcome to the chaos!