Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Yummy Breads and Candies for the Holidays

The large bowl of pecans hand picked North Carolina pecans 
The pecan turtles right after the chocolate drizzled on 

The finished pecan turtles 
The apple bread 

I made fig cakes, buttermilk pound cakes and apple breads. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A market in Elizabeth City today

Hello everyone today I did a show in Elizabeth City NC and got to see one of my dearest friends whom I used to attend her art classes back in 2000. Laura. It was wonderful reconnecting with each other after many years.

How I set up for today. 

The Tanglewood Lake Holiday Market 

I just love both of these. 

The little bags I hand painted and do enjoy so. I was inspired by several images on Pinterest. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Upcoming classes to Norfolk Virginia at Wine and Cake Hobbies

Hello wanted to let you know about the new and upcoming classes at the Wine and Cake Hobbies in Norfolk Virginia for October and November.

Call Wine and Cake Hobbies to sign up now. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Recipe for Making Strawberry Jam and Canning the Yummy Goodness

Hello everyone and welcome.  I will be teaching a class at Wine and Cake Hobbies tonight March 7, 2017 in Norfolk Virginia. I am making this post to help the students or anyone else along the way.
The finished pint jars for my families use only.
I have been canning since I was a girl with my grandma Grace who is now in her 90's.
Although I didn't quit know why or what I was doing then I just remember standing at the sink and stove with her, and her telling me over and over you will hear a "ping" when the jars start sealing. I also loved eating everything she canned. My favorite was pear preserves......oh my!!! I asked for that every time and Welch's Grape Juice when I was at her house. To start with the basics of jar preparations please see this post
this will help to prepare your jars for canning. I use Ball canning jars most of the time as we buy a pallet full at a time. The Ball website is wonderful and has great recipes and instruction.
Here I am going through the strawberries to see if there are any that aren't in great shape such as a moldy one of really yucky one (you will know)

Wash them well moving them around to get all the strawberries and allow to drain
Too much water on strawberries and cause them to water downed tasting so try not to soak them, I have had ones that had so much sand and dirt on them I had to resort to that but do so briefly.
Let me also remind you to always wear some kind of covering on your head and an apron. I just love my Grateful Dead one my mom got me.....Thanks MOM!

Begin by capping the strawberries I use a tool I have had for many years and you can still find them on Ebay or other sites search from strawberry huller, strawberry capper, or even tomato huller.
Once capped you will need to use a bowl of a 13x9 dish to smash the strawberries with a potato smasher. You don't have to puree them just create juice and break them down some. I like mine "chunky"
You can see I don't completely pulp them
More smashing of the strawberries
Here you want to have 5 cups of mashed strawberries usually as reference its takes about 8 cups of whole strawberries to make the 5 cups of mashed berries. I always have so many that when its strawberry time I could can jam until I had 100's of jars so I always have more than enough.
Have your seven cups of sugar already measured out so once your strawberries are boiling you can have that ready to pour in the pot when its time.
Begin warming the strawberries on the stove top
add in your pectin (I use pectin in bulk) but whatever pectin you use read the instructions some pectin's are added at different times and have different directions, SO PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS of the PECTIN YOU are Using!!
Add three tablespoons of lemon juice
add your pectin I use one box of pectin
mix together the pectin and the lemon juice and begin to bring to a boil once you have a boil that cant be stirred down add your sugar
Add sugar in (*the seven cups already measured out) into the pot, bring to a full rolling boil that cant be stirred down and once you are there set your timer for one full minute. Then your jam is done.
Some don't want to use pectin and if that is the case you can carry your jam to a temp of 220 degrees Fahrenheit. This is only if you are not adding the pectin. Strawberries are very low in pectin and the older they get the less pectin there is.
These are the flats and rings in water that is approx. 180 degrees you don't need to boil them, just bring them to a temp of approx. 180 degrees and then keep them around that temp until ready to use.
Now you can skim off any white foam that has occurred while stirring I usually use a rubber spatula that is high temp safe and NSF. The canning funnel and the ladle can be purchased thru Ball
 or look at your local canning supply store.
You can begin now spooning in the jam with your ladle and your canning funnel. If you note the clear spatula in the jar that is to remove air bubbles, if you don't have one of these you can use a long knife such as a cake icing spreader that is narrow. I have that one for many years. Ball has a green one now to purchase.
Here I am wiping the rim of the jars with very hot water to insure there is no drippings and anything on the lid to keep the flats from sealing.
Place your flats and rings on the wiped jars and tighten as you would normally
Place the jars in the warmed waterbath canner and once all jars are in make sure the water comes 1" above the jar lids. Begin to increase the temperature and once it comes to a rolling boil begin timing for 10 minutes.

Once it boils I turn the stovetop down some and place the lid on the pot and vent a little to make sure the water is always boiling. Time for 10 minutes and once the timer is up time again for 5 minutes then remove the jars from the canner and place on a dry towel on the counter top. Allow them to cool on the counter until completely cooled. They will begin sealing some right away and others can take longer. If it does not seal you can use right way or try to water bath again. I usually have them all seal but every once in awhile there is always one that doesn't, we usually just eat that one. My boys don't mind. LOL!

Me making the jam.
8 cups of whole strawberries
mashed to make 5 cups
1 box of pectin see above foe instructions
3 Tablespoons of lemon juice
7 cups of sugar
see above for directions.
post signature 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Ho Ho Ho! Happy Holidays!

I wanted to share a little holiday fun we have been having since 2012. I was in the Hallmark store getting one of my "collector" ornaments that I get every year. Of course you guessed it..... Baking! I collect the baking ornaments so each year I make sure I visit the Hallmark stores to acquire the Hallmark collector ornaments. Well I spotted the Elf on the shelf and I was sold instantly. However I didn't or even expect our little elf would be such a Huge hit.  Well going on Christmas number four with our little elves has been a nice addition to our holiday traditions. This one I think I saw on Pinterest but not really sure. It was so cute!!
This one I had bought the Barbie Doll at Target for a few bucks, I know a fabulous deal. Apparently "Baker Barbie" isn't so popular??? It would of been on my Christmas list for sure when I was like eight or so. I was like the Barbie kid!! My mother always complained to everyone I was hyper and she took me to the doctor for this, and he told her if I could play for hours with my Barbie Dolls then no I wasn't. I made them clothes, beds out of matchboxes using glue. I made dresser drawers out of matchboxes. I even took tomato packaging and made elevators to life them from boxes I had in a walk in closet. Like I said I was Barbie cray cray! My boys called this is girlfriend that he went to the North Pole to get. I used those like instant cookies from Pillsbury which the boys love! Instant magic! 

Here I started adding a chalkboard I bought from Walmart for like $3.98 and had them in a baking basket full of kid rolling pins, and giraffe whisks that I found at Target,  and tiny gingerbread houses I bought at Roses. Both Houdini and Annie the Elf.

Here I had made a zipline from the ceiling fan to the kitchen light and used candy canes to zip through the kitchen. Again I think this was a Pinterest idea.

Here those little elves had got into the Legos which is so much fun and addicting. The boys love their Legos. All though I think everyone loves Legos!

This must of been one of those nights I forgot and then bam in the morning oh yeah move the elves!! Quick before anyone wakes up. Quick thinking hang them from the kitchen light fixture. 

Here they landed on the Christmas tree I have in my bedroom which is a cheapo that I bought at Roses. It's white and I love it! It's just plain cute! They arrived in flight suit and an adorable cute tartan skirt. The elves brought plastic army men. Again another favorite of the boys!

Here is where Houdini actually arrived in his flight suit. They brought Planes for the boys from Disney. Of course with a name like Dusty he had to have Dusty the Plane.

Then one night Houdini arrived with a shaving kit for all three of the younger boys. I bought these at Walmart in the holiday gift section. They were so thrilled with these. I have videos up on YouTube of them shaving it was just funny, I laughed at them shaving.

Here is where Houdini got into those yummy Hershey bars. He even had chocolate on his cheeks.

Houdini has his football jersey on and the boys got a new football, a favorite of them.

We found them in the tree again!!

Annie has on her sweet skirt and it looks a new apron to bake with.

Houdini has his camera and Annie her cupcake outfit for Skylar's birthday every year on December 13.

We found them in the sauna one morning in their sweet little robes.

Drumroll on Christmas Eve one year.

High up on the cookbook shelf. Houdini hides. These mornings it takes the boys awhile to find him.

This was one of my favorites of them all I printed these off the internet sizing to fit. I used one of those vintage raisins from the late 80's to play Twister with Houdini.

We found Houdini with a tiny coffee cup on the cabinet door.

Houdini went and played with the snow babies. I painted these back in like 1995 and every several years I set them up.

Look at how cute his he in the sleigh with all the bears around him.

Back in the tree and breaking ornaments.  He was being a little rotten Houdini.

Hello nutcracker! Yep you guessed it we found him with the nutcracker.

Here is one my daughter Crystal sent me after the Sandy Hook tragedy. We used the idea too.

Crayons and coloring books with puzzles always great ideas and inexpensive.

Back for another year in a glitter snow angel.

I love this one a mustache. Well hello there!!! I had a whole set of mustaches for the boys from the dollar store.

Puzzles are perfect they are fun and yet challenging, and you can buy them at the dollar stores. It also keeps the kiddos from playing video games and their tablets. I love puzzles myself.

Of course Houdini got the cutest pjs off of Etsy.

Too Elfin cute!

Oh my we caught Houdini playing one of Skylar's toys. The Little Tykes Xylophone.

Well I'm guessing Houdini got beach fever.

We caught him eating popcorn at the popcorn popper. Too funny!

Then we found him on one of the Tonka Toys with chocolate tools. Of course the boys liked the chocolates.

Houdini and Annie brought the new movie at the time, Despicable Me 2.  

Here they were hanging on the kitchen bar light by the monkeys from a Barrel of Monkeys. Skylar was intrigued by this.

Here our little elves told the boys they were back for another year, in watercolors.

We are always finding them on the bookshelf. Oh my but look at how cute those little outfits are. The outfits came from Etsy.

This has to be one of my favorites! Seriously how cute is this? I found these cute outfits on Etsy. Brilliant!

We found them on the kitchen table with reindeer noses on and a note, for magic spray. The spray is used incase someone actually touches them. It is made of water and a wee bit of peppermint essential oil with extra fine glitter/ mica powder. This was a printable from Etsy.

Here we caught them putting money in the laundry room piggy bank (which is more like a doggie bank). Rufus! I toss all the coins I find in the laundry into Rufus and when I don't find change I tell everyone Rufus is mighty hungry. LOL!

Here the elves left some candy. Peeps!

On the couch with a new toy.

Haha pirate elves. Found them on Dusty's lamp with pirate coins all around. Even on the floor.

Beverly found these adorable cards at Kohls and more cute elf clothes.

Out shopping for the day with new record players, I found at Walgreens. The birthday suit for Skylar's birthday which is December 13. Happy Birthday Skylar!

More cute outfits with the Joy sign that lights up.

A day of relaxation with these adorable robes I found at Target. We found the elves in the swingasan.

The elves were out riding around in this little bicycle filled with yummy candy of each of the boys favorites.

Look at those adorable elves in their handmade pjs from Etsy. The boys also were left cute pjs from Target.

Found them out on the steps with the little wagon of the reindeer in tow. Suitcase to boot!

The elves traveled to Kamakura, Japan to see Diabutsu (The Great Buddah). I cut the Asian Gate with the Silhouette Cameo and used one of the toy Buddah figures in the tubes. I really like this one!!

This where Ginger the reindeer was introduced and I found reindeer food at Target.

Here in his football jersey with a finger football game. 

I found this adorable Captain America at Enzas Bargains.

Staying Alive in their dancing clothes and a disco ball!! I can just hear that song now.

Here the elves were on Sonny's play gym. Sonny is our cocktail bird.

Here Houdini spelled out his name with Dusty's spelling word alphabets.

Santa is coming!!! Says Houdini as he paints on his easel.
Happy Holidays I hope you Yuletide Season is a wonderful joyous time of year. 
Cyber Hugs, 
Dawn Gallop

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