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Saturday, January 31, 2015

What's on my table now - OMG, Christmas... GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!!!

So pretty much since Christmas was over, I started thinking of next year's Christmas ornament.  This was one option - the die cut sleigh from Sizzix/Tim Holtz.  I tried cutting it from 1/16" balsa wood, but the curved pieces were too frail and broke off.  I did not have any 3/32" pieces at the time, so was wondering if chipboard would be sturdy enough to make a decent ornament.

I now have half a dozen of these goodies.  I die cut two pieces of the sleigh for each from chipboard. There is that debossed detail at the top, which comes out on the right side, but does not appear on the negative, so I took a ball tool and traced it out so that it could be seen on both sides when the sleigh is put together - and it would be present inside and outside of the sleigh.

I cut a 1/2" wide x 5" long piece of chipboard.  I used a Sharpie pen to fold a small curve in the front, and a fat whiteboard marker to curve the back.  I then used hot glue to glue the piece to each side of the sleigh.  Happy hoe it turned out - ignoring the glue blotchies of course.  Hey, it adds to the handmade appearance!

For that vintage look, I used black gesso to prime the piece.  For the red, I painted the first coat in burnt sienna acrylic, then a layer of carmine red.  The runners are in silver, and I used a fine brush to pick out the debossed line, and a wet wipe to gently remove excess - which gave a gentle silver wash over the red.  Finally, I used gloss Mod Podge, and sloppily added it to the runners, all around, and at the top edges of the sleigh, and added a bit of glitter for a frosty look.

Now what to do... this is not finished, this is just the beginnig...

I am thinking...

Santa's sleigh

1.   adding small eyelets to the front, or punched holes, to add a small string of mini jingle bells
2.  adding a clear coating of spray varnish to see if the glitter will hold up better - but I want the body of the sleigh to stay matte - or just live with glitter flutter
3.  eyelet to the back for hanging
4.  mini burlap gift bags to be the "gift sack", and fill it with decorated wood blocks for "gifts", and tuck in some mini toys, using glue
5.  if no mini burlap, take muslin bags and decorate them - stampings, inkings, etc
6.  small ribbon or card stock banner with a Christmas greeting over it

Candy sleigh - same as above, but fill the baggie with chocolates

Christmas flora - die cut pine cones, and greenery to fill it, or holly leaves, inked/painted/glittered

Make these as ornaments, fill the sack with candy, and make the banner with names, and leave them as place settings for our gathering, or family get together.

Maybe before I glue the pieces together next time, add the eyelets/holes to the center panel before gluing.Christ

Friday, January 30, 2015

Food - the lazy potatoes with a touch of sweetness...

Gave it another try today with a sweet potato twist - has some sweeties that needed being cooked...

So I cleaned two yellow potatoes and two sweet potatoes, stabbed them a bit, and rubbed them with olive oil.  I roasted them until soft.  On biggie is that the sweets have more moisture and thinner skins and ended up softer, so they don't maintain their shape when the centers are removed.

I combined the flesh of both potatoes and mashed them with the same mix as yesterdays taters.  I used no butter, and less ranch, since the sweeties have more moisture.  It ended up being a filling, with interesting colour and nice flavour.  But for sure, the stuffed sweeties aren't as pretty .  So what I may do in the future is mash the entire sweeties (skin and all - I like the skins, extra nutrients, fiber, and all) with the regular tater flesh and do overstuffed taters, in the regular tater skins.

They would be a nice side for ribs or a roast.  I did not do the sweeties the other day because one of our friends over doesn't like sweet potatoes...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Food - potatoes borne of laziness and lack of planning...

These were a happy mistake that DH and friends loved...

I had to make dinner the other night, and the entree was roast venison.  I was feeling lazy and did not do any shopping, so I did not over plan as is my norm.  So after starting the roast, I opened the bag of potatoes, with no plan.  I was going to do scalloped potatoes... but then again, I realized I just don't want to put that work into it.

So I washed them well, poked a few holes into them, rubbed them with olive oil, and popped them into the oven at 350F and roasted them for about an hour, turning halfway through, so that the skins are slightly browned and the flesh inside is cooked and soft.  A fluffy roasting potato probably would yield a fluffy soft interior - I had waxier potatoes - but you make do, right?

They are lovely, toasted, and brown
Anyways, carefully (they are very hot!) cut the potatoes in half lengthwise.

Using a large spoon, scoop the insides out and drop into a bowl.  Make sure to leave the skins and a bit of flesh on them to make the little boats.

When the centers have been scooped out, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and let roast in the oven while you make the filling.

Maybe use a brush and spread the oil about more evenly
Into the bowl of potato centers, add a pat of butter, some salt, and pepper, and a generous dollops of creamy ranch dressing.  Add dried chives and mash until creamy.

Add a sprinkle of bacon bits and stir in.

Return the mashed potatoes to the skins, and pop into the oven.

Broil until browned on top...

Nummers... and yes, normally I would add cheese - afterall, it's cheese that built this body... but I thought one of the other guests is not a cheese fan, so I decided to forgo.  But definitely, these could be sexied up in many ways...

They went great with the chili I made too!

Lazy Potatoes
makes 6 servings

olive oil
3 large potatoes
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup creamy ranch dressing
2 tbsp dried chives
2-4 tbsp bacon bits

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Scrub the whole potatoes well to clean.  Poke some holes into the potatoes. Rub with olive oil and place in baking tray.  Roast for half an hour, then turn, and roast another half an hour, until golden brown, and cooked through.  Remove from oven.  While still hot, cut in half horizontally and scoop flesh out with a spoon into small mixing bowl, leaving a 1/4" wall inside skins.  Return skins, cut side up to tray, sprinkle with a bit more olive oil and bake while prepare filling.  Into the bowl, with the potato flesh, add the butter, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add ranch dressing, and chives.  Mash well, add bacon bits.  Return filling center of potato skins, and bake until golden.  Serve hot.