Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fancy Camera Strap

I recently purchased a Nikon D60 (which I LOVE) and I had seen tutorials on how to cover an existing camera strap to make it more unique, so of course I needed to try making my own.

I searched around for a website that had good how-to instructions and this is the one I ended up using. She shows step-by-step instructions which makes this project relatively easy compared to other blogs I saw.

For this project, I used fusible interfacing for the first time. It's very easy to work with and definitely gives the camera strap more structure. I chose three different fabrics that had similar colors and cut different lengths of each. The hardest part was definitely turning the fabric right side out after I had sewn it together.

One thing I did different from the instructions was that I did not sew the fabric to the ends of the camera strap, because I was not sure if I would want to keep it on there forever. This way if I get tired of this fabric, I can slip it off and put a new one on! If you want to make a camera strap of your own, I suggest you go to the "Make It and Love It" blog, because she has some great advice, and because I got so excited about making mine, that I did not take ONE SINGLE PICTURE until it was finished. oops!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not your ordinary jello shots

This weekend, Ben and I made jello shots. Yea yea, I know, we're not in college anymore, so what business do we have making jello shots, right? But these are "sophisticated" jello shots! I promise! Ben saw the idea on this website, which has some other tasty foods, as well.

To make the jello shots, you'll need 5 good-sized oranges. Cut them in half and scrape out the middle. Save the juice from the oranges, because you'll need it for the mixture. Now set the 10 orange halves into a casserole dish and start on the jello.

We used orange flavored jello, but I think it would look good with any orange-ish color jello, like tangerine or apricot. I got a large box of jello mix, rather than the small one. Add 2 cups of hot water to the mix, stir and let it cool a little bit before adding the vodka. We added about 1 1/2 cups (maybe less) of vodka to the jello mixture. Some of it was strawberry flavored left over from the strawberry lemon drops and then we use regular vodka, also pour in half a cup of orange juice. Mix well and pour into the orange halves. Fill them as close to the top as possible. Place in the refrigerator over night. Then slice and enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tasty Treats

I found these two pictures that I forgot to put up on the blog. This one is the strawberry lemon drops I made a couple of months ago. Here's the post with the recipe. These are sooooo good! In this picture, I added muddled strawberries to the mixture to make it red.

The next treat is a strawberry shortcake with whipped cream and mint leaves. I did not make the strawberries or the shortcake, but it's fun to make it look pretty!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camping Trip Dinner - BBQ chicken

My friends and I do a sometimes-annually-sometimes-biennial float trip on the Buffalo River in north central Arkansas and this year there was no shortage of great food. For dinner Friday night, Grant fixed a delicious meal of BBQ chicken, rice, rolls, and corn. It was so good I had to share the recipe with everyone!

When camping, you have to improvise since campsites usually do not come equipped with a full kitchen (too bad). Before the trip, Grant purchased a Dutch Oven from Wal-Mart . This is a great investment. Not only can you cook just about anything in the Dutch oven, but you can use the underside of the lid as a skillet for bacon, eggs, etc! One thing to note is that the Dutch oven does not come with a lid-lifter. You have to purchase it as a separate item and I think it would come in handy with this recipe.

Grant found the recipe on This is a great website for people who want to cook something a little more than hotdogs while camping.

Here's the recipe
  • 2 to 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle of favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 can cherry Coke
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • butter or oil
  • salt and pepper
Warm up Dutch oven over direct fire (Grant spread some Crisco in the oven before placing it on the fire, I would recommend doing this)
With a little butter or oil, saute the garlic until golden.
Pour in coke and half a bottle of BBQ sauce.
Place chicken in the mixture and fully submerge (you can do this ahead of time in a ziplock bag)
Cover and place hot coals on the lid of the oven and cook for 30-45 minutes (check the chicken at the end of the time to make sure it's fully cooked).

In all of the hustle and bustle of fixing dinner in the dark/trying to chase away raccoons, the Cherry Coke was left out. However, I do not think this took away from the dish at all.

Place coals on top of the Dutch Oven. Be careful!

Checking on the chicken.

To cook the corn, just place it on the coals for 3-5 minutes, rotating a couple of times.

So good!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fried Okra

Last week Ben went to the Farmer's Market and picked up some fresh vegetables. For dinner, he prepared a delicious meal (with a little help from me) of squash, zucchini, purple hull peas, tomatoes and okra. Topped off with some of his Grandmother's homemade cornbread, this was one of the best meals I've had this summer.

The fried okra recipe is from the Queen of all things fried and Southern, Paula Deen. Has Paula Deen ever made something that was not delicious? No. Has Paula Deen ever made something that was healthy? Unfortunately, no, but we all have to splurge every once and a while.

3-4 Cups of oil for frying
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons House Seasonings, recipe follows
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds fresh okra, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup buttermilk

Heat oil in large, heavy-bottom pan or Dutch oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour House Seasonings, and cayenne pepper.
Dip okra in buttermilk, then cover in cornmeal-flour mixture, coat well.
Carefully add okra or oil and cook until golden brown.
Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

House Seasoning Recipe
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Margarita Cake

For Ben's mom's birthday, I made a cake shaped like a margarita glass (kind of). I am not the most impressed with my cake-cutting skills and prefer to use a cake mold, like I did for the fish cake. However, since I did not have a cake pan shaped like a margarita glass, I had to cut it out with a knife.

I have decided to spare y'all the ugly details about all of the mishaps with this cake, but I will give one piece of advice. Never, EVER, EVER use Wilton's yellow cake recipe. The cake looked just fine, even delicious, but I tried a piece and it tasted like cornbread at best and cardboard at worst. I may just be a horrible cake-from-scratch-maker, but I followed the recipe exactly and that was what I got. So, in a hurry, I bought 3 boxes of Betty Crocker yellow cake mix and needless to say, it was as delicious.

I used buttercream icing for the entire cake. Here's the recipe:
2 lbs powdered sugar (10x sifted)
2 tablespoons Wilton Meringue powder
2 dashes salt
2 cups white crisco
2 teaspoons Wilton no-color butter flavor
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
6 tablespoons water

Cream shortening, add butter flavor and vanilla and mix well. Add Meringue powder, sugar, and salt and gradually add water.

I drew a margarita glass on 2 11x14 sheets of paper taped together. I basically had to free hand this (I found out I'm not very good a drawing margarita glasses). I cut out the drawing and laid it on the cake, then cut around the edges.

I suggest using a very sharp knife.

I iced the entire cake with the white icing and let it dry for about 20 minutes. Then I iced the top part with green icing. This icing was amazing. I would have been happy if I had an entire cake made of out this icing and no cake.

To ice the sides of the cake, I used the smooth side of tip # 789. I used a gallon sized bag for the icing and cut a large hole for the tip. This tip makes it easier to ice because it completely covers the sides and to smooth it out, I just went over it with an icing spatula.

For the "salt" on the top of the glass, I used cake sparkles. For the lime, I cut out a small piece of the cake that was left over and iced it a darker green color, then used the lighter green for details.