Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mini Butternut Squash Pies

This was a tasty treat and somewhat unusual since it uses a butternut squash instead of pumpkin. The difference is very subtle, but with all the usual pumpkin pie ingredients, you can hardly notice! I found this recipe at, which is a favorite for finding new recipes, and pretty much followed it exactly with the exception of roasting the squash instead of boiling it.

So I had a medium size butternut squash that was going to become delicious soup, but then tiny mold spots appeared at the stem. I guess that's why they were so cheap at the store :( We had the tasty soup not too long ago, so I searched on All Recipes for a recipe that was not soup, and then I found it! I didn't take pictures of the process, but here's how to make them:

Pie Filling:
1 1/2 c.peeled and cubed butternut squash (medium squash yields about this much)
1 c. lightly packed brown sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 egg, beaten
1 c. evaporated milk
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground nutmeg
(i basically just sprinkled in the pinches to what seemed appropriate)

Crust: (not a favorite crust, but it works. use your preferred pie crust if you have one)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cubed butter wannabe, like a healthy margarine such as Promise or Smart Balance - freeze this for a few hours. since it's not butter, it won't get too hard, but just extra cold.
1 T. healthy shortening (please no trans fat) (oh, you could probably do without this too- the original recipe has 5 T. butter and 4 T. shortening. What a drag to measure tub shortening, so I just used one stick of butter wannabe plus a tablespoon shortening)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water
***you'll want to double this pie crust recipe to use all of the pie filling. or save on time and use premade ones. I hear Whole Foods makes an excellent crust.

1. Roast the squash. Don't know how to roast? Line a cookie sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray/smear oil on it, cut the squash in half and seed it (remove stem too), place cut side down and bake for 30-40 min at 375* F.

2. Meanwhile, load up your pie crust ingredients in your food processesor and pulse three times, three seconds each. It should look like fine crumbles. Lay out some plastic wrap and put the crumbles in the center. Wrap it up so that the crumbles come together as a ball. Once it holds together well on it's own, place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or more.

3. While the dough is setting up, your squash should be almost done. When it's done, I let it cool a little before working with it, but you could be impatient and burn your fingers a little along the way. You'll need to take off the skin and stringy stuff and puree it in the food processor or blender. Once it's all smooth, combine the rest of the filling ingredients. Stick it in the fridge while you wait for the dough. You could preheat your oven to 350* at this time as well.

4. Roll out the dough and cut out circles. A wide mouth mason jar lid ring works well. In each standard sized muffin tin, place the dough in it and conform it to the bottom and make a crust with any excess dough. again and again.

5. Fill each mini pie to the tip top. You'll notice in m picture that the filling shrunk. So, filling to the tip top is the way to go.

6. Bake for 40 min at 350*


Monday, November 7, 2011

DIY Tile Coasters

Ok, I am a major Pinterester and have seen these tile coasters floating around the boards such as this one, so I am adding to them :)

It was an amazingly cheap and easy project to do- one that took less than the entire nap time of my son (I value that time greatly and hate when I use up the entire time doing dishes or doing something non-productive. For instance, I can easily watch an entire episode of Bones or Grey's AND finish this coaster project and maybe even a short cat nap myself. Sweet.)

What you'll need:

- cheapest tiles (about 4x4 inches) from Lowes or similar. I bought 12 tiles for $0.16 EACH!
- scrapbook paper of your choice. I am not a scrapbooker by any means, so I just went to Walmart and bought a pack of 7 pages for $0.99
- modge podge (I love matte anything, so naturally I went with the matte finish)
- sponge brushes
- felt (Joann's sells by the sheet as well as roll. Just go with cheapest, which depends on the sale)
- hot glue


1. Cut out a 4x4 inch square. The tiles are like 4.245678800000009 inches in width and length, so I like a little of the white border.

2. Lay on a nice thick layer of modge podge on the entire surface.

3. Place cut scrapbook paper on tile and smooth out any lumps or bubbles.

4. Let it dry for a few seconds if you're impatient like me, or a few minutes if you're not

5. Lay on another thick layer of modge podge, this time sealing your work.

6. Nice even coat. I coat the sides as well since they are a little unfinished and rough.

7. While tile is drying, cut out a 4x4 inch square piece of felt. As you can see, I use a pre-cut piece of paper (which happens to have a star wars harrison ford + others featured on it) to make paper and felt cutting process faster.

8. Use the hot glue to hold down the felt. I do one side at a time and only do the edges. You could technically use less felt as long as you covered the four corners, but I think the underside is ugly, so I cover it all up.

9. Finished coaster bottom (obviously on a different coaster)

10. Ta da! Easy Schmeasy. 9 of the 12 tiles!

Fun, cheap and easy. Not including the hot glue, sponge brushes (which are super cheap at walmart as well), and modge podge. This entire project of 12 coasters cost $3.41.

My only concern is that the modge podge may feel a little tacky and not hold up from the condensation of a cold drink. So far, it has not been an issue, but I haven't put a super cold drink on there yet. I will update of any problems occur. Enjoy the tutorial!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pillow Couch for the Wee Ones

My mom basically sewed this while she visited, but I'm still going to take the design credit haha.

While visiting us, my mom thought E could use a little chair for himself. So off to Target we went, sorting through errands and we came across the mini chairs. Cute as they are, they were between $60 and $80! Totally not worth the dollars, so we came home after errands and brain stormed.

I am a pillow hoarder and if I come across free pillows (or free anything really...) I cannot deny it! So I had a collection of 4 pillows not in use. I set aside two of the pillows to have stuffing on hand for future living room pillows, so that left us with two pillows. So here's what we did and what we used:

- 2 standard sized pillows
- a random strap used to hold a blanket in its packaging; cut in two equal pieces
- embroidery thread or thin/lace crocheting yarn (we used the latter)

1. Two Pillows

2. Cut one pillow in half and push the cotton down. These will be the arm rests.

3. You're left with a flap of pillow casing which will be tucked and sewn down

4. Sewing down process...

5. Take the other uncut pillow and thread the yarn/thread through front to back in the middle of the pillow. This will be where the seat and back fold and meet.

6. See. Threaded through the center, creating a fold.

 7. With the seat/back pillow, sew the strap (or similar) on one side from top corner to bottom corner. The goal is to hold the pillow in folded seat form- kind of like a 90 degree angle. Repeat for other side. These straps just act as extra support, similar to a portable stadium seat.

8. Ok, I forgot to take a picture of the sewing-armrests-on part. Just attach the arms securely on each side of the seat and part of the back.

9. Voila! Mini Pillow Couch!

So, I think it turned out alright. A few things: in the future, I'll want to add another pillow to the bottom for height. A stiffer support will be needed to hold it at a 90-100 degree angle because as of right now, if E leans back, it topples backwards, so we usually lean it up against our futon. I plan on sewing a cover as soon as I acquire some sturdy material. Hopefully I can pair a 20% off Joanns coupon with a 50% off home decor fabric sale soon. Yay!

Ta Da!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Proclamation to the World

You might as well know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often known as "Mormon").

Anyway, as you know from my blog banner, I am a wannabe crafter. This includes dabbling with photoshop (or the non crafter-creative genius version called Paint. Comes with Windows...). Now, I have always been fairly savvy with techy stuff, so while I may not have fancy photoshop/adobe illustrator programs, I can prove to you that Paint does alright. A little pixely with the edges, but not bad if you're printing a 11 x 14 inch or less print.

Feel free to snag this (I have it formatted for ginormous [4400 x 5600 pixels], and I've just ordered it as a 11 x 14 print from shutterfly. Someday I may take back the rights and sell it. For now, I have no plans because I'm still a wannabe.

No lies, that itty bitty Moroni angel was fairly challenging with the use of a mouse and paint tool, but I overcame and succeeded.

This print is a blurb of the LDS church's views on the importance and sanctity of marriage and family. The original text can be found here.


welcome, welcome

enjoy the occaisional posts :)