Thursday, June 23, 2016

Half Square Triangle Quilt for Maya

My oldest granddaughter was visiting last summer. I took her to the fabric store and let her pick out some fabric for a quilt. We talked about color, pattern, scale, design etc. Maya has a great eye (like her Mom) and knew exactly what she wanted. She picked out some beautiful fabric--no flowers just clean lines. Maya's quilt was designed with half-square triangles--lots of them! I was able to practice my skills with a seam ripper. I made plenty of mistakes (it looked so simple). Greg was kind enough to draw me a pattern that made sense to me.

I purchased a ruler years ago--it has odd markings and really made no sense to me. I did a little google research and discovered the odd ruler I had was used to square up half-square triangles. What a gem, this ruler helped me make perfect half-square triangles. The quilt was a success. I put some beautiful soft minky on the back and finished it with a scrappy binding. Thanks Maya for letting me develop my quilting skills.

Maya's happy place is in my scrapbook room. It is paradise for a creative pre-teen. Maya will spend hours in this room making signs, lists, notes and anything with glitter. She also likes to organize all my supplies--now that is helpful!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This yummy dessert comes from America's Test Kitchen. I have quit taking cooking magazines and buying cookbooks because there are so many great recipes on line. However, I do pay for a yearly membership to America's Test Kitchen. I love this site--it has so many excellent recipes, cooking tips and product reviews. It includes recipes from Cooks County, America's Test Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated. It is my go to sight for any good recipe!
This recipe was for a 9x13 cake, a perfect family size cake. But there are just two of us now and I really don't need a 9x13 cake tempting me! I halved the recipe and it made 16 beautiful cupcakes. I ate a cupcake and then quickly shared the remainder with friends. It is a win/win.

Carrot Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon (rounded) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound carrots, peeled
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
Shred the carrots using the large holes of a box grater (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and eggs until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. While mixer is running add the oil in a slow steady steam. Mix about a minute longer or until mixture is light in color and well emulsified. Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated. Stir in toasted pecans.
Using a large scoop put batter into a paper lined muffin cup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tablespoons butter, softened but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar (4 1/2 ounces)
Mix together cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla using a mixer set at medium speed. Mix about 30 seconds or until well combined. Add confectioners sugar and mix unticakel fluffy--about 1 minute. Put frosting in a pastry bag with a large star tip. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Refrigerate cupcakes. This cream cheese frosting is perfect, it is my go to cream cheese frosting recipe.
If you really want a 9x13 cake just double the cupcake ingredients and bake for about 35-40 minutes. The frosting recipe will make enough for a 9x13 pan. I like cupcakes because they are just so cute, they also have more frosting per cake ratio. That is always a good thing!
Printable Recipe