Monday, March 19, 2012

Animal Zipper Pouch

Just wanted to share a little zipper pouch I made this weekend. My friend wanted a handmade gift for a friend who just had a baby and thought a pouch for holding creams, extra clothes or small toys would be great. The handle has snaps on it so it can be attached to the stroller, car seat or whatever Mommy needs to attach it to!

It's rainy and cold again here in Zurich and I look forward to seeing the sunshine again in a few days....

Have a good start to the week!
J x

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Upcycled T-Shirt Dress for Miss A

When Miss A found an old shirt that my friend no longer wanted and thought I would like for making things with, she put it on over her clothes and said "I want it!"  I have to admit it looked cute on her with the exception that the sleeve holes hung almost to her waist... So, we "up-cycled" it by adding some lace trim along the bottom, a little ruffling along the top of the chest and made it a bit more A-line by taking in the sides so the sleeve holes were not so big. Add a pretty ribbon and fabric flower around the waist and voilĂ  - a new spring and summer dress!  Think we might be making more of these this summer...

Have a great weekend!
J xx

Spring Tea Party with Orange Pound Cake

Spring flowers in Zurich
I love Spring - seeing the trees and flowers come back to life after a long, cold winter; the bright colors of purple, white and yellow from the snowbells and crocus popping up through the brown ground and knowing that even if we do get another cold spell, it won't last for long!

To celebrate the warm temps this week, we decided to have a little tea party with our neighbors. I found a recipe in one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks by Jeanne Lemlin ("Quick, Simple and Main-Course Vegetarian Meals") for Old-Fashioned Pound Cake. We made one of the variations with orange flavoring in it and they turned out delicious (recipe below)! These cakes freeze well, too, so you can make one ahead of time and pull out when you have unexpected guests on a sunny afternoon. Don't forget to sprinkle with some citrus sugar from this post. Serve with cold sparkling water with frozen blueberries thrown in at the last minute - they add a bit of flavor to the water and help keep it cold!
Orange Pound Cake with fresh blueberries

Old-fashioned Pound Cake
1 cup (210gr) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (see Variations)
2 cups cake flour (see Note)
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C). Butter and flour a bundt cake pan or line a bread pan with baking paper (I used mini baking cups for my recipe). In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until smooth, using electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat until light. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract and rind (if variation made).

Add flour and salt and beat until batter is very smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before serving.

Note: If you don’t have cake flour, combine ¼ cup cornstarch with 1 ¾ cups white flour.

Lemon Pound Cake: use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, plus grated rind from one lemon
Orange Pound Cake: use ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, plus grated rind from one orange
Almond Pound Cake: use ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon almond extract

Happy St Patrick's Day!

J xx

Monday, March 5, 2012

Birthday bliss

Happy Monday to you all!

My birthday was last week and I have to say that it truly was one of the best birthdays I have had in quite some time! I think I enjoyed it so much because at the heart of it I knew that this year would be a year for doing all the things I love to do - cooking, stamping, sewing, spending time with family and friends and taking time to enjoy life!

We celebrated with good friends by eating Wacky cake that Miss A helped me bake topped with fresh berries and freshly whipped cream (you can find the recipe below) . I love this cake recipe as it is SOOOOOO easy to make and tastes SOOOOOO good!

The next day was a coffee and cake morning with friends. I made homemade cinnamon rolls for the first time ever and they were delicious! As you can see, we made quite a dent in them, however, I did manage to save some for Miss A and Mr Z for their dessert after lunch.  Recipe came from Fraulein Klein website (unfortunately it is in German...) and was much simpler than I thought to make. Of course I had to decorate both cake and rolls with a little bunting banner made from wrapping paper and twine :-)! Tis the little things that make it all extra special!

Wacky Cake Recipe
(serves 8-9 people)
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Place dry ingredients in baking dish and mix with a fork or spoon until completely blended and uniform in color (no visible streaks of white).
Pour on water, vanilla, oil and vinegar and stir until completely blended.
Bake for 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Completely cool on wire rack. Top with powdered sugar, freshly whipped cream or your favorite frosting recipe!
For cupcakes – this recipe makes 12 standard cupcakes; bake for 22 minutes.
Have a terrific week and I'll be seeing you again soon!
J xx