Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Cookies

I realized my blog is a great way to keep a record of what Christmas cookies I tried out this year, and what I thought of them.

The other day I tested this recipe from a Taste of Home cookie cookbook I have - it's for peanut butter chocolate cookies. Oh my!

Peanut Butter Chocolate cookies

First of all, these are not bake 'em and eat 'em right away cookies. These take some time. They are a yummy soft peanut butter cookie with a peanut butter cream cheese dollop on the top. Okay, that right there is heaven. In fact, just hand me a bowl of that peanut butter cream cheese mixture...

So, then you dip the bottoms in chocolate - something you can't really see in the picture. The recipe called for melting chocolate chips for this. As I was melting them and noticing it looked like my chocolate was seizing up despite no drops of water anywhere, I remembered reading recently that chocolate chips often don't work for melting. Oh yea... that happened once when I was making chocolate fondue. Note to self: get melting chocolate next time.

Anyway, I added some half and half to the chocolate which solved the problem. The chocolate drizzle for the top was made with cocoa, and that worked well. Of course I am not so talented when it comes to a delicate drizzle. Mike, on the other hand, was channeling his inner Martha Stewart and did nice star-shaped drizzles on the cookies.

My verdict: these are amazing and absolutely worth the effort. (But they're also good without any of the chocolate!).

On Sunday I got it in my head that making some sandwich cookies with raspberry filling would be an interesting thing to try. I found a few recipes, but ultimately decided that I needed to use my mother-in-law's tried-and-true sugar cookie recipe. It's really the best! So I made some dough and tucked it in the fridge.

Yesterday I went through my cookie cutters, found several stars that worked well together, and here is the result:

Raspberry Stars

The girls call them American Girl cookies because they look a bit like the AG logo. I call them Raspberry Stars. These are yummmmy! Definitely will be making these again next Christmas. I was also thinking if I could find two heart cookie cutters that nested well, these would be fun for Valentine's Day...

Like I need more cookies! ;-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Peppermint Meltaways

peppermint meltaways

It's snowing here in Minnesota - light powdery snow, and we're supposed to get 3-6 inches. It's a nice day to stay inside and bake! I've started the day with these Peppermint Meltaways from Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazine. Except that I felt it would be too much peppermint with peppermint icing and candy cane pieces on the top. Mike suggested chocolate frosting (reminiscent of Peppermint Patties, he says), so that's what I did. On the top I sprinkled these Andes' peppermint candy pieces.

Now, I'm not a huge peppermint fan, frankly. It tends to upset my stomach. So I'm not super crazy about the peppermint flavor, but otherwise these are pretty good!

Now I'm on to bake some peanut butter-chocolate cookies. That should be heavenly!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Tooth Pillow Gang

The Tooth Pillow Gang

The one in the front, 2nd from the right, Buttercup made herself! Nice to have a Girl Scout helping since her troop will be selling these. :-)

Just hangin' out

I can't really take credit for the idea of hanging the pillows - my co-leader is the one who had that idea - thanks, Shelly!

Friday, November 14, 2008

What I'm working on right now....

It's Girl Scout craft fair season and I've committed to make a couple of things for the girls to sell. This is the first creation:

Tooth Fairy pillow

This is the "girl" version, and I'm also making some "boy" ones (sans the pink cheeks - red instead!). These are tooth fairy pillows - on the back of each one is a little pocket for inserting the tooth, and for the Tooth Fairy to leave some money. With the loop they can hang on a doorknob, or a bedside table drawer knob - easier for the Fairy, who surely must have a hard time rummaging under pillows for teeth! When they're done I'll take a picture of the entire collection of little teeth.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


It's been forever since I've blogged. I do have some crafty projects in progress, but nothing I can share at the moment. So, without further ado: pictures from our apple orchard trip this past weekend.

Buttercup, age 12


Daisy, age 8


All of us


Happy fall!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kirsten's doll quilt is complete!

Kirsten's doll quilt - complete!

I'm so happy to finally have this finished. It's pretty basic - I stitched in the ditch to quilt it, nothing fancy. I've never done binding on a quilt before, and it went pretty well. I hand-sewed the binding to the back (is there another way? Please tell me there is!), which didn't do my wrist any favors, but then I also did rather enjoy the stitching process. This was a really good experience, and gave me confidence to quilt and bind a quilt top I made a few years ago. (I haven't started that yet, but soon!) I also need to make a doll quilt for my older daughter's American Girl doll.

Anyway, my youngest daughter is so happy to have a quilt for her Kirsten doll - can't have Kirsten, bundled up in her flannel nightgown, getting cold during these hot August nights, you know! :-)

Introducing... Buttercup!

Buttercup's Flip-Flops

I decided to feature one of my older daughter's ("Buttercup" as she shall be known in my blog) crafty projects. Wandering through JoAnn one day, Buttercup spotted these flip-flops and decided she just had to do the ribbon flip-flop project thing. She picked out a few ribbons at the store, then raided my ribbon stash, and voila! Cute flip-flops!

Just ignore the dirt on my rug, thanks!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kirsten's quilt top

Doll quilt top

My youngest daughter just got Kirsten, the American Girl doll, for her birthday. We decided a fun project would be to make a doll quilt for her doll (and for her sister's AG doll, Nellie). This is Kirsten's quilt top - it's pretty basic, and while the corners don't match perfectly, I think it's really pretty. My daughter chose the arrangement for the blue squares - I like that it has some of her in it, even though I'm doing the sewing.

Now for the challenging part - actually putting together the quilt, quilting it and binding. I've never done that before, yikes! But, never going to learn if I don't try. And, I'm working my way up to sewing a bed quilt for my youngest, as we redo her room into a horse theme.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Horse cake

Horse cake

This post is like the other bookend to birthday season in our household (the previous post being the first bookend). My youngest had her birthday party on Saturday. She is waaay obsessed with horses, and wanted a horse/western theme to her party. I came across directions for making this cake, and it seemed perfect - and fairly easy.

Decorating it was a family affair - DH and our older daughter helped braid the licorice for the reins, and DH's cousin did the white mane for me. I think it turned out great!

The party was also a success - from my daughter greeting each guest saying, "Howdy pardner, welcome to the wild west!" to 10 kids devouring cake and ice cream in what seemed like seconds flat!

And now I can breathe a sigh of relief - no more birthday parties for another year!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Beach Cake

Beach Cake

My oldest had her birthday this week, and last weekend was her party. It was a Hawaiian/tropical themed party. We found this idea from Family Fun magazine. We used Fruit Stripe gum for the surfboards, and we put Polly Pockets on the cake. It turned out really cute!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Heather Bailey Pincushion

Heather Bailey pincushion

I fell in love with this pincushion when I first saw the pattern! Last fall I decided to tackle it. Chasing down the pattern was a challenge - it was on the Better Homes and Gardens website, but the sizing was all wrong. I found the original magazine that it was in, so I'd have the correct dimensions. The pincushion ended up being a bit challenging for a newbie sewer like me - although what I had the hardest time with was sewing that button through the pincushion! Even with a long needle and such.

Anyway, today I noticed that Heather Bailey has the tutorial available on her website (www.heatherbailey.typepad.com - I'd insert the text in html but blogger has decided to be cranky and not do that today) which reminded me I wanted to post my photo on my blog!

I absolutely love the retro fabric I chose for this, too. If anyone has any great tips for how to sew that button through the cushion easier, I might make another one.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Audrey's Surprise Part Two

Cloth napkins

I made these cute cloth napkins to go with Audrey's apron! Sorry the picture isn't the greatest - the lighting isn't the best; I took the pictures in the late evening when the sun was setting. I just wanted to get the pictures done so I can get this wrapped up and sent off to Audrey this week.

Anyway, they turned out waaaay cute. I hope she likes them!

Cloth napkins

All wrapped up with a pretty bow!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quiltmaker Progress

The Quiltmaker, July 16 2008

I've been stitching this for what seems like eons... okay, it has been quite a few years now. I love to cross-stitch, and have done some other beautiful pieces by this same designer. But, in recent years I've found that when I spend a lot of time stitching, I start to have problems with carpal tunnel syndrome.

This summer I've managed quite a lot of stitching on The Quiltmaker before my wrists started acting up. I am hoping to just stitch right through it, though, and maybe have her finished by the end of the year. Blogging about it should give me some motivation to make some noticeable progress on a regular basis, I hope!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shhhh! Don't tell Audrey!

It's a surprise!

Flirty Skirty apron

My little sister Audrey graduated from college in May. I had a hard time deciding what to give her as a gift. Money seemed so impersonal. In some sort of stroke of brilliance (I hope!) I decided to make her a cute apron and some matching cloth napkins, since she likes to cook.

The apron pattern is from The Apron Lady and I decided to make the half-apron pattern. I agonized over the fabric choice (as several people could tell you!) but ultimately decided I had to get my hands on some Alexander Henry apples and pears fabric - I just love it.

The apron is reversible, and this is the other side:

Apron back

I still have to make the cloth napkins - I'm going to use the apple and pear fabric for those - but pretty soon this will be on its merry way to Audrey! (A little late, but I hope it is worth it!)

Congratulations Audrey!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Black and Whites, Baby, Black And Whites

Black and Whites, originally uploaded by heyer00.

My family is from upstate New York; the Finger Lakes area, to be precise. I spent a lot of summers visiting my grandparents, hanging out on the farm, enjoying the joys of summer in the country.... cherries fresh-picked from the cherry tree out in the field, blackberries from across the road, tomatoes from grandma's garden....

and Black and Whites from the grocery store bakery!

Except in that part of New York, they're called Half-moon cookies. They are a big, cakey cookie (chocolate cookie being my favorite variety), with half the top frosted in white frosting, half the top frosted in chocolate. My biggest dilemma was, did I eat the vanilla side first, thereby leaving the wonderful, chocolatey goodness (the best part!) for last? Or did I go for the chocolate while I was still salivating for the delicious experience of a Half-moon, and then eat the vanilla once my tastebuds got some initial satisfaction?

Most if the time, I'd save the chocolate side for last! Delayed gratification and all that.

Anyway, I don't live in New York anymore, and I've long wanted to replicate Half-moon cookies at home. I'm now aware that these cookies aren't just popular in western New York, but the rest of the state as well, and they're actually called Black and Whites in New York City.

I recently bought a cookie cookbook by Martha Stewart, and lo and behold, there is a recipe for mini Black and Whites! I made them last night, and I have to say: not bad, Martha, not bad. I'm not overly fond of the lemony taste to the white icing. And I have no idea how Martha so skillfully gets the icing in neat half circles. Still, these are de-lish!!!

Yummy Broccoli Goodness!

For the first time in 5 years - the first time since living in our current house! - we decided to grow some veggies. We started out small with a 4' x 6' raised bed. We planted two tomato plants, 3 pepper plants, and 6 broccoli plants. Okay, in our defense, we've never grown broccoli before and had no idea how big they grow!! We had to move the peppers out to some containers a few weeks ago. Right now the tomatoes are going everywhere, trying to escape the bed, trying to take over the broccoli.

But, oh the broccoli!

Garden Broccoli

Isn't it beautiful! Broccoli is my favorite veggie.

I harvested the first little bunch of broccoli yesterday, and made a nice little sautee of red onion, red pepper, yellow zucchini (none from my own garden, unfortunately), and my broccoli. Olive oil, a little garlic, served over Barilla Plus pasta with a little balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.

Broccoli Sautee

A little bit of heaven!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Freezer jam!

Freezer jam, originally uploaded by heyer00.

Berries were on sale at the grocery store yesterday.... I was having visions of yet another berry pie (heaven!) but I decided I really wanted to try something different with the berries.

Something new, something that didn't require baking. So, I thought, freezer jam! I went to Target and found Ball pectin packets for making freezer jam.

I used 2 little packages (6oz) of raspberries, 2 packages (6oz again) of blackberries, and a pint of blueberries. The only thing I did differently versus the packet instructions was that I simmered the crushed fruit for a few minutes, because I'm allergic to fresh raspberries and blackberries. (I can eat them if they're cooked, though).

This jam is just heavenly! It's not as sweet as store-bought jam, but - of course! - tastes fresher. This was super easy to make, too!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Favorite vacation photos


The quintessential Mt. Rushmore photo.


Breathtaking scenery on the Needles Highway


Hiking around Sylvan Lake


Sapphire Pool at Yellowstone. I looooove the bright blue color!

What an amazing vacation!

DSC_0114, originally uploaded by heyer00.

A few weeks ago we returned from our first trip out to the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Yellowstone National Park. It was truly an incredible trip. This was our first time out there. We drove out to the Black Hills area (of course stopping at Wall Drug!) and spent several days there.

We toured Mt. Rushmore, drove the Iron Mountain Road, drove through the Wildlife Loop Road at Custer State Park, toured Jewel Cave, the Mammoth Dig site, drove the Needles highway, and walked around Sylvan Lake.

Then we headed to Cody, Wyoming, stopping at Devil's Tower National Monument on the way. There isn't much to see in most of Wyoming (it seems pretty desolate, yet beautiful), but the drive wasn't bad. I got a little nervous (okay, maybe a lot nervous) when we drove over the Big Horn Mountains, but I really enjoyed being at the top - there was snow in June! It was about 65 degrees outside, but there was snow on the ground.

We drove on to Cody, which was our destination, our "home base" while touring Yellowstone. We drove the lower loop of Yellowstone in one incredible day. Yellowstone is so beautiful, but I really think the way to see it is to stay in a lodge in the park. The drive in and out between Yellowstone and Cody was a bit tiring, especially with kids.

While we were in Cody we also toured the Buffalo Bill historical center, saw the Cody Gunfighters in front of the Irma Hotel, and went to the Cody Nite Rodeo.

We stopped in Rapid City again on our way home and stayed a few days. We toured the South Dakota School of Mines Museum of Geology, Bear Country USA, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, and went to Watiki water park.

On the last day of our trip, we drove through the Badlands National Park. The Badlands is beautiful, but I think we would have been more impressed with the scenery had we seen it on the way out instead of the way back.

I am so glad that we took this vacation and gave the girls (and us!) and opportunity to see all these interesting and beautiful sites.

Welcome to my blog!

This the Very First Post Ever on my blog. After months of admiring a lot of really cool, creative, crafty blogs I became inspired to start my own. I know my crafts and photography are no match for all this great inspiration, but hopefully someone will enjoy reading it.

So, why the name Periwinkle Prairie? Have you tried to name a blog lately? LOL You have to get pretty creative to come up with a name no one else is using. I started writing down words that I just like the sound of, or like the meaning or association of. Like periwinkle. And dragonfly. And daisy. DH suggested prairie, and somehow "periwinkle prairie" just clicked. Yea, I know, there are no periwinkles or prairies in my current blog header, but oh well! Enjoy!