Saturday, December 12, 2009

Making a Bow out of Wired Ribbon

My Mother-In-Law always says I am the most awesomest gift wrapper ever.  (She better not look under the tree this year!)  Anyway, I always feel a lot of pressure to make her present the best wrapped of the bunch.  Not that she's the kind of person that would disown you or anything if her present didn't look perfect, but this is a woman who like to unwrap a present.  While my clan is ripping the paper as quickly as possible to reveal the present, she gently lifts the tape so that she can preserve the paper.  (Maybe she has a giant ball of wrapping paper in her basement cause I've never seen her reuse the paper?!) can buy some fancy gizmos at the craft store that will help you make a perfect bow, or you can do what I do and just grab any old CD or Book laying around.  You can use these bows for gift baskets, wreaths or of course presents which is what I am showing you here today.

I wrapped the present with this really cute foil wrapping paper from Hallmark (which I bought at Sam's Club)

Even though they say you shouldn't be all matchy matchy these days, I found a matching wired ribbon.  The dots were just too cute for me to resist and it was a great price so I bought it.  I tied the ribbon around the box like so, and secured it with a small piece of tape.

3.  I cut a big length of ribbon.  I'm going to guess about 4 1/2 feet since it was a little shorter than I am.*Sigh*  Than I grabbed the nearest CD.  (It happened to be my husband's:  The Who)  Tightly wrap the ribbon around the CD (or book, piece of cardboard...whatever you have handy) 

4.  Slide the ribbon off.  Keep it even and don't let it unravel.

5.  With a sharp pair of scissors cut the corners of.  All four of them. ( I know at this point you think you have ruined 4.5 feet or ribbon, but trust me this will work!)


6.  Next, and hopefully this will make sense, while keeping the ribbon in a loop, bring all the cut corners to the center.

Now if you want to make a bow for a wreath, a gift basket or such, you can tie the center with a small matching piece of ribbon or a piece of decorator's wire.  I am simply just going to attach it to the present I already wrapped.

Now it's time to fluff it all up into a poofy bow.  Starting on one side pull out a loop from the bottom then one from the top.  (I had five loops per side)  Then do the same thing on the other side.  The reason I love wired ribbon is because you can really manipulate it to the shape you want.


For the finishing touch, we just need to make the tails of the ribbon look pretty.  You can make these as long or as short as you like.  Fold the ribbon in half lengthwise:

Cut at a 45 degree angle:

Perfectly wrapped to give to your mother in law to patiently unwrap.

Love ya Mari!

Sorry my pictures aren't so great.  I'm not that great a photographer to begin with and I was hiding out in my bedroom while wrapping gifts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Pie

I'm always looking for a different take on Pumpkin Pie. Mainly because I don't like it - something about the texture.  I do love the smell of them cooking though!  Last year I made Libby's Pumpkin Rolls which are delicious but I didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to baking on this particular day.  I had a lot of cream cheese to use up so I really wanted to utilize that somehow.  Thanks to google, I found this recipe by Paula Deen.

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Pie

1  8oz package cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolk slightly beaten
1 cup half and half *
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place dough into a 9 inch pie pan.**  Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the pie shell completely.  Fill the shell to the edges with pie weights or dried beans and place it in the oven.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color. ***

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer.  Add the pumpkin and beat until combined.  Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined.  Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half and half, and melted butter.  Beat until combined.  Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set.  Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

This pie was a big hit.  The texture ended up being a cross between a pie and a cheesecake.  Add some whipped cream on top and you have a delicious dessert!

* I didn't have any half and half but had some heavy whipping cream.  So I added 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup milk.  
 ** I used a deep die pie plate.  If you are using regular pie plates/or shells you can probably make two pies from this recipe.  
*** I don't have any pie weights, so I pricked the pie crust with a fork, covered it tightly with the foil, baked for 10 mins, removed the foil and baked for another 10 mins.  It worked out fine.  Some reviews I read said you don't even need to bake the pie crust ahead of time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crock Pot Beef Stew

It's a yucky day today here in St Louis.  It's dark and raining and cold.  The kind of day that makes you want to curl up with a blankie and a cup of hot chocolate!  But one of my kiddo's has piano lesson's today so we must brave the elements.  On days where we are out and about in the evening I like to make a meal in the crockpot.  It cuts down on the temptation to just get fast food.

Today is the perfect day for a hot hearty Beef Stew!

Clair's Crockpot Beef Stew

1 pound beef stew meat
1/2 pound baby carrots
1 rib celery*
3 medium potatoes cubed
1 medium onion*
15 ozs beef broth
1 package gravy mix
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon Worchesteshire Sauce
salt to taste
pepper to taste

If desired saute stew meat in some Olive Oil.  If you are in a hurry you can just throw it in the pot!!  Put in the beef broth and gravy mix and whisk together.  Throw in all the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

*In my family almost everyone dislikes celery and onion, but I like the flavor they add.  I cut them in half so that they are easy to dish out.  If you plan on eating them as part of the stew cut them into smaller pieces.