Etsy Shop Update

My Etsy Shop has been open for just about a month and so far so good. I’ve made three sales, added some bead, crystal & pearl snowflake ornaments and had to adjust how I do my listings. I still haven’t fine-tuned the latter, but I am sure I’ll get it eventually. This is the issue… the necklace from my first sale came in different colors, I thought by listing each of the colors when one was purchased that color would be eliminated from my inventory, unfortunately I had listed my quantity as 1 so the necklace was then sold out, so I had to readjust the listing and the others that I had set- up similarly. I had a similar issue with my following sale of 2 snowflake ornaments… I had to manually remove them from my inventory. So, I have some research to do on listings.

I also ran my first sale over Black Friday weekend and promoted Small Business Saturday. And that’s pretty much where I am.

Here are the Snowflake Ornaments:

If you’re interested in one of the ornaments or are looking for a piece of jewelry for yourself or someone else on your list check out my shop: CraftedByFran

Apple Streusel Dump Cake

I’ve made dump cakes before, but, this one is slightly different because it uses fresh fruit as opposed to canned ones. Specifically Granny Smith Apples. Those are my go-to apples when it comes to baking since they are not overly sweet and are the perfect texture for baking. This cake is a great alternative if you don’t like dealing with pie crust, but, still want something that is akin to apple pie.

To begin, I peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith apples that I then tossed with lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. I then scattered them in a baking dish that I sprayed with baking spray.

Next, I made the cake mix by combining flour, sugar, rolled oats, baking powder & soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. I sprinkled this over the apples and then grated a stick and a half of unsalted butter over the cake mix.

And finally, I mixed flour, light brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt with a stick of melted butter with my hands to form clumps and then sprinkled this over the cake.

I baked the cake for about 40 minutes and let it cool before digging in. While the apples were not overly sweet the topping and cake portion of the cake made up for it.

Apple Streusel Dump Cake

Ingredients:

For the base:

3 pounds Granny Smith Apples (or other sweet-tart apples) peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 7)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

 

For the cake mix:

1 1/4 cups flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter

 

For the streusel:

1 3/4 cups flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with butter or nonstick spray

Make the base: In a large bowl toss the apples with the lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Make the cake: In a medium bowl combine all of the ingredients except the butter and sprinkle over the apples. Using the largest holes on a box grater grate the butter over the cake.

Make the streusel: In a medium bowl whisk together all of the ingredients except the melted butter. Once the dry ingredients are combined pour in the melted butter and stir. Using your hands squeeze the mixture together forming clumps and then sprinkle over the cake.

Bake until the cake is golden, about 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy on its own or with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

Recipe from Real Simple

Chocolate Cream Pie

How was your Thanksgiving? Have you eaten the last of your leftovers? At some point were you suffering from a food coma? Mine was good. I was in charge of dessert, and along with a traditional pumpkin pie and the Brown Butter Vanilla Pear PieI posted a few weeks ago I also made an Apple Streusel Dump Cake (come back tomorrow for that recipe) and today’s Chocolate Cream Pie. This pie was a HIT! Not too sweet… The perfect amount of chocolate! The recipe yields more mascarpone whipped cream than needed, don’t toss it, enjoy it with some berries. Use it to top off some hot chocolate. Or, spread it in a thin layer, freeze it and then use small cookie cutters to cut it into shapes to use in lieu of marshmallows in your hot chocolate.

And here’s my trio of pies from Thanksgiving…

 

Chocolate Cream Pie

For the crust:

1 disk homemade or store-bought pie crust

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Flour, for dusting

 

For the Filling:

2 1/2 cups whole milk

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

For the Whipped Cream

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

Shaved chocolate for decorating

 

Directions:

Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out the pie dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface then fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhang dough under itself and crimp the edges. Place a piece of parchment paper inside the pie crust and fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake until the crust is starting to set and brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and the beans/weights and bake for another 5 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp looking. Let it cool completely.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside of the pie crust with the melted chocolate in a thin layer, place in the refrigerator to harden.

Make the filling: Pour 2 cups of the milk into a heatproof bowl and set over the pan of simmering water. Heat the milk until it’s almost boiling. Add the unsweetened chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl whisk the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup milk and then add this mixture to the hot chocolate milk mixture. Raise the heat of the simmering water to medium-high and return the chocolate mixture over the water. Whisk in the egg yolks and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture is very thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Let the filling cool slightly and then pour into the pie shell. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the filling and refrigerate until cold, at least three hours,

Before serving make the mascarpone whipped cream: Beat the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl with a mixer until creamy. Add the heavy cream and continue beating until it holds stiff peaks. Add the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star and pipe it on top of the pie. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

Recipe from Food Network

Slow Cooker Sunday: Herbed Turket Breast

Have you ever thought about cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in a slow cooker? Well, unfortunately you can’t put a whole turkey in there, but, you can cook a turkey breast. Believe it or not, they actually say slow cooker friendly on the wrapper, well, at least the one I picked up did. My friends and I had our 2nd Annual Friendsgiving Celebration last weekend, and when I offered to bring the turkey in my mind I was already thinking of a slow cooker turkey breast since there wasn’t going to be that many of us. I decided on a turkey breast that was 7.5 lbs. Now, when I brought him home and tested him out in my slow cooker I freaked out a little bit because he didn’t fit. Well, he fit I just couldn’t put the cover on the slow cooker. But, I thought to myself that once he thawed out he should just fine.

On the day of the get together I got up early just in case it took longer than directed and in case of any other mishaps. I began by placing a chopped carrot, onion and celery in the bottom of my slow cooker. I then placed the turkey breast on top of the vegetables and sprinkled him – oh, and yes, I always refer to my turkey as him or he, it’s because of Tom The Turkey – with an herb and spice mix and then drizzled melted butter over him. If you don’t have the specific spices that I used below feel free to create your own spice mix.

After a little coercion I was able to get the cover snug on top and I set him to cook on low. I was planning on him being done between 6-7 hours.

While the pop-up time did pop out at 6 hours I decided to leave him in there a little longer just to be sure. I figured he wouldn’t dry out in a slow cooker. And unfortunately the one downfall of cooking a turkey in a slow cooker is not getting that nice browned skin.

But, that was nothing that a few minutes under the broiler couldn’t resolve.

So, would I make a turkey breast like this again? Yes! It’s stress-free and pretty much guarantees that you will have a juicy turkey. I am tempted to go my usual route of brining the turkey beforehand next time though. Oh, one thing I was able to make with this turkey that I had never been able to do before was gravy. There was a decent amount of drippings left in the slow cooker and I must say, homemade gravy from the drippings beats anything you buy in the store hands down.

 

Slow Cooker Herbed Turkey Breast

Ingredients:

1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 celery stalk, chopped into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoons sage

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 6 to 7 lb. bone-in turkey breast

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons cornstarch

 

Directions:

In the slow cooker toss together the carrot, onion and celery.

In a small bowl mix the herbs and spices.

Place the turkey on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Try to get some of the mixture under the skin of the turkey as well. Drizzle with the melted butter. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or until fully cooked – 165 F

When the turkey is done, preheat the oven to broil and place the turkey in a roasting pan and broil for a few minutes to brown the skin. Don’t leave it in the oven too long or the turkey could dry out.

Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water.

Strain the remaining liquid in the slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Bring to a bowl over medium-high heat. Whish in the cornstarch mixture and cook until the gravy thickens.

Slice the turkey and serve with the gravy.

 

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

 

 

Brussels Sprouts & Cranberry Sauce

So, I’m working a little backwards here. Yesterday I brought you a delicious pie you can serve for Thanksgiving dessert and today I am bringing you two sides. A roasted Brussels sprouts dish and homemade cranberry sauce. Come back on Sunday for Slow Cooker Sunday where I will tell you how I slow cooked a turkey breast – see, definitely working backwards!

I know Brussels sprouts is not a favorite vegetable for many, but, I think the reason is because they are not preparing them the best way. Yes, they have a bitter flavor, just like broccoli rabe, but, when you season and roast them in the oven they take on a whole new flavor. Even the little charred sections taste good. And, they get perfectly tender. The recipe I recently tried called for them to be roasted in the oven and then topped with a glaze made with grapes, honey & scallions… YUM! I can’t wait to make it again and I am pretty sure it will make any Brussels sprout skeptic think twice about that vegetable that looks like a baby cabbage.

I grew up eating cranberry sauce from a can, not the whole berry sauce one, but, the jellied version. It’s weird, I won’t eat the whole berry one from a can because I feel like it’s too fake but I will eat the jellied version. Yes, I will still eat it with my turkey and stuffing. I don’t really know what prompted me to try making cranberry sauce myself since I was content with the can stuff, but, I’ve used the same recipe now for quite a few years and it’s one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. I look forward to a sandwich with leftover turkey warmed up with melted cheese (preferably provolone) and topped with cranberry sauce every year after Thanksgiving. I am dreaming of it now as I type… LOL! So, what is so special about this sauce? I think it’s the simplicity of it. There are no out of the box ingredients. It’s simply a bag of fresh cranberries, sugar, water, fresh ginger, orange zest, a cinnamon stick, ground cloves and salt. I tried getting a little fancy one year, but, it just didn’t top the simple yet delicious taste of this cranberry sauce. Make a few days before you intend to use to really get the best flavor.

So, I hope these two dishes will make their way to your table, or, they have given you ideas of something else to try.

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Grapes

Ingredients:

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups red seedless grapes

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 450 F.

Toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Spread them on the hot baking sheet and roast, tossing halfway through until tender and charred in spots, 20 to 30 minutes.

While the Brussels sprouts are in the oven…. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the grapes and thyme and cook until the grapes starting to burst, stirring occasionally. Add the scallions and honey. Increase the heat to high and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until the juices thicken and the grapes are glazed. Season with salt and pepper.

Once ready, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a dish and drizzled the grape mixture over them

Recipe from Food Network

 

Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2 1/2 Cups
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of water with the sugar, cinnamon stick, ginger, orange zest, salt and cloves. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring until slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool before refrigerating

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie with a Leaf Cut-Out Crust

With Thanksgiving next week you may be on the lookout for a new or different pie to make. Today I am bringing you a Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie that I saw in a recent issue of Real Simple magazine that would be a wonderful addition to your dessert table.

I began by browning the butter. To do so, I simply melted a stick of butter in a saucepan stirring it until it was golden and nutty smelling – trust me, it will get a nutty scent. Don’t leave it on the stove too long or your brown butter will turn to burnt butter.

I poured the butter in to a large bowl and added in 5 peeled and chopped Bartlett pears, 2 peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples, flour, vanilla extract, salt and sugar. After giving this a few good stirs to mix it all together I transferred the mixture to a prepared pie dish – I had placed an unbaked piecrust in the dish.

Now it was time to work on the top crust. I’ve been wanting to try a different type of decorative pie crust… A leaf cut-out pie crust. I have made cut-outs before for a pie crust, but, they have been just accent pieces. I had never completely covered the pie with cutouts. What’s nice about this… its fool-proof and looks a lot more difficult than what it is. One thing you do need though is patience! Using leaf design pie crust cutters I cut out a bunch of leaves – I had around 60.

I then arranged them on the top of my pie. I brushed the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkled sugar on it and placed it in the freezer for 15 minutes.

A side note, as I have mentioned before I normally use store bought pie crust – always the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust. So, for this pie I needed 3 pie crusts; 1 for the bottom and I needed two in order to cut out enough leaves to cover my pie. I decided that next time I make a pie with cut-outs for the crust I am going to cut them out the day before and refrigerate them to save time the day of.

I was concerned that the leaf design wouldn’t hold-up during baking – that it would possibly burn or some of the leave would crack. Thankfully baking the pie on the lowest rack of the oven and at a lower temperature (350 F) prevented that from happening.

This pie is delicious… Not overly sweet and the combination of pears and apples is just perfect!

Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

2 1/2 lbs. (5) pears, peeled, cored and chopped

1 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling

Preferred pie crust

1 large egg, lightly beaten

 

Directions:

Lower a rack in the oven to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl / skillet, melt the butter over medium heat stirring until golden and nutty smelling. Pour into a large bowl and let cool for a few minutes.

Add the apples, pears, flour, vanilla, salt 1/4 cup sugar to the brown butter and toss.

Roll out your pie crust to 14 inches and line a 9-inch pie plate with it and trim the dough to a 1-inch overhang. Fill the pie crust with the pear apple filling and top the pie with your decided pie crust design. If you plan on just covering the pie with no design, roll the dough out to 12 inches and lay over the filling. Fold the top edge over and tuck under bottom edge; crimp edge as desired. Cut a few vents. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar and freeze for 15 minutes

Bake on the bottom rack until the juices start bubbling, about 60 to 75 minutes. If you notice that the edges of the pie are browning too quickly cover them with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.

Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before slicing.

Recipe from Real Simple Magazine

 

Chicken Vegetable Ramen Noodle

When I was in college I used to make ramen noodles a few times a week in my trusty electric hot pot. It was one of the few things that was fool proof to make in there, besides heating up a can of soup. Once I graduated though the hot pot was thrown out and I stopped eating ramen noodles. Then last year not long after my Dad passed away I had a sudden craving for ramen noodles. There was such a feeling of comfort and safety in that bowl of noodles. A reminder of when life was easier and the safety of youth made you feel like nothing could ever go wrong or nothing bad could happen. Grief is a funny thing. It can make you remember things you completely forgot and question whether or not they happened and can make you find comfort in the oddest of things, hence the ramen noodles. To this day I still enjoy the occasional bowl of ramen noodle and have a case of it in my cabinet at all times. It got me thinking, why not try to make a traditional ramen bowl as opposed to the instant one I have been enjoying.

I began by prepping my various vegetables to have them ready to add to the pot as I was going…

And once I started it came together pretty quick, the most time consuming part of making this ramen bowl was prepping all of the vegetables. Oh yeah, and finding the miso. I ended up going to a local Oriental grocery market that I’ve known about for years. I did find miso at my local supermarket, but, the recipe called for white miso and the one they had was red and I didn’t want to take any chances with subbing ingredients.

And while it was delicious, I did have a minor mishap. I left the pot covered a little too long with the noodles so I ended up with something more like Lo Mein than ramen soup. I did have enough broth for one bowl, but, not for two.

Oh well… My noodles and veggies were just as delicious.

I’ll definitely make this again, but, I think next time I will omit the eggs and the chicken. It was definitely enough with just the vegetables.

 

Chicken Vegetable Ramen Bowl

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more for seasoning chicken

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

2 eggs

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons white miso

8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced

1 cup baby spinach

4 to 5 mini sweet peppers plus more for garnish, sliced

3 to 4 green onions plus more for garnish, sliced

1 large carrot, thinly sliced into ribbons

6 ounces ramen noodles

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once hot, add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Brown chicken for 5 minutes on each side.

Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through.

In a small saucepan, place the eggs and cover with water and cover the pan. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Keep lid on saucepan for 5 minutes. Drain the hot water and fill with cold water, once cool drain the water and peel the eggs.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the remaining oil. Once hot, add onion and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Add garlic powder, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Whisk in soy sauce, broth and miso. Add mushrooms and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add the peppers, green onions, spinach and carrots. Continue to simmer covered for 5 minutes. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary.

Finally, add ramen noodles and turn off heat (the heat from the soup will soften the noodles).

Slice chicken breasts and eggs. Divide soup into bowls and serve with chicken and a halved egg.

Recipe from Simply Organic