friday fuzzies: handmade gift guide

this week's friday fuzzies is going to be a little different, particularly because it's such a big shopping weekend.  i'm all about buying handmade no matter what the occasion is, so i'm going to profile some shops that i've bought from - and think you should check out too!

for purses, scarves, and other cool and edgy accessories, check out warning label creations...  my favourite item in her shop is this executioner clutch bag which will one day be mine. in purple i think.

for handmade polymer clay and resin jewelry, check out pet zombie creations...  i picked this damask necklace from her shop because i have one myself and i LOVE it!

for cute punk rock clothing for both kids and adults, check out rocky the zombie...  zombie love was the first design i purchased from her shop and it's still one of my favourite tees.

for fingerless gloves, check out zen and coffee designs...  i have several pairs from this shop already, and my pick is only one of many from my wish list - who killed mr. moonlight gloves.

for reading pillows and recycled gifts, check out Inverness Studios...  my pick is this alice in wonderland reading pillow - cute and functional!

for dolls, accessories and other cute stuff, check out camamiel...  just about everything in this shop is on my wish list, and it was hard to pick one thing!  plush felt doll lulu is a super cute doll that is in need of a good home.

for stocking stuffers such as burn busters, hair clips, and other cute little things, check out The Biting Gnome...  i have a jack skellington burn buster and it is such a wonderful thing to wrap around my morning tea.  this hello kitty love burn buster would made a perfect gift for any kitty lover, or HK fan!

for bra tops and other cute clothing, check out rad rocket...  my pick from her shop is another wish list item, a halter bra top with a black and white skull print.

for gifts for your pet, check out Fabulously Fierce Pets...  deck out your pooch or kitty in something more fun this holiday season.  my recommendation is this green striped small dog collar.  and she's got some great picks for the punk rock pet, such as a the black & white skulls collar my cat wears.

for alternative punk rock jewelry, check out Headless Tess DIY...  there are several necklaces on my wish list from this shop!  do you have a harry potter fan on your list to buy for?  then you might want to pick up this ravenclaw house crest necklace

and last but certainly not even close to least we have Indiscretion/Haute Indiscretion...  i love her street couture/shabby chic/steampunk point of view and i have a top and a dress that she's made.  my pick would be this wallpaper party dress, perfect for YOU for all your holiday get-togethers. =)


as good as gold!

this week's recipe is something i've been making since i was a kid.  i have heard it's similar to "monkey bread".  maybe this is where my love of baking began!  it is actually a family recipe that's been handed down a few generations, and i am the one who still makes it for every holiday breakfast for my parents, my siblings & their families...  well, when i still lived close enough to share it with them.  now it is all mine when i make it, hee hee hee. 

this bread is so coveted in my family i could probably use it as currency if need be.  i actually had to parse out loaves and tag them at holidays just to make sure everyone got equal amounts.  i have even had requests to make it for people as their birthday gift.  my brother came to visit me in may, and i baked some the first night he was here.  he ate half a loaf within minutes of it emerging from the oven.  need more convincing to try making it yourself?  just check out the photo below.

p.s. for best results, use the actual brand ingredients i use (something i still have to convince my mother to do, lol)

tear off a piece/TOAP (cinnamon-sugar bread)

for the bread:
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet cream salted butter, melted (i use land o'lakes)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
5-1/2 cups bread flour (i use gold medal better for bread)

for the yeast:
2 packages dry yeast (i use fleischmann's rapidrise)
1/2 cup lukewarm water (between 105 - 115 degrees F)
2 tsp granulated sugar

for finishing the bread after rising:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet cream salted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
3 tbs ground cinnamon

1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. make the yeast by mixing together the water, yeast and sugar in a 2 cup measuring cup.  set aside.
3. scald the milk by putting it in the microwave on high for 3 minutes.  it should start to form a skin on top.
4. in a large bowl, combine the milk, butter, sugar, eggs, and 3 cups of flour.  mix well.  once the yeast has risen above 1 cup, add it to the bowl along with the remaining 2-1/2 cups of flour.  knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.  cover with a towel and set aside.  allow to rise for about 2 hours.  punch down with a fork.  recover and let rise another hour.
5. melt the second stick of butter in a bowl or small pot.  in a bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar.  i usually use a glass bowl and a fork to do this so i can see it has truly been mixed well.
6. divide the bread dough in half.  knead one of the halves for about a minute or two.  shape into a french loaf.  cut into 10 equal pieces.  dip each piece in butter, then roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  place side by side in a bread pan as seen in the picture above (i use airbake pans, and i find that they by far work the best).  do the same with the other half in another bread pan.  bake for 28 minutes.

makes 20 pieces.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


pumpkin cupcakes!

when i found a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes i was ready to make it immediately.  now add some cheesecake flavor to the pumpkin.  yes, please!  then top it with cream cheese frosting...  i am one happy, happy girl!  these cupcakes are so moist and tasty, and a great alternative to vanilla and chocolate.  they're perfect for the season too and were a big hit last year.  while sampling my finished cupcakes yesterday, i had an idea.  i think i'm going to try a marbled version of this next time i make them by using a toothpick to swirl the cheesecake layer throughout the cupcake.

i also tested out Reynolds Baked For You StayBright baking cups in their black and white damask pattern.  it's foil lined on the inside so that the pattern on the liner stays vibrant after baking.  i'd say they worked well!

pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes

1 pkg (8 oz.) package of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
1 large egg white
1-1/2 tsp vanilla, divided (1/2 tsp, 1 tsp)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. using a mixer, beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar for 2-3 minutes in a bowl.  add in the egg white and 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
3. in another bowl, mix the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, oil and 1 tsp. vanilla.  mix well.  add in the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt.  continue mixing til all is well blended.
4. line a muffin pan with foil lined baking cups (i've found they work best).  put a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin mixture into the bottom of each cup.  layer with a measured tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.  top with another tablespoon of pumpkin mixture and level it off a bit if needed.  don't worry if it doesn't look pretty, it will bake nicely.  bake for 25 minutes in the lower third of your oven.  let cool and frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

makes 1 dozen. enjoy! =)

cream cheese frosting

1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla

1.  beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended.  add sugar gradually and continue beating until well blended.

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


friday fuzzies

[fri'dā fuz'ēz] n. handmade finds of pure cuteness to make fridays even better

every friday i will share with you something or things that i found which meet the following criteria:
1. it's cute
2. it's handmade
and most of all,
3. i covet it

this week's theme is dessert...  i've been baking a lot this week and all i have is sugar on the brain!  the great thing about these cute confections is that they won't go straight to your hips!

dessert ornaments by araleling...  pick one (or more!) to decorate your holiday tree with some cute and yummy goodies

sugary sweet rubber stamp set by nikoart...  you'll get a milkshake rabbit, a cupcake dog, an ice cream bears, and a popsicle cats stamp in this cute as can be stamp set

chocolate is good medicine hobo bag by redvelvette...  and who am i to say otherwise? ;)

kawaii loaded sweets and desserts charm bracelet by gaylevictoria...  cupcakes, donuts, ice cream, pie, chocolate - it has all my favourites and more!

sweet stuff fabric by scrumptiousdelight... if you sew you can make your own concoction with this adorable fabric.  i think it would make great potholders and oven mitts!


wearing handmade wednesday: em & sprout!

i had my eye on these zombie kitty shoes from em & sprout forever.  a few months ago i decided it was finally time to get them.  when i bought them i asked for them to be customized with stitching only on the inside ears because i had hatched a little plan to make them truly my own.

once i received them i made the green skull bows (which match the eyes perfectly!) and attached them to each of the unstitched ears.  then i made the stitched ears a little more zombie-like with a "bite" taken out of them.  handmade + handmade = super cute!


friday fuzzies

[fri'dā fuz'ēz] n. handmade finds of pure cuteness to make fridays even better

every friday i will share with you something or things that i found which meet the following criteria:
1. it's cute
2. it's handmade
and most of all,
3. i covet it

this week let's talk turkey since the US's thanksgiving is now 2 weeks away.  this is plenty of time for you to add some handmade goodness to your thanksgiving celebration if any of these catch your fancy.

we'll start with thomas the turkey plushie from SaintAngel...  a turkey that you can hug and love, and will be around next year!

turkey napkin holder by elvisgrl63...  a cute, modern, and functional piece for your feast

thanksgiving place card holders by carriveau...  let each guest know where they are sitting with these elegant place card holders

turkey crocheted kufi hat by chickandbud...  this girlie hat comes with a very cute removeable turkey hair clip

but the boys need a hat too!  fleece cooked turkey hat by halfpintboling made me smile really big when i saw it this morning. =)


just like grandma's

this blog post is more for my family members than anyone else, but even if you aren't this is worth reading! 

as the weather gets colder and colder, more and more recipes from my childhood resurface.  the following is some of the best comfort food i've ever had because it brings back wonderful memories of my beloved grandma.  she's not in the best of health at the moment and stupid me never asked for or wrote down her recipes.  however...  sometimes being a perfectionist is a good thing!  i have worked long and hard to replicate the taste of these two signature dishes of hers.  these are now to the point where every bite brings me back to her kitchen.  =)

stuffed cabbage/gołąbki

1 large green cabbage
1-1/2 lbs ground beef chuck
1 lb ground pork
4 cups cooked rice (cooked with 1 tsp salt)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cans Campbell's Tomato Bisque soup
4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1. boil the cabbage in a large pot with about ¼ cup salt for about 10 minutes.  remove and let cool.  break off leaves from the core.
2. while the cabbage is boiling...  preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  in a large bowl mix together the meat, rice, and garlic.  season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. use the outer leaves of the cabbage head as a layer on the bottom of your pan(s) [we use 2 large corningware bakeware pans with glass lids].  in the middle of each leaf add about a cup of meat mixture.  roll cabbage from the core side up to the outside of the leaf, making sure to tuck the sides in.  place side by side in pan.
4. when done, in another large bowl empty the 3 cans of soup.  add 1/2 can of water to this and mix.  pour the soup over your cabbage rolls.  cover and bake for 30-40 minutes (longer if you want it your rolls a little dry like grandma's were, lol!)

makes about 12 cabbage rolls.  enjoy! =)

and pair this with a famous grandma side dish...

grandma's sour cream cucumbers

3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced very thin
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs sugar (start with 1 tbs and add to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
dillweed to taste (optional)

1. add all ingredients to a large bowl.  mix well.  cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


friday fuzzies

[fri'dā fuz'ēz] n. handmade finds of pure cuteness to make fridays even better

every friday i will share with you something or things that i found which meet the following criteria:
1. it's cute
2. it's handmade
and most of all,
3. i covet it

this week's theme is inspired by autumn leaves and their colours...

how cute is this doxie and owl friend in the autumn leaves pouch by persnicketypelican?  it made from custom fabric and you have to see the listing to see how cute it comes packaged.

wool felt baby owl booties by claraclips...  these booties in 3-6 month size are ready to ship for your little pumpkin (also, go check out her adorable hair clips and finger puppets!)

woodland walk peacock feather flower hair fascinator by HeadFullofFeathers is simply gorgeous...  i *wish* i had an occasion to wear it to!

retro apples mitt set by collisionware...  this cute print works well for all seasons but especially for fall.

and to kick off holiday baking season, we must also have an apron...  half apron in earth mod dots by crzybaglady will help get you in the mood for some cookies with it's cookie-like print!


freshly baked

once halloween is over, the thing i look forward to is holiday baking.  i make cookies, a cinnamon & sugar bread, cakes, cupcakes (lots of these recipes to come)...  yeah, i am in the gym A LOT in the winter, haha.

but since i have not done a dessert recipe in a while, i thought i'd start with these peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies that i was craving madly while working today.  it's a dreary, rainy thursday and what better way to catch up on the blog recipes by sharing this one!

peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 egg
1-1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (i use hershey's brand)

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. in a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the peanut butter and chocolate chips.  once combined, add the peanut butter.  when that is well mixed, fold in the chocolate chips.
3. form into firmly packed 1" balls and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet about 2" apart.  flatten to about 3/8" with the bottom of a glass.
4. bake 5-7 minutes.  remove from cookie sheet and let cool.

makes about 4 dozen cookies.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...


wearing handmade wednesday: sunshine monster!

"Well, some go this way, and some go that way. But as for me, myself, personally, I prefer the short-cut."

isn't this "cheshire hat" from SunshineMonster cute?!?  erica normally makes these in pink and purple stripes just like the colours of the cheshire cat from disney's version of "alice in wonderland", but me having to be take my short-cut...  i requested mine to be made in my beloved black and white stripes!

there are a lot of other cute and quirky hats in her shop, along with purses, some mad doorknob covers and other fun accessories.  personally, i love her bacon scarf which i featured in one of my "friday fuzzies" posts.  so go check out her shop and bring a little sunshine to your wednesday. =)


back to eating!

well, not exactly.  i've been cooking and baking up a storm but haven't had time to post these recipes!  this dish is one that started as a costly recipe, and has evolved into a more simple, much cheaper, and much tastier recipe.  we like to enjoy this with a flavorful side salad and homemade bread.  NOM!!

sausage stuffed pork chops

4 thick cut pork chops
1/4 cup garlic & herb flavored bread crumbs, plus about 1 cup, divided
1/2 lb, bulk italian sausage, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbs. olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup butter
1 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  with a knife, slice a pocket in the side of each chop.  in a bowl combine the 1/4 cup bread crumbs, sausage, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper.  stuff each chop with this mixture.
2. dredge each chop in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in the rest of the breadcrumbs to bread them.
3. heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  when the oil is hot, place them in the pan and fry about 3 minutes per side.  when done, place them in a roasting pan.
4. add the onions, butter, white wine and chicken broth to the skillet.  cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly.  add this mixture to the roasting pan with the pork chops and bake for 45 minutes.  drizzle the chops with roasting pan juices for serving.

makes 4 servings.  enjoy! =)

♠ ♠ ♠

download a printable copy of this recipe at...