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1  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Vegan Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Ganache on: July 23, 2011 06:50:03 PM
So when I found out the quarterback of my flag-football team was vegan, I went on a quest to learn as much as I could about vegan baking. We have tailgate parties after each game and a lot of the time there wasn't much there that she could eat. I wanted to be able to bring yummy vegan junk-food that everyone would like, and that didn't require me to buy a lot of specialized ingredients that I would never use again. I adapted these from a recipe out of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine and they were the best thing I made all season.



Vegan Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:
1 Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Devils Food Cake Mix*
1/2 cup melted vegan butter-substitute (I used Earth Balance)

3/4 cup vegan butter-substitute, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 TSP vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2 TBSP soymilk

1/2 cup soymilk
1 pkg vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz)

*Most Moist Deluxe Duncan Hines cake mixes just accidentally happen to be vegan, which is fantastic for lazy bakers! Did you know you can make vegan cake/cupcakes by using a pack of cake mix and one can of soda? Mix and bake. Seriously, that's it. Any flavor cake, any flavor soda. This totally blew my mind the first time I tried it.

Instructions:
   1. Heat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom of 9x13 inch pan (if you want to make it easier to get out of the pan, line it with tin foil first)
   2. In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix and 1/2 cup melted butter-substitute. Just go ahead and use your hands to mix this up because it's much easier and you're gonna get messy anyways. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.  Cool completely. Don't worry if it's a little lumpy or uneven, that's the beauty of layered bars, it'll all get spackled over later.
   3. If you have a mixer, now is the time to use it. (If not, you're gonna need to break out some elbow grease, but your consolation prize is that you can use the same bowl from the previous step, so you have less dishes to wash.) Combine 3/4 cup butter-substitute, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix until reasonably homogeneous. Beat in the powered sugar and the 2 TBSP soymilk. Spread mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Stick it in the refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.
   4. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup soymilk just to boiling over medium high heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Don't stir, just let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, stir until smooth.  After that, leave it alone to cool for 15 minutes. Spread it over the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate 1-2 hours or until set. Cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator.
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Skiing Penguin Altiods Tin on: January 02, 2011 08:30:10 PM
I made this for a swap a little while ago. I wanted to do something seasonal and winter-y. The concept was a skiing penguin inside of a snow-globe. After I painted on the background and penguin, I covered it in silver glitter to look like the shaken-up snow stuff.

Here's the pic with a better view of the penguin:


And a pic with a better view of the "snow":


(Also I lied, it's not actually an Altoids tin, but an off-brand of mint which doesn't emboss the top of the box. I had to foist mints off on my co-workers for a week so I could empty the box out to use for this. "No I swear I'm not trying to insinuate that you have bad breath, I'm just on a deadline! Eat the stupid mints!")
3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Painted Boxes on: April 20, 2009 09:37:06 PM
So this all started when my partner in the Color Texture Shape swap picked star as her shape. Wondering around the craft store I found this neat star-shaped wooden box. One of my partner's interests is Indonesian batik fabrics, and I saw this incredible design from a fabric that she had wisted. A little bit of paint, a little bit of swearing, and a little bit of sealant, and whammo:





I loved the way it turned out. My family also loved it, and when my grandmother's birthday rolled around, my mom asked me to paint another box as a present for her. I decided to go with a flower (vaguely peony-ish):





I really like the way this one came out too, although the lighting in the photo is crappy, the colors are brighter in real life.
4  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Roller Derby Hat on: March 08, 2009 09:09:13 PM
This is a hat I made for round 3 of the Color Texture Shape swap. The texture my partner picked was "soft" and her color was red. Since she knits too, I didn't want to just make her a boring old red beanie that she could probably just throw together herself, so I added on a flaming rollerskate applique.





This was my first try at appliqueing anything, but I think it turned out pretty neat. Hats make a surprisingly good canvas to stick something on. I'll definitely be trying something like this again.
5  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Watercolor bookmarks on: August 12, 2008 03:47:05 AM
I made these bookmarks for a swap and thought they came out really well.

I used cardstock and cheap-o watercolors and then doodled the designs on and laminated them with packaging tape. They were originally supposed to be fire, water, air and earth, but couldn't decide what to do for air, so I just defaulted to purple and spirally. At first I had a hard time trying to fit designs in such a long narrow space, but all that time spent doodling in the margins of my lecture notes finally paid off  Cheesy and I like the end results a lot:
6  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Watermelon Hat on: August 12, 2008 03:34:03 AM
I made this guy for a swap and really liked how it turned out. I'd seen several knitted watermelon hats before, but not a crochet one. I based it on Rheatheylia's Purely Puffs hat pattern and added a rind and seeds. I think it looks all nice and summery (insomuch as a wool hat can be anyway), although it is perhaps a little too big for my model.

7  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Rocketship bookshelf! (pic-full) on: November 09, 2007 09:27:27 PM
I needed a mini-bookshelf to put at the foot of my bed. The only thing I could find was a boring white one. It was just begging for a paint job. I love reading, and my favorite genre is sci-fi, so a little acrylic paint, a little glitter and whammo- outer space themed bookshelf. You can't really tell from the pictures, but all the stars are glittery, as is the asteroid belt.


Top view:


Side one:


Side two:


The full view, again you cant see it but the whole back panel is super sparkely:


And some close-ups-

A rocketship:


The moon:


And Jupiter:


My friend took one look and said, "What are you, a six year old boy?" but I really like the way it turned out. Painting is fun  Grin Let me know what you think!
8  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Sprially Grey Beanie Hat on: October 17, 2007 07:17:24 PM
I hate hate *hate* crocheting in the round regular-joining style, I always have this humongous crooked seam that sticks out way too much Angry. So the solution? Crochet it in a spiral, and if I'm gonna do that, why not make it noticeably spirally! I used three different shades of gray yarn (where did those come from? I'm usually such a color freak, but what the heck, I also got a thing for gradients).

Work in progress:


Backside:


It was weird working with three different skeins of yarn attached to one object, I kept having to shuffle them around Three Card Monty-style to keep them from snarling.

Finished product as modeled by my lovely assistant, Lamp:
9  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Yummy rice dish on: October 16, 2007 11:01:09 PM
Yay! Experimental cooking success! I just moved into my first college apartment and have been wrestling with my laziness and lack of cooking ability, trying very hard not to live off of instant ramen and/or develop scurvy. I had some avocado that was edging toward overripe-ness so I threw together this sushi rice bowl thingie and it turned out delicious! I'm so excited that I had to share  Cheesy

Ingredients:
1 red onion
1 tomato
1 avocado
Small bunch of cilantro
1 cup rice (I used sushi rice, but anything could work)
1 egg
rice vinegar
lime juice
soy sauce

Make up the rice (I'm too broke for a rice-maker so the old stove+pot method works for me)

Chop up all veggies.

Start sauteing onions, when they are almost done dump in the tomatoes and pour some soy sauce and rice vinegar in, and stir it around a bit.

Mix your sauteed veggies in with the rice and add more soy sauce and vinegar and splash in some lime juice as well. Mix in the avocado and cilantro.

Fry up your egg (using the same pan of course, extra points for lazy)
and stick it on top. Hooray for protein!



In retrospect this is pretty much unmushed up guacamole with some rice. Oh well, enjoy!
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Acrylic sealer issues on: October 12, 2007 03:22:47 PM
I just got this boring white two level bookshelf thingie, and of course anything white = blank canvas, so I painted it with regular old acrylic paints and then sprayed it with acrylic sealer.

I tried to follow the directions on the can, but they were pretty vague as to how many coats to use, so I just went trigger-happy and kept on spraying on more coats until the can felt like it was getting towards running out. I think I ended up with about 6 coats. However it is still scratching really easily.

What should I do? Do I need more sealer? Should I have used something different? This is my first foray into furniture painting, so any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!  Grin
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