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51  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Love Land- Board Game on: January 15, 2012 09:43:11 AM
So I made this game before I had my eCraft.  It would have been way easier and faster if I had it, but it was a labor of love, is it's okay that it took so long!  I didn't have a particular event in mind when I started making it, but by the time I finished it, it was just about time for our 2-year anniversary.  What better time to give Ryan the story of our love in the form of a fun game? 

There are closeup pictures of the board, and of all of the game pieces at my blog:

http://papercookies.blogspot.com/2012/01/love-land-board-game.html




52  COOKING / Dessert / Superhero Cupcakes! on: January 15, 2012 08:19:05 AM
I decided to surprise my boyfriend with a birthday cake, and he LOVES superheroes.  I've never decorated cakes before, so I decided it would be easier to make cupcakes instead of a full cake.  (That way if I messed it all up, I would just have ruined one cupcake!)  It was only natural that each cupcake be one of his favorite heroes!  I decided to use modeling chocolate, and it was so fun!  (Like play-doh!) 

Anyway, here is a picture of them:



There are more pictures and more detailed information at:

http://papercookies.blogspot.com/2012/01/super-hero-cupcakes.html
53  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Bananas Foster Truffles on: January 02, 2012 02:07:15 PM
I was looking online, and rum extract or vanilla extract should work, just use less than what's listed in the recipe... I haven't tried those but they sound good!
54  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Creamy Caramel Filled Chocolates on: January 02, 2012 02:04:02 PM
Thanks!  And they are just SO easy!  (Especially since its mostly done in the microwave.)
55  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Flavoring Your Paneer (aka Curd or Fresh Cheese) on: January 02, 2012 02:00:21 PM
Yah!  I've always liked feta on salads, so this can make a good alternative.    Smiley
56  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Indian Dinner (Matar Paneer and Aloo Ghobi) on: January 02, 2012 01:58:02 PM
Let me know how it goes!  It's a really forgiving recipe, so I'm sure whatever you do will be delicious!  (I rarely follow them exactly.)
57  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Indian Dinner (Matar Paneer and Aloo Ghobi) on: December 28, 2011 07:37:48 PM
I've learned everything I know about cooking through Indian food, so it's not a big surprise that my favorite foods are Indian recipes!  One of those is Matar Paneer... yum!  It's super simple to make, and it's a great introduction for a subji novice.  (Lesson 1: A subji is any vegetable dish.)

I'm also posting a recipe for Aloo Ghobi, which is another classic... I don't know of anyone who doesn't like it.  This is another good introduction into Indian food (especially for kids and skeptics) because, like Matar Paneer, the flavors and ingredients are more familiar to the Western pallet.


Matar Paneer in Red, and Aloo Ghobi Variation in Yellow.  (Served with rice of course!)


How To Make Matar Paneer

What You Need:

3Tblsp Ghee or Oil
Paneer From 1/2 Gallon of Milk (Fresh or Fried)
Pinch of Hing
1Tsp Cumin Seeds
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 Inch of Cinnamon Stick
1Tblsp Minced Ginger
1Tblsp Coriander Poweder
1/2Tsp Turmeric
1/2Tsp Chili Powder
1/2Tsp Paprika
Salt to Taste
Sugar to Taste (I like a couple of tablespoons)
1 Can Green Peas
1 Medium Can of Tomato Puree

The first step is to get some paneer (aka curd), you can either make this by looking at my other post (http://papercookies.blogspot.com/2011/12/indian-dinner.html), buying some at the Indian store, or buying some at a Mexican store (it will be labeled fresh cheese here).

Next melt some ghee or oil in a pan and when the ghee is hot, add the hing, cumin seeds, ginger, bay leaves and cinnamon.  Make sure you have a lid on the pan for this!  (It will pop into your eyes otherwise!)  Stir fry for a few seconds and then add the tomato paste, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and paprika.  Add the peas, 1/4 cup of water, salt, sugar and paneer.  Serve with rice and enjoy!


How To Make Aloo Ghobi

What You Need:

2 Cups Cut Cauliflower Florets
2 Medium Potatoes Cubed
1Tblsp Minced Ginger
3Tsp Coriander Powder
1/4Tsp Turmeric
1/4Tsp Cayenne Pepper
3Tblsp Ghee or Oil
Pinch of Hing
1/2Tsp Cumin Seeds
2 Green Chilies Sliced Lengthwise
2 Bay Leaves
1Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Water
*Variation: add a medium can of chick peas

In a small bowl mix the ginger, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric and 3Tblsp of water to make a paste, set aside.  Heat the ghee in a pan, add hing and cumin seeds (Don't forget the lid!), after the seeds pop, add bay leaves and green chilies, stir fry.  Add the spice paste and stir for a minute more.  Add cauliflower, potatoes, water and salt.  Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.  Serve with rice and enjoy!
58  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Flavoring Your Paneer (aka Curd or Fresh Cheese) on: December 28, 2011 06:47:45 PM
So... I love curd.  That's all there is to it!  If you aren't familiar with it, you need to be!  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paneer)

That being said, I was making some curd a while back, and at the last minute I decided to try flavoring it.  I made a batch with some basic seasonings, and a sweet, cinnamon sugar batch.  All I can say is that they were good enough that I decided to share it here!


Salt, Pepper, Basil and Oregano gave a very light fresh taste.


Cinnamon and Sugar made for a sweet treat great on toast!


How To:

I followed the basic steps to making paneer, heat milk until boiling (don't burn!) and pour in a little lemon juice until the milk starts to separate.  Stir the mixture, until separation is complete and strain the curds into a cheese cloth.  (I like to save the whey for use in other recipes.)  After rinsing the curds (to remove the lemon juice), I kneaded it so that it would be very firm.  This is when I added the seasoning. (I don't measure very often, so just add what you like until it looks good!)  I then wrapped the curds in the cheese cloth and set a pot full of water on top for a couple of hours.

Once the curd is ready, there's lots to do with it!  I always like to make a nice subji with paneer, but the herb paneer would also be great in a salad, or sandwich!  The sweet paneer is great on it's own, but I also spread some on toast and it was delicious!  (It was a little difficult to spread since I made it firm so next time I might plan ahead and not knead it or press it as long.)
59  COOKING / Dessert / Creamy Caramel Filled Chocolates on: December 28, 2011 06:43:29 PM
Now, before you read the recipe, let me tell you Ive never used caramel when making anything before, so there might be a better way of doing this.  I will hopefully learn some fancier things soon (Maybe someone here can help with that!), but for now Im happy with how these turned out!



What I Used:
One 11oz bag of Caramel Bits
2 Tblsp Water
Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Coating Chocolate

What I Did:

To make the filling, I poured the bag of caramel into a microwave safe container and per the bags instructions, I added two tablespoons of water and put it in the microwave for two minutes.  Then, I realized that just putting this inside the chocolate will be tasty, but sticky.  I decided to experiment, and it worked out really well!  So what I did was I took a quarter cup of heavy whipping cream and heated it up on the stove at medium heat.  As soon as it started to boil, I mixed it into the caramel.  (This is very similar to making a ganache filling for truffles, so I thought it would work.)

I set the filling in the refrigerator for a little while, while I worked on some other candies.  When I was ready (and the filling was no longer warm), I took it out.  What I ended up with was a caramel filling that was creamier and softer than regular caramel, which is perfect for biting into with chocolate!

To fill the candies, I used a package of coating chocolate and melted it per the instructions on the bag.  I use coating chocolate because I know that it will always be tempered, shiny and hard once it is done.  (Regular chocolate really isnt hard to temper in the microwave, I just dont have the money to experiment too much right now with candy that just immediately melts in everyones hands!)  I spooned a little bit of the chocolate into the mold, and used a toothpick to brush it up onto the sides.  (Dont forget to tap the mold on the counter to make sure there are no air bubbles!)

Once these hardened, I spooned some filling into each mold, and smoothed it out with another toothpick.  (Dont fill up the entire mold because you need room for the rest of the chocolate!)  After filling the molds, I spooned a little more chocolate on top and spread it evenly with a toothpick.  Here is where its most important to tap the mold because it takes out any air bubbles, and gives the bottoms a nice even surface to sit on!

Just pop these in the fridge, and when they are cooled down enough, you will see some separation from the mold and the chocolate (youll have to look at what will be the top of the chocolates).  Just turn the mold upside down and press lightly on each (sometimes a little twist to the mold helps) and you have yummy homemade chocolates that look store bought! 
60  COOKING / Dessert / Bananas Foster Truffles on: December 28, 2011 06:36:11 PM
I found this recipe online (but of course altered it a bit), and I was so excited to try it!  It is safe to say that it's the best flavor I've ever made!  I haven't actually ever had bananas foster, so I don't know how similar it really is, but I do know that it tastes amazing!



What I Used:

4 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Rum
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Banana
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
8oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips


What To Do:

Melt half of the butter on medium heat, and ad the brown sugar.  Stir this mixture until the brown sugar melts, and add the cinnamon and rum (this mixture will bubble).  Roast banana slices in this mixture for about a minute on each side.  (Don't let them get mushy!)  Remove the banana slices and set them aside.  Pour the heavy cream directly into the mixture still in the pan.  Whisk the cream and sugar together until the cream just starts to boil.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in a heat safe bowl, add the rest of the butter.  Let the chocolate rest for a minute and then whisk the mixture until it's smooth and shiny!  Chop the banana into small pieces and fold into the mixture.  Let this cool down in the refrigerator until it is no longer warm.  I poured these into some simple looking chocolate molds instead of rolling them like traditional truffles.
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