Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baby John Deere Diaper Cake

My daughter Kristen and I had fun with this idea for our friend Karla.  The diaper cake was for her baby shower celebrating the arrival of her twin baby girls.  We combined the John Deere theme with the Gerber Daisies. Below is a diaper cake that was used for a table centerpiece.

Karla's husband, Steve, is a John Deere fan and farms with their equipment.  I used the pink John Deere fabrics to make burp cloths and then folded them to fit the height of the diapers and wrapped them around each tier to resemble fondant.  My sister, Cheryl found the cute John Deere gas pump for the top of the cake and my husband, Larry got the two Johnny Deere tractors for the girls.  After all, little girls like John Deere too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quick and Easy Light Popcorn Balls

Quick and Easy Light Popcorn Balls

3  Three ounce bags of light microwave popcorn (make sure you get one with no diacetyl added).
1/4  cup of butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1  (16) ounce bag of mini marshmallows
Cooking Spray

Pop the popcorn in the microwave according to instructions on bag.  Let cool.  Shake the bag so all the unpopped kernels go to the bottom of the bag.  Place in your largest bowl or you can do what I do and clean out your kitchen sink with garbage disposal and dry thoroughly with a clean dry towel.  Place stopper in drain.  This makes clean up easier.  Gently pour the popped popcorn into the bowl or sink being careful not to let any unpopped kernels get through.

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium high heat.  Stir in the marshmallows.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 7 minutes or until the marshmallows have completely melted.  Stir frequently.  Remove from heat when creamy and add the vanilla and desired food color. 

Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn well.  Lightly spray your hands with the cooking spray and take a handful of the popcorn mixture and press into a small ball.  Place on a clean surface and repeat above with remaining popcorn mixture.  Wrap each popcorn ball in a small section of plastic wrap. 


For the holidays, I use a small amount of food color to match.  Orange for Halloween, red or green for Christmas, etc.
You can also add candy corn for Halloween or cinnamon red hearts for Valentine's Day.  They're fun to make and the kids love them.

Tuna Ranch Casserole

Tuna Ranch Casserole

8 ounces of cooked and drained Pennini Rigati
1 large plus 1 small can of tuna in water, well drained
1 1/2 cups of favorite ranch dressing
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
4 Tbls of melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the cooked Rigati in a 2 quart casserole.
Stir in the tuna, ranch dressing, milk, seasoned salt and onion powder.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cheese. Stir in the melted butter and sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Quick Shrimp Scampi

             Photo by Diana Rudolf
Quick Shrimp Scampi

½ stick (1/4 cup) of margarine

1 cup of fat-free Italian salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
Juice of 2 lemons or 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
Cracked pepper to taste
2 pounds of uncooked shrimp, cleaned

Melt butter in a 9 x 13 pan lined with foil.  Stir in the dressing, lemon juice, garlic powder and pepper.
Add the shrimp, stirring to coat with the sauce.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until the shrimp is done.  Stir occasionally.  Do not over cook.  Serve with steamed rice.  Try to get fresh shrimp.  If using frozen, thaw completely, drain well and pat dry before cooking.

Crochet White Baby Shawl

This is a lovely shawl and is easy to make.  It only requires chain, single and double crochet.  The eyelet edging and ribbon make for a beautiful finished shawl.

Baby's White Shawl
In Honor of Edna Grimes
Temecula, California

Size:  44" Square.
Materials:  Coats & Clark Red Heart Softspun Pompadour, Art.  E.275, Five 3 ounce skeins white #1.  Crochet hook size 6/G (4.25 mm.)  or size required to obtain gauge.  One 20 yard spool of 1/4" wide satin ribbon in color blue or pink for baby. 
Gauge:  15 sts = 3"; 10 rows = 3" (pat st).
Shawl:  Ch 185.
Row 1:  Sc in 2nd ch from hook, * ch 2, sk 2 ch, sc in next ch, repeat from * across.  Turn.
Row 2:  (right side):  Ch 3, dc in first sc, 3 dc in each sc across to last sc, 2 dc in last sc.  Turn.
Row 3:  Ch 1, sc in first dc, * ch 2, sc in 2nd dc of next 3-dc group, repeat from * across, end ch 2, sc in top of ch-3.  Repeat rows 2 and 3 for pat st until piece measures 35 and 1/2" from beg, end pat row 2.  End off. 
Edging:  Rnd 1: From right side, join yarn in any corner, work 184 sc along each edge of shawl, working (sc, ch 1, sc) in each corner, end last corner ch 1, sl st in first sc. 
Rnd 2:  Ch 1, sc in each sc around, working (sc, ch 1, sc) in each corner.  Sl st in first sc. 
Rnd 3:  (eyelet rnd):  Ch 4 (counts as dc, ch 1), * (sk 1 sc, dc in next sc, ch 1) across to 1 sc before corner, (dc, ch 5, dc) in corner, ch 1, repeat from * around, end ch 1, sl st in 3rd ch of ch-4. 
Rnd 4:  Ch 1, sc in sl st, sc in each dc and ch-1 sp around, working 7 sc in corner ch-5 sps.  Sl st in first sc.  End off. 
Rnd 5:  From right side, join yarn in first sc of any 7-sc corner, * (ch 5, sk 1 sc, sc in next sc) 3 times - corner made, (ch 5, sk 3 sc, sc in next sc) across to 2 sc before corner, ch 5, sk 2 sc, sc in first sc of next corner, repeat from * around, end last repeat ch 5, sk last 2 sc, sl st in first sc.
Rnds 6 - 9: Sl st in first 2 ch, (sc, ch 5, sc) in 3rd ch of each ch-5 corner sp, (ch 5, sc in 3rd ch of next ch-5 sp) across to corner, ch 5, repeat from * around, end sc in first sc.  End off.  
Finishing:  Block coverlet and let dry.  Cut four 50" strands of ribbon.  Weave ribbon through each side of eyelet row, leaving equal lengths on each edge for streamers.  Overlap and tack at each corner.  Tie four bows and sew to top of corners.  Trim streamers.