Awesome Almond Biscotti

Emm YUMMO!  I decided to bake one of Mike’s favorites today and thought I’d share the recipe and a quick picture guide in biscotti making.  I dare say the finished presentation looks pretty good but not nearly as good as they taste!  The recipe originated from a patient at my office.

So preheat that hot pot (oven) of yours to 350 degrees and lets get mixing ~  These are the only ingredients you’ll need.  Looks pretty easy right?  It really is!

This is how your dough should look once you’ve finished mixing it.  Go ahead and plop it on the counter like I have and give er a little log shape like I did.  The dough should be fairly easy to handle and should NOT stick to your fingers if it does add more flour a little at a time until it’s not sticky anymore.

Now cut your log in half and make two logs out of it.  Place both logs on your pre-greased and floured cookie sheet and shape like I did into about 2″ x 10″ logs.  Your logs should look something like this.

Now stick em in the hot pot for 25-30 minutes until golden.  Umm I must say this is the FANCIEST oven I’ve ever used much less owned in my entire life!  I mean I’m really just a chick from the sticks who is undoubtedly thrilled with this loaded appliance.  Amen for gas ranges and ovens that bake evenly!

Pull your logs out and they should look something like this

Lower oven temp to 300 degrees.  Let your logs cool for 10 minutes and then slice those babies up into 1/2″ slices

Place the slices back onto the cookie sheet(s).  Place your cookie sheet(s) back into your hot pot and bake 20 minutes longer, until surface is golden and crisp.  See those two lonely floating pieces?  Well those two are the heal of one log.  I have to admit that I LOVE these little guys . . . I will eat two of them at this stage and eat the other two once they’ve been baked for their final time.

Friends and family who’ve had these little pieces of almondie heaven leave droll on my counter tops.  So if you enjoy almond flavor you must give them a try.  You’ll notice in the recipe to follow that you can change the nuts and flavoring and use the basic dough to make ANY flavor biscotti you like.

ALMOND BISCOTTI

3 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

2-4 teaspoons almond extract

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with oil; add sugar and almond extract.  Continue beating about 5 minutes until mixture is thick and pale.  Fold in chopped almonds.

Sift flour with baking powder.  Stir into egg mixture using wooden spoon then hands, if necessary.

Shape dough into 2 logs about 2″ x 10″ each, and arrange on cookie sheet.  Using a wet spatula, flatten top, and smooth sides of logs. ***Note from Brandi:  I don’t use a wet spatula to shape my logs, I just use my hands and add a little bit of flour onto the log to give it a tiny bit of a floured surface and makes it easier to shape.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes until golden.  Remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Let logs cool on cookie sheet about 10 minutes.  Cut into 1/2″ slices using a serrated knife.  Lay slices flat on cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes longer, until surface is golden and crisp.

When done, transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool.  Store in airtight container.

Side Note:  You can change the nuts & flavoring.  Add dried orange flavored cranberries and orange extract.  Use this as a basic dough and add whatever you like.

Felt Cottages & other delectables

I spent the day yesterday doing one of the things I enjoy most in life . . . crafting.  Here is what awaited each of us at our assigned seats.  INDEED YUMMY stuff in that pie tin!  And I didn’t even get my bag filled with more delectables in this picture.

Charlotte Lyons hosted and taught a fabulous class on making felt cottage houses.  Here is one of her gorgeous master pieces.

Here’s mine . . . not nearly as fully decorated as Charlotte’s.  But these cottages are a work in progress.  You add to them here and there to your heart’s content.  I’m loving my choice in chimney construction, for sure buttons are a girls best friend especially in the cream color family!!!  Gosh I’m thinking I play it too safe with my choice in colors or lack there of!  I should let loose and craft something in a wild saucy color pallet.  Yeah I need a little sauciness added to my play it safe personality.

As if having the opportunity to meet and be taught by Charlotte Lyons wasn’t enough, we were served a delectable breakfast, lunch and snack by Charlotte’s good friend Suzanne who I just read is a former Vogue food editor and gourmet chef.  Oh my can she bake and cook all the while keeping her vogues on the down low.

Oh wait, one more thing . . . I won this as a door prize!  I was skipping with glee when my number was drawn for this piece!  It’s hand made by Elizabeth Williams who sells her goodies on Etsy.

Fall Harvest

Two miles down the road is this lovely farm that people come from as far as NY City to share in the “country” experience of harvesting pumpkins, running through corn mazes, taking a hay ride and having apple cider.  This experience is shared at Christmas time too but that’s another post yet to come.

We made our way over on opening day last Saturday, we were the first ones . . . YEAH!!!  Mike wasn’t nearly as cheerful about the experience but humored me (good boy!)  Now to find a pumpkin

These guys were HUGE!!!  I don’t even know how one would transport these babies???

These are more like it although sstacked and lined up so nicely, we shouldn’t mess it up.

“Oh, hey Mike how bout the corn maze?”   Mike:  “Ahh . . . I don’t think so!”

Look, they cut pumpkins off the vine but left them in the patch looking so nice!  Can’t take one from here either cuz they are placed so nicely for viewing purposes LOL!

“What is up with my crazy wife taking all these pumpkin pictures???”

“Better shape up Mike or I’ll put you in with these little oinkers”

Ahh HA!  Here’s where one picks there pumpkin!  Ours is in the front row, 3rd from the right.  Tall and perfect for carving a scary face . . . muahaha

Was a nice time at Jone’s Family Farm.

They don’t allow pets so our baby couldn’t go but I must insert a picture of him from the very same day.  Arf Arf!

Labor Day 2009

Can you believe that summer is over??? I can’t, ours was so chock full of house stuff that it buzzed right on by.  We lazily spent a quite afternoon on the back of the boat sipping a delish margarita with good company coming and going.  Missed my sister and her family who had to reschedule due to illness 😦

I don’t know why I like to take pictures of feet, shoes or whatever someone has on their feet.  It’s weird I know but humor me K?  Since I don’t get my pic taken often these days I’ll share a pic of my feet in summery flip flops.  I know they’re not the prettiest so look quick!

Margarita Mike

“Emm that’s good margarita!”

“The look” . . . “why do you insist on taking my picture?”

Discussing politics . . . or wait debating politics . . . what a hot topic!

The Treasure Hunt

I know I know, I should be posting pics of the new house but wanted to share my awesome finds rummaging the flea market yesterday.  I love the hunt and the treasures awaiting my arrival.  Thank you Michele for spending the morning with me and enjoying the hunt together, I had a great time and the homemade cinnamon & sugar donuts are to die for!  YUMMO!!!

My most favorite find of the day is this gorgeous shabby storage cabinet which was much needed in my studio.  They wanted $125 & I got them down to $100 . . . SWEEEET!!!! The black wire basket sitting atop the cabinet is another find for $3.  It will have a new home this fall on the kitchen island.  The day before I had found a similar basket but it was new and $20.  The funny thing is that I LOVE the $3 basket much more than the $20 one!  Rummaging sure pays off!

And these little lovelies are simply adorable, the cabinet cards of the children are so sweet.  The vintage yard stick unfolds and I have an awesome plan for it too for the Scottie Buddy Boy Collars and Leashes section of the studio.  The blue jewel and tiny spoons just couldn’t be passed by!  We’ll definitely be making another trip again this fall for more treasures!

The Studio and Kitchen

This Thursday is the big day!  Our first moving day and it’s been a long time coming.  We’ve been at this sell and purchase since April so I can hardly believe it’s just a couple days away.  We were up at the new house yesterday to do a few things so I took a couple pics of my two favorite rooms and wanted to share.

This is the view from my new studio.  We had the builder punch out the wall and install the french doors which I’ve always wanted.  It opens the house up and looks right at the fire place into the living room.  The home has an open floor plan allowing an airy feel.

In this picture I’m standing in the mudroom area and you’re looking at part of the kitchen right into the living room.  Nice!

We’re so excited to get the move under way and get our lives back in order.  Everything has been so ascue through this whole experience but well worth it.

Steadfast & Faithful Furriness

Adorable picture of my buddy loving his momma or wait . . . maybe I’m loving my buddy?  Well today I wanted to post about this little animal that brings such BIG love to our family!  He’s constant, loyal and well plain accepting of all my recent moodiness, me and Mike’s urge to work all the time, Darcie and Pele fighting, brown boxes all over the house stuffed with everything that used to blanket our home, and the decrease in his carefree walks due to Mike and I being overworked.  Soooooo many things are changing around him but he remains the one constant within this household.  The steadiness and indebtedness dogs provide to mankind is truly amazing to me!  One of God’s greatest creations!!!

A Little Crafty Time & a Tuturial

Hey all my crafty friends.  I couldn’t resist posting my most recent projects.  I’m taking an online vintage paper arts class were you learn how to re-purpose, re-think, and re-invent things.  Meaning thinking outside the box to re-use otherwise thought to be useless things.  Ya’ll know I love vintage things so this class over at Big Picture Scrapbooking taught by Jenni Bowlin was the perfect match.

My first challenge was to make a journal where I jot down miscellaneous notes or brilliant thoughts I may have.  HA!  Imagine that 🙂  Vintage items on this journal are the clock hand and the round cream colored poker chip under the doo dad that says “create”.

Next challenge was to make an inspiration board where you pin up items that give you inspiration.  I made two boards and am currently adding one item per week until class is over in September.

I was then challenged to utilize vintage milk caps.  I decided to use one for the center of my gigantic flower or perhaps it’s a tree?  Cute non-the-less!  Also used one flipped upside down as my sun.  Had to utilize vellum on the flower/tree as well thanks to Keisha Campbell’s gorgeous use of this product (love her design)!

I MUST share the easy-peasy tuturial for you to make your own inspiration bulletin board.  So here goes 🙂

Step 1:
choose a frame.  Keep in mind size as you look.  Decide how much space you have to work with, i.e. a 4 foot frame would be hard to display in a closet.  If you would like an antique/vintage frame, you can easily find one at any flea market or antique store.  If you don’t have a vintage shopping location close by, you can find options galore at Ebay.  Just search for “vintage picture frame”.  You can also very easily use a new frame and can purchase one at any mass retailer such as Target, Walmart, or Hobby Lobby.

Step 2:
Assemble the rest of the materials:
•     Large    cutting    mat    and    ruler
•     Matboard    (available    at    any    craft    store,  or use extra thick poster board or a scrap piece of chipboard).
•     Craft    knife

•     Cork    tiles    (find    them    on-line    here or at Hobby Lobby or other major craft chain.)  A roll of cork will also work cut to size, although rolled cork is usually not as thick as the tiles.

•     Remnant    piece    of    fabric
•     It    is    best    to    keep    your    fabric    a    neutral    color    without    much    pattern    (if    any    at    all).  I have used old grain sacks, tablecloths, and homespun fabric.  choose a fabric that is not too thick (you will have to wrap this around the cork) but not too thin either (you don’t want to see the cork through it).
•     Duct    tape    (any    color    will    do)

Step 3:
cut piece of matboard (or alternative) to fit inside the frame (not too tight as you will be wrapping the fabric around this later).

Step 4:
Trim corkboard to fit onto matboard and use adhesive foam tape (usually included with the cork tiles) to adhere the cork to the matboard.  At this point, lay the cork/matboard piece in the opening of the frame and make sure there is still room for the fabric.  Trim a little bit off of each side if necessary.

Step 5:
Lay cork/matboard piece on top of the wrong side (if there is a wrong side) of fabric remnant.  Trim fabric to
approximately 3” around cork/matboard piece.

Step 6:
Begin wrapping the fabric onto the cork/matboard piece, starting with the top edge, then the bottom, then the right and the left, pulling the fabric tautly as you work and securing with the duct tape.

Step 7:
Add covered piece to the opening in the frame and cover the backside with duct tape to secure.

Step 8:
Admire your finished board!