Sunday, April 29, 2012

Home made Pop Tarts

My kids used to adore picking out a flavor of pop tarts and we'd stash them in the cabinet with the good intentions of only eating them if we were having a rushed morning....which never happened. Not that rushed mornings never happened, oh no, the waiting until a rushed morning to use them.

For some reason they were like having fresh hot out of the oven cookies in the house.

So we stopped buying them, and honestly haven't had them in the house in months. I've wavered and nearly purchased them on my shopping runs once or twice, but thankfully we just haven't gotten back in the habit. Not that they are bad for you compared to the cereals the boys choose, but that they just weren't worth our purchase. They didn't seem to fill the kids up.

In the last Better Homes and Gardens magazine I got in the mail there was a little snippet about taking pie crusts and jams and making little rectangular pies. They showed them with a thin glaze of icing on the top and some sprinkles. My first thought was poptarts!! My second thought was of the Oh so tasty fried pies my great grandmother used to make....which of course meant they had to be made.

The  instructions in the magazine were something along the lines of :
Cut  your roll out pie crusts into rectangles, fill with jam of choice and bake. Once cooled, ice and decorate as you'd like.

Simple right!
So I purchased two boxes of roll out pie dough, and a bag of powdered sugar. Everything else we had in the house, we are a PB&J loving family, so jams are in abundance.

I just followed the pie crusts directions on pre-heating my oven. I also line my bake pans with foil, so that any seeping jams were easy to clean up.

My first issue with this was Pie Crust = round....not how do I cut it? I didn't even bother trying to fuss with it and just sliced into three sections and then sliced those again in half. I had six identical sized/shaped pie crust pieces that if overlapped would create the pockets I wanted. Two were rectangles, four were round edged triangles.

Now, this is where you can get really creative. 

Fill one side of each shape with the filling you've chosen. We used...Strawberry, Apple Cinnamon, Apple Butter and Grape Jam. We discussed Nutella, and even breakfast fillings such as eggs/bacon were suggested. However, we stuck with jams this round. 

We didn't spread the jams on really thick, about as much as you'd put on half a piece of toast. I didn't want them spurting out when you took a bite. Topped with the other matching pie piece we pressed the edges with a fork to make a sealed pocket. Then baked them for about 10 min. It may have been more, it may have been less, but around that amount of time. The boys hung out and watched them while we did other chores. 

Since we did so many flavors, we marked the ones the boys would be looking for with a letter matching their filling. The rectangle there on the bottom has an S for strawberry. I just used the end of a chopstick and pushed in a letter. 

Once they cooled I could barely get them iced with the can of store bought icing before they were run off with! We did not even get time to make the powdered sugar icing glaze we'd planned on making. So next time I'll make that first. 

My plans for next time include: 
Making my own pie crust recipe so I can control the shapes and amount needed more. We ate all but two of these and the two left were the sail shapes. I'd really like to be able to make a bunch and store them in the freezer for warming up. Very few actually leaked, so I'd feel safe popping one (un-iced) in the toaster. 

Making our own jams- this was actually a kids request, they asked how you make them and if we could make our own. I said Sure! of course. ^_~ 

I also want to try to make something close to the chocolate fried pies my great grandmother used to make as they were something I really loved as a kid. I think I know how to make the filling...but I'll figure it out! 

They are a definite hit at our house and while they may cost a bit more if your buying the pie crusts at the store like I did (even the store brand) they are so much more flavorful and healthy. 

Feel free to share if you make a flavor combination that is just amazing!! We want to try lots of flavors with these, so we'll be playing with them from time to time. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring 2012 Fork & Talk Blogger Meetup

This past weekend I had the opportunity to join in with a group of very talented women at the  Spring 2012 Fork & Talk Blogger Meetup sponsored by EK Success and CraftGossip

We met at the delicious Trio's and buzzed like busy little bees the entire time. The editors allowed us to give their photographs make overs -and there were some hilarious ones!- and we played a couple of crafty games. It was really inspiring to get to meet other bloggers who are following their muse. I always know there are some amazing crafters in our area, but it's easy to forget they are right there. 

We were gifted full to the brim gift bags with some spectacular items inside. I cannot wait to use so many of the items. 

Part of the get together was to test out one of the creative kits inside and although I have not yet finished mine -part of the joys of being a momma, things can get crazy fast- I will say that the instructions were very helpful and easy to follow. We started in on a coffee cozy kit that when finished will so be staying in my car. 

There is a kit in the bag that will be my next personal project. I've just got to hunt down some old kitchen linens to put the designs on to match my growing collection of Fiesta. 

Since they were so generous with all of us, I'd love to share a bit of the love with you! I will be giving away this adorable set of layering stamps. 
This contest is now over! Thank you to all who entered. 
To enter: 
*One entry comment per person. Entries limited only to those in the Continental US. 
*Gain a second entry if you share this on your facebook page. (link it to show!) 
*Please make sure that you include your email address or if your a blogger user that your comment is set up to allow me to see your email. 

Congratulations  usagypsy! I will be emailing you shortly. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Ruckus Among Us

If you've traipsed anywhere near the big E site these past few days, you surely spotted the craziness going on over there. I have not dipped my toes into commenting anywhere over there because it just seems that anything said, good or bad, becomes fighting words.

I do however feel that there needs to be safe places to discuss the issue at hand because it applies to more than the one in question. Many more shops that don't really fit the rules, but seem to keep being ignored.

So here are my thoughts on the issue of Handmade.
Personally I've always felt that there is a large gray area when it comes to the craft/art world and that setting down hard and fast rules on the subject is like nailing down silk on a windy day. You need lots of hands in the mix.

The specific charm on a chain argument is the hardest because while someone new to creating jewelry might be extremely excited that they made something so pretty from materials that they spent time scouring the isles for the components of, another who's been creating with jewelry pieces (or scratch metal supplies!) for much longer will often scoff at such items. Nothing to it, right?

While it's true that there isn't much in the creation of that specific type of item (and if you toss a pile of those exact supplies in the table 9/10 will come up with the same exact design) it may just be the step that causes that person to seek out how to do more intricate things, to learn how to create things all their own. It may well just be the step that sends a creative muse flying of and an up and coming artist may bloom from just such a venture.

Now obviously (to me at least) if a shop is nothing but repetitive charms on chains (meaning that the same ones used over and over as well as nothing more than simple charms on chains) then the seller isn't branching out, isn't trying to create but rather mass producing because perhaps they sold one or two and decided it wasn't too hard to do and the model obviously works for them. That doesn't make them a re-seller or even a mass production company, this just makes them a person in a slump or who's just trying to make a quick buck off something that worked once or twice.

In the same way I do not lump artists and who photographers who outsource their prints to someone else as re-sellers. Most of these are actually working with their print shop to make sure that the prints come out with the correct colors and finish. It's expensive to own a print shop and not something every single artist can do. It needs to also be taken into consideration that it's hard to sell paintings on canvas online due to shipping costs. Thus the inclusion of prints.

I don't think that Handmade means that I have to have chopped down the tree, milled the wood myself and then created the table from it, however purchasing a kit of wooden shapes that much like a puzzle fit together a certain way is not my definition of handmade.

When it comes to the term Collective  I think that is a much easier term to write a definition for.  A Collective to me is a group of artists that create in a group setting. Even if they are not always creating in the same room/home there is no boss. Perhaps John makes the wooden step stools and Patty paints them with decorative patterns and names and Jim their son does the shipping for them. No one is the boss in this situation, they are all working together to make things work. I can even see this working in a longer distance situation. Joan owns a farm where she keeps sheep that she collects the wool from, cleans and dyes it creating  beautiful fibers. She ships the wool(and lists a certain amount to sell) to Amy who then spins and knits with the wool. She does the shipping out of orders herself from there. They have a collective shop that sells all forms of the wool creations from the farm. Joan sells the wool and ships from her home, Amy sells the spun yarn as well as the created items from said yarns and ships those products from her end.

I'd love to hear what any one thinks on the issue.

*Oh and I'll be posting a fun post on the EK Success and Craft Gossip Fork and Talk today or tomorrow, but I've got to get some pictures off my camera first!There will be a give away associated with that post, so be sure to check back!