Thursday, December 26, 2013

DIY Wooden Box

This wooden box is just Home Depot scraps, nails, two hinges and a handle! 

DIY Wooden Box by Over The Apple Tree

My son is a collector. He has been asking for a large box for a while, probably to put all his junk super important stuff in. I almost bought one, but my husband wanted to try and make it. 

Of course I couldn't keep my hands off it, so I used a wood burner to make the picture and his initials!

The rough edges on the top and bottom pieces were a result of the wood breaking from the huge knot in it. He decided to leave it that way to give it more character.

Box is finished with stain and polyurethane.

DIY Wooden Box by Over The Apple Tree

DIY Wooden Box by Over The Apple Tree


DIY Wooden Box by Over The Apple Tree

DIY Wooden Box by Over The Apple Tree


DIY Wooden Box by Over The Apple Tree

DIY Wooden Box by Over The Apple Tree




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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Crochet Christmas Gifts!

Christmas is almost here and I'm almost done with my gifts! Friends and family...you may or may not receive a package from me by Christmas! Of course I waited till the last minute and then I had to rush to get it all done. Individually these projects don't take long at all, so if you're looking for a fun gift to make, you might still have time!

Here are some of the crochet projects I have been working on this month with the links to sites where I got the patterns(free).



Skull Earflap Hat at Over the Apple Tree
Ear flap hat pattern from Repeat Crafter Me
Crochet Skull Pattern from Nirvana Designs


Woman's Slouch Hat at Over The Apple Tree
Slouch Granny stitch hat from Red Heart
Follow the pattern that gives you the width you need and just add rows to make longer.

I started to do this hat pattern from Drops Design but decided I didn't like how it started with 7 rows of double crochet before switching to the clusters. I changed over to the Red Heart pattern that has clusters throughout the whole thing. I did keep the flower from the Drops pattern though.

Men's Slouch Hat at Over The Apple Tree
Men's Slouch Hat from Drops Design


Men's Fingerless Gloves at Over The Apple Tree
Men's Fingerless Gloves from Jen Spears on Ravelry


Sock Monkey Hat at Over The Apple Tree
Sock Monkey Hat by Repeat Crafter Me


Shark Time Pouch at Over The Apple Tree
Shark Time Pouch from Moogly


Granny Stitch Scarf by Over The Apple Tree
Girl's Granny Stitch Scarf
For base row chain in multiples of four plus 2 at the end. Hdc in 3rd from hook, hdc in next two stitches, chain 1, skip 1 stitch and hdc in next three. Continue groups of three hdc, end with group of four hdc. Continue scarf as you would a granny square with double crochets.


Queen Anne's Lace Scarf at Over The Apple Tree
Queen Anne's Lace Scarf from 1CraftyBoy


Mike Wazowski Amigurumi from Lanas Y Ovillos
This pattern is in Spanish but it comes with a video and you can always click the translate button on your computer and figure it out.

See more of my crochet creations in Over The Apple Tree's Etsy Store

See crochet gifts 2014 HERE!


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Freeze Cookie Dough

I've always known you could freeze cookie dough, but never have. Really, why would you want to do that? I want to eat cookies now! Ok, I finally found a reason. With all the holiday craziness, I find myself constantly running out of time. One day I had a lull in activities and thought maybe I could whip up some cookie dough and save it for later.

Freeze Cookie Dough by Over The Apple Tree

I prepared my cookie dough (see the Better Homes and Gardens Chocolate Chip recipe I prefer here) and then scooped out half onto my lightly floured table. I formed it into a long tube. It doesn't have to be perfect but try to get it into a uniform thickness. Use a knife or pastry cutter and cut into evenly spaced sections. I used the back side of the knife so I didn't hurt my table. Now form into a ball, place onto a cookie sheet and give it a little smush down. After all the balls are on the cookie sheet place in the freezer. When they are frozen, move them to a Ziploc bag.

Rolling out and separating the dough in this way helps with uniformity and portion control. Have you ever made a cookie recipe that yields 5 dozen cookies, only to end up with half that? Portioning this way ensures you have the exact amount you want. I learned this trick when I was in the Air Force and we prepared food in huge quantities and had to control portions...yes I baked cookies in the military!

When I'm ready to bake these I put them directly on a cookie sheet, into a preheated oven and bake while still frozen. This is a great idea if you just want to bake a few at a time(some people are weird like that!) or you can even give the prepared cookie dough as a gift for your friends to bake later themselves.

Freezing cookie dough by Over The Apple Tree


Happy Holidays from Over The Apple Tree



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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mofongo With Shrimp

Mofongo is a popular dish in Puerto Rico and happens to be one of my favorites. Mashed up fried, green plantains are topped with shrimp in a delicious tomato sauce. If you've never heard of this, let alone seen it before, you might just pass right on by this post with out giving it a chance...STOP! I swear it's good!

Puerto Rican Mofongo With Shrimp by Over The Apple Tree

I deviated just a little from the traditional preparation in order to try a new product. I had some Pomi strained tomatoes I wanted to try in a recipe and I wasn't disappointed. Usually canned tomato sauce would be used to prepare the sauce for the shrimp, but I substituted the tomato sauce with Pomi strained tomatoes and a splash of red wine. It was so much better! The sauce had a much more fresh and rich flavor...I don't think we'll ever make it the old way again.

*Recipe makes two large serving

Shrimp In Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 5 scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 10-12 oz Pomi strained tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • splash of red wine
  • 1 envelope Goya Sazon seasoning
  • 1 lb raw, peeled shrimp
  • Goya Adobo seasoning
  • Old Bay seasoning
Season thawed shrimp with Adobo and Old Bay seasoning, set aside. In medium pan, cook onions, scallions, garlic, and cilantro in a small amount of olive oil until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, water, wine and Sazon. cook on medium heat about 15 minutes. Add shrimp and continue cooking until shrimp turns pink and is cooked through. Set aside. 

Mofongo

  • 3 large green plantains
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • cooking oil
  • fried pork rinds(we forgot these so they are not shown in the photo above)

Peel and cut plantains into 3/4 inch sections. Place in a bowl of water until ready to fry. Heat about 1-1 1/2 inches cooking oil in a heavy frying pan. Remove plantains from water, excess water and carefully drop into hot oil. Fry until cooked through(about 15 minutes). When plantains are cooked, remove and place on paper towels. In a mortar and pestle mash one clove garlic and 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Place half of the plantain chunks to mortar and toss with garlic mixture. Now mash it all together. Add about three Tbsp crushed pork rinds and combine with plantain mash. Transfer into a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the plantains for the second serving. Now top mofongo with the shrimp mixture.


Mofongo by Over The Apple Tree

by Over The Apple Tree

Mofongo With Shrimp by Over The Apple TreeMofongo With Shrimp by Over The Apple Tree



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Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pomegranate Quinoa Salad

I came up with this cold pomegranate quinoa salad over the summer. I had just discovered quinoa and was experimenting with different ways to make it. Then I got a great deal on pomegranates but had no clue what to do with all of them! I combined the two and ended up with a crisp, fresh salad that can be used as a side dish or even combined with some diced, cooked chicken(or maybe leftover turkey!) for a light meal. Even with winter approaching, it's nice to have a taste of summer and eat something cool and fresh!

Pomegranate Quinoa Salad, easy fresh salad by Over The Apple Tree


Ingredients:
  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 cucumber diced
  • 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1/4 c finely chopped cilantro
  • 4 sliced scallions
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Prepare quinoa according to directions on package...I boil 1 1/2 cups water, then add 1 cup quinoa. Reduce heat, cover and simmer till quinoa is tender. I place cooked quinoa in a bowl and cool in fridge. While that's cooling, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Dice up the cucumber, remove pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate, finely chop cilantro, chop scallions, peal 1 carrot and shred using a cheese grater. Toss all ingredients together then drizzle olive oil over top, Add salt and pepper to taste, toss together. Refrigerate.

Can't get your hands on pomegranates? Try subbing blueberries!


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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pasta Fagioli

Here's another great cold weather recipe. This one comes from my mom. She was telling me about this and how great it was forever. The way she described it didn't have me running to the store to buy the ingredients, but one day I decided to give it a try...it's now one of my favorites. Topped with Parmesan cheese, it's part pasta dish, part soup and just great comfort food. It's even better the next day!

Pasta Fagioli Recipe by Over The Apple Tree

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb hot sausage
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 c. diced carrots
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes or two 16 oz(I prefer fire roasted)
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 can dark kidney beans(not drained)
  • 1 can navy beans(not drained)
  • 2 c. water
  • 5 beef bullion cubes
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups small dry pasta
  • 1 c. frozen green beans or peas
Directions
Wow, this is a big list but don't worry, it's easy! In a large pot combine gr. beef, sausage, onion, celery, and carrots. Brown meat and drain fat. While the meat is browning, cook your pasta in a separate pot, remove and drain just before it's totally cooked(al dente). After you drain the fat from meat, pour into the pot all the canned items, water, bullion and spices. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer 20 minutes. A few minutes before serving, I add in the cooked pasta and frozen veggies. The longer it sits the more liquid the pasta is going to absorb. This dish is thick and hearty, it is not meant to be very watery like regular soup. Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty Italian bread.

Pasta Fagioli recipe by Over The Apple Tree



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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Upcycle Hand-Me-Downs

Turn Boy's Clothes Into Girl's Clothes

I have two sons and hand me downs are a wonderful thing! I have Rubbermaid bins full of boy's clothes and every six months I've always gone through the drawers and rotated clothes. Then, I had a daughter. This has left me with a pile of clothes leftover from son #2 and nothing for my daughter. I have a couple friends that send me clothes from their girls, which is always a special treat, but I still end up having to buy a lot. As much as we try to convince our husbands that they're crazy, the woman's section of the store is just as big as the men's, it's a lie. We just need more stuff and same goes for little girls!

Refashion boys clothes in to girl's clothes, upcycling tutorial by Over The Apple Tree

After seeing the idea on Pinterest, I thought I would try to upcycle some of the boy's clothes into girl's clothes. Here is my first attempt and I think it turned out pretty cute!

I started with a striped, long sleeved t-shirt and a brown men's t-shirt. As usual, I forgot a before picture, sorry! I placed a shirt that fits my daughter well on top of the boy's shirt to use as a guide. I trimmed the sleeves and sides to make it more fitted(remember to leave seam allowance). Then I cut around the neck line.



Now pin and sew up sides and sleeves.

When I looked online how to make a cowl neck everyone said just cut out a rectangle and sew to make a tube. I did that and didn't like it. It didn't hang lose the way I wanted so Here's how I cut mine out. This shape made it hang down lower and made it baggier.




With right sides together, sew side A to side B. 


Now you're going to take the bottom, flip it up and line up to the top. The right side will be out and the wrong side together. 
Diagram how to make a cowl neck shirt by Over The Apple Tree

With the shirt inside out, slide the cowl inside the shirt and pin the lined up edges to the neck line of shirt. Now just sew the pinned neckline, then turn shirt right side out.

Using a white t-shirt I made some fabric flowers and ruffles for the pockets.

Refashion boy's clothes into girls' clothes, Upcycling tutorial by Over The Apple Tree

Refashion boy's clothes into girl's clothes, Upcycling tutorial by Over The Apple Tree

I attempted to explain this as clearly as I could, please let me know if you have any questions.




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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Feeling Foxy

I am digging the fox trend this year! Have you noticed, they are everywhere! It might be because they are just so cute or possibly because of a certain viral video...anyway, I love them. Here is my contribution to the fashion trend of the season. 

Crochet Fox Creations by Over The Apple Tree

This little grey fox is my first attempt at Amigurumi. It took some time, but wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Isn't she so cute with her little flower?

Amigurumi grey fox by Over The Apple Tree

My fox hat is a super simple square design, but with the addition of some eyes and nose, turns into a cute woodland creature!

Crochet Children's Fox Hat by Over The Apple Tree

Children's Crochet Fox Hat by Over The Apple Tree

 I've been wanting to do a purse for a while. My daughter loves collecting little things and this bag is a great place to hold all her treasures!

Children's Crochet Fox Purse by Over The Apple Tree


Girl's Fox Purse by Over The Apple Tree
                     

These crochet fox creations are available in limited quantities at my Etsy store now!


Support independent artists, designers and crafters this holiday season! Here are some great children's gift ideas I've found on Etsy and remember to check My Shop for more fun crochet accessories!



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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Warm Me Up Chili Recipe

I love soups and stews in the fall and winter. Chili is super easy and fast to whip up when it's cold outside. It's one of those recipes that everyone has but we all make it different. This recipe is very mild heat(good for kids) and is great as is or you could easily add more heat if that's what you prefer.

Warm Me Up Chili Recipe, great meal for cold weather by Over The Apple Tree


Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 med-large onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1-15 oz can chili beans with sauce
  • 1-15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 2-14.5 oz diced tomatoes (or 1-28 oz can)
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 4-5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Brown ground beef, onions, green pepper and garlic. Drain fat. Add all the rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer at least 20 minutes. You can add more salt, pepper and chili powder to taste. If you want to spice it up more sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes. Serve with crackers or corn bread.

More recipes from Over The Apple Tree


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Friday, October 18, 2013

Hobbit Hole Birthday Cake

Decorate Birthday Cakes Yourself!

My family is full of Sci-Fi nerds and my sons especially love The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit. I was originally going to do a regular Lego block cake but at the last minute decided to up the ante. Why not, I had a few hours to burn!

I checked online and of course, just when I'm thinking I'm all creative and original...someone else(actually a lot) already thought of this! It seemed they all had a different idea on how to go about making this cake so I just went to the store in search of anything that looked like it would work. Turns out I had pretty good luck because it came out pretty close to my vision. 

DIY Hobbit Hole Birthday Cake by Over The Apple Tree

I used two cake mixes. I poured one into a 13x9 cake pan and the other I poured half into a round cake pan and the rest I put into cupcakes. To form the house I leveled off the top of the 13x9 and flipped upside down onto the serving platter. I cut the round in half and leveled off only the bottom layer, flipped over, and stacked halves on top of each other. The top layer should have the rounded top.

DIY Hobbit Birthday Cake by Over The Apple Tree

You can pretty much see from the pictures what I used to construct the rest of the house.
Here is a list of my supplies:
 Graham Crackers
Chocolate frosting(to glue the goodies on the front of house)
Chocolate Cookies
Kit Kat
Hershey Bar
Sugar Daddies
Candy Pumpkins
Chocolate Marshmallows
Flower Shaped Sprinkles
Pretzels
Grape Stem(tree)

DIY Hobbit Cake by Over The Apple Tree

Chocolate Marshmallow Boulders
Hobbit Birthday Cake by Over The Apple Tree
Hershey Stairs
DIY Hobbit Birthday Cake by Over The Apple Tree
Grape Stem Tree
DIY Hobbit hole cake by Over The Apple Tree
Pumpkin Patch
DIY Hobbit cake by Over The Apple Tree

DIY Hobbit hole birthday cake by Over The Apple Tree

Look at that face...it's all worth it!

DIY Hobbit hole birthday cake by Over The Apple Tree

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole and that meant comfort."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

To see more of my cake creations visit my cake gallery
Birthday Cake Gallery by Over The Apple Tree


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