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

  • 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.

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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
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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Monday, October 14, 2013

DIY Diaper Cake

DIY Diaper Cake!
How to make the BEST baby shower gift

If you invite me to your baby shower, you're getting a diaper cake. They look good, you need diapers(trust me) and any other stuff I can jam in there. Also, it fulfills my need to make stuff and be crafty. Here's a tutorial showing how I make my diaper cakes. Now before you try to say "I can't do that, I'm not crafty" and make me want to hit something, just look at the directions. You CAN do this!

Diaper Cake Tutorial, Hawaiian Diaper Cake by Over The Apple Tree

So first thing I do is take a look at the gift registry. I might not be getting anything off of there, but I can see if you have preferences for a certain diaper brand. You might also be requesting small items I can incorporate into the cake and maybe catch the theme you're going with. 

Time to go shopping. I prefer Pampers Swaddlers, size 1 or 2(the package I used for this cake had 108, size 1 diapers). This is for a couple reasons...These diapers are all white, newborn diapers are very tiny to work with and the babies sometimes grow out of them pretty fast so you might not need a whole cake of newborn size, and it's nice to have a variety of sizes ready to go when that little one grows overnight. In addition to the diapers, I usually get a package of wipes or lotion and baby wash to put into the center of the cake. These help weigh it down a little and also help keep the layers together. These Johnson's Take Along packs are also a great way to add goodies to your cake. Use ribbon, raffia, stuffed animals, wooden painted embellishments from the craft store, or flowers to decorate. You also need something to put the cake on. The dollar store has pizza pans that work well or you can cut a circle out of foam core board. I also get a shrink wrap gift bag from the dollar store to put it in when I'm done.

Ok, time to start the cake. I've found the easiest way to form the circle is to use my set of different sized mixing bowls. I've also heard of people using different sizes of round cake pans. I take a few diapers at a time and space them about an inch apart in my hand, then place them around the inside of the bowl.

When that is done, just carefully flip the bowl over and use yarn around diapers to secure together. I usually have to make adjustments, so instead of a knot I tie a bow so I can easily undo if I need to. Do this with all layers of the cake, each layer a different size. For small layers you might not be able to flip out without them falling apart so just turn it over, lift up the bowl a little and tie string around before removing bowl.

Diaper Cake Tutorial - Over The Apple Tree

Place the largest layer on the round base. Put the wipes or lotion/baby wash in center and using the leftover diapers I fill the gaps in the center. The next layer goes over the top half of the wipes and fill in gaps with more diapers. As you go, check and make sure the diapers are evenly spaced in each layer, you may have to add or remove diapers. For the top layer, fill in center with extra diapers and place on top. the plastic gift wrap will hold this in place but you can slide in wooden dowels if you want to make it extra secure.

Diaper Cake Tutorial by Over The Apple Tree

Diaper Cake Tutorial by Over The Apple TreeDiaper Cake Tutorial by Over The Apple Tree

After you have the layers arranged the way you want, it's time to decorate. This cake I made today was a Hawaiian theme, I wrapped ribbon around each layer to measure how much I needed. I secured the ribbon to itself with hot glue, making sure I didn't get any glue on the diapers.  Now I glued the fabric flowers to the ribbon. If I used the Johnson's items I would secure them to the ribbon with hot glue as well. The topper for my Hawaiian cake is a rolled up pink onsie and more flowers.

Diaper Cake Tutorial by Over The Apple TreeDiaper Cake Tutorial by Over The Apple Tree

To finish the cake off, I place it inside the shrink wrap bag and secure the top. Since I don't want the top of this cake to be crushed when I shrink it, I pick up the cake by the top of the bag where I secured it closed. Use a hairdryer and start at the bottom of the cake working up, to shrink the plastic. I stopped before I got to the top layer so the plastic wouldn't crush my flowers. Now just add a ribbon to the top.

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