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 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

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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. 


  • 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.
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