Freezer Paper Stencil T-Shirts

When I saw this great homemade t-shirt with Bert on it I knew I had to try to make an Elmo one for The Boy.  I followed this tutorial from Made and they actually turned out pretty good.  The biggest problem I had was trying to find a plain t-shirt in his size.

I was actually surprised at how fairly easy it was.  I found the freezer paper at Walmart near the aluminum foil and wax paper, although I almost missed it on the bottom shelf.

First I used my rotary cutter to cut my freezer paper into a couple of sheets that would fit through our printer and then I printed them out onto the non shiny side of the paper.

Then I took out my xacto knife and cut out the designs.  The Elmo one probably wasn’t a good one to start with – the cutting got a little complicated!  I had to make sure I was very careful with all of Elmo’s pieces since they had to be put back.

Then I ironed the pieces on to the t-shirts with a dry iron (shiny side down).  I used Tulip matte fabric paints and painted over all of the exposed areas.  I used two coats and then let it dry overnight.

I couldn’t wait to pull off the freezer paper.  My lines weren’t quite as crisp as if they had been screen printed, but you can’t tell unless you are looking pretty close.  Here are the final products!

And here is The Boy modelling his “I love Nonna” t-shirt.  We made this for his Nonna’s birthday.

Linked up to the Weekend Wrap-up Party at Tatertots and Jello.


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I was really in the mood for some lemon poppy seed bread a while back and came across this recipe in a Kraft e-mail.


1 pkg. (2-layer size) lemon cake mix
1 pkg.  (3 oz.) JELL-O Instant Pudding Lemon Flavor
1-1/4 cups water
1/2 cup  oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup  poppy seed
1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-oz. tub) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
2 Tbsp.  butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp.  shredded peel and 1 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon, divided

1.  HEAT oven to 350°F.

2.  BEAT first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Stir in poppy seed. Pour into well-greased and lightly floured 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan.

3.  BAKE 50 min. to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 30 min. Loosen cake from sides of pan with knife. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove pan. Cool cake completely.

4.  BEAT cream cheese spread and butter with mixer on low speed until well blended. Gradually beat in sugar and lemon juice. Spread over top of cake. Garnish with peel.

Here is my finished product.  I have to say it was delicious!

Two comments:

1.  The original recipe called for Jello gelatin, but I didn’t read it closely enough and used pudding instead.  It turned out just fine with the pudding.

2.  I was expecting the frosting to be more like a glaze, but it was thicker as you can see from the pic.

Owl Cake Pops

I was inspired by Bakerella’s book to try to make cake pops for my husband’s cousin’s baby shower.  They actually turned out a lot better than I expected.  They are pretty easy to make; the most time consuming part was adding all of the little eyes, beaks and feet!


1 cake mix (any flavor) prepared according to the package instructions

3/4 of a 16-ounce tub of frosting (not whipped frosting)


Bake cake and let it cool.  Once the cake is completely cooled, break it up into crumbs, like this:

Then add in the 3/4 tub of frosting and mix until it is all combined, like this:

Roll into ~1 1/2 in balls.  I used a mini ice cream/cookie scoop for this.  You should get around 48 balls.  Put them in the refrigerator for awhile so they are nice and firm when you want to start dipping them.

For the owls, I then dipped the sticks in melted chocolate and inserted them about half way into the balls.  Then I used chocolate to stick on the “ears” which were white chocolate chips.  Once the chocolate holding on the sticks ears was dry, I dipped each one in melted chocolate.  One of them ended up a little messy before I realized it was important to make sure that most of the extra chocolate had dripped off before standing it in the block:

Here they are all dipped and ready for decorating.  Make sure the chocolate is completely dry before attaching anything to the cake pops!

Lastly, use a toothpick and a small amount of melted chocolate to attach the eyes, beaks and feet.

Here they are all finished and ready to go!!

Linked to the Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello.

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

This recipe makes the absolute best biscotti.   Evidence: my husband’s Italian great-aunt asked for the recipe.

They are surprisingly easy to make.  The only drawback is that they have to be baked twice, which wouldn’t really be that big of a deal if I weren’t always making double batches.  Below is a slight variation of a recipe on for Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti. The most difficult thing about this recipe was trying to keep my “helper” busy…


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

1  teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)

1 egg white


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and stir to combine.  Set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, eggs and almond extract in large bowl until well blended.  (A stand mixer works great for this recipe!)  Mix in the flour, then the dried cranberries.

The Boy adding the cranberries : )

4. Divide dough in half.  Shape each piece into a log that is approximately 2.5 inches wide by 9 inches long by 1 inch high.  It is easiest to do this on parchment paper directly on your baking sheet.  Whisk egg white until foamy then brush egg white glaze on top and sides of each log.

5.  Bake logs ~35 minutes (until golden).  Cool completely on a rack.

6.  Once cooled, transfer logs to a work surface.  Using a serrated knife cut logs on diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange slices, cut side down, on same sheet.  Bake 10 minutes; turn biscotti over and back 5 more minutes on second side.

This is what you end up with…

Make sure you have a cup of hot coffee or tea nearby for dunking!  Enjoy!

Super Easy Pot Pie

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner.  Sometime last year I was trying to think of a quick and easy pot pie recipe.   I didn’t want to have to chop and cook veggies and meat, etc. until half my evening was gone trying to make an “easy” recipe.  Then it hit me – use soup!

I am using beef soup here, specifically Progresso Beef Pot Roast, but it could just as easily be done with most any other one.


  • Refrigerated pie crust (both sheets)
  • 1 can soup/stew (any flavor)
  • 1 bag frozen mixed veggies (thawed or microwaved until thawed)
  • Cornstarch (if needed)

Before you do anything else, take the pie crust out of the refrigerator – most of them have to sit out for about 20 minutes so that they are easier to manipulate.

My soup was a little thinner than I would like so I had to thicken it.  I put it in a saucepan to warm up while  I mixed 1 Tbsp. corn starch with 2 Tbsp. water then stirred it into the soup.  Once it came to a boil it thickened up really quickly.  Then I dumped in the veggies and mixed it all together.  The Stew Veggies that I bought had really big chunks and whole potatoes – guess I should have paid more attention to the pic on the bag.  I would get smaller veggies next time because I did have to break them apart a little – oops.

Put the bottom pie crust in your pan and spread it out evenly.  Then add the soup mixture.

Put the top crust on and fold it down over the edges of the bottom crust and press to seal them.  Put a few cuts in the top to let steam escape and this is what it should look like:

Bake at 425° for 30-40 minutes.  After ~15 minutes put aluminum foil over the edges of the crust so they don’t burn and put it back in the oven until golden brown and cooked through

Here is the finished product:

**After I made this I found a Chunky Soup (Lean Beef with Country Vegetables) that looks pretty thick and probably wouldn’t require any cornstarch to thicken.

Homemade Chicken Stock

I’ve never really made homemade stock before, but since I had a chicken carcass on my hands after making the Crock Pot Chicken I thought, why not?  How could it be that hard??

So after I removed most of the meat, I threw the bones in a pot with ~12 cups of water plus all of the juices from the crock pot.  I threw in the rest of my fresh herbs, half an onion, a celery rib, a few baby carrots (since I found my large carrots all moldy, juicy and brown in the crisper drawer) and a little salt.

I let this pot of slop simmer for about an hour while we watched Justified on DVR.  After it cooled a little I just poured it through a fine mesh strainer to get all the bits out and put it in the fridge.  This is what I ended up with:

Its pretty good – you can really taste the herbs in there.  Hopefully it will make some good soup for The Boy.

Crock Pot Chicken

I got this recipe idea from Weelicious.  It is so simple and tasty that I don’t know why I’ve never heard of doing this before.   You simply throw a whole chicken in the crockpot and a few hours later you have dinner.   I was following her recipe, which you can find here,  but then made a few minor adjustments.

Here are most of my ingredients:

3-4 pound chicken

Fresh herbs (thyme, sage and rosemary – few sprigs of each)


Garlic clove


Just stuff it all into the chicken cavity, sprinkle with some salt and throw it into the crockpot.   It will make its own juices so no need to add any liquid.  Cook on high for about 3 hours and you end up with this:

Trust me, it tasted a lot better than it looked.   At least we have a good amount of leftover chicken – now I just have to figure out what to make with it!

Note: The Boy took one look at it, made a disgusted face and handed it right back to me.  I wonder how long he is going to be a vegetarian?