~ Sweet Potato Souffle ~ A recipe you NEED to have in your files…

Actually you need to TRY it, not just have it in your files… if I ever had a recipe that I put a “fantastic” guarantee on, it would probably be this one. It’s got to be one of my all time top 10 recipes… maybe even my top 5! Don’t let the name fool you…it’s not anything super fancy and hard to make… it really should just be called a Sweet Potato Casserole, but I guess that sounded too plain to the person who submitted it to the cookbook.

My day was super busy with “things” and I knew I would have to show you something I was doing instead of something I was sewing, so this ended up being today’s post. Depending on how “things” go tomorrow, there may or may not be a Saturday post. We are getting ready for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner for our church and I’m helping (or in charge) of the decorating. I’ll find out in the morning. I wanted to get some of my food prepared ahead of time because I’ll be cooking 2 turkeys on Saturday!!

Anyway, IF you need another side dish, this one will score you big points from your guests. I like it warm or cold..it doesn’t matter to me! When Thanksgiving is over, if you find me looking for leftovers…there is sure to be a heap of this on my plate… and then again for breakfast… until it’s all gone… :o(

It’s very simple to make and I’ve got pictures of all the steps… so I hope you’ll give it a try, if not now, just sometime… :o)

Here is a picture of the recipe straight from my little paperback cookbook… See that scribble up in the top right hand corner? That’s supposed to be a star helping me remember this is THAT recipe that I love! I don’t need to be reminded anymore!

You’ll need 3 cups of cooked sweet potatoes… my neighbor always gives me these great big things and I peel them with a vegetable peeler and then slice them in big chunks… put them in a pan and cover them with water… and cook till tender…

When you stick a knife in them and it easily goes in, they are done…

Mash them with a potato masher or whisk…

Measure out 3 cups and plop them in a mixing bowl…

Add 1 cup of sugar and mix well…

Add 2 beaten eggs… (oops, I forgot to beat mine… but it’s okay) Mix well…

Add 1 TBSP of Vanilla…and mix well…

Then add 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) of melted butter… and mix well…

Use a casserole dish or a foil pan, (like mine since I’m taking it to a dinner at church) and butter the bottom and sides…

Pour your sweet potato mixture into your dish… and smooth out…

Now for the TOPPING! It’s so good!

Mix together in a bowl: I generally use a fork but you can use your fingers if you like… (then you get to lick them!)

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup of flour
1/3 cup melted butter

It should look like this…

Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potato mixture using your fingers…

It should look like this…

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

The ONLY thing better than a big pan of Sweet Potato Souffle….

…is TWO pans of Sweet Potato Souffle… (I made a double batch!)

I hope you’ll give this a try sometime… I haven’t been eating sugar, but I plan on having a helping of this! (she gives a REALLY BIG SMILE!)

I’m baking mine on Saturday, so it’s in the frig and ready to go, but here is a picture of it baked, from last year’s Thanksgiving dinner at our house…it’s the dish in the bottom left corner… YUMMY!! (and don’t forget Linda’s pickles!) (HERE)

CIMG4613

See you (maybe, tomorrow…)
Blessings, Jeanne

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Making a Colonial Straw Hat on a Sculpey Mold…mini tutorial

I’m so sorry I didn’t get your comments answered yesterday. My day was just too full and I really wanted to have something done on the hat to show you. It took much longer than I though it would…

I guess you could say Tuesdays post (HERE) was Part 1 of making this hat and today will be Part 2. I didn’t remember that I had baked the Sculpey clay hat mold that I made for Noel a while back. When I checked my post on how I did it, there it was plain as day… I baked it! So Tuesday morning I took my wet clay and propped it up with spoons and glass bowls on a baking sheet and proceeded to put it in the oven. 275 degrees for about 10 minutes.

When it came out it was decent enough to use. There was one crack in one side of it, but it held together enough for me to see if it would work.

Okay, so this will be sort of a mini tutorial on the steps for making a straw hat. I have narrowed it down to 26 pictures, and that was a bare minimum I felt I could use to show you everything.

Once the mold has cooled off, you can begin by putting very thin double sided tape on the edges of the hat about every inch or so…

Use a pin to peel off the paper…

Beginning in the back of your hat mold, take your flexible braid and stick it to the edge of the tape leaving a tail sticking up… (so you don’t have a raw edge on the back.)

You need to use a Tacky Glue like Aleene’s…

…and make small dots of glue on the inside edge of the rows… overlapping them just a little bit…

…pushing each row down with your fingernail…

I usually do a section of glue about 4 inches or so at a time… and you just keep going round and round and round…

Going up the crown can be a little tricky… just make sure you overlap and you’ll be fine…

It’s just a matter of going around each row until you get to the very top of the hat… Then you have to take a pin and insert it between the braid weaves and find a cotton thread that you’ll have to pull to get the braid to curve on the smaller circles you’ll be making on the crown of the hat… Pull the thread and it will curl enough to glue down.

When you have that thread pulled up, just place your rows on top of it…and glue it down…

When you get close enough to the top of the hat, you can cut your braid, leaving enough to go around a few more times. Pull the thread from the end this time and it will curl enough for you to finish the hat…

The top of your hat should look like this…

Now comes the scary part… you have to take it off the mold…and you’ll think it’s going to tear apart as you tug on it to get it off the mold… but it won’t.. They are pretty sturdy..

You almost have to turn it inside out to get it off the mold…

Ahhhhh… it’s off! It’s kind of like our floors that we put down called Loose Lay flooring. It hid a multitude of imperfections. My hat came out sort of the same way.. smooth on the outside compared to how lumpy the mold was… I was very pleased!

Now it’s time to finish the top… take that little thread and thread it through the hole in the top of your hat and pull it gently to the underside of the hat… till it looks like this…

Take a dab of glue and smash it down flat…

Turn the hat over and glue the braid piece down in the crown of the hat…

OH RATS…the same thing happened as what happened in my last hat.. my glue smushed out onto the back side of my hat, making it look sort of specked and spotted like. It’s not sticky at all, but it doesn’t look as neat and my Effner hats. I bought some new Tacky glue and I’m guessing I’ve cut too big of a hole in the tip… I need to make smaller dots of glue… I’ll probably line this hat now…

Oh well…Here is a look at the hat on Felicity.. IT FITS!!!

It’s got to be decorated and that will be fun!

So here’s “the skinny” on making this hat…

It took 19 and 1/2 yards of hat braid…. 2 hours or so to make the mold… 3 hours to glue the braid to the mold… and I’ve not even done yet… I might have to charge $300 for this set! (Just kidding…) :o)

I may NEVER make one of these again… :o( :o) Who knows…

Well, that’s my quick tutorial on making hats on a home made Sculpey mold…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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The start of Felicity’s Colonial hat mold… from Sculpey

I’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while and decided this afternoon to give it a go! We’ll see tomorrow if it worked…
I have some straw hats that I use for Felicity when I make her something from the Colonial time period, but I wanted a hat mold so I could make any color of hat I wanted.

I used Sculpey polymer clay to do the following project. Typically Sculpey is baked in a very low (275 degrees) oven for just a short time, but I am just letting mine dry without baking it, since its taped to a plastic cutting mat. (That’s what I did when I made the mold for Noel’s hat.)

UPDATE: (Well, it appears I did bake the mold I made for Noel’s hats. I checked the post where I made it and sure enough…it was baked.) I woke up this morning and my Sculpey hat mold I fashioned last night was just as wet to the touch as it was last night. I decided to stick it in the oven…we’ll see if it works…

I first needed to find something that I could use for the “flat-ish” crown of the hat. I searched my whole house looking at bowls, cups, dishes, and finally ended up with a plastic container from Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Hopefully it will be the right circumference on Felicity’s head when the straw is glued on top of it… again…we’ll see.
I cut the rim off the container and made it shorter…then I taped it to the center of a flexible cutting mat and marked with a blue pencil an equal distance from the edges of the plastic container all the way around.

I did it the first time, but decided I wanted the hat a little bit smaller, so I brought my lines in about 1/2″.

I got about a golf ball size hunk of my Sculpey and started kneading it. It’s very stiff and hard when you first roll it around in your hands… but the more you squish it around in your hands, using your fingers to push and pull it, it gets much softer. You probably have to knead it with your fingers a good 10 minutes to make it pliable enough to spread. I flattened it out and smashed it with the palm of my hand… flipped it over and did the same thing several times….think rolling out pizza dough…it’s sort of the same idea.

I placed the piece over the crown and smoothed it out as much as possible. It was easier to work in sections than to do the whole entire hat all at once.

Then I took several more pieces and worked them the same way, getting them soft enough to start to form the brim of the hat… it was a slow process and probably took me 2 hours, but once I get the mold made, I can make as many hats as I want using it.

I straightened up the edges and tried to smooth them out as much as possible. Ceramic would probably be an easier way to go, but I had Sculpey and decided it worked for Noel’s and Patsy’s hats, so I wanted to give this a try first.

Once I got it the right size and as smooth as possible, I transferred it to my sewing room. I took a small glass bowl and placed it on top of a white box and then placed the plastic cutting mat on top. I let the hat mold drape down on the sides. I wanted this hat to have naturally drooping sides instead of them being straight out and having to be held down with a ribbon. I saw a beautifully shaped hat on TV recently and I’m hoping mine will look like the one I saw…

I taped the sides of the plastic cutting mat to the box to hold it in place and then I even taped the front of the cutting mat down to give it a “dip” for a special look.

So now we wait…until tomorrow to see if it holds it shape and then try to get it off the cutting mat.
If it works, I’ll still have to build up something on the underside because it can’t hold itself up by the edges that are drooping down. It will have to have more Sculpey put underneath it to make a sort of stand.

Felicity is waiting patiently for this to get dry… she told me she’d “babysit” it to make sure no one got near it and knocked it over! Good girl, Felicity!

This is the fabric I was waiting on from Australia…I had gotten ONE fat quarter of it on a shopping trip, but that was all they had. I loved it so much, I searched everywhere and finally found some in Australia…it took about 3 1/2 weeks to get here. The plan is to use some green hat straw and make a very pretty hat to go with it. I knew as soon as I saw the fabric, I wanted a green hat for Felicity!

I’ll check on it first thing in the morning and if it’s dry, I’ll work on the underside and see if I can’t have something more exciting to show you!

(I always have been a little unconventional when it comes to “crafting”… Kentucky Fried Chicken containers for a hat mold… seriously?)

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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How do you eat a burlap cake???

Well, that’s a silly title, isn’t it? But it’s a question I had to ask…to get your attention, of course. I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, because I plan to! My sister, Deb, is here visiting and we worked on a project… a centerpiece for her daughter, Molly’s, upcoming baby shower. It’s actually called a diaper cake, but I had to call it a burlap cake so I didn’t give it away…and you’d be slightly surprised in my post.

The cake turned out SO adorable and I decided to share it with you. Deb wanted something simple so that’s what we made… It only involves a few items… diapers, (we used newborn size), small size rubber bands, a cake pan if you have one…about a 12″ one works great, the inside cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels, some ribbon, (we used 2 different burlap ribbons), some kind of stuffed animal, a needle and thread and a round piece of cardboard or a flat cake plate a little bigger than your diaper cake.

One of the hardest things we ran into was finding plain white diapers…without astronauts or zebras or robots on them… We finally found some newborn sized ones that had a very faint pattern on them.

We first took the diapers and rolled them all up, from the waist edge to the crotch area, like this…and used the rubber bands to hold them in place.

Then we took my 12″ cake pan and stood them in it, all along the outside edge, working our way to the middle…Try to keep the fattest edge to the outside in the pan. They will sort of fall over if you do it by yourself…that’s what’s nice about having a “sister!” :o)

When you get to the middle, with your pan all filled with standing up diapers, take your paper towel cardboard tube and wiggle it into the middle of the diapers. This is going to allow you to add a second layer… When you get the tube in the center, stuff one of your diapers down in it, for extra stability.

Then tie a piece of string or jute (it’s what we used), around the bottom diapers… and pull it tight enough to hold them. It will be just above the rim of the cake pan… Once you get it tied, you can tilt the cake pan its side and the diapers will easily come out in a big clump and you can set it all on a piece of cardboard, or a platter if you have one. (I’m sorry, but we were having so much fun, I forgot to take pictures in the “early stages.”)

So now you have the diapers all tied to a cardboard tube sticking up in the middle. Now you’ll want to take a diaper and hold it up to your cardboard tube and cut the tube off below where the diaper comes to. The tube is just for support…Stuff another diaper down in this upper section. Now take your other diapers and place them around the tube on the second row… it helps to have a person helping you on this part… (gotta love my sister again!) Then when you get it a few layers thick, take another piece of string or jute and tie these diapers in place… So now it should look something like this…

Isn’t it looking cute already?

Deb bought 2 different kinds of burlap…one with polka dots and one with lace. We put the wider polka dotted lace on the bottom and I used a needle and thread to stitch the ends together in the back…

I did the same with the narrower piece of burlap with the lace on it; stitched it in place.

So now it was really looking cute… we knew we had picked the right patterns on the burlap.

Originally, Deb was wanting to set a lamb on the top of the cake, for “decoration” but the one she bought was too big. So we took him back and got a bear..but when we brought him home, HE was too big… Fortunately my mom had bought a sweet little bear to send back for Molly, and we ended up using him. He had a “substantial” behind, and we had a dickens of a time trying to get him to sit on the top of the cake, so in the end, Deb finally found a cute way to place him on the cake… I tied him on with a piece of clear thread around his neck…

We tied a bow out of the polka dotted burlap and I stitched it to the top piece of burlap.

We were looking at Hobby Lobby for some kind of little burlap flowers to sprinkle around the bottom edge of the cake, and we happened upon these sweet flowers; some with musical notes on them… They were PERFECT and we decided they looked cutest sprinkled on the top of the cake…as little mister bear looks on curiously…

So this was our finished cake… We thought it was adorable, and hope you do too!

Deb is going to transport the cake home in a box…it’s actually pretty sturdy. Then she’ll find a doily or something pretty to cover the cardboard base it’s sitting on.

SO… HOW DO YOU EAT A BURLAP CAKE? You don’t, you just smile at it…and say “Awwww…”

Thanks everyone… Have a great weekend!
I’ll see you on Monday,
Blessings, Jeanne

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