Recipe: Bird in a Nest

natural easter eggs

Easter eggs: No dye necessary (though they do need to be washed…)

We’ve been eating quite a lot of eggs lately thanks to the happy production of our sweet little hens.

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Don’t let that horrifying look fool you. Phyllis loves her bath.

Er, um… moving on.

A favorite breakfast at our house is that one egg-in-toast dish that everyone knows but no one can agree on a name for.

Bird in a Nest or Toad in a Hole or Egg in a Hole or Egg in a Basket or Bird’s Nest or Froggie in a Pond or…

Just to confuse things further, we made up our own name: Hole in One. But whatever you call it, it’s tasty–rich, buttery, and oh so filling.

You probably already know how to make it, but since I took pictures, you’re getting a recipe. Maybe you could use this post as a way to teach a kid or a pet or someone…

Butter (with butter, not margarine please) both sides of your bread. I like whole-wheat or sourdough myself, but if you like something different, I won’t be mad (unless you use margarine).

Use a biscuit cutter or a glass to cut a hole in the center of each bread slice.

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Place on medium high griddle or pan. (The only trick with this dish is getting the egg whites cooked through without overcooking the yolks, while at the same time perfectly toasting the bread. That’s why I suggest medium-high heat. It may take a little experimenting to get it just right.)

While you are at it, put that buttered round down on the griddle too. That’s the best part.

Drop a little pat of butter in the center of the hole.

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Crack an egg in the hole. Just one please. Sarah Jane is a show off and lays double yolked eggs. Don’t mind her.

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Salt and pepper egg to taste.

Cook until bread is nicely browned on the bottom and whites have begun to set.

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Flip.

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You want the yolks to still be somewhat runny. If you push on the center, it should have some give and be sort of jiggly. (Like my stomach if I eat too many of these. Or um…every other day of my life.)

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Break. Dip. Bite. Repeat.

Yum.

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Have any favorite egg dishes? Share them with me!

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German Pancakes

As much as I grumble about Daylight Savings Time (Give me my hour back!) I do love that there is more light each day. It is simply lovely to have longer evenings.
Our hens are quite happy about the waxing daylight as well. Each expresses her joy by laying an egg nearly every morning.
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Aren’t they pretty? Earlier this week, when I noticed that we had perhaps a few too many eggs I whipped up a batch of German pancakes for dinner. Yet another reason to be happy!

German pancakes taste wonderful, look impressive, and at only five ingredients, are incredibly easy to make. They are also pretty good for you–an all-around win!
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As you know, I usually only have two mouths grinning hungrily at me around my dinner table. Counting myself, there are three of us to feed, but you hay have only one. Or seven. Or somewhere in between. Luckily, this recipe is an easy one to adjust for the amount of servings you’d like to end up with.

For each serving, place 2 tablespoons of butter (I prefer salted) in a glass, ceramic, or metal pie plate. You know me, I’m not fussy. Use what you have.
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Put your pie plates in the oven and crank it up to 400°. Allow the plates to heat and the butter to melt while you mix up the batter.

For each serving, crack two large eggs into a large bowl. As I was making three servings, I cracked six eggs into my bowl. Whisk.

Side note: Farm-fresh (or backyard-fresh) eggs are a much deeper golden color–and richer taste–than those you purchase at the supermarket.

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For each serving add 1/2 milk. For my three servings, I added 1-1/2 cups milk. Whisk.

Add 1/2 white flour (or 1/4 cup finely-ground whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup white flour) per serving. Once again, for me that was a total of 1-1/2 cups flour.

Add in 1/4 teaspoons salt per serving. If I had bothered to measure, mine would have been roughly 3/4 teaspoons salt. Whisk until well-blended, but don’t bother trying to get all the lumps out. That would be an exercise in futility–and who wants to exercise right before dinner?

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By now your pie plates should be good and hot and your butter should be melted. If you are like me and you spent your time photographing each step of the batter making process, your butter may have even begun to brown a bit. Though browned butter is not ideal, it won’t hurt anything, so don’t worry about being perfect and just go with it.

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Divide your batter between your hot plates. It should be slightly more than a cup each. Place back in the oven (I don’t care what rack. Do what you need to to get them to fit. One caveat–they will grow as they cook, so if you are cooking on multiple racks make sure you have them spaced out a bit.)

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Bake twenty minutes or until puffed and golden brown on the edges. (Note: If your butter was browned, like mine, the edges of your pancakes will be darker than normal.)
German Pancakes

In my house there is only one correct way to eat German pancakes, with fresh-squeezed lemon and powdered sugar. Once we were out of lemon so we topped them with sliced bananas and real maple syrup. Though wholly incorrect, wrong never tasted so right.
You may choose something completely different to top your pancakes. Go ahead, I won’t judge (even if you are wrong).

Enjoy!

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German Pancakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1+
 
With a minimum of effort and ingredients this pancake puffs up into something nearly magical. Eat with abandon. Note: Ingredient amounts listed are per serving. Adjust according to your needs.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Place butter in a pie plate and put in oven.
  2. Turn oven to 400º.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs.
  4. Add milk and whisk.
  5. Add flour and salt, whisk again. Mixture will be lumpy.
  6. Ensure that pie plate is hot and butter is melted. If so, add batter. (If making more than one serving, this will be slightly more than 1 cup of batter in each pie plate.)
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown on the edges.
  8. Serve with fresh lemon and powdered sugar, or fruit, or maple syrup.

 

Free Printable Valentines

random valentines

(Sorry about the poor-quality phone photo.) (I’m not really sorry.)

Just popping in to share this year’s Valentines. No mushy love stuff here!

Conversation hearts that say: HUG ME UNTIL YOU ARE 30, I LIKE CHEESE, SOCK PUPPETS, and I CAN DANCE THE ROBOT.
Underneath the heart is says, A RANDOM VALENTINE MESSAGE FROM: [insert your name here]

I’m under no illusion that these will be as popular as last year’s (more than 13,000 views!), but for those of you who are not Doctor Who fans, feel free to use these instead.

Random Valentines PDF

Enjoy!
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How To Turn A Barbie Doll Into A Weeping Angel

How To Turn A Barbie Doll Into A Weeping Angel

We have a little tradition of making one homemade present for each other every Christmas. Several weeks ago, in order to gather a key component of my gift for Newt, I put out a call for help on Facebook:

Anyone have a jointed-arms Barbie needing a home? She can be ugly, naked, scribbled on, and/or ratty haired. I just need her arms to move. Working on a craft project/Christmas present for Newt.
(Don’t you wish I was your Secret Santa?)

People are fairly used to me being strange, I think. A few days later, a friend dropped off a sad, ugly, nearly naked* Barbie Doll, just begging to be made into something fabulous dangerous. He did not even bother to ask what I would be doing with it.
*She was not totally naked. She was wearing a men’s athletic sock. I don’t even know.

How To Turn A Barbie Doll Into A Weeping Angel

I looked up a couple of online tutorials for inspiration, but like I generally do, I decided to do it my own way. I don’t like to be bossed around.
If you are interested, these are the ones I looked at.
The Creative Crossing Weeping Angel
Wich-Crafting Weeping Angel

Both tutrorials pointed out that even jointed Barbie’s arms need to be cut off and reattached in order to properly cover her eyes. Both tutorials also suggested using a hot glue gun to reattach, but somehow I failed to notice. I wish I had–it would have saved me many swears.
I should have glued them on nice and tight, then covered the joint with air dry clay. Instead, I just used air dry clay to attach them. Do not do this.

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If you’ll notice, I also have Barbie in a bottle, which I have glued to a base. I had planned to use the bottle method as outlined by Creative Crossing but later changed my mind. You’ll see why.

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Anyway, after giving Barbie some Popeye arms “reattaching” Barbie’s arms, I moved on to her hair. First up, a haircut. I trimmed it as closely as I could, then used tweezers to pull the rest out. Once she was nicely bald, I sculpted new hair with air-dry clay. I used a stylus to create ridges and add texture.

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I free-handed a paper pattern to create her wings, then formed them from foam core board and glued them to her back. (Step not pictured.)
Then I got ready to dress the little angel. I used plaster fabric–it is the same material casts are made from. Small rolls are readily available at craft stores. I happened to have a bunch lying around leftover from another project.

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Once I got the Barbie all dressed, I realized that the bottle made her look pregnant. This is where the swearyness began. I ripped off the plaster, broke the bottle off the base, and discarded it.

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Plan B: A lump of clay and a large skewer stick for support. (Sorry about the terrible photo, but I think it’s clear enough for you to get the idea.) Once the clay cured (a couple of days) I ran a bead of Gorilla Glue around its edge to ensure that it did not pop off the base.

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While I was reworking things, I decided to add clay to the wings in order to give them a more sculpted look. This was a great idea for aesthetics, but a terrible idea for my temper. The clay cracked as it dried which looked awesome except when whole pieces started falling off the foam core. I carefully glued them back in place, fitting them together like a puzzle.
Anger making aspect number two: The wings were now too heavy to easily attach. My glue needed time to cure and I could not hold them easily in place. I ended up having to use a lot of electrical tape in order to hold them steady while the glue dried.
If I were to make one again I would craft the wings entirely from sculpty (oven dried clay), forming them to the contours of the doll’s back.

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This was also around the time Barbie’s arms started falling off. Repeatedly. None of my glues were sticking well. It was lucky no one was home. I got more than a little cranky. Eventually, Gorilla Glue did the trick, but the arms were looking pretty rough. I decided to make my angel look like one of the more corroded ones from the episode with Angel Bob (The Time of Angels) (I did not know that off hand. I looked it up.) (Newt would have known.)
Once I finally got the wings to stay on the @%!# Barbie, I moved on to crafting her dress. This was one of my favorite parts of the process, second only to painting.
The plaster fabric is quite easy to work with. Just cut to your desired size, dip in warm water, and apply. It is very mailable and therefore, easy to form folds and ripples in order to emulate real fabric. Make sure you do at least three coats for durability. I also smeared a little of the plaster on Barbie’s arms and face to rough them up a little.

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Be sure to give ample time for all the clay and plaster to dry before painting–at least 48 hours.
I used gray tinted latex primer as a base coat. We just happened to have a can in the garage. (Side note: The only things I actually purchased for this project were the clay, wooden base, and foam-core. All in all I spent about $5. Yay me!)

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Once the primer was fully dry, I pulled out my acrylic craft paints. I thinned some black with water until it was about the consistency of ink. Then, working in sections to avoid drying, I painted it on, making sure to push it into all the crack and crevices, then quickly toweled it off with an old rag. (A paper towel would likely work as well, just be careful of paper lint/fibers.)
As a final touch, I used a mossy green color, to look like, well, moss. I stippled it on, sparingly, with a stiff brush, considering where moss would actually grow on a statue.
Here is a full shot of the completed angel.
Warning: DON’T BLINK.

P.S. The Weeping Angel is a copyrighted character. Please feel free to create these dolls for your own terror and enjoyment, but do not sell them. Additionally, I accept no responsibility for angel dolls or images coming to life and sending you back in time. I hope you enjoy 1941.

For other my Doctor Who-inspired projects, see:

Free Printable Doctor Who Valentines
Doctor Who Freezer Paper Stenciled T-Shirts
Doctor Who Bedroom Makeover
TARDIS Halloween Costume

Bookish Gifts That Aren’t Actually Books

If you love books like I do you may be wondering about the title of this post. I mean, why shouldn’t you just give books?
The answer: You should. Give lots of them. Especially to me.
But, if you want to give something handmade*, you might like to try one of the following ideas. That is, if you can get past the wanton destruction of innocent books.

Book Notebooks
I made these doodle pads for Newt for Christmas a few years ago. First I picked up a couple of used Harry Potter paperbacks and cut off the covers. Then I trimmed blank white paper to fit and had them bound at Kinkos. Easiest craft ever and she loved them. Win. Win.
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But what to do with all the pages?

Book Wreath
book wreath

book wreath
I made this wreath for my living room using these instructions. Wouldn’t that make a fun gift?

A Hiding Place
For your chocolate:
Eating Well Heiding Place

Eating Well Heiding Place 3

Secrets:
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Or even ironic storage for your e-reader:

The site where I originally found book hollowing instructions no longer exists, but there are a lot of tutorials out there.
This is a good one.

Other Constructive Book Destruction
This one is not a craft, but Wreck This Journal seems to fit well on a this list.
Newt loved her copy to pieces, quite literally.
Wreck This Journal

This is still my favorite page, though I think she may know a few more words she could add to it now.
Wreck This Journal
I wrote a whole post about it here.

What do you think? Are you charmed by my crafty creativity? Or horrified at my destruction?
What books would you like to creatively destroy?

*We have a tradition of creating one handmade gift for each other every year. Come back Friday to see what I’m making Newt this year.

On My Mind 11/20/2012

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I love this. That is all.

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Under the heading of Social Media:

Since I never post anything of interest on it, I am giving up my Frantically Simple Facebook page. You are all invited to subscribe to my author page instead, if you like. I hope to have good news to share there sometime in the near future.
Sidebar link has been updated to reflect the change.
Also: I have a Tumblr now.

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Chalking. Adorable form of self expression and so much nicer than a tattoo to the face.

We use pastel chalks on dry hair. It washes out after one or two washes.

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Newt also wears lipstick and mascara now. She is really growing up.
I really like who she is growing up to be.

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This happened…

…and it made me very happy. (Don’t grow up too fast, Newt.)

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THANKSGIVING!
We will be making this again:
edible Thanksgiving centerpiece

You can make one too!

Or, a fun tablerunner.
Or learn how to cook a turkey.
Or learn how to ruin a turkey. Twice.

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We don’t have books in the dining room any more, but maybe this is a mistake? Books should live everywhere!

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Speaking of Thanksgiving: I’m thankful for you!
Have a lovely holiday.

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