Thursday, March 29, 2012


I know I'm not the only one that does this, but right now I FEEL like I'm the only one that does. So once I've posted this I will do the smart thing and go to bed!! 

I have really no clue what I want to do long term with my life. 

I do. 

But I don't. 

Yes, I want to care for my husband and raise my children, but since that's not what God has for me right now, I have to figure out something else! 

I'm moving to Washington DC.

In 3 weeks.

I'll be working, maybe going to grad school (once I figure a few things out first!!), and spending time with my family there. 

Nutrition counseling is a consideration for grad school. Who knows. God does. I'm waiting on Him for that. 

What about the sewing stuff?!?!?! 
I love sewing, but I DON'T want to run a business! The little of that I have had to do over the past year has been horrible. Painful even. 
Therefore, instead of continuing to operate as a "business", and watching a hobby that I love become a job that I don't like, I am not continuing my previous course. 

Stay tuned… that way you can tell me what's going on in my life!

~ Claire ~

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Perfect French Fries

Again I apologize for not taking pictures of my food. Having a fun camera is still a bit new to me and the kitchen is my favorite playground which makes pulling me away from the action a little difficult sometimes.

I like french fries. I think it's safe to state that most North Americans do as well considering that if we all ate the same amount it would even out to 28 pounds per person per year.

Since they're rarely fried in animal fat anymore they don't taste as good as they used to though.

My solution to this dilemma was purely an accident, but one that nearly sent both my father and I to the hospital last summer…  please, don't EVER  cover a pot of vegetable oil while heating it on the stove!!

This works great with both white and sweet potato fries.


Step 1: was, cut and rinse your potatoes (to remove excess starch). I leave the skins on cuz I think their crunch is like a merengue dance for my taste buds!

Step 2: SOAK the cut fries in salt water for at least an hour. I sprinkled about 3 Tbsp of salt over 5-6 med/lg potatoes then added water to cover the potatoes by about an inch or two.

Step 3: Preheat oven to 425˚f

Step 4: Drain the fries and spread them out on a cookie sheet. I use a stoneware sheet or pizza stone because I like it.

Step 5: drizzle with a very small amount of olive oil (only 2-3 TEASPOONS) and mix them around to coat evenly, sprinkle with any desired seasoning. e.g. salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, parsley, etc.

Step 6: Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crispy and cooked through.

Step 7: LINE a bowl or whatever you're going to serve them from with either newsprint or paper towels.

Step 8: Eat them and enjoy their deliciousness!!!!!!!!!!

Step 9: Kiss the cook ;)

- Claire -

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Banana bread doesn't have to be bad for you.

How do I know? I broke the rule, that's how. 
I did it. I made Banana Bread that was super healthy, and so delicious that food junkies (you know, the opposite of a Foodie who will eat any junk food and call it "good") told me it was some of the best they'd ever had :)
That literally made my day.
Of course, I didn't take pictures, what would be the point of that?! 
My dear friend Monica gave me her Banana Bread recipe and it was delicious. I am however ridding my diet of refined sugars and starches, so I made a few modifications.

To duplicate these delicious gems (I made muffins):
Preheat your oven to 325˚f
Butter and flour (or use parchment paper) either a.) A large loaf pan, b.) 4 small loaf pans, or c.) 1 dozen large muffin tins. I guess you could use cupcake papers, but I didn't have any so I buttered and floured my pans and they turned out splendidly.

Cream together 
1/2 C. Butter
1/2 C. Date Sugar
1/2 C. Sucanat (get it at a health food store or through a food co-op)

Add 2 large eggs, one at a time

3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
a small pinch of salt

Mix it all up with a mixer then add 
3 Banana's that you've smashed with a fork 
and 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour 

Mix just until combined after the banana and flour are in, you don't want to ruin the soda action, that wouldn't be pretty!

Pour the batter into your pan(s) and bake for 
45-50 minutes for a large loaf
35-42 minutes for small loaves or muffins.

cool slightly on a wire rack before you turn it out of the pan (s).

It's exceptional with chopped pecans or walnuts, but my dad can't eat them so I didn't put any in.



Friday, December 9, 2011

Best. Yeast. Rolls. Ever.

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner is the Yeast Rolls that my Aunt Cay makes. They are simply delightful. Aunt Cay is my Dad's only sister and is one of the most loving and thoughtful people that I know, so when she makes anything, it tastes even better knowing that it was made with love. 
Something that I didn't know about these rolls though… they're not her recipe!! 
Yeah, I know, most people don't come up with their own dough recipes, that's just a headache. 
The recipe is my Great Grandmother's! I did not have the honor of knowing her, but her name was Iva Springstun, and she was a wonderful godly woman. 
My Dad said she would make these rolls for every family gathering. Her house must have smelled SO good.
So I hope you enjoy these as much as our family has :)

Yeast Rolls

5-6 c. All-purpose Flour
2 pkgs dry Yeast (2 1/4 tsp = 1pkg.)
1/2 c. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt

1 stick Butter - room temperature
1 1/2 c. hot tap Water

2 Eggs - room temperature

You'll need 2 greased 9" cake pans.

Mix together 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
Stir in butter.
Add water and mix on Med speed for 2 minutes.
Add eggs and 1 cup flour and beat for 1 minute on High.
gradually add the remaining four while mixing on Med-Low, until it forms a soft ball and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes (I do 5). You can use a bread hook to knead if you want just make sure you only knead it for 2-3 minutes if using a hook.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel for 15-20 minutes.
Divide dough into 2. Then divide each portion in 2. Do this until there are 32 pieces total. 
Put 16 dough balls in each pan.
Brush tops with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-48 hours. We think they're best at 24 which is great so they can be done a day ahead.
Preheat oven to 375˚F
Remove rolls from fridge 10-20 minutes before you stick them in the oven. Pop any air bubbles with an oiled toothpick for more even making (I've never had them form, but my aunt said they show up on hers sometimes).
Bake uncovered on lowest rack for 30-35 minutes. 

Simple, but not fast. They are really worth the little work that they are. 

I made a batch and put them in the freezer after they'd been in the fridge for 24 hours… I'll let you know how that turns out.

~ Claire ~

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chocolate Ganache Pear Tart

After I made the Free-form Blueberry tart a while back I got a bit of a tart itch. Being in Ireland for a long week may have a teensy little bit to do with it too. You saw that I've done a bit of traveling lately, and, like my Shabby Apple was written on vacation, so is this one… the last one was too ;)
Only this time I'm at my sisters hanging (more like having an absolute blast!!!!) with my nieces and their exchange student, that we all want to adopt into the family while my sister and her husband are on vacation.
There were all of these beautiful pears sitting on the counter when I got here, and while they were a little on the hard side and the wrong kind of pear for baking this kind of dessert, I am mostly pleased with the way that it turned out.

It's not a really sweet tart, but you can add more sugar if you want.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 1/2 sticks cold butter cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. ice water

1 1/3 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
2/3 cup Half and Half
2 tsp Butter

3 med Pears
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp light Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 Egg White, slightly beaten

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
(Put a glass bowl and beaters in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly before whipping the cream)

Prepare the Pastry In a food processor, combine the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the candied ginger and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse just until the pastry starts to come together. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm.

Preheat oven to 425.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 14-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the pastry in half and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. 

Filling Over a double boiler (I just used a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water) melt the chocolate and whisk in the butter and half and half. Turn off the heat so that the chocolate can cool just a bit.
Peel, core and slice the pears to 1/4 in thick. Toss with the lemon juice. Sprinkle in the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon and toss to coat evenly. 

Finish Spread the ganache on the pastry dough leaving about a 1 1/2 in border. (any extras are great for dipping strawberries in!!) Arrange the pears in any way you feel like it, but only on the ganache. Fold up the edge of the crust over the pears. Brush crust edge with the egg whites. (I sprinkled a little brown sugar on it too :)

Bake at 425˚ for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375˚f and bake for 30 more minutes. 

Topping Whip the cream on high until it sets up. Slowly whip in the sugar.

Serve tart warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

Bon Appetite!

At the end of the Day:

Ooh, it's been a while! Hello to anyone out there who might be holding out hope that I've not dropped off the face of the earth. ;) Well, I didn't drop off of it, but I have done a bit of traveling! I actually posted my Shabby Apple design while in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland (pronounced Dun Leery).  A bit of an impromptu trip with a very good friend we were on a plane less than six weeks after we first talked about actually going, not just the "someday" that we had talked about for a couple of years. It was incredible! We had real Irish weather, wonderful food, and met some of the most friendly people imaginable, even though we were tourists ;) 
Dublin Castle Gardens, I got a lot of practice with the Macro Setting on my new camera :)

Jenna, one of my dearest friends and my traveling companion for this trip! … she also kept me from doing a lot of stupid things that I'm sure I would have done had she not been there :P

We drove through the Wicklow mountains, and they were SO beautiful!!

The view from our stay in Westport

Forget the Blarney stone, just find a cool looking wall and kiss it, they don't charge you for it ;)
Cliffs of Moher! It was even better than the pictures show.

We also went to Glendalough (Glen-da-lock), sorry for not putting pictures up of the water, this one was just too fabulous when the sun peeked out :) 

Galway city. This is where the original Claddah ring was made.
We also had our family reunion the second weekend in August. We had a wonderful weekend

My Grandmother's parents

My Grandad's parents

My dad, Roger, and my grandad, Paul

Bob, Amon, Paul, Eldo
Norma, Fern, Donna, and Faye

Me and my great aunt Faye

My dad's only sister, Cay

After the reunion I promptly left for Pentwater, MI with some friends and enjoyed a few days at the beach. There were a lot of really cool shops, ice cream parlors, and a really neat book store!

This was a great way to end my first night in Pentwater!
Happy 52nd Birth… WHAAA?!!??
I mean… 

Happy 25th Birthday Alexi!!

Yummy!! Cinnamon toast French Toast with Blueberries :)

Our fearless chef!

Well, we had to be ready for our adventure :P

And… for the real news: 

Are you ready for it?

You sure?

Because I was a little surprised, but super excited!!!!!!!!

I will be doing my first fashion shoot this coming spring!! I have two dresses, one skirt, and a jacket so far!! I'm even toying with the idea of doing a short. 
I'm finished toying.
Those will come later.
… Maybe … 
You'll find out in a few months :D

I'm really excited. Not gonna lie though, I'm also rather SCARED!! But the Lord has been giving me a lot of ideas for new pieces, yet more importantly, the peace that only comes through Him!! 
I have a photographer… who came to me!! 
I've decided not to share my sketches publicly until the shoot. I am definitely asking advice on the designs though!! I know that I can do this, but I sure don't want to be putting so much time into things that won't be fashion forward enough. I've been watching about as much Project Runway as I can get my hands on. I'm usually surprised at a lot of the things that are produced in that work room, but the best part is being able to see how different garments are constructed.

Well, that's all for this post.
But I made a Chocolate-Pear tart yesterday, so that recipe (which I made up myself!) might be up in the next few minutes :P

Friday, September 2, 2011

I made honorable mention :)

Well, I didn't make final cut for the Shabby Apple contest, but I did make Honorable Mention!! So they sent me a gift certificate :) so now I just have to decide what to get!