How To Make A Valentine Heart From Wine Corks

How To Make A Valentine Heart From Wine Corks
 January 27, 2016

Valentine Heart

    Last week, I scanned Pinterest to find ‘How To Make A Valentine Heart From Wine Corks’.  Checking out several sites gave me some information on how to go about this.  Not all information you find on the internet is that good.  In the end, I came up with an easier option that seemed to work well.


   Sophie and I drew a heart shape on freezer paper and we tried to glue the corks together.  On one of the sites, it was suggested to use a hot glue gun. Yeah, that did not work so well.  After we had glued the perimeter, we picked the wreath up and the thing fell apart in several places!  The hot glue did not hold.  Maybe I have inferior hot glue?


   Using the outline on the freezer paper did not work very well either.  Even though I thought I was being very careful to follow the edge, one cork went all wonky and the outline was not right.  Okay, looking at the picture, maybe more than one went wonky!  The heart was misshapen.


   Sophie had to go home and I left this project on the counter in frustration.  For several days, it taunted me.  Feeling defeated, I was about to toss the whole mess.

  Then, I had an epiphany.  Why not use the heart -shaped cake pan?

First, I lined it with Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil.  Then, using Aleene’s Tacky Glue, I began to glue the outside row together, following the shape of the pan.   Note that the end of the cork pointing up is the end the bottle opener punctured.  The bottom side will be flat, ( the corks are not all the same length or diameter) and will be flat with no holes from the opener.

  This seemed to be working well! That is when I decided to make a heart- shaped decoration for the mantel instead of the wreath.



   As the corks were added, some had to have a line of glue applied to two, three or four sides, when the corks butted up together.  Adding one at a time, I filled the entire cake pan and waited for a half hour for the glue to completely dry.


   Then, the pan was turned over and released.   The heart shape looked great!  This worked so much better!


   The next step was painting.I decided to paint only the tops of the wine corks, which took no time at all.  Light ivory by Ceramcoat was painted on with a small stiff hog bristle brush.


   After the paint dried, Mod Podge was quickly painted on over the ivory paint and clear glitter was poured on top of the Mod Podge, acting as a glue.  


To pin this post, click here ►Valentine Heart from Wine Corks.


    Not that there is an abundance of these in my humble home, but I have also come up with some clever, cheap tricks with wine corks!  Awhile back, I was placing one of the potted orchids in an urn.  The orchid was too low.  I racked my brain to think of something that would raise the pot just enough.  The idea of gluing wine corks together, to create a lift, came to my mind.


   It worked perfectly!  This little trick has been implemented many times in my home.  It also works for those items on top of cabinets.  Sometimes just a little lift is needed to see the item perfectly.  These corks can easily be glued together with Tacky Glue to make whatever size is needed.


   I hope this post on How to Make a Valentine Heart With Wine Corks inspires you to create something beautiful, too.





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Mini Maple Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Butter Frosting Garnished with Bacon Pieces

Mini Maple Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Butter Frosting Garnished with Bacon Pieces

January 25, 2016

   Mini Maple Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Butter Frosting Garnished with Bacon Pieces has to be one of the most unique cupcakes I have ever made.  This seems to be one the ‘guys’ really like.  You know, the Saturday morning dad, who makes pancakes?  Toss in the bacon pieces, and it is a winner.   It is definitely Jon-Michael’s favorite.

Mini Maple Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Butter Frosting Garnished with Bacon Pieces on



   Yesterday, as I was making these, I kept thinking about sending him a message when these were done.  After taking photos, the picture above was posted on Facebook, tagging him.  


   Strangely, the door to the garage opened and there he was, walking in the door with Emily!  I asked if he had seen the post.  No, he hadn’t.  After he saw it, we had to laugh.  He seems to have this ‘food’ radar, arriving at just the right time to enjoy my latest meal or dessert.


   These were made in the 2″ mini Reynolds baking cups.  I have to admit that I love the silver baking cups.  Although you can just put these on a cookie sheet, I still prefer to put them in a muffin tin. (If you purchase from this Amazon link, we will receive a small percentage of the cost at no expense to you.  Thank-you!)


   When the kids were little, I was a room mother a few times.  I watched as the kids in the classes threw away half of a cupcake over and over again.   When I had to send treats, I started making mini cupcakes.  Problem solved. 


   These maple pancake cupcakes with the maple butter frosting are pretty rich and I think the mini version is a perfect size.  Bite into one, and it really does bring to mind pancakes and maple syrup.  The bacon is the perfect garnish.


   These were displayed at a wedding reception on ‘lifts and levels’ that were covered in silver wrapping paper with a border of bling.  They made a pretty presentation.  Click here to see ►Cupcake display.

Mini Maple Pancake Cupcakes


1- 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup softened, unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
5/8 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350°


   In a medium sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger.  Using a wire whisk, combine the ingredients and set to the side.

    In a medium bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix well.  Pour in the syrup and vanilla and mix well.

    Add about 1/2 of the flour mixture, and 1/2 of the buttermilk.  Repeat, making sure the ingredients are all combined.  

   With a spoon, stir in the chopped pecans.

   Fill the mini muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 15 minutes at 350°. 

   Cool completely on a baking rack and frost with Maple Butter Frosting.  Makes about 15 of the 2″ mini muffins.



Maple Butter Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) of softened unsalted butter
1-1/2 ounces of cream cheese
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tblsp. maple syrup
3/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar


   Combine the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.  Beat until light and fluffy. 

   Add the syrup and vanilla and continue beating.

   Add the powdered sugar slowly.  Then continue beating with the mixer on high until the icing is light and fluffy. 

   Frost the cupcakes.  Garnish with crisp fried bacon pieces.

    Maybe these Mini Maple Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Butter Frosting Garnished with Bacon Pieces would be a perfect cupcake for your Valentine!

Mini Maple Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Butter Frosting Garnished with Bacon Pieceson


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Step by Step Directions For Making Continuous Double Fold Bias Tape

Step by Step Directions For Making Continuous Double Fold Bias Tape
 January 23, 2016
    Step by step directions for making continuous double fold bias tape can be found here, and it’s a lot more simple than I ever imagined!  Although I have been making ‘double fold bias tape’ for years, when I made the baby blanket for Memphis, I used this method for the first time.   For years, I have heard of the continuous strip method but have never tried it.  Up to this point, I have cut the 2-inch strips on the bias, sewn them together and then using the little bias tape maker in the picture above, ironed the strip to make the double fold bias tape.

 Step by Step Directions For Making Continuous Double Fold Bias Tape on

   Wow!  Why did I wait so long?  This method is easy and definitely faster.  A fifteen inch square of fabric will make a little over three yards.  I needed two of these to make the baby quilt.  A bigger square would have produced more bias tape, but the piece of fabric left from the baby quilt less than half of a yard.


    The first step is cutting a square of fabric.  Cut off the selvage edge and fold the fabric diagonally into a triangle to make a perfect square.  Trim off the extra fabric.  

    Cut along the diagonal fold, as shown in the picture above, which will leave you with two identical right triangles.

    With one triangle facing up and one facing down, line up the edges, as shown above, and sew a 1/4″ seam as shown.

    When you open the sewn triangles and lay flat, you will have created a parallelogram.  Iron the seam flat.

    With a fabric pen, mark every 2-inches on the left side and the right side of the parallelogram.  Connect the marks, creating 2-inch sections, as indicated above by the broken lines. 

    Fold the fabric in half and match the lines.  Notice you have to offset the first 2- inch section so that the edge will be offset on both ends.  Pin and sew a 1/4″ seam.  It is critical that these lines match up and look like the picture above after the seam is sewn.   This is the line you will cut.  Double check to make sure the lines match.  If they don’t, rip out the seam and redo.


   When your lines are matching, iron, and begin cutting on one offset end, as shown in the upper right corner of the picture above.  Lift the fabric and only cut through the top layer of fabric, following the drawn lines.

When you finish cutting, the end result should look like this, one continuous length of 2-inch wide bias fabric.

    Using a 2″ bias tape maker, insert one end of the fabric into the tool and thread through to the opposite end.

    Pull the wire handle back and hold as you iron the tape and guide it easily through the tool.  (The handle will keep your fingers from being burned by the steam from the iron.)  Continue ironing until the entire piece is transformed into double fold bias tape ready to be used on your latest project.  To pin this click here►Double Fold Bias Tape.


   These step by step directions for making continuous double fold bias tape show what an easy process it really is!


 Step by Step Directions For Making Continuous Double Fold Bias Tape on


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Want a Beautiful and Simple Mini Cheesecake Dessert?

Want a Beautiful and Simple Mini Cheesecake Dessert?

January 20, 2016

Simple Mini Cheesecakes

     Want a Beautiful and Simple Mini Cheesecake Dessert?  These adorable Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes Topped With Chocolate Ganache And Fresh Red Raspberries were made in a nonstick mini cheesecake pan from NORPRO.  I purchased two of these pans online.  They have been in the cupboard for awhile.  Hate to admit it, but they have only been used once before.

   As the weather here starts heading toward below freezing and snow begins, my desire to go outside is lessened.  My Mustang does not do well in snow.  I won’t be driving anywhere unless I have an obligation.  Winter weather increases my desire to cook and bake.  For some time, I have been wanting to use these little cheesecake pans.  So the other morning I set the cream cheese out on the counter to soften.

   This Norpro mini cheesecake pan is available at Amazon,  I love it!  (If you purchase through this link, we will receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.  Thank-you!)


   As you can see in the picture, the bottom is removable.  It is just a little disc.   I was really pleasantly surprised how easily the little cheesecakes came out of the pan!  There was virtually no sticking!  


   Just pushing the disc up from the bottom, they came out perfectly, and the disc released easily, too.  I need to use these more often!

  Imagine little quiches, tartlets, muffins, or even hors d’oeuvres.  The shape of these is so perfect!

        Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes Topped With Chocolate Ganache

      And Fresh Red Raspberries

                                                                                  Preheat oven to 350°


1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs

2 Tblsp. sugar

1 pinch of salt

2 Tblsp. unsalted butter, melted

   Lightly coat the tins with non-stick cooking spray.  Mix the vanilla wafer crumbs, the sugar, and the salt together well.  Add the melted butter.  Put 2 heaping teaspoons of the mixture into each of the little tins.   Press down firmly with a wooden mini tart shaper, (mine is from Pampered Chef), or a shot glass works well, too.

 Bake the little crusts for about 10 minutes in the 350° oven.  

Remove and cool on a baking rack while you prepare the cheesecake.

►Turn the oven down to 300°.


Tip*** Forgot to set the block of cream cheese out to soften?   Don’t worry!  To soften cream cheese, completely unwrap the package of cream cheese and place in a glass bowl.   Microwave on high for 10 seconds just until softened.


2-8 ounce blocks of softened Cream Cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 pinch of salt

1/4 cup of heavy cream

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (or 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

if you don’t have a vanilla bean.)

   In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy.  Add the sugar, the salt, and completely mix.  


   Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.  Mix in the heavy cream and the seeds from the vanilla bean.


    Pour the batter on top of the crusts and fill to the top.  (I was afraid the filling would spill over the top, but it did not.  They looked perfect!  There is a little excess batter.)  


Bake for 20 minutes in a 300° oven.


Remove from the oven and cool on wire baking rack.  

Remove each from the pan and place in a covered platter or dish.  Chill for two hours.



Chocolate Ganache


1/2 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips


Melt the chocolate and the heavy cream in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir until smooth with no lumps.  Pour into a glass bowl and let cool a little.  

 Stir and spoon on top of the little cheesecakes or using a pastry bag and a medium round tip, pipe a large chocolate dot.  (I piped the ganache onto the tops of the ones I made.  It was easier to control.)


Garnish with the red raspberries.



   Dave actually said he prefers these to the mini-cherry cheesecakes!  It looks like the Mini Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes Topped With Chocolate Ganache  And Fresh Red Raspberries will be another much-requested recipe.



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You’ll Love This Quick and Easy Chicken Tenders Dish

You’ll Love This Quick and Easy Chicken Tenders Dish

January 15, 2016

Chicken Tenders

   ‘Chicken tenders with oregano garlic butter and thin spaghetti’ is one of my husband’s favorite quick and easy recipes. He actually prefers this to a tomato-based sauce.  


   The chicken tenders are cut in half lengthwise and fry up in just a few minutes. Thin spaghetti, (my favorite brand is Barilla), cooks in 6 minutes!  The spaghetti is tossed in the pan drippings.  Then some parmesan and cherry or grape tomatoes are sliced in half and tossed with the pasta.  Thin spaghetti, (my favorite brand is Barilla), cooks in 6 minutes!  You can imagine how quickly you can have dinner on the table.

 Chicken Tenders? You'll Love This Quick and Easy Chicken Tenders Dish! on

   The garlic knots in the background of the picture were made in the bread maker.  It does most of the work, but I always set it on the dough setting so that I can add extra flavors and choose how it is shaped.   I cannot imagine not having this appliance!   


Chicken Tenders With Garlic Butter


1 garlic clove

1/4 tsp. salt

5 Tblsp. unsalted butter (softened)

1 Tblsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. red hot pepper flakes

1-1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins

1-2 Tblsp. Olive oil 


   With a large kitchen knife, mince the garlic.  Add the salt and mash together with the garlic, creating a paste.


   In a small bowl, combine the softened butter, oregano, pepper flakes, and the garlic paste you made.  Make sure this is completely mixed together.


   Cut the chicken tenderloins in half lengthwise.  Remove the white tendon.  Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.  Place a little of the butter mixture on the top of each of the tenderloins using about half of the butter mixture.  After placing the tenders in the skillet add the rest of the mixture to them one by one.


   Coat the bottom of a 12″ stainless steel skillet with olive oil spray and heat over a moderately high heat until hot.  Add the olive oil.  Then add some of the tenderloins and cook for a couple of minutes on each side.  Don’t overcrowd the skillet and turn down the heat to keep the garlic from burning.  Burnt garlic is not a tasty thing!


   Remove the cooked tenderloins to a platter and cover loosely with Reynold’s wrap to keep them warm.  Continue cooking the remaining tenderloins.


For the Pasta


Barilla thin spaghetti

cherry or grape tomatoes – halved

grated Parmesan cheese


   Prepare the pasta per the directions, while the chicken is cooking.  Drain the pasta and after the chicken is cooked, add it to the leftover garlic butter mixture in the skillet.  Add the halved tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, toss, and place on the serving platter with the chicken tenderloins.  Shave some parmesan, sprinkle over the pasta, and garnish with some fresh parsley or basil.  

To Pin this Click here ►Chicken Tenders With Oregano Garlic Butter


    A salad and some homemade rolls are all that is needed for this perfect, easy, less than 30- minute meal.  You could not even make it through the drive-thru at ‘Biggie Burger’ and home faster than that!  The next time you need a quick and easy meal, Chicken tenders with oregano garlic butter and thin spaghetti would be a good option. 



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