Posts Tagged ‘winter’

brown butter bars

brown butter bars

The spring rain in these parts has been turning to snow more often than not. And I’ve been trying to celebrate the good bits of winter before they are gone for good. Granted sometimes it’s done with gritted teeth, like when I’m putting on my coat and hat and scarf and mittens for the bajillionth time, but hot chocolate is still delicious even if it is April. Baking a batch of these nutty, jammy bars warms up the house, makes it smell delicious and they are just right with coffee.  All the good, cozy things about winter and they taste pretty damn good too.

browning the butter

I combined a few different recipes to make these bars–one called them breakfast another dessert, so feel free to eat them all day. The biggest change I made was to brown the butter before I added it to the rest of the ingredients. If you’ve never done this before you will soon find yourself searching out ways to add brown butter to everything. Seriously, it’s like butter only better. To make it, put the butter in a light colored pan (so you can see it brown) and wait, stirring now and then, until it melts, then stops spitting and sputtering and turns a lovely dark shade of brown–about the color of maple syrup. Then take it off the heat right away so your lovely butter doesn’t turn black.

brown butter bars

You can have your kids mix up all the dry ingredients while you cook the butter, then pour the butter in, scraping all those good browned bits off the bottom of the pan and into the bowl.  Actually your kids could probably do most everything. It’s dead easy: press two thirds of the dough in a pan, slap some jam on top and crumble the rest of the dough on top. It’s the perfect recipe to play around with too. You could use apricot jam and a little cardamom, or grind up pecans instead of almond flour and maybe even find some peach jam. Whatever you have in your cupboard is going to make these delicious, so you don’t really have much of an excuse to not make them right now. Unless it’s summer where you are right now, in which case poo on you.

brown butter bars

brown butter bars

  • 1 1/4 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup almond flour (or whichever nut you’d like, ground up fine)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tea salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, browned
  • 1 cup jam

Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and jam in a large bowl. Brown the butter: cut butter in pieces and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the milk solids (the little bits at the bottom) turn a deep brown color.  Quickly take it off the heat and pour it into the dry ingredients, scraping the pan into the bowl. Mix. Press two thirds of the dough into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the jam on top and crumble the rest of the dough over it. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool and cut into squares.

This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 13×9 cake pan. It’s pretty much my go to “shit! I need to bring a snack for preschool tomorrow!” recipe.

sap boil

We went to a old fashioned sap boil last night. No fancy, shiny evaporators, just a wood fire and an old cake pan filled with sap.  And lots of beautiful food– even brats boiled in sap! which is genius and ridiculously delicious.

After running and talking and drinking and shivering, we came in from the cold and had some delicious, smokey and sweet maple syrup on our yogurt for dessert. It doesn’t get better than that.

sledding party

sledding party buffet

We celebrated my little boy’s fourth birthday this past weekend–a week late. On his actual birthday we were all too sick, or if not sick then too crabby, to do much of anything.  But this week we were better! We ventured out of the house! And we had a sledding party!


My son actually came up with the idea (is he secretly reading crafty blogs?) while we were in Hawaii oddly enough. And it seemed perfect: the sky had just dumped ridiculous amounts of snow on the midwest. But then we got back and it was 40 degrees and you could see the grass! In February!  The day before the party it snowed a few fluffy inches, just enough to fly down the hill on. Thank you weather.

homemade marshmallow favors for the sledding party

It was a small party, so making favors was a pleasure rather than a production. We made vanilla marshmallows, which we packaged in waxed paper bags all prettied up with snowflakes. I doubled my friend Lily’s recipe for hot cocoa mix only used regular sugar and threw in a few teaspoons of salt for good measure.  Some of the hot cocoa mix went into jars I scrounged up and with the rest I made a vat of hot chocolate for the party. And then made a vat of whipped cream to go with it.

hot cocoa mix and whipped cream

Obviously, I stole the tail gating idea from Courtney and actually I think this was the first time I’ve ever even been to a tail gate party. Not a lot of sports fans in the family.  It is awesome (if you didn’t know). And it is super awesome for a little kid’s party. They just come and go when they please, while you help yourself to another spoonful of whipped cream in your coffee. dontmindifIdo.

Slowly everyone’s toes froze and it was time to go home. But before that there was much sledding and snacking and frosting on faces. I say it was a success and my big four year old boy says so too.

kcwc: hats, mittens and scarves inspiration and tutorials

I know it not cold enough for mitten and hats yet, but it will be–even though somehow every year I try to convince myself that it won’t get that cold, what am I thinking? I live in wisconsin! We better make some cute things while they are little enough to actually wear them (unlike teenagers) and I’ve scrounged up some pretty fantastic tutorials for winter gear. I’ve made the martha stewart hat a bunch of times and if you can get the sizing right it is quick and stylish and warm to boot.

beautiful handmade hats, mittens and scarves

1. Dog Hat I made today toddler, 2. Handmade Holiday: mittens for Avery, 3. 12-09 Brown OrgFlwer Cap 1 Full, 4. Felt Mittens with Knitted Cuffs, 5. Button Me Up Scarf , 6. kid’s patchwork scarf::2, 7. snarves, 8. Make It Yourself, 9. Mittens, baby variation

wonderful tutorials for warm winter gear

1. cozy slippers 2. muff 3. felt hat 4. balaclava 5.yarn scarf 6. sweater mittens 7. wool scarflet 8. felt mittens with knit cuff 9. patchwork scarf

I’ve been thinking about making a kids clothes week challenge FAQ page, so if you have any burning questions be sure to send them my way in the comments or in an email (

kcwc fall clothes inspiration and tutorials

I’m going to post a round up each day this week of inspiring handmade clothes and tutorials for fall and winter things too. The schedule should go something like this:

  • monday: fall and winter clothes
  • tuesday: coats, hoodies, sweaters
  • wednesday: warm things for baby
  • thursday: hats, mittens, scarves
  • friday: halloween costumes

If you have a tutorial that you particularly love and it fits (pretty much) into one of the categories above you can email me ( and I can try to fit it in the post or you can save it and put it in the comments on the day of the post-subject it fits under. Get it? I’m trying to keep it so we can all use these inspiration and tutorial posts as reference next week when it’s so late we have to choose between thinking and sewing. So tell us all the awesome clothes tutorials you know in the comments and email me the rest. And if you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for?

beautiful handmade fall and winter clothes

1. Untitled, 2. birthday party dress, 3. flannel pants, 4. SOLD Funky Fall Green Repurposed Wool Sweater 12 months, 5. pants pants pants pants, 6. check tunic dress, 7. Puppy pockets, 8. Green Fleece top for my daughter, 9. Snow and Holly bloomers

fantastic tutorials for fall and winter clothes

ringer shirt pjs (made with her own tutorial), pleated skirt, winter jumper, fleece lined pants, pieced shirt, patch jeans, henley shirt, short sleeve to long sleeve, go to dress