Sunday, November 24, 2013

Melissa's Coconut Butter Chocolate, Banana, Rum, Bacon Bark

 Melissa's Coconut Butter Chocolate,
Banana, Rum, Bacon Bark

I stumbled upon the recipe for Chocolate, Marshmallow, Whiskey, Caramel, Bacon Bark (pictured and linked below) and made it for my husband and his friends for their recent "guys night." I won't even begin to tell you how much sugar this recipe uses. But I will say, it was sticky, chocolaty heaven!

One of the guys, like me, had just finished his Whole 30 (no dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol, legumes for 30 days) and we joked about how we could make this Whole 30 compliant.

So of course, my mind mulled over this thought all day. And, although this is not compliant and I certainly wouldn't call it health food, it is dairy and processed-sugar free. But, there is rum hidden inside...and bacon...well, that's not so hidden. If you like frozen chocolate covered bananas, trust me, you'll love this!

8 oz. jar of coconut butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 medium overripe banana
3 Tbsp rum (Zaya is my favorite)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup crispy crumbled bacon
8X8 pan lined with parchment paper

1. Place the coconut butter into the microwave, lid off, for 1 minute. Stir the jar so that the butter has even consistency. You can heat it again 15 seconds at a time, but if you overheat it you can burn the unstirred butter at the bottom.

2. Spoon out half of the coconut butter into a small dish and mix with 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder. Reheat as needed to get a smooth consistency.

3. Spread half of the chocolate mixture into the 8X8 dish and place in the freezer until firm.

4. Mash up the peeled banana with the back of a fork until smooth. Place it in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until it turn light golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 3 Tbsp of rum and the vanilla. Stir in 1 Tbsp of coconut butter and reheat the entire mixture if needed to get an even and spreadable consistency.

5. Remove the chocolate from the freezer and spread the banana rum mixture over the chocolate. Return to the freezer until cooled. The banana mixture will become firmer but will not solidify completely.

6. Reheat the remaining chocolate mixture. Remove the pan from the freezer and spread the remaining chocolate mixture across the banana. Top with crumbled bacon, pressing it in lightly. Return to the freezer until chocolate is firm.

7. Remove from the pan, break into pieces and store in an airtight container the refrigerator.

Creating recklessly in the kitchen this week,


PS - If you are in the Seattle area, join me up at the Ranch Center for Arts and Craft on December 14 at 10am for a class called "Get 'Er Done." Bring your unfinished projects or projects you've been meaning to start and I'll help you jump in, recklessly, and get 'er done! We'll cover lots of techniques and materials as we learn from the varying projects students bring. And...I'll bring some of the chocolate, banana, rum, bacon bark! Visit the Ranch's Facebook page for sign up information.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Leather Embellished Wood

Wood, Leather by Melissa Cable, 2013

Some of my favorite projects in my next book, Beautiful Leather Jewelry (Jan 2014), are leather embellished wood beads. There are capsule beads, spool beads and more. So when I saw a Facebook ad for wood plugs by WidgetCo I was both excited and horrified. Does Facebook know me THAT well...eek!

But, regardless, off to WidgetCo I went and ordered a variety of face grain wood plugs. I am always happy to feature a company that has great products and service and this company qualifies. The wood plugs were beautiful, the package came quickly and they even followed up with an email (promise this is not a paid endorsement, they don't even know I am writing this!) I included a copy of my order here to make it easier for you in case you decide to make one.

If you leave a comment below, I'll draw a name and send the winner some of my wood plug stash! Let me know if you've worked with wood and why or why not. I'd love to hear what you've been doing.

I'll admit, I was a cold connections snob. I did not count adhesives among quality connections. But a class with Bob Ebendorf changed that, thank goodness, because much of the work I do with leather and wood would be difficult if not impossible without adhesives....including this bracelet as it is made by drilling holes in the sides of the wood plugs and gluing them together with 2mm round leather cord. Here is a quick step-by-step on making this bracelet, with TWO types of glue...eek!

1. Mark the holes on the wood plugs. This is best accomplished using the tape covered circle template I described in my post "Finding Center." Remember that the interior plugs will have 4 holes, the exterior 3 holes and the corners only 2 holes.

Let me make the mistakes for sure to mark your holes! I failed to do this with my piece, I jumped right in because I was anxious to try it! Next time, I will definitely be more precise.

2. Place the plugs in a small vice (this is my favorite ZONA vise). Be sure to put scrap wood below the plugs so you don't drill into your vise. Use a drill size that works with the leather you chose. I used 2mm leather and a 3/32" drill bit.

I painted the sides and back of each wood piece with a metallic bronze paint, which is optional. I also painted the leather cord in a light coat of the same paint.

3. Place a needle tip on a bottle of Zap A Gap. Work in vertical sections by connecting three plugs together at a time. Drop glue into the hole and slide a piece of leather into the hole. Hold for a moment to let it set. Be careful to use only 1 drop of glue...excess glue can and will ooze out of the other holes easily.

Trim the leather so that it is approximately 1/2" so that you have 1/4" between the wood and 1/4" to glue inside the adjacent plug (1/8" for inside smaller plugs). Keep glueing vertical sections of three together, making sure they end up the same height. When you are done with vertical sections, connect these sections together by gluing in leather cord horizontally between the holes.

4. Punch circles out of leather and place edge coat on the edges to both clean up the edges and frame the leather. Use Tandy Leather Weld to glue the leather discs on top of the wood as desired.

TIP: I remove the lid from the leather glue and leave a paintbrush inside. Early on, I put painters tape around it to keep it sealed, but now over time, it has created its own glue plug. While not attractive, it works well and I always have a brush for glue.

5. I spray sealed the entire piece with a shiny acrylic sealant, which really made the wood pop, and then on the center end plugs I inserted antique copper eye screws to attach the hook clasp.

This bracelet is amazingly strong (which is why I love and prefer Zap A Gap for my cyanoacrylate needs). I tried to pull two pieces apart and no matter how hard I tried, could not get them to separate. I had to trim the leather cord and drill into the leather when I accidentally left a piece of leather too long!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you get a chance to Create Recklessly this week!


PS: The winner of the Surface Texture Bible is....Angi Mullis!
Let us know how you like it Angi. : )