Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dip {Recipe}

Let me start off with the fact that you should have to make this dip. It is AMAZING.

A couple of years ago, my family went to a friend’s Halloween party and found this savory dip. It was gone within 20 minutes. I immediately had my girlfriend send me the recipe.  (Thanks Kim!) This quick and easy dip is perfect for bringing to get-togethers, especially for that big game on Sunday.  My favorite part about this dip, other than how delicious it is, is that you can make it ahead of time and freeze it until you’re ready to pop it in the oven. It’s also gluten free!

Last weekend we had a game night with a few friends, so I made this dip to share. It. was. delicious. Did I mention that buffalo wings are my favorite?

Let’s get started! You will need:

-About 1 ½ cups shredded chicken breast (I used the leftovers from a rotisserie chicken)
-1/2 bottle of Franks hot sauce
-1/2 bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
-1/2 block of softened cream cheese
-1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
-Dippers (we use celery sticks and plain pita chips)

**Note: You can easily double this and make it in one large dish or separate and freeze half for when you’re in a pinch**

First add your franks, ranch, and cream cheese together. You can adjust the amount of franks to the spiciness that you choose. It seems like it takes forever, but that cream cheese will blend in.

Add a handful of the shredded cheese. Then add your shredded chicken. If you don’t have a rotisserie chicken handy, cook up some breasts and shred them in your mixer with the paddle attachment.

Mix and then pour it into a baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until it is nice and bubbly and the cheese is starting to brown. I usually take a paper towel and soak up some of the grease off of the top.

Make sure to let it cool and enjoy. This is one dip that is sure to disappear before your eyes. Get some before it’s gone!

Check back for more on the Superbowl Pre-Game Week with the lovely ladies of Huckleberry love!

What are your favorite party appetizers?

Joining the link parties over at:
Sew Much Ado
Snap Creativity 
High Heels & Grills
Kitchen Meets Girl
Southern Lovely

Monday, January 28, 2013

Crochet Football Hat w/ Earflaps {Free Pattern}

Featured At: Sarahndipities

Over here at Huckleberry Love, football is HUGE! We love it. So to celebrate Superbowl XLVII, we decided to dedicate this whole week to football/Superbowl related posts.

I decided that my contribution to Superbowl week would be a very cute crochet football hat complete with earflaps and tails. Instead of browsing the internet to find a pattern that I liked, I opted to write my own, and here it is, just for you! :)

Need to Knows Before Beginning
~half double crochet (hdc)
~single crochet (sc)
~slip stitch (sl st)
~chain (ch)
~main colour (MC)
~contrasting colour (CC)
*when joining after a round is complete, make sure to join to first HDC and not to the ch 2, to avoid holes.
Can't Get Started Without
~ 4.25mm (G) hook
~Worsted weight yarn in  Brown & White (I used Red Heart Super Saver)
~Tapestry Needle

Hat Body

Starting Ring: Make a magic ring, ch2, 9HDC into the magic ring, join w/ sl st to the first HDC (make sure not to join to the ch or it can leave holes), ch2.
Round 2: HDC into the next stitch and all stitches around, join to first HDC, ch2. (18 HDC)

Round 3: *HDC into next stitch, 2HDC in next stitch*; repeat from * all the way around, join to first HDC, ch2. (27 HDC)
Round 4: *HDC into next 2 stitches, 2HDC in next stitch*; repeat from * all the way around, join to first HDC, ch2. (36 HDC)

Round 5: *HDC into next 3 stitches, 2HDC in next stitch*; repeat from * all the way around, join to first HDC, ch2 (45 HDC)
Round 6: *HDC into next 4 stitches, 2HDC in next stitch*; repeat from * all the way around, join to first HDC, ch2. Fasten off. (54 HDC)

Change to CC, join, ch2
Round 7-8: HDC into each stitch around. Fasten off.(54HDC)

Change to MC, join, ch2

Round 9-15: HDC into each stitch around. Fasten off. (54 HDC)
Change to CC, join, ch2
Round 16-17: HDC into each stitch around. Fasten off. (54 HDC)

Change to MC, join, ch2

Round 18: HDC into each stitch around. Fasten off (54 HDC)

 Left Earflap:
From back of the hat where you fastened off, count 7 stitches, join w/ MC, ch2
1.       HDC in next 10 stitches, ch2, turn (10 HDC)

2.       HDC in next 10 stitches, ch2, turn (10 HDC)

3.       HDC2tog, HDC in next 6 stitches, HDC2tog, ch2, turn (8 HDC)

4.       HDC in next 8 stitches, ch2, turn (8 HDC)

5.       HDC2tog, HDC in next 4 stitches, HDC2tog, ch2, turn (6 HDC)

6.       HDC in next 6 stitches, ch2, turn (6HDC)

7.       HDC2tog, HDC in next 2 stitches, HDC2tog, ch2, turn (4HDC) Fasten off.

Right Earflap:
Count 18 stitches from end of left earflap, join w/ MC, ch2
       1.       HDC in next 10 stitches, ch2, turn (10 HDC)

2.       HDC in next 10 stitches, ch2, turn (10 HDC)

3.       HDC2tog, HDC in next 6 stitches, HDC2tog, ch2, turn (8 HDC)

4.       HDC in next 8 stitches, ch2, turn (8 HDC)

5.       HDC2tog, HDC in next 4 stitches, HDC2tog, ch2, turn (6 HDC)

6.       HDC in next 6 stitches, ch2, turn (6HDC)

7.       HDC2tog, HDC in next 2 stitches, HDC2tog, ch2, turn (4HDC)

8.      SC around entire hat (I like to 2sc in each joint between earflap and hat and also on the two corners of each earflap to give it a more rounded look. This step is completely optional though), join w/ first sc. Fasten off.

Cut 12 12” pieces of each colour of yarn

Slip 6 brown & 6 white into last space of each earflap. Knot. 
Braid each 12 piece section of yarn. Knot and trim.

Lastly, using your tapestry needle, find the closest stitch to the center of the hat and sew the laces on.

And there it is, a very simple and incredibly cute football hat for your little mascot! Some may think that this hat is just for boys, but I think it is great for girls too, as you can see from the model in my pictures. ;)

 This is one of my first patterns, so please feel free to ask questions or let me know if they are any kinks.

*** You may make and sell products from my patterns, but if you do, I ask that you link back to my post. Please do not copy and post this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not re-publish photos as your own.***

Linking up with these great parties:

Monday Funday,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Calling All Firemen...It's one hot party!

I absolutely love planning parties for my little ones. So when my little guy was going to be turning two, I was so excited to start planning his birthday celebration. He is such a boy’s boy. He loves trucks, cars, vehicles with loud siren noises, etc. I came up with the idea of a Fireman Birthday party for him and a group of our friends. He LOVED it! Here are a few highlights:

For all of you January birthdays, you know how tough it is to get things together for a party in the weeks after Christmas. To get a head start, I ordered all of the supplies right after Thanksgiving. My husband thought I was crazy when that Amazon box arrived ;) I usually make invitations, but I was so busy with the holidays that I bought these
I had everyone meet at the fire department that happens to be right around the corner from our house. I called ahead and scheduled a tour complete with a little educational session from the firemen.

This turned out to be so much fun! Bonus: It is completely free. This is actually the 2nd time I’ve scheduled a tour for our mom’s group. The kids love it, they learn about fire safety, and also to not be afraid of a fireman when he’s dressed up to save them in an emergency.

The firemen were so good with the kids and let them kind of explore the station and the trucks. I made sure to send some cupcakes their way! Thanks guys!

After the station, everyone headed over to our house for a birthday bash.  I decorated our house with red and black balloons, streamers, all of our fire truck toys, and a special birthday banner.

Of course no fireman party is complete without fireman hats. The kids looked super cute in these and my little guy actually wore his for more than 5 minutes! They also doubled as treat bags for the piñata. 

We had a build your own fire truck craft that I made with my silhouette,

 pin the badge on the fire dog,

and a pull string piñata. Check out my simple tutorial on how to make your own!

For his cake, I used a wilton cake pan and Emily scored a super cute Merri Merri cupcake kit for me at a great price.

They came out so cute!

The party turned out so well! I am so happy that all of the kids enjoyed the fire station visit and had so much fun at my little guy’s party. If you’re thinking about having a fireman themed party, go for it! We had a blast!

A special thanks to all of those hard working firemen out there. We really appreciate all that you do!

Linking up with:
Live Laugh Rowe
Somewhat Simple
Tidy Mom

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crochet Fire Truck {Tutorial}

One of our little's  just turned two and his mommy, Jill, threw him a fantastic Fireman themed party. You can read all about the festivities and how she brought it all together tomorrow! In keeping with the theme, I decided I would put my crochet skills to use and make him a stuffed Fire Truck. After a lot of searching for a good pattern, I found one by Melissa Harsh on Ravelry. I followed the pattern fairly closely, but definitely deviated a bit when it came to the size and embellishments added. I love how it turned out, one of my favorite crochet projects to date!

 'Need To Knows' Before Beginning
~single crochet (sc)
~chain (ch)
~slip stitch (sl st)
~stitch increase (sc2tog)

Can't Get Started Without
~ 4.25mm (G) and 3.75 (F) crochet hooks
~Worsted weight yarn in Red, Black, White & Grey (I used Red Heart Super Saver)
~Tapestry Needle
~Red and White Felt
~15mm Safety Eyes
~Glue Gun

Each piece of this pattern is made individually, which is great because it helps keep everything simple. The first pieces I started with were the two truck sides. When making your sides, take the time to constantly be checking them together to make sure they are staying the same size. If you're anything like me, your gauge will change from time to time or your counts will be a bit off and there is nothing more frustrating then making two identical pieces only to find out they are not so identical...

The next piece I made was the front/middle/back/bottom or 'connecting' piece of the truck. This is the biggest continuous piece that you will make. There are some colour changes in this piece, so make sure you keep your counts consistent so the piece stays straight and the same width all the way along.

The tires were the next pieces that I tackled. These were quick and simple to make, but by the eighth tire I was ready to be finished making them. You will be making four all black tires and 4 black tires with grey centers. To give the tires some stability and strength, you sew each black tire to a grey and black tire so in the end your truck will have four double wide tires. (I didn't do this, but in hindsight it might be a neat idea to add a tiny bit of fiberfill between each tire to give it even more girth). You can do this step now, or wait until all of your pieces are made.

Making the little embellishments was the next step and was a lot of fun.

I decided that as well as the axe, ladder and siren, I would add a hose, and a bumper for the back of the truck.

 Using black yarn and an F hook, chain 50.
1. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in every ch across to end (49 sc).
2. Switch to Grey yarn, ch 3.
3. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next stitch, then ch 3 more/
4. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch. (this completes the end of your hose)
To make your hose nozzle, in grey, ch 5.
1. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across; ch 1 & turn. (4 sc).
2. Sc, Sc2tog, sc; ch 1 & turn (3 sc).
3. Sc2tog
Fasten off, leaving a tail to attach nozzle to hose.

Using grey yarn and an F hook, ch as many as you need to cover across back of truck plus a little bit. (My truck was a little fat because I used fiberfill instead of foam so I chained 35).
1. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in every ch across to end.
Fasten off.
 Now that you have all of your pieces made, it is time to start sewing them all together. I started by sewing the tires together and then sewing them onto each side piece. It is a good idea to reference your other side while sewing the tires on to make sure they are placed evenly.
Next, instead of stitching the middle connector together first and then attaching the sides, I decided to sew one of the side to the middle connector first. This allowed me to stretch my middle connector a bit to help fit my sides better. (Like I said before, your pieces are not always going to be perfect. That is what I love about yarn, it stretches!)
If you are using safety eyes, now is the time to place them in the windshield part of your truck.
Once this is done, sew your next side piece on. Before you finish fully sewing it on, stuff your truck with fiberfill. (In the original pattern, the truck is stuffed with foam to help retain shape, but I like the fiberfill because it gives the truck a fat, and in my opinion much cuter shape. :)) After you have stuffed your truck with fiberfill or foam, finish sewing the side piece on.

Next, you can add your embellishments onto your truck. Using your tapestry needle, sew the ladder to the top side of your truck, the siren to the top middle of your truck and the axe to one of the truck sides. If you made the extra embellishments, sew the bumper to the back of your truck and the hose onto the side opposite of the axe. 

The very last thing to be done is to make your light bar and glue your felt headlights on. To make your headlights, cut two small rectangular pieces of felt and hot glue them to the front of your truck. To make the light bar, instead of using foam, like called for in the pattern, I used a little bit of cardboard folded into a rectangular shape. I then cut out pieces of red and white felt to fit the cardboard and hot glued it on. I then glued it to the top of the truck. To give my little truck a little bit of personality, I added a little crochet smile to the front. This is completely optional but I think it adds a cute little touch. :)
You are done!! It is now time to give your little fireman his brand new stuffed truck. I guarantee he will love it.

Linking up with:
 My Merry Messy Life