Thursday, April 26, 2012

DIY: Felt Poppy Shoe Clips


Shoe clips are a quick and simple way to customize your shoes for any outfit. Making your own can save a few bucks and allow you to really personalize them!

What you need for these:


Old hair clips (2)
Circles of felt-- 2 each in small, med, and large
Needle & thread
Beads of your choice
Hot glue gun with glue stick

 

 
1. Sew your felt circles together, one on top of the other-- largest to smallest, using a loose stitch.
2. To create a slightly rippled petal look, tug on the thread from the back to tighten it. Then, knot the thread and snip off the extra.
3. Sew a few beads in the center to finish the flower.
4. Place a dot of hot glue on either end of your clip, and press felt poppy onto glue to secure.

You can clip your poppies in your hair, too!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recipe: Spring Salad w/ Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette.

 
Salad:

Baby spinach & spring mix, 50/50 blend
3 slices bacon
Feta cheese, crumbled
Pine nuts
Cracked black pepper

I prefer my bacon cooked in the oven, but if you use a different method feel free to skip these first few steps on cooking the bacon :)

Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Lay bacon slices on top of cooling rack (this way, the baking sheet catches the grease drippings but the bacon doesn't sit in it while cooking). Place baking sheet in the oven and turn oven on to 400°F. Set timer for 18 minutes. Once bacon is finished cooking, remove from oven and place on paper towels to soak up excess grease. Break up bacon into small pieces and set aside.

While bacon is cooking, heat a small saucepan over medium heat on stovetop. Once hot, drop a handful of pine nuts into the pan to toast. Shake pan around almost constantly to prevent burning. When pine nuts have a light golden color to them they are finished.

Assemble salad: lettuce, bacon bits, feta cheese, and toasted pine nuts, top with cracked black pepper to taste. Drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette dressing (recipe follows). YUM!

Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing:

1 c oil
1 c white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c fresh raspberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/4 tsp parsley
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a medium bowl combine oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Whisk in mustard. Set aside.
In a food processor, puree raspberries and garlic. Slowly add oil and vinegar mixture and continue to blend. Add in sugar, parsley, salt, and pepper. Once fully mixed, strain through a strainer to remove raspberry seeds from dressing. Pour into desired air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.

Monday, April 23, 2012

DIY: Tie-dyeing with bleach.

 

I took a light blue cotton dress and gave it a fun and funky new look with a little bleach dying! I intend to wear this as a swimsuit cover up when it warms up this summer. I'm pretty pleased with the result, although it turned out different than I was expecting. Below are the steps to do your own at-home tie-dyeing with bleach!  

What you need to begin:



Clothing item of your choice (100% cotton works best)
A bucket or large bowl
Bleach
Vinegar (any kind will do)
Rubber bands
Rubber gloves

1. Roll up your piece of clothing and secure sections tightly with rubber bands. Do this in whatever design or pattern you prefer! (I did some research to figure out how to achieve the desired tie-dye pattern I wanted.)
2. Mix 1 part bleach to 4 parts water in your bucket or large bowl. Diluting the bleach helps reduce the likeliness of damaging your garment. Also, it is recommended that you wear gloves while handling bleach to protect your skin.
3. Submerge clothing in bleach solution and let soak for 5-8 minutes. I periodically stirred mine around with a spoon but this is not a requirement.



As you can see, after several minutes the dye in the clothing starts to saturate the bleach solution. This means it's working!

4. Remove garment from bleach solution and rinse thoroughly with water without removing rubber bands.
5. In another bowl, or the same bowl as before after being rinsed thoroughly, combine equal parts vinegar and water and submerge garment in this new solution. The vinegar will neutralize the bleach and stop the tie-dyeing process. Allow to soak for approx. 10 minutes.


6. Remove garment from the vinegar solution and rinse thoroughly with water. Remove rubber bands and continue to rinse to get any remaining bleach or vinegar out of the garment. Let your clothing dry completely and it is ready to be washed and worn!

 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Recipe: Easy Orange Berry Sangria

I love wine, I love fruit, I love warm summer days on the back patio. I love sangria.

I had some left-over red wine last Sunday and some fresh fruit, and it was nice and warm and beautiful outside. I have never made sangria although I've seen it made behind the bar a hundred times. Everyone makes it different and I don't think there is any right or wrong way. This is what I had to work with, so this is how I made mine.



Ingredients:
(Makes 2 glasses)

Half a bottle of your favorite red wine
1 c orange juice
1 c ginger ale or clear soda
2 tbsp white sugar
1 small orange, sliced
a handful of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries etc.
ice, cubed

In a small pitcher, combine liquids. Add berries and ice and stir until liquid is cooled through.
Pour into a glass and drink up!

*The longer the drink sits the more the fruit flavors will come out. You can make a large pitcher ahead for a party and serve chilled. Experiment with different fruits for a different variety of flavor!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Recipe: Monte Cristo Sandwich

What is a Monte Cristo sandwich, you ask? Basically it is a ham, turkey and Swiss sandwich, battered and fried and served with powdered sugar and a sweet and fruity dipping sauce. I tried my very first Monte Cristo sandwich last summer at a local restaurant that has never disappointed me, and that still holds true! I was hesitant because, let's be honest, it sounds weird! Right? Weird for sure, but intriguing enough that I had to try it. My husband-the-picky-eater wouldn't taste a small bite even after I swore it was delicious. But since I'm the cook of the house, I decided to make them myself for dinner and force feed him until he liked it! Just kidding, sort of. I did make the sandwiches and told him to eat or go hungry. And guess what? He didn't like it, he loved it! Now you can try it and love it too :)

FYI: This is a somewhat heavy and very filling sandwich which is why this recipe only makes enough for 4 half sandwiches. If you have more people to serve or have a larger appetite, just double the recipe.



Ingredients:

4 slices white bread
2 slices deli ham
2 slices deli turkey
2 slices Swiss cheese
1 egg
2/3 c milk
2/3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tbsp mayo, optional
oil, for frying
powdered sugar, for dusting
raspberry jam, for dipping

In a frying pan or deep skillet, pour in about 2 inches of oil and turn on medium heat. While oil is heating up, assemble sandwiches as follows: bread + ham + cheese + turkey + bread. You may spread a little mayo onto one of the slices of bread if desired (my hubby boycotts the mayo but I like it). Slice sandwiches in half once, from corner to corner.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt & pepper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Stir dry ingredients into egg and milk mixture.
Dip each sandwich-half  into the batter and coat all over. Transfer to the oil and fry until all sides are golden, about 2 minutes on each side. You can stick toothpicks into the sandwich before dipping to help it hold together if you have some trouble.
Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with warm raspberry jam. Or, if you prefer, serve the jam on the side for dipping. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recipe: Devilish eggs.

Deviled eggs are one of my favorite summer side dishes. Those hard-boiled little eggs with a sweet and sour center-- I prefer mine a little more sour than sweet-- get me every time! My favorite kind of deviled egg is the very basic recipe that my mama always made growing up, but lately I've been wanting to try some new varieties. Last night I attended a get-together where a delicious deviled egg was served that was different than any I'd had before. My interest was peaked and I just knew I was going to boil some eggs today and start a little experiment. The following four recipes are what I came up with. I now have two favorite types of deviled eggs. The other two did not appeal to me quite as much, but maybe they will to you?




Garlic & Olive deviled eggs:
Makes 24.

12 hard-cooked eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp dijon-style mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste
black olives, sliced, for garnish

Peel your hard-cooked eggs and discard shells. Cut each egg in half, lengthwise, and remove the yellow centers into a bowl. Set aside the hard whites of the eggs. Mash up yellow centers using a whisk or fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Continue mixing and mashing until all ingredients are combined and are as smooth as you can get them. Aline the whites of the eggs onto a serving platter. Fill a plastic sandwich bag (like Zip-loc) with yellow mixture and seal. With scissors, snip off a small corner of the bag. Squeezing the bag, pipe filling into the center of each egg evenly. Top each egg with a black olive slice.


Traditional deviled eggs:
Makes 24.

12 hard-cooked eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp prepared mustard*
1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
paprika, for garnish

Peel your hard-cooked eggs and discard shells. Cut each egg in half, lengthwise, and remove the yellow centers into a bowl. Set aside the hard whites of the eggs. Mash up yellow centers using a whisk or fork. Add mayo, mustard, and relish. Continue mixing and mashing until all ingredients are combined and as smooth are as you can get them. Aline the whites of the eggs onto a serving platter. Fill a plastic sandwich bag (like Zip-loc) with yellow mixture and seal. With scissors, snip off a small corner of the bag. Squeezing the bag, pipe filling into the center of each egg evenly. Sprinkle with paprika for garnish.


*I like a little more mustard than most, but I scaled down for this recipe. You can taste-test your mixture before filling the eggs and add more mustard if desired.


Sweet "angel" eggs:
Makes 24.

12 hard-cooked eggs
1/3 cup miracle whip
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp cider vinegar
basil, fresh or dried, for garnish

Peel your hard-cooked eggs and discard shells. Cut each egg in half, lengthwise, and remove the yellow centers into a bowl. Set aside the hard whites of the eggs. Mash up yellow centers using a whisk or fork. Add miracle whip, sugar, and vinegar. Continue mixing and mashing until all ingredients are combined and are as smooth as you can get them. Aline the whites of the eggs onto a serving platter. Fill a plastic sandwich bag (like Zip-loc) with yellow mixture and seal. With scissors, snip off a small corner of the bag. Squeezing the bag, pipe filling into the center of each egg evenly. Sprinkle with dried basil or fresh snipped basil for garnish.


Buffalo deviled eggs:
Makes 24.

12 hard-cooked eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp ranch dressing
green onions, chopped, for garnish

Peel your hard-cooked eggs and discard shells. Cut each egg in half, lengthwise, and remove the yellow centers into a bowl. Set aside the hard whites of the eggs. Mash up yellow centers using a whisk or fork. Add mayo, hot sauce, and ranch dressing. Continue mixing and mashing until all ingredients are combined and are as smooth as you can get them. Aline the whites of the eggs onto a serving platter. Fill a plastic sandwich bag (like Zip-loc) with yellow mixture and seal. With scissors, snip off a small corner of the bag. Squeezing the bag, pipe filling into the center of each egg evenly. Top with chopped green onions.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Recipe: Beer bread with spicy cheese dip.

 

This is a recipe for a very basic beer bread that goes well with practically anything and everything. I made some to take to our family Easter at the park on Saturday and I whipped up a really quick cheese dip to go with it. It was completely devoured in less than 20 minutes!

Bread:

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 12oz can beer (or soda) of your choice, I used Miller Lite*

OR

3 cups self rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 12oz can beer (or soda) of your choice, I used Miller Lite*

*Keep in mind flavored beers/sodas will produce slightly different flavors of bread.

Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add beer to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Do not over mix. Batter will be sticky and may have small lumps, that's OK!
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake 50-55 minutes until top is golden and pulls away from sides.

Optional: Just a few minutes before bread is finished, pour 3 tbsp melted butter over top and replace in oven to finish baking.

Cheese Dip:

1 block cream cheese
1/2 cup nacho cheese sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
2 tbsp chopped green onions

Melt a block of cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl (heat 15 seconds, stir, repeat until completely melted). Mix in nacho cheese sauce until completely combined. Stir in cayenne pepper, garlic powder and green onions. Best served warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone is have a fabulous Easter Sunday! I wanted to share a few Easter-inspired goodies I came across this week. Enjoy!





















                 Clockwise from top left:
                 1. Marshmallow Nests
                 2. Eggshell Votives
                 3. Easter Candy Pretzels
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