Friday, November 22, 2013

Recipe: Salted Caramel Cappuccino

 
This was my first attempt at making a cappuccino, ever! I don't have a maker but I do have a coffee pot... And I had a hankering. I was not entirely sure if calling this a cappuccino was accurate, so I looked up the definition:
 
cap·puc·ci·no
[kap-oo-chee-noh, kah-poo-; Italian kahp-poot-chee-naw]
noun
a hot beverage consisting of espresso coffee and steamed milk, often served with powdered cinnamon and topped with whipped cream.

Yep, that works~
 
Enjoy!
 
 
Ingredients:
(Makes 1 cup)
 
4-5 soft caramel candies, such as Kraft Caramels
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp heavy cream
1/8 tsp vanilla
Approx. 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
A pinch of coarse sea salt
 
 
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup of the milk. Place caramels in the warm milk and stir until completely melted. Reduce heat to low.
Stir in the rest of the milk, vanilla, and heavy cream. Add a pinch of salt (2-3 turns of a salt grinder).
Whisk milk mixture until frothy on top.
Pour coffee into a mug then pour the milk mixture right on top. Do not stir!
Top with whipped cream, cinnamon sprinkles, an extra caramel drizzle, or anything your heart desires! I added an extra bit of salt on top cause I just love the mixture of salt and sweets!
 



 
 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recipe: (mostly) Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

 

I just LOVE a good chicken pot pie, don’t you? It’s really a perfect meal for a cold fall evening. Working full time means I don’t always have the time needed to make a completely-homemade meal for my hubby and myself, but I like it to taste that way! Last night on a whim, I decided this is what I wanted to have for dinner. I had only about 30-40 min to prepare it, so I had to cut some corners…. Instead of homemade pie crust I opted for Pillsbury crescent rolls. It wasn't the same flaky goodness of the usual crust but it was delightful all the same.


Ingredients:
Makes 2 pot pies.

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or cut into cubes
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup heavy cream
1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 tsp bouillon granules
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
1 potato, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 carrot, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup of sweet corn kernels
1/2 cup of sweet peas
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
Pinch or two of celery salt
Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Fill a small pot with water and set to medium on the stovetop. Place potatoes and carrots in the water and allow to come to a boil.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft.
Add the flour to the onions and butter; mix until thick and pasty.
Pour in the heavy cream. Stir until thickened and beginning to bubble, reduce heat to low. Add bouillon and stir until dissolved.
Add all veggies, chicken, celery salt, and pepper to the saucepan and stir together.
Set two oven-safe bowls on a cookie sheet.
Unroll and separate crescent rolls along perforated lines. Place the large end of four of the crescent roll triangles in one bowl and press them in to cover the bottom. Keep the smaller ends draped over the outside edges of the bowl.
Scoop a big spoonful (I used a large ladle) of the filling mixture into the bowl. Now take the small edges of the crescent rolls and fold inward on top of each other to cover the mixture. Repeat with the second bowl.
Bake in the preheated oven for approx. 25 minutes or until the top is golden.
 

 
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

An unabashed teeny bopper post

I had been counting down to this past weekend for quite some time now. I am not the least bit ashamed to admit that my 15-year adoration (read: obsession) of Justin Timberlake is still going strong. It all started one summer day when I saw that curly blonde cutie pie pelvic thrusting the air in his baby blue basketball shorts on the Disney channel, and immediately I fell in love. (I probably SHOULD be ashamed to admit that!) My music tastes have changed greatly since then but I will forever hold a special place in my heart for JT and all things NSYNC. In fact, I might just dig out some old photos and put them up for a good laugh! I'll save that for another time, though.
Anywho, I took a small road trip up to Columbus, OH on Saturday with some girl friends for Justin's show. It's been 6 years since his last tour and man was I excited! JT was spectacular, but our seats were a-w-f-u-l. Thankfully I have a pretty decent zoom on my camera and captured a few good shots. Here's two of my favorites:

 
Now all I can think of is how badly I want to see him again, and actually be able to see him with my own eyes and not through the 20x zoomed lens of my camera! The tour is ironically called the 20/20 Experience.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DIY: Easiest Burlap Wreath Tutorial

 

 
(Please don't judge my frondoor. I have no idea how it came to be so badly dented. It is on the list of items to update!)
 
Yep, I finally jumped on the burlap bandwagon. I just couldn't help myself! I think burlap looks nice for any season, but especially works during fall. Something about the rustic feel of burlap really goes well with the browns, oranges, yellows and deep reds of autumn but can easily transition into winter/holidays with a big red bow or some other trinkets.

This is a really basic tutorial to make that pillowy burlap wreath I'm sure you've seen all over pinterest. Customizing it with accessories is entirely up to you!
 
 
What you need:
  • Wire wreath frame, 18in.
  • Burlap garland, 10 yds
  • 2 twist ties (not pictured)


 
Intructions:

Step 1- Fold the end of the burlap garland in half and poke one of your twist ties through both sides of the garland. Coming up under the bottom two wires and over the top wire, secure it to the frame with the twist tie. It should be fastened to the innermost wire of the frame. Position the strand of garland downward toward you.
Step 2 - Think of the gaps in the wreath frame as 1, 2, and 3. With the garland still folded in half, pull a bit up through gap 1. Pull another bit of about the same size up through 2, and the same again through 3. You should have three loops of burlap now of about the same size.
Step 3- Fluff the pieces out by separating the edges where you folded it in half. Repeat this process around the entire frame. You don't have to keep the garland perfectly folded after you start, just push it through the gaps and fluff as you go.


Step 4- Continue steps 2 and 3 until you reach all the way around the frame and end up where you began. Use another twist tie to secure the end of the garland to the backside of the frame, and to the innermost wire.


Step 5- Flip the wreath back to the front and tug and pull at different sections of the burlap to get it to hide as much of the wiring as you can. Ta-da! You now have the easiest ever burlap wreath base.

 
Step 6- Now you need to add a string to hang it. I like to use this rope that I got at the craft store. It's lasted me a long long time and has so many uses! Cut a few pieces of about 6 inches long. Wrap them around one of the wires and tie into a knot.
 

 

Step 7- To make your wreath snazzy you can add some bows, flowers, or whatever your little heart desires. I added some of this:
 
 
I'm not sure what this is called but it comes rolled up just like this and is located around the floral section of the craft store. Unrolled, it was exactly the length of my wreath. I tucked it into the wires here and there all the way around until I reached where I began, then pushed the ends to the backside of the wreath and twisted them together to secure.
 
Here is what it looks like on my badly beaten front door:
 
 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Recipe: Hot Buttered Rum w/ Ice Cream


Oh. my. word. This is yummy! I've never actually had Hot Buttered Rum, although it looks divine. What happened here is that I bought a small bottle of rum for a dessert that I tried to make this week, which was a total and utter flop, and it only called for a tiny little bit of rum. So here I was, left with this remaining half-pint of rum and an itching for something warm and delicious. So yeah, it's the middle of the day... And yeah, I'm about to show you how to make a rum drink... So what? The addition of ice cream makes me feel less guilty for some reason, and I know that makes no sense at all, but it makes it less of an alcoholic beverage and more of a scrumptious afternoon delight.

Ingredients:

(this Bacardi select was the closest to "dark rum" that I could find at my local liquor store that came in a size smaller than a pint.)

1 oz of dark rum, or 2 tbsp.
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. white sugar
1 tbsp. butter, softened
1 large scoop vanilla ice cream
cinnamon, to taste


1. Scoop a large scoop of ice cream into a bowl.
2. Add about 1 tbsp. each of butter, brown sugar, and white sugar to the ice cream and stir until ice cream is soft and mixture is mostly smooth.
3. Stir in about 2 tbsps. of rum.
4. Pour mixture into a mug and top off with HOT water. Stir until frothy.
5. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Feel free to mix a little into the drink as well if you like!

Serve with cookies, cake, donuts, or drink all by itself... Enjoy!



Friday, November 8, 2013

DIY: Handmade Postcards

Isn't it so great to receive mail that isn't junk? Or bills? I love opening the mailbox and finding a handwritten envelope inside, because I know that means something special has come. I can't even remember the last time I received a postcard! It was probably in high school when my bff4l went on vacation with her family, and I'm pretty sure she didn't actually send it out until she got home, but I hung it up on a bulletin board in my room and kept it for YEARS. That's how good it felt to know she had thought of me!
I'm going to start sending out hand written notes to friends & family more often. I thought it would be even more fun if I made them completely on my own! Here are a few that I did today. I hope you like them and enjoy making some of your own.


Materials:
  •  4 x 6 cardstock
  • black fine tip marker
  • paint, ribbon, stamps, brushes, etc. for decorating

Postcard #1-- "HELLO" Flowers:

 
Step 1- Using a large round sponge brush, dipped in a paint color of your choice, place one dot for each letter of the word "HELLO" across the front of the 4x6 card.
Step 2- Using a thin paint brush, draw a line from the bottom of each dot to the bottom of the card to make a stem.
Step 3- Using the same thin paint brush, free hand little criss-crossed hash marks across the bottom edge of the card for grass and add leaves to the stems. Don't worry about making them perfect, these are handmade and should look it!
Step 4- Using a dowel rod (or the opposite end of your sponge brush, like I did), dipped in another paint color of choice, paint dots all the way around the larger circles.
Step 5- With a black permanent marker, or black paint and fine paint brush, write your letters in the center of the flowers.
 
Postcard #2-- Ribbon and Stamp:
 
 
Step 1- Use a border stamp and ink pad to place a design in the center of your card. I happened to have this one left over from invitations I made to my friend's bridal shower this summer! You could also free hand a design if you are comfortable with that.
Step 2- Use a hole punch to evenly punch holes all the way around the edge of the card.
Step 3- Starting in one corner, weave a thin ribbon in and out of the holes. Go all the way around the card until you end up where you began.
Step 4- Snip the end of the ribbon, leaving a few inches, and tie the two ends into a bow.
Step 5- Using another fine tip marker (I happened to have stamp pad, ribbon, and marker all in the same pretty aqua blue, but you could use any colors!) write "hello" in the center of your stamped border. Or heck, you could write anything you want here really!
 
Postcard #3-- Home state outline:
 
 
Step 1- If you have a printer available, I recommend going online and finding an outline of your home state and printing it out directly onto your 4x6 card. If not, you can pull up the photo on your computer or tablet, ipad, etc. and hold the card up to it and trace. Or, if you're really great at free hand and know your state shape well, you can just draw it right on there all by yourself.
Step 2- Draw a cute little heart in the approximate place that you live in that state. I used nail polish to paint the heart, but you can use a marker, crayon, colored pencil etc. if you have them!
Step 3- Write your state name inside the state in as fancy letters as you can muster. Again, if you have a printer available, you could definitely print out the words directly onto the cardstock if you choose.
Step 4- Write "Greetings from..." or whatever special way you want to say hello (maybe "howdy!" if you're from Texas??) onto the top of the card.
 
Finishing up the postcards...
 
To make these really look like postcards, you'll need to flip the cards over and draw a line down the middle dividing the card in half. The left side is where you write your message, the right side is for the address and stamp. Outline where these go by drawing a square in the top right corner for the stamp and three straight lines for the address, like so:
 
 
Now write some sweet little messages and send these off to your friends! They will be happy as a clam to open their mailbox, I promise.
 
xoxo,
 
Rachel 
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