Chocolates by Kerry Can

7 Nov

These delicious, small-batch, handmade chocolates that I won from Kerry at Love Those “Hands At Home” came in the mail today. Two of my favorite things mail and chocolate! What a good day.Chocolates by Kerry CanThey are from her Etsy shop, Kerry Can, where she shares her passion for candy making and some of her vintage finds. In addition to these 3 yummy candy bars, she included an assortment of chocolate covered caramels that were amazing! I’ve tried my hand at caramel making before and have never been able to produce something so perfect. Kerry has clearly mastered the process. The caramel was buttery-sweet and gooey but didn’t stick to my teeth too much like some caramels.Chocolates by Kerry Can

Turtles have always been my favorite candy and these did not disappoint. But the ginger caramels may be my new favorite! Wow! I have no idea why I’ve never had a ginger caramel before, these should be in every heart-shaped candy box. You will not regret ordering a batch of these, but you may regret how quickly they disappear. They will definitely test your self-control.

Thank so much Kerry! Keep up the delicious work!

Cooking with Pinterest: Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

4 Nov

I’m so glad I found this recipe from the No. 2 Pencil. These cookies were absolutely perfect. I’ve used this recipe twice now and I know I will be using it again and again.

Pumpkin-Spice-Sugar-Cookies from No. 2 Pencil

First, I made them as directed minus the icing. They were perfectly sweet and spiced. They cooked great; soft in the middle and crisp around the edge. I didn’t have any pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice, so I used this recipe from My Baking Addiction to make some. It did the job perfectly.

The cookies were so good that I used the recipe again without the pumpkin spice for simple sugar cookies. Oh and they were perfect! This is absolutely the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever used. The texture is perfect and they are not overly sweet. They made great drop cookies, I’m not sure how they would do as roll-outs though.

I recommend this recipe with or without the pumpkin spice. Although pumpkin spice is great this time of year.

Foodie Pen Pals #2

31 Oct

FoodiePenPals

For this month’s Foodie Pen Pal swap, I was paired with Meg a sweet girl from Kansas who is a self-described lover of the outdoors, bikes, and her husband of course. Meg sent me a great box and did a great job of introducing me to some things I had never tried before, which is what it’s all about. I can’t thank her enough!

Here are the goodies she sent me:

Foodie Pen Pals

Sweet Chili and Red Pepper potato chips
Bison Jerky
Rawxies Lemon Poppy Seed cookies
Cajan Sesame sticks
Equal Exchange Spicy Cocoa
Dark Chocolate Dreams blended peanut butter

Here’s what I thought:

The Sweet Chili chips were amazing, I think I found a new favorite I hope I can find them around here.

I tried Bison for the first time when I was at Yellowstone a few years ago and it was great. So I was really excited to see the Bison jerky, and it did not disappoint.

Rawxies Lemon Poppy Seed cookies were delicious! They are made by a company based in Kansas (local to Meg), but according to their website they do sell them at a few places here in LA so I may have to track some more down.

The Equal Exchange Spicy Cocoa was a little too bitter for me but my boyfriend loved it.

Thanks again Meg! And thanks to the Lean Green Bean for setting up the swap every month! If you want to join in, just jump over to her page and sign up!

DIY postcard coasters

21 Oct

DIY postcard coasters by MakingMondays.wordpress.com

I picked up these beautiful vintage botanical chart postcards a couple weeks ago. And I’m feeling kinda selfish, they are just too beautiful to share. After a long internal debate over whether or not I should simply frame them, I decided to turn them into coasters! I’m so glad I did because they turned out amazing with a really thick, high-gloss finish. Looking around the internet there are a lot of different tutorials for making coasters, this is the way I did it.

Supplies

tiles

postcards

scissors

white glue

cheap brush or foam brush

pour-on epoxy resin (I used Envirotex)

plastic cups

drop cloth/cardboard/paper

felt pads

#DIY postcard coasters by makingmondays.wordpress.com

Cut postcards to size. I cut mine into 3 ½ inch squares.

#DIY postcard coasters by makingmondays.wordpress.com

Coat the back of the postcard with glue and place it onto the clean tile. Make sure you get the postcard positioned correctly and press it down to remove any trapped air. Coat the top with a layer of glue. Don’t worry about brush strokes, they will disappear when you apply the resin. Allow to dry completely.

#DIY postcard coasters by makingmondays.wordpress.com

Use a disposable cup to elevate your tile, so the resin runoff will not pool under the tile. Put down a piece of cardboard to catch the runoff.

Pour on the epoxy as directed on the package. For more thorough instructions on using Envirotex, check out this incredible step-by-step from Homemade Gifts Made Easy.

#DIY postcard coasters by MakingMondaysAllow to dry completely, which took 3 days in my case. The resin was easier to use and less messy than I expected. I highly recommend it if you want a professional finish. Mine turned out smooth, even, and really glossy.

#DIY postcard costers by MakingMondays.wordpress.com

Attach felt pads to the bottoms and you’re done.

The total cost of this project was around $10 (but there was enough resin left to do a lot more than 4). The postcards were 25¢ each, the tiles were 16¢ each, I already owned the glue, disposable cups were a $1, and the pour-on resin was $7 from Michaels with a 50% off coupon (it can be found in the glue section). They took less than an hour of active time to make, but took several days if you include drying time.

If you aren’t feeling selfish like me, these would make a great gift.

Cooking with Pinterest: Roasted Garlic Olive Oil

16 Oct

I am a garlic fanatic, so naturally this is something I keep on hand all the time.

Roasted Garlic Olive Oil by Pixelated Crumb

This oil is amazing drizzled over hummus or on a salad with a little salt and pepper or in mashed potatoes or over veggies, so many possibilities. The flavor is full and rich. It’s a great way to upgrade your cheap olive oil.

Plus you end up with a whole bunch of roasted garlic! Delicious. Roasted garlic should be can be added to almost anything. It’s great on chicken, fish, or veggies. It mixes well into dips. It can be smeared on bread and toasted for absolutely perfect garlic bread. Trust me, you will find a use for all that lovely roasted garlic.

If you’ve never made this, head over to the Pixelated Crumb for the recipe and get started immediately. You will not regret it. Plus with all the holiday parties and dinners coming up this makes a great hostess gift.

Liebster Award

14 Oct

LiebsterAward

Thank you to Quinn from Lay Bare With A Little Flair for reading my blog and enjoying it enough to nominate me for a Liebster award. She has a lovely blog focused on fashion and devoloping a positive body image.

Basically the Liebster Award is given to favorite new blogs by other bloggers, it’s meant to help spread smaller blogs and introduce up-and-coming bloggers to each other. In practice it’s reminiscent of a chain-letter with no threat for not participating. I decided to play along because I love the idea of introducing myself to other bloggers and introducing my readers to some of the blogs I like.

In order to accept this award, the nominee must:
• Link back and recognize the blogger who nominated them
• Answer ten questions given to you by the nominator
• Nominate ten other bloggers (with less than 200-ish followers) for the award
• Create ten questions for nominees to answer
• Notify your nominees
• Get an award button or use mine from above with the view from my kitchen

Here are my answers to Quinn’s questions:
Are you a breakfast, lunch, or dinner person? I eat all three everyday. I’m an equal opportunity eater What’s your favorite song? Current and All-time? The Pine Hill Haints “If you don’t keep score, you never lose” • What/who inspires you? My boyfriend and my brother. They are both artists pursuing their dreams in their own way. It’s amazing to see them move forward in their careers, develop their skills, and succeed At what time in your life have you been the most proud of yourself? This is a hard question, I’m pretty proud of myself most of the time. Maybe when I graduated college What do you use as a conversation icebreaker when you meet someone new? Beers Do you have a favorite book? What is it? Why or why not? Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Read it, you’ll understand Would you rather receive snail mail or get an email/text? Why? Real mail. It shows more thought and it usually includes doodles What is the most sentimental item you own? My grandma’s apron Do you think you have a good handle on who you are or are you still “discovering yourself”? I know myself What comes to mind when you think of the word “imagination”? Doodles

Here are the blogs I’m lovin’ right now:

Here are my questions:
Why did you start blogging? • Any advice for someone just starting? • Tips on blog photography? • Best post you’ve written so far? • What keeps you motivated? • How do you relax when you feel overwhelmed? • Something new you want to learn? • A goal? •  Something that has inspired you today? • Best thing you’ve actually made your self?

Pumpkin Spice Chai Rice Krispie Treats

7 Oct

Since my foodie pen pal sent me a canister of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte mix, I thought I would share this amazing recipe that uses it. Pumpkin spice is one of my favorite things about fall and I am fine with it making it’s way into practically everything! It’s so delicious and seems to make me feel like putting on a sweater even if it is still 85º outside here.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats from MakingMondays.wordpress.com

Basically you just add the Latte Mix to standard Rice Krispie treats, but here’s the recipe for good measure.

Ingredients:
3 TBS butter or margarine
4 cups mini marshmallows
6 TBS Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte Mix
6 cups rice cereal

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and marshmallows for about 3 minutes. Stir after 2 minutes and continue to heat.
  2.  Stir in drink mix.
  3. Add rice cereal. Stir until well coated.
  4. Spread mixture into a buttered pan or onto a piece of parchment paper (use wet hands to keep it from sticking). Cool and serve.

I imagine this recipe would work with a lot of other drink mixes, but I’ve really only tried it with this. I’m thinking of trying Salted Caramel next time!

Foodie Pen Pals #1

30 Sep

FoodiePenPals

This month for the first time I participated in the Foodie Pen Pals swap through The Lean Green Bean! It pairs you with another eater for a one-time swap of favorite foods, local foods, and specialty foods. It’s a great way to try some new foods and make new connections!

My partner was Colleen from Secrets from the Cookie Princess jump over to her blog to see what I sent her and check out some of her recipes. She’s an avid baker who’s been blogging for 3 years. I feel so lucky to have found her blog; it’s an absolute treasure trove of recipes with over 150 different cookies and bars! She has really put me in a baking mood, just in time for cool weather!

Here’s what she sent me:

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Popped potato chips
Homemade caramel pretzel chocolate chip cookies! YUM
Raspberry  yogurt pretzels
Peanut butter cups
Penzey’s Spices BBQ 3001
Apple Strawberry fruit leather
Trappist cranberry pepper jelly
Pumpkin spice chai latte mix
And two bonuses a raspberry ice cube tray and a mini recipe book!

Everything was great but I’m just going to highlight my favorites:

I tried the Penzey’s Spices BBQ 3001 on some chicken and it was great! It has a nice smoky flavor.

The Trappist Cranberry Pepper Jelly was good on a bagel with a smear of cream cheese, but I feel like it has more potential than that. I’m thinking of trying to make a glaze with it for a pork loin. Any other ideas?

The Pumpkin Chai Latte Mix from Trader Joe’s has been a long time favorite of mine! This stuff is so good, I always feel the need to stock up when it’s in season. It makes a yummy drink, but I’ve tried it in a couple recipes too. It adds such a great fall flavor to things.

I saved the best part for last, the cookies, they were unbelievable! Just the right combo of sweet and salty, my favorite! Caramel, pretzel, AND chocolate chip what could be better! She has clearly earned her title as the Cookie Princess, at least in my eyes. If you don’t believe me go try them for yourself, here’s the recipe.

Caramel, Pretzel, Chocolate Chip Cookies from SecretsFromTheCookiePrincess

I loved everything and I can’t thank Colleen enough. She really put together some yummy treats for my first swap, I know I’ll be looking forward to this every month from now on.

Making an Impression by Geninne D. Zlatkis

25 Sep

Making an Impression by Geninne D. Zlatkis

I won this copy of Making an Impression from Factom of Arts earlier this month and I couldn’t be more excited. This book is absolutely beautiful! It has some amazing stamp designs with templates. It shows you how to stamp on a lot of different surfaces and has some cute ideas that I hadn’t thought of before.

I haven’t made stamps since my high school crafts class.  We made simple rubber stamps, linoleum cuts, and wood blocks. I remember it being fun and really easy, unfortunately my designs as a 15 year old were less than impressive. I will definitely be trying my hand at it again this year, perhaps I’ll start with some hand stamped gift tags for Christmas.

Making an Impression by Geninne D. Zlatkis

For a more from the author, Geninne Zlatkis, head over to Geninne’s Art Blog. She shares a lot of tips and the basics of stamping. Plus you can check out some of her incredible pieces to get inspired!

P.S. I really want this print from her Etsy shop!

Making an Impression by Geninne D. Zlatkis

DIY postcard photobook

16 Sep

This is a simple book binding technique I found on PhotoJoJo. I used it to put together a quick photo book. This is perfect for photos from a weekend trip or a party. I used photos from a hike I took with my dad during my last visit to New Mexico.

#DIY postcard photo book by Making Mondays

Supplies:

2 postcards

photos

scissors

2 binder clips

glue (acid-free, PVA glue works best)

strip of paper (4inches by 1inch)

#DIY postcard photobook by makingmondays.wordpress.com

Cut postcards to match the size of the photos. Get photos in the order you want and sandwich them between the postcards. Make sure your stack is flush and use the binder clips to secure the stack together.

#DIY postcard photobook by makingmondays

Glue the top evenly.

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Prop it upright and allow to dry. Then repeat. Once dry, apply glue to the strip of paper and use it to cover the top.

_MG_9757

There you have it, a simple flip book of photos for about $5 ; 25 prints for 10¢ each (from Walmart), 2 postcards 50¢ each, glue $2 (but regular Elmer’s works too). It took about 30 minutes total to put together including drying times.

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