Friday, March 30, 2012

String Easter Eggs

The idea behind these fun and festive decorations belongs to Crafty Endeavor, a fun and adorable blog.  Here's what I did to make my own:

I used:
  • Water balloons
  • Fabric stiffener
  • Embroidery floss

Simply blow up your balloons, drape the string in a bowl of the fabric stiffener, squeeze out the excess, and wrap your balloon!

Allow your string to dry completely before popping and removing the balloon, and voila!
I did a group of pastel eggs for myself, and I made a set of neutral eggs and a set of jewel tone eggs for gifts.

A few useful tips:
  • Blow up all of your balloons ahead of time
  • Drape your string carefully- I found that spiraling the embroidery floss worked well- it will help prevent knots
  • If you DO get a knot that you can't undo, simply snip the knot out and continue wrapping the string around the balloon
 Big thanks to Alissa at Crafty Endeavor for the inspiration!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pasta with Kale and Onions

If you are new to kale and want to give it a try, I highly recommend this recipe.  It's very tasty and very easy to do.  And on top of that, it uses white wine so you have an excuse to pour yourself a glass in the kitchen :)

To serve two, you will need:
  • One bunch of kale, ripped with stems removed (more if you'd like)
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Half of a yellow onion, chopped
  • A splash of white wine (around 1/3 of a cup)
  • Pasta (your choice, but I like angel hair)
  • Parmesan cheese to top it off

Pour a small amount of olive oil (enough to lightly coat your pan) into a frying pan over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions.  Allow the onions to brown in the pan.  Once they do, pour the white wine into the pan. 

The kale when you first add it
Bright green kale
Begin to add the kale in small batches.  When you first add it, the kale will have a ashen color.  When the kale turns a bright green, add more kale and repeat the process, stirring gently.

You can add small amounts of water as the kale cooks to keep it from getting too dry

When you have added all of the kale, cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low and stir occassionally until the kale is tender (about 20 minutes).  Meanwhile, bring water to a boil and cook your pasta according to its directions.  I usually start my pasta about 10 minutes into cooking the kale.

Once the pasta is done, drain it and divide it.  Top the pasta with the kale and onion mix and grate fresh parmesan over it all.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Birthday Bliss

Photo courtesy of moonlightbulb on flickr

Yesterday I turned 28.  I spent the weekend with family and ate entirely too much :)  I wanted to share with you one of the fabulous gifts I got: a new jewelry box!

Over the years, my jewelry storage grew increasingly out of control.  I had dishes and trees, a box, and a drawer all full of baubles.  Now, all of my jewelry (with the exception of one necklace that was just a tiny bit too big) is in one place.

Jewelry boxes galore, a ring tree, a juicer turned jewelry holder, and a DIY jewelry dish.  It's a little much...
This was one heavily laden tree
It's a mirror
And a giant jewelry box!
Soooo much better!
It was a birthday gift for me, but my dresser is also saying thank you!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blackberry Dutch Baby

I'm not sure if this technically qualifies as a dutch baby (a German pancake), but that's what we'll go ahead and call it :)  This is a hodge-podge of a couple of different recipes.  It's a sweet treat that is chock full of berries and super delicious.

You will need:
  • A cast iron skillet or baking dish
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus extra for the top
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Blackberries (as many as you please!  I used a little under 2 cups)
Mine was a little lumpy, but that's fine
Preheat your oven to 425.  In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon juice, milk, and eggs until smooth.

In your baking dish, layer rinsed blackberries to cover the bottom.

Pour the batter over the blackberries.

Then, top the dish with blackberries and sprinkle the top with extra sugar (if you want to, I skipped the extra sugar).


Bake for 15 minutes at 425.  Turn down the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.  When your dish is ready, it will be golden brown on top and a knife will come out clean.  As usual, my oven took much longer (over double the time!) because it runs cool.  Let me know if the length of time works for you!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kale Chips

Yes, I know I'm a little late on getting on this trend.  I was honestly a little intimidated by kale chips.  But these chips are so easy to make and so delicious that I had to share it with you, late or not!

As I was checking out of Target the other day, the cashier asked me what I used my kale for.  I told him about a kale and onion pasta dish I make (I'll post on that, too, if you're interested!).  He told me how easy kale chips are to make, telling me to simply drizzle a little olive oil over them, add a dash of salt, and pop them in the oven.  The key, he said, is to give them enough space on the pan.

So, simply tear kale into larger pieces and toss in olive oil.  Top them with a sprinkling of salt and put them into the oven for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees.  The aim is to get them crispy, but still green.
Raw kale, tossed in olive oil
Post-baking.  Crisp and delicious!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Toast to French Toast

Earlier, I shared a healthy breakfast muffin from Life Plus Fitness.  Now, thanks to Life Plus Fitness, here's a healthy french toast!  This was one of those "why didn't I think of that?" moments.  It could not be easier to make, and it tastes SO good!

You will need:
  • 1 cup of almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices of bread (bonus points for using a healthy bread, too)

Simply beat the egg and milk together.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat.  Dip both sides of your bread in the milk and egg mix and place on the griddle until both sides are golden brown.

I like mine with some warmed frozen berries.  It's so tasty, and you don't have to feel guilty! :)  Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Smoothie

Here is a green drink you can feel good about drinking!  I found the original recipe on With Style and Grace, but I've adapted it a little to fit what I had in the house.

You will need:
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 pear, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of kale leaves without their stems (I packed my 1/2 cup until it was overflowing!)
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg

Once you've assembled your ingredients, it's as easy as tossing them in the blender and pressing "liquify."  It's packed with nutrients and has just a bit of kick to it.  So refreshing!  Sláinte!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Floral Prints

This is a project inspired by Better Homes and Garden.  I saw their cover and new instantly that I would have to make this project for our dining room!

What you'll need:
  • Cold press paper
  • Spray paint in 6 colors
  • 6 different kinds of silk flowers (or the same could be cool!)
  • Frisket (it's like rubber cement; ours was called "Misket")
  • and frames

This is such a simple project with such great results!  First, brush on the frisket around the edges of your cold press paper.  You'll want to be sure to use a think coating to ensure the edges are covered and to also allow you to peel it off easier once  you're done painting.

Once the frisket is dry, put your paper in a well ventilated area and place one of the silk flowers on top.

Then, spray the paper with the color of your choice.  I found that the best method was to hold the can 10-16 inches above the paper and spray directly down in short bursts.  Once you're satisfied with the coverage of your paint, carefully remove the flowers to reveal your print!

When the spray paint dries, you can peel or smudge off the frisket.  An eraser works really well to get the extra little bits.

Frame your prints, hang them up, and admire your work!  (Honestly, hanging these was the hardest part of the project!  I still have one left to hang... but here's a preview)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Indoor Gardening

I love plants.  I have several... so many in fact that we're running out of places to put them!  It's so hard not to buy a new orchid or shamrock when I see them at stores! 

I recently got a bunch of seed packets from my mom (thank you!), and decided to see if I could grow them indoors.  After a trip to Home Depot for supplies for this and another project, John suggested a brilliant idea: Why not paint the pots with the spray paint I bought for an art project (more on that later this week)?

So.. I did!

All you need is spray paint and terra cotta pots!
 Ours will grow marjoram, forget-me-nots, chamomile, anise, and pennyroyal.  I hope they all sprout!
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