This is the perfect weekend craft with a toddler. Fine motor skills not needed from your helper, and pretty much no matter what you get an adorable result.
For our display, I first cut the cups off an empty egg carton, cut and shaped in different flower styles, and then let the painting rumpus start. Once dry, a quick slit with an x-acto knife in the bottom of each cup made it easy to slide the flowers onto their popsicle stick stems. A quick rummage through the recycling bin turned up our vase- an empty Morton's salt container. We covered with scrapbook paper my son picked out (I am in love with this notion of having a huge pad of scrapbook paper on hand!), plopped in our flowers, and we were golden!
The beauty of this, though, is that you can really use any supplies you have on hand. The egg carton flowers are light enough that I think you could use pipe cleaners or even twisted and painted newspaper for your stems. Any empty container can be your vase. I liked ours because I could cut slits with the x-acto knife to position our popsicle stick stems, but you could do the same with an empty oatmeal container turned upside down, or even a plastic tub like a yogurt cup. To decorate the vase, you can use wrapping paper, construction paper, or just continue to break out the paints if you don't have scrapbook paper.
April 6, 2014
March 23, 2014
This awesome cookie comes courtesy of a new cookbook I got for Christmas- The Recipe Girl Cookbook. Lori also has the recipe on her website if you want to take a look. The flavors work so well, and the cinnamon is a nice mix in with the chocolate and coffee flavors. YUM.
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Kahlua or other coffee liqueur*
- 1/2 tablespoon espresso powder (found in the coffee aisle)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
- 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the Kahlua and espresso powder. Stir until the espresso powder is dissolved.
- Melt the 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips in a small bowl by microwaving at 50% power, stirring at 30-second intervals until just melted. My chips are usually melted after 1 1/2 minutes. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until creamy (~2 minutes). Add the Kahlua mixture, eggs, and vanilla, and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the melted chocolate and continue to beat until mixed in. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix until flour is just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Drop the the cookie dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown and no longer gooey in the middle. Let cool on cookie sheets for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
*Note: If you don't want to use the Kahlua, just increase the vanilla extract to 1 tablespoon and dissolve the espresso powder in the vanilla instead.
March 19, 2014
Every once in a while, the internet presents you with something so amazing, so perfect, that it MUST be a part of your life immediately. This week, the internet blessed me with Nutella rolls. A friend posted a pic on FB, I needed info STAT, her husband shared the very simple recipe, and I made them tonight. Heaven.
EXTRA LARGE PIC FOR EXTRA LARGE DELICIOSITY.
- Slice of bread, crusts cut off, rolled thin
- ~1 tablespoon Nutella per slice of bread
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Pat of butter
- Cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top
- Cut crusts from bread and roll out with a rolling pin. Spread Nutella down the center of each slice of bread. Roll up one nutella-free side to the other.
- Set a pan on medium heat and melt a pat of butter in the pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk with a fork. Dredge rolled bread in egg mixture and shake off excess.
- Lay rolled bread gently in heated pan and cook until golden on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar as soon as removed from pan. Serve warm.
What is so perfect about this recipe is that you can quickly whip up just a couple rolls as a snack like my pregnant self did, or churn out a dozen in short order for breakfast or dessert with the family.
It's a new world, people. A delicious new world.
March 16, 2014
Continuing the post catch up, here's something I did in September and wanted to share. My husband and I were going on a long vacation, but our son wasn't coming with us. While he stayed with my mom, I wanted to leave him some goody bags to make it easier to adjust with us gone, and also have a count down to know when we'd be back. It worked wonderfully! I just collected some small toys and books from a little toy store near my house (each item only a dollar or two) and put them in paper bags. Easy to do with a big payoff. Perfect!
- Paper bags
- Small toys, stickers, and books (1 for each day you are gone)
- On each paper bag, write a day of the week when you'll be gone, with a countdown saying how many days until you're back. (Tuesday, September 24. Mommy + Daddy will be back in 4 days!)
- Put a toy in the bag and tape closed.
- Repeat for each day you'll be gone. Try to vary up the toys to spread out similar items so they don't get all the stickers at once, then all the books, etc.
I've been having a lot of fun putting together different things for a woodland nursery for this baby to come in July. When we found out we were having a girl, it helped a lot to direct those little details, such as how to decorate this monogram I want to hang over her crib. A mossy letter with just a few ladybugs and a butterfly has that little girl touch without being crazy glitzy girly. I love it!
- Large monogram (I chose a painted one instead of plain)
- Green craft moss
- Brown craft moss (I think it was called reindeer moss)
- Paper mache ladybugs
- Fabric butterfly
- Glue, such as Tacky Glue
- Large frame proportional to letter (mine is 10x13)
- Scrapbook paper
- Hot glue
- Glue stick
- X-acto knife
- Spread glue evenly on letter surface, working in small sections at a time. Cover with green moss, pressing down firmly. Continue until entire surface is covered with moss. Press down firmly all over, and tap letter against table top to shake off excess and loose pieces.
- Glue portions of brown moss and place on monogram. Allow to dry (will dry clear).
- Glue lady bugs and butterfly in place. Allow everything to dry.
- Depending on the size of your scrapbook paper, you may need to trim and arrange it to fit so that it fills out the frame. Glue scrapbook paper to frame backing so it is secure and lays flat (I prefer a glue stick for this purpose).
- Lay monogram where you want it to be placed in the frame. Lightly mark edges with pencil. Set the letter aside, then use the x-acto knife to cut away a sliver of scrapbook paper under where the monogram will be. This way the monogram will be affixed directly to the frame backing, and not just to the scrapbook paper.
- Hot glue the back of the letter, then lay in place on scrapbook paper on top of cut away portions. Press firmly and allow to dry.
- Hang and admire every day. ;)
Alternative method: String a ribbon through eye hooks on the back of the letter, and glue the ribbon to the frame.
March 8, 2014
I've been using this sneaky trick for YEARS. Cooking for just two for such a long time, I often only needed half a bag of something for dinner. Ravioli, frozen veggies, baby spinach, etc. Instead of using bag clips (especially in the freezer), I just started cutting off the top of the bag and then using it to tie off the top and keep the remainder fresh.
I discovered this tasty way to make zucchini just before I got pregnant, and sadly haven't made it since. I had nausea the first four months and have only recently started cooking to this level again. I will say that my husband LOVED it, and I was reassured when it wasn't as much of a cheesy mess as I saw in the original recipe. Lots of flavor and a nice texture, this is a keeper of a side dish.
- 2 green zucchini, sliced and quartered
- 2 yellow squash, sliced and quartered
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese or pizza cheese blend
- 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan (little less if using canned Parmesan)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8x8" baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Combine all ingredients except for the Parmesan cheese and pour into baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake, uncovered, 10-15 more minutes or until Parmesan is melted and golden and zucchini/squash are fully cooked.