Aka, “poor-man’s screen printing”.
This project was a combination of two pins.
First, I found this bag which I knew would be absolutely perfect for my knit-crazy sister.
I was planning to buy it because, really, I didn’t think I could make anything close. But then I ran across this pin - a tutorial for freezer paper stenciling! It’s genius, I tell you.
I followed the directions from that blog post, but in a nutshell you trace your pattern onto freezer paper (I printed out the letters so they would be nice and neat) and cut out the freezer paper stencil using an xacto knife. Once you have your stencil, you iron it on to the material, and it sticks! Just paint over, wait for it to dry and then peel off. SO EASY.
It took a few hours total, and this is what I ended up with:
Not bad for a first shot! And my sister absolutely loved it.
Since, I’ve found a whole bunch of other, similar projects that I can’t wait to tackle.
Like, this bag:
And this shirt:
(And that blogger was even nice enough to include the stencil pattern she made!)
New crafting obsession? Check!
I thought that I should try out the recipe that is seen posted everywhere on pinterest lately. It’s labeled “the best recipe on there”, so I had to see if it would meet these high expectations.
Here’s the original post:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used dried)
hot red pepper flakes, to taste (I skipped this part)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups marinara sauce (I used Prego Traditional)
1/4 cup chopped basil (Again, I used dried)
8 oz mozzarella, shredded (I used the Italian blend cheese)
4 oz Parmesan, grated
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons
You start out by putting the thawed chicken breasts in a baking dish with the oil and garlic (and pepper flakes if you wish). Then pour the sauce over the chicken and smooth it all over the top. Then add the basil and half of the cheese. I didn’t really measure the cheese out because I don’t think you could ever have too much of it. You then put the croutons all over the top and then put the remainder of the cheese over that.
Bake it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Check your chicken temperature to make sure it’s fully cooked.
Here’s mine all out of the oven:
And on my plate… (I added more cheese to the top. I told you – I love cheese!) I also served it over noodles.
So what did I think? Was it the best recipe on pinterest?
Ehhh, I give it 3 stars. It had a GREAT taste, but the thing that really threw me off were the croutons. In the original recipe, the chef stats that he thinks the croutons are the best part, but I have to disagree. I actually pushed those out of the way and just ate the chicken part. The croutons are crunchy on top from baking, but the bottom half of them were so soggy and mushy because they soak up the sauce mixture. The texture really bothered me. Overall, I think this was a good concept, but doubt I’ll be making it again. I’ll go back to breading the chicken the old fashioned way.
If you’ve tried this one I’d love to know if you agree!
I have to say…I think my breath was taken away when I saw these cupcakes. I mean, who can resist Snickerdoodle Cupcakes! I love snickerdoodles, and I love cupcakes…what could be more perfect together? When I remembered that we were having a little baby shower at work, I knew that I had to make it. Here is the pinspiration….
Doesn’t it look delicious!
Here is the ingredients!
Don’t you love my pink Kitchendaid Mixer! (Thanks hubs for letting me get this)
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup melted butter, cooled
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup cinnamon sugar (to dip the finished cupcake in)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and cooled butter until light and fluffy. Then add eggs, vanilla, almond extract and milk. Mix until well blended.
4. Combine dry and wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
5. Spoon into cupcake liners and bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. When the cupcakes come out of the oven, brush the tops with butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar.
Cinnamon Vanilla Buttercream:
1 stick butter softened
3 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons milk
1. Beat butter until light and fluffy.
2. Add 2-3 cups powdered sugar (taste along the way) and beat for 4-5 minutes. (I used about 2 1/2 cups, just fyi)
3. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Add milk to loosen.
4. Top cupcakes with buttercream when cooled.
Here is the finished look!
I was disappointed that my icing was not as fluffy as the inspiration. I’m not really sure what happened. Any tips for a novice baker on how to have fluffy icing? It actually worked for my situation because I was able to transport it with tin foil placed over and didn’t have to worry too much about it getting messed up. It was such a hit at work…let me tell you! I did not have any cupcakes left over and several people went to seconds! If you have a chance, definitely make these cupcakes! They were absolutely delicious! Another amateur photo from me….
If you don’t trust the pictures, trust me! These will be an instant hit at anything you take them too! Several people at work said they love the icing and wanted the recipe! Those compliments to a novice baker like me, it was exciting to get so many compliments, and they didn’t even mind the wonky looking icing!
When I found this recipe for Neopolitan cupcakes, I knew they would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. You could obviously make them for anytime of the year, but I wanted to make them for after dinner for a special treat.
- 1 (19.5 ounce) package brownie mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 (18.25 ounce) package strawberry cake mix
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 3 egg whites
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
- Whisk together the brownie mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup canola oil, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl. Stir just until fully mixed together, then set aside.
- Mix the cake mix, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 1/3 cup water, and 3 egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Spoon the brownie batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup 1/3 full. Spoon the cake batter over the brownie batter, until muffin cups are each 2/3 full.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20-30 minutes.
Here’s my two bowls of brownie mix and strawberry cake mix.
The original recipe states that you can get 48 cupcakes out of the ingredients, but I do not see how. I had plenty of the cake mix left over, but the brownie mix only filled up 24 cupcakes with none left over. If you wish to follow the original recipe to get more cupcakes, I would do two boxes of the brownie mix.
Definitely stick a toothpick in them before deciding they are done. The brownie part took a little bit longer to cook than the cake mix. I left mine in for closer to 30 minutes.
Here’s the finished product! They are so yummy (you know I had to taste-test them first!) and cute!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
So, I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to nail polishes. I love em, can’t get enough of them, and I guess here is as good a place as any to confess that I may have a slight obsession. I can’t seem to stop buying them, even though I already have entirely too many colors in variations of the same shade. Nothing lifts my mood quite like an Essie shopping spree.
Recently, I’ve become obsessed with my Essie “Set in Stones” chunky sparkle polish. When I first bought it, I only wore it one way: with a silvery-white base coat and layers and layers of sparkle, so my nails end up looking like mini disco balls. Which is awesome, of course, but I typically would only paint them this way if I was wearing a simple black dress or some other outfit that needed a little snazzing up. I’ve been searching for another, less dramatic way to wear this fun, glittery polish.
This is what I found:
Isn’t it perfect? It’s a combination of Essie’s Chinchilly and my favorite Set in Stones polish from Essie’s Luxe Effects line. It’s fun and sparkly without being too over the top.
And here are my just manicured nails:
Super easy to do! Just apply a dab of set in stones after your normal manicure and you’re good to go.
A few weeks ago, I happened upon a pin that was so perfect. I actually had the supplies I needed just lying around the house, and that never happens even though I always seem to have way too much stuff.
jute lamp inspiration from Maple Memories
The lamp I had just lying around was a purchased at an auction three years ago. I actually bought the whole table; the broken lamp was just a bonus. The lamp worked, but if you look towards the base, the thick, white line is a huge crack.
my sad broken lamp
Like most projects I propose, I thought my husband would think I was crazy, but he was immediately on board. But, alas, there was soon a disagreement–where to start and stop the jute? I quickly solved that by wrapping the jute around the lamp as a test run. My husband immediately decided I was right.
To start, I plugged in the hot glue gun, or as I like to call it the finger burning machine, and grabbed some jute twine that was hanging around my laundry room. I also wrapped the lamp cord around the very base to keep it out of the way.
I started by putting a dot of glue on to the lamp and sticking the jute to it. I decided to leave a little tail because the jute was frayed at the end.
the first few wrapped rows with the tail
As I wrapped, I turned the lamp, so I wouldn’t make a mess of the jute ball. I placed little dots of glue in increased frequency as I moved my way up the lamp to the larger parts. I also pressed the jute into the glue to make it really stick, and I was always careful to not leave any of the lamp exposed.
After two diligent hours broken up over two evenings, I had my finished lamp. The lamp goes so well with my love of traditional meets rustic. I’m very pleased with the results. What do you think?
my finished jute lamp
Have you tried quinoa? The first time I had it was probably about a year ago, and I loved it! Quinoa is a whole grain with lots of protein and fiber. It’s deliciously chewy and almost has a nutty flavor. My husband and I both like it quite a bit, so I was very excited to see a recipe for Quinoa Mac and Cheese. I think this would be a perfect starter recipe if you’ve never tried quinoa, because who doesn’t love mac and cheese? I first saw this recipe on Around the Table: Loving food in Rhode Island and Beyond. I loved the idea of quinoa mac and cheese, but this recipe had eggs in it, and neither my husband nor I are fans of mac and cheese with eggs. So I decided to adapt my trusty Betty Crocker mac and cheese recipe to use quinoa instead. I also added some ham that needed to be used up, as well as broccoli for color and nutrition. As with any mac and cheese, you could adapt this in lots of ways: use asparagus or mushrooms instead of broccoli, Canadian bacon instead of ham… This is a very high-protein meal that will fill you up for a long time! It turned out to be a perfect one-pot meal: creamy, cheesy comfort food at its best. I hope you’ll try it soon!
A picture of the delicious finished product!
Quinoa Mac and Cheese (adapted from Around the Table and Betty Crocker Cookbook: New Edition)
1 1/4 c. quinoa
Florets from 2 stalks broccoli
1 1/4 c. chopped ham
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt (I left this out because my ham was very salty, but if you chose not to use ham you would definitely want to include it)
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. ground mustard
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 c. milk (I used skim)
2 c. shredded cheese (I used NY sharp cheddar)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook quinoa according to package directions and steam broccoli until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour and seasonings with a wire whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk while continuing to whisk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Mix sauce, quinoa, broccoli, & ham in 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.
I hope you enjoy!