Category Archives: Easy to do

Gold Dotted Coffee Mug

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Well, this Pin comes from something I made for someone as a Christmas Gift! So I’m a little behind in sharing. I’m gonna play the pregnant mother of a toddler card while I still can :)

It was really a combination of two pins that led me to the craft I chose.

Materials:

1. Coffee Mug
2. Paint (I used Martha’s metallic gold all surfaces paint)
3. Dotter (you can find these at the craft store, mine was from the scrapbooking section. You can also find them in the nails section at Target for nail art!)

This pin of painting dots climbing up stemless wine glasses:

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And this pin of dotting a coffee mug with a sharpie:
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We have a cousin that loves her coffee and she is always posting pics to Instagram of sitting on the porch or in front of the fire with her coffee cup.

I found this lovely mug at World Market for only $4.99. Originally, I was in search of a large plain white mug, but couldn’t find the right one. This one jumped out to me instantly for my cousin.

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So first you’ll want to take your mug and clean it with rubbing alcohol to make sure there are no gooies or residual oils on it from your hands.

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The mug’s lovely backside.

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Then take your paint and pour a little out. I used a mini cupcake liner for this. Quick & easy prep and clean up.

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Now, grab your dotter. This can really be any tool you want. The hard metal dotter is good for small and consistent dots. You could even use an old pen/pencil with a point. Or, if you want a more loosey feel to the dots, you could use a Qtip or the eraser end of a pencil. You get the idea.

Dip your dotter lightly in the paint.

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Then dot your mug! You may want to do a few practice dots on your cupcake liner to get the feel.

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I started by doing one layer about a 1/3″ thick around the entire bottom. Then I decided to go over that again, with some dots slightly overlapping. Really I just let me hand go and tried to be as random as possible.

Then I slowly inched up the cup and just made them less dense and close together the further I went up the cup. Add a few more random dots up towards the top if you feel like it!

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And that’s all there is to the paining!! According to the directions on the paint, this now had to cure for 28 days. Yowsa. So, I just stuck it up on a shelf in my craft room until it was time to wrap Christmas Presents. Thankfully, I planned far enough ahead to allow for adequate drying time.

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You could use the sharpie approach as well. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this. Sometimes the Sharpie doesn’t set, or it steams off in the dishwasher. The paint should be top rack dishwasher safe if you let it cure the full time.

 

Happy Crafting!

Butter Cream Frosting with a Spoon

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If you haven’t caught on yet, I love baking and decorating cakes. Love it. Pinterest is a fabulous place to find tips and tricks, tutorials, inspiration, and recipes!

I’ve been seeing this technique all over Pinterest and had just been waiting for the opportunity to try it out myself!

Tutorial: Buttercream Piping Technique Plus A Gumpaste Rose | Sweet Indulgences Cakes

What you need:

1. A crumb coated cake

2. A large batch of buttercream frosting

3. A piping bag and coupler (One per color you plan on using)

4. A Round frosting tip  (I used Wilton #12)

5. Small flat or offset spatula, or spoon

6. optional Food coloring/gel

7. Patience :)

Method:

Start by dividing your frosting into equal portions for however many colors you plan on having. I chose to use 4 shades of blue and white to create an obmre effect.

Tint your frosting and fill piping bags fit with couplers.

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I kinda got in the zone after this, so there aren’t any in progress pictures.

I only had one #12 tip, so I started at the bottom row with the darkest color and went all the way around. Then switched my tip to the next lightest frosting and went around again.

Pipe a ball on the side of the cake. Then take your spoon or spatula and lightly press it in the center of the circle while pulling it to the right. Pipe another ball in the drag of the first. Repeat all the way around the cake.

When you move up to the second row, be sure and align your ball with the one below. This can be tricky depending on how much drag you have. If you have more than one circle tip or are only using one color, you can pipe a row down the side of the cake and pull them all at once to ensure uniformity.

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To create the top of the cake, I reversed the ombre colors. This time I went around the very outside first, and dragged the center of the balls in towards the center of the cake. When I got to the very center, I switched back to the middle lightest blue and did not pipe out the tip. This made a swirly of the darkest and middle color blue for my center dot.

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The Verdict:

I create this cake for my husband’s aunt’s 50th birthday party. The inside of the cake was also ombre blues! The cake was a hit and everyone was so impressed. It’s a simple effect with a big bang result!

 

Happy Pinning!

Happy Cake Decorating!!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

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I’m becoming increasingly weary of prepacked over-processed convenience foods. I happened upon this pin a while ago and tucked it away. Then as I began trying to gather recipes for freezer cooking, I had one that looked tasty and called for taco seasoning.

We don’t eat tacos all that frequently, but when we do it’s a battle between my husband wanting the Taco Bell brand seasoning packet, and me opting for the cheap store brand packet.

This Pin-Project is super fast and easy, and you probably have most of the stuff on hand! You literally just dump all the seasoning in a jar, give it a stir/shake and you’re ready to use it! I quadrupled my recipe for the amount seen in the picture.

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And, here is what’s in it!

Taco Seasoning

1/4 c Chili Powder
2 Tb ground Cumin
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp ground Roasted Coriander
1/2 tsp ground Chipotle Chile Pepper
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 cup Corn Starch

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It was too pretty to stir up, so I left it like this for a while. And oh lordy, it smelled amazing. I kind of wanted to add water and drink it. Not really, but you get the idea. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m so excited to share a recipe with you when I do!!

Happy Pinning!

Happy Cooking!!

Kale Chips

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Kale has always been a culinary enigma to me. I don’t know how to shop for it, how to cook it, how to eat it, anything. I had it one time a ways back and it was so intensely bitter I could barely swallow it. Of course that heightened my hesitation.

As justification for getting my VitaMix, I vowed to make healthy green smoothies. Which I did do! But, I’ve shied away from kale and opted for spinach. After one full week of successful green spinach smoothies, I found myself longing to try kale, somehow now unafraid.

Timely enough, I ran into this pin, for Spicy Kale Chips!

I figured this would give me two things to try with my kale. So off to the store I went, where I was promptly reintroduced to my first kale fear: buying it. I had never seen it in my local grocery store before. But, I keep looking knowing it’s gaining popularity. And, I found it. But, the produce guy was restocking it and was blocking me from getting within a five foot radius. Since I didn’t know how to pick out kale, I didn’t want to bug him to get in a take a peek.

So, I glanced over the prepackaged stuff and found this:

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It’ll do. Next time I’m for sure buying the “real” non packaged stuff. This was chopped pretty small, which is fine for smoothies and salads, but not so much for chips. Also the bag hadn’t cut out the stalk/rib, which everywhere I read says to do this.

Anyway, I dumped a bowlful out of the bag (which barely made a dent in the bag), lightly drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then mixed it up with my hand to make sure it was all lightly coated.

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Then, spread out the kale into a single layer on a lined baking pan.

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Then bake for 12-15 minutes on 350. You’ll want to turn/stir the chips about half way through. They shrink down like HECKA!!! See…

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This is why bigger chunks of kale would be better! Also, you want to remember that this is the shrinkey dink equivalent of the snack world. Remember that when you’re salting, the chip is going to shrink and condense your salt ratio. I used WAY too much salt.

Kale, “I’m ready for my close up!”

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These were surprising. They reminded me of the dried seaweed, but less fishy. My picky husband even liked them! He said if you close your eyes they taste just like “real chips”! SCORE!

The bag of kale was only 1.99 and it would probably make enough for us to snack on for a week. I used a little bit today in my green smoothie even! Still going to have to work my way up to a handful. Kale is starting to completely win me over, I’m glad I’ve given it more than one try!

I’m excited to play around with the recipe and the flavors! What would you add? Garlic? Lemon? Sriracha?

Happy Pinning!
Happy Snacking!!

Paintchip dots

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Another craft idea that seems to be all over Pinterest is using paint chips in your craft.

They’re built in ombre effect is perfect for tags and cards:

Project range from simple like above to more complex like this bird house!

I had a pile of old paint chip colors laying around (because I’m a hoarder) and decided to give them a new purpose.

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I was relaxing before bed in front of the TV and thought I’d just start punching these. I used a 1″ circle punch. I had to cut my samples into strips first because my punch doesn’t have a very deep reach.

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I just like the look of a million little circles.

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I think I will use these to make a little bunting for my son’s first birthday. I’m not sure yet if that means gluing them around twine so they’re two sided…or just sewing them in a line.

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For now they’re sitting in wait for the next Pin There Done That Project!

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Have you re-purposed anything lately? What would you do if you had a big stack of paint chips?

Happy Pinning!
Happy Crafting!!

Washi Washi

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The Washi Tape trend kind of came out of no where and hit the craft world hard! It’s a super cute, super easy way to dress up the drab. You can quickly and easily add a fun burst of color to anything without having to be too overly crafty!

A quick search of the word WASHI on Pinterest and you’re flooded with hundreds of ideas! Like these…..

 

 

 

I recently scored a huge stash of Washi from Pick Your Plum. If you haven’t heard of PYP – go check them out. A deal a day on crafty and cute things. They had two washi deals in the last couple months. I’ve also picked up bakers twine, stamps, lace socks for boots, and paper straws!

I wanted to try something with it, so I looked around my office and my eyes landed on this drawer set. It’s a plain birch drawer set from Ikea that I’ve had for years. I’ve always thought about painting it bright colors – but Washi seemed like a better idea!

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Yes – my office is a mess, please excuse :)

I started by just tearing off strips of washing and lining up the pattern.

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Here’s a couple of the colors I got in my mixed bag of washi.

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I finished covering the front of the drawer. I initially covered up the finger hole that you use to open the drawer.

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Then I used an exacto knife to cut slits in the finger hole so I could lay down the washi.

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One cute complete drawer!! The rest still sit bare, but I just received my second mixed bag of Washi and it’s screaming at me to finish this project!!

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Have you fallen in love with the Washi Tape craze? What have you washi-ed?

 

Happy Pinning!

Happy Crafting!!

Going Green

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I recently was able to “purchase” a Vitamix with rewards points I earned at work. I justified the giant piece of new kitchen gadget to my husband by promising it would be used “so much” for smoothies, green smoothies, baby food, and all the other crazy things you can do with it (like cook soup, what?!)

I kept my promise on the baby food (more on that to come) and we had made a few all fruit smoothies. I’ve been scouring Pinterest for the last couple weekds trying to find the perfect, basic, green smoothie recipe. I didn’t find much. I found lots of very green good for you smoothies – but I needed to start plain. I needed just the very simple basic that I could build on on my own.

After a recommendation from a friend I ended up at Oh She Glows. She has a recipe for “Classic Green Monster”. Her recipe does include protein powder and flax seeds which I wasn’t ready to tackle yet. But, I did end up with a very basic easy recipe that I can build on and add to as I get more comfortable.

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Basic Green Smoothie
1 cup Almond Breeze (or any non dairy milk)
2 handfuls of washed spinach
1 peeled and frozen banana

AND THAT’S IT! So easy-peasy. Put the liquid in the blender, followed by the spinach then the banana and bled til smooth!

Today I threw in 3 frozen strawberries and 2 chunks of frozen pineapple. I couldn’t tell that they added much taste – but I prefer my smoothies cold, thick, and ultra smooth and I think this helped with that.

The basic recipe just tastes like bananas. You honestly don’t even taste the green. The plan is to venture out from here, maybe adding some cucumber, carrots, and one day maybe even kale! (I had a terrible first encounter with kale and it still makes me a little nervous).

I’m hoping that incorporating these leafy greens every day will help my body and mind. I have a history of Crohns disease and while it’s in remission now, I could stand to healthy up my digestive track too!

Have you gone green? What’s your go to smoothie recipe?

Happy Pinning!
Happy Blending!!

Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

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I’m not sure why people call this Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and not just mashed or pureed cauliflower. Probably because pureed cauliflower sounds kind of disgusting. And these, are well, delicious.

Pinterest is littered with cauliflower recipes that boast a smooth and yummy potato flavor, but this is the one that finally caught my eye.

I made this like a month ago. But, because I was trying to be super mom and do seven million things at one time, I didn’t take any pictures. I recently made them again, but the “unloaded” version. So, I’ll give you the recipe and method for both kinds, but only pics for the latter.

{Ingredients}

1 head of cauliflower
2T butter
3 cloves garlic
dollop of sour cream or plain greek yogurt
{Optional extras}
1/2 c shredded cheese
1/2 c bacon crumbles (unless you’re in my house and you just cook a whole pack)
1 small bunch of green onions, chopped
1/4 c diced chives

{Method}

1. Steam your cauliflower. I did this by breaking up the head of cauliflower into a small pot and filling it half way with water. I let it boil, turning the contents occasionally, until the stem of the cauliflower was tender to poke with a fork.

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2. In your blender/food processor/baby bullet, add your butter, sour cream, and pressed/minced garlic.

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3. When the cauliflower is soft, add it to the blender. Pulse a few times to make room for the rest if needed, then run until smooth. In my baby bullet it takes about 30 seconds.

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4. At this point, you can stir in whatever extras you have. Pretty much anything you could think of to put in your mashed/baked potato will taste good in here!

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5. Divide the mixture in to oven safe ramekins or bowls. At this point if you want to bake them, you can, 400 degrees for 15 minutes. In my experience, it didn’t do much to change the texture or flavor, and mine was already hot from boiling the cauliflower.

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6. Top with cheese, and serve!

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Yes, I know my chicken looks delicious as well! All I did was marinate it in a ziplock bag with honey mustard salad dressing for 15 minutes, then cooked it in my panini press pan! So fast, easy, and yummy!

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Have you jumped on the cauliflower band wagon? Do you prefer it raw or “mashed”? Do you think it could ever really replace potatoes?

Happy Pinning!
Happy Cooking!!

Chicken pot pie

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Spring has just started to come out of hiding here in the NorthWest, but for some reason I was still craving a warm, yummy, comfort food for dinner! I scanned Pinterest for a yummy looking Chicken Pot Pie. I knew I hit the right one when I found this in her description:

 Spring time is the perfect time to make this dish.  It’s semi-light but warm and comforting for the damp spring evenings.

Here’s a look at her pin:

Does that not look heavenly?! I used her recipe more as a guideline. I knew I wanted to put fresh carrots in mine, and I since I had to grocery shop before dinner, I had no time for my own crust.

Here is my modified recipe

{Ingredients}
2 Chicken Breasts
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1 bunch of organic carrots (about 6 medium carrots)
1 small bag of frozen peas
3 small yellow potatoes
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 stick of butter
1/2 c of cream
3T flour
1 package of flaky biscuits

{Method}
1. Saute the chopped onion and chopped/pressed garlic in the butter in a large pot. While this is going, chop up your carrots and potato.
2. Toss in your chopped potatoes and carrots. Add half of the chicken broth. Let simmer while you cook your chicken
3. In a small pot, boil your chicken breasts until fully cooked (I did this in chicken broth for more flavor). Then dice the chicken and add to your veggie pot.
4. Whisk the cream and flour together with a fork and slowly incorporate additional chicken broth until thinned. Add this mixture to the pot.
5. Season with S&P as desired, and add chicken broth until desired consistency is reached.

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6. Spoon into oven safe dishes. I used two oven bowls for our dinner, and a 7×11 dish for the rest.

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7. Gently pull the biscuit dough to lightly stretch them to cover your dish.

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8. Bake according to the biscuit instructions.

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This meal was DELICIOUS! I’m hoping that I can try her crust recipe in the future because it looks beautiful and flaky and scrumptious! I think next time I do this, I might chop up enough veggies, and cook enough chicken to make a few freezer bag meals.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Happy Pinning!
Happy Cooking!!

Quinoa Mac & Cheese

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Seriously, is there any better mean than good old mac and cheese?! What about making it with protein rich quinoa instead of processed pasta? Sounds like a good trade to me.

Here is the original pin:

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Image from Around the Table in RI

Simple recipe, and I had everything on hand so it required minimal effort, which these pregnant days is a huge plus!

I have no after picture, because I’m overly pregnant, hungry and lazy, and the food was eaten before I took a picture! :)

However, I will still give you the run down. It turned out pretty much exactly looking like the original pin. This recipe was so fast and easy. I ended up doubling the cheese and adding siracha to my mix. I also used about 2c quinoa uncooked.

The first bite was … interesting. I had mac’n’cheese in my mind. And – this is quinoa. So, if this is your first try at cooking quinoa, you might not like it at first if you’re thinking mac’n’cheese. But, then I was like, “duh self, this is not noodles”  and happily chowed down a bowlful (about 1/4 of the pan, lol). It was good, but a little plain. Next time, I’m going to add chopped up broccoli, more siracha, and maybe some bacon or chicken.

I would definitely recommend trying this, especially if you can get your kids to eat it as an alternative to processed pasta. Cheap, easy, cheesy, my kind of dinner!

Happy Pinning! Happy Cooking!!