Archive | July, 2011

Oh Snap!

31 Jul

I recently discovered my new favorite treat! Lemon Snaps a la Sprouts! I was shopping this weekend with the family at our local Sprouts Farmers Market. We picked up fruit, vegetables, grains and more. I also grabbed,as an impulse buy-2 for $3, a bag each of Lemon Snaps and Ginger Snaps. I am a huge fan of Ginger Snaps with coffee, but I’ve never tried, nor heard of, Lemon Snaps.

I opened up the bag and tried my first one and… WOW! It was so yummy! Sweet and a little crunchy with a lemon-y zing! They are so good that the bag comes with a warning: “In the end, the only challenge will be resisting the temptation to eat the whole bag!” Boy are they right! It’s been a day and a half, the bag is gone! I’m going back to stock up! I am thinking of other ways to incorporate these delicious treats into family favorite recipes. I would love to try these cookies layered with lemon custard/pudding and homemade whipped cream or crush them up like graham crackers and use them as a crust for cheese cake!

Any other ideas I should consider? Have you ever tried Lemon Snaps?

… and the next day, you’re out!

30 Jul

So it seems that the All the Frills bag and the Sophia Hobo bag are OUT! And that means the bag with the most votes is….

The Pleated Shoulder Bag… you’re in!!! Thanks for helping us make the tough decision!

If you’d like to WIN our version of this fabulous bag, there are 3 ways to enter:

1- Subscribe to receive our emails and comment below
2- Like us on Facebook and leave a comment on our Wall
3- Follow us on Twitter and send us a tweet

If you do all three… you increase your chances of winning! If you already subscribe and/or like us on Facebook, you are automatically entered to win. We will announce the winner on Monday, August 8th!

We are so excited for our 1 year Anniversary and even more excited that we can share it with all of our loyal readers! We are looking forward to many more years of fun projects, crafts, sweets and treats!

New Life for Old Toys

28 Jul

We have a lot of tiny little toys. Since we got a puppy that chews on everything I have become acutely aware of this dangerous fact.

Ryan McElhinney’s pieces spoke right to me!  I found these amazing works of art via Curbly earlier this week.

I immediately sifted through all the tiny army guys, action figures, and happy meal toys that we have collected over the last 5 years and found that I had plenty to work with.  Once piece at a time, with hot glue I put my puzzle together.  Here it is all pieced together…

Initially I was unsure about what color I wanted to paint it.  But when I saw that I already had a can of glossy white paint left over from this project, my decision was easy.  In all this project cost me $0.00.  I had everything on hand and I bet you do too!

I think this project is great way to upcycle some old toys and avoid sending those little guys to a landfill somewhere.   I will admit that my son was a little sad when he realized that he wouldn’t be able to play with these particular toys anymore, but I did my best to pull only the ones that were damaged already.  There a lot of wounded veteran army guys in this lamp.  Save a wounded vet, make a lamp!

California Love

27 Jul

Vintage- looking State Tee tutorial! Come on Ilene, you had me at VINTAGE!!  It caught my eye, so I checked it out. My daughter is really into learning her states right now so I decided to surprise her with her very own California tee!

I found a plain shirt from her closet. Being that it is summer, I made this long sleeve into a short sleeve. I followed Ilene’s easy instructions and cut out California and sewed it on the shirt.

The placement of the heart is no accident, the tip points to Los Angeles! Home Sweet Home!

Better with Age

26 Jul

Summer turned 30 this year (don’t worry you don’t look a day over 24!).  We had originally talked about going to Napa for some serious wine tasting, but as that did not get off the ground (work, kids, you know how that goes), we got together with friends and family for a little wine tasting courtesy of Vineagogo

Summer’s BFF, Shaheen, was generous enough to host the party at her home.  She is a fabulous cook and whipped up some bites for the wine tasting portion of the day as well as a full on meal for afterwards!

Vineagogo supplied the wine and gorgeous glasses and we supplied the fabulous company!

We got to taste several wines and even got schooled on which wines come from where and what makes up the regional differences. Once the seriously interesting discussion about the wine was over we ate, we drank, and we were very merry!

Since all of the wines we tasted were French in origin, I brought along some French desserts from Opera here in San Diego. To display these French macarons I wrapped a styrofoam cone in decorative paper. Toothpicks held each cookie in place. Make sure to buy more than you think you’ll need. It took 4 dozen to fill the smaller cone I made!

Have you ever brought the winery home and hosted a wine tasting in your home?

Whoopie Cakes

25 Jul

Is it possible that we beat the French to a trend?

Of course whoopie pies have been a favorite on the East Coast since the 20s, but only recently reached “trendy” status.  In fact earlier this year, the whoopie pie was named the official dessert of the state of Maine!  Does California have an official dessert?  Maybe I should convene a panel to pick one…

At any rate, I subscribe to the Newsletter for a French children’s magazine, Milk.   Initially, I hoped it was a way to help me retain all that French I studied in college for my minor.  Now, it has become a source of inspiration.  I have never actually seen a copy of the magazine itself here in the states, but Jordan, of Oh Happy Day, mentioned in a recent post that she has happened upon it in San Fran.

In the latest newsletter from Milk, I noticed that they have jumped on the whoopie pie band wagon.  Or, perhaps its more of a bakers truck.  I was frankly a little surprised that these sweet, and pint-sized, cakes hadn’t become the craze in Europe that they had here sooner.  I mean if there is one thing that the French do well, its desserts!

The pies sold at La Grande Epicerie Paris are dubbed “whoopie cakes,” which honestly is probably a more appropriate name.  They sell for 3,90 Euros each, which is about $5.61 USD!     The most I’ve seen a whoopie pie sell for here in California is $3 so maybe we shouldn’t feel so guilty when we indulge ourselves?!  So start the week off right and pick up a little something sweet for yourself today.  Smile while you eat it, knowing that not only did you probably spend less than your French counterpart, but you’re one trendy step ahead of her…and I bet she can’t catch you in those heels she’s always wearing!

 

Red Velvet Cake of the Month

22 Jul

Its July. You know what that means! A new cake! Last month Caasi made me this cake as the first installment in the cake of the month club (aka the best birthday present ever). 

July’s cake is a Red Velvet Cake! 

I must admit that I’ve never really had Red Velvet Cake before.  I once had a bite, a taste if you will, of a Red Velvet Cupcake, but never a whole slice of cake, let alone an entire cake!

Caasi’s Red Velvet Cake is so moist and fluffy, I fear that no other Red Velvet Cake will ever match up!   I have been ruined!

Have you ever signed up for a something-of-the-month club?  Its only been two months so far but it has been so much fun to look forward to something new each month.  I definitely recommend it so be sure to put a cake of the month on your birthday list this year!

I’m already looking forward to next month!  Have a great weekend!

Re-Style File #2: Jeans Makeover

21 Jul

I have had these jeans for YEARS! I originally purchased these destroyed denim jeans at Abercrombie & Fitch with my amazing employee discount. They were my most comfortable jeans I owned. Over the years, they have become particularly destroyed, way beyond what they were when I bought them. I just couldn’t part with them, so I decided to give them a makeover!

I started by seam ripping out the inseam. and cut the jean legs where the holes were (at the knees). With the exta material left from the legs, I cut 2 patches to fill in for a later step. Tip: don’t throw away the extra material, keep it just in case you need to patch other jeans in the future.

Start to pin the jeans at the top. Pin in one of the material patches and sew the underside first. I matched the stitching method that the jeans had. After that, I repeated the overlapped section using the same stitching.

Flip the skirt inside out and trim the excess seam allowance.

Lastly, hem the skirt to desired length.

After I was finished, I went back and patched some of the holes with the extra material from the jeans legs.

This is a great project to re-purpose your old jeans. You can also try this with little girls jeans that have holes at the knees, or even hand me downs that don’t quite fit in length. I have also seen jeans re-purposed as capris, shorts and even a purse! The possibilities are ENDLESS!

Henry’s Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

20 Jul

I am the unofficial party planning committee in my office.  So, I will typically bake something for each birthday, holiday or going-away party.  Tomorrow we will wish my co-worker, Dan, good luck with Law School.  I asked if he had any “last requests” and his only demand was cream cheese frosting.

I had recently made carrot cake cupcakes (seen here) and pumpkin is not really in season so I was on the hunt for some other pairing for cream cheese frosting.  I came across this recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.  I love cheater recipes like this that have a box cake mix as the base.  It was so easy and SOOOO YUMMY!!!

Since these cupcakes are in honor of Dan’s departure I decided to add a personal touch.  I topped some of the cupcakes with chocolate Scotty dogs!

I have to say that they are so cute and a dead ringer for Dan’s dog, Henry.

To make the dogs I just melted chocolate almond bark and poured it out onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.  I let it set in the frig for about 4 minutes (it was a pretty thin layer) and then pulled it out and with a metal cookie cutter pressed lots of little Henry’s into the chocolate before returning it to the frig to completely set.  I broke a few of them trying to get them up off the wax paper.  It proved to be tricky.  But I was able to salvage enough so that everyone in the office can have a little Henry for an afternoon snack.

Good luck to Dan, Zoe and Henry as they embark on a new adventure!

Psychedelic Cupcakes

19 Jul


My sister is…colorful! She is fun and silly and has a contagious laugh. We are 12 years apart in age. So, when I was turning 18 (as she is today), she was barely nearing 6. In many ways she hasn’t changed too much from that goofy (yet stubborn) 6 year old. She is still adventurous, fun-loving and addicted to sweets!

So, for her birthday I did what I do and baked her some cupcakes that just might be as colorful as she.

These are vanilla cupcakes with a fluffy whipped frosting, but you know how I love the details…I topped these otherwise plain cupcakes with a disk swirled with lots of color.

To make the disks I melted candies in 5 different colors: green, purple, blue, yellow and red. You have to work quickly so that nothing sets before you want it to. One by one I poured the melted candies onto a wax paper lined baking sheet in random patterns. Once they were all on the baking sheet I used toothpicks to swirl them together and kind of fill in some of the spots that were a little lighter or cover any holes. Make sure not to swirl too much or you’ll lose some of the pattern.

Once you have the desired effect, put it in the fridge for a few minutes (I set the timer for 5 minutes but it might vary depending on how cold your frig is). You want it to set enough that its not mushy or runny but not completely harden. Then, using a biscuit cutter or other circular shaped cookie cutter, cut out your disks, but leave them in place on the baking sheet. My husband came in at this point and watched me struggle with a couple of the disks as I wasn’t getting a clean cut. He took the metal (this wouldn’t work with plastic) biscuit cutter and heated it up on the stove top for me and the cuts were easier and came out cleaner. What a team!

Place everything back in the frig to completely harden. Frost your cupcakes and then gently lift each colorful disk (I used a fancy dancy–clean–playing card to lift mine). Place one atop each cupcake and gently press it into place.

My sister couldn’t wait until after dinner to try one of these cupcakes. I expected nothing less from her.

Happy 18th Birthday Keila! I love you!

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