Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter egg holder templates

Here is the direct link for: Easter Party Egg Holder Template.

This fun template comes from Pottery Barn Kids. No kid is going to be able to cut out these templates without some adult help. The design is too intricate. But with a small, sharp scissors it definitely is worth the effort!

While we were waiting for our silk-tie dyed Easter eggs to boil, we cut out a few egg holders in anticipation. With a little paper grass and a colorful egg, the effect is super cute. No need to decorate them further.

I used heavy card stock bought at Target, found in their office supply section. They also had colored paper. These would make wonderful place setting decorations filled with decorative eggs like the one above or filled with chocolate eggs and jelly beans.

The red pin award for the good ol' cute factor! and happy Easter to you!

Happy pinning!

silk dyed Easter eggs

silk tie eggs
Here is the direct link for: Silk Dyed Easter Eggs.

Last Easter season, a friend invited me to join her at another friend's house to color eggs like the photos above. It was so much fun! I came away wanting to host my own silk-tie-egg event. The hostess made it appear so simple and organized. Well, I did it today. It wasn't as simple-looking at my house! Thank goodness I only invited a few people to practice on. We're still in the learning stages of what ties do and don't work, if that even makes sense. 

The instructions for dying these eggs comes from the blog, Domestic Bliss. The process is really very simple: unboiled eggs, a few 100% silk ties cut up, some plain muslin and a few twist ties. The blog's author also sells kits on her Etsy shoppe The June Bride. The kit comes with all the fixings to make at least 16 eggs. She says the ties can be used more than once.

my favorite egg
The kit recommends using small to medium-size eggs which are almost impossible to find in super markets. My husband eventually found some at an Asian market in town. But as you read all the various other Pinterest sources, any size eggs works. Simply cut the tie pieces larger to accommodate your egg size. Not able to do that with a kit already pre-cut pieces. Would I buy a kit next time? No, just follow the instructions and buy your own ties, unless you want to only try it once.

Martha Stewart also has a great video to watch for those that like to 'see' it first: Silk-Tie Easter Eggs. I was most surprised that the ugliest ties made for the prettiest eggs. Who would of ever thought! so don't steer away from those 'no way in hell' ties, they're the best.

The red pin award for creative and a great 'wow' factor! I will definitely do it again next year. A little practice makes for a little more perfect every time.

Happy pinning!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

bunny mix

Here is the direct link for: Bunny Mix.

I love edible mixes such as this one! I love texture and color and a variety of shapes. This bunny mix satisfies all of that and just in time for Easter. A little bag of bunny mix tied with a springy-color ribbon would make a sweet hostess gift !

cheddar chickadees
This recipe comes from the blog, Bubbly Nature Collections. The blog's author, Rachel, gives her readers two recipes: Bunny Mix and 'Sweet' Bunny Mix. The first being more savory and the latter obviously, more sweet from the added marshmallows and chocolate eggs. I gave up sugary items for Lent, so the salty version bunny mix recipe was my first choice. FYI, here is the original link to Rachel's blog: Bunny Mix.

The recipe is a simple one. No baking. No fussing. It only requires opening up packages, dumping them into a large bowl, and a little mixing. Once I got into the stores and saw all the fun shapes of crackers out there, I changed up Rachel's recipe slightly, adding a few new finds of my own. Below is my new version of the Bunny Mix. My teenage kids loved this!

Bunny Mix

1 cup Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunny Crackers
1 cup Annie's Organic White Cheddar Bunny Crackers
1 cup Annie's Organic Pretzel Bunnies with sea salt
1 cup Target's Market Pantry brand Cheddar Chickadees
1 cup Veggie Straws, broken in half
1 cup original Kix cereal

Mix all the ingredients together in a large serving bowl. You may want to double and triple the recipe cause it goes that fast! Enjoy!

The red pin award for fun recipe, very fun and simple! I would make it again, my version for sure!

Happy pinning!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

cinnamon valentine caramels

Here is the direct link for: Cinnamon Valentine Caramels.

This recipe comes from the blog, A Farmgirl's dabbles. The blog's author, Brenda, shares her caramel recipe, a adaptation of her Grandma Klein's Chocolate Caramels. I will definitely be trying that recipe as well!

It took me two tries, but in the end the caramels turned out beautifully. The first batch I didn't heat them long enough, I think. I used an old candy thermometer and it wasn't registering correctly. I went on the internet and learned about how to test for caramel stage by dropping a dollop of mixture into a bowl of ice water and if it holds its shape it's done. The combination of a candy thermometer and the ice water test was a sure thing.

The caramel's red color comes from Wilton's red no taste icing gel, an intense red that blends beautifully, such a perfect Valentine red. The spicy flavor comes from a little vile of cinnamon oil which I purchased at Michael's in their baking section. The blog's author suggests using cinnamon extract if you want a milder taste. The caramels using the cinnamon oil taste like a chewy, but slightly mild red hot candy. YUMMY! As you can see, the recipe makes quite a few caramels. I cut them into thin slices and bagged them up in little cello bags tied with red ribbons. A perfect gift for my teenage Valentines!

FYI, I purchased the caramel wrappers from an Etsy shop, SweetCO1. The shop sells a variety of wrappers, so I stocked up. I prefer the store bought wrappers rather than cutting my own wax paper into pieces. The store bought wrappers are thicker and don't tear when twisting them tightly around the caramels. I also bought some clear wrappers for when I make the chocolate caramels.

The red pin award for a great Valentine gift treat! I will definitely make these again. Next time I might try adding a licorice oil, doesn't that sound good?

Happy pinning!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

chocolate heart peanut butter cookies

Here is the direct link for: Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies.

This recipe comes from the Betty Crocker's home page. The cookie is described as "chocolate and peanut butter marry in a favorite cookie combo." I love this combination in a cookie!

The recipe uses one pouch of Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix. I have never used this cookie mix before, so I was curious to try it. Plus I wanted a quick and easy cookie as a Valentine's gift to send off to my son away at college. In the end, it was quick and easy to mix up but the cookies lacked that 'real' peanuty-taste. I prefer traditional home-made peanut butter cookies.

The recipe calls for chocolate hearts so I used Hersey's Chocolate Hearts Assortment, a combination of chocolate hearts in milk chocolate, peanut butter filled and dark chocolate. I personally don't like the size of these hearts, they seem a bit too big. I usually like my cookies on the smallish-size. The cookies in the photo above measure about 3-inches after baking. The cookies on the Betty Crocker site look more delicate than mine. They must of used a smaller chocolate heart. But of course, they don't tell you where they got their hearts.

NOTE: I just noticed in the reviews on Betty Crocker's site that one reviewer recommended using Dove milk chocolate hearts for their size and creaminess. Boy, it is amazing what you can find if you dig deep enough in these blogs!

I found another blog, The Baker Chick, that creates a similar cookie but she makes her cookies from scratch, Peanut Butter Sweetheart Cookies. I will try this recipe next time. She also made a great suggestion which I found very helpful. She said she likes "to put the hot cookies into the freezer for a few minutes so the cookie doesn't melt the chocolate too much. Otherwise it can take quite a long time for the chocolate to solidify again and the cookies won't stack easily." This idea worked slick!

This Valentine cookie needs a little work, a bit of tweeking to find the right size chocolate heart and a better tasting peanut butter cookie recipe, but I am getting close, I can taste it.

I give this cookie idea the red pin award cause its different from the traditional Valentine's cookies! I will definitely try this idea again and keep you posted of my results.

Happy pinning!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

easy snowman marshmallows

Here is the direct link for: Easy Snowman Marshmallows.

This recipe comes from the blog, The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. The blog's author has a wealth of information of decorating sugar cookies, a very fun blog to follow.

The recipe is simple enough especially if you take her suggestion of using store-bought marshmallows. I bought the large-brand of Kraft Jet-Puffed Jumbo Marshmallows. I loved their size so when cut in two, as instructions suggest, you get a nice-size snowman or two for each cup of cocoa.

I followed her instructions except for a few changes: I didn't dredge each cut edge in powdered sugar and cornstarch, only powdered sugar alone. The marshmallows were not sticky afterwards at all. Secondly, I made the frosting using royal icing and decorated each face using a toothpick. This was a little putzy because of the light dusting of cornstarch the marshmallows already had on them. If I would of read on further (deeper into the blog) I would of received her tips on using small plastic bottles for decorating. Very clever idea, pays to read everything, eh?

Another fun, quick and easy ideas is to use Peeps Marshmallow Snowmen in your hot drinks. Definitely not as cute, but if you don't have the time it's a great alternative.

The red pin award for a keeper of an winter fun idea! these would make great gifts along with a mason jar of cocoa mix!

Happy pinning!