Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dollar Tree Custom Candleholders

I like to have pretty matching candles for all of my table settings. I also like to make something useful out of a Dollar Tree find. I was able to do both for this table setting in my dining room. I have done this project before with a smaller candleholder here. I found a great tablecloth with 8 matching napkins on sale at World Market. It has a beautiful, brightly colored print on it. I happened to have different shades of tissue paper that matched the colors in my tablecloth. I bought 5 of the thick square holders at the Dollar Tree. This project was easy and it took only a few minutes to do.

You will need:
Elmer's or Alene's Tacky Glue
tissue paper
glass candleholders

Tear the tissue into small pieces. Reserve the edges for the tops of the holders. The straight edge looks better. I've mentioned the World Market tissue paper before. It's really pretty because it has fibers in it that show when the candle is lit. It looks like handmade paper. No, I don't work for World Market. I should, though. If you don't have a World Market in your area, here is a link to buy the tissue paper. It's called Mulberry Tissue and it comes in 2 colors per pack.

Paint the glue onto the container with a paintbrush. Dilute the paint with water if it's thick.

Add the strips of tissue, one overlapping another, until it is covered. You can see the upper edge of it in this picture and how nice it looks to not be ragged on the top.

I really like how they turned out. Definitely not like I bought them at the Dollar Tree.

I love candlelight. So cozy and peaceful.

These would be great as gifts, too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pretzel Candy

This is a very quick and easy candy recipe that Amby told me about. Different versions of it can be found all over Pinterest. You will need pretzels, Rolos, and M&M's.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. Lay out the pretzels and place a Rolo on top of each one.

Bake at 350 for 1-2 minutes. This is just to get the Rolos slightly melted. Lightly press an M&M into each one. I used peanut M&M's but you can use your favorite.

Chill until hardened. These are very tasty and really cute for a party.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Super Creepy Halloween Crackers

We had a Halloween lunch at work the other day, and I wanted to make some special treats for my friends. I decided to make personalized Halloween crackers filled with candy. The full tutorial with measurements, etc, can be found here.

I realized that I didn't have any Halloween scrapbook paper, so I searched online and found a great website from the UK called Activity Village. They had some very fun patterns.

I printed the paper onto 8 1/2 x 11 white card stock. You can cut two from each page.

I organized my candy so that everyone got the same amount.

I made personalized labels with a very scary font that I found on I also added spooky eyes.

And, voila! A basket full of super creepy treats.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mossy Pumpkin Wreath

(Sorry I have been away from here for so long! I've been busy with work, family, and other various doodads. I have several ideas just waiting in the wings, and I should be able to get them posted over the next several days.)

Autumn is such cozy time of year and I love to decorate for it. I wanted to do a wreath for my back porch door and I found a picture of a beautiful one on Pinterest. There was no tutorial for it, so I had to improvise. It turned out to be really fun, although it was a bit time-consuming.

The supplies you will need are:
styrofoam wreath, preferably green, not white like mine
green paint (if your wreath turns out to be white like mine)
2 large bags of moss
about 5 small pumpkins
hot glue gun
long strip of burlap
Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer

As I mentioned, my wreath was white, so I had to paint it. Mossy green spray paint would have been an ideal choice, but all I had were various shades of green acrylic paint, which I mixed together.

Oddly enough, it worked.

I painted it on the wreath and it took a couple of hours to dry. You don't have to cover it perfectly.

Once the paint is dry, you can glue the moss onto the wreath a piece at a time. I tore some of it to fit. I don't have a photo of this step. Sorry. It's probably because I was too busy burning my fingers.

Once the moss is on the wreath, glue the pumpkins on. Make sure you use lots of glue. After I glued them on, I interspersed bits of moss between the pumpkins and glued that in as well. You will be able to see that in the last photo. Spray with acrylic sealer. The moss will shed if you don't.

I tied on the burlap strip as a hanger and hung it on my door.

I recommend this project! It was fun to do and I loved the result.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Western Skillet Eggs

This is a recipe that I found in the Food Network Magazine, the October 2010 issue. I followed it fairly closely, but did a slightly reduced version with 5 instead of 8 eggs. I also used onion instead of shallots, I didn't use parsley, and I added fresh rosemary. It was delicious. Perfect for a weekend breakfast.
Western Skillet Eggs

1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 large green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 pound thinly sliced ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 slices sourdough bread, torn into pieces (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping
8 large eggs

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Whisk the half-and-half, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a small bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until just softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers; cook until the peppers are soft and the shallots are golden, 5 to 6 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, ham, bread, parsley and 1/4 cup water and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove from the heat.

Make 8 evenly spaced indentations in the bread mixture with the bottom of a ladle or small measuring cup. Crack an egg into each indentation. Slowly pour the half-and-half mixture over the eggs. Bake, rotating the skillet a few times, until the whites are set, about 15 minutes. Top with parsley.

Assemble your ingredients.

Saute in an oven-proof skillet.

Make indentations for the eggs.

Crack an egg into each indentation.

Carefully pour 1/2 and 1/2 over the eggs and other ingredients.

Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how set you want the eggs to be.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Melinda's Annual Pumpkin Party!

It's that time again! Melinda is hosting another pumpkin party! She has the best, most beautiful pumpkins I have ever seen. Her party this year is Saturday, September 24 from 11-2.

Come for a relaxing day with beautiful scenery.

477 Lake Road (Chandler Mountain)
Steele, Al

Directions: From Bham, take I-59 N to the Steele Exit.
At the exit, turn left. Go 1/4 mile to Hwy 11.
Turn left and go 1/4 mile to County Road 42 (Chandler Mountain Road). Turn right.
This will take you up Chandler Mountain. As you top the mountain, look for Chandler Mountain Baptist Church on your right. Take the third paved road past the church, which is Lake Road. Turn right onto Lake Road. The Smith house is the 3rd house on the left.

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Coconut Macaroon

I love coconut macaroons. To me, the perfect macaroon is chewy on the outside and moist on the inside. The best ones I've ever eaten were in San Francisco. Despite my ardent fondness for them, I'd never tried to make them before.

I found this coconut macaroon mix at World Market the other day. I was impressed with the fact that it was made from ALL NATURAL ingredients. You simply add water and egg whites. It couldn't be easier.

Beat the egg whites and water with an electric mixer.

Pour into a medium bowl with the macaroon mix and beat until moistened.

Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake according to the directions. I baked mine baked at 325° for about 20 minutes.

Until they were golden brown. Mmmmm.

They were delicious! Moist on the inside and chewy on the outside. I highly recommend this mix if you are a fan of the macaroon.

Though I wouldn't mind a trip back to San Francisco...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cheesecake in a Jar

These individual cheesecakes are really fun to make and absolutely delicious. This recipe came from i am baker, which is an adorable blog, and different versions of it can also be found at several other sites if you want to google it. It is similar to the Pies Baked in a Jar post that I did, but easier because you don't have to bake it. I had never made a no-bake cheesecake before, but it is definitely the way to go with these. These would make great party favors or teacher gifts, and would be perfect for a picnic.

Cheesecake in a Jar

12- half pint ball jars
1 - 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cups melted butter
6 tbsp sugar
3- 8 oz. packages cream cheese softened
3- 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling

Yield: 12

I used these really cute, squatty, half-pint Ball jars. I found them at Winn Dixie. You can use whatever size and shape you want.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar in a medium bowl.

Make sure your jars are clean and dry.

Place about 2 tbsp crumbs into each jar.

Lightly press into the bottoms of the jars, as Zac so expertly demonstrates.

Beat softened cream cheese and condensed milk. Add vanilla.

Spoon dollops of the cream cheese mixture into the jars.

Top with the cherry pie filling. I used only one can of it, but I left 3 of the cheesecakes without topping for those who might prefer theirs unadorned. If you like a lot of cherries, you might want to get 2 cans.

This is how they looked. I didn't go above the rim with the filling and topping.

Chill for several hours or overnight.

Oh my gosh. They are so good, and so cute.

They stack and travel well, too.

They were the finishing touch to lunch I took today for some very sweet folks at the Christian Service Mission. They have been tirelessly working since the tornadoes struck Birmingham. A big thanks to them and to all of their volunteers!