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28 Mar 12:00

Harper's "It Started With Fabric" Nursery — My Room

by Carrie McBride

I kind of love the circular crib

Name: Harper (1 month)
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Long before Daniel and I even knew were going to have a child, we found and fell in love with a cotton fabric adorned with woodland creatures and foliage, so we bought 2.5 yards of it to have on hand just in case. A year and a half later that fabric became the inspiration for Harper's colourful nursery.


16 Mar 11:55

baby proof: breastfeeding.

by erin

True true true words

baby proof: breastfeeding | reading my tea leavesIt's taken me nearly 10 months to write this post. Everytime I sat down to write about breastfeeding, I would stop.

There would be voices in my head telling me that no one wanted to hear another sappy story about a woman nursing her child. There were voices telling me that a post about breastfeeding would come across as insensitive to the people who don't or can't breastfeed. What about the new babies who have two dads? Surely, the world doesn't need another post proclaiming the health benefits of breastfeeding. This isn't a post meant to convince you that what you're doing with your baby is anything but fine.

But if I've learned anything since becoming a mother, it's that the world doesn't  have enough talk about breastfeeding. Or natural childbirth. Or postpartum recovery. Or child-rearing generally. At the same time that we're utterly bombarded with "mom" articles, I've found myself wanting more. So I'm writing.

There are days when I think of breastfeeding as my superpower. My impossibly tiny boobs are feeding a human being. I am purely mammal: a blue whale, a leopard, a kangaroo. Improbably pumping out a magical, nourishing elixir for my own human animal. It's staggering.

But there are other days when breastfeeding feels like a burden. I can't wear half the dresses in my closet. I had to wear breast pads for at least five months and still, when I nurse in the middle of the night, whatever boob isn't being suckled spurts milk. I have leaked through my clothes in public. I have rushed home to pump with aching breasts.

I have cried when I couldn't pump enough milk to fill a bottle. I have sat strapped to my electric breast pump wailing against the inborn patriarchy that means that I have to be the one to nourish our child.

I have cried because I can't think of a single thing sweeter than the tiny hand of my daughter reaching back to play with her hair while she nurses. Or the way that she stretches her fingers to touch my lips when I look down at her. Or the way that her lips crack into a smile and she can't continue nursing because her grin is too wide, laughing at her own private joke.

I've wept because I can't wait to stop nursing. And I've wept because eventually I will.

In the first days of breastfeeding, the physical transformation was mind-boggling. My breasts were so engorged that I couldn't put my arms down, like a bodybuilder whose bulging muscles keep his arms permanently lifted away from his sides. My nipples were tender. My armpits were lumpy. I texted friends for advice. I bawled to my sister who hopped on a subway bearing nipple butter and a breast pump. I drank cup after cup of tea to help with my milk production and fortify my spirits.

But eventually Faye learned to nurse and I learned to nurse her. Together we made it happen. The misery lasted for two whole days, which is not very many days. The slight discomfort for just a few weeks, which is not very many weeks. I'll get to nurse this baby for a year or two, which is not very many years.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, all blessings are mixed blessings. But they're blessings all the same.

This post was sponsored by Traditional Medicinals, whose Mother's Milk and Mother's Milk Shatavari Cardamom teas I've enjoyed regularly as a part of my breastfeeding routine. Thank you for supporting the thoughtful, sustainable companies that support this blog.

Photo by James.
04 Mar 20:05

Gem Mirror DIY (+ Easy Glass Cutting Technique!)

by A Beautiful Mess

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)If you saw this post and thought, "Whoa, that looks great! I should make that! Wait, glass cutting? I'm out!" then you probably aren't alone. I had wanted to try mirror cutting for a while now, but just the sound of it gave me the shivers. I think I have a mild case of aichmophobia with some materials (the irrational fear of sharp objects), so the thought of trying to break a mirror into several pointed edges sounded less than ideal. However, life is for facing and conquering your fears, right? I looked up a few tutorials on the technique, and I was shocked at what I found—it looked so easy to do. Of course, I was skeptical that they were just making it look easier than it was, but I asked Josh about it and he said that he had done it before and assured me that, yes, it was in fact that easy. Sweet! I'd been wanting to make a gem mirror for a while, and I thought this would be the perfect technique to learn in order to achieve that goal. Let's do it!

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-glass cutter tool*
-mirror (we used this one)
-metal ruler + marker
-gloves and safety glasses
gem line drawing and cutting guide (right click to download)
-fine grade sandpaper
-contact paper
-X-Acto knife
-gold spray paint
-clear spray paint

*Note: Most of these glass cutter tools come with an area in the top where you can put oil that runs down to the blade, but you don't really need the oil to score the glass. The oil helps keep the blade sharp longer, but you can still cut just the same without it.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)To make your octagon gem shape, first you'll want to cut your mirror into a square. Use a metal ruler and marker to measure out and draw a square the size of your desired finished width onto the mirror (don't worry about the marker, glass cleaner will take it right off). Position your glass cutting tool on your line and place your metal ruler up against the cutting wheel. Use your glass cutter tool to score a line into the mirror that runs the entire length of the mirror (make sure to keep your tool right up against the ruler as you score). You want to firmly score the line in one single pass, so don't go over your line again once you've scored it. You are basically cutting off the entire chunk of mirror that is to the left (or right) of your marked square line. It basically feels the same as cutting with an X-Acto knife. And if you worried it will make a "nails on a chalkboard" sound as you score the glass, don't worry. It hardly makes any noise at all.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Once your line is scored, scoot the mirror to the edge of the table and line up the scored line with the edge. In one swift motion, push down on the piece you are breaking off and it will snap at the scored line leaving a clean break between the two. It's a bit scary to actually go through with the breaking part because your brain is convinced that the mirror will shatter as soon as you press down. But once you do go through with it, the mirror only makes a tiny snapping sound and you feel a bit silly for building it up so much in your mind.

You'll want to wear gloves and eye protection for this step just to be extra careful, but Josh is a bit of a daredevil as you can see, so he skipped the gloves part. I still felt a little nervous at this point, so I wore really thick leather gloves just to be safe when I did my pieces. 

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Once your four sides are snapped and you have a square, measure, mark, score, and snap off the corners of the square to get your final octagon shape. Clean the lines off the mirror with glass cleaner.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Now that we have our shape, let's create our gem lines! Cover the whole front of your mirror with contact paper. Use this handy dandy line making and cutting guide that Josh made for you (right click to download) to draw and cut the lines of your gem with your marker and then X-Acto knife. It looks complicated, but just draw and then cut all the lines in the order he has shown. It's a lot easier than you'd think. You can make your lines as thick or as thin as you want depending on the overall size of your mirror, but ours are about 1/4" thick. So we cut 1/8" on either side of the lines. Peel off all the lines to expose the mirror underneath.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Before painting, use a fine grade sandpaper to lightly sand the edges of your mirror in case there are any sharp spots.

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Spray your mirror with a few coats of  gold spray paint and top it off with a clear coat spray. Use the X-Acto knife to lift up the corners of your contact paper shapes and peel off each piece. I love this part of projects like this. There's something so satisfying about peeling off each square to reveal the design, isn't there? Once all the contact paper has been removed, you're done!

Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)Gem Mirror DIY + Easy Mirror Cutting Technique (click through for tutorial)You can either set the mirror on a ledge or shelf like I did, or you can get mirror clips to install the mirror on a wall. I suggested using the clear coat on top of the gold so you can clean your mirror with glass cleaner as needed, but depending on the paint you use, it may not be necessary (test an area with your chosen paint on a scrap piece of mirror to find out first).

This is the same process you would use to cut clear glass as well, so it's great to have another DIY tool under my belt that I can use without being afraid. I think the final result of our mirror is adorable and looks totally profesh! It would also be fun to do with colored gem lines or make a group hanging with a few different shaped gems (like with an emerald shape and a radiant cut). Think you'll have the courage now to try glass cutting? If I can do it, you can too! xo. Laura (+ Josh)

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman and Josh Rhodes, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection.

26 Feb 16:48

the ‘i want chocolate cake’ cake

by deb

the 'i want chocolate cake' cake

About six weeks ago, around 9 p.m. on a day I had consumed mostly air and maybe a slice of toast because I couldn’t for the life of me imagine how food had ever tasted good, without any warning, I wanted a slice of chocolate cake with swirls of chocolate frosting and probably some sprinkles and the sprinkles, so help them, better be rainbow. Except the word “wanted” doesn’t accurately describe the craving; it was suddenly everything. I needed a piece of chocolate cake so badly that I began to regret every cupcake shop I’d ever walked past and not gone in during the height of the mid-aughts cupcake craze. I regretted not licking every beater of chocolate buttercream that had ever crossed my path when I worked at a bakery in high school. And I regretted that when I asked my husband why we didn’t have any chocolate cake, he said “because you haven’t made any?” He was correct — I’d made them dinner, instead — and the great unraveling of all that had once been right and good but failed to lead me to chocolate cake continued.

... Read the rest of the ‘i want chocolate cake’ cake on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to the ‘i want chocolate cake’ cake | 331 comments to date | see more: Cake, Chocolate, Everyday Cakes, Photo

23 Feb 17:00

spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs

by deb

spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs

Several years ago, because we didn’t have a kid yet, didn’t know about things like school break schedules and figured midway through February was as good of a time to escape the snow as any, we decided to get away to someplace warm and winter-free during Presidents’ Day week. We found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a beach resort that had to have easily been 75% children, and the kind that were at that time my worst nightmare of what kids could be [insert yours here, then multiply it as far as you can see] and we decided to both never have kids and never ever go away on Presidents’ Week again.

... Read the rest of spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs | 150 comments to date | see more: Budget, Eggs, Italian, Photo, Put An Egg On It, Quick, Vegetarian

11 Feb 20:01

Make Real Silver Jewelry with Metal Clay!

by A Beautiful Mess

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)           Since I've been doing art and craft projects since I was a kid with my art teacher Mom, there aren't that many areas I've never dabbled in at all, but this project was a totally new challenge for me. Emma mentioned that she had learned about this clay that you shape and dry, and once it's fired, it turns into pure silver! It sounded crazy, but the more we looked into it, we realized it was true. The clay is made of silver particles, organic binders, and water, so when you fire the piece, the organic binders and the water burn off, and you are left with a piece that is 99.9% pure silver. Awesome!

The other great thing about this clay is that if you've heard anything about metal clay before, you may have thought that you had to have a kiln to work with the material, but you actually don't need one. They make metal clay that has a low enough firing point that you can actually just use a butane torch (the same thing you would make creme brûlée with) to fire the piece instead. As long as the piece is smaller than a silver dollar in size, you can use the torch and that change makes the project much more accessible.  

I love the idea of making jewelry with a fingerprint of someone you love, and having a husband that travels a lot makes the idea extra special to me. I thought I could make two fingerprint necklaces (one with his print and one with mine) so it's like having a piece of each other near our hearts on a daily basis. Love it!

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)Supplies:
-Art Clay Silver 650 (low fire)
-polishing papers
-small piece of plexiglass (check your local home improvement store)
-card stock paper or playing cards
-acrylic roller
-small circle cookie cutter slightly bigger than the size pendant you want (I used the smallest circle in this pack. It's a little less than 1" wide)*
-firing block
-small butane torch 
-wire brush
-fine grade sandpaper
-small spray bottle for water
-plastic clay knives
-agate burnisher (optional)

They also make these Art Clay starter kits that come with a bunch of the above items, so it may be a better deal to get a kit depending on what you need. 

*The clay will shrink 8-10% once it's fired, so pick a circle that's a bit bigger than the size you're going for.

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial) First you'll want to set up your station to roll out the clay. Metal clay starts to dry as soon as you expose it to air, so get everything ready to go before you take it out of the package. You can use pieces of card stock or playing cards stacked next to each other with about 1 1/2" in between them to keep the thickness of your piece consistent. I used 4 pieces of card stock on each side, and I would suggest a thickness of 4-5 cards for this project. Secure your cards to the plexiglass with a few pieces of tape and unwrap your metal clay. You can coat your fingers in a very thin layer of olive oil so the clay doesn't stick to your fingers, but the clay does wash off hands easily. Place your clay on the plexiglass between the card stacks and use your acrylic roller to roll out the clay the thickness of the cards. 

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)  Once rolled out, take your thumb and press it into the clay starting on the left side of your thumb and roll your thumb to the right (like if you were making a fingerprint with ink). You want to press hard enough to get a good impression of your thumb, but not so hard that you smooch all the clay to one side or the other. If you think you pressed too hard or too light, simply scrape up the clay with a clay knife, knead it gently, roll it out, and try it again. If the clay starts to dry before you get a good print, lightly mist the clay with water from a spray bottle and it should knead back into a soft state. I did notice that no matter how hard I pressed, I could never get quite the definition of Todd's fingerprint, so maybe he's just way stronger than I am (totally true) or he has more defined fingerprint lines.

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)   Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)     Once you have a good thumbprint, place your circle cookie cutter over the part of the print you want to become your pendant and press down. Keeping the cutter in place, use a clay knife to scoop up the rest of the clay around the cutter and place that clay immediately into plastic wrap and then into a plastic bag with a damp paper towel at the bottom for storage. Keep the bag in a dry, dark place, and it should stay good until you want to use it again.

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)     Remove the circle cutter and use a toothpick or a small straw to make a hole for your jump ring once the piece is finished. Allow the clay to fully air dry for 24 hours.

Once the clay is completely dry, you should be able to pick up your piece and sand down any edges that are uneven or sticking up with a fine grit sandpaper (like a 220 grit) or the fine side of an emery board. 

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)         In a dimly lit room, place your piece on the firing block and use your butane torch to fire your clay (obviously this photo above is not a dimly lit room, but I wanted to show you the angle and proximity of the torch to the clay). You'll want to hold your torch about 2" away from the clay at a 45° angle and move the torch around the clay in a constant motion to heat the piece evenly (don't settle the heat on any one spot for too long). At first, you may not see anything happen, but keep going and the piece should begin to smoke a bit or even catch on fire. Don't worry, that just means the organic binders are beginning to burn off. Keep moving the flame around the piece until you see the piece begin to glow a peach color. This is why you want to fire the piece in a dim room if possible as it's easier to see the peach glow in a dim space.

Once you see the peach color, you'll want to keep time of how long you continue to fire while you adjust the proximity of the flame to maintain the peach glow. A weight of 5 grams only requires 1-1.5 minutes and 6-15 grams needs 1.5-2 minutes, but since I didn't know the exact weight of my piece (and you can't really fire it too long), I kept the peach glow for at least 2 minutes just to be safe. Once time is up, turn the torch off and allow the piece to completely cool. The piece should be coated in a white layer at this point.

(If you're like me and you want to have a visual walkthrough of the firing process, this is a great video to see what it should look like as it's happening.)

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)          Drop the cooled piece in water and use the wire brush to brush off the white outer layer. Dry with a cloth. Then use the polishing cloths to polish your piece (starting with the coarsest and working down to the finest). Dip the polishing cloth in water and polish in one direction only (like only in strokes from left to right). To get a mirror shine, rub an agate burnisher all over the piece for an extra professional look. If you want to add a dark patina to your piece to highlight the sunken lines of the fingerprint, you can use a bath of liver of sulfur before you polish the piece.

Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)            Have to do this! Use metal clay at home to make a pure silver fingerprint pendant necklace (click through for tutorial)           At first I was skeptical about this process because it seemed so technical, but now that I've done it a few times, I'm totally obsessed! Also, the process is a lot more forgiving than I thought it would be, so I was happy that I didn't have to feel stressed to do everything totally perfect.

It's so special to have matching necklaces with each other's prints, and I know for sure that I will be wearing this necklace a ton when he's gone. You can do this process on a bigger or smaller scale and make charms or key chain pendant gifts with meaningful fingerprints. Of course, I love making jewelry and learning new crafting skills regardless of the sentimental level, but when it's a project that also pulls a bit at your heartstrings, well, that makes it extra special if you ask me...xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman, Todd Gummerman, and Elsie Larson. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection

23 Feb 20:26

Colorblocked Scratching Post DIY

by A Beautiful Mess

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)           If you have a cat (or two!) and have ever roamed the pet store aisles looking for a good scratching post, then you probably already know about my personal anguish. Our cat Mac has taken to occasionally scratching on a few rugs and chairs that I would rather keep "unshredded", so I thought we should get him a post so he can direct his scratching instinct in a more positive direction. The problem with cat scratching posts is that most of them are pretty, well, boringly hideous. I mean, if I want a piece of furniture that's going to stand out in my house, I want it to be a cool vintage chair or plant stand, not a dull-looking scratching post. Thankfully, what's a girl to do when she can't find what she wants already made? You guessed it, DIY to the rescue!

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)              We’re happy to be working with Fancy Feast, who just launched their Broths with Chicken (you can see Mac is loving it!). It's part of their #WaysToWow campaign, sharing tips to wow our furry little buddies. As part of our partnership, Fancy Feast is making an additional donation to Humane America Animal Foundation (behind, who helps homeless pets get out of shelters and into loving homes. It's in conjunction with the brand's history of raising awareness about shelter animals.

You may already know, but I have a pretty big heart for the humane society and pet adoption. I adopted our first kitty Charlie over three years ago, and we loved her so much that we adopted a little brother named Mac for her a year ago. Since I have a husband that is on the road touring a lot for his musician job, it can be really lonely when he's out of town, and I have to say that the loneliness was really getting me down. As soon as I got sweet Charlie though, it was a million times more fun to be home alone and so comforting just to have another heartbeat around the house. Mac's playful spirit (and constant willingness to cuddle) has brought even more joy, and I always tell people that I feel like they rescued me instead of the other way around. I love those furry babies so much. 

-18" round wood circle
-4x4 wooden fence post (about 20" tall)
-drill and long wood screws
-white 4x4" post cap
-white paint
-150 ft of 1/4" nylon rope*
-pink and yellow dye
-bucket and salt (to dye the rope)
-staple gun (or hammer and small nails)
-white and pink (or white and yellow) electrical tape

*It seems like sisal rope is actually the rope of choice for scratching posts (I think it holds up to long-term scratching better), but it looked like I could get a brighter dye color and a whiter white with the nylon rope instead. Either rope works though and the sisal can be dyed as well.

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)           So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)           So, the first thing you'll want to do is attach your post to your round platform. Find the middle of your platform, place the post in the middle, and use a pencil to trace around the edges of the post so you can see where to put the screws. Use a drill bit that's slightly smaller than your wood screws and drill four holes within your marked square that go all the way through to the other side of the platform. Flip the platform over and line up your traced square to be on top of your post (so basically your whole scratching post should be sitting upside down). Since you pre-drilled your holes all the way through the wood, you should be able to see where to screw in your four wood screws from the underside to secure the platform to the pole. (Get someone to help hold it in place if you need to while you drill. It's a bit awkward to hold yourself) Flip the scratching post right side up when you're done and paint the bottom platform with a few coats of white paint.


So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)           To dye your rope, you'll want to get a bottle of dye for each of your colors (I chose pink and yellow). Since I wanted three colors of rope to color block with, I dyed 50 ft pink, 50 ft yellow, and left 50 ft white. Fill a large bucket halfway with hot water and add 1/3 cup of salt to the water (the salt helps to set the dye). Mix in your first dye color and stir. You can control the color you want by adding more dye, more water, or simply leaving the rope in for longer or shorter amounts of time (I did one full bottle of color and left the rope in for 30 minutes). Just keep checking the rope to see how it's progressing and leave it in longer or add more dye if you want a darker color. When you are happy with the color, pour out the dye and rinse the rope in cool water until the color runs clear. You'll really want to rinse the rope until all excess dye is removed so you don't end up with dye on your kitties' paws. If you would rather not use a manufactured dye, you can also look into some natural dye options as well, but if you rinse the rope really well, the dye shouldn't transfer from the rope.

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)   Once your rope is rinsed, hang it up or place it on a cookie sheet in a big pan to air dry.

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)   After the rope has dried, take your white rope and staple gun the end to the bottom of the post. (You could also use small nails instead of a staple gun.) Wrap the rope around the post as tightly as you can, pushing down on the rows every so often to make sure they are packed tightly together. 

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)   When it comes time to change colors, cut your white rope, take your white electrical tape and connect the end of the white rope to the beginning of your pink rope. The trick with electrical tape is that you want to pull on it and stretch it while you wrap it—that's what makes it really secure. Continue to wrap your pink rope around the pole and repeat the process of joining ropes again with the pink or yellow electrical tape when you switch to yellow rope, and again with the white tape when you switch back to the white rope to finish the pole. Remember to wrap tightly and push down on the rows every so often. 

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)   To finish your rope wrapping, cut your rope and secure the end with electrical tape. Use your staple gun to secure the rope end onto the pole. Glue your post cap onto the top of your post (I just used a simple epoxy glue to secure mine), and you're ready to show kitty the new scratching post!

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)             So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)          So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)            I rubbed some catnip onto the sides of the post and brought Mac in to check it out. I did a few scratching motions myself on the post and it didn't take him very long to give it a try himself! If your cats aren't already using a scratching post, you may need a few tips to get them used to using the new scratching routine (check out this post for ideas). And man, I still really love those junk food cat toys I made recently and they still play with them everyday...

I have to say, I was a little worried that a cute scratching post might not be possible, but I'm so pleased with how this came out! Since the colors and feel of the post match the rest of our home aesthetic, it really blends in with the rest of the room and doesn't awkwardly stand out (and of course you can change the dye colors to match whatever your home colors are). It's cute, functional, and the kitties love it. So I would say it's a win for everyone! xo. Laura

 Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

24 Feb 14:17

Pom Pom Wall Hanging

by A Beautiful Mess

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Wall hangings are the décor de jour for bohemian, flower children these days. I can't say that I'm much of a hippie, but I can appreciate a little textile art in my home. I thought I'd put a bit of a refined, though simple, spin on a wall hanging that would add a pretty, delicate touch to any home.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Supplies:    
-handmade pom poms with tails still attached (check out this post to learn how to make them with scissors and a fork)
-yarn (I used a delicate pom pom yarn for added texture)
-sharp scissors
-lace ribbon in length and style of your choice
-wooden dowel 2" longer than your length of lace
-embroidery needle (not pictured)

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Step One: Loop the plain yarn through the lace and around the wooden dowel. An embroidery or darning needle is helpful for this. Leave a long tail for the next step. If you run out of yarn, knot another length of yarn to your remaining strand and tuck the tail into the looped yarn using the embroidery needle.

Step Two: Knot the ends of the looped yarns to secure them in place around the wooden dowel. Then use the tail of the yarn to create a string for hanging. Knot it in place and tuck the ends of the knot into the yarn-wrapped dowel using the embroidery needle.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Step Three: Tie lengths of yarn through the openings in the bottom of the lace ribbon. Knot them tightly into place and trim off the excess yarn. Don't worry about keeping the lengths the same—the total length can be trimmed later.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Step Four: Use the tails of your pom poms to tie them onto your hanging yarns, creating a pattern or even trailing randomly.

Step Five: When your pom poms are arranged how you wish, knot them into place and trim off the tails.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!This wall hanging is a relatively easy way to get a large scale wall hanging for your home, and there are so many ways to customize the design and size. Change up the yarn, lace, and pom pom size and arrangements, and you can make something unique to you! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

02 Feb 16:54

charred cauliflower quesadillas

by deb

charred cauliflower quesadillas

Last week* I mentioned that we’d been on a big breakfast-for-dinner spree this winter, less out of a noble desire for inexpensive, balanced, wholesome meals and more because scrambling eggs at the last minute allows us to go all the way to 15 minutes before dinner to come up with an idea for it, which is meal-planning equivalent of the heavens opening up and glorifying all of my late-afternoon lethargy at last.

scallions, poblano, lime, cheese, cauliflower, "cilantro"
give it an extra chop once cooked

The other kick we’ve been on since the beginning of the year is passing off anything we can put in, on, or near a tortilla as dinner, leading to a steady rotation our go-to fajitas, beef tacos, black bean tacos and, in a mash-up of both the breakfast and tortilla benders, scrambled egg tacos. Many of you asked “how” I got my son to eat such foods as scrambled eggs and tacos, and while I’m tempted to take credit for it (“it’s the rainbow of local organic produce and definitely not the daily succession of pb&j sandwiches I ate while he was in the womb!”) it would be dishonest when it’s been more due to random outside influences. The grandmother of one of my son’s classmates brought in warm — warm! freshly cooked! how I long to be a kindergartener most days! — quesadillas for snack a few weeks ago, and it’s all he’s talked about since. Plus, since it fit into our all-tortillas-all-the-time meal plan, I set about finding a way to pass it off as dinner.

what you'll need + lazy slaw, if you please

... Read the rest of charred cauliflower quesadillas on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to charred cauliflower quesadillas | 110 comments to date | see more: Cauliflower, Peppers, Photo, Sandwich, Tex-Mex, Vegetarian

18 Nov 06:47

cubano breakfast bagel

by kickpleat

GTFO this looks amazing

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

Oh my gawd. I posted about a sandwich! On a blog that people seem to mistakenly believe is about sandwiches (hmmmm, I wonder why that is……?). Whatever. This bagel sandwich is freaking amazing.

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

First you start with the best bagels in town. My husband is actually the bagel snob in the household, so we buy Montreal style bagels from Seigel’s Bagels that we pick up at our local food co-op. They’re chewy and all that a bagel should be without the return airfare to Montreal. A cuban sandwich is traditionally made with both ham and roast pork, so that’s what we’ve got here. The ham is finely sliced from our local deli. If I needed some quick roast pork, I’d request a hundred grams or so from the deli counter too. But I was in luck to have leftover roast pork on hand. It was a spicy asian flavoured pork loin, but it worked out well.

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

Cheese is a must. Not only does it add to the gooey, deliciousness it acts as the glue that helps to hold this behemoth sandwich together. Cucumbers and pickles add cool crunch and interest. Cucumbers aren’t traditional, but I like that they add a freshness to every bite. Mayo and dijon lube it up just right.

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

And then there’s the egg. The egg is a must! See it splooge all its tasty goodness! That means it’s perfect. Breakfast decadence because you know it’s a good breakfast when you need to lick your fingers.

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

As you can tell from the photos, we’re eating outside. Which means that it clearly isn’t mid-November. I took this back in September when the weather was warm and the sun was strong and sitting outside for breakfast was a thing we did. This is a nice reminder to warmer days and a good kick in the butt to make this again soon.

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

The weather now is snappy and cold. The skies are bright and crisp and there’s frost on the ground. The holidays are coming up fast which means that things are getting busy in my etsy shop. I’d like to extend some happy savings and offer all my readers 15% off all orders! I have lots of new holiday cards, cute cat notepads, art prints & gift tags and so much more! Just use the code BAGEL at checkout for 15% your order (but hurry, it expires November 23rd!).

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

It’s not a complicated sandwich, but it’s full of components. So to make things go smoothly, have everything at the ready before you begin. I made two sandwiches as easily as one, so making more would be a snap.

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

cubano breakfast bagel
This combination of leftover pork tenderloin, deli black forest ham, fresh crunchy cucumbers, melted cheese, pickles, raw onion and a runny egg on a chewy Montreal-style bagel made for the BEST breakfast I’ve eaten in a long while. It’s messy, it’s full of flavour and it would be delicious any time of day.

1 bagel, sliced
dijon mustard
2 thin slices of deli ham
2-3 slices of roast pork (deli or leftover tenderloin)
1-2 thin slices of cheese (cheddar, provolone or swiss is tasty)
4 thin slices cucumber
1-2 slices of pickle
a few thin slices of red onion
1 fried egg (sunny side up, preferred)

Turn on your oven’s broiler.

Toast your bagel. Spread one side with mayonnaise and the other side with dijon mustard. Top one side with ham, roasted red pepper and a slice of cheese. Top the other half with roast pork and onion.

Place on a baking sheet and pop under the broiler until the cheese melts, just a few minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. As soon as the bagel goes under the broiler, fry your egg in butter and season it with salt and pepper, sunny side up. The yolk should still be a little bit runny – sludgy and creamy is how I like it.

Top the roast pork/red onion side of the bagel with cucumbers and pickles. Top with the fried egg and place the other half on top. Chomp. Chomp.

Makes 1 cubano breakfast bagel sandwich but please repeat as desired.

cubano breakfast bagel | everybody likes sandwiches

21 Jan 14:25

Funfetti Buttermilk Birthday Cake

by A Beautiful Mess

Buttermilk Funfetti Cake (via's my birthday today, guys! I shared my birthday cake with you last year, so I thought, why not continue the tradition. I also mentioned in that post last year that I was working on cooking my way through a cookbook. I did not make it all the way through in a year as I had hoped. But, I did make it pretty far and learned a TON during the process. 

One thing I worked on a lot last year was different kinds of frostings. I actually don't bake cakes all that often as they are a lot of work, and you really don't want too many cakes sitting in eating distance of you if you can help it. I have a real problem with saying no to sweets, if you can't tell. 

Buttermilk Funfetti Cake (via Anyway, through all that frosting research, I found a few new favorites. Turns out I am a pretty big fan of Swiss meringue buttercream. It's amazing and also super rich. Which I say, if you're celebrating, why not? Just don't make it every week. Which I would never do because it's actually a fairly difficult frosting to make. But I have a trick I learned (that I'll share with you) that makes even the most lumpy Swiss meringue come out smooth every time.

I also decided on a funfetti cake this year. I can't really explain why. It just sounded good to me. Oh—and yes, I decorated it with Trix. I'm 29 today, guys. If I want to decorate my birthday cake with kid's cereal, I can!

Best homemade funfetti cake recipeFunfetti Buttermilk Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, makes one.
Recipe lightly adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

For the cake:
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 3/4 to 2 ounces rainbow jimmies

In a bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt. Give that a good whisk to combine and remove any clumps from the cake flour. Set aside.

In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the eggs two at a time, stirring well in between. Then stir in the vanilla extract.

Now add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk. Stir until combined. Then add the remaining flour and buttermilk, and stir until combined. Last, stir in the jimmies. 

Add parchment paper to two round cake pans and butter the edges. Divide the batter into the two pans. Bake at 350°F for 30-32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans before removing to a cooling rack. You really want these cakes to be completely cooled before adding the frosting. You could even make these a day or two ahead, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator before assembling with frosting. 

Tips for making swiss buttercream frostingFor the frosting:
2 1/4 cups sugar
9 large egg whites (make crème brûlée from the yolks!)
3 cups softened (room temperature) butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a heat proof mixing bowl or glass bowl set over simmering water, whisk the sugar and egg whites for 2-3 minutes. We're looking to completely dissolve the sugar without cooking the eggs so our frosting with be smooth (and not grainy) in texture. You can check if your mixture is ready by rubbing a little bit between your fingers. You should not be able to feel any sugar granules. 

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium for 5 minutes (this allows the mixture to cool). Then increase the speed to high and beat for another 6-7 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter a tablespoon or two at a time while the mixer is running. You really want your butter to be at room temperature here so that it will more easily mix into the frosting. Once you've added all the butter, pour in the vanilla extract. Once you've added all the butter, if the frosting looks lumpy or cottage cheese like—don't freak out. This happens to me too, at least half the time I make Swiss meringue buttercream. 

Trick for "fixing" lumping Swiss meringue: Remove about 1/4 cup of the mixture from the mixing bowl. Microwave on high for a few seconds, just until melted. Then, with your mixer set to medium, add the liquid frosting to the lumpy frosting. Beat until smooth. 

This will make slightly more frosting than you may need, depending on how you decide to decorate your cake. But, better to have just a little too much than not enough. :)

How to fix grainy swiss buttercream frostingWhat's this poorly lit photo? Well, I wanted to show you how temperamental this buttercream can be. See the top of the cake, with the melted looking frosting? That's from having the candles lit for just a minute or two. This frosting is mostly butter, so it can melt or harden quickly depending what you do with it. So, keep that in mind. I find that making this just before I need it is usually the best way to go. You can store it in the refrigerator for a few days if you need or if you just won't have time to make it fresh before your party, but it can be difficult to get it back to room temperature so it's smooth and spreadable again. If you do store it, try my microwave trick again to get it smooth if you think that it's just not looking as good as the day you made it. 

Buttermilk Funfetti Cake (via  Thanks for letting me share my birthday cake with you all. Wish you had been in our office late last week and I could have handed you a piece. :) xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

12 Dec 18:05

an easy weekender: espresso and spice bundt cake

by kickpleat

espresso & spice coffee cake | everybody likes sandwiches

This is was an unexpected cake. We had just returned from a totally unplanned last minute 5 day trip to Los Angeles (which was amazing, by the way) and heading into the kitchen to bake was the last thing on my mind upon return. However, the in-laws wanted a Sunday afternoon visit and at the last minute I decided that I’d make a cake to go along with the afternoon coffee. Unfortunately, they cancelled, so that meant I had an entire bundt cake with no guests. My husband didn’t see a problem with this situation. Especially after he had a slice and then another and said it was the best cake he’d eaten in a long time. Well, it’s true. This is a very good cake.

espresso & spice coffee cake | everybody likes sandwiches

And it’s easy to whip up too. Which is great when you have Sunday afternoon visitors and maybe it’s even better when you don’t! Coffee cakes don’t usually contain coffee, they’re usually meant to be enjoyed along with a cup or two. But this cake has got a nicely bitter bite from some instant Italian espresso powder sprinkled inside and on top of the cake. There’s also a good amount of cinnamon, sugar and some dark chocolate chips too.

espresso & spice coffee cake | everybody likes sandwiches

My husband loved what he called the bitter crunchy stuff (aka the espresso chocolate sprinkles) while I loved the buttery, nutmeg-y crumb of the cake itself. Maybe because of all the freshly grated nutmeg that went into the batter, it reminded me of an old fashioned plain donut, which is my favourite donut in the whole world. Boring, maybe, but there’s something about nutmeg that I’m completely smitten with. The texture, however, is completely un-donut like. It’s not dense but super light instead – it provides a nice contrast to the crunch of the topping and the golden exterior.

espresso & spice coffee cake | everybody likes sandwiches

As we head into a new weekend, maybe you should give this coffee cake a try. It’s great with a late night cup of tea and maybe even better for breakfast with your morning coffee. If you’re in town, make sure you stop by Got Craft at the Maritime Labour Centre in East Van on Saturday and Sunday where I’ll be selling my cards, note pads, birthday calendars and prints. It’s my favourite local craft fair and I’d love to say hello and chat! But if you’re not a Vancouverite or can’t make it out, remember this cake. It’s a keeper.

Oh crumbs, I forgot to mention it, but I’d love it if you could “like” my photo on the Le Cruset Canada facebook page. It’s highly unlikely I’ll win the contest, but it would be nice to dream of a new set of Le Cruset’s new stainless steel cookware!

espresso & spice coffee cake | everybody likes sandwiches

espresso and spice bundt cake
I used instant Italian espresso but I think some finely ground espresso beans would also work, though you’d lose that texture that a freezer-dried instant coffee can provide.

2 c all-purpose flour
1 t freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 c plain yogurt
2 t vanilla extract

1/4 c sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T instant espresso powder
1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a bundt pan.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 1 minute until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the yogurt and the vanilla until combined. Slowly stir in half of the flour mixture and when that is combined, add in the rest. Batter will be very thick.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, espresso and chopped chocolate chips together.

Spoon half of the batter into the bundt pan and spread it out so that it lines the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle half of the espresso mixture over top the batter. Spoon on the remaining batter, spreading it out, and sprinkle the rest of the espresso mixture on top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean and the top of the cake is nice and golden. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing cake to fully cool on a rack.

24 Dec 14:00

Easy Patchwork Quilt DIY

by racheldenbow

Learn to make an easy patchwork lap quilt on today
Making your first quilt can feel a little intimidating, but I've got an easy tutorial with a simple patchwork pattern that will leave you feeling pretty proud of yourself when you're finished! This simple throw quilt is the perfect size for lounging on the couch or wrapping up in first thing on a chilly morning. Also, if you're working on handmade gifts this holiday season, this one will solidify your standing as the most thoughtful ever. 

Easy Beginner's QuiltSuppliesSupplies:
- one cut of fabric measuring 31" x 43" for the front
- five cuts of various fabric prints measuring 8" x 43" (you can have two of the same)
- one cut of fabric measuring 43" x 66" for the backing
- cotton batting measuring 43" x 66" (get this cut from the bolt instead of buying a prepackaged piece)
- embroidery thread 
- embroidery needle
- straight pins
- scissors
- rotary cutter and healing mat (optional)
- ruler
- iron and ironing board
- sewing machine and thread 

Note: I suggest prewashing all fabrics in warm water and on a medium tumble dry to preshrink everything. Then I suggest ironing your fabrics for the most smooth cuts and even lines.

Step OneStep One: Cut five strips that measure 8" x 43" if you haven't already. I cut these five strips out of four different fabrics so I had two of the same. You'll also want to cut one large piece that is about 31" x 43". These will make up the top side of your quilt once sewn together.

Lay Out FabricsThe trick to having your patchwork quilt look great is choosing fabrics with prints and colors that work well together. I suggest choosing between 5-6 different prints that work well together, and then making sure that if you're using the same fabric twice, those two pieces don't touch each other. I had mine arranged a certain way, and then realized I didn't want the two prints that were the same overlapping each other, so I rearranged them again. 

Lay your fabric down so that your big piece is in one corner and standing tall like a building. Then place two strips of fabric to the right of the big piece and the other three strips on top. This will be your pattern, but you can mess with the strips until you are happy with the order of the prints.

Step2Step Two: Starting with the two vertical strips, place one on top of the other so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other and match up your edges. Pin these two pieces together along the right edge as shown. I space my pins about 6"- 8" apart. Stitch along your pinned edge. Make sure to leave about 1/4" seam allowance from the edge to where your needle is stitching through. Remove pins.

Step3Step Three: Unfold your two strips and lay them face down on your ironing board. Iron the back seam to one side. This helps flatten your fabric and makes for smoother matching up of strips down the road. Repeat this process of sewing your top three strips together as well. 

IMG_3275Step Four: Once your top three strips are sewn together (and remember I later went back and ripped these three strips out and rearranged them because I got distracted during this process and didn't realize my two similar fabrics were touching. Not a big deal, but I didn't like how it changed the pattern), sew your two vertical strips to the long edge of your largest cut of fabric. Press flat with your iron. 

As you can see, the three pieces of fabric on the bottom now equal the length of the vertical strips above. Sew the two pieces together and press flat with your iron. 

IMG_3279This is what the back of your quilt top should look like. 

IMG_3289Step Five: Place your cotton batting on the floor and smooth it out. Sometimes I tape the edges to the wood floor, but it's not necessary. Then place your backing fabric on top of the batting so that the edges match up and the right side of the fabric is facing you. Finally, place your quilt top on top of it all with the right side facing down away from you. Match up the edges and then pin them all together like a sandwich. I pin every 8" or so along the perimeter as well as every 10" in the middle of the quilt.

We are only hand tying this quilt, otherwise we'd be pinning much closer together. 

IMG_3290Step Six: Before you start sewing, fold back a section of your quilt top that is roughly 12" long and pin. This will be your opening marker so that you can turn your quilt right side out. Then stitch along the perimeter of your quilt about 1/4" from the edge of the quilt top (except for the opening that you just pinned). You may have excess batting or your back side may be wider than your top. Just be sure you're stitching through all three layers all the way around. 

Step 6Step Seven: Trim your edges for a cleaner fold and trim off the corners. Just be sure not to cut into the stitching. Turn your quilt right side out and flatten out. You can see where the opening is in the photo above. Hand stitch that closed and you're almost done!

Hand TiedStep Eight: Instead of machine quilting your quilt, you're going to hand-tie it together. Start your first knot 4" in from the bottom corner and then add another knot every 8" across and 8" up. Stitch through all three layers and tie a double knot. Trim your ends to about 2/3". 

Hand Tied QuiltYou did it! 

Let's Make A QuiltGet Cozy In Your First Handmade QuiltGive a girl a quilt, and she'll want a book to go with it. If you give her a book, she'll ask you for some coffee and a cozy chair. If you give her a coffee and a cozy chair, you can kiss the afternoon goodbye because she's going to be there awhile!

Enjoy your new skill and go make a few more for the special people in your life! xo. -Rachel

P.S. If you enjoyed this you'll be happy to know that Rachel (and Katie) are currently hard at work developing a sewing based e-course. We think you're gonna love it!

Credits//Author: Rachel Denbow. Photography: Rachel and Brett Denbow. Photos edited using the ABM Signature Collection.

29 Dec 14:26

Try This: Easy DIY Serving Tray

by A Beautiful Mess

Making your own serving tray couldn't be easier!Playing hostess for the holidays is much more fun with the right accessories. A comfortable, chic party dress is a must, but so is a beautiful serving tray (or two, or three!). We cover the bar in our kitchen with snacks and treats for our party guests  to enjoy, and a few trays can be a great way to organize the food chaos. When it comes to serving drinks, I do the same thing. All of our mixers are stored on a tray on our dining room counter, and then we serve house cocktails on a tray for our friends to enjoy.

As you've probably surmised, I love using serving trays while playing hostess, and I love using them in decorating my home too. Always ready to add a new tray to my collection, I whipped up this new one using just a couple of bar pulls and a cutting board. And it only took me five minutes to create!

Making your own serving tray couldn't be easier!Creating this tray is as simple as attaching the bar pulls to the top of a nice cutting board, but if you need a little guidance, I've included steps below.

-cutting board (I used this one)
-long bar style drawer pulls (I used these, though this is a less expensive option.)

-power drill with drill bit
-measuring tape
-pen or marker

Making your own serving tray couldn't be easier!Step One: Place the bar pull handle onto the cutting board close to the edge and make sure it is centered width-wise. Use a measuring tape to measure the distance from the edges of the cutting board to the point where you will be placing the screws that attach the handle. Write down this measurement.

Step Two: Remove the handle and mark the points you measured in the previous step. Before drilling, make sure you measure the distance between the two marks to verify that it matches the distance of the attachment points on your actual handle.

Making your own serving tray couldn't be easier!Step Three: After triple checking your measurements against the handle, drill into the cutting board with a drill bit that matches or slightly exceeds the size of screws for your handles.

Tip: Place a piece of scrap wood beneath the cutting board when drilling to avoid damaging your work surface.

Step Four: Use a screw driver or your power drill to attach the handle to the cutting board with the screws that came with your bar pull handles. If your cutting board doesn't have bumpers on the bottom that raise it up slightly, you will want to either countersink your screws or cover them with little rubber pads.

Making your own serving tray couldn't be easier!How simple was that? You can completely customize the look and cost of your tray with different cutting boards or handle styles.

Making your own serving tray couldn't be easier!Such a great party tray, but this guy would also look great on an entry table to corral catch-all dishes or incoming mail. I love it! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella of the Signature Collection.

08 Dec 17:20

gingerbread biscotti

by deb


gingerbread biscotti for hot chocolate dunking

It’s scientific fact that the most decadent hot chocolate needs the perfect dunking cookie. Last week, the hunt for this led me to assault family and friends with bold, high-stakes queries such as “would you rather dunk graham cracker flavored, snickerdoodle or gingerbread biscotti in your hot chocolate?” Don’t let it ever be said that the Smitten Kitchen shies away from the hard questions! Gingerbread was the clear winner, and while I aim to please, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that a little snickerdoodle-style roll in cinnamon-sugar is never unwelcome in winter, and so it was.

what you'll need
wet into dry ingredients

This is gentle gingerbread; it’s not going to muddle your steamy cup of dark chocolate cocoa with molasses and cloves, but instead gently suggests a little winter spice. It’s as much a cookie as it is the ideal golden and crisp packet of December warmth, essential on 26 degree days like today (too soon, New York, too soon!) even if you, perhaps, after reading one too many articles about how Norwegian and Danish children go outside all winter, regardless of how cold it is, didn’t conclude that this meant that you and your small child should arrive at the schoolyard 30 minutes before the school bell to get your fix of “fresh air” and “nature exploration” and have still, 3-plus hours later, not warmed up.

forming the dough into a log

... Read the rest of gingerbread biscotti on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to gingerbread biscotti | 144 comments to date | see more: Cookie, Photo, Winter

09 Dec 20:04

popculturebrain: Trailer: ‘Le Petit Prince' - Coming...


Trailer: ‘Le Petit Prince' - Coming Soon

Directed by Mark Osborne, with the voices of Rachel McAdams, Mackenzie Foy, James Franco, Jeff Bridges, Marion Cotillard, Benicio del Toro, Paul Giamatti, Ricky Gervais and Albert Brooks.

Note: This is the French version of the trailer.

13 Nov 14:23

Make a Statement Wall with Paint Pens!

by A Beautiful Mess

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)      You guys know how much we love statement walls here at ABM (you can see all the previous walls here!), but it occurred to me recently that we haven't done a wall with paint pens or markers yet. I know, I know; shame on us and all of that, but don't yell too hard because I'm about to share one with you today. My musician husband Todd has a music room in our house where he can practice, write, and record, but until lately it's been dubbed the most boring room of the house. He insisted on keeping a giant couch (that he's had for the last 13 years!) in the space, and it felt like it was literally taking up half the small room, so I never really put much effort into decorating it. Once he decided to move the couch to his off-campus studio space, I jumped at the chance to add some personality to his room, and I thought a statement wall recreating this amazing geometric print would be just the ticket for the space. Since the walls are a medium grey color, I decided that a stenciled wall design with a white paint pen would work out perfectly. Here's how I did it:

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)
-scrap cardboard (just ask a local store for boxes if you don't have any; the bigger the better!)
-painter's tape
-thick white paint pen (this one and this one are good)
-X-Acto knife
-push pins to hold template on wall

First I decided how many rows of the pattern I wanted on the wall. Once I chose four rows I measured the wall height, marked the four section measurements on both ends of the wall with a pencil, and used painter's tape to mark off the rows.

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial) Once I figured out the height, I got a big piece of cardboard, cut it to the row height, and traced my shape across the cardboard as far as it would go. I alternated the shape orientation so that it would look like an interlocking pattern once all together. Keep the shapes that get cut out of your template since you'll need those in your final step.

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial) I used push pins to secure the template to the wall so I could trace without having to hold the giant template in place. Pay attention to where the middle of the wall is, and make sure that you have the middle of a shape line up exactly in that spot. If you line up the middle carefully, the outside edges of the wall will both end at the same point in your pattern.

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial) Taking the paint pen, I just traced inside of the shapes and allowed the paint to dry (which it does rather quickly) before going over it a second time. If you have a lot of corners to get into like I did, I would also use a smaller point of paint pen as well so you can get into the corners a little better.

Once you have completed all your outline shapes for that section, remove the push pins and move the template over. Make sure to overlap the first shape of the template with the last shape you traced so that your spacing will be the same throughout. Since it can be hard to get the big template to line up exactly with the ends of the wall, you can use the leftover cardboard shapes that you originally cut from your template for this final step. Trim the cutouts vertically as needed and to use them as smaller templates to complete your shapes right next to the corner wall seam. Once your shapes are all traced, you're done!

Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)
Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)
Easy and cheap! Make a statement wall with paint pens (click through for tutorial)
The wall only took me a couple of hours to complete, so I was pretty happy with how fast it went, and since I was able to use one paint pen (well, one thick pen and one thin pen for the corners) for the whole wall, the project only cost me around $10 too! Not bad if you ask me. I love the vibe that the geometric shapes add to the space and the room definitely feels like it's got some personality happening now. I will for sure be expecting a lot of love songs to be written about me in this room from now on—I think it's only fair, don't you? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection

24 Nov 14:42

Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

by Angela (Oh She Glows)

veganCaesarsalad 2905   Crowd Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

My dad is coming to visit this week. This means two very important things are on my “what to make dad” menu. 1) Chili, always and 2) Caesar salad. Those are essential food groups for the guy. Anything else is icing on the cake. Plus, I always welcome the opportunity to use my huge bamboo salad bowl that we received as a wedding gift from our friends. When this bowl comes out, it’s something special!

Even though Caesar salad isn’t traditional holiday fare, I totally think you can serve it as part of a holiday menu. I love an unexpected twist on the table personally. Do you have any non-traditional dishes that are go-to’s for your family? My mother-in-law used to always serve Caesar salad as part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and I swear it was one of the things that went the fastest, next to her famous croquettes. And my dad, well…let’s just say his famous Caesar salad and chili make an appearance at every Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve gathering.

I’ve made a couple vegan Caesar salad recipes over the years (one of which is in my cookbook), but I think this version is my best rendition yet. Recipes are always works in progress for me and I find each time I make it, I’m always trying new things. In addition to a new dressing, I also added roasted chickpea croutons and a nut and seed based parmesan cheese. I used a blend of traditional romaine lettuce with non-traditional Lacinato kale (destemmed of course). This way you have the classic flavour of romaine with the nutritional boost of the kale, without scaring anyone away (ahem, dad). I love the two tone greens in the bowl too. It’s a great make ahead salad because you can prep everything the day before (except for the roasted chickpeas) and then just mix it up the day of your event!

The first time I made this dressing, I actually used double the quantities you’ll see in the recipe below. However, I found that it made way too much (I had half leftover after mixing the salad), so I cut the dressing ingredients in half and it still worked out fine in the blender. I’m just mentioning this in case you are wondering about making a larger batch for a crowd – this dressing doubles beautifully!

I had a lot of fun with the photoshoot for this recipe, so I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

And in case I’m not back again this week, I’d like to wish my American readers a lovely Thanksgiving! Thank you for coming here each week and eagerly trying out so many of the recipes I share. If you’re looking for my favourite Thanksgiving recipes, you can find them here. Also check out my 3 Course Step-by-Step Vegan and Gluten-Free Holiday Menu.

vegancaesarsaladrecipe   Crowd Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

bestvegancaesarsalad   Crowd Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, no bake/raw, refined sugar-free

A delicious, creamy vegan Caesar salad that will please a crowd! The dressing recipe easily doubles for a larger group. Feel free to skip the roasted chickpea croutons and simply use your own croutons, or you can use the gluten-free Nutty Herb Croutons in The Oh She Glows Cookbook (page 296). The dressing will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for at least 5 days. It thickens up a lot when chilled, so be sure to leave it at room temperature to soften before using. Dressing adapted from My Vega.

5-6 small bowls
Prep Time
45 Minutes
Cook time
35 Minutes
Total Time
1 Hour, 20 Minutes


For the roasted chickpea croutons:
  • 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For the dressing (makes 3/4-1 cup):
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small garlic clove (you can add another if you like it super potent)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use Wizard's gluten-free brand)
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt and pepper, or to taste
For the nut and seed parmesan cheese (makes 1/2 cup):
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste
For the lettuce:
  • 1 small/medium bunch Lacinato kale, destemmed (5 cups chopped)
  • 2 small heads romaine lettuce (10 cups chopped)


  1. Soak cashews in a bowl of water overnight, or for at least a few hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Roast chickpea croutons: Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas in a tea towel and rub dry (it's ok if some skins fall off). Place onto large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on oil and roll around to coat. Sprinkle on the garlic powder and salt and toss to coat. You can add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy. Roast for 20 minutes at 400F, then gently roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet, then roast for another 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. They will firm up as they cool.
  3. Prepare the dressing: Add the cashews and all other dressing ingredients (except salt) into a high speed blender, and blend on high until the dressing is super smooth. You can add a splash of water if necessary to get it blending. Add salt to taste and adjust other seasonings, if desired. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the Parmesan cheese: Add cashews into a mini food processor and process until finely chopped. Now add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the mixture is combined. Salt to taste.
  5. Prepare the lettuce: De-stem the kale and then finely chop the leaves. Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Place into extra large bowl. Chop up the romaine into bite-sized pieces. Rinse and then spin dry. Place into bowl along with kale. You should have roughly 5 cups chopped kale and 10 cups chopped romaine.
  6. Assemble: Add dressing onto lettuce and toss until fully coated. Now sprinkle on the roasted chickpeas and the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Note: Be sure to check the label to ensure your Worcestershire Sauce is gluten-free (if necessary) as not many are. I use Wizard`s Gluten-Free Organic Worcestershire Sauce.

© copyright 2015 Oh She Glows. All Rights Reserved.
17 Nov 14:26

Try This: Pie Crust Cookies

by A Beautiful Mess

I am making these for Thanksgiving. Absolutely yummmmmm.

Pie crust cookies— so easy and cute!It wasn't until adulthood that I truly came to appreciate the buttery, flaky deliciousness that is pie crust! I wish I could go back in time and eat all of those crusts I left behind in my childhood. Though I suppose it's not too late to make up for those lost crusts!

This is a super simple cookie idea that you can whip up before entertaining guests, or you can freeze a batch so you can always have a pie crust cookie on hand in case of emergency. You know what I'm talkin' 'bout.

Pie crust cookies— so easy and cute!Ingredients:
2 store-bought pie crusts
apple butter or any pureed preserves
one egg
crystal sugar for sprinkling

One box of pie crusts (2 crusts) yields 7 large (4") cookies.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Step One: Roll out your pie crust and cut out circles. Gather the scrap crust and re-roll it to the same thickness. Try not to overwork the scrap pieces too much.

Pie crust cookies— so easy and cute!Step Two: I was able to get fourteen 4" circles out of two store-bought pie crusts. I spread homemade apple butter onto 7 of the circles. You can use any preserve you want, but if there are chunky fruit pieces in it, you will want to puree it first. Don't overfill the circles with preserves, or the filling will bubble up and cook over while baking.

Pie crust cookies— so easy and cute!Step Three: I cut out holes into the other 7 circles using my fun fall-shaped mini cutters. I placed those cut-out circles onto the apple butter circles and sealed the edges with the end of a mixing spoon.

Pie crust cookies— so easy and cute!Step Four: Beat 1 whole egg to brush over the top of each little pie cookie. Promptly sprinkle with some crystal sugar on top and pop those puppies in the oven!

I baked my cookies at 375°F for 20 minutes, but since your cookie sizes may vary, I'd recommend setting your timer for 15 minutes and then letting them bake until they are golden brown around the edges.

Pie crust cookies— so easy and cute! Pie crust cookies— so easy and cute!The cookies are just a little bit sweet and perfectly flaky. So perfect to enjoy with a hot cup of apple cider! I'd also love a cherry pie cookie atop some hot cocoa. A great treat for a night of holiday decorating! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

30 Oct 22:16

a very loaded tater: roasted sweet potato with spiced chickpeas, steamed broccoli & a lemony tahini sauce

by kickpleat

roasted sweet potato with spiced chickpeas & lemony tahini sauce | everybody likes sandwiches

Fall meals sound dreamy. Who doesn’t love that inherently cozy autumnal vibe that only a butternut squash risotto or a chocolate chip pumpkin loaf can give? It makes me want to pull up my tall wooly socks and don my adorable but sort of itchy cardigan right into the nearest apple orchard. But that wasn’t my reality last week when I was looking into the fridge trying to figure out what to make for dinner.

roasted sweet potato with spiced chickpeas & lemony tahini sauce | everybody likes sandwiches

I did find 4 tiny white sweet potatoes in my fridge – they were long and thin and looked like the perfect thing to roast. So I scrubbed them well, poked them with a fork and popped them into a hot oven. I wasn’t sure what would come next, but pulled out some broccoli, a can of chickpeas and some rice. It was a good start. I got the rice going quick because brown basmati rice isn’t the speediest rice on the block. Next, I spiced up the chickpeas with cumin and chili and banged that up in the oven too.

roasted sweet potato with spiced chickpeas & lemony tahini sauce | everybody likes sandwiches

The real genius move was making a simple tahini sauce which I knew would pair well with the chickpeas and the sweet potato (I was inspired by this butternut squash and lentil salad from ages ago). Garlicky, lemony, saucy perfection! The resulting dish was incredible. I’m not kidding – this is the kind of meal that I’ll gladly eat on a weekly basis during the fall and winter months. I’m now thinking all kinds of possibilities, like sprinkling it with zaatar and serving this over red quinoa instead of rice. Or filling up half an acorn squash with a rice/broccoli/chickpea mix and drizzling with that sauce. Plenty of options to carry you through these dark and rainy nights.

roasted sweet potato with spiced chickpeas & lemony tahini sauce | everybody likes sandwiches

roasted sweet potato with spiced chickpeas, steamed broccoli & a lemony tahini sauce
You can use any kind of sweet potato you like, from rusty orange yams to the creamy off-white versions. I went with the white-ish version here and ate the skins too (extra vitamins and bonus texture!). I chose to serve this meal with rice but you can add any grain or choose to just skip it altogether. The leftovers were delicious too.

4 sweet potatoes

1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 T olive oil
1 t crushed cumin
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t aleppo pepper

2 T tahini
2 T yogurt
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt

1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets and chop stem into smaller chunks

your favourite rice or grain (I made brown basmati)
your favourite hot sauce

Preheat oven to 400F.

Wash and scrub sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork. Place in oven directly on the oven rack and let bake for 30-45 minutes or until tender. A rule of thumb, roasted sweet potatoes can never be too tender (but they can burn, so watch carefully). Also, sweet potatoes tend to seep molten sugar while baking, so line the bottom of your oven with foil or be prepared to do a little clean up afterwards.

Toss the chickpeas with the oil, cumin, chili powder and aleppo pepper and a little kosher salt. Roast chickpeas on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes or until toasted and golden, shaking your pan halfway through to prevent any scorching.

In a small bowl, combine tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt together, whisking well. I usually add in a spoonful of water or 3 to get the right thickness – drippy but not thin.

Steam broccoli until bright green & tender-crisp – a few minutes. Drain.

To serve, place a sweet potato on a plate, and slice down the middle. Top with the broccoli and chickpeas and drizzle heavily with the tahini sauce. Splash with hot sauce, if desired.

30 Oct 14:22

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel Bars

by Ree

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsI had something similar to these bars at this market in Tulsa a few weeks ago, and I found them very delightful, delicious…and rich. I bought just one of what they called “Monster Bars,” and it was so decadent, it actually took me four years to finish it off!

Okay, not four years. More like four hours.

And okay, it was more like an hour.

Thirty minutes, okay? It took me thirty minutes to eat the whole thing.

(But for me, that’s a very, very, very long time.)

(And fine. It was more like twenty minutes.)

Here’s my version! They’re really fun to eat, pretty durn easy to make, and super-duper fun.

Crazy BarsI started out by making a big of an oatmeal base, and I used the same mixture I use with my Strawberry Oatmeal Bars. And that’s flour…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsRegular oats…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsBrown sugar…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsBaking powder…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsAnd salt! Simple and lovely. Now stir all this together…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsCut up some cold butter…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsAdd it to the bowl…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsAnd cut this all together.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsAnd now for a cautionary, don’t-be-like-me tale: I was in a hurry and was also feeling lazy, so I hurriedly threw the mixture into the food processor to pulse it up rather than put forth the hard work with the pastry cutter. I mean, sometimes I just don’t feel like fighting the good fight anymore. But it was not a good idea, because the food processor instantly—and I mean, lickety-split—pulverized the oatmeal. Still delicious, of course, but you really want to be able to see those pieces of oatmeal.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsPress it into a pan. I used a nonstick square pan, but it did result in quite a hefty crust. If you’d like a thinner crust—and if you’d like to wind up with more square bars—feel free to use an 8 x 10 inch pan OR a 9 x 13 inch pan. If you’re not using a nonstick pan, grease the pan thoroughly first!

Strawberry Oatmeal BarsBy the way, here’s what the crust looked like in my Strawberry Oatmeal Bars post. It’s what happens when I feel like fighting the good fight and don’t take tragic shortcuts.

Live and learn.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsNow just bake the crust until it’s totally done and golden brown and perfect. Note that if you use a larger pan, it won’t take quite as long to bake since it’ll be thinner.

Now just set the base aside for a sec. Don’t do this too far ahead of time, though, because you still want it to be nice and warm when you move on with the rest of the recipe.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsNow, crack open a couple of cans of dulce de leche. I used Nestle La Lechera, but you can find canned dulce de leche in lots of different brands in the Hispanic Foods aisle of the supermarket.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsIt’s really luscious stuff. Just get it into a bowl…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsAnd microwave it a bit just to soften it up a little.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsMeanwhile, grab the other stuff you need! Spanish peanuts…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsButterscotch chips…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsAnd mini chocolate chips.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsNow, you can use regular salted peanuts if you don’t like the ones with the red skin…but I like the small size of the Spanish peanuts, and the red skins make everything a little more weird and interesting.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsAnd now? AND NOW? Well, we’re about to have some fun.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsPlop the warm dulce de leche onto the warm oatmeal base, and use an offset spatula to spread it all over the surface.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsGet it all the way out to the corners and even out the surface so it’s flat.

(And you can see that if you go with a bigger pan, you should probably have a third can of dulce de leche on hand so it covers the surface. Just sayin’.)

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsNow, sprinkle on the Spanish peanuts…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsUntil they totally cover the caramel.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsUse your hands to very lightly press the peanuts so that they sink into the caramel a little. Basically, you want to anchor them all in there.

Oh, and if you don’t like peanuts…well, these aren’t the bars for you!

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsNext, a generous sprinkling of butterscotch chips…

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsFollowed by a generous sprinkling of the mini chocolate chips!

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsNow, again…press very lightly. The idea here is just to anchor/cement everything together.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsThe warmth of the cookie base and the caramel should be sufficient to soften the butterscotch and chocolate chips enough for them to barely melt without losing their shape…then stick together as they cool. I sure hope that makes sense.

If things aren’t warm enough to accomplish this, just set the pan into the oven for 30 seconds or so, just to soften them up enough to stick together.

And then—this is important!—stick the pan in the fridge and chill it for at least 2 to 3 hours. This helps everything set and makes it much easier to slice up the bars.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsGently turn it out of the pan. When you do this, you’ll lose a few stray chips, but for the most part, everything should hold together.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsThen turn it over, cut a square, and eat it before you even know what hit you.

Also, take note that most of the chips stayed intact when I flipped this upside down—the pressing/sticking together is important!

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsContinue slicing everything into long bars…and then into individual bars. This is much easier with a long, serrated bread knife, by the way!

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsUm…I probably don’t need to tell you this, but these are really delicious.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsThe yummy oatmeal base, the creamy caramel, the mix of salty peanuts, butterscotch, and chocolate…wow.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsA square this big would feed all of Rhode Island. I’m not kidding…they’re incredibly rich.

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsSo smaller squares or rectangles are recommended!

Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel BarsServe them cold or at room temperature…with a glass of milk, of course.

Here’s the handy dandy printable! Try them sometime soon.



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Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel Bars

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-1/2 cup Regular Or Quick Oats
  • 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1-3/4 stick Cold (salted) Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • 2 cans (13.5 Ounces Each) Dulce De Leche (I Used Nestle La Lechera)
  • Spanish Peanuts
  • Butterscotch Chips
  • Mini Chocolate Chips

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 9, 8 x 10, or 9 x 13-inch baking dish with baking spray. (Or you can line with aluminum foil.)

***Note: If you use a rectangular pan, you may need an additional can of dulce de leche to cover the surface.

Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture into the pan and pat lightly to pack it slightly.

Bake until light golden brown on top and done in the middle, about 30 to 35 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn't burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Spoon the dulce de leche into a microwave safe bowl and nuke it for 45 seconds, just to slightly soften it. Scoop it on top of the oatmeal base and use an offset spatula to spread it out to the edges and into an even layer. Sprinkle on a layer of peanuts so that they completely cover the caramel, and use your hands to gently press them into the caramel. Sprinkle on the butterscotch chips and the mini chocolate chips in generous layers.

Note: The warmth of the cookie base and the caramel should slightly soften the butterscotch and chocolate chips. When that happens, use your hands to very gently press the chips just enough to anchor them together (but not enough to misshape them.) If the pan isn't warm enough, pop it into the oven for 30 seconds or so and gently press the chips to anchor them together.

Chill the bars for 2 to 3 hours to make them easy to slice. Turn them out onto a cutting board and use a long serrated knife to cut into small squares (they're rich!)

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on October 30 2014

27 Oct 15:43

Hark, A Vagrant: House of Mulders

buy this print!




I thought of this a few years ago, and was like nahh there's too much of those parodies and even I made fun of them. haha oh well! How sweet is the comparison between two people ideologically opposed to each other who fall in looooovvveeee

The store has updated with lots of exciting new things! Were you looking at my Wee The People drawings on tumblr? I was trying to come up with something fun to put in the store. And along with a few other items, here we are!

Clicking on the image will take you to the store. Hooray!!

26 Oct 19:53

Couple's Costumes: The Princess Bride

by A Beautiful Mess

The Princess Bride Couple Costume           This, my friends, is a dream come true. If you saw the title of this post and thought, "What's The Princess Bride?" then you've just made me feel very old and very sad for the gaping hole in your cinematic library. If you said either, "As yoooooou wiiiiiiiishhh," or, "Inconceivable!," or "Does anybody want a peanut?," then I applaud your dedication to great films, and we are allowed to be friends. Anyway, when thinking of costume ideas for this Halloween, I was a bit stuck until Sarah mentioned the idea of Westley (or the Dread Pirate Roberts I should say) and Buttercup, and I knew instantly that I had to make it happen. I. Love. That. Movie.

It was easy enough to get some pirate items together for Todd's version of Westley (and he was more than happy to shave a creepy mustache), but I knew I was going to have some work ahead of me to recreate Buttercup's red riding dress. I ended up buying a matronly '80s red dress (that was four sizes too big) and used the bodice and neckline as my starting point. I used matching red fabric to make new sleeves and a longer skirt for the bodice, and completed the look with a belt made of gold trim. The sleeves were only the second sleeves I've ever sewn in my life, so I had a lot of prototypes before making the real thing. I think they look pretty good overall, but I couldn't lift my arms up very high, so I guess there's still room for improvement! 

The Princess Bride Couple Costume       The Princess Bride Couple Costume    The Princess Bride Couple Costume     The Princess Bride Couple Costume      The Princess Bride Couple Costume        The Princess Bride Couple Costume         I think this forest is the closest thing we have to a Fire Swamp, so it made the perfect location to test out our costumes. My friend Bethany asked if I needed her to dress as an R.O.U.S. (Rodent of Unusual Size) for the Fire Swamp bits, but as hard as the idea made me laugh, I didn't know where in town I could get an adult-sized possum costume at the last minute. Such a good idea though. The woods we used are a bit out of the way near a trail, so we had to get there on bikes and rollerblades in full costume—we got a few interesting looks to say the least! We also tried to recreate a few of the movie stills. See if you can spot them...

The Princess Bride Couple Costume  The Princess Bride Couple Costume The Princess Bride Couple Costume          The Princess Bride Couple Costume            Overall, I'm pretty proud of my Buttercup dress recreation, and it was a secret wish fulfilled to recreate parts of a movie that was so important to both our childhoods. I know that we will cherish these pictures for a long time to come, and I'll definitely keep the dress around so I can throw it on next time we watch the movie and feel like an extra nerdy fan girl. What movie couple's costume would you love to recreate for Halloween? xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

28 Oct 01:01

Panko Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Cream Sauce

by Elise

A good recipe idea for work?

Panko Crusted Pork Tenderloin

We all know what magic a buttermilk marinade can do for chicken, but have you ever tried a buttermilk marinade for pork? It’s lovely!

Continue reading "Panko Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Cream Sauce" »

28 Oct 10:00

7 Not-so-scary Halloween Ideas

by Heather Sanders

By Heather Sanders

I love October for many reasons. The worst days of the Texas heat are over, which means I can eat Chocolate Chili without sweating. The cool nip in the air lures me outside just about the same time the mosquitos begin losing their feeding frenzy. Pumpkin Spice Latte (with a pump of Chai, thankyouverymuch) is back on the menu at Starbucks. And, of course, fall foliage–the Sycamore tree out back looks afire with gold and rust leaves; it’s simply gorgeous.

And while I realize most people love October for Halloween, I am not a fan. I have long been a scaredy cat of epic proportions. This trait goes back long before my freshman year of high school when I assaulted the person who quietly detached his black-draped body from the wall of a haunted house intent on scaring me. If I remember correctly, he was unable to continue in his assigned role that evening (ER visit?), and I was unable to sleep in a dark room for several weeks. It goes without saying that I don’t watch horror movies–nor ones that are too scary or suspenseful, and I mind very carefully the books I read. I never sat around campfires listening to ghost stories, wouldn’t play with Ouija boards at sleepovers, and I certainly never said Bloody Mary three times in the mirror with the lights off.

You may call me a stick in the mud, and I’m okay with that. Fear simply doesn’t look good on me.

HOWEVER…there are MANY of you who LOVE Halloween. Many of your children LOVE Halloween. And in the last few days I’ve come across a number of not-so-scary, adorable ways to enjoy Halloween in your homeschool this week.



Though our recent move has reduced my monster collection considerably, I still take every opportunity to stop and soak-in all the sweet, fun, cute, quirky monsters I come across. THESE COOKIES with their multiple eyes and bright colors beg to be baked and eaten. How can you resist?

Website: Lil’ Luna
Post: Gooey Monster Cookies



This visual counting on chart for #s 0-10 is a free download. Designed to help a student “put the big number in [their] head and count on.” Decorated with witches, vampires, garlic, mummies, etc…it is a fun way to bring Halloween into a Math lesson or review.

Website: Positively Learning
Post: 5 for Friday: Creepy Counting


Cursive Skeletons

I’m of the opinion that cursive is a dying art and strangely enough, this craft proves my point. Regardless of how I feel about Halloween, I LOVE cursive and don’t think for a second I’m not going to do this because I SOOOOOO want to see my name in “ribs.”

Website: The Amateur Librarian
Post: Cursive Skeletons


Glow In the Dark Slime

While I didn’t hide behind corners and jump out at people, I did enjoy pouring paste all over my hands and letting it dry. I also loved, and still love, slime. It’s so gloopy and sludgy and fantastically gross. Making this gak glow-in-the-dark is PERFECTION.

Website: A Pumpkin & A Princess
Post: Homemade Glow In The Dark Slime Recipe



I’ve done density experiments with my kids before, but this particular one certainly is ominous with the treacle bubbling up to the golden syrup and the red (blood) and floating bug. Eeew.

This little bit of creepy Chemistry, if poured with patience, would make for a fun experiment for even the most squeamish of students–just ask me!

Website: Science Sparks
Post: Creepy Density


Witch's Brew

At some point in the day, you’ll want to break for a drink, and why not a witch’s brew to go with your Gooey Monster Cookies? A quick visit to the grocery and the Dollar Store turns up all the ingredients you need for this tried-and-true punch mix of pineapple juice, lime sherbert and ginger ale. Go all out and bring in dry ice to turn your punch bowl into a “bubbling cauldron!”

Website: Your Homebased Mom
Post: Witch’s Brew



If you’re like me, you never know what to do with that one white crayon in the Crayola box. Either that or some good ol’ fashioned rubber cement. Either way, add a few more items, and you have the makings for a colorful backdrop to Charlotte’s Web.

Website: I Heart Arts & Crafts
Post: Water Color Resist Spider Web Art

Now it’s your turn. Today’s comments are for links. Links to Halloween activities you’ve done, want to do, posted about–whatever and wherever.

Halloween is Friday, and there are things to make, eat and do!

Heather Sanders is a leading homeschooling journalist who inspires homeschooling families to live, love and learn. Married to Jeff, Heather lives in the East Texas Piney Woods where she currently home schools two of her three kids.

02 Oct 16:29

Try This: Easy Homemade Cronuts

by A Beautiful Mess

Easy homemade cronuts Hey guys, have you heard about this brand new food trend: cronuts? Probably not because it hasn't really hit the Internet yet. 

Yeah, I'm totally cutting edge. I know. I congratulate myself all the time. "Emma the trendsetter" they call me. 

Easy homemade cronutsJk. Cronuts are not new. Everyone is way into them. I'm late. So I'm really, really excited to try some homemade cronuts sometime in my near future. I'd love to try this recipe, or this one, or maybe this one. We'll see. But as you can guess, cronuts (like many donut recipes) tend to be a little labor-intensive. I love a good kitchen challenge, but I also like easy stuff. I'm lazy sometimes.

So this made me curious... What would be the best ready-made dough to use when you want to make lazy cronuts?

Cronut cheatsI tried two different doughs. I bought some puff pastry and also some crescent roll dough. Seamless. Yep. I said these are lazy cronuts, and I wasn't joking.

Guys, one of these made some really yummy donuts... while the other was... not the best. Are you on the edge of your seat yet???

Easy homemade cronuts  First up, I layered each dough before cutting it into donuts. This is how you get all those crazy layers in a cronut. This also means you'll only get 3-6 cronuts out of each package. So, if you wanna make a ton, you better buy a lot of dough. That's a pro tip. You're welcome.

Frying donutsNext, I fried the dough (I used canola oil) at around 350°F. For the puff pastry dough, I fried for about 45-50 seconds on each side. For the crescent roll dough, I fried for about 30 seconds on each side. A good rule of thumb in deep frying (non-meat) items is they should be done within about 60 seconds total. But always do one first, cut it open and see. If it looks undercooked then you'll want to adjust your fry time, not temperture. 

After frying, I removed the cronuts to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess grease. Then I made a glaze from 1 cup powdered sugar and a few teaspoons of water whisked in. 

Easy homemade cronuts      The cronuts on the right side are made from crescent roll dough. As you can see, they cooked all the way through while the outside was crispy. Fluffy inside, crispy outside is exactly what we were going for. These were delicious!

Easy homemade cronuts   The puff pastry cronuts did not work as well. They remained doughy on the inside while the outside was fully cooked. I did try cooking a few even longer and found that they would burn on the outside while the inside remained undercooked. 

Since the puff pastry cronuts seemed to be too dense, I decided to try a few with less layers. So I just cut out one layer of puff pastry and fried that. It was better, but still kind of greasy while sort of undercooked in the center. I will say the puff pastry had a better, buttery taste than the crescent roll dough. But if you want easy cronuts, stick with crescent roll dough. 

Thanks for coming with me on this cronut kitchen experiment. :) xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos with A Beautiful Mess actions.

03 Oct 16:44

Butternut Squash Pasta

by A Beautiful Mess

Best creamy pasta sauce (click through for recipe) I know what you were thinking just now. I've got that thing, telepathy. I'm one of the X-Men.

OK, not really, but I bet you were thinking, "Is that nacho cheese on that pasta?" This is only for those folks who didn't read the title (what a spoiler that is, right?).

I am not above nacho cheese pasta. I've never tried that, but I've probably been pretty close with boxed macaroni before. But this is not nacho cheese pasta. It's butternut squash pasta. Because it's THAT time of year.

Best creamy pasta sauce (click through for recipe) And I've got to say, this is one of the most creamy pasta sauces you can make. So it's sort of amazing that it's mostly vegetables. There's still cream and cheese in it, don't get me wrong. I didn't say this is health food. But it's certainly packed with more nutrition than boxed macaroni and cheese. 

How to cook butternut squashButternut Squash Pasta, serves 3-4. 

16 oz. pasta (I used rigatoni)
16 oz. butternut squash
1 tablespoon butter
5 sage leaves
1 cup cream
1 yolk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste

First we need to peel and cook the butternut squash. There are a few different ways to do this. I decided to use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Then I cut the meat of the squash into cubes. I placed the squash, butter, and sage leaves in a slow cooker and cooked on low for two hours.

Butternut squash pasta sauceBlend the squash and juices together until smooth. Remove the sage leaves before blending. 

How to make butternut squash sauceIn a sauce pan, combine the squash, cream, a little nutmeg, and black pepper. Start moderate to light with the seasoning as you can always add more later. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in the egg yolk and continue to cook. Add in the parmesan cheese, stir, and continue to cook until smooth. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. 

While cooking the sauce, cook the pasta according to the directions. Strain and add the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.

Best creamy pasta sauce (click through for recipe)  Top with a little more cheese and black pepper. Make this sometime this week. It's just so good! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

22 Oct 17:04

Make a Personalized Phrase Bracelet!

by A Beautiful Mess

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)    If I had to pick one piece of jewelry right now to be my "soulmate" jewelry, I think it would be these phrase bracelets. They are everything I'm looking for in a wearable companion. From the leather strap to the modern gold font and the slightly cheeky phrases, it's the perfect combination to make me say, "Gimmie! I want!" in a very mature and dignified manner. Besides looking so darn cute, the other big plus about these bracelets is that they take just minutes to make, and you can personalize them with whatever phrase or hashtag you want! #yesplease!

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)
-flat leather (10mm x 2mm) or oval leather (10mm x 6mm)
-letter sliders (I love this font in either 10mm x 2mm or 10mm x 6mm, and they sell hashtags too!)
-magnetic clasp (10mm x 2mm or 10mm x 6mm)
-jewelry glue

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial) Cut one side of your leather into a point like the front of an arrow (this makes it easier to slide the letters onto it). Slide your phrase letters onto the leather strap.

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)
Trim your arrow shaped end so you have a straight cut instead. Take one of your magnetic clasps, add a small drop of glue into the opening, and quickly place your leather end into the opening. If you have a light colored leather, be careful not to add too much glue, or it will overflow the opening and darken the leather it comes in contact with (you can see it did a little bit on mine). Place the leather around your wrist to determine the length of the bracelet (keeping in mind how much length attaching the other clasp will add or take away). Cut your leather to size and attach the other side of the clasp.

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)   Now, some bracelets have beads or parts that are supposed to slide freely on the bracelet, but since you want your phrase to be legible, you probably want them to hang out together in a neat little row. Flip the bracelet over and, starting with the middle letter, place a drop of glue where that letter should go. Slide your letter over onto the glue and let it sit for a moment until the glue starts to set. Repeat the process with the other letters until they are all glued in place.

Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)     Have to make these! Easy phrase bracelets (click through for tutorial)      I hope you guys are as into these bracelets as I am—I just adore them. I love the personalization aspect, all the different colors you can do, and they absolutely look like something that you bought rather than made. Yes!! And, on top of it all, they make a perfect gift, especially if you and your girlfriends (or sisters/family of course) have a particular phrase or hashtag that's an inside joke. Those are the best. Most of mine are every other sentence from Arrested Development. Unfortunately, those are too long for a bracelet (although maybe we could do "Marry Me" or "Her?"). Either way, here's the breakdown on this DIY: super easy, really cute, great gift idea. What's not to like? xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

19 Oct 20:00

Make a Collapsible Playhouse

by A Beautiful Mess

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteWhat is it about cardboard and wrapping paper that is so bewitching to a kiddo? I remember forsaking all other toys any time a big ol' cardboard box entered my childhood home. If you had given me the choice of a fort made of cardboard and duct tape versus one of those Fisher Price playhouses, I would have chosen the shoddily assembled cardboard version every time.

Recently I've noticed the same tendencies in my own child. I've been saving recycled toy ideas to make for Lucy on my Kiddo Activities and Kiddo Pinterest boards, arming myself with project ideas to encourage this make-do mentality in her play some day soon. I can't wait until she's ready for scissors and glue, but in the meantime, I thought she'd really enjoy a Mama-made playhouse—and boy, did she ever!

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteWe don't have lots of space in our home, so I knew I wanted the playhouse to be easily disassembled and stored behind our big dining room cabinet when not in use. Originally I was thinking I'd use tempered masonite because it's inexpensive, thin, and lightweight. But in the end, I decided foam board would be the quickest/easiest material to work with since all I needed to cut it was my trusty X-Acto blade. A foam board playhouse certainly won't last forever, but if Lucy plays with it often enough, I'll definitely consider using these pieces as a template for a masonite version that she can use outside too.

Is this playhouse recycled? Well, no, it's not. But it sure was cheap and lots of fun for both Lucy and me, so I'd say it's a big win!

Playhouse Building PlansI drew out the measurements I used so you can make your own cardboard playhouse without all the guess work. (Click to print.) But if you are working with smaller pieces of cardboard or an actual box, why not come up with your own design?

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteIt's very helpful to have a t-square when marking out the measurements for each panel of the house so you don't have to measure down from each side of the board to get straight lines. I also don't recommend using a marker as I did, but I wanted the photos to show the lines clearly. I'd use a pencil instead so your lines won't be visible if they don't all get cut away.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteI used household objects as guides for the round shapes in the playhouse like the window, the arched doorway, and the doorknob. After cutting out the door, you'll want to cut away a little extra around it so that it will easily open without getting stuck inside the opening where you cut it from.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteOnce all of your pieces are cut out, you're ready to slide it all together! I was able to assemble the entire house without any assistance, though it would have been nice to have some help standing up the two sides of the house while I slipped on the front or back panel.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteMake a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteI used white duct tape as a door hinge, but I recommend using duct tape to wrap where you will be taping first, so if the door pulls in the wrong direction (which it will if kids are using it), the tape of the hinge won't pull the outer layer off the foamboard.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteMake a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteI think Lucy's favorite part of the playhouse has been filling it with all of her toys, and then throwing them out the window and into a basket she has placed outside the house. Her poor Teddy sure has been through a lot since I built the house! But at least I can testify to the fact that my toddler is quite the baller. 

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteWe loved the simple white style of the playhouse, but decided to jazz it up a little bit with the addition of paint, gingerbreading, shingles, and a little more detail drew on with a Sharpie paint pen. There are so many ways you can go with this—it's really a lot of fun!

I used this pink floral spray paint for the gingerbreading and door, and used a regular brown spray paint (I believe Rustoleum brand?) for the shingles. I used hot glue to hold the shingles in place and rubber cement for the gingerbreading.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masonitePart of the appeal of a white foam board playhouse is that you can decorate it however you want! I plan on getting inside there with Lucy and some magic markers and letting her interior design the joint to her heart's content. -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella and Valentine from the Signature Collection and Pearl from the Fresh Collection.

07 Oct 08:30

Vornado introduces reproduction Vornado VFAN — Richard Ten Eyck 1945 design reissued

by Kate

retro fan
70 years after its invention, Vornado now has reissued the classic “Vortex Tornado” fan design that inspired the company’s name. With patented engineering, and with styling by famed industrial designer Richard Ten Eyck, this Vornado fan design is one of the most famed in fan history — at peak popularity, nearly one-third of the fans sold in American were Vornados. Now reisssued, this Vornado VFAN is available in three colors — red, stainless and the gorgeous, original 1945 green. And, it’s “real metal” — yay!

Made mostly of metal like the original and updated with enhanced safety and quieter airflow, this delicious looking fan retails for $139. Currently it’s on Amazon for $130 (affiliate link):

Darn fun video — seriously, you gotta!

The video above shares more information about the company history of Vornado and the innovative fan design.

Info and photos from Vornado:

retro fanretro fanFrom the press release:


The Vornado “Fan” That Started It All Almost 70 Years Ago Has Returned

retro fan

In 1945, Vornado® introduced a fan with a unique appearance – that would soon become an icon of the “Streamlined” Age of Design. Now, nearly 70 years later, the quintessential Vornado returns as an authentic reissue called VFAN™.

retro fan

The original Vornado products challenged how a fan should look and function – focusing on finely tuned aerodynamics and pure power. The result was a “fan” that looked completely different, and had the ability to circulate all the air in the room. For the first time, in an era without air conditioning, everyone in the room could be cool and comfortable. With an “air circulator” there was no longer a need to stand in front of a fan to stay cool. The secret was Vornado’s “Vortex Tornado” airflow that was so unique and powerful that it literally inspired the company’s name – “Vornado”.

retro fan

Today, the VFAN™ delivers the same powerful circulation on which it’s reputation was built, and its classic styling adapts perfectly to any setting. Available in Chrome, Red and the original Vornado Green the VFAN™ blends harmoniously with any decor or color schemes. Though the classic design is a decorator’s dream, Vornado has also enhanced safety features and quieted the airflow, making VFAN™ perfect for the needs of today’s discerning consumer.

retro fan

True to the original, VFAN™ is built with high standards using real metal for durability and authenticity. The VFAN™ delivers true whole room air circulation – a 70 year old concept that still out-performs stationary and oscillating fans sold today. With Whole Room Circulation, everyone in the room feels comfortable. With a VFAN™ circulating the air in the room, the room feels up to 5 degrees cooler. This allows VFAN™ owners to save money by reducing their central air conditioning bills.

retro fan retro fan

The VFAN™ features 3 speed settings, and a pivoting head to direct airflow in any direction. The VFAN™ comes from an age when brands took pride in their products and stood behind them – the approach Vornado continues today. That is why VFAN™ comes with a 5 Year Complete Satisfaction Guarantee. Beyond a warranty, if a customer is not completely satisfied, Vornado® will repair or replace VFAN™ for 5 years from the date of verified original purchase.

retro fan

From circulators and heaters, to air purifiers and humidifiers, Vornado has a long line of products built to keep you comfortable. Now’s your chance to own the one that started it all.

UPDATE: Some of you have been wondering why the fan blades on the Vornado VFAN are plastic, Pam even thought she read somewhere that the original fan blades were also plastic, so I reached out to Brian Cartwright from Vornado for clarification on the matter.

Brian writes:

Various models of Vornado fans did have metal blades –primarily starting in the 1950’s.

However, Vornado’s original products in the 1940’s utilized “bakelite” blades. Bakelite was among the earliest forms of plastic. And it wasn’t to save cost – actually it was very progressive. The bakelite blades were quieter, created less vibration, and were more aerodynamic. We don’t have records of what drove later models to metal blades in the 1950’s – but our plastic blades relate back to those original 1940’s bakelite models.

As this awesome website states, models from 1954-1949 featured 10″ bakelite blades.

Even though plastic is passé now, it actually is a pretty cool part of the product tradition.

Personally, I love these fans and immediately wanted one — as my husband has been complaining about the need for a fan in-between air conditioning and heating season. The only reason I don’t have one yet — I can’t decide on a color — all three of them are great options to coordinate with retro decor.

Readers — what color would you choose?


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