Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tea for your sore throat, Avocado for your cravings, Soup for your warmth, and Cookies for your Sweet Tooth.

Recipe #205: Lemon Ginger and Honey Tea for a Sore Throat from Somerset Lane: Ever since I moved into our new apartment a few years ago, it seems like I wake up each morning with a sore throat. This recipe for homemade sore throat tea claimed to be 'miracle tea'. I have to say, as soon as I took a sip I could feel it working. It was probably the spiciness of the ginger hitting my throat all the way down, but it was automatic relief, and stayed good for at least 1 week before I finished the whole batch.. It's so easy to make and definitely worth a shot it you have that tickle.



Recipe #206: Zesty Shrimp and Lime Avocado Salad from Skinny Taste: I've been obsessed with avocado lately, and I've finally mastered the 'buy one day and eat three days later' technique for pure avocado perfection.  I saw this recipe for avocado, shrimp, and lime salad, and it seemed perfect. It was very easy to make, especially with cooked frozen shrimp that just required defrosting. The only problem was... I suddenly was out of lime juice and had to use lemon juice in a pinch. I don't think it had quite the same flavor, and I would love to try it again one day by actually following the recipe.

Recipe #207: Crockpot Chicken Gnocchi Soup from Pinch of Yum: In college, we discovered Olive Garden's unlimited soup salad and breadsticks, and I fell in love with their chicken gnocchi soup. This recipe seemed to be pretty close to re-creating it, and I just had to try it out. As usual, the crockpot was impressively effective, and cooked the chicken and soup just right. The soup was amazing and a great warm meal on the last few cold nights of spring. 
Oh, and we might have had to go to Olive Garden here in NYC this week, too (don't judge us!).




Recipe #208: Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar Cookies from Authentic Suburban Gourmet: The last recipe of the week were these lofthouse-style cookies that claimed to be very close to those delicious frosted cookies they sell in the bakery of most grocery stores. These cookies weren't too complicated to make, but required 2 hours of refrigeration of the dough before baking, the baking was a whole long process, adding the frosting took forever, THEN I read that you have to let the cookies sit for 2-3 hours before eating them to let the flavors settle.
Now, I didn't pay too close of attention to the amount of cookies this recipe would make before I made them, and it ended up being SO MANY COOKIES. At least 60. I was just SO lucky that I happened to make them on a weekend that we had quite a few guests over, so the cookies got taken care of pretty quickly, with just enough left over so hubby and I can savor them over the week. The only problem with there being so many cookies was that, like I said before, it was very time-consuming baking them all in batches, and icing them too.
I didn't have a cookie cutter, so I tried just rolling balls of dough and squishing them down on the pan to make them flat, and it worked really well. Plus, I did them in a pastel pink to celebrate Easter.
Happy Spring! 
 





Sunday, March 20, 2016

Homemade Pizza and Butterbeer Latte

Oh hey, it's me again. And I'm on a roll. This is, like, my 4th post of the day, and as I was updating my blog earlier, I was also cooking my next recipe.
I'd call it a very successful day, regardless of whether or not I changed out of my pajamas.
Oh, and my taxes still aren't done.

Recipe #203: Homemade Basic Cheese Pizza from http://www.food.com/recipe/basic-cheese-pizza-194593



I tried this pizza out by cooking it on a baking sheet, simply because of the fact that I don't own a pizza pan (one day, I shall have a kitchen that holds all the pans, but alas it is not today). This means the pizza crust was probably thicker and more dense than it should have been, since I didn't have enough room to roll it out to a 14" circle. 
But, if the only complaint I have about a recipe comes from my ill-preparation, it must be a pretty damn good recipe. Not too hard, and only took about an hour from start to finish (including baking time and letting the dough rise).

Recipe #204: Butterbeer Latte from Pinterest (original infographic below):

As you can see from the original infographic, I posted this pin to my 'To Do ASAP' board 4 years ago, but only just got around to doing it tonight. I mean, the ingredients were super complicated and hard to find (I'm lying, it was all basic household ingredients), it took forever to make (I'm lying, it literally took 5 minutes), and it sounded disgusting (I'm lying, it sounds amazing). The misleading name of 'latte' makes you think it has coffee, but it's really just like a hot vanilla caramel milk (instead of hot chocolate). I haven't had Butterbeer since my visit to the Wizarding World in 2010, but I wouldn't say the taste is exactly the same. Still, it's delicious and warm and wonderful on this snowy and cold first day of spring. 

I used nonfat milk, but I would suggest using something thicker for extra body. Oh, and I also did a cinnamon-sugar rim, since the recipe was way too easy. 


Cheers, muggles!

Open with care

Since I've been so lousy about posting since last summer, I've missed lots of opportunities to share homemade gifts that I've given to others.

There's not too many to brag about, but enough for a post - so here they are!

For my dad's wedding in August, I etched him a frame in my own handwriting that said 'Dad, of all he walks we've taken together, this one is my favorite. I love you. Amy'. Then, I framed a picture of him and me walking down the aisle. Unfortunately, I didn't wrap it well enough before shipping it and the glass broke in transit.





For the wedding I attended in September (see previous post on the bachelorette party), the couple preferred cash towards their honeymoon, so I folded up the cash to make a bride and groom on top of a cake, then framed it.

For my English friend's birthday in October, I crocheted her a Puff Stitch Slouchy Beanie. I had already made one for myself, so I was able to use the prior information and mistakes to make this one. I actually didn't make it as long so it wasn't necessarily a 'slouchy' beanie, but it was still adorable! This is from Hopeful Honey.
She and I had been sharing our crocheting struggles with each other (I'm usually a knitter), but this crochet stitch was super easy and quick to do.


I put the hat inside an Owl Giftbox that I made from scrap paper and an oatmeal container, inspired by Lisa Storms. I attached a tag that said 'Whoooooo's birthday is it?' (how punny).


I also gave her a framed picture of us at my wedding, with her speech typed out on the matting (she was the maid of honor).


For my friend's birthday in November, I painted some white canvas shoes with a scene from their beautiful sunset wedding in Brooklyn with the Manhattan skyline in the background.


For Christmas, most of the gifts were store-bought and ordered online this year, but a few handmade gifts slipped through.
For my sister-in-law, I framed a picture from her summer wedding in Sonoma Valley, with a map of Sonoma on the matting.


For my English friend for Christmas (even though she didn't get it until I saw her in February), I made her picture coasters with pictures from our summer vacation to Iceland.

By the way, I went to Iceland last summer and saw some of the beautiful sights I've ever seen in my life.

Now my friend can look at those pictures every day!



For my New York friend's birthday in February, I etched her a wine glass with her monogram.

And finally, for myself, I finally got around to painting another Beauty and the Beast Tea set, like I did back in November 2013 for my friend. I love it so much and it makes me happy just to look at it, let alone have a nice warm pot of tea all to myself after school.



Now, that's not all the gifts I made, but for the extra special gifts you'll have to tune in later in the post...
'Oh Baby'
:D





Bachelorette Party

Back in July I went down to Florida to throw a bachelorette party as MOH for one of my best friends.

Of course, I ended up doing all sorts of fun stuff that came from pinterest, but I never got around to writing about it...

So, 8 months later, here it is:

First, I sent out invites. The party was 'wine and cheese' inspired, so I created wine-stained invites inspired by ConfettiDayDreams.Unfortunately, I can't find the hard copy or the digital copy of the invite at the time, so if I ever stumble upon it again, I'll upload a picture.

Next, the decor. It was all a whirlwind of crafting, since I got into Orlando on Friday night, and set up for the party on Saturday. I did some things before-hand in NYC and packed them, and other things I stayed up late crafting at my parents' house.

I made this hanging photo booth by cutting a piece of posterboard into strips, gluing it together, and adding on some letters that I had cut on the cricut in New York from pink cardstock.
This idea came from StyleMePretty.

Testing it out at my parents' house

We hung it in from the ceiling at the house we were staying (thank goodness for the bride's 7 foot brothers), and I made a black and gold paper fan background to hang behind it by folding scrapbook paper, like it did for my sister-in-law's Bridal Shower back in June of 2013

We took before-and-after mugshots in the frame to show how our night progressed.

Before and after the big night out.

It was such a great place to take silly pictures.

The bride in her frame.


I made this diamond ring garland with scraps of cardstock - probably the easiest decoration ever. It's inspired by Fiskars' version of the same.


I also made these moustache and pink lip straw holders out of black and pink glittery scrapbook paper, no cricut used here! (I just used a hole punch to make the hole for the straw). The bride's brothers were at the party too, so I made sure to include manly glitterly straw pieces!

 

We littered the house with gold cups, black and gold balloons, gold beads and bachelorette-themed napkins.



 And this great caution tape I found at a party store... Danger: Wild Women


I also made gift bags for all he guests...



Inside the gift bag were a gaggle of goodies, both homemade and purchased from Oriental Trading

My favorite (of course), were the shirts that I made with the cricut and iron-on vinyl. The ironic part is that it was the bride herself who taught me the magic of the cricut and vinyl, so it was fitting that we got to wear these shirts all weekend!

The bridesmaids (and bridesmen) had black shirts with gold glitter vinyl, that said 'Team Bride' on the front, 'Bridesmaid' (or Bride's Bro) on the back, and their name on the sleeve.

The bride's shirt was white with gold glitter, and said 'Bride!' on the front, 'Future Mrs. Sinclair' on the back, and her name on the sleeve.

All the shirts I got at Michael's, besides the bride's which I got at Old Navy.
The vinyl I ordered online.




 




Also in the bag, I included 'diamond ring' wine glass markers that I made by cutting out of silver shiny scrapbook paper and painting names on.
Unfortunately, I don't have a diamond ring image on the cricut (though at this point it would have probably been worth the money to buy a wedding/bridal cartridge), so I had to do everything by hand.
It wasn't too hard, since it was all straight lines and I copied the shape from the one I saw online, but I did have to use scissors and an exact-o knife to cut out the small triangles inside.
These were inspired by this listing on etsy.

 





Also in the bag was some red nail polish that had a tag that said 'Let's Paint the Town Red' (inspired by BuzzFeed), 'Bridesmaid' sunglasses, a noisemaker, whistle, diamond ring shotglass, crazy straw, gold beads, and moustache tattoo.


The bride also got a 'Bride' sash, and custom-made Bride wine glass that I made to look like a wedding dress by etching the glass in the shape of a bodice, adding stick-on crystals, and tulle to make the bottom (inspired by this listing on etsy).


The bride was also gifted with a silly gold tutu that I made inspired by this tutorial on McKennaBleu, a headband veil, and a 'Bride' hoodie that I got from Target. 

She was so cute and excited and wore them all weekend.

 

On one of our low-key nights, I planned a 'wine and cheese' night. Everyone was invited to bring their favorite wine and favorite cheese, and I bought everyone a wine or beer glass from the Dollar Tree, as well as paint to decorate them. I also set up a 'Wine glass painting' pinterest board for inspiration.

These were our finished products!

I ended up painting the Ron Swanson glass for her brother.

Finally, one of my favorite things for the whole weekend, was when we surprised the bride when she went to the bathroom by holding up masks of her fiance's face and sitting silently in the living room.

When she came out and saw us, she had the best full-body reaction I've ever seen. I unfortunately didn't get it on camera because my storage was full, but the memory will forever be burned in my mind.

After the original surprise, we had fun with the masks the rest of the weekend.


To make the mask, I simply printed out a picture of the groom's face on cardstock at Staples, then cut it out, cut out the eye balls with an exact-o knife, and glued on a tongue depressor to hold it.

Repeat to make one per person.



OH, One more thing that I almost forgot...
At the bachelorette party I handed out stationary to all of the bride's family and friends, to ask them to write a letter to the bride to open on her wedding day.
In the end, she had a beautiful album that she opened on the morning of her wedding, filled with words of love from those who love her most.
This was inspired by Fit For A Bride.





Of course, the other bridesmaids made adorable things and helped pull the whole party together with food, drinks, decorations, and CHAMPAGNE JELLO SHOTS, but I don't want to take any credit for their work!

On the Sunday of the weekend, the bride's mom threw a bridal shower, complete with an amazing wedding-dress cupcake cake, umbrella-favors, and beautiful decorations. But again, I don't want to share what was her hard work!

I had so much fun with this party, and I've been contemplating giving up everything and becoming a party planner.

Just kidding. I'll just blog instead.