Monday, October 22, 2012

Coffee Cheat Sheet

I made this, so I always know all the ways to enjoy coffee.  Mmmmm coffee.

My many espresso drinks to make with my Nespresso maker. Dreams coming true everyday. 

And hey! I painted this whole thing by myself!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Side ponytail.

You can really do anything with the over-and-under idea.  

So I took that idea and made it into many, many smaller loops and started on the sides of the head instead.  And trust me, those ponytails stay. This hairstyle survived a jillian Michaels Workout. You know it's hardcore if it can take that.

Cinnamon Roll Waffles.

Who knew this could be so easy and delicious. But seriously. EASY.  It's easier than baking the rolls in the oven....

Just pop open those Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and flop them on a waffle maker. Genius! Make sure you grease the waffle maker first though. Then smear with icing, whether included in the can or your own cream cheese concoction.  Mmmm yum. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Messy Weaved Braid

I included the weaving below the picture, because there's just no way I could explain this coherently. I have lots of fly-aways and layers in my hair, so the braid actually looks better messy than clean and tight in my hair. It's a nice style for a day of errands or just hanging around and nothing fancy. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Message boards.

I bought these little wooden quote signs at Michael's too. I love wasting my money on random art projects. But they were only a dollar, so it's technically not even wasting money..... Anyways...I painted them colors to match my walls, and then put the green one by my doorway adorned with my cute little message (I'm a total floor freak). I used stencils for the lettering too because my hand writing is horrendous with pens let alone paint brushes. But, they were fun to make and are cheap too, but I'm not sure what to write on my blue one....any ideas?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DIY Black and White Photo Frames

I really love buying those dollar frames at Michael's and then painting them or modge-podging them. The frames i used here were actually more like 3 dollars, but still....

I painted one a vintage white and then one black. Then I went over them with stencils in the opposite color.  So black got white, and white got black. There's some gray too.  Just really easy and fun. And pretty. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread Cookies.

This was actually a recipe I posted in april, but I didn't have a picture of them at the time. Here's the picture, and I think they should really be called shortbread snicker doodles. Soooooo yummy.

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C confectioner's sugar

1 TBL vanilla sugar1/4 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt (the recipe called for 1/4 tsp, but it was looking very sweet)
1 vanilla bean
1 C cold, cubed butter

Cinnamon-Sugar for rolling the cookies in.

Add all dry ingredients into electric mixing bowl and sift. Then split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the flour mixture. Next, add the cubed butter.  Mis on medium-low speed until dough just comes together.  Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes (I eyed it).  Now in the recipe I used, it said that once you remove the cookies from the oven let them cool on a  wire rack for 5 minutes. Then, in a medium bowl roll them in vanilla sugar and then place them back on the rack to cool completely.  The vanilla sugar tasted great, but it was a little too sweet for me (plus vanilla sugar isn't always just hanging around for people like me), so I did a cinnamon sugar mixture. More sugar than cinnamon because the cinnamon can stick a little too much, but they came out great! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Criss-Crossed French Braids

This one is a bit tricky to explain. Maybe I'll attempt a video of it next time.  But you section the hair in half diagonally, and make sure that one side has the bottom half of your hair and the other half has the top. Yep, that makes no sense.  You do have to start each braid taking strands from the ear and top of your head though. If you look at the first picture, you can see what I mean. Only one braid is braided all the way through, while the other is only braided to the nape of the neck. then you wrap the completely braided one around the half braided. Okay, I really will attempt a video because it's complicated, I know. :(

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nutella Crescent Rolls.

Pretty straight-forward and delicious (if you enjoy Nutella). I got the idea from "Chef-In-Training." Look her up, she's my new inspiration for all things delicious. 

Take 1 package of Pilsbury Cresent Rolls (I had the 8 pack), spread Nutella on them before you roll them up, and then I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on them too, but you could always do that after they're cooked or not at all! Follow the package instructions for temperature and baking time, and then enjoy! They are just delightful warm....

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Coffee Cart

I've always wanted one, and here it is.  Finally, my very own coffee/tea station. 

I just bought a kitchen cart off of target and converted it to my caffeine addiction station.  Can't go wrong really.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Braided Up-Do.

Hey there. So, I moved. And trying to do anything but not go completely insane during moving time is actually quite difficult, so my poor blog had to wait. Only now, am I finally settled and feeling mostly at ease. Sure, painting still needs to be done and fixing up the balcony, but whatever. I love my new place. It's really small though, and let me tell you, I have a fair amount of...uhh....stuff. I've really utilized the whole small space living idea, ha.....

Anyway, here's a hair style I did right before I moved, and I promise, lots more to come!

 First I did a french braid starting from the nape of the neck and went to the top of the head.
 Then...on each side of her head, I did one little twist (the ones where I twist the two pieces of hair in opposite directions of each other). And finally just twisted it all into a high bun.  Messy up-do of sorts.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Braided Headband.

Sorry for the lack of posts. I'm in the process of working extreme hours and trying to find a new place to live. It gets stressful and disheartening. 

Anyways, a simple french braid headband.  

Just section out a piece of hair and separate.  I left my bangs down and some of the front sides. Then french braid the separated section. I pinned back the front pieces but left the braid still hanging down.  My hair was kind of crazy that day...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Coffee Ice Cream Floats.

It's exactly what it sounds like. A root beer float, except the root beer is replaced with coffee. In my opinion, this makes the dessert about a million times better. I even have the cute little ice cream glasses to go with it (thanks Ashley).

All you need is french vanilla ice cream and some iced coffee. I made my own strong batch of coffee and shoved it in the fridge for a day. Then I stopped out some ice cream and poured the coffee until I had the desire ratio of deliciousness. It was like a vanilla latte. But better. I'm thinking of making some chocolate syrup and pouring some of that on top. Or caramel....mmmm, yum.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Maple Cornbread

It's cornbread with a subtle sweetness. Basically, pure deliciousness.

Maple Cornbread
from The king Arthur Flour baker's Companion

1 C flour
1 C yellow cornmeal
1 tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 C milk
1/4 C maple syrup
1 tbl dark brown sugar (optional)
4 tbl butter, melted
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 square or 9 inch round baking pan. I had neither and used a 9 x 5 bread pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt until thoroughly combined. in a small bowl, whisk together milk, maple syrup, melted butter, eggs, and sugar. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. 

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake the cornbread for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. It is best to serve warm with butter or maple syrup on top. but it's not bad in the mornings if you refresh it in the toaster oven for about 30 seconds to a minute on the toasting setting. Mmmm, I want more just thinking about it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Braid Crazy

Start by taking two small strands of hair from each side of your head, four in total, one from the top and one from the side, and then twisting them together and securing with an elastic. Twist the two strands together and then tie them together with another elastic. See the top of the braid in the picture below if these instructions are confusing. I'm utterly exhausted as I write this, so I'm sure my clarity is nonexistent. Once the twists are secured, start a french braid, incorporating the twisty pieces. Leave the bottom layer of hair out of the braid. Split the bottom layer of hair into two sections and then each section into two more pieces, so once again four in total. Twist the two strands around each other (the way described in hair twists continued) so that you should have two twists on either side of a braid.  then braid it all together and you're done. Sorry if that is massively confusing.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Such a simple cookie, yet one of the hardest to perfect.  Maybe it's because it's so popular. Or because so many companies spew out these chocolate chip cookies in bulk and then throw them in a plastic bag to sit on a shelf for months.  I've made a lot of chocolate chip cookies in my life, and this recipe is by far the best. With or without the sea salt. I discovered the recipe on epicurious, and took several pieces of advice from different reviewers about modifying the recipe. And some of my own thought s well. And now, I'll never make a different recipe again.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

3 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp sea salt, divided
10 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1 C vanilla sugar (vanilla sugar can be made by adding about 2 C sugar to an airtight container and adding an empty vanilla bean, or you could add the beans and pod to the sugar as well and then letting it sit at room temperature for at least a week).
1/2 C brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract 
12 oz choc chips, half milk chocolate and half bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets

Sift together flour, baking soda, and 1 to 1 1/2 tsp salt (it depends on how salty you like your sweets) Also, if you don't want the sea salt, just substitute 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and it's regular chocolate chip cookies, and they are still so delicious. 

In stand mixer, whisk together butter and sugars until pale yellow. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. If you used regular white sugar instead of vanilla sugar, which is totally acceptable, I would recommend adding an extra 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. If you're really feeling crazy add 1 whole extra teaspoon. Pour in flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets. Sprinkle each cookie with remaining sea salt (or not if you opted for no sea salt).

Bake for about 12 minutes and cool on a wire rack. 

Makes about 60 cookies. I got just under that, and I make my cookies too big usually.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hair Twists: Continued

Seriously, they're the easiest thing ever and look really pretty and really cool. 

Make four small twists on the upper side, two on each side, of your head. Remember a twist is just two sections of hair twisted in the same direction then wrapped around each other in the opposite direction in which they were twisted, heh. Make the four twists into two larger twists by...yes...that's right, twisting them together. At this point you could tie the two twists together and call it a day OR leave them untied and make another twist on each side of the head lower than the first two twists.  Finally, you're going to braid it all together. I used the twists on each side as two sections and what was left of the hair hanging down as the last section. That way, the twists are weaved through the braid. Yeah, that was a lot of words, but it takes no time or effort at all really.

Monday, July 2, 2012

One-Sided French Braid

Pretty self-explanatory. But part the hair over to one side. For a more dramatic look, you could part more hair than I did to one side, and I'm sure it would look nice if the braid was on the side of your head instead of on top too.  Pretty simple and elegant. 

 Just the side french braid.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Brown Sugar Pancakes

What a mouthful. But trust me, they are totally worth it.  I originally found this recipe on forever ago, and it has served me well many times. I mean, I ate almost all of these by myself... 

Lemon Blueberry Brown Sugar Pancakes

Makes about 10 pancakes

1 large egg
1 TBL lemon zest
3/4 C milk
3 TBL dark brown sugar
2 TBL butter melted
3/4 C and 2 TBL flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C blueberries

In small bowl, whisk to ether egg, zest, milk, brown sugar, and butter.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk together until just combined.  Stir in blueberries gently. 

Heat a medium pan to medium low heat and add butter. Let the butter melt completely before adding the batter.  Pour batter in 1/3 C measures. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

My all time favorite pie as a child. When my mom brought this pie home, I always asked her if I could have a piece (my mom ate pie for dinner, yes, it's true). It has been, at least over a decade since I've had strawberry rhubarb pie. Mostly because the bakery near our house went out of business a long time ago, and then I moved away. But I've been waiting to enjoy this pie again. I've made apple pie. And it's quite wonderful. I've made lots of tarts. And now this. If my mom were still around, she would be asking me for a slice, or in reality, the crust....

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

1 3/4 C four
1 TbL sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 C cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 TBL cold milk

In stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Scatter butter over top and mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes and the butter is in clumps about the size of butter. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks until combined. Add it to the flour mixture and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds. The dough should just barely come together. 

Dump the dough onto an un-floured fork surface and gather it into a mound. Once in a  mound, with the palm of your hand, pull down on the dough to streak the butter as evenly as possible. You don't have to do it this way, the goal is just to streak the butter throughout the dough, while keeping it as cold as possible. The cold ingredients are what make the crust so flaky. once streaked enough, flatten into an inch thick disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

1 16 oz container fresh strawberries (hulled and halved)
About 20 oz rhubarb trimmed in 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch pieces (I like my strawberry rhubarb to be heavier on the tart side)
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C corntstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl, tossing together lightly to make sure everything is combined. I make my filling while my pie crust is baking. That way, it has time to absorb all the flavors.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and have a 9 inch pie dish ready. 

Take dough out of fridge and break off 3/4 of the disc and put the remaining quarter back in the fridge. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12 inch in diameter circle. It should be about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Beautiful crusts is not my thing, so if I manage to get it all in one piece with nov racks, I'll take it. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin, and move it over to the pie dish.  Loosely place the dough in the pie dish, allowing about an inch of dough to hang over. Gently pat the dough into the pan.  Refrigerate the dough  for at least 30 minutes, or wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for a day. 

Remove dough from fridge and place parchment paper over it, and then put pie weights (actual pie weights or uncooked rice works) on top of the paper. Blind bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown. The edges can be a little darker. remove from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Remove the other quarter of the dough from the fridge. 

Pour in filling. 

With the second piece of dough, roll it into a rectangle 10 inches long and 6 wide, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or regular pizza cutter, cut the dough into 10 inch long strips. The width is really up to you.  You can arrange them however you want. This dough recipe (from Flour) says to arrange them at 45 degree angles from each other. I just work across one side and then do the other.  As I mentioned before, beautiful crusts is not my thing. As long as they taste wonderful. Anyways, once the strips are arranged, sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  

Bake for 1 hour up to 1 hour and 20 minutes. When it's done, the top strips should be golden brown all over. Let cool on a wire rack before enjoying! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cinnamon Latte

I learned this from a friend who works at Starbucks...

Ignore the cinnamon stick... it's for decoration. Because, you know, I'm so fancy!

If you just add cinnamon to the milk before you heat it or froth it or whatever you do to make your milk hot, just add ground cinnamon.  I have a Nespresso maker and the milk frother that came with mine is pretty tiny, so I did a few dashes and mixed it in before frothing. it had a very subtle cinnamon flavor, which was nice for me. I would imagine for every cup of milk maybe 1 tsp of cinnamon. No, that sounds like too much, I'd go 1/2 a teaspoon at most. Or, it's really up to your taste buds. just make sure you mix the milk and cinnamon together completely (or as completely as possible). Then just sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top and bam, flavored latte with no extra sugar. 

Graham Cracker Bread

Graham Cracker Bread

1 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 C unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 dark brown sugar
1 C graham cracker crumbs plus 4 tsp more 
3 TBL creme fraiche
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C buttermilk
1 1/2 C raisins

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Dust the pan with the 4 teaspoons of graham cracker crumbs. 

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. set aside. 
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter, about a minute. Add the creme fraiche and graham cracker crumbs and mix on medium low speed for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs on at a time, and then add the vanilla extract. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Alternate adding the buttermilk and flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture.  Mixing in between each addition on low speed until ingredients are just combined. Mix in the raisins with a spoon. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 

Bake for 50-60 minutes. mine was done after 50, so you could even check before then. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then pop the bread out of the pan and let it remain cooling on the wire rack for 1-2 more hours. Once the bread is cool enough, drizzle honey on the top and serve!  

I'm debating if I should add a 1/4 C of canola oil to this recipe. When I make it again, I definitely will, but if anyone decides to make it with the oil, please let me know how it comes out! 

Other than that, this bread was yummy, especially as my breakfast this morning. :)
P.S. you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cajun Turkey Burgers

One of my weaknesses for food (yes, I actually do have favorites) are turkey burgers. More specifically blackened turkey burgers or sometimes called cajun turkey burgers. a good turkey burger, in my opinion, is harder to do than a good burger because turkey isn't as flavorful as beef.  Nor as juicy and can become dry quite easily. For these reasons, I usually stick to beef burgers and have had my fair share of terrible turkey burgers. I'm thinking frozen patties and stale turkey taste....

So, I decided to create my own turkey burger.  To enjoy and eat whenever I felt like. 

Cajun Turkey Burgers

2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 sweet onion
3 green onion stalks
2 cloves of garlic
2 egg whites
3 TBL flour
1 tsp garlic powder
black pepper
cajun seasoning
olive oil

In a large bowl, combine onions, garlic, garlic powder, the egg whites, and flour together. Mix them together using whatever pleases you: a whisk, a fork, a spoon, whatever. Just make sure to break up the eggs and evenly distribute the flour. Then add the turkey meat and mix the onion-egg mixture into the turkey thoroughly. Place a strip of wax paper on the counter and begin rolling the meat-onion mixture into patties.  They can be however big or small, fat or think, you want them to be. I made mine about 1- 1 1/2 inches thick, and about 3-4 inches across.  They were fat little burgers. Place them on the wax paper. Once all the patties are put together on the wax paper, season them with salt and pepper (to your taste) and then cover the top with cajun seasoning. If you don't have cajun seasoning, you could substitute chili powder or paprika.  I'd go easy on the chili powder though.
Over medium heat, pour about 1 TBL of olive oil into a frying pan or skillet.  Let heat for about 5 minutes. Add 2-3 patties at a time to the pan.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of your burger, and also the first time will take a little longer.  When you flip the patty over, it should be a dark golden brown.  I had to flip my burgers at least twice on each side to cook them all the way through. I also seasoned the patties with cajun seasoning on both sides (I seasoned the second side after the first flip). Pour more olive oil into the pan for every new wave of patties, but 1/2 TBL will work. I put them on a plate after they were cooked through and sprinkled them with a 6 cheese blend and some fresh cilantro. Mozzarella or Swiss would be yummy here too.
I love onions and garlic, so feel free to lighten the load there too. But basically, these were delicious. Even my brother who hates turkey said theses were amazing. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

4 Side French Braids

It's four french braids starting from the side and going across. Then weaved together and put into a side bun. You could also just do three and braid them together at the side and wear it down. I think that would look nice, as well. As long as all the braids were braided in the right direction for a low ponytail. . . or high one if you're feeling very 80s. 
Makes for a classy up-do, I think.