Recently, my new friend, Isabella, and I made double chocolate snowball cookies, which are inspired by Mexican Wedding Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes. We liked these easy-to-make cookies so much that we made them twice. Once for a holiday party and once for the picnic you see in this post. These yummy cookies are filled with chocolate chips and cocoa powder, and dusted with powdered sugar on top, giving them a “snowball” effect. Keep reading to find the recipe, created by the blogger of Crazy For Crust, and you’ll find the how-to video as well…make sure to check that out!
These wood blocks are fun and easy to make. All you need are some scrap pieces of wood. If you don’t have any lying around then you can buy some at the hardware store. They can even cut them to the size you want there. In this post you’ll see some blocks my friend, Darcey, and I made to decorate our rooms. And, don’t forget to check out the How-To-Video.
All photos except the one of us together taken by Darcey and myself. READ MORE…
The rosemary & wood block make great party favors.
In my family, I’m the one in charge of making name cards (some people call them “name plates”) for dinner parties. This year, I went with some super easy, quick ideas. These are great for Thanksgiving, winter holidays or even New Year’s Eve parties.
Family friends Su Sazama, co-founder of the modern design site fitzsu, and interior designer Tracy Sonka Stultz of Sonka Stultz Designs, stopped by to teach me and my friend Darcey how to create a modern Hot Cocoa Station for the holidays.
Excitement is in the air
Here’s what you’ll need: a heat-proof pitcher to hold the warm milk and a bowl for your cocoa powder (we used a coffee serving set made by Arne Jacobsen for Stelton). It’s nice to have fun mugs for your guests. We used Hakusan Fancy Tea Cups designed by Masahiro Mori, which are also made for the sight-impaired. Each cup has a unique shape which makes it easy to recognize by touch and easy to grip. These tea cups are also made of thin porcelain, which is a common practice in Japan, and acts as a safety device. If the cup is too hot to pick up then the liquid inside is too hot for delicate lips to drink.
We used organic Silly Cow cocoa powder made in Vermont, warm organic milk and almond milk, plus these ingredients to flavor: cinnamon sticks, crushed cardamom, homemade peppermint simple syrup, fresh whipped cream and marshmallows (we used an adorable slanted John Pawson bowl to hold our marshmallows).
Flavoring with homemade peppermint simple syrup
#spoonies not #selfies
These whimsical heart-shaped spoons were designed by Miriam Mirri for Alessi. They are sure to put a smile on your friends’ faces and, as you can see, they also make great photo opps, too.
If you have not realized this already, I am a big fan of all things French and I am especially fond of French desserts. This Pear Clafouti is one of my favorite non-chocolate desserts and I love to make it for holidays. Today, my friend Tahlia came over to help me and she ended up loving it, too. The recipe is a classic one from Ina Garten, also known as The Barefoot Contessa. I just happen to change up a few things in the recipe: I reduce the amount of sugar she uses; sprinkle a pinch or two of crushed up cardamom in the batter because that flavor goes so well with pear; and I put an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of the pear brandy she recommends because we don’t usually have pear brandy on hand!
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (substitute Pamela’s gluten-free flour if you like) 1 1/2 cups heavy organic cream 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (1 to 2 lemons) (remember that is just the rind of the lemon) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears Confectioners’ (that means “powdered”) sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter a 10 x 3 x 1 1/2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. We have also made this in a cast iron pan and it comes out just as well.
Beat the eggs and the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish.
Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Garnish with berries or edible flowers.
Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.
We were inspired to make these confetti push-pops after seeing Thimble Press’s version on DesignLoveFest.com. They’re actually super easy and simple to make and customize and, as you can see from the video they are super fun to use. For this craft, friends and 5th graders, Airis & Francesca, came over to help and Parker (4th grade) directed the episode.
Hope you love these as much as we do.
To check out the written directions and photos, please visit the POST.
The host of Wondermint shows kids how to reuse all those iphone boxes received over the holidays, using leftover washi tape and recycled paper. 1.8 billion smart phones were sold last year—that’s up to 1 BILLION square feet of landfill space getting used up. But, not if you reuse your boxes.
To check out the written directions and photos, please visit the POST.
Every year, I invite friends who are part Irish over to make a delicious recipe or craft inspired by Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Last year, my friends Parker, Roman, Finn, Josy, and Flora came over and we made yummy Sultana (*Sultana means golden raisins in Gaelic) scones and mint and lavender soap for our third grade class, plus we each read a limerick. Here is the scone recipe; it’s from my favorite Irish cookbook, THE COUNTRY COOKING OF IRELAND by Colman Andrews. This book also has amazing bread and stew and salmon recipes!
Challenge Level: Easy
Did you know that smart phone boxes can waste up to 1 billion square feet of landfill (landfill is a section of earth that has been reserved for trash) every year? But they don’t have to. If everyone reused their boxes, they could help avoid taking up landfill and reduce waste. Here’s how I reused a few iPhone boxes I collected from family and friends. When I take something ordinary and recycle it into something cooler, I call it “upcycling”. Make sure you check out my how-to video, too. And, please share this post or video to encourage others to reuse boxes and packaging.
We were inspired to make these confetti push-pops after seeing Thimble Press’s version on DesignLoveFest.com. They’re actually super easy and simple to make and customize and, as you can see from the VIDEO & photos, they are super fun to use. For this craft, friends and 5th graders, Airis & Francesca, came over to help and Parker (4th grade) directed the episode.
This holiday season, try something new & festive to drink…a Guava Berry Mocktail for kids—adults will love it, too! All you need is guava juice, fresh raspberries, sugar, lemon and bubbly water. Like the song in the video? Our friend, Alina Celeste, wrote and performed it. You can find the song on her album “If I Were A Little Bird” at Alina’s website.
To check out the written directions and photos, please visit the RECIPE POST.
Resources: CERES FRUIT JUICE makes a great guava juice made without high fructose corn syrup or sugar. We buy ours directly from Ceres or at Whole Foods or Cost Plus World Market or Bed, Bath & Beyond.
These paper mache hearts make a great party favor, birthday craft or Valentine’s Day decoration or gift. Today I made them with my friend Asha. They are a super easy and quick craft to make. If you know a teacher send them this idea. They’ll love it.
My cousin Tammy visited from Taiwan and I showed her how to make Chinese potstickers, and she taught me a few Chinese words. Potstickers are healthy and delicious and easy for a kid to make with some help from someone over 14 who knows how to use a frying pan. And they are perfect to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Dim Sum makes a great treat for Chinese New Year or any time of year.
Ni Hao!That means Hello in Chinese. I know I may not look it, but I am a quarter Chinese. And, I love celebrating Chinese New Year. Some people call it the Lunar New Year, too, and it is celebrated in many places around the world. Today, my cousin Tammy is visiting from Taiwan and I am going to show her how to make Chinese potstickers. Some people know these as Gyoza, too. They are healthy and delicious and easy enough for a kid cook to make with some help from someone over 14 who knows how to use a frying pan. READ MORE…
This is a clever recipe that uses a tube of Pillsbury refrigerated biscuit dough to make really easy sticky buns. We added cut up bananas to ours. Hope you enjoy the video.
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