I whipped up these simple Christmas ornaments as gifts for my friends and family. I had the grand idea that we would harvest local acorn caps to use, but they ended up being too small for the bells I found at Joann.
They were pretty simple to make. It went something like this:
- Find acorn caps to order on ebay since our local caps were too small.
- Paint the acorn caps with gold, green, and red glitter paint.
- After they dry, glue the bells into the acorn caps. I found hot glue to be the easiest to work with, but reinforced it with some Elmer’s in the gap around the bell, if it existed.
- After that round of glue dries, attach matching embroidery thread to the stem by tying it and then add a bit of glue for security.
- Once that dries, tie the thread onto a loop of ribbon. I varied the length of thread so that the bells would hang at different lengths.
- Optional – add a small coordinating bow to the ribbon loop.
I haven’t baked any sort of bread that requires yeast in quite a while. That all changed when I read the pretzel parker house rolls recipe on Smitten Kitchen recently. While I don’t have a clue what a parker house roll is (yes, I could look it up), I did know that the rolls sounded (and looked) delicious. Following her recipe, and using the baking soda wash instead of lye, I now have made two batches of these rolls and froze them for Thanksgiving. I’ve taste tested a roll from each batch and can tell you that not only are they easy to make, they are also delicious. I’m not really a fan of kneading dough by hand, so I used my KitchenAid to take care of that part.
The yeast comes alive:
The dough hook does the hard work:
The dough after kneading:
The dough after first rise – I used a pizza cutter to cut up the dough into 16 kinda equal slices, like a pie, as the recipe suggests:
The dough formed into rolls, prior to the second rise:
After second rise, before washing in baking soda / water and egg rinses:
The finished product – so good!
I recently came across a recipe for “detox taboulleh” from Oh She Glows which uses cauliflower rice instead of regular grains. I wanted to try something with cauliflower rice again and I decided to try this recipe. It was well worth it. We paired the salad with flatbread and hummus and it was delicious. Because the recipe was so healthy I made very few changes. I used a bit more tomatoes and onion, a bit less cilantro, and sesame seeds instead of hemp seeds. I also used the shredding blade on my food processor to grate the cauliflower and celery. I used:
- 1 large cauliflower, leaves removed
- 1.5 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cups fresh parsley, minced
- 1 & 1/4 cups finely chopped celery
- 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
- 2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
- Optional sesame seeds to sprinkle on top
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Use the grater blade attachment on a food processor and drop cauliflower florets into the machine to grate. Empty out the bowl and use the same blade to grate the celery.
- Stir the rest of the vegetables (tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, and green onion) into the bowl.
- Whisk together the dressing in a small glass or jar. Pour onto salad and toss to combine, adjusting salt to taste if desired. The flavors are best after the salad has been refrigerated for a while. Sprinkle sesame seeds on of the salad when you’re ready to eat.
The grated cauliflower:
Adding celery and tomatoes:
Dressing and salad prior to mixing:
Delicious salad with olive hummus topped crisp flatbread:
All recipes I’ve made from Oh She Glows have been great, I recommend you check her site out!
I finally got around to picking colors for our master bedroom and bathroom so that we could continue updating the bottom half of our house. The master bedroom has the bathroom sink open to the bedroom and the tub and shower are in a room off to the side. I had three basic ideas to test out:
- Teal accent wall behind the bed, teal bathroom walls with the rest of the walls light blue and white ceiling
- Teal accent wall behind the bed, teal bathroom walls with the rest of the walls light gray and white ceiling
- Gray walls in bedroom (same gray as in our living room), teal walls in the bathroom and light blue ceiling
I tested four dark colors in the bathroom, narrowed my options to two, and then tested them on the wall behind the bed. I settled on white ceilings, and selected Valspar Lyndhurst Duchess Blue for the dark color and Valspar Halcyon Blue for the light color. Despite its name, Halcyon Blue is more of a light gray color. In some light, it almost looks white. Even though I decided to stay with white ceilings, I’d still like to try painting a ceiling a non-white color in one of our rooms.
A great photo of the mess after we started moving the furniture around:
Testing the light colors on the wall and the ceiling:
The after view – we finally hung some things on the walls!
We still have to replace all of the trim in the room and paint it white. You can see the ugly light beige colored trim in most of the photos. It’s peeling and it’s ugly and I can’t wait to get rid of it!
While I was hanging things on the walls, I took an unused picture frame, removed the glass, and glued in a piece of metal screen so that I can use it as an earring holder on the wall near the hooks that I hang my necklaces on.
I’ve finally slightly figured out how to do this GoPro video thing. I’ve been mostly using my GoPro for pictures, but we took it with us in Alaska and took some 360 degree videos from the top of the hikes we went on. I was able to use Adobe Premiere Elements to import those videos and stitch them together, much easier than when I tried to use the GoPro video app. So this first YouTube video is made up of multiple hikes, with the video taken with my GoPro. The hikes were the Savage Alpine Trail and Mt. Healy Overlook in Denali National Park, Flat Top in Anchorage, and the Harding Ice Field trail in Kenai Fjords National Park.
The second video was taken with a point and shoot camera, since somehow my GoPro battery was dead, despite charging it the night before. This one is probably my favorite though, because it’s video of a hand tram in the Kachemak Bay State Park near Homer, Alaska!
In an effort to use more figs during this never-ending fig season, I tried a new recipe. Since I love banana bread, I looked for bread recipes that use fresh figs. I found a fig bread recipe on Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
. It used almonds so I adapted it to remove the almonds, since I’m not a fan of nuts in baked goods. I also added lemon zest because in the fig crumble cake
I like to make, lemon zest makes it awesome.
The fig bread came out delicious, so I’m sharing the recipe of course.
To make 2 loaves, I used:
- 3 cups all purpose flour + 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups coarsely chopped brown turkey figs from my tree
- Zest of 1 small lemon (next time, I will increase this to 1 small lemon per loaf)
- 2 additional figs cut into 4 vertical slices to place on top of each loaf before baking, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare 2 loaf pans with your favorite method. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour through salt). Beat together eggs, applesauce, oil, vanilla, sour cream, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients in approximately 3 parts and mix just until combined, don’t over mix. Fold in the figs and lemon zest by hand. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, and place four fig slices on each loaf. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Figs and zest:
Ready to bake:
Deliciously full of figs:
I think I finally completed the last of my tasks to make my dining and sitting room renovations complete! That task was to make a new cushion for my dog’s awesome window bed (which I made myself). Since I made the bed, she (and the cats) have been sleeping on an old dog bed that I made in our other house. It is a fleece cover with two bed pillows inside, covered by a layer of eggshell foam. It does the job, but the cover is the wrong color now and it has a large indent in the center from use. I bought new gray fleece and nice thick green foam from Joann Fabrics quite some time ago. I kinda can’t believe I waited this long, as it took me less than an hour to make her the new cushion. What a bad dog parent I am.
I bought one section of green foam that was the thickest they had, when it was on sale for 50% off. To make the bed thicker, I also bought two chair cushions that were about the right size. The thick foam wasn’t the right size to fit in the dog bed, so I had to cut it to size. It was so thick I had to cut the top half first and then the bottom half with my scissors.
Measuring the foam to fit:
Molly lays on her old cushion watching me:
After cutting the foam to size, I basically sewed a large pillow case. I wasn’t too concerned with dimensions, just that it needed to be large enough to fit.
After sewing the fleece, I wrestled it over the foam and installed it in the dog bed. Here you can see the nice new cushion next to the old sad one:
And Molly agreed to model for me. She’s the cutest!