Tuesday, January 22, 2013

diy - ribbon organizer

My studio is always kind of a crazy mess.  I will organize things and it might stay that way for a day or two.  I guess I work better in the mess....or I am just lazy :).

One thing about my messiness that drives me cray-zay is that I often think I am out of something, order more, and then find said something a few days later.  This little routine happens all the time with the ribbon that I stock for ribbon tie headbands.  Most of the ribbon I use is bought online and it comes nicely coiled up in tissue or plastic bags.  I store the ribbon in a box and it never stays neatly wound up.

The messines got to me last week, so I decided to create a little ribbon organizer.  This was super inexpensive and easy.

All you need is a wooden dowel {I bought mine at Michaels but they can also be found at Lowes, Home Depot, etc.}, a cardboard tube from wrapping paper or paper towels, tape, and an exacto knife or scissors.

First, cut the cardboard roll into small sections slightly wider than the width of the ribbon.  These cardboard pieces will serve as the "spools."  

Next, tape the ribbon to the cardboard spool and tightly wind it around and around.

When all the ribbon is wound on the cardboard spools, thread them onto the wooden dowel.  

I have pegboard in my studio, so I hung the dowel off two large pegboard hooks.  If you don't have pegboard, you could attach two hooks to the wall and hang the dowel that way.

That's it!  Super easy and it took me less than an hour.  I want to make another one and use it to hang all the elastic I currently have stored in overflowing baskets....

Monday, January 21, 2013

homemade crackers

I eat crackers almost every day with my lunch.  I love them and always have a box on hand.  Last weekend, I decided to try and make my own.  Who knew they were so easy to make and SO much better than store bought?  Not this girl.  

They were so good that part of me wants to make a proclamation that I am never buying store bought crackers again!  But, I am far too lazy and realistic to go and say things like that.  

I browsed various websites and put together a recipe of my own based on what I found.  I am pretty sure this is a versatile recipe that can easily be changed by adding herbs or spices or using all oil or all butter.  And, you might be able to use gluten free flour.  

homemade crackers {makes a lot}
-1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon sugar
-2 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into small pieces
-3 tablespoons of olive oil 
-warm water {about 1/2 cup}

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet {or two} with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and butter.  Drizzle in the olive oil and then the water . When the dough forms a ball, stop with the water.
3. On a floured surface, roll out the dough.  I did half at a time.  The key is to get the dough as thin as possible.  When you think it is thin enough, roll a little more.  I got lazy with the rolling on the second half of the dough and the crackers didn't have the same crunch.  The thin ones were so much better.

4. Use a small knife or ravioli cutter and cut squares - however big or small you want, it doesn't matter.

5. Transfer the crackers to the baking sheets and bake for about 7 minutes.  Watch these closely.  They can go from too soft to burnt in a minute.  

6. I let the crackers sit on the baking sheets for a minute when I took them out of the oven and then I transfered them to a plate.

The next time I try this I am going to use either all butter or all olive oil.  Neither taste came through very much and I think that is because there wasn't enough of either fat in the dough.

You can sprinkle the crackers with whatever you want before baking - I tried salt and pepper and did a few with dried dill.   Another tip I noticed around the web was that a lot of people scored the crackers before baking.  I forgot to do this and I think it would have cut down on the air bubbles that appeared, but they tasted the same, so whatevs.

Enjoy!  I will share a creamy tomato soup recipe that pairs perfectly with these crackers later in the week.

Monday, January 14, 2013

healthy cream of broccoli soup

In an effort to keep up with my January goals and eat more plants I have been making a lot of soup.  I love a meal that is comforting and healthy and can be made in one pot.

This creamy broccoli soup is vegan and super healthy.  I ate it with a grilled cheese, apple, and arugula sandwich.  SO good! It was the perfect lunch.

Healthy Cream of Broccoli Soup
-3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
-2 cups cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
-1 cup chopped potato...any kind if fine, I used golden yukon potatoes
-1 medium onion, diced
-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
-1/2 cup hazelnuts
-5 cups vegetable broth
-salt, pepper, and olive oil

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes and saute for about five minutes.  Add the crushed garlic to the pan and continue to cook for another minute or two.

Finally, toss in the hazelnuts and pour in the vegetable broth.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes...until the vegetables are soft.

Blend the soup to your liking and season with salt and pepper.   So simple and delicious.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

the best apple cake

I am not sure if it's the fact that I am on vacation/holiday eating mode or that I successfully made this cake without any measuring cups/spoons, but it is the best apple cake ever.  It calls for four eggs, which gives the cake a nice light texture.  

Even my husband loved this cake and he always claims to not like cake {seriously?}.  The recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen and followed it as best I could...guessing cups and teaspoons and all of that.  I have a feeling this apple cake will become one of my go-to recipes.

Apple Cake {from Smitten Kitchen}
6 apples, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 and 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking dish.  I used a rectangle one because that's all I had.    
2. Peel and dice the apples and toss in the cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of sugar.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, orange juice, and vanilla until well combined.  Add in the eggs, one at a time and then fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones.
5. Pour half the batter into the greased baking dish and top with half the apples.  Pour the remainder of the batter oven the apples and finish off with the second half of the apples.  
6. Bake for about an hour and a half or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Enjoy your new favorite apple cake :).

Designed by Jackie Ayr