Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cute & Easy Centerpiece Idea + Favor bonus


How cute is this? I think it's pretty darn cute myself! I was asked to make a cute table piece for a Christening party. All of their colors were pinks and purples and very "girly" so of course I had to find something that was eye catching as well as perfect to fit in with the color scheme.

I made 3 of these cute centerpieces, They were set on both ends of the food table and one in the center behind the cake. (I wish I had taken more pictures of the table, they were absolutely adorable)

And so easy to make! ... Here's how ...

Dollar Tree is your friend with this craft. All supplies were purchased at the Dollar Tree and I think the whole project costs about $5

You will need:
  • Cupcake Liners in your color choice. The ones I picked were pink on the outside white on the inside so I just needed the one package. But you can use as many or as little colors as you like. (about 30 - 40 liners were needed to cover the ball)
  • Short Glass Vase
  • Easter Grass of matching color (I was lucky enough to be making this around Easter time, so it was pretty easy to find at the Dollar tree. But any party supp;y store should have it any time of year) 
  • Medium size Styrafoam ball
  • Straight pins - the ones with the ball end work the best
  • Hot glue 


Fill your Glass vase with the colored Easter grass.
Hot glue the styrafoam ball to the edge of the glass. so it looks like an ice cream cone
Take one cupcake liner  and poke the straight pin in the center of the liner. Pull the sides up and around the pin so you have a skinny length of paper. I did add a drop of glue inside the liner around the pin to make it a bit more secure.
Poke the pin into the styrafoam ball. add a drop of glue where the pin meets the ball also for stability.
Repeat this until the entire ball is covered with your paper liners.

And that is it! How easy and affordable is that?
What ever your color scheme may be you can always find the supplies to match with this piece. For a bit more money you can also find  specialty cupcake liners in print, or even  themed ones. There are so many to choose from now a days.
I hope these instructions were clear enough. The centerpieces were made pre-blog, and I wasn't intending on creating a tutorial to make these. So I only have a photo of the finished project.

Bonus project: Christening party favors:



Since it was spring time, and seed packets were on sale EVERYWHERE this was a no brainer. I think I got 20 of the seed packs for $1 at walmart.
If you have microsoft office, you can find hundreds of templates for FREE (Avery.com also has a free blank template to use). I used a standard business card template, The cross image was already on the template. I just added the wording "Watch me as I grow in Christ's love"
I printed them on regular printing paper and cut them out. Business card card stock is a little pricey for this project.
Punched a small hole in the top corner of the seed packet and attached it with a small ribbon.
They were a big hit as well. And a usable party favor.

Happy Crafting!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

For the Grown ups - Toasted Almond Cocktail


Creamy! Nutty! Indulgent! Are 3 of the best words I can think of to describe this delicious frothy cocktail. It is not to strong, just the right amount of alcohol for an evening night cap, or a refreshing after dinner sip! Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Ingredients:

    1 1/2 ounces amaretto liqueur
    1 1/2 ounces Kahlua coffee liqueur
    1 ounce cream

Preparation:

    Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
    Shake well.
    Strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass.

And enjoy!

Mini Cannoli cups

Who doesn't like cannoli's ? The crunchy shell, the dreamy cream filling and chocolate! What is not to love?
When I stumbled across this recipe from Cooking with Sugar.com I knew right away I had to make these little gems. And they turned out perfect! The filling is delicate and sweet. And the shell is just enough to hold in all that yummy cream and add a little bit of flavor with a great crunch. Yum ... What a treat! Give them a try and see  what you think.

For the Cups

     Flour for dusting
    1 can refrigerated pie crusts
    3 Tbs coarse  sugar
    1 tsp cinnamon

For the Filling (If you want the cream to be extra thick set it in cheese cloth in a bowl and refrigerate over night )

    1 (15oz) container of whole milk ricotta cheese
    1/2 C. confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cups
    2 Tbs sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 C mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or other toppings such as slivered almonds, cinnamon, dried fruit, chocolate jimmies (sprinkles for you non-new englanders)

Directions:
In a large bowl mix together all filling ingredients except for your topping pieces until creamy.
Place the filling in a zip loc bag and chill (for the thicker filling this is when you would put it in the cheese cloth - I recommend this step)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Unroll the pie crust onto a lightly floured surface.
Sprinkle the top of the crust with cinnamon and sugar. Go over the crust lightly with a rolling pin to push the cinnamon sugar mix into the dough.
Cut circles from your dough using a round cookie cutter. Press them into an ungreased mini muffin tin to make your cups.
Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
Allow to cool before adding your filling.
Once the cups are cool, add your filling  simply by snipping the corner off the zip loc bag and using it as a piping bag. Top with your favorite toppings, dust with powder sugar and ENJOY !


Happy Baking!!





Monday, June 23, 2014

4th of July - Eats & Treats



Now that summer is here, and we have mastered the BBQ grill. It's time to plan our 4th of July cookout!

What a great way to celebrate our independence ... Lots of fun, sun, friends, family and food!
A great cookout  can be as simple as burgers and sparklers to an elegant dinner party on the beach followed by a spectacular fire works show shining bright over the ocean. One of the many perks when I lived in New England.

The entertainment is provided for you (in most towns) with the fabulous light show in the sky. But you must bring your own food. We would love to help you with that, or at least make it a little easier to choose your favorites. Like we did here.

Here are some great sweet treats and yummy eats for your big event!

Fourth of July Pretzel Sparklers-  Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Super easy to make. And only 3 ingredients





 

Chocolate Covered Patriotic Strawberries! - Courtesy of Grin & Bake it

These yummy bites are just as simple as the pretzels and let's face it strawberries dipped in anything just screams summer! And I love the look of these. I also found a picture on line of a fancier design if your trying to really impress the in laws! Take a look at these ........

I do not have a source to share were these came from but it looks like a gourmet shop of some kind. But when it comes to dipping things in chocolate, it's not that hard to do. Just make sure your berries are dry and your chocolate is fully melted. Work fast when your dipping them in sprinkles. The melting chocolate hardens pretty quick. I like to get mine at Michaels. They have every color you can possibly imagine!


WOW Fireworks Cupcakes & many other ways to create patriotic mini cakes! 

Courtesy of The Gardening Cook

These cupcakes have so much details! I just love them. And all it takes is the right icing tip on your piping bag. There are so many cute ideas on this page, you are sure to find something that inspires you to  get baking!



One can't live on sweets alone!.....Says who?
I guess we must eat "real" food during our celebration, so lets bring out a few cook out favorites!


Country Potato Salad (and a cute story) - Courtesy of The Country Cook

I love the simplicity of this recipe. And it is so delicious! It is how i make mine, with the exception of the onions. Just a personal preference for my family.


The Best Crockpot Baked Beans - Courtesy of Dukes & Duchesses

I am ALL for anything that can be prepared ahead of time, or slow cooked in the crockpot and doesn't need my constant attention. This recipe is right up my alley for sure. Im super excited to try it next week and see how the family likes it. If it is as good as it looks it will be our new baked bean recipe!


The Best Burger - Courtesy of A Little Tipsy

I have to say I have not tried this exact recipe. But, I did try a variation of this. I had a friend come in town for a visit ( Hey Amy!! miss you) And she gave me her recipe for the "stuffed" burger. We mixed the ground beef, shredded cheddar chees, real bacon bits, and spices (s & p , garlic powder and onion powder). Fried up the patties and topped with BBQ sauce. Was DEEEEElicious! So I am definitely going to try this version with the mozzarella cheese and the bread crumbs. Definately a keeper!


Well, I hope the recipes/ideas above help get your 4th of July cook out started. And bring many happy memories and lots of fun for you and your family. I can't wait to share and see the pictures and results from the big day.

Here are 2 more ideas that may come in handy for you. Not food, just things that caught my attention while I was browsing around on pinterest for hours n hours.... Just a small addiction I have with that website!!

Gorgeous............ I just love the clean, patriotic and nautical look of this tablescape! Its classy, yet fun and inviting!    Don't you think?


If you are in need of a few printables to help add some whimsy to your party or cook out, Check out this page with 20 FREE 4th of July printables. I'm sure you can find something there you like. And you wont even need to run to the party store!

20 4th of July Printables - Courtesy of Tip Junky

 

 Happy 4th of July Everyone!! God Bless America!!



 








Sunday, June 22, 2014

Barbeque Basics




I will be the first to admit that I am TERRIFIED of the BBQ grill! I have never cooked on one, because of this fear. My husband, friends and family (even the women) are masters of the  grill! And can whip up a fantastic meal faster than I can pre heat the oven (ok, that's a little exaggeration! But  close lol)

I asked them to share their tips with me so I wouldn't be so terrified and I could make delicious meals without making my kitchen 120 degrees.

Are you afraid of the grill? Or are you a master of the tongs?

Here is what I have learned ....

Charcoal Grills give the food a better flavor
Gas Grills are more convenient and easier to clean/care for

Charcoal Grills are better for the low n slow method and seal in the natural juices of the meat

A general rule for your temperature guide (this info I had to look up) Thanks to about.com for the tip

So how hot is hot? The "Rule" is to (carefully) hold your hand just above the cooking grate and start counting seconds
  • 5 Seconds - Low
  • 4 Seconds - Medium
  • 3 Seconds - Medium High
  • 2 Seconds - High
  • 1 Second - Crazy
This is true for gas or charcoal. When cooking hot and fast you want your fire at High.

I found this handy dandy cooking chart on Charbroil.com
 It shows us the type of food, the temperature you should cook it at and for how long. This will be a huge help when I decide to face the fear and become a BBQ master!! .....or at least a BBQ beginner :)


Tips:
Always keep your grill OUTSIDE! - Even I know this DUH- And away from any structure, dry brush and leaves  or flammable material. 5-10 feet away is a good general rule of thumb.

Make sure your grill is on stable ground so it doesn't tip while your cooking. A grilling mat/pad is also a good investment. These naturally heat-resistant pads are usually
made of lightweight fiber cement or plastic and will protect your deck and patio from any grease that missed the drip tray


Before the grilling season kicks off into high gear, make sure your grill is fully cleaned and prepped (Don't forget the grease tray) . Including your propane tank, if you choose a gas grill. Fuel levels are important for proper cooking.

Invest in the right tools - Utensils with long handles are always best. Forks, spatulas and tongs with long handles are designed to prevent burns and splatters while cooking. You can get a decent set for a pretty reasonable price at most retail stores. Or you can go right to Charbroil.com to purchase the nice set below for only $24.99

Move your food around for even cooking and also to prevent flare ups

Never leave your lit grill unattended. Another given I think but it's so worth mentioning. 
Flare ups happen when your cooking on a grill, and mother nature can be a B ... you never know when the wind will pick up. *To reduce flare ups while cooking use a leaner cut of meat

Always read your owners manual! If you have any problems or questions be sure to contact the manufacture. 

I hope these tips were somewhat helpful in your (my) quest to taking on the beast! I'm really hoping to conquer my fear this year and get to cooking outside.  
I've found a few recipes I would like to try on the grill, and I have listed them below.
If you have something to add, as always please comment below or send us an email so we can add it to the list. 

Happy Grilling and Happy Summer!! 




Char-Broil

Sunday Savings - Couponing 101

Welcome to the wacky but wonderful word of couponing!
I will tell you upfront that the way I shop and the deals I post will in NO WAY be anything like you saw on "that show". I just don't work that way. And to be completely honest, that is just not reality!


Where should you begin?
First thing you need to do is be patient!  The more you read, and shop the easier it will be to understand it all!
You will need coupons! There are many ways you can obtain coupons every day/ every week. Check this link to see the variety of choices you have! Coupon Resources
When buying your local newspapers for the inserts, I generally like to buy them in even numbers and one for each member of the family. Buying in even numbers will benefit you at times like BOGO (buy one get one free) sales at certain stores.

Learn your stores! Most store now a days have a loyalty card or a club card. Be sure to take advantage of that and sign up for one. Most of the savings you get will be when you pair a club card sale with a coupon. Know the stores coupon policy as well. Print that out and keep it with you when you shop. Or in your binder or coupon folder. This is updated on occasion, and I will do my best to let you know when they are updated.

Organize your coupons! There is no right or wrong way to do this. You will have to try out a few different methods to see what  best fits the way you are and the way you shop.
Some people like to keep their coupon inserts whole until they need them. And they organize them by date in a file cabinet.
Personally I prefer a coupon binder. I purchased mine at staples and it is a double 3 ring binder made by case-it. I use baseball card holders to keep the coupons in. There are 9 slots per page. And I organize them in alphabetical order. You may choose to put them by category or insert date. How ever you choose to do it, is up to you. What ever works best!

Don't over buy! Almost everything that is on sale will be on sale again! As a general rule and something I was taught when I first started shopping this way, Buy what you and your family will use for a 12 week period. The sales run in cycles and the same type of items will most likely be on sale 12 weeks after you found the first great batch of freebie toothpaste!  If you miss out on a certain sale, be patient it will come  around again!


If you have any questions at all please don't hesitate to ask here, or send in an E-mail. I will help in any way I can! dailydiylife@gmail.com

Sunday Savings - Coupon Resources

How on earth do you have 10 coupons for that toothpaste that is on sale  this week?
One of the most common questions you hear when you are a regular avid couponer!
Well let me tell you how! ...
There are many ways to obtain multiple coupons for your own personal use, besides buying them in bulk each Sunday.

My personal favorite ... Get in good with your local stores! 
Most stores will allow you to collect the extra coupon inserts from the left over papers late Sunday evening or early Monday morning. They do not need the entire paper to get the credit they need from the newspaper company. So MOST will  not care as long as you are not interrupting their sales or their customers purchases. All you have to do is ask! The worst thing they can say is no!

Recycle Recycle Recycle ... Better known as "dumpster diving" Hitting up the local paper recycling bins can be very profitable and can get you lots of extras! Be sure to check with the local businesses that house the bins to make sure its ok. (I am a bug-o-phob so this option does not work for me. LOL not knowing what might be inside gives me the heebie jeeeeeebies! - but to each their own ! )

Friends and Family ... Most of them will think your a little coocoo because you need 10 crest coupons! But that is ok, ask them anyway! So many people get the newspaper every day/week and  could careless about those  dollars they are tossing in the trash! Trash to them means money in YOUR pocket!

Trading forums ... There are many  coupon forum sites that offer trading of coupons... I will list a few here once  I get the ok from the owners to do so. For now you can do a google search for coupon forums!

Paying someone for their time/effort to clip and sort! Another easy and usually affordable way to go about obtaining extra coupons. There are sites that will  offer up coupons for a small fee  for their time. (It is illegal to sell coupons, so you are paying for their time and effort to sort, clip and cut)
Here are a few of my favorites .......

Whole Coupon Inserts
Coupon DeDe


If you have any questions please feel free to drop us an Email - DailyDiyLife@gmail.com