Spirograph Cards

Growing up, my sister and I had so much fun with our Spirograph, that in a moment of nostalgia, I recently ordered myself a new one.  It is just as much fun as I remember (possibly more) and has yet again managed to captivate my attention!

After some practice rounds on scratch paper, I decided to make some pretty note cards using a few of my favorite designs:

I think these cards are simple and beautiful with the designs alone, but in the spirit of Valentine's Day coming up, I wanted to embellish them a bit for the occasion.  So I grabbed some glitter and glue and got to work:

Here are the final results:


Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet anything is sure to grab my attention... I never quite understood all the hype until I tried a Red Velvet cupcake from Sprinkles... It was love at first bite!

These Red Velvet Whoopie Pies are a perfect treat for Valentine's day.
I used this recipe for the cookies and this one for the filling.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and combine the liquid ingredients together per the recipe while microwaving the chocolate in a separate bowl:

In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients:

Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture to wet mixture (divide into 4 parts), incorporating each addition well before adding the next:

Finally, mix in the melted chocolate, then spoon batter onto baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes:

Cool cookies before assembling with the filling:

While the cookies are baking in the oven, mix together the butter, cream cheese and marshmallow creme to make filling:

Assemble cookies with a spoonful of filling each:

Now you can wrap them up as you please - refrigerate for at least a half hour before serving.


Cup of Tea Valentine

While Valentine's Day can tend to be a commercial and over-hyped holiday, I like to embrace it as an opportunity to let friends and family know how much I care.  These "Cup of Tea" Valentine favors are a grown-up version of conversation hearts (which would actually be cute sprinkled inside these favor bags alongside the tea).

To make these favors, you will need some teabags (I used Persian Tea), some pretty paper, glue, cellophane bags & adhesive cardstock:

Cut out paper hearts large enough to cover the teabag tag and glue one on either side of the existing tags using a thin layer of glue:

Place two tea bags in a cellophane bag, fold over top edge, and seal with a folded-over piece of adhesive cardstock:

Write a sweet message on the cardstock label...


Vegan Potato Tacos

In an attempt to cut back on excessive (putting it mildly) cheese and overall dairy consumption, I'm trying to incorporate more Vegan recipes into my repertoire.  Using the corn tortillas I made from scratch, these Potato Tacos for dinner fit the bill.  Loaded with different vegetables, this is a meal you can feel good about in pretty much every way (and if you aren't looking to go the Vegan route, some cheese would probably take them up a huge notch! sigh.)

Aside from the tortillas, you will need: red potatoes, onion, red bell pepper, Poblano chiles, an ear of white corn, garlic, scallions, celery, cilantro, avocados, and lime

First, fry the skinned and cubed potatoes in olive oil until golden and crispy, then set aside on a paper towel lined plate:

While you are cooking up the potatoes, roast the chiles in a preheated 450 degree Fahrenheit oven on a lightly oiled baking pan for about 10 minutes, then chop and set aside:

In the same pan the potatoes were prepared, add some more oil and cook the corn/bell pepper/garlic/onion/celery mixture for about 5 min, adding the juice from the lime and salt & pepper to taste:

Assemble the tacos on warmed tortillas, beginning with the potatoes and roasted chiles, then the corn mixture, topped with avocado, scallions and cilantro... Healthy and delicious! 


Homemade Corn Tortillas

I'm usually a flour tortilla kind of girl, but there are times when a corn tortilla can be perfect - I personally like them most in enchiladas or any other form where they are not super dry.  When warmed correctly, corn tortillas are delicious for tacos as well.  They seemed easy enough to make from scratch, so I decided why not try them myself for some tacos.

It can't get more simple than this - a two ingredient recipe: water & Masa Harina (corn flour)

Combine the flour with hot water and knead resulting dough until smooth:

Then, cover the dough tightly in plastic wrap and allow to stand for a half hour:

Divide dough into smaller equal-sized balls for each tortilla:

I used a rolling pin to flatten out each ball for the tortillas - I liked the rustic feel to them not being perfect circles:

In a heated pan, cook tortilla on each side for about 30 seconds each, or until the tortilla begins to puff up/brown.  Keep tortillas warm as you prepare the rest, then enjoy! I used them to make Vegan Potato Tacos (recipe to follow!).


Old Clutch with New Gems

I found this clutch at a local thrift store for $5

All I needed were some acrylic gems and strong glue (I used some E-6000)

A few dabs of glue and Voila!


Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

I love orange flavored cake, and when I found this recipe I knew I had to make it - not only does it incorporate blood oranges, but it's an olive oil cake which I had never made before.  Lately my husband and I have been trying to include more vegan meals into our diet.  While not completely vegan (since the recipe includes eggs), it is a bit closer to that since there is no other dairy.

We were invited to a housewarming party, and I decided to prepare a gift package including this cake, the suggested honey blood orange topping and a can of whipped cream for serving.

To begin, you will incorporate the zest of two oranges with a cup of sugar:

Use your hands to mix together:

Next, Supreme 2 of the 3 oranges per the recipe:

Juice the 3rd orange (should result in about 1/4 cup) & add to the sugar/zest mixture:

After incorporating the juice, add the 3 eggs and 2/3 cup of olive oil to the sugar mixture:

Once the mixture is well blended, gently add the flour mixture to the wet batter:

Now stir in the prepared blood oranges:

Pour the batter into buttered 9x5" baking dish:

Bake in preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 50-55min until golden:

While the cake was baking, I prepared the honey blood orange topping by preparing 3 blood oranges as done above for inclusion in the cake.  Place oranges in a bowl and top with a few teaspoons of honey, then allow to sit for 5 minutes before mixing together.

To gift this, I used a cleaned jar and tied parchment paper around the lid with twine:

I wrapped the cooled cake first in saran wrap, then parchment paper and a doily, all tied up with twine:

Ready to go!

p.s. - the cake was served at said party and was delicious! I will definitely be making this again...

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