Weekly Pinterest Successes and a Fail Update

Today was the last day of volunteering at my church garage sale, what a ride! I have to say it was a lot of hard work but any excuse to organize crap that isn’t my own is a win in my book. Now, since I’m all motivated and on an organizational high, let us hope that I can use it on the garage and my craft room.

Remember the seed bomb project I did a few weeks ago? I wasn’t sure if it would be successful because some of the seed bombs had started molding. I was testing them for a friend as a possible wedding favor. Well I planted a couple of the moldy ones and guess what happened?

It grew! Success!

We ended up making another couple of batches and added less water, making it almost a damp crumble, but still easy to roll into a clay ball. Over two hundred seed bombs later, three people and staying up till almost 3am, we got them all done and packaged up. So I would say this Pinterest project became a success!

All done!

I had a meeting for Demarle at Home this week, which means cupcakes. I always bring cupcakes, sometimes a cake, but if I don’t show up with something they may not let me in! Not really! I really do it for selfish reasons, I love to bake and I love to see people enjoying my food. So I’m not doing them any favors really, all my guinea pigs and food testers are helping me. I’ve been eying a particular cupcake recipe on Pinterest, but was waiting for blueberry season. So here is the  link to the wonderful recipe for lemon blueberry cupcakes with a lemon curd filling and a mascarpone frosting from There Goes Cupcake.

Get in my belly!

I only changed a few things, and got a yummy cupcake. This is a big recipe and will make 2 dozen cupcakes. I ended up baking a pan of 20 mini muffin cupcakes and about 10 full size cupcakes. I followed her cupcake and frosting recipe and I made a 1.5 version of the lemon curd. She suggested doubling it if you like a lot of filling, but it would have taken 12 egg yolks and I had to leave a few eggs for breakfast!

Lemon curd at proper consistency, coats a back of a wooden spoon.

I had leftover lemon curd anyway and no complaints from me. It took all my self control to not eat it with a spoon…in front of my fridge…with the door open. I also had a lot of leftover frosting, since my family was visiting, I thought I would bake a cake mix cake and fancy it up with some of my leftovers yummies. When I made the lemon curd, I sieved it and was left with a pile of candied lemon zest. I saved it and added it into my cake mix giving it a little extra zing. I also beat the heck out of my cake mixes in my stand mixer, waiting until they turn pale yellow before I bake them. I think it gives them a lovely pound cake like texture. Pour, bake, unmold, slice in half, fill with lemon curd, decorate with leftover frosting and raspberries! Delicious!

Homemade frosting and filling do so much for a cake mix!

The last Pinterest recipe I made this week was lemony shrimp salad with couscous, I ran out of regular couscous and had to sub in the dreaded Israeli couscous. Luckily my twins know not to stick it up their noses now, they have not forgotten the extraction balloon up the nose. For this recipe I cooked the couscous in boiling water for a few minutes until tender and mixed in with the remaining ingredients. It was super fast and delicious. I would definitely make this one again, but I would suggest making it a day ahead of time  or earlier in the day so the flavors have time to absorb. The leftovers were great, so much in fact that I forgot to take a picture of it, we ate it too fast!

Wish me luck this week, I will be watching my nephew all week, as well as my twins and then my sister (who has Downs syndrome and needs constant supervision)  later this week and all weekend! It will be a rambunctious full house here this week! Let us hope I can get some of them to nap! Have a wonderful week!


Weekly Pinterest Wrap Up, only one day late.

What a busy weekend and it’s only going to get busier this coming week! Last weekend I was finally able to tackle my dining room closet. Do you remember that episode of friends where Chandler breaks into Monica’s storage closet and finds a huge slobby mess? Yes, that’s me. Don’t judge me to harshly.


Less than 24 hours later, demoed, spackled, painted and new system up!

Ahh! It’s not even full!

I’m volunteering at our annual church garage sale and I’m using the term garage sale loosely. It’s huge and it takes lots of help to get that thing put together. For me it lets me volunteer a bit for a good cause and it gets me out of the house, which is good for my sanity. Today was my first day and when I came home, I was treated with, “Hey mom, you’ve been gone all day so we’re going to concentrate the whole days emotions in a couple of  hours.” Ugh. The twins are finally in bed and asleep. My husband is on a man date with his brother, something he doesn’t get to do very often. The house is quiet, so enter the click clacking of my laptop keys.

Last week was a busy week for Pinterest inspired recipes. The first was my cauliflower pizza crust, detailed in my last post. Tuesday I took to girls to Mt Tabor park with the ladies and we enjoyed alfresco dining, wine and the Vagabond Opera. Everyone, brought a little something, my friend over at Lula Harp, brought an Israeli couscous salad. I have a history with Israeli couscous. Formally it was a delicious easy meal, then the twins decided it would be a good idea to stick some up there noses. Enter a late night urgent care visit with both girls, oh, and my husband was away on business. I was not pleased, Lula can’t stop laughing about it. I brought some chocolate cake and my pinterest recipe, taco cups. The first time I made the taco cups I misread the directions and made them in full size muffin cups, so they were a little flat. This time I made them in my Demarle mini muffin pan and they turned out wonderful! I topped them with avocado tossed with lime juice, sour cream and cilantro. They were perfect bite sized picnic snacks!

Yum in a cup!

Another Pinterest recipe wasn’t really a specific recipe as much as a lovely looking picture, this one to be exact.

How amazing does this look? (photo by Proud Italian Cook)

I picked up some Walla Walla sweet onions from the farmers market and grilled them then and doctored them up ala Proud Italian Cook with some basalmic, and Gorgonzola. Delicious!

The last recipe I got off Pinterst months ago and have changed it around to suit my needs. Last Wednesday we were greeted by a dreary gray day and I was struck with a yearning for Fall. I know, it’s not even August yet, but I’m so ready for pumpkins, colder weather, apples, cinnamon…

So I was inspired to whip up my Baked Potato soup. It’s so comforting and the whole family just slurps it up!

Top with your favorite baked potato fixings. I like cheddar cheese, green onions and turkey bacon.

Baked Potato Soup

  •  6-8 gold potatoes varied sizes (peeled and cubed)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • toppings of your choice

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, melt butter and cook onions and garlic until softened. Add potatoes and chicken stock, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency. Pour in the milk and cream and mix to combine. Salt and pepper to taste, you can also add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like some heat! Heat through and serve with toppings of your choice!

An immersion blender makes this so easy. I also like to precook and cut all my toppings ahead of time and serve them in the storage dish for an informal dinner.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Pretty please with a Banh Mi on top?

So, I have a huge favor to ask, please forgive me for a self serving request. I promise to follow this with an awesome banh mi sandwich recipe!

Recently I downloaded the  new Martha Stewart Craft Studio application available on the iPad. It’s an app that allows you to create and customize digital cards, scrapbook pages, thank yous and invitations just to name a few. It was free for a limited time so I snapped it up. Anything that allows me to be like a graphic designer without the  training to do so is a win in my book! I also found out they were having design contest and thought I would submit an entry. I was super surprised and elated to find out that my entry was selected as a finalist! I don’t think it was my design as much as my little cuties the prime subjects. I know, look at that nepotism shine, but they’re my babies, it’s expected!

See, this is the card I made. Aren’t they cute?

So my big favor is, to win the contest, Martha Stewart Living is having a popular vote for each card on Pinterest. If you are a Pinterest member and you go to the Martha Stewart Living profile and look for the Craft Studio contest board, you will find the above picture. All you need to do is repin it, that’s a vote! Or you can follow this link straight to my entry. Pretty please?

OK, now onto the promised Banh Mi recipe. I have been planning on blogging this one for awhile, it’s amazing. I can’t help but drool a little as I’m typing this. If you haven’t experienced a banh mi sandwich, it is a Vietnamese sandwich made on a baguette, an influence from the French colonists. It is filled with an assortment of grilled or cooked meats and usually has mayo, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber slices and cilantro to name a few. They have been very popular lately and have been all over the food truck craze. Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this recipe on Epicurious.

Prepare for some serious deliciousness!

Pork Meatball Banh Mi from Epicurious

Hot Chili Mayo

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped (I usually omit this so I can keep the mayo longer in the fridge)
  • 1 T hot sriracha (or a bit more!)

Stir all ingredients in small  bowl, season with salt. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. I like to leave out the green onions to prevent spoiling and keep the mayo in squeeze bottle in the fridge. It’s great on sandwiches and burgers!


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 T fish sauce (very important!)
  • 1 T hot chili sriracha
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t cornstarch
  • 1 t ground pepper
  • 1 t kosher salt

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. With moist hands, use a tablespoon to portion meat, rolling into 1 inch meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet. Do ahead, can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. To cook. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add half the meatballs. Saute until brown and cooked through. Turning the meatballs often and lowering heat if browning too  quickly. Transfer meatballs to another rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs. If you making a double batch (or even a triple batch) make sure to take out the first batches of meatballs out of the oven to prevent drying.

Quick Pickles

  • 2 cups coarsely grated carrots (I would julienne these if you have a mandoline slicer)
  • 2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon (I usually omit this and sub in cucumbers)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 t coarse kosher salt
  • 1 T Asian sesame oil

Toss ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

For bread you can use four 10 inch long pieces french bread OR for a variation I love to use Hawaiian sweet rolls and make meatball sliders. So yummy! Also you will want thinly sliced jalapenos and fresh cilantro sprigs for additional toppings.

This is the slider version. I loved the softness of the roll instead of the chewy french bread.

I hope you try the recipe, it is awesome. A big favorite in our house and great the next day! Thanks for the help!

Weekly Pinterest Successes

I have to say the point of a “weekly” topic is for me to be regular and post it on the same day each week, right? Well, it’s still Sunday, so I’m not too late, but  I’m sure cutting it close! This week my craft room was sadly forlorn, while I spent more time in the kitchen. I was able to try a few Pinterest recipes and they were all pretty successful. Goodness knows, I have had some failures, usually in the form of some sort of microwave mug cake.

The first one is a wonderful beef short rib slow cooker recipe, yes, you read me right, a slow cooker recipe. I find very few recipes made in a slow cooker fantastic. I don’t like the texture of the meat when it breaks down into a stringy mess. This recipe is a definite exception. I found the recipe at eat-yourself-skinny.com, a blog that focuses on healthier recipes and has a lot of calorie counts and weight watcher points for each recipe. I was able to get my hands on some beef short ribs, and I must admit I have never tried them before. Please, go look at the recipe, here’s the link. I popped these in and only changed a few things. I reduced the vinegar (to about a 1/3 cup), as my husband doesn’t like too much in his sauce. Also I was shocked to find I was out of sugar, *gasp*! So I reduced the sugar to a 1/2 cup of white sugar and then drizzled in some molasses. The ribs cooked all day, emitting tantalizing aromas throughout the entire house. My husband made some mashed potatoes to serve the ribs and gravy over. Yummy! This makes a lot of gravy! I have to confess that I actually had some mashed potatoes and gravy for breakfast one morning. You will not be disappointed!

The next recipe, I pinned quite awhile ago for some frozen s’more cups. I always try to make an ice cream type dessert for my husband’s birthday and I thought this would fit the bill. I used my Demarle muffin flexipan, as I could freeze the dessert in it and easily pop out the s’more cups. Otherwise you will need to use some sort of mini cheesecake pan, spring form pan or like item. I subbed in freshly whipped cream for the cool whip, as it is what I had on hand. They were very yummy and a wonderful cool treat for the warm week we’ve been having.

The finished product, I just had to try one!

The last recipe is for these broccoli cheddar biscuit cups sent to me by my friend as a good cooking with your kiddos recipe. I thought the recipe looked like a great starting off point. I made my own biscuits and opted for an herbed goat cheese filling, broccoli and parmesan on top. Even with my modifiers from the original recipe,  you can still do a “busy gal” version or an “over achiever” version. Here are both options for you.

Busy Gal

  • 1 can of refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1-2 packages of boursin cheese (depending on how much you like)
  • 2 cups broccoli (blanched and chopped)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Over Achiever

Herb Biscuits (from Barefoot Contessa)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1t salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter (I put it in the freezer for an hour then grated it)
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add grated butter and mix for a few seconds. Add half and half and combine on low speed. Mix in parsley. Dump dough onto a well floured surface or your Roul’Pat. You will be rolling them thinner than traditional biscuits since they will be stuffed into a muffin cup. Cut them out with a 2 and 1/2″ cutter. I made my biscuits ahead of time and put them on a cookie sheet in the fridge until dinner time.

Mmmm, biscuits!

Cheese filling

  • 10 oz fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 t seasoning of your choice. I used Demarle’s Green Onion and Roasted Red Pepper herb blend
  • Half and half to mix

With an electric mixer beat up cheese to break it up, add chives and seasoning. Mix in half and half slowly until your get a texture that can be piped or spooned. I put the filling into a ziploc bag and cut off the tip when I was ready to fill the cups.

You will also need 2 cups of blanched, chopped broccoli and 1/4 – 1/3 cup grated parmesan for the over achiever version. Baking and assembly will be the same for both recipes. Press dough into your muffin pan, if you’re using a metal pan, be sure to prepare with cooking spray. Cut tip off your ziploc bag and pipe cheese into each cup. Add broccoli and top each cup with some parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes for store bought dough and closer to 15 minutes for homemade dough.  Serve up to your picky kids and enjoy a lovely vegetarian meal!

I prepped everything while my girls were napping so we could assemble it together before dinner.

Press in biscuit dough into your muffin pan.

Pipe in cheese, there may be some leftover.

Topped with broccoli and cheese. Ready to bake!


I hope you will have a chance to try out a few of these recipes. The short ribs recipe will definitely be on our regular rotation and will be especially delicious in the winter months when a warm, comforting meal is in order. Enjoy!

Weekly Pinterest Successes (and maybe a fail)

When Pinterest became so huge, it became the bane of husbands and boyfriends everywhere. Finally a time suck for us woman (and some men too!) that could rival video games or World of Warcraft! Insert evil cackle here! With the vortex of time lost, it can be said that Pinterest, though time consuming is ripe with crafty ideas, delicious recipes, witty e-cards and a plethora of other goodies.  Since I’ve been on Pinterest for almost a year, I have  quite a few successes and failures under my belt. This week I limited myself to a couple of Pinterest crafty projects.

The first was a result of my husband volunteering to help with a friends wedding favors and me hijacking graciously volunteering to help. The bride’s approaching nuptials have her busy and stretched, so favors had her stumped and willing to throw in the towel. My husband suggested putting flower seeds in some sort of burlap like fabric and accented with a cute tag. Isn’t he a keeper! I then suggested that we try making DIY seed bombs, a form of guerrilla gardening. Seed bombs look like coca powder covered truffles but really contain clay, soil, flower seeds and water to stick it together. They can be thrown from your car window onto ugly freeway green strips and a little rain and sun later you get flowers! Or you could take your seed bomb and lovingly tend to it in a cute pot and enjoy the flowers on your windowsill, which is what we are going for with these wedding favors. I found the tutorial on how to make your own seed bombs here. I modified the recipe a bit, maybe to it’s determent because I need to make at least 200 of these bad boys. Instead of using straight flower seeds, I opted for a seed mix which contains only 20% seeds and 80% inert matter. So I thought I could reduce the amount of soil I put in and leave the rest as is. It was a messy project and I think it turned out ok, but I won’t really know until we plant a couple and see if they bloom. My first batch turned out a little hard and a few of them have started to mold. Hmmm. I don’t think this qualifies as a success or a failure yet. A little time and tweaking is in order. UPDATE: my wiener dog, Chloe found test plant seed bombs in the backyard and thought they were the best toys. My husband has since chased her down, extracted the bombs and replanted them. Maybe the dog slobber will aid in the germination.

Seed bombs.

Chloe or the seed bomb killer.

The next project was for my nieces’ birthday party. I bought a couple of over priced pillowcase kits (groan, next time I will cut my own!) that came with draconian instructions, confusing and no pictures. Imagine my glee when I found this tutorial by the Twiddletails blog on how to make the easiest pillowcases! She uses a burrito technique with french seams (aka no exposed seams) along with a lot of pictures! My type of tutorial! I made two pillowcases, so the first one was riddled with mistakes and took a long time to make. This is one of the repercussions of midnight crafting, I’m wiped so little mistakes have led me to have an extensive love/hate relationship with my seam ripper. The second pillowcase turned out beautifully and was done in no time. Now I can whip one of those babies out in 20 minutes. Think of the possibilities, Halloween, Christmas, flannel, cotton! So that last line wasn’t actually me, that was my mom. I think she is envisioning a closet full of themed pillowcases. Perhaps not, but at least now I have to tools to do so!

The finished product