Thursday, October 03, 2013

Spanakopita (updated)

A while ago I took a Greek cooking class then I made baklava and posted it here. Since my baklava post I have taken a pizza cooking class -- the Greek class is still at the top of the list with the pizza class at a close second. (I'm taking an Egyptian cooking class at the end of the month!!!!!!!!)

We had an "Around the World" pot luck at work. I knew this was the opportunity to make one of my favorite dishes from the Greek cooking class I took. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gift Wrapping "Station"

I'm sure you avid pinners have seen gift wrapping rooms all over Pinterest and drool with jealousy like I do. Shoot, I'm not even passionate about gift wrapping but the rooms look so organized and beautiful I want one.

I do NOT have space in my apt to dedicate a room/closet simply for gift wrapping.

The first blog I ever started following was Cupcakes and Cashmere. Everything she does is beautiful. She posted a DIY of her version of a wrapping station. I love it. I love that its over the door and doesnt take up a whole room. It's small enough to hide but big enough to to do some creative wrapping.

Since my wrapping materials aren't that extensive I searched the Container Store website to find the perfect wrapping "station" for my needs.

Remember: tiny apt, roommates, no room, building up supplies

Until I can work up to a gift wrapping room my "station", though small, will fit neatly under my bed, out of the way, which I LOVE.

I can't wait to wrap some gifts!

Total Cost: $15.00

Chicken Quinoa Soup

I made chicken noodle soup for the first time on my own and it was not very tasty. I hate adding salt but I realized after this test, that's what I was missing.

I am now on a mission to make a great chicken noodle soup; this one is on the right track :).

DIY Cake Stand Perfume Holder

As many of you know Pinterest loves cakestand storage. I do too, it adds a little bit of depth, a little color, and overall it just looks a little bit classy. When I saw this pin I knew I had to make it.


send her pics of what i did:
Total cost per item or pair or project: $24.00*


I recently took a Greek Cooking class through Living Social. If you are not familiar with Living Social, you need to be. Living Social offers "things" (sorry dad, I know how much you hate that word) at a discount. For example, I've taken two cooking classes (brunch and Greek), a Kimchi demonstration class (showed me how to make Kimchi), a wine and paint class where we got two glasses of wine and painted a flower. I'm not an artist, I’m more of a crafter, so I wouldn’t do that again, but it was a great girl’s night. I also got a discounted Tough Mudder ticket (wohoo!!). I've ordered iPhone cases, skydiving experiences, 3 course dinners, tubing trips, the list goes on. Check out Living Social to find discounts in your area, it really is a great way to enjoy your city at a discount.

Any who, in the class I learned how to make VERY VERY good food, baklava, lamb kabobs, tzatziki, Greek green beans, and spanakopita. The way that the class is set up is it's two people per cooking station, my mom paired up with her friend, and I lucked out at got the whole station to myself. I also didn't have to share my spanakopita or lamb kabobs (nom nom nom). Since I wasn’t a big fan of the baklava (too much rose water for my taste) I figured I would just share it with my coworkers. They are pretty cool. The baklava was a HIT at work; I knew that's what I would be making for the next potluck...of course with a few updates to my liking :).

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pigs-in-Pigs (lil smokey's wrapped in bacon)

My friend decided to have a little pre-game-nosh party before hitting the bars on her birthday. I was tasked to make pigs-in-a-blanket. A relatively easy task if you buy the right kind of dough -- aka the sheet kind not the pre-cut kind. But that is NOT what this post is about.

So, my friend is allergic to gluten, in addition to pigs-in-a-blanket I made pigs wrapped in bacon, or pigs-in-pigs as I like to call them. They smelled amazing, and were a hit!

-Lil Smokey's

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Cut the bacon into thirds
3. Begin wrapping the lil smokies
4. Place on cookie sheet
5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until bacon looks good! mmmmmmm

Lesson's learned:
-Use a tooth pick to keep the bacon from unrolling
-Bake them on a cookie rack so the fat will drip off

FYI, it tasted just as good as it sounds :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday, March 04, 2013

LMAC: Lobster Mac & Cheese (with bacon!)

I have a friend that made lobster mac & cheese, boy oh boy was it good! It was even better the next day it was that good. I found out that he just used a regular old box of kraft mac and cheese (the deluxe kind) and just mixed in some lobster! So easy! I knew I could make it.

In addition to making LMAC, I've been wanting to find a great mac & cheese recipe... and I will tell you I am still on the hunt for that.

I used this recipe from one of my favorite websites/blog The Kitchn. I followed the recipe exactly except for a few things:

-1 pound of pasta = 1 box of pasta
-2 cups mac & cheese blend cheese mix vs just cheddar
-baked it
-added panko bread crumbs

Lessons learned:
-since I baked it, the LMAC really lost it's cheesyness... next time I make this I will just use 3/4's of the box
-it wasn't that flavorful... siracha was added and made it better... but I didn't like how spicy it was
-added planko bread crumbs on top... really didn't add anything to the LMAC

Overall this recipe was a bust... still looking to find a mac and cheese recipe I CAN make.

Adapted from The Kitchen:

Creamy No-Roux Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4 to 6

What You Need

1 box pasta
1 1/2 2% milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded cheese, I used the Mac & Cheese blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
3 Lobster tails
5 Pieces of bacon
Planko bread crumbs

Pasta pot
Sauce pan


1. Cook bacon: cook in the oven for 10 minutes on each side at 400 degrees.
2. Boil the Pasta: Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in the pasta pot. Add the pasta, cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Warm the Milk: When the pasta has finished cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see tendrils of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes. WATCH CLOSELY!! It got too hot and too thick, so I had to add more milk to water it down.
4. Make the Cheese Sauce: Turn the heat to low andmix  handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.
5. Cut add in's:  I used scissors to cut the lobster and bacon to bite size pieces, save 2 pieces to sprinkle on top
6. Combine the Pasta and Cheese Sauce: In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add the second half of the sauce and bacon and lobster.
7. Baked Mac and Cheese: Pour the prepared mac and cheese into a casserole dish, cover with a lid or foil, and bake at 350°F for 1/2 hour. Remove the covering, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bacon, bake uncovered for another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden and the interior is bubbly.

sorry for the bad image quality.. not sure what happened there

Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DIY Scarf Organization

While spending one of many hours perusing through Pinterest I stumbled across this pin, from from the desk, and really thought it was a great idea. I mean it sure beats the way I was organizing scarves before.

Total cost of project: $4.00

Lessons Learned:
need a wooden hanger... or split them up onto 3 hangers (which is what I did)

-shower curtain rings

$0.00     scarves
$0.00     hangers
$4.00     shower curtain rings ($1.29 x 3)
$4.00    Total


1. Hook the hooks on the hanger
2. Thread scarves through!
3. Fin

before: all my scarves
As you can see, I have a lot of scarves, and they all end up on one side of the belt rack... when they hang up in my closet its even worse... it just pushes all my clothes to one side.

Any who, love my new scarf holder!!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

DIY Mason Jar Sewing Kit

One Christmas my Mom gave me Martha Stewarts Christmas Album. I LOVE Christmas music. Part of that 3 disc gift set, Martha provided crafts and recipes. In it was a DIY for a mason jar sewing kit. So lets say I have been wanting to make this for a while.

Here is a tutorial you can use. I did it a bit different

Total of project: $6.00

-tomato push pin
-sewing accessories
-mason jar
-hot glue gun

$2.00     fabric
$2.00     tomato push pin
$2.00     mason jar
$6.00     Total



1. Cut a square of fabric and an extra circle a little smaller than the lid see step 6
2. Remove the filling from the inside of the tomato push pin and place it in the center of the square
3. Begin to push through hollow lid of the mason jar using the second part of the lid.
4. Push through until you cannot push any more, pull the corners of the fabric.
5. Cut the extra fabric around the corner
6. Glue it down corners to the lid
7. Glue extra circle down to hide corners
8. Add glue to the lip of the hollow lid and push the stuffed fabric lid through
fill in!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DIY: Boot Shapers

As soon as I saw this post on Pinterest, I knew, I had to make them.

Thus began my adventure of drinking 20 bottles of water for 5 pairs of boots.

The project cost me about $11.00 per pair of shapers

Lessons learned:
-Con: The fur was too long and made a HUGE mess when I cut it. I recommend getting a different length of fur
-Con: Not only was the fur messy, but because of the length when I cut it the fur got REALLY SHORT. The whole bottle was not uniform.
-Pro: You do NOT need 3 yards of fur. I will most likely make a fur vest with the extra.
-Pro: Because of how long the fur was, when I did not cut enough and there was bottle showing, I just grabbed some extra fur and glued it over... I sort of like that messy fur look.
-Tip: Recommend laying down a tarp or something to catch the clippings.
-Tip: If you are making shapers for more than one pair of boots, get different color tassels so that you can keep track of the shapers.

All in all, it doesn't look like the tutorial, but they are mine and now my boots don't fall over  :)

-SmartWater bottles (two 33.8 fl. oz. bottles per each boot shaper)
-serrated knife
-duct tape
-hot glue gun
-faux fur (bought 3 yards only needed about 1. $58.60/3=$20/yard)
-ribbon (only used about 1/2 of the spool. $4.00/2=$2.00)

$30.00    SmartWater
$20.00    Fur
$2.00      Ribbon
$0.00      Tassels
$52.00/5 pairs of boots = $10.40/ boot

*Make sure the bottles are completely dry. I let them sit in my closet till I had accumulated all the bottles needed. I got antsy and decided to use my hair dryer to dry them more quickly.... be patient. The high heat warped the bottles a little; I caught it in time so it wasn't that disastrous.

1.  Cut the tops off. I tried using scissors like in the tutorial but I found that the serrated knife worked a lot easier and faster
2. Cut 4 slits. Tutorial says to cut 4... CUT 4. I got a little scissor happy and cut more on the first pair. It is WAYYYY easier to manipulate the height with 4 slits.
3. Repeat steps 1-2 on a second bottle and push together to get the height needed for the boot.
4. Duct tape it closed.
*repeat 1-4 so you have a pair of shapers the same size*

 5. Cut Ribbon the a little longer than length you want the loop to be and sear the ends with a lighter. Measure out duct tape (so it can go around the bottle like picture 6). Cut a slit in the middle of the tape and push the ends of the ribbon and tassel through. Make the loop of the ribbon as big or as small as you'd like. Make sure to press the ends of the ribbon and tassel to the tape so it doesn't move.
6. Tape it to one end of the bottle. I taped the ends where the ribbon/tassel were hanging off with extra tape.
7. Measure the fur a little longer than the length and height of the bottle
8. Hot glue one end of the fur. Put the glue as close to the edge as possible

 9. Place the bottle on the fabric and press down.
*Bonus: add more glue on the inside fabric if you want
10. Roll
11. If you look closely, I tried to get the hot glue on the fur and on the bottle (so it overlapped). Roll until both ends are glued to the bottle and hold for a minute
12. Hopefully you have a little extra hanging over. Cut the excess or leave it.

13. Glue the edge of the fur to the bottom of the bottle; be sure to not glue the ribbon and tassel
14. Glue the edge of the fur to the bottom of the bottle again (this is why you need to have a little extra initially)
15. Measure a circle using the bottle as a template and cut 4 (2 for each shaper)
16. In two circles cut a hole in the center, thread the ribbon and tassel through and then glue it to the bottle.
17. Glue the circles without the holes to the bottom of the shaper.
18. Cut a slit in the middle with scissors, thread the ribbon/tassel through, hot glue 1/2 of the sircle down, let cool, glue the second half.

* repeat 5-18 for matching pair*

Bonus here is a shot of my mess, I used my hands to make a big pile then vacuumed it up!

pardon my hobbit feet, you needed a scale

Let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Tassel

To make tassels I followed two tutorials. After I made two following this first tutorial I decided I should just buy them. Luckily before I bought them I ran into this second tutorial. The second tutorial was so much easier. I made four pairs of tassels, following the second tutorial, in the time it took me to make one pair.

Total Cost per Tassel: $0.00 (I had everything on hand!)

Apologies if the pictures are not to scale and my hair on the ground (I shed like a dog lol)

-embroidery floss

$0.00     Embroidery Floss
$0.00     Tassel Template
$0.00     Tape


Tassel 1

1. Measure string, double of how long you want your tassel to be
2. I cut 15 strings (so when it was folded in 1/2 it would be 30) I lined them up to make sure they were even. Cut any excess string
3. Tie a little bit of string around the center and double knot it
4. Measure out an inch or so of string to wrap around. Fold the 15 strings in half and begin wrapping around tassel. Make sure to leave the ends poking out so you can knot it.
5. Fin

Tassel 2

1. Find or cut a piece of cardboard you want to use as the tassel template. Make sure it's the size of the tassel you want when the cardboard is folded in half. Duct tape the sides so it doesn't fling open.
2. Cut string long enough to cover the length of the template, and tape it to the top. I used masking tape simply because it would not leave my string sticky. Begin to wrap the string (leaving the end piece at the bottom) around the template. I wrapped it 15 times.
3. Remove the string from under the tape. Tie a double knot.
4. Cut the bottom
5. Cut another piece of string, maybe 2-3 inches and begin to wrap around the tip of the tassel. Leave a little extra hanging out so that you can tie it at the end. If you look closely you can see my knot. It kind of gets lost.
6. Fin

Let me know if you have any questions!