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Easter Egg Nest

The smell of goodies baking to perfection makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  When there’s not enough time in the day, even baking can feel like a chore. To keep your holiday spirit alive it’s important to find the perfect balance. With that being said, I want to welcome you to the wonderful world of no bake recipes. Welcome!

This world was foreign to me for quite some time and with nothing but Pretzel dust left to show, I’d say my first journey was a success.  I came across this delicious recipe thanks to my passion for Pinterest and constant race against the clock. It’s the perfect solution. I present to you the Easter Egg Nest.

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Can be made with chow mien noodles

One of my favorite things about this recipe is how few ingredients are needed.

This recipe yields 13 nests.

You will need:

  • 1 bag of thin Pretzel sticks (store brand is fine)
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs (pick any candy you like!)

Other:

  • Cupcake pan(s)
  • butter or cooking spray
  • large mixing bowl

Isn’t it nice when recipes only require a few ingredients?

  • The first step is melting the chocolate chips. This can be done by simmering on the stove or using the microwave. I chose the microwave and used 2 cups of chocolate chips to start. Add more if needed.
  • Place your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and melt for 30 second intervals on low power stirring between turns.
  • Add Pretzels to large mixing bowl. Once the chocolate is a smooth consistency pour it into the bowl with the Pretzels. Mix well.
  • Grease the cupcake pan(s) with butter or non-stick spray.
  • Use a spoon to scoop chocolaty Pretzels into the cupcake molds. Shape into nests leaving room in the center for the eggs (add last).
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  I was in a hurry so I put my trays in the freezer for 25 minutes while I finished getting ready and that works just as well.
  • After the nests are cooled and intact, gently remove them with a spoon or butter knife.
  • Add candy center.

How easy was that? No bake recipes are the perfect solution for any baking blunders. It’s the little things in life like not having to wait for the oven to preheat or not having to worry about burning the house down. Plus being able to get myself ready while my dessert was getting ready was amazing!

Create a pretty platter by slicing cake and adding fresh fruit

Create a pretty platter by slicing cake and adding fresh fruit

For healthier options substitute:

*low sodium or no salt Pretzels

*dark chocolate with cocoa instead of milk chocolate

*Fruit or berries instead of candy

Well, what do you think? Easy enough? What are some of your favorite no bake recipes?

 

 

Candy Cane Centerpiece

The countdown till Christmas is winding down as the crafts remain endless.  Every holiday has treats that come but once a year and nothing says “Christmas is here” like peppermint candy canes. I’m obsessed, maybe even a little addicted to Pinterest ( I digress) so its no surprise that I found this next craft there. I love how the candy canes are used to make an eye-catching centerpiece. Here is the link to where I found this craft. She has tons of great ideas!  http://www.pinterest.com/miriamgrace96/seasonal-inspirations/

Originally uploaded by Miriam Sorenson

Originally uploaded by Miriam Sorenson

You will need:

  • Round vase with wide opening
  • 2-3 boxes of candy canes regular size
  • Flowers or filler for the middle
  • Rubber band or elastic string
  • Ribbon

I want to emphasis the importance of finding the right vase. I did a few trial runs with different vases I already had before I found the one that works best. Square vases are too pointy on the corners and it’s hard to get the candy cane to stay without looking weird so I suggest a round vase.  To make life easier, find a round vase that’s about the height of the candy cane before it curves. One vase I tried was too short and didn’t give enough support to the weight of the candy.  Lastly, make sure there’s a wide opening, I used fake Poinsettias and needed a foam block to keep them secure.

Once you have the right vase, lay your stretchy rubber band around it.  Line up a few candy canes at a time with the hooks facing you. Hold them in place and use the other hand to pick up the secure band. This step is easier if you have someone helping you. My candy canes slipped, tilted and a few even broke that’s way extras are good. Once you have enough candy canes the band will become tighter and more secure which will make it easier to finish lining the vase.

It’s smooth peppermint sailing from here on out.  Pick a festive ribbon you like that’s thick enough to stand out but not so thick it overshadows your candy canes.  I have the perfect Christmas ribbon I wanted to use but it didn’t stand well on its own so I layered it on top of a thicker red ribbon and it was perfect. I didn’t dare remove the elastic band so I simply placed my ribbon over it and hot glued the ends. To finish it off, add your flowers or filler to the center.

My finished centerpiece.

My finished centerpiece.

Now treat yourself to a candy cane, you earned it!

What other ways do you craft with candy canes? What’s your favorite Christmas craft?

 

World of Wreaths 

Hello my fellow crafters. This blog is dedicated to one of my favorite crafts, the holiday wreath. If you’re planning to make one or even dabbled in the idea, stay tuned as I share my lessons learned (the hard way of course) so you can avoid them.  It’s safe to say I thrive on crafts that are interchangeable. Think of all the colors and themes such as red, pink and white for Valentine’s day with Cupid, hearts and all things love. Halloween with black, orange, yellow, purple or green paired with witch hats and skeletons to pumpkins and candy corn.  Not feeling the holiday spirit? No problem, wreaths are perfect décor all year long, no holiday needed.

Let’s get started.

You’ll need a plastic foam wreath, fur yarn for the shaggy effect and small lightweight decorations, get creative! I purchased my supplies from Michael’s and Dollar Tree.

Lesson #1 Save your money

I paid $8 for the foam wreath at Michael’s Craft Store and the same one can be bought at Wal-Mart for $4.

The first step is wrapping the yarn around the wreath. One step in and we’re ready for the next lesson learned.

Lesson #2 Save your time

I tore off the label wrapped around the yarn and plopped it on my lap. Minutes in, I found myself trying to untangle the thinnest most delicate yarn ever (fur yarn is the enemy). Save your sanity by keeping the label on so it stays neatly packed to prevent tangling. Gently pull the end of the yarn to get started and let it slowly unravel as you wrap the entire wreath.

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Wrap the yarn close and tight so the foam is not visible.

This is going to take some time so be patient. Once you’re done wrapping the yarn, tape or hot glue the end so it’s secure and doesn’t unravel.

Congratulations!  The tedious part is over. Now take your small items and play with the layout of them before you hot glue them on. Big bows look great when placed centered on top or bottom, or also at the right height on the sides to create a good balance.

Lesson #3 Less is more

I bought tons of décor for my wreath and when the time came to decorate I was trying to use everything I bought.  Sometimes simplicity is key. Don’t feel like you have to use everything right now. When there’s too much going on the eyes get lost in the mix and it takes away from the wreath. Pick your favorite items and save the others for another project or return them.

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On Display

You can purchase hooks that are wide enough to hold the width of the foam or use string. Thin white string can be used to wrap around the top, make a loop and hang to be admired.

Have you made a wreath yet? What tips and tricks do you find most helpful for making a wreath? Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Happy crafting!

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 World of Wreaths: Part 2

In Part 2,  I’m going to make a Christmas wreath using a wire hanger instead of foam, a budget friendly swap. This wreath was the first of its kind that I created with my childhood friend Jackie. The Easter wreath I previously made required more time and money. The wire wreath is the best route to go if its your first time making one or you don’t have much time to spare. Imagine making an Easter wreath using plastic eggs or a fall wreath made from artificial flowers. There are so many ways to create beautiful décor on any type of budget. This Christmas wreath is brought to you in time for the holiday.

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Photo by Lanie Funaro

All you need is:

  • 2 wire hangers
  • plastic ball ornaments approx. 70
  • ribbon
  • hot glue gun
  • pliers

The first thing you need to do is use the pliers to cut an opening below the hook. Don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t cut right away, work those muscles a little until it finally gives. Notice I said a little? Trying to be Hulk Hogan only leaves you with a broken hanger, this is why I put two hangers on the list. It wouldn’t be a project if I didn’t have any mishaps.

The next step is to string the ornaments on the wire hanger using the hook attached to each ornament.  The ornaments were purchased from Dollar Tree and a few of the hooks slide off or were cracked which is why it’s always good to have extras. Jackie and I hot glued all the hooks to the ornaments for extra security. Slide the ornaments down the wire using various colors and sizes. Once you’re near the end rearrange the ornaments already strung to make more room. You want the ornaments to be tight on the wire so they don’t slide around.

Once the ornaments are on and your happy with the layout, twist the wire ends together to close the circle. If you want to secure them extra tight you can use the pliers. Create or buy a pretty ribbon and tie it to the base of the hook to conceal the wire and add pizazz!

Completed Christmas wreathe made with my dear friend Jackie.

Completed Christmas wreathe made with my dear friend Jackie.

There you have it! Simple right? Which method do you like using best, the foam or wire hanger? What other crafts can be made with simple household supplies?

Happy crafting!

 

 

Pumpkin Bread Promise

 

Photo by Lanie Funaro

Photo by Lanie Funaro

My favorite tradition this time of year is the quality time I share baking with my mom, without that the holidays wouldn’t be the same. When I think about November I don’t think turkey or stuffing, shocking I know. I think pumpkin bread. What’s your favorite thing about the holidays? What traditions do you love or despise? My favorite is the pumpkin bread recipe that’s been passed down through my family for generations. I cherish this family legacy and look forward to it every year. I take complete responsibility in ensuring this recipe lives on forever starting with you. Let’s begin.

Preheat oven to 325°.

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 2 cups pumpkin pie mix (canned)
  • 1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup walnuts (chopped) save for last
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tsps. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
Dry ingredients on the left, wet ingredients thoroughly mixed on the right. Save walnuts for last.

Make sure both wet and dry ingredients are blended well before adding together.

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl making sure all clumps are gone. Then mix wet ingredients, blend well. Now you can add the wet and dry ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Adding the walnuts last helps ensure no clumps are left behind. This recipe yields 2 large loaf pans plus 1 small loaf pan or approx. 5 to 6 small loaf pans. Grease pans and bake accordingly. Multiple small loaf pans bake for 50-55 minutes. Large loaf pans bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

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I like to make the small loaves and wrap them in pretty packaging to be distributed. Topped with a bow of course. More on packaging later.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and create memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Related blogs.

 

 

On Display for the Holiday 

I’ve decided to share a few of my favorite projects handmade with love. Crafting is a great way for me to detach from the world and take a mental vacation, a short one that is. I love the sense of pride and satisfaction I feel after completing a project. What crafts are you most proud of?  What do you do to survive the holidays? I’d love to hear your holiday inspiration. Happy crafting!

My first DIY wreathe

My first DIY wreath made with yarn and patience.

Easy DIY arrangement similar to the Christmas ornament concept. Can be updated for all holidays.

Easy DIY arrangement similar to the Christmas ornament vase. Can be updated for all holidays.

DIY candy cane centerpiece

DIY candy cane centerpiece.

 

 

 

 Happy Holiday 

Hello and welcome to my first blog! I’ve decided to take my love for do-it-yourself crafts paired with my palate for sweets and wrap them up in a pretty little bow. Don’t worry, the bow’s not expensive. Holiday’s are often stressful since the to-do lists are getting longer and money doesn’t go as far as it used to. At least mine doesn’t. That’s why I vow to make this holiday season fun, festive and affordable. I usually like to welcome the upcoming holidays with a tasty new dessert and simple craft project.

Let’s start off with a craft I made last Christmas.

Simple craft that can be easily changed to fit any holiday.

Simple craft that can be easily changed to fit any holiday.

The beauty of this craft is its versatility and low cost, making it perfect for any holiday.
I ended up having extra ornaments that I still wanted to use. I felt compelled to show off the shiny saturated colors and needed that extra little something for my room. I found a clear vase with a wide opening that wasn’t being used. I filled the vase with my extra ornaments and it worked perfectly. All I needed was a little something at the top so I attached coordinating ribbon. Ta-da! Easy right? Simply change up the colors and use a different holiday appropriate filing for multiple uses. What are some of your favorite quick crafts?

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