Tuesday, December 20, 2016

White Chocolate & Cherry Shortbread Cookies


We went over to my mom's friend house to help her make some Christmas cookies this year. These were AMAZING!! Some of my new favorites!! 

Ingredients

2/3 cup maraschino cherries (drained on paper towel)
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
12 ounces Ghirardelli White Chocolate (half for cookies, half for drizzling)
1 tsp almond extract
2 drops red food coloring
2 tsp shortening

Steps

1. In a large bowl combine flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs (you may need to use a food processor for this). Stir in the drained cherries and 4 ounces of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
2. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a cylinder approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll the cylinder up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
3. Preheat oven to 325. Using a sharp knife, slice the chilled dough into 3/8 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until bottom are lightly golden. 
4. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the remaining 8 oz of white chocolate and shortening. Heat for 30-45 seconds, stir, and heat again. Once it starts to melt, shorten the amount of time you microwave it each time (try 10-15 seconds). Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Transfer the melted chocolate to an icing bag. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies and let them set.

Cheese Ball


Well this is another recipe from the famous Louise!! 

Ingredients

1/2 lb of sharp cheddar cheese grated
8 oz package of cream cheese
2 jars of Old English cheese
1 triangle of Bleu cheese
1 1/2 tbsp Worschester sauce
1 tbsp minced onion
garlic to taste

Mix the above ingredients and roll in ground pecans. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Johnson City Christmas Lights

My friend Ashley and I finally made it out to Johnson City to see the Christmas Lights!! It's beautiful!! Be sure to check out their website for information on the town's different Christmas Festivities!! 



Since you're driving out that way, why not drive a little further out to Fredericksburg?!?! Fredericksburg has some cute holiday traditions as well...including this huge Christmas Pyramid!! 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Wreath


This year's Christmas wreath!! This wreath was super easy to make and probably only cost me $7!! 

 I wrapped the plaid ribbon around a foam floral ring. I used a hot glue gun to help keep the ribbon in place. Then I attached the green leaf pieces using floral wire and a hot glue gun.  I added the red ribbon using floral wire as well.  Super easy and cute!!  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

TM BBQ Fest


Alright, if you're a BBQ fan then you absolutely have to go to the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest next year!!! and every year after that!! Tickets are expensive but it's totally worth it...at least once!! It's the top 50 Texas BBQ's and it's all you can eat!! And...a ton of people had Ziploc bags to take even more BBQ home!! WHAT?!?!?  Also, there's no reason to get there super early. Basically each stand will have a line the first 90 minutes because everyone is hungry. But after that everyone is completely full so there aren't any lines (and there's still plenty of BBQ left). 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dining Room Table



I bought this dining room table for $65 off Craigslist, but it definitely needed some work! It came with 6 chairs, all of the cushions were ruined and 2 of the chairs didn't have backs. I'm still working on those 2 chairs, they're gonna take a little longer to finish. The table itself was in decent shape. It had some scratches on the top, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Here's the "Before Photo":

Here's are the steps I took to refinish the table:
  1. I stripped the table top using Citri-Strip Stripping Gel .  Be sure to follow all of the safety precautions. Strip the table top in a well ventilated area (I did mine on my apt patio), wear safety goggles, wear old clothes, wear gloves, place a tarp under the area you'll be working, etc. I used a foam brush to cover the table top with the stripping gel. I followed the directions for waiting time and then removed the stripping gel using a plastic scraper (metal is more likely to scratch the wood). For the groves on the table, I used a brush like this one: Furniture Stripping Brush. I found a cheap set at Walmart. I also bought steel wool, but I didn't really use it. Once the majority of the stripping gel was removed, I wiped the table down with Mineral Spirits. Once the table was dry again, I sanded the table using 60 grit and then 320 grit. 
  2. I wiped the table with Mineral Spirits again, just to be sure the table was clean. I then focused on staining the top. I stained the top of the table once and realized something just wasn't right. Parts of the wood were turning darker than the rest of the table. So I had spots of super dark stain and then the rest of the table looked normal.  I did some reading and found that with certain woods you need to use a Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. Here's one of the articles I read: http://www.furniture-refinishing-guide.com/articles/pre-stain-wood-conditioner/
  3. So off to the store I went to buy some Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.  I tried to sand off some of the dark spots before applying the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, at this point I was really tired of sanding this stupid table. I applied the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, followed the instructions on wait time, and then stained the top again. I still had spots that held onto the stain more than others, but it was much better. I waited the appropriate amount of time and then applied another coat of stain. Basically you're going to keep adding coats until you'd reached the color/darkness you're looking for.
  4. Let's seal the top! Why do you need to seal it? Well think about all of the cups and plates you'll be putting on the top of your table. Sealing the top will protect it from water stains, hot plates, etc. I like to seal with the Minwax Polyurethane Satin so it's not too glossy on top. Follow the directions on the wait time and then apply a second coat. I tried to sand in between coats, but I really didn't notice a difference. Here's a helpful link on determining a good top coat: http://www.thesawguy.com/polycrylic-vs-polyurethane/
  5. So now that the top is done, let's focus on the rest of the table. I didn't strip the table legs because I was just going to paint them white. I only stripped the table top because I wanted to stain the wood a completely different color. Since I just want to paint over the legs, I decided to just sand the legs enough to get the top coat off. Once I was done sanding, I wiped the legs down with a wet cloth to remove any sand/dust. 
  6. Now it's time to paint the legs! I bought some General Finishes Milk Paint-Antique White from a lady I met at Round Top. She had the cutest furniture and she really talked this stuff up, so I gave in and bought some from her. Mistake! I felt like it took a lot of coats to get the desired color. When I tried lightly sanding in between coats, it took off the coat completely. I ended up putting like 3-4 coats of this stuff on. Then I switched over to some Behr paint I had left over from a previous project. Done! I just love the Behr flat paint--it looks like chalk paint but it's cheaper. I've also used the Rustoleum Chalk Paint, which is another paint I would recommend for this project. 
  7. Now it's time to seal the table legs. I sealed the legs because I wanted to protect them from chipping easily. I bought SafeCoat AcriGlaze from someone I met at Round Top a few years ago, yes I love going to Round Top. I LOVE this stuff though! It protects the furniture without giving it a glossy look and it's easier than glazing over chalk paint. 
  8. Table is done, so let's move on to the chairs. I removed the cushions, which can be easily done by flipping the chair over and removing the screws. I then sanded the chairs down to remove the top coat. I wiped the chairs down with a wet cloth to remove any sand/dust before painting. I started with the cane backs of the chairs. I cheated and decided to just spray paint the backs. It was super fast and efficient. I was worried that if I painted the cane, I'd have paint drip problems. Be sure the spray paint you're using matches the paint you have picked out. Mine was a perfect match, so you can't even tell I used 2 different products. I always use the Rustoleum spray paint; any time I've used other brands I've had major problems. 
  9. Now let's paint the rest of the chairs. Since I had so many problems with the table legs, I skipped the milk paint and just painted the chairs with the Behr paint. Two coats and the chairs were done! So much faster than that stupid milk paint!  I used the SafeCoat AcriGlaze as a top coat on the chairs. Now the chairs are all pretty and white--but what about the cushions.
  10. I'll be honest, I was nervous about the cushions. I don't have much experience with upholstery, but I figured it was worth the shot. I bought some outdoor fabric at Joann's and used a 40% coupon to help save some money. I didn't use upholstery fabric because that stuff is just to expensive! I didn't want to spend $200 on fabric when I wasn't even sure I could make it work. So I found the outdoor fabric and decided it was about the same thickness/durability as the upholstery fabric. That was just a big guess on my part. 
  11. I removed the current fabric, paying close attention to how the corners worked. I then removed the cushions from the wood backing. The cushions were super old and nasty. So I ran over to the good old Hobby Lobby and found some pretty cheap 2 inch square cushions for like $7 (actually I might have used a coupon for this). I used the wood backing to trace onto the square foam. This was my outline for cutting the foam...so now what? I read that you could just use a kitchen bread knife to cut the foam. So not true! Epic Fail! So I read another article that suggested using an electric knife. Yes, that meant another trip to the store to buy an electric knife. I'm not giving up on this project yet! Here was a helpful video tutorial on cutting foam with an electric knife: Cutting Upholstery Foam. The electric knife was totally worth it! It was super fast and made nice clean lines. I cut 4 pieces of foam to the desired size in about 15 minutes.
  12. To attach the foam to the wood backing, I used Loctite Spray Adhesive. It worked better than I was expecting. Next I added some batting, but I wasn't sure how to do the corners.  Honestly, this website was the most helpful in explaining how to do the corners: The Painted Hive. The flat parts are easy to do, but the corners are tricky. Once I had the batting secure, I was ready to add the fabric. Again, I used the tips from the Painted Hive website to help with the fabric. I had a little fabric bunching up in the corners, but overall it looked pretty good! I screwed the cushions back into the chairs and then it's time for the last step! I sprayed Scotchgard on the cushions to protect them from spilled drinks and food. With white cushions I figure you can never be to careful! 
Update: Well I still LOVE my table and chairs! The Scotchgard was a smart decision because I've spilled things several times and you can't even tell. The only thing I would change would be the fabric I used on the cushions. I should've used something stronger, because some of the fabric on one of the cushions has stretched a little. But it's just one cushion so it's not a big deal. 

Clothespin Picture Frame


I bought this old window frame from a contractor in Fredericksburg, Texas. The glass had already been broken so I just used a staple gun to attach the twine to the back. Then I bought some cute clothespins from Hobby Lobby and attached the photos. Super cute! I've made a few of these now for weddings and home decor for friends. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wooden Pumpkins


It's FALL!!! I love fall!! It's so festive and the weather is gorgeous! I bought the cheapest 2x4 wood I could find at Lowe's and cut it into 3 different sizes (4 inches, 6 inches, 7.5 inches). I spray painted them white as a primer, so the wood grain wouldn't show through as much. I guess you could just spray paint them orange, but I didn't think of that at the time. I then painted them with orange acrylic paint (I think it was like $3 at Walmart). Once the paint had dried, I added the little sticks to the top using wood glue. I found a branch on the side of the road and just cut it into little pieces. I then used twine to make little bows, super cute!! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pillows



I am LOVING my Cricut!! I used my Cricut to create the design and cut it out on Freezer Paper. I then ironed the Freezer Paper stencil onto the pillowcase. Next, I inserted a paper bag inside the pillowcase. You can use anything that will stop the paint from bleeding through to the back of the pillowcase. I then painted the pillowcase using fabric paint and a foam brush. I immediately removed the Freezer Paper stencil from the pillowcase. If you leave the Freezer Paper on the pillowcase for too long, it's hard to remove and the paint is more likely to bleed through. I can't wait to make one of these for every holiday!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Whole 30: Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Ingredients

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
4 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

Directions


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Pierce your sweet potatoes with a fork. Line a baking sheet with foil and bake the sweet potatoes for about 45 minutes. 
  2. While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the sauce. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and saute the onions. 
  3. Once the onions are cooked, add the beef to the pan. Cook the beef and then drain the grease.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir well.
  6. Add the tomato sauce to the mixture, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and cut them open. Scoop the sauce into the sweet potatoes and enjoy! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pedernales Cellars



We went to our favorite town (Fredericksburg) for the day. I really needed to relax from a long week at work, and I've always wanted to do grape stomping at a winery. We saw that Pedernales Cellars had grape stomping this weekend, so we decided to check it out. Pedernales Cellars is a little off the main road, but it's definitely worth the extra drive. They have a great view and some really good wines. We sat out on their patio enjoying the gorgeous Texas weather and yes...I finally got to stomp in some grapes!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hamilton Pool

 After living in the area for 4 years, I finally made it out to Hamilton Pool!! It's definitely pretty and worth visiting if you've never been.  You'll park at the top of the hill, walk down the stairs/trail and you'll come to a little creek. If you go to the right, you'll end up at Hamilton Pool. If you go to the left, you'll end up at the Pedernales River. If you have some spare time I suggest walking down to the Pedernales River, it's a pretty walk. Plus no one goes that direction, so you'll probably have it all to yourself. 

If you decide to visit Hamilton Pool visit their website and make sure to reserve your ticket well in advance: https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/find-a-park/hamilton-pool


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese


Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
7-8 slices bacon
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 (5oz) bag baby spinach
2 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half (hardest part of the entire meal) and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the olive oil over the spaghetti squash. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the bacon and break it into small pieces. You can cut the bacon into pieces prior to cooking it, but I just prefer to do it afterwards. Add the bacon back into the skillet.
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Add the red wine vinegar to the bacon and bacon grease. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the maple syrup to the mixture and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the baby spinach to the mixture, one handful at a time. Cook until all of the spinach is combined.
  6. Go back over to your spaghetti squash. Using a fork, scoop out the inside of the spaghetti squash. 
  7. Combine the spaghetti squash, bacon/spinach mixture, and goat cheese. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Green Belt: Sculpture Falls


I have been dying to visit Sculpture Falls!! I've been seeing posts on Instagram and it just looked so relaxing!! Neil and I both had the day off so we decided to take a mini-adventure to find the falls. We drove to 1710 Camp Croft Rd Austin, Texas (The Scottish Woods Trail which leads to the Greenbelt Trail).  When you first enter the park make sure you take a good look at the map (we got a little lost). The trail will go almost straight all of the way down to the water where you'll come to an intersection. If you go straight you'll find this beautiful area:


There are even some fun rope swings:

If you want to go to Sculpture Falls then turn left at the intersection instead of going straight. This path will lead you along the water. There are lots of areas to hop in the nice cool water along the way.  After you pass mile marker 6.25 you'll start looking for the falls. There will be a small sign pointing to the falls (same size as the mile maker signs). 

Bam...after a 1.5 mile hike you're there!! 


We finally made it!!


Don't forget to save some water/energy for the hike back up! It might be downhill on your way to the falls, but that means it's uphill when you're headed home. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Green Belt-Twin Falls



We went to the Green Belt today and went for a little swim!! The water felt amazing, I just can't believe I've lived in Austin for 2 years and this is the first time I've ever been to the Green Belt!! Ah...sssoo beautiful!! 

Here's a good description of how to get to the Twin Falls entrance: http://austinot.com/austin-greenbelt-guide

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole


Ingredients

1 cup quinoa
1 (10 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles (drained)
1/3 cup canned corn
1/2 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 avocado (diced)
1 roma tomato (diced)

Directions

1) In a large pan, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
3) Lightly coat an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
4) In a large bowl combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, green chiles, corn, black beans, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
5) Spread the mixture into the 8x8 baking dish. Top with the remaining cheeses. Place in oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes.
6) Serve immediately with avocado and tomato as garnish.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

DIY: Tote Bag



My friend Jessica asked me to help her make a cute summer tote bag. We ended up making a craft night out of it!! Here are the steps we took:
  1. I created the images on my Cricut and cut it out on Freezer Paper. 
  2. We then ironed the Freezer Paper stencil onto the tote bags. 
  3. Next, we inserted a paper bag inside the tote bag. You can use anything that will stop the paint from bleeding through to the back of the bag. 
  4. We then painted the totes using fabric paint and a foam brush. 
  5. We immediately removed the Freezer Paper stencil from the bags. If you leave the Freezer Paper on the bags for too long, it's hard to remove and the paint is more likely to bleed through. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Ingredients

4 medium sweet potatoes (scrubbed and pierced several times with a fork)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 (15 oz) can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 1/2 tbsp lime juice
3 1/2 tbsp honey
salt and ground pepper
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and broth to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  3. Heat oil in a separate skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for about 4 minutes, adding in the garlic during the last 30 seconds. 
  4. Add onion mixture to cooked quinoa.
  5. Add black beans, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper, lime juice, honey, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Cut cooked sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the center to create a bowl shape. Leave about 1/3 to 1/2 an inch of sweet potatoes around the edges. 
  7. Fill sweet potatoes with quinoa mixture. Sprinkle the tops with cheese. 
  8. Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for a few minutes, just until the cheese has melted. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Strawberry Pretzel Salad


Well I'll just start by saying this is the best salad ever!! Maybe not the healthiest but definitely the yummiest!!

So where to start?? You can start by picking some fresh strawberries!! I went to Michigan to visit my family and I just love picking fresh fruit!! If you don't have access to fresh fruit, just grab some from your local grocery store.


Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST
2 cups crushed pretzel
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter (melted)

FOR THE FILLING
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
8 oz cool whip (thawed)

FOR THE STRAWBERRY TOPPING
2 cups boiling water
1 (6 oz) package of Strawberry Jell-O
1 1/2 cup cold water
4 cups sliced strawberries

Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the crushed pretzels and sugar. Pour the melted butter over the pretzel mixture and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. If you'd like to make them in individual cups or 4 oz mason jars then scoop out the pretzel mixture from the 9x13 baking dish immediately after removing the baking dish from the oven. Pour the crumbs into the mason jar/cup and press down. Let cool completely.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cool whip. Spread evenly over the pretzel crust and refrigerate.
  3. Place the dry Jell-O in a large bowl and add the boiling water. Stir for at least 2 minutes, until all of the Jell-O is dissolved. Stir in the cold water. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours or until slightly thickened. Stir in the strawberries and pour over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bible Journaling


My wonderful mom (and dad) bought me a Journaling Bible for Easter this year.  A Journaling Bible has margins on the side for note-taking/artwork and the paper is a little thicker so the colors won't bleed through as easily. The purpose of a Journaling Bible is the same as any other Bible, only it allows the reader to express their thoughts through artwork. 

I did a bunch of research on the different supplies to get started and here's what I ended up buying:
Alphabet Stickers ($1)
Alphabet Stamp Set from Walmart ($2)
Alphabet Stamp Set from Michael's $1.50 (not in photo)
Washi Tape
Sakura Water Colors (a little expensive)
$5 Water Colors from Michael's (not in photo)
Faber-Castel Brush Pens (takes lots of practice)
Sakura Brush Pen Set (takes lots of practice)
Colored Pencils (not in photo)
Water Color Pencils (not in photo)


After doing a few entries, I would suggest starting with: $1.50 letter stamps from Michael's, $5 water color paint from Michael's, colored pencils, and the Staedler Pen Set. 

Here are a few of my entries:






Sunday, March 13, 2016

Austin Mural Search


My sister came to visit me this week and we had sssoo much fun!! One of the days she was here we just drove around Austin and took photos of the murals. I read a few different websites about where to find the murals, but this link was the best: Free Fun in Austin.  Heidi (the writer of Free Fun in Austin) provides you with pictures of the murals and a map! The map was the most important part for us! We pulled up her link, set out a route, and started on our journey! 








Monday, February 22, 2016

Mason Jar Salads


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mason Jar Salads!! I normally prep 3 on Sunday night and 3 more on Wednesday night. They stay fresh and super yummy!! Here are some of my layers, from bottom to top:

Shredded Carrots
Cucumbers
Tomatoes
Eggs
Lettuce
Cheese
Chicken

When I wake up in the morning I add the cheese and the chicken. I read somewhere that it's better to wait to add those ingredients until the day you're going to eat your salad. You may not have to wait to add them, but I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. I also keep my salad dressing separate, but from what I've read you can put it in the jars. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Live Oak Brewery


Neil and I love Live Oak Brewery, so we were super excited when we heard about their new brewery opening up just outside of Austin. We grabbed a glass of our favorite beer (Live Oak Hefeweizen) and enjoyed their outdoor area. Great atmosphere...we look forward to going back soon!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Decorating Sugar Cookies


I just LOVE cookie decorating!! I think I'm getting a little better at it, but I will say it takes a long time. I like to make the cookies one day and then decorate the next, it seems to go a little faster that way.

Here's are some new recipes I've found that I really like!

Sugar Cookie Ingredients:

2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar 
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
4-5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt

Sugar Cookie Directions:

1) Cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer. 
2) Add the eggs, vanilla, and cream.
3) Add the flour and salt. Do not over mix.
4) Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough will stay good in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.
5) Roll out the dough by sandwiching it in-between two pieces of Parchment Paper. Do not use flour to roll out the dough, it will change the consistency of the dough. If worse comes to worse you can use flour, but try not to. Also, I suggest using Perfection Strips to roll out your cookies. Perfections Strips ensure that your dough is the same height, uneven dough leads to burning the thinner areas of the cookie. 
6) Cut into shapes and place 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. 
7) Bake at 350 for 11-14 minutes. 
8) Let the cookies cool and then you're ready to decorate!!

Royal Icing Recipe

3 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups powder sugar 
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp clear vanilla 

Beat all ingredients at low speed for about 7 minutes (yes it's a long time). This recipe is for your thicker royal icing that you will use around the edges of your cookies. When you are ready to flood the cookies add more water (5 second disappear). 




Monday, January 18, 2016

DIY: Dessert Bar


One day at work, one of my coworkers mentioned a project she was working on for her wedding.  I had some spare time that weekend so I decided to give it a shot.  I went to a few local thrift stores and picked up some items for the pie stands. I bought large plates, platters, and even a microwave plate for the top part of the stands (FYI: The large plates with decorative edges ended up looking the nicest). Then I bought candle stick holders, flower vases, candy dishes, beer glasses, and light fixtures for the base of the stands. I even found a two tiered plate stand at one of the thrift stores for $1!! It didn't come with matching plates, but I was able to find some plates to make it work. 

Once I had enough items, I started arranging the pieces to make the stands. Here's what I came up with:


Next, it was time to start assembling the stands. I used the clear Gorilla Glue to glue the pieces together. Be sure to read the Gorilla Glue directions carefully. Now this next part is going to sound weird, but you're going to want to tape the pieces together after applying the glue. I taped the pieces together to hold them in place, and then I added some extra weight/pressure by placing other items on the stands. Here's a photo to help explain this step:


Once the glue had dried, I spray painted the stands either cream or gold. Always, Always, Always use Rust-Oleum Spray Paint!! For this project I thought I'd try a new brand and the bottle literally broke on me. I ended up with spray paint going every where, including all over my face!! So I'm back to using Rust-Oleum!! Here's the finished project at my coworkers wedding:



I decided to keep the stands, I just loved them!! I figured I could use them for cupcake stands or food stands at a future party....really I just didn't want to get rid of them cuz I like them sssoo much!! Oh..and how much did this project cost me?? Well I spent about $2 on each stand. So if you're wanting a dessert bar for a party or a wedding, save yourself some money and just make the stands yourself.