Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Giraffe Tote

I have a deep love for giraffes! I have a stuffed animal named "Jack" that I "adopted" from a bookstore. And when I go to the zoo I always seek them out! So when I needed to choose how to decorate my first tote bag I of course chose a giraffe! 

It took way longer than I thought it would and it didn't turn out as pretty as I would have wanted, but I still love the cartoon face it has. 

To further show my love for giraffes here's a bunch of pictures of them that either me or Matt took!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Two Ingredients "Thin Mints"

Matt's favorite Girl Scout cookies are Thin Mints! Too bad that every year you get less and less cookies for more and more money. Sure, it's for a good cause, but it's getting harder to want to buy any. On top of that, even if you get them it is still only once a year. So here is a cheap and fast way to have Thin Mints all year! I would like to say that it is also "healthier" but when I did math of the calories it was pretty much the same. 

Here's how it works:
Buy some Andes Mints chips in the baking aisle at the store.
Get some Ritz Crackers. 

I melt the Andes pieces in a bowl, dip the crackers, and line them on parchment paper, then place in the freezer until hardened. Matt and I normally leave them in the freezer after that which is where we would put the Thin Mints anyway! 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

S'more Pops

We love S'mores here! In almost any variety; ice cream, brownies, cake, cookies, bars, candy, everything! I love me some s'mores!

The problem with s'mores is that they are one of the messiest treats ever! Here's a fun way to make them without the mess while eating:

What you do is crush the graham cracker and have it in one bowl. In another bowl, melt chocolate. Use cake pop type sticks and put your marshmallows on there. Then dip them in the melted chocolate first then roll in the graham cracker. I put them in the frig for the chocolate to harden and then store them in a gallon sized ziplock bag. 

These are a very fun way to make s'mores for any type of party platter, but the marshmallow does get a little stale in this form. If you want to have them around your house for a while I'd make them a number of different ways.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Breakfast Food Tote

Who doesn't love bacon and eggs? Especially bacon! With the internet right now you can believe that people love bacon a little too much even. So today I'm showing my love for breakfast food!

I have a mini tote that I carry my lunch to work in almost every day. The sad thing is that this tote is a kids meal bag from Subway that I got years ago! Somehow this is still the only bag that I use. It's not even that big so things normally get squished. So I'm happy to say that my new happy face tote will become my new work lunch tote!

This was a very simple, fast, cheap project! Seriously. This is a Dollar Store tote bag and 3 pieces of felt. So under $2. I cut the white and yellow shapes without any patterns, because eggs aren't perfect shaped anyway. And the bacon I cut a wavy piece of felt and with a brown Sharpie added a few lines for the "texture". Then I hot glued the felt pieces onto the bag. It took about 10 minutes for everything. If you want to blog and you don't have the time or money this is the PERFECT project for you!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Saltine Cracker Candy

This is a treat that I very much love! It has come from two different places that I added together to make what I think is far superior! There will also be a TON of shout-outs to The Pampered Chef in this blog! I very much love everything I have ever gotten from TPC and use them daily!

The original recipe is called Confetti Crisps and can be found in the Delightful Desserts cookbook.

First off use a large bar pan and line it with 40 saltine crackers. These will be a tight fit but you want it that way. make them as flat as possible; you want them all touching the bottom of the pan. You will learn as I have that a lot of saltine crackers are actually rectangle and not square as they seem, for this reason you might have to rotate some to make them fit.

See how my large bar pan is very dark? That's how you want your stone to look; the darker the better and it takes years to make it look this good! Although mine does have circles all over it from how often I bake cookies on them.

In a 2qt saucepan put 3/4 cup butter (do not use margarine), 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, with a mix n' scraper until the mixture boils.  Once it starts to boil start a 4 minute timer, I had mine set beforehand to make things move smoother, and stir constantly the entire time. Be prepared, your arm will get tired!

This is a video I took while stirring right before my timer went off. It's not the best quality, but I was taking it while stirring. I just want to show you what the color and consistency now looks like.

It is rather thick and sticks to itself, so your pan and scraper will stay very clean the further you go. When I poor mine out, everything comes out.

Once the timer goes off immediately pour the mixture onto the saltine crackers in your bar pan. Because the mixture is so thick you will be able to spread it evenly.

Let it fill in all the cracks and be sure to get all the way to the edge on every side. 

After this, put your pan in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes until the mixture has hardened and browned. Remove pan from oven and set on your cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle an entire bag of chocolate chips on the crackers. Leave for a few minutes, the heat will melt the chocolate enough for you to spread it out. 

See the pretty golden brown color? That's what you want. 

Using your scraper, again, spread out all the chocolate. Again, you'll want to make sure you get to all the edges and fill in any gaps. 

At this point my friends recipe calls for nuts and The Pampered Chef's recipe calls for all sorts of things to be dumped on top while the chocolate is soft. You can try:
Toffee bits
Mini M&Ms

Allow the pan to cool before placing it in your refrigerator for the chocolate to harden. I made mine right before I went to bed so I actually just left it on the cooling rack all night. 

Once everything has cooled and hardened go ahead and cut the saltine crackers apart from each other. It's ok if you can't keep each one a pretty square, just break it up into bits to serve. I placed mine in my Pampered Chef mixing bowl that has a lid so I could leave it in the refrigerator, but I'm sorry it's not available anymore. Here is another bowl that also has a lid. 

The saltine cracker is completely soaked through and coated with a yummy toffee flavor and the chocolate really is the perfect mix. I love these cracker candies just the way they are, but if it's for a special occasion by all means try all the toppings. Or try toppings on just half to see what you think. 

Let me know how they turn out! Enjoy! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

There's a new way to spell "winner": McKenzie!

So, remember forever ago when I said I would draw a winner and write a blog on them? I promise that that exact day I did draw a winner, it was fun! See?

These photos have stayed on my computer haunting me as a constant reminder that I haven't written a blog in a week. Enough about me, this blog post is about McKenzie! 

McKenzie and I met almost a year ago... ok, not really close to a year ago but let's round up, here, ok? We became visiting teaching companions at church; which I think is awesome cause I'm not sure how else we would have met. It took us a few months to realize just the extent of the other person's awesomeness, but once we discovered it hangouts started happening! 

She came over before Christmas and I helped her wrap all her Christmas gifts. Not only is this awesome because I love Christmas, but she was the only person to come to my girl's day activity that I cooked a ton of food for, so I'm forever in her debt! HaHa!

We took our friendship to the next level and had a craft day; truly a bonding experience for women! 

Look at our cute lovey wreaths! Not sure if her husband is happy or sad about this because she took off and started making a lot more wreaths! It's a crafting epidemic! 

Let's see... McKenzie is super dorky, loves movies, manages at a movie theater, has two pretty awesome boys, hates getting her picture taken so normally does something weird for the photo (like pretend pick her nose), isn't a super girly girl or likes to shop in herds, but she likes hanging out with friends, she freaking loves breadsticks at Olive Garden, she's from Utah and according to her facebook page she's fluent in Pig Latin, which I think is impressive! 

Yep, fake picking her nose... 
Pretty much, McKenzie is awesome and fun to hang out with! 

Thanks for reading my blog and being the winner of my first 1000 view post!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Zoo Day

Going to the zoo is one of my favorite things to do! On this particular day I had just gone to my literature class at school and brought a lunch with me to drive straight to the zoo. None of my friends wanted to go so it was me, my iphone, and a bunch of animals. I really enjoyed myself. I love being about to walk at my own pace and despite being there alone there were some people that I did talk to...and a few animals. I have better pictures of some of the animals, especially some of my favorites. But these are just the pictures that I took during this trip. 

Baby lion, still only a few months old. 

Another baby!

Lazy brown bears.

The baby orangutan kept pulling the blanket up on itself. 

Baby flamingos are born grey, you can see a few of them, and they turn pink as they grow due to their diet. 

Baby penguin!

It's a little blurry, but that's the family. The 2 parents are showing their baby how to come up for food. 

Matt loves the foosa's.