Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Updates

Happy Friday! With it only being 2 days before Easter, I figured its about time to show a couple of the easy crafts I did for the holiday. Remember this pic from last year?

Well I have had those ears laying around (I think I got them for $4.99) laying around for the entire year. While surfing around Pinterest a couple weeks ago, I saw this adorable wreath:

Source: Mrs B's Hive
and thought that was a perfect use for it! While putting an Amazon order together, I threw two of these white feather boas into my cart and picked up a white wreath form from Michaels on one of my many trips.

Please forgive the lighting in these pics, it was an "after the baby goes to bed" project.

I put the headband around the top of the wreath and just started wrapping:

First problem - the wreath was just too big. I started wrapping the boa around it, but when only using one, I could see some of the styrofoam. See (look at the bottom right side and you can see the foam)?

Two boas would have been out of control with the feathers so I put the whole thing aside until I could figure something else out. A couple days later while straightening out my craft closet, I came upon a left over embroidery hoop from the project in JJ's room (also in this post).

It was smaller than the wreath form and definitely much thinner so I knew my boa would go further. So I started wrapping again:

And ended with some extra at the bottom. I just tied the two ends together near where I wanted to cut with some white thread and then cut. Warning though, this boa was cheap, and therefore feathers were flying everywhere. Here's what my pants looked like:
black yoga pants and feather boa cutting so not mix
After all that, I was left with a rather fat looking wreath. I decided to give it a little haircut so you could see a little more of the middle and make it a little "tighter".
Before and after the "haircut"
I also wound up putting a couple dabs of hot glue at the bottom where the ends meet and a couple securing the band to the hoop. Its not quite as nice as Emily's (I wish my boa was a little less "feather" and more "fur"), but I think its still pretty cute:

It makes me smile every time I pull into the driveway.

My next, even easier Easter related craft was updating my mantle with a new printable from those talented ladies at eighteen 25. Apparently this pastel version is new for this year, but I must have never printed one out last year because what I had in my frame went from St. Patrick's Day to the 4th of July!

Subway art source: eighteen25
Here it is up on my mantle. Along with a jar of jelly beans (which has been refilled 3 times) and a little stuffed Cadbury Bunny (not sure where that came from, but when you squeeze it he makes the little bunny noise - remember these commercials?).

Please forgive the dirty looking mirror - I swear its just Windex streaks!


Our little Cadbury Bunny
Shannon and I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter (and Passover for those of you who celebrated that this week)! Hopefully the bunny can bring us some sunshine and warmth on the East Coast - we have had way too much snow and dreary weather.

I will be back next week with a little Easter recap - I am attempting some creative baking so wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Baked Spinach Dip Cups in Mini Breadbowls

Remember the caprese dip I made for the Book Club I held in January? Well I promised in that post to review the other appetizer I made - spinach dip cups. I  pinned this awhile ago, and this was actually the second time I made them (the first was for Christmas Eve, but in all the holiday craziness, I didn't document the process).

Source: Picky Palate
I am pretty sure Shannon or I have reviewed one of Jenny's recipes before, but I can't think of one to point out. Don't these look delicious though? And they were pretty simple to make.

I prepped the filling earlier in the day so that all I had to do before the book clubbers arrived was cut up the dough, top will the filling, and pop in the oven.

I started by wilting the spinach in some olive oil and then add in the chopped garlic:

Then I dumped it into a mixing bowl with the sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and spices and mixed it all up. I threw a top on the bowl and popped it in the fridge.

About 20 minutes before everyone arrived, I preheated the oven and took out my filling and a tube of french bread dough. I cut up the dough into 12 even little disks and pressed them into the bottom of my muffin tin:

I dished out the filling evenly among the bread dough and topped with the shredded mozzarella:

And into the oven they went for about 20 minutes (until they started browning along the edges of the bread)

I don't really remember waiting 5 minutes before pulling them out, but I don't think it made a difference. Here they are all finished and ready to be consumed:


The Verdict: Clearly I enjoyed them if I made them twice. They are pretty easy and fulfill my love of spinach dip. The first time I made them they were a little bland so I jazzed up the spice ratio a bit the second time. They are definitely a great option for entertaining in small groups - it might be a pain to have to make a ton of them for a large party.

Things to Consider: First, I added more spinach than the recipe calls for. I probably used close to 3 cups. Also, I can never find Ancho Chile Pepper so I use regular Chile pepper (but sparingly, it sort of freaks me out that its used in spinach dip at all). Lastly, the original recipe says to cut the dough in 10 equal pieces but it seems silly to me to leave to spots open in the muffin tin, so I cut it into 12. I think the bread to filling ratio works out better this way too.

I have book club again tonight - stay tuned to see what app I decided to try out!

Baked Spinach Dip Cups in Mini Breadbowls:
recipe by Picky Palate, my edits in red.

  • 13.3 oz roll of refrigerated french bread loaf, I used Simply Pillsbury
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 Cup light sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper (I used regular Chile pepper)
  • 1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Garlic Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 10 muffin cups with non stick cooking spray. Unroll package of french bread loaf and slice into 10 (12) equal size slices, about 1 inch thick. Press each slice into about a 3 inch round, I did this by pressing in between my hands. Press into the bottom and up sides of the muffin cup. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes then add garlic, cook and stir for another minute then turn heat off.
3. Place cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Ancho Chili Powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper into a medium bowl. Mix until well combined. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dip into each of the centers of bread bowls. Top evenly with shredded cheese and bake for 15-17 (20) minutes until just turning brown on edges. Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes (oops, I forgot) before removing from oven.
(10 (12) mini spinach dip bread bowls)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Travel Keepsake Shadow Box

You may remember that last summer I went to visit our younger sister Kelsey while she was studying abroad in Australia. I decided that I wanted to do something fun with the tickets and mementos that gathered during the trip- so I threw them in a shadow box!

I got the idea from something I pinned months & months ago from


I had been on the hunt for a rather inexpensive white shadow box for quite some time. I found some black ones at HomeGoods and in AC Moore. But black doesn't really go with the new scheme of my bedroom. So I ended up buying an unfinished shadow box at ACMoore.

I can’t remember the price anymore, but I think it was around $12. While I was at ACMoore, I also picked up some white paint and letter stickers from their scrap book aisle.

It took about 4 light coats of paint to cover the shadow box. While the box was drying, I used the left over fabric (ie shower curtain) from my book case redo to cover the back of the frame. Then, using the sticker letters I spelled out AUSTRALIA on the back. I stuck some of the mementos to the back, using my spray adhesive. I threw all my other leftovers (coins, tickets, etc) inside as well.

I actually bought two boxes because I plan on going to London in Spring of 2014. So I painted it and covered the back of it for now. Even though it’s empty, I hung it up anyway just because I think the one shadow box would look funny by itself. I may end up filling it with mementos from Duck, NC where I'm heading this summer with the entire family.

As an aside, I’ll tell you briefly about the trip itself. I spent all my 10 days in the Southeast region of the country. We started the trip in Sydney where we got to climb the Sydney Bridge. We also visited Bondi Beach, checked out the aquarium, zoo, and National Maritime Museum.

Myself & Kelsey in front of the Sydney Bridge

Lunch by the Opera House- this is after we climbed the bridge on a super windy day so my hair is a mess!
After Sydney, we spent some time around Geelong (where Kelsey was attending school). We drove the Great Ocean Road, visited Philip Island (i.e. Penguin Island), and went zip-lining in Otway.

Great Ocean Road
Philip Island
Koala Conservation Centre

We ended our trip by spending a few days in Melbourne where we did some sightseeing, caught a footie ball game, went to the Old Melbourne Gaol, and did some shopping at Queen Victoria’s market.

Queen Victoria's Market

Walking thru the Old Melbourne Gaol

Footie Ball Game
I had a great time and I hope one day I get to go back so I can see more of the country!

Friday, March 22, 2013

DIY Book Ends

If you follow us on instagram (pinstersisters), then you already know that I spent the past weekend being crafty. I started by making custom book ends.

I got the idea from this pin that originally comes from PBteen:

PB Teen
Instead of LOVE I wanted my book ends to say READ. So I went to ACMoore and gathered my supplies:

I went with smaller letters because I wanted to put them on my book shelf. I feel like bigger letters would have looked odd on the shelf. 

I painted them yellow to match my comforter. It took about 4 coats.

Once they were dry, I glued them together using wood glue. And ta da, you’re done!

The Pottery Barn Teen bookends cost $39. These only cost me $11.13!

Letters ($1.29 each)       $5.16
Wood Glue                         $4.99
Spongue brush                      .39
Yellow Paint                          .59
Total                              $11.13!

Aren't they cute? Super easy and super cheap! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Recap

Happy Wednesday everyone! I just wanted to post a little St. Patrick's Day recap. We played it pretty low key - just invited my parents over for a little corned beef and cabbage. I made the same recipe last year, but barely mentioned it so I figured I would give a full review this year. Here is the pin I had from last year:

Source: Food Network
Of course my version came out nothing like the photo, but it was still tasty. I rough chopped up some red potatoes, onion, carrots, and celery and dropped them in the bottom of the pot. Add 4lbs of corned beef, one tablespoon of pickling spices, a bottle of stout and enough water to cover everything.

Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Then remove the meat and veggies and toss in the cabbage for a half hour (with the temp on high). The results:

It is impossible to take a pic of corned beef and make it look appetising. But I swear, it was delicious.

Just like last year, it came out great. Not slimy like corned beef sometimes can be and not too dry. And the house smelled delicious all day. I should note that the cabbage took a little longer than the 30 minutes called out in the recipe.

JJ wasn't a fan of the beef (he is a picky eater, especially lately), but enjoyed some of the special cookie his Grandma brought him and some chocolate shavings off the dessert she brought too.

I'll end my post with a shot of the Irish Blessing I wrote out of the pantry chalkboard (if you follow us on instagram, @pinstersisters, you got a sneak peak):

...And may trouble avoid you wherever you go" - I ran out of room to finish it!

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
recipe from: Food
  • 2 stalks celery, halved
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 medium onion, cut in 4 wedges
  • 4 to 6 red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 4-pound corned beef brisket
  • 12-ounce bottle stout or dark ale
  • 1 tablespoon corned beef spices or pickling spices (or spices that come with the brisket)
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
Place celery, carrots, onion and potatoes in the bottom of a large slow-cooker or crock pot. Rinse the corned beef brisket and place over vegetables. Add the bottle of stout, spices and enough water to just cover the meat. Cover and cook on LOW for eight to nine hours.

Remove the meat and vegetables from the pot and cover with foil to keep warm. Increase heat to high and cook cabbage until softened but still crispy, 20 to 30 minutes.

Slice brisket across the grain, serve with vegetables, mustard and horseradish sauce. Pass extra cooking liquid at the table.
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