Monday, September 22, 2014

DIY SWEATER CANDLE COZIES

Hello dear friends! Happy Fall! I am so excited that fall is officially here, and I have a fun little fall-inspired project to share with you! These little candle holders only take a couple of minutes to make and look so pretty with a tea light burning inside! Plus it's a great way to repurpose two things... old candle jars and old sweaters! See, this is why I never throw things away! You just never know when you might need them! Or at least that's what I tell my husband. You could embellish these with ribbon, bows or buttons, or leave them plain like this, either way, they will instantly cozy up your home!

DIY SWEATER CANDLE COZIES
YOU WILL NEED
Small glass jar or cleaned out old candle jar
Old sweater (preferably the sleeve part)
Scissors & Hot Glue Gun
Tea light/candle


DIRECTIONS
First, make sure your jar is clean (if you are re-using an old candle jar and need to clean it out, you can check out my tutorial on how to remove wax from a jar HERE!) then wrap the sweater around it. I used the sleeve part which fit around the small jar perfectly. Roll down the sweater by about an inch at the top of the jar, then cut off the sweater at the bottom of the jar, leaving about a half inch sweater boarder. Using hot glue, stick the sweater boarder you reserved onto the bottom of your jar, making sure there aren't too many bumps and that the surface is as even as possible, so your candle holder doesn't stand unevenly! Then, just place your tea light or candle inside the jar, and you are all done!

For more candle projects and ideas, check out these posts on Shopgirl...

Left: How to remove wax from jars (HERE) Right: Pumpkin Candle Holder Tutorial (HERE)

I'm super excited that my Pumpkin Candle Holders were featured by Better Homes & Gardens! Check it out HERE!
Happy Crafting, Everyone!
I will be linking to THESE wonderful blogs!
Follow Shopgirl on Bloglovin' / Follow Shopgirl on Twitter / Follow Shopgirl on Pinterest 
*This project was originally featured on Or So She Says, where I am a monthly contributor. If you're looking for more fun projects and recipes, head on over to the site!

Friday, September 19, 2014

KITCHEN TIP: FREEZING CHEESE FOR EASIER GRATING

Hi Everyone! I have a quick and easy kitchen tip to share with you today, that's all about cheese! Maybe you already do this, but if you don't, you should definitely give this a try because it will make your life so much easier! If you are hand-grating a block of cheese or any kind of soft cheese, place it in your freezer for about 15 - 20 minutes (time depends on how soft the cheese is), or until it feels firm; this will make it much easier to grate! For more kitchen tips, check these out!

Happy Cooking, Everyone!
I will be linking to THESE wonderful blogs!
Follow Shopgirl on Bloglovin' / Follow Shopgirl on Twitter / Follow Shopgirl on Pinterest 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SIMPLE CARNATION FLOWER ARRANGEMENT

Hey Everyone! I love having fresh flowers around the house, because they are such a simple and easy way to brighten up a room! You don't necessarily need big, lavish flower arrangements to do this, you can use simple and inexpensive grocery store flowers to create pretty arrangements that will instantly add color and life into your home. Carnations are one of my favorite flowers to use for this. I feel like they are a very underestimated flower that sort of has a bad reputation, but with just a couple simple tricks, you can make beautiful little arrangements with them!

SIMPLE CARNATION FLOWER ARRANGEMENT
SIMPLE AND EASY TIPS

1. Stick to one color. Carnations sort of have this bad reputation of looking cheap, tacky and old fashioned, but you can create clean and elegant arrangements with them if you stick to just one color. Another fun idea is creating three or four different carnation arrangements for your table in ombre shades, and placing them down the center of your dining table for a cool effect! You could also go seasonal with your arrangements... reds or whites for Christmas, oranges for fall...

2. Bunch them together tightly. Flower arrangements look more professional and luxurious the fuller they look. If the arrangement looks sparse it will look incomplete. Instead, bunch the carnations together tightly, almost creating a snowball look. Because the carnations are pretty big flowers and the curly petals give them a look of lots of volume, you don't need very many of them to make a full looking arrangement. I like to place these small bunches (I used about 10 large carnations here) in some clear, low vases that make the arrangement appear even fuller.

3. Make them last even longer. Carnations naturally stay fresh for a very long, which is another advantage when using them in arrangements! To make them last even longer, cut the stems on an angle before placing them in water. If you see that they start wilting a little bit, just cut the stems on an angle again to make them last even longer!



For other fun flower arrangements, check out these ideas:

Left: Repurposed Tea Tin Flower Vase (HERE) Right: Teapot Flower Arrangement (HERE)
Have a great week, Everyone!
I will be linking to THESE wonderful blogs!
Follow Shopgirl on Bloglovin' / Follow Shopgirl on Twitter / Follow Shopgirl on Pinterest 

Monday, September 15, 2014

CINNAMON MONKEY BREAD MUFFINS

Hello Everyone! I almost don't want to say it because I don't want to speak too soon, but I think fall may have arrived! I wore a sweater for the first time in months this weekend, we had the windows wide open and actually got cold at night, and it rained most of the day on Saturday... could it really be that fall is finally here?! It was the perfect backdrop for some baking this weekend, and these little Cinnamon Monkey Bread Muffins were so good that they disappeared pretty quickly (don't worry, I only made half a batch!) so I wanted to stop by and share them with you! They couldn't be easier to make; I used the same recipe that I use for my cinnamon rolls (you can find it below) and then coated the small dough balls in (a little bit of) butter and a cinnamon sugar mixture... what could be better!

CINNAMON MONKEY BREAD MUFFINS
(Makes about 16 muffins)

YOU WILL NEED
Your favorite cinnamon roll recipe (find mine HERE)
3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon



DIRECTIONS
1. First, make your dough and let it rise for at least an hour, or until it has doubled in size. Either use your favorite cinnamon roll dough recipe, or you can use mine, which you can find HERE. Once your dough has risen and is ready for you to use, punch it down and take it out of the bowl that you had it rising in.

2. Preheat your oven to 350 deg F and line your muffin tin with paper liners, or grease it lightly. Make a small assembly line on your kitchen counter by placing your melted butter in a bowl, and stirring together the brown sugar and ground cinnamon in another bowl. Then, start making small balls out of your dough (about an inch in size), covering them in the melted butter, then coating them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.


3. Place about 6 - 7 of them (depending on the size of them) in each muffin liner, then bake for about 16 - 18 minutes, until they are golden and puffed up and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, but are still soft on the inside! Let cool for at least 10 minutes. You can drizzle them with the classic cinnamon roll glaze if you like, I just like to leave them plain since they are pretty sweet already!

 And for another recipe involving cinnamon sugar (and some butter!) try THESE Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins!
Happy Baking, Everyone!
I will be linking to THESE wonderful blogs!
Follow Shopgirl on Bloglovin' / Follow Shopgirl on Twitter / Follow Shopgirl on Pinterest 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

REPURPOSED TEA TIN FLOWER VASES

Hi Everyone! I hope you are all having a good weekend so far! My countdown until the official start of fall continues... only a week left! Today is the first cool day in a long time, and I actually found myself feeling cold for the first time in months! I almost forgot what that feeling is! It's been the perfect (almost) fall day... cold, rainy weather, a soft sweatshirt, fall baking involving lots of cinnamon (more about that soon!), watching Jane Eyre (one of my favorites!), all with a teapot full of English Breakfast Tea! Perfect. And speaking of tea, I have a sweet little idea to share with you today, involving old tea tins! This is another one of my "this is why I never throw anything away because you never know when you'll need it" crafts! An arrangement of two or three pretty tea tins filled with different flowers would be so pretty on a kitchen window sill or on your desk to brighten up your day!


This little project really doesn't need any instructions, you can either simply fill the tin with water and arrange your flowers inside it, or place a small vase (that won't be visible) inside the tin and fill that with water and arrange the flowers in it, just to prevent any leaks. I used an old Royal Wedding Tea tin, which is my all time favorite tea. It was created for the royal wedding in 2011, and it smells like almonds, coconut and rose petals... so delicious! An arrangement of a couple different sized tins filled with different flower arrangements would be so pretty, I love the sweet, casual look of these!


Happy Weekend, Everyone!
I will be linking to THESE wonderful blogs!
Follow Shopgirl on Bloglovin' / Follow Shopgirl on Twitter / Follow Shopgirl on Pinterest 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

FALL SALAD WITH ROASTED ACORN SQUASH

Hey Everybody! I've been on a serious salad kick lately, hence another fall salad to share with you today! While fall is all about comfort food, sometimes it's nice to lighten things up a little bit, and this salad is a great way to get some fall flavor, just in a healthier form! It's filled with peppery arugula, creamy Gorgonzola cheese, chopped nuts and dried fruit, shredded chicken, and topped with some sweet, roasted acorn squash. It's my new favorite salad. Although I did say that about the Fall Quinoa Salad that I shared with you a couple of days ago; I'm very indecisive! I hope you'll love them both as much as I do! 

FALL SALAD WITH ROASTED ACORN SQUASH

YOU WILL NEED
SALAD
Arugula (or other greens you like)
1 acorn squash
1 - 2 tbs olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Shredded chicken
Chopped walnuts or pecans
Dried Cranberries
Optional: sliced crisp apple or pear, poached egg, homemade croutons
VINAIGRETTE
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Honey


DIRECTIONS
1. First, prepare your acorn squash. Cut it in half, scoop out all the seeds, then cut the squash into half moon slices about 1/2 inch thick. Toss them in some olive oil and season them well with salt and pepper, then bake in an even layer at 400 deg F for about 20 minutes, or until soft. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together your vinaigrette. I use equal parts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season that with salt and pepper, and add in some honey for a little bit of sweetness, which works well with the sweet acorn squash. Then, add in your greens. I like to use arugula because of its peppery bite, but baby spinach would work well too, or any other greens you may have on hand! Toss gently with the vinaigrette, then divide between your plates and top with shredded chicken, Gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries, chopped nuts and the roasted acorn squash! Serve with some crusty white bread!

For another great fall salad, try THIS Fall Quinoa Salad!
Happy Cooking, Everyone!
I will be linking to THESE wonderful blogs!
Follow Shopgirl on Bloglovin' / Follow Shopgirl on Twitter / Follow Shopgirl on Pinterest 

Monday, September 8, 2014

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a good weekend! I have another fall recipe to share with you today. For those nights when the weather gets chillier (and it's actually starting to feel a little cooler in the evenings now!) this is the perfect cozy and satisfying dinner that'll instantly warm you up! The soup is wonderfully creamy and smooth and has so much flavor thanks to the butternut squash being roasted. Besides it being really delicious, what I love about this soup is the bright orange color, because it just screams fall! Serve this with a big piece of fresh crusty white bread, and you have a great fall dinner ready in under an hour!

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

YOU WILL NEED
Roasted butternut squash (mine was about 2.5 lbs)
2 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 tbs unsalted butter
2 - 3 cups low sodium or homemade chicken stock
Salt & Pepper
Optional: 1 - 2 tbs half & half or heavy cream

DIRECTIONS
1. First, roast the butternut squash. Peel it, slice it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then cut it into 1 inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss it with 2 tbs of olive oil and season it well with salt and pepper. Spread the butternut squash cubes evenly on a large baking sheet, and bake at 400 deg F for about 30 - 35 minutes, or until soft, then let cool. (You could of course just cook the butternut squash instead of baking it, but I love how much more flavorful it gets when you roast it!)

2. In a small pan, saute the diced onion in the butter over low heat, until translucent, then set aside and let it cool. In a medium sized cooking pot, warm up the chicken stock. Place the cooled roasted butternut squash and sauteed onion in your blender, add about a cup or so of the chicken stock (make sure the chicken stock isn't piping hot) and puree until smooth, or until it has your desired consistency and texture.

3. Then, add the butternut squash mixture back into the pot with the rest of the chicken stock and let it cook for about 10 minutes (I used about 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock for the recipe, but it depends on how thick/thin you want your soup!) Make sure you taste it and adjust the seasoning to your taste! If you want to make the soup a little extra thick and silky, add in a little bit of half & half or heavy cream! Serve hot with some crusty bread!

For another great butternut squash recipe, try THIS Fall Quinoa Salad (picture on left) with roasted butternut squash, fresh spinach, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts! And to serve alongside this butternut squash soup, try THIS NY Times No-Knead Bread (picture on right)!

Happy Cooking, Everyone!
I will be linking to THESE wonderful blogs!
Follow Shopgirl on Bloglovin' / Follow Shopgirl on Twitter / Follow Shopgirl on Pinterest 
designed with love by beautiful dawn designs