corn cups

How many of you love Anthropologie's window displays as much as me?  Well last spring I was obsessed with their recycled plastic bottle flowers as seen below.

Cool right?  Well I was determined to do this craft at the teen center I manage.  {Here's the back story-  we were fortunate enough last spring to receive grant funding from a local utility for education on energy conservation.  With the funding we developed a living room style classroom focused mainly on energy conservation but also other sustainability methods; we named the program "Energy Saving Adventures"}.

So… the teen center throws away about this many corn cups on a weekly basis.  Better than throwing away the plastic ones right?

Well I knew we could do better and at one point it just hit me.  The main draw in our "Energy Saving Adventures" logo was a tree.  Why not create a tree at the entry to the classroom as a visual draw to what we are doing inside.  

So I took this cup...

…and made these flowers.  

The students at the center helped of course.  We cut down the sides of the cup, bent the strips back and took them outside to spray paint.  The cups are attaced to the wall with a very small nail.


he will be...

Well I finished up the baby shower (or should I say sprinkle) invites.  Pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.  I opted for the easy route this time and purchased semi DIY invites from Target.  I used two different fonts from the kevin & amanda blog.  Attached the provided ribbon.  And made some cute paper buttons for that extra touch. 


diaper wreath

To some this may just look weird, or maybe even hideous?  But to those who know how baby showers work I hope you can appreciate the creativity.  First let's start with the inspiration photo and tutorial found on the little brown house.

the little brown house

And ta-da my {cute as a button} inspired diaper wreath… 


turkey and trails

The mr. and I were very thankful for the invitation to share thanksgiving with friends, so we made this hostess gift.

I used my embossing gun to make the "thanks" tag.  I love embossing!

And that is my first cheese ball (thank you Cece)!  Here's the recipe in case you want to give it a try.

8 oz. cream cheese
4 to 5 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1/2 stick of butter (I may omit this next time)
can chopped black olives
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped walnut

1.  Take cream cheese, blue cheese and butter out of the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for awhile.  
2.  Cream the first three ingredients in a bowl until they are mixed well (I used my kitchen aid mixer).  Add the well drained chopped olives and chives and mix well.  
3.  Put the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for an hour or until firm.  
4.  Place chopped nuts on a plate. Form a ball with the chilled cheese using a spatula or your hand.  
5.  Roll the ball in the chopped nuts and place the ball back in the refrigerator to chill for a few more hours. 
6.  Serve with crackers.


The following day we skipped black friday shopping and hit the trail.  This particular trip was rather cold so we were able to test out some gear for Nepal (12 days!).


button flowers

I can't believe they turned out! Here are the button flowers I made for my little nephew's "cute as a button" baby shower.

 {inspiration photo}

I would still like to add the leaves to my bouquet as seen in the inspiration photo.  I also plan to stick the stems in floral foam to ensure they stay in place.  Here is a close up view of a stem.

A helpful tutorial can be found on the whimsy love blog.  A few notes: I opted to use 18 gauge wire from the jewelry section at michaels.  The wire was rather pricey {even with a coupon} so I didn't twist all the way down the stem.  Don't limit yourselves to shopping at an overpriced craft store, I scored some green floral wire last night at the dollar tree!


holy hot cocoa

Next time you are at your local trader joes {if you are so lucky to have one} pick up the peppermint hot chocolate.  They improved the recipe to include mint chocolate shavings and they are amazing!

I made ours extra special with the use of my handy cuisinart smart stick hand blender and some heavy whipping cream.  Pretty sure the mr. had no idea that was how whipped cream was made.  If you choose to make homemade whipped cream, skip the sugar, I think you will find the cocoa mix is sweet enough.

This may just become my go-to-gift for the holidays.  Maybe coupled with some cute mugs and homemade marshmallows?!


white enchiladas

I stole this one from Kevin & Amanda's blog after I saw a dear friend raving about it on Facebook.  Give it a try; you won't be disappointed.  Warning! They are sinfully bad for you as you can see by the ingredients list.  Let me know how it goes for you…

kevin & amanda

{creamy chicken enchiladas}

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, drained
1 8 oz package cream cheese, cut up and soften
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breasts
8 8inch flour tortillas
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 pint whipping cream (yikes!)

1.  Preheat oven to 350˚
2.  Spray 9x13 baking dish with Pam.  Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add rotel and saute 1 minute.
3.  Stir in cream cheese and chicken and cook, stirring constantly until cream cheese melts.
4.  Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. 
5.  Roll up tortillas and place seam side down in a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.

6.  Sprinkle with monterey jack cheese, and drizzle with whipping cream.

7.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
8.  Take off foil and cook for another 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.


soba noodles

mr. roundy made this the other night and I absolutely loved it!  We did substitute the red currant jelly for an apricot jelly we had on hand.  I felt the swap worked well and don't know if we will even try it with red currant.  Let me know if you try it.… and enjoy!

real simple

{sweet and spicy chicken with soba noodles}


6 ounces soba noodles
4 heads baby bok choy, sliced crosswise into strips
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce
kosher salt
1/2 cup red currant jelly
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger {don't skip this ingredient, its amazing}
4 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Cook the noodles according to the package directions, adding the bok choy during the last minute of cooking. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
2. Transfer the noodles and bok choy to a large bowl. Add the bell pepper, oil, vinegar, Sriracha, 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss to combine.
3.  Meanwhile, heat broiler. In a small bowl, combine the jelly, ketchup and ginger.
4.  Place the chicken on a broiler proof baking sheet lined with foil. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
5.  Broil the chicken until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side, brushing with the jelly mixture twice during the last 3 minutes. Serve with noodles.


one alaskan salmon

It pays to know people who honeymoon in Alaska!  mr. roundy and I were very flattered to cook up our friends Alaskan salmon caught on their recent honeymoon.  We used a Sam the Cooking Guy recipe, paired it with some delicious Julian Hard Cider and finished up with pumpkin carving.  Thank you mr. and mrs. Wagner.

mr. roundy, mrs. roundy, mrs. wagner, mr. wagner

serves 4 - 6
As Sam the Cooking Guy says, "Only three ingredients, but it tastes like fifty."  The black bean & garlic sauce is available in the Asian aisle at any supermarket.  Look for Lee Kum Kee brand.

1 cup apricot preserve
1/4 cup black bean & garlic sauce
1 whole salmon filet, about 1.5 pounds
3 green onions, finely chopped
Sesame seeds

Mix apricot and black bean sauce in a small bowl and stir well
Spoon over top of salmon to cover
Broil approximately 7 minutes for each inch of thickness
Remove to a serving platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions

Julian Hard Cider


cute as a button

Yup finally made up my mind on a theme for my sister-in-law's baby shower!

oh brooke
oh brooke
the ripe radish
average jane crafter
life rearranged
living the swell life
Well I better get to work, I have a lot of crafting to do!  Stay tuned for photos of completed projects.