What’s the deal with CHIA?

Not chia pets, Chia seeds!

Another newish fad super food… and it’s time to give it a try!

ChiaSeedsInWater-850x566from MindBodyGreen

I’ve started having a yogurt and salad at lunch and yesterday morning I woke up and made a Greek yogurt/frozen berry smoothie. It made my day — not only did it taste good but I felt healthier after I had consumed it as if I had just ingested a glorious superfood. I didn’t like Greek yogurt very much at first and couldn’t understand people’s obsession with it…. the consistency was just a little too chunky for my liking but once you get used to it, you don’t notice that as much!

DSC03039

Then there is this fad all over the place with Chia seeds. I scoffed at first because people around me were going nuts about it. I figured its just one of this things that’s gonna fade like acai berries…. It hasn’t really been around long enough for many scientific studies but the things I’ve read about it are enough to make me want to try. I tested it out a few weeks ago in juice and it really felt like just drinking a bunch of kiwi seeds with a little crunch. I happen to love kiwi seeds so I don’t mind the chia:)

The stuff I’ve read sounds good and listening to friends rave about them is as good of a review as any (;))…. so I thought, why not? I stopped by Trader Joe’s and picked up a bag for $5. I had a tablespoon in my leftover frozen smoothie last night. I’ll probably start slow… 1-2 Tbsp a day, but I’ve read you can have up to 4 Tbsp. and it’s good for you! I’ll put them in smoothies and sprinkle on my salads at lunch. If you have any advice for me with this, let me know! Ways to take it, how much to consume,… how you’ve seen results… I’m all ears!

chia seeds from Trader Joe's

She’s come back!

My Dear Readers,

If any of you are left you’re probably wondered what happened to me. It’s almost been a year since I posted about my little Bachelor finale party… And now a new season of the Bachelorette has started up, reminding me to get back on the blog! I have been getting tired of feeling guilty about not posting anything so I’m coming back.

Truth is I’ve been busy (aren’t we all) and haven’t been doing much of anything “post-worthy” — or at least nothing very “DIY” or creative… I always said I’d never apologize if there was a Casual Vacancy in my posting suddenly but here I am, apologizing. Summer Fridays are in full swing again at work so with this bit of extra time during the week, Ill try to start posting regularly again and I’ll try not to go so long between posts this time!

Here’s to trying to get into better habits,
smidttenEva

Bachelorette Season Finale Party

A couple weekends ago the Bachelorette season finale was on. Of course I invited some girls over to watch it with me and it turned into the first “party” we’d hosted so far in the new place! It was all kinds of fun….and I made a few desserts and some Sangria for refreshments.

First, I found these yummy things and had to try them since they seemed so appropriate for a “Bachelorette” party (and um, they looked delicious for obvious reasons)!

These Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies were just as amazing as the blogger said they would be. Be sure to make them in advance though as they do take quite some time with chilling and rolling and all….

So here’s the recipe which I stole from Culinary Couture and Two Peas & Their Pod (credit and big props go to them!). Notice again that you’ll need to freeze the cream cheese filling for 2 hours and chill the dough for at least 2 hours, so be sure to leave yourself enough time! I never read all the way through a recipe about the chilling part until it’s too late, which is why I’m calling it out here again! 🙂

What You’ll Need:

For the cookies–

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • pinch of vanilla powder (I threw in a little bit of vanilla extract since I didn’t have any powder on hand, and they turned out fine!)

For the cheesecake filling–

  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of vanilla powder (again, I used vanilla extract)

For the white chocolate drizzle
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted

Instructions:
For the cookies
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and flour. Whisk together until clumps disappear. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cake mix with the flour, eggs, oil and vanilla and mix until smooth. The dough will be really oily (that’s normal!). Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

For the cheesecake filling
Using a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Using a teaspoon, scoop out balls of cheesecake filling and place on a plate. Continue scooping out cheesecake filling into teaspoon balls until you have 10. Place plate in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours. (I started off making teaspoon balls and realized halfway that I was going to have a lot of filling left over, so I made my balls bigger. If you do this, make sure to use enough dough to completely cover the balls of filling so it doesn’t leak out. You can also just make more than 10 teaspoon balls, and consequently, make smaller cookies to use up all of the balls.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

To assemble the cookies, take about 1/4 cup of red velvet cookie dough and flatten in your hands. Be ready to get messy! Place a ball of cheesecake filling in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. (If the dough starts to crack when you’re wrapping it around the filling, don’t worry, just press it all together by cupping the dough between both your palms…). Gently roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Only bake 3-4 cookies at a time because the cookies are pretty big and will spread.

Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes or until they begin to crackle. Let them cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or over a double-boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cooled cookies.

brownies and red velvet cookies

To go along with the Sangria I made, I wanted to add a little more red to the glasses, so I made these “Wine glass Tags” – my version of wine glass charms that most people use to keep track of and distinguish people’s glasses. I thought it added a little more “Bachelorette” to the night. 🙂

wine glass marker tags

Hope you enjoyed this post! Now let me know if you have any other creative ideas for wine glass charms/tags. And let me know what you think of those cookies if you decide to try making them!

Style | Neutral Classiness

I’m so in love with these dresses and accessories. Neutral colors are always beautiful…and sprucing it up with accessories is such a fun way to go! I’ve been eyeing dresses like these, waiting anxiously for end of summer sales to start. 🙂

neutral classiness

Short ruffled dress
$91 – sweetverona.com

Elise Ryan zipper dress
$86 – nelly.com

Knee high dress
sheinside.com

Wal G peplum dress
$47 – topshop.com

Lanvin leather high heels
marissacollections.com

Sam Edelman leather thong sandals
$86 – flannelsfashion.com

Dune peep toe high heels
$110 – debenhams.com

Kate spade earrings
couture.zappos.com

Tear drop earrings
dillards.com

Beaded feather earrings
$16 – whatsabouttown.com

A Taste of Summer | LemonBerry Sangria

Summer is my very favorite time of year in New England. I love the warm weather and all the fun recipes that go along with it. I was so excited when I found this one on Pinterest. First of all I love Sangria but I’ve never tried making it myself. This recipe looked easy enough for me to attempt and when I decided to have a girl’s Bachelorette Season Finale party at my house, I knew this was the one I had to make (it was pink in the picture!).

Things I learned in my process of making this recipe twice:

  1. It’s hard to mess up Sangria
  2. You can never have too much fruit
  3. You can never make enough. 🙂

white lemon strawberry sangriaWhite Strawberry Lemon Sangria, courtesy of Kitchen Treaty

Ingredients
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced (any kind)
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 750 ml bottle white wine (I used Lucky Duck Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup white rum
  • 4 cups lemon-lime soda (I used Sprite)
Preparation
  1. Add lemon slices to a large pitcher. Follow with the apples, then strawberry slices.
  2. Pour the wine and rum over the top.
  3. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 hours.
  4. Take out of the refrigerator and add the soda. Add a few pieces of the fruit to your glass and pour sangria over to serve.
  5. ENJOY a glass (or two) with some friends and get outside before it’s too late to enjoy!

Sangria, the finished product

Countryfied | DIY Blackboard

I picked up a cute red framed picture at the Salvation Army store almost a year ago. The picture was ugly so I knew right away I’d use the frame as a chalkboard. Issue #1: I didn’t know where I was going to get the “board” since it didn’t come with glass. When I was packing up to move, I discovered a frame that I didn’t need anymore that was the same size and had glass! Perfect! I had bought the chalkboard paint ($10 at Home Depot) a while ago for this very project so I finally set to work.

Make your own blackboard

I learned the hard way that just like my other glass projects, you first need to prime the glass. I tried to see if the chalkboard paint would adhere to the glass by itself but the answer to that was no. Thankfully nothing was ruined, I just turned the glass over and got out my “Frosted Glass” spray paint which has been very handy for many projects!

I suggest doing 3 or 4 coats just to make sure you get a nice sturdy finish. In between coats, let it try for an hour or so. On my box of paint, it said to not try using the board until it’s sat for 3 days, so I followed those instructions. Not sure if it really needs that long to dry, but I figured it was better to be safe… especially since I didn’t have any more glass lying around! 🙂

all done with this blackboard!

This was truly one of the simplest projects and now we’ve got a cute chalkboard we can write notes on in our kitchen! It’s already helped us to take out the trash on Tuesdays and tend to the laundry…. it’s been very helpful so far!

…And now for a bit of humor! I love these–so true! 🙂