Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DIY Yellow Easter Wreath

Home with Mandy got crafty again! I visited my grandmother last month in her new retirement home. She has a great two room apartment but as she showed me around the building I remember she pointed to a neighbors door and said they always have pretty seasonal wreaths. I decided during that visit that I would make her a new wreath each season.

My grandmama's favorite color is yellow and I fell in love with these adorable paper flowers so I chose them to be my inspiration. These became the "centerpiece" and anchored the floral arrangement at the base.

She also plays the piano, so I found some sheet music craft paper, ran it through my printer to make this Easter sign and then glued it to light cardboard.

The wreath looks really full, but I only covered half using four different flowers. In addition to the two paper flowers, I used one bunch of yellow daffodils, one bunch of yellow and white flower clusters and one bunch of pink/orange tulips.

In this picture you can see the loops of ribbon that I hot glued and tucked in between the flowers here and there. You can also see the fringe of the burlap that I frayed and left poking out.

Here is a picture of the back, it isn't pretty, but it doesn't have to be. I took strips of burlap to wrap the section of the wreath I was covering. I did this for several reasons. The burlap was used out of necessity because this wreath has been used before and I had to pull gobs and gobs of hot glue out of it and to be honest this side of the wreath looked ratty. The strips of burlap also made it easier for me to tuck and glue the flowers in.

The wreath didn't take me too long to complete, maybe an hour and a half. After I stripped the wreath from all the old glued on stuff, I wrapped and glued the burlap in place. Next I snip and tuck the flowers, starting at the bottom with the two paper flowers and just began building up. It was fun, minus the couple fingers I burned with the hot glue.

I'm thinking a colorful Mexican inspired wreath for Cinco de Mayo! Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Girls Night Recipes

When my friends and I plan girls night, it always involves sinful snacking. If there were a night to fry something, this would be it. Lots of jokes (sometimes at my expense), lots of fried food, lots of wine, lots of chatter around the roar of a fire - no boys allowed. You won't find spicy chicken wings or philly cheese steaks anywhere near our buffet. Let me highlight some of our favorite snacks for girls night!

Fried zucchini slices, otherwise known as Zucca Chips are so perfect for girls night! For one, they are quick and easy. Secondly, these are delicious!

Be sure to buy at least one zucchini per person because they shrink up and we tend to eat these by the handfuls.

As soon as you pull them out of the fryer, allow them to drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt right away.

While we were at it, we also thinly sliced potatoes and fried them up as well.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beef Meatball Bourguignon

This is not your mama's spaghetti and meatballs. This dish is a play on the classic French flavors of Beef Borguignon, but saves you the time of simmering chunks of tough meat for a long period of time. Make this meatball version, the sauce, more like a gravy, clings to the egg noodles and rounds out this perfect evening meal.

Skinner Pasta, part of the New World Pasta Company family of brands, is celebrating 100 years of consistent quality. Because of this milestone anniversary, Skinner has sent me this cool Pasta Package that includes a very nice footed red colander, two serving tongs and samples of Skinner pasta for my review.  Do you like? You too can win your own Pasta Package from Skinner, keep reading for contest rules. Also, find out how to enter the Skinner Pasta 100 Years of Mealtime Memories Essay Contest... you could win $10,000. (That's not a typo.)

When Jim asked for spaghetti and meatballs, I'm sure he imagined something completely different. Because I was excited to incorporate the 100th anniversary Skinner Pasta into a meal, I knew that a run of the mill meatball just wouldn't cut it. Hold on to your seats folks, this is one cool recipe that will slap you in the face with flavor. I would bet money that this could easily become a mealtime favorite at your house.

The ingredient list for the Meatballs:
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 pounds ground round (85 percent lean)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

The ingredient list for the Bourguignon sauce:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, small dice
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
1 cup hearty red wine, such as Shiraz
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Click here to continue reading the amazing step by step recipe...

...and did I mention a giveaway?!?!?!