Over the past six months, I’ve been collaborating with Pepperidge Farm and sharing my original recipes using Puff Pastry. Along the way, my readers were asked to submit ideas for recipes they would like to create using puff pastry and just a few weeks ago one reader (Sharon from Cupcakes and Cutlery!) got the news she would be heading with me to the Pepperidge Farms Innovation Center to compete in our own version of a Top Chef inspired cooking challenge.
We arrived with several other bloggers and guests for a day of inspiration, taste testing and recipe development! Above is Sharon and I in the Pepperidge Farm test kitchen. It was SO cool!
With aprons tied, we worked together to create two dishes that would be presented to the judges. Our mission was to create two recipes each inspired by a new food trend –Brazilian influence and using Greek yogurt in a savory dish. Above were our two dishes.
My youngest daughter is seven now, but ever since she could stand up she’s been helping me in the kitchen. Prepping, cooking, baking, eating — she absolutely loves it all. I love how she gets excited about the entire experience; from gathering ingredients, to putting in the hard work in the kitchen, to sitting down and savoring the meal.
The kitchen seems to be a place where she problem solves often. Whether it’s substituting an ingredient or brainstorming ways to use items grown in our backyard garden, she’s always thinking. So when I learned about Unilever Project Sunlight’s latest film, The Way Kids SeeIt I knew this would be something her and we’d both enjoy. The video shines a light on the unique ideas and the magic that children all over the world apply to tackle all sorts of environmental and social issues. It’s pretty inspiring! Check it out:
The end of the school year is fast approaching and it’s during this time that I like to think about a few thoughtful things I can do for my girls to help them get excited about summer. Every year, I like to have a small gift for them to kick-off the first official day of summer – and this year, I’ve created “jars of fun.”
Although we are constantly doing fun things during the summertime, my kids still seem to find time and ways to “be bored.” That’s where these little jars of goodies come in. To help keep boredom at bay this summer I’ve filled these jars with a variety of fun items to keep them busy in between scheduled activities and trips. They’ll find everything from small toys to an animal stamp set, bookmarks, mini slinky’s and bouncy balls. Because all the items fit into a jar, it’s also an ideal gift for travel.
For older children you can place in gift cards to the movies or an ice cream shop, crossword puzzle books, or even a new pair of shades for the summer.
Setting up for a nice buffet might sound simple enough, though your efforts could very easily result in a display that looks more chaotic than clever. Avoid confusion and traffic jams in your buffet line by planning ahead. Eliminate the common sight of guests reaching for plates and back-tracking for utensils that they missed along the way.
Before your guests can begin to dish up their meal, they will need a plate. Stack plates at one end of the table so that guests have access to these first. Also, if you are using disposable plates remember to choose heavier ones so that the food actually stays on the plate and guests can easily carry them.
Serve dishes that your guests understand and recognize. If you decide to serve a dish that your guests may not be familiar with, create a place card so guests can easily identify the dish. Also, make sure each dish has a coordinating serving utensil so guests can easily (and quickly) dish up their food.
At the other end of your buffet table (opposite of the plates), place the silverware. Only provide utensils that your guests will need to use. If a knife is not needed, don’t offer one. This will avoid confusion and lighten the carrying load for guests. To make the grab-and-go of the silverware a breeze, wrap each set up in one napkin and secure it with a piece of ribbon or twine. Condensing the utensils and napkin will make it easier for guests to carry their plates to their seats.
Okay, maybe DIY isn’t dead but it definitely has grown up a bit. DIYers have been at it for over a decade — crafting and creating new things, making something out of nothing, reinventing old things into new. On the blogs we read this typically shows itself in ways of fabulous party garland, a new way to display your jewelry or a sophisticated typography print just waiting for you to download. In a parallel (yet equally thriving world), a culture of garage tinkers and hackspace inhabitants have been head-down making things too. New products that solve every day problems and innovating products that have existed for centuries, giving them an upgrade. They’ve been making things; just like DIYers have been.
Despite the clear similarities between the DIY and Tinkerer communities we have (until recently) been living in different realms. In fact, I would argue each group wouldn’t have wanted to identify with the other before — as they have historically seen themselves very different from each other; one side “craft” and the other “tech.” How many DIYers attended the Maker Faire in 2009? Likewise, how many garage tinkerers opened up an Etsy shop in 2009? Exactly. Not until the past few years have these world began to merge into what we are now calling the Maker Movement. But why now? (more…)
This weekend, I was looking for a little way to carve out some special time with my youngest girl. The weather was perfect so I thought a surprise backyard picnic would be a fun way to spend a little one-on-one time together.
I filled up some pink and yellow balloons to give our picnic spot a little extra touch. I printed and attached the words “let’s have a backyard picnic” to one of the strings. When my daughter spotted the balloons, it put a huge smile on her face!