Monday, December 23, 2013

No-Sew Fleece Tie Blanket

It's almost Christmas! Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

I made this fleece blanket for my sister for part of her Christmas gift. My friend made me one as a gift previously and I wanted to try one out for Rachel. She loves laying on the couch covered in blankets and since I got more than two yards of fleece, it will also be large enough for her to throw on her bed. She is studying aeronautical engineering which is why I chose the purple cosmic fleece. Turquoise is also one of her favorite colors. 

First, buy no pill fleece from your local fabric store (or Wal-mart). I asked for 2 yards but got more for free since one fabric was close to the end of the roll, which was awesome! Jo-Ann fabrics had all their fleece 50% off and had an additional 25% your entire purchase. Find a coupon, seriously!

Second, lay the fabrics on top of each other completely flat. Make sure you have no bumps or clumps of fabric. Cut any excess fabric along the edges so each piece of fabric is even in length and width. 
Third, Cut a 4x4 inch square out of paper or cardboard. Lay on each corner of your fleece blanket and outline to cut out the square. Once you have cut the squares in each of the corners, cut the cardboard so that it as wide as you want your ties. This will ensure that each tie will be 4 inches in length. Try to measure the fabric before determining the width of your ties to ensure one wont be super small. Mine were 1.5 inches.

Fourth, Once you have cut all the ties, you can begin tying them together for the basic version or continue reading for a different version. Flip the top fleece layer as depicted above. At the base of the ties, cut a small slit where you will pull the bottom layer ties through. Once you have the bottom tie pulled through the top layer tie, tie in a knot and then another for a double knot that won't fall out. 

Enjoy your fleece blanket! Be sure to re-pin, Thanks!!

Need more inexpensive DIY holiday gift ideas? Check out this chalkboard frame by MonkeySeeMonkeyDIY! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Peanut Butter Pie with Oreo Crust

This light and fluffy, no-bake peanut butter pie is so easy to make! The hint of peanut butter doesn't overwhelm the filling and the oreo's add a delicious texture.

My friend Yasmin made this pie for a Thanksgiving pot luck and it was such a hit! Big thanks to her for the recipe, my family loved it at Thanksgiving!

Ingredients needed to make one 8 or 9 in pie:
1/2 cup reduced fat milk
12-15 Oreos
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4oz light cream cheese (not whipped)
8oz lite cool whip
2-3 tbl butter or butter substitute
1-2 tbl chocolate or nutella optional

1. Preheat oven to 350. Crumble about 10 Oero's and lay at the bottom of a pie pan. Melt 2 tbls butter and 1 tbl chocolate or nutella. Drizzle over oreo crumbs and pack evenly along bottom of pan. Bake in oven for about 5 minutes and them remove and cool.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream room temperature cream cheese until smooth and slowly add in confectioners sugar until smooth. Add in peanut butter and milk slowly.

3. Fold in whipped topping and leftover crushed oreos. Pour in pie pan over crust and refrigerate for about 2 hours before serving

Top with additional oreos or chocolate drizzle. The pie does NOT hold it's shape very well so be prepared to scoop it out a bit! However, it still tastes amazing!

Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY Holiday Thanksgiving and Christmas 2-in-1 Banner

This fun and festive paper banner will add holiday cheer to any room and will save you time with a free template that I made!

All the stores roll the Holiday season into one big event, so hey, why can't we make life a little bit easier and do the same?! Using one side of the banner for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas is a simple way to quickly redecorate without the time or trouble. Simply open the attachment and enlarge the image so that the letters are the size you prefer. I was able to print about 4 letters on a sheet of paper (portrait orientation) for the size seen above.

Thanksgiving printable requires 12 paper banners

The Christmas banner requires 13. I will be adding the snowflake after thanksgiving!

1. Save the images above to your desktop. Print the images and cut them out.

2. Measure the letters and choose the correct size banner so that the largest letter will fit on the banner. Cut the banners by adding about 2-3' below the text then cutting up into the middle from both sides. 
3. Glue your text onto the banner (I used a poster board for thicker paper) and punch holes. Make sure you glue the Christmas side opposite so when you flip it around, it reads from left to right. I used twine rope to hang it over my mantle. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Blossoms

Blossoms are a fun and easy way to make a large amount of soft, delicious, bite-sized cookies.

I made these for a Thanksgiving potluck with co-workers and they were a huge hit! I only took about five home to my roommates because my co-workers begged me to leave them at the party. To get these two bite cookies, I baked them in a mini muffin pan. 

All you need is: a mini muffin/cupcake pan, bag of chocolate chips, and peanut butter cookie dough. 
I felt like I was making Christmas cookies instead of Thanksgiving ones!
1. Spray the bottom on the pan or else they are difficult to remove in one piece! 
2. Fill each muffin dent about 3/4 full with dough. Add sprinkles on top and place in pre-heated oven. 
3. Bake the cookies about 2-3 minutes shorter than directed time and keep a close eye on them because they are so small.
4. While baking, Unwrap the Hershey kissed and place in a bowl.
5. Once edges are browning remove from oven and place kiss in the center. 
6. Let cool for a few minutes until moving to a cooling rack. I used a butter knife to cut around the edges then carefully scoop them out of the pan.

I was able to make about 4 dozen cookies with the Hershey kiss bag and large cookie dough. 
For Christmas, I am aiming to make peppermint mocha blossom cookies using chocolate cookie dough with mocha flavor and peppermint swirl Hershey kisses!

Gooey Over-Stuffed "Boyfriend" Cookies

These soft, gooey, chocolate chip cookies are loaded with more chips, chocolates, and candies so that you don't get a single bite without chocolate. 

I took the easy route and bought pre-made chocolate chip cookie mix by Betty Crocker. After preparing the dough according to the directions, mix in all your other additional goodies. I used M&Ms, a handful of peanut butter M&Ms, peanut butter chips, and white chocolate chips. 

To get them extra soft, bake about two minutes shorter than suggested baking time. If they are not set, leave them in another minute. Remove from oven and let cool for about two minutes (this will allow them to continue cooking slightly) before cooling them on a cooling rack. 

I had to test them, of course!
I made these for my sister's birthday who loves peanut butter and chocolate. However, play around with different add-ins for whoever these cookies are being made for. You can try mint chips with mint M&Ms, or caramel chips with toffee bits. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Caramel Apple Dump Cake

Caramel Apple Dump Cake

For the Filling:
6-8 apples, peeled and diced
2 tsp butter (or butter substitute)
1/2 cup water

For the Topping:
1 box yellow cake mix 
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter/butter substitute 
1 tbsp cinnamon
caramel for drizzle
vanilla ice cream (for serving)

1.Filling: Begin by washing and peeling your apples. I used York and Fiji apples. Slice them and cut them in half (how big or small you want the slices is up to you). Layer them in a 13x9 baking dish and add the water and butter, then sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes to soften and flavor the apples.

2.Topping: Remove the dish from the oven and carefully pour any excess water into a bowl (saving the liquid for later!). Drizzle caramel over the baked apples. In a bag, shake together the cake mix, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Pour evenly over top of the apples until covered. you may not need to use the entire bag of mix. Then divide the 1/2 cup of butter and layer on top of the cake mix. Return to oven and bake approximately 40-50 minutes. You can use excess water to soften spots that are a little too powdered where the butter didn't melt.

Before finishing up in the oven

3. After removing from the oven, you can drizzle some caramel over the top for garnish. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

My friends and I couldn't wait to eat it so I had to take the picture after dessert

I hope you enjoy this gooey, warm, and delicious fall treat. Check back soon for a healthy version of a pumpkin pie. Trust me it's delicious, I've already eaten it, and you would have no idea there is no sugar added! -Emma

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bored with Your Breakfast?

Rise and Shine!
We've all heard that "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" but getting stuck in a breakfast rut can deter us from getting all the nutrients possible to start our day. The common culprit: cereal. You find the one you like, you eat it for a while, then find a new one. Cereal has some beneficial vitamins and minerals but there are so many other ways to get more bang for your buck when it comes to breakfast health. 

Here are some ideas to help you break your morning habit and enjoy your breakfast again!

1) Instead of grabbing your coffee pot first thing in the morning, grab a glass of water.

I'm not a fan of plain water so instead I go for a cup of tea. I really enjoy homemade iced green tea when I need something cold in the morning. Just steep the green tea bags in a pot of boiling water and add a few tablespoons of agave nectar or honey to sweeten. Let cool then stick in the fridge until chilled.

2) Oatmeal is a great source of fiber which has been connected to lowering cholesterol levels,  but eating it every morning can be the most plain breakfast imaginable.

Try switching up your hot oats for some cool and refreshing overnight oats. I use the recipes from She has six original flavors and 8 new flavors so you are bound to find the one you love! You can make it the night before and it will be ready to go when your getting ready in the morning. You can always add these combinations to your hot oats if you prefer. I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of regular milk in my oatmeal... something to try! 

3) Pancakes are a great breakfast treat for the mornings when you have a little extra time but have a low nutritional value. Try this take on french toast instead:

Orange French Toast gives that extra kick of Vitamin C and by using Almond milk and egg whites you can kick out some unwanted calories. You can always swap the white bread for whole grain bread, too! Find the recipe at the bottom of the page. It goes great with Chai tea or a 30 calorie iced chai tea latte, yum!

4) Greek yogurt is an easy way to get a little bit of protein on the go and I usually find myself grabbing a cup of "fruit" at the bottom Greek yogurt for a mid-morning snack. That is until I looked at the amount of sugar and random ingredients inside of it. 

Photo from Undressed Skeleton

As an alternative, I buy the larger tubs of plain Greek Yogurt (there's only one ingredient.. milk!) and add honey, cinnamon, and lots of fruit. You can add granola or cereal for an added crunch. It's such a great natural option opposed to the processed alternative and it is less expensive and has lasted longer than buying the individual cups.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter Eggs in Full Bloom

I wanted to give my roommates and friends a little treat for Easter. I made six of these for $3. I got six large plastic eggs, a six pack of fun sized candy bars to fill them with, and the paper flowers kit from Michael's.

I just filled the eggs with candy and a little Easter note and taped the front shut. Use a little dab of hot glue above the tape to glue on your flowers, making sure they cover the tape. Super Easy!

Light Sausage Casserole

This casserole is perfect for Easter brunch, or any day of the week that you have an hour to spare in the morning. I popped this in the oven when I woke up and threw in a load of laundry while it was cooking. The dish is flavorful and bold but Shhh... It's a lighter version of the original!

I used:
4 Whole Grain bread slices
3 eggs and 1 egg white
2/3 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup fat free cheddar cheese (plus more for topping)
1 cup turkey sausage crumbles
1 tbs yogurt margarine 
1 tsp mustard

1. Start by spraying the bottom of your casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Butter one side  of your bread and arrange them so that there is little space in between. The buttered side will be on the bottom of the pan.
2. Sprinkle a layer of cheese over the bread.
3. Wisk together the eggs, milk, and mustard until combined. Pour evenly over the layer of bread.
4. Sprinkle the cooked (I bought mine pre-cooked) turkey sausage crumbles all over the top. Finish with a topping of cheese and bread crumbs from any of the pieces that didn't fit on the bottom.
5. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
6. In the morning, pre-heat oven to 350 and bake for 40 minutes with foil on top. If the center still has some liquid, turn the oven to 400 and bake another 10 minutes. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

DIY Inspirational Wall Art

After a long day of school and work, or running late to make it on time, this is such an easy way for my roommates and I to remember to just breathe and smile. It's a free way to add a little sunshine in our home and it only takes about ten minutes.

One for our hallway...

& one for the living room
Not to mention, You'll feel good for reusing those old magazines instead of throwing them away!
Just remember to recycle the scraps and the pages you don't use!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Layered Banana Split Sundae

Hope everyone had a sweet Valentine's Day!
Mine was extra sweet with this fro-yo layered banana split sundae

I found these cute treat cups at Walmart for $0.98 for a pack of six.
Grab your favorite flavored frozen yogurt (they have frozen greek yogurt now, too!)
a banana, peanut butter, and your favorite candies for topping

A layer of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie fro-yo
over a layer of bananas and M&M's candies
Add some peanut butter drizzle and another layer of bananas and greek yogurt
After your done layering, place them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to harden and set.
Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

 And just in case this post wasn't sweet enough, I thought I'd include this cupcake I had from Bubblecake in Roanoake, VA a while ago. My first cappuccino cupcake :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

DIY Sharpie Mug Alternative

You see the posts all over Pinterest: "DIY Sharpie mug... just write with sharpie, bake, and it stays!" Sounds to good to be true? That's because it is. I tested this method of ceramic design out in an older post and although it looked great, it didn't make it through two cleanings. Water and soap wiped the sharpie right off.

I used ceramics acrylic paint from Michael's as an alternative to the sharpie. It is designed for ceramics and will stay on after being washed (mine has lasted over 2 months with no wear!) The bottles are inexpensive, about $2, and I found cheap ceramics to paint at Target and goodwill.

I also used a stencil to paint the mustache on my bowl

Follow the directions on your paint bottle, but most need to be bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Make sure you place your ceramics in the over before you turn in on so that it warms while the oven is pre-heating. Then, set your timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn off your oven but leave the ceramics in there to cool

My sister, Rachel, painted an octopus on her bowl from Target

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentine Candygram [13oz or less]

 As much as I love to make handmade cards, I couldn't help but to use the idea to mail packaged candy as a card. Since these boxes are under 13oz or less, you can send them off with first class postage! Find tons of other "happy mail" ideas here.

I bought the candy at Wal-Mart for 98 cents!

I found some scrap paper and cut it to match the size of the box. 
I tried to make mine look more like a postcard!
a glue stick held it on, but I'm going to cover it with packaging tape 
to keep it from ripping before shipping them off!

Happy early Valentine's Day!

Just a quick update:
I sent the candy grams yesterday without any problems
they both cost right around $2.50 (2.49 and 2.66 to be exact!)
the Twizzlers box had to use stamps as to not cover the address
and the lifesavers used a printed mailing stamp slapped right on the angled flap

Make sure you ask your clerk for Valentine's stamps for extra festiveness!
I forgot..oops :)