DIY Harry Potter Party Highlights

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Harry Potter party wands labels

One thing you may not know about Katie and I is that we are both HUGE Harry Potter fangirls. I’ve read through all the books a couple times and love the movies just as much. Maybe its something to do with being in that perfect age range where I kind of grew up right along with the characters… but I can never get enough Hogwarts!

My boyfriend and I recently threw a Harry Potter themed party at our house, and of course I went all out with the DIY decorations and party games. Maybe a little overboard…whatever. I didn’t really prepare any full tutorials for a post, but I thought I would share a few highlights of my favorite Potter-themed DIYs.

Sorry for the not-so-awesome photos… I was having way to much fun to do much more than snap a couple quick shots with my phone!

DIY Harry Potter wands from chopsticks


Hands-down my favorite was the slew of customized wands. I made enough for each guest to get their own, and we labeled each with the type of wood and “core” it was made of. We pulled a name out of a hat for each unique wand, because after all the wand must choose the wizard.

harry potter wands with chop sticks and hot glue

The wands were made out of chopsticks and hot glue. I swirled and dripped hot glue onto each one then painted them in various woody shades once they were hardened. I even stuck some marbles or stones onto a few for more variety.

how to make a golden snitch candy

The golden snitches I made out of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and white craft feathers. A little dab of glue et voila!

DIY Hogwarts house flags harry potter party

These Hogwarts house banners were made from dollar store plastic table cloths. Talk about bang for your buck! This one only cost me $4 and I had enough of each color left to cover tables with as well. The logos I hand-painted onto some construction paper and glued on.

Harry Potter Party Ideas
The Honeydukes sign was another favorite! I kept it afterwards to hang up in my little workshop :) I repurposed our little bar cart into a Hogwarts Express “trolley” filled with all kinds of candy, including some every flavour beans! I mixed some of these into a bag of regular jelly beans. Some of them were seriously gross…

Floating candles were a fun trick! Another easy dollar store DIY made out of electric tea lights and white construction paper, hung from the ceiling with a little scotch tape and fishing line.

And there is my sorting hat! I whipped this guy up out of a cereal box, some masking tape, brown fabric, and a lot of hot glue. We sorted all of our guests into houses by rigging up a small blue tooth speaker behind the hat, and having my boyfriend call in from his cell phone from outside the window as the voice of the sorting hat. It worked surprisingly well! He could see who was sitting in the chair through the window, but since it was dark outside, no one at the party knew where his voice was coming from! Aside from a few mosquito bites for my poor assistant, it was quite a hit!

harry potter party decor spider


A little trail of spiders leading out the window. They are stuck on with blue sticky tack.

Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter party prop

My awesome roomie made this Chamber of Secrets prop to hang over our mantel. It is finger painted onto wax paper and hung up with tape. I love when a party prop packs a big impact value and costs next to nothing to put together! On our Hogwarts mantel you can spot a couple additional DIYs: a pink Pygmy Puff, Neville’s remembrall, the house points vials, some feather quill pens (they work!) and the Marauder’s Map!

platform 9 3:4 wall prop

And last but definitely not least, here is Mad Eye Moody and the Sorting Hat himself in front of our homemade Platform 9 3/4. The brick “wall” is a sponge painted white sheet. I also made Mad Eye Moody’s eye using an amazing Instructables tutorial I found!

If there are any fellow HP fans out there, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my nerd party!! Maybe it is appropriate timing for some of you who are planning your Halloween costumes! If you wanna know more about any of these crafty projects, just send me an email!

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DIY Hand Lettered Jewelry Tray

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DIY Jewelry Tray

HELLO FRIENDS! I’m Katie, remember me???  Do you also remember when I said this was my favorite & easiest DIY of the summer, that would be on the blog?  Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you’d know that I said that…eight weeks ago.  I’m so sorry for the delay, and I hope you haven’t been holding your breath!  I took a little Lemons hiatus to focus on my day job and a few other things – but I’m back, and so excited to (finally) share this DIY with you! You will see that it is simple to complete, but looks very elegant and professional when it’s finished.  Your friends might not even believe you when you tell them you made it yourself!

For this craft, you will need a ceramic dish, shallow bowl, or mug, scissors, tape, a pencil, colorful (or not so colorful) oil based markers – I used Sharpies – and a good quote typed on a plain white sheet of paper. [Libations, music, and rooftop crafting session, “optional”]

Decorated Jewelry Tray Sharpies

Start by picking your ceramic item and your quote/text.  For once in my [indecisive creative-juice process] life, I knew exactly what I wanted to make, and exactly how I wanted it to look – although I did have some adorable alternative ideas…stay tuned for another post?? (Let us know in the comments section, or by following us on Instagram!)

I picked up a plain, white, ceramic appetizer plate on sale at Target, and used black and gold sharpies.  After deciding what I wanted to write on the tray, I typed/printed it out so that I could get started.  If you don’t find a font in your word processing program that you like, I’d suggest that you check out – it’s free, and has hundreds of cool choices.

Jewelry Organizer Sharpies

Once you have all of your supplies, it’s time for the magic trick that will make you seem like a crafting wizard – carbon copying.  It’s by far the EASIEST way to transfer a font to a surface – no complicated stencils or skillful freehand here!  Take the printed quote, turn it over, and scribble on the back of the paper with a pencil (only where the letters are).  Next, turn the paper over, and cut/tape it to your surface wherever you’d like the words to be. To make the transfer, outline the letters with the pencil by drawing over the print.  Peel the paper off, and voila!

Carbon Copy DIY Font Sharpies

Now that you’ve got your letters down, take your marker and get to work!  One point to make about oil based markers – they are a little fickle.  Make sure you use them according to package directions, and be prepared to be patient and allow time to dry before you do any touch ups.  Also, don’t press too hard, else you might take the marker off of the ceramic after you’ve put it on!

Sharpies on Ceramics

To finish my tray, I added a gold trim by outlining the rim.  Feel free to add any doodles or other images as you see fit!  I tried to follow a less-is-more mentality for this DIY, knowing that when it’s in use, most of the “hard work” I put into it would be covered.

I love this craft, and this quote.  It’s impressive, and motivational all in one.  I think something that Hayley and I have learned over the course of this past year of blogging is that there will be ups and downs and lefts when you want to right, and most if it will be out of your control, but if you love something or if you think you might love something and you just can’t stop thinking about what will happen if you try it, sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and just GO FOR IT.  Failures will happen and posts will be missed and life will get in the way, but nothing should stop you from following your dreams!  And let me tell you, we love this blog.  It’s a hodgepodge of our creative portfolios and current life interests, and it means the world to us that we get to share our dream with you.  [We especially love it when we interact with you all! Tell us everything! You’re likes, dislikes, what you want to see more and what you want to know about us…we’re open to it all!]

Emotional interlude over…better late than never, am I right?

P.S. A big shout out and THANK YOU to my PIC, Hayley, for holding down the fort while I was gone.  She is a creative genius, and also a wonderfully supportive friend.

Upcycle Jewelry Tray

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Pumpkin Biscotti with White Chocolate

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white chocolate pumpkin biscotti

Happy October!! Thought I would kick off our favorite month with a recipe for some pumpkin treats! What’s better on a cold autumn morning than a hot cup of coffee and some homemade baked goods? Not much. Especially if those goodies involve pumpkin. If you agree, then make yourself a batch of these white chocolate dipped pumpkin biscotti to welcome Fall this weekend!

pumpkin biscotti dipped in white chocolate

2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
white chocolate morsels

pumpkin biscotti dough
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F

In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and ginger. Beat just until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. You can also substitute an equal amount of “pumpkin pie spice,” which is just each of these spices pre-mixed together! I prefer using fresh ginger though, I think it adds a little something extra to the flavor that is really worth it!

Working a small portion at a time, add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly until dough forms.

shaping biscotti dough

Split dough into two equal portions and shape each half into a flattened log shape, like you see  in the picture above. Place these on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. But don’t throw away your parchment yet! …Stuff is expensive…

how to cut biscotti

Once cooled, slice each “loaf” diagonally into pieces about one inch thick. This will give you the classic, elegant, biscotti shape. Biscotti actually means “twice cooked” so you will be popping these babies back in the oven again! They are meant to be crispy crunchy and dipped in coffee!

Lay them out flat side down back on your parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for another 15 minutes on each side, flipping them over in between.

baking biscotti - twice baked

Set up a double boiler and melt white chocolate morsels. If you are having trouble getting the melted chocolate smooth enough for dipping, stir in a spoonful of vegetable shortening. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted white chocolate, and lay back onto parchment sheet to set.

pumpkin biscotti with white chocolate

Personally, I think biscotti are best enjoyed in the morning, preferably on a Sunday… when you have refused to get dressed and instead cozy back in on the couch with your cup of joe and plate of cookies… and proceed to watch an hour or two of Netflix…  Enjoy!!! :)

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100th Post! and a New Feature!

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100th post collage

Today What to do with Lemons celebrates our 100th post! We have made so many things! I can hardly believe it!

A little over a year ago, Katie and I made the decision to start this blog. We put our heads together across the many miles that separate us, did a little soul searching and a lot of research, and in September 2014, What to do with Lemons was born! We had no idea what we were doing… Honestly, we still don’t, but we have learned so much over the past year!

craft collage

Needless to say we love making stuff. And we will keep on making stuff and posting it here. I hope we’ve reached at least a few fellow crafters or bakers or makers out there, and I hope we find a few more in the next 100! Let’s be friends!

craft and baking blog

Today we are sending out love to all our friends and family who have supported us this past year by sharing our posts and tasting our recipes.

And on that note – we are also introducing a NEW PAGE to our site! We’re calling it “Spread the Love” and you’ll find it under the Features tab. If you enjoy reading our blog, visit this page to find links to some other amazing little blogs that WE find inspiring! Spread some love around the internet, then go MAKE something!

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Easy Homemade Bruschetta

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easy homemade bruschette

This time of year I’m always looking for ways to use up the last of our summer tomatoes. Last year I did some slow roasting and shared my experience making my own oven dried tomatoes, which turned out absolutely fantastic! But let’s be real, those babies took a pretty significant amount of time to make. And large blocks of time I rarely have.

If I’m being honest, my go-to tomato recipe year after year is this simple, classic bruschetta. It’s one of my favorite appetizers, and being able to make it using fresh picked tomatoes from my garden is the best! Although it ultimately signals the end of summer which is sad. At least there are always pumpkin treats to look forward to around the corner. (I already have a pumpkin treat coming up for you guys but in case you already have pumpkin fever and just can’t wait, you might wanna check out our pumpkin scones or mini pumpkin doughnut muffins from last fall! Yeah, yeah… SO “basic.” Whatever.)

what you need for bruschetta
Anyway, let’s get to the BRUSCHETTA! Yum.

You don’t need a whole lot to whip up this simple healthy dish, just some fresh ripe tomatoes, an onion, a couple cloves of garlic, olive oil, and Italian style herbs and spices. I use fresh thyme, dried basil, salt and pepper. You’ll also wanna pick up some good crusty bread to spoon it onto. All good stuff.

make bruschetta with fresh thyme

My secret to a really good tasting bruschetta is fresh thyme. We grow it in our garden but you can pick it up in the produce aisle as well. Can’t beat this stuff. It’s the perfect compliment to anything tomato and it smells incredible!

how to make homemade bruschetta

This isn’t the kind of recipe where I can give you exact amounts for anything, you just kinda have to taste as you go. I like to keep the ratio of tomato to onion something like 5 to 1…ish… but it’s really up to your own tastes! Dice up your tomatoes and onion nice and small, then mix those together. Finely dice your garlic cloves and throw that in there too.

spices to use in tomato bruschetta

Drizzle on a healthy amount of olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, basil and thyme. Just pull all the little leaves off the thyme and discard the stalk. Stir that all up and stick it in the fridge until chilled. Boom. Done.

easy homemade summer bruscetta with thyme

My favorite way to eat bruschetta is just on top of some sliced Italian bread, maybe with a little hummus on there too. Add some good cheese, olives, and grapes on the side and you have perfection!

But wait, there’s more! There are about one million other ways you can use bruschetta! Throw it in a pasta or on top of an omelette, mix it into a salad or a sandwich, sprinkle it your ice-cream or run it through your hair!…. okay maybe not but you get the idea…

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How To: Shibori-Style Tie Dye

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Tie-dye is the iconic craft of summer. Most of us have made at least one rainbow spiral t-shirt in our time. But if you’re in the mood to shake it up a little this time around, you might try crafting something in the style of the ancient Japanese fabric dying technique: shibori.

Shibori is a type of tie-dying, traditionally created with indigo dyes (this is the same dye that makes your jeans their iconic blue!) There are many different techniques in shibori, used to create an endless array of patterns. Techniques involve stitching, folding, twisting or even wrapping around poles to change the dying effect. The tie dye look shown here is modeled after a shape blocking technique called  itajime shibori. It involves blocking the dye from certain areas of fabric using wooden blocks and ties. This technique creates an awesome finished look with distinct squares almost like little windows!

shibori dye folding

First off, you will need:
– cotton fabric
– RIT dye in your choice of color
– small blocks of wood
– rubber bands
– bucket
– rubber gloves
– stirring stick

To achieve this pattern, you’ll need to fold and bind up your fabric in a shibori style before dunking in dye. Start out by uniformly folding your fabric accordion style, lengthwise. I’m working with a pillowcase in the photos shown, to give you an idea of the approximate size.

fabric folding for itajime shibori
Then fold it up accordion style again, in the opposite direction. You want to end up with a square that’s a little bit bigger than your blocks.

wooden block tie dye

Bind it up with rubber bands or string. Use as many or as little as you like. More will help to resist the dye further, leaving extra white space.

riy dye tie dye

Mix up your dye according to package directions in the bucket. Be sure to use a bucket or container that you don’t mind staining! *Note* – True black is very difficult to achieve using simple dyes, but I wanted my color as dark as possible, so I actually used two packets of RIT dye and ended up with a dark inky purple.

shibori dying technique

Completely submerge your bound block into the dye bucket. Swirl it around and let it sit for a few minutes, up to half an hour, depending on how deep you want your color to be. Follow dye package directions here, as timing and technique may vary.

using RIT for tie dying - shibori

Allow the dye to set for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. I usually tie them up in a plastic grocery bag until ready for rinsing.

Rinse excess dye out with cold running water before untying. Continue to rinse as you gently cut the ties, remove the blocks, and unfold. Rinse until water runs mostly clear.

shibori style tie dye pillowcase

Voila! No two pieces will look exactly the same, which is really the fun of tie-dying! At this point you can go ahead and throw your pieces in the washing machine on the cold cycle, then dry.

shibori style tie dye

Shibori is a beautiful tradition, and a really fun twist in the tie-dying technique that we all know and love here in the U.S.! I think it lends kind of a sophisticated edge to this summer craft. Check out our Pinterest page for some awesome Shibori inspiration!

Happy crafting!

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Summer Beer Cocktail: The Wobbly Flamingo

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melon vodka cocktail

I think I have a new favorite Summer cocktail, and I invented it myself! After a round or two of testing and polling from friends and family… it’s been dubbed “The Wobbly Flamingo,” and it’s here to stay!

It makes use of one of my favorite seasonal beers: 21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell or High Watermelon as a bubbly base for a fruit-filled punch. Making guest appearances: melon vodka, pink lemonade, and fresh berries! I implore you to give it a try.

watermelon beer punch

21st amendment watermelon beer cocktail
Make sure all your ingredients are nice and chilled before mixing up!

For a round of 4:
1 – Hell or High Watermelon beer
4 oz – melon flavored vodka
1 1/2 cups – pink lemonade
fresh strawberries (muddled)
fresh blueberries

pink lemonade punch with beer and berries

Stir all these ingredients together in a pitcher with some ice, muddling the strawberries beforehand to add extra flavor and color!

summer cocktail with muddled berries

In each chilled glass, muddle a few strawberries, then add the punch. Top off with a handful of blueberries, and garnish as you like! I found these awesome pink flamingo cocktail stirrers in the Target dollar bins a while back, and they were perfect!

wobbly flamingo watermelon beer lemonade
Ta-Da! The Wobbly Flamingo. I will definitely be making a batch of these at our next summer get together.

watermelon wodka beer cocktail
CHEERS!!! :)

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Coconut Creamsicle Smoothies (and Popsicles!)

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orange coconut smoothie recipe

We’ve been having some very hot summer days here lately, and I was in need of a cool refreshing treat.
I am one of those people who likes absolutely anything with coconut. I wanted to give a coconut-y spin to the classic combo of orange and cream, so I blended up these Coconut Creamsicle Smoothies for the boyfriend and I one afternoon.

I’ll definitely be making them again and again, because they are downright delicious! Cool and creamy, they’re great for summer breakfast or dessert.

Orange and coconut smoothies or popsicles

The main components I used were frozen orange juice concentrate and coconut milk, but the full ingredient list includes:

1 12oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2  12oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
a handful of ice cubes (to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely shredded coconut
coconut rum (optional)

making smoothies with juice concentrate

Throw the coconut milk, OJ, sugar, vanilla, and ice all in a blender and blend until fully combined and creamy. Then you can either blend the shredded coconut in if you like a smooooooth smoothie, or simply stir it in if you like the added texture (I do)!

shredded coconut in smoothies

I absolutely love this brand of coconut flakes for everything from baking to yogurt topping. It comes in this fine shredded texture and also in big flat flakes that are awesome for food decoration or adding to granola! I find mine at Wegmans.

DIY coconut orange juice smoothies

Pour into frosty glasses, add some festive toppings and stick in a straw for easy sipping! Next time I am definitely going to try these with a big dollop of whipped cream on top. Yum.

You could make this a boozy smoothie as well, by adding in some coconut rum or vodka!

coconut creasicle popsicles

If you have leftovers, pour them into popsicle molds! Keep the frosty treats comin’!

coconut creamsicle smoothie

Happy summer sipping everyone!

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Chewy Blueberry Cookies Two Ways

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cookie exchange cookie recipe


C is for <chewy blueberry> cookie that’s good enough for me! Well, they’re actually good enough for not just me, but to share with the internet world as well! I set out on a cookie journey experiment to come up with a sweet, chewy, but not flimsy cookie dough recipe that would remind me of summer, and man did this do the trick. These cookies use a combination of sugars, and an additional egg yolk to keep them moist & chewy and obviously divine. Basically, I’ve come up with jacked up versions of white chocolate chip macadamia nut and lemon tea cookies with my new secret ingredient…dried blueberries.

dried blueberry cookies

I’ve been addicted to cookies and a non-discriminatory dried fruit consumer for years, but never thought of combining the two (aside from that traditional oatmeal raisin, which I don’t actually ever make). You heard it here first, friends. Dey goooood. They’re smaller and sweeter and more flavorful than your average raisin, and have an added tartness that pairs them well with a sweet cookie. Plus they’re chewy, and the cookies are chewy, and blueberries are summer and raisins are fall, and it all just makes sense.

-2 cups all purpose flour
-½ t baking soda
-½ t salt
-1 cup butter, unsalted (2 sticks) room temperature
-1 cup light brown sugar
-½ cup granulated sugar
-1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
-1 T vanilla extract
-1 ½ cups of dried blueberries
-½ a bar of good quality white chocolate
-a few handfulls of macadamia nuts
-1 lemon
-1:1:1 ratio of brown sugar to flour to butter, optional (2T each)

how to pack brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and two sugars until fully combined and airy. Add in the eggs (save the white for breakfast later?), and vanilla, and mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this dry mix into the wet mix until fully incorporated – don’t over mix, ever! Next, stir in all of tbe blueberries.

blueberry cookie dough

Here’s where things get interesting. I separated the dough into two, because I wanted to experiment with the same base cookie but two different recipes. Originally, I thought one would fail and one would be succesful, but as it turns out lady luck was on my side and they were both delicious! Feel free to follow the recipe out for both cookies by separating the dough, or just pick one flavor and go with it! Be sure to double the add-ins if you aren’t separating the dough, so that the flavor combination is just right.

white chocolate chip macadamia nut blueberry cookies

For the macadamia nut cookies – chop up the chocolate and nuts and add them to the cookie dough base. Using a spoon or mini ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto a parchement lined cookie sheet (about 1 ½ T of dough) with some space in between so they can spread out. Bake for 12-14 minutes, then cool.

cookie dough balls edible

ice cream scoop cookie dough

chewy cookie recipe

white chocolate chip blueberry macadamia cookies

For the blueberry lemon “cobbler” cookies (the fan favorite) – add in the juice of lemon, and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This is important. I didn’t do this the first time, and the added liquid from the lemon made them spread so much thinner than I had expected! They will be thin regardless of cooling time – and still so so so so perfectly chewy – but the refridgeration helps keep them at just the right texture. While they are baking, mix together that “optional” 1:1:1 combination until it looks like crumb cake topping, and at the 8 minute mark, sprinkle it on top of each cookie. It doesn’t look perfectly like a crumble when they are done baking, but that added buttery-sugar mix is divine. I also sprinkled on some coarse sugar for texture. In total, these cookies bake for about 10-13 minutes.

blueberry cobbler cookies

Both versions were delicious, and so easy to make. The key here is to find a base dough recipe with a flavor and texture that you like – that is also sturdy enough to handle hefty add-ins or a little extra liquid – and experiment! This was the first time I made this base recipe and definitely not my last. What combinations should I try next? Let me know in the comments below, or by commenting on our Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

blueberry lemon cobbler cookies

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DIY Mason Jar Porch Lanterns

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DIY Tissue paper Jar Lanterns

On a warm summer night, some pretty little luminaries can really set a relaxed mood. We are lucky enough to have a screened-in porch where bugs are not a problem, so we sit out there for dinner or drinks almost every night when the weather is right. I like the space to feel relaxed and fun, so I decided to make some colorful jar lanterns as a funky decoration and light source. Years ago, I also made dozens of these guys for my high-school graduation party. They are one of my favorite little projects to make!

Mine are all made from recycled jars in different shapes and sizes that I washed out, but if you are going for a more cohesive look, you can start with a pack of humble Mason jars!

tissue paper and mod podge lanterns

One of the coolest things about these lanterns is that they are very cheap to make. You probably have most of the supplies already lying around your house! Heres what you’ll need:

– clean glass jars
– tissue paper
– ModPodge and sponge brush
– wire

tissue paper jar lanterns

To get all prepped, cut some tissue paper strips that are a few inches wide and about the same height as the jar you are covering.

mod podge jar tissue paper

Working your way around the jar, adhere the paper to the glass with a brushing of ModPodge, then smooth over the top with some more ModPodge. Don’t be afraid to slather it on! It will dry clear and help to seal the paper down. Keep working your way around, overlapping strips as you go, until you’ve covered the whole jar.

jar luminary handle

Once the paper layer has dried, use the wire to add a handle. Wrap it securely under the lip of the jar, and twist together, leaving a six inch tail. 

wire jar lantern handle DIY

Loop the rest of the wire up and over the opening of the jar, creating a handle shape. On the opposite side, slip the end under the wrapped wire, and twist around itself to secure.

DIY hanging mason jar lanterns

Use a pen or a chopstick to wrap the excess wire, creating little curlique ends.

DIY Mason Jar Porch Lanterns

Fill your jars with candles or battery operated tea lights and GLOW! You can add any kind of “flair” that suits your fancy, like washi tape, beaded string, or stamps. Go crazy!

Mason Jar Luminaries

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Summer Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

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 Strawberry Salsa Recipe


Another bright, summer celebrating, share with friends recipe comin’ atcha! We’ve got a new sweet & healthy remix to a summer party staple – move over chips & queso!!!

This is not my original idea – one of my best friends (and sorority little) used to bring this to movie nights and other social gatherings, and it was the perfect treat – Thanks LAURA :)  Sweet and light,  this fruit salsa hits all the major bases of versitale entertaining.  Its customizeable, and great for individuals with food allergies – plus, it’s a guilt-free-eat-all-day treat that is so satisfying, and so unpresent at most get togethers…you won’t ever have to worry about someone else bringing this recipe to the party…and you can make it in advance!  Left overs make great cereal, yogurt, and ice cream toppings, if you’re lucky enough to have any.

 Healthy Fruit Salsa

-Your favorite seasonal fresh fruit!
-Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips OR a DIY sweet pita chip – see recipe ideas under the instructions below!
-Citrus juice, Mint leaves – optional

Healthy Summer Dessert Recipe

Buy, wash, and dry your fruit. I used one pint – minus a few, for quality assurance/side snack purposes – of strawberries, one white nectarine, one yellow nectarine, and some blackberries to top it off.  When picking your fruit, always go for seasonal bunches and when you can, local and organic! (ugh, she said organic – re: be kind to the bees! and yourself).   Also try and choose fruit that’s either just ripened or still slightly firm, that way you can dice it up and mix it around without it turning to mush.

Fruit Salsa Healthy Summer Recipe

Next, dice up your fruit into little cubes – layer in a bowl, gently toss (here is where you would add lime/orange juice if you want an extra POP of flavor, and a mint garnish), and serve!

 Summer BBQ dessert recipe


I used store bought pita chips, mostly for convenience purposes, but also because they’re just really good…

 Healthy Fruit Dessert Recipe

But, if you want to make your own, it’s simple! Take your favorite tortilla – this is a great idea if you have food alergies, or too many tortillas lying around – brush with coconut oil, sprinkle with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to cinnamon, and place on a foil lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes or until crispy.  Then break them up and serve!  You can always get creative with the flavors too, of course…try adding some more cinnamon sugar while they are still warm but after they’ve baked, or substitute some white sugar for brown sugar, add some nutmeg, mabye even some citrus juice! 

 Summer Fruit Salad Recipe
Guess I’m making more, because I definitely want to try that last brown sugar orange cinnamon combo. Remember our brownie batter hummus recipe? Let us know if you’d like more sweet & healthy summer recipes on instagram @Whattodowithlemons, and don’t forget to try and tag your creations using the hashtag,  #WTDWLemons!

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DIY Waterproof Oilcloth Bike Seat Cover

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DIY bike seat cover tutorial oilcloth

Last year, as a birthday gift to myself, I bought a vintage women’s bicycle. A green, 3-speed, Raleigh Sport, made in England in the 1970’s. It’s crowning glory is it’s leather Brooks saddle seat!

My bike is a prized possession, but it’s also a functional one! What good is a cool retro bike to anyone if it’s just sitting in a garage gathering dust? Since I do ride my bike around, I try my best to keep it protected and in the best condition possible. So, I decided to craft up a cute and fitting waterproof cover for my seat, to keep it protected from the rain and sun.

I used a fabric called oilcloth, which is waterproof, inexpensive, and comes in tons of cute patterns! If you’re making one yourself, you will also need some nylon cord, a sewing machine, and some plastic cord stops (optional).

bike seat cover materials

Trace around the top of your bike seat and cut out a piece in a matching shape. Then, using a piece of yarn or string, find the length around the outer edge of the piece you’ve just cut. Cut out a long strip of oilcloth measuring that length by about four inches wide. Cut that strip in half lengthwise.

how to stich a bike seat cover

Working with one strip at a time, pin the edge piece to the top piece with right sides together and stitch around. Join at each end with a straight stitch. This can be a bit tricky since the oilcloth is somewhat stiff, but just take your time!

how to sew a waterproof bike seat cover

Turn right-side out, then fold down about three inches of the edge strips all the way around, pinning down as you go. I did this based on the shape and size of my own bike seat, so you may want to slip the cover over your own seat at this point to double check how much to fold over. Stitch around where you’ve placed the pins, creating an open canal for the drawstring to thread through.

making a drawstring bike seat cover

Cut two slits in the back end of the cover, on either side of the back seam. Then, using a safety pin as your guide, thread the cord all the way through.

oilcloth seat cover with drawstring

Use a lighter to melt the ends of the cord slightly so that they don’t fray. Here you can add two small or one large cord stop if you like, or you can simply tie the cords together.

DIY waterproof bike seat cover

Slip the cover over your seat, pull the drawstring until snug, and off you go! Rain or shine, you and your bike will be happy and looking fly!

DIY drawstring bike seat cover

I have some extra oilcloth leftover, so maybe I’ll make a matching storage pouch to attach to my handle bars!

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Crispy Kale & Maple Roasted Chicken Sliders

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Kale and Roasted Chicken

KALE. (Not Beyonce’s sweatshirt, we’re talking vegetables here). To be honest, I don’t love kale, and the feeling has been mutual.  That is, until I did some travelling and enjoyed some kale as a side dish to crunchy maple waffles and fried chicken. Life. Changed.  The salty-soy earthy crunch from the kale was (surprisingly) an amazing flavor pair to the also crunchy very sweet maple wafles and savory chicken – it was a forkfull of deliciousness.  I knew right away I was going to make a sandwich out of it.  After all, why go through the tedious process of cutting the chicken, waffle, and kale into eatable pieces then stack them all onto a fork in perfect proportion THEN devour? Leaves too much time to decide not to eat the kale…no thanks.

Now, I didn’t use fresh kale, but think twice before you start knocking me for using frozen steam-ready kale…not only did I not have to look for a fresh bunch, but I also didn’t have to wash, de-stem, potentially blanch, and cut the kale before I used it. I did us all a favor here. Kale gets such a bad rep to begin with…so why not boost our confidence in it with a fun recipe? We’re breaking stigmas here, people. Let’s eat some KALE!

Kale Appetizer

– 1 package frozen chopped kale
– 1 chicken breast, cooked
– 2T olive oil
– fresh, toasted cibatta rolls
– ½ T reduced sodium soy
– a few drops of Worchestershire sauce
– a few sprinkles of garlic powder
– 4t unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft – but not microwaved, please!)
– 1T pure maple syrup

Steamed Kale

Steam the kale according to package directions. While the kale is steaming, mix the maple syrup and butter together until completely combined, form into a log using plastic wrap, or keep it in the original bowl, cover, and refrigerate. (This can be done way in advance, and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, or until you need a topper for your chocolate chip pancakes…). Remove the kale from the package, set aside in a bowl to let it cool.

Crispy Kale recipe

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat – add 2T of olive oil, and when the kale is no longer scorching hot, add that in too. Be sure to mix it all around so the kale is covered in the oil and is spaced out in the pan. We want crispy kale, so don’t be afraid if it gets a little darker than usual – in total, you will sautee the kale anywhere from 12-15 minutes. About 8 minutes in, add in the soy, garlic, and Worchestershire – stir, and keep crisping! When you’ve reached a good texture, turn off the heat, and get ready to prep those sammies!

How to cook Kale

I toasted mini ciabatta rolls from the store as my roll, and I found this worked great. I also used a rotisserie cooked chicken breast from my local grocery store, which ended up being a huge success – what a time saver, and the roasted chicken flavor was exactly what I was going for.

Maple Butter Roasted Chicken

To assemble, spread some maple butter on each side of the bread, add some kale, then chicken, then kale, and then the top of the roll. I sliced mine in half again to make them super bite sized, and because I also wanted to see what it looked like… :)

Kale recipes

I’d say THAT was a success! Ever have a dish at a restaurant that you want to personalize and recreate? Or an ingredient that you just can’t figure out? Let us know on instagram, @whattodowithlemons or send us an email!  Oh yea, and EAT YOUR KALE!

Fried Kale Sandwich



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Your Favorite Posts: Spring 2015

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A few months ago we started a seasonal post series to recap our most popular posts throughout each season. We started out with the top 5 posts of Winter 2015. I can hardly believe a whole season has flown by since then, but guess what! It’s already time to share the top 5 posts of Spring!

#5) Upcycling Old Greeting Cards

DIY greeting card bookmarks
Waste not, want not. In April we shared a cute way to recycle all those greeting cards you’ve been stashing away, by crafting personalized gift tags and bookmarks!

#4) Pan Seared Citrus Scallops with Mango Quinoa

Citrus Scallops Lime Cilantro
No surprise that Katie’s incredible scallop recipe made the favorites list! My boyfriend and I copied her recipe and absolutely loved it! Who knew that mango and quinoa would play SO well together? Yum.

#3) DIY Running Stitch Throw Pillow

DIY running stitch pillow

I’ve been all about tassels this season, and I shared a fun DIY for a hand-stitched throw pillow to liven up your living space. It sits on my favorite pink chair and I’m still loving it! Glad many of you did too!

#2) Lighter Brunch Quiche

Healthy Breakfast Quiche
Using an easy Wholly Wholesome pre-made pie crust, Katie showed a great way to opt for a lighter morning meal with this killer mushroom and veggie quiche!

#1) Earth Day Project: Seed Bombs for Bumblebees

earth day seed balls
I was SO happy to see that our most viewed post this Spring was the project we shared for Earth Day: seed bombs to support bumblebees and other pollinators. Bee conservation is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, so I was thrilled to do my part to support! I hope you’ll toss some in your neck of the woods.

To all of you reading, we LOVE you! Tell us your favorite posts, make suggestions, or just say hi!

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Sweet and Spicy Beef in Endive Cups with Toasted Sesame Seeds

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Toasted Sesame Spicy Beef Asian Endive

Remember the meat party that I attended last year?  (Hint: Browned Butter Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies & Mini-Meatloaf Cupcakes)   Well, this year’s celebration marked the 5th Annual B.Y.O.M(eat) cookout, which means it was time for a new MEAT recipe!  I know that I cook with a lot with ingredients that “true” carnivores might not consider meat (i.e. chicken, turkey, eggs, fish…chocolate…), so here’s to you, meat lovers!  A sweet and spicy BEEF recipe comin’ your way!  I did break the rules a little bit…there are some non-meat vegetables in here – but it turns out there were some party guests with food alergies, and this was right up their ally!  Beggers can’t be choosers here, people…but I will say, these endive cups were enjoyed by all guests, myself included.  Fun, fancy, and of course, simple and delicious – did I mention I made the dish start to finish a half hour before the party, after a 4 hour NYC bootcamp morning adventure? What ELSE could you possibly need? MAKE THEM.
Endive Appetizer Easy



-1 lb ground beef (I used an 85/15 blend)

-3 large carrots

-3 large celery sticks

-3-4 smaller heads of endive – you dont’ want them to be too leafy

-5 oz mushrooms

-2T butter, unsalted

-1t garlic powder

-about &frac13; of a container of your favorite sesame dressing

-sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

-pepper to taste

-1T sesame seeds

Stir Fry in Endive Leaves


Clean, peel, and dice your vegetables – not the endive – and set aside.  In a frying pan, heat 2T of butter over medium heat, and add in the carrots. Sautee for about 3-5 minutes, then add the celery.  After another 3 minutes, add the mushrooms, and sautee another 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down to low, add in the garlic powder and pepper, stir, and continue to sautee until the vegetables are tender but not mush, which will be about another 3 minutes.  While the vegetables are cooking, fully cook the ground beef over medium heat (in a separate pan).  When the beef is completely cooked, add in the vegetables and the dressing, and reduced to a simmer.  Let the beef simmer for 5 minutes, add in the red pepper flakes, then simmer for another 3 minutes.  When done, turn the heat off and remove the beef from the stove – we’ll need it to cool for a few minutes before we add it to our endive leaves, so that it isn’t too messy.  While you wait, toast up about 1T of sesame seeds in a dry pan, moving the seeds around in the pan over medium heat for 5 minutes.  This would also be a good time to wash and separate your endive leaves, and get out a platter or tray to put them on.

PF Changs lettuce wrap copy cat


If you’re not going to serve this right away, no problem! Don’t assemble the leaves, and refridgerate the meat and endive until you’re ready.  Or, if you want this to be more interactive,  serve the meat in a bowl with the endive leaves on a platter, and let your guests serve themselves!  This can be served warm or room temperature, so it’s a great dish for a cocktail party (or B.Y.O.Meat party).


Endive Appetizer

 I was serving mine for a big crowd in a more casual setting, so I chose to assemble the leaves myself.  I added a heaping tablespoon (the type you use for coffee, not for measuring ingredients) of the mix to each leaf, and sprinkeled the toasted sesame seeds overtop.  Seriously, so simple, and so good. Like little asian tacos! Or PF Chang (beef) lettuce wrap copy-cats?!  What appetizers are you serving up for your BBQs this summer? Need ideas? Have something you’d like us to try? Let us know on instagram @Whattodowithlemons or email us whattodowithlemons @ – our tastebuds will be waiting :) 
Sweet and Spicy Beef Appetizer

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Try This: Fabric Covered Flower Pots

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fabric covered flower pots
Potted plants are an awesome way to liven up any room. They also make a great hostess gift. Bonus points for both if your plants live in pretty, brightly colored pots!

Painted pots are so last year, so why not try covering some in fabric! There’s no end to the pattern possibilities or color combinations, and the texture adds a lot of interest. It’s an easy summer craft project that you can whip up in practically no time at all!

cloth covered flower pots
With just a few supplies, this is also a very inexpensive project. You might even have some of these supplies at home already.

scrap fabric covered planters
You will need: A small terra cotta flower pot, some patterned fabric (1/4 yard is plenty), a sponge brush, scissors, and some Mod Podge. I used the hard coat variety of Mod Podge because it’s what I had on hand, but any kind should do. If you don’t have Mod Podge you can even use Elmers Glue mixed with water.
how to wrap a flowerpot
Step 1: Cut out a piece of fabric that will fit around your pot, leaving about a one inch overhang for the top and bottom edges. You will end up with a curved shaped piece as shown above. The easiest way to do this is to lay your pot sideways on the fabric, hold a pencil against the edge, and roll it. Then cut one inch above and below the curved lines you’ve just created.
mod podge fabric pots
Step 2: Working a small section at a time, paint Mod Podge onto the pot and press the fabric on top, smoothing with your fingers as you go. Make sure to press firmly into the crease under the top lip of the pot. Once you’ve gone all the way around, leave about a half inch overlap and trim off any excess.
mod podge scrap fabric pot
Step 3: Cut the overhanging fabric into one inch tabs all the way around the top of the pot. Glue them down one by one, overlapping them as you go. Then do the same on the bottom of the pot.
diy fabric flower pot
Step 4: Paint a layer of Mod Podge over the fabric, covering the outside of the pot. This will seal and smooth everything down.
patterned mod podge flower pot
All done! Now go pick out a cute plant to live in your masterpiece while you wait for the glue to dry!
cloth covered pots
Try making a few in coordinating colors to plant a mini kitchen herb garden! Or make extra and bring a potted herb or succulent as a hostess gift to your next summer party. Be sure to share your summer projects with us on Instagram! Just use #WTDWLemons.
fabric wrapped plant pots

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Brownie Batter Hummus

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Dessert Hummus


May, what a whirlwind.  I traveled out of the country, I traveled accross the country, and I was sick – more than sick…ill – for about three weeks.  And considering my diet consisted mostly of saltines and white toast and my energy level was 0, I didn’t have many interesting things to share with you all! Consider this bowl of chocolatey goodness our little celebration – I’m back!

Healthy Chocolate Dessert Fruit Dip


There are a ton of recipes out there for cookie dough hummus, and let me tell you, they don’t disappoint.  And as much as I love that raw-dough taste, I’m a sucker for brownie batter.  I’ve definitely made brownies just so that I could lick the spoon, and I know I’m not alone in that indulgence.  This brownie batter hummus is the least time consuming recipe that I’ve ever made, and is so ridiculously delectably delicious (and nutritious!) that I think it’s going to be a part of my weekly grocery haul.

Chickpea Dip for Dessert


-1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-½ cup water

-2T sugar, or more to taste  (I used 1T sugar and 1T coconut nectar, but agave would work too!)

-5T unsweetened cocoa powder

-2t vanilla extract

-chocolate chips, nuts, or any other mix-ins



Put all of the ingredients – except the mix-ins – in a food processor, or high powered blender, and blend until smooth – about 2 minutes.  Fold in the mix-ins, and eat!

Healthy Chocolate Chickpea Dessert

“S” for sharable superfood snack…but I’m probably not sharing…


Chickpea Brownie Dip

I let mine chill for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors come together – it took every bone in my body – but you don’t have to!  This dip is good on fruit, bagels, toast, yogurt, ice cream…you name it.  I’d love to pair it with some cinnamon sugar crispy pita chips for that mexican-spiced hot chocolate flavor, or even add some marshmallows and dip in good ol’ grahams!



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S’mores Bark

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S'mores bark recipe

For some reason, Katie and I have BOTH been obsessively craving s’mores lately… But being the busy gal that I am, I don’t always have time for a bonfire. I needed a way to get my s’mores fix on the go. Something that I could snack on at work or in the car, but still gave me that classic s’mores goodness.

I decided to try to make s’more in the form of a “bark”, kinda like the peppermint bark everyone makes around Christmas time, but a Summer version. Well, let me tell you, it is GOOD! The classic summer treat, but crazy easy and made in one big batch that will last all week.
grahm cracker marshmallow chocolate bark


s'mores bark ingredients

You only need three ingredients, the same as a regular s’mores, but in mini sized: mini marshmallows, milk chocolate chips, and crushed up graham crackers.

S'mores bark tutorial

Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and cover it evenly with crushed grahams and mini mallows. I like the texture to be a little more on the crunchy side, so I tore the marshmallows in half for even smaller pieces.

S'mores chocolate bars

Set up a double boiler and melt the chocolate over low-medium heat. You can add a tablespoon of vegetable shortening if it doesn’t seem smooth enough to pour. Then carefully pour over your prepared tray, and spread gently with a rubber spatula until you have an even layer of all three ingredients.

Make your own S'mores bark

Add some extra bits of graham and marshmallow on top to make it look pretty (and perhaps a little sea salt), then pop in the freezer for about an hour. Once fully hardened, crack the sheet into pieces for easy snacking!

DIY S'mores Candy

I like this s’mores bark best when still frozen, so I store the whole batch in the freezer. Couldn’t be easier. Craving satisfied. Time to make s’more. (haha sorry, couldn’t resist)

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Floral PomPom Pillowcase DIY

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pom pom trim pillow cases

Pompom trim is probably the cutest crafting supply ever. Especially when it’s pink and attached to dainty floral. I have a whole stash of the stuff, so this past weekend I decided to put it to use and make some girly, springy pillow cases. I love the look of mixed florals, especially when the prints are small.

DIY pom pom and lace trim pillow case

Simple pillow cases are a really easy sewing project if you’re a beginner, since you only have to sew in straight lines. For one standard-sized pillow case, you will need about 1 1/4 yards of fabric, and roughly the same length of trim.

With your fabric folded in half (so that the fold is the long edge of the pillowcase) cut a piece that is about 20″ x 30″. To make it really easy, just trace around a regular pillowcase that you already have, but be sure to leave roughly 4 1/2 inches extra in length to create the “hem” around the pillow opening.

iron edge in

Open the folded fabric (it will be ~ 40″ x 34″ opened up) and iron a 1/2 inch fold along the edge where the pillow opening will be.

making pillow case hem

Then fold over another 4 inches, iron, and pin along the inside edge. With a straight stitch, sew along the inside edge, through all 3 layers of fabric.

Fold the the fabric back in half, with right sides of the fabric together, so that you have the standard pillowcase shape. Sew along the two open edges with about a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim off the excess fabric and turn right-side-out. (At this point, you can test the size of your pillowcase based on the pillows you will be using, and if you need to, adjust the seams a bit if the case is too large).

stitching pom pom trim onto pillow

Pin your chosen trim along the hem of the open end of the pillowcase. Carefully stitch all the way around. Depending on which trim you chose, you can use a straight or zigzag stitch here. The purple pompom trim shown in the above picture was quite flat, so I used a straight stitch, but the pink pompom trim was a bit more three dimensional, so I used a zigzag stitch over the edge for that one.

Pretty floral pillow DIY

I love having lots of different pillow cases around to mix up my bedding and make things feel fresh. Plus, who doesn’t like something customized!? Use them for yourself, or impress your guests with something that feels unique and special. Who’s ready for a summer sleepover!?

trimmed floral pillow cases
Show us your favorite fabric patterns and trimmings on Instagram with the hashtag #WTDWLemons ! Happy Spring!

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Easy Apricot Cream Cheese Danishes

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cheese danish with apricot

Ahh the cheese danish… my favorite pastry. I could write poems about it, but I’ll spare you. Anyway, there’s something about Spring that makes me want to have brunch, and in my mind no brunch is complete without some sweet pastries!

If you’re hosting a brunch or just craving some of these bad boys for yourself, fear not,  you don’t have to get up at 5am and slave away with your rolling pin to make these fresh mini danishes. Thanks to some convenient frozen puff pastry dough, they are a cinch to whip up!

easy cream cheese danish recipe

(makes 32 small danishes)
– 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed
– 1 jar apricot dessert filling
– 8 oz cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1 tbsp of milk
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– splash of milk
– 1/4 tsp almond extract
– sliced almonds

fruit filling for danishes

I am partial to Baker Brand fruit fillings for these, in part because this is what we always use when making my family’s traditional Slovak cookies! I chose apricot just because it’s my favorite, but any fruit filling would be delicious. I recently discovered that they make a pineapple version which I would love to try!

cream cheese filling for danishes

For the cheese filling, mix up the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and 1 tbsp of milk. Beat until smooth. You will probably have some leftover when you’re done, so keep in mind that it makes an excellent fruit dip! Waste not, want not, right?

scoring puff pastry for square danishes

Next, open up each puff pastry sheet and cut into sixteen squares. Then, using a knife, score a smaller square into each one, making sure not to cut all the way through. The scoring helps the pastry to puff up on the edges and keep the filling in its place while in the oven.

fill danishes with cream cheese and apricot

On each square, place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture and a dollop of the apricot filling, then swirl together a bit.

Make a simple egg wash by mixing one egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water. Brush this around the outside edge of each pastry. *Note* – You might want to transfer the squares over to parchment paper before doing this step. They are a little harder to pick up after the egg wash. Clearly I forgot, but everything turned out just fine!

Egg wash the edges of pastries

On a parchment lined cookie sheet, bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. They will look really puffy and rounded when you first pull them out, but they will quickly deflate a bit.

While they are baking, mix up the almond icing. Place one cup of powdered sugar into a small bowl, and add small splashes of milk until you reach a smooth glaze-like consistency. You won’t need much milk, so add in small increments! Stir in 1/4 tsp of almond extract.

Apricot Cream Cheese Danishes

Once the danishes are cooled, drizzle on the glaze and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Perfection.
Happy Brunching!

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Roasted Strawberry Sangria with Basil and Cucumbers

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Strawberry Basil White Wine Sangria

Sangrias are like the ice cream sunday of cocktails.  You can throw basically anything you have, like, or want into the mix, and it (almost) always tastes really good.  Take roasted strawberries, lime juice, basil, and cucumbers for example, and mix them with rum and wine.  Off the bat, it doesn’t sound like it would be too appealing – basil wine? – but oh was I pleasantly surprised – yes.

I wanted to try a new cocktail for mother’s day, and combine a few of my mom’s favorite flavors into a drink that she would like. Spiked strawberry lemonades and white wine spritzers have been her celebratory drinks for quite some time now, so I decided to put my own spin on things and make a sangria!

Traditionally, Chardonnay is used in white sangria, but I don’t like Chardonnay so I used Pino Grigio.  Feel free to use the wine that you like.  I also added more rum than normal, partially because I knew I wanted to cut the drink with the bubbly seltzer, but also because I really wanted that sharp bite of liquor to pair with the basil.  I’ve also seen a lot of recipes with added sugars or syrups, but I also don’t like that.  We’re already combining two alcohols here, people…no need to add sugar to the hangover.  I mean mix.

Strawberry Recipes


Makes about 1.5 gallons of sangria…2 if you include the fruit mixture

-2 pints strawberries

-6 limes

-1 large english cucumber

-1 bunch fresh basil

-2 1.5L bottles of white wine – I used Pino Grigio

-2 (or 3) cups light rum

-2 liters seltzer

-ice to serve

Strawberry Cucumber Lime Cocktail


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees…we’re going to cook us up some Sangria!  While the oven is heating, wash your strawberries, cut off all stems, and slice them into threes.  There’s no real thickness you’re looking for – just try to keep them all about the same size.  Spread the strawberries out on a cookie sheet, so that none are overlapping, and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  You’re looking for the berries to create their own, juicy syrup. Sort of like what you would get if you added sugar to the berries and let them sit a while, but much thicker, and with a REALLY enhanced strawberry flavor.

Confession…the first time I tried roasting strawberries, I ate the entire 2 pints in about one day via a large serving spoon.  They’re good.

Roasted Strawberry Syrup

While the berries are roasting, de-stem and chop your basil, and slice the cucumber.  Again, no rhyme or reason to the thickness, just try and keep everything about the same size. I’d say my strawberries and cucumbers were about a quarter of an inch, or slightly bigger, in thickness.

Oven Roasted Strawberries

When the strawberries are done, use a rubber spatula to immediately spoon them from the pan, along with the syrup they made, into a glass/ceramic bowl.  Be warned, if you don’t do this while the berries are still hot, you’re going to be scraping them from the bottom and won’t be able to harvest any of the syrup, and you’re really going to miss out on that flavor.

Strawberry White Wine Sangria

When the berries are cool, squeeze the fresh lime juice over top, and stir.  Add this mixture to your pitcher, pour over the wine and rum, mix, and let sit in the refrigerator for anywhere from an hour to overnight.  About an hour before serving, add the basil and cucumbers – we want them to be an added brightness with a hint of earthiness, and to not be too overwhelming. Serve over ice.

Strawberry Basil Cucumber Drink

To be honest, it was REALLY hard to photograph this drink for a ton of reasons – time of day, glassware, party commencing without me – and also because the beautiful red roasted berries begin to turn transparent after soaking in the liquor, which does’t look super cute on camera.  But trust me, it was gone in a flash, and it was delicious. Next time, I’m thinking I might have guests strain their sangria into their glasses, and use basil, cucumber, strawberry infused ice cubes instead – fancy fancy.  I’ll have to make this next time Hayley and I get together – have you seen her beverage posts?  Check out our Mixology section, because they are awesome.

Basil Cucumner Sangria

How are you treating your mom, or special lady in your life? Let us know, and tag us @whattodowithlemons on Instagram with your creations!




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Etsy Gift Guide for Mother’s Day

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Handmade for mothers day etsy picks

Mother’s Day is coming up fast (May 10th for you slackers who forgot)!

Since What to do with Lemons is all about homemade love, we would like to encourage you to buy handmade this year for the special lady in your life. Of course Katie and I are fans of the online makers’ marketplace, Etsy, so we created a little Mother’s Day Etsy gift guide to show you some of our favorite things from a few awesome sellers. See something you like? Check out the links below.

(one) – Sweet custom embroidery from KimArt
(two) – Adorable hand-painted jewelry from Lula Pearl
(three) – Customized stamped metal accessories from Fired Up Ladies Hammered
(four) – Beautiful serving ware from Fringe and Fettle Ceramics (my fave!)
(five) – Indulgent hand-poured soy candles from Pommes Frites
(six) – The classiest felt messenger bag from Popeq

Or maybe you would like to get creative and make something special for Mom with your own capable hands… Check out our archived projects and recipes for some last minute inspiration! Perhaps these or these?

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Pan Seared Citrus Scallops with Mango Quinoa

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Scallops with Soy and Cilantro

It’s been so long since my last seafood post!  That’s largely because I don’t crave seafood in the winter, but also because I don’t like cooking seafood in larger quantities.  Reheating fish (in my opinion) never tastes as good unless repurposed into some other dish, and as you can tell from my previous posts I’m not into high-maintenance cooking.  So while this recipe might deviate from my typical “bulk/freeze mentality” entries, I promise it is just as simple to make.  This dish is the perfect easy-entertaing yet elegant meal that will be sure to impress your guests. 

Sea scallops are typically larger than bay scallops, so you will only need 4-6 per person.  I remember that little fact because you’d think sea scallops would be smaller (and bay would be bigger), but they aren’t…good one, right?  However you choose to remember the difference, your local fish monger – or good frozen seafood section – will be able to help you figure out how many you will need per guest.  Scallops are definitely a treat due to convenience, expense, and delicate silky wonderful taste, so let’s cook them right, shall we?


-1 lb Sea Scallops, fresh or thawed

-olive oil

-citrus seasoning blend

-1 lime

-1 cup mango, fresh or frozen

-1 cup quinoa, uncooked

-1 zucchini, chopped

-1T garlic, minced

-reduced sodum soy sauce

-Worcestershire sauce

-fresh clinatro, for garnish

 Easy Pan Seared Scallops


Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  While the quinoa is cooling, pour 1-2T olive oil to a small bowl, and sprinkle over 1T citrus seasoning blend.  I like this McCormick fiesta blend – it has a great bold flavor, and I can use a ton of it without having too much sodium (I do add my own salt).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, dip each side of the scallop in the oil/seasoning blend, and cook in the skillet for 3 minutes on each side.  They cook pretty quickly, but I’ve found that medium heat gives you enough time to get that good crisp sear on the outside without overcooking them.  I like to plate the scallops over a mix of soy and worcestershire sauce, some freshly squeezed lime juice, and a cilantro garnish.

Citrus Scallops Lime Cilantro

When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, add the mango, chopped zucchini, garlic, and a little soy/worcestershire sauce, and stir.  I also added some chopped (turkey) bacon to mine… because scallops and bacon…and also some more lime.

Spicy Scallops and Mango Quinoa

How long does quinoa take to cook, 20 minutes?  So all in I’d guess this recipe took about 25 minutes to make. Rachel Ray would be so, so, proud.  If, for some reason, you’re not sure that you’ll have 25 minutes to prepare a meal for your guests, you can absolutely make the quinoa the day before!  This cuts the cooking time down to about 6 minutes, plus a quick prep.  So in that case, 10 minutes stand between you and a brag-worthy meal.  Trust me, you can do it!


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BBQ Pulled Crock Pot Turkey with Apricot Glaze

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Crockpot Low Fat pulled BBQ

It’s BBQ season!  And if you’re a 20-something living in an apartment, not having a grill can be really upsetting.  Sunshine and smoke-charred foods are such a natural pairing, and without access to a barbecue it can be tough to recreate that match.  Enter, crockpot..and a little help BBQ sauce, of course.

This recipe requires three ingredients.  Three.  All of which are commonly found at your local grocery store, and very inexpensive. The sweetness from the apricot preserves allows the tang from the BBQ sauce to shine through, and even makes the sauce thicker than your typical pulled-pork recipe.  Plus, it’s a whole new spin on how to eat turkey (and keep it juicy), and will definitely be a crowd pleaser at any outdoor event.  Did I mention there’s almost zero fat in this recipe, and you get up to double the serving size and protein power for the same caloric value as a standard pulled pork recipe?  Or that it can be made ahead of time, frozen individually or in bulk, and requires 15 minutes?  Wins, all around.


-2 lbs. turkey tenderloin (or turkey/boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

-2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (I love Stubbs!)

-1 cup apricot preserves

(That’s it)

Easy BBQ Pulled Crock Pot


Put turkey (or chicken) in crockpot, pour over BBQ sauce and apricot preserves.  Turn crockpot on high for 10 hours.  When the time is up, shred the turkey in the crockpot so that the meat can absorb all of the sauce. (That’s it…I know, right?)  I let mine cool overnight, then portioned it out to freeze.  I’ve since had enjoyed this pulled turkey on many occasions, and so far my favorite has been over juicy veggies and greens, with a little corn and cheese, of course.

Healthy Summer BBQ Salad

I will say, this freezes/reheats perfectly, and is a great alternative to the grill.  If you choose to freeze this recipe in bulk, I’d recommend using an oven-safe dish, and allow the pulled turkey to heat back up in a 350 degree oven until warm.  For individual portions, I use small freezer bags, then put the frozen turkey on a dish in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost (no bags in the microwave, please).

High Protein BBQ Recipes Freezer

What recipes help you get your grill-time fix?  Let us know, and find us on Instagram @whattodowithlemons!





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Earth Day Project: Seed Bombs for Bumblebees

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Seed bombs for bumblebees

In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to use today’s post to talk a bit about your friendly neighborhood BUMBLEBEE! These fuzzy little flyers are one of our ecosystem’s most important native pollinators, but unfortunately, their population numbers are in dangerous decline.

With their large furry bodies and general foraging habits, bumblebees are uniquely effective pollinators, helping to produce flowers, fruit and food for hundreds of different species, including people! Yet many of our native bees are facing dramatic population declines due to habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change, and introduction of diseases.

Want to help? Today I’ll share a bumblebee-friendly project for Earth Day that you can make yourself to help restore helpful habitat for native pollinators: Wildflower Seed Bombs!!!

earthday seed bombs
A “seed bomb” is a little nugget made from clay and soil that contains plant or flower seeds. They can be lobbed over fences, tossed out windows, dropped on the ground or planted directly in your yard. Soil or compost acts as a growth medium, while clay holds the bomb together and protects the seeds from blowing or washing away on the surface of the ground. For our bumblebee bombs, we want to use seeds of native flowers that will be attractive and useful for our insect friends.

To make a batch, you will need:
– natural clay or clay powder (I purchased mine from Amazon here)
– seed starting soil or compost
– native wildflower seeds (I made my bombs with Aster, Coneflower, Snapdragon, Butterfly weed, Columbine, and Coreopsis)

When choosing your seeds, there are a few important things to consider. First, you’ll want to pick seeds that will attract and feed bees. Here’s a fun fact: Bees prefer flowers that are purple, blue, and yellow, since they can see the world in UV! Second, you want to choose plants that are native to the region where you live. There are a lot of great resources online to help you determine bee-friendly local plants, but if you are interested to read more, I recommend checking out the Xerces Society website!

making seed bombs
Now for the fun part – getting your hands dirty! In a container, mix together your clay powder, soil, and just enough water to create a muddy paste. Many seed bomb recipes recommend a 5:1 ratio of clay to compost, but the clay that I used directed a 1:1 mix, so thats what I did and it worked out well for me.

Grab a dime-sized amount of the mixture, and press in a few seeds. Exactly how many seed you want to use in each bomb depends on the germination rate of each species, but if you don’t want to get technical, just throw in 2-5. Less for larger seeds, a few more for the tiny ones. Then roll into a tight ball.

guerilla garden bombs
They kinda look like little deer poops, right? It’s okay- it’s for a good cause! Now leave your bombs out in the sun or a warm area to dry, this may take a day or so.

If you’re making these for your OWN guerrilla gardening interest, then you’re all done! Bombs away! But I plan to give some away to friends and family on Earth Day, so of course I had to package them up adorably…

seed favor supplies
I grabbed some scrap fabric and cut it into small squares…

seed ball packaging
…placed a handful of seed bombs onto each square…

wrapping up seed bomb favors
…then tied them up with twine into little bee bomb bundles! (how do you like THAT for alliteration!?) I also think these would make awesome favors for a spring wedding or garden party!

give out seed bombs for earth day
My seed bomb arsenal is ready. Bonus: these babies will also be helpful in supporting butterflies and honeybees (which face their own plight from the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder). Plus they’re pretty! :)


P.S. – In case you were wondering, Bumblebees are non-aggressive and rarely sting people!

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