S’mores Bark

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

Beautiful.

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)

Floral PomPom Pillowcase DIY

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!

Easy Apricot Cream Cheese Danishes

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

Ingredients:
(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!

Roasted Strawberry Sangria with Basil and Cucumbers

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

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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!

 

 

 

Etsy Gift Guide for Mother’s Day

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?