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?
Did I mention I got a juicer for my birthday? 2014 was the year of kitchen gadgets, and I’m NOT upset about it. It saves a ton of money for someone who enjoys a good juice – NYC juices are $$$. One thing about my juicer – and there’s only one thing – that I don’t love, is that there is just so much pulp left over after I’ve juiced all my vegetables, and I don’t always know what to do with it. Composting would be great, but I don’t have that resource where I live. And there are only so many times you can add the pulp to eggs…why not stretch the buck – and the nutrition – of these veggies into some other, more fun, recipes???
I juiced 3 cucumbers, one package of celery, one package of carrots, one large bag of spinach, and one large head of romaine. I also juiced half a pineapple – sometimes I like a little sweetness to my green juice. Keeping my carrot juice separate, I mixed all of the green juices together, added the pineapple juice and one container of unsweetened coconut water, and ended up with a TON of delicious juices for the week, and with these recipes, I really stretched out the value of these veggies – aside from the peels from the carrots, I didn’t throw out anything.
1) The Easiest Relish…Ever!
This is the only “recipe” that I know that takes less than 30 seconds, and is perfect every time. Mix the cucumber pulp with some pickle juice from your favorie pickle. Refridgerate overnight. That’s it. It’s like pickle up-cycling!
2) Roasted Vegetable Tapenade
Take one cup of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp mix, and all of the romaine. Add some fresh minced garlic and 1T olive oil, and roast in a 350 degree oven on a sheet pan for 20 minutes. When the vegetables have cooled, add them to a blender or food processor with salt, pepper, any other seasonings you like – I added some onion powder – and another 1T of olive oil. You’ll end up with a flavorful and nutritious spread for crackers, paninis, or even other veggies to dip in!
3) Quinoa Edemame Veggie Burgers
I impressed myself with this one. Take the rest of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp, and warmed it in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, just until the flavors came together – about 5 minutes. Once the mix is cool, add a cup of cooked and cooled quinoa, just shy of a cup of shelled edemame, and one whisked egg. Stir all of these together – I used my hands – and refridgerate a few hours. Form the veggie mix into burger shapes, and freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan. When the burgers are frozen solid, move them into a freezer safe container or bag for long term storage. I’d recommend reheating these burgers in a sautee pan. I served my burger on a toasted Ezekiel sprouted english muffin with a smear of Trader Joe’s tzaziki and a simple watercress side salad.
Do you have any favorite recipes, or recipes you want us to experiement with? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and now announcing, TWITTER!
Game Day. And this weekend, its the ultimate game day – the Super Bowl. From the start of pre-game conferences and split-square bets, to cheering on your team, to half-time scandals and ranking new commercials, we all know what the real highlight of the day is…the food. A marathon of food, to be exact. Not everyone will wake up ready to bring their A-Game but we can guarantee that everybody brings their appetite to the Super Bowl. We’ve got two quick and simple recipes that are both large group friendly and delicious. Everybody wins.
And in true team fashion, we made this post a DOUBLE TAKE. We both set out with the idea of Super Bowl Snacks in mind, went our separate ways, and then shared what we came up with. Hayley shared her mom’s perfect pepperoni bread recipe, and Katie altered her mom’s buffalo chicken recipe to make chicken vodka-parm dip.
This pepperoni bread is an appetizer that my mom has been making for all kinds of gatherings for as long as I can remember. It is sooooo good! And with only three ingredients, also really easy and affordable. Perfect combination for the Super Bowl.
All you need is some frozen bread dough, pepperoni, and provolone cheese! I like to go with a plain white dough and some large sandwich pepperoni from the deli. Just keep in mind that your dough will need a good amount of time to thaw and rise – about two days in the refrigerator, so plan ahead!
Once your dough is thawed and soft, spray a large bowl with non-stick spray on place the ball of dough inside. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it sit out at room temperature until it doubles in size.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, then on to the assembly! First, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Then place an even layer of pepperoni, leaving an inch or so around the edges uncovered. Follow with a layer of provolone. Fold in the shorter edges, then roll up lengthwise and pinch the seam and the ends closed.
Place the roll onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and poke a couple holes in the top so that steam can escape. If you would like, you can add an egg wash here to help make the top of your bread nicely golden brown and shiny, but if you’re short on time or eggs, don’t worry about skipping this part. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the pan half-way through.
It’s going to smell really really good at this point, but try to hold yourself back – it’s best to let your pepperoni roll rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting, or you’ll have a greasy mess!
Slice that baby into thick pieces and serve warm! If your timing isn’t spot on for your game day festivities, no worries! These are just as good (if not better) toasted back up in the oven for just a few minutes.
CHICKEN VODKA-PARM DIP:
I wanted to make a dip recipe for game day, but knowing how popular Buff-Chick dip is nowadays, I tried to come up with something a little different. This dip is inspired by one of my cousins’ favorite sandwiches that can be found at a local pizza shop. The brother cousins are still fighting over ownership of the idea to replace the marinara sauce on a chicken parm sub with vodka sauce, but I’d guess the “invention” originated somewhere in the late 90s.
I took my mom’s famous buffalo chicken dip recipe, and replaced the ingredients to change the flavor. You’ll need a rotisserie chicken, vodka sauce, ricotta cheese, creamy garlic parmesan dressing (creamy caesar could also work), grated parmesan, and shredded mozzarella.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 and shredding the rotisserie chicken breasts – I used my hands, its messy. Mix the chicken with 1 and a half cups of vodka sauce, and sautee over low heat in a large skillet. When things are starting to simmer, add a quarter cup of the creamy garlic dressing, and a quarter cup of the ricotta cheese, and stir. Once everything looks well combined, remove from the heat, add one third cup grated parmesan cheese, mix, and pour into a baking dish. Cover the top with the mozzarella, and bake covered in the oven for ten minutes, then uncover the dish and bake for another 10 or until the cheese is starting to brown. Not many (any) process pictures for this dip because well, it’s just not too pretty when it’s being mixed together. But rest assured. Once those cocottes come out of the oven with the cheese all brown and bubbly, you won’t be able to resist.
I think the dip tastes best when eaten. But if you’re looking for some dipping options, I’d choose toasted bread – I used a seeded semolina loaf from a local italian bakery, and would love to try it with some crispy garlic tostadas.
This is not your average dip recipe. It’s a creamy tomato garlic italian chicken cassarole overload. I kid you not I made a test batch of the recipe and ate it with a spoon. By myself. At 7am. New high, definitely – Chicken Vodka-Parm dip FTW!
And just like the pepperoni bread, this recipe can be made a day or two before and baked off fresh before kickoff. I’d actually recommend letting this one sit overnight in the refridgerator to let the flavors meld together
In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard: Trader Joe’s sells this amazing spread called cookie butter. It comes in several different varieties and is essentially pureed cookies in a jar, like peanut butter, but sweeter and with a destinctly dessert-y flavor. It’s addicting.
Yet, when I first tried some, I was at a total loss as to what to put it on. So, I ended up just eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon! I knew there had to be a better way, so I started to brainstorm. While I still eat the occasional spoonful from the jar (I’m sure I’m not alone!), today I’m here to share 4 quick and easy ways to get your TJ’s cookie butter fix!
Trader Joe’s cookie butter comes in several forms. “Speculoos” Crunchy Cookie Butter is the original, and is made from a molasses type of cookie. It tastes a lot like gingerbread. Add some chocolate cookie to the mix and you’ve got the Cookie and Cocoa Swirl. The newest version is the Cookies and Creme Cookie Butter, which tastes very much like an Oreo. You will need one (or all) of these to start.
Cookie Butter Crescent Rolls:
First up are these sweet and buttery cookie butter crescents. They are a snap to make and require just two ingredients: a package of refrigerated crescent roll dough and some Speculoos cookie butter! Just spread some cookie butter onto each triangle of dough before rolling it up, then pop in the oven according to package directions. These would make a great morning treat if you are inviting some friends over for brunch!
Cookie Butter Rice Krispie Treats:
Add in a little cookie butter to make a “cookies and cream” version of the classic Rice Krispie treat. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over low heat. Add in 4 cups of mini marshmallows. When the marshmallows are nearly melted, add in a few big spoonfuls of Cookies and Creme Cookie Butter, then swirl through. Pour in 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal and stir until coated. Press the cereal mixture into a cake pan and allow to cool. If you want to add a little more cookie flavor, melt some extra cookie butter and drizzle on top! Yummmm!
Cookie Butter Caramel Popcorn:
You can also use cookie butter to make a quick caramel coating for popcorn. First pop up a batch of plain popcorn. Then, in a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of honey and 2 tablespoons of sugar on low until melted. Add in 3 tablespoons of Speculoos Cookie Butter and stir until just combined. In a large bowl, drizzle caramel coating over popcorn and quickly stir to coat. Allow to cool and enjoy! Movie night anyone?
Cookie Butter Swirl Muffins
For these marbled muffins, I simply mixed some melted Cookie and Cocoa Swirl Cookie Butter into the batter. In keeping with our “quick and easy” theme, I just used a boxed chocolate chip muffin mix! You could pretty much swirl this stuff into any baked good made from a batter. I think pound cake or waffles would also be great options!
Cookie Butter is great stuff, and there are countless ways to use it. Share your favorite with us!
This year we will both be hosting Halloween parties…and on the same day! Naturally, we’ve been discussing our plans for the festivities, and how we could keep our friends entertained and in theme. We decided that the one thing almost everyone wants to do at a costume party is… take photos! You just have to document all those awesome get-ups, and with social media these days, you know those pictures are going to get shared all over! #Halloween. So being the crafty devils that we are, we thought we would each make a DIY “photo-booth” for our party goers!
We knew we would have drastically different interpretations of this idea, so it made the perfect subject for our October “Double-Take” feature! The two of us have always had very different styles when it comes to Halloween. One of us loves the scary stuff, the other one loves the cute! We’re betting you can probably guess who is who after checking out the final results.
Katie made photo booth props so guests in costume can “dress up” like traditional halloween characters.
I used colored foam sheets, long cardboard lolly-pop sticks, paint, glue dots, hot glue, scrap cardboard, and an x-acto knife. I started out by drawing a stencil of a mask on some scrap cardboard, and cut it out with an x-acto knife. Using that as a template, I cut out different colors of foam for the main piece of the masks, and used glue dots to stick them together. I painted the white lollypop sticks black, and fastened them to the masks using hot glue. This was really simple, and really fun. I stuck with non-scary themed halloween characters…Frankenstein, a witch, cat ears, an owl, a pumpkin, and a skull (I also made a stencil for that one) – that’s how I do my halloween. For a backdrop, I taped decorative sheets of card stock to our kitchen door, made and hung tissue paper-poofs on the side, and kept an old black frame near by as an added touch. Can’t wait to see the pictures we take next week!
Hayley made a blood-spattered backdrop and number placards so that party guests can take Halloween mugshots!
I tend to go for a creepier Halloween aesthetic, full of spiders, blood, and skulls, so my interpretation of this project was just a little darker, but a lot of fun! I measured and painted lines onto a flat white sheet, then splattered it up with a generous amount of theatrical blood! For the ID signs, I cut a piece of black foam board into four rectangles and stenciled on some numbers and lettering in white paint. This “photo booth” will be great for group OR individual shots, and it documents the year and occasion right in the photo! All the different costumes will make for some interesting criminal mischief! Luckily I had a few hunky models around to help me test it out this week.
What are you doing for Halloween this year? Snap a picture of your costume or Halloween DIY and tag us @whattodowithlemons with the hashtag #WTDWLemons ! We would love to see what you’ve made!
Just like my Pumpkin Spiced Latte confession, I commit another Fall flavor faux pas annually that I guess I should own up to. I don’t like squash. Almost at all. I LOVE pumpkin (a squash, I know), but that’s where I draw the line. Butternut squash soup, bisque, gnocchi…not for me. I used to be a huge spaghetti squash fan, but after eating so much of it last season it has to be cooked a certain way for me to like it. So, when I saw this interesting squash in the grocery store I almost immediately passed it by. But having never heard of Delicata Squash, (and it being on super sale in the store) I decided to buy a few and see what I could do with it.
To cook the squash, cut down the center and scoop the guts out with a spoon. You can roast the seeds, or discard. Place the squash on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes if in halves, or 25-30 minutes if in smaller slices or dices. Delicata Squash is much more mild in flavor than a butternut squash, and tastes more like a sweet potato. I was pleasantly surprised! Also, there’s no need to peel this squash – you can eat the skin!
1) Pureed Sweet Delicata Squash
I started off the squash experiment with something I thought would be safe – everything tastes better sweeter. I roasted the squash with some molasses for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven, about 1T per medium squash. After the squash cooled, I used a spoon to scoop the flesh away from the skin, added about another tablespoon of molasses, half a tablespoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of each nutmeg, ginger, and clove, and pureed in a food processor. I was left with this wonderful fall spiced spread that I’ve added to yogurt, spread on toast, and used as a dip for some ripe pears. This was so delicious, and very reminiscent of a pumpkin pie filling – maybe I’ll use the leftovers in a crispy pastry!
2) Garlic Roasted Smashed Delicata Squash
This side dish was AWESOME. Roast the squash the same as you would the sweet puree, but brush with olive oil and some garlic powder instead of molasses. Cool, scoop, and mash with salt and pepper. I really liked keeping some of the dish on the chunky side to add texture. It’s even really great for those of us who eat with their eyes. You get great color from the natural caramelization of the squash. This would make a great alternative to a traditional mashed potato or sweet potato bake for any fall holiday – it’s sweet AND salty, and so good!
3) Roasted Delicata Squash “Fries”
After having success with two tasty dishes, I thought I should try to keep things simple and stick to the flavors of the squash itself. I cut this raw squash in slices (less than half inch), brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with pepper, and baked it in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, turning every 10. These little “fries” were a perfect substitute to hash browns with my morning eggs. They were semi-crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside. I finished them off with a little grated parmesan and devoured immediately. I couldn’t believe it – I actually found a roasted squash I liked! I will definitely be making these again for a fall appetizer.
Today we are introducing a new series of posts called “Double Take”. For these posts, we will select one item – a recipe, material, craft idea, anything – and come up with our own, individual projects involving that item, in secret. There will be NO communication about the project between the two of us until we’re totally finished. Then we will reconvene to write the post together!
While the two of us are great friends and get along amazingly (most of the time), we are TOTALLY different people. You can see it in the topics we cover, and even in our writing styles – we have very different imaginations and thought processes, and we love that! Our new “Double Take” feature will showcase our uniqueness, and give our readers double the DIY in one post! Plus, because we’ll be highlighting the same item, we’ll really get to stretch our creative legs to come up with some cool final products. There’s always more than one (great) way to look at something!
For our very first Double Take feature post, we decided to find a creative way to use an empty coffee can. We each started with one, and set out (separately) to remake it. It’s a classic upcycle, and we had a lot of fun keeping what we were working on a secret from each other, then coming together to write this post! Here’s what we did:
Hayley’s coffee can became a flower pot, covered in a mosaic made from broken plates.
To make it: Punch some holes in the bottom of the can with a drill, to allow the plant adequate drainage. For the mosaic pieces, smash up some old plates with a hammer (wrapped in a towel to control the shrapnel!), or purchase some ready-made ones. Then adhere theses to the outside metal surface.
Note: I used a multipurpose glue called Weldbond to attach the pieces to the can and it worked just fine, but to be honest, if I did this project again, I would choose to use a thin-setting mortar instead. Weldbond is a great glue for mosaics, but it works better on a flat surface. On a curved surface, it makes the process take a bit longer, since for each “row” of pieces you glue down, you need to wait for the glue to dry a little before rotating the can, so that the pieces you just glued don’t go sliding off! A thin set mortar would take care of this issue.
Once the glue has had about 24 hours to dry, use some premixed grout to fill in between the pieces. All of the above mentioned materials can be found at your local hardware store, and you can follow the directions on the container for each! After the grout has dried (another 24 hours), clean up the surface of the tiles with a scrubby sponge and you will have a cute new flower pot!
Katie’s coffee can became a cake stand, decorated in burlap and cloth fabric for a trendy, natural look.
I used a cardboard coffee can for this project, and started by removing the label and cleaning out the inside with a kitchen wipe. Next, I cut strips of burlap garland in half and hot-glued three rows around the can. You won’t need a lot of glue for this, as the burlap is light. Also, take note that you will be able to see the glue through the burlap, so use small dots and place them strategically, like near the seams of the layers. I then made some fabric roses using a bright tea towel to add some more detail to the cake stand. To make the roses, cut the towel into strips about 2-3 inches wide, and trim off the seams. Fold one end of a strip into an angled triangle, and secure with hot-glue dots. Next, roll the folded section around itself to form the center of the rose.
When you get to the unfolded part, you’re going to start to form the petals. To do this, fold/twist the fabric downwards towards the center of the flower and rotate at the same time. It sounds tricky, and it is – but you can get the hang of it with practice. Don’t forget to glue as you go! I glued the roses on to the stand along the seams to hide those glue dots. I also added a piece of corkboard that I had to the top of the can to give the stand a more finished look. If you don’t have corkboard, don’t worry! Most plates will nest into the top of the can easily, and won’t wobble.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to better organize my kitchen. My favorite way to stay organized is by writing things down, and as a DIY and crafting enthusiast, I make a pretty mean list. I use different colors, pictures, and fonts to categorize and plan out how and when I’m going to execute all of my to-dos. I’ll even include quotes for the day! That being said, my lists can be pretty extensive and not very change-friendly. What better way to write and draw things in a more dynamic and sustainable way than on a good ol’ chalkboard? I had some chalkboard paint lying around and plenty of space in my kitchen, so I got to work. Though I might not have stuck perfectly to my “kitchen organization” plan in all of my ideas, I’m so happy with my new, easy, and fun chalkboard additions!
When using chalkboard paint, it’s important to read and follow the instructions on the paint label. Different brands and styles of paint may specify unique drying times and painting strategies – chalkboard paint is not a “dry to the touch, ok to use” type of medium. With this type of project, if you don’t wait long enough between steps or you skip one, you might not be able to wipe the chalk off the board – nobody wants that.
For all of my projects, I applied one layer of chalkboard paint using a vertical stroke pattern, let it dry for one hour, then applied one layer of paint using a horizontal stroke pattern. For the door and glasses, I repeated this process twice. After painting each item, I waited 24 hours for the paint layers to be fully dry. Next, I “cured” the chalkboard paint by lightly scribbling some chalk lines on the painted surfaces and blending the chalk with my fingers. I waited another hour, then used a dry paper towel to gently erase the chalky blur – after that, all the chalkboards were finished, and I put them to use!
1) Kitchen Door Chalkboard
I love my kitchen door chalkboard. When I painted the door, I thought I would use it for grocery lists, chore reminders, or other miscellaneous household needs. Turns out, this door became the perfect vehicle to have the kitchen ready for every season, and mood. This door often has congratulatory quotes, holiday pictures and greetings, and in this case, a Happy Birthday message for my roommate. I particularly like it when we leave the chalk out when we are entertaining, and our “4th of July” themed board gets taken over by the creative minds of our guests – it’s always a funny surprise during morning clean-up.
The easiest part of this craft? Most doors have indented rectangles or raised edges along the outer part of the door, so you won’t need to measure any of your shapes to ensure they’re sides are straight and centered!
2) Chalkboard Martini (or Wine) Glass Labels
I bought these martini glasses because they were HUGE and I love a good martini – plus, they were only $1 on clearance! There are only a few people that frequent my apartment that like martinis. Ok, there is only one person (aside from me) that is always in the martini-mood, and that’s my dad. Fortunately for him, I got two glasses so we could both enjoy our drunks! Unfortunately for me, they match, and because my dad and I drink identical cocktails it would be impossible to distinguish who’s is who’s when we are together. Chalkboard paint to the rescue! I painted the bottom and top of the base of the glasses, and left the stems unpainted. Now, we can write our names (or the type of drink) on each glass to avoid any martini-mishaps.
3) Freezer Contents Chalkboard
When you cook for one, your freezer can be your biggest asset – so many bulk purchases and leftovers! Every time I try and keep a tally of what’s in there, I end up with five or six different slips of paper with notes and no idea as to how they connect. What’s even worse? I end up just buying more of what I already had! This project fixes everything. I painted a scrap piece of wood and used velcro strips to mount it on the wall. I can take the board down, update it, and stick it back on the wall – no more confusion! I had to get at least one true “list” chalkboard in my kitchen, and this was a great way to do it.
I’m a beach scavenger. Any time I spend a day at the beach I find myself coming home with at least one or two prized pieces of ocean debris. One of my favorite finds are pieces of perfectly sand-smoothed driftwood. The project possibilities for driftwood are endless, but today I thought I would share a few of my favorite driftwood crafting ideas in case you too have a few pieces tucked away after combing the sands this summer.
1.) Driftwood Bead Necklace
For this project, take a smooth driftwood branch, and using a small hack saw, cut it into 1-2 inch cylindrical sections. Drill a small hole through the center of each cut piece. Paint the flat ends of each of your newly crafted beads in a bright color. Once dry, string the beads onto a length of cord, (I used waxed cotton) alone or with any combination of glass or wooden beads. Tie on a clasp and get ready for compliments!
2.) Painted Driftwood Photo Holders
This project is really fun and easy! It makes for a super cute way to display photos or cards that’s different from the average frame and easy to interchange. To make one, take a small piece of driftwood and flatten a lengthwise section with a piece of sandpaper. This will give your photo holder a steady base to keep it from rolling off the table. Next, using a small hack saw, make a straight cut about one quarter of the way into the piece, lengthwise from the top. Then have some fun painting designs to give the piece a nice pop of color. Stick a photo or postcard into the groove, and place on a flat surface to display.
3.) Driftwood and Leather Jewelry Hanger
For this project, find a piece of driftwood that is about a foot long. Wrap both ends of a long piece of leather cord around the stick, about two inches from each end, and tie off. Screw a few mug hooks into the bottom (you should be able to do this with your fingers, but a pair of pliers can be helpful). Hang against the wall from a small nail or tack and use the hooks to keep your jewelry organized and neatly displayed!
We would love to see your project ideas too! Send us an email, comment below, or hashtag a photo of your project with #WTDWLemons!