May 31, 2012

Homemade Nutella

Chocolate and hazelnuts. Whoever came up with that pairing deserves a super duper awesome award. If you’re a Nutella lover like myself, you will be thrilled to know you can make it yourself!

The rich chocolate flavor comes through beautifully in this recipe and it’s not tooth-achingly sweet like the storebought kind. It is delicious on bread, graham crackers, cookies, a spoon, your finger . . . you get the idea!


Homemade Nutella

Adapted from leitesculinaria

Makes approximately 2 cups

1 cup hazelnuts
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt (add more if you like)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes (or until light golden brown), shaking the pan halfway through. While they are still warm, wrap them up in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins. It’s okay if small amounts remain on the nuts. Let cool completely.
  • Melt the chocolate in a large glass bowl set on a saucepan of gently simmering water or in a microwave, stirring until smooth. Let cool completely.
  • Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until they form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and continue processing until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. Add the melted chocolate, blend well. Taste and add more salt (a pinch at a time) if you like. The mixture may be a bit runny at this stage but not to worry as it will thicken nicely as it cools to room temperature. Store on the counter for up to 2 weeks.



P.S. The recipe says “Makes approximately 2 cups” because I’m not really sure how much I (and the eager taste-testers at my house) ate before I remembered to measure it!



Filed under: Food

May 29, 2012

“Stolen” Fruit

Look what grew through our fence from our neighbor’s yard. Blackberries!

Nothing, and I repeat, nothing, beats homegrown fruit. As soon as these little guys are ripe I will be enjoying all three of them. Perhaps I’ll share one with the hubby if he’s nice ;) . I haven’t even met these neighbors yet and I’m already stealing their things . . . shame on me!



Filed under: Uncategorized

May 24, 2012

Nasturtium Recipes

Remember the pretty orange “weeds” that I found growing beside my house? A lovely reader, Karen, informed me that these are not weeds but edible flowers called Nasturtiums! They have a tangy, peppery flavor. You can eat the flowers, leaves, stems and even the seeds.

I’ve never eaten a flower before, but I think I should take advantage of my unexpected garden! I found some amazing looking Nasturtium recipes while perusing the web, and I’m excited about how versatile of an ingredient it is! Now to decide which to try first . . .


 Spring Spinach and Nasturtium Salad - This looks like the perfect summer salad.

Stuffed Nasturtium Blooms - What a pretty and unique appetizer this would be!

Nasturtium Cookies - I kind of want to eat these by the handful.

Nasturtium Lemon Butter - Have you ever seen butter this colorful?

Nasturtium Pesto - I’ve been on a pesto kick lately so this looks awesome.

I’ll keep you posted on which recipe(s) I decide to make!






Filed under: Food

May 18, 2012

Strawberry Lemon Yogurt Popsicles

  I don’t know about you, but I will never be too old to enjoy a refreshing popsicle on a hot day. Especially if said popsicle has healthy ingredients like strawberries and yogurt in it! You only need 5 ingredients to make these and I promise they’ll put a big, popsicle-juice-covered grin on your face =). I used these molds to make them.

A few fun facts:

Fact #1  It is reeeaally hard to take pictures of a popsicle in front of a sunny window.

Fact #2  I actually didn’t mind that my subject insisted on melting, because that gave me no choice but to eat it!

Fact #3  I do not lick popsicles, I BITE them. This was about 6 bites in. Yum.


Strawberry Lemon Yogurt Popsicles

Adapted from theKitchen

Makes about 6 popsicles (depends on the size of your mold)

1 pint strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup plain yogurt

  1. Bring the strawberries, water, and sugar to a simmer in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Simmer for five minutes.
  3. Take the strawberries off the stove and let them cool for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Pour into a food processor or blender, add the lemon juice and yogurt. Puree until almost liquefied.
  5. Taste the mixture and add more sugar/lemon juice/yogurt if you like.
  6. Pour into molds and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.


Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Filed under: Food

May 15, 2012

DIY Painted Glass Jar

Pictures of painted jars have been popping up (yay for alliteration!) all over the internet, and I had been itching to make one. When I found this neat little jar at a thrift store for 25 cents, I knew exactly what I had in store for it.

See the bottle of paint looming up behind the unsuspecting jar? Poor little guy didn’t stand a chance. After I brought the jar home I did some researching and discovered that it is an Italian yogurt jar (Spega). From what people are saying, not only are the jars perfect for upcycling, the yogurt is quite delicious as well!

This is a very simple and inexpensive way to add some color to your home. You probably have everything you need already laying around the house!


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a glass jar
  • acrylic craft paint (I used PLAID Apple Barrel acrylic craft paint in ‘Regency Blue’)
  • something to catch dripping paint (paper towels, newspaper, cardboard)
  • optional: ribbon or jute twine


Step 1: Pour a generous amount of paint into your jar.

Step 2: Rotate and tilt the jar so the paint swirls around and coats the inside completely.

Step 3: Set your jar upside down for about 1 hour to allow the excess paint to drip down. Wipe the paint off the rim every now and then, and make sure it doesn’t stick to what it’s sitting on (if it does, no biggie, the paint can be scraped off fairly easily). Turn your jar right side up and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 4:  Decorate! You can tie a ribbon around it . . .

. . . or wrap some jute twine around it a few times. The possibilities are endless.

I decided to use mine to hold cotton swabs I dedicate for crafting purposes.

And here is the little jar on my desk. I think he fits in quite nicely!

Acrylic paint isn’t waterproof so if you’d like to use your jar as a vase I would recommend applying a layer of sealant before you put water in it. The paint also scratches easily so choose your jar innards wisely.

Wasn’t that easy? Go paint a jar! Or two or seven . . . it’s quite addicting!



Filed under: Crafts

May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day

Filed under: Uncategorized

May 11, 2012

Quiche: You say succotash, I say soycutash . . .

What is it about quiche that places it so solidly in comfort food territory? Is it the warm, flaky crust? The all-star combination of eggs, cheese and milk? Or that you can pretty much add whatever veggies you feel like and it will still taste good?

I have made this quiche numerous times, and each time it results in me leaning back in my chair and patting my belly contentedly. I use Trader Joe’s Soycutash (edamame, red peppers, corn) but you can substitute traditional succotash (lima beans instead of edamame) or any combination of frozen vegetables you like. The edamame lends a subtle but nice bite to the texture and it’s mild flavor doesn’t overwhelm the quiche. I use garlic and herb goat cheese, but you can use plain goat cheese and just increase the amount of garlic and fresh herbs used in the recipe.

On a side note, I have a major love affair with garlic so I increase the amount of garlic in any recipe! If there are any other garlic lovers out there, you MUST watch this video showing how to peel an entire head of garlic in less than 10 seconds. It will blow your mind away. The hubby and I watched it and of course we had to try it immediately. Never mind that it was 11:30 at night and we didn’t need a single clove of garlic. It worked beautifully (and is quite entertaining)!


Soycutash and Goat Cheese Quiche

Adapted from Succotash and Goat Cheese Quiche, epicurious


1 frozen deep-dish pie crust
3 large eggs
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 & 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Soycutash, thawed and drained
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup crumbled garlic and herb goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Place frozen pie crust on a baking sheet and pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake until golden, and the center is set and looks puffed, about 35 minutes. Check on the pie at about 30 minutes into the baking time. If the crust is browning too quickly, cover the pie loosely with foil and continue baking until done. Cool slightly. Serve warm.


Happy Friday!


Filed under: Food

May 8, 2012

Premier of “A Minute with Mochi”!

I’m happy to present the very first episode of “A Minute with Mochi”! It’s a wee bit longer than one minute but pilot episodes are always longer right? ;)

Hope you enjoy!



How about that fancy egg cracking maneuver for egg #8?!

One of Mochi’s favorite games is finding treats that we hide around the house. She has a keen sniffer and always finds the treats in no time! To add a bit of a challenge for her, I tried putting her treats inside Easter eggs. She quickly learned to crack them open (gently) to get the treats inside. She has had several indoor Easter egg hunts but this was her very first outdoor hunt!


Curious as to what was in Mochi’s eggs? Well here ya go!

Yummy! A selection of her favorites. A lot healthier than your typical Easter egg fillings wouldn’t you say?


I hope to keep making more Mochi videos to share with you, so stay tuned for episode 2!



Filed under: A Minute with Mochi

May 4, 2012

Beautiful Weeds

The hubby and I have been super busy the past few weeks so yard upkeep has flown out the window. There are mutant dandelions in one corner of the yard that are as tall as I am. Yikes. A couple days ago I ventured around to one side of our house to fetch Mochi‘s ball (wait . . .isn’t she supposed to be doing the fetching?) and was greeted by these beautiful pops of orange.

And check out the crazy side view of these flowers!

This picture is a little blurry because the wind refused to cooperate with me.

Out of curiosity, I wandered over to the other side of the house and discovered these delicate pink lovelies!

We definitely haven’t planted any flowers so I guess these are just gorgeous weeds!

Does anyone know what they are?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend =)





Filed under: Uncategorized

May 2, 2012

Gumballs for a Penny

Gumball machines first made their appearance in 1907 and a gumball only cost one penny! I could have bought a pretty penny’s worth (sorry, I just had to) with the change jingling around in the bottom of my purse.


This gumball machine magnet set is the newest addition to my shop. The bright and shiny gumballs look almost good enough to pop in your mouth (but you must refrain)!


Sweet dreams =)



Filed under: Crafts