Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Glow Bracelet Valentines & FREE Printable


I love Valentine's Day!  Any holiday centered around love, chocolate, and lots of pink is A-OK in my book.  That being said, I don't necessarily want my little ones having a ton of treats so I'm always looking for cute Valentine ideas that don't have candy.  Jake recently had a glow in the dark birthday party and we gave glow bracelets as favors.  I was looking at the favor tag I had made and realized that with a tiny tweak it would make the perfect Valentine.

I found this great font that looks like a neon sign and made up a cute little Valentine tag. 

Glow Bracelet Valentine Tag Printable

Then I used my silhouette to cut out a neon scalloped edge circle to use as a backing.  If you don't have a silhouette, you could use a large craft punch, scissors, or just skip the backing all together.


Glue the printed Valentine tag onto the neon backing.  Your child can sign their Valentines on the back. 


Use a hole punch to make a hole and then thread a black ribbon through it and tie the Valentine onto the glow bracelets.


If you want to make it even more economical, instead of giving each child a tube of glow bracelets, you can just punch a hole on the bottom of the tag too and thread one glow bracelet through the Valentine tag.


Either way you have an adorable, affordable, non-candy Valentine, perfect for your little one to give to their friends.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cheesy Garlic Bread



The Superbowl will be here in less than two weeks so it's time to start thinking about my favorite part of football games, the food.  We had some friends over this past weekend to watch the Packers game.  It was a rough afternoon in our house, but luckily we had delicious snacks to cushion the blow.  This Cheesy Garlic Bread was phenomenal!  I got the idea from Lauren's Latest and just made a few tweaks based on what I had on hand (and to make it easier on myself).  The ingredient list is blissfully short: refrigerated French Bread loaf, butter, garlic, basil, oregano, and cheese, lots of cheese.

This Cheesy Garlic Bread is incredibly easy.  Pop open a tube of Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf dough, and put it on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Use a sharp knife to cut slits about 3/4 of the way down, about an inch apart all along the loaf.  Bake it at 350 until it is mostly done and starting to brown (I baked mine for 17 minutes).


While your bread is baking grate 1/3 of a lb. of cheese (I used Trader Joe's cheddar gruyere blend but a white cheddar or a Dubliner would be great too).  To make the garlic butter, melt 1/3 of a stick of butter in a small dish in the microwave.  Add one clove of minced garlic along with some dried basil and oregano. 

Pull the bread out of the oven and re-slice along all of the slits you made before you baked it.  You want the slits nice and deep because that is where you will be putting the garlic butter and cheese.


Take that scrumptious garlic butter and brush it inside all of the slits and all over the top of the loaf.


Then take the grated cheese and tuck it into all of the slits pushing it down as much as you can.  Sprinkle the remainder along the top, no cheese left behind. 


Put it back in the oven until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.


Less than 30 minutes to Cheesy Garlic Bread nirvana!  This Cheesy Garlic Bread is the perfect party appetizer for any occasion, but it just screams football food to me.  Add this to your Superbowl menu.  Your guests will be impressed, your taste buds will thank you, and you can spend your time watching the game instead of working in the kitchen.


Cheesy Garlic Bread
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf dough
  • 3 tbls. butter 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/3 lb. Cheddar Gruyere blend (White Cheddar or Dubliner are good substitutes), grated
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Open tube of dough and make slits 3/4 of the way down, about 1-inch apart, all along the loaf.  Bake until almost done and starting to brown, about 17 minutes.
  3. While bread bakes make garlic butter: Melt butter.  Mince garlic and add to butter along with oregano and basil.
  4. Re-cut all of the slits in the bread.  Brush garlic butter into the slits and all along the top of the loaf.  Press grated cheese into all of the slits and sprinkle the remainder on top.
  5. Return to oven and bake 5 more minutes, until bread is cooked through and cheese is melted.

I'm linking up with Tasty Tuesday, Two Cup Tuesday, Whimsy Wednesdays, Wednesday Whatsits, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Create It Thursday, Cook It Craft It Share It, Crafty and Delicious, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Creativity Unleashed, Pin Junkie, and Weekend Social, Pinworthy Projects, Best Recipes, Best of the Weekend, Link Party Palooza, Saturday Night Fever, Weekend Potluck, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Craftastic Monday, Busy Monday, and Munching Mondays.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mint Chip & Waffle Cone Ice Cream


I know that for some people chocolate and mint treats are for December, but for me chocolate and mint are a year-round flavor combination.  When Trader Joe's brings out their holiday treats my heart beats a little faster.  (If you haven't figured it out by now, I have a MAJOR sweet tooth.)  One of my favorite holiday goodies at TJ's are the Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies.  They are basically little circles of waffle cone with dark chocolate and crushed candy cane pieces on top.  If I'm not careful I could probably wolf down half of a package at once.  I have definitely never done that though.


As I was eating a few of them, I realized that they would make the perfect ice cream mix-in.  After I mentioned this to Josh a time or two, he took the hint and whipped up a batch for me.  He started with a mint ice cream base and then added in mini chocolate chips and almost an entire package of Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies.  Now if you aren't like me, and haven't hoarded a few boxes of these waffle cookies, I'm sure you can just break up some waffle cones and some peppermint bark and use that instead.  You could even crush up those leftover candy canes and add more chocolate chips.

This ice cream was even more delicious than I thought it would be.  It is the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy, minty and sweet.  Yum!!!


Mint Chip & Waffle Cone Ice Cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbls. peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 7 oz. package Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies, frozen  
  1.  Put frozen waffle cookies in a large ziplock bag and roll over with a rolling pin to break them up.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, and salt until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in heavy cream and peppermint extract.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Churn according to the instructions on your ice cream maker, adding in mini chocolate chips and waffle cookies in the last 5 minutes.

I'm linking up with Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Cook It Craft It Share It, Crafty & Delicious Party, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Pin Junkie, Weekend Social, Link Party Palooza, Best of the Weekend, Pinworthy Projects, Munching Mondays, and Best Recipes.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What I Wore - Winter Neutrals


I hope you all enjoyed the last few weeks with your families.  I certainly did.  It is such a crazy time of year for us with the holidays and birthdays, but it is so fun.  On New Year's Day we were invited to a fun open house style brunch party.  We were also experiencing some winter weather (at least for our neck of the woods) so warm clothes were definitely in order.

I picked up this cream sweater during one of Old Navy's amazing sales before the holidays.  It is super soft and cozy and doesn't have any wool so I can wear it without itching like crazy.  This sweater was perfect paired with some black leggings and my cozy chestnut Uggs which, truth be told, have seen better days, but I just can't justify a new pair right now.


The "icing" on my outfit was this delicate little necklace.  I saw it during Nordstrom's anniversary sale and nonchalantly pointed it out to Josh and then went upstairs for a little while with my laptop left open.  Thankfully, he picked up on my not so subtle hint and got it for me.  The bar is engraved with J & L which I love because it stands for Josh & Lauren AND Jake & Luke.  Everyone asks if we did that on purpose with their names but honestly, those were just the boy names we liked.  It did work out nicely though.  One day I'd like to get a Maya Brenner asymmetrical initial necklace with J and L but this one is perfect for now.


Necklace - Similar (mine is cursive)
Sweater - Old Navy (on sale) 
Leggings - American Apparel



I'm linking up with Style Elixer and I do deClaire.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays

Hello lovelies,

I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful holiday season and have a happy new year. I will be taking a short break to enjoy this time with my family. I'll return in the new year a year older and ready to get back to being Imperfect & Fabulous!

xo
Lauren

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Soft and Puffy Chocolate Chip Cookies


If you have tried any of my cookies, you know that soft and puffy is how I think cookies should be.  I have long been on a quest to find a chocolate chip cookie that would have the perfect classic flavor, be chock full of delicious chocolate, and go from mixer to oven without days of chilling.  After making these Super Soft and Puffy Snickerdoodles inspiration struck.  I took a basic chocolate chip recipe, adjusted the amount of sugar, bumped up the flour, and added in some cream of tartar and milk just like in the Snickerdoodles.  The results were fantastic!

Start out by creaming together the butter and the sugars.  Once the butter and sugar mixture is light and fluffy, crack in a couple of eggs, a splash of milk, and a little vanilla and beat it all together until well combined.

Add in some flour (I used white whole wheat but all purpose will work too), baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt and mix until well combined.  Mix in a bunch of chocolate chips and you are ready to start scooping.

I made two sizes of cookies with this cookie dough, standard sized cookies for the teachers at Jake's school and "Lauren" sized.  To make standard sized cookies, use a medium cookie scoop and bake at 375 for 8-9 minutes.


For "Lauren" sized cookies, you are going to use an ice cream scoop, yep, an ice cream scoop.  Bake the "Lauren" sized cookies for 11-14 minutes.


Now that is a cookie!  Look at all of those chocolate chips.  These cookies are so soft, so chocolatey, so perfectly delicious. Y-U-M!!!!

Soft & Puffy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 - 4 tbls. milk
  • 1 tbls. vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream butter sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add in eggs, 2 tbls. milk, and vanilla and beat well. 
  4. Add in flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt and mix well.  
  5. If the dough seems to dry add an additional 1-2 tbls. milk
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop cookies a few inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake 12-14 minutes or until light golden.
  9. **If you want to make regular sized cookies use a cookie scoop instead of an ice cream scoop and bake for 8-9 minutes. 

I'm linking up with Thrifty Thursday, Sweet Bellaroos, Pin Junkie, Creativity Unleashed, Weekend Social, Link Party Palooza, Best of the Weekend, Weekend Potluck, Bakerette, and Pinworhty Projects.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snowman Birthday Banner




Luke's best buddy Calvin recently celebrated his first birthday with a "Winter ONE-derland" theme.  Isn't that such a cute idea!   Since I love crafting and will take pretty much any excuse to use my Silhouette Cameo I helped Calvin's mom make this adorable Snowman Birthday Banner.

To make this banner you will need white cardstock, blue cardstock, scrapbook glue, and ribbon.  I used the Tombow mono scrapbook glue but any brand will do.


I used my Silhouette software to make the snowman outline and cut them out on the blue paper.   Then I used the same outline but added a face and used that with the addition of the letters to make the snowman part.

Once everything was cut out we glued the white snowmen onto the blue bases and we were ready to put the banner together.  I find grosgrain ribbon to be the best choice when making a banner.  It is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the cardstock and since it is textured they don't slide around.  I used grosgrain ribbon on the Superman banner I made last year for Jake's birthday and it was the easy choice here.  We wanted the ribbon to look like the arms of the snowmen so we chose brown like branches.


String the snowmen onto your ribbon and you are ready to hang up your birthday banner.  This banner doesn't take much effort to make, but has a big impact.  It was the perfect backdrop for Calvin's first experience with birthday cake!

If you have a silhouette and want to make your own Snowman Banner, here are the cut files.


I'm linking up with Whimsy Wednesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Cook It Craft It Share It, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Sweet Bellaroos, Pin Junkie, Creativity Unleashed, Weekend Social, Link Party Palooza, Best of the Weekend, Weekend Potluck, Bakerette, and Pinworhty Projects.