The Crafty Collaborative!


Hello Crafty Readers!

 

We’ve decided to go on summer break!  Work on some projects at home, soak in some sun, and spend a little extra time with family and friends.

 

We’ll pop in here and there on our Facebook and Twitter pages to give you some ideas for summertime craftiness, so be sure to give us a “Like” or a “Follow“.

 

Hope you all have a fabulous summer vacation!

 

The Crafty Collaborative


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Nature’s Nurture has a recipe for All-Natural Laminate Floor Cleaner that you can make at home.  
Anyone with wood laminate knows that they can smudge up quickly, so to have a home-remedy for an easy clean-up is like a dream come true!

 

We couldn’t wait to put this formula to the test on our dirty floors!

 

Please click here to visit Nature’s Nurture and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 - Alicia

Mission: To find an easier way to clean our laminate floor, without the icky chemicals

 

Details:

  • We tried it - All Natural Laminate Floor CleanerAlthough I wanted to use equal parts of water, vinegar and rubbing alcohol, I measured 1 c hot water, 1 c vinegar and about a 1/4 c of rubbing alcohol because 1 cup seemed entirely too much and I didn’t have enough anyway.
  • I used Dawn Dishwashing Liquid.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I used hot water which seemed to give my floors a really nice clean. My thinking is that hot=disinfecting. Sounds good, right?!  Let’s go with it.
Be sure to gently shake your mixture as the Dawn sunk right to the bottom in a glob.
Spray generously and then mop away, baby!

Although the aroma wasn’t too bad, I will try adding in lavender oil next time.

Pros:

I love this because I didn’t have to go out and buy anything and the results are great

Cons:

Left a slight film on the floor but I realized that I used too much liquid soap.

We tried it - All Natural Laminate Floor Cleaner

Conclusion:

I tried this floor cleaner on a whim and really impressed with the results.

My laminate flooring is in the kitchen so it gets high traffic and it always looks dirty. I found that this cleaner was easy to make, easy to use and we have been spot free for at least 3 days and counting. Check back in a week – lol!

 

 

Reviewer #2 - Amanda

Mission: I have been searching for a spot cleaning spray for my laminate floors for ages.

Sometimes you just get an area with smudges but aren’t ready to clean the whole floor! I tested this on the area in between the bathroom and my children’s bedrooms. Serious traffic goes down here.

Details:

Tips & Tricks Learned:

There really isn’t anything tricky about this!

I do suggest making sure you have a bottle with a little extra space so you can shake the ingredients together well.

We tried it - All Natural Laminate Floor Cleaner

Pros:

Seriously simple and extremely effective.

Cons:

The vinegar smell is pretty strong so you may want to up your drops of essential oils.

We tried it - All Natural Laminate Floor CleanerConclusion:

I can’t wait to try this in bucket form and really clean up!

 

 

Reviewer #3 - Maren

Mission: I love our laminate wood floors, love them!  My husband on the other hand has a really tough time with the smudges that you see, since they are a very dark brown shade. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the miracle cleaner that leaves us smudge-free for days!

Details:

I grabbed an All-Purpose Spray Bottle, a Funnel and got to mixing!

  • My dishwashing liquid of choice was Better Life’s Dish It Out.  Love that stuff!
  • I was well on my way to equally mixing 6 oz of each item, until I realized that I was an ounce short of the Rubbing Alcohol.  Thanks a lot Sharpie Tie-Dye!!  I added an extra ounce of water to get me to 18 oz.
  • I am a huge baby when it comes to the smell of vinegar.  I added 20 drops of Eucalyptus Oil, swished it around, gagged, and then added 10 more drops.  Blaghk!
  • I used a Microfiber Cloth, as recommended and tested out a small, high traffic area by hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Easy Peasy.  Just spray and wipe.

I do like to use a damp cloth to get more out of the product that I use.  I just rinse the cloth or microfiber pad and ring out in the sink before getting to work.

After re-reading the post, I nearly had a heart attack when I realized that I wasn’t supposed to use any essential oils if I had pets, which I do!  I quickly checked “Eucalyptus Oil” at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control site and learned that it is terrible for pets!  Ahhhg!!
All was well in the world after I went back over the area with my regular floor cleaner which I love.

Prior to my freak-out, the results were a little iffy to me.  This could be because I used a ton of essential oils and was short on my rubbing alcohol, or the fact that my floors are super dark and show everything.  The finish looked matte as opposed to shiny and new, and I could see streaks.  I don’t love that.

We tried it - All Natural Laminate Floor Cleaner

Pros:

Easy and inexpensive to make.

Cons:

 To be honest, rubbing alcohol doesn’t seem very “natural” to me; I feel much better using my current product which I already know that I trust.

We tried it - All Natural Laminate Floor Cleaner

Conclusion:

While this cleaner may be a great choice for those with lighter colored floors and less sensitive noses, I don’t think that it is for me.

Making it was totally easy, but the results didn’t trump my current cleaner’s.

 

 

Reviewer #4 - Sheri

Mission: We just had new laminate kitchen floors installed. Finally! They were much awaited. It was time to find a great cleaner that would keep them shiny and not streaky.

 

Details:

  • We tried it - All Natural Laminate Floor CleanerI followed the directions provided by Natures Nurture Blog but I cut the recipe in half. My floor space isn’t very big and I wanted to make sure I liked it first.
  • I didn’t have any citrus essential oils so I soaked some lemon peels in the vinegar for about 20 minutes.
  • I also used the fragrance oil I had on hand, “Island Orchard,” which I found at Pier 1 when we made the Baking Soda Air Fresheners.
  • I was nervous about harming my brand new floors so I first tried the cleaner on spare pieces we had left over.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Definitely use a Microfiber Cloth as suggested. They tend to work best.

Pros:

It worked surprising well!

Cons:

Vinegar is a great cleaner, but my only gripe is the smell. Luckily it dissipates quickly.

We tried it - All Natural Laminate Floor CleanerConclusion:

Overall I was impressed. I think I might get myself some orange essential oils for my next batch. I wasn’t too crazy about my Island Orchard fragrance oil mixed with the lemon. I might even test this one on my hardwoods.

 

 
We tried it - All-Natural Laminate Floor Cleaner!


The fabulous
All-Natural Laminate Floor Cleaner and photo by Nature’s Nurture

 


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Lettuce Be Healthy has a recipe for the once carbo-licious pancake, Paleo style!  Her Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes use gluten-free, healthy ingredients that make this breakfast favorite guilt-free.

 

Kim Lam has a few different versions of the recipe and we hunted them down.

 

To see the differences, take a peek at the chart below:

Paleo Pancake Recipes

 

To see the instructions that we followed,

click HERE for Recipes #1 and #2,

and HERE for Recipe #3.

 

If you’re like Maren, and start sweating when you hear the word “Paleo”, click here for a great introduction by Irena over at Eat, Drink, Paleo.

 

Reviewer #1 - Sheri

Mission: These little babies just sounded so delish I had to try them. Hearing that they were “Paleo” made me feel a whole lot better about eating pancakes.

Details:

I followed the instructions provided by Turtlewoman (aka Kim Lam). What I really loved about her post was how she explained the benefits of each ingredient. I also went with Recipe #1.

  • It took me quite a while to find Coconut Flour, but then remembered that a local store carried a ton of Bob’s Red Mill’s products. Sure enough, they had it!
  • I realized I didn’t have any Pumpkin Pie Spice so I just added a little extra Cinnamon.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Step 2 states: “Then whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl: eggs, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and pumpkin puree.” I believe that is “Maple Syrup” is supposed to be the milk. The Maple Syrup is for drizzling on top.

I first tried making the pancakes in my stainless steel skillet with melted Coconut Oil on the bottom of the pan, but flipping them was a challenge. I then tried my electric griddle set at 350° and it worked much better.

The consistency of the batter was different than traditional pancake batter. You have to sort of shape your pancakes.

I found that letting them cook a few minutes to the point where they were nearly cooked through on the first side made them easier to flip. There was some trial and error for the first couple.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Pros:

Such a healthy recipe and delicious.

Cons:

Just the flipping challenge, which I was able to tackle.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Conclusion:

These pancakes were delicious! My husband loved them. Unfortunately between the two of us we ate them all and didn’t save any for the kids. Ooops!

I certainly love that fact that they are packed with fiber and protein and rarely any carbs or sugar. They’re a winner in my book.

I’m thinking of taking this recipe and swapping the pumpkin puree for some smashed bananas! I think my kids would LOVE them!

Reviewer #2 – Sarah

Mission: To try another paleo breakfast recipe to add to my cookbook! I love eating Paleo and eat that way most of the time. I made the switch about two years ago and have never felt better!!

Details:

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I scooped a heaping spoonful of batter for each pancake and smoothed it out a bit as directed to thin them out.

I ended up getting eight pancakes out of the batter.  This was enough to feed myself, my kiddos, plus have a few left over.

The pancakes are a little tricky to flip. I just couldn’t get my spatula underneath of them very well. Since this batter doesn’t bubble up like a “normal” pancake, I waited about three minutes before I flipped them and that seemed perfect!

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Pros:

This recipe was fairly easy to prepare and all the ingredients are easy to find.

Plus, if you live a Paleo lifestyle, you will have most of these ingredients on-hand already. And, they were very tasty when done!

Cons:

There was definitely some skill needed to flip these pancakes!

With their spongy consistency, they never really got firm and it made them somewhat hard to flip.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Conclusion:

I really liked these pancakes! They were easy to make, had a nice texture to them and were very tasty! I served them with sliced bananas and sausage links.

I will definitely make these again. They would be super tasty in the fall with a pumpkin spice latte!

Reviewer #3 - Kristy

Mission: I love trying new Paleo recipes especially breakfast ones as I get bored with eating eggs every morning!  A little twist for my hubby, too!

Details:

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The directions made it sound so easy, but my dropping of the batter into the pan was not an easy task!  I attempted to use a spoon to smooth the batter out and it kept sticking to the spoon so with my figures and spoon, I did the best I could.

Cook on low as I found the outside was cooking a lot faster than the interior of my pancake.

Beware of popping seeds! Yes siree, my husband and I thought we had blown up the house!  I had covered the pancakes with a lid to allow the interior to cook, by doing so it must have overheated a flax seed and BOOM, our hearts skipped a beat with the loud pop!

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Pros:

Hmmm…used pumpkin that has high levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants!?!

Cons:

Not a lot of flavor and a bit on the dry side.

Tricky to spoon onto the pan, may need a little practice.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Conclusion:

I am a fan of many Paleo recipes but one wasn’t my favorite.

The recipe seemed to be simple to follow and the pictures seemed so tasty on the blog!  Maybe I missed a step?  You all know, I am not always the best at following instructions!

Reviewer #4 - Amanda

Mission: I have been eating clean for a couple of months now and pancakes have been sparse. I am a pumpkin lover so these looked right up my alley!

Details:

  • I went with Recipe #1.
  • I did not have any organic pumpkin puree so I went with a can of Libby’s that I had on hand.
  • I also only ended up using about an ⅛ of a cup of Almond Milk as my batter was just a little thick but didn’t call for the entire ¼ per the recipe.
  • I currently use Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour and it works fine for me. Amazon is a great resource for specialty flours and I find their prices to be much better than what I can get locally.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

BE PATIENT! I turned a couple too soon and they ended up a pile of batter.

Also, don’t add the almond milk right away. Chances are you will not need all of it. Mix your ingredients then let them sit for a few minutes while your pan heats. You will know at that point if you need more.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Pros:

Great flavor! I liked the combination of spices and the pumpkin.

The texture is pretty typical for a Paleo recipe so someone that is new to cooking this way may find it a little grainy but for those of us who eat minimal carbs it doesn’t phase us!

Cons:

The recipe has a lot of ingredients but very little of each.

I felt I could have used less Maple Syrup. ¼ of a cup seemed like a lot.

We Tried It - Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes!

Conclusion:

I really liked these and may play around with the flour a bit. Maybe a combination of Coconut Flour and Almond Flour would make for a better texture that is a little sturdier.

All in all I will definitely be making these again!


The lovely
Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes and photo by Lettuce Be Healthy

We Tried Them!  Pumpkin Paleo Pancake


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Show mom that you care with these tried and true projects.

 

We promise them to be totally doable and sure to be a hit!

 

 Succulent Tea Cups

Succulent Tea Cups - We Tried it!

 

Strawberry Cream Pie

Strawberry Cream Pie!

 

 Stamped Napkins

Stamped Napkins - We Tried it!

 

Pumpkin Scones, a la Starbucks

Pumpkin Scones a la Starbucks, We Tried Them - AMAZING!

 

 Simple Terrarium

Simple Terrarium - We Tried It!


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Budget Gourmet Mom has a sweet twist on an Easter dinner essential with her Orange Bunny Rolls. She even offers a lime option, too!

With Easter right around the corner, we hopped right to it!

 

Please click here to visit Budget Gourmet Mom and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 - Alicia

Mission: Easter is just around the corner and these little pastries are so darn cute.  Why not?!

 

Details:

Make sure you read and re-read the directions. It can be a bit overwhelming to look at but not bad once you get started.

  • I decided to go with the Cinnamon and orange route, as I did not have Cardamom on hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

When warming the milk concoction, be sure to use softened butter. I made the mistake of using cold butter and I left it on low heat to melt. In reading the directions, this mix should have reached 120 degrees to 130 degrees. Using a candy thermometer is very helpful as my mix reached nearly 145 degrees. Whoops! I waited for this to cool before adding to dry mixture with eggs. Scrambled eggs or curdling is not what I am shooting for. Ha!

As far as measuring the dough to a specific 14×10 inch rectangle and all the jazz. I totally eyeballed it. I am all about making my life easy.

Keep your flour out because the dough can get sticky

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

Fun idea and the kids liked the end result!

Cons:

No cons really – just that the whole process of waiting for the dough to rise can be time consuming.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

So my bunnies turned out good, but not great!

They are delicious when first out of the oven with the glaze on top and the orange gave it a really nice flavor.  The next day though, not as great – so be sure that you eat them up right away!

I am not 100% sure I would make them again as there were quite a few steps and my kids tend to get bored after about 15 minutes!

 

 

Reviewer #2 - Amanda

Mission: I thought these rolls were too cute to pass up. I am also a sucker for baked goods of all varieties, especially the themed kind.

 

Details:

  • I chose Allspice over Cardamom simply for the fact that is what I had in my pantry.
  • To make quick work of zesting my fruit I used my handy Microplane Grater similar to this one!
  • Although the recipe suggested using a hand mixer and kneading by hand I busted out my KitchenAid Mixer. It is like having a room full of minions do your work while you sit back and sip mimosas (I imagine that is what you would drink while minions do your work).

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Not sure where things went wrong but my bunnies were not as pretty and perfect as shown in the post.

I found it hard to roll my snakes out without making them look all rough. You definitely want to cut your pieces long enough. I made only the small bunnies and even those seemed mammoth.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

These are REALLY delicious and fresh tasting thanks to the fruit juice/zest and the fluffy dough.

My kids loved them!

Cons:

I found the recipe to be a little fussy, plus I failed miserably to achieve the adorable bunnies when all was said and done.

That is no fault of Krista from Budget Gourmet Mom! This epic fail was all me.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

The end result was really great but I think next time I will stress less about the shape and simply turn these into rolls.

The flavor will be the same minus the fluff. Get it? Like bunny fluff! That’s all folks!

 

 

Reviewer #3 - Kristy

Mission: I have been on a big citrus kick lately so combining oranges for these cute bunnies was a no brainer! And a great project to practice for my future kiddos!

 

Details:

  • I made a couple of modifications with Allspice, tangerine peel and orange juice.
  • I got to break out my favorite kitchen appliance, my KitchenAid Mixer, and my new Zester which worked like a charm for the tangerine rind.
  • I goofed on following instructions as usual, I ended up making 2 extra-large bunnies and only 3 small bunnies!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I don’t have a Rolling Pin so a straight-sided glass cylinder vase worked perfectly for the dough!

I also used wax paper for rolling out dough onto flour for super easy clean up.

Cutting the dough was a cinch by using my Pizza Cutter!

I used aluminum foil under my cooling racks to catch the leftover icing from icing the bunnies and for more easy clean-up.  A spoon worked best for drizzling the icing on the hot out of the oven bunnies!

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

Pretty easy to follow and taste great!  Love the variations you could make!

Cons:

It may take a while to get those cute bunny ears!

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

Perfect for a holiday tradition by allowing kids to cook, too!

My taste testers were my office co-workers and my husband, who all gave a big thumbs up for this recipe.  Simple, yet delicious!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sarah

Mission: To make these darling bunny rolls for our little cuties and their cousins for cousin weekend! I have not made any form of bread in quite awhile, so I knew I’d be rusty going into this one.

Details:

I didn’t have Cardamom, but I found a tip online that noted to substitute equal parts Cinnamon and Nutmeg together. I had both of those on-hand, so that was the route I went and it worked well!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I didn’t realize I was short powdered sugar until I had the bunnies baking and I needed to prep the glaze!

I only had ¼ cup on hand, so I used: ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 tsp. lime peel, 1 T. milk. It made just enough glaze to cover the little bunny rolls, which was just what I needed!  Phew!

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

Was fairly easy to prepare the dough and the rise time was perfect for clean up time.

Overall, I really enjoyed making these and I really loved the lime and cardamom flavor. I just may have to try the orange flavor next!

Cons:

I was surprised to see that some of the bunny rolls did not maintain their shape while baking. But, it sure didn’t change the taste!

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

These bunny rolls are adorable and will be perfect to serve at Easter brunch!

We served them at lunchtime with the rest of the meal for our little kiddos and their cousins. Out of the seven of them, three really loved these and the others thought they were so-so. I had no problem downing a few of the left over ones myself!

 

 

Reviewer #5 - Sheri

Mission: Well these little bunnies were just too cute not to try! Look at those little tails, seriously! I really thought my children would get a kick out of them.

 

Details:

  • The original recipe called for either Cardamom or Allspice.  I went with Allspice.
  • Based on my learning experience with the Pull Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread, I made sure that the room was nice and warm for the dough to rise.
  • I’m always nervous about screwing up the recipe; adding too much or too little.  While I was concentrating on adding the remaining flour to the dough to get that soft consistency, I was so worked up that I completely forgot to add the orange juice! Fail.
  • I let the kids help with making the bunnies. They thoroughly enjoyed putting the little bunny tails on. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures because my hands were covered in flour.
  • Into the oven they went and I hoped they would turn out okay. They were a little “plump” so I baked them a little bit longer.
  • For some reason my Confectioners Sugar was a little lumpy, so the glaze didn’t come out so well.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I highly recommend a Microplane Grater to get a nice fine grate.

Also, I would have used my Mixer and dough hook had I thought ahead. Although mixing with a wooden spoon provided a good arm workout.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Pros:

They were really super cute.

Cons:

My kids weren’t too crazy about the flavor.

The allspice was a little overpowering, which might not have been the case if I had remembered the darn orange juice.

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!

Conclusion:

Overall these are really cute. Of course mine didn’t come out picture perfect like the ones displayed, but then again I’m a novice baker when it comes to dough.

The kids had fun making them, but weren’t too crazy about eating them. I think that would have been different if I had remembered the orange juice! Duh!

I may try making these adorable bunnies with my aunt’s egg biscuit recipe which I know they will enjoy!

 
 

We Tried It - Orange Bunny Rolls!


The darling and very tasty
Orange Bunny Rolls and photo by Budget Gourmet Mom

 


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Dinners, Dishes & Desserts has a great new take on a family favorite!  The Roasted Garlic, Chicken & White Herb Pizza has a bold flavor with the homemade tastiness we all love.

 

You had us at pizza!

 

Please click here to visit Dinners, Dishes & Desserts and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 - Maren

Mission: Pizza from scratch.  Those are scary words.  I am still learning about making bread dough, so the thought of encountering it makes me nervous.  But I do love pizza, so this just may be the push that I needed!

Details:

  • I made Fail-Proof Pizza Dough from Lauren’s Latest, except I accidentally added 2 Tbsp of salt instead of 2 Tsp… more on that later.
  • To save time, I used rotisserie chicken.
  • I went a little heavy on the mozzarella.  I love cheese!
  • We have a baking stone, but it was way too small.  I just used a large baking sheet instead.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Watch that flour!  The second it even looks like it’s going to firm up, get it off that heat and add your cheese.

To melt my mountain of cheese, I broiled the pizza on the top rack for a couple minutes.

I don’t eat a whole lot of meat.  I think that this pizza would be terrific as veggie-only; maybe add some mushrooms and tomatoes!

Thank goodness my husband and I both love onions and garlic.  We can’t get enough over here!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Pros:

A great combination!  Rich flavors and oh so garlic-y!

Cons:

Oh my god the salt… My measurement blunder nearly killed the pizza.

My salt-loving husband didn’t mind, but I ended up eventually picking the toppings off and eating them without the crust!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Conclusion:

Yum!  I’m glad that I gave this recipe a try.  Homemade pizza is not as scary as I had built it up to be!
The sauce was delish, too!  I’m looking forward to playing a little more with this recipe in the future.

 

 

Reviewer #2 - Kristy

Mission: Mike and I love making homemade pizzas, we typically make sausage and pepperoni, so this is a twist!

 

Details:

  • I used Udis Gluten Free Pizza Crusts instead of making my own. 
  • Almond flour was substituted for all-purpose flour.
  • Substituted dried parsley for fresh, didn’t have fresh on hand.
  • Used minced bottle of garlic instead of fresh.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Watch the flour so it doesn’t burn when cooking!

Check the caps are secure on your spices…you can see I had a little oops with my parsley in the picture!

I broiled on high to get the fresh mozzarella bubbly and golden for a few minutes.

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Pros:

Easy to make and a twist on our traditional pizzas!

Cons:

Lots of garlic, I wonder if fresh garlic would taste a bit better!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Conclusion:

Mike’s first word after his first bite, “Wow”! He said there was a lot of garlic but he loved it more than our traditional pepperoni and sausage pizza.  I prefer the traditional, I am not a fan of chicken on my pizza! Ha!

Overall, success…this is perfect for get-togethers!  Simply cut in squares and serve up as appetizers!

 

 

Reviewer #3 - Amanda

Mission: This adult version of pizza really appealed to my taste buds as our house is often catered to the kiddos.

 

Details:

  • I used some rotisserie chicken I had in my freezer from a visit at Sam’s Club where I stocked up and prepped for the busy upcoming holiday season. It works great for recipes like this!
  • I started by whipping up a batch of No Fail Pizza Dough  from Lauren’s Latest which has quickly become my go-to dough recipe as it is always good and couldn’t be easier.
  • Once I had the dough mixed up and raising I popped the garlic in the oven to roast. It is such a simple method and really gets your mouth watering because as it cooks it fills the house with the delicious, warm aroma of garlic. YUM!

Here is a simple how-to if you haven’t roasted garlic before.

  • We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!I had all the ingredients on hand minus the fresh herbs. Since the recipe does call for some of the herbs to be fresh vs. dried.

I wanted to be sure I was using the right amount so I went to Martha for a little advice on how to convert. If the recipe calls for a tablespoon of fresh herbs then you would use a teaspoon since there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Don’t over cook the sauce. Nothing worse than burnt dairy!

Rotisserie chicken is a real time saver – use it.

Dried herbs were totally fine but fresh is always best so if you have the means splurge.

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Pros:

This pizza was even better the next day!

I am planning to make it again for a belated holiday party for friends. I am certain it will be a hit.

Cons:

I really don’t think there are any.

This is a simple pizza with a more complex flavor than your average pepperoni and sausage pie!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Conclusion:

Be daring and give this a try. I promise your adult taste buds will thank you!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #4 - Alicia

Mission: You had me at pizza- seriously! My two favorite things in this world is pizza and cheese.

 

Details:

I am so glad this recipe did not call for homemade crust. Anything with yeast and dough rising is not my bag of tea. It always fails and falls flat- no joke.

  • I found this delicious, ready to bake pizza dough from Trader Joes for like $2 bucks.

The rest of the ingredients and recipe were fairly simple to follow.

  • To save time, I used Tyson grilled and ready chicken breasts from the freezer section (not too shabby and the flavor was good).
  • Added black olives

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Getting the pre-made dough out of the darn bag was the death of me. It was stuck like glue. You needed arms of a blacksmith to get it out. Flour is your best friend here.

Also, be sure that when sauté the garlic, keep an eye on it. I tend to get distracted when I cook and almost had a burned mess on my hands.

I would strongly recommend using a baking stone. We got one as a wedding present 10 years ago and I never used it and eventually sold it in a garage sale. I am now kicking my own ass for selling it. What was I thinking??!!

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Pros:

This garlic cream sauce tastes like heaven.

Cons:

The cream sauce can be tedious to put together.

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!

Conclusion:

My hubby does not like pizza. WHAT THE?! Who is this person and how did we ended up together because it is my favorite.  It was DELICIOUS.  Worth noting: my desert island choices would be pizza, cheese and something carbonated with caffeine.

It takes a little time to make and come together but totally worth it.

 

We Tried It - Roasted Garlic, Chicken and Herb Pizza - Yum!


The oh-so-yummy
Roasted Garlic, Chicken & White Herb Pizza and it’s photo by Dinners, Dishes & Desserts

 


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Round up those antsy kids for a Sharpie Tie Dye from The Art Girl Jackie.

Get ready for the sun shine with this colorful DIY.

 

Please click here to visit The Art Girl Jackie and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 - Alicia

Mission: To create a tie-dyed effect shirt with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Very strange, but we will try it!

 

Details:

This project is pretty straight forward. I really did not want to go out and buy materials for this so I used what I had at home.

  • The Rubbing Alcohol I used was 70% and worked fine.
  • We had 4 Sharpie colors to work with: Orange, Red, Blue and Silver
  • I found a cotton dress shirt at Target for $2 and thought, if this turns out to be a bust, it only cost $2 bucks.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Make sure to use a newspaper or wax paper and place inside the shirt to prevent running or staining. The original post suggest making your pictures very small because it will spread like gangbusters. I let the kids go crazy with it.

Make sure that the rubber band and shirt is secure and tight- you will get a crisper image.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Pros:

My kids loved it and was so quick to make.

Cons:

The design is not as cool as it is in the original post.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Conclusion:

I did not have a high expectations with this project and it actually turned out really cute. Such a creative way besides using the traditional tie-dye kits.  The final result is very cool!

 

 

Reviewer #2 - Maren

Mission: Get some tie-dye action without the hassle of… tie dye.

 

Details:

  • I had 70% Rubbing Alcohol at home, so I went with it.
  • I always have Sharpies on hand!
  • I tested this project out on a 79¢ dishtowel that I picked up at IKEA.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Instead of an eye dropper, I channeled my inner 8 year old and did the straw trick that would always get me yelled at at restaurants.

Some of my Sharpies worked much better than others.  Maybe because some of them were newer?  Regardless, you may want to test them out beforehand so that you get the best results.

When I was done, I blotted the dishtowel with paper towels to pick up any excess rubbing alcohol and then hung it on the clothesline to dry out.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Pros:

Incredibly easy.  Not too stinky!

Cons:

Not quite the real thing.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Conclusion:

This project was super easy and quick.  I think that if they can handle the smell, that it would be right up most kid’s alley.

As a gal with a little granola in her blood though, there’s nothing like the real thing!

 

 

Reviewer #3 - Sheri

Mission: My son is always asking me to make tie-dye shirts… I just don’t have the patience for it. When I saw this simple “tie-die” solution, I knew we just had to try it.

 

Details:

There is something about a fresh set of colored markers that makes me happy.

  • I grabbed a full 12-pack of Sharpies, even knowing my son would probably stick with just the greens and blues.

This was a learn as you go/trial and error project. The directions state to make a design the size of a quarter or half dollar using colors that are near each other on the color wheel, which make a nice transition into one another.

The first design my son made didn’t spread well. As we moved along the shirt we found that if you placed your colors a little closer together and made bolder lines and dot, they blended much more nicely together. We even added some color to the outside rim of the cup as suggested in the original post.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

If you don’t have a dropper, use a straw!  Simply immerse the straw into the rubbing alcohol and then block off the top.  This worked well.

Larger blots of color placed closely together, makes for the best “blend.”  I also recommend using different sized cups or Tupperware containers.

Don’t forget to heat set the color by tossing the shirt in the dryer for a while.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Pros:

Cute and easy!

Cons:

My son was very turned off by the smell of the rubbing alcohol and I ended up finishing the project.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Conclusion:

My son’s only complaint was that the shirt was “not filled up.” I got put back to work making more circles of fun color. He loved the fun colors and the variation of design.

I loved the easy clean up! I just tossed the solo cups into the trash and put my markers away. I know for sure that my niece is going to love doing this project on her next visit.

 

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!


The darling
Sharpie Tie Dye and photo by The Art Girl Jackie

 


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Movita Beaucoup has a great addition for your Irish feast that won’t interfere with your parade plans!
Her Slow Cooker Beef Stew is a stick-to-your-bones recipe sure to please the meat and potato lovers in your life.

 

This simple twist of an old favorite had us at “slow cooker,” so you can bet we were ready to dive right in!

 

Please click here to visit Movita Beaucoup and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission: To whip up this crock pot stew for a warm and yummy dinner!

 

Details:

As I’ve mentioned before, I love crock pot cooking – it’s low mess, low maintenance and recipes cooked in the crock pot usually turn out tasty. I liked this recipe right away for it’s minimal ingredients; most of the items are things I typically have in my pantry and fridge.

  • I did all the chopping prep of my vegetables the night before and then started again early in the morning (I was up extra early due to my youngest cutting her teeth). I first heated up my pan and cut up the beef roast for browning. Once that step was done, I began to place all of the ingredients into the crock pot as directed and then set the temperature to high. I mean, how easy can getting a dinner going be – the hardest part was shredding carrots!
  • I ended up only having one jar of my mom’s canned Iowa garden tomatoes and peppers (they are amazing!) so was a bit short of the called for amount. I made a quick run to Target that day and added the rest in after the stew had been cooking for 4 hours.
  • At the end of the cooking time, I added the frozen peas and the cream mixture. Seriously easy peasy!

I served this stew with some buttered toast and a side of fruit. My husband and kids enjoyed it! I even tried to take some of the potatoes out first and mash them up before scooping the stew over the top. Yum!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

If you are using a beef roast you already have in your freezer, be sure to take it out the day before to thaw out.

Prep the vegetables the night before so your morning prep goes quickly.

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Pros:

EASY!!! Not much for prep work and an easy way to have a filling dinner. And being March, it has a wonderful Irish feel to it.

Cons:

A little on the heavy side, so may be more filling than you’d like.

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Conclusion:

This was a very easy recipe to follow and overall a tasty dinner.

It made a lot of stew, so I ended up freezing what was left over and plan to use it for another dinner soon. Might be a great dinner to prepare when you are having company over!

 

 

Reviewer #2 - Kristy

Mission: Always enjoy a good recipe and we are meat eaters in my household!  In a crock pot, even better!

 

Details:

  • I used a mix of potatoes, chopped sweet potatoes for added nutrients and small red potatoes cut in half.
  • Picked up 2 packs of stew meat, already trimmed and cut at the grocery.  Easiest way!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Best product to use for easy crock pot clean up, Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. Best Tip!

Cooking for two?  Halve the recipe.

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Pros:

Very easy to make in the crock pot.  Just a lot of chopping!

Cons:

Became mushy, not sure this could freeze well and it makes a ton of food for 2 people.  Hate being a food waster!

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Conclusion:

Mike and I both liked it, although not one of our favorite recipes.  Mike isn’t a slow cooker meat and potato guy.

It was pretty heavy of a dish, so definitely hearty for the cold winter months!

 

 

Reviewer #3 - Amanda

Mission: When I saw this recipe I knew I would have to wait until my husband was home to make it. He is the beef stew lover in the house (me not so much on the beef part).

 

Details:

The recipe was very easy to follow. Not much in the way of prep other than cutting up some veggies and browning the meat.

  • I used regular red potatoes vs the small potatoes suggested in the original recipe. They worked just fine when cut into 4 pieces.
  • I have this great peeling tool I found at an Asian market that makes anything look “fancy” so I used that to peel the carrots. Gave the stew a little flair!
  • I cooked the stew for about 9 hours before adding the peas and slurry, then I cooked it another 20 minutes per the recipe. It had a nice thickness to it after adding the slurry.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Not a lot you can do to mess up this dish! Basically put it together, stir and wait.

One thing I think I would change for next time is to add a full cup of broth to the half cup of flour for a looser consistency. It was hard to mix the “paste” into the stew without lumps.

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Pros:

Simple, hearty and a real “man pleaser”.

My husband saw what I had made and said “REALLY??” as if I was serving ice cream for dinner. He LOVED it. My kids not so much but they tend to be funny about dishes where everything is in one pot.

Even though I am not much of a beef eater but I have to admit this stew was really good and because I chose lean meat it didn’t seem really chewy or fatty.

Cons:

I see none!

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Conclusion:

This stew was the perfect Sunday night meal that literally warms you from the inside out. Key for us Minnesotans who have endured a BRUTAL winter. There should be SOME perks after all right?

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #4 - Alicia

Mission:  To make a delicious beef stew from a crock-pot because I have tried and failed many times. Very optimistic about this recipe.

 

Details:

This recipe is very straight-forward and super easy to follow.

  • I had most of the ingredients on hand except for the stew meat (sounds gross but so good).
  • I omitted peas because I think they taste disgusting. Texture, people!!!
  • I also had to create an Italian seasoning because I did not have. I tossed in a pinch of each: oregano, parsley, thyme, garlic and a tiny amount of basil.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Browning/searing the meat is a must. I usually skip this step and the final result never turns out quite right

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Pros:

Add everything to the crock-pot and wait

Cons:

None – although I have no patience to wait 10 hours for the stuff to cook

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

Conclusion:

Okay seriously, this weather and coldness is such a downer. I mean, full on depression over here. The only thing that makes this winter bearable is the hearty soups and stews we have been eating. This beef stew is no slouch and the flavor is perfect. My hubby loved it!!

 

 

We Tried It!  Slow Cooker Beef Stew!
The savory Slow Cooker Beef Stew and it’s photo by Movita Beaucoup

 

 


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Eclectic Recipes has tempted us with the very cookie that’s mere image has been making us break into a sweat since Pinterests great debut.

With chips so chocolatey and a bakery-store appearance that looks like nothing that has ever come out of our ovens; could this be true?  Can we make cookies like this?

 

We think that we’d better give this NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie an official test… you know, as a service for the people.

 

Please click here to visit Eclectic Recipes and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 - Alicia

Mission: Chocolate Chip Cookies are the best!! In all their gooey, chocolaty goodness, there is nothing better. It is hard to deviate from the original Tollhouse recipe but this recipe certainly intrigued me. I am a huge fan of soft, chewy cookies. Anything that is crunchy – I am out!

Details:

Please read this recipe a few times before beginning to tackle it.

  • I would certainly consider myself a decent baker but cake and bread flour, really??!! I am not certain my grocery store carried these items. After our crafty friend Sheri did a little research on cake flour, this can be made by sifting regular flour and cornstarch. Cornstarch will give it that chewiness and help them rise a little. If you do not have cornstarch in your pantry, I strongly recommend having some on hand. This stuff is a must when cooking and baking.
  • I did not use semi-sweet chocolate disks or feves (what the?) because I am lazy and did not feel like going on to buy some when I already had chocolate chips on hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

To create a cake flour, I used a small strainer to sift my flour, cornstarch and other dry ingredients. This will remove any lumps and mix everything evenly.

I did not refrigerate the dough for 24 hours but did freeze it for about 1 hour.

Keep an eye on the baking times. 18-20 minutes seemed long and mine cooked in about 15.

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Pros:

Holy smack down, melt in your mouth good.

Cons:

The ingredients and steps can be a bit tedious.

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Conclusion:

This  recipe was so worth it! I am seriously refraining from swearing as these cookies are so good.   I ate about 10 in a row.

When I usually make chocolate chip cookies, they usually flatten and look a bit sad. Not these bad boys. My cookies came out of the oven and looked glorious.  I mean, bakery quality glorious! Heavenly music played when I opened the oven door – for real.

 

 

Reviewer #2 - Amanda

Mission: Bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies like I never had before – with cake and bread flour. WHAT?!

 

Details:

I followed Angie’s version of the recipe to a “T”.

  • I opted for the semi-sweet chocolate chips that I had on hand vs. making a trip out into the polar vortex.
  • I felt a little nervous about the ingredients and the specific mixing steps. I have never had to refrigerate dough overnight and was not prepared for that time frame so I did the quick chill in our deep freeze for 2 hours.
  • I happened to have all ingredients on hand which is rare. Cake flour and Bread Flour are not in most typical pantries but I admit to being a tad bit addicted to baking bread. Really paid off to have such a tasty addiction!
  • Busted out my mixer to make quick work of putting these together.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Read through the recipe a few times so you have all the steps down pat.

Also, make sure you have enough of each ingredient before getting started. I initially intended to make these for my kids sooner but didn’t have unsalted butter.

Three and a half ounces seemed like a really large cookie so I opted to use a small melon baller to scoop mine which worked perfectly.

I ended up baking about half and freezing the other half so we could have fresh baked cookies whenever we wanted. YUM.

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Pros:

This cookie has the smoothest texture and a nice crisp to it while remaining chewy on the inside (that is if you don’t over bake them).

The sea salt really comes out and balances the richness.

It was a definite win with my family too. My kiddos gave me many hugs and declared me “best cookie baker ever”. That alone will prompt me to bake these again!

Cons:

I simply had no self control and ate more than I should have.

My advice: sharing is caring. Bring a plate to your neighbors and freeze the rest of the dough so you are not tempted.

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Conclusion:

Hands down the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever tasted!

Winner-winner chicken dinner folks.

 

 

Reviewer #3 - Kristy

Mission: I am a chocoholic that is always up for trying a sweet treat!

 

Details:

Well, I made a huge mess, as my original attempt was a fail!  Forgetting an extremely important ingredient… 2 cups of cake flour.  (I blame my printer!) As a result, I had a melted toffee type cake in the oven.

Luckily I only baked 6 cookies from the huge batch so I took another try with the remaining cookie dough!

  • On the 2nd attempt, I simply added slightly less than 2 cups of cake floor little by little to ensure an even mix.  It was pretty tough to mix in but worth it if I could salvage the cookies.

Great results with the 2nd attempt, definitely turned out a little different from the Eclectic Recipes blog’s version based on the photo.  As long as it tastes good, that is really what matters!

  • Other than forgetting the cake flour first time around, I followed every detail of the instructions.  I get nervous when baking not to!
  • Bake at 350 for about 17 minutes.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Wow, this recipe makes a ton of cookies!  Perfect for freezing, I simply froze the majority of my cookies in golf ball shapes and easily bake anytime I am needing a treat.Most important, follow the instructions and double check all ingredients prior to proceeding with recipe.  Baking is much more precise and this tip will save you tons of frustration!

Pros:

Easy as long as you remember the ingredients! Easy to whip up frozen cookies anytime! And quick to bake!

Cons:

Not super sweet.  A bit more cake like than cookie…this was my fault!

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Conclusion:

Overall, my testers liked them but didn’t rave about them!  My sister-n-law, Lisa, stated that it was a slightly different texture that expected but grew to like it with every bite! Ha!

My sister-n-law, Jess said they were good but when she wasn’t grabbing for another…I just knew my oops at the beginning, overall affected the outcome of my cookie!

Once I bake all of the remaining frozen cookies, I will try this recipe again!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sarah

Mission: To find out if these really are the BEST chocolate chip cookies ever! I am a cookie dough fan, so who’s kidding, that’s really what I care about most with this one!

 

Details:

I rarely make chocolate chip cookies as they aren’t my favorite, and in all honesty, the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever followed is the one on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip bag. Ha!

  • It took me awhile to find the cake flour – I didn’t find it at my typical Super Target stop but eventually found it at my local grocery store.
  • The bread flour and the other ingredients were easy to find and I opted to use the Nestle Tollhouse Dark Chocolate Morsels for these.

I went the simplified route and sifted my flours and dry ingredients with my mesh colander; it seemed to work just fine! I have a paddle attachment for my KitchenAid Mixer, so I set to work mixing the butter and sugars and prepared the dough. It went together easily and was ready in no time – off to the freezer it went.

After a few hours of cooling in the freezer, I took it out and let it thaw for a few minutes before prepping the round balls. I placed the prepared dough balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt. The kids and I couldn’t wait to dive in right after they were done. YUM!!

These cookies have the perfect mix of a crunchy outer cookie and a soft gooey center. The addition of salt on the top was a must for me – I love the mix of sea salt and chocolate! My husband, the non-desert guy, LOVED these as well.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I softened the sticks of butter for 10 seconds in the microwave and then cut it into squares before mixing with the butter and sugars together. It seemed to help it mix quickly.

Freeze the dough for a few hours to prep it and to get baking fast! I love an instant outcome, especially when it comes to desert!

Don’t forget to add the salt into the recipe. I made this dough twice and forgot it the second time. It doesn’t change the taste completely, but I definitely noticed it was missing.

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Pros:

SUPER tasty! I vote these as the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted, and they were so easy to make! They have the perfect mix of a crunchy outside and a soft gooey inside with the salty addition to the sweet. Yum!

Cons:

I had a hard time finding the cake flour, but I think it was just not at my normal shopping location.

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Conclusion:

These are amazing chocolate chip cookies – seriously, I’d actually pay someone for these! Love them and will for sure make them again, and AGAIN!

 

 

Reviewer #5 - Sheri

Mission: When I saw this pin for NY Times Best Chocolate Cookie I immediately said “game on.” You see, I already make the best chocolate chip cookie…well, according to my in-law family. My twist on the classic Nestle recipe is coveted throughout the family. I just had to throw on my apron and give this recipe a try.

Details:

First thought, “What is cake flour and bread flour?” You see I was raised with all-purpose flour. I wasn’t about to go purchase two different kinds of flour just to try out this recipe so I headed over to ehow.com.

  • For every cup of “cake flour” needed you use one cup of all-purpose flour. You then remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace those 2 tablespoons with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. Simply sift it all together and you have yourself some cake flour. Do this. Don’t skimp out and just use all-purpose flour. The “cake flour” is what gives these cookies their fluffiness.

I first combined all of the dry ingredients as instructed: the flours, salt, baking powder, & baking soda. I then set it aside and started with the wet ingredients.

I creamed the butter and sugars for a good 5 minutes to make sure they were well blended and fluffy. I added the eggs and vanilla and then slowly added the flour mixture. The dough came together and I thought it to be a bit dry, but it all turned out well.

Allot time for chilling your dough. The recipe recommends 24 hours in the refrigerator or 2 hours in the freezer. I was really excited to try these cookies so I went the freezer route.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Make sure your butter is room temperature so it creams well with the sugar, otherwise your dough is lumpy. Use your hands to round your perfect cookie.

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Pros:

Delectable crowd pleaser.

Cons:

A little fussy for some basic chocolate chip cookies.

We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!

Conclusion:

Okay, they were fabulous. I admit it. They had this beautiful golden crunch on the outside and soft fluffy/chewy texture on the inside. I was going to give some to the in-laws to try but I was afraid they might like them better, and I’ve mastered my recipe (quicker & easier).

 

 We Tried It - NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie!  YUM!


The drool-worthy
NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie and it’s photo by Eclectic Recipes

 


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