Thursday, July 19, 2012

Paper Silhouette Artwork

Today I was bored so I made myself some silhouette art out of paper. Here is how.

First, look for a subject. I printed this bloodhound from the internet.

Trace the outline of the subject's body with a pencil and cut it with a pair of scissors.

I glued the silhouette on top of a magazine page. This page is an interview with Penelope Cruz from Vogue magazine.

 I also made this lady's silhouette with different colors and patterns. I don't have any picture frames so I taped them on the wall above my bed.

This lady is my favorite. Classic black silhouette, on white background and a little bit of doodles.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

I am posting another healthy stuffed recipe that I prepared last night for my next day's lunch. It's so much easier to prepare my office lunch the night before. Saves me a lot of time in the morning. Last weekend I found these big tomatoes in the supermarket and thought of making vegetable stuffed tomatoes. Here is how:

(I modified the recipe from tasteofhome)

- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 small carrot
- 1/2 celery stalk
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (I may have added more)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons (or more?) feta cheese cubes. I used Apetina.
- I included and pitted the olives that were part of the feta cheese pack
- 1 teaspoons dried basil

Preheat the oven at 350F. Slice off the top of the tomatoes, scoop out the pulp and set aside. You will use that for the stuffing. Place the tomatoes upside down on paper towels to drain.

Dice the onions, carrots, celery, tomato pulp, and garlic. Or if you have a food processor, you may use that to save time.

Saute the vegetable mixture and oregano in olive oil. Add wine or broth and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove it from the heat, add the breadcrumbs and the feta cheese cubes. Mix mix mix.

Stuff the tomatoes with the mixture and top them with another batch of feta cheese. Sprinkle dried basil leaves. Place the tomatoes on a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

Tada! It's 182 calories a tomato. Maybe you can drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I haven't tried it though. One tomato is enough to fill me for a whole meal. 

Please try them and let me know what you think. Maybe you can modify the recipe as well.

Monday, July 16, 2012

DIY Colored Glass Jars

This DIY project has been all over Pinterest. I got this fun idea from momtastic.

Here's what you will need:
- Glass jars
- White glue
- Food coloring
- Water
- Spoons for stirring
- Bowl for the excess mixture

First we need to clean glass jars. The tallest one was a candle jar, the medium sized was a salsa jar, and the smallest one was I think a coffee jar.

Pour in some glue and water with a 1:1 ratio and add some food coloring and mix it well. I made a big mistake because I added more water which made the mixture too runny. You'll see the effect later.

Twist the jar to coat it with the colored mixture and make sure it's evenly coated. Pour the excess mixture into a bowl. Then let it dry upside down for 15 minutes and right side up for another 15 minutes.

Set the oven at 350F and bake the jars for about 20-30 minutes. This will turn the mixture clear. So now the problem with a runny mixture is you can see the colored drips when it's all dried up. They don't look perfect but I'm fine with that. Good start for a beginner.

Then you can put tea lights inside to make them into colorful lamps for an evening garden party. I will definitely redo this project and post an update.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Healthy Stuffed Peppers

It has been a whole month of me eating healthy and heading to the gym and I have been doing great! I will be sharing a dish that has been my recent favorite: Stuffed Peppers. 

Again, I'm not a chef and I don't cook for the family. It's just that recently I enjoyed preparing healthy food for myself because I know and I am sure of what the ingredients are and how the food is done.

Here are the ingredients that I used for my stuffed peppers:
- 3 bell peppers (as you can see in the photo I only have two big peppers and one small pepper)
- 1 cup of ground turkey or beef. (for a healthier option, I used tuna)
- 2 cups of cooked rice
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- 2 celery stalk and leaves included, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion, diced
- Grated cheese
- Salsa
- Dried herbs, salt, pepper

But you may also add these ingredients:
- Corn kernels
- Chilli powder
- Mexican beans
- Roasted pine nuts

First you need to slice the top portion of the pepper. Remove the seeds and the insides of the pepper. Instead of discarding, you may mince the top portion of the pepper and use it for the stuffing.

Next you need to cook the garlic and onions with the meat. In a large bowl, mix the rice, the cooked meat and the rest of the chopped vegetables. The stuffing that you place inside the emptied bell peppers looks like this. To me it looks like you can already eat this without the pepper.

After stuffing them in the peppers, top with a spoonful of salsa and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. I didn't want my peppers too soft. I prefer them to be a little bit raw and crunchy. When it's done, you can sprinkle more grated cheese if you want to. Let the peppers cool a bit, take photos of your food, and eat.

They're so bright and colorful and super healthy!

You see, when I was making these stuffed peppers I wasn't following any recipe. I just thought of the ingredients that would go well together and I didn't even think if the proportions I used were correct. These peppers that I made were not perfect, but they were good enough that my sisters ate them and finished them and they were full after the meal.

So to save you from any cooking disaster, you can follow the recipes from the links below:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hollywood Glamour Inspired Living Room

Hollywood Regency, or I call it Hollywood Glam is one of my favorite styles in interior design. The style came in during the golden age of Hollywood in the 1930's. The actor turned interior designer William Haines and Dorothy Draper were the first few who popularized the style. And after how many decades, it has been revived once again by Kelly Wearstler and so many others.

From decorpad

Here are key points to get an all glammed up room.

For the color scheme, black and white is mainly used. These colors are then complemented with metallic colors like gold and chrome. Add a little pop of color like fuscia, turquoise, bright green and yellow on small items.

Texture and Pattern
The style focuses on geometric shapes, angular patterns and bold curves. Carpets with geometric and rhythmic motifs or animal prints are often used. Mirrors with sunburst patterns cast a sultry glow to a room. Velvets, silk, satin, and shag area rugs are tactile materials that are important in this style.

Polished Surface
Polished and shiny surface was a major characteristic in Hollywood Glam. They used laquered furniture in black or white, used a lot of mirrors on the walls and on consoles as well. Chairs and tables also had legs plated in chrome or brass.

The chairs and sofas usually have plenty of tufting, nailheads and tassels. The shapes of some furniture pieces are geometric, exuding the art deco vibe. There is also chinois influence as seen on the bamboo chairs. Stools with faux furs are paired with lacquered tables.


In an old hollywood theme setting, it's all about mood lighting. Use sconces to cast indirect lighting, which is important to set the perfect “glamorous”atmosphere. A crystal chandelier can be put up at the ceiling as a theatrical accent.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DIY Recycled Magazine Envelope

Today I am inspired by an old blog post of The Crafts Dept of Martha Stewart, which is about magazine envelopes. You can recycle old magazine pages by turning them into envelopes. Of course they used the Martha Stewart Scoring Board but I can attest that you can do this craft without using one.

Here are the things that you need:
- Old magazines
- Ruler
- Cutter
- Glue

1. First you need to look for magazine pages with nice photos. If your magazines are mostly filled with text, I guess that will do as well. You may tear them or use a cutter.

2. Next cut the selected pages into squares. Use the width of the magazine page as the basis for cutting your squares.

3. Next, determine the center point of the square paper. You can easily do this by drawing lines between the opposite corners of the square. The intersection of the two lines will be the center point.

4. For the size of the envelope, I used a postcard size, which (I checked in the internet) is 4.5 x 6 inches. So from the center point, mark 3 inches to the left and 3 inches to the right. Then fold the left and right flaps toward the center.

5. Mark 2.25 inches up and 2.25 inches down from the center point. Fold the bottom flap toward the center and cut the corner of the flap. Glue the bottom flap to the left and right flap.

6. Fold the top flap towards the center. You can trim to corner to make it rounder if you want to.

It's that easy. But if you want to make a different kind of envelope, you can print out a template or unfold an old envelope. You can use these personalized envelopes to add charm to your greeting cards and thank you notes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fruit Flavored Ice Cubes

Make fruit ice cubes to add color and flavor to your drinks. It also gives plain water a refreshing taste. It's simple, it's cheap, and the only things that you need are fruits and water. As an experiment, I placed lemon slices on ice cube trays and filled them with water. 

I added these lemon cubes on my mango juice and made the tangy flavors pop. This version is too simple though. So you might want to explore other combinations like watermelon-basil, cucumber-lime-mint, or lavender lemonade. All recipes from Covet Garden:

From Covet Garden

I wasn't able to make that crystal clear ice cubes. I read that the technique is to use purified boiled water and the ice cube tray must be really clean. I did boil the water, but I wasn't sure if the ice cube tray was super spotless.

Next time I'm going to try mint ice cubes that can probably be paired with lemonade. Or maybe strawberry ice cubes on sparkling water. Those bright reds, greens, and yellows in your drinks will definitely be a big hit.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fruit and Yogurt Ice Pops

I have been wanting to make ice pops at home. I remember when I was younger we'd make ice pops from Tang orange juice or Kool Aid.. And instead of those sugary candy ice pops, you can make a healthier version using real fruits and yogurt.

I bought silicone ice pop molds from Saizen. I prefer using silicone molds rather than those hard plastic ones because the silicone molds are more flexible and it won't break your ice pop when you try to remove it.

From Saizen

You can use whatever fruits you have at home. I made two flavors: banana combined with raspberry, and mango combined with lemon. Next time I'm going to try strawberry-kiwi. I even read a blog post about the basil-lemon combination, which I'd better try in the future.

For the banana-berry yogurt ice pop, I chopped one banana and placed it in a blender with a handful (or two) of raspberries, and 1/2 cup of yogurt. After blending, I did some layering in the popsicle mould. First layer is a spoonful of plain yogurt, next layer is your blended fruits and yogurt, and last layer is just another spoon of plain yogurt.

For the mango-lemon yogurt ice pop, I used one sliced mango with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of yogurt. Again, first layer is plain yogurt, next layer is the blended fruits and yogurt, and last layer is plain yogurt.

Some people, like my sister, may find the yogurt ice pops sour. I however don't mind the sourness because this dessert is supposed to be a healthy version of your ice cream/ice pop. If you prefer to have sweeter yogurt ice pops, you can add sugar (it's up to you how many spoons of sugar you add) to plain yogurt. Whisk it until the sugar is well mixed with the yogurt.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Magnolia Bakery Recipe - Vanilla Cupcake With Buttercream Frosting

For my parents' wedding anniversary, I decided to bake cupcakes for them. Please take note that I'm not really a big baking expert, I just love to eat.

I remember going to this cute cupcake store in New York called Magnolia Bakery, which I'm sure most of you have heard of. They say it's a must-go-to place when you are traveling to New York City. I ordered their red velvet cupcakes which were pretty good but I never got to try their vanilla cupcakes.

They were giving away their recipe for their vanilla cupcake and buttercream frosting all over the internet so I gave it a shot.

Cupcake Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cup self rising flour
- 1 1/4 cup cake flour
- 1 cup softened unsalted butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
- Chop butter into cubes and set aside.
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine the milk and vanilla
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: cake flour, self rising flour, and sugar
- Combine the butter cubes with the dry ingredients using a mixer
- Add half of the milk and vanilla mixture and mix it well at medium speed
- Slowly pour in the eggs and the rest of the milk and vanilla mixture and mix at low speed until it turns nice and fluffy
- Scoop the batter into the pans (about 3/4 full)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes

Frosting Ingredients:
- 1 cup softened unsalted butter
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons of milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Cream butter in a mixing bowl
- Add vanilla and sugar on cup at a time
- When mixture starts to thicken add 2 tbsp of milk
- Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy
- Add more milk for thinner consistency
- Store icing at room temperature

I wasn't brave enough to do that famous Magnolia Bakery swirl. I heard it takes 40 hours to perfect that swirl technique. So I just placed a dollop of icing and smoothened it with a spatula. I sprinkled some golden hearts for that "extra love" heehee.

The Verdict:
I have to be honest here. I don't like the icing because it felt like I was eating a whole stick of butter. Although the cake batter was light and easy to handle, there wasn't really anything special with the flavor. I suggest adding lemon zest to it.

Maybe if you have a sweet tooth, you'd love it. I have been eating healthy for the past month (no sweets, no fast food, no soda, mostly fruits and veggies and soy) maybe that's why my taste buds are not used to this type of richness anymore.

I checked my calorie counter app and found out that this vanilla cupcake is 389 calories. So much for dieting! Haha.

I guess what I will do next time is I should try to make desserts that are much more healthier and less fattening.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Paper Owl Family

Today I was inspired by The Krafty Wife to make my own paper owl family. I used scraps of paper with patterns and put them together to make cute owls.

First you can download the base template for the owl here at sewnews

Use scraps of paper with different colors and patterns for the body parts of the owl. Then try to put them together using Elmer's glue.

You can frame them just like what The Krafty Wife did:

Photo from The Krafty Wife

While I just stuck my owls on the wall using tape.

The thing here is I didn't really print the template, I just used it as basis for the shape of the body parts. I was able to play with different sizes that's why I have a baby owl, a daddy owl and a mommy owl.

Anyway, it's easy to do. I think kids will like to do this on their own. I hope you enjoy making them.

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