Espresso Macarons With Chocolate Espresso Ganache

Espresso Macarons with Chocolate Espresso Ganache

French macarons have been on my ever growing to do list since 2014, when I had the blissful experience of tasting a Laduree Cafe macaron in the heart of Paris! At that time, I downloaded this great how to make macarons book on amazon and committed to get baking as soon as we landed in the states. A short 5 years later, I made my first macaron. This is pretty typical for my project lists. Is it just me?

how to make french macarons

Did you know there are actually three methods for making the cookie part of the macaron, which is a meringue mixed with almond flour, powerdered sugar and maybe a flavoring (in this case espresso poweder)? It’s true. I call these french macarons, but technically I guess I should call them swiss macarons. That’s just not as search friendly on google! I say this because I use the swiss meringue method now, after many, many batches using the french method, and a couple of swings at the italian meringue method, I have found the swiss method to be the most consistent and reliable. The very first batch I made using this method came out beautifully. Wanna see?

Lemon Buttercream Macarons

Trust me, no hear me, when I say that there were many imperfect batches that preceded what you are seeing here. As I agonized over failed, lumpy, cracked, hollow, nipply shells, wanting to launch the tray out the back door like a frisbee, my husband would remind me of a quote…

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison

This would annoy me further, but then sanity would return and I would be back at it. I am so happy I stuck with it, and you will be too. It is super gratifying to create a beautiful batch of these delicious treats. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night excited about a new flavor combo! Today I am doing mango shells with white chocolate lime ganache. I can’t wait!

Espresso Macaron Recipe

TIP: So the basic recipe for the shell is the same, and quite simple. Then to flavor it, you can add extracts, freeze dried fruits, baking emulsions. This can be trial and error, as some oils will anger the shells and you will end up trashing them. I bought a bunch of flavored oils from a local candy shop and they are a no go! Extracts are ok. I prefer grinding up freeze dried fruit and really adding the most flavor in the center ingredient of the sandwhich. Ganache is far easier to flavor.

Ingredients

Espresso Shells

*This recipe yields between 24-30 complete sandwhiched macarons, depending on how your piping size (this will make sense later).

  • 3 egg whites 100 grams, 3.5 oz
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar 100 grams, 3.5 oz
  • 1 cup almond flour 96 grams, 3.4 oz
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar 90 grams, 3.17 oz
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

Espresso Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped up into <1 inch sized pieces
  • 8 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder

***Make the ganache ahead of time as it needs to sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then at room temp for 30 minutes before piping between the macaron top and bottom

Instructions

Shells

  1. To start, measure out all of the ingredients. I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale for accuracy as these cookies are so very fickle. I measure my ingredients in grams, even though I have listed cup and teaspoon measurements as well. I got this digital kitchen scale from amazon. Have 2 baking sheets ready. You can line them with parchment paper, which is how I started, but I found no matter how many tips and tricks I used to flatten the parchment paper, it bubbled and led to warped cookies. This is why I LOVE the mats I ordered on amazon here: silicone baking mats for macarons . They are super cheap and awesome. If you go the parchment paper route, you can print off templates to help you pipe out the optimal size macaron and stay consistent so that your sandwich cookie tops and bottoms match. Here is the free macaron template printable I made, which you can download, print, place under your parchment paper and carefully pull out immediately after piping your macarons in a later step.
  2. Leave a 16 in disposable piping bag fitted with a large round tip (size 10 or 12), all ready to fill with your batter.
  3. Sift powdered sugar and almond flour together in a bowl and set aside. Some people swear you need to grind the flour and powdered sugar in a food processor. I have done both ways and I see no difference, so I don’t waste the time. It is supposed to get rid of “bumps and lumps” in the shell of the macaron. I find mine come out smooth if I sift the ingredients together into a bowl, and then sift them into the meringue when that step comes.
  4. Mix egg whites and sugar together in a metal bowl or in a double boiler pan, over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. I actually use my KitchenAid mixer bowl for this, since the egg/sugar syrup will go into it anyway. You do not want to cook the egg whites! No thermometer needed. This is what I love about the swiss meringue method vs. the italian method. The latter requires a candy thermometer. It’s a hassle.
  5. Whisk whites and sugar over simmering water for about 90 seconds. Remember, this water shouldn’t be boiling, it should be at a very low simmer.
  6. Once sugar is dissolved, pour the syrup to the electric mixer bowl if it’s not already in there. With the whisk attachment, whisk mixture on low speed for 1 minute, raising speed to medium. Whisk on medium for 1-2 minutes, until the whisk starts to leave streaks in the meringue. Raise speed to high, and whip for a couple of minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Here is a great video from my macaron hero at Pies and Tacos . It shows what the meringue should look like. Make sure you look at her other amazing macaron recipes, tips and tricks!
  7. As soon as the meringue reaches stiff peaks, stop beating. Sift (for the second time) the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture into the meringue. You will see many recipes having you add 1/3 of the mixture, folding it in, then incorporating the remaining dry ingredients. I find no difference when i sieve it all into the meringue at once. Try and see what works for you!
  8. Now it is time to fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. Here is a great video from Indulge With Mimi, another wealth of information on macaron trouble shooting and some fantastic recipes. This folding of the dry ingredients into the meringue is called macaronage, and is in my opinion the step that makes or breaks your final product. If you don’t mix enough, you get cracks and all sorts of ugliness. If you over fold, you get wet blobs that never bake into solid, round cookies. It’s tragic, but don’t give up! You will get this with experience. This video will help.
  9. The batter should be falling off of your spatula like a ribbon, not in chunks. I like to scoop a spoonful out onto a plate and wait 20 seconds or so. If the “nipple” on top dissolves into the cookie and disappears, you are ready to pipe your macarons. If not, stir 5-10 more times and test again. Keep doing this until you get the correct result.
  10. Pipe as many circles as your batter allows. I usually fill two of my silicone mats, sometimes a few less on the second mat. Immediately after piping, pick up the baking tray about 6 inches above the counter and drop it. Do this a couple of times. The purpose is to release any air bubbles in your piped macarons. How to Pipe Macarons
  11. For aesthetics and for more espresso flavor (cause I’m a full blown addict, we cut a slit in the bottom of a red plastic solo cup and put a small amount of espresso powder in the cup. Then lightly tapped the side of the cup over the tray of piped cookies for some espresso powder sprinkles. I tried using a salt shaker, but way to much powder came out, so my engineer husband McGyvered a way to get the effect I was after.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 310F. This is what works in my oven. Yours may vary. You will have to start somewhere around there, take meticulous notes and make adjustments as needed! Remember the Thomas Edison quote earlier in the post!
  13. Many recipes tell you to leave your piped batter sit out before for 30-60 minutes to form a skin before placing in oven. I happen to live in the high desert and my macarons form a skin within 5 minutes. The way to test for yours is to touch one lightly. No batter should come off on your finger. There should be a dull sheen to them as well. The skin is important, otherwise the heat will escape to quickly and the macarons won’t rise correctly, or they will have blown out feet (the bubbly area of the cookie that directly contacts the filling of sandwich). If it is a humid day, it may take well over an hour, so go by feeling the actual batter, not by time.
  14. Bake one tray at a time. Bake the first tray for, rotating after 4 minutes. Bake 4 more minutes and rotate again. I continue to bake until 18 minutes, rotating one more time at 13 minutes.
  15. Let the cookies cool for 20 minutes or more before trying to remove them from the parchment paper or silicone mat. They should pop right off unless they are under cooked. In which case, back in the oven they go. I would do 2 minutes at a time. You don’t want to overcook and get hollow macarons. Once they are cool, it is time to fill…

Chocholate Espresso Ganache

To make the espresso ganache, place the chopped up chocolate into a metal or other heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles appear. Stir in the espresso powder until dissolved.

Immediately pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chunks and let stand for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate until smooth and melted. Pour the ganache into a disposable 12 or 16 inch piping bag clip or rubber-band off the open end and place in refrigerator for 2 hours. When you are ready to use the ganache, let it sit at room temperature for 30 min so that it is soft enough to squeeze out of the bag.

Simply cut the tip off the disposable piping bag containing your ganache and fill one cookie, coiling from the outside into the center, then place the top cookie on to complete the sandwich. It helps to match up similar size macarons before adding the filling so your tops and bottoms are together and ready to go.

Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I find macarons are the very best after maturing in the fridge for 1-2 days. This allows the center to mesh with the shell, the flavors to meld and the texture to perfect. Take out of the fridge for about 20 minutes before enjoying. They are best eaten within a week. Another option is to freeze after the 1-2 day maturation. I have frozen them for 6 weeks, pulled them out to room temp for 1 hour and served them up at a party to watch them be devoured. They were a hit.

coffee french macarons

Give macarons a try! Don’t give up. Be patient and learn your climate, oven, astral alignment. Pray to the macaron gods. Whatever works for you. Just find it. It is so worth the “failed” attempts! Let me know how it goes.

Stay tuned for macaron videos and more recipes!
Tips and tricks for making perfect french macarons

Go prAna or Go Home

I was e-l-a-t-e-d when I was asked to try out some PrAna gear and share with you, my lovely readers, an exclusive discount code!

Let’s start with the good stuff, your 15% off discount code! WPJCF18

Now, about me and my relationship with PrAna! I moved to Colorado 3 years ago and became an avid rock climber. Obsessed. What that has to do with prAna is that it quickly became the most prominent brand in my closet, not only because of it’s aesthetics, but because it is the best brand I have found to stand up to the demands of body vs. rock!

PrAna is not just for women, either. John loves his Woodman Flannel, and I can’t take off my Diva Long Jacket. It is extremely warm and the perfect length! It is lined by clouds, I am pretty sure.

The hood is perfect at keeping my ears from freezing off too.

Also, you get to look good while preparing to pelt your photographer with a snow ball. I mean, come on, priorities people!

The pants are prAna as well, my favorite for rock climbing. Unfortunately I don’t do a ton of that outside when it’s cold since feeling one’s fingers is important in that particular sport, but they are great for hiking and being active in general. I love them for rock because they don’t get picked and have snags in them after climbing sharp granite or limestone walls.

The are also fantastic for tree napping.

The stitching is solid and I’m digging the sweater ribbing on the sides of the Diva Jacket…

Their logo is subtle and well placed, and the stitching, again, solid on the Woodman’s Flannel.

John is also sporting one of his favorite pair of prAna pants in addition to the flannel.

Since we couldn’t show you outdoor climbing, we took our prAna to the indoor gym! These pants are the best! I wear them almost every time I climb

And John in his favorite climbing pants, which just happen to be… you guessed it, prAna!

The are so flexible yet strong.

If you ever see me climbing and I am not in prAna gear, I may need a neurologic exam. Just saying. 

The quality is outstanding, but more importantly, prAna is a sustainable brand and uses organic cotton and recycled fabrics as they aim to help the planet. Read all about that here!

Full Disclosure: I did receive the Diva Jacket and Woodman’s Flannel to add to my already huge, self purchased prAna collection in exchange for sharing this information with you. All opinions are 100% honest and mine! This also has been the perfect segue into migrating a little away from DIY to more outdoor adventures and rock climbing. So HUGE thanks to prAna for what you do to help our planet and for being my go to outdoor gear! I love you!!

Another DIY Adirondack Set on the Cheap

DIY Adirondack Chairs and Table Pin

We are so excited building things for our new abode! Directly across the street is a lovely, wildflower, rabbit, squirrel and bird abundant park. We’ve decided to rid our lives of cable t.v., which affords us way more extra time than I realized, or care to admit. Instead of vegging out to the news upon awakening, we enjoy our morning coffee on the front porch in our super comfy adirondack set that we built with our own hands! We are forced to be more present and enjoy one another and nature more than ever, but the benefits of minimizing screen time are out of the scope of this article. I just want to talk about awesome adirondack-ness!DIY Adirondack Chairs Stools and Table

DIY Outdoor Furniture

This whole set took us a week, a few hours a day or so. We built the exact same set we shared in this DIY Adirondack Set post, so you can find the plan there.

DIY Adirondack Table

We changed the color scheme. I used Rustoleum Vintage Teal for the table. I found outdoor pillows at Walmart for $5 each that tied everything together!

DIY Adirondack Chair Woodworking Plan

Here is the first chair finished. Notice all the screw holes we had to fill before painting! I prefer Fast’N Final by DAP.

Chalk Painted DIY Adirondack Chair Set

For the chairs and stools, I used Rustoleum Chalked in Linen White. It took 3 coats, which in my experiences is a lot for chalk paint. All in all, I am happy with the product and will use it again.

All five pieces were sealed with Minwax Polycrylic Water Based Protective Finish. It is my go to!

Facebook Adirondack DIY

How to build Adirondack Chairs

We love our new set, and our mornings spent together, present and peaceful!

Over 50 Pumpkin Recipes to Make

Over 50 Pumpkin Recipes @savedbylovesIt is one of the best things about fall and the holiday season, a great source of potassium and Vitamin A, and is over 90% water. What is it, you ask? We are talking about pumpkin! Today we are sharing over 50 tasty pumpkin recipes for you to enjoy. You will see pumpkin soup, scones and everything in between. If we missed your favorite pumpkin recipe, leave us a link in the comments so we can share your delicious creation!

Over 50 Pumpkin Recipes @savedbyloves

Best Zucchini Bread Recipe in the Galaxy

Healthy and Delicious Zuchinni Muffin Recipe

Oh, hi! I’m Dondi, and you can usually find me and my work over at I Heart Intelligence and Unified Soul Theory. I live and work as a freelance writer and for an awesome community non-profit in gorgeous Fort Collins, Colorado, and I’m a cyclist, rock climber and general outdoor enthusiast. I’m thrilled to be here today to share my recipe for the best zucchini bread and muffins you’ve ever tasted.

 

First, a confession: the original recipe for this amazing bread is not one I can claim of my own. It comes from Sally’s Baking Addiction, my all-time favorite baking blog, and you can find the original recipe here.

 

I have a serious sweet tooth and, as a commuter cyclist who travels everywhere by bike, I really appreciate treats that taste delicious and travel well zipped into the pocket of one of my panniers. So when I first made this recipe I nearly lost my mind. The flavors were incredible: the butter! The brown sugar! The cinnamon and nutmeg and vanilla! The melty chocolate chips and crunchy walnuts and the streusel…oh the streusel…

 

Clearly I could wax poetic about this for hours. I probably have. I especially love that the recipe is for zucchini bread or muffins: there are vegetables in its title. Obviously, it must be good for me, right?

Best Ever Zuchinni Bread Recipe @savedbyloves

Unfortunately, while this recipe does have a whopping cup of zucchini in it (and I often add more), it also has a fair amount of butter and sugar and oil and therefore a whopping number of calories. So I made a few changes: I subbed half the oil for applesauce and part of the flour for ground flaxseed. I found that when I was making it, I always had a TON of streusel topping, so I started halving the amount of topping I made for each recipe. This sounds like baking blasphemy, I know, especially as one of Sally’s mandates on her blog is “more streusel!”, but I found that using half the amount was more than enough to get all of the incredible flavors with fewer calories and less fat. It’s the best of all worlds.

 

Both the bread and the muffins (I mostly make the muffins) keep nicely, covered at room temperature for up to five days. They also freeze really, really well. If I make these muffins and don’t freeze them I will eat way too many immediately, so I freeze most of the batch and then just grab them from my freezer as needed and toss them into my pannier to take with me wherever I’m going. By the time they thaw it’s like they were never frozen. For folks who don’t bike everywhere, they thaw just fine out on the countertop for an hour or so too, or you can warm them on low in an oven for 10-15 minutes. This recipe is also wonderfully scalable: I’ve doubled, tripled and even quadrupled it with no problems whatsoever.

 

Streusel Topping:

-⅓ cup rolled oats

-¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

-¼ teaspoon cinnamon

-1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

-⅛ cup butter (2 tablespoons), very cold

 

Zucchini Bread:

-1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

-¼ cup ground flaxseed

-½ teaspoon salt

-¾ teaspoon baking powder

-½ teaspoon baking soda

-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

-⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, to taste

-¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

-¼ cup white chocolate chips (optional)

-½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

-½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

-½ cup white sugar

-¼ cup oil (I use canola but use whatever mildly flavored oil you like!)

-¼ cup applesauce

-1 cup grated zucchini*

-1 egg, beaten

-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

To Make:

 

For Bread: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or nonstick-spray a loaf pan or line with parchment paper and set aside. For Muffins: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease or nonstick-spray a 12-count muffin tin or line cups with paper liners and set aside.

 

-Streusel Topping(make this first!):

Combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour together in a medium-sized bowl until well-mixed and no brown sugar lumps remain. Cut the butter into tiny pieces (I actually grate it on the large holes of a box or hand grater) and combine with dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, two knives or just your fingers. You want a loose crumby structure, and if the mix or the butter gets too warm it’s easy to overmix. It’s still usable in this form, but more difficult to work with, so try to keep it loose, but well-combined. Set aside (I put it in the fridge.)

 

-Muffins:

Toss together flour, flaxseed, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl until well combined. Mix in chocolate chips and walnuts, if using. Set aside.

 

Stir together brown sugar, white sugar, oil, and applesauce in a medium bowl until well-combined. Add in the zucchini and mix well. Add in the egg and vanilla and give a good stir until everything is well-combined. No need to over-stir.

 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mix and stir to combine. I try to stir this mixture as little as possible, just until no flour remains. This keeps it from getting tough.

Best Ever Zuchinni Muffin Recipe FB @savedbyloves

 

For bread: Pour into prepared loaf pan, then bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and add streusel topping, pressing the topping evenly into the top of the bread. You’re adding this after baking 20 minutes so that the streusel doesn’t sink down into the batter. Return it to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. You can cover the bread loosely with foil to keep it from browning too much. It’s done when a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the bread cool for at least an hour in the pan set on a wire rack before cutting and serving. (This may be the hardest hour of your life.)

 

For muffins: Oven should be preheated to 425. Fill cups with batter almost all the way to the top. Sally’s recipe notes that this makes 10 muffins but it easily fills all 12 cups every time I make these. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over each cup, then bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees. After five minutes, turn down the oven temperature to 350. Bake at 350 for an additional 14-15 minutes or until done (a test toothpick into one or two should come out clean, though they are so reliably done at 14-15 minutes I don’t even check them). Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then pop out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

 

*Zucchini is a really watery vegetable. To keep it from watering down your muffins, grate the zucchini onto a few layers of paper towels or a clean dry kitchen towel and squeeze as much water from it as you can. You’ll be amazed how much water you squeeze out!

Best Ever Zuchinni Muffin Recipe @savedbyloves copy

How to Build a Dog Feeding Station

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of DAP Products Inc. for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

How to Build a Dog Feeding Station

Today you get free woodworking plans and distressed painting instructions to build this custom dog feeding station. All of the wood in this project was scored in the Craigslist free section. I literally stalk this section daily, which has paid off in spades over the years!

Saint Bernarnd Puppy

This project is for our friend’s irresistibly adorable Saint Bernard puppy, Willy (above). You can easily adjust the height to fit your animal just right. This was my first time using DAP® RapidFuse™ Wood Adhesive, which I am excited about for many reasons. You will be too! Let’s get started.

Tools and Materials list:

Identical food and water bowls (They don’t have to be the same size as ours, but need to fit in the space                               dictated by the width of the wood you are using for the top).

DAP® RapidFuse™ Wood Adhesive

¾ inch finished-one-side plywood – 10 feet

Kreg Jig and 1.5 inch Kreg screws

1.5 inch x 0.25 inch trim strips (Or desired wood for trim)

Glue, Pencil, paper, Scissors

Table saw and Jig Saw

Nail gun

Drill

Craigslist free section gave us a section of ¾ quarter inch finished plywood in perfect shape. The piece was dry, flat, hole-free, and large enough to cut out all the pieces.

  1. The first thing to do is to build the basic box using the ¾ plywood. Here are the dimension for each piece:

(2 Pieces) Front/Back – 12” x 23”

(2 Pieces) Sides – 12” x 12”

(1 Piece) Top – 12” x 21.5”

  1. Cut Bowl opening in Top.

Willy’s bowls were the stainless steel, slightly tapered ones with a little ¼ inch lip around the top edge. The trick is to cut the opening so that it is large enough that the bowl slips all the way down in but small enough that it catches the lip of the bowl. Seems simple but because of the slight taper it is a little tricky. Here’s the way I found easiest.

Woodworking project plansGet the bowl into position. For mine each bowl opening ended up being 3.25 inches apart in the center and 7.5 inches in diameter. You can set them however you want visually. Once in place, trace a line around the upside down bowls.

Drill hole for Jig Saw

Use your drill and drill a hole inside the circle large enough for your jig saw blade to pass through.

Insert Jigsaw blade

Using your jig saw cut out the circle you traced on to the top. The trick is to cut the opening so that it is large enough that the bowl slips all the way down in but small enough that it catches the lip of the bowl. If you prefer not to eyeball it, draw a circle inside the traced circle. If you’re like me, I had to do a little finishing touch with the saw and the sandpaper, in order to get the bowls to sit down nicely in the hole. BE CAREFUL don’t get happy with the cutting and make the hole too big. You don’t want the bowl to fall through!

  1. Drill Kreg holes into each piece as follows:

          TopKreg Hole Placement for Top Piece
                                                                                  SidesKreg Hole Placement for sides of holder

Use Kreg Jig to Join Wood

For more info on using this jig, see my previous post: How to Make a Pallet Sign Using a Kreg Jig

  1. Assembly – Time to put it all together and talk about wood glue!

Wood Glue Tips

I had the opportunity to try out DAP® RapidFuse™ Wood Adhesive, and I won’t go back to other wood glues! After just 30 minutes, you can plane, sand and stain wood. No more waiting 24 hours. No more not being able to stain. The stuff is also water resistant, so it’s great for indoor and outdoor projects. The joint is stronger than with yellow glue or polyurethane glue, and doesn’t swell, shrink or crack! There is no other glue like it. Seriously.

Wood Glue Application

Apply a line of glue on the side piece.

Attach with Kreg Jig

Attach the side pieces to the front piece first using the 1.5 inch Kreg screws.

Next, attach the TOP piece so that it sits inside the sides and flush with the top edge of the front piece. Also attach the top to the side pieces.

Lastly, attach the back piece in the same way you did the front piece.
Attach top last

Now you have a box that is extra sturdy, with a recessed top that has holes in it to sit the bowls.

Attach Mitered Trim

    1. Trim – We decided to cut mitered trim pieces around the perimeter of the Top to cover the little seam and just add a little “finished” look. It’s totally optional. We make our own trim board by using the table saw with the fence set to about ¼ inch and then we rip 1.5 wide boards. You can buy trim board already cut if you prefer. We also mitered the corners but you can butt them if you don’t have confidence in your mitering skill. Just do it like you’re cutting a picture frame and attach it to the box with glue and then small brads in the nail gun.

Sand edgesBefore painting, sand any uneven areas.How to Chalk Paint Distress Wood

    1. Paint – We wanted a distressed look, and decided to go with a stained top, painted bottom. This is a super easy paint distressing technique that you can apply to any project.

Stain top

I stained the top with Wood Finishing Cloths. These are super convenient as they aren’t as messy as using stain from a can, and they contain sealant!

Dry Brush for DIY Weathered Wood Finish
Tape off the top (pictured below). Apply your first base coat color randomly on all sides. This is fun because you paint in every which way, quickly and messily!

Dry Brush on Second Color

Once the first color is dry, apply the second color in the same fashion. I realized at this point I needed to tape off the top so I wouldn’t get paint on the stained area.

Apply Final Paint Color with Wooden Block

A block of wood is a great tool for creating a chippy paint look. You can use a piece of scrap wood, or this fancy distressing tool with a handle. Just get a glob of paint on the wood, and drag it across your surface, repeating until you are happy with the result.

Create Stencil with Cricut and Paint Name

Finally, I created a stencil with my cricut machine and cut it out of white contact paper. I used a dark gray/black chalk paint for this part, applying it with a paint dauber.

DIY Dog Feeding Station Tutorial

Seal as desired and you are finished!

How to Make a Dog Feeding Station FB

Thanks to DAP for the great new woodworking product. I will be keeping up with them here: DAP Facebook, and for sure using RapidFuse in my future builds!

Visit Sponsors Site

Easy Game Night Salsa Recipe

Easy Game Night Salsa Recipe @savedbyloves

 

Johnnie and I met about two months ago, both having recently moved to Fort Collins, CO from out of state. We both work from home, have a beagle(s, in her case), love outdoor adventures, and are positive and active people. Needless to say we hit it off well. Our first meeting was at the dog park, then we carpooled to a snowshoeing event the following weekend, and went to float in isolation tanks, too!

 

I just love food made from whole, fresh ingredients. I originally came up with this recipe when I was living in Maryland and getting fresh organic veggies weekly through a CSA subscription. Salsa is amazing because you can eat it so many ways- with corn chips, on top of a baked chicken breast, with scrambled eggs, and on top of a turkey burger just to name a few. Who doesn’t love a tasty way to get some extra veggies on their plate?

Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:

6-8 large tomatoes

2 lemons

1/2 large bunch cilantro

couple pinches of sea salt and pepper

1 green pepper

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

Optional: jalapeno pepper(s), if you like spicy salsa

 

  1. Juice lemons (remove seeds).
  2. Remove seeds and stem from pepper. Cut into quarters. If using jalapenos, dice and remove top.
  3. Peel onion and garlic. Quarter onion. Mince garlic
  4. Throw all ingredients along with the stuff from steps 1-3 into the food processor. Pulse until desired consistency, stopping to scrape/mix as needed.
  5. Serve with chips or over burgers or as desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Note: We didn’t have a food processor at our disposal, so instead, we chopped the tomatoes into quarters, cut the cilantro with scissors into small bits (just the leaves), diced the onion into small bits, and diced the garlic and peppers. Then we followed the recipe above using a blender. The food processor just saved some time dicing, but the end product is equally tasty.

 

My love for the Spanish language and Hispanic culture goes farther than just making tasty salsa! After majoring in Spanish in college and studying abroad in Spain, I started my own virtual business teaching practical conversational Spanish and English to break down language barriers. I offer personalized one on one language lessons, appropriate for all levels, including those with no prior language experience. Payment plans available. I also offer group language lessons at a great rate, virtual workshops, and trips to Spanish speaking countries. Want to chat more with me about learning Spanish (or English) conversation virtually? Check out my website at www.rompiendolasbarreras.com or email me at hannahrompiendolasbarreras@gmail.com.

Guest post by Hannah Pinkerton, Rompiendo Las Barreras- Virtual Spanish & English Conversation Lessons

Thank you so much, Johnnie for allowing me to do a guest post on your blog this week. You are the best!

 

Easy Bubble Gum and Cotton Candy Fudge Recipes

Fudge Recipes

 

I recently had the craving for some bubble gum fudge and decided to give making some a go! The seven year old inside was coming out. Bubblegum and cotton candy have always been favorite flavors of mine. While I was hunting down the bubble gum flavor I used, I was pleasantly surprised to find cotton candy as well. Yay! It’s the little things. The fudge was ridiculously easy to make, and it was a huge hit as a game night recipe a couple of days later. It would be the perfect baby shower dessert, don’t you think? Whip some up for the kiddos, or for the inner kid!

Bubblegum Fudge Recipe

INGREDIENTS
20 Wilton Candy Melts Pink or Wilton Candy Melts Blue for the cotton candy version
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon LorAnn Bubble Gum Liquid Flavoring or LorAnn Cotton Candy Liquid Flavoring

DIRECTIONS

Easy DIY Bubblegum Fudge Recipe
In a large microwave safe bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk with Wilton Candy Melts. Microwave on high for 1-1/2 minutes to melt candy. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.

Add bubble gum flavoring and stir thoroughly.

Pour mixture into wax paper-lined 9-inch square pan and spread evenly. Chill for 4 hours or until fudge sets.

How to Make FudgeDump fudge out onto cutting board, peel away wax paper and cut into squares. Keep in an airtight container and enjoy!

This recipe is adaptable to any flavor and color. Make your favorite for game night snacks. Find Wilton Candy Melts in your favorite team’s colors for a Superbowl Party recipe that will surely be a hit!

How to Make Fudge @savedbyloves

Budget Decor for the Holidays With At Home

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of At Home for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I know it seems early, but let’s face it friends, Christmas is rapidly approaching. With ever growing Christmas gift lists, nobody wants to spend a ton on decorating for the holidays That is why I am excited to introduce you to At Home Christmas Decor! This is the perfect stop for all of your decorating needs.

​With all of their indoor and outdoor decorations offered in 15 style themes and over 101 artificial Christmas Trees available in the Tree for Me area, At Home has something for every taste and style.

This store is huge, with an impressive array of affordable Christmas décor and everyday low prices. I was a bit overwhelmed upon walking in, but luckily the staff were eager to breakdown the layout and point me towards the style I was seeking!

I will be the first to admit that styling is not a gift of mine. I can create individual pieces, no problem, but arranging them in an aesthetically pleasing fashion does not come easily. That said, I love this sweet vignette I created with pillows, a blanket and side table accents!

It came together super quickly, easily, and inexpensively – just how I like it! I had a little help from the inspiration page on the At Home website. Check it out to explore the 15 decorative themes and get ideas for decorating your space this holiday season with At Home!

Christmas Pillows

Which decorative theme is your favorite? Comment below and we will see if our tastes are similar! Hint: I like a combo of three!

Visit Sponsors Site

Make Easy Earrings From Upcycled Fabric

How to make earrings

Not only are these earrings easy to make and cute, they are upcycled from some super meaningful fabric.  I created them from one of my beloved grandpa’s many handkerchiefs, soon after his passing. Whipping the cloth out of his pocket, he gently wiped away the tears from his loved ones eyes, and eliminated runny noses with joy. A single hanky is big enough to fashion several pairs, so the women in our family all have a wearable reminder of the best man to ever live (yes, I am biased, but also, he was the best)! Today I am going to show you how to make your own version in just a few simple steps. They would be cute fashioned from old jeans, your favorite shirt, your grandpa’s hanky, or just about any fabric you want. Let’s do this!!

How to Make Easy Upcycled Hanky Earrings @savedbyloves

SUPPLIES:

How to Make Memory Earrings

White handkerchief or fabric of your choice

Organza or Tulle

Metal Eyelets

Crop-a-Dile

Metal chain small enough to fit through eyelet

Metal washer from hardware store that eyelet will fit in and not slide through when set

Ear Wire from Vintaj

Tonic Scissors

Jewelry pliers (2 pairs)

-side note: I gave my grandpa the book Between Me and You GRANDPA, he filled it out completely, and it is a blessing beyond words. My most valued possession, for sure.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Use Spray Inks to Color Hanky

Spray fabric if desired. I went with a fall color palate using the spray inks shown. Let air dry for a couple of hours, then set by drying in machine on high heat for 5 minutes.

Make a Square Template From Cardstock

Make a square template from card stock about 1.5 inches wide and long (yeah, a square).

Cut Squares from fabric and organza

Cut several squares from your fabric of choice using the template as a guide. I cut some from tulle in addition to the hanky.

Hole Punch Center of Template

Hole punch center of template with Crop-a-Dile

Hole Punch Center of Fabric

Hole punch center of fabric using template as a guide. You can hole punch several squares at the same time, depending on the thickness of your fabric.
Make a Sandwich from Fabric Squares with Washer in the MiddleMake a sandwich from fabric squares with washer in the middle. I used 3-4 squares on each side of the washer. The purpose of the washer is stability and weight.
Use Crop a Dile to Set EyeletUse Crop-a-Dile to set eyelet.

https://savedbylovecreations.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Insert-Metal-Chain-Through-Eyelet.png

Insert chain about 3 inches long through eyelet.

Use Jewelry Pliers to Add Ear Wire

Make a loop from the chain, using ear wire to join both the chain loops on each end. You are finished!

DIY Upcycled Fabric Earrings

DIY Upcycled Fabric Earrings from Hanky @savedbyloves

I love having something so reminiscient of my grandfather to wear, not that I need it to remember him. He is everywhere and I am blessed! I love you, Pa. And now the flood gates are open.

Here is to grandfathers everywhere! May you cherish every moment with yours.