As Leslie Knope would say…

Gal-entine’s Day has come and gone, and to celebrate some of my sweet girlfriends, I put my newly acquired macaroon making skills to use and cranked out some delicious puffy pastries.  And by that I mean I spent over six hours concocting over 70 dang cookies.  That’s in addition to the first batch that had to be completely tossed due to the egg whites not being mixed enough (remember my crappy-ish HB mixer that was supposed to be replaced by a KitchenAid but then I re-discovered Ikea???  I knew this would come back to bite me!).  

Back to my gals.  So I decided to not only crank out enough for several of my friends (and enough to “taste test”), I have been collecting various flavored exracts since my first macaroon attempt, and now wanted to come up with unbelievable delish flavor combos.  With a lot of thinking and experimenting, I developed the following: Lemon with lavender buds sprinkled on top:

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Coffee flavored with ground espresso:

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Almond Rose with additional ground almonds:

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Now if you’re wondering just want 70 macaroons look like all lined up, wonder no more:

 

 

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Additional gratuitous macaroon shot:

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So that was my Galentine’s Day, and it was a lot of sweaty work, but a lot of fun.  The project got even more fun when I spent so much time picking out patterned tissue paper and pastry boxes, in addition to shipping boxes and digging for addresses, I nearly didn’t get to the post office in the appropriate time to ship out in time!  This was indeed a labor of love, but totally worth it.

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Bombs Away!

ImageSo if you’re anything like me, when you first discovered Pinterest, you lost a good, solid 12 hours of your life.  I’m sure everyone figured out the awesomeness of this site about 3 years ago, but until recently, I didn’t have a crafting, cooking bone in my body, or any desire to find one.  But the story changes one night when I was looking on Tumblr for images of a hair color I wanted…after not finding enough pictures, for some reason, Pinterest popped into my mind and I thought I would explore.  Twelve hours later…I had more than a handful of hair color images to choose from, along with new boards for nail polish, women’s fashion trends (aptly entitled “styling up in this piece”), crafting options, exercises, healthy cooking ideas, you get the idea.  As I was browsing the craft boards (never thought I would write that sentence!), I noticed delicious recipes for concocting my own bath bombs and pinned a few.

I love love love bath bombs, but hate hate hate the prices at Lush!  Yet I still pay them every time, as I’m a huge sucker for how adorable and coma inducing their bombs are.  The bath bombs I usually pick out end up costing between $6-$8 each, and it’s just ludicrous that a bath accessory should cost that much!  Armed with by far the weirdest shopping list of my life (ummm, hello citric acid, I’m looking at you), I traveled to three separate crafting stores and a health food market, and gathered my supplies.  Now comes the fun part…

I followed the recipe carefully, mixed gently, avoided dampening the mixture too much (except at one point, accidentally, the bowl started fizzing maniacally), then carefully pressed the grainy powder into silicon cupcake molds and a mini-muffin pan.  And waited for magic.  I let them sit overnight, and then popped out the heart-shaped ones no problem, as the mold was flexible and easy to wriggle.  However, this was not the story for the mini-muffin tin, and I had to savagely pry out the bombs out of this pan, and determined they would be excellent bath bomb crumblies!

One caveat, I would recommend switching up glasses for contacts, as I swiped a tiny bit of bath bomb goodness on the corner of my frames!  Not to worry, it quickly came off, but I would hate to damage these gems.

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Hurt so Good!

While I have continued “researching” my KitchenAid beauty, I was all set to make the fateful call to customer service and place my order for that bad boy, when something happened.  That something was Ikea.  Now Ikea and I have not been friends.  Ever.  Every single Ikea trip I made with a friend or brother/sister was straight up painful, awful, mind-numbing, etc. My Ikea hatred began when I naively allowed my old college roommate to drag me in there once under the guise of “running in really quick to see if they have some fun house decor.”  Cut to four hours later and me tired, hungry, cranky and completely burned out…I swore I would not enter those automatic doors again.  But, of course I did.  Always with aforementioned roommate, and always for a “quick” trip that lasted hours and hours.  I finally learned better (at some point) and refused to go for about the last decade.  Home decorating is just not my bag-and as Carrie Bradshaw so aptly stated, “I like my money right where I can see it-hanging in my closet.”  Why would I spend money on tacky pillows and unassembled furniture when there was denim and heels to be had?  The last time I can remember even being in the vicinity of Ikea was about 3 years ago with my mom and sister, and I waited in the car for them while they had their own “quick trip” and enjoyed a productive, hour long nap.  But last week was oh so different, and oh so magical.  Which brings me back to heels.

I accidentally looked at the creative apartment decorating section in Lucky magazine years ago, and saw this amazingly cool way to display pretty shoes: in a glass front cabinet.  I ripped that page out and carefully filed it away in a section titled “things I really want but will prolly never have” and forgot about it for the most part.  Until I walked through Ikea’s warehouse sized store and found such a beauty in the As-Is section.  It was a gorgeous, 6 ft+ piece, in a lovely gray/brown color, with six shelves on which I could display all of my currently boxed up heels that I have waiting for a special date.  The “damage” for this piece, was that it was simply being discontinued, and was therefore $80 off from the regular $320 price.  So I pushed pause on the KitchenAid purchase, and I’m oh-so-glad I did!  I will likely still buy a KitchenAid in the relatively near future, but there was no waiting on the cabinet-literally.  We had to wheel that dragon around the store while we waited for a friend in a more hospitable environment than my honda civic to come rescue us and deliver the piece safely an hour away from the store.  No paying and putting it on hold, you want it, you slide it down on your minicart and enjoy.  And I did!  Made it home in one piece (and I super love that the As Is section is no assembly required!), as I still remember my old roommate pounding a bed frame together until some ungodly hour of the morning and showing me her blisters the next day.  Eeech.

I’ll be moving here in the next couple of weeks, and I cannot wait to plot and plan the shoe arrangement!   More importantly, the pain of Ikea has faded and now I see it in it’s full glory…and I like housewares now!  And furniture!  And lighting options!  Who would have thought?  This recent foray into the baking world has led to more domesticity than I intended…and I kind of like it 🙂Image