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Unless otherwise noted, all content and photos are property of Elle @ Elle's New England Kitchen. Copyright 2008-14. All rights reserved. If you'd like to reprint an article or use a photo, please contact me for permission at ellenekitchen at gmail dot com. All photos, unless specified, have been taken by me, and if used without permission, an invoice will be forwarded to the proper business/individual. Thank you.

 

 

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Wednesday
Jul032013

Mixed Red Seed Bead Bracelet

Iron Craft ‘13 - Challenge #13 - Eye of the Needle

Mixed Red Seed Bead Bracelet

For this challenge, we were asked to create something using needles. I was psyched when I read the challenge because I’d literally just bought some big eye needles to use with some teeny seed beads I’d ordered. What’s a big eye needle? That’s what I asked when I first heard of them. It’s really just a needle with a big eye. You can split the needle almost all the way in half and insert your bead stringing material. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby, but you can see how it works here.

Mixed Red Seed Bead Bracelet

I was browsing an online sale a couple weeks before this challenge and found some gorgeous seed beads on sale, so I went ahead and purchased those, some stretchy cord for stringing them, and of course, the big eye needles. The needles really make picking up those teeny beads so simple--I don’t see how you could do it otherwise.

Mixed Red Seed Bead Bracelet

Mixed Red Seed Bead Bracelet

For this one, I used three different kinds of seed beads, and they’re all Czech Glass Beads. The 10/0 and 6/0 refer to the bead sizes. The larger the bead, the smaller the number. With the 6/0 beads, you get about 9 beads per inch, and with the 10/0 beads, about 16 per inch. There are some as small as 15/0, and with those, you get about 23 per inch! I cannot imagine working with beads that tiny.

10/0 Transparent Silver Lined Red Seed Beads
6/0 Transparent Silver Lined Red Seed Beads
6/0 Opaque Red Seed Beads
Clear Stretch Magic Elastic Cord, .5mm diameter

G-S Hypo Tube Cement for gluing the knots
Big eye Needles

Not necessary, but so helpful: Bead Stopper

So take a nice length of stretch cord, I cut about 10 inch strands so I’d have plenty of wiggle room when beading. Pre-stretch the cord by holding the center and pulling the ends. This ensures that it’s already stretched out, and won’t stretch too much when you put it on your wrist. If you don’t do this step, it’ll stretch too much when you put it on, and you’ll have a longer cord and not enough beads to fill it up. Am I making sense? Just stretch it first.

Open your big eye needle and insert about an inch of the cord into the eye. Pull it down to the bottom of the opening and make sure it’s snug. It also helps to have one of these bead stoppers on the other end of the cord to keep the beads from coming off the cord. Trust me! So using your needle, pick up the beads and string them on the cord.

I didn’t measure out standard bracelet lengths, I just eyeballed it and held the bead strands up to my wrist. I made them all a bit longer than needed so I could braid them together. You’re going to tie simple square knots in the cord to seal it up, then add a drop or two of the G-S Hypo Cement right on the knot to seal it. Cut off the excess cord being careful not to cut into the knot. Set it aside to dry--it sets very quickly, but needs a few hours to set up really well.

Repeat these steps again to make a second strand with the next beads, and before knotting and gluing it, simply twist it around and through (or “wind” it through) the first strand you made to braid it, about 4 passes through. When you have done that, you can proceed to knot it and glue it. Then do a third strand with the third beads, and braid it through, knot it and glue it. Set it all aside to dry for a few hours and it should be all set to wear!

Here is a great video that shows the steps I described above!

 

Mixed Red Seed Bead Bracelet

Please check out the Iron Craft Flickr Group for more great ideas!

Monday
Jun242013

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

“To. Die. For.”

“I love this ice cream. I hope you never make it again. I want to eat the whole thing. Incredible!”

“Mmmmm. Mmmmmm!”

“Don’t bother dropping some off for me the next time you make this. I’ll just be waiting outside until you do.”

These are some of the comments I’ve gotten on this ice cream. The best part? It’s super simple to make and you can all make it right in your own homes, with no special ingredients. It’s also egg free.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

It’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and I’m in love with it. You can take her base recipe and go wild from there--you’re only limited by your imagination. I’ll be buying the book, as well. I already know I’ll be reading it cover to cover.

What’s different about these ice creams from Jeni Britton Bauer is that they’re thickened with corn starch. I know, right? Corn starch, a bit of cream cheese, and the usual cream, milk and sugar, and you have this magical concoction that, when churned in your ice cream maker, turn into the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream in the world. The corns starch helps to absorb and hold water, resulting in an ice cream that isn’t icy or gritty. It’s just perfect.

I had this ice cream, “The Darkest Ice Cream in the World,” bookmarked since last summer. I was browsing my bookmarks and decided it was finally time to give this a try--and I’m so happy that I did! My add-ins were chopped, smoked almonds and coarse sea salt. What a wonderful combination! The salt perfectly compliments the sweetness of the ice cream (which isn’t any sweeter than any other ice cream), and the almonds add nice crunch, chew and that element of “Hey, what’s that I’m tasting?”

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

So to make this cream, follow this recipe. Jeni likes to chill the heated ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, submerged in an ice bath. I opted to pour mine into a 2 quart container and chill it overnight because I couldn’t get to it right away. I also doubled the recipe to make 2 quarts because I have a larger ice cream maker.

While your ice cream is churning according to manufacturer's directions, measure out about 1-1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt, and chop about 3/4 cup of smoked almonds. When it’s finished churning, scoop some of the ice cream into a freezer safe container. Layer in some of the coarse salt and some of the chopped smoked almonds, than add another layer of ice cream, and keep going until you’ve added all of the salt, nuts and ice cream. Take a rubber spatula or large spoon and just kind of poke it around in the ice cream so the layers get all messed up and the stuff gets distributed. Freeze for at least four hours or overnight so it cures.

A note about the coarse sea salt. Don’t worry about where to find some. You can find it in nearly any grocery store right next to the other salts. I got this one for less than $2. The Smoked Almonds are from Blue Diamond.

I find that you don’t even need to let this sit out on the counter before scooping. It’s rich and scoopable, and ready to go. Stay tuned for more ice cream recipes based on this idea!

Oh, and this ice cream is fabulous on top of one of these Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies. Trust me. Heaven in a bowl.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

Thursday
Jun202013

Woodchuck Cider Garlic Shrimp and Bacon Pizza

Iron Craft ‘13 Challenge #12 - Picnics

Woodchuck Cider Garlic Shrimp and Bacon Pizza

I love picnics! We don’t have enough of them, but I’m determined to change that this summer. When I think of picnics, the first thing I think of is, of course, the food. It’s the heart of the picnic. I chose to make pizza for our Iron Craft Picnic. Because who doesn’t love pizza?! And pizza is perfectly acceptable when it’s eaten cold.

This one has Woodchuck Cider garlic shrimp, bacon, pesto, and of course, a nice blend of pizza-type cheese. It’s packed with flavor and just as good cold as it is piping hot from the oven.

Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White Cider

I usually make my garlic shrimp with white wine but this time I used Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White Cider. I’m in love with this cider! Well, I love all of Woodchuck’s ciders. This one has hints of coriander and orange. It’s just right. Not too sweet, not too sharp. It’s a great all around hard cider that pairs well with seafood, so yeah, shrimp pizza. Look for the Woodchuck blue six pack!

Belgian White

A handcrafted treasure, the ultra-limited edition Private Reserve Belgian White, is crafted with a classic Belgian beer yeast. Cloudy, with a rich, golden hue, it presents a delicate aroma and taste, with coriander and orange notes. It pairs excellently with seafood fare, mixed greens or sharp cheeses. Join the select few who get an exclusive taste of the fruits of our labor.

Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White Cider

This is so simple to make, and you can make the bacon and shrimp ahead of time. The only real “recipe” part of this is for the shrimp. The rest is pizza--there is no real recipe, it’s all to taste--a guideline! This one has a thick cut bacon--use your favorite. Pesto, again--use your favorite recipe or jarred pesto. What kind of cheese do you like? We used a pizza blend and added some parmesan over the top of each pizza. We’d have loved to have grilled the pizzas, but it was raining. Let me know if you grill them!

Woodchuck Cider Garlic Shrimp

Makes 1 pound of shrimp

I used the Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White for this, but if you can't find that, go ahead and use any of their other varieties. Save the sauce to use for the pizza. If you're not making pizza, pour it over pasta with the shrimp, or just soak it up with crusty bread.

5 or 6 tbsp olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2/3 cup Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White Cider
1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
Coarse salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
Chopped parsley to garnish

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic. Cook slowly for a minute or two to flavor the oil with garlic, but be careful not to burn it.
Add the red pepper flakes and increase the heat to medium high.
Add the cider and let this go for about a minute, then add the shrimp.
Season with salt.
Cook until the shrimp is almost done (this will only take a couple of minutes).
Add the lemon juice and butter to finish the sauce.
Garnish with finely chopped parsley.

To make the pizza:

Pizza Dough
Cooked Cider Garlic Shrimp and the sauce
Crumbled, crispy bacon
Pesto
Pizza Cheese (whatever kinds that you like)

Heat your pizza stones in the oven or heat up the grill. Get your crispy, crumbled bacon ready to go. How much bacon you use depends on your tastes. We definitely didn’t use more than one pound.

Make sure your cider garlic shrimp is cooked and ready to go! We had fairly large shrimp so after cooking, I cut them in half or thirds.

Take your pesto and add some of the sauce from the shrimp. You don’t want it too runny, so add a little at a time. When it’s a nice spreading consistency, set it aside as well.

Stretch your pizza dough into the size you want. Spread on some of the pesto and shrimp sauce mixture. Add your cheese. Top with shrimp and bacon, then sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake in the oven (or grill it) until crispy and done to your liking. We usually heat our pizza stones up for half an hour or so at about 500 degrees. Personal size pizzas take 7-8 minutes.

Serve hot with extra sauce for sipping the crusts in (yeah, good!) or cold, in your picnic basket.

Woodchuck Cider Garlic Shrimp and Bacon Pizza

Be sure to check out the Iron Craft Flickr Group for more Picnic ideas!

Wednesday
Jun052013

Iron Craft ‘13 Challenge #12 - Picnics

Hello Iron Crafters! I’m guest hosting the current challenge while Kathy is making her way through Ireland.

Since it’s June and the weather is finally shaping up to look like summer around here, my mind is drifting away to picnics. Doesn’t matter where you have them, they’re always fun.

So the challenge is to show us something you use, eat, play, etc.--at a picnic. It can be your grandma’s best fried chicken, your favorite picnic menu, a portable game you like to play with friends and family--anything like that.

Have fun, and think picnic thoughts! Here are some ideas to get you started:

picnic-1

picnic-2

picnic-3

picnic-3

 

 

Reveal date is Tuesday, June 18th. Please on post in progress photos before that date. Tag photos with IC1312 and IronCraft.

Monday
Jun032013

Dark Chocolate Cherry Kale Smoothie

Dark Chocolate Cherry Kale Smoothie

Dark cherries, super dark cocoa, and so-good-for-you kale come together in your blender with a few other ingredients to make your daily green smoothie more like an indulgent cherry chocolate shake. And it tastes fantastic! No lie.

My secret ingredient in this smoothie is an avocado. It adds such a creaminess and richness to any smoothie! I also use them in sauces and salad dressings.

So--yeah, this smoothie won’t win any beauty contests, but who cares about that when it’s so good for you? Kale packs a huge amount of nutrients into a serving, and after it’s gone through the blender, you won’t even know it’s there! I’ve packed one and one half cups of kale into this smoothie. Same goes for the avocado. There’s a half of an avocado in this smoothie, and just like the kale, it’s a power house for your body. Lots of good stuff!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Kale Smoothie

I had the chance to try some kale and other greens from Nature’s Greens. Talk about fresh and ready to go! It’s so simple to grab your greens already washed and chopped and just add them to the blender (or pan or pot) when you’re in a hurry. Nature’s Greens is a line of pre-cut and triple-washed leafy bagged greens like kale, collards and mustard greens. Greens are very nutritious and can be cooked in so many ways but they’re especially perfect for smoothies and juices, which maintains more nutrients than cooking. And when your smoothie tastes as good as this one, you won’t mind because you’re not over indulging.

Nature’s Greens is having a “Sip you Nature’s Greens” contest and they’re giving away a whole bunch of NutriBullet Blenders! The contest is on their Pinterest page from May – July where they’ll be picking a winner once every two weeks to receive a NutriBullet blender. Read through to see more details!

Nature's Greens

I asked Nature’s Greens about GMO products and was very happy with their reply:

“We support sustainability by incorporating integrated pest management into our growing practices. Integrated pest management means we release beneficial insects into the growing area, and grow certain types of flowers to attract these beneficial insects. In addition, our products are bred using traditional breeding methods and they are not genetically modified.”

Nature’s Greens are available in at Hannaford, Wegmans, Whole Foods and Wal Mart, they’re available in one and two pound packages, and available year round. They’re produced by WP Rawl, a leading producer of fresh bulk and packaged greens based in Pelion, SC.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Kale Smoothie

Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie/Shake
Makes 3 cups

I inhaled this smoothie! It’s rich, dark and chocolaty. The cherries add incredible flavor, and while the kale adds a ton of nutrients, the avocado adds the richness.

1 1/2 cups cold Almond Coconut Milk
1 cup ice
1/2 of a Haas Avocado
1 TBSP dark cocoa
1 cup frozen or fresh dark cherries
1 1/2 cups kale
3 TBSP agave, honey, or other sweetener

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Find Nature’s Greens here on Facebook, and here on Pinterest.

Contest Entry Details:

 Sip Your Nature's Greens Pin to Win Contest

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the opinions stated are my own. I was given Nature’s Greens products to try in my own home at no charge, and will be purchasing them again for future use.