03/05/15

Aerial View of the Beach // Photo by Bernhard Lang

You know that little voice in your head that you start to hear when you’ve been working a lot? It kind of sounds like… “Hey, you should go lay down on the beach for a while and then drink (heavily) out of a coconut.”

Because I think I’m hearing that voice right now. And it’s getting more and more difficult to resist.

I’ll be headed to Houston in a few weeks to teach a DIY workshop with my friend, Ashley of Sugar & Cloth. Have you signed up yet? It’s going to be a fun one! Which will be a nice break. But I suspect that I’m going to need a completely work-free, sand in my toes, drink in my hand, vacation soon. What about you?

So today, I’m day dreaming of places that Jeff and I can travel to for a relaxing trip. Eight of them actually…

1. (above) Amazing aerial beach view from Bernhard Lang.

Lindquist Beach

2. Exploring Lindquist Beach.

Maldives

3. The Maldives! Jaw, meet floor. Via Beers and Beans.

The Baths at Virgin Gorda

4. The Baths at Virgin Gorda.

Hawaii

5. Hawaii through the eyes of Coco and Mingo.

Trunk Bay in St John

6. View from Trunk Bay in St John.

Venice Beach

7. Venice Beach. Via Smitten Studio.

Anegada in the British Virgin Islands

8. Anegada in the British Virgin Islands. Via Local Milk.

Have any recommendations for me? Clearly, I’m on a tropical / beach kick. But I’m totally open to non-beachy places too. I just want to go somewhere fun, relaxing, and affordable. Any ideas?

03/04/15

DIY Floral Fruit Centerpiece

At this point, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of popsicles. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I have.

So to celebrate the fact that spring is right around the corner, along with warmer temperatures (yay), I thought it would be fun to throw a popsicle party. You game?

I’ve partnered with Simply Juice Drinks to put it all together. And I tried their new line of all-natural juices (made with real fruit juice) to incorporate into popsicle recipes, drinks, and other DIY party ideas.

Put on your sunglasses. It’s about to get colorful…

Colorful DIY Party for Spring with Floral Fruit Centerpiece

A Spring Party with Simply Juice Drinks

Since this is a popsicle party, it probably makes sense to start with the recipes. Up first is my fave new popsicle recipe…

Fruit Punch Popsicle Recipe

Fruit Punch Popsicles

Fruit Filled Punch Pops Recipe

These are so easy! All you need for these pops are slices of fresh fruit (I used strawberries, mango, and blueberries) and Simply Fruit Punch or Simply Tropical. You can find Simply Juice Drinks in the refrigerated juice section at the grocery store.

Add the slices of fruit to the popsicle molds, then pour in the juice of your choice. Place in the freezer for 45 minutes. Then add popsicle sticks and let the popsicles freeze 4-6 hours, or until hardened.

To create color blocked and striped versions, only fill the juice partially in the molds before freezing, then add a layer(s) of the another juice on top and let freeze.

As with all popsicles, run warm water over the underside of the tray for 20-30 seconds to remove the pops, when you’re ready to eat.

A Spring Party with Simply Juice Drinks

A Colorful Spring Popsicle Party

DIY Popsicle Stick Garland + Floral Fruit Centerpiece

Works as a drink too…

You may want to mix up a drink version of this popsicle recipe for the table too. Just add Simply Tropical juice into a carafe, with some fruit slices for a decorative (edible) touch and put it into the fridge for several hours before serving. Add alcohol if desired.

Or add some fresh fruit to a glass, along with Simply Fruit Punch or Simply Mixed Berry over ice, as an even easier option.

Color Blocked Cream Pops Recipe

Color Blocked Cream Pops Recipe

Creamy Color Pops Recipe

The second popsicle recipe is great for anyone who like creamsicles, with a twist. You’ll need the following ingredients…Fruit Syrup Ingredients: 2 cups Simply Juice Drink // 5 tbsp sugar // 1 tbsp vanilla // 1/4 tsp salt // 1 tsp lemon juice Cream Base Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups whole milk // 3/4 cup heavy cream // 3 tbsp sugar // 1 tbsp corn starch

To make the syrup… Add the Simply Juice Drink (either Tropical or Fruit Punch), sugar, vanilla, and salt to the sauce pan. Over medium heat, bring the juice drink mixture to a boil. This should take about 10 minutes. Whisk occasionally and keep an eye on the pot to make sure the juice doesn’t boil over.

Then, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the mixture for another 35 to 40 minutes. Stir occasionally during the simmering step. The syrup will be ready once it has reduced in volume to about 2/3 cup. Remove the pot from the heat and prepare an ice bath for the pot. Move the pot to the ice bath and whisk the syrup until it cools completely. Whisk in the lemon juice.

To make the cream base… In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of whole milk with the corn starch. Set aside for later.

Add the remaining whole milk, heavy cream, and sugar to the sauce pan. Over medium heat, cook the milk mixture for about 10 minutes. Whisk continuously to avoid scalding the milk. Keep an eye on the pot to make sure the milk doesn’t boil over. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the corn starch slurry. Return the pot to the heat and reduce to medium low. Simmer for about 5 minutes while whisking continuously.

Remove the pot from the heat and prepare an ice bath for the pot. Move the pot to the ice bath and whisk the milk mixture until it cools completely.

Now it popsicle time! In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled juice drink syrup and cream base. Fill the popsicle molds and put in the freezer for 45 minutes. Then add popsicle sticks and let the popsicles freeze overnight. Or until hardened.

To create a color blocked look, split the cream base between two flavors of juice, and only partially fill the molds before freezing. Once frozen, add a layer of the second juice on top and let freeze.

Fruit + Flower Centerpiece DIY

Okay, so now that the popsicle recipes are taken care of, let’s talk DIY party ideas

1. Fruit + Flower Centerpiece: This is a fun one, but also, super easy. Grab a whole pineapple and a few mangos from the grocery store and arrange them on a platter. Tuck fresh flowers into the arrangement (they can also be pinned to the fruit with straight pins if necessary) and you’re good to go. Add a glass cloche if you’re feeling extra fancy, for a ‘dinner is served’ moment, like we did.

A colorful (DIY) popsicle party for spring

A Spring Party with Simply Juice Drinks

2. DIY Popsicle Garland: With the number of popsicle recipes I dream up, I’m bound to have at least 100 popsicle sticks laying around at any given time. So, I figured I’d use the extras to create a super easy popsicle garland.

To create your own, you’ll just need a good string or twine, 50-100 popsicles sticks (depending on how long you want to make it) and a hot glue gun.

Add a small bead of glue to the middle of a popsicle stick and attach to a long piece of string. Leave 1-2 ft of empty string before starting with the popsicle sticks, so that you can tie each side of the string to something, while hanging. Repeat this process for all of the popsicle sticks, leaving 1/8 – 1/4 inch between each one. Then when it’s ready to hang, gently twist the popsicle garland after securing it on one side, to get more of a spinning / haphazard look, like the one in the photos, before securing the other end.

I love the wood against those colorful backdrops. And speaking of backdrops…

Fruit Punch Popsicle Recipe

Colorful DIY Party Ideas for Spring and Summer

3. Colorful DIY Party Backdrops: Instead of adding artwork to a large empty space, try painting large pieces of wood instead. I picked up a couple of 4×4 pieces of floorboard for about $8 a piece. Then, all that was needed was a good priming and a couple of coats of paint. Rest them against a blank wall or even use them as a colorful tabletop surface.

Colorful Fruit + Floral Centerpiece Idea

Pineapple Toss

Hello Sunshine // Cheery Spring Party Ideas

Pineapple Love

Fruit Punch Popsicles Recipe

For more Simply Juice Drink themed inspirations, head over to the Simply Orange Juice Facebook page.

Photography by Heidi Geldhauser
Modeling by Shannon Cole
Craft production assisted by Linda Jednaszewski
Art direction, styling, and concept by Brittni Mehlhoff

Think you’ll give these popsicle recipes and DIY ideas a try? And more importantly, how ready are you for spring? Warm weather, I’m so ready for you!

This post is in partnership with Simply Beverages. All opinions expressed are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep Paper & Stitch running.

03/03/15

Toasted Marshmallow Girl Scout Cookie Sandwiches

Last week, Jeff walked into the house with a smile on his face and four or five boxes of Girl Scout cookies. That’s how we roll apparently. Anything for the children. :)  So I’ve been trying to come up with some creative ways to use them in recipes / dessert ideas, before we resort to freezing the extras.

My first thought was ice cream sandwiches, but Eden beat me to it with an awesome recipe. So, round two…toasted marshmallow sandwiches.

I’ve definitely made my fair share of marshmallow related desserts. Possibly even to the point of overkill? Nah! But I thought these would be fun, nonetheless. And easy. And delicious.

Toasted Marshmallow Girl Scout Cookie Sandwiches

Shortbread and Toasted Marshmallow Sandwiches

All you need to make your own are these two things: a box of Girl Scout cookies (I used thin mints and shortbread (also known as Trefoils) and a bag of marshmallows.

Toast the marshmallows over an open flame (perfect excuse to get a campfire going before the temperatures start to heat up again). Then sandwich the marshmallow between two cookies. Done!

If you’re feeling fancy, you could always add chocolate and caramel for a s’more sandwich. Especially good with the shortbread cookies!

Thin Mint and Toasted Marshmallow Sandwiches

Toasted Marshmallow Girl Scout Cookie Sandwiches

Thin Mint and Toasted Marshmallow Sandwiches

Toasted Marshmallow Girl Scout Cookie Sandwiches

Toasted Marshmallow Shortbread Sandwiches

Concept, photography, and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff

What do you think? Have any other ideas/ recipes for Girl Scout cookies? I’d love to hear ‘em.