01/27/15

DIY Idea // Leafy Heart Cut Outs for V-Day

Last week, I was working on some last minute styling ideas for this post and ended up breaking apart a stem of variegated kale (you can get it al the grocery store, but I happen to pick mine up from a flower market) and cutting out shapes from each leaf.

Instead of incorporating it into the finished project as a decoration, I thought I’d break it down into it’s own project instead. In the 2015 survey, 73% of you said that you want more quick, super easy DIY ideas. So consider this one of them.

I’m sure you can tell from the photos that these kale hearts are SUPER easy to make, but also kind of fun and lighthearted. Which is pretty much my favorite combo. You could press them between books to let them dry out and use as decoration for Valentine’s Day, add them as edible cake toppers, etc.

All you need is a pair of scissors and variegated kale, ornamental cabbage, or some other large leaf plant or flower. These would be awesome with flower petals!

Cutting a leaf into a heart for Valentine's Day

To make your own, just pull a large leaf of kale from the stem and start cutting. I like to start the bottom of the heart at the base of the leaf and use the middle vein that runs through each leaf as my guide for the center line of each heart.

Cutting a leaf into a heart for Valentine's Day

When you’re finished, you’ll have something that looks like this.

You can stop there and use these little guys as is…for dinner decorations or whatever else you can dream up. Or press the cut outs, either with a wooden press or between heavy books until dried. Pressing flowers and leaves typically takes a while before they’re completely dried out – about one to two weeks usually. BUT you could also try pressing them in the microwave, which will drastically speed up the process. There’s a tutorial for microwave pressing on BHG.

DIY // hearts cut out of kale leaves

DIY // hearts cut out of kale leaves

 Concept, photography, and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff

Think you’ll give this mini DIY a try? I’d love to hear any additional uses you can think of for these. I know I’m sure I’m forgetting some things they can be used for.

01/26/15

Salted Dulce de Leche Cake

Because everything sweet also needs a little something salty, today I’m kicking off the week with a recipe for salted dulce de leche. It tastes a whole lot like salted caramel sauce…only dulce de leche is about 100 times easier to make. If you can open a can and use a slow cooker, you can make this sister sauce to salted caramel.

This recipe actually kicks off a new series of posts that I’ve teamed up with Linda Jednaszewski to create. Linda works behind the scenes with me on Paper & Stitch, mainly with craft production and now recipe development as well. She is an awesome cook and I’m so excited to be working with her to bring you more original recipes in 2015.

Alright, enough talking. Let’s get to the good stuff…

(Super Easy) Recipe for Salted Dulce de Leche Drizzle

Ingredients:

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk // 1 tsp vanilla // 1 tsp salt

You’ll also need:

Slow cooker // 2 half-pint mason jars and lids, sanitized // Mortar and pestle // Wood cutting board or towel

Instructions:

1. Grind the salt with the mortar and pestle to achieve a superfine grain.

2. Divide the sweetened condensed milk evenly and add to the mason jars. Repeat with the vanilla and salt.

3. Screw the lids onto the jars, sealing tightly. Invert the jars and shake to mix well.

4. Place the jars in the slow cooker and fill the slow cooker with water. Make sure to cover the tops of the jars with at least 1 inch of water.

5. Turn the slow cooker on low heat and cook overnight (for 8 to 12 hours) until desired level of caramelization is achieved.

6. Turn off the slow cooker and let the water cool for an hour. Remove the jars and place on a wood cutting board or towel to cool completely. Be careful – the water stays pretty warm! And, because the jars are glass, you want to be careful not to let them touch anything cold (to avoid breaking the glass).

This recipe yields 1.25 cups of caramel sauce, which is exactly the amount that you need for the salted caramel ice cream (which we’ll be sharing a recipe for next week). The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Note: If you want to thin the sauce a bit to easily pour it onto a cake, mix a splash of half an half or heavy cream and whisk.

Salted Dulce de Leche Recipe

Recipe // Salted Dulce de Leche Drizzle

Salted Dulce de Leche Cake

Recipe and baking by Linda Jednaszewski (adapted from Foodie with Family)
Styling and photography by Brittni Mehlhoff

For about $4 worth of ingredients, you can dress up a store bought cake with this salty sweet sauce. Or use it for milkshakes, cookies, even in your morning coffee. Yum!

Think you’ll give this recipe a try for cakes, cookies, or coffee?

01/23/15

6 Weekend DIYs to Try

This weekend I am planning to spend an inappropriate amount of time laying on the couch and watching movies. This week was a doozie, so if you have any Apple TV or Netflix suggestions, let me know.

That said, I’m pretty sure that I can still get a DIY or two in there….you know…from the couch. :) So, I rounded up some weekend DIYs to try. #3 is a must, if you ask me.

1. blood orange popsicles recipe

2. hand lettered DIY dip dyed stationery

3. marble moon phase wall hanging project from Almost Makes Perfect

4. strawberry cream cake recipe from Pretty Simple Sweet

5. make your own (all natural) stovetop potpourri

6. hand painted DIY watercolor scarf

Hope you have a great weekend.

-Brittni