Nutcracker Cookies












I love to create new sets of cookies.  Designing a new cookie set is actually one of the best parts for me.  When I design a cookie, I first map it out in my head and start to get a feel for what I want it to look like.  Then I trace an outline of the cookies with the cookie cutter and draw it out.  With these cookies, I used pre-made icing decorations and hand-made ones as well.  I used a lot of edible sparkles, and I hand-painted edible gold on the details of the cookies.  Things get pretty serious in cookie decorating when you're holding a paint brush.  You start to feel like an artist painting a layered canvas, haha.  There's royal icing and then there's abstract oil paining.
I'm not sure if it's just the nostalgia from when I performed, or just because they are kinda cute, but these cookies are my some of my favorite!  I love the Nutcracker and always look forward to going around Christmas time.  Its' become one of our family traditions, especially since my two oldest girls perform now.  I figure I've perform in over a hundred Nutcracker's since about the time I was 12, and I can't listen to the music without feeling the need to start dancing. 
I hope you're enjoying this wonderful time of year!
Merry Christmas!
xoxo


My Top 3 Design Tips For Your Kitchen

I just added a few finishing touches to my kitchen, and that got me thinking about the things that make my kitchen feel fresh, clean, put-together, and well-designed.  I came up with a list of 3 things that will add a POW to any kitchen, can easily be implemented, and ultimately are easy on the waistline, I mean wallet.  And don't get me wrong, there are WAY more than 3 things, but I really feel good about these 3.


 1.  Fresh Fruit.  I love fruit.  Plain and simple.  It's pretty and yummy, and it adds the best practical/functional touch to any kitchen.  And when I say functional, what's better than a kitchen with a nice bowl of delicious, crisp apples (with a little Biscoff spread on the side)?  It really adds a welcoming touch.  Really, what says 'wonderful kitchen' better than sending the message that 'you can eat in here' with tons of fresh fruit.  And with lemons and limes at $.25, you can feel pretty good about over-flowing bowls of them.  Plus, you won't have any shortage for your morning, warm lemon-water.

2.  Greenery.  Plants.  Nature.  Fill a small pot with basil, rosemary, or lavender.  It always brings out the best in any kitchen, and it might even make you feel like a gourmet cook.  The main design element I just brought into my kitchen was a dwarf lime tree, and it's adding the happiest/freshest vibe.  It's like a sweet little smile in my kitchen.  I got mine for only $40 dollars, and if I do things right, it could be a long-term relationship.  I read up on what it needs to survive, and it needs sunshine and tender care (fingers crossed).  I also love to have mint in the kitchen since it adds the yummiest garnish to desserts and drinks.  There's also nothing like having a little lavender plant close by to rub off some of its essence.  Lavender is just so beautiful, so it really just does its own thing.

3.  Blue China.  It is just so pretty in the kitchen, and all you need is a tiny bit to make a statement.  You could, of course, do a lot and go that route, but one pretty little bowl or vase freshens up a space quite a bit.  On the other hand, I have a completely unhealthy amount of blue china, too much to reasonably display at one time.  That whole functional/practical concept doesn't always resonate with me.  And well, the description that 'I'm a hoarder trapped in a minimalist's body' (or is it the other way around?) sometimes applies to me.  
There are a lot of places that have incredible Blue China, and they're usually a lot of money.  I'd prefer to save that type of money for other things, or just buy one special piece.  But I am going to share a HUGE secret:  I have bought almost all my Blue China from Ross.  Yes, Ross!  My mom likes Ross, and I never used to go there, but then a few years ago I went with her, and BOOM!  Blue China everywhere.  I have gotten two sets of giant, matching vases, and all of my Blue China planters are from there.  The large pot in the pictures posted here is from Ross, and it was only $7.99!  Run to Ross, I hope you find some!  Either way, add a touch of Blue China, your kitchen will be whistlin' another tune.

Have fun with these 3 tips. Make them simple, practical, and enjoyable.











This whole blogging thing has almost gotten out of hand, and I've blogged more in the last few months than I ever have (minus all the documenting I've done for our family).  But it's fun for me, and it's a place for me to share some of my interests, and pursue the thing that matters most to me; creating.  
xoxo

A Boy's Room

This boy got a new room!  He's been hoping for a bunk bed for a long time, but every time I thought about him and a bunk bed, I though about him and a broken arm.  We settled with a lower loft bunk from Ikea, and it's perfect.  I know he's still going to be launching himself off of things, but I feel much better about this.
I posted links to a few details from his room below.  We love the swing and made it the spotlight of his room.  Right now it's on clearance as they bring in their new line of swings, and it's such a good price.  If you're looking to get one, buy it now.  You will love it!
I love this boy so much, I feel like I can't hold it in sometimes.  He has the greatest energy and brings the best joy and love into our family!  I'm so thankful I get to be his momma!  I love you times a million!!!



One of my favorite things that we did in his room was make the 'Lion Eyes' collage.  I bought the picture, and then cut it on a mat, and spaced it out evenly over three frames.  The frames are classic looking, but such a good price.  They are the 'Silverhojden' frames from Ikea.
Fringe Pillow
Tortoise Shell

Coconut Curry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This is one of our favorite meals.  When we're not stuffing our face with cookies, we love a wholesome veggie dish!  You know, moderation in all things; veggies for dinner and cookies for breakfast!

This dish is perfect served as a stew, over rice, or stuffed in a sweet potato.  It's loaded with the yummiest, vitamin-packed vegetables, is vegan, gluten-free, and leaves everyone's bellies full and satisfied.  And no one can ever eat just one bowl.  I've made it with a variety of different veggies, and I love using what vegetables I have on-hand.  
I got the recipe for the coconut curry from my sister-in-law Joanne, and then I couldn't resist stuffing it in sweet potatoes (one of my family's favorite things).  I've adjusted the original recipe a little; a few more vegetables, and a tad more spice, but the basis is her genius.  She created the recipe, and made it for a family dinner, and everyone was obsessed!  When she served it, I just kept going over to the pot and smelling its deliciousness.  She got all the flavors just right.
Here's the recipe below:
1 T olive oil or coconut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1-2 fresh jalapeno (depending on how spicy you like it)
2-3 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 apple (any variety), chopped
1 cup french green beans, cut in half
2 T ginger paste, or fresh cut ginger minced
3 cups cauliflower, roughly chopped
8 oz can tomato paste

2 T yellow curry powder
1 T cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt and pepper 

1 can vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk

1.  In a stock pot or large saute pan, saute onion, carrot, and jalapeno in oil for 4 minutes, or until onions have softened.
2.  Add all the spices, and toss to coat.
3.  Add the potatoes, cauliflower, ginger, apples, and tomato paste.  Let cook for 3 minutes.
4.  Add vegetable broth and bring all ingredients to a boil.  Once ingredients have reached a boil, bring to a simmer, covered for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.
At this point, you could add the coconut milk and then serve over rice.  If you want more of a soup, with a few larger vegetable pieces, continue on.
5.  Puree about 1/3 - 1/2 of the stew in a blender, and then return to your pan (continue until you have reached the desired texture).
6.  Stir in coconut milk
7.  Serve with rice or naan, or by stuffing in a softened, baked sweet potato.  Garnish with freshly sliced avocado, a few green beans, and a few slices of fresh ginger.
Serves about 8
Enjoy!

Go get these ingredients!  All of my ingredients were found at a local grocery store; no specialty stores.  I promise, if this type of vegetable-curry goodness is even close to your thing, it will become a weekly staple.

XOXO


This little sweetheart was the best little helper.  She helped wash all the vegetables thoroughly, and I loved having her work with me in the kitchen.




Easter Cookies






I made these sweet little bunnies for Easter, and in preparation for my Easter cookie class.  There's just something too perfect about little bunnies.  Making a crisp clean outline with royal icing + a few perfect details, like eyelashes and a pearl necklace, makes for the perfect little cookie.  ALMOST too cute to eat, almost;)
If you're local to Utah County, and looking to attend one of my cookies classes, contact me at MEOHMYCOUTURE @ GMAIL.COM
We talk about making the perfect sugar cookie, learn how to use royal icing, I share all  my own recipes, and we of course, eat cookies!

 

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