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11  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Star Wars Snowflakes! on: December 19, 2011 12:36:54 PM
Mr. Fianc is a big Star Wars fan.  Huge.  I, myself, do enjoy the series (well, the original trilogy more so) so his love isn't a gigantic pain in the butt.  I especially enjoy R2D2, Yoda, and C3P0.   They are rather cute.  To add to Mr. Fianc's Geek-Chic christmas decor, I decided to try to make Star Wars snowflakes.  You may have come across them via the interwebs...they are especially common pins on pinterest.  While mine are not as fantabulous as the original, I am pleased how they turned out.  Printer paper, embroidery scissors, and dollar store xacto knives were surprisingly efficient for this.

Here's the website with the templates:

The whole lot...



R2D2...he's kinda rough, but my dollar store xacto knives couldn't handle all the detail.  Smiley

Annnnd....a trooper.  Clone? Storm?  I can't tell the difference unless I'm watching a movie (as the clones are in the first 3 only, right?)

I'm gonna make a garland with these for Mr. Fianc's living room.

12  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Chocolate Bean Balls?! Cocoa Fudge Truffles on: December 08, 2011 09:08:58 PM

Whilst the concept of red kidney beans and chocolate is a bit frightening, it works in this instance. The beans create a smooth chocolaty truffle...a treat for you that is tasty and pretty darn healthy.

What?!  You can't stand the suspense?  Alright, alright.  I'll share the recipe.  Hopefully, you'll be gobblin' these up with glee (but remember, there are two cans of beans in the recipe--some, adverse, side effects may occur).

Cocoa Fudge (Bean) Truffles:
(Makes approx. 26-30, depending on how large you enjoy your balls...ha!)

* 2 cans of cooked red kidney beans, rinsed well under cold water
* 1 cup cocoa powder
* 1 cup agave nectar
* 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
* 6 scoops of  powdered stevia extract (6/32 or 3/16 teaspoons)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 teaspoons almond extract
* pinch of sea salt

*Chocolate coating, graham cracker crumbs, ground nuts, coconut, cocoa powder, etc.
**My chocolate coating: 2 bars of unsweetened baker's chocolate, 6 tablespoons of maple syrup, 8 droops of liquid vanilla stevia; melted over low-med heat in a sauce pan.

***I was working with ingredients I had on hand.  I would have preferred to use 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/3 cup brown rice syrup, 5 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder; melted over low-med heat in a sauce pan.  The above concoction worked, but did not harden as quickly.

1. Process the ingredients in a food processor until silky smooth.  If desired, add more liquid sweetener (agave nectar, liquid stevia extract, etc.)
2.  Transfer the batter to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3.  Roll the batter into balls (having wet hands makes this waaaayyy easier).
4. Roll the balls in a topping of your choice, or leave your balls naked.
5. On a cookie sheet or plates lined with parchment paper (it sticks less than waxed paper), pop your balls in the freezer for approx. 25 minutes.
6. Store in the fridge for softer truffles or the freezer for a more frozen delight. 

Have I convinced you to try beans in a dessert?  How about if I double dog dare you?!

13  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / She Wears Seashells...A Semi DIY on: November 30, 2011 08:45:11 PM

Hello all!

I've come up with a some new jewellery pieces, which are fun to make and wear.

I don't have any pictures of the process so I hope my instructions will be clear enough...

Mermaid's Baubles Necklaces

-A spiral seashell with a hole in it.  I used periwinkle shells (I think) that were naturally eroded and holy.
-A length of chain: make sure the chain will slide in and out of the shell-hole.
-Acrylic paint (I used metallic acrylic)

1. If your shell is a bit icky, clean it and let it dry.
2. Paint the seashell, allowing it to dry between coats.*
3. When you are happy with how the shell looks, varnish it (nail polish will work well).
4. When the shell is dry, slide it onto the chain.
5. Attach the clasp.
6. You are done--enjoy.

*TIP: I like to use wax paper to rest the shells on while they dry--they tend to come off it nicely/sans sticking.

C and C welcome!
14  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Fairy's Teacup Ring SIlver with Seed, Rock. and Pinecone on: November 23, 2011 01:04:00 PM
This is the first ring I have made, and I must say I am pleased with the results.

I found a teacup adjustable silver tone ring and filled it with varnished natural goodies (seed, rock, pinecone).


15  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Sugar-Free Mint Chocolate Nanamio Bars on: November 18, 2011 11:21:26 AM
TRUST ME:  These kick butt!

Mint Chocolate Nanamio Bars
(Makes approx. 12 squares, depending on how large or small you cut them.)

Bottom Layer:
* 1/3 cup coconut oil (not melted)
* 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
* 1 egg
* 5 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
* 1 cup naturally sweetened graham cracker crumbs
* 1 cup almonds, processed fine
* 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1.  Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper; leaving a bit hanging over the sides will allow you to lift out of the pan when firm.
2.  In a saucepan over medium heat, place the coconut oil, brown rice syrup, and cocoa powder.  Stir until the coconut oil is melted.  Add in the egg and stir for a minute.  Remove from heat.
3.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.
4.  Press the mixture into the lined pan, firmly and evenly.

Mint Middle Layer:
* 1/4 cup coconut oil (not melted)
* 8 tablespoons of light cream
* 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
* 4-6 teaspoons of peppermint extract (if your extract is very strong, start with 2 and adjust according to taste)
* 2 scoops (2/32 teaspoon) powdered stevia extract
* 6 tablespoons agave nectar
* 1 cup skim milk powder
* a cup arrowroot powder/flour

1.  Process the ingredients in a food processor.
2.  Spread evenly over the bottom layer.
3.  Place in the freezer to firm up...approx. 45 minutes.

Mint Chocolate Top Layer:
* 1/3 cup coconut oil
* 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
* 5 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
* 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

1.  Place the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the coconut oil is melted.
2.  Pour evenly over the middle layer.
3.  Place in the freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.
4.  Cut into squares.
5.  Store in the fridge until ready to serve; can also be wrapped individually and stored in the freezer.

***A bit of work, but so worth it!

16  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Sugar-Free Lovely Peanut Butter Cups on: November 17, 2011 12:24:11 PM


I based them off of Oh She Glows's (www.ohsheglow.com) version:http://ohsheglows.com/2009/12/30/vegan-chocolate-peanut-butter-cups/

Even Mr. Boyfriend and my dad enjoyed these (Father's sans-chocolate).  I'd say that is a success.

Lovely Peanut Butter Cups
(Makes Approx. 11)

* 1/4 cup coconut oil
* 1/3 cup coconut oil (not a typo---divide your coconut oil into these amounts)
* 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I used smooth)
* 3/4 cup naturally sweetened graham cracker crumbs
* 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
* 1/3 cup brown rice syrup (not a typo---divide into these amounts)
* 5 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder

1. Place 1/4 cup of the coconut oil, 1/4 cup brown rice syrup, peanut butter, and graham cracker crumbs in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the coconut oil is melted.  Remove from the heat.
2.  In a muffin tin with liners, pour in this mixture.
3.  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining coconut oil and brown rice syrup.  Stir in the cocoa powder.
4.  Pour over the peanut butter mixture.
5.  Place in the freezer for about an hour.
6.  Remove from the freezer, remove the liners, and store in the fridge.  The cups can be stored in the freezer, individually wrapped, and then thawed for 5-10 minutes before serving.

If you try these, please let me know what you think!
17  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Silver Stick Nature Necklaces...With Charms! on: November 11, 2011 07:17:01 AM
I decided to add some charms to my stick necklaces.  As always, the twig pendants are created from real sticks that have been painted, sparkled (in some cases) and varnished.  I really like the look of adding charms, especially the deer one.

18  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Some More Nature Inspired Pieces on: November 03, 2011 07:26:25 AM
Hello, all. 

Asymmetrical Copper Twig Earrings

Copper Sparkle Twig Earrings

Chunky Double Layer Gold Twig Necklace

The following are new designs for me: a bit different from what I have made in the past.

Tangled Knotted Black Chain Copper Twig Necklace

Knotty Tangled Silver Chain Copper Sparkle Twig Necklace

Loose Black Chain Copper Sparkle Twig Necklace

Asymmetrical Loose Silver Chain Copper Sparkle Twig Necklace

Thoughts, please?

19  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Nature Inspired Earrings and Necklaces on: October 27, 2011 08:22:16 AM
The other day I needed a craft fix...these were the result:

Knotted Birch Bark Bead Earrings

Birch Bark Bead Earrings

I call these my "Sculptural Experiments"...they have birch bark mixed with other beads.  Kinda wonky and funky.

Flutter earrings: very fun and different from anything I've made before.  I used plastic cut-outs of butterflies...lightweight and very "fluttery" in the breeze.  This pair is one of my favourites.

Pink flutter earrings.

20  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Sugar and Oil Free Banana Muffins on: October 20, 2011 02:39:12 PM

**I found the original recipe online sometime last year, but I can't find the source to credit.  I've tweaked it a bit to suit my muffin-needs (such dirty minds!)**

Want a delicious banana muffin without any added oil or sugar?  Yeah, I thought so.  Lucky for you, I have a fabulous recipe to share.  These muffins are seriously yummy and easy to make (only one bowl needed).

Ingredients: (Makes 10-12)
* 3 large bananas (or 4 small ones), the riper and mushier the better
* 7 dates, chopped
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or coconut oil, canola oil, or butter, but applesauce works wonderfully and amps up the health quotient of these puppies)
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
* 1 1/2 cup flour (all spelt, or a mix of spelt and kamut; I am sure all-purpose and whole wheat flours would also work)
* 1/2 a bar of unsweetened baker's chocolate, chopped (weird typo: I just wrote "child" there...please do not use 1/2 a baker's child in this recipe)
* 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
* 1/4 cup chia seeds (optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place liners in a muffin tin.
2.  In a large bowl, mash the bananas, add the eggs, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Beat it a little.
3.  Add in the applesauce and mix.
4.  Top with the dry ingredients and mix together.
5.  Fold in the dates, chocolate, walnuts, and chia seeds.
6.  Pour the batter into the muffin tin.
7.  Bake for 20 minutes.
8.  Allow to cool and eat!

**These can be individually wrapped and frozen.
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