Food & Cooking · Reviews · Tried

Review: Fantastic World Foods Falafel Mix

I was wandering through the aisles in my local supermarket when I came across a falafel mix. Although in the past I always have made falafels from scratch, I was interested in how a pre-made mix might taste. (Sometimes after a long day, making falafels from a kit sounds much better than making them from scratch!)IMG_0697Making the falafels with the Fantastic World Foods Mix is easy enough: all you need is the mix, water, and (in my case) your favorite beer to drink while making it.IMG_0698Just upon opening the bag, a delicious smell of cumin and garlic rose up into my kitchen. I added 1 1/4 cups of water and mixed until moist, and then let the mixture sit for 15 minutes as directed. (During this time you could always drink that delicious beer mentioned earlier and watch some of the World Cup action with your husband, but that’s totally up to you.)

IMG_0699Once 15 minutes have passed, you make little balls out of the dough and press them into discs. I think if you follow the serving suggestion, you’ll end up with about 16 discs, but I made mine a little fatter, apparently. (Make sure you don’t make them too fat, though, or they will be dry!) From this point you can choose whether you want to bake them or deep fry them, and I chose the former over the latter. After brushing olive oil on both sides of each disc, I popped them in the oven for about 2 minutes per side.IMG_0701While I waited for the falafels to get golden brown, I prepared tomatoes, lettuce, pitas and a yogurt sauce I whipped up quickly with dill, garlic, a little lemon juice, salt, pepper and plain yogurt. (There is also a recipe suggestion for yogurt sauce on the box for those of you that prefer to follow an exact recipe, but the yield seemed really high for just a few stuffed pitas.)IMG_0702I had wanted cucumber, but I forgot to pick some up at the store in all of my Falafel mix excitement. Nevertheless, the finished falafel-stuffed pitas were awesome. Totally brought me back to the first time I ever tried one in a little diner in Amsterdam. IMG_0704Overall I would say that Fantastic World Foods Falafel Mix makes an inexpensive, fast, easy and delicious meal. As the website proudly declares: “If you have an appetite for discovery, try Fantastic World FoodsTM Our truly original ethnic and regional cuisines are specially crafted to stimulate all your senses. Native spices, vegetables, rice and grains combined in new blends of tastes, textures, colors and aromas. They’re vibrant! They’re creative! And they’re always all natural and organic.”

I’d like to try some of their other mixes in the future!

Projects

Fun with Lyddy: Flower Footprint Craft

I saw a super cute flower craft on pinterest the other day that I decided I absolutely had to make with my niece (who I’m sure you remember from a recent post as the most adorable little girl on the planet). I grabbed some finger paint and some construction paper, and we set to work. The first step was to make little flowers with the balls of her feet and her toes. I used my fingers to apply paint to her feet (which of course led to her sweet laugh), and then–at Lydia’s request–we pressed her feet down to make a blue, red, blue pattern.IMG_0707After that, we rinsed her feet off in the tub, and I asked her to use the green to draw half-circles under each “flower.” She did as instructed, filled in the half-circles with more paint, and then added stems and leaves. IMG_0710Next I had her write her name on a little flower pot that I cut out. (You could always add an extra step for fine motor skill practice and have the child cut out the pot if you wanted instead.) I also asked her to write her name on the pot. When I did similar crafts with my preschool kids in the past, I would often have them trace their names, but I thought it would be really cute to preserve the way Lydia writes her name independently for this craft. IMG_0711Once Lydia added her name, she was excited to finger paint freely on the flower pot.IMG_0712She finished decorating the flower pot, so we washed her hands and waited for the paint to dry a bit so we could glue it onto the bottom of her flower stems. IMG_0744 IMG_0745Didn’t it turn out cute?

xx

Bookspiration

Bookspiration: The BFG and Frobscottle

“‘Yesterday,’ he said, ‘we was not believing in giants, was we? Today we is not believing in snozzcumbers. Just because we happen not to have actually seen something with our own two little winkles, we think it is not existing.'” -The Big Friendly Giant

I wanted a light, quick read, so I decided to reread The BFG, a book I hadn’t read since I was much younger. As with all Roald Dahl books, The BFG is a fun adventure that reminds you to imagine the impossible. There is one chapter in which the BFG tells the little orphan Sophie about a delicious drink called Frobscottle. In this beverage, “the bubbles, instead of travelling upwards and bursting to the surface, were shooting downwards and bursting at the bottom” (64-65). Apparently, Frobscottle is absolutely “delumptious,” so I decided I should try making my own version.

IMG_20140621_114031_293

“Oh gosh, how delicious it was! It was sweet and refreshing. It tasted of vanilla and cream, with just the faintest trace of raspberries on the edge of the flavour” (68).

To me, the description of Frobscottle reminded me of an Italian Cream Soda, so I grabbed a glass and added two pumps of Torani vanilla syrup, and two pumps of Torani Raspberry syrup. Then I poured a bottle of San Pelegrino over the syrup, added ice, and added a little cream. From there, I added a little whipped cream, and my “Frobscottle” was ready to drink! Although the bubbles weren’t floating downward, they were underneath the cream and whipped cream, and the beverage tasted like a cream soda with just a touch of raspberry. I thought this was a great version of Frobscottle!IMG_20140621_114040_052In The BFG, Frobscottle tends to have a rather enormous effect on the body: “Sophie could feel the bubbles travelling lower and lower down her tummy, and then suddenly, inevitably…the explosion came. The trumpets sounded and she too made the walls of the cavern ring with the sound of music and thunder. ‘Bravo!’ shouted the BFG, waving the bottle. ‘You is very good for a beginner! Let’s have some more!’ (68-69). Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on your goal, I suppose), my Italian Cream Soda version of Frobscottle did not have the same “whizzpopping” effect, but it was delicious!

While thinking of ideas for some sort of food or drink creation for The BFG, I discovered there is actually a cookbook filled with creations inspired by Roald Dahl called Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes. Something to experiment with in the future!

Enjoy your Sunday! xx

Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Review: Nail Rock

I used to hate painting my finger nails because they always turned out looking like a kindergartener painted them. Not to mention I sort of have sausage fingers, so solid blocks of colors on my nails only tend to make them look stubbier. If I ever had my nails done in the past, it was only some version of French tips for me. But nothing makes a girl want to paint her nails more than being told she can’t, and since my occupation prohibits nail polish, I’ve been DYING to spruce up my fingernails! (And by occupation I mean I’m currently a barista. Yes. A barista that’s not allowed to wear nail polish *cries*)

nailrock_glitter_pink_900x900Source

Fortunately for me, I somehow got four solid days off in a row. I got a stupid cold, but can you guess what else I got? I GOT TO DO MY NAILS. It’s the little things. I decided to try out the Nail Rock I had gotten months ago when I was still a Birchbox subscriber, and I just adored the pretty sparkly pink!

IMG_0613

Yes, the Nail Rock was pretty. But I’ve got some important things for you to know before you go out with excitement and get your own.

1. It can be messy. The instructions tell you to put on two coats of the solid foundation before dipping your fingers in the textured topper (aka glitter), and the glitter will get everywhere. It’s like a preschool craft nightmare, so be sure to put some paper underneath your little glitter pot for easy cleanup.

2. Put on your first coat of solid foundation, and then alternate your second coat with dipping your finger in the topper. If you wait until you’ve given each of your nails a second coat, they won’t be wet enough to hold the topper. Dip each one after the second coat, and press on to help the topper stick.

3. After you’ve let your nails dry for the recommended 15-20 minutes, apply a top coat. I didn’t do this because the instructions didn’t say anything about a top coat being necessary, and because I’m not super patient and I didn’t feel like investing more time in what was supposed to be a little treat. In retrospect, I wish I had because 1) I really didn’t like the texture of the topper, 2) the texture of the topper occasionally led to snags on thread or fiber, and 3) by the end of the day, more than half of the topper had come off ALL of my fingernails! It is my hope that a top coat would solve these problems, but ultimately–despite being very pretty initially–I can’t say I recommend this product. A lot of time + short-lasting cover = disappointed girl.

 

What do you think? Have you tried Nail Rock? What’s your favorite nail polish brand?

xx

Summer Bucket List

Summer 2014 Bucket List

Michigan is a little behind on the whole “summer” thing, but I’m hoping the weather catches up to the season soon! In anticipation of warmer, sunnier days ahead, I’ve started working on my new bucket list for this year. Some of the to-do’s are the same as ones I chose last year, but what summer is complete without some variation of s’mores or jam-making? Sometimes I had trouble remembering to check off things throughout the summer last year, so this year I printed out this cute “How To Summer” printable and organized my list on it before hanging it up on the wall in my craft room. I’m hoping this helps me stay focused on my summer fun!

IMG_19801Image and download available on youaremyfave.com

Below is my list so far. What have you got planned for summer?

Summer Bucket List 2014

1. Drive-In Movie
2. Binder Park Zoo
4. Go to a Star Party
5. Have a BBQ
6. Go on a picnic
7. Make homemade ice cream
8. Blow bubbles
9. Tie-Dye Shirts
10. Make Bloody Mary’s
12. Make milk carton boats
13. Make pickles
14. Run at least one 5K race
15. Look at bugs/plants/nature under a magnifying glass
16. Go to a museum
17. Have a fancy night dressed up around town
18. Attend a “pretentious” tea party
19. Have a wine and cheese night
20. Have a chocolate tasting party
21. Dandelion Blowing
22. Make/Decorate pottery
23. Traverse City Trip
24. Make macarons
25. Make bread in flower pots
26. Work on our first garden
28. Do a 30-day drawing challenge
29. Do at least one writing prompt a week from 642 Things to Write About
30. Go fishing and/or eat fresh-caught and battered fish
31. Make a fire pit and have a bonfire
32. Build something with wood, a hammer and nails
34. Do another wine and canvas
35. Try Madcap Coffee Company in Grand Rapids
36. Try Drip, Drop, Drink in Muskegon
37. Try Unruly Brewing in Muskegon
38. Try Lemonjellos in Holland
39. Make a fairy garden
40. Buy a cute summer dress
Seen · Seen/Heard/Tried

Gold!

It’s been a rather chilly start to summer here in Michigan, and to top it off, Chad and I have both been battered down by an evil, relentless cold. Today when I woke up I decided to look for all of the orange, yellow and gold I could find to help me focus on the bright sunshine instead of our sniffly, mouth-breathing disposition. I took pictures at the Muskegon Farmer’s Market, and at Saugatuck Brewing company where we had a Father’s Day lunch. Unfortunately after lunch we both passed out for several hours at home with exhaustion, and I lost my voice. We even had to cancel our evening plans 😦 Still feeling like crap, but at least I took some fun pictures!

IMG_20140614_084038_678

 

IMG_20140614_084750_843

Someone was selling rubber duckies…!

IMG_20140614_084905_428

IMG_20140614_093431_055

IMG_20140614_090217_383

IMG_20140614_085108_535

We bought some of this awesome honey.

IMG_20140614_092410_161 (2)

IMG_20140614_090637_378

IMG_20140614_091235_363

Totoro Birdhouses made out of gourds!

IMG_20140614_094141_277

A sculpture near the market entrance.

IMG_20140614_094156_709

IMG_20140614_125607_361Lunch! A yummy portobello burger.

IMG_20140614_125551_658Chad got a French dip. I was happy to find my colors in our lunch!

IMG_20140614_124552_717Chad took this cool picture with my brother in the background.

IMG_20140614_125522_083He also took this one, which I think turned out to look kind of like a painting!

IMG_20140614_124514_502          Last, but certainly not least…

Well lovelies, I am off to get some more sleep. I hate being sick *cries*

xx

 

Bookspiration · Projects

Bookspiration: Owl Postcards

“For to witness majesty, to find yourself literally touched by it, isn’t that what we’ve all been waiting for?”

-David Sedaris

After reading Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, I decided to make postcards with owls on them. I made four postcards in total, trying to keep them simple with easy watercolor owls saying the above quote.

IMG_20140611_181313_078

Click to view larger image

I tried my best not to worry too much about detail, and after free-handing the calligraphy, I also quickly free-handed the cute little owls.

IMG_20140611_181333_798

It’s a little bit hard to see the light green-colored wings in the picture, but I liked the way it turned out. I’m thinking I might send the postcards to people via postcrossing. I accidentally changed the quote slightly in the postcard featured above, but I still thought the art was nice. Sedaris writes the phrase I quoted when talking about coming across something beautiful and unexpected in nature, and making a private connection with nature in that moment.

Have you experienced any moments of majesty lately?

xx