Hot Polka Dot
29Jun/11

Summer Fresh.

Something I've always enjoyed about food is the vast world of creativity and artistry it opens up. Suddenly bread is stuffed french toast, s'mores are cookies, almonds are flowers, soda is cake. You are forced to look at everything from a different perspective.

When you take an ingredient or a recipe and apply it in a different way or reshape it you not only see the dish differently but also the world. Ingredients are not spices or sugars, but instead keys to a different dimension where up is down and black is white.

So when I was contacted by Summer Fresh and asked to produce an original recipe including one of their delicious dips, hummus or salads you can understand how excited I was. I have never had the opportunity to experiment with anything like hummus and I was so happy with my results. My Greek Hummus Pizza was so good!

Today you can see mine and many other yummy recipes using Summer Fresh products on the Summer Fresh Facebook page. Just for liking one of those recipes you can receive a buy one get one free Summer Fresh coupon and enter for a chance to win a Summer Fresh party kit so you can play with your food too!

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28Jun/11

How To Tuesday: My Sweet Josephine.

After seeing Kristin's friendship bracelet giveaway on Idle Wife, I've hauled out my old bracelet books and thread from when I was a kid. Naturally I've been furiously making all sorts of bracelets. After making six friendship bracelets in two days I decided I needed a new pattern. Following an extensive google session I found these beautiful recycled t-shirt bracelets and vowed to make them my own.

And now you can too! Because you should. Really.

All you need is...

2 pieces of fabric about 18 x 6 inches
Scissors
Pliers
2 ribbon clamps (found at Michaels)
2 jump rings
1 clasp

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24Jun/11

Guest Post With Idle Wife: Napkin Folding 101.

I am so happy to introduce you to my talented friend, Kristin from the lovely blog, Idle Wife. Don't let the name fool you, she's not what you'd consider idle! She designs, she bakes macarons, she photographs, she sews, she collects vases, she gardens, she makes her own jam, she thrift shops, she absconds with neighbours flowers. She's a whirling dervish of creative energy. My kind of people and yours too!

Today she's here to give us a couple brilliant tutorials on pretty napkin folds that are classy enough that you can try out at your next dinner party and simple enough to have at your next picnic.

I've been really keen on food and table decor lately. It's a weird thing for me as I never have any reason to make little cupcake toppers or prepare tablescapes. I don't have parties and no parties means no themes, no cutesy decorations, and no elaborately decorated food tables. I drool over party pictures on other blogs, I really do. Everything's so together and stylish. But it's probably never going to happen for me. Why? Well, as much as I love all of that, I'm terrible at planning and coordinating and going all out for things. I'm a simple gal who likes simple things. One tiny vase of flowers is more my style than a table runner of elaborately matching bouquets.

So maybe it's weird that when I found these two cute napkin folding techniques, I jumped at the chance to learn them. But I'm also a sensible gal, and I thought these would be a fun skill to have in my back pocket. You know, for that "What?! The inlaws are coming tonight?!" dinner or while quickly and quietly trying to whip up a surprise anniversary breakfast before my sweetie gets out of bed. It'd be impressive to be able to quickly fold up some napkin pockets for your inlaws (Look! You totally remembered they were coming!) or be able to place some cute napkin bows beside a plate of fluffy pancakes and strawberries. And these folds are so basic and quick, you really will have time to do them last minute because you'll learn and remember them after doing it once. I promise they're not hard at all!

Did I mention that this is also something that can be done super cheap? You know those really pretty, cheaper packages of multicoloured and multi-patterned paper napkins you can pick up in places like IKEA? You can totally do this with them! I used paper napkins for the tutorial below (the paperclips on the pocket fold are just there so I could photograph it without my hands getting in the way. The folds stay once finished). So you don't even have to go out and buy fancy fabric napkins. Either work, it doesn't make a difference. What does make a difference is size. Both work with any larger sized napkin. Smaller would work for the bow fold (you'd just end up with a smaller bow), but you definitely need the larger size for the pocket fold. Otherwise, you'll end up with something resembling more of a pouch (which wouldn't be half bad in some applications, actually!).

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21Jun/11

How To Tuesday: Means To An End.

We all have them. Bread ends. Stupid, tiny, crusty, thin, burn in the toaster bread ends. But why throw them out like most people when you can use them to make delicious bread crumbs?

And go one step further and make your own seasoned bread crumbs. There are so many options and the best part is you can make it exactly the way you want. Italian, Greek, curry, Herbs de Provence, Thanksgiving. Be creative! The possibilities are endless!

Then why not take it another step further and do your own Shake and Bake? Mind blowing right? All you do is dredge your chicken, pork or fish in flour, then beaten egg, then your bread crumbs seasoned to your liking and bake or pan fry.

Let's start with the bread crumbs and let your imagination go from there.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and position a rack in the center. Place your bread ends or slices on a baking sheet and bake them for 20 – 25 minutes. They should be dry and hard but not necessarily toasted. Transfer them to a cooling rack until they're room temperature.

Break the dried bread into chunks and blend it in a food processor until you've reached your desired consistency. You could make it superfine or coarse. It's completely up to you! You can stop now and keep your bread crumbs plain or you can play the flavour game.

Now the fun part! Mix and match your flavours to create the seasoned bread crumbs of your dreams. Here are a few of my favourites to get you started.

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18Jun/11

For Dads Everywhere.

They say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. When I think of my dad certain smells indicative of dads everywhere come to mind. Cedar sawdust, freshly mowed grass, crisp soap, gunpowder, campfire smoke, soft leather, pine trees and BBQ. Especially BBQ.

Instead of making a dessert to celebrate Father's Day this year I decided to make something that dads appreciate most. Meat and lots of it. A quarter pound of beef mixed with fresh pesto and grilled to perfection. A dinner any dad would be happy to eat.

Just a little way to say thank you for all the wheelbarrow rides and movie nights. Photography advice and piggy back rides. Butter and sugar on soda crackers. Guitar solos and surround sound. Blueberries and Carnation milk. For patiently sitting through makeovers complete with hair gel and bobby pins. Target practice at the gun club. Grapefruit and Led Zeppelin. Extra rare filet mignon and Lipton noodle packages. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

I love you dad! Happy Father's Day!

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