Friday, March 3, 2017

Homemade Decoupage Easter Eggs!

Are you ready for spring?  In my little area of the world, the azaleas are in full bloom and now a cold front has come through. That's nature for you! It is still a beautiful time of the year on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I am spending part of the morning decorating for Easter.  My Mardi Gras decorations are down and now its time for the beautiful colors of Easter.  I wanted to share with you my decoupage Easter eggs.  If you are looking for sweet, homemade Easter gifts, these would be perfect.   They also make a terrific gift from your little ones to their grandparents.  Before we start, let me show you a vintage Easter egg from Germany.  Believe it or not, the vintage ones are not that expensive.


Now for our project!  Since they are already having Easter sales, head on down to your local craft store and buy all the paper mache eggs available, select some pretty scrapbook paper, a sponge brush, and a jar of Mod Podge.  If the Peeps are on sale, grab a pack of those.  A little sugar inspiration can do one wonders.  Now let's get crafting!

Supplies Needed:
Paper Mache eggs
Scrapbook Paper
Sponge Brush
Bottle of  Mod Podge Gloss-Lustre  (decoupage in a jar)
Pair of disposable gloves (optional, but I learned the hard way)
Wax Paper
Peeps or my favorite, Reece's peanut butter eggs (for snacking only)
As you can see, I didn't have a sponge brush and it was too late to go get one.  However, I can say from experience that the sponge brush is faster to work with. For my first egg, I began cutting strips about 1/2 inch in width.  After laying everything out on wax paper, I applied Mod Podge with a brush to the back of the paper strip as well as on  the egg.
Next, position the paper strip and then repeat the steps until the entire egg is covered.   Use your fingers to press the paper onto the egg, sealing edges with the pressure of your fingertips.  This process moves along very quickly. I didn't get a picture of this, but I am sure you get the idea. 

Continue in this fashion until all your eggs are done or until you run out of Easter candy!  Lastly, apply a couple of layers of Mod Podge to the entire egg and let it dry thoroughly.  Now they are ready to add a cheerful bit of color to your home for Easter!

I didn't like my first egg with the long strips, so decided to cut the paper into tiny squares.  I have voted the this one "Best Egg"!
Or maybe this should be the "Best Egg"?  Oops, I see a spot I missed.  Do you see it? Good thing about this project is that you can go back and fix it!
I can't decide!  Is this the "Best Egg"?  For this one, I randomly cut flowers from the paper and positioned them on the egg.
I also did a green and yellow polka dot which you will see in the bowl below.  I cut the yellow pieces too large, so there are wrinkles on the egg.  Make sure that you cut the pieces so that they lay smoothly on the surface.  I still have 18 more eggs to do, but wanted to share this easy project with the ones I have completed.
I think this will be the perfect addition to the Reading Room.  By the way, this is another pair of gloves I picked up for my holiday decor.  They are soft kid leather with small pearls across the top.  What small hands she must have had!
TIP:  I didn't use gloves when I made the pumpkins (Delightful Decoupage Pumpkin Project) and found that Mod Podge, even after repeated hand washing tended to stick to my nails resulting in a  "Mod Podge Manicure", another one of my inventions! In other words, you may want to use gloves!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Valentine's Day Red Velvet Brownies

I love Valentine's Day and have many fond memories of the simple ways we celebrated as a family.  When the boys were little, we would always make a special Valentine's Day dessert for their daddy.  It might be homemade heart shaped sugar cookies with an edge dipped in chocolate, a heart shaped cheese cake, or my husband's favorite chocolate chip cookies. Our Valentine's Day dinners usually consisted of a heart shaped meatloaf. Yes, you heard me correctly!  No fancy restaurants for my guys.  They loved meatloaf and thought it was really special in the shape of a heart!

This year I thought I would make a batch of my red velvet brownies.  They are the perfect color for Valentine's Day and especially delicious. You have to try these!!
Let's take a look at this easy recipe:

Red Velvet Brownie Layer:
1 stick butter
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of red food coloring
1 teaspoon of vinegar
2 eggs 
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:  
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan, and set aside.

Brownie layer: In a saucepan on medium heat melt the butter. Remove the butter to a large bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, in that order, mixing between additions. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir it into the cocoa mix. Fold in the flour until lightly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/4 cup of the batter for the top.

Cream cheese layer: Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Gently spread the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Using a skewer, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.

These would be a great addition to a Valentine's Day dessert bar.  Who doesn't like a little sugar on Valentine's Day? Have a wonderful week!

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's Brunch Time!

This Saturday, our church will welcome our new Children's Minister to our church!  Our previous Children's Minister retired after 39 years of dedicated service to the Lord.  Isn't that something?  So now it's time for our new Children's Minister to get to know everyone.  The day will begin with a brunch with the church staff, deacons and their wives.  I decided to bring this delicious casserole.  The south is known for grits and there are many types of grits casseroles.  Southerners eat grits anytime of the day...breakfast, lunch and/or supper! Shrimp and grits are one of my favorite dishes, but a good ole plain bowl of grits with butter, salt and pepper for breakfast can't be beat. So what is in the photo below?  It's a Green Chilies Cheese Grits Casserole.  A simple, but terrific recipe. Nothing better than that!   This recipe is a twist on a cheese grits casserole.  Let's get started!
The Starting Line-Up:
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of quick cooking grits
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of butter
3 tablespoons of chopped green chilies
1-1/2 cups of cheese, sharp cheddar, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of milk
In a large pot, bring to a boil 3 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt.  Slowly stir in grits.  Reduce heat and continue cooking, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes as the grits thicken.  In a separate pan, saute minced garlic with 2 tablespoons of the butter until softened.  You can actually skip this step and add the raw minced garlic to the grits, but I like to saute the garlic. It seems to take away the bitter taste of raw garlic.  When the grits are cooked, remove from heat and add the garlic and the remainder of the butter.  Now add 1 cup of cheese and three tablespoons of green chilies, mixing all ingredients well.   At this point, you can do a taste test to check the flavor, adding salt or pepper as needed.  If you want to kick it up a notch or two (think Emeril Lagasse), add red pepper flakes or a little Tabasco.  

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl beat two eggs with the milk.  Add the egg and milk mixture to to the grits, mixing thoroughly.   Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese.  It will smell wonderful!  Serve warm.
This dish serves 8.  It would also be terrific as a side dish with a meat and vegetable for dinner. Let me know if you try it and what you think.