10 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts


Here are some fun and easy Mother’s Day gifts you can craft with your little ones!


1. Kitchen Herb Planter
































Take a used coffee can and plant useful kitchen herbs such as cilantro, mint, rosemary or thyme that Mom can use for cooking OR plant aloe which is great for cuts and minor burns that happen while cooking.


2. Personalized Glassware (Via Make It & Love It)


3. Chevron Tote Bag (Via GingiberSnap.com)


4. Homemade Salt & Sugar Scrubs (Via Brit + Co.)


5. Child Silhouette Framed Photo (Via HGTV.com)

Silhouette Frames


6. Mother’s Day Room Service (Via Seven Thirty Three)

Give her the breakfast in bed she's always wanted.


7. Butterfly Footprint Canvas Art (Via Plain Vanilla Mom)


8. Family Portrait Collage (Via Better Homes and Gardens)

Collage Family Portrait for Mother's Day


9. Mother’s Day Mix Tape (Via Blog 5 to 9)

Valentine's Mix Tape CD Sleeve















10. Chocolate Chip Macaroons – so quick and easy to make! (Via Learnvest.com)

10 Autumn Baking Recipes


Autumn is my favorite time of year to make soups and baked goods 🙂

Thanks LearnVest.com!

Praline Pumpkin Pie

Time: 1 ½ hours
½ recipe pie pastry (whichever you like)
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned, frozen or freshly cooked unseasoned pumpkin puree
¾ cup granulated sugar
1¾ cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dark rum
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch glass pie pan. Trim the edges and crimp with a fork. Line the pastry with a sheet of foil and pile on pastry weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove the foil liner and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, until lightly colored.
Remove from the oven and cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Brush the bottom of the crust with the jam. Place the pumpkin puree in a large bowl and beat in the granulated sugar, ¾ cup of the cream, the milk, eggs, rum, spices and salt. Pour into the prepared crust, place in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
Preheat the broiler. Combine the brown sugar, pecans and melted butter in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the pie. Cover the crimped pastry edge with a strip of foil and broil for a few minutes, just until the topping bubbles, watching carefully (really carefully) so it does not burn. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Whip the remaining 1 cup cream and serve it with the pie.

Toasted Pecan Scones

Time: 45 minutes

1 cup pecans
2 cups flour
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
⅓ cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toast the pecans on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut the butter into thin slices and add to the bowl of dry ingredients. Working quickly, rub the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until there are no large pieces remaining and the mixture looks like crumbs.
Whisk together the egg, yolk, cream and vanilla until completely combined. Break the pecans into large pieces and add them to this mixture.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix together until just combined.
Divide the dough into 8 balls. Put them at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and press them down slightly with your palm.
Bake for 20–25 minutes until the scones are golden on top. Let rest on the sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Serve warm or room temperature.

Chocolate Cranberry Cake

Time: 2 hours

1 ½ cups flour (you can use all white, or half whole-wheat pastry and half white)
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola, safflower or vegetable oil
1 cup chilled brewed coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 cup cranberries tossed with 2 tablespoons sugar, or 1 cup homemade cranberry sauce
Chocolate Icing (recipe here)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil an 8-inch cake pan, then cut a circle of parchment and place it on the bottom. Oil that too.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk together to break up any clumps in the cocoa.
In a second medium bowl, combine the oil, coffee and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together until smooth. Stir in the cranberries or cranberry sauce.
Add the vinegar and stir—you’ll see light swirls of fizz form as the vinegar and baking soda react. Immediately pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the cake is still liquid in the middle after 40 minutes, cover loosely with foil and bake for another 10–15 minutes, checking at 5-minute intervals.
Take the cake out of the oven and cool completely on a rack. When cool, frost with the chocolate icing.
Note: You can also bake the cake in individual ramekins, which reduces cooking time to about 20 minutes.




Orange Marmalade Muffins

Time: 35 minutes

2 cups flour
⅔ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
⅔ cup orange juice
½ cup safflower oil (or other neutral oil)
2 eggs
¼ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place liners in 12 muffin cups, or grease them well.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, oil, eggs and marmalade.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, and fold to combine—it’s fine to leave a few lumps.
Fill the muffin cups about ¾ full, and top each with some walnuts (if you’re using them).
Bake for 20–25 minutes, until the muffins have risen, and they spring back when you put slight pressure on the tops. Test with a toothpick in the center of the muffin; if it comes out dry, it’s done.
Serve warm if possible. These muffins are best the day they are made.

Carrot-Raisin Cookies

Time: 25 minutes

1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup oil
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
¾ cup finely grated carrots
⅓ cup raisins
⅓ cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix together the oil with the sugar, honey or syrup, and carrots until the sugar is dissolved.
Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the raisins and nuts, and mix until they’re distributed throughout.
Drop tablespoons of the dough onto a cookie sheet. Flatten each ball slightly. Bake for 8–10 minutes, until the cookies have darkened a bit (look closely, because it can be hard to see). Remove to a plate to cool.

Puff Pastry Garlic Knots

Time: 45 minutes

1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Handful all-purpose flour
½ of a 17.3-ounce package puff pastry sheets (1 sheet), thawed
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup finely shredded Italian cheese blend (I just used grated parmesan)
Heat the oven to 400°F. (If your oven tends to run even a little bit hot, I’d recommend turning the dial down to 375°F to avoid burning the garlic.) Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.
Sprinkle the flour on the work surface, then unfold the pastry sheet onto the floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 10-inch square–which is just a little bigger than the sheet already is. Brush the bottom half of the pastry sheet with the egg mixture.
Sprinkle half the garlic, parsley and cheese on the bottom half of the pastry sheet. Fold the pastry in half over the garlic mixture. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Sprinkle the remaining garlic, parsley and cheese on the pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin. Cut the pastry into 20 (about ½-inch-wide) strips. Tie each strip into a “knot”. Place the pastries onto 2 baking sheets.
Bake for 12–18 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then serve.

Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Time: 15 minutes

1 14 oz. bag flaked coconut (Bakers brand)
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (Carnation brand)
2 teaspoon vsanilla (not imitation)
1 12 oz. bag Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop from teaspoon one-inch apart on nonstick baking sheet (or use a spray like Pam to unstick your sheets). Bake for 10–12 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool a minute or two, then remove and place on waxed paper to cool more.

Nutella Soufflé

Time: 30 minutes

About 1 teaspoon softened butter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for the ramekins
⅓ cup nutella
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites
Pinch salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional; it helps make sure you don’t overbeat your egg whites)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Butter the ramekins or big soufflé dish. Sprinkle the bottoms and sides with sugar, then dump out any extra.
In a medium bowl, combine the nutella with the egg yolks. The mixture will be a little bit thick and hard to stir, but you shouldn’t have a problem incorporating them. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar, using a handheld mixer on medium speed. When they hold soft peaks (about 2–3 minutes), add the 3 tablespoons of sugar in a slow, steady stream, beating the whole time. Increase to high speed and beat until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. (That means when you raise your beaters out of the bowl, they leave behind a sturdy-looking mountain.) Pour about ⅓ of the whites into the nutella and stir to combine. Then, working very gently, pour the nutella mixture into the remaining whites and fold until thoroughly combined.
Pour ¼ of the batter into each ramekin, then bake until puffed and crusted on top, about 12 minutes. The soufflé should still jiggle a bit when you touch the pan. Serve immediately, before they deflate! Dollop some unsweetened whipped cream on top if you like.

Oatmeal Quickbread With Walnuts

Time: 1 ½ hours

1 ¼ cups warm water (about 105°F–115°F—it should feel warm to your wrist but not hot)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon honey
1 ¼ cup flour
¾ cup kamut flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons neutral oil (or walnut oil if you have any)
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast bubbles get foamy, about 7–10 minutes.
In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.
Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.
Oil a loaf pan generously. Scrape the dough into the pan and spread it more or less to the edges. Cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise. Look for the warmest place in your kitchen—don’t try to get your bread to rise if you’ve got a draft! Find a cozy corner, perhaps near the radiator, instead.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. When ready, bake the bread for 35–40 minutes, until the top is golden and the edges pull away from the pan. Remove from oven, and lift the bread out of the pan onto a cooling rack immediately. Let it cool slightly. Serve warm with butter, jam and slices of Swiss or cheddar.


Time: 24 hours (most of it inactive)

4 cups walnuts
6 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½–1 cup butter, melted
1 package phyllo dough
For the syrup:
2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small lemon peel
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces. Combine with the 6 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
Put the melted butter in a bowl and bring over a cooking brush.
Unroll the phyllo dough on a board or table. Cover its entire surface with a moistened paper towel. Pick up two sheets. Lay them in front of you and brush with melted butter. Repeat twice (so you have 6 sheets), being especially generous with the butter on top. Now, take 1 cup of the walnuts and spread them evenly over the pile of sheets, leave 1 inch at every edge. Fold in the vertical edges, then loosely roll the whole thing. Set 9″ x 13″ baking pan (must have 2″–3″ sides), seam side down.
Repeat four more times with the remaining dough and walnuts.
Bake for 40–45 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are golden and your kitchen smells like delicious toasting nuts.
While the baklava are baking, put all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil slowly, then simmer for 2–3 minutes. When the baklava comes out of the oven, immediately remove the lemon peel, cinnamon stick and cloves (if you can get them), and pour the syrup over the baklava.
Let rest for at least 24 hours (they get even better with more soaking).
Taking a roll at a time, slice into portions about 1-inch thick. If the inside is still dry, you may want to arrange them back in the syrup to juice up.

Goober Sammich


This is a fast and fun breakfast/brunch dish that I would often indulge in on a Sunday afternoon after OurTown 🙂

Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of pepper jack cheese

Put 2 slices of bread in toaster, lightly toast to warm with a slice of pepper jack cheese on each slice of bread. Cook the first egg sunny side down, keeping the yolk runny. Once the first egg is done, place on top of one of the slices of bread and cheese and plate. Cook the second egg the same way. Place the second slice of bread and cheese on the first layer and finish with the second egg on the very top. Serve with a splash of Cholula hot sauce and eat with a knife and fork. Enjoy!