Mac Attack

Food trends come and go, but there are some that just seem to take a hold of the general public and refuse to die out. Take cupcakes, for example; They may not be the run-away smash hit that they used to be, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t foster at least an ounce of love for the miniature cakes. More recently, I’ve noticed a new player step up to the game, and while it’s taken some time for them to catch on to more mainstream venues in the US, I think they’re another tend-setter in the making. I’m talking about macarons, the French sandwich cookies typically made primarily of egg whites and almond meal. These aren’t your awkward, bumpy, coconut-laced macaroons that are more common of American bakeries, but instead elegant and refined morsels that come in every last flavor one could dream of.

For the longest time, I’ve sat back and watched as other bloggers whip up scores of these brilliantly colored and creatively flavored gems, and lacked the confidence to give them a whirl myself. At long last, after diving right in and experimenting with vegan alternatives, I’m thrilled to finally present to you my own version…

Okay, so they still need a bit of work in the flavor department, but look at those lovely feet! That perfect ratio of filling to cookie! They’re real beauties alright, and I can see how addictive they can be to create. With so many opportunities for creative variations, it’s hard to stop thinking about how to make the next batch, even after finishing a dozen.

Better yet, they’re so small, they’re truly a guilt-free indulgence! Yes indeed, macarons will definitely be sticking around, at least in my kitchen (and crafts!)

**Edited to add: These are indeed made of felt.  I didn’t think I really needed to clarify after categorizing this post under “sewing,” but it seems that more people than usual are missing that small detail.  I’m flattered that anyone would think my stitches are that well hidden!

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You Know You’ve Been a Bad Blogger When…

…Your own mother suggests that you should post something already. Yikes, I am just riddled with guilt over this- Has it really been almost two weeks? Final exams consumed my brain and free time, forcing me to abandon all conscious thought that didn’t involve either statistics or “logic” (Which, in case you were considering signing up for, is the worst class EVER. You would be better off sticking your head in the ground and seeing how many earth worms crawled up your nose in the course of a semester instead.) But anyway… School’s out for the summer, I’m back at home with my lovely family and kitchen, and the dust has begun to settle again. Thanks go out to all of the sweethearts who left comments and worried emails about my disappearance; I promise not to do it again!

Besides the mind-numbing studying and essay writing for my finals, the worst part of the whole ordeal was having absolutely no time for myself. It got to a point where I couldn’t even spare 30 minutes to go run down to the grocery store and pick up food, let alone cook it. I ate far more saltine crackers than I’d care to admit, and I’d be perfectly happy to never ingest another one again. In the minutes between classes, my mind would wander to getting something better to eat, and thus translated into a creative outlet- If I couldn’t have delicious food inside my fridge, I would just have to put it on the outside!

Although it didn’t do much to sooth my stomach, their smiling faces did cheer up my otherwise stressful and frustrating days. I want to share a bit of that happiness with you guys, because I can’t thank you enough for your patience and kindness. It’s a very simple craft that kids might enjoy as well, so I hope you will do likewise and share around. They’re so easy to make, even a rushed college student in the middle of finals can finish them!

First of all, download the template and print it out. Cut all of the pieces out and grab some felt.

For the apple, orange, and pear, cut 1 leaf out of light green and cut 2 of the main body out of the appropriate color of felt. Embroider a face into on one of the main pieces. Use a whip stitch to sew both pieces together, right sides out, and add just a tiny bit of stuffing in between. When you come to the top, stick in a short scrap of brown or green yarn for the stem and the leaf right next to it. Sew them in as you go around the perimeter of the shape. Tie it off, bury the knot, and use either hot glue or crazy glue to attach a magnet to the center of the back. Let dry.

For the banana, cut 2 of both the banana peel and main body. Embroider a face into one piece of the main body, and then sew to the other using a whip stitch, right sides out, with a tiny bit of stuffing in the middle. Take the peel pieces and sandwich the main body in the middle, and sew around the edges of the peel. Stitch the peel across the body where it covers it to attach, tie tightly and bury the knot. If desired, cut two tiny rectangles of brown felt and glue them to the very bottom to make a “stem.” Glue two small magnets to the back (so that it isn’t unbalanced or falls off your fridge) and let dry.

Patience is a Virtue…

And all of you lovely people that left me such thoughtful, heart-warming comments certainly have it. I can’t thank you guys enough for waiting by while I got my shittake together, and I don’t think I would have been able to get through it intact without you. Having a good friend that you can turn to in times of turmoil is invaluable, and so I would hardly feel right about turning away others in need.

Such was the case when a tiny purple bunny appeared in my herb garden one day.

Cowering next to a large pot of basil, the poor dear was clearly scared out of her mind. Alone and lost – How she got there, I couldn’t tell you – She definitely was in need of a kind soul to help her out of this confusion. Offering up my cozy patch of greenery as a temporary residence, I promised that we would get her back to where she belonged in no time at all. Little did I know what I was getting myself into…

It was only a matter of time before a friend of hers showed up, and I was overjoyed to know that neither of these tiny creatures wouldn’t be alone. Contented that they could keep each other company, I went about my regular chores, completely care-free. As the hours slipped away and out of my grasp faster than I could even turn them over in my hands, I didn’t get to check in on them for nearly half the day. When I came back to offer them a snack, I stopped short and wondered if perhaps my vision was faulty; I was seeing even more than double!

Um, okay, not a big deal, I’ll just pull out a couple extra chairs at the table. But then, I swear I just blinked and-

Bunny overload!

Now, I’m not about to toss these sweet little ones out on the street, but I can’t possibly take care of all twelve on my own. Knowing that you guys are all such great friends, I was wondering if any of you would be interested in taking one into your own home instead? Just leave me a comment before midnight tonight (Eastern Time) and I’ll pick out a dozen names at random. Consider it a small ‘thank you’ for being so patient!

Tagged x Infinity

All form of intelligible thought flies far from my lips when I try to say exactly how thankful I am for everyone’s recent comments and various forms of flattery, but it never fails to amaze me to see how many people are actually following along. So much attention is still totally new to me, and it’s crazy to see how many times my blog comes up in regular posts these days! Particularly when there are some certain memes taking the blogosphere by storm… I think that I’ve been tagged for the same meme at least 5 times now, no joke! My studies are a bit demanding at the moment so while I’m I’m afraid I won’t be participating in this round, perhaps I could possibly bribe you guys with a cup of tea, or maybe even a slice of cake instead?

There’s a nice wedge of cookies ‘n creme, for those who want the best of both cookies and cake…

Or for those whole prefer simplicity, what about a sliver of brilliantly crimson red velvet cake?

If all else fails, there’s always the old standard of chocolate and strawberries.

I would never try to buy your vote or your love… But would a bite of one of these cakes score me any points, at least?

A Little Birdy Told Me…

So I may not have seen any groundhogs yesterday, but I did meet up with one weather-wise, winged friend instead…

Judging by her enthusiastic chirping and fluttering about, I think it’s safe to say that spring is finally on it’s way. Besides that, the temperature has risen above freezing, which feels downright toasty at this point!

Eating Like an Animal

Most people would never bat an eye over chowing down in a restaurant, or big dinner party, but eating in public places is awkward for me. Simply put, table manners perplex and overwhelm me, driving me to eat in solitude so as not to accidentally offend those around me. Admittedly an odd character quirk on my part, any member of my family who is so unfortunate to have dined regularly with me would understand- Talking with my mouth full, elbows on the table, picking at food with my fingers, I am no where near a master of eating etiquette. These bad habits can obviously be suppressed with conscious effort, but needless to say, I’m just not comfortable seated in one of my university’s many dining halls. Surrounded by a couple hundred unknown students, each with their own set of cultural norms and taboos, I fear that each bite I take may be seen as more appalling than the last.

Doing my best to speed through another self-conscious breakfast, hiding in the corner with my head buried in a text book, I was startled by the sudden sounds of noshing even more violent and untamed than my own. Craning around to find the source, I saw the exact image that I fear others might project onto me; Snout rooting about in a mountainous bowl of cereal, this guy was an absolute pig!

No, seriously, he was a pig!

Watching crumbs fly though the air as this voracious animal tore through those crunchy wheat squares, I instantly felt better about my own unsavory behavior. As out of place as I may feel, I’m fairly confident that my manners aren’t nearly so conspicuous as his!