Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dream, Achieve, Success, Believe

I thought I had posted this card a while ago, but I was looking through my archives and could not find it. I really liked how this one turned out except that the 'dream' sticker is a little off. The numbers had to be cut out by hand because I did not have any pop out or sticker numbers that matched my paper.  

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This recipe is also a bit old. (You can probably tell by the Christmas plate it is on.) It's a good recipe, though, and I did not want to wait nine months to post about it. I hope you enjoy!

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Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares with Date Syrup Topping
¾ cup of oatflour
4 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp butter or oil
2 tbsp sugar
¼ cup dates
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp cinnamon plus ¼ tsp

Mix the oatflour, sugar, 2 tbsp applesauce, ½ tsp cinnamon, and butter together. Press the mixture out onto a 4X4 pan. Blend together the dates, water, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and 2 tbsp applesauce. Pour this mixture onto the pressed out dough. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Eat warm or allow it to cool.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares with Date Syrup Topping by Decorated11

 

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Secret's Out

I have been posting a series of related recipes these last few days. There is one similarity between the seemingly random dishes. Have you guessed it? You have one last chance before I reveal the surprise.
 
 
What do all these have in common? They give away the destinations of the places I will be visiting this summer during my trip to Europe.
 
Yes, Europe! I am so excited. It was a graduation gift from my parents. My mom and I will be going on a ten day trip starting on my 18th birthday to 4 European cities. I have been able to plan out the whole thing, and I am so excited. Here's a brief itinerary:
 
  • 3 days in Basel, Switzerland, home to Erasmus and a ton of museums
  • 2 days and one night in Freiburg, Germany, part of the Black Forest
  • 2 days in Strasbourg, France, home to the European parliament
  • 2 days in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where we will be taking a bike tour
I am too excited for words about this trip! I chose the first three cities because of their proximity to each other. They are all on the border between Switzerland, Germany, and France. My dad suggested we see Amsterdam since he has traveled there on a business trips and loves it. I'll will be sure to post more on this later.
Now on to some completely unrelated things.

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This card was fun to make. It uses a bunch of different shapes and colors to achieve a spectacular look. The following recipe is also super fun. I love to make anything using the blender. These navy beans come together perfectly with big chocolate chunks to make this delicious treat.
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Chocolate Chip Navy Bean Blondies
½ cup dry navy beans
2 tbsp applesauce
1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
½ cup sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup oatmeal
2 tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp chocolate chips

Let the navy beans soak in water for 4 hours. Bring them to a boil for 8 minutes and then let them cool. Blend the oatmeal and chia seeds into a flour. Add all the other ingredients except the chocolate chips and blend until well mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Oil a 4” X 4” baking dish. Pour in the batter and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

French Dip and Swiss Oatmeal

Today is your one last opportunity to guess what the big surprise is. I will reveal the big secret tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this great recipe. I use the au jus sauce leftover from my mom's homemade French dips to make a yummy  savory oatmeal treat.


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French Dip and Swiss Oatmeal
¼ cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup oatmeal
1 cup au jus sauce

Bring the au jus to a boil and stir in the oatmeal. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Stir in the cheese and serve.


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I figured after yesterday (when I made a card using our rival school's colors) that I should make a card using my school's colors. This graduation card sure does show off some spirit. Go tigers! I think that the blue and gold tigers is the most popular color/ mascot combination. (I never know who to cheer for at track meets because everyone is dressed alike.) Anyway, I hope you are inspired by the card. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dutch Cocoa Pillow Cookies

The title of this post gives away the next clue to my big surprise. It's Dutch Cocoa Pillow Cookies. These cookies are more like little cakes that bake up in the oven in only ten minutes. I am trying to get all my baking done before it gets too warm out. Today was nice, but it is supposed to be cold and rainy again tomorrow. At least I was able to get my garden planted this afternoon. I planted cilantro, carrots, and okra. This is a big scale back from last year when I planted broccoli, spinach, lettuce, peas, okra, red bell peppers, parsley, carrots, and tomatoes. After my awful experience with cabbage worms in my broccoli, I will not be growing it any more. The lettuce and spinach did not go so well either. Hopefully this year my simple garden will yield a better harvest.


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Dutch Cocoa Pillow Cookies
makes 30
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1 cup flour
6 tbsp milk
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt together. Add the yogurt, milk, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir until everything is well combined. Add in the apple cider vinegar and immediately scoop 1 tablespoonful balls of the dough onto a baking stone. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

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I love the black and red color combo even if it's the school colors of our rival school. (I'm not really into sports anyway.) The ribbon is a sticker that I just stuck onto a black oval. The rest is pretty self explanatory....

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Hodge Podge Post

Today's post is going to be a hodge podge of recipes and a card idea. The first recipe is sticking to my list of clues to what my big surprise is. If you have not guessed it yet, maybe this recipe will make the light bulb click. Besides the fact that it has to do with my big surprise, this Swiss and broccoli casserole is delicious. I pureed the broccoli into a paste, but you could leave some chunks in it if you wanted.

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Broccoli and Swiss Casserole
1 package frozen broccoli
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Swiss cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash of salt

Cook the broccoli according to the instructions on the package, and allow it to cool. Blend all the ingredients together until creamy. Pour it into a small oiled oven safe dish or stone. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.



Remember my breakfast pizza post from a while back? I had made all four pizza crusts and frozen three of them for later. For breakfast I whipped up this delicious topping to make a chocolate breakfast pizza. (Who can beat that? Chocolate and pizza for breakfast.)

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Chocolate Banana Breakfast Pizza
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 banana
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk
breakfast pizza crust

Mash the banana in a bowl along with the milk, cocoa powder, and yogurt. Spread it on top of the pizza crust and either devour immediately or freeze overnight. If you choose to freeze it, thaw it out for 15 minutes before you eat it the next morning.

Here is a recipe for an easy fix when you have a cookie craving. It makes one jumbo oatmeal raisin cookie that is chewy and delicious.

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Microwave Oatmeal Raisin Cookie for One
1/4 cup oatmeal
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp yogurt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of vanilla extract
1 tbsp raisins

Mix all the ingredients together well. Flatten out onto a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Allow it to cool slightly before eating.

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Here is a card inspiration to round out this random post. Only 13 more days of school left until graduation! All of us seniors wore matching t-shirts to celebrate. 13 more days until the class of '13 graduates!
 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Black Forest Cake Smoothie

Here is the second recipe clue to the secret I will reveal on Monday. Are you catching on yet? (I'm practically giving it to you.)

This smoothie is different in the fact that it uses hot chocolate powder like my cold hot chocolate shake. I hope you enjoy it!

 
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Black Forest Cake Smoothie
1 cup frozen cherries
¾ cup milk
3 tbsp hot chocolate powder

Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy.

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This graduation picture frame is fun and memorable at the same time. Simple, but cute, it will make a good gift for one of the billion people I know graduating this year.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Surprise is on the Way!!

Here is a baked pasta recipe inspired by the loved French onion soup. I like to brown the cheese on top and cook it until the pasta absorbs a lot of the beef broth. One advantage to French onion pasta is that it will not stink up your house like French onion soup will. My mom made the soup once, and our house smelt like onions for about a week. Now we just order it at restaurants.

Every recipe for the next couple of days is going to have a clue to a surprise I will reveal on Monday. I am so excited! Let's see if you can figure it out.
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French Onion Pasta
8 ounces of pasta
6 cups beef broth
8 slices provolone cheese
1 tsp onion powder

Bring the broth and onion powder to a boil. Add the pasta and boil for 10 minutes. Pour the pasta and remaining broth into a baking dish. Top with the cheese and bake at 500 degrees until the cheese starts to brown.

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I made this photo page as another graduation present for one of my friends. It is a really simple project. Just decorate a piece of paper with pictures and stickers like you would a scrapbook. Then stick the paper on some cardboard. Finish it off by hot gluing a ribbon onto the back to hang it from. Your friend (or yourself) will have a neat way to hang up their memories of high school forever.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crispy, Crunchy Chia!

Now that I have my blog back in order, I'll give you a decent post. Below is a more formal graduation card that uses a simple triad color combination with a few stickers and a sentiment. I had to hand write the sentiment, but I think it looks neat enough. (I have really been working on my handwriting. Especially while making my newest big project. More information on that is to come.)

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This cereal is a bit different than some of my other cereal recipes. It uses chia seeds, those versatile, crunchy super foods. The strawberry gives the cereal a good taste, and the crunch of the chia seeds is addicting.

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Strawberry Chia Seed Cereal
1 cup chia seed
1 tsp strawberry extract
½ cup strawberry juice

Blend the chia seeds up. Stir all of the ingredients together. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the mixture onto a rectangle of parchment paper. Put another rectangle of parchment paper on top and roll out the cereal as thin as you can without breaking it apart. Place the parchment paper on a baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the heat down to 250 degrees. Bake another 15 minutes and then cut the cereal into squares. Turn the oven off and put the baking pan back in for an hour to allow the cereal to dry out more.

strawberry chia seed cereal (2) by Decorated11
Just in case one chia seed recipe is not enough, here is another. Once you try one chia seed recipe, there is no going back. You are hooked.

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Chocolate Chia Seed No Bake Date Cookie
makes one big cookie
¼ cup pitted dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp chia seeds

Blend all the ingredients together. Add a little milk if needed (1-2 tsp). Roll into a ball and then smash into a cookie shape. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oatmeal Pancakes

I'm just posting this very quick recipe tonight because something happened, a bunch of the pictures on my blog were deleted, and I've been spending the past couple of hours fixing it. I have the hardest time with pictures on this blog. Sorry about the short post, but I'm tired and sick of the internet. Do not let my short post deter you from trying this recipe, though. These pancakes are amazing, and I use this recipe as a base to create all sorts of other flavors.
 
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Oatmeal Pancakes

makes about 8-10 pancakes

1 cup quick oats

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 cup milk

1/8 tsp salt

2 eggs

2 tbsp honey (optional)

 

Whisk all the ingredients together. Preheat a nonstick pan to medium heat. Once it is hot, pour about 3 tbsp of batter onto it to make each pancake. Flip once bubbles start to form on the top and the bottom looks dry. Top with cinnamon, syrup, peanut butter, or any other pancake topping you can think of.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Almond Joy Granola

The only thing wrong with Hershey's Almond Joy candy bars is that they don't sell them in granola form. Almonds, chocolate, and coconut come together to make this delicious breakfast/ snack/ dessert treat. Enjoy!


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Almond Joy Granola
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup almonds
½ cup coconut flakes
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup almond milk
1 cup pitted dates
½ cup chocolate chips
¾ cup cocoa powder

Melt the coconut oil. Mix the wheat germ, nuts, oatmeal, coconut flakes, and coconut oil together. Spread out onto a pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Stir and bake another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the dates in hot water and let sit 10 minutes. Drain the water and blend the dates with the milk and cocoa powder to form a paste. Pour this over the toasted oats. Bake the mixture another 10 minutes. Let it cool and stir in the chocolate chips.

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Here is another one of my graduation picture frames. This one is more formal then the Dr. Seuss one, and is specifically meant for a graduation. Making these frames is so fun. All you need is a picture frame, some paper, and stickers. With a little creativity and effort, you have a great graduation gift. Along with a container of almond joy granola, you will make any new graduate happy.

 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

White Bean Brownie Muffins

Is is a brownie or is it a muffin?

I'm not really sure, so I stuck them both in the name. One thing I am sure of is that these brownie/ muffins are made out of beans.

And you cannot even taste them.

Don't believe me? Try the recipe out for yourself and see. I like mine slightly gooey in the center, but they are good cooked all the way through too. They make for a delicious treat.

Want more brownie recipes involving beans? (I find them to be a good way to use up extra beans.) Try my bean brownies, black bean brownie dip, or German chocolate chickpea brownies.

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White Bean Brownie Muffins
makes 18
1- 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 cup pitted dates
2 ounces baker’s chocolate
2/3 cup cocoa powder
½ cup oatmeal
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
 
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Add everything to a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined. Spray a muffin tin and fill the cups ¾ way full with the batter. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes, or 12 for extra gooey muffins. Remove the muffins from the pans and allow to cool.

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This graduation card strays from your typical serious and dark one. I think it is kind of fun. We're teenagers, after all. Graduation is fun. It isn't all about the ties and diplomas. I think polka dots enhance any event. Do you agree, or do you prefer the more serious graduation cards?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Polymer Clay Cake

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Doesn't this look so appetizing? Don't you just want to take a big bite of it? Go ahead and try, but you might be surprised to find that it is just a bit dry. You might crack a few teeth too, but that is a minor detail we can overlook.

What kind of cake cracks peoples teeth?

The kind made out of polymer clay, duh.


I used brown and pink clay to make my cake, baked it according to the instructions on the package, and then brushed the tops with glue and stuck on sprinkles. (The sprinkles are the only edible part, but the rest looks good enough to eat.)

Below is a recipe for peanut butter bars. They, unlike the cake, are actually edible. A cross between a granola bar and bread, they have a soft texture and peanutty taste.

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Peanut Oatmeal Bars
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup peanuts
2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pitted dates, soaked in boiling water

Blend 1 cup of oatmeal into a flour. Stir this in with the rest of the oatmeal and the baking soda and cinnamon. Blend together the dates, eggs, and peanut butter. Mix this with the rest of the ingredients. Spread evenly into a 8X8 baking dish that has been oiled. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Let it cool before cutting into bars.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls in a Mug!

It seems like just about everyone nowadays is gluten free. I think it must be the "in" thing to have a food intolerance/ allergy. I do not understand it at all, I am not gluten free, and no one in my family is gluten free. My friends and I were just discussing gluten allergies at lunch today, and I happened to have this recipe on hand. I did not make it with the intent of it being gluten free. That's just how it turned out. It tastes great, though, so I hope you enjoy!

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Gluten Free Microwaved Cinnamon Roll
3 tbsp oatmeal
2 tbsp sorghum flour
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp apple sauce
pinch of salt
1 tbsp buttermilk

Whisk all the ingredients together. Microwave for about 70 seconds. Serve topped with powdered sugar or icing.

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We got our senior t-shirts (finally) today. It is really sinking in that it is almost over. Here is a blue graduation card with lettered patterened paper and a sticker. I think it is cute.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

strawberry bread pudding

I think that it should be illegal to have school on sunny days. Especially since they only come around about once a year here in Ohio. Anyway, there are only 19 more days of being cooped up left! (That is, until I go to college or get a job.)

I'm sure you're all sick of hearing me rant against the weather, high school, and how people nowadays just don't appreciate homemade gifts. I'll get on with the card and recipe.


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Strawberry Bread Pudding
4 eggs
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp strawberry syrup
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup strawberry jelly
½ loaf cubed Italian bread
½ cup sugar
½ cup halved strawberries.

Line the bottom of a baking stone with the bread and strawberries. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, orange juice, sugar, jelly, and strawberry syrup together. Pour the mixture over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Allow the stone to come to room temperature before baking at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until the eggs have set.

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Here's a simple "thank you" card. (The stamp says thank you, thank you, thank you over and over again. I am not making too many thank you cards in anticipation of my graduation, but hopefully at least one person will give me something that warrants a thank you note. If not, I'll just send out "thanks for nothing" cards. How sassy would that be?

Just a note: I don't expect or need anything for graduation. I'm just joking. Also, I go to just about the best high school on earth, so I have no room to complain. I just like to complain, and this is my blog. You'll just have to put up with it. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dr. Seuss Approved

I think every one's favorite author as a child is Dr. Seuss. If it's not, you have at least heard of him before. I grew up reading the Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and  There's a Wocket in My Pocket. One of my favorite Christmas movies is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (The cartoon version, of course. The live action one is just creepy.) Later on I was surprised to find that Dr. Seuss also drew political cartoons. Throughout high school history, I found his political cartoons to be my favorite. Now I enjoy to read Harper his books, and recently she has been reading some of them to me. My mom even gave her one for her birthday. (The Sleep Book, I think.)His zany stories with crazy creatures and funny drawings have become classics. Look at how many of his stories are now movies, and you will see just how much he is a part of our culture.

Oh the Places You'll Go was the last book Dr. Seuss published before his death. It is all about taking a chance at something new with a 98 3/4% success rate guaranteed. I find it incredibly appropriate for this new and exciting time in me and my friends' lives. Here is a picture frame that I made to give one of my friends for graduation.

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I could have posted recipes for the fun food crafts my mom did in Harper's class for Dr. Seuss' birthday, but I do not feel like I have a right to steal her ideas. Plus, I can't get to those pictures because Flickr deleted them. Anyway, here is a less creative, but equally delicious recipe for corn muffins. (The southern sugar free version, of course. Only yankees put sugar in their cornbread.)


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Buttermilk Cornmeal Muffins
1 cup cornmeal
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup oil
3 egg yolks

Whisk together all the ingredients, being careful not to over mix or leave any lumps. Oil a large muffin pan. Fill each hole about ¾ to way full, dividing the batter evenly between the four holes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.



 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Almond Joy Smoothie

This smoothie is not just for people with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance. It is purely delicious. I hope you and all your dairy friends enjoy it.
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Dairy Free Almond Joy Smoothie
serves 2
1 cup almond milk
½ cup almond yogurt
1 frozen banana
1-2 tbsp chocolate syrup
3 tbsp coconut butter

Blend all the ingredients together. Enjoy.

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I made this graduation cap out of a small cardboard box, small square of cardboard, and some string. Unlike the graduation caps that your school gives you just for graduation day and then sends back to the rental place, this cap can be kept and cherished for years.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

National Pecan Day

Today is National Pecan Day! As a Georgian, I sure do love my pecans. (Almost as much as peaches.) You cannot find any cheap pecans up here, but when we go down to Georgia it's like they grow on trees. (Oh wait, they do.) We always bring home huge bags of them freshly picked from one of my relatives' pecan trees. Then we freeze them so we can have yummy (and economical) pecans all year long. Here are some yummy recipes to celebrate yummy pecans on National Pecan Day.
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Butter Pecan Smoothie
1 frozen banana
2 tbsp pecan butter
1 c. milk
½ c. vanilla yogurt
1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)
Break up the frozen banana, toss everything into the blender, and blend until creamy.
 
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Chocolate Pecan Bites
makes 10 (I ate one before taking the picture.)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
½ cup pecans
¼ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the pecans for 5 minutes, making sure not to burn them. Meanwhile, blend the chia seeds. Mix the chia seeds with the milk. Set aside. When the pecans are done, blend them until there are no chunks. Mix the pecans with the cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add this mixture to the chia seeds and milk. Stir well, and scoop one tbsp at a time into a mini muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Let them cool and store in the fridge before eating.

 
This salad is my mom's very favorite. (It's definitely because I gave her the recipe.) Isn't it beautiful? I'm not a huge fan of it, but everyone else who tries it loves it. I just eat the pecans off of it. (Spinach isn't my thing unless it's in a smoothie.)
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Cranberry and Pecan Spinach  Salad
For the salad:
1 package baby spinach
3/4 cup toasted pecans
2 apples
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Core and cube the apple. Toss all the ingredients together and top with the following dressing.


For the dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl with a lid. Use immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator until needed. After it has sat for a while, you will need to stir it up again because the oil will separate out. 
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Here is yet another graduation card. Trust me, you will be seeing a lot of these in the coming days. I have 45 kids in my class who will be graduating this year plus friends from outside of school. This graduation card was kind of interesting to make because I used a new technique. I used a nice piece of colorful, but elegant, patterned paper and framed it with a darker piece. Then I used a circle cutter to make a black circle. Then I matched the edges to my card and cut off the excess parts of the circle to create the look that the circle is coming out of the bottom of the card. Finally, I added some stickers to finish it off. What do you think?