April Fools: Paper “Brownies”

1 Apr

With Easter so early this year, it’s easy to forget about April Fools Day. If you’ve completely forgotten, but you still want to “get” someone today with a harmless and easy April Fools prank, I’ve got the perfect idea: bake someone paper brownies.

Paper_borwnies_April_Fools_prank

All you need for this is some brown paper, scissors, an opaque cooking pan, and aluminum foil. Cut your paper into upper and lower case letter E’s.

April_Fools_Trick_easy_simple_brownies

Who knew making brownies (“brown e’s”) was so easy! Just stash your letters in the pan and cover them up. You might want to put something with a little weight on the bottom of the pan, like a dishtowel, just to give the plate some weight.

Happy_April_Fools_Day_Easy_Prank

Now you just need to offer someone some delicious, homemade brown “E”s. It’s not your fault if they thought you said brownies.

Enjoy! Happy April Fooling.

Restaurant Idea Book

29 Mar

My boyfriend and I love to go out to eat, and we treat ourselves pretty regularly. The problem comes when we need to decide on where to go. Since I’m a vegetarian, and a fairly picky eater, it’s not always easy for me to try a new place without a little research. George, on the other hand, likes to try new things, and never has a problem with any menu. Tired of scanning through restaurant options on date night, I went ahead and created a Restaurant Ideas Book.

Date_night_ideas_book_diy_craft

I did a little digging on Trip Advisor and Yelp to find restaurants we haven’t tried within a reasonable radius. I only included places with average or better reviews, and looked at the menus to make sure there were a couple options I was okay with.

Book_binding_demo_practice

I wanted to make a little book, so I planned out mock pages on plain paper. This allowed me to see how I wanted the book to flow.

Date_night_ideas_book_ready

After printing out my pages, I made an orange cover. To bind the book, I just stapled the middle. In order to make the cover a little fancier, I used matching origami paper around the “spine.” I would have used rubber cement as an adhesive for the origami paper, but I couldn’t find it and used spray mount instead.

restaurant_ideas_by_category

For my creation, I divided up some of the suggestions into Date Night, Weekend Breakfast/Lunch, regular suggestions, and a special Bonus for an ice cream place. I did my page layout in Photoshop since I don’t have InDesign at home.

The biggest part of this project was researching which eateries to include! The book itself was very simple and printed on a home inkjet printer.

restaurant_ideas_book_dating_craft

I already presented this craft to George and he was appreciative. I told him we have a year to try the 13 places listed. It should be fun!

70’s Casserole | Recipe

27 Mar

If you are looking for a way to use leftover rice, I have the answer for you. Occasionally George and I will treat ourselves to a lazy mid-week dinner of Chinese food. We almost always have rice remaining, and I’m not about to waste it. That’s when I make what I call “Weird 70s Casserole.”

using_leftover_rice_white_takeout

It is named mostly because of the condensed soup that I use. All of my very health-conscious coworkers love the smell of the final product, and I enjoy the taste. Don’t let the name scare you off!

Casserole_ingredients_recipe

This time I had cream of celery, but you can use whatever creamed condensed soup you want. You’ll also need some broccoli and/or cauliflower.

To make the casserole, combine in a ceramic, covered dish:

  • the condensed cream soup
  • about half of a can of milk
  • your pre-cooked rice (about a cup would be ideal. variation is fine)
  • 2+ cups of broccoli and/or cauliflower (I used a whole bag of frozen broccoli, because that’s what I had on hand)
  • a third of a cup of shredded cheese

Cook, covered, in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes.

weird_70s_casserole_recipe_rice_brocolli

Since this is a recipe designed to use what you have on hand, it is very flexible. I love it as an easy meal that uses up leftovers and can be brought in for lunch.

Ombré Easter Eggs: Two Ways

25 Mar

Ombré_easter_eggs_options_diy

With Easter a week away, I decided it was time to dye some eggs. It’s a tradition that I absolutely love. Every year I try to create new designs on the eggs. This year I tackled ombré. I love the dip-dye color gradation look, and Easter eggs were the perfect place to try out my skills. I attempted two different styles.

Egg_Dye_Food_Coloring_How_To

For dyeing eggs, I used food coloring, with a tablespoon or so of vinegar and some hot water. Channeling my mother, I put down some newspaper to catch the drips off the hard-boiled eggs.

ombre_Ester_Eggs_option_craft

The first ombre set involved dyeing each egg a slightly lighter hue. I used a blue with a tiny bit of green in it. My first egg was in the water for over 10 minutes, the next for roughly 5 minutes, then less and less. The last egg got just a splash to add a tiny bit of color.

ombre_blue_Easter_Eggs_shade

When assembled together, this ombre egg set looks beautiful.

ombre_Easter_Eggs_How_to

For my other set of eggs, I wanted each egg to have stripes of color. I had to rig up the glasses to get the eggs to sit somewhat upright. I used a spoon in the glass, flipped so the bottom of the spoon rested against the egg.

dip_dye_Easter_eggs_blue

I started with the dye water reaching only partway up the egg. I let it sit for 5 or more minutes, and then added more water. I continued this 3-4 times until the egg was completely covered.

orange_ombre_Easter_egg

These eggs are less consistent, but they are still a lot of fun.

ombré_Easter_Eggs_dye_©LaurenHittinger

Both batches came out nicely, and are the perfect Easter eggs for current trends.

 

Boyfriend Easter Basket Alternative

22 Mar

alternative_to_Easter_Basket_man

I remember the joy that I had every Easter morning when there was an overflowing basket of candy and toys waiting for me. Because of this, I always want to pass on special treats and candies for Easter. Instead of spending lots on candy to fill an Easter basket for my boyfriend, I decided to make a more meaningful gift. For George’s Easter present, I created  the perfect mix of candy and love notes.

Love_notes_jar_supplies

I purchased Easter colored mini Reese’s Cups and small circular labels.

love_dating_craft_candy

On each candy, I put on a sticker with a thing I love about my boyfriend, George. They ranged from his sense of humor to his love for his family. These labels fit perfectly on the bottom of each candy.

things_i_love_about_you

I used a Ball Jar to hold all the candies. Before I started writing out my notes, I dropped candies in to see how many would fit. For my jar, I could get about 25.

Details_diy_Easter_gift_boyfriend

After each candy was labeled with a thing I love, I put them all back in the jar. I cut out a circle of paper to display through the top of the jar, and made a cute little label to go along with it. Tied with a ribbon, my Easter gift is all ready to go!

25_things_i_love_about_you

This “25 Things I Love About You” jar is the perfect present for a husband or boyfriend on Easter or any other occasion. It’s especially nice for guys with a sweet tooth, like George!

Clothespin “Mail”

20 Mar

clothespin_mail_message_love_note

Today’s quick craft creates a hiding spot for a short message on a clothespin. It’s a perfect way to send some love to your friends or hunny.

For materials, you’ll need a clothespin with a spring mechanism that opens and closes, as well as some paper, glue, and a fine-pointed pen.

envelope_clothespin_craft

I measured out the front “pincher” part of my clothespin. That’s where your miniature envelope will be. For me, I needed to cut pieces of paper that were .5 inches tall by .75 inches long. On the front piece I drew the mock-up of a letter addressed to my boyfriend George. On the other piece, which became the back of the envelope, I drew fake fold marks.

Pieces_of_envelope_clothespin

The idea is that when you open the clothespin, you’ll reveal the hidden note. Therefore, you need to cut the front piece in half. You will glue the pieces to the top and the bottom of the “pincher” part of the clothespin. On the other piece of your envelope, which looks like the back, you’ll flip it over and write your hidden message there. Since I wanted to glue my back to the bottom “pincher” part of the clothespin, I wrote my message on the top of the piece of paper.

I used simple Elmer’s glue to attach the envelope cutouts to the clothespin.

clothespin_love_note_craft_diy

It’s just that easy! I’m going to mail my clothespin letter to George. I know it’s going to make him smile.

Winner of Earring Giveaway!

19 Mar

To celebrate reaching 100 followers, I announced an earring giveaway last week. Thank you to all of the people who participated by liking the post on Facebook!

winner_of_earring_giveaway_contest

This morning the contest closed, and I used a random number generator to select Jenny S. as the winner! Congratulations, Jenny! I’ll send you a Facebook message to get your mailing information.

Thanks to everyone for being a reader of The Thrifty Ginger. I hope to have more contests and giveaways in the future.

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