April 4, 2016

In one batch of hearty cookies, find the flavors of two bakery classics: chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. Chopped walnuts and rolled oats add texture and more layers of taste.

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch chunks

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts but any nut will do (about 2 ounces), toasted

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and walnuts.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 2 days.

Serves: 3 dozen

Total time: Approximately 30 minutes

Idea from: Martha Stewart

More info about Fruit Trees: http://www.plantogram.com

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April 4, 2016

Turn an old book into a whimsical wreath with this creative idea.  This wreath is great for many holidays, just change the colors up for your favorite holiday!

6001_6050/6011_092310_wreath.jpg

Materials

Leaf template

Scissors

Cardstock

Pencil

Old book with at least 100 yellowed pages, pages removed

Craft glue

24-gauge floral wire, cut to 5-inch lengths

Pressed real leaves (optional, from naturespressed.com)

20-gauge floral wire

Brown floral tape

1/8-inch tan quilling paper

Acorn caps

Hot-glue gun and glue sticks

Ribbon for bow

Directions

Print leaf template on cardstock and cut out. Trace the leaf shape on a page from the book; roughly trim the paper around the leaf shape.

Apply craft glue to the back of the leaf shape. Place a 5-inch length of wire on a second page from the book, then place the leaf shape glue side down over it, sandwiching the wire between the papers. The wire should be centered on the stem of the leaf, with half of the wire within the leaf and half of the wire emerging from the stem. Allow glue to dry, then carefully cut out the leaf shape with scissors. Repeat to make 45 to 50 leaves for the wreath.

Bundle 3 to 5 leaves and twist the wires together. Tip: You can add wires to real pressed leaves and incorporate them in the paper leaf bundles if desired.

To make a wreath form, cut a 47-inch length of 20-gauge wire; fold in half and twist. Shape twisted wire into a horseshoe, then wrap with brown floral tape.

Starting at one end of the wreath form and working toward middle, attach bundles of leaves with floral tape; repeat for other side.

To make the acorns, tightly roll 1/8-inch quilling paper into a flat disk. Use thumb to push the center of the disk outward, forming into a cup shape. Rub the inside of the cup with craft glue to secure the shape. Apply hot glue to the inside of the quilled cup and adhere to an acorn cap. Use hot glue to attach acorns to wreath.

Tie bow on the top center of wreath, if desired.

Idea from: Martha Stewart

More info about Fruit Trees: http://www.plantogram.com

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April 4, 2016

how to make modeling chocolate basket 20http://cakejournal.com/tutorials/how-to-make-a-modeling-chocolate-basket/

Materials

Modeling chocolate (I used milk chocolate candy melts to make mine)
Lollipop sticks or thin pretzel rods
A small drinking glass without any curves
Wax paper
Melted chocolate
Large circle cutter from the Wilton circle cutter set
Clay extruder
Paintbrush
Knife
Shortening

Instructions

1. Rub the inside of your drinking glass with shortening.
Cut out wax paper and stick it on the inside. The shortening acts like a glue and holds the wax paper in place.

2. Pour some melted chocolate inside the glass.
The chocolate layer should be a quarter of an inch thick

3. Next, dip 8 lollipop sticks in melted chocolate and place them on a cookie tray lined with wax paper.
Place your tray in the freezer so the chocolate sets quickly. It takes about 10 minutes.

NOTES:
- You may have to cut these lollipop sticks according to the height that you want for your basket.
- You can also use mini pretzel rods instead of lollipop sticks.
- You need to use an even number of lollipop sticks or pretzel sticks. Odd numbers don’t work out that well

4. Stick those lollipops sticks into the melted chocolate. Try to keep them evenly spaced out.
Place this glass in the freezer so that the chocolate hardens up. It takes about 15- 20 minutes depending on your  freezer temperature settings.

5. Once you take the glass out of the freezer, carefully peel the wax paper away from the glass and slowly pull out the whole chocolate structure.

6. Gently, peel away the wax paper from your chocolate structure and it should look something like this…
Place this whole piece on a sheet of wax paper so it doesn’t mess up your work area with brown chocolate stains.

7. Use an extruder with the circle attachment to make many long modeling chocolate ropes.
These will be used to create the typical basket weave.

8. Carefully, start running your ropes through the lollipop sticks.
You go through one and come out the other ….in and out…in and out…. you keep doing this until you have something like this…Cut off the excess with a sharp knife and use the warmth of your fingers to stick the joint together. Be careful not to press too hard.

9. Now, take another rope and start going through your lollipop sticks again. But this time, you will go in the opposite direction. Instead of going “in and out”, you will go “out and in.”  

10. When you get to the end, use a sharp knife to cut off any excess and stick the joint together with your fingers.
Continue doing this “in and out” plus “out and in” motion until you have reached almost the entire height of your basket.
Leave a little empty space at the top.

11. Next, take three ropes and pinch them together near the top. Start braiding just like your would braid your hair.

12. Brush very little melted chocolate on top of your basket. Now, very gently… pick up your braid and stick it around the top.
You may have to press a little to hold it in place.

13. Brush some melted chocolate around the base of your basket and stick another braid around it.

14. Cut out 2 little loops of modeling chocolate and stick them on either side of the basket using some melted chocolate.

15. And you are done!  You can keep this basket at room temperature or in the fridge. Fill it up with whatever you like.

Ideas by Farwa and Abeer

For  more details visit: http://cakejournal.com/tutorials/how-to-make-a-modeling-chocolate-basket/

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April 4, 2016

Ingredients:

1.5 oz  Smirnoff Watermelon

0.75 oz Lime juice

0.5 oz simple syrup

1.5 oz Cranberry Juice

5 mint leaves

HOW TO MIX IT:

Muddle mint and simple syrup in a glass. Add in the remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a glass and garnish with watermelon slices.

Now This Sounds Like A Drink!!

For more mixed drinks, visit: http://www.http://www.smirnoff.com/en-us/newmain/vodka-drinks/drink-recipes/watermelon-slice.aspx#axzz3B5cZOJhk

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April 4, 2016

Dragon-fruit-3

Dragon Fruit Sorbet

INGREDIENTS
2 dragon fruits
3/4 c. cold water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar

DIRECTIONS
Cut the dragon fruit in half. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Reserve the halves for serving,if desired. Freeze the halves until you are ready to fill them.

Place the pulp of the dragon fruit in your food processor along with the water,lemon juice and sugar. Pulse until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until frozen. Spoon the sorbet into the frozen halves,or freeze the sorbet until ready to serve.

Makes about 2 cups of sorbet.

Dragon Fruit &Gorgonzola Salad with Ginger Glaze

Ingredients

2”  piece of fresh ginger,peeled and sliced into ¼” rounds

2 dragon fruit

seeds of ½ pomegranates

1 black plum,cut into pieces

1 kiwifruit,peeled and cut into pieces

¼ lb. longan fruit,peeled,seeded,and cut into pieces

gorgonzola dolce,approximately ¼ lb.

¾ c. sugar,

1 ½ c. water

Dash of salt

Place ginger into saucepan with sugar,water and salt and bring it to a boil. Let reduce to 1/4 volume,to a thick,syrupy consistency.

Prepare the dragon fruit. Slice in half. Use melon baller to scoop out flesh. Reserve skins for serving containers.

In another bowl,combine kiwifruit,longan,and pomegranate seeds. Add crumbled Gorgonzola,and gently toss.

Fill the dragon fuit body with fruit and cheese.

Drizzle ginger glaze over everything.

Trim with kiwifruit,pomegranate seeds,and extra plum wedges.

For More information on any of our products please visit: http://www.plantogram.com/

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April 4, 2016

Who doesn't love fresh homemade fruit bread?  Try this recipe anytime of year for a delicious treat!

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

8 ounces sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups coarsely chopped strawberries or 2 cups blueberries or 2 cups  peaches

Directions

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and add to above mixture.

Carefully fold in fruit.

Pour into two prepared bread pans and bake at 350° for one hour.

Makes 2 loaves

Total time: One hour and 15 minutes

Idea from: Food

More info about Fruit Trees: http://www.plantogram.com

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April 4, 2016

Here's a simple DIY craft to create your own bird ornament which can also be used as a bookmark or to decorate anything that needs a little something extra!

Materials

Book Pages or Scrapbook Paper
Small Stick
Twine or Ribbon
Your Choice of Embellishments {Tim Holtz Ink/Glitter}

Directions

Begin by printing out the bird template found {here}. I did not make a template for the wing; however it is a pretty easy shape to cut freely by hand. Stack three sheets of book pages together and trace the template on top. Cut out the bird along with the wing shape.

If you prefer, you can distress the pages at this point. I gave my birdie a light rub with a Tim Holtz Distressed Ink Pad, making the edges a little bit darker.

You can add glitter at this point, if you want a little sparkle. I simply rubbed the front of the birdie with a glue stick and sprinkled on some vintage mica flakes.

Stack the three bird cutouts together, adding a tiny dab of hot glue in between each to hold; do the same for the wings. For the leg, attached a small stick with hot glue to the front of the bird and press the wing on top.

Curl the ends of the wings and tails by lightly rolling around a pencil.

Cut a piece of twine or ribbon for the hanger. Secure to the back with hot glue and finish by pressing a piece of cardstock on top.

Idea from: Stephanie Lynn

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April 4, 2016

Stay cool with an Ice Cream Mango!

Ice Cream is a very popular “condo mango” and makes an excellent container plant. The tree can easily be maintained at a height of just six feet making it ideal for container growing. The fruit flavor is sweet, rich, and reminiscent of mango sorbet and is completely fiber less. In the Dominican Republic the skin of the fruit turns a canary yellow color. This is due to the tropical yet arid conditions of their mango growing regions. The fruit ripens from June to July.

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April 4, 2016

Serve up Passion Fruit Mojitos and impress your guests at your next casual cocktail party.

Ingredients

2 parts Passion Fruit Mojito mix

1 part white rum

Ice

Club soda

Mint sprigs

Lime slices

Directions

Combine in a pitcher 2 parts Passion Fruit Mojito mix, 1 part white rum, and ice. Mix, then pour into ice-filled glasses. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime slice.

Yields 1 pitcher

Total time: Approximately 5 minutes

Idea from: Redbook

More info about Fruit Trees: http://www.plantogram.com

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April 4, 2016

A well-known fruit throughout much of the world, the soursop's delicious white pulp, with tones of fruit candy and smooth cream is commonplace in tropical markets, but is rarely found fresh anywhere else.

Inside its thin, leathery, green flesh is a large mass of creamy pulp, usually intermixed with 50-100 black seeds.
Health Benefits of Soursop
- The seeds, which have emetic properties, can be used in the treatment of vomiting.

- The leaf decoction is effective for head lice and bedbugs.

- The crushed fresh leaves can be applied on skin eruptions to promote healing.

- The juice of the fruit can be taken orally as a remedy for urethritis, haematuria and liver ailments.

- The juice when taken when fasting, it is believed to relieve liver ailments and leprosy.

- To speed the healing of wounds, the flesh of the soursop is applied as a poultice unchanged for 3 days.

- A decoction of the young shoots or leaves is regarded as a remedy for gall bladder trouble, as well as coughs, catarrh, diarrhea, dysentery, fever and indigestion.

- Mashed leaves are used as a poultice to alleviate eczema and other skin problems and rheumatism.

- The root bark is use as an antidote for poisoning.

- Soursop flowers are believed to alleviate catarrh.

- Decoction of leaves used as compresses for inflammation and swollen feet.
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