Friday Favorites–Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

We’ve spent most of this week recovering from the wedding.  I’ll be talking about some of the details soon, but it couldn’t have been better.  Everything came together just as we imagined it, the weather was perfect, the bride and groom were very happy and they’ve started their adventure as newlyweds.  And the bride’s dad and I were exhausted.  Since we were busy getting ready, then too tired to cook, there were several days of take-out.  Now I just want some fresh fruit and vegetables, and one of my favorites is a bowl of cherries.

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

Ok, so maybe this isn’t entirely the healthy food I was talking about, but I’m really intrigued by the idea of roasting the cherries before whirling them into this Roasted Cherry Milkshake from 52 Kitchen Adventures.

Roasted Cherry Milkshakes by 52 Kitchen Adventures

This crocheted set of pin-on cherries from Sewing Adicta gives a little more dimension than embroidery or an ordinary brooch.

Embroidered Cherries by Sewing Adicta

These Cherry Tablecloth Weights from Just Something I Made are a fun twist on a summertime outdoor necessity.

Summer Cherries Tablecloth Weights by Just Something I Made

These Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Mice from Frugal Coupon Living would be great for keeping the kids busy for a bit.

Maraschino Cherry Mice by Frugal Coupon Living

Technically these Cherry Lollipop Valentines from The Tomcat Studio are out of season, but I don’t see why you couldn’t make these any time you wanted to share a little cherry-flavored love.

Cherry Lollipop Valentines by The Tomcat Studio

Ah, the wedding favors.  One of my biggest recent projects (again, I’ll be sharing soon).  Before we landing on our final plan, we looked through LOTS of ideas, like these Cherry Bomb Wedding Favors from Martha Stewart Weddings.

Cherry Bomb Wedding Favors by Martha Stewart Weddings

With some premade pie crust dough and canned filling, these cherry tarts from Frankly Entertaining could be pulled together in a matter of minutes.

Cherry Tarts by Frankly Entertaining

This Cherry Garland from Willow Day is a fun décor idea for a summer party.

Cherry Garland by Willow Day

All I can say about these Quilled Cherries from Manuk is wow.

Quilled Cherries by Manuk

I have got to make myself a pair of these Cherry Earrings from Anna Pika.  So cute!

Cherry Earrings by Anna Pika

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Friday Favorites–Pineapples

Thanks to our world economy, you can buy most varieties of fruit year-round these days.  Still, there’s something that says summer about a pineapple.  Even though the places that grow them are still on my vacation wish list, they evoke tropical feelings and make me want to hop an airplane. 

Pineapple Crafts and Recipes - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

When I get wherever it is that I’m going, I want to eat these Hawaiian Pork Fajitas with Pineapple Slaw and Coconut Rice by Half Baked Harvest.  If that has to actually be Hawaii, I guess I’ll try to suffer through it.

Hawaiian Hula Pork Fajitas With Pineapple Slaw and Coconut Rice by Half Baked Harvest

Or, I might just go straight to dessert so I can try out these Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars by Averie Cooks.  Love the color.

Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars by Averie Cooks

Maybe if I stick a paper umbrella in a glass of Sparkling Pineapple Lemonade from Create Craft Love it will do the trick. 

Sparkling Pineapple Lemonade by Create Craft Love

I think, for now, I’m going to have to stop thinking about traveling somewhere tropical and just bring a little of it home.  I could start with this pineapple vase shown on Sugar and Cloth.

Floral Tablescape by Sugar and Cloth

This Pineapple Cream Cheese Spread from The Healthy Foodie has an intriguing list of ingredients.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Spread by The Healthy Foodie

I’ve had grilled pineapple, but never watermelon.  I’d love to try these Grilled Pineapple and Watermelon Fruit Kabobs from A Night Owl.

Grilled Pineapple and Watermelon Fruit Kabobs by A Night Owl

Let’s get the kids in on this pineapple thing with this Fake Food Pineapple from While Wearing Heels.

Fake Food Pineapple by While Wearing Heels

I made my daughter a pineapple purse a few years ago, but I love the dimension in this Pineapple Bag from Llevo el Invierno.

Pineapple Bag by Llevo el Invierno 

Maybe giving someone else a pineapple gift will make me forget about my tropical getaway.  This Champagne Pineapple from Super Sandovnik might do the trick.

Champagne Pineapple by Super Sandovnik

Nope, I’m afraid the only thing that’s going to cure this tropical fever is a plane ticket.  I can even keep track of my luggage with this Pineapple Luggage Tag from Jordana Paige.

Pineapple Luggage Tag by Jordana Paige

Friday Favorites–Easy as Pie

Maybe it’s the “American as apple pie” thing, but the 4th of July always makes me think of pie.  And not necessarily apple, although there are few pies I would rule out.  In my perfect world, sugar is good for you and butter gives you a six-pack.  On the front.

Pie Recipes - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

This Salted Caramel Peanut Pie from Eats Well With Others looks like a big, round, rich candy bar.  Yum.

Salted Caramel Peanut Pie from Eats Well With Others

I have a couple of hazelnut trees by my house, and the day I’m faster than the hungry squirrels I might actually get to harvest some to make this Chocolate Pudding Pie with Hazelnut Crust from Everyday Maven.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Hazelnut Crust from Everyday Maven

This Crème de Mint Pie from What’s Cooking with Ruthie might seem like more of a winter option, except I have a big patch of mint growing out front right now that’s just begging to become garnish.

Creme de Mint Pie from Whats Cooking With Ruthie

I have fond memories of eating blackberry pies and cobblers when I was a kid.  I just need some adorable little cast irons skillets and to convince my husband to let a few of the vines grow and I’ll be making these Blackberry Pot Pies from The Pioneer Woman on Food Network.

Blackberry Pot Pie from Food Network

I can’t even imagine how sweet and delicious this Butterscotch Pie from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice must be.

Butterscotch Pie from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

This Banana Split Pie from Raining Hot Coupons would be the perfect solution for one of those days when it’s too hot to cook, but everyone’s craving dessert.

Banana Split Pie from Raining Hot Coupons

This Caramel Coconut Cream Pie from I Want Crazy is definitely happening.  My son just discovered he likes to bake, and I watched him take a coconut from whole, in the shell, to grated last week.  I’m recruiting him to make this for me.

Caramel Coconut Cream Pie from I Want Crazy

This Strawberry Pie from Lemon Tree Dwelling is almost too pretty to eat.  I’m sure I could force myself to do it anyway.

Strawberry Pie from Lemon Tree Dwelling

Hey, all you bacon lovers out there, have you tried it in a pie?  Now’s your chance!  Check out this Bacon Apple Pie from The Loveless Café.

Bacon Apple Pie from The Loveless Cafe

My husband loves Red Velvet.  I told him it’s only chocolate dyed red, but according to him it tastes different.  I should probably stop trying to burst that bubble and just make him this Red Velvet Fudge Pie from Pizzazzerie.

Red Velvet Pie from Pizzazzerie

Have a happy and safe celebration tonight!

Friday Favorites–When Life Hands You Lemons…

Admittedly, I might have lemons on the brain right now.  My daughter’s wedding colors are yellow and grey, and much of the dessert buffet we’re serving is lemon-based, so I may be suffering from citrus-immersion.  But doesn’t it seem like there’s just a ton of lemony goodness out there right now?

Lemon Crafts and Recipes - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

We’ve found gluten-free and lemon play really well together, and can’t wait to try these Lemon Brownie Bars from Wicked Good Kitchen.

Lemon Brownie Bars by Wicked Good Kitchen

I loved hand pies when I was a little girl, but I’m pretty sure lemon filling would be a new one for me.  These Mini Lemon Hand Pies from Lemons for Lulu made my must-try list.

Mini Lemon Hand Pies by Lemons for Lulu

If you’re never had lemon curd on a scone, you’ve got to try this Homemade Lemon Curd recipe from Sewlicious Home Décor.  Yum.

Lemon Curd by Sewlicious Home Decor

If you have any left over after the scones are gone, this recipe for Lemon Meringue Fudge from Torie Jayne would be the perfect way to use it up.

Lemon Meringue Fudge by Torie Jayne

If you need a quick but impressive dessert, you might want to check out these Three Ingredient Lemon Cheesecake Truffles from Tatertots and Jello.

Three Ingredient Lemon Cheescake Truffles by Tatertots and Jello

How about some strawberries thrown in?  This No Bake Strawberry Lemon Cookie Pie from Life Love and Sugar looks delicious.

No Bake Strawberry Lemon Cookie Pie by Life Love and Sugar

You don’t have to eat lemons to have fun with them.  Try these unique Lemon Peel Flowers from The Daily Squeeze.

Lemon Peel Flowers on The Daily Squeeze

Don’t throw away that juice from the inside!  Instead, make Invisible Ink with Minieco.

Invisible Ink by Minie Co

Lemon is just the smell of clean, making it the perfect flavor for this Homemade Lemon Soap from A Pumpkin and a Princess.

Homemade Lemon Soap by A Pumpkin and a Princess

If you like to carry your lemons, then this Citrus Wedge Coin Purse from Delia Creates is for you.

Citrus Wedge Coin Purse by Delia Creates

Friday Favorites–Now I Know my ABCs

I love typography.  I can spend half the day just looking at fonts.  There are words and letters as décor throughout my house, and not even as much as I would like.  There’s something beautiful and powerful about the written word.  But in order to get there, we have to start by teaching the basics to the kidlets.  Fortunately, there are SO many creative ways to do that.

ABC Crafts and Recipes - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

I want to print and assemble this entire set of letters from Digitprop.  I don’t know what I would do with them after that, but they’re so cute it just doesn’t matter.

Alphabet from Digitprop

Since we’re on the subject of paper letters, how about this 3D version from Mr. Printables?

3D Alphabet Templates from Mr Printables

Refrigerator magnet letters are traditional, but that doesn’t mean they have to be day-glow plastic.  Try these Alphabet Magnets from Neon Fresh instead.

Alphabet Fridge Magnets from Neon Fresh

I’m finding myself drawn to embroidery lately, so I had to include these Flowered Monogram patterns from Needle ‘N Thread.

Floral Monogram from Needle N Thread

Turn learning the alphabet into a game with this ABC Bingo from Seven Thirty Three.

ABC Preschool Bingo from 733 Blog

With teacher appreciation events coming up, this Crayon Monogram from Chic & Cheap Nursery is a great idea for the classroom.

Crayon Monogram from Chic Cheap Nursery

These Fabric Letters from Little Things Bring Smiles start out with just a few supplies from the craft store.

Fabric Letters from Little Things Bring Smiles

This Alphabet Match from Coffee Cups and Crayons would be a fun activity for the little ones.

ABC Match Busy Bag from Coffee Cups and Crayons

Hands on is always a great way to learn, so encourage those little alphabet newbies with these Felt Stuffed Letters from Buggy and Buddy.

Felt Stuffed Toy Letters from Buggy and Buddy

When I set out to write this, I wanted to include some alphabet cookies.  Not the kind cut from cookie cutters, but some made by making dough snakes and forming those into letters.  Thanks to The Bucket Woman and her Alphabet Cookies for coming through for me.

Pineapple Carrot Upside-Down Cake

The recipe I’m about to share with you is not fat-free.  It isn’t gluten-free, dairy-free or egg-free.  It will not fit into a paleo diet, nor one based on avoiding canned food.  It is not vegan or sugarless.  However, it is delicious, and as long as you’re not restricted by any of the above, I highly recommend you indulge in it at least once.

This cake is dense and sweet, so a little goes a long way.  The carrots and pineapple are tasty together.  When you taste it hot out of the oven and think it can’t get any better, let it sit for a few hours and think again.  I think this will be repeated as our Easter dessert.  I just need to find a can with 11 pineapple rings in it.

Pineapple Carrot Upside Down Cake - Crafty Staci 1

Pineapple Carrot Upside-Down Cake

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple slices
  • 10 – 12 maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the 1/3 cup of butter in a 12” oven-safe skillet.  Sprinkle the 3/4 cup of brown sugar over the butter.  Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice.  Arrange the pineapple slices on top of the brown sugar, adding a cherry to the center of each.

Pineapple Carrot Upside Down Cake - Crafty Staci 2

Combine the remaining butter and sugars in a mixing bowl.  Add milk, pineapple juice and egg.  Mix well.  Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix on low for 30 seconds to combine, then on high for one minute.  Fold in the shredded carrots.  Pour into the skillet over the pineapple.

Pineapple Carrot Upside Down Cake - Crafty Staci 3

Bake 45 – 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Immediately flip the skillet over onto a heat-proof plate.  Strong muscles help for this step.

Pineapple Carrot Upside Down Cake - Crafty Staci 4

Leave the skillet in place for a few minutes.

Pineapple Carrot Upside Down Cake - Crafty Staci 5

Remove the skillet, slice and serve.

Pineapple Carrot Upside Down Cake - Crafty Staci 6

I think some coconut would make this even better, but not everyone in my house agrees.  It wasn’t exactly difficult to get anyone to eat it just the way it is.

Friday Favorites–Carrots

You know how most people have a certain food or two that they just can’t tolerate?  That one that you can’t even eat to be nice?  My big one: cooked carrots.  I can manage if they’re minced up small and mixed with other stuff, but plain – there’s just no way.  Taste, texture, it’s the whole package.  Oddly, I like them raw and even more weird, I love carrot cake.  Fortunately, there are many ways to enjoy the beauty of a carrot without having to choke one down all by itself.

Friday Favorites - Carrot Crafts and Recipes - Crafty Staci

I’ve seen many versions of carrot-in-dirt cupcakes lately, but these Carrot Top Cupcakes from Hungry Happenings seems the easiest to actually pull off.  For those of us who are not naturally talented cake decorators at least.

Carrot Top Cupcakes by Hungry Happenings

When I switched to K-cups a while back, I was left with part of a Costco-sized package of coffee filters.  These Coffee Filter Carrots from Urban Comfort would be a great way to use a few up.

Coffee Filter Carrots by Urban Comfort

This Carrot Cake Fudge from Inside Bru Crew Life looks fabulous.  Anyone know where to find the Carrot Cake M & M’s?

Carrot Cake Fudge by Inside Bru Crew Life

These little Thread Spool Carrots from Crafts by Courtney are made using washi tape, but lots of other crafts supplies would work if you can’t find it in orange.

Thread Spool Carrots from Crafts by Courtney

I love how each piece of this Pineapple Carrot Cake from Just a Taste looks like a carrot.

Pineapple Carrot Cake from Just a Taste

These Springtime Baby Carrots from Carolyn’s Homework are a great Easter decoration when you’re going for a more grown-up look.

Springtime Baby Carrots from Carolyns Homework

Just try and keep all the little bunnies out of your kitchen after you make these Carrot Cake Truffles from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

Carrot Cake Truffles from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Better yet, let them in and put them to work making Fingerprint Carrot Cards from Sassy Dealz.

Fingerprint Carrot Card from Sassy Dealz

This cute Carrot Bunting from Fiskars would be an easy way to add a little color to your Easter decor.

Carrot Banner from Fiskars

These Carrot Easter Eggs from A Night Owl are just adorable!

Carrot Easter Eggs by A Night Owl

So tell me, carrot fan or not?

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait

I find it a little difficult to find healthy snacks when I’m away from home.  It’s even worse that I often end up in the coffee shop, full of cookies and other fat-laden baked goods.  I’ve given up a lot of things for this diet, but I still budget in the occasional Starbucks drink now and then.  Recently, I discovered their yogurt parfaits in the refrigerated section.  The berry version is only 220 calories and it’s delicious.  It didn’t take long before I was wondering if it was something I could replicate at home.  Oh, yes I can.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 1

This actually doesn’t take a ton of different ingredients, and one batch can make 4 – 8 servings, so you’re set for breakfast for at least a few days. 

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 2

Start the granola first, so it can bake while you whip up the fruit compote.

Granola

  • 3/4 cup oats (gluten-free, if that’s how you roll)
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Spread on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, then stir.  Bake for 15 minutes longer, stirring every 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Pour onto wax paper to cool.  Once it has cooled, break up some of the larger pieces.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 3

Once the granola is in the oven, you can start the fruit compote. 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (5 – 6 large)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat until bubbly.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, around 5 minutes.  Add the blueberries and cook just until they’re heated.  Remove from heat and cool.  Makes about 1 cup.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 4

You can also cook both berries together from the beginning, just be aware that while the flavor is there, your blueberries will not be recognizable in the final product.

To assemble the parfait, start with 2 tablespoons of the berry compote on the bottom for 8 servings, or 1/4 cup for 4 servings.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 5

Add 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt for either number of servings.  I like Zoi.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 6

Top with 1/4 cup granola for 4 servings or 2 tablespoons for 8.  You should have a little granola left over.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 7

After you’re done looking at how pretty it is, mix it all together and enjoy.  Oh, and it’s still pretty.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 8

One thing I really love about the Starbucks parfait is that the granola is in its own container so it doesn’t mix with the yogurt and get soggy.  You can just dump it in when you’re ready.  After a little brainstorming I solved that problem with my homemade version too.

Save and wash an empty applesauce container.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 9

Fill it with the granola and top it with a piece of foil.  Put it upside down on top of the wide-mouth jar lid and twist on the ring.  The foil keeps it in place!  I shook this and it didn’t budge.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci

Here’s the REALLY good news.  If you make this recipe into four servings (as shown in the first photo above), each one will have 206 calories, which is 14 fewer than Starbucks’.  If you make it into eight servings, as shown in my awesome travel container here, it’s only 125 calories!

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci 2

Healthy on-the-go snack problem?  Solved.

Buffalo Chex Mix

I love you guys.  I asked for help yesterday to make a decision, and you jumped in to give your opinions.  I can’t begin to tell you what that means to me.  Thank you!  By the way, the winner of the one-way trip to Japan can be found on yesterday’s post.  It was very close for a while there!

Now, on to today’s recipe.  I discovered Frank’s Red Hot Sauce about a year ago.  Why had I never tried this stuff before?  I am seriously hooked. (I also just had my first taste of Sriracha a few days ago – don’t even get me started.)  Frank’s is good on everything, so I decided to give it a go as the star of this Chex mix.  Of course, then I learned Chex already had a version, but mine differs in a few areas.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 1

Do you like my non-committal colors?  A little Seahawks, a little Broncos?  That’s me – Go Team!

Buffalo Chex Mix

9 cups Rice Chex cereal (one 12.8 ounce box)

2 cups Bugles

2 cups pretzels

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup butter

3 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1 packet ranch dressing mix

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 2

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the cereal, Bugles, pretzels and cashews.  Of course, you can use combine different flavors of Chex if you’d prefer, I just like using up one whole box. 

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 3

Melt the butter in the microwave.  Add the hot sauce, ranch and celery seed.  Mix well with a whisk.  This is very mild on the hotness, so feel free to add more sauce if you’d like.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 4

Pour over the cereal mixture and stir until the pieces are evenly coated.  Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and gently stir.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 5

Spread on two large cookie sheets. 

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 6

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 7

If I wasn’t on what I’m affectionately calling The Mother of the Bride Diet, I’d spend Sunday with a big bowl of this waiting to find out what the Budweiser Clydesdales and that E-Trade baby have been up to.  Oh, I mean who wins the game.  Yeah, that.

Friday Favorites–Radiant Orchid

Say goodbye to Emerald and hello to Radiant Orchid.  Pantone, the standard for all things color, has selected the light shade of purple as their color of the year for 2014.  I’m pretty happy about this one, because I love a little purple once in a while.  And in the case of Radiant Orchid, a little goes a long way.

I will admit, I did take a little creative license in choosing my favorites today.  They’re definitely all purple, but I interpreted the orchid part a little loosely.  Don’t hold it against them.

Friday Favorites - Radiant Orchid Crafts - Crafty Staci

There’s something so adorable about a macaroon.  I’m going to have to try making some one of these days.  I’m keeping this recipe for Lavender Macaroons with Honey Earl Grey Buttercream from The Cottage Diaries for when that day arrives.

Lavender Macaroons from The Cottage Diaries

This Purple Three-Strand Necklace from My Girlish Whims would be a great way to add just a little bit of orchid into your wardrobe.

Purple Three Strand Necklace from My Girlish Whims

This gathered skirt from Cook Clean Craft makes great use of the color by mixing it with a little white to keep it bright and fun.

Tiered Gathered Skirt from Cook Clean Craft

Get the kids in on the fun with this Lavender Cloud Dough from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

Lavender Cloud Dough from Growing a Jeweled Rose

What Else Michelle brings a little orchid into a room with her Yarn Wrapped Lamp Shade.

Yarn Wrapped Shade from What Else Michelle

Granted, I might have a little wedding on the brain right now, but I could totally see these DIY Lavender Bubbles from Smart School House making great wedding favors.

DIY Lavender Bubbles from Smart School House

These Purple Ombre Mini Cakes from Glorious Treats make good use of orchid’s ability to coordinate well with other colors.

Purple Ombre Mini Cakes from Glorious Treats

There’s no shortage of orchid yard out there, so this All the Glamour Shawl from Red Heart would be easy to add to your closet.  If you’re a crochetist, that is.

All Glamour Shawl from Red Heart

If you said yes to the last one, you’d probably also like this Easy Tote Bag from Hopeful Honey.  I know I do.

Easy Crochet Tote from Hopeful Honey

Would you just look at these Purple Candy Apples from Rose Bakes?!?

Purple Candied Apples from Rose Bakes

For even more inspiration, check out Pantone’s own Radiant Orchid Pinterest board!