Monday, December 23, 2013

The Best Christmas Present

Home baked cookies аre an absolute must this time of the year. They are fun to make and decorate and actually - they are a great last-minute gift idea, too. Who would say no to a batch of sugar cookies in fun holiday shapes? I wouldn't. Dexter wouldn't. You can trust us.

This recipe makes about two dozen: there will be plenty of cookies to munch on during holidays or pack and give away. You are going to need:
1 cup softened butter
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
for the glaze: 3-4 teaspoons lemon juice and a cup of powdered sugar
You could always use the help of a curious dog, too. Dexter plays his part perfectly. 

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, cinnamon and baking soda until combined. Stir in the flour until dough forms. Form a ball from the dough, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for a couple of hours.
Lightly flour your counter top before you take the dough out of the fridge. Roll it flat: if you prefer crisper cookies, roll a thinner layer of dough. Thicker dough makes softer cookies (me and my helper are big fans of those). Use your favourite holiday cookie cutters, place cookies on a baking sheet and bake for about 8-12 minutes. Place all baked cookies on a cooling rack once you get them out of the oven.
Lemon glaze is one of my favourite things on earth because it's the easiest thing to prepare and it gives the cookies a nice wintery look (and a great taste, too!). Just add 3-4 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to a cup of powdered sugar and stir until it gets homogenous. Spread quickly on your cooled cookies and leave it dry for about half an hour. You can melt a bar of you favourite dark chocolate and cover some of the cookies with it. Both choices are delicious.

If you're planning to give some of the cookies away as present, you are only going to need a plastic or cardboard box and that baking paper we used earlier. You could write down the recipe on a card and attach it or just doodle something cute. Don't get too serious about it, though - it's what's on the inside that counts. Some wise words about cookies. 

Have fun baking and packing and eating some of those sweet sweet gingerbread men. 
Happy Holidays! Be merry and bright :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tin Can as Pencil Holder DIY

I've always kept my pencils, markers and brushes in used candles, old (and sometimes rusty, I admit) tin cans or plastic cups. It hasn't been a pleasant experience (especially with the latter) and it didn't exactly look that good either.
It was high time I got something fancier. I collected all old tin cans and decided to give them a total makeover.  It's great what a little paint here and a simple pattern there could do.

If you'd like to try this fun and easy project at home, you are only going to need  old and empty tin cans,  spray paint in your favourite colour (white in my case) and all-purpose paint or permanent markers for the patterns. 
Start by applying a thin coat of paint to your cans. Spray paint is the better choice here, because it covers uneven surfaces more  easily. I needed three coats of paint to completely cover the metallic shine underneath and let the cans dry overnight.

After the paint had completely dried, I used permanent black markers to draw simple patterns over. I decided to keep everything in black and white, inspired by Scandinavian design, but you can always be a little more adventurous than me and add a splash of colours here and there. 

Use your new almost-designer tin cans for storing everything. Now you can be organized on a whole new *a lot prettier* level. 
Have fun! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Red Shoes Illustration #2

The mysterious lady with the red shoes and striped socks visits the town during the night. She comes in through an opened window, plays one of your favourite songs (she might even introduce you to this one, it's magical) and leaves you with the feeling you should cook a nice dinner, bake cookies (you could tell I'm into baking lately, couldn't you?), or just do something you don't usually do. She is such a nice lady, I am sure you've already met her in some way.
This is actually the first illustration I did of her. (see previous one here) I have a couple more in mind, because - well - we better know all her possible whereabouts. She's not to be missed.
If you have any useful information, feel free to share! :)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Lego Lunchbox: tabbouleh

Lego lunchbox today:
Tabbouleh salad - bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, orange juice, onion
mint tea in my extra cute keepcup (my lunch set is growing!)
tangerines for dessert

I don't know if you guys have heard about tabbouleh salad. I hadn't up until a few weeks ago, when I tried it at a restaurant and totally fell in love with every single ingredient in it. Tabbouleh is a Levantine Arab salad made of bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and garlic and seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil. I changed the recipe a bit to match my taste: I dropped the garlic and cucumbers and seasoned all with orange, instead of lemon juice. Tabbouleh is highly nutrient, yet very light - it can be served as a salad or a meal on its own. It tastes great and looks kinda cool in a red lego lunchbox.

I leave you my upgraded version of the recipe - try it out and I'm sure you'll love it!

Tabbouleh Salad Recipe:
1/2 cup of bulgur
3 bunches fresh, finely chopped parsley
1 diced tomato
1/2 onion, diced
3-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Pour the bulgur with boiling water and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes. While you wait mix the orange juice and olive oil in a bowl and add the parsley, so that it could soak in. You can then add the tomatoes and onion and when the bulgur is ready and any excess liquid is removed - add it as well. Mix all ingredients until combined and let the tabbouleh marinate for a couple of minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Red Shoes Illustration

Ah, December.
Тhe time when the cute lady with red shoes and striped socks comes to visit and leaves a trail of sweet perfume over the town.  Or was it an old man with a red hat, leaving presents during the night? Oh. I guess I've completely messed up my illustration then.
But hey, December's here (although it feels like June was only yesterday) which means hot tea, lebkuchen and an occasional run in the snow every now and again. I'm not a big fan of Christmas songs, but I've been listening to some good tunes and dreaming about a cosy house in the woods, lots of snow and dozens of home-baked cookies. Who knows, the mystery lady with red shoes and striped socks might actually exist and show up just there. I hear she smells like cinnamon and leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling of love to whoever she touches.
How about you - are you excited about December? Planning your gift lists and New Year's resolutions yet?