DIY Easy Peezy Granola!

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This is my all time favorite granola recipe! I originally found this super fast easy granola recipe on food.com  and have stayed loyal! Feel free to try more complicated iterations or just stick with this classic simple option!

 

Grab a bowl. Mix the following ingredients together:

-4 cups of rolled oats

-½ tsp salt

1 cup of chopped almonds (or walnuts if you want to splurge!)

-2 tbsp ground flax seeds (optional, but super yummy if you opt to add them in!)

-1 tbsp of ground cinnamon

 

Then add the following ingredients to that same bowl. Use your hands to mix! Get messy 🙂

-⅓ cup of oil (the best choice of oil is coconut oil!)

-⅔ cup of (local!) honey (if you’re vegan, you can use agave syrup!)

-1 tsp vanilla (don’t go overboard with the vanilla, it can really overpower the other flavors if you add too much!)

 

Heat your oven to 300 degrees.

 

Pour your mixture onto a cookie sheet.

 

Bake your granola for 10  minutes. Remove and stir.

 

Bake your granola for another 10 minutes. It should look delicious and golden. Yes.

 

Remove from your oven and allow the granola to cool completely.

 

Transfer it to an airtight container for storage or eat it immediately with your grateful friends!

 

DIY Ways to Keep your Space Smelling Fresh!

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Lavender Baggies!

  1. Grow some lavender (or, pick up a lavender plant from your local nursery!)
  2. Let some of the lavender buds dry out (you can heat them gently in your oven on a cookie sheet)
  3. Use old scraps of fabric or handkerchiefs and place the dried lavender in the center of the square or round piece of fabric. Ideally, the fabric is about 6 inches in diameter or is a 6×6 square.
  4. Use a piece of ribbon or a long piece of fabric to tie the handkerchief into a little baggie around the lavender. Be sure to tie the ribbon quite tight so you don’t have any leaking lavender buds!
  5. Place the sweet smelling lavender satchel into your sock drawer or your closet to ensure your clothes give off the relaxing and soothing scent of lavender! Breathe deeply, enjoy your day.

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Mint Plant

  1. Pick up a mint plant from your local nursery and let it thrive in your garden or on your balcony! Mint is an easy plant to maintain, it grows rapidly and loves to be eaten!
  2. Keep a mason jar as a vase in your entryway and place a bunch of mint in the jar.
  3. Every time you enter or exit your home, run your fingers through the leaves of the mint to help them release their intoxicating aroma!
  4. Enjoy a fresh, crisp, minty scented home! (plus: you add to the decor of your entryway by giving that space a dash of green!)

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Homemade Incense Holder!

  1. Grab a mason jar (or any glass container that is vaguely cylindrical!)
  2. Grab some sand or some dirt from your yard
  3. Sift through your craft or gift-wrapping drawer and pull out some neutral or burlap-y ribbon
  4. Be relieved that you have finally found a home for those charms that you were going to make a bracelet for, or those pendants that you meant to put on a necklace and never did.
  5. Dust off that pile of shells that is still sitting there after your beach trip (2 years ago!)
  6. Pick out two or three shells that are winners and beautiful
  7. Thread your charms through the ribbon and wrap the ribbon around the top of your jar!
  8. Pour sand or dirt into your mason jar about three fingers deep.
  9. Place your seashells in the sand
  10. Light your incense rod and stick the (non-lit) end firmly into the sand
  11. Breath deeply, relax, enjoy your new incense holder.

(ps: I originally found this idea on the awesome blog vagabondism.me! https://vagabondism.me/tag/art/ )

DIY ‘Life Worth Living’ Dream Jar!

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What you need:

-Tissue paper (any color! Ideally, use some paper that you already have laying around!)

-Scissors

-a container of Decoupage Glue! (“Decoupage” comes from the French “cutting” and it refers to any project that involves cutting paper and glueing it onto an object!)

-a foam brush

-one jar (mason, spaghetti, jelly, peanutbutter, any glass jar with a lid that is clean and empty!)

-a postcard or a physical picture that makes you happy and brings you joy (but that you don’t mind cutting!

-a small glue gun and one stick of glue for your gun

-a sheet of paper and a pen

-Stickers of the letter of the alphabet or sticky paper that you can cut into letters or shapes

-an open heart and a willingness to get to know yourself

 

  1. Use the decoupage glue to paste small pieces of tissue paper to the outside of your jar
  2. Let the jar dry overnight.
  3. While you let your jar dry, take some time to meditate on your personal mission statement, what makes you tick, what makes you ‘you’, what you want your life to be about. Write down 10-15 things that you would consider your personal priorities in life, (emotions or values that will help you bring life – and its ups and downs – into perspective!)
  4. Place the pieces of paper with your personal thoughts on them inside the jar!
  5. Cut a circle out of the photo or postcard that is the same size as the metal lid of your mason jar.
  6. Use your hot glue gun to attach the photo circle onto the metal lid
  7. Seal the jar with your new lid!
  8. Use your stickers to decorate the outside of the jar.
  9. Place your ‘life worth living’ jar in a place that you will notice every day and take time to remember what you have written inside the jar! Breathe, relax, enjoy each day.

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How to Display your Sweet Treats!

 

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What you need:

For the plates in this project, I recommend swinging by your local Goodwill or thrift store to find pieces that have some personality and some history to them!

1 small place (a saucer would be perfect!)

1 medium plate (a dessert plate or a salad plate)

1 large plate (a dinner plate!)

2 glass candlestick holders

1 glue gun and glue sticks

 

Step 1. Bake some delicious cookies or banana bread or whatever treat you would like to serve your guests who are going to be so impressed with your display!

Step 2 Glue the 1st candlestick holder to the center of the dinner plate

Step 3: Glue the the Salad plate to the candlestick that is attached to the dinner plate.

Step 4: Glue the 2nd candlestick holder to the center of the salad plate.

Step 5 Glue the saucer to the candlestick holder that is attached to the salad plate

Step 6: Wait for at least an hour. I recommend rolling out your yoga mat and enjoying your personal yoga practice for an hour while your project sets. Alternatively, you can snack on your cookies that you baked and read a book!

Step 7: Place your sweets on your beautiful tiered snack display!

Kitchen Tips You’re Going to Love!

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The Apron.Wearing an apron while you bake  is about so much more than just keeping your clothes clean! Make sure you pick out an apron that you feel special in, an apron that makes you feel like you could out-bake Betty Crocker! The psychological component of feeling invincible while you  bake contributes to the peaceful and zen state that you can achieve when you get lost in the process of preparing food.

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The Dish Towels. Your clean up crew of dish towels should be three things: adorable, absorbent and tough. This is a tricky trifecta to achieve but you will be so happy that you  have effective dish towels when you are deep in the baking state of mind.

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The Mitt. Not all oven mitts are up to the task of actually protecting your hands against heat! This is an element of your kitchen that it is worth investing in. You are more than welcome to keep a color coordinated mitt on display in your kitchen for aesthetic purposes, but I highly recommend that you have at least one heavy duty powerhouse oven mitt that is up to the task of saving your skin!

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The Hairdo. Baking is no time to let your hair down! Remember that chefs often wear those amazingly huge white hats, and kitchen staff are often required to wear hairnets or caps? There is a reason for that! The last thing you want is your guests surreptitiously pulling a strand of your hair out of their brownie or their lemon bar! Braid that hair or pin it back! Better yet, comb your hair before you even step into the kitchen to get rid of all of that hair that we naturally shed constantly! Then give yourself a fun baking up-do and maybe a headband for good measure. 🙂

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The Playlist. If you are baking with friends, music can make the activity more festive and joyous! Choose upbeat and playful tunes for your baking bonanza! If you are baking alone, however, it can be a great idea to put on some more peaceful and meditative music. Take the time that you are preparing your sweets to let your mind relax and find stillness in the soothing art of baking!

Yummy Breads to Bake this Fall!

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Vegan Banana Fig Bread!’

Ingredients:

Wet Ingredients:

-⅓ Cup of Vegan Butter (Earth Balance is my favorite!)

-½ Cup of Applesauce

-1 Tsp of Vanilla

 

Dry Ingredients:

-2 cups of Flour

-½ Tsp baking soda

-½ Tsp baking powder

-½ Tsp Salt

 

Fruit/Nut Ingredients

-3 Large or 4 Small super-ripe bananas

-5 super ripe figs. (just scrape out the delicious reddish inside, don’t mash up the peel)

-½ cup of chopped walnuts

With all banana breads, remember to mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately. Then mix them together in a big bowl. Finally mix in your mashed bananas (and figs in this case!). Before you pour your batter into your greased loaf pan, you can mix in some chopped walnuts or pecans (remember to double-check food allergies with your guest before you add any nuts!). Most banana breads will bake for 40-50 minutes at 350. Check with a toothpick or a knife to see if they come out clean. If they do, you are good to go, remove your bread from the oven (and remember to turn you oven off!). Yum!

(ps: I originally found this recipe on phillymag.com)

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Olive Oil Zucchini Bread!

Wet Ingredients

1 ½ Cups of Grated zucchini

⅔ Cup of Brown Sugar (yes, I know this is a dry ingredient, but for this recipe, the sugar gets included in the wet ingredients so it can mix properly with the oil and egg!)

⅓ Cup of Olive Oil (Sometimes, I call it “eevoo” and crack myself up! Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

⅓ Cup of Plain Greek Yoghurt

2 eggs

1 Tsp of Vanilla

 

Dry Ingredients

1 ½ Cups of Flour

½ Tsp Salt

½ Tsp Baking Powder

½ Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Lemon Zest

1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon

¼ Tsp Nutmeg

 

Similar process as the banana-fig bread, we mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately and then combine them and add the nuts if you want walnuts in your bread! Then bake in a greased loaf pan for 40-50 minutes. For this bread, it’s pretty important to rotate the loaf after it has baked for 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick or a sharp knife, if it comes out clean, remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes before you cut it and eat it! Cheers!

 

(ps: this recipe is one of many awesome recipes on NYTimes Cooking! I highly recommend using their app to challenge yourself and eat the rewards!)

Red Flags when you are looking for an Interior Designer

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No connections: Be sure to ask your interior designer if they have any connections in the design and decor field. This will be helpful to speed up your project and hopefully to get you some discounts! They might have connections with an upholsterer, a carpenter, a lighting company or artists. If your interior designer does not have the business connections, it can mean that they are newer to the business and have less experience. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s helpful for you to know!

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No floor plans or tech savvy: With the resources available today, it is pretty unacceptable for an interior designer to be unfamiliar with Autocad or a similar software to provide you with decent floor plans and images to help you understand and visualize the ideas they are sharing for your space!

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No clear billing information: For the health of your relationship with your interior designer it is crucial that there is clarity in how much they are charging for their services and how they are organizing their fees. Find out if they charge by the hour or if there is a flat rate. Ask them if they are going to make a profit with discounts that stores offer them as designers. These questions should be part of an easygoing and friendly conversation you have with your designer before the project starts.

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You don’t like them: It should come as no surprise that the biggest red flag of all when selecting an interior designer for your home is that you do not like them. This is a rule that goes both ways and can determine the entire mood of the design process. Be honest with yourself and determine whether you get along with your prospective interior designer. They could be the most talented and professional designer in the world, but if your personalities do not mesh, it is a good time to politely let them know that you admire their work but you will not be collaborating with them at this time.