Monday, May 13, 2013

Peanut & Caramel Chocolate Brownies

*Sorry, no picture of these, you’ll have to use your imagination (or better yet, just make them)

Makes one 8x8 pan.


-         1/2 cup melted butter (yes, make sure to melt it- the microwave works fine)
-         1 cup packed dark brown sugar (light brown is also fine)
-         2 eggs
-         1 tsp vanilla extract
-         1/2 cup flour
-         1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (special dark if you can find it)
-         1/4 tsp baking powder
-         1/4 tsp salt
-         1/2 cup chopped peanuts (plus 1/4 cup or so extra for topping)
-         Caramel topping for drizzling over finished brownies

Time Commitment:

 ~1 hour (including mixing and baking time)

How to Make it Happen:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease an 8 in x 8 in baking pan.
  2. Mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs.
  3. Combine dry ingredients (except peanuts) and mix into wet ingredients until well blended.
  4. Stir in peanuts and transfer to baking pan.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from edges of pan. A toothpick in the center will come out clean.
  6. Transfer to cooling rack and drizzle caramel topping over the brownies while they are still warm. Sprinkle caramel with extra chopped peanuts.
  7. Let cool and enjoy! These will stay good covered in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:  These were modified from the Mmm-mmm Better Brownies recipe found on


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Make a Beaded Leaf Headband


-         Floral wire (30 gauge)
-         Wire cutters/Pliers
-         Seed beads
-         Elastic headband
-         Felt (enough for backing your beaded leaves so the wire doesn’t poke you)
-         Needle and strong thread (button thread works very well)

Time Commitment:

 ~6-8 hours for a palm-sized leaf bundle

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1- Choose headband

1) I just bought a blank headband with a built-in place to sew in my leaves- you can also make your own by sewing a piece of felt to a strip of elastic or elastic headband.

Step 2- Prepare your wire

2) This is the start of your leaf. Take an approximately 3-4 foot piece of wire for a leaf about as long as your thumb and twist the wire as shown so there is a piece just over twice as long as you want your leaf to be (the right side wire in the picture) and a long side that you will use to build up the leaf (the left side). The loop at the bottom should be a few inches long as it acts like the stem of the leaf (which is how you’ll twist the leaves together).

Step 3- Add beads

3) Now, string enough beads on the right side so that it is about a fingernail length shorter than you want the final leaf to be (there are the white beads in the picture). String lots of (blue here) beads on the left side- these will be used to add bulk to your leaf.

Step 4 - Begin wrapping the leaf

4) Take the left side wire and wrap it around the short wire at a 45 degree angle- around the front, around the back, then down the right hand side. Wrap the blue bead wire around the bottom of the leaf (front-back-front) straight across, which will keep the bottom of the leaf flatter. The 45 degree angle at the top will give the leaf a pointed tip.

Step 5 - First leaf done!

5) Keep adding beads and wrapping until you’re happy with the size of the leaf. To end, wrap the blue bead wire around the base of the leaf and trim it flush. Bend the short (white bead) wire down the back of the leaf, wrap it around the base of the leaf, and trim flush. One leaf down! Repeat until you have enough leaves for your headband (I used ten leaves of varying sizes).

Step 6- Bunch of leaves

6) Gather your leaves by twisting their loops together and arrange as you see fit. Now it’s time to assemble the headband.
Step 7- Add felt
7) Cut a small piece of felt and sew it in place around the twisted wire loops. This will keep you away from sharp wire ends and make the leaves look more finished.

Step 8- Sew onto headband
8) Sew the leaves onto the headband, and try on your work!