Maybe it’s because I am not a native Texan, but I don’t totally understand the Lone Star State ego that has resulted in slogans such as “everything is bigger in Texas” and “don’t mess with Texas.” However, even I cannot deny that April is a great month to live in Texas because of the wild bluebonnets that appear all over the state. In honor of this, I decided to make a bluebonnet inspired card for this month’s craft.
For this project, I used the following supplies: 9″ x 6″ green cardstock, 5″ x 3.75″ accent paper, 4.25″ x 2.75″ white paper, 1/2 inch stencil brush, foam brush, white paint Sharpie, green colored pencil, blue ink pad, 3/8 inch ribbon (cut in half) and jewel embellishment.
To make the bluebonnets, I blotted the paintbrush into the ink pad approximately 10 times and then repeated onto the paper. In order to create the pseudo-watercolor effect, I then swirled the tip of the foam brush over the blue circle to blend out the color. Lastly, I used the white paint pen to make imperfect circles in the middle of each blue petal.
Typically, I am not someone who is willing to add anything green to my sweet treats. No spinach or kale smoothies for me despite the health benefits. But, I have to say that I was intrigued with the idea of avocado brownies. Apparently adding avocado to brownies makes them wonderfully gooey and they can be better for you, depending on the recipe.
For my avocado brownies experiment, I chose a recipe that is not particularly healthy because I wanted to determine if the avocado would help make regular brownies better. And, I have to say that the result was fantastic. The brownies turned out deliciously fudgy and you cannot taste the avocado at all.
I used this Fudgy Avocado Brownies recipe. The recipe calls for 2 large avocados and it took almost 3 small avocados to get the desired amount. I definitey recommend using a food processor to mash the avocados. I used a 10 oz. bag of Ghiradelli 60% Cacao chocolate chips instead of chopping dark chocolate and added the remaining 2 oz. to the batter before baking.
Here are a couple other recipes that you might want to consider, especially if looking for a healthier option…
Dr. Oz Protein-Packed Avocado Brownies
TGIPaleo Avocado Brownies
I have always believed that the marriage of chocolate and peanut butter creates the perfect food soul mates. Although those feelings haven’t changed, I have more recently discovered another power couple that now tops my list of favorite savory food combinations – cilantro and lime. Whether these ingredients are used in guacamole, rice bowls, street tacos or just salad dressing, cilantro and lime make many dishes taste so much better.
For this month’s green recipe, I threw all of my favorite green foods into one dish to make cilantro lime avocado jalapeno hummus (aka guacahummus). While I have tried several different recipes for cilantro lime hummus, I found each to be lacking. I think the addition of avocado to this recipe really makes a difference. The jalapeno adds a little bit of spice, but isn’t too hot. And, the finished guacahummus did not brown at all even after sitting in the refrigerator for several days. This recipe is adapted from the one found here.
This past week I visited New York City for the first time. After being so exposed to NYC through books, movies and television, I thought that I knew what to expect from the city. But, now I know that I definitely needed to experience it first hand. There is just something about wading through the sea of people dressed in black (I thought that was an exaggerated stereotype, but really there was so much black) or entering the underground world of the NYC subway system that made the legendary city finally feel real. Although it wasn’t quite as intimidating as I expected, I have no doubt that I will always feel green (i.e., inexperienced and unsophisticated) while in the city limits… no matter how many trips I make to NYC in the future.
I enjoyed visiting a lot of the typical tourist attractions – the Statue of Liberty, Time Square, NYC Public Library, 9/11 Memorial, 30 Rock Observation Deck, Chicago on Broadway, live taping of The View, Central Park, and others. But, I have to say that a few of the most memorable moments from the trip were experiences that I consider unique to The Big Apple.
For example, we saw an array of interesting people in Washington Square Park – a man dressed as a chicken making balloon animals, a bagpipe player, people playing chess, a trio of jazz musicians and even a thespian performing a monologue. All things that you don’t see in a park just anywhere. We had a native NYC cab driver who held down his horn then cussed out the car next to us for refusing to pull up six inches so that we could get by on a narrow street. Is it sad that I found that incredibly entertaining? And, we got off of a delayed subway train just in time for the train to start moving again. Apparently you do need to be a true New Yorker to correctly interpret the conductor’s announcements.
For March, I have decided to be utterly predictable and select green for my featured color. So, this week I am sharing a simple DIY paper LUCKY banner. Banners are one of my favorite ways to decorate for different holidays since they are so inexpensive and easy to create, but always make a statement. Although I used my Cricut for this project, it would be simple to use a stencil or pre-cut letters instead.
Instead of going with a totally green craft, I decided to make a cheerful Saint Patrick’s Day banner using the colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The banner pieces are cut to 5 in. wide by 6 in. long with a 3/4 in. indention in the center. I used the Lyrical Letters and Paper Doll Dress Up Cricut cartridges to cut the 3 in. letters and clover. My only purchase for this project was the $1.19 Celebrate It brand ribbon from Michaels.
I am definitely hoping for a little extra luck this March… we’ll see how it goes.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have been making a serious effort to try new things. I didn’t really intend for the sentiment to become a New Year’s Resolution, but it has rather ended up that way. So far, the most dramatic result has been my decision to revamp my blog, thus the “a year in color” idea.
Another result has been my sudden and very unexpected obsession with apples. I know that I sometimes ate apples growing up, but I never really loved them. My mother often served them with cinnamon and sugar to coerce me into eating them.
In an attempt to change up my usual fruit selections, I recently bought a couple of Fuji apples with the expectation that I would probably have to force them down. However, I was shocked to discover that I actually do like some apples that aren’t the traditional Red Delicious variety.
Although I now enjoy several varieties of apples (like Braeburn, Fuji and Gala), one of my new favorites is definitely Pink Lady. They are crisp and sweet but still a little bit tart. As much as my opinion of apples has improved, I still love a good dip for my apple slices. See below for a quick and delicious dip recipe that tastes great with all apple varieties (adapted from a recipe found here).
Greek Yogurt Apple Dip (83 calories per serving; makes 3 servings)
- 1 5.3 oz container nonfat vanilla greek yogurt (I prefer Dannon Oikos brand)
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
For this month’s featured photo, I am sharing one of my favorite flamingo photos. Although the pose doesn’t show off the flamingo’s beautiful shape, I really like how the varying shades of pink pop against the contrasting green background.
Just for fun…
Why are flamingos pink? I decided to do a little research and found that although the saturation of pink varies depending on species, all flamingos get their color from their diet of mostly algae and crustaceans. Since science was always my worst subject, I will spare you an explanation of the more intricate details of the coloring process. But, you can read more about how flamingos are (or rather look like) what they eat here.
Where did the phrase “tickled pink” originate? My research on this topic was less successful. The obvious response is that it comes from when someone is laughing so hard his or her skin turns pink. Beyond that, internet sources are not very helpful. So, I guess it will remain somewhat of a mystery.