I got a red dress with an open back and even though it's freezing here now, I still wanted to be able to wear it. Solution? Just pop on a sweater and problem solved! So get out your cold weather and office-inappropriate dresses and make them into all new outfits with a cozy sweater. The fishtail braid took me 20 minutes, which is about 19 1/2 minutes longer than I usually spend on my hair but I was happy with the result and it's super easy. There is great a tutorial here.
If you have not yet had the pleasure of tasting Dominque Ansel's Cronut™, you're in luck because the famous chef has released an At-Home recipe. Maybe not that much luck because it takes less time to stand in line and get a Cronut than it does making one. However, my sister and I got Cronuts earlier this year and we loved them. When Dominique Ansel published his cook book, I gave it to my sister for her birthday and told her to bring it during Christmas when we would all be together so we could make them for everyone. My mom has also had a Cronut before but my brother and dad were new to this. For the actual recipe go here.
Okay - here is my sister and I's attempt to make an At-Home Cronut™. Let the Saga begin...
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A 3-DAY PROCESS. BE READY.
First you make the dough. So far so good. Seems easy enough.
Next you prepare a square of butter (seriously, a perfect square).
You refrigerate the butter overnight and leave the dough in a warm area for a few hours to let it rise. Then you make the dough into a bigger square than the button (ally he specifics are in the official recipe).
For the Ganache Filling:
Dominique Ansel provides three options for flavors: Vanilla rose, Whipped Lemon and Champagne Chocolate. We decided to go for the Vanilla Rose version.
Now comes the hardest part. It is called "LAMINATING THE DOUGH" and it's a huge pain in the ass and takes a lot of skill neither my sister nor I yet possess (but practice makes perfect so I see a lot of At-Home Cronuts™ in our future). This is where you may start to regret your decision. Best of luck. You take the butter square and put it diagonally inside the dough square and start rolling the dough into another square with the butter between the layers.
Then you do it again and then refrigerate overnight.
Then you do it again. our dough started to break and butter started to get everywhere but we powered though. Congratulations, the hardest part is now over!
After refrigerating it for a few hours, you get to FINALLY cut the shapes. We didn't have cookie cutters that were the right size so we went looking for objects with the right circumference. We decided on a cup a water bottle. They worked like a charm.
Once you've but them all out (you're supposed to get 12 but we got 11 plus a tiny one), prepare the vanilla sugar and fondant icing. We could;t find fondant icing anywhere so we made our own. We didn't have corn syrup so we used honey instead.
Leave the Cronuts in a warm place so the dough can rise 3 times its size. If you thing putting them in a slightly heated oven is a good idea, you're wrong. Just put them in a warm place and leave them alone. We did put them in the oven a little bit and the butter started to pour out. Lesson learned.
Once the dough has risen, heat up a pan of grape seed oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now for the best part! Fry those suckers! This was easier than I anticipated and it went pretty well. the hardest part was keeping the temperature around 350.
Whip the ganache so it's nice and fluffy.
AND STUFF THE CRONUTS! Just use something sharp to make 4 holes and use a piping bag to fill the Cronuts with the ganache.
Roll them in the sugar...
And out on the icing. We ran out of time and didn't have time to wait nay longer for the icing to set so it's very runny but you get the idea...
In hindsight we felt the rose flavor was a little bit strong and we should have times the icing better but all in all it went pretty well. Also, the rolling pin we used was slanted instead of an even cylinder with handles and it made it difficult to properly laminate the dough. We'll be trying another flavor next!
So I saw a funny t-shirt online that I wanted to get my sister but I didn't really like the font so I set out to make my own version.
Here's what you'll need:
-Transfer paper (they have different kinds depending on whether the tshirt color will be light to dark. I just used the one for black shirts because I was using 2 sheets for a black shirt and only 1 for white.
-A tshirt (they're only $3-$4 at Michaels and they have a whole range of colors)
-An X-Acto knife
-A cutting mat
Here's a PDF version of the file I made of the exact font and layout I wanted:
Follow the directions on the transfer paper you got and print your design ON AN INKJET PRINTER, NOT A LASERJET (unless your directions say otherwise). This means that Office Max can't help you but most home printers will work. For the transfer paper I used, I DID NOT have to print in mirror image.
Now for the most tedious part: cutting the letters out with an X-acto knife. If you don't do this, you will have a rectangle of white around your words. If you want that, great. If not, get cracking'. When cutting, make sure you KEEP THE LETTERS CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER. Otherwise, it will be impossible to get your words exactly straight and spaced how you want.
Now that your design is all cut out, prepare the shirt by laying on an ironing board or towel if you do not own an ironing board like me. Put something between the two layers of the shirt (I just used the envelope the sheets of transfer paper came in).
Peel the paper off the transfer material.
Straighten out the letters and place it on the shirt.
Now iron ONLY the middles of the letters carefully - do not iron the pieces that are connecting the letters because you will be cutting them off and you do not want them to stick to the shirt.
Once the letters are secure enough that they won't move, cut all the connecting pieces.
Once all connectors are cut, finish ironing the print onto the shirt.
And there you go, your very own shirt!
While we were both at our parents' for Christmas, my sister and I rocked our shirts:
While the Dutch holiday for gift-giving while you're kids (Sinterklaas) has passed, Hanukkah and Christmas are coming up and finding the right gifts is not always easy. Even birthdays sometimes need some help. Here are some suggestions to help make gift shopping a little easier:
For The Lady In Your Life
For The Man In Your Life
Work Secret Santa / Grab Bag
And for wrapping, check out these great ideas for wrapping paper!
4 oz container or Mod Podge (I prefer
the glossy one over the matte one)
1.4 oz glitter (I used fine glitter but the
finer the glitter, the more likely it will get
EVERYWHERE - course glitter stays the
A medium brush
A bowl of some kind for the mixture
So I got a free pair of Classic Converse sneakers because my boss happened to meet a guy who worked for the company and I have big feet. Super happy with my new shoes, I wondered what could possibly make these shoes better. Glitter, off course! Here we go...
Add all of the glitter to a little less than half of the Mod Podge (1 part to 2 parts).
Mix it with the brush.
If applicable, take the laces out of the sneakers.
Start applying. Be generous and don't worry about getting the glitter mixture on the grommets or the soles. Just use your nails or a sharp tool to get it off.
I decided to leave the classic features of the Converse intact because I really like like them.
Put a nice even coat on the entire surface you want covered.
Let the first coat dry for about half an hour. Then apply a second coat.
I just used my nails to get the glitter off the grommets. Lastly, just add a coat of Mod Podge (sans glitter) to seal in the glitter and help it not to crack. let it dry at least overnight before wearing.
Just put the laces back in (or get some funky new laces) and you have yourself a fun new pair of sneakers!
About the Author
Born and raised in the Netherlands, I now work as a designer in NYC. I love trying new things, candy and the color orange. In this blog, I will post about things I've learned and things I love. Veel plezier!