Made from Pinterest: DIY Hydrangea Wreath

Our front door had been looking pretty lonely since January when I took our Christmas wreath down.  I had not been able to find a spring wreath that I liked, so I started scouring Pinterest for some ideas.  I knew I had found just what I wanted when I saw this pin - a hydrangea wreath.   Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers and they were the main type of flower I used for my wedding.  Our new house came with three hydrangeas in the yard and I can’t wait to see what lovely shade they will bloom in.

Since this is the week of making stuff found via Pinterest (see Basil Lemonade and Frozen Cupcake S’mores), I knew I had to get this project done this week.  I bought all the supplies at Michael’s to make this.  I am so pleased with the results- it gives our front door the perfect punch of color. For the complete step-by-step tutorial on how to make this hydrangea wreath, see Vanessa Christenson’s blog V & Co.

What are some of your favorite projects that have been inspired from Pinterest?

 

 

 

This post is linked up at:
    The Shabby Nest

Syracuse’s Own- Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

As you know, M and I are originally from the Syracuse area before our big city callings.  Our parents still live in the ‘Cuse so we visit quite often (for our Mom’s amazing cooking of course.)  One thing that Syracuse is known for is a barbeque joint called the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.  Both M and I took our boyfriend’s (now M’s husband) to Dinosaur on their first visits to Syracuse and of course it was a big hit to both.  Every time we go to Syracuse my boyfriend wants to go the Dinosaur BBQ.  What is funny is that they just opened one in Newark, NJ and have had one in Harlem for awhile, yet we only go to the original in Syracuse.

If you have ever seen the episode of Man vs. Food where Adam is in Syracuse – he goes to the Dinosaur BBQ and orders the Pork Sket Sandwich (pulled pork, beef brisket, coleslaw,  cheddar cheese, and pickled jalapeños.)  The last time I was there- I ordered this and it was soooo good but very huge.  Over time, I have come up with a Dinosaur eating strategy so I don’t overdo it and go into a ribs/pulled pork coma (which has happened many times!)  Whatever I order I only eat half and package the rest to bring home.  The food always reheats easily and taste just as good the next day.

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Here is the outside
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We ordered some Wango Tango Wings as a starter- Sorry the photography is so bad.  I was using my iPhone because I didn’t want to whip out my huge camera in the bar (plus the bar is pretty dark.)
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Here are all their sauces they keep on the table.   They sell these in the grocery store and they are so good.  My favorite is the Sensuous Slathering Sauce, which is their barbeque sauce.   I often bring home a bottle or two when I visit my parents.
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Moist Towelettes are a must after those wings!
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This is the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of their Macaroni Salad.  It’s the most delicious smoked pulled pork with Sensuous Slathering Sauce topped with their special recipe of coleslaw.  As you can tell from the picture-  it is extremely messy and I can’t emphasize enough the tastiness ( I apologize for the picture quality again!)photo(6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Here is a look at the bar and you can see my boyfriend’s Mets hat.  This area is usually packed with people waiting to be seated  (We went to lunch at 11:30 to avoid the wait.)
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See you again soon Dino!

Have you ever been to any of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Ques?  What is your favorite thing to order there?

Fresh Produce Tuesday- Week #10: Morel Recipes

This week, I am trying a new type of produce that I have never cooked with before- morels.  I always like to extend my culinary knowledge however and really wanted to see what all the fuss about morels was about.  I tried to pull together a list of morel recipes that I’ve always wanted to try, but I haven’t been able to wrap my head around the price of morels (I paid $19.99 for .75 ounces of dried wild morels…yikes!)  Of course, you could try to forage for morels yourself, but it’s advised to always do so with an expert as many similar looking varieties of mushrooms can be quite toxic (and some even deadly.)

Here are 10 Morel Recipes that look quite appetizing:

Food bloggers, please link up your morel recipes below. It would be great if you could link back to 2 Sisters 2 Cities or add our button to your morel post (our button can be found on the top of the right-hand column), but it is not required. :)  Readers, please “like” the recipes below that you like the best!

Here is the Fresh Produce Tuesday schedule for the next few weeks:

Week #11- June 5th: Strawberries
Week #12- June 12th: Kale
Week #13- June 19th: Carrots

In case you missed any of the previous weeks, here are recipe ideas for AsparagusArtichokesSpring OnionsPeasGarlic Scapes & Spring GarlicRhubarbFava Beans, Radishes, and Lettuce.

Raspberry Truffle S’mores

Clearly I have one thing on my mind this Memorial Day weekend- s’mores!  The other day, I made Frozen Cupcake S’mores and today I am making Raspberry Truffle S’mores.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with just a regular s’more, with a chocolate square and toasted marshmallow stuck between two graham cracker squares.  I just can’t stop thinking of different s’more variations, hence my Raspberry Truffle S’more creation.

How can you go wrong with the perfect pairing of chocolate and raspberries?  I made this Martha Stewart Everyday Food Chocolate-Raspberry Tart a couple of summers ago and I loved the flavor combination.  Here’s an easier way to get to that same raspberry-chocolate goodness:

Raspberry Truffle S'mores
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 8 graham cracker squares
  • 4 marshmallows
  • 4 chocolate truffles, cut in half (I find these at Whole Foods near the gourmet cheese section)
  • 12 raspberries, gently washed
Instructions
  1. Set out graham cracker squares. Place the halved chocolate truffles over 4 of the squares. Over a campfire (or an oven range), toast a marshmallow using a stick or kebob skewer. Once toasted to your desired level, remove marshmallow from stick/skewer and place on top of one of the graham cracker square with the chocolate truffles. Place 3 raspberries on top. Top off with a graham cracker square. Repeat with the rest of the marshmallows. Enjoy immediately.

What are your Memorial Day plans for the day?

Frozen Cupcake S’mores

I tried another recipe today that I found via Pinterest- Frozen Cupcake S’mores.  I changed up the original recipe I found a little bit and I would have to say it was a great cold treat on what is turning out to be a really hot day.  Baby T was sobbing during the photo shoot because he wanted to try one of the frozen s’mores.  I finally caved and gave him one in his outdoor highchair- I think I will be cleaning up the chocolate mess he made for the next few weeks!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Frozen Cupcake S'mores
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 18 graham cracker squares (9 sheets), crumbled into fine crumbs
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 and ½ cup cold milk
  • 1 box (3.9oz) instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup Cool Whip, thawed
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Line a muffin pan with 12 baking cups. Mix graham cracker crumbs (reserve a few tablespoons for a topping) and melted butter in a small bowl. Divide the graham cracker mixture into each of the 12 cups and mash down with the bottom of a small glass.
  2. Meanwhile, place milk chocolate chips and whipping cream and melt in microwave in 30 second increments, Stir in between increments until just melted and smooth. Pour chocolate mixture evenly over the 12 graham cracker crusts. Top chocolate mixture with a layer of mini marshmallows.
  3. Combine the pudding mix and cold milk in a large bowl and whisk together with a wire whisk for 2 minutes. Once pudding has thickened, add the Cool Whip and stir together. Spoon pudding mixture evenly over the 12 cups.
  4. Top each cupcake s'more with some graham cracker crumbs and mini chocolate chips. Place in the freezer for at least a few hours. Serve straight from the freezer.

Source: Adapted from easybaked

Basil Lemonade Recipe

Before we head into the weekend, I wanted to give you one more summer recipe – basil lemonade.  If you are like many Pinterest users, you pin a lot of stuff that you plan to make one day and never do.  I am also guilty of pinning without abandon :) I have been going through a few of my pin boards to get some recipe ideas and I found this particular recipe for basil lemonade.  Two of my favorite things about summer are fresh basil and a glass of lemonade…this drink merges those flavors together.  It calls for 8 cups lemonade- I used store-bought, but you certainly could use homemade lemonade.  Regardless, it is the perfect beverage to sip outside on a hot summer day.

Basil Lemonade
Author: 
Recipe type: Drink
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 8 cups lemonade (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 and ½ cups cold water
  • ice
Instructions
  1. To make the simple syrup, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add sugar and water. Bring to a summer and cook (without stirring) until the sugar dissolves and the mixture slightly thickens. This should take about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove simple syrup from heat and add 1 cup basil leaves. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain out the basil and store the simple syrup in a container.
  3. Pour 2 to 3 teaspoons of the basil simple syrup into 8 glasses filled with ice, and add a cup of lemonade to each. Garnish with an additional sprig of basil.
Notes
Alternatively, you can store the basil simple syrup in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The simple syrup would also be refreshing with ice tea, sparkling water, vodka or gin-based cocktails, or even over lemon sorbet. You could also swap out the basil for rosemary, lemon balm, or mint to make other herb-based simple syrups.

Source: Adapted from Real Simple

Be sure to check out our Memorial Day Weekend recipe post for more summer menu ideas.  Have a great holiday weekend!

 

 

 

This post was linked at:

Memorial Day Weekend Menu Ideas

It’s the unofficial kick-off to summer this weekend and I have been trying to pick out a menu that captures this essence.  I’ve looked through the 2 Sisters 2 Cities recipe index to find the perfect Memorial Day Weekend menu ideas:

On The Grill:

On The Side:

Dessert:

Make up a batch of red wine sangria and it’s shaping up to be a great Memorial Day weekend!  What are your menu plans for this patriotic holiday?

{For even more Memorial Day weekend menu ideas, be sure to check out our 2013 Memorial Day weekend menu round-up, our 2012 Fourth of July round-up, and the menu and decor ideas from our 2012 Fourth of July party!}

 

Fresh Produce Tuesday- Week #9: Lettuce Recipes

For this week’s Fresh Produce Tuesday series, we are featuring recipes for all the great varieties of local lettuce available in the spring.  Some of the lettuce varieties include arugula, mesclun, oak leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, mache, romaine hearts, and watercress.  (If you want to learn more all the types and test your lettuce knowledge, Steamy Kitchen has an on-line quiz with 21 varieties of lettuce.)  Lettuce is the mainstay of most salads, but I can’t wait to see what other lettuce recipes others have for their greens.

We spent most of the weekend recuperating from last weekend’s pig roast.  On Saturday, we did take Baby T to two local farms.  Weir River Farm in Hingham, MA opens up their animal barnyard area every Saturday from 10am-2pm.  T loved checking out the horses, sheep, pigs (and brand new piglets!), chickens, and cows.  Then, we headed over to Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset, MA for their annual plant sale.  I picked up a few herbs for container plants (and sadly, not my raised garden boxes.)  Their honor-system farm stand was also open and I was able to pick up the arugula seen in the picture above.

Here are ten lettuce recipe ideas:

 
Food bloggers, please link up your favorite lettuce recipe below.  Feel free to submit your favorite salad dressing recipes as well.  Readers, please “like” the recipes that find most appetizing.  Please keep us posted on any recipes you try!

Here is the Fresh Produce Tuesday schedule for the next few weeks:

Week #10- May 29th: Morels
Week #11- June 5th: Strawberries
Week #12- June 12th: Kale

In case you missed any of the previous weeks, here are recipe ideas for AsparagusArtichokesSpring OnionsPeasGarlic Scapes & Spring Garlic,RhubarbFava Beans, and Radishes.

 

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

With all the cookies I make,  I would have to say my all-time favorite cookie is the chocolate chip.  My first baking experience was when my sister M taught me how to make the classic Nestle Toll-house Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (just like she is teaching my nephew here,  although I was a little older!)  M was babysitting and decided to teach me how to bake.   She showed me the difference between granulated sugar and confectioner’s sugar, as well as when to use baking soda or baking powder.  M also showed me how to scrape off the top of the flour and sugar in a measuring cup with the backside of a butter knife.  I have probably made the Nestle Toll-house recipe 100+ times since then,  and I always think back to that first time.

When I started getting Cooks Illustrated, I found an article about how the American Test Kitchen found flaws in the classic chocolate chip recipe and created a recipe that is what they consider the best chocolate chip cookie.  The recipe makes about 16 large cookies and they are seriously amazing. They have a deeper caramel flavor than the classic recipe of chocolate chip cookies. Although I love this recipe, I will still make the Nestle Toll-house version from time to time because it does hold a place in my heart.  Do you have a first memory of baking?

chocolate chip cookies

5.0 from 1 reviews
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup AP flour
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 14 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl mix together flour and baking soda.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone non-stick mats.
  4. In a skillet melt 10 tbsp. of butter over medium high heat. Cook until butter turns golden brown and starts to smell a little nutty. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the butter. Pour the melted butter in a heat-proof mixing bowl and add in the rest of the butter, stirring until melted.
  5. Whisk in sugars, salt and vanilla. Next add in egg and extra egg yolk. Whisk until smooth, for about 30 seconds. Let sugar/butter mixture rest for 3 minutes, and then whisk again for 30 seconds. Repeat this process 2 more times. The mixture should be smooth and shiny after the 10 minutes or on and off mixing.
  6. Stir in flour mixture until combined.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips.
  8. Scooping a little under ¼ cup of dough, roll into a ball and place on baking sheet with 2 inches between each cookie (should make 16 even cookie.)
  9. Bake for 10-14 minutes (rotating cookie sheet halfway through), one tray at a time until cookies are golden brown on the side but still puffy in the middle.
  10. Allow cookies to cool and enjoy!

Source- adapted slightly from Cooks Illustrated Cookbook

Freezer Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

A few weeks ago when I was visiting my parents, I tried some egg and sausage sandwiches that my mom had prepared ahead of time and froze.  They are just glorified Egg McMuffins, but I was very surprised at how great they tasted after being frozen and then reheated in the microwave.  I made a batch a few weeks ago and we went through them so quickly that we are already on our second batch.  They are a great grab-n-go breakfast when you are short on time.

This recipe would also be such an easy way to serve a crowd, especially if you wanted something ready completely ahead of time.  I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe to make ahead and pack in a cooler for future trips – all you need is a small freezer and microwave to prepare these egg sandwiches once you get to your ski condo, beach house, summer-getaway cabin, etc.

Freezer Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches Recipe:

5.0 from 2 reviews
Freezer Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 12 eggs
  • 12 English muffins (I used whole-wheat)
  • 12 breakfast sausage patties
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on oven. Split the English muffins and place on a large baking sheet. Toast both sides under broiler (1-2 minutes). Set English muffins aside. Turn off broiler and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook sausage patties in a frying pan until completely cooked and nicely browned. Set sausage patties aside.
  3. Crack all the eggs into a large measuring cup, add salt and pepper (to taste), and whisk thoroughly. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and pour the egg mixture evenly into the 12 cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the eggs are set.
  4. Remove eggs from oven and top each cup evenly with the shredded cheese. Return to oven until cheese is just melted. Remove from oven.
  5. Assemble the sandwiches in the following order: 1 English muffin half, one egg and cheese round, one sausage patty, 1 English muffin half.
  6. Once the sandwiches are cool, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and place each wrapped sandwich into a resealable freezer bag.
  7. To reheat- Remove plastic wrap and wrap egg sandwich in a paper towel. Microwave for 1 and ½ to 2 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave.)

Source: Adapted from Foodie with Family

 

 

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