Monthly Archives

March 2018

DIY Easter Eggs

By | All Posts, Cooking, DIY, Home

If you’re like us, you’ve had your fill of the run-of-the-mill grocery store egg dyeing kit with the weird wire holders, little tablets of egg dye, and cheap plastic egg cups. It’s fun and all, but you’ve probably thought for a few years now that surely there must be some better ways to jazz up this tired springtime ritual? Well, you’ve come to the right place! There is a better way! We’ve put together a great list of possibilities to bring your Easter egg game to the next level. Try one or all of these ideas to make this beloved tradition an artistic and fun venture once again.

 

 

Experiment with Natural Dyes

Many of us are working hard to make our homes a more organic and chemical-free place. So it just doesn’t make sense to throw that out the window once a year for a holiday tradition that could easily be given a natural twist. There are many recipes on the web for creating almost any color you need by dyeing your eggs with things like blueberries and red cabbage.  You’ll enjoy peace of mind when your family eats the after-Easter egg salad because everything involved in the process was from the earth. If you want all the natural elements, but not as much of the work there are also some awesome natural dye kits from companies committed to organic ingredients and sustainability. We also love the muted, homey colors these natural dye alternatives create.

 

 

Pressed Flower Eggs

We love this creative idea with another organic twist. The steps are fairly simple, making this a great activity to include little ones.

You’ll need: mod-podge or non-toxic glue, small flowers, egg dye and nylon stockings. (Old or torn stockings are perfect, as long as they’re clean of course!)

  • Step 1: This project works best if you press your flowers for at least a few minutes under a heavy book on a flat surface. This can take place while you prepare the eggs.
  • Step 2: If you’d like colorful eggs, start by dyeing them as you normally would. These are also beautiful on plain white eggs so this step is not completely necessary if you prefer a cleaner look.
  • Step 3: If you’ve dyed them, wait until the egg is completely dry. Place a small drop of glue or mod-podge onto the egg. Attach your pressed flower(s) and press down firmly but gently.
  • Step 4: Carefully place each egg into a nylon stocking and tie off the end. If you have tall nylons, a perfect use is to cut them down to multiple sections and tie off both ends. “Reduce and reuse,” as they say!
  • Step 5: Allow the nylon-wrapped eggs to dry. The pressure from the nylon will keep the flowers in place. Remove the nylon with a quick snip of your scissors.
  • Step 6: If using mod-podge you can also reinforce the flower after the first dry with a top layer, depending on how long you’d like your creations to last. The finished product: stunning eggs with a unique and organic look.

 

 

Painted Eggs

Sometimes the most simple ideas are the best. Watercolor paints are particularly perfect for giving your Easter eggs this year a more crafty and personal touch. Check the labels to ensure the paint is non-toxic.. For less mess, you can also get creative with non-toxic paint pens, that don’t require brushes at all. Whichever method you choose, the possibilities are limitless! The design of your eggs is 100 percent between you and the paint.

 

 

Silk “Tie Dyed” Eggs

Yes you read that right. Dye your eggs with incredibly unique and intricate patterns using silk ties. Like the kind your husband wears to church. You can get old ties for a steal at thrift and second-hand stores, (we’re talking 75 cents) or just get your sweetheart to finally clean out his closet. You’ll want to ensure that the ties you use are 100% silk…it just doesn’t work with other fabrics.

  • Step 1: Cut out the back seam and lining of the tie so you’re left with a large piece of silk.
  • Step 2: Now, use it to wrap the eggs–you should be able to get 3-4 pieces large enough for an egg from each tie.
    • Note: Unlike our other hacks, these eggs should NOT be pre-boiled. You’ll want to start with raw eggs. Just be cautious when you’re wrapping them in the fabric.
  • Step 3: To wrap, use the right side of the silk, i.e. the part you’d see on the front if someone was wearing the tie, to face the egg. Wrap it tightly and completely cover the egg, then tie off with a twisty tie. Repeat until all the eggs are covered with a glorious array of patterned and colored fabrics!
  • Step 4: Place all the wrapped eggs in a large pot of water. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the water and allow the eggs to boil 20 minutes.
  • Step 5: Pull the eggs out and allow them to cool. Once cool enough to handle, unwrap the fabric and behold the incredible impressions left on your eggs! Voila—Easter festivities are ready to commence!

 

 

Speckled Eggs

This is a quick and easy way to make your humdrum dyed eggs a little bit more interesting.

  • Step 1: Dye in the usual way and allow to dry, or leave white.
  • Step 2: Add about a cup of dried beans to a paper cup and then put in 15-20 drops of food coloring. Should the food coloring dry out, add a few drops of white vinegar.
  • Step 3: Cover top of the cup and shake the food dye and beans together.
  • Step 4: At this point you can take the eggs and roll them around in the beans to add a speckled effect.
    • For extra fun roll in multiple colors, allowing each individual layer of food color to dry between rolls. The textured effect you end up with is very cute and cheery.

The Best Places to Hike in Salt Lake & Utah County

By | All Posts, Health & Fitness, Inspiration

Utah is full of incredible places to take in Mother Nature’s beauty. Now that spring is here, we’re taking the challenge to get our buns off the couch and go outside into the world! We hope you’ll take the challenge with us and check out some of these greats trails all over Salt Lake and Utah County. We’ve ordered them by location, and then from least difficult to most…so whether you’re an experienced hiker or just getting started, there is definitely an option here to get you moving.

 

SALT LAKE COUNTY

Ensign Peak

1 mile round trip

It is believed the peak of this small hill is the viewpoint from which Brigham Young and several other LDS church leaders looked down over the Salt Lake valley and planned the framework for a new city. It’s a great easy walk, perfect for after work or a Sunday afternoon, and only takes about 15 minutes up and 15 minutes back down. The best way to take in this view is with a picnic basket in hand.

Donut Falls, Big Cottonwood Canyon

3.5 mile round trip

This hike is perfect for a short evening walk or a casual weekend outing for the family. There is about ½ mile from parking to the trailhead, but it doesn’t get too steep and has an incredible view at the end. The last 100 yards to the cave can get slick, so if you’d like to go up that high you may want hiking boots with spikes in the late winter/early spring.

Desolation Trail, Salt Lake Overlook

3.5 mile round trip

Set in Millcreek Canyon, this pleasant short trail elevates to an idyllic spot for viewing sunsets overlooking the Salt Lake valley. The trail begins just east of the Millcreek Inn Restaurant. It climbs approximately 1,250 feet up long and steady switchbacks. The scenery all along the way is vibrant with colorful flowers and wildlife, so take your time and appreciate the opportunity to make your Instagram feed look amazing.

Lower Bells, Bell Canyon

4 mile round trip

This is a more difficult trail and will not be for the faint of heart. Though she be but little, she is fierce. Weather on this trail is generally good this time of year, however it is common for the snowpack to still be melting, so hiking boots with spikes are recommended. The incline to the top is steady and gradual, but continuous. The last 100 yards to the falls may be icy, as the water is often still frozen in March. However the bluish-white hue of the falls when they are still partially frozen is noted by many as one of the greatest attractions of this trail. It also is a great family trail and feasible for small children 5 years old and older.

White Pine Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon

10 mile round trip

Located approximately 5 ½ miles into Little Cottonwood Canyon and ¾ of a mile before Snowbird the trailhead is marked with a sign, information center, and small vault restroom. This favorite trail of Little Cottonwood has been beloved for years due to its valley beauty. The ridges carved from early glaciers that swoop down to clear cold lakes is a breathtaking vista. The trail is not too difficult, as much of it follows an abandoned road. There is a short section before the end of more difficult switchbacks, however they are not too long.The payoff of the lake’s beauty is so much sweeter after a short bout of hard work.

 

UTAH COUNTY

Cascade Springs, Provo Canyon

1 mile round trip

This small, beautiful nature walk goes along several natural springs and is suitable for all ages, including those with ADA needs. Wooden boardwalks surround all the springs and give the young and young at heart a sweet view into nature’s wonders. It is fun and easy and a great option for anyone looking to get out of the house for a short while.

Timpanogos Cave

3 mile round trip

The trail is paved and begins right beside the Visitor Center. The incline is a bit steep, but virtually anyone in good health will be able to walk this path, so long as time and care is taken for all members of your party. This portion goes 1 ½ miles up and then 1 ½ back down. The view is beautiful, and you can get some great photos outside the cave at this point.

Should you choose to go farther, there are many tours through the caves which are scheduled in advance and planned for groups of approximately 20 people. Ticket prices range from FREE to $8.00 per person, varying by age. These walks through the caves are led by a guide and are full of fascinating geological and historical information.

Julie Andrews Meadow, American Fork Canyon

3.5 mile round trip

Located in American Fork Canyon, this quirky area was named for its peculiar resemblance to a well-known scene in The Sound of Music. The field is along the Timpooneke Trail, also known as Chris’ Flat Trail. Lush green grass, flowers in bloom, and just a bit of snow scattered along the Timpanogos ridge in the background create a beautiful early-spring view. Enjoy it with the family and a picnic. You’ll be sure to have a great time.

Mount Nebo

8.5 mile round trip

It is a common misconception among many Utahns that Mount Timpanogos is the highest peak along the Wasatch front, however the truth is Mount Nebo is 179 feet higher than Timp…making it the true “papa bear” in the Wasatch range.  The hike will take a full day to be sure, but is not terribly crowded most of the time and is riddled with stunning views. It is a moderate to difficult trail with certain sections being quite vertical on a rocky ridge. However, if you don’t mind adding a little more length to the hike there are some loop-arounds and switchbacks that decrease the time your elevation will be steep. Thunderstorms tend to come and go quickly, especially in the spring, so be prepared for this hike with a good rain jacket, hiking boots, food, and water.

 

We hope you enjoyed this list of great hikes across the Wasatch front. Let us know in the comments which ones you have done and any details about them we may have missed! Do you have any other favorites we didn’t list here? We’d love to hear. Enjoy the spring and get outside!

5 Ways to Make Your Life More Green

By | All Posts, DIY, Entertainment, Home

 

Get a Head Start on Luscious Green Grass

Make your neighbors “green with envy” this St. Patrick’s Day by getting a headstart on a gorgeous yard. It’s surprising how much you can brighten things up by cleaning up some debris, raking or mowing the lawn, and getting your grass aeration done before it starts full regrowth.

 

 

Make a Green Treat to Share with Friends or Family

Who doesn’t love Mcdonald’s Seasonal Shamrock Shake, am I right? Do yourself a favor and grab one, but be sure to also make fun green goodies to share. We love some of the new recipes we’ve seen like Green Crinkle Cookies from Wicked Whisk, Grasshopper Fudge from Sweet Recipeas, or the absolute best Mint Chocolate Chip Pie from Barbara Bakes. With these sweets in hand, you’ll get plenty of those Irish kisses this year.

 

 

Purchase an Indoor Plant…A Real One this Time

Seek out Aloe, Jade, Rubber Trees, or Fiddle Leaf Fig for plants that are incredible home decor options which have a great look and are very easy to care for. The species we’ve listed also come in a range of sizes so you’ll be certain to find something that suits your space, big or small.

 

 

Reuse Glass in Interesting Ways

What we love about this hack is you can BE green while saving green and adding green to your life…get it? Green glass is a classic look, and you’ll find this material at secondhand stores and thrift shops all over. You may even be able to get green wine bottles for free at your favorite restaurant or bar. Use the glass elements you find to organize craft supplies, create an outdoor wind chime, or cut the tops off for a one-of-a-kind glassware set.

 

 

Spruce Up Your Interior with Green

The greatest thing about this color of nature is its universality. Green pairs well with any other color scheme, so it’s always a good time to add in an art piece or some throw pillows with this revitalizing hue. No need to completely redecorate, simply refresh with cost-effective and beautiful green touches.

Three Easy Cookie Recipes

By | All Posts, Cooking, Home

There are few things as universal as a neighborly gesture…like the casserole delivered when someone is sick or just had a baby; the winter treat dropped off just to say “Happy Holidays;” and, for anytime at all,there’s the plate of cookies, still warm from the oven, to say, “You were on my mind.” Take an hour this weekend and make life on your block so much sweeter by doing a simple, kind act for the elderly couple down the street or the single mom next door that you know could use some quiet time. You’ll be amazed how this simple task can drastically improve your life by making your neighbors happy to be living near you and perhaps willing to return the favor on occasion just because. It’s never a bad time to do something nice, and it’s never a bad time to become the neighbor everyone loves. To make it simple for you and still yummy for your friends, we’ve compiled a list of the very best delicious and easy cookie recipes you’ll be able to whip together quickly with the classic ingredients you already have stocked in the cupboard.

 

Classic Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter (softened)

1 ¼ cup light brown sugar (packed)

½ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. While that heats, grease 2 cookie sheets with baking spray or line with parchment paper.  

 

In a medium size bowl, use a sifter to combine flour, baking soda and salt. Then in a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together brown sugar, white sugar and the softened butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, then cream together again until the mixture is light and smooth. Add in the bowl of dry ingredients and combine all together. The final step for the batter is to add chocolate chips and gently combine one more time.

 

To distribute the dough, use a small ice cream scoop or two tablespoons to create 1/4 cup portions. Place onto cookie sheets with approximately 3 inches between each portion.

 

Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the cookies are golden with lightly toasted edges. Once removed from the oven, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for an additional 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks.

 

*This cookie recipe is courtesy of Tessa Arias at Handle the Heat

 

Soft Snickerdoodles

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup unsalted butter (cold, diced into ½” pieces)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Use a mixer to blend unsalted butter for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add salt and ¾ cup sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, and cream ingredients together until just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together baking soda, flour and cream of tartar. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and blend together until you have a combined dough that pinches together at the touch. Set the dough in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes until it is slightly more set for rolling into balls.

 

Mix together the remaining sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator once finished chilling. To portion the cookies, take ½ inch portions of dough and roll them lightly and quickly into balls. Take each ball of dough and lightly roll them individually in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place each ball onto greased cookie sheets allowing 2 inches between each cookie for spreading during baking.

 

Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. For even baking, turn each cookie sheet 180 degrees halfway through the allotted time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes after removing them from the oven, before transferring the cookies to wire racks for cooling entirely.

 

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 cup peanut butter (creamy)

¼ cup shortening

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In large bowl combine brown sugar, water, peanut butter, shortening and eggs. Slowly add in the yellow cake mix while continuing to combine until mixture is completely smooth. Dough should be thick and slightly sticky.

 

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheets. Allow 2 inches of space between each cookie. With a fork, flatten each cookie in a criss-cross pattern to create a classic peanut butter cookie aesthetic, ideal for even baking with this sticky dough. Bake the cookies 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets before removing cookies and finishing cooling on wire racks. Store in airtight containers to retain freshness.