The Pin Junkie: April 2013

Easy Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Teacher appreciation gifts

Easy Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Teacher appreciation week is May 6 - 10.  These are some really easy and inexpensive little gifts you can make and give to a teacher to let them know how much you appreciate everything they do.  I made these appreciation gifts for the teachers that I work with.  It's always nice to get little goodies in your mailbox!

Embellished Post-It notes
Easy Teacher Appreciation Gifts

To make these embellished Post Its, just cut some scrapbook paper long enough to fit over the front and back of a stack of Post It notes.  Peel the back off of the last Post It in the stack and stick it to the scrapbook paper.  Then fold the scrapbook paper over the stack.  I added coordinating letters for monograms to personalize each one.

Candy Bag Topper
Easy Teacher Appreciation Gifts

This printable bag topper is free on Teachers Pay Teachers!
Just fill a bag with candy, print out the tag, and staple it together!

"Extra" Special Teacher Gift
Easy Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Put a pack of Extra gum in a baggie, tie with a ribbon, 

Easy Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I saw this ecard on Pinterest and it made me smile.
I printed a few and attached each one to a bottle of hand sanitizer. 

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Homemade dill refrigerator pickles recipe
Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

I remember eating homemade pickles at my grandma's house.  I always thought that canning and making your own pickles was a lot of work and something I would probably never be able to do.  The directions for these pickles seemed pretty darn easy, so I decided to give it a try.  I used this recipe for refrigerator dill pickles.

 Here is what you will need to make homemade pickles:
small cucumbers
1-1/2 cups of white vinegar
4 Tablespoons kosher salt
pickling spices
fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups hot water

I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I used a bottle of pickling spice, instead of buying all the spices in the recipe.  It was a lot cheaper to buy one jar of pickling spice rather than three jars of individual spices.  I also added more than three cloves of garlic.

1.  Mix the sugar and salt with the hot water.  Stir until dissolved.  (Let the liquid cool before pouring over the cucumbers.)
2.  Add the vinegar and pickling spices to the liquid.
3.  Slice the cucumbers and put the slices in jars.
4.  Add the dill and garlic cloves.
5.  Pour the liquid into the jars.
6.  Seal the jars and store in the refrigerator.

This recipe made enough for two jars of pickles.  They looked so pretty and Martha Stewart-like in their jars that I was almost ready to call it a success before I even tasted them, just because they looked so nice!  Those pickles looked so good, we only waited a day before we started tasting.  Wow were they good!  Crispy just like I them and with a lot of bite!  I can tell these pickles won't last long and I'll be making more.  They are so easy and yummy and I'd love to share them with friends too!

Friday Link Party #14

It wasn't a productive week for me.  I tried to make Slow Cooker Swiss Chicken too early in the morning and didn't read the directions carefully.  I ended up with something over cooked and unappetizing.

On the bright side, there were many new people who linked up their projects last week!  The party has been slowly growing each week and I'm hoping we can get to 100 or more links this week.  

I hope to be back next week with some better things to share!

 Now it's your turn to share what you've been working on.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to link up your projects, crafts, and recipes!  But first, take a look at some features from last week's party.

rolling pin hook rack
Marcie at day2day SuperMom made a rolling pin hook rack.

union jack painted coffee table makeover
Aimee at The Vintage Estate gave an old coffee table a cool makeover.

litte birdie notecards
Paula from Sincerely Paula made these incredibly cute bird note cards.

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Slow Cooker Swiss Chicken FAIL

I'm a positive person and I try to keep things positive here on my blog.  I really like publishing pretty pictures and the nice results of my projects.   I also want to be honest with readers (all three of them!) and that means sharing my mistakes, which is somewhat difficult for a perfectionist like me.

The whole point of this blog is to try new things and hopefully encourage others to try new things as well.  Sometimes, when you try new things, they just don't work the way you planned.

For the most part, I've had some really good successes with things I've tried from Pinterest.  I've found great craft projects, home improvement ideas, and some delicious recipes.  My list of Pinterest fails is thankfully short and the few fails I've had were completely my fault.

Short List of Pinterest Fails

Recently I tried this crock pot recipe from Six Sister's Stuff.  

Looks good doesn't it? 

I got home from work, looked in the crock pot with anticipation, and just had to laugh because I knew it was going to be terrible . . . 

 . . . and I was right!  The stuffing was burned and the chicken was dry.  The whole mess just looked completely unappetizing!

Just like my previously mentioned Pinterest fails, this one was my fault.  I got up around 5:30 - 6:00 a.m. to make this before I left for work and I think it's just not a good idea to try to read anything and cook that early in the morning before I'm awake.  I didn't pay any attention to the cooking time which is only 4-6 hours on low.  Mine cooked on low all day while I was at work so it was probably more like 8-9 hours which was just way too long.  

We all had a good laugh about it and found something else for dinner.  I may try this recipe again making sure to be completely awake and coherent enough to use the correct cooking time.  Meanwhile, I'll just put it on my list of Pinterest fails (which is sure to get longer!)

Have you tried anything new recently?  (from Pinterest or otherwise?)  Was it a failure or success?  Let me know - I'd love to hear about it!

Friday Link Party #13

Happy Friday!

Lilacs are blooming in my backyard and they smell so good!

This week, I shared ways to arrange fresh flowers
so that you can enjoy them indoors too.
flower arrangements

zucchini onion pie

 I also made Chipotle's Guacamole
copy-cat chipotle's guacamole

Now it's your turn to share what you've been working on.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to link up your projects, crafts, and recipes!  But first, take a look at some features from last week's party.

file cabinet makeover
Desiree at Your Crafty Friend scored these oak filing cabinets
 for $5.00 for the pair and made a great desk.

serving tray makeover
 Vanessa at Nifty Thrifty gave a tired old tray 
a new life with an image transfer.

laundry stain removal guide with free printable
 Angela at A Typical English Home shared a printable 
laundry stain removal guide.

garbage can chicken
 AnnMarie at Musings of a Vintage Junkie shared some great memories 
and a recipe for garbage can chicken.

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Copy-Cat Chipotle's Guacamole

Chipotle's Guacamole Recipe
Chipotle's Guacamole
I've previously shared with you my love for Wendy's Frosties and my addiction to Chick-Fil-A.  I'm also have a love affair with Chipotle.  Our town recently just a got a Chipotle.  It was a huge hit and it's crowded all the time.  It was kind of a pain for me to go because besides being crowded, it wasn't nearby.  Another location opened just a few months ago and it's near where I live.  Now I go almost every Friday and I always get the salad.  It's so good!  I'd love to know how to make their barbacoa chicken.  My husband loves their guacamole and chips.  So when I saw this on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it.  Guacamole is really easy.  This is the basic recipe that I usually make:

lemon juice and salt to taste

Just cut an avocado, spoon the avocado  into a bowl, mash it with a fork and add salt and lemon juice to taste.  I like to add diced tomatoes, but no ones else at my house likes it that way.

Here's what you need for the Chipotle's version:

red onion
lemon juice and salt to taste

Just mash the avocado and add lemon juice and salt like in the basic recipe.  Then add finely diced red onion and cilantro.  I left out the jalapeno in the original recipe.

It's really important to use ripe avocados.  If they aren't ripe, they'll be too hard to mash.  If they're too ripe, the guacamole won't taste good.  When choosing avocados, I look at the color of the skin.  If the avocado is bright green, it's not ripe yet.  If the skin is almost black, then it's too ripe.  A nice dark green is what you're looking for.  Also, when you gently squeeze the avocado, it should give a little.  If it's as hard as a rock, it's not ripe yet.  If the avocado is mushy, it's too ripe.  On Pinterest, I found another good way to tell if an avocado is ripe.  Just look under the stem!
Just pop the little stem off the top of the avocado and if it has a light green color (like in the picture) the avocado is ripe.  If it's brown, or moldy, it's too ripe and you shouldn't buy it or use it.

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner.  Make yourself a margarita to go with this guacamole and you're all set!

copy-cat-chick-fil-chicken sandwich recipe starbucks passion tea lemonade recipe
red lobster cheddar biscuits recipe copy-cat wendys frosty recipe

Zucchini and Onion Pie

Zucchini onion pie recipe
Zucchini Onion Pie

Do you like the warm, cheesy Cheddar Bay Biscuits that Red Lobster serves?  Then you'll probably like this zucchini and onion pie!  Really, it's more of a biscuit than a pie.  It's flaky, cheesy, slightly salty and reminds me of those heavenly biscuits at Red Lobster!  

I have two versions of this dish pinned to my recipe board.  I made this one which uses Bisquick, but you can also try the other one which uses refrigerated crescent rolls.

When I mixed the batter for this pie, I was a little worried because the batter looked too thick and dry, but it baked beautifully in the pie dish and was very moist.  I think the zucchini released its moisture while baking and kept it from being too dry.

My family doesn't like zucchini, but was bravely willing to try it.  I'm a bit embarrassed to say I ate most of this myself.  I had several helpings at dinner and then ate the leftovers the next day.  It tastes best warm so I just popped it in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds to get it warm and tasty. 

This dish would be perfect served with a salad, as a side dish, or as something to take for a potluck.  If you grow zucchini, you always have too much during the summer and this is a great way to use it up.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!