3 Ingredients: basic banana berry smoothie

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This is a quick easy delicious pretty yummy nice refreshing healthy quick easy as smoothie.

It is getting colder and colder here in New Zealand. We live in the sub-tropical North Island, and the norm for winter is rain, mud, and just enough cold to give you chill blains and make you huddle by the fire. Meaning, the discomfort of the cold but not the excitement of Snow! We got hail the other day. That’s a big excitement in the Snowless North.

For some reason we made smoothies today. A summer treat, just as it’s getting cold enough to make your toes ache! Well, a lot of the world is just getting their Summer, so I suppose this recipe will have some appreciation, if not from New Zealanders.

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For 3 Banana Berry Smoothies I:

-put 2 bananas in the blender with about 2 cups of orange juice. (any fruit juice will do)

-I added about 1/2 cup of frozen (or use fresh) mixed berry’s.

And then I blended it all up and poured it into pretty glasses.

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A perfect healthy snack.

Sugar (apart from the sugars in the fruit) free, dairy free, gluten free, everything free.

You could try all sorts of things, maybe using whatever you have in your fridge. I always find delicious smoothie recipes, but I NEVER have all the ingredients. This is my basic smoothie recipe, and I have made this with just bananas and orange juice in the past. It is a very delicious summer treat. You could add a spoon of natural yoghurt for extra deliciousness.

Oh, and they are very pretty, too.  Enjoy!

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Classic Custard Squares

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These are such a pretty treat! I got this recipe off this great blog. Only to check in the Edmonds cook book (where she got the recipe!) that every New Zealander owns, and I found I had had the custard square recipe sitting on my shelf the whole time! I got a much better version to use, as the blogger who goes by the name of Mrs Cake had detailed descriptions and helpful hints and pictures.

So, even though I know these have been very well blogged by Mrs Cake, I thought I would put up pictures of my custard squares.

They are too pretty to just delete.

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My custard came out rather orange…

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But they taste SO delicious, and I actually really like the custard. It doesn’t taste “eggy”. I think I will use the same custard recipe for a custard tart. The only thing I changed from the recipe is I didn’t put coconut on top. No one in my family wanted it with coconut. We had the lemon icing though. It was delicious.

So if you want to make these (and they are REALLY easy) the recipe is here.

Desk Decorating: D.I.Y Vintage Inspired Magazine Holder

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I have just started doing Correspondence School. One of the nice things about starting full time studying is that you can have a pretty desk. Sometime I will have to go shopping for cute stationary and accessories. Typo has the cutest ever vintage inspired decor accessories!

I made this magazine/workbook holder out of an old biscuit box. It was the size of a cereal box…to give you a general idea of size! You could buy plain cardboard magazine holders and cover them the same as this tutorial, but I started from scratch (or from a biscuit box!).

Blogging1.Cut off any top flaps on the box (like the ones pictured). 2. Cut a curved corner slanting downwards. Do it as deep as you like. 3. Cover with paper. I added a strip of black and white paisley paper too, going down the middle of one side. 4. Hot glue gun lace or embellishments on.

The Things I Used:

1 Biscuit/cereal box

Scissors

Glue sticks

Hot glue gun (optional)

2 Sheets of standard square scrapbooking paper

One extra strip of coordinating paper for embellishment

Lace

Pen

I chopped off the top flaps. I sliced a curving corner in the box. I then coated 1 sheet of cute scrapbooking paper in Purple Glue (I love coloured glue sticks! The same as a normal glue stick except it goes on vivid purple and dries clear.)

One square covered exactly half a box, including enough paper to fold over the top edge and bottom, so that it’s finished nicely.

Smooth away any bubbles.

Coat the other sheet of paper in glue. Coat the box in paper. Proceed to smooth away bubbles again. You may have to add some more glue to the edges and corners where it is lifting up.

Now you have a basic covered biscuit/cereal box.

Proceed to decorate as you please!

I added the black and white paisley strip, and lace hot glue gunned to each side of that. I love lace. And so I added more lace to the narrow, short front. The edge with the corner cut away. It needed it.

You will also probably want to glue some metal or something heavy-ish to the bottom of the box, of your box is light, like mine. It topples over when I put my books in it! Ah so annoying!

Now it sits on my little round table (because poor little me has to make do with a little round table while my younger sister has a lovely little desk that my dad made her, for her art! The unfairness! I should confiscate her desk and call it my own…haha).

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It is a cute round table, though. It looks even cuter with this holding my books!

P.S: do you like my cute as sparkly jar? Here’s my blog post on making these!

Lemony Lemon ‘Brownies’

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Creamy, sweet, and perfectly tart. This delicious, light, lemony “Brownie” is perfect for a spring picnic. (I say, as the days get colder and more wet and bleak here where I live…Winter is well on it’s way.) Have this as a nice change to chocolate brownie. (I know, Lemon “brownie” doesn’t make any sense, but what the name means is that it has a brownie type of texture, without chocolate. Try it! You will love it, I am sure.) Maybe this would be a lovely mothers day treat?

Lemony Lemon Brownies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

   3/4 cup flour

2 eggs, large
2 tbsps lemon zest
2 tbsps lemon juice

For the tart lemon glaze:
2 tbsps lemon juice
4 tsps lemon zest
1 cup icing sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 (180C) degrees.
2. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
3. Zest and juice two lemons and set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.

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5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined.

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6. Pour it into the flour mixture and beat for 2 mins at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

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7. Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 mins, should turn golden around the edges.
8. Allow to cool completely before glazing. Do not overbake, or the bars will dry.
9. Filter the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest and juice. Add more icing sugar if it is too runny. You want it thick enough to not soak into the brownies and make it soggy. (That’s what happened to mine! I have halved the amount of lemon juice so it is a thicker icing now.)
10. Spread the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula and let glaze set.
11. Cut into bars and serve.

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I have slightly adapted this great recipe from here.

these are mild, creamy, sweet

5 Minute Peppermint Creams

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For those days when your craving something sweet and you’ve run out of everything yummy. I often whip these up before we watch a movie, when we don’t have anything else tasty.

 This takes 5 minutes, requires no cooking, and doesn’t need overnight setting in the fridge before you can eat them! Drizzle chocolate sauce over for an easy peppermint-choc taste, or dip these in real chocolate and make your own creamy after dinner mints!

5 minute peppermint creams

(all ingredients are estimates. You sort of keep adding icing sugar until the consistency is how you want. It’s very easy!)

 -1 tablespoon butter, softened

-dash of milk

-1-2 cups icing sugar

-peppermint essence to taste

In a small bowl, cream all ingredients together. Keep adding icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency. (firm and mouldable, easy to shape into balls or roll out)

Roll out on a floured surface and cut into squares or triangles. You can also use mini cookie cutters to get cute flowers or hearts.

If you want to make as little mess as possible, and you want to eat these as soon as possible, just break off bits of mixture and roll into balls.

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Have it with chocolate sauce and chocolate chips.

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I used my homemade Chocolate Coffee Syrup, which works great as a dessert topping and dip as well as for coffee.

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They are creamy and addicting without the chocolate too, though! Enjoy this very easy, delicious treat!

Mothers Day D.I.Y – No 7: Making Gorgeous Gift Boxes Quickly

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I think presentation is SO important for a gift. It makes the person receiving the gift feel so special.

If I get a present that I can see has been carefully wrapped, with ribbon and lots of prettiness, I really feel so excited opening it. Even when the present is very simple, the wrapping turns it into something beautiful and very special, somehow.

This box started out looking like this:

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So, as you can see, you can use just about any old box. Big, small, tiny…shoebox, empty teabag boxes, cardboard boxes….

I just got 3 coordinating papers, including some leftover antique music and handwriting papers from my Antique Music Jar Candles. They are so pretty!

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Cut pieces of paper to fit each side, like a collage: (oops sorry about that blurry photo!)

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Use a different paper for each side, overlapping edges so you get a tidy finish.

Do the same for the top, if you have 4 flaps like I have on my box.

If you have a box with a separate lid, like a shoebox, you could do one paper all over or a few, it’s up to you.

As there are just SO many different varieties of boxes out there, you will have to just adjust the design of your box decorating to suit.

Tie with ribbon going all around. Curling ribbon, or satin ribbon, OH, black velvet ribbon would have looked amazing on this box! I wish I had some!

There are just so many ways of decorating boxes. I liked this way because it was very very quick, and works for any box.

Jewels, words, stencils, glitter, rub-ons, fabric, beads…there are so many ways of adding extra embellishment to a box as well.

I can just picture a huge delicious lot of Chocolate Fudge in my box! I will have to make some, I suppose, because now I am craving it.

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And flowers really finish off the look!

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And here I am at the end of my week of mothers day gifts.

It was very fun, and it sure kept me busy thinking of ideas! I did miss one day, as I was away. But I put it on the blog as soon as I got home. It was hard to keep up, doing a craft project every day, even if it was only for a week. I am so glad I did though!

Well, ones things for sure: my mum is going to get a lot of lovely gifts!

Mothers Day DIY – No. 6: Easy Shoebox Scrapbook

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This took about 2o minutes to whip up on a very busy morning! It is a very simple, elegant, and useful gift. A scrapbooking album, a journal, diary, recipe book, sketch book, travel journal…you could use it for all these and more. Decorate the cover with whatever style your mum prefers. Some very simple accents can change the look and feel of this book completely, so I think this is a very reliable and versatile gift idea.

What you need to make this:

Shoebox (or a piece of sturdy cardboard, roughly A4 size.

2 squares of scrapbooking paper

ribbon/twine

a pile of A4  plain printer paper

scissors

glue stick

hole puncher

pencil

embellishments/beads/pictures/etc.  if desired.

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I started with a shoebox. (but you don’t have to be as unsophisticated as me!)

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Chop the bottom of the shoe box into 2 even halves of cardboard. (If you aren’t using a shoebox, just make sure you use quite strong/thick cardboard. You don’t want a floppy cover!)

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Place 1 half of cardboard onto a standard square of scrapbooking paper in your chosen design, for a pretty cover!

Glue on.

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Fold paper over cardboard neatly like your wrapping a present.

Repeat this with the second piece of cardboard and a second piece of standard sized scrapbooking paper.

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Now, get a pile of A4 sized printer paper. You choose the amount of paper you want. Think about how thick you want your book. The thickness of your book will be double the thickness of your pile of A4 paper.

Hold one of your cover pieces over the neatly stacked pile of paper. draw a pencil line across.

Cut the paper along the line. Now cut the other half of paper so it’s all your white paper is even, ready to be pages in your book!

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Glue a sheet of your white paper to each book cover too, onto the messy inside to make them look professional and tidy.

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Now, punch 3 evenly spaced holes in each cardboard cover.

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Carefully place your paper pages underneath one of the covers and, using the punched holes as stencils, mark where the holes need to go on your pages.

Stack your pages neatly in between your cardboard covers, like a sandwich. Line up all the holes.

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Thread some pretty ribbon or twine through each hole and tie in a knot or bow, depending on what your style is.

You could loop the thread through each hole, like tying a shoe, or do each hole with their own separate ribbon and bow.

That’s what I did, just to be different.

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took this photo before I remembered to crease the book, so it looks a bit, erm, flat.  – But still cute.