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

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.

Mothers Day DIY – No. 5: Delicious (and easy) Chai Tea mix

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If your mum likes tea, try this easy spicy chai tea mix.

I got this adorable tea pot for my birthday, from my brother and sister in law.

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They also gave me a little bag with a delicious Chai Tea mix in it.

It’s so good, I can tell I am going to get through it quickly, and I wont end up buying more, and then I realised:
“I bet it isn’t hard to make!”

It isn’t hard to make at all. You only need a few basic spices (and some fancier ones if you want) and loose black tea.

For my basic Chai tea mix, I used:

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1 tsp ground Ginger

1/2 tsp ground Cloves

1/2 tsp Cardamom pods, crushed

1 Star anise, crushed

1/2 cinnamon stick, crushed

4 tablespoons loose black tea

In a mortar and pestle, crush all the whole spices, add the powders, and grind it all together.

Put in a pretty jar, and mix the black tea in.

Shake it together.

Now think what a lovely present that would make for your mum…or for you.

My teapot holds 500mls of water. I put 2 teaspoons of Chai mix in, filled it to the top with freshly boiled water, and let it brew for 5-8 minutes.

Warm enough milk for 1/2 cup of milk per person in a pot on the stove, or in the microwave. That’s if your one of those poor people like me who don’t have a nice coffee machine with a milk steamer!

Fill half of each tea cup with hot milk, and put in the chai.

Add sugar to your taste. Chai is usually quite a sweet tea.

This amount of tea gave me 5 little cute tea cups of tea, or it would do 2-3 mugs of tea.

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I had a lovely day today, sharing this tea with my very special friends, even though my sister made the tea luke warm!!! It was still delicious.

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Mothers Day DIY – No. 4: Chocolate Coffee Syrup

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This is so easy to make, looks really fancy, and tastes delicious! If you don’t have a coffee maker, using this syrup and hot milk, and a basic coffee plunger, you can make a totally delicious and easy Mocha.

I found this recipe online a couple of years ago. Back then, I never thought about saving where I got it from, so I just printed it, and used, and loved, this recipe.

Sadly, I have no idea where I found it online! All I know is that it is an AMAZING recipe, very easy, using only basic ingredients.

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 Chocolate Coffee Syrup

1/2 cup cocoa powder (not ground chocolate)

1 cup sugar

dash of salt (improves flavour but only use a very little!)

1 cup water

2 tsp vanilla

Mix the cocoa and sugar together in saucepan. Heat on medium high, leave it there, for a minute or two. (No more – you don’t want to burn it!)

Add the water slowly, mixing well in between.

Add a dash of salt. Once mixed completely, the mixture will probably be boiling, so lower heat to medium. Let it boil for 5-8 minutes, mixing constantly.

Boil till mixture thickens. When you move spoon fast through mixture, you can see the bottom of the pot. This means it’s done. Turn off heat, add vanilla, stir thoroughly,  let cool for a few minutes, pour into sterilised jar.

Soak jar in boiling water to sterilise.

To make a delicious mocha,

1. fill 1/4 to 1/2 cup with coffee (plunger/filter/instant – whatever you like)

2. stir a teaspoon of Chocolate Syrup in.

3. Top up with warm milk (frothy if you like!) Microwaves work really well for quickly heating milk up. Not healthy, but quick. 🙂

4. Drizzle more mocha syrup over the top.

5. Enjoy you easy, delicious, homemade mocha!

Make a pretty label for your chocolate sauce, put it in a cute jar, and you have a delicious mothers day present. Or a present for anyone, really! You could also use this as an ice-cream sauce, add it to milk shakes, iced mochas, make yummy chocolate milk….

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Mother Day DIY Gifts – No. 2: Tied Chair Cushion

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This is such a great gift. You can choose any kind of fabric. (upholstery fabric always looks impressive)

Cut 2 squares of fabric for the cushion. If you have a chair in mind for this cushion, maybe check how big you need to make it.

WIth right sides together, stitch 3 sides of the squares. Turn right way out, and stuff. Stuff it nice and full, because you want a lovely comfy seat, not a pancake cushion. Rolling the stuffing into tight little balls before putting it in makes the cushion stay plump and comfortable for longer.

Once stuffed, carefully hand stitch the open side of the cushion. Yes, hand stitching is annoying and slow, (for the impatient like me) but when your agonising over every little invisible stitch, think about the fact that this is a GIFT and it should really be good quality.

. Then sew 4 or 5 “dimples” into the cushion. Just sew straight through cushion and stuffing, back and forth like your sewing on a button.

 Use a big needle, otherwise this can be quite hard work.  You can sew buttons on here too, if you like.

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Now cut a long strip of fabric, about 5cm wide. Fold in half, and sew down securely, into a nice strong tie.  Cut this into 4 strips and zig-zag stitch the ends so they wont fray. Hand sew onto each corner of the cushion.

And now you should be holding a lovely new cushion!! A perfect mothers day gift. And it’s very easy to make.

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Mothers Day D.I.Y Gift – No.1: Antique Music Jar Candles

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Vintage Music Paper Candles

This takes ten minutes and looks amazing! You could make a few or just one, but it would be a great mothers day gift.

I am doing a week of mothers day DIYs, as Mothers Day is coming up (and it’s fun!)

This is the first, and it’s very easy and adorable.

What you need:

old fashioned music/letters (links for great printable ones below)

http://freevintagedigistamps.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/free-digital-scrapbook-paper-vintage_07.html

http://vintageephemera.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/French

Short glass jar

twine/ribbon

tea light candles

glue

scissors

Cut your music paper to the width of your jar. You might need to cut an extra bit if the paper doesn’t wrap all the way round.

Draw 2 hearts on your paper, aligned to be opposite each other when you stick the paper on.

Cut  hearts out, glue paper strip around jar, put tea light candle inside (or 2 or 3 if your jar is a wide one) and tie the ribbon or twine around the top of jar.

Done!

A lovely (and super easy) mothers day gift.

The printable music papers are really great. they print a full page without being blurry or “home printered” looking, and they are often much prettier than any normal music. You can also use old book pages for your candle.

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