12.22.2014

Part 5: Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas to Inspire You!

This is the final post for this holiday gift wrapping series.  If you like the simplicity and elegance of black and white, you'll love the ideas I have for you here!

Black and white stripped paper with cookie cutter embellishment

This first one is a gift wrapped with a gift embellishment.  I found this beautiful blue snowflake cookie cutter at Michael's.  I love the idea of using something that is a gift add-on as part of the wrapping, especially when you're to design an original look for your holiday gift wrapping.  I can't recall the exact price of this cookie cutter but I do remember it was less $2, so very affordable.

Black and white stripped paper with sparkly black ribbon


I love the simplicity of this sparkly black bow.  The ribbon is actually paper ribbon.  The look reminds me of Audrey Hepburn...don't you agree?! This look can be used all year round.  The sparkle is what gives it a holiday feel.  It's a great way to wrap a hostess gift for a new year's eve party.  Pop some champagne and you're really feeling the new year's eve parties approaching!

If you want a look like this, make sure you have some double sided tape to keep the ribbon in place. 

Black and white stripped paper with gold web ribbon

Gold ribbon truly fits the holiday gift wrapping look.  But you don't have to go with the same old curling ribbon your grandmother used to use. Michael's literally has THOUSANDS of ribbon options.  Put me in the ribbon aisle and I can spend the day there.  Better yet, take me to Mokuba in NYC or Toronto! If you've never been, I highly recommend you make your way there.  Walking in Mokuba is like walking into ribbon heaven for me!

Ok so moving on, try to look for something different.  Look how special this gift becomes with this gold web ribbon.  You will see that this bow sits nicely without flopping . That's because there's wire in this ribbon.  I love wired ribbons because it's so easy to shape your ribbon.

Check out the other posts in this holiday gift wrapping series:

Here are some of my other great holiday posts.  Check them out too!

Let us know about your holiday gift wrapping inspirations in the comments below.
Happy gifting,
Ali





12.19.2014

Part 4: Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas to Inspire You!


It's holiday gift wrapping time again and I have been dying to share this post with you. I'm using gold and green wrapping paper here, what I would consider to be more on the traditional side of the holiday gift wrapping colors.  But the print is not overly holiday looking (at least not to me).  I love the sparkly and shimmer of this paper.  And I really love the green and gold.  If you're going to do holiday colors, this is the way to do it.   

Wrapping with green, gold and holiday ornaments


In this first image, I used a shimmering ornament that has a crystal feel.  Adding an ornament like this is like giving 2 gifts in one! This takes adding embellishments to your holiday gift wrapping to a whole new level.  I found this one at my local discount store for about $10 and so it is by no means a cheap way to wrap a gift.  But like I said, it becomes part of the gift.  So if you bought something a little below your budget and want to finish it off, this is a great way to incorporate an extra little something to your present.  

Wrapping with green, gold and holiday ornaments


In this second image, I used a kelly green beaded napkin ring to look like a wreath.  The ribbon is recycled ribbon.  It came with the packaging on a blanket I purchased years ago.  I'm telling you, keep your eyes open and save these free gems.  The beaded napkin rings are great because you can get a set for a under 10 dollars which means your embellishments are under $2.50 each.   


Let me know about your holiday gift wrapping inspiration in the comments below. 

Happy gifting! 

Ali

12.18.2014

Part 3: Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas to Inspire You!

The holidays are truly around the corner.  Time for some holiday gift wrapping!  Have you bought all your gifts?  I am all about getting everything in advance.  It makes the shopping more enjoyable and allows you time to get to wrapping each gift to create a beautiful presentation.  I tend to make list (sometimes I even have list of my lists!).  I plan every detail out.  I get started early and then I have the time to package things just how I them done.   

For this post, I present you with gifts wrapped in animal print paper.  There's nothing holiday themed about this wrapping paper but you can accessorize it and give it some holiday flair.  What I love about this is you can use paper that you already have at home.  Or if you're just buying some animal print paper now, you won't be stuck with it until next year.  It's so versatile.  You can add ribbons and embellishments that will give it a holiday feel and create a masculine or feminine look.   


Holiday gift wrapping with animal print paper and wood ornaments

Holiday gift wrapping with animal print paper and wood ornaments



In these first 2 images, I wrapped the gift using a beautiful wood snowflake ornament.  I love the neutral colors.  No red and green here but the wintery feel is all you need.  The ribbon is actually a wool belt from a sweater dress.  It goes to show you can use and recycle from anywhere (even your wardrobe) to package gifts.   


Holiday gift wrapping with animal print paper and tiffany blue ribbon


In this next image, I used a tiffany blue ribbon with a sparkly acorn ornament.  Again, none of the typical holiday colors here.  Just a hint of icy winter and shimmer.   


Holiday gift wrapping with animal print paper and raspberry yarn

In this last image, I used yarn.  Just some simple raspberry yarn that you knit with.  I wound A LOT of it around and created a fan design.  I then tied a small piece of yarn around the centre and attached the same sparkly acorn ornament that you see in the image above.  The raspberry is a bit of a spin on the traditional red that we see at the holidays.  

Get creative, think outside of the box.  You never know what you'll find in your hosue that you can use to create the perfect gift wrapping look.  



Let me know about your holiday gift wrapping inspiration in the comments below. 

Happy gifting! 

Ali


12.06.2014

Part 2: Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas to Inspire you!

Holiday Gift Wrapping with Flowers

We're on to part 2 of this series and I'm really excited about this post.  I love the color and the detail.  I found this beautiful flower and instantly knew I needed it for wrapping a gift.  I had no clue how I would use it but as soon as I found this paper, I knew it was a match!  

The traditional red holiday color shows through in this gift but the Ikat with the inspired wrapping paper, you don't get hit in the face with traditional holiday wrapping.  This combo is great for the holidays or any time of year.  

As you can see, the flower is oversized for the box and that's what creates the drama I love.   


Here are some of my great holiday posts you can enjoy, just click the links below: 


Let me know about your holiday gift wrapping inspiration in the comments below. 

Happy gifting! 
Ali

11.30.2014

Part 1: Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas to Inspire You!

Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas

I'm really excited about this post.  It's going up a little later than I was hoping but as they say, it's better late then never!  Wrapping gifts is something I truly love doing and it's one of the main reasons I started this blog. With the holidays fast approaching, I felt inspired to wrap some gifts and share my ideas with you.  So I decided to create a 5 post series.  Sure you can get the usual holiday wrapping and curling ribbon but that's not how I like to do things.  I like to create packaging that makes the recipient feel special.  A well wrapped gift creates an experience.   

The holidays don't limit us to red and green wrapping with images of wreaths and Christmas trees.  There's so much more out there, if you just use your imagination.  These 5 posts are meant to inspire you to consider less obvious color, pattern and textures than you would normally find in the holiday gift wrapping section.   

I started this post by visiting my local discount and craft stores.  I didn't have any ideas in mind, I let everything come to me as browsed the aisles.  If I found something I liked, I put it in the cart and did some editing before checking out.  

For this first post, I show 2 ways to wrap one blue box.  Both are simple and sparkly giving that wintery, holiday feel.  Neither one screams Christmas and that's what I love about them.  

Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas

  
In the image above, I paired a sheer, gold dot ribbon with the blue box.  Using the ribbon like a band and skipping the bow gives a more modern look.  I chose a gift tag that coordinates just beautifully with the ribbon with the coordinating colors and dot patterns.

Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas


In the image above, I used floral appliques from the scrapbooking aisle of my local craft store. I chose not to add any ribbon to this one.  The simple white and crystal flowers give the feeling of winter. Check out your local discount or craft store for some amazing appliques.  There are so many options to create something unique.   

Check out some of my other great holiday posts 


Don't forget check back for the remaining 4 posts in this series! C

Do you have any creative holiday wrapping ideas?  Share them in the comments below!

Happy Gifting,
Ali

11.22.2014

Crustless Zucchini Quiche

Crustless Zucchini Quiche

Quiche is one of my favorite brunch dishes but it's also great for dinner with soup or salad.  It's just so easy to make.  It's even easier when it's a crustless version.  I've actually never made one with a crust because I don't really feel it needs it.  It tastes great as is without the extra work or calories.   

I tried many quiche recipes before creating this one.  I found a lot of recipes produced a very thin quiche and I like a hearty looking quiche. So mine calls for a lot of eggs and cheese.  However, it makes for a nice quiche that can serve a group.  

I always use a mix of different kinds of cheese.  I find this helps create a nice rich flavor.  I shred my own cheese using a food processor and I use a mix of mozarellamonterey jack, gouda and parmesan. I also use leeks in all my quiches.  Leeks just make everything delicious! Last tip I have to share...make your quiche in a pie plate.  It will create a beautiful looking quiche.  Try out the recipe and let me know how you like it.  Feel free to replace the zucchini with other veggies.  I've used mushrooms too and it's yummy! Here's the recipe.


Crustless Zucchini Quiche


Ingredients

  • 12 Eggs
  • 4 C. Shredded cheese (I use a mix of monterey jack, mozzarella, gouda & parmesan)
  • 3 Zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 Large Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 Bunch leeks, sliced (white and light green parts)

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Cook the zucchini, onions and leeks in olive oil until the onions and leeks are translucent
  3. Mix the eggs, cheese, zucchini, onions and leeks together
  4. Add salt and pepper 
  5. Pour into a 10 inch pie plate
  6. Bake for 35 minutes

Happy cooking,
Ali

11.16.2014

Easy & Delicious Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe


Dutch Baby Pancake


I love starting a week-end off with fresh homemade pancakes.  Even better when it's banana chocolate chip pancakes.  The problem is that I don't really enjoy standing at the stove flipping pancakes.  So when I discovered this recipe, I fell head over heels in love.  First, the recipe is simple.   There's really not much you could mess up.  It's a Dutch baby pancake or as I like to call it the "no-work giant pancake".  You mix the ingredients and then bake the batter all at once.  Simple as can be.

This pancake is so simple.  It's great for a lazy week-end at home or for when you're having company over for brunch.  You you can top it with so many things.  I've added bananas and chocolate chips to the batter (as in the photo shown).  I've also topped it with fresh berries and served it with Greek yogurt on the side.  But it's even delicious plain with just a little maple syrup (the real kind...none of that fake stuff!).  My husband loves topping it with peanut butter, especially when I make it with bananas and chocolate chips.  No matter how you serve it, it's always delicious.   Try it, you'll see!

The first time I made these, I watched anxiously as it baked as I was serving it to company.  I was a little nervous when I saw the pancake puff up.  I thought for sure I had messed it up.  But then I learned that's what is supposed to happen.  It puffs up and when you take it out of the oven, it deflates a little.

This is a peek of what it looks like as it's puffing up.

Dutch baby pancake puffing up in the oven



Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe: 


Ingredients

  • 1 c. Milk
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 c. All-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. Unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. You can mix with a blender, food processor or by hand with a whisk. Blend thoroughly. If using a blender or food processor, blend for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the batter and blend. If using a blender or food processor, blend for another 30 seconds.
  4. Put the butter in a 10 inch pie plate (I've used pie plates that are 10 inches and slightly larger without any issues). Place in the oven.
  5. When the better is all melted and is bubbling, add the batter to the pie plate.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes. It will be ready when the pancake has puffed up and the edges have browned a little (look for a golden brown).
Try it out and let me know how it turned out.  What did you top it with?  Share your comments below :)

Happy cooking!
Ali

P.S. The recipe is from a cookbook that is near and dear to my heart. It's called Panache.  I worked as a volunteer helping to create and launch the book as a fundraiser.  There are many delicious recipes in there, if I do say so myself ;)
 
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