March 2014 ~ Diane's Vintage Zest!

Spicy Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

A spicy spin on my Cornbread Stuffing that EVERYONE loves!

Sweet Potato Souffle for Thanksgiving

One of my most popular recipes EVER, and just in time for Thanksgiving!

DIY Painted Photo Backdrops

Super easy backdrops for your photo, plus a few tips!

Golden Sweet Corn Bread Mini Muffins

A sweet spin on traditional cornbread!

Easy Sweet Potato Pie (without a crust!)

The easiest (and healthiest) pumpkin pie recipe ever!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Do Tell Tuesday #17 with Features & Co-host!

I am so excited that you can be here for my favorite day of the week!  Click here for the full rundown on how to participate and...


Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!




Today is exciting because we have a guest co-host today!  Say hello to Aanika!


Do Tell Tuesday #17 on Vintage Zest


Aanika is wife to a soccer-obsessed hubby and mama to two adorable munchkins,.  She loves to surf, snowboard, write and takes way too many photographs along the way...
Follow along with her via:

Blog  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram  //  Bloglovin'




Recently seen on Vintage Zest...


Do Tell Tuesday #17 on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Food & Fun Errands... Yes, FUN errands!

Montrose Leather Works feature & 2 GIVEAWAYS

Sunday Synopsis / Stumped on Sunday



Do Tell Tuesday #17 on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Simple Peanut Butter Banana Bites: 2 ways!

Could a Bit of Kitchen Creativity Win You $1,000,000?

DIY Stenciled Nautical Beach Tote!



Do Tell Tuesday #17 on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Organizing my Bathroom Toiletry Drawer for Spring Cleaning!

on The Episodic Eater: Amor Y Tacos #2

on The Episodic Eater: cha2o



All of us hosts and guest host pick our own features, and we all share the most viewed link too.  If you are all ready to see the features, here we go!


Quick Cream Cheese & Cucumber Crackers with Philly Cream Cheese!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.


Last week, I shared a sweet snack that I like to make for my niece, and this week I would love to share our favorite savory snack!  It is quick, simple, kid-friendly, and delicious with the help of my secret ingredient...Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread!  I also love the fresh ingredients they use in their flavors, including the one I use in this snack: Garden Vegetable.  Not only do I use this as an every day snack, I use it as a quick appetizer for when company comes over because it is tasty and pretty!


#shop Quick Cream Cheese and Cucumber Crackers on Diane's Vintage Zest! #SpreadtheFlavor #CollectiveBias


I love this snack for a few reasons not only because it is super easy and delicious, but it is nutritious and has 3 food groups: whole grains, vegetables, and dairy.  Check, check, check!  Also, because Kraft Philly cream cheese comes in different flavors, you can switch them out to try lots of different combinations.  Let's get snacking!


#shop Quick Cream Cheese and Cucumber Crackers on Diane's Vintage Zest! #SpreadtheFlavor #CollectiveBias


First of all, when I head to Walmart, I find the different flavors in the Dairy aisle in the cream cheese. This time I picked up the Garden Vegetable variety, which is one of my favorite flavors!  Look out for a few of my other favorites, including Chive & Onion, Blueberry, and Strawberry all made with wholesome ingredients.


#shop Quick Cream Cheese and Cucumber Crackers on Diane's Vintage Zest! #SpreadtheFlavor #CollectiveBias


Quick Cream Cheese & Cucumber Crackers
A Vintage Zest original

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Synopsis / Stumped on Sunday

Happy Sunday!

I have two questions from a Stitch Once, Rip Twice member Kathy today for Stumped on Sunday.  Let's see if anyone can help her out!



What are the best bobbins to purchase. I've tried three different times at the local fabric chain here called Hancock and all three times the bobbins wind fine but can't be used for sewing, they totally get bound into the bobbin case.
My other question is about irons. Mine is old, and now it leaks. I clean it but I guess the tubes inside from the steam chamber are just worn out. Who can suggest a new one? I haven't bought an iron in 30 years!


P.S. - She has a Finesse 827, if that helps with the suggestions.  Thanks!


Lastly, here are last week's posts in case you missed any.  :)



Sunday Synopsis


Sunday Synopsis on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Plush Puffs feature & GIVEAWAY!

This week's Shop Small Saturday Showcase feature is one that my family and I personally adore.  For one thing, my mom's favorite dessert is the marshmallow and for another, my sister's favorite is s'mores!  In fact, we are thinking of having a s'mores bar for her wedding, and the delicious creations from Plush Puffs would be beautiful additions!

Check out all of the amazing flavors, recipes using their marshmallows, what inspires Ann to create these delicious desserts, and the beautiful, beautiful photos.  For once, I cannot claim a single picture as my own because I just had to showcase the beautiful food photographs from Plush Puffs themselves.  Also, one of my readers will get the chance to win a "Pick Six Box," which will give you the chance to mix and match SIX flavors of your choice.  Amazing!


Plush Puffs on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!

********************


Tell me a little bit about yourself!

Hello!  My name is Ann Hickey-Williams and I am the head chef and co-owner of Plush Puffs (along with Justin Leavens).  I have a masters in public health and worked as a health educator at USC for many years.  As my family grew, I began to focus on culinary arts and graduated from culinary school.  I ran a personal chef and catering business focusing on healthy, gourmet food.  Eventually, I combined these passions to create a gourmet treat using real, non-artificial, delicious ingredients.


Where did the name of your store come from?

We wanted to evoke the texture and fun of marshmallows.  Justin's wife, at the time sitting in MBA marketing classes, expressed the idea that alliteration was good in a product name.  Thus, Plush Puffs!


Plush Puffs on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!


Why did you start making goods for Plush Puffs?

One day around Halloween 10 years ago, my youngest kid suggested that we make pumpkin marshmallows.  They were a hit and I was hooked.  I experimented with recipes, flavors, textures, etc. and had a number of flavors to give away as gifts that holiday season.  The recipients of these gifts were thrilled.  Realizing I could turn her recipes into a business, I partnered with my long-time friend and entrepreneur, Justin Leavens and Plush Puffs was born.


Plush Puffs on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!


What is your favorite item? 

Pumpkin is close to my heart because of my son's request and because it was the spark that launched the Plush Puffs flame.  Sydney's Cinnamon is named after my oldest daughter, but the lightness and bright flavor of Lemon Meringue Plush Puffs keep me snacking!


What is your most popular item?

Caramel Swirl and Chocolate Chipetta. These continue to impress and sell.  We use a really high quality caramel made in small batches here in the USA, and rich, velvety Guittard cocoa.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: New Food Adventures!

This weekend, we had a bunch of fun things to do and I tried three new restaurants for the first time. Triple fun!


Precap:



On Saturday, we went to a beautiful restaurant called Cucina Enoteca to meet up with some of my guy's high school friends.  It was very inspiring for the future garden!




We ordered this amazing pizza.  Just delicious!  I seriously can't pick out what the best dish of the day was, and if you want to see the whole meal along with gorgeous tablescape inspiration, click on over to The Episodic Eater!




I was inspired by someone's delicious grilled cheese, so we hit up The Grilled Cheese Spot on the way back.  It was the restaurant that I actually wanted to go to when we went to Izalco a couple of weeks back.  Boy, was it worth the wait!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Organizing my Bathroom Toiletry Drawer for Spring Cleaning!

About a month ago, I did a quick reorganization of my toiletry drawer when I something silly happened for someone so organized...I ran out of deodorant!  I resorted to using my travel deodorant, but I knew that I had to do some major organizing of all of my toiletries to make sure I didn't run out of anything else.  Here is how I did that!


Organizing my Bathroom Drawer for Spring Cleaning! on Diane's Vintage Zest!


First of all, you should know that I had a huge stash of bottles and lotions because I ended up accumulating them from three different places: my parents' house from before I moved out to Nashville, my stash from Nashville (which was in storage temporarily), and the new stuff I bought when I moved back to California.  So basically, I had three times the stuff that any one person should have.

Add to that lotions and creams that I received as presents, the fact that I am switching to more natural beauty products, and I had a drawer filled to the brim with a bunch of items that I hadn't looked at in forever.  Maybe it doesn't look entirely terrible, but I had empty packages in there, tons of free samples, really old pore strips from high school, a tower of hair brushes balancing on a hair dryer that I barely use, and so much more.  It was time to get to work!


Organizing my Bathroom Drawer for Spring Cleaning! on Diane's Vintage Zest!


First, I cleared out the entire drawer and made sure to clean up all of the dust, hair, and dirt with my DIY orange cleaner.


Organizing my Bathroom Drawer for Spring Cleaning! on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Next, I reused the same IKEA cutlery trays from my jewelry organization post and stacked them end to end.  They fit perfectly!  Unfortunately, the lip on the bottom tray was a bit thick, so the top tray did not rest comfortably inside.  However, there was an easy fix for that...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DIY Stenciled Nautical Beach Tote!

This sponsored post is brought to you by Plaid and Blueprint Social, but all opinions are 100% mine!


As you know by now, I just love to create!  I work with just about everything, like fabric, yarn, vinyl, paper, and even wood!  But I have a little confession for you...  I am scared when it comes to painting.  For real.  When I was a younger and other kids had birthday parties at our local ceramic painting shop, I was completely nervous about "messing up" with my design.  I would stick to straight lines or polkadots if I was feeling "adventurous."  ;)  However, lately I have been itching to try painting more, especially with the new house (yay!) and some woodworking projects I have in mind.  Luckily, I found out about the new Stencil1 line of stencils from Ed Roth, which are perfect for a newbie painter like me!  Along with FolkArt Multi-Surface paints, I created a pretty Stenciled Nautical Beach Tote, perfect for spring and summer trips!


#shop #Stencil1 #cbias DIY Stenciled Nautical Beach Tote


Before I start with the tutorial, let me clue you in on a few of the supplies I used.  When you pick up your own Stencil1 stencils, they come in a variety of designs from floral, honeycomb, British-themed, scallops, and so much more!  They are available at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft stores and are perfect for walls, floors and furniture.  I suspect there may be a stenciled wall in my future?  :)


#shop #Stencil1 #cbias DIY Stenciled Nautical Beach Tote


For my project, I used the FolkArt Multi-Surface paints, which are great for practically any surface, both indoor and outdoor!  I mean, check out the fine print on the back... they are even dishwasher safe!


#shop #Stencil1 #cbias DIY Stenciled Nautical Beach Tote


My set of stencils came with three designs: rope, an anchor, and a star.  All of the stencils are made of a durable, reusable mylar, which is super easy to clean!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Could a Bit of Kitchen Creativity Win You $1,000,000 from Lay's Do Us a Flavor? #DoUsAFlavor

Disclaimer
#Sponsored by Mom Central Consulting #MC




I love to cook.  I love to eat.  I love to eat what I cook.  Simple as that.  But do you want to know a secret?  Up until a few years ago, I did not consider myself a good cook.  Sure, I knew how to follow recipes and end up with good results.  However, I was not at all creative when it came to recipes.  Do you know what changed that?  Grad school.  Now, you would think that not having much time for anything but studying would lead to less creativity in the kitchen, but I had to be creative with what I had in my fridge or pantry or risk going hungry!

One day after eating a can of peaches for dinner, I decided that I just had to start throwing ingredients into pots, pans, baking dishes, and see what turned out to be edible.  It was like Iron Chef every time I walked into the kitchen!  Sometimes you miss, but it's awesome when you hit a recipe on the head!


In fact, the recipe I shared a few weeks ago for my Creamy Jalapeño Poppers With Sausage was one of my first original recipes.  Now, it is a definite game day fave!  Definitely a yummy experiment!


Creamy Jalapeno Poppers with Sausage and Lay's Do Us a Flavor 2014 on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Nowadays, I like to take familiar dishes and turn them on their heads.  Remember these Chicken Nugget & Waffle Sliders?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Do Tell Tuesday #16 with Features & Co-host!

I am so excited that you can be here for my favorite day of the week!  Last week as amazing because we had a giveaway (winner announced below) and we had over 200 links!  Yay!

Click here for the full rundown on how to participate and...


Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!




Today is exciting because we have a guest co-host today!  Say hello to Mo!


Do Tell Tuesday #16 on Vintage Zest
These DIY gold loafers were the most viewed last week!

Who is that girl Mo? I am a quiet and goofy wife and mom of a teen son. I’m also a Personal Style blogger and Custom clothing DIYer.  I sew my own pieces of clothing and refashion pieces that I already have. I love to DIY because it’s unique and custom-made for me. When I'm not blogging or creating DIY projects, you can find me reading, shopping, dancing or watching movies.


Visit & say hello!

Blog  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram //  Google +




Recently seen on Vintage Zest...


Do Tell Tuesday #16 on Vintage Zest

Weekly Wrap-Up: Lots of food & celebrating!

Preservation Society feature & GIVEAWAY!

Sunday Synopsis / Stumped on Sunday: Where do I find home decor inspiration?



Do Tell Tuesday #16 on Vintage Zest

Red Pepper Spread with Roasted Eggplant & Garlic

Simple Top Challenge Round-up

DIY Homemade Orange Cleaner: Easy & Chemical-Free!



Do Tell Tuesday #16 on Vintage Zest


My Niece's Birthday Present... FROZEN the movie & more!



Recently seen on The Episodic Eater...

Do Tell Tuesday #16 on Vintage Zest

Izalco - Salvadorian Food

AnQi Gourmet Bistro & Noodle Bar

Utopia Good Food & Fine Art



All of us hosts and guest host pick our own features, and we all share the most viewed link too.  If you are all ready to see the features, here we go!


Simple Peanut Butter Banana Bites: 2 ways!

Are you ready for easiest "recipe" ever?  I make this little nuggets all the time for my niece and I thought it would be a fun little snack idea that we like to share.  I used to work at a children's clinic that focused on healthy eating choices and exercise, so all day long I was talking about food!  You can see how this might be a problem for a foodie like me.  :)

Anyways, we would frequently need to suggest quick, healthy, kid-friendly breakfasts and snacks because that was a popular parent question.  One of the favorites was 100% whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter and banana.  Fast, simple, and filling.  :)  In fact, it became one of my "go-to breakfasts" on busy mornings!

However, nowadays I do not buy sliced bread as much (my carb of choice is pasta), but I missed my old favorite.  Then, I came up with a cute idea that is a good snack for kids and adults alike.  Here are my Simple Peanut Butter Banana Bites!




Are you ready for the hardest recipe ever?  Just kidding!  It is super simple, but check out my secret ingredient below.  :)


Simple Peanut Butter Banana Bites: 2 ways on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Simple Peanut Butter Banana Bites
A Vintage Zest original

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Synopsis / Stumped on Sunday answer!

Happy Sunday!

Thanks for everyone answer's to last week's Stumped on Sunday question!  I am officially obsessed with houzz now and honestly, I think my guy is even more.  The other day, I received about 15 e-mails in a row commenting on different kitchens.  Ha!




Thanks everyone!


Lastly, here are last week's posts in case you missed any.  :)



Sunday Synopsis


Sunday Synopsis on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Montrose Leather Works feature & 2 GIVEAWAYS!

This week, I want to feature one of my favorite shops so far!  I first met Jeric from Montrose Leather Works at Patchwork Santa Ana and then at Unique L.A. (hence the multiple pictures below).  The clean, classic designs made with quality materials are just beautiful in person and sure to be wonderful gifts!  And if you want something a bit different, you can ask for a custom piece from the man himself!

Not only do you have the inside scoop on why and how Montrose Leather Works got started, Jeric is offering two of his beautiful creations to my readers!  Check out the interview and see all of the wonderful leather goods that you will want to add your wishlist and then stick around to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!



********************


Tell me a little bit about yourself!

Hi! My name is Jeric.  I’ve got a background mainly in Graphic Design and Fine Art.  I started out doing leather work at about 2009. I’m based out of Montrose, CA; Just north of Glendale and right below Angeles Crest.  I’ve been teaching myself and experimenting with ideas. I started out with simple kits and how-to’s, then slowly started creating my own personal designs.  Soon after I had gotten requests from friends and family for custom pieces.  My first outing was a trunk show in Silverlake, CA at shop called Reform School with Scout Ties and Metal Doily Press.  And, then I started doing shows like Patchwork in Long Beach and UniqueLA.


Where did the name of your store come from?

It took a while for me to come up with a name. I went through several for a few months. Then realized: “Why not use MONTROSE???”. I hesitated for a little bit. But, I felt it really worked well for who I was.


Montrose Leather Works (Shop Small Saturday Showcase Feature) on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Why did you start making goods for Montrose Leather Works?

Well, there’s a couple of reasons I suppose… one reason is that I got curious about leather book binding. I picked up a simple kit. That quickly turned into a hobby. And, now it’s turning into something a little bit more.

The other reason is because we like to camp and hike a lot. And, a lot of the time we just don’t have comfortable practical gear and/or accessories that suit the everyday and the every adventure. When we got back from our 2009 trip to Montana I started coming up with an idea for a simple and practical card wallet. Something that I could carry on and off the trails. I still make and offer these pieces today.


Montrose Leather Works (Shop Small Saturday Showcase Feature) on Diane's Vintage Zest!


What is your favorite item?

All of them. =]
Joking… kind of. It’s really difficult for me to just pick one. Just about every piece I make has it’s own story or influence. One of the first pieces is the iPhone Wallet. It was a design for my then girlfriend, my now fiance. Something like a carry all and grab-n-go for her. Another piece, the iPad Case, was actually a custom for someone. These turned into my first real shop items. I really didn’t know that they'd take off as well as they have. I still make them today. And, people still ask for them today.
I will let you in on a little secret: I do have something that’s just been completed that I’m REALLY excited about. And, I’ll be adding this into the arsenal this year.


What is your most popular item?

I think that my Key Lanyards get a really great response. The Long Key Lanyard was designed first and has done well the past couple of years. The Small Key Lanyard does really great as well. The Small Key Lanyard has a really nice size and practical for both dudes and ladies. =]

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Niece's Birthday Present... FROZEN the movie & more!

#shop #FrozenFun Disclosure #ad #collectivebias


This Christmas, I shared with you the awesome present I bought for my niece, and I knew that this year she would be expecting an amazing birthday present!  Her birthday was earlier this month, and I was already planning this fun gift, which I knew was going to be worth the wait!  Both her and I absolutely love the movie FROZEN (and everything else by Disney!), so I decided to buy her the FROZEN DVD so we can watch it over and over again.  We have a history of doing that!  Oh, but I am determined to keep up my "Best Aunt" Award, so I made a couple of extra purchases...

You will definitely want to know how I did that!


#shop #FROZENFun FROZEN DVD and Walmart toys #collectivebias


I headed to Walmart bright and early on Tuesday to buy the DVD, because I was super excited to get my present wrapped up for my niece!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Food & Fun Errands... Yes, FUN errands!


This week was a blur and with so much work to be done, I saved up a few errands for the weekend.  But I snuck a couple of fun ones into the mix and with a bunch of restaurants to try, it was a really fun week!


Precap (jump to):



Friday

Once again, I had my woodworking class and I finished up my second project ever!  I do promise to share the final projects with you, but I want to make sure I have them stained, painted, and sealed before I take the pictures...and I'm honestly a bit nervous to finish them up!  Soon though, soon...


I visited Amor Y Tacos again (remember the first time?) and it was soooo good!  Nothing could beat the Amor Chile Relleno Burger, but I'm going to visit again soon...  you know for research purposes!  Check out the whole meal, including some scrumptious tacos on The Episodic Eater.




Saturday

We had a bunch of errands to do, but first we met up with my mom and sister for a quick lunch at cha2o, including this Veggie Hot Pot.  Check it all out here!




One of my fun errands was getting to shop for a wallet!  My current pink one was huge and about 10 years old.  I did love the amount of storage and the fact that it was easy to pick out of a dark purse.  I received the Tory Burch one below for Christmas, but it was much too small for all of my wallet contents.  I would have needed a second wallet!  I was in serious angst about returning a gift, but I just knew it would sit around collecting dust.  :(

I did some research and found out that it only came in this size, but I could exchange it and see if there was something else that I could use.  Fun!

.