May 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!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wood Brain feature, GIVEAWAY & promo!

For this week's Shop Small Saturday Showcase feature, I am featuring Wood Brain, a fun shop that I first saw at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles.  I love how creative Lindsay is with all of her work and how unique each wood piece is!  In fact, if you want to see some of them up close and personal, join me in coming to the 3rd Annual Etsy Craft Party at CRAFTED on June 6th.  The event will be so much fun, and you can pop in on lots of the regular shops, including Wood Brain!

Until then, take a look at the interview below packed with lots of fun info and both a giveaway and a promo for all of my readers below!  Yes, you can win a 6 oz. wood flask by entering the contest at the bottom of the post.  And for everyone, Lindsay is offering 20% off all Etsy purchases.  That means that you can get a flask just in time Father's Day and a few other fun items for yourself!  Yay!


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Wood Brain feature and GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday at Diane's Vintage Zest!



Tell me a little bit about yourself!

I’m an only child who was raised by a single father. My dad has a great deal of knowledge when it comes to building and creating with wood. As a small child I started out as his little helper on projects. I grew into an apprentice learning my father’s tricks of the trade.  I then went to school for interior design and Architecture which lead me to building intricate scale models. Even now I continue to add knowledge and experience to my woodworking craft.


Wood Brain feature and GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday at Diane's Vintage Zest!


Where did the name of your store come from?

I look at all of my potential creations through wood eye goggles and power my creativity with a wood brain, hence the name Wood Brain.


Why did you start making goods for Wood Brain?

I love working with wood and creating eco friendly accessories and I wanted to make a career out of it. I started out with my online Etsy shop and as I received positive feedback about my products I gained more momentum. Then branched off from there into my current storefront at CRAFTED in San Pedro. I really enjoy my time at CRAFTED, it allows for more personal interaction and feed back with my customers that I feel is sometimes hard to get online.


Wood Brain feature and GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday at Diane's Vintage Zest!


What is your favorite item?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Patchwork Long Beach & Lamb-a-Palooza!

This weekend was full of fun and of course we observed Memorial Day as well.  Let's take a look!


Precap (jump to):

Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!


This weekend was one of my favorite craft shows: Patchwork Long Beach!  It was a beautiful day by the ocean, and almost-perfect weather because the wind did kick up a bit, wreaking havoc with some of the booths.  Eek!


Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Lots of crafts to see and buy, plus some delicious food and food trucks!


Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!


I remembered these fellas from the Patchwork Santa Ana show a couple years ago: Hedgehog Swing! They are awesome, and you should check them out!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Blogging 101: Getting Started with Social Media in 8 Simple Steps


*Update*  Check out the latest Blogging 101 posts here:







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Welcome back to another Blogging 101 post!  Today's post is all about getting started in the huge world of social media.

First of all, why do you need social media as a blogger?  Even if you view your blog as only a creative outlet, other readers, bloggers, and even brands will want to connect with you.  If you plan on running it as a small business, you will definitely need social media.

Once you are visible through social media, people will get to know your blog, your brand, and it can drive traffic back to your site.  All good things!


Blogging 101: Getting Started with Social Media in 8 Simple Steps


You may already be a whiz at social media with your personal accounts, but I have picked up a few tips that are specifically helpful for bloggers.  I also link to lots of tutorials below that will be beneficial to setting up your social media, so stick around even if you are already a hashtag expert/ power Instagrammer/ Facebook fiend!


Let's get started!


Blogging 101: Getting Started with Social Media in 8 Simple Steps



General Tips for Setting Up Your Accounts


1.  Create Social Media accounts separate from your personal accounts*

  • There are so many reasons that you need to do this!  Your in-real-life friends might not be interested in your crocheting posts, your blog readers might only want to see your food posts and skip the photos from your family Disneyland trip, and so on.  Keep it simple!  Also, for people who blog as a team, it makes sense to have an account that multiple people can access.
  • Also, your social media will be public, so if you want a bit of privacy, keep them separate!
Facebook & Google+ do not need a separate accounts, but you will need to set up new pages.  Tutorial links below!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Veggie Güveç: Turkish Eggplant Stew - Easy Cooking!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.


For today's recipe, I am sharing a delicious dish that many of you may not have heard of before.  During the summer months, I want to spend as much time as I can outside, so any summer recipes that I cook have to be super easy.  Also, to keep it light, I tend to cook all-veggie dishes.  One of my favorite versions actually uses lamb, but I keep it simple for the summer months.  So, what is this Veggie Güveç?  It is a Turkish stew prepared with a mix of different vegetables, primarily with eggplant and zucchini, cooked in a traditional clay dish.  I adapted the recipe for regular stovetop cooking, so it could not be easier.  Although it may seem exotic, it is very much like a French ratatouille, which you may have eaten before.  Yum!


Veggie Güveç: Turkish Eggplant Stew #DinnerDone #CollectiveBias


What makes this dish so simple is that it requires very few ingredients, no unusual herbs or spices, and the prep time is super quick!  Although it tastes like a slow-cooked stew that has been simmering on the stove for hours, it takes just about an hour from start to finish.  Another plus is that it is a one-pot meal, so you will not spend your entire day cleaning up afterwards.  Yes!

By the way, my inspiration for this dish came from a restaurant that I loved when I lived in Nashville.  It has been a few years since I have been back in California, and I totally miss this place.  Luckily, we have a Turkish friend who explained to me the process of making this dish, and I streamlined it for those of us who do not have the traditional cookware.  Yes!


Veggie Güveç: Turkish Eggplant Stew #DinnerDone #CollectiveBias



Before we get to the recipe, I definitely have to mention this.  As you know, I love recipes with tomatoes.  Fresh tomatoes are great in salads, but one of the ultimate time-savers for me with cooking is to use canned tomatoes.  Honestly, any time a recipe calls for tomatoes, I am grabbing a can because they have a taste better, better texture, and save me so much time!  If you poke around on my website, you'll see that my favorite lasagna and chili both use a few canned tomato products.

For this recipe, I headed to Walmart and grabbed a few things from the Tomato Sauce aisle.  One can each of of tomato paste, petite diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce.  In particular, Hunt's uses a unique flashsteam peeling method, which you can read about more here.

A few more ingredients and you have yourself the whole ingredient list!


Veggie Güveç: Turkish Eggplant Stew #DinnerDone #CollectiveBias
#DinnerDone #CollectiveBias


Veggie Güveç: Turkish Eggplant Stew
A Vintage Zest original

Monday, May 26, 2014

Do Tell Tuesday #25 with Features!

I hope you had a good three day weekend!  Also, I want to remind you that in addition to our normal link-up, we will have a new rotating social media link-up.  Make sure to link up your Facebook account and follow a couple of new people!

And as always...


Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!

Do Tell Tuesday



Say hello to my fellow co-hosts:

They are all lovely and talented, so pop on over and say hello!  Now, let's get to the party!   :)



Recently seen on Vintage Zest...

Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Throwback Thursday Gift Basket with treats & a friendship card!

Sweet 16 - Delicious Desserts for World Baking Day!

Craft Rewind: Cross-Stitching



Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


TWIX Bites Coconut Macaroons

Blogging 101: How to Write a Better "About Me" Page

Weekly Wrap-Up: Bite at the Beach & more!



Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!






Recently seen on The Episodic Eater...


Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Corner Bakery (across U.S.)

Bite at the Beach (Manhattan Beach, CA)



All of us hosts 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!


Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Memorial Day wishes

As I wrote the title to this post, on instinct I was going to write "Happy Memorial Day," which is how we greet people on most holidays.  However, I remembered that it is a bittersweet occasion for the families and friends of fallen soldiers, both remembering their loved ones and honoring them for their service.

Yesterday, we celebrated at a barbecue with five veterans of different generations, who had all been blessed to come home.  For us, it was a joyous occasion, and I was fortunate to thank them in person.  To all of you who have veterans in your lives, I send thanks and good wishes to you during this Memorial Day.


Memorial Day wishes
We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.   -Francis A. Walker


To those whose loved ones have fallen, I also send my deepest condolences.


Cover them over with beautiful flowers,
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours,
Lying so silent by night and by day
Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
Give them the meed they have won in the past;
Give them the honors their future forcast;
Give them the chaplets they won in the strife;
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.
- Will Carleton



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday Synopsis!

Happy Sunday!


Today, I am headed to another Patchwork Show in Long Beach, which is going to be so much fun!  Then, I will go to the 4th annual Lamb-a-Palooza at my guy's family's house.  I have a feeling that I won't have to search for the lamb very hard, like I did in this delicious crepe from Crème de la Crêpe.  Yum!


Sunday Synopsis on Diane's Vintage Zest



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



Sunday Synopsis

Sunday Synopsis on Diane's Vintage Zest


Monday:  In honor of World Baking Day, here is a round of delicious desserts: The Sweet 16!

Monday:  A fun gift idea: Throwback Thursday Gift Basket with treats & a friendship card!

Tuesday:  Do Tell Tuesday #23 along with awesome features from last week and our new co-hosts.  :)  Come link up and try to get featured on all six blogs next week!




Sunday Synopsis on Diane's Vintage Zest


Wednesday:  It's time for another craft rewind.  This week: items I cross-stitched!

Wednesday:  An amazing recipe for TWIX Bites Coconut Macaroons.  Yum!

Thursday:  Check out my tips on how to write a better "About Me" page!




Sunday Synopsis on Diane's Vintage Zest


Friday:  A recap of the week including an awesome event, Bite at the Beach!

Saturday:  Praline Patisserie's feature and giveaway on this week's Shop Small Saturday Showcase!




On The Episodic Eater

Sunday Synopsis on Diane's Vintage Zest


Corner Bakery (across U.S.)

Bite at the Beach (Manhattan Beach, CA)



Happy rest of the weekend!




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Praline Patisserie feature & GIVEAWAY!


For today's Shop Small Saturday Showcase feature, I have yet another delicious shop: Praline Patisserie!  As you know by now, I am a huge foodie, so I loved trying each flavor and item they had on display.  Besides the more typical flavors, Praline Patisserie had some unique confiture and candied nut flavors that I had never seen before, which were incredibly delicious!  Also, they pride themselves on natural, handmade, small-batch production, which explains the high quality of their products.

Want to try some for yourself?  After the interview, make sure to enter the giveaway to win a three-pack of the amazing caramel sauces!  That is one each of the Fleur de Sel, Smoked Applewood, and Dark Chocolate.  They are all amazing, so I know that you will want to enter to win!


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Praline Patisserie feature & GIVEAWAY on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!  @vintagezest


Tell me a little bit about yourself!

I began working in fine dining about ten years ago. I originally went to culinary school interested in savory cooking but once classes began I found that Pastry was my calling when I saw the art and precision involved in baking. I spent my youth working on motorcycles and mechanics so pastry for me was similar in that it there is a lot of science behind the final product.


Where did the name of your store come from?

Praline Patisserie is representative of my love for traditional pralines and, Patisserie is french for bakery which really represents the finesse and quality that we hope to bring to all of our products.


Praline Patisserie feature & GIVEAWAY on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!  @vintagezest


Why did you start making goods for Praline Patisserie?

Making goods for Praline Patisserie was initially away to earn extra money to save for a store-front Patisserie; however, it evolved into a full-time manufacturing operation where we now make six flavors of caramel sauce and have started additional lines of confections. I really enjoy the systems behind running an efficient manufacturing line and having control of the high quality of the product.


What is your favorite item?

My favorite item is our Smoked Applewood Caramel Sauce. This was one of the first caramel flavors that I ever made and it combines savory and sweet for a resulting deep, complex taste. I think people are surprised by how truly smoky the caramel is. It pairs beautifully with everything from sweet grilled pineapple to cheese trays. It is very versatile.


Praline Patisserie feature & GIVEAWAY on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!  @vintagezest


What is your most popular item?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: Bite at the Beach & more!

This week was much less crazy than last week, thank goodness!  In a way, I was making sure to prep for an event that I had been looking forward to all week: Bite at the Beach!


Precap (jump to):


Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!


On Friday, we grabbed a quick dinner at Corner Bakery, which I recapped on The Episodic Eater!


Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Now, to Bite at the Beach!  It was a fantastic event!  Really, what a way to spend an awesome weekend.  To see the whole thing, with tantalizing dish descriptions, even more photos, and to see the discussion panels with a few faces you might recognize from The Food Network, head on over to The Episodic Eater!

Now, for just a nibble of Bite at the Beach!  :)


Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Just so you know, the event paired craft beers with restaurants, so you know that both my man and I were happy!  This was about 1/3 of the brewery & restaurant booths, so you know we had a ton to see!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blogging 101: How to Write a Better "About Me" Page


*Update*  Check out the latest Blogging 101 posts here:








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Writing an "About Me" page is extremely daunting to most folks.  Blogging is writing all about your passion, your likes, your dislikes, your life, your family, and everything else, but when it comes down to giving readers a snapshot of just you, it is super tough to know where to start.  Add to that the pressure that it is consistently one of a blog's highest viewed pages, and it can go untouched for months.  (No judgement from me, because that's what I did.  Eek!)


I suggest to new bloggers that you write your "About Me" page before even hitting Publish on your first post.  I mean, if a stranger burst through your door announcing, "It's me!  I have so much to tell you about my day, an awesome recipe I made, and some of my travel tips!", you would probably call the cops.  If that same person introduced themselves as your neighbor who moved from California and tells you about their family and a few other tidbits, you might strike up a friendship.  The more info you share about yourself, the more likely someone is to connect with you and want to hang around with you!


That's what the "About Me" page is, in blogging terms.  Someone stumbles on to your blog through a specific post, and to find out more about you, they click on your page.  If they like what you have to say, they decide to start up a "virtual" friendship by subscribing, and you just gained a new follower and friend!


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For this Blogging 101 post, I include a few sections that every page would benefit from having.  Then, I go into a few general tips for writing your page.  If you take a peek at my "About Me" page, I write a lot.  I am wordy, and I own that, but if you want to shorten it up because you are a person of few words, that's perfectly fine!  Feel free to switch up the order so your story flows better, or omit sections that don't apply to you.


Are you ready?  Here are a few tips to putting together an even better "About Me" page for every blogger, not just newbies!



Blogging 101: How to Write a Better About Me page on Diane's Vintage Zest!



Sections to include


Intro

This is the speed-dating version of how you would present to someone in 10 seconds.  In a few sentences welcome your reader, say thank you, and introduce yourself.  Easy!



All About you

This is the hard part, right?  Wrong!  You know all the answers, so here are a few pieces of information that you might want to include:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

TWIX® Bites Coconut Macaroons

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #EatMoreBites



For today's recipe, I have a new favorite to share!  Just about a year ago, I passed on a recipe Raspberry Coconut macaroons, which I love but can only bake during raspberry season.  I had some shredded coconut packages sitting in my pantry, and I was racking my brain on how to use them... and it came to me.  Chocolate!  Coconut and chocolate are perfect partners, and so I made up a recipe these awesome macaroons with TWIX Bites!  This is such a delicious cookie, and there are so many occasions for making this cookie because they keep well and look super enticing: bake sales, bridal showers, cookie swaps, road trips, and so on.  And of course, they are a fantastic every day cookie because they are super simple to make.  Want to know what they taste like?


TWIX Bites Coconut Macaroons on Diane's Vintage Zest! #eatmorebites #shop #cbias @vintagezest


You know when coconut is perfectly toasted and crispy?  Well, the outside of the macaroons satisfy that craving.  :)  The inside is chewy, moist, and sweet studded with pieces of the TWIX Bites.  Now, as for the chocolate, remember how a TWIX is pretty much the best candy bar?*  The chocolate and caramel melt together to create an oozy, delicious surprise.


* Seriously, during chocolate sale fundraisers in school, the TWIX always sold out first.  They were the "cool" candy bar!


TWIX Bites Coconut Macaroons on Diane's Vintage Zest! #eatmorebites #shop #cbias @vintagezest


Instead of unwrapping a ton of regular-sized TWIX, there is a new favorite way to enjoy TWIX...unwrapped Bites!  And remember last week, when I shared this Social Twist coupon?  Right now, you can still receive $1.00 off when you buy two 2.83 oz. (or larger) bags OR $3.00 off when you buy two 6 oz. (or larger) bags.  Score!


TWIX® Bites Coupon on Diane's Vintage Zest! #EatMoreBites #shop #cbias


TWIX Bites Coconut Macaroons on Diane's Vintage Zest! #eatmorebites #shop #cbias @vintagezest


As always, I hit Walmart with my trusty coupon in hand.  Remember to print it out before you get to the store!

Craft Rewind: Cross-Stitching

Continuing with my craft rewind series of posts, I am bringing to you the very first craft that I remember seriously spending time doing.  I remember going to the store with my mom to buy new patterns, and I am sure that my mom still has a bunch of them!

Anyways, here are a few of my earliest creations.  :)


Craft Rewind: Cross-Stitching on Diane's Vintage Zest!


I don't know that this actually counts, but this is the very, very first cross stitching that I did.  It is obviously a kid's version of cross-stitching from when I was really young.  I actually remember doing this and having an "Aha!" moment when the picture started to form.  I was hooked!


Craft Rewind: Cross-Stitching on Diane's Vintage Zest!


There are a few other ones that I remember doing, but I couldn't find them right away in my mom's stash.  One of the first ones that I remember making was a rabbit wearing a bonnet and bloomers.  Also, I stitched a few gifts as well, so there is no access to those...  :(

I remember making this one in high school, and my mom hung this up in the hallway between my bedroom and my sister's.  Cute!  It still hangs there nowadays.  :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Do Tell Tuesday #24 with Features & New Co-hosts!

We have some new co-hosts to welcome today!  Not only that, but we are starting something new this week.  At the bottom of each Do Tell Tuesday post, we will have a Social Share link as well!  Each week, we will rotate a new social media account so make sure to link up and follow a couple of new people!  This week is Instagram, one of my faves!

And by the way...


Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!


Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


I would love for you to say hello to our newest co-hosts!  Meet:


They are all lovely and talented, and I am so happy to have them on board!  Now, let's get to the party!   :)



Recently seen on Vintage Zest...

Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Craft Rewind: Knitting!

Blogging 101: Tips for Starting Your Blog

Weekly Wrap-Up: Exploring L.A.!



Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Zazu Faure feature & GIVEAWAY!

Sunday Synopsis



Recently seen on The Episodic Eater...


Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart (Los Angeles, CA)

Bouchon Bistro (Beverly Hills, CA)



Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Lucilles Smokehouse BBQ (western U.S.)

Crème de la Crêpe (Southern California)



All of us hosts 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!


Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Throwback Thursday Gift Basket with treats & a friendship card!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.


As you might have noticed, I spend lots of ton of time with my mom, and we usually have dinner together at least once a week.  Of course, we had a spectacular Mother's Day brunch as a family, and we will have her birthday dinner in a couple of weeks!  Lately, we have been helping with my sister's wedding, so most of our time together has been spent in intense brainstorming and planning sessions. Well, I wanted to give her a present to help her have a relaxing night at home, and maybe we could enjoy it together.  :)  I wanted to include a special note to her, so I made a trip to Walmart to browse the entire Hallmark section for the perfect card and tuck in a special surprise, but more on that later...

Here is an idea for a Throwback Thursday gift basket that you can give to your mom, sister, friend, or anyone that is special to you!


Throwback Thursday Basket with treats and a Friendship Card! #ConnectingFriends #TBT


First stop, the card aisle at Walmart!


Throwback Thursday Basket with treats and a Friendship Card! #ConnectingFriends #TBT


Oh, scratch that...  TWO card aisles!


Throwback Thursday Basket with treats and a Friendship Card! #ConnectingFriends #TBT


Omg.  Seriously, there is a card for everything and there were so many that I wanted to buy once I was there.  Luckily, there is a great way to save through the Hallmark Card Rewards Program!  For every 5 cards you buy, you earn a reward.  Not only that, but there is an entire Hallmark Value Card selection at Walmart, for even more savings.  Nice!

Sweet 16 - Delicious Desserts for World Baking Day!

Did you know that yesterday was World Baking Day?  Well, I found out late yesterday but any day is good for baking, right?  With all of my studying, I have not been coming up with new recipes, but I did not want to leave you hanging without my usual delicious Monday post!

Since I can't wait until next year to put my oven to work, I rounded up together 16 recipes that are sure to please your sweet tooth!


Sweet 16 - Delicious Desserts for World Baking Day!

Sweet 16 - Delicious Desserts for World Baking Day on Diane's Vintage Zest!




Sweet 16 - Delicious Desserts for World Baking Day on Diane's Vintage Zest!




Sweet 16 - Delicious Desserts for World Baking Day on Diane's Vintage Zest!




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