3, 2, 1…cake!

photo by dthoskins

As someone with a perpetual sweet tooth, this is one of my favorite go-to “diet” desserts.  At only 170 calories, this gives me the taste of a hot, yummy, baked dessert without the guilt.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 tbsp of any flavored cake mix (I prefer french vanilla, butter pecan, strawberry, or chocolate)
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • microwavable dish (I use a ramekin or coffee mug)
  • microwave

Step by Step:

  1. Measure 3 tbsp of cake mix and place into dish.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of water and stir.
  3. Microwave for 1 minute on high.
  4. Top with the topping of your choice and enjoy.  I love a bit of powdered sugar or a dollop of cool whip.

 

See, it’s totally easy!  3-2-1, cake!

flower power {guest post by Alice Greene, Lexington, KY}

Above: Grocery store arrangement from the Kroger 3 for $12 collection arranged by diana; photo by dthoskins

On these cold, grey, gloomy January days, nothing brightens my day like a small or large bouquet of flowers.  Don’t let the high prices of floral shops or on-line ordering outlets deter you from filling you home with blooms.  Your local grocery store now has an amazing selection of flowers at affordable prices so you can enjoy flowers every day – not just for special occasions!

Although I am by no means a floral designer, I have found that arranging flowers is not only easy, but also therapeutic.  After the fun of selecting the type of flower you want from the grocery, the next creative adventure is selecting a container for those blooms.  Let your imagination run wild.  I have created arrangements in everything ranging from a hulled out watermelon or pumpkin to old teacups and saucers to mason jars and even old single pieces of glassware and pottery.  

In a nutshell, here’s what I do to bring home the beauty of nature.  First, I check to see what my local grocery store is stocking and the price point.  An exceptional value is always the astromeria because it is usually the best value for the money and also has a longevity of 2 to 3 weeks.  I have these perpetually in my bathroom in one of the white varieties.  For the kitchen table, I often check to see if the store is stocking a seasonal bouquet.  Since I really enjoy the change of the seasons here in Kentucky, these ready-made bouquets are usually ready to just bring home, trim, place in a container and are perfectly arranged on their own.  When the store is not stocking these bouquets, I like to choose different flowers that are all in the same color palette.  For example, if I am looking for a fall arrangement, I might start with a bunch of orange astromeria, a bunch of bittersweet, a bunch of orange tea roses and some greenery.  After I have purchased it and bring it home, I decide which container seems best for these blooms.  I have a favorite amber colored vase and might choose it for my arrangement.  I then determine the height I need for the arrangement.  I base this on how it will be used.  If it is going in the center of my kitchen or dining room table, then I want it to be low so that dinner guests can see each other across the table.  If it is just going in the entry hall on a table, I might use the “rule of thumb” that the flowers rise up two-and-a-half times the height of the receptacle.  Or, as I always say, just “eye-ball it”!!   Nothing is right or wrong – it is just what is visually pleasing to you!  

Flowers are the best way that I know to reinvent a room easily, affordably and on a whim.  Flowers from the grocery store ( I especially like Kroger and Trader Joe’s for their wide variety of flowers and low pricing) have enabled me to have flowers in virtually every room of the house and add color without a permanent commitment.  Don’t forget the entry hall, bathroom and the guest room to welcome out-of-town guests.  

Here’s hoping you will add a little extra change to your grocery budget and enjoy the luxury of flowers.

-Alice
Alice is a native Lexingtonian and quintessential southern lady, who enjoys cooking, baking and entertaining. 

Thanks, Alice!  If you have something you’d like to share with our readers about bluegrass living and style, send us an email at katherine@bluegrassthreadsky.com or diana@bluegrassthreadsky.com.

cupcake tree

These gloomy bluegrass days have had me longing for spring, so as a pick-me-up I’m revisiting some of my favorite spring things.  This is one of my favorite ways to display cupcakes for a spring shower or party. This display was from my mother-in-law’s birthday party.  She is an avid gardener and it was so fun to use flower pots and mini gardening tools to liven up these simple cupcakes. I also used some fresh flowers to top the yummy brown sugar and pear cupcakes from Babycakes (another of my fave local spots).

image credit: dthoskins

Are you ready for Spring?

colored denim

winter greys

Wintery greys are the perfect backdrop for a colored jeans.  This is a current favorite look that makes me feel seasonally appropriate in grey with a fun pop of color!  I’m currently loving wearing purple, royal blue and kelly green.  Try out other soft neutrals like cream and camel for a feminine contrast to dramatic colored denim.  I love camel with kelly green and cream with a bold pink.

Featured: Wood Wood boat neck top (lagarconne.com), Pea coat (romwe.com), Joe’s Jeans joes jeans ($275 – zalando.co.uk), A.p.c. boots (lagarconne.com), Hobo tote bag ($170 – theiconic.com.au), Virgins Saints and Angels silver jewelry (ylang23.com), Owl watch ($92 – the-dressingroom.com), Burberry cashmere shawl (stylebop.com)

getting organized in the new year

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions to be organized and disciplined.  We have good intentions, but it isn’t always easy to stick to them.

Don’t be overwhelmed!  Here are some of our tips for getting it together in 2013:

  • Don’t skip breakfast.  Start your day out with one of my favorite treats, featured above.
  • Get your work desk or crafting space organized like this one.
  • Have a weekly meal plan and grocery shopping list.  We like slow cooker recipes like this healthy dish or delicious dessert.
  • Try one of these quick workouts to ease back into your exercise routine.
  • Scrub your house like a pro with these two-minute cleaning ideas.  Who can’t eek out two-minutes?
  • Establish a skin care routine to eliminate harsh winter skin.  This has amazing results.

What are your plans to get organized and disciplined in the new year?