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Thursday, 16 May 2013 18:15

TND: Greek Easter/Passover Dinner

Happy Thursday! A few weeks ago my darling Jewish boyfriend, Dave, and I had a combined Greek Easter/Belated Passover holiday dinner.



We've been having many conversations lately about what it means to have a reformed interfaith relationship and this was our first attempt at really coming together and combining our two family traditions. We both dug out our family recipes, I got on the phone with my Uncle Greg for grilling instructions, and we spent two full days preparing for our giant feast. Our friends arrived one by one, I put on Shovels & Rope (because obviously that is the perfect Greek Easter/Passover music), we poured wine, and it began.

greekeaster-IMG 1259

After some of the more complex discussions we've had about what our possible, future family would look like we took all that we had learned thus far and came together and shared our favorite traditions with our nearest and dearest. We spoke Hebrew and Greek and ended the night with our favorite American dessert, s'mores.

greekeaster-IMG 1254

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By the end of the night, we were all making plans for the next one.







Grilled Greek Lamb
by Stephania Stanley

What you need: 

  • lamb (1/2 lb per person)
  • olive oil
  • fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

Coat the lamb with olive oil and generously salt and pepper both sides. 


Assemble charcoal around the edges of the grill (so that the heat will be around the edges of the grill and not directly in the center). Place an disposable aluminum pan with 1" of water in the center. Heat up the grill. Grill lamb until the center of the meat reads 140°F. We grilled a butterflied 7Lb lamb and it took a little over an hour. 


Once the lamb is ready, let it rest for about 20 minutes and slice diagonally in 1/4" thick slices. Pour the liquid from the aluminum pan into a serving bowl (now au jus) and add a spoonful or so over the lamb when serving.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 18:19

TND: Decoupage Frames

Happy Thursday! If it's been a little quiet around here, one of the reasons is I just started a new job. I think that I am really going to like it, but the process of starting a new routine and learning a new gig is seriously wiping me out! I am sooo tired. But it's a good kind of tired.

Here's a craft that I am really liking right now. I made these frames for my girlfriends as 30th birthday presents and gave them to them when we were all together on vacation in Miami. I tried to pick colors that would go with their houses and personalities. The only problem is, I forgot to make one for me, so I still have to do that.



Decoupage Frames
by colleen reilly

decoupage frames2










What you need: 

  • plain 4x6 frame (choose one that is flat and doesn't have ridges or decorations on it)
  • craft paper
  • scissors
  • x-acto knife
  • craft glue
  • mod podge
  • paint brush

What to do:

Choose a color of paper for the front of your frame. Choose a coordinating color of paper for the back of your frame. Lie the frame face down on the paper you choose for the front (place both on a piece of cardboard so you don't ruin your surface. Cut the piece of paper with the x-acto knife to the size of the frame by tracing along the outside of the frame with the knife and cutting out the inside. Do the same for the back and sides. Glue paper on to frame with craft glue. When dry, brush over entire surface with mod podge to make it shiny.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 17:57

TND: Valentine's Day Style

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope that wherever you are, you're spreading some love today. Vday doesn't have to just be a day for "romantic" love. Some of my favorite Vday memories are those that I've spent with my girlfriends. Like the Valentine's Day when Caitlin and I took each other out for Indian food at the neighborhood spot.  They seated us at the one table where the centerpiece roses were wilted and we were sure they were mocking us. We ordered one of everything and drank a bottle of wine. We crawled home afterward and laid on the couch, moaning and rolling our tights off of our stomachs. It was a great night!
So, anway, because Valentine's Day also makes me think of my favorite desserts, here are some of my favorite sweets recipes. Maybe it will inspire you to make a sweet treat for someone special in your world. And don't forget to check out this year's batch of Valentine's that I made for my friends. Yay for hearts!

Enjoy. xoxo.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cakepeanut butter cup cake
by stephanie stanley

What you need:

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ! cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs(at room temperature)
  • Butter for greasing cake pans
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour for cake pans

For the icing:

  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups peanut butter cups, chopped

What to do:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Take out your medium sized mixing bowl and sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set flour mixture aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, and buttermilk.  Whisk or use an electric mixer until ingredients are well blended.  Add eggs and mix.  Next add flour mixture at about ½ cup at a time.  Mix until well blended.

Grease two 8” round cake pans with butter and then sprinkle each pan with 1 tsp of all-purpose flour.  Divide evenly into cake pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the icing:

While the cakes are baking, start the icing.  Combine all ingredients except for peanut butter cups into a large mixing bowl.  Mix all ingredients together at medium speed until ingredients are well blended.  Let cakes sit for approximately 15-20 minutes after baking.  Place the first layer on a cake dish or large plate.  Using a small spatula, cover the top and sides of the first layer with icing.  Next, sprinkle a layer of chocolate peanut butter cups on the top of the iced cake and then carefully place the second layer of cake on top.  Cover the second layer of cake with icing.  Finish by covering the remainder of the cake with chocolate peanut butter cups and enjoy!

Kate's Strawberry Cake strawberry cake

What you need:

For the cake:

  • 1 box cake mix (yellow or white)
  • 1 box strawberry Jello
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup crushed strawberries
  • 4 eggs

For the icing:

  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed strawberries
  • 1/4 cup margarine

What to do:

For the cake:
Mix dry cake mix and Jello powder together.  Add oil, water, and strawberries.  Beat eggs in one at a time with a whisk. Mix until incorporated. Bake in 2 cake pans or round loaf pan for 30-35 minutes at 350° F.

For the icing:
Mix ingredients together until incorporated. Ice cake with a soft spatula after cake has cooled (about 15 minutes).


 Valentine's Day Cards!!

valentines 2013
      vtines cards
      valentines 1 2013
      Published in THURSDAYS Blog
      Tuesday, 22 January 2013 15:23

      Organization Week: Michelle's Frames Full of Memories

      Happy Tuesday! I hope that you all had a restful MLK weekend.  I continued my half marathon training and ran 8 miles, ordered this new rug from Flor, spent all of yesterday happily doing absolutely nothing with Dave, and started a much needed and very tedious project of organzing my socks. Somehow I've managed to collect a drawer full of mismatched socks and it had gotten far too out of control, so in light of this week's theme Our Very Favorite Organization Tips, I thought that I would finally kick my butt into gear and handle the situation.
      To kick of this week's theme, we have the lovely Michelle Hainer here to show us how to organize and display our favorite memories.
      I am in love with stationery of all kinds and have so much fun picking it out for various events and milestones. It seems a shame to just shove it in a drawer or gasp! throw it out once the event is over, so I make shadow boxes to display paper products and hang them on the wall. I've done them for my bridal and baby showers, wedding, and my son's cards and invitations. It is so easy to do and the finished product makes a great conversation piece for guests!

      DIY Shadow Box
      by Michelle Hainer





      What you need:           

      • A large photo box or shadow box frame (it doesn't matter whether it has a door that opens, or whether its set up like a deep frame)
      • A hot glue gun or pins (if you are including favors, such as matchboxes, you will need to glue them onto the board)

      What you do:

      Arrange the stationery and favors as you like and then either pin them onto the board of the shadow box or hot glue them into place. Replace the glass and hang.


          Published in THURSDAYS Blog
          Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:54

          TND: New Years Resolutions & DIY Thank You Cards

          Happy Thursday! This week we're sharing our New Years Resolutions.  After using 2012 as a major transition year, I'm excited to take on a few new challenges for myself in 2013 with a whole new spurt of energy, optimism, and clarity.

          1. Give Back - I don't think that I would have ever had the strength and energy to conquer last year so successfully without my family and friends and this year I want to give back to them.  I suppose we all go through a period where we just need to focus on getting one foot in front of the other until eventually we can look up and see a big, bright future. I'm excited to be feeling a whole lot more like me again and am truly looking forward to focusing on all of my relationships and simply being present.

          2. Physical Challenge - I've been a runner for years now and I must admit in 2012 I got a bit lazy when it came to challenging myself. I stuck with the same routes and distances which kept me in shape, but certainly didn't push me to get even better.  This year I've decided to sign up for more races to work on my speed and distance a bit. I've signed up for the NY Half and after running two when I was in college I'm setting a much faster goal for myself. Wish me luck!

          3. Cook Something New - Good lord did I get into a boring cooking rut last year! This year, I'll be making at least one new recipe per week (which also means a lot of new recipes here!).

          4. Photo Website - I've been lucky enough to get a nice even flow of work through word of mouth without having to update my website, but it's high time that I make this a priority. I have a bad habit of putting tasks like this on the back burner for months at a time, but this year I've decided to make this one of my top priorities.

          5. Budget - It's funny, I've actually seen this on quite a few bloggers' sites for their resolutions. Perhaps it was the fiscal cliff giving us all anxiety, but it seems that we're all determined to make new budgets this year and really stick to them. I'm determined to cook more and eat out less, take fewer cabs, and really just get rid of some of my unnecessary spending.

          To help kick off goal number one, I'm sharing these DIY Thank You Notes that I made for my family.  I picked up my stamp from Paper Source, where I also miraculously stuck to goal number five. Have you popped into one of the stores? It's a little bit of a crafting and gifting heaven. It took all of my will power not to stock up on glitter, fancy paper cutters, and handmade paper.



          DIY Thank You Cards
          by stephania 




          What you need:           

          • Plain greeting cards
          • "Thank You" stamp
          • Ink
          • Washi tape
          • Patterned card stock
          • Circle paper cutter
          • Modge Podge glue
          • Cheap paint brush (for glue)

          What you do:

            1. Many Thanks - Apply a generous amount of ink onto your stamp and simply follow along and let the ink run out. Repeat until you've accomplished your desired pattern. Note: This could be really beautiful using different colored inks too!

            2. Circle Thank You's - Using your circle cutter, cut out multiple sizes of circles from the patterned card stock. Make sure the biggest circle fits your "Thank You" stamp. Stamp the largest circle and carefully glue onto greeting cards.

            3. Thank You Post-it - Stamp onto card stock. Cut and attach to greeting card using washi tape.

                Published in THURSDAYS Blog
                Wednesday, 24 October 2012 15:47

                TND: Fall Style

                Happy last Thursday in October! I can't believe how fast this, the best month has flown by. I hope you have taken some time to slow down and enjoy--and perhaps photograph--the loveliness around you. 



                ohh, poor me. here's the view off our deck...



















                speaking of the deck. look how nice it looks freshly painted a normal deck color (it used to be blue) with fall leaves, and red toes...

















                here's a PERFECT fall meal to get you into the mood of the season....

                 Pumpkin Spice Souppumpkin_soup_4
                by La Reina Bates

                What you need:

                • 1 medium sugar pumpkin (approximately 4 lbs., also called pie pumpkins)
                • ½ cup water (put in oven with roasting pumpkin)
                • 1 large onion chopped (white or red is fine)
                • 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
                • 3-4 garlic cloves chopped
                • 1 bay leaf
                • 3 tbsp olive oil
                • 1 tsp salt
                • 3 tsp ground cumin
                • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
                • ½ tsp ground ginger
                • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
                • ¼ ground black pepper
                • 4 cups veggie broth
                • 2 cups water (or more if needed)
                • 2 tbsp fresh orange juices

                What to do:

                Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the pumpkin in half from stem to bottom and pull halves apart. Scoop out seeds and pulp from each half with a spoon. Season each half with salt and pepper and place on a cookie sheet, rind side down. Place a glass cup filled with ½ cup of water on the cookie sheet with the pumpkin. Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until tender (line sheet with foil for easy cleanup).  When cool enough to handle, run a knife through the insides of the pumpkin in roughly 1” pieces and scoop out insides.

                After pumpkin has been roasting for about 20 minutes, start on the rest of the soup. In a large pot, sauté onion, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf in olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper and stir until everything is well coated, about 30 seconds. Add broth and water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered about 15 minutes. Add pumpkin pieces and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add orange juice and simmer for 2 more minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer back to the pot. Add water to the soup if you prefer a thinner consistency, and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

                Serves 6-8.

                Editor’s note: When I added the pumpkin pieces to the soup, I placed the pumpkin seeds in the oven on a baking sheet and baked them according to this recipe. I sprinkled toasted seeds over the soup when I served it.  I was out of coriander, so I used 6 cloves instead. I simmered them with the soup the entire 30 minutes and removed before I blended the soup.


                And here's my latest crafting craze...

                Rolled magazine frames. Our craft get-together at this week's Glue Gun Mafia was these frames and we had a blast! I'm definitely making these for holiday gifts this year. I love gifts like this, that can be done on the cheap but that look nice and have a personal touch-- be sure to fill the frame with a photo that the recipient will like. Go here to learn how to make these. And here and here. Have fun!



















                Published in THURSDAYS Blog
                Monday, 27 August 2012 19:34

                Josie's Big DIY First Bday Bash

                josie_poolOur dear contributor, Jana, is clearly setting out to pass on the DIY torch to her adorable little girl, Josie, who just turned one recently-- so crazy that it's been a year! Jana decided to go all out and create a beautiful, vintage-y hot air balloon-themed extravaganza for her little girl and all of their friends. It seems that the hard work paid off. This is definitely one of the cutest baby birthday parties I've seen. Here's to encouraging a new generation of crafters and girl-time get together-ers! Happy birthday, Josie! enjoy the photos below. 




                Hot Air Balloon Baby Bday

                by Jana Bonderman

                I can't believe it's already been a year, and my little girl is one!  Honestly, I went a little overboard on the DIY projects, but you only get one first birthday...we can go to the park next year.  I chose the theme of Josie's birthday from the beautiful mobile in her room.  I wanted to go with muted vintage-y colors, and got to work planning the party around the theme.  The biggest project was definitely the transformation of rice paper lanterns into hot air balloons.  I chose all the fabric from the $2/lb bins, and had a spray painting/decoupaging fiesta.  We made cupcake toppers with cute hot air balloon stickers and stamps, hot air balloon cookie pops that my godkids helped decorate, hot air balloon banners, and a fun coloring station for take-home hot air balloon wooden ornaments.  Most importantly, the birthday girl had tons of fun!






























                Published in THURSDAYS Blog
                Thursday, 12 July 2012 09:36

                TND: Hamptons Style Dinner and DIY Striped Watercolor Cards

                Happy happy Thursday! Ophelia and I have had quite a string of adventures these last few weeks.  After my trip to Colorado, Ophelia and I joined my stepsister and her husband in the fabulous Hamptons.  This was my very first time in the Hamptons and let me just say that it is indeed all it's cracked up to be.  It's just so spacious full of big yards, vineyards, and corn fields as far as the eye can see.  It's one of those places that makes me question why on earth I live in a city where I can see directly into our neighbors windows and actually see what they're cooking for dinner.  Ophelia and I were both very excited once we finally arrived at the house.  Ophelia ran straight outside and kept running and running and before she knew it had landed smack-dab in the middle of the pool.  And that's how Ophelia learned to swim.  It took a bit of coaxing the rest of the weekend to get her back in, but by Saturday afternoon Ophelia was leaping into the pool chasing after her toys. 

                Throughout the weekend we ate like queens.  We grilled juicy burgers, picked up fresh jalapeno and bacon scones from the bakery each morning, and Saturday night we had a very special treat, lobster.  We picked up already boiled and served it with fries and asparagus.  


                In light of our Gluten Free Week, I suggest serving this very cute tomato mozzarella salad idea I picked up from the very talented graphic designer, Sarah Mangerson, last weekend.  

                For the craft this week, I have been working on making DIY striped watercolor thank you cards.  There is just something about receiving a handmade card that makes a thank you even more special, don't you think? 




                Tomato and Mozzarella Salad Appetizer


                What you need:

                • grape tomatoes
                • fresh mozzarella balls
                • fresh basil
                • olive oil
                • salt and pepper to taste
                • skewers

                What you do:

                Layer one tomato, one leaf of fresh basil, and one mozzarella ball onto a skewer. Repeat until you have the desired quantity of appetizers.  Place on a serving platter and lightly drizzle olive oil over the stacked skewers.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.


                DIY Striped Watercolor Cardsstriped_cards-8626

                What you need:

                • white card stock paper (cut down to desired size)
                • watercolor paint
                • thin paintbrush
                • cup of water (for paint)
                • paper towels
                • ruler
                • pencil

                What you do:

                Cut down card stock to desired size.  I chose a square format, but these stripes will work well for a rectangular card too.  Choose your paint color(s).  I experimented a bit with different shades.  I used one that was all a bright orange, the second one I made was red and bright orange, and the third was a bright blue.  Using the ruler and pencil make a mark on both sides for every 1/2".  This will help you make straight lines.  Use a scrap piece of card stock and line up the straight edge of card stock under the first set of markings (like you would a ruler to draw a straight line).  Paint a thin line straight across.  Carefully lift up the scrap card stock and line it up to the next set of markings and paint another line.  I experimented quite a bit here using more or less water with the paint to make lighter and darker shades of the same hue.  Once you reach the end you should have thin unpainted stripes.  Go down again either using the same color or a different color and paint another set of stripes over the unpainted parts using your scrap card stock to keep your straight lines.  Let the paint dry for 15 minutes before writing on the inside.  

                If you want a complete set of stationary go ahead and paint the inside flap of the envelope one solid shade. Send away! 

                Published in THURSDAYS Blog
                Sunday, 24 June 2012 07:13

                Au Naturale Week: Shoko's Favorite Products

                It's Au Naturale Week here at Thursdays. To help us get back to our roots, our posts this week will be all about foods, crafts, hosting decor, etc. that are inspired by natural and organic elements.

                Here Shoko shares some of her favorite natural products.

                Happy Monday!

                xo, colleen



                By Shoko Wanger

                NATURAL CRAFTS: Among a selection of crafting supplies made from - or inspired  by - natural materials: rice paper masking tape, handspun Merino, silky white-and-gray "eagle's feathers". Who said "natural" had to be boring?



                Published in THURSDAYS Blog
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