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IN THE KITCHEN | Watermelon All-Fruit Cake

Tuesday, May 12


We were finally able to celebrate Em's March birthday last week so, of course, her annually requested fresh fruit watermelon cake was in order. 

We went with a rectangular shape this year to change things up because you know I always like to push the creative boundaries and challenge myself to come up with something new.

However, I can't take the credit for the finished cake this year. I only helped with some final shaping of the watermelon base before Em and her friend worked together to add all of the other fruit. It turned out beautiful. I love the attention to detail with the placement of fruit varieties...especially how they used the sliced strawberries in alternating rows to finish off the top of the cake. 










If you've never tried your hand at making a fresh fruit watermelon cake I hope this post inspires you. (see the step-by-step linked below)

They are the prettiest and yummiest guilt-free whole food cake and hits the mark on everyone's dietary restrictions, unless you can't eat fruit, since it's dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, processed sugar-free, nut-free, vegan and my favorite...whole30 approved. 

When we slice it up for family, we usually have whipped cream for those that want it. (for the vegan and dairy-free people, you can also serve it with the canned almond whipped cream or coconut whipped cream varieties found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery stores).

PIN IT FOR LATER <-- click here



PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration. Psst - If you aren't already following along you've been missing out...


THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED THIS WEEK OVER ON INSTAGRAM - sure hope you're already following along --> @pnpflowers on Instagram

• DIY Kitchen Sink Scrub
• 50+ Days of being makeup-free, hair product-free + heat styling tool-free
• Cuban Chicken and more dinner ideas!


PSS -  Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

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OTHER BLOG POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY:
The fresh fruit cake that started it all <-- we've come a long way. Lol
Step-by-Step Fresh Fruit Watermelon Cake
16th Birthday Fresh Fruit Cake + Cakelets
15th Birthday Fresh Fruit Cake with pomegranate


KEEPING IT REAL
COVID-19 social distancing was the reason for the delay in being able to celebrate with Em.
A wonderful visit from her and a her friend last week helped make it happen. She actually thought she was just coming up for a visit...the whole time I was scheming to surprise her with a belated 21st birthday celebration! We even got her with silly string - also a family birthday tradition. *wink*

RECIPE | Chicken Lazone

Thursday, April 23


I'm always excited to try new recipes to help keep me inspired in the kitchen.
This week I tried a recipe from a friend and it did not disappoint.

I knew going into it this would be a meal Ella and Jay would thoroughly enjoy because of the pasta...
AND it would be a meal I could easily adapt to meet my own personal preferences for clean eating.

That mindset is actually how I go about meal planning each week. I always try to figure out something I can make that will satisfy everyone's appetites but also meet the desired food related preferences I have for clean eating.

The recipe calls for deliciously seasoned chicken served on a bed of pasta swimming in a delightful creamy sauce. I simply eliminated the sauce and pasta and enjoyed my chicken on a fresh bed of romaine. (and we all enjoyed some steamed green beans as a side).





I sure hope you'll try it. It won't disappoint.
I will say, it's quite spicy so I would eliminate the red pepper altogether or at least reduce it by half if your family doesn't prefer the "kick".

PIN IT FOR LATER <-- click here






PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration. Psst - If you aren't already following along you've been missing out...

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED THIS WEEK OVER ON INSTAGRAM - sure hope you're already following along --> @pnpflowers on Instagram

• Simple Quarantine Bathroom Makeover 
• Chicken Fajitas
• Plant Parfaits for Earth Day

PSS -  Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

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OTHER BLOG POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY:
My go-to pasta salad for potlucks  <-- click
Easy Teacher Gift  <-- click
DIY Floral Woodland Crown  <-- click


KEEPING IT REAL
I'm excited about another NEW dinner recipe I'll be trying out on Saturday.
Stay tuned to Instagram to see how it comes together.
Thanks for the recipes Amanda!! xoxo

RECIPE | Fish Tacos - easy, delicious and whole30 approved

Thursday, April 16


I've been posting my weekly dinner menus on the Pen + Paper Flowers Instagram feed and I had so many requests asking for my Fish Tacos recipe, I decided to post it here on the blog.

They are quite easy to put together and pack quite a flavor explosion with every bite.
And trust me when I say I love preparing simple meals that can be altered to fit everyone's dietary preferences without having to make completely separate meals. This meal is a perfect example of that. I eat mine in lettuce cups (as pictured) to keep them whole30 approved for myself but Ella and Jay prefer flour tortillas.

There's a delicious citrus dressing used to garnish the tacos and a refreshing easy coleslaw you can use as garnish and a side dish.





This is definitely a family favorite of ours...light, clean, refreshing and satisfying.
I sure hope you'll try it and let me know if it becomes a family favorite for you too.

PIN IT to Pinterest for Later...<-- CLICK HERE





PS - Sweet friends, let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration. Psst - If you aren't already following along you've been missing out...


THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED THIS WEEK OVER ON INSTAGRAM - sure hope you're already following along!

• Fresh Strawberry Cake
• My Weekly Dinner Menus
• Cookie Baking this week

PSS -  Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

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OTHER BLOG POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY:


KEEPING IT REAL
Even though I've upped my exercise routine through this whole COVID-19 #stayhome stuff...and been killin' it I might add...
I've also been baking and eating my feelings too.
BUT...this week I'm getting back on track and keeping my food in check. 
Already feeling better. But man...what a roller coaster of emotions. 
Sometimes I'm totally fine...rockin' the staying home thing and feeling pretty sane.
The next minute...I just feel sad...and off...with no energy and just want to curl up in a ball and fall asleep. Anyone else?

FREE | Spring Cleaning Checklist

Wednesday, April 8


As we are staying home during this interesting and unusual period in history with COVID-19, I've really decided to try my best to make sure my perspective is one of hope, opportunity, and joy. Here's an example...

OPPORTUNITY
A couple of weeks ago, with the anticipation of another month of isolation, I decided to use April as an opportunity to get some Spring Cleaning done. With Ella home, it's also a chance to work side-by-side with her on deep cleaning tasks I haven't taught her yet.

HOPE
My approach going into this was very methodical -> I wanted it to be achievable and as easy as possible...no overwhelm or added stress. With that in mind, I created a good sized checklist so as to pick one or two things to accomplish every day with Ella's assistance and be completely finished by the end of the month. Basically, 30 days to a deep cleaned home.

JOY
I turned this list into a beautiful printable that makes me happy when I look at it and now I'm excited to share it with you. My hope is that it will inspire you to do a little Spring Cleaning in your own home and with your family's help too. Can you imagine how happy we'll all feel when we get to the end of the month with everything completed and our homes sparkling clean?



CLICK HERE to download the FREE Spring Checklist

-> Or PIN IT to Pinterest for later!! <- click here

Thinking of you all and hoping you are staying healthy, safe (and sane).



PS - Sweet friends, let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration. Psst - If you aren't already following along you've been missing out...


HIGHLIGHTS FROM MY INSTAGRAM FEED - sure hope you're already following along!
• Weekly Dinner Plans
• My NEW hobby
• PERFECT boiled egg without boiling the eggs!
• DIY Hair Masks - using things from the kitchen

PSS -  Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

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OTHER BLOG POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY:

Trust me...there are definitely days/moments where I feel like every little thing is getting on my last nerve having been cooped up in the house. BUT...I try really hard to turn that negativity right into something positive. And then there are some days I just go to bed early. *giggle*

BAKING | EASY HOMEMADE SLICED BREAD

Thursday, March 26

• • • • •
Affiliate links are included in just about every blog post I share here on Pen + Paper Flowers.
These links allow me to easily share with you the same or similar items and tools 
I use for recipes, crafts, or projects...while also earning a little commission - without costing you a thing. 
So THANK YOU for your clicks! Each one supports my small business and allows me 
to continue sharing fun ideas + creative content with you. Yay!
• • • • •

What an interesting time we are living in right now my friends.
The entire world has come to a stop due to COVID-19...schools have closed, businesses have shut down, states are issuing "stay in place" orders, grocery store shelves are completely empty, hospitals are without proper medical masks and equipment, there are thousands of people who've contracted the virus and sadly, thousands who've succumbed to it. 

We are living in uncertain times, for sure, and with all of the collective what-ifs and worry, I'm choosing to cling to the positives. (while staying home)

What an incredible blessing this could be...if we allow it to be; An amazing gift of time.
This could actually be the pause button we've all wished for on those days when we were wishing hard for a breather...a break from the busyness.

This is an opportunity to take a step back and really put into perspective what's REALLY important. Never in the history of our world has everyone on the entire planet been more simultaneously united by anything...ever. Pretty crazy, right?

It's astonishing to think about, actually. And something we may never experience again.
I'm choosing to view this moment in history as miraculous. Yes, sadly, there will be some of us who will lose our lives to this...but I also believe there will be many more who will unexpectedly, through this experience, have life restored to them.

........

So...homemade bread...because homemade bread gives me life.
And I think we could all use a little comfort food right now.
This recipe makes some beautiful, delicious loaves and the ingredients are simple.
And...your family will pretty much think you're a superstar. (scroll down for recipe)





It's delicious all on it's own but exceptionally yummy with a little butter.
PS - a little bit o' honey sweetens the pot. *wink*

Sure hope you'll try it!


PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

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OTHER BLOG POSTS TO KEEP YOU BUSY WHILE STAYING AT HOME:


Enjoy the recipe - PIN IT FOR LATER! <- click



Yield: 4 loaves
Author:

Homemade Classic White Bread Loaves

Homemade Classic White Bread Loaves

Simple ingredients - delicious results.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups hot water
  • 3 TBSP yeast
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2TBSP salt
  • 1/3 cup wheat gluten
  • 8 cups white flour
  • small bowl of olive oil - for hands while kneading
  • Note: I used Bread flour because that's all I had and still used the wheat gluten - even though it's not necessary with bread flour.

Instructions:

How to cook Homemade Classic White Bread Loaves

  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
  2. Grease 4 loaf pans, generously, with olive oil or baking spray.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Mix 5 cups warm water, yeast, honey,  and olive oil in large stand mixer with whisk attachment. Allow yeast mixture to sit for 5 minutes to activate.  (mixture should become  bubbly - if not, allow more time to sit).
  5. Remove  whisk attachment and  replace with dough hook attachment.
  6. Add 2 TBSP salt, wheat gluten, and 2 cups flour to bowl
  7. Mix well and scrape the bowl with rubber spatula. 
  8. With mixer on low, add remaining 6 cups of flour to avoid dust cloud.
  9. Once flour is integrated, mix on medium high until thoroughly combined.
  10. Dough should begin to pull away from sides of bowl after a few minutes.
  11. If not, slowly add more flour until it does. 
  12. Dough should be firm but not dry - moist but not overly sticky.
  13. Turn dough onto floured surface.
  14. Dip fingers in a small amount of oil and rub hands together. 
  15. Begin kneading dough while maintaining oily hands - this keeps dough pliable, smooth, and easy to work with throughout the kneading process.
  16. Knead for 5-10 minutes, continually folding the dough towards the middle and pushing down with your palms - adding small amounts of oil to your fingers and hands as necessary.
  17. When dough is nice and smooth, form into large ball and quarter it, using a sharp knife.
  18. Form each of the four sections into small loaves and place in prepared pans.
  19. Place on stovetop or counter and allow to rise until dough doubles in size. (spritzing every 15 minutes with a water bottle). This can take 30 minutes to an hour.
  20. Bake for 30 minutes, tops should be golden brown. 
  21. Remove from oven and invert loaf into your heat-protected hand. 
  22. Tap on the bottom of the loaf - a hollow sound determines it's done.
  23. Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.
  24. Slice and store in bread keeper, zip top bag or air tight container.
  25. PRO TIP: Use an electric knife to slice when cooled for perfectly sliced bread. 

Notes:

- recipe adapted from @whiteshantyhome on instagram
Calories
1513.65
Fat (grams)
43.00
Sat. Fat (grams)
5.99
Carbs (grams)
252.05
Fiber (grams)
11.21
Net carbs
240.84
Sugar (grams)
47.37
Protein (grams)
32.08
Sodium (milligrams)
3513.03
Cholesterol (grams)
0.00

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @pnpflowers on instagram and hashtag it #pnpflowersrecipe
Created using The Recipes Generator


KEEPING IT REAL
I'm definitely having to incorporate more daily walks and exercise into our daily routine in order to offset the bread baking. *wink*

VALENTINE'S DAY | Ghirardelli Candy Bar Floral Label Wrappers

Wednesday, February 12

• • • • •
Affiliate links are included in just about every blog post I share here on Pen + Paper Flowers.
These links allow me to easily share with you the same or similar items and tools 
I use for recipes, crafts, or projects...while also earning a little commission - without costing you a thing. 
So THANK YOU for your clicks! Each one supports my small business and allows me 
to continue sharing fun ideas + creative content with you. Yay!
• • • • •

Just two days away from Valentine's Day and I've got you covered!
Check out these adorable FREE Ghirardelli Bar labels I made as a simple, affordable way to tastefully share all of the love (and chocolate) with your favorite people.

There are two styles to choose from - watercolor florals or a black and white vintage floral.
The watercolor style comes in 9 different printing options so as to include everyone on your list: coaches, teachers, principals, besties, neighbors, friends, etc.










They are so easy to make and are such a beautiful way to let someone know you love'em!
The directions and links are below!
Sure hope you're inspired to try them out and as always, if you do, tag me on Instagram so I can share your results! *wink*


PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

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SUPPLIES NEEDED
Ghirardelli Bars <-- here are the ones I used
FREE printable Ghirardelli candy bar labels  <-- linked below
white card stock or paper
scissors or paper trimmer
tape 

DIRECTIONS
Print FREE Ghirardelli Bar labels of choice.
Trim to size using scissors or paper trimmer.
Remove outer cardboard Ghirardelli packaging - to expose inner gold foil wrapped bar
Wrap label around candy bar being careful to align and center image on from of candy bar.
Secure with tape on back.

TIPS: 
1. Secure bottom flap of label to gold foil to prevent the label from sliding.
2. Since the product information has been removed, feel free to note the flavor of the candy bar on the
    back of the label if you'd like to indicate to your recipient what delicious flavor they are receiving.

Please Note: Ghirardelli has two different 3.5oz candy bar selections. These labels have been designed to accommodate both. For the smaller 3.5oz bar, I chose to trim off a little more of the sides to expose more of the pretty gold wrapper underneath. 

DIRECT LINKS FOR FREE CANDY BAR LABELS


KEEPING IT REAL
You should so be over on Instagram today - I'm sharing these as part of a Valentine's Day
round up of ideas with Emily from Handmade Farmhouse. I'm even sharing a video in stories of me making these - so easy! Emily has been doing a "countdown to Valentine's Day" the whole month of February and there are such fun, beautiful ideas she and some of her IG friends have been sharing! Flattered she asked me to participate!! 
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