Holiday Card Booklet | Easy, Free DIY

Holiday Card Booklet | Easy, Free DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Well we’re back to the routine folks, and I’m not going to lie, in some ways it’s a total bummer.  I may or may not still be quietly listening to Christmas music in my car to get me through the post-holiday hangover.  But in other ways it’s kind of nice to see the friends who have been busy or out of town, get back to activities and feel productive again.  It’s been chilly and rainy here in So Cal, which doesn’t help the fact that I’d really rather still be sitting in my jammies under the tree with a fire roaring.

On the last day before Hubby went back to work, we took down the tree, packed up the decorations, and took down the holiday cards that were hanging from our kitchen cabinets.  They were just sitting on my counter in a sad little stack while I decided whether I would tuck them in a box or toss them completely.

Holiday Card Booklet | Easy, Free DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I’ve always wanted to do something to organize my cards but I’ve also always been too lazy after the holiday season comes around.  Usually the stack gets thrown in a box or drawer to be discovered years later in a spring cleaning spree and tossed or re-tucked somewhere else.  But this time I decided to do something with them and I’m so glad that I did.  It literally took me five minutes and cost me absolutely nothing.  I put our holiday card on top and can put my fun little book away to look back on and compare in the future.  Now I just have to find the stacks from previous years and do the same to declutter and cherish forever.

I’m calling this a tutorial but let’s be honest folks, this was a pretty easy one.  Enjoy!

Supplies
Holiday cards
Hole puncher
Ribbon

How To…
1) Gather cards and organize them in the format that you’d like them in the booklet
2) Punch one hole in the top corner of each card
3) Run the ribbon through the hole and tie a double knot, leaving some extra room to allow you to flip through the cards in the future.

Hello, 2016

2015 Top 9 | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Well hello there 2016.  Good to meet you.  Once we hit September I always know the New Year will be just a blink away and with baby boy {getting bigger every day} it went even faster than I could have imagined.  Between all of the spectacular celebrations, joyful moments and exciting “firsts” it has been an incredible last few months of 2015.  I can say without a doubt that this was the best Christmas I have ever experienced.  I know it’s been said, but watching Christmas through your children’s eyes is positively magical, and it becomes more and more special as my sweet girl grows.

Hello, 2016 | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And now that the holidays have past {tear}, we can look back with so much joy {and a few fun photos through this post} but also look forward to all the things coming up in the future.

Like my first half marathon in a few months {what was I thinking??}.
Planning more fun recipes for the blog {my top nine posts from instagram above!}, but also hoping to add more fitness tips and more about this crazy life as a mama of two {what else would you like to see??}.
A DIY extravaganza as I’m contemplating my first {and probably second, third, fourth…} adventure with chalk paint and a total revamp of my dining set.
Maybe some new handmade adventures that I’ve been dabbling with {secretive much?}.

Hello, 2016 | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

But for now I’m taking a big beautiful sigh and just saying hello to 2016 and all of the possibilities that it offers.

Christmas with Two Kids | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

Photo Numbers | Easy, Cheap DIY

Photo Numbers | Easy, Cheap DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So there’s this person that I know.  She’s my BFF.  She’s my support system.  She’s my role model.  She’s my babysitter {and my kids’ favorite person}.  She’s my mama {hi mom!}.

She had a big birthday this year {I’m sorry in advance for splashing your age all over the internet, Mom} and my equally awesome and thoughtful Daddy decided it we had to plan a big surprise party to celebrate her in a big way.  So he turned to his former-event-planner and professional-pinterest-er daughter {moi} to help with some of the details.

Photo Numbers | Easy, Cheap DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Photo Numbers | Easy, Cheap DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And while I quickly threw together some fun place cards and matching paper goods, and found some gorgeous flowers from Trader Joe’s to arrange in some easy glass vases {I want to be a florist when I grow up…and I apologize that those pics make up most of this post….but, flowers.}, I had the most fun making these fabulous oversized photo numbers for our guest book and gift table out of old photos that my Dad smuggled to me.  It was a blast for me and also a fun surprise for my mom and our guests, most of whom hadn’t seen photos from her childhood.

The best part is that they were quick, easy and put together from things I already had on hand!  So free.  Because free is good.

Photo Numbers | Easy, Cheap DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Photo Numbers | Easy, Cheap DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Another fun last minute idea?  Throw these together for your NYE party this week, featuring photos of your guests from the last year!

 

Supplies
Old photos or photo copies of them
Glue stick
Poster board
Pen
Scissors

How To…
1) Use the pen to draw out the number(s) on the poster board
2) Cut the numbers out using scissors
3) Lay out the photos on top of the numbers so that they fit
4) If necessary, cut down the poster board slightly to coordinate with the size of the photos
5) Use the glue stick to stick them on

unnamed-4

See?  Easy peasey.  Enjoy!

My Favorite Things: Holiday Recipe Edition

Looking for a delicious dessert recipe to bring to your holiday party?  Look no further than the Little Kitchen, Big Bites holiday section for some super easy treats, and a fun craft or two!

Santa Hat Mini Cupcakes | Little Kitchen, Big Bites {No Bake!} Peppermint Oreo Marshmallow Bars | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Sweet & Salty Oreo Holiday Bark | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Snowball Cookies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites noel6_edited-1

 

 

 

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Fun fact…although I spent much of the last three days decking the halls with boughs of holly, trimming the tree and generally getting into the Christmas spirit, I was actually raised in an inter-faith family.  We celebrated holidays from both religions, and as much as I love me some Christmas, I also always enjoy lighting the candles, reading Hanukkah stories, and frying up some scrumptious latkes.

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So with the first night of Hanukkah coming up this weekend, I thought I would start working on that fabulous potato pancake recipe.  Except it was just Thanksgiving.  And holy smokes did I stuff myself like a turkey.  You too?  Yea.

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I wondered if I could put together a slightly lighter version of one of my favorite holiday foods, without sacrificing taste.  And this, guys, was awesome.  The zucchini just blended right in with the rest of it and I don’t even think Hubby and the kiddo knew it was there.  And with the pan lightly oiled, you still get that delicious flavor without the deep fry.

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I even went outside the box on the traditional sour cream and put together an herbed greek yogurt dip with some mascarpone to richen it up that was over the top good.  But if you have some old school people coming for dinner, you could always have applesauce and sour cream on standby too.

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So light those candles, spin that dreidel and keep from getting burnt from that splattering hot oil with all the delicious taste!

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Jewish American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 pancakes
 
Ingredients
  • For pancakes:
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 2 large zucchini, grated
  • 8-10 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 1 t basil
  • 1 t parsley
  • 1½ t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 2 T olive oil
  • For sauce:
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 2 T softened mascarpone
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • ½ t basil
  • ½ t parsley
  • Optional: sour cream and/or applesauce to serve with
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Pat grated vegetables dry with paper towels
  3. In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, zucchini, green onions, bread crumbs, parmesan, eggs, garlic, basil, parsley, 1 T olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil on and rub lightly to cover.
  5. Take approximately ¼ cup of the pancake mixture, squeeze lightly into a ball, and press onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all mixture has been used.
  6. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, flipping once at about 15 minutes, or until browned on both sides.
  7. While baking, combine yogurt, mascarpone, garlic salt, basil and parsley and chill until serving.
  8. Serve pancakes hot and top with chilled dip and applesauce and/or sour cream.

Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Baked Potato and Zucchini Pancakes with Light Herbed Dip | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Felt Christmas Tree | Easy, Cheap Toddler DIY

Felt Christmas Tree | Easy, Cheap Toddler DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Guys, I just couldn’t pass up sharing this one with you.  Even though I only have a couple lazy iPhone pictures and even though it proves that I’m slightly crazy and already putting Christmas stuff up around my house.  I mean, I started listening to Christmas music right after daylight savings time hit and I haven’t stopped since.  I just can’t help myself.  It’s my favorite time of year.  My husband was actually proud that I didn’t start listening to it in September this year.  So I guess that’s one step in the right direction.

Anyways.  This literally cost me $5 with my Joann coupons (they are not sponsoring me to say this or anything but you must get their app or at least visit the website on your phone if you’re shopping there…they always have coupons that you can layer on top of each other and it’s just silly to pay full price for anything), plus the extra $10 on ridiculous hot pink disney princess fabric that my daughter managed to find in the store.  She hugged the bolt of fabric so tightly with such a huge grin on her face that I couldn’t help myself.  So I guess if you’re a sucker like me, it’ll cost you a little more and take a little longer because you’ll also find yourself stuck speed sewing a blanket and re-teaching yourself how to make mitered corners during nap time.

Felt Christmas Tree | Easy, Cheap Toddler DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Seriously anyways.  Focus.  In addition to being cheap it was also the easiest thing I think I’ve ever done.  Grab scissors.  Cut tree.  Cut ornaments.  Move on.  Felt sticks to felt with a little press and it’s great coordination skills for your toddler.  I’ve also seen great “walls” of felt like this that aren’t Christmas trees were you can cut a bunch of shapes, colors, and even letters or numbers to work on all of those skills with them.  Sadly for my toddler, I’m a super lazy mom and she gets this.  The “shapes” that aren’t circles or stars are just the triangles that I cut from the corners that were leftover pieces of felt.  Half the time she calls it a pepperoni pizza.  I totally see it, kiddo.

But honestly she could care less that mama didn’t decorate the bulbs or do fancy shapes because she loves this thing!  Not only does she love taking off and rearranging the shapes, but she’ll also pile, count and line them up on the ground.  So she’s learning even though I’m lazy.  #supermom?!? #iwish

Felt Christmas Tree | Easy, Cheap Toddler DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Supplies
1 yard green felt
1/8 yard of 2-3 other colors of felt
Sharpie or some other pen that will write on felt
Scissors
Painters tape or some other way to secure to your wall

How To…
1) Fold green fabric in half
2) Draw half of a Christmas tree on it
3) Cut out Christmas tree
4) Tape to the wall (you can also wait to do this until the end…as you can see from the photo below, my toddler loved playing with it on the ground as I worked on the shapes too)
5) Cut other colors into 1/8 yard x 1/8 yard squares and use these squares to cut other shapes in piles of 3-4 pieces.  If you’re really creative you can cut tons of fancy shapes and even decorate the felt, but we kept it low key

Enjoy!

Felt Christmas Tree | Easy, Cheap Toddler DIY | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

It’s almost Halloween, friends!  And if you’re anything like me, you bought the giant Costco bags of candy a few weeks ago and they’ve been sitting in your pantry tempting you.  I literally put them on the highest shelf in the pantry that I have to get up on a chair to get to.  And I still sneak one every now and then.

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So once Halloween is over, you’re really not going to want to eat any more of that junk {and by junk, I mean totally delicious mini Butterfingers that I can’t stop eating}.  But some of the options of leftover Halloween candy recipes are kinda more than I want to tackle with an infant and a toddler.

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So I came up with the very simplest *recipe* {if you’ll even give me that…this is a very semi-homemade version of a recipe} that my toddler and I quickly whipped together while the baby napped.  Not only did I get some delicious treats out of it, but my big girl got to feel like she was special, help in the kitchen, and cover herself in chocolately goodness.  So that’s a win.  She’s been such a great big sister that I really love it when we can have a little time just the two of us to show her how awesome she is.  And if it means she gets chocolate, she’s a happy camper.  Smart kid.

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Of course, my family ate all of these by ourselves within two days.  But my intention is that you could bring these suckers and drop them off at work, school, or share them wherever so that you spread the love {and the calories}.  Clearly, I’m not going to judge if you polish off a pan by yourself with some ice cream on top after feeding the baby.  …not that I have any personal experience with that…

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box of your favorite brownie mix, plus whatever ingredients are listed as needed on the box
  • 1 cup leftover chocolate based Halloween candy, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven as listed on brownie mix box
  2. Mix brownie mix according to box
  3. Stir in approximately ½ cup of chopped candy
  4. Turn into a parchment lined baking dish
  5. Top with remaining chopped candy
  6. Bake for time listed on the box, most likely erring towards the longer cooking time, but checking with a toothpick as needed.

The Easiest Leftover Candy Brownies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Welcome, Fall | DIY Sign Tutorial + Free Silhouette Cut File

Welcome, Fall | DIY Sign Tutorial + Free Silhouette Cut File

Can we just start with a quick *holy smokes it’s September*?!?  I can’t believe it.  Well, partially because it still feels like summer most of the time here.  But mostly because September means fall which becomes Halloween which becomes Thanksgiving which becomes Christmas which becomes New Years and I feel like I always go from September 1 to January 10 in the blink of an eye.  And this year, we’re adding a new baby to the mix so…holy smokes.

Ok, back to the task at hand.  Part of the awesomeness of September is that on Labor Day weekend, I break out my fall decorations {my second favorite decorations to Christmas} and redo the whole house.  Which is one of my very favorite activities.

hello fall3

In anticipation of this {and thanks to the flutter of fall on Pinterest…follow me here}, I decided we needed just an extra little piece of fall decor.  But for free.  Because with two coming up in diapers, we need all the free we can get.  And then I remembered the sign.  Let me tell you a little story.

Once upon a time there was a sign.  It was an adorable little sign that I made for our very first apartment, and was one of my very first forays into the world of crafting.  I slaved over it to design the perfect look, find the perfect paint colors, and make everything look just right.  I hung it in our little home over our wine fridge and was so proud.

Welcome, Fall | DIY Sign Tutorial + Free Silhouette Cut File

The sign read “‘Wine is bottled poetry’ by Robert Lewis Stevenson.”  Which was perfect.  Until I, being a former English major and current perfectionist, realized that it’s Robert Louis Stevenson.  #fail

So the sign got tossed in a closet and moved from one apartment to the other and finally into our home with the intention to fix the minor issue.  And then we became parents and toned down the wine related decor, and with the movement of rooms and such for the new baby, the sign almost got tossed in the trash.  Except I can’t handle wasting a good piece of wood.  Especially when the hanging bracket is already installed.  And September is here so I’m already itching to pull down my fall decorations.

So, while the kid napped, I gave the sign a quick coat of primer and then a coat of white and started in again.  And came up with this sign.  Which I’m now totally obsessed with.  And it was free.  The end.

Welcome, Fall | DIY Sign Tutorial + Free Silhouette Cut File

Welcome, Fall | DIY Sign Tutorial + Free Silhouette Cut File

Download the cut file HERE and use the tutorial below to make one of your own!

Supplies
Silhouette Cameo
Silhouette adhesive vinyl, hook tool and transfer paper
1 piece of wood, approx 11.25″ x 18″
Paint in whatever colors you want for the sign {I used white spray paint for the background and a chocolate brown brown flat paint sample for the lettering}
Sponge brush for lettering
Opt: hanging bracket for the back of the sign

How To…

{photo tutorial below}

1) Spray paint wood with two coats background color and let dry completely {if you’re going over an old sign, use a coat of primer first}
2) Download the cut file to your Silhouette software and cut the adhesive vinyl
3) Use the hook tool to pick out the lettering
4) Roll transfer paper over the top of the vinyl and transfer the top (sticky) layer to the transfer paper
5) Lay vinyl, sticky side down, on the wood and press to adhere.  Slowly and carefully remove transfer paper.  Now you have your stencil adhered to the wood!
6) Use sponge brush to lightly dab small amounts of paint in lettering colors over your stencil.
7) Once all letters have been painted, remove silhouette vinyl stencil.  Let dry completely.
8) If necessary, touch up with a small paint brush.
9) Opt: Install hanging bracket

Enjoy!

Welcome, Fall | DIY Sign + Free Silhouette Cut File

Welcome, Fall | DIY Sign Tutorial + Free Silhouette Cut File Links aren’t affiliates…just there to help you out!

Happy 4th of July!

Have an amazing, safe Independence Day with your family and friends!

And if you’re looking for a last minute easy, no bake dessert that’s perfect for any summer bbq to bring to a potluck this evening, try these Peanut Butter S’mores Bars or S’mores Pops!

Peanut Butter S'mores Bars {No Bake!} | Little Kitchen, Big Bites S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

[ File # csp8921184, License # 2546864 ]Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php)(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / SOMATUSCANI

[ File # csp8921184, License # 2546864 ]Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php)(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / SOMATUSCANI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

My lovely friends, grilling season has officially begun.  And if you’re like us, you’re dusting off the BBQ and getting ready for plenty of warm evenings with burgers, brats and other deliciousness.  But then…

Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar to you.  You’ve invited a bunch of family and friends over for a summer BBQ {Memorial Day last weekend anyone?}.  You got the Costco sized pack of hamburgers for at least $25 {a steal for the amount of ground beef that they give you…kisses to Costco}.  They all get grilled up, put on the buffet and everyone settles in to eat their share.

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

You go to tidy up as you’re finishing your meal and you realize there are five perfectly good cooked burgers that haven’t been touched.  Your husband isn’t going to eat a second day leftover hamburger.  Your kids won’t touch them.  So you’re either stuck eating them yourselves or letting that delicious Costco beef go to waste.  Usually, in my house, they end up in the trash can.  Which kills me.

So this time, I planned ahead.  When I got the burgers, I grabbed a few extra ingredients and banked on the fact that there would be extras.  And lo and behold, five delicious burgers ended up in my fridge, ready to be thrown in the slow cooker the next day.

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And these lettuce wraps are good, easy, relatively healthy stuff {which you really need the day after a big bbq}.  Delicious, sweet and salty and slightly spicy lettuce wraps, with a little hint of smoke from the grill.

I would like to note that you can make the same recipe with ground beef and just brown it up in a pan before you put it in the slow cooker.  It just won’t give you the same level of satisfaction of saving food that you’ll get if you manage to hack your BBQ leftovers into a healthy, delicious second day meal.

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 4-6 large hamburgers, cooked {or sub for 1.5 - 2 lbs hamburger meat}, crumbled with hands or potato masher into bite sized pieces
  • 1½ cups crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small can water chestnuts, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup General Tsao sauce
  • ¼ cup beef broth
  • 1 T sriracha
  • 1 T ginger
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 head lettuce, washed and separated, for cups
  • Sriracha, green onions, additional General Tsao or soy sauce or any other desired toppings or dips
Instructions
  1. Add everything except the cabbage, lettuce and toppings into the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  3. Stir in cabbage and let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until cabbage has softened.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove mixture from crock pot and place in lettuce cups.
  5. Top with sriracha, green onions, and any desired sauces.

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Slow Cooker Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps | Leftover Hamburger Hack | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

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