veggie-dyed easter eggs

The last time I dyed Easter eggs was at a little dinner party I hosted a few years ago in Iowa. I was dating this guy who was really good at playing guitar. He played songs while everyone sang and dyed eggs, and then he fell in love with my best friend.

Best friends will forever be better than boyfriends.

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We’re just a few days away from Easter, which means we’re a few days away from eating Cadbury eggs and jelly beans until we’re sick.

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These Easter eggs are the opposite of Cadbury eggs. They’re the organic, sugar-free version of jelly beans. Remember that Paas dye we used for eggs back in the day? This natural method results in less vibrant colors, but you get to squish handfuls of blackberries with your hands. I will totally take that tradeoff.

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To make any of these natural dyes, boil two cups of water in a pot with one of the veggie or spice mixtures, below. Let boil for about 10 minutes, remove from heat, and stir. Let steep and cool for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour. I let mine steep for about 10 minutes, which resulted in the subdued, pastel colors.

Strain the color mixture into a jar using cheesecloth and a rubber band. Stir in one tablespoon of white vinegar and carefully place in a hardboiled egg. Let sit for at least five minutes. I was experimenting with this for a kids class I’m hosting this weekend, where we’ll have limited amounts of time. I’ve seen some beautiful tutorials from bloggers who let their eggs sit overnight (like Michelle’s post on the JoyFoodly blog!).

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magenta: 1/2 chopped beet + 2 handfuls squished blackberries
orange: 2 Tablespoons paprika + 1 Tablespoon chili powder
yellow: 3 Tablespoons tumeric + yellow onion skin
green: 1 Tablespoon loose green tea + 1 cup ripped up spinach leaves
blue: 1 cup chopped purple cabbage
pink: 1 cup cranberry juice

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aspargus & gruyere tart

Have you guys heard the term “life hack?” I’ve been seeing it bouncing around the internet lately, so I did a little research. Life hacks are things that people do to make their life more efficient or organized or happy. They’re things like putting pancake batter into a squeezy ketchup bottle to make perfectly round pancakes. I started thinking about ways I hack my own life and put together a little list for you. I’d love to hear yours!

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My life hacks:

-Sometimes I wake up really late for work. Or rather, sometimes I wake up on time for work, hit snooze four times, and leave myself zero time to wash and dry my hair. That’s when hair powder comes in. In a pinch, corn starch works beautifully.

-I consider black liquid eyeliner a life hack for making sure I look like I’m not still asleep. When I need to take it off at the end of the day, coconut oil is the best makeup remover I’ve found.

-Big huge headphones might look ridiculous, but they will never fall off while running like those little earbuds do. They’re also helpful for talking on the phone hands free while driving and keeping people from making conversation with you at the grocery store.

-I always have a bag with running shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt in my car. That way I have less excuses to skip my workout and always have an extra shirt for when I spill coffee all over the one I’m wearing.

-I keep a box of butter puff pastry in my freezer so I’m always ready for guests. Top it with anything…slices of the apple that’s in your purse in case you get hangry, that bag of shredded cheese in your refrigerator drawer, the mushrooms that are going to get slimy if you don’t use soon. Your friends will think your house always smells like baking pastry. Your secret’s safe with me.

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asparagus & gruyere tart
a Martha Stewart recipe

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 400. Let your pastry thaw for a few minutes before laying onto a circular tart dish, pressing the edges into the scalloped part of the dish. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. While the crust is baking, wash asparagus and cut off the ends.

Remove the dish from the oven and arrange asparagus onto the crust, alternating ends and tips. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with gruyere, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve warm.

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smoked salmon crostinis

Confession: sometimes I use toasted bread to bribe my friends into coming over. Remember our pb&j party? And our grilled cheese party? So much love, so much toast.

Crostinis are just fancy little toasts. Put some smoked salmon on them and they’re even fancier little toasts. Call your smoked salmon “lox,” and you’re too fancy for me. Sorry.

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I made these crostinis for my springy cocktail party, and they fit in quite nicely. Fresh dills pairs well with funky smoked salmon, and having a salty finger food is a good idea when serving drinks. These guys can rock a brunch or a tea party or a dinner gathering. They’re pretty and versatile and enjoy a good party. Just like you!

smoked salmon crostinis
adapted from Real Simple

1 sourdough baguette, sliced
4 oz smoked salmon
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
sea salt
pepper

Spread your baguette slices onto a baking sheet at toast at 400 for 5-10 minutes. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, and 1/4 teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Remove toasts from oven and spread with cream cheese mixture. Top with a small slice of salmon and a sprig of fresh dill.

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weekend link party!

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my little jar terrarium was featured on this cool blog

beautiful DIY macrame

I got my haircut at this hip Hollywood parlor

loving this site on LA art/music/food

been listening lots of this and this

I’m hosting a floral arrangements class in Santa Monica on Sunday and would love for you to join!

makes me want to throw a tiki party

this fellow Whole Foodie has the coolest blog

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lavender lemon squares

Eating flowers either makes you an animal, a monster, or a princess. I think I’m a little mix of all of all three.

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I’m a monster under certain conditions, which include lack of sleep, lack of alone time, and lack of snacks. Give me strong coffee or a pretty trail to run on, and I’m an animal. I like flowers on my salad, rose in my tea, lavender in my lemon squares…sort of like a princess.

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I bought this citrus juicer already chipped. I think it adds charm (and know it adds a discount). I’ve been squeezing lemons all over the place, for pound cakes and hummus and lemon squares. I’m throwing in dried lavender buds and being a monster princess. Enjoy, you crazy animals!

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lavender lemon squares
makes 24

2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons dried lavender
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
2 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 dash salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
dried lavender buds and powdered sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare an 8×12 inch baking pan. Add sugar and 2 teaspoons lavender to a blender. Blend until it has the consistency of powdered sugar. In a bowl, add butter, coconut oil, 2 cups flour, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Press the dough onto the bottom of your baking dish and bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes). Meanwhile, mix the rest of your lavender sugar, 1/4 cup flour, eggs, and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Pour over baked crust and sprinkle with dried lavender buds. Bake until set, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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