Friday’s Gift…..have you heard of Fiverr?

Last weekend our neighbors had a crawfish boil!  Sitting in the driveway under a tent strung with lights, at a folding table spread with newspapers drinking a Hurricane while the kids played tag in the yard….a pretty great way to start off the warm weather months!  While drinking aforementioned Hurricane, I started talking to this great artist and blogger, Laura Bruzzese! She is really funny and really talented too – an awesome combination!

Laura told me about this fantastic site called Fiverr.com — I may be completely out-of-the-loop, but it was the first I had heard of it and since hearing about it last weekend, have probably spent 60 minutes of my life trolling the hilarious videos of people telling me what they will do for me for $5 bucks!

One guy will create a video testimonial for you/your company as the “Plastic Bag Man“, another will produce a video in which your message/logo is revealed inside a banana; and there is even a little kid who will sing Happy Birthday while holding her little dog Manny!

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift……”Saving Graces”

“Why Ellie Mac – Tart of Life?  Why do you think these things are so “fly”?”

Because they “rock” – that is why!

#1. Bill Atkinson’s Photo Card iPhone App – Ohhhh yes, there are so many photo card apps and I have many of them; but this one is the one I keep going back to time after time! Easy to use, fantastic quality & customer support, 5×7 postcard (laminated front and back) arrives in your mailbox…..love, love, love!  A “saving grace” for me because I tend to document my child’s life on my phone!  I take a picture with my phone, choose it as the front image, type a message on the back (there is plenty of room), add little “stickers” -the heart and basketball in this photo), send it to myself and sometimes others – Done! Yay!!

You buy PayPal credits ahead of time, so you never have to enter your credit card info or “log in” – you just choose if you want to email the card (free) or have it sent in the mail. It costs $2 to send the card by mail.  Particularly helpful when on vacation! – you just compose one card and choose as many recipients as you would like from your contact list!

#2.  Stuck On You ID Labels.  Ok, I know at the outset this might seem like a “no big deal” thing………and in that case you would be wrong…….so very very WRONG!  A friend of mine (April Young) turned me on to these about 5 years ago and I love them so much, I even have a set for myself with my email address!

This is why they are so amazing:

  • They are dishwasher & microwave safe.
  • They are vinyl (not paper!)
  • You can put them on the inside of shoes & coats
  • They are so small, kids are not embarrassed of them (the ones in this link are about the width of your pinkie finger nail) – and you can trim them down to just their name to make them even smaller.
  • They come in “cool” colors.
  • Stick them to everything!  Mobile phones, tools, inside of luggage, loop around the zipper of anything, cameras, chargers (think “Girls weekends” when everyone is plugging their charger into any available socket and everyone’s is the same), iPods, iPads, Nintendos, laptops, key fobs, notebooks – a bottle of wine – ha! – anything you do not want to lose – slap one of these babies on it and you’re good to go!
  • Think: Every single freakin’ thing you send your kid to school with – lunch boxes, cups, supplies – anything you want back or don’t want to have to buy again if it is lost – think about that my friend!

This a NOT a sponsored blog post – these are just things I love and thought you would like to know about – that is if you don’t already know about them!

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift……Fill in the blanks and make your own crossword puzzle!

Crossword I designed for the child of a friend – kids LOVE this….because it is all about them!

There is a site I truly adore.  I adore everything about it….the aesthetics, the mission, the beautifully honest and charming way she speaks about everything that is who she is, what she makes, why it is important to her, her products and her wonderful sporadic blog (I gather she is quite busy!).  “She” is Lea Redmond and she is refreshing and so great!  Her site is filled with her products and many free projects – my favorite is one of her conceptual knitting projects called the “Sky Scarf“, in which you knit a row of whatever color the sky happens to be everyday; at the end of the year, you end up with a 5 foot long scarf that is a visual sky calendar of the past year.

One day while looking at her blog, I happened upon a link that generates a crossword puzzle with your own words!  -You also write the hints (obviously)!  Such a fun thing for birthdays, holidays…..or any day! Kids love it because it is all about THEM!! — and you can make the answers as simple as can be, so even a 4 year old can enjoy something like this as long as an adult is there to fill in the blanks!  NOTE: Sit down and come up with a list of questions and answers first – then go to the site and plug in your answers & questions!

** #2 across “An old ______ injury makes Eleanore’s (me) back hurt sometimes.”

Answer: Bullfighting (I have an old bullfighting injury that makes my lower back hurt – but only about once a year…..and it is waaaaay cooler than having an old tennis injury!  When I was pregnant and hurting because of it, my OBGYN just looked at me dumbfounded.  I said “I was not fighting a bull yesterday! It was 15 years ago – in Spain no less!!” …..my explanation didn’t seem to make a difference.)

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift….. Kitchen tips you will love – even if you don’t “cook”

Cook’s Illustrated is my favorite cooking magazine!  I love their scientific approach to cooking and how they explain WHY some things work and some things do not!  I also love, love, love their “Quick Tips” section of suggestions sent in by readers! Nine years ago, Cooks Illustrated published The Best Kitchen Quick Tips – 534 tricks, techniques and shortcuts for the curious cook – be still my heart! Filled with “Duh! I can’t believe I never thought of that!” and “Oh my gosh! That is a fantastic idea – I would have never thought of that!” tricks….at least that is what I think every time I pick it up to read a few pages!

“Friday’s gift” to you is a small collection of my favorite tips (below the photo)and this link to where you can buy this most amazing book!

Illustrations from Cooks Illustrated Best Kitchen Quick Tips

My favorite tips and tricks:

1. You know how cooking spray gets all over the place when you are spraying a pan? Open you dishwasher and place the pan on the opened door of the dishwasher and spray it.  Any “overspray” will get washed away the next time you run the dishwasher! Duh!

2. Line your brownie pan with two rectangles of parchment paper (make diagonal cuts on the corners to allow the paper to fold in on itself when you pour in the batter). Bake and lift out the brownies — you do not even have to wash the pan!  Yay!

Did you know you can get pre-cut stacks of parchment paper?  They are fantastic! Available on Amazon.

3. Twist a potato onto a corkscrew and use the corkscrew as a “handle” while you are peeling the potato = no cut fingers!

4. To remove hard boiled eggs from boiling water, use a pasta spoon – one of those things with the little fingers and holes for water to drain.  One would think I would have figured this out after cracking many an egg trying to remove them with a too shallow spoon or tongs!

One last tip – this one is my own. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to brownie batter for a wonderfully subtle and delicious mild spicy “heat”.

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift…..David Eyre’s Pancake Recipe

I thought it would be fun to post a little “gift” every Friday…..a recipe, a fun website, a cool craft tutorial, etc.  Something fun to get the weekend started!

Today’s “gift” is this recipe for David Eyre’s Pancake Recipe from 1966 (with some changes/additions I have made).

Variations and names abound – Dutch Baby, German Pancake, or David Eyre’s Pancake – call it what you will, just be sure to try it!  It looks tricky but is the easiest thing in the world – I make it for my daughter before school, if that gives you any idea about the ease of making this dish!  It takes about 5 minutes to make and 20 minutes to bake – and works every time!  Be sure to scroll down for single serving ingredient measurements, other ways to serve it, and links to the original recipe!

Serves 2 to 4

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon whole milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Pinch of nutmeg

2-4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (***I only use 2 Tbs butter)

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Juice of half a lemon

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, milk, beaten eggs, and nutmeg in a bowl. Beat lightly with a whisk. Leave the batter a little lumpy and let rest for 5 minutes.
  2. While the batter is resting, put 2 Tbs butter in a 12′ heatproof skillet and put skillet in oven for 3-5 min. – check at around 3 min. to make sure butter is not burning.
  3. When the skillet is very hot, remove from oven (careful!), swirl butter around bottom to coat and pour in the batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pancake is golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle with the sugar and lemon juice, and serve with jelly, jam.
  5. Serve in the pan and rip off pieces (be sure to place pan on a heatproof surface!)

Single Serving 

(Single serving measurements are not exactly half of the full serving, but oddly enough they work. Also, be sure to use a smaller skillet.)

Scant 1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bake 15 minutes

Additional ways to serve: 

Brunch, lunch or dinner

After the pancake has been baked, add anything you would add to an omelet (shredded ham, mushrooms, spinach, etc) and a bit of shredded cheese to half of the pancake. With a spatula, fold over the other half and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt – or put it back in the still warm oven for a couple of minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve with a simply dressed spinach salad. Served this way, a pancake made in a 12″ skillet will serve three people. 

Links to the original recipe and a history of the family recipe from David Eyer’s daughter!

David Eyer’s Pancake from Food52

David Eyer’s Daughter’s Note – be sure to read this; it is so touching and provides a wonderful context for this recipe!  You will think of it each time you make this!

By Eleanore Macnish