Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chocolate & Caramel Apple Donuts

By Vicky Nardone

So the story of these donuts starts with me changing my pajamas and ends with deliciousness!  My dad was in town visiting last weekend as a surprise for my aunt and uncle for their 40th anniversary.  We had a big surprise party with them and it was awesome!  They were very surprised.

Anyway, my dad loves donuts and he is always commenting when he sees posts or pictures of the desserts that I make that I need to send him some in the mail.  So I decided while he was here on a weekend where we didn't have a million things going on that I would make him some donuts.

A while ago, I saw this great post Jocelyn of Inside BruCrew life on a quick, easy way to make fried donuts.  Apparently if you fry up Pillsbury Grand Rolls, they taste just like donuts.  They're literally amazingly good.  So I convinced Matt to go out for these instead of spending $20-$30 on going out for breakfast.  I get the fryer down in preparation to make these and I tipped it a little (We keep our fryer on top of the fridge) and all of sudden the oil inside the fryer is all over me and the floor.  Luckily dish soap works pretty well for cleaning up slipper oil off the floor.  And our dog Maggie cleaned up any spots that I missed with her tongue.  The last thing we cooked in the fryer was fish so it's kind of like fish oil right?

Anyway, once that disaster was cleaned up I got down to the business at hand.  Making delicious donuts.

Here's how you do it:


  • Container of Pillsbury Grand rolls
  • Oil for frying in (I used veggie oil)
Apple Topping
  • 1 Can Apple Pie Filling
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Caramel Sauce
Chocolate Topping
  • Chocolate Fudge

  1. Heat your oil to around 325 degrees.
  2. Open the can of Pilsbury rolls and use tongs to stick them in the oil one at a time.  I fried about three at a time.
  3. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side until lightly golden brown.
  4. Use tongs to remove from the oil and set on a plate of paper towels.  Pat excess oil off with another paper towel.
  5. After the donuts have cooled off for a minute or two, you can apply the toppings.  For the chocolate donuts, microwave the hot fudge for 30 seconds.  Spread the fudge on top of the donuts.  I think Nutella would be delicious too.
  6. For the caramel apple donuts, combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the donut.  Lay two to three apples on top of the donut.  Lastly, dribble the caramel sauce across the top of the donuts.
  7. Try not to eat all 8 in one sitting. I dare you! 
  Chase the Star Chic on a Shoestring Decorating craftionary

Saturday, September 28, 2013

More Animal Cards

By Vicky Nardone

About a month or so ago I posted this giraffe birthday card that I made for my friend Bryan's birthday.  I got into the animal theme so I made two more animal birthday cards for my friends' Chris and Katie's birthdays.

Katie's birthday was actually the day before Bryan's and I made the card the same day as Bryan's but it took me forever to mail it out.  Bryan had a small birthday celebration at one of our local bars so I didn't have to mail his, hence why I was able to post it sooner.  Katie has two kitties so I thought this one would be perfect for her.

I've recently gotten into the whole stamping thing so I used this letter set I had bought a while ago to stamp her initials on the envelope (which I didn't end up using since I mailed it instead of giving it to her in person!).

Chris's birthday is actually four days before mine.  In past years we have done a double celebration of our birthdays.  I think we may actually have been born in the same hospital.  For Chris I made this cute little raccoon card.  I am loving this polka dot paper I found at Michaels a while ago.  It has all different colors.  I used all of them in my rehearsal dinner scrapbook page.

I made an envelope for Chris too that never got used since I sent his card in the mail too.

Since I'm talking so much about birthdays, I thought I'd share a picture from my birthday.  My mom got me a new camera lens for my Canon.  Matt was showing me how it worked and he took a really cute picture of me with Piper.

Have a good Saturday everyone!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mod Podge Bench Makeover

By Vicky Nardone

I've had this project in mind for a while, but I finally got the chance to actually do it a couple of weekends ago.  My grandma passed away last April, and while we were cleaning out her garage, I came across this old wooden bench that had seen better days.  When I was younger, this bench used to sit on the front porch of the home that I grew up in.  When my mom bought a condo and ended up selling the house, she must have been planning to sell or throw out the bench and my grandmother rescued it and it sat in her garage for the pas 8 years.  She was a little bit of a pack rat and didn't like to see things get thrown out.  Anyway, with all the furniture make over and redo projects I've been seeing on my favorite blogs, I figured that I could do something to bring new life into this bench.  I'd been wanting to try my hand at some furniture decoration and this bench was totally free, so why not?

Here is what the bench looked like when I started.  Pretty rough shape right?  The foundation of the bench was still solid but the paint was peeling all over the place!
In exchange for spray painting some wooden shelves he wanted to use to organize the garage (you can see one of them in the background of the above picture), Matt agreed to sand the bench for me so I had a nice smooth surface to paint on.
Here's what it looked like after he had sanded it.  His tool couldn't get all the paint off of the railings and I wasn't going to spend five hours sanding it by hand, but I figured it was better than what it had started out as, so good enough!

Months ago, when I had actually first considered doing this project I had picked up a small can of light blue exterior paint from Home Depot.  I used a paint brush and painted the bench with the paint.  I was actually a little disappointed with the color.  It came out really white looking.  It was definitely more blue in the picture at the store.  In certain lights, you see the light blue tint but for the most part it is white.

Next came the fun part.  I spent hours in JoAnn fabrics the morning I did this project deciding what I wanted to use for decorations.  I found the cutest scrapbook sayings and accessories pack with flowery garden type images.  Since this bench was meant to go next to the flowers in our front yard, I decided this would be the perfect way to decorate the bench!  Here are the four saying I chose to mod podge onto the seat.

To adhere these, I spread a thin coat of mod podge onto the bench and stuck the sayings on.  Once that had dried, I painted over the whole thing with another couple coats of mod podge to protect the paper.  If you plan to use your creation outside like I do, make sure you buy exterior mod podge, which is meant to hold up against the elements.  I also added various heart, cload and butterfly images to the seat and back of the bench for some extra decoration.

The finishing touch though was the layer of jewels I applied to the front of the seat portion of the bench.  I found this ginormous bag of jewels at Jo Anns and used a 40% off coupon to get them for $12.  I might have over-estimated the amount of jewels I needed because I think I have enough left over to last me the rest of my life.  I applied mod podge to small areas of the front and then stuck jewels on one by one till the front was covered.  It took about a good hour.

But it looks really pretty!

I then set the bench in the front garden so I could take some pictures of it  It will color coordinate better in the spring when we get really pretty tulips in the front.
I had mentioned that I was working on the project to my mom last week and she finally got over to my house the other night to see it and I found out the bench actually used to belong to my great grandma!  I had the privilege of knowing my great grandma for the first 8 years of my life and she taught me how to knit and needle point when I was growing up, so a lot of my craftiness definitely comes from her.  My mom said she would have loved to have seen what I did with the bench.  She loved to garden so I think having the bench in the front garden is a perfect tribute to her.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Caprese Sandwich

By Vicky Nardone

Today is my birthday!!!! I'm officially 29 years old.  Work has been really busy and stressful lately so I decided to take the day off.  It's been really relaxing and I actually have time for a middle of the week blog post.  Tonight I'm going to this great steak and seafood place near our house called Black and Blue with my mom and Matt for my birthday.  Then on Thursday, Matt is taking me to this other neat place called The Cove with four of my closest friends for dinner and neon mini golf.

Anyway this past Sunday Matt and I were both off from working so we actually got to have lunch together.  My best friend Katie had recently made these great caprese sandwiches when we went to see Shakespeare in the park so I decided to try to replicate them for Matt.  I had actually bought all the ingredients the previous Saturday and I was really made because when I went to make these the rolls were moldy so I had to go back to the store and get new rolls.

Matt loved these and they were gone within 10 minutes!

Caprese Sandwiches (for two)

  •  2 sub rolls
  • Garlic olive oil (or regular if you don't have garlic)
  • Pesto
  • A small mozzerella ball
  • 1 tomato
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Split the sub rolls in half and use a brush to lightly coat the inside of the roll with the garlic olive oil.
  3. Place the sub rolls on a George foreman grill or panini maker or toaster oven or your oven broiler for about 3 or 4 minutes until their lightly toasted.  I used our George Foreman.
  4. Spread some pesto on top of the olive oil.
  5. Cut the mozzarella ball and the tomato into slices and lay about three slices of each on each sub roll.
  6. Stick the subs in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until everything is warm and melty.
I enjoyed my sandwich with a cold glass of iced tea.  It was great for a light lunch and didn't fill us up too much so we were still hungry for dinner.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Giraffe Birthday Card

By Vicky Nardone

Our friend Bryan had a birthday last month.  He had a party with a bunch of friends at one of our loal bars and I decided I needed to make him a card.  A giraffe card to be exact.  I had been eying this cute little guy on my Create A Critter cricut cartridge and I decided this would be the perfect time to use it.

I got my inspiration from this pin (I would link to the original page, but it seems to have been taken down from the vendor's site).  I brought it to the bar and everyone was raving about it.  One of the girls at the party couldn't seem to stop talking about how she couldn't believe I had made it!  She had also had a few drinks though.  :)

I also made one for my best friend Katie at the same time, but I don't want to post it because I haven't see her to give it to her yet and I know she reads the blog once in a while so I don't want to ruin the surprise.

Other details of this card include that I used my cuttlebug to create a texture on the orange background.  Also, behind the sentiment I used one of my favorite striped washi tapes.  I used a matching strip on the envelope to tie the card and envelope together.  Lastly, I have never been a huge proponent of stamps but I tried using one to stamp happy birthday on the card and I really liked the way it came out.  I also recently acquired some letter stamps at the scrapbooking convention that was in town earlier in the summer and I used them to stamp Bryan's initials on the envelope.  That really impressed one of his friends.  Bryan is an actor and he goes by BPS and his friend wanted to know if I had made a BPS stamp made for him.  :)

Anyway, I hope everyone has been having a wonderful Sunday.  I feel bad for my lack of posts lately but this big project I'm working on at work has been zapping my energy and by the time I get home from work at night I just feel like lying on the couch and watching mindless tv shows.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nectarine and Mango Infused Water

By Vicky Nardone

So I know water is one of the healthiest things you can drink but I've just never been a huge fan of just plain water.  That doesn't mean that I don't drink it plain but I say if you can dress it up a little than why not?

I first got the idea from this post on Christina's Adventures.  She had eight different flavors of infused water for her readers to try making!  I always like a little lemon in my water when I water out at a restaurant but I had never really considered putting any other type of fruit in my water.  I was just going to start simple and get some lemons and limes to cut up and stick in a pitcher of water but when I got to the store they had nectarines and mangoes for a pretty reasonable price and I thought that sounded like a pretty great combination!

This is so simple to do and it really adds a burst of flavor to your water.  I can taste the nectarine more than the mango but I also tried it right after I put the fruit in and the nectarines were a bit juicier so the flavor probably got absorbed quicker.

I'm definitely digging this trend.  I think I want to do something with pineapple next.

In other news my mom got home from her week long vacation in Delaware last night.  We went out to dinner at our favorite bbq place, Famous Daves as soon as she got home before she even went back to her house.  My mom and I are really close so I definitely missed her while she was gone.

Matt is working on filming a car crash for his latest movie today.  He's really excited about it and I'm really nervous about it.  It's pretty much his fault that I'm nervous though - he told me about some accident during a car crash on Batman where a cameraman would have gotten run over if he hadn't jumped out of the way.  So keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well!

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Wedding Shower Scrapbook Page #3

By Vicky Nardone

This is the third and final page of my three page bridal shower scrapbook layout.  I drew my inspiration for this page from the invitation.  My aunts threw me my bridal shower and my Aunt Carole picked out these invitations, which I just love.  So pretty and colorful.

At the end of the bridal shower we took some goofy pictures.  Two of Matt's best friends (and my bridesmaids), Mel and Lindsey were there so they took a whole bunch of fun pics with him because the three of them don't get to see each other very often.  Lindsey lives in Boston and Mel now lives in Detroit.  I knew I wanted to add some pizzazz to the pictures with my glitter glue pens especially since I had the perfect colors of glitter pens to match my color scheme.

We also took some family pictures since my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and my dad were all in from out of town too.  My sister in law actually got me the fun accent border that's at the top of the page as a Christmas gift.

Here's a close up of the invitation.  I cut out a bunch of flowers from one of my wedding cricut cartridges and dressed them up with glitter.  I was using regular paper and not cardstock though and because of the intricate details of the flowers I had such a hard time cutting them without them tearing, not matter which settings I used.  I managed to get enough of them to do what I wanted though.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how this one came out.