DIY Project | Festive Gift Wrapping

Tis the season for making everything merry and bright!  We teamed up with the always crafty and creative Tammie Markham of @dearwhimsy to create an adorably festive gift wrapping DIY to try this holiday season.

Supplies: 
Kraft paper gift wrap
Paper flower template
Card stock paper (white,red, light green, dark green)
Gold ribbon
Hot glue gun
Scissors
Double-sided tape

I started by wrapping my box with the kraft paper.

After I finished wrapping the box, I then tied this pretty gold ribbon around the box.

You want to cut as close as you can to the knot. Then print the provided template to make the paper flower. Cut out the different shapes so you can start tracing on the colored paper.

You will need: 4 of the (A) petals, 3 of the (B) petals, and 1 of the (C),(D), and (E) petals.

After you’re done cutting the traced petals, cut a straight line down the middle of the petal as shown on the template.

Now you will want to add a little dot of hot glue to connect the sides. That will give your flower some dimension and shape.

It’s time to start putting your flower together, you can do so by piecing all of the (A) petals to one another. Then glue the (B) petals together.

When you are finished the with (A) and (B) petals, glue the completed (B) petal to the center of the (A) petal. They should overlap like the finished picture displays.

I like to place the (E) piece on my hand and apply pressure to the center and the sides using the eraser of my pencil. It will give the petal a round look and that will give you more dimension.

It’s finished! As you can see, you can mix it up by using different colors.  I can’t wait to see what you come up with. You can show me by tagging me on Instagram  @dearwhimsy #dearwhimsydiy

Happy Holidays!

Made By Hand | Bear Fox Chalk

In our latest lookbook, The Happiest Season of All, we are excited to feature the chalk designs (and Minnetonka style!) of the creative duo behind Bear Fox Chalk, Johnna and Max Holmgren.

In 2011, a paper goods and stationery store Johnna managed was in need of a large chalk menu for their cafe.  Max asked if he could take on the project for fun and together the two brainstormed and collaborated on the menu’s design.

From that first project the thought process leading to Bear Fox Chalk was born.  Opportunities lead to other chalk projects and Johnna and Max soon realized there was an audience for starting a business centered around chalk designs.

Since then Max and Johnna have had the chance to collaborate with a variety of clients, merging visions to create original designs for each.

With projects that allow for more creative freedom the process always begins in a sketchbook. To spark ideas for future designs their daily sketches serve as constant inspirations, as well as referencing books they’ve collected over the years ranging from medieval hunting scene illustrations to vintage lettering to wood engravings.

The process for each design differs depending on size and details involved.  For the whimsical pieces created for the Minnetonka lookbook Max and Johnna loved the idea of using chalk lettering and illustration to showcase actual Minnetonka product in a fun, new way.

Learn more about Bear Fox Chalk at www.bearfoxchalk.com and be sure to follow their adventures on Instagram @bearfoxchalk and @johnnaholmgren.

DIY | Festive Wreath

As a child I’d sit on a boulder by the creek with my dad, push a fat worm onto a hook, and fish for trout for breakfast. I snipped wild chives from the bottom of the back stairs for omelets, I hung from vines until they fell and made wreathes, I painted using crush berries and grass as my ink, and proclaimed myself the wild raspberry queen, battling the birds every late July so I would have enough fruit to make jam. I learned math by knitting.

Since the holidays are upon us, there is never a better time than to do some of that wreath making that I loved growing up, using bits you can easily find in nature.

To gather the key ingredient for this project, hang from the vines in the woods until they drop, or use your clippers and go in search of the thinner kind. Types of vines that are good for wreath making include wisteria, honeysuckle, and grape, but a walk in the woods will no doubt reveal others. This is a free way to decorate your home year-round.

You’ll want vines, about a 10-foot length, depending on the size, but smaller lengths will work too if you wind them together.

Take a single piece of vine and wrap the ends together to form a circle. I recommend using a piece that is at least 4-feet long to start.

Use another piece of vine and wrap it around the frame.

Repeat this with vines until you have a thick frame, tucking in any ends as you go, and building on any areas that are thinner than others.

Then take a walk in nature and see what kinds of decorations you can find. What is available will vary depending on the season, which is great because you can change out the materials and colors using the same vine base.

Dried flowers, berries and willows are easy to find.  Rose hips are some of my favorite.

 

Spruce and pine, and holly all look wonderful.  Tuck them between the vines to decorate the wreath. Bonus if you can find feathers on your nature walk.

Then go ahead and hang it! Or give it as a gift, someone will love it. I know my grandmother did.

 

About Georgia Pellegrini:

Georgia’s taste for simple food and outdoor adventure evolved as she grew up in the Hudson Valley. She followed her passion to the French Culinary Institute and then to Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and La Chassagnette in France. Georgia is the author of “Food Heroes,” “Girl Hunter,” and the new book “Modern Pioneering.” She has appeared on Today, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Iron Chef, and much more, and her outdoor Adventure Getaways have been featured everywhere from the New York Times, to the Wall Street Journal, to HBO. She lives in Austin, Texas and chronicles her adventures on her wildly popular website GeorgiaPellegrini.com and her Facebook fan page.

Made By Hand: Georgia Pellegrini’s Stuffed Pumpkin Recipe

I like a good pumpkin dessert as much as the next girl. But I think we need more savory pumpkin dishes on the Thanksgiving dinner table, to show the pumpkin’s full glory and potential.  Enter… the stuffed pumpkin. This is one of those dishes that is a breeze to put together, tastes otherworldly, and has an impressive presentation that makes you seem like a kitchen Goddess.

You will need: a pumpkin that is 3 pounds, (or if you want to be whimsical about it you can try to get small ones and serve them individually), leek, gruyere cheese, stale bread, nutmeg, pancetta, thyme, a head of garlic, and smoked paprika. You’ll also need a mystery ingredient which I failed to photograph here…Cream! Heavy cream! The best ingredient there ever was.

Begin by roasting a whole head of garlic. Simply wrap a whole head of garlic, with olive oil, in tin foil. If the cloves fall apart like mine did, that’s A-OK. Roast them in the oven for 1 hour while you get the rest of the ingredients together. When they are done you will be able to squeeze them right out of their casings.

Carve off the top of the pumpkin. It will be full of fresh seeds. If you’re feeling patient you could save some of them and toast them, in fact I recently roasted them and then drizzled them with melted dark chocolate, then popped them in the refrigerator for the chocolate to harden. It was a delicious snack.

Season your pumpkin with a good dose of salt and pepper on the inside. Then set it aside and get the stuffing ready.

Cut the pancetta up into a small dice. It has a more nutty, complex flavor than bacon does which is why I prefer it, but bacon will work if that’s what you have available.

Next you’ll prepare and clean the leek, cutting the white and light green portion into thin slices. You can save the tougher green ends for stock making.

Next, render some pancetta in a skillet and let the fat sizzle and the pancetta crisp.  Add the leeks, season them with some salt and pepper and let them wilt.

They’ll become soft and translucent. Try to resist eating the whole thing with a spoon right then and there. It’s hard.  Once you have it where you want it, remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Then you’ll cut some stale bread… it can be semi-stale, it’s going to soak up some liquid. You’ll want 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces.

Then grate the heavenly gruyere cheese.

In a separate bowl, combine the bread, gruyere, picked thyme, the smoked paprika and the nutmeg!

Mix it all together, add the pancetta and leek mixture to the bowl… and give it a a nice stir. And don’t forget the best ingredient of all…the roasted garlic! Which you can now squeeze out of their magical skins into the bowl.

Scoop the stuffing into the pumpkin and fill it up.

Then pour on some cream for moisture.  Put the lid on top and bake this in the oven for about 90 minutes.

It will become very tender and easily pierced with a knife. That’s when it’s ready.

This is festive to present to your guests at the dinner table, and bonus points if you can find very small pumpkins to serve these as individual servings.

The filling is to die for and highlights pumpkin’s many virtues.  Leave a comment below if you’ll be trying this for your Thanksgiving table!

“Stuffed Pumpkin”

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 3-pound pumpkin, 2 1.5-pound pumpkins or 4 1-pound pumkins
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pancetta, diced
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups croutons or stale bread, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese, plus more for sprinkling at the end
  • 1 tablespoon freshly picked thyme
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

 

Instructions

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cut the root and top end off of the garlic head, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in tin foil and roast in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour, or until soft.
3.  Cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin and remove the lid. Cut the seeds off of the lid and scoop out the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin. Season the inside with salt and pepper.
4.  In a medium-large saute pan over medium heat, brown the pancetta to release the fat. Add the leek and sweat until soft. Turn off the heat and let cool.
5.  In a bowl, combine the croutons, cheese, thyme, nutmeg and smoked paprika. Once cooled, add the pancetta and leeks and mix to combine.
6.  Remove the roasted garlic from the oven and squeeze the cloves out of the skins. Roughly chop and add to the mixture.
7.  Fill the pumpkin with the stuffing mixture. Pour over the heavy cream, put the pumpkin lid back on, and place on a sheet tray covered with a rack or a silicone pad to prevent it from sticking.
8.  Bake for 90 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is tender and easily pierced with a fork.
9.  In the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove the lid from the pumpkin and top the stuffing with the extra grated gruyere. Return the pumpkin to the oven, keeping the lid on the side of the sheet tray so the cheese can brown and bubble.
10.  Serve warm, sliced into fourths, in half, or as individual pumpkins depending on their size.

About Georgia Pellegrini:

Georgia’s taste for simple food and outdoor adventure evolved as she grew up in the Hudson Valley. She followed her passion to the French Culinary Institute and then to Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and La Chassagnette in France. Georgia is the author of “Food Heroes,” “Girl Hunter,” and the new book “Modern Pioneering.” She has appeared on Today, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Iron Chef, and much more, and her outdoor Adventure Getaways have been featured everywhere from the New York Times, to the Wall Street Journal, to HBO. She lives in Austin, Texas and chronicles her adventures on her wildly popular website GeorgiaPellegrini.com and her Facebook fan page.

Made By Hand | A&J King Bakery

Andy and Jackie King, artisanal bakers based in New England, have certainly made a splash with their perfectly imperfect hand-made breads and baked goods at their headquarters cafe and bakery.

After opening up in 2006, A&J King quickly established themselves as a go-to for beautiful, well-made breads, utilizing traditional methods that match the historic ambience of Salem, MA, where they are located.

Andy and Jackie are no one trick ponies, also offering up delicious pastries, signature sandwiches and more in their full-service cafe.

The magic starts in the kitchen, where each step of the baking process is performed by hand, from kneading the dough to cutting the beautiful patterns on each loaf that are brought out during the baking process.

In 2013, Andy and Jackie published their first cookbook, Baking by Hand (MacMillan), further elaborating their philosophy on baking and the quality of craft they live by. They’ve shared with us their favorite recipe for the holiday season – bread pudding!

Bread pudding is one of Andy and Jackie’s favorite things to make at the bakery, and they’ve been making them since Day One! It is simple, can be adapted to whatever fruits or flavors are in season (or whichever ones you have one hand), tastes great hot, cold, or room temperature. There’s not a lot of science to it. You need a bread product to soak up your custard, and you need enough custard to soak into the bread. That’s pretty much it!

Pro tip — make sure to use stale bread (or stale it yourself by leaving it on your counter for a few hours, as fresh bread tends to fall apart when absorbing the liquid). Once you get the idea of how to assemble bread pudding, you’ll be off and running with your own unique flavor combinations.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 lb stale croissant, brioche, challah, or other enriched dough, 1” dice

3  large eggs

7 oz whole milk

7 oz half and half

2/3 cup sugar

6 oz roasted, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin

1.25 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Whisk eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, pumpkin puree and spices in a large bowl until combined and smooth.

Add the bread, and toss with your hands or spoon until all the bread is coated with the custard. Let it sit at least 30 minutes (but no longer than an hour) stirring occasionally.

Put all of the bread and custard mixture into a greased circular 8″ pan or paper mold.

Bake at 375˚F until golden brown and it feels firm when pressed, about 45 minutes. When cooled, drizzle with maple sugar icing.

Maple Sugar Icing

(Whisk all ingredients together until smooth and lump free)

6.5 oz Maple Sugar

2 oz Confectioner’s Sugar

2 oz Half and Half

Learn more about Andy and Jackie at www.AJkingbakery.com.