Monday, April 22, 2013

Unisex Chevron Baby Shower + FREE Printables!

My favorite part of my day job is that I'm in charge of planning parties and events for the floor.  So what that means, essentially, is that I get paid to browse Pinterest for ideas, decorate, and all of my supplies are paid for!

One of my favorite people on the floor is having her first child next month - let's call her MTB - so when her supervisor asked me to help plan a shower I was stoked!

She is not your typical baby animals, pastel pink and blue, cutesy type of mom-to-be, so I knew a standard baby shower wasn't going to work for her.  I'm sure she would have appreciated anything we did, but we wanted it to scream her name when you walked in the door.

When she was telling me about her neutral with pops of color nursery, inspiration was born!

These are the colors I chose for the shower.

 And the invite.

Font, Font

And then I whipped up a little baby shower banner.  Download your own here!

Some bright-colored tassles.


Some big and bright poofs.


And PINWHEELS!  I'll detail in another post how I made these.

My co-conspirator, Joanie, brought/made these super cute Kewpie flowers.

Did I mention MTB isn't finding out what she's having?  And since no shower is complete without a game of sorts, I used that and came up with this "Bow or Beau" bulletin board game.  Since you guys are my favorite people on earth, I'm also sharing the headers for the bulletin board with you here.

Looks like she's having a boy!

Here's the decorated conference room.  It goes to show even the dingiest office conference room can be a great setting for a party!

Check out those artfully arranged forks!  That is all Joanie!

Get it?  An umbrella for a shower??  Get it!!

All in all, it was a fun time and we had a blast decorating for this shower!  If you use the printable baby shower banner or the printable Bow or Beau game, I'd love to see them in action!

If you'd like a blank version of the invite to customize yourself, I'd be happy pass it along, just email me!

Linking up, where else?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Make Horchata

Cute Junk I've Made | How to Make Horchata

While Dude and I were in Arizona, I had my very first taste of horchata at a teeny Mexican restaurant called Moreno's.  If you've never had it, horchata is this amazing milky, kinda spicy drink made from rice.  If you like chai tea, you'll love horchata. 

Since we got back to Pittsburgh, I've been dying to find some really good horchata and have been failing at every turn. 

I tried the grocery store boxed version and it tasted like milk water that had been fermenting inside of a gym sock. 

We've been to three different "authentic" Mexican restaurants (as authentic as you can get in Pittsburgh) and only one offered horchata and it was not great. 

After that last failed attempt to purchase horchata, I gave up and decided to make some myself. 

Making your own horchata is insanely simple.  It requires ingredients that you probably have in your pantry right now and no special equipment other than a big jar and a blender.

How to Make Horchata - Ingredients

  • 1 cup of plain, white rice
  • 1 3" cinnamon stick (or a couple smaller ones)
  • 2 cups of hot water
 I told you!

First up, measure out your rice and water.

How to Make Horchata - 1 cup of rice

How to Make Horchata - 2 cups of hot water

Dump the rice and water into a tall container and then let it sit on your kitchen counter overnight.

How to Make Horchata - Rice/Water/Cinnamon in Jar

Once you've let this mixture sit for at least 12 hours, you'll need to blend it all together.

Dump everything, including the cinnamon sticks, into a blender and blend on the highest speed for at least 3 minutes.  I blended mine for about 5.

How to Make Horchata - Rice, water, and cinnamon blending
After blending, you'll still have some gritty-ness left over from the rice. 

How to Make Horchata - Gritty Finger

No one wants gritty horchata, so it's time to strain!

Sorry about that awkward sentence.  Moving on...

Set up a fine mesh strainer over top of a large bowl.

How to Make Horchata - strainer over bowl

Put some cheesecloth, muslin, or in my case, a flour sack kitchen towel, in the strainer.

How to Make Horchata - Towel in strainer

Then slooooowwwlllyy pour the horchata into the towel.  The good stuff will drip through and you'll be left with this paste in your towel.

How to Make Horchata - Horchata paste in towel

But there's still perfectly good horchata left in there, so when there's about a cup of liquid left in the towel, pick everything up and squeeze out the rest of the liquid.

How to Make Horchata - Squeezing the paste

Now you'll be left with a bowl full of mostly grit-free horchata.  I opted for one more trip through the strainer before I completed this next step, but you be the judge.

How to Make Horchata - Second time straining

This is what got caught the second time around, with no towel.

Lastly, mix your horchata with one cup of almond milk.  If you don't care for almond milk, you can substitute water, but I think the almond milk gives it a creamier consistency.

How to Make Horchata - 1 cup almond milk

I've got a major sweet tooth and just the (sweetened!) almond milk wasn't enough for me, so I whipped up a batch of vanilla simple syrup to add to the finished horchata.

Yes, you could just add sugar, but I never have good luck getting sugar to blend with cold liquids so simple syrup was an easy decision for me.

Simple syrups are pretty simple to make...I guess you could have guessed that on your own just based on the name, huh?

All you do mix equal parts of sugar and water and then boil on the stovetop until all the sugar is dissolved.  Allow it to cool to room temperature and add whatever flavoring you prefer.  In my case, I added a teaspoon of vanilla.

How to Make Horchata - boiling simple syrup

I used a bit less than half a cup of simple syrup to sweeten my horchata.

How to Make Horchata - Measured simple syrup

If you have the willpower of 1,000 men and women, put the horchata in the fridge to rest for an hour or two.

But if you're impatient like me, pour some over ice, add an extra dash of cinnamon and enjoy!

How to Make Horchata - Finished horchata in glass with cinnamon

And what goes better with milk than cookies??

How to Make Horchata - Horchata in glass with cookie garnish

Was this horchata as good as Moreno's?  Probably not, but was it better than any horchata I've had since we got back to Pittsburgh?  You bet!!!

Background Noise for This Project:  Sherlock - Season 1, Episode 1:  A Study in Pink