Cheesecake Factory-Style Caesar Salad

Hello friends!

A while ago on Instagram I mentioned something was brewing in the kitchen, and it was the famous Cheesecake Factory Caesar Salad!! This isn’t my own recipe, I found it on a cooking blog called Mom’s Dish! I decided to write this one up to spread the word, and a second opinion doesn’t harm anyone :)

Check out the recipe here, it’s by Natalya Drozhzhin, who has a variety of delicious recipes for the tummy!

She did not lie when she said it tastes like Cheesecake Factory’s salad, because it actually DOES! I asked my sisters, parents and my uncle who all agreed as well, so you don’t get a biased opinion haha! Definitely recommend this one to all lovers of caesar salads and the famous restaurant. This is my take:

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Really easy and simple to make, and it makes quite the amount so it could last for one to two days depending on how small or large your portions are. When I knew we were having guests over, I doubled the recipe, but ended up having more dressing than salad. oops.

Thank you to Natalya Drozhzhin and give her blog a visit!

Hope you guys try it out and if you like it, give her some feedback :) New Monthly Finds post coming up soon so stay tuned!

Stay healthy,

Reem AlHashmi

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Planter Necklaces (DIY)

I have had this idea a really long time ago, and finally I found the time to make it!
During my usual etsy vists, I found this beautiful store- Wearable Planters by the lovely Colleen Jordan :)

This is what “wearable planters” are all about as told by Colleen:

Don’t let your plants stay at home! They help clean the air you breathe, are beautiful, and create a wonderful conversation starter. Carry a sprout, a succulent, or a flower you found on your morning walk! A necklace is a beautiful way to showcase your favorite plants, whether it is a flower or a succulent you’ve planted or found on your day’s adventures. A wearable planter is sure to make your day brighter!

You can’t possibly tell me this description alone didn’t make you want to get one asap. ;)

I know what you’re probably thinking, flower pots around my neck? No thank you. But trust me! They look absolutely great with your everyday outfits and compliment them so much! And the best thing about them is that everyday they can be different, because you can change the little flowers you put in them. Read on to see some example pictures of how they look great on almost every outfit :)

And today, I’m going to show you how to make your own version of planter necklaces using polymer clay! And don’t let that discourage you because I have finally found some polymer clay that you can purchase here in Abu Dhabi, so don’t fret! xD Yes, it wouldn’t be as clean and smooth like Colleen’s, but they look just as beautiful, trust me!

So here’s what you’ll need:
- Polymer clay, colors of your choice. (Abu Dhabi – L’atelier des Arts is one place that supplies some. If you happen to know any place in Dubai that supplies them please let me know so I can post it here for others)
– A needle or any pointy object
– Some string, thread or chain for the actual necklace
– Flowers/plants of course. These have to be small and simple, not a huge rose :P
– Your imagination.

How to make’ em:

I’ll be explaining the steps to three different shapes that I created. You can always experiment and do whatever shape you like!

The Teardrop
Using some of my navy clay, shaping it into a circle at first, I then rolled one “side” of it to shape a “teardrop” or a long oval.

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Then used a needle to shape the opening of the flower pot. This step is very important: you must make sure your hole is wide at the top, and narrow as you go down to the bottom of the planter, otherwise, your plants/flowers will fall out. The narrow bottom is supposed to support the plant in place so it doesn’t fall out as you’re moving. (This tutorial doesn’t require you to put a flower with its soil in the planter necklace, we’re only going to be using the flower.)

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Now the opening at the top will look messy at first but you can always smooth it out with your fingers. Lastly, I poked a small hole for my string to go through later on after baking the clay.

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The Circle
This is the easiest one, you can do it with your eyes closed. Shape a circle, poke a hole in it- You’re done!! No lies, that’s it! To make it look a little “edgy” and different I made the opening diamond shaped :) But that’s all there is to it.

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Don’t forget to make an opening for your string!

The Flower
I apologize for the lack of pictures for this one as I did it at the top of my head and didn’t plan it out at all, but it turned out to be my favourite! This time, instead of shaping a 3D circle I rolled out a flat one and placed it onto something circular to help shape it.

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I peeled off the edges from different sides to make it look like an opening flower. Then I just played around with it, pinched the edges and smoothed them out and ended up with this!

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Once you’re done modelling and baking, insert the strings and threads and go off to find some pretty little flowers to start wearing them around wherever you go!

Here’s the final result…

 

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Don’t they just look amazing? And yes, the last picture shows how the planter looks stunning even with an abaya on! So let me know what you think and if you guys try it, show me your creations! :)

Good luck & Eid Mubarak to everyone!
– Reem AlHashmi

Make your own Minion!!

Yes, you read that right! Finally, I have put together another crafting tutorial for you guys, and this time I’m going to be showing you how to needle felt your very own little minion! :)

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Now I explained what the art of needle felting is in my previous post, but if you missed it, check it out here. The explanation is at the bottom.

Let’s get to work~

Materials you’ll need:

– Needle felting needles (Yes, those are different from the ones you use to sew)
– Wool batting in colors Yellow, Dark+Light Blue, Grey, Black, Brown and White
– Foam or Styrofoam mat
– Lots of patience as this takes up some time, but it is so much fun!

Let’s get to the lab work! ;)

Step #1

Using your yellow wool, cut your desired length and with your hand, shape it into an oval-ish potato shape, like that of a minion. Then, proceed to stab it with your needle (a lot) until it holds its shape. It MUST be firm and look like the picture below, because what you’re actually doing is tangling the wool until it’s so tangled you won’t be able to alter it’s shape afterwards.

If you want your minion to be big (size of your palm for example) make sure you cut a big piece of wool, otherwise, if you start small, you’ll end up with an even smaller figure, because the wool shrinks a lot during the process.

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Step #2

Once you get the hang of “needle felting”, the rest of the steps are basically easier than easy. I’m a beginner myself, and if I managed to do it, then so can you! Shape two smaller oval shapes with your dark blue wool and stab them for a while until they’re nice and firm. Then, stick them on your minion, but not with glue of course. All you have to do to attach them is stab them continuously in your desired spot, making sure you stab vertically and on around the sides of the “oval feet” to make sure they’re really in place and won’t fall off easy. Make them a little smaller as we will add their shoes, and their overall feet are very small.

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Step #3

Now it’s time to dress him up in overalls! This time, we’re not making shapes, we’re layering the wool onto an existing shape, which is the minion we have now. Take your dark blue wool again, and spread it over the bottom quarter or so of your minion, leaving space for the short sleeves and the front pocket. Then stab your way around it’s body until the blue wool is stuck firmly and you cannot pull it out with your fingers. If by the stabbing you’ve noticed the blue goes deeper inside and yellow is revealed, don’t fret! Add some more layers until you’re satisfied :)

I then added the front pocket and the sleeves. Basically just eye-ball where you would place his hands in the next step, and just add the sleeves around that area.

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Step #4

Next, roll out some long yellow wool, needle felt it and attach it to your minion. I know it might seem like my minion’s arms are long, but minions’ arms go down to their feet :P Make them just a smidge bit shorter because we’re adding black parts in the end as their gloves.

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Step #5

Here, I skipped a few steps because I’ve already explained the basics on how to do them during those first few steps. Just add his details, black pieces for shoes and gloves, a cute little smile and of course, his signature goggles.

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If I’m not mistaken, I think I made myself a Dave, because of his weird looking six pieces of hair on his head :P Dave and Kevin are my favourites tbh! xD

And that’s it, you’re done! Here’s what my minion looks like :D

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Our bananas are green lol!

You can even make him follow you everywhere by making him into a minion pin! Just stick any ordinary safety pin through his bottom (If you want him to sit on your shoulder like the first picture at the top) or back (if you want him to stick like a brooch), then onto your piece of clothing! Honestly he compliments my Abaya so much <3 :D

Thank you guys so much for reading and I hope this tutorial motivated or inspired you to make your own little minion. If you did, always feel free to share your creations with me :) I love knowing people benefit from my tutorials!

Until next time, have a good weekend everyone!

- Reem AlHashmi

Piece of Cake: Vermicelli Bites

Hello ladies and gents!

My newest category to my blog is a cooking-themed one, which I’ll call it “Piece of Cake” from now on. The idea behind the name is because the recipes I’ll post will be simple and easy, just like what the saying describes!

My first recipe is one I am not sure if many of you know, because I had a school “Bake Sale” long ago and many people were suspicious about it and didn’t know what it actually was. But oh, how their doubts disappeared when they took a bite :) Trust me, you’ll love it too! Very fast and easy, takes approx. 10-20 minutes max.

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

– Two packs of “thin” Vermicelli. If you’re not sure what that is, here’s how it looks like. Basically, “balalee6″ lmao. Make sure it’s the brown not the white kind.
– 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
– 100 g butter (unsalted) *preferably room temperature*

Materials:

– Deep pan
– Ice tray

That’s all. A small amount and I’m sure you’ll find it in your kitchen already!

Preparation:

1) Place the Vermicelli on a pan and into the oven on low heat for approx. 5-10 minutes until it turns golden brown.  Like a cookie. We’re not baking it here, just trying to give it a golden touch, so keep an eye on it. Keep on low heat for the whole baking process.

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2) Then transfer it into a deep pan (If you haven’t already used one), and set the stove on low heat again. Cut up the butter into small pieces, adding gradually and stirring the Vermicelli until all butter is dissolved. Don’t worry if it breaks, that’s the point ;)

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3) Now add the whole can of Sweetened Condensed Milk and stir your mixture. By the time it’s fully combined, your Vermicelli should be about the same size as the one on the fourth step.

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4) Remove the pan from the stove and prepare your plate with wax paper as it is quite sticky. Then with a fork, scoop up a small amounts of the Vermicelli and press them into the ice tray. You can be creative here, as it will take up the shape of the tray itself. So use the standard or any ice cube shape you desire :)

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5) When you’re done, pop them out of the tray and onto your plate. Tada! You’re done!

6) Now eat away your worries and fears.

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This dessert is popular in our family because it’s just so darn good! Give them a try: Vermicelli Bites :)

Hope you guys enjoyed it and get to make it! Contact me with any questions.

– Reem AlHashmi