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Unless otherwise noted, all content and photos are property of Elle @ Elle's New England Kitchen. Copyright 2008-14. All rights reserved. If you'd like to reprint an article or use a photo, please contact me for permission at ellenekitchen at gmail dot com. All photos, unless specified, have been taken by me, and if used without permission, an invoice will be forwarded to the proper business/individual. Thank you.



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Rubber Ducky Charm Bracelet


Iron Craft ‘13 Challenge #8 - Playtime

Playtime! Who doesn’t love that? Such a fun inspiration. I chose the classic Rubber Ducky. Only, he’s not rubber. He’s a sweet little charm with sparkly little crystals.

This one is easy enough to make. Ready?

You need:

1 Rubber Ducky Charm
1 strand of beads (I used one strand of Bead Gallery Dyed Quartzite Multi Nuggets, 10x15mm)
Beading wire, about 9 inches
2 crimps
2 jump rings
1 lobster claw clasp

Begin by adding and crimping one crimp to one end of the wire.
String your beads on until you get to about 3.5 inches down the wire, then add the ducky charm and make sure it's facing outward.
String more beads until you get to about 6.5 inches in length. Your crimps, jump rings and clasp will fill up the remaining length.
Crimp the open end of the wire, add a jump ring to each end of the bracelet, and then the lobster claw clasp.

That's it--you're done! Find this one of a kind Rubber Ducky Charm Bracelet in my Etsy shop, Helle's Bells. 

For more inspiration, check out the Iron Craft Flickr Group.

And now, I only have one thing left to say. Put Down the Ducky!


Bracelet and Earrings Giveaway

Aqua Blue Glass and Freshwater Pearl Multi Strand Bracelet

Did you all know that I have opened an Etsy shop? Yes, I have--it’s called Helle’s Bells. I’m making jewelry--right now, it’s just bracelets and earrings. That’s what I like, so that seems to  be what I gravitate to.

Aqua Blue Glass and Freshwater Pearl Earrings

Aqua Blue Glass and Freshwater Pearl Multi Strand Bracelet

I decided to have a giveaway on Facebook. I’m trying out Rafflecopter for the first time, so if it’s a bit glitchy for any of you, please let me know. You can find the entry form here on my Helle’s Bells Facebook page. The contest is live now and will run until April 29th. I’ll ship anywhere on this one!

I’m giving away one bracelet and one pair of earrings. It’s an Aqua Blue Glass and Freshwater Pearl Multi Strand Bracelet plus a matching set of earrings. Good luck!

Aqua Blue Glass and Freshwater Pearl Multi Strand Bracelet


30 Days of Grilled Cheese with Land O'Lakes

Grilled Cheese with Smoked Sausage, Raspberry Mustard and Sliced Apple

Yes--30 days full of grilled cheese ideas just for you! Not all from me, of course, but from 30 different bloggers. Land O’Lakes is celebrating Grilled Cheese Month, which is starting today and continuing for the month of April, with 30 different ideas for grilled cheese sandwiches using their classic American Cheese and their 4 Cheese Italian Blend.

My perfect grilled cheese? It includes the Land O’Lakes 4 Cheese Italian Blend, a tangy raspberry mustard, smoked apple Chardonnay sausage, and sliced apples, all griddled to perfection on sourdough bread. My daughter told me this was the best sandwich she’s ever had, and I have to agree--we love it!

It’s got everything covered--crispy, buttery edges, it’s slightly sweet from the mustard, a nice crunch from the apples, smoky sausage, and that fantastic blend of Asiago, Romano, Parmesan and American cheeses in the 4 Cheese Italian Blend. It’s a sandwich full of great taste and texture!

Grilled Cheese with Smoked Sausage, Raspberry Mustard and Sliced Apple

Did you know that Land O Lakes® Deli American Cheese is the number one seller in America? It’s true. They’ve been producing cheese for over 90 years, so they definitely know what they’re doing. Moms, Dads and kids love how versatile it is, and it tastes great. My daughter knows if I try to sneak another American cheese by her--she loves good old LOL American. And she finds it funny the the deli sticker on the package says LOL. Don’t forget that with grilling season approaching, you can add it to your favorite cheeseburger recipes!

How amazing is this? Pin a Meal. Give a Meal. Throughout April until May 1, Land O’Lakes will donate $1 to Feeding America every time someone pins or repins a Land O’Lakes recipe on Pinterest. That’s eight meals for a hungry family when you pin a recipe—and eight more every time anyone else repins it. Giving goes viral. Find your favorite Grilled Cheese recipe to pin on So please get those pins going and feed some hungry folks!

Grilled Cheese with Smoked Sausage, Raspberry Mustard and Sliced Apple

Elle’s Grilled Cheese, aka Grilled Cheese with Smoked Sausage, Raspberry Mustard and Sliced Apple

Makes one sandwich

2 slices sourdough bread
Raspberry jam with spicy deli mustard stirred in, to your taste preference
1 Smoked Apple Chardonnay Sausage, or your favorite (I had a 4 pack from Trader Joe’s)
1 small apple (I used Fuji), cored and thinly sliced
4 slices Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend
Butter for grilling the sandwich, as much as you may need


First off, mix the raspberry jam and deli mustard in a small bowl. Adjust to your taste and set aside. Now, my sourdough bread was large, so I needed about ¼ cup of jam and 1 tbsp mustard, but amounts are up to you.

Slice the apple and the sausage and set aside. I like to slice the sausage on an angle for larger pieces and more bread coverage.

Heat your pan or griddle to just over medium heat. Spread the raspberry mustard on the bread and when the pan is hot enough, melt some butter in it--about 1 tbsp. You may also just butter your bread, but my butter was straight out of the fridge--too hard to spread on bread.

Place one slice of bread in the pan, mustard side up. Place two pieces of cheese down on the bread, followed by the sausage slices and then the apple slices. Place two more pieces of cheese over the apples, and add the second piece of bread, mustard side down, of course.

When the bottom bread slice is golden brown and toasty, use a spatula to carefully flip the sandwich over. I usually add more butter while I have the sandwich on the spatula--just have your butter ready to go and within reach.

When the bottom of the sandwich is golden brown, remove from the pan, let it cool for a couple of minutes and slice. Serve with your favorite soup or chips.

Visit Land O’Lakes online for more information and recipe ideas, and be sure to check out the other 29 grilled cheese ideas from the other bloggers in the series! Oh, and remember to pin those grilled cheese recipes and help to feed the hungry!

Click on the logo below to follow along and get more fantastic grilled cheese recipes!

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by Land O’Lakes as part of the Kitchen Play Sidecar series. All opinions given are my own.

Grilled Cheese with Smoked Sausage, Raspberry Mustard and Sliced Apple


Angry Peeps Cake

Iron Craft ‘13 Challenge #6 - Peep, Peep, Peep

The latest challenge is all about the Peeps. Peeps--innocent enough, not the best tasting candy in the Easter basket, for sure--they’re just sweet fluff with pretty, sparkly sugar on them. But ask about them and everyone’s got their own way of eating them, if they do at all. Fresh from the package, stuffed between grahams and melted s’more style, or--and this one is weird to me, but I guess I’ll have to try it--stale. Yes! Some people love them stale and dry. I don’t know, don’t ask me. There are also entire competitions dedicated to Peeps Dioramas!

I decided to make a Peeps Cake. Not just any Peeps Cake, but an Angry Peeps Cake. We all know the story by now. Two groups--one group is stealing from the other, and a battle ensues. I present to you my Peeps Cake in a series of photos.


As you can see, the bunnies are advancing. To what? To the chick’s side of the cake. They’ve been stealing the chocolate eggs, and the chicks are pretty #$&^%fed up.

Angry Peeps Cake


Just LOOK at the egg carnage! It’s such a shame. All of those broken little hunks of chocolate! (PS - I did not bite the eggs, I cut them with a knife. Never bite chocolate eggs and then put them on a cake. Ever.)

Angry Peeps Cake


This little bunny seems particularly angry. Also? He appears to have rather saggy bunny boobs. Maybe that explains his anger issues…

Angry Peeps Cake


The bunnies have already captured quite a few eggs! What are the chicks going to do?!

Angry Peeps Cake


Here we see the chicks. They’ve still got a lot of eggs there. They don’t look very angry. In fact, they seem kind of laid back. They must have a plan.

Angry Peeps Cake


This unfortunate looking fellow appears to have been hit in the face a few times with chocolate eggs already. Look at his eye, it’s below his face! What’s he hiding back there?

Angry Peeps Cake


Whoa! The worst of the Easter candy! Black jelly beans. The “bombs” of the Easter basket. The bunnies will never know what hit them…

Angry Peeps Cake


The End!

This cake is so simple to make--it’s done all in one bowl. Even the icing! Yes, you read that correctly. You mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar in a bowl, scoop out 2.5 cups, and that’s your icing. Cover it and set it aside till you’re ready to ice the cake. After removing it from the bowl, you add the rest of the cake ingredients and bake. It’s that simple.

  • I decorated with Peeps, of course--the bunnies need toothpicks inserted into their little marshmallow fluffy bottoms to help them stand up on the cake. Warn the kiddos.
  • Tint some coconut green by shaking it in a zip top bag with some green food coloring. Keep adding until you get the shade of green you want.
  • The eggs are Cadbury chocolate eggs.
  • The cake has cream cheese in it and it tastes like pound cake. The only change I made was to add a couple of pinches of salt to the icing.
  • Find the cake recipe here at Domino Sugar. I was going to do two layers, but you can’t really have a proper battle on a 9 inch cake, so sheet cake it was. You can also make the entire thing in chocolate. You’re welcome!
  • This cake is so simple, that you could decorate for any holiday. Think Halloween, and use chocolate cake/cookie crumbs for dirt instead of green grass. White coconut for winter, etc. Also, make it as a bundt, 9 inch layers, cupcakes--whatever you’re in the mood for.

Angry Peeps Cake


Heishi Bead Bracelet and Earrings

Iron Craft ‘13 Challenge #5 - Green or “Green”

 Heishi Bead Bracelet with River Shell and Amazonite Beads

Time for another installment of Iron Craft Challenge. This challenge was green in the literal sense, or green in the environmental sense.

I chose green in the literal sense--in the form of a bracelet and earrings. I had already been inspired by a bracelet on a beading site and wanted to do it with some green beads, and then the challenge was announced. It was meant to be!

Heishi Bead Bracelet and Earrings with River Shell and Amazonite Beads

This is a memory wire bracelet with white Heishi (shell) beads, dark green river shell beads, and light green Amazonite beads. There are also silver corrugated spacer beads thrown in for some of the shiny factor, which I love--the ridges in these beads really catch the light. I had some of the beads left over so I made a matching pair of earrings.

The Heishi beads just said “beach and summer” to me, so I had to add two sweet little silver sea turtle charms--one at each end of the bracelet.

Heishi Bead Bracelet with River Shell and Amazonite Beads

All you need to make this is:


  • Memory Wire (Large bracelet size)
  • White Heishi Beads, 8mm (2 strands) ("Traditions" from Hobby Lobby)
  • Dark Green Round Amazonite Beads, 8mm (1 strand) ("Traditions" from Hobby Lobby)
  • Light Green Round River Shell Beads, 7-8mm (1 strand) ("Bead Gallery" from Michael's)
  • Corrugated Silver Spacer Beads, 6mm (45 pce bag, but you wont' need that many) ("the Jewelry Shoppe from Hobby Lobby)
  • Two Sea Turtle charms, found at Hobby Lobby


Start by cutting about 4 1/2 turns from the memory wire using memory wire cutters. Using round nose pliers, take one end of the wire and turn a loop to seal the end and keep the beads on.

Start stringing your beads on the open end of the wire in any pattern/bead count that you like, and push them all the way down to the sealed end. Keep going till you've filled up the entire bracelet. Carefully hold the open end so you don't lose the beads, and using round nose pliers, turn a loop on the open end so you seal the beads on to the wire. 

Attach the turtle charms on each end by opening the jump rings already attached to the charms. That's it, you're done! 

To make earrings, you need a few extra beads, earring hooks, and two head pins. String the beads on the head pin, turn a loop at the top using round nose pliers, and attach the head pin with beads on it to the earring hook. Repeat for the next one. 

I’m really enjoying the Iron Craft challenges so far, and at every reveal day I find myself very eager to find out what the next one is! I hope you’re all following along at the Iron Craft Flickr Group to see what everyone’s up to.

You can find this jewelry set for sale in my shop. Click on the photo below and you'll be taken right to it.

Heishi Bead Bracelet with River Shell and Amazonite Beads

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