Wild Leek, Bacon, Feta and Potato Galette @themerrythoughtRecently my aunt invited us to her house to forage some wild leeks, to be followed by a ham, potato and leek dinner. She thought I might enjoy the experience of foraging for the leeks and the boys (and some of their cousins) might like a romp in the woods! Of course we were game, and would never pass up an opportunity for one of her dinners! 😉
Wild leeks, also called ramps, are a wild onion that sprout in early spring. They have a flavor that’s almost like a mix between onion and garlic. Just to note: they are considered a somewhat threatened plant in some areas because of over-harvesting, so they do need to be sustainably harvested. (In some places you are not to harvest them at all, so please know your plant-picking rules if you’re going to forage!) Where we gathered our leeks is on acres of private land and there are an abundance (as you can see in the pictures below, which were just some of the many patches where we were), and we only took a very small bunch. You can also just pick the stem and leaf, both are which are edible, and leave the bulb and roots.Wild Leeks @themerrythoughtWild Leeks @themerrythoughtWild Leeks @themerrythoughtWild Leeks @themerrythoughtWild Leek, Feta and Potato Galette @themerrythoughtWild Leek, Feta and Potato Galette @themerrythoughtI have been wanting to make a galette for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect time! This galette was inspired by my love of whipped feta (want it with everything!) and by our Baked Potato Pizza, because you can never go wrong with bacon & potatoes! 😉 This was my first time heating whipped feta, and I was a little nervous how that would come out; but it was delicious and this is definitely a recipe I’ll be making again! The crust is flaky and the flavors blend together wonderfully. If you’re unable to get wild leeks, some stores sell “regular” leeks which you could use. Or caramelizing onions and adding a bit of garlic would probably be good too. This makes a great appetizer or lunch for one or two (depending on how hungry you are!).Wild Leek, Bacon, Feta and Potato Galette @themerrythoughtWild Leek, Bacon, Feta and Potato Galette

Dough:
1 cup flour
1-2 tablespoons wild leek leaf, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup butter flavor shortening
1/4 cup water

In a medium bowl, stir flour, chopped leek, and salt & pepper together. Add shortening and blend with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add water a little at a time until dough sticks together (you may not need it all), shaping dough into a ball. Place dough ball on a well floured surface and roll into a circle that is about 1/4” thick.

Whipped Feta Spread:

3 oz crumbled feta
1 oz cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

In a food processor, whip together feta, cream cheese, olive oil and salt & pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy (drizzle in more olive oil if you’d like a creamier consistency), about 3-5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Filling:
1 large potato, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1 wild leek, leaf & bulb, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon butter
2-3 sliced of cooked bacon, crumbled
salt & pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375º. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Spread whipped feta on rolled out dough, leaving about a 1-inch border all around. Layer potatoes on top of feta. Top potatoes with cooked leeks, bacon and salt & pepper.
Fold edges of dough over. Brush beaten egg over the crust (you won’t use all of it).
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden. Allow to cool slightly, slice into wedges and enjoy!
Wild Leek, Bacon, Feta and Potato Galette @themerrythoughtWild Leek, Bacon, Feta and Potato Galette @themerrythought

-Manda

  • Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 5:08 pm

    Amy Lynn - This looks amazing! I love anything potato-bacon, and I’m sure this would be an excellent brunch recipe! Pinning this for later for sure :)ReplyCancel

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DIY Crochet Teething Ring @themerrythoughtOkkayy, I’m back with another crochet tutorial that my cousin Kailey whipped up for me! I asked her about crochet teething rings a while back when brainstorming gifts for all my new momma friends and their babes. She said it would be pretty simple and because I can’t convince myself to learn to crochet, I asked her if she’d be willing to make some for me to gift and for me to share on the blog. And, of course, she agreed – she’s seriously THE BEST. And look how sweet and simple they are!
DIY Crochet Teething Ring @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
3″ Unfinished Hardwood Rings
-100% Cotton Yarn (preferably organic)
-3.75mm Crochet Hook
-Embroidery Needle

How to make it:
-Make a slip knot.
-Single crochet 15 onto teething ring.
-Fasten off.
-Sew loose ends in securely using an embroidery needle.
DIY Crochet Teething Ring @themerrythoughtDIY Crochet Teething Ring @themerrythoughtDIY Crochet Teething Ring @themerrythoughtDIY Crochet Teething Ring @themerrythoughtxo. Caitlin (& Kailey)

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@themerrythoughtWell I made it through the month! As I’ve mentioned each week with my check in’s, this month was a bit of a struggle for me. I struggled to stay motivated with my eating, so each week that I continued to lose, even if it was only a little bit, felt like a victory to me. I lost a total of 6 pounds in April. And so far this year, I’ve lost 15! 🙌

Here’s how my week went:

Weight Loss: 2 pounds 💃

Eating: pretty good, probably my best week of the whole month! Nothing like going out strong! I did cheat a couple times (again 😳) on my no refined sugar. I had another chai latte – we had a meeting at a cafe though!! And I went to a bridal shower on Saturday and ate a bit of dessert. However, I was pretty good with everything else, so I think that helped with my weight loss this past week.

Active: another good week with this. Staying pretty steady with my running and keeping active!

Arm Workouts: another fail here. Only once, yet again. I guess maybe deep down I like my flabby arms and want to keep them – haa! Not really, I’m still determined to try to figure out how to make this a regular part of my workout routine, I’ll get it, I’ll get it! Staying positive about it is half the battle, right?!

So I decided I wasn’t going to try Whole 7, just continue on with what I’ve been doing (low carb, low sugar, lots of veggies, lean protein & some fruit). I have a doctor’s appointment next week and I’m trying to impress them with my weight loss since my appointment last year, so I’m hoping that motivates me to stay strong! 😉 I’m hoping I can find little things like that to keep me motivated, those kind of things seem to work the best for me when I just want to give in! These check in’s have always been my biggest motivator, so thanks for reading along and encouraging me! I’ll probably start these up again soon since it seems to be what works best! 😉

For those of you still at it with eating healthy and staying fit – keep up the amazing work, I know how hard it is!

-Manda

The Start | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

  • Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 2:54 pm

    Jessica - I have trouble sticking to an arm workout too but I recently started circuit training and am having more luck. Basically you do one set of a series of exercises (I have a series of 5-7), take a 30 second break, do another set, take another 30 second break and do one last set. I found once I got into the rhythm of it, I can bang out my arm workout in less than 10 minutes and it really helps me to stay with it. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 2:57 pm

    Jana Miller - Great job! I just read an article in The New York Times this morning about high intensity training. So fascinating :) We just started fasting 2 days a week and just eating 500 calories on those fast days. It sounds hard but for me it’s easier than thinking about what I’m eating every day. Congratulations on the weight loss.ReplyCancel

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DIY Stamped Leather Keychains @themerrythoughtLeather has been a favorite craft material of ours for years. One thing we haven’t done with it yet though is stamping – which has been on our to-try list forever! (There was even an unsuccessful attempt once before – ha!) This month’s Michaels Makers challenge was to learn something new so we decided it was finally time to sit down and give leather stamping a try. We picked up their alphabet stamp setactually read the directions, and now we’ve got it down!DIY Stamped Leather Keychains @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
Suede Strips
-Scissors
Alphabet Stamp Set
Leather Punch
-Water
-Rag
-Hammer
-Rivets and Setter Kit
-Key Rings
DIY Stamped Leather Keychains @themerrythoughtHow to make it:
-Cut suede strips into 3-4 inch long pieces (or longer depending on what you’re going to stamp on it)
-Using the leather punch, punch one hole, centered on the strip, about 1/4 inch from the end of the suede strip and punch a second hole about an inch from the end of the strip.
-Fold over the suede strip so that the holes align. Place a bottom rivet from the rivets & setter kit into one hole, place the top of the rivet on the top of the other hole, and firmly hammer the setter a couple times to secure rivets.
-If you’re not using split ring key rings, you will need to place the key ring on before you put in the rivets. We used split ring key chains and could just slide them on after the rivets were in.
-Dampen the leather slightly with water.
-Stamp away!
-Let dry and you’re good to go!
DIY Stamped Leather Keychains @themerrythoughtDIY Stamped Leather Keychains @themerrythoughtHelpful tips:
-It suggests to wet the leather first – we are terrible about following directions and decided to skip that step but tried it out after the first couple attempts and it made a huge difference!
-Use a scrap piece of hardwood underneath the leather when hammering.
DIY Stamped Leather Keychains @themerrythoughtDIY Stamped Leather Keychains @themerrythoughtThere may have been quite a lot of singing happening while we stamping these keychains! Any guesses on what songs we were singing while making these? Also, Caitlin’s still in disbelief that I didn’t know the “Come On Over” song…but if it wasn’t punk rock or emo, I wasn’t listening to it! 😜 What would you stamp on your keychain??DIY Stamped Leather Keychains @themerrythoughtNow you can expect to see a few more leather stamping projects coming your way in the next few weeks – we’re addicted!

Until then, you can get inspired by all of the other projects done for this month’s challenge here or on The Glue String blog. Or go check out one of the many classes Michaels offers in their stores – some are even free, you just pay for your supplies.  Take the time to try something new this month!

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DIY Brass Bud Vase @themerrythoughtI’ve been dreaming up some sweet vases to display all the beautiful Mother’s Day flowers that are sure to be given/received out there in just a couple weeks! This simple bud vase is perfect to save those single flowers picked for mom by tiny hands orrr, if you’re like me, the flowers that you snag from neighbors’ houses for yourself as you go for a walk at night… Ha!
DIY Brass Bud Vase @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
-3/8″ Bendable tubing – aluminum, copper, etc.
Tube cutter
-Brass paint
-White paint
-1.5″ square dowel
-Table saw
-Glue

How to make it:
-Cut a 6″ piece of the dowel.
-Measure to the center of the dowel and then mark out 3/16″ from each side of the center mark.
-Lower your table saw blade so it will only cut about 3/8″ deep in the wood.
-Cut out the marked center section – you will need to do two or three cuts to make a space wide enough for the tube. Make sure that the tube fits tightly in the space.
-Paint the wooden block. Set aside to dry.
-Bend your tube around a bowl or other sturdy round object.
-Use tube cutter to cut extra length on ends if desired. *Bend first though!
-Paint tubing with the brass paint. Let dry.
-Use a strong glue to secure tubing to wood block and let dry.
DIY Brass Bud Vase @themerrythoughtDIY Brass Bud Vase @themerrythoughtDIY Brass Bud Vase @themerrythoughtxo. Caitlin

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