Nook and Crane

April 4th, 2016

Lemon Puppy Chow Mix

Snack Mix - Lemon Flavored
“I hate puppy chow mix,” said no one ever! Let’s be real–this right-of-passage snack mix should make up its own food group in my opinion. Probably one of the easiest things to make with tons of DIY recipes to vary flavor combos, puppy chow is hands down, a delicious, nosh-worthy snack when calories are not an issue. My all-time favorite is the tried and true chocolate peanut-butter combo, but I’m experimenting these days and came across a lemon flavor—perfect for spring snacking!

This citrus flavored version is a great option to send in snack packs for school lunches or by the batch for a spring shower or group event! With only five ingredients and a breeze to make, even if you’re not a lemon fan, these little squares are A-M- A-Z- I-N- G. If you’ve got 20 minutes start to finish, this week’s snack is a done deal!

Here’s the recipe…enjoy!

Lemon Puppy Chow Mix
Serves 18
The perfect spring-time snack mix for school lunches, or a special event!
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 9 cups rice Chex cereal (or comparable brand)
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and1 tsp lemon peel grated
  3. 1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  4. 1/4 cup butter
  5. 2 cups powdered sugar
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate chips, butter and lemon for one minute. Stir and repeat for 30 seconds if needed until mixture is smooth. In a large bowl, add the cereal and stir in melted chips until evenly coated.
  2. Pour mixture into a large plastic resealable bag and add powdered sugar; shake well until squares are evenly coated. Pour mixture onto parchment paper to cool and then store in resealable snack bags or an air-tight container.
Nook and Crane

December 3rd, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for the Ladies

2015 Holiday Gift Guide - LadiesAs if Facebook notifications aren’t reminding us enough, we only have three more weeks until Christmas. While the holiday season shouldn’t just be about gift giving, there’s no shame in making your list and checking it twice, especially when it comes to shopping for the special ladies in your life. Since I happen to be a lady, and I’m a fan of lists AND presents, I put together this gift guide for the girlies (all items I personally adore and must have). Maybe you need an item for your BFF or the kiddo’s teachers, or perhaps you’d like to ensure an appropriate and timely gift from your better half–whatever your reason, ’tis the season for thoughtful presents–Nook & Crane approved! If you’re an online shopper, just click the links below to load up your cart or use these recommendations as a guide to hit the stores in search of similar items in person. Let’s get to it…

  • Traveler by Chris Stapleton. Ever since his performance with JT on the CMA’s, I’ve been obsessed. The entire album is good–get it!!
  • Copper is another N&C obsession and although I’ve sipped many a beverage from them, I have yet to own my very own pair of copper mules. These hand-hammered solid copper mugs by Plow & Hearth would look good on any bar cart to glitz up the holidays and beyond.
  • The plaid blanket shawl wrap by Spring Fever is still trending, can transition straight from from fall into winter fashion and is ideal in decorating your holiday table (which is where mine currently resides).
  • 2016 Desk Calendar by DiggiBuddha Paperie – I love the stark contrast between the black and white stripes, the gold typeface and the pop of color with the floral swag at the top. This calendar will be the diva of your desktop and is the perfect item to keep a gal organized.
  • All girls love lotions and potions and Philosophy makes a fantastic line of products to choose from for the holidays. This 4-piece Snow Angel gift set by Philosophy includes a shampoo, shower gel/bubble bath, body lotion and body polish and offers a light fragrance and luxurious head-to-toe treat for your skin.
  • Sheets! Everyone loves a cozy, flannel sheet set that can last through the winter and bring a little holiday to the bedroom. The Cuddl Duds 3-Piece Flannel Sheet Set is affordable, colorful and seasonally in style.
  • Every girl needs a sassy handbag and this leopard print Calvin Klein Novelty Tote Bag is the perfect accessory for any outing day or night, plus it has ample room for all your cosmetics and tech gadgets.
  • I’m not normally a fan of gifts that you open on December 25th and put away just a few days later, but this year, my hometown boys in blue deserve two claps and a Ric Flair! This Kansas City Royals 2015 World Series Champions Ornament needs to find its way to every Christmas tree across the globe—whooo!

There you have it–the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide for the Ladies. With product prices ranging from $10-200, there’s surely an option for everyone. Happy shopping to all and to all happy shopping!

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* Karen Crane/Nook&Crane is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to”

December 2nd, 2015

December Desktop Love

Desktop Wallpaper

Somehow November passed rather quickly and boom, today is December 2. Since I try to stay somewhat organized and am on a computer umpteen hours of the day, I like to be able to see a calendar at all times….so, I started creating desktop wallpapers to fit my screen in themed designs (with a calendar) and I hope to keep these fun little creations coming in the New Year because the basic stock screens just won’t do.

If you’re like me and prefer your screen to be tech chic too, here’s the December desktop. Just click the link and save the image, then personalize your desktop to “Make it Merry” this month. Happy holidays from Nook & Crane.


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Looking for other holiday ideas? Check out this post which includes FREE holiday printables you can frame and hang!

November 16th, 2015

Harvest Sangria

Fall entertaining is here and Thanksgiving guests will begin arriving next week, so what better time to trade in the bourbons and heavy cocktails for a new twist on a traditional wine? Sangria is a staple in the N&C household when serving guests (or not serving guests), but we typically consume it more often during the summer months. Rather than regrettably putting away the red wine stained recipe for the season, I thought I would mix it up and bit and swap the traditional red with white, add a little cinnamon, a splash of flavored vodka, spiked (clove) apples and a vanilla-orange infused sugar rim! I know rimmers are typically reserved for the very swankiest of martinis or bold tequila-laden margaritas, but this infused flavored sugar has been sitting on my spice rack, so very lonely, and waiting for its soulmate. Call me a matchmaker because harvest sangria + orange sugar infusion = true love!

Not only does this sassy little beverage contain an entire serving of fruit (it’s a stretch, I know, but there are apples as garnish), but it’s the perfect party selection when looking for something seasonal and different. Paired with a cheese assortment, it makes a great pre-dinner drink and app combo. As if you need any further reason to bolt out the door and pick-up whatever white wine you’d like to mix in, there’s one more bonus—whether you’re a two-buck Chuck kind of wine-o or a braggart who only swirls, sniffs and serves the award winners, the wine selection is purely based on preference. I fancy a semi-sweet white, but I’m sure this harvest blend would be awesome with a sweet red too.

Let’s get to it–Harvest Sangria, I heart you.

Harvest Sangria
A crisp twist on the traditional sweet wine, just in time for autumn.
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  1. One bottle of sweet or semi-sweet white wine
  2. Vanilla or orange flavored vodka
  3. 2 Honeycrisp apples
  4. Whole cloves
  5. Cinnamon sticks
  6. Powdered cinnamon & sugar mixture (I used the infused orange flavored sugar)
  7. Club soda
  1. Rim glasses first!!! Pour sugar/cinammon mixture into a tupperware lid, wet rim of glass lightly and twist into mixture.
  2. Chop apples to diced cube size, place whole cloves in 2-3 apple cubes and place in bottom of glass.
  3. Add white wine 3/4 full
  4. Add in a splash of vodka and club soda.
  5. Garnish with cinnamon stick and serve!
Nook and Crane

November 4th, 2015

Royal November Desktop

World Series -- Kansas City Royals Desktop Wallpaper
How ’bout those Kansas City Royals?

It’s November in Kansas City and the entire metro area is raining blue day and night. The electricity in this town in epic– you won’t go one city block without some reference to the recently crowned World Series Champions, the Kansas City Royals. From fans donning sporty new baseball caps to vehicles waving flags on the drive to work, Kansas City is bursting with pride in support of our boys in blue.  To say we are a loyal group of Midwestern baseball lovers is an understatement. We eat, live and breathe this team and I couldn’t be more proud of the conduct and class shown by the estimated 800,000 fans who trekked out to the parade and rally on Tuesday. Schools were closed, people left their cars in the middle of the medians on the Interstate, and yet, not a single riot, looting or fire took place amidst the celebration. Kansas City took the sentiment from 1985 and built upon that celebration from 30 years ago, possibly reaching the highest attended event in Kansas City’s history on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015. With a little bit of sass and whole lot of class, our Kansas City Royals showed up this season with heart, determination, confidence and an entire city behind them the entire way. Hats of to Kansas City, my home!  

To keep the blue pride rolling all month long, Nook & Crane designed this FREE little ditty for your desktop! Two claps and Ric Flair—whoooo!

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD THIS ROYAL NOVEMBER DESKTOP WALLPAPER; then, right click and save to your desktop.  Enjoy.

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September 15th, 2015

Spicy Thai Chicken Cups

Spicy Thai Chicken Cups Recipe

Dear Thai food–

Why, oh why did I wait so long to meet you? I can recall our first date together at the Thai Place, just a few minutes from my front door. One bite and I was smitten, knowing instantly we were in for a long, delicious relationship. But, you tend to be mildly pricey, so although I would love to grab weekly takeout from your menu, of course I figured I could replicate something to my liking from home. Let’s not call this a break-up, just a little time apart, because, this recipe I made, it’s amazing! Maybe I will see you again for the next date night with Mr. Linn. He likes you too. Until then, keep on keepin’ the Thai business going–we’ll see you soon!


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Sorry about the love letter to the Thai Place (it’s really called that). I’ve been feeling a little guilty about my absence from the Thai spot down the street since making this at-home version of Thai Chicken. But, I think you will love it and it’s so easy to make, which is one of N&C’s requirements (the others in case you’re curious are: 1. not 1,000+ ingredients; 2. affordable ingredients; 3. ingredients found on this continent).

Rather than draw this post out any longer since you’re going to scroll to the recipe anyhow, I give you Spicy Thai Chicken Cups.

ความอยากอาหาร ที่ดี   (that’s bon appétit translated in Thai for you).

Spicy Thai Chicken Cups
Serves 4
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  1. 2-3 TBSP Peanut or canola oil
  2. 2 Pkgs Minute Rice Multi-grain Medley
  3. 1/2 cup Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce
  4. 1 cup shelled edamame
  5. 1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
  6. 2 cups chicken (diced)
  7. 2/3 cup peanuts
  8. Old El Paso Burrito Bowls
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake burrito bowls until lightly browned.
  2. Placed diced raw chicken into oil and saute in a pan on medium heat until cooked thoroughly. Drain chicken and set aside.
  3. Cook minute rice medley according to directions. When all liquid has been absorbed, add rice to the diced, cooked chicken.
  4. Add carrots, edamame and peanut sauce to chicken and rice mixture and cook on low heat for five minutes.
  5. Spoon mixture into each burrito bowl, drizzle with more peanut sauce and top with chopped peanuts.
Nook and Crane

September 5th, 2015

99 Projects…Kitchen Gallery Wall

There could quite possibly be a little bit of an obsession happening right now in the Nook & Crane household. Normally, I’m not one for tons of artwork or items on a wall because I tend to dislike dusting and straightening the always crooked frames, but my recent love affair with gallery walls has me rethinking my resistance to clustering and collections. After many peeks at the inspired gallery walls of fellow pinners and decorators, I decided to give it a shot on a wall that was supposed to have a line of built-in new cabinetry (and featured lovely new electrical outlets strategically placed by yours truly). The cabinetry was quickly abandoned when I found Black Beauty–my prized repurposed $100 pantry. Because of the way BB needed to back up to our west wall, that left the north wall open and bare…too bare for my liking. Yep, that’s the one below. Bare and in need of outlet covering since hubby was not fond of ripping out brand new sheetrock. Covering outlets…that’s how we roll in this decorator’s showcase.  But, how do you cover outlets in three separate places on a vertical span of eight feet? GALLERY WALLS people, that’s how.

gallery wall before
Now, here’s the kicker. LOTS of gallery wall collections I came across had the “Live, Laugh, Love” pieces or “Always Kiss Me Goodnight” or “Family Rules” stuff, so the challenge was to create a wall incorporating none of that because I cannot stand those cliché sayings. I wanted a semi-matched collection that clearly illustrated my sass and humor, but still looked kitchen-ish. On a hunt for very specific frames, an iron fork and spoon and other wish list items led me all over the city picking piece by piece and blending them together to finally create…the Crane Kitchen—burning shit since 1998.  Here’s the wall after the outlet covering ceremony. If you like it, feel free to share, repin or copy. For the record, the kitchen printable was supposed to say Crane Kitchen—seasoned with love since 1998. Gag me. Never gonna happen.  
Kitchen Gallery Wall Collage
I’m already planning my next wall in the entrance of our home.  Stay tuned…more sass is headed for the Crane casa!

Like this before and after? Check out other 99 projects here!

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September 1st, 2015

N&C Loves – September, 2015

Hello September—my favorite month of the year.  Although Nook & Crane has been on a little summer break and I’ve truly enjoyed the respite from routines and lists and deadlines, I have missed the blog and writing so I’m happy to rebound into fall with a fresh list of posts, projects and ideas for N&C.

Because I like to start out each month with my favorite things, September is no different, so please enjoy my list of Nook & Crane loves for the month.  If you like a product or suggestion, feel free to click the links below and show some love to fellow creators, bloggers or designers. Have a great September everyone!Collage - favorite things sept 2015

  1. Add some beauty to your digital work space with these gorgeous watercolor desktop wallpapers by Something Peach.
  2. This Pittsburgh company, Stak Ceramics has the perfect piece to charge your phone, plant a little succulent and be the envy of the office.
  3. Speaking of my succulent addiction, these little guys are affordable and require little maintenance. Green up your space with one (or ten).
  4. The boys in blue are on fire right now in Kansas City and my friend has the hookup on these OKCtober tees from Victory Gang.  Order one today before they sell out and be sure to check out the KC Tribe collection if you’re a Chiefs fan!
  5. The 7-minute workout challenge app by Fitness Inc. combines 12 different exercises into 30-second increments with 10-second rest breaks in between. I use it regularly and it’s the one app I will keep going back to. It’s $2.99 but worth every penny—everyone has 7 minutes, but don’t be fooled, it’s hard-core.

Speaking of loves, if you like this post, take a peek back at some of N&C past loves.

Stay tuned later in the week for a new 99 projects post—the love affair I have with gallery walls.

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April 19th, 2015

Lavender Lemon Body Scrub

I am a fool for scrubs and exfoliating products.  Well, if I’m being honest, I love all lotions, potions and beauty items, but nothing quite as much as a good exfoliant. Since we are prepping for shorts season, it’s time to get those legs in shape for public viewing. Goodbye to ashy, scruffy winter layers and hello to refreshed and renewed skin. But, I’m still a cheapskate in some regards, so if there’s a recipe on Pinterest for something I need and I’ve got most of the ingredients at home, I’m always going to DIY it. Unless of course, it has to do with sewing–never gonna happen. Between the patience level, need for ultra straight lines and the blood involved when I touch a needle, sewing just isn’t for me. Maybe some day I’ll take a class, but until then, I will gladly stick to homemade recipes for beauty and household products and continue to master the mixology.

Lavender Lemon Body ScrubSpeaking of mixology, check out the recipe in the above pic for a DIY Lavender Lemon Body Scrub. It smells fantastic, uses essential oils and other ingredients you likely have at home and whips up in a jiffy. Perfect to slough off gross, flaky skin in a hot shower–just rub onto your legs post-shave and rinse. Follow-up with a great moisturizing lotion (like coconut oil) and enjoy your silky new gams just in time for summer!

April 11th, 2015

99 PROJECTS…Apothecary Imposter

No idea why I bought something a badillion years ago from Fingerhut, but I did. Additionally, why anyone would purchase something with ten tiny drawers that can store nothing larger than an eraser is beyond my comprehension. Most of these pieces with many little drawers are called apothecary or medicine cabinets and are typically sought after Chinese antiques. Not this one. Nope. This ugly thing was an unstable, finger pinching junk collector, and yet, I still purchased it. The kiddo was a wee tot back then and starting to get into everything which meant this piece was a super dumb idea for a busy, climbing, into-everything toddler. This table sat in our kitchen as the phone holder forever–you know, back when homes had phones drilled into the wall or sat out on tables with a phone book? But, last year when we remodeled, I knew this ugly sucker would never resurface as-is in any room of our house, but even so, I just couldn’t kick him to the curb.

So, after a quick sanding and a few minor repairs, I grabbed my go-to spray paint, new hardware and some stain to give this guy a new lease on life. He wasn’t an expensive piece to begin with, so spending a lot to repurpose was out of the question. All in, my total was $15.  Here’s the before and after and I’m so happy with the final result. He now graces the guest room as a side table and seems better suited to this life than the imposter apothecary he served as back in 2002. Onto the next project!

imposter apothecary