Toasted Sesame + Miso Dressing

Miso and Toasted Sesame Dressing from A Beautiful MessI think this is the fifth or sixth recipe I've shared with you on this site that calls for miso. I'm trying to convert you if you can't tell. It's just a fantastic flavor. And to all you already confirmed miso-lovers out there, you're gonna LOVE this salad dressing.

Miso and Toasted Sesame Dressing from A Beautiful Mess  I mean this dressing has it all: nutty depth from toasted sesame seeds, sweetness from a little honey, a touch of tart from lime juice, and the savory goodness of miso. This is the kind of dressing that really makes you look forward to a salad meal. So, feel free to double this recipe as needed. :)

How to toast sesame seedsToasted Sesame + Miso Dressing, makes 2-3 servings.

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons miso (Shiro)
1 teaspoon water
juice from 1/2 lime
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup peanut oil
salt to taste

First, toast the sesame seeds (unless you can find them already toasted). You can do this in a dry pan (no oil needed) over medium/high heat. Keep a close eye on these as you toast them as they can quickly burn if you're not careful. Remove from heat once golden brown and allow to cool.

Best miso dressing recipeIn a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the miso, water, and honey. Whisk to combine. Then slowly drizzle in the oil as you whisk so everything combines well. I like to use a squirt bottle for this as it makes adding the oil slowly much easier. Last, stir in the sesame seeds, taste, and add salt if needed.

Miso and Toasted Sesame Dressing from A Beautiful Mess If you have leftover dressing, you can store it in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for a day or two. If you want to make a larger batch to last you all week, I recommend leaving the sesame seeds in a separate container and just combining them as you use the dressing. Happy salad days! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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Scrapbook Sunday: December Daily

1Hi, guys! Scrapbook Sunday is backkkkk. Apologies for the short break. I've been scrapbooking for an upcoming e-course (I'll share a peek at the end of this post!). So thanks for being patient with me and I'll be back next week. With that said, this week I have something AMAZZZING to share with you! Laura's December Daily Album! She did such an incredible job. You'd never believe this is one of her virgin voyages into scrapboooking. Here's what she said about her experience-

"I had known about this challenge for a couple of years now, and although it sounded really fun, I think I was also intimidated by it. I haven’t really done much scrapbooking, so to be honest, I was afraid I wasn’t going to be very good at it. Thankfully, Elsie convinced me to give it a try this year and I’m so glad that she did! I will admit though that this was not an easy challenge for me. I found it tough to take pictures (let alone interesting pictures) on the mundane boring days, I kept forgetting to take pictures at events I wanted to remember, and the whole process of choosing/editing/resizing/printing/cutting the photos took way more time than I was expecting. Once I had all the photos printed though, it was really fun to finally put them together and see the book come to life. I would definitely suggest completing the book in stages throughout the month so it doesn’t all sneak up on you at once at the end. It makes the process a lot more manageable. Overall, I love the end result and I’m so glad that I accepted the challenge this year. It was definitely a lot of work, but I documented so many special moments that I’m sure I’ll brave it all again next year!"

2222222222222SO cute, right?!!! Thanks so much for sharing, Laura. 

And here's a little sneak peek at my upcoming e-course... 

Sneak peekHappy Sunday! xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Laura Gummerman and Elsie Larson. 

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Jeremy's new project—Violents

Violents musicMy husband, Jeremy, recently started a new music project called Violents. The project is unique because he is creating a series of EPs that feature different female vocalists, but all the music is written by him. It's basically his dream project, and I am so proud to be able to cheer him along. The music is incredible! 

Today I wanted to share that leading up to his next EP release (on February 10th), you can download the first Violents EP for free through Noisetrade. Noisetrade is a site that artists can use to offer free music in exchange for email addresses, to help build a mailing list. It's a really great concept and a win-win for both artists and fans. 

Violents music Wanna listen? 

To get the Blush EP for free, head over to Noisetrade or use the button above. You can also find Violents on iTunes and Spotify. 

Please follow Violents on Instagram @ViolentsMusic! That's the best way to keep up with future music.

Thanks so much for letting me share something so special to me. Happy Sunday! Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Music: Jeremy Larson, Photography: Kylie Dailey.

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Happy Mail Unboxing: January

January Happy MailJanuary Happy MailJanuary Happy MailHey, guys! Can you believe it's already January 10th?! That means it's time for us to reveal the contents of this month's Happy Mail package! If you already subscribed, your box will be shipping out today. If you are thinking about signing up, learn more and subscribe here

Here's the Happy Mail unboxing video for January! Warning: If you subscribe and you want your box to be a surprise, you'd better not watch this! :D 


You can subscribe to Happy Mail here. Please share your packages with us on Instagram #ABMhappymail. Love you guys! Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Janae Hardy, Video and Music: Jeremy Larson. 

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Junk Food Cat Toy DIY!

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)      It is with no hesitation that I declare this to be my favorite project so far all year!! I know, I know, we are only a few weeks into 2015, so that doesn't seem to be that high a distinction yet, but ask me again in December, and I bet this will still be up near the top of my list. Since the only children at our house so far wear tiny fur coats and sleep 23 hours a day (in other words, they are cats), I have a hard time not spoiling them with fun toys or treats I think they would like. Every time I pick up a new furry mouse toy at the store, my husband rolls his eyes and tells me they already have too many toys and they don't need any more. And then I think, "But these years go so quickly! Pretty soon they will be off to college, then law school, get married, have kids of their own, and I'll miss this precious time together!!" Then I remember they are cats and not interested in Ivy League universities, and I reluctantly put the toys back. Sometimes.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make the kitties' toys myself for a change, but I was a little stuck on what to make. Mice are so last year (am I right or what?), but suddenly the image of a tiny cheeseburger popped into my head and I knew the answer—junk food toys! They are way easier to make than you would think, and since you can get sheets of felt for around $1 at a craft store, they are also pretty economical too.

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)  Supplies:
-colored felt
-colored embroidery thread
-fabric scissors
-yarn needle
-loose catnip

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)  First, start by cutting your shapes of colored felt to represent each layer of your food item. You can see the different pieces I cut above for the taco and the donut toys. Since these food shapes are so simplified, you really don't even need a pattern to make them. Just think of the food you want to make, and break everything down into the colored shapes that make up that food.

The only thing that was a little trickier was making the top and bottom hamburger "buns" so they would be fluffy and not just flat circles. For each bun, I cut two circles, but made one a little smaller than the other. I lined up the circular edges by making small pleats on the larger circle. That way, they both end up with the same circumference, but the larger circle has a "puffy" middle where you can stuff it with catnip. You could also use this shape to make ice cream cone scoops too.

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)  After your main shapes are cut, add any sewn details you'd like to add with a yarn needle and embroidery thread. For me, this included the sprinkles on my donut, a green detail on the lettuce leaf, and the sesame seeds on my cheeseburger bun. Once your details are added, sew down any felt pieces that go on top of your food (for instance the icing layer on top of the donut and the white fat strip on the bacon).

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)  Put all your layers in order now and start to sew around the edges with a corresponding colored thread. When you get your toy about halfway closed, stuff in as much catnip as you can into the open cavity. Keep sewing and gently stuffing the catnip in until your toy is sewn shut. I recommend using catnip that isn't ground up into fine pieces for this project so it won't sneak out of the toy and onto your floors. 

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)            For the toys that aren't flat (like the cheeseburger and hot dog), I put the catnip in the buns first and then sewed all the rest of their pieces to the catnip laden buns. Once your toys are securely sewn, it's time to play!

Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)
Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)
Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)
Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)
Adorable! Junk Food Cat Toy DIY (click through for tutorial)            I can't even tell you how much I love the sight of Mac eating that tiny cheeseburger. I brought the toys home from work in my purse, and it only took 60 seconds before Mac found the burger and started playing with it. He loves them. I like that the more 3D toys bounce around like a ball when he plays with them, and you could totally attach any of these to a string and a stick to create a hanging toy too. I have lots of other food ideas to make next: a pizza slice, ice cream cone, french fries, a soft pretzel...the list goes on and on.

As far as the durability of these toys go, I think they will certainly be around long enough to get quite a few good plays out of them, but you could also buy a more dense wool felt if you want them to last a little longer. All good toys come to an end eventually though, and I have a few furry mouse toys that have been taken down to the plastic skeletons to prove it! Do you think your kitties deserve a fast food treat? What foods would you make? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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