November Photo-A-Day Challenge

We are excited to be starting off the month of November with a Photo-A-Day Challenge.  If you are new to this idea, let us explain.  A Photo-A-Day is meant to challenge you to take a photo each day of the month using the words/ideas above to inspire your pictures.  For example, the first day is "Where I am @ 4:44" - this one is pretty self explanatory, take a picture where you are at 4:44.  Some of them are a bit more broad, like day 6 is "Secret."  You can get really creative with this one.  Maybe it's a picture of your journal, or your secret stash of chocolate (guilty), or your copy of 50 Shades of Grey, or your secret spot to unwind.  Get creative! Here's the fun part: If you complete the full 30 day challenge, you can enter to win an official Granny Girls mug!  All you need to do is email us at the end of the month at info@grannygirls.com with your Instagram name and you will be entered!  Don’t worry, we’ll remind you at the end of the month.A few important things to remember:•  Start by posting the above photo list on your Instagram account to share your participation.• You can save the photo list above to your desktop or your phone to remind yourself of the captions.  Click here to download the photo list. •  Don’t forget to write the caption for the day under your photo along with the hashtags #GGPhotoADay and #GrannyGirls.  Example:  In my bag #GGPhotoADay #GrannyGirls•  If you miss a day, don’t fret, just double post on the next day.  The only requirement to enter is to have completed all 30 photos.We hope that you will join us on our photo challenge.  We'll be sharing a selection of your pics at the end of the month, along with ours, so don't forget to post with the hashtags in order for us to see them.  Make sure you are following the Granny Girls Instagram because we'll be taking turns playing along. We are so excited to see your photos and get to know the Granny Girls community a little better.  Have fun!


Low-Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam

It's Halloween jam!  Just kidding.  We know that tomorrow's Halloween and ideally we would love to be posting an awesome recipe for "Witches Finger Cookies" or something equally as creepy, but the truth is we kind of forgot.   Not forgot that it's Halloween (we've been having candy for breakfast for weeks!), but when planning out our first few days of brand-new-blog posts we didn't really think about the fact that our launch may coincide with an awesome holiday.  And because we started putting these posts together in late summer, some of them are a little less "fall" and a little more... "strawberry".

But a little jack-o-lantern told me that you can still buy strawberries in-store and that this jam can also be enjoyed with a hot mug of spiced tea which makes the whole thing super cozy and you should probably wear a scarf.  Or dress up as a strawberry and now it all makes sense.

Happy Halloween!

The directions for this jam came directly from the box of Pomona's Universal Pectin.  This is a special type of pectin (derived from citrus peel) that allows you to make jam with low amounts of sugar, honey, stevia, or any other sweetener.  Normally jam requires a TON of sugar to set properly, but this recipe calls for as little as 1/2 a cup of honey for the whole recipe!  Freezer jam is also a lot easier (and faster) to make than regular jam because there is no boiling or processing of the jars.  In fact, you don't cook the jam at all!  I actually love this about it because it keeps the fruit tasting super fresh.

For our version we used fresh strawberries (that we picked ourselves!) but you can substitute any fruit or berry of your choice.  The amount of sugar varies for each kind so make sure you check the instructions included in the pectin box if you want to change it up.

And don't forget to put on a little mood music before you begin!

You Will Need:

  • 1 box of Pomona's Universal Pectin (makes 2-4 recipes)
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries (or fruit of choice) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup honey or  3/4 cup - 2 cups of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • jam jars (ie: heat-safe Mason or Weck jars)


1.  Wash & dry your jars.

2.  Using enclosed calcium packet, make your calcium water.  Store in a jar in fridge.

3.  Wash the strawberries & remove the tops.  Slice them up and mash them with a fork/potato masher or use a food processor if you have one.  Mash until you reach your desired jam consistency.

4.  Measure sugar or honey.  Add to fruit & stir well.

5.  Bring your 3/4 cup of water to a boil.  Using a blender with a vented lid, blend with the proper amount of pectin (this depends on your chosen fruit - see included instructions) for 1-2 mins until dissolved.

6.  Add hot, liquid pectin to fruit & stir well.

7.  Add 4 tsp. of calcium water to fruit mixture & stir well.  Jell should appear.  If not, continue adding calcium water 1 tsp. at a time until jelling appears.

8.  Fill your jam jars, leaving 1/2" of room at the top.  Store in the freezer immediately.

Whenever you're ready to enjoy a jar, move it to the refrigerator where it will last about a week!


Polaroid Coasters

Remember back in the day when you used to print out your photos?  From a roll of film?  If you were anything like me, you would beg your parents to take you to the drugstore to get them developed, proudly drop off your roll of film and then wait a few anxious days to pick up your envelope of mystery photos.  After examining each photo for an hour (on your awesome blue shag carpet), you would put all of them in your funky photo album to show off to your friends at the next slumber party.  Or was that last part just me?

Although we are huge fans of all the different ways you can share photos online, we feel like the novelty of printing personal pictures has been lost a little.  Fortunately we have a fun, creative remedy for that: Polaroid coasters! This craft is the perfect way to share your memories with guests (or yourself) and decorate your coffee table or desk.  Best of all, these are super cheap and easy to make, which equals two granny thumbs up in our books.  Let’s get started!


  • Mod Podge matte (available at most craft stores)
  • Mod Podge super hi-shine clear acrylic sealer
  • 4x4 white tiles (we bought ours at Home Depot for 82 cents a tile - they were labeled in the store as 4x4 but they are advertised online as 4-1/4x4-1/4 - these still work)
  • Adhesive felt circle pads (we bought ours at Home Depot)
  • 4x6 printed photos (we printed ours at CVS for 19 cents a picture)
  • Sponge brushes
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Optional: Super fine sand paper (200)


There are two different ways to do this project, one version is for Photoshop users and the other is for those of you who don’t own Photoshop.  Everyone gets to play!

1.  First you need to give your photos that "Polaroid vintage" look.  There are a ton of apps on your phone that will do the trick, or you can use this website.  PicMonkey also has some great filters.

2.  Once you have your photos edited there are two options:

For Photoshop owners:
  • We created a Polaroid file that is perfectly sized to fit a 4x4 tile.  You can download it here.
  • Once you've downloaded the file, open it in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  Insert your photo into the Polaroid frame and save it as a jpg.  They've been sized to 4x6 photos so you can get them devolped as regular prints at your local print shop/drugstore.
For Non-Photoshop users:
  • Have your edited photos printed on regular 4x6 photo paper.  Choose what part of the photo you want to use and trim your image to these dimensions: Width 3.25 inches x Height 3.75 inches.

3.  Take one of your pictures and paint a thin coat of the Mod Podge matte glue on the back of the photo.  Place your photo on the tile.  
  • If you are using a trimmed photo without a Polaroid frame (non Photoshop users), then place the photo near the top leaving a 1/4 inch white border around the top and sides, and a 1 inch border on the bottom.  This will create the illusion of a Polaroid frame.  
  • If you are using the Polaroid framed printed photos (Photoshop users), then you are going to place the photo to fit the entire 4x4 tile.

4.  Using the edge of a ruler or credit card, smooth out the photo, making sure to remove all the air bubbles.  Let it dry (usually 5-10 minutes). 

5.  Once it’s dry, take your sponge and paint a thin coat of the Mod Podge Matte glue over the entire tile (yes, even the photo!).  Try to use even strokes in the same direction.  Let dry (this usually takes about 10 minutes).

6.  Repeat the previous step 3 or 4 more times, creating a strong, thick coat.  It's very important to make sure each coat is dry before adding another, which takes longer as they get thicker.

**Bonus step - You don’t have to do this, but we wanted our finished tile to have a smooth finish, so after our final coat of Mod Podge had fully dried (usually overnight), we buffed it with a wet, super fine sand paper (200) and wiped it with a paper towel.  This gets rid of the ridges formed from the built up layers of Mod Podge. 

7.  The amount of time it will take for your final layer of Mod Podge to dry depends on how many coats you do, but to be safe let it dry overnight.  When it's fully dry, spray the coaster with the Mod Podge super hi-shine clear acrylic sealer.  Let dry for a few hours and spray it with a second coat.  Allow to dry a full 24 hours.  The acrylic sealer is really important because it will protect your Polaroid from liquids.  Even if you aren't a klutz like me, without the sealer the condensation from a cold drink will destroy them.  I spilled a few drinks on my sealed coasters and all I had to do was wipe them off and they were fine!

8.  Attach your circle felt pads to the bottom corners of the tile.  If you want to make sure they are secure, you can use a glue gun.

9.  Place drink responsibly and enjoy!

Here are the finished Polaroid coasters that we made: 
(top: Photoshop version, bottom: cut-out version)

We love how they turned out and how custom made they are!  You could make a set for yourself, your family members, your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, anyone really.


Granny Girls Giveaway!

The past couple days have been so exciting for us.  We are completely blown away by all of the positive response we've received about Granny Girls.  This blog is something that is very dear to our hearts and the support we are receiving, not only from our friends but from complete strangers, is so encouraging and means the world to us.  We thought that we would share some highlights with you guys:

And we are not ashamed to admit that we geeked out like school girls when Johnathan Scott and Drew Scott of Property Brothers fame tweeted about us:

We are HUGE fans of the Scott brothers and to get a shout out from them was definitely a “pinch me” moment for us both.  (Would that be a “pinch us” moment?)

We are so thankful to be sharing this adventure with you and we figured what better way to show our gratitude (gran-itude!) than with our very first Granny Girls Giveaway!  Come on, who doesn’t like prizes?  Since you now have The Best Baked Mini Donuts recipe on earth, you definitely need a mini donut pan so you can make them yourself.  Lucky for you, it’s one of the prizes.  Also included is an official Granny Girls mug, some cute pencils, two Granny pins, real Canadian maple syrup (from our home town), and a homemade Mason jar candle (keep your eyes open for a future post showing you how to make your own!).

Here’s the fine print.  Using the Rafflecopter generator below, you have up to 5 ways to enter.  You can:

1.  Follow us on Twitter
2.  Tweet about Granny Girls
3.  Like us on Facebook
4.  Follow us on Instagram
5.  Comment below, letting us know what makes you a Granny Girl.

You get one entry per option you complete.  The best part is, you can use all of the options and receive up to 5 entries. Contest closes November 1st, 2013 and we will announce the winners shortly thereafter.  Good luck!  And thank you again for all of the amazing Granny-love.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Welcome to Granny Girls!

Hi everyone!  Welcome to Granny Girls.  We're so excited to finally share our blog with you.  This site is something we've been working on for a long time.  From the very first idea, through many lattes and brainstorming sessions, site design,  photo shoots, and 5am trips to wine country (more on that later) the creation of Granny Girls has been a labor of love and one that wouldn't have been possible without the backbone of an awesome friendship.

Friendship story:  We're both from Vancouver, Canada and met through mutual friends.  Although we often found ourselves at the same gatherings, we had never spent any time hanging out one on one - until one day Amanda randomly decided to invite Amber to spend a few days in Hollywood, Florida (yes, there is such a place).  A few days turned into fourteen and before we knew it we were lounging poolside with strawberry margaritas, laughing like we'd known each other forever.  The bonding continued when we both moved to Los Angeles (the other Hollywood) in the same year and found ourselves spending more and more time together cooking, baking and crafting as a way to feel more at home.  We'd both enjoyed writing and sharing our recipes on our personal blogs, until one magical day in the fall of 2012 we realized that two friends (slash bloggers) are better than one - and Granny Girls was born.

What is a Granny Girl, you ask?  Well, after many failed attempts at writing a paragraph that answers this very question, we turned to videography.  Here is the result:

Although the concept of Granny Girls came naturally to us, website design is something that does not. As soon as we knew we wanted to make this idea a reality we knew who our "dream design team" would be.  Enter the incredible, inspiring & insanely talented Kelty & Hannah of The Weaver House. When we shared our vision with them and they enthusiastically agreed to work with us, we actually jumped around the room for joy.  A few vision boards, a bunch of e-mails and a whole lotta talent later, they presented to us the site design of our dreams.  And again, there was yelling & jumping.

Actual reaction shot:

We are beyond excited to finally be sharing this site with you.  We hope that you'll enjoy reading about our recipes, crafts and adventures and even feel inspired to try some of your own.  Our goal with this site isn't to create a blog that's Pinterest-perfect with crafts and recipes that only Martha could create. We, too, both started from a place of not knowing how to cook (or knit or quilt - or blog!) and slowly, through trial and bunch of error, have learned a few skills along the way.  We're here to share these with you, as well as learn together as we try new things.  We'll be sharing our mistakes and flops, burnt cookies and craft-fails - because we know that life's not perfect and that messing up is often how you learn.

So pour a cup of tea, take a look around (we already have a couple posts up in each category) and follow us on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook where we'll be announcing new posts and our upcoming giveaway!

And if you have any questions or comments we'd love to hear from you.

Love, The Granny Girls


Teacup Candles

We had seen these lovely candles floating around Pinterest and in our favorite overpriced store and thought they were so beautiful that we would try and make them ourselves. Neither of us had ever made candles before so it initially seemed a little daunting, but once we were actually doing it we both couldn't believe how easy it was!  We ordered all of our supplies on Amazon (most craft stores also carry candle-making supplies) and made them one morning over a relaxing cup of tea (note: don't confuse actual tea with wax-filled teacup).  We're both so thrilled with how they turned out and can't wait to give our beautiful homemade candles as gifts!

You will need:

  • Teacups (collect vintage ones from thrift shops or order a set off of Amazon like we did)
  • Wax Flakes (we chose natural soy wax because it's clean burning & this 10lb. bag was a great deal)
  • Wicks (these are the ones we used)
  • A Candlemaking Pitcher (you could also use a regular stove pot but this is so much easier because you don't have to worry about cleaning the leftover wax out afterwards).
  • A Wooden Spoon
  • Some wooden skewers (to make "wick holders" that will hold the wicks upright)
  • Some rubber bands
  • A taper candle or some Wick Stickers (wick stickers recommended)
  • An essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice (optional)

1.  The first step is to secure your wicks to the bottom center of your teacups.  We used a taper candle and melted some wax to stick ours, but they did come unstuck a lot so next time we definitely plan on using wick stickers.

2.  Once you have your wicks secure, you need to create some "wick holders" that will keep the wicks upright & centered when you pour in the melted wax.  We made ours by cutting down wooden skewers, placing two together, and wrapping a rubber band around each end (see picture below).  Place these over your wicks & center them.

3.  Now it's wax melting time!  Pour your wax flakes into your candlemaking pitcher and place on the stove on super low heat.  The amount of flakes you need will vary depending on the size of your teacups & how many candles you want to make, so there's a bit of guesswork that happens here.  Just keep in mind that the wax flakes melt down A LOT and if you do have any left over you can just let it re-harden in the pitcher and save it for next time (or if you have any mason jars laying around you can make candles in those as well!  Just make sure they're heat-safe).

4.  Because your heat is on super low, the wax will take a little time to start melting.  Just keep stirring with that wooden spoon and it will soon transform into a clear, yellow-ish liquid.

5.  Once your wax is melted it's time to add your fragrance!  Every wax & fragrance is different so check your bag of wax flakes to see if it tells you how much scent is needed per lb. of wax.  If you are using a synthetic candle fragrance I believe the ratio is usually about 1oz. of scent per lb. of wax.  We used natural, essential oils for ours which usually requires using more oil, but we decided to wing it and just poured a bunch into our wax until we could smell it (about half a bottle).  In the end our candles weren't very strongly scented, which didn't bother us, but if you're looking for a stronger scent you may want to use some traditional synthetic candle fragrances or add more essential oil than we did.

6.  Now that you've added your fragrance, it's time to let your wax cool a little bit.  (We didn't do this with ours and apparently that's why some of them ended up with little cracks & holes in the wax).  Let it cool until it reaches the consistency of a Slurpee.  Make sure your teacups are on a steady surface where they can remain, undisturbed, for the next 24 hours while they set.  Once the wax is ready, carefully pour it into your teacups, center the wicks if you need to, and you're done!

Your candles will probably look like they're set before the 24 hours are up, but for best results wait that long before using them.  Once they're set, trim the wicks to about 1/2 an inch and light your beautiful candles!


The Best Baked Mini Donuts

We like to think of these oven-baked mini donuts as the "Granny Girls" signature recipe.  This is our go-to recipe to take to parties or give as birthday gifts because not only are they super easy to make but people LOVE them (get ready for recipe requests out the wazoo).

What makes these happiness-inducing sprinkle-festivals so amazing?  First of all, they're donuts.  Second, they're mini (cuuute!). Third, they're baked, not fried (aka you can eat them all). And fourth, they taste like cinnamon-y, fresh baked heaven.  And they're super fun because you can color co-ordinate the sprinkles to match whatever it is you're celebrating.  Bring these babies to your next get-together and, trust us, your dessert will be the talk of the table.  Or the talk of your coffee table as you finish them off while watching Netflix.  We've done it.

P.S.  Want to win a mini donut pan of your very own?  Check back soon for our first giveaway featuring one of these pans & a bunch of other fun prizes!

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Wet ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk (we used vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg (or egg replacer for 1 egg)
  • 4 tbsp. butter (or Earth Balance)

For the icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. milk (again, we used vanilla almond)
  • sprinkles!


1.  Preheat your oven to 350ยบ F.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

3.  In a small pot, mix together the wet ingredients.  Heat on the stovetop on low heat and stir until blended.

4.  Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients & lightly mix until just blended.

5.  Lightly spray mini donut pan with your choice of cooking oil (we used coconut oil).

6.  Now it's time to pour the batter into the pan!  On our first try making these donuts we painstakingly used a teaspoon and our fingers to spread the batter around - until we realized the GENIUS plan of pouring the batter into a Ziploc bag, snipping off a tiny corner, and piping the batter into the donut circles.  SO EASY!  (You probably would have figured this out on your first try but we're all about trial & error over here). 

7.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool for about 5 minutes & then tip baked donuts onto wire cooling rack & they should just pop right out.  Repeat until batter is done.  (We got about 36 mini donuts out of the batch!)8.  To make your icing (which is really more like a glaze) just mix the icing sugar & milk together in a bowl.  Once the donuts have cooled, dip each one in the glaze and then into your bowl of sprinkles.*Note:  You can also make a chocolate glaze by adding cocoa powder to the icing mix (start with a couple tablespoons and add more to make it as chocolatey as you want)

9.  Place on a pretty plate, take a picture, and devour!

P.S.  The donut-decorating options are endless!  Here are some other versions we have tried:
  • Chocolate Glaze - to make this one we added cocoa powder to the icing
  • Chocolate & Coconut
  • "Snowflake" donuts (dip in vanilla icing and then in a bowl of shredded coconut)
  • Maple Walnut (add some maple syrup to the icing - use slightly less milk)
  • Cinnamon Sugar (dip donuts in melted butter & roll in cinnamon sugar)


Santa Barbara Bike & Wine Tour

When we first started this blog we knew that one of our Adventures had to be a winery tour up in Santa Barbara.  It's something we'd always wanted to do and thought it would be a perfect post full of fun times and amazing photo ops.  Usually an epic weekend away such as this involves some planning so we added it to our list of ideas and figured we'd get to it when the time was right.

Cut to the two of us driving out to the country on the way to our berry picking adventure, chatting about our weekend plans and realizing we had none.  

Amber:  "So what are you doing tomorrow?"
Amanda:  "Nothing.  You?"
Amber:  "Nothing"
Amanda:  "We should go on that winery tour"
Amber:  "Ok!"

And that's how we decided to forgo all planning and book it from the front seat of my Yaris.  We already knew that we wanted to go on this bike/winery tour that we'd seen during one of our nights of documentary watching and luckily they still had room on the tour! (aka we were the only ones).  Our plan was to find a cute little B&B to stay at over night but for some reason everything in Santa Barbara was either booked or $500 so instead we decided to take the train.  Santa Barbara is only 2 hours away by train so we booked two tickets to take the Amtrak out in the morning & back the same evening - and the awesome folks at the Santa Barbara Adventure Company offered to pick us up at the train station.

So bright and early around 6am the next morning we were ready to roll.  After a quick drive-thru Starbucks and a short wait/photo shoot at the station we were on our way.

The train ride was awesome and is highly recommended.  We got to relax with our coffee and biscotti (there's also a coffee car on the train that even serves wine & champagne) and enjoy the lack of traffic & the beautiful coastal view.

The train was also super empty so we grabbed a set of facing seats which doubled as excellent footrests.

As promised, our guide from the Santa Barbara Adventure Company was at our final stop awaiting our arrival.  We climbed into the giant adventure-van and were met with our first surprise of the trip - a couple from Texas had joined the tour!  They were on their belated-honeymoon and this was not only their first time in California but was to be their first time ever drinking alcohol!  They were super shy and really sweet and were probably scared of us as we started a sing-along on the 40 minute drive into the Santa Ynez Valley.

We had wrongly assumed that our first task upon arrival would be to get outfitted with some bikes, but nope, apparently a wine tour begins and ends with wine.  Our first stop was at the stunningly beautiful Sanford Winery, located in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills.

We sampled many wines and got to know our new Texan friends as they got to know their Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot & Cabernet.  By the end of the tasting they were cracking jokes and talking about their honeymoon night - and we were digging our way through the bowl of free crackers hoping to make our bikes less wobbly.

As soon as the first tasting was done we headed out to the van to be outfitted with our gear.  Thankfully they also provided helmets.

After a brief safety-check...

...we were on our way!

The length of the bike tour was about 12 miles, through the winding Santa Rita Hills.  The first portion of the trip involved making our way up a massive hill which is pretty hysterical after a pre-lunch wine tasting.  Pedaling uphill while laughing is definitely a challenge not to be missed.

Our next stop was at the LaFond Winery tasting room where we excitedly began our second pre-lunch wine flight of the day.  Good thing we had that biscotti for breakfast!


After we were done we made our way outside where our guide had set up a beautiful picnic lunch next to the vineyards.  We had wraps & veggies & hummus (score!) all while enjoying the stunning view.

After lunch it was time to suit up and bike another six miles to our next destination.  Luckily it was mostly downhill this time.

We made a quick trespass stop into some vineyards for a friendly photo op.

And a few miles and one repaired bike chain later, we arrived at our final winery.

Hugs were abound at this point.

Mosby Wines call their wines Cal-Italian as the winemaker, Bill Mosby, was the first vintner in Santa Barbara County to produce Cortese wine made from a special grape that's native to the province of Piedemont in northern Italy.  They've won awards for their gorgeous labels which are designed by a renowned Italian artist.

To be totally honest, we mostly pretended to try these wines.  After a 6 hour day of tastings & biking 12 miles in the sun we were ready to call it a day.  Instead we enjoyed sampling large pours of their bottled water before loading our gear into the van and heading on our way.

It was an amazing day and we had a great time with our awesome tour guide & new friends.  The weather was perfect and the Santa Ynez Valley was stunningly beautiful.  If you ever find yourself in Santa Barbara, we can't recommend this tour enough!

We had looked up a great vegetarian restaurant that we wanted to try for dinner and our guide was generous enough to drop us off at the door.  After dinner we made our way through downtown Santa Barbara and finally discovered why there had been no rooms or hotels available.  The entire town was celebrating Fiesta!  A huge, 90-year-old celebration honoring the history and traditions of the Spanish, Mexican and Native American settlers that founded Santa Barbara.  We were told that this is the biggest celebration of the year and that the population more than doubles during this time!

After buying some confetti eggs and smashing them over our heads we made our way back to the train station for the relaxing ride home.

Our Granny Girls winery trip was a huge success and proved that spontaneity and overbooked hotels make for some of the best adventures.