Homemade Fruit Gift Wrap

_MG_9902Lately I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making my own gift wrap. While there are so many beautiful options readily available out there, I find that people notice when you’ve taken the time to paint it and that makes the gift all the more special.

In an effort to stretch out the summer, I’ve been going a little crazy with fruit-themed projects before the produce switches into Fall mode (hence The Perfect Fruit TartThailand-Inspired Fresh Fruit Shakes, & Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Pie). For the upcoming birthday and housewarming presents I’ll be gifting this month, I decided to stick to this theme and make fruit-inspired gift wrap with watercolors and acrylics. I love how colorful and sweet they looked in the end, especially as a group.


Materials:

  • Plain white gift wrap
  • Spray paint (optional, but it’s the ideal paint for your base layer)
  • Watercolors or acrylics
  • Paint brushes (one thick, one thin)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Green ribbon and bows

First, place a large piece of scrap paper or newspaper on the ground to protect from any mess you will make. Then cut the wrapping paper into the sizes of paper you need towrope your gifts. You’ll want to paint them one at a time, so place your first piece on the ground and tape down the edges.

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Going into this project, I already had two colors of spray paint, olive green and pink, so I went ahead and used those to make the base for the watermelon, kiwi, and strawberry papers. Simply spray an even coat over the paper and set aside to dry (for the watermelon, do half of it pink, half green, and leave a fuzzy strip of white in the middle).

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Using watercolors or watered-down acrylics, coat the remaining pieces of paper until completely covered. It may be a little wrinkly from the water (which is why the spray paint is ideal), but those waves will smooth out when you wrap your gift.

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Allow the base coats to dry completely.

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Once dry, you can begin painting details onto the papers. The amount of detail it up to you. I added seeds to the watermelon as well as a few strokes of darker green, I also add seeds to the strawberry and kiwi. I used acrylic to paint the pulp into the orange and lemon papers, and a simple black star to the blueberry. For the grapes, I liked the base enough to leave them alone.

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Once the paper is completely dry, wrap the gifts and decorate with green ribbon. Hope you have as much fun making these as I did!

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Happy wrapping!

-Kirby

The Perfect Fruit Tart

Fruit TartLast week we had to skip our first week of blogging since we launched Glü. Michelle travelled back to L.A. for a visit and the day we planned to make something, we both got job interviews, Michelle had to fly back to San Francisco, and then all of a sudden we were both employed! The chaos led to a slight moment of panic for me but I soon relaxed after everything settled down. This past weekend I was able to spend a warm Sunday afternoon making my favorite summer (or any season really) dessert – this fruit tart – for a game night with family and friends.

The beauty of this recipe is its ability to be both deceptively easy and show-stopping. It can make any amateur baker look like a professional, and can vary in difficulty depending on the variety of fruit you use. Plus this homemade version, with fresh fruit, a vanilla cream cheese filling, and a citrus glaze, is so much better than anything you will find in a grocery store.


Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cubed

Filling:

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fresh fruit (I chose raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and kiwi)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Glaze:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 large orange (or two small ones)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 350º F. In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter and flour until completely incorporated and you can form a compact ball.

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Press the crust into a buttered tart pan. I only had a deep dish tart pan so I filled the dough half way up the sides, but a shorter one would be much easier. Make sure that the crust is completely even on the base and sides, and use a sharp knife to trim the top of the edges for a cleaner presentation.

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Poke a few holes in the base of the crust and bake in the oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, until the crust is a pale golden color around the edges.

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While the crust cools, whisk the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar in a bowl until smooth.

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Then spread the mixture over the cooled crust with the back of a spoon until even.

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Wash your fruit and then go ahead and slice all of the pieces you plan to use. It’s much more enjoyable to have your materials ready so that you can sit down and enjoy the fun part – decorating.

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Now time to get creative! Arrange the fruit however you would like, in pretty circular patterns or stripes. My mom likes to make this tart with just raspberries, the perfect compliment for the cream cheese filling and much easier for those who don’t like the idea of decorating.

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To make the glaze, combine the citrus juices, water and sugar in a small sauce pan. Whisk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the cornstarch and whisk quickly until the cornstarch is fully incorporated. Bring the liquid to a rapid boil and then immediately remove from the heat. The glaze should be semi-thick and slightly yellow/orange in color. You can place it in the fridge or freezer to seed up the cooling process.

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Using a kitchen brush, gently coat the fruit with your cooled glaze to add the final glistening touch to this beautiful dessert.

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Serve right away or place in the fridge to eat later.

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Happy baking!

-Kirby

 

Thailand-Inspired Fresh Fruit Shakes

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In April, we treated ourselves to a graduation trip to Thailand. For two weeks, we travelled with our friend Maddy to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, experiencing a culture that we will never forget. Three months later, we still reminisce daily about the people we met in hostels, the most incredible street food, the bustling markets, the $7 massages, the magnificent temples and the picturesque beaches. Some experiences, like the elephant sanctuary, were so impactful that they have really stayed with us back in our real non-vacationing lives. We’ve been educating our family and friends about the harm of riding elephants, something that neither of us and many other tourists don’t realize.

In the hundred degree humid weather, we found sanctuary in the small street stands on nearly every block that sold fresh fruit shakes. They were just four simple ingredients: fruit, water, ice and sugar, but they were so refreshing and flavorful, the second we finished one we were dying for another. We each had our go-to fruit (Kirby’s watermelon & Michelle’s mango) and we had about three a day, often times along with our Chang beers. It may seem almost comical to share such a simple recipe on this blog, but to keep these delicious drinks to ourselves would be outright selfish.


Ingredients & Materials:

  • 2 cups chopped fruit (your choice!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Agave
  • Ice
  • A blender

Pick your favorite fruit to make your shake and be sure that it is ripe and in season. We opted for watermelon, pineapple and mango.

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Dice your fruit and remove seeds if necessary. You need about 2 cups of fruit per shake, though you could get away with less if you are using a richer and denser fruit like mango.

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Blend your fruit with a cup of water, a cup of ice and a tablespoon of agave.

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And that’s it!!! So simple. So good. Enjoy!

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Cheers!

-Kirby & Michelle