Art for Arts Sake Saturday October 4th!

Sep 22, 2014 by in News 0 comments

AFASlogo2012 (2)

Please join us at Branch Out during Art for Art’s Sake. As always, we’ll have some amazing sales, a raffle, great drinks and great times. DJ Eugene Oubliette will be playing, Brandon Gaspard will be manning the photo booth, and of course, we’ll have free booze and snacks!

*There will be complimentary shuttles running up and down Magazine Street from 5pm – 9pm.

Louisiana Looses Its Boot

Sep 15, 2014 by in News 0 comments


The boot-shaped state isn’t shaped like a boot anymore. That’s why we revised its iconic outline to reflect the truth about a sinking, disappearing place.

By Brett Anderson

Really great read. Find the original article here.

Blueberry Pie Recipe from Crescent City Farmers Market

Jun 10, 2014 by in News Comments Off on Blueberry Pie Recipe from Crescent City Farmers Market


Basic Blueberry Pie

Both the Chosa’s of Azul Dolce and Jeff and Don of J & D Blueberry Farm have bumper crops of blueberries right now, so buy some for now and some to freeze to make this Basic Blueberry Pie Filling year-round. Feeling ambitious? Fore-go the pre-made crust, and use this pie dough recipe from Nate ‘Nola Pie Guy’ Winner to make the perfect blueberry pie!


  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or more if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, butter, and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens. Be sure to keep stirring until mixture reaches desired consistency. Cool filling before pouring into a baked pie crust.

Makes filling for 1 9-inch pie

Recipe compliments of Miss-Lou Blueberry Growers Association


  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 8 oz. butter
  • 3 cups (minus 2 tablespoons) of all purpose flour


Bring butter to room temperature. Dissolve salt in the water. Add salted water and flour to butter and mix in a large bowl until combined. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight.

Recipe compliments of Nate ‘NOLA Pie Guy’ Winner

Originally posted here.

How to Make Plarn & Crochet an Eco-Friendly Tote Bag

May 20, 2014 by in News Comments Off on How to Make Plarn & Crochet an Eco-Friendly Tote Bag handmade and vintage goods

About the Project:

Crocheting with plastic yarn, or “plarn,” is a fun way to repurpose plastic bags and create a reusable alternative that is durable and even recyclable! This sweet tote is a great project for beginning and experienced crocheters alike, and a perfect complement to our Earth Day celebrations! Once you’re comfortable with chaining, single crochet stitch, slip stitch, half double, and double crochet stitches, you’re ready to get started!

Supplies you’ll need:

20-25 clean grocery bags*
Plastic crochet hook, size 6.50mm K**

*Tip 1: When choosing bags for your plarn, consider color and texture. Try to keep all the bags for the project the same density: some bags are stretchy, some are crunchy. It’s best to keep your plarn consistent to achieve a good overall effect. When considering color, think about combining different color plastic bags to create a pattern of color, random color changes, or even create a look that doesn’t reflect plastic at all. For example, brown plastic bags can look like raffia and not at all like the original material when crocheted.

**Tip 2: While the pattern calls for a certain size crochet hook and a specific number of rows to stitch, there may be variation in your project due to the tightness of your stitches or the density of your plarn. Don’t feel like you have to follow the pattern to the letter. The number of rows in your project can differ from the pattern. The goal is to create a tote that is almost a perfect square, but not quite. You’ll know when you’ve stitched enough rows when the height of your project measures slightly less than the width before you’ve started crocheting the handles. This way you can use whatever size hook you’re comfortable with, stitch as many rows as you need to make your tote look nice, and have fun doing it!


1.  Flatten out your clean grocery bags and fold them in half. Cut off the handles.
2. Cut off the bottom of the bags. Place these cut off pieces into a pile for the recycling bin.

3. Flatten out the round piece of plastic you now have and fold it in half. Fold that into thirds. Fold that in half again. Cut this folded piece into 1 inch pieces, discarding the pieces from both ends. I often layer 3 of the flat pieces and fold and cut them up together to save time, since we have so many bags to do. You can also cut them quickly on a cutting board with a rotary cutter and metal t-square.
4. Now we have created plastic loops that can be connected to create the plarn. Bring one loop through another.

5. Pull the other end of the loop through the end you just put through the first loop. They should now be connected.
6. Slowly and with finesse, pull the loops tight. You want that connection to be as flat and smooth as possible. If your loop is weak and breaks simply put it in your recycling pile and go on to the next piece.

7. Wind your plarn into a ball that feeds out of the center.
8. Create a slip knot and place it on your crochet hook.

9. Chain 20 stitches.
10. Stitch half double crochet for the body of the bag.

Tip: Make your stitches loose! You will become frustrated if your stitches are too tight. Do yourself a favor and keep it loose.

11. Crochet the tail in as you work.
12. Work in the round. No need to chain and turn, simply continue into the next stitch for the entire project.

13. After 4 rows of half double turn your work. It’s now right-side-out and you will continue working to left instead of to the right like before you turned it.

14. Complete 14 rows of half double crochet. If your stitches are tighter or looser you may need to do more or less rows. The goal is to have your bag slightly wider than it is tall at this point.
15. Now you will use single crochet. Do 6 stitches of single crochet.

16. Now you’re ready to make the first handle. Chain 20 stitches. Hold it up to the bag and see how you like that length. Want longer/shorter handles? Simply chain more/less stitches. Be careful not to twist your handle as you’re chaining. Count 8 stitches from where the chain started on your work and attach your chain to the bag with a single crochet stitch.
17. Stitch 12 single crochet stitches around to the other side.

Tip: Feel free to alter the pattern. Make the handles longer, the bag wider, more flowers. Be creative!

18. Now you’ll make the other handle. Chain 20, count 8 stitches along on your work, and attach the chain with a single crochet stitch, just like you did on the other side for the first handle. Make sure they look even. If not, find the place where they are even by holding the chain up to your bag and attach it there.
19. Now simply stitch single crochet all the way around and onto the handle, stitching into your chain stitches.

20. Continue stitching into your chain stitches, widening your handle.
21. Continue using single crochet and stitch along the other handle.

22. Stitch a few more single crochet stitches until you’re at the fold of the bag and the top looks even. Slip stitch and finish the ends off by hiding them in the stitches on the inside of the bag.
23. Attach the flower. Enjoy!


Abbreviation Key:
ch = chain stitch
ss = slip stitch
sc = single crochet stitch
hdc = half double crochet stitch
dc = double crochet stitch

Instructions for the Plarn Tote, for the crochet-inclined
ch 20.
Stitch hdc in the round. Crochet the tail into your work.
After 4 rows hdc turn your work right side out. Continue working hdc to the left now.
Complete 14 rows hdc.
Stich 6 sc.
ch 20. Count 8 stitches on your work and attach your chain with sc.
Stitch 12 sc.
ch 20. Count 8 stitches on your work and attach your chain with sc just like you did on the first side.
Stitch sc around and onto the first handle.
Stitch sc along the handle.
Continue sc around to the other handle.
Stitch sc to edge. ss and finish ends off by hiding them in the stitches on the inside of the bag.

Attach the flower.

Instructions for Flower
ch 4.
ss into first stitch to make circle.
work 10 sc around circle, crochet tail in as you work.
join by ss into first sc.
first petal: into first stitch do sc, 3 dc, sc. ss into next stitch.
repeat petal stitches 4 more times to make five petals.
ss into last stitch and finish by hiding ends in the back.


Thank you to Claire Baker from Montclair Made for sharing this project with us.

Originally posted here.


Shop Local!

May 16, 2014 by in News Comments Off on Shop Local!


The products at Miette on Magazine Street dot the shelves, the walls and the ceiling.

French Market coffee tins turned into clocks, Lego blocks used for jewelry charms and melted beads crafted into colorful lamps make up just a few of the artists’ work for sale.

Owner Angee Jackson, 34, says she opened the shop in 2010 to give local artists a place to grow and add to the offerings on Magazine Street, for years a mix of locally owned high-end furniture and fashion boutiques and thriftier vintage offerings.

“It used to be so much funkier,” said Jackson, who also owns Mojo Coffee House shops on Magazine and Freret streets.

The quirky landscape on Magazine Street has begun to change, riding the wave of an often-ballyhooed economic resurgence in New Orleans in recent years. The Uptown and Garden District neighborhoods around Magazine have emerged as hot real estate markets, driven by cash sales and offers from people flocking to New Orleans from across the country.

Meanwhile, national retail chains that once ignored New Orleans are now considering the city’s high-traffic retail corridors. In some cases, those areas have been proven viable by thriving locally owned shops. Home furnishings store West Elm is moving into the 2900 block of Magazine Street. Other nationals nearby include Jamba Juice, American Apparel, Starbucks, and clothing shops Free People and Chicos.

Some local owners see the trend as a threat to their businesses.

StayLocal!, an alliance of New Orleans independent business owners, recently surveyed Magazine Street businesses in response to concerns from its members. The group recently unveiled the results of the survey in a story for The Lens investigative news website. On Wednesday (April 30), a meeting of business owners organized by StayLocal! will be held to discuss the street’s future.

“Magazine Street is unique and that is the key to its charm,” said StayLocal program manager Mark Strella. “If chain after chain comes in, it’s at risk of becoming like every other street in the country.”

Twenty-three locally owned businesses between the 1900 and 5800 blocks of Magazine Street were surveyed. Of those, 65 percent reported noticing “higher than normal rate of rent increases” on the street. Nearly four out of five businesses said they are worried that higher rent will hurt their economic viability, according to the survey. Nearly three out of four shops reported fearing a rent increase could force them out.

Three out of four also reported viewing national retailers as a threat to the street’s character. The same number also said something should be done to manage rent affordability.

Three out of four also reported seeing national retailers as a threat to the street’s character and said something should be done to manage rent affordability, according to the survey.

Strella said with property values on the rise, business owners began noticing rising rental rates three or four years ago, but rent in the last year or two have clearly surged. He said he hopes business owners at Wednesday’s meeting will begin a conversation on the options moving forward, whether through a government policy or a private-sector marketing and business development effort, aimed at beefing up competition against the chains.

In several places in the United States, from the increasingly pricey San Francisco to the Texas Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, governments have implemented various rules or limits on “formula retail” — chains that use the same products and design in many locations – to protect the flavor of certain historic areas or neighborhoods.

In New Orleans, national retailers are setting up shop citywide, developments that Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration and City Council members celebrate. The new arrivals inlcude Costco, Mid-City Market with Winn-Dixie, among other chains, two additional Walmart stores, Tiffany’s jewelry and the soon-to-be open outlet mall inside a renovated Riverwalk.

A report last year by the New Orleans Business Alliance, which counts retail recruitment among its missions, found that residents spend $1.9 billion on retail goods in neighboring parishes every year, more than the $1.48 billion spent inside the city.

Strella said chain stores can have a place in the city, such as anchoring a new development. “We’re not advocating putting up walls around New Orleans and keeping chains out,” he said.

Keith Adler, a sales and leasing associate with Corporate Realty, said he works as a broker on Magazine Street, owns property there and also lives nearby. Retail rental rates on Magazine Street are range from about $20 per square foot, per year, to $35 per square foot on the major shopping blocks, nearing historic highs, he said.

“I think that Magazine Street is a microcosm and a victim of the great successes and strides that New Orleans has made since Hurricane Katrina,” Adler said. The city has a finite amount of land to build on, different from cities like Memphis or Atlanta with neighborhoods and suburbs for ongoing expansion, he said. As national retailers look to move in to New Orleans, they are searching for proven retail ground.

Meanwhile, the growing number of new residents moving to the city “are not beholden to what old New Orleans used to be and the fabric of pre-Katrina New Orleans, but what they do want to see is their favorite dress store from home,” he said. On the other hand, proliferation of national chains looking for big-box style spaces will be hindered by the older, smaller building sizes on Magazine Street, he said.

In a shifting market, he said, there will be some businesses pushed out because of higher rents. But he said he thinks there’s room for everybody.

“What is happening on Magazine Street is good for New Orleans,” Adler said. “It’s a good thing for Uptown and it’s a good thing for our national presence. … I don’t blame the mom and pop retailer for being a little scared that they can’t afford what’s coming down the pipe. Those people cannot sit on their laurels … they have got to be proactive and find those spaces they can work their business in.”

Aidan Gill, founder of Aidan Gill for Men barbershop and haberdashery, owns the building for his Magazine Street shop. The Dublin, Ireland native founded the business in 1990. He said more and more tourists are getting out of the French Quarter and visiting the city’s neighborhoods, and it’s up to businesses on Magazine Street to work hard to compete, including opening for regular hours, handling garbage properly, keeping storefronts clean and being friendly to visiting customers.

“People aren’t coming to Magazine to find the Gap and Banana Republic,” he said.

Jackson said she is grateful that monthly rents at both her coffee shop and her artists’ gallery are reasonable for the current market. She pays $1,650 at the coffee shop, up from $900 seven years ago, although that increase includes the addition of a $250 storage space. At Miette, the rent is $1,900 per month.

She said she is concerned that costs will go up and put more pressure on her operation. She focuses on supporting other local businesses by spreading the word and serving coffee roasted locally rather than serving nationally known brands. But big corporations can afford to pay the higher rents, she said.

After Hurricane Katrina, Jackson opened Mojo Coffee Shop inside a former Rue de la Course in the 1500 block of Magazine Street. For a week after opening, she couldn’t get any cups. The neighbors showed up with their own cups from home, she said.

“I wish there was something protecting small business,” Jackson said. “We all take care of each other. It’s a Southern thing. I don’t want us to lose our Southern charm, and I think small businesses help with that culture.”

Originally posted here.

Happy Earth Day! What Can You Do to Celebrate?

Apr 22, 2014 by in News Comments Off on Happy Earth Day! What Can You Do to Celebrate?


10 Ideas to Celebrate the Earth!

10. Leave the Car at Home. There are lots of ways to get to work without driving your car. You can carpool with someone from work, take the bus or train, arrange to work from home for the day, or, best yet, ride your bike. Then you’ll be getting healthier right alongside the planet.

9. Skip that Shower. Water shortages around the world are a real problem and you don’t necessarily need a shower every day. A 10 minute shower can consume up to 50 gallons of water. And too much showering can actually strip you skin and hair of the natural oils that help protect it.

8. Start Banking Online. Lots of people have started paying credit card bills and viewing statements online instead of through the mail. It’s faster than writing checks, and you don’t have to store all that paper. And if everybody in the United States started dealing with money online, it would save almost 19 millions trees every year. It would also save some gas, since the post office wouldn’t have to deliver your statements and your payment. If you haven’t made the switch yet, Earth Day is a great time to sit down and set everything up.

7. Buy a Carbon Offset.  If you’re too busy to get out there and contribute an effective way to help would to be to purchase a carbon offset. You pay for clean energy through a website like to offset the dirty energy you use. You could pay for the energy your home uses this Earth Day.

6. Write an Email to Your Congressman or Congresswomen. Contacting someone with the power to make large-scale change through legislation, like a senator or representative, can have some pretty grand and lasting consequences. Pick a topic you feel passionately about  or weigh in on pending legislation.

5. Volunteer or Attend an Earth Day Event. Find a list of activities here, or through your local community. You could plant a tree, clean up trash in your neighborhood, volunteer for an Earth Day celebration or even just spread the word about what people can do to help.

4. Plant a Tree! Literally make the world a greener place by planting a tree or shrub. Or even a seasonal vegetable garden. Plant something local that will grow well without excess water. Trees and shrubs help to reduce global warming and soil erosion.

3. Update Old Light-blubs. It’s time to switch out your old incandescent light-blubs to energy-saving fluorescent ones. It’ll save you money on your energy bill since fluorescents are a lot more efficient than standard light-bulbs. Check out to help you switch out those blubs.

2. Start a Compost Bin. Every time you throw out coffee grounds, egg shells, and paper towels  you’re adding to a landfill — and subtracting from your yard. All of this stuff, and much more, can be composted instead of trashed, and compost is an ideal way to fertilize your outdoor space. And once you set up a composting system — basically a bin in your kitchen to put in compostable waste, and a bin in your yard where it can decay — all of that rich fertilizer is free.

1. Keep It All Up! It’s great to do something nice for the environment on Earth Day. It’s even better to keep it going after Earth Day has passed.The best way to celebrate Earth Day is to extend the celebration. So if you commemorate Earth Day by setting up a compost bin, make sure you stick with composting your kitchen waste. If you skip a shower to save conserve water, make it a habit to conserve water in other small ways, like only running the washer or the dishwasher when there’s a full load.Once you replace your light-blubs, remember to turn them off when you leave the room. See if you can get a car pool together for work. Make planting a tree on Earth Day a yearly tradition. And if you find you like volunteering on Earth Day, who knows — maybe you’ll like volunteering for the environment once a month. The Earth will thank you for it, and Earth Day will have done its job.

Adapted from here.

Ouick “I can’t wait till Spring” Recipe from Crescent City Farmers Market

Mar 18, 2014 by in News Comments Off on Ouick “I can’t wait till Spring” Recipe from Crescent City Farmers Market


Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

It’s brussels sprout season! Get there early on Tuesdays and Saturday and pick up a few baskets from Jim & Gladys Core before they’re all gone. One of our favorite way to serve these little beauties is in this delicious, light Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad.

1 lb of brussels sprouts

1 cup of toasted and slightly crushed walnuts or slivered almonds

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 medium sized lemon

parmesan cheese to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Using either a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice the brussels sprouts into very thin slices.  Toss in a large bowl to separate.  Add walnuts and toss together. Squeeze the juice of the lemon onto the salad and slowly drizzle the olive oil over the salad.  Shave the parmesan cheese into delicate curls and gently toss together with the brussels sprouts and walnuts.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Originally posted here.

Recycled Mardi Gras Beads DIY Ideas

Feb 24, 2014 by in News Comments Off on Recycled Mardi Gras Beads DIY Ideas




Here are just a few ideas on what to do with all the Mardi Gras beads you catch this Carnival!

1. Recycle all those beads into a custom work of art! Grab an old picture with frame from a thrift store and paint over it so you’ll have a clean background to work with. Sketch out the design you want and pick out the colors of beads you want. Then start cutting and hot gluing the beads to your canvas. Make any design you want! This would be a great gift or the perfect Mardi Gras decoration.

2. Make your own hot plate for your Carnival table! If you click on the picture you can get the step by step details but it’s really easy. Cardboard as the base and beads hot glued into place. Such a simple craft and would be a great hostess gift.

3. Make the house festive with a hand made wreath! Click the picture for the step by step instructions. You could really go crazy with these! Imagine using all your throws for the decorations! Zulu coconuts, Muses’ shoes, doubloons and more!

You can also always recycle your Mardi Gras throws with the ARC of Greater New Orleans. The ARC is a non-profit that works with the disabled and they collect beads to reprocess them to resell each year. It’s a great cause that really benefits from your donations of old beads.

You might even know a friend or have family who ride in a parade each year that would love to have the beads or perhaps you’re super crafty and want to whip up a costume for Mardi Gras day made entirely of beads! So don’t toss those beads in the garbage! Make something or donate!



And We’re BACK!

Feb 8, 2014 by in News Comments Off on And We’re BACK!

logo-tag style

We are so happy to have our brand new website up and running after many months of absence. After we discovered bugs in the old site, we knew we needed something new and fresh!
So welcome to the new!
We are adding new products everyday and working to keep this baby stocked, but as always if you saw something in our brick and motor store that you don’t see here, please contact us. You can call 504.371.5913 or email us at
Branch Out Blog has some really great new features in the works so please stop by and check them out and keep your eyes peeled for special offers too!

Once again, welcome to the new site and we can’t wait to see you around the web!

Crescent City Farmers Market Recipe

Aug 19, 2013 by in News Comments Off on Crescent City Farmers Market Recipe

Grilled Vegetable Poboys

With the weather cooling, now is a great time to fire up the grill. These Grilled Vegetable Po-boys make both a great addition to your tailgating menu and a quick, easy weeknight dinner.


Grilled vegetable marinade

  • 1 cup olive oil/vegetable oil mix
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Roasted garlic spread

  • 1/4 cup roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1/2 pound Japanese eggplant, half peeled so eggplant looks “striped”, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 pound red onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 cup grilled vegetable marinade
  • 4 6-inch po’ boy loaves, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 cup roasted garlic spread
  • tomato slices
  • lettuce, julienned
  • 6 ounces fontina cheese, sliced


To prepare Grilled Vegetable Marinade: Combine all ingredients—oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper—in blender container. Purée.

To prepare Roasted Garlic Spread: Combine all ingredients—garlic, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper—in blender container. Purée.

To prepare Vegetables: Combine eggplant, onion, zucchini, and marinade; mix well. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes. Grill vegetables over hot coals until tender, turning frequently. Do not char. Peel the pepper and slice.

To serve, spread both halves of po’ boy loaves with roasted garlic spread. Place tomato and lettuce on bottom halves, then top with grilled vegetables and fontina cheese. Top with loaf tops. Slice each po’ boy in half and serve.

Serves 4

Recipe compliments of Chef Mitch Engleman, The Redfish Grill  Originally posted here.

It’s Easy to Go Green This Summer and Save Some Green Too!

Jul 16, 2013 by in News Comments Off on It’s Easy to Go Green This Summer and Save Some Green Too!

Consider these sizzling summer savers:

1. Support your local farmers and economy by shopping at farmers’ markets and picking your own fruits and veggies.
To get started, go to and search “farmers markets,” or use the handy tool in the Local Info box at the left of The Daily Green. Find a pick-your-own farm near you here.

Local produce is fresh and healthy, and it leaves a smaller carbon footprint since it’s transported less. Plus, prices are low (and often negotiable), and it’s more family fun than a trip to the money-sucking Cineplex.

2. Put your butt in gear rather than your car.
Forty percent of the driving we do is within two miles of where we live.  Make a pact this summer to walk or bicycle whenever the trip is two miles or less.  Your bank account — and Mother Nature — will thank you for it.

3. Rediscover your public library.
Libraries are not only FREE, but they’re COOL.  Use the library’s air conditioning rather than your own; read and attend summer programs at your local branch.  And remember, many libraries loan movies too.

4. Reduce your water consumption and water bill — make a rain barrel.
What a great summertime project. Learn how here!

5. Set your AC at 75 (or even 78) degrees.
I really start to sweat when I see how fast the wheel is going around on the electric meter when the AC is turned on. You can reduce your summer cooling costs by about 4% for every degree warmer you set the thermostat, according to Lee Schipper of UC Berkeley.

Originally posted here.

So get moving and save some green during these last few Summer months by going Green!

In Season Recipe from the Crescent City Farmer’s Market

Jun 14, 2013 by in News Comments Off on In Season Recipe from the Crescent City Farmer’s Market

Spicy Squash Pancakes

Use one type or a combination of zucchini, pattypan and yellow squash. Adjust how hot you want the cakes by adjusting the amount of hot pepper and seeds you use. Prepare small pancakes for an appetizer or side dish, or make larger ones and serve with crusty bread and Salsa Fresca (recipe below) for a full meal.
3 eggs
4 cups grated summer squash
1 cup fresh corn kernels, cut from 2 ears
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 large jalapeno pepper, minced
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper to taste
Oil for sautéing
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Grate squash and squeeze out water. Mix in squash, corn, green onions, jalapeno, the cheeses, flour, bread crumbs, olive oil and ground pepper. Heat two tablespoons oil in a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. For small cakes, spoon one tablespoon squash mixture per cake into the hot oil and flatten to uniform thickness. For large cakes, use two tablespoons of squash mixture per cake. Do not over crowd the skillet. Leave about an inch between cakes.
Salsa Fresca
(Serves 6)
3 large slicing tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1 cup green onions, minced
3 T lime juice
3 T fresh chopped cilantro
1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 T olive oil
Salt to taste
Prepare all ingredients. Mix and serve. If you plan to store the sauce in the refrigerator, place it in a jar and pour a tablespoon of oil over the top. Makes about 4 cups.
Serves 6
From the Wisconsin State Fair / Fondy Cooking Demonstration. Originally posted here.

Branch Out and Etsy!

May 17, 2013 by in News Comments Off on Branch Out and Etsy!

Browse some of our stellar vintage collection on! We have awesome vintage belts, earrings, necklaces, charm necklaces, rings and bracelets! Vintage clothing coming soon!!

Earth Day is April 22!

Apr 20, 2013 by in News Comments Off on Earth Day is April 22!

Happy Earth Day! Celebrate earth day with these simple ideas.

Plant trees. As the date also roughly coincides with U.S. Arbor Day, over time Earth Day has taken on the role of tree-planting. Planting trees helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cleans pollution, secures soil in place to prevent erosion, and provides homes for a lot of biodiversity

Make nature crafts at school or home. Get together with your family and build a birdhouse or make a bird feeder to encourage the local bird population, which plays an important role in every ecosystem. For an extra-special Earth Day craft, use objects that would’ve otherwise been thrown away to create beautiful works of art.

Learn more about the environment. Earth Day is a good time to make a commitment to learning more about the environment and how you can help to protect it. Borrow some library books and read up on an issue such as pollution, endangered species, water shortages, recycling, and climate change. Or, learn about a region you’ve never considered before, like the Arctic, the deserts, or the rain forests. Think about the issues that concern you the most and if you haven’t done so already, join a local group that undertakes activities to help protect the environment in your area.

Reduce, reuse and recycle all day long. Buy as little as possible and avoid items that come in lots of packaging. Support local growers and producers of food and products – these don’t have to travel as far and so reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Take your drink container with you, and don’t use any disposable plates or cutlery. Recycle all the things you do use for the day or find other uses for things that you no longer use. Carry a cloth bag for carrying things in and recycle your plastic bags.

Hold a garage sale, donate, or reuse household items. Many of us take up a lot of natural resources with stuff we don’t really need, want or use. Ironically, there’s a still lot of people who don’t have basic necessities. Plus, a lot of your unwanted clutter can be used by local charities to resell for much-needed cash.

Clean up litter. Rid litter from our roadways. Many groups use the weekend of Earth Day to clear roadways, highways and neighborhood streets of litter that has accumulated since the last clean-up day. Many companies donate gloves and bags for clean-up groups and villages organize bag pick ups. Once the group has collected the trash and placed the recycled bags along the road, get the village public works department to pick the bags up. It’s a wonderful community project. Great for scout troops, rotary clubs and the like.

Hold educational sessions about the environment. Teachers, professionals, students, anyone who cares about the environment and is willing to teach others, can all provide environmental lessons for others. Most schools already celebrate Earth Day in the classrooms with activities but there are many other ways you can teach about the environment. For example, give a speech at your local library on how to compost with worms; take a group of children down to the recycling center to show them how things are recycled; recite nature poems in the park; offer to teach your office colleagues how to make environmentally-friendly choices at work during one lunch hour. Everyone has environmental knowledge they can share with others.

Buy or make Earth-friendly cleaning products. Try making up a simple vinegar-and-water counter cleaner, or swapping out your bleach cleaner for a less-toxic orange-based one. Just try it. You don’t necessarily have to give up your heavy-duty cleaners–just try using them when you really need to disinfect, rather than simply clean.

Engage others in conversations about your environmental concerns. Don’t be preachy, just appropriately present some facts and then explain your feelings about them. Encourage them to respond and if they have no opinions or they seem to not know much, help them learn some more by imparting your environmental knowledge in a friendly and helpful manner.

Cook a special Earth Day meal. Plan a menu that uses locally produced foods, is healthy and has minimal impact on the environment. Favour vegetable and bean products, as these use less resources to grow than mass-farmed meat. If you still would like meat, look for locally produced, organic meat. Try and have organic food completely. Decorate the table with recycled decorations made by you and your friends.

Consider buying a carbon offset to make up for the greenhouse gas emissions you create on the other 364 days of the year. Carbon offsets fund reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through projects such as wind farms, that displaces energy from fossil fuels.

Ride your bike. Use your bicycle or other forms of human powered transportation to commute to work or school and to run errands.

Remember: Every day is Earth Day. Anything to help our environment is a perfect thing to do on Earth Day and every day. Don’t restrict yourself to just one day a year; learn about how you can make a difference to environmental protection all the time. And put it into practice – every day! Originally posted here.

St. Patty’s Day Bead Recycling a Success!

Mar 18, 2013 by in News Comments Off on St. Patty’s Day Bead Recycling a Success!

St. Patty’s Day Bead Recycling a Success!

Branch Out and the Green Light District teamed up with the ARC of Greater New Orleans again this St. Patrick’s Day to help them collect beads and other throws for their recycling program. The ARC dropped off colorful bins and we had them set up for the parade this past Saturday.

Parade goers could donate their throws after the parade in the bins. So thank you to the ARC and to everyone who donated beads to make this St. Patty’s Day Recycling another success!


Make your own King Cake!

Jan 21, 2013 by in News Comments Off on Make your own King Cake!

Make your own King Cake this year and skip all the disposable packaging and preservatives that come with store bought. Plus you can involve the kids and impress your friends!


  • 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour*
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Creamy Glaze*
  • Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles


  1. Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
  2. Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  5. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
  6. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.
  7. Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.
  8. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  9. Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.
  10. Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Beat 3/4 cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed.
  11. *6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.

This recipe uses bread flour, which makes for a light, airy cake. You still get tasty results with all-purpose flour–the cake will just be more dense.

Recipe Originally posted here.

*Creamy Glaze


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk


  1. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency.

Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2012 by in News Comments Off on Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Branch Out! We wish you the best in the new year! Stay Green and Shop Local!


Lauren and Thiri