Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cranberry Limeade Popcorn

I ran across this recipe on Pinterest the other day for Strawberry Popcorn. Now, me loving strawberry, I had to check it out. The pin led me to this woman's blog, where she says she didn't make up the recipe but got it off of the condensed milk people's website.

And I thought to myself I said 'self ('cause that's what I say when I talk to myself, I call myself self...)....I can do that.
And I thought to myself....Self, I can make flavor combos, too!

Lo and behold, a couple weeks ago I made Orange popcorn. The boys loved it, Grau took it to work and I didn't see a bit of it. That'll teach me, huh? I should eat more of what I cook. Or at least stash some of it away, in secret, in hiding, so I can bring it out and be all like, 'Ta-Da! Look what I have! and it's MINE! All MINE! I say!'

Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

I made these this afternoon for Grau to have while I was at school. The verdict is, they are awesome!
Yay. Another recipe keeper. I can't give you amounts, really...I just kinda threw this together.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tomato Basil Bisque Heaven

Tonight, I made the most delicious, fabulous tomato soup I have ever made in my life. I am SO not kidding!

You see, I am in love with Noodles and Company's Tomato Basil bisque soup...I get it every time I go. Well, that and the Spicy Chicken Caesar Wrap. Both are just to die for.
So I set out to try and recreate the soup and boy am I glad I did!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mad Scientist

I've spent a considerable amount of time in my kitchen lately.  While that is nothing new, what is new is the reason I'm in the kitchen. Yes, I am still making great foodstuffs. (And I think up several more each day!)
No, what has been keeping me in the kitchen is Christmas Gifts.
Still working on adjusting the oil, and sugar and scents, but it's a start.

Yeah, strange. I know most people like making cookies or breads to exchange at Christmastime. Not me. Nosirree! I like to make fun, smelly, luxurious stuff. And last weekend was no exception.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fabulous Pizza Soup

A little unconventional, I know. But it was wicked awesome and Grau deemed it another keeper!

Just think of all the variations you could do with this? I mean, add sliced pepperoni, or ham, or bacon, or whatever!
I didn't have enough room in the beginning. I doubled the recipe and forgot that I was using my small crock pot. Rut ro!  But, it worked out fine, in the end.  I just left the top off so the heat wouldn't make steam and add to the volume of the soup.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Black Bean & Chicken Quiche

There are days I amaze even myself. No, truly. Sometimes, I amaze myself with how stupid I am. Other days, with how smart I am. And then there's days like ability to create a masterpiece from leftovers!

Oh, this quiche just sung to me! No really, it did. I should probably have those voices checked out.....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pura Vida!

It means 'Everything's OK' and it's the mantra of Costa Rica.
Which I've been chanting this week as I've seen some minor miracles and cannot be more thankful!

School started up again, as you know. It keeps me busy. I've finally got my groove on when it comes to my two busiest days. Yay for that.

Spanish was (and most likely still is) kicking my ass. And I found out's an accelerated class. We're doing a year's worth of Spanish in one semester. Holy cow! No wonder my brain has felt like it's going to explode.
I spent the past several days studying for a test last Monday. Four days straight of studying, and feeling like I wasn't getting it. I became very frustrated. (Which is unusual because not many things frustrate me personally.) I received the test back last night and was amazed I made a B+ on it.

The rest of my classes are going well. I've a few minor irritants with one of my math professors. I'm pretty sure it has to do with her being picked on when she was in school and looks at me as being the cool kid and the enemy. LOL What's funny is there's a girl that sits next to me that had the same idea as me.

Outside of school- well, things are going well. I'm doing more work and I really don't dread my taxes this year. That's a first. Yeah, I know, it's awfully early to be thinking about that, but I plan ahead. For everything!

I've started on Christmas decorations....youngerspawn and I have discussed what type and color of decorations to go with this year.

Fall is COMING! I cannot wait! I absolutely LOVE the Autumn! It is my favorite season. Cool air, a campfire, apples, cinnamon, hay, jeans, boots, jackets and HALLOWEEN! Yes. What is not to love?

Okay- It's time for me to grab a nap before class. I've been up a couple hours already and this sinus issue is bothering me. Meds taken, and a nap to help pass the time for them to kick in is in order.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Slug, Bowling or Copper Ball

I'm a Pinterest junkie. yes. And this project I found there seemed like it was right up my alley. (hahah get it...alley? Bowling ball?)

Of course you don't. I haven't told you yet!

Okay- apparently, pennies repel slugs. Or rather copper does. I'm not sure. I'm not a bug slug person or even a great gardener. I'm a crafter. I make things. That's what I do. 
So, I'm not sure if making a bowling ball covered in pennies will repel slugs or not, being as today's pennies have little, if any, copper in them. Still, it's a cute project and I had to make one.

Besides, the pennies weather great. Verdigris I believe it is called. That's just a fancy word to say they turn kinda green. And pretty. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

DIY Homemade Italian Seasoning

I make a lot of things from scratch. Italian Seasoning is no exception.  This easy recipe can be made in a few minutes and stored in an airtight jar for up to 6 months. Of course, mine doesn't last that long! I use it a lot. 
Over potatoes. In a casserole. On chicken. You name it. It's fabulous. And the best part? YOU control the ingredients and salt content! What's not to love about that?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cowboy Fries & Blue Cheese Gravy

Admit it, I had you at Blue Cheese, didn't I?

I also made Chicken Fried Chicken and poured the gravy over the top. OHMYGIDDYAUNT it was good. Of course, if I had a steak it would have been better. That was just poor planning on my part- not having red meat in the house.

Purebred DORKcat Proof

See that little red dot next to his eye? Yeah....his eye is swollen shut.
You see, I had to take Askhim to the vet yesterday (another bill, yay). I noticed on Wednesday that Askhim wasn't really opening his left eye. It looked as if he was perpetually being woke up in a groggy or drunken state.  By Wednesday evening, his eye was swollen shut.

Thursday morning I make an appointment for the vet and take him in.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shout Out

I'd like to give a shout out to some of the people reading my blog. No, I won't call them out by name. That would be rude and highly unprofessional, not to mention an invasion of privacy. No, I just want to say HI! Thanks for reading! to all my friends and a few strangers in faraway lands (and some not so far away).

A HUGE welcome! I see you! to all my readers from:

Cocoa, Florida
Poplar Grove, IL
Frisco, Texas,
Oklahoma City, OK
Laie, Hawaii
San Francisco, CA
Janesville, WI
Orlando, Florida
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Schaumburg, IL
St. Louis, MO
San Jose, CA
Chicago, IL

and many more locations!

Thanks for reading. I hope I keep you entertained.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Humps, Slumps, and Dips

I bought a 4" mattress topper the other day. A good one. (And those things aren't exactly cheap!)
You know the kind- with the memory foam top?
I mean, honestly, if we are going into armegeddon, I want to at least sleep in style. Am I right?

We really need a new mattress. Ours sags and is just horrible to sleep on. We already have three foam egg-crate cushions on the top of our mattress. And the bed *still* sucks.  But I don't get as many work hours as I used to and cannot afford to purchase a new bed just yet, or even a good mattress itself. And I have credit cards, but I don't want to add debt when my hours are reduced. No, it's pay now or not get one at all. I'm patient. I win slow. But I win. And I like to do it without incurring debt.

Anyway- I figured, a topper is half the price of a low-end mattress. We'll try that first. If it fixes the icky bed problem, yay. If it doesn't, we'll buy a medium-end mattress and stick it on top. Either way, it's less money out of pocket for me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

No Coincidences

I don't believe in coincidences. Not really. I mean they happen, yes. But they are for a reason, even if that reason is unknown to us now or for a while. So, coincidences happen, but they aren't coincidences because there's a reason behind them.

Does that make sense?

Grau pointed me in the direction of a blog post entitled, "An Unexpected Ass Kicking"
What a wonderful experience! Truly.

I've always loved the older generation. They have known so much in their lifetimes, that a few are bound to be exciting or interesting or both. Most all are unusual. Think about it, what the elderly remember are usually the highlights, the most laughs, the best loves, the unusual circumstances and the toughest lessons of their life.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Baking Fool

I thought yesterday was going to be my 'oven hot' day. Turns out, today is one as well.
It's a good thing the weather has been cooperating! I love the temps in the 70's with cool mornings. It reminds me Fall is around the corner, and we all know how I love Fall!

Yesterday, I made four loaves of Banana Bread. Youngerspawn loves my banana bread! So three of the four loaves are going into the freezer. That way, the boys can have some when they get here next week.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Z to the Max

I've never required much sleep. I get by on what amounts to the average of four hours a night. Some times I get more, some times I get less.
On the nights I get less, I must have a nap. Me with less than four hours sleep is not a pretty sight.
Oh, I don't get ugly or critical or mean (I'm rarely mean). No. I get loopy. I don't remember things well. Sentences are said backwards. I have a hard time thinking of specific words. Loopy.

Lately, I've been in bed for my generalized four hours of sleep. But I'll wake up two or three times and have a hard time getting back to sleep. Those small interruptions were enough to make me 'slightly off' for the past few weeks. I still function. I'm not cranky. I don't yell.

But as Grau told me last night, I'm just a bit 'off' my usual game. And only someone who's been sleep deprived can see the signs.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Make It Homemade. Make it Frugal.

I started wondering just how many things I make to avoid spending gobs of money at the store. I mean, I would rather spend my hard-earned money on things I *want* not on things I need.  Okay- yes, I spend it on things needed, too- like gas, and electricity and food. But only because they are needed.

What if you could make something at home instead of buying the higher-priced item from the store?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to DIY Harry Potter Wands and Spell Book

I am a big Harry Potter fan. Yeah yeah. I'm an adult, yes. But I love the Harry Potter series since my kids were little. I would read a chapter or two to them every night, and laugh right along with them as I read aloud. It was a special time, me reading to the kids every night. One that I cherish.

And as an adult, my love of Harry Potter has not subsided. It is such an interesting series. I am very much enthralled with how Rowling used actual Latin words as a basis for her spells, and even character names.
Did you know that Umbra means shade or shadow? That gives a whole new meaning to Professor Delores Umbridge, doesn't it?

Well, I have friends that are bigger HP fans than I am. Seriously, they can quote every scene and tell you which spell was used in which movie.

Shrubs. Historical Goodness.

I came across a way to preserve fruit and drink the result. And apparently, it is an OLD technique. It's called 'Shrubs.' I thought the name referred to the fruits picked from shrubs, or trees, and are usually the older fruit. Meaning the fruit is almost mushy or bad, but not yet and is still edible. But according to the history here I am totally off base. But that's nothing new. I still like my definition better.
A basic background is thus:

The word shrub comes from the Arabic sharaba meaning 'to drink.'

The first reference to 'shrub' in the English Dictionary comes in 1747 and is defined as 'any of various acidulated beverages made from the juice of fruit, sugar, and other ingredients often alcohol.'

So I started making my own shrubs today. I'm starting out with one from strawberries and one from cherries. Now, as the article link states, they have focused on alcoholic shrubs. I am making non-alcoholic shrubs using apple cider vinegar.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 1 of Exile- Oyster Crackers, Raspberry Peach Melba and Halloween

HA! I crack myself up! Exile. teeheehhee

So today was my first full day of FB Hiatus. I did not have a problem with it. Mostly. A couple of times I  thought, 'hey, I'll hop on FB and see if....' and then my brain kicked in and I told myself no.

Then a friends daughter came over and we spent the rest of the day doing craft things. Currently we are making Styrofoam tombstones for Halloween. Super easy, but waiting for paint to dry takes time.

Oh, and we made Ranch Oyster Crackers (I've posted the cracker recipe before, just not the Oyster cracker version) and Raspberry Peach Jam. OMG! That jam is fabulous!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Take 30

I decided today, after twiddling with the thought for a couple weeks, that I am going to go silent on FB for 30 days. I will deactivate my account on Aug 1. After 30 days, I will decide if I want to reactivate it.

The reason is simple-
Every so often I like to take a step back and reorganize my priorities. I like to take time to think about who I am, am I on the right path, have I done things I need to address or correct, get things done around the house,  and generally reconnect with the world around me.

You cannot do that using FaceBook.  FB makes you think you are connecting. I don't think you really are. I mean, yes, you can talk to someone fairly easy, and that's a connection of sorts.
But really, talking in person or over the phone where you hear the actual voice? That's really connecting on an emotional level.

So, I am going to take 30.
30 to find me again.
30 to read more books.
30 to decide my path.
30 to work on more budgeting of time, money and resources.
30 to look within.
30 to make more homemade things.
30 to engage in the world around me.

After all, I prefer to be IN the world, not ON it.
And as I've always said, if you want to change the world, change yourself first.
I just need to make sure I am the me I want to be. And the only way to do that is to disconnect and listen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Buttermilk Ranch Powder

I have searched and searched for a ranch powder recipe that tastes as good as the store bought kind and I think I've found it!

Read on for the recipe...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Crock Pot Orange Chicken

I happened to be gazing (or would it be more appropriately to say grazing??) over at Crockpot365 when I ran across her Lemon Chicken recipe. Well, I love Orange Chicken so I substituted Orange Juice concentrate for the Lemonade concentrate.

Let me tell you...this is so good, I will definitely be making it again. And soon. Like maybe tomorrow.
This is a healthier version, too, because you don't bread and deep fry the chicken first. You just flour it, crisp it in a fry pan, and toss into the crock pot.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hamming It Up

So I mentioned the other day being on a mission to re-create the ham sammy on a biscuit Grau and I had in Yorktown. Well, I am happy to report that the mission has succeeded.
And it's better than my expectations!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Virginia. Tasty Tasty Virginia

Not the Carrot Tree Cafe, but just around the corner is this cute little shop.
So Grau and I spent a week in Virginia. We had a blast walking around Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. History is alive and well there. Trust me.

I've never understood how people don't like history. Everyone *has* a history. And the lesson's learned, whether it be individually or en masse should always be of the utmost importance for fear of 1) making the same mistake again or 2) not continuing something that should have been.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ketchup Catsup Catch Up

I'm a little late in posting this, but last week I made homemade ketchup.
I know, awesome, right? And you're thinking, 'I didn't know you could make ketchup at home!'
Well, you can. And it is so crazy easy, you'll wonder why you haven't been doing it all along.

I didn't make up the recipe. I borrowed it from here.  One day I will actually make my own recipe to suit my own preferences, but for now, this recipe is pretty good.
Recipe below the fold...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Halloween Silhouettes DIY

Around June or July every year, I get the craft bug. And not just any craft bug. The Halloween craft bug. I want to make things to decorate for my favorite holiday of the year.

One year, I made gravestones.
Another, I made witch's legs. (I need to do this again as I've lost my legs (ha ha) when I moved.)
I've made Black Cat signs.

And so on and so forth.
This year, I decided to make three signs. All silhouettes. For Halloween.
Super simple and easy- you can do it, too!

Three wooden plaques from Hobby Lobby (Gosh I love that store!!)
White and Black paint
Images to trace

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I've Got a Blueberry for a Daughter

Well, not really. She's more of a lemon pie- half sweet, half tart, but always delivers.
I was really referring to Willy Wonka, the 1974 version. My favorite. I mean, Johnny Depp is awesome and all, but Gene Wilder will always be Wonka to me. (Violet! You're turning violet, Violet!) Okay, enough with the Wonk-isms.

So- I was pinteresting the other day, and came across a recipe for 2-ingredient lemon squares.  And I thought, I like lemon, but what would happen if I made blueberry instead?  Would it turn out the same?
Or would it blow up because blueberries have some secret chemical in them that when it encounters Angel Food cake mix just goes KaBooM!??! (I don't think they do, but you never know!)

What are the two simple ingredients?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tomato Basil Garlic Chicken

I am still on my pesto kick except this time, I am not even bothering to blend the ingredients into traditional pesto. Nope. I'm going directly for the ingredients and calling it awesome.

Tomato, Basil & Garlic come together in this beautiful dish.
In this episode of Rave's Pesto Habit, I give you Tomato, Basil, Garlic Chicken, with a whole wheat spaghetti as the delivery method for the pseudo-pesto goodness. Oh can I tell you how delicious this was? Grau said it was 'a keeper' for the recipe book. I love it when he says that. It means I did good!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pesto Habit

I am on such a pesto kick lately. Seriously- I want everything to have pesto on it- and garlic basil pesto at that. I mean, wouldn't life be so much tastier and happy if it had more garlic and basil in it? Not to mention how healthy it would be! (Of course, I can settle for randomly placed pinata's around to beat on as needed throughout the day, but I digress.)

I'm trying to grow my own basil to support my habit.  Alas I seem to have a black thumb....or the sun rises in the wrong spot. I'm going with it's the sun's fault because really how could I, the lover of all things natural, kill something like a small leafy green such as basil?

But dead it seems to be. Sigh. That just goes to show that my once virent thumb is now a faded memory.  And that just hurts. Really it does. Because some years ago I had 21 plants in my living room alone. That's not counting the plants I had in the planters outside or in the kitchen. Nope. 21 in the living room. I was the Green Queen.

Of course, it could have something to do with forgetting I planted it and therefore it received no water...outta sight, outta mind. I should really put a sign in my window, 'Water the plant, dumbass!' and maybe I can keep the next plant living. Whatcha think?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pesto Kielbasa Pasta

Go ahead- say that three times fast! Pesto Kielbasa Pasta, Pesto Kielbasa Pasta, Pesto...oh whatever. You get the idea.

I ran across this recipe while surfing the interwebs a few weeks ago. It seemed simple enough but you know me, let's find a simplier way, right?
The original recipe called for added basil, and some oregano, garlic powder and salt & pepper. I thought? Why go through all that trouble? So I made it easier, and slightly healthier, too. Because you know I'm all about the healthy (ok, quit laughing....).

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

3 Ingredient Hearty Potato Soup

Upon trying to make a low-cal or low-salt version of my fabulous Potato Soup, there's one thing I have found... that it is pretty much impossible. Potato soup is just one of those [meals] that was just meant to be hearty. It was meant to carry my Irish (and Scottish) ancestors through war and famine.

Friends, my soup is no different. Especially if you use canned anything. Of course, you can always boil your own chicken bones and make your own broth, that way you control the salt. (I have been known to do this, but currently am out of chicken bones! I mean, I checked my freezer for bagged chicken skeletons, and alas! there were none...)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sweet Pepper Salsa

I usually like my salsa a tad on the sweet side. This turned out beautifully, but I do think a tad too sweet. Oh, not sugary-sweet. No, in this instance it came out pepper-sweet. Which is great- but I was in the mood for something a bit more tangy than sweet. Of course, you can always reduce the sweet red pepper to half and add in green chilies. That would be awesome! For now- here is an awesome Sweet Red Pepper Salsa-

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blue Cheese Skinny Chicken Salad

Grau and I have been on a health kick lately. Watching what we eat and trying to exercise more. It is working, believe it or not! Who knew?  I mean, really, eating less calories combined with exercise helps you lose weight? Wow!
Creamy Yummy Goodness!
Okay- so yeah, I'm joking. But, for me, watching what I eat means actually EATING. When at home, I tend to not eat much. I can go the whole day on a few strawberries and a couple cups of coffee. And no, I don't have low energy. I am naturally a high energy person. I always have been. I tend to eat very little when at home, and eat to excess when out at a restaurant. I *love* bad, bad, tasty food!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Oh- so I told you about making a spicy cracker recipe yesterday? Well, here's the pics:

Equivalency Exam

I love to cook. And bake. And mess around in the kitchen. Sometimes with food.
Today Grau and I went to the store and I grabbed a box of saltines because, well, they were on sale. But more importantly, I 'pinned' a recipe for spicy crackers and desperately wanted to give it a try.

Well, the recipe calls for a packet of powdered ranch dressing mix. Which I have, but I don't have. You see, I purchase ranch powder by the BIG shaker container, not the little bitty packets.

Since this recipe calls for one packet, and I had to look up exactly how much  mix was in a packet. Apparently it's .4 ozs. or 11.3 grams
My next problem came when I had to convert .4 ozs into a measurement I could actually measure.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Color My Fire

A few years ago, I found a story about salt-saturated pine cones that give off different colored flames when burned. I was so fascinated with them, I decided to make a few. Of course, I didn't have a fireplace, but my parents did and that was good enough for me!

So I set out gathering and making a couple dozen 'firedancers' as they were called. A few different types of salt alters the color rendered with each pine cone.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Equinox and Leap Year

Grau and I have had discussions in the past about the first day of Spring. He said it always falls on his father's birthday and I said that can't be because sometimes it falls on my father's birthday (both gentlemen were born in March two years apart).

Fast forward a few weeks and suddenly it's how time flies.
And I wondered yet again, how it is that I remember the first day of Spring being on my father's birthday, but it hasn't been for a few years.
So I looked up Vernal Equinox.

And a friend posted about the equinox (which, for those of you wanting to know, actually means "equal night") and how it snuck up on her this year. And I posed the question to her- how could the equinox be on the 21st every four years but not have been on the 21st for the past five?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Little Tubs of Joy

I have found the promised land! Ok, maybe not land, but at least butter. Two things I love, garlic and bread, need butter. And when you are tired of slathering butter and garlic powder onto bread, come back to this post. Seriously. You'll be amazed at what I am about to tell you.

But, it's a secret....shush!

You see, a while back I realized there was literally a gold mine of garlic butter just begging to be eaten. 
Once a month, Grau's work provides a minuscule pizza dinner for employees (two pieces, no more!) as a 'thanks for not maiming yourselves' gesture. (I don't know about you, but I would prefer better working conditions, better pay or better hours. Just sayin')

Anyway- they always use Papa John's Pizza. And you know PJ's  *always* serves garlic butter with their pizza. And when you order 20 pizza's at a time, you get a boatload of little garlic butter cups.

Tubs of pure golden , garlic-y joy!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Little Quiche in the Morning

A few months ago, a friend of mine wanted to know about quiche. She didn't know what it was, what could be put in it, how it was done, etc. So I helped her out because, well, I used to make quiche all the time. After all, quiche is a good, economical way to stretch the last of your ingredients. A few of eggs, a dash of milk and whatever else is lying around in the fridge.

So, my friend has been on a quiche kick lately. And posting pics of them.

And now I want quiche. Again.

Except, I couldn't figure out what kind I wanted to make, let alone eat.

I had a couple ideas in my head, and thought, why not? I'll make them both. So I did.

I give you:
Turkey Broccoli Blue Cheese and
Chicken Bacon Broccoli Cheddar

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wonderous Wands

This is a first try- so now I know what to do differently, and better.

I really really want to make one that looks really cool. So I figured I would have to make around five or so before I get all the kinks out of the design process. In the meantime, here's the players:

Wooden Dowels
Sand paper
Sander (I used orbital, but if you own a belt sander, use that!)
Paint brushes
Scrap fabric
Hot glue
Glue gun

The process is pretty simple. Take your dowel:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fabric Softener

I am not the kind of person to sit around, drinking a soda/pop/cola/coke and watch tv, sleep or play on the computer for hours on end. I have NEVER been that person.
No, I must be doing something. Anything. Read, watch *a* movie, laundry, dust, vacuum, dishes, craft, ANYTHING. I hate to be idle for too long.

Most often, I am researching something I want to know about, looking up more craft items to do or actually doing homework. So while it appears I may live my life in front of a computer (and trust me, there are days it feels like it, too!), I simply do not.

Anywho- where was this post going- Oh yeah (ohh, look! A shiny object!)-
I don't like to sit around and do nothing. Today is no exception. And my morning class was canceled an hour before it started, so I found myself with all this morning energy and no where to go.

So I started searching the interwebs. Looking for something homemade, I didn't care what, that I could do.
And I found homemade fabric softener.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

I love Amish Friendship bread but usually only for about two months. After that, I am sick of it. You see, you make two loaves every 10 days. And if you don't give away your starters like you're supposed to, you're making three times that. Which is great if you want to freeze the bread, or give as gifts.

But I had to find a way to make less.

The basic is this- I'll give you the full starter recipe, and you can decide to make it all, or quarter it so you only have to worry about yourself right off the bat. Of course, you'll still have to deal with the Amish Math in 10 days, but I've already posted on that!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Syrup 101

I love making syrup. Of course, I tend to only make a couple different varieties, but who's counting? Really. I make what I like. LOL. And I *love* vanilla!

I should really make cranberry that I think about it....that would be awesome!

People have asked me how to make homemade syrup. And it really is simple. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool.
The ratio is pretty much the same for all syrups. And if you know how to make simple syrup, you've got this thing beat. Seriously you do.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Taco Pie- Not for the faint at heart

Tonight I decided to make Taco Pie. I used to make this for my kids when they were younger. It's been so long since I've made one, I forgot if I was to cook crust then fill or fill then cook?
Either way, it turned out beautifully.

It's not on the 'diet friendly' food list, unless you want 400 calories immediately. Seriously. I calculated it at 405 calories per slice, 8 slices per pie.

Here's the cast of characters (Oh, and I'm not going to give you amounts, because with this, I cook by feel. Use as much or as little as you want of each ingredient):
The players

Friday, February 3, 2012

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

Holy Moly! It's not hard to make homemade tomato paste, but it is definitely time consuming!
You see, Grau wants to make homemade spaghetti sauce, from scratch. Which means SCRATCH. After all, he started making his own mozzarella and he's branching out into other cheeses....why not go all out Italian?

Nope. There's not a lick of Italian in either of us. So just chalk this up to one of the top 10 crazy things we've decided to do. I mean, really. I think it ranks right up there with....okay, so maybe there's nothing higher than deciding to make tomato paste from scratch.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Freezer Cooking

I ran across some recipes I have just GOT to try. And if you have never tried freezer cooking, it's easy. You buy a bunch of stuff, divide it up into your recipes, chop veggies (and chop some more), then p ut everything in gallon baggies and freeze. When you're ready to use them, thaw and put in a crock pot in the morning and by dinnertime, voila!

I found this recipe over at 5 On the Drive, otherwise known as Journey of a Home-Schooling, Transracial Foster Family.

Honey & Spice Glazed Pork Chops
8 (4-oz) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C honey

4 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Thaw.  Transfer the contents into a crockpot, cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 3-5 hours.  Even better if you will take the liquid from the crockpot and cook in a skillet to thicken into a glaze.  Serve atop mushroom & garlic rice pilaf.

Check out her blog for more recipes!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Excellent Weekend

I will tell you, I love having a man that loves to do things. I don't mean on his own or only things he likes. No. I mean I have a man that loves to DO things. He thinks of others. He thinks of me. He thinks of things he'd like to do that will be interesting to try, to make, to accomplish. (Did I mention that I woke Sunday morning to a clean kitchen, too? Yeah, *love* that man!)

That is absolutely fascinating and fabulous to me.

Last weekend was awesome. We had the boys- who *love* my cooking- so I made something simple Friday (cheese ravioli) and waited until Sunday to make something a bit more labor intensive (but not difficult). I made Parmesan Chicken Stromboli.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How Richmond's Lunch Prevented Me From Doing Homework

I paused my Word document titled, 'SOTU Rebuttal with Facts' to grab some lunch. Ah, ham., swiss and crusty Italian bread make a great panini.
Lunch finished, I thought I would check FB for just a quick minute (famous last words) and then get back to my SOTU Rebuttal for my liberal, left-wing Business instructor to blow a gasket when I read it aloud in class.

Except, Richmond posted something about today being a bacon cheeseburger kind of day....which lead to me remembering a picture on Pinterest I'd seen earlier of a pig on a cow.

So I went to pinterest to find the picture and post on her FB wall.

Except I couldn't find the picture any longer.

So I went to Google to find the picture.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Random Love Letter

To my love-
I love so many things about you.

I love how you leave the last cracker for me. Or the last piece of bread. Or the last anything.
I love how you will go to the store- for milk. For tampons. For bread. For chocolate. Whatever I ask for.
I love your smart, quick wit.
I love how you look at me when my hair is a mess.
I love that you ask for a honey-do list.
I love that you leave me love notes.
Or bring me chocolate.
Or club soda.
Or Wendy's.
I love that you work hard with your hands AND your brain.
I love that you love your kids.
I love that you accept mine.
I love that you hate to see me in pain.
And do whatever you can to help.
I love that we are partners in our relationship. Making decisions together.
I love that you will give me your coat when I stubbornly refuse to wear mine.
I love how you block the cold wind for me.
And how you laugh at me when I park Baby at the end of the aisle.
I love that you like to go to bookstores.
And antique stores.
And the forest preserve.
I love how you learn new things constantly.
And share them with me.
I love that you always tell me the truth.
No matter what.
I love how you try to be as gentle as possible when you disagree with me.
I love how you care about my feelings and treat me as an equal.
I love that you are my teddy bear.
And how you will fiercely protect me.
With deadly force if necessary.
I love how I feel when I am with you. Safe. Protected. Loved. Cherished.
Yet independent.

So, if I should die before you, I just wanted to let you know-
How much your love means to me. I've never had a partner that treats me with as much respect and caring as you do. I am forever grateful. And in awe. And in love.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pay It Forward

Someone started a meme on FB about paying it forward in 2012 with handmade crafts for five people.

Silly me, I opted in on a friends post, then posted the rules to my own page. I reached the 5 takers almost immediately, with a couple late entries. So, being who and how I am, I said I would go ahead and make them something, too.

And I started thinking about it- I love that I have so many friends, true friends, that love me.
I don't think the friends I have now can be manipulated into not speaking to me again like some in my past.
And knowing this, knowing I have good friends that I trust and that trust me, it's the best feeling in the world.

How awesome is that?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Zombie Bees

Just in case anyone wondered if zombies are real...I can tell you, it's started. And like most things, it's starting in the insect world.

"Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees

Good thing we're stocking up for the upcoming apocalypse. Maybe the world will end before humans become zombies?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hand Lotion Experiment

I've been into making things myself lately. I've made liquid hand soap (and the adapted mason jar it's contained in), liquid laundry soap, powder laundry soap, Vanilla syrup, lime syrup (great for making limeades!), deodorant (it's still curing so I have no idea if pits will stay fresh!), candles, kids (writing) glycerin soap, vanilla sugar, and so much more.
This doesn't include the experiments in the kitchen with food....but we won't go into that.

My latest endeavor is hand lotion.
It came out like it was supposed to. But I do not like the's too.....greasy. Maybe that's not the right word. Too oily. After all, it is an organic lotion, no preservatives and made with olive oil.
I do think the next time I attempt this, I will use less olive oil and more beeswax.
For now- this is what I used: