Thursday, May 31, 2012

the perfect gift for most any woman

I really love to cook!
My love affair started about the time I got married.
At first I loved  it because it was so new and fun.
No it is one of my creative outlets. 
I was so proud when I got dinner on the table!
But,not growing up in a family of cook,
(meaning lots of take out and cereal for dinner)
I had no idea I had to cook more than one thing for a meal!
I remember getting super excited about dinner one night- I pulled my hot dish out of the oven, called Brent to the table to eat, and he came.
But the first thing he said when he got to the table was "this is it?"
Of course I started crying and he started back pedaling,
but that night I had a huge realization-
dinner needs sides!
DUH right?!

It is hard trying to swing a main dish and sides for every meal.
Especially when you have a time crunch
And even more so when you have little kids!
I have come, in the years since then, to really rely on herbs and spices to make simple side dishes POP!

Chop up some potatoes and throw some rosemary salt and parmesan on them, toss it in a pan to roast and you have a scrumptious quick side!

Needless to say, I have an extensive dried herb collection that I use
When we bought our house we planted a herb harden so I could have fresh ones to use also.
You often can find me running frantically with a pair of scissors (sorry mom!) between the kitchen and herb garden at dinner time.
One of my favorite things to do is to cut extra and hang them to dry on a cabinet to use to refill my bottles! 

Anywho, when mother's day rolled around and I was searching for an idea to get my mom and mil- I wanted to make them something functional and fun-
I came up with this:

I used our dehydrator to dry some fresh herbs from our garden.

I found these cute little jars at Jo-Ann's for $.99.
A little chalk paint on the top and a chalk marker was all it took to add a little shabby chic flava ;)

I whipped up a couple bottles of homemade vanilla extract.

Modge podged  these cute labels from the graphics fairy on them 
(I wrote directions on how to care for the extract on the back of the label card I hung on the bottle)

and I had a super cute gift to give the two moms in my life!


I really think this would make a great gift for pretty much any occasion-
housewarming, birthday, grandparent's day, and even father's day for those daddy chefs in the house!

Moth my mom and my mil LOVED them!
and I really had a blast making it too!


I am linking to these great parties

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

homemade vanilla extract

When we decided to make the switch full-time to eating unprocessed food
I knew I as going to have to do something about vanilla extract.
Between making bread and granola almost every week,
and pretty much every recipe having it as an ingredient, (maybe a slight exaggeration ;))
We happen to use a TON now.

For a couple of years my mil has been encouraging me to make some homemade vanilla extract as gifts.
Well, I never got around to it...
 Until, well, I needed it (blush)!
It was super simple to make.
And would make a FABULOUS gift, if you are not a procrastinator like me!

You wanna know how to make it?
Here ya go

I read A LOT of tutes about making this and most people recommended using vodka.
But a few also said you could use rum or brandy instead for a different taste.
I may have to try spiced rum next time....YUM! 

Step one: Starting one inch from the top, cut your vanilla bean in half with a paring knife.

*You will need 3 to 4 beans per every cup of liquor used.

Step two: Measure out you liquor and pour it into your bottle.

* I used 4 beans because my bottle held 1 1/4 cups of liquor.
* Be sure to use a bottle that seals nice and tight

Step three: Seal your bottle and give it a good shake!

* You should see some of the seeds already floating around

Store your container in a cool dark place.
Give it a good shake every week.
It should be ready to use in two months.

(Can you tell I have already used it a few times! Sorry about the fingerprints.)

*Extra tips*
1. I bought my vanilla beans off of Amazon. 
2. Only buy as many as you need for you container unless you plan to make some gifts because the leftover beans do not store long!
3. When your bottle gets about half full fill it again with liquor and you are ready to go. You can keep refilling it like this, with the same beans, about three years!!!! 
4. I ordered my bottle because I wanted one that would last, but I don't think it was necessary. You can get bottle like this or with a cork top at most any store.

I have a pretty great gift idea coming up for you if  you decide to make extra of these little wonders!

Happy Baking!

I am linking to these great parties

Friday, May 25, 2012

pick your plum deal

Maybe I'm the only person in the world who has been DYING for a metal stamp set...

But if not, you need to check out pick 
your plum today.

Can you say swa-eet!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tomato tips and a yum yum yummy recipe!

Can you guess where I just was?

Holding my sweet new NIECE!!!
Yes, she is finally here and she is so precious.
In my husband's side of the family that makes the score
granddaughters: 5
grandsons: 0
We love us some girlies!!

The hubster and I do not consider ourselves master gardeners.
This is actually only the third year we have grown one.
We are just trying to figure it out still ya know.

We joke sometimes that we would probably save money just buying the in season veggies from the  grocery store.
Hopefully, in the years to come that wont be true ;)

That being said our tomato harvest has been A.MAZ.ING. this year!
I wanted to share a few novice tips that have really helped us out.
You may know these, but if not- YAY! 
Maybe this will help your garden.

  1. Plant Marigold flowers around your tomato plants to ward off bugs and bring in bees.
  2. Save old egg shells and lay them around your plants. It gives the plants much needed calcium and makes the soil happier too!
  3. If you live in a hot area (like Florida) you need to get an early producing variety of tomatoes such as early girls. They just don't like the heat...(I totally understand!)
Hope those help!
If you have any other tips for me... feel free to share.
Especially some tips for Zucchini and Squash.
We are about to give up on them completely :(

Anywoo, if you have had fabulous luck like us and have tomatoes coming out of your ears....
You will LOVE me for sharing this recipe!

(I didn't make mine vegan)

P.S. sorry for the poor picture quality :(

Much Love

Monday, May 21, 2012

shabby chic jewelry hanger ... tutorial

So on a whim I decided to put one of my cute new old frames from this post to good use.
I made, a long while ago- like when I lived in an apartment 1/3 the size of my house, a holder for necklaces.
Well sadly enough I and my space grew out of it.
I needed something that gave me more room to organize and  something that made a little more of a statement for the space.
I came up with  this

Isn't it cute!?
Wanna make one of your own?
It is WAY to easy!

You'll need:
Chicken wire
wire cutters
a frame
staple gun

Step one: Lay the chicken wire over the back of your frame
and staple it down.

Step two: Use wire cutters to cut the the chicken wire down to size.

Step three: There isn't one! Seriously.
It is that easy.

Now go make one to hang on your bathroom wall!

Much love

I'm linking to these great parties!

Friday, May 18, 2012

an amazing lunch brunch!

Today a miracle happened.
My girls napped at the SAME TIME! 
So in honor of my "free time" I made a special lunch.
I decided to make up for the breakfast I missed (dentist....ugh!)
even though it was lunch time.

This is what I indulged in.

Coconut coffee and a banana pancake with cream cheese and strawberries.


Wanna make some for yourself?
Here you go.

coconut coffee:
1/4 a can of coconut milk
cold coffee
2 ice cubes (i use frozen coffee cubes)

The recipe for whole wheat banana pancakes is here. These are the most amazing pancakes I have ever had. When they are fresh off the griddle the banana taste like hot melted butter. I made them for breakfast earlier this week and I froze the leftovers. Today I grabbed one out of the freezer, slathered some farmer's cheese on it (friendship brand cream cheese),  and threw some frozen strawberries on top. I put the whole thing in the microwave  for about two minutes.

It was so amazing I just had to share!

Happy lunch brunching!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

bathing suit cover up to girl's summer dress

I told you I had one more project to show you from elsie marley's kids clothes week challenge.
If you missed the sweetheart shirt for Zadie you should check it out!

I am going to give you a little picture tour of the process.

Don't we all have one of these little cover-ups in our closet.
If you are like me you never wear it because
1. you shrunk it the first time you washed it
2. that skin right at your armpit is pinched and hangs over and it is very attractive (not!)

so instead of chucking it in the donate pile refashion it!

I took a tunic-length shirt to figure out a length.

I decided to cut right under the shirred top.

Cut out the armholes.

Finish the armholes.
Fold the top down one inch and and hem.
Feed whatever you want to use as the strap through the top.
Hopefully you will be lucky like me and you cover-up will already have a strap!

Wha-La! Now your little one has a super-cute new pillowcase dress.
One man's trash is another's treasure, right?!

It is not perfect but she LOVED it!

I also made a cute little headband from the shirring at the top of the dress.

Isn't Mattie getting SO stinking big!?

It is cute and it is functional.

Who needs a perfect dress?
In our house we choose comfort over everything else
because who knows when you may want to roll around outside!

(Yes that is chalk in her mouth. Don't judge. She is still super cute!)


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