Tuesday, September 22, 2009

play dough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons alum
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
liquid food coloring

Pour dry ingredients into large pan. Stir together to mix. Stir oil and food coloring into the water. Pour liquid into the dry ingredients while mixing, squeezing and kneading the playdough. If too sticky, add more flour. Keeps best in the fridge.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

new hat

All of a sudden it is definitely fall - very glad I finished Charlie's hat last weekend. It is from a free ravelry pattern "Baby Tri-Peak Hat." I had never done a tripeak hat - very fun and easy!

showing Papa his new hat

Thursday, September 17, 2009

individual meatloaf "muffins"

I stole 2 ideas here - Carrie's yummy recipe (hope you don't mind my cutting and pasting the recipe!), and Rachael Ray's muffin pan for meatloaf idea. It worked great - faster cooking time (25 minutes), and easy to toss leftovers in the freezer for another dinner. I also used half beef half lamb as my store was out of ground turkey.

Turkey and Apricot Meatloaf

posted by admin on sep 05 2009 | poultry

  • This might be the best, most moist meatloaf ever. Delicious!! I freeze and pull out for an easy dinner. From Gourmet.com.
  • 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices white sandwich bread)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb ground dark-meat turkey
  • 1/2 cup dried California apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons apricot preserves, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Soak bread crumbs in milk in a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, cook celery, carrot, onion, and garlic with chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add to bread-crumb mixture with turkey, dried apricots, parsley, 1 tablespoon preserves, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix with your hands until just combined. Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf (mixture will spread slightly) in a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish.
  • Stir together water, remaining 2 tablespoons preserves, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce and brush over surface of meatloaf. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 14, 2009

tamale pie

Wow - the ultimate comfort food (if you are a lover of grits and cornbread such as I am - I know, a Mainer who loves grits. Who was I in a former life, anyway?)

Friday, September 11, 2009

busy night

10 jars of bread and butter pickles and some lavender rose cleanser. Weird combo, but 2 great creations! Too tired to post recipes. Used Organic Body Care book again (great book!) and recipe from my canning class back in July.

Monday, September 7, 2009

maple oatmeal scones

I had a scone at the farmer's market and it was yummy, so I had to make some of my own, with my little helper, of course. Here's the recipe I used...

Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Scones

Ingredients 1 1/3 cup oat flour (such as Arrowhead Mills brand; if you can’t find that substitute King Arthur white whole wheat flour) 1 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking) 1 tbsp baking powder 3/4 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup brown sugar 8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 1/3 cup milk 1/3 cup yogurt (preferably Greek or whole-milk) 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

*Note: you can substitute 2/3 buttermilk for the milk + yogurt if you’d rather.

For brushing and sprinkling on top of the scones: 1 tbsp milk 1 tbsp maple syrup 2 tbsp oats

Directions Preheat the oven to 400.

Whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl, then transfer that mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add the oats and pulse in short bursts (1 sec each) about 15 times. Drop in the pieces of cold butter and pulse again in short bursts until coarse meal forms, about another 15 pulses.

Transfer this mixture back into the large bowl. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, yogurt and maple syrup. Pour the liquid into the flour/oat/butter mixture, and stir gently with a fork until it’s moistened and starts to come together. Using your hand, gather the dough into a ball right in the bowl and knead it a few times against the side of the bowl to bring the dough together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a 3/4-inch thick circle. Using a sharp knife, cut like a pie into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Whisk together 1 tbsp milk and 1 tbsp maple syrup in a little bowl. Brush the tops of the scones with this mixture, then sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp oats across the tops of the scones.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Cool on a rack.

Makes 8.

Monday, August 31, 2009

new cardigan

I finally got the vintage buttons on Charlie's sweater, so am finally "legal" to post! The pattern doesn't go as large as I needed it to, so I had to up-size this on my own. It came out great, but just barely fits.... Looks like I may be trying my hand at blocking today...
here's the pattern...
yarn is Manos del Uruguay from my stash

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I was warned...

My friend, Carrie, warned me about this. Warned me that I'd have a very tough time keeping up this blog. It is so very true. Summer brings outdoor activities, traveling and longer day light hours. That coupled with trying to savor every moment until I go back to "out of the home" work (which in some ways I think will be easier than my 168 hour/week at-home job, except that I'll still have the same kid snuggling, laundry, cleaning and meals to juggle once I get home, plus I will need to get the kiddo off to daycare with clean clothes, enough diapers to make it through the day and a lunch that looks organized and healthy lest the daycare providers realize I'm a procrastinator and not always organized. ugh!) Long excuse short, I've not had as much craft time, nor creative time. I'm already mourning that this is not likely to improve anytime soon. Such is life.... I'm excited and sad for this next step. Adam and I fear Charlie will come home with all kinds of new tricks he's learned from his daycare cohorts, and will realize he has been shielded from all of the cool things in life at his ripe old age of 17 months. I think we worry too much. (Do we??!?) My biggest fear is that I will blink and he will be all grown-up. I know it is going to happen. If I blog somewhat often, maybe that will have a way of slowing down time??? Please say it will... =)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

swimmer's ear prevention

After swimming, squirt a mixture of 1/2 rubbing alcohol and 1/2 distilled white vinegar into little (or big) ears. This restores natural pH balance and the alcohol dries up any water in the ear canal. I put my mixture in an empty travel sized contact solution bottle, and removed the label and wrote in huge red letters on the bottle what it was. Can you imagine if I mistakenly put that on my contacts? OMG.
(recipe from Charlie's swim instructor)

Sunday, August 9, 2009


The brewery is up and running, and I'm really not joking that much when I call it a brewery. Look at Adam's new system! The day pictures are of the trial run with water during the day. The night pictures are more true to form. When you have a little one, you must brew when you can, and that is after the beastie calls it a day ;-) Adam began his trial run at 2PM yesterday and finished the inaugural batch at 2:30 AM this morning. He is ironing out the bugs so I'm sure it won't be such a lengthy process in the future. Poor guy spending 12.5 straight hours dreaming of sweet beer... somehow I don't think it was that painful!

The wooden paddles were made for him by his grandpa in Louisiana. They are beautiful!

For those of you interested, this is the beer he cloned: http://blog.stonebrew.com/?p=277

More beer postings are promised, for sure. Gotta post something! I haven't been able to get out my sewing machine at all since we've moved. I am knitting though. You can use quilts without binding them, right?? =)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

magic tub potion

Poor Charlie had quite the diaper rash earlier this week. It is slowly getting better, but in effort to "super-duper" heal the area we have given him chamomile baths the past 2 nights to soothe the sore skin. (I'm posting this because I just walked into the bathroom and saw random small puddles of yellow liquid in the tub and wondered which boy to blame - ah yes, the chamomile remnants! Ha! Lucky for the boys...) We have bulk chamomile for tea and for my body care recipes so we just took about a quarter cup and put it in some cheesecloth and tied it up into a big tea bag and put it in the tub. I can't say that it alone is responsible for healing the sore tush, but it is indeed getting better quickly AND he fell asleep within 10 minutes of getting out of the tub, an hour earlier than normal. Not exactly scientific, but I'll take it!

more summer dining

delicious! and every veggie we ate was from the CSA basket - basil included. phew!

dish 1:

dish 2:
new red potatoes and new green beans cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces. boil for 15 minutes or until just tender. drain and add milk, butter, salt and pepper (a childhood fave - YUM)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

perfect summer meal

tomato and cucumber sandwich with fresh veggies from the farm (will taste better when from our garden) +

left over baked beans +

Corona with lime



Oh, and baby is asleep

and papa is outside playing with his brewing equipment.

Don't get me wrong, I like them and all - nice to have some quiet and yummy food solo sometimes ;-)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

play silks

I made Charlie some play silks a few days ago. So easy! I put each scarf that I bought on Dharma Trading Company (36") in a quart sized mason jar filled with water, about 1/8 cup of white vinegar and food coloring (as much as it took to reach the color I wanted). I then put the mason jars in a water bath about 3" deep and boiled them in the water bath for 15 minutes. Rinse until water runs clear and hang to dry. You can also dye these with Kool Aid, but I could not find any single batch packs anywhere.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

drowning in CSA

I thought I was doing a pretty awesome job keeping up with our CSA basket contents each week. Welllllll...... now that we are full swing and nearing the middle of the season I am drowning. 4 heads of lettuce today after we got 2 last week??!!!?!?! I think I scared Adam today when he brought home an empty spinach salad container from the store that he bought for lunch. "What the HECK???!!!! (of course I said heck) We have lettuce filling up the entire refrigerator and you BUY a freakin' salad?!?!" He stammered out some excuse but abruptly stopped, I think realizing his error but also my produce overload insanity. Needless to say, he will now be throwing those containers away at work =)
Here is what we received today...

lettuce, 4 heads
carrots, 1 bunch
beets, 1 bunch
broccoli, 2 heads
potato, 2 lb
cilantro, 1 bunch
cucumber, 2 each
summer squash, 4 each
brassica choice, 1 bunch: collard greens, kale, or chard
1 hanging basket of annuals
more cukes
blueberries, 1 PYO pint

I am freezing everything I can , but we are quickly running out of freezer space, I have not yet received the freezer I was promised, and OH! I forgot to mention half of our freezer is full of hops! Adam brews his own beer and fresh hops seem to keep appearing and of course it is preferrable that they be frozen. On the plus side, I should have some good beer related postings in the near future....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

a bit obsessed

Since I last posted I have been busy. Dill carrot pickles, marinated artichokes, strawberry jam and at the moment kiwi-apple-lime jam. I am having so much fun. The boys are asleep right now and I have the jam cooking while I blog and have a glass of wine. I am very content. I'm weird, I know. I think I'm so excited by this jam/pickle/preserve thing as I always thought it was very difficult and detailed. Now that I'm finding it is extremely easy and there is room to cut corners I am all about it. (Note to self: by more canning jars tomorrow..... All out, or should I say all filled.) The carrots and artichoke recipes were from the class I took last week. Here is a similar artichoke recipe, except I used crused red pepper. This recipe is pretty similar for the carrots. Basically, all you do is prep the ingredients (for carrots slice into sticks, for artichokes lightly cook or thaw frozen ones then pack the veggies in the jars), prep the jars (boil to sterilize - do this just before filling as you want to put hot food into warm jars to prevent cracking), make the pickling liquid (usually a combination of vinegar, water, salt and spices boiled until salt is incorporated), pour liquid over veggies into jars leaving 1/2" head space, place warmed lids onto jars and process (submerge in a pot of boiling water with at least 2" of water over jars) for as long as the recipe calls for. I need to learn more of the science, but a lot of pickling and times for cooking has to do with pH. I didn't process the artichokes - they keep for a few weeks refrigerated and I doubt they'll last that long.
The jam.... it bodes well for me that my family likes chunky jam (less nit-picky work). I have used less sugar with all of the recipes and the worst thing that has happened is that I need to cook it a little longer and that the jam may be a bit runnier than normal jam. I have not used pectin in any recipes yet - the fruits I've used had enough natural pectin or (as in the lime jam) I added apple which has pectin in it to help solidify the batch. I look forward to Charlie being older as many of the steps (e.g I crush the strawberries by hand because it works well and it is fun) he can help me with. I decided to put the baby gate up between the living room and kitchen though, as I just don't want him in there with all of the boiling. He is not a fan, and has already scaled the gate. Hmmm. Anyway - back to the canning - if you are intimidated, don't be! It is very easy and so much cheaper than store bought jam - and so much yummier, too.

Monday, July 13, 2009

raspberry jam

I used 3/4 the amount of sugar that this recipe calls for - it is still a little too sweet for my liking - I will use 4 cups berries to 2 cups sugar next time. Still yummy though. After ladling it into the jars I processed the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

canning - gaining confidence

I went to a class tonight held by our local farm on canning, preserving, freezing and drying. It was pretty good - I left with lots of recipes and lots of free (oh wait, I did pay to take the course!) produce. Here is the result of my work at the class - pickled beets and zucchini relish. Yummy and much easier than I thought it would be. Better go buy stock in vinegar - I'm looking to pickle everything at the moment.....

staple storage solution

I tend to buy lots of bulk items - flour, cous cous, lentils, popcorn, rice....... It has always driven me NUTS to have a pile of bulk bags and/or bags of other random ingredients held shut with a rubber band or a clip in a heap the cupboard. It looks awful and I can never see what I have. I've always thought it would be great to have a bunch of canisters like this to put all of those goodies in. Considering how many different things I buy and the cost of just ONE - umm, unrealistic! I came up with a solution (Ball's canning jars in a variety of sizes) that is much more my style and much more affordable (less than $1/jar). I LOVE the new system! Little things make me very happy =)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

freezer jam

I brought the kiddo strawberry picking today, which was quite entertaining. Once he figured it out, he would pick one, take a bite, throw it down on the ground with gusto and pick another (repeat). I tried to get him to eat the whole thing but no luck, so... I had to pick kind of quickly, then the skies opened up. Blah, blah blah, I ended up with less strawberries than I had hoped for, but still enough for 5 half pint jars of freezer jam and some other berries left over to freeze. My wish for a chest freezer has not come true yet (though I'm told it may), so in the meantime I really don't have a ton of freezer space to spare. Good thing it wasn't sunny and that my 15 month old wasn't a super helpful berry picker.

Onto the freezer jam. I had never heard of this phenomenon. Maybe I just wasn't listening. It is SO easy, and it made me feel so domestic. It is a quick recipe and stores in the freezer for a 6-12 months or 3 weeks in the refrigerator. It was also a money saver, because I got 5 or so pounds of berries for 8-9 dollars (after my CSA discount at the farm), and I made 5 jars of jam out of only 2/3 of them. Considering Adam eats PB&J most days for lunch, that is sweet! I am waiting for a month from now when he tells me he is sick of strawberry jam..... Again, I digress.

There are a couple different ways to make freezer jam. Ball's makes special pectin specifically for freezer jam. I bought 2 packages but did not use them today. I wanted to see if I could find a less sugary option. I found one in this recipe. It is good - different from regular jam - not as sweet (tastes more like you're just eating the fruit), and the agar makes it a tiny bit reminiscent of jello. It still spreads, but not like sugary yummy jam. I'm happy with it, but want to try the freezer jam pectin to test it out. The freezer jam pectin just puts me off a bit, as the list of ingredients is a bit longer than I'd like. We shall see. There are lots of other freezer jam recipes out there that I plan on reading and playing around with. I definitely recommend trying it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Iced Tea

Last year when we were still in North Carolina we heard an NPR segment on cold brewing iced tea. I wanted iced tea the other day, so I had to look it up. Here's the link...
Of course, because I had that on my mind, one of the blogs I check for ideas once in awhile was about the same thing. I went with this idea as it takes up less space in the refrigerator and you just add water to dilute it a bit. Very easy!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

charlie's table

Charlie's grandfather really wanted him to have a table to drive his cars and trucks on. He bought this table at a garage sale and sanded it, painted it, asked me to cut out fabric letters for it, then sealed it with a thick clear coat. We haven't moved it up to our new home yet, but don't you think he'll love it?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

yarn donation

My good deed for the day (not that it isn't benefiting me!) was weeding through my yarn stash and getting rid of anything that was not earmarked for a specific project or that I couldn't dream up a realistic project for within 5 seconds of seeing it. The result - I whittled a large storage box down to one shopping bag of yarn! YIPPEE!!! The rest I am sending to one of these facilities (listed at the bottom of the page) thanks to an article I found from a 2003 knitting magazine while searching for ideas as to where I could donate this excess of mine.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Strawberry Cream Cake

I cannot take credit for making this recipe, only eating it. Adam's mom is an amazing baker. She made this and I think it's the best cake I've ever had (that doesn't have chocolate in it, but in this season, I'd take this over chocolate - I can't believe I just admitted that). I LOVE it. So, so, so good. She has made it twice and it turned out great both times. She says it is easy to make, too. I've seen some of the recipes she attempts and I wouldn't even dare. Seeing as baking is not my forte, I'd guess that "easy" to her means I could at least tackle it and it would come out alright. I hope so, because it is so good I can't wait for next strawberry season for more. I believe Charlie agrees. He took down a whole piece on his own last night after he ate dinner, and after he had finished his bath. He smelled like strawberries and cream still this morning even though we did our best spot clean. Oh, and I let him eat it for breakfast. He still smelled like it and needed to be cleaned anyway, plus I was eating it and couldn't really say no to him. =)
An aside... the three of us (but mostly Charlie in all honesty) have put away 4 quarts of strawberries in a week and a half. That's just for munching - none have made their way into any recipes. Our local farm and CSA is having their Strawberry Festival this weekend. Very, very exciting. I need more freezer space.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"homemade" Father's Day cards

Since I seriously doubt any of these guys are checking the blog anytime between now and Sunday, here are some of the cards I made. These cards were made with help from Photographer's Edge, which is where I get my cards. All you have to do is add your own photos. So easy and so professional looking!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Our new place is needing a little foliage, so I've been researching what to buy. My requirements: 1. must be non-toxic for little people 2. possess air purifying qualities 3. easy to care for (i.e. won't die if neglected for a week). I found a great blog that is helping me out.... the menu on the side is giving me lots of useful information. I'm trying to decide if I'm in the mood to plant shop alone with Charlie today. He's a decent shopper, but his "sit still in the cart" time is getting shorter and shorter. There's too much world out there to explore. Maybe after another cup of coffee.....

Friday, June 12, 2009

fightin' pillows

The boys have discovered the joy of pillow fights, and a week or so ago a request for big pillows came in, as the regular pillows just weren't cutting it. I gladly used the excuse to go to the fabric store and found these fabrics for a bargain. I put ties on the green pillow - not the best idea for pillow fights. I did brainstorm enough before though to decide buttons would be a big no-no. The white pillow has velcro for closure which works better. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to capture the actual pillow fights, but Charlie happily throws/dives/plays in them solo, so I grabbed some photos today.

I love this photo... one of the benefits of these new pillow fights - he's just sleeping, not knocked out ;-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

sewing craziness and my binding

I've been a bit obsessed lately. In the past week I've bound a quilt, finished a quilt top, made 2 pillow covers, made a "sleeping bag" for a kindle, and started an apron (because I stumbled upon this and couldn't resist the chance at being randomly selected and winning a craft book - really just an excuse to sew). I have lots of other projects I want to work on but a few issues.... my machine is stitching strangely despite cleaning it, oiling it, adjusting settings and rethreading it about eighty times. UGH. Maybe it is tired. I had to stop in the middle of the apron (blueberry theme, btw) yesterday before I threw something. Precious moments while baby sleeping should not be wasted fixing a machine! Anyway... Mom asked me what I was binding, so I'll show you! It's a lap quilt made from Good Folks fabric. Just a basic block quilt because I wanted to be able to stare at the fabrics. They are bright and colorful - nice and summery. The binding was not nearly as awful a process as I had feared. I actually really liked doing the back by hand. It took me a good 4 hours, but whatever. (It is hard to get a good photo of a quilt!)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Off to unpack....

We're off to the new home - will be back here next week!