Kielbasa and pasta
This recipe was inspired by this recipe. My new found love of Brussels sprouts made me want to try it, but I tweaked the recipe a bit and thought the flavors mixed well. Ingredients 1 lb brussels sprouts, fresh or frozen. If using fresh, remove any yellow outside leaves and slice in half 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper 1 lb pasta,...
Valentine's Day DIY- I love you because
Here is an easy DIY project to show your valentine just how much they mean to you. All you really need is an 8x10” frame and a printer. Print “I love you because” on a piece of paper or cardstock. I used yellow paper so it would stand out against the white frame. I also put our initials on it, which mirror what we had on our wedding programs. Place the paper into the...
DIY Piping Media Shelf
After we finished the basement, we had a problem with how to store the dvds and cds J and I have collected through the years. And as J is a huge music fan, there was no shortage of cds which needed a place. I was inspired by a piping shelf I saw on etsy, and headed out to the home improvement store. The first decision to make was the color and size of the pipes I would be using. I decided to...
I was very excited about this project, and it was the real reason I bought my chalkboard paint. I started with a gold framed mirror I found at an antique store. I actually didn’t want the mirror, just the frame, so the first step was to remove the staples holding the mirror together. Once the frame is apart, I took the frame outside and started to spray paint it gray. After...
Chalkboard Menu Wall
This was an easy project that really added some pop to my kitchen. J and I couldn’t get over how great the black paint looked in the kitchen, and the chalkboard allows us to write menus or messages to each other. Using the chalkboard paint is no different than using regular paint, and only required a paint roller/tray and some tape. Hope you and your family had a wonderful...
Funfetti Cake Punch
I made this punch for a summer party this year, and it was a hit. The recipe was very easy, and I was surprised by how well it turned out. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Fudge
I grew up going to Knoebels in central PA, and I even worked there for a few summers while I was in school. I never was a big fan of fudge, but there is one from Knoebels’ Stony Gables Fudge Shop that I can never pass up- Peanut Butter Cup. I have looked at every boardwalk and chocolate shop I have come across and have never found it anywhere else, so I decided to make my own. [[MORE]] ...
CSA Recipe- What do I do with Beets?
One of the cool things about getting deliveries from a CSA is that you get to try things that you may not otherwise be brave enough to buy. When our CSA delivered beets, I was stumped as to what to make with them. [[MORE]] 1/2 pound medium fresh beets, peeled 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1-1/2 sprigs fresh rosemary Peeling the beets will dye your fingers a lovely red...
Party with Pinterest!
Last weekend I threw a family party, and tried out several ideas I saw on Pinterest. This post will be a review of how well they translated from pin boards into real life! Large ice cubes with lemons frozen inside; Do! (source) These were functional and pretty, and I used them in a server with lemonade. [[MORE]] Veggies served in vases: Do! (source) I liked the way the...
Pork Chops with Sweet Compound Butter
Compound butter anyone? This is a cooking ingredient that I have just discovered, and I really excited about it. It’s really easy to make, and has almost unlimited options. 1 stick softened butter Your favorite herbs! For my compound butter I used the following: 2 tbls. cinnamon 2 tbls. lemon juice 4 sprigs of fresh mint I started by mashing the butter up in a bowl, then added...
Freezing Fresh Herbs
Now that I have grown my fresh herbs, I was kind of at a loss as to what to do with them. I LOVE the idea of having them… but knowing when to use them was a little harder. So I was inspired by pinterest to freeze them with olive oil. I started with parsley for this project. On parsley, only the leaves are eaten. I course chopped the leaves to prepare them for freezing. I put the...
Repurposed Cookie Sheet to Serving Tray
After lots of use, sometimes cookie sheets get stained and dirty, and pretty much unusable. So I decided to make a serving tray from this old cookie sheet. The first thing I did was spray paint the tray. While the paint dried, I picked out my favorite scrapbook paper. Using spray adhesive, I covered the center of the of the cookie sheet to finish the tray. Voila! Happy...
Almond Cake with Whipped Honey Glaze
J and I have been on vacation in Savannah, Ga for the past week, enjoying sun, friends and shopping. One of the coolest stores we found was The Savannah Bee Company. The store is downtown, and sells several different types on honey (which they let you taste while you’re there)! The winter white honey is a whipped honey, which tastes a little bit like frosting. This whipped honey...
Impressive and Easy Summer Dessert: Berry Trifle
I recently made this for a summer party, and everyone loved it! But besides being a party favorite, it is easy to make. A trifle is a layered dessert, and this one is made of angel food cake, berries and cool whip. I started with a pre-made angel food cake to save time. I cut it into cubes to start. Cover the bottom of the trifle bowl with half of the angel food cake. The next step is to...
Tips for a Beginner's Garden Season
Gardening!! J and I are trying once again this year to garden. We are not experts, but I am much better at keeping outdoor plants alive, vs. houseplants. Here are a few tips that we have used to start our garden. The first thing we did was start with a raised bed garden. This isn’t necessary, but we did it because we have heavy clay soil that will not support a garden. When building a...
Repurposed: From Coffee Table to Bench in a Day
Moving in with J meant that I adopted a lot of his furniture. As we get the house together and buy new furniture, some of the old gets replaced or becomes unnecessary. When this coffee table got replaced with a large ottoman, it seemed destined for a yardsale; until I decided to make it into a bench for our entryway. I started by painting the the base of the table in Behr’s Citron...
This weekend I transplanted my seedlings into my raised garden bed. Well, to be honest, my Mennonite friend transplanted them and I watched. She handled each plant with such care, I didn’t want to ruin the moment. I watched her as she watered the seedling, allowing it to take one last drink before gently nudging it from its container. Because the soil was wet, it fell out in the shape of...
Brownie Pudding Cake
This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, and was interesting to me because of the history and because it only called for simple ingredients I knew I had in my cabinet. Per the cookbook: “First appearing on the pages of a 1944 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, this recipe was a shining example of wartime restraint- it skimps on sugar and uses no butter or...
Fresh Summer Herbs
Herbs are a great way for beginners to start gardening. There’s nothing like using fresh mint in tea or fresh basil in pasta, so this year I planted 8 herbs, both from seed and seedling, to use in my recipes during the summer. I planted basil, cilantro, rosemary, peppermint, parsley, stevia, dill and oregano. To grow an indoor herb garden, you need a window which gets a lot of...
I might have been a tad overzealous when I decided to start a vegetable garden from seeds. As a first-time gardener, starting from scratch is about the worst idea if you want a bountiful vegetable garden mid-summer. I’d recommend starting from seeds if you have a lot of patience, or, if you enjoy nurturing something (which is why I started). I wanted to have something that I could take...
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Growing up, Brussels sprouts were definitely not on the list of vegetables I would eat. But after finding this recipe I’ve really come to enjoy them. Start by peeling off the outer leaves of the sprouts and washing them. Cut them in half and place them in a bowl. Cover with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place the Brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for...
Amazon's Subscribe & Save
My husband is big on convenience. He’d rather buy something at a mini mart down the street, than drive ten minutes to buy it cheaper at a grocery store. Or, on some occasions, buy something at the grocery store instead of looking for it in our pantry. It’s a little extreme, I know. So it comes as no surprise that he discovered Amazon...
Recycled Window Greenhouse
Spring is finally here, and there’s nothing better than spring flowers! I did not make this little greenhouse, but I thought it was a great use for old wooden windows, and a great way to add some flowers to my front porch. Because it is so skinny, I decided to hang 2 flower baskets vertically inside. Consider making or buying your own recycled window greenhouse! They come in all...
J was an April Fool’s Day baby, so for his birthday I set up a small dessert bar. Dessert bars require less effort than a full dinner, and can be a lot more exciting to eat; at least for me and my sweet tooth! Using dishes that are different heights really adds to the overall presentation, and makes it look a little more sophisticated. My dessert bar had eight different desserts to...
Easter is Coming!
I wanted to make some sort of Easter “wreath” but I really didn’t what to do. After thinking about it, I thought it would be great to make a colorful Easter egg. I found some shiny mesh ribbon at Micheal’s, and thought it would be perfect. First I cut out an egg shape from a piece of foam board. I also created a hole for the door hanger. Then using an exact-o craft...
Supporting Local Farms
Have you ever heard of a CSA? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a great way to get in contact with farms and farmers in your area, and get the freshest produce for your money. J and I recently found a CSA through www.localharvest.org/. By signing up and paying a membership fee, the community supports the farm and helps promote the local economy. In return you get a...
Window to Picture Frame
Back in November, J and I headed out to an antiques store for small business Saturday. I found this awesome old monastary window, and created a hanging picture frame. I used thumbtacks and jute, and created a fun way to display our pictures and cards. I really like the way it turned out. A large picture frame could also be used for a similar project. And it is super easy to swap out the...
Thin Mint French Silk Pie
J said this pie was one of his top 5 ever, which is some pretty high praise. It’s a spin on a French Silk pie using Thin Mints, the Girl Scouts of America’s best cookies. But beware, this is another recipe that you will need a glass of milk to eat! First I wanted to make the pie crust out of crushed up Thin Mints. Start by chopping up the Thin Mints in a food processor. I used...
Happy Valentine's Day!
For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make some canvas art for J and my bedroom. I decided to make a sign with lyrics from one of our favorite songs. Any lyrics or poems that are meaningful to you would work well for this project. For my sign I wanted to have contrasting letters and background. Using acrylic paint, I painted the canvas the color of the letters. After the paint dried, I...
Here’s another idea I found on Pinterest and wanted to try. These pickles have a little bit of a kick, but they make a great snack food. First step is to cut your pickle spears into pieces. You can also use pickle hamburger slices and avoid this step. Next, in a mixing bowl mix the following ingredients together: 2 eggs 1/3 cup flour 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp hot sauce ...
Cinnamon Roll Dip
Looking for a sweet dessert dip for your Superbowl party!? Well look no further! This dip tastes just like your favorite breakfast cinnamon rolls! This dip is made of two parts; the dip and the icing. First mix these ingredients in a large mixing bowl: 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoons vanilla In a separate bowl mix the...
This recipe is for the chocolate lovers out there; homemade chocolate mousse. J loved this, but I definitely needed some milk with mine! This recipe is very basic, and only uses 2 ingredients! First melt 8 oz of milk chocolate; I used chocolate chips. I used my makeshift double boiler (see my previous post about melting chocolate and caramel!) Make sure to continue stirring the chocolate...
Fondue for Dinner
Have you been to the Melting Pot yet? J and I love going, but it’s too expensive to go on a regular basis. So one of our purchases with our wedding gift cards was a fondue pot. For dinner J and I had steak, chicken, and shrimp. Make sure you leave the meat in the broth for long enough; you always be sure that the meat is throughly cooked before you eat it. For veggies we used...
Yummy White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
These cupcakes are absolutely wonderful, and I hope you find them as delicious as I did! I saw these white cupcakes on Pintrest, and I just had to make my own because they are so pretty! First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. For the cupcake mix, I started with a boxed cake mix, and added some extra ingredients. 1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated...
Garlic Crescent Rolls
Crescent rolls are one of my favorite foods around the holidays, and I almost always have a roll or two in my refrigerator. Tonight I had a craving for some garlic bread, and I decided to open a roll and try it out. I used the Pampered Chef Parmesan-Garlic dipping seasoning (which is really good if you haven’t tried it!), mixed in olive oil and spread on the unrolled crescents. Then I...
Leftover Cake? Make Cake Pops!
Cake pops are the new cupcakes. Whoopie pies may have snuck in there for a bit, but as far as wedding confectionary trends go, cake pops are on top. You can buy them for about $3 a pop at Starbucks (170 calories each for the health conscious). But they are just as easy to make at home for a lot less. I recently made a birthday cake for my husband. It was red velvet, but shaped like a slab of...
Last year I made my husband a cake shaped like an airplane for his birthday. So this year, I thought I’d continue the tradition and make another shaped cake. I thought of things that he loved: plaid (probably not the easiest pattern to make with icing), beards and mustaches (wouldn’t translate well into a confection), music (a little to abstract for my skills). I thought a bit harder...
Wedding Shadow Box
After our wedding I saved a bunch of stuff to put in a scrapbook, but I have since learned I am just not a scrapbooker. I sat with the paper and materials in front of me, and I had no idea what to do. So instead I made a wedding shadow box, which will be seen a lot more than any scrapbook I would have made. I have one of our programs and one of our invitations. I also included a pinwheel,...
2012, Time to Get Organized!!
So what is your New Year’s resolution?! One of mine this year is to get organized, and here are some gadgets that I’ve used in my kitchen the get the process started. Drawer separators helped make this cluttered drawer usable. No more digging for my measuring spoons. Using this over the door shoe organizer for cleaners cleared up a ton of shelf space in my kitchen and my...
Soft Gingersnap Cookies
These cookies got rave reviews around the holidays for being so soft and moist. I hope you enjoy them too!! In a mixing bowl, cream 1 1/2 cups butter and 2 cups of sugar. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1/2 cup of molasses. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients: 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons ground...
Left over ham? Ham Casserole to the rescue!
J and I were sent home with loads of ham after Christmas, so I knew I needed a recipe because we would be sick of ham sandwiches by the end of the week. This recipe for a ham casserole is great, and it gives your leftovers a twist. First preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cube 2 cups of potatoes, and boil until soft, but still firm (don’t make mashed potatoes out of them!) Combine the...
Homemade Cinnamon Ornaments
This “recipe” is for cinnamon ornaments that my family has used since I was in second grade. It’s fun, a little messy, and leaves your house smelling like cinnamon year after year. The recipe is simple: mix equal parts cinnamon and apple sauce. For this year I used 2 cups of each. Using your hands, or a rolling pin, flatten the dough to the thickness of your ornaments. Be...
Apothecary Jar Decorations
I have seen this done everywhere, so I wanted to create one myself. The great thing about this is that it’s fast and customizable! Any size apothecary jar will work (as long as the opening is wide enough for the ornaments), and you can put any color assortment together that will match your decor. I’ve seen tons of these in my magazines, so look around for your own inspiration! ...
Christmas Cookies Round 1
These sugar cookies are so good that I actually gave myself a stomach ache from eating so many. These are soft, cakey, old fashioned drop cookies, and are great to have on hand this time of year. This recipe needs the following ingredient: 1/2 cup shortening 1 cup white sugar 1 egg 3/4 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2...
Recycle your Paper Towel Tubes
Now that it’s officially boot season, here’s a tip for storing them: use empty paper towel tubes to help the boot stand upright. Not only does this keep your boots in good condition, but it makes them easier to store. Happy recycling! ~Amanda