The Ball & Daisy Chain

This is a homemaker's guide from a young homemaker. As a newly wed, I am filling our home with unique, creative, antique and homemade elements. This blog is my creative outlet for navigating the newlywed life, and this collection is meant to share my ideas and advice with other homemakers. Please enjoy, and let me know what you think!

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I am always looking for slow cooker recipes to use, so when I found this one I decided to try it.

Slow cooker recipes are by nature low maintenance, and this one was no different.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Roast 

  • 3-4 lb chuck roast (this made lots of leftovers for just the two of us!)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic

Salt and pepper the roast to taste, and place it in the slow cooker.

Mix all the remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Then pour over the roast.

I cooked the roast on High for 4 1/2 hours.  It came out pull apart tender, and J really liked it.  There was a strong, sweet taste from the balsamic vinegar that made this a recipe to use again.

And of course I made my favorite Brussels sprouts recipe too.

This post is really two recipes in one, but both use watermelon as the base.  Watermelon has been my favorite thing about summer for years; there’s nothing like cold watermelon on a hot day!

Watermelon Popsicles (or shot-sicles)

  • 1 1/2 cups pureed watermelon
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of vodka (optional)


Bring the water to a boil, and then add the sugar.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.


Allow the water mixture to cool, then mix with the watermelon puree, and vodka if being used.

Pour the mixture into popsicle forms, and allow time to freeze.  I didn’t have real popsicle forms, so I used some thin glasses that I had in the cabinet.


I had to put my popsicles in the freezer for an hour, before I was able to get the popsicle sticks to stand upright.



Watermelon Lemonade

  • 1 1/2 cups pureed watermelon
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 gallon of lemonade
  • 1 cup of vodka (optional)

Prepare the watermelon mixture as above, but instead of freezing, mix with lemonade. 


This recipe was so easy, that the only picture I took was of the final product! 

Chocolate Cake Milkshake

  • 2/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup chocolate ice cream
  • 2/3 cup crushed ice

Blend all the ingredients, except the ice, in a blender. Then add the crushed ice, and blend on high until the shake is thick and creamy.

Top with sprinkles and drink before the candle burns out. 


Recipe modified from Eat what you Love by Marlene Koch.


A few months ago I asked my grandma to send me a few of her “old family recipes” for me to try, and when I got this one J got very excited.  (J’s favorite flavors are banana and pumpkin!)

This is my grandma’s recipe for Banana Split Bread, although I consider it much more of a cake than bread. This recipe has most of the ingredients from an old fashioned banana split.

Banana Split Cake

  • 2 extra rip bananas
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 oz can of crushed pineapple (don’t drain)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cherries
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter for greasing
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp flour for dusting the pan


First, grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan (although I used a mini bundt cake pan for mine).  Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.

Puree the bananas up to 1 cup.  Combine all the ingredients, and stir.



Place batter in the pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Now grandma’s recipe had a vanilla frosting topping, but because I made mini bundt cakes, I wanted to make a glaze.  While the cake was baking, I made a cherry sauce to go on top; what better to top a banana split with, than cherries!

Cherry Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups cherries, pureed

Combine the ingredients in a saucepan, and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. 


Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Top those lovely little bundt cakes, and eat up!

Cherry Sauce recipe modified from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. 

This recipe is a great use of all the summer fruits that are filling the store shelves.  The salsa can get a little messy, but its not a picnic unless you spill something, right?

Fruit Salsa

The dip is very straight forward, but takes a bit of chopping.

  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 lb. of strawberries
  • 8 oz. of raspberries
  • 3 tbsp. fruit jam (I used strawberry)


Mix these ingredients in a bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

Cinnamon Chips

This part of the recipe takes a bit longer to complete, but is worth it.  People often eat the chips plain, without the salsa!

  • 4 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 8 (9 inch) tortillas

First, preheat the oven to 350 deg F.

Cut the tortillas into pieces using a pizza cutter.  I cut them into 12 pieces, so they aren’t too thin.


Dip each chip into the melted butter, coating both sides.


Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a large plastic bag.  Place the butter coated tortilla chips into the sugar mixture.


Shake the bag to coat the chips, and place them on a cookie sheet.  Bake the chips for 8-10 minutes.


Repeat these steps, until all the tortillas are baked.

Serve the chips with the chilled fruit salsa!  This is a great dish for summer parties and picnics.


This recipe modified from

J’s 30th birthday party!  The party was beer tasting themed, with some great bar food: loaded potato rounds, soft pretzels and cheese fondue, and pulled pork sliders!

And of course a number of beers to try!

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.  


  • 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, I used the medium cups
  • 14 oz. Hillshire Farm Kielbasa
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 frozen herb ice cubes (see this post here).  I used 2 basil, and 1 parsley cube

First thing is to roast the brussels sprouts in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  While the sprouts are roasting, start the pasta boiling, and cook according to the package directions.

Slice the kielbasa into the 1/4” medallions, and pan fry for approximately 5 minutes.  Add the garlic to the pan, and continue cooking until the kielbasa is browned.


After the pasta has been drained, throw the fresh herb ice cubes into the pasta, and stir until they melt.  These cubes are herbs, frozen in olive oil; this is the main difference between my recipe and the inspiration recipe which used pesto (which I’m not a big fan of!)


Finally, mix all the ingredients together, and dinner is done!  J really loved this, and it allowed me to use my frozen herbs in another recipe.


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.

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.

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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!


These were functional and pretty, and I used them in a server with lemonade.

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