Jun 22, 2010

Cupboard front revamp

In our laundry room we have these brownish metal cabinets. We use them for food storage. We have the majority of our food storage in our basement but we then bring up smaller quantities of the stuff we use the most to store in these. I am trying to get our food storage organized but one of my big problems is not remembering what we have and what I have used, plus when it comes time for making dinner I have to stand with all the cupboard doors open wondering what in the world I have that I could use to make dinner. So I have been trying to think of a way that I could use the cupboard doors (which are magnetic and metal) to make some sort of organizing system. This is what I came up with. I used Chalkboard spray paint. There is such thing as chalkboard paint in a can which probably would have worked great on this project and would have made less of a mess but I didn't have that and I was ready to do this project (p.s. please ignore the crap on top of the cupboards-that didn't disappear just because I got the actual cupboards organized). These cabinets do not disassemble in any way so I just taped off the sections I wanted to paint, covered everything below with towels, opened the windows, turned on the fans and painted. After the paint was dry I used a silver permanent marker and a ruler to section off the chalkboard. My sections include: Item, Have and Used.
The idea is to record on the outside of the cupboard everything that is inside and how many we have. Then as we use something we put a tick mark in the used column. When I re stalk the cupboards I will wipe off the numbers and start again. The chalk wipes off really nicely on the cupboards and I only had to do one coat. I love the finished product. They look so organized and feel so organized and I can know at a glance just what is inside.
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Jun 21, 2010

My girls

I love these pictures because my little small fry looks like a little pioneer child. She still loves her rainboots.

And excuse the dirty face and the fact that she is clinging to the lid to the butter, and check out those blue eyes!!!. What a gorgeous little thing and she came from me-go figure!!
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Just barely in time for the 4th of July I am finally posting my other firecracker idea. This is for a little center piece or piano decoration (I think pianos are so fun because they are a great place to put decorations).

First you will need an old broom handle or in my case an old plunger handle. (Just a side note for those who know my backyard, this picture is also to show you that the pile of rocks/cement that once adorned the back corner of my house is GONE!!!!!!)
Cut it into sections of varying lengths. I had my husband do this with his big power saw but you could do it with a hand saw as well. You just don't want them all the same length. At the last minute I decided that I wanted to vary the width of my firecrackers too and so I searched our sheds once more and found another random handle that I had my husband cut as well; this one was a bit fatter than the other. Sand all of these down if they are rough or have paint on them.
Next paint them. You don't have to be an artist for this part. I actually think having the lines somewhat uneven makes them look more rustic. After they are dry I add a bit of brown ink and smudge it around to make them look a bit antique.
Next sand them again.
Now to make a hole to put your wire in. I was thinking that this would need a power tool for sure but I decided to just use a push pin and poke a hole in the top of each firecracker piece. This was just the perfect size and depth for my wires.
For the wire I just cut a random length of wire and wrapped it around a pencil, pen or paint brush to curl it. I left both ends straight to attach to the firecracker and to the star. To attach it to the firecracker I used my new favorite crafting adhesive-Superglue. If you can get away with out getting any on your finger this stuff can be fantastic in your craft room. I put a little dab over the hole I made with my push pin and stuck in my wire.
After I had painted my stars (they are wooden craft stars), I sanded them and then attached them to the wire with hot glue. Using hot glue instantly turns the this craft into a one sided creation but I couldn't think of a better way to attach them and except for a center piece on a table, it would always be looked at from one side anyway so I decided to go with it. Then I attached the firecrackers to a wooden base with hot glue as well.
TADA!!! Let freedom ring.
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Jun 12, 2010

Freezing Muffin Question

I had this question from a reader about freezing muffin batter and then baking it. I posted about this with my Berry Cream Muffin recipe I shared (sorry technically not my recipe-a recipe I have recently found and love). I freeze the muffin batter in the paper liners in the muffin tin until firm and then transfer them to a plastic bag and then only take out as many as I want to bake at a time. There is no need to thaw. Just preheat your oven as normal and put the muffins in your pan. They will take longer to bake. You will need to add 10-15 minutes onto the baking time so watch them and plan ahead but they turn out just as if you made them fresh. It works so perfect and then you always have fresh muffins and don't waste.
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Jun 11, 2010

One more recipe

When I was typing up my recipes post I knew I had one more to share but couldn't think of what it was at the time but it came to me this morning: Berry Cream Muffins. I found this recipe in a Taste of Home Cookbook. These are perfect right out of the oven or shortly there after but are not good the next day. The recipe makes 2 & 1/2 dozen muffins so what I do is 1/2 the recipe then I bake only about 6 muffins to eat right away and I put the rest in the muffin pan (in liners) and put it right in the freezer. After they are frozen solid I put them in a plastic bag. This way I can pull out as many as I want to bake as needed and they are always fresh. Here is the recipe. This is the best I have tasted.

Berry Cream Muffins (full recipe)
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp bkg pwd
1 tsp bkg soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries
4 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups sour cream
1 cup veg oil
1 tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add berries and toss gently. In another bowl, combine the eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups two thirds full. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks.
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Jun 9, 2010

Recipes, Recipes

Hello friends. I feel like I have not been blogging in ages (though it may only be about a week). Things have been HECTIC: kids are under the weather and CRANKY!!!!, I started working at our school's summer lunch program (think hair nets and processed foods), it is hot and I feel sluggish and the weeds are growing and the house work is piling up and if you need a few more excuses can I just add that my dog ate my homework too??? Well anyway I am taking a minute to share a few recipes. I love it when I find a new recipe that is easy and delicious, but most of the time I just stick with the standard, tried and true family favorites. It is disappointing to slave away over something new only to have it be a flop. So I can assure you that these recipes won't be a flop (well unless you aren't a good cook-then I can't guarantee anything). I don't have any pictures but people have I ever led you astray before?? (don't answer that) Here it goes:

Carnitas-If you would like a change from the standard ground beef tacos then try these. Oh my goodness (as small fry would say) these are delicious. You can use pork or beef, I have tried making them with both. I even made them with an elk roast. You make it in your crock pot so it is a breeze to cook. The only thing I would do is add a bit more salt. Really tasty!!!!

And to go with the carnitas try these homemade flour tortillas. I wouldn't say that I will never buy the ones from the store again because they are just too convenient but these homemade ones are super good. They are just time consuming. They are not something to add as an after thought the last half hour before company is coming (that sounds like something my mom would have done a few years ago). I made a full recipe the first time I made them and I was rolling for quite a while. I just kept the left overs in a plastic bag and even used some of them as pizza crusts and that turned out really well. Anyway enough rambling. These are really good.

Next to continue with that Mexican kind of theme Mango Salsa. This is something that I concocted after getting some mangos in my Bountiful Basket. I found a recipe online and then adapted it. I am sharing my adaptation.
Mango Salsa
2 large fresh mangos diced
1/2 a green pepper diced
1/2 a red pepper diced
1 jalapeno seeded and minced
1/4 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
1 clove garlic crushed
2 small green onions chopped (including green stems)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small bunch of cilantro chopped
1 large tomato chopped
juice and zest of 2 limes
salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything together in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Serve as is with chips, or bake on chicken.
Best Ever Cookies- this is a recipe I just recently tried and the name is pretty much totally accurate.
1 3/4 cup flour (I used 1 cup white flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat)
1/2 tsp bkg soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup rice krispies
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350. Cream sugars, butter, oil, egg and vanilla until creamy. Add all other ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon. Drop by tsp fulls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. DEVOUR!!!!
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Popsicle Weather Revisit

Because some of you may not have known about my little blog back then, I am reposting about my favorite summer popsicle recipe. Go here to get this yummy and easy recipe. I just made my first batch today.
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Jun 3, 2010

Feeling a Little Patriotic

Warm sunny weather means that summer is on it's way and summer to me means RED, WHITE, and BLUE!! Patriotic crafts are one of my favorites to create. This year I am getting into the mood early on. Here are a couple of first summer creations.
Firecracker Welcome Sign

(stay tuned for another firecracker wood craft hopefully coming to you in week or so)

Red, White and Blue Garland
I made this by sewing strips of red, white and blue fabric together then cutting them into my triangle shape. I sewed each one to a piece of denim (cut from old blue jeans-what says America more than Red, White and Blue and jeans??) I then sewed them all to my ribbon, then cut snips all around the edge and washed and dried my garland to fray the edges. Totally American.

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Birthday cards

I had to switch gears out of baby stuff making mode and set my sewing machines aside for a bit and do something totally different. So here is one of my latest projects:birthday cards.

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Jun 2, 2010

Lessons from Martha #3

This is one of those lessons that I was like, "you have got to be kidding me-all these years and I never knew this!!!!" This likely is not news to many of you but I will share just in case I am not the last person on earth to know. In this particular episode Martha had a guest, Dani Fiore (a cookie making queen) on to demonstrate her stained glass sugar cookies. Martha asked what sugar cookie recipe she used and Dani said her basic sugar cookie only (and here is the light bulb moment) she left out the baking powder so they wouldn't rise and lose their shape. Are you kidding me???? All these years of making sugar cookies that grow as they bake and end up looking like blobs instead of the cute cutouts and all I had to do was leave out the baking powder???? I had no idea. So I tried it immediately with my normal sugar cookie recipe and they turned out good but they still grew a bit. So I tried again using her recipe and they were fantastic. They didn't rise, they held their shape and they tasted great. I even tried the whole stained glass thing which was cool but a lot of work. So next time I would just use the recipe and adjust my baking time and leave it at that. I know, not exactly life changing but for sure sugar cookie changing for me. Why didn't I think of that? Thanks once again Martha.
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