DIY candy jars

Like many others, I have become obsessed with Pinterest.com since the day my friend introduced me to the site. And I am happy to say that , although it is a bit of a crafty brain overload, I have found myself actually recreating some of the projects that I have pinned. One of my first projects was also one of my very first pins… DIY CANDY JARS… totally easy,  especially since I found that I already had all of the  materials. Here is what the original pin looked liked:

I know! Lovely! right?! Mine turned out a little different, but in my opinion, just as lovely….

I used old brass candlestick and different sized jars that I had saved, Painted them in contrasting colors and filled with old fashioned hard candy.

diy candy jars

Here’s the how to:

what you need:

~   candlesticks

~  jars with lids

~  paint

~  paintbrush (if you use spraypaint , you probably won’t need the brush~obviously)

~ strong craft glue

~  candy for filling

1.  Paint your candlesticks and let them dry COMPLETELY (I used 3 coats of paint) Also paint your jar lids and let them dry COMPLETELY.

2. After the paint is dry , glue the bottom of the jars to the top of the candlesticks and let the glue dry COMPLETELY.

3. Fill with candy, replace lids, and enjoy!!!

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A few things I keep in mind (in my kitchen)

1. Corn Masa is the tastiest way to thicken homemade chili.

2..  Sea Salt is way better than table salt,  for health and for taste.

3.   Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt is an amazing substitute for sour cream

4.   use Fresh Herbs instead of dried herbs whenever possible

5.  Poaching an egg is easier than you think

.

6.  “When in doubt, throw it out.”
8. You can secretly add more vegetables to soups, burgers, meatloaf, etc.. by putting them in the food processor until they are very fine. Blend them in well, and no one will even know how healthy the food is.

7.    Shredding cheese from a block tastes better than using pre-shredded cheese. Especially when melting it.(I think                 this is probably because it holds the moisture better)

9.  Bisquick really makes a yummy biscuit and can be a great shortcut for many recipes

10.  Store bought pie crust really isn’t any worse for you than homemade and it can cut out a lot of time in preparation.

11. Eggs are good for you. It’s ok to eat them

12.When making garlic butter, cut butter amount in half by mixing with equal parts olive oil. Healthier and tasty!

 

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free backgrounds, how kind

 

free seamless backgrounds for your websites or craft uses!!!

you can even personalize the color schemes right on site!

I found this great site with lots and lots of free and easy to use seamless backgrounds for your websites, or crafts. You can even change the color scheme right onsite before you download it… and there is some  added humor that pops up here and there….. http://www.patterncooler.com

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Blueberry Pie with Rosemary

If you’re looking for a little twist on the ordinary for your holiday gatherings, or just an easy weeknight desert, this is sure to be a winner!

Blueberry & Rosemary Pie Recipe

Filling ingredients:

  • 6 cups of fresh (or frozen) blueberries, rinsed and stems removed (if using frozen, defrost and drain first)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon  or orange zest
  • 3/4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (3/4 cup if using frozen blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar  (* if you like your pie on the sweeter side, use 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter (unsalted), cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
crust:
  • 2 frozen roll out pie crusts ( and kudos to you if you want to make your own!)

Egg wash ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

what to do:

1  Unroll 1 pie crust into pie pan and press into edges.  (Be careful, they can tear easily)

Gently mix  all ingredients, except butter and crust  (this includes : blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon or orange zest, salt ,rosemary,  vanilla and lemon juice )in a large bowl. Transfer them to the  crust in the pie pan. Dot with butter pieces. Roll out remaining dough. Place on top of the berry filling. Tuck the top dough over and under the edge of the bottom dough, and crimp the edges with your fingers. Cut a small (nickel size) hole in the center of the pie crust (so steam can escape while cooking). Transfer the pie to the refrigerator to chill until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425°F.

3  Whisk egg and milk together to make an egg wash.

4  Remove the unbaked pie from refrigerator. Brush the top with egg wash.. Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven with a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking pan positioned on the lower rack to catch any filling that may bubble over. Bake for 20 minutes at 425°. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more or until juices are bubbling and have thickened. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before serving.

fantastic with vanilla ice cream!!!

Makes 8 servings.

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viney wreaths oh my!

my favorite so far. a circle of honeysuckle and grape vines

My husband and I bought our house 2 years ago and it included about an acre of slightly unruly woods in the back part of the yard. At first I was overwhelmed by all the vines and thorns and weeds.. etc… After opening my eyes I have noticed that not everything was out of control, or at least not everything that was out of control is a bad thing. Take for example all of the lovely wild grape and honeysuckle vines. I have been collecting them over the past couple of evenings and have turned my gatherings into lovely wreaths of all unruliness and sizes. It is pretty easy, but does take a little patience and some room to move around. The only direction there is , is to wind the vines in a circle around each other. play. have fun.

And now, I CAN NOT WAIT to begin decorating them! Stay tuned , I will be posting photos.

Let the fun begin!!!!

 

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Oven Dried Tomatoes

oven dried tomatoes

oven dried tomatoes

This year I got a beautiful bounty of tomatoes with out much gardening effort. Most of my plants came up on their own from the seeds of the “no good” fruit that I left on the ground last summer. I don’t like to see good food go to waste, so I have been canning, freezing and now oven drying tomatoes for the last 6 weeks. This oven drying preservation, is my personal favorite, considering the ease of the process and the wonderful richness and sweetness it brings out in flavor. Here’s how (and believe me, it is EASY!)

What you will need:

tomatoes ( i used small ones from my sweet 100’s , which are my absolute favorites to grow.)

baking sheet

an oven

parchment paper or silicone baking mat

sea salt

What you will do:

turn oven on to LOWEST heat setting, whether this is 100 or 200, you want to dry them out SLOWLY over a long period of time

place parchment paper or silicone mat on baking sheet

slice tomatoes in half

lay tomato halves, skin side down, on your paper or mat, making sure they are not touching each other

sprinkle with sea salt                  

place in oven and bake for 6-8 hours, or really depending on how long it takes. And I am not going to lie to you, IT DOES TAKE A LONG TIME. So be patient.

Check every hour or so to MAKE SURE THEY DON”T BURN, but are completely dry.

You can store them in the fridge for about a month, or in the freezer for about 6 months.

That’s it. You’re done. I’m addicted and want to eat them on everything now, so I’m off to make some more……..

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Shrimp & Avacado pico

  Here is a simple, fresh, & versatile recipe

Shrimp & Avacado Pico

                                                                 what you will need:

*1 ripe but firm AVACADO

*1 cup prepared SHRIMP

( **see below for shrimp prep)

*1/3 cup diced white or red ONION

* 1 diced TOMATO

* 1 tbs fresh LIME JUICE

*1/2 cup chopped fresh CILANTRO

* 1 good pinch SEA SALT

*1/2 tbs ground CUMIN

(preferable freshly

ground from whole seeds)

*1 chopped JALAPENO                                                                                                (if desired)

                                     what you will do:

(**shrimp prep: peel and clean raw shrimp. Boil a small pot of

water with 1 tbs lemon juice and 1 tbs old bay seasoning. Boil shrimp, remove from heat using a slotted spoon once it turns a light pink color and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Let chill for 10 minutes – you can do this while you are chopping other ingredients- Once chilled, chop each shrmp into 3 peices)

*In a bowl add CUMIN, SALT , & CILANTO  to the AVACADO. Toss GENTLY. Add all other ingredients and toss GENTLY once more.

that’s it. you’re done.

serve atop tacos, burritos ,  ENCHILADAS,  or with CHIPS.                  ENJOY!!!

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side dish: broccoli and white beans with rice

I created this as a side dish, but it could easily be served as a great vegetarian entree!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs broccoli (I use frozen. It tastes great and frozen food can hold more vitamins                          than fresh!!)
  • 1- 15oz can navy beans
  • 1- 15 oz can great northern beans
  • 1 1/2 cups dry  white rice
  • 1/2 white onion – diced
  • 2 cloves garlic- diced
  • 8 ounces  extra sharp cheddar- shredded
  • 2 cups milk (maybe more)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • crushed red pepper
  • 1 habanero, if desired

Instructions:

In a small sauce pot bring 3 cups water to a boil . Add white rice. (do not cook all the way through. When rice is al dente , you will add it to the other ingredients)

meanwhile, add olive oil and butter in a stock pot. Once butter is melted, add garlic and onion. Saute over medium heat until onion starts to sweat out. Add Broccoli. Continue to saute until the broccoli is all the way heated. Add the al dente rice, 2 cups of milk, and the rest of the remaining ingredients. Stir often until cheese is melted and all of the ingredients are blended well. You may need to add a little more milk as you go…. Consistency should be creamy but not wet.

Serve as a side dish or as a balanced vegetarian entree!

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St. Patty’s Day (free) printable cupcake toppers (or other things-like pins, placecards, invitations, placecards, & more! )

Free printables by TheTomKatStudio.com

Yeah, I know I picked a long title for this post, but I am in a happy mood today so I felt like being a little silly.  I have been so busy with spring projects around the house that I haven’t had much time to make my own crafts. All of the projects are the remodeling kind. So for now, I thought I would link my readers to other crafty projects other than my own. It’s a good thing too, because I found a new (to me) blog called The TomKat Studio where there are lots of wonderful ideas and free downloads. Here I found these  free printable cupcake toppers for St. Patrick’s Day. These could be used for other projects too – just check the title of this post for some ideas!

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Unique stamps for your handmade invitations and cards

Here’s a fun and easy way to add a little something extra special to your handmade (or store bought) cards, invitations, etc. Check out zazzle.com/stamps for , literally, thousands of options of stamps. I am not going to lie though. They can get expensive. Prices range from $14.95 to about  $100.00. You can choose higher postage stamps to (up to $4.95 priority mail).

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