Thursday, December 23, 2010

An unexpected find

Wasn't expecting to find the perfect truck when I was out with a friend today.  We quickly popped into a consignment store to find her grandmother a Christmas gift when I spotted this trunk.  I have been looking at old trunks for awhile.  We had been using a white wicker chest as our coffee table, but it was not the look I was going for.  It was my husbands and it served its purpose until I found what I wanted.  We keep board games and throw blankets in the chest.  The others I had looked at were great, just too pricey.  This one came at a steal and in great condition.

Chocolate Covered Goodies

Chocolate covered Ritz crackers and graham crackers are super easy and fun to eat.  A good gift too!

You will need Almond Bark chocolate, which I have only found at Walmart.  You will need two packs of chocolate for one box of Ritz crackers.  The left over chocolate will make one and half individually wrapped packages of graham crackers.

Spread smooth peanut butter in between two Ritz crackers to make a sandwich:

Chunk the chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl:
(this is one Almond Bark chocolate bar)

Heat for 90 seconds in the microwave and stir. Heat for fifteen minute intervals until smooth when stirred.

Use tongs or fingers to dip into chocolate.  Place on wax paper until chocolate is hard.

With the left over chocolate I made chocolate covered graham crackers.  I used the honey flavor and broke them in half.  Cover both sides with chocolate and place on wax paper.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sweet and Salty

These are easy to do around a holiday in addition to cookies/cakes or as a small gift.  The saltiness of the pretzel mixed with the sweet chocolate is perfect.

Heat oven to 225 degrees.  You want to use the pinwheel pretzels or the mini pretzels, plain Hershey Kisses and plain M&M's.  Put wax paper on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Spread out the pretzels. Unwrap the kisses and place one on top of each pretzel.  Place in the oven for about 6-8 minutes until the kisses are soft and easily smushed.  Remove from oven and quickly place one M&M on top. You want to use the M&M to press the kiss down onto the pretzel so it adheres. Let harden.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cookie Exchange

My friend wanted to have a cookie exchange but felt her house was not big enough so we had it at mine.  A lot of people cancelled last minute, but we still had fun.  We baked 3 dozen cookies each to share with the group.  A lot of cookie exchanges have many rules such as no bars, fudge, no bake cookies or chocolate chip cookies.  All the cookies must be homemade.  I agree with the homemade part, but not the rest. If people want to make fudge then by all means please do. Now, we do not want doubles so as long as only one person brings no bake then I am okay with that. Bring as many copies of the recipe as there are people.

H'ordeuvres were served along with sparkling cider.

Next year we will invite more people to account for cancellations and possibly have the exchange in the beginning of the month.

By the way, it would be my dream party if everyone brought chocolate chip cookies.  :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vegetable Dip

I cannot have straight dairy. I have a problem with lactose. Sometimes it is hard to avoid and if it isn't in a high quantity then I can have a little bit. In my cooking I avoid it if possible.

Since I can't buy a vegetable dip I make this one:

8 oz sour cream (I use dairy free Better Than Sour Cream Brand)
8 oz mayonnaise
1 tbsp parley
1 tbsp Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1 tbsp minced onion
1 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Mix together and then let chill for a few hours so the spices can meld together.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Some of my favorite things

-Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm: I always have this with me.  Soothes and cools.

-Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Peony: Subtle color for day or night.

-Aveda's Rosemary Mint Hand and Body Wash: So fresh and awakens the senses.

-Aveda's Be Curly Cream: The best product to tame these curls.

-Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dish Soap and Liquid Hand Soap in Lavender: Environmentally friendly yet gets everything squeaky clean.

-Avalon Organics Vitamin C Refreshing Cleansing Gel: A lovely orange smell.  A nice wake up in the morning while removing impurities.

-Plum Tea from Rostov's in Richmond: Doesn't have an overbearing plum taste.

-Honeybush Tea: Naturally sweet with a lot of healthy benefits, but I mainly drink it for the taste.

I will keep adding to the list...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pam's Peanut Butter Christmas Cupcakes

These taste so amazing.  If eating more than one you will need a glass of milk. My friend, Pam, wanted cupcakes for her Christmas gift. She only said peanut butter so I went to town. We exchanged gifts at Ellwood Thompson Cafe. She got me a lovely owl necklace and flamingo paraphernalia.

The cupcake:
-1 box of yellow cake mix
-1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
-1 1/3 cup water
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-3 large eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-cupcake liners
-24 to 30 milk chocolate Hershey Kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with cupcake liners.  In a bowl combine the cake mix, peanut butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat on low until blended.  You may need to scape the sides of the bowl down with a spatula and then continue mixing.  Using a 1/4 measuring cup scoop batter into cupcake liners which will fill them about two thirds full.  Unwrap the kisses and gently place one on top of each cupcake. Do not press them into the middle of the batter. As it bakes the kisses will sink into the center of the cupcake.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until gold brown on top. If you press the cupcake lightly with your finger, it should spring back.  Let cupcakes cool before adding frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
-8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick), softened
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-3 cups confectioner's sugar, preferably sifted
-3 to 5 tablespoons milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract

Add butter and cocoa powder to a bowl and beat on low until butter is broken up.  Add confectioner's sugar, 3 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla and beat again on low.  If frosting is too stiff then add the last 2 tablespoons of milk and blend.  If you do not sift the confectioner's sugar the frosting may be lumpy.  I have done it without sifting and I just beat the frosting longer to get it smooth.

This frosting will generously frost 24 cupcakes.  The batter made more than 24 cupcakes though.

Peanut Butter Topping:
- 8 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, frozen

Place in the freezer when you start the frosting.  They are easier to chop if hard.  Store in a bag in the refrigerator until ready to use. Sprinkle on top of the frosting.

If you have left over frosting you can freeze it for up to one month in a plastic container.  Cream cheese frosting freezes well too.

Noel Ornament Swap

A lot of really awesome ornaments!  This is a really cute idea.  You make 10-15 ornaments depending on how many people come. You pass your ornaments around and each person takes one. You leave with 10-15 new ornaments. 10 people were present and I made 15 so I kept two of my own. Yummy sweet and savory goodies along with tea and coffee. A nice quiet get together with good conversation while admiring each others creations. Hopefully this will be a tradition!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snowmen Ornaments

I used old Christmas light bulbs that were broken.  I made these for an ornament swap party I was attending. You will need:

-Light bulbs
-Unused egg crate for drying
-White, black, and orange paint
-Snow accent paint
-1 wide tipped paint brush and 1 fine tipped paint brush
-Black, red, and green felt
-Craft glue or hot glue
-Hemp string

Flip the egg crate over and poke a hole where the eggs would be. Paint the light bulbs white.  I used white bulbs so I only did one coat. If colored then may need more than one coat. Let it dry and then paint the snow accent on top. Let dry in the egg crate.  Paint black dots for eyes, nose, and buttons. Paint an orange carrot nose. Let dry. Cut thin strips of green and red felt.  You want to measure the strip of felt by wrapping it around the light bulb to make a scarf. Cut the excess off. Apply glue to felt and then attach to the light bulb. Let dry before making the hat. Cut a small black square. I did not measure. I eyeballed a good size for the brim of the hat and then made them all that size. Fold the square in half and cut a small slit. Fold the square the other way and cut another small slit. It will create an 'x'. Fit this over the top of the light bulb. Cut the square into a circle for the brim of the hat. Cut a small strip of black felt that will cover the rest of the bulb. Wrap around the bulb to make sure it fits. Apply glue and attach. Cut a long piece of hemp string and tie around top of hat. Create a knot in the back of the hat with the string. Tie ends to make loop.

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cream Cheese Frosting

No need to buy cream cheese frosting.  It is four ingredients!  I do not see the need to purchase something I can make so easily. Also, it does not have all the extra crap in it like the store bought kind does.

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 eight ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened

Add butter and cream cheese to a bowl and mix on low til blended.  Add vanilla to bowl.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to the sifter. Add powdered sugar little by little to the bowl.  Mix on low until all is blended.

Freezes well for up to one month in an air tight container.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I am part Lithuanian (in case you didn't know).  My grandmother on my moms side carries the Lithuanian heritage.  We call her Nan and she just loves to bake and cook.  She is not as mobile as she once was and cannot cook/bake as much as she would like. She told me it makes her so sad because she enjoys it so much. My sister and I must have gotten our cooking/baking genes from our grandparents who both adore this wonderful hobby.  My mother is not a huge fan of cooking/baking for fun. Everything she makes is yummy, but she would rather do many other things than whip up something in the kitchen. She would joke when were in high school that if she could have given us a pill packed with a complete meal then she would have done that rather than cook. Some people cook/bake because they have to feed the family and that is quite alright. I make many of the meals my mother made us. Pure comfort food especially since it reminds me of her and how I felt when eating the dish way back when.

I love to cook/bake for fun and take on bigger recipes.  My sister is the kind of girl who wouldn't bring chips and a dip, but rather whip up some tacquitos and bring in enough for everyone at work. 

Our Nan really wants to teach us some traditional Lithuanian foods.  Especially a common Lithuanian cookie called Ausuki and sometimes referred to as Kruscuki, which means "little ears".  They are a deep fried cookie sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Mainly they are made around Christmas or Easter.  I do not remember eating these, but Nan says I have. My mother loves them as well, but does not have a ton of interest in learning how.  Based on how my grandmother explained it to me, it is involved.  If you don't like the bake then I can understand why you would not want to learn.  However, my sister and I are excited to learn the process and hopefully carry it on within our families. My grandmothers mother made these and her mother and so on. I do not want the tradition to come to a halting end.

My sister and her fiance just bought a house and are moving in the first week of January.  Once they are settled I will make a trip from Richmond to learn how to make these cookies.  Most likely this will be in February and I will post how the process went.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beef and Turkey Chili

This could be done in the morning during the work week if you pre-chop the night before. Otherwise, best to save it for the weekend.

1 lb 85/15 ground turkey
1 lb 85 or 90 percent lean ground beef
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium red bell or orange pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 garlic cloves minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 (28oz) can tomato puree
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (15.5oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed
pepper to taste

I used my 5 quart crock pot.  Turn crock pot on high and let it get hot. I chopped the onions and red pepper and set aside. Heat oil in the crock pot and let it bubble. Add onions and bell pepper along with chili powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, stir and cook another minute or so.  Add beef and turkey. Break up and stir. Add oregano, cocoa powder and cinnamon.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in tomato puree and diced tomatoes.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or turn down to low and cook 6-7 hours.  Stir in kidney beans 1 hour before the chili is done.  Taste and add salt and/or pepper.  Top with shredded cheese, scallions, sour cream or whatever your heart desires!

I made cornbread using the Jiffy Cornbread Mix. I used my cast iron skillet so it would be crispy on the bottom.

Freezes well for about 4-6 months so long as you put it in an air tight container.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my husbands favorite cookies and they are so easy. I was eating my oatmeal and reading the container and I saw this recipe. I already had all the ingredients so I decided to whip some up!

Found on the back of the Old Wessex Irish Style Oatmeal

3 cups Old Wessex Irish Style Oatmeal (or any steal cut oatmeal)
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon (I chose nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup honey or maple syrup (I chose syrup)
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray cooking sheets with cooking oil. Comebine the dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl add butter and put in the microwave until melted. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Add wet to dry and blend. Add walnuts and chocolate chips. Using melon baller (about a tablespoon) drop onto the cookie sheets. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until done. Let cool on sheet for a minute or so and then move to wax paper on the table.

Also, this is an almost vegan recipe.  I cannot have lactose so I use dairy free butter in all cooking. I always use the dairy free chocolate chips too. If you are vegan just use the egg replacer for this recipe. So easy! I sometimes do not advertise that it has dairy free ingredients because some people are hesitant to taste it. But you can never tell so it is fun to let them know later on.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


One of my favorite things are goods that have been upcycled.  Upcycling is the process of converting otherwise useless goods/materials into a new product. I am sure you have heard of it since it is a trend now. I went to the Virginia Christmas Market in Doswell, VA.  Many vendors had Christmas decor or gifts that would be great for Christmas.  Most are local to the area.  One vendor really caught my eye.

Company is called  Bottle Hood and she makes beer/wine/liqour bottles into drinking glasses.  She has other non-alcoholic bottles as well. By slicing off the top portion of the bottle and smoothing it out creates a lovely drinking glass. I got a kick out of it and I knew my husband would too. Such a great gift! I was going to wait to put this in his stocking, but I just had to show him. So neat!

She does local craft shows or you can contact her and come to her house. Her name is Tammy Mormando and email is

Apple Cinnamon Ornaments

YOU CANNOT EAT THESE! Also, this is what we started with, but added to the dough so no true measurements for this.  We started with this (approximately):

1 cup cinnamon
1/2 to 3/4 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon craft glue (that dries clear)
Christmas cookie cutters
1 drinking straw

Combine in bowl to make a dough.  Depending on the doughs wetness or dryness you will need to add either more cinnamon or more applesauce. Dust table with cinnamon and roll out dough with rolling pin. Place cookie cutters on dough and press firmly.  Roll out remaining dough and place cookie cutters on top. Repeat until dough is gone. We did this recipe three times to get a higher yield of ornaments. By the second time we did not even measure. Using the straw, make a hole at the top of each ornament so it can be hung with ribbon. Wait 24-48 hrs for them to harden.


Glitter paint in a variety of colors along with paint brushes
Old plate to put the paint on
Googly eyes, black beads, pearl beads, multi color beads
Craft glue
Paper towels
Cup with water to rinse brushes

Place an ornament on a paper towel and go to town! Set aside and wait 24-48 hours to dry.

Spray lacquer to set paint
Red and Green ribbon that is not too wide

Place ornaments on newspaper and take outside.  Use lacquer according to directions on the bottle.  Wait to dry and then thread with ribbon.  To store, use tissue paper.

 Have fun!

Beef Stew with Dinner Rolls

Beef Stew:

1.5 pounds stewing beef cut into pieces
3 cups beef broth
4 cups water
1 can (10.5 ounces) of condensed French Onion soup
1.5 ribs of celery, sliced
1/2 cup of chopped onion
2 medium carrots washed and sliced
3 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup canned corn or frozen
1/2 tsp ground cloves (or 6 whole cloves)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 tablespoons flour mixed with 4 tablespoons of cold water

In a stockpot combine beef, broth, onion soup, water, celery, onion and all seasonings. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn heat back so it is at a simmer and then cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat for about 45 to 60 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes and cook for 20 minutes more.  Add corn. Cover and cook for about 10-20 minutes. Combine the flour and water in a separate bowl. Stir into the stew mixture. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 to 20 minutes, until thickened and flour is dissolved.

Dinner Rolls:

1 package quick-acting active dry yeast
1 1/3 cup milk, slightly warmed
3 cups flour 
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon honey
coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm milk and sugar in a big enough bowl to use an electric mixer.  Stir in 1 cup of the flour, oil, and salt.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in the remaining flour and beat again.  Cover and let rise in warm place until it double which is about 45 minutes. Punch dough down and fold a few times half way through rising time.

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill cups a little less than half way full. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl and add honey.  Brush with butter and honey mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake 12-15 minutes or until crust is a light golden brown. Remove from pan and serve!

When the stew was about 15 minutes from finishing up the first 45 minutes, I started the rolls.

The soup freezes well for about 4-6 months so long you put in an air tight container.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Bread

(makes 1 loaf)

My mom and grandmother requested this although I never made it before.  Very yummy and great with a cup of hot mint tea. 

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil, plus 2 tablespoons
3/4 cup pecans (or almonds, walnuts), toasted
1/2 cup mini chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.  Spread pecans or the nut of your choice on a baking sheet and place in oven for 5-10 minutes.  Keep a close eye so they do not burn.  This will bring out the flavor of the nut. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium bowl combine the egg, milk, and oil.  Make a well in the flour mixture and add egg mixture all at once to the well.  Stir until moistened.  Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.  Pour into pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean .  Let cool before storing.

Pumpkin Walnut/Pecan Bread

(makes 2 loafs)

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
(or 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice if you do not have all the spices. I used Penzy's Pumpkin Pie Spice)
1 cup walnuts or pecans
Handful of mini chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease baking pans. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and vanilla until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger (or pumpkin pie spice). Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Fold in walnuts/pecans. Pour into the prepared pans.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the loafs if you desire. Lightly press them into the batter. Bake 50-55 minutes or until center comes out clean with a toothpick.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Steamed Shrimp and BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Both are very yummy.  Will need two people for this recipe unless you are superwoman.  One manning the grill and one the steamer/kitchen.  

This is the second time doing these recipes.  The first time we did two pounds jumbo shrimp and did one pound for each recipe.  This time I had only bought a pound of jumbo shrimp and split the two recipes.  Divide up the shrimp.

Steamed Shrimp:
Keep the shell on.  You will need one 12 or 16oz beer to put in the bottom of the steamer.  If you are doing a half of a pound a 12 oz will be just fine.  I used Yuengling Lager.  Place shrimp in steamer basket and heavily coat with old bay seasoning.  Stir to turn shrimp and coat some more. Now, I adore old bay seasoning.  My philosophy for this recipe is just when you think you put enough on, add more.  The shrimp will steam for about 6-10 minutes or until pink.

BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp:
Shell and devein shrimp.  Using a paring knife is the easiest way to devein the shrimp in my opinion.  Place on a plate and coat with a bbq rub.  You will want to semi-cook the bacon before wrapping the shrimp so it finishes at the same time as the shrimp.  You only need half of a piece of bacon to wrap one shrimp.  So count your shrimp and divide the number of pieces of bacon you will need.  Place the bacon on a plate and microwave for a minute and thirty seconds.  Cut in half and let cool a bit.  Wrap a half of a piece of bacon around each shrimp and secure with a toothpick.  Coat with more bbq rub.  Walk the plate out to your lovely helper so they can start grilling!  Place shrimp on grill and baste with your favorite bbq sauce.  Turn shrimp and baste.  Keep turning and basting til shrimp are pink.  May take about 6-10 minutes depending on grill.  

Remember: Rubbery shrimp is awful and overcooking is easy.  I would rather take one off prematurely and slightly break it open to check it then to overcook.  

We served this awesome dish with a side salad and home brewed iced tea.  

Saturday Adventure

My friends, Katelyn and Tiffany, embarked on an adventure to places we have never been in our own town.  First stop was the Bizarre Market which is made up of local artists who sells goods that have been re-purposed into something else.  A lot of neat stuff at decent prices. They are having another Bizarre Market November 20th at Quirk Gallery.  We then headed to the Clothes Rack on Cary Street.  It is a small thrift store sponsored by the junior league. I got a 1982 Southern Living Cook Book for $1!  Next stop was to several antique stores in Carytown, but my favorite stop was to Penzeys Spices.  All spices are fresh and quickly shipped to their warehouse where they dry and ground the spices/herbs by hand.  Many obscure/hard to find spices are here as well as new ones such as different seasoning salts or combinations of spices.  One of my favorite to smell was the Ceylon Cinnamon.  They had a fair amount of Central and South American inspired spices, which are by far my most favorite dishes to cook and consume.  I also had a lovely little chat with an employee about the awesomeness of fresh rosemary and how it is one herb we refuse to use in a dried form.  I am glad someone else feels so strongly about that as I do!

Another great thing about Penzeys is that all the recipes are from customers.  The company itself does not publish its own recipes whatsoever. Each recipe in the catalog has a story from a customer who sent it in. Very cool if you ask me. If you do not have a store near you (they have 49) then you can also purchase the spices/herbs online. But, it is fun to go in and smell all the rich herbs and spices and get some free recipes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reupholstering a Kitchen Chair

Very easy and fun so do not be discouraged.  You will need a chair pad you do not like, pretty fabric, an iron, staple gun with staples, screw driver (philips head most likely) or a drill to remove/replace screws.

First, iron the fabric that will go on the chair if it is wrinkled.

Remove screws from the bottom of the chair pad.  Should be four screws.

Remove the chair pad.  This was painted on.  Seriously, why would someone do this?

Flip over the new fabric so you are looking at the backside.  Flip over the chair pad on top of the fabric.  To me, it is kind of like wrapping a present and smoothing everything out when you are folding in the ends.  Do this around the chair pad and pull tight.  Staple gun each piece you fold over the chair pad.  You want to keep it tight so that when you sit on it, the fabric will not gather. When done, screw in nails.

And, voila!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smelly Kitchen Drain

We do not have a garbage disposal and even though we scrape plates before hand washing, some food pieces slip down the drain.  I feel the kitchen always had a faint but weird smell.  I always thought it was the trash or something else. Last night, I decided that it could be the drain.  Who knows if they cleaned the drain before we moved in or if the past tenants ever attempted it, but it needed to be done.  We have a double sink so I poured a half a cup of baking soda in each and forced it down with the back of a utensil.  Then I poured a half a cup of white vinegar in each drain and let it fizz.  Followed by a pot of boiling water on each side.  It has not smelled yet and hopefully it stays that way.

Homemade Chicken Stock

When you roast a chicken you should not throw anything away and make homemade chicken stock.  Freeze it for later use.

After picking the chicken toss everything left over in a pot including the pan drippings.  Any juice left on the plate from carving the chicken can be tossed in. It will only add more flavor.  I also added two quartered medium onions, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped ribs of celery with the leaves still on, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary and thyme, and 10 whole black peppercorns. Add about 2 quarts of cold water. Bring to boil then simmer for 2 and a half hours.  Taste and add salt if needed.

Strain and put into a container.  Leave in refrigerator for 24 hours.  Skim the fat off and then you can freeze it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple, Onion and Herb Chicken with Apple Bake for dessert

My friend, Megan, inspired me to try this roast chicken.  I changed up a few things but nothing major.  It also gave me a chance to try the homemade stock recipe I have had for years.  Please note, I am horrible at taking pictures BEFORE I cut it up and serve. Please forgive me. I suppose I am just too excited and just ready to dig in!

We used just over a 4lb pound all natural chicken.  Remove innards, rinse with water, pat dry with paper towel.  Generously rub with sea salt.  Place breast up in roasting pan.  I snip back the skin from the chicken just a bit and stuff with seasonings. I feel it just adds more flavor to the meat.  Slice half a vidalia onion and half a sweet apple.  I used honey crisp.  Place some inside, under the skin and arrange on top.  I placed two sprigs of fresh rosemary inside, snapped one sprig and placed under the skin, and then sprinkled on top.  A palm full of fresh parsley inside, a bit less under the skin and then sprinkle on top.  I believe the rule is 20 minutes per pound or when the thigh reads 180 degrees.

All the delightful smells (and eating the rest of the apple) made me want to make a fall-ish dessert.  Towards the end of the cooking time melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a baking dish or large cast iron skillet.  Skin two apples and slice. Place on top of melted butter.  Sprinkle 1/4 of a cup quick rolled oats and 1/4 of a cup of brown sugar.  Sprinkle with spices... I did ground cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  Cook for 20 minutes or til apples are tender when poked.  Serve with vanilla ice cream and dust with powdered sugar.

The stock is simmering now and boy does it smell awesome.  Will post when completed.

P.S- I believe I am ready for fall and more yummy apple recipes.

Afternoon Tea

Oh, how I love tea.  It is truly my favorite beverage whether it is served hot, cold, or with lemonade mixed in.  I love having afternoon tea.  I truly loved this concept when we visited London.  I feel the urge to host an afternoon tea one Saturday or Sunday when fall comes.  Robust tea alongside tiny scrumptious sweets and sandwiches.  Please stay tuned.
This is currently my favorite tea cup.  I love the little birds and flowers.  I found it at a consignment store in Ashland.  I forget the name of the store, but my friend and I found it by accident.  It did not come with saucers unfortunately.  The cupcake tea pot was a valentines gift from my aunt.  It is great for brewing a small pot of tea and only using one tea bag.  You can get two cups out of it and it is super cute.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Papel Picado

Papel picado is the Mexican folk art of paper cutting. Usually they are elaborate designs. It is kind of like a doily or a snowflake. They are displayed in times of festivity such as religious holidays, Day of the Dead, weddings, quinceaneras, and christenings.

When we were in San Antonio many houses had them displayed. I really wanted the flags and Chuy found them for me. Now, we are not Mexican. Not even close. But we just love all of the Mexican folk art and traditions. Our living room is full of it. People may just think the "flags" are tacky (especially with the plastic flamingos on the lawn- they do not help), but tacky is in the eye of the beholder. What I consider tacky.. actually probably is tacky to most. For some reason I am just attracted to some of that crazy stuff.

I can see us retiring in Mexico.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Moped Rides

So lovely to hang onto your favorite person while scooting around in the night on a moped.



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome Back!

I would like to express how ecstatic I am to have two things back in my life:

1. Chocolate Ice Cream- being lactose intolerant was very upsetting when I had to give up my Turkey Hill Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream. I recently found out that the Lactaid Brand now makes chocolate ice cream.

2. Flats- My feet somehow decided they were going to be particular and hurt every time I put on shoes. Then I woke up and I could not walk on one foot. My metatarsals dropped and that was the end of cute shoes especially flats. As most know, I had to give away/sell most of my shoes to people/consignment stores. This upset me very much. I got custom orthotics (expensive) and my chiropractor told me that I need to buy well structured shoes and slip in my orthotic. A lot of the shoes that are very structured are also ugly. Skinny jeans/dresses/skirts with flats/flat boots were finished. This all happened last year. With much continued searching I have found a cute, well structured flat that my orthotics actually fit in and my feet never hurt!  Check these out if you have similar problems. I got them at Macy's. I could not find them on the website, but they have them on zappos. I am usually an 8, but got an 8.5 because my orthotics are thick.


Turkey Meatloaf


I whipped this up when I got home from work. It is easy and so yummy. Turkey is a great alternative for a leaner meal. It can dry out fast since it does not have as much fat as beef so keep an eye out.

1 lb lean ground Turkey
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup bbq sauce or ketchup (I like bbq suace because it gives it a little kick)
1 egg
1 tsp worcester sauce
1/3 cup dried chopped onions (I was out of a fresh onion- maybe about half a medium onion)
1 tbs dried parley (I was out of that too- about 2 tbs fresh)
2 tbs finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced garlic (about 1 clove garlic)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Equal parts ketchup, bbq sauce and worcester sauce. I just did enough for a glaze and did not really measure. Few squirts of the worcester sauce and ketchup and one plop of bbq sauce. Squirt and plop are accepted terms of measurement in this household. Glaze on top when you have about 15 minutes left of cooking time.

Form into loaf pan. Cook at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. I served this with brown/wild rice with corn, carrots and peas. Cook rice as desired. I added equal parts sweet corn, frozen peas, and shaved carrots. I used half a can of sweet corn as the measurements for all. Again, I just eye-balled it. If you do not like those vegetables then switch it up. I usually use fresh veggies, but we have been in and out of the state traveling and I have not been buying much produce because it will just go bad.

If you are concerned about eating the correct portions then make mini meatloaves using a 1 cup measuring cup. Place on a baking sheet and cook the same way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Southwest Meatloaf

2 pounds ground beef or a mix of veal, pork, and beef
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup corn (thawed if you used frozen)
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup salsa (set aside)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl besides salsa. Shape into a loaf pan and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes. You want the internal temperature to reach 160 degrees. Warm the salsa in a bowl in the microwave and spread over top (unless you are okay with cold/room temperature salsa).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lentil Herb Soup

2 slices bacon chopped (optional) or 2 tbsp olive oil
(You keep the fat and add to pot to sauté onions/carrots/garlic but I found the bacon didn't produce 2 tbsp so I used the bacon grease and then added a tbsp of olive oil)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
4 small to medium red potatoes (optional)
1 14oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 lb bag lentils
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp Italian herb blend
8 cups chicken stock and/or water

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped and 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (add during last 5 minutes of cooking time)

Cook bacon if desired. Place grease and olive oil (if needed) into large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add carrots, garlic, and onions and simmer til onions are golden brown (about 6-8 minutes). Add diced tomatoes with juice, Italian seasoning, lentils and chicken stock/water. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer for about 35-40 minutes or until lentils are tender.

This is when I cook the potatoes. I leave the skin on but you can peel them. Quarter them and cook to desired softness. I let them cool and then at the last 5 minutes of cooking I added them to the soup pot. You do not want them too mushy, which is why I do not cook them with the soup. Add the bacon if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste

You can also use homemade chicken stock. I am working on a homemade chicken stock recipe I got from a family member. You can freeze the stock into small jars already measured out so when you need it for recipes likes this, you don't have to thaw all of it.

Serve soup with Caesar salad and garlic French bread.

Freezes well for about 4-6 months so long you use air tight containers.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Coconut Milk Grilled Corn and Grilled Pineapple with Cinnamon

Our friend, Chuy, made both of these wonderful treats for us while we were visiting San Antonio, Texas.

Coconut Milk Grilled Corn

1-2 cans of coconut milk depending on how many ears of corn you are grilling. They have the carton size of coconut milk, but you just need to use little by little.
5-6 ears of corn, husks off

Pour milk into bowl and glaze corn. Grill corn for about 8-10 minutes until glaze melts into corn. Do not burn corn.

Grilled Pineapple with Cinnamon

1 whole pineapple, peeled and chopped into bigger pieces (about three to a skewer)
Ground cinnamon or grate fresh cinnamon sticks. Chuy had fresh cinnamon already grated and I feel that it made a difference than the powdery ground store bought cinnamon.

Sprinkle onto both sides of the pineapple and skewer. Place on grill for about 8-10 minutes. Serve alone or with some vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lavender Laundry Detergent

Making your own cleaning supplies is easy and cost effective. It washes the same as the other detergent we were using. I do not like clothes that smell like perfume after washing. I just like it to smell clean- free of smells! This powdered laundry detergent will not leave perfumed scents. If you haven't used powder detergent before then it may take some adjustments. If residue is left on your clothes then add a cup of vinegar to the wash to help dissolve the powder until you get the hang of it. I use to use powder laundry in college so I already knew that powder works better in warm/hot water. If you using cold water then just make sure it is fully dissolved.

1 cup borax (20 Mule Team)
1 cup washing soda or soda ash (Arm and Hammer)
1 cup baking soda (Arm and Hammer)
2 cups finely grated Dr. Bronners Lavender Castile Soap (can use any scent)
(Will need two .5 oz bars, but will only use one and a quarter)

2 tablespoons per full load

You can use any kind of soap that is not too perfumed (e.g Dove) otherwise it will leave stains. Could also use Fels-Naptha laundry bar soap, which is used for pre-treating stains. Fels-Naptha is especially good for oil based stains. The other ingredients are natural laundry boosters, which are added to your regular laundry detergent to help with stains.


Other uses for borax:
-Soak baby clothes/diapers
-Laundry stains, conditions hard water during laundry and dish washing
-Clean and deodorize toilet bowls/garbage disposals/drains, remove soap scum and hard water, remove stains from rugs/carpet, cleans ovens/refrigerators/microwaves/outdoor furniture/mattress odors/sinks/tile/grout

Other uses for washing soda:
-Remove tough stains before washing items
-Remove kitchen oils/cooking grease/crayon stains
-Clean kitchen walls, countertops, refrigerators, and appliances
-Clean bathroom tile, sinks, tub/shower, toilet bowls
-Cleans traps and drains but do not use on blocked drains.
- Do not use on aluminum surfaces

Other uses for baking soda:
-Cleaner/fresher laundry
-Scratch free cleaning on sinks/showers/refrigerators/pots and pans/counters/etc..
-Absorbs and eliminates odors in trash cans/litter boxes/carpets/dishwasher/drains/garbage disposals

Will post more homemade cleaning supplies once created.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Good Finds

One of my favorite things to do is go to thrift/consignment stores in search of that one great item. Sometimes you find them, sometimes you don't but I love the quest. Lately, I have had a streak of good luck. My husband loves flannel and plaid shirts, but he prefers them not to look so lumberjack and sometimes that is all you find. I got a great navy, teal, and white flannel shirt at the Goodwill the other day. Today he was in search of camo shorts. We walked into Fantastic Thrift and to the mens pants/shorts section, found them in his size for $3 and rejoiced that we found them so fast. They were camo pants that I cut into shorts. He was so stoked. A week ago I was in search of two extra pub style chairs at a thrift store and lo and behold I found them. So exciting to find the stuff you are searching for and cheaper than retail. Sometimes it needs a tad TLC, but it is great when they don't! I need to change out the fabric on the seats, but once done I will post.

Thrift Stores:
Goodwill in Ashland passed VCC Mall
Goodwill on Broad Street
Fantastic Thrift on Main
Diversity Thrift near the Diamond
Books, Bikes, and Beyond on Brookland Park Blvd

Consignment Stores:
Class and Trash on Rt 1 in Ashland
Pass It On on Lakeside Ave
Consignment Connections on Lakeside Ave
Robins Nest on Lakeside Ave

Home Decor Boutiques:
Feathernesters on Lakeside Ave
Keep Good Company on Lakeside Ave
Embellish on Lakeside Ave
Shops at 1812 on Patterson
(All of these also sell local artists soap, linen water, jewelry, totes/bags etc..)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Strawberry Banana Freezer Jam

Freezing is a great way to preserve produce if you do not have the time to go through the canning process. It is also nice way to preserve produce, if you do not have much left over. A lot of canning recipes require many ingredients in large quantities. Ball makes BPA-free plastic freezing containers. The glass mason jars are able to be put in the freezer, but you would still need to pressure cook or use the water bath canning process before placing it in the freezer.

3 large bananas, yellow but not too over ripe
3 cups crushed strawberries (two 16 oz packs)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch freezer jam pectin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum. Place bananas on baking sheet; do not peel. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool then peel and crush bananas with potato masher. I cut the strawberries in quarters and mashed a handful together in a separate bowl until I got a cup and then added it to the banana bowl. Do this until you have 3 cups. Combine sugar and pectin in a different bowl until well mixed. Add fruit to sugar/pectin combo. Stir for a good 3 minutes. Ladle jam into jars. Fill to line leaving 1/2 inch headspace, wipe clean and top with lid. Makes 5 half-pints. Let stand for 30 minutes to thicken. Label then freeze.


419 calories per jar.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tiered Platter

I saw this in a store and thought it was pretty neat, but refused to pay the mark up cost. So, I headed to consignment and thrift stores in search of the perfect plate. You want to find a glass that has a flat bottom and a wider mouth. This will help support the plate and anything you put on it. Flip the plate over and mark the center. Hot glue the glass bottom down on to the plate. The mouth of the glass will be the base. Let dry before use.

I am working on a two tiered plate. I could not find two plates that went together/matched (that I also liked) for a two tiered version. You want a wide mouthed based that is short in stature for the bigger plate. Short wine style glasses or even short candlestick holders will work for the base for the second tier.

I think it would be fun to do a holiday two tier for parties and family occasions. We love Halloween and Christmas in this house and I may do one for one of those holidays. Depending what kind of plates you use, you could use it solely for decorating purposes.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Garlic Broccoli with Goat Cheese

Bored with plain butter on my broccoli led to digging through the fridge to spice it up. While scarfing it down, I thought of my dear friend, Melissa, who I feel would love this easy addition to her already extra garlicky broccoli rendition.

I use one small head of broccoli since my husband is not a big fan. Fill steamer with water and add fresh herbs to water such as rosemary, basil leaves, thyme sprigs. Place broccoli in steamer and sprinkle with minced garlic. I did about a tablespoon and then threw in some more. My steamer takes about 10 minutes for broccoli. When it is almost done, cut a slice of goat cheese and place in small bowl. The goat cheese is soft and will crumble. You do not a whole lot. Place in microwave for about 5-7 seconds just so it can get a tad softer so it spreads better. Put garlic broccoli on plate, butter, and top with cheese.

I ate it all before I remembered to take a picture.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread


3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 over ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup water
1 cup oil
1 tsp pumpkin spice plus a pinch extra
1 cup walnuts, toasted
3/4 to 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all the wet into one bowl and the dry in another and mix thoroughly. I mashed the bananas first with a potato masher then added the rest of the wet ingredients. I slowly added some wet to dry and mixed. I know it is usually the other way around, but the bowl I was using for the wet was too small. Grease two loaf pans and split batter between the two. Bake for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you use less bananas it will take less time. To toast walnuts place to baking pan and place in oven for 5-10 minutes or so. They can burn easily so keep an eye out. Can also toast them in skillet as well. I wasn't going to add the chocolate chips, but my husband really wanted them.

Blueberry Salsa


I got this from a magazine and then I altered it a bit.

1 cup whole blueberries
2 cups coarsely chopped blueberries
(together is 2 pints)
2 seeded and minced hot banana peppers
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
3-4 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt

You could do jalapenos/anaheim peppers or mix two different peppers. You only need 1 lemon for the juice if if it a pretty good sized lemon otherwise you may need two. Comine in bowl and chill til ready to serve. I use the blue corn tortillas to scoop salsa.

45 calories without the chips

Purple Kind of Day

My husband's friend, Matt, made this chair in high school. He is in the middle of trying to move to Brooklyn in NYC and is getting rid of a lot of things he will not be able to take with him. When he offered, I graciously accepted and decided to paint it dark purple.


That Creative Spark

I love weekends that inspire creativity. Whether it be cooking, home decor, crafting... etc, I love it when I get that urge to create. So I urge you to create something.. anything! Start small and then try to take on bigger projects. Take classes, seek out people, and read books that can teach you something new. This weekend has been full of consignment/thrift shopping, blueberry muffins, blueberry salsa, visiting with old friends, comforting family, and crab cakes.

Projects I am working on: finishing the (other) outdoor chair, constructing a pub table, oil cloth cushions, converting the wicker chest into an ottoman, reupholstering two pub chairs from a consignment, creating tiered platters, canning produce, and multiple new recipes.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pesto Pasta Salad

This is a new recipe for me and I love it. A much needed break from regular Italian dressing style pasta salad.

First we need to make the pesto. After making your own pesto and realizing how easy is it, you will not need to buy pesto again! For those who grow a lot of basil, you can double/triple this recipe and freeze it in small containers.


2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive
1/3 cup of nutritional yeast or Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pluck off basil leaves and measure 2 cups packed. Add to processor along with pine nuts. Pulse a few times until basil is chopped. Add garlic and pulse a few more times. Combine a little oil and pulse. Keep doing so until you used 1/2 cup of oil. Add yeast/cheese and pulse until blended.

If you are dairy-free then nutritional yeast is good to have on hand. When kept in a cool dark place and in an air tight container, it can last indefinitely. It is an inactive yeast and found in the bulk aisle of natural food markets. It is a complete protein and has some the of B-complex vitamins too. It has a cheesy/nutty flavor and can be used in many recipes to thicken or add that cheese flavor.

This can be frozen in an air tight container as well.

Now for the pasta. I use rotini pasta because the pesto get tucked into the little spirals. I cook the pasta, drain, place in a bowl, set in refrigerator and then move on to making the pesto.


Almost a full box of pasta which is about 4 cups and some will be left over
1 cup pesto
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup frozen peas, cooked
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a few drops extra
12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta and refrigerate. Make pesto. Add pesto to pasta along with pine nuts, and tomatoes. Mix. If you feel it is a bit dry then add a few drops of oil and mix again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate. You could also add olives, but we aren't fans. I was going to add goat cheese since it has a low lactose count, but I got the wrong kind. This serves about 6-8 people. I am in a family with big eaters so if they were all coming to dinner I would double it. I had an uncle who could eat about 5 dinner rolls so when planning out the food, you always had to count him as 2-3 extra people.

Zucchini Nut Bread


This is my mother's recipe and it is quite good. I never liked zucchini growing up, but always loved this bread. You can make it with or without nuts, but I prefer nuts.

2 cups grated zucchini, skin on (3-5 depending on size)
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs lightly beaten
3 cups flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts or pecans)

Slice zucchini and place in food processor. Grind until smooth. I add all the dry in a bowl then I add all the wet including the zucchini. Mix until creamy. Divide between two small loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

I usually freeze one so we can have it for later. I made this recipe (sans nuts) for my friend, Tiffany, since she was so kind and made us banana bread. Then I made it again (with nuts)!

Thai Iced Coffee

This was easy and fun to do. I got this recipe from my friend, Megan. I am not a coffee drinker, but I thought my husband would like this. I did try a lactose-free version which is much different and I still do not like it because of the coffee. However, if you enjoy coffee then by all means please give this one a whirl.

3/4 of a cup of a medium/dark roast coffee (whole bean)
5 green cardamom pods
4 1/2 cups water
14 oz sweetened condensed milk

Put the coffee and cardamom pods in a coffee grinder and pulse until a fine ground. Empty into coffee maker. Add 4 1/2 cups of water and brew. Pour into a pitcher and add the condensed milk. Let it come to room temperature, place in refrigerator and cool for about 2 hours or overnight.

I did two batches. One following the recipe above and the other substituting the condensed milk for vanilla soy milk and some soy french vanilla creamer. It is not as sweet and will taste different, but if you like coffee you may enjoy it.

I used a medium organic Ethiopian roast. My husband is not a huge fan of dark roast coffees and someone will have to finish the rest of the unused coffee beans. You can definitely double this recipe if having people over since this will only make a small batch. Most natural food markets will have the cardamom pods. I called ahead just to be sure.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tomatoes! And Peppers! Oh, My!


So exciting! As a first time vegetable gardener this thrills me. We are growing cherry and regular sized tomatoes, banana peppers and blackberries. The squash did not come up. When we first put everything into the ground an animal came through and pluck off every leaf (except the blackberries). Since the squash was so small I think the root came out with the leaves. The banana peppers are budding too. The blackberry bush is doing great, but it will not yield until next summer. I am told that I will need to pick the blackberries often because the yield will be so high. Everyone get ready for free blackberry goodness such as jam, wine, pies, breads and other goodies. With it just being me and my husband, we will have to give some of it away! We will also plant much more food next year. This was just a test to see what would thrive. I will be planting some cold hardy vegetables and herbs soon too. I got the gardening bug. I am not too big on flowers. Food, not lawns is a motto I am steering towards. Everyone can afford to be more sustainable.

I will post recipes as I start to pick my produce. A lot of it I will be preserving for later use.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

feeling crafty

Lately I have been getting crafty and picking up some of my hobbies from the past. I wish I never stopped some of the things I use to be so involved in. No time like the present to begin anew. I temporarily "fixed" my sewing machine to then "break" it again. I need someone who actually knows what they are doing to help me troubleshoot a permanent solution.  In the meantime, my homemade cover slips for the glider chair will have to wait, but the one pillow I made was a success. Onward to non-sewing conquests!


To make a record into a bowl you will need:

-One completely unfavorite/horrible record
- Wax paper
- Baking sheet
- Large glass bowl
- An oven heated to 200-250 degrees
- Oven gloves

Preheat the oven and line baking sheet with wax paper.  Some fumes will emit from the oven so open some windows. Lay one record at a time on the wax paper and put in oven. It will only take about five minutes to become pliable. With oven gloves on, pick up record and stick inside bowl. This will form the bowl like shape. Hold in place until hard (less than a minute). If you are using 7 inch records you could use a smaller bowl to create the shape. Most of the ones I made I gave away to friends.


Here is a pillow I made out of extra fabric. I buy fabric and then it sits around. This does not really fit in to my decor so I am giving it to my friend, Beth.

Measure out fabric to have two equal pieces. Lay the printed side on top of the other printed side so they are facing each other. Pin together. Pillow will be sewn inside out. Sew around all edges and leave a small open to stuff with polyfill. Through small opening turn pillow right side out, stuff, then sew closed. Also can buy plain pillows from craft store and create a cover or recover old ones.

My husband says I am pretty crafty broad. Although my frustration can get the better of me.

Other reclaiming of past hobbies: playing the piano, crocheting/knitting. Onward!