Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Off Her Rocker

We were passed down this sweet little rocking chair by my aunt. Apparently my cousin (now 15) had it when she was little, but nobody could remember where it came from or if it was something important, so it sat in her storage room. When it came to us, it was certainly a cute rocker, but it had a few pencil lines and was looking a bit sad.

Sad little rocker, begging for love.

I knew I could help it step up its' game (is that the right its'? I never know)! A few weeks ago, I popped over to Home Depot to check out their mis-tint paint. I snatched up this lovely shade of green for .50. What a steal! Here's the cutie-pie chair after a few coats of paint.

Ahhhh... that's better.

 I'm a sucker for the cottage-y distressed look. Plus, this little guy is going to be living in my daughter's room, which is super vintage inspired, so I had to make it fit in. I took my sanding paper and got to work. Then, to make the sanded parts pop even more, I brushed on some REALLY watered down brown paint. Wiped it all off (just want a little to stick to the raw wood) and voila!

Have a seat, won't you?
I'm ready for my close up!

Total cost: .50 for paint. That's my kinda project!

Linking up to:

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

handmade projects

Monday, January 24, 2011

Creamy Broccoli Soup

I got this month's copy of Real Simple today. As I was reading through it (I swear, that magazine takes me forevah- there's so many awesome articles and tips!) , I stumbled across a recipe for Creamy Broccoli Soup that looked super yummy. The page was ripped out and hubby was sent out to the store for supplies!

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Serves 4Hands-On Time: 20m Total Time: 40m


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)
  • 1 bunch broccoli, florets roughly chopped and stems peeled and sliced (about 7 cups)
  • 1 large russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 ounces sharp white Cheddar, grated (1⁄2 cup) (I used Parm)
  • bagel chips, for serving (I made some Quick Herbed Beer Bread)


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, broccoli, potato, 2 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
  3. In a blender, working in batches, puree the soup until smooth, adjusting the consistency with water as necessary. (Alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender in the saucepan.) Top with the Cheddar and bagel chips, if desired, before serving.
By Cyd McDowell,  February 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blueberry Dumplings with Whipped Cream

I was bored the other night, and trying to think of -something- to bake. I had a lot of heavy whipping cream left in my fridge that needed using and I have 30, yes, 30 pounds of frozen organic Maine blueberries in our let's just say it had to be blueberry and I had to use my whipping cream, so I had a little thinking to do. A new challenge, I love it! I was sitting and talking to my Husband while sifting through ideas and having every recipe I came across or thought up shot down because I was lacking an ingredient...until a stroke of genius hit me..dumplings! I hunted for a recipe that was quick and easy..and I found one over at Paula Deen's website.
This recipe is to die for delicious. I wanted to just inhale the entire lot of them...however they are very rich.  They melt in your mouth, they make your eyes roll, and your taste buds overdose...and all from a very very easy recipe. Go Paula, she's one heck of a cook!
Here's the scoop on these mouth watering bite sized delights:

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Easy


Vanilla ice cream or fresh cream, for serving
2 cup water
1 quart fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar, plus 1 1/2 cups
1 cup all-purpose flour


Stir flour, the 1 tablespoon sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.  Cut butter into dry ingredients, using a pastry cutter or fork.  Add milk to form dough.  Mix berries, the 1 1/2 cups sugar, and water together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Drop dumplings into hot boiling berries by the tablespoonful.  Cover pot, reduce heat, and cook slowly for 20 to 30 minutes.  Do not remove lid before 20 minutes has passed. Do not stir dumplings. Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh cream, I made my own whipped cream. Also, be *very* careful when taking out the dumplings, use a small kitchen spoon to take them out to plate them. Drizzle some blueberry juice over the plate, plop a bit of whipped cream and be ready to devour this amazing treat. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Apple Pie Egg Rolls

Apple Pie fried Egg Rolls! yum!

The name says is all. These treats are amazing, and fairly simple. I had been blog browsing a few weeks ago (like I do every day!) and came across this sweet little recipe over at Miss in the Kitchen's blog. I gasped and knew I *must* make these and many of them! So, I had a friend over one evening and we got to baking. Per usual with her, we put on the tacky music, danced around the kitchen and sang without abandon while we created these little delights. 
Here's the Recipe:

Apple Pie Egg Rolls
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used Granny Smith)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil for frying (Be careful!)
for garnish:
1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Cooking Directions:
In a medium size pan, melt butter, add apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until apples are tender.  Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool, about 30 minutes. 
Place about 2 tablespoons of apple filling into each egg roll wrapper, wet edges of wrapper with water, roll up sealing edges.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Heat oil to about 350 degrees, add egg rolls two at a time, turning to cook all sides, remove to paper lined plate and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining egg rolls.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce...or even a nice toffee sauce would be amazing!
Do not take your egg roll wrappers out of the fridge until it is time to wrap them up, they will grow hard and break apart if you do. Be sure to wrap them tightly as well- when you're frying with oil if a bit seeps out it tends to crackle a bit more and could splash you. very careful as always when you're frying anything. The oil can burn and start a massive cloud of smoke in your kitchen, or worse a fire- very quickly. Just stay at the stove and be careful and you will be fine. I heated these little buddies in a large wok for ease...also the sides of the wok are very tall and prevent most of the oil from spitting at my forearms. If you've got a wok- use it. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

I made this traditional British sweet treat last weekend (among another that will be posted, ASAP! I promise!) for a friend's birthday. It was a total surprise for her- I had no idea if she, or the other guests would even like this ..but it's worth a try and who doesn't LOVE toffee? I know I do.
I had been watching none other than The Food Network (If you know me at all, this is the ONLY station on in my house.) I saw this talked about on an episode of  "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" I believe..don't quote me. here's the skinny on this super rich, super jaw dropping dessert- get ready to wow your friends with the intense rich flavors!


  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped

I made my own Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
About 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract ( I didn't measure, just start low and add to taste)
1/2 Cup of Granulated Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl and add the boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Toffee Sauce: Combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce over the pudding. Spread evenly on top. Place pudding under the broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute. Serve immediately spooned into dessert bowls. Drizzle with toffee sauce and top with a spoonful of whipped cream.

This is a VERY rich dessert and makes a ton. I also just baked it in a 9x13 Pyrex glass baking dish. The moans, groans and finger marks left in the whipped cream, and the toffee sauce was a sign it was pure success!

Enjoy! Let me know if you enjoy this as much as I do!


Heinous Frame Gets A Makeover!

I knew the moment I saw this heinous little frame that it could turn into something beautiful, I could be the one to breathe new life into it. Because I'm a total lame-o, I forgot to take a before picture (ugh!). I really wish you could have seen just how sad it was.

The only before-ish shot I've got...

Bad, right? Now imagine that with a really hideous brown, orange, yellow and red painting of flowers in a vase. Scary, I know. And yes, I'm totally painting it on my ironing board, on top of a Nordstrom bag (Nordstrom.. swoon). 

So much better after a coat of white paint, isn't it? Now we're getting somewhere! Here's where my totally sucky planning comes into play. I forgot to take pictures... again. I sanded down the frame in places to give it a nice distressed look, then slathered on a coat of Mod Podge to seal it up. Now, because I wasn't going to use this frame for pictures- I tore off the hanging wire and strung three rows of jute twine across the back, kept in place with little nails. 

Ta-Da! Nasty old frame turned super adorable hair clip display! As you may know, I make and sell these sweet little clips in my Etsy shop as well as a few local stores. One of them asked for a display and this is what I came up with. 

A little close up of the distressing treatment. Lovely, isn't it?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies


These cookies are so tasty. I make them fairly often and they're always a huge hit! I've made them with yummy sweet additions (chocolate chips, heath bits) and more healthy options (dried cranberries, nuts). They're super delicious both ways.

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies
(Adapted from Henry and Maudie's Oatmeal Cookies)


  • 1 cup sifted whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • Optional: 1 cup extra goodies (dried cranberries, chocolate chips, heath bits.. etc.)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Stir together the whole wheat flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the apple sauce and brown sugar. Stir in the egg, water and vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture, then stir in the oats. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 2 inches apart- they will spread a lot!
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brie en Croute

I'm sitting here looking at some of the photos from this year's Christmas Party, and I passed a few shots of one of my favorite recipe's. I must share it with you! It's so easy, quick and so savory. Brie en Croute. For all of you who may not know what that is. It's brie cheese baked inside a pastry puff. Oh so yummy! Who doesn't love cheese? Also, it's SO easy.
You must be wondering what you will need for this decadent little hors d'oeuvre. As a side dish for this little treat I made a cranberry chutney and placed out some sliced bread. It was a perfect pairing. I also used crackers.


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, pre-packaged 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (8-ounce) wheel Brie
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  •  Crackers, for serving


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Defrost puff pastry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and unfold.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the walnuts in the butter until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and stir until walnuts are coated well. Place the walnut mixture on top of the Brie and sprinkle the brown sugar over the mixture. Lay the puff pastry out on a flat surface. Place the brie in the center of the pastry. Gather up the edges of the brie, pressing around the brie and gather at the top. Gently squeeze together the excess dough. Brush the beaten egg over top and side of Brie. Place Brie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
Serve with crackers.
To give a special look, cut extra pastry into heart or flower shapes and bake until golden.
Also, I got this little recipe from the always lovely Paula Deen.
So, it was pretty tasty!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Easy Apricot Oat Bars

The bars mid party! They are SO delicious!
Every year my Husband and I host a formal Christmas Party- and we always have way too much food.(Which I suppose is a good thing really!) This year I was trying a lot of new recipe's, and tried to add a few healthy choices to the mix of things. I am addicted to The Food Network, and one of my favorite Chef's is Giada DeLaurentiis. I love to watch her show. One afternoon I saw her make these *fabulous* apricot oat bars. I thought I'd give them a whirl for the party this year. Turns out- they were amazing- and again- EASY! Which when your making around 10 dishes for an evening, is something that really helps out, of if your a busy Mom like my co-blogger Jen is! They are perfect for a quick healthy snack, school lunch, bake sale, or picnic!
Let's get into the thick of it.


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Filling
  • 1 (13-ounce) jar apricot jam or preserves (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 8 dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/3 cup)
  • Crust
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 packed cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, at room temperature, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

They look so good at every stage of baking! This is pre-topping.
Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 13 by 2-inch metal baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.
Filling: In a small bowl, mix together the jam and the apricots. Set aside.
Crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in the oats and walnuts. Add the butter, egg and vanilla and stir until incorporated.
Using a fork or clean fingers, lightly press half of the crust mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Using a spatula, spread the filling over the crust leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge of the pan. Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and gently press to flatten. Bake until light golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 1 hour. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
I am going to give this a try with other dried fruit and jams, raspberry is definitely on my list!

Quick and Easy Lip Balm

I got all of my supplies at my local Natural Food Store!

So, I've had this project on my list for ages now. Now that we're really into winter- I figured now was the perfect time to get moving. I'm in Maine- and we have some seriously cold winters here. Chapped lips seem to be a growing trend. Why buy chapstick over and over, when you know you will lose it to the depths of your purse, or your car floor. Make your own! I was really surprised how quick this was to make!
I found the recipe over at GreenBees Blog. She has some pretty wonderful tips, a great blog- make sure you check it out! 
Here's the recipe:
-2 tsp. beeswax (chop or grate it, then measure- make sure to pack it in!)
-2 1/4 tsp. jojoba oil (you can use any oil you like)
-about 6 drops of peppermint essential oil (again, you can use anything you like. I'm going to try some citrus!)

Melt wax and jojoba oil together in the top of a double boiler, although you could probably put it in a glass bowl the microwave for a few minutes. Stir to combine. Then remove it from the heat and add the essential oil. Pour into your containers, but don't fill up completely yet. Wait a minute or two, keeping the reserved mixture melted, then top the containers with the rest of the mixture. This gives you a nice looking top. Let cool for about 20 minutes and enjoy! 

For a waxier gloss/balm- I would add a little more beeswax and be sure to pack it in- as mine was a little too glossy for my liking. Although, after a days use, my lips feel amazing!  Feel free to experiment with things- that's the best part!
I used small round tubs for my gloss- I got about 3 tubs. I'm going to try some other flavors
 and even tint it with a hint of lipstick shaving!

We're linking up to Tip Junkie's "Tip Me Tuesday!"
handmade projects

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Just a quicky for any moms out there

I got totally creative with these, went from dots to circles!

Have a little one who's still a bit unsteady with walking? Who am I kidding- I am still unsteady with walking. This is a super fast and super easy trick. Tons of my daughter's socks don't have any tread on them, with her being a new walker, things can get a little dicey when those feet meet our wood floors. I saw this trick somewhere, but can't for the life of me remember where (if it's from you, or you know who came up with it- tell me!).

What you need:
-Slippery socks
-Puffy paint

1. Take your slippery socks and put some dabs of paint on the bottom. You might get a little more creative than I... apparently I was going purely for function.
2. Let them dry for 24 hours and give them a run through the washer and dryer. No more slipping and sliding accidentally!

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