This whole blog thing…

So I’ve been wanting to try my hand at this blogging thing for quite a while, but have never known quite what to blog. I thought about food, but I’m really no spectacular chef. I thought about DYI projects, but I am usually stealing someone else’s idea for a project and haven’t come up with my own. And I thought about a gardening blog… but considering that four and a half of my eleven house plants are dead… and my three quarters of my garden didn’t even come up this year… I decided I must not be a gardening guru.

succulent edit

(and yes… this is a picture of my poor dying succulent… one of many of my attempts. I do believe I am the only one that can successfully kill a succulent every. single. time. 🙂 with love of course!)

Thus leading me to the decision that I have nothing to offer the blogging world. That is until I tried yet another Pinterest recipe…. that inevitably…. failed. Like most of the things I try from Pinterest. I then realized I can use my Pinterest fails to make my blog! Because there is one thing I do love…. and that is trying new things out! Even when in my heart I know it will probably fail. So I might as well share with the world what does and doesn’t work! (at least for me) It is my husband’s favorite thing to tell everyone how I cannot seem to make a Pinterest recipe actually work. If I follow the recipe… it usually turns out quite awful. But, if I look up a recipe, say “oh that looks good, but I don’t have or like this ingredient… eh I’ll just make something similar” and then proceed to make up my own concoction, it turns out to be our new favorite meal! In fact one of them has become our new go to meal, and we are even going to take it as our meal at the family reunion this year! It’s our Andrus Cilantro Lime Chicken… and eventually I’ll get the recipe on here 🙂 So I hope you enjoy discovering what works and doesn’t work for me on Pinterest! And if you have any ideas for me… please feel free to share!

First blog postIMG_0228

Simple Christmas Decorations You Probably Already Own!

I absolutely love Christmas time! it is my favorite. And one of the best things about it? The decorating! I know some people view it as kind of a chore… which is completely understandable in your busy lives, but I love it! it is my favorite! I literally decorate up to… and possibly past Christmas day! Just cause I think of more things I can do, or I decide to change something up, haha but I know I’m crazy. It is just so fun to change up your home decor for a while and make your home a winter wonderland!

I also understand that Christmas decorations can add up super fast… and my pocket book doesn’t allow for that yet. So I find myself looking through my decorations and figuring out what I can turn into Christmas decorations or add stuff to to make it Christmasy! (and duh that is totally a word!) well here are some basic things I’ve come up with, that you probably already own!

  1. Baskets

Baskets are amazing versatile accents to decor. Now there are several forms baskets come in, and any work, but you just might have to change where you use them depending on what kind. This year I had purchased some chicken wire baskets like this so that was my choice. I don’t know about you, but we have tons of extra ornaments…. granted we used them for wedding decorations so we have them coming out of our ears! We could easily decorate 4-5 trees… but usually there’s at least a few extra lying around. Well this is just about the simplest thing you can do… fill that basket up with ornaments and pop it on a shelf or the table and vwala! You’ve got a beautiful simple decoration! If you want to use wicker just make sure you place it where the top shows! You can also add pinecones to add some texture. More on this later with bowls though.

  1. Pinecones from your back yard

Go out back and gather those free pine cones! They are sooo useful anywhere in your home! Just make sure to clean them to make sure you kill all those buggers before they come in your house! This lady has some great instructions on how to do that here………….. Once your pinecones are cured you can put them in baskets, bowls, vases, or even make pine cone garland out of them! They add such a natural feel to your home, and give you some dark neutral colors in your bright décor. I use them on my tree

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  1. Trays

Trays are becoming more and more popular, on tables, coffee tables, counters, and even beds! If you have one of these laying around, or even something similar, than use it! It is great to put anything from mini trees, candles, nativities, cookie cutters, ornaments, lanterns, or Christmas books. It just depends on the size! The possibilities are endless, but it makes it so easy and “clean” looking while adding an extra dimension.

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  1. Tiered Trays

Well, since these are all the rage I gave in and bought one! It has been a blast to decorate! And Christmas is the perfect time to put this baby to use! Everything looks great on them, from mini trees, to dishes! Mugs are perfect for these! Signs, candy canes, stockings, elf on the shelf, reindeer, red pick-up trucks and nativities.

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  1. Candles

If you are anything like me you will have at least one candle laying around. I use them all the time! They are the perfect accent… they can be neutral or bold. It makes them amazing for any season, setting, and display. Well grab some of those candles and use them. You can put them in pretty Christmas candleholders, or plain. I took some this year and wrapped them up with some twine (sooo simple you guys! And it added so much depth!) and I added a little sprig of red berries to one of them for a pop of color! You can use twine, ribbon, or burlap. Add some ornaments or a pinecone to the bow and you have what looks like a fancy expensive candle! (Plus you can take it back off and use the candle for other seasons without buying more!)

  1. Bowls

This one is fun because I know you have a bowl you can use, fancy or not, and you can do so much with it! This year I used a bowl to hold a mixture of pinecones and ornaments! I also use bowls of fruit for decorations! Pomegranates and oranges are great holiday fruits and such a colorful centerpiece for counter tops! (Plus you can eat them after! Haha pomegranates are my favorite… I may be too excited about that!)

  1. Boxes

This is an old classic so you’ve probably seen it… if not done it. Wrapping boxes and displaying “gifts” on shelves, tables, and of course under the tree is classic! If you don’t have actual gifts you want to store on shelves as decorations just wrap empty boxes! Or…. If you are trying to hide gifts from your children, display the gift boxes in your décor and tell them they are just your decorations! Most kids will leave them alone! I will also tell you a secret… If your budget is really tight… old fashioned Christmas gifts were often wrapped in newspaper or comics! Opt for an old fashioned Christmas and your gifts will look so quaint! I know I loved getting gifts wrapped in comic pages! It was like two gifts in one! Haha

Christmas gifts in vintage style
Shot on cartons decorated with string and label on a wooden table under Christmas tree with cones
  1. Vases

My dear friends, vases in my house are rarely for flowers. As much as I love flowers… I prefer plants so they don’t die! That always makes me sad… but nonetheless I have quite the supply of vases! These are awesome to fill with ornaments… I know I know. I have ornaments everywhere… what else am I supposed to do with them?! I have like two totes of strait ornaments! You can put pine cones- I love pinecones in the winter. They are so natural and earthy. They just add such a down to earth feel in your decorations.

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  1. Lanterns or Apothecary Jars

If you have one of those hollow lanterns or an apothecary jar, they makes a great holiday scenes… little Christmas village, snow men, Christmas trees, or even stuffed with…. You guessed it! Ornaments! haha

  1. Cake Plates

Yes I know… who uses cake plates for cake anyway right??? Haha well… lets be realistic… it’s easier to not eat the cake when you don’t always have some on a cake plate. So we will fill it with other decorations instead! Candles are beautiful on them, put them in a three some with some ribbons, or one with a wreath around it! You can also do, snowmen, red pick up trucks and trees, village houses and nutcrackers. Really any Christmas decoration will do! Make it wintery with some fake snow.

Leftover Turkey and Cilantro Soup

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Tired of that leftover Thanksgiving Turkey? Don’t know what to do with that last little bit? Don’t worry! I’ve been there! My family didn’t even particularly love the turkey in the first place…. till this year when we brined it, slow roasted it, upside down, in a dutch oven…. then it was hard to get leftovers! But that is a different story!

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There are always some scraps on the bones, and that last little bit that isn’t enough for a meal and all those little chunks that are hard to serve. So my family started making a soup with it! It is a delicious turkey and cilantro soup.

Start with the turkey bones- Stick that whole thing in a good stock pot, cover at least half way (6-8 cups at least), add about 1/2 tsp of salt, and let it simmer for a few hours. I would suggest 2-3 hours on low with a lid. (Check it once in a awhile to make sure it still has plenty of water. This will be the base of your soup. The turkey broth. When that is done, run it through a strainer to get all the bones out. Pick out any chunks of meat you see that you want to save.

Then you get to choose this next step. You can either saute an onion, or just stick it into your boiling broth. The onions are sweeter when sauteed, but they taste just fine boiled… and it is great when you are in a hurry. Use 1/2-1 onion, depending on size and amount of soup your wanting to make.

Then some grated carrot. I do 1-2 depending on the size. You don’t want too much carrot, but it adds some flavor, nutrition (sneak those veggies in;) and some great color! Add that and the onion to your broth.

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1 can of stewed chopped tomatoes. (or fresh if you have them)

1-2 cloves of garlic- or about 1 tsp. if you are like me and like the Costco minced garlic 😉 1/2 tsp chili powder, a few shakes of red chili pepper flakes (more or less depending on your taste) and I like to add about 1/4 tsp garlic salt because I feel like it adds different flavor than strictly just the garlic. Now you may want to taste the broth because it might need salt. You added salt as you made the broth so be careful- every batch is different.

This soup is really customizable. You can add celery if you would like and also black or pinto beans. (I opted out of the beans this time around because I am nursing and I happen to like a happy baby 🙂 But they do make it very tasty! And you can add more or less of anything depending on how much you want to make or how much you like or dislike an ingredient!

Then add your bits and pieces of leftover turkey. Use those small scraps and pieces that fell apart while cutting it. Then if you have any bigger pieces, cut them into bite size pieces. you will probably want about 1 1/2 cups of turkey. But you can use what you have!

Then let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Then serve topped with cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro, cubed avocado, and tortilla chips- or Fritos- our favorite!

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Turkey Cilantro Soup

6-8 cups Turkey Broth

1 medium Onion

1-2 carrots

1 can of Stewed Chopped Tomatoes.

1-2 cloves or 1 tsp garlic- minced

1/2 tsp Chili Powder

A sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 tsp Garlic Salt

1 1/2 cup Chopped Turkey

For the toppings-

Shredded Cheese

Sour Cream

1/2  bunch Cilantro chopped

1-2 Avocados cubed

Tortilla chips or Fritos.

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Enjoy this souper simple and delicious soup! (and clean out your fridge ;))

(This post contains affiliate links)

 

 

Thanksgiving Stress… Less!

Thanksgiving…. Does that word bring you stress? Anxiety? Panic? Or joyful, peaceful, happy feelings? Unfortunately, too many of us feel the first feelings. The holidays are a time of stressful meal planning, decorating, cleaning for company, and stress of being in a crowded shopping center! …. Ok maybe that last one is mostly just my problem…. But anyway.

turkey

 

The holidays are supposed to be a fun time with family. So how do we take the stress out? Here are some simple tips and tricks to smooth it over and help you have an enjoyable time!

Pre Thanksgiving-

Chop veggies in advance- one or two days ahead.

 

chopped vegSautee stuffing ingredients in advance

and store in the fridge,then rewarm when ready to use.

vegetables-frying-pan-greens

 

-Thaw turkey enough in advance.

-Freeze pie filling in a pie pan with plastic wrap.

Line a pie pan with plastic wrap, fill it, and freeze it. Then pull it out, let it warm up for a few minutes; the plastic wrap should slide out easily, and you can put it back in the freezer! Thanksgiving morning, all you only need to do is make pie shells, insert the pre shaped filling, and cook. 🙂 looooots of time saved!

-Split your shopping into two trips.

The first trip should be done a week in advance for non-perishable items- canned items, flour, spices, napkins, and utensils. Then a smaller trip on Tuesday for fresh vegetables, fruit, and dairy.

-Store extra-unneeded condiments in a cooler– you’ll need the space!

-Brine your turkey in a cooler– free up space.

Set table in advance.

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Day Of –

-Make stuffing in muffin tins- everyone gets a nice crispy edge. Absolutely amazing!!!

muffin
Muffin Tin

-After you mash your potatoes, store them in a crock pot to keep them warm.

Also, mash your potatoes with a few tablespoons of cream cheese for some extra creaminess, and for fluffier potatoes when you re-warm them.

-Use a thermos to keep gravy warm.

Grate frozen butter for biscuits.

-Make your pie crust fancy by using tongs, pearls, forks, cooking utensils.

Bakepedia has this fun idea!

-If your pie crust is cooking too fast, cover the edges in foil or use a pie shield.

-Same with your turkey!

-Don’t over cook your turkey!

The red button is too late…. Use an instant read thermometer. 155-170 degrees is perfect!

Enjoy the holiday! Don’t stress out about so much 🙂

 

(This post contains affiliate links)

Chicken Coop- Litter Method

There are enough ideas and ways of having a clean chicken coop on Pinterest to fill an encyclopedia. And I have tried so many of them. Chicken poop is just not my thing. But I do love my feathery ladies! And eggs…. yes my eggs. Fresh eggs make me the very best cake! Scrambled, poached, sunny side…. yeah they are all over rated. Cake is where it’s at!

 

But that still leaves us with the poop problem. First year that I had chickens I tried the “litter” method. Sounds weird right? Well, I ran to Home Depot and bought six bags of sand. Supposedly the chickens would poop, the sand would dry out and you could use a giant litter scoop to sieve through the sand and clean it all out real easy.

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Looks so pretty and clean right?

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.

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Fail. And sorta expensive. 😛

Definitely could have been my fault though. I had ducks as well that year. And ducks like water. Sand and water don’t work well when your trying to dry poop out. Instead I ended up with green mushy sand.

FYI ducks poop lots of green liquify stuff that sand can’t handle even if it is dry!

IMG_1579 (1)
They love their water!

So eventually I just ended up putting straw in on top of the sand!

After cleaning all the sand and straw out later, I ended up just washing the whole thing out… which the ducks loved. I would put fresh straw in then after a week give them some more fresh, then after about 2 weeks I would empty all the straw and wash it out again.

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This year we moved the coop off the cement block and to the other side of some bushes and added on. This time there is only dirt for the ground. It has made it quite convenient because we just rotertille it under every few weeks and put some fresh straw out in between. Gives us fresh dirt and less work. It’s been awesome!

chickens

So long story short, the sand might be a great idea if you have a better set up , or only do it under the roost. And no ducks. But ducks are just so adorable!

If you guys have any suggestions or ideas for keeping your coop clean let me know! I’d love some more ideas!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Well it was my mums birthday and none of my sisters could come celebrate with her except me. She thought we would probably do some kind of party since it was her “elderly” birthday party. (There is a definite story behind that. When my Grammie turned seventy she wrote in her journal that it was the worst birthday ever because once you turned seventy you were considered “elderly” and she didn’t want to be “elderly”. —But of course I did not tell you guys my mums age! ;))

My sisters said it wasn’t super convenient to come up from Utah, but they would if we did something big. The closest sister couldn’t Friday night, her actual birthday, but maybe Saturday. It just sounded super difficult that weekend. So I decided I would invite some of my mums friends and have a family party later when it was easier to get everyone here.

Well I was planning on it being a surprise, but I couldn’t make that happen! I didn’t know who to invite and how to even find most of them! Finally I decided it would be easier to ask her and let her help. So I did and she loved the idea! It was really fun and they all want to do it again!! I was so glad that she had a good day to celebrate.

The funniest part of the day was the night before we had made a chocolate zucchini  cake. After baking it, I flipped it out onto my pretty cake plate. But the bottom stuck to the pan and only the top fell out! I called mum the next morning and said we needed to make a new one! And Pronto! She said it was fine and just dump the rest on top and put the frosting on. It looked awful! I was sooo embarrassed. I was trying to refuse to take it, but we didn’t have time to make another one…. and it sure tasted delicious anyway! So finally she persuaded me that her friends didn’t mind anyway. Mum also made the joke that the cake fell apart just like her 🙂 Hopefully you have more luck pulling the cake out than I did, but regardless it is one of the best cakes I have ever had!… plus it’s healthy! I sure hope you enjoy! 

Cake

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup King Arthur All-Purpose Baking Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa (I prefer dutch as it gives it a deeper rich flavor. But that could also be because I add extra ;))
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional but tasty
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10″ zucchini)*
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees f. For about 30 minutes (if in a bundt pan like mine. Less time for square pans or sheet cakes. But just test with a toothpick or your finger.)

Icing

  • 1- 1 1/3cup chocolate chips tips from our bakers.
  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) half & half or cream for thicker creamier icing
  • In the microwave or on the stove top, combine 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips and 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) half & half, heating until the chocolate softens. Stir to melt the chocolate, and spread over the completely cooled cake. Fat-free half & half is fine; as is liquid coffee creamer — try different flavors for a tasty twist.

  • Don’t worry about espresso powder giving this cake any coffee flavor; it’s there strictly to enhance the cake’s deep-dark chocolate taste, which it does admirably.

Place on a Cake Plate for a fancy presentation!

 

(This post contains affiliate links)

pann
Nordic Ware Fleur-de-Lis Nonstick Bundt Pan

 

pannnn
Nordicware Nordic Ware Bavaria Bundt Pan
pannn
Nordic Ware Copper Heritage Bundt® Pan

 

 

Apple Pie

Now y’all want some pie huh? Well my mum is famous for her apple pie. She has a thin flakey crust, soft cinnamon apples, and smooth cool vanilla ice cream on the side. Pretty much to die for. So first off your pie crust. At our house it’s illegal to even think of buying a crust. No offense to all those lovely ladies that use them and love them. But they just aren’t homemade or thin enough for us.

Fill 9 inch pie shell with cut apple slices

Filler:

Sprinkle 1 Cup of Sugar over apples in our shell (1-1/4 Cup sugar if apples are less sweet), Reserve part of sugar to sprinkle over the flour.

Sprinkle 1/4 Cup Flour over apples

Put pats of butter on top of apple slices–about 3 tsp. in equal portions across top

Sprinkle 1 tsp of cinnamon.

Finish with reserved sugar, so flour and cinnamon are equally distributed

39b7dc05-6b72-495c-9a9f-f03979183fb9

Pie Shell

2 Cup flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 Cup of good quality oil–Canola oil is my preference

Mix with a pastry blender or in a mixer with a whip

Ice water as needed to roll out dough– add to the flour mixture just until dough sticks together but is flakey.

Mix 1/2 of dough into a ball and place between two pieces of plastic wrap, and roll into a circle. Do not knead or over work. It will create a tough dough. Roll the dough as thin as you can and get it large enough to cover the pan and go over the edges a bit. Thin crust makes the best pie!

 

 

Put the first circle of pie dough into the bottom of a 9″ pie pan, allowing some dough to hang over the edge. Hint, remove top plastic wrap, lift with bottom plastic wrap, flip into the pie pan, center it and press it down then remove plastic. (If it cracks or breaks just repair by pressing down with your fingers or adding a bit of dough from the side.

Fill the bottom with apples and filling.

38a09116-25ae-4b15-8a52-23913be071dc

Roll out second ball of dough in the same manner.

Cut vent holes before placing the 2nd circle over top of the apples. (Remove top plastic and make design using a press, or knife.) Vent holes may be decorative–or there may be some patterns for apple pies, another for cherry and yet another for berry pies. This is the pattern of vent holes done by my grandmother and mother.

/ / / / /

\ \ \ \ \ \

/ / / / /

Easy, but effective and still beautiful.

After placing top shell on, seal the edges by pressing the two shells together. You can do any cool or simple design you wish.

 

 

 

Cut the extra edges off the pie.

For extra fancy sparkles sprinkle sugar on the top of the crust.

Tip- For a quick easy way to peel and slice an apple. This is an awesome and fairly cheap tool.

D6BCEAC8-0BF6-4C83-BBC5-80F3ACE39F9A

Buy an apple peeler

Cook for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then turn the temperature down and continue cooking for 60 minutes at 350. This helps get a crispy crust but not mushy apples. You can cover the edges with foil or use those pie pans that go under and around the edges too keep them from burning or going too brown. When juice bubbles (over) it is done😊

Enjoy hot with cold vanilla ice cream or cold for breakfast the next day!

(This post contains affiliate links)

Applesauce

So here’s our secret. Hand peeling, coring, mashing just won’t cut it at this volume. And it’s an investment well worth it if you do very many at all… but it’s called a Victorio strainer. It mushed the apples and separates skin and seed. Amazing you Say??? Pretty much. But that’s not all there is too it.

https://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Strainer-Sauce-VICTORIO-VKP250/dp/B001I7FP54/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1506836058&sr=1-2&keywords=victorio+strainer

First we wash the apples. Gotta make em all shiny 😉 then we put on a good tv show and cut them all in half! Put them in a large pot with just a bit of water… to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/2 inch. And cook at a medium heat until soft and mushy.

Then let them cool a bit… you don’t want it too hot to burn or cause damage to the strainer. But you don’t want them cold either. They juice better this way. We use a small pan or large ladle and scoop the apples into the strainer, crank the handle, and out comes delicious applesauce! Okay well… it’s still a bit sour. But does taste good!

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We then scoop that back into a pan, add some sugar to taste. Depends on the size of your pot, and the sweetness of your apples. (but 1-2 cups for medium big pots with sweeter apples usually.)

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We then let that cook for a while, so the sugar dissolves, then we put them into jars. (Pro tip- if you want to put it in bottles right after it has been boiling, place your jars in a couple inches of boiling water. While filling them. This makes the jars warm and when you add hot sauce they won’t shatter.) We prefer Ball canning jars and lids. We do small mouth so we can save our wide mouth for peaches and pears.

img_2576

Then we use a pressure cooker to cook the jars. You can do seven quarts or ten pints at a time. It’s quick, easy, and safely stores your food for years! 🙂

1AAE2EEC-4B11-461E-B9E0-F3D1F96EC28A

(This post contains affiliate links)

Apple Sauce, Apple Pie, Apple Cider!!!

(This post contains affiliate links)

We have a gazillion apples this year! Ahh like soo so many. There are five apple trees from our old house that we rent out and the renters can’t use that many. Like. Around a thousand pounds from those trees. Then our house has an orchard out back with at least 11 producing trees. Yeah. We have lots of apples.

Well my family has always made applesauce. Homemade home canned applesauce. It’s absolutely delicious. And the best part? Our is usually pink! How fun is it to eat pink applesauce. And we can over 100 quarts almost every other year. (The producing years for the trees)

Applesauce

So here’s our secret. Hand peeling, coring, mashing just won’t cut it at this volume. And it’s an investment well worth it if you do very many at all… but it’s called a Victorio strainer. It mushed the apples and separates skin and seed. Amazing you Say??? Pretty much. But that’s not all there is too it.

https://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Strainer-Sauce-VICTORIO-VKP250/dp/B001I7FP54/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1506836058&sr=1-2&keywords=victorio+strainer

First we wash the apples. Gotta make em all shiny 😉 then we put on a good tv show and cut them all in half! Put them in a large pot with just a bit of water… to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/2 inch. And cook at a medium heat until soft and mushy.

Then let them cool a bit… you don’t want it too hot to burn or cause damage to the strainer. But you don’t want them cold either. They juice better this way. We use a small pan or large ladle and scoop the apples into the strainer, crank the handle, and out comes delicious applesauce! Okay well… it’s still a bit sour. But does taste good!

img_2533

We then scoop that back into a pan, add some sugar to taste. Depends on the size of your pot, and the sweetness of your apples. (but 1-2 cups for medium big pots with sweeter apples usually.)

img_2536

We then let that cook for a while, so the sugar dissolves, then we put them into jars. (Pro tip- if you want to put it in bottles right after it has been boiling, place your jars in a couple inches of boiling water. While filling them. This makes the jars warm and when you add hot sauce they won’t shatter.) We prefer Ball canning jars and lids. We do small mouth so we can save our wide mouth for peaches and pears.

img_2576

Then we use a pressure cooker to cook the jars. You can do seven quarts or ten pints at a time. It’s quick, easy, and safely stores your food for years! 🙂

1AAE2EEC-4B11-461E-B9E0-F3D1F96EC28A

Apple Pie

Now y’all want some pie huh? Well my mum is famous for her apple pie. She has a thin flakey crust, soft cinnamon apples, and smooth cool vanilla ice cream on the side. Pretty much to die for. So first off your pie crust. At our house it’s illegal to even think of buying a crust. No offense to all those lovely ladies that use them and love them. But they just aren’t homemade or thin enough for us.

Fill 9 inch pie shell with cut apple slices

Filler:

Sprinkle 1 Cup of Sugar over apples in our shell (1-1/4 Cup sugar if apples are less sweet), Reserve part of sugar to sprinkle over the flour.

Sprinkle 1/4 Cup Flour over apples

Put pats of butter on top of apple slices–about 3 tsp. in equal portions across top

Sprinkle 1 tsp of cinnamon.

Finish with reserved sugar, so flour and cinnamon are equally distributed

39b7dc05-6b72-495c-9a9f-f03979183fb9

Pie Shell

2 Cup flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 Cup of good quality oil–Canola oil is my preference

Mix with a pastry blender or in a mixer with a whip

Ice water as needed to roll out dough– add to the flour mixture just until dough sticks together but is flakey.

Mix 1/2 of dough into a ball and place between two pieces of plastic wrap, and roll into a circle. Do not knead or over work. It will create a tough dough. Roll the dough as thin as you can and get it large enough to cover the pan and go over the edges a bit. Thin crust makes the best pie!

 

 

 

Put the first circle of pie dough into the bottom of a 9″ pie pan, allowing some dough to hang over the edge. Hint, remove top plastic wrap, lift with bottom plastic wrap, flip into the pie pan, center it and press it down then remove plastic. (If it cracks or breaks just repair by pressing down with your fingers or adding a bit of dough from the side.

Fill the bottom with apples and filling.

38a09116-25ae-4b15-8a52-23913be071dc

Roll out second ball of dough in the same manner.

Cut vent holes before placing the 2nd circle over top of the apples. (Remove top plastic and make design using a press, or knife.) Vent holes may be decorative–or there may be some patterns for apple pies, another for cherry and yet another for berry pies. This is the pattern of vent holes done by my grandmother and mother.

/ / / / /

\ \ \ \ \ \

/ / / / /

Easy, but effective and still beautiful.

After placing top shell on, seal the edges by pressing the two shells together. You can do any cool or simple design you wish.

 

 

 

 

Cut the extra edges off the pie.

For extra fancy sparkles sprinkle sugar on the top of the crust.

Tip- For a quick easy way to peel and slice an apple. This is an awesome and fairly cheap tool.

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Buy an apple peeler

Cook for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then turn the temperature down and continue cooking for 60 minutes at 350. This helps get a crispy crust but not mushy apples. You can cover the edges with foil or use those pie pans that go under and around the edges too keep them from burning or going too brown. When juice bubbles (over) it is done😊

Enjoy hot with cold vanilla ice cream or cold for breakfast the next day!

Fresh Pressed Cider

Now this one is a bit more tricky… but if you do do apples on a large scale this might be just for you!

We purchased a cider press. Homemade wood press from Oregon.

First we wash all the apples and make sure there are no bad spots or anything. Then we take them out to the garage and put them through the first step.

The first step is a hopper that chops the apples into small chunks. It chops it into a barrel like thing, lined with a mesh bag. <

nce that is full, slide it down, close the bag and put a top on the barrel. Then you spin the lever down which squeezes the juice out of the chunks. It then runs into a bucket. We then run it through a strainer just to catch any seeds or skins that fall out.

 

 

 

 

We go to a local dairy and buy new milk jugs. We fill each jug till just above the top curve. We then freeze it. No canning here! That cooks it and takes the “fresh” out of the picture.

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hare this because it’s a very cool process. I hope this helps you somehow! Enjoy!

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DIY White Dishes

Having a cupboard full of white dishes seems to be the newest trend. But white dishes happened to be expensive. And you know me… I’m a cheap momma. But I was stricken with the beauty.

My inspiration. I fell in love when I saw this picture.

I’ve always been torn though. Like. My mom had some nice dishes in her cupboard. We used them for Sunday dinners or some special occasion. Then she has really nice old antique dishes on display. We never used those. But they are gorgeous and to this day I go there and want to do something similar. Fortunately for her she inherited those dishes from her grandmother. If I want antique dishes I’d have to go out and find some… expensive. Especially for something I would never use!

It’s kind of the same for these white dishes. I would pay so much for these and hardly ever use them. Maybe. So I decided why not make this into a diy project. I’m pretty sure other people are saying the same thing as me. I mean I know I’m not the only college momma living in an apartment out there!

So I went to a local thrift store. (I will tell you I am sensitive when I do stuff like this because I do believe thrift stores are there to help people in need that can’t afford new and expensive stuff. So when I make trips like this one I try to find stuff people wouldn’t use or at least unrealistically use. But that’s just me. Although technically I guess I am one who can’t afford expensive stuff. But I don’t have a real need for these. Just the need to decorate and do projects 🙂 Haha but back to the point.) I went shopping and as my mum and I went down the isles this time we found a jackpot! There were sooo many perfect things! I could not even believe our luck! We came out with a whole trunk full of junk 😉 and it turned into something absolutely amazing.

AMAZING!!! Right? I’m right. I know I am.

So after our trip to the thrift store and a hardware store for some spray paint we went home and washed everything. (Please pretty please do this step! Not saying people are gross but these came from other people’s homes. You have no idea what they are dirty with. And besides you don’t want to paint over dust or something and have the texture turn out bad.)

After letting it dry super well I went out and painted it.

There are some definite tricks and tips for spray painting. When I first started spray painting I had no clue what I was doing and ruined a few things. My husband fortunately gave me a few tips and so I did much better and eventually am finding out my own tips as I go.

So first off. Where. Spray paint has a lot of fumes. So no doing it in the house! The best is outside. If you line in idaho like me and 3/4 of the year is winter your garage might have to do. Just make sure you have good ventilation and aren’t breathing it for too long. P. S. Also doing it where dust or leaves can’t blow onto wet paint is good.

Second tip. Paint on cardboard or paper. Someplace that won’t matter when it is the same color as your dishes when you are done.

Third. How to spray. This might be self explanatory or instinctual to some of you but definitely not me. So here goes.

The proper way. To spray spray paint is in short quick bursts. Over and over. And from a little ways away. This helps it spread evenly and not run. If you are too close it goes on thick. If you do continuous long streaks it goes on think. The secret is actually not getting good coverage the first time. Or even the second. It takes several quick layers to make a smooth fine finish. Which is especially important on dishes!

Fourth. Start on the bottom!!! I know how badly you want to see this dish painted and pretty but if you start from the top then flip it over you will get pieces of paint sticking to the cardboard or getting smudged. I this happens to the top it’s hard to fix. But if it happens to the bottom it hardly matters. So start on bottom. Now sometimes I know it’s easy to say there is no reason to paint it from the bottom I can get it all from the top. I’ve tried it. I usually always find some little curve or niche that didn’t get painted will. Unless you have this piece raised and area around it to spray from below it works out much better to do a quick layer from the the bottom. Let it dry. Then flip it and paint again.

Fifth. Ahh this is the hardest part for me. Patience. Patience is sooo key when spray painting. I you touch it when it is still wet or tacky you can leave behind fingerprints, smudges, or even remove the paint. If it happens you can try and paint over it and cover it. But it is difficult and doesn’t always work.

My best advice is to break it up. Spray a couple layers on a couple pieces and then go unload your dishwasher. Come back in ten minutes. Turn it around spray a couple more thin coats. Go fold a batch of laundry…. if you are anything like me there is a never ending pile anyway, you might as well do something while you wait. Then go back. Paint another part or if you have waited long enough flip it over. Do it again. There’s tons of chores you can get done while waiting. It’s a win win for both of you! Dry times may depend on heat, humidity, a breeze, so judge wisely.

When you are done painting, if you can leave it where it is for a couple hours it’s best. If you must move it be very careful, put it someplace safe, then let them sit for a few hours. If you are going to stack anything, have any of it touch anything I recommend waiting a good four or five hours at least. (I left mine overnight cause I am stacking some of the pieces) it depends on what you are doing with them, and how many coats it took to cover them.

So now you have gone through the tedious process of making these pieces beautiful. Your fine! You can put them on a shelf, set pretend table settings with them. You look like a million bucks with these dishes. But really you spent the minimum!

Warning- unless you seal these with a special coating- do not serve food or eat off of these! They are decoration only!

Choosing a paint.

I personally don’t love white. I know it’s all the rage right now, but it feels soo flat, stark, and uninviting to me. I prefer a cream or off white. I went with ivory so if I have dishes that are white I don’t have to paint them, and they will still look pretty with the rest. This is a benefit for two reasons. 1. Less paint used = less paint to buy = more money saved = spend it on something else you want! And 2. You can eat out of these dishes!

I went with ACE brand ivory satin (satin so it’s not super duper shiny, but not completely matte and flat.) make sure the paint you choose works on glass and ceramic. If not it won’t stick to your dishes. If you want these to look really good be careful buying off brand paints. I know and trust ACE so I knew that was an okay choice. But I don’t do that with many other kinds. Another tip. Choose one that is easily available so you can add on to your collection as you go. You won’t have to find another paint or repaint all your pieces.

That’s it! That’s how I made my collection of white dishes… the cheap college momma way!

I will have a follow up blog about arranging my dishes on a shelf so stay tuned for that 😉 coming out soon.

Thanks y’all!

DIY Copper

So are you all falling in love with copper like I am??? Man it’s become soo big and I’m so excited!

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I love how it makes everything so country. But I’m a poor broke college mama and all that real copper is expensive. So what was my solution? DIY stuff! My first instinct was spray paint. (My new most favorite thing to make anything look good!) And luckily they sell spray paint in every color under the moon so it worked. The next question was what to paint. So I went to a local thrift store and just walked down the isles and found anything I could. This was pretty easy to do since I knew everything would look good in copper. But there was a few things I was looking for specifically.

1. A pitcher- like for water… but not to actually use.

2. A pumpkin trick or treat bucket. Or any other pumpkins as well. 🙂

3. An animal of some kind- toy horse or ceramic figurine.

So wandering around that place… well. It was a gold mine! I found two pitchers, one really fancy one… I got sooo excited for this one!

I also found a ceramic rooster and duck!

Ahh how farm house is that! And I found a very creepy pumpkin.

It was awesome! So with all these treasures, and a can of spray paint, I went to work. I washed all of them, dried them well, and then went and sprayed them.

They turned out amazing! I think they look quite realistic too. I mean they don’t look like the rosey copper that you see a lot, but it looks like real copper. And that’s saying a lot considering it is spray paint! But what I love most is the accent it puts in my house. Copper just adds a depth that makes everything look so great and quite farm house style. And the best thing about it… it was definitely more affordable than real copper!

Are you looking for some accents in your house? Wanna try some copper? Let me know how it goes!

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