Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sweet treat baskets

I love to bake. Everyone in my family and at work know me as "the baker" in the family. Naturally, I put my baking skills to use around the holidays to create baskets of yummy baked goods for my loved ones. This year I decided to give my sweet treat baskets a theme: Sweets from Around the World.

I have already made Greek butter cookies. Here is the recipe I used.

I will be making scones. Here is a recipe I like.

I will be making peppermint meringues (very festive for the holiday).

Taiwanese pineapple cakes. Here is an adaptation of traditional Taiwanese pineapple tarts that I like. Since I live in Vermont and know I can't find winter melon (whatever that is) I started trolling the web for alternatives to winter melon (as it is an essential ingredient in this recipe). You can substitute winter melon with the white rind of a watermelon (the part between the red, yummy meat of the melon and the green skin.) I also use this part of the melon when making watermelon pickles (another A-M-A-zing recipe I will share at a later time).

Alfajores (Latin American cookies). Here is the recipe I want to use. I will sprinkle the top of each cookie with green or red sugar crystals to make them a little more festive.

Each sweet treat basket will have an orange in it. My mom used to put an orange in each of our stockings every year (my brother, sister and I). I always wondered why so I decided to research this tradition. Here is what I found. I was also told that giving the gift of an orange served as wish of good health for the next year for the recipient. Whatever the root of this tradition is, I like it and I will continue it with my own children.

I am very excited to give these yummy gifts to my friends and family. We'll see how people like them.

Crock pot week!

As a working mother there is nothing more chaotic than rushing home after working all day and trying to prepare a healthy, delicious meal for your family. I found myself very stressed by the idea of trying to come up with a good meal idea every night that didn't take two or more hours to prepare. I also found myself missing out on some quality time with my children, so I made a decision to try and simplify the dinner process. Crock pot meals.

I had picked up a magazine of different crock pot recipes while waiting in line at the grocery store, so I decided to crack the magazine open and see what I could come up with. Here's how the week went.

Monday: Slow cooker turkey with cranberry stuffing. Here is the recipe I adapted for our Monday night meal.

Instead of using pork chops I used a split turkey breast. I also used Pepperidge Farm in-the-bird, cornbread stuffing, and I used Gala apples instead of Granny Smith. I prepared the stuffing as it said in the recipe, put that on the bottom of my crock pot and placed my split turkey breast on top of it. I turned the slow cooker on low and went to work for the day. By the time we all got home that night all I had to do was put a bag green beans in the microwave (I buy the Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers). The turkey and stuffing were cooked to perfection and that was it.

Mondays are a very busy day for me at work so I find myself particularly tired on Mondays and this meal was perfect for a mom who just wanted to come home and relax with her kids.

Tuesday: Slow cooker beef teriyaki. Here is the recipe I used for our Tuesday night meal.

This meal came out very well. The only mistake I made in my rush to get the frozen vegetables in the crock pot was that I forgot to defrost them under running water before putting them in the crock pot. I had transfer the entire meal to a large dutch oven and finish cooking it on the stove so the vegetables would cook quickly. It all worked out fine though. I also served it over whole grain rice (we don't eat a lot of white rice in our house).

Wednesday: We went out for dinner as we were going to see a Christmas light display immediately after dinner. We also got to see Santa on Thursday night!

Thursday: I made a quick n'easy pizza with one of those Chef Boyardee pizza kits because I got called back into work for a couple of hours late in the evening so I didn't have much time to prepare dinner before I had to leave the house again. I added mozzarella cheese and pepperoni and presto, pizza for dinner.

Friday: My kids spent the day at home with my mother-in-law because our daycare was closed. My kids weren 't too anxious to eat so they got to have leftover pizza and sandwiches for dinner.

Saturday: Tonight we are having pineapple pork tacos for dinner. Here is the recipe. Dinner isn't ready yet so we'll see how these turn out. My fiance Tim is very excited to try these (he's such a good food guinea pig), we'll see if the kids like them. I will report back with details of the meal.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A little something from my mom

My mom gave me this great recipe to take off any sticky residue from tape, sales stickers etc.

2 parts baking soda to 1 part vegetable oil

Dab it on with a paper towel, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then just rub away the stickies... repeat if necessary.

My mom used this to remove the residue leftover tape residue from double-sided tape that was left on her floor after she pulled up a piece of carpet that was adhered to her floor with tape.

This recipe would be perfect for any sticky residue. 

My DIY Wedding

I'm starting the process of planning my wedding (YAY), and since I am Ms. DIY I knew I wanted to have as much of my wedding be done by myself and my very crafty friends and family as possible.

I'm getting married on 12/13/14 in Vermont. I know, I know, who gets married in December in Vermont? Me. That's who. We chose this date simply because it was really cool, and would look great on invitations. Then I got to thinking about it, winter in Vermont is beautiful. Also, it's not peak season for weddings, so it should be fairly inexpensive as well.

So, I started trolling the web for wedding ideas. I simply went to Google and searched "Winter Wedding Ideas."

This was the first website that came up.

What I like about this site is it gives me a place to start when it comes to the various elements I will need in my wedding. It gives ideas for invitations, decorations and even a S'mores bar (which we will be having by the way). From there I started coming up with my own ideas and searching for more DIY options for my Winter Wonderland Wedding.

Day One

This is my first attempt at a blog, so my apologies if it's a little rough around the edges. I wanted to create this blog so visitors would have a central location for all the AMAZING do-it-yourself ideas that are floating around the internet. You don't have to do any of the work, I'll do it for you.

There will be DIY ideas for anything you might need, from ideas for the home (i.e. cooking, cleaning, decorating etc.) to homemade Halloween costumes for your kids, to planning the ultimate DIY wedding. I will be searching the web to find the best-of-the-best DIY ideas, and then I will be testing some of these ideas myself, for use in my own life and I will report back to you about how successful (or not) they are.