Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PEEPS!!!


Peeps are by far one of my favorite candies!  They are fun year round, but of course they are meant for Easter!  I found this recipe to making your own sugar coated marshmallow shapes.  (Thank you Martha!)  I've made marshmallows in the past, but it was much more fun to pipe into birds.

One trick I'll fill you in on - you need to quickly, I mean quick as a bunny, get your shapes into the sugar.  They begin drying instantly and won't take on as much coating.


I used light colored sugars that I usually sprinkle on cookies (yellow and green), as well as regular white sugar. 


Besides the birds and a few nests for them to sit on, (and for me to eat), I made hearts, and even piped out "F" and "M" for the kid's names. 

The peeps last for about a week in a Ziploc bag and are better to eat the next day since they will have gotten more solid - perfect to prep ahead of time for an Easter party!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Composting!!!

dC and I try to recycle, donate, reuse, and thrift as often as possible.  While cooking the other night I decided to pull a Rachel Ray and throw all of my trimmings, peels, and scraps into a bowl on our counter instead of lugging the garbage can out.  When I was finished I realized that I had more food waste than regular garbage! Thus the idea to begin composting began! I read helpful hints here, and here.  Then I grabbed the family and headed outside to see what we could do!



First dC drilled holes in two storage bins for drainage and aeration.


Then I had the kids rake the yard and collect the debris for the first layer in the bottom.

Then to add some dirt to the buckets, dC dug up our garden.  This is what happens when you forget a carrot from last year's planting...you get a ginormous one!




Then the last thing was to add our kitchen scraps and mix them in. 

We also poured some water on top to help with the decomposition.  It's been fun to reduce the amount of garbage that goes into the landfills and in a few months we'll have some great compost for our garden!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Making Vanilla Extract

I LOVE making everything we use in our home from scratch!  Whether it be soap, clay or decorations around the house, there is just something more satisfying about making something out of nothing!

My newest adventure is to make my own vanilla extract!!  It's a lengthy process - a month or more to make food grade extract.  I found out there is only two things separating extract from vanilla flavored vodka - time and ratio of beans to vodka!


You need about twelve vanilla beans to two cups of vodka.  My local co-op has amazing vanilla bean prices, and they even sell really cute bottles with corks for $2 a piece! 

Here's how ya do it:

Slice the vanilla beans to release all of the good stuff before placing them in a bottle.  If they are too brittle to cut, let them soak for awhile in the vodka, remove and slice them once they're supple.


Then place the vanilla beans in an airtight container (preferably one that you can see through), cover with two cups of vodka and put away for 30-60 days!  I'll update as mine gets closer to the finish!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Came First?


When I started collecting "white" years ago, I began small with egg cups.  My grandmother had passed down her milk glass chicken candy holder (always full of sticky jelly beans) and I thought it would look cute to have egg cups as well!


Having egg cups kept me thinking of different ways to decorate with eggs each Spring.  A fun project that you can do with blown-out dyed eggs is to decorate them with blades of grass.  I made this one over 5 years ago and it still looks great!  You can follow Martha Stewart's instructions here.  Or you can do it for free by using grass from your backyard and a bit of watered down glue (as I did).




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