Thursday, April 3, 2008

Attention Folks

This blog will no longer be added to. I hope you find the tips here useful. For more tips and ideas check out my other blog: Quotes and Thoughts.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Colorful Bottles

Here's a simple idea to add a pleasant splash of color to your home during the dreary, gray winter months. Take a few clear glass bottles and fill them with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to each bottle. Place on a windowsill. That's it. Easy, right? Try experimenting with different shapes and sizes of bottles and caps. Vary the water levels. Maybe try a monochromatic look with all the bottles full of one color. Leave the labels on the bottles for a different look. Get creative!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dollar Store Decorating

I really like this "Zen" tabletop theme. It's true that you can find most of the great looking things on that table at a dollar store. Never underestimate the power of the dollar store!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Helping Dough Rise

This is one of my most favorite baking tips:

To help bread dough rise, especially in cool weather, place the bowl with dough inside a larger bowl filled with warm water. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel. This keeps the dough moist and warm which makes it rise more quickly.

I once saw a specially designed double-bowl made for this purpose. It was rather silly since you can just make one yourself.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Stromboli Recipe

This is one of my favorite easy meals:

Stromboli Loaf

Make a batch of bread dough. After the first rising, divide the dough as you normally would for loaves and roll each lump out into a rectangle. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on it, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and add any other pizza toppings or spices you like. Roll up the dough, shape into loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise for 30 minutes. Bake as you would bake bread, though I find the loaves need ten to fifteen extra minutes in the oven to bake thoroughly. Allow the baked loaves to cool before slicing. Serve with warm spaghetti sauce to dip the slices in.

Variation: Spread prepared mustard on the rolled out dough and top with cheddar or Swiss cheese and thinly sliced ham. Dip in mustard or mayonnaise.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Drinks, Anyone?

With the weather turning increasingly chilly (chillier?), my mind turns to warm yummy drinks that I can mix and serve to special people. Drink mixing is a favorite hobby of mine and Joshua's. I like creating and mixing the drinks and Joshua likes drinking them so it works out well for both of us. Here's a warm drink that I came up with that Joshua really enjoys:

My Caramel Apple Drink:
5 oz. apple cider, warmed
2 tsp. brown sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you want it)
2 oz. butterscotch schnapps
splash of Vodka (optional)

Add sugar to cider and stir until dissolved. Add the booze and stir. This makes enough to fill one Irish Coffee mug. I usually don't measure ingredients when I make drinks so these measurements are actually just an educated guess and you can adjust things for your own taste preferences.

And don't forget this ol' classic:
Add Irish Cream liquor to cocoa and top with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Garnish with cocoa power or coffee granules.
Tip:You can add some liquors to heavy cream as you are whipping it. This gives it a really yummy kick.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Apple Pie Glaze

To add a little special touch to apple pie, glaze the top crust. Simply mix some powdered sugar and water to make a thick glaze and coat the crust with it as soon as the pie comes out of the oven. As the pie cools the glaze will harden and add a delightful sweetness to your yummy pie.

Sweet Sweet Potatoes

I like sweet potatoes mashed and very, very sweet. I like to add lots of brown sugar and butter to them at which point they cease being a healthy food. For special occasions I think that's okay, but for regular dinners here's a healthier option: Peel, chop and boil the sweet potatoes as you would regular mashed potatoes. After cooking the sweet potatoes, mash them and add some applesauce and a touch of cinnamon. Stir well. This is especially good if the applesauce was made a bit chunky. This made an excellent side dish that even little Evangeline enjoyed.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Lighted Wine Bottle

Sometime last year I had seen a catalog that was selling wine bottles with lights inside them. They looked so elegant and unique I just loved them and as I was contemplating purchasing them I thought, "Wait a minute. Why can't I just make something like that instead?" (On a side thought, never forget to ask yourself that question about anything you're looking to buy. Maybe you can make it, maybe you can't or maybe you really don't have the time to make it, but always ask yourself that question and you'll be amazed at what you find you can create! Just ask Raquel about duct tape and sandals.:-))

So here is what I came up with:

We had this empty wine bottle and I thought it looked perfect for this project. I took a short string of white "Christmas" lights ( it might have been a 50 or 60 light string) and stuffed it into the bottle. You have to have to use the kind of lights that have a plug only at one end since there's no way a huge plug will fit into a regular wine bottle. Leave enough cord sticking out the top of the bottle so that you can easily plug it in somewhere. I taped the cord to the back of the bottle to keep it hidden from view.
I love how my lighted wine bottle looks and its so easy to store from year to year. I do have to be careful how long I keep it lit because the bottle does get hot after a while.