Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

With Fall here ... finally ... I love to fill the house with smells that smell like Fall and tastes that ... well ... taste like Fall. Genius I know. This is a new recipe that we recently tried. Half of the batter I put chocolate chips in and the other half no chips. I personally liked the chocolate chips but it could just be any excuse for the addition of chocolate to a recipe.

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, super soft
3 large eggs
1 - 16 ounce can of pure pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 medium loaf pans (or muffin tins) with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.

In a separate bowl, dump in the sugar. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds, so that it is half melted. Add half melted butter and eggs to the sugar. Cream ingredients together on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and combine well.

In 3 batches, add the dry ingredients and mix gently until each batch is just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch. Mix in pecans or chocolate chips.

Pour half of the batter into one of the prepared pans or into muffin tins. For loaf pans: bake about 1 hour. For muffins: bake 30-35 minutes. Or until an inserted knife comes out clean and the top is golden.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Craft Hope

As ya'll know, I do not consider myself the next Martha Stewart. That being said, I want to share a website I recently came across. It is called Craft Hope (click HERE) - Spreading Seeds of Hope One Stitch at a Time. "Craft Hope is a love inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those who need them. It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world."

Past projects include: Pillowcases for children with cancer, teaching beanbags (shapes, letters, numbers, etc) for children in Liberia, sock monkeys for child burn victims, and baby blankets for newborns in India.

A little birdie (namely Twitter) just recently informed me that a new project will be announced today. If you are a crafter or even if you are like me and not a "gifted" crafter, click on over to Craft Hope today to check out the new project and see if you can help.

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen - Classic Hair Color

Classic Hair Color**

For darkening dark brown and black hair.

1/3 cup walnut shells
Black tea
Cherry tree bark or cloves
2-1/2 cups water

Simmer walnut shells, black tea and bark or cloves in water in a nonmetal pot for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain when cool, saving the liquid. Apply to hair as a final rinse.

**I have never personally tried this, so I cannot vouch for how it will work or how long it will last.

Monday, September 27, 2010


We all know that stressed spelled backwards spells out desserts. However, there are other ways to help counter the effects stress has on your body. If you are particularly stressed, try this Stress-Busting Meal Plan.

1 banana
1 cup cereal containing at least 5g of fiber per serving, mixed with 1 cup DHA-enriched yogurt
2 cups green tea

1 slice low-fat cheese
1 slice whole-grain bread
1 cup blueberries

1 cup navy-bean soup
4 ounces grilled chicken breast
2 cups green salad with 2 teaspoons vinaigrette

Late-Afternoon Snack
1 cup low-fat milk
2 graham crackers
1 sliced apple

4 ounces baked salmon
1 cup spinach sauteed with 1 minced garlic clove
1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup strawberries dipped in 1 tablespoon melted dark chocolate (containing at least 60% cocoa)

Bedtime Snack
1 cup low-fat yogurt
2 graham crackers

Friday, September 24, 2010

Five Facts Friday - Facts About Fall Foliage

1. Composting fall leaves is an excellent way to improve yard and garden soils. Mixing green and brown materials together is the basic rule.

2. Most leaves fall from trees because the ends of the branch are sealed off near the leaf stem to protect the tree through the long winter months.

3. Fall days become shorter and many plants stop making food. That is when the green chlorophyll starts to disappear from the leaves.

4. Fall colors are best when late summer is dry and autumn has bright sunny days and cool nights bellow 40 degrees F.

5. Maples, Oaks, Elms, Birch and Ash trees are just a few of the trees that give spectacular colors during the Autumn season.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Taste of Fall

There is nothing better in the Fall than apple recipes ... and pumpkin recipes. Today we are just going to focus on the apples though. This is another yummy Grandmother recipe. Applesauce always appeared to be hard to make but there is nothing further than the truth. It is super easy to make and smells just like Fall while it is cooking.


1/2 peck of apples, peeled and cut into small chunks (it will equal about 5 quarts cut up) *Jonathan or MacIntosh work the best
1/2 cup water

Rinse apples and put into a large (6 quart) saucepan. Add water. Cook on high until it boils. If it looks like it needs more water, add a little at a time (don't let apples scorch). Cook on low until apples look like applesauce (cook for a shorter time if you prefer chunky applesauce or for a longer time if you prefer a smooth applesauce). Stir often. Let cool.

Yield: About 3 quarts

Told ya it was easy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen - Bath Jelly

Bath Jelly

1/2 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Food coloring (optional)

Heat the water until boiling and dissolve gelatin in it. Add the bubble bath or soap very slowly and do not beat because it may become foamy. Stir gently and blend. Pour the mixture into a container with a lid.

If the jelly is going to be used by children you can drop in a small toy or seashells. Put in the refrigerator to gel.

To use, place a small amount of jelly under tap water or use a shower gel.

Monday, September 20, 2010

National Punch Day

You may not be having or going to a wedding but this recipe is delicious no matter what the occasion. We use it for Graduation Night, for church musicals, for whatever ... just because.

Wedding Punch

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 large cans pineapple juice
2 tablespoons almond extract
2 bottles ginger ale
3 small cans of frozen lemonade
3/4 cup water

Heat 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Mix this mixture together in a non-metalic container with all remaining ingredients (EXCEPT the ginger ale). Refrigerate overnight. Right before serving, add ginger ale.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Such a Deal I've Got For You

I am on a coupon high! I have found some great deals lately, mostly thanks due to some "money saving blogs" that I follow. In some of these blogs, they always show what they bought and then tell the SMALL AMOUNT of money that they spend on it. I've always thought it was neat to see and wished I could do that. Well, here's mine.

This first "pat on my back" happened THE DAY I LOST MY INTERNET.

For everything in this picture I spent $6.22 (between 2 stores). Those breathe right strips are worth that much alone! (The book is a present for EJ for Christmas. Shhh! Don't tell her.) I also got a free coffee from McD's that day with a coupon that I had. Later that night, we went to Target and I got a $3 Christmas present for C, and spent $10.28 at another store for 4 partial Christmas presents / birthday presents for family (thus the reason I can't show you pictures of that).

This is what I got today. I spent $9.11. I paid $0.31 for all those SoBe drinks. I paid $1 for both Cap'n Crunch. And at Target I spent $7.80. The wipes were $1.08 a piece!

I'm so excited! I have to say thanks to all the blogs I read (especially this one). It pays to use coupons!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

National Play Doh Day

If you, like me, are not fond of the smell of store bought play doh and your kids like to eat the dough more than play with it, than this recipe is for you!

Edible Play Doh

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup powdered milk

Mix ingredients together and mush it up with your hands until it is fairly smooth. *The oils from the peanut butter will keep it from sticking to the table and the kids' hands.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Button Bracelet

My Grandmother has a tin full of millions and millions of buttons. Okay so maybe millions and millions is an slight exaggeration. Exaggeration or not, I fully plan on raiding that tin next time I'm over there. Barring, of course, that it is okay with her. Did I even use that word (barring) in the correct context? No idea. ... This time I just used buttons that we had around the house. Sorry in advance Honey if you need a button for your shirt and I'm wearing it around my wrist.

Cut elasticized cord long enough to wrap around the wrist twice. To make a standard-button bracelet, thread elastic through from back to front and then to the back again. For four-hole buttons, thread elastic diagonally through two holes on opposite corners.

For a shank-button bracelet, thread elastic through shanks, turning every other button upside down to overlap. Once you've strung on enough buttons to reach around the wrist, thread both ends of elastic through a metal crimp tube and squeeze tightly with pliers (you can also just knot it a bajillion times and put a little glue on there too). Trim excess elastic.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen - Rosemary-Mint Mouthwash

Rosemary-Mint Mouthwash

2-1/2 cups distilled or mineral water
1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon anise seeds

Boil the water, add herbs and seeds, infuse for 20 minutes. Cool, strain and use as a gargle/mouthwash.

Monday, September 13, 2010

National Peanut Day

What better way to celebrate National Peanut Day than with a Peanuts comic strip.

Hope you all have a good day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Five Facts Friday - Random and Irrelevant

1. Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

2. There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

3. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

4. There are more chickens than people in the world.

5. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

And now since you know these 5 useless facts, you may go on with your day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010



Attractive apple, thin skinned, red with green ground, peels easily; cross between McIntosh and Jonathan.

Use: Fresh, Desserts, Sauce

Ginger Gold

Sweet but midly tart; fine texture, crisp, cream-colored flesh. Slow to brown. Discovered as a chance seedling at orchards of Clyde & Ginger Harvey in VA.

Use: Fresh, Pies


Mild sweet, juicy apple, bright yellow-red color, crisp, creamy yellow flesh.

Use: Fresh, Desserts

Crab Apple

Excellent source of pectin, primary use in jelly and spicing. Rootstock used for most standard apple trees.


Oblate in shape, mostly red stripe over yellow ground, flesh crisp, juicy, springy; highly disease-resistant.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce


Excellent flavor, uniform size, flesh juicy moderately sub-acid. Cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce


Medium-sized, symmetrical in shape, thick-skinned, peels easily. Tender, cooks quickly, highly aromatic.

Use: Fresh, Desserts, Sauce


Very aromatic, mildly tart, crispy, juicy, small to medium. Discovered in NY 1800.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce


Yellow with red blush; cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce


Juicy, honey-sweet with a touch of tart; very crispy, yellow flesh. Developed from a cross of Macoun and Honeygold at University of Minnesota.

Use: Fresh, Desserts, Sauce


Somewhat flat and oval in shape, flesh firm and snow white, skin thin, excellent for salad, slow to darken. A cross of McIntosh and Ben Davis, with good qualities of both parents.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce


Crisp, icy hard, bruises easily; very-fine texture. Cross between McIntosh and Jersey Black.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce

Red Delicious

Sweet, juicy, skin smooth, 5 knobs on blossom end, low acid. Most popular apple in the country.

Use: Fresh

Golden Delicious

Elongated shape, skin may be russetted, flesh is yellowish, fine-grained, mildly aromatic, sweet.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce

Stayman Winesap

Tart, full rich flavor, excellent keeper. Chance seedling 1866.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce

Granny Smith

Very flavorful, hard, and distinctive; bright greens kin. Chance seedling Australia 1800.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce


Very sweet, hard, and crisp. Pinkish red skin. Long storage life.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce


Late season apple developed in New Zealand. Very firm and crisp.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts


A late season apple found as a chance seedling near Dryden, WA in 1987. A sweet, red apple with fine texture; very crisp and aromatic.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce


Developed in New Jersey as NJ#55, a cross of Golden Delicious and Cox Orange Pippen. A golden color with an orange blush.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce

Pink Lady

Golden-pink apple with crispy, tart flavor. Developed in Australia.

Use: Fresh, Pies, Desserts, Sauce

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to School

It's back to school and every kid will need a place to study. Courtesy of Martha Stewart, here are directions to a personalized Kid Kubicle.

Cut away the bottom, top and one long side of a large box; trim the height, then slope the sides. Finish edges with colored duct tape. Clamps, rubber bands, and tacks help organize notes, calendars and other items on the "walls."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen - Nail Whitener

Nail Whitener

1 denture tablet
1 cup warm water

Combine ingredients and soak fingernails in mixture for 10 minutes. Throw mixture away after use.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

If you need a delicious, non-laboring dish to take to a picnic - this is the dish for you! It is easy and delicious! Thanks Sydney for introducing me to it!

Easy Fruit Salad and Dip

Assorted fruits (apples, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple or whatever you have on hand)
Orange juice
Fresh mint

Simply cut your fruit and splash orange juice over it. Tear some fresh mint and mix into the fruit.

For the dip, simply mix plain Greek yogurt and honey together.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Five Facts Friday - Honey Month

1. Energy Booster - Mix honey with some water then drink the solution. Honey's glucose content will be absorbed by the brain and in the bloodstream, reducing fatigue in the process. You'll be healthy and quite happy just by consuming the simple solution.

2. Remedy for Burns - A burn is not only painful, the marks also last for a good number of days before healing up. By applying honey on your burn, the hydrogen peroxide released cleans the wound and soothes the inflammation. As a result, the burn marks will heal in a few days with less pain. Use honey as a dressing for maximum results.

3. Acne Remover - Honey is certainly tough on acne. With constant exposure to the bee fluid, pimples eventually wither and fade. Apply a small amount of honey on the pimply regions of your face. Cover them with adhesive bandages.

4. Immune System Booster - Health buffs are known to drink a teaspoon of honey daily, along with their morning vitamins. Though still not scientifically proven, the daily consumption of honey is said to strengthen your immune system.

5. Treatment for Sore Throat - Some people believe that honey is an even better treatment for coughs and colds than over-the-counter medicine. To create the sore throat-relieving serum, squeeze the juice from a lemon and mix it with some honey. Stir the mixture until both ingredients blend. Drink the solution. After a few moments, you will realize that your sore throat has been cured, or at least reduced. Just continue to make more rounds until you are finally free from colds.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Is It Safe?

How do you know when it's not safe anymore to use certain foods? Here is a link to the full article (click HERE) and some highlights.

Milk: If properly refrigerated, milk will remain safe, nutritious, and tasty for about a week after the sell-by date and will probably be safe to drink longer than that, though there’s a decline in nutritional value and taste.

Cottage cheese: Pasteurized cottage cheese lasts for 10-14 days after the date on the carton.

Mayonnaise: Unopened, refrigerated Kraft mayonnaise can be kept for 30 days after its expiration date or 3-4 months after opening, the company told ShelfLifeAdvice.

Yogurt: Yogurt will remain good 7-10 days after its sell-by date.

Eggs: Properly refrigerated eggs should last at least 3-5 weeks after the sell-by date, according to Professor Joe Regenstein, a food scientist at Cornell University. Note: Use of either a sell-by or expiration (EXP) date is not federally required, but may be state required, as defined by the egg laws in the state where the eggs are marketed.