Pomegranate Salad Dressing

You can substitute any jelly or jam for this salad dressing, but pomegranate is my new favorite.

Pomegranate Salad Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3-4 Tbs. pomegranate jelly
1/2 tsp. chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all the ingredients together. That’s it! Store in the refrigerator and use within a week.

Chicken Chat

I thought I’d share a little update on my baby chickens.

Today the Belles are 14 weeks old and huge! Well, at least they look huge to this chicken mama. No eggs yet and I don’t expect any for another couple of months. You will remember that I have Buff Orpingtons and purchased them through my local feed store when they were 2 days old. Looking back at photos, I can’t believe how quickly chickens grow. No roosters yet; I may have all hens. yay!photo 3

My morning routine consists of sitting in the run with the girls. I usually bring them a treat and after they eat, they sit in my lap for a few. We chat ūüôā and then I run a quick rake to clean the coop.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned:

1. Chickens grow fast!

2. Chickens have hot feet.

3. To avoid dirty chicken foot prints, always wear an apron when visiting. I have quite a few vintage aprons from my grandmother, one even has chickens on it, and I keep them near the back door.

4. Chickens are friendly and cuddly. I get chicken hugs and they like me to scratch the top of their heads. Georgia doesn’t like to sit in my lap, but she does like to jump up on my shoulder to sit. This can be a problem – see lesson no. 5.

5. When chickens are sitting on your shoulder, avoid eye contact. I say this because hubby had Georgia on his shoulder and he turned his head to look at her and got his eye ball pecked. Yes, a chicken will peck your eye out. He didn’t have any damage, but his eye ball turned bloody for a week. I try to keep them off my shoulders, but Georgia can be persistent.

6. Deep litter method did not work for me. I like a tidy hen house. Instead, I switched to construction sand in the hen house and in the run. I use a small rake in the run and then pick up with a large kitty litter scoop. I then scoop out the poop from the hen house. I do this every day and it takes all of two minutes. The poop goes directly into the compost.photo-2

7. If it’s warm outside, my girls like to stand in water to cool their feet. If it’s really hot outside, I have a gallon jug of water in the freezer. I place the frozen jug inside the hen house to cool the air.

8. So far, my chickens don’t like mashed potatoes, nor marigolds. They do like rice, grape leaves, stevia, lettuce, cucumber, corn, watermelon, strawberries, and sunflowers seeds.

9. Hens are fairly quiet. The only time I hear them is when they fight for their spot on the roost at sunset. Otherwise, a few squabbles here and there. They cluck a little when they greet me, but even that is fairly quiet.

10. I have a labrador, Shelby, and so far no issues. I mean, they’re not best friends or anything, but Shelby ignores the chickens and the chickens keep an eye on the whereabouts of the dog.

11. The compost is awesome! Everything goes into the compost bin. I turn the bin every other day and it still smells like rich dirt. I was concerned there would be an odor from the added chicken waste; I am pleasantly surprised.photo

12. No chicken smell. Maybe it’s because I tidy up every day, but so far little-to-no odor from the girls.

13.¬† About 1/2 hour before sunset I let them out of the run to the side yard to scratch around. This is perfect because when the sun starts to set they head to the hen house on their own; I don’t have to chase any chickens into their run. Pretty smart, eh?

Silver Dollar Waffles

I grew up with waffles and my mom would fry up bacon and lay the slices of bacon on¬†the top of the batter. When the waffle iron lid¬†is closed, the batter envelopes the bacon into the waffle. One year, on April Fool’s Day, my clever mom put strips of cloth on top of the batter. Imagine trying to cut through a waffle with cloth inside! Happy April Fool’s Day!

This recipe is from scratch and my favorite. I prefer smaller waffles, rather than one giant waffle.

Silver Dollar WafflesSilver Dollar Waffles

1/2 lb. bacon
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbs. sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Lay the bacon strips on a jelly roll pan and bake the bacon in the oven at 350¬į until done, but not crispy.

2. Using a whisk, sift together flour, baking powder and sugar.

3. In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and stir together.

4. Pour batter into the waffle iron and lay the strips of bacon on top of each waffle. Close the lid and bake according to your waffle iron directions.

Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

Tattler Lid Review

I read about¬†Tattler¬†reusable canning lids a couple of years ago. The lids are guaranteed to last a lifetime, BPA free, indefinitely reusable, made in the USA…what’s not to love? I finally got around to trying them out when I made salsa this week. After brushing up on the directions, I was impressed! I had no sealing failures and every jar of salsa sealed beautifully.

photo 2Passing on one of the tips: when you screw the band on finger-tight, you back off the band about 1/4 turn. I was concerned when I put the jars in the water bath canner, thinking that the bands were too loose as they rattled. Then, when you pull the jars out, tighten the band finger-tight while the jars cool. I trusted the info. and it worked perfectly. Each jar was sealed without a hitch.

No more purchasing disposable lids for my canning. Just like canning jars, its an investment at first, but worth the cost. Every once in a while Tattler has a sale, so join their Facebook page to get notifications.

Recommend: Absolutely
Easy to Use: Yes

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

MY favorite cookies are oatmeal raisin cookies. Yes, I like them even more than chocolate chip. Even more than peanut butter (and I really like peanut butter).

photoBy far, the best recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies is from Martha Stewart. Maybe it’s the addition of wheat germ. Maybe it’s the sweet raisins. Maybe it’s that this cookie spreads out into a big cookie. Maybe all of the above. What I do know is that I l.o.v.e. them and I wouldn’t even dream of changing the recipe one bit. Okay, maybe one small change: I use golden raisins and I like to store the cookies and eat them right out of the freezer.

Make these oatmeal raisin cookies and I’ll be right over.


Your Favorite Bagel

This recipe produces a bagel that will rival any bagel you might buy on Saturday morning at your local coffee shop. You will be very surprised at how easy it is to make delicious made-to-order bagels with your favorite toppings.

4 1/2 cups bread flourIMG_6995
3 tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
3 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. fleur de sel salt
Optional: 1 cup honey
Toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated onion, garlic, cinnamon, or your favorite

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Warm 2 cups of water (120¬į) and add to dry ingredients. Stir together until mixed into a firm, smooth dough. If you’re using an KitchenAid, mix with dough hook for 3 minutes. Let dough rise until doubled (approx. 1 hour). Punch dough down and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper or cornmeal.
  4. Start a heavy-bottom pot of water to boil.
  5. Divide dough into 12 equal balls. Dip your finger into a small bowl of flour and push into the middle of the dough ball and stretch a little or twirl dough ball on your finger to make a bagel shape. Place all bagel shapes onto a piece of parchment paper on your countertop.
  6. Optional: Add honey to your boiling water. [The honey adds a nice, sweet crust but not overpowering. However, you can use plain water.]
  7. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, lower a bagel into the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes. Turn the bagel over in the boiling water and boil for another 2 minutes. Remove bagel and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or corn meal. Sprinkle toppings onto bagel.
  8. After all bagels are prepared on baking sheet, bake at 425¬į for 20 minutes or until golden brown, rotating your baking sheets after 10 minutes.


Soda Cracker Pie

I made soda cracker pie the other night and every bite reminded me that this is¬†one of my favorite pies. Soda Cracker Pie recipes can be found in cookbooks from the late 1800s. This is my grandmother’s recipe and she would serve it with tea after dinner. It’s a great last-minute dessert¬†and it takes just a few minutes to whip up.


Soda Cracker Pie

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
14 small squares Saltine crackers
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup walnuts, chopped
whipping cream, one small carton (Cool Whip is too sweet for this pie.)

In mixing bowl, beat egg whites, sugar and vanilla until stiff.

In another bowl, slightly crush 14 small squares Saltine crackers. Stir in baking powder and walnuts. Fold into egg white mixture.

Pour mixture into greased pie tin. Bake at 350¬į for 20 minutes.

Cool completely. To serve, add a dollop of whipped cream.

Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender ice cream tastes like a surprise: sweet and exactly like it smells.

Lavender Ice Cream

4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. dried lavender

In a heavy saucepan, warm the whole milk, heavy cream and the dried lavender. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and strain out the lavender flowers. Cover to keep warm.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Slowly add the remaining warm milk mixture, constantly stirring.

Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and heat until it coats the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat and place the saucepan into a bowl of ice water until it has reached room temperature. Alternatively, place custard into a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

Lavender Wand Tutorial

I’ve had a couple of requests for directions on how to make the lavender wands, so I thought I’d share with you. Easy to make and the scent lasts a very long time. Great for drawers or closets. How about placing one on a gift package for a little extra something?

Lavender Wands

Lavender Wands

Instructions: Because the wands need a firm stem, I prefer to use English Lavender. It has a long stem with the flowers at the end of the stem. You will see lavender sold in the home improvement stores like Spanish and Goodwin. Spanish lavender would not work well because it has a bulky flower head and Goodwin Creek Lavender is a bush with stems that are too short. Look to plant English lavender (Lavandula Augustifolia), also called true lavender.

Cut Lavender

For the wand, choose stems that are strong with firm flower buds.


Discard stems that look like this:


You will need 1/4-inch lavender colored ribbon, fabric scissors (to cut the ribbon), floral wire, and wire cutters. Optional: 1/8-inch lavender colored ribbon to tie the wand at the bottom.

IMG_6838Cut 4 feet of 1/4-inch ribbon. Gather 13 lavender stems and trim off any leaves. Some of your stems may have branched out with two smaller flower stems. Pull those off as well. Place 1/4-inch ribbon so that one end of the ribbon is about 2 inch past the end of your flowers. Wrap floral wire around the stems and the ribbon. (This photo shows only an inch of ribbon – you want the ribbon to be another 3 or 4 inches so that the ribbon is hanging past the flowers about 2 inches.)


Turn the bundle upside down and begin folding the stems over the wire.


Again, make sure you have more ribbon hanging past the flowers than this photo shows.

Fold over stems in a circular pattern.


You will have the short tail of the ribbon and the long tail end of the ribbon inside the bundle with your flowers. Pull out between the stems the long tail end of the ribbon and begin to weave to the right. Keep a tight weave.

IMG_6845Continue weaving around over and under. Sometimes a stem will hide behind some flowers and you’ll lose your place so if you come to an over/over or under/under, you’ve skipped a stem.

IMG_6846Continuing weaving all the way down until you just pass your flowers.



Grasp your short tail ribbon that was inside the wand and the long tail ribbon and wrap around once or twice and tie an overhand knot.

IMG_6851You may want to pull off any flower buds that are poking through the ribbon and tie the bundle at the very bottom with 1/8-inch ribbon to keep the stems neat and tidy.

photoTo freshen up the wand, gently roll between your palms to release the lavender scent. Enjoy!





Monarch Waystation No. 03103

Several years ago I planted milkweed for the Monarchs to help on their migratory journey. Milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch butterfly. The Monarchs came.


No dot in the middle of the lower wing, so this is a girl.

I was so pleased when the butterflies laid eggs and hung out in my garden all summer; it was alive with activity.

The next year the milkweed self-sowed and popped up all over the garden. More Monarchs came. I registered my yard with the Monarch Waystation Program.


This year I have more Monarchs than every year before, counting at least 35 caterpillars this morning. I moved these guys to another milkweed plant. They devoured an entire plant and were left clinging to twigs. Luckily, milkweed recovers very quickly.

Relocating to milkweed that still has leaves.

Relocating to milkweed that still has leaves.

This is the pupa. Isn’t it beautiful? The green is bright and there are little gold flecks and it looks like a gold thread has been sewn in near the top. (Click on photo to get a better view.)


Just before the Monarch butterfly emerges, the pupa turns clear and you can see the Monarch inside.


I watched how a caterpillar turns into a pupa and it was like a scene from a science fiction movie. I assumed they spun a little cocoon. Nope. The caterpillar splits open it’s back and this is inside. You have to see it for yourself! One year I put a milkweed plant in a pot with a tomato cage. I lined the cage with window screen to keep a caterpillar inside and took the pot to work to show everyone. The office, and even a few customers, gathered around to watch the¬†show.

Just as fascinating is how the butterfly plops out with tiny wings and huge body. It takes about an hour for the wings to fill with fluid and expand large enough to carry the butterfly on its first flight.

IMG_4607 IMG_4618 IMG_4619 IMG_4621 IMG_4624

Want to help the Monarchs? Want to bring butterflies to your garden?  If you plant it, they will come. Find out more information about Monarch conservation at MonarchWatch.org.

Plant Lavender for Good Luck

“There’s a few things I’ve learned in life: always throw salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck, and fall in love whenever you can.”
– Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

If you walked into my house right now, you would smell the essence of fresh lavender. In June my lavender blooms. I may be lucky with a few more waves of blooming in my climate, but June reminds me of a summer vacation in 2002 where we stopped in Sequim, Washington on our way to Vancouver, Canada. I fell in love with lavender that day.

Sequim Washington

Purple Haze Lavender Farm in Sequim, Washington (2002)

We filled our baskets with flowering lavender, sipped sweet lavender lemonade while rocking on a porch swing, and gazed upon the perfectly purple rows. My daughter said she never wanted to leave and my son (who was 14 at the time) said, “I’ve got to admit, this is a pretty cool place.” It was a perfect day.


Daughter and I harvesting our baskets of lavender. (2002)

The variety that I harvest at home for lavender wands and culinary purposes is English Lavender.

photo 1

The stems are long and strong enough for crafts and arrangements. Daughter and I made wands today and even hubby learned how to make wands. Tutorial here.

photo 2

After drying a few trays of lavender buds in the dehydrator, store in jars to give and use throughout the year in recipes like ice cream, lemonade and herbes de provence. Of course, you can always use it in homemade soaps and sachets.


Ahh, yes, the calming essence of lavender. Words cannot describe the taste of lavender. You just have to try it!


Herbes de Provence


1 tsp. basil leaves
2 Tbs. lavender flowers
3 Tbs. oregano leaves
1 tsp. rosemary leaves
1 tsp. sage leaves
2 Tbs. savory leaves
3 Tbs. thyme leaves

Combine all dried leaves and crush to desired consistency.

Use air-tight container and store in a cool, dark place.



√Übleskiver – Danish Pancake Balls

It is our family tradition to have Æbleskiver for holiday morning breakfasts. The kids love them and we always serve with homemade jam. You will need an Æbleskiver pan. Tradition started with my step-father, who was born and raised in Denmark, home of the Æbleskiver.

2 cup flourAebleskiver
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs

1. In a small bowl add dry ingredients and whisk together. In a large bowl beat eggs and sugar well. Sift the dry ingredients into the large bowl of eggs and sugar. Add buttermilk and beat until batter is smooth.

2. Heat Æbleskiver pan over medium heat and melt 1 tsp of butter in each hole. Fill hole with batter and let fry, turning ball with a skewer to fry on all sides.

3. Sift powdered sugar over the top and place on platter in warm oven until all are done. Serve with jam.

Brussels Sprout Mac ‘n Cheese

I grew Brussels sprouts for the first time last year. Even though I battled pests on the leaves (aphids and cabbage worm), the sprouts were perfect. Add to a skillet of mac ‘n cheese? You bet!

Brussels Sprout Mac ‘n Cheese

8 oz. elbow macaroni
2 1/4 cups almond milk
5 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup flour
10 oz. white American cheese slices
2 oz. gruyere cheese, grated
2 oz. pecorino cheese, grated
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 357 degrees.

2. Cook macaroni according to package directions, al dente, drain and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, grate the gruyere and pecorino cheeses and add spices. Set aside about 1/2 cup of the grated cheese and 4 slices of white American cheese for the top.

4. Melt butter in a large iron skillet (#12) over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the milk and whisk until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Slowly add cheeses from bowl and 3-4 slices of white American at a time until all incorporated and melted. Stir in macaroni and Brussels sprouts. (You can core the Brussels sprouts if you prefer, but we don’t.)

5. Top with remaining white American slices and reserved grated cheeses. Sprinkle bread crumbs over cheeses.

6. Bake in iron skillet for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Lemon Cake with a Twist

This is for Caitlin. I told you it was easy peasy! ūüôā

Lemon Cake with a Twist

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist lemon cake mixLemon Cake with a Twist
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cont. lemon frosting OR  1/2 pint whipping cream

1. Heat oven to 350¬į. Line two 8-inch square pans with trimmed parchment paper, making sure the parchment hangs over the edges. Use two pieces of parchment, placing one ¬†way and the other placed other way. All four sides will have parchment hanging over the edge. You will use the parchment later for pulling the cake out of the pans, so make sure there is about an inch of parchment to grab.

2. Make cake batter as directed on the box and pour evenly into the two pans. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

3.  In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice well. Poke each cake every inch or so in a grid pattern with the end of a chopstick. Evenly pour the lemon mixture over the top of each cake. Refrigerate cakes for 2 hours.

4. Remove one cake from the pan by placing your serving dish over the top of the cake pan and quickly invert. The cake should fall onto the serving dish with rounded side down. I like to use a square plate. Carefully peel away the parchment.

5. For lemon frosting: Place frosting in a small bowl and microwave for 10 or 15 seconds. For whipping cream frosting: In mixing bowl, pour in whipping cream and whip until soft peaks form. Add about 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice and whip to mix. Add more to taste. Spread first cake with half of the frosting.

6. Remove second cake using the parchment paper “holds.” Place on top of the first cake, rounded side up. It’s tricky because the cake is a little sticky and you’re peeling away the parchment. A large spatula may help. Frost cake with remaining frosting. I don’t usually frost the sides, but you can if you’d like.

7. Garnish and serve.

Sunbathing Chickens

The first time I saw my baby Bella look like this, I just about had a heart attack. What could be wrong?


Well, it turns out that chickens like to sunbathe. Bella, in particular, is a sun worshipper. She plops down on her side to spread her wing out. She still keeps an eye on what the other’s are doing so she can jump up at a moment’s notice to join in the activities. One second she’s running around and the next second she’s sunbathing (even on my arm).


Three weeks old. Feather’s are growing in very quickly.

IMG_6640Sleeping babies outside in the run.


In the run during the day for a few hours and I bring them inside in the late afternoon for the night. Not quite old enough to stay outside at night. Maybe next week. I did catch them all taking a nap inside the hen house this afternoon so that is a really good sign.

This is sweet Annabelle preening her new feathers. She likes to¬†burrow into the crook of my arm to doze. I imagine she would do the same under her mama’s wing.


I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, but it has been really easy to see the differences. Distinctive personalities and looks. I won’t know if I have any roosters for a while.

The Hokey Pokey

What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?

Hey, Izzy, come do the Hokey Pokey!

HP 001What? You’re doing the Hokey Pokey?

HP 002

Hit it girls.HP 003You put your right foot in

HP 004You put your right foot out

IMG_6585Wait…is this my left or my right?

HP 006You put your right foot in

HP 007And you shake it all about

HP008 Look! A worm!

HP 009

Clam Chowder Bowl

Clam Chowder Bowl

1-1/2  lbs. fresh clams, chopped (see Notes below)
1          lb. bacon, finely chopped
2          med. onions, diced
2-3       med. potatoes, chopped
4          Tbs. butter
3/4       cup flour
2-1/2   quart clam juice
1          quart heavy cream or half and half
2-1/2   Tbs. chicken base
1-1/2   tsp. white pepper
dash    Tabasco
1/2       cup lemon juice
2          Tbs. fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/2       cup parsley
2           cups celery, diced

1. In a skillet, sauté bacon until it starts to brown and then add the onions, garlic and 3 Tbs. of butter. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the flour to make a roux.

2. In soup pot, saute celery in 1 Tbs. butter until celery is tender. Add the potatoes, clam juice, pepper, Tabasco, lemon juice, and chicken base. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked.

3. Add cream and parsley. Bring to a slow boil. Add roux very slowly, stirring constantly, to thicken.

4, Add clams.

5. Simmer 5 minutes and serve.

To serve in bread bowls: Cut tops off bread bowls and scoop out insides, leaving enough “bowl” for the soup. Cut bread from the inside of the bowl and place on baking sheet to toast. Also toast lid.

NOTES: Use 1 can – 3.3 lbs.- Chopped Sea Clams from Costco. Save the juice from the can and use as above (it will be all the juice you need).

Baby Chicks Have Arrived – Meet the Belles

chicks 001aAfter doing a lot of research on a breed of chicks, I decided on Buff Orpington.

Bella dozing off to sleep.

Bella dozing off to sleep.

There are many reasons why I chose this breed: 4-5 eggs per week, good mothers if I need a need a hen to raise future chicks, dual-purpose bird (meat and eggs), don’t mind being cooped up but also likes free range, winter hearty, does well in hot weather, but mostly because they are so friendly. I learned that Orpingtons are sometimes at the bottom of the pecking order because they are not usually aggressive, which also makes them a good match for children. Ahem – and this gal who really just wants to hold and pet her chickens!

chicks 003

Izzy (Isabelle) on the right and Bella on the left.

I visit the brooder several times a day because I want them to get used to me picking them up. Isabelle usually runs to greet me and jumps up into my lap. She’s the most friendly of the bunch and will fall asleep in my arms. Bella is usually right behind Isabelle. Lets me pick her up without a problem and sits in my lap. She has the darkest buff coloring and is a fluffy fat ball. Annabelle is more beige in color and the smallest. She tolerates being picked up, gives a little chirp and will sit in my lap for a bit and then she’s done. Georgia is the largest of the Belles. She’s very inquisitive and wants to see what’s going on, but she will squawk and run if I try to pick her up. She refuses to sit in my lap. chick 004 I realize that babies of anything are adorable, but seriously? How cute are these girls? chicks 002 Not quite a week, and you can see that they are already beginning to get their pin feathers.

Fruit Salad with Vanilla Mint Syrup

I was reminded that I haven’t added any recipes in a while. Sorry kiddos.

The syrup for this recipe is amazing! Years ago a co-worker brought this fruit salad in for a breakfast meeting. I remember she served it in a large pasta bowl (big and shallow) and she poured a little extra juice on top. Beautiful presentation of this refreshing salad. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing with me!

Fruit Salad with Vanilla Mint Syrup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Zest from one orange, cut into strips (can use a carrot peeler)
Strip of zest from one lemon
1 vanilla bean, split
1 cup sugar
6 sprigs of mint, plus leaves, cut across into thin strips
2 cups water
1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, quartered and cut up (or 2 cans of pineapple chunks)
2 baskets strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 ripe mango, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 pkgs. blackberries

1. Combine the orange and lemon zest, vanilla bean, sugar, 5 sprigs of mint and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand at least 2 hours. Strain (save syrup).photo2

2. Meanwhile, prepare fruit and combine in a large bowl. Refrigerate until next step.

3. Pour the strained syrup onto the fruit and refrigerate for 2 hours. Strain again (save syrup ‚Äď can be used again). Stir in the remaining sliced mint and garnish with a mint sprig.

Can use a variety of fruits, but these are great. I would recommend using firm fruits because you want a clear syrup for future use. Don’t use bananas.

Refrigerate the saved syrup to use over additional salads. I like to refrigerate it in a carafe and pour a little in my lemonade. Syrup is good for a couple of weeks.

Basic White Bread

This is the recipe we use for everyday bread. Make a loaf every three to four days.


3 cups flourBasic White Bread
2 Tbs. yeast
3 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups water
Optional: 3 Tbs. gluten

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bread pan.
2. Mix dry ingredients. Then Add honey and water.
3. Mix well and then knead until smooth and springy. Let rise in bowl until it doubles in size. Punch down and let dough rise again until it doubles in size.
Punch down and roll into loaf shape and put into bread pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

I found this awesome glass bowl at the swap meet for just a few dollars. It has French writing on the bottom and is very heavy. The lid from an already-owned pot fit perfectly. Hubby uses it exclusively for bread.


Rising Dough

Papertrey March Blog Hop Challenge #2

Hello friends.

As promised, I’m posting another card for the Papertrey March blog hop. I embraced the challenge and used purple sheet metal by Architexture in a Papertrey cover plate. I’ve had the sheet metal in my stash for years. Looks like I bought it on clearance for .50 cents. The sheet metal cut through like butter. Gotta love the shine.¬†photo 1

I also cut tissue paper wrap and white card stock in the cover plate die. The background is the printed paper that shows through in some of the windows.photo 2

Thanks for stopping. Hope you’re enjoying the blog hop.


Papertrey March Blog Hop Challenge

Hello friends.

I’m joining in Papertrey’s March blog hop. The challenge this month is to use something shiny. Isn’t this a happy spring birthday card? Do you spy something shiny? The button! I sewed the clear button on a piece of satin ribbon. (I wonder if satin counts as shiny.) Just a couple of stitches to sew the button and ribbon together and no worry of it coming apart. The sentiment is embossed as well.

Ruby Rose 002c

Ruby Rose 001c

Enjoy the blog hop. Since I was so quick to get this project done, I will submit another project with a little more shine. Hop on back in a while for another shiny project.



Papertrey January Blog Hop Challenge

Hello friends.¬†It’s a Papertrey blog hop! I’m looking forward to hopping on everyone’s blogs for some Pink inspiration. If you’re starting on this blog, visit Nichole Heady’s blog for details on the hop. I had fun with this challenge and made a couple of cards to share.


I have to say that my favorite stamps to use right now are from Mum’s the Word and Background Basics: Postmarks. I also love Tag Sale #3 and I hope Papertrey releases more de-bossed dots shapes in the future. hint hint. I did take the neutral color options and used white and a little grey for the leaves and stems.¬†I started with a scalloped vellum envelope and cut it in half. The back flap is what you see and I tucked the tag behind the flap of the envelope. I tied up the corner of the flap with DMC floss #899, which matches the pink Hibiscus Burst well. I embossed the sentiment on the vellum envelope flap from Hello, Friend in white.


My second card.


I used an embossing folder for the base of the card. The vellum is stamped with Inside & Out: Well Wishes and I tucked the pink Faith and Hope die cut ribbon behind the vellum. Washi tape and a satin ribbon finishes it off. IMG_4813

The third card has some green and linen, so it’s not technically part of the blog hop, but I thought I’d share as a little bonus. I hope you don’t mind. ūüôā


Same gorgeous Mum’s the Word stamp, tag and background. This time I added the die cut hello. To give the tag a little shabby chic look, I used a white-out pen along the edges.


Enjoy the blog hop and thanks for visiting.

Ingredients (all Papertrey, unless noted otherwise):

Well, Hello There
Mum’s the Word
Background Basics: Postmarks
Tag Sale #3
Hello, Friend
Hibiscus Burst Ink
Other: DMC floss #899, Memento Long Fog ink, vellum envelope, brad

Take What You Need
Inside & Out: Well Wishes
Faith and Hope die
Other: Cuttlebug embossing folder “Charles”, washi tape, ribbon, brad

Mum’s the Word
Background Basics: Postmarks
Tag Sale #3
Hello die
Hibiscus Burst Ink
Ripe Avocado Ink
Other: washi tape

Make It Monday #148

Hello friends.

This week’s¬†Papertrey challenge is presented by Dawn McVey. She shows us how to generation stamp with line images and multiple colors. Check out her¬†video.

Here’s my take on the challenge:Love 001c

A close-up of the generation stamping using a single line image. I stamped in two colors: Spring Moss and Ripe Avocado.

Love 003c

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s cards. I had a little trouble finding a line image to use. I guess I don’t own that many line images. <grin> Time to browse my wish list!

Have a great week. We have a Santa Ana blowing through so unseasonably warm days and we really need the rain.

Papertrey Stamps – Tweet Talk, Lovely Leaves
Papertrey Inks – Ripe Avocado, Spring Moss, Dark Chocolate
Papertrey Die – Tag Sale #8
Liquid Pearls

Make It Monday #147

Hello friends.

It’s Monday and I do love Mondays because I get to play along in another Make It Monday challenge from Papertrey. This week’s challenge is to use a multi-layer image from a single stamp. Betsy has an awesome tutorial here. Yet another way to look at and utilize the stamps I own. Here’s my take on the challenge:
Best Day 001

Here’s a close-up of the multi-layer image from Big Ticket Basics.Best Day 002

Big Ticket Basics
Get To the Point
Wonderful Words: Congrats

Pear Fruit Leather

Hi friends.

Sharing my super simple recipe for fruit leather today. We received a huge box of various fruits, candies, nuts, etc. for Christmas. The pears were individually wrapped and were amazing. However, the pears began to ripen faster than we could eat them. Time to fire up Guinevere, my awesome Excalibur dehydrator, and make some pear fruit leather.

Pear Fruit Leather

3 pears
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. lemon juice

Pear Leather 001c

1. Wash and dry the pears. I do not like to peel the pears – hello, all sorts of nutrients and fiber here – but I do core them. So, go ahead and core the pears. Cut up into pieces and add to your food processor.

2.  Add the cinnamon, honey and lemon juice. Puree until you have a nice consistency. You may want to add a little more sweetener at this time.

Pear Leather 002c

3. Pour pear mixture onto the non-stick dehydrator sheets for your dehydrator. Using an off-set spatula, spread out on the sheet to about 1/4 inch thickness.

4. At this time, you can add any other ingredients. I sprinkled toasted pecans, flaked coconut and chia seed.

5. Dehydrate on 135¬į for 6 hours. You will know the leather is done when it is dry and not sticky to the touch.

6. Let cool on sheets. When cool, pull off of the sheets and cut into strips. You may want to roll up on parchment paper. Store in an airtight container. Can keep up to a year in the refrigerator.

Peach Leather 003c

This recipe is for pear leather, but you could adapt it for any other fruit leather. If you want to read more about homemade fruit leathers, visit the Cooperative Extension Studies website.

Make It Monday #146

Hello friends. I spent some time today working on Papertrey’s Make It Monday – Angled Backgrounds challenged. Be sure to view Ashley’s video for a tutorial of this technique.

Here’s my take on the challenge:

Chapel 001c

I chose various shades of white and grabbed a few embossing folders to give some dimension. Love it! The textures and shades really turned out great. Foam adhesive is used under the tag to raise it a bit from the card. Chapel 003c

Papertrey: Love and Marriage stamp set, Tag Sale #8 die
Embossing folders: Cuttlebug and Sizzix
Swiss dot ribbon, heart medallion
Chapel 005c

Papertrey December 2013 Blog Hop

Hi friends. I’m participating in Papertrey’s blog hop challenge “tied up with string.”

Here’s a gift that I made up for some very special friends. It includes a wicker charger, plate, teacup, napkin, lemon and candy inside the teacup and tied up with a green velvet ribbon, tea bags, and a label attached with a sparkly clothespin.

Teacup 001I put mahjong tiles in a teacup and had each gal pull out a tile with a number. The number corresponded with her special tea cup.

tea cup 002

teacup 003The label was made with Papertrey: Stylish Sentiments Holiday Stamp, Label Basics Stamp.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.