Sweet Pickled Veggies

I don’t always have time to can bread and butter style pickles, and in the summer time I really don’t wan to heat up the house.  Here is my summer time cure.

5 or 6 house cucumbers
1 Red onion
Several small Variety Carrots
1 cup raw sugar
1 handfull horizontal sliced Snap Peas
1 tablespoon canning salt
1 tablespoon pickling spices
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup white distilled vinegar

Wash and slice cucumber, onions, carrots and snap peas. If you have other veggies on hand throw them in, I promise not to tell.

IMG_4826Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir until sugar and salt dissolves, about 3 minutes.


Pack cucumbers and onions into a sterilized quart jar using a wooden spoon to nestle all in. Pour in the vinegar mixture and tighten lid. Shake several times to distribute spices.


Refrigerate for a minimum of one day. Turn jar upside down occasionally too. These will do okay in the fridge for a month, if there’s any left at that time.


Also feel free to reuse your liquid for more fresh veggies.

Fresh Basil Pesto

My greenhouse is on overdrive this year.  Seriously I have supplied half my neighborhood with Basil and it just keeps coming.  Here is a super simply basic pesto recipe.  I freeze and then add the cheese when I am ready to make pesto chicken, fish, bread, pasta etc.

Please note the photos here are from  a triple batch.

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese


Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. If you want to try a different nut go right ahead.  I’ve had other variations.  Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.


If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Some people add cheese and then freeze.  I typically don’t just in case I want to use my pesto in a way that wouldn’t call for cheese.

Also ice cube trays can be a great way to freeze smaller portions of pesto.



Let’s refill those Bunch O Balloons (don’t toss them out)

That’s right.  Don’t pay all that money for one use.  Let me show you how to simply and effectively refill your balloons.  Chances are you have everything that you need in your house.


You can order them off of amazon by clicking here.




What you will need to refill them is the following.


  • Standard water balloons
  • Loom bands

Yes that’s all you will need to reload your bunch of balloons for endless summer fun.  Each bundle takes me around 8 minutes to reload.




Simply place a water balloon on the end of your empty plastic tube.


Then take a loom band and run it around the balloon and tube 4 to 5 times depending on the thickness of your loom bands.




Don’t worry about how neat they look.  Trust me they work just as well.  I have reloaded hundreds of balloons this summer and the kids absolutely love them. Mom loves how economical it has become.




oops M&M Cake



Let’s Bake and Make this cake!

For this cake you can use any of my cake recipes or any of your own. Just make sure to chill your cake and crumb coat it before frosting it as you don’t want your cake to crumble.

I used the following recipe cake wise

2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lightly packed finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
Blue coloring for half of batter

M &M’s for decorating 1 large bag and 1 small

For the frosting:
7 Cups confectioners sugar
2 Cups Butter
2 Tablespoons princess flavoring
2 Tablespoons Milk for second coat of frosting

For the cake:
Heat oven to 350°F and arrange rack in upper third. Butter and flour two (8-inch) cake pans. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a mixing bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine vegetable oil, water, lemon zest, vanilla extract, egg yolks, and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar. Whip on medium speed, until mixture is airy and light in color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl; add dry ingredients and whip until smooth, about 1 minute more.

In a clean bowl, whip egg whites to medium peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the cake batter until evenly incorporated; gently fold in remaining egg whites until just combined.
Divide batter between prepared cake pans. I added blue coloring to half of the batter. Bake until surface of cakes springs back when pressed and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove cakes from the oven, and let cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each, and turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Here are the springform pans I used.



While the cake is baking go ahead and mix all of the frosting ingredients.  I usually add milk as needed in order to get a spreadable crumb coat for the cake.  Yes you need to crumb coat your cakes.


Now throw it in your fridge for at least 45 minutes to ensure you cake and frosting will tolerated you giving it a final coat.



This is a simple and forgiving cake.  Don’t worry about getting all of the lines out of the cake.  People are too interested in the floating m&m bag to notice your imperfections.


Start adding your M&M’s to your cake in a triangle flow pattern.  Place additional frosting along the bottom of your cake plate to hold M&M’s on the bottom.   Now throw back in the fridge for around 30 minutes.


Take an m&m bag and slice the back open.  EAT M&M’s!  Tape 3 skewers to your empty bag.

Remove cake from fridge and slide into center of cake.  Now coat your skewers with frosting and place your final m&m’s on your cake. Now once again place back in your fridge until your ready to unveil your creation.  This cake is so simple and forgiving anyone can and should do this.  If you have someone that lives skittles use skittles. Can you use a mix cake? Yes you can.