DIY Air Plants in Seashells

img_5310These are so simple to make.

What you will need:

Seashells
Waterproof Glue
Air Plants

img_5307I was fortunate enough to have some laying around in my sons bathroom.  They were the ideal size.

img_5308The air plants I purchased off of Amazon.

img_5305This glue I also purchased on Amazon.

img_5309Place a dime size amount of glue at the base of your air plant and slide into your shell.

img_5310Here they are.  Maybe 5 minutes prep and an hour dry time.  How cute are these.

Canning Jalapenos

dsc_0010I have a confession.  Although  my DNA states I am a majority Norwegian my palate screams I am hispanic.  If you live in the SW it is hard to not indulge in jalapeño everything.  This year I grew our own and they’re amazing.

Ingredients
2 lb fresh jalapeno peppers
4 c. white vinegar
4 c. filtered water
4 Tbsp pickling salt
4 cloves garlic (optional)
2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp raw sugar

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Add vinegar, water, salt and garlic and peppercorns or honey (if using) to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to keep at a simmer.
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Wearing latex or plastic gloves, slice the jalapenos into 1/4-inch rings.

dsc_0021Add the rings to the brine and bring back to just a boil. Shut stove off and clean your jars.
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Wash all jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch and bring to a simmer.

dsc_0023Use a ladle to pour the jalapenos into the jars through a canning funnel, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top. Place the lids on, and screw on the rings until just finger-tight. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes.

 

Halloween Petite Cakes with a spin

img_5287Who wants to see another pumpkin head cake.  NOT ME!

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:
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 orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups raw sugar

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.

DSC_0024Here are the springform pans I used. It’s important to spray them with easy release prior to placing batter in them.

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.

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

img_5243Once your cakes have cooled you can place a layer of frosting or filling in between your cakes. I happened to have some Pumpkin butter in my fridge and use it. After all it’s fall.

img_5245Yes, you need to crumb coat your cakes. The greatest mistake I see is people saying I can’t frost a cake.  Yes you most certainly can.  You need to crumb coat them first and place them in the fridge then add your smooth layer.

img_5248From here you will decide what shades you want to use.  I am working with several shades of gray and a purple for Halloween Glamour look.

img_5254No that your cake is out of the fridge yo are going to place large globs of different shades around your cake like this.  Then smooth them with your spatulas that are sitting in hot water.

img_5249The warm water will allow you to smooth your sides and top of cake.

img_5264These are the tips I have chosen for the flowers on top the cakes.  These Russian Tips make your life very easy.  You will need  a large pastry bag since these are the larger tips.

img_5257Then you simply start squeezing out flowers.  I did a total of four cakes and would go back and fourth between the cakes to use up the gray shades then worked with purple flowers.

img_5256If you make a mistake you simply squeeze another flower on top.

img_5287Here is the end result and I think they’re adorable.  Spooky shades yet attractive.  Also you won’t feel the need to eat a huge cake.

 

 

Halloween Stencil Cookies

img_5198It’s that time of year again.  When I am looking around and thinking “I don’t want to be ordinary”  Here is my spin on Halloween Cookies.

If you have a favorite roll out cookie dough than feel free to use it.  This is mine.

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups raw sugar
¼ Cups Agave Nectar
4 cups Unbleached flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cardamon
½ orange Tablespoons orange zest/oil
½ scraped vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350

Fit mixer with paddle attachment. Cream butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add agave and combine.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Add zest and vanilla to and egg to butter mixture and beat until smooth.

Add dry ingredients but do not over mix or cookies will be tough.

Roll out your cookies and cut into desired shapes.  I usually chill my shapes for around 10 minutes before baking them.

 

img_5156Once you’ve baked our cookie you will need a food grade stencil.

Royal Icing is hard to work with and I use what works for me.

Royal Icing

2 Tablespoons Crisco
2 Tablespoons Light Karo Syrup
7 Cups Powdered Sugar
4 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1/2 Cup Water
Flavoring of your choice
Color of your choice

img_5198Simply place stencil of your choice over frosted cookie then drag your color of choice across the stencil.  .

img_5208I allow my icing to dry for several hours before attempting to stencil them.

img_5205Once they have dried to touch I place them in bags and don’t tie them for a few more hours to ensure the icing is dry.  Do not worry these cookies will keep for several weeks in these bags and be just as good.  Do you honestly think Starbucks bakes their decorated sugar cookies daily?

 

Pokemon Ball Necklace

dsc_0003Who remembers Shrinky Dinks?  Funny how everything comes back around.  They don’t smell toxic any longer.  These necklaces are pretty simple to throw together, and were a big hit with my sons classmates.

What you will need:
Shrinky Dink Sheets (amazon)
Scissors
Computer Print-out of pattern you choose
Ink-Jet Printer
Hole Punch
9mm Jump Rings ( Michaels or JoAnns)
KONMAY 50pcs Black Satin Silk Necklace Cord 2.0mm/20” with 2”
Extension Chain (amazon)
Oven

dsc_0002Print out a sheet of your favorite images.  We chose Pokemon balls.  Simply print onto your shrink-dink sheet in your Ink-Jet printer.  Once you print then out cut your shapes out and use a hole punch to ensure you have holes to run string through.

DSC_0008Place in your oven ours worked best at 325 degrees.  We baked ours for 3 minutes.  They will curl before flattening back out.

dsc_0001-3You will need to twist the J hook open with your pliers in order to connect them together.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-10-33-44-amThen clamp onto your necklace.

dsc_0003-2Total cost of necklaces ran under 1.00 each and were unique.

Thai Spicy Pickles

These are my spicy refrigerator pickles, and I pray the last of my cucumbers for this season.

2 1/2 pounds cucumbers
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups rice vinegar
1  cup raw sugar
1  cup white vinegar
1  tablespoon kosher salt
20  fresh Thai chile peppers, halved lengthwise
5  or more cloves garlic, smashed
5  or more stalks lemongrass, peeled, trimmed.

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DSC_0005Thoroughly scrub cucumbers. Cut cucumbers lengthwise into spears.
In a 4- to 5-quart stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy pot combine the water, rice vinegar, sugar, white vinegar, and salt. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar.

DSC_0008 2
Pack cucumber spears loosely into five hot sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Add 4 Thai chile halves, 1 clove garlic, and, if desired, one-fifth of the lemongrass to each jar.

 

DSC_0010 2Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture, maintaining the 1/2-inch headspace.

DSC_0016 Cool for 30 minutes; seal and label.
Chill for at least 1 week before serving.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Peach Italian Ice

DSC_0002From my little tree that GIVES, and GIVES, and GIVES..

8 ripe  peaches, pitted and and peeled
1 cup water
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup water for 2nd blend
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
You can half this recipe, I just have an endless supply of peaches!

DSC_0003 Place your scored peaches and water in a large sauté pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Until your skins start to peel.  They will look like this where you scored them. From here you will place them in a bowl of ice water.

DSC_0006 Removed one at a time from ice water and begin peeling the skins off them.

DSC_0009 After you have removed your peels, cut up your peaches, remove the seed and toss in your blender.

IMG_3550Add the water, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, and process until smooth.

IMG_3553Once blended it will be this gorgeous shade of orange.

IMG_3554Pour the mixture into plastic cups, and freeze overnight.

 

DSC_0010The following day, break up your peach mixture and blend again in two batches.  Add 1/4 cup water to each batch.This step really softens the ice and prevents any sort of layering.

DSC_0011It will lighten during this second blend.

DSC_0014Pour the softened peach ice slushy into any small freezer safe container  and place back in the freezer. After a few hours, it’s ready when you are!

Peach Chipotle Sauce

IMG_1478

My beloved Peach Tree:-)

  • 8 to 10   fresh peaches blanched, peeled, pitted and chopped.
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 finely chopped Chipotle Peppers in adobe sauce ( you will find these in the mexican food section)
  • Red Pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 package liquid pectin (optional)

Once your peaches have been blanched, peeled, pitted and sliced.  Mix your peaches, lemon juice and chipotle peppers together and bring to a full boil.  Once you’ve reached this stage add your sugar and lemon juice and place over low to medium heat for 15 minutes.  You will want it to be a good simmer the entire time.  It’s time to use your immersion mixer and break down your peaches once you have done this throw in your pepper flakes.  Don’t over-mix your sauce you want it broken down but not too velvety.  It should look close to the picture above minus the shadow..

How your ready to can.  Take your sterilized jars and fill them with your sauce.  Please leave 1/2″ headspace and screw on your bands but not too tight.  I water bath mine for 15 minutes and live around 3,400 ft.  Always make sure you process your jars according to your altitude.  Once you pull your jars from your water bath you should hear a “pop” within a minute or so and that is the sound of success.

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We use this sauce on Roasted Pork as a glaze.  We also use it on sandwiches and feel free to pour it over cream cheese and serve as an appetizer.

 

Spicy Onion and Honeycrisp Relish

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DSC_0025INGREDIENTS
2 lbs. sweet onions
1 large Honeycrisp apple
1 c. apple juice
½ c. cider vinegar
3 tsp. fresh, minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 box Low or No Sugar Needed pectin
½ tsp. butter or oil
1 c. honey
½ raw sugar with 1/2 tsp molasses

DIRECTIONS

Prepare waterbath canner

DSC_0029Cut ends off onions and peel; slice in half and then dice length wise.

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Add prepared onions, apple juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard and red pepper flakes to an 8-qt. stockpot.

DSC_0033Gradually stir in pectin and then add butter.Bring to a boil that can’t be stirred down over high heat, stirring constantly.
DSC_0037Add honey ,raw sugar and molasses return to a full boil and let boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

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Remove from heat. Ladle hot marmalade into prepared jars Wipe rims, attach lids, and place in canner.
Place lid on canner and bring boil 15 minutes.

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Turn off heat, and remove jars to a towel-lined surface to cool for 24 hours without disturbing.

Canned Salsa Verde

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I love canning this and using it for Verde Enchiladas.

YOU WILL NEED

1 cookie sheet of tomatillos (make sure husks are removed)
5 Serrano peppers,  you can use Jalapeños too
1 large white onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

 

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AFTER you have prepared your ingredients place  tomatillos in your oven at 425 degrees for a min of 15 to 20 minutes. You want them charred on top.

DSC_0008TAKE tomatillos out and process in blender with remaining ingredients. This is the time to taste test your salsa and make sure it’s to your liking.  If you want more spice add it.  I sometimes don’t until later incase some people can’t handle my heat:-)

PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.DSC_0014LADLE hot salsa into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

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PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours.

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Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


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