Tuesday, October 29, 2013

French Onion Soup

The weather turned cool and I have been craving some soup!  I have made this soup every week for the past four weeks and I plan on making another pot tomorrow.  It's been fantastic to have for my lunches with a bit of bread and a slice of provolone cheese.

I don't have a photo of the finished product so you will have to believe it is magnificent.  I will try to  upload one at a later date.

You start with three or four onions.  I like to use the cheap, yellow onions that are always on sale.  I have used red onions when I have them.  The only ones that don't work as well is the sweet onions.  They get a little bitter, I think.

Slice them and put them into a skillet with a stick of butter.

Turn the stove on to medium, lid the skillet and let it cook.  Stir the onions every five minutes or so.

These aren't ready. . . .

Keep cooking. . . .
Done!  These are caramelized and sweet! 

Move these to a pot and add 1 1/2 quarts of good quality beef stock.  I like to make my own but in a pinch I use Swanson.  Bring to a boil and simmer for a half hour.

That's it!  This stuff is better than French Onion soup at sandwich shops. . . it's even better than the French Onion Soup at the good steak place!  It takes about an hour to make and it makes enough for my lunches for a week. 


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Clip On Earring Pendants

My daughter has a booth at her school's Merry Market and she needs to make items to sell.  One of the things she has decided to make is pendants.  She's been scouring garage sales for mismatched and clip on earrings to make her baubles with.

Here are two pendants she made from clip on earrings.

The one on the left is upside down so you can see the back. 

Here's how she did it.

Start with your supplies.
You need your jewelry, E6000 glue, some cutters and some bails.  She uses a bunch of different ones; these happen to have a back plate with them.

You need to make the back of your jewelry piece smooth so you can glue a bail to it. 

You will want to use your cutters and cut off the back.

Apply a liberal amount of E6000 to both pieces and press together.  Let it bond.  You will need to let it sit for three days to completely bond.

Easy easy!  Thread a chain or velvet ribbon through the bail and you have a pretty, unique piece of jewelry. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fixing a Knit

I scored a cute top at a garage sale this weekend for a buck.

Unfortunately, it has a problem.

Good thing it's a knit!  This is an easy fix.

Find some thread and a needle.  The thread should be a close match but it doesn't have to be exact.

Work on the inside of the garment.  Start on one end of the tear and hook the thread through the loops.

Keep working down the tear.  Make sure that the pucker is towards you.  It will be hidden on the inside of the garment.

When you are done, tie off the thread and cut it.  Flip your shirt right side out and wear!

Looking good!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Crock Pot Apple Butter

The best part of this time of year is the apples!  I love to make a good apple butter.

Apple butter is time consuming and messy.  I've been making Crock Pot Apple Butter for a few years and have found that it tastes as good and is a lot less work.

Here's the gist of it.

Crock Pot full of Apple Sauce - I make my own by boiling apples and sending them through the Victorio Food Strainer.  Buy one if you find one cheap.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Pour it all into the crockpot and taste.  You may need more sugar if your apples are super tart.  If they are sweet, don't add as much sugar. 

Cook uncovered for ten hours.  Use an immersion blender and blend smooth.  Cook for an additional hour.

Put into clean jars and lid.  Put into a boiling water bath for fifteen minutes to seal.

Refrigerate any that you don't seal.  This recipe makes seven pint jars.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wrapping a Loaf of Bread

I'm loving the weather!  The cool air means I turn on the oven and bake the bread I haven't eaten all summer!

I recently gifted a loaf and wanted to wrap it pretty.  This is what I came up with.

I have a stack of dish towels that I buy on clearance and give with gifts.  Everyone can use a dish towel!  I wrapped the loaf in plastic wrap and then in the dish towel.  I used some pretty fabric to create a rose -tutorial here.  I used coordinating fabric to make the ribbon and a thumbtack for the center of the flower.

I am imagining this in Christmas fabrics for Christmas gifts. 

Happy Fall!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Minecraft Bulletin Board

This project is on my other blog but I wanted to share it here because it was a ton of fun to do.

The kids and I created a huge Minecraft bulletin board.

It took four packs of paper from Michaels to do this.  I bought the $3.99 packs when they had a 50% off sale so this bulletin board cost me $8.00 plus a ton of glue to do.

The kids were tickled with their creation and my daughter is beyond proud when she walks into my class!  It took a few hours, some patience and a ton of glue to do this but it was worth it.  The best part was when my kids pulled up the game and showed me how "real" we made this look!  My son even got involved.  This rarely happens so I would have been happy even if it didn't turn out.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Quick Teriyaki Chicken

I love this time of year!  Every winter I can't wait for grilling season.  I grill everything. . . veggies, meats, potatoes - even pizza!  About September I start to get very tired of grilled food and want something stewish (not a word, I know.)  September is still to hot to turn on the oven but October is just getting brisk enough.

Tonight we had one of my favorite meals.  It's quick, easy and . . . drumroll. . . can be frozen and defrosted AND it tastes as good as it does on day one!

Here's the recipe:

Just kidding.  Here it really is:

Slice six to eight chicken thighs thinly.  Put into a bowl.

Mix the following ingredients together:
1/4 c soy sauce
1 c water
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t garlic (I use a tablespoon full of fresh, minced garlic)
5 T brown sugar
1 T honey

Pour over the top of the chicken. 

At this point you can either put it in the refrigerator for a bit (I usually let it sit all day but sometimes I don't soak the chicken. . . whatever works).  You can also put this mix into a plastic bag and put it into the freezer for another day.

If you are cooking it today, put the chicken mix into a pan on the stove.

Cook until chicken is done, about eight minutes.

Mix 2 teaspoons of arrowroot (or two tablespoons of cornstarch) with 1/4 cup water.  Pour into the sauce.

Stir until thick.

Serve over rice.  Yum!

This is an excellent meal when you want something quick, easy and yummy.  The meal is great as leftovers.  The meal also freezes well cooked or uncooked. 

Enjoy the fall!  It's a beautiful time of year!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why I've Been Absent

Let me start this post by saying that we are one of the lucky ones.  I know this and try to often remember it, especially when my heart starts beating faster, I get short of breath and I can't stop my mind from speeding 100 miles an hour.

My husband works for the government.  He is not getting paid right now.

I work part-time.  I don't bring in very much money.

A long time ago, we decided that the best thing for our family was for me to quit my job and stay at home and raise our children.  We looked at the world and decided we didn't need the stuff but we did need to be the ones raising our kids.  Fortunately, hubs makes enough so that it was possible.  We are lucky and blessed.

We made this decision.  We chose not to drive brand new vehicles every four years and to not have the "toys" our neighbors have (their RV rocks, by the way!).  We don't have someone come into our home to help us clean it and we don't do Parents' Nights Out with our friends.  We spend any additional money we can earn on small vacations, doing new things with our kids, experiencing things and making memories.  We chose not to have a huge savings account.   This was our decision and we are very happy with it.  We are blessed to have this.

The kids are older and at school so I picked up a part time job.  It's a job that has me off when they are off.  I am home when they are home.  My son doesn't come home to an empty home and, when it rains, I can pick him up from school.  My daughter always has someone to help her with math homework and to nag her to do her spelling words every night.  It's perfect but doesn't pay much.  It's now our only income.  We are blessed to have it.

We are lucky.  We are lucky because hubs is working and he will, eventually, receive back pay.  At some point, we can catch up on our bills.   (At some point, I will sleep without having to take a Benedryl!)  It could be so much worse.  We know people who were deemed non-essential and are not working.  My understanding is that they will not be receiving pay for this time they were not allowed to work.  I can not imagine the stress these families are going through; my heart aches for them.  We are lucky. . . but it still sucks.

At some point, the powers that be will quit acting like children and think about the entire country as a whole.  They will quit squabbling and act like the leaders we elected them to be.  Right now, I no longer care who is "right" and who is "wrong".   I do know it's wrong to make people work without pay so that the effects of the mess they created aren't felt and they are not inconvenienced.

So that, folks, is why I've been absent off my blog.  We knew this was coming and we knew it was a possibility so I tried to prepare the best that I could.  This past week I have had so much on my mind that I have a hard time slowing down and changing thought.  I know a lot of my reading audience is my friends and family.  Thank you for the prayers and happy thoughts you have been offering!  Thanks for the little treats and phone calls and texts!  Those of you that I've gotten to know because of this blog - thank you for sticking with me!

I do have photos and I do have projects. . . I just need to slow down, take a deep breath and post them.  I will get back on my schedule soon, I promise!