Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tomato Bacon Salad

We had a BBQ to go to and of course about about a week before the party I started to worry about what to bring.  It said to bring  a "side" on the invitation.  Well, I normally bring desserts to any function I go to because I love to bake and people know I bake and enjoy my baked goods.  So seeing side meant to me bringing something to go with the main entree which was grilled venison. Add in we were going to be out of town up til the morning of the party so I needed something I could just easily pick up the ingredients that morning on our way back in town or have on hand at home.  It needed to be something that didn't require a lot of prep work or cook time as I just wouldn't have the time. 

I was flipping through an old Food & Wine magazine and came across a recipe that I adapted because it wasn't exactly what sounded good to me - as I don't like blue cheese and I didn't like the sound of dijon vinaigrette at that moment - but I am sure it would be good with it too.  This is what I ended up making...

Tomato Bacon Salad
3 lbs tomatoes at least 3 different kinds chopped- I did 4 kinds
1/2 lb cooked bacon - crumbled
1 small container feta cheese
balsamic vinaigrette (homemade or bottled) - to taste - start with 1/2 cup and keep moving up - I think I used about 1 cup.

Toss all ingredients to mix. Refrigerate until serving. The flavors will soak in and marinate the tomatoes.  

Refrigerate any leftovers - if there are any.  We came home with less than 1/2 cup.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cleaning the Kitchen Trash Can

Even with a trash bag in your trash can liquid and food particles can escape and cause nasty things to grow and create bacteria that not only smell nasty but produce things we don't want to touch or breath . Every time I change the trash bag out, I spray my normal all-purpose cleaner on the inside and outside.  It has disinfecting properties to it.  I let it air dry before putting in a new bag.

But every so often (about once a month to every 6 weeks), I wash and do a more thorough cleaning of the trash can. This will not only work for your kitchen trash can but all the other trash cans in your home. When cleaning the trash cans I bring to the curb, I just do this process but outside with the hose.

We have a shower that as detachable sprayer/hose so that it isn't fixed position. I use the sprayer on it to rinse off with hot water.  I  fill it up about 1/3 of the way with hot water and liquid dish soap and let it soak for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Then take a scrub brush to it and give it a good cleaning.   Making sure I get all the corners, around ridges and the lip of the trash can.

If you don't have a shower you can use, then use your tub and a pitcher to fill with water and pour over your trash can.   You can also use the outside hose even though it isn't hot water working with all purpose cleaner and soap will get it clean.  

After you have washed it in the shower (or tub or outside), let air dry or pat dry.  Then spray with an disinfecting all-purpose cleaner and either dry with a towel or allow to air dry.  You can also leave it to dry in the sun and the sun will help in destroying any other lingering bacteria.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Favorites

Mojito Cheesecake Bites - when I shared this earlier this week with someone she called me an evil temptress. I can think of worse things to be called. :) They looks so good how could I not share!

Mother Earth News Canning Guide - shares the science behind it, why we should can, lots of resources and recipes. 

How to Clean Stoneware - I think this sounds interesting. There are times I wish my stoneware was clean again. But I do like the baked on look it has - makes it easier to peel things off of it too. But do read the comments on this one too. I saw at least one comment talk about their stoneware broke in the high heat.

DIY Body Butter Recipes - I have been looking through a lot of body lotion recipes. I have been wanting to make my own for a long time as I break out from so many lotions on the store shelves because of added scents and no doubt other ingredients I don't understand on the list of ingredients. I was also gifted a block of beeswax not too long ago so put me on the path to looking into this sooner than later.  So hopefully I will have some photos and recipe posted here soon. But at least wanted to share this link for now. 

Coursera - they partner with top universities to offer FREE classes. Many don't deal with domestic arts but some might come in use in household management such as some of the nutritional classes or finance. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vintage Pillowcase Apron Tutorial

A few months ago, I found some hand-embroidered vintage pillowcases at the thrift store.  I picked them up for a screaming deal and figured I'd find a use for them if not for a bed then maybe a quilt.  I made a skirt from one that I have to say is so cool and comfortable I know I'll be living it in during the hot days of July and August.

Another I turned into an adorable apron and figured I'd share just how you can do it too.

Step 1.  Cut the pillow-case to the desired length.  Leave the bottom edge in tact (if possible) so that it becomes the bottom of the apron and doesn't need hemmed.

Step 2. Cut the pillow case sides, so that it's no longer a tube but rather two separate pieces of fabric.  Hem the raw edges.  Do this by rolling the edge over and pressing with an iron, then roll and press again so that the raw edge is tucked inside.  Sew a stitch all the way around these rolled hems. 
Step 3.  Make the aprons strings.  From the leftover pillow case fabric.  Cut two strips 3 inches wide and as long as needed to tie around the waist.  Fold the strips in half, long-wise.  Run a seam down the open end, using 3/8" allowance.  Do this on both strips.  Turn the strips right-side out.  I use a knitting needle to do this but chopsticks, even pencils work.  The strips are basically a long tube at this point.  Fold the raw open ends of the tube inside and press the entire strip flat.

Step 4: Attach the strings by running a stitch in the shape of a square around the string and top corner of the apron.  Seal the other end by running a stitch down the edge.

Step 5: Wear proudly! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guest Post: Laundry Soap Recipe

Guest Post by teacup
 Trying to budget? To make the most of a dollar? Me too. Seeing a recipe online for some homemade laundry detergent was an inspiration...Yeah, I am certain there are many recipes out there (even one here by kaya) and they may all do a fairly decent job.

My goal is to save some money where it counts....bottle detergent just seems to be getting higher and higher in cost. When using less expensive detergent, it seems to come out of the bottle like water. So I  am not sure how much detergent is actually in there.

I had seen a recipe on Pinterest. I went out and bought the ingredients and in less than 15 minutes I had made a couple years supply of detergent for less than $25.00 that was including a fabric softener in there. If that was excluded, it would be less than $15.00 for a couple years supply so my mission was accomplished. Having detergent and saving money. (An alternative to fabric softener is vinegar.)

The test was using the detergent I went very well. The clothes were clean, had a great scent to them, and clothes that I typically hang were soft and held the nice scent of the fabric softner. The clothes that were dried in the dryer came out very nice. Towels were soft and fluffy and no static cling at meeting those requirements were a plus for me.  At this point, I am totally happy with the results and even more with the cost...using only 2 Tblsp of the end product will make the detergent last me a very long time...most likely years. I typically do no more than 2 loads of laundry per week.  I re-used the bottles that the Purex fabric softener Crystals came in to put the detergent in for easy pouring and the cap filled half way or so was all I needed.

1 box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing soda  ($3.49)
2 boxes of baking soda (2 boxes for .98 - I used generic)
2 bottles Purex Crystals ($10.46 - optional all-together - you can use just one too...but I prefer a stronger scent so I used 2 )
2 bars of Fels-Naptha bar soap  ($2.08, I used a cheese grater to start but it was taking too I broke out my old salad shooter and in 2 min. I had both bars grated...and I just crumbled it into the bucket...I hear using a food processer works too)
1 box of Borax ($3.38)
1 3lb box of Oxi Clean ($3.25 - got on sale.)

for a total of $23.64

To mix it all up I reused a clean old kitty litter bucket, but using a 5 gal bucket to mix it all in is recommended.
also add OxiClean 
grating soap

upcycle the Purex Crystal containers to use for easy adding to  washer

teacup Bio: Sometimes one just needs to be given the right map and then there are times when one just needs to make a leap of faith into the unknown. I'm a service-oriented slave from the suburbs of Chicago even though my heart lies in the beauty of Colorado. Even though the distance seems vast sometimes, I can't wait for opportunities to venture west to be with my family. I may be a little late comer to the lifestyle, but I'm forever amazed at what I've been missing out on. I have a wide array of interests and likes including photography, day trips, night excursions, football (Go Bears!), my pets and finding more efficient ways of doing things whether it's on the computer or the chores we all seem to have. FetLife Profile

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hoagie Rolls

It seems I have been making rolls about once a week this summer.  We like sandwich type meals in the summer time. I use the rolls for hamburgers, brats, Italian sausages with peppers and onions, Philly cheese steaks, steak torta, pulled pork or chicken,  deli lunch meat and just every type of sandwich under the sun. 

Recently I had a roast in the freezer I wanted to get rid of it.  I threw it into the crockpot with a whole onion chopped and several cups of beef broth.  When it got tender and just ready to fall apart, I took 2 forks and shredded it and then we had it on hoagie rolls with cheese. I used the liquid in the crockpot as an au jus to dunk our sandwiches in.  It was a nice way to have a roast in the summer. 

I use this recipe to make hamburger buns as well as hoagies. 

Recipe adapted from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons instant potato flakes
1 teaspoon salt

3 cups bread flour 
1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast (or 1 1/4 teaspoons SAF yeast)


2 tablespoons herbs

1. Place ingredients in machine according to the manufacturers instructions. Program with Dough cycle.

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray. When the cycle ends, press Stop and unplug the machine. Immediately turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With a knife, divide into 8-12 equal portions depending on size you want your rolls. For hamburger dough form each into tight rounds. For long hotdog buns or hoagie rolls, flatten each portion into an oval about 6-inches long and rolling tightly from a long end to form a cylinder. Place rolls on to the baking sheet at least 1-inch apart. Press with your palm to flatten each roll slightly. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that is coated with cooking spray and let rest for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4. Bake for 15 to 22 minutes, depending on the size of roll until lightly browned. Remove the roll from the baking sheet with a spatula and let cool on a rack. Slice horizontally to serve.

My Notes:
*My bread machine has a timer that goes off when you can add in items such as herbs.  So I add it in there. If you have one that doesn't, just add it in when you would add in sugar and salt.  My favorite to add is basil - fresh or dried - either is great. 

* I like making the hoagies slightly smaller than a traditional hoagie but that allows me to have 2 instead of one. Just easier to handle when eating also. 


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