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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Make Your Own Butter - Great Summer Project to Do With Your Kiddos

Good Morning!! Thanks for popping over for a visit.  So, have you ever made your own butter? If not, you are truly missing out and I don't think it could be easier. It's funny, little things, can give us such a feeling of accomplishment. Not to mention, that you will shock your friends and family with your amazing talent! (LOL, really it's so easy, you'll be almost embarrassed at all the praise you will get for doing this simple thing)!
So, I really want to break it down for you, because when I first started doing this myself, I thought it would be a very daunting task, and that only 'special' people, you know, the Martha Stewart's of the world, could possibly do! Ha! So Easy...but people will think you're as talented as M.S! Another thing that I really love about this, is doing it with children! You can't believe their amazement! As if,  you had some magic powers or something!

Okay, Step 1 - Buy a half gallon of Cream. Yep that's it! I don't know about where you live, but this isn't something you can buy at most stores, they usually only sell pints or maybe a quart, but good old Costco sells this half gallon carton for only $3.99!

Make sure it is Heavy Whipping Cream. And, no, Half and Half will not work.  I have used my Kitchen Aid here, but I have also made it in a food processor.  I have been told, and I cannot see why not, that you can also do this in your average, garden variety, Blender. :) 


Okay are you ready for it? Step 2 - Pour Whipping Cream, take out of the fridge an hour before you're ready, (room temperature is best for this)Now, pour it into your Bowl, Food Processor or Blender. (Little tip here: to stay dry and not have cream all over your kitchen, do no more than 1-1/2 - 2 cups at a time. Yep, I learned that one the hard way)


Do not put it in High! You can use the middle setting for this and walk away for a little bit. But, if you are doing this with your kids, I suggest you stay and watch! It really is fascinating to see the transformation. Obviously. the first you will see is a nice whip cream texture. (Doesn't that look beautiful?) The mind wants to stop here, because we like it, and we are familiar with this, but do not stop your machine!  
It is so pretty, though.. Okay, so if you need a little whip cream for dessert, or for your Latte or just to taste, now would be the time to get it out. :)  But, then, turn it back on and keep blending..








<-- Now you start seeing this. If you've made your own whip cream, you know this is when you have gone a little too far and it doesn't have that nice silky look anymore. It's ok, this is what you want. Don't stop blending! 
Now you've really done it! it's gone from anything even remotely looking like whip cream to looking almost like a dry, grainy texture in the center! I know, weird, eh? It's really suppose to do that! This is just the fat and water content separating, this is normal.  When you get to this point, though, I would highly recommend putting your splash guard on. Because what happens next is truly amazing!!

All of the sudden, this liquid starts shooting out of it, splashing about everywhere!! Bizarre, eh? That liquid is the best Buttermilk you will ever taste!! Bonus!! You get fresh, Homemade Butter and Buttermilk!! I highly recommend placing a clean cotton towel over your mixer while this is happening..

When it starts doing this, have a clean, dry, sealable container ready, because now you are going to turn your Blender off and drain the buttermilk off into that container! And does it ever taste good in your recipes!! I love to use this buttermilk for my scones or biscuits, where you can really appreciate the flavor! Make sure to seal and refrigerate your buttermilk. You're not quite done yet.

 Put your bowl back in place and turn your Blender back on. You may get a little more buttermilk here to drain off, or not, it just depends on how much liquid you already got put of it. If you continue to get some more liquid, repeat the draining step again.   Okay this is Step 3! Now that you can see that you have creamed butter in your bowl, you can add honey (I add about 1 Tablespoon of fresh, unfiltered raw honey from Whole Foods to mine)Yummm! If you like, you can also add herbs and garlic of your choice, if you want just plain sweet cream butter do not add anything. Continue to blend for another minute or so.




I have never heard of anyone else doing the next step, and it probably isn't necessary, but I like to take one of my bottled waters out of the fridge at this point and just pour about 1/2 cup over the butter as it blends, it seems to chill it and make it come together a little nicer, but hey, that's just me. You can skip this step if you like and just scrape your yummy butter out of your blender or mixer and put it into a bowl that has an air seal lock.  You will be amazed. It comes out of the bowl easier than anything else you've ever made.


From the half gallon( 64 oz.) of whipping cream we started with,  you should yield approximately 4 cups of butter and 4 cups of buttermilk!


Now, if you are lucky enough to have a butter crock, (or blessed with a friend who finds one for you, thanks Linda) like the one below, you can store a 1/2 cup of your fresh butter in it. It is simply sealed by placing 1/3 cup of cold water in it, before placing the butter in the lid. This way you can have some spreadable butter on the counter and store the rest in your fridge in an air-sealed container. Any tupperware will work here.







I hope you do take this fun little project on, I have nor gone back to stick butter, other than for baking, ever since I made my first batch of honey butter!!


Many Blessing to you all for a wonderful week!! I hope you are all enjoying your summer!
~Theresa


I'll be sharing this with the following wonderful Ladies!
The Ultimate Linky  Creative Kids Tasty Tuesday   Ivy and Elephants  Yesterfood  Savvy Southern Style My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia  The Scoop @ Cedar Hill Farmhouse   A Stroll Thru Life   Katherine's Corner Thursday Favorite Things    French Country Cottage Feathered Nest Friday   The Charm Of Home's Home Sweet Home    Imparting Grace: Grace at Home     Stringtown Home's Sisterhood
Posed Perfection's Creative Ways    Vintage Chic     Nacherrow's Fridays Unfolded
Natasha In Oz      Shabbilicious Friday    I Heart Nap Time's Link Party Palooza   The Dedicated House Cindy's Romantic Home


This post was featured by the incredibly talented & very kind Joy from Yesterfood I adore Joy and her wonderful Blog and am so completely honored! Many Thanks!

Yesterfood
Completely surprised to also be featured by the wonderful & talented, Richella, from Imparting Grace



Friday, July 4, 2014

Brownies With Flair!

Happy Fourth of July!! I had hoped to have this recipe up for you all a little earlier... but, life happened, as it tends to do.  So, It's here now, and (I think) a great thing to bring to your Barbeque or Celebration!! I was trying to come up with something rather easy, but more special than just another brownie.  Hence, I now have "Brownies with Flair" to take and share with my friends and family with all it's Yumminess for the Summer celebrations going on!! I know the kids will absolutely love it! (If the adults don't eat it first...hehe)

Can anyone tell me, when  Chocolate with some more chocolate, marshmallows, nuts, topped with some more "pretty"chocolate is not a hit?! Well, at least in my family, the answer would be never! 


The very best part of this, is how easy and quick it is to make! You probably even have most of these ingredients in your cupboard, already. I love that! If not, easy enough to pick up & fairly inexpensive. I used store brand mini marshmallows, the brownies, well I like Pillsbury! :) The chocolate chips semi-sweet and milk are a great price here @ Trader Joe's and the walnuts were again another store brand. Not too tough, eh?


So, here we go. First, and this is a tricky one, prepare and bake your brownies, according to the directions  on the box. I added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and substituted applesauce for the oil, but that's pretty much it.  
Then it looks something like this ( I used a 9x13" pan).



 Have your chocolate chips and marshmallows ready, because you are going to need to work quickly once it's baking.  About 3 minutes before it's done, pull your pan out of the oven and scatter 2/3 of a a bag of mini marshmallows over the top, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup each of milk chocolate and semi sweet chips and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. You'll  want to do this rather rapidly so you don't loose the internal temperature of your brownies.  Once you have all that evenly scattered over your brownies, pop it back in the oven for 2 mins. max! You don't really want to toast your marshmallows or you will get the crystallized sugar texture, so you're just really melting them. really, and that happens in under 2 minutes!  Pull them out and let them cool for about 5-10 minutes. Now you're ready for the fun part! 

This is what it look like at this point! Very hard not to just grab a knife and dig in right now!! But, I'm an adult and I can show some restraint.. (So, I just lick my fingers, where the marshmallow and melted chocolate, accidently got smeared. ;)


Melt about 1/4-1/3 cup of your leftover chocolate chips. Either kind is fine, I used the semi-sweet here.( You can use your microwave here, just be careful not to overcook) Now, when you have them melted add 1/2 teaspoon of canola or other rather tasteless oil to your  chocolate. I know it sounds kinda gross, but you will really never taste it and it makes the next step so much easier to work with and gives you such a better appearance. Now, with a good fork, take your  bowl of melted chocolate and drizzle your chocolate back and forth over the top of your Brownies. Have fun with it and choose a direction or pattern you want your drizzle to go, until you have used up your melted chocolate. (Just one last note, I usually do this with my pan over a washable surface on a wire rack, for easy cleanup). 

Then, lucky you! You end up with something that looks like this! It wows your family and really is very easy to do!!  Are you spending the day with your Family? I hope so. I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July with people you love!


I am blessed with family close by, and some more that will be down for a visit. My house just happens to be 1/3 of mile away from where they put off our towns fireworks display and my large front covered porch is the best seat in town!! I think, at last count there will  be 8 or 9 of us out there! So, these goodies will come in very handy and I am certain not a crumb will go to waste!


I truly hope you will give this recipe a try, you will be completely surprised at how easy it really is!  Many Blessing to you and yours for a happy and safe Holiday!!
~Theresa

I will share this with:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer is "Officially" Here - Time for something Cool...

Good Morning!! This morning I'm writing to wish you all a Happy, Healthy, fun-filled Summer!  
That being said, I am not much of a Summer person, myself. I'd pretty much prefer any other Season, actually!  I don't know if it is because I live in California and we get some very hot days here!! Eeeks! High 90's -100's Hot, or if it's just because I, So enjoy the other seasons so much. Hmmm. Point for me to personally ponder, I guess. I had Happy Summer Childhood memories, so nothing there. Oh well! I will not complain, as I know many people would love to trade places with me, and I probably wouldn't Love all of their seasons either! Aren't we funny creatures?!

One thing is for sure, I LOVE the time spent with the kids, the family gatherings and the celebrations, that we could not have any other time of the year!  So, on that note I wanted to share with you one of my new favorite recipes, that really is something to be enjoyed in the Summer!!  Do you like Lemonade? I have never been a real big fan.  However, now that i have discovered this new (well, new to me, anyway) infusion of raspberries, it has quickly become one of my all time faves! Odd, isn't it, how our tastes change over the years? :) 





       

 Have you tried it yet?! If you are new to this wonderful drink, like me, may I highly recommend that this is a recipe best made with the fresh ingredients?! It is very easy to make, as well...I also, highly suggest, you make a double batch, while you're at it.

We just recently celebrated 3 of my family's Birthdays and Father's Day all together! I made this for the celebrations, and it was the first thing gone for both adults and kids

And, as you can see, you can dress it up and make it lots of fun! Like this beautiful shot of it in a pretty little mason jar or something a little fancier, in a cocktail glass. The sky's the limit! Use your imagination on how you want to include it at your next event, or just make a nice big batch to have in your fridge!

The recipe couldn't be easier!!
5-6 Large Lemons
6 ounces Fresh Raspberries
1 cup Hot water 
1 cup of sugar 
3-4 cups of cold water
That's IT!!

Simmer the sugar in 1 cup of water, until dissolved. Halve your Lemons and extract juice. Either, manually or with a juicer, you should end up with around 1 cup of fresh Lemon juice. Blend or pop your Raspberries in the food processor until smooth (Don't forget to save 6-8 berries for garnish! They look so pretty in your pitcher!) Ok, are you
ready for the hardest part of this recipe? Strain out your seeds.. Pour the juice through a colander or sieve, so that your don't have any seeds in your lemonade. You will find that the raspberry pulp with seeds doesn't really want to go through, so here's a good trick: combine your Lemon juice and simple syrup (the sugar and water you just warmed) and pour it over the raspberries that you are straining, this should help the wonderful raspberry goodness come right through! If you don't think you got all the raspberry goodness go ahead and pour one more of your cups of water through,  That should do it!  Then finish by adding your last 2-3 cups of water. Serve over Ice with a coupe fresh berries floating around! If you want to get really fancy, you can always add a sprig of mint and a pink or red striped straw...Just have fun with it. Isn't it amazing how when we take a little extra time to make things pretty, we feel that much more spoiled? And, you know it always tastes better, when it looks pretty!

I hope that the weather is as you like it, where you are and that you get to enjoy your time with your Family and Friends.
Blessings Always,
~Theresa.

I'll be sharing this recipe with:
Tweak It Tuesday @ Cozy Little House

Life With the Crust Cut Off Lovely Ladies Linky
The Ultimately Linky @Wonderful Wednesdays Blog Hop 

Creative K Kids Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party
Ivy & Elephants What's It Wednesdays
Katherine's Corner Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop

The Brambleberry Cottage Time Travel Thursday
Feathered Nest Friday  @
 French Country Cottage
Nancherrow Fridays Unfolded
DIY Vintage Chic Friday's Five Features
The Charm of Home Home Sweet Home
A Delightsome Life's Home and Garden Thursday
The Ultimate Pinterest Party
Natasha In Oz Say G'Day Saturday
Colorado Springs  Friday Favorite
How Sweet The Sound: Pink Saturday






Friday, June 20, 2014

When God Gives You Peaches...You make Cobbler!!

Like the title says, when you're given peaches, make this yummy Cobbler!! I am lucky enough to have some wonderful friends, who happen to have a peach tree!  And, no, they don't bake! So, it seemed the natural thing to ask them what they were going to do with all their peaches. Right? Anyway, they, pretty much, told me I could come pick my fill.....and, of course, I did!! Thanks Sara and Dave! After getting my basket and my canvas bag full, I hurried home to make this Cobbler, that has quickly become a favorite! Isn't it Beautiful?! 


Look at these beautiful, hand picked fresh Peaches!!

However, as beautiful as they are, you can't really bake anything super yummy with those skins on them. So, I started preparing for my Cobbler by blanching the peaches. This is a bit of a process in itself, so I have included a little link here on how to blanch peaches, just in case you didn't know. :)  Fascinating little sidenote here:  for all the recipes out there in the World Wide Web, there are precious few that actually use fresh peaches. More often, than not, I see dump two cans of fruit instead of slice so many cups.... So, I guess what I'm saying is:
 if you have access to fresh fruit, the taste and experience is much better! This is also a great recipe to make with your kids! Summer fun that they'll truly remember. I still remember canning plums, apricots, pears and making applesauce with my Mum and brother and sisters. It is one memory that we all say is a favorite. All the summer vacations and trips, yet, we all remember, vividly, how we took turns on peeling, slicing, stirring, etc.. the different stations my Mother would have set up for us to help. I think everyone agrees, turning the hot apples through the colander and having the applesauce come down through the holes was our favorite! Funny, what memories stick, isn't it? 

How to Blanch Peaches video Here:

Back to the recipe.  These are those ones from above after blanching and the peel sliding off! Aren't they perfect? Okay, I'll be honest, I'm only showing you the really nice ones, but you get the idea.
Now that we have them blanched and peeled, simply remove the pit and slice (much like the canned ones) You will end up with a gorgeous bowl of peaches ready for anything! Jam, butter, crisp, or this wonderful Cobbler recipe. 
Did I mention that, despite the very nice and very fresh Peaches, this is really not a low fat or low sugar recipe?  You have to splurge a little every once in awhile....this would be a great way to do that!

After I have then all sliced and in a bowl, like this, I strain off all the yummy juice into a saucepan. It doesn't need to be big. You'll probably get 1-1/2 to 2 cups of syrup for 5-6 cups of sliced peaches. Put that on the stove with 1/2-1 cup of sugar, depending on the ripeness and your taste. You can turn that on now, you're just going to cook that enough to dissolve the sugar, well, and get the desired sweetness you want. These ones weren't very sweet on their own, so I added a full cup of sugar to the juice! It's well worth it and you won't be adding sugar to the peaches, so, technically, this is it!

After about 5-6 mins on low heat you end up with this beautifully rich peach-yy syrup!

Oh, you all are probably wanting a list of ingredients for this, huh? Sorry about that, but, I still tend to explain my recipes, rather than list ingredients. But just so you know, you will need:

5-6 cups of Peaches (If you must, you may used canned here) it does work, ughh!
1/2-1 cup of white sugar
the juice of 1 lemon ( squeeze this over your peaches in the bowl while you are working on pitting and cutting the rest)
1/2 cup of butter ( I know! keep reading...)
5-6 tablespoons of cream cheese
I box (15.25 oz.) of white or yellow cake mix (I know you think I've gone mad, but the yumminess to come is so worth it!)
Finally, Cinnamon to taste.

Wheww!! Okay, you all still with me? It really is good and really is worth the calories. (Maybe schedule in a couple extra trips to the gym this week or jog a few miles. You can do it!) I have faith in you!


Pour the dry cake mix into a bowl and add the softened butter and cream cheese. You can use a pastry cutter, fork or knives, whatever you have on hand you don't need to cut it too awful much.




 It should now resemble something like this:


Now that you have the cake mix ready, you can place your sliced peaches in a 9x16" pan and  pour 1/2 of your sweetened peach syrup over them, being sure to get in all areas.. I know, it's going to seem to be a little too wet here, but it's not.  Once you've done that you can start spooning your cake and butter mixture over the peaches, be sure not to dump it all on.  You do want to evenly distribute it over your peaches...completely cover your peaches and juice with the cake mix.


When you have done that, you can take the rest of your peach syrup and drizzle it over the top of the batter.  Did I tell you to preheat your oven? No, I guess not. You should preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pop this in center of your oven, just like this!
Okay, this is the part that I always find difficult. "How long do you cook it for?" My usual answer to this question, is "Until it is done." :)  Which is still true. You are going to bake this from 30-45 minutes depending on your oven, your pan, the amount of peaches and well, until it's done! I don't know how else to say it.  Hopefully, a picture is still worth a thousand words. When it is done it will look like this!
I know not super pretty in the pan like this, but it is OH so GOOD!!! I recommend letting it set up for at least 20-30 mins before cutting into it.  But, then it's all yours!! This is a great dessert to take to Summer get togethers, it travels well and is absolutely perfect with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on top.  I hope you'll give it a try this summer.. If you do, come let me know what you thought!! 

If you are lucky enough to have any leftover, I, usually,  like to reheat this back in the oven for 6 -7 mins.  think it's much better slightly warm. However, my family will eat it either way.

Happy Baking!! Many Blessings to you and yours!

~Theresa.

I'll be sharing this recipe with:

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Joyful Noise



This first piece is call Butterfly Waltz! How perfect is that?!



Happy Friday! Enjoy your day!! Search for some butterflies this weekend!!
May you be blessed or be a blessing.

Do you know I have always loved visiting some of the Beautiful Blogs that have music playing in the background. It's as if you have entered an enchanted space.


 (source)




                                                                     

 Cielo's House in the Roses ( Now called Little White Cottage in the Woods ) that you can find HERE, use to have an entrancing playlist playing and while you were looking at all her beautiful images and reading about her adventures you were being serenaded. Like being in the "Secret Garden".















                          (source)

 I have always loved it so much, I found myself leaving the tab open and the music playing, while I finished my work up on the computer. What a wonderful way to work! So, this is my little tribute to the magic that music is and the gift of Joy it gives us, as it lifts our spirits and soothes our souls.




                                                                                        (source)

                                                                       (source)


 I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
~Theresa.




Sharing with: Beverly@Pink Saturdays Natasha@
Say G'Day Saturday Courtney@Feathered Nest Friday
Marty@A Stroll Through Life's Inspire Me Tuesday Katherine@
Thursday's Favorite Thing





Saturday, May 31, 2014

Garbage To Gorgeous for FREE!!

Goodness, where do I start? Well, First of all, Let me wish you all, albeit late, A Happy Easter!...Happy Mother's Day!...Hopes that you had a good and safe Memorial Day weekend! Yes, I know, I have been away for a little bit, but that didn't stop me from creating, cooking DIY'ing (probably not a real word, huh?) Either way, I am back at it again and sincerely hope that you have hung in there with me!  Ok, let's get to it!

Did you see the title? Garbage to Gorgeous for FREE? That's a wonderful fact of this wonderful little treasure that has now become part of my home. 


Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, depends how you look at it, this beautiful little dresser was found on my very own street side next to the garbage cans, ON garbage pick up morning! I know, I couldn't believe it either!! In all fairness, it looked nothing like this. So, let me show you how it got this way, after I snuck down in my robe and saved from the garbage truck!

What I originally found was this!


I know!! Completely different right? All the same solid wood, tattered, stabbed many times (I think they used the top of the poor little thing as a butcher's block) and to top it off some kids had gone to town on it with their large marker pens! 

Still, what a cute little dresser.
What I usually find at the GW or other thrift store is in good enough shape that chalk paint will cover any imperfections. Not this little one. So, I got out my sandpaper and went to town on the really bad parts and cleaned up the rest.


Finally, I was ready to paint!! I was so excited to get to this point I can't even tell you.  I have done alot of work with Behr's version of AS Chalk Paint. This time, I was thinking I really wanted this piece to have that authentically antique feel and look. So, I added a little leftover "peanut butter paint" I had on hand, to tint the white into an older creamier white. I was very pleased with the results. If you are trying this, yourself, I used approximately 1 tablespoon of the colored paint to 8 ounces of chalk paint. 

The drawers out, I began! Side note here:  You are going to notice a little variation in the colors on these images. It's all the same, just the difference of day or night, when the photo was taken. I, rarely, like to use the flash for the images I share with you.


With the drawers and the front done, I slid them back in for convenience. (And to see how it was coming along)  Progress + Incentive is a wonderful thing and quickly turns into a motivator to keep on going!!  

   
Once the painting was done, it was time to get my finer grade of sandpaper and start "distressing" the dresser, being mindful of where normal where and tear would occur, I lightly sanded the corners and heavily used spots. Because this wood was so blonde, after sanding the stain and varnish off, I decided to rub in some wonderful Old English Dark wood oil, for a more authentically aged piece. I took a picture of it here, with just the top drawer done, so you could really see the difference.


By this point, I couldn't wait to see it all done, so I worked on it for another hour or so and ended up with this beautiful little treasure!! I'm so happy with the way it turned out! What do you think? 


Do you look on the curbs for treasures to make over? I highly recommend it. It is the ultimate in recycling! Plus, no need to spend money, if someone else is, literally, throwing it away!  I hope you enjoyed my project as much as I did!! Many more to come. 


Thanks so much for coming along my journey with me today! Many Blessings to you and yours!
~Theresa 



I'll be sharing this fun little find with: