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Greetings. I'm Christine, a married, stay at home mom with 2 children. On this blog you will find DIY projects, recipes, gardening, crocheting, sewing, furniture refinshing & more. Thanks for stopping!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce & Whole Wheat Pita Bread

I could eat this for breakfast, lunch & dinner.
For the tzatziki sauce:
1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
2 cucumbers peeled, cored & grated

1 big bunch of parsley, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
You will also need a little helper with cute hands to ensure proper stirring.
Now, for the pita bread. There are recipes all over the internet for that. I found this one from Annie's Eats & it's delicious, easy & has turned out every time.
And a big thanks to my bro Jason for sharing his tzatziki recipe with me.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kale Salad

This picture was actually taken last summer. Kale, cucumber & tomatoes are among the most productive vegetables in the garden, so I make this salad frequently through the summer months. BUT, it is also very delicious if made from grocery store ingredients, so we are having it tonight for dinner, in the middle of January.
It's super simple & only 6 ingredients.
Chicken tenders baked at 350 degrees for 20 min. Olive oil, S&P on the chicken before baking.
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Ranch dressing
The ranch dressing makes the bitter kale taste delicious. My husband & kids wolf this salad but I know it's because of the ranch. I use my homemade ranch dressing recipe. Sometimes I cut the mayo amount in half & use homemade yogurt as a substitute, which eliminates the use for buttermilk since the yogurt can be a bit runny.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2013 Summer Garden Highlights

Let's start at the beginning. Back in February I started my tomato seeds in cups & set them in the corner of my bathroom. I have one south facing window in my entire house & that is it. The master bath.

By March, I had started bell peppers, artichokes, kale, Swiss chard & cucumbers.

By April, I had this :

It was fun to start my vegetables from seeds, watch them grow, water daily, watch them grow, transplant them, watch them grow & finally harvest them. When you think about how long the cycle of a tomato is from the time you drop a tiny seen into potting soil to the time you actually get a juicy red tomato to eat, it's no wonder why people buy their tomatoes from the grocery store & don't mess with gardening. I, personally, wish every tomato I ate came from my garden & I never had to buy them from the store. It's worth the wait & there's something so incredible about eating fruit from a seed you planted 6 months prior.

Moving right along, this is what I had by the middle of May on the day I planted everything into the ground.

By the time I got my vegetable plants into the ground it seemed as though I had a lot of extra space & could have planted so much more.

But then, rain & sun happened.
My tomato plants were staked in early June.
By the end of July, vines were growing clear out of the garden beds.

And this is what I was able to harvest :
garlic in mid-July
heirloom tomatoes that were ginormous & bright orange

Then, a few butternut squash
Endless green beans

A couple more tomatoes

A watermelon that didn't make it :(

Tons of basil


And Yukon gold potatoes (the slugs only got a couple this year).
When it got cold a couple weeks ago I picked the green tomatoes off & tore down my plants. Now, I'm slowly letting the tomatoes ripen in the house until they meet their canned fate.
So far, I've been able to can 17 pint jars of tomatoes. These are going to taste so delicious come January.

It was a good summer!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

1 quart mason jar
9 vanilla beans
Enough vodka to fill to the top

This is meant to sit for a month before using. At that time you can squeeze a couple of softened vanilla beans into the liquid. This never spoils.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's version at FoodNetwork.com

Friday, July 12, 2013

Harvesting Garlic

It's July, which means the garlic is ready to dig up. This was my first year growing garlic so I only planted three cloves. Only two of the cloves grew into plants.

They did really well, and the bottom leaves started turning brown, which is how you know it's ready to be dug up.

This is softneck garlic so I didn't get any scapes, like hardneck garlic produces. I used a hand rake to loosen the soil around the bulb. I was afraid I'd slice right into the bulb if I used my hand shovel. Once most of the head was visible, I gave a tug and up it came.

I rinsed off the roots & hung it to dry.

Since I had such good luck growing it, I'll probably plant much more this fall so I can store some & have it last through the colder months. I found some excellent looking heirloom garlic in my seed company catalog and can't wait to test it.

I just can't get enough of gardening.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Growing Garlic

Have you ever bought a head of garlic and had each individual clove start growing a green sprout from the top? I've only had it happen with organic garlic, and it doesn't take long. If it's not used in a week, it'll start growing.

So, I read online that you can plant it in the ground at Thanksgiving for a July harvest.

This is what mine looks like today :

It's almost time to pull it out. I'll let you know what comes up!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brioche Bread

I've always loved brioche bread but never thought it was possible to make at home because it seemed too complicated a bread to make. It's so rich from the eggs & butter it calls for, which is why I love it so. I recently read "Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten and she had a brioche recipe in there that seemed pretty simple, so I went for it.

Yesterday, I was carefully following the recipe step by step when I hit a line that said "wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate overnight". Noooo! I want it today !!!!! I did as the recipe said and baked it off this morning and it was worth the wait.

The recipe makes 2 loaves & she suggested freezing one but I baked them both and now I am wishing that I had doubled the recipe. This bread is going fast !!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dresser Turned Buffet Table

A friend of mine dropped her dresser off a few weeks ago and told me she wanted a black antique finish with glass knobs.

So, I went to work . . .

Sanding, priming, painting & sanding again.

And voila. . .

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Crocheted Leg Warmers

I know, my timing is off. Who wears leg warmers in the spring, right? Although, they sure are fitting for this spring!

I crocheted these late last fall for my daughter.

The pattern is a single stitch with a J hook & white Caron yarn. I cast on as many stitches it took to go from her ankle to her knee. Then, as I was crocheting I kept measuring to see if the warmer would fit around her leg. After it was finished I stitched the ends together with a large needle & more white yarn.
They turned out great and she loves them.
My friend is due any day with a baby girl so I crocheted these grey warmers for her. I made them big enough to fit her baby this coming winter (or what I thought would be big enough).

This is a Q hook with very chunky yarn, and I still used the single stitch pattern.
I'd like to try & make some for myself eventually, but now I'll wait until summer is through. I want hot weather !!!!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Broccoli Sprouts

I purchased several packets of non-gmo seeds from seedsnow.com recently, one of the packets being broccoli sprouts. I soaked the seeds for 12 hours in water and then left them to dry overnight on a paper towel.

In the morning I prepared a container for the seeds to grow by using a leftover plastic container (that arugula came in from the grocery store) and sterilized it with 2 tbs bleach & the rest water for 30 minutes. Then I poked several holes in the bottom for drainage and filled the container with potting soil. I sprinkled 2 tbs of seeds evenly on the soil, then topped them with more soil.

These containers are perfect because they come with a lid, which creates a nice little greenhouse.
After the seeds start to sprout, remove the lid so they're allowed to grow taller.
It only took 4 days to see all of these sprouts.
And look what I had after just one week !!!
Micro greens are not only ridiculously healthy for you but they are delicious too. These broccoli sprouts taste like radishes.


Homemade Mayonnaise

Remember in my last post I talked about straining homemade yogurt to make cream cheese? The liquid you end up with from straining the yogurt is called whey. Since I had no use for it, I was dumping it down the drain. Oy! A recipe for mayonnaise was recently brought to my attention and it called for whey. So now, I save it.

This is the recipe I used for homemade mayo.

The lady from that blog used a blender. I've seen Ina Garten make mayo with a food processor several times. I don't have either so I used my immersion blender and it turned out wonderfully.

The above photo is from the first time I made it. I used extra virgin olive oil, you know the kind that is green in color? The flavor was a bit too strong so the second time I used light olive oil and it had a much milder flavor.

You can tell from the color of the mayo on the 2nd round that it was light olive oil.
I use mayonnaise on a regular basis for the base of my homemade ranch dressing. Since the first ingredient in store bought mayo is soybean oil, and I try to avoid gmo's as much as possible, I was happy to have found a gmo free mayo, AND, it tastes better!
The day after I made this I was watching Barefoot Contessa and she put grated parmesan & chopped fresh basil in her homemade mayo. Yum!! Maybe next time.