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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pretzel Toffee

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My sister had Pretzel Toffee at an office party and said how delicious it was. 
So I had to try to make it. 
After making a first batch that was not right I had to make my own recipe.

Here is my recipe for what to do . . . 

(No one has an exact recipe for this; everything is written as "half a bag" or "just combine" so I have taken it upon myself to measure everything and make a recipe.)


5-1/2 Cups of mini pretzels
1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


Begin by measuring out your pretzels. 
Break them into large pieces and place them on an 11x17 cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (foil doesn't work as well).

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. 
STOP stirring and boil for 3 minutes without stirring!

Then pour on top of pretzels.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes.
(The caramel will spread out a little more when in the oven.)

Pull out of oven and pour 2 cups or a 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips onto the pretzels.

Return to the oven and bake for 2 more minutes. 
Pull out and spread/smooth chocolate with a rubber spatula.

Cool slightly on counter. 
Then place in the freezer so it is easier to break it into pieces.

Store in the fridge
It makes it much more delicious! Enjoy!!!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Hair Accessory Organizer

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Does your bathroom counter/drawer look like this?

Hair Accessory Organizer: a fast craft to help organize your bathroom!

Begin by collecting the following materials:
  • A Quaker Oats or Formula Container, Emptied
  • Mod Podge, matte finish
  • 2 (12x12) Scrapbook Papers, of choice
  • Paint Brush
  • Large Metal Book Ring, for hair elastic (optional)
  •  Gerber Food Container, emptied, for bobby pins, etc.

Now, Mod Podge your scrapbook paper (it takes 1-1/2 papers) to the tall empty formula container. 
I begin by doing a thin layer of mod podge on the container and then sticking the paper where I want it. Rub on top of the paper FIRMLY to remove all air bubbles. 

After two minutes, I then apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on the top of the scrapbook paper, cover all edges well. 
(in the picture you will notice that you can see the edges of where I applied the second paper, to avoid this you could do a scrappy patchwork kind of paper application, which would be very cute. I just figured I have so many headbands I wouldn't be able to see much of the paper.)

It would look really cute to add ribbon or rick-rack around the container as well. 
 I decided to just do fast and simple.

While you wait for it to dry, organizing all your hair accessories into Gerber containers.

I put all my hair elastics on a metal book ring (not a key ring).
I put all my ribbons, bobby pins, running elastic headbands, and clips into separate Gerber containers. 

Once everything is organized place it neatly in the container and place the lid on.

 Once everything is dry, place headbands around the outside of the container. Ta-Da!
Simple, fast, and easy to accomplish! Now all your hair accessories are in one container instead of thrown on the counter or in the drawer.

You can decorate the lid or cover in with paper as well, but I actually chose a scrapbook paper to match the lid so I didn't need to do this.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mini Meatball Stew

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One afternoon I watched a little snippet of Giada on the Food Network and saw her making this Hearty Meatball Stew

I decided to give it a try and it was super delicious!!!

I changed a few things that Giada did. 
Here is what I did . . .



  • 1 slice white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 8 to 10-ounce russet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise and halved lengthwise again, sliced into 1/3-inch slices
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds
  • Two 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained 
  • 1 cup tomato juice (I saved what I drained from the diced tomatoes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated + a little for garnish
Meatballs: Place the bread and 3 tablespoons water into a medium bowl. Mash bread very finely. Add the beef, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Blend the mixture thoroughly with your hands or a fork. Form the mixture into mini meatballs (I made about 35-40 with 1 pound of beef). Arrange the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and cook in a 400 degree oven until the doneness that you like (anywhere from 8-18 minutes). 

Stew: Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook until soft, 4 minutes. 

Push the pepper and onions to the outside and place potatoes in the center of the bottom. 
Place the carrots, beans, and tomatoes on top of potatoes. Add the red pepper flakes, chicken broth, and the tomato juice. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cooked meatballs. 

Make a roux with the butter and flour and drop in the soup in little pieces. (This way you won't have clumping of flour in the stew, when the butter melts the flour also melts into the stew and helps thicken the broth.)

Cover the pan with the lid and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. 
Now sprinkle in a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. When cheese has melted in, mix and serve.
Garnish the top of each bowl with a little grated parmesan cheese. 
If you want a perfect meal, make a little french bread to go along with your delicious stew!

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Jean Pencil Skirt

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I have been looking, for a couple of years, to find a modest jean pencil skirt. Whenever I find one I like it is too expense. I just found one online by JCrew for $98. WOW!
I have decided that I can just make my own with an old pair of jeans I have!
(This would be perfect for those jeans that you love that have shrunk in the length or that have frayed hems where they drag slightly on the ground.)


Here's what you need...

- 1 Pair of Jeans
- Top Stitching Thread
- Jean Needle (for your sewing machine)
- Seam Ripper
- Scissors

Begin by cutting 12'' off the length of your jeans.
This gave me several inches to work with when it came to hemming the bottom.

Now this next part doesn't take nearly as long as I thought it would.
Unpick the seams on the inside of both legs, starting where the crotch of the pants comes together.

Please be very careful! I began to get a little to confident in myself and ripped a hole in the fabric with the seam ripper. (Luckily it was a part that wasn't going to show in the end.)

After the inside of the legs are all finished, unpick the front where the bottom of the zipper is to where the crotch came together.

Unpick the back where... um... where I am pointing (not sure what this location would be called) to where the crotch used to come together.

Now this part can be a little tricky and you may need to have a little extra patience.

Lay the front of one of the legs over the other leg until you have a nice straight line all the way down.
Pin very well!!!

Pin the back so that you have a straight seam that will go all the way down. 
I left open the bottom from about the top of the back of my knee. This is to add a little extra piece of fabric so that you will be able to walk in the skirt.
(Ignore my pins at the very top because I also took the waist in on the pants.)

Cut a rectangle of fabric out of one of the legs you cut off earlier.

Place the piece in teh back of the skirt where you want it to go.

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure the grain of the fabric (in the added piece) is going the same way as the rest of the skirt.

When pinning this piece into place, make sure to fold all your raw edges in.

Make sure the back of the skirt is pinned very well.

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Just an FYI: I tried on my skirt at this point, VERY CAREFULLY, to make sure it was going to fit correctly. It is much easier to move pins, than it is to unpick the entire thing again. 

Time to begin sewing the front and back. 

**Don't forget to put the jean needle on, the top stitching thread in place of normal thread, and changing the tension of both the bobbin case and the top needle tension!**

I tried to duplicate what the stitching used to look like before I unpicked it. 
(My jean had a slightly darker color where the stitching used to be. You can kind of see it in this picture. I just used those existing marks when I did my sewing.)

Front Stitching

Back Stitching

Once you have sewn it into place try it on.  If it is how you want it, cut out the extra fabric leaving about 1/2'' seams (you are welcome to finish the seams, but I just left mine raw).

Now have someone help you measure where you want the hem to be. 

I measured the hem up 1/2'' and rolled it up another 3/4'', pinned it into place, and sewed it with a 5/8'' seam. 
If you need to know how to iron and roll up a hem to prepare it please go here to see how I prepared the hem for my seven dollar dress, but don't do the blind hem stitch.

You did it! You just made a modest jean pencil skirt out of an old pair of jeans.

Front View

Back View

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bonnie's Banana Bread

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My sister's mother-in-law, Bonnie, has a wonderful banana bread recipe that I LOVE!
We love to make it into bread and/or muffins.

This week I changed it up a bit by adding mini cinnamon chips instead of chocolate chips. 
It was wish-ious (delicious), in the words of my 2-year-old!

1/2 C - Butter
1 C - Sugar
2 Eggs
4 Lg. Bananas, very ripe
1 & 3/4 C - Flour
1 tsp - Baking Soda
1/2 tsp - Salt
1 C - Chocolate Chips (I used Cinnamon Chips instead)

Put first four ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.

**If you don't have beaters or a kitchen mixer you can purchase a King Arthur Dough Whisk to make all your breads, works wonderful. **

Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Muffins cook 15-20 minutes, makes 24 muffins.)
Use toothpick to test.

(Can't find my picture of the finished bread, sorry.)

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