Homemade Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all you terrific Dad’s out there!

My dad’s a pretty cool dude. But, he’s also pretty hard to buy for. I know two things for certain about my father. 1. He likes to eat good food. 2. If you ask what he wants for birthday/Christmas/Father’s Day, etc. The answer is always the same; “Nothing.” Sometimes, I threaten to take him up on it, but I never do.

True to form, I could think of nothing to give my dad for Father’s day. So, when I came across these ideas, I knew what I was going to make him! (Rules for giving homemade gifts are that I would be happy if I got this for a holiday, and I would love to get this!!)

For the bottles, I took IBC soda bottles (cleaned of course), and filled them with goodies (Peanut M&ms, cashews, trail mix, pistachios, etc.) I wrapped the bottles in decorative paper, and glued the printable pictures on each bottle. I made the tags, and tied them to the bottles with matching ribbon. I dipped the lids in glue, then glitter.

I spray painted the carton red, and once dried, wrapped it in matching paper, then glued the print out “Happy Father’s Day” on both sides.

It turned out to be pretty darn cute, and tasty. And I think my hard-to-buy-for-pops enjoyed it too!

Happy Dad’s Day, Dad!

Love you!

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Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Has anyone else noticed that Reese’s peanut butter cups don’t taste like they used to? Actually, I think they taste like the old recipe tasted when it was stale. The peanut butter isn’t as creamy or oily or something. I’m sure they decreased the transfats and made them a titch healthier. I don’t eat them often, but when I do, I’m willing to spend the extra calories for that yummy deliciousness. Unfortunately, last time I did it, it wasn’t the deliciousness I remembered.

So, when I came across this recipe at Michelle’s Tasty Creations, I had to give it a try! It’s pretty easy. All you need is:

  • 1 cup butter, unsalted and melted
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/4 cup peanut butter, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

The quickie version: Mix the butter, graham crackers, powdered sugar and 1 cup of the peanut butter together until smooth with little lumps.

Then melt the chocolate chips and remaining 1/4c peanut butter in whatever way you like. I used a double boiler.

Now here’s where I changed it up a little. Michelle spread the graham cracker mix on the bottom of a 9×13 pan and poured the chocolate on top. This is dangerous for me. When is comes to peanut butter and chocolate, I have little restraint, so I decided to press small amounts of the graham cracker filling into mini muffin tins, and cover with a spoonful of the chocolate mix.

                                                                                                                   

I refrigerated them overnight, and in the morning they easily popped out of the muffin tins with a butter knife.

    Voila!

You could even use the paper liners to make it more authentic, or give them as a gift for Easter!

I wouldn’t say they taste exactly, like Reese’s, but it’s pretty darn close, and dare I say–better?!

Let me know what you think!

Homemade Burnt Popcorn, in 3 Acts.

ACT I: Mr. and Mrs. Lost Art attend a farmer’s market, where they buy a medium sized bag of DELICIOUS kettle corn for $4.00. Mrs. Lost Art immediately decides she will make her own kettle corn at home, which will give her an inexpensive substitute, and will taste better, obviously.

ACT II: Mrs. Lost Art purchases organic kernels for $1.50. She hurriedly runs home, and heats 1/4c of vegetable oil and 3 of the kernels in a large stainless steel pot on the stove, set to medium-high. With baited breath, she waits for the 3 kernels to pop. Once they do, she adds 1/4 cup sugar (mistake number one) and 1/2cup of popcorn kernels. She gives them a good stir. She socks on the lid, and gently shakes the pot, without removing it from the heat (mistake number 2) and giggles like a school girl when the popcorn begins to pop against the clear glass lid. She anxiously waits for all the kernels to pop (mistake number 3).  Once the popping has slowed, Mrs. Lost Art, removes the pan from the heat, and yanks off the lid in mouth-watering anticipation, ready to sprinkle the salt, and

*POOF*

Her kitchen is immediately filled with the too familiar scent of burnt popcorn, and smoke. Lots of it.

ACT III: After flinging all the windows and doors open, throwing the malodorous kernels outside and turning on the fans, she irritatedly scrubs her stainless steel pot for a good 15 mins. (Removing burnt kettle corn is a grand task, even for her Bar Keeper’s Friend.) But, after semi-successfully removing the stinking grime, Mrs. Lost Art bravely decides to try it again. This time she heats the oil, adds the kernels first then the sugar. She waits for the popping to begin (no giddy laughter is heard). She removes the pot every 3 seconds, and shakes vigorously until securely placed under garments begin to shift. She then returns the pot to the stove for 3 seconds. She repeats this until the popping is 2-3 seconds apart. She removes it from the heat, and continues to shake until the popping slows.

Slowly, and solemnly she removes the lid, and prepares for the *poof*.

But ALAS! There is no smoke! It’s not burnt, and actually smells appetizing! She quickly lightly sprinkles the popcorn with salt, gives it another hearty shake, and transfers it to an appropriately sized bowl.

Mrs. Lost Art is happy, but will probably be eating kettle corn from the farmer’s market from now on.

The End!

Homemade Iced Coffee.

I found this recipe on a blog last Spring (if this is your recipe, please let me know, I lost your link!), and have been making it nearly every week since.  I just can’t bring myself to buy the Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonald’s kind anymore. Why? Because mine taste’s better, it’s cheaper, and it’s better for me!

Sorry for the crappy pics, but here she blows:

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 cup ground coffee
  • water
  • quart jar (or some similar sized container)
  • flavoring
  • milk
  • ice
  • glass
  • small strainer
  • coffee filter

ESTIMATED TIMES:

  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Brew: 24 hrs
  • Strain: 30 mins

 

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Put 1 cup of ground coffee in 1 quart jar. Fill to the top with water (just use lukewarm). Twist the lid on tightly, and give it a shake. Put it in the fridge overnight. ( I usually leave it for 24 hours. This time I forgot about it and left it for, ohhh, 72 hours. It’s still good.)
  • Set up your strainer over another quart jar, or large-ish bowl, insert coffee filter, and slowly pour coffee through it. **TIP #1: If you give the jar a good couple shakes before you pour, you’ll prevent a big splat of coffee grounds from landing on your counter. **TIP #2: It filters slowly, due to the coffee grinds, so I’ll sometimes dump half in the filter, then when it’s done, use a new filter for the second half, but not necessary.
  • Once it’s done straining, put in a sealed container (I just rinse the same jar out, and put it in there) and refrigerate OR add a few ice cubes to a glass, fill half with coffee, and add a splash of flavoring. (My favorite is the caramel.)
  • Fill the rest with milk, and VOILA, you have yourself some delicious, refreshing, homemade iced coffee.

Enjoy!!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I’ve been thinking of making homemade laundry detergent for quite some time. I have acquired all the bits and pieces to make it over the last year, but I just didn’t get around to doing it.  But, like everyone else these days, we need to pinch our pennies.

So, I did a search, and determined that even though I’m used to liquid detergent, the powdered stuff would be less labor intensive. I found a great blog post with pictures and the cost breakdown at diyNaturals. According to their calculations you can save 16 cents per load over the name brand store stuff.  If I do 6 loads a week, I’m saving about $50 a year in just laundry detergent. Cool beans!

So following Jab’s recipe:

I combined 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (that’s the stuff in the baggie) and 1 bar Fels-Naptha. I used Fels-Naptha because I already had it in the house, but Jab used ivory soap, which would probably be cheaper.

I grated up the Fels-Naptha with a hand grater, and mixed all of the above together until it was evenly mixed, all the big lumps were out, and(after grating the soap) my hand felt like it was going to fall off.

My recipe made 32 oz. And Jab says you only need 1 tablespoon for a regular load. SWEET!

So far I’ve washed a load of whites, and towels with 1 tablespoon each of my detergent, and they look, smell, and feel as clean as laundry washed with my old laundry soap. Yeah! And the best part, it works just fine with HE washers! I have a top loading, and didn’t have a problem. Others say it works just as well with front loaders.

Like I said earlier, if you want a more detailed breakdown, check out Jab’s Homemade Laundry Detergent, and definitely give it a try!

Happy Laundering!

Homemade Christmas Gift Round-up, 2011

I may be repeating myself, but I love homemade Christmas gifts. They’re unique, and something you can be sure the giftee won’t be receiving from someone else. (Some day I’ll tell you about the Christmas everything I bought my husband for Christmas, someone in my family also gave him. Ugh.) I’m sure there’s someone out there that hates getting my homemade gifts, but I figure that’s their problem. 🙂 So, with Christmas rapidly approaching, I wanted to take stock of the Christmas gifts I’ve made thus far, before I wrap them.

1. Christmas Chili, featured in my Can-It Santa post. Here’s the final product!

I always try to give my gifts a little flare. The beans and seasonings are in the can, sealed tight.

2. Headbands. My friend Bridgette has worn a headband every day since the day we’ve met. She loves bold, bright colors, and lots of glitter. Completely opposite of my style. But I saw a few tutorials floating around cyberspace on making cloth rosettes. They were putting them on pins, and clips. So I figured I’d make Bridge some headbands. What do you think?  I really like them.

3. Book Wreath. This summer when I was between jobs, I made a few book wreaths to hang in my living room. There is an abundance of beautiful book wreaths floating around the blog world. Some are very delicate, and carefully crafted. When I craft, I’m, shall we say, impatient. I know what I want, so I want to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Point being, my wreaths ended up being less delicate, and more full. They’ve received mixed reviews, but my cousin Heather came for a visit, and just loved them. So, I figured, what better gift! Here it is.

         

4. Ornament Wreath. Also popular in blogdom are various types of ornament wreaths. It’s super easy to make, and really inexpensive. (I found plastic ornaments for 49 cents for 12 at a local discount store, WHAT?!?) So I made 6, 4 for aunts and uncles, and 2 for myself. 🙂 They’re really beautiful in real life.

 5. Glitter Ornaments. These are super popular on craft blogs right now. They’re SUPER easy to make, and really dress up packages. I make ornaments every year and give them to co-workers, cousins, neighbors, etc.

 6. Package of Homemade Candy. Two of my brother-in-laws are young, and still live at home. So, the whole Chili idea didn’t seem appropriate for them. So I made some homemade candy,put them in a pretty box, and this is what you have!

                  

                      

 

And finally, every year I make pumpkin rolls and cookie trays for neighbors, bosses, co-workers (I really like) and that inevitable person I forgot to shop or craft for. (oops!) I plan on finishing my baking this weekend and putting them together to give out next week….CHRISTMAS week… 🙂

Happy Gifting!