What we ate / 5/7/11

I decided that once a week, no matter what – I will post a “what we ate” segment here. I’m not going to worry about food styling or pretty plates on these posts. I’m keepin’ it real. ๐Ÿ™‚

Even if it’s just a take out pizza night- there will be photos.

Last Saturday, it wasย  The Kentucky Derby, and my daughter and I put on out hats and… well- I’ll just show you:

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instant centerpiece

Instant centerpiece! Don’t have a plant or flowers? You can rock this out!

tall glass/ vase jelly beans and a dollar store bunny.Better than flowers… because you can eat it. And it keeps you from making a trip out to the store. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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homemade vanilla extract

I am a vanilla girl. Not to say I don’t adore chocolate…I just have a certain fondness for vanilla. I think it’s in how it is portrayed as such a “plain” flavor, yet it’s compounds produce a complexity all it’s own.

For instance,ย  vanilla beans as we know them in their pods come from a type of orchid that must be pollinated by hand.

If humans ceased to exist would vanilla also?

I doubt it- I am sure there is some area where nature does it.. but most of the vanilla beans we get as consumers were a-hem artificially pollinated. (ie; by hand)

Vanilla works really well in spicy dishes, believe it or not. And, even in wine.

Same way chocolate loves chile and cinnamon.

Trust me.

I finally got around to making my own vanilla extract, my friend Kira inspired me. Next is butter. She totally made me want to do that, too.

Vanilla is amazing. And it makes a great perfume. Remember back in the 1990’s when vanilla was hot? That was also around the same time everyone was “into” angels. Just after the “grunge” period….I think vanilla and angels were the ultimate counteraction of some marketers out there.

Everything was vanilla.

And people wore angels and decorated their homes with them…

mmm, vanilla angel cakes.

There was never a chocolate perfume rage….

at least not yet…

chocolate would have worked well with grunge, I think.

But I think that was when coffee got trendy.

Food trends.

I’m still waiting on sun tea to make a comeback.

As I said, I love vanilla and have a collection of it. Now I’m going to finally make it.

the actual vanilla beans look like tiny specs of dirt… can you see them?

while I made this, I also added to my vanilla sugar jar…. that was something I made back when angels and vanilla were hot…

you can see a recipe using that here (mmm, vanilla sugar tea cakes )that’s a EARLY post.

Homemade Vanilla Extract


Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Summary: how to make your own vanilla


  • 3 vanilla bean pods
  • 1 cup vodka


  1. Slice each vanilla bean lenghthwise down the center and place in an 8oz sterile glass jar with a tight fitting lid. (brown glass preferred) Top with vodka. Allow to age in a dark place for 8 weeks, shaking every few days. Top with more vodka as needed.

Cooking time (duration): 5

Microformatting by hRecipe.


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free houseplants

I’m sure you guys have done this before…if not, do it. It’s fun and everyone’s doing it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Take common houseplant-the Philodendron, you know the one…the one that is at every dentist,bank, doctor’s office waiting room, office desk…the one that is hearty. You’ll know it when you see it.

So, take a little snippet from the end of it, stick it in a pretty vase/jar/wine bottle/beer bottle…and fill it with water.

In a little bit, you will see a tiny root appear like this:

see it? how exciting. A free plant.

I’ve been on a houseplant kick lately…I have others than Philodendrons, and I should give y’all a botanical tour one day…

But when I have a hankering to have a new plant, and I don’t happen to have any loot to play with…this is what I do.

You can get free plants from a lot of species, violets, succulents, woody stemmed items…(rosemary is awesome to do)

Free stuff is fun.

This is the one I started the other day, I so love that container…it was a Goodwill find. Yep- I am a total Goodwill shopper. There are some treasures there. It’s like a garage sale store with no haggling. That’s just fine because I am terrible at haggling.ย  Flea market sellers love me, because I’m always saying; “How much is this? Okay, I’ll take it.” Instead of “How much is this? I’ll give you a dollar.” Anyway, Goodwills rock. Go visit one. No, they’re not paying me to say that. I just think y’all should go out and explore…there is so much mass produced stuff at retailers-it’s nice to find that unique item nobody else has….for instance:

check ouy the copper kettle- ($3.09 ) and the blue vase (.79 )Heck…can’t beat that.

And this charming little cut glass number:

Another treasure for $1.49. Ooo, and check out that little root system. That’s a free plant there.

Like I said, free things are fun.

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getting crafty

Oh no… another day without food?! Yes, it’s not that I haven’t cooked, it’s just I have already done the posts before. So, I decided to show you other parts of my day, outside of the kitchen. Sort of…

Dollar store crafts!!!!


I happen to have a rockin’ dollar store just up the street from me. I spent 4 bucks and got a ton of magnets.

Sure, I could have gone a bit further to the beach to find the shells and sea glass… but it’s tourist season right now- the tourists get to the beach at dawn. They get all the good stuff that washes up overnight. Oh well…glad I have my dollar store.

Do I need to explain how to make them?

Maybe a picture?

There. Just glue and stick. I knew you guys would figure it out.

So, as you know I have a little one with me during the day, while the bigger little one is at school. We have our at-home pre-school, our library days, our gardening days, our chore days, our baking days and our craft days.

It’s been really humid and sticky lately; so I haven’t baked much…and my hubby grilled steaks last night. Not much food going on around these parts.

Building, yes- ๐Ÿ™‚ I designed some turtle and tortoise huts… does anyone out there have turtles? Maybe that will make a fun post.

For now, these little magnets make great everyday gifts..what’s an everyday gift?

You know when you’re at the store and see fresh flowers and want to buy them for your mom or sister or someone? But you don’t have the money or they live too far away? These are the perfect thing to send/give.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Everyday gifts are a nice surprise.

Anyway, those of you that come here to get some ideas for food- here’s what’s on my list:

turkey croquettes

cake for my finale in class on Tuesday

cookie dough balls

homemade pickles

tex-max pasta

CREPES!ย  I am taking a course on crepes next week. Super excited about that.

how to sprout

some more videos

vanilla extract

apple infused vodka

…and, I have a birthday coming up. Which makes me want to make a list of 36 things to do this year. I need to get on that.

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don’t eat these cookies

Mmm, cookies.

These cookies need a warning label.


Seriously.Not that it’s a crappy recipe. They are “air freshener” cookies. It’s cinnamon and applesauce. Roll em out an let em harden, paint em up and you have adorable ornaments or rear-view mirror air fresheners. Crafty.

I made mine with 1/2 c of cinnamon, (hint: dollar store had 6oz for…well, duh-a dollar!)

add enough applesauce to make a dough. (3tbs or so)

roll it out- sprinkle with more cinnamon if it happens to stick.

allow to dry for 24 hours. I put mine in the sun on a nice crisp day and it only took 6 hrs.

paint with acrylic paints…

allow the paint to dry and hang up on your tree, your rear view mirror, your neck… wherever you want to smell cinnamon.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s everywhere to me… mmmmm.


Cinnamon decorating cookies

1/2 c cinnamon

3-4 tbs applesauce

mix to for a dough, roll out and cut with assorted cutters, if dough sticks- sprinkle with more cinnamon.

Allow to dry for 24 hrs.

Decorate with paints, attach ribbon to hang and enjoy the smell of cinnamon.


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pumpkin pop tarts

Well, well well… what to do with all that yummy pumpkin pie filling?

How bout a maple crust?

Oh yeah. I’m feeling that!

Perfect fall breakfast.

Speaking ofย  fall, would you believe the wind chill tonight is going to be in the 30’s?! Wait. Let me remind you:

I live in south Florida.


I love getting chilly once in a while. The only thing, it’s a lot of work for me and the hubby. We have to bring all our turtles, tortoises and lizards in the garage. One of them, Joey takes both of us to move.ย  But, that’s okay.

I woke up to a facebook chain letter today also. I normally ignore those… this one I didn’t. It had this wonderful paragraph in it… I decided to share that with y’all.

‘May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us ”

Isn’t that nice?

I love it because it’s true.

Back to pop tarts.

Maple pie crust.

This is going to make my pecan pie rock. Oooo- IDEA! Pecan pie pop tart.

I need to go invent flavor for those folks.

like my little brown blob?

Things I have learned this year: I love using rulers in the kitchen. Buying a dough scraper for $2.99 was the best investment. I love making cooking videos. I just need a camera that can pause while recording, and not create a whole new file….suggestions? I need me one of those. For you guys. ๐Ÿ™‚

Note:ย  It’s not baby food.

It’s my pie filling.

this is where I do my “work” when I’m not in the kitchen.ย  This is my snack yesterday. I shared .


Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts with a maple crust:

For the crust:

1 stick butter

1 1/2 c flour

1 c light brown sugar

1 egg yolk

3 tbs maple syrup

optional: maple flavor, if you have it 1tsp

Work the flour and butter mixture with your fingers until a coarse crumb texture is achieved. Add the egg yolk and syrup, and work into a dough. Chill 15 minutes.

Roll out to 1/8″ thickness, and using a ruler make rectangles that are 4″x2″

Place filling in and seal. (2 tbs)

Bake at 375 for 17-25 minutes.


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spiderweb pizzas… and (gasp!) a video

Well, if you know me on twitter and facebook, you know I got a bit ballsy yesterday and decided to make a video.ย  Not sure why… I think I wanted to see if I could do it. It was something I was scared to death of when I was in Project Food Blog-I decided to conquer my fear of that challenge, even though I didn’t make it that far. (sniffle,sniffle)

Now-I have to tell you- I did two takes. Because I started to crack up laughing.

Next time, I will post the outtakes.

I also still took some pictures. Because I thought I would chicken out.

aren’t they spoooooky?

I went all pre-made on em’, too.

Because there are times when you just can’t be all “homemade-betty-martha-crocker-stewart”.

Sometimes you have to be an “astronaut food mom”.

And, you know what? That’s okay, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think I am rambling to stall….I am still a bit nervous. I have no freakin’ idea why.

So…. what are you going to make for Halloween dinner?

These are easy and fun.

Here’s how to do em:

Woah- doesn’t it look like I am yawning-or yodeling? Paused videos are funny that way.

Let me know what you think.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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