Friday, July 11, 2014

Vanilla Iced Coffee (Really, Really, Close to Starbucks)

I am completely and utterly addicted to Starbucks.  I am not going to admit how many times a week I go there.  Seriously, it is shameful.  Especially when you think of how much those drinks cost... ugg!  Time to rein it in, Molly.

So I started making my own iced coffee to drink on the way to work.  It is not exactly what I order at Starbucks but it is pretty darn close, a whole lot cheaper, and even Organic!  Three (good) strikes!

There are three components to the iced coffee:  Coffee, Vanilla Syrup, Creamer.



The Coffee

I start by cold brewing a gallon of coffee at a time.  Seriously... a gallon.  Cold brewing is really easy.  Take a pound of ground coffee mix it with a gallon of cold water, let it sit, covered, for 12-24 hours. Strain out the coffee grounds, put the coffee in the refrigerator.

 The Vanilla Syrup





To make the vanilla syrup (a vanilla flavored simple syrup) all you need to be is to combine 2 cups of water, with 2 cups of sugar, and one vanilla bean (slice the bean down the middle so all the vanilla specks will come out) in a  pan.  Heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved, and then heat for a few more minutes (maybe 10 in all).  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

The Creamer

Combine 1 can of condensed milk with one can of evaporated milk (full fat or fat free makes no difference).  Store in airtight container in the fridge.

To Make the Iced Coffee (all amounts can be adjusted to taste)
  1. Put some ice in a glass
  2. Pour in a little of the vanilla syrup
  3. Pour in the iced coffee
  4. Top off with creamer
  5. Stir
  6. Enjoy!



Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Homemade, From Scratch, French Dressing

Last night I decided to try my hand at making a non-vinegrette  salad dressing,  I love Ken's Country French salad dressing and attempted, successfully, to recreate it.  Yowza! is this dressing good!



I used all organic ingredients, but use what you have. 


1/2 Cup Ketchup
1 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar (I love Braggs!)
1/4 Cup Honey (Local and Raw is the best)
1 Tbs. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. Minced Garlic

Put everything in the blender and whir to combine.  Store in a mason jar ion the fridge.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The End (of February) is in Sight

February has turned out to be a craptacular month and it needs to be over now.  I mean it, now!

So, aisde from the fact that we have seen more snowstorms here in PA then any other winter in the history of the state (actually it is the 2nd most snow filled winter since records started being kept), but we had an ice storm in the beginning of the month that knocked out our power for 5 days. Yes, this is going to sound whiney, but 5 days is a long time without power, in February, when the temperature is 14 or below.  We had to deal with generators, space heaters, trying to keep the pipes from freezing, shuffling people and pets between our house and my parents, etc. 

On top of that the (neighbor's) pine tree that hangs over the driveway way so weighted down with ice that it broke clean in half and fell on the hood of my car.



We were able to get the tree off the car and it is currently entering it's third week in the shop.  Over $5000.00 worth of damage, but hopefully I will be getting it back today or tomorrow (fingers crossed).

After the stress of these two events I got sick and was out of work for almost a week.  THen we had more snow.

Hubby's car was run into by a neighbor (different neighbor) so as soon as my car comes out of the shop his is going in.

And then today, when the end of this shitty ass month is in sight.  I was unable to find a parking spot while dropping Nate off at school this morning and so had to hover and let him out instead of walking him to the door.  He hates this!  I feel like it gets the day off to a bad start.  I couldn't find a parking spot at work, since so many of them are <> covered in snow and had to park on the other side of campus, and... to add insult to injury, I got stuck in the elevator.  I reached my floor and it just died.  Luckily I yelled for help and someone was able to pry the door open,  but still.  

I am over this winter, I am over February.  I am looking forward to March... bring it on!

Monday, February 03, 2014

A Lego Ninjago 6th Birthday

My darling Natey-Bug turned 6 on Wednesday.  6. 6.  Oh my god he's 6!!!!!!  Ok, now that I got that out of my system…  This year Nate requested a Lego Ninja party.  Pinterest proved most useful with decorating ideas.  A local art center hosts Leg birthday parties for a reasonable fee, and since I don;t host parties at home I signed up.  It was a great party!  Everyone had a great time.  My parents declared it Nate's best party yet and my hubby decreed it "one hell of a party."



The goody bags had a Lego minifig, a little ninja, a Chinese yoyo, colorful fortune cookies, and ninja bubbles.







The kids (and parents too) got to build whatever they wanted in the beginning and then after cake they returned to build cars which they raced down a ramp.  It was fantastic!











Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Button Wreath

What comes from a dreadful winter that will never end, a drawerful of vintage buttons, and a glue gun? A button wreath, that's what!



I cut a circle of cardboard out of a box in the recycle bin and glued to my little heart's content.  I am very pleased with the result.  It certainly brightens up the kitchen door during such a dreary season.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Frozen Oatmeal

I do not like oatmeal.  I never had.  Oatmeal cookie? Sure.  Oatmeal granola?  Sure.  Oatmeal? Blech!  That is until I decided to reach outside of my comfort zone and try something new. 

 I don't have a lot of time in the morning so making something on the actual stove and not in the microwave is kind of out of the question.  I have tried instant oatmeal packets and they have not brought me over to their side.  Too processed, too much sugar, too artificial tasting.

Recently, however, I found a recipe on Pinterest (seriously, does anyone find new ideas anywhere else?) for frozen oatmeal pucks and thought that maybe I should try them.   They would save time in the morning, they would be less processed and probably better for me overall.  So I made them and, surprise, surprise, I really like them.  I have amde a few minor changes from the original recipe, so I am going to post my version here:




    6 1/2 cups water
    4 cups rolled oats
    1 pinch salt
    2 tbsp butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup real maple syrup
   
Instructions

 -- Bring water to a boil and add oats. Turn heat down to med and stir until thickens (it will thicken more as it cools) about 5-7 mins. Add butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup and stir. Taste and add more sugar or syrup to taste.
--Grease a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Fill tin with oatmeal almost to the top.
--Then put them in the freezer for a few hours or overnight until they are frozen little pucks! Take them out of the freezer and pop them out of the tin.
-- Store in a ziplock bag

 To reheat: take 1 or 2 pucks out of the freezer and put them in a microwave safe bowl with 2-3 Tbsp of water.  Heat for 3 minutes.




I like to stir in some flax seeds and some chia seeds and voila!  I have a breakfast that really keeps me full until lunch.