Category Archives: homemaker

This Saves So Much Time – Why Don’t I Do It Every Week?

When I go food shopping, I say to myself, go grocery shopping, come home, wash the produce, and cut it up. I also plan on storing it all pretty in the fridge. Why is it I only do this about 1/3 of the time, maybe?

It’s not hard, and it doesn’t take that long. Wash, trim, and pop into containers to use in salads, packed lunches, and dinner recipes. Nope, I still don’t do this as often as I would like, even if it is easy. Probably because my back hurts after bringing in all the groceries and finding a place to put them LOL. I think… forget this, I’m sick of food at the moment. Well, until I remember the candy bar I had the checker hand me at the cash register, so I could stash it in my purse. Hey, it’s my bonus for doing the shopping.

I’m going to try to do the veggie prep more often because it really does save a lot of time, and it makes meal prep much easier. We will see what actually happens.

Do you wash and chop veggies right after grocery shopping?

A real refrigerator for two people not set up for a photo shoot.

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Quick and Easy Food Gift Tip ~ 2-in-1

Every year at this time my DH and I make gifts of food. Some years it’s really fancy and some years it’s very simple. This year we chose to do it simple. The food gifts are for people that don’t cook much, or can’t really cook much because of age or illness. We made soup, bread, sweet treats, and of course my DH’s famous Italian olives.

2 gifts-in-1
I love to wrap food gifts using reusable items such as tea towels

Do you give gifts of food during the holidays? Leave a comment and share your favorite food gift, tip for wrapping, or to just say hi.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Tamara

Tea Lights and Coziness ~ Make A Sweet Little Gift

Can You Find the Little Angel?

Hello Friends,

Are you trying to think of a little gift for a girlfriend, teacher, or coworker?

I thought I would share a craft + little gift I made for a friend recently.

I made this gift for my girlfriend a couple of weeks ago for her birthday. We have a group of girls that get together to celebrate each birthday throughout the year. We have an unwritten rule that there are no gifts. Cards and homemade things are OK.

This whole project took me about 20 minutes to put together and cost about $5.

I’m going to get right down to the details.

Inside the Gift Bag:

  • A pretty handmade box with a slide off top

  • 5 – Customized Tea Light Candles (you can buy a bag of 100 plain tea lights on sale for under $10)

  • 1 – Tea Light holder  (Dec. is a great time to get these cheap)
  • 1 – Pair of cozy slipper socks

  • Throw in a couple of pieces of dark chocolate and some Calm tea for an extra treat. Thank You @CandyDye for that idea.

I buy cozy socks on sale in December to have on hand for little gifts. Cost $2.50
The crystal tea light holder I got on sale at Michaels Crafts for $2.50
I recycled the cellophane bag that was in my craft cupboard, same with ribbon
I had the paper in my scrap-booking paper stash. The pink tissue was rescued from an old gift bag hiding in the linen closet.

The way I see it,  this sweet gift cost me about 5 bucks. Not bad for a thoughtful, useful gift made with lots of love. Hey a store bought Card cost around 5 bucks. This gift can be used for a long time,  and it’s fun to make and put together.

Making the Custom Tea Lights

Items Needed:

  1. Tea Lights
  2. Colored tissue paper
  3. Paper punch of choice. One that will fit the candle. I had a heart that worked perfectly. You could even cut out a shape by hand.
  4. Heat gun or a hair dryer would probably work fine

Punch your shape out of tissue paper. *note when you punch tissue paper use a piece of regular scrap paper with it. Punch through both the reg. paper and tissue paper. This just makes it easier. Discard the regular paper, keeping only the colored shape. In this case a heart.

Next punch a small hole in the center of your tissue shape. I used a small hole punch, but you could use a paper clip or something.

Place the tissue shape onto the tea light with the wick going through the little hole.

Take your heat gun and melt the wax slightly. This only takes a few seconds, use caution so you don’t burn yourself. You just want a little wax covering the tissue.

That’s it.! You are done customizing one tea light. Now finish the rest just like the first one, or make them all different, use your imagination.

Let’s Make The Pretty Box

You will need two pieces of card stock. Pick your favorite color. If you’re a scrapbooker you probably have tons of paper hanging around. I just went through my stock and picked some I thought looked pretty together.

  • Cut one piece card stock 7 1/2 in. x 3 in. (this will be the bottom)
  • Cut one piece card stock 6 in. x 5 1/4 in. (this will be the top)

Now we want to score the paper. Scoring paper is making a crease in the paper prior to folding. To do this you can use a ruler and a bone folder. Or, you can use a scoring board. Look for one in the scrap book section of your craft store. I have done it both ways.

Instead of writing all the measurement here I thought it would be easier to give you a printable with all the measurements.
***Download Rectangle Box Template
***

Once you have your paper cut and scored, tape into place using double-stick tape or glue. I prefer tape because it is not as messy, and I don’t have to wait for it to dry.

Decorate the box to your liking. I used paper, cut out a section and popped it up using foam squares. I wanted to keep this box simple. They can be fancy or simple it’s totally up to you.

Now It’s Time To Put Your Gift Together

I chose to put the tea lights, cozy slipper socks, and crystal candle holder in a clear cello bag with a gross grain ribbon.

This is what the final gift looked like

I hope you enjoyed this post. I want to give credit where credit is due. I first learned how to make the boxes years ago at my favorite scrap book store Hearts and Crafts in Covina, Ca. The tea light idea I got from the 6/6/11 issue of 350 Cards & Gifts by PaperCraftsMag.com

*** Print Rectangle Box Instructions ***

Happy Holidays!

Tamara

Best Corn Chowder I’ve Ever Made

I was having a craving for corn chowder a while back so I headed to my pantry and started looking to see what I had to make it. This recipe is what I came up with. My husband loved it and so did I. Our DD loved it too. It was  super easy to make and didn’t take very long. Quick and easy is what I like when it comes to cooking daily meals

Ingredients for 6-8 servings:
2-14 3/4oz. cans Del Monte sweet creamed corn
2 cups Organic low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 medium onion chopped
10 slices bacon cooked and crumbled (I used Trader Joes fully cooked apple smoked bacon).
2 Lbs. Organic klamath pearl potatoes cut into bite-size chunks (skin on) I also got these at TJ’s
Pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Chop and dice the potatoes and onions. In a large stock pot cook bacon. (This only took a minute with the pre-cooked bacon). Remove bacon and set on paper towels. Leave a tsp. of bacon grease in the pot. I did not have to drain any. Add the onions and potatoes. Saute for two minutes. Add the cream corn and vegetable broth. Cook on simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. When the potatoes are tender add the crumbled bacon, 1/2 & 1/2, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Gently simmer for another 10 minutes. Oh boy I almost forgot. I used a potato masher inside the pot to make the soup thick and chunky. I did not want it pureed.

I think this was so tasty because… The potatoes did not get mushy. Leaving the peel on made it easier. Using pre-cooked bacon was a big time saver. The ingredient list was short. It was done in less than 30 minutes, and my husband raved about it.

It is not low-cal, but I did not care it was too good. Add a simple green salad and you are set with a delicious lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Print Recipe

Easy Bake Pumpkin Cake

This easy recipe will fill the house with the sweet smell of cinnamon and spice. It’s perfect for potlucks, and family gatherings. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for a few days. Serve with whip cream or vanilla ice cream.

I came up with this recipe, or should say modified, because I did not have a yellow cake mix. I was going to make the well known “Dump Cake” with cherry pie filling, but didn’t have the right ingredients. So, I looked through my pantry and came up with something kind of like it, but in my opinion much better than my original thought. I also thought this would be perfect for this time of year. I love  pumpkin, and spice.

I wish I would’ve thought about taking pictures of this before I was into making it. I also stopped everyone from taking a bite long enough after serving it, so I could snap some pictures with my iPhone. They all laughed at me, but hey, who cares. I thought, yikes I have to make this into a blog post. I know all you other bloggers out there know what I’m talking about.

Print Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. – Trader Joes Pumpkin Bread Mix (or your favorite brand)
  • 5 oz. evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 30 oz. Can Pumpkin Pie Mix
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9x13in glass baking pan with Pam or butter. Mix pumpkin mix, evaporated milk, & eggs in bowl. Pour mixture into baking pan. Sprinkle ½ of bread mix over pumpkin mixture. Run knife through mixture in a zigzag to combine some of the bread mixture into the pumpkin mix. Then, add remaining bread mix to top.


Sprinkle pecans and spices evenly over surface, and then drizzle butter over mixture. Bake for 40min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Keep an eye on your cake; it can burn easily in last few minutes. Let cool for 2 hours, then refrigerate or serve.

This recipe takes 5-10 minutes to prepare. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy the wonderful smells coming from your kitchen as this cake bakes in the oven.

I hope you enjoy as much as my family did.

Bon Appetit!

Easy Chocolate Pretzel Stix – Perfect for Gifts

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Make a Perfect Holiday Treat……..

I love making homemade gifts and goodies around the holidays. For me it is something I look forward to each year. These pretzels sticks are so EASY to make and they are very tasty. This is a perfect treat to make with the kids. Even very young children can help and it only requires a few tools and ingredients.

You can switch things up by changing the color or type of topping you use. For instance I made some for 4th of July, see here, or you could use pink or blue for a baby shower. The possibilities are endless.

These sweet treats would be perfect to add to a holiday gift basket or to bring as a hostess gift.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Ingredients: Print Recipe

  • 1 bag pretzel rods
  • 10oz. bag chocolate chips
  • 1 jar Fall Color Mix sprinkles

Tools/Supplies:

  • Wax paper
  • Cellophane Pretzel Bags
  • Cookie Sheet
  • 4 cup Pyrex or other microwavable dish.
  • Butter Knife
  • Small Plate

Directions:

Put a piece of wax paper on a rectangle baking tray. Use some sort of microwave safe container to melt the chips (deep enough to dip the pretzel rods). I used a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup. Pour the chocolate chips into the container. To melt the chips cook in microwave for 1-1/2minutes, stir with butter knife then cook another 30seconds and stir again. Take a pretzel stick and dip into melted chocolate to coat. I tilted the measuring cup to get the chocolate far enough up the pretzel. Holding the pretzel horizontal I twirled it until no more chocolate was dripping. Then, hold the pretzel over a plate and sprinkle with candy sprinkles or whatever you choose. Set the pretzel on wax paper and continue with the next one. Makes 12 pretzels.

***

Now all you have to do is to wait for hem to harden. It took a few hours sitting on the counter. Or, you could put them into the freezer for a few minutes.

When the chocolate gets firm you can

carefully slide them into the pretzel bags.

That’s it. They only take a few minutes. Perfect for you to make with the kids. They are very tasty. In fact I will share with you my little secret shh… I ate one for breakfast with my coffee and it was Yummy! Don’t tell

Bon Appetit,

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Wordless Wednesday – My Creative Friends

I just received this handmade luau invitation. I have some really creative friends. I think this is so cute.