Friday, June 29, 2012

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

On Wednesday night about 6 PM, James decided to tell me that he needed to bring something to work on Thursday for a potluck. Immediately I thought brownies, but he said another lady was already going to bring those. Then I remembered a recipe I had just pinned on my "recipes to try" board on Pinterest...Chocolate Turtle Cookies. I went to the link at a blog I had never visited and decided I would try to make them.

These cookies were super easy to make, but were a little time consuming. I didn't change the recipe at all, other than I only used one egg white so that I wouldn't waste an egg. As for taste...they are very good! The caramel is soft and gooey and the chocolate cookie has a nice, complementery flavor.

4.5 Quarts of Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

We have had tomatoes growing like crazy this year.  We have never really had success at growing tomatoes, but this year we tried something new.  We used a good organic soil mixed with cow pains me to even type those words, but it's true.  The cow poop worked...we've had over 20 pounds of cherry, roma and big boy tomatoes.  We made and canned 6 pints of salsa and 9 pints of habenero salsa, but then we started getting a lot of ripe big boys.  We decided to try out hand at making spaghetti sauce and freezing it instead of canning it. 

Results are in... 8-10 pounds of tomatoes and 2 hours of work later, we froze 4.5 quarts of homemade spaghetti sauce.  It is so flavorful and yummy.  We didn't use any exact measurements, but if you have questions on how we made it, leave me a message and I'll get back to you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract is SO EASY to make!  I wish I would have known how easy it is many years ago.  It is also much more concentrated so you can use half of what a recipe recommends (unless you just love the flavor of vanilla) so the extract lasts longer. 

Many of you know that I have never had an alcoholic drink, not one in all of my years, so it was an adventure to try to buy vodka.  Thankfully you really only need the cheap stuff.

Pictured above is everything you need to make homemade vanilla extract.  Make sure to use a glass jar instead of plastic so that the jar isnt' stained and plastic chemicals don't leach into the vanilla.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

about 40 vanilla beans (I ordered mine from Olive Nation and they are super quality vanilla beans.)
1 quart cheap vodka

1.  Cut the vanilla beans down the length of the bean to expose the little vanilla bean goodness in the pods.
2.  Place the beans in the bottom of a large glass jar and top with vodka.
3.  Place jar in a dark place and leave it there for about 6 months.  I usually swirl the contents once a week or so.

As suggested by my new sister-in-law, I will be giving some people some homemade vanilla for Christmas presents.  I'm enjoying my last batch and looking forward to the new one!  I feel some baking coming on!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles for Women Review

As a Bzzagent, I have been able to review a lot of products, but I was super excited to be chosen to be a part of the Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Bzz campaign.  Don't you remember those old commercials..."I'm gelling! Are you gelling?"  As part of the campaign, I received a free pair of Massaging Gel Inserts for Women and 5 coupons for $5 off any Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles.

I loved these insoles! I put them in my work shoes, and after working a double, my feet didn't hurt at all!  I felt supported and comfortable all day!

Some highlights about Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles:

* Come in men's sizes 8-13 and women's sizes 6-10
* Feature a Dual Wave Design - cushions that provide superior shock absorption and added support

Perhaps the best thing about Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles is that the company offers a money-back guarantee!  On the back of the container there is a little box that has the following message, "If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, mail in the original UPC code from the package along with your sales receipt...for a replacement of refund."  How great is that?

If you are interested in trying a pair, I have some coupons (obviously...they are in the picture).  I am going to keep one of the coupons in case James needs some inserts so that leaves seven $5 off coupons.  The first seven people to leave me a message on this blog post or my facebook post (7 total not 7 on each of the two posts) will get a coupon.  Make sure I have your email address, or friend me on facebook so I can get an address to mail the coupon to!

** Bzzagent provided me with a sample and coupons, but all opinions are my own.**

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What Laundry Day looks like!

In an effort to lower our electric bill, conserve energy, and be a little more green, I have significantly decreased our usage of the dryer.  It's easy, but it does take a little more time.

I wash our laundry in cold water and during the rinse cycle I add some vinegar.  What vinegar?  Yep, it is a wonderful laundry softener and no, your clothes do not end up smelling like vinegar.  When the cycle is done, I pull out all clothes that are not underwear or socks, and hang them.  Sometimes I have clothes hanging from both shower rods and doors and shelving, but that is only if I wait a really long time to do laundry.  The underwear and socks, from all the loads, go in the dryer all at once for about 30 minutes.  So instead of running the dryer for anywhere from 60-180 minutes, I only run it for 30 minutes!

I wash our towels the same way, except instead of hanging them inside, I drape them over the railing on our deck.  Once they are completely dried, I fluff them in the dryer for about 10 minutes.

I know the time it takes to hang the clothes and wait for them to dry is not for everyone, but it works for us and we have enjoyed the benefits.  Not only is our electric bill lower, we are doing our part for the environment and our clothes are lasting longer!