Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Strawberry Applesauce (summer fruit recipe)

Aren't you loving summer fruit lately?  Our strawberries are still super cheap and plentiful in the stores. I tend to buy more than we can eat though.  Luckily, my girls adore applesauce and throwing in some leftover strawberries makes it even better!  And the best applesauce is homemade applesauce, especially if it is strawberry applesauce!

 Have you ever made it?  It is ridiculously easy and it is fun to mix in different fruits and flavors to make new blends. And the best part is that you control the sugar!

strawberry applesauce 

I used some strawberries that I had frozen, along with some over ripe apples that were to mushy to eat out of hand, to whip up a sweet, sparkly strawberry applesauce!

 

Strawberry Applesauce

5-6 servings (1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

5-6 medium apples, peeled, cored. and cut into chunks (I used Macintosh but you can use whatever) 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened strawberries
1/4 cup water or applejuice 1/8 tsp Cinnamon (more or less to taste)

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients, including the liquid from the thawed strawberries, in a medium saucepan and cover.  Cook over low medium heat until the liquid starts to bubble a bit.
2. Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the apples are very soft.
3. Carefully pour the hot apple mixture into food processor and process until smooth.
4. Spoon into jars to cool.

applesauce 3

Seriously, that's it. Done. You just made a delicious and healthy strawberry applesauce.  

My family prefers a smooth applesauce but I like a chunky one so sometimes I just use a potato masher to mash the mixture. That leaves it somewhat chunky.

Lastly, I don't add sugar but if you prefer your applesauce sweeter than have at it. I would start with a few teaspoons and add from there.

applesauce 2

Next time I am going to try using over ripe peaches!  Yum!


Thanks for stopping by! Jenny

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Seashell Tic-Tac-Toe (DIY Summer Craft)


Summer is a sweet, lazy time, isn't it? Nothing says summer like the combination of seashells and carefree, outdoor games!  I did just that with a bit of paint and some seashells to create a backyard Tic Tac Toe game!

Not only is it fun to sit around with some iced tea and play a few rounds but it also adds a bit of bling to our back yard.  I would like to share how I made it with you!

I started with a bag of seashells that I found at the dollar store. They were the perfect size because they were on the small side and there was a variety of shapes in the bag. Plus, I got so many for a dollar that I really couldn't go wrong!

I spray painted 7-10 shells in a tropical blue color called Spa Blue by Rustoleum and the same amount in gold, also by Rustoleum. 


seashells

The game board is a slice of birch that we cut from a log from a tree our neighbors had taken down. I painted the game board using craft paint onto which I sprinkled glitter while still wet.  I also toyed with the idea of using one of our stump tables or a slab of slate too.
seashells

That's it!  An easy seashell game that doesn't take a lot of work but adds a bit of whimsy to our summer evenings!  

seashell game 4

seashell game 7


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Friday, July 17, 2015

Strawberry Cream Pie (Summer Dessert)

Don't you love summer fruit?  While the apple and pumpkin flavors that come out in fall are lovely, nothing really compares to the gorgeous colors and flavors of summer fruits like peaches, plums, cherries, and strawberries. Recently, I had tons of strawberries hanging around so I looked up some recipes and made a delicious strawberry cream pie.

strawberry cream pie

Don't you love summer fruit?  While the apple and pumpkin flavors that come out in fall are lovely, nothing really compares to the gorgeous colors and flavors of summer fruits like peaches, plums, cherries, and strawberries. Recently, I had tons of strawberries hanging around so I looked up some recipes and made a delicious strawberry cream pie.


I found the recipe at at Your Home Based Mom. Leigh Ann's website if full of yummy sounding recipes and her photos are lovely to look at too.  This recipe is a winner!!   I made it for a barbecue at my sister's house and everyone loved it! Jim declared it his favorite pie ever and it will become a summer tradition in our house. Thank you, Leigh Ann, for a lovely and easy recipe!  

strawberry cream pie

I was afraid the cream would taste too cheesecakey since it contains a fair amount of cream cheese but it didn't at all. It was light, velvety, slightly sweet, and the perfect pairing with the luscious berries. The cream recipe itself is a keeper and I found myself imagining it with blueberries and lemon, raspberries, even cooked apples and cinnamon. 

strawberry pie 4

The original glaze recipe uses fresh strawberries but I used some frozen I had and it came out perfectly. I wouldn't waste really good, fresh ones in the glaze, to be honest, if they are pricey.  You can't tell the difference. I did end up with more glaze than I needed too so next time I may just reduce the amounts in the recipe. It sure makes a pretty topping for the pie, though. So sparkly and rich!

strawberry pie

And the crust is crisp and adds a touch of sweetness without being cloying. It is a lovely vessel to hold all the creamy and berry goodness!

I hope you'll try this recipe at your next gathering or one of Leigh Ann's other recipes! 
Jenny

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Easy Sew Fabric Tote Bag

easy fabric diy tote bag


This was one of the most fun and easy beginner sewing projects I have done in a while!  This easy sew tote bag went together in a few hours and I can't wait to make another! And since I can't seem to go more than 2 weeks without buying fabric I'm guessing that I will be whipping one up soon.

My sister-in-law is having a milestone birthday (no, not turning 21. If it was I'd be buying her a drink not sewing her a bag) and I wanted to sew her something sweet and feminine, which sounds like I'm wanting to sew her up some lingerie but that's creepy. She is a crocheter so I started looking at free tote bag patterns that would be a good bag to hold her crochet crap and finally settled on this one from  Poppyseed Fabrics.

The pattern is created so you actually sew the lining and the outer pieces at the same time as opposed to sewing two separate pieces and then sewing them together. That made it especially easy for a novice sewer.


 I used a pretty scalloped dish towel (never used obviously!) as the fabric for the pockets.


This project used a light batting instead of interfacing to give the bag some weight. I think I prefer interfacing but it was good to try something different.

The original pattern used webbing for the handles but since I didn't have any I used 2-4 inch strips of fabric (1 yard long).  To make each handle,  I folded it down the middle, ironed the crease. Then opened it back up and folded each long side in toward the center crease and ironed. I opened it up completely and inserted a two inch by 1 yard strip of fusible interfacing and ironed according to the directions for the interfacing. Then I refolded the sides in toward the middle and then folded the whole thing along the middle crease.


I stitched along the edge that doesn't have the fold and voila! I had two handles.

easy fabric diy tote bag
easy fabric diy tote bag

easy fabric diy tote bag


I added the flower pin and filled it with yarn as part of the gift.  This is a great project to try with kids too!

Cheers!
Jenny

Friday, July 10, 2015

5 Ways to Add a Beach Vibe to Your Home




You all know I a love being a Jersey girl and part of the reason is because we have awesome beaches! Some of the best moments of my life happened at the Jersey shore, including getting engaged. I also had some of my most embarrassing, will-never-tell-my-daughters moments at the Jersey shore but that's for a different blog.

 My girls will be going to the Jersey shore for the first time this year and I'm so happy they will finally get to experience it as I did as a child minus having to get up at 4 am to "beat the traffic." But even if you don't live in NJ (sorry to hear!) you can add a bit of beach to your home easily. Beachy keen. isn't it?  (wah-wahhhhhh).


1. Add in a bit of rope somewhere like these rope-wrapped pots from House by Hoff. How easy!  And any kind of rope will do really! Rope screams boat and boat screams water because boat screaming desert doesn't make sense.

House By Hoff


 2. Fill some vessels with sand and set them out in a vignette. I used little jars to save sand from our vacations but you can use dollar store vases, old pickle jars, even some wine glasses. Better yet, tie some ROPE around those glass vessels and you are killing two seagulls with one stone!



3.  Create some beach inspired artwork. These paintings offer the vibe of the seaside without getting sand all up in your crevices! Sweet! The tutorial shows you that you don't need to be Michaelangelo to create beautiful art.

My Clever Nest

4. Add a seaashell garland.  I love this one from Finding Home!  The little bits of glass add some sparkle to the monocromatic colors of the sea stars and shells.  I have seen little bags of shells at the dollar store and the Christmas Tree Shoppe had starfish and sand dollars for a song. And look..more rope!
Finding Home


5. Set out beach inspired children's books.  My sister has a book rack in her family room which holds picture books. She changes them for each holiday or season, and I have always loved this idea!  Not only is it a way for kids to have some refreshing new literature but book covers can be decor themselves!  Here are a few kiddie beach reads you can stack in a basket and set next to the couch!




Are you inspired to become a beach bum yet? 

Cheers!
Jenny

Monday, July 6, 2015

Blog Feature: Timewashed

It has been a while since I shared a favorite decor, DIY, or lifestyle blog with you all!  I am so excited to feature Timewashed today!

 I found Timewashed on Pinterest when I was looking for some pretty and beachy decor ideas and I came across this sweet picture of  Becky's painted mason jar vignette. I fell in love immediately!  Gorgeous!

Everything she does has a bit of sparkle, elegance, or refinement. Look at these lovely lace doily bowls!


And I think this inspiration would be so pretty in a nursery too!

Inspiration Board


And if you don't want to DIY it you can visit Betsy's Timewashed Etsy shop too!  Right now she has some lavender sachets that look darling!

I hope you'll visit Becky!  I'm sure you'll enjoy Timewashed too!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Garden Edition)

Every spring Jim and I drop a stupid amount of money at the garden center instead of our kids' 529s. We get seduced by the gorgeous hot-house grown plants and walk around with the big flat handcart instead of the regular old shopping cart. We know that a puny shopping cart will not be able to hold all the plants and bushes we will plant and lovingly coach into huge mountains of garden delights.

 What this means is that Jim and I live every spring in an eternal state of hope. THIS will be the year!  The hydrangeas will bend with blossoms the size of melons. (OMG which reminds me of this time my BFF and I were coming out of a dance club and a drunk guy asked her "How are your melons smellin?" Charming). The roses will bare-knuckle fight each other for a spot to bloom.  The lavender will grow so big and so lush that all the linen that is in my basement waiting to be sewn into something will ache to be joined with it it in sweet little sachets. 

What does Dr. Phil say?  The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior?   So logically we should know that this is a daydream and all we will grow is mounds of dirt topped with mulch.  . Anything that we do manage to grow will get eaten by those sonsofbitches deer.

Which brings me to my current state of gardening affairs which I like to call The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Here is The Good:  We purchased an IncrediBall hydrangea last year and it was a twig when we last left it. It didn't have a blossom and it was less than a foot tall. It was a sad, sad, hydrangea. I fully expected it to off itself over winter. Instead though it grew to over 4 feet tall!  And yes, those sonsofbitches deer have taken a few inches off in some areas but I'm ok with it since it seriously took off!  You can't even see all the blooms it has.


hydrangeas


Now The Bad:

Last year my sister-in-law sprinkled some wildflower seeds over a mound of dirt. What popped up was a mass of brightly colored zinnias. There was easily a trillion!  I can do that! I purchased a large bag of wildflower seeds and planted them here and there and in some pots. Anxiously I awaited my vibrant flowers to spring to life. Here is what I got.


WEEDS.  I successfully grew planters full of weeds. Yay me.



Now The Ugly:

Our driveway is lined with hedges, not sure the kind, but they get trimmed into neat round balls. This year we decided to let the flowers bloom on them which means they had to grow out of their shape. Then we got some rain and they are flailing every which way now.  It's almost as if they are all trying to pick up the same dollar bill. Or they are the senators trying to stab Caesar. I think this is actually called growing willy nilly.  But the purple-pink flowers are so pretty that we couldn't bring ourselves to shape them up. Sorry neighbors!

flowers bushes summer spring garden

What are your gardening successes this year? 

Cheers!
Jenny