Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Homemade Sausage

My sister treated me to some of her homemade sausage yesterday. Not only was it lean and flavorful, but it didn't contain all of the nitrates, preservatives, and sodium that are found in pre-packaged sausage. It literally took her 2 minutes to make! I'll be making this instead of buying the store bought version from here on out!
Here's what you need: ground pork or turkey and spices. That's all, folks!

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

  • 1 teaspoon Table Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoons Dried Parsley
  • ½ teaspoons Rubbed Sage
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoons Dried Thyme
  • ¼ teaspoons Red Pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Water
  • 1 pound Ground Pork Or Ground Turkey

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the ground pork or turkey. Whisk until the spices are moistened. Add the ground pork or turkey and stir until thoroughly combined. If you have time, cover the sausage and refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld. If you don’t, the sausage will still taste great.
To cook, form the sausage into patties (or crumble if making sausage gravy). Cook over medium heat until the sausage has nicely browned on both sides.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Monogrammed Food!

No, I can't take credit for this idea (Thank you Southern Living!) but thought it was too clever not to share! Pipe an initial onto dessert bars for a personalized treat for bridal showers. I've seen this done on chocolate covered strawberries, petit fours, brownies, and lemon bars. It's a lovely custom touch that is both personal and delicious.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Graduation Gift

When buying a gift for your college or high school graduate, think food. Give a gift of kitchen supplies that they may need for their new kitchen or dorm, but make it special with a recipe box or binder. Hand-write the grad's favorite recipes from childhood to present. This thoughtful and practical gift will be used again and again and will bring a smile every time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rain Barrel

Need a cheap, eco-friendly water source? Make a rain barrel today! All you need is a plastic 55 gallon drum barrel, flexible guttering, a valve, hose, and a few pallets.
  • Cut a hole for the guttering and a hole for the faucet.
  • Attach faucet and direct the guttering into the barrel. (If you have a lot of trees nearby, you may need to attach a screen over the guttering hole to keep debris out.)
  • Set atop a few pallets and you're done! Perfect for hand-watering or drip irrigation. You can also purchase a small pump for washing the car or other chores that need pressure.

 You can paint the exterior of your barrel with spray paint for plastic too!

My dad made a "cradle" for our rain barrel, but you can set yours upright if you don't have one.
The valve, which attaches to a hose. Just remember to put the valve at the bottom of the barrel so gravity will work in your favor!

*You can often find these barrels on craigslist. I've even seen rain barrels made from trash cans!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Sweet Invitation

Have a child with a spring or summer birthday? Make your own popsicle invitations for a fun mailbox surprise. All you need is double sided tape, paper, and popsicle sticks.

  • To achieve a nice, evenly rounded top, I just traced a half circle of a coffee mug and drew straight lines down.
  • Cut out the popsicle shape.
  • Tear 2 strips of contrasting colored paper and tape onto the large piece.
  • Slide a popsicle stick in between the papers and you're done!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Master Gardener water bucket idea

Plants thrive when given a slow supply of water directly to the roots. Watering by hand tends to apply water too quickly causing the water to run off. Here’s a clever way to ensure your plants get the slow dose of water needed without having to remember to turn off the hose!

Simply drill six to eight evenly spaced 1/16 diameter holes in the bottom of a five-gallon bucket. Fill the bucket with water and place beside the thirsty plant. Place near a cluster of plants to water more than one at a time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I will survive

My sister gave a survival kit to me at my baby shower that was perfect. We're not talking corny, useless stuff. This one was great! You can use the same idea and customize one for your friends. Each item was wrapped too, which made things more fun!
  • A bar of good dark chocolate for emergencies
  • A dust mask for changing diapers (haha!)
  • A book of uplifting short stories
  • A binder full of quick, easy, and healthy recipes
  • Instant coffee
  • Blog entries for busy days- my personal favorite
  • A pack of thank you notes
  • Chapstick

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tip of the day

Save yourself cleanup by  using a can opener to punch holes in the top cover of sticky ingredients such as molasses, honey, or corn syrup. It will pour easily without drips and messy lids!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The next time you're in the grocery store, swing by the bakery and pick up a few icing buckets. They will usually give them to you for free since they usually throw them away. Most icing buckets come with snap-on lids. They are made of sturdy, food grade plastic with handles and they come in all sizes. I keep a small stash of them on hand for convenience. You can also feel good about recycling them when you are finished since they cost you nothing! Here's a list of handy uses for them:
  • transport a potted plant or other item that may leak
  • store produce from your garden such as potatoes, carrots, etc.
  • use as a mop bucket
  • brine your turkey in one - remember, they are food grade!
  • use to transport food if you're cooking for a large crowd
  • plant a tree sapling in one to give away
  • store dog/cat food
  • fill with car wash supplies and give as a gift
  • store bulk food (oats, wheat, flour, etc)
  • mix up a giant batch of bubbles for outdoor fun
  • use as a compost bucket

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tomato Ties

For those of you who don't know me, there is a small fact about me that you should know: I hate panty hose! I do not own a pair, nor do I ever wish to. I don't know if it's the feeling of my waist and legs being constricted or if it's the wrong color choice that turns legs into a garish orange hue, but I have always despised panty hose. Thanks, I had to get that out! (I feel much better, by the way.) Anyway, the point of this post is that there actually is a use for panty hose. Cut up those old nylons into strips and use to tie your tomatoes to their stakes. The nylon is soft, so it doesn't damage young stems and it also stretches, unlike traditional twine ties that cut into the plants.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Another contribution from my dear sis...enjoy!

I was refreshed to hear a friend explain that she was changing the way their family celebrated birthdays. They would now forego the decorations, crafts, favors, friends, exhausted mom etc. Instead the children now choose where they would like to go out for dinner. Following dinner, the family returns home for cake, ice cream, gifts and family time. While grand parties are certainly fun, why not consider spending less money and investing in family time instead? Some ideas we have tried:

§  The child gets to choose a piƱata and then helps dad make it out of newspaper, flour and water
§  The child is awakened to breakfast in bed on their birthday
§  The dinner menu is chosen by the birthday girl or boy
§  Grandmama makes a cake and the honored one gives the instructions! We’ve had a farm cake, a dinosaur, a mermaid, a whale etc.
§  The family looks through scrapbooks of past birthdays together or the baby scrapbook of the birthday child
§  A few friends are invited over for cupcakes and playtime minus an all out party
Last year's dinosaur pinata!