Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pin-Up & Pilot Costume

Last night was our local Eagles Club Halloween Party. I've been waiting for an excuse to dress up since I officially became 'too old' to trick 'r' treat. We're not much for the bar scene so other than our club, my husband and I don't go out much. I'd rather stay home and talk to my dogs, and chickens than hang out with most other people my own age. His classic rock cover-band was booked early last month to play at the Eagles for a Halloween Party. Right away, I set to work planning our costumes. YAY!

Several people have told me I have a certain 'look' about me reminiscent of the WWII era... maybe its the winged eyeliner I typically sport, who knows. Regardless, I take it as a huge compliment! Women in the 40's were so classic and beautiful. Nowadays, we're getting less class, and more people like Miley. Yuck.

This costume was so much fun to wear, and actually very easy to put together. You just need some odds and ends that you may have in your closet/makeup bag. IF your husband or boyfriend has an olive green jumpsuit, GREAT, on the off chance that he doesn't (like mine), they are available at army surplus store, thrift stores, and sites like Amazon.

Pin-Up Costume
- Halter Style Dress
- Rhinestone or Pearl Jewelry (I found a necklace and earring set for $10 at Wal-Mart)
- Red Pumps (and Ibuprofen for wearing said pumps all night)
- Victory Rolls (this tutorial will help!)
- Red Lipstick
- Liquid Eyeliner
- Fake Eyelashes, optional
- Flower for your Hair (I hot glued an old fake rose to a hair clip, super simple)
- Red Nails

Pilot Costume
- Olive Jumpsuit
- Aviator Sunglasses
- Pilot Wing Pin (found one on Amazon for $9)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

Since I started canning over the summer, I've become obsessed with mason jar everything. I've replaced the cups in my kitchen with pint mason jars, use pint and a half jars as vases, I have mason jar wall art, I store pasta and flour in giant gallon sized mason jars.... you get the idea. Whilst perusing the aisles of Target, searching for new bathroom items (couldn't find anything I liked), my husband had the bright idea that I should try to make things out of mason jars for the bathroom as well. That man really is a genius sometimes. I plan on using mason jars as toothbrush, q-tip, and cotton ball holders alongside this beautiful mason jar soap dispenser. And of course one will go in the kitchen! Doesn't get much more country than that, eh?

Materials Needed
Pint Mason Jar
Soap Pump (I used a plastic pump from a $1 bottle of hand soap)
Strong Water Resistant Adhesive (I used a type of Gorilla Glue)
Rubber Band (for glue curing purposes)

Remove the soap pump and rinse the residual soap from it. Mark the center of the lid. Using your nail and hammer, tap little holes into the lid, opening the space with the pliers as you go, until you have a big enough hole so that the pump fits in snugly. Apply glue to the part of the plastic pump base that will connect with the mason jar lid, situate lid and pump onto jar, and secure with a rubber band for 24 hours (or as long as the glue instructs). Voila! 

Pumpkin Dip

Looking for an easy treat to take to fall parties? Bam, here it is! This popular recipe has been circulating around Pinterest ever since I joined a few years ago - and for good reason, it's amazing! If you plop it into a mini pie pumpkin with a couple sticks of cinnamon, you'll get some pretty serious praise. I know this from experience. The original recipe can be found here.

Pumpkin Dip

2 c. pureed pumpkin (canned or home processed)
1 (5oz) box vanilla pudding (just the powder, don't make it!)
1 (16oz) tub of cool whip
1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 small pumpkin

Mix first five ingredients in a container. Chill. In the meantime, carve that pumpkin up! Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired. Serve with apple slices, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, or literally anything your heart desires (though I would advise against dipping steak in it). I attached the top to the side of my pumpkin using a toothpick. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Molasses Cookies, and a Great Book

This book. I have been waiting for this book for MONTHS. It's been torture. I finally received it last week via UPS, and immediately sat down with a cup of peppermint tea to submerse myself in it. I finished it the next day - it was that good. AND, the last few pages of the book are filled with some of her favorite recipes. I knew I just had to try one that day.

I've been an avid fan of Chickens in the Road since 2010. I discovered the site whilst researching homemade Christmas decorations. This woman has been the inspiration for the farm life I want to live. She pretty much rocks. She keeps cows, chickens, donkeys, horses, and goats. Her goats love her molasses cookies , as now do I! They are moist, chewy, and perfectly molasses-y. And dipped in milk? Fo-get about it!

Molasses Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup molasses
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and molasses. Add soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Stir to combine. Stir in flour. Spoon dough onto waxed paper and roll into logs for slicing. Wrap and chill. Slice or form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375-degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Sweet Cider Apple Butter

In the middle of sewing a bag one afternoon, an unexpected vehicle pulled in the drive. It's my father-in-law. He hops out and starts stacking near-bursting bags onto the back porch. They're all full of apples. What a pleasant surprise! I dumped them all in a laundry basket for sorting, and stared in awe at their beauty.

Right away I knew where these apples and I were headed - apple butter city. I loved apple butter as a kid, and haven't had any in years. Where to turn? Where does the best apple butter recipe hide in waiting? In classic fashion, the Ball Book of Home Preservation didn't let me down. I've given away several jars of this apple butter and I've gotten RAVE reviews on it - some even saying its the best apple butter they've EVER had. That's a pretty big compliment for a novice canner if ya ask me. Of course, I was merely the vessel of the time tested awesomeness of my always spot on canning bible. 

It took me three days and a ton of elbow grease to get through all of those gorgeous apples. Thank heavens I had so many wonderful furry assistants! I ended up with thirty pints of apple butter, and a house, driveway, and yard that smelled of sweet, spiced, appley goodness. Uh, can you say awesome Christmas gifts? :)

Hope you enjoy it!

Sweet Cider Apple Butter

makes 10 half pints or 5 pints

6lbs apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 c. apple cider
3 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Combine apples and apple cider in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer apple mixture to a food mill or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, working in batches, and purée just until a uniform texture is achieved. Do not liquefy. Measure 12 cups of apple purée. Combine apple purée, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a clean large stainless steel saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon (about 45 minutes).  Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside. Ladle hot butter into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn burner off, remove lid, and let sit in water bath for an additional 5 minutes. Remove, cool, label, and store.