This is my mom’s recipe for pumpkin bread and it is sooo delicious. The recipe makes 2 loaves.
What you’ll need:
- 1 stick butter, room temp
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 tsp clove
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
Steps to prepare:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease 2 loaf pans and coat with a dusting of flour
3. Mix the butter and sugar together first, then add the rest of the ingredients
4. Bake for 45-55 minutes
I think making a turkey is one of the easiest things to do. Once it’s in the oven there isn’t much left to prepare (except sides) and clean up is a breeze. There are tons of different ways to prepare a turkey, but this is how I do it and have always had great results.
Here are a few pointers on turkey making:
- Figure 1- 1.5 pounds of bird per person (leftover turkey is never a bad thing to have and you don’t want to run short)
- Make sure your bird is completely defrosted before cooking. I like to leave it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before I cook it (shorter or longer amount of time may be needed depending on the size of the turkey). If you don’t have time to defrost it this way or if it’s still partially frozen you can soak it in a sink filled with cool water. If you defrost it this way make sure you clean your sink before and after. Also, change the water out every 30 minutes.
- My way of preparing turkey does not call to brine it ahead of time (soaking the bird overnight in a mixture of water, salt, and sugar), but it is definitely a step you can do.
- Plan to cook the turkey for 20 minutes per pound. You can check the breast with a meat thermometer to make sure it’s up to 165 degrees. Don’t overcook!
- The more you open the oven to baste a turkey, the longer it may take to cook. Heat is lost each time you open the oven.
What you’ll need:
- A roasting pan with a lid (a use tin foil to cover it)
- Cheese cloth (found in most grocery stores). This helps keep juices on the bird during cooktime.
- 1-2 cups chicken broth
- Spices (see step 4 for a list of what I use)
- Baster or ladle
1. Rinse the turkey well and remove and innards.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. Pour the chicken broth in the pan and set the turkey in.
4. Sprinkle the bird and pan with spices. I don’t measure amounts….I just use a little bit of everything listed: garlic, paprika, rosemary, parsley, pepper, onion powder, salt
5. Melt 1 stick of butter (I put it in a coffee mug in the microwave) and place a piece of cheesecloth (cut the size of the bird) into it to soak the butter. Place the cheesecloth over the bird. Cover the turkey and place in the oven.
6. Baste the bird every hour.
7. Remove the bird when it’s done cooking and remove the the cheese cloth. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes before carving.
How to make gravy:
1. Remove the turkey and any scraps from the pan, leaving just the juices.
2. Place the pan on the stove top and turn the heat on high.
3. In a separte container mix water with flour and shake (the constancy should be fairly thick, but still pourable)
4. Whisk the juices as it comes to a boil and slowly add the water/flour mixture until the gravy is to a consistancy you desire.
Lauren, our sweet 19 month old, wanted to share some news with you all!
I’ve learned that having a child means having the need for a large amount of batteries of different sizes. There are so many gadgets, toys, sleeping sounds machines, etc that keep my kid happy that I can’t keep up with stocking alkaline power!
The other night we realized that the ‘ocean wonder’ crib accessory had lost juice. Serious problem. The bigger problem was that when we went to grab new ‘C’ batteries for it we realized we were out. My husband used a little trick that apparently he has done for years. I had never seen it done before and had to share!
What an easy thing to do….just wrap scotch tape around a smaller sized battery until you create the size needed. Problem solved!
We have an L-shaped sofa in our basement family room. It’s great for lounging and watching movies, but I hate that there isn’t a place to set drinks, remotes, and other items when relaxing (we have an ottoman and a 1 year old, so using a coffee table isn’t an option).
A solution I came up with is making a basic shelf that runs along the back of the couch. It works great, is easy to make, and was super cheap! It’s just deep enough to hold glasses without making the couch stick out. Here’s how to do it yourself!
- A board that is the length of your sofa. I went to Home Depot and picked out the least expensive 1″ thick by 6″ deep board. They sold it by the foot, so I had them cut the exact length of my sofa. Too easy!
- Stain, polyurethane, and 2 foam brushes
- Mounting L-brackets
1. Lightly sand the board to get rid of rough edges and the sharp ends from being cut. Wipe off the board with a dry rag.
2. Apply a coat of stain. To apply stain use a foam brush to evenly coat the wood. Take a dry rag and gently wipe off excess stain and rub the rag across the whole board for even coloring. Depending on how deep you want the color, you may need to apply more than one coat of stain.
3. Once that dries apply a layer of polyurethane with a foam brush and leave until it’s dry.
4. Mount your brackets. The width of your sofa will determine how many brackets you should use…. mine are spaced 3 feet apart, so I used a total of 4 brackets. You can buy these from the ‘closet/home storage’ section of a home remodeling store (I got them at Home Depot).
I pulled the sofa out a few feet, so you can see how the shelf is attached to the wall. The height of the shelf just meets the top of the sofa.
Using personal photographs as seasonal decoration is something I love to do. It adds special memories to holidays and gives more meaning to the decor you display throughout the year. I’ll use a couple of these shots to put in a frame or make a collage to help decorate the cabin for many July fourths down the road.
This weekend I dressed my 17 month old in all American gear, handed her a couple flags, and let her run around. Trying to get a baby to stand or sit still, look at the camera, and smile is just about impossible. So plan to take a bunch of photos in order to get some usable ones. My favorites are the ones of her running around or twirling the flags….. maybe not traditional good shots, but it captures the fun she was having.
Here is a super easy way to make homemade potato topping without all the fat:
- One 16 ounce container of light or fat free sour cream
- 1/4 cup of freshly chopped chives
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- Pepper and salt to taste
Mix it all together and enjoy! If you don’t want as much of the garlic/onion taste use 1/4 tsp of each.
My mother and aunt are pretty awesome ladies. They have taught me many things over my lifetime and a couple ideas they recently passed onto me have been working splendidly. I want to pass on the advice.
Preventing mold on your fruit
I love fresh berries, but I hate how fast mold grows on them. If I don’t eat strawberries, raspberries, etc in a day or two mold starts growing. What a waste!
Mom already taught me that using white vinegar is the best way to kill mold if it grows in food containers…and Lord knows I’m not good at cleaning out the fridge. This trick comes in handy. Why not use the same principle to prevent mold and keep fruit from going bad?
Fill a bowl with 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water. Put your fruit in that for 10 minutes and then thoroughly rinse it. This will help kill any small mold spores and give you 1 to 2 weeks to eat those berries! ***If you are going to put fruit back in the container you bought it, pour the vinegar water over the container and rinse it before placing fruit back.
Keep mosquitoes away with a minty fresh smell
Why use expensive, harsh chemicals to spray your yard to ward off mosquitoes when you can buy a value size bottle of Listerine? That’s right….Listerine. I bought an economy size bottle of generic Listerine, poured it into a spray bottle, and squirted the tar our of my yard. The amount of mosquitoes flying around dropped quite a bit!
My aunt even sprays it on herself to keep the buggers away. That works too, but expect a little stickiness.
Along with many holidays throughout the year this one always sneaks up me. It makes me realize that 1/3 of summer is already over…yikes! However, it is a great time to celebrate America, get together with others, and really get down to what summer is all about!
I like making ‘Martini Stations’. You can premake a large amount of a certain martini and keep it in a pitcher at room temperature. Then guests can pour the amount they want into a cocktail shaker, add ice, and have a great drink without the hassle of making martinis one by one.
What’s a great way to show your patriotism? Make a flag shaped fruit ‘pizza’ of course.
What you need:
- 1 refrigerated package of sugar cookie dough
- 2/3 of a package of light cream cheese, room temperature
- 2/3 of a container of light Cool Whip, thawed
- Blueberries and strawberries, rinsed and dried
Evenly spread the cookie dough into a rectangle (it may not turn out exact, so just trim the baked cookie as necessary to create a rectangle). Let it cool. Mix the cream cheese and Cool Whip together and spread evenly over the cookie crust. Add your fruit and enjoy!
I love making colorful layered cakes (for a gray ombre example Click Here). Making multiple and different colored layers does add a little time to making a cake, but not much and it really adds a lot to the festivities! You will want to use a white cake mix and make it with egg whites, not whole eggs (this keeps the color more pure). Separate the cake in 2 equal parts, add red food color to half and add blue food color to the other half. I only have 2 round cake pans, so I have to bake the red layers first and then once they cool I can bake the blue layers. Use white (not vanilla…it’s actually yellowy) frosting and decorate it as you wish!
I love me some glitter! I buy the inexpensive box of 12 of unscented ‘poured glass votive candles’, add some glitter, and you have cheap decorations!
What’s screams summer and America more than a Bomb Pop treat? You can relive those icecream truck memories, but with an adult friendly twist. Below are two different ways to make this festive cocktail:
Option One: Lemonade, Mike’s Hard Cranberry, UV Vodka Blue (the left half of the below photo)
Option Two: Smirnoff Ice, Blue Curacao, Cranberry Juice (the right half of the below photo)
Fill your glass with ice. Pour your blue liquid in (down the side so the color doesn’t stick to the ice), carefully pour in your ‘white’ liquid, and then the red. The colors blend quickly, so drink up!
Enjoy your cocktails in some patriotic washable glittered glasses. To learn how to make some sparkly glassware Click Here .
This is not a fun, cute, see beautiful results of your sweaty hard work kind of project. This is a dirty, hard, back-breaking job. However, it is also a money saving project that with some physical labor really isn’t that hard to figure out…..heck, I did it (this is our cabin kitchen floor)! If you’re looking to tile a floor, below are the steps to teach you how to lay the proper subfloor.
***I will soon be posting ’how to tile’ & ’how to grout’ , so stay tuned. Also, please don’t mind the hideous wood paneling…that is getting worked on as well!
The proper subfloor is very important when laying tile. You can’t just lay tile over plywood or linoleum; the thin-set (tile adhesive/mortar) won’t adhere and the tiles can crack as the floor moves and swells from moisture variations. You can, however, lay tile over concrete or an existing tile floor (as long as it is secure and you have the height clearance). You also want to make sure the floor under this project is stable. Cement board and tile create a lot of weight.
What you’ll need:
- 1/4 inch cement board - I like using ‘Hardiebacker’ (use 1/2 inch if you need to build height)
- Mortar (thin-set, mud, etc)
- A 1/4 inch notch trowel
- Screws - 1 1/4 inch deck screws (they won’t rust)
- Cement board tape (same idea as sheet rock tape)
- Tools like a screwdriver, razor (for scoring the board), a large ’egg-beater’ drill attachment for ease of mixing mortar, a bucket
- Knee pads, rubber gloves, etc – anything to make the job more pleasant, so booze can fit in this category as well
Mix your mortar with water. You want it to be a peanut butter consistency and to hold the trowel marks as you spread it. Slop some on the floor and begin spreading it out, creating a ‘fan’ effect for even coverage. The notches in the trowel help regulate how much mortar is left on the floor….handy little tool!
As you lay the board screw them in *do not step on boards until they are screwed into place*. Install screws in a random pattern all over the board. Give about 8 inches of space between screws, 2 inches in from corners, and 1 1/2 inches in from the sides. Make the screw heads level with the board (don’t over screw).
After all the boards are laid you will need to mud and tape your seams. First, fill the spaces between boards with mud and smooth the line along the seam (you can use the flat side of your trowel for this). Second, lay a line of cement board tape along the seams. Third, smooth another thin layer of mud over the tape. Allow it to dry.
The project is done and now ready for tiling! oofda, I need a massage!