Sunday, January 26, 2014

Almond Biscotti

I've got a sweet tooth, and I always have to have something sweet in the morning. One of my favorite things to make for breakfast is Almond Biscotti. It's a fairly simple recipe, and you can add what you like to spice it up a bit. Sometimes I add some chocolate chunks or drizzle it with chocolate. In the summer, I added some lavender from my herb garden, and it was very refreshing. Get creative and see what you come up with!

First, you mix 2 eggs and 2/3 cup of sugar.

Then you grind up 3/4 cup of almonds in a food processor (I use a mini chopper). Add the almonds, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 3/4 cup of flour, and 1 tsp vanilla to the egg mixture and mix for about 2 minutes.

You will have a sticky dough like the picture above. Take the dough onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten it out in a log shape about 1/2 inch thick (shown below).

Bake the "log" in the oven at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes. Once it is removed from the oven, let it cool for 5-10 minutes.

Slice the log at an angle into pieces about 1/2 inch in width. Turn each slice on its side (shown above), and bake it in the oven again for 5 minutes. Turn the biscotti onto its other side, and bake again for 5 minutes.

Allow the biscotti to cool, and then...enjoy this "twice baked" cookie with coffee! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lavender Linen Spray

So as I've mentioned before, I think one of the greatest feelings is crawling into freshly washed sheets. What makes it even better is when they smell amazing! I use a homemade lavender linen spray on my sheets and towels every week, and on Saturday nights I get the best sleep ever! The lavender scent is so calming. Last Spring I saw a recipe for lavender linen spray in a Country Living magazine. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so I decided to concoct my own spray - the recipe is a keeper. 

I first boil water in a sauce pan, and then I let it cool to room temperature. This is done to make sure the spray is clear and not foggy.

All you need are a few ingredients - water, Isopropyl Alcohol, a 5 oz empty bottle, a funnel, and lavender essential oil. First, you funnel the water into your empty bottle with just a little room left at the top. Then you pour about 1/2 tsp of the alcohol into the bottle. Lastly, pour in about 30 drops of lavender essential oil in your bottle. Put on the cap, and shake it. I also had some cute labels custom made to add to my bottles. It is such a simple recipe, and it really does make your linens smell amazing! 

This also makes a great gift - Pair it with a linen tea towel, some homemade soap, or a turkish towel!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Homemade Ice Cream

For Christmas this year I got the ice cream maker kitchen aid attachment. After a month of anticipation I finally got to use it! It's been quite a while since I've had homemade ice cream, and I've never made it before today. 

I used a simple vanilla ice cream recipe: 

2 cups half and half
2 cups of whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup of sugar

Then I added some strawberries for some extra flavor :)

It was so simple! I highly recommend this if you have a kitchen aid mixer. You just stick the freezer bowl in the freezer overnight, mix up your ice cream batter and refrigerate for a few hours, and then in 20 minutes you mix up delicious homemade ice cream.

A great treat for a Friday night!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Artichoke Napkin

So today my custom made "Garden Fresh" stamp came in the mail, and I was able to complete that project I was working on yesterday. I'm so happy with how it turned out. So far I've only completed an artichoke napkin, but I cannot wait to try my other vegetable stamps! Just had to share the finished product with you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stamped Napkins

So I tried something new today! I don't often "craft," but this evening I put my Martha Stewart hat on.  A few weeks ago I had a great idea -  stamping linen napkins. As you already know - I love linen, and I wanted to try and add some accents to a plain linen napkin. I got online and ordered a set of rubber vegetable stamps from a seller on ebay, some linen napkins from, and a fabric ink pad from I briefly researched how and if this might work online, and I set out to create something unique.

My favorite stamp out of the set was the artichoke. The process was fairly simple - I just put ink on the stamp and pressed down on the linen napkin. 

This isn't the finished product though. I had a stamp custom made that says "garden fresh" which I have not yet received in the mail yet. When this comes, I plan to stamp this underneath. I'll share a picture of the finished product soon. I just love the simple design! You could also try this project on a tea towel and give it as a hostess gift. There are so many different designs you can do for this. So of my thoughts included:
Winter  - a moose or pine trees
Spring - florals, herbs
Summer - vegetables and fruit
Fall - leaves, pumpkins, apples

This project made me anxious for Spring. I cannot wait to plant and harvest our garden. There is nothing better than garden fresh veggies.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cherry Cobbler

Well, after being laid up with the flu for a week, I finally felt a bit more like myself this weekend, and I was ready to bake - and blog! Growing up there were some days my mom would make cherry cobbler for supper- and those were great days! It's always a treat to have dessert in place of supper. We picked some sour cherries at my parents house this summer and froze them, so that we too could carry on this tradition. Today- a relaxing Sunday afternoon- seemed like a perfect day to have dessert for supper.

I used an old Mennonite cookbook - the same recipe that my mom always used.
First, mix together 1 1/2 c. of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 cup of sugar. Cut in 1/4 cup of shortening. Next, beat one egg and add 1/3 cup of milk. Add this to the flour mixture. You will get a thick, sticky dough. Place your frozen cherries in the bottom of your greased baking dish. Sprinkle on the cherries a little lemon juice and corn starch. Then, using 2 Tbsp of butter, cut little pieces and drop it on the cherries. Next, take your dough, and drop 6-8 spoonfuls onto the cherries.

It looks delicious! Now, Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

Lastly... enjoy!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Apple Crisp

It's been really cold this week in Pennsylvania, and last night I needed a sweet homemade dessert to warm me up. There is nothing like a bowl of apple crisp fresh out of the oven on a cold evening. 

In the fall, I make and can homemade apple pie filling. It comes in handy on days like yesterday when I wanted something quick and easy! All I had to do was reach into the pantry and pull out a jar.

First you place the pie filling in your baking dish.

Then you mix together in a small bowl the following ingredients:

1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of oats
1/2 cup of brown sugar
a pinch of baking soda
a pinch of baking powder
1/4 cup of melted butter

After all that is mixed, you sprinkle it on the top of your apples and bake in the oven for 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

And lastly - dig in while it's still warm! To make it even better - add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Apothecary Jars

Apothecary jars  - I love them!  I use them in the bathroom for q-tips, cotton balls, travel size guest shampoos, and bar soaps. When I open our linen closet, I'm no longer overwhelmed with disorganized shelves. Using these jars just makes for a much cleaner and elegant look. 

 For some reason these jars can be a bit expensive, though. I've searched on Amazon and one jar can be over $20 or $30! About a year ago, I found a three jar set for just under $30 at Sears. I also keep my eyes open for them anytime I go into TJMaxx (a favorite store!) I have found inexpensive, yet still lovely, jars there for $5-$8 each. 

These jars make great containers for my coffee beans. They can also be used for loose leaf tea, hot chocolate, candy, nuts, etc.  They are very practical and add a little bit of class! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cleaning day

It's Saturday morning,  and I have a date... with Mrs. Meyers - my favorite cleaning products! They work so well, and they smell amazing! Mrs. Meyers has so many different scents, and for the most part uses natural ingredients! They are much safer then your typical household cleaners and are about the same price.  

Saturday is cleaning and laundry day in our house. I used to dread cleaning, but now I get satisfaction from it. After a day of cleaning, when I walk by the bathroom, I breathe in the scent of lemon verbana, and in the kitchen - lavender. As I fold the clean laundry I'm welcomed by sunflowers and bluebells.  Knowing that by Saturday afternoon the whole house will be clean and tidy is a huge relief. My husband and I are both particular about things when it comes to our home. He needs everything to be perfectly organized, and I need everything to be clean. We work well together :) Saturday evenings are so relaxing and gratifying. The very best part is crawling into freshly washed sheets scented with lavender linen spray (I'll share the recipe sometime soon) on Saturday evenings.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Linen Love

Confession... I have an obsession ... with all things linen. 

I searched EVERYWHERE for decently priced linen pillows that went with our living room colors and came up empty handed. Then I went to etsy (Linen Fabric) and found some linen fabric that would be perfect... but I haven't sewn since 8th grade home ec class. 

Luckily, I have some great people in my life who do know how to sew! A friend's mom sewed them for me, and she did such a great job. I stuffed them and closed them up. Now I have 4 great pillows and all for under $40! They are just what I was looking for. 

(Slate blue pillow is from Bed Bath and Beyond)

(Snow flake pillow is from Target)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dried Flowers

I LOVE dried flowers. They are absolutely beautiful! I used to splurge once a week and buy fresh flowers at the grocery store, but now I opt for dried flowers. Just as pretty, and much more cost effective. They also bring a natural feel to your home year round , which I love!

Dried Lavender is displayed above (It is still very fragrant, and so calming!). I purchased a candle at Target a few months ago, and once the candle burned out, I was left with this beautiful vase. It looks great with the lavender. 

This past summer I planted a limelight hydrangea. The blooms were so beautiful in the summer, and afterwards they dried so perfectly. I now have them on display throughout our home. These flowers remind me daily that Spring is coming yet again!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Ornament

 Each year since we've been married, we've added a new ornament to the tree. In June we took a trip to Montana and thought this little moose ornament was appropriate for this year's addition.

 Here is where we purchased the ornament:
My husband stained it, and added the year on one side and our names on the other. 

Sad to see Christmas go, but looking forward to 2014 and the warmer months!