DIY

H E R B S

I have a major soft spot for fresh herbs. Really anything out of the garden. Last year we installed two are garden boxes in our yard and it was shocking how well they did! We had a crazy amount of very large cucumbers (I mean like five new ones daily, it was slightly out of hand), a TON of homegrown potatoes, carrots and green peppers…. it was a beautifully, flourishing garden. We had way too much kale and swiss chard and will probably rethink that this year but how are you to know before ya know right! Anyways, every year I like to make a valiant effort to have fresh herbs growing on hand. Since it is still a bit chilly outside, I thought keeping these babies indoors would be best, and why not on my kitchen window sill. That way they are nice and accessible for all of your cooking needs. This was such a simple task that even those who lack a green thumb can easily obtain one. Here is what you need:

Herbs of choice: I chose chives, parsley and cilantro. I LOVE cilantro in guacamole and tacos so it’s a staple in this house since we eat them so often.

Pots or some sort of planter (you will need one that is a good size for the amount of herbs you have chosen)

Potting soil to top up if needed

Spray bottle

Start by filling my kitchen sink with about 2 inches of luke warm/room temperature water. Gently remove herbs from the plastic containers you purchased them in. Place them in the sink of water, sitting upright, and let them soak up the water for about a minute. Remove from water and gently loosen the root. Place in your new pot and add potting soil as needed. Place in a bright place with a good amount of sunlight. Trim herbs as you use them in your cooking to keep them growing evenly. Happy planting!

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French Toast In A Pinch

Well not really but a close second for sure! I wanted to share a holiday favourite with you, a little after the holidays. I meant to make a big batch of this and give it away in mini mason jars as Christmas gifts for friends. Like many, time slipped away from me and the holidays we over. Still, I couldn’t resist this super simple recipe, a staple in our home: Cinnamon Butter! This batch should probably be called cinnamon-maple-vanilla-honey-butter though. If you have read any of my food posts before, you know that I tend to veer away from following recipes. I am more of an instinct person when it comes to ingredients. A dash here, a heavy hand there. In the end, if it tastes good it is probably working just fine. So rather than share exact measurements, I am just going to tell you the ingredients and steps. Everyone has different tastes so feel free to add more of one thing and less of another. Spread it on your morning toast and it tastes very close to french toast with half the work and none of the clean up. A win-win for all the busy mommas out there.

Ingredients:

Butter – I use unsalted and a full pound. This made five mini mason jars.

Cinnamon – my personal favourite is by Watkins.

Maple Syrup – use the real stuff, not pancake syrup.

Vanilla extract

White Sugar – many of you will shake your head at that one but I am sure all the bakers can appreciate it’s importance.

Honey – liquefy before adding.

Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and MIX. I went old school and used a vintage hand egg-beater that my mom had. I was feeling the need to work out some aggression. Probably something to do with the kitchen faucet exploding that morning OR the furnace shutting down for 24 hours and leaving us all shivering our booties off. It’s been a tough week here! Using the hand mixer actually whipped up my butter and made it super frothy though so I will no doubt use that method in future. Taste as you go and add more of ingredients depending on your taste. In my case, it was all of them! But the result was perfection. Every buttery time. Enjoy! Full disclosure: Not the healthiest option and tastes even better on white bread. YUM!

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DIY Sharpie Mugs

With the holiday season just around the corner, thoughts of gifts for others keep creeping into my mind. Like many others, money is tight for us this Christmas. We love getting into the spirit, decorating the home, and making sure we eat lots of yummy holiday-inspired treats, but we do try to go easy in the actual gift department. It’s so easy to go overboard with spending and we are trying to curb that this year, focusing more on the experience of Christmas. With all of that being said, I have turned to Pinterest for some inexpensive DIY gifts. There are so many ideas but what that caught my eye in particular was the DIY SHARPIE MUG. There are so many adorable ways to complete this craft, and not only was it a piece of cake, it took me all of twenty minutes to make three of them (perfect nap time craft!). I am going to get a few more mugs to try out different designs though. This being my first attempt I definitely see room for improvement and wouldn’t mind putting a bit more effort into the fonts. I just free-handed these puppies and quite frankly, you can tell! Either way though, loads of fun and super simple. They would make great gifts with a miniature Baileys bottle tucked inside with some coffee grinds, or perhaps a nice tea selection. I know a few people on my gift list who are going to be receiving one of these, perfectly tailored to them.

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Supplies:

Sharpie – a nice new one with a sharp tip

Plain Mug – needs to be oven proof. Many mugs will indicate this on the bottom. Ceramic is what I chose to try and it worked out well.

Make sure your mugs are wiped clean and dry. Make your design on the mug with your Sharpie. Depending on the color of the mug, you may want to use different coloured Sharpies (images of silver and gold are now dancing in my head!)

Place mugs into the over and set to 350 degrees. You want to place the mugs in before it heats up so that they warm up with the oven and this will prevent cracking. Heat in the oven for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, turn the oven off but leaves your mugs in there to cool down with the oven, again prevent cracking. This will set your design so that you can wash your mug after use and it won’t effect the design. My research indicates this should make the mug safe to wash in the dishwasher, however I will not encourage that until I have actually done it myself. For gifting, tie a cute homemade tag with twine to the handle and indicate care instructions. CHEERS!

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