Monday, November 23, 2015

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has begun. I know many have already pulled out their Christmas decorations. Trees are selected, ornaments are removed from their special packages, family recipes are located, wrapping paper selected.  I, along with everyone else, love Christmas, but....I also love Thanksgiving. Let's slow down a little bit and enjoy this great day before we rush to celebrate Christmas--although Jesus' birthday is worth celebrating!

In trying to slow it down, I decided to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I normally make my own pumpkin pie- homemade crust and all. This year, however, I decided to make the puree too. Below are the steps to make the main ingredient to that yummy pie. 

*Allow a good three hours. :) We're really slowing it down. 

1.  Grab small pie pumpkins.

2. Remove stems. Cut in half. This is where my husband really came in handy, or I am just very weak. ;)

3. Remove the guts. More than the picture. Scrape them clean. 

4. Line a pan with aluminum foil. Place a little vegetable oil on foil. Place pumpkin on the pan, cut side down. 

5. Rub lightly with oil and cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork goes through easily. 

6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop out.

7. Puree it in a blender, food processor, hand mixer, depending on the consistency you like. I like my pumpkin smooth so I used the blender. 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Microwave Caramel Corn

One night recently, my husband came home with a grocery bag full of junk food.  Cheddar popcorn, ice cream, candy, pizza, and of course...caramel corn!  We started talking about homemade caramel corn and I realized that this would be the perfect time of year to share a quick recipe for microwave caramel corn with you guys. A wonderful fall snack during a cozy movie date!


1/2 c. unpopped popcorn
3/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. brown rice syrup
3/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda

Using an air popper, pop the corn. (It should make about 4 quarts of popped corn.)
Dump the popcorn into a large brown paper bag.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.
Add the brown sugar, brown rice syrup, and the salt.
Stir well.
Microwave the mixture on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. It should just begin to boil.
Once it begins to boil, microwave an additional 2 minutes.
Using hot pads, carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in the baking soda. 
Continue to stir the mixture until the baking soda dissolves and the mixture becomes foamy.
Drizzle the mixture over the popcorn.
Fold the bag closed and shake well to distribute the caramel mixture.
(*Bag gets HOT so use oven mitts! You don't want burned fingers.)
Microwave (bag & all) on high 1 1/2 minutes.
Shake well.
Microwave again for 1 1/2 minutes.
Pour caramel corn into a large bowl or onto a baking sheet to cool.
With a wooden spoon, stir occasionally to break into chunks. Once completely cool, store in large ziplic bag until devoured.

I adapted this recipe from Meaningful Mama and I think it's a keeper! It's a bit chewier than the caramel corn you bake in the oven, but it's still delicious.  Perfect if you want something quick and easy!

Make a bowl for your next movie night and enjoy. :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Rosary Cupcake Display

We decided to do this "Rosary Cupcakes" because it was our Dad's Birthday, and Our Lady of the Rosary feast day earlier this month.

Our mom thought it would be a nice for my sister and I to show you guys what we did, so here it is! 
It's a good way to celebrate and tastes so YUMMY! :)

55 mini cupcakes
8 regular sized cupcakes
frosting (two colors)

1. Make 55 MINI Cupcakes.
2. Make 8 Normal Cupcakes.
3. Decorate Cupcakes!
4. Display like a ROSARY! :)

Enjoy this Special Rosary just for you! :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Grape Jam

Grapes are ready, and who doesn't like homemade grape jam? 
The grapes were so beautiful this year!
We followed (mostly) the directions from the Sure Jell box.  I will admit we doubled our batch, which this is something they recommend not to do.  Our jelly turned out wonderfully, so we will do the next batch the same way.  ☺

Supplies Needed:
Dry measuring cup
liquid measuring cup
lids and rings
metal spoon.
canner (and canning rack if you have one)

Grapes - about 4 lb. (enough to make 10 cups juice)
(see below for instructions)
1 tsp. butter
Sugar - 14 cups
2 boxes Sure Jell
Okay, let's get started!

1. Pick your grapes.  
(As you can see....we had one excited girl to help pick the grapes!)
Look what we picked! 

2. Sterilize your jars.  (I use a dishwasher.)

         3. Put lids in saucepan. Cover with water.

4. Prepare canner by adding some water.  Set aside.

5. Wash the grapes.

6.  Remove and discard stems. 
(My son helped me do this.)

7. Place them in a large pot and add enough water just to cover the grapes.
8. Bring to  boil; simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
9. Carefully pour grapes through juicer.
As you can see...we used a pan to help catch the juice. 
10. Measure out 10 cups juice.
(You may add a bit of water, if needed, to make the correct amount.)

11. Measure out exact amount of sugar and set aside.  (In our case, it was 14 cups.)

12. Stir 2 packages of Sure Jell into the prepared fruit juice.  

13. Add 1 tsp. butter to reduce foaming.

14. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. 

15. Add sugar to fruit mixture.  

16. Return to full rolling boil; boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
17. Remove from heat.  Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

18. Pour juice into hot, clean jars. Fill each, leaving 1/4 inch space from the top.

19. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with lid, put rim on, and tighten. 

20. Place jars in hot water canner. (Make sure water is covering jars!) Add boiling water if needed.

21. Process for 10 minutes, according to your canner's instructions.

22. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely.

That's it!

By the way, these would make nice gifts! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Baby Wipes

Two months ago my husband and I had our first baby, a wonderful, healthy baby girl. :) Now, if you have had (or have) a newborn, you know that you go through a TON of diapers and wet ones. My husband had went out and bought three big containers of wet ones and we used them up in practically no time flat! 

So...I decided to look up a “recipe" for wet wipes and I love them! They don't save you a ton on cash, (they do a little bit) but it's wonderful knowing exactly what is being applied to your little one's skin. ;) Below are the ingredients. I've made them a couple times now and changed the original recipe a little bit.  I've found that the changes I made works better.  You may need to adjust things for your recipe, too! :) I made this recipe for two containers of wet wipes. 
*NOTE: This recipe makes 2 containers of wet wipes.

What you'll need:

2 Wet Ones containers
1 roll Viva paper towels

Divide the following ingredients in half so you can make 2 containers:
4 Cups Water
2 Tbsp Baby soap (your choice)
4 Tbsp coconut oil
6-10 drops essential oil, optional

You are going to have to buy two commercial containers of wet wipes before this little project due to the fact that you will be using the containers.  Otherwise, you could find a jar or other container that they would fit in, if you'd prefer.

1. Before you start the “hard work" of this, put the water in a pan and let that start to boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn off the burner and remove from heat.

2. Let the water cool to room temperature before adding the ingredients. (This step will help keep the wipes fresh and not become moldy.)

3. Now for the hardest part of all - cutting the roll of paper towels in half. (I found out after I did this that you should probably NOT use a serrated knife for this step.  It shreds it a little - as I found out!)

4. Once that is all finished, wipe off the excess paper towel pieces and put each half into a container so that they are "standing up".
Hopefully, if you use a knife that isn't serrated you won't have as big of a mess as I did. Haha :-)

5. Dividing the liquid ingredients, combine 2 cups of the boiled and cooled water in a small bowl.  Add 1 Tbsp of baby soap and 2 Tbsp of coconut oil.
If you are adding essential oils, add 3-5 drops.  
Mix until coconut oil is dissolved.
(Be sure not to stir too much otherwise it will become very sudsy.)

6. Next, pour the mixture over the paper towels.
Press the top of the paper towels down a bit.

**Repeat steps 5 & 6 for the other container.

7. Close the lids and flip the containers upside down.
Leave them upside down for about 5 to 10 minutes.

8. Flip the containers back upright and remove the cardboard pieces inside the paper towels.

9. Pull the first wet wipe from the center (where you pulled out the cardboard) and push it a little through the top of the lid.

And there you have it! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Oreo "Mud" Bars

 So I was looking for some ideas for snacks for a Halloween Party.  I found this and thought it'd be a fun thing to make, considering I'm planning on having a small get together at the end of this month!!
It's October Everybody!!! :)
1 package of Oreos
1 bag of Marshmallows
4 Tbsp. Butter


STEP 1: Get a Ziploc and put all the cookies inside.
STEP 2: Crush into crumbs.

STEP 3: Put marshmallows and butter into a pan.
 Put on low. Stir constantly.

 STEP 4: Stir until melted and mix with all the Oreo crumbs.
STEP 5: Butter a pie pan, then pat the mix in.

Cool for 15-20 minutes before serving!!!

Hope you Enjoy!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mulled Crockpot Apple Cider

  'Tis the season...
of warm apple pie, crunchy leaves, pumpkins galore, and of apple cider.
Don't get me wrong. Buying a jug of good quality apple cider
and simply heating it up is completely acceptable.
 But when it takes so little effort to make something soooo much better...why would we not?? :)

Mulled Apple Cider

1/2 gallon apple cider
8 whole cloves
10 Allspice berries
6 cinnamon sticks
the peel of one orange
the peel of one lemon
1/4 cup-2/3 cup real maple syrup

Simply place the cloves, allspice berries, and cinnamon sticks in a large pot. Peel your lemon and orange, being careful to avoid the white "stuff" right under the peel. Add your peel to the pan.

Next measure your maple syrup. Use 1/4 cup to 2/3 cup, depending
 on the level of sweetness you would like. I prefer to use a 1/2 cup...plenty of sweetness for me.

Add the golden goodness, known as maple syrup, to your pot.
Note: You may lick the measuring cup. Nobody is watching.

Measure out a half gallon (8 cups) of apple cider.

Add the apple cider to your pot. Bring all ingredients to a boil. Remove from heat.

Transfer all the warm, steaming deliciousness to a crock pot. Put it on the lowest
setting for 2-3 hours....if you can wait that long. The beauty of the crock pot is
 that you can put this cider on for a party and it will keep warm with no effort by you.
It doesn't get much better than that. :)
*Before serving, you may strain the spices and peel if you would like.

When you are ready to enjoy, ladle it into your favorite mug.
 Mmmm....feels like autumn...My favorite time of the year.
You may notice the logo on my favoritest mug...
if you have never heard of the
THE OUTPOST MERCANTILE, check it out. You won't be sorry.


I found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman (I love her) and tweaked it a bit.

Check these out!