Thursday, July 29, 2010

*Guest Post Thursday* - Delicious Zucchini Cornbread

Today we are graced with the presence of my little sister - Joanna.  She is a lovely little newlywed (1 yr) and keeps a lovely home.  This recipe is a great one and pretty inexpensive.  I actually made it Tuesday night and it is definitely Ryan and Charlotte approved.  It was amazing!  Let's have a look shall we?

Zucchini Cornbread
Of my small library of cookbooks, I always find myself reaching for the same one.
It is my favorite because I have filled it with invaluable family recipes and little meals I've jotted down from online that have proven themselves to be especially tasty.
Buy it here and fill one with your own family recipes that will suit your personal cooking needs.
One such treasure found in my cookbook is my mother-in-law’s Zucchini Cornbread Recipe. One of the many great things about getting married is that you inherit a whole new lot of family recipes to try. Zucchini cornbread is simple, inexpensive, has few ingredients, and the hands on time is only about 20 minutes!
You will need:

    2 Boxes of Cornbread Mix
    1 1/2 cups of Cheddar cheese
    2/3 cup of milk
    1 Zucchini
    2 Eggs
    A little Crisco (for greasing)
    1/2-1 lb of sausage
    1-2 cans of black-eyed peas
Step 1: Brown ground sausage in a skillet over medium high heat for about 15 minutes 
or until all the pink has cooked out.
(Time Saving Tip: Cook the sausage up to 1 day in advance and keep in the fridge
until you’re ready to mix up the cornbread)

Step 2: In a large bowl, combine cornbread mixes, milk, and eggs (according to the box directions).
 Wash and grate zucchini with a cheese grater and add to the cornbread mixture.

Then add cheddar cheese, and browned sausage.

Mix well.

Step 3: Grease your pan well with crisco to avoid sticking 
and to give your zucchini cornbread brown crispy edges.

I use a dutch oven to bake mine in, but a cast iron skillet or a well-greased casserole dish would do the trick.

Step 4: Bake at 375 F for about 45 min. - 1 hour 
(depending on how deep your dish is - the deeper the dish, the longer the time).

**** Then do a load of laundry, sit down and relax, work on a quilt, or talk to your family while your zucchini cornbread is cooking for you : ) ****

Step 5: Heat canned black-eyed peas on the stove top in a small pot. Of course, you can use any kind of peas or beans that you like.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!

This meal is very simple, yet the mixture of sweet cornbread and zucchini, hot sausage, salty black-eyed peas, and cheddar cheese makes it a satisfying meal.
               - Joanna

Thanks Joanna!  I hope everybody enjoys this delicious recipe.  If you would like to be a guest on Thursdays, email me at  Thanks!  jessica

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another Week of Recipes

Yes, you can express your love and gratitude now.  You can also send gifts.  I like fabric.
Okay, so the last week of recipes was well received, and I love you so much I made another one for you (and me).  You can download your grocery list here, and the menu is below.  Happy Grocery Shopping!

Meal 1:
Fish Tacos
Chips and Salsa

Meal 2:
Fajita Burgers    Black Bean Smash
Peach and Strawberry Crumble

Meal 3:
Bacon Tomato Pasta

Meal 4:
Fried Chicken
Corn on the cob
Buttermilk Biscuits

Meal 5:
Smashed Cheesy Cauliflower 
(this recipe is just a loose guideline - I just use milk, butter, and cheese)

Meal 6:
Rice and Beans
Blackberry Cobbler

Meal 7:
Chicken and Rice Casserole

Meal 8:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Boxes into Butterflies

Well it is time for me to begin planning miss Charlotte's birthday party.  
I asked her for any ideas - she said "RED!
Then I was so inspired by this post on Hostess with the Mostess - 
Woodland Fairies Birthday Party
Perfect - it incorporates the color RED (toadstools), and works great at
our new home as our front yard looks like this.  
 We literally live in a magical woodland.  
So I am doing a younger version of that party.  
"Enchanted Forest"
In the party above, they used fairies, which I love,
but Charlotte isn't quite ready for that. 
She's only turning two.  We are doing woodland creatures -
butterflies, deer, owls, ladybugs, etc.
So as I am  making things for her party, I will be posting lots of DIY's so that you can do them with me :)
Today I made some outdoor decorations for the big day.
( I will have the invitation DIY soon as a guest post on another blog - I'll let you know when)
but today....Whimsical Butterflies!
These would also be cute at a baby shower I think.
Made from diaper boxes (have a lot of those?), fabric scraps (and those?),
and various trim scraps.

 Want to make them with me? Here we go:
Print out the butterfly shape here.
Cut six pieces - 
Three right wings - 1 cardboard, 1 front fabric, 
1 back fabric(be sure to flip the pattern so it will fit to the back)
Three left wings - same as above.
 Next, decoupage the front fabric to the front wings.
Let it dry.  Go do good house-wifely things like fold laundry.
Then reward yourself by coming back and decoupaging the back fabric to the back-side of the wings.
Let it dry.  Go do more house-wifely things like eat chocolate and talk on the phone.
Then reward yourself for being so patient...time to finish the butterfly!
Gather some light-weight beads and some good ole' pipe cleaner.
Heat up your hot glue gun.
Slide the beads onto the pipe cleaner, and scoot them down to the end (double the end over so they don't fall off.  Loop the top piece like this and tuck it back inside the top bead.
Snip at the top of the loop to make your antennae.  
Next you need to trim the edges of your butterfly with something.  I used bias tape on the pink one, and a yarn scrap for the red/yellow one. 
Honestly the yarn was WAY easier to hot glue, so I would go with something like that.
Hot glue your trim on.
Now hot glue the two pieces together, down the middle. 
Hold them at whatever angle you want until the glue has dried (only about a minute).
Now hot glue the little body to the middle of the wings - really squirt a lot of glue in there.
When that has dried, carefully turn it over and hot glue the clothes pin to the back.  This will enable you to clip it all kinds of places like....a tree, a basket, a tablecloth, a garland or banner...etc.
Now go decorate your life with butterflies!  

More birthday fun to come.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Good Morning!  I haven't done a post on essential oils in a while, so I figured it was time.

Last time I spoke with you about Lavender, which is the most versatile oil to own.  Next to it would probably be Tea Tree.

Grown primarily in Australia, it has been used for 1000s of years by the aboriginal people.  It is a very strong healing oil, because it is active against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  It also has a very strong odor - kind of like hay.  You can buy some online here.  They also probably have it at your local health foods store.

How to use it:

I use tea tree oil when it seems one of us is getting sick.  Like any other natural remedy, it is important to use it as soon as you feel symptoms.  You can add 3-4 drops of tea tree to about a Tablespoon of carrier oil.  Massage this on your chest and neck - especially around the glands under your jaw bone.  Do this three times a day, when you feel you are getting sick.

My second favorite way to use tea tree is on the skin.  It is very effective in killing minor infections (like around your finger/toe nails), and also in reducing breakouts on your face (which we know are caused by bacteria, which it kills).  To treat these symptoms,  you can get a q-tip and put a drop or two on the tip - apply directly to your skin at the site of infection/blemish.

For more information I suggest this book:
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism
For more information online you can go here.
Have a naturally healthy day!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Simple and delicious

Blackberry cobbler!

Mix 2 cups of blackberries with 1 cup of sugar.
Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a deep baking dish.
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of baking powder
Pinch of salt

 Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl to form a batter. Pour the batter over the melted butter- do not stir. Pour the fruit over the batter- do not stir. Bake at 350 for about 30 min or until batter is brown. Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream. Mmmmmmmmmm!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

For every job that must be done...

there is an element of fun....

Ah, Mary Poppins.  
Don't we all sometimes long for your sweet optimistic attitude toward daily chores?  

I'll admit it frankly- I am not the best housekeeper.  Now, I try - and I have gotten better - there are just many other things I would rather be doing and I tend to get caught up and *honestly* forget to do some chores.  So I have made a list of chores that I need to do every week to keep my home running smoothly.  Obviously some things (like doing the dishes) aren't on here - and I also left off more detailed cleaning that may need to be done once or twice a month.  But this list helps me remember to do all my chores- it's also good for moments when I just stand in my kitchen and turn in circles looking at the mess all around me....I just pick a task from this list and move on.  Some days I'm extra motivated and I do 4 or 5 things...which is good for the days that I do none.  I also like this list because it provides the satisfaction of checking something off - a visual that it is DONE!  So you can print this out and frame it behind glass -

then use dry erase marker to check off each task every week (you could also add a few to the list with your marker).  Here's to better luck with house cleaning!   jessica

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quick Apple/Yogurt Facial Cleanser

"A man finds room in the few square inches of his face
for the traits of all his ancestors;
for the expression of all his history, all his wants."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today's book is

This book is a wonderful resource for making your own beauty and cleansing products.
This recipe I am going to share with you is made from ingredients that you probably already have.

Quick Apple & Yogurt Cleanser
1/8 of a medium apple, peeled and cored
2 Tablespoons of plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

In a blender or mini food processor, blend these ingredients for 30 seconds.
Apply in a circular motion to your face (avoiding the eye area) and then rinse with warm water.

In addition to being an astringent, apples are full of malic acid and vitamin C,
both of which dissolve facial grease and dirt.
The enzymes in the yogurt help restore the skin's natural pH balance.
I hope you enjoy your natural, glowing skin!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Week

Hello!  I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend.  We certainly did ;)  This week I am going to be sharing some projects and recipes that I have been making lately - they are from some books that I have acquired recently. 

Today I will begin with:

I don't know how you feel about Martha - I think she has some really nice ideas and good methods...sometimes she takes it too far in her quest for "perfection".  We don't have to be perfect friends, we simply have to do our best.  Anyway, this book is a nice one to have on hand -  it has answers to practically any question you could ask about housekeeping.  
Since I just moved, I decided to consult Martha on her Laundry Room setup.  
This was my laundry room before: 

This is my laundry room now:

Also if you go here, you can download this nifty little stain removal reference chart 
to hang in your Laundry Room.

Have fun organizing!