Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homemade Gummi Candy

I mentioned earlier that I had found a candy recipe that I liked. The main reason is that it was so easy. I made homemade gummi candy.

All that is needed is a 3 ounce package of Jello, two packages of unflavored gelatin, and 1/3 cup of water. You also need candy molds.

Put the water in a saucepan, sprinkle on the Jello and gelatin, and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Then heat until the mixture melts. I poured it into a glass measuring cup to make filling the molds easier. Let sit for 20 minutes (or 10 minutes in the refrigerator).

One recipe filled two candy molds. I did have to put mine in the refrigerator to help it set since the kitchen was so hot. They were fairly easy to remove from the molds. It did require some pulling, but this is no way damaged the designs. I tried some Christmas designs as a test for the upcoming holidays. I can definitely see myself making these more often for the children (and adults) in my life. My husband declared them yummy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Note Cards

I am still making note cards. Here are a few of the latest creations. I have a bunch of busy patterned pages of scrapbooking paper. It is gorgeous but never seems quite right for the style of layouts I like to do. Most of this was received in clearanced grab bags. While I usually got plenty of useful items, I did have more than enough of the wilder patterns. I think the cards are turning out cute.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August Daring Bakers' Challenge

The August 2011 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, and Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

The challenge required the DBs to make two candies. The first had to be a chocolate candy: truffle, dipped bonbon or filled bonbon. The second could be any candy.

I need to start off by saying that I hate, hate, hate(!) to make candy. I think that is obvious from how my candies turned out. My heart was just not in this challenge. I really do not eat that much candy. I find making it to be a very tedious chore. Needless to say I did not take part in the special challenge. Truthfully I just wanted it over and done.

For the chocolate candy I chose the truffle. My main reasoning behind it was that I could do a small batch of them. I used a Ghirardelli chocolate and the recipe, which I halved, on the back of the chocolate bar. I then rolled them in organic cocoa. The end result was less that pretty. They did taste good. Good enough for me to make them again?? At this point, no. One day candy making may intrigue me, but I am not there yet.

For the second candy I decided to be really daring and make one that required a candy thermometer. Why? I am still asking myself that same question. I chose sponge candy. The reason I despise making candy is mainly due to the candy thermometer. This particular candy reminded me exactly why I do not use one. I should have gone with how it looked rather than temperature as my thermometer was way off. The resulting candy tasted burnt with an aftertaste of baking soda. Two tiny bites were eaten, and the rest went into the trash.

I completed the challenge and am happy about that. I do not have a love of candy making though. I am just thrilled to have it behind me. Bring on September's challenge!!

I did end up finding a candy that I liked and could successfully make. I will save that post for the coming week.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tale of the Travelling Cardstock

I live in the land of no craft stores. This is good for my budget as I fear I would spend too much time and money shopping for craft supplies. It is bad when I do need something for a project. I have to order it online. I needed (okay, wanted) some cardstock for making Halloween and Christmas cards. I ordered what I needed (at this point, I really did need it) and waited for it to arrive.

The eBay seller shipped it quickly, and the item went to the local mail distribution center. Then it seemed to vanish. Little did I know, my package of cardstock was planning an island, beach vacation. Twelve days later it popped up in Puerto Rico. Now I have never lived in Puerto Rico. Nothing in my address hints at Puerto Rico. Secretely I do want to live on an island. I do not wish, however, to live vicariously through a stack of paper. The cardstock spent a few days on the island before being sent back to my local mail distribution center and finally to my mailbox.

I was happy to find that the seller had packaged it extra well. The outer box showed signs of being a world traveler, but the cardstock itself was in perfect condition. While I have yet to make it to the beach this summer, my cardstock did.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Food Waste

I have given up on calling it Food Waste Friday since I cannot seem to get around to posting it on Friday. This week I tossed quite a bit of fruit into the compost pile. The bag of grapes had gotten in the bottom of the produce bin. They did not look bad at first glance but were slimy. The bag of nectarines was a disappointment. I was not aware that fruit could be under-ripe and rotten/over-ripe at the same time.

Not pictured is some lettuce that went to the chickens. I like to give them fruits and vegetables so I am not going to count that completely as food waste. Since I had plenty of happy hens, it hardly seems a wate.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Note Cards

I love writing letters but have trouble finding pretty stationery. I have decided instead to make my own. I only need to buy heavyweight white paper which I cut in half. Decorating the front is easy since I have tons and tons of scrapbooking supplies. This gives me an opportunity to use up some of the stuff and end up with something I need and can use. As a bonus my friends can look forward to receiving some special cards.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Food Waste Friday on Saturday

I never got around to posting my weekly food waste yesterday. To make matters worse the batteries in my camera were dead. This week you just get a list of wasted foods.

one chicken tender
one mushroom
leftover beans (about a cup)
cream (less than 1/4 cup)

I guess that is not too awful, but I want to make sure I keep it under control. I hate the thought of wasting as much as I did in past weeks. Being accountable for it has definitely helped.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I have gotten lax again about menu planning and it has shown in my grocery spending in the past two weeks. This week the plan is to eat from the pantry/freezer. I want to save a portion of my grocery budget for later. I am planning to spend part of it to stock up on a few items. (I am going to a store that I rarely visit which does have better prices on some items.) It feels quite silly to be spending money when I already have enough food on hand for plenty of meals.

Here is my plan for the week:

fish, salad, baked sweet potato fries
crab egg salad
sloppy joes, fries
spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
tuna pasta salad
pancakes/waffles, sausage
tomatoes, sausage, & pasta and corn bread
steak, potatoes, salad

I will probably need to pick up some lettuce this week and maybe some fresh vegetables or fruit. I have everything else on hand. I am also trying to limit my food waste. After cleaning out the fridge this weekend it is obvious I need to do better at using up what I have. I will share that at the end of the week.

Friday, August 5, 2011

From the Yard - Day 3

I thought I would share a couple of my favorite zinnias. Zinnias are easy to grow, but I prefer the newer colors. The solid colors are fine, but I like to throw in a few different ones each year.

Of course, I could not take my camera to the deck without getting a couple of photos of the cats.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

From the Yard - Day 2

On my "must do" project list this summer was an upgrade to the goldfish pond. The main need was a new, high quality liner. My husband dug the pond out just a bit, and then we put the new liner down. Still on the list are *put rocks around the edge and *add in potted plants. For now the fish seem very happy in their new home. They have more room to swim. While there is a deep end, they spend most of their time swimming in the shallow areas.

The photos are not the best. Sneaking up on a fish is not easy. I tried bribing them with food. I did manage to get a few decent shots.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

From the Yard

I have been completely lax about taking pictures to post, and I like having pictures. Without them I just end up not posting anything. I thought for the rest of this week I would share some photos from my yard.

First up is the oversized teacup planter I got for my birthday. I have wanted one of these for a few years but would never buy one for myself. I am not sure why since I really do adore them. I was happy to finally have one of my very own. I put three "hens" in it that I ordered from eBay.

Several years ago I bought a wire vase to put on the deck. The problem was I never found anything to put in the wire vase. I tried setting a potted plant into it only to have it continually tip over. I left it empty. I hung onto it though. In the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens I finally found the perfect use for the vase. I filled it with moss and stuck a big "hen" in the top. I put in a few "chicks" around the sides. It is not as fancy as what I saw in the magazine, but I trust that it will grow and fill in. In the meantime I am just happy to have found something to go in the vase.