This Is What I Did Today

There are days when I wake up in the morning thinking about cooking. Kind of a "hmmm....what would be fun to make today?" thought. Sometimes it's cookies or a simple cake. Sometimes a portabella and bechamel lasagana, a light and airy pavlova or fresh peach jam.

Today, it was mayonnaise. Not very elegant, I get it. But WOW! Creamy, tangy and a deep rich color - not the creamy white from the market. This is a rich and pale chartreuse because of the extra virgin olive oil that gets slowly poured in towards the end.

There are tons of recipes out there for mayonnaise made with evoo, but they're all pretty similar. Actually, I got inspired to make my own because I was watching Ina Garten ~ that sweet Contessa ~ make some on her show. She added fresh basil to hers (uber yum!) which I really wanted to do but I was fresh out. It was still delicious though and I slathered it on some soft sourdough bread and made a really good sandwich for my lunch today.

After that I played around with an idea for a favor for our church's Ladies Christmas dinner. I'm the captain of that committee so... I came up with these which I like because they're useful you know; not just for that evening or the holiday season but something they can use throughout the year.

I still need to come up with a couple more ideas though so please feel free to throw some my way. Criteria: INEXPENSIVE ~ not more than $1 per person and we'll have about 150 ladies; also quick and relatively easy.

Have you ever received a favor at a church function?
What did you like about it? Did you use it or get rid of
it that night by leaving it at your table (not judging).


Sugar High!

Yesterday, one of my best friends and I attended an event we'd been anticipating since the day we signed up for it (about 6 months ago!) ~ Blog Sugar! Dreamed up by Rachel Reeves and still in it's first blush, Blog Sugar was a night of getting together with other bloggers to meet, talk shop, tell their story, learn from one another and generally just enjoy the company and I loved how everyone just seemed to connect. I guess that happens when you have something in common with the person you're talking to but all of the women we met were just really giving of themselves and down-to-earth.

Wonderful guest speakers shared about how they started out and what "a day in the life" of their blogs and/or business look like. I got to learn from Maggie, Sarah and Lindsey and came away with golden nuggets from each of them. And our table? Oh my gosh! Talent Talent Talent! And openness, warmth, encouragement....well, not from the table of course; from the amazing women who shared it with me: Sharone, Nish, Elizabeth, Chelsea, Lauren, Angela, Sarah and Lisa. Check out their blogs. You'll end up wanting to spend all day with these gals. Serious!

So...my thoughts are still sparkling from everything I learned yesterday. I feel renewed and energized as a blogger, a woman, a friend. My hat goes off to everyone who gave of themselves to make this event happen and I can hardly wait until next year!


Pup Love

Ahhhh....puppy love; it's the sweetest kind. And if you have a little four legged black-nosed baby at your house like we do then you know the feeling and, on occasion, you may find yourself wanting to spoil said puppy. Why not do it with homemade treats?

I like making my own because then I know what's in them and can control amounts and ingredients. There's nothing in these treats that you couldn't eat yourself though I'd trade one for a chocolate chip cookie any day of the week. Lucy seems to like them though and will run through her repertoire of tricks to get some.

Peanut Butter Bacon Treats

1/4 cup bacon drippings
3 tablespoons ground flax seed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup beef or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a mixer or by hand, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.

Roll to 1/4" thick and either slice into small shapes with a pizza wheel or cut out with a small cookie cutter. I used a 1" heart shape.

And it always helps to have an assistant...

This one recipe made a lot of treats. 87 to be exact which is a lot more than you'd get at your local pet store and a lot less expensive. And I pretty much used up every last bit of dough.

Bake for 25 minutes rotating cookie sheets half way through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and store in a mason jar or whatever you have on hand.

They were a big hit with our Lu Lu Bird and she gobbled down three in short order.

Be sure to save those pan drippings the next time you fry up some bacon and if you're not a bacon eater, I'm sure you could substitute with extra virgin olive or coconut oil. These treats freeze beautifully and are the perfect gift for the dog lovers on your holiday list. Woof!

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Upcycled Grocery Bag

This past August, the city we live in stopped allowing stores to use plastic grocery bags effectively forcing it's inhabitants to go green whenever they shop and while most of these stores sell reusable bags to hold your purchases it's a quick process to make several of your own to use instead.

A couple of days ago I was sitting at my computer, pinning my little heart out, (oh how I love Pinterest...) when I came across this great tutorial from Between The Lines for a grocery bag made out of an old t-shirt.

We have LOTS of old t-shirts at our house so I rummaged around and found one to use. The fabric of this particular shirt is on the thin side and I think a thicker one would definitely produce a stronger bag for things like produce and eggs and such. Mine would be fine for bread, lettuce, paper towels...things that are on the lighter side.

The directions are pretty straight forward and there's even tutorial links for French and box seams if you're not sure how to do one or both (like me).

I also really like that slits are cut vertically which was SO much easier to do than making horizontal cuts like some others I've seen.

To reinforce the handles a bit I added some ruffles using a few strips of unbleached muslin I had on hand.

Kind of looks like a tank top. Actually, without closing up the bottom it would be cute to wear over a swim suit. Go rummaging through your drawer and pull out some of those t-shirts you don't wear anymore but have been holding on to for some reason. Save one or two for fabric flowers and then transform the others into grocery bags to keep in the car with you. If your city stops using plastic grocery bags, you'll be ready!

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