Pinterest Challenge: Homemade Paint

I recently saw this on Facebook, and later found it on Pinterest. Perhaps you’ve seen it too.

I love the idea of being able to inexpensively supply my kids with art supplies, and my son loves to mix, cook and experiment so this was an activity that HAD to happen.

We mixed up a full batch, waiting to mix in the food colors until we had divided it into four different containers.

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We found that the paint was super gritty, and additional stirring didn’t seem to help.

 

I took the kids outside to paint on some cardboard…

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And a tree…

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and my sensory-seeking son couldn’t resist the urge to go all out with the body paint.

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And while it was good, messy, non-toxic fun, the paint really didn’t adhere very well to much of anything, remaining grainy and pasty.

 

After giving the kids a good bath I began to wonder if perhaps cooking the paint might make it smoother. After all, play dough has a quite a bit of salt in it but isn’t gritty.

So back to the kitchen for a quick half-batch to test out my theory…

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I found that when cooking it the ratio of water to the other ingredients goes way up. Sorry, I didn’t measure; I just kept adding water as the mixture kept clumping and coming together like play dough.

It felt like the salt was dissolving but I had a lumpy mess, so I put it in the Magic Bullet with some additional water.

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The result? A nice smooth white paint base.

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Mix in the colors…

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and give it a try on Eli’s easel paper.

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Two thumbs up!

Next time I will use more food colors for darker paints. I learned long ago when working in a preschool to mix dish soap in with kids paint. It helps any accidents to wash out of clothing better.

So while I really like the idea of using old ketchup bottles to store this paint, the original post won’t give you a paint worth storing. With added water, cooking and blending though you can get a paint that will save you money on your kids’ art supplies.

 

Making Prickly Pear Juice

Nopal con fruto (tunas)

Nopal con fruto (tunas) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps you have heard of Nopalea, a very expensive juice containing a proprietary blend of ingredients most noteworthy of which is the juice of the fruit of the nopal (Spanish name for prickly pear cactus). While there are many testimonials online about the effectiveness of this juice in relieving inflamation, pain, fatigue, allergies, and the list goes on, paying $30 to $40 dollars a bottle for which the main ingredient is water seems a bit excessive to me.

But doing further research on the prickly pear led to some interesting findings. It is low calorie, loaded with Vitamins C and A, contains magnesium and potassium, and betalains which are powerful antioxidants (also found in beets and red Swiss chard). In tests it has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, regulate blood glucose, prevent cancer, and provide relief from alcoholic hangovers.

I have been interested in desert native foods for a couple of years now after I learned that the Native American found in the area of Arizona where we visit my husband’s family at Christmas time once only rarely suffered from diabetes. Since switching from eating native foods grown in the region to a more Americanized diet the diabetes rate soared to 15 time that of the general population, with 50% acquiring the disease by age 35. Members of this same people who have returned to a diet of traditional foods have shown marked weight loss, some even reversing their diabetes status without the use of medication. (Source)

I don’t have diabetes or any pre-diabetic condition, but both of my parents have Type 2 diabetes so I know I need to watch my health or I run the risk of joining them at some point. My interest in prickly pear juice right now is that my son really likes juice, yet I know that it is not recommended for children to consume much at all as juvenile obesity is at an epidemic level in the US. I also don’t like the fact that juice coats the teeth with sugar, promoting caries. Getting my son to cooperate with a thorough tooth brushing is not the easiest of tasks! So I have decided it is time to give prickly pear juice sweetened with xylitol instead of sugar a try!

(Xylitol could be the topic of a whole other post. You can see what good old Wikipedia has to say by following the link.)

While prickly pear cactus does grow in our area, it is possible to buy the fruit already de-thorned in the grocery store, which is what I did. Should you decide to pick your own this website explains how to do so and then remove the thorns so they can be handled.

Start with 10 prickly pears. I found this gave me just under 2 quarts of juice. I could have added a bit more water to make a full 2 quarts and the flavor really wouldn’t have suffered.

The first step in the juicing process is to slice off both ends of the prickly pear.

Then slice through the skin from top to bottom along one side.

Next unroll the fruit out of the skin, which can then be discarded.

Cut the interior of the prickly pear into chunks…

…and throw all together into your pot.

Cover the fruit with water and turn on the heat to medium until it begins to boil and then reduce to simmer.

Let simmer about 15 or 20 minutes or until it reaches your preferred strength.

Use a potato masher to break down the pulp and squeeze every last bit of prickly pear goodness from the fruit.

Ladle the pulp and liquid into a strainer.

Sweeten as desired. I used Xylitol as it is a natural sweetener, but without many calories and the added benefit of being a dental plaque fighter. I also added some lemon juice to give it a bit more zing and to help it keep longer (not a real concern as I’m drinking it fairly quickly.)

Chill and serve. Don’t you just love the vibrant color? If I didn’t know better I would think it was artificial.

Surprisingly my son doesn’t want to drink it. I’m not sure why because it doesn’t have an overly “exotic” flavor and I thought he’s think the color was fun. I made it mainly as an attempt to get him away from drinking as much apple juice as he now does. Even though we water it down extensively he still is getting more than the 4 oz of juice he should be limited to each day. (We did fine as a water-only family until he had a bad cold and wouldn’t eat so I gave him as much juice as he wanted over those days. Bad decision.) I also liked that instead of bathing his teeth in sugar with each sip he would actually be protecting his teeth from caries due to the use of the Xylitol. Prickly pear fruit also comes in a light green color, so I think I will try this once more using that color of fruit and then mix it with the apple juice initially. Perhaps it is the extreme change in color that is turning him off. If that doesn’t work I won’t push it. Everyone is entitled to their likes and dislikes. But I will keep making this for myself as it is delicious, refreshing, and so healthy. And who knows, maybe one day he’ll decide he wants some too…

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blogjembellish clothes

upcycling pageBlissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerHome Stories A to Z, Tell Me TuesdayCrafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Tuesday To DoToday’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday,

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

 

Herbal Cough Remedy: Bougainvillea Tea

I wrote this post a long time ago but it never actually got published. As it is now cold and flu season perhaps someone out there may find it useful. 

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My friend and neighbor Blanca introduced me to a traditional Mexican folk remedy for the sore throat and cough that is plaguing our household. ‘Cause when a toddler gets sick, everyone gets sick!

(Before I go any further, I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical training. If you choose to brew and drink this tea for yourself you do so at your own risk. This post has most definitely not been evaluated or recommended by the FDA. Do your own research. Use your own judgement.)

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea (Photo credit: dullhunk)

Anyway, here in Southern California we are blessed with an abundance of Bougainvillea vines. I plucked these from some growing up a telephone pole next to where we parked the car while out and about on Sunday.  I just love the bright colors of this plant!

Ingredients: Bouganvillea Bracts and Cinnamon Sticks

Steep together until the bougainvillea has lost it’s bright color.

Strain into your cup.

Add honey to taste.

Your finished brew. Yummm!

I found this delightfully soothing to my sore throat. The taste was most pleasant as well.

One source, (now buried somewhere in my Google history, sorry) mentioned that this can cause liver or kidney damage if consumed in large quantities. I’m glad I saw the warning as it tastes so good I might have been tempted to do so!  For myself, used medicinally (and when I’m not currently  pregnant) I’m not concerned… Tylenol will also do a number on your liver in an overdose.

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

What I Wore Sundayjembellish clothes upcycling page

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin,

Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Salsa Verde!

My husband loves salsa verde… on just about everything. I used to use it just every once in a while, but with this pregnancy has come a craving for the stuff. We’ve lately going through it to the tune of about a jar a week it seems. Time to start making it myself, methinks.

I had made this in the past but with a difficult pregnancy followed by two years of extreme sleep deprivation and off into the land of prego again I’ve lost a lot of my DIY habits in favor of convenience. But really, this is not all that hard, tastes better and is SO much cheaper. After almost 3 1/3 years though, I found I had to look up the recipe.

I used this one from Eating Richly with only a few minor adjustments. I omitted the sugar, ground pepper and used only 1/2 of the jalapeño.

Combine all of the following ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Tomatillo

Tomatillo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are unfamiliar with tomatillos, they look like green tomatoes with a papery husk. The recipe calls for 4 medium to large. I found only mostly small ones at the store so I used 8.

Remove and discard the husk and wash the tomatillos.

Slice in half and place on a lined a baking tray.

Place tray under the broiler until the skins are nicely charred.

Chop 1/2 an onion.

1/2 cup of loosely packed cilantro. I used more; I really like cilantro.

I  don’t like things really spicy so I only used half of the jalapeño, discarding the seeds of course.  Always taste test your individual pepper as levels of hotness from one jalapeño to the next can vary significantly.

Add the juice of one lime,

and salt to taste.

Ready. Set.

Go!

One recipe makes enough to fill two smallish jars. This was the second day in a row I made some as I saw that my initial batch wasn’t going to last long at all. This stuff is addictive! I think the next time I make it I will double or triple the recipe at the outset as it is basically the same amount of work, and then I have some to squirrel away in the freezer.

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

What I Wore Sundayjembellish clothes upcycling page

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin,

Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Homemade Finger Paints

On one of my Pinterest boards I have this recipe from Raising 4 Princesses. Given Eli’s recent interest in painting it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. After being disappointed by the set of natural food colors I went ahead and picked up a pack of conventional food colors for this project. There are other interesting finger paint recipes out there, but I wanted one that while still non-toxic would definitely not taste good as I don’t go to great lengths reading every label known to man only to serve up a heaping dose of artificial coloring to Eli in the tempting form of delicious art supplies.

With no further ado, here we go. You won’t believe how crazy quick and easy this is!

Ingredients:

2 T. sugar

1/3 c cornstarch

2 c. water

Boil until it forms a gel. It doesn’t take long at all. It will look like this (except it will still be in your pan.)

Add 1/4 c. liquid soap

Not only does it now taste bad but it is washable too!

Divide into separate containers. Add a few squirts of food coloring.

After this test I did add a little more dye to the green paint.

Stir, et viola… cheap, easy and washable finger paint!

If you click through on the link to my source for this recipe you will see that she let her kids go crazy with this stuff outdoors all over a bed sheet. Amazingly, she found that it all washed off afterwards with a hose!

Before giving this a go I decided to do a test on the dishtowel I’d already splattered a bit while making the paint. (Adult sounding excuse… but really I couldn’t keep my own fingers out of it. This stuff just begs to be smeared!)

After washing the paint off the towel under the tap I was still left with a pink stain. Perhaps with a stain treatment and a proper laundering this will come out. Even so I added a bit more soap to the container of red paint. Red is the one you’d want to taste particularly bad anyway! (If only I had some essential oil of something Eli would find truly revolting, like lettuce, avocado or cantaloup… but actually I don’t have much of a problem with him putting non-food items in his mouth anymore.)

The first time I let Eli have a go with these paints he didn’t want to touch them at all and practically had a meltdown demanding a brush. I gave him the brush , of course, as I certainly don’t want painting to become some form of chore or torture, but it really did defeat the purpose of it becoming a sensory  activity. I have noticed a growing sensitivity to having messy hands with Eli. To address this I will be bringing more of these gloppy sorts of activities into his sensory diet.

So Mama got to scheming… A few days later I asked Eli if he would like to go outside, and paint, with his FEET! The suggestion was greeted with a “Yay!” by a toddler who had never before been in such a hurry to change his clothes.

I decided to just use a large sheet of paper instead of trying out the bed sheet painting activity. I was just not in the mood to create more laundry today.

As our sidewalk is on a bit of an incline and the paint is somewhat slippery I think doing foot painting on a textured piece of cloth may be a bit safer.

After a while a nervous Mama suggested he squat down and try using his hands. By now he didn’t think twice about not wanting to touch the paint, although he did then keep asking me to wipe his hands off. I just showed him how to try to wipe it off himself using the paper. We made some progress with his tolerating the feeling of the paint on his hands, but he soon decided he was done.

Clean up is always great fun when it involves a hose, especially when there are bubbles involved!

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars- My Version

A couple of weeks ago I came across this recipe on Once a Month Mom. I pinned it and have been looking forward to trying it. One of the things Eli will always eat are the kids Cliff Bars. This has been running us at least $6 a week though, so I’d like to try to see if I can make a more economical homemade version.

I made quite a few substitutions however. The original recipe calls for peanut butter, powdered nonfat milk (both of which Eli is allergic to) and corn syrup (which we just generally try to avoid). I also substituted light brown sugar for the dark brown sugar simply because that was what was in the cupboard. In the future I’d like to try this recipe using honey instead of the Blue Agave Nectar.

Here is the recipe as I made it today.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Blue Agave Nectar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup nut butter of choice (I used a mixture of almond and sunflower seed butters)

1/2 cup goat’s milk powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup granola cereal

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Line a 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2 ” baking pan with parchment paper.

Heat the Blue Agave Nectar and the brown sugar together in a large sauce pan until the sugar dissolves, then let it simmer another half a minute.

Remove from heat. Add the nut butter, milk powder and the vanilla and stir until creamy.

Add the remaining ingredients. I found I needed to add a little extra granola than the recipe called for, perhaps due to some of the other substitutions. I just shook some in from the box until it looked right (no amounts of goo not coating granola). This picture was taken before I added more cereal.

 

Dump it in the pan and press down.

 

Let it cool for 1 hour then turn onto a cutting board and cut into bars. As these are for a little guy I cut the bars quite small. The recipe gave me 16 granola bars.

I wrapped each one in waxed paper and tied with a bit of string so I can throw these into his bag when we go out. When we unwrap one I put the wrapper and string in a baggie to save for the next time I make the recipe.

And for the Eli test…

Though the picture is blurry Eli is clearly pleased!

Here’s where I’m linking up.

Saturday:

jane deereThe Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Handstatertots & jello,

Six Sisters’ StuffBe Different Act NormalSerenity You

Sunday:

LambAround,  Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes,

Petite HermineMy 1929 Charmer Blog

Monday:

{aka}/ designGet Outta My Head PleaseMad in Crafts, Skip to My Lou,

The Gunny SackSew Can Do, Singing Three Little BirdsEtcetorizeDittle Dattle,

C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet homeCraft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Artful Rising,

Sarahndipities 

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 Princesses,

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {12/13}

Dr. Oz’s Microwave Popcorn

English: for microwave ovens, popped state.

I stopped using microwave popcorn some time ago when it came out that the vapors when you open the bag are toxic and can damage your lungs. Also, microwave popcorn is quite expensive when compared to buying the more traditional stuff. I picked up a hot air popper at a thrift store which I used a lot for the kids in my classroom when I was a teacher, but now it is in a hard to access cupboard and it’s just not convenient to use.

The Dr. Oz Show logo

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday the TV was on in the background. I wasn’t paying attention but then I saw something that made me stop what I was doing and listen up. It was the Dr. Oz show and as a New Years resolution weight loss bit he was showing how to make a low calorie filling snack to tame the late night munchies by making popcorn. But here’s the thing. He was making REGULAR popcorn in the MICROWAVE. This I had to try.

I got rid of our microwave some time ago so Eli and I trundled over to Aunt Jacki’s house to do our little experiment. (Thanks, Jacki!)

All you do is put 1/4 cup of popcorn in a lunch sack.

See, nothing but popcorn!

Fold the top down a couple of times and put it in the microwave.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes or until it stops popping.

Pour into a bowl.

Spray it lightly with cooking spray.

Dust with cinnamon or garlic salt. Toss, spray and dust until it’s how you like it.

Eat.

Yup, IT WORKS… and it is really that simple!

Maybe I need to get a microwave again.

I’ve bee featured!

Hope Studiosfeatured I'm topsy turvy tuesdays

Here’s where I’m linking up.

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch Boutique

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours! {1/3}

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestChic on a Shoestring DecoratingFrench Country Cottage,

The Charm of HomeThe Grant LifeAt the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge,

Stuff and NonsenseOne Art Mama2805

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Sunday:

LambAround,  Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toes,

Petite HermineMy 1929 Charmer Blog

Monday:

{aka}/ designGet Outta My Head PleaseMad in Crafts, Skip to My Lou,

The Gunny SackSew Can Do, Singing Three Little BirdsEtcetorizeDittle Dattle,

C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet homeCraft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Artful Rising,

Sarahndipities Just Winging ItEverything Under the Moon

Chocolate Truffles

These melt in your mouth (and in your hands!) pieces of chocolate perfection are so easy to make it’s shocking! I think this richest, most fattening recipe I have ever made. I really don’t want to know  the calorie count.

I copied the recipe down on an index card many years ago for my own use, totally oblivious to the future advent of blogging. I did not create this recipe and would love to give credit where credit is due, but the source is long lost. If you recognize the recipe please let me know!

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

10 tablespoons cocoa powder

10 tablespoons powdered sugar

5 tablespoons heavy cream

*you can also add other flavorings like almond extract. I made these Mexican style with a few pinches of cayenne pepper and some very liberal dashes of cinnamon. Be creative! Of course, just plain chocolate will taste wonderful too!

In my photo you can see the cayenne pepper in the smallest bowl. I didn’t use it all, just a few about 4 pinches. (I forgot to show the cinnamon.) Also this photo shows the measured ingredients for 1 recipe. The in the following photos I have doubled all the ingredients for a double batch.

Melt the butter halfway. Turn off the heat and stir in the cocoa powder.

Add sugar (and any other flavoring ingredients) and whisk.

Remove from the stove and add the heavy cream.

Put the truffle mixture into the refrigerator until chilled and firm.

Roll into balls and coat with cinnamon or powdered sugar. I used a mixture of both. You could probably also use cocoa powder for an even richer truffle.

My double batch made 34 truffles. I think the small container of heavy cream has enough for one more batch. There are two more sticks of butter left in the package, and much more cocoa powder and powdered sugar. I haven’t figured out the math, but it comes out much, much cheaper than professionally made truffles, and these taste exquisite!

The powdered sugar was looking a bit splotchy when I photographed these, so I now have them covered with more of the cinnamon sugar mixture in the refrigerator to coat them more thickly until I am ready to package them for giving. I’ll put these in a nice box with the layers separated by parchment paper. They do have to be stored in the refrigerator as they soften and melt very quickly. I can’t wait to deliver this gift!

Someday, maybe I’ll learn how to coat them with melted chocolate like the store bought kind. Right now I can’t figure out how to keep the insides from becoming a puddle when covered with the hot chocolate. Maybe if you rolled the balls and then froze them… Any suggestions?

UPDATE: I just saw this truffle recipe here that describes how to dip frozen truffle balls into a melted chocolate coating.

Thanks for reading!

Karen

I’ve been featured!

Preview

Here’s where I’m linking up.

Saturday:

The Grant LifeThe Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Sunday:

LambAround,   I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesPetite Hermine,

My 1929 Charmer Blog

Monday:

{aka}/ designGet Outta My Head PleaseMad in Crafts, Skip to My Lou,

The Gunny SackSew Can Do, Singing Three Little BirdsEtcetorizeDittle Dattle,

C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet homeCraft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Artful Rising,

Sarahndipities 

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch Boutique

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally SustainableThe Shady PorchTea Rose HomeLil’ Luna,

Sweet Peas & Bumble BeesMom On TimeoutSomeday CraftsPassionately Artistic,

Keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive 365

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit Bear,

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageFun to CraftHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderSaved by Love CreationsA Glimpse Inside,

Between U & Me, Everything Under the Moon, Happy Hour Projects

Corn Pudding Recipe

Corn Pudding has long been a Thanksgiving dish in my family. Whenever I have brought it to share at other Thanksgiving gathering I’ve always had at least one person request the recipe. With Eli having a dairy allergy I was feeling a bit sad that he won’t have this as part of his holiday tradition (unless he outgrows the allergy- fingers crossed!) as it has evaporated milk. But then I got to thinking, was it possible to find a substitute for the evaporated milk? After a little Googling I found my answer.

Frugalliving.about.com says that

“Evaporated milk is simply fresh milk that has had about 60% of its water content removed.”

So if I use his goat’s milk powder, but only reconstitute it with 40% of the water called for, shouldn’t that work? As my husband likes to say,  “Only one way to find out!”

The Original Corn Pudding Recipe
2/3 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cans creamed corn
1 T. vanilla
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1/4 c butter, melted

Mix the cornstarch into the milk, then combine all ingredients.  Pour
into a lightly greased casserole dish. Place the casserole dish in a
larger pan containing water. Bake at 375 F for 1 hour or until knife
inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I made a few other changes to the recipe this time around. I only had one can of cream style corn, so I slightly blended a can of whole kernel corn with a bit of cornstarch for the second can. I decreased the sugar to 1/2 cup (actually, it is still pretty sweet, I think it could be decreased even more) and decreased the amount of butter (or in our case Smart Balance) a bit. We really don’t use much canned food anymore since learning about the dangers of BPA. I’m wondering if next time I can make this with frozen corn, thawed and blended with a bit of cornstarch. Any thoughts?

Final verdict on the goat’s milk substitution? Not quite as good as the original but still worth making. Eli ate it but didn’t seem super enthused. He hasn’t been eating so well lately anyway though, so I’m not sure it was the best timing for an accurate taste test.

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Never Fail Baked Custard

Today was a day I have imagined for many years.

When I was a child my Aunt Mary lived just up the hill from us. She still cooked on a wood burning stove and almost always was making or had just made custard to use up the many eggs their chickens produced daily. The smell was heavenly! I always wished I had asked for the recipe before she died, but I later found this recipe in an old 1975 church compilation recipe book that tastes much how I remember her custard tasting.

During a time in my single years that I lived alone I could never use up a gallon of milk before it would turn, so every Saturday morning I would make custard that would bake as I did laundry and other chores, beautifully steaming up the kitchen windows and making my apartment smell like Aunt Mary’s kitchen. And I dreamed of the day that I would have little ones for whom to make custard.

Along came Eli, with his milk allergy in tow. I have thought for a while of making the custard with goat’s milk, but he really dislikes eggs and I don’t like goat’s milk so I was afraid it would go to waste. But today it is raining and chilly… a perfect day for custard, so I decided to make half a recipe.

There are only four ingredients: sugar, eggs, milk and salt.

The most time consuming part is to scald the milk first. This is difficult for me as I tend to get distracted and then it boild over. Thankfully that didn’t happen today.

Slowly mix the hot milk into the egg mixture a little at a time so that the eggs don’t cook with the addition of the hot milk.

Bake in a bain marie for about 40 minutes.

Will he like it?

Yes! And actually I do too. The goaty flavor of the milk is quite tamed by the addition of the other ingredients.

Fall is now truely here. Let there be custard!