Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Edition - Compost

Now this is one you’ve all been waiting for...

We decided it was time to start composting for two reasons:

Back in North Carolina, my husband and I loved a little place called LocoPops. Homemade, gourmet popsicles really hit the spot on a hot summer day. I found myself longing for LocoPops when the heat in Middle Georgia first hit the 90’s. On that day, I decided I would try and recreate LocoPops in my own home.

I first debated method. Should I buy molds or do them myself? Being the DIY junkie I am, I opted for the later. I borrowed the DIY method from another blog, but decided to create my own flavors.

Episode 1 of my journey to make the perfect popsicle:

To create the molds, I cut parchment paper into triangles and formed those into cones. I sealed the tips using small marshmallows. I set up a frame for the popsicles, making a matrix out of rubber bands on a baking dish (see example photo from other blog). However, my molds would not stay standing between the marshmallow on the tips and the frame. I became frustrated and scrapped this idea. The spur-of-the moment back-up plan was to seal the tips by folding them over. I then took a large plastic drink cup and set 4 molds in each cup.

Method Rating: 4/10

Key Lime Pie Yogurt Pops

1 c. Greek or plain yogurt

1/3 c. Key Lime Juice

1 T. sugar

Popsicle molds

Wooden popsicle sticks

Whisk first 3 ingredients together. Pour into molds. Place sticks. Freeze for 6 hours.

You can substitute vanilla yogurt, but omit the sugar.

Flavor Rating: 8.5/10

So it may have occurred to you I might have had greater success using Dixie cups as my molds. True as it may be, I want to avoid spending money on Dixie cups. And only as a last resort will I buy Dixie cups or popsicle molds.

That being said, you can expect subsequent episodes related to improving popsicle methods and flavors.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Granola - Episode 1

Making homemade granola is quick and easy. And the best part is, the result is a crunchy, delicious final product that’s great for snacking and breakfast. Gone are the days of break-your-tooth crunchy, store-bought granola!

This spring I was at an artisan’s market and came across folks selling homemade, organic granola. It was delicious, so we bought a bag. After bringing it home and analyzing the ingredients, I realized I could make my own granola. I looked at a few recipes online to get an idea of the general “how-to”, but I’ve never been much of a recipe follower.

Here’s basic Granola ala Kate:

5 (or so) cups of oats

1-2 cups of sliced almonds

1/3 c. of vegetable oil

½ c. of honey

2 tsp. vanilla

A few shakes of cinnamon (about 1 tsp.)

A few shakes of nutmeg (about 1 tsp.)

A few pinches of salt (about ½ tsp.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. If the mixture looks too dry, add some more honey. Spread mixture onto ungreased baking sheet or dish (you may need to divide the mixture onto 2 sheets or dishes). Bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes, until golden brown throughout. Let cool completely and store in gallon-sized Ziploc bags.

Once you have this basic mixture, you can mix in your favorite dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, cherries, or apricots.

Don’t have almonds? You can substitute just about any nut. Try chopped (unsalted) peanuts, pecans, cashews, or walnuts.

Other substitutes:

Corn or sunflower oil can be used instead of vegetable oil.

Try replacing honey with maple syrup.

My first attempt at making my own granola was a great success! I’ll continue to post updates to this recipe as I get creative with granola!

The finished product:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just another DIY blog

It certainly seems like the world is full of Do-it-yourself (DIY) blogs, so why add another? Well, this blog is primarily for me and my husband to document our DIY projects, not only for our own reference but also for all of our friends and family who ask "How did you do that?".

Here I'll give accounts of our current DIY projects and also revisit past successes. I might also post projects done by family and friends - especially my mom, because she's super creative, but not so great with technology.

Projects vary: crafts, yard and garden care, house work, and most of all FOOD.

So check back. This week I'll be updating on my adventures with popsicles and granola!