Monday, June 29, 2015

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Two of my favorite bloggers, Happier Than A Pig in Mud and Savoring Time in the Kitchen have posted the recipe on their blog for Chive Blossom Vinegar.  This year the timing was right for me to make this beautiful vinegar.

If you have chives, give this a try.  It's so easy and produces a beautiful delicious vinegar to use in salad dressings and marinades. I think I may try this to pickle some green beans this summer.

Chive Blossom Vinegar
  • Pick your blossoms, snipping enough to fill your jar about 2/3 full
  • Give the blossoms a good soak to remove any dessert or critters that might have hopped on to the beautiful flowers.
  • Spin them in your salad spinner or dry on paper towels
  •  Pack them in a jar and fill your jar with distilled vinegar.
  • Leave them in a cool, dark place for 1 - 2 weeks.  Lynn at Happier Than A Pig in Mud recommends 8 days.
  •  Strain and store in the fridge!  
  • Isn't the color just beautiful?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

One Man's Trash......

Twice a year, thousands of people flock to an event in Omaha called Junkstock.  There's a weekend long junking event in Central Nebrakska called Junk Jaunt.  500 junk vendors!!  Before throwing anything away, I'm left to wonder can this be re-purposed? 

I'm sharing three things that can be found at either of these events.  Two of the three I did purchase at Junk Stock and / or Junk Jaunt.  With the assistance of my wonderful husband, we re-purposed these into decorative or usable items.  I should have taken "before" pictures of these items but you'll get the picture. 

The first is a shutter.  After a light sand, I painted it.  I was looking for a phrase or word decal to put on the front or bottom.  I couldn't find one I like and as it turns out, you wouldn't see it anyway.  I used tiny clothespins to secure the photos.  You could use this for photos, kids artwork, lists or a combination.  I paid $5.00 for the shutter.

The second item is a rotary hoe wheel.  This is the item I did not buy.  I was at Junkstock, texted my husband, who used to be in the farm implement business,  to ask what it was.  He told me it was a rotary hoe wheel from a tractor.  He inquired on the price.  When I told him $25.00, he said DON'T buy that I'm sure we can find one at my buddies farm for free.  Indeed, we did find two of them.

After using a wire brush to remove as much of the rust as possible, we (that would be Tim) gave them a coat of rust restorer.   I  (yes really me) spray painted them yellow.  They're a fun addition to the garden.

The final item is a trash wheel tooth from a plow.  I had no idea what this was either.  When I spotted it, I thought it would make a great plant hanger.  We repurposed three of these.   I paid $5.00 for one at Junk Stock in Omaha and $2.00 each for two more at Junk Jaunt last Fall.

I (we) have two "junk" projects left to complete.  One I want to make Christmas trees or snowmen out of bedsprings.  I purchased a couple of these and then the same buddy of Tim's had those too. He should go into the junk business.    The other is re-purposing an old window frame.  I haven't quite decided what I want to do with this one yet. Anyone have a good idea?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins - Secret Recipe Club

The third Monday of the month brings us the June edition of Secret Recipe Club.  If you're not familiar with how SRC works, you can find the details here!  For the month of June, I had the pleasure of being getting to know, Jess  of Pumpkins and Peonies.   When I first started browsing her blog,  I recognized some familiar sites and realized Jess had lived in Omaha.  It's so much fun when you run across a blogger who lives (or has lived) in your town.    Jess says:

I’m all about…
My hubby,
My family,
His family,
Our godson,
My best friends,
Our puppies,
Making people happy,
Any and all sports,
[Attempts at] cooking,
Self Improvement,
All things pretty and scrumptious.

She has a beautiful blog, with delicious recipes and other fun posts.  Stop by and check out Pumpkins and Peonies!  As always, it was hard to decide which recipe to choose.  For SRC posts, seems I move towards the sweets and this month was no exception.  I chose Jess' Deep Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins. 

The flavor of these muffins is delicious, cocoa and chocolate chips create a wonderful chocolate treat.  I found this batter to be VERY thick, I read the recipe twice to see if perhaps I added too much flour?  When I make these again, I will cut back the flour by at least 1/2 cup and reduce the baking time by five or so minutes.  As written, the muffins were a little dry for my liking but I warmed them in the microwave for about 30 seconds, creating a warm gooey muffin.

Dark Chocolate Muffins:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. milk
2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 scant c. semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
Powdered sugar (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Place oven rack in center of oven.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth.  Add cream cheese and beat together with butter until smooth.  Blend in sugar and light brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla extract and blend well.  Fold in sour cream and milk.
  3. In a medium bowl, blend together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure no ingredients remain unblended.  Fold in chocolate chunks.
  4. Using a large scoop, scoop generous amounts of batter into each muffin cup.  Place a couple of chocolate chunks in the tops of each muffin.  
  5. Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until muffins spring back when gently pressed.  Let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.  When cooled, dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Yield: 18 muffins

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sweet and Salty - Mint Stout Cupcakes

Do you like the combination of sweet and salty?   The addition of a little salt to a sweet dessert creates the perfect combination of flavors.  Tim got me this dessert and baking salts sampler for my birthday this year.

My favorite cupcake at the local cupcake bakery is a Sweet and Salty.  Having also read recently about using a stout beer in cupcakes, I decided to add a mint stout to a devils food cake mix.  The combination was delicious, adding just a hint of mint to the dark chocolate cake.  After topping with a basic chocolate buttercream frosting, I sprinkled the top with the espresso salt.  The addition of just a little salt, tempers the sweetness of the frosting.

I sent these to work with Tim and was quick to remind him to tell his coworker the "dusting" on the top was salt.

Mint Stout Cupcakes 

1 box devils food cake mix
1 1/4 cups Mint Stout Beer
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
Finishing Salt - I used Espresso Salt


  • 1 Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Grease bottoms only of three 9- or 8-inch round cake pans. Make cake batter as directed on box, using cake mix, beer, the oil and eggs. Pour about 1 1/2 cups batter into each pan.
  • 2 Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely. 
  • Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting. 
  • Garnish with sea salt, if desired.