Okay, Enough of the Home/Hygiene Products–Nectarine Cobbler Time

When I created this blog, I didn’t intend to be using it for pintesting homemade cleaning and hygiene products, but I guess that’s what I’ve been doing lately.  Time to move onto something different.  How about a recipe?!

My husband recently bought some nectarines, which are not my favorite fruit.  The kids think they’re okay, but they weren’t moving very fast.  So, one night I decided to experiment, and here is what I came up with.

Mug Nectarine Cobbler

Tools:  Oven-safe mug; toaster oven (mine is a convection oven, and I had convection on)


1 sliced nectarine

about 2 Tbsp butter

dash of salt

pinch of cinnamon

1.5 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp flour (may need more, see instructions)


I took my sliced nectarines and placed them in my mug.  That was the easy part.  Then I cut the salt, cinnamon, sugar, and flour into the butter.  You want this topping crumbly.  I never got it quite there–I think I worked the butter too long and it got too melty, but it is possible that I just needed more flour.  At any rate, once your mixture is ready, sprinkle it on top.  Heat in a 350-degree toaster oven for about 10 minutes (until topping gets golden brown).

Despite my mixture not being crumbly enough, it tasted good.  That’s all that counts, right?

Cut up nectarines

Cut up nectarines

Pre-baking.  Yes, crumbles would have looked nicer.

Pre-baking. Yes, crumbles would have looked nicer.

Cooked.  Parts of the topping were a bit doughy, probably because it was in big glops.  Still tasted great!

Cooked. Parts of the topping were a bit doughy, probably because it was in big glops. Still tasted great!


Berry Pizza for July 4th

A few weeks ago, I came across this pin for summer berry pizza.  It looked good, so I decided it would be dessert on the Fourth of July.  It’s pretty easy as it uses a store bought pizza dough and only a few ingredients.  The only one we didn’t have as mascarpone cheese.  Of course, when I went to buy the cheese, I didn’t write down how much I needed.  Turns out that while it comes in 8 oz. tubs, we needed 16 oz., so I had to get my mom to bring more before I could finish it!  Each tub costs about $4.99 in my neck of the woods, so it really turned out to be more expensive to make than I thought it would be.

The pizza dough we had was for thin crust and required a nonstick pan and a lower temperature.  I went by what the dough directions said instead of the blog’s instructions, though I wound up keeping it in the oven for 9 minutes because it didn’t seem to be as browned as it should be.

Baked Pizza Crust

Baked Pizza Crust

I didn’t have any blueberries, so I only used strawberries.  It still tasted good!  The only thing I noticed about the recipe that seemed off was the glaze:  I had covered the pizza with drizzle, and I still had some left.  I think the recipe should really be halved.

Finished Berry Pizza

Finished Berry Pizza

I thought it was delicious, as did my mom.  The kids had mixed reviews.  My son (Mr. Sweet Tooth) liked it pretty well, but my daughter didn’t care for the crust (said it was too firm), and her friend didn’t like the texture of the cheese.  What this basically means is that I wound up eating most of the leftovers, which was okay with me!   However, the leftovers did get a bit soggy with the drizzle soaking into the crust.  If you can make it for enough people that you will have few (if any) leftovers, that would probably be for the best.  Bon appetit!

A Brave Birthday

My daughter recently turned 9, and for her birthday, she wanted to have a Brave/Princess Merida theme.  So, I went perusing the Internet via Google and Pinterest to get some ideas.  I don’t have all of the original links, and unfortunately, I don’t have the pictures of all of the food, but I will try to add links where I can find them.


1.  Bear Paw Cookies:  There were several sites that talked about this.  It was very simple:  just make dough for a basic chocolate cookie.  I used a recipe that I normally use at Christmas time with crushed candy canes, but of course, I left those out.  You shape the dough in more of an oval than a circle, and you put four slivered almonds in one end to become the bear’s claws.  It’s that easy.

2.  Mince and tatties:  The husband found the recipe we used, so I’m not sure where the one we ended up with came from, but it included onions, carrots, and beef broth cooked in with the ground beef.  The potatoes were mashed.

3.  Scottish/mince pies:  To make things easier, I used the meat for the mince (minus the carrots) and added a little nutmeg for the pies.  The rest of the recipe is this:  I used a muffin pan for the pies.  In hindsight, I should have actually added some gravy or a little more beef broth to the meat to make it moister as the pies were a bit dry inside.  I’m sure if I’d used the full recipe, everything would have been fine.

4.  Scones: I used this recipe:  They were messy and sticky to form and bake, but they tasted wonderful.  I suspect I will make them again.  My daughter added extra cinnamon sugar when she ate them, but the rest of the family ate them as they were.

5.  For those who are less adventurous in their eating, we had chips, chicken nuggets, and other more American fare.

Party Favors

For our party favors, we made bows and arrows, of course!   We used the tutorial found here:

Bow and Arrows

Bow and Arrows

Instead of using foam for the grip, you can see I used electrical tape.  Some of them were curved the way you’d expect, but others were less curved.  They all bent fine for shooting, though.  I think I must have held the nylon cord more taut when I measured it for some bows than others, which lead to the slightly looser stringing.  The arrows have batting inside the fabric to make it less likely they would hurt anyone, but I had to use a bit of school glue to keep the fabric and batting secure to the wood; the ribbons did not secure it tightly enough so that it wouldn’t slide off.  My husband used a box cutter to notch the other end.

The bows were a big hit.  Two of the girls even went into the woods with their uncle the next day (who had a real bow) and brought their bows and arrows with to practice.  Their cousin wanted to make his own, so I passed the link on.

Overall, the party seemed to go well.  Everyone seemed full and happy, so I consider it a success!

Apple Pie from Scraps!

Okay, I figure that you looked at the title and either thought “What in the world?” or “Um, you mean, ‘scratch,’ right?”  Well, I did not mean “scratch.”  I know, it’s weird to say I made it from scraps, but I found a few leftover components that work well for apple pie, so it just kind of went from there.  Here’s the story:

I was digging for something in my freezer.  I no longer remember what, but I seriously was pulling everything out while looking for whatever it was.  Oh, I know–cheese!  But that’s another story.  First, I found some cream cheese dough that we made when we made the mini pecan tarts my friend Shari gave me the recipe for (they are yum!!).  It was a little old (I won’t tell you how old), but I figured I’d defrost it and make a flat tart or something.  After all, I have more apples around than I know what to do with (my MIL knows the kids like them, so if they’re on sale, she buys us some).   Then I found leftover cinnamon sugar from a box of frozen pretzels I had (so not good for me).

So, off I was to find a pan to use.  I found a pie tin and squished the cream cheese dough into it.  I know this isn’t how you should do pie crust, but it’s how you do it for the tarts, and it would really stick to the rolling pin.  Next I sliced up some apples (three, I believe) and started sprinkling in cinnamon sugar.  I have no idea how much I used, but the apples all had a light coating on them.  I placed them in the shell and took a picture.

Cinnamon apples in cream cheese dough.

Cinnamon apples in cream cheese dough.

Hm, needs something on top, right?  So, I dug out the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook and found a crumb topping recipe.  I made some and put it on.

That's looking better.

That’s looking better.

I baked it at about 350 (maybe it was 375) for about an hour.  Half-way through, it was getting really brown on top, so I put a layer of tinfoil over it so it wouldn’t get burnt.

So, here’s the result:

I forgot to take a picture before cutting (I was eager to eat it).  Oh, well.  At least I got a picture before it was half-eaten, right?

I forgot to take a picture before cutting (I was eager to eat it). Oh, well. At least I got a picture before it was half-eaten, right?

Looks good, doesn’t it?  It really is.  As a matter of fact, I’m sitting here polishing it off as we speak.  It’s my lunch–don’t tell the family that!!!

Oh, Fudge

This morning, I saw this fudge post by the Pintester sitting in my inbox.  She was testing this recipe.  It looked pretty easy, and I thought I should try it.  (Especially since I’m trying to avoid opening another box of Girl Scout Cookies.)  The one problem is that we didn’t have any sweetened condensed milk (SCM).  We had evaporated milk and dry milk, but no SCM.  😦

Not one to be daunted, I turned to my pal,  It came through for me, as usual.  The first recipe I found at used eggs.  I wasn’t sure that was a great idea since fudge doesn’t involve baking and the eggs would likely be half-cooked during the melting process, and that might not work out so well.  The next one used dry milk.  Yay!  So, I went to work making my SCM.

First of all, let me tell you that the smell of dry milk mixed with water is YUCK.  And it didn’t look like much, at first.

Dry milk and water.  Doesn't look like much.

Dry milk and water. Doesn’t look like much.

However, after I added the sugar and did some stirring, it started to look how I wanted it to look.

Looks like sweetened condensed milk...

Looks like sweetened condensed milk…

So, I put it into the refrigerator, per the instructions.  When it was ready, it was fudge time!

Being that I do not like milk chocolate chips and do not keep them around, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I got everything ready to go into the microwave and set the timer for 3 minutes, figuring I’d want to stir it by then.  When I took it out and stirred it, it was not blending well.  😦  It had the funny dry milk smell and I was worried by the texture of the chips that they might have gotten too much heat and were starting to scorch inside.

My much mixed but not still needs more heat mess.

My much mixed but not still needs more heat mess.

So, I decided to put it back into the double boiler where I could stir as it melted.  It never got as smooth as I wanted it, and I needed to run some errands, so I deemed it “good enough” and poured it into the pan.

Back in the double boiler.

Back in the double boiler.



Overall, the fudge isn’t bad.  However, when you first bite into it, there is a dry milk flavor that you eventually get past.  Overall, I think the fudge recipe is probably good, but I wouldn’t try it again without having real SCM on hand!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I meant to post this a few weeks ago, but better late than never, right?

For a while, I have wanted to find a good chocolate syrup recipe, but the ones I’d see use honey, and I was worried they’d be too thick if I refrigerated them.  But a couple weeks ago, my friend had us over to dinner and she made homemade ice cream, homemade chocolate syrup, and homemade whipped cream.  Sooo yum!  Anyhow, when I got home, I searched for the recipe she used on-line.  I found one at  I didn’t remember her using the pinch of salt, but I figured it was worth a try.  It was delicious!!!  I used a little less sugar than the original recipe (1-3/4 cups).  It is richer (to me) than store-bought syrup, and I can use less of it in my milk to make REALLY chocolaty milk (if you’ve seen my mug brownie entry, you know I take my chocolate seriously).  It is also terrific on ice cream.  I don’t think I’ll ever buy chocolate syrup again.

UPDATE 8-5-2013:  Yesterday, I wanted to make another batch, but I didn’t want to have to search my posts, so I just Googled a recipe.  The recipe said to use a small saucepan, so, not remembering how much it boils, I did.  Big mistake!  You need at least a 2-quart saucepan unless you want a big old mess on your range top.  Lesson learned and remembered for next time.  However, this recipe used even less sugar:  1-1/2 cups.  It is richer, in a dark chocolate sort of way.  So, if you like your chocolate dark, you may want to try that.

Homemade Magic Shell

So, I finally got around to trying the homemade “Magic Shellrecipe that I’ve seen over and over again on Pinterest.  You can find the recipe I used at (link goes right to the recipe).  I used 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips with the 2 Tbsp of coconut oil, and I loved it!

Things you should note:

  1. It takes longer to harden than I remember the original Magic Shell taking.
  2. The coconut oil does lend a coconut flavor to it.  I love coconut, so this is no problem for me.  I intend to experiment in the future to see if mint oil can make it mint-flavored and cover the coconut (mint was my favorite Magic Shell flavor).
  3. It is a bit thicker than the original Magic Shell.  Even when I put it on the ice cream hot (which melts the ice cream), it was pretty thick.
  4. It is super easy to make!  (Two ingredients in a double boiler–it doesn’t get much easier.)

The one thing I wasn’t sure of was if I could store it.  The recipe made more than we used, so I stuck it in a plastic container.  The result is that it does harden some while resting, but if I pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds and stir it, it is ready to go again.  At that point it is warm but not so hot that it melts your ice cream a lot.  Update:  It turns out that after a few days, it hardens completely and re-heating doesn’t work so well.  I’ll keep experimenting to see if I can figure out a fix for this problem.  I tried adding a little bit of water to the dried chocolate, which seemed to help a little, but not enough.   I’ll update again if I figure it out!


The homemade magic shell after being stored. As you can see, it is a bit solidified at this point.