Milk Jug Watering Can

So, this link was floating around Pinterest a lot, so I thought I would give it a try.  I laughed because the tag for this post is, “Good grief, I should have done this years ago.”  And, yes, we all should have done this years ago.  For a thrifty Dutch girl like myself, why not make your own watering can?

The lovely blog, A Journey to Dream, put together these simple instructions for creating the milk jug watering can.  I didn’t exactly follow her instructions by using a needle and some matches.  In fact, I didn’t even punch the holes – my handy father-in-law helped me out with that one.

Watering CanSo, here’s our finished product.  It comes in really handy because I have two flower pots on the front porch that need constant watering and it’s a lot easier to fill up a milk jug in the sink than mess with a big ol’ watering can.  (And, I think our watering can got left in Michigan!)

My one complaint – the water flows a little slow, so I find myself squeezing the jug to make it go faster.  I’ve crushed one jug already, but it’s no big deal because there is always a replacement in our fridge!  🙂

Guest Post – Easy Homemade Ice Cream

Hey folks, this is Kathy, Lynn’s older sister, guest-blogging from Portland, Oregon, while she spends some very important time with my sweet new niece Avery* and getting some much-needed sleep when she can! I’m also into Pinterest, adventures and trying new ideas in the kitchen. Recently, I had success with a very easy homemade ice cream recipe from www.kevinandamanda.com (http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dessert/easy-homemade-ice-cream-without-a-machine.html). Seriously, two main ingredients plus whatever you want in your ice cream, and a freezer – so simple.

The recipe calls for 2 cups of heavy cream and a can of condensed milk as its base – you just stir various toppings into the condensed milk, then beat the heavy cream until it has stiff peaks, fold them together and freeze (preferably overnight). But here’s where it gets creative: You can add virtually anything into the condensed milk – candy, nuts, cake/brownies/cookie dough, fruit, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Homemade Ice CreamMy version: I added about a half a teaspoon of vanilla and two crushed Heath bars to my condensed milk, then folded in the whipped cream and froze it overnight. And how did it turn out? Absolutely delicious. Just the right amount of sweetness, and the texture and appearance are just like regular store-bought ice cream. It is a very creamy ice cream, so I’m tempted to try it with half and half instead of heavy cream and see how it tastes. I think my favorite thing about it is that it takes so little effort – the freezer does most of the work. Definitely recommending it to the new mama in hot, humid Kentucky – she deserves it!

*I’ve been busy with my own project – a sweet baby girl named Avery Elizabeth.  Huge thanks to my sister Kathy for guest blogging for me!  I’ll be back in a week with a new post!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars

When I saw this recipe floating around on Pinterest a few months ago, I knew I had to pin it. Immediately. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of my favorite desserts. Always available in my work’s vending machine for only 55 cents, they were nearly impossible to resist – especially being pregnant and all.

I’m home on maternity leave and bored out of mind, so I figured, “why not make these delicious bars?” Thanks to the Bakerlady, here’s my go at her Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars.

Reese's Peanut Butter Bars

The bars were relatively easy to put together, although the tag on the Pin from Pinterest said, “five minute reese’s peanut butter bars.” Maybe I’m slow, but it took me a little longer than 5 minutes – maybe more like 20. I did have to crush up some graham crackers in the food processor, and I miscalculated how many to crush up, so I had to do it twice. Also, I cut the recipe in half (still cooking for a family of two) and I put it in an 8×8 pan.

They were a little tough to get out of the pan (probably because I’m storing them in the fridge but if you keep them on the counter, they should come out fine), but oh my goodness, they taste exactly like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Same texture, same goodness…they are amazing. Thumbs up for sure.

Chicken, apples, bacon and a slow cooker – does it get better than this?

Since I moved to Kentucky from Michigan two years ago, one ingredient has become a mainstay in our house.  And that is….BACON.  I have no idea why – I don’t know if you can say that bacon is necessarily Southern, but I never bought it in Michigan.  Strange.  It probably started when I had my first Benedictine sandwich (more on that in a future blog post), but I love to cook with it.

And, I found a great recipe on Pinterest that combines bacon with a few other staples in our house – chicken and apples.  The recipe, Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken, – courtesy of Six Sisters’ Stuff – uses one of my favorite kitchen appliances, my ancient crockpot*, and was easy enough to throw together in a few minutes.

crock pot in pantry

Here’s the crockpot doing its magic…in our butler’s pantry.  By all the booze.  (Another addition to our house since moving.  I guess you can say that we truly embraced the Kentucky culture with the horse racing and the bourbon.  Yum.)

I let it cook for 8 hours and then made a few side dishes (green beans and mashed potatoes) toserve with the chicken.

The verdict? Delicious. Spectacular. Looked exactly like the picture above. The apples and the lemon mellowed out the BBQ sauce, and the bacon flavor was a just enough.  My only complaint?  I probably would have taken it out a little sooner than 8 hours.  The sugar in the BBQ sauce burned a bit and made my crockpot a pain to clean up.  But, it could just be my crockpot.

*Hilariously, after I wrote this post and went to clean the crockpot, I noticed a huge crack down the middle of the ceramic container.  I’ve used it a ton over the past 7.5 years, so I guess it’s time to get a new one!  🙂

The Butterfinger Cake

Butterfinger Cake

At my husband’s work, they love to celebrate birthdays.  (My former employer did too, and boy, do I miss that!)  For this birthday celebration, I let my husband pick from my “Recipes to Try” board on Pinterest.  His top three:  Almond sheet cake, caramel apple cheesecake bars and our eventual winner, the Butterfinger Cake.

Since I’m 9 months pregnant and responsible for the baking, it was up to me to decide.  The Butterfinger Cake, courtesy of The Country Cook, looked the easiest and honestly, the cheapest.  (Gotta love a thrifty Dutch girl…)

So, how did it go?  Well, it was one of the easiest desserts I’ve put together.  The easy-to-follow instructions were great, and I had some of the ingredients already.  I’m a huge fan of doctoring up a cake mix with a few extra ingredients (the caramel sauce poured over the top of a warm cake was my favorite part) to make it something special.

The verdict from the folks at my husband’s work?  Two thumbs up.  In fact, he had a wrestle away one extra piece so I could even try it. (And, I forgot to take a pictures before he left, and his cutting job wasn’t as pretty as the picture above.  Just image a big mess of cake and whipped cream on a plate.)

My thoughts on the cake?  It was really good – very rich and even a little too sweet for my tastes.  I probably went a little crazy when poking the holes in the top of the cake so a lot of the caramel when into the cake.  Maybe next time I’ll cut back on the amount of caramel and holes…

Anyway, I really like it and would make it again in a heartbeat.  Guess it’s time to move my pin to the “Favorite Recipes” board…