Lemon Brownie Squares

Some days are made for lemons. The fresh, tart, “Zing” kinda feeling is what you will get with this. These lemon brownies are the closest thing you’ll get to tasting sunshine.

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ C. butter, room temperature
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice & zest of 1 large lemon.
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 & ¼ C. all-purpose flour

Let’s Start

Preheat oven 350

Prepare 8×8 baking pan. Liberally spray with cooking spray or line with fitted parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the *softened butter and *sugar until combined. Gradually add in *eggs one at a time and stir until just barely combined. do not over mix that could lead to tougher brownies.

Stir in the lemon juice (* if you press and roll a lemon on the counter with the heel of your palm before cutting it will yield more juice), lemon zest, salt and flour until a smooth batter forms.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan, smooth out top before baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is set and lightly golden brown.

Cool completely before making your glaze.

Glaze

In a small bowl combine

  • 1 C. powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

The glaze  should to be thick. ( glue like consistency) Garnish with lemon slices or lemon zest.

Enjoy!😊

Paper Mache Jellyfish

I have been trying to re-vamp my twins playroom for some time. Every time I feel like I could close the book on it, another opportunity arises and takes over.

I was left with this wonderful Japanese printed fabric, that my mom brought back from Japan.

Living in Japan for 11 years is always going to be a part of life that I was so grateful to experience.

Our jellyfish are a simple mix of a recycled children’s book (which are my absolute favorite to use. The prints and typography are so bold and wonderful!) Elmer’s glue, and water.

Start by blowing up a ballon to your desired size.

Rip your pages/paper into strips (be aware of what you want to show while ripping.)

Mix 1 cup of glue with 3/4 cup water. Stir with a craft stick.

Add stripes of paper to your glue water. Once your strip is fully saturated with water start to lay out on ballon. (I found it much easier if, I set the ballon in a mug or a bowl. *It didn’t move around much.)

Allow to dry overnight.


The Tentacles

Cut fabric into 2″ strips (the length you desire, is up to you.)

Then, cut 1″ slits *at an angle down* on each side of your strip.

Bust your glue gun out…. it’s gluing time!

*I used six to eight tentacles depending on size of jellyfish.*

Arrange the tentacles by seeing where and how it will hang. Try to balance it out.

I used twine to hang but, I’m sure ribbon, or bakers twine will work as well.

These guys would be a great addition to a kids birthday party (or any party), a reading nook, playhouse/treehouse..you catch my drift.

Enjoy!

Just Propagate

Is it just me, or anybody else feeling like plants have gotten way too EX-PEN-SIVE!!

The many changes of covid has brought a wave of new plant enthusiasts, Myself included, I remember the day…. I was sitting around my house really looking at my house plants and realized, I have been MORE then  neglecting them, with their brown tips and limp leaves.

Since then, I spent every free minute schooling myself into plant 101. I found myself REALLY enjoying learning the process of the “Big 5”

  • Light
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Propagation
  • Fertilising

My favourite of the “Big 5” is..

Propagation

My number one advice for new plant parents is, propagate, propagate, propagate.

Propagation will ensure your investment. Plant pest infestation can happen to the best plant parent, several insects and other pests feed on houseplants.

These pests most often come into the home on newly purchased plants or on those that have been outside for the summer and brought back inside. These pest can wipe out our favorite plant(s) or, severely damage them causing weeks to months recovering.

The one cause of plant death is over watering until you, (like myself) master your “plant’s needs”, propagation ensures you have a “back- up” plan in case it is needed.

 

There are several ways to propagate

My favorite and the easiest, to propagate is by water.


Make a cut with sterile scissor (clean with rubbing alcohol)  take a snip below the node (bump like knot), where the leaf meets the stem,  take as many cuttings as the mother plant will give without over cutting.

Removing the bottom leaf close to the node  then submerging the bare lower nodes into water.  Poof! Just like that. After a few weeks you’ll have a brand new plant. 

You’ll want to refresh the water once a week to prevent fungus growth.

To ensure a healthy plant


When  transferring a “water” plant to  soil, you’ll want to keep the soil moist, not wet if the soil looks like mud you’re watering to much. 

Hold back a few days before watering again. Keeping the soil moist for the first few weeks after the potting, will ensure a successful transfer.

To ensure a successful  transfer, after a week or two start weaning your plant to its desired watering regiment.

Let It Pass

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Parenting makes you come face to face with your fears and anxieties. And, if not prepared, it could knock you off your pedestal every once and awhile.

The real truth is that, until we are able to acknowledge it. It will return.’

Facing fears, what does that actually mean–standing on top of the ladder without your legs shaking. taking a hot air balloon ride and looking down, taking that cross country boat trip, in the middle of the ocean, out at sea, ALONE, hoping you don’t get stranded, or eaten alive limb by limb from a massive shark.

I hate to admit, driving over a bridge is the only time that my hands are on 10 and 2 position, clenched.

So what now..

Start little by being ok with letting go of control. contol within your day; allow someone else to pick the show for thr evening. control within your kids; give them choices that they can make for themselves..both people happy.
Just be present. Allow whatever will be.

“The go with the flow” persona is always what I stive for buuuut, life happens, everybody’s gotta eat, house has to be tended to, emotions and thoughts come and go, you can feel your shoulders rising up to your ears….AGH!

The fact is that, just about everyone is feeling this or has gone through it, tis life. By practicing deep breathing in your stressful moment it can bring down that heighten anxiety and bring you back to the “here and now” Where you are able to think logically and acknowledge those as just passing thoughts.

Let your worries and fears be a passing cloud in your blue sky.

“I’m not sure what the secret to happiness is but I am pretty sure it all starts outside”

-Tom Rosenthal

Rosemary Garlic Artisan Bread

There’s a reason why bread is considered a comfort food…it warms your body like your mother’s warm hug.

The humble loaf of bread starts it’s life with such simple instructions yet, cared for in such a way. You create this “spiritual-like” experience from the aroma, wafting in the air. To the emotinal love you put into the dough as you knead it, almost like a therapeutic exercise. Reflecting on your day ahead and of your past experiences all flood your mind. The gentle reminder of being in the present moment arises and suddenly, you are enjoying the smell again.

Ingredients

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 3 large garlic cloves, Finely grated

• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary,  give or take to your taste

• 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

•1 tespoon Oregano

• 2 teaspoon instant yeast

• 1 cups of warm water

Let’s Start

In large bowl with warm water add suger and salt give a quick whisk then sprinkle yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes or until it foams.

Add in olive oil.

Add flour and knead by hand (or stand mixer) for about 10 minutes.

Add rosemary, black pepper, oregano and finely grated garlic. Continue to knead (5 minutes or so.)

Finally, The dough should come together at this point, the dough will be slightly sticky.

Place dough ball in well oiled bowl, turning dough a few times so that dough surfaces are protected by oil. Tightly cover bowl with cling wrap.

Place in warm area to rise (until dough is doubled)* tip: fill water into a  Microwaveable safe glass microwwave for 30 seconds, set aside the glass of water.* You have now created a warm draft free environment for your dough to rise. Place you dough to rise, about 1 hour.

After dough is doubled, punch it down and shape into a rounded loaf. (At this time you can use a sharp knife to make any desired design on top if you wish.)

Place rounded loaf on  Parchment lined cast iron pan (or a baking sheet will work) Cover up loaf with dish towel. Let rise until doubled again, approx 1 hour.

After dough has doubled again, gently brush with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and more rosemary. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes.

Pair it with your favorite chili, soup or eat the whole loaf with or without honey butter. Go ahead no one is judging.

Enjoy!

Easy diy wall mirrors





what you will be looking for

any placemat or plate charger and a mirror. Thrift stores are great places to find unique pieces. I was happy to stumble on these woven plate chargers in a pack of 5 for four dollars. If, thrifting is not your thing then head over to Target or Hobby lobby where you will have much more of an assortment. While you are there grab a mirror that suits your fancy. I was able to hot glue my mirror to my woven plate charger.

now to hang

Depending on what you find, you can use a couple options. D-rings (used for hanging pictures), wire, ribbon (made in a loop, then glued on) Take weight into consideration when deciding what options you are going with.

DIY Dollar Store Stacking Wall Shelves

I love the fact that it’s so versatile, just like those stackable, octagon shelves I’ve been seeing everywhere. Except, these boxes cost next to nothing.

*Applying stain- Make sure you are applying in a well-ventilated area- preferably, outside. Also, be sure to wear gloves and a mask. The smell still be overwhelming (even outside) and you should take caution.

Before applying stain you want to lightly sand down any rough edges (I’ve even used nail files) You can use a brush to evenly coat front and back of box. I like to use old towels and press in the stain, it makes for more saturation in color. Even when doing this method, I applied 2 coats. It all depends on desired shade. *I usually wait 30 min before applying 2nd coat*

*Allow 24/48 hours and possibly up to 72 hours to be sure your stain is completely dry.

Once your stain is completely dry; then, you can arrange your boxes to whatever your heart desire. Apply wood glue, with foam brush to the sides that need securing. Wipe away any excess glue *you can use clamps to hold together while they dry for 24 hours

Cut out burlap, to fit inside tray. I used a coffee bean bag. You could also use fabric, pages from books, pictures,

Add your frame hooks to the back of your shelf before gluing down the burlap. *By doing so you are able to cover up any dings in the process*I would recommend, D-Ring Picture Hangers

Glue burlap down with tacky glue. *Use a wet rag to press it down, it saves your hands from all that glue*

Allow to dry 1-4 hours.

*optional * I reused a drawer handle from our previous cabinets that we had on hand. The handle is secured on with a screw. *It depends on sizing of handle used to determine screw needed, (most handles come with screws)

This shelf is truly used as a decorative piece and not to hold heavy items. Choose wisely 😉

Sausage bites

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Sausage
  • 1 C. Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 C. Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 3 Tsp. Butter

Let’s Start

Preheat oven 375°
line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cook sausage completely. Pour out on a lined paper towel plate, Set aside to cool.

In a bowl add coconut flour, baking powder, salt, whisk to combine.

Add to the dry ingredients; cream cheese (room temperature), cheddar cheese, 2 eggs and melted (yet, cooled) butter. The best tool to combine your soon-to-be delicious snack are you hands, dont be afraid to get in there.

Once mixture is combine, scoop (ping pong size) amount onto your parchment paper.

Bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

Allow to cool before enjoying.

Save Your Avocado Seeds

When you try to live a sustainable lifestyle all and everything is useful and having children just ups the game. BC (before children) I use to live in a self serving lifestyle, I was financially stable, not set, but stable. Shopping trips were often, and “wants” instead of “needs” were justified. It was fun.

I didn’t know anything different my life was all about myself and I STILL didn’t know who I was. I spent my 20’s wildly, my 30’s caring what others thought, and now my 40s with an awaking.

When life starts to slow down then, you are able to reflect what is. You begin to realize it all didn’t matter in first place, living in others expectations didn’t matter.

Immerse your Avocado seeds in water. Within time you will begin to see your seed cracking as a root will try to form. Replenish water as needed.
Your pit should start to sprout roots and a stem in two to six weeks.

Once the stem reaches six to seven inches tall, cut it back by half.
When the roots have grown thick and the stem has leaves again, plant in soil in a pot about ten inches in diameter, leaving half the seed still exposed above the soil.
Keep your avocado plant in a warm, sunny location.
Water frequently with an occasional deep soak. Keep plant moist but not overly saturated. As with most plants, make sure the soil drains well.
Pinch the stem back every time your plant grows another six inches or so, in order to encourage a bushier appearance.
If you live in a warm-enough climate, plant your tree outside once it is big enough. In time (we’re talking many years), it might actually bear fruit.

The simplicity of life is what you will find in the end. The “wants” will always be there. Sit with it, don’t act on impulse and life goes on.

“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”

Wayne W. Dyer

Comfort Chicken Tortilla Soup

Something so simple, Soup. Yet, leaving you so satisfied. The best part, this soup allows you to get carried away with the added toppings. Savory and comforting will have you craving it the next day.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • 1 cup carrot (diced)
  • 1 small zucchini (diced)
  • 2 ears sweet corn cut off the cob, or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • I can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • I can tomato sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken *time saver pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken, shred the whole of the chicken. Saving or freeze remainder for easy to make meals later in the week. My favorite, easy shredded chicken quesadilla for snack/lunch or add to any favorite salad.
  • 5 corn tortillas cut into strips

Let’s Start

Place a large pot over medium heat, add  olive oil and a tablespoon of butter, Saute onion, garlic, carrot, and corn in olive oil and butter for about 5 minutes. 

Stir in spices, allow contents to saute for a few seconds (this allows the dried spices to come to life.)

Add beans (drained/rinsed), tomato sauce, and chicken stock, bring to boil.

Reduce to simmer, place shredded chicken and diced  zucchini into soup. Cover and simmer, 10-15 minutes.


Tortilla Strips

Cut a pile of corn tortillas into strips

To a skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.

Add tortilla strips, allow them to toast to a golden brown before removing from pan.

Add a squeeze of lime juice and salt to taste.

Top strips to your own bowel of soup.

Enjoy!

Desired Toppings

  • Cilantro leaves
  • Avocado slices
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce
  • Cheese
  • Jalapenos
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