Posted at 7:00 am
To bring a little life indoors, we created some terrariums this weekend. After doing some research and scouring the house for items we already had, the girls and I were ready to start. I decided to go with planting a cactus and a succulent as they are low maintenance and require watering about every 2 weeks. If you decide to plant moss and ferns, you never need to water your plants, but you will need a terrarium with a lid as well as charcoal to prevent mold.
Here are the directions to make your own terrarium.
- a glass container
- river rocks
- cacti or succulents
- decorative rocks, shells or quirky items to decorate your terrarium
- Begin with finding a glass container. This could be a Mason jar, a fish bowl, a wide vase or check your local IKEA or pet store for inexpensive glass containers. Make sure your plants can fit easily inside of it.
Add a layer of river rock. Enough to cover the bottom. Supervision of the kids is recommended to ensure they carefully place the stones in the bottom or the glass could chip or break.
Use some sand to cover the stones. We had plenty of sand left over from Sydney’s art party so the girls had lots of fun picking which color sand they wanted to layer first, second, etc.
Once you have a flat base in which to place your plant, set it right in the glass with its original planting container. Carefully add more sand around the sides of the container to secure the plant. Try not to let any sand cover your plant.
Add finishing decorative touches. We used pink seashells, blue stones and some large rocks.
Posted at 7:00 am
Did your mom ever make beer cheese soup? Mine did. She sprinkled some popcorn on top and as much as I wanted to love it as a kid I just couldn’t get into it. I was longing to try the recipe again and found a spicier version that you can tailor to your liking, heat-wise. Serve it at your Superbowl party in lieu of chili or enjoy it fireside when the temperatures begin to plummet.
Recipe adapted slightly from Closet Cooking
Spicy Beer Cheese Soup
1/2 pound smoked bacon
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 jalapeño, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
2 Tb butter
1/4 cup flour
1 12 ounce bottle of ale
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook the bacon at medium heat until crispy in a large, heavy bottomed stockpot. Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels. Drain bacon fat reserving 2 Tb in the pot.
2. Add onions, celery and jalapeño and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Add garlic and thyme and cook for about a minute.
4. Add butter. After it has melted, add flour and let it cook until it starts to turn brown, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the ale and chicken stock. Simmer on stove for about 40-50 minutes on medium low heat.
6. When you are ready to eat, add mustard, Worcestershire, heavy cream and cheese. Cook until the cheese has melted.
7. Season with with salt and pepper to taste.
I’ve been keeping true to my word and included a glass of wine with dinner. In retrospect, a cold glass of beer probably would have paired better. The girls wanted all of us to have a little picnic in front of the fire. It was quite relaxing. We might have to do that more often.
Posted at 7:00 am
Happy New Year everyone! Tell me, did you eat, drink and make merry in the wee hours of the night?
We celebrated with friends and kids galore. I made a Buche De Noël cake with mushroom meringues. My brother-in-law, who actually flew home from visiting family in France with my brother last night, would (hopefully) be proud. I am such a sucker for woodland whimsy. The cake was delicious! Not to mention gluten and nut-free.
For 2015 do you set resolutions? I like to avoid resolutions at all costs, unless they are fun or pleasant like trying a new recipe each month and drinking more wine each night. The word resolution sounds like drastic change(s) to torture you until you finally give up and feel worse about yourself. I am all for making small changes or tweaks, however. This year I’d like to incorporate the following changes:
- Revert back to using a spiral-bound planner. My iPad has botched my schedule more than a few times this past year due to time error entry and not being able to pull up my schedule so it’s back to good old-fashioned pen and paper for this gal.
- Organize all closets, nook, crannies and cupboards. Not all at once, but by summer….
- Incorporate more vegetables into our family diet. My husband and I could also stand to eat more fruit and consume less sodium. We love our chips, popcorn and crackers around here. Has anyone tried Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipes from her new cookbook, It’s All Good? The vegenaise breakfast toast with avocado sounds interesting and Kimchi too.
- Try being a better listener with friends. I am like a guy in this department. I listen to women vent and want to help them so I offer some suggestions and get the look of, “Why are you talking when you should be listening?” I promise to try to lend a sympathetic ear with ample head nodding and zero advice from now on.
- Drink more wine. Specifically, do not let a week pass by without consuming it.
That’s it! Have a very happy and healthy 2015.