March 27, 2013

March 19, 2013

Mineral Oil is a...

Do you own a wooden cutting board? I have quite a few. The ones in the picture below were gifted to me. I always see such pretty ones at craft fairs.

Usually along with the cutting boards they have a special oil that you can buy to maintain your board and protect it. Often the bottle will say Cutting Board or Block Oil. It's usually not cheap but you feel like you NEED it. I finally realized this special oil is called Mineral Oil.

I use this stuff on more than cutting boards. It's great for restoring and protecting pretty much any untreated wood. I got a really cool old ladder that I hang towels on in the guest bathroom and I rubbed it down with Mineral Oil. I also used it on slate as you may have read yesterday.

I've used it so much I began to run low. I looked for this stuff everywhere. I would generally look near the cutting boards in any given store and I had a really hard time finding it. I even went into the hardware store looking for it and when I asked for it I got a weird look.

When my mom was here we went to the store and I said let me look real quick to see if they have Mineral Oil. When I proceeded to go to the cutting boards she was confused. She said it's in the pharmacy. Why in the world would cutting board oil be in the pharmacy!?! Well turns out Mineral Oil is a LAXATIVE.

Yes people you're not seeing things. Those of us who use Mineral Oil to treat our cutting boards have been rubbing them down with a laxative. Please tell me I'm not the only one who didn't know that? Maybe for some of you that really explains a lot. And you thought that it was just the vegetables...

Yes I'm still shocked but grateful that I now have Mineral Oil at a quarter of the cost of that fancy Block that I was using.

March 18, 2013

Apple Brie

We had a little event to help out with this weekend and we were supposed to bring a finger food. I wanted to try something different. I also needed to figure out what to put the food on. I needed something that didn't really matter if I got back or not. We've found all sorts of fun stuff that's been left behind at this old house of ours.

Back behind our garage is a stone wall and a hill.
That's where the old roof to our farmhouse lies. It was a slate roof. So I went digging for the smoothest pieces I could find which would be perfect for my finger food.

I scrubbed them good and put a coat of mineral oil on them just like you use on a wooden cutting board. I'll have to share what I learned recently about mineral oil next time. 
I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity use the slate in this way. They make the perfect serving trays and you can easily write what the food is with a chalk pen. After I made these tasty morsels I rushed to snap some pictures before heading out the door. Not until I started to put together this post did I realize my mistake. How embarrassing! I forgot to put the E on APPLE on the tray to the left. I wonder how many people noticed? The good thing is people were raving about how delicious the Apple Brie was. They kept saying, "who made this?"

Well I can't take the credit for their deliciousness. I found the recipe at Dancing Branflakes. She's got great pictures. She did warn about the cheese oozing out, so I was sure to seal mine up tight. Which I probably could have done a little prettier. But hey they were so yummy it didn't matter. I did need to cook mine a little longer and I also made a batch with nuts and some without. They were both good. I hope you'll head on over to Dancing Branflakes and get the recipe, I highly recommend it. And next time you're looking for something to serve your food on, see if you can find some slate.

March 15, 2013

Crock-Pot Corned Beef

I shared this recipe last year but in case you missed it and still don't have dinner planned for this weekend treat your family to a delicious St. Patty's Day meal. What really makes the Corned Beef and Veggies so yummy is the horseradish sauce on the side . Oh and did I mention it's a CROCK-POT meal. Hello lovers of the crock-pot! You can put it in and forget it for 10  hours! Click on the picture to get the recipe. Enjoy!

March 9, 2013

Forcing an Early Spring

Since a good part of the US recently experienced a thick March snow I can imagine that the longing for Spring is even stronger. If you've been outside recently you might notice hints of Spring starting to show themselves. Some hints are more obvious than others, like the singing birds. If you pay close attention to the trees you might notice buds. They blend in so well I was clueless that they were there.

I was reading an article in the paper last week about a women who is fed up with Winter and how she and her family love to force Spring to come early, inside at least. I kept reading in amazement. She said she cuts branches from around her property and puts them in water and they bloom in just a few short days. I was so excited, I didn't know you could do that! It makes perfect sense though doesn't it? She mentioned one bush in particular is her favorite because it flowers the quickest long before it develops leaves. Apparently this bush is common around here. It's called Forsythia.

We haven't been in our home yet during the Spring. I have to say I was so heartbroken to see everything die off shortly after we moved in. We did not have much color during the fall and winter. My husband and I have discussed many times how we need to plant more evergreens and plants that will provide some color all year long. There is this one massive plant right in the front of our house that's been driving us crazy. It literally looks like a GIANT tumble weed. It was pretty nice when it had green leaves but it wasn't anything special and it just seems out of control. When all the leaves died off we really didn't like it. We've been considering ripping it out and plating Rhododendron in it's place. After I read the article in the paper I decided to take a closer look at it. Sure enough it had buds all along the branches. So I cut some off to bring inside. I also went around the yard and got some branches from other plants. I knew it wasn't very smart to pull out plants until we see what they do every season. And I'm so glad we didn't pull this massive thing out. It is a Forsythia! It's one of the first plants that will bloom and provide a show of gorgeous yellow flowers.

This forcing branches to bloom inside thing is a great way to help determine what kind of plants you have before Spring officially Springs. I put them in the heart of our home so we could enjoy watching them evolve everyday. My husband kept walking by saying, "This was such a great idea, I like having trees in my house."

  I crave the color and life Spring brings. I'm so happy to have a piece of it a little early.
The other branches I cut turned out like this:
The leaves are such a lovely shade of green, I'm curious if they will bloom eventually too.

If you're longing for Spring, go hunt down some branches and bring them inside. It's simple to force branches to bloom indoors.

March 4, 2013

Photography Challenge Finale

This week is the Finale of the Nurture Winter Photography Challenge.  It's been fun to see the images captured from people all over the map. Rebecca & Kristi did a wonderful job sharing tips, inspiration and feedback. If you get a chance you should head over and check out the e-book that they put together.

This was our first Winter in PA and though it started out mild it did end up staying cold consistently.

When the snow fell it would stay for a while.

Then the sun would come out

and so would the squirrels.

 It truly was a beautiful Winter here.

I'm not gonna lie though I'm ready for SPRING!