Tag Archives: DIY

Don’t Buy It, Make It: Ketchup

Did you know 35.8 million tons of ketchup is consumed worldwide every year? Did you know ketchup can easily be made at home and you can flavor it to fit your own taste? Think of the possibilities! Sweet ketchup? Spicy? Sour? Tangy?

I am loving this homemade ketchup because I adore the fresh tomato taste, but please note that this does not taste like any popular brand ketchup you buy at the store. The flavor is a nice strong tomato taste with a hint of sweetness.

You will need:

  • 1 28-oz. can of tomatoes (I used whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/16 tsp ground cinnamon (sorry, originally called for 1/8 tsp but I felt the flavor was over powering so I cut that in half)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño, stemmed and seeded (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne (optional)
Step 1: Place tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, brown sugar, and vinegar in a blender and puree.
Step 2: Add water and spices and run for 5 sec. to evenly incorporate spices.
Step 3: Add pureed mixture to a medium stock pot and cook on low for a minimum of 1 hour. The longer you cook it the thicker and more pronounced flavor it will have. You can taste taste and adjust as needed. *I cooked mine for 3 hours.
Step 4: When cooled store in desired containers in the fridge for up to 1 month. *You can, can the ketchup. You may be able to freeze this for longer storage but I imagine it will be thinner when thawed.
This recipe has been adapted from The Hungry Mouse Homemade Ketchup Recipe. 

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Don’t Buy It, Make It: Almond Butter

Are you looking for a delicious snack, spread or smoothie booster? Have you tried almond butter yet? Did you know you could easily make your own almond butter at home?

Almond Butter 

You will need:

  • A food processor
  • 2 cups of almonds (raw or toasted)
  • 1 Tsp honey (Optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (optional)

Step 1: Add almonds to food processor and turn on for about 12-15 min.

After about 2-4 min. you will see this nice course almond meal.

Around the 6-8 min. mark you will see this sticky dough ball form, be sure to scrape down the sides as needed.

Finally after about 12 min. you will see a nice smooth almond butter.

Step 2: Turn off processor and move your almond butter to desired container, if you desire you can stir in honey and salt.

NOTES:

Do not add the honey or salt to the processor and run it, I tried that and got clumpy almond chunks. It’s best to stir it in with a spoon. .

I highly suggest using the food processor, I tried making almond butter in my Vitamix and Blendtec blender and neither got the results I achieved here with the food processor.

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Don’t Buy It,Make It: Chocolate Syrup

Did you know you could easily make your own chocolate syrup with just 5 basic ingredients?

Chocolate Syrup 

  • 1 cup sugar (I used Xylitol)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa, packed(I used cacao)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt (I used sea salt)

 

Step 1: Put cocoa, sugar, and water in medium sauce pan over medium high heat and stir well to dissolve sugar.

Stir constantly and watch closely.

Step 2: When mixture comes to a boil reduce heat and set timer for 10 min. Continue to stir.

Step 3: When timer goes off add vanilla and salt and stir well. Let cool.

Step 4: Once cooled pour chocolate sauce into container of choice, I reused a plastic chocolate sauce bottle.

This should keep for 1-2 months in the refrigerator, to prevent crystallization you can add  1/4 tsp. of baking soda while the mixture is cooling.

This recipe is a variation of a recipe found on DIY Natural.

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How to Throw an Avengers Superhero Party

Do you have a party you need to throw soon?  If so, here are some great ideas on how to throw an Avengers party!

 

 

Invitations: Start your party off right with the perfect invitation. You can make your own postcard invitations with cardboard cut-outs of bright blue painted stars, and include the details about your party in a thin black marker. Decorate the front of each with classic comic book words like POW!, ZAP! And WAM!

 

Décor: The Avengers bring together 6 epic superheroes. Create your own easy decorations with cardboard cutouts of spiders and paint them black, neon green head’s of The Hulk and classic American flags for Captain America and, throughout the party, use bold colored streamers, which will add some mystery to the room.

 

Centerpieces: Choose your favorite Avenger and decorate the table around that character. Use lots of primary colors, since comic strips are usually blue, yellow and red. Print outs of comic book pages covered in contact paper make great placemats. Blanket your tables with these to tie the décor together and include stars, spiders and Hawkeye cut-outs on wooden sticks around the table with silver confetti.

 

Music: Keep the music simple but fun. “Live to Rise,” the original song written for and appearing in the film is the first single from the Marvel Music/Hollywood Records release Avengers Assemble.  The epic and cinematic video, featuring a searing live performance with film footage, was directed by Robert Hales (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Janet Jackson, Kings of Leon, Justin Timberlake).  View “Live To Rise”

Menu: Mini snacks such as cut-out tea-sandwiches make great finger food. Look for cookie cutters in shields, stars and spiders to create these treats. For Incredible Hulk themed beverages, create trays of green ice cubes by freezing water with green food color, and WOW! guests as their clear citrusy beverages transform color before their very eyes.

Party Favors: As a parting gift, place a few Avenger designed cookies in a cellophane bag and close with a gold twist-tie – your guests can enjoy the party for days to follow with these treats!”

 

RECIPE 

 

1.    Whip up a batch of your favorite sugar cookie recipe and use a cookie cutter to make character cookies.  They make Superhero cookie cutters in the shape of many Avengers heroes.  You can also use any oval shaped cookie cutter and instead fill in the details with your decorating.  Once your cookies are baked and cooled, you are ready to begin decorating.

 

2.    You can make your own royal icing (See:  How to Make Your Own Royal Icing included below) or use store-bought.  Color with food coloring to achieve the various colors you want for decorating.  We recommend green (for the Hulk), yellow, blue, black, white, and brown.  Place each color in a piping bag.

3.    Begin by outlining the cookie in your base color.  (If you were starting with The Hulk, outline the entire shape in green.  Color in your outline with green icing and cover the entire cookie.  (You can actually use a paintbrush to “paint” your cookie.)  Give the base a few minutes to dry and choose your next color.  For The Hulk’s hair, outline his hairline in black and proceed to fill in with black icing.  You can continue to draw features in and watch your character come to life.

 

 Royal Icing Recipe

  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature.  We prefer dehydrated egg whites, available at most supermarkets.
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • food coloring (optional)

Mix above ingredients with a little warm water until smooth.  Add food coloring.

 

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Don’t Buy It, Make It: Cottage Cheese

Did you know you could make your own cottage cheese at home? It’s very easy and taste wonderful, we go through a large tub of cottage cheese each week and I began to notice the large amount of salt in those tubs and just how much we were consuming and I came across this recipe which uses far less salt and you can adjust the salt to taste.

Cottage Cheese

You will need:

1 gallon pasteurized skim milk (I used 2% milk)
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup half-and half-or heavy cream

Step 1: Pour the full gallon of milk into a large stock pot and place over medium heat until milk reaches 120 degree Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar for 1 to 2 min. as it begins to curdle.  After 2 min, place lid on and wait 30 min.
Step 3: After sitting for 30 min. pour milk mixture into a nut bag or over a tea towel and let drain for 5 min.
Step 4: After draining rinse the curds under cool water for 3-5 min or until completely cool, squeezing and moving the mixture the entire time.
Step 5: Squeeze and drain as much of the liquid as possible.
Step 6: Place the drained mixture into a mixing bowl with the salt and stir well.
Step 7: If ready to serve immediately mix in the half and half , if not ready to consume store the dry mixture in a sealed container in the fridge and add the half and half just prior to serving.
*This recipe is from Alton Brown on Food Network 

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Don’t Buy It, Make It: Caramel Sauce

You will need:

1 cup butter
1 pound light brown sugar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup light Agave
1 pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Step 1: In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until all the sugar is well dissolved (about 220-230 degrees). Cook for 2 minutes at that temperature. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.

Step 2: Butter a 9×13 inch pan, pour caramel into the buttered pan. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Once cooled you can transfer into smaller containers if desired.

*Due to the caramel being hot when it came off the stove I do not recommend pouring the hot mixture into your smaller jars right away. The butter in the 9×13 pan allowed the caramel to just slide out of the pan into the new vessels.

When cooled you should have a nice, thick, rich and buttery caramel sauce.

*Recipe adapted from the Chewy Caramel Recipe, however because I made some changes I ended up with a caramel sauce instead that was still very good which is why I decided to share.

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Don’t Buy It, Make It: Whipped Cream, Buttermilk and Butter

I have made homemade whipped cream for years (I learned it from my mother) and for those who prefer the natural version as opposed to “Cool Whip” (have you read what is in there?) this is definitely for you.  It is also super easy!

You will need:

Heavy whipping cream

*Vanilla (for the whipped cream)

 To make buttermilk and butter:

Step 1:  Pour your heavy whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment and turn it on starting at a medium speed for 10 min. (I used the paddle in this picture but changed to the whisk for better results).

After about 20 min in the mixer on a higher speed you begin to get what looks like the picture above, it’s butter and buttermilk.

Step 2: Separate the butter from the buttermilk with a flat spatula in the bowl of the mixer.

Step 3: Strain the buttermilk into a separate container and place all butter particles back into the mixing bowl and continue to run the mixer. Repeat until all of the buttermilk has been removed from the butter. *I went back to the paddle during this stage.

Once the buttermilk has been removed you will have butter. *This butter is unsalted, you can add salt to the butter at this point and run the mixer again if you prefer salted butter.

Step 4: Remove butter from paddle and place in an airtight container to store in your refrigerator or butter bell. You will also have a good amount of buttermilk left over, this needs to be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator .

To make whipped cream:

Step 1:  Pour your heavy whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment and turn it on a medium speed. (I used the paddle in this picture but changed to the whisk for better results).

*Picture from Taste Spotting

Whipped cream: After about 15 min. you should get stiff peaks, this is whipped cream. You can now flavor it with vanilla and/or sugar to taste by folding in the vanilla or sugar, do not mix. *If you want to make whipped cream, buttermilk, and butter in 1 process simply remove some of the whipped cream to reserve for later and flavor in separate bowl. With the remaining whipped cream in the mixing bowl (do not flavor or sugar) continue to run the mixer and continue after step 1 in the buttermilk/butter steps.

To make butter in jars 

Image from South Shore Now

You will need:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • A jar with tight sealing lid
  • Salt (optional)

 and a lot of arm shaking energy.

1. Fill a jar halfway with heavy cream (baby food jars work great for small batches), and screw the lid on tight.

2. Shake the jar up and down until the cream thickens and begins to stick together.

3. Then, open the jar, and pour any remaining liquid into another container; this is the buttermilk. Everything else is butter.

4. Knead the butter under cold running water for several minutes to work out any remaining buttermilk (otherwise the butter will spoil quickly).

5. Knead in salt, if desired.

6. Refrigerate.

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Make Your Own Cute Easter Baskets Out Of Duct Tape!

Here is a great guest post on how to make adorable homemade Easter baskets from Duct Tape!

Be honest, here, people. Do you still have your basket’s from last year? You know, the ones you got from the dollar store because you caved in and got something “cheap” instead of something of “value”?

Well, I good news. There is still time to make your own, using my favorite product in the whole wide world: Duct-tape! And the best part is, Duck brand tape is made in the good ol‘ US of A.

While I can’t promise the baskets will last until next year, I can still promise they are worth having around. My family uses them for all sorts of things: School lunches, toys, hats, Halloween buckets…whatever.

Don’t forget to save your empty rolls, either. They can be reused to make a super-cool water bottle holder!

About the Guest Blogger:

**L.B. Hansen started pulling tape in 2008 to create candy-themed costumes for her children for Halloween. She fell in love with the whole sticky process and began developing techniques for bags, accessories, and teaching aids. She began selling her creations at the Midnight Sun Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska, and has since participated in several craft shows around Alaska. In 2011, she began to share her self-taught techniques to fellow duct-tape enthusiasts on her website www.artduck-o.com, where she encourages her followers to “think beyond the duct-tape wallet”. She enjoys teaching classes to children and adults on how to be successful with tape. Her favorite projects are Halloween costumes, intricate cut-out work, and the completely unexpected. L.B. currently lives in Florida where she shares her home with her husband, her five children, and over 500 rolls of duct-tape.

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Don’t Buy It- Make It: Mother’s Day Gift Idea, Bath Salts

This is a great and easy project to do with kids so they can make gifts for their mothers, grandmothers, teachers, coaches, neighbors or anyone else who needs to be treated.  And, really, this is super easy!

To make these homemade bath salts you will need:

  • Unscented Epsom Salts
  • Food Coloring
  • Essential Oils of your preferred scents
  • Mason or other glass jars
  • Ribbon, twine or decorative string
  1. First, use your glass jar to measure out how much salt will fit into the jar.  Then dump this jar into a bowl.  You may want to use a metal or glass bowl to keep them from absorbing any oils or colors.
  2. Then put in a few drops of any essential oil that you like.  These can be purchased at any natural food store or the organic food sections of Safeway or Fred Meyer.  You will likely use 3-5 drops and remember that the scent will dilute when it is poured into a bath so make it pretty strong.
  3. Add 3-5 drops of food coloring to get the desired, matching color.  Making a lavender smell? Use purple.  Making rose scented bath salts? Use red dye. Mix it with a metal spoon until the color is even. Pour the salts back into the jar.
  4. Use a ribbon or pretty twine or string to tie around the top.

And just like that, you have a homemade and inexpensive gift for Mom, Grandma, a teacher or anyone else who could use some pampering.  Enjoy!

 

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