Make Your Own Bubble Chandelier

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:23 am on Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bubble Chandeliers are so pretty and fun. They can also be expensive, ranging from $300-$7,000, depending on size and where you buy it.

That’s a crazy price when you consider you can buy the glass balls for $2-$4 each. (Possibly cheaper if you shop around–eBay is a good place to start.)

Rachel from Small Notebook made a DIY bubble chandelier for $70 and tells you how to make one too.

She liked it so much, she put a smaller $30 bubble chandelier in her nursery.

Faire Frou Frou made a large 2′X4′ bubble chandelier for their boutique.

They say it cost about 10% the cost of buying the same thing. And it looks pretty easy to make, too!

Kitchen Backsplash Round-Up

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:14 am on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

There are so many ways you can go with a kitchen backsplash. Here’s some inspiration.

Pressed Tin

Vintage Postcards Under Glass

Metal Tiles

Chalkboard (Hard to keep clean?)

Reclaimed Wood

Paper Under Glass

Red Tile

Tile Cut At A 45 Degree Angle And Set In A Zigzag

Great Gift: Cookies In A Can

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:48 am on Monday, July 28, 2014

Here’s an inexpensive, but cool, gift idea: homemade cookies in a revamped Pringles can.

I don’t speak French, but it looks like Marcia Tack cleaned out the can and covered it with paper and decorative tape. Then she filled it with cookies.

It looks quite chic.

Just make sure that Pringles can is clean. You don’t want your recipient eating Pringles-flavored cookies.

Blackberry Smash

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:02 am on Friday, July 25, 2014

savvyhousekeeping blackberry smash blackberries cocktail bourbon mint lemon

I got together with DIY Cocktails and made a Blackberry Smash. (The name makes me think of the Hulk. “Hulk smash!”) We crushed the blackberries with a little simple syrup, lemon juice, and mint, then mixed it with bourbon. Kind of like a mint julep, only with berries. Plus it’s pretty.

Recipe:

Blackberry Smash

(Makes 1 cocktail)

Ingredients:

    3 ounces fresh blackberries
    1 1/2 ounce bourbon
    1 ounce simple syrup
    8 small mint leaves
    1 dash fresh lemon juice


Directions:

In a cocktail shaker, muddle all the ingredients so that the blackberries and mint are crushed. Fill a highball glass with crushed ice. Pour the drink over the ice. Enjoy!

Blackberry Scones

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:55 am on Thursday, July 24, 2014

savvyhousekeeping recipe scones fruit blackberry

Scones are one of those things that can either be wonderful or awful. They are either dry and gum up your mouth or they are lovely and soft. My mom’s recipe is the latter kind. Her scones are a soft biscuit with lots of fruit and a sugary crust on top. Really, they have ruined me to most coffee-shop scones.

savvyhousekeeping recipe scones fruit blackberry

I made these scones with blackberries that I picked a couple of weeks ago, but you can make them with any fruit, fresh or frozen. The recipe:

Blackberry Scones
(Makes 6-8 scones)

Ingredients:

    For the scones:

    1 – 1 1/2 cups blackberries
    2 cup flour
    1 Tablespoon baking powder
    4 Tablespoon sugar
    4 Tablespoon butter
    2 eggs, beaten
    1/3 cup milk
    1/4 cup sour cream

    For the crust:

    1 egg white
    1/4 cup sugar


Directions:

If you’re using fresh berries, wash them and then stick them in the freezer for at least a half hour. This will help the berries maintain their structural integrity when you work them into the dough.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking flour, and the 4 Tablespoons of sugar in a bowl. Cut the butter into chunks and work it into the dough until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Stir in the milk, eggs, and sour cream and form a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Fold the berries into the dough. Be careful not to overwork or smash the fruit.

Pat the dough into an 8 inch circle. Now it’s time to make the sugary crust. Beat the egg white until it is frothy and then spread over the top of the dough. This will seem soupy and strange, but go with it. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the egg whites so that the top is covered and the sugar is absorbed by the egg whites.

With a floured knife, cut the dough into wedges. The scones will expand a bit in the oven, so keep this in mind when you cut them. Carefully transfer the scones onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes until they are lightly browned. Wait until cooled and then enjoy.

savvyhousekeeping recipe scones fruit blackberry

Magical Compost Tea

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:22 am on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

You may be asking yourself why I am posting a bucket of muddy water on my blog. Ah, but that’s not mud, that’s compost tea.

I’ve written about the magic of compost before on here, and how amazing it is that you can take your kitchen waste and turn it into an fertilizer for your garden. This year, I’ve been taking the extra compost I have and making compost tea with it, and using it as an all-purpose liquid fertilizer for my plants.

Let me tell you: it works great. If you pour compost tea on a droopy plant, it will pick up within an hour of your applying it–that’s how powerful this stuff is. And it’s free and easy to make.

So how do you make it? Put a quart (4 cups) of compost in a 5 gallon bucket and fill that bucket with water. Let the bucket sit overnight so that the compost can “steep” into the water, thus the name compost “tea.” After that, transfer the compost tea to a watering can and water your plants as you would with any other liquid fertilizer.

Compost tea can be applied to any plant. It’s especially great if the plant is producing food and seems to need an extra boost of nutrition. It also helps sickly or struggling plants and is a great way to feed your container garden.

Also compost tea lets you make the most out of a small amount of compost. So if you don’t have room for a giant compost bin, don’t worry. Make what you can and then make compost tea with it. That way your plants can still benefit from the magic of compost.

Zucchini on Zucchini Raviolis

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:53 am on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I made this recipe last night, and it was delicious. They are zucchini-stuffed raviolis topped with a roasted zucchini sauce. The recipe used five zucchinis, which is great since I have dozens of them right now from the garden.

In the following recipe, I used a pasta dough from Lidia’s Family Table, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. For the sauce, I modified a recipe from Real Simple Magazine.

You will need a pasta machine to make this recipe.

Here’s the whole thing from start to finish:

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

    2 eggs + 1 egg for sealing the ravioli
    2 cups flour
    3 Tablespoon water
    1/4 cup olive oil

For the Filling:

    2 medium zucchini
    1/4 cup mozzarella
    1/4 cup Parmesan
    1 clove garlic
    salt/pepper to taste


For the Sauce:

    3 small zucchini, sliced
    2 Tablespoon olive oil
    1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
    1/3 cup Parmesan
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    3 Tablespoon basil, chopped
    salt and pepper


Directions:

Make the Dough:

In a separate bowl, crack open two eggs and muddle with a fork. Add the olive oil and water to the eggs.

Sift 2 cups of flour into a mixer or bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the flour. Mix together for 1 minute on medium speed, or with a spoon or spatula, until you have a shaggy ball.

Knead the dough. I used a dough hook for my mixer and let it run for 3 minutes on medium until the dough became a shiny ball. Alternately, you can turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand.

Let the dough sit for an hour.

Make the Filling:

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients: zucchini, garlic, cheese, and salt/pepper. Taste to make sure it isn’t too sweet. If so, add more salt.

savvyhousekeeping homemade zucchini raviolis

Put the mixture in a strainer and push at it so that the extra liquid leaves the zucchini. It’s important to do this to avoid liquid-y ravioli. Leave the mixture sitting in the strainer until it’s time to use it so extra liquid can drain out.

Make the Raviolis:

Run the pasta through the pasta maker. Take your dough and divide it into four parts, then run it through each level of your pasta maker from the largest to the smallest.

savvyhousekeeping homemade zucchini raviolis

In the end, you have four large pasta noodles like you would use for lasagna. Now it’s time to make the raviolis.

Lay the noodle out on a floured surface. Cut off any jagged ends so that you are dealing with a large rectangle. Fold the noodle in half so that you have a crease down the center. Using a spoon, put about 1 Tbs of filling on the lower half of the noodle. Repeat so you have a row of filling laid out, like so:

savvyhousekeeping homemade zucchini raviolis

It’s time to close the ravioli. Crack the third egg into a bowl and muddle it. Using a pastry brush, “paint” the egg around the edges and in between the filling. This will hold the ravioli together. Here is a diagram of where I painted the egg:

Fold the noodle over. Working from back crease, gently push all the air out of the noodle around your filling. A lump should start to form.

Then, cut each ravioli off with a pizza cutter or knife:

Using a fork, press around the edge to seal each ravioli:

Repeat until you end up with about 30-40 raviolis. I held 12 zucchinis back for the meal. For the rest, I lay them flat on cookie sheets and put them in the freezer. Once they were frozen flat, I transferred them to plastic bags and stored them in the freezer for a quick gourmet meal any time I want.


Make the Sauce:

On the stove, bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the ravioli. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice up your other three zucchinis and crush the garlic. Drizzle with 2 tsp of cheese, the olive oil, the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper in a large baking pan. Put the whole thing in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, it looks like this:

savvyhousekeeping homemade zucchini ravioli

Using a slotted spoon, lower your ravioli into the boiling water. Let it boil for about 3-4 minutes. When they are done, the ravioli will float to the top of the water and change to a lighter color.

Remove from the ravioli from the water and gently toss with the zucchini mixture, the rest of the cheese, the basil, and a slight sprinkling of salt. Enjoy.

The resulting pasta is worth all that work. It is cheesy, light, a little spicy, and very zucchini-y. It is the kind of dish that makes you feel like you are eating at a fancy restaurant. Also, because you have frozen two-thirds of the ravioli, you can make more of this dish anytime you want. Oh, and it’s vegetarian and cheap to boot.

Cost of Dish: Flour: $.32; Eggs: $.75; Olive Oil: $.25; Cheese: $1; Zucchini, Basil, and Garlic: Free from the garden; Red pepper flakes: Free from a local pizza place; Water, Salt, and Pepper: So cheap, practically free.

Total Cost of Dish: $2.32.

It’s hard to tell the per-serving cost because I made more ravioli than I did sauce. However, pretending that the $2.32 is just for the ravioli–which it isn’t, because it includes the sauce (so it’s even cheaper)–it would be about $.39/serving.

Tips For Thrift Store Shopping

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:39 am on Monday, July 21, 2014

Yesterday, a friend asked me where to get an office chair. I told her I got it at a thrift store for $15. It’s black leather and in excellent shape.

She needed a chair too, so we went to the same store and she found a chair for $16. She wasn’t sure the chair was quite right, so we went to a big office supply chain and looked at the chairs. They had the exact same chair we saw in the thrift store for $50. She went back and bought the thrift store chair and saved herself $34.

On the same trip, I bought a hole puncher and a binder for $2.25, combined. The same thing at the office supply store would have cost $16, according to their website. That means I saved $13.75 by buying secondhand.

Thrift stores aren’t the only options for bargain hunting. Estate sales, yard sales, consignment stores, and even antique stores yield great deals all the time. But regardless of the places you secondhand shop, some basic procedures make shopping go smoother. Here are some tips:

Make a shopping list–I have a piece of paper in my wallet with a list of things I want for the house. Sample things on my list right now: A coffee table, nickel-plated hardware for the kitchen cabinets, a glass pitcher, vintage wall phone, and a rolling shelf to fit under my desk. The list also has dimensions for the furniture so I know how big it should be.

Put everything on the list–Lots of people look at secondhand shopping as just a way to get clothes or furniture, when thrift stores (and the like) are a great place to get everything from wrapping paper to frames to office supplies. If you want it, throw it on the list.

Be patient–The key to bargain shopping is to keep looking until the things you want show up. I just bought two never-used, restaurant-quality cookie sheets for $1.50 total. New they would have cost me $50. Great deal, right? The thing is, I’ve been looking for them for about 6 months. So I saved a whopping $48.50, but I had to wait 6 months. It’s a trade-off.

Carry a measuring tape–I cannot tell you how many times I have used that little measuring tape in my purse, not just for secondhand shopping but for life in general. Since I write down the dimensions of furniture I want on my list, it comes in extra handy at a thrift store.

Use your imagination–Could you take that ugly chandelier and spray paint it hot pink for your daughter’s bedroom? Maybe a golf caddy could be turned into a tool caddy for the garden? Or how about taking those old 1970s pepper mills and painting them an awesome shade of turquoise? It takes a little creativity to spot a diamond in the rough.

Don’t buy just because it’s cheap–A good deal turns to wasted money if you don’t need or want the item at hand. I had to learn this lesson about clothes. It turns out that if I don’t like some item of clothing, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is, I still won’t wear it. And nothing makes me feel dumber than buying something at a thrift store and then donating it again a few months later. So when in doubt, don’t buy it.

Book Shaped Dishes

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:56 am on Friday, July 18, 2014

I like these Book Shaped Dishes. I might not want a full set, but I love the cup:

Too bad that seemed to be the one piece you can’t buy. The rest of the plates range from $10 for a plate to $25 for a platter.

What To Do With Carrots: Pickle Them

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:42 am on Thursday, July 17, 2014

I seem to be having a bumper carrot year in my garden. No problem, I think I’ll pickle them.

I’ve never pickled carrots before, but it doesn’t look hard. Here’s some recipes I might try:

DILLY CARROT PICKLES

MOROCCAN-STYLE PICKLED CARROTS

PICKLED CARROT STICKS

PICKLED JALAPENOS AND CARROTS

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