Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:38 am on Monday, October 27, 2014

Man, these Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins are tasty. Sweet and tender and just a little chocolatey.

I used frozen roasted pumpkin I had in the freezer from last fall (got to make room in the freezer for more pumpkin) but you can use canned pumpkin if you want. Here’s the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
(Makes 12-16 muffins)


    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup wheat flour
    1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/3 cup milk (I used 2% milk)
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    6 Tablespoons butter
    1 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup dark sugar
    2 eggs
    1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
    1/2-1 cup chocolate chips


If using fresh pumpkin, roast or microwave until soft, then blend until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the dry ingredients and mix together.

In another bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla. Melt butter until soft and add to the milk and vanilla. Add the sugar.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Mix in the pumpkin puree.

Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients in three batches and stir until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Grease a muffin pan. Spoon the batter, roughly 1/3 cup per muffin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!

Owl Bookend and Eyeglasses Holder

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 1:12 pm on Friday, October 24, 2014

I guess I love owls, because I love this Owl Bookend and Eyeglasses Holder. How cute would this be on a bedside table? It comes in mint, gray, and red. $63

Harvesting Your Own Salt

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:53 am on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Living on the California coast, I have thought once or twice about harvesting my own salt from the ocean. I haven’t tried it, mostly because I suspect that the amount of effort and money spent on electricity would be higher than just buying salt in the store.

Then I ran into this video about Ben Jacobsen of Jacobsen Salt in Oregon. His passion about salt harvesting reawakened my interest in harvesting salt from the ocean.

Now I’m curious. I haven’t harvested my own salt yet, but maybe I will. It looks easy.

According to Wikihow and posts like this, harvesting salt takes:

1. Collecting clean salt water in jugs or a cooler.

2. Running the water through a cheesecloth to get rid of seaweed/other particles.

3. Slowly evaporating the water over many hours, usually in an oven or on a stove top set on low heat.

4. Collecting the salt crystals.

A gallon of water will produce between 3-8 ounces of salt, depending on salinity. To make it worthwhile, you probably want to do a lot of water.

Here’s a video that shows the whole process from start to finish:

Make Your Own Kale Chips

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:05 am on Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Almost by accident, I grew a lot of kale this year. I put a few seeds in the ground, and suddenly I had a ton of it.

So I tried making kale chips with it in my oven. It was insanely easy and took only 10 minutes. The kale chips were crisp and tasty:

What do kale chips cost? $15 dollars a pound, or something? These cost me about $.50 to make.

The only complaint I have about this recipe is that the chips get stale pretty quickly, so only make small batches at time.

Baked Kale Chips


    8 kale leaves
    1-2 Tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Wash and clean the kale leaves. Remove the ribs of the kale and cut into 2-inch piece. In a bowl, toss the kale with olive oil and about a half teaspoon of salt.

Lay the kale leaves onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake until the kale chips are crisp, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Owl Scarves

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:51 am on Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I love these Scarves That Look Like Bird Wings. Lovely!

They are hand-painted and digitally printed on cotton or silk. $56-$160.

The Etsy shop repeatedly says that the wait to get the scarf is long, which can be a bit of a red flag. But the scarves look like they might be worth it.

[Incredible Things.]

Use Shower Rings To Organize Your Closet

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:11 am on Monday, October 20, 2014

So it turns out that the humble shower ring is a great way to organize your closet. Here are some things shower rings can help you organize:

Tank Tops


Scarves (Or ties or belts.)

Hats (I’m totally doing this one.)


Gift Bags


Even Bras

Halloween Cocktail: Deadly Nightshade

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:12 am on Friday, October 17, 2014

savvyhousekeeping halloween cocktail deadly nightshade

As promised, here’s the other cocktail I made up with DIY Cocktails. It’s called Deadly Nightshade.

The drink is a mix of black current juice, current liqueur, and bourbon. We also added some grapes in the glass for a creepy garnish. It’s a bit more manly tasting than the Blood Orange Margarita, but both drinks would be great at a Halloween party. Recipe:

Deadly Nightshade


    1 1/2 oz bourbon
    2 oz black currant juice
    1/2 oz simple syrup
    1/2 oz. creme de cassis (current liqueur)
    club soda
    8 or so grapes to garnish


Shake bourbon, juice, syrup, and liqueur over ice and strain into cocktail or old-fashioned glass. Add some ice and a small handful of red or black grapes. Top off with club soda. Enjoy.

Make These Fox Shaped Sugar Cookies

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:49 am on Thursday, October 16, 2014

These Fox Shaped Sugar Cookies are so cute. And they don’t look hard to make. The tutorial shows you how.

Reducing Food Waste Round-Up

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:12 am on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I’ve talked about reducing food waste quite a bit on this blog, but it looks like the issue is getting worse. A new study says that Americans waste 40%–almost half!–of their food, according to the Natural Resources Defence Council. An average family of four wastes $2,275 in food each year, or 20 pounds per person per month.


This is especially crazy at a time when food prices are skyrocketing and many families are struggling to pay their bills.

Even though my food waste isn’t anywhere near half of my food bill, this is an issue everyone can do better on. This month, I’m going to write down everything I throw out and then use that to get a sense of how much I’m really wasting. After that, I’ll take steps to rectify it.

I’m already doing better, too. Instead of tossing some old pears to the chickens today, I put them in the food dehydrator and am making dried pears instead. However, there was no saving that 1/3 of a watermelon that had mold on it. Into the compost it went!

Stay tuned for an update on this situation. In the meantime, here are some posts on reducing food waste:

How to Reduce Food Waste

Using Up Commonly Wasted Foods

Fridge Eat Me First Box

10 Things To Do With Overripe Fruit

100 Things To Do With Lemons

5 Things To Do With Stale Bread

What To Do With Milk and Cream

How To Freeze Tomatoes

Use It Up

Use It Up II

Turning Old Sewing Machines Into Furniture

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:39 am on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

RecyclArt has a round-up of examples of people Turning An Old Sewing Machine Into Furniture. I see these old machines in thrift stores all the time, and there is something captivating and lovely about them. So why not turn them into furniture?

Like this:

And this:

And this:

See the rest here.

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