Friday, October 30, 2009

A Dream and Homemade Ketchup...

I had a dream last night.  And though I don't remember it in it's entirety, nor the exact details, I do know that I woke up knowing I had to find a recipe for homemade ketchup.

Weird, I know.

I have no idea where it came from.  But it kind of makes sense in that we consume vast quantities of ketchup in this household (I have an 18-month-old...enough said).  Couple that with the recent discussion Hubby and I had on the quality (or lack thereof) in our food and it's production; I guess my subconscious figured on starting with the obvious.

So I turned to Google.

And I found the motherload on articles and blogs about making your own ketchup!  Not just that, I journeyed to our own fridge to look at the ingredients on our brand name ketchup.

In this order:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Corn Syrup
Onion Powder
Spice and "Natural" flavoring

I don't know about you, but seeing the word syrup just makes my stomach turn.  Not just in the case of ketchup, but in general.  I think it's a gross word and I think of thick, nastiness glopping it's way through my intestines.  YUCK.  Also, Dr. Oz says that if High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is in the first five ingredients of anything, you shouldn't be eating it.  Not only is HFCS linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes, but it is highly processed, as are the foods it is usually in.  This means any nutritional value it may have once had, it is almost totally stripped of due to processing and this is never a good thing.

Now, I say all this and there are brands out there that offer organic ketchup that contains cane sugar instead of HFCS, but how fun would it be to make this a family affair in creating a favorite condiment!?!

So after some reading and researching, I came up with several blogs and sites that all recommended the same recipe!  I haven't tried it yet, but plan to do so ASAP!  Have fun in your own adventures and please share your experiences if you try it out!! Here it is as found in Saveur Magazine!


Photo: Andre Baranowski

4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. celery seeds
1⁄4 tsp. chile flakes
1⁄4 tsp. whole allspice
2 lbs. tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 cup white vinegar
5 tbsp. brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
1 anaheim chile, chopped
1 clove garlic

1. Wrap cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, celery seeds, chile flakes, and allspice in a layer of cheesecloth; tie into a bundle and put into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat along with tomatoes, salt, vinegar, sugar, onion, and anaheim chiles; smash and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions and chiles are very soft, 40 minutes.
2. Remove spice bundle; purée sauce in a blender until smooth. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 minutes. Add more salt, sugar, or vinegar, if you like.
3. Transfer ketchup to a glass jar. Set aside; let cool. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #117

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: Fun Socks

For today's Things I Love Thursday, I'm reminded of the simple things in life.  Things that have no real significant value, but just make a girl feel good.  For more on what others love head on over to The Diaper Diaries to chime in.  She's hosting a super rad give-a-way as well~ something that will surely make it to the top of your "Things you Love" list!

My friend Angela over at Angela's Peony Patch wrote earlier this week about having "Her Purple Book" chucked full of things she loves.  See her post HERE!  Though I may not have an actual book, it really inspired me to just pay attention to the little things in life that just make me smile.  This list can hold your sentimental memories, your favorite foods, meaningful quotes and even some silly things as well.

Silly things like:


I've made a vow to wear fun socks all Fall/Winter.  How fun is that!?!  You know how people say if a woman has matching undies/bras it makes them feel sexy?   Well fun socks are my matching undergarments, since I don't actually own any matching undies sets.  They don't necessarily make me feel sexy, but they do make me feel fun, carefree, and childlike.  Even if no one ever sees them, I know that I'm wearing buzzing flies, or Carebears, or Felix the Cat on my feet and it not only puts a little pop in my step, it makes me chuckle, too.

So since Angela posted her list, here's a few more things that go in my own proverbial "Purple Book" as well:

Emma's Laugh
Jon's touch
The song, "Cocomo"
The smell of Brut
Hot tea with Honey
Sweaters fresh out of the dryer
The smell of Fall
The perfect pairing of a favorite wine with a favorite meal
My puppy's kisses
Holding my Momma's hand

My list could go on and on, but you see my point.  All of these things are so simple, but bring infinite amounts of joy to my life.  In a world where we are constantly bombarded by the wrongs and the imperfections and the disappointment, focusing on such small things can be good for the heart.  These things seize a part of your spirit that reminds you to not get caught up in all the complexity of life and take a load off every once in a while.

And that's a pretty special feeling to have these days.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Heart of the Problem and a little something extra...

I've often wondered why so many Christians lack joy in their lives.
I think, in fact, this is the million dollar question for both Christians and non-Christians alike.  If we as believers have the joy that is Christ living within us, then why are we, on average, a pretty unhappy people?
Now, I say this and I must note that not ALL Christians are joy-less.  I have plenty of friends that I look at and all I see is Jesus.  They radiate Him through their lives and their attitudes.  This is a beautiful thing to witness and indeed how it should be.  So again, why and how are some of us missing that?
Let's take myself as an example.  I love God with my whole heart.  I want my life to exhibit Him in every way.  But I'll have to admit, I feel it rarely does.  Would I consider myself an unhappy person?  Not entirely, but I certainly don't feel as if I possess an inexplicable joy.  Or lets take just any random person who tries in all ways to be closer to God, they persevere in trying to be the person, parent and spouse God would want them to be, you'll find them walking in the Word, praying daily if not hourly, yet they still feel worthless, trapped, unloved and forgotten.  I know these people too.
I just recently started a Bible study called "The Heart of the Problem" by Henry Brandt and Kerry Skinner and while some may look to this study to help them walk through addictions, loss, etc., I decided to allow it to walk me through my complacency; complacency in life, in my marriage, and in my walk with Jesus.
Before going any further, I have to pay particular attention to the fact that I am being blatantly honest here.  Raw and vulnerable are probably better suited for what I'm laying out on the table, but it is my hope that by using this as a means to be accountable, so too I will rediscover life as God would have me experience it.
So in my venture to shed light on my own "Heart of the Problem" I'm only through day five and I barely feel as if I can keep up.  In depth with Scripture, I'm tossed about reminded verse after verse that the heart of my problem and ultimately the reason for my lack of joy is my very own hang-ups and sin.  I really didn't need a book to tell me this, though it's a helpful guide, it's in black and white all over God's Word.
Through my study in these preliminary days I've found that I'm not happy because I leave little at the foot of the cross.  I commit few things to Christ's hands.  And I relent almost never to the command of my Savior that He may handle even my smallest affairs.  And this is not only my problem, but this is my sin as well.  I look around me and I see all too well how I have allowed life and all the logistics of it to get the best of me, focusing less and less on Jesus.  Which, looking back on my verse for the week it all makes sense…2 Corinthians 11:3 (New International Version) ~ 3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
As much as I would like to think this hasn't happened to me, the unfortunate truth is I have let the world get to me with all it's stress and anxiousness, the expectations and constant "you, you, you" messages and I tend to forget the simplicity and splendor that Christ has conquered all of this by dying on the cross.  WOW!  That's a tough pill to swallow.
It's not about me, it's about Him.  There is no need to be anxious; Jesus has already dealt with it.  No stress is too big or small to lay at His feet.  And the only thing that should be constant is my rest in Christ.
And I could go on and on.  But I'll stop here not only because this isn't an exegetical analysis, but instead my personal thoughts and because I fully intend to share my journey with this study as time goes on.  These posts can be found under the category "Heart of the Problem".  Hopefully, as it inspires me in my relationship with Jesus, I will pray it will do no less for you.


Now on a completely different topic…Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home is celebrating her 2-year Blogiversary so hop on over there and send her some congrats!  She's also hosting a give-a-way in celebration!  Make sure you share her link with others and spread the love!  Her blog is great and she is awesome at what she does!  Check her out HERE!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hooked on Friday: Fall Make-up and Skincare

Welcome to Hooked on Friday's where today I'm going to talk about a few of my make-up and skincare favorites.  You can jump in as well.  Just head on over to Hooked on Houses and tell us all about what you're hooked on, too!

It never fails with the cool Fall weather coming in bringing change, so too, my daily skincare regimine has to change as well.  My skin, during the Summer, is extremely oily so I use one of those "squeaky clean" cleansers and no moisturizer at all.  I don't have to.  But no sooner then the temperature drops, my skin turns to a flaky mess.

There have been few years that I have actually made it through a Fall/Winter season where I found a combo that work well together, short of the Mary Kay TimeWise line I used years ago.  I love that stuff, but again, my skin is fickle and I can only use it a few months at a time before it revolts.  It's the strangest thing.

So most years I try TONS of products, some of which are ok, some that I'll never touch again and rarely ones that I catalog and become a hibitual user of.  It just so happens when I do get used to (and grow to love) a particular product, the maker ends up discontinuing it!  HA!  It's all a conspiracy!  But hopefully that won't be the case with these next few products.

By the way, I am in no way being reimbursed for endorsing this list of products.  It's just my personal opinion.  I feel being a woman automatically enters you into a sisterhood of when you find something uber-girly that you think just might be the holy grail of cosmetics, then you share it.  That's just how it works and that's the purpose of my post.  That's all.

So with that I'll start with the skincare.  I have found two products that I have come to adore.  They work with my quirky skin.  I hope if you try them they work for you, too.  Both are farely new, which is why I decided to try them.  And both are also extrememly affordable!  No "La Mer" $100 skin cream here!
(no offense to to those who use the La Mer line, but I try to focus on frugality on this blog as well)

My skin care arsenal:

First I cleanse with Olay Dual Action cleanser + pore scrub.  Or liquid gold as I like to call it.  I have huge pores and this stuff shrinks them down in one use.  I'm not kidding.  My skin immediately felt like a baby's bum with smaller pores the first time I used it.  And now after using it for some time, I must say, I think my skin feels amazing and looks pretty good too.  I particularly like the dual action part of it.  You're getting a cleaner and an exfoliate all in one.  And it really cleans.  Some people like toners after cleansing, but I think this stuff thoroughly cleans your skin and leaves it feeling soft (not greasy~ I hate that), but not taute either.

So on to the next product:

I put Eucerin Anti-Wrinkle Q-10 Face Lotion on after I wash my face.
Like I mentioned, I only use moisturizer in the Fall/Winter.  And most of the time I only use it once a day.  My skin can still get oily at times so I mostly use this during the day since it has SPF in it. Another reason why I don't use it at night is I want my skin to breathe.  Again, with the big pore issue comes blackheads, which means I get yucky build-up on my face, so I'd rather not sleep in that.  Once a day is sufficient for me. This too, is not greasy, like some face creams.  Well, it's not even a cream, it's a lotion and it is very light.  I'm of the age where I need to pay to fine lines and I think this is a procuct that is particularly attentive to that issue for those of us that need to start thinking about how to care for our aging skin.  Now if you're 20 and reading this, bless your heart, you don't need anything "Anti-Wrinkle", but feel free to use this if you'd like.

And that's it in terms of skincare!  Now, I do have a few cosmetic staples I want to share as well.  These are things no woman should ever go without!  Even if you do nothing else in terms of make-up, these three things will make you feel like a beauty queen!

Mascara~ Eye Shadow/ Liner~ Lip Gloss

Here are my favorites (again, all quite affordable):

Maybelline Colossal Lash is the greatest stuff since sliced bread and I'm picky about my mascaras.  Two words: BIG BRUSH!  This brush makes your lashes look AMAZING!!

Now DuWop's Amber Eyes Trio w/ brush is a little more of a splurge coming in at $22 a pop on QVC, but it is the only eye make-up you will ever need.  It works with any eye color, even making your eyes POP!  And you can use just one color for those lazy days or use both shadows plus the liner for a more glamourous look.  It's well worth the investment.

And lastly,

 There is this stuff~ Badger Certified Organic Lip Balm.  I don't wear a lot of lipstick; mainly only for special occassions.  But I would be lost without this here "chapstick".  It's really glossy and silky.  And it comes in awesome flavors.  My personal favorite is the Ginger/Lemon!  This, I think, is a must have for wintery chapped lips!

And that's it!!  I hope You've enjoyed my suggestions!  Maybe I've included something that will help you amp up your own regimine!

Happy Friday, Happy Fall and may the Make-up force be with you! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Forgotten Size "cough cough" Jeans

As much as I wanted to write something for today's Works for Me Wednesday, I just really wasn't hitting on much to share.  That is, until I stumbled upon my "skinny" clothes in the back of a long forgotten closet.

But before I get into that...make sure you head on over to We Are THAT Family for more stuff that works for other people today!!  And while you're there, share what gets your goose too.

So, I keep things.  Not things like newspapers from 1972 or little porcelain figurines from AVON that my great-aunt was going to throw away.  No, I just keep clothes, and shoes...regardless of whether they fit anymore or not.  HA!  Regardless if they will ever fit again at all!

That's what brings me to this post.

I was rummaging through some things upstairs earlier this evening when I stumbled upon several boxes of clothes that have been packed away for quite some time.  I said earlier that these clothes had long been forgotten, but I retract that comment.  It's been within this past year or so that I've actually thought of them rather often.  But only because I've heard their snickers from afar

You see, these clothes are my "skinny" clothes.  And I haven't been able to wear them since I got pregnant with my daughter.  NOTE: we won't go into the fact that I wasn't far from out growing them before I got preggers!

Anyway, they taunt me.  They remind me of the size and build I used to be and it makes me sad.  So to make myself feel better I eat a couple oatmeal raisin cookies.

Mooooooving on......

For some reason, tonight I got the bright idea to try on some of the jeans.  And you know what??

I actually got into a pair!

Granted, they were REALLY tight and they were from Banana Republic, which I think runs big, but I got them buttoned and that's good enough in my mind!!  AGAIN- we won't go into the fact that the next pair of size "cough cough" (which happened to be the same as the first) wouldn't even get up over my hips.  I have a feeling they ran more true to size, but never mind that, I'm happy with every ounce of seeming progress I can get my hands on.

I've got a lot of work to do before I can wear these jeans out in public.  I didn't share just how tight they were.  But nonetheless, it felt nice to know that if I get my rear in gear I'll have more than three outfits at my disposal.

Anyway, the point of all this is, if you gain weight after having a baby, keep all your clothes.  One day, maybe one day, you'll be able to button a pair of your skinny jeans again.  Not to mention it feels like you've got a whole new wardrobe to welcome back into your life.

And that Works for Me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Tribute: Jane Austen Marathons

Welcome to Tuesday Tribute, hosted by Mayhem and Moxie!

Today's topic is all about vices! What is your guilty pleasure? Jump right in and tell us all about it by heading over to Kacey and Francesca's place to link up!

How ironic that I just came off of a weekend full of guilty pleasures so where better to share than here!?!

My vice:
Grown up girl time (while the children are sleeping), sharing a glass of wine and commencing upon a two day Jane Austen movie marathon. For old ladies, we ended up staying up way past our bed time!

I have to admit, that aside from the theater version of Sense and Sensibility, I'd never really paid much attention to Jane Austen. Though I love that movie, reading that or any other tale of hers seemed an impossible task. Then throw in the behemoth that is the A&E special of Pride & Prejudice (it's 6 hours long) and it's just something I've never aspired to do.

However, having said all that, the mere thought of being able to do that in the company of my dearest friend in the whole world made it rather appealing. So we set out, put the kids to bed, crawled up on our own respective couch/ loveseat and pressed play!

Ahhhh, the romance, the language, the castles and countryside, the dresses (OH! the dresses), it all screamed beauty! I now know I was meant for another time and most definitely in England. As bold as it is to think I would be of a distinguished family, Christie and I joked, we instead would be the peasants dumping trash on the streets from a flat window in the city.

Moving on.....

By the way, I've tinkered with the idea of my first born son's name being Fitzwilliam Darcy Mayhorn, but I think he would get teased. Children just don't understand poetic literature these days, nor gentlemanly behavior, so I've settled upon Colin instead. (Colin Firth played Fitzwilliam Darcy in the P&P movie version.)

Since this period escapade, I haven't been able to separate myself from all things Jane Austen. I declare I'd get a lot more done if I weren't constantly looking at this stuff.

Some of my favorites from etsy


And let us not forget the Do-It-Yourself Sewing Patterns @ Sense and Sensibility Patterns

With that, I'm now going to curl my hair in ringlets and sip some tea.