Sep 30, 2013

Apple Week is Here

I love Fall.

One of the things I love most about Fall is picking fresh apples. 

This Fall, I have gone a little apple crazy...if that is even possible.

I am going to share all the Fall and apple love with you guys this week.

A whole week just devoted to apples. 

Oh how delightful!

Come back each day all week long for all kinds of apple fun.

An apple a day....

You know the saying.

See you guys back here every day!

Sep 24, 2013

How to Can: Pears

I have been canning for a little over two years.

I jumped into the waters a little cautiously, but it didn't take long until I was addicted.

Shelves and shelves of our very favorite fruits and vegetables all beautifully resting in glass jars. Perfectly lined up in rows. Row upon row. I mean what is not to love!

One of our favorite canned fruits is pears. Oh mercy me, they are so delightfully yummy.

Pears are a little time intensive to can, but once you get the hang of it, well it isn't that bad.

Plus, the end result is completely worth all the work and effort.

I am sharing how I can pears with you today.

I learned this way of canning pears from a girl who learned it from her mom, who has been doing it this way forever. So this really is a tried and true way to can those beautiful pears.

This method is raw pack canning.

So, what do you need--

lots of pears
your choice of pint or quart jars (I prefer quart wide mouth jars).
lids and rings

Before you can start prepping the fruit, you want to prep jars, lids, and rings.

I wash the jars and then keep them in an 180 degree oven to keep warm until I use them. I wash the rings and lids and then keep them in a pot of simmering water until ready to use.

In preparation, also fill a tea kettle.

If you are doing a lot of pears, this will all be done in batches.

First wash the pears.

Cut of the tops and bottoms.

Then peal the pear.

Cut the pear in half from top to bottom.

Then remove the core, with a v-cut.

 Heat the tea kettle. Remove several jars from the oven.

For light syrup, place 1/4 cup sugar in the bottom of a jar. Place the pear, cavity down into the bottom of the jar. Keep layering pears, cavity down until the jars is filled to the neck of the jar.

Pour the boiling water from the tea kettle into each jar leaving one half inch head space. Remove the air bubbles from the jar.

Wipe the rim of the jars clean with a clean, hot rag.

Remove a lid and ring from the boiling water, and place on the jar. Make sure to not screw the ring on too tight or the lid could buckle in the processing.

Place the jars in a water bath canner. Make sure the water covers the jars with an inch extra.  Place the lid on the canner and bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling....aka...rocking and a rolling...let the jars process.

Pints take 30 minutes and quarts take 35 minutes, unless you need to add time due to your altitude. Processing time will depend on your altitude. For instance, I have to add 10 extra minutes due to living so blasted high up. Check HERE for your processing time.

Once the processing time is done. Allow the jars to set for a few minutes. Remove from the water bath canner and set out on the counter.

Wait for the lovely "pop" of your jars sealing.

Allow the jars to cool on the counter. Check in 24 hours to make sure all the lids have sealed. There might appear to be a layer of sugar still on the bottom of the jar. Don't fret. It will dissolve.

Once you know all the jars are sealed, they can be stored on your shelves and eaten when your little heart desires.

As I said, this is how I have canned pears for years.
I do recommend going to THIS site or looking into 
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
for further canning how-to.

Trust me, canning is not scary!
If I can do it, you can do it!!

Sep 18, 2013

Painted Clothes Pin Magnets

A Pinteresting Wednesday is here. A little Pinterest love...okay a lot of Pinterest love. One of umpteen million projects get crossed off the list.

Today I am sharing a simple, super functional, and quite lovely little project.

Painted Clothes Pin Magnets.

The original project I pinned was DIY Picture Clips for bulletin boards by Dotcoms For Moms. I pinned it onto my Projects to Do board.

Since I had clothes pins and paint, I busted this out the same day I pinned it. However, I don't have a bulletin board, so I decided to glue itty bitty magnets on instead.

I pulled out my amazing Martha Stewart craft paints...could you die over these colors. LUHVE.

I followed her instructions for the painting. Then I glued magnets on instead of thumbtacks. Make sure that the magnets you use are strong. Some little ones are not very strong. If you can't find any little ones, then you can cut magnet tape to the right size.

Now I can prettily display all my lovelies on my little magnet board...or better yet on my fridge!

Thanks Pinterest I love you.

Follow me on Pinterest for more fun!

Sep 16, 2013

Pine Cone Wreath with Gold Sash

First off, happy Fall. This is by far, BY FAR my very favorite season. Not much makes me happier than a crispness in the air, the changing of leave, the comeback of soup, boots, layers, pumpkins and gourds, and fall holidays (i.e. Halloween and Thanksgiving).

My Pine Cone Wreath is a perfect little Fall accent to my front door.

This is not a new to me wreath. I made this Pine Cone Wreath years ago. I made it simply by spray painting a cheap straw wreath with brown/bronze color. Then I glued on all my gathered pine cones onto the straw wreath with a glue gun.

I loved it then and I have loved it every Fall since.

When I make or find something I really love, I tend not to change it just for changing it sake. I really love timeless pieces that I can use over and over again.

I did make one minor change to my wreath this year.

GOLD. Gold is kind of a big deal this year.

So when I passed by this gold polka dot burlap at JoAnn's, first I kind of freaked out, and then I decided I just had to buy some to make a new sash for my Pine Cone Wreath. I also grabbed some fabulous gold trim on a whim. Trim on a whim...hahaha that is kind of funny...

I cut 2 strips in the width and the length that I wanted. I sewed the strips together with a zig zag stitch, wrong sides facing. Then I pinned and sewed the gold trim to the outside edges.

I looped it around the wreath and then stitched it together at the top. I added an additional ribbon band on the back in order to have a loop to hang on the hook.

Now it hangs gloriously on my door. I love the gold. I love that I could keep my favorite Fall wreath and just refresh it a little.

Happy Fall!

Linking Here:
Craft O Maniac, CRAFT ,

Sep 14, 2013

Slow Cooker Saturday: Sloppy Jose(s)

Slow Cooker Saturday is here.

Can I get an ole?!?

Humor me.

I am so excited to share these yummy little sandwiches with you. I have been plotting, developing, and trying to figure out this Tex-Mex version of the traditional Sloppy Joes for awhile now.

See, I am not a big fan of the traditional Sloppy Joe, sorry Joe. However, the Hubby and my Little Men love them. I am, however a fan of Tex-Mex kind of food. So when I first thought it would be kind of genius to have a Sloppy Jose, I realized I had to figure out how to do the name justice with a great recipe.

Yes, I named the dish before I ever made it.

Figuring out a new recipe is tough, especially when you factor in recipe fails...or in my house a set of two thumbs down from Oldest and Middle...and by two thumbs down I mean sometimes it is two thumbs down and sometimes it is fake vomit and gagging face.

I hate recipe fails. It makes me grumpy.

So I was pretty stinkin' pleased that this recipe came out right the first time.

We loved it. They were the perfect amount of Joe and Jose. Everyone was equally happy. There were no thumbs down or fake vomit faces. Only grins and a good amount of silence as we shoved our faces.

This is a keeper and will make the permanent slow cooker rotation for sure.

Sloppy Jose(s)

1 1/2 lbs ground beef, cooked
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
1/2 cup salsa
1 8 oz can tomato paste
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
crushed tortilla chips

Combine the cooked hamburger, tomatoes with chilies, salsa, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and sugar together in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

In the last 30 minutes, add the beans and corn.

Serve on  a bun and top with crushed tortilla chips.

Enjoy Friends! 
I hope you all are finding lots of inspiration on Slow Cooker Saturdays.
I hope they have given you meals full of happy faces and thumbs up.
I am always on the hunt for new Slow Cooker recipes to try.
I would love it if you shared what some of your favorite Slow Cooker recipes are!

Thanks for reading.

Linking Here:
Craft O Maniac, CRAFT,

Sep 12, 2013

Vanilla Bean Glazed Vanilla Cake Bars

A few weeks ago while on a trip to visit family in Utah, I made a pretty spectacular and magical purchase.

No, this particular purchase was not at IKEA. Although to be frank, I went there too and there were many purchases made in the store-where-dreams-come-true. While fabulous, they weren't spectacular nor magical.

My SIL, who knows I like to cook/bake/eat/eat some more let me know about this family owned business that sold Mexican vanilla. But not just any Mexican vanilla...CLEAR Mexican vanilla.

Say what?!?

I don't know about you, but I didn't even know such a thing existed.

Being that I like Vanilla anything a whole lotta bunches (that was totally proper English), I agreed with her that we needed to hop in the car and both go purchase ourselves a giant thing of Mexican vanilla.

AND I mean a giant thing of vanilla...FOUR LITERS.

I think I am set for awhile...give or take 25 years...hehehe...

The crazy thing is, once I got home I found myself being very particular about what I used my precious clear Mexican vanilla for. I actually didn't bake with it for awhile. I wanted to use it for the most perfectly perfect recipe.

Well hello there Perfectly Perfect. And what might your name be??

 Oh Vanilla Bean Glazed Vanilla Cake Bars, well it is nice to uh, I mean meet you.

When I first came across this recipe, it was actually called a Vanilla Brownie. Alas, they just weren't the consistency of a brownie, so I didn't feel grand about calling them know since I have a love affair with brownies several times a month.

I also thought that they needed much more vanilla than called for. I mean, hello, more vanilla equals love. Oh, and plus I had more than enough vanilla to use a little more.

While I opted to call these cake bars, they are denser than regular cake. They are almost pound cake consistency. Dense, soft, vanilla infused bars, that is what they are.

Basically all you really need to know is they are vanilla bars topped with vanilla bean glaze AND they are fantastic.

 I mean FAN.TAS.TIC.

These bars are dreamy. This vanilla is dreamy. Dreamy, dreamy, dreamy.

Now obviously these bars will be just as good with regular pure vanilla, so don't go all,

"Well whatever shall I do, I don't have clear Mexican vanilla AND now all I want is to make some of those bars. My day is pretty much ruined. Ruined I tell you!"

If you find yourself some clear Mexican vanilla, SUPER. If not, your hopes and aspirations of baking these scrumptious bars are not dashed. Bake them anyway.

They will still rock your world.


Vanilla Bean Glazed Vanilla Cake Bars
adapted from Oh Bite It.

Printable Recipe

1 box vanilla cake mix
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean scrapped
2 cups powdered sugar
Milk or Cream (amount will depend on desired thickness of glaze)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cake ingredients in a bowl until combined.

Pour into a greased 9x9 baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bars are set.

While the bars or baking, make the glaze.

Scrape the vanilla bean and put all the glorious scrapings in a bowl. Add in the powdered sugar, and start adding in the cream/milk 1 Tablespoon at a time. Stirring in between Tablespoons. Stop when it is a thick glaze, but thin enough to drizzle.

Drizzle the glaze over the done bars.

Thanks for reading!

Linking Here:
Craft O Maniac, CRAFT

Sep 10, 2013

Teacher Gift: An INKcredible Year

School is in full swing and a bit of the newness has worn off.

In fact, most of us have moved on to Fall and Halloween projects.

However, I just couldn't completely say good bye to Back to School projects without showing this fun Back to School Teacher Gift.

I created this Excited for an INKcredible Year tag. I used PicMonkey's new School U. I am IN LOVE with the penmanship fonts available. AND don't even get me started on the dotted lines. Why I do believe I love them more.

I bought a bunch of pens.

I took a few canning jars and decorated the outside with decorative Duck Tape. Then I loaded the jars up with pens.

Then I attached the tag with a strip of fabric.

So easy AND it isn't too late to still wish your new teacher a happy school year (plus maybe earn some brownie points).

Here is three versions of the same tag--
One for black pens, one for blue pens, and one for red pens.

I know so many delightful options...okay so maybe only three...but hey options are
options, right?!?

Just right click and save which ever tag you like.

Happy Back to School!

Sep 7, 2013

Slow Cooker Saturday: Philly Cheese Chicken Sandwiches

We had family in town for Labor Day Weekend.

There was card playing, a shrimp feast, golf, rain, more golf, shopping, and much much more. All crammed in a few days.

I love cooking when we have guests. Sometimes I go a little overboard. I just really like entertaining guests, and feeding them is kind of the funnest part.

Sometimes though there is so much fun planned that to cook a giant meal doesn't really work out for me. Believe me I have tried. That is when I am oh-so-tardily serving dinner at 8:30. Lovely.

I got all smart with my guests this time. I planned a slow cooker meal for one of the days.

A slow cooker kind of saves my fanny on a weekly basis.

So Sunday, we had these Philly Cheese Chicken Sandwiches.

Let me tell you people...

YUM! I mean seriously YUM!!

When we walked in the house after three hours of church, we all stopped and inhaled a long slow breath. Then we looked at each other and declared how glorious the awaiting dinner smelled. Even Oldest agreed.

The chicken is seasoned perfectly and pairs fabulously with the peppers and onions. I love the mixture of green AND red peppers. Red peppers add just a hint of sweetness. The smoky provolone cheese melts over the top of  the chicken and peppers and makes it a delightfully cheesy sandwich.

How can you  make it better? Well slap it on a pretzel hoagie bun. Bam. Yah I just stepped up this sandwich's game.

This sandwich was a major hit. I even remember seeing my dad soaking up every last bit of filling with extra bits of roll. Yeah he cleaned his plate completely off.

That good, friends. That good.

You won't be disappointed that you put this in your weekly rotation. Promise!

Enjoy your slow cooker! Happy Saturday!

Philly Cheese Chicken Sandwiches

3 chicken breasts, cut into slices
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
3 Tablespoons Montreal Chicken seasoning
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 slices provolone cheese
pretzel hoagie buns or rolls

Coat the bottom of the slow cooker with olive oil. Add in the onions and peppers. Toss to coat with oil.

In a separate bowl, coat the chicken with the Montreal seasoning.

Add the chicken on top of the vegetables.

Cover and cook for 6 hours on low. At the last 30 minutes, uncover and add the sliced provolone over the top. Cover and let cook for the last 30 minutes.

Scoop out onto the pretzel hoagies. Before putting on the top of the hoagie, season the top of the chicken mixture with seasoning salt.

Serve with a side of fries.

Call it a day! A wonderful day at that!

Happy eating!!


Sep 6, 2013

First Day of School and Duck Tape Grade Numbers

If you follow me on Instagram (hey and if you don't follow me well then you should just go ahead and follow @larissa_anotherday--just sayin'), you know school started this week. In fact, this is the second time I am mentioning the start of school on the blog this week.

Yeah, I am kind of excited about it.

I love the start of school. I loved it when I was in school and I love it now with kiddos in school. The start of school is a fun and exciting time.

I thought I would share a couple of pictures of Oldest and Middle's first day of school.

I had their clothes laid out. Middle very obediently put what I picked out on. Oldest, well he made some modifications. I guess he is at that age, right? At least he kept on the red shoes (Ruum).

We got ready in record time. They had to. The bus comes quite a bit earlier now.

In fact, the Duck Tape Grade Number pictures were actually taken after they got home from school. A keepin' it real moment for ya. I was pretty amazed that they looked as put together at the end of the day as they did before they went to school. Well, I did have to make Oldest tuck his shirt in.

I thought I would throw in a quick how-to on making these Duck Tape Grade Numbers. They are easy peasy to make.

You need:
Duck Tape
Foam Poster Board
Exacto knife

I used some old foam board, so ignore the red stripes.

1. Write the number on the board.
2. Cut out around the number with about an inch to a half inch boarder.
3. Tape off edges first.
4. Starting at the bottom, rip off pieces large enough to wrap around the part you are covering. Keep layering up, trying to match the pattern best you can. Cover the whole number.

In the end, your number will look like this.

So easy.

Now that the project is done, the photos are taken, and the first day of school is done...

We can have cookies and milk.

 Thanks for reading!

Sep 5, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Mozzarella Biscuit Bites

Keepin' it real moment people.

I haven't hardly eaten anything that can't be found on the BRAT diet in about 24 hrs. Feeling rotten. However, I am really trying to get back to regularly posting, so I am busting out a post while wrapped up in a quilt sitting on my couch.

Another keepin' it real moment...

...even though I am unable to eat anything, and my appetite is almost non-existent...

I still wish I had a plate of these. (I made these a few weeks past, just takes me forever to post anything nowadays.)

I mean honestly, bacon makes everything better.

Who needs modern medicine?

Nah, bacon will do it for me.

Bacon wrapped around a fried dough ball all nestled around a chunk of mozzerella cheese, well that will cure what ails ya...right?!?

Okay, perhaps it won't cure or solve everything. I mean these probably won't help you on the quest for a smaller jean size.

However, it will probably make you happy in the jeans you are wearing because you will be blissfully unaware of any evil or sorrow around you.

Yep, they are that good.

I will recommend that you make them for a group. College football season is upon us and this would make one happy sports-watching crowd. If you just make them for a Friday afternoon hanging out with the Hubby, well, you will be sorely tempted to eat them all yourselves. That, while delightful sounding, probably isn't the wisest thing.

However, I will leave that up to you. Who am I to judge?

Bacon Wrapped Mozzarella Biscuit Bites
makes 24

1 pkg refrigerated flaky biscuits
24 1" cubes of mozzarella cheese
12 strips of bacon
oil, for frying

Heat several inches of oil in a deep pan.

Cut the biscuits into fourths.

Cut each strip of bacon in half.

Take one piece of the cut up biscuit and flatten out. Place a piece of cheese in the center of the biscuit. Wrap the biscuit around the cheese, making sure there are no gaps. Wrap a half strip of the bacon around the outside of the biscuit and secure with a toothpick.

Repeat until you have all of the bites wrapped in bacon.

Then fry 4-5 at a time in oil at about 350 degrees. Let them fry for about 1-2 minutes. Allowing them to get golden brown and also cooked through. You might want to do a test batch with one or two to see how long your biscuit will take to cook just the right amount.

Let them drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the Bites are done.

Serve warm.


Thanks for reading!

Sep 4, 2013

A Pinteresting Wednesday: Lunch Box Jokes

Welcome to A Pinteresting Wednesday.

If you follow me on Instagram, than you know that yesterday school started.

Woot! Woot!

I love my boys and all, but I really rather enjoy them being at school occasionally. You know it kind of gives me a chance to miss them. Which I of course do. I miss the loudness. I miss the burps and farts (okay, only kind of). I miss the constant sound of running feet and wrestling. I miss the laughter.

So I figured while we are apart, I could send them a little something to chuckle about.

Jokes in their lunchbox. I imagine them reading one, then telling it to their friends. Them all laughing.

Then of course there will be a unanimous chorus of "Your mom is the coolest!" A girl can dream it anyway. Hehehe.

Searching Pinterest I found tons of great lunch box jokes. One of my favorite sets was from Paging Supermom. I pinned it to my Lunch for the Kiddos board. They offer a free download of five jokes.

I used some of those jokes and then a few from a couple of other sites.

Then I used PicMonkey, my all-time favorite online photo editing site. Their new School U feature is amazing and I love it. As I said in my "What is Your SuperPOWER?" Teacher Gift post.

I created five joke tags. 

Download tags HERE

They are easy to download and cut out. Then all you have to do is sneak them into a lunch box.

Everyone likes a good joke. Laughing helps with good digestion...well that is what I would think anyway.

Since I love a good children's fact...

Side note and an FYI about little old me...when Hubby and I were registering for wedding gifts way back when, we registered for Laffy Taffy. One, because I LOVE them. Two, because the jokes make me giggle. Three, we pretty much thought it would be HEE-larious.

Now that you know a little bit more about me and we are best friends and such, I will get back on track.

I love these little joke notes. I am sure my Little Men will love these just as much as some homemade cookies...well almost as much...

I love Pinterest, and how great ideas come from there or stem forthwith.

Keep following along with Just Another Day in Paradise on Pinterest.


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