Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - current project

This is a wooden 3-tiered rack that I found at the Salvation Army Store for $2.99.

Stay tuned for how I make it pretty and functional...

(How's that for a tease??)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

You put that Junque on your Face?

I have the worst winter skin – alligator skin – crepe skin – whatever you want to call it, I have it.  It feels thin and dry and OH MY GOD itchy.  It has been suggested that I don’t scrub enough in the shower. The problem is that the more I scrub, the more my skin hurts and feels tender.  Most lotions make my skin feel heavy and suffocated, so moisturizing is a pain. And I’ve spent waaaaay too many $$$ trying out lotions and face scrubs and not liking anything.

So after a long time of trial and error, I’ve come up with a system that works for me. And the best part is, it’s cheap. My first love is Grandma’s Lye Soap. I find it at my local hardware store sells it, but I see it can be bought online (link to Amazon thru site.  Despite what you might think about lye, this soap doesn’t burn my skin. The only ingredients are: Lye, lard, water, and very little else.  My husband likes it because it doesn’t smell like anything, especially anything girly.  I like it because it doesn’t make my skin feel tight or like there’s any residue on it.
Step two in my attempt to ease the Winter Skin Blues, is my favorite product of all time: Baking soda. Is there anything this stuff cannot do??? (You might think me silly and immature to use multiple question marks, but when it comes to this miracle product, it’s totally relevant, and despite that I am sticking my tongue out at you right now).  Now, my first few forays into attempting to use baking soda resulted in skin that was scrubbed too raw, so I caution you to use in a gently swirling motion. And rinse twice. Anyone who has used baking soda to clean their tub knows that when it’s dry you always find a line or two of dusty leftovers. Don’t do that to your skin. And another note of caution: I really only use baking soda a couple of times a week, not every day.

And lastly is step three in my brand new winter regime - Glycerin. You can find it in at the drug store. I think this sized bottle cost me less than $2.00, and that was about 3 years ago.  I got it because I had heard that it was great for getting oil based stains out of clothing. Yeah, tell that to my favorite mock turtleneck that had a run-in with a dish of linguine and clam sauce. The turtleneck lost. However, I love it for my feet and face.  I slather in on my feet right out of the shower, and put on socks. I slather it on my face, let it sit there for a minute. It’s very thick and viscous, and it doesn’t really sink in. Then I rinse it off with cool water, and pat my face dry.  My face feels great all day.

As with everything, your mileage may vary.  I found that pricy products hurt my skin as well as my wallet.  Of these three things, Grandma’s Lye Soap is the most expensive at around $6.00 a bar. but I found it at Amazon for a little over $3.00 a bar...I'm buying it there from now on!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Junque Food: Cooking Hash Browns in your Waffle Iron

Cooking Hash Browns in your Waffle Iron
I love hash browns, but I prefer them crispy. If I’m honest, I prefer them crunchy. Heck, burn them if you have to. OK, maybe not totally burned.  But I’ve never been able to make them crunchy without burning them at home. One day, while surfing Pinterest, I came across a pin for making hash browns in a waffle iron to make them crispy. EUREKA! A light bulb literally popped on above my head.  I went on my merry way, and totally did NOT pin that hashbrown recipe to my food board on Pinterest. Because I’m special that way. *nods*

Cut to last Sunday, I was looking for something to different to make for breakfast, and the light bulb popped on again. I ran to my computer, looked at my foodie pin board, and was devastated to find that I hadn’t saved that link. Oh well, off to Google I go!

Loaded? I am totally in!

So, me being me, I had to modify this guy’s recipe to get it to work for me. First, I didn’t have meat (he calls for diced ham, but bacon would be wonderful – neither of which I had on-hand, so we went meatless). His recipe appears to be for one waffle, I was cooking for 3 people, so measurements went out the window.  What I made was so yummy and filling, it was a meal unto itself. Here’s what I came up with:

  • 4-5 potatoes grated, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 minced onion
  • 1 minced bell pepper, any color you like
  • 3-4 eggs beaten (depends on the amount of potatoes, you want them well coated)
  • ½ to ¾ cups flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Parsley flakes
  • Optional: diced ham, bacon, or sausage would all be heavenly in this

Mix all ingredients well. Heat waffle iron on high to as hot as it’s going to get.

Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray. Spray it again. And then do it a third time (I’m serious about this).

Spoon mixture onto waffle iron starting in the middle and smoothing outwards towards the edges. Don’t go exactly to the edge, so you leave a little for overflow. Close lid.

Now, leave it alone! Do not touch it for at least 7 minutes, unless it smells like it’s burning. Then, you know, do what you gotta do.

I checked mine after 8 minutes, most cooked for 10-12 minutes. Like Food Daddy suggested, I left the lid up for a minute, then gently lifted the crunch hash brown goodness out and onto a plate.  My mother and husband were practically beating me about the head and ears to get their mitts on breakfast. Or Brunch. Or whatever you want to call it when we finally ate.  The house smelled FABULOUS.

I ate mine with ketchup and hot sauce. My mom put butter on hers. Hubby ate his plain. A friend said she’d have slathered it with salsa, if she’d been invited (LOL).

Regardless, it was soooo NOMmy. Definitely a keeper.  I hope you like it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Junque Food: V-day present to DaMan - Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

 I first tried this recipe last year or the year before. It was a rousing success. I mean how can you go wrong with Brownies, cheesecake, and raspberries?

I haven’t made them awhile, so I thought I’d whip up a batch for my husband for Valentine’s Day. He’s such a great guy, he’ll let me have a piece. He’d better anyway…if he knows what's good for him...

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
 8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry preserves/jam

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and prepare cheesecake mixture.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Drop dollops of raspberry preserves into the cheesecake batter. Gently swirl batters with a butter knife, giving the brownies a swirly look.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.

Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.

Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Now, when I've made this in the past, I've used a good quality raspberry jam. However, I don't have any. I do have some home made jam from a relative, but it's over-jelled, and takes a chisel and a hammer to get it out of the jar. It was a minor dilemma, but I could always go to the store and purchase some jam, right?  Then I remembered....

EUREKA! I have a large baggie in my freezer of raspberries picked from our own bushes last summer. A moment was taken to Google, "Quick raspberry jam recipes," and I found this recipe which I tried, despite my trepidation of making jam in a microwave (it worked guys!) and ended up with almost 2 pint of jam. Score!

I will have to do this again with some blueberries I also have in the freezer, and do it as a blog post...it was simple, and waaaaay less messy than when canning jars and jars.

I should say, this was quick jam. it's not canned, and needs to be refrigerated or frozen. I'm letting the jars come to room temp, then putting in the fridge. I doubt they will last long enough for me to freeze.

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - new beginnings?

Happy New Year! - ???  *chuckle*

Yes, it's been awhile since I've posted.  Winter is a time of slowing down here at the micro-mini ranch. While we haven't gotten bunches of snow, it's been cold, and I've been creaking and groaning more than normal.

<insert witty comment about getting old>

Nope. Don't have one.

I woke up early this morning, something I haven't done in quite a while now. Last year, during warmer weather, I got into the happy habit of getting up before the rest of the house, taking my laptop outside, and composing blog posts with a cup of coffee and watching the sun rise. It was peaceful, and productive, and set the tone of the day - in a happy and productive way.

The good news is that it's just a wee bit more than a month until the first day of spring. Does my heart, and arthritic hands good to realize that. *nods*

Yesterday, I pulled together all my seeds and took stock of what I have. This the the first step in figuring what I want to plant, followed by where I'm gonna put it. LOL. Space is always at a premium. But it's just another sign of spring coming.

So, even though I haven't been writing in my blog, I have been thinking and planning about what I want to write this year.  There will be plenty of gardening and growing posts, but I also wanted to step up my Junque policy of re-using instead of just recycling.

I'm working on beautifying tin cans for  organization on my craft table.
I've been bargain hunting for racks and shelving units
I've also been taking apart old jewelry in hopes of making edgier, more striking pieces

And we've got food! I've been hoarding recipes on Pinterest to try and share with y'all in the future. Oh yes, I do!  But look for a recipe that will be presented to DaMan for Valnetine's day this week...

Finally, I've got more home made Beauty tips that I've been experimenting on. I'll have a a itchy dry skin treatment coming up really soon, because I've got the Winter Itches bad this year  *scritch-scritch*

So, please don't think I've forgotten you. I'm here, just moving slowly.  But my mind is still going, even if the rest of me is frozen. Spring thaw is coming soon!  :)