Sunday, March 18, 2018

How to Re-Grow Garlic Scraps

Re-growing kitchen scraps is an easy money saving cheat because you re-use food that you already purchased.  And unlike growing food from seed, it takes less time to reap the benefits! 

I regularly use garlic in my cooking.  I make a lot of Italian themed foods (pesto spaghetti, eggplant parmesan, etc) and garlic is a wonderful addition!  By planting a clove of garlic, the greens will regrow several times over and over, much like green onions.  These greens can be used in cooking, much like your garlic cloves, they just aren’t as potent.  I prefer to use garlic greens because they are less potent, no one will accidently get a large chunk of garlic in their spaghetti sauce! 

The first time I tried to re-grow garlic, I had too many cloves and decided to put them in water.  After a couple days, they started growing!  The issue with using the entire clove was that now I couldn’t use the close.  I have since been able to re-grow garlic from the base of the clove, so I get even more out of one clove of garlic.

To start re-growing garlic scrap, you need a clove of garlic!  You can use a whole clove like I started out, or just the bottle part of a clove (see how I cut mine below) and use the other part in your cooking!  Either way, it the same process.

To get the roots to start growing, you need to put the base in some water.  I use a small glass dish with just enough water to cover the base and lean my clove bases along the sides.  Sometimes they land entirely in the water, and that’s okay too, you just want to check on them to make sure they are not rotting.

In a day you will see roots forming, and in about two days you will see the garlic greens starting to form. After about a week, you will have solid roots, and a significant amount of garlic greens!

When the garlic has significant roots, it can be planted.  I found this cute little cup and saucer pot at my local garden center (on sale) and thought it would be perfect for my kitchen garlic!  I filled my pot with potting mix and watered it to make it moist.  Trying to plant small items in completely dry soil is not easy, so soak your soil and let it drain first.

Next, I cut off the current garlic greens to use in a recipe, then made five small holes in the soil and planted my garlic cloves.  These garlic cloves will regrow greens several times and use in any recipe that calls for small amounts of garlic or scallions.

Once the greens no longer keep growing, it is time to toss the soil and garlic root.  You cannot reuse the garlic root at this point, but you can compost it in your compost pile or bin.

I hope this “how to” has inspired you to regrow your own kitchen scraps!  Have you ever tried to regrow kitchen scraps before?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

How to Wash and Dry Makeup Brushes

This type of “How To” isn’t the usual thing I post about, but when I learned a neat trick on how to care for my makeup brushes, I just had to share!  I’m in the middle of some spring cleaning and took a few minutes to clean my makeup brushes and thought this might inspire you to do the same!

Makeup brushes can be rather dirty, even if you don’t use them on a regular basis!  Think about it, they get loaded up with makeup, oils from your skin, and since we usually store them upright, dust can land on the tops of the brush and get into the bristles.  If not washed and dried properly they can become a host to bacteria!  YUCK!

To actually clean your makeup brushes, you need to use soap to clean the bristles.  I use Bare Minerals “Well-Cared For” Brush Conditioning Shampoo, but you can use any brand or even dawn dish soap will work.  For real hair bristles you will want to find a conditioning soap or add a bit of olive oil to your dish soap to condition the bristles or else they will dry out.  If you aren’t sure if you have real hair bristles or not, err on the side of caution and condition your brushes, it won’t hurt faux bristles.

Put a drop or too of soap in a bowl or glass of water.  I use the glass that I store my brushes in for this task.  Next, put the bristle part of your brushes into the water and wash them like you would a small paint brush.  Use your fingers to make sure the interior bristles are cleaned.  Once the brush is “clean’, put the brush end under running water until it runs clean.  When no evidence of makeup or soap is present, it is time to dry!

The trick I wanted to share is part of the drying process.  I used to just place my clean brushes flat on a towel and waited a day or so until they were completely dry.  The trick is to roll another towel up and place it under the drying towel to elevate the handles of the brush so that any excess water will run down the brush rather than stay in it.  Wait until the brushes are completely dry before putting them away upright.  

I hope you found this trick as interesting as I did!  How often do you clean your make up brushes?  Do you have a favorite soap you use?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Basic Pesto Recipe

I’m going to start off by saying I love pesto, it is so fresh tasting!  I also enjoy making my own pesto, but sometimes, finding the right recipe can be hard.  They can include ingredients like basil, arugula, chickpeas, walnuts, and countless different cheeses to just name a few.  I'm never one to just stick to a rigid recipe, I like a bit of fluidity to use what I have on hand.  Sometimes I have arugula from my spring garden, other times I just have basil from my aerogarden.  Sometimes I have parmesan cheese, but if I run I usually have mozzarella on hand.  

I like to be able to keep my recipes open to variation to let me be creative with flavors, but also keep me from going to the grocery store because I just used the last bit of parmesan for something else. 


In order to let myself have this creativity with a pesto recipe, I decided to lump some of the same categories together and find a theme.  Basil, herbs, and arugula are leafy greens.  Walnuts, chick peas, and pecans are nuts.  Parmesan and mozzarella are cheeses.  Olive oil is just, well olive oil.  Flavor enhancers like garlic and pepper are "optional".

Basic Pesto Recipe: 
2 cups leafy greens
1/2 cup cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nuts 
1 tbl “optional”

 Put all the items in your food processor and process until everything is fully mixed and smooth.  Taste test to make sure you have a pesto you are happy with before putting in a food safe container in the fridge. 

For an easy party appetizer, sprinkle cheese on pesto and serve with pita chips or crackers!  Or add some to a chicken for quick Italian Night dinner.

Do you experiment with recipes?  Or do you stick with the exact ingredients?  How do you enjoy pesto?  Comment below, I would love to know!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

How To: Mini Flower Pot Cakes

My most recent dessert art masterpiece was inspired by one of my favorite youtubers - -Yolanda Gamp at "How to Cake It."  She is brilliant when it comes to cake decorating, especially with fondant.  Her explanations of how she creates designer cakes will give you the confidence to go straight to your kitchen and do the exact same thing yourself. Although it takes a bit more patience than most cake decorating methods, I wanted to try my own hand at using fondant and making a cake that looked like something other than cake.  I decided to try my hand at making mini flower pot cakes! 

Before I started, I wrote out my idea of what I wanted my finished product to look like, as well as made list of materials needed.   Now, I did not use Yolanda’s cake or buttercream recipe, because I wanted to see if I could make a fancy cake with the everyday cake supplies – boxed cake mix and store bought icing - showing that anyone can make this crafty dessert.

Without further ado, this is how I made mini flower pot cakes:

I baked my store-bought cake mix into cupcakes ad left them cool before I started building my flower pot cakes.

Next, I leveled the cakes and staked them with chocolate frosting in between them. 

Then, I frosted the outside of the cakes and put them in the fridge to set for about 20 minutes.

While the cakes were in the fridge, I started to knead my fondant.  I used Wilton’s White Fondant with some brown food coloring kneaded until I got the color I wanted for “ceramic flower pot” color.
Next, I took my cakes out of the fridge and measured their height and circumference to use to cut out my fondant. 

I rolled out my fondant to about a 1/4th of an inch thick and cut a long rectangle that measured with a width that was a half inch wider than the height of the cakes, and a length the same as the circumference of the cakes.  I then wrapped the fondant around the cake and cut the edge to create a clean seam.

Then I cut a thinner rectangle for the lip of the flower pot the same length, but only about an inch in width.  I attached this piece to be level with the first and cut a clean seam.  Now I have a flower pot that needs to be “planted”!

Next, I made a hole in the cake with the back end of a beater from my hand mixer, you could use a straw for this step too! This hole is to place the “flower” in the flower pot.  I decided to plant up some mint cuttings from my AeroGarden, they are pretty, smell great, and edible!

Now, I needed to make some “Oreo dirt”.  I took the cream out of twelve Oreo cookies and crunched up the cookies in a plastic baggie. 

Once the cookies were in tiny pieces, I planted up my flower pots!  I put the mint cuttings into the hole and filled in the top of the cake with the Oreo dirt.  These are perfect to brighten up a rainy weekend or any garden related party!

Have you ever made an “object” out of cake?  What would you like for me to try next?  Have you ever used fondant? 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

How to Dry Herbs

Growing herbs is a great way to add a fresh touch to recipes, however sometimes when you grow fresh herbs, you grow too much, or want to keep some of your harvest for use in the fall and winter months.  One way to keep herbs is to dry them for long term storage. They don’t have the same freshness, but store for much longer than other storage options. 

There are two main ways to dry herbs, by letting them hang to dry naturally or using the oven.  Drying herbs naturally involves weeks to months of hanging herbs just letting them “dry”, therefore I use the oven to speed up the process.

To use your oven to dry herbs, start by turning your oven to 180 degrees F, or the lowest setting your oven will allow.
Next, wash your herbs to get any dirt or other plant debris off them.  Then once they are clean, dry off the leaves to get as much water off them as possible. Next, spread them out on a cookie sheet to use in the oven and continue to let them dry. 

Once the evidence of water is gone, put the herbs into the oven for intervals of 30 minutes until the leaves of your herbs are “crunchy”.  This process can take 2 to 4 hours based on the herb.  Small leaf herbs like thyme will take less time compared to larger and thicker leaf herbs like oregano. 
Once the leaves are fully dried, use your fingers to pull the leaves off the stems and crunch them up into little bits.  Put them in an air tight container for safe keeping.

Now you can keep using your herbs throughout the year!

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