What I Designed Today: Custom Penzey’s Spice Jar Labels

My trip to Omaha over Spring Break was very fun — and very exhausting.  Now I’m back home in Bartlesville and there’s a zillion things I should be doing right now OTHER than making custom spice jar labels.  But I went to Penzey’s.  And I bought these cute jars with yummy spices (e.g., celery salt that actually smells like celery and salt).  It makes complete sense, right??  Right!  It just makes me feel better.  I’m attaching links to the file as a pdf and png, shown below, but if you’d like the original Illustrator CS5 file, just shoot me an email (the fonts used are Alex Brush and Zebrawood).  The PDF could also be edited in Adobe Acrobat. I hope it makes you “feel better” too.  Priorities, people.

PDF DOWNLOAD:  penzeysspicelabels

This pdf file is set up for HP Restickables (a sticker I highly recommend that is more like a post-it note that you can remove and reposition many times) – it’s from a really old stash and I don’t think anyone sells them anymore, but any basic sticker stock would do!  I manually cut out the labels.  Yes, I’m insane.  Who has time to do such a thing?  Certainly not me.  But I did cut them out, one by one, and it totally relaxed me.  The outline isn’t perfect but I’m seriously happy with them anyway.


Yummy & Soft – Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

I made these cookies last year and found this old post. I am so thankful I found it because a) I loved the recipe and forgot where it was and b) I wanted to share it even without a good picture of the cookies!

I am NOT usually a cookie freak, since I just made a triple batch of chocolate chip cookies just last week, but I had some whole frozen cranberries to use up and my mother claims to not like chocolate (really, I met another person who doesn’t like chocolate this week – where are you people coming from?!). I wanted to make a cookie my Mom would like since they are coming over for dinner today {sigh: this year my mother is 1,000 miles away}. These are a great alternative to the popular pumpkin chocolate chip cookie. I like the tart cranberries in there! Give it a try – the recipe is from my tried-and-true vegetable and harvest cookbook called The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash. We have never had a bad recipe from the cookbook.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 c. pureed cooked pumpkin
2 1/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup cranberries
1 T grated orange peel
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg, and pumpkin. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; beat into pumpkin mixture. Halve cranberries (I left ’em whole and they worked out fine!) and stir into mixture along with orange peel and nuts (again, left those out, more kid friendly). Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 375° F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes approximately 36 cookies. Again: I left out the orange peel and nuts and these were still very delicious!

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Adapted from Beverly Nye’s recipe entitled Down-In-The-Dumps Pudding from “A Family Raised On Sunshine”.

This is one heck of a cake. It’s more of a brownie with molten hot fudge bubbling below the surface! It is perfect for ice cream and – the next day – is great right out of the pan with a spoon (would I do that? oh yes!).

Beat together:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
generous 6T cocoa

Stir in:
1 cup milk
4 T vegetable oil

Spread mixture in an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.

Blend in a small bowl: 2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa. Sprinkle over top of batter.

Pour over all: 3 cups hot water. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes.

Yummy Hot Fudge Brownies Recipe

We’ve eaten healthy for a solid week. Talk about withdrawal. No sugar, no bread, no refined anything. It’s about time for a breakdown and if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right: namely, hot fudge brownie. This recipe is originally titled “Down in the Dumps Pudding” in the A Family Raised on Sunshine cookbook by Beverly Nye. We heart Mrs. Nye. She has given us wonderful recipes over the years and this is, hands down, the best hot-fudge-ice-cream-brownie-combo topping ever. Promise. Stake my life on it. Give it a try!

Down-In-The-Dumps Pudding

Beat together:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 T cocoa

Stir in:
1 cup milk
4 T vegetable oil
2 cups chopped nuts (we omit this usually, even though we love nuts)

Spread mixture in ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan.

Blend in small bowl:
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa

Sprinkle over top of batter.

Pour 3 cups hot water over all. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes. Serves well with ice cream. It comes out like a brownie with hot fudge underneath (it’s magical and divine!). Hope you enjoy it and let me know if you do give it a try.

Cheap & Easy Recipe: Ben Likes Hootenany Pancakes!

Ben likes hootenany pancakes so much that he sang for them and we got it on video. It’s a classic Rolfson recipe and oh-so-easy-and-cheap. It is a staple in our household for breakfast OR dinner. Sometimes we even have to make two pans.

Hootenany Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
6 or 7 eggs
pinch salt
1 stick butter

Cut 1 stick of butter into several chunks and put in bottom of 9×12 or 10×13 pan. Place in 400° F oven until melted. While butter is melting, whisk or blend flour, eggs, milk and salt. When butter is melted, pour into pan with swirling motion. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Pancake will puff up! Best served with elderberry syrup but also great with jelly, powdered sugar, etc. I have been known to serve these in the car in baggies – cold – and the kids eat them just as well. Enjoy!

And The Online Giveaway Winner Is…

TeresaB who said, “I just found your site through the City Farmgirls Blog. Fun fun!” Yes, it is fun! I think I like offering giveaways even more than winning (who’d of thunk it – I only wish everybody could win)! We had a peek at her etsy site here and she has some great ideas for your swiffer or sh-mop so be sure to take a look. Prepare yourselves for the next giveaway – it is going to be FANTASTIC and I’ll announce it tomorrow. Really. I-was-gonna-keep-this-one fantastic.

Healthy Meals Under $10

Found this article today – looked like pretty good meals and they serve at LEAST 4 people. Worth a try, anyway – especially since I went to the grocery store the other day and about passed out at the prices. They really are going up! I figured I wasn’t the only frugal person in search of such recipes. Check them out here.

Image from health.com attributed to 123rf.

Online Giveaway – Mary Engelbreit Cookbook!

I was waxing a bit philosophical late yesterday so, let’s have a little fun! After all, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and you might need a good cookbook. What is it about cookbooks? I love them all. I have an entire chicken-coop-turned-cabinet in my kitchen full of ’em. That is why I’m parting with this one as an online giveaway; it’s a great cookbook, I just have not had a chance to try any of the recipes and I thought someone else might really enjoy this just in time for Turkey Day (aka Thanksgiving)! This is Mary’s “Queen of the Kitchen” Cookbook and it includes biscuits, wafers, chowder, ribs, lamb, turkey, shrimp, waffles, pineapple cake. The pies alone include: Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie, Farmhouse Walnut Pie, Apple Cinnamon Crumb Pie, Strawberry & Lemon Tart, Deep Dish Apple Cranberry Pie, Nectarine & Blueberry Cobbler, Caramel Baked Pears and Double Pear Crisp. Ooooh, there’s Peanut Brittle Fudge Sundae…oh, crud, did I really want to part with this one??? It’s up for grabs! Rules: One entry per email/person, just make a comment on THIS post. Winner will be chosen by random.org in two weeks. Last day to enter will be midnight on Wednesday, November 19th. Value of this giveaway is approximately $19.95.

Nana’s Chicken & Gummy Noodle Soup

Yummy gummy homemade noodles. My mother makes the best homemade chicken noodle soup EVER. Thick, gummy noodles that my kids adore. They hadn’t eaten one of my meals in weeks and they gobbled this up declaring I was the best cook in the whole world. Cheap, easy, delicious. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Nana’s Homemade Chicken & Gummy Noodle Soup:

Bring chicken parts (best with skin and bone) with one chopped onion and an optional clove of garlic (use whatever chicken you’ve got on hand and as much as you want) to boil in a large stock pot of water. Drain chicken, straining and keeping strained broth. Cool chicken in fridge until you’re ready to pull off the meat. For noodles: Beat 6 eggs (you can use the whole egg – we’re not fussy here) with flour adding one cup at a time until it becomes a very soft dough consistency. Being very generous with flour, roll out onto the counter into a rectangle shape. Roll up with lots of flour and cut into discs that will unroll as noodles (the dough will stick to itself if you didn’t use enough flour!). Seriously, be generous with the flour. Let the dough strips stay on your counter for about 3 hours or until you’re ready to make the soup. While you’re doing that, you can pick the meat off the chicken bones, ready to add back to the soup later.

About 20 minutes before you’d like to eat, bring the broth to a boil – add a little bouillon for flavor – if you want sliced carrots, add them now. Add the noodles, a few at a time, with extra flour on them, to the broth and stir occasionally as you add them so they don’t stick. Noodles will cook in about 20 minutes. Adjust heat as needed. The extra flour on the noodles thickens the broth. Return chicken to soup and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Online Giveaway – Blissful Brownies Cookbook!

I love entering giveaways online so I thought I’d finally host one of my own. BLISSFUL BROWNIES is a fabulous cookbook, published in 2007. More imporantly, here are some of the different types of brownie recipes: Chocolate , Fudge , Pecan, Double Chocolate, Sticky Chocolate, White Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Cappuccino, Mocha, Ginger Chocolate Chip, Sour Cream, Walnut & Cinnamon, Banana Cardamom, Black Forest, Toffee Apple, Rocky Road, Apricot, Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake…just to name a few. It also includes an entire section at the back on bars, e.g. Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, Almond Bars, Macadamia Nut Caramel Bars, + MORE! All you have do to be entered to win is leave a comment on this post before midnight on Sunday, October 19th. The winner will be randomly drawn from the comments. Oh, and, shipping is on me (contiguous 48 states, please).

Kara’s Cupcakes – Halloween Ideas

I was out to lunch yesterday with a friend and we stopped by the bookstore to look at some quilting and knitting and design books and she said, “What is up with cupcakes? They are everywhere these days!” and I’m not sure what I replied but I wholeheartedly agree. They are everywhere – and for good reason. It’s the perfect little sugar package.

Fast forward to this morning, I open my email and another friend, Kara, has started a new blog. Kara is the sweetest (and one of the prettiest) girls you’ll ever know. It makes complete sense that everything she makes is ultra sweet and adorable. She had more talent in her pinky toe when we met (she was 10 and I was 20) and she still could teach me a few things. Anyway – her new blog is all about cupcakes and I wanted to share her beautiful creations with you! There’s some adorable Halloween ideas here. I made the mummy cupcakes a couple of years ago – I’ll see if I can’t dig out a picture of my own from way back when!

Another Beautiful Set of Cupcakes…

Another adorable blog that is one part sugar, one part presentation is Amy Atlas. I do not personally know her but wish I did!

Apple Treats for Kids


Yummy “candy” centered apple circles!

I have a bushel of apples so I’m getting good at thinking up treats for my kids. We exhausted the caramel apple dip recipe over the weekend and here is another.


Mix 2 T. peanut butter with 1/4 c. uncooked rolled oats and about 1T. honey (or to taste).


Core your apples and stuff ’em with the mixture.


Slice into desired thickness and eat – it’s like having a “candy” center! My kids love this. I used my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter today but it’s absolutely not necessary – but cute.

Mary Engelbreit’s Recipe Contest


Pull out your best recipes, girls (and I know you have ’em). Link to the ME site and cook away! I’m sure it will be a great cookbook but it would be even better with a recipe in there from someone I know.

Kids & Stealth Vegetables

Feeding vegetables to your kids a challenge? Me, too. Fortunately my kids enjoy one or two vegetables without a fight – if only each kid enjoyed the same ones so that none would go to waste! There has been much talk in the media lately about “stealth vegetables,” i.e. hiding veggies in your kids food. This sounds ingenious but also sounds like too much work to me. I really loved this article from Wondertime. Very, very good read. Read it here. Enjoy! Take THAT, Mrs. Seinfeld!