Tuesday, July 31, 2012

what i'm loving lately: for my summer feet

I walk around barefoot pretty much all summer long.  Yes, even outside.  I wear shoes to go in public, don't worry.  So my feet can get pretty rough if I just let them go.  I mean ROUGH.  Like my heels could slice bread rough.  Gross, I know.  But!  I have the solution!  About once a week (or more if necessary) I have come up with a little ritual that keeps my feet (and heels) baby soft.  Here it is, if you too have bread slicing heels.

1.  Soak your feet in epsom salt for at least 20 minutes.  You can use the cheap non-scented epsom salt for sure, but I'm a sucker for Eucalyptus, and I love the scent of the Dr. Teal's

2.  After your feet have soaked, gently scrub with a pumice stone, or file.  I concentrate on my heels and the sides of my feet. 

3.  Slather Amlactin Body Lotion on your feet, and cover with a pair of socks to help the lotion sink in for at least 2 hours.  Amlactin is a bit pricey, but it is awesome stuff.  They also make a foot cream, but I like the body lotion, because then I can use it all over.

I know, this is pretty much common sense, but I really enjoy these specific brands, so I wanted to share!  Hope your feet are baby soft this summer, too.

*update* I forgot to add that I was not compensated in any way for this post, and Mr. Teal's and Amlactin have NO idea who I am! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

happy monday!

{I am mytrashandtreasure on instagram if you care to follow!}

Hi friends!  Welcome back to the weekday.  We had a short and fast weekend here.  It went by so quickly.  And as I type this, I literally cannot remember what happened on Saturday.  I. Can't. Remember.  Oh!  I remember.  Sorry.  Brian went swimming with the littles while I did a little gardening, and then we had an afternoon date.  Lunch and a movie.  We went to a sushi/hibachi place.  And Brian, ever the adventurer, ate sushi in the middle of nowhere Missouri.  Luckily his guts are made of tough stuff from years spent abroad, trying every cuisine out there.  And I ate vegetable hibachi, made from food that the hibachi chef threw in the air and caught in his hat.  Maybe I'm the more adventurous, who knows. 

It was fun to get out and be without the littles for a bit.  It's pretty necessary to a marriage!  We had decided to spend the rest of the weekend laying low, which never happens.  And it didn't.  We ended up inviting the neighbors over for a swim and a cookout last night.  I'm never sorry when we have people over.  First of all, it was a great excuse to get the place cleaned up a bit, and for Brian to hang up pretty lights outside.  I like a good excuse to hang up party lights, don't you?  And second, we had fun with our neighbors.  The littles especially perk up at any whiff of a party. 

So how do you lay low on a weekend?  Or do things end up popping up like in our lives?

Friday, July 27, 2012

cherry + nutella popsicles

My stroke of genius went something like this: I had a big bag of ripe, fresh cherries.  I thought they would be really tasty in a popsicle with chocolate.  Like chocolate covered cherries, if you will.  And then the genius part: I put down the bag of chocolate chips and picked up the jar of Nutella.  See?  Genius.  Ha!  Well, not to brag too much, but they turned out super delicious.  Is anything with Nutella NOT super delicious?  Probably not.  Also, I'm pretty sure these would work with practically any fruit.  Strawberries, raspberries, bananas... the options are endless. 

1 cup coarsely chopped cherries
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1 cup whip topping
1/2 to 3/4 cup Nutella (based on your dedication to Nutella)
makes 12 small or 8 large popsicles

First chop up your cherries or whatever fruit you choose.  I like chunks of fruit in my popsicles, so I did a coarse chop.  You can use a food processor or blender if you like a smoother popsicle.
Set aside, and combine your milk, whip topping, and Nutella in a large bowl.
Whisk until smooth.
Here is the part where I dumped my cherries in, thinking that somehow this mixture had magical properties and the cherries would just be suspended.  Or something like that.  But surprise!  They sink to the bottom.  Gravity.  It surprises me every time.  Soo, I will save you a step and tell you to just spoon the cherries into the bottoms of the popsicle molds.
And now pour the milk/whip topping/Nutella mixture over the cherries.
Freeze for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Perfect for these dog days of summer!  These are a much more indulgent treat than the other popsicles I have made this summer (you can find them here and here).  Guess which ones the littles like the most? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

little collections

I tried to resist.  But you see, it's in my blood.  Collections.  My grandfather had a collection of well over a hundred paperweights.  My grandmother has a million incarnations of birds on plates, in porcelain, and stuffed.  My father collected dragons for a while, then frogs.  And then there is my mother.  She has collections of unicorns, roses, angels, hummingbirds... to name a few.  She loves collections.  If you don't have one, she will find your weakness and start one for you.  It will become her mission to learn what you find cute, lovely, dear, and then it's over. 

When I was around 10 she started up a horse figurine collection for me.  Because, well, I was 10, and 10 year old girls love horses.  But somewhere in my teenage years I resisted, and tried refusing any collections.  Her power proved too strong, and Winnie the Pooh became the collection I could not refuse.  But after that, nothing.  I thought I had escaped.  I thought I was FREE!!  I went to college with no collections.  Anything that even resembled a collection had to be purged, because I was sure it would get out of control immediately.  And so it's been for over a decade now.  Except.  I took a good look around my house the other day.  And sure enough, I have collections.  I have collections EVERYWHERE. 
 Sure, they are little collections, but they are collections.  So here I am.  A collector.  I come by it honestly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

cheesy squash + zucchini casserole

Thanks to our very kind neighbor, we have enough squash and zucchini to last us a lifetime.  And green beans, and tomatoes, and peppers too!  I'm not complaining.  It's been wonderful to get all of this *very* fresh produce.  But the squash and zucchini are taking over my kitchen.  So I made a couple of casseroles.  We ate one and froze one for later.  I'm sure you've probably seen squash casserole before, but I did change it up from the usual recipe, and it came out so well I thought I'd share with you. 

3 medium to large squash and/or zucchini
1 sweet onion
3 to 4 T olive oil
3 T fresh basil
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (I used 1 cup cheddar, 1 cup gruyere)
1/2 to 1 cup sour cream (I used plain greek yogurt)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup panko
1/2 cup grated parmesan
3 T butter, melted
serves 6

Preheat your oven to 350.  Chop up your squash/zucchini and onion.  Saute both in olive oil until nicely browned.
Chiffonade your basil.  In layman's terms: cut into thin strips.
Add the basil and cheese to your vegetables.  I used gruyere because I had it on hand and I thought it would melt nicely.  But you can use all cheddar, or experiment with other cheese- I love experiments with cheese! 
 Also add the sour cream.  If you've read my blog before, you know by now that I always substitute nonfat greek yogurt for sour cream.  I personally believe it tastes pretty much the same, and helps me feel less ashamed about the immense amount of cheese my cooking contains.  Confession time over.
Mix all of this together well, season with salt and pepper, and transfer into a large casserole dish.  I sprayed the casserole dish with cooking spray first.
Now melt your butter and mix the panko and parmesan cheese in with it.  See?  More cheese.  It's like a disease.  You could use regular bread crumbs or you could be a traditionalist and use Ritz crackers.  Your call.  I had panko, so that's what I used!
 Spread your panko mixture over the top.
 Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling.
And enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

my deer, you are a fox

Finally finished a silly little painting I had intended to give Brian for Father's Day.  Better late than never, right?

Friday, July 20, 2012

printer drawer = hot wheels holder

Don't you just love a good repurpose?  I sure do.  Strolling through antique and thrift stores around here has been enlightening for me.  I get ideas for new projects, and sometimes come upon something to USE in a project!  As soon as I saw an antique printer drawer hanging out, all dusty and forlorn, I knew I had to hunt for *just* the right one that would fit hot wheel cars for Fletcher.  To say Fletcher has a collection of hot wheels is putting it lightly.  I think his overall collection skyrocketed during his potty training days when my parent and I bought him loads of them to bribe, er, tempt him into going on the potty. 

The only problem was that most of the printer drawers had spaces that were too small for the cars, or just had a couple of big enough spaces.  But when I was shopping with my friend a couple weeks ago, there it was.  My white whale.  My Moby Dick.  It was the perfect size, with perfectly sized spaces for his hot wheels.  But it was overpriced.  I thought.  I thought about it, dithered a bit, and finally my friend, Jo, talked me into it.  I did get 10% off, but still spent a bit over $20.  Not too bad!
Using just two mollies, two screws, and his power drill, Brian mounted the drawer to Fletcher's wall.  Down low where Fletcher can reach all the openings, of course.
I'm a big fan with the way this turned out.  It's colorful, useful, and kid friendly all at the same time. 
There's only one problem.  I'm somewhat ashamed to say, but not all the cars fit in there!  So I guess I'll need to find another.  Right? 

What's been your favorite repurpose?  I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the truth

I've been wanting to write about this for a while now.  I get a lot of compliments from friends and strangers alike regarding the content of my blog.  Which is really really nice.  I like compliments!  But.  There is this undercurrent that comes with the compliments.  Like "I don't know how you find the time!" Or "You cook, do projects, AND you keep a garden?"  I can feel the general belief from friends that Brian and I have a perfect relationship, I always cook a gourmet dinner, and I am completely in touch with my children on all levels.  Well!  Let's dispel a few myths about this woman behind the blog. 

Blogging is this weird little universe where everyone puts their best foot forward and (usually) leaves the dregs of their lives away from view.  That sounds like it's not being truthful, or just being delusional, but it's not that for me.  When I started this blog, I made a few decisions.  I wanted my blog to be a happy place.  I didn't want it to be a place where I continually vent my frustrations in life.  I didn't want it to become a place that had a negative or downer vibe.  I decided to NEVER say anything negative about Brian on here.  I've read blogs that did all the things I just mentioned, and I just never went back. 

Don't get me wrong, I've definitely complained about life here and there.  Sometimes life is hard!  But I just did not want it to become a habit.  So I put hardships out there once in a great while, and then move on.  I personally think that works for my blog. 

So, let me tell you the truth.  I probably cook dinner 3 to 4 times a week.  And sometimes by "cook" I mean I make sandwiches.  Like I did for Brian when he got home last night.  The rest of the week we eat leftovers or we get take out.  That is the truth of my cooking.  I tend to cook more on the weekends while Brian is around to herd littles out of the kitchen. 

I have a babysitter that comes for 8 hours every week so that I can do a project here or there.  Or to go to the store all by myself.  Or to stare out the window for an hour.  Whatever I feel like.  I know this is a luxury.  And it's the only way I can actually work on a project around here.  So the thought that I juggle two toddlers while painting or embroidering or editing pictures is just false.  I get HELP for that.

Brian and I are not perfect.  We are lucky to have each other, and I believe we have a healthy relationship.  But we have our moments!  Brian always says I am so nice to him on my blog- I never say anything bad about him.  Well, there are times I probably could!  But how would that help anything?  Complaining about him in a space where he can't really defend himself seems really wrong.  So you guys see him in ONLY a good light.  And I like it like that.  He really is a good guy, so it's not like I'm keeping major skeletons in his closet here.  I'm talking about those small, every-day annoyances that you chat about with your best friend on the phone.  That kind of thing has no place here, in my opinion.

And as far as motherhood goes, well, I'm a work in progress.  I let the littles watch cartoons while eating breakfast.  I use disposable diapers on Rowan (gasp!  the environment!  I KNOW.).  I have yelled.  Lots.  Even though it never works.  I let them have non-organic, processed food snacks that sometimes contain sugar.  I often wish the babysitter was here.  I cry when they are being particularly beastly.  I sometimes watch a show on the ipad with my earbuds in while sitting on the floor playing with them.  Because they never. stop. asking. questions.  I could lie and say I love every second of being a mom, but I'm telling the truth here.  Being a mom is hands down the hardest thing I've ever done. 

So.  I just wanted you all to know life isn't perfect here.  And I'm not trying to portray myself as some clone of Martha Stewart.  I really enjoy doing the things I post about here, and I've just tried to find way to get them done and posted.  I'm not trying to portray my life as perfect.  It isn't.  Life is messy and hard with punctuations of joy.  My life is no exception.  I have a good, happy life, but it's far from perfect.  And I like it that way. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

peach + blackberry galette

You know what I love about galettes?  My really rough looking pie crust is an asset for these rustic pies.  Honestly, I really do love how galettes scream, "hey, I made this from scratch, people!"  It does the bragging for you.  Also, this particular galette was made with cream cheese pie crust.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Is there anything better than cream cheese?  I think not.  Except maybe cream cheese crust with fresh locally grown fruit!  Summer is such a great time for pies, don't you think?

Martha Stewart's cream cheese pie crust:
2 teaspoons cold water
1 teaspoon cold cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
coarse sugar for sprinkling

4- 5 peaches
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cardamom

Combine flour, salt, butter, and cream cheese in a bowl.  Cut with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs meal.
Combine water and vinegar, and pour in a steady stream while stirring.
Flatten into a disk on saran wrap, and chill for an hour.  Chill the dough.  You can't chill because you need to start peeling and slicing peaches. 
Ok, like I said, time to peel and slice the peaches.  Combine the slices peaches and blackberries in a bowl.
Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
Stir together, but stir lightly so you don't crush the berries.
Looks delicious already!  Preheat your oven to 350 and get your pie crust dough back out.  Roll it onto lightly floured parchment paper.  Transfer the paper to a cookie sheet with a lip.
I know.  It's rough.  That's ok with a galette!  Now spoon your fruit mixture onto the center of the crust, then fold the edge up in sections.  It should have pleats, but shouldn't crack too much.  Mine cracked a bit, but I wasn't too concerned.  Rustic pie, people.
Brush your crust with the beaten egg, and sprinkle on coarse sugar.  Or regular sugar works just fine, too.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.  Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.
Hope you enjoy!  It tastes *just* like summer.