I’ve been wanting a better system for storing our pantry/ food storage items but didn’t want to spend the money on one. The only ones I found were plastic or cardboard.. which lets be honest, no matter how well made will not last that long. I knew I wanted a FIFO style rack too. FIFO stands for first in, first out and makes food rotation a breeze. Not to mention you can fit a lot more in a small space. I wanted to make my own. And then I wondered why I was doing this to myself.
I started with the directions found here, then altered them to fit our shelving. Basically I made them deeper and longer.
You basically have two shelves at angles (so the cans roll forward) and dividers with slots cut for the shelves to slide through. Then add ends and a top.
I never got around to putting a guard in front, if you overfill this would be an issue but I don’t. I use the top for things I only keep a couple of in stock.
My main issue was getting the slots cut exactly right since they need to line up perfectly for the shelves to be able to slide through all of them. They need to be just so, because otherwise the cans will get crooked and stuck.
Luckily a friend came to the rescue with his plethora of tools and helped with that part. By the time they were actually together and finished they barely… BARELY fit on the shelves and I gave in and didn’t even sand or paint them. By that point I just wanted to put the dang cans in it and be done. I probably should have asked for help sooner but I was being stubborn.
Do I love it? Yes. Would I make one again? … maybe. Ask me in a few years.
If you know me much at all, you know I’m a total herbal tea junkie. One of my favorites is Celestial Seasoning’s Bengal Spice. It’s an herbal version of chai tea, which usually contains black tea leaves. I was trying to figure out how to infuse scones with that flavor and figured I could steep the cream with the tea. It worked, but I wanted to bump up that flavor a little more. With some spices added to the dough I finally had what I was looking for. With that little hint of black pepper, these remind of pfeffernusse. I think I’ll be making them for a Christmas tea sometime. Of course, if you know me much at all… you know me and my girls are ready for Christmas now!
CHAI SPICED SCONES WITH BROWN SUGAR GLAZE
2 cups flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
1 T baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream, divided (or milk works fine too)
3 Chai tea bags (I used Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice)
6 T brown sugar
2 T unsalted butter
pinch kosher salt
1-2 T cream (reserved from recipe)
¼ tsp cinnamon
Put the cream in a small pot and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tea bags, cover pot, and remove from heat. Let steep 5 minutes then remove tea bags and transfer cream to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator. (This can be done the day before even).
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Measure all of the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk together to combine.
Cut butter into 1 inch cubes and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until butter is smaller than peas.
Make a well in the center of the bowl. Lightly beat the egg with ¾ cup of the cream (reserve the remaining cream for the glaze). Pour into the well and use a fork to stir together until combined.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and pat to ½ inch thickness.
Cut with a circle or fluted circle cutter and place on baking tray ¼ – ½ inch apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
To make the glaze:
Melt the butter in a small pot. Add the remaining ingredients (start with just 1 T of cream) and whisk until sugar is melted. Add the additional T of cream if needed.
Drizzle over scones.
I recently threw a cousin’s party for my girls and their cousins. And of course it had to have a theme. If you question why you probably don’t know me very well We’ll just say it’s a problem of mine. We went with a Un-birthday tea party (Alice in Wonderland style, of course!).
If possible, I like making a menu to go on each plate, it’s just a fun touch.
Since my sisters were coming with the kids I made some sandwiches for the adults (and older cousins). Using rye bread works well for making the “black” clover and spades. I filled them with radish sandwich spread. I bought some card suit cookie cutters on Amazon to use for these and the cookies coming up. I also made Curry Chicken Sandwiches and just cut them in triangles.
The same cutters were used for making fairy bread (bread spread with frosting and coated in sprinkles) and a bunny cutter was used to make peanut butter white rabbit sandwiches.
Fairy bread is a staple around here for parties
I was going to make hot tea, but did Iced cherry berry herbal tea instead, along with strawberry milk for the younger kids.
Queen of heart scones, made with a tiny heart cutter.
Mad Hatter hats. We just had to.
They are just oreos dipped in green candy melts, then jumbo marshmallows dipped in melts as well and put on top of the cookies. (Work quick so the marshmallow doesn’t melt! Don’t ask how I know that… We used fondant to make the band and card, and a food marker to mark the card.
We piped green leaves on half the mini cupcakes and on the other half put a fondant rose. A few with red fondant, and on the others we made them white and painted some red on them. To do this mix some red food coloring gel into a little lemon extract and paint on.
And the teapot cake, of course!
A better look at the cookies. I did a simple glaze instead of royal icing for my sanity’s sake.
Rice krispy playing cards. I was going to make them look like the soldiers but they looked good so I left well enough alone. We made rice krispy treats and spread them into a large baking sheet so they’d be thinner. Spread the tops with white candy melts, then added some fondant shapes and such. I have this mini cutter set I used for the card suit symbols and this is the set I have I used for the numbers and letters.
Cheshire cat tails I don’t know what it is, but anytime I make decorated pretzel rods for a party they are one of the most popular things.
I dipped pretzel rods halfway in pink candy melts, then dipped the very end into purple sprinkles. While holding the undipped end of the rod (work over a tray) I sprinkles more purple sprinkles around them to make stripes.
We made giant card suit shapes out of construction paper and used mini clothespins to hang them from twine we strung around the room.
I put out a Alice In Wonderland pop up book, and a white rabbit puppet, a big hat, some fun keys, and an alice in wonderland teapot I found at home goods.
My girls love using that teapot. Oh, and I borrowed hubby’s pocket watch for the rabbit.
For an activity the kids painted little teacups with porcelain markers.
It was such a fun party and I hope all the kids will have special memories of it. I know my girls really enjoyed helping me make all the food and decorations for it! Now, what to choose for a theme for next years?….
If you know me at all.. okay, maybe even a little.. you probably know that I have a thing for teacups and teapots and tea parties (of course!). I recently threw a cousins “un birthday” party (Alice in Wonderland themed of course) and it seemed the perfect time to try making a teapot cake. My youngest is becoming quite the kitchen helper and we made it together. I promise it’s easy!
Here’s what I used:
Cake of choice, baked in a round bowl
Martha Stewart Romantic themed silicone molds
Big Sugar Pearls (I couldn’t find these online, but I did buy them at JoAnns. They were in a Christmas blend, red white and green, but they have other colors too).
Use a knife to cut the excess off around the edge.
Now… let’s pretend I took more pictures in the process of making it. But I was having too much fun with a very excited 8 year old sous chef!
For the details, you’ll want to add some tylose to some marshmallow fondant. This will harden it some so it will hold it’s shape better. My rule is 1 tsp tylose per 1 lb of fondant.
I don’t mix up more than I’m using, so if I do 1/4 lb fondant I’ll only add 1/4 tsp tylose.
Form a handle, then using a toothpick in each end of it, insert into cake.
Now form a spout and insert with a toothpick as well.
Then for the top roll out the fondant and cut a circle out, then roll a ball for the top. Put a toothpick through all into the cake.
Form 2 hearts out of red using a mold (or decorate some other way). Use a dab of frosting to glue one on each side.
Add a small line of frosting around the base of the cake and also the lid. Add the sugar pearls.
For the rose on top I used this method here (You basically overlap circles, roll it up, then cut in half to get 2 roses).
I used a dab of frosting to “glue” it to the top.
My oldest turned 12 and is OBSESSED with Mary Poppins. Some may say that’s because she has Autism.. but I think she’s just more in tune with what awesome is.
We had a whole Mary Poppins themed party, it was so fun!
I made her a carpet bag, hat, and costume, and a sweet friend made her the scarf. The gloves were a thrift shop lucky find.
A sweet friend bought her the umbrella and it made her over the moon happy. She wears this costume all the time now! The dress was made from an old shirt, I added a red elastic waistband, blue skirt, and red bow. We found the hat for Daddy’s chimney sweep costume at Target. He still has to learn the chimney sweep dance routine.
“17 Cherry Tree Lane Cherry Limeade” for the drink, my recipe is here.
Pic Nik Shoestring potatoes for “Fiddlesticks” My favorite movie quote of all time “Fiddlesticks, boy! Feed the birds and what have you got? Fat birds!”
I HAD to make something for spoonfulls of sugar. At first I thought I’d just put a dollop of frosting on some small spoons but I had sugar cookie dough left and thought of this.
So glad I did, they were so cute! I just traced a small spoon (you can buy cookie cutters in spoon shapes too). I used a small rolled up piece of foil under my silicone baking mat so the spoons would be curved… but many of them broke after cooling. Next time I would just make them flat. Piped a dollop of frosting on the spoon and sprinkled with sanding sugar!
For the sugar cookies I made cherries, hats (using sprinkles for the decorations), daisies, and a waiter penguin.
I am not the best at decorating sugar cookies, but I was pretty happy with how theses came out!
I figured we shouldn’t have ALL sweets so I made kite PB sandwiches (twizzlers pull and peel licorice for the kite strings) and the umbrellas are made from babybel cheese cut in half and a cut down bendable black straw for the handle.
My daughter LOVES a special little candy shop in Portland, Candy Babel, so we had some of her sweets at the party. Licorice scottie dogs to represent Andrew (The little dog in the movie), gold coins for tuppence, gummy cherries, and gummy peach penguins.
Chimney soot treat bars and chimney sweeps, recipes here.
I made a little kite for the top of her cake with green paper , bendable gold ribbon, and washi tape for edge. I used twizzlers pull and peel for the red stripes, and used marshmallow fondant for the cherries (with this martha stewart mold) and also cut out letters from it to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious around the top.
I made the cake really small, so I made some mini cupcakes to go with it. The daisies were made with a tiny daisy cutter I have, and a mini candy chip in the center.
For the activity we made “stained glass kites”.
Black construction paper or cardstock, cut in kite shapes and straight strips
Tissue paper squares
Glitter and sequins, optional
They place the kite shape on contact paper, then make the cross strips if they want, then sequins and glitter, then fill with tissue.
Top with another piece of contact paper, trim edges, and add a string. Hang in the window.
Other activity ideas:
Feed the birds: Make peanut butter pine cone bird feeders. Tie twine around a pinecone so you can hang it. Spread it with peanut butter and roll in birdseed.
Chalk drawings: This buttermilk chalk painting is SO fun for kids!… okay, adults too! I totally do it with my girls every time.
Visit a carousel.
Other refreshment ideas:
Cotton candy “London fog” or “chimney smoke”
Candy Apples (like Jane and Michael have at the horse race)
Tea sandwiches.. you could even do a whole tea party theme, go with the Tea party on the ceiling.
We recently had a Mary Poppins themed party for our daughter who is OBSESSED with the Mary Poppins.
My hubby even dressed up like a chimney sweep so I thought I better come up with some cute treats. The kids loved them, plus they were so quick and easy!
CHIMNEY SOOT TREAT BARS
3 T butter
4 cups mini marshmallows, or 10 oz (about 40) large
5 cups cocoa krispies
1 cup chopped oreos (or another cup cocoa krispies)
black food coloring, optional
Melt butter in a large pot on low heat. Add marshmallows, stir until combined and melted.
Remove from heat, stir in cereal until well coated. Spray a 9 inch square pan and use a sprayed spatula to spread mixture in pan.
Cut into squares and insert a stick in each (optional).
Black candy melts (or dark chocolate), melted
Black sprinkles, optional
Line a tray with waxed paper. Using a knife to spread, or fill a paper cone with melted candy melts or chocolate, make an asterisks type shape (don’t worry about being too perfect!)
Sprinkle with sprinkles, if using. make a few extra since some might break.
Next, dip half of the pretzel rods into melts and set on wax paper to dry. After both are set, put a little melted candy melt on top of the pretzel rod and place an asterisks on top.
I had a container filled with cocoa krispies to serve them in so I place them in this so they could dry upright. You could also use a container of dry rice or beans or whatever.
I wrapped the container with paper with a chimney design on it for serving.
I have a weakness for fresh cherries. Luckily for me, they are everywhere this time of year here in the pacific northwest. Plus, since they are grown locally we can get them super fresh. This recipe can be used with frozen cherries just as easily though, so it will turn out great if that’s all you have as well. If you do use frozen just let them thaw for a bit first so they blend easier. I didn’t write in how much water to add to it because I don’t like drinks too sweet, so I don’t add as much syrup as some would. A nice way to serve drinks is to leave the syrup separate and have cold water or club soda and let everyone mix their own cup to their liking.
I made it for my daughter’s Mary Poppins birthday party recently (hence the cherry tree lane sign and lack of better picture…) but I’m sure we’ll be having it often!
5 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
1 1/2 cups lime juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
Puree in a blender until smooth. Strain if desired. (My vitamix gets it pretty darn smooth so I don’t.)
Refrigerate until ready to use, then add water or club soda for a sparking limeade.
I love these cauliflower poppers I made awhile back but since I don’t fry food that often I had to try this baked cauliflower I found on pinterest. Of course, I had to change it up since we don’t like super spicy food, and I wanted it to be something the kids would eat too. Oh, yum. I could eat a plate of these for dinner and nothing else. Even my hubby, who despises cauliflower ate seconds. Super quick and easy and yum! Next time I’ll be making my roasted kale chipotle dip to serve with them.
OVEN FRIED CAULIFLOWER
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup water
dash Frank’s hot sauce (or your favorite)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried onion powder (I only use Penzey’s toasted onion powder!)
2 T melted unsalted butter
dash hot sauce (more for spicier)
pinch smoked paprika
salt to taste
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non stick coating.
Whisk together batter ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.
Add all the florets and toss with a spoon or spatula until they are all coated. (You should have the batter coating the florets without a lot of excess.)
Pour out onto baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. (If you had excess batter, remove the florets by hand so you don’t have a lot of extra batter on the baking sheet.)
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the coating ingredients.
Brush the cauliflower with coating and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes. Cauliflower should be crispy.
Serve immediately with dipping sauce, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Persnickety Plates
The greens will wilt up to much less than you thought, so if you want more greens in the salad I would add in some kale or other sturdy green and saute with the beet greens.
And if you don’t like/have feta, it’s still delicious without it. You could totally do a citrus vinaigrette on this as well, but beet and beet greens are really flavorful and I think a simple olive oil and balsamic dressing is perfect for them.
ROASTED BEET SALAD WITH BEET GREENS AND FETA
2 bunches beets with greens attached
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper
Feta cheese, crumbled
Balsamic vinegar (blackberry balsamic is my favorite!)
Trim and peel beets. Cut into quarters, then each quarter in half, so you have 8 skinny wedges per beet.
Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
About 5 minutes before they are done start on the greens. Trim out the stem from the greens and cut into 1/2 inch strips.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add garlic and cook until just starting to become fragrant. Add greens and toss in skillet, cooking for just a couple minutes until wilted.
Put the greens in the serving dish and top with roasted beets, feta, and sunflower seeds. Serve with balsamic vinegar.
Not going to lie. I could barely eat half of one of these. Next time I might make them slider style. My hubby had no problems polishing one off though.
My Dad couldn’t cook many things but he was the grill master at our house. Summers were BBQ season at our house when I was a kid. We didn’t have AC and if it was hot out he would grill dinner to keep the house cooler. So I always feel like making BBQ food when the weather starts to warm up. These are over the top burgers, great to make for Father’s day or a BBQ.
There is a trick to making the onion strings I’m going to share with you. After you coat the onion rings in the buttermilk and seasoned flour let them rest for a bit on a tray. The buttermilk starts to absorb the flour a little bit and you’ll get a better crunch.
BBQ BACON BURGERS
Green leaf lettuce
Onion strings (See recipe at end)
Hamburgers, grilled, or cooked in an iron skillet
Bacon, cooked crisp (Homemade for extra points!)
Hamburger Buns (Homemade for even more extra points!)
Form 1/4 to 1/3 lb ground beef into a patty, making an indent in the center of the patty. Cook on a grill or in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Flip after a few minutes, when the first side is well browned. After a couple minutes on the second side top with cheese and cover to melt. Make sure to lightly butter the inside of the buns and toast in a skillet. I usually do this before cooking the hamburgers and then set aside while the hamburgers cook.
For the onion strings:
1 onion, thinly sliced (white or yellow is fine)
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Oil, for cooking
Pour buttermilk over the onions rings and toss to coat well. Combine the flour and seasonings in a shallow bowl. Take a small handful of onion rings and coat in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Place on a tray while you repeat with remaining onions. Set aside while you heat a couple inches of oil over medium heat (or use a deep fryer).
Cook in batches until golden brown. Place on a wire rack over a baking sheet when cooked, repeating with the rest.