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Lemon Vanilla Sugar

February 25th, 2019

In my efforts to clean out the freezer, last week I made a strawberry rhubarb cobbler (recipe from Sweet & Tart), it was delicious. Not only did the recipe have lots of lemon juice and zest, instead of regular sugar I used up my stock of lemon vanilla sugar. Whenever I need lemon juice but not the zest, I either freeze the zest or mix in with sugar (or salt) to preserve it for future use. When I use a vanilla bean, I rinse it off and add it to the container as well. That way, I have a delicious lemon vanilla sugar to use when making scones, pies, or other sweet treats.

All you have to do it mix the zest in with sugar (or salt if you’d like lemon salt for chicken/fish), stir, and let sit. I add vanilla beans as well, as I use them.

It’s the perfect way to make the most of the ingredients I’m buying and it makes things taste better. A hint of lemon, with a bit of bitterness from the peel, always enhances the flavor of whatever you add it to. I’ve used up my supply of sugar now, which is perfect timing because citrus is coming into season and I’ll be ordering a box of lemons soon.

What great tips do you have for making the most of the ingredients you buy?

New Houseplants

February 20th, 2019

Even though I have plans of “not buying any new plants this year” I break that each and every year. This year I lasted until mid-February until I saw this cyclamen at a local store. I thought it would be the perfect addition to the house to add some color. Growing up, my mom had the house filled with houseplant, typically ones that bloomed with big, colorful blossoms.




I also got an African violet with beautiful leaves. It had one slightly wilted flower, which was stunning. That made it into the my cart as well, I’ll post photos when the bud opens up. I’ve always wanted to add cyclamens to the outdoor garden, I’ve just never gotten around to it. Will this year be the year? If not I have one in the house to enjoy!

Are you a houseplant person? What’s your favorite houseplant? Does it bloom?

Playing Chicken

February 14th, 2019

I mentioned a month or so ago that I started a quilt for our bed using a fat quarter collection of Rifle Paper Company fabric. Since I’m making a king size quilt (even though we have a queen bed), I realized early on I’d need to add additional fabric from my stash to make sure I had enough. When I finished 24 squares I knew I’d be cutting close, really close with the fabric. In fact, I was concerned I wasn’t going to have enough to finish all the squares, I was playing chicken with the fabric.


Last night, spent some time figuring out the last 7 squares needed, making sure I’d be able to squeak out enough to finish the quilt. I figured if I lacked only one or two squares I’d just add squares of the linen fabric that I’m using as borders.

It turns out I’m going to have just enough, with only a few small scraps left. I’m glad I decided to add in a few extra fabrics from the beginning, otherwise, I wouldn’t have had enough to finish it. I’m pretty excited about getting this quilt finished, it’s going to be lovely!

What’s happening in your creative world?

Capturing…

January 30th, 2019

Every winter, I order a case or two of grapefruit. It’s probably my favorite citrus, with lime coming in very close in the race. I’m always trying to find ways to make use of the peel as well, since I’m buying organic fruit, I want to make sure I can capture and use every bit of it. As I said last week, I’ve been making candied grapefruit peel and grapefruit peel vinegar for cleaning. I also decided to dry some of the peel to make grapefruit peel infused jojoba.

So far, I have the peels of one grapefruit fully dried and 6 more are drying under the woodstove. Later this week I’ll crumble them a bit, put them in this jar, then top up with jojoba. In 6-8 weeks I should have a lovely grapefruit peel infused jojoba, which I plan on using in a variety of skincare products, one being a hair oil that is also infused with rosemary. If the infused jojoba smells half as good as the dried peel does I’m going to very pleased.

What fun things are you doing to make the winter more interesting?

Indoor Pests

January 16th, 2019

We have lots of insects in this house, the ladybugs, the flies, this winter mosquitoes, and of course the stink bugs.


I don’t know which one is the worst, probably the ladybugs in the spring when they come out by what seems like the millions. Either way, it’s a constant battle to sweep them up and keep them from getting into everything.

Do you have stinkbugs, ladybugs, flies, or other type of house pest?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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