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Cranberry Pecan Muffins: The Baker’s Equivalent of Erectile Dysfunction

Remember how I was telling ya’ll how it was hard to find a good jar mix recipe? Well, here’s another one I tried. It’s called Cranberry Pecan Muffins. It sounded really promising. Dried cranberries, pecans, brown sugar. What’s not to love?

It was one of those recipes in my organizer I’d never tried, and I’m always up for finding jar mixes cause they are so damn easy to keep in the cabinet and grab and make at a moment’s notice, so I figured, why the hell not! Plus, muffins are so easy to freeze. Instant lunch snacks.

So I grabbed and lined my muffin tins.

I had greased them prior and then decided against that and went with muffin cups. God I hate how my tins always get so stained. Anyway! Then I added the sugars and flour.

Add in the yummy cranberries and pecans, with some baking powder.

Then I added the wet stuff

Mixed it up

Plopped them into the muffin cups

Put them in the oven. Baked them. And took them out.

I was slightly disturbed at this point because they didn’t really “rise.” They kind of kept the same shape as the batter when I plopped them in. Oh well, I figured, there’s a lot of food that doesn’t look good but tastes dreamy.

Since my blood sugar can’t handle a whole muffin, and I was about to eat dinner and couldn’t afford the carbs, I called the Texan down to try one.

“Try one of these muffins!” I exclaimed

“They look weird.” he muttered

“Yeah, yeah, just eat them!” I demanded

He picked one up, took a bite. And then he got that look on this face. Not a look of “ew” but a look of “what the hell.” And he cracked a little smile.

“Try one.” he said

“I can’t, too many carbs. How are they?”

“No, really, I insist, try one.”

This couldn’t be good.

I broke off a quarter of one of the muffins and popped it in my mouth.

It was warm cardboard with a sort of cranberry after taste. F*#king great.

I picked up the tin and dumped them in the trash. SONOFABITCH. WHO in their RIGHT MIND actually came up with this recipe but then decided it was good enough to actually put in a recipe book? Are you freakin’ serious?

Ok, was it gross? No. It wasn’t puke gross. But it was nothing. It was like dry brittle pecan cranberry crap. I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS! It’s gotta be the baker’s equivalent of erectile dysfunction: You get so excited at the prospect only to find out the damn recipe is completely flaccid no matter how much you are attempting to will it into deliciousness. And even if it’s NOT your fault because it’s not your recipe you still FEEL like it’s your fault and you start apologizing and turning red faced to the other party:

“I’m sorry, honey, I really tried, I don’t know what’s wrong with my muffins. Why does this keep happening to me?”

And if the party is worth anything as a human being they will respond “It’s ok, dear, it happens to every baker.”

UGH! Martha Stewart I am not.

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Spray It On Thick, Baby

Scent isn’t only my job, it’s my life. I am VERY olfactory. I can relate scents to memories, people, etc. I actually remember someone’s scent before their face. My friends tell me I have “werewolf smell.” I swear I can smell something going bad in my fridge from the second floor of my house.

I LOVE to have a nice clean scent in my house. I love any good scent in my house. And my job is actually creating scent, so it works perfect. But I realize that for most people, this isn’t the case. And even I sometimes run across something in the store and go “OH! I LOVE THAT!” and of course I buy it and go home and try to recreate it LOL. But nonetheless.

I noticed a clean scent in the house can actually trick people into thinking your house is cleaner physically than it actually is. I can’t, of course, smell my own house. My niece, nephews and my BFF all tell me that my house is their favorite scent. Yet they can’t describe it to me. Well, call me Elizabeth Arden.

I’m super sensitive about the smell of my fabrics. I don’t know why, but I LOVE the smell of fresh fabrics and linens. I make my own freshener sprays most of the time, but I have to say that I do love the smell of Febreeze. But it’s damn expensive. Lucky for me, I also love the smell of fabric softener. As a matter of fact, I can’t tell you how many times my other “were nosed” friend of mine and I have gone to Target only to spend a half hour in the fabric softener section opening caps and smelling them.

I was surprised when I was shuffling around Pinterest (if you haven’t joined that site yet, do it. Now. And realize that I’ve just caused an addiction) I saw that someone had made homemade febreze from fabric softener. This didn’t surprise me, what surprised me was all the people that thought this was a NEW idea. Man, I’ve been doing that for YEARS. It’s gotta be going on a decade now. And it’s GREAT stuff, better than the real thing, cheaper, longer lasting and you have more control over the scent. So go on and go sniff the laundry section and pick out your favorite.

This isn’t my favorite, but they didn’t have my favorite in stock. But this is pretty damn good, and it was on sale.

Now grab yourself a spray bottle. A good one too, one that does fine mist.

As far as the “amount” goes, I tend to use LESS than most “recipes” call for. Most recipes call for a 2:1 ratio water to softener. I find that this is nice and strong BUT it kind of leaves a real slick type coating on my fabrics. I find filling the bottle 1/4 of the way with the softener and the rest of the way with distilled water works great. But it’s really up to you. Test and try.

Some recipes also call for vinegar. I skip that. I like my stuff with just water and softener. But again, it’s up to you. Make sure you test an area first too, just to make sure your fabrics can handle your little experiment. I know some of the real cheap softeners can leave oily lookin stains on stuff.

So, pour it into your bottle, add the water, and shake like hell.

Label it cause, if you are anything like me, someone might think it’s meant to clean the counter tops and well, nothing says GROSS like when you realize the counter where you prep your food is covered with a film of fabric softener. Downy seasoned chicken is freakin’ GROSS.

I use dissolvable labels, which aren’t real conducive to nice writing because they come on a FREAKIN’ ROLL but they are easy to get off unlike regular labels.

And there you have it, homemade fabric freshener for super cheap! It works great, too, my house smells lovely.

I don’t know about you, and maybe I’m just a dork, but new cleaning stuff makes me so happy, especially when it’s something that smells great. Nothing motivates my cleaning fits like a freshly scented brand spankin new load of counter cleaner or scented scouring powder. It’s the simple things in life, after all.

Stupid F*@king Lunches

I HATE making lunches. With everything I have I HATE it. I make lunches for two guys who have working beta cells, so it should be easy. Fruit, sandwich, snack, whatever. It’s never that easy for me. Mostly because I HATE buying pre made franken food snacks and I can NEVER seem to keep up enough of an arsenal of my home made stuff to shove into lunches.

If you ever have this problem, I have a million ideas. I’ve managed to execute some of them, actually. For that I’m proud. Lately I’ve been in a busy whirlwind so my stock is running a little dry and thus irritating the hell out of me. So I thought I would put a list of ideas here for you all because, well, if you’ve ever gone through lunch hell, you know what it’s like.

Keep in mind I never said “healthy.” I like cooking, and being such that MY beta cells don’t work and I can’t actually HAVE sugar, I love making things with sugar for people who can have it (even though I do realize they SHOULDN’T have it). It’s torture I know and ass backwards, but it’s true.

Tip#1: Your freezer is your friend. Most things can be frozen and tossed in lunches STILL frozen because they will thaw out by the time the lunch is eaten. This also quickly teaches them to eat breakfast so they aren’t attacking their lunch mid morning and biting into a frozen something or another.

#2: When you make desserts, whether it be brownies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, whatever, learn to do what I’ve done: steal half of it and freeze it before anyone has the chance to get at it. Most families aren’t going to go through 18 muffins or a whole cake in a few hours, so there is ample time to let it cook and snag em up to the freezer. It’s the same concept: Wrap in foil, then in a baggy, and freeze. If you are freezing something frosted like cake or cupcakes, then put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet long enough to harden the frosting, then wrap and store.

#3: Grab some 8 oz jelly jars, half pint masons, or take away containers and make some jello or pudding. Pour into the individual cups and you’ll have frugal, easy snacks.

#4: Dried food makes great lunch snacks so if you have a dehydrator, go for it. Jerkies, dried fruits and fruit leathers can be stuffed into lunches and they have a crazy long shelf life.

#5: Don’t deny the power of the leftovers. Today’s left over pot roast, pork roast and meatloaf can be turned into a roast beef sandwich, pulled pork sandwich or meatloaf sandwich. It’s a nice switch up from PB&J and lunchmeat.

#6: On the power of leftovers: Get yourself a good microwave safe dinner container. You know, the ones with the sections. This way you can stuff leftovers in that and as long as they have access to a microwave they’ve got a hearty hot lunch.

#7: Pop a couple quarts of popcorn, not too much since it goes stale in a couple days, and season it with some interesting spices. Whether it be cinnamon and sugar or curry and garlic, you can make a whole batch and stuff them into baggies for instant snacks.

#8: The old stand by! I purposely make/order extra pizza whenever we have it so I can snag a few pieces to make up for lunches. Even if there is no microwave we all know pizza still kicks ass cold.

#9: This is cheating, but I have to say I’ve done it. Good frozen dinners. When I’m going to whole foods, I’ll snag up some good organic Annie’s frozen dinners or something of the like just in case I’ve forgotten or something came up and I’ve not had time to make a lunch. It’s a good ass saver. Also cheating, but canned soup. Texan particularly likes this one, especially in the winter. A can of soup will prove to be a good meal and a good switch from a typical sandwich lunch and also serves as an ass saver in those times where the lunch was the last thing on your mind.

#10: Make them ahead. This is probably the best tip. You CAN make several sandwiches ahead and pack several lunches, especially PB&J which keep great in the fridge for a couple days. Then it’s a grab and go thing and you don’t gotta sweat.

It’s amazing how something as simple as a lunch can turn into such a big deal when you aren’t prepared. For me anyway. I like to have as much of an arsenal as possible, but sometimes (like lately) it just doesn’t work out that way. So until they make a robot that can do all this for me, I figured I’d share in some of my tips in case you can sympathize with my lunch-hell-panic.

Ultimate Dog Snacks

If you’ve read my posts for awhile, you know I’ve got a pup. She’s very old, 13 for an Akita, which is old indeed. And she has cancer. And there’s nothing we can do at this point except keep her comfortable. Which we are doing and grateful for every minute we get.

Here she is, a little pissed off because she wanted to go for a walk but didn’t realize it was snowing.

She’s also been, historically, a very picky eater. And now she’s gotten to the point where she’s super super picky. The doctor has told us to go ahead and feed her anything she wants to eat, table food and the like, as long as it’s not harmful to her. At her age, with her condition, it’s not like we are worrying about obesity. As long as it’s not upsetting her stomach or bad for her, it’s fair game. Her appetite waxes and wanes, but when it’s waxing she’s LOVING the fact that we are now her slaves and will feed her half of our dinner if she’ll eat it.

She’s not been a big fan of the normal doggy snacks I’ve give her. But she loves my jerky. Jerky has to be one of the most natural things for a dog to snack on. It’s basically meat and that’s it. Mind you, you’ve got to cut the nitrites and the salt and seasonings, but they love it. Old or not, jerky is one of those awesome “I can share this with you” snacks while you and Rover are chillin’ watching TV. So I made her a big ole pile of it.

First, you don’t HAVE To use ground beef. I use grass fed ground beef though. It’s softer for her, not quite as chewy. Grass fed is also leaner, and fat is a bad idea when making jerky. It makes it go rancid.

You also don’t have to marinade it. Most dogs will eat it totally plain. But since she’s picky, I marinade it in low sodium natural beef broth.

Then I whipped out my jerky gun. Gadget alert. However, it’s a needed tool when you are making jerky from ground meat. Otherwise you will spend forever forming weird patties that won’t be of a consistent size and basically end up drying at different rates.

Shove the meat into the gun.

Now squeeze it all onto the dehydrator trays. It’s sort of vulgar and gross and kind of fun to do this.

Mine generally only takes about 4-6 hours to dry totally. But I have a bad ass dehydrator so that could be why. It comes out fabulous.

Pat it dry with a paper towel to get off an excess fat that could make it go bad. I store mine in the fridge. And the pup LOVES it. Thank goodness!

It gives her a lot of natural calories and proteins and it’s something she almost NEVER turns her nose up at even when she won’t eat anything else.

I see no reason why you couldn’t give this to a healthy young pup as well. I give these to my 3 year old border collie all the time as well, after clearance from the doc. He said as long as there’s not tons of salt or seasoning, and it’s properly dried, it’s actually a pretty healthy snack for a dog. So I’m thrilled.

This will definitely be on the menu for my pups as a permanent item. It’s fast and easy, plus it’s tasty and I can eat it too (YAY! A blood sugar friendly food!).

I’m sure if you make this for your best friend, you’ll get a lot of tail wags and probably be followed around the house for the rest of your life. I think it’s like doggy crack, they absolutely love it!

Hot Stuff, my love…

I’m not a coffee snob. As a matter of fact, I HATE Starbucks. I’m sorry. Their coffee SUCKS. I’ve had a couple of their weird macchacappafrappfuckachino’s that weren’t bad, but they are just piles of sugar I try to stay away from. Moreover, their sugar free sweetener tastes like burnt carrots.

I actually prefer Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. It’s really good. Really really good. I can’t even imagine WHAT the do it to make it good, and I don’t care. I’m allowed some bad habits.

The BEST coffee I can remember is my grandmothers. I think she used a stove top percolator. She’d dry egg shells, washed, and put them in there to make the coffee mild. It did. Now that she’s gone, the Polish diner a few towns over has absolutely THE best coffee I’ve had save my Grandma’s. They say they use Stewarts, I don’t buy it. I think they do the egg shell thing because it’s wonderful and mild and just *drool*.

I prefer my coffee with cream. I like my coffee with lots of cream. No sugar, cream. That’s how I take it. Funny, that’s how my mom took it too, must be genetic.

And I LOVE flavored creamers. Again, it’s a franken-food, not to be classified as ACTUAL food, but they are fun and spruce things up a little bit.

I also generally drink decaf, organic so that it doesn’t have the god knows what it is chemical in it. I’m one of those super sensitive caffeine people. I’ve also found that I don’t LIKE the type of energy caffeine gives me, and no matter how early I drink it, it makes me tense, unable to sleep and grinding my teeth at night. I don’t like the crash either. The crash is awful. I find as long as I have something “hot” in the morning, it picks me up. Though I still prefer that “hot” to be coffee.

I have a Keurig. They are great little machines. We don’t go through a huge amount of coffee everyday, not enough to facilitate a whole pot of it most times. Plus I’ve always found coffee pot coffee to be kind of gross. My preferred way to make coffee is a french press. If you haven’t tried one of these, do it. You’ll never go back. It’s SO good.

Anyhow, I do use K-cups. But sometimes the buggers are just too expensive. So I have a “my K-cup” thing for my Keurig. Yep, gadget alert. It’s basically a cup where you can put in your own coffee. Which I do. I also find, for those of you in the same boat, that if you open the machine up (the little level you pull up to put the k cup in) WHILE it’s brewing using the my K-cup thing, it’ll give you a stronger cup of coffee. Just lift it while it’s brewing and let the water sit in there a couple seconds, then push it back down. Works great.

Anyhow, for those of you looking for a little make-your-own delight when it comes to coffee, here are some ideas I use frequently to kind of give my morning boost a kick.

Flavored Coffees:

Supposedly, flavored coffees are made using a sort of special flavoring on the beans before they are roasted. Or so that’s what I hear. I’ve done it a little differently cause well, I’m lazy, and I don’t want to roast my own beans.

1-2 pounds of coffee, ground

1 bottle (1 oz) of extract

Use any extract you like, though I caution against some funky ones like lemon. Lemon coffee. No.

All you have to do, essentially, is slowly drizzle the extract into the coffee grounds and use a pastry cutter to work it in. You can make super short work of this by just using a food processor and dumping half the bottle of extract in. Pulse it a few times. Dump the other half. Pulse again. It’ll smell wonderful. Will be sweet? No. Will it be exactly like store bought? No. But with a little sugar or cream to bring out the flavor, it’s pretty damn good.

Some of my favorite extracts to use are: Vanilla, Almond, Mint, Chocolate and Coconut. Mix them up. Add Vanilla AND Almond and you’ve got Hazelnut. You can get pretty damn creative. Don’t add TOO much extract though because it’ll make the coffee all funky, taste real bitter, and be almost wet and greasy and go rancid fast. If you can, store it in the freezer once you’ve done this.

What about creamers? Ahhh, yes. I LOVE making flavored creamers. Whenever I talk about “creamer” here, I’m talking about the powdered creamer, non dairy stuff. Cheap, easy, works great. I’m not going to give you hard and fast recipes here because sincerely it’s a matter of taste:

Half creamer and half brown sugar= a sweet creamer than tastes something like toffee

Creamer with some cinnamon and nutmeg will give you an unsweetened pumpkin pie type creamer, add sugar if you want it sweet

Creamer with some hot chocolate drink mix will give you chocolate creamer. Hmmmmmm.

Creamer with some Tang (yes, tang, I swear it) and some non fat dry milk powder will give you Orange Cream creamer.

You get the idea! Get creative!

Someone brought to my attention once the use of hot instant tea mix. Now, I AM a tea snob. I’m NOT a huge fan of instant tea mix. But, I have played with the unsweetened variety and I’ve gotten some cool variations out of it. I’m talking about UNsweetened instant tea powder here, not the sweetened kind. These all can be used hot or cold. For your instant tea pleasure:

Half instant tea and half tang. Oh yes, orange tea.

3 parts instant tea to 1 part flavored, sweetened jello. The consistency is a bit weird but it’s a HUGE amount of flavor.

3 containers of instant tea mix mix to half a bottle of lemon, orange, or lime extract. Do it the same way you’d do the flavored coffee.

Instant tea with sweetened, flavored koolaid, like the ones that come in the tubs. Or mix your kool aid and sugar together then add the instant tea. Do this to taste depending on how sweet you want your tea.

Really, there are endless possibilities here. Experiment using what you’ve got or what’s on sale or whatever.

It’s kind of fun having endless amounts of choices when it comes to drinks. For me, mostly, I can’t drink them what with the diabetes, however, other people can and do and love it. These things shouldn’t replace water, but it’s nice for a little change. And then, of course, you can go apesh*t like me and decide there are TOO many things in the cabinet in the way of options and force everyone in the house to drink your creations until they are gone.

HEY! That’s the power of being this crafty!

Unpluggeth!

I was sitting in my kitchen the other day happily typing away some recipes of mine into my Ipad’s recipe organizer. I’m trying to get it all in there so that I can throw away a lot of my recipe cards and have a nice, single organized place for all of them.

I’ve recently gotten Mr. B interested in steampunk style decor. He’s been pulling apart lamps and watches that would instead be garbage and making really cool stuff out of them. I’d had a long day of working, cleaning, taking care of my old pup and generally getting things done. Sitting down to type recipes was actually relaxing to me. And then I hear him say:

“Do you mind if I turn on Netflix for some background noise?”

This spawned a conversation. Mr. B and the Texan almost ALWAYS need some kind of noise going in the background. Even when they sleep. Mr. B is an ultra-gamer, he can spend hours and hours and hours day after day in front of the PS3 whereas Texan is usually glued to news, sports, message boards on his phone or the history channel on the TV and if not that then the radio.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my gadgets. My Ipad my Iphone and I do watch some TV: True Blood, Game Of Thrones, Californication, re runs of Family Guy. But in general, I’m not a “tv watcher.”

I’ve been poked at because I like my house silent. Like that’s a weird thing. I don’t mind kids laughing or dogs barking, I don’t mind organic noise. But I’ve truthfully gone entire weeks without a radio or TV and would probably go entire weeks without a computer if it wasn’t part of my job. I enjoy the quiet. I’m one of those people that relishes the silence when the power goes out. There’s no more electric buzzing from the plugged in but not running electronics in the house. It’s back to story telling and talking and knitting.

My BFF had actually once made a comment that she liked my living room a lot and that she plans on having one like it. There’s no TV. When we are in the living room, we TALK. We don’t eat dinner with the TV going, ever. It wasn’t even a hard and fast rule, it was just natural. Dinner times means catching up time.

I’m not so worried about people plopping in front of the TV or the game console, hell I do it. I’m more worried about what they AREN’T doing. Especially with children.

If you are pacified by the TV, or some other electronic thing, chances are you aren’t thinking about the walk you could take, the place you could go fishing, a trip to the zoo, a skill you could learn. I often wonder what happened to the great old art of “talking” or “teaching.”

This can most obviously be seen in going out to dinner. Go on. Go out to dinner with a bunch of friends, friends under the age of 35 especially. They are GLUED to their phones the whole time. My BFF found a fantastic idea called “phone stacking.” Put your phone on the table at dinner, all of you, first one to pick it up has to pay the bill. I thought this was a great idea but then she asked me:

“Well, what if your phone is ringing?” See what I mean? What are honestly the chances that THAT phone call is an emergency one? And if you are really worried about it, then how about if the phone rings incessantly, THEN it’s ok to pick it up. But, with the advent of technology feeds the “I-can-get-ahold-of-you-any-time-I-want” mentality, and the definition of “emergencies” become well, slightly altered.

I’ve gone fishing in the past where my friends haven’t put down their phones the whole time. I HATE that, you are in nature, enjoy it. If I go hiking, unless I need the GPS, the phone gets LEFT in the CAR. It’s just me and the dog and the noises around us.

When I suggest to people to unplug, including their children, they almost get into a panic. They start to make excuses like addicts. Well, just this one last week or I can’t because…it’s actually rather sad. What’s sadder is if you’ve ever know children who are addicted or “raised” on television, you’ll notice that their attention spans for anything, literally, are about 8-10 minutes long: exactly the amount of time between commercials. How about instead of just family xbox game night or family board game night, there’s family craft night? Family hike night? Family garden day? Something that sort of disconnects you from a serious central focal point of amusement and hones a skill or appreciation? I’m certainly not battering the way people do things, they are just suggestions. I get sad at the thought of “environmental deficiency” and I’m most certain that this condition actually exists. So many people don’t even get daylight nevertheless proper outside time.

As a chick who loves crafting and everything “homey” I mourn the days of crafting circles and actually LEARNING things from other women. Not buying DVD’s, books or looking it up on the internet. Nor am I talking about circles where everyone just gets together and does their craft and talks, though, those are a lot of fun. But knowing someone who knows how to knit, sew, make this or that and will teach you,  having days out of the season to all get together and can stuff, or make pierogis (which is a PAIN to do alone) or whatnot. It’s not just the act itself, it’s the social bonding as well. It’s how memories are made. It reminds you no man is an island. But the people who still do these things in and of themselves are few and far between, nevertheless a whole group of people in the same area.

I’ll notice a lot of people saying too that “they aren’t interested.” That annoys me. Maybe it’s because I really do believe in broadening one’s horizons, but how do you know if you aren’t interested if you don’t try?

All that being said, I don’t hate technology. I LOVE it. It certainly has it’s place. When I think of all the waste in landfills that things like MP3 players and Kindles have saved (though I still do love me an old book, and I’m totally sad at the closing down of SO many book stores),  or how  many lives technology has saved, I certainly know it has it’s place. I just often worry that this technology, instead of having it’s place and enhancing our lives, is simply taking it over.

Perhaps try a little bit today to unplug and listen to the silence. See if there is something there. Or enjoy that there is nothing there at all. Quiet, organic time is something that can be very rich and fulfilling, especially when you’ve only your own thoughts and the noises outside or in the house. It’s totally amazing the things that are there that you’d never notice if you are pinned to your phone.

Adventures with the Aerogarden: Herbal Vinegar

If you don’t know what an AeroGarden is, it’s a pretty damn cool little contraption. It’s an indoor hydroponic gardening kit. And I know what you are thinking when you think of hydro. Dirty hippie.

My house is old, and drafty. Although I have a big window on the south side of the house, herbs and indoor plants don’t grow well for me. Except Pothos. Also known as mother in laws tongue. That grows great. But I have that sitting in a pot of water so that’s probably why. And it needs next to no light.

I got totally tired of watching my little plantings die. Something about this house is cursed with plants. Not outside, no, just inside. So the Aero Garden was a little tool I always wanted. Gadget. I know.

When Mr. B came home with one he’d gotten for Christmas, I knew it’d be my responsibility. He’ll eat what I grow in it, but he’s not gonna take care of it either. That’s ok. I’d be more than happy to take over.

I decided to grow herbs first. Herbs because I want to get started making herbal vinegars for Christmas next year. The longer they brew, the stronger they are. They make wonderful everything’s from marinades and additions to salsa to facial and hair rinses.

So I started the little pods up on Christmas day. Herbs are one of those things you need to use as they grow. If you let them get TOO big they’ll die, they go to seed. Pick too much of them and they’ll die. Usually you want to take no more than a third of the plant.

I noticed my Lemon Basil was going to town. I’ll only be able to take a few leaves because the plant is still young, but I can start the vinegar and just keep adding fresh plant matter as I go along. These things don’t take long to replace what you’ve taken.

So, here it is. My little pride Lemon Basil.

She’s getting to be a big girl!

I picked off a few leaves. Mature ones. Remember, never more than 1/3 of the plant. I put these in an 8 oz jelly jar for now. I’ll increase the size of the jar as more leaves are added.

I covered it with some white vinegar. You can use high quality rice and champagne vinegars if you want, but for me, white vinegar is old faithful. It marinades beautifully.

Cap it with a NON METAL cap. That means either using the plastic freeze caps Ball has for their jars OR putting some plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar THEN putting on the 2 piece band and lid. You don’t want vinegar touching metal. Metal+vinegar=corrosion. You don’t want to eat that.

Now, it’s time to label it. You can date it if you want, I don’t, because I’m going to keep adding to it. I found dissolvable labels at Menards for canning jars.  You’ve NO idea how wonderful a thing these are going to be for me. Getting labels off jars is a serious pain in the ass that requires, most of the time, that you boil them off. Urg!

The only issue I’ve got with these is that they are kind of flimsy. They also come in a roll, making writing on them BEFORE you put them on the jar impossible. They are also a weird material, so when I used a sharpie marker on it, it kind of bled. Not very pretty. Next time I’ll use pen.

Lemon basil vinegar is going to make an awesome marinade for fish and chicken. Hmmmm.

Just shake it once a day or every other day, store it somewhere cool, dry and dark, and keep adding as you keep getting more, until about half the jar is full. Keep in mind the basil will kind of wilt as it goes along, so use your best judgement as to how much is in there. You don’t want it so strong it’s going to overpower the food. Once I think I’ve got enough lemon basil vinegar to satisfy gifts and needs, the rest will get dried and crushed and stored as a spice.

So, if you’ve got indoor plants or an aerogarden collecting dust (I’ll BUY IT FROM YA IF YOU DO! I want several of these things!!!), this is a great way to make it work for you. Plus knock out some christmas gifts and tasty meals in the process.

See, I’m NOT anal. There really IS a use for everything!