Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Easter Egg Tree

Ok I know. It's kind of cheesy. And hokey. I don't even have small children any more. Well, 1 out of 3, but even he doesn't care much about crafty things. But there is a creative side to me that doesn't get to express itself at work. (Creative accounting......nuh unh)

So I decided to become seasonal and festive and make an Easter egg tree! This is the first time I've ever done one. I also have to admit, I kind of stole the idea from one of my neighbors. I mean, not really, since the idea has been around for ages, but a house on another street has one and it's so pretty! So I thought I'd make my own.

plastic Easter eggs
small phillips head screwdriver
tree in front yard

Step 1:
Locate hole in top of plastic egg. Ok, I really had no idea if these eggs would have holes in them. I was prepared to make my own, but thankfully I didn't have to do that.

Step 2:
Poke phillips head screwdriver into hole to make it slightly bigger for the string to go through.

Step 3:
Cut off a length of string about 6-10 inches long. Depending, of course, on where you are going to hang your eggs. 

Step 4:
Fold string in half. Put looped end into top of egg. Using a toothpick, push the string through the hole until it is long enough to grab on the outside. Pull it through.

Step 5:
Tie a knot in the string on the inside of the egg. I kept both ends of the string together and just tied a knot onto itself rather than tying the two pieces together. Kind of like you do when you are sewing. 

Step 6:
Stand back and admire your work!

Step 7:
Repeat as necessary for the remaining eggs. 

Step 8:
 Loop the string around a tree branch so it will be secure if the wind blows too hard. I have to admit I didn't realize I should do this until I got outside. Some of my strings weren't long enough for the egg to go through. Those eggs are hung on very long branches and positioned closer to the trunk of the tree. (Because I was too lazy to go inside and redo them!)

Step 9:
Take pictures of all your hard work!

I apologize for the lack of sunshine. It was about to rain so I had to hurry back inside. 

Bonus pic:
My daffodils are blooming! Due to our harsh winter this year, the daffodils have been a little sleepy. They finally woke up and are putting on a wonderful display! These are my favorite flowers. When I was little, my grandmother had daffodils planted in a circle around the big oak tree in her front yard. I've loved them ever since. I have planted some at each house we've lived in. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fondue Foray

Tonight I made my first ever fondue! Not only was it my first time to make it, it was my first time to eat it. I was born in the 1970's when fondue was hot (ba dum dum). But for the first part of the decade, I pretty much stuck with milk, peanut butter sandwiches, and chocolate chip cookies. So I had never had fondue before. There were no Melting Pot restaurants around here either. Or if there were, my parents didn't take us there.

This week is Spring Break around these parts. Since it's tax season, though, I not only don't get a day off, I work LONGER hours since I don't have to pick the kids up from school. Sounds fun, right? Yea, well, you know......(insert joke about it being "taxing"....)

Anyhoo, last week I was trying to plan our meals for this week. I wanted to do something FUN being spring break and all....So I asked Alpha what we should do. Like maybe pick a theme. She immediately launched on to her favorite subject: American Girl. She said we should do a "doll a day" theme and fix a meal from one of the historical characters each night.

Well, for many, various reasons, it didn't exactly work out like that. Except for tonight! Tonight was the 1970's doll Julie! What did people eat in the 70's? Fondue!

The Recipe
Being that we're no longer in the 1970's, when I wanted a fondue recipe, I turned to Google. I used this recipe for the ingredients. I first looked for a recipe that didn't use wine, but the ones I found just didn't look that good. So I broke down and bought some cheap white wine. It called for cooking wine, but I've always read that you shouldn't cook with any wine you wouldn't drink. Since I don't drink wine at all, well, it's just really confusing picking out some wine....Here's what my local Walmart had:
Yep. Good old Post. And I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but I did NOT get carded when I purchased it. You know, they used to say they'd ID anybody who looked younger than 40, but I'm hoping they stopped that....Really hoping.....

So next, I had to chop up my cheese. I bought swiss and gruyere. I almost pulled out my mandolin or my Pampered Chef cheese grater. But then I remembered the BIG present from Christmas! My Magimix food processor! Shown here by my friend, Amy James. (sorry I didn't get a picture of it....and I would take one now but it's either still dirty or still drying.) Here is the end result:

I tossed the shredded cheese with the flour, like the reviews of the recipe suggested.

Next, I switched over to this recipe which shows you how to make fondue without a fondue pot. It's really quite simple. You just put one pan on top of another having filled the bottom one with water. Then you get the water in the bottom pan to simmer while the stuff in the top pan heats up. It's what a double boiler does, but I don't have one of those either. 

 Lastly, here is the finished product! Thick, rich, creamy cheese fondue! I think I got my cheese proportions off because it got really thick really quick. I had to add more wine! LOL! I ended up with half of the grated cheese left over. I've also got half the wine left over so we may have this meal again before the week is up.

I should also show you the french bread I cut up into cubes and served in a bowl. But this had taken about an hour to make and we were starving so I forgot to get a picture of it. We also didn't have the correct fondue forks, but the cocktail forks that came with my Oneida flatware are perfect for this sort of thing! Finally! A use for the little forks! 

Final Analysis: it was good! It had a different kind of flavor to it, but I don't know if that was from the wine or from the gruyere cheese. Now I need to find a restaurant that does it (if any are still around) and go taste some to see how I did. 

If you know what fondue is supposed to taste like, let me know! Haha!