Food and Drink

Grandma's Christmas Fudge

When I posted this photo on Instagram

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I had no idea so many of you would want the recipe. Grandma called it "See's Fudge" but I'm not sure that is where the original recipe came from. All I know is that it's easy and pretty much fail-proof. This recipe makes about five pounds of fudge so it's a great one to share with neighbors and friends.

Make it with your kids or grand kids and make some yummy memories.

 

Fudge

 

Encourage one another,

Suzanne


Making a List...

 

I'll admit that I may have gone a bit overboard this year with my premature, over the top holiday decorating. Yes, I'm that gal who waved her bedazzled holiday freak flag high over her head while humming Jingle Bells in early November (October 30th to be exact), but I'm not sorry.

My goal this year was to be decorated and ready for Christmas before the first of December so that I'd have time to bake and craft and watch Christmas movies by the fire while sipping hot coco without any of my usual stress. I'm happy to report that I'm pretty much ready and even took time to write a Holiday Bucket List of things I hope to accomplish in the next thirty days. I know the boxes probably won't all get checked off but that's okay - I'm determined not to stress over it.  

 2017 Bucket List

I'll post my progress here over the next few weeks and share some ideas for candy topiaries and gingerbread houses (if they are share worthy-we'll have to see).

Oh, and here's one more thing for the list that I nearly forgot

Stay connected

Love you guys and let me be one of the first to wish you an early 

Merry christmas

Encourage one another,

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OMGhee

 

I thought it would be fun to start a "Favorites Friday" feature here where I share with you some of my current favorite things. I have to admit that my list of favorites is as varied as it is long and seems to be ever changing.

Today I'll start by sharing my new found love for Ghee.

 

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Since moving to Kansas I've tried to pay a little more attention to my health and how what I eat makes me feel. I could write a whole blog post about my diet and how what I eat (and don't eat) has helped the way I feel and someday I will, but basically I've noticed that I can be prone to inflammation and consequently have pretty much eliminated dairy from my diet (except for an occasional small jar of yogurt).Wink

I found this brand of ghee one day while combing the grocery aisles for some healthy food alternatives. If I'm perfectly honest here, it was the label that drew me to this particular brand - you all know what a sucker I am for packaging. Having never tasted ghee, I really didn't know what to expect. What I've discovered is that ghee is delicious!

Here's the deal in a nut shell: ghee is clarified butter that has been cooked down for hours resulting in a naturally rich golden oil with an amazingly intense buttery flavor. Because it's lactose-free, ghee is the perfect fat in which to cook my morning eggs. It isn't considered a dairy so it doesn't contribute to my inflammation (ghee actually claims it can decrease inflamation) yet it adds a decadence to my eggs that I absolutely love. It seriously transforms a common fried egg to something special. 

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 I just wanted to share this new find with you here and to encourage you to pay attention to the way your body reacts to the foods you eat - it may be trying to tell you something, you just need to be still and listen. 

Thanks for your comments. Love you guys! Hearts

Encourage one another,

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This post is not sponsored and the opinions and observations are strictly my own.

 


What to do with Those Cute Little French Yogurt Pots - Part Deux

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Let's start this second part of our series, "What to do with Those Empty Yogurt Jars" by talking about lids. Several of you commented that you wish that they had a reusable lid. So I did a little research and guess what?

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Lids! 

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photo credit Oui Lids

These are from an Etsy shop, Oui Lids. Since they are custom made using a 3D printer they are a bit pricey but they fit well and because they are made of plant based bio-degradable material they help keep the planet happy. A win-win in my book.

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Much to my delight I discovered that the small lids and rubber rings from one of my all time favorite canning jars, Weck (you know, the ones with the embossed strawberry) fits the Oui jars perfectly. The problem was that I couldn't find anyplace that sold just the lids, rings and clips until one night while combing the web I stumbled upon this website. These glass lids add the perfect amount of old world charm to your Oui jar while keeping its contents safely inside. I can't tell you how excited I was to find these.

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Here they are with their new lids. Adorable!

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 Now let's get going with more ideas using Yoplait's Oui jars.

Idea #1 Planters

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About seven days ago I filled my empty Oui jars with sand, added some rye seed, kept them damp and watched them grow. Since then I found out that wheat seed might have been a better choice producing a broader blade. However my resident grass man assures me the rye will fatten up with time. I'll get back to you on that. (He was right, why do I doubt him? Four days later and I have a thick forest growing from my jars). See...

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You probably will want to give your jars a good ten to fourteen days to grow before you need them. I love that you can see some of the roots through the glass too.

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I think these would be such fun projects to do with children and would be a good way to get them involved with your Easter table decorations. 

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Once the grass has sprouted and gets to the desired height just add chicks, nests and eggs. I added cut flower stems to fill in a bit. I think it would be fun to do a slightly different one for each place setting and if you're like me you probably wouldn't need to buy a thing.

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 Can we take a moment to talk about chenille chicks?

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What would spring be without them? As grandmothers I think it's our moral obligation to perpetuate the tradition of chenille chicks. Don't you agree?

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Awk! The cuteness! Now back to more ideas...

 

Idea #2 Mod Podge

These next ideas all involve Mod Podge and a few other basic supplies.

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I love these sweet Liberty of London cocktail napkins with their scalloped edges.

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I simply separated the three plys and using Mod Podge, decoupaged the single ply of printed paper to the outside of the jar. 

 

I saw this next idea on Pinterest and thought it was so clever. I painted the outside of the jar with Mod Podge and rolled it in Epsom salts then added an embellishment and a candle  

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to create a snowy candle holder.

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The next one is a little hard to see but I added water and food coloring to Mod Podge, coated the inside of the jar with the solution then baked it until clear and dry. You can find complete instructions here.

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Idea #3 Miniatures Under Glass 

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I found the best place to buy itty bitty miniatures is Michaels. I think this would be an especially fun project for kids. I just cut a circle from construction paper then glued on the minis. Once dry I  applied Elmer's glue to the jar rim and attached it to the paper.

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Idea #4 Snow Globe

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To make a snow globe just add snowy beads (Hobby Lobby)

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before gluing the jar to the paper round. I know what you're thinking - that glitter would be pretty, but trust me on this one. Glitter sticks to the inside walls of the jar. No Bueno.

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Idea #5 Food

I love putting small bites into tiny jars and then serving them with little spoons (World Market). If you've attended BERNINA Club at Strawberry Patches in the past you've probably been served cheesecake, chocolate trifle, or banana pudding in a tiny glass containers. Gosh, one time I even served a class homemade tomato soup in small jars. Pinterest is full of recipes for desserts served in jars and I will link my Pinterest board here or some additional inspiration.

Oui jars are a perfect choice for serving and giving food.

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Homemade jelly can be sealed with paraffin and topped with a cupcake paper. To secure the papers I lightly brushed the rim of the jars with a little Elmer's Glue and added a twine bow.

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These would be cute as party favors. You'll have to imagine the above jar filled with candy corn. Candy corn is my nemesis so needless to say I can't be trusted buying it.

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The very simplest dessert feels extra special in tiny jars and served with demitasse spoons

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and because you have to take tiny bites you are forced to slow down and savor every delicious mouthful.

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Here are some great additional ideas from some of our girl friends that were so generous to share:

Pam Vieira-McGinnis

Pam Vieira-McGinnis AKA Pam Kitty Morning - the jar is the perfect shape for the stem of her darling mushroom pincushion.

Karen Fabec

Karen Fabec used a vintage cookie cutter for a lid to her new sugar bowl. So clever.

Ginie Lewis

Ginie Lewis - sometimes labels are just too charming to remove. HeartsI love the Asian fusion here.

MargaretPalmer

Margaret Palmer - first day of school flowers for the teacher.

Misty

Misty Cheshier - perfect. I love her addition of a charm.

 

Here is a link to my Oui board on Pinterest where you can find photos of all the ideas in my two posts.

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Thank you Yoplait for taking a chance and introducing Americans to yogurt cultured in glass pots.  You've not only introduced us to the most incredible, fresh tasting, all natural yogurt but have provided us with an endless supply of crafting supplies.  HeartsNous vous aimons pour cela!

Encourage one another,

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This post was not sponsored and all ideas, photos and opinions are my own except where noted.

Don't forget to subscribe to this blogs feed and I'd love for you to comment below. If you have questions or ideas for future blog posts please leave them in the comments. I love you guys.

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Let's Get This Party Started!

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Well, hello. Welcome to My Retired Life on the Prairie!

So much has happened over the past year and I know we will catch here up as we go along, but here's the gist: Bill and I both retired in June of 2016, sold our Bakersfield home, moved to Overland Park, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City) in July, and got a puppy at the end of October. I feel like I've spent the past year recovering from the move, dealing with multiple insurance claims, decorating our new home (we sold everything and started over) and potty training our Shih Tzu puppy, Bailey. All while trying to manage my on-going health issues. Right now I'm feeling a little like a bear just coming out of hibernation. Stress, exhaustion, frustration and sleep deprivation can drain one of any creative thoughts or inclinations. 

A few weeks ago I happened to buy a new yogurt by Yoplait called Oui. Besides being the best yogurt I've had this side of France, it came in the cutest little glass jars. When I shared it on Facebook my friends asked me what I was going to do with the empty jars. I guess you could say Oui was the yogurt that started a blog because my previously dormant creative brain started to wake up and run wild with all the fun things that I could create with those little jars and what better way to share than with a blog?!

I know a lot of people don't read blogs like they used to, I know I don't read as many as I once did, but I still enjoy staying connected and am constantly inspired by my internet friends and their creative posts. Last week I mentioned that I was thinking about blogging again and many long time friends were so encouraging. Thank you!

So,  without further ado here is Part One of my, "What to do with Those Cute Little Glass Yogurt Jars" and my very first blog post from the Prairie:

 

Let me introduce you to Oui.

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photo credit Pinterest


First off, you need to know that the yogurt is divine, but to be perfectly honest, Yoplait had me at the tiny glass jars. You may know that I'm a nut for dishes and cute unexpected ways to serve bite sized treats using cute little spoons (World Market) in cute little containers.

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I'm thinking Oui and I are going to be great friends.

 

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The first thing you'll want to do (after savoring the yummy yogurt of course) is to thoroughly wash the jars and remove all the sticky residue left from the labels. The labels peel off easily but you'll probably need to use Goo Begone, nail polish remover, or lavender essential oils to get all of the gunk off (thank you Amanda for that tip, it worked like a charm).  

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Once rinsed and dried you're ready to get creative.

Idea #1 Flower Vase

The first idea I had was some kind of flower vase. On a trip to Michael's I found these Mason Jar flower grids and they fit perfectly! (Hobby Lobby sells something similar but Michael's are less expensive - two for $1.99 and they are slightly smaller and lighter weight than the ones at Hobby Lobby so they fit the tops of the jars better).

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The grids keep the flowers in place and keep the flowers from toppling over. You need these!
 
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You'll also need to secure the grids to the top of the jars. I found these adhesive dots to do the trick. You could also tape the grids on but the dots are easily removed when you change water or flowers. See how perfectly the grid fits?

*One helpful hint is to take an empty jar with you when you go shopping for supplies. These jars are small and sometimes you think something is going to work only to get home and discover that what you bought is too big.

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Now you simply fill your tiny vases with flowers, either from your garden or from the grocery store. *Helpful hint: I found that Trader Joe's sells short stemmed bouquets for $3.99 - enough for about four jars. You end up cutting the stems off anyway so no need to pay for long stems that you don't need.

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You can tie on a ribbon or a piece of antique lace around the jar. Perfect as a teacher gift, for your manicurist, hair dresser, neighbor, office buddy

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or as a holiday gift or place setting for a shower or ladies luncheon.


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 Or you can be like me and keep them for yourself. They just brighten up any spot wherever you place them.

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You can cluster two or more jars together for a bigger impact. This cute iron tray was on sale at Hobby Lobby for $6. How cute would that be for a birthday gift? All for under $10!


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You can see the wire grid there doing its job keeping the flowers from falling out.
 

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How sweet is this as a place card holder that guests can take home? The uses and possibilities are endless and the best part is that they are so inexpensive and quick to make.

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Here's one without the grid, filled with sand and moss and a faux succulent. I love tucking these into bookshelves and cabinets for a pop of green color and a bit of texture. 

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Idea #2 Hanging Flower Vase

 

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I found these wire handles at Hobby Lobby, three for $6.99 (before coupon) and was thrilled to discover that they were the perfect size for the tops of the jars!

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Simply attach them to the tops of your gridded jars and you can hang them on a hook or knob. I found the wooden peg rack on sale at Hobby Lobby for $6.99. I thought when I bought it that I would use it here for my photos then return it (don't tell) but I loved it so much in my office that I went back to Hobby Lobby and bought the sign to go over it. I can't tell you how happy those fresh flowers hanging there near my computer makes me feel! It's the little things, right?
 
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If you look carefully you can see the wire grid there with the handle.


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(Practicing my photography here).

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If you don't want to deal with the expense of the wire hangers you can just tie twine or jute around the top of the jar and hang them on a chair,


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from a tree or garden hook. These are an unexpected way to add a festive look to a garden party.


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Idea #3 Cloche

I was just getting warmed up when I thought, what would happen if I flipped the jar over and added a knob to the top?


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Cloche!! Oh, Oui!

The knobs are sold individually at Hobby Lobby for just a dollar or two and I've also purchased some assorted packaged tiny knobs by Tim Holtz. I simply cut off the metal shank and Super Glued them to the top (or should I say bottom) of the jars. A cute cupcake stand finishes the look.

 
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The decals are Stick.A.Bilities by Paper Studio (Hobby Lobby).

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I love them because they are clear as opposed to traditional paper stickers so they allow you to see what's inside the cloche. They come in tons of styles.

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The macrons are from Trader Joe's. What party goer or birthday girl wouldn't feel special receiving one of these?


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Wouldn't it be fun to leave this on someone's desk when they weren't looking and then just stand back and watch the smiles?


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Well, that's enough for today. I hope you've seen something here that inspires you to try something using your empty Oui jars. I have several more ideas in the works and I promise to post those soon so keep eating that yogurt. Do me a favor and send me a photo on my Facebook  page of what you come up with so I can share your ideas with our little community here next time.

Love you guys and I've missed you! It feels so good to be back!

 

Encourage one another,

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This post is not sponsored and opinions and ideas are my own. 

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