All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Monday, December 3, 2018

Cranberry Juice

Why make your own cranberry juice?  Well, sometimes it can be hard to find cranberry juice that hasn't been sweetened with corn syrup (I hate the thought of drinking anything sweetened with a GMO corn product!!), plus it's just fun to make your own juice!  And, now that I've switched over to using a steam canner, it's quick and easy, and you can make just a few jars vs. a whole canner full.  If you can find cranberries on sale after the holidays, you're in luck!  This is basically the same method I use to make my Home-Canned Grape Juice.

Source:  adapted from Jill Luzier and Mennonite Country-Style Recipes

Wash cranberries thoroughly; drain.  
Place 1-1/2 c. cranberries and 1/3 c. sugar in each quart jar.  
Fill with boiling water, leaving 1/2" headspace; stir to dissolve sugar.  
Add lids, tighten and process 15 minutes in boiling water bath.  
When ready to serve, strain into pitcher, discarding cranberries.

Note:  Wait at least 4-6 weeks before opening to allow flavor to develop.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Salted Caramel Pretzel Fudge

If the words "salted caramel" appear, you know it has to be good!

3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 T. butter
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped pretzels
25 soft caramel candies, unwrapped
2 T. heavy cream
1/4 t. sea salt
25 whole mini pretzels, for garnish
Sea salt, for garnish

Line an 8x8" baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal.  Lightly grease the bottom and sides and set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.  Add chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk.  Stir until combined.  Place bowl in microwave and heat for 1 minute on high.  Remove from microwave and stir to combine.  If needed, heat an additional 15-30 seconds.  Stir until chips are completely melted and chocolate is smooth.  Stir in vanilla extract and chopped pretzels.

Place caramels and heavy cream in large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 20-30 second increments, stirring well after each increment, until the caramel is melted and smooth.  Stir in 1/4 t. sea salt.

Add half of the fudge to the prepared baking pan and smooth it out with a spatula.  Add the caramel and spread evenly over the fudge with a spatula.  Add the remaining half of the fudge and spread it out evenly over the caramel.  Top with pretzels and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Place the fudge in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours, or until the fudge is solid enough to cut into squares.  (I like to chill it overnight.)  Cut fudge with a hot, wet knife.  Fudge will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yield:  25 pieces of fudge

Monday, December 26, 2016

Pomegranate Guacamole

Photo credit:
At my birthday celebration at Houlihan's restaurant earlier this month, my nephew ordered Pomegranate Guacamole.  When it came time for him to select a recipe for his contribution to our family's Christmas dinner, it was no surprise that he asked if we could try making it.  This recipe was delish and tasted just like the restaurant's version; I'm guessing we'll be featuring it again next year!

2 large avocados, peeled and pitted
1 c. pomegranate seeds
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. chopped green onion
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 serrano chile pepper, minced (optional)
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Mash avocados in a bowl.  Stir pomegranate seeds, cilantro, green onion, lime juice, serrano chile pepper, salt, and pepper into mashed avocado until well mixed.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Upcycled Scarves

You can read more about this special project here.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Christmas Crack

I'm beginning to realize why this recipe is called "Crack"!  This is all that was left after I took a batch  to my quilt group's All-Day-Sew today!

Here's the recipe (adapted from

Saltine crackers (1 sleeve plus a few more)
2 sticks of butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 bag milk chocolate chips (I usually use semi-sweet)
nuts, sprinkles, or M&M's (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line cookie sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil.
Cover cookie sheet with a single layer of crackers.
Bring butter and brown sugar to a biol, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat; add vanilla extract.
Pour mixture over crackers, then bake for 6 minutes.
Remove from oven; pour chocolate chips on top of crackers.
Allow chocolate to soften for a minute or two, then spread evenly over top of crackers.
Add nuts, sprinkles, or M&M's on top of melted chocolate if desired.
Cool, then refrigerate.  Once it has hardened, break up into bite size pieces.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Healthy (for the most part!) Energy Bites


1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 c. ground flax seeds
1/3 c. honey
1 t. vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  Form into balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat.  You can eat them at room temperature, but they are best eaten when cold.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Merry-Christmas-and-Happy-Birthday-to-Me Shopping

After my mom died over ten years ago, my dad was great about picking up my mother's role of sending birthday and Christmas cards, and mailing me a modest but generous check each birthday and each Christmas in place of the gifts my mother would have purchased for me.  But once my dad passed away, suddenly there was a void at both of those holidays for me.  I used to look forward to receiving both of those checks every December, and I always used them "For Fluff", as that was the wording my dad always included on the memo line of the checks.  It was so fun shopping for myself without any guilt!

So, to fill that empty hole and to help keep the memories of my father fresh and alive in my heart, I instituted my own annual Happy-Birthday-to-Me and Merry-Christmas-to-Me shopping tradition several years ago.  I know it sounds incredibly selfish and full of commercialism at first glance, but for me it is a very, very special tradition.

This year's selection?

Several books I've been wanting to read as well as some quilting books (what's Christmas without a few quilting books?!!):

Quiet by Susan Cain - I checked this book out of the library at the recommendation of several friends.  It's a very, very slow but fascinating read.  After renewing it a number of times, returning it, then checking it out again, only to  make it one fourth of the way through the book, I decided it was cheaper to buy the book than keep paying the library fines!  Even though I love people, I'm a true introvert at heart, and it's been really enlightening to read my thoughts in a book.

Tox-Sick by Suzanne Somers  - Even though it makes me nuts to admit that I want to read a book by Suzanne Somers (even the cover bugs me!), I've heard really good reports about this book, and I do know that she is on the right track with a lot of her research and writing.  She talks about coffee enemas in this book (sorry to mention such a subject in this post, but I've heard some amazing feedback from people who have had the courage to give this crazy procedure a try!!).  I'm eager to read it!

Quilting on the Go by Jessica Alexandrakis - This is a great book on portable quilting projects and where I first heard the term "quilting in public" - don't you love it?!  In fact, it makes me want to gather some friends together and meet in public to stitch together for the next "World-Wide-Quilting-in-Public Day" on June 20 (I think that's the date!).

Sara Feilke's Quilting from Little Things -  I love Sara Fielke....  I love her approach to quilting - to slow down and do more hand stitching, to savor the process vs. rushing through it.  I had the chance to meet her this summer at the Sister's Outdoor Quilt Show and see several of the quilts in person that are featured in the book.  So, this book was immediately placed on my Christmas Wish List when I got home.  :)

Pentatonix's FABULOUS Christmas CD - love, LOVE, LOVE it!!!!

And, some baking helps (items I realized I could have used in the midst of my annual Christmas Cookie baking marathon!):

A "pancake pen" - I never even knew such a thing existed!  I plan to use it for distributing the chocolate batter into all those tiny cupcake holders when baking my Black Bottom Cupcakes; it should make that process a breeze.

A Flex Edge Beater for my KitchenAid mixer.  I've been wanting one of these forever.  The flexible edge is much more effective at scraping the sides of your mixing bowl than the standard beater.  

And last, these plastic tubs are perfect for bread dough - the marks on the sides of the containers allow you to tell me your dough has doubled in volume.

I'm thrilled with my purchases!  :)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Pillowcase Spirit

I'm always slow at getting into the Christmas spirit.... Hopefully breaking out this Christmas pillowcase will help me get into gear! 

I love this fabric!!!!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Yes, I did....

I added these chicken feet to my batch of chicken broth today.  Yes, I did!  Even though I felt like an old hag hunched over a huge pot of broth, stirring and tending my secret recipe, it was totally worth it - I ended up with the most beautiful batch of gelatinous chicken broth ever!

Click here for the recipe.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Found you!

I've been looking for dried cannellini beans for forever, so I was even more thrilled when I found organic ones at the little natural food store next to Expresso Yourself Cafe in Newport.  I  happened to be there last night with a group of friends for their monthly Farm to Table dinner - so fun!

Found some other goodies as well!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kale's Glory Days

Today's Harvest

This Tubtrug colander works great for rinsing off my root vegetables!  I've been wanting one for a long time, and finally purchased it at the Philadelphia Flower Show this spring.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Last of the Jalapeno Poppers

This is the end of the Jalapeno Poppers for this season!

(I forgot to leave the stems on - they look much better when you do that, plus it makes them easier to handle when eating!)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fort Hunter Day 2015

You can read about what I was up to today here!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Remembering Rose

My dear friend Rose passed away two years ago this very day.  At the last minute, we felt inspired to gather a group of her friends together and do a Rose-style potluck meal down along the Conestoga River, complete with china, tablecloths, flowers and candles - exactly the kind of event  Rose might have orchestrated and delighted in. 

(I think my Dad would have been pleased that we dined on his mother's lovely china....)

What a beautiful, lovely, special evening!

God prepared the way for us by arranging for perfect weather, a lovely available picnic spot, and open schedules for ten of Rose's friends and family members to gather together.  He even arranged a perfect assortment of delicious food - we couldn't have come up such a fabulous menu even if we had tried!

The food was simply amazing....  

I so wish Rose could have joined us, but we could feel her presence in so many ways; 
her legacy lives on in our hearts!