Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Start a Fire with Lint

Before Blogging Throwback Thursdays is still going strong.  Click here to go to the party.

In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I'd post on How to Start a Fire for all those people who have firepits, but forgot to grab some firestarters.  We're still camping, but when we're at home and want a fire, we start them with lint.  When you have kids, you have laundry.  Never-ending piles upon piles of laundry.  When I clean out the lint trap, instead of tossing it, I shove it into an empty fabric softener or kleenex box.  When a box is full, it becomes a firestarter.  First I open both ends of the box.

I build a teepee of sticks & twigs around the box, and light both ends.

Lint lights really easily and burns like crazy, which is why it's important to vaccuum out your vent pipe occasionally.  The box of lint will burn super hot right away, and light the twigs.

Add more twigs.

Continue to feed the fire until you've started to add larger branches, and eventually logs.  Snuggle Bunny loves gathering branches from the yard.

When the box has completely burned away, and your fire is just logs, it's ready for marshmallow roasting.

Thanks for popping in and roasting marshmallows with SB.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fall off the Bone Spare Ribs

Before Blogging Throwback Thursdays is still going strong.  Click here to go to the party.

Every year we camp at Darien Lake for Memorial Day weekend.  Even though the kids still have a month of school left, it's our unofficial kickoff to summer.  I made these Fall of the Bone Spare Ribs ahead of time and froze them to put in our cooler to be warmed up over the fire.  I figure Ribs are perfect for a Memorial Day Barbecue and wanted to share it in time for anyone looking for barbecue ideas for Monday.(I wrote this post ahead, and scheduled it to launch while we're camping.)

Here's how they're made.  I scored the back side of the ribs, sprinkled on salt, pepper, and paprika on both sides, and fit them in a large roasting pan on a rack over 1 can of coke + 1/2 cup wine.  Usually I just use coke, but I failed to finish a bottle the night before, so just added it to the bottom of the pan.

I bake these at 215 for 4ish hours.  With the temp that low, there's a ton of wiggle room on timing.  If you're digging in the garden and forget, it's not a big deal.  When I pull them out of the oven, I drain the pan into a medium saucepan.  You could skim the fat, but I don't.

I added 1 cup apple butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, several turns of the pepper grinder, 1 tbsp of garlic powder, 3 tbsps apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 cup hot pepper jelly.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer it until it thickens up a bit and coats the back of a spoon.

Meanwhile slice apart the ribs.

Place them in a ziplock baggie with 2/3 of the sauce.  Let it marinate for several hours or overnight.

If it's not raining cats & dogs, throw the marinated ribs on the grill over indirect heat, but if it is monsooning outside, arrange the ribs on a rack in a roasting pan and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

Reduce the reserved sauce to a thick & gooey consistency for brushing on the finished ribs.  After pulling them out of the oven, or off the grill, brush the reduced sauce all over the ribs.

Thanks for popping in and cooking with me.  I'm linking this up to Gluten-Free Homemaker's Gluten-Free Wednesdays.
Join  us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Before Blogging Throwback Thursdays#3 - Fondant Cakes

With all the prep going into this weekend's camping trip, boy is it ever nice to be able to write a post without actually making or doing anything new.  When I posted my Swamp Monster Cake last week, there were a lot of comments and e-mails from people who had never tried working with fondant, but had always wanted to.  And to that I say - Just Do It.  Nothing could be easier.  It's just like working with play dough, except you can eat it and it tastes like candy.  I always make mine with Wilton's Liquid Glucose.  The recipe is right on the plastic tub.

You cut powdered sugar into the warm glucose & egg white or glucose & gumtex mixture with a knife,

and then knead it like a dough until smooth.

Then color it using gel colors.

Here's a few that I made Before Blogging:  A baby wrapped in a fringed blanket surrounded by toys for a baby shower cake.  The polka dots rimming the cake are fondant, too.

Poker cards and chips for a poker tournament.  The chips are colored fondant, the cards are white, but drawn on with food color markers.

Sometimes I'll just make a few fondant touches for an otherwise buttercream cake, like the rocks and tree branches for this military ambush cake(WD's birthday cake last year.)  There was a sniper at the top of the hill.

There's been bunches of other fondant cakes, but you know how it is.  You never took a gazillion pictures of everything until you started blogging.  So lets get this party started.  Grab my party button and link up something you did/made/bought before blogging.  This link will stay open for a week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Give Me a Sign

We've all seen wood burnt signs at mall kiosks and craft fairs.  The signs proudly announce family names like this one.

Everytime I come across one of those booths, I think, "We need one of those for when we go camping," but have never bought one.  For those of you who have never been camping, there's normally a wood post with the site number on it at the entrance of each campsite.  Putting out a family name sign is akin to announcing an open door policy, it says, "We're friendly and won't mind if your kids chase their frisbee through our site."  As you know, we'll be camping this weekend, and the funny thing about writing a blog is that it pushes you to complete projects that you've been wanting to do.  So along with the camping gear inventory that I've been doing this week, I also whipped this fun sign up.

I can't decide whether or not I should leave it just words or if I should burn some fishing poles or lacrosse sticks on it.  Here's where it started.  I found a scrap chunk of 2x10 in the garage.

I wanted a rustic look, so I didn't bother filling in the line of screw holes.  Instead I hit it with enough saw cuts to look like a deranged beaver had gotten a hold of it, hit it with a hammer to get some dents, and chiseled at the edges.

After a quick pass with a sanding block to take care of any splintery edges, I printed out some script and tested for size.

After cutting out the letters with an exacto knife(this would have been WAY easier with a Silhouette machine,) I traced around the insides with a sharpie marker.

I removed the paper template when all the letters had been outlined,

and pulled out my woodburning tool.  I bought this a few years ago when we made a perpetual calendar for my parents' 40th anniversary.

I outlined the letters with a detail tip,

and burned out the middles with a flat tip.  If you don't want to give yourself a nasty burn, you have to let the tool completely cool before changing out the tips.

I brushed on some cherry stain that I had on hand, and sealed it with a couple coats of spray on polyurethane.  I didn't worry about getting the stain perfectly even, because I was going for a rustic weathered look.

I needed a way to hang it from the post, and we had these safety cup hooks left from another project.  Eyescrews would have worked well, too.

I drilled pilot holes,

and hand screwed the cup hooks in.

Here she is all finished and ready for her debut camping trip.  Not bad for $0, right?  I love when I can complete a project without running out to buy anything.

Thanks for popping in and DIYing with me.  Don't forget to come back tomorrow for my Before Blogging Throwback Thursdays linkup party. SimpleTransformation ThursdayCatch a Glimpse Button