Sunday, March 31, 2013

Leftover Ham? Make Scalloped Potatoes!

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham - Better Homes and Gardens Recipes


Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes With Ham

1/2 cup chopped onion(1 medium)
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp margarine or butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp pepper
Dash salt
1 1/4 cups milk
3 medium potatoes (1 pound)
2 cups chopped, cooked ham

  1. Grease a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish, set aside. For sauce, in small saucepan cook onion and garlic in butter till tender but not brown, Stir in flour, pepper and salt. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly.
  2. Thinly slice potatoes. Place half the slices potatoes and ham in the prepared casserole dish. Cover with half the sauce. Repeat potato, ham and sauce layers.
  3. Bake, covered, in a 350° oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake about 30 minutes more till potatoes are tender
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes: Stir in 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese into sauce mixture till melted


Source: Better Homes and Gardens

The  first Better Homes and Gardens cookbook was introduced in 1930 and has been found in America's kitchens ever since. It was in my kitchen growing up and is still the place I go to look for classic recipes as well as new ideas on those days where I just don't know what to make. I thought it would be fun to share my favorite recipes that I cook for my family and maybe try some new ones. Some of the recipes I follow may be different that those you find on the BHG website just because the BHG test kitchens are always updating their recipes to reflect changes in America's tastes, techniques, and lifestyles. Any recipes I make will be coming from Better Homes and Gardens, New Cook Book(11th and 14th Edition) and Better Homes and Gardens, Our Best Recipes. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Vintage Inspired Lace Tutu

Vintage Inspired Lace Tutu

Who says tutus have to be made from tulle? 


This vintage inspired lace tutu was made using the no-sew method out of a thrift store curtain!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Make Your Own Granola Bars!


Granola Bars

My kids love these granola bars! They are soft, with just the right amount of crispiness from the rice cereal. These granola bars can be customized with whatever add ins you can think of!

Make your own granola bars by Over The Apple Tree
Chocolate Chip Coconut Granola Bars
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the butter and honey first, then add oats, rice cereal, flour, baking soda, vanilla, and brown sugar. The easiest way to get this mixed really well is with your hands, dig in! Stir in the 2 cups assorted goodies. You can substitute or add to the chocolate chips and coconut that I use(raisins, nuts, flax seed, etc.) as long as it's about 2 cups. If I don't have rice cereal I use Cheerios! Have fun and customize however you want.
  3. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan a sheet of wax paper can help with this. Bake at 325° for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving. Store in airtight container.
**Less sugar-omit the brown sugar and increase the honey to 2/3 c.**

See how to super charge this recipe HERE with the addition of some crazy good-for-you ingredients!


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bandanna Skirt

I saw this bandanna skirt tutorial by V and CO. on Pinterest(where else?), and gave it a try! The tutorial is very easy to follow, if you can sew a straight line, you're all set. It's so fast to put together you could even do more than one! I think I see more bandanna projects in my future...stay tuned.
*UPDATE I have some really fun bandanna pants for you to check out!


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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings


Chicken and Dumplings - Better Homes and Gardens Recipes




Prep: 30 minutes      Bake: 45 minutes

2 to 2 1/2 lbs meaty chicken pieces
3 cups water
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup thinly sliced carrots(2)
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp snipped fresh parsley
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  1. Skin and rinse chicken. In large pot combine chicken, 3 c. water, onion, basil, 1/2 tsp salt, marjoram, pepper, bay leaf. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover simmer 25 minutes. Add celery, carrots and mushrooms. Return to boil, reduce heat, cover simmer 10 minutes or till chicken and veggies are tender. Remove bay leaf.
  2. For dumplings, in mixing bowl combine 1 c. flour, parsley, baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and oregano. In another bowl combine egg, milk, oil; add to flour mixture. Stir with fork just till moistened. Drop batter onto hot chicken, making 6 dumplings. Do ot drop into liquid. Return to boiling, reduce heat, cover, simmer for 10-12 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean from the dumplings. Do not lift cover while simmering. Transfer chicken, dumplings, and veggies to serving platter.
  3. For gravy, pour broth into large measuring cup. Skim fat from broth and discard fat. Measure 2 c. of broth, return to pot. Combine the 1/2 c cold water and 1/4 c. flour; stir into broth. Cook and stir till mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 more minute. Serve gravy over chicken veggies and dumplings. Yield six servings.

*I did a couple things differently: 1) I did not put mushrooms because I didn't have any and I hate them anyways 2) I added some chicken bullion to the broth because I felt it needed a little more flavor 3) Instead of removing chicken, dumplings and veggies to make the gravy, I added the water flour mixture to thicken broth before I dropped and steamed the dumplings.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens


The  first Better Homes and Gardens cookbook was introduced in 1930 and has been found in America's kitchens ever since. It was in my kitchen growing up and is still the place I go to look for classic recipes as well as new ideas on those days where I just don't know what to make. I thought it would be fun to share my favorite recipes that I cook for my family and maybe try some new ones. Some of the recipes I follow may be different that those you find on the BHG website just because the BHG test kitchens are always updating their recipes to reflect changes in America's tastes, techniques, and lifestyles. Any recipes I make will be coming from Better Homes and Gardens, New Cook Book(11th and 14th Edition) and Better Homes and Gardens, Our Best Recipes. 

Bran Muffins


Bran Muffins - Better Homes and Gardens Recipes


Bran muffins, Better Homes And Gardens recipes series at Over The Apple Tree

Prep: 10 mins      Bake: 20 mins

1 1/4 cups wheat bran or oat bran
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk
1/3 honey
1/4 refrigerated egg product or 1 egg
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 cup dried fruit-raisins, cranberries, apples snipped, apricots snipped(optional)

  1. Spray bottoms of 12 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. In mixing bowl combine bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt. Make a well in center of dry mixture.
  2. In another bowl combine applesauce, milk, honey, egg and oil. Add wet mixture to dry mixture all at once and stir till moistened. Fold in raisins.
  3. Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling each 2/3 full. Bake in 400° oven about 20 minutes or till golden. Cool on wire rack for 5 mins, then remove from cups. Yield 12 muffins.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens


The  first Better Homes and Gardens cookbook was introduced in 1930 and has been found in America's kitchens ever since. It was in my kitchen growing up and is still the place I go to look for classic recipes as well as new ideas on those days where I just don't know what to make. I thought it would be fun to share my favorite recipes that I cook for my family and maybe try some new ones. Some of the recipes I follow may be different that those you find on the BHG website just because the BHG test kitchens are always updating their recipes to reflect changes in America's tastes, techniques, and lifestyles. Any recipes I make will be coming from Better Homes and Gardens, New Cook Book(11th and 14th Edition) and Better Homes and Gardens, Our Best Recipes. 


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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Girl's Nightgown Made From Men's T-Shirts

Great Way To Upcycle Old T-Shirts

I used two men's undershirts for this peasant-style nightgown. This is for two reasons: first, it's nice to be able to reuse something that was destined to become a rag and second, I could have really messed this up and didn't want to waste money on fabric. Have I mentioned that I'm cheap? I know nothing about making clothes, but I wanted to give this a try and I really love how it turned out.

T-Shirt Upcycling by Over The Apple Tree

I didn't have a pattern to follow, pretty much made it up as I went along as you can see from my rough pattern I fashioned from scrap paper that was laying around! After I got an idea of the size and shape I would need from another of my daughter's shirts, I started cutting.


The back and front of the nightgown was cut from the backs of the t-shirts because these were v-necks and the backs had more surface area.


The sleeves I laid out and cut so that the original hem of the shirt would be the cuff of the sleeve.



Line up and pin right sides of fabric together. Sew these top seams.



Now, while still inside out, pin the bottoms of sleeves and down sides of gown. Sew together, stopping about an inch before you reach the cuff of sleeve.

OK, so I wasn't lying when I said I'm an amateur...look at this neckline! Not quite right huh? Believe it or not, I actually did this on purpose because I wasn't really sure how I was going to deal with this part and needed some wiggle room to figure it out.


 After I figured out how wide I wanted it, I cut, folded over and sewed, leaving a small opening in the back so I could insert the elastic cord. Tie off cord and sew opening close.


The gown and sleeves weren't quite as long as I wanted, so I cut strips of fabric to ruffle and attach to bottoms.


 My thinking when I used the original seam for the cuffs was to insert elastic in it. I still wanted to do this, so when I attached the ruffle for the sleeves, I sewed very close to the edge making sure there was still room to insert elastic then closed up opening.





T-Shirt Upcycling by Over The Apple Tree

I added some decorative ruffle strips in the front and that's it! My daughter calls this her princess pajamas because it looks like what the Disney princesses wear!

T-shirt Upcycling by Over the Apple Tree


For more fun tutorials go HERE

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Another Sock Creature

This is my first attempt at a sock creature. I have no idea what this is supposed to be, but whatever, it was fun to try something new. After this one I learned a few things...see my sock monkey tutorial.

So first thing to do is plan out what you want your creature to look like and how to cut up the socks.



Sew everything inside out, then turn right side out and stuff with fiber fill. You can't see in the pictures but I cut a slit in the back of the body so I could turn inside out to attach the ears with no rough seams on the outside. When I was done I just stitched it close with needle and thread.



I attached arms and legs with needle and thread, folding the rough cut edged inside so you wouldn't see them.


The heel of the sock forms the face and I decided later to add a mouth. You can see here that I used socks that were very thin and some of the fiber fill is started to creep out. Live and learn.


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Sock Monkey Tutorial

You Can Make Your Own Sock Monkey!

I thought it would be a fun project for the kids and I to make sock creatures. I saw some cool patterned socks at the dollar store(anything for a dollar is sweet!) and started looking for easy to follow patterns. There are plenty online but I also checked the library* for kid friendly project books.


I originally started to follow this really good sock monkey tutorial I found on Pinterest, but then I started to veer off in my own direction. I will say, after doing a different sock creature where I cut out then sewed pieces together, the idea of sewing first and then cutting is totally genius!

Lay your two socks like this(inside out) and press with an iron. Mark out your pattern. These are the lines you are going to cut. Sew inside the lines. When sewing the legs, leave an opening about 2 inches in the crotch. This is where you're going to stuff the filling.


Cut out all your parts, turn right side out and stuff body, legs, tail, and arms. For the ears, I didn't stuff but after they were turned right side out, I stitches inside ear with sewing machine to give a little dimension.



After I closed up the legs, I started on the face. I went across the top first, stuffed, then closed up across the bottom folding under the rough cut edges as I went.



 To attach the ears, I made a horizontal cut where I wanted them to go, then pinched the ear in half, inserted and stitched in place.


The last thing to do is attach arms and tail. Again I folded the rough cut edges inside so it would have a more clean look. Done!


Check out all our sock creations! There are no rules, this is supposed to be a fun project. If My 12 yr old son can do, it anyone can.


***As "sweet" as dollar store socks are, they are in the dollar store for a reason. They are a little thin and when I ironed this pair for the monkey they actually melted a little! If I was doing this for as gift I would definitely use better quality socks.***

Side Note: The library is one of my very favorite places! I go there at least once a week, sometimes more. If you haven't visited a public library since you were learning the Dewey Decimal System and digging through the card catalog, they have definitely changed with the times. In addition to books, my library has all the new release movies and through their website you can find eBooks, audio books, music, eLearning tools and much more. Go check yours out!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thrift Store Princess Mirror



I wanted to get a large mirror for my daughter's room for when she plays dress-up. Originally I was thinking to do something in decoden, but then I came across this fantastic mirror at my local thrift store. I know, to most people this didn't look as "fantastic" as it did to me, but the shape is what really caught my eye. When shopping in thrift stores, potential is what I'm usually looking for.


First thing you want to do is tape newspaper on the glass to protect it. In order to paint over this cheap laminate, I lightly sanded until I got most of the shine off. I then sprayed the Kilz primer and let it dry overnight. The pink paint is just one of those small samples you can get at Home Depot or Lowes. The sample sizes are really good for small projects like this, they're just a few dollars and you can pick ANY color! I did two coats of the pink and let dry overnight again. 


The gold flourishes weren't too hard. I first free handed the design on one side of mirror, then traced over it on a large sheet of paper. Flip it over onto the other side of mirror and trace the design again on the back side of the paper to transfer the original pencil mark.  After I had all my pencil marks done, I filled in with the gold paint. This metalic paint comes out looking really good, but it took 3 or 4 coats. To add more detail, I also used gold glitter dimensional fabric paint. This whole project is an exercise in patience...go slow! You don't want any air bubbles in this kind of paint and if you take your time to do it right, your less likely to have to try and clean up and redo mistakes.


Acrylic jewels are available at most craft stores, I got these ones at Walmart, found in the kids art isle(near the crayons). I attached these just with some Elmers glue. The beads are actually garland I found at Hobby Lobby during the holidays and I used a glue gun to keep in place.
After I had everything painted and glued how I wanted it, I did 2 or 3 coats of clear acrylic to seal everything in place. The princess of the house loves it!



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