Look What Mommy Made

A creative, home-made, hand-made blog

How to Make DIY Mint Syrup

DIY Mint SyrupIf you saw my post about how to get a free mint plant, than you’ll love this!

DIY MINT SYRUP!

What?! Yes! I tell you, it’s awesome.. if you like mint. You can use flavored syrups in a variety of drinks, and some are even good on ice cream or other desserts. This syrup is something I use in my iced tea, and I love it. LOVE.

It’s super simple, if you don’t think you’ll use a lot, don’t make a whole lot.

What You’ll Need:

A jar, bottle, or other clean, recycled container (I used an empty Amaretto bottle)

1/2 cup Sugar

1 cup Water

Mint

After you have a decent sized mint plant, and it’s growing wild, you can start “harvesting” it. I waited until mine started to flower. (Side note: any herb or edible plant has it’s best flavor right before flowering. You can discourage flowering by “pinching”, or cutting, off those buds, which will encourage more branching.)

All I did was take my kitchen scissors and go to town. I didn’t want to cut it back too hard, just in case our wonderful summer weather decided to heat up too much, but I had roughly 1 foot stems on the plant and I cut most of those down to roughly 6 inches. I left some stems longer, and just removed the buds, but I was also making a rather large batch!

I know that crushing the leaves and stems releases the flavor, but I just didn’t want to chop all this mint. I took it by the handfuls and just crushed it by twisting and bending it. Your hands will smell delightfully minty. As will your kitchen. If you aren’t like me, and you want to chop it up, go crazy. Chop up everything. Stems and leaves.

Making Mint Syrup

Get a decent sized pot and add your water and your sugar. If you want more, the ratio is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. This should produce a fairly syrupy product. If you want it a little thinner, you can add a little more water.

Turn the heat on medium and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, turn the heat up to med-high and look for a rolling simmer, not really a hard boil. Once you get there, let it simmer/boil for a few minutes, 2-3. (Side note: It’s SUPER IMPORTANT NOT TO BOIL THIS TOO LONG. A few minutes will do. 2-3.) turn off the heat and remove the pot.

NOW.. Throw in your mint! If you were like me and didn’t chop it up, then shove it in. Stir the syrup and make sure the mint is covered or at least wet. Cover your pot with a lid. The minty flavor oils can evaporate, so try to leave the lid in place. I know how nice it smells, but just leave it.

Leave it alone. For a while. The heat from the syrup will “cook” the mint. After oh, 10-15 minutes, go ahead a take a look inside. The mint should resemble cooked greens, like cooked spinach. It will be darker green than it was when we started. If not, stir it around again and leave it alone again.

If everything looks great, it’s time to strain the mint into our bottle. I used a coffee filter in a funnel. It’s what I had on hand! And it worked!

Making Mint DIY Syrup

Just pour everything into the strainer/filter and funnel, slowly! You don’t want to be over zealous in your excitement for that first minty iced tea and spill syrup everywhere (like me. Cough. Cough).

Once it’s all strained, just squeeze the mint, or push on it with the back of a spoon to get out any extra syrup then throw away the mint. It’s all used up.

TA-DA! You have just made minty syrupy goodness!

Mint Iced Tea

Mint Syrup to taste. I just “eyeball it”, but I’m guessing it’s close to a tablespoon per 16 oz. glass. It might be more or less, just depends on how minty you want it and how strong your tea is! 😉

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How to make DIY Applesauce

Making-ApplesauceDo you have some Ugly Apples? You know what I mean, maybe they sat on your counter or in your fridge, neglected and forgotten. Maybe they were home grown, so they aren’t all perfect and pretty.

I hate the thought of throwing out good food. (Think of those kids that don’t ever get to eat, besides the money that you’re wasting!) Well, here’s a solution for those apples that people might have otherwise thrown out. Are you ready?

Make Homemade Applesauce

..In your crockpot, no less!

I peeled..

Making Applesauce

..cut, and cored these apples into regular size pieces.

Making Applesauce

Then I added them to the crock pot with the water, sugar, and cinnamon.

Making Applesauce

I covered with the lid and turned it on to cook all day (8 hours on my machine). I was going to be home so it didn’t matter how long it took, to me.

Essentially, all you’re trying to do is get the apples mushy. Once they get there, all you need is a masher (or a fork if you only have a few apples) and mash them all up. I liked the long time, low temp method, mashing when I thought they were soft enough, then I cooked it longer. It made the house smell AWESOME. I just kept mashing until I got it to a smoothness I liked.

Voila! You’ve just made applesauce! Once you’ve made it the first time, you can always take away some of the sugar, or add more cinnamon, or take out the cinnamon, you know? Play with it a little. You won’t be disappointed!

Plus, it’s a healthier alternative to the “high fructose corn syrup” they put into regular applesauce. ENJOY!

Recipe:

7 apples (whatever kind you want. Mine were Fuji.)

1 1/4 cups water

1/4 cups sugar (add a few tablespoons of brown sugar for a darker, different flavor)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

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12 DIY Drinks for New Years

12 DIY drinksYeah, I said it. DIY Drinks. I’m cheap. lol. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the bar and having some fun, but when you’re a mom and dad and you don’t have 50$ to drop at said bar, you don’t have as much fun. So enters the “get together”.  You find someone to watch the baby and you get people to come over. I love entertaining so this is fun for me. 🙂

Since New Years is coming up, I thought this would be a great post.

12 DIY Drinks for New Year’s Eve (in no particular order)

  1. White Russian – A classic cocktail made with coffee liqueur (Kahlua), vodka and either cream or milk. I generally make it in a “lowball” or 8 oz glass filled with ice, and poured with 1 oz vodka and 1 oz coffee liqueur, topped with milk. Of course, you can play with the amounts til you like it.
  2. Wine Spritzer – wine (any wine, cheap, expensive, whatever) and sprite, or club soda or 7 up, if you prefer.
  3. Mind Eraser – Lowball glass filled with ice. 1 1/4 oz coffee liqueur (Kahlua), 3/4 oz vodka, splash of club soda.
  4. Rum and Coke – Lowball glass, filled with ice, 1 oz rum, top with coke.

    DIY Drinks and cocktails

    pictured White Russian and Rum and Coke

  5. Jello Shots – Boil one cup of water and dissolve one box of jello (whatever flavor) in it. Then add one cup of ice cold vodka. Pour in small flexible cups (for easier release) and chill. Try “Jolly Rancher”; watermelon jello and green appleschnapps. Or try “Peach Pie”; rum and peach jello.
  6. “Hot Apple Pie” shot – 3/4 oz green apple schnapps with 1/4 oz cinnamon schnapps floated on top. Best shot ever.
  7. Jager and Red Bull – fill a glass with ice and pour 1 oz Jagermeister and topped with Red Bull.
  8. Beachcomber -1 1/4 oz Vodka, 1/4 oz Coconut Rum, 1/2 oz pineapple juice, 1/4 oz orange juice, serve in a martini glass.. or whatever.
  9. Death by Chocolate -1 oz vodka, 1 oz Creme De Coco, 1 1/2 oz cream, 3 scoops chocolate ice cream, blend with ice and pour in a glass.
  10. Screwdriver – 1 oz vodka, top with orange juice. Another one that you can play with until you like it.
  11. Black Russian – Nearly the same as a White Russian, only you leave out the cream or milk. 1 3/4 oz vodka, 3/4 oz Kahlua. Stir.
  12. Mimosa – 3 parts champagne to 1 part orange juice. (Like 3/4 cup champagne to 1/4 cup orange juice.)

For those of you that aren’t sure, 1 oz is equal to one shot glass. I tried to keep this list down to a simple list of alcohol, because if you’re like us, you may not have the ability to actually go out and buy everything you need for all the “coolest” drinks.

I hope you all have responsible fun!

Happy New Years! 🙂

-Roxanne, LWMM

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5 Childhood Dishes You Should Never Forget

I was looking through my cabinets the other day, realizing I had nothing really to make for lunch. Admittedly, I had bread and sandwich

Beanie Weenies

Beanie Weenies. Image from mommyskitchen.net

makings. I had Ramen noodles. I had peanut butter. Jelly. But nothing sounded good. None of it was appetizing. I was going through the fridge and found some hot dogs that had been opened, sitting in a Tupperware. Then it hit me, “Beanie Weenies!”
As I was eating, I thought this would make a great blog post. I started thinking of a conversation I had with some friends not long ago about the various crazy things you put together as a kid just to eat. Especially when you’re poor. :/
Mac and Cheese, Hot Dogs, Corn Dogs, Fish Sticks. These are all things you ate as a kid. Now here are some things you most likely ate as well, and should never forget about, just in case you wind up in the kitchen trying to figure out something to eat, like me.

5 Childhood Dishes

  1. “Beanie Weenies” – Good ol’ pork and beans, brown sugar, and hot dogs, cut up. YUMMY. Just a little sweet and filling! And CHEAP.
  2. Bologna and Cheese Roll-ups – I don’t know about you, but I ate these all the time. Sliced cheese and slices of bologna rolled up together and eaten. Another Cheap thing to eat, especially on the go! And to make it grown up, trade the bologna for turkey or ham!
  3. Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese! – Pretty straight forward! Sometimes, I eat my soup with what my husband calls a “hot sandwich”. I use miracle whip, cheese, and those .50 cent packages of honey ham, turkey, or chicken. Then cook it like a grilled cheese! YUM! This is my favorite meal.
  4. Ramen Noodles! – Oh, this never goes away (especially when you’re broke.. or too lazy to make something better!). We keep the house stocked with Ramen noodles because they really are so versatile. I use the spicy chicken and creamy chicken flavors together (splitting them with someone most of the time!), add 1-2TBSP peanut butter, 1TBSP soy sauce, 1TBSP minced garlic, a little lime juice (like 1tsp) and voila! You have a makeshift pad thai! (stir together sauce ingredients beforehand to make it easy. The PB likes to stick to noodles.)
  5. Malt-O-Meal – Okay, I’m not sure who else eats this, but I still do. I grew up with chocolate malt-o-meal for breakfast. We added a little milk and sugar and it was super yummy, especially when it was cold. I still eat this on occasion, and still love it. 🙂

There you have it. I love just thinking about these dishes because they bring back memories. I hope you guys enjoy some of your own and share them with me! 😀 I’ve got kids now and would love the ideas! 😉

-Roxanne, LWMM

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“Easiest Corndogs Ever”

Easiest Corndogs - not my image!So, a lazy day I was searching on Pinterest and happened across a pin that I thought would be A-w-e-s-o-m-e. It was a pin for the “easiest corndogs ever”. Essentially, jiffy cornbread in a muffin tin with hot dogs cut into bite sizes, shoved in the middle, and baked.

When I looked at the source site for this pin, I was sad to see it was only an image, with no real recipe or blog attached to it. So I figured I would try it. It couldn’t be that hard. So I got to it:

My two boxes of jiffy, corresponding quantity of eggs, milk, hot dogs, and muffin paper cups.

I filled the tin with paper cups, preheated my oven at 400 and added my jiffy ingredients to a bowl. I whisked it up and filled my paper cups (12 muffin tin cups,about 3/4 full).

I cut three hot dogs into thirds, to fit in the middle of each muffin, then just pushed them into the middle of the raw mix.

I baked them for about 15 minutes (they were just starting to brown a little bit on the edges.)

Now, to my delight, they turned out looking pretty perfect. Not exactly like my pin, but close enough. I was super excited to try them. My husband, whom hates “Yankee cornbread” (the yellow, sweet kind.. Which to my knowledge is considered “southern”, and “Yankees” were the northern statespeople.. But I love my dear husband, so I try not to think about it too much. 😉 ), tried them first. He said there was too much “muffin”.

When I ate one, unfortunately, I agreed. I love jiffy, but for this particular experience, I was expecting something a little different. My husband suggested slicing the hot dogs up next time, although he was skeptical about eating them again (he’s oh-so-picky about food).

Once you actually get to the meat, the combination is really close to a corndog, and exactly what I had expected to taste, but there’s just SO much muffin!

I aim to try these again, and take hubby’s suggestion. They definitely need more hot dog. 🙂

If you try these, let me know! Or if you have any suggestions, I’m always looking for kid/teen friendly, car-friendly or crock pot-able, easy meals for our trips to Oklahoma City twice a month or so!

-Roxanne, LWMM

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Recipes Using Nutella

Okay, I won’t lie. I only just recently discovered the magical taste of the hazelnut spread known as “Nutella”. Shock! Gasp! Disbelief! I know. How dare I wait so long! Well, now I have ideas to share, friends! Recipes using Nutella! Oh, I’m sure there are plenty out there, but these were a few my husband (another recent convert, via me) came up with as we sat and enjoyed the spread as a dessert. 🙂 Enjoy!

5 easy recipes that use Nutella

  1. No Cooking Required Nutella S’mores! – Want S’mores without the fire (or microwave)? Spread Nutella on one graham cracker square, and marshmallow cream on another. Squish together and Voila!
  2. Nutella Icing – just use Nutella on your cupcakes for a decadently rich treat 🙂
  3. Nutella Crepes – dish up some crepe pancakes and spoon a bit of Nutella down the middle. Roll them up, and serve!
  4. Okay, this one doesn’t use Nutella, but.. Homemade Nutella! – Check out this Pin on Pinterest for homemade Nutella!
  5. 4 Ingredient Nutella Brownies – These only use 4 ingredients!

(Did you know there was a World Nutella Day?)

And there you have it! 5 recipes that use Nutella! If you have any more ideas, or have tried any of these, let me know about it in the comments!

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Homemade Chocolate Syrup!

So, by now, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ve heard about my non-existent budget. Well, like most people, my husband and I like to have chocolate ever-so-often. In fact, it led me on my search for cheap and easy chocolate recipes, like the Recipes in a Mug and my absolute favorite quick and easy, one-pan chocolate brownie recipe, ever.

Well, I just happened to find this recipe while searching on a coupon website. It’s great for chocolate milk and all the other lovely things that you can make with Chocolate Syrup!

So here it is,

How to Make Chocolate Syrup!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla

Mix cocoa and water in a decent sized saucepan (to be safe, use a large one!).  Heat it up and stir it to dissolve the cocoa.  Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve it, too.  Boil this mixture for 3 minutes over medium heat, but be careful not to let it get too hot and boil over (which it will do very easily if you aren’t careful!)  Turn off the heat and add the salt and vanilla. Let it cool completely (which can take a few hours, honestly) and then pour it into a glass jar, or use a funnel to pour it into a recycled plastic container to pour from. 😉

Voila! You have just made chocolate syrup!

It will thicken in the fridge some, and it’s runny when its still warm, so don’t worry about any of that too much! 🙂

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We’ve used it over ice cream, in milk, and over brownies! It has been great and its cheap and easy to make!

ENJOY!

-Roxanne, LWMM

To give credit where its due: recipe was found here.
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Homemade Clumpy, Crunchy Granola Recipe

We love granola at my house and I really wanted to share my recent recipe for making crunchy, clumpy granola. It was so good! I was thinking about giving some away at Christmas. Anyway, on to the good stuff!

What You’ll Need:

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

4 cups dry ingredients (such as cereal, coconut flakes, flax seed, etc. I used cheerios and grape nuts)

3/4 cup maple syrup (I used a little honey in with this)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 egg white

 

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, cereal (or other dry ingredients), maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Whisk an egg white in a small cup until it looks foamy. Stir the egg white into the granola.
  3. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
  4. Take the granola out of the oven and let it cool COMPLETELY, preferably overnight, uncovered.
  5. When the granola is completely cool, break up into clumps, and keep in an airtight container for storage. If you think it will last that long!

This is a seriously yummy recipe! And it makes quite a bit! Enjoy!

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Make Your Own Vanilla Drink Syrup

Okay, this is not original, but I never said everything I wrote about would be! Have you ever had that vanilla drink and wanted to make it at home? Its ridiculously easy. My husband and I really liked the Vanilla Iced Coffees at McDonald’s and in my efforts to save money, I looked up copy cat recipes. I found one that worked perfect, which I will share at the end of this post! 🙂

First, all you need – are you ready for this? – is

How to Make Your Own Vanilla Syrup

How to Make Your Own Vanilla Syrup

  • Vanilla Extract
  • White Sugar
  • Water

OMiGosh! Easy right? Yeah, that easy. Okay, so what do you do with those ingredients?

Pour 1 cup water and 2 cups white sugar into a small pot stir until the sugar dissolves. Begin boiling the mix and continue boiling for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla Extract. Allow to cool before pouring it into a container for keeping in the fridge.

I used a washed olive oil bottle with a lid. Poured it in with a funnel and everything. Apparently, its supposed to last in the fridge for about 2 weeks, but I haven’t had it in the fridge for that long to find out one way or another. The syrup can be used for teas, lemonade, pop, whatever you want.

How to Make Your Own Vanilla Syrup

How to Make Your Own Vanilla Syrup

Now.. for that recipe I spoke about. Let me warn you, its not healthy. Not in the slightest. I never said this was a diet blog. 😛

Copy Cat McDonald’s Vanilla Iced Coffee

1/4 cup Half and Half
1/4 cup Vanilla Syrup
16 oz (two cups) ice
1 cup of coffee

Pour the ice into a big cup. Pour the syrup and half and half over the ice. Finish by pouring in the coffee and mix it up. That’s it!

You could even make up a batch of the syrup and the half and half in a jar or tupperware to keep in the fridge, pre-measured. I thought about giving away the syrup in jars with bows, too. If I do, I’ll post about it. 😉

Enjoy your vanilla drinks!

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