Archive | December, 2012

2012 in review

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 21,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

When the chickens give you fresh eggs, make Homemade Brown Sugar Custard Egg Nog!

17 Dec

christmas tree 2012

If this is the first time you are tuning in to Seasoned with Sarcasm, I’ve got chickens. Those hens (and duck) give me eggs daily. Even with it being sporadically cold out (mother nature has our temps all over the place – 25 degrees one day, 52 the next) and it’s getting dark at literally 5:10pm, they are still producing at least 3 eggs per day. That being said, with the holiday baking all completed and us really only eating eggs on weekends, we have a plethora of eggs.

Right around Thanksgiving, I get a hankering for spiced rum spiked egg nog. Especially when I start decorating for Christmas. I’ll buy one of the cardboard cartons from the store and hubs & I will enjoy it until it’s gone. Sometimes I’ll buy a second carton. Or a half gallon. This year, while sipping on a store-bought glass of the stuff, I thought damn. Why don’t I just make my own? It certainly has to be better than the overly sweet store bought stuff. And, I mean, eggs don’t get any fresher than straight out of the nesting box that evening. So I whipped up a batch. Man, I’m glad I did. The hubs and I are really enjoying it. This is my second batch, which I have improved upon with the addition of molasses. This recipe is for a custard like egg nog. If it is too thick for your liking, add a little more milk or cream. Since it is cooked, it will last a little bit longer than its uncooked counterpart. For best quality and flavor, consume within 5 days.

Why is it called BROWN SUGAR Custard Egg Nog if there isn’t actual brown sugar IN the recipe? Because all brown sugar is white sugar mixed with some molasses. I decided to use white table sugar and add the molasses for a more concentrated flavor. Plus, I was fresh out of brown sugar from all my baking.

Feel free to use whatever type of sugar you like. Splenda, Stevia, brown sugar, raw sugar, agave nectar. Whatever floats your boat! Just remember to adjust according to what you are using. I have made this with Stevia liquid as well and it’s just as delicious. Don’t like spiced rum? Spike it with some whisky, scotch, vodka. Or leave it virgin. I like the additional spice flavor added from the spiced rum. I use The Kraken Black Spiced Rum. It’s extra dark and takes this egg nog to the next level. And every time I pour some I say “Release The Kraken!!!!”  just like Liam Neeson in Clash of the Titans.

eggnog

Homemade Brown Sugar Custard Egg Nog

serves 4

  • 2 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks, preferably fresh
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces spiced rum
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Add your eggs to a medium sized bowl (or stand mixer bowl). Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and molasses and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add your milk, heavy cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove your saucepan from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixer with the egg/sugar mix. Return everything to your saucepan and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat and stir in the spiced rum. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any thick custard like pieces of egg nog. Bottle and let chill overnight.

Serve with an additional sprinkle of nutmeg and whipped cream if desired. For a kid friendly version, skip the spiced rum.

The DIY Life: Candy Cane Salt Soak

12 Dec

We’ve got a theme going here – Candy Cane bath items. Yep. I love it. These were SO SIMPLE to whip up. I had extra so that I could enjoy them myself. Awesome! This is a thoughtful gift to give, especially around the holidays because so many of us are busy busy busy. Lifting packages, decorating, cooking. Our muscles get sore. We are tired. Epsom salts are great at relieving achy muscles. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer for dry winter skin. Peppermint and vanilla go great together. Bliss in a mason jar!

Fret not when you smell these – the smell will be very potent. You want it to be this way, because over time the smell will start to decrease. I promise it’s not overpowering when they are added to the bath. It’s a light scent that leaves your skin super soft and your body soothed and relaxed. I was able to skip my usual after bath lotion application because the coconut oil helped soften my skin!

candy cane salt soak

Candy Cane Salt Soak (Peppermint Vanilla Salt Soak)

4lbs epsom salts

2 tablespoons peppermint extract

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

4 tablespoons vanilla extract

Place your epsom salts in a large bowl. Drizzle the vanilla, coconut oil and peppermint all over the oil. Using your hands, mix up the salts until everything is nice and combined. Add to containers of your choice and decorate with a ribbon for gift giving.

To use: Add 3 tablespoons to bath water, swirling around to dissolve salt. Enjoy a long soak!

The DIY Life: Candy Cane Lip Gloss

10 Dec

This is another simple and easy gift to make for your lady friends – Candy Cane Lip Gloss. Simple, natural ingredients. I wanted this to be simple. I didn’t use any waxes – like beeswax – so it’s nice and melty when you touch it with your fingers making it easy to apply. To thicken it and make it less able to melt in your purse on a hot day, I’d recommend adding 1/2 oz of beeswax. You’ll want to heat it on the stovetop to get everything combined if you do that. If you omit the tint, it can also be utilized as a hand cream for those dry chapped areas, especially around this time of year. How big your yield is will depend on what type of container you utilize. I got a dozen little tins out of this batch.

peppermint lip balm

Candy Cane (Peppermint Vanilla) Lip Gloss

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Agave Nectar

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 teaspoon vanilla

tint (optional. I used kool-aid)

containers for gifting (I used stainless steel clear lidded tops used for favors)

Place all of your ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and heat in 15 second spurts, until coconut oil is melted. Stir well so everything is combined, and pour into containers. Let sit overnight until set. Add some ribbon and you are ready to gift it!

The DIY Life: Deco Mesh Tomato Cage Christmas Tree

3 Dec

Ever since we went from having a few tomato plants in pots to a full-scale garden, I’ve had some tomato cages laying around the yard – for years – doing nothing but letting the grass and weeds grow around them. I’ve been seeing Deco Mesh taking over all of the craft stores – everywhere you look there is SOMETHING made out of them – wreaths, flowers, snow men, ginormous bows, trees. I saw some Christmas Tree versions floating around both Pinterest and the craft stores, so I decided I’d re-purpose one tomato cage into a Christmas tree as a sort of test run. Since I am cheap and generally lazy when it comes to craft projects ( I tend to lose interest pretty fast, so it needs to be a completed project pretty quick), I wasn’t interested in doing any of the versions where you used multiple rolls of deco mesh ($7 for 1 was about all I was willing to spend!) and were twisting and tying for HOURS. So I purchased some floral wire, 1 roll of sparkly green deco mesh, a tin star and a small container of ornaments. Surprisingly, it’s a pretty simple project and doesn’t really require any particular set of skills – unless you consider using wire cutters a skill – and some time. I’d recommend wearing gloves because I tore the hell outta my hands from the floral wire ends. I used green stranded white lights for mine because I wanted the sparkle of the lights to shine through without the wires really showing. I like the end result of it so much I’ll make another one with the remaining tomato cage! Who knows where I’m going to put it, but at least it’ll be made and can be gift ready should I need it to be!

So, here is what you will need for the basics:

Tomato cage – whatever size you like

1 100 light strand

floral wire

1 roll deco mesh – 27 x 10 yards

wire cutters

tree topper – optional

small ornaments – optional

Start out by tying up the top (which is really the bottom) ends of the tomato cage making it look like a tepee. This will keep everything nice and together. For your lights – start by taking the outlet end of the lights (not the part you’ll plug into the wall!) and let it dangle into the interior of the tomato cage so it’s hidden. I secured all of my lights INSIDE the tomato cage, zigzagging back and forth and randomly securing them to the tomato cage with small pieces of floral wire. Once you have that all done, plug the light strand in so you can make sure the bulbs still all work and you didn’t knock any loose while securing them. (Believe me, it’s a bitch messing with them once that cage is covered in mesh!)

Now it’s time to secure the deco mesh. I started by making a little puff of it that I draped over the tepee top of the tree cage and then wrapped the floral wire AROUND the mesh, securing it to the cage in two places. Since the wire is visible with this method, you’ll want to be sure to drape the mesh in such a way that it covers the exposed wire.

For me it was easiest to get the mesh wrapped around the tree to the base and then go back in and secure it with wire once I had the look I was going for. While I was wrapping the mesh, I did little twists to give it some texture and depth. I had a little bit of extra mesh so I took and looped it around the base and made a sort of knot with it, stuffing any extra fabric up into the tree.

If you don’t want to add ornaments or a topper, stop here. You are done! If you do want to, secure them THROUGH the mesh to the cage to hide the wire. I basically threaded the wire through the holes in the mesh pattern and it kept all the wire hidden.

These look great inside, but are also safe to use outdoors. Since they are so light, you’ll want to anchor them so they don’t blow away.