Tag Archives: holiday

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: 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.

The DIY Life: Candy Cane Sugar Scrub for holiday gift giving!

13 Nov

In the retail world, Christmas has officially arrived. There is Christmas music on the sound system, holiday decorations overflow into the aisles, holiday t-shirts are front and center. And that leaves me a little twitchy and itchy over the thought of gift giving. It’s too soon. We haven’t even made it through Thanksgiving yet. I haven’t yet decided on a home made gift to give!!! Last year it was a canister of this Homemade Laundry Detergent – it went over well and was easy to do. This year, I thought what about something pampering for the ladies? Something the boys can use too if they wanted, but it was pretty for the girls? And then while I was at the local Bath & Body Works it hit me – body scrubs! Sugar scrubs to be specific, because salt dries out the skin, and it’s winter, and we are all already dried out. Wait…maybe that’s why I got twitchy AND itchy about the upcoming holiday – because I’m all dried out!!! I searched the wonderful world of the internet and found a recipe that had a cute photo as well as the directions/ingredient list and adapted it for my use. I wanted a deep moisturizing scrub that would help cure that winter dryness we experience once the furnace is on while exfoliating all those dry flaky skin particles. I think this recipe does the trick. And it yields a nice batch – 6 1/2 pint jars, with about 1/2 a jar of leftovers for me to use myself!

I’ll be jazzing these jars up with some shimmery ribbon and a candy cane. What a cute gift that I hope the ladies will love! It takes very little time – I think I whipped this up in about 15 minutes and it’s easy on the budget.

Candy Cane Sugar Scrub

adapted from here 

Yield: 6 1/2 pint mason jars

5 cups granulated white sugar

1/3 cup olive oil

2 cups coconut oil

1 1/2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract

In a microwave safe bowl, heat the coconut oil until melted, in 30 second bursts. Once melted, add the olive oil and peppermint extract, stirring to combine. Add your sugar and mix until no dry sugar remains. Add to jars up the 1 inch head space mark. Wipe rims, add bands and voila!

If you want to do the layering effect to make it look like a candy cane, take half of your sugar mixture and add it to another bowl. Use food grade GEL food coloring – this works the best. Mix until you have a nice consistent color and then layer it in your mason jars – one layer red, one layer white, and keep going till your jars are full up to the 1 inch head space. The red layers may leave some red coloring on your skin, but it easily rinses off with some soap.

Note: Since this is an oil based scrub, you’ll want to be careful after using it in the shower since it will leave a slick film on your tub. I usually just rub the slippery areas with my foot and it’s all good.

Continue reading