Friday, March 30, 2012

Twine and Moss Basket for Easter

I was at a dollar store browsing their Easter items when I saw a nice, normal, standard basket that my son could use for Easter.  Plus, BONUS, it came in green!  His favorite color.

As I was looking at this wonderfully plain green dollar store basket, I got an itch to do something special with it.  I happened to have some moss and twine left over from a gorgeous "Feather the Nest" shower that we threw last month, so I broke out the glue gun and got started.

Sheet moss, jute twine, glue gun, scissors and a basket

I started at the bottom, because I didn't want to run out of twine before I reached the bottom, had I started from the top.  And I knew I wanted the moss to rim the top, so I thought it'd be safest to start from the bottom and work my way up.  I plopped down some glue and pressed the end of the twine down until it was firmly adhered to the basket.

Applying glue every inch or so, I pressed the twine along the previous row and pull down and hold until set (just a few seconds or so).

I finally had enough twine wrapped around the basket, leaving room for the moss edge.  I clipped the twine and glued it on.  Then I cut strips of moss. 

I slightly dusted off the back of the moss and used LOTS of glue applied to the basket, and pressed the strips of moss onto the basket. 

Once the moss was applied, I noticed that A LOT of the green from the original basket was showing, so I took some leftover twine and glued it onto the rim of the basket until they held.

Ah, much better...

Then I looked for bare spots in the moss, and tore off pieces of similar shaped moss to glue on and patch it up with.

Bare spot

Bare spot, covered with moss
Now for the inside of the basket.  I knew that I wanted moss on the bottom of the basket, but I didn't like how it looked on the sides, so I rummaged around and found some feathers to line it with. 

Again, lots of glue on the basket, pressing down the feathers until they stick.

Then I cut out some moss from the sheet into an oval shape and glued it to the bottom of the basket.  I also didn't like how the green on the handle showed, so I glued twine to the top of the handle, as well. 

And voila!

Add eggs and you'll be all set for Easter!  

After Easter, it might look good on my mantle, too!

I'd love to see what you've created for Easter!  Please leave a comment and/or a link!

Happy Easter!  

I've linked up to the following linky parties: "Nest of Posies" Spring Week Linky Party
Home Stories A2Z
Come see all the fabulous spring creations!!  


Monday, March 19, 2012

Making Vegetable Broth from Scraps

Back in November, I saw a little blurb in my Martha Stewart Living magazine that mentioned making a homemade vegetable broth by saving your vegetable scraps in a freezer gallon bag.  Over the course of a few weeks or months you will have enough scraps to make your own broth!


THIS I had to try.

I've made chicken broth before, using both bones and chopped veggies for the base.  It really is very easy, and so good.  Every time I make it, I'm always asking myself, why don't I make this all the time!?  Well, this time, instead of using my regular whole veggies for the vegetable broth I used all of the clean (as in, scrub your potatoes and carrots before peeling) vegetable scraps that I'd been collecting to make the broth, which would have otherwise ended up in the trash.

Any and all veggies are welcome.  The best part of making your own vegetable broth is that you only use the veggies that your family likes!  I have a picky husband so I'm always finding myself reading the contents list on the cans of broth when I'm in the store.  Searching for all of the vegetables that my husband doesn't like, and more often than not, they are listed!  So, obviously, if you make your own, from your own scraps, it will be custom made for your family because you would only use the scraps of veggies that your family eats! 

I even dump the surplus veggies, that we didn't go onto our plates, into the scrap bag. 
To get started, pull out a gallon sized freezer ziplock bag and mark it "Veggie Scraps" and date it.  Then it's as easy as collecting the scraps of veggies into the bag every night when you would have them with dinner, and so instead of throwing them into the trash, you would just add them to your scrap bag.

The possibilities are endless!  My bag consisted mostly of carrots, onions, celery, garlic, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, peas, broccoli, zucchini and squash.  Yes, a tad boring.  This is mostly because of my husband's aversion to most veggies.  I would love to add bell pepper, mushroom, cauliflower, asparagus, and on and on.

Keep doing this and then over the next few weeks or months, your scrap bag will be full!  I dropped my frozen veggie scraps to a stock pot. Filled it with water almost to the top, then added some pepper and a bay leaf or two. Cover and bring to a boil.


Once it starts boiling, lower the flame to bring down to a simmer, then simmer the broth for about 4 hours, uncovered, until almost 1/2 of the liquid boils down.  This concentrates the flavor.

Once it was cooked down I took a strainer, covered it with cheesecloth, put it over another pot, and strained the broth, then let cool and discarded the scraps.  If you have a compost pile you can dump them there, too.

I would have like to have strained it through a fine mesh strainer, but I didn't have one.  This method seemed to work out well, though it wasn't a super clear broth.

Then I measured out 1 & 2 cup portions and bagged them up in labeled sandwich baggies.  It made enough for 8 cups, plus almost two full ice cube trays.  

I've read that glass canning jars are ideal for freezing stock, but be sure to leave an inch or two at the top to allow for expansion when freezing.

I also made broth ice cubes using baby food freezing trays and made veggie broth cubes for cooking with later.    

I laid the bags flat in a rectangle cake pan until they froze into a nice flat shape, once frozen you can arrange them in your freezer as you wish.

Once the ice cubes are frozen, you can dump them into a freezer bag and pull them out individually to use in your cooking whenever your recipe calls for broth or your dish needs a bit of extra flavor.  My hubby likes to cook chicken with the broth, cooking it down to intensify the flavor.  You can also use the broth to steam your vegetables with.  One of the great things about making your own vegetable broth is that it's practically sodium and fat free! 

While researching "veggie scrap broth" on some other blogs and saw this roasted veggie scrap method that I'd love to try next time I make my broth; it's called the "Flavor Booster" tip from Aimée, at

The Flavor Booster:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss scraps and garlic lightly with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and place in a shallow roasting pan.
Roast for 20-30 minutes (depending on size and variety of scraps) until caramelized, but not charred in any way.
Transfer roasted vegetables to a large pot and cover with cold water.
Add bay leaf and peppercorns and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce temperature to medium and simmer stock for one hour.

I hope you try saving your scraps and make amazing vegetable stock for your own cooking!  I would love to hear how it turned out!  The best part of it is that you won't have to buy store bought broth ever again!

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