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arrow notecard by ashley pahl

Over the last year, I’ve enjoyed this wonderful opportunity to share my projects with the Going Home to Roost community. This wasn’t an easy decision to make, but as I find my life’s path pointing in a new direction, I must say goodbye as a contributing writer.

I don’t know for sure yet where this new path is taking me. It occurred to me recently that to have anything else worth writing about, I must first get out there and experience more of the world. I want to start a vegetable garden, take some art classes, travel with my daughters… there’s so much on my life’s to-do list that remains unchecked. There is so much of the world I have yet to explore.

If you’d like to stay in touch, I do plan to document some of my journey on my personal blog, but I will most certainly be coming back to Going Home to Roost as a loyal reader. For today I leave you with this quote, which will hopefully inspire you as it inspired me:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

- Mark Twain

Warm wishes, and thank you all for a wonderful year!

Ashley

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ashley pahl paper goods

November 11, 2011

Posted in handmade

ashley pahl

i’m pretty sure you all know our fab contributor ashley pahl, but did you know she was an amazing paper craftster as well? over at her shop, you’ll find just the cutest handcrafted papercuts and block printed stationery sets. i especially love this one!

ashley pahl elsewhere: {blog} {etsy} {facebook} {twitter}

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diy I’ve been having a lot of fun lately experimenting with chalkboard paint. As one who loves to organize things, it’s too tempting to turn everything into a writable surface, from glass, wood, walls, paper, and more. These are some small-scale projects that can be done in a couple of hours. For all projects you must follow these steps for painting:

Paint two coats an hour apart, one layer horizontally, the other vertically. After painting the two coats, let the project dry completely for 24 hours. Lightly shade the entire dried surface with a piece of chalk, and then erase it. The chalkboard surface is now ready for use!

Bonnie has also posted in the past about creating custom DIY chalkboard colors, have you seen it?

First I made a mini desktop chalkboard, perfect for little notes or ideas. To do this project you will need:

  • a picture frame
  • chalkboard paint
  • a paintbrush
  • wood veneer, cardboard, or thick card stock

Cut the wood veneer down to fit in the picture frame. Sturdy card board or card stock will also work for this project. Follow the directions for painting above. Once veneer has been dried and conditioned with chalk, just pop it in the frame, and it’s ready to go!

Next, I went a step further and painted the inside of a cabinet. I’ve always wanted a little place to leave notes in the kitchen, especially in my baking and spice cabinet. As another wood surface, I followed the same directions for painting with chalkboard paint above.

My next favorite project has been to paint little clothespins with chalkboard paint. These are a wonderful way to organize papers, coupons, stamps, bills, invitations and RSVPs, etc. They can be perched up on a wire or string on a wall; backed with magnets for the fridge; hot glue thumbtacks on the back for cork boards; or, just left out on the desk to organize, like I do.

http://www.goinghometoroost.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/rsz_diy_with_indie_pretty_projects.jpg

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

 

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Posted in cooking ideas

homemade baby food

Even the youngest members of the family can eat well, simply. I have two toddler girls, and with the first, we used store-bought purées, but the expense really added up, not to mention all of the single-serving containers it comes in. For my second daughter, I decided to give homemade baby purées a go.

For those worried that the process is too time-consuming for someone with an infant (and I get that), just know that it really only takes about half an hour for a week’s worth of baby food. Not only will this save you money, but it will reduce waste, and you’ll know exactly what your baby is eating.

you will need:

  • fresh or frozen fruits and veggies
  • a microwave-safe bowl or medium sauce pan
  • a blender (or food processor if your baby is old enough for chunkier purées)
  • ice cube trays
  • freezer bags for storing purée cubes
  • small, air-tight containers for storing food in the fridge that will be eaten in 1-3 days
  • utensils (knives for slicing & chopping; a spatula for scraping the blender)

In this tutorial, I’m making puréed peas and apples.

homemade baby food

Steam or microwave your veggies until they’re they’re soft. Fruits, such as apples, do not need to be pre-cooked, but it does help to microwave them with a couple of tablespoons of water for a minute or two. Place about 16 ounces of fruits or veggies in a blender or food processor, blending until as smooth as possible.

homemade baby food

Next, scoop the purée into the compartments of an ice cube tray for freezing. When frozen, you can pop the cubes out, and keep in a large freezer bag. Simply remove a couple of cubes from the freezer about 12 hours before the baby’s meal, and let thaw in air-tight containers in the fridge; alternatively, you can take a few cubes out right before a meal, and thaw them in the microwave. This allows you to make a large batch of baby food a week or two ahead of time, and not risk the purée going bad.

homemade baby food

There is a great guide to freezing, storing, and thawing baby food on WholesomeBabyFoods.com. They are a great authority on puréeing, freezing, and thawing baby foods, with guidelines such as:

  • Baby food can be stored in the freezer for 3 months, maximum
  • Baby food can be stored in the fridge for 48 hours, although some argue that 72 hours is okay
  • Baby food thaws best in the fridge overnight
  • Some baby foods don’t freeze as well as others

They also have lots of baby food recipes, purée guides, and menu planners – highly recommended!

 

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

 

 

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a note from bonnie! happy monday, lovelies! since ashley pahl’s drink recipes have been such a huge hit, i’m very excited to share with you today that she’s coming on board as a weekly contributor- this time for a weekly diy project! to learn more about her (and just how adorably-sweet she is) make sure to head on over to her blog, indie pretty projects and check out her lovely etsy shop as well. now, won’t you join me in a big warm welcome for her?

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lemon poppy seeds

I’ve been cooking a lot more lately, and I’ve just started to realize how expensive real vanilla extract is – almost $4.00 for one ounce! Long ago I saw a recipe for DIY vanilla extract, and it’s amazing how easy and cost effective it is – it came out to $1.01 per ounce! This would be even cheaper if you bought ingredients in bulk.

ingredients

1 vanilla bean

3 ounces of vodka

air-tight container

directions

Starting 1/2″ from top of vanilla bean, slice length-wise down the bean, and stop 1/2″ from bottom of bean. fold bean in half, and place in air-tight container. Fill the container to the top with vodka. Store in a dark place for two months, when it is ready to use. Shake occasionally.

Glass containers with corks would work perfectly – I used a plastic, screw-top bottle I picked up at Hobby Lobby. Handmade vanilla extract makes a fantastic gift – even after the extract is used up, the bottle with the bean still in it can be re-filled with vodka to make extract again.

My extract started out clear as vodka, but within two days it has already darkened some – I can’t wait to try it out in a couple of months.

Have you tried making your own vanilla extract before? How did it turn out? Have you tried making any other kinds of extract for cooking?

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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Posted in handmade

Since Spring is just around the corner, it seems right to try out a frozen drink. Building off the Vanilla Bean Latte recipe is the Vanilla Frappuccino – a deliciously frozen blend of coffee, ice, and sweetness. Serves two.

ingredients

2 cups crushed ice

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup vanilla syrup

6 oz chilled espresso for a bold flavor, or 1 cup chilled, double-strength coffee

directions

I find it helps to crush the ice in a blender, first. Next, add the milk, vanilla syrup, and coffee. Blend on low speed just until it’s thoroughly mixed. Pour into two glasses, and top off with whipped cream, if you wish!

Want to try different flavors? Instead of milk, use 1/2 cup vanilla or chocolate silk (soy milk). For plain, coffee flavor with sweetness, switch the vanilla syrup for 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty project Ashley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titledEtsy shop.

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hot cocoa mix with ashley pahl

February 14, 2011

Posted in handmade


I first made this hot cocoa mix over the holidays, and it was a huge hit. I know I will never buy hot cocoa packets again. It’s easy to make a big batch of this mix, and keep it on hand for when you’re craving a warm mug. The best part is that the powdered milk can be switched out for powdered soy milk, to accommodate vegans or those with allergies.

The marshmallow hearts idea came from Martha Stewart – great for Valentine’s Day!

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown

ingredients

2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
2 1/2 cups powdered milk (or powdered milk substitute)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Hot water

directions

Place all ingredients into a large bowl; mix well. Store in an air-tight container. To make one serving: fill a mug with 1/3 cup of homemade hot cocoa mix. Fill the rest with hot water.

To make heart marshmallows: simply cut large marshmallows in half, and use a greased mini heart cutter to punch out the centers. Perfect!

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty project Ashley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titledEtsy shop.

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Posted in handmade

salted caramel latte with ashley pahl
 
This recipe is similar to the vanilla latte, but features an extra special, homemade caramel syrup. Other recipes that I found during research required first making a vanilla latte, and then making a separate caramel sauce and whipped cream for the topping – lots of sugar, and lots of time. So, to cut back on ingredients and steps involved, I developed this double-duty caramel syrup for the traditional latte:

ingredients

 
1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 shots brewed espresso

6 ounces steamed milk

serves two

directions

Place sugar and water together in a small saucepan. With pan on medium heat, allow sugar to dissolve. Bring to a boil. Let syrup continue to boil until the sugar caramelizes and turns a light brown.

Do not allow the syrup to turn too dark or boil for too long: my first attempt at this syrup went downhill fast when I allowed it to caramelize for too long. It burned and was too bitter for use.

salted caramel latte with ashley pahl
 
After syrup turns an amber color, or after about 5 minutes of boiling, remove from heat. Sprinkle with sea salt, and slowly pour in heavy cream. Stir.

Pour 2 shots of espresso into two cups, followed by three ounces of steamed milk into each cup. Top off with freshly made caramel syrup, and any left over milk foam from steaming. Enjoy!

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty project Ashley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titledEtsy shop.

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