It’s January which means the return of two of our household favorites: Project Runway and 24. We are an eclectic mix aren’t we? We celebrated the return of Jack Bauer with our usual Jack Bauer Quesadillas, and this year our little cupcake enjoyed a quesadilla with us as well (minus the hot sauce and jalapenos)! I was trying to find a recipe that would go well with this post, and since 24 is all about secrets and Project Runway is all about deliciously fabulous fashion, I thought I would share my husband’s secret recipe for delicious sweet tea. In my new cookbook that I got for Christmas (Katie Lee Joel’s The Comfort Table), she shared her recipe for sweet tea, and commented on how all southerners have their variation. While my husband isn’t exactly “southern”, I have to say he makes the best sweet tea I have ever tasted (and we have plenty of southern friends that agree!). Part of it is the ingredients…the other part is the method…oh and make sure you use good filtered water. If you know my husband you aren’t surprised by that! HA!
1 gallon of filtered water
4 Luizanne Decaffeinated Family Size Tea Bags
1 cup of sugar
Place water in a large soup pot on high heat. Pour sugar in gallon size pitcher. As soon as water reaches a boil add tea bags and immediately take off heat. Let steep for exactly five minutes, remove tea bags, and then pour tea in gallon size pitcher (the one that has the sugar in it). Stir sugar and tea and let sit out until cool (about an hour).
As it is quite cold here right now, I have been searching for toddler friendly activities and crafts that will keep us from going stir crazy, until we thaw out from this frigid winter! I decided (most likely against better judgment) to let my little dude go crazy and finger paint. Now I have used finger painting in the past, but it has been mostly in a confined since…carefully patting his hands in the paint while he was strapped in a booster seat. Really what is the fun in that when you are little? So, I decided to just cover the floor of our kitchen with a cheap plastic table cloth (left over from his birthday party), and let him go wild. I figured in the meantime I might as well get something memorable out of this rare occasion, so I stuck a canvas on the floor for him to “paint” on. In case you too need an outlet during these winter months, here are the instructions to make the completed canvas that I have pictured below.
What you will need:
Finger paint (I suggest Crayola’s washable finger paint…it’s a bit more of a gel than a paint, but it washes off really well. It does not dry quickly on paper, but dries in about an hour on a canvas)
A 9 x 12 flat canvas (You can use a box canvas…one with sides, but I worried that it might get broken as my child stepped on the canvas several times)
Different painting items (I gave my child an old bottle brush, some paper towels, and a paint brush to make different textures, plus his hands and feet worked well…haha)
A large plastic bag to lay down (or old tablecloth)
Puffy sticker letters (I used two different types both purchased in the scrapebook section of Hobby Lobby)
What you do:
Lay down the plastic tablecloth. Put the canvas on the table cloth. Put small amounts of the paint on the canvas (whichever paint you want, I used only blue and green and a little yellow, so it wouldn’t turn brown) and let your child get creative! After the canvas dries, sticker the letters on the canvas, if you need to add a bit of fabric glue to make sure the letters stick.
Tips: I figured out where I wanted the letters before I began to make sure it would work on the canvas size I found. I also immediately gave my child a bath after the finger painting to make sure he didn’t stay blue…although blue is really in right now, isn’t it?
Here is how it looks!
One of my standbys when I was making dinner for friends in college was tacos. However, one of the first times I made tacos with a friend of mine she was surprised that I had a recipe that I put together for the taco meat. It may sound like a lot of trouble if you are used to making taco meat with a store packet, but trust me it’s simple, easy and delicious!
1 lb Ground Beef
Diced fresh Tomatoes
Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
Diced Red Onion
Tortillas (I prefer Aztec brand)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp cumin
Shake of garlic
Shake of cayenne pepper
In a medium sized skillet on medium-high heat brown the meat. After the meat is cooked through, turn to low and add the beef seasoning. Leave meat on low while you cook tortillas and add meat and desired toppings.