Aug 12, 2014

Redneck Wine!!

I have never claimed to be a very sophisticated kinda gal....
Gourmet, I am not.....
When it comes to food I like good ole homemade stick-to-your-ribs comfort food.
When it comes to drink I like good old fashioned sweet tea, coffee, Chai Tea and Diet Coke.
(whenever I can make it into the city of course its Starbucks, Mocha Frappuccino, caramel macchiato, pumpkin spice Latte, sooo many yummy fattening drinks from there!)

And wine? well .. lets just say I'm a cheap wino. Now, don't get me wrong, I drink alcohol occasionally, like maybe once a month or so. I don't like beer, Mixed drinks are ok, but give me a glass of wine and I'm happy. Try as I might, I just don't like the "good stuff" The extra-dry expensive wines are wasted on me. Give me a good ole $6 bottle of sweet wine with a twist-off top and I'm good to go!

Even better than any store bought wine is homemade wine!! And today.. I'm gonna tell you how I make it! I started making wine 2 years ago. I bought all the books and all the "stuff" you need to make homemade wine and Homemade Mead. But I still found the whole thing pretty complicated, you had to add yeasts, and rennet tablets etc....

Then I stumbled upon what they call "Prison Wine" Prison Wine... that sounds easy enough! It sounded cheap.... I knew it had great potential. There are only three ingredients in Prison wine.


That's it!
Anybody can do that!!!
Here we go.

Homemade Wine 101...

Take a large (holds MORE than a gallon) container (I prefer Glass) with a snug lid (doesn't have to be air-tight as a matter of fact I like it NOT to be air tight, more on why later)

1 gallon water (I like to use 1 gallon cheap bottled drinking water)
6 Cups sugar
6 heaping cups prepared fruit
(prepared = picked through, washed, and cut into chunks, berries can be left whole)

***IMPORTANT!!*** you Must make sure your container is clean!! I wash it thoroughly then pour in one Teaspoon of bleach... fill it up with hot water and drain.
  • Dump 6 cups of sugar into your container.
  • Pour almost all of the gallon of water into the container.
  • Stir till sugar is dissolved.
  • Dump in your fruit chunks.
  • Wrap your lid/container in plastic wrap to keep out those pesky fruit flies!
  • Set your container on the counter, or wherever you won't forget about it. (NOT in direct sunlight or it'll wash out any color and get it too hot)
  • Stir and/or Swirl every day for 3o days (a little longer is fine its very forgiving just NO less than 30 days)
  • discard your fruit pulp and strain your wine (I use several layers of cheesecloth or a jelly bag).
  • Bottle or "Rack" your wine into CLEAN bottles, and let it set for at least 6 months in a cool dark place... this will make approx 6 bottles of wine.
  • Enjoy your homemade wine!!
The reason I don't use air-tight lids is the fact that your wine-in-the-making will be fizzy while it "cooks" and build up pressure. But the plastic wrap is very important!! Or you'll have to throw away your batch when fruit flies invade! (don't ask me how I know this)
There will come a time during the fermentation process when you stir/swirl it it will be fizzy and bubble up quite a bit.. this is why you want your container to be bigger than you think you need or it might make a BIG sticky mess (don't ask me how I know this!).
If you rack it too soon you'll have "sparkling" wine. I like sparkling wine.. but sometimes it makes your corks Pop out and fly across the room. So, if it's too bubbly, let it go a little bit longer and store those filled bottles sitting upright and NOT on their side or you could have a mess! (don't ask me how I know this)
Do NOT I mean NOT mess with the ratio of fruit/sugar thinking you'll make it better/dryer/sweeter. It wont work. (don't ask me how I know this)
You do NOT want to eat the fruit that comes out of the wine it does NOT taste good..... All the good stuff is now in the wine. BUT if you have pigs.. give it to them... Ever seen a drunk pig?? Its worth making the wine just to see that!! (don't ask me how I know this)

I have used quart canning jars when I ran out of bottles... works great and adds to the redneckish properties of homemade wine

You do NOT have to be picky cutting your fruit. It breaks down during the process anyway. I cut my big strawberries in half.. apples and peaches & watermelon into large chunks, blueberries were left whole. (in the pic I am ready to rack my new batch of Strawberry wine)

I bought my purdy blue and green bottles on Ebay!

I have use this recipe/technique with several fruits....

Apple = first batch was WAY sour. don't know what I did to it. 2nd time was very very yummy!

Peach = yummm! even better after it aged a year!!

Watermelon = made a very pretty pale pink wine!
Blueberry= Amazing!! (that's what is in the glass in the picture)
and the all-time winner of my poll of friends/family is....
Strawberry!! it was a little fizzy/sparkling, sweet but not way too sweet, perfect!!

any questions? feel free to ask!!

Go Forth And Make Wine!!
Your friends will thank you!!

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Dec 21, 2012

BEST Christmas Cookie in the World EVER!!

I've had my share of cookies in my lifetime.
And Ding DING DING!!!
I think we have a WINNER!!!
These may possibly be the BEST cookie I have ever had!!

The picture says it all...
Rich, Decadent, Soft chocolate cookie.
Topped with a cherry and smooth-as-silk frosting.
Whats not to love??

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  cup butter, room temperature
  • 1  cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons vanilla
  • 1  (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained, reserve juice  
  • 1  (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2  cup sweetened condensed milk

  • Directions:

     In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda, blending well; set aside.
     1. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter or margarine and sugar on low speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; beat until smooth and well blended.  

    2. With hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheet. Press down center of dough with thumb. 

     3. Drain Maraschino cherries well, reserving juice. Place a cherry in the center indention of each cookie.

     4. In small saucepan combine chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk; heat over low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the reserved cherry juice. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the topping over each cherry, spreading to cover cherry. If frosting seems too thick, thin with a little more cherry juice.
     **I was worried that I read my original recipe wrong when it told me to put the frosting on BEFORE baking. I thought it would melt and run all over. But I did as it said and it is amazing! this super-silky chocolate frosting does not melt or run anywhere! it seals in the cherry beautifully!** 

     5. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or until done. Remove to wire rack to cool. Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies.
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    Sep 25, 2012

    Fix Tangled Doll Hair (several options)

    Does your daughter have a beloved doll who has hair that looks something like this?

    Mine did!
    Several of them as a matter of fact!
    I just knew there HAD to be a way to tame those frizzy-tangled locks on her friends.
    So I began to search...
    I found several techniques online and collected tips from friends.
    Here are my not-so-scientific results.

    First...  I gently washed the doll hair with Baby Shampoo or a mild liquid dish-washing soap.
    Then I tried each technique.
    Here is how they each worked out.


    Olive Oil...
    I gently worked the olive oil into the tangled mess of doll hair, making sure to thoroughly saturate each and every strand.
    I kept the olive oil on the hair for about an hour while we ate dinner.
    Then, starting at the ends, I tried to gently comb out the hair.


    I ended up with nothing more than an oily tangled mess of doll hair!
    No matter what I tried, it did NOTHING to reduce the mess! ugh! NOT GOOD!!


    It works to help make my hair soft and silky!
    Why not my daughter's doll hair right??
    Again, I worked a healthy amount  (read; bog ol glob of Mayo) into the tangled mane.
    Then, instead of going right for the comb, I tried to separate the strands by hand.
    I gently worked with the precision of a brain surgeon...


    Almost the same results as the olive oil test above...
    But this technique was better in my opinion because the smell of the massive ball of haywire hair smelled like the beginnings of a deviled egg, 
    So, of course, I had to stop what I was doing and make deviled eggs...
    I make GREAT Deviled Eggs! 
    I made them...  
    We ate them...  
    We were happy!
    ...Well...  everyone except the doll...   she was crying because her hair was still ugly AND she doesn't have a mouth that actually functions, so she couldn't enjoy the amazing deviled eggs with the rest of us...
    She just had to sit there... all Mayonnaise-y and watch.


    Fabric Softener-
    I used Gain Apple Mango Tango because it simply is the best smelling fabric softener in the World, ever and ever Amen!
    I mixed the liquid Apple-Mango Tango heavenly smelling softener in a small bowl with a little water,
    2 parts Gain & 1 part Water.
    Then I submerged the tangled mess of doll hair into the bowl and let it sit there for about 2 hours.
    Then I started to work out the tangles with a wide-tooth comb.

    Results -

    It wasn't magic, and it took a little time, But the tangles came out!
    Now...  the end results did include some split ends that, even after I was done, still looked a little frizzy, but I gave her a quick trim and she is good as new!
    I give this one two thumbs up!


     Hair Conditioner-
    It's what I use to tame my curly-tangle-prone-locks!
    It works for MY hair!  So... who not the dolls?

    I worked a healthy amount into the rats-nest-like-hair..
    I then walked away for about an hour allowing the doll to marinate in conditioner.
    Then I went to work with the comb trying to remove the tangles.
    I found, just like with my daughters fine hair, it worked best while I slowly rinsed out the conditioner...
    I has a small stream of water flowing over the hair as I combed.

    Results -


    This one worked the best!
    So...   treat the tangled doll hair like you would treat your own... only MUCH gentler!
    None of the techniques were "easy" but, with a little perseverance and time.
    The Fabric Softener and Hair Conditioner DID work!

    Go forth and untangle your daughters best friends hair!
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    Sep 18, 2012

    Best Oyster Cracker Snack Mix recipe

    6 months ago, our 16 yr old  niece moved into our home.
    It's been a whirlwind of change!
    She has been a wonderful addition to our family.

    And... Very VERY soon, she is bringing another addition to the household!
    She is due to deliver "Baby Stetson" any day now!

    As we are on full alert for our mad-dash to the hospital, I hosted a baby shower for her.
    There is NO way I could let this celebration pass without making lots of my favorite party foods!

    Over the next few days, I'll share a ton of yummy recipes that are each sure to please the pallet of any party guest!
    We'll start with the easiest and most irresistible munching food!

    It's crunchy,
    And addictive!


    The full recipe can be found on my cooking blog by clicking 
    here ----->    Dana's Ranch Snack Mix

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