The PERFECT Gift for the Loved One Who Is “Hard to Shop for” – Adirondack Stone Works + GIVEAWAY!

MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com: EngravedStone.net - Memorial Stone

We all have people in our lives that are incredibly difficult to shop for. For me, this person is my grandma. For every holiday and birthday for as long as I can remember, every time I asked what is on her wish list all she would tell me is, “I don’t want anything” and “Don’t get me anything”. I always end up getting her something (I can’t actually not get her anything, come on!) and the last two holidays in a row the gifts I gave were a big fat fail.

With Mother’s Day coming up, I began thinking about what the heck I would get her this year. I grew up in my grandparent’s household so I always make sure to include my grandma on Mother’s Day. Since she still has not used the flower shop gift certificate that I bought for her last year for Mother’s Day , I could not get her another one of those and Lord knows I didn’t want to buy her another gift she would politely reject.

But this year I am fairly certain my thoughtful gift is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. I recently learned about Adirondack Stone Works  which is a family run stone engraving business in upstate New York. Jeremy and his wife Tavia create beautiful custom pieces of engraved art with bluestone which is a stone quarried in Southern New York State. The stone is a sedimentary stone which is blue-grey in color. All stones are hand shaped with chisels and files.

Jeremy chiseling blue stone - http://www.engravedstone.net/

Jeremy working on a stone

On their site, I found a Garden Memorial Stone section in which you can get stones engraved to memorialize loved ones who have passed. My grandma’s mother passed away six years ago and she is missed dearly. One of the things my grandma and her mother had in common is their passion for flowers and gardening. I decided to have a memorial stone created in honor of my great grandma Bernice as a gift to my grandma so she could put it in her garden somewhere special. I figured it would be the perfect gift as it will remind her of the bond she shared with her own mother.

I worked with Jeremy to create the lovely memorial stone pictured above and it could not have been an easier process. I designed my stone, he made it and shipped it out all in less than 24 hours. He shipped it on Tuesday and the stone was at my house by Thursday afternoon. Also, shipping within the USA is always free! In addition to memorial stones, they also offer Address Stones, Personalized Garden Stones, Pet Memorial Stones and Wedding/Anniversary Stones. I’m going to have another stone created for the front of our home that has our last name on it, which I think is also an awesome gift idea for any newlyweds or new home owners.

EngravedStone.net

I presented my grandma with the stone over the weekend since I was anticipating my blog post here and I think it’s safe to say that it was one of the better gifts I have given her. She teared up and told me she loved it. We discussed places she could put it in her yard.  Our whole family will always think of grandma Bernice when we see that stone in the garden with flowers flourishing around it this summer and for many years to come.

Jeremy and his wife Tavia have been so generous to offer one medium size custom stone to giveaway to one of my readers. All you have to do is enter with the Rafflecopter link below.  They have also extended a 20% off discount out to all of my readers until May 13th. The promo code that you must mention is “SCRATCH” and you will receive 20% off your order! Place your order by May 7th or prior to receive your stones in time for Mother’s Day!

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY, click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the entry directions.
—————————————->a Rafflecopter giveaway <————————————-

This giveaway has now ended. Congratulations Michelle O. for winning the custom engraved stone giveaway! Thanks to all who participated! For everyone else, remember that there is still a 20% promo code for all of my readers that order by May 13th! Just mention “SCRATCH” to receive 20% off your order and free shipping (US residents only). 

Take care, Stephanie

Homemade Organic Peanut Butter + $25 Mountain Rose Herbs GIVEAWAY!

Homemade organic peanut butter - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Recently my family has begun using organic avocado oil and organic hemp seed oil around the house, not only in the kitchen but also on our bodies. Check out my guest post over at EcoGrrl’s blog to read about why I think these two oils are beneficial to our health.

We go through a lot of peanut butter in my household and it occurred to me that hemp seed oil and avocado oil would be awesome substitutes for peanut oil in homemade peanut butter. So I gave it a whirl!

I decided to make two small batches so I could try each oil in the peanut butter and they both ended up tasting great. But regardless of which oil you decide to use, this is how you make homemade peanut butter. It could not be easier!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of organic roasted peanuts (We got ours from Whole Foods Market)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Honey
  • 1.5-2 Tablespoons of Organic Hemp Seed Oil (or oil of choice)

Directions:

You will need a food processor for this.

Homemade organic peanut butter -- MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Pour peanuts, honey and sea salt into the food processor and process on high for about 45-60 seconds.

Homemade organic peanut butter --MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Pour in the oil and with a spatula, push back down any peanuts that get caught on the sides of the processor.

Process on high for another 2 minutes or until your peanut butter has reached the desired creaminess.

Homemade organic peanut butter-- MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Place in glass container for up to 2 months. Re-using pasta sauce jars or other glass jars work as well! Keep refrigerated.

It literally takes 5 minutes. So simple and so nummy.

On to the giveaway!!

In honor of my guest post over at EcoGrrl’s site, I am giving away a $25 Mountain Rose Herbs gift certificate. MRH is where I bought my organic oils from and I’d love to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win some of their own oils. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link to my entry form below.
E-mail me with any problems entering! Good luck.

Be sure to check back to my blog Monday morning for another great giveaway that I’ll be announcing!

ENTER Mountain Rose Herbs Gift Card GIVEAWAY HERE:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to Maurie K! An e-mail has been sent out to Maurie and she has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Take care, Stephanie

Homemade Sushi Rolls – Kid Friendly Recipe

Homemade sushi - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

While flipping through a magazine last week, my daughter saw a picture of sushi in an ad and said, “I want to make this!” I thought it was a great idea and a few days later we did.

We are fortunate to have a great Asian food store just a few blocks from our home. Shopping for your ingredients at an actual Asian market vs. your local grocer will likely save you a couple dollars per item. It is ridiculous how much your chain retailer will up charge each item.

Here is what you will need to make sushi at home:

  • A bamboo mat for rolling up the sushi (A 2 pack should be about $1.50 or less)
  • Sushi rice
  • Nori AKA seaweed sheets
  • Rice vinegar
  • Whatever ingredients you want in the roll – We used 1 avocado, 1/2 bag of raw frozen large shrimp, 1/2 cucumber and 1 carrot.
  • Sushi soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled ginger
  • Optional: For shrimp – Olive oil and garlic powder (for sauteing), sweet and spicy chili sauce, sriracha sauce and mayo.

Directions:

Cook your sushi rice according to the directions on the bag. We cooked our rice on the stove top and 1.5 cups of dry rice was enough to make 5 sushi rolls.

Sushi ingredients - Cutting veggies - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

While rice is cooking, prep your other ingredients. We cut up an avocado, 1 carrot and 1/2 a cucumber. Carrots and cucumbers should both be peeled and cut into thin strips. Then we sauteed shrimp with olive oil and a little garlic powder. Cook shrimp about 2 minutes on each side or until the grayish color turns into a pink/white one. We rough chopped the shrimp and divided it into 3 piles. One pile we left as it was, the 2nd pile we tossed with a sweet and spicy chili sauce and the 3rd pile we tossed with a sriracha and mayo sauce.

Making sushi - sauteing shrimp - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Once the rice is done you can start assembling the sushi rolls.  Pour a little bowl of rice vinegar to keep next to your sushi rice. Dip your fingers and spoon into the vinegar before picking up rice and this will help keep the rice from sticking all over your fingers.

Nori and sushi rice - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Get your sushi mat out and place one sheet of Nori over the mat, shiny side down. Put a layer of rice on the Nori, leaving about 2″ of the Nori free of rice, giving the seaweed a spot to steal together.

Assembling sushi - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Place a row of ingredients on the rice and then begin rolling your sushi up by using the bamboo mat. Unfortunately I could not get a picture of myself doing this part since it takes two hands, but just apply consistent pressure while rotating. Once you reach the end of the roll, dip your finger in the rice vinegar and wet the remaining Nori to create a wet seal and finish rolling up the roll.

Once finished, wrap the sushi rolls up in plastic wrap and place the sushi in the fridge until they are cold (this makes them easier to cut). When you are ready to eat, use a very sharp knife and cut each roll into 6-8 pieces, depending on desired size.

Homemade sushi - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Serve with wasabi, sushi soy sauce and pickled ginger.

My daughter enjoyed eating them even more than she liked making them!

Take care, Stephanie

Re-Growing Celery and Green Onions: Update

So a of couple weeks ago I posted a blog about re-growing your own celery by cutting off the base of it and soaking it in water. Well here is an update on how that is going…

Re-Grown your own celery - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Isn’t this the cutest little stalk you have ever seen?

Re-grow celery- MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Look, it has roots now!

I also mentioned in the past post that you could re-grow your green onions as well. Just cut off the tips and put them in a glass of water until they sprout roots and then plant them! Check out these bad boys, they are now in the ground!

Re-Grow Scallions - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

No, we are not jelly fish!

Take care, Stephanie

Minnesota Weather – Tuesday, April 23rd

Yesterday was an unusual day and I wanted to show you the kind of craziness us Minnesotans deal with.

This was my yard yesterday, April 23rd at 6am:

Minnesota weather - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

And this is what our yard looked like not even 12 hours later.

Minnesota weather - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

You can really see how much the snow was weighing down the branches of our trees when you compare the two pics.

On second thought, maybe I prefer my yard covered in snow? It looks much cleaner that way!

What has the spring been like in your neck of the woods?

Take care, Stephanie

Yummy Tummy Organic Ricotta Cheese Pancakes with Blueberries

Organic Ricotta Cheese Pancakes - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

 

I’ve always read that protein is the MOST important part of breakfast, but with kids it’s not always so easy to come up with a protein-packed breakfast that they will eat.  This recipe has been a much favored staple in our breakfast diet since my son was first turned to solids.  I don’t remember where I found the recipe years ago, but it’s easy enough to whip up on a weekday and the left overs can easily be reheated in the toaster for an even quicker breakfast the next morning!

Ingredients (makes 4 pancakes):pancakeingre
I use all organic ingredients.

3 T. Whole Wheat Flour

1 Heaping tsp. sugar

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 Egg (beaten up a bit)

1/2 Ricotta Cheese

1/4 C. frozen berries  – I typically use blueberries or raspberries or both!

Butter for the griddle

Directions:

Mix the dry ingredients together, add the egg and cheese, stir until mixed, fold in the berries.  On a well heated, buttered griddle (med-high) plop 4 balls of mix and let cook untiil they are ready to flip.  Flip and then mash down with the back of spatula.  Flip again and mash a little again.  Keep going until they look delicious and enjoy!

We serve these with maple syrup or honey (depending on the request of the day).

Enjoy!
Kristin

Batter is plopped in balls onto the griddle.

Batter is plopped in balls onto the griddle.

Flip and then smash into a proper pancake.

Flip and then smash into a proper pancake.

Organic Molasses Cookies – Recipe

I’m not a huge fan of baking, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth either. My husband on the other hand loves pastries and cakes and other sugary treats.  For this reason, my husband is more of the baker in our family.  Last night I went to bed early because I have been struck with a mid-April cold and my husband and daughter decided it would be the perfect time to make some molasses cookies. Typically when I think of molasses cookies I think of the holiday season, but given that we just got another 9″ of snow in Minnesota, I think they were quite fitting.

Here are a couple pics from this morning:

This is the lilac bush...

This is the lilac bush…

A year ago I was hanging clothes on that clothesline, not snow!

A year ago I was hanging clothes on that clothesline, not snow!

My husband found this highly reviewed recipe online and changed all ingredients to organic ingredients and he also used organic butter instead of margarine. We were out of ground ginger so he used ground allspice as a substitute. As I said before, I am not much of a sweets lover (unless it is caramel dipped in dark chocolate — than I cannot resist!) but these cookies are so damn delicious that I had to share the recipe!

Molasses cookies - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Ingredients with our alterations:

  • 3/4 cup organic salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1/4 cup organic molasses
  • 2 cups organic flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (but we used ground all spice)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (for rolling dough in before baking)

Directions, with the alterations added:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, 1 cup sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger (or all spice) and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture. Cover, and chill dough for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining sugar (1/2 cup). Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until tops are crackied. Cool on wire racks.

Although I absolutely love ginger, you really don’t miss it in this recipe. I’m sure if it was included, than the cookies would have more of a spicy flavor.

What is your favorite type of cookie?

Take care, Stephanie

Organic Eggs Baked In Avocado w/ Cajun Seasoning

We love avocados in our family! We eat them almost every day, so when my mother-in-law sent over this recipe this morning, we had to give it a try. I did change a few things so here is how we made our brunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, cut in half and seed removed
  • 2 eggs
  • Sea salt & pepper or other preferable seasonings (I used a family-made Cajun seasoning mix).
  • Oil for lightly greasing the baking dish

Wash the outside of the avocado, cut it in half and remove the seed.  Lightly grease the baking dish you will be using to aid in easy removal of any egg-overflow.

Baked Avocado with Eggs - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Many of the recipes I have seen say to scoop out the avocado to make room for the egg, but I just cracked the egg and let the white overflow into the baking dish.

Baked Avocado with Eggs  - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Use a small dish so the avocado can rest against the sides to help from tipping over.

Baked Avocado with Eggs -MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

I sprinkled some homemade Cajun seasoning and sea salt over the halves but season however you like.

Baked Avocado with Eggs- MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 425°F. 20 minutes will give you an over-hard egg yolk, which is how I like mine.

They can be served with or without the shell. The shells fall off effortlessly after baking.

Tip: The warm avocado spreads beautifully over the toast and tastes great too!

Enjoy!

Take care, Stephanie

Homemade Pita Pizza with Fresh Basil, Mushroom and Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

We are being hit with a good ol’ spring time snow-thunderstorm here in Minnesota today… Yes, I said snow thunderstorm. We are having blizzard conditions, yet some how this morning we also had lightning and thunder.  Odd. But nothing seems to surprise us in MN anymore! Unfortunately, most everyone I know has been struck with a *snow-in-the-middle-of-April* induced form of turrets today, so I am trying to keep positive and focus on the fact that it is indeed actually springtime.

Since road conditions are pretty bad today, my daughter and I have decided to stay at home and keep ourselves busy with crafts and cooking. At 9am we whipped up some egg salad. Egg salad is one of her favorite things to cook, yet she only eats two bites and is finished with it.  For lunch she suggested making pita pizzas, so that’s just what we did.  I decided I wanted to put a summer-time twist on my pizza and I did that by adding the ultimate summertime herb: BASIL!

If you have time, making dough from scratch would be preferable, but we didn’t have that available so instead we used whole wheat pita pockets as the crust.

Pita Pizza - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com.jpg

For the sauce we used organic tomato sauce and added garlic powder and an Italian herb seasoning.  (This is my daughter’s pizza. It can get a bit sloppy, but hey, kids love making their own pizza).

Pita Pizza - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

My daughter added green olives and shredded mozzarella cheese to her pizza.

Pita Pizza - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

I put mushrooms, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella on my pizza.

Pita Pizza - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

We cooked our pizzas at 375°F  for 8-10 minutes on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Pita pizza - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

The end products were so delicious and I highly recommend you to try my version of the pizza. Tasting the basil definitely takes away the winter blues… err… springtime blues? Enjoy!

Pita Pizza - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Pita Pizza - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.comIf you liked this recipe using fresh basil, then please head over to the Gardenista’s facebook page and vote for my photo by liking my picture! I’m trying to win a vertical garden which would allow me to use fresh herbs in my recipes all of the time!

Take care, Stephanie

That Re-grow Your Celery Thing Really Works

So I’m sure by now you have seen that you can re-grow your celery in a dish of water —  It has been all over the internet lately. Well, it turns out that it really works.

To try it yourself, just cut the bottom off of your used up celery and put it in a dish of water.

Re-Grow Celery - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Within a couple of days you’ll see new growth.

Re-Grow Celery via MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Plant the growing celery in some dirt and you’ll be set.

You can also re-grow green onions, pineapple, ginger and potatoes! We are trying to re-grow ginger now and I grew potatoes by accident the last two years (in my compost).  Just plant any potatoes that begin to grow in a couple inches of soil and before you know it they’ll be re-growing. 

Take care, Stephanie

Have you tried to re-grow any of your food? Did it work?

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