How to Pit a Cherry (and fill it with treats)

DSC05951If you’re looking for the easiest way to pit a cherry and want an yummy, healthy cherry treat, you are in luck.

My sister and I recently went on a natural foods health plan. Basically, we are trying to eat mainly fruits, veggies, nuts and grains and avoid all processed foods. Trying is the key word.

I was having a tough moment and reached out to her that I was dying for one of those chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. In her attempt to help, she wrote back that I could pit a cherry with a straw and shove an almond or walnut in it. It would be like a cherry cobbler.

My first thought was, “Is she nuts?” Apparently, I can still pun when I’m starving.

My second thought was, “I really want a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich.”

And finally, I realized what a great idea she had. I love cherries but never buy them because I hate the pits. I couldn’t wait to try this.

To make these, you will need red cherries, almonds (or mixed nuts) and a straw. I don’t recommend skinny, cheap straws because they are too flimsy. If you can get one of the larger ones from Starbucks, those are great. I also found that the hard plastic straws that are in some sippy cups work well.

Wash your cherries and remove the stem. Poke your straw through the center of the cherry. I found that I had to push the straw through each end of the cherry first to create a tunnel.

DSC05952Once I had an opening, the straw just pushed the pit through.

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Now you have a nice, clean opening in your cherry.

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You can leave it like this for easy eating or you can fill it with an almond or other nut.

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For any Ohio State fans (or if you just love Ohio!), I thought these looked like little buckeyes.

cherry almond buckeyes

I also had these little squares of chocolate from a trail mix and found they fit perfectly inside, as well. This made a yummy, chocolate-cherry treat.

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While these are no match for a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, they really are a sweet and filling snack. Enjoy!

 

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easiest way to pit a cherry

This post is linked to http://www.normaleverydaylife.com/2014/07/motivational-monday-101.html

Make Your Own Bubbles

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I bought this six pack of bubbles thinking they would last us a while but my two year old managed to dump three of them out in a matter of fifteen minutes of playing with them.

They aren’t expensive but how quickly we were going through them made me want to see about making our own solution.

This is super simple, but I thought I’d share in case you want to give it a try.

All you need is:
Water
Dish Soap
Corn Syrup

There are different recipes and suggestions out there but this is what worked for me.

Pour a little more than 1/2 cup dish soap into a container with 2 cups warm water. Add about 2 Tablespoon of corn syrup to thicken it up and make your bubbles stick. Stir well. Most recipes call for glycerin which may give you the best “stick” but corn syrup is fine if you just want to use what you have on hand.

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Ta Da.

Try to save your old containers including the wands and you can just use this as a refill solution.

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This recipe is especially great if you have one of those no-joke bubble making machines that require a lot of solution. It is so cheap and you’ll never run out it!

Happy Summer!

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Chocolate Covered Blueberries

chocolate covered blueberries

When blueberries went on sale for $.99 a pint, I had no choice but to stock up. Since it was raining blueberries at our house, I wanted to do something with them. I prefer easy, so I decided to dip them in chocolate for a nice summer treat.

It’s pretty self-explanatory but I just melted milk chocolate chips in a double broiler (well, in my homemade one using two pans). Putting the chips in the top pan and about 2 inches of water in the bottom pan will prevent your chocolate from sticking or scorching.

Then just dip the blueberries in with tongs. Or if you are like me and can’t find your tongs, then drop them in and fish them out with a fork. Whatever works.

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Line dipped blueberries on wax paper (on a tray or plate) and then place in freezer for an hour or so.

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Somewhere along the way I started to realize all of the things that would taste great if they were dipped in chocolate.

I cut up some strawberries and dipped them.

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I sliced up a banana, spread some almond butter on top and then covered in chocolate.

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Then once I started looking around the house for anything else I could dip, I knew it was time to stop.

Once everything was frozen, I brought them out for sampling.

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Let me just say I’ve never seen anything get eaten so quickly, ever. They are truly addicting.

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The only thing I might do differently next time is hide them from my kids!

 

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Easy Way To Brighten Up Dark Decor

I have always liked a natural, earth-tone look in my home, and I still do. But lately, I’m getting really sick of all the browns and darker colors. I know the transition is going to be gradual, so I’ll share it in stages.

My first area to tackle is the entryway.

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Dark wood. Dark basket. Dark Star. Dark dried floral.

I decided to start with the floral basket because it was the least intimidating.

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The first thing I did was remove the eucalyptus and the star and clean the basket. Then using a paint brush and white paint (I just used latex paint), I painted a light layer of the paint on the outside of the basket.  I rubbed the paint with a wet rag to blend it and give it a more weathered look.

DSC05673Then I painted the dark red star with white primer.

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And spray painted it silver with a metallic paint.

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The hardest part with this basket was finding flowers to put into it. It’s hard to find bright, artificial flowers that don’t look fake and all of the dried ones seem so dark. I settled on these.

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I ended up cutting off the big leaves and other parts that looked fake and adding some dried sticks and curly willow to it.

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This basket gave me the confidence to take on this piece.

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To start, I removed the glass and hooks and used newspaper and painters tape to cover the mirror. Then I just used light brush strokes to paint the wood with white latex paint. I purposely painted in light layers to match the weathered look of my basket. I left some of the dark wood showing through to give a white-washed appearance.

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Then I replaced the old hooks with these hooks I already had sitting in the garage.

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Then I added a couple black and white photos and I now have a whole new piece!

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It is amazing what some paint and a couple fixture changes can do to totally transform a room. I love how much brighter this entryway is now.

Here it is before:

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And now:

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Much better.

 

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Pineapple-Watermelon Popsicles

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We’ve been talking about DIY popsicles and I wanted to share one more with you. This one came about when I bought fruit to make a fruit salad and ended up with a ton of it. I wanted to use some of it right away so that none of it would be wasted.

Watermelon and pineapple are both so refreshing and I knew they would be so great blended and frozen.

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All I did was take some of the fresh watermelon and pineapple and put it into the blender. I added some vanilla yogurt and a little bit of rice milk so that it would blend smoothly.

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Then just poured them into popsicle molds.

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And froze them overnight.

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They are delicious!!

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DIY Fruit Pops

Popsicle molds are one of my favorite things ever. I love that I can decide exactly what goes into the popsicle and that they end up costing pennies each.

Sometimes when I make too much smoothie, I will just pour the excess into the molds and they make great popsicles for later.

My latest one is so easy and are a hit around here. It doesn’t require any prep work and literally only takes a minute to make. All you need are pineapple bits (either fresh or frozen) and rice milk.

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Just fill your mold with pineapple bits.Then pour your rice milk into it until it reaches the rim. Rice milk may sound a little weird but it has a really subtle taste and gives it a slight creaminess. I used to use just water and my kids still loved them, but I found it was like they were chomping on ice…not good. The rice milk freezes softer and is more chewy like a popsicle.

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You can also just fill mold with mixed fruit and top off with coconut water.

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I think it’s a little too sweet, but no kid would ever agree with me on that. These would be good on really hot days as coconut water is a good way to replenish electrolytes.

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There are so many different popsicles you can make with these, especially if you branch out with a blender and other ingredients. I love to hear your favorites!

 

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Fourth of July Salad Tongs

I wanted to share a project I shared last year in case you missed it. You still have plenty of time to make these if you want a festive way to serve salad or other dishes this Fourth of July!

Maggie May's Gifts July 4th Salad Tongs

All you need are salad tongs (preferably wooden), painter’s tape, white paint, blue paint and red star stickers (teachers, anyone?)

First, wrap painter’s tape around the top of your tongs where you want your paint to stop.

Maggie May's Gifts July 4th Salad Tongs

If you have a can of leftover white paint from a household project, this is easiest. Just dip the tongs directly into the can stopping just past your tape.

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Hang to dry. If you have one of these broom holders in your garage, they are perfect. Otherwise, you can tie string around the spoon part and hang them from a branch outside or another rack in your garage. Just make sure you put cardboard or plastic underneath. It drips.

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After that dries completely, dip into a small container of blue paint to just cover the ends.

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Hang again to dry.

Once that is all dried, stick red star stickers around the handle.

Maggie May's Gifts July 4th Salad Tongs

Paint over the decorated area with Mod Podge (a glue/sealant sold at any craft store) to seal it all in. Let dry and you are now ready for a party!

Do not put the finished tongs in the dishwasher. Hand wash only.

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Maggie May's Gifts July 4th Salad Tongs

Enjoy your 4th of July holiday!

 

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