Adventures with an Aloe Plant

My mom gave me an aloe plant last weekend along with a Christmas cactus, my first house plants in our new house. One of the leaves of my aloe plant had broken off in the move, so I wanted to make use of it.

Here is my aloe plant:

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I think it is great to have such a useful plant. I didn’t have a sunburn or anything, but using the aloe on my face still felt really nice, and my skin was very soft afterwards. Here is the leaf before I sliced into it with a butter knife:

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I just sliced it in half the long way. Then I scraped out the aloe gel into a container. The empty leaves still had a little aloe in them, so I just rubbed them on my face until it was used up. I left the aloe on my face for 20 minutes before I hopped in the shower and rinsed it off.

I found this video very helpful in learning how to use my aloe plant:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HFCnSAiUJs

The owner of this video also has a blog with other natural beauty tips:

http://daniellebeautybliss.wordpress.com/

Girl Power!

Last Sunday, my mom and my sister came over to help with projects around my house. At first we were just going to paint my master bedroom, but, while the first coat was drying, we got started on some other small projects. Here is the bedroom painted in Antique Silver by Glidden:

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Travis and I bought a rug to go in the bedroom. We love it! It looks like a sheep’s coat and is reallllllly soft.

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Our furry friends really like it too! Here is Ares hiding under the bed:

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I find Dusty in this spot every morning when I wake up:

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I have yet to completely put back together the room. I still need to put the outlet covers back on, but that will only take a few minutes. Us ladies also fixed the drip in one of the sinks, and we put a light in above the kitchen sink. I really needed the extra lighting, and there were already wires there. Our new light (and, yes, some robots in the kitchen):

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We also started painting the spare bathroom. The top half was a bright teal, too dark and crazy for such a small windowless bathroom. We chose Frosted Green Grape by Glidden. I have yet to repaint the bottom half, which will be all white, no more gray. Here is the top half though:

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As you can see, when you get all three of us women together, we sure get a lot done in just one day. It is fun to combine our knowledge and supplies. It is also nice to have some girl talk!

Second Soup Ever

Second Soup Ever

The last soup I made came out so great that I really wanted to make another one. I threw together this one for dinner with things I already had: onion, garlic, celery, carrots, summer squash, chicken, beans, tomato, and sweet corn. I did not follow a recipe this time because it seemed easy enough after the first one to throw some left over things together. I plan on making more soups now that I know how, especially this winter.
I didn’t take a picture, but I made some great stuffed peppers yesterday. For the stuffing, I used diced onion, tomato sauce, ground turkey, and a package of Spanish rice. They were the best stuffed peppers I have made so far. The ground turkey did not get as dry as when I have made it with ground beef, and I like the flavor better as well. The Spanish rice also added some flavor. I had made the stuffing in the morning before going to work, and my husband was good enough to fill the peppers and put them in the oven so they were done by the time I got home from work. I will definitely make them again.

Nearing the End of the Apples

Nearing the End of the Apples

I am reaching the end of the apples we had picked. Today, I made apple cinnamon muffins and applesauce. The muffins came out perfectly golden and will be handy for breakfasts for Travis and I throughout the work week. The applesauce was very yummy and so much better when homemade. If anything, I might make it with a little less brown sugar next time. Both of these are things I have not made before and both are from my Betty Crocker cookbook that I rely on heavily, especially when it comes to basic things that I just have never made before. I am ashamed to admit that I am using it to make homemade mashed potatoes tonight for the first time (I’ve always used instant before). Now that I have made an apple pie, apple cinnamon muffins, and applesauce, I am down to three apples left from apple picking. I’ve been snacking on them a lot lately, sliced with peanut butter. I have to say that I love apples, and I don’t think I’ll get sick of them. If anything, I am now getting better at peeling them!

Gloomy Rainy Day: Perfect for Painting and Soup

This rainy day has me feeling a little unmotivated, but I managed to still get some things done. First of all, I finally finished a painting I have been working on of Mount Chocorua. Here it is:

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It was also the perfect day for soup. I have actually never made soup before, so this was my first one. Of course, I didn’t start with something simple like chicken noodle. This one is Italian Garlic and Bean Soup from Modern Mediterranean Cooking by Elena Balashova. Here is my finished product:

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I am very pleased with how it came out. It is just what I need on a cold rainy day. Besides the garlic, it has onion, pancetta, celery, chicken stock, tomatoes, zucchini, thyme, bay leaves, cannellini beans, and pinto beans. I would definitely make it again on another cold day. Keep warm everyone!

Apple Bread!

Apple Bread!

I made apple bread with some of the apples I got when my family went apple picking. My husband asked for apple bread, but I did not have a recipe for it already because I have not made it before. I found this recipe online and it came out great! I did what some of the comments on the site suggested and used half a cup brown sugar and half a cup regular sugar instead of a whole cup regular sugar. Here is a link to the author: http://www.peterandrewryan.com/baking/2009/01/apple-bread/