Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nocciolata - A Review and a Give Away

I was recently contacted by Rigoni di Asiago to do a taste review and then host a give away of their Nocciolata product.  Nocciolata is an organic hazelnut spread with cocoa and milk and it is delicious - very rich and creamy!


Take a look at the awesome gift pack they sent me to sample.  You know me, I'm crazy about aprons and I can always use a new cap.  They sent 2 of their 9.5 oz. jars of Nocciolata and several packets of small travel size squeeze spreads.  What a great idea - perfect to toss in your purse or backpack along with some fruit or crackers for a quick pick me up.  And opened jars do not have to be refrigerated.



If you're not familiar with Nocciolata, let me tell you a little bit about it.  It's made with dark chocolate, Italian hazelnuts, brown sugar, skim milk and Bourbon vanilla extract.  It's an organic product made with natural raw ingredients, no artificial flavors or colors, no hydrogenated fat and it's gluten free.

There are a variety of ways to enjoy Nocciolata - you can eat it as a spread on bread or toast, or add it to your favorite recipes for cupcakes, brownies, cookies, crepes or muffins.  My personal preference is to eat it on a toasted bagel with natural peanut butter - Oh so yummy and a perfect breakfast for me!!  I also like to use it as a dip with fresh apples and bananas for the perfect late afternoon pick me up. 


It's also pretty darn good to just eat right out of the jar with a spoon.  Ooops, did I just say that out loud??
 
How would you like to win a Nocciolata gift pack and try it out for yourself?  The good folks over at
Rigoni di Asiago are hosting a give away right here, especially for my readers.  All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me what you'd do with your free gift!  The contest is open until next Tuesday Sept. 9th at noon.  I'll then choose a winner using the Random number method and Rigoni di Asiago will send you your gift. 

In the meantime, please go over and check out their products and recipes on their website.
Check out their Facebook page here and see what they have on Pinterest as well.  Now, go leave a comment!

Monday, September 1, 2014

How To Repurpose a Cutting Board

One of my favorite things to do is find old wooden cutting boards at estate sales.  I love to bring home these sometimes well used boards, clean them up and repurpose them.  Here's 2 that I recently nabbed.  This one had an extremely ugly fruit pattern painted on one side....


And this pig was too cute for words, but it was well used and a bit grimy.  Both boards needed quite a bit of work.

First up was to completely clean and disinfect them with bleach and lots of hot soapy water, before sitting them out in the sun to air dry for a couple of hours. Then I sand them down to remove the top layer of wood and to remove any knife-cut marks on both sides.  If the cutting board didn't have a hole in the top to hang it, I just drill a hole with a power drill at this time.

I generally use a stencil from our Cricut to stencil on a design or letters.  Then I get out my wood burning tool and hand burn the wood.  Sometimes I like to use a little natural stain to darken the wood.  My favorite method is to just use coffee grounds.  I dump that mornings grounds onto the board and scrub it into the wood with my fingers.  It's amazing what a nice rich color this can give to the wood.   Afterwards it got another good scrubbing and then oiled with coconut oil.  Finally, I added a piece of twine to the hole so I can hang it in the kitchen. 

I made this board especially for my friend Dolly from Dolly's Designs in gratitude for the beautiful aprons she makes for me.  She is also an avid cook and you should check out her cooking blog as well.


Your cutting board is totally usable, but if you don't feel comfortable using a garage sale item,  you can just display it in your kitchen. One word of advice - hand wash it, don't put it in the dishwasher. I had a  board crack apart after I stuck it in the dishwasher.


I am in love with this pig cutting board.  Wouldn't a group of them look adorable hanging in the kitchen?

Oink, oink!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cool Cache Containers and a Milestone

I wanted to share some of the cool cache containers we've been finding lately.  Lamp skirt caches are fine for upping your numbers, but I really prefer to find clever or different geocaches.  I'm not sharing geocache numbers on any of them in order to protect their identity.  Sorry.  LOL!

Clever micro hidden in a faucet...


Loved this one.  Once we found it we had to figure out how to twist and lift the PVC pipe in order to release the cache....

Cache hidden somewhere in this vicinity.  We looked for quite some time and it eluded us.  Mom finally deciphered the clue on the cache page and after that we quickly had the cache in hand....


Good camouflaged cache hidden in plain sight....


Do you see the cache here?  I had a good idea of where it was as we approached and I was right!


You had to pull a chain to get the cache to rise up and pop out of the pipe....


 We always enjoy finding larger cache containers so we can drop off TB's....


A cache was hidden in this woman's front yard, someplace among the flowers.  Geocachers are invited to look and then ring the doorbell and say hello to the home owner.  We did, but she wasn't home...

Mousetrap anyone??


Super clever cache and Louie made the find on this one....



The clue on this one was misleading, but we managed to figure it out....



Another cache hidden in plain sight.  Makes you look at electrical boxes in a whole new way, doesn't it?



I love the use of magnetic strips.  You peel them away and a waterproof log sheet is hidden on the back of the magnet....

 Cute use of a bat - the geocache container was stuck in it's mouth....


Tribute cache to my buddy Wheels00Wheels has over 11,000 finds.  Yes,  eleven thousand


I always enjoy bird house caches....



Mom and dad playing in the playground.   Not really, they were just finding their last cache of the day and completing a record breaking day for both them and us - 27 geocaches found in one day.  Woo-hoo!!

Believe me, we all went home and took naps after that!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hand Made Towel Bar

Last weekend I found a couple of goodies at some garage sales and had an idea for something else to hang in my kitchen.  If you remember I picked up this enamelware dipper and a black pie tin....



I went out to the garage, found a piece of wood and roughed it up a bit with both ends of a hammer.  I did this a couple of weeks ago on another project I did and I find that it's quite satisfying to beat the heck out of a piece of wood.  LOL!


I slapped on a coat of Honey colored stain and quickly wiped it off with a rag....


Then I attached the pie tin and dipper with screws and that was it.  I hung it up on the wall and as an after-thought I added two cup hooks so I can hang a towel and an apron from it....



Instant towel bar - What do you think?  What have you made this week?

Linking Up With...
 

The Off-Island Beach Tour

I've been sharing a little about my recent trip to Sanibel with my friends Moira and Traci  here and here.  On this trip we did something I've never had a chance to do before - visit some of the beaches off the island that I keep hearing about from other bloggers.  The shelling on Sanibel wasn't really great, so it didn't take much arm twisting to get me to visit some new beaches. 

The first one we went to was Fort Myers Beach.  The biggest problem with this beach was finding a place to park.  If they have beach access parking lots, we didn't find one.  So we took our chances, parked where we shouldn't have and then snuck onto the beach by cutting through a hotel.  Not my favorite thing to do because I don't like worrying about my car being towed.  Whatever, we're rebels like that.  LOL.


There were shells all over the beach, but nothing spectacular, so I grabbed my camera and went for a walk down the beach.

 I saw my first periwinkles...


A bird sunning himself....



And this little guy who wasn't the least bit concerned by my presence....



We spent about 2 hours there and decided to call it quits since the shelling wasn't very good.  We high tailed it back to our car and heaved a sigh of relief to find it parked where we left it.

Next up was Lovers Key....



I've been wanting to check out this beach for a long time and it did not disappoint.   Moira and I were finding a few shells while Traci hiked further up the beach and before we knew it she had come back to collect us.  There was better shelling ahead and off we went.  I found a good variety of shells as well as sand dollars and sea urchins.  The beach area was very nice, there was ample parking in their lot and we found shells - I'd definitely go back here again.



Third up on the Off-Island Beach Tour was Barefoot Key, which is well known for it's colony of Gopher Tortoises.  We were even forewarned to check underneath the car before leaving to make sure one hadn't crawled there.  Thankfully none did.


This was another beach with plenty of parking and this time of year we had our pick of parking spaces.  To get to Barefoot Beach you have to drive through a neighborhood of gorgeous houses.  What a fabulous area to live in.



Once we hit the beach we were surprised at how empty it was.  As we strolled down the beach we stopped to pick up a shell here and there, as well as some nice pieces of coral.


We set up camp in a lovely area with some shade and spent a few hours just laying in the sun, playing in the water, and of course, shelling.  Traci and Moira did better on the shelling front than I did however.  They went over and started to investigate a tall sand wall and found some goodies poking out of the sand.  I was content to float in the water and just soak up the sun.



 On our way out of the parking lot we saw several turtle nests and this huge tortoise was standing on the side of the road chowing down on some grass.  He was really cute and didn't mind us snapping pictures of him....

 Barefoot Beach was pretty but it wasn't one of my favorites, so I don't know if I'd go back there again.


And the final beach on the tour was my personal favorite - Little Hickory....


The parking lot was small and we were lucky to get a parking space - probably because it was later in the day.  We timed it to get there just before low tide and we were happy with that decision...


The beach was nice and because it was low tide, there were a lot of shells - mostly fighting conchs but we did manage to get some nice olives, angel wings, paper figs and pear whelks.  I just plain liked this area and would definitely visit again.  I think we spent the most amount of time here.


And that wraps up our off-island beach tour.  I'm glad I finally got a chance to visit some of these beaches that I've heard so much about from other bloggers.  Each beach has it's own appeal and advantages.  And you never know from day to day what the beach conditions will be or what treasures you may find.  I guess that's part of the fun.  You go and decide for yourself which beaches you like.  Here's a few links for you to check out.  Have fun!

Ft. Myers Beach

Barefoot Beach

Lovers Key

Little Hickory
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