In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Instagram in Pixels

For Future Reference: The Pixel size of a photo for Instagram is currently 612×612. Anything larger will be reduced via Instagram… which is all well and good, unless you have text, then things might get a bit pixelated.

I advise resizing a photo yourself (PicMonkey is a great free online photo editor) so your Instagram pic will show up exactly like you want it to :D

I learned this the hard way on May 4th.

Now I know!

Wedding Hair Trial #1 – Rope Braid Bun

To save a little sanity the day of the wedding, I want to try to get a reasonable idea of what to do with my hair.

I have been doing my own up-dos for my work Christmas parties for 3 years… but they were basically “on the fly” involving clear elastics and bobby-pins… so I couldn’t replicate them even if I tried.  Oh dear.

The Challenge:
Find a GREAT DIY up-do for a June Wedding.
The Terms:
Island Wedding (aka Humidity!)
Bridesmaid Appropriate (not too plain, not to showy)
DIY-able (I don’t want it to the Cake Wrecks of Hairstyles!)
Google Searches!

Here is my 1st Hair experiment. (Original tutorial at
You basically make a rope braid, secure with a clear elastic, and pin into a bun!


I think it would be cute with a jeweled hair comb to the side of the bun.
I also only spent about 5 minutes before running out the door to work.  So for an event I’d get a more defined braid going, and do a little more to the sides/front frame of my face.  But this is cute enough for work and a little more professional looking than a basic pony tail.

I still have a little under a month to figure out something!  In the mean time, I’ll have some interesting hairstyles for work!


According to Google Autocomplete, we are all a bunch of toddlers…

If it is in autocomplete
I’m not the only one wondering…

Playing in the Kitchen: Pecan Pie

Fall is officially here! I’m so excited! And it means I should start digging up (and posting) some of my go-to Seasonal Recipes… like a Classic Pecan Pie!

So there are at least 8 different ways to pronounce this type of pie... to me it is: [pi:kn] with stress on the second syllable (“pee-KAHN”).  Actually mine sounds more like pa-KAHN.  At any rate, this nutty dessert seems to be the Fall pie of choice in my house. * Jump to the recipe *

Back in 2010, I decided to get adventurous, forgo the frozen Marie Callendar’s version and make pecan pie from scratch.

And I’m just posting it now.  Oops.

Pecan Pie from Scratch

As I tend to do with any new food adventure, I scour my cookbooks & the internet until I find a version I like, then pick and choose tips from other recipes.  If I had written this post earlier, I could have name dropped all of the pecan pie recipes I discovered.  Again, sorry :/

The Pecan Pie I produced most closely resembles The Pioneer Woman’s “Pecan Pie that will make you cry.”  Except I didn’t chop up the pecans as finely as she did.  And I used my old-standby pie crust recipe.

The Pioneer Woman won me over because she gives helpful cooking advice for knowing when the pie is “done.”

The baking temperature required seems to vary widely from oven to oven. Mine bakes perfectly in 50 minutes, but some are reporting that the pie is still soupy. If the pie is very jiggly when you remove it from the oven, cover with foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until mostly set. 

Good advice!  Escpecially since this isnt the kind of dessert you can stick a toothpick in to test for doneness!

Without further ado, here’s a good stand-by recipe for your classic Pecan/PEE-can/pee-CAN/pa-KAHN pie!

Classic Pecan Pie


1 whole Pie Crust (unbaked)

1 cup White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Corn Syrup
¾ teaspoons Vanilla
? cups Melted Butter
3 whole Eggs, Beaten
1 1/4 cup Coresly Chopped Pecans
Place unbaked pie crust in standard sized pie plate.

Combine mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.

Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.

Pour syrup mixture over the top.

Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil.

Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes.

Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.

Allow to cool for several hours before serving.


Save The Tomato Juice… Make Tomato Water?

I’m not crazy.  I just can’t stand wasting things.

This summer, I’ve been lucky enough to peel and chop up a lot of tomatoes from Dad’s garden.  Most have been made into bruschetta, where I seed (remove seeds and goo) before I chop.  The whole cutting process leaves a lot of juice on the board… and it would be such a shame to just wash it down the drain.  So the peels/seeds/goo goes into a strainer along with the cutting board juice.  The juice that leaves the strainer goes into ice cube tray and frozen for later.  What’s left in the strainer goes in the compost bucket.

IF you really want to take preservation a step further… you can dehydrate the skins and then grind them into a powder to use in recipes.  I have not gotten to that level of thriftiness.

Luckily, this summer I read an article in Bon Appetit about “Tomato Water”... thus proving I am not crazy for wanting to save the juice!

Bon Appétit suggested taking it a step further. Using the juice and some additional flavors, you can essentially make a “stock” to use in a variety of dishes.

Tomato Water
By Michael Anthony, Bon Appétit

Makes about 2 cups

1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes (about 3)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 medium shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt

Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth; set over a large bowl. Pulse tomatoes, shallots, garlic, basil, cilantro, parsley, vinegar, and salt in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
Transfer mixture to prepared sieve. Cover and chill at least 12 hours. (Do not stir or press on solids, or tomato water will be cloudy). Discard solids; cover tomato water and chill.

DO AHEAD: Tomato water can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

BA’s ideas for your Tomato Water

  • Use in place of chicken stock in risotto

  • Toss into panzanella

  • Add to a Bloody Mary

  • Spoon over Oysters on the half shell

  • Use as a poaching liquid for Fish

  • Stir into gazpacho

I will probably go a little less fancy, and add some to some jarred pasta sauce to give it a little fresh flavor.  It’s go great in my next pot of chili too!

Saveur magazine has a version of Tomato Water as well.  It’s the more literal approach… which is what I (unknowingly) did.

Tomato Water
By Saveur magazine


5 lbs. very ripe quartered, cored tomatoes

1. Working in batches, put 5 lbs. very ripe quartered, cored tomatoes into bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low speed until tomatoes break down and release juices (or mash in a large bowl with a potato masher).

2. Rinse two clean, large, thin cotton kitchen towels in hot water. Spread one towel over a large glass beaker or nonreactive bowl and ladle half the mashed tomatoes onto towel. Gather opposite ends of towel and tie securely to make a sack. Hang sack from a yardstick or broom handle suspended above beaker or bowl.

3. Repeat with other towel and remaining tomatoes. Sacks will drip clear tomato water for about 4 hours; if red liquid begins to appear, discontinue dripping. (Do not squeeze cloths, or water will cloud.) Transfer tomato water to a nonreactive container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Discard solids.

Both magazines recommend a slow drip to get all of the tomato’s water… the same method you’d use to get fruit juices for jelly! Can you make a savory tomato water jelly? I am sure someone has thought this though before. At any rate, the drip bag process is very easy with these simple tools:

Looking forward to some fresh tomato pick-me-up with the saved juice, especially once tomato season is over!

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