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Basil Peach Sorbet

Continuing on with my late summer peach obsession I just had to share this recipe. Although some may not readily pair peach and basil, it sounds like an awfully refreshing treat to get you through the August heat. Per my usual, I’ll probably try substituting some of the refined sugar with honey. It’s a bit healthier and come on, peaches and honey….hard to beat that combo!


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

- See more at:


For full recipe and instructions please visit Branny Boils Over.

Basil Peach Sorbet

You’ll Need:

  • Peaches
  • Basil
  • Sugar (honey if you’re like me)
  • Water


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

- See more at:


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

- See more at:


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

- See more at:



  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted

- See more at:


The Sunbathing Companion

It seems like women like to have huge bags with many unnecessary items on hand at all times. When my girlfriends and I head to the beach, this gets to be a bit much, as you want as little as possible for fear of someone snatching your stuff while we are having fun in the water. When I found this precious towel craft, I wanted to go make one right away and hit the hot sand! This extremely simple and even more useful project is a great way to bring your towel and the essentials that are needed for the beach, without the huge tote.


For full directions with photos, check out the “recipe” for cuteness at Moda Bake Shop.


Sunbathing companion2

DIY Rock Succulent Planter

My wife and I try to make as many of our Christmas and Chanukah presents as we can.  We both have large families and many friends that we exchange gifts with, and trying to buy gifts for them all would just bankrupt us!  This year we wanted to make something completely unique.  So we started looking through some of the DIY gifts that we have featured on our blog for something really great.  After going through them all we decided on either the DIY river rock necklaces, or the cork planters.  Neither of them really seemed special enough to be a main present for close relatives though.  Then my wife came up with the idea of combining the two ideas!  That is how these rock planters were born.  I am pretty sure this is our own idea, but if you’ve seen it anywhere else let me know so I can stop taking credit!

Here are the supplies you will need.

  1. River rocks
  2. Good strong drill
  3. Diamond drill bit
  4. Bucket
  5. Water
  6. Succulent plants

Here is how we did it.  First my boys and I went to the local river and spent some good time picking the right size and shaped rocks.  Then we went to the local hardware store and bought 2 different sized drill bits.  I ended up only using the 5/16″ bit, the 1/4″ was too small. You can buy the bit here on amazon.

Here is what the bit looks like.

One thing that is imperative is that you drill under the water.  To get the hole started, I placed the bit on the rock at an angle to get a “bite” on the rock out of the water.  Once I saw the bit start to dig in, I rocked it flat, and submerged the rock and the tip of the bit under the water in my bucket.  Then you just have to have patience as the bit slowly does its work.

Once the bit goes all of the way into the rock until the chuck hits the stone, you have to rock the drill back and forth in order to crack off the core.  You can see the core in place before cracking it off in the pic above.  Once that is done, you have almost completed your project!

The drilled stones ready for planting.

Next you can plant the succulents.  We went to the local nursery and bought a few different little succulents.  Then we just pulled them out of the dirt, and dropped the roots down into the hole.  Then we positioned them the way we wanted them, and jammed as much dirt as we could down into the hole.  The final step was to water them as well as we could.  We just held the whole stone under slowly running water.  I waited a month to post this because I wanted to make sure the plants would survive in such small amounts of dirt.  You can see them one month later in the pics below happy as can be!

Just after planting

Repurposed Bike Wheel Light

This is a really nice project created by a friend of mine.  It came about as kind of a mistake.  He had the aluminum clamp lights hanging on his ceiling, and he had taken them all down while there was some work going on in his apartment.  So, while he had them down he clamped them onto the tire of his bike for safe keeping.  That was when the idea was born!  I think it came out really nicely, and there are a lot of options for customization with this project.  You can do this will all sizes of lights and bicycle wheels, all kinds of pendant lights can be used, and with the spokes intact, you have lots of options for hanging decorative details.

Here are the supplies you will need to recreate this bike wheel light:

  1. Drill with philips head bit
  2. Bike wheel
  3. Plastic zip ties
  4. Lights:  these are the ones he used: Clamp Light With Aluminum Reflector

Here is the process for putting it all together.

  1. Remove the clamp from all of the lights.
  2. Measure to find the proper spacing between lights, this way everything will be even
  3. Mark your  screw hole placements with a Sharpie all around the wheel
  4. Drill a hole slightly smaller than he size of the screw you are using on each of the Sharpie placements
  5. Screw a screw into each hole with the head sticking out about 1/2 inch
  6. Put the hole where you removed the screw to remove the clamp over the head of the screw you just drilled into the wheel and tighten the other screw to tighten the clamp down onto the head of the screw that is sticking out
  7. Once you have all of the lights attached to the wheel take the wires and place them into the recessed gap where the tire would go on the wheel
  8. Use the zip ties to keep the wires in place. Then clip off the unused end of the zip ties.
  9. Bring the wires up and splice them all together into one plug.
  10. Attach Picture wire evenly around the wheel to hang from the ceiling.

How the idea came about


Notice how the clamp goes around the screw head?

Close up of the screw going through the rim

Lights are all attached and evenly spaced

Wires all zip stripped in

Finished product!

Healthy Corn Chowder

I love cream based soups and chowders but don’t love using dairy.  I decided to take a trick from vegans and make my own cream using raw cashews.  They’re a higher fat nut with little to no flavor when raw so they make a fantastic healthy substitute for heavy whipping cream or even half n half.  I got my cashew cream recipe from Tal Ronen, a famous vegan chef.

I’m pleased to say this corn chowder turned out amazing! My husband and I both agreed if you served this to guests they would never guess it was made using cashew cream.  I will definitely make this again!

Healthy Corn Chowder

Serves 8

Adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe for Corn Chowder on

  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter alternative
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (if you’re avoiding flour you could also use corn starch, just a little less than four)
  • 6 cups canned vegetable stock
  • 2 cups heavy cashew cream
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 1/2 cups of frozen organic sweet corn
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the Earth Balance and 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in the soup pot.  Once hot add onion, garlic and thyme and saute for about 8-10 minutes until the onion is translucent.  Sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir it in to coat everything well.  Pour in the veggie stock and bring to a boil.  Add the cashew cream and the potatoes.  Bring this to a boil (a hard boil to be exact) for about 5 minutes to make sure the potatoes are cooked and break down a bit to thicken the soup.  Add the corn and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the corn is heated through.  Be sure to stir well during this 5 minutes as it will stick to the bottom of the pan if not.  Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve!


4 Sparkling Cocktails for New Year’s

I’m not typically much of a drinker but New Year’s Eve is one of my husband and my favorite celebrations.  There’s something special about reflecting on the previous year and consciously creating the one ahead.  Although we’re far over the days of over indulging on this eventful evening (no thanks to the morning after hangover!!), I won’t pass up a good sparkly cocktail to toast at midnight.  Here are a few fun recipes to consider:

Cork County Bubbles

found on Food & Wine

Sorbet & Champagne Cocktail

Found on Martha Stewart

Sparkling Orange Sunrise

Found on She Knows

Limoncello Sparkle

Found on Epicurious

Baked Oatmeal

In the colder months I readily exchange a bowl of cold cereal for something warmer.  This recipe for baked oatmeal found on Urban Nester not only looks amazing but makes a lot of sense for our household.  I can assemble this dish on a Sunday evening and ensure a healthy breakfast is ready for several mornings without much effort other than warming it up.

Some adaptations I’ll be making include:

  • Agave or maple syrup instead of brown sugar
  • No chocolate chips
  • I’ll use any nuts I have on hand (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.)
  • Almond or coconut milk instead of cow’s milk

Gluten-Free Baked Oatmeal Casserole
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup raspberries {any berries work}
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices

Click here for the rest of the details.


Great Gifts for Women Under $10

Here are some of my favorite gifts under $10 for all of the ladies in your life!

Alba Botanica Coconut Cream Lip Gloss – $4.99

I use this stuff on a daily basis.  It keeps my lips soft and shiny with a yummy coconut scent. The best part is the following: 100% Vegetarian. No: Animal Testing, Artificial Colors, Parabens, Phthalates, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Myreth Sulfate.

Aura Cacia Lavender Aromatherapy Mist – $7.59

This is one of my favorite bedtime rituals when I’m really tired or have had a stressful day.  I’ll spray this aromatherapy mist above my head and take a few deep breaths as well as spritz my pillow.  I’m feeling relaxed just thinking about it!

Gourmet Chocolate from Theo Chocolate Factory – $3.29

One of the many pleasures of living in Seattle for almost 4 years was the introduction of Theo Chocolates.  My husband and I toured the small factory a few times and sampled the delightful chocolates.  They are the only Organic, Fair Trade, Fair for Life certified Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory in North America….pretty impressive! I’ve listed my favorite, the Hazelnut Crunch Milk Chocolate bar, but they’re all unbelievably amazing!


 Yogi Tea Rest & Relax Sampler – $5.69

I’m not sure there’s a better way to end a long day then sitting in a hot bath with a warm cup of soothing tea.  My favorites are from Yogi Tea.  Their various flavors and blends are really tasty and each tea bag comes with a little quote or saying (my favorite part)!

Gone With The Wind DVD – $7.99

Speaking of relaxing, why not give the ladies in your life this classic Academy Award Winning romance.  This movie was long before my time but it is certainly a great movie I love watching from time to time.