Thursday, May 25, 2017

Big Tree Maple Syrup- Recipes, Review and Giveaway

Big Tree Maple sugar house is located in Chautauqua Co., in southwestern New York. This father and son business began in 1993 by boiling sap from 40 taps, currently they process maple sap from over 4000 taps. Some of these taps are owned by other producers who deliver the sap to Big Tree Maple to be processed into syrup with our modern production equipment. Despite the modern equipment, making maple syrup is a labor intensive process that requires evaporating at least 40 gallons of water in order to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup!

Maple syrup is the world's best all natural sweetener. It is produced simply by concentrating the sap of the maple tree and its only produced in a small part of the world - northeastern North America. New York State produces some of the highest quality maple products made anywhere. Big tree Maple takes great pride in being part of that tradition. Their maple syrup is 100% natural and unrefined, goodness straight from the maple tree. It contains no additives, coloring or preservatives!

When many people think of maple syrup, they usually think of a topping for pancakes or waffles. We love using real maple syrup as a syrup, but it can also be used in recipes to replace granulated sugar. 

Maple Conversion Guidelines 
1 cup white granulated sugar = 1 cup maple granulated sugar or 1 cup maple syrup (reduce other liquids by 1/2 cup).

 1 cup packed brown sugar = 1 cup +1 TBSP maple granulated sugar or 1 cup + 1 TBSP maple syrup (reduce other liquids by 1/2 cup).

i decide to try it out replacing the sugar in one of my favorite breakfast casseroles.

Blueberry Maple French Toast Breakfast Bake

1 loaf of stale bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
 8 oz cream cheese or mascarpone, cut into small cubes
1 pint fresh blueberries,
8 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup maple syrup plus more for serving
1/2 cups almonds, pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.
Place half of the bread cubes in the dish.
Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and half of the blueberries over the bread.
Top with remaining bread cubes, blueberries and nuts.

 Next combine eggs, milk, maple syrup and butter in a large bowl and pour over bread mixture.

Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cover with aluminum foil if you notice the edges browning too much during baking.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares to serve.

 Serve with additional maple syrup drizzled on top.
This recipe can be prepared the night before, and then baked the next morning.

The maple syrup really adds a wonderful maple flavor to the recipe!

Connect with Big Tree Maple!

Visit their website
Follow Big Tree Maple on Facebook
Follow with Big Tree Maple on G+ 
Follow  Big Tree Maple on Instagram

BUY IT! You can purchase Big Tree Maple Syrup here
Use coupon 2syrup2017  to receive 10% off your order.


The generous folks at Big Tree Maple were kind enough to offer a 15oz bottle of pure Maple Syrup to one lucky reader!

 Please enter below using the rafflecopter form, you may have to wait a minutes for it to load! This giveaway is open to US only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

i received this product in exchange for my review. My opinions are my own. The sponsor is responsible for shipping the prize.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Coconut Macaroons with Sweet Home and Kitchen measuring set- Review

i'm still moving forward on my goal to eliminate most of the plastic in my kitchen.  The measuring cups i've been using are a mismatched set of plastic measuring cups. Three different plastic sets combined to make a complete set.  So i was really excited to have the opportunity to review the #SweetHomeKitchen Measuring Cups and Spoons Set. 

This 10 piece set is stainless steel, so it doesn't rust or corrode.  They have colorful Anti-Slip Heat-Resistant Handles with silicone grips. They are engraved with both metric and Imperial measuring units and they have an easy to remove ring to keep them together while storing. The set is FDA approved and dishwasher safe. i'm excited to finally get rid of my plastic measuring cups and replace them with these lovely stainless steel ones.  

i put them to the test today making Coconut Macaroons.  The measurements are accurate and they are easy to clean. No oil residue left over, like you sometimes get with plastic. Coconut macaroons are easy to make, you can find the recipe below. 

Coconut Macaroons

3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut.
 4 large egg whites
 1/2 cup sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 and grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer beat egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add sugar.
Fold in the coconut and vanilla by hand until just mixed.

Drop by tablespoon onto prepared pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Optional- once cool dip the bottoms in melted chocolate if desired.

My daughter and i both love to bake, so having a good set of measuring cups & spoons is essential.  Four years after the house fire and we are still slowly replacing items that had been donated.  As excited as i am to replace the old plastic measuring cups, it's a little bittersweet as well knowing that each of those cups were gifted to us in our time of need.  Although the set is mismatched and the measurements have rubbed off some of them, i'll pass them on to someone else who needs them, as they still have plenty of life left in them.. It has been a long process of replacing lost things, but we are getting there and trying to simplify as we go. This set is a lovely addition to the other stainless steel kitchen accessories and tools that i've recently acquired.

You can find it for sale on Amazon- They are currently $18.99 free shipping with prime. Use code Z9Z6OU8O during checkout to get 10% off.

*i received this set of measuring cups and spoons at no cost in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sweese Porcelain Kitchenware- Review and Giveaway

This week, i had the opportunity to review this lovely porcelain butter keeper made by Sweese. i love their simple, yet elegant designs.

Sweese is dedicated to creating the most useful products that’ll be a staple of your kitchen! They want to create products that not only enhance your daily cooking chores, but become an integral part of your everyday life. Efficiency and durability are two of their biggest values, and it’s one of the guiding principles when it comes to making their plates, bowls, and cooking tools.

i really like that they use natural materials in their products. Most are made with natural porcelain, cork, bamboo or slate.

The Sweese butter keeper is made from  pro-grade porcelain. It is dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe.  The butter holder part is FDA- approved and made of durable porcelain, a type of premium lead-free and non-toxic ceramic, chip-resistant and more sturdy than glass or stoneware. 

The Sweese Butter keeper is large enough to hold two standard sticks of butter. The lid is made of natural cord, and has a silicone seal to make it air tight. If butter gets on the inside of the lid it can easily be cleaned off with soap and water. The engraved saying "Alles In Butter" in the cork is German language, that means "All is Well" or "Everything is fine".

It also works great to store my homemade butter. Butter easily absorbs the odors of other foods and air is the source of turning butter rancid,  Sweese is proud of its airtight design, which helps keep your butter fresh and tasting great!

BUY IT! You  can purchase the Sweese Butter Keeper 

Use this code  TREE0125 to get 25% off your purchase.


The generous folks at Sweese were kind enough to offer one of their porcelian butter dishes to a lucky reader.

 Please enter below using the rafflecopter form, you may have to wait a minutes for it to load! This giveaway is open to US only.  Must be 18 to enter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

i received this butter dish in exchange for my review. My opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What's Growing? Garden News- First Week of May

Garden season has officially started. My last possible frost date was Mother's Day weekend. i have a lot of crops that were planted very early in the spring that are ready for harvest, and my summer crops have almost all been started in the green house so i haven't been in a huge hurry to get them into the ground.

At the end of April, first week of May my lettuce was really starting to come in. i have it planted both outside and in the greenhouse, so once the greenhouse lettuce is gone, the lettuce in the garden should be ready. 

i have many different varieties of lettuce. They grew really well in the greenhouse in the early spring, but it's starting to get a bit too hot for them now. They haven't bittered yet, but with the rising temperatures they will be soon.  i have the vents open, but really need to set the fan back up to keep the air circulated and temperatures below 100.

Blueberries are looking good this year. i have a couple bushes again this year, with no berries on them, but the majority of bushes are totally loaded. i ran out of blueberries (freezer) a few weeks ago and i'm eager to fill my freezer back up with them. We love having a freezer full of blueberries to use in muffins, pancakes and cakes. i don't think we could ever have too many blueberries.

i planted about a dozen broccoli this year, but may have planted it too early again. Several have buttoned and the rest look a bit stunted. i think this is from the temps being 80 degrees one week, then 16 degrees the next. Broccoli usually does better in the fall, but i always try it in the spring anyhow. 

Outside under row covers i have lots of spring mix leaf lettuce and spinach is coming in well.  Spinach really prefers the cool weather so i'm expecting it to start bolting soon. i have more planted in a more shaded area, so i'm hoping it keeps producing a while longer.  

So far it's been a good spring. Still getting asparagus and eggs, and lots of leafy greens.

This week i'll working on getting my garden planted. Almost everything was started in the greenhouse and had a good head start. i actually haven't done any garden planning so i really need to sit down and figure out where i'm going to put everything.  We moved the potatoes this year into a different garden, so i lost that garden space. We are trying corn in the old potato bed, and i'll be able to put some squash and beans in there as well, but that doesn't leave anywhere for tomatoes.  So i need to check last years garden plan so i know the best way to rotate things this year.

Looking forward to a good gardening season! i'm planting several new varieties i can't wait to check out! What's coming up in your garden?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Homebody Accents Review and Giveaway!

i recently had the opportunity to review an item from HomeBody Accents. Homebody Accents is a family owned and operated business. They started the business in 2007 in Fort Worth, Texas and each piece is handmade in the USA. They create each sign by baking an enamelized image into a tough, proprietary coating on a thick steel blank.

 The result is amazing durability, rich color, and fine detail. These are not like those thin, cheap tins other companies make. When you hold this sign in your hand, you will definitely feel and see the Homebody Accents difference. Homebody Accents' value-added, optional features include framing on rustic, one of a kind, reclaimed wood; and the application of a sun protective film to protect those pieces you wish to display outdoors.

Homebody Accents has an amazing selection of designs to choose from. They have everything from vintage farm signs, to inspirational quotes to holiday themed and so much more! 

i had a very hard time choosing a sign, because i loved them all! The vintage farm signs are my favorite. i was orginially planning to get one of the vintage Fresh egg signs to put on my chicken coop, but decided to get the wood frame so i could display it inside instead.  i'm so glad i did!

The wooden frame is made from reclaimed wood and looks like it's made from an old barn, it even has rusty nails to really give it an authentic vintage look! The attention to detail on the sign is fantastic. It is a really a very neat piece.

 i really love that they use recycled materials and that each piece is handmade in the USA. The signs range in price from around $18.98 up to $79.89.  Most of the signs are available with the reclaimed wood frame for around $39.98.

Homebody Accents have a special coupon that will give you 15% off and Free shipping on any order of 3 or more items. Just enter WINE15 in the checkout.

Connect with Homebody Accents! 

Homebody Accents on Facebook
Homebody Accents on Instagram
Homebody Accents on Etsy
Homebody Accents on Pinterest

Now for the Giveaway!!

The generous folks at Homebody Accents were kind enough to offer one of their metal signs to a lucky reader. The winner will recieve a gift code that will allow them to pick out any one sign under $50 with free shipping included!

 Please enter below using the rafflecopter form, you may have to wait a minutes for it to load! This giveaway is open to US only. 

*i received a product in exchange for my honest review. i was not compensated, my opinions are my own.