‘Food Tips and Tricks’ Category

  1. Homemade breath mints

    November 29, 2012 by Lauren

    finally coming your way this Thursday… and here I am, at 9:44pm writing it. I’m a true procrastinator. Sue me. It’ll probably take me longer to write this post than it even took to do the whole tutorial! My reward when I’m done writing this = animal crackers. Buckle up:

    Homemade breath mints. Josiah and I have been using these for 2 weeks now and we LOVE them!


    -1 cup powdered gum paste mix
    -1 teaspoon-ish water
    -some pepperment extract/flavor (don’t you love my exact measurements? add it until you like the taste.)
    -powdered xylitol – – – or powdered sugar.

    (small blurb on xylitol – thanks to our friend nick for introducing it to us! you can find it at any health food store… whole foods, wheatsville if you’re here in town. it’s a sugar alcohol and supposedly safer for diabetics! it’s “tooth friendly” and in a lot of gums and toothpastes and mouthwashes – as it’s good for oral health. it actually REDUCES plaque on your teeth. It almost has a “cold” taste by itself. yes, a sugar that’s GOOD! yay. google it for more info, i’m just a crazy person blogging, not a doctor) If you don’t wanna get xylitol, just use powdered sugar. It won’t have the health benefits but it will work as a powdered-non-sticky-substance-thing.

    ok. back to the diy breath mints.

    Step 1: pour 1 tablespoon of water into 1 cup of powdered gum paste and mix it up. (word to the wise, please do this in a bowl and do not attempt to mix it on a piece of wax paper like the dumb-bums that Josiah and I are….. it was such a mess.)

    Step 2: Mix it/knead it until it’s all one solid mass of “dough”. If it’s too dry, add a little water. Too wet, add more gum paste mix. Common sense here, people.

    Step 3: Add in some peppermint extract! Add a teaspoon and see how you like the taste. Not strong enough for your taste? Add another teaspoon. And another. And another. Maybe you’re hoping for curiously strong… just go ahead and be crazy and add the whole bottle. (just kidding, that might be crazy. but now i’m curious…)

    Step 4:  Flatten it like a pancake on a surface of powdered xylitol/powdered sugar on wax paper. You could use a rolling pin but those things are my worst enemy! I always get everything all stuck to the roller. So I just flattened it with my hands. Make it the thickness of a normal breath mint…. maybe 1/4 of an inch?

    Step 5: Here’s the fun part! Cut out your little breath mints. You could literally just cut them into squares. Or use a big bubble tea straw as a cookie cutter and get PERFECT sized breath mints. Pull up the left over dough and roll it out again and keep going until all your dough is done. (or until Josiah just grabs the end of the dough because he’s sick of rolling it out and just shoves it in his mouth…)

    Step 6: Lightly toss them in the leftover xylitol/powdered sugar that’s on your wax paper. This helps them not stick together. 

    Step 7: Let them dry out for a couple of hours. They are pretty much ready to eat – but if you want them to get a bit harder, just leave them out. Then ENJOY ENJOY!

    What’s awesome about this recipe:

    -You can add different extracts for different flavors! Add cinnamon instead of peppermint. Strawberry. Lemon/lime for a sour (ew, personally).
    -These are actually GOOD for your teeth!
    -They are easy to make. I know this tutorial was a little lengthy for “The Burlap Bag standards”, but it’s worth it.  I bet it would be fun with kids too!
    -Add in food coloring if you’re so inclined!

    I’m working on figuring out a recipe that DOESN’T include gum paste…. But who knows when that’ll come alive. I’ll keep you updated. For now, I’m off for some animal crackers. And then maybe a breath mint.

    Go freshen that breath. You stink a little. Yeah you.

  2. DIY ground cinnamon

    November 1, 2012 by Lauren

    make your own??!

    Thus… the tutorial…. DIY ground cinnamon

    It’s the easiest thing ever. Seriously. Just put cinnamon sticks on your coffee grinder for one-ish minute… and you’ll get a lovely powder of cinnamon. Do it longer if you want even tinier particles!

    Why not just buy pre-ground cinnamon? You can. We’re just going back to the basics with cinnamon bark and grinding it up.  And it’s just kinda awesome to make it yourself. And really really cheap. We bought a bajillion cinnamon sticks for less than $2. Plus, there’s no added preservatives in homemade ground cinnamon. A lot of those containers add some preservatives to prevent from caking/clumping… yuck. If this clumps, just stick it back in the coffee grinder.

    We realized we use our coffee grinder for so many other uses – diy powdered sugar, diy garlic powder, homemade onion flakes…… it’s the “poor-man’s food processor” since we don’t have one, or the “modern mortar-and-pestle”, since we don’t have one of those either. Ha!

    Ok go make your own ground cinnamon! And then go make some french toast, or pumpkin pie, or oatmeal, or cinnamon rolls, or do the cinnamon challenge if you’re a crazy person.

  3. freeze extra herbs in ice cube trays

    October 25, 2012 by Lauren

    Our basil plant has been growing all summer long and we finally decided it was time to chop most of it down. (chop? It’s not a tree, Lauren, it’s a 1 foot tall plant…) We set out to make some pesto, but then realized: we didn’t have cheese. Or pine nuts. Or any nuts. So instead, we just chopped up the garlic super fine and mixed it with some olive oil.

    Then we stuck it in some ice cube trays in the freezer – –

    Once they were frozen, we popped them out and stuck them in another container. Whenever we’re cooking and want some “fresh” (not really fresh but better than dried store bought basil!) we can just grab one of these frozen cubes. Super fast and easy. We did that the other night with spagetti and it was wonderful!

    So whenever your plant is big, do all the work at once, and then you’re set for a whole season on basil! (or whatever herbs you like! Oregano… mm. Rosemary… mmmm. You could also do this with pesto but you wouldn’t wanna freeze it with cheese already in it. Enjoy!

  4. DIY powdered sugar

    October 11, 2012 by Lauren

    Are you ready for it? Get out a spiral and a pen (and some back up pens and a highlighter for doodling) because this gets real crazy intense.

    DIY Powdered Sugar

    Step one: Grind regular sugar in a coffee grinder/blender for 20 seconds. 

    And that’s it. Confectioner’s sugar. In the palm of your hand/coffee grinder.

    Some suggest to put in some cornstarch if you need it to be a little thicker/prevent caking (supposedly you need this for icing). So do that if you think it’s not the right consistency! 1-2 tablespoons for 1 cup of sugar. But we loved it with just granulated sugar – ground up.

    Remember this for when you’re cooking and realize you have NO MORE powdered sugar for that icing/french toast/whatever else you find on pinterest to bake.

    (and if you run outta brown sugar, we’ve got a recipe for that too! homemade brown sugar)

    And when you get that nice homemade powdered sugar, then make your own POWDERED SUGAR SHAKER! Man. We’re just full of great ideas. Ha. No, we’re just dorks who do everything ourselves.