The Pin Junkie: June 2014

You Only Live Once


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I'm doing one of my pins and it's a BIG one!  I can't believe this even as I type it!  Mr. Pin Junkie and I are going to Europe!  It's something that I've wanted to do for as along as I can remember, but never really believed it would actually happen. 

And it's happening fast!  Normal, sane, clear-minded people plan for months ahead of time before embarking on a international trip.  I have just over two weeks to figure out what to pack, make an itinerary, get train schedules, figure out currency, and learn a few basic words in Dutch and French.

Luckily we already have current passports.  And luckily I love researching, so I'm reading everything as much and as fast as I can!   I feel a little bit like I'm cramming for an exam!  We already have plane tickets to Belgium and have rented a cute little apartment for the two weeks we'll be in Brussels.  We also plan on spending a day in Amsterdam and a couple of days in Paris.  

Why in the world am I doing this?  Two reasons.  Pin Junkie Jr. was invited to go to Belgium with his friend because his friend's sister's husband (got that?) is stationed at the Air Force base there.  I was honestly worried sick about having Pin Junkie Jr. - who has never traveled on such a long trip alone - go by himself.  My imagination kept coming up with all sorts of horrible scenarios of what could happen to two inexperienced eighteen year old boys in a foreign country.  (Feel free to insert judgement here about how I'm an over protective parent.)  The other reason is honestly, I was just plain jealous and wanted to go too!

I've never done anything like this before so I'm completely nervous and thoroughly excited all at once!  I don't know if I'm making a huge mistake.  We have Pin Junkie Jr's tuition to pay for and a money pit classic car that Mr. Pin Junkie is restoring.  But you only live once!  So were doing it.

I hope you'll come along with me as I bumble around these three European cities, get lost, try to communicate in an unfamiliar languages, and eat way to much!  I'm so looking forward to it!


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Pin Junkie Pin Party #73


Welcome to The Pin Junkie!  
 I'm on a mission to do the things I pin on Pinterest and try something new every day!
 I'm so glad you're here to party with us!


Here's what I've been up to this week:
http://www.thepinjunkie.com/2014/06/ballooning-over-rio-grande.html http://www.thepinjunkie.com/2014/06/how-to-store-leftover-tomato-paste.html http://www.thepinjunkie.com/2014/06/copy-cat-outshine-strawberry-popsicle.html

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There were so many great projects shared at last week's party!  Thanks to everyone for sharing your projects, recipes and tips.  I can't wait to see what you will share this week!  But first, take a look at some features from last week's party.


The Best Collection of Handprint Crafts
The Best Collection of Handprint Crafts


Vintage Inspired Patriotic Printables
Vintage Inspired Patriotic Printables
by Kelly at Live Laugh Rowe


How To Make Citronella Candles
How To Make Citronella Candles 


Strawberry Shortcake Cake Recipe
Strawberry Shortcake Cake Recipe
by Roxana at Roxana's Home Baking


Patriotic Centerpiece DIY Ombre Bottles
Patriotic Centerpiece

Copy-Cat Outshine Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

Copy-Cat Outshine Strawberry Popsicle Recipe
Copy-Cat Outshine Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

Have you ever had an Outshine fruit bar?  They are one of my favorite summertime desserts, especially the strawberry ones.  I really love them, but don't like paying $5.00 a box.  I got the idea to make frozen fruit popsicles from Pinterest and came up with this copy-cat recipe purely by accident.  The popsicle recipes I pinned used blueberries and raspberries, but I decided to go with strawberries because they're my favorite and I got a great deal - four pounds of strawberries for $7.00.  These strawberries were perfectly ripe and already deliciously sweet so they didn't need a lot of extra sugar.  Besides being low in sugar, these homemade strawberry popsicles, which are really more like fruit bars, are easy to make, don't have any artificial ingredients and are perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day!  Here's what you'll need: 

Ingredients:
4 pounds fresh strawberries
1 cup water
1/2 sugar

Heat one cup water and and stir in 1/2 cup sugar to make a simple syrup.  Allow the sugar water to cool. (You can leave out the sugar if you'd like, but you'll still need water.)

Wash and hull the strawberries.  Place the strawberries and simple syrup in the blender.  (I only used 3/4 cup of the simple syrup.)  If you can't fit all four pounds of strawberries in your blender, blend it in two batches.

Copy-Cat Outshine Strawberry Popsicle Recipe 
 
 Blend as much or as little as you want depending on how smooth or chunky you want your popsicles to be.

Copy-Cat Outshine Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

Pour the blended strawberries into popsicle molds.

Copy-Cat Outshine Strawberry Popsicle Recipe


Add the popsicle sticks and the lid.  
Put them in the freezer for a few hours until frozen.

Copy-Cat Outshine Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

And then sit back and enjoy some delicious homemade popsicles that taste exactly like Dreyer's strawberry fruit bars!

Copy-Cat Outshine Strawberry Popsicle Recipe


how to keep strawberries fresh            strawberry pie recipe

chocolate covered strawberry roses


Inspired by these pins for blueberry and raspberry popsicles

This site includes links to sponsors or affiliates, which give me a small percentage of the sale. You are not obligated to use these links when you make a purchase, but when you do so it helps to support this site. Thank you!

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How to Store Leftover Tomato Paste

how to store leftover tomato paste
how to store leftover tomato paste

Don't you hate it when a recipe calls for a tablespoon of tomato paste?  After you open a can to use the little bit that you need, you still have tomato paste left in the can.  It's so wasteful to throw it out and it won't last very long in the refrigerator.  So what do you do? 

First, put the unopened can of tomato paste in the freezer.  After a few hours it will be completely frozen.  Run the can under warm water for just a minute.  Then, use a can opener to cut off the top and bottom of the can.  The frozen tomato paste should slide right out.  You can also use the back of a spoon to gently push it out.  Then just slice the frozen tomato paste into 1/2 inch slices.  You will have six slices which is equal to six tablespoons.

how to store leftover tomato paste
 

Then just put the frozen slices of tomato paste in a sealable plastic bag and store them in the freezer.  The next time you need a tablespoon of tomato paste, just take one out and plop it in your recipe.

how to store leftover tomato paste
 

I tried another version of this pin which was similar because it also involves freezing the tomato paste.  With this method, you spoon the leftover tomato paste into an ice cube tray and freeze it.  This way doesn't work as well because the tomato paste gets freezer burn and looks really gross.  It's also difficult to get the cubes out.  So I definitely recommend the first method of freezing leftover tomato paste.

how to store leftover tomato paste


how to store leftover tomato paste

Inspired by this pin for storing leftover tomato paste. 

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Ballooning Over The Rio Grande

Ballooning Over The Rio Grande
Ballooning Over The Rio Grande

For Father's Day, I gave Mr. Pin Junkie a ride in a hot air balloon
and I went too!  

http://www.thepinjunkie.com/p/cop.html

Neither of us had ever been in a hot air balloon before.  I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous.  I'm not afraid of heights, but I was a little nervous about being up so high with nothing but hot air keeping me there.  I had nothing to be nervous about.  Taking off was so smooth,  I almost didn't realize the balloon was in the air.  It was such a gentle ride, there wasn't even the sensation of moving although I could see the ground moving below me.   

http://www.thepinjunkie.com/p/cop.html

We flew over the Rio Grande and we did a "splash and dash" which is when the pilot guides the balloon down to dip the gondola in the water.

Ballooning Over The Rio Grande

Ballooning Over The Rio Grande

After that it was up, up and away!  The balloon went up to about 1,000 feet and it was amazing to see the city from that height.  Not like being in a plane at all.  No noise, no sensation of flying or moving, and spectacular views in every direction.

Ballooning Over The Rio Grande Ballooning Over The Rio Grande

The view below . . .

http://www.thepinjunkie.com/p/cop.html

and the view above . . .

http://www.thepinjunkie.com/p/cop.html

After landing, we enjoyed a champagne toast with our pilot and fellow passengers and concluded with the traditional balloonist's prayer:

The winds have welcomed you with softness.
The sun has blessed you with his warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well
That God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back again
into the loving arms of Mother Earth.


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Friday Link Party #72


Welcome to The Pin Junkie!  
 I'm on a mission to do the things I pin on Pinterest and try something new every day!
 I'm so glad you're here to party with us!


Here's what I've been up to this week:
how to download fonts use in picMonkey ribbon felt flower bookmarks cactus rock garden


Travel is a big part of my Pinterest boards.  
These destinations from my vacation weren't pinned on my travel boards as places I wanted to go, but they should have been!

http://www.thepinjunkie.com/2014/06/arches-national-park.html http://www.thepinjunkie.com/2014/06/monument-valley.html http://www.thepinjunkie.com/2014/06/zion-national-park.html

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There were so many great projects shared at last week's party!  Thanks to everyone for sharing your projects, recipes and tips.  I can't wait to see what you will share this week!  But first, take a look at some features from last week's party.

Beef Taco Skillet Casserole
Beef Taco Skillet Casserole 
by Chelsea at Gal On A Mission


Oatmeal Scotchies Cookies
Oatmeal Scotchies 
by Joy at Yesterfood


free summer dress patterns
Free Summer Dress Patterns
by Alice at Mums Makes Lists


light fixture makeover
Light Fixture Makeover


http://thefarmgirlgabs.com/strawberry-sangria-a-refreshing-summer-drink/
Strawberry Sangria