10 February 2011

Spice Rack...

A long, long time ago in a neighborhood not very far away, the charming writer of Desperately Seeking Salem, Emily, blogged about the spice rack her husband made for her.  I was inspired by this and decided to give it a go.  I knew my sister needed a spice rack and thought this would be the perfect Christmas gift for her.  I asked her to start keeping my niece's baby food jars and hand them over (Yes, she gave me the supplies for her own Christmas gift) and started formulating a plan.

I wanted the jars to be magnetic, I planned on mounting a piece of metal flashing under the lip of the cabinet. I also wanted to use chalkboard paint on the front in order to use chalk to label each jar.  So that's what I did.

I taped off a rectangle on each jar and painted chalkboard paint within (3 coats).  I let them dry for several days between coats and removed the tape after the last coat had a couple more days to dry.

Using a high shine, black spray paint, I sprayed the outsides of the baby food jar lids. They needed two coats.  Once dried (again, several days later), I used a permanent glue to secure the magnets to the lids.

I bought my spice packets at Cost Plus and gave my sister a set of 18 spice jars, about 10 of them I pre-filled with spices and one of the jars to hold the chalk.

I also used the chalkboard paint on large glass storage jars that I bought at Ikea.  She can use these for pasta, flour, sugar, etc.

Drawback? They probably need to be handwashed.

Too bad the niece is done with baby food.  I really want a set for myself.  Might need to just buy the baby food to get the jars.

06 February 2011

Homemade Crackers...

Inspired by the (I think) homemade crackers that David serves with his chicken salad at La Capitale, I decided to try my hand at making crackers. I had a thyme cheese ball recipe I wanted to use them with.  I did a quick search on the Food Network's web site, and decided to go with Ina Garten's Parmesan and Thyme Crackers. I made a batch with fresh thyme and a batch with fresh rosemary and they were both delicious and so very easy.  These crackers are very much like a savory shortbread.  In fact, they were so good, and so addicting, I just ate the plain.  No need for the cheese at all!


  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until creamy.
  • Add the Parmesan, flour, salt, thyme and pepper and combine (I added about 1/4 cup of water after everything was mixed in order to get everything to combine).
  • Dump the dough on a lightly floured board and roll into a 13-inch long log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cut the log crosswise into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices. Place the slices on a sheet pan and bake for 22 minutes.