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Paige's Highlights

1. Spiced Butters. With fall upon us, I've been noticing some recipes for spiced butters, similar to apple butter--however, I've been most intrigued by vegetable butters. Mou, ye, and other thilly sings had a post on making spiced pumpkin butter and I decided to try to find a recipe (she has some BEAUTIFUL photography, too!) I'm thinking I have a new project to try this week! Also, I found a blogger who was talking about making a spiced carrot butter that tasted like carrot cake. They said the recipe was in their Ball Blue Book, but I just bought one and didn't find it. Maybe the recipe's in an older edition. Here's what I found for pumpkin butter, no luck with the carrot butter. :( Maybe I'll experiment one day. It was really easy to make and smelled soooo yummy all day long.

2. Pumpkin Seeds. Well, along with that pumpkin butter came some leftover seeds. My most recent Redbook magazine had a variety of spiced seeds recipes (free subscription, ftw.) Of course, if I remember correctly, just toasting them with some oil and salt is the traditional way. However, they used (A.) Parmesan cheese, thyme, olive oil, and salt, (B.) curry powder , oil, and salt, (C.) butter, pumpkin pie spices, sugar, and a smidgen of salt, and (D.) Spanish paprika, olive oil, and salt--just to mix it up a bit! They said to roast the dried seeds in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, stirring and re-spicing half-way through, but I just used my toaster oven at a little higher temp for a littler longer. Mmmmm. Now, I'm wishing that that pumpkin came with a few more seeds....

3. Fruit Flies. The bane of my kitchen any time I have any bananas in it.... And I HATE fruit flies. I tried lots of ways of getting rid of them, but the easiest I've found is a home-made trap. Cut the top off a pop bottle so it's a funnel shape, flip it upside down in the leftover bottom of the bottle. Staple and tape the edges well, then put something that fruit flies like in the bottle. I usually use some juice and a splash of vinegar. THEN--don't forget this--drizzle in a bit of dish soap! It breaks the water film so when the flies try to get some of the juice, they slip in and drown. Also, they'll crawl into the bottle, but when they try to get back up and out, they go up the straight sides and can't get out the opening since they're too stupid to crawl down to get out. I usually set mine near my kitchen sink for a day or two, since they like to congregate around the water droplets. I've never had mine smell--and they've always cleared my house out of the little buggers within a day or two. :)

4. Homestead Exemptions. I was reading about this the other day, then I got to talking with my most recent preceptor. You should look into these for a bit of a tax break on your properties. Unfortunately, where Dan and I are planning on moving (Kentucky) you have to be more thant 65 years old and/or be disabled. We don't qualify on either grounds. However, I did look in our current state (Maine) and anyone can file for this for their primary residence. As near as I can tell, it makes $13k of your home exempt from state taxes....so if your primary home (only works with your primary residence) is worth $85k according for state purposes, you actually only end up paying property taxes on $72k. Additionally, in the event that you come under a lawsuit or something, that amount of your property is exempt from what they can get from you. Yeah, you might be forced to sell, but you get to keep $13k at least from the sale of your home. Definitely something to research a bit, based on your state of residence! Ahhhh, tax breaks....now to just have a homestead.....

5. Better Homes and Gardens.
I've been posting a lot of recipes from them and they're my new favorite website. :) The recipes you can save to your "recipe box" and all their decorating, crafts, sewing, gardening, etc things you can "clip" so you can keep track of them. A wonderful resource!

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