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  • This one of those recipes that is fun to experiment with. I’ve made it a few different ways with various dried fruits and nuts. One ingredient I recommend that you not improvise with is the brown rice syrup. When I could not find it at my usual market, I substituted agave syrup. Although it tasted great, it didn’t bind well and the bars were more like clumps. Don’t skimp on this item. Purchase the brown rice syrup online if necessary. To get the recipe, click on the article I wrote for Parent Society.

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  • cookies in a jarAs ubiquitous as they may seem to some in their quaint, kitschy way, who  can’t resist  homemade cookies? And if you can make the planning and preparation that much easier, you’ve got the perfect gift. Here are some suggestions for those layered cookies in a jar you can pass out to all your friends, relatives and kid’s teachers. Put all ingredients in a Mason jar decorated with some nice fabric, ribbon and a tag with recipe and baking instructions.

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Ingredients:
    1 pint cranberry juice cocktail
    1 quart apple juice
    1 cup water
    6 whole cloves
    2 cinnamon sticks
    1 lemon, thinly sliced

    Mix all the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Strain and serve.

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  • cookies before they go into the oven

    cookies before they go into the oven

    I made a lot of labor intensive elaborate cookies over the holidays that were almost too pretty to eat. This one was by far the easiest to make and the kids’ favorite. Make a double batch. They won’t last long. The recipe comes from my late mother-in-law who had a real sweet tooth. By the way, there are no actual peanuts in this recipe since it calls for walnuts, but I suppose you could use peanuts.

    unsalted Saltine crackers
    1/2 cup of sugar
    1/2 cup of brown sugar
    1 cup of melted butter
    12 oz bag of mini chocolate chips
    1 cup of finely chopped walnuts

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of 11 x 13 cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Layer the crackers side by side to cover the cookie sheet. Mix sugar, brown sugar and butter and pour over the top of the crackers. Spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes. While still hot and bubbly sprinkle on the chocolate chips and nuts. When cooled off, separate from foil and break into “brittle” pieces.

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  • fudgeThis is super easy, and  fun homemade fudge that your kids will love to make and eat.

    1 1/2 cups sugar
    2/3 cup evaporated milk
    2 T butter
    1/4 tsp. salt
    2 cups mini marshmallows (a must)
    1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
    1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium heavy sauce pan. Bring to full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, chips, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for one minute or until marshmallows are melted. Pour into prepared baking pan and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan, remove foil and cut into pieces.

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  • Ingredients:
    1/2 tsp non-iodized salt
    3 lbs. sliced Kirby (pickling) cucumbers
    1 lb. sliced white onions
    3 cups apples cider vinegar
    4 cups granulated sugar
    2 tsp. mustard seeds
    1 tsp. turmeric
    2 quarts ice water
    2 cups water

    Make a brine by adding the salt to the ice water. Chill the cucumbers in the brine for one hour. In a large pan, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the cucumbers and onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until the pickles start to lose their color. Remove from heat and let cool in the liquid. Refrigerate in a non-metallic container.

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  • Perfect gift for all the foodies on  your holiday shopping list.

    3 1/2 oz. brown or black mustard seeds
    1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    1/2 lb. yellow mustard seeds
    Pinch of ground white pepper
    1 tsp. ground turmeric
    1 3/4 cups of water
    1/4 cups good quality pure honey
    Pinch of dried thyme or chili powder

    Also need: sterilized glass jars with tight fitting lids (Mason jars work well.)

    Soak brown/black mustard seeds over night in vinegar. Then grind with a mortar and pestle. Grind yellow seeds in a spice grinder or mini food processor until medium fine. Pour into large bowl. Add the brown seeds, pepper and turmeric to the yellow seed mixture and mix well. Boil the water, add a dash of salt. Slowly pour the water into the bowl with the mustard seeds. Mix well. Gradually add the honey while stirring with a wooden spoon. Season with vinegar, pepper and salt to taste. Add the thyme or chili powder. While mustard is hot, pour into clean jars and seal right away. Let stand 2 weeks. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 months.

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  • I don’t usually describe food as fun, but recently I tried Bear Naked granola and I loved it. ( I would just like to interject here that I am not a paid endorser of the product, and I didn’t get freebies to try it either. I just liked it and want to share it with you.)  My kids were asking me to make them yogurt, fruit and  granola parfaits so I picked up some Bear Naked granola and some Stonyfield yogurt and on the inside lid of the yogurt I found this recipe for granola cupcakes. I have made them twice. The first time with The Heavenly Chocolate granola and the second time with The Vanilla Almond Crunch granola.  The added granola makes for a very interesting and fun texture. My family loved them.

    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 T plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract (Can omit or use less if using vanilla yogurt.)
    1 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
    2 cups of all purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. baking powder
    2 cups of Bear Naked granola

    In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping bowl constantly. Add yogurt and mix well.

    In a separate bowl sift all the dry ingredients except for granola. Add to butter mixture until well blended. Fold in the granola.

    Pour into lined muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm or cooled. Frost if desired.

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  • This makes a great teacher gift when packaged in a holiday mug with some hot cocoa mix. Small children will enjoy rolling the marshmallows in the powdered sugar. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • READ

    If your family does not have a dog, chances are you know someone who does. This pleasant series by Alexandra Day highlights the adventures of Carl, a rottweiler, who is left alone to take care of a baby. Once the mom is away, the two, dog and baby, take off on wild adventures together. It is pure fantasy of course, with very little text, which leaves a lot up to the reader’s imagination. Taking your pet to the veterinary is a task, with veterinary practice management software market, it is now easier for the vets to manage appointments.


    For all the dog lovers in your life, make these yummy dog treats. Keep some for yourself and give some away.

    1 package active dry yeast
    1 tsp. sugar
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    2 cups cornmeal
    2 cups uncooked, old fashioned oats
    1 cup each loosely packed fresh mint leaves and parsley, chopped.
    1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
    3/4 cup milk

    Also need: rolling pins and cookie cutters preferably in the shape of a dog biscuit and/or a mailman.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees) . Let stand until yeast foams, about 5 minutes.

    In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. With wooden spoon, stir in yeast mixture, broth and milk until combined. Knead with hands until blended.

    Divide dough in half. Cover one half with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Place other half on lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out as many biscuits as possible and use spatula to transfer biscuits to ungreased cookie sheet. Reroll trimmings and cut more biscuits until you use up the remaining dough.

    Bake small biscuits for 30 minutes and large ones for 40 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Store at room temperature in airtight container for up to 3 months. Makes 4 dozen large biscuits and 24 dozen small biscuits.

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