9.19.2016

Flower Sugar Cookie

This is a page I ripped out of an American Girl Magazine when I was a girl.  I have yet to make these, but I think they are so cute.  I'm just waiting for the right opportunity or party!

9.15.2016

Baby Shower --Freezer Meal Theme-- Favor

Here is an idea for a "Freezer Meal" baby shower.  I threw this shower for a friend who was pregnant with her 7th baby.  We decided to have guests bring a freezer meal instead of presents.  
Frozen cookie dough balls with cute baby quotes attached was the party favor.

9.12.2016

Homemade Deodorant


It has taken me WAY too long to post this AMAZING recipe that I shared in my coconut cooking class.  I was introduced to homemade deodorant by two sister-in-laws that use this recipe.  They gave me a little to try, and I was hooked!

Homemade deodorant seemed a bit impossible, I mean don't you need a bunch of crazy ingredients, patents, factory equipment, etc to make this stuff?  It is actually amazingly simple and so much better for you than store bought--you can even eat it!  It is also only about $1 a batch and lasts 2 adults 3 months of usage!  Coconut oil has great anti bacterial properties and moisturizes at the same time.   
This will feel totally weird, I get that because I had my reservations, but give it a try.  Using your index and middle fingers to apply will feel weird for about a week :)  I used to wash my hands after application, but now I just wipe any extra residue anywhere on my skin.  

My husband and I love this.  There is no more stinky armpits.  If you think it is NOT working it may be because you are not using enough, or there is residual scent in your clothing.  My armpits have even passed a smell test after two days of no showering (applied deodorant each morning).  Sorry I can't go longer than that without a shower--so I'm not sure how long it would last.

  Polyester clothes used to really stink and I often avoided wearing them because my armpits would just stink no matter what I did.  That is no longer a problem.  The only thing you smell is a subtle coconut smell.

Does it stain?  I have not noticed any problem with this.   

TWO DRAWBACKS: 
1.  This is NOT an antiperspirant.  You will still sweat.  I seem to sweat a bit less than if I had nothing.  But this isn't too much of a drawback, because I sweat through antiperspirant as well.
2.  This melts in heat so it is a bit difficult to use traveling.  I still take it scooping out a small amount and placing in a snack ziplock bag.  If it melt and separates, you can just remix it.  

There are just 3 ingredients:
Coconut Oil
Baking Soda
Arrowroot Powder

You can then add some a few drops of a favorite essential oil (about 5 drops) if you'd like for some subtle scent.  I have liked using bergamot oil.  This recipe was taken from the blog Passionate Homemaking if you want to check out her link.


Ingredients:
6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (arrowroot is preferred)
Directions:
  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon/fork or hand blender (although I think it is easier to just do it by hand.  It is super fast) until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.  In the winter I like to use a bit more coconut oil because with the house colder, deodorant is more malleable.  In summer, 6 TBS works great.
  3. Scoop this recipe into  a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.



Use about this much per armpit--you can experiment and use less or more according to need.
This recipe makes three of these containers.  I actually have mine in an old lotion flip lid container for easier access/use.

I've had lots of people try this now and love it--even going so far as to request it for birthday presents (only a $1---sure!!)!  Give it a try!

9.02.2016

Red, White, and Blue Themed Table Setting

Here are pictures from a birthday dinner party I hosted.  It was for my mom who LOVES red!


Centerpiece Floral arrangements.  Used Costco Flowers, mason jars, and red ribbon.


Lindt Chocolate Truffle assortment Favor

8.29.2016

Cookie Scoops

GOOD Cooking Tools definitely make kitchen time more enjoyable, faster, and easier.  I get very frustrated when things don't work and purchasing a cheap tool is fine as long as it works!  So I have some cheap tools, but I also have some more expensive tools since I've learned the hard way that it PAYS to PAY more!

I have not bought every brand of cookie scoop out there, but I thought I'd at least share three brands that I have used.  Two of them did not last long and were easily bent and harder to use with each additional use.  Those brands are Crestware and Inox.  I have had a GREAT experience with the Piazza Brand (purchased at Williams Sonoma or Amazon).  These are definitely more expensive than the cheaper versions, but the price is worth it when it outlasts the other brands!  

I currently have 2 Piazza brand cookie scoops in a small and medium size.  The smaller one I use mainly for cookies (makes for nice consistent cookie size) and the other one I use for making cupcakes or muffins.

 This cheap one bent above scoop and is hard to use now.  This happened about after the 10th use.

This cheaper one has been bent below edge and doesn't completely clear scoop cup so it doesn't really scoop at all.  This happened early on into ownership as well.  Frustrating!




Brand:  Piazza (two scoops at far right)-Buy it and Enjoy it!!!
Brand: Crestware-don't recommend
Brand: INOX-don't recommend

7.14.2016

Greek Pasta Salad

Recipe and picture from Just a Taste.  I was asked to make this for a friend's wedding.  It has turned out to be on of my favorite pasta salads.  It makes GREAT leftovers.  I'd actually suggest letting the dressing sit on pasta salad for a bit (recipe says three hours).  It does taste better as flavors have time to set.


Ingredients

Produce

  • 15 Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Cup diced cucumbers
  • 3/4 Cupdiced green peppers (colored peppers also work)
  • 2/3 Cupsliced red onions
  • 2 Teaspoonsdried oregano
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoonsminced garlic

Condiments

  • 3/4 Cup sliced olives
  • 2 Teaspoonsfreshly squeezed lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Make the pasta salad:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it until al dente. Strain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl to cool slightly. While the pasta cools, make the dressing.
Make the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, except for the olive oil. While whisking, stream in the olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper, to taste. 
Add the red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, green peppers and feta cheese to the bowl with the pasta.
Pour the dressing over the pasta, tossing to combine, then cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours and up to overnight. When ready to serve, toss the pasta salad again and enjoy cold or at room temperature.

Pasta & Grains

  • 2 1/2 Cups uncooked pasta

Oils & Vinegars

  • 1/2 Cupextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 Cupred wine vinegar

Dairy

  • 1 Cupcrumbled feta cheese

Other

  • 1 Teaspoon sugar

7.11.2016

Whipped Herb Butter

If you want to add a fun twist to this whipped butter recipe, here is a tasty herb rendition.   This is always a hit!  And goes deliciously well with some homemade artisan bread.


1 pound butter (4 sticks), room temperature
1 c. olive oil
1/4 c. chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2-3 medium garlic cloves, minced
-Combine all ingredients in mixer (kitchenmaid, boschmixer, or you can also use a hand-held mixer). Whip for THREE Minutes until butter is white and fluffy.  Spoon into serving dishes.  Put in fridge and store in fridge.  Butter is spreadable out of fridge.  You can also freeze extra butter and pull out at your convenience!

7.04.2016

Fruit Pizzas with Lemon Curd



This is similar to my recipe for FRUIT PIZZAS only it has the added flare of a layer of lemon curd.  Follow the recipe as outlined only spread a layer of curd and then a layer of the yogurt/cool whip mixture.  I like the Trader Joes lemon curd.  You can make your own, or go for the easy store bought brand of your choice.

6.22.2016

Summer Tomato Salad

Picture from Williams Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining Cookbook.
This is a beautiful simple summer salad!
3 avocados
Juice from 1 lemon
8 assorted heirloom tomatoes
1 small red onion, thinly slices
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
ground pepper
2 TBS coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley (or basil)

-Arrange sliced vegetables on platter.  Drizzle with oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh herbs on top!

6.15.2016

Caprese Salad

This picture is from the Williams Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining Cookbook.  I love the presentation of this Caprese salad!

Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Basil Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive oil for drizzling
Balsamic GLAZE for drizzling (different from balsamic vinegar--glaze is thicker and sweeter)
Sea Salt and Ground Pepper for garnish