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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Elf on the Shelf, Elfie's Adventures

Our Elfie has had many adventures around our home. Here's what he did this year! Somehow the pictures did not post in order.















































Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 Bar Fels-Nesbit "soap"
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Suds

Grate bar of "soap."
In container of choice add grated soap to borax and washing suds. Mix together. That's it! Use 1-1 1/2 tablespoon per load. Depending on the size of load and your water quality I have a front load washer and this doesn't seem to bother the mechanics or the ring. Actually since I've switched, my washer doesn't stink anymore! As for a fabric softener, I use vinegar! (1/4-1/2 cup per load)

Happy Washing!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I found the recipe on http://savorysweetlife.com/2011/04/chocolate-buttercream-frosting/#more-835.
This is hands down the BEST recipe I've ever had for chocolate buttercream! I used ghirardelli cocoa powder for my recipe. I say when it comes to desserts, never skimp when it comes to the chocolate!

Prep time: 2 mins Cook time: 3 mins Total time: 5 mins Serves: 3 cups

Ingredients
-1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
-3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
-1/2 cup cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon table salt
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract (I prefer Watkins Vanilla)
-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Instructions
Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I found this amazing recipe on http://savorysweetlife.com/2010/03/buttercream-frosting/.

Prep time: 2 mins Cook time: 3 mins Total time: 5 mins Serves: 2.5 cups

Classic American Buttercream frosting. This recipe uses powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk. This is a great recipe for decorating and piping on cupcakes and cake.

Ingredients
-1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
-3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
-1/4 teaspoon table salt
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Instructions
Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cherry Vanilla or Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

1 Vanilla Cake Mix or Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Can Cherry Pie Filling
3 Eggs

Mix together with mixer on low until blended. Then continue on medium for 3 more minutes. This is actually very important. It will keep the cupcakes airy and moist!

Put in muffin cups and bake for the amount of time on the cake mix box. Cool completely. Frost. Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes

Ingredients:
1 roll Bounty Select-A-Size paper towels
2 tablespoons baby bath
2 tablespoon baby oil
2 cups warm water


Cut the roll of paper towels in 1/2. Place one of the cut rolls in a container where the towels are upright. Mix liquids together and pour over the top of the towels. When soaked the cardboard center will easily come out. Pull from the center and you're set! I used Baby Magic Baby Wash this time around and they smell so good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Supply "cake" for our teachers

My friend Sam, her daughter, Amber and myself whipped these up for Quinn and Izzy's teachers for back to school gifts.
Here's a list of supplies:
1 rectangle box tissues
1 square box tissues
1 cardboard cake base
12 glue sticks
24 Pencils
2 red pens
5 blue pens
5 black pens
1 glue bottle
1 ruler
2 erasers
4 boxes crayons
2 boxes colored pencils
1 wired notebook
1 scissors
1 antibacterial wipes
Ribbon to wrap

I used double sided tape along the tissue boxes to keep things in place.
A practical gift that looks cool!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Homemade Tub & Shower Magic

So I decided to give “Tub and Shower Magic” by Bobbin at Food.com a try:

You will need:

a 24 oz spray bottle
12 ounces of Ultra Dawn dishwashing liquid
12 ounces of white vinegar**

(1 part of each product. Easier to remember!!)

Pour in bottle, shake and clean!!! I spray the tub and surround down, leave for 5 minutes, come back with a rag or sponge and wipe it down. Here's the best part, turn on the shower on hot/warm and let it do the work of rinsing the soap down the drain! Granted you might have to do some rinsing, but how easy!!!

***It says to heat up the vinegar, but I didn't and it works great!!***


Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

1 tsp Borax
1 tsp of washing soda
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 cups hot water
25-30 drops of essential oil (Tea Tree, Grapefruit, Eucalyptus, Lavender.)
24 oz spray bottle

Mix together in a fine must spray bottle and start cleaning!

Homemade 'Pergo' Laminate Flooring Cleaner

To a fine mist spray bottle, add the following:

1 part Water
1 part White Vinegar
1 part 2% Isopropyl Alcohol
Few drops of liquid dish detergent
Mix all ingredients together and start cleaning!!

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

Homemade Dishwasher Soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda
½ cup table salt
1 cup Lemishine

Mix everything together and store in a plastic container. Use 1 Tbsp per load. Use white vinegar in the rinse aid compartment of your dishwasher to help keep your dishes from getting spotty.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fruit Salsa...My Way!!

There are so many recipes out there for this! But this I know is kid approved!! I serve it to my daycare kids!! From ages 1-11!! Great for an after school snack!!  The pics aren't the best, but ohhh does it taste good!!


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
1 pint strawberries, minced
1/2 c. (or so) cantaloupe, minced
2 medium-large apples. I prefer Gala, and minced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. orange juice (the real stuff, people!)
10 or so tortillas pie cut (with a pizza cutter, it's faster!!)
cooking spray
1 c. cinnamon and sugar mixture ( may or may not use it all)


Other fruits that work:
kiwi, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, pomegranate (wouldn't suggest with small children)


TORTILLA PREP:
-Preheat oven to 350°
-Take cut pieces of tortillas and place them on a cookie sheet.
-Spray each tortilla lightly with cooking spray
-Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over each tortilla "chip"
-Bake for about 8-10 minutes, til tortilla is crunchy


SALSA PREP:
-In medium bowl mix in minced strawberries, cantaloupe, and apples.
-Drizzle lemon juice over the top of the mixture, then mix it up!
-In small bowl, mix orange juice and sugar.
-Pour over fruit mixture, then mix it up!


The chips last a couple of days if kept in an airtight container. I suggest making the salsa 1-2 hours before you would want to serve it. This way all the juices can marry! Mmmm...







Monkey Bread

My kiddies LOVE this recipe! It's a late start tradition! For those who don't know what that is, it's a day once a month the school kids go to school 2 hours late so the teachers can have their meetings and continuing education classes.
This is by no way a healthy or weight conscious treat! But that is just what it is...a nice, once in a while treat!




YOU WILL NEED:
1 Bundt pan
2 refrigerator biscuit tubes (regular or layers work good)
2 sticks butter or margarine
1 cup sugar and cinnamon mixture
1 cup brown sugar
cooking spray


PREP:
-Preheat oven to 350°
-Spray Bundt pan with cooking spray.
-Cut 1 stick of butter/margarine into pieces. Place in bottom of Bundt pan, spreading fairly evenly. It doesn't have to be perfect here!
-Sprinkle 1/2 c. brown sugar in the bottom of the pan.
-Put sugar and cinnamon mixture in a small bowl.
-Cut each biscuit into quarters and roll each individually in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
-Place cut and seasoned biscuit pieces in the pan evenly.
-Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar (1/2 c.) over the biscuits.
-Cut the stick of butter/margarine and place on top of that.
-Now bake! This is the hardest part...WAITING!!!


When you can tear apart a top piece of biscuit, it should be done. It really depends on the humidity, your Bundt pan, and your oven. I would say the approximate cooking time is usually around 30-35 minutes. Give or take!


When done place on a plate with semi-high sides or serving tray and flip it over! Let the yummy dripping ooze down the side of the yumminess! I place it in the middle of the table and let the kids pull apart the pieces like "monkeys" themselves! ENJOY!!

She calls it "Perfect" Pot Roast

The Pioneer Woman has don it again! I've tried another great recipe!  Ohh!!! I loves this one!! Now if you LOVE to cook, then you'll love her site! She is the bomb!! Here's the link to the most decadent, tender and as she puts it "Perfect" Post Roast!! I'll never make it with dried herbs again!! Here's the link!! Let me know how you like it!  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/09/2008_the_year_of_the_pot_roast/

Ingredients
1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Onions
6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whoopie Pies

I made these for our daughter's Valentines party at school and for my day care kids!! They were at hit!! Definitely making them again!

For cakes:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup Ghirardelli premium baking cocoa-unsweetened
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg


For filling:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • food coloring of choice ( I used Wilton's 'Dora Pink')


Make cakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

I used my Pampered Chef 1 tbsp. scoop (the small one) and pressed them into a heart shaped whoopie pie pan. Bake until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack when finished.


Make filling:
Beat together butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. I added food coloring to make them pink!


Assemble pies:
I found the easiest way to fill the pies was using a icing bag! I didn't even use a tip! Fill the bottom of one cake and top with the bottom of another!


Originally I found the recipe at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Whoopie-Pies-107615 , but I changed up a few things so I rewrote it.


Hope you enjoy!!