Monday, December 19, 2011

YUM

I've recently discovered this blog , http://thisistolove.blogspot.com.
OMGosh, YUM!!!

I'll be making these later today to enjoy with a homemade pumpkin spice latte.

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies


 Pumpkin and chocolate may seem strange to some, but I think it's a heavenly Layers of gooey chocolate, cinnamon-spiced pumpkin, and topped with chocolate chips. I loved these brownies, and to show you how good they are let me tell you that my little brother, who has always claimed to "not like pumpkin", is now converted. He loved them so much that he ate the last three before I got a chance to. Darn. Maybe converting him to the pumpkin side wasn't the best choice after all?


Recipe adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Martha Stewart
For this recipe, you'll make a base batter and then add chocolate to one half and pumpkin to the other. It means there are a few more bowls to wash, but the result is worth it!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nuts (optional)
a handful of mini chocolate chips for sprinkling on top (optional...though I highly recommend it!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square (I used a 9x13 inch pan because I wanted more brownies, it was perfect!) baking pan or dish. Cut a length of parchment that will cover the bottom and two sides (makes it much easier to remove), and line the pan with it. Butter the lining as well. (I just greased the pan very well because I didn't have parchment, the brownies came out easily but use whatever works best for you!)

2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the bowl once smooth and set aside.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.

4. Pour half of batter (about two cups) into the bowl with the melted chocolate. If you find that it is a little thick add a little more batter (a few tablespoons or so) until it is more pourable. This is important because mine was quite thick, and the pumpkin half was quite thin, so I had trouble swirling the two together. (I didn't have this problem as much, both batter seemed to be about the same thickness)

5. In the bowl of the stand mixer, stir in the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter (especially with a 9x13 pan, don't worry if the layer of batter doesn't completely reach the edge). Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don’t set.

6. With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Be sure to get your knife all the way to the bottom of the pan. Don't swirl too much or the batters will mix together instead of creating a swirled effect.

7. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes (mine only needed about 30 minutes in a 9x13 pan...watch closely because these will turn dry quickly if overbaked. They may seem slightly underdone at first but will set up in the pan). Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Thanks, http://thisistolove.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Lazy Inzombiac Blogger

I'm thinking the above title is pretty accurate.
It's pitch black outside, yet I hear birds chirping away. That's too weird.
Anywho, it's the most wonderful time of the year and I so look forward to this season. I love love love the Holidays beginning with Halloween!
The one good thing about this armpit of a city that we have relocated to is that it offers seasons. We didn't experience much of that at the beach. I look forward to autumn and the array of beautifully colored leaves it brings. I'm a huge fan of the pumpkin and everything pumpkin in general.

Seriously, I knew this was going to happen. My stomach is growling and I want chocolate chip cookie dough.
I'm going for it.
Ciao<3

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Insomnia

Seriously.  I have no business being up at this hour.  I'm fighting the urge to walk into the kitchen and whip up a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough to inhale along with a glass of cold milk.  My husband is snoring.  He looks pretty good lying there.  Yeah, I'd better hold off on the cookie dough because my metabolism isn't what it used to be. 61 followers?  Hm.  Uh, yeah.  Seriously, I believe everyone of those 61 followers have forgotten about me and this here blog because it's been forever and a day since I've written anything.  Dare I blog about something other than domestic tips?  The description of this blog does read "random ramblings.  I shall ramble away.   I've had a hard 8 weeks.  Our cat just passed away last Friday and my eyes are still swollen from crying.  His death put things into perspective for me.  I'm still thinking about that cookie dough.  Oh, hell.  I'm going for it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

131 Days






Friday,  November 18, 2011.  One hundred and thirty one days until the release of Breaking Dawn.  Yes, I have to admit, I am a fan.  I've read the books, seen the flicks and I'm so ready for the next installment of the Twilight saga.  Team Edward all the way!  Sigh...  
A year or so ago I made a few videos for several YouTube makeup contests.  
Cheg it.
 
Make sure to turn off the music above!

















Sunday, July 3, 2011

Coffee of The Week

I love coffee.  I need coffee.  
I can not function without coffee.
With this being said, the thought of a cup of hot coffee is not appealing considering this:
ew.
Iced coffee to the rescue!
Here's a super easy recipe 
that is super yummy and easy to prepare.

Iced Maple Coffee
 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1c freshly brewed coffee
Ice cubes
2 tbs half and half

Stir the maple syrup into the coffee and pour over ice.
Now pour half and half over drink.  That's all there is too it!

 For your consideration, 
enjoy your iced coffee with a Patriotic Treat
courtesy of Betty Crocker.
Happy Birthday America!!!!

Brownie 'n Berries Dessert Pizza

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blogger's Block



Experiencing blogger's block :(


Monday, May 30, 2011

Coffee of The Week




 

Chocolate Vanilla Coffee
Super simple to make.  Simply super to drink.
Chocolate and vanilla are a natural taste combination. 
Each complement the other.  You can pour over ice for a cool taste, too!

1 tbs chocolate syrup
1/4 teaspsoon vanilla extreact
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
1/4 cuup heavey cream, whipped

Stir the chocolate syrup and vanilla into the hot coffee.  Top with whipped  cream.
Mmmmmmmm.
Don't forget the coffee cake.

Chocolate Coffee Cake with Vanilla Butter Icing

http://www.dairygoodness.ca/recipes/chocolate-coffee-cake-with-vanilla-butter-icing


Chocolate Coffee Cake:
3/4 cup (180 mL) hot brewed coffee
3/4 cup (180 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
2 cups (500 mL) packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
4 tsp (20 mL) instant coffee granules
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Vanilla Butter Icing:
1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated semi-sweet chocolate
2 tbsp (30 mL) chocolate covered coffee beans

Instructions

Preheat oven 350 ˚F (180 ˚C).
In bowl, whisk coffee and cocoa powder until smooth and let cool to room temperature.
In large bowl, using electric mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. In small bowl combine vanilla extract coffee granules and stir to dissolve. Pour into butter mixture and beat to combine.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and powder and salt. Stir into butter mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, making three additions of flour and two of cocoa mixture. Spread evenly into 2 greased and bottom parchment paper lined 9-inch (1.5 L) round cake pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from cake pans and let cool completely. Remove parchment paper. 

Vanilla Butter Icing:
In large bowl, using electric mixer beat butter until almost white. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract smooth; set aside.
Place one layer on cake plate and using palette knife spread half of the icing to edge. Top with second cake layer and remaining icing and make decorative swirls with icing. Sprinkle edge and centre with grated chocolate and garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans.
Chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Imagine



 Don't throw that out!  
Instead get creative and crafty with the little ones.

Egg cartons are really caterpillars, alligators and dragons in disguise: With scissors, glue, paint, and imagination that is.

Oatmeal boxes become castle towers and doll houses.

Transform plastic milk jugs into piggy banks or "fund" banks.  Decorate them to reflect that special toy or event they are saving for.

Cardboard paper towel or toilet paper rolls turn into puppets or telescopes.

Used Kleenex or tissue boxes make awesome dinosaur, clown, or monster feet/shoes.

Plastic tops from milk bottle are great game pieces and counters for those first math lessons.

Coffee cans are perfect for storing puzzle pieces, crayons, and small toys.

Dad's old shirt can become a painting and crafting smock that keeps your children from decorating their clothes when creating their master pieces.
The sky's the limit. 
Imagine . . .

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's Fantasy

I want to be her when I grow up.
Turn off Music Above

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Broccoli Rice

 
Here's a fast and easy dish that will get your children to eat their broccoli and celery.  Although "Cheez Whiz" may not be the most nutritious choice, kids dig it.  The Cheez Whiz can always be replaced with any real melted cheese.  Still not a true cheese, I prefer using Velveeta.  Give your little ones a double whammy of fiber by using brown rice as opposed to white.  Rice must be prepared and cooked prior to making this recipe.

Broccoli Rice
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 pkg.  frozen chopped broccoli
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. COOKED brown or white  rice 
1/4 jar (8 oz.)  Cheez Whiz

Saute onions and celery in butter or oil until soft.  Add soup and bring to a boil.  Add broccoli.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add Cheez Whiz, stir well.  Add rice, fold, and heat thoroughly.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Buyers Tip Sheet

Fresh Vegetables and Fruits 
In choosing quality produce, experience is always the best teacher. Here are a few pointers in selecting quality fruits & veggies.

ASPARAGUS 
Stalks should be tender and firm.
Tips should be close and compact.  
Choose stalks with very little white.
They tend to be more tender. 
Since asparagus toughens rapidly, 
use asparagus soon after purchasing.

BERRIES
Choose plump, solid berries with bright color.  
Avoid stained containers. 
This indicates wet or leaky berries.  
Check carefully for mold.  
Blackberries and raspberries with 
clinging caps may be under ripe.  
Strawberries without caps may be too ripe.

BROCCOLI, BRUSSELS SPROUTS & CAULIFLOWER
Flower clusters on broccoli and cauliflower 
should be tight and close together. 
Brussels sprouts should be firm and compact. 
Broccoli, flower heads, or florets,  
should be a darker green than the stalk.  
Look for stalks that are firm but not rubbery or tough.
Choose cauliflower with bright green leaves and 
compact, creamy white florets. 
Older cauliflower will have little black mold spots 
and a yellowish tinge.  ew.
With brussels sprouts, use color as an indicator of freshness.
Leaves should be bright green and fresh looking.
Give sprouts a squeeze to make sure they are firm, 
tight and compact, not puffy.
Check stems to make sure they are clean and not discolored.
                         
CUCUMBERS
 Look for blemish free, smooth green skin 
without discoloration.
  The outside will be bumpy,
but there shouldn't be tears in the skin.
A fresh cucumber looks a little bit plump. 
A not-so-fresh cucumber has tiny wrinkles in the skin and
  looks like it's starting to deflate.
Make sure cucumber is firm and not squishy.  
Check both ends.

MELONS
Watermelon
Look for a firm, symmetrical watermelon 
free from bruises, cuts or dents.
Since watermelon is 92% water, 
lift it up and make sure it is heavy for its size.  
Turn it over to check the underside. 
It should have a creamy yellow spot indicating
where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
If it is white or pale green on either side,
it is not ripe.

Cantaloupe
Pick it up, take a deep breath 
and give it a good deep whiff.
 If it omits a musky sweet fruity smell, you have a winner. 
Can't smell anything?  
It will most likely be tasteless so put it back.
Test it's ripeness by pressing 
on the opposite end of the stem.  
It should give a little.

Honeydew
When a honeydew's rind has a creamy to yellowish color, 
it's ripe. 
Immature honeydews are whitish green.
Always avoid overly soft melons.

CITRUS
Oranges, Grapefruit, & Lemons
Choose those heavy for their size.  
Thinner, smoother skins usually indicate more juice.  
Most skin markings do not affect quality.  
Oranges with a slight greenish tinge may be 
just as ripe as fully colored ones.  
Light or greenish yellow lemons are 
more tart than deep yellow ones.  
Avoid citrus fruits showing withered, sunken, or soft areas. Generally, the sweeter and more fragrant the smell, 
the fresher the piece of fruit is.
Winter is the season of citrus fruits, 
& offers the best selection to choose from.

 SWEET POTATOES

Avoid those with any signs of decay.  
Select firm, fairly evenly shaped with even skin color.
Deep orange colored sweet potatoes 
have the most nutritional value.
Bronze to rosy skins are soft and sweet when cooked.  
Yellow to light brown ones are firmer and less moist.
Never store in the refrigerator.
Doing so will produce a hard core in the center.
Store in a cool, well ventilated, dry container.
For best flavor & freshness, 
use within 7-10 days after purchase.


veg

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Coffee of the Week

Blended Banana Coffee
I  highly recommend you drink this yummy concoction as soon as you can after making it.  You don't want it to settle.

1 tbs butter
1/2 banana, peeled sliced, & mashed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup hot freshly brewed coffee
1/2 c heavy cream
1 tbs confectioners/powdered sugar

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir in the banana, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Now simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat.  Place the coffee, cream, and sugar in the blender and add the banana mixture.  Blend for 15 to 20 seconds until smooth.
Serve at once.  Yummy for the tummy.
Personally, I've always been one to indulge excessively.  If you're going to go banana, go banana all the way with a chocolate banana coffee cake.
Mmmmmmmmm.

Directions:

Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
  1. 1 Set oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2 Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  3. 3 In a bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer.
  4. 4 Add in the eggs and beat until smooth.
  5. 5 Add in vanilla and mashed bananas; mix until smooth.
  6. 6 In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  7. 7 Add to banana mixture alternately with sour cream, ending with dry ingredients Pour half of the batter into prepared baking pan.
  8. 8 In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp (or more) of cinnamon.
  9. 9 Sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the batter in the pan.
  10. 10 Top with half of the chocolate chips.
  11. 11 Repeat the layers.
  12. 12 Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until cake tests done.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

SATURDAY

 Once upon a time . . .
Tiger Beat consumed a large part of my allowance.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oldie But Goodie

Turn Off The Music Above

The Hair Dryer

A second hair dryer in the kitchen?  
Yeah. 
Why not?
  1. Use it on "cool" to dry salad greens, on "warm" to set icing on cakes or sugar cookies, on "hot" to soften ice cream for scooping.
  2. If hard water spots up your glasses, dry them with a cloth, then blow dry to remove spots and lint. 
  3. Freshly baked cake left out too long on waxed paper lined pan?  Run your hair dryer over the bottom of the pan, then carefully invert it.  The cakes drops right out.
  4. Blow dry your salt and pepper shakers after washing to keep the condiments from lumping.
  5. Dry the inside of  your rubber kitchen gloves. 
  6. Quickly and safely remove candle wax by blowing warm air slightly above the drips.  The heat softens, the wax, which can then be wiped away with a paper towel, thus leaving no scratches.  Better yet, switch to soy candles and cleanup is a snap with just soap and water.
  7. Hair dryers work great for removing old contact paper from kitchen shelves when used on warm setting.  Work on one section at a time and gently pull at edges.  This tip comes in handy if you have little one who tend to decorate with stickers in places where they shouldn't.
  8. Remove crayon marks from wallpaper by using a hair dryer set on "hot".  Heat up the wax and the crayon will wipe right off.  Use a damp cloth and a small amount of oil soap cleanser.  I prefer Murphy's.
  9. Open windows in spring and summer cause screen and sills to collect fuzz and pollen. Ew.   For a quick cleanup, blow the debris back outside with your blow dryer.
  10. Loosen a too-tight screw by warming it with your hair dryer.  How do you like that on DH?
  11. When a hot compress is needed, wet a hand towel in hot water and put it on the injury.  Turn on the hair dryer to keep the compress hot; keep it moist with a spray bottle of water.
  12. Clear up diaper rash by drying baby's bottom with a hair dryer set on "warm" and held at least 7-9 inches from the skin.
  13. Speed dry your pantyhose by hanging them on the shower rod and blowing them dry.
  14. Quick wrinkle remover:  Lightly dampen the wrinkled area with a washcloth, then blow dry with your hair dryer. 
    Hair dryers.  Who knew?

Fun and Flirty Fashionista Friday: The Thrift Store Way

Total Spent:  $7.75

Top $0.75 Cents

Found this at a yard sale for 75 cents.
 

Necklace $1.99 at Fallas Discount Store.
Sewed together 2 skirts to make one.

$1.50 at my favorite thrift store.
  50 cents at the same store.

Boots $3.00.  
Scored these babies for 3 bucks.  
They were marked at $6.00, but I go shopping on half price days, so yeah, 3 smackeroos.  
Okay, now before you start with the "ews",  & the
"Used" shoes?  "Uh, . . .no".
 Know this, I am the Queen of "ew".  
But these are Tony Lama people and they are beautiful IRL.
Seriously, purchasing second hand shoes is cool and unless the previous owner had some serious foot fungus or flesh eating disease, a little Lysol Disinfectant Spray will suffice.  

So there you have it.  Fashionista Friday's look of the week.  Until next time, this Thrift Shop Fashionista will be hitting yard sales, rummage sales, thrift shops, and flea markets in search of another affordable look.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stains. Ew.


BLOOD:
Pre-soak in cold or warm water for at least 30 minutes.  If stain remains, soak in lukewarm ammonia water.  Use 3 tbs ammonia per gallon of water.  Rinse.  If stain still remains, work in a laundry detergent, and wash, using color safe bleach.

CANDLE WAX:
Use a dull knife to scrape off as much wax as possible.  Place fabric between 2 pieces of parchment paper or wax paper and press with warm iron.  Remove a tinted wax stain with non-flammable dry cleaning solvent.  Wash with detergent in the hottest water safe for fabric.

CHEWING GUM:
Rub area with ice, then scrape off with a dull blade.  Sponge with dry cleaning solvent  or kerosene  allow to air dry for about 30 minutes.  Rinse well with hot sudsy water.   Wash in detergent with hot water.

CHOCOLATE & COCOA:
Pre-soak stain in cold or warm water.  Sponge with hydrogen peroxide then wash in hot water.

COFFEE:
For a fresh stain, sponge or soak with cold water as soon as possible.  Wash, using detergent and color safe bleach. For a set in stain beat an egg yolk and then with a terry cloth, apply it to the stain.  You'll need to work the yolk into the stain for a minute or so.  Now rinse it thoroughly with water. The stain will disappear.

CRAYON:
Scrape with dull blade.  Wash, alone,  in hot water with laundry detergent and 2 cups of baking soda. Or,
turn the stained fabric inside out and spray the back of the stain with WD-40. Let this sit on the stain for about five minutes. Apply liquid dish washing soap to the back of the stain with a paper towel, and work it into the fabric.  Wash in hot water and air dry.

DEODORANT:
Sponge area with white vinegar.  If stain remains, soak with denatured alcohol.  Wash in hot water.

PERSPIRATION:
Dissolve two aspirins in 1/2 c of water. Pour onto the stain & let it soak for 2 hours or so. Now add a few drops of clear liquid detergent & massage between your fingers.  Wash as usual.

EGG:
Scrape off dried egg with dull blade. Now sponge off as much  of the stain as possible with warm water. It is really important that the water is warm and not hot because hot water sets the egg and will make it smell really bad.  ew.   If stain is still present, make a paste from water and cream of tartar. Mix in one crushed aspirin.  Apply this paste and leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

 LIPSTICK:
Spray stain with hairspray. Allow the spray to set for a minute or two, then wipe it with a clean white washcloth. Or massage a dab of extra whitening toothpaste on the stain—not the gel variety, but the old fashioned, original white paste, gently between your fingers. Rinse with cool water.

MILDEW & MOLD:

Take the garment outside and brush off mildew/mold with a stuff brush.  I'd recommend wearing rubber gloves and a dust mask so you will not breath in any spores or get it on yourself.  Sponge with lemon juice and salt.  Heat and sun will kill mildew so leave fabric in the sun to dry out. Launder using hottest water, detergent, and color safe bleach.

NAIL POLISH:


RUST:
Rub stains with salt and lemon, and leave in the sun to dry. Wash as usual.  Or, wet stain and dab with a bit of cream of tartar.  Let it sit for 30 minutes and launder as usual.


SCORCH MARK:

Cover stain with another cloth that has been soaked in hydrogen peroxide.  Iron on low until mark disappears.  Rinse well.