tip number 462

20180328_134554-1_resized_1Yesterday I baked amazing, flavorful (believe it or not) healthy carrot cake cupcakes.  (I tweaked a bit of the recipe for our needs.)

Lindsay Nixon is the Happy Herbivore who shares the recipe and so much more.  She is a gem and you will learn oodles and oodles from her.  Go take a look, you will be so glad you did.  https://happyherbivore.com/recipe/the-famous-carrot-cake-cupcakes/

Heads up!  Tip Alert! 

This is the perfect solution when you want to share a non-smooshed cupcake with your elderly neighbor, take a treat to your grand or you want to send one to work with your Mr. Right…………..

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Ta-Da!  Use an upside down drink cup.

Just sharing the goodness.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

ps.  Bonus tip just for reading to the end of the blog post today!

Add a little outdoor Spring goodness where you least expect it.  It will be a happy surprise. 🙂20180328_163003-1_resized

time to sparkle

Time to clean the chandelier.

Go get your umbrella.  I’ll wait. 

I’m still waiting.  Geesh, this is taking forever.  Already gone through two songs.

Oh hi.  you’re back.  Good.

Let’s get started.

Turn off the light.  The crystals or glass clean so much easier when cold.  20171018_135808_resized

Hang that umbrella on the chandelier.  It will catch dust, cobwebs, more dust that you blow off with a hair dryer or spray with a can of air.  It will also catch any drips of magic elixir that may sprinkle down.   (Seriously, you do not want this to turn into an all day long project and have to wash your bed linens, too?  Well?  Of course not.)

Next, mix up the magic elixir.

2 cups warm water, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and 2 Tablespoons of the dishwasher spot remover 

You will need a soft cloth and a ladder/step stool.

Um, I am pretty sure you know what to do.  Stand there for several minutes while the blood drains out of your arms and wash each little beautiful crystal.   Are your arms tingling?  Good.  That’s a sign you are doing it right!

Your goal is to change every single dusty, film covered, sad crystal drop into a beautiful sparkle of a gem.

Put on your sunnies, ’cause you’re going to need ’em! 20171018_141746-1_resized

Wow!  So sparkly.  So pretty.

Put away the ladder, toss the soft cloth into your laundry pile,  and wash the container you put the elixir in.

Take the umbrella outdoors and open and close a few times.  The neighbors will think you are a bit silly.  Wave and give them a jaunty salute!  Howdy Neighbor!!

Now wasn’t that easy peasy?

Just sharing the goodness.

In this together, friend.

chat soon.

P.S.  Be a lamb and share a smarty pants cleaning tip!  Love to hear your secret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brilliant Sunday Supper

Last night, the rains started, it cooled way down and seemed like the perfect Sunday evening for comfort food.  You know?  The warm feel of soup in your belly.  The blend of flavors in a well planned out sandwich……oh baby, so good.

Wait.  I will explain what I made, then I will share a picture or two.

The soup.

Hang on to your cute beanie. This savory soup is Sunday dinner, Easy Peasy.

20170917_143546_resizedCut up some beautiful (homegrown if you have them) potatoes and a couple of leeks (remember to wash the dickens out of those leeks).  Drizzle with olive oil and S & P.  Roast at 425*for 50 minutes.  Next put them into the Blend-tec with some vegetable broth.  We’re blending, we’re blending………………  and we are done.  That was easy.20170917_172055-1_resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sammy.

20170917_170912-1_resizedCaramelize an onion.  Roast a red pepper (then put into a zippy bag and take off the brunt outer skin).  Also, have in the lineup and ready to go:

Tapenade, fresh pesto & shred some beautiful Fontina cheese.  Assemble and grill.

Say Grace and just like that, A brilliant Sunday supper is toasty and ready to enjoy. 20170917_172332-1_resized

I ask you, who would not be grateful and find comfort in this beautiful meal?

We need to cook like this for our families/ourselves more often.  We are all worthy of simple, satisfying food layered with love.

I gotta say, the flavor of that combination was brilliant.

Hope you enjoyed a savory Sunday meal, certainly a lovely way to begin the week.  Or might I suggest this meal as a solution to what to have tonight?

In this together, friends.

Just sharing the goodness.

Chat soon.

 

 

splurge

For some twisted reason, Mondays have been hard the last couple weeks.  Getting up feels like a chore.   After I fed and gave fresh water to the dog and the chickens…. I headed for the Bio-mat for an hour.

Then to shower.  I smiled just thinking about using my new fancy schmancy potion!

I made this facial scrub.  I put it in a jar with a fun label.    I just fell head over heels in love with the name. 20170331_121837-1_resized

 

Side note about company names: for a couple of years I owned a company called “The Yellow Button Mustard Company”.  I came up with the name, then I decided to make mustard.  Of course I tied a yellow button on every single jar.  I love mustard!yellow buttons

This time, I have come up with the name “Splurge”.  Now I want to follow where that leads.  Maybe I just like the word?

20170324_150314-1_resized_1Splurge on an extra long bike ride.  Splurge on new flowers for my bike basket.   Splurge with extra coconut cream in my Monday coffee.   Splurge on a snazzy pair of new shoes. (those shoes?  Well made and so comfortable, love)  Splurge on making lotions and potions that are of excellent quality and then use them.

Using a face scrub/moisturizer that smells like little drops of peppermint.  Awwwww, feels like a splurge.

Here’s the behind the scene magic  ( or if you like, the recipe)

1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup baking soda and a few drops of essential oil…whip together.  Splurge on yourself and use it!

Oh la la

Here’s to easing into Monday & please take the time to splurge a little on yourself.  We are worth it.

Here’s to our health and wellness! 20170331_121837-1_resized

Chat soon.

 

easy fix

Yesterday while teaching a baking lesson the unthinkable happened.  I reached to get a box of brown sugar and discovered it was nearly empty.  GASP.  Oh no!  We NEED 1 cup!

My almost 11-year-old friend, was instantly sad.  We were in the process of gathering ingredients to make her Dad’s favorite molasses cookies.  Big ol’ sad face with huge sad eyes. (Can you imagine, this face being sad?  Oh dear.)20170328_120302-1_resized

Why don’t we just make some?

WHAT?

Make brown sugar?

um, yeah, that’s what people do.

I don’t know how to make it.

I do.

I will teach you.

Pencil ready?

Write this down:

 1 cup of white sugar + 1 Tablespoon molasses, mix = Brown Sugar. 

Done

Wait!!!! 

That’s it?

Yes, that’s it.

Chop, chop, Lollipop!

Let’s get that cookie dough made so we can chill it and make cookies for your Dad!

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W4D?

The age old question:  What’s for Dinner?

Kids ask, girlfriends ask, spouses casually slip in the question…..This question crosses the lips of all families across our land.

I have an answer for you!  Friday night dinner idea is taken care of.  done.  you’re welcome.

The Lenten season is fast approaching. Lots of folks will be trying to do away with some meat and dairy products. Maybe you just need a fresh new to you idea for dinner tonight?  Maybe you want to know what the heck your vegetarian friends eat for supper?  Maybe one of your resolutions was to eat with a healthier twist?

Giving up familiar items or trying new things can be tricky and frustrating.  Change is hard for everyone.

Adding something new to the dinner line up has to be slipped in carefully for some family members.

What’s For Dinner?  Secret insider information…. when I am plum out of ideas, I send a message to girlfriends…. W4D????  That means I am looking for dinner ideas, please help!

I thought I would share a dinner solution….we enjoyed last night.

falafel-2Vegetarian, quick, delish and you can build your own.  You can cut open a piece of naan, you can build your Falafel sandwich folded between the naan, you can even cut it up and make your own little stacks of goodness.

Tasty, great texture, filling, packed with flavor and pretty darn easy to make.  You can make the mixture early in the day, cover and refrigerate.  When dinner time comes around, you just use a cookie scoop (or spoon) and flatten them onto a pan or put into a black iron skillet.

Did you know there are restaurants in Europe and the only thing on the menu are Falafel???

While the Falafel patties cook, you have plenty of time to set the table, and chop some cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. 20170209_172248-1_resized

I do not own a Tandori oven, I buy Naan Bread (Trader Joe’s has some for $3.69).  Sprinkle with a bit of water, heat in a 400* oven for 3 or 4 minutes, brush with garlic butter.  If you can’t find Naan Bread you can always use pita bread.

Serve with plenty of Tzatziki sauce and a big ol bowl of hummus.

Falafel Patties  http://www.myhdiet.com/Fall-In-Love-With-Food-Again/

1 onion, quartered, 3 garlic cloves, 2 cans of chickpeas, drained (or 3 cups of cooked chickpeas),  2 Tablespoons tahini, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon olive oil , 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 2 to 3 Tablespoons flour, pinch cayenne

Recipe notes:   When did the world started calling Garbanzo beans , Chickpeas?  I sometimes leave out the coriander (because I am too lazy to reach to the top shelf), I always use way more parsley than they suggest, I never use cayenne and I use a gluten-free flour blend.  For just the two of us, I make a half a batch. Sometimes I bake, other times, when I want it fast, I use a little oil and get that outer crust pretty crispy, yum. 

Process the onion and garlic in a food processor until well chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well mixed and fairly well-chopped.  Scoop and pat into patties on a baking sheet, then bake at 400* for 35 minutes (flip over after 20 minutes) or saute in a skillet for about five minutes per side. 

Say grace and dig in.  Use lots of napkins, these beauties can get sloppy and messy and oh so good.  🙂

Here’s to our good health!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

W4D

For a while, I wanted to write a blog about food.  More specifically, to help answer the age-old question, What’s for Dinner? (W4D) A place you could go, desperately searching for an idea. You could see what others came up with and made for dinner.

Here is what I cooked for dinner last night.  Okay, I didn’t do it all.  Mr. Right grilled the Albacore Tuna.  We would usually use chickpeas and sunflower seeds, however, that Albacore was calling our names.  For a warm summer night, it was a perfect choice.

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No one really mentions, in addition to becoming famous, an eye doctor, a mom, a mechanic, a refrigerator repair person, an architect, a solider etc….. you still have to know how to make and prepare meals and put them on the table for your family every single day of your life.

I’ve always maintained that if I was Scrooge McDuck rich, I would pay someone to come up with ideas.  I would still cook.  I like the cooking part.  By the way, if you happen to have canvas bags of money tied with rope, and have a dollar sign stamped on the front, one would think one would have enough moolah to hire a kitchen cleaner upper & person to wash dishes?

There are two girls in my life that help make dinner more, well, beautiful and delish. We have our own W4D exchange.

food is essentialWe live far, far away from each other.  E-mail  is how we share.  A couple of times a week,  we exchange emails about food.  Glorious Food.  Idea of what to make or bake.  Sharing the cookbook we found it hidden in or what food blogger offered up the inspiration. We tell each other, “didn’t have leeks, so I substituted purple onion” “fresh berries aren’t in season yet, used frozen”.  If we are really in a pickle, we explain, ” help! 20 people around age 25 coming over for a gathering…. what do I feed them?” And somehow, as if by magic, the two other people swirl ideas around and share 2 or 3 ideas/solutions each.

The subject line, W4D grabs our attention.

We are honest in our sharing.   What worked well for lefties (left overs). First go round, needed more salt, will add for lefties tomorrow.  The “secret” ingredient to an amazing sammy (sandwich), refrigerator pickles.   What we fell in love with and that dreaded moment the person sitting across from us, took a polite “no, thank you bite”.

Like life and all of us, it’s a rather glorious hodgepodge  of fancy, easy, quick, 24 hour marinade, bake it and take it, slow cook, grill and blend.  We just share what we made and put it out there.  Yes, we have food preferences.  We sort of don’t get into those.  If you are vegetarian, just substitute chickpeas for the albacore tuna.  No soap box, no explaining, no time to judge, just move on people.  The goal is to get flavorful, beautiful food on the table, consistently.

We don’t have to explain, why one husband won’t eat weeds (fresh herbs not cut small enough) or why some don’t eat sugar or dairy …. You get the picture.  We just talk about what we made.

Let’s face it whether or not we have a passel of kiddos to cook for or a tired hungry boyfriend or cooking for one,  tasty food needs to be put on the table on a regular basis.

Excellent, high quality food that is worthy of our families, nourishing their bodies and feeding their souls.

We share pictures. Here is the first good size tomato I have ever grown.  Eating tonight!20160725_110507-1_resized

We share results.

too salty/needed more salt/fresh thyme was the secret

too time consuming/ very time-consuming, so worth it

very messy/hardly no clean up/used every pan & bowl in the place

clean plates all around/ lots of food left on the plates, had snacks later

putting this into the rotation/tried twice,  ripped up recipe and tossed, said good-bye

All that to tell you, I found a great recipe for a Nicoise Salad dressing. Minimalist Baker shared it on her food blog.  Note:  Make extra dressing.   After I par-boiled the potatoes and beans I covered them in dressing (used as a marinade) and let chill.  20160725_123512_resized

3 Tablespoons minced shallot, 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (fresh was amazing) chopped , 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, s & p, 1/4 cup olive oil.  Whisk or use immersion blender.  

When you have good friends who talk about food, it’s not called bragging, it’s called sharing.

…I grew the tomato, beans and thyme.  I gathered the eggs and steamed them today.  Nicoise Salad……… clean plate club members!20160725_174050-1_resized

In this together, friends.  All of us have a need to feed our family and friends excellent quality food. They are worth our time and energy.

Sweet Peaches!  We are worthy of great food.

What’s For Dinner in your neck of the woods?

In this together, folks.  Please share what you are cooking for dinner tonight with a friend. I promise they will love getting fresh new ideas.

Chat tomorrow.